Disc.: Not mine. There is one quotes line from Half Blood Prince: "Amortentia doesn't create actual love, of course. That's impossible. But it does cause a powerful infatuation or obsession. For that reason, it is probably the most dangerous potion in this room." -Slughorn

VVVVVV

Five Times That Severus Snape Smells Amortentia (And One Time He Doesn't)

1.

Severus flips over the heavy, weighted parchment of the nicked Restricted book. He still can't believe he's managed to sneak it under Pince's hawkish nose –not that he should be commenting, really- and the sweet, heady thrill of victory is still pulsing through his veins as he crouches on the cold stones.

This bathroom was the only place he could come up with off the top of his head, the only safe place his mind fixed on as he snuck through the frigid corridors late last night. He had been forced to stash the book here overnight, behind the thick grouping of water pipes in the far corner, tucked in enough shadows that he felt only mildly anxious through his classes today. His room was not safe enough by half, his fellow Slytherins as trust-worthy as a rotten floorboard.

"What's that you've got?" The high-pitched voice nearly sends his already anxious heart into shock. The girl is opalescent in the last afternoon sun leaking murkily through the high windows, her hazy form dotted with thousands of floating dust particles.

"Merlin, Myrtle. Can't you see I'm busy? Go away." He spat, turning back to the book. Which one? Which one?

"That's a Restricted book! I'll report you! I'll go straight to Dumbledore right now." Myrtle floats toward the heavy oak door, her pearly hand reflexively reaching for the knob before passing right through it.

"Wait!" Severus calls, giving in under the threat. "Wait! Don't rat me out Myrtle, I'm only trying to…" He trails off, flushing.

"Trying to what?" Myrtle questions, gliding closer again. Severus' hand twitches over the title of the page a second too slowly; Myrtle has already seen the spidery hand-written title scrawled in the top left corner of the ancient parchment. "Amortentia? A love potion?"

"Leave it alone," Severus nearly grows, curling his body further over the book, shielding it from Myrtle's laughing eyes.

"What do you want with a love potion?" Myrtle taunts, giddy at the prospect of being the bully for once. "You're only a fourth year –they aren't even teaching those in your classes yet, are they? That why you've been stealing from the library? Got an ickle lady love to wo-"

"SHUT UP!" Snape spits, cutting her off. His eyes dart to the door quickly, hoping the Charms class down the hall hasn't been let out early. He doesn't need anyone else privy to his embarrassment. "Shut up."

Myrtle's gray eyes fill with ghostly tears at his shouting. "Fine! What do I care if you're looking at l-love potions?" She warbles, sniffling dramatically. "I-Its not like I k-know much about l-l-love anyways!" With a final wail, she flies straight through the stall door behind her, and a second later there is a loud splash and displaced water sloshes out from under the stall wall.

Severus rescues his book from the dampening floor and carries it to the sinks, balancing it on a faucet. His eyes flick back and forth across the opened page, gathering information. Amortentia.

VVVVVV

The physical brewing on the potion takes him only a few hours later that week, once he has managed to forage the proper ingredients from his own supplies (and a stealthy trip out to the greenhouses while the rest of the school was at dinner). Myrtle is again vacant from her bathroom –disappearing into the U-bend, sobbing, as soon as she laid her misty eyes on his steaming cauldron that afternoon. He can't say he cares.

He is unused to brewing alone –he and Lily have been partners in Potions since first year, before she knew it was a strange thing to do, associating with him. She has stubbornly remained his partner since, and having only one pair (the wrong pair) of pale hands doing the chopping and crushing slows him down a little in a way he hasn't considered before.

Beyond that, the brewing is actually quite easy –he even manages to start mentally making adjustments to the recipe.

And now the moment of truth –the confirmation of what he has been steadily denying to himself for the past several years. He has suspected what he would smell in the fully brewed potion for weeks now, ever since Lucius Malfoy began bragging about his own completed brew in his 6th year Potions class. Morbidly curious, and refusing to wait another two years for his own chance to brew the mixture in Slughorn's NEWT class, Severus vowed to make it himself. And now it was ready.

The first breath he took cautiously, afraid of what he would find.

The second, he sucked in a great whooping gasp of breath, filling his lungs with the complex perfume emanating from the cauldron.

It smelt of his mother's hand crème, bezoars, and Lily Evan's shampoo.

He is only surprised by one of these things.

He never would have guessed he found bezoars so appealing.

He has no intention of actually using the potion –never did, unless you count one particularly weak moment two days before, when he saw James Potter looking at Lily with less gentlemanly intentions that a savage. Slowly, taking one more deep breath, he pours it down the drain. Everything he needed to know confirmed.

2.

"Amortentia doesn't create actual love, of course. That's impossible. But it does cause a powerful infatuation or obsession. For that reason, it is probably the most dangerous potion in this room," Slughorn chortles to himself, peering at each of them over his rounded spectacles.

