Read the illustrated version here;

A Harry Potter Fanfic by Didodikali
Rowling's characters do not belong to me!
However these pictures are mine.
Rated PG-13.

Chapter Five.

Love imposes impossible tasks,
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
Perhaps far more than any heart asks,
He once was a true love of mine.


I used Mobilicorpus to move my friends to the Hospital wing. The nurse was in there, washing blood off her hands. "What happened to you lot?" she asked.

"Quidditch accident," I said.

"Oh, really?" said the nurse. "That's what the last one said."

I was too rattled to say anything more to anyone. I escaped up to my room and heard later that James was too sore to play the next day. As I was the Gryffindor Reserve Seeker, I took his place. We won. ...I suppose I was happy to have won. But it wasn't... well... Maybe I will be an Auror or something after all.

That should have been the end of the whole horrible business. Oh, it should have cut off right there, but it unravelled and sent messy tendrils curling around us all. I tried to explain it all to the Marauders. I screamed at them for a long time, but my friends did not understand. "I like him. You ruined it." I may as well have been speaking Swahili.

They did not understand my tears, either. Sirius took them as license to go after Sev again. And so something ugly happened in the dark between Severus and the Marauders, something that left Severus skittish and angry. And it left the Marauders at odds against each other, Remus angry at Sirius, Sirius angry at James, Peter wanting nothing to do with any of them. And since somehow it was all my fault -No, it wasn't!- none of them would talk to me.

Sev wouldn't talk to me, either. Well, he would talk; he'd answer questions with monosyllables. But when I sat down next to him, he'd shrink from me as if I were some kind of revolting slime-mold.

I couldn't take it; I asked to switch partners in Potions class. My Professor looked at me with disgust. "Mister Snape has already asked and the answer is no. You've done fine together for 4 years. I'm not switching around the whole class for you two. Try to act professionally, you little idiot."

So, with grim fabricated politeness, I suffered through hours of Potions working with Severus, fleeing immediately after our class or labwork was done. I could hardly wait for the lecture portion of each class to finish and the practical lab to start. I mean, if one's eyes water a bit while you're hovering over a caustic cauldron, no one's going to notice...

And things got better -with the Marauders and even with Sev. After a while, once we were elbow deep in a potion, Sev would forget that he hated me. He would measure out bits of things for me to prepare saying hardly more than "Here," or "Chop that one finer." He'd foist all the icky parts off onto me -I hate deboning slugs- and he'd play. And he'd lose himself then.

I watched him add in different amounts of components and in a different order from what all of our classmates were doing, a thing I've seen him do many times before. It usually means he's trying an alternate recipe, replacing an expensive ingredient with a mix of several other cheaper ones. Sometimes this works. Sometimes not.

"Hmm. Uh-oh."

"Is it going to explode?" I asked.

"Hand me the diced-" I put it in his hand. He threw half of it in. "Well, it's not going to explode now."

"Are we making something even close to the assigned potion?"

"Oh, sure. Well, sort of..."

I don't think he's eating. I tried to get a better look at him, something more than a glimpse of nose and cheek. Sev noticed me staring; he bent his head and hid behind his hair. Aaagh. He's remembered that he hates me again. This is hopeless.

He quit playing after that. We worked fast and efficiently, almost silently and I avoiding looking at him. One day we were working with thrice-killed mandrakes. We'd already drowned them and baked them and now we were cutting them up. Severus watched me take mine apart with a wry laugh.

This just isn't fair. "What?!!" I snapped at him.

"I don't think I've ever seen anyone enjoy flaying a mandrake more. You want a go at mine?"

And I finally looked at him, really looked at him, and caught the ironic glint in his eye before he looked away, and realized that he was laughing at me. Laughing at me and my uncomfortableness and anger and unhappiness. And his. ...Oh.

I sighed and smiled and held out my hand. "Give it here. I'd love to destroy that for you."

And after that, if we were never exactly the same kinds of friends we were before, then at least we were able to work together in some kind of limited, circumspect peace until the end of school.

And when finally school ended and exams were finished and our time at Hogwarts was really, truly over and we all stood on the platform waiting for the train to take us all away into summer, Severus came up to me and shook my hand and said, "Have a nice life," and "Goodbye," and "Thank you."

I don't believe it. He shook my hand. Is that it?! A handshake? Is that all!?

Read the rest of this chapter, illustrated here:

"Are we going to be friends forever?" asked Piglet.

"Even longer," said Pooh.

~A. A. Milne


The End.