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Batch 35 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Batch 35
Snape (attempt) at a romance with someone besides Lily? for Anon

Theophania Selwyn (Nia to her friends in Slytherin House) was a redhead, to her deep regret. It was either some wild throwback gene, or her mother hadn't been entirely honest--she truly hoped it was the former--as no one else in the family had such hair. They were all dignified brunettes, ice blondes, or even raven-haired beauties. Only Nia had been cursed with ginger hair and all of its attendant problems, including runaway freckles all summer and cousins who called her Carrots and Pumpkinhead. Worse, the only other person in her year with hair that particular shade of red--a sort of tomato red, as opposed to the run of the mill and unnoticeable orangey-red--was the Mudblood Evans from Gryffindor, and teachers had actually mistaken Nia for her from the back.

That was not, in Nia's opinion, acceptable.

She briefly considered forcibly dyeing Evans's hair in Potions, or perhaps cutting it off, but decided in the end that, since it wasn't merely the resemblance to Evans but to the whole ginger class that bothered her, she would dye and cut her own hair. She'd asked old Slughorn if she could use the Potions dungeon for it, since she'd brewed the perfect shade of honey blond in the last class, and he'd given her permission. He'd neglected to mention that Severus Snape would also be working there, on one of his little projects. He might have forgotten. Sluggy wasn't terribly keen on Severus, despite Severus's good marks in most of his classes. In fact, Sluggy ignored Severus, which Nia decided was a good strategy.

She set up her cauldron on the far side of the room from the table where Severus's ingredients were carefully laid out. He was making furious notes in his Advanced Potions book, which was how he spent most of his Potions classes, and she didn't think he'd noticed her coming in until he said, "You don't mean to dye your hair, do you?"

Nia, who'd already started to separate her hair into sections for more even coloring, looked up, hold her her hair out rather stupidly by her ears. "What?"

"I noticed you'd brewed a hair dye in class," Severus said. "I assumed you were trying to give your color to someone else." He stopped and blinked, then swallowed hard. "It's... quite lovely." He looked back down at his book and scribbled something else.

Nia muttered an embarrased "thank you," then turned away and wrinkled her nose, clipping the sections of her hair with pins. She didn't detest Severus as some of the others did, but he was still a half-blood from some godawful factory town. When he'd first come to school, he'd sounded like something out of a Charles Dickens street. He'd got rid of the accent, for the most part, but Nia remembered it well enough. So did everyone else.

Besides, he was, to put it mildly, not particularly handsome. He had a great hooked nose and flat, greasy hair, and spots when he forgot his bubotuber potion, which was usually. He was too skinny, and proportioned all wrong, and he smelled like a manky sock that had been left in a puddle of discarded potion ingredients (this was probably because he sneaked in showers only when the other boys weren't there to torment him). The state of his robes was best left unexamined. His beady little eyes were heavily hooded, and he had a creepy way of moving about so silently that he could startle a ghost. Nia's dormitory-mate, Iris Gamp, called him "Skulky."

"What color are you going to make it?"

Nia jumped. Severus had come up to her in that creepy, skulky way while her back was turned. He was clutching his Advanced Potions book like a security blanket. She made herself smile--skulky and creepy he might be, but everyone knew he knew how to do some nasty things, and she didn't care to find out just how nasty--and said, "I thought I'd make it blond. Honey blond, like Catriona McCormack."

Severus looked at her blankly, obviously not knowing the reference.

"The Quidditch player?" Nia said.

"Oh. You like Quidditch."

"Not that much. She's just very famous."

"Why would you want to spoil your hair to look like some Quidditch twit?"

"It'll be quite pretty," Nia said, turning away with finality.

"I'm sure it will," Severus said, not taking the hint. "But not as pretty as now."

"I hate it."


Nia looked at her cauldron. During the course of the conversation, it had set a little, and she stirred it, hoping that nothing had gone wrong with it. "Was there something you wanted, Sev?"

"Well... I've wondered if... well, I've noticed you're very good in Potions. Would you like to come to the Apothecary with me next Hogsmeade weekend? I could show you some of the good things they keep in back."

"The... apothecary?"

"Or anywhere else that you'd like. I just thought you might like to know more about what's back there."

"No, thank you," Nia said.

"Well, maybe we could--"

"I meet my boyfriend at Hogsmeade weekends," Nia said. "He left school last year. You remember him, don't you? Kenyon Foote?" (In point of fact, Nia had broken up with Kenyon over the summer, when she'd spied a very handsome guitar player, but Severus knew Kenyon. They'd had a few unpleasant encounters in the showers. This made him handy.)

Severus looked crushed. "Oh. Of course. I'm sorry I asked." He skulked back over to his own cauldron.

Nia dyed her hair, as blond as she could get it. When she was finished, she curled and cut it into a fashionable bob.

Severus Snape never spoke to her again.

