Continuing Tales

One Day Like This

A Harry Potter Story
by Hannah_1888

Part 5 of 23

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Still It was her Wednesday afternoon off, and Hermione was sitting in the staff room flicking through the Practical Potioneer with a cup of tea. Snape had made her take out a subscription as soon as she'd started her work, telling her that if she relied solely on 'old, outdated tomes' he would automatically deduct marks from her.

She'd owled Flourish and Blotts immediately.

The staff room was empty as the majority of teachers were still in lessons, but the door was shortly flung open with some force revealing Elsie Reigate, the Muggle Studies teacher. Hermione smiled in polite acknowledgement and immediately returned her attention to the journal in front of her. She was surprised, however, when Reigate threw herself down into a chair next to her.

'How do you put up with it?' Reigate burst forth, shaking her head.

'I'm sorry?'

'How do you put up with that man, day in, day out?'

Hermione frowned slightly. 'Do you mean Professor Snape, by any chance?'


'He's upset you, I take it?'

'He's just blown his top because during my lesson today, I had the actual temerity to deduct some points from his House! He had the gall to accuse me of not knowing the full story—as if he had actually been there! I've never met anyone so awful, I—'

'Well, everyone's entitled to their opinion,' interrupted Hermione diplomatically. She was not interested in criticising him behind his back.

'You should have seen the way he spoke to me! It's my prerogative to discipline students in my classes as I see fit!'

'Look, I've no doubt he can be rather... difficult.' Reigate snorted, but Hermione ignored her and continued. 'I'm sure he must have had some reason for taking this matter up with you.'

Reigate merely looked at her as if she'd just arrived from another planet. 'I see. Very well, then,' she said tightly, and abruptly moved off to the sideboard and preoccupied herself with the kettle.

Hermione rolled her eyes and turned to her journal once more. She was sure that there must have been a particular reason for Snape deciding to take issue with the lost points. He might favour his own students, but he wasn't one for letting any student get away with their wrongdoings.

If Reigate thought she could engage her in a spot of Snape-bashing, then she was wrong. Hermione had no particular issue with him, and, in some way, she felt it would be very two-faced of her if she did get involved.

She wondered if that meant she had become a bit fond of him, in her own way. Hermione supposed such a development should not come as a surprise, really. She worked with him on a regular basis, and he treated her reasonably well, so why shouldn't she come to feel a sense of friendliness towards him? She might even suggest that he felt the same towards her, but she considered that might be going a bit far.

He seemed to be able to tolerate her fairly well, and that was good enough for Hermione—it was a significant improvement! Really, though, it was difficult to ever know what was going on inside his head. One might say that over the course of her apprenticeship she had made a kind of study of him, picking up on certain patterns, habits, and so on.

For instance, she now knew never to approach or antagonise him following his double-lesson with the fourth-year Gryffindor and Slytherins on Thursday afternoons—not if she didn't want a torrent of vitriol thrown at her. He invariably stormed into his office following that period with a proverbial black cloud over his head.

She'd never met anyone who found so many of their fellow human beings so utterly trying. Impatience came easy to him, and so when he began to speak in short, clipped tones, Hermione knew that it was best for her to also speak briefly and concisely—labouring her points would get her nowhere.

Of course, when he was in an unutterably bad mood, you didn't need to be the sharpest knife in the draw to notice it—the warning signs were there for all to see. If possible, Hermione would always make for the nearest exit; often, however, she had been forced to weather the storm. There had been that time when she had been in the office and he'd flung open the door, all but throwing a student inside. Following them was the unmistakeable stench of dungbombs.

'I suggest you leave us, Miss Granger, while I deal with this.'

Hermione had looked between him and the quailing boy with concern. 'Um...'

'Out, Miss Granger!'

He, actually, rarely raised his voice, but when he did, it was best just to obey—life was easier that way.

The door slammed behind her and reverberated loudly down the corridor. She'd stood there for several minutes, debating whether to leave and come back later, when the door opened and the poor boy came trudging into the corridor looking faintly ill. She returned to her work, but that incident had cemented his ire, and for the rest of the afternoon she had had to put up with snappy remarks, impatient sighs and a grim countenance.

