Author: Raven Dancer
disclaimer: All characters belong to Rowling except for the Drs. Barnes. I receive no monetary compensation for these works.
Summary: George and Fred continue the search for new gags and finally realize there are limitations to experimenting without research.
note: In my corner of the universe Harry and Snape have a friendly relationship in private. I developed this friendship in my writings, The First Path In and Alternate Routes.
He always enjoyed 7th year classes. The students signed up for time slots every other month so there was always a different mix. The research was interesting and the students generally competent enough to handle the advanced work.
Of course that didn't take into account the Weasley twins.
Oh, they had interesting projects; always developing new gags for their future venture: a joke shop in Diagon Alley. And they were competent. It was just they were experimenting, sometimes blindly, without checking out possible volatile mixes.
Severus Snape glanced up at the reminder of the last little gag. An expanding solution. Add it to mom's cooking pot and WHAM! Whatever was in the pot doubled and doubled and doubled until it overflowed. It might have worked if they'd shown him the full list of ingredients. The addition of some ground haberneros stems to heat it up' did just that. The lid blew off and knocked a chunk off the dungeon ceiling.
That resulted in detention and yet another lecture why they had to confide in him what they planned to brew. It was why he was there, in the role of Potions Master. They should take advantage of the free advice! He was even willing to make promises not to reveal their secrets' they brewed here. gods knows he was going to charge them when they came back after graduation. (They'd be back, Dumbledore assured him).
So today's little experiment was on the flame. They'd given him a list, swore up hill and down it was a complete list. Just seeing if they could produce something that would create extra gas to slip into a soda. The person would produce bigger and better belches. Snape shuddered.
He wandered down the aisle yet again, sharp eyes out for any stray ingredients that didn't make the list. The twins sometimes forgot' to write everything down. Once more he reminded himself to send an owl to there parents by the end of term giving them a bit of a warning.
As he looked he noted the potion in question was bubbling a little too vigorously and that the twins were conferencing in whispers.
he asked shortly.
Uh, just discussing ways to slow the brewing process, said George quickly.
Yeah, it seems to be generating some heat, added Fred.
You've turned off the flame? Snape glanced at the blue fire as it was quickly snuffed out. Still boiling hard.
Apply a cooling charm? the Professor further suggested.
A hissing as cool wrapped around the cauldron. No change. Snape glanced over at the table.
What is that? Russian Comfrey? he reached over to sniff the gray green leaves, trying to identify it. The cauldron suddenly went silent. He looked at the surface as a large shimmering bubble appeared struggling to burst.
he managed to yell, shoving George into Fred and stepping in front of them. The cauldron heaved up its contents and thoroughly soaked Snape.
Don't get it on you, he sputtered, spitting out what he could and moving back into the aisle to keep the potion off the students. He hurried to the corner and pulled the cord, standing under the safety shower that had become a necessity this year. Between Longbottom and the Twins he seemed to spend a lot of time soaking wet and dripping.
The headache started first. Fortunately the cooling charm had worked well so he wasn't burned. But he was dizzy. Not a good sign. None of the ingredients on the list should cause either reaction.
Did you forget to mention any additional ingredients? he asked as he blotted his face and began to squeeze out his hair. The rest of the class was cleaning up. It was the last class for the week and dinner was an hour off. Anyway, they'd seen Snape drenched a lot this year.
Uh, no Professor, they said in unison.
I hasten to remind you that combining ingredients improperly
is very dangerous, he stared at them, black eyes piercing through them.
We know, Professor, they said, again in unison.
I will repeat it only once more, were there any other
things you placed in the potion? I have a headache that
just started and I'm beginning to feel dizzy. I'd really
like to know if I'm going to need to call Dr. Barnes.
But the twins just shook their heads and began to clean up. Snape turned and headed back to his office.
He sat down slowly at his desk. His head was really pounding. Maybe he needed to lie down a moment.
Fred and George ran up to their rooms.
What do you think? Fred began, knowing George would fill it in.
We'll see him at dinner, don't worry, said the assured brother.
If not, we tell Dumbledore. Before we eat. He didn't
look that good, Fred went on.
You're right. Before we eat.
They got to dinner a few minutes early and sat down, quickly scanning for Snape. Not there. Dumbledore was, looking around the hall at the students sorting themselves out. Getting nervous they fidgeted, moving silverware around.
