Potions and Snitches
Snape and Harry Gen Fanfiction Archive

Chapter 4

Chapter Four:


The Gryffindor common room was exactly as he remembered it. 


He paid little attention to those who were present as McGonagall marched him through the room; he hadn’t spotted anyone he recognized, though he was paying close attention when they approached the dormitory door, McGonagall clearing her throat as she led Harry into the room. 


“Harry!” Remus greeted kindly, taking a step towards the boy, but falling still as McGonagall spoke. 


“Boys, we have a new transfer student this year. His name is Harry Pottingham, and will be joining you in your fifth year classes. I do hope you will be kind to him, introduce him to the rules and expectations of Gryffindor and the school, and treat him as part of your Gryffindor family.” Her gaze narrowed on Sirius, and she added, “Do not prank, initiate, or engage in any tomfoolery under any other phrase your new roommate - he has had a long day and doesn’t need to be inaugurated into your dormitory under duress.” 


“What?” 


“Don’t worry, Peter, I’m sure that one of your roommates can explain it to you in smaller words.” McGonagall retorted dryly. She put her hand on Harry’s shoulder, giving it a light squeeze, “Do come to me if you find yourself in need of anything.”


“Thank you, Professor McGonagall.” Harry replied with a genuine smile. 


As McGonagall disappeared, Remus guided Harry to the bed next to the door, “We were wondering why we had an extra bed all of a sudden; it makes complete sense now. This will be your bed, desk, and set of drawers. Mine are next to yours - we all have our own space, but don’t let that fool you thinking there’s much privacy here. If you go through that door over there,” he motioned to a doorway across the room, “you’ll find the toilets. Did she show you around the rest of the tower? Across the way are the girls dorms, but we aren’t allowed in there, they’re enchanted to keep boys out--”


“Which we are hoping to overcome this year, eh James?” Sirius proclaimed loudly, leaping over Remus’s bed and landing in front of Harry, who looked startled by Sirius’s abundance of energy, “Welcome, Harry. My name is Sirius, Sirius Black.” He motioned to the other two boys, “That’s Peter Pettigrew, and this handsome lug--” he took a few steps to reach for James and pull him by the collar to where Harry and Remus stood, “This is James Potter.”


“You’re the kid who was sick on the train.” James commented, realization dawning on his face, “Feeling better now?”


“Loads.” Harry replied, finding that it was true - now that the situation was under some sort of control, he was feeling much more like himself. “Sorry about that.” 


Sirius laughed, sounding much happier and carefree than Harry had ever heard him before, “Don’t be - things like that happen. At least it wasn’t because you lifted a bottle of firewhiskey from your parents and decided to have a party in your train compartment.” Sirius nudged James in the ribs, the grimace on James’s face and the glee on Sirius’s indicating that this was a true story. 


James rolled his eyes, shoving Sirius lightly, “If I recall, that wasn’t my idea, that was the brainchild of a certain houseguest of mine.”


“Actually, I think an idea that terrible could have only been hatched by you two conspiring together.” Remus retorted, his voice stern but his face giving away the fact that he thought it had been just as funny as the other two boys had.


Peter frowned from his bed, “We got in a lot of trouble for that.”


“And who was to blame for that?” Sirius asked, turning around with a raised eyebrow, “As I remember it, we had the situation under control--”


“We did not have the situation under control.” Remus whispered to Harry, his eyes twinkling with laughter. 


“We had the situation under control.” Sirius reiterated firmly, “But someone can’t hold their drink, got paranoid that they’d get caught, and ratted us out to a prefect.”


“I didn’t rat you out--”


“Yeah, Peter, you did.” James jumped in, rolling his eyes, “You can’t ask a prefect a hypothetical question about alcohol while smelling like the inside of a bottle.”


“Sorry.” 