Several weeks later, and the boy was still in detention.

It had become easy for her to distinguish between the different levels of his bad moods; it was determining when he was in a good mood that was the problem, and she would definitely use the term 'good' loosely, but there were times when he was almost... agreeable. During those times, she could have a civilised conversation with him without mishap.

Those times she liked best, of course, but generally, though, if she wanted to say something, it was easier at times to just say it and hope for the best.


At dinner that evening, she was sat next to him. For a while she had internally debated whether to bring up Reigate's offence at his behaviour, out of interest to hear his side of the story, but it seemed a bit snitch-like, and Hermione refrained.

She let her eyes wander over the sea of children before her, and she saw something that gave her pause.

'Sir, what's wrong with Max Teasdale?' Hermione looked at the young boy at the Slytherin table who was pushing his food around his plate, looking visibly troubled. She had taken a bit of a shine to the little third-year. She'd seen him in Potions a few times, and knew that he often visited Snape during his office-hours. He was very quiet and shy for a Slytherin and had a quality about him that often made her want to mother him.

'He's upset because he lost Slytherin thirty House points today.'

'What... that was him?'

'You heard about it, then?'

'Well, ah, Professor Reigate made a small mention about it...'

Snape snorted. 'I bet she did. Apparently, he deliberately hexed a Gryffindor student. Does that sound like something he would do? I think not. Indeed, he came to see me immediately, quite concerned that he would be in more trouble for losing so many points.'

'So, what happened?'

'You know Mr. Teasdale is one of a very small minority of Slytherins - compared to the Gryffindors - who has opted to take Muggle Studies. Well, they're practically sitting ducks in the ongoing tit for tat between the two Houses during that lesson! He is adamant he did not throw the hex, and I'm inclined to believe him. If Reigate had any sense, she would know the boy is too sensitive by half to risk the wrath of his house by doing something so brazen!'

Hermione nodded thoughtfully. 'He doesn't appear to have it in him to do such a thing to another student.'

'Of course he doesn't—it was some other student stirring things up.'

She wondered for a moment if she wasn't the only one to take a shine to young Teasdale—she'd noticed on occasion that Snape seemed to keep a particular eye on him. Unfortunately, it probably meant that there was a specific reason for it—a reason that Hermione would unlikely to ever be privy to.

'He'll be OK—he's a good student, I'm sure he'll earn the points back in no time.'

'He shouldn't have to,' muttered the man next to her. Hermione watched him send a swift glare down the length of the table where Reigate was currently sat.

'It is, perhaps, unprofessional of me to discuss another teacher's failings with you.' He smirked at his exaggeration.

Hermione smiled. 'Well, I'm not going to say anything to her; indeed, I don't think she likes me, really.'

She turned her gaze to the Slytherin table once more. Spending as much time in the dungeons as she did, she was probably more familiar with them than any of the other Houses. There still persisted a certain wariness towards them from the other students, which was regrettable, but there seemed to have been an improvement since she was in school.

Undoubtedly, there was wariness towards her from the Slytherin students. Merlin, she'd never forget that time when she'd ended up in the Slytherin Quidditch stand during a Gryffindor versus Slytherin match! Harry and Ron would have had a fit had they seen her sitting amongst a sea of sliver and green during such an important event. The Slytherins had had a fit.

'What's she doing here, sir?'

'She's a Gryffindor!'

'She should be sitting over there with them!'

Snape had appeased them with one derisive comment. 'Miss Granger does not need reminding of her shortcomings as a Gryffindor, Mr. Crawshaw—she has to live with them every day.'

Her mouth had fallen open in pure outrage, and she was sure he knew that she would not risk retaliating in front of the students.

Still, Hermione had marked that one down for vengeance at a later date.


'So, how have you been doing this week, Hermione?'

