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Daily Drabble: Snanger Edition

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They moved together in their practiced, ancient dance, the foreknowledge of the other's next move only becoming the sweeter through anticipation. Snake and woman, tempter and innocent, cynic and ingenue, apple and lips. They savoured the freedom which permitted them to act out their parts in the little ego-drama. That freedom was nothing more or less than the grave knowledge that they were each infinitely more deep, more multifaceted, than their chosen role and that lightness of heart that reassured them that no crises of import depended on their actions.

"Tea, Granger?"
"Why, thank you, Severus. Have a Jaffa cake."

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"-- of all the arrogant, pompous, self-important, misogynistic -"
"Tell me, Madam, how do you really feel?"
"I feel like I set the wrong Potions Master's robes on fire! If that slug thinks he can sit like a pasha on a litter of candied pineapple and singlehandedly take credit for this potion, he's got another thing coming. I spent six months refining the arithmantic equations that led to his precious 'unparalleled outcomes', double-checked them all using the Chaldean method, and I'll be damned if he waltzes off without giving me so much as a single measly acknowledgement!"
"Wait, you set that fire?!"

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"Oh, Severus, did you put the veg on the hob?" Hermione tutted about the dining room, nervously wiping her palms on her apron. She began another circuit of the table, making minute adjustments to the spacing of the silverware and rotating one wineglass six degrees widdershins.
"Yes, witch, stop dithering. Everything is lovely. The last time you were in their house, you were being sliced to ribbons on the drawing room floor. Narcissa has no justification for turning up her nose at our middle-class hospitality. But then, I'm just a Manc yob, middle-class hospitality was all we ever aspired to."

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"...not Pride and Prejudice? Sense and Sensibility? You shock me, Mr. Snape."

Snape steepled his fingers and cocked an eyebrow at the bushy-haired witch before him. "Mansfield Park is...underappreciated. People dislike it because Fanny Price is so mild-tempered in comparison to Elizabeth Bennett, so restrained compared to Marianne Dashwood. That, though, is her strength. She gains her power through patience and forgiveness. Despite your Gryffindor boldness, you strike me as having a great deal in common with Fanny Price, Professor Granger. I have known other witches who were never so compassionate when their friends knowingly or unknowingly harmed them."

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"O Sapientia… veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae," she muttered, this prayer of her childhood faith as second-nature to her as any Point-Me incantation. How could wisdom dictate pursuing this friendship when it would never blossom into the love she desired? How could it be prudent to encourage feelings for a man who loved a dead woman?
But I was never a Ravenclaw. I cannot resign myself to merely acting wisely. And so, screwing all her Gryffindor courage to the sticking-place, she knocked briskly on the door of the two-up, two-down on Spinner's End. "Happy Christmas, Severus! I've brought pudding!"

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"Going somewhere, Granger?"
"Yes! Home -- to my cat, my novel, and a rather nice rosé. It's what normal, dull people do over the weekend, Severus. Now, what did you…?"
The man's lips pursed in irritation. "Riveting as your social life is, it does not change the fact that my stores of boomslang skin are depleted. You wouldn't have anything to say about that, would you?"
She sighed. "Harry needs polyjuice for an upcoming raid. I filled out the chit; you'll have fresh delivered Monday to make up what I used."
"Twenty years ago, your thefts were far more amusing. Mrrow!"

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"The curriculum really does need updating," Headmistress McGonagall sighed. "Miss Granger, Filius has already spoken to you about revising the Charms text as part of your Mastery thesis. Severus, though you've expressed your unwillingness to return as staff, would you consent to compile an official supplement to Borage's Advanced Potion-Making?"
"Preferably without letting sixteen years olds loose with marginalia like 'sectumsempra'..." The younger witch sniffed primly.
"Indeed, Miss Granger. Although I understand that Marietta Edgecombe still has a standing order for Merlin Brown's industrial grade concealer," said the older wizard acidly. "Perhaps even your own supplement would benefit from circumspection."

