|snarryathonmod (snarryathonmod) wrote in snape_potter,|
@ 2009-04-22 06:35:00
|Entry tags:||fic, rating: r, snarry-a-thon09|
Snarry-a-Thon FIC: A Necessary Condition
Title: A Necessary Condition
Other pairings/threesome: None
Rating: R for language
Word count: 4000
Prompt: #339 Destroying Memories
Summary: When Professors Snape and Potter have one argument too many, the Headmistress resorts to magic to make them behave. Now they are working together to lift her hex, but there's something that Harry's forgotten...
A/N: This fic owes more than I can say to wonder-betas n, who can eliminate bad grammar at 90 paces, m, whose knowledge of the stones of Hogwarts is limitless and invaluable, and s, who can spot - and plug - any plot hole you throw at her, and keep you smiling while she does it. My heartfelt thanks to all of you! Any remaining boo-boos are mine alone.
“I am certain that my most learned colleague will allow that this is intolerable.”
“I value your opinion most highly, and concur.”
“Minerva will not be persuaded to lift the hex.”
“Your acumen does you credit.”
“We have no other option, then, than to do it ourselves.”
“You have got to be kid– argh! Ow! – I most humbly defer to your superior wisdom on this point as upon so many others! God dammit!”
“My point precisely.”
“But she’s one of the most powerful witches alive, and Headmistress at that. It could take months, Sn– argh! – my valued fellow in academe!”
“Agreed. But I have no doubt she would be happy to let us labour under these farcical conditions for the rest of the academic year. I am the – a-agh! – We are the country’s leading Dark Arts experts. We can do this.”
“We’re only two weeks into the autumn term! I agree. Er, I've tried a few things already."
“This should be - agh! That is, do continue."
“Well, it’s not a Light variation on Imperius or Crucio.”
“It’s not affected by Veneratius or any of the Erubescitis family of charms. Aeternus and Proprius vows have no effect."
“How very thorough. Hmm. Nor is it alleviated by Coactum potions."
“Oh! I didn't try that, though I did wonder about... hang on. I've got an idea! Come he– ow! – Pray join me over here, good sir. There's a traditional Wizarding rite I came across when I was apprenticed in South Africa, and part of it's a vow to act in the interests of one's family or group - you know, to demonstrate mutual respect. I don't suppose it'll lift the hex altogether, but I think..."
“...that it might relieve us of some of the symptoms? Minerva appears to have specifically prevented the use of our surnames.”
“True. But this should let us stop having to address each other like something out of the 1890s... ”
“...perhaps by instead using our forenames.”
“Oh! Well, yes. You’re welcome to call me Harry, and if I may call you Se – argh! – by your first name?”
“This is... tolerable. Under the circumstances. Very well.”
“Um, Severus. It works!”
“Congratulations would appear to be in order. Harry.”
“Ha! I knew if I tweaked it a bit, it would work!”
“Hey, I'm a Gryffindor. Spur-of-the-moment successes come as standard.”
III. Monday evening.
Snape is ensconced in his armchair, a journal in one hand, and a Firewhisky in the other, when he finally hears a knock at the door. It begins too quietly, and ends too loudly, from which combination of nerves and bravado he deduces that Potter is outside. He allows the door to open without dropping the wards.
“What do you want, Potter?”
“May I come in?”
May he? It sounds like an exceedingly bad idea. “Why?” asks Snape, suspicious again.
“I wanted to talk to you. Why,” asks Potter, genially, "don't you trust me?"
“Believe me, that would be the last thing I'd do.” He still doesn’t lower the wards. “On what fascinating topic are we to discourse, this evening?”
Potter shrugs, a strangely eloquent gesture. “You helped me, yesterday.”
Snape hesitates a moment, the shadows of foreboding trembling in the edges of his perception, and finally allows Potter to enter. Potter steps into the room, and looks around, curiously.
He avoids noticing how well Potter's robes fit him and gestures at the armchair on the other side of the fire, pouring Potter a drink. A small one.
“Cheers.” The boy swirls his glass, sniffs it, and raises an appreciative eyebrow. Perhaps he can be civilised, after all.
“I just wondered,” he begins. Snape waits. He catches himself drumming his fingertips against his glass, and stops before Potter notices.
“Poppy says you took me to the infirmary, yesterday.”
“She says you found me in my quarters, and realised what had happened.”
“But I don’t understand why you were in my rooms. You’ve never been there before.”
Snape has been awaiting this question all day.
