Continuing Tales

Thirty-One Days

A Harry Potter Story
by keelhaulrose

Part 7 of 29

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Thirty-One Days

At their potions lesson the next day Severus didn't shoot her sideways glance, make a snide comment, or even roll his eyes as Hermione slid into the seat next to him, but he didn't greet her with more than a nod, either. She had been running late, so she didn't manage anything but a quick greeting before Slughorn entered the room. He put the name of a memory potion on the board and instructed them to begin.

Hermione carefully laid out her potion-making kit, hoping that Severus took note of her care in the subject.

"Would you like me to pick you up your supplies when I go to the stores?" she asked, standing up.

"I never let anyone pick up supplies for me," he muttered, though she doubted that anyone had ever offered before, and he followed her to the storage cabinet in the back of the room. Because each of them had taken their time in setting up they were the last two to go gather their ingredients.

"Don't use that one," he said as she pulled out a Jobberknoll feather.

"Excuse me?"

"You want one with a clean nub," he said, showing her a small clump of cells on the bottom of the feather she had pulled out. "Where Slughorn gets these does a half-job of it, so you have to pay attention to them. Maybe one of four will be clean enough for proper use," he continued, pulling out several, studying them, and handing one to her and setting one aside for himself before putting the rest back.

"Can't I just clean the nub myself?"

"You could, but after a while it starts to rot the root, and that makes it less effective. Your memory potion will still work, but it'll be less powerful and wear off quicker."

"I see," she said, noting that none of the information was contained in Advanced Potion Making, though there was a chance it was scribbled somewhere in the Half Blood Prince's copy.

They brought their stuff back to the table, where they were careful not to mix work spaces. They worked side by side in studious silence for a while until Severus suddenly spoke.

"Half inch cuts will work," he said as she prepared to cut up her ginger roots.

"But it says quarter inches," she protested.

"It will stew down easily and start breaking itself apart. That will work better, as it'll have almost a second release as it does. It will strengthen the potion and allow for it to work over a longer term."

She hesitated, then started cutting the ginger in half inch cuts. She added them and started to stir. Moments later the potion turned the smooth grass-green color it was supposed to be, and she exhaled. She watched him out of the corner of her eye as they both worked. It was almost like a dance, the way he carefully added ingredients, stirred in a fluid motion, stared hard at the surface to check the color, then add a little more of one thing or another. It was beautiful in a way. If it was that stunning to watch while he was a mere student, it must be a sight when he became a full Master, and she was hoping she'd get the chance to see it one day beyond the simple potions he taught to the students.

"Wonderful looking, as always, Severus!" Slughorn's voice suddenly broke her concentration.

"Thank you, sir," he replied in forced politeness.

"And Miss Puckle," he said, gazing into her cauldron and smiling widely. "I have heard you have a fondness for giving Mister Snape a run for his money, and I see you deserve that rumor," he chuckled. "I say both of you are well on your way to top marks."

"Thank you, sir," she smiled.

"There are ten minutes left in class!" he announced to the group. "Please start preparing your potion for storage."

Hermione cast a stasis charm on her potion, then cooled off her cauldron and the contents so she could put it into a jar and store it. She labeled her potion and started towards the back when she felt a hand close on her robes.

"You don't want to put it back there," Severus said in a low voice.

"That's where we're supposed to store it," she replied.

"Put it back there and someone from my house will switch your label with theirs, and Slughorn is head of Slytherin. He's not above believing someone from his own house over you. Just store it down here," he said, checking to make sure no one was looking, and she saw they were two of the last in the room. He ducked to a cabinet half-hidden behind the work station. He muttered "runespoor" while waving his wand, and the cabinet popped open. He took his potion and hers, as well as both of their supplies, and stored them inside, then sealed it back up.

"Is it safe down there?" she asked.

"No one thinks it opens. I've made sure it's safe," he shot back.

"Thank you," she said as she walked out the door with him. "For teaching me about the Joberknoll feather and the ginger root. It really seems to make a difference."

"If you do a bit of research and take the time to play around with ingredients you'll be surprised to find how often Advanced Potion Making seems like it was written by beginners," he told her.

"Do you do a lot of potions outside the classroom? Or is it mostly research like Saturday?"

"A few potions," he said in a tone that made it clear he wasn't going to discuss what potions or where.

"I just wanted to let you know that if there's anything you need, let me know."

"Non-verbal spells," he said immediately.

"Have you been practicing them outside of class?"


"You're still having problems?"

"Unless I'm angry or upset I am still having problems with them," he said.

"Well, we have a little time right now, so I feel up to doing a little work. How about you?"

"Right now?"

"I believe that's what I said."

He studied her, then nodded. They swung by the Great Hall on their way outside, grabbing sandwiches and pouring hot chocolate into thermoses they had conjured up. Then they walked out onto the grounds as they ate the sandwiches, walked past Hagrid's hut, to an open area between the lake and the Forest that was hidden at the bottom of a hill from the castle. She placed her backpack on a rock and pulled him away from it.

"Summon it," she ordered.