Harry noticed that Peter did have the good sense to look ashamed. Just the sight of the other boy, though, made Harry want to pull out his wand. He had forgotten Pettigrew would be part of the group of boys he wanted to spend time with; it was hard to picture the one who betrayed them as part of their group - every time he had pictured his parents and their friends in school, Pettigrew was missing from the mental images he created. He wished he could make Pettigrew disappear right now, too, but knew he couldn’t. Even if he hadn’t told Dumbledore that he would be careful not to reveal the future, he knew that not only would the others not believe him if he told them Pettigrew was going to sell them out to Voldemort, but if he disclosed something so important to them he could mess up everything.


“It was worth the detentions.” Sirius proclaimed, “So, new kid--”


“Harry.” every other boy in the dorm corrected. 


“Right, yes, Harry. What are you?”


“What am I?” Harry asked, confused. 


Sirius nodded, circling the boy as if trying to decide something, “Yes, what are you? Do you keep your nose in a book? Do you play quidditch? Do you like to have fun? Do you like to chase skirts?”


“I don’t think I’m just one thing.” Harry replied, still a bit confused by the line of questioning and honestly not sure how to answer. He wasn’t just one type of student or one type of person, and neither were these boys. “I mean, I don’t particularly like to read and study, but I do it when I have to. I do like quidditch and to have fun. Girls are nice.”


“Girls are nice.” James laughed, “Did you hear that, Sirius? Girls are nice.” 


“Shut up.” Harry grumbled good naturedly, familiar with this sort of teasing because of the time he’d spent with Fred and George, “You know what I mean.”


“He’s clearly never met Viola Avery.” Sirius grinned, “I can’t think of a single thing about her that’s nice.”


“She’s nice to look at.” Peter offered from his bed, not bothering to look up from the comic book he was reading. 


“Ew, gross, no.” Sirius retorted, throwing Remus’s pillow at Peter, “I wonder about your taste in girls, Peter.”


“You know who is nice to look at?” James asked, seemingly distracted easily by the topic of girls and their looks. 


“Lily Evans.” Remus, Sirius, and Peter said in unison. 


“You’ve only told us a hundred-”


“A million!”


“Sixteen trillion times.”


“Oh shove off.” James muttered, “You have to admit, she’s nice on the eyes. And she’s gotten taller this summer and let her hair grow out some.”


“She’s too smart to be interested in a guy like you.” Remus teased, dodging a Bertie Bott’s bean that James threw at him in retaliation, “I’m pretty sure she thinks you’re a prat, anyway.”


Sirius was quick to pick up where Remus stopped, “Not to mention that she is friendly with Snivellus. Anyone who can stand to be friends with that one isn’t worth the trouble.”


“You’ve got a point there.” James agreed, “Although the fact that she can find good in anybody means she’s genuinely a nice person. You’d have to be, to find something likeable about Snivellus.” 


“He’s not that bad.” Remus argued, but fell silent as his friends gave him an incredulous look in response. 


Sirius grabbed the box of jelly beans from James’s hand and popped one in his mouth, pulling a face and spitting it out just as quickly, “All we’re saying is that the chances of Lily Evans ever thinking of you in a romantic way are nearly zero, mate.”


“You’ll see.” James promised, seemingly rising to the challenge, “Just you wait.”


Sirius popped another Every Flavour Bean in his mouth and then spit it out with a scowl, “Why do I always get the nasty ones?”


Remus reached into the box, taking a random bean and chewing it cautiously, “I got a cherry flavoured one.” 


“Couldn’t be me.” Sirius grumbled, then turned to his friends with an inspired look, “What do you say we go down to the kitchens for a snack.”


“We literally just ate.” Remus replied, clearly accustomed to being the voice of logic within the group.


James took the box of Bertie Botts and dropped them on his bed, “Mate, it’s been at least an hour since the feast and I’m a growing boy. Let’s do it.”


“Your trousers will be the only thing growing if you keep eating like this.” Peter spoke up, clearly trying to make a joke and looking down in embarrassment when the other boys only stared at him, straightfaced. 


“You coming, Harry?” Sirius asked as the four mates migrated to the doorway, “The more, the merrier.”