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He glanced over her shoulder. "No. That won't account for the house elves' lower body mass or their increased levels of latent cellular magic."
"But I double-checked the efficacy of adding these ingredients using Pythagoras' Fourth Thaumaturgical Theorem! I don't…" Hermione growled in frustration.
Snape gently pivoted her towards the cauldron. "It's not a matter of adding an ingredient. Halve the wormwood but adjust your stirring pattern to increase potency. Here. Three….plus one…"
And she was lost to all but the feeling of his hand on hers, his voice counting in her ear, the rasp of the stirring rod.

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"How's it coming?" George asked. Hermione slid over her lab notebook.
Attempt #17: Same base as #13, +4 drams stinksap. Odor's strong, potion drains well, colour still weak. Streeler slime? Cons: v. poisonous (neut. w/bezoar? might affect drainage. Also prohibitively expensive!)
"I'm sure you'll crack it, love. Skin-dying gobstones…. they'll be a great addition to our line. I've got to ask, though. Why your sudden foray into game development?"
"It's a present, a bribe, really. If there's one thing Lavender and Ron have taught me, it's that the way to a man's heart is through his mum's good graces."

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Hermione pulled a stack of novels from her well-worn bag. "Morning, professor! I thought we might start some fiction. Wuthering Heights? North and South? Barchester Towers?" She glanced at the unconscious man on the hospital cot, his neck swathed in unicorn-hair bandages. "Perhaps if I choose something you hate enough, you'll wake up from sheer spite to throw me out."

”...He turned, as he spoke, a peculiar look in her direction: a look of hatred; unless he has a most perverse set of facial muscles --"
"Tripe." grated a quiet voice.
The book thudded to the floor. "Madam Pomfrey! He's awake!"

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"Professor Granger, I would like you to wear this on the next raid." Severus placed a small velvet box on the desk. Hermione opened it, eyes widening slightly at the elegant Edwardian filigree ring within. "It has a few drops of superconcentrated Stunning Solution, and a pressure-activated spike - if you're disarmed, you need only backhand your attacker. After what nearly happened last time, any advantage is invaluable."
As Hermione prepared to slide the ring onto her right hand, Unspeakable Snape deftly took it from her and slid it gently onto the fourth finger of her left hand. "Placetne, Magistra?"
"Placet."

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"Beer's here!" George Weasley threw open the door of Grimmauld Place and assisted Snape as he rolled in the keg of homebrew. Pints were poured, the volume of the party increasing exponentially as alcohol was imbibed.

"I sconce anyone who's ever fancied the birthday girl!" George crowed. Hermione blushed scarlet, burying her face in her hands. Around the room, Ron and Percy drank, to the disapprobation of their wives and the ribbing of their friends, and Padma Patil let out a whoop before taking a gulp.

No one noticed as the black-clad potioneer raised his glass and drained it dry.

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Hermione blew her nose with an impressive trumpet. She started to return the soggy handkerchief, then embarassedly tucked it into her pocket. "I'll give it a wash and return it. Thank you so much -- I'm sorry for breaking down. I just miss them dreadfully."
Snape coughed awkwardly. "Obscene quantities of ice cream and wine are customary…?"
"Oh! Yes! Check the kitchen? I'll wash my face."
The older man padded over to the fridge. As he searched inside, his hand brushed a paper bag labeled "Dead Ashwinder: Do Not Eat!". He peeked in and blinked. "I…. don't know what I expected."

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"Severus? Dad? What are you up to?"
Hermione's eyes narrowed as her father started guiltily and her husband smoothly stepped between her and the table.
"Nothing, flower. Just some brewing--"
"--Father-son bonding--"
Hermione sniffed. "Is that insecticide?"
Her father, at least, had the decency to look abashed. Severus set his jaw, however. "That beetle…"
"For the last time, I don't care what the bint writes! Anyone who actually believes 'Hermione Granger: Scholar or Slut?' is an idiot. And while I appreciate the sentiment, I don't need the two of you defending my honour. Now, pack up and come to dinner!"

