Title: BVB's Request 2007
Fandom: Harry Potter
Spoilers: Sort of spoilers for Deathly Hallows
Disclaimer: Bwahaha! I've stolen the characters for fun. Of course, I still don't own them and I don't make a cent or republic credit.
Summary: Snape is miserable after the events of HBP. Not to mention that he's got a cold.
Notes: Written for BVB. Sorry it's written with knowledge about DH… I hope it's still close enough to what you wanted.
He held the bottle in his hand, looking down at it without truly seeing it. The shape was square. The color was scarlet. The glass was thick. It was cold to the touch. It was half full. And it made a loud sound and a spectacular mess as it smashed against the far wall.
Severus Snape's stomach churned but he swallowed back the nausea once more. It was a cold. Just a tiny, simple, everyday cold in the nose. So why did he feel like death warmed over?
Peter Pettigrew came skittering in, broom in one hand and dustpan in the other. He avoided Snape's strong glare and went straight for the remnants of the bottle which were dripping down the striped wallpaper and sizzling on the floor. The sound of glass shards being swept up covered the light sniffling from across the room, and when Peter heard the familiar intake of breath that signaled a sneeze, he pretended not to have heard a thing. “Shall I add Raven's Blood to the shopping list as well?” he asked.
“EHHPTCHHH!” Snape sneezed freely, teeth clenched. He sniffed, running the back of his hand under his sizeable and dripping nose. “Why would you sniff do a thing like that? Sniff! That was Boar's Blood. Sniff! Damnit!” He rubbed the side of his index finger back and forth under his nose. “Didn't I ask you an hour ago for clean handkerchiefs?”
Peter cowered in the corner, pretending to look for stray pieces. “They're still hanging up over the washtub, drying.”
Snape ground his teeth and closed his eyes in exasperation. “A set of basic spells would have taken care of that within minutes.” Snape's lip curled as he saw the pudgy man using a cloth to wipe off the wall when one wave of the wand would have done it. He sighed deeply. “Bring them to me the moment they're dry.” He turned in a dramatic display of black robes. Hidden from Peter's gaze, Snape pressed the cuff of his sleeve to his nose. This was a pathetic situation. Self-loathing threatened to overpower him. He swallowed again.
“I'll just go then,” said Peter, with a squeak in his voice. “Unless… do you need anything el-”
“For you to go!” Snape snapped angrily. He grabbed another bottle off the middle shelf of this ingredients cabinet. He had a cabinet like this in nearly every room of his house, which made more sense than having a single storeroom or pantry. Plenty of the ingredients could not be stored safely together in the same location and having the makings of potions in every room tended to fill him with inspiration and optimism.
Today, however, he couldn't have felt optimistic if he'd tried. His arm felt stiff as he forced his fingers to spread out and drop the glass bottle back onto the shelf. He backed up and took a deep breath. His mouth twitched and his nostrils flared. He took another breath, this one quicker and sharper. After a third, he snapped forward at the waist. “EH-TESHHuhhh!”
“Perhaps I could make some Pepper-up for you?”
Snape closed his eyes and reminded himself that he could do himself serious damage if he tried to utter an unforgiveable curse with a nose as thoroughly stuffed up as his. “If I wanted to be poisoned, sniff, I would ask that of you in a second, Wormtail.”
Peter scampered out of the room as quick as he could for his size, dropping pieces of glass along the way.
Snape held the back of his hand to his nose, feeling the cold and damp against his skin. His nostrils gave a twitch and he held his breath until Pettigrew's footsteps died away. He wasn't ashamed to sneeze in front of the other man, but if it could be helped, Snape would surely make the effort. “ih-eh-eyahh-Epptchhhhh! H'tchhh! HehTchihhh!” He paused, almost doubled-over. His eyes were closed, his breathing erratic. “ehhhh-IHHTchhhh!” He sniffled against his hand, then rubbed the back of his hand against his thigh. He opened his eyes wearily.
