Disclaimer: Harry Potter and Company are wholly owned by J.K. Rowling et. al. I am making no profit from their work.
A\N: Trying my hand at something different (and a different ship) than the norm while I work on my other stories. Updated whenever. By the way, blame greynavarre for the plot bunny. It's her fault. Shipping is in the air, although this will be a VERY Snape-centric story told completely in his PoV.
Severus Snape felt rather nauseous from the direction the conversation was meandering down. He'd initially accepted the luncheon invitation from Narcissa out of courtesy, and a lingering spot of affection; however, her choice of topics was wearing the slender filament of tender feelings to a nub. It would appear that Narcissa, not content with the damage she'd done to the world by breeding, had fallen into that most loathsome hobby of the middle-aged housewife with an empty nest, meddling.
Internally, Snape shrugged. It wasn't as if he was discontent with his life. Far from it. He'd had a grand time showing up to accept his posthumous Order of Merlin, First Class. The looks on everybody's faces when he explained, in the same tones as he favored for his most obtuse Hufflepuff students, that he was a potions master and it was rather stupid of Voldemort to think that he wouldn't have an antidote for the venom of a snake he'd been nursing for three years. Admittedly, the shock Snape'd shown was genuine, but not from the betrayal but rather because the ex-Dark Lord was that bloody stupid. Still, it was a better fate than he'd expected. Snape fought the urge to shake his head ruefully as he tuned out Narcissa's simpering hints that he needed a 'woman's touch' in his life. He needed nothing of the sort. The last woman he loved… well, that didn't matter any more, now did it? Still, he thought with a suppressed smile, it was nice that Lily's boy actually allowed him the chance to redeem himself for how he'd treated her son.
They'd bonded, surprisingly, at a muggle bar. Snape meandered in, having discovered the joys of their Mint Juleps, and was shocked to see the Man-Who-Lived-Again busily slamming back shots of some clear liquor. Deciding that the present was as good a time as any, Snape sat down beside him and ordered his drink. He didn't bother suppressing a smirk at Potter's snort of amusement at the surprisingly dandy order Snape placed. A short exchange of insults over their respective choices in beverages later, the two felt sufficiently appeased for the real conversation to start. Snape managed to draw out the reasoning behind Harry's sudden need for inebriation, Ginny. It appeared that the pair just weren't terribly compatable after all, much to Snape's surprise. He'd thought that they'd do well together, but apparently Ginny wanted excitement and adventure and felt that Harry was the same way. Snape snorted in amusement at that revelation. Even he could have told anybody otherwise, although he'd pretended the opposite for years.
After a good half-hour of the expected bitching and whining about the opposite sex and lost love, they'd spent the rest of the night sharing fond memories of the one man that they'd both held in such high esteem. Snape reduced Harry to mirthful tears with the revelation that yes, the lemon drops were indeed dosed, but not in the way anybody expected. It seemed that the manipulative old bastard'd still held the turn-of-the-century belief in colonics, as well as suffering from the occasional bout of irregularity himself. So, he'd had his candies laced with a mild laxative, believing that it would help relieve the bile that his students accumulated from the stress of schooling. Harry managed to snort Vodka at the revelation that the former Headmaster'd often swore mightily that he'd shove a good handful down both McGonagall and Granger's throats. "It would do wonders for their personalities, Severus," Snape droned on in a passing imitation of his departed friend and mentor, "for those two to take a healthy shite like the rest of us!"
Snape's recollections were interrupted by his subconscious informing him that he'd best start paying attention to the conversation right bloody now. He replayed the last line of conversation in his head.
"So, Severus, since you seem so determined to stay in your musty dungeon and never see the light of day, I've taken it upon myself to arrange a social encounter for you. After all, you aren't getting any younger, and I think a courtship would do wonders for your complexion." The alarm claxions were blaring in his head. He raised an eyebrow at Narcissa's comments.
"And what, pray tell, have you decided to foist upon me now? Wasn't one untenable oath given to an irrational creature bent on death and destruction enough?" Snape asked flatly.
Narcissa ignored his sarcasm. "Oh don't be like that Severus. Lucius and I both feel that it's simply a matter of never having met a woman who fulfills your intellectual requirements."
He felt a sudden chill creep down his spine. "Really," he droned, his voice laced with venom, "I don't suppose that you've 'found' somebody who fits that description?"
Narcissa smiled happily, her face reminding Snape of the look Bellatrix had while torturing some hapless innocent. 'Must run in the family,' Snape mused internally. "Of course! Now, she may be a little young, but…"
Snape cut her off mid-sentence. "Young? Don't tell me that you've not only taken it upon yourself to set up a ridiculous farce of a date, but with a former student of mine?" He asked pointedly.
She blithely waved off Snape's comments. "Now, now, Severus, what's a few decades to a wizard and witch who will most likely live into their hundreds, if not longer."
