Potions and Snitches
Snape and Harry Gen Fanfiction Archive

Saturday morning was chilly and cloudy and Harry vowed to do some homework. As much as he hated to admit it, Hermione was right. The winter holidays were imminent and their O.W.Ls were approaching on swift wings. If he had any hope of getting decent marks, he had to study…and catch up on last week’s homework….and this week’s too if was being honest….

“Have you done any homework in the past two weeks?” Hermione asked as Harry pulled out book after book. They were in the common room early, hoping to get some good work in before everyone else woke up and the weather turned decent this afternoon. They’d invited Ron last night, but he’d given a wishy-washy answer. Harry was pretty sure he wouldn’t show. Ron had been distant since Halloween, leaving Harry and Hermione alone and occasionally throwing a glare in Harry’s direction. Harry had no idea why Ron was upset with him and that really hurt. Dealing with this potion was stressful and Harry wished his other best friend was at his side.

“Er, not as such…”

“Oh Harry, why? Fifth year is—”

“—We’ve had a lot of extra quidditch practices and not to mention I’ve been a bit preoccupied with the whole ‘I drank a potion that makes me Snape’s slave’ thing, Hermione! Get off me, I’m trying my best.”

She went silent and opened her ink pot.

“Sorry.” Harry muttered. “There’s just a lot going on. I don’t mean to be a such a bell end.”

“It’s okay.” She said, meaning it. “I know you’re having a hard time.”

Harry started with Herbology. He drew a satisfactory approximation of a Bouncing Bulb and labeled all the parts. McGonagall had assigned them an essay on the difficulties of turning lifeless objects into living things and vice versa, in this case, of turning candlesticks into mice. Harry ignored that for now. He started outlining one of the assigned Potions essays that further explored the Draught of Peace—which he had gotten a bleeding zero on thanks to stupid Malfoy and stupid Snape. He wanted to do well on the essay as he had no desire to irritate Snape further. He had most of it down when Ron stumbled into the room, sleepy, hair tousled.

“Hey Ron.” Hermione said from the table.

“Hi.” Ron came over to them. “Get much done?” He asked after a few minutes.

“Yes.” Harry said, not looking at him.

“Come work with us.” Hermione said.

“No way, it’s Saturday.”

“Maybe before lunch we can go to the library,” Hermione said to Harry, “look up some of those ingredients in the Nox rubrum. Maybe we can find something that mentions the Draught or the antidote. Snape gave you a copy of the list, right?”

“Yeah.” Harry said dully. His assessment from Pomfrey had turned up a list of the ingredients found in Nox rubrum. Snape had shown him the list, (“well Potter, you sure put your foot in it deep”) and the ingredients were either rare, weird, or expensive.

“That way we can be finished for the day and enjoy ourselves this afternoon.” Hermione said.

“You mean you don’t want to spend the whole day doing work?” Harry said. “Are you sure you’re Hermione?”

“Shut up. It’s supposed to get sunny later and I want to enjoy it while I can.”

“Yeah, I want to fly today.”

Harry looked up at Ron to ask if he wanted to join him, but he was already stomping back up the steps.

Harry sighed. “Maybe Fred and George or Ginny will want to fly.”

Harry and Hermione had a quick breakfast in the Great Hall and headed for the library. They walked in, past the front desk that was occupied by the Ravenclaw student librarian. A nameplate on the desk read Zoe Bannister.

“Hermione.” She called as they passed. “Harry. Come here, have something for you.”

Curious, they came back. “Professor Snape ordered a bunch of books from other libraries. He said you might come in here looking for information on a special potion project?” She looked between Harry and Hermione, searching for recognition. She pushed some of her long dark hair behind on ear. “He was being weird about it.”

“He’s weird about everything.” Harry muttered.

Zoe smiled. “He snaps and snarls like an old dog but as long as you do what he says he’s not too bad. I have him for an independent study in Advanced Potions II this year.”

Harry couldn’t believe it. He’d never heard anyone defend Snape.

“Yeah!” Hermione said. “Yeah, that project…right, it’s like an extra credit thing.”

“Wicked.” Zoe went to a shelf behind the desk and brought three books to them. “He said you could read these in the library if you want, but don’t take them because he’s going to come get them.”

“Okay.” Hermione said. “Thanks, Zoe.”