When the first plates began to fill Fred looked hopefully at the staff table. The chair next to Dumbledore was still empty. Snape was not to be seen. Sighing, he tapped George on the shoulder. Nodding, they both stood and walked up to speak with the Headmaster.
Dumbledore looked about for the Potions Master. He expected him at the table; he'd promised he'd eat with him tonight. The way he'd been skipping meals of late it was the only way to get him to eat was through promises. Snape never broke a promise to him.
He barely noticed the Weasley twins at first. Then several thoughts raced through his mind. Friday. 7th year classes for Snape. What had he said? That he was having to watch these two very carefully. There was detention, nothing new for the twins or Snape. Why then, did he have this bad feeling?
Headmaster? May we have a word before dinner?
Nodding, Dumbledore stood up and walked over to the doorway with the twins.
he looked carefully over his glasses at them. Fred nudged George.
We wondered where Professor Snape was? he asked quickly, too quickly.
I'm not sure. He promised to eat with us tonight. Is
something wrong? Dumbledore's eyes met theirs. Fred swallowed.
We were brewing a potion in class, and it kind of got
all over the professor....
George picked up the story,
We forgot to mention a couple additional ingredients we
He had a headache when we left and we wondered if
anything might have happened...
Dumbledore nearly panicked. He took a deep breath to settle himself.
Best go see to the Professor. Gentlemen, please come
With speed they moved down the halls then down the stairs to the dungeons. No one was left, it was very quiet. Walking to the office door they found it locked.
Step aside, the Headmaster's hand waved over the handle whispering a few words. The door sprung open.
First, it was the smell. Someone had been sick George thought sourly. Then he saw the Professor lying on the couch.
He did not look well at all.
Dumbledore was across the room gathering the man up without thought. Fred and George could think only of the disgusting mess created by the ill man. But the Headmaster had him on his lap and had a hand in his robe on his chest reading his body. He wasn't a healer, but he knew how to check on magic-induced illnesses. He didn't look happy.
You two must go get Pomfrey and Dr. Barnes. Get a broom
to fly to Hogsmeade. Tell them what you've mixed.
They stared a moment as Snape began to dry heave weakly.
Dumbledore shouted. The twins bolted.
Fred got to Pomfrey quickly, dragging her down to the dungeons immediately. George was out the door on a broom and at the clinic by the time Pomfrey began to check Snape. She kept looking at Fred, asking him over and over what had been in the potion. He told her all the ingredients he'd added but cautioned George had also been working with him.
We'll have to treat the symptoms to start, the nurse said. She went to Snape's stockroom and pulled several things down, putting it in a mortar. Using a clean pestle, she blended the ingredients into a fine powder. Next a goblet was filled partially with water and the powder added. After stirring completely she brought it to the Headmaster. She offered a spoon to him and he began to ladle the potion into the unconscious man's mouth.
He's much too hot, Albus, she said, I need to cool him.
Nodding he leaned back a bit as the nurse ran her wand over the slack body. Fred just stared. He'd never seen anyone so sick. Worse, he'd never caused anyone to be so sick. There was motion as the Snape jerked.
a thin, pain-filled voice tore at them. Fred watched the Headmaster pull him close and whisper soothingly.
I didn't watch them, Albus, it's my fault, the voice managed to get out. His fault? They were the ones who snuck the extra stuff in and hid it from him.
Let's get you up to my rooms, Severus. You'll rest
better there, Dumbledore nodded at the nurse who magicked a stretcher. After Snape was gently laid down the Headmaster turned his considerable attention to Fred.
You, Mr. Weasley, will wait at the door for your brother
and the doctor. You will both escort the doctor to my
rooms and you will see me then, he turned and followed the nurse and the stretcher out of the dungeons. Fred stood still as an animal caught in headlights. The only difference was he was still standing after the vehicle ran him over.
How could they have done this? Snape could very well die all because they wanted to experiment like real' wizards. He realized that they were wrong. Totally wrong. They were being treated like adults and they continued to act completely irresponsible. Shaking himself, he bolted out the door and up the stairs to wait.
By the time they'd gotten up to the Headmaster's rooms Snape had been cleaned and stripped, covered in warm blankets on the Headmaster's own bed. Dr. Barnes had pushed in without so much as a knock and picked up the limp man.
