It was the weekend, and restored Potions master, Severus Snape, carefully lowered the flame below the bubbling cauldron in his lab. Free of dunderheaded students and marking dismally put together essays and homework assignments, the weekends were his time to play. Only what he was doing was very serious business.
Having survived the attempt on his life by Voldemort, thanks to a bit of preparation involving a Bezoar, a timely Episkey charm and Phoenix Tears, and being vindicated by the testimony of Harry Potter and several Order members Dumbledore wisely put in the know, he had returned to his position of Potions master at Hogwarts. He switched his Defense Against the Dark Arts position with his replacement, Horace Slughorn, who was only too happy to get out of the dank, drafty dungeons.
Snape studied the acid green liquid in the cauldron carefully. He was working on adapting Shrinking Solution to act as a youthening agent for humans. Ideally, it would take years off a person's life, provided it didn't stop his breathing processes while doing so. Shrinking Solution in its usual form made things shrink in size and reversed the aging process as well.
Snape had always believed it to be an underutilized potion that could be used to far greater effect if rendered safe for human consumption with a stabilizer to make the effects permanent. It would be the equivalent of drinking from the fabled Fountain of Youth.
He'd make a fortune if he were successful and could leave Hogwarts School of Mischief and Misery as soon as possible. This was something he dearly wanted. The memories here were just too painful. He'd been through too much.
True, his memories would follow him wherever he went. He'd never be completely free of the demons that plagued him. The death of Lily Potter. The death of innocents at the revels. How he was the vehicle of Tom Riddle's rise to power by providing him with the powerful elixir that maintained him all those dark years. And the look in Dumbledore's eyes just before he killed him.
These things bled from the walls, oozed up from the stone flooring, sung in the castle's constant settlings, and crept up on him when he slept. He couldn't escape who he was or what he lived through. He couldn't stop the pain even though Voldemort was gone. Those dark thoughts were constant companions, just as his scarred body served as a reminder of past tortures every time he disrobed. But leaving Hogwarts might be the first step on a road to some fragile peace. But, he needed money to leave and start anew, and he didn't have much of that.
He watched the bubbling slow as the cauldron cooled. He had used all the proper ingredients: evenly chopped daisy roots, skinned shrivelfig, sliced caterpillar, one rat spleen and a dash of leech juice.
For a stabilizer, he experimented with a variety of herbs, extracts and other mediums before he found that using spider web made the youthening effects permanent in the lab animals he experimented with. However, after aging the creatures, he found that a second application was fatal.
The most important ingredients, the ones he believed would make the potion safe for human consumption, were a Bezoar stone, steeped in the solution and Phoenix Tears. He found that heat didn't affect the healing properties of the tears, and the Bezoar was a natural cure for most poisonings.
Still it would have to be tested, and the only one who could do it, was him. He was just waiting to add the Phoenix Tears, just before the bubbling ceased altogether.
He carefully opened the vial of tears held in his pale hand, the bubbling liquid reflected in his dark eyes, watching the surface becoming more and more sedate, the bubbling barely breaking. Yes. Now was the time.
He quickly added the tears with a flourish, stepping back as the liquid churned, turning a vivid and attractive royal blue before becoming smooth as blue glass.
"Yesssss!" he hissed. "Success!"
He quickly walked away from the cauldron to collect a wide-mouthed bottle and a ladle.
And that's probably what saved his life.
The cauldron exploded, sending shrapnel, liquid and mist through the lab, breaking bottles and utensils. Several pieces of cauldron were embedded in the wizard's back as he was blown into the shelving. Snape crumpled, unconscious.
He lay there on the floor, his robes pinned to him by pewter pieces, crimson wetness flowering around them. The air was full of fine, misty droplets of his brew and it settled over everything. The frightened nifflers in their cages chattered in fear as their fur was moistened.
On the floor, Snape breathed shallowly, inhaling the fine mist through his ample nostrils. It filled his lungs and was absorbed through his capillaries, sent to his bloodstream and circulated through every portion of his body.
One by one the pieces of iron embedded in his flesh shot away from his body and his wounds began to close and heal cleanly. Beneath his robes, his flesh gained elasticity, the angry raised welts of his scars smoothing and falling in, the stresses in his bone releasing, fissures and healed breaks sealing as if they had never been.
After an hour or so, he awakened, rising up from the floor unsteadily and looking around him, blinking. He was in Professor Slughorn's potion lab. And it was in a shambles!
"Potter," he growled. "I know he had something to do with this!"
He hastily beat a retreat from his Potions professor's laboratory. Even being in it could get him a countless amount of detentions.
He didn't know how Potter and his bloody Marauders managed to pull this off, but he'd find out . . .
and they'd pay.
A/N: Yet another story trying to wriggle its way to the surface. But, this one had help in the form of :::drumroll:: A plot bunny. That's right y'all. I used a plot bunny given me by the illustrious Kimberly G. Basically Snape is irreversibly youthened and given a clean slate. I know, I know. I'm not supposed to write to people's plot bunnies and I've turned down a good many of them. But when I read the plot bunny I wrote this little scenario down in response to her letter:
"What about James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew?" he asked Hermione, his dark eyes resting on her face.
"They're all dead," she said softly. "All of them."
Snape's lip quirked.
"Then, it's a better world already," he replied, pleased.
And that little scene just stuck in my mind and wouldn't let go. And I've never written a young Snape with a young Hermione. Think of the potential for a Weasley/Snape duel or fistfight? Plot bunnies don't usually do that for me. This one did, so I have to write the story. I mean no disrespect to those who have sent me plot bunnies before, but I just didn't feel them and I can't write what I'm not enthusiastic about. I apologize. Otherwise, thanks for reading. Might be a while before I get back to it, but at least it's out.