They took the tomes to a table. They had the place to themselves for the most part. No one came to the library on a Saturday morning. Harry laid the list of ingredients out and they each took a book.

“What language is this?” Harry asked, staring at the swirling letters.

Hermione looked at it. “Could be Arabic? I’m going to try something, hold still.” She waved her wand, “babel lingua!” Harry stared at the words. Nothing happened. Then—

“Hey, the letters are changing!” Harry said. The ink was shifting and morphing into English words right on the page. “How’d you do that?”

“It’s an illusionary translation spell.” She said. “The words aren’t actually changing but to you they are.”

Harry hunkered down and read. It was dry going. The book was written more like an ancient textbook and Harry was soon flipping pages at random.

“Check the index or the contents table.” Hermione said, jotting some notes. “Look the ingredients up by name.”

Harry did so, scanning the index. “Dragon claw ooze!” He flipped to the page and read: “Difficult to acquire…only the claws of the Persian Sand Dragon contain the subtype of venom needed for potion-making…shy and secretive dragon thought to be located in the Nuristan region, aggressive when confronted, ah, it’s cry can make a person deaf!”

“Lovely creature.” Hermione said, jotting more notes.

“Ulgh, Hermione!” Harry tilted his head back and stared at the ceiling. “This is getting more and more hopeless.”

“Well then it’s a good thing we’re in a school surrounded by teachers who know their stuff.” She countered. “And, as much of a prat as Snape is, he’s one of the cleverest teachers in the school and he knows his stuff about potions. Everyone wants this fixed, you’re not alone.”

“Yeah but I’m the only one getting beat on.” He muttered.

They stayed in the library for an hour before the sunshine drew them outside. It was one of the rare decent-weather days that occasionally popped up amidst the usual dreary, wet, coldness of northern Scotland in early winter. The air was cool and brisk and Harry threw his red striped Gryffindor scarf on.

“It’s a perfect day to fly, come on!” He’d found Fred Weasley, who suggested a quidditch match. Harry agreed and they found Ginny and George, Katie Bell and Angelina Johnson and all were soon soaring around the quidditch pitch. It was glorious to feel the wind rushing past his ears, nothing but bright blue sky above and all his Snape-shaped problems far below deep in the dungeons. His stress from the last week melted away. He wished he could just fly on his Firebolt forever.

His stomach had other ideas and after a game of quidditch that was less a game and more informally tossing quaffles to each other with Harry occasionally zooming for the snitch, they piled into the Great Hall for lunch. That evening, Harry wrote to Sirius. He told him about his fun Saturday. He also mentioned the Draught of Asphodel and asked him if he could get Mundungus to give him any more information.

It ’s rough, Snuffles. Believe it or not it made the most sense for Snape of all people to take the other potion. The rules say he has to punish me anytime I disobey or otherwise I could die and since I hate him it’s not been the easiest thing. My arse was sore for ages. We got this new teacher…

Harry left out the worst of the horrible details about the spanking and told him about Umbridge instead.

She ’s a hag. The ministry brought her in. Her class is boring and we just read…

He sent the letter off with Hedwig. Overall it It was a great day. Harry just wished Ron had been around to enjoy it with them.

Sirius Black was lounged in an armchair in his sitting room in front of the fire, reading about ways to strengthen the protection wards up on the building for the Order. He glanced up when he heard a noise at the window and leaped to his feet when his godson’s snowy white owl appeared. The book thumped to the floor.

“Hedwig!” He opened the window and the owl hooted a hello. She hopped to the perch Sirius had set up and drank from a small bowl of water.

Sirius freed the letter and read. Harry had a nice Saturday, that was good. Sirius was glad Harry was having fun with his friends. He got to the bit about the potion and froze. He read closer: …the rules say he has to punish me anytime I disobey or otherwise I could die and my arse was sore for ages.

“What the fuck?” He muttered. Potion? Snape was hitting him? Beating him? Did Dumbledore know?! Sirius stomped down to the kitchen where Mundungus was asleep by the hearth. He kicked the door open with his foot and stormed over to the little man.

“Wha?” Mundungus lifted his head. “Sirius, what are you—?”

Sirius grabbed Mundungus by the collar and hauled him to his feet. “What did you give him?!” He shouted.

“What are you on about?” Mundungus rubbed his eyes. He smelled of alcohol.

“What the hell did you give Harry?”

