"The Lady and the Snape"
STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm so sick of these *&*^ disclaimers, in which I have to repeat over and over again the facts that JKR owns the HP characters and I'm not making any money from this.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: What the heck is Remus talking about
in the Potions classroom? Five points to your house if you catch the reference!
And So It Goes
The Gryffindor common room buzzed
with activity as students returning from the winter break greeted each
other and caught up on where they'd gone, who they'd seen, and what gifts
they'd gotten while away. Amidst all of the activity, Neville pulled Harry
"Did you get it?" he asked eagerly.
"Yeah, I got it," Harry told him, pulling something flat and square out of his pocket and handing it to Neville. "But I can't believe that Snape would really want this."
"Amanda said he'd like it," Neville said, shrugging. He pulled a few coins out of his pocket. "Now, how much do I owe you?"
From his desk in his office, Snape
heard voices in the Potions classroom and went to investigate.
"Ooo, it's so dark and creepy down here!" Amanda exclaimed. "And cold!"
"Hello, Clarice," Remus said in a low, seductive voice.
"Remus, stop it!" Amanda said, giggling. Neither of them saw Snape standing in the doorway.
"A census taker once tried to test me," Remus continued in the same tone. "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti!" Snape watched as Remus grabbed Amanda from behind, burying his face in the side of her neck and growling.
"Stop!" she shrieked, laughing. Snape cleared his throat. Remus let go of Amanda and they moved apart, still smiling.
"I see you got my note, Lupin." Snape said quietly. "So good of you to come."
"What can I do for you, Severus?" Remus asked. Snape held up a beaker full of murky blue liquid.
"I'm doing an experiment and I need some werewolf blood," he explained.
"One day I'm going to tire of being Severus Snape's personal supply house," Remus said amiably. "And then you'll have to pay an arm and a leg to some supply company for werewolf blood or hair just like every other Potions Master!" Amanda blinked.
"Don't let him treat you like that, Remus!" she said, suddenly angry as the full implication of this little exchange hit her. "You're not a lab rat!" Snape's glittering black eyes briefly flicked in her direction, but he did not reply.
"It's all right, Amanda," Remus was saying. "I don't mind. There are certain potions that require werewolf blood. The students have to learn somehow, you know."
"Don't bother rolling up your sleeve, Lupin," Snape said. "I only need a few drops." He set the beaker on the desk, then went to one of the candles illuminating the Potions classroom and held a needle in its flame. When the tip turned black, he pulled it out, looking satisfied. Remus held out his hand, wincing as Snape jabbed his index finger.
"Just squeeze the blood in there, would you Lupin?" Snape asked, indicating the beaker.
"Say when," Remus said, holding his finger over the beaker. He gave it a squeeze with his other hand. Snape watched the blood drip down, each drop producing a sizzling hiss as it hit the surface of the murky blue liquid. Presently, the concoction began to smoke.
"Damn," Snape said softly, shaking his head. "All right, Lupin. That's enough." Remus coughed as the acrid smoke continued to pour out of the beaker.
"God but that's awful, Severus!" he said, putting his bleeding finger in his mouth. "What's it supposed to do, anyway?"
"It doesn't matter," Snape said, sighing. "It doesn't work." He glanced at Amanda and smiled ruefully. "As you Muggles say, back to the drawing board."
The dismissal bell rang, and the
students began gathering their books. Snape held up a hand, stopping them.
"I hope you've all learned an important lesson from Potter's mistake," the Potions Master said, his voice dripping with displeasure. "Always double check the labels before adding ingredients!" All eyes went to Harry, who half-shrugged and gave them a rueful smile. His robes were covered with black soot, there were ashes on his face, his hair was in more disarray than usual, and his glasses hung crookedly off his face, the one remaining temple jutting out at an odd angle from behind his ear. Snape continued in a quiet, almost pleasant tone that was somehow far worse than the angry dressing-down that most teachers would have given. "I had once thought that even the most dimwitted Muggle would have better sense than to combine glycerol with nitric and sulphuric acids." His glittering black eyes fixed on Harry. "Evidently I was wrong. Fifty points from Gryffindor, and Potter can count himself lucky that his carelessness didn't cost him - or anyone else - an eye." Harry looked abashed. He realized that this time, he was not merely the victim of Snape's personal vendetta against his father. What he had done had been every bit as dangerous and foolish as Snape had implied. The professor was right; even Muggles knew that nitroglycerin was nothing to play around with. "Class dismissed," Snape said quietly. Subdued, the class began filing out of the Potions classroom. Only Neville hung back from the rest.