'I've felt fine, Poppy. I've been casting Summoning charms, a few Cleaning charms, Transfiguring small objects, and it's been all right. I think that, possibly, I've been feeling more tired in the nights, but I may just be imagining it, you know?'

Madame Pomfrey looked at Hermione critically. 'Yes, by all accounts you look very well. This is very good news, indeed, Hermione.'

Hermione visibly brightened. 'Does this mean I can start on some more complex stuff?'

'Well, to be frank, my dear, I would not just yet. I think you should carry on as you have been for another week or so, just in case there are more cumulative effects building up. Do you see what I mean?'

'I might have a sudden relapse?'

Poppy nodded.

'I understand.' Hermione was disappointed, but she managed a smile nonetheless.

When she got back to her rooms, however, she was in two minds. She pulled out her wand—she was dying to conjure her Patronus. That would really show what state her magic was in.

But... she would be sorely disheartened if it didn't work, and even if it did, did she want to run the risk that she might make herself ill—send her two steps back? Oh, but then...

'Expecto Patronum!' she suddenly shouted.

It was fainter than she would have liked, and it didn't linger long, but it was there—her fully formed otter Patronus.

Hermione threw herself onto her bed, hoping and praying that she would not be suddenly overcome with dizziness. When she felt confident enough that she would suffer no adverse side effects, she reached over to her bedside table and picked up her latest essay that she was working on. Hermione read through it carefully, concerned that she would end up going over the specified length. In the past, she'd made the mistake of thinking that she could get away with going over a few inches or so. She was an apprentice, after all—it was important stuff she was writing about!

Snape patently thought otherwise.

The first time she'd done it, he'd drawn a big red line through a couple of paragraphs, and in the margin had written, 'Cut out the waffle!'

As he'd handed the essay to her he'd said:

'If I specify a set length, I expect you to adhere to it. Quality, not quantity, is a maxim you'd do well to subscribe to.'

Hermione would be prepared to bet money that his essays hadn't always been perfect.

In any case, she'd now ensured her handwriting was a lot smaller.


Every so often, Snape would use one of his free lessons to teach her about a certain topic. An outsider observer might suggest that it was generous of him to give up his limited free time, except, of course, he made sure he profited. Why else was she in charge of his first and second-year marking?

It was a small price to pay, though. No matter what one thought about the dour Potions master, there could be no arguing that he didn't know what he was talking about with regard to Potions. She often looked forward to such sessions.

'Good morning,' she said breezily, entering the classroom.

He gifted her with a look, but that was it. 'We're going to discuss Medicinal potions today, Miss Granger; I hope you've prepared some reading beforehand.'

Hermione's mouth fell open. 'No, you never gave me any advanced warning!'

He smirked. 'So, I didn't.'

Merlin, he knew how to irritate her. She sat down, frowning, pulled out some parchment, a quill and ink, and stared at him expectantly. He began lining up several vials of liquid in front of her, and spoke as he did so.

'Medicinal potions—one of the most important, and indeed, most lucrative aspects of potion-making; headache solutions, for instance, are one of the best-sellers when it comes to retail. Not a particularly complex potion to make, but why bother messing around with cauldrons and ingredients when one can simply Apparate to the nearest shop and buy one ready-made?'

Hermione suppressed a smile at the bitterness in his voice. 'People lead very busy lifestyles,' she offered in a conciliatory tone.

Snape frowned. 'Lazy lifestyles, more like. Do you know how many witches and wizards actually own a cauldron? I can tell you; at least half of the students here will leave Hogwarts and never brew another potion again. It's astounding! If it can't be done with a flick of wand, people don't want to know.'

From the way he was glaring at her, Hermione could tell he was starting to make himself cross.

'Well, it's all about time and efficiency, isn't it?'

'Is it?' he asked, distinctly unimpressed.

Hermione thought it best to change tack. 'Potions is hardly a dying art.'

'Maybe not right now, but give it time.'

'You have a lot of N.E.W.T. students...'

'All of them mediocre, and besides, a Potions N.E.W.T. is always going to look good on a C.V. compared to Care of Magical Creatures or Divination—doesn't mean that they'll do anything with it, though.'

