First Times a Charm
"Someone shoot me before I think of something else to write for Dependence… oh wait, too late."
SSOC Fan Fiction
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, I am not making any money from this.
File one - Part one
Alex Kemp was you average Slytherin - cunning beyond belief and willing to do almost anything to achieve his purposes. Like most Slytherins in the year, and those of the years above, Severus Snape pretty much hated him. It wasn't that Alex was a bad person, per se, it was more that he simply wasn't a good person. Alex didn't bully or attack innocent people, but he was happy to stand by and watch as it happened. Severus couldn't say that he didn't do exactly the same thing, but the 13 year old hated himself as well.
Alex sat in Dumbledore's office - a burly 4th year with a stone like face and a dull-grey tint to his skin. His hair was dark and short cropped and his legs seemed out of proportion to his body, making him overly tall. He wasn't completely unattractive though, because his eyes were a calm baby-blue that captivated girls as he walked passed. It was something he often used to his advantage to achieve his means. He was a beater on the Slytherin Quidditch team, and particularly ruthless.
Severus was sat next to him, and on his other side was an older man with greying hair and large round glasses that made his eyes look impossibly too large on his face. He sat tall and straight, despite being loath to be in Dumbledore's office, and not acting as headmaster. It was no doubt that Berwald Kindahl was an amazing wizard, and there was little secret that he and Dumbledore had once been in rivalry for the position of headmaster. When Dumbledore had evidently won Kindahl had resigned as a professor - unwilling to serve under the man he had lost to. Now he made his living inventing potions, and had recently taken Severus on as a young apprentice.
"I'd say you are a lucky little mite Severus." Stated Kindahl, glaring heatedly at Dumbledore. Kindahl still saw the man as a rival, despite Dumbledore being nothing but hospitable towards him. "Cases of Tractamosa are extremely rare - having one in your very school you can practise making my elixir for will be very beneficial."
Alex scuffed his foot against Dumbledore's plush carpet, while Snape tried to look anywhere but at the boy. Kindahl could be insensitive some times… a lot of the time. Snape guessed it grew from living such a sheltered life with only a 13 year old kid to talk to. Snape knew for sure that Kindahl was sometimes a little too heavy on the alcohol.
"My student is not a test-case Berwald."
Kindahl had to try very hard to stop himself from spitting at Dumbledore with his all-knowing smile and twinkle in his eyes.
"Forgive my rudeness." He ground out through clenched teeth. "I was merely stating that since the situation has already arisen it would be clever for young Severus here to get some hands-on experience… if Mr. Kemp agrees of course."
Kindahl sent a sickly smile towards the Slytherin. It was a little unfair to ask like that with Snape in the room, pure etiquette would force Alex to say yes, to hell with what he wanted. Despite that, Kindahl could be cruel - there was nothing saying that he had to help Alex, and he probably only would if it would help Snape. Alex knew that all too well. The Slytherin fourth year promptly nodded.
"That's fine, I just want someone to help."
His voice was a lot weaker then Snape remembered, and he couldn't remember Alex ever uttering such a dependent sentence. Having studied under Kindahl Snape was well-versed in the symptoms of Tractamosa (the Elixir being Kindahl's most well-received invention), and Alex was completely under the diseases 'spell' as it were. Not that Snape was partial to making 'magic jokes'.
Kindahl was already packing his bag, having administrated the first dose of the Elixir to Alex already. He nodded at his pupil.
"I believe I have taught you well enough. You will have sufficient space to make the Elixir I expect, right Dumbledore?"
The headmaster nodded.
"I know of just the place you may use Severus." He told the boy, "Thank you so much for helping out Berwald, I am glad to see that Alex will be okay with your guidance over Severus' steady hand on the potion."
Kindahl physically bristled.
"Potion! Potion? This is an extremely complicated work of art! This is my Elixir!"
"Excuse me, Berwald, I meant no disrespect." The man said so, yet his eyes were dancing in a way that suggested he meant every disrespect. Perhaps the rivalry was in fact two way?
Berwald crossed his arms.
"At any rate, young Severus will not need my guidance. I have taught him all I can. I believe they call it 'the student has surpassed the teacher'?" There was a distinct note of pride in his mentors voice that made Snape's heart warm to him for a moment. Just a moment.
Alex Kemp stood in a rush.
"I'm not gunna have some kid making a half-assed potion to save me. I want the real deal."
Kindahl was slightly more patient with Alex.
"Dear foolish little boy. Severus Snape is more versed in the art of potion making then you will ever be, and I suggest you treat him with respect, lest you find yourself in an… uncomfortable situation." Severus stared at his feet, feeling a slight heat crawl up his neck and behind his ears. Kindahl had no right to threaten Kemp on his behalf - while the gesture was sweet, in some form of demonic way - it would also likely turn most of Slytherin house against him. Kindahl had never been to Hogwarts as a student, instead taking his education at Durmstrang, which meant he had no idea of the student hierarchy that he may have effectively just ruined Snape's chance of ever being accepted in to.
Alex Kemp sat back down.
"Don't forget to settle the matter of payment Severus." advised Kindahl, patting Snape heavily on the shoulder. He gave the boy a parting smile, which, as it always is when Kindahl attempted a smile, was more of a grimace. Snape stood.
