Title: Escape
Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Harry Potter

Rating: G/PG (slight swearing)
Disclaimer: JKR's boys, not mine! I make no money!
Summary: Snape is sick and needs to escape from a certain someone.
Notes: Penalty drabble (kinda more like between a ficlet and a drabble in length)



"Yes, well, I'm sure you have to be getting along now," Snape said. His fingers itched in the pocket of his robes, fingering the harsh material and the contrasting soft material simultaneously.

But Lockhart was too caught up in his own story to even listen to Snape. "I eased her down on the ground, you see, and administered a few drops of Bellingham Potion, which you must known is a pretty tricky potion to manage on the fly, but I just brewed a batch that morning, and pretty lucky, too."

Snape gritted his teeth. If Dumbledore insisted the staff play along with this ponce, so be it. But Snape had his limits and he was in no mood for this today. Besides, the damn thing was called Bellitaham Potion and it took a month and a half to prepare properly. "Cheers," Snape said. His fingers closed on the handkerchief in his pocket as a little twinge of a sneeze stuck in his nostrils. "Now if you'll excuse me, I must go--"

"Yes, I know I can come across as modest, but I really feel it's my duty to share my knowledge with the world and, now, Hogwarts. Which was the whole idea behind the Dueling Club, you know. I assume you've given that more thought?"

Snape wondered what he could possibly say to make Lockhart leave. There was only one thing he could think of. "I look forward to the first meeting."

Lockhart's face lit with excitement and pride. "Oh jolly good!" He laughed that awful little laugh of his. "You will be a great help, but it's me the students will want to learn from, of course."

"Of course." Snape couldn't have clenched his jaw any tighter if he'd tried. He looked around the staff room, trying to find some excuse for escape. But he and Lockhart were the only two there, and Snape's nose wouldn't stop tickling. It was that blasted cold that was going around; he was sure of it. Not a year had gone by since he'd started working at Hogwarts when he didn't come down with something or other. At least this year it wasn't a stomach bug or strep throat.

In his present situation, sneezes were annoying enough, though. He dragged the handkerchief out of his pocket at the last possible moment and held it to his face. "heh-eh-eh-EHKtchh! Eh'Chshhhh!" He sniffed as loudly as he dared and muttered an "excuse me" into the handkerchief.

Lockhart gave him a suspicious look, and for one brief moment, Snape thought that maybe this was what would drive the idiot away. Unfortunately, a moment later, Lockhart's eyes lit up. "Oh, what you need for that is Pepper-up potion." He laughed; the sound was like nails on a chalkboard to Snape, who had only ducked into the staff room in the first place to blow his nose and get a cup of tea--neither of which he'd managed to actually do. "If there's one thing I'm good at, it's a god, solid Pepper-up. potion Why, I haven't even had a cold in years, it's that good."

Snape wanted to explain that Pepper-up potions didn't work that way... and he wanted to explain that they didn't work on him at all. But all he could do was turn away as his breath hitched again. "hh... ihhh-eh-Eh'Tshhh! Ehptchhh! Ehhhhh-IHShhhh!" He eyed the grinning Lockhart over the folds of the hanky. He rubbed his nose dry and ran a hand through his hair to flip it back, out of his face.

Then, almost like magic, like the perfect ingredient to a potion, Snape stumbled on a working solution. "I would very buch abbreciate a dose of Bebber-ub. Thadg you, Brofessor. I'b feelidg so biserable add by dose is so terribly ruddy. I would hate to give this bug to you add ruid your abbearadce." If there was one thing Lockhart prized above his reputation, it was his appearance.

Lockhart was immediately nervous. His eyes darted about the staff room, as though looking for an out. "Ah, well, I should... go get started on the potion then. It might, eh, take me a little while."

"I cad cobe alodg with you--"

"Oh, no no." Lockhart started backing away. "You just... sit and be comfortable and I'll... see what I can do." He laughed lightly again. "Who knows? Maybe you'll feel better by the time I... return."

Snape nodded, as though agreeing that could be a possibility. Another sneeze just now would be perfect evidence, but the tickle in his nose wasn't strong enough yet. No matter, Lockhart left within a minute and Snape sat back in an armchair by the staff room fire.

He heard the door open, but before he could look over, his nose chose that moment to tickle. He closed his eyes and let his mouth hang open. His large nostrils twitched against the hanky. And his whole body shook with need. Shakily, the sneeze built. "ehhhhhh... ih-kehhhhhhh... eh-heh-hih-IH-KETChhhhhh!"

Snape had just considered blowing his nose when he heard a firmly-stated, "Bless you!" thrown his way. Snape lifted his head to see Minerva McGonagall inspecting him from across the room. "I didn't realize you'd taken ill. I'll tell the house elves to send up some tea and soup, shall I? And I'll leave you in peace."

A genuine smile was rare for Snape, but he gave one to McGonagall to show his gratitude. "Thank you very much."

She made a Scottish sound of amusement in the back of her throat. "Careful, Severus. If you're too polite, I'll get worried you're taking a turn for the worse and send for Poppy."

Snape smiled again, to himself this time. "That will be all, Minerva."

She nodded her head and strode from the room. "That's much better."