Hermione shrugged. 'One might say the same about Herbology—how many people are interested in cultivating their own plants these days?'

Snape shook his head. 'You cannot compare Herbology with Potions, it—' He sighed. 'Look, I'm sure I could debate this all day, but I haven't got all day.' He looked at the potions in front of him, trying to regain his previous train of thought.

'All right; Medicinal potions—one of the most important aspects of potion-making, not least because for the majority of potions used in Healing, there is no charm equivalent. It's a potion, or nothing.' He pointed to the first vial in the row of potions he'd lined up. 'What is this?'

Hermione unstoppered the vial, fairly sure from the colour that she knew what it was, but she knew better than to dive right in where Snape was concerned.

'Pepperup potion.'

He nodded. 'Now, the next one.'

'Ugh, Skele-Gro.' She grimaced at the smell.

He nodded once more, and Hermione continued down the line.

'Sleeping Draught.'

'Burn salve.'

'Pain reliever.'

'Antiseptic salve.'

'Categorise them into groups.'

'What kind of groups?'

'Miss Granger, I am not here to spoon-feed you!'

Hermione raised her hands in a gesture of acquiescence. She stared at the row of vials in concentration. 'Ok, well... all right, here we go; we can put them into groups according to the method of administration. So, the salves are used externally only. The Sleeping Draught, Skele-Gro and Pepperup have to be imbibed, and the remaining potions... Yes, they can be injected intravenously or subcutaneously.'

'You have kept up with recent developments, then? Healer's have only recently begun to adopt an inherently Muggle practice, having previously seen no need to go to such lengths.'

'It is more efficient.'

'Indeed.' Snape moved away the row of vials, apart from the pain reliever and introduced two new ones. 'Some more dangerous concoctions we have here—an opium tincture, sometimes known by the name Laudanum, as coined by Paracelsus, of course, and this, an anti-depressant, as the Muggles might term it. Analgesic potions and mood-altering substances are highly addictive through prolonged use. What are the current regulations applying to these potions?'

Hermione considered for a moment. 'It's illegal to brew them without prior authorisation from the Ministry, and each vial may be subject to a tracking charm so as to ensure they do not fall into the wrong hands. Only certain organisations are allowed to dispense them, and one has to have a prescription from a Healer.'

'Quite; one might argue that these regulations are merely for propriety's sake. I could, quite easily, take a stroll down Knockturn Alley and palm off a few analgesics for a nice sum, and no one would be any the wiser, certainly not the Ministry. It is not difficult to get hold of the required ingredients, and as long as I disguised myself...

'There is no simple cure for addiction, of course. Your task for the rest of the day is to devise, theoretically, a potion for aiding withdrawal from either of these potions.'

Hermione's eyes widened at such a task.

'St. Mungo's has developed such a potion, and you will work from this as a starting point, but this potion isn't as efficient as it potentially could be. There are many improvements that might be made.'

'So... why haven't they been made?'

Snape raised his eyebrows. 'You talk of time and efficiency; well let us bring money into the equation, shall we? Tackling addiction is not a priority for the Ministry, and those who are addicted are unlikely to be able to afford a more complex potion. I, however, have some ingredients I need to offload—they're about to expire—so we can afford to play at being researchers.'

'I see.'

'I don't expect you to have an actual brew by the end of this—just a recipe.'

Hermione was intrigued - was that a challenge?

'Right then, I'm off for a cup of coffee. You will bring your work to me following the last lesson this afternoon.'

It would be fair to say that she worked her arse off for the rest of the day. After several false starts, a lengthy rummage (careful rummage) around Snape's personal store cupboard, and the consultation of several books, she had come up with a recipe that would, in theory, replicate the effects of an anti-depressant without addiction.

She was determined to brew the potion, and with just half an hour to spare, she had the finished article in front of her. Hermione looked at the shimmering vial proudly; the potion was a dark purple, and she'd even managed to ensure that there was a pleasant taste.