"Accio," he said, waving his wand. The backpack sped towards him, and he caught it in his hand and held it out to her, looking annoyed.

"My mistake," she said, rolling her eyes and levitating the backpack back to the rock. "Summon it silently."

"If I could do you think I'd be asking you for help?" he growled.

"You have it in you or you wouldn't have been able to send non-verbal hexes at me the other day. The key is to not over-think it. Remember what it's like doing the regular spell, focus on that feeling, and it'll just happen."

"Right," he grumbled, turning towards the backpack. He concentrated, waving his wand at the backpack, which wobbled feebly before flopping on its side and staying put.

"Right, then," Hermione murmured, biting her lip and thinking hard. "Motivation. We need to find you some motivation that doesn't involve making you angry."

"I have no problem performing nonverbal magic while angry," he pointed out.

"Merlin knows how unpleasant you'd be if you were angry all the time," she shot back, unable to contain the smirk that crossed her face. "And I could probably make you so in under a minute…"

"You're already halfway there."

"You're lucky you're such a charmer, Severus, or you might never get a girl to spend time with you," she rolled her eyes. "Now, back to motivation. Hogsmeade weekend is coming up. How about if you summon the backpack I'll buy you a drink in the Three Broomsticks."

He eyed her skeptically. "Why in the world would you want to go to the Three Broomsticks with me?"

"For your rapier wit and pleasant personality, I suppose. Couldn't have anything to do with wanting to spend time with you, like friends have a tendency to do."

He stared at her for a long moment. "You consider me your friend?"

"This would be rather awkward if we were enemies, wouldn't it?" she asked, gesturing towards the backpack.

"You're assuming those are the only two options."

"They aren't, for normal people. But I hardly consider either of us normal."

"Speak for yourself, Puckle."

"If you don't want the drink I can go drink by myself, then."

He gazed at her one more time before turning to the backpack and waving his wand again. This time the bag jumped several feet towards him. He waved his wand a few more times before he let off a snarl and the bag flew towards him, nearly knocking him over when it collided with him.

"You got angry," she said, prying the bag from him. "But you did it a bit before you got frustrated at your lack of progress. If you keep getting angry, and then performing the spells non-verbally, then you are going to learn to get angry so you can perform the spell. You need to learn how to do it without being upset."

He took a few deep breaths as she placed the bag back on the rock. She thought about it for a moment, then said "How about I up the ante? If you managed to summon the bag by a non-verbal spell without doing it out of frustration or anger not only will I buy you a drink, I'll… get up on the table and sing the Hogwarts school song."

His eyebrow raised nearly to his hairline. "You must have no confidences in my abilities."

"I thought it would be motivation enough without me having to do something grossly inappropriate," she replied, smiling warmly at him and jutting her hip out slightly. "If you don't think you can do it…"

He responded by waving his wand at the bag, which jumped nearly halfway to him. He raised his wand to do it again, and it flew towards him, but suddenly changed course and flew to the side. They watched as it was caught neatly by Sirius's waiting hand.

"I'll admit to whispering the charm," Sirius beamed, walking towards them. "So I won't make you sing the song. But I'd be honoured if you accompanied me to the Three Broomsticks, love. I'll even pay for the drinks."

"The offer was person-specific," Hermione shot back. "And you weren't the person."

"But I'm so much more than that person," he replied with a charming smile. "It should count for something."

"I don't happen to measure worth by the number of panting witches one has in his wake."

"Ouch, Padfoot," James chuckled. "It sounds like Puckle here isn't charmed by your devilishly good looks."

"Is that true, love?" Sirius asked her. "Because I could not wash for a few days and look like Snivellous over there if that's your thing."

"Not likely. You'd still have the personality of the north end of a south-heading Hippogriff," she replied.

"She seems to have your number, Padfoot," Remus smiled.

"Shut it, Moony," Sirius growled. "Well, Puckle. How about this? We skip the Three Broomsticks all together and just spend our time at Madam Puddifoots."

"How about not, Sirius," she replied. "I have plans with Severus."

"Honestly, Puckle, what do you see in Snivellous? You can obviously do so much better."

After he said it the backpack jerked itself from his hands, flying quickly to the outstretched hand of Severus. "Leave," he ordered, venom thick in his voice.

"We have the right to go wherever we want, Snivellous," Sirius replied casually. "I just so happen to want to be right here."

"Good. All yours, then," Hermione said, grabbing Snape's sleeve, tossing him his bag, and pulling him back towards the castle. "Prats," she spat as soon as they were out of hearing range of the Marauders.

"I don't need you to fight my battles for me," Snape snapped.

"I wasn't aware I was fighting your battles," she replied. "In case you missed it, Sirius was hitting on me, not you."

"He was doing it to get me upset."

"Sounds like he achieved that goal."

Severus let off a snarl and sped up towards the castle. She let him get several paces ahead before she wordlessly summoned her backpack, which was still clutched in his hand. He spun around as it was torn from his grasp, staring at her incredulously.

