Dec 16, 2018 12:08 PM
A Felicity meets Severus Snape
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“Still, though... I’ve been trying to get closer to him for ages. Because of the whole... you know.”

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"Is he that much of a recluse that an invitation to owl him is exceptional?"

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Jeremy licks his lips nervously, looking rather like an overenthusiastic dog. “Y-y-yes? At least, I’ve never known him to tell someone else to owl him... not anyone I know, at any rate.”

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"Well. I suppose he meant me to be impressed by such a distinction."

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A small, almost accidental smile from Jeremy. “I rather expect that he just wanted you to owl him.”

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"Does he really think insults would work better than 'hello Elise, I was interested in something or other in your work, would you like to discuss it further?' I'm not hard to get ahold of."

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“I’m not Snape. I don’t know what he was thinking. Maybe it was some kind of test.”

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She snorts. "Well, he sure seems the type."

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Shrug.

Then, in a lower voice: “Are you planning to follow up with him?”

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"I might. He's got me curious, and there's little harm he can do by letter."

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Weasley pauses, then suddenly leans forward and grasps Elise’s arm. “He’s in deep. He’s far into his inner circle. I’ve been trying to get in contact with him for so long... I barely knew him and all the rest at Hogwarts, I was a few years ahead of him but they wouldn’t have wanted me... it’s not an opportunity you should pass up. You’re from a good family... not like mine.

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"I will certainly keep that in mind," she says, removing his arm and taking a half-step back.

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He steps closer, almost desperately, catching her arm again. His eyes are shining. “Could you— if you talk to him— could you— perhaps put in a good word. For me, I mean.”

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"You are assuming a lot about what influence I'll have over him."

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He flinches visibly and looks down. “I... I’m sorry,” he whispers, then turns to walk away, trembling.

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She watches him walk away with a frown, then leaves herself, stopping on the way to the Floo to speak briefly to a few of the remaining attendees.

 

When she arrives home she shakes the fireplace dust from her robes and sits down heavily on the couch, turning the events of the evening over in her mind. Meeting Severus Snape had not been the most important event, by far - she'd met men and women whose work she had admired for years - but it had stood out nevertheless, along with Weasley's... performance. It's worth the trouble to at least look for Snape's work, she thinks, and rises again to look through her shelves of potions journals.

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There’s— almost nothing. There’s one from six years ago, something about the factoring of lionsbane for the advancement of its bone-mending properties, and the announcement from the guild of his membership three years after that, but other than that Snape seems to have been doing nothing but— what, if not potions?

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What had he been doing at her induction ceremony, then? It wasn't an all-guild event, not by a long shot, and Snape seemed something of a misanthrope. Had he been watching her?

She shouldn't write him. She knows it's dangerous, knows it will only call attention to her - nevertheless, she thinks it over as she checks on a few projects simmering in her brewing room and prepares for bed.

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Next morning, she starts a quick experiment she'd disscused with one of the Masters she'd met, them jots off a few letters - to her parents, to her brother, several new acquaintances from the ceremony - and then holds her quill over a fresh roll of parchment.

Severus Snape, she writes eventually. Your introduction was quite memorable, and I find myself curious why you chose to speak to me in this manner. I do not find myself lacking in ambition or direction. I find the joy of the craft its own reward, and beyond that my potions have saved lives. To what greater goal do you apply your brewing, if not the advancement of the field and the creation of that which might benefit others?

Elise Jones

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Nearly a week after she sends it, she receives the following letter, written in a spidery cursive hand—

Dear Miss Jones,

I observe that my comment has quite nettled you. Perhaps it has hit a nerve?

Regardless, your talent would be remarkable even in ages past. In these fallen days, it is nothing short of miraculous. I, and a select few of my closest confidants, seek to overcome the mediocrity and unimaginativity afflicting our culture — our nation, if you will — at present, by means of extensive cleansing. It is no shame to have been mired in such things when one has been immersed in filth from the time of childhood.

If you remain intrigued, there are several texts I would certainly not recommend for one such as yourself. For example, Potionemaking of the Unknowne contains schemata and experimental procedure for a number of highly illegal and arguably Dark potion bases and axioms. I expect that you understand the dangerous nature of extrapolating from these axioms; nearly every wizard since 1862 has understood this, and therefore has avoided synthesizing these bases and axioms with more recent principles. Such a thing would surely result in power before considered unattainable, and is unacceptable in the scope of its — ambition.

The perils of ambition would be, I think, sufficient topic for discussion if we were to meet in two weeks’ time. On Sundays I take tea at 1196 Bellamine Street. The proprietor knows me as Varia.

~Regards.

The note is unsigned.

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"Varia",

I do not find our nation quite so disappointing as you seem to. British wizardkind has its flaws, to be sure, but I do not think the situation is as dire as you are making it out. Perhaps you see yourself mirred in filth, but I have always believed one gets from a culture such as this that which one puts in the effort to find. 

That being said, your reference to Potionemaking of the Unkowne intrigued me. There are some interesting extensions of his experiments with blood magic that may...

...if you wish to disscus this further in person, or for whatever reason insist on continuing with this cloak-and-dagger business, I shall be glad to meet you next Sunday. What time should I expect you there?

EJ

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The response arrives promptly.

Dear Miss Jones,

Your optimism is... admirable. I hope the sundry disappointments of reality will not too much damage it.

Regardless, my offer still stands. Any time after noon is acceptable.

-Regards.

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I shall see you at around 2:00, then. I apologize for the delay, but brewing imposes a schedule of its own.

EJ

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There’s no letter in response.

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She shows up promptly at the agreed-upon place a little before 2 and looks around for Snape.

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