The Weasley Twins Brew Again! #13

By Raven Dancer

summary: Another day, another potion, another catastrophe...

Jeffrey Barnes walked briskly through the halls of Hogwarts. He was a little later than he'd wanted to be; it was nearing three and the wind had been bitter. He'd ask Dumbledore if he could use one of the school's carriages when he returned to Hogsmeade.

The stairs shifted and he impatiently waited until they'd snapped into place before he continued. At least he was able to make the landing for the Headmaster's entrance. He recited the latest password, lemon taffy, and started up the stairway, taking two steps at a time. He made the door in record time.

Entering the office he saw that the Headmaster was at his desk deep in conversation with Officer Murphy from the ministry. Across the room on the couch was Headmistress Johnstone talking with a different security officer. The Healer simply went through to the bedroom to find his patient.

Empty. Frustrated, Barnes turned back around and went to the desk.

Excuse me, Albus? Where is Severus? the Healer asked politely, if rushed.

I thought he was in the other room, Jeffrey, Dumbledore looked about the room as if they'd somehow missed him.
Lila and I came up from lunch and met Daniel and officer
Taylor in the hall. Severus had left before us and I assumed
he'd gone in to rest.

I'll try the floo, Barnes said and went to the fireplace. He tossed in a scant amount of powder from the mantle and called for Severus Snape.

Since there was no fireplace in the tower, Snape missed the call.

Jeffrey? Did you find him? Dumbledore moved across the room.

He hasn't answered, the Healer frowned. The Headmaster tried, but still no Snape.

He didn't leave the castle, did he? Murphy asked as he too, joined the fireplace group.

No, he wouldn't. He must be in a room without a fire, Dumbledore decided. Dobby and Beryl were quickly called and dispatched to find Professor Snape. Soon the two house elfs had disturbed most of the inhabitants of the castle with no luck.

The fireplace sparked and Professor Lupin's face appeared.

Is everything all right, Headmaster? Dobby came through
my class looking for Professor Snape, Lupin asked somewhat concerned.

Severus has just wandered off is all. He's fine, I'm sure.
But if you see him let him know we're looking for him, Dumbledore explained.

In quick succession McGonagall, Flitwick and Pomfrey checked in with the Headmaster. House elves are thorough, if nothing else! Hagrid lumbered up from his hut to join the search.

There's no prints in the snow, Headmaster. Hasn't left
the castle by the main doors or by the garden path, the large man reported. Within an hour the elves reported they couldn't find Snape inside the castle. The number of staff in the Headmaster's office had increased to eight, all milling about with no clear idea how to proceed.

Dumbledore ordered the castle to be locked down. Since Snape hadn't left by any doors and he couldn't be apparated out the assembled group decided he was inside somewhere and began to organize a new search. If he were in trouble then no one could get him out.

Johnstone quietly began to write a new note to her deputy headmaster telling him she'd be delayed another day. For the most part Murphy had a few more questions and forms that needed tending. She was going to fill them out back at Roanoke. But the disappearance of Snape unsettled her. Nothing made her feel he was hurt or taken, she thought Dumbledore had over-reacted a bit with the general lock down, but something seemed to be amiss.

Something was amiss indeed. When Snape decided he'd had enough of the cold and solitude he went back to the tower door. It wouldn't open. Shivering he cast an opening spell. Which was repelled.

Bloody hell! the Potions Master cursed. He looked around the tower but there was no other exit except over the wall. He pounded on the door, called out, to no avail. As a few snowflakes drifted down he stood still a moment, then laughed. It figured that the one time he decided to hide' he'd get into trouble. He cleared the snow from the stoop and warmed the stone before sitting down leaning against the locked and enchanted door.

Another full hour passed and still no sign of the Potions Master. Staff and house elves had turned the castle upside-down looking for the wizard. The shadows lengthened and the house prefects were called into service. Ghosts were questioned as well as the pictures.

Shivering Snape cast the warming spell a third time. Without his wand it took more energy and he was tired to begin with. He idly wondered how many more times he would be able to effectively cast the spell. Hunching down he tried to make himself as small as possible to conserve heat.

By dinner the entire population of the castle was looking for the Potions Master. Messages had been dispatched to the village and several staff had made another round of the doors. Panic had not set in but it was a near thing.

Barnes was out walking hallways unable to sit in the office and wait. He wondered if Snape had simply fallen asleep. How foolish he'd feel when he found out about the uproar he was causing! Dodging a group of younger students he began climbing stairs. There was a huge painting of the castle dominating the opposite wall and he stopped a moment to look at the flags fluttering in the breeze. He wondered how often they were changed.