"Professor Snape?" he asked uncertainly.
"What is it, Longbottom?" Snape asked, still irritated by Harry's careless mistake. Neville held out a small package wrapped in green foil paper.
"Merry Christmas. I know it's late, but…" Neville's voice trailed off as he realized that Snape was staring at him in disbelief.
"This isn't necessary, Longbottom," Snape said softly.
"I know, sir. But you've spent so much time tutoring me this year…" Neville shrugged, suddenly feeling foolish. "I just wanted to get you something."
"All right, Longbottom," Snape said, taking the gift. His nimble fingers quickly had it unwrapped. For a moment, he simply stared at it, very surprised. It was a CD that - unless he was very wrong - he could play on the Muggle stereo Amanda had given him.
"Amanda Lupin said you'd like it," Neville said. Snape nodded wordlessly, still staring at his gift: Storm Front by Billy Joel.
"Thank you, Longbottom," he finally said. "That was very kind of you."
"You're welcome sir."
Snape stood over his cauldron,
carefully adding the last ingredients. He murmured a spell that would bank
the flames underneath a bit, reducing the boiling to a slow simmer. Satisfied,
he turned his attention to the Muggle stereo sitting on his desk. In the
four months since Christmas, he'd grown quite proficient at operating it.
He popped the CD player open and inserted his Billy Joel CD. Next, he tapped
the stereo with his wand. It immediately blared into life. Snape frowned,
pushing a button to bypass the first two songs, neither of which he liked.
By far, the worst was the second one. It seemed to be an incoherent rant
about various Muggle people and events interspersed with a chorus imploring
the listener to believe that some unknown group hadn't started a fire.
As far as Snape could tell, it was a tribute to arsonists. The CD player's
beam found the third track, and the music began. Snape rather liked this
song, which had the rolling lilt of a sea shanty. He unconsciously sang
along under his breath as he rechecked the potion bubbling away over the
fire. "Well, I'm on the downeaster Alexa, and I'm cruising through
Block Island Sound. I have chartered a course to the Vineyard, but tonight
I am Nantucket bound." He stirred the potion, frowning a bit at the vigor
of its bubbles. Again, he lowered the fire beneath. "We took on diesel
back in Montauk yesterday, left this morning from the bell in Gardner's
Bay." He had no idea what the words meant, and he didn't really care. They
were fun to sing. "Like all the locals here, I've had to sell my home.
Too proud to leave, I worked my fingers to the bone - "
"Professor Snape?" a voice asked from the Potions classroom doorway. Snape turned to see Neville standing there. He was holding his cauldron, which was packed with books. Snape hit a button on the stereo, silencing the CD. Cynthia appeared behind Neville in the doorway.
"I'd forgotten you were coming today," Snape said apologetically. He gestured towards his cauldron. "I've got an experimental potion brewing, but there's no reason you can't work here as well."
Snape and Cynthia spent the remainder of the morning and much of the afternoon helping Neville perfect his brewing of the Dreamless Sleep potion. Snape was secretly proud of the progress Neville had made since he'd taken an interest in the student. Cynthia had been right after all; Longbottom had only needed help and encouragement to become competent in Potions. Just as they'd finished and Neville was cleaning out his cauldron, the potion in Snape's cauldron turned a brilliant blue.
"Ah," Snape breathed. He quickly murmured a spell to extinguish the fire, then hurried over to his desk. He grabbed up a handful of Floo powder and tossed it into the fireplace. "Lupin, a word please," he said pleasantly. A moment later, Remus appeared from the fireplace, clutching Amanda's hand and brushing soot off them both.
"You called, Severus?" he asked mildly. Snape nodded and went over to his cauldron. He ladled a measure of the bright blue liquid into a beaker and put it on his desk. Remus groaned.