“Not to mention we need all of the eyes we can get - we need to keep an eye out for the prefects. You know how eager they are to prove themselves at the start of term.” James added, indicating his approval at the invitation. 


“Isn’t Remus a prefect?” Harry asked, raising an eyebrow. 


The other boys started to laugh, and Harry felt a warmth spread through his body, flowing like blood through his veins. They were just like he’d pictured them. They were brilliant. Never in a million years did he think he’d ever get an opportunity to talk to his father, and here he was being included with him and his mates as if he belonged to their group. 


It was all fun and games until they reached the common room and ran, quite literally, into Lily. 


“Where do you think you’re going?” Lily snapped peevishly, “It’s past curfew.”


“Ah, yes, we’ve found ourselves an eager new prefect, just as expected.” Sirius told his friends knowingly, “I didn’t expect it to happen so soon.”


“Remus! Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall made you a prefect because they trusted your ability to uphold the rules. Do you really think they would want you encouraging - and participating in! - sneaking around the castle?” Lily continued, ignoring Sirius’s commentary. She paused, as if just now realizing they had another member to their group, “And Harry - you shouldn’t be running around the castle when you’ve been ill. You need to go right to bed.”


Harry could see the moment the marauders realized Lily had just given them an out. Surprisingly, it was Remus who spoke up.


“I’m well aware of my responsibility, Lily.” Harry had always pictured Remus to be the Hermione of their parents’ group, and he was pleased to find that the more reserved of the group was a quick thinker and convincing liar like Hermione could be, when needed. 


Remus motioned to Harry, continuing, “As you said, Harry’s been ill. We were just escorting him to the hospital wing to get checked over.” he paused, then continued, “Unless, of course, you’re suggesting we send him alone, even though he’s unwell and new here?”


“Of course not!” 


“With the staircases moving around and the labyrinth of the hallways, he’d probably get hurt, and the blame would lie on us.” Remus added, “We’re looking out for our new roommate.”


The other boys looked at Harry expectantly, and he tried his best to look pathetic and ill. He supposed he must have been believable enough, because Lily moved out of their way, those she questioned, “Does it really take four of you to escort him?”


“And if he collapses on the way? Do you really think Remus here could get Harry all the way to Pomfrey without help?” James scoffed, “No offense, Remus. We’re just thinking of all possible outcomes. We’re mature now.”


“As opposed to two hours ago, when you shoved a pea up Pettigrew’s nose?” Lily asked cynically, “I don’t know what you lot are up to, but I don’t think involving the new kid in your shenanigans will get him off on the right start.”


“We’re just going to the hospital wing, Evans.” Sirius huffed in exasperation, “Honestly, you’re a prefect, not our mother.” 


“Thank Merlin for that.”


“I’m wounded.” Sirius replied, deadpan. 


Moments later, they were out in the hallway, and both James and Sirius were patting Harry on the back and messing with his hair. James nudged Harry with a bright grin, “You were brilliant Harry, you didn’t miss a beat there. You’ll fit right in, in no time.”


Harry grinned, ducking his head so they couldn’t see him flush with embarrassment at the praise. He hadn’t expected them to like him, for some reason, but was relieved that they had taken him under their wing and included them right away. He hadn’t expected that at all; the boys were known to be a tight knit group. For a brief moment, he considered staying and not returning back to his timeline. Ron and Hermione’s faces flashed through his mind, but for once, it didn’t cause a pang of sadness. 



~*~


As it turned out, Harry was a much better fifth year student the second time around. 


During the first week of classes, Harry had done so extraordinarily well in Defence that their Professor Laughlin had allowed him to demonstrate some of the spells they were using. 


Professor Flitwick was so thrilled with his Charms work that he had awarded Gryffindor 40 points over the course of a double lesson, which offset the points Sirius had lost that same morning when he’d coloured the hair of every Slytherin in the great hall a bright pink. 


McGonagall had complimented his Transfiguration work, and he had been the only student who could turn the leaf into a squirrel and back. He was astonished to find that even Potions had gone well; although that could have been due to the fact that he had been paired with Snape. 


