|snarrymod (snarrymod) wrote in snarry_games,|
@ 2008-05-22 20:44:00
|Entry tags:||entry, r_grayjoy, team phoenix|
TEAM PHOENIX ENTRY: R_Grayjoy "In the Time It Takes to Drink a Pint of Ale"
Title: In the Time It Takes to Drink a Pint of Ale
Genre(s): Postwar, Alternate Universe *Hover/Click for Games Definition of Alternate Universe*
Word Count: ~6,350
Summary: A chance meeting leads to the disruption of Harry's perfect life. Or, the road to epiphany is paved with pints of ale.
A/N: My undying gratitude to all the people who cheered me on when my writing mojo was nowhere to be found. Special thanks to eeyore9990 for all her help. Also, major thanks and kudos to the Snarry Games mods for their patience and enthusiasm.
"The wizard has a good eye."
Harry looked up from the display full of glittering gems and bits of jewelry. The man who'd spoken was tall, slender, and impressively dressed in fine robes with buckles that Harry was sure were real gold. "Er. I do?"
"That's a genuine Southern Lumos diamond, mined in South Africa and magically shaped so that there isn't even the tiniest flaw. The band is eighteen karat gold, with a Once in a Lifetime Sizing Spell embedded in it," the jeweler explained.
"A what?" Harry asked, feeling out of his depth.
"Once she puts it on her finger, it will magically adjust to fit her, and only her, for as long as you both shall live. Practical, and a fitting symbol of a life-long love."
"Wow. It sounds great." It sounded expensive.
"Well, only the best for the one you love, yes? In fact, with this ring, she's guaranteed to say yes. Literally. If she doesn't, you can return it for a full refund, no questions asked."
Harry smiled wryly. "I gather that no one has ever taken you up on that offer."
"Not one," the jeweler replied, smiling.
"How much is it?" Harry asked, already dreading the answer.
"Only one-thousand five-hundred six galleons."
Only one-thousand five-hundred six galleons. That was only about four times as much as Harry had planned to spend! But the salesman was right; Ginny deserved the best, for waiting for him through what should have been their seventh year at Hogwarts, for standing beside him through the war, and for putting up with him through three grueling years of Auror training. She might even be offended if Harry couldn't or wouldn't give her what she deserved after all that. So Harry did the only thing he could do. He said, "All right, I'll take it."
Harry was exceptionally aware of the weight of the small box in his pocket as he left the jewelry store and began making his way through the throng of shoppers milling up and down Diagon Alley. Doubts began to well up within him and he forced them down. He'd loved Ginny since he was sixteen, and it was time for him to marry her and begin thinking about starting a family. Molly had been making not-so-subtle hints for months, and even Ron and Hermione were beginning to suggest that he should get on with it. They were right, of course. Harry knew his fears were just a normal, run-of-the-mill case of cold feet, nothing more.
Lost in his thoughts, Harry realized he'd walked right by the Floo connection he'd intended to use to get home. Feeling foolish, he spun on his heel, and that was when he spotted him: a man of unremarkable height and average build who nonetheless struck Harry as decidedly familiar. Harry couldn't see the man's face, but he'd recognize that determined, ground-eating gait anywhere.
Pushing his way through the crowd, Harry followed at a respectable distance and watched. It wasn't long before he spotted a strand of long, black hair flying free of the man's hat… a hint of an oversized nose… and Harry knew without a shadow of a doubt that it was him. He didn't know how, but it was.
Swiftly, Harry closed the last of the distance between them and grabbed his quarry by the back of his robes. The man spun, and at once Harry was looking into Snape's dour, pallid face. "You!" Harry said. "You're supposed to be dead!"
"I'm terribly sorry to disappoint you," Snape sneered, his lip curling and his cold eyes flashing in a manner Harry had seen a thousand times before, but never thought to see again.
"Disappoint..? No, it's not… I just… I saw you die!"
Abruptly, Snape cursed under his breath and grabbed Harry, hauling him into the nearest alleyway. Harry staggered as he was shoved toward a grimy brick wall. "Leave it to you, of all people to see through my Disillusionment spells," Snape seethed.
"Erm. Sorry?" Harry offered, although he hadn't had time to figure out whether he'd done anything for which he should be sorry yet.
"You're not," Snape said. "You've never been."
"Look," Harry said, trying to get a hold on the situation. His mind was racing so fast he couldn't sort out his thoughts. "I didn't mean anything by it. I just have rather a lot of experience with Disillusionment spells, and so I saw you. And once I did, well, you certainly couldn't expect me to let you go right on by."
Snape glanced toward the mouth of the alley and cursed again. "We cannot have this conversation here," he announced, then moved toward Harry.
It happened so fast that Harry didn't have a chance to protest; Snape's long fingers dug into his arm, and then Harry felt the press and snap of Apparition. An instant later, he was standing in a dingy room of the sort one might find above an inn of questionable repute. The tatty bed, table, and chair were the only furnishings, and they appeared crowded in the cramped space.
"Sit down, Potter," Snape said, startling Harry and drawing his attention back to him. "Let's get this over with."
Harry wasn't certain what it was they were supposed to be 'getting over with,' but he sat on the chair as directed, feeling very much as though he were back in first year Potions again.
"Well?" Snape prompted irritably. "Ask your questions. You'll only get one shot at this, so make it good."
"I thought you were dead," Harry blurted. "How--"
"--am I alive," Snape finished with a roll of his eyes. "You are so painfully predictable. Are you certain you saw what you think you saw, Potter? Do you honestly believe that I would have put myself in such a precarious position without a contingency plan? Think of all the resources I had at my disposal. Potions. Antidotes. Loyal house elves. A bloody phoenix, for Merlin's sake. Pick whichever one suits your ridiculous Gryffindor sense of dramatics; one is as good as another."
Years had passed, but just like that, Harry felt as young and foolish as he'd ever been. Were they wizards or weren't they? Harry should have learned long ago that things were rarely as they appeared -- especially where Snape was concerned. And that men such as Snape didn't die easily. "Still," Harry said, attempting to sound more confident than he felt, "I'm sorry I didn't even try to save you."
With a disdainful snort, Snape said, "Oh, please, spare me your guilt complex. It's unwanted and unnecessary. For once in your life you did precisely what you were meant to do."
Harry nodded. "Then I'm sorry for doubting you," he said. "Not just for thinking you'd died, but for all of it. All the times I was sure you were on Voldemort's side."
Snape shot Harry a look that one usually reserved for particularly loathsome things stuck to the bottom of one's shoe. "Are you quite done?" he asked in a quiet, clipped tone.
"Uhm, well…" Harry began carefully.
"Yes?" Snape cut in. "Then get the hell out of my room, Potter."
"But, wait, I--"
"Get the hell out!" Snape flung one arm out and pointed to the door.
Harry got the hell out.