Potions and Snitches
Snape and Harry Gen Fanfiction Archive

Unsuspected Depths

Harry tumbled into bed after the opening feast, full and content. He fished a bottle of dreamless sleep potion out of his trunk, planning on treating himself to his twice monthly undisturbed night of sleep. Classes would begin in the morning, beginning with NEWT potions, since he had managed an Outstanding on his OWLs. Actually, he had achieved Os in everything but Divination, which he failed, and Astronomy, in which he got an E, grades which pleased, but didn’t seem to surprise, Hermione. Unfortunately, though, Snape would be teaching both Potions and Defense until the new teacher arrived. Harry wondered if this Slughorn character was any good, as all Dumbledore would say at dinner was that the newest addition to the staff was Professor Horace Slughorn, and that he had only been hired the day before and would arrive in a week. He was just hoping Slughorn knew his DADA. Harry downed the contents of the small vial and had only enough time to place his glasses on his nightstand before falling asleep.

The next morning he woke up early and finished showering and getting dressed just as the symphony of magical alarm clocks began in the boys’ dormitory. Harry made his way down to the common room, and spotted a seventh year boy he recognized but didn’t know very well. The stocky blond boy was sitting near the fire, hunched over a book.

“Nice to know I’m not the only early bird around here,” Harry said by way of greeting. “You’re Patrick, right? I’m Harry.” Patrick looked up, revealing dancing brown eyes and light freckles on his nose and cheeks. He looked amused that Harry had introduced himself.

“Yes, my name’s Patrick, or Pat. And I, along with every other wizard and witch in the world, know that you’re Harry Potter, savior of us all. Ready to start another year? What are you going to save us all from this time ‘round?” Harry opened his mouth defensively before realizing that the other boy was joking.

“A giant swarm of nargles,” he replied with a straight face.

“Nargles? What on earth is a nargle?”

“I don’t know, but Luna Lovegood does. You should ask.”

“Do you at least know how to fight them?” Pat asked, wondering who Luna Lovegood was and what she had to do with nargles, whatever those were. He was pretty sure that if they existed they were pretty harmless, since Harry seemed amused at the idea of having to fight them.

“Of course not,” Harry replied. “They’re invisible.” Then he couldn’t stop it anymore and he grinned. Patrick smiled in response.

“How are you going to defend us all if you have no idea what you’re fighting or how to stop it?” He asked.

“Yeah…” Harry looked at him for a moment. “That’s just the problem, isn’t it?” Pat was pretty sure they weren’t talking about nargles anymore.

“Harry! You’re up early,” exclaimed a very awake and energetic Hermione. “Hey Pat. How was your summer?”

“Fine Hermione. Yours?” He answered, smiling at her as she came down the stairs.

“Good, I suppose. Shall we go down to breakfast?” She glanced up at the door to the boys dormitory. “Do you think we should wait for Ron?”

“No, I think he and Dean are skipping breakfast.” Harry grabbed his bag and slung it over his shoulder. “Something about finishing the summer Transfiguration assignment.” The three gathered their things, Hermione shooting disapproving glances in the general direction of the boys’ staircase. Neville walked slowly down, and joined them as they exited the common room.

Hermione watched as Harry approached the Potions classroom looking glum, but she knew his mind wasn’t really on the upcoming lesson, and the look was one he carefully maintained in this class, because he was expected to. He was supposed to be arrogant and stupid, and become furious at Snape when the man told him so, but in reality, he didn’t care much, until the man was cruel about his dad, and even then he overplayed his reaction. He sat down next to Hermione and waited. The door opened, banging against the stone wall. The drama. I suppose intimidation is one way to go.

“You are the few who have selected to continue with NEWT level potions, and I believe even fewer of you than this should be here. This class requires intelligence, instinct, and dedication in order to succeed. I have no doubt some of you will do very well. Others…” At this point he turned his gaze to Harry, and Hermione saw surprise flicker briefly in his eyes. He recovered quickly, “will do little more than flounder pathetically in the complexities and subtleties that are potion brewing. Fortunately for me, Professor Slughorn is the one that will have to drag you along through the curriculum like a dead weight.”

This announcement was met with shocked silence. Professor Slughorn is teaching potions? But that means Professor Snape… She looked at Harry. He raised his eyebrows, but didn’t betray any other emotion. The rest of the class went by without any major incidents, though Harry’s Dreamless Sleep potion was a shade or two lighter than the vibrant purple it should have been. She saw him adding beetle legs and touched his arm to stop him. “Those aren’t in the instructions!” she whispered furiously. He grinned at her and dropped them in. The potion immediately darkened and thickened slightly, and a pleasant smelling steam began to rise from his cauldron.

“Instructions are boring. This will taste better anyway.”

“You know, you’d get better grades if you didn’t experiment in class.”

“Exams are all that count. With all the extra reading and studying we did last year and this summer, we could both pass our NEWTS now if we wanted to.”

“But maybe certain teachers wouldn’t be as unpleasant if you just did what you were supposed to, and made an attempt to keep grades up.”

“Maybe certain teachers need to get girlfriends and they wouldn’t be so grouchy.”

“And maybe, Mr. Potter, certain students should refrain from speculation and they would actually produce passable potions. Thirty points from Gryffindor and a detention this evening at 7:00.” Snape glided away, robes billowing.

