Title: Broken Record
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Severus Snape/Hermione Granger
Summary: Thanks to a student inches away from being force-fed poison, Severus Snape has his own personal soundtrack playing over and over and over and over and over some more. In his head.
Notes: I do not own “Do You Believe In Magic?” by The Lovin’ Spoonful. ;P And thanks to Diana Ross for “I Hear A Symphony”, as this struck me while listening to it (at two o'clock in the morning).
Friday’s last potions class of the day had been so far uneventful, apart from a small incident with a box of newt’s eyes. Severus Snape sat at his desk, scrawling D’s and T’s on essays as the seventh year class toiled away around their cauldrons. Just ten more minutes and the brats would be gone for the weekend. Severus started softly as he nicked his thumb with the point of his quill. He swore quietly under his breath, lifting the small scratch to his lips to suck away the blood that had blossomed.
He jumped in his seat, his eyes widening as it started.
Music. The first few dreadfully annoying guitar trills led into what some deluded idiot might call a song –
“Do you believe in magic? In a young girl’s heart – how the music can free her, whenever it starts.”
He sat stock-still in his chair, glaring around at his pupils as the music continued to play. He growled over it.
“Which one of you imbeciles just made the dire decision of assigning nightly detention to yourself for the rest of the year?”
The class looked up, confused. What had they done this time?
“And it’s magic – if the music is groovy, it makes you feel happy like an old time mo -”
“ARGH. I demand you switch it off at once. Or else I will personally have you expelled.”
The class stared back at him, dumbfounded, looking rather worried. A number of them sported expressions that said clearly they thought he was loosing his marbles. He raked the crowd for a guilty face and found none.
“I'll tell ya about the magic – it’ll free your soul, but it's like trying to tell a stranger 'bout rock n roll.”
Severus took a deep breath, raising spider-like fingers to rub softly at his temples. He couldn’t pin-point the music to any particular direction. He decided to go broad-spectrum and punish everyone.
“Fifty points from both Gryffindor and Slytherin. Get out. Out. And take the godforsaken music with your or there will be hell to pay.”
The class filed out, some looking stunned, others looking thrilled out of their minds. The stone slab of a door fell shut behind the last student, Hermione Granger.
“Ohhhh, talkin' bout magic!”
“Fuck.” Severus swept his arm across the face of his desk, spilling paper and the odd jar of dead something-or-another soaking in formaldehyde. He held his breath as the song ended, hoping…hoping…
“Do you believe in magic? In a young girl’s heart -”
He stood in a flash, stalking around the room with his wand, searching under desks and inside cauldrons, putting every possible revealer and cessation spell to the test, but nothing doing. There was nothing for it but to leave the dungeon and hope it had stopped by the time he returned from dinner.
Severus closed the door behind him with a snap, striding through the corridor to the stairs, his glare more pronounced than usual. He took five steps and stopped, fuming.
“If you believe in magic, come along with me…We'll dance until morning, just you and me, and maybe, if the music is right, I'll meet ya tomorrow, so late at night…”
There had been no fluctuation in volume. The noise was not dropping. It was following him – it was everywhere – it was playing in his head.
“Bloody hell.” Severus’s eyes smoldered, his lip curling ferociously. He snaked his fingers around his wand, snatched it out of his pocket, and blasted a galleon-sized hole in the stone wall of the corridor. A passing first year started and ran off, whimpering.
Severus slammed his way through the doors of the Great Hall, stalking to his chair at the head table, his robes billowing around him like hellfire as he fumed, a right walking hurricane of doom, death, and highly deserved destruction. He was livid. Every face in the hall turned his way, their features shining by the lights of the floating candles. He sneered at them unpleasantly, silently promising the purveyor of his rage slow and highly painful death by force-fed poison.
“Severus? Is there a problem?” Albus Dumbledore’s strikingly blue eyes twinkled from behind his half-moon spectacles as Severus swept by his seat. He paused briefly.
“Just go and listen - it'll start with a smile - it won't wipe off your face no matter how hard you try!”