Did he regain consciousness? he asked quietly.
For a few moments, after Poppy lowered the fever, Dumbledore said.
He seemed to know he'd been poisoned, knew where he
was, added Pomfrey.
That's good, said the healer as he began to scan his patient.
Fred and George had never seen a healer at work. They'd never been in the Headmaster's bedroom. They'd never seen Snape, uh, naked. But for all the firsts' that night the only thing they remembered for years was the look of total loss on the Headmaster's face. He looked old and frail as he sat on the edge of the chair watching and waiting.
it was a tiny, frightened voice, lost in pain and the man called had to force himself not to reach out.
It hurts so much, Albus.
Fred and George looked at each other. They'd never imagined their little gags could do this. The healer suddenly sat up, handing Snape over to Dumbledore.
I'm not 100% positive what the mix was, Headmaster, and he gave a long look at the two young men.
I'll give him something for the worst of it, but then I'm
going to have to reconstruct the original potion, and he levelly stared at the twins.
We'll just go get our things, then, Fred offered.
Bring it straight back here, no emotion in that voice, tight and dry, as the doctor opened his bag and shifted through checking vials.
Yes, doctor, they answered in unison.
When they returned the cauldron was set up in the bedroom. Snape was back in bed looking better at the very least.
I've managed to reduce the pain for awhile, the doctor said as he watched the twins lay out the ingredients.
And we've got a cooling charm working on the fever. He had them identify each ingredient, writing it down while Dumbledore reviewed the list they'd provided Snape.
So these four things weren't on the list you gave
to the professor? he asked tonelessly.
No sir, we took the creeping ficus roots from the
hot house during herbology and the hart's horn came
from the edge of the forest, Fred explained carefully. Barnes picked up the hart's horn and crumbled a bit, tasting it.
Fox glove, he said. It's used to regulate the heart.
Turning red they quickly produced the packaging for the remaining ingredients. Barnes carefully checked the potency and age of the herbs.
Exactly what were you trying to brew, gentlemen? he asked crisply. The brothers looked at one another and shrugged.
Snape began to move agitatedly in the bed, making small whimpering sounds. Dumbledore moved over to him so Barnes and Pomfrey could watch the brewing process. He stroked his hair gently and called to him.
Like a man surfacing for air after nearly drowning Snape clawed to waking.
NO! DON'T! NO! ALBUSSS! Dumbledore had the struggling man upright and back on his lap rocking and soothing. Great quantities of air were sucked in and blown out in blind panic until finally Snape woke enough to see where he was. He in turn clung to the Headmaster, tears streaming down his face as he gained his breath.
Bad dream? Dumbledore asked. Snape just nodded and pressed closer listening to the soft beating of the older man's heart.
Flustered, the twins turned back to their workings, explaining as clearly as possible what they had down. Barnes nodded as he watched the cauldron brew.
The fox glove and the caffeine mixed can cause the
unrestful sleep. If you have bad memories they can be
the basis for really ugly nightmares, he glanced at Snape who was finally calming down although tears were still falling slowly.
And the fox glove combining with a few other things on
this list can cause considerable pain, gentlemen, Pomfrey interjected.
What you have here is not a burping solution, it's
a liquid crucio curse. They could not miss the disgust in her voice.
If it didn't kill the person first, with the accelerated
heart and fever, said Barnes.
I ask you again, just what do you think you were trying
It was a critical question, even Dumbledore was watching them as he rocked the Potions Master. Neither twin spoke.
You were experimenting again, weren't you? Snape's ragged voice cut through them.
You wanted to see what would happen if you threw
a bunch of things together in a pot and stirred, pain was back in that tired voice and his body arched against the internal burning.
Three sets of adult eyes on them, both boys wished they could simply disappear into a convenient black hole.
Yes, Professor Snape, George finally got out.
We didn't think it would be dangerous, Professor, added Fred.
Snape didn't answer, he was biting through his lip trying not to scream as another jab of pain rocked him. Barnes quickly picked up a vial and pulled out a syringe, injecting the tortured man.
Breath, Severus, pant. Short breaths, and he held the Potions Master's face to help him concentrate. The pain receded enough for him to cope.
