Here is a short piece that has been sitting in my files for quite some time now. I thought it might be fun to post it here in between that serious drama I've been working on in the past few weeks. Hopefully the next couple thousand words can earn a couple of your chuckles.
Disclaimer: All characters belong to the brilliant JK Rowling.
The Counseling Session
Whispering between themselves, neither the Headmaster nor the head of the Gryffindor House took notice when a dark shadow entered the hospital wing.
"You wished to see me, Albus?" A smooth cool voice declared the presence of a very serious Professor Snape.
"Ah, Severus," Dumbledore turned his attention away from the hospital bed and nodded at the Potions Master, "Good evening. Sorry to have to summon you at such a late hour, but there had been an incident earlier tonight. After our initial evaluation of the situation, Minerva and I thought it would be helpful to have you involved."
Snape looked over the Headmaster's shoulders and spotted a girl in Gryffindor uniform lying in the hospital bed, apparently asleep. Her bushy brown hair gave away her unmistakable identity.
"What happened to Miss Granger?" Snape asked curiously, "Is there a specific potion you see suitable for me to brew to help... with whatever condition she is in?"
"We didn't think potions would help." McGonagall shook her head and let out a sigh.
"Earlier this evening," the Headmaster walked away from the bed and began explaining to Snape, "Miss Granger was found threatening Mr. Malfoy in the corridor outside the Great Hall."
The corner of Snape's thin lips slowly curled up into a sneer, "I see." He answered, "There is no need to apologize for summoning me at this hour. If Minerva is not capable of properly discipline a student from her own house, I would certainly appreciate the honor to do so whenever it is necessary."
"That's not..." McGonagall was immediately offended by the comment from the head of the Slytherin House. But she was stopped by the Headmaster.
"You misunderstood Severus." Dumbledore continued his explanations kindly, "This was not the first time Miss Granger had been acting so out of character since the summer holiday. She had cornered some of her friends from her own house a few times prior to today's incident."
"Yet no points had been deducted, I presume?" Snape raised an eyebrow and glanced over at McGonagall.
"Her friends were not offended by her actions and they were able to temporarily control her condition."
"Condition?" Snape frowned, "What kind of condition? Is she carrying some contagious disease?"
It was the Headmaster's turn to furrow his brows. Dumbledore paced in the room with his hands behind his back, "I certainly hope it is not contagious. But that still remains to be seen."
"I would appreciate some additional information Albus." Snape was intrigued.
"From talking to Miss Granger after her incident outside the Great Hall, we learned that she has been delusional on and off, ever since she visited a muggle library over the summer. Apparently she had gone through some intense reading of certain publications called fanfictions through the library computer. From her explanations to us, we learned that she cannot distinguish what is real and what is fictional. It seems to me that these 'fanfictions' had simply bewitched Miss Granger."
"That is absolutely absurd!" Snape exclaimed. "I have never heard of a condition caused by reading too much muggle fictions. After all, there should be no magical qualities in any muggle products. How can the stories bewitch her? Are you sure she is not trying to use that as an excuse for her unacceptable behavior?"
"I am quite certain Severus." Dumbledore looked back kindly at the Potions Master through his half-moon spectacles.
After a long moment of silence Snape asked, "What made you desire my involvement? What do you want me to do?"
"Well, after our initial assessment, we believe it would help Miss Granger tremendously if she could ask certain candid questions directly to those whom she read about. Harry, Ron, Draco, and Minerva have all agreed to meet with Miss Granger when she wakes up. I have only hoped that you would agree to do the same."
"Wait..." Snape was still processing the Headmaster's words, "You said to have her ask questions to those whom she read about? She read about me? Where? What did she read about?"
"Severus my boy," Dumbledore let out a chuckle, "I thought you've been paying attention. Fanfictions, remember? She read about you in fanfictions, quite a bit, apparently. I just don't know how many of our other students had gone through these stories and how many of them would develop a similar condition. That's what I meant by not knowing if this is a 'contagious' condition."
Snape arched an eyebrow at the old wizard, "It's not like she would ever stop asking questions anyway. If she has more questions for her teacher, I certainly would be available to address them."
"Very well." The Headmaster smiled, "I will send her to your office tomorrow afternoon. And do me a favor, Severus, do not judge her by her questions. And for the sake of her health, answer them truthfully."
Snape left with a low growl, with his black cloak billowing behind him.
Hermione Granger knocked on the door leading to the Potions Master's office nervously. She had just met with Professor McGonagall earlier that afternoon. As Professor Dumbledore had explained to her, having these private meetings with people whom she read about should help her properly distinguish reality and fantasy. She wished she wouldn't need to talk to Snape, because even with the Headmaster's guarantee, Hermione still fear that the head of Slytherin House would either send her to detention or dock her points. And in the back of her head she feared the worst: what if he told her that all she read about was true, but if she shared the secret with anyone he would have to kill her!
A chill ran down her spine as she second-guessed herself for keeping this appointment. It was proven too late to change her mind however, when she heard the velvety voice coming from the office. "Enter."
Taking quiet and small steps Hermione came to the desk of the Potions Master. He looked up from the papers he was grading and arched an eyebrow at her. "What are you staring at?" He asked coldly.
"Er... Nothing Professor. I just want to thank you for taking the time to meet with me." Hermione didn't know why her voice had to shiver. It's only a meeting with your teacher! She scolded herself.
He looked down at the papers in front of him and stacked them aside. Letting out a grunt he looked back at her with his deep dark eyes. "Let it be clear that this is a favor for the Headmaster. Make it quick. I have work to do."
"Oh... yes." Quickly Hermione reached into her pocket and pulled out a small roll of parchment. "I only want to clarify a few questions. It would be really great if you could just answer yes or no."