The Healer stopped dead in his tracks. The towers! What if Snape had gone up to the top of one of the towers? Running to the nearest doorway he looked for a fireplace and immediately started a fire with his wand. He pulled out a handful of floo powder and tossed it in.

Albus Dumbledore! he practically yelled. Very quickly he was looking through the fire at the Headmaster.

Has anyone checked the towers? Could he have gone
outside? Barnes asked quickly.

If he did could he get back in? Johnstone's voice carried through the floo connection. So did a very colorful curse from the Headmaster.

No, the shielding charm would keep him outside, Dumbledore spat out.

I'm coming up. Get the towers checked! Barnes urged and ran for the stairs.

It was a very miserable Snape the group of seventh years found on the cold stoop. The fastest were sent for the Headmaster while the others gently levitated the Potions Master inside.

thank you, Snape whispered. They wrapped their warmed cloaks around the shivering wizard.

Dr. Barnes is coming Professor Snape, Kathyrn Brown told him as Fred Weasley sat down next to him. The lanky body was comforting proof to the wizard he was no longer alone.

I'm sure he'll be; can't miss an opportunity to pester the
snarky Potions Master, Snape said as he leaned back. gods, he was tired! Maybe if he just closed his eyes a few minutes until Jeffrey got there...

He's waking, a voice said somewhere near his side. Maybe under him? It was duecedly hard to tell at the moment. But it was so nice and warm. Warmmmm.... Snape sighed and burrowed into the blankets. Some of the blankets chuckled.

Snape's mouth was dry and he had trouble getting the name out. A straw materialized against his lips. Warm sweet tea filled his mouth as he drew up the liquid and swallowed over and over. Finally he flipped the straw out and immediately snuggled back into the wondrous warmth.

the concerned voice of Dumbledore caught Snape's attention and he stilled.
the worried tone caused the Potions Master to blink his eyes slowly open.

the bemused voice of the Potions Master caused a flurry of motion somewhere beyond the Headmaster's very serious face. A full shiver caught Snape and he wriggled against it; Barnes' energy pulsed in, warm and soothing. Once more Snape tried shifting to see the Headmaster better. Hands were on him and he was moved, no longer lying snug against the Healer but now nearly sitting in his lap upright.

He's all right, another voice whispered in relief.

Best get him something warm to eat, another said.

Dobby? Please bring some soup, maybe McGonagall.

I'll send a message to your father, Jeffrey, suspiciously like Lupin. Snape sighed as he leaned against his Healer.

I've done something really stupid, haven't I? the tired wizard said sorrowfully. There was an outburst of surprise on someone's part.

You've done nothing wrong sweetpea, definitely Lila responded.
Although someone did something stupid. Snape looked up in time to see Dumbledore look positively guilty. It was disturbing; the Potions Master had to reach out and take his mentor's hand.

So, what happened this time? I remember I went up to the
astronomy tower, but... Snape trailed off as he tried to reconstruct what had happened. He was somewhat disoriented sequencing his after lunch events.

Ya couldnae get back in, Perfes'r Snape, Hagrid offered.

Someone locked the doors, Johnstone added pointedly. Snape looked away from Dumbledore and tried to see who else was in the room.

Did I miss the note on a staff meeting? the Potions Master asked truculently. Several voices chuckled.

We were concerned, Professor Snape, when you went
missing, Flitwick came into view with a smile on his face.

Yes, Severus, we turned the castle upside-down looking
for you! McGonagall burred pleasantly. Snape frowned.

I only went outside for a look and some air. The door was
locked, the Potions Master replied softly. Barnes tightened his hold and pulsed again. No need for the wizard to get depressed. It was going to be tricky to keep that from happening, though!

When I came to see you no one knew where you were, the Healer explained carefully.
So I tried to floo you, then the house elves had a look
around the castle. When we couldn't find you we locked
the castle down. Figured you might be caught and we didn't
want anyone to be able to take you away

Paranoid lot, aren't you? Snape observed dryly. Dumbledore's hand flinched in his and the Potions Master slowly connected the dots.

Sorry, Albus! I should have told you where I was going, Snape's voice was tight.
*Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! I never think. Never!* But the thought wasn't carried on any further because both the Healer and the Headmaster pulsed the Potions Master. The combined energy caused Snape to arch slightly, trying to stifle his moan.

None of this is your fault Severus! Dumbledore said urgently.
It was a domino effect; one act led to another and
decisions were made in haste. The double dose of energy left his nerve endings tingling.

Have to go to the loo, Snape muttered as old defenses kicked in. He was nearly overwhelmed with the need to get away from these people. Barnes wasn't fooled, nor was Dumbledore. But they allowed the Potions Master to get up and make his way to the washroom.