H-hurts, Albus, he was whimpering again, not concerned with anyone else but himself and the Headmaster. All Dumbledore could do was hold him, rock him, and sing softly old childhood songs.
Barnes returned to the cauldron and watched the rest of the process. Fred remembered about the comfrey and told the two adults how Snape had taken some in his hand just before the cauldron blew. The new cauldron was beginning to simmer and both boys were very uncomfortable being near it.
Barnes wrote out a list and handed it to Fred.
Go back to the clinic; wake my dad and get these
from him. He may insist on coming back with you.
Frankly, I hope he does. Be quick! and the two boys spilled out of the room on a dead run. Barnes turned to Dumbledore.
I can get an antidote mixed up to take care of the
poison. We just have to wait until they get back.
Pomfrey and Barnes destroyed the new batch of burping' solution before it became volatile. Then Barnes climbed onto the bed and helped soothe Snape with his healing energies. He couldn't give him any more pain medicine.
The boys made record time to and from Hogsmeade. The elder doctor had apparated them as close as possible to the school and joined them. Still, over 30 minutes had passed and the patient was beyond reasoning.
Jeffrey Barnes had never been so glad to see his father. Even with all his efforts, as well as Pomfrey and Dumbledore's Snape had finally lost himself in the pain. There was a low keening in the room when the three burst in, horrible to hear. James Barnes immediately handed the requested medicines to his son and picked up Snape in a massive hug sending all his considerable powers into the man. The keening ceased, but the crying began again. Dumbledore rose to help.
Don't fight, Severus, just give in. It's ok, he continued to soothe, to try to keep any little part of Snape's mind off the pain and struggle.
Jeffrey Barnes quickly mixed various liquids together in a larger syringe. Setting this down he pulled out an iv bag and added other medicines to it.
I'll inject this first, he told his father, and then we'll
need to get a line in him.
Fred and George seemed to be forgotten, sharing an empty chair as they watched the two doctors fight for Snape's life. Suddenly nothing else mattered in their world except saving the Potions Master. As the large needle slipped into a bare thigh George flinched. He hated shots! Halfway through it was pulled out and then injected into the other thigh.
I hate to do that, Jeffrey commented, but I want to be
Pomfrey brought the iv kit over and everyone watched as the young doctor searched for a useable vein.
he said, as he poked into the fore arm.
Let me, said the older doctor, transferring the patient to his son. George and Fred had a good view of Snape's eyes, full of pain and fear as they worked to save him. James looked thoughtfully at the arm before slapping the back of Snape's hand.
Got one, he said, pushing the needle in first followed by the hep lock.
and Pomfrey hung the medicine on the rack, dropping the tubing down. It was quickly attached and the drip started.
Then it became silent as everyone watched the panting, sweating body for reactions.
Dumbledore began to sing quietly again, some nonsense about a day golden and new. They watched as Snape struggled. Then slowly the trembling diminished and the body began to relax. Barnes watched the fear and pain drain from Snape's eyes and he began to blink sleepily. Now tears ran down Barnes' face.
There you are, Severus. Feeling better? Snape tried to nod, his eyelids growing heavier.
Lets' get you comfortable, he began to move the Potions Master to the bed.
the whispery voice cut through them just as badly as the pain filled one. The boys shifted uncomfortably.
Dumbledore kicked off shoes and threw off his robes, stripping down to leggings and a T-shirt. He quickly climbed into the bed and let the doctors situate the Potions Master so he was pillowed on his chest. Fingers started to rub the cloth of the t-shirt so the older doctor carefully taped the iv'd hand over a small form to hold it still. He sent a little more soothing energy through his patient to make up for the frustration.
Thank you, Snape managed before his eyes closed holding onto the Headmaster like a life preserver. The doctors and nurse continued to monitor the sleeping man for several minutes.
Thanks, Dad. I nearly lost him, said Jeffrey, letting his father pull him into a hug.
Nearly lost him? Both boys were more than stunned. They'd had a suspicion it was really bad, but they never thought the doctor had nearly lost hope.
Not over yet, but he'll live. You did a great job, Jeff, his dad replied quietly.
They realized Dumbledore had begun staring at them.
George, Fred, go down to the kitchens and get something
to eat then up to bed. Come back tomorrow morning at 9:30, and then he turned his attention back to the man sleeping on his chest. Pomfrey shooed them out.