Love Potion

Severus Snape had thought for sure his love life was long over when Lily Potter had married James, and was quite sure of it after she died. But love is in the air at Hogwarts, and a very unlikely love is starting to bloom...


3. Detention, Potions and Smiles

The Gryffindor common room was crowded all day after that. Hermione returned from dinner to a full room. Her heart skipped a beat. Had someone seen her diary? She had abandoned it right before- right before she crashed into Snape. Why couldn't she think about anything else? She rushed to the spot she'd left her diary, then, seeing it still in the same place and position, breathed a sigh of relief. She picked it up and slipped it into her bag, then hurried to the library to meet Ron for their study date. ("Not a date," she'd reminded him when he'd asked if it counted as one. "Just studying. But you can still call it a study date, if it makes you feel better.")

Having the usual load of homework didn't deter her from having a good one-on-one with her diary. Her Transmogrification homework was a two-scroll paper on the difference between two spells- but Hermione couldn't even remember what they were. She looked up from it. Ron was just finishing his.

"Hey, 'Mione," he looked up at her. "What's eating you?"

She shrugged, putting her quill down. "Ronald," she replied, "how many assignments have I done for you?"

He looked down. "Um... I don't know if I can count that high," he joked. "Lots?"

"Good. Can you do this one for me?"

He looked stunned. "Hermione, the Queen of Getting Things Done, can't do her Transmogrify paper? Can I take a picture and frame it?"

Hermione huffed. "Please, Ronald?"

He shrugged. "Sure. If you promise to never ask again. I'm not a kid genius, like you!"


Hermione couldn't stop thinking about her detention with Snape. In fact, all through out Nighttime Star Search, she couldn't focus on the skies. Her mind wandered to Snape, his face when they'd crashed into each other in the halls. The Centaur professor whats-his-name had to remind her several times to actually insert the telescope lenses before she did, and she misread several fairly easy signs- she hadn't found Orion, misread a foreshadowing for rain for a death symbol, and had mixed up Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. All she saw in the skies were many pairs of glittering eyes- Snape's eyes.

"Hey 'Mione, are you okay? You seem kind of off today." Harry's whispers broke through Hermione's thoughts. He had one hand on her arm. She looked up. He was leaning over his telescope to reach her.

She nodded quickly. "Just swell," she assured him. But somehow, she knew she wasn't feeling swell, in fact, she was very confused. Why was Snape in her mind so much? Why couldn't she focus on one of her (and Ginny's) favorite classes?

"Okay, if you say so,'' Harry returned to his star charts, though he didn't look convinced she was "just swell".

Right as Nighttime Star Search ended, Hermione gathered her things, stuffed them in her bag, and dashed inside toward the dungeons. As she ran, she thought how her detention would go. Would he make her clean the jars? Sweep the dungeons? Clean old cauldrons?

When she reached the door to Snape's private office, she paused. Did she just go in, or knock, or wait for Snape? Finally, she decided to knock. Her small hands made almost no sound against the heavy stone door, so she pushed it open. What she saw was Snape, sitting at his desk, leafing through an old-looking potions book.

"Pro- Professor?" she said softly. Snape looked up, his gaze hard and stern. When he saw Hermione, he softened for a brief moment, then hardned again, and he turned back to his book. Confused, Hermione tried again. "I'm here for detention.''

"Well, don't just stand there, Miss Granger, come in." His soft voice barely reached her ears. She stepped in cautiously, still holding her bag. "I have your make-up assignment for you." He pawed gently through the journal to find one particular potion, and when he'd found what he was looking for, he gently tore the page out, and folded it into a neat square. Standing up and walking to where Hermione stood, he placed the paper scrap gingerly into her now outstretched hand.  She was confused- no cleaning cauldrons? No scrubbing jars? But despite her confusion, her fingers closed over the paper and she tucked it into the smallest pocket of her bag.

"May I use the class cauldrons, Professor, or must I use my own?" she suprised herself with her calm confidence.

"Actually, you will use my cauldron, Miss Granger. This... particular potion requires a certain type, and mine is the right metal for the job." He pointed across the room to a shiny black cauldron, much better quality than Hermione and Ron's shared, second-hand, way-overused SuperPot or the classes' spare, 10-years-outdated MegaMixers2000, or even Harry's new, high-tech MagicMixMaker cauldron from Sirius. "It's a rare type of metal, Miss Granger," he said, practically reading her mind. "Use it carefully. Any explosions or holes burned in the cauldron will result in more detentions."

He went back to his desk, sat down and began leafing through more books. After a moment, he looked up. "I think you'll find the ingrediants have already been put in the cauldron, Miss Granger, and the sooner you start, the faster you can go back to your other activities."

Hermione knelt down in front of the cauldron, pulled the scrap from her pocket, and gently unfolded the paper. When she read the title, she was startled by this potion...

Love Potion.

That's what the title read. Hermione looked up at Snape. "Are you sure you want-"

"Do you know why you're in detention?" Snape asked her, interrupting. She shook her head. "Miss Granger, you're in detention because your grades are too high. I need to know you're not cheating in my class, so I've assigned you a rather difficult potion to try. If you succeed in concocting it under my careful watch, you will receive Highest Honors and a fairly decent farther-than-just-passing grade in Potions. If you fail to do so, you will be removed from your previous Honors and be put on probation for possible cheating. No pressure." He almost smiled, but his mouth twitched, and he looked quickly back to his paper.

Hermione was taken aback- by the announcement, yes, but also the almost-smile. She'd never seen him smile before, not a real smile, at least. All she'd ever seen was the evil sneer he gave Harry before failing his potions. Now she caught a glimpse of what his true smile looked like, and she liked what she saw. Could she bring that smile out all the way?

As Hermione cut the Braccius strips for the potion, she smiled quietly to herself. Yes. That was her new goal, she wanted Snape to show her his true self, his real personality, his smile.

Snape, however, knew better. After the Dark Lord had ruthlessly killed Lily, even after promising not to, he knew he'd never really smile. As for the cheating story- that he'd made up to cover for his impulsive giving of a detention to Hermione. But Hermione had almost drawn one out of him- he couldn't smile for anyone other than Lily again, then why would he smile for this stuck-up little Mudblood?

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