This story was written as part of the Very Unofficial Fourth Wave of the Severus Snape Fuh-Q Fest , which was organized as a way of thanking Luthien and Tboy for all the hard work they put in on the three official waves of the SSFF. The [mostly very silly] stories, poems, and art that made up The Fourth Wave can be found here.

Author's Note: This is humor. Humor, I say! Any resemblance between the Severus Snape contained herein and the Severus Snape created by J.K. Rowling is purely accidental.

Harry Potter and the Fanon Potions Master
by Beth H.
(c) September 2003

Hermione had just put the baby down for his nap when she heard the sound of glass breaking in the study. She sighed and shook her head. That was the second time this morning. Perhaps she'd better go downstairs and see if everything was all right.

She closed the nursery door behind her. At least most of the breakage over the past few days appeared to have been accidental and not the result of bottles being hurled across the room as had been the case on the second and third day. That had to be a good sign.

Reaching the foot of the stairs, she turned the corner and saw her husband lurking in the shadowed hallway just outside the study door.

"Ronald Weasley!" she hissed. "What do you think you're doing?"

Ron jumped at the sound of her voice and spun around to face her. "Bloody hell, Hermione," he whispered. "Stop sneaking up on me like that."

"I wasn't sneaking up on you," she whispered in reply. "If you weren't so busy spying on our houseguest, you would have . . . . "

"Houseguest?" Ron snorted. "Do you remember inviting him to stay with us while Harry was in America? Because I certainly don't remember inviting him to . . . ."

" . . . so far away.
Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore?
It would be so . . . ."

Ron groaned and leaned back against the wall. "Oh, Merlin! He's at it again. That's the fourth time he's sung that song today. It's worse than a yowling Kneazle."

In the interest of fairness, Hermione considered arguing the point, but she couldn't bring herself to do so. It really was quite dreadful.


She glanced at her husband in alarm. "He sounds like he's suffering terribly! Do you think we ought to . . . ."

"For Circe's sake, Hermione . . . that's not him. That is a yowling Kneazle. He's had Crookshanks tucked under his arm for the past hour."

"Oh. Right."

Hermione peered into the suddenly silent room, then turned back to Ron. "He's . . . stopped. You don't suppose he's . . . fallen asleep, do you?"

"Passed out in a drunken stupor, you mean?"

She glared. "Ron!"

"What? Are you telling me you haven't noticed he's been pissed as a newt since he showed up on our doorstep six days ago?"

"Well, no. But . . . .at least he's not crying again. That's something, isn't it?" she asked, grasping for something positive to say. However, at that precise moment, a heart-wrenching sob pierced the silence.

"Looks like you spoke too soon, love."

The single sob turned into full-fledged wailing, broken only by the occasional sound of someone gasping for air.

"Oh, this is dreadful, Ron. We've got to go in there and do something!"

"Not me!" Ron said, shaking his head and taking a step back from the study door. "The first time I went in there this week, he threatened to turn me into a salamander for not being Harry. And the second time, he thought I was Harry, and he . . . he tried to . . . no, I'm not going back in there until he's gone."

Hermione scowled. "Fine. Then I'll just have to go in there alone, won't I?"

She pushed past her husband and entered the study. A single lit candle provided the only illumination, but even in the weakly flickering light, she could see that the room was a disaster area. The mirror over the mantle was shattered. Empty beer and whiskey bottles littered the floor. Some indeterminate liquid - Hermione prayed it was just alcohol - had pooled on the rug in front of the sofa.

And slumped down in the middle of the sofa, clutching an agitated orange Kneazle with one hand and holding an almost empty whiskey bottle in the other, was Hermione's former Potions professor, whimpering softly to himself. His hair, tangled and more greasy than it had been in years, shrouded the left side of his face, but she could see evidence of tears on the right side. His robes - ordinarily so immaculate - were rumpled and covered with orange cat hairs. He was a mess.