"Not again!" he exclaimed. "You've taken enough blood from me over the past few months to restock a blood bank! No wonder there's a rumor going around that you're secretly a vampire!" He held up his hand. "Look at my fingers!" Snape was paying no attention to Remus's protests. He was too busy blackening the tip of a needle in a candle flame.
"What's this?" Amanda asked suddenly, picking something up off of Snape's desk. She laughed, holding the glittering gold object over Remus's head. "Come on!" she urged. Remus looked up at it and laughed too.
"Aren't you a bit late?" he asked mildly. "Christmas was months ago!" She shrugged. Snape watched as Remus took Amanda in his arms and kissed her.
"What are you doing?" he asked uncertainly.
"Kissing under the mistletoe," Amanda said.
"Why would you do that?" Neville asked curiously.
"It's a Muggle Christmas tradition," she explained, laughing.
"Is it?" Snape asked softly. He glanced at Cynthia. She was looking at the floor and biting her lip. Her face was very red.
"Can we get on with this, Severus?" Remus asked suddenly, holding out his hand. Snape had gone very still, lost in thought.
"Oh… of course, Lupin," he said finally, sparing one last glance at Cynthia, who would not meet his eye. He poked Remus's finger with the sterilized needle and motioned towards the beaker. "I think you know what to do by now." Cynthia and Neville watched as Remus squeezed a few drops of blood into the azure liquid. Drip, drip, drip… Snape caught his breath as the potion in the beaker gradually changed from blue to crystal clear. "So," he said softly. He went to his cauldron and ladled out another measure of the blue potion, this time filling a crystal goblet. "Here, Lupin. See how this tastes," he said, handing the goblet to Remus, who sniffed it and made a face.
"What is it?" he asked suspiciously. Snape shrugged offhandedly.
"Just an experiment. I've been trying to improve on the Wolfsbane Potion." Amanda looked shocked.
"He's not your guinea pig!" she flared at Snape, her surprise quickly giving way to anger. She turned to Remus. "Don't drink it, RJ. Let him find another lab rat." Remus stared at her steadily.
"Severus wouldn't harm me, Amanda." he assured her. He gave Snape a wry smile. "He'd never chance losing his experimental werewolf." Snape's eyebrows went up.
"Think what you will, Lupin," he said quietly. He gestured impatiently. "I believe the expression is bottoms up." Remus held the goblet up to Snape in an ironic toast, then drained it in one gulp.
"Disgusting," he said cheerfully, handing the empty goblet to Snape. "So when should I come back for another dose?"
"Why don't you sit down, Lupin?" Snape invited solicitously. Remus gave him a surprised look.
"Wait a minute… what exactly did you give him?" Amanda asked suspiciously.
"Professor Lupin!" Cynthia suddenly exclaimed, hurrying to his side. Remus had gone alarmingly pale, even for him. Cynthia grabbed his arm, holding him up as Amanda got him a chair. He didn't as much sit as fall into it, his head lolling back bonelessly.
"Oh my God!" Amanda exclaimed. "Go get Madame Pomfrey!" she yelled at Neville, who had gone nearly as pale as Remus. Neville charged out of the classroom. Snape bent to feel Remus's pulse. "You get away from him!" Amanda yelled, enraged.
"Amanda, I - " he began. She didn't want to hear it.
"You bastard, I said GET AWAY!" She grabbed Snape's shoulder and gave him an enormous shove, sending him crashing into the opposite wall. Jars filled with preservative liquid and nasty pickled things came crashing down from shelves, filling the Potions classroom with the sharp smell of formaldehyde undercut with the sickening odor of rotting flesh. Cynthia bent over Remus, taking his pulse and muttering to herself as Amanda took him in her arms, holding his unresisting body against her. Tears ran down her cheeks as she murmured quietly to him. Meanwhile, Snape had extricated himself from the mess of broken glass and dead things. He stood a safe distance away, watching Remus carefully. Neville came tearing into the Potions classroom, followed by Madame Pomfrey. She took in the dripping, malodorous Snape, the unconscious Remus, and the nearly hysterical Amanda.