"If you wanted to copy my Defense notes all you have to do is ask. I remember what you said about yours," she said, hand on her hip.

He waved his wand, and the backpack flew from her hand back to his. He looked at her with a smirk. "Like I would want your pitiful Defense notes."

"Don't you go insulting my note-taking," she huffed, jogging to him. "I could copy a teacher word-for-word if I desired."

"With a Quick Quotes Quill, maybe."

"First you try to steal my backpack, then you insult me. You really are charming, aren't you, Severus?" she said with a smile.

They found an empty classroom and practiced until the end of the lunch break. Hermione waited until the last minute to announce she had to leave.

"Let me get your bag for you," he said, waving his wand. Without a word he waved his wand, and the bag flew across the room. He had to half-dive to get it, but it didn't hit the ground, and he held it out to her with a triumphant smile across his face. Or, at least what passes for a triumphant smile for Snape, who never seemed to show his teeth when he smiled.

"Thanks, Severus," she smiled as she shouldered her bag. "Would you like to practice a bit more after dinner?"

"How about we discuss it on your way to class?" he asked, offering her his arm.

"Am I on your way?" she asked.

"I have an open period."

She smiled and took his arm, and he started leading her towards Transfiguration.

"I have Astronomy tonight, so I won't be able to study for very long, but we may be able to squeeze an hour or an hour and a half if we eat dinner early."

She bit her lip. "I'm supposed to have dinner with Jennae, Danielle, and Selena today, but we may be able to go a bit early if I claim I'm famished."

"Give them that whole speech you gave me the other day about your body functioning best if you eat properly."

"I hardly consider that a speech if it's true."

"It may be true, but it's still nagging."

She huffed.

"You're quite easy to rile, aren't you?"

"Perhaps it's just you," she sneered.

"I have no idea what you're talking about."

"I'm sure you don't," she smiled, shaking her head.

They turned the corner into the Transfiguration corridor, and Severus reached across to place his hand on top of hers. His back straightened a little bit, and his lips up-curved slightly. It looked unnatural, and it confused her until she saw the Marauders waiting outside the classroom, and she forced herself not to laugh. One declaration of friendship and Severus had suddenly gotten possessive. He was going to show the Marauders that she had chosen him over them, and while things might not be romantic it was sure to irritate Sirius to make it appear that things were swinging that way. She played along a bit, laughing a little too long at something he said and moving a little closer to him. She had her own motive- if Sirius thought she was serious about Severus perhaps he'd give up pursuing her, but she doubted it.

"I'll see you after dinner, then?" she asked when they got in hearing range.

"I'm looking forward to it," he nodded.

She reached up, pushing his hair behind his ear. "Goodbye, Severus."

"Bye, Hermione," he patted her hand and walked down the hallway.

"I think I'm going to be sick," Sirius groaned.

She pretended like she didn't hear.

"James!" a female voice called behind her, and she turned to see Lily run past her to stand in front of Harry's dad. "Where exactly did those chocolates come from?"

"I thought you'd be appreciative of the gift, Evans," James responded, rustling his hair.

"James Potter..." she crossed her hair and gave him a look that reminded Hermione of the look Ginny would give when she was insisting someone get something done.


"We haven't had a Honeydukes trip in over a month."

"Is it beyond comprehension that I bought them last time and was just waiting for the right moment too give them to you?"

"Completely beyond comprehension."

"It hurts me you have no faith in me," he sighed, not sounding a bit wounded. "Hey, Evans, there's someone I'd like you to meet."

He turned her towards Hermione and smiled. "This is Hermione Puckle. She's visiting from Beauxbatons."

"And she is quite the little spitfire," Sirius added, moving to stand next to Hermione. This time she was prepared for when he tried to put his arm around her, and she skillfully ducked and moved away.

"Pleasure to meet you," Lily smiled kindly, reaching a hand out. Hermione felt her features freeze in as friendly of a look as she could muster as her heart broke and she shook Harry's mum's hand.

"Pleasure," she whispered.

"How are you liking Hogwarts."

"It's nice."

"It would be so much nicer if she knew the kind of company to keep," Sirius said loudly.

"Stop, Black," Hermione hissed.

"Lily used to have the same affliction, but she got smart and ditched him."


"What did I get smart to?" Lily asked.

"Snivellous. Hermione here has been spending too much time with him."

Lily looked at her in surprise, and forced a smile. "She's not your property, Sirius."

"I've been working on that, but she's been resisting."

"I have no interest in being anyone's property," Hermione growled.

"You have no idea how good you would have it if you were mine," Sirius said with a charming, lopsided smile.

"I don't think I could take the sheer amount of ego," she replied, before excusing herself and hurrying towards Jennae, who had just walked up. As they were walking into the room Hermione looked back at Lily one more time, and found the redhead studying her, concern deep in her eyes. She suddenly felt there was something she didn't know about Harry's mum, something that had to do with Severus, and something she'd have to find out before she'd be able to save Snape's life.

Thirty-One Days

A Harry Potter Story
by keelhaulrose

Part 7 of 29

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