Severus swallowed back the rapidly growing lump of bile forming in his gut. "Narcissa…" he trailed of warningly.
"Don't be so pessimistic," she said, lightly laughing off his unstated objection. "I think you'll find her to be in every way your intellectual equal, and as fascinated with potions as you are! As for her age, isn't it every man's fantasy to date a younger woman?"
"Not every man's, no." Snape replied flatly. "Who is it?" He demanded.
"Now Severus, it's not called a blind date for nothing… you'll ruin the surprise!"
"I had enough surprises to last a lifetime. Who is it?" Snape pressed.
Narcissa pouted. "Severus," she said, leaning forward and gently touching his hand, "don't be that way. You trust me, don't you?"
Severus sneered lightly at Narcissa's act. "Cissy, the last time you used that on me I wound up in an Unforgivable Oath to kill the one man who treated me with any respect. For the last time: Who. Is. It?"
Narcissa sighed, dropping her lightly flirtatious attitude. "Well, if you are so certain to be a spoil-sport…" She trailed off.
"I am. In fact, I can assure you that if the woman you are setting me up with…" he trailed off mid-sentence, a dreadful notion popping into his mind. "It is a woman, right?" He asked. Narcissa's scandalized look and hasty assurance that his 'date' was indeed female did little to settle Snape's nerves. "At least there's that. As I was saying, if this woman is as acute as you claim, she'd no more agree to an anonymous partner as I would."
Narcissa sighed, affecting grave disappointment. "Oh fine, if you are going to be that way…" Snaped nodded impatiently. "Oh very well. It would appear that one of Hogwart's top students taken entirely too long to get over a nasty little break-up, so the girls over at the Ministry all got together and talked with a few of the members of my bridge club, and we decided that something most certainly must be done about this situation. I mean, a woman in the prime of her life, pining away for such a useless example of wizard-kind."
"Enough!" Snape interrupted, fighting back the urge to either apperrate to some uncharted island or merely Avada Kedavra this trainwreck to a screeching halt. "Stop beating around the bush and tell me who it is."
Narcissa pouted. "You seem to have lost some of your decorum over the years, Severus," she chided. Severus merely narrowed his eyes and waved her on. With a sigh, she surrendered, "Hermione Granger."
"No." Snape replied.
"But Severus," Narcissa pleaded winningly.
"Absolutely not. I will not waste one more moment of my life with this farce of a conversation, and I certainly will not waste a night listening to that bushy-haired beaver natter on incessantly about matters she has no more true understanding of than any other hyper-intellectual activist without a grain of reality interjected."
She laughed off his objections. "Now Severus, what's the worst that could possibly happen?"
"You need to ask?" He retorted venomously.
Narcissa shook her head. "Don't be that way. What else were you planning on doing on a Friday night? Tending a few boiling cauldrons before curling up with some dry manuscript alone in your dungeon?" Snape blinked, smiling a bit at the thought of such a pleasant and fulfilling evening. Narcissa let out an exasperated sigh. "Severus, you truly need to get out more, meet people, perhaps find love. Why, you never know, she might find you attractive enough for a more serious courtship?"
Snape blanched at the thought. "That, Cissy, is the worst possible outcome. Look at the illustrious list of gentlemen that our esteemed Ms. Granger has dated over the last few years. Quite frankly, the idea of being counted amongst their uniformly imbecilic and neanderthalic lot makes me want to purge myself for the sake of humanity."
Narcissa had the gall to giggle at Snape's analysis. "Oh Severus, don't ever change." He glared at her, silently assuring her that changing was the last item on his to-do list in life. "So you'll go, right?" She asked. "If only as a favor for me?"
Snape shook his head. "Absolutely not. You used up every possible favor I could ever owe you, in this life and five others ahead of it, when you named me Draco's godfather. No. I will not participate in this farce, and I would rather appreciate you meddling around in other people's affairs. Don't you have other, more closely related, lives to ruin? You son's, perhaps?"
Narcissa pouted, then shrugged and dejectedly muttered, "well, I suppose I shall have to call up Cadrigan's and cancel the reservation."
Snape froze. She hadn't. Cadrigan's was one of, if not the, most exclusive Wizarding restaurants in all of London, and he'd been trying to get onto the reservation list for over two decades. He'd risk the return of the Dark Lord himself for a chance to eat there. His shoulders slumped in defeat.
"When should I pick her up," he said dejectedly, "or are we meeting there?"
Narcissa smiled in triumph. "Oh, don't worry about the details," she cooed, "I'll take care of all that." She clasped her hands together in joy. "Isn't this wonderful? I'm certain the two of you will have a lovely time!"
"That's about as likely as the possibility of your son swearing off magic to live in a Muggle Nunnery," Severus mumbled under his breath, dreading the upcoming weekend more by the second.