"Thank you for your guidance." He said, which was probably the first time he had ever said. He had done so because he knew it was also to be the last time. Kindahl had taught him a lot of things, including the basics of how to start making ones own potions, but the man was growing old and wished to retire. If he had been sincere in saying 'the student had surpassed the teacher', then that meant Kindahl had no more need to keep doing as he was, and the man had every right to settle down and wait.
Wait for what? Snape had no idea, but Kindahl had been talking about the time he could just 'wait' ever since Snape had first become his apprentice.
Snape watched and waited patiently and respectively as his mentor left the office, not sparing Dumbledore or Alex a glance, and only a passing wave to Snape. He waited five seconds in silence, counting slowly, while everything that had just happened sunk in to Alex Kemps mind. He hated to admit he was a little thrilled that he had this annoying Slytherin's life in his hands.
He turned, trying not to grin.
"Payment." He only needed to say one word and Alex almost physically flinched.
"What do you want?"
Alex knew Snape's Slytherin mind too well. No amount of hard cash was anywhere near as beneficial as a well-said word here or there. No amount of fancy looking expensive stuff was as beneficial as a favour or two. Snape glanced at Dumbledore, would the old man intervene? Dumbledore just stared, as if mesmerised, out of his office window.
"Lets go somewhere else."
He still didn't trust the old man, was that Kindahl rubbing off on him?
- X -
Alex followed Snape out of Dumbledore's offices, slightly annoyed that Dumbledore had made no objections to Severus wanting payments. Couldn't the annoying little greasy third year just do something out of good will for once? He almost smiled to himself. Snape was a Slytherin after all. The unlikely pair came to a stop outside the potion classroom used for OWL students.
"I want your company."
Alex rose an eyebrow. Everyone knew the kid was a loner, and therefore, probably lonely, but he hadn't expected the kid to just come right out and say it. In a way he was tempted to just give in and say how cute he was. Snape furrowed his brow, as if what he had said had not been intended in the way Alex had thought.
"That is to say, I want your whisper of a company."
Alex's other eyebrow went up.
"What do you mean kid? I don't mind hanging out with you if ya want."
Severus all but blushed.
"I am not so low as to buy friendship!" He shouted, glaring heatedly.
"But you need someone to put you on the hierarchy, and along comes some poor sucker you caught Tractamosa… how is Tractamosa caught anyway?"
Severus shrugged in a non committal way.
"It's a rare disease so not much research can really be done in to it." He ground out, as if sentences longer then five words were a little bit of a struggle for his anti-social mind to comprehend. "Some theories suggest that it through Unforgivables."
Alex leant against a wall, trying to look nonchalant about the idea of the Unforgivable Curses.
"No one's used an Unforgivable on me."
Severus sighed, not used to talking so much. He thought his throat was going dry.
"Other people think that those who were cursed were just carriers and it is then passed on to the next person who the carrier curses. Most researchers think that the Unforgivables are not relevant though, as there is no evidence to back the theory up." He paused to let Alex catch up. "Personally, and I am not alone in the theory, it seems most likely that Tractamosa is spurred on by feelings of hatred. One person's magic reacted to create a violent heat-combustion within another because of their feelings of hatred (they may not even of meant to do it), and then it causes a chain reaction. I also somewhat believe in the carrier theory as there are some heavy flaws in this theory that the carrier theory would clear up."
He stopped to draw breath; he hadn't realised talking cut off ones oxygen supply so easily and effectively. A curse of only ever speaking two words at a time. Alex slid down the wall so he was still leaning against it, but sat down. The fourth year patted the floor next to him, and after a moments deliberation, Snape sat.
"Explain that again, the bit about what you think, but this time, do it so I can understand."
Those of lesser intelligence would never cease to annoy Snape, but even so the Slytherin found himself willing to explain again. It was nice to be able to talk earnestly about his theories. Kindahl had always told him to 'let the serious thinking to the adults and just do as I say'.
"It's like, if someone who is a carrier, or has Tractamosa, like you, really hated me." Alex gave a short nod as if that was an entirely possible situation, which Snape chose to ignore. "Your magic could instinctively react to that hate and give me the disease. I could just get the disease, or I could become a carrier, which means I have the disease in my body, and could easily give it to someone else, but it won't hurt me." He stopped to clarify that Alex was still with him. "If I actually got ill then I could still pass it on to someone else, but if I was just a carrier then I could pass it on to someone else without even realising that it was me who did that."
He looked at the other Slytherin carefully. Alex nodded.
"The theory works, but if that was the case, then why aren't there more cases of Tractamosa?"
Snape shrugged. He thought he'd filled his speaking quota for the day. Or even the next week.
"Well, I think the hatred one felt would have to be really intense, which is why a lot of people think it has something to do with the Unforgivables."
Alex nodded again.
"I will hang out with you, and get you on that social hierarchy." He stated, as if he'd meant to all along and just never got around to it. "In return, make the potion for me?"
"Elixir." Snape corrected.
"Elixir." Alex smirked. "You're not half-bad kid."
Snape shuffled to his feet, closely followed by his new found 'friend'.
"Is this a deal? I want to see real progress. If you don't hold up your end I may not make the potion."
He didn't miss Alex shiver slightly.
"It's a deal."
I am editing this. It's just Alex story as the other files would give too much away should I decide to write a sequel. Merlin Forbid. XD
As always, reviews are appreciated.