Severus Snape stared around the Great Hall. His eyes settled on the first years that were being sorted. Absentmindedly, he wondered if any of them had any potential whatsoever. Glancing again at the other six years worth of students in the Hall and noting their lack of potential, he concluded that this new class was probably made up entirely of dunderheads also.
Finally the last first year skipped along to her new home in Hufflepuff and the Headmaster began his speech. Severus was startled out of his musings by sudden clapping among the faculty. He looked to his side and saw the new Muggle Studies teacher standing and waving with a broad smile on her face. She sat back down and her black curly hair bounced up and down with her movement. Finally it settled at shoulder length. Her sapphire blue eyes continued to twinkle, even though the introduction was now over.
He continued watching her. She seemed familiar to him, but he couldn't place the association. Her name, Serina Torrington, wasn't one he remembered hearing before. She seemed to be about his age, but he was never good at guessing women's ages.
Suddenly the tables were filled with food. Everyone started chattering at once. Severus piled some roast beef and mashed potatoes onto his plate and began to eat, forgetting about the woman sitting next to him until she spoke.
"So, Severus, how have you been?" she asked him. Her voice was soft and sultry.
He turned his head toward her while swallowing his potatoes and replied, "Have we met before?" He was eyeing her curiously now.
"Well, if you consider five years together at Hogwarts meeting before, then I would probably have to say yes," she smiled.
His eyes narrowed as he tried to remember her. "I'm sorry, you seem familiar, but I really don't remember you."
She looked a little disappointed, but finally brightened, "I was two years ahead of you, and I was in Ravenclaw. I don't think we ever really spoke."
He nodded, deep in thought. He still couldn't place her. He shrugged. "What have you done since Hogwarts?" he asked her, still wracking his brain trying to place the woman.
I went to University and double majored in Potions and Muggle Studies. Since then I've worked on and off as a Potions Mistress and a Muggle Studies teacher at Beauxbatons.
He arched an eyebrow at her. "Why did you choose to take the Muggle Studies position here?" he asked.
"The Potions position wasn't open." She leaned toward him. "I hear that teacher will never leave this school!" she quipped, smiling at him.
He only stared at her, his lips drawn into a thin line. Her smile disappeared and she spoke again.
"I missed England, to be honest. France is lovely, but when one has a hankering for some Steak and Kidney Pie, it's hard to fulfill that craving."
He continued to stare at her, not saying a word, with the same grim look on his face. She looked at him quizzically and wondered why he wasn't saying anything.
"I was just kidding about the Potions position, Severus. I would never think to take your job away from you," she said rather nervously.
He nodded and went back to his meal, but she thought she saw a flash of mirth in his eyes as he returned to his plate. Had he been goading her into feeling self conscious? She glanced at him, but he had already started a new conversation with Professor McGonagall and she was left to her dinner. She chewed her food while she reflected on her days at Hogwarts and the lonely boy who had been Severus Snape back then. He only had a few friends, mostly Slytherins. They had all eventually turned into Death Eaters. He also used to follow Lily Potter around like a lost puppy.
Serina truly had never spoken a word to him during their time together at school. She had observed him from afar, though. She had always been drawn to quiet, dark, mysterious men. She even admitted to herself that she probably had a slight crush on the lanky boy back then before her seventh year, when she had begun to date John Bower. She quickly put John out of her mind. She was at a party and should be happy, not sad.
Her mind came back to the present just in time to hear Dumbledore shoo everyone out of the Great Hall and into their beds. She looked to her left to bid Severus good night, but he had already left the table. She rose and left the Hall, heading to her room with everyone else.
"You dated that Prefect in your seventh year did you not?" Severus asked Serina the next day as they passed breakfast items to one another.
She nodded to him while sipping some orange juice. "John Bower, yes."
"Whatever happened to him?"
She frowned. "We got engaged after we graduated from here. We were planning the wedding when he was killed by Death Eaters."
Severus turned even paler than he already was. "I'm sorry. Do you know who did it?"
Getting a hateful look in her eye, she continued, "Bellatrix Lestrange did it."
Severus looked down, not really knowing what to say. Serina composed herself and went back to her breakfast as if nothing had happened.
"Serina, if you want to brew some potions or anything while you're here, you may use the dungeons and any of my supplies anytime you want." After the words were out of his mouth, he wondered why he had said that. He loved his privacy and didn't want some woman coming down at all hours of the night bothering him. He was probably just feeling obligated because he had brought up such a sad topic for her.
She regarded him with wide eyes, and then smiled. "Thank you, Severus. I probably will take you up on your offer."
A few nights later Severus wandered into the Potions room late at night. He had seen a faint glow under the door and was investigating. Forgetting his offer to Serina he was surprised to see her bent over a cauldron stirring quickly. He leaned against the doorframe and studied her for a moment. She was totally absorbed in her work and did not notice him there. Her black curls fell in front of her face blocking her vibrant blue eyes. She would stir violently in one direction, then switch and stir with the same vehemence in the other direction. He loved the concentration it took to brew properly and she seemed to really know what she was doing. He let her concentrate and finish her work before he spoke. When she finally had finished the sequence she stood back from the cauldron and heaved a great sigh.
"What is it you're working on?" Severus asked her.
She looked up, a little wide eyed, but gave no other hint that he had startled her. She smiled at him.
"It's a memory draught. I have been working on it for over a year now, I can't seem to get it right."