Severus resists the urge to roll his eyes, thoroughly disenchanted with Horace Slughorn since his second year, when he discovered he was actually rather better at potions than his professor, thank you.

However, he has been dreading this day in sixth year Potions. It is a well-known tradition that the sixth years in Professor Slughorn's class brew Amortentia in the spring, right before Easter holidays.

Severus is not nervous about the actual, physical brewing of the potion. After all, he has brewed the love potion before, just over a year ago. This time, he is not crouched on cold tiles in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom, but sweating over his usual cauldron in the back corner of the dungeon classroom.

His brewing location is not the only thing that has changed since he last brewed Amortentia.

Lily's long red hair swings between her hands as swiftly gathers it in her hands to make a braid, James Potter nudging her in the ribs and saying something with a laughing note to his voice, three rows to the left and one up from Severus' own lonely workspace. Severus scowls to himself as she glances up at James, smiling and whispering something to him in return.

Indeed, it has been quite some time now since Lily was his own lab partner. She has yet to forgive him for the incident last year when he used some… unsavory words in reference to her, whilst being tortured by that prat Potter and his lackeys Black, Lupin, and Pettigrew. It is the longest Severus and Lily have ever gone without speaking since they met, over five years ago. It has been extremely difficult for Severus, loathe as he is to admit it even to himself, spurred on by watching Lily fall ever more quickly for Potter's cliché charms.

But Severus has faith that Lily will eventually forgive him, and all will go back to normal. One day they will laugh about her budding friendship with Potter, and her cool, slim hands will work her fiery hair into that long braid while she sits next him, at this table in the back of the room, where they both belong.

Severus has faith in that. In her. She has never given him a reason to doubt her before.

His hands work methodically over his ingredients: dicing, chopping, crushing, skinning where appropriate. Once he has already brewed a potion, particularly a difficult one like this, his mind simply retrieves the original mental work and goes into a detached efficiency. It has always worked well for him academically, and the Amortentia is no different.

Soon, multiple cauldrons in the classroom are billowing fumes, a few in the correct shade and density –more are choking heavy bursts of steam into the air, burbling alarmingly. Slughorn is reclined at his desk in the front, seemingly blind to the world around him. There are twenty minutes left in the period, and Severus doubts Slughorn will begin grading anyone's work until at least another ten have passed.

While he waits, his finished brew bottled and chilling in front of him, he peeks over at Lily and Potter's progress across the room. They are still laughing, Potter gesturing stupidly with his stirring rod, nearly upsetting their cauldron with his story telling antics. Lily is half-heartedly stirring their mixture, more engaged in laughing at Potter than actually attending to her work, which is so unlike her that Severus is stunned for a moment. It is a sign of Potter's influence, Severus thinks, that Lily's work is not already completed. She is more than adequate in Potions, Potter can only be dragging her down.

Slughorn sits up, calls for them all to gather around his desk with their brews –there are only ten in the class, and he would like them all to discuss their findings. Severus has never hated him more.

He wishes he had not smelled his own potion, hating that he already knew what it would be.

And torturing one of his senses watching Lily and Potter for the past hour has been quite enough without bringing his nose into it too.

"Potter," Slughorn beams at him. "What do you smell? Go ahead, take a whiff."

James leans closer to Lily's outstretched hand, sniffing the vial she lifts to his face, catching her wrist in his fingers. Severus grits his teeth.

"Hmm," the idiot smirks. "I smell fresh cut grass, like on the Quidditch pitch. And chocolate cake, and uh-" Here he cuts himself off, slanting his eyes at Lily next to him. "Strawberry shampoo."

Lily blushes, ducking her head down.

Severus Snape has never felt so nauseous in his life.

He almost wants to cut his own nose off, just for having something in common with James Potter.

3.

It has been two years since he had crushed ingredients for Amortentia in his old Potions class, three since he stole a Restricted book and brewed his own in the girls lavatory at Hogwarts.

In the privacy of his brewing lab at Spinner's End, he raises the final mixture to his face, takes one sharp inhale. Lowers the vial again.

Hand crème, bezoars, strawberry shampoo.

Later, at Malfoy Manor, he reaches out a slightly trembling hand to place the vial in his Lord's outstretched hand. A cold, tight smile stretches across his Lord's graying, puckered mouth, showing too many teeth. There is triumph in his smile.

Severus Snape has never felt so nauseous in his life.

4.

It is many months later when Severus smells Amortentia again.

By this point he has crawled his way back into Dumbledore's good graces, and crawled his way all the way back to that dungeon classroom at Hogwarts (now his own classroom).