Alternate: something with Jane at her Muggle uni. for at_upton

Jane stared with some despair at the basic calculus homework in front of her, thinking, not for the first time, that she ought to have just gone and apprenticed at St. Mungo's instead of deciding that she'd read medicine in a Muggle university instead. Professor Vector had urged her to consider the double workload involved in her career plan--she had to get good marks at Hogwarts to get the requisite equivalents, and then she'd have to master the Muggle subjects she needed if she meant to understand things--but at fifteen, she'd loved the idea of the challenge. She'd also secretly loved the idea of having a deep secret in the middle of the Muggle world. An aficianado of superhero comic books as a child, a part of her had imagined herself as Diana Prince, hiding her superpowers until they were needed. Of course, that couldn't be done--using magic to solve Muggle problems was very strictly against the rules, and probably for a good reason--but she'd entertained the fantasy for quite a long time.

At least when she'd had time for fantasizing.

She'd done her best to prepare, taking science-like courses at Hogwarts and reading on her own over holidays. She'd taken a year off after Hogwarts as well, just to devote to learning things she thought she'd need. As a result, she had no need for remedial math.

She sighed.

All of that work, and all she had to show for it was that she wasn't behind. She was struggling right along with the rest of the middle of the pack, a position to which she was not at all accustomed. And that wasn't even counting the fields she wasn't directly studying. She was taking introductory classes in literature, and she knew none of the books her classmates liked (and, more often than not, her teacher disdained). She couldn't very well fill a language requirement by citing ancient runes (though they did help her while she took a course in Old Norse). She'd taken no music since leaving primary school, and knew nothing of art. She'd traveled very little, leaving her feeling stupid and parochial while her classmates talked about the best dance clubs in Moscow. Even if she'd been allowed to talk about the wizarding world, somehow, her sixth year visit to Durmstrang, which had been quite a big deal at the time, hardly seemed significant. She wished that she'd been better friends with Donzo McCormack. He and his crew had at least got to see the world in summer tours. On the other hand, Jane had worked summers; even if she'd been invited, she wouldn't have been able to go.

She gritted her teeth and muttered, "You brought this on yourself. Leave off with the complaints."

Nodding firmly, she bent back down to her calculus. Carefully, she drew a new blank graph.

The dormitory door opened, and her roommate--a spoiled girl from Whitestairs called Regan--spilled in, carrying the smell of some party or other with her. She flopped down onto her bed. "Janey! It's Saturday night, come on, now, get your nose out of the book." She sat back up and reached across the small room. She obviously meant to grab Jane, but ended up just rapping her knuckles on the desk chair. "We'll go dancing!"

"I don't really like dancing."

"Then you're not doing it right." Regan smiled and stumbled back up to her feet, swaying a little. "Come on. We'll go out, and we'll meet people. Male people. At least if that's what you like. Is it what you like? If not, we can go meet female people. Or both. I'm open."

"I have calculus," Jane said. "And I'm not really good at it."

Regan waved her hand impatiently. "I'll help you with calculus tomorrow, it's my best subject. Professor Collins wants me to get a doctorate in maths. Maybe I will. But only if you come out and dance!"

"What on earth does one thing have to do with the other?"

"Well," Regan slurred, "if I have to spend all my time dragging you out, then I'm not doing my work, now am I? Make it easy for me. Just come along, and we'll be there, and then we'll have had fun, and I'll be able to devote myself to my studies instead of worrying about my roommate."

"Why do you care?"

"I like you," Regan said. "That's all. Oh, and so does Billy LaGasse. Who's friends with the delectable Edwin Gill. You see how that works."

"You're using me to get close to a boy you like."


"How very Slytherin," Jane said, and smiled. It was the first time she'd felt quite at home.



"Ah!" Regan put her arms straight up over her head and did a little snake-like dance. "I like it. I'm slithering. Come slither with me."

Jane laughed and closed her book. "What the hell?" she said. "I haven't Slyther-ed for a whole term. Let's have at it. But calculus help tomorrow. It's the price for helping you woo the fair Edward."


"And you'll remember that when we get there...?"

Jane let herself be led out.
23 comments or Leave a comment
From: severely_lupine Date: January 18th, 2010 10:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, poor Severus. Really, how can you not feel sorry for that guy? :-( I still say he should have lived. He was another one who just plain deserved to find some happiness.

The second one was cute. I like the idea of a witch at a Muggle uni. I don't remember who Jane is, though. And wasn't there a Regan somewhere else in your fics?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2010 07:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, if there's a Regan, I don't remember--not the same one, anyway! Janey's a Muggle-born Slytherin girl in Teddy's year. He goes out with her and they get along fine, but there's no spark, and she's sort of an in-the-background character.

(And yes, I do feel sorry for Snape. I don't like him much, but I do feel sorry for him.)

Edited at 2010-01-18 07:39 pm (UTC)
From: severely_lupine Date: January 18th, 2010 08:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I remember where I've read Regan before. That was from your pre-DH story "Life on Mars". So, yeah, I guess that wouldn't be the same one. ... Or is it? ... No. No, it's probably not.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2010 09:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oh, yeah, I remember now! Heh, definitely not the same person.
shiiki From: shiiki Date: January 18th, 2010 11:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, it's lovely to see more of Jane. Your references to her doing the wizarding and Muggle exams in your Teddy fics always intrigued me.