We best be off to dinner, McGonagall said giving the cue to clear the room.
The elves will be waiting on us. Numerous words of assent were generated and soon the room was nearly cleared. Johnstone, Barnes and Dumbledore remained waiting for Snape to reappear.

I seem to have lost my audience, the Potions Master commented as he slowly made his way to the table. The hard chair was uncomfortable but he did not complain. Soup had appeared on the table and Snape knew he'd have to eat enough to satisfy Barnes.

That smells lovely, Johnstone said, taking a seat next to Snape. She quickly ladled out four bowls. Snape accepted a steaming bowl of vegetable soup. The desire to eat quickly and slip off to bed was dashed as the next course appeared.

Mutton yesterday, mutton today and blimey if it don't look
like mutton tomorrow, Barnes recited in a deep, growly voice as a sliced mutton roast appeared. Both Johnstone and Dumbledore stared at the Healer who smirked.

Hobbit, the trolls discussing their meager meal, Snape identified the quote causing all three to turn and stare incredulously at him.
I read Tolkien. Brilliant muggle writer, Snape huffed.

I thought I was the only one into epic fantasy around
these parts, the Healer remarked. He was awarded a snort and an indifferent shrug from the Potions Master.

Johnstone asked.

It's a prequel to a long saga of the fight between good
and evil. I'm surprised, Severus! Barnes arched an eyebrow at the wizard who was engaged in sipping hot broth.

Being a wizard does not mean you shouldn't be well-read, Snape mumbled as he continued to eat. Conversation was kept light; no one broached the latest crisis. Snape was obviously stressed, his eyes kept down, trained on the plate in front of him.

As dessert came up a knock sounded at the door. Draco Malfoy cautiously pushed the door open and looked inside. He actually cringed slightly when his gaze touched on Dumbledore.

Professor Snape? the student managed to look at his head of house. Snape wiped his mouth and pushed back from the table.

I need to speak with Draco. Privately, the Potions Master said softly to his table companions. He motioned for the youth to follow him across to the fireplace.

That's Lucius' boy, right? Johnstone asked suspiciously.

Yes, it is, Dumbledore said returning his attention to his tea and custard. The witch shifted so she could see both Snape and Malfoy surreptitiously.

They will be fine. Draco is not his father, Dumbledore murmured soothingly.

Snape sat down in a comfortable chair in front of the fire. He moved the other chair closer and indicated that Draco should join him. Once he'd settled the Potions Master leaned forward.

Draco, I saw the note your father sent to you, Snape said without preamble. The boy shifted uncomfortably.

I wondered where it got to, Draco murmured.

What happened? Snape asked simply. The Slytherin shifted uncomfortably.

I went into town the night before last to eat dinner with
some house mates, Draco explained. I had owled mother
about being allowed into Hogsmeade as a reward for good
work. I guess she told father because he met me as I
entered town and treated me and my friends to dinner.

Did he mention anything about the Headmaster? Snape pressed. Exhaustion had caught up with him but he needed to know how much Draco had been told.

No, he didn't stay long either. He just said there'd be some
big changes at Hogwarts. Then I got that owl early the next
morning. It was on the ledge when I woke. I, I just thought
the Minister of Magic removed Dumbledore and had put
Father in his place, Draco's face crumpled.
I, I didn't know they tried to kill the Headmaster until I saw
the papers.

Draco's controlled mask slipped and Snape reached a hand out holding the youth's shoulder.

Draco, we don't know if your father had anything to do with
the explosion last night. He was at home with the Minister
when the news broke, Snape tried half-heartedly.

No, Professor, Draco looked in the older wizard's eyes.
No, he knew. He knew when he came to Hogsmeade. I am
not totally blind to my father's activities. I just...

Snape wiped the stray tear off the younger wizard's cheek.

Just what, Draco? he asked gently.

I don't want to be like my father, he whispered, his head dropping down ashamed. Snape reached out and pulled his chin up.

You are not your father, Draco. You have many choices
open to you, Snape said softly. Come talk with me

I'd like that, sir. But now I think you need to rest, Draco said with a very small smile. Any hint of tears were gone. Snape searched the youth's eyes. He seemed more settled.

Not too tired, Snape murmured, pressing gently.

I promise sir. In a few days I'll come see you again, Draco said. The Potions Master was beyond exhausted, even the student could tell that. He excused himself leaving the older man seated contemplating the fire. Draco moved to the door but stopped and turned around facing the serious visage of Albus Dumbledore.

I'm very glad, sir, that you are all right, the student said sincerely before leaving the office.