“I ain’t seen Harry in ages!”

Sirius released his collar. “Before he left for school,” Sirius held the letter to his face, “he said you gave him a potion. He was bitten by a doxy and came down to get healing potion.”

“Oh yeah.” Mundungus said, rubbing his stubbled chin. “It were a healing potion.”

“No it wasn’t.”

Mundungus paled. He went to the corner of the kitchen where he kept the pile of junk that he claimed was his business and found the sack of potions. Sirius grabbed it from him and dumped them all out on the table.

“Careful! I still need to fence, er, honorably sell those.”

“Count them.” Sirius pointed at the potions. “Tell me exactly what’s here and what’s missing.”

“Alright, alright, y’highness.” Mundungus adjusted his rumpled shirt. “Can I get his majesty a wee tray of bikkies too?” Mundungus grumbled to himself as he sorted through the potions, checking them against the grubby piece of parchment. Sirius stood there, stone faced, arms crossed, Harry’s letter still clenched in his fist.

“Uh-oh.” Mundungus checked the list, then looked at the scattered potions. “Oh no!”

“What?” Sirius barked.

“It’s missing!”

“Which one?”

“The Nox rubrum! I got the Solis argenti here but the rubrum’s gone!” Mundungus put his hands on his face. “Argh! That was worth so much money!”

“Who cares about the money?!”


“Give me the antidote, you moron. Harry drank the Nox rubrum! You gave it to him!”

“I don’t got no antidote!”

Sirius swore loudly about what Mundungus could do to himself and where. “Where did you get these?”

“A guy.”

“Any more info on that?”

“Guy I meet in Knockturn. Gets me good stuff, as you can see! Solid bloke. I trust him.”

“That tells me all I need to know…” Sirius mumbled. “I should kick your arse out onto the street!”

“Now hold on,” Mundungus held up his hands, placating. “I provide a unique service to the Order.”

“Yeah, you’re the one who fucks up!”

Sirius stomped back up the stairs. He had no idea what kind of ‘punishment’ Snivellus was forcing upon Harry, but he was not going to sit on his arse while Snape tortured his godson at school. He grabbed a quill and wrote Snape a scathing letter that promised he would unleash hell upon the Potions master if he heard so much of a whiff of trouble from Harry. He demanded Snape put his brain to use for once and find the antidote. He thought of making it a howler but decided against it. Sirius attached the letter to Hedwig. “Bring it to Snape, okay? Not Harry.”

She hooted in understanding and took off into the night.

Sirius paced back and forth, feeling like a mutt locked in a kennel. He really couldn’t do anything to Snape, not when he couldn’t leave this hovel. He felt useless and he hoped Harry would be okay.

Defense Against the Dark Arts, previously one of Harry’s favorite subjects, was awful now. Umbridge was their new teacher and she seemed to be laboring under the impression that Voldemort wasn’t back. Also, all she ever let them do was read. The students had hoped that the reading would only last a few days, that maybe their new teacher was easing them into the school year with some easy stuff. Not so. The only thing they’d done the entire first term was read the dull, dry, ministry-approved textbook that, based on the style of writing, was geared for second years that grappled with comprehension. Harry had been cultivating a growing dislike for Umbridge, her stupid decrees, and her sweet, girlish voice all year and when she straight up told the class again that Voldemort wasn’t back, Harry couldn’t keep his mouth shut.

“I saw him.” Harry declared in the middle of class.

“You saw no such thing, Mr. Potter.” She said primly.

Harry shot to his feet. “He killed Cedric!”

“Harry!” Hermione poked his arm.

“Do not lie to me, young man! You saw nothing! Now, sit down or I shall give you detention.”

Harry stood there, fists clenched, fuming. He slowly sank down.

“Wise choice, Mr. Potter.” She said.

“I’m not lying.” Harry growled, so angry he could barely speak.

“Mr. Potter, would you like me to take fifty points from Gryffindor? Because I shall.”

“Shut the hell up.” Ron growled at him, uncharacteristic in his anger.

Harry kept his mouth shut. He couldn’t do that to his fellow Gryffindors, not after the gobs of points Snape had taken already. He sat down.

Umbridge looked pleased. “Now then, open up your books to chapter five and read. There will be no need to talk.”

Detention for telling the truth. Harry hated her. He was glad she hadn’t taken the Solis argenti or he’d never sit down again.

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