I like that she ended up with a very Slytherin-ish roommate ... and that she let 'Slytherin' slip!

Loved the first ficlet as well. Sev's interest in Nia reminds me of Tonks going out with Daffy possibly because he reminded her of Remus.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Unfortunately for Snape, his look-alike attempt is a spoiled little bitca.

I've always been a little curious about witches and wizards who just didn't want to live fully in the wizarding world.
nundu_art From: nundu_art Date: January 18th, 2010 02:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm....Kenyon? Don't tell me it's another name you found in your family tree; if so, we're closer than you think!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, no. I have a name book, but instead of opening it, I took one of the authors' last names and called it good. :D (One Sherrilyn Kenyon.)
nundu_art From: nundu_art Date: January 18th, 2010 08:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
It runs rampant through the Walton's down here, but as a surname.
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: January 18th, 2010 02:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
The first fic simultaneously makes one very sorry for Severus and shows exactly why he got himself into the kind of mess he did...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was my intention! I can appreciate what Snape's life was like (let's just say, as a plain fat girl, I don't have many personal quibbles with the equation high school=hell), but damn, the boy had serious mental issues.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: January 18th, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor little Severus. He not likable, but he will become brave and dedicated and crucial to bringing down Voldemort. I agree with him. though, lovely red hair is rare and should be cherished.

I like Jane's roommate -- she's right that some time having fun is essential. Perhaps this will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree with him. though, lovely red hair is rare and should be cherished.

Absolutely! I love red hair. In fact, I generally like most natural hair colors; they match the rest of one's coloring. But I think red hair has some 'lower class' connotations to certain members of the upper class.
katyhasclogs From: katyhasclogs Date: January 18th, 2010 06:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm really enjoying reading all your ficlets - they brighten my mornings. :)

I thought Jane's feelings about being in the middle of the class rather than the top rang very true, and it's a really interesting idea, how a witch/wizard would find a muggle university. One question though: if she's studying medicine, why should she need to worry about those other subjects?
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 18th, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

well i don't know if most colleges do this....

but many have a general education idea- basically while you have a chosen field with subjects (like medicine)
they still want you to have a well rounded scoped education.
so, as mandatory rule, you have to take at least 1 class on other subjects such as Art, math, science, languages,etc

i'm guessing that's what Fern had in mind when she wrote Jane's college.

and question- was Jane slytherin?

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2010 07:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: well i don't know if most colleges do this....

That's my assumption--a general introductory distribution requirement (mine required two classes each in English, science, math, arts, and humanities, as well as requiring at least the equivalent of three semesters of a second language, which you could test out of, or just take level three). I would assume that most colleges have that, though even if they didn't, Jane would most likely require it of herself to have a general liberal arts background.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 18th, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: well i don't know if most colleges do this....

I'm an American college student studying abroad in England, and if Jane is at an English university, she would be reading only one subject. There are none of the American-style distribution requirements-- students begin narrowing their focus in their mid-teens by dropping subjects in the same way that Hogwarts kids do, and by the time you hit uni, you are focusing exclusively on history or music or whatever. I study English and don't know a lot about what the medics do, but there's obviously a lot of specialized science. They also observe cadaver dissections as freshmen and then tell you about them while standing in the line for lunch; fun times!

As always, Fern, I really enjoyed these. Thanks once again for weeks and weeks of lovely holiday presents.
From: vj85 Date: January 18th, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: well i don't know if most colleges do this....

Indeed. Medicine is an undergraduate course in the UK, lasting five or six years. Also, it's very rare to have to share a room with somebody.

And poor Severus!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: well i don't know if most colleges do this....

Meh, oh well. Can't win 'em all.
From: vj85 Date: January 18th, 2010 11:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: well i don't know if most colleges do this....

Ah, it's just a nitpick. I've been won over by your stories for years, particularly, recently, the Teddyverse. Sorry just to pop up randomly - I'm not really involved in LJ very much. I'm belated in saying so, but your writing kept me sane when I was abroad doing fieldwork in difficult circumstances a year or so ago.
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: January 18th, 2010 10:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great stuff!
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: January 18th, 2010 11:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
It is very interesting to see from an outsiders' view what Hogwarts!age Snape was like. It is not a very flattering one, though more sympathetic look than Remus' friends had of him. Also, I like the tidbit about the showers; the explanation makes it ring more true.

What I really liked though was the Witch in Uni which was interesting. And really, how it wasn't just the hiding magic that was a culture shock. The less travel/music/art that seems pretty true for much if the wizard world is a hurdle for her to overcome.
chrischewscud From: chrischewscud Date: January 19th, 2010 03:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I was out of town, so I just saw the fic you wrote for me. Thank you! You and the Hufflepuffs didn't disappoint, it was quite funny. Hopefully Tonks didn't get pneumonia, because that would've been an awkward healing to explain to her Mum or Dad!
23 comments or Leave a comment