Potions and Snitches
Snape and Harry Gen Fanfiction Archive

Master Snape
Hermione knocked on McGonagall’s office door. It was lunchtime and the trio hoped she was in her office. They could have waited until tonight but she would probably want to hear about this as soon as possible. Harry, changed back into his school robes, hung back, his hands jammed in his pockets. Ron had been trying and failing to make Harry laugh the entire way over here from the hospital wing. Harry was too worried to laugh. What if this really was Nox rubrum and he’d die in ten days? Not even ten, closer to eight days now.

“What’s this?” McGonagall answered, clearly surprised to see Ron and Hermione at her door. “Shouldn’t you be at lunch?” She saw Harry lingering behind the pair. “Feeling better, Potter?”

“No.” He muttered.

“Please, Professor.” Hermione said, holding her book. “It’s about Harry and his being sick. I think you should hear this.”

“Oh, well, come in then.” She stepped aside. Her office was spacious. The tall windows let in loads of sun and the edges of the lake could be seen down below, glittering. She gestured to her sofa and the three of them sat, Hermione in the middle. McGonagall waved her wand absently and four cups of tea and a tray of sandwiches appeared on the table in front of them. McGonagall sat in an armchair, tea in hand, and waited patiently. Hermione took a deep breath and filled her in, recounting nearly every word she’d read aloud back in the hospital wing. Ron picked up a sandwich while she spoke and chewed quietly, thinking.

“Are we certain this is the potion Potter has consumed?” McGonagall asked when she was done, glancing at Harry. He was staring off the side, his elbow propped on the sofa arm, his fist pressed up against his mouth.

Harry sighed. “My symptoms match exactly with what the book says. I have the tingling and, and I had the nightmares.” He shrugged.

“Professor,” Hermione said, “if no one drinks the Solis argenti, Harry will die.”

McGonagall pursed her lips. “We don’t know for sure this is Nox rubrum…” she glanced at each of them, taking in their concerned expressions. “But I take your point. Remind me, what were the requirements for the ‘master’s potion’ in this situation? The, ah, Solis argenti?”

“Over thirty.” Ron said, swallowing his sandwich.

“Able to maintain relatively close physical proximity.” Hermione said.

“Good at potions.” Harry finished in a dull tone.

“Well,” McGonagall said. “There’s only one man I can think of that meets all three criteria.”

They all said at the same time, “Professor Snape.”

Professor Snape was not in the best of tempers. Playing at being on both Voldemort’s and Dumbledore’s side was exhausting and the trip he had just come back from had lasted far longer than he wanted. His plan was to get back to Hogwarts well before the start of term so he would have ample time to prepare his lessons. So much for that. He’d been informed his classes were being taught by Remus Lupin. In terms of substitute teachers, it could be far worse.

He’d dropped his things in his quarters and tossed his damp travel cloak across a chair to dry by the fire. Now he was sitting in his office in his comfortable desk chair with a couple fingers of firewhisky spiked with a relaxation potion. Already a stack of worksheets waited to be graded and Lupin had confiscated some kind of silly joke device from a group of first years. He was glad to be back at Hogwarts, however, and looked forward to staying put in the castle for the time being. Voldemort was as content as he could be expected to be and Snape was looking forward to a nice easy first week to get back in the swing of things. No surprises, no more long trips, just routine.


A sharp rap on the door. He took a deep breath, wondering vaguely what fresh hell this was, and went to open it.

“Minerva.” He said neutrally.

“Severus, I apologize for the sudden call. I know you’ve just returned.”

The door opened further and Snape’s sallow face appeared. Harry exchanged a look with his friends. None of them wanted to talk to Snape.

“We’re in a bit of a pickle, potion-wise.” McGonagall said. “Do you have a moment? It’s urgent.”

Snape saw Hermione, Ron, and Harry and his lip curled. “What now?” He opened the door further. “What did they do?”

