Dec 17, 2018 5:12 AM
A Felicity meets Severus Snape
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Elise is the youngest person in more than two centuries to be elevated to the Potion Master's Guild. There's a ceremony - quick, because those that work in potions cultivate a very peculiar sort of patience - and a party - long, because everyone wants to meet the new guild member.

She tries to remember that it's not safe to let her guard down, but it's absolutely lovely to be around people that understand, for once, to bounce ideas off her fellow (!) guild members more quickly than letters can, and she finds herself drawn deep into a discussion of her latest research.

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— at some point she becomes aware that someone is watching her.

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A lot of people have been watching her today, but there's something strange in how that dark-haired boy looks at her when she catches a glimpse of him out of the corner of her eye. She politely extracts herself from the conversation and makes her way towards him.

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He doesn’t meet her eyes. Under his breath, he murmurs, “Good day to our newest guild member. The youngest in two centuries, I’ve heard.”

Is that a note of — mockery to his voice? It’s difficult to tell.

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She's in too good of a mood to be deterred. "Good day," she says, holding out her hand. "Elise, but I suppose you already knew that."

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He takes her hand and shakes it, limply.

”I’m sure everyone and sundry has complimented you on your potions skills. I’m afraid I rather disapprove.”

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"I confess I find it difficult to see what there is to disprove of in reducing the dangers of curse damage. Or is it the Chameleon Draught you object to? That one's looking like it'll take years of work, no need to worry yet on that front."

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”I have found that all too many young persons, fancying themselves prodigies—“ and here he looks up and locks eyes with her, his voice taking on a hateful, bitter cast “—become caught up in their own talent, neglecting to remember intention. They possess ambition without aim, skill without deliberativity, magnitude without direction. And thereby they squander their talents, developing trifles, attractive and impractical and nothing, surely, to marvel at.”

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Oh, for Merlin's sake, seriously? She could hardly say that being here was victory enough, and it didn't seem like it would do any good in the face of that sneer in any case.

"I'd hardly call healing draughts either attractive or impractical," she says instead. "If anything, the opposite. I got quite a few remarks before tonight that I should have been a mediwitch, if I was going to go into healing, and leave the potions to the serious brewers."

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A smile plays over his lips. “And perhaps you should have.” He draws his cloak around himself. “If you ever desire to rise above the merely plebeian, I am Severus Snape. Doubtless your owl will know how to find me.” And with that he has departed, his robes swirling around him.

Whatever sort of test this was, she’d not passed it. But neither had she failed it.

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That was... sure something. 'The merely plebian', really, she couldn't decide if she was more offended or amused.

She turns back to the rest of the party, but the encounter doesn't leave her mind, and she finds herself asking after a Severus Snape - "made a couple rude comments, introduced himself, and left?"

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“That would be like him,” an older witch says, shaking her head reprovingly. “I’ve never liked him, myself. Hope he didn’t rattle you too bad, dearie.”

”Did you hear?” It’s a younger, dark-haired man, in his early thirties. “Snape’s supposed to be involved in...” He looks around nervously. “Things.”

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Another witch leans in. “It’s remarkable he attended today at all. Usually he skips this kind of thing— not really the sort for socializing, you understand.”

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"Oh, I like to think I'm harder to unnerve than that," she tells the first witch.

"Things?" she asks the wizard. "I don't really follow the latest rumors, I'm afraid, I much prefer to be in a lab."

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There’s a palpable silence, then the older witch says in a quiet voice, “Some things are better left unsaid.” The others nod in agreement.

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"I can't think what he'd be involved with that's so terrible it can't even be - oh." She's not involved enough with wizarding society to pick up on such hints, but she's not so much of an exile not to have heard of Voldemort. Being so afraid of him they didn't even dare speak his name struck her as silly, but she knew her own position well enough. If it came out she was just pretending...

On the other hand, if he attracted supporters like that dramatic show-off Snape, perhaps there really was no sense in fearing him. Honestly, who called people 'plebian' these days?

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The darker-haired man leans in, brimming with nervous excitement. “So you know about-”

”Jeremy!” It’s the older woman again. “That’s quite enough! Now, dearie — Ellie, was it? — I was hoping to congratulate you on your recent entrance into the Guild...”

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She lets the conversation be steered away from Severus Snape and other dangerous topics, still brimming with excitement from her achievement. She makes a note of the man who had wanted to talk about it, however, and finds him later as the evening winds down.

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He smiles nervously when he sees her. “Hi Elise!”

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"Hi - I don't think I caught your name - I wanted to ask if you knew anything else about Snape." He'd seemed so strangely interested in her, despite the insults, it seemed worth following up at least that much.

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Jeremy pales considerably, making his freckles stand out. “It’s Jeremy. Weasley. And no, I don’t... not really.”

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"All I want is any hint as to why he might have stared at me, insulted me, and then told me to owl him if I ever wanted to do, how did he phrase it, 'more than the merely plebian'. As you can imagine, I'm rather confused." Links to Voldemort do cast that invitation in a rather unpleasant light, but she'd like more information before jumping to such an unpleasant conclusion.

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“—Oh.” Suddenly Jeremy is looking everywhere except her eyes. “I don’t know Sev that well.... what did he say to you?”

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"Said I lacked direction, mostly. Praised my talents with compliments so backhanded I'm surprised he didn't hurt himself getting the words out, then told me his name and to owl him if... I don't remember the words more precisely than what I've already told you, I'm afraid."

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“...he said you could owl him?” There’s a note of astonishment in Jeremy’s voice.

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"Well, actually what he said was something more like 'I'm sure your owl can find me'."

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