On Friday, December 1st, he crawls his way out of the mind-numbing shroud of grief that has encompassed his life ever since he received the news of the Potters death on Halloween. He emerges from the haze of guilt and self-loathing long enough to shout directions at his sixth year Potions class, stalking up and down the aisles in a manner many of these young faces can still remember from his own days as a student among them. A few short years ago for them, and an entire lifetime ago for Severus.

"Today you will be brewing Amortentia. Can anyone tell me what this potion is?' He barks, whipping around again as he nears the front of the classroom for the sixth time. "Well? "

A timid hand stretches up in the back corner of the room.

"Yes, Miss-?"

"Davies, sir. Amortentia is a love potion, sir. A powerful one." The Gryffindor squeaks, her lab partner eyeing her in disbelief.

"Correct." Severus hisses. "One point for Gryffindor. Begin brewing. I expect perfect examples of this potion on my desk by the end of the lesson."

Shocked faces stare back at him over twenty cauldrons. It is the longest sentence he has spoken to them in a month, and the most points he has ever awarded Gryffindor.

"What are you dunderheads waiting for? Begin."

VVVVVV

Two hours later, he locks the classroom door behind Miss Davies.

He does not emerge from the room for the entire following weekend. It passes in a blur of:

Creme and bezoars and strawberries and creme and bezaors and strawberries and strawberries and strawberries.

When his students receive their marks the following Monday, for the first time in memory the entire class has passed an assignment.

He never assigns Amortentia to a class again.

5.

In Harry Potter's sixth year, when Severus is no longer teaching Potions, he is summoned to Dumbledore's office in the middle of the night. Concerned that the Headmaster's shriveling hand is progressing faster than his counter-curse can defend, Severus rushes to the stone gargoyle and barks the password ("Licorice Wand!"). He ascends the stairs at a strange gallop, reaching the office door in record time. Without knocking, he bursts into the room.

And straight into a staff meeting.

Not everyone is there, just Slughorn, McGonagall, Sprout, and Pomfrey. Startled, they are stare at him as Dumbledore continues to pace in front of the fireplace.

"Ronald Weasley was poisoned tonight, Severus."

VVVVVV

The box of chocolates is still lying on Weasley's nightstand when Severus and Minerva go to investigate later. McGonagall hands it to him, lips drawn tight in distaste. Severus takes it with a similar grimace, quickly following her back out into the corridor.

"Well," Minerva gestures toward the red heart-shaped box. "Was it really Amortentia?"

Severus eyes the box, knowing there is no way to escape his fate now. Slowly, with extreme regret, he raises the box to his nose and inhales.

The scent is heavily masked by the chocolate it has been laced into –a stupid maneuver by the Vane girl, diluting the potion with a non-ingredient, he's taught her better than that- but the familiar smell is immediately picked up and recognized by his hyper-sensitive nose.

Crème. Bezoars. Strawberry shampoo.

Jerking his head in something like a nod, Severus casts the box to the corridor floor, several feet away from them. Minerva just raises an eyebrow, grimace still firmly in place.

"Incendio," Severus mutters, already striding away. "Stupid girl."

He would never be sure if he was referring to Romilda or Lily.

6.

Severus has a recurring dream, from the time he is fifteen, until the time he is dying in the Shrieking Shack in the spring of 1998.

He sits with Lily Evans and Moaning Myrtle in the second floor girl's toilet, all three of them leaning over a steaming cauldron, a book folded open next to Severus' knee.

They are both young. Sometimes Severus is the same age as them –sometimes he is so old his joints snap and creak as he leans forward. Sometimes he is younger, and the book is his Hogwarts letter instead.

But always, always the last of the afternoon sun is leaking murkily through the high windows, throwing beams of light through all three of them, their hazy forms dotted with thousands of floating dust particles.

Lily's eyes are always gleaming, and the first thing she always does is reach behind her to tie her misty hair into a braid.

Myrtle is always crying.

Both girls lean further over the cauldron, and then Myrtle drifts away. It is he and Lily then, staring at each other's pearly forms through the cauldron's mist. He does not lean forward to smell the potion –he already knows what it will be. That is not what this dream is about.

From the time that Severus is fifteen until the time that he is dying in the Shrieking Shack in the spring of 1998, he has a recurring dream where he asks Lily Evans one question. Just one.

"What do you smell?"

He always awakes before she answers him.

Except the one time he doesn't.

VVVVVV

Lily Evans and Severus Snape and Moaning Myrtle sit in a girl's toilet somewhere that is and is not Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As one, they lean over a cauldron.

VVVVVV

Severus Snape and Lily Evans and Moaning Myrtle sit in a girl's toilet somewhere that is and is not Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As one, they lean over a cauldron.

VVVVVV

Moaning Myrtle and Severus Snape and Lily Evans sit in a girl's toilet somewhere that is and is not Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As one, they lean over a cauldron.

END.

A/N: Wow that came out of nowhere. All in one sitting at 6am. Please review!