The four of them piled in. Snape’s dungeon office was similar in size to McGonagall’s, though lacked the windows overlooking the lake. A fire crackled on the far side of the space, taking the edge off the dungeon’s persistent chill. Hermione simply opened the thin book that detailed the Draught of Asphodel, handed it to him, and showed him where the passage was. She wisely figured Snape would want to take in the information himself and not hear it from her secondhand.

They were quiet as he read through it, his brows rising ever higher. He went back to his desk and sat.

“Sounds like a nasty potion.” He said. “Why are you showing this to me?”

Hermione fidgeted and handed him the other book. He glanced it over. “Sir,” she said, “because we think Harry drank the Nox rubrum.”

Snape blinked at her, shocked, and looked at McGonagall, a silent ‘explain’ on his face. McGonagall recounted escorting Harry to the hospital wing. Harry jumped in and explained how had taken a potion at his blasted godfather’s and experienced all sorts of unpleasant symptoms, which Miss Granger so conveniently showed him in the two tomes she’d borrowed from the library. When Snape was all up to speed, he paused, thinking.

“This is a very dark potion.” He said after a moment. “Servi amicus means “servant’s friend” and Geminos essentia, Twin essence.” He glanced back at the thin book. “The suggestion of ‘master and slave’ indicates it could possibly have ties to the Imperius curse. For this potion, this Nox rubrum, to infiltrate a person’s body so thoroughly to the point where it can detect transgression—read the host’s mind, in a sense—and then unleash a sort of physical warning system, one that then responds to external physical stimuli…that’s incredibly complex and unusual on it’s own.”

He picked up his tumbler of firewhisky and tilted the glass in a slow circle, staring at it absently as he spoke. The amber red liquid flashed in the firelight. “The existence of the second half of this potion, the Solis argenti, adds another layer of complexity. The Nox rubrum, while inside a live body, senses the presence of the Solis argenti in another live body. Somehow. It recognizes its other half and together both potions have some symbiotic connection. How they sense each other I can’t even begin to guess. The Nox rubrum produces unpleasant sensations until it detects that the host who has consumed Solis argenti has appropriately ‘punished’ its own host.” He paused. Dark as it was, it was utterly fascinating. All potions were interesting but this was a whole other animal, one he’d not encountered before.

He looked at Harry, who seemed like he was going to faint. “Did you see Madame Pomfrey?”

Harry nodded.

“What did she say?”

“She ran an assessment. The ingredients she found were weird.”

“Excellent.” Snape said. He set his tumbler down with a thump and glanced down at the library book, open on his desk. “I’ll need those results.”

“Severus,” McGonagall said, “do you really think he consumed Nox rubrum?”

“Potter, remind me.” He said after a moment, “where did you get this potion?”

“Mundungus Fletcher.”

“Mundungus Fletcher.” Snape repeated. “What possessed you to drink anything that man offered?”

“He said it was a healing potion!” Harry snapped. “It looked like a healing potion, it tasted like a healing potion…mostly.”

“Mostly?” Snape repeated.

“It was more bitter than usual.”

“Because it probably wasn’t a healing potion!” Irritated, Snape flipped pages in the book until he found the Solis argenti, complete with ingredients list and instructions. He laughed mirthlessly. “Well Potter, you certainly know how to pick a potion.”

“I wouldn’t have—!”

“—The chances that you actually consumed Nox rubrum are astronomically slim, but, not impossible. Where did Mundungus acquire it?”

“I don’t know. He had a bunch if potions in a bag and he gave me one.” Harry snapped his mouth shut and his ears went hot. It sounded really stupid when he said it out loud.

Snape rubbed his temples and wished for strength for himself and a brain for Potter. “If this is Draught of Asphodel and if you actually consumed Nox rubrum, you need a host for the Solis argenti, lest you die. How long has it been since you wisely drank this mystery potion out of a bag that may or may not be Nox rubrum?”

“It’s been almost three days.” Harry said a dull tone.

“So you need a companion host in a week or we shall be having ourselves a Potter funeral.”

“Severus, is there anything you can do?” McGonagall asked.