Well, that was interesting, the Headmaster said after the door closed. All three sets of eyes moved in unison to the fireplace and the Potions Master. A somewhat limp Potions Master lolling in the chair.

Jeffrey was up and across the room in a trice, scanning the unconscious wizard. the Headmasters followed closely.

Albus asked in concerned. The Healer was bundling up his patient.

Just exhausted. Pushed himself too far. I'll get him into
bed and pulse him awhile, the Healer replied as he levitated Snape. Still Dumbledore and Johnstone followed them into the bedroom and watched as he stripped the robe off. A clean sleep shirt was pulled on.

Good thing Severus' is asleep, Jeffrey commented with a pointed stare at the two busybodies.

Dr. Barnes, it's not as if I haven't taken care of ill people, Lila said sternly. But Barnes did not back down.

I have no doubt of that, Headmistress. I simply know that
Severus is intensely private and certain bounds shouldn't be
crossed lightly, Barnes asserted.

It is fine Jeffrey, Dumbledore carefully came between the two headstrong individuals. With a final glare the Healer tugged his patient to bed and lowered him in. He quickly proceeded to pull off his robes down to his shirt and leggings and slid into bed gathering up his patient.

Dumbledore pulled on Johnstone and moved out of the room. Reluctantly Lila followed and accepted a chair and cuppa tea at the table.

Jeffrey is very protective of Severus, the older wizard said carefully.

I hadn't noticed, the witch said acerbically.

He can be very, uh, assertive, Dumbledore hedged.

Oh, really? Lila retorted.

You wouldn't know the half of it, the Headmaster grumbled causing the witch to stifle a smile.

That young upstart argues with you? she baited her friend.

We argue so much you'd think we were married, he growled sipping his tea.
I mean, just before the conference we had a real row!
Jeffrey can be so stubborn!

Really? Stubborn? Lila gave her best innocent' look. Dumbledore looked up at the witch and glared.

he said definitively. Johnstone stuck her tongue out before retrieving her cup of tea. They sipped in companionable silence for several minutes.

So, how long until we can go check again? Lila asked.

At least thirty minutes, Dumbledore sighed. Can't go too
soon or Jeffrey will hunker down for the duration.

The two managed to find things to do. Johnstone returned to the Hillerman novel and Dumbledore found enough owls on his desk to keep him busy. Over an hour passed when Dr. Barnes slipped out of the bedroom fully dressed and satchel in hand. He approached the Headmaster and waited for him to finish his parchment.

So, Severus is sleeping? the older wizard asked with a disarming smile.

Yes, Albus. He's resting comfortably for now. Here are
some potions for the morning. Dad will come by before
lunch, the Healer reported dispassionately. He would have stayed curled up with Snape and monitored him all night but he needed to go back to the clinic. In any event Snape was only exhausted and not in any danger.

Dumbledore rose and moved around to the Healer. He knew the younger wizard was ruffled even with the calm' demeanor. He held out his hand as if to shake Barnes' hand. Once the Healer reached out the Headmaster simply pulled him into a hug. The initial stiffness melted and Jeffrey sighed into Albus' hair.

Thank you Jeffrey, Dumbledore said softly.

You're welcome, Albus. He'll sleep sound tonight. Just
keep him quiet for a few days, the young Healer replied.

Quiet? Professor Snape? and the both chuckled.

Snape slept the night and well into the next morning. Lila sat near the bed reading.

Dumbledore asked as he entered the room. He'd been down to breakfast and had spoken to the assembled school thanking them for all their help in locating the missing Potions Master.

Yes, I have a port key ready but I want to say goodbye to
Severus, she pretended to glare. He certainly can sleep!

He certainly can, Dumbledore agreed as he slipped into the lounge next to the witch.
I will miss you Lila.

I am going to miss you more, she responded, then gently kissed him. The book was forgotten as a second and third kiss followed each being returned with more and more fervor. They were just getting to tangling their tongues when Snape woke. He pushed up through the last remnants of sleep to the soft wet noises. Sitting up the Potions Master stared incredulously.

oh gods, you're going at it again! Why don't you rent a
room! Snape sputtered out. He was as effective as a bucket of cold water as both witch and wizard broke apart and looked sheepishly at him. Melodramatically Snape melted back onto the pillows and moaned.

Oh sweetpea! It's all right! Lila abandoned her lover and went to the ailing wizard's side.

I'll be scarred for the rest of my life, Snape huffed.

Oh, right, Dumbledore retorted as he joined the vigil at bedside.

Well, I might, Snape replied, looking at them with a small smile. The witch encouraged him to sit back up, arranging his pillows.

Severus, you silly wizard! Dr. Barnes said you were to
stay quiet for a few days, Johnston began and received a very childish pout in return.