Severus strode up near the cauldron and stared into it. A thin purple liquid sat in the cauldron, bubbling furiously.
"What exactly do you want to have this memory draught do?" he asked.
"I'm trying to create a potion that helps with lost memories. The goal is that a person would think of either a half memory that they can't fully remember, or a part of their life that they would like to remember more of. The potion would help them to see that time of their life clearly."
"Fascinating," Severus replied. "Is it ready yet?"
"It will be in half an hour."
"Can I try it?"
She looked at him curiously. "You would take an experimental potion without knowing its effects?"
His eyes narrowed at her. "You are a Potions Master, are you not? I will assume that you are competent enough to create a draught that doesn't kill the person ingesting it on site."
She laughed at that, ignoring his sarcasm. "Thank you for your trust, Severus, but I'd rather test it on myself. That way if anything goes wrong, I'm the only one who gets hurt."
He scoffed at her. "Come now, you need a guinea pig, I'm offering my services."
She regarded him for a minute. "Well, if you're that anxious to visit your past, be my guest." She sat down in a chair that she conjured up and checked her watch. "We have about 25 minutes before you can try it."
Severus conjured up a chair for himself and they waited in silence. Serina studied the other Potions master. He sat there relaxed with his legs crossed. His jet black hair and eyes were incredibly striking. His face was rather severe, but in a way that intrigued her. He really was far more handsome than he had been when she had known him as a student.
"What?" Severus demanded. He had noticed her staring.
She blushed. "Sorry, I was just thinking about you when you were a student."
"It sounds like you're the one who wants to revisit their past," he huffed.
Her blush deepened. "I was just thinking that you have aged rather nicely."
Severus' eyes showed surprise for a minute, and then a mask came over his face. "I couldn't have gotten much worse," he mumbled.
She looked at him as if he had lost his mind. "I've always thought you were quite striking," she confessed.
"You're the only one," he snapped.
She left it at that, already regretting saying so much. She was being awfully forward with him. She usually was quite shy around men she was attracted to. She suddenly realized that she was indeed attracted to Severus. She blushed yet again. Oh well, what have I got to lose? He can't be any more snarky than he is already if he doesn't want my attentions, she supposed.
Glancing at her watch she noted that the half hour had elapsed quickly. She rose and got a small vial. Scooping up some potion into it, she handed it to Severus.
Looking at him expectantly, she told him, "Bottoms up."
He looked over the purple potion and downed it in one gulp. They both waited, but nothing seemed to be happening.
"When should I notice something?" he asked her seriously.
"Are you concentrating on the memory?" she asked him.
"Of course," he replied.
She sighed. "It should be automatic after ingesting the potion." She looked incredibly disappointed. "I really thought I had worked out all of the kinks this time. Oh well, back to the drawing board."
Severus seemed disappointed also. "If you'd like, I can look over your work, maybe come up with some suggestions." He raised an eyebrow at her.
She smiled at him. "I would be honored if you did. I have been at it for so long; a new set of eyes might discover something I've been overlooking all of this time."
"Don't get too discouraged. It took Damocles Belby three years to perfect the Wolfsbane potion. Of course he could only test it once a month."
"Are you trying to make me feel better or worse?" she asked with a narrowing of her eyes.
Severus actually chuckled at that. "The former. Actually, I'm working on an improvement to Wolfsbane. Would you like to see it?"
Serina nodded enthusiastically. He motioned for her to follow him into a smaller room off of the Potions classroom. It was a small room that only held one cauldron. She wandered over to it and peered over its edge. The contents were a golden color.
"The potion is such a help to the Werewolves," she muttered. "What are you trying to improve in it?"
"I'm trying to have it keep the Werewolf from transforming at all. Even though Wolfsbane works to suppress the inner werewolf and keeps the victim's wits about him, they are basically incapacitated for the entire cycle of the full moon as they still transform into the beast. I would like this potion to keep them from transforming and let them go about normal life too."
She regarded him with admiration. "It would be wonderful if you could find a way to do that, Severus. How long have you been working on it?"
"I just started. I have been working on the idea for a while now, but just began with actual potion experiments. I should have some ready for the next full moon to try on willing subjects. It will probably take several years to perfect it, if it even works at all."
She smiled at him and wished him luck.
"Actually, this has been incredibly time consuming. I could use your help with brewing other things that I have let pile up on me, if you would be willing."
Her eyes sparkled. "I would be glad to help in any way I can."
"Why don't you come down on Wednesday evenings and we can work on catching up together."
She smiled at him. "It sounds like a date."
Severus' eyes grew wide at her statement, but she didn't notice. Trying to stifle a yawn, she continued.
"Geez, I'm exhausted. I'm going to bed. I'll see you in the morning then." With a smile at him she turned and left.
He stared after her watching her shapely form disappear into the darkness. He reflected on her potion. It was a clever idea. He was sad that it hadn't worked yet. He had concentrated very hard on his memories of her at Hogwarts. He desperately wanted to remember more about her. She seemed to remember quite a bit about him, why hadn't he noticed her more? Oh yes, he was a hermit. He shook his head at the thought of his school years.
She had thought he was, how had she put it? Striking? Had he heard an undercurrent of attraction in her voice when she had said that? He was getting excited just thinking about it. She was incredibly beautiful and intelligent. He swallowed hard. He was attracted to the witch, now what was he going to do about it?
A/N: Please review and thanks for being curious enough to read!