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"Calceolaria dentata grangerensis."
She examined the bouquet he handed her. The flowers had golden upturned lips with fluffy amber-frilled corollas.
“It’s a new volcanic hybrid... if Professor Longbottom and I are correct, the root will act as an anticatalyst in your Contracruciatus Curative.”
Hermione smiled radiantly. “Oh, Se--Professor Snape, I can’t tell you how much this means to me - to the patients! You will help, won’t you? I wouldn’t trouble you, but you helped cultivate this; you should be there for the brewing results.”
As she started preparations, the older wizard smirked, assured of at least a week with her.

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He had thought Lily to be his Beatrice, but now he knew she was merely his Virgil. Lily's memory guided him through the hell of war, and then on that terrible day, he had stared into Lily's -- Harry's -- eyes and experienced a final catharsis. During the following purgatory of physical healing, he made peace and consigned her to his past.
It was Hermione, so like-unlike lovely Lily, that held his future happiness. Hermione, with her insatiable mind, her bushy, preraphaelite hair, her generosity of spirit, would guide him to the easy, blessed joy he'd assumed would be forever denied him.

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Her awful hair shed simply everywhere, despite her efforts to contain it in buns or under scarves. Severus was forever plucking umber-chestnut strands from his knife roll, unwinding them from stirring rods, brushing them out of cauldrons where they matted into dusty snarls. He would growl that he'd be able to polyjuice Lancashire if this kept up, and she would apologetically duck her head, flyaways glinting. In exasperation, he crafted a spell to remove Granger's hair from his laboratory, and if the strands formed into a slowly-fattening braid in his bedside table drawer, that was nobody's business but his own.

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"...and you see, even tabloid rags occasionally, accidentally, report something worthwhile, so I started trawling the muggle papers. And here you are!" The bushy-haired young woman exultantly thrust a battered clipping from the Express at her frustrated and bewildered interlocutor.
" 'Heavily-bandaged John Cale spotted in Bangor' - how is this pertinent to anything? The man in this photograph is clearly too young to be Cale, but he's obviously not me, either. Do you always force your crackpot theories upon recuperating strangers?"
"I'll bet a dozen galleons that if you'd drop your little glamour, it'd be a perfect likeness, Professor."

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On the first day they worked together, she lost her temper and threw a billywig sting at him.
On the second day, he snuck her Babbling Beverage before a meeting.
On the third day, they called a truce.
On the fourth day, she refilled his coffee.
On the fifth day, he said she wasn't completely inept.
On the sixth day, she hexed the intern who called him a traitor.
On the seventh day, he said she might as well join him for lunch.
On the eighth day, they met for dinner.

On the ninth day, they were late to work.

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Severus' nose hairs attempted to crawl back into his skull as Sybill's sherry-laden breath rolled over him. "I foretell the consummation of an intimate yearning!"

Pomona and Rolanda flanked him, the former nudging him suggestively, the latter clapping him about the shoulders. "Yule Ball's coming!" "Get a move on, boyo!"

In the staffroom, Minerva smiled archly. "I've fifteen galleons riding on you."

"You really ought to ask her. We all want to see you happy." Filius added, sipping his absinthe.

"But what if she says no?"

"Then Professor Granger will have a century of night patrols for trifling with our lad."

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Hogwarts Castle was more sentient than the average lofty pile of architecture, and was wont to pick favourites. Usually it was fairly subtle in the ways it showed its partiality - when Severus was being bullied as a student, he could have sworn that the castle swapped wet-slicked flagstones out of his path under the feet of his pursuers. This, however, was getting out of hand.

"We do actually have to work in here, you know," he snapped tersely, trying desperately not to think about the way Granger's warm body was pressed up against him in the newly closet-sized laboratory.