"What's all this?" she finally asked, hurrying over to Remus. She took his pulse, pried one of his eyes open briefly, and listened to his breathing. Finally, she glanced up at Snape. "What did you give him?" she demanded.
"Wolfsbane Potion, modified with…"
"With what?" Madame Pomfrey prompted, sounding angry. Sighing, Snape launched into a recitation of the ingredients. Cynthia recognized many of them from the Polyjuice Potion and a few other transformational and transfiguration potions. Madame Pomfrey looked astounded. "What were you thinking, Severus?" she demanded, shaking her head. She turned her attention to Amanda, who was clinging to Remus and openly sobbing. "There, there, child," she murmured. "He's going to be fine." As if on cue, Remus moaned and shook his head. After a moment, he sat up and pressed a hand against his eyes as though the light hurt them.
"That's one hell of a Hangover Potion you've created, Severus," he moaned. "But I think the point is to CURE hangovers, not create them."
"You know, you're absolutely right, Lupin!" Snape said in mock dismay. "I don't know how I could have made such a foolish mistake. Some Potions Master I am, hmmm?" Cynthia gave him an odd look, but remained silent. Snape watched as Amanda struggled to collect herself. "I think you'd better take him back to your quarters, Amanda," he advised gently. Glaring murderously at Snape, Amanda helped Remus stand and led him away, followed by Madame Pomfrey. Everyone was silent for a moment.
"What was that potion supposed to do, Professor Snape?" Neville finally asked.
"Give him a hangover, of course," Snape said, smiling enigmatically.
"Why don't I believe that?" Cynthia asked rhetorically. Snape raised his eyebrows at her, but remained silent. She sighed. "I suppose we'd better do something about this mess," she said, indicating the broken glass and the other, more unpleasant relics from Snape's encounter with the shelf. "Even with magic, it's going to take a lot of work to remove this stink!"
Amanda was so caught up in preparations
for the dance for the upperclassmen that was to follow the Leaving Feast
that she completely failed to notice what had happened. It was only in
hindsight that she understood.
Right before Snape had used Remus as a test subject for one of his horrid concoctions, the students had been asked to vote on the entertainment for the final dance of the year. Asked to choose between The Weird Sisters and a DJ playing Muggle music, they had surprisingly (and nearly unanimously) chosen the DJ. When the headmaster read the decision, he had gotten caught up in the spirit of the moment and suggested that everyone adopt Muggle dress for the occasion as well, making it a bit of a theme party. And so, professors and students alike had scrambled to find appropriate clothing for the occasion, some even travelling into neighboring Muggle villages instead of Hogsmeade during their weekend breaks.
At last, final exams were completed and final grades calculated and posted. The Leaving Feast that year was like no other, dressed as everyone was in Muggle finery; Dumbledore looked quite striking in his powder blue tuxedo as he handed out awards to the most outstanding students. The House Cup that year went to Ravenclaw. "There's always NEXT year," Ron Weasley was heard to grumble.
Finally, the feast came to an end, and Dumbledore waved his wand, zooming the tables back against the walls to clear a space for the dance floor.
"Good evening, everybody," the DJ said, speaking into a microphone that, like the rest of his equipment, had been enchanted for the occasion. "I'd like to start the night off with something nice and slow. This is called I Hope You Dance, and it's by an American lady named LeAnn Womack." The music began, and couples drifted out onto the dance floor.
"Come on, Hermione," Ron urged. "This time I'm asking you before it's too late!" Laughing, she put her hand in his and allowed herself to be led out onto the dance floor. Ginny Weasley approached Harry, looking up at him shyly.
"Would you… um…" She looked at the ground and blushed. Harry smiled.
"Want to dance, Ginny?" he asked, offering her his arm. They reached the dance floor, and Ginny shyly put her arms around him. Next to them, Remus and Amanda danced very close, her head resting against his shoulder.
"After the dance, let's go for a walk by the lake," Remus murmured to Amanda. "It would be quite romantic, what with the full moon out and all…" Amanda's head jerked up in surprise.