“Not at all, Headmaster.” He flew into his seat, electing to eat as little and as fast as possible.
If the day was dreadful, the night was Hell with a large dose of class with Potter and Weasley on top. He lay awake, breathing deeply, counting spiders on the ceiling and trying his best not to –
“And you can't seem to find how you got there, so just blow your mind!”
- go completely insane.
He took some comfort in devising punishment strategies – flaying the perpetrator to within an inch of their sad, sorry life while stuffing dead puffskeins down their throat – drowning them slowly in a large cauldron of acid…
By morning he had invented forty-eight fun and fantastic ways to kill someone, fourteen of which he was rather proud of, including the one involving pepper spray and play dough. It wasn’t until lunch (which he did not attend), that he really started to listen to the song’s lyrics…
“And maybe, if the music is right – I’ll meet ya tomorrow, so late at night…”
At at night, Severus decided it was time for a breath of fresh air. He had momentarily entertained the possibility of taking a trip to the hospital wing to see what Madam Pomfrey would make of it, but decided against it. He didn’t need the whole school knowing.
He slipped through the large oak doors to the grounds, pulling in a lungful of cool, damp spring air. A bit of the pulsing in his head went down.
“Believe in the magic that can set you free!”
He strode silently through the dewy grass down to the lake, groaning as the last notes of the song died away for the millionth time, anticipating the cheery millionth and one start…
It didn’t come.
He listened, and heard a whole lot of…
His heart beat a soft rhythm against his ear drums. The lake rippled softly, the reflected moonlight splashed across its surface distorting into soft, quiet, noiseless, wonderful waves of light.
Severus whirled around, searching the grounds for any sign of anyone. The windows of Hagrid’s hut were dark, opaque only in the moonlight. The trees of the forbidden forest were still. The doors to the castle were shut, but…
There. Up against the side-face of the stairs stood a figure. Severus stared. The figure stared back.
Hermione Granger stepped into a slice of moonlight, her bushy hair fanning out across her shoulders. Severus’s eyes narrowed dangerously. He started forward, tramping up across the grass to the unexpected culprit.
“Ms. Granger.” His voice was steely, all knives and dangerous shards of ice.
“Professor.” She held her head surprisingly high, her voice calculated and unwavering.
“Fifty points from Gryffindor for wandering the grounds after hours. Two hundred points from Gryffindor for being an insufferable know-it-all who doesn’t know what’s good for her. Fifty points back to Slytherin for wrongful accusation. Twenty points from Gryffindor for giving me reason to accuse them in the fi-”
He broke off quickly, rather frightened at the look she was giving him. This was completely unexpected in every possible way. The girl was not trembling in rage – not cowering in fear – not tearing up for being such a goddamn failure – no, Granger, Hermione Granger was…smiling. Grinning a big, infuriatingly pretty grin that sent his stomach plummeting to his feet if for nothing more than its being unexpected in appearance and unexpected in appeal. He quickly went back over the fourteen admirable tortures he had formulated the night before, reminding himself of the fact that he was supposed to be putting them to use – not admiring the fucking criminal. He took a deep breath and blinked.
“Ms. Granger -”
“Do you believe in magic, Professor?” Hermione’s eyes twinkled. She took a small step forward and he could tell that she could tell that he was highly uncomfortable with their current position. He cleared his throat.
“Excuse me, Granger?” He narrowed his eyes dangerously, hoping to ward her off.
“Do you. Believe. In magic. Professor?”
Her lips were soft. He drew in a sharp breath and bunched his fists at his sides. Hermione’s hand brushed his cheek as she pulled away. He leaned forward instinctively, unsteady on his feet.
Severus met her gaze, fumbling for something to say.
There was a long, painfully awkward pause.
“Two-hundred and fifty points to Gryffindor.”
He turned on his heel and stalked back towards the castle. Hermione’s voice stopped him. He turned his head back partway, his black hair falling across his face.
“Professor – what are the points for?”
Severus mulled this over, finally settling on:
“Everyone believes in magic,” before slipping into the castle and out of sight.