“I see you’ve recovered nicely from your illness.” Severus told him on Friday morning during their double lesson, “Without the sunburn and the vomit, you nearly resemble James Potter.”


Harry wasn’t sure how to respond, his palms suddenly sweaty and his heart racing. Severus wasn’t the first to notice a resemblance, but he certainly was one of the people Harry felt were bright enough to figure out his secret. 


“Though, I suppose Potter is reminiscent of vomit...sour, unpleasant, and not something you’d want to be afflicted with.”


Harry glanced over at James, who was ignoring his cauldron and trying to get Lily’s attention with little success. He wanted to be angry at Snape’s remarks about his father, but he found he couldn’t really bring himself to get riled up when he recalled the way James and Sirius had bullied Snape both in the memories he’d watched a few months back and since the school year began in this timeline. In the same situation, he probably would have had nasty things to say about his bully as well. 


“Do you really think I resemble him?” Harry asked, his tone implying that it was a ridiculous comparison in hopes of deflecting it, “I don’t see it.”


Severus shrugged, as if he didn’t care enough to want to finish talking about it, “I try not to spend too much time analysing Potter and his friends. Grab the eel eyes, and I will get the terry beet roots.”


Harry did as he was told, reading the instructions carefully. He certainly didn’t want to mess everything up like he normally did in potions; Snape may be a teenager now, but Harry was certain he knew enough curses and hexes to make his life miserable. 


“Chop the roots into 2 cm uniform pieces.” Severus instructed, “I will need 26 of them.”


“The instructions say they need to be cut into 3 cm squares.” Harry replied, pointing at the book with his finger. He looked at Snape, who didn’t look particularly pleased at being questioned. Some things never change. 


Severus sighed, placing the pestle he had just picked up back down onto the table, “You could use 3 cm squares, but if you use 2 cm pieces and stir in a pattern of 5 times clockwise and 2 counterclockwise, the potion will be completed 14 minutes sooner, giving us the only fully completed and perfect sample in the classroom. Slughorn will wet himself with excitement, and we’ll get points.”


“You’re absolutely brilliant.” Harry replied in awe, his statement truthful. He honestly had no idea potions could be manipulated like this, and he wondered why Snape never told them about these changes when he was actually teaching the class. His mind wandered as he chopped, and he pictured the potions classroom in his timeline. Was that how Malfoy always managed to achieve the highest marks? Did Hermione change the rules, too? He forced himself to concentrate, and decided that Hermione probably followed the text instructions perfectly. 


Severus’s cheeks turned the slightest bit pink at Harry’s praise and he was silent for a few moments before offering, “Lily and I practice potion making in our spare time - in the student lab. If you want to check out some other tips and tricks, you’re more than welcome to join us sometime.”


“Really? Thanks!” Harry replied, genuinely pleased. He couldn’t believe he’d willingly spend more time with Snape, but Lily….after she had spotted him goofing off with James and his friends, she had become much more distant than she had originally been, and he regretted it.


The rest of the period was quiet, the two working together amicably but focused more on their work than socializing. It wasn’t uncomfortable and Harry was surprised to find that working with teen Snape was actually quite pleasant - he made a good partner, better than Hermione, who had a tendency to take over their potions when they worked together so it would be done correctly, and better than Ron, who was just as awful as potions as Harry himself was. Severus made sure Harry did his share of the work, but guided him through things that he was doing incorrectly or didn’t know how to do. Sure, he wasn’t as fun to talk to as his own friends from his own time, but it hadn’t been so bad. He’d even realized that Snape’s quick, snarky wit was a bit amusing when it wasn’t directed at him or his friends. 


Once the class period ended, Severus asked Harry to wait, and crossed the room to speak with Lily, who looked back at Harry and then nodded. They finished putting away Lily’s supplies, then met up with Harry as he finished doing the same. 