Snape's thin lips were pressed so tight they almost disappeared. He nodded curtly at the young Gryffindor in front of him. For some reason, he didn't like this meeting already.
"Uh... Sir... Is your middle name really Tobias?" Hermione asked timidly.
Snape narrowed his eyes on the girl. He could not think of any reason why his middle name would have anything to do with anything. "It's none of your business." He answered darkly.
"But I thought you agreed to answer the... the questions." Hermione's cheeks were turning pink by the second.
"I will only answer the questions that are relevant. This one is not. Next." He drawled.
"Okay..." The girl looked down at her paper carefully. "Are you a Death Eater, Sir?" She asked in a small voice.
He was slightly taken aback by the question. Did Dumbledore mistake an interrogation by the Ministry from a counseling session for a student? Taking a deep breath he answered, "A former Death Eater. Yes."
"Okay... thanks." The girl's answer was barely audible. Snape was relieved that she didn't pressed on with questions about his history with the Dark Lord. He was definitely not in the mood to discuss his past with the Gryffindor know-it-all.
"Er... Sir, are you a vampire?" Hermione moved on to her next question.
Snape's eyes widened. He would have thought the girl had a hidden agenda when she asked about his involvement with the Death Eaters. But this question clearly indicated her mental status - Dumbledore was right. There was something wrong with the girl's head.
"No, I am not." He answered plainly.
"That's good." She said to herself, and crossed out that question. "Are you a bat?"
Snape had to hold back a snicker when he heard this most ridiculous question he could imagine. "Do I look like one?"
"Er..." The girl hesitated before answering, "Do I have permission to answer truthfully?"
"Oh forget it." Snape shook his head in disbelief. She's definitely a nut case. But he took note to himself to look into the mirror when he returned to his private quarters. It simply couldn't be. He couldn't look like a bat. "No! The answer is no." He answered her impatiently.
"That's what I thought." She murmured, and moved on to the next question.
"Are you involved with Draco's mum?" She looked up at him with her innocent eyes when she asked her next question.
"Excuse me?" Snape raised his voice. He thought accusing him being a bat would have been the worst question for the day.
"Are you Mrs. Malfoy's lover?" She misunderstood his question for him needing some clarification.
"No! What are you talking about! Of course not!" He could feel himself losing his temper.
"Are you Mr. Malfoy's lover?" She didn't seem to notice the change in his voice, and moved on to the next question.
Snape's jaw dropped as his eyes widened. But he quickly reminded himself the reason why he was answering these absurd questions. The girl really needed help. "No. I am not." He tried to regain his cool.
"Thanks." She didn't even look up at him as she moved on to the next question. "Do you have romantic feelings towards Harry?"
"No!" Snape was thoroughly disgusted by the question. What did she think he was? A child molester?
"Do you have romantic feelings towards... me?" Her cheeks were now bright red as the last word came out of her mouth.
"No! I absolutely do not!" He was definitely offended. This was clearly an accusation of his ethical standards.
"Are you Harry's father?" Came her next question.
Snape raise an eyebrow. He really didn't think her questions could get any more bizarre. "No." He answered with a frown. He should be cursed if that brat was his own.
"Okay... are you... my father?"
Snape was speechless. This girl needed help! Seriously! "No! I am not your father." He snarled.
"Oh thank goodness." She let out a sigh of relief. But that infuriated Snape even more. He wasn't sure if he should be angrier with her questions or her comments.
"Er... are you..." She began her next question.
"Just for your information, Miss Granger," He stopped her with a sneer, "If you are going to ask if I am anyone else's father you can stop right here. I can't believe I am having this conversation with you, but no, I am not anybody's father!"
"Oh..." Her mouth was open into an O as she considered his words, "Are you... sure about that?" She managed to ask another question with a squeak.
"Yes! Absolutely yes!" He rolled his eyes. This girl was insufferable. "I am not anybody's father!"
"Are you... a virgin?" Her eyes widened.
Snape could hear his own teeth grinding as he stared at the girl with a murderous gaze. "That. Is. None. Of. Your. Business!" He bellowed. "And I can answer you right now," he could see her shivering in her seat as he spoke to her in the most dangerous tone, "The answers to the rest of your most ridiculous questions are all going to be no! I don't care what you read over the summer. It was all false! Incorrect! Not true! Do you understand? Your time is up. Get out, Granger! Out out out!" He barked.
Letting out a small shriek Hermione quickly jumped up from her seat and ran for the door.
With a wave of his hand the Potions Master slammed the door behind the bushy hair Gryffindor. What was he thinking agreeing to such a "counseling session"? It was pure humiliation! No student, or teacher, or anyone, should have the right to ask such invasive and personal questions. As he let out another angry grunt he noticed the roll of parchment containing her peculiar questions on the floor; she had dropped it on her way out. Blame it on curiosity, but Severus Snape decided to see just how far had the girls mind gone from reading the poisonous tales called fanfictions.
As he opened the roll of parchment, he noticed she had been dutifully crossing out all the questions that they had gone through. She was indeed at the very end of the list. The last question that did not have a mark next to it read, "Were you in love with Harry's mum?"
He felt his breath caught in his throat. No one knew... other than Dumbledore. How did she find out? How did his secret leak to the muggle world?
Quickly he scribbled a note for Dumbledore, informing him that he would be taking the next day and the weekend off for some personal affairs. Yes, he must attend to this immediately. Tomorrow, he would take a trip to a library in Muggle London, where he would find the thing called a computer, and gain access to the dangerous tales called fanfictions. He must discover the source of the rumors, and the channel of the leaked secrets.
Would he require a counseling session after such an intense research? He could only hope that the answer would be no...
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