“We met on Saturday evening to attempt to lift Minerva’s hex with a Helianthus-based potion, as we arranged last week. We later discussed a text which I said I would lend you. I neglected to pass it on at breakfast, and thought I would drop it off. It was a small act of courtesy, which I don’t –.” He cuts himself off short.
“Oh. But there are no new books in my rooms.”
“When you opened the door in some distress, I slipped it into my pocket, and carried it away with me.”
“Oh,” repeats Potter, too thoughtfully. “Well, I can take it now, I expect.”
Snape is visited by a memory. One weekend before the term began, the Weasley boy had stayed at Hogwarts, and Snape had encountered Potter and his friend playing chess in the staff sitting room. Potter, a decent player, if uninspired, had given the same kind of weight and consideration to each move then as he gives to each sentence now.
“Accio ‘The English Physitian’, the 1682 annotated edition,” Snape says, to cover his confusion. The book flies readily to his hand, and he passes it to Potter, who stares at it blankly.
“We discussed this book?”
“I don’t remember that. Why did I want to borrow it?”
“It has an interesting passage on the preparation of Eryngium, which we thought might be useful as an alternative to the Helianthus approach.”
“Oh. Thank you,” adds Potter, belatedly. He sips his Firewhisky in time with Snape, and shows no sign of leaving. The room feels warm, almost stifling to Snape, who has lived there for decades and always found it perfectly comfortable.
“Was there anything else?”
“Yes. Is there a transcript of your notes from Saturday? From the sunflower potion?”
“Indeed so.” Snape indicates a scroll of parchment on the side table.
“Thank you. Accio Severus’s notes from Saturday evening.” The scroll doesn’t move. A coal in the fire shifts, breaking the silence, and making them both jump.
“They were only transcribed this afternoon,” yawns Snape, disconcerted and on edge. “Accio Helianthus preparation transcript.” He passes the scroll to Potter, who glances over it, frowning.
“Thank you,” he adds as an afterthought. Snape waits again.
“The thing is,” says Potter. “Well, it’s several things, really.”
“Um. To start with. The transcript. I wonder why it isn’t in your office, with all your other notes on the hex, but here in your private quarters.”
“Do you really.” Snape pours himself another drink. He doesn’t pour one for Potter, who appears to have forgotten about his.
“And now I wonder,” Potter continues, tapping a finger on the cover of the book. “Why I would want to borrow a book which Neville gave me a copy of for my 23rd birthday.”
Snape freezes. The chances of that.... He closes his eyes. So this is how it ends, after all.
“And why you felt the need to bring it to my quarters on a Sunday morning, when you could have given me it at Sunday lunch in the Great Hall. And why you made up a set of notes for our sunflower decoction experiment that even I can tell are fictional. And how you managed to call me Potter when I arrived this evening, for the first time in six weeks. Leading to why – most of all – why you didn’t tell me that we lifted the hex on Saturday, you arrogant, deceitful, manipulative bastard! God! That felt good!”
Snape manages to open his eyes again and sips his whisky, holding the glass in a hand which barely shakes at all. “Fascinating, Potter. And may I ask what conclusion you have reached?” His voice at least is steady.
“I think something happened.” In one smooth movement, Potter rises from the armchair, and paces back and forth across the hearthrug. His robes swirl dramatically about his ankles. “Either on Saturday evening, or Sunday morning. Something I didn’t want to remember, because I can get a memory charm to work all right, and I can certainly make it backfire if I want it to, just enough to lose a couple of days. I thought that maybe you’d done it, but you didn’t; I checked; it was my spell, with my wand, by my hand. But you were there, weren’t you? You were there when I did it. So, I asked myself, what happened this weekend that I didn’t want to remember?”
Snape says nothing. He watches Potter unblinkingly over the rim of his glass.
“And you know what the answer was, my respected Professor Severus Snape, Order of Merlin, First Class?”
Potter doesn’t wait for an answer, as he stops pacing and drops the parchment onto the fire. He tosses back the last of his whisky, and holds the book out to Snape, who reaches for it automatically. Potter holds on to it for a moment longer than he needs to, long enough to draw Snape into eye contact.
“The answer was, I trust you, dammit. Whatever happened, I already decided once to forget it. And, as I’m sure you’ll agree, we Gryffindors are stubborn enough not to change our minds. Goodnight, Professor Snape.”
He sweeps from the room, head held high, and doesn’t look back to see Snape’s open-mouthed reaction. It is an exit worthy of Snape himself.