Hermione knelt down in front of the sofa and cautiously reached out to touch his arm. "Professor Snape? Severus? Is there anything I can do to help?"

Slowly he lifted his head and tried to focus his bleary eyes on her.

"You're . . . not Harry," he said, dropping his arms to his side in defeat. Crookshanks availed himself of the chance to wriggle out of Snape's grasp and run out of the room.

"That's right, Professor. But Harry will be back tomorrow. Won't that be nice?"

He sobbed. "He's not coming back. I know he's not coming back." Snape leaned forward and threw his arms around Hermione, then buried his head in the curve of her neck. "I don't want to live."

She held him tightly, patting him on the back and trying to comfort him as she would her own son, Edward. "There, there, Severus. Don't say that. He'll be back before you know it. How would you like to take a nice nap? It'll all seem better once you've had some rest."

"I don't want a nice nap. I want to die!"

He pulled back from her embrace and huddled over, clutching his knees in his arms and rocking forward and backward. What could Hermione do? The professor hadn't been this bad even after he'd been hit with the Cruciatus Curse four times in a row during the final battle against Voldemort.

"Oi!" a familiar voice rang out from the front hallway. "Anybody home?"

Oh, thank God! He was back.

Snape lifted his head. "Harry?"

Hermione nodded.

An expression of pure joy lit Snape's face. "He's come back!"

Using Hermione's head as a brace, Snape pushed himself up off the sofa and stood, swaying only a bit, as he reached inside his robes and drew out a medium-sized green vial. He removed the stopper and swallowed the foul-smelling potion in one go, then started to walk toward the door, each step more steady than the last.

Hermione followed his progess through the study, concerned that he might fall and hurt himself, but by the time Snape reached the hallway, he had regained his usual equilibrium and was, as far as she could tell, absolutely sober. In fact, Hermione thought, if one disregarded the appalling state of his robes and hair, there was no indication that Snape had spent the entire week on the edge of collapse.

Snape stood beside Hermione, ramrod straight and unmoving just outside the study, as Ron and Harry walked down the hallway to join them. His face was expressionless; only a nod of acknowledgment indicated that he had even heard Harry's words of greeting.

"Hey!" Harry said, wrapping his arms around his lover's unmoving body. "We finished a day early."

"So it would appear," Snape said, raising one hand to touch - quite briefly - the arms that were coiled around his waist.

"Missed you," Harry murmured as he reached up and planted kisses along Snape's unshaven cheek

For a moment, Snape closed his eyes and stood quietly, leaning slightly into Harry's kisses, then he let out a deep breath and took a step backwards. "Potter, see if you can exercise some kind of control. You're making a spectacle of yourself in front of your friends."

Ron stared at Snape, his eyes wide with disbelief, but his former professor refused to meet his eyes. Snape did, however, glance briefly at Hermione, who gave an understanding nod and a small smile. A flush bloomed immediately on Snape's cheeks, but he returned her nod before looking away.

"I'll wait for you outside, Potter. I could use some fresh air." Snape looked steadily at Harry. "Say your goodbyes and join me; I believe we've imposed on the Weasleys' hospitality more than enough, already."

He turned and swept down the hall and out of the house, his wrinkled robes billowing behind him.

Harry took a quick look at the study. When he turned back to face his friends, he was wincing. "Bad, was it?" He pulled his wand out of his pocket. "I'll just tidy things up in there. Won't be a minute."

Hermione shook her head. "No, Harry. Ron and I will take care of the mess."

"Hey!" Ron interjected.

"Hush, Ron. It's not that bad."

Ron rolled his eyes, but then he grinned at Harry. "Go on, mate. Get yourself home and . . . do whatever it is the two of you do." He draped one arm over Hermione's shoulder and waved Harry off with the other hand. "Shoo! Out!"

"Yes, sir!" Harry said.

He started to walk down the hall, but just before he reached the front door, he turned back and smiled at Ron and Hermione.

"Thanks," he said.

Comments, critiques, chit chat: Beth H.

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