I have been staying quiet' for months, he complained to no avail. He found himself snugged up in a hug and the warmth and a delightful chuckle.

I might just miss you more than Albus! Lila teased.

Now Dumbledore pouted. The witch patted his face.

I have to leave soon, Severus, she told the younger wizard.

I thought you might have to, he said softly. He hated to admit it, but he liked the witch and her mothering.

Now, sweetpea, I'll come back to visit. Maybe at spring
break but for sure after school has finished for summer, Lila brushed sleep-tousled hair back and kissed his forehead. Snape smiled shyly.

Well, that will make Albus happy at the least, he said weakly.

Up with you! Go clean up and I'll get lunch set up since
you slept through breakfast, she scolded. The Potions Master rose slowly and wandered into the washroom. This allowed a few last moments for Johnstone and Dumbledore to make their final goodbyes in private.

Lunch was leisurely enough. Plenty of thick barley soup and sandwiches. Lila took pleasure in hostessing, keeping Snape's bowl and plate full. Dumbledore mixed a set of potions into a mug of juice and passed it over.

Do I have to? Snape eyed the cup wondering what this batch would do.

Yes, you have to, Dumbledore assured him. James will
be by this afternoon to see you. You had quite a set-back
yesterday child, with being locked out in the cold and snow.
Just a couple days of rest. With a sigh the Potions Master drained the cup.

Well, Lila, I will wish you a safe trip back to the colonies, Snape teased lightly. She smiled.
I will miss you, he softly admitted.

I will miss you too. But I'll be back, she pulled him into a tight hug.

Perhaps we can get to the beach house for a week or
two this summer together, Dumbledore suggested.

Now I'd certainly like that! Johnstone smiled as she released Snape. She tugged him up and walked him over to the ever-present lounge and settled the drowsy wizard under a few blankets.

Bye, Sweetpea. Use the lightest parchment when you
write, she admonished warmly. Snape nodded slightly as he was slowly pulled down into sleep by the good Healer's potions.

Well, Albus, I must be off. Tell Murphy I'll send his paper
work back directly, Lila said as she straightened her robes.

I will. Have a safe trip, he opened his arms for one last hug. Breaking apart she turned towards the door.

Remus is walking me down to the edge so I can port out, she said as she opened the door.
I have a feeling he may have a letter or two for me to
carry back. Dumbledore laughed.

Oh, Lila! You're not playing matchmaker are you? he accused her.

Me? Never! I simply wanted to save some poor bird the
trip. Bye, love, Johnstone slipped out of the door and left the room a little too empty for the Headmaster.

Severus Snape stretched. He didn't like taking so many healing draughts but he had to admit, at least to himself, he did feel much better after sleeping a few hours. Sitting up he glanced around the room. Albus was out and about the castle.

That was good. He knew the Headmaster was missing his American friend. Keeping busy was the best thing. At the very least Snape no longer had to worry about walking in on those two while they were, uh, occupied. He shuddered. It didn't really bother him on most counts, but Albus was as close to a father as he'd ever had. The thought he could be intimate was best left just that: a thought. Not a live action show complete with tongue!

Pushing up he made his way to the loo. Perhaps a shower? Yes. His hair was feeling very grungy. A good hot shower would do the trick.

Before he reached the washroom he looked at the main door. The ward was vibrating alerting him someone was outside. Curious... No one had knocked. Snape drew closer to the shimmering ward. If it were a stranger or someone that was not a friend to the Headmaster it would cast a slightly red glow.

No, no danger. Someone the ward recognized. He was very curious now. Who would just stand out there without coming in? If they'd got to the door then they knew the passwords. Well, maybe he should open the door.

Reaching the doorknob he again checked the ward. Safe. Nothing for it...

The door opened to reveal Dr. James and Minerva McGonagall. In rather close proximity. In fact...

Oh for gods sakes! You too? GO RENT A ROOM! the Potions Master screeched and slammed the door nearly running for the washroom.

Oh dear James, do you think Severus is upset? Minerva looked up at the Healer snug in his arms. Her hair, normally fastened in a tight bun, had fallen down past her shoulders due to the Healer's nimble fingers that were still tangled in the long, soft tresses.

I'm sure he is, my dear one, James said as he moved down for another kiss. She ran her hand over his shoulder and up to his neck stroking the skin softly.

We'll have to apologize, she murmured into the warm lips.

James said as he began the kiss anew.


Thank you all for your wonderful reviews and kind emails.

A special thanks to my dear friend HLB who has been supportive, suggestive and superb in her editing skills. This was a lot of fun to write and your wit and ideas only enhanced the process.