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A/N: Ron's not on the Quidditch Team. 11. Fruit Salad "Three out of five are already lost," Hermione spluttered. "If it goes on at this rate, we won't have a single vial by tomorrow!" The boys had to walk fast to keep up with her brisk pace. "Does he have to actually drink the potion?" Ron asked, a bit out of breath; he wasn't the one on the Quidditch Team. He wondered briefly where Hermione's stamina came from, then concluded that all her eye-exercise in the library was more efficient than he'd thought. "Wouldn't it be enough when it comes in contact with his skin?" "No!" Hermione snapped, impatiently. "Don't you ever listen to what I say?" "In general or somewhen lately?" "Ron!" "Yes ...?" "Come off it again, Ron," Harry intervened finally. "We all fight on the same side ... so to speak." "So it was me again?" Ron demanded, his ears already turning bright red. "I only asked a single bloody question and she," he shot a dirty sideway glance towards Hermione, "acts as if I'm a total idiot!" "A 'silly git' would be more accurate," Hermione said, crossing her arms over her chest defiantly, daring the redhead to say something with a glare, which she had obviously practised in front of a mirror. "W-what?!" Ron stammered. "That was uncalled for, Herm-" "Oh come off, Ron, really. If you'd listen to me you'd know that the potion has to be taken orally to allow it to work properly. But you didn't - as always - did you?" "I'm sure Ron listened to everything," Harry tried to negotiate. He didn't like the way things were going; like he had to do all the work by himself in a few minutes. "Would you please listen to ME now? Both of you ... thanks." Harry shoved his glasses back up his nose and took a calming breath. It was true, this saying, having some particular friends was enough to replace your enemies, kept you on your toes - if it weren't so damn tiring. "Could we, by any chance, return to our main topic? Snape, Love Potion, two more tries? Your petty bickering tends to be a tad distracting, you know? Can we leave it aside, if only for now?" Hermione sighed and dropped her arms to her sides. "You're right," she said softly, blushing at her own childish behaviour. "I know I'm right," Ron grinned. "And you started it." "W-what?" It was Hermione's turn to stutter. "I just- you are impossible!" "Just teasing! Ha! You should have seen your face ... All speechless and-" "Ron," said Harry, shaking his head, exasperated. "All right," Ron growled, pulling a face. "Anyways, I only asked because if the potion worked through the skin, we'd be already finished ..." He shot a mischievous glance towards his friend. "Really, Harry, you wasted two vials in less than one hour ..." "I what? It could have worked! The plan was good! How should I have guessed that Snape would wash his hands with the 'water'? I'm no Seer ..." Hermione snorted. "Obviously. You shouldn't have quitted Divination, then, huh?" "Yeah," agreed Ron. "Trelawney would have had a field day. She wouldn't have Seen Snape pour the potion away but that he'd choke on it, or that he'd die a very painful death due to the blisters which surely would devour his skin very slowly ..." "Ha. Ha." ## Severus eyed the door to escape longingly. The last teachers had left the staff room many minutes ago (though it seemed to him more like hours); he wished he had as well. Then he wouldn't be stuck with Nymphadora Tonks, who wasn't a 'real' teacher technically. Snape had to chose from two pains. Being alone with the crazy witch sitting opposite him or facing the unknown in Hogwarts' Hallways where the evil love letter writer could lurk everywhere. It was a difficult choice, but one had to do what one had to. The meeting had been pure horror. Everyone had had so many UNIMPORTANT questions for the Interims Headmaster ("Are two weeks detention enough for a fire setting?", "Don't you favour your Slytherins too much, even more now?", "Should we repeal the school uniform compulsory?") that Snape had wondered how there had been a time that he'd been actually pleased that HE was the Interims Headmaster for the time being. Sometimes he pitied Dumbledore. Years of being Voldemort's little Potions Master, of enduring all the pain and humiliation hadn't been half as nerve-wracking. Poor Albus. Maybe that was the reason why he needed all that sugar? To keep him going. Poor Albus, indeed. Severus sighed and returned his attention to Tonks, who'd had by far the most questions and topics to discuss. Her violent green hair was enough to keep him conscious and not let him doze off entirely. "Uh, I have one more question," Nymphadora said, fidgeting in her seat, "but I'm not sure if it belongs here ..." "If it's the last, shoot straight away," Severus sneered slightly. "Okay ... if you've got brown hair," Tonks ignored the raised eyebrows of the opposite sitting wizard and went hastily on, "you're a brunette, right? And if you've got blond hair, you'd be a blonde. But I've got currently lime hair. Does that mean I'm a lemon?" Severus was silent for a very long time as he pondered this question, then he answered, and it was with no scorn whatsoever. "Yes."

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