“Sev says you’d like to brew with us.” Lily commented to Harry, her eyes bright in a way that spoke volumes to Harry about her interest and excitement in potion making. “We meet in the student lab over the weekend and sometimes during free periods, has anyone shown you where that is?”


Harry hadn’t even known there was a student lab.


He shook his head, and allowed Lily and Severus to lead the way down the hall and into a room that Harry had never noticed before. He wondered if this no longer existed in his time, or if he had just walked by it hundreds of times without paying attention.


“In this cupboard you will find supplies that anyone can use. Most of them come from the herbology classes or students who enjoy gathering materials.” Lily explained, leading Harry to the far corner of the room to show him. 


Sev added, “And some come from students who have had detention with Slughorn - those students that he particularly likes. If I were teaching this class, I’d make my students disembowel remains to harvest ingredients. Nothing deters bad behavior like guts and eyeballs.”


Harry snorted, having been on the receiving end of such a detention from Snape in the past, and added, “Or scrubbing out crusty cauldrons. That would probably be a good deterrent.”


He was well familiar with that type of detention, as well. 


“I’d just make students write lines.” Lily contributed, leaning against a table with a thoughtful expression, “It’s boring and tedious - I’d much rather be doing something active like cleaning or separating ingredients than sitting still and writing the same thing over and over again.”


Severus raised an eyebrow, asking, “And when a student decides they’re just going to use a replicating spell to do their lines for them?”


“I’d tell them not to use magic.” Lily retorted, “I’d know if they were cheating.”


“And if they could cast nonverbal or wandless spells, then how would you know?”


Lily paused, thinking it through. Harry assumed she must not have had a sufficient response, because she instead declared, “I’d be such an amazing teacher that no one would want to misbehave in my class, therefore there’d be no reason to give out detentions.” 


“They’d still misbehave.” Harry and Severus said in unison, both pausing before Severus continued, “You can’t put a bunch of kids with different personalities, temperaments and interests in one room and expect them to behave all of the time. Even if you have a fun and engaging class, there will still be little miscreants who want to spoil everything for everyone else.”


“Maybe I’d be different.” Lily said airily, and Harry grinned - he recognized that desire not to admit defeat to his mates. 


Severus was silent for a moment, then conceded, “If anyone could do it, it would be you.”


Lily smiled, clearly pleased, then resumed her tour of the lab. 


“The rules are pretty simple,” Severus told Harry once Lily had shown him where everything was kept, “We can’t brew anything illegal or dangerous. The ‘dangerous’ part is a bit flexible, since what one person considers dangerous is not what another might, but generally speaking, anything poisonous or explosive is off limits. We have to clean up after ourselves and Professor Slughorn prefers we work with a partner or group rather than alone, just in case of an emergency, especially if we are experimenting with different methodologies.”


“Mostly we just practice and tweak what we worked on in class, and sometimes we brew some healing potions for the hospital wing.” Lily told Harry, “Madam Pomfrey appreciates it and it gives us extra practice. With OWLs this year, any and all practice is useful.”


“This is brilliant.” Harry said appreciatively, “Thank you for showing me and inviting me to come with you guys.” This was one piece of information he’d need to file away for when he returned back to his time. Never again would they need to brew in the abandoned girls’ bathroom. 


“Not many people take my advice when I tell them we can achieve better results by modifying the recipe for a potion - you not only listened, but you asked questions. You probably aren’t as ignorant and insufferable as the typical Gryffindor boy.” Severus replied, as if that explained his reasoning for including Harry. Harry thought over the words for a moment, realizing that maybe it did, in a very subtle Slytherin way.


Silence fell over the room, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. After a few minutes Lily, who had been flipping through a book someone had left on a countertop, stretched and announced, “We’re going to the lake. Harry, are you coming along?”


Harry looked expectantly at Severus, trying to gauge the boy’s reaction to see if he would be welcome there. Severus rolled his eyes, then followed Lily to the doorway. “You’d better hurry up, Pottingham - she has a habit of changing her mind without warning, so we might end up anywhere.” 


Seeing the invitation for what it is, Harry hurried to tag along.






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