Right in front of him was a small jar with a startlingly bright green potion inside. Green. Green like his house… green like those eyes. Snape grabbed the jar and squeezed it tightly in his hand.
The problem, as Severus Snape saw it, was the nature of a promise. Snape had never given his word in such a fee manner the way other people seemed to. Nor did Snape easily ask favors of others.
And, yet, the promises had not only directed the path his life had taken but dictated every twist and turn along the way.
And now he was here, in this wretched house, with a whimpering housemate. He was here instead of at his rooms at Hogwarts, with a proper dose of Pomfrey's Pepper-up in him. He was here in hiding instead of at the funeral, with the rest of his fellow professors and members of the Order. He was here… and Dumbledore wasn't.
Snape stood in front of the cabinet for a moment more, then turned again and dropped into an armchair. He could make tea. He could make soup. For all that, he could make Pepper-up Potion. However, he wouldn't move from the chair. His legs felt weak. His arms felt worse. His head was particularly painful. And he deserved every single bit of it.
As he pressed his hand to his forehead, he let the bottle slip from his fingers of his other hand. It smashed on the floor, and Severus Snape didn't even flinch at the sound. He closed his eyes and massaged his forehead. Then, quite suddenly and without warning, he snapped forward. “ehTchooo! Heh-heh-EHSchhhhhh!”
“Bless you Sev—”
As quickly as Peter had appeared in the room, Snape has his wand out and pressed to Peter's windpipe just as quickly. “Dodn't.” Snape said, the menace muffled by congestion. “Say odne bore word add I swear, Worbmtail…” Another wave of nausea hit at the thought of making another promise or of taking another life, or perhaps both. He dropped his wand to the ground, and it fell with a splat into the pool of green goo.
Wormtail mouthed the word 'please', then he held out a clean, moderately dry white hanky as a peace offering. Snape snatched it up at once and hid his nose behind it in what he knew would soon be a permanent arrangement. He wanted to blow his nose, but he had but the one handkerchief at his disposal and it would not last long against this monstrous cold in his nose if he didn't use it conservatively. “Go away,” Snape said, surprised at the high pitch of his voice. His eyes closed again and the words echoed through his throbbing head. He felt a blanket being draped over his lap and he yanked it off, moving as little as possible. “Just go away.”
Snape pulled his legs up onto the chair and hugged them tight to his chest. He expected to hear footsteps heading out of the room again. Instead, he heard Peter's weak voice. “Are you really going back to Hogwarts now?”
Snape's stomach turned over and he winced. He sniffed and gave a tiny little blow into the handkerchief. “I must go back,” Snape said. “He told me I must.” Peter knew nothing. Perhaps he suspected, perhaps he'd even guessed, but he didn't really know anything. They all thought Snape had wanted to kill Dumbledore… just like Snape wanted to come down sick, just like he wanted to tap dance publically in a lavender tutu. “hehh-hehhTTtttshhhhhh!” Snape already had the handkerchief up, so he nuzzled his nose into it until he found a dry spot.
Then he felt the blanket make its return, draped over his legs. “If… if you are going back, you will need to be at your best.”
Snape felt too miserable to laugh at that. “I am at my best,” Snape replied. “Now go.” He heard the footsteps this time, and squinted with one eye to be sure Peter was leaving. Then he gave his nose a careful, controlled blow.
He had never gone this far before, and his path had never been so clear. But the last thing he wanted to do was to be reminded of it now by a man who had also played the part of a spy, by the man who was responsible for the death of his closest friends because of Lord Voldemort.
Snape flung the blanket off himself, shivered, and hugged his legs closer. He could be Hogwarts Headmaster under Voldemort's command. He could fight against the Order and overlook the atrocities. He could do everything expected of him, everything he'd promised. He just wasn't sure he could live with himself afterwards.
Snape sniffed hard and rested his chin on his knees. Compared to everything else, this cold was practically pleasant.