"Oh my God," she exclaimed loudly, causing several other couples to glance in their direction. "I'd completely forgotten! But you're not… what…?" Remus smiled.
"I think you can thank Severus for that… if you ever decide to begin speaking to him again, that is," he said, his eyebrows going up meaningfully. Amanda gaped at him in shock, her eyes going between Remus and Snape, who stood on the sidelines talking with Professor McGonagall. Snape's hair was actually clean, and he wore expensive-looking Muggle clothes. Amanda pulled herself out of Remus's arms and charged across the dance floor.
"Excuse me," she said, interrupting Snape's conversation. He turned towards her.
"Yes?" he asked warily. Amanda shocked him and everyone else present by grabbing his cheeks, pulling his face down to hers, and kissing him soundly on the lips.
"Thanks," she said in a nonchalant tone, releasing him and walking back to rejoin her husband.
"Whoa," Harry said, his eyes wide. "What was THAT all about?" Hermione smiled.
"Did you see the lovely full moon tonight?" she asked. Harry thought for a moment, then broke into a grin.
The air of celebration was intensified as the news of Remus's cure (and its inventor) spread through the student body like wildfire. Someone spiked the punch with very strong vodka; Amanda would later swear she'd seen Dumbledore himself hovering around the refreshment table, a silver flask in his hand and a mischievous expression on his face. Everyone danced with everyone; Hagrid danced with Professor McGonagall, Malfoy danced with Cho, and Neville danced with Cynthia, who looked quite gorgeous in her long emerald green gown. Emeralds glittered at her ears and throat, and her little golden butterfly fluttered in her hair. All the while, Snape simply watched from the sidelines. Late in the evening, Dumbledore sidled up to the Potions Master, a proud smile on his face.
"Congratulations on your lycanthropy cure, Severus," the headmaster said quietly, patting Snape's shoulder. "You'll get the Order of Merlin for sure." Snape smiled slightly.
"And now it's time for the last dance of the evening," the DJ was announcing. "This is a very special request, coming as it does from one of your honored professors." A surprised murmur went through the crowd. Dumbledore turned to say something to Snape, but the Potions Master had slipped quietly away. "This is Billy Joel with And So It Goes," the DJ continued. The music began; a lone piano, playing a melancholy tune. A shocked murmur went through the crowd as Snape shyly led a blushing Cynthia to the dance floor.
In every heart there is a room,
A sanctuary safe and strong.
To heal the wounds from lovers past,
Until a new one comes along.
"I don't believe it," Professor McGonagall said quietly, moving to stand next to Dumbledore. The headmaster merely smiled, watching Snape and Cynthia dance.
I spoke to you in cautious tones,
You answered me with no pretense.
And still I feel I said too much,
My silence is my self-defense.
"It sure took him long enough,"
Ron grumbled. Hermione sighed.
"He had to wait for her to graduate, Ron," she pointed out in her patented Isn't it obvious? tone.
"I'm just glad he finally worked up the nerve," Neville said.
And every time I've held a rose,
It seems I only felt the thorns.
And so it goes, and so it goes,
And so will you soon, I suppose.
"What an incredible night," Amanda said, wiping tears off her cheeks. Remus smiled and kissed her.
But if my silence made you leave,
Then that would be my worst mistake.
So I will share this room with you,
And you can have this heart to break.
"How romantic!" Ginny exclaimed, clinging to Harry's hand. Silently, Harry agreed with her.
And this is why my eyes are closed,
It's just as well for all I've seen.
And so it goes, and so it goes,
And you're the only one who knows.
"What could she be thinking?"
One of the Ravenclaws asked another, watching with a sickened expression
as their friend danced with the greasy, ill-tempered Potions Master.
"I guess it's true what they say about love being blind," the other Ravenclaw girl replied. They watched as Draco Malfoy and his friends left the Great Hall in disgust.
So I would choose to be with you,
That's if the choice were mine to make.
But you can make decisions too,
And you can have this heart to break.
"What took you so long?" Cynthia
asked, staring up at Snape with adoring eyes.
"I didn't know there was another use for mistletoe," he replied wryly. She laughed.
And so it goes, and so it goes,
And you're the only one who knows.