“The Solis argenti is simple enough.” Snape said, looking at the book. “It’s listed right here. I have all the ingredients in my stores now.” He ran his finger down the ingredients list and glanced over the directions. “It has to sit overnight. Bit fiddly to brew, looks like.”

McGonagall exhaled. “Are there side effects?”

“None.” Snape said, reading some more. “These ingredients are basic. Anyone who consumes Solis argenti even without the presence of the Nox rubrum wouldn’t have any untoward side effects.”

“Then how does it work?” Harry asked, his voice nervous and tight. “If it’s so common, how does it…speak, or whatever, to the Noxer bum, uh…”

“Nox rubrum.” Snape corrected, “and…I don’t know.” He looked at them. “It’s possible there’s something unusual in the Nox rubrum that can communicate to one of the basic ingredients in the Solis argenti. Or it could be that some of the ingredients in the Nox rubrum when combined, create an entirely different compound that on it’s own can ‘speak’ to the Solis argenti…” He glanced up at them. The students looked lost and Minerva’s mouth was in a thin, worried line. Snape changed course. “There’s not enough information here.” He said finally. “I would need to do more research and without knowing the ingredients of the Nox rubrum, it’s impossible to make any conjectures. This is a unique and rare potion and we are going to have questions for a while yet. I need that assessment from Poppy.”

McGonagall looked troubled. “Then you shall receive it. If Harry has taken this potion, he needs a companion host, correct?”

Snape sighed, seeing precisely where this was going. He’d read the host requirements for the ‘master’ half of this problem.

“Yes.” He said, burdened.

McGonagall stared at him. “Are you going to make me ask?”

Snape sighed. “I could do it?” He said through grit teeth. He looked at Harry. “If Potter has witlessly consumed Nox rubrum—and that is a big if—then…I will be Potter’s master.”

“Does it have to be that word?” Harry said weakly. This couldn’t be happening. This was a nightmare. This was the worst day of his fucked up life.

“Harry.” McGonagall said. “Do you accept Professor Snape to assume the ‘master’ role?”

Harry opened his mouth, paused, then said, “is there no one else?!”

“Who, Potter?” Snape snarled. He surged to his feet. Harry stepped back.

Harry thought quickly. Dumbledore? He was busy. McGonagall? She wasn’t a potions specialist. Lupin? Also not a potions specialist. There really was no one else. His thoughts went to Sirius but Sirius was not only all the way in London, Harry remembered him saying he got horrible marks in potions. One of the Weasleys?! No, that wouldn’t work. Fuck.

“Fine.” He sighed.

“How about a ‘thank you, Professor Snape, for taking time out of your busy schedule to deal with the mess I made?’”

“I’m not saying that.” Harry said.

“Excellent start, this.” McGonagall muttered under her breath.

“I shall brew the Solis argenti at once.” Snape said to her.

“Oh, brilliant!” McGonagall was beaming. Ron and Hermione smiled. Everyone looked relieved except Snape and Harry, who were glaring at each other.

“Potter, a word.” Snape growled through grit teeth.

“Come on you two, lunch is almost over. Harry, take as long as you need with Severus and then go to class.”

“Yeah...” Harry said. There was a loud buzzing ringing high in his ears as McGonagall and Ron and Hermione left. Soon, it was just Harry and Snape.

“Potter, come back here tomorrow before classes start. The book states that you and I must be in close proximity when I drink this potion. Let’s not chance it with you being on the opposite side of the castle, or doing Merlin knows what in the Forbidden Forest or such.”

“Yes, sir.” Harry said miserably. “Do you really think this is Draught of Asphodel?”

“I don’t know, Potter.” Snape said. “But the best course of action is to assume it is until proven otherwise, given our timetable to your death.”

Harry nodded.

“Off with you.”

Harry dragged himself to his feet and left.

He was to be Snape’s servant. Snape was going to be his master. This was worse than stuff of his nightmares. His nightmares weren’t even this twisted.

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