Collecting up her things, she walked confidently to the classroom and stood by his desk, awaiting acknowledgement.

'Well then,' he said finally, 'let us see what you have come up with.'

Hermione, brimming with anticipation, set the stoppered vial down in front of him followed by a scroll of parchment. Snape picked up the vial, gave it a brief once-over, and then shoved it away from him with an almost shrug, turning his attention to the parchment.

Hermione stared at him in disbelief.

'Are you not even going to open the vial?'

He looked at her with the expression of one who is perpetually surrounded by dunderheads. How that look always frustrated her.

'Miss Granger,' he began pedantically, 'for all I know, you could have put anything in that vial. How am I supposed to test it? I don't currently have a drug dependency, unfortunately, and while there are many things I'm willing to do for my art, purposefully compromising my health is not one of them.'

Hermione fumed to herself silently.

'Unless, of course, you are willing...?'

'No,' she replied through tight lips, huffing. 'So, how will you know if it is right?'

'I will know by reviewing your recipe, obviously.'

Because, of course, I could never come up with anything he has never seen before, thought Hermione irritably.

'Well, you have certainly chosen to go right around the mulberry bush with this, haven't you?'

'Apparently.' Merlin, she had the strongest urge to hex him!

'See here, I would have substituted the berries for some Meadowsweet—same effect, but saves using the shrivelfigs, which as you know, are cumbersome to prepare and set back the brew by an hour.'

What the hell was Meadowsweet?

'Just tell me—does it have the potential to work?'

'It does.'

'So I did it. Well, then, that's all that matters.'

She could tell he was inches away from smirking. 'If you say so, Miss Granger.'

Hermione sighed; sometimes he was just too much for her. 'Is that all for today?'

He nodded.

'Good afternoon, then.'

She snatched up her vial—maybe she'd be able to get it tested someday.


Friday afternoon rolled around and Hermione was really looking forward to the weekend—for a change.

She would be going to stay with Harry and Ginny at Grimmauld Place for the weekend. They'd invited her, and as she needed to visit London to start enquiring as to her work experience opportunities, she could easily kill two birds with one stone.

Ron would not be there, but that was fine—she was still unsure if she wanted to see him yet. Still, she felt much more self-confident now than she had several months ago, and the gradual return of her magic had played no small part in that.

Presently, she was on her way down to Snape's office to enquire as to whether there was anything she might pick up for him while in Diagon Alley. She was about to knock on his door when she heard voices from within. Not wanting to disturb whoever was inside, Hermione wandered aimlessly up and down the corridor, waiting patiently.

She wasn't waiting long—the door soon opened and out walked a man she'd never seen before. He was stuffing a sheaf of parchment inside a leather satchel and began walking towards the stairs without so much as glancing in her direction.

The door had been left slightly ajar, and Hermione knocked sharply before opening it fully.

Snape was sitting at his desk, staring into the middle distance.

'Who was that?' asked Hermione before she could stop herself.

Snape blinked and turned towards her. 'If I felt it remotely any of your business, I'd tell you, but alas, it is not.' He got up and, without further ado, swept from the room.

Hermione sucked in a breath—she should have just kept her mouth shut. Something had obviously annoyed him.

She crossed over to his desk to see if he had any work for her to mark. His office desk was rather large and contained all manner of things—books, exercise books, essays, trinkets, potions equipment—rarely, though, did he leave any papers lying around.

Therefore, she did a double take when she noticed a very official-looking piece of parchment featuring the unmistakeable crest of the Ministry.

Hermione looked away—he would not be happy if he caught her snooping about his desk, but...

She glanced at it again, but once more quickly turned herself away. Immediately, she forced herself to leave. Her life would really not be worth living if he caught her, and besides, despite her curiosity, she respected his right for privacy.

However, she had seen something, though. The letterhead had said Department for Magical Law Enforcement.

Had that man been from the law enforcement?

If so, what did they want with her Potions master?

One Day Like This

A Harry Potter Story
by Hannah_1888

Part 5 of 23

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