Harry glared daggers at his back while whispering to Hermione, “We’ll have to meet in the ROR tomorrow instead. The potion won’t be ready ‘till then anyway, right?”

“Right. Now shut up, and vial this potion.”

“Yes ma’am.” She watched his as he ladled the potion into a small glass vial and brought it up to the front to hand in. Malfoy passed her table as she was packing up, and smirked at her, amusement in his ice-blue eyes.

“Potty’s got a knack for getting into trouble, hasn’t he Granger? First period of the first day? That’s got to be a record.” She smirked sarcastically back at him.

The rest of the day passed uneventfully, though by suppertime Hermione had enough homework to take up the rest of the night, and then some. Maybe I shouldn’t take so many classes, but all of them are interesting, and I can’t think of anything I’m taking that won’t come in handy later. She looked around the Great Hall. Harry wasn’t there, having finished quickly to cram in some homework before his detention. Ron, Dean, Seamus, and a couple fifth years were discussing Quidditch. Lavander and Pavarti were sitting across from her, talking too fast for her to catch what they were saying. Ginny and the Creevy brothers had their heads together and were conversing quietly a ways down the table. She narrowed her eyes. I think the youngest Weasley might be trying to fill the shoes of her most troublesome brothers. That will make life more… interesting. Over at the Slytherin table, she noticed Malfoy talking with a group of first years, and that his bodyguards were sitting at the other end of the table, sulking.

“Hello. Can I sit here?” Patrick was standing behind her, carrying an armful of books.

“Sure Pat. How’s school so far?” She scooted over a little to make room for him to sit.

“Ugh,” he replied, gesturing to his stack of books sitting next to him on the table, and the overflowing book bag on the floor. “Homework overload. And I thought OWL year was bad.” She raised her eyebrows.

“Maybe I should drop some classes before next year…”

“Transfiguration is the worst. Ten feet of parchment on transfiguring humans. But at least we have two weeks to work on that; Snape assigned a three-footer for tomorrow.”

“I’m actually pretty good with Transfiguration. If you want some help with the research, let me know,” Hermione offered.

“Thanks. I might take you up on that. If you ever need help in Arithmancy, that’s my strong suit. I’m useless in Transfiguration and Defense.” Pat glared at the DADA text on the table.

“Get Harry to help you with Defense. He’s brilliant at it, and I think he could use some help with Arithmancy himself.”

“Harry’s taking Arithmancy? He doesn’t seem the type…”

“He’s not in the class, but he studies it on his own.” Pat raised an eyebrow, and Hermione looked down at her plate. Harry didn’t like people to know how much he studied, and how much he knew. He always said life was easier if people underestimated you. Pat didn’t inquire any further. “You think he’d actually help me with Defense?”

“I know he would.” Hermione smiled. “Actually, we had a club last year, I don’t know if you heard about it, but we got together to practice defensive spells, and it really helped in class. I think we’re starting it again this year, so if you want to join, let me know.”

“Thanks Hermione. I don’t know if I’ll have time, but I’ll think about it.

Severus wrote a biting comment in the corner of a second year Hufflepuff’s potions essay. Of course Slughorn would arrive after all the summer assignments are graded. Nevermind that it means twice as much work for me, and therefore twice the headache. He pinched the bridge of his nose, and sighed. I hate this job. There was a knock at the door, and Severus glanced at the clock. 6:55. The brat was early.

“Come in.” The door opened to reveal the boy-who-lived-to-annoy. For the second time that day, he did a double take when he looked at the boy. James and Harry had fused in Severus’s mind into one very annoying Potter. Now he could see Lily, and was forced to acknowledge that Harry was her son too, not just James’s. He couldn’t just avoid looking at his eyes, and pretend this Potter was his childhood enemy. He was Lily’s son. Lily, who he couldn’t hate, though he had tried. And there was something else too, something about the way Potter looked now that was unsettling, that was wrong.

“I’m here for my detention Professor.” The boy’s voice shook him out of his reverie.

“Obviously. You will scrub those cauldrons over there, and you may leave when I am satisfied as to their cleanliness. I will hold onto your wand so as to be assured you are not taking shortcuts.” To Severus’s surprise, the boy simply nodded and handed over his wand before walking over to the sink. Maybe those Occlumency lessons taught him something. Not for the first time, he felt guilt over the intensity of his reaction when he found the boy in his Pensieve. His anger, of course, was justified, but throwing the boy halfway across the room was not. He hadn’t really meant to do that. I didn’t realize the boy was so light. A fifteen year old shouldn’t weigh so little. No doubt starving himself to be lighter on his broom for Quidditch season. He didn’t believe that though, and another twinge of guilt accosted him. He should have reported Potter’s relatives’ behavior to Dumbledore when he saw instances of their cruelty in the boy’s mind, even if he believed the headmaster must have already known. He looked over at the teenager, who was bent over a cauldron, scrubbing hard at something at the bottom. Severus shook his head, and went back to grading essays.

“Professor? I’m finished.” At Potter’s voice he looked up from the paper he was reading and glanced at the clock. Almost 11:00! Well after curfew. I shouldn’t have kept him so late.

“Very well Potter, you may go.” He returned the boy’s wand to him. Potter pocketed it and exited the room. Severus stared at the door for a moment after he was gone contemplating the mystery that Potter had become.

Chapter End Notes:
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