Trickie Woo, niklars, and Grey_Eminence for the hilarious and insightful reviews. *snort*
Second, the NEXT CHAPTER IS R-RATED! For rude thoughts, though, not for what Trickie wants. Sorry. Fair advance warning.
Chapter Twenty-Two: Day Five
She entered the Room of Requirement with rather erratic breathing. She set her papers on the desk and shifted through her bag, bringing out some samples of the Wolfsbane ingredients that Sally had given her. She conjured up an extra table and she licked her upper lip delicately as she set the bottles on the table, firmly stamping down the urge to either go to Severus and drag him to her room or fuck herself senseless. Which was the reason for wearing jeans and a black sweater over a dark green T-shirt. She looked up when the door opened and Severus entered, looking rather harassed.
"Everything all right?" she asked shakily, sitting down suddenly.
He gave her a look. "I have to ask you a question regarding the botch-up from yesterday."
Oh, bugger. "Yes?"
"Have you been having a rather continuous streak of... randy dreams?"
She coughed self-consciously and a blush blossomed in her cheeks as she stuck her head close to her bag in a show of looking for something. She heard his chuckle and her head shot up in astonishment, staring at him with a slack jaw.
"Is something the matter?" he asked as he settled in a chair, and she shook her head.
He laughed. He can laugh? Well, it wasn't so much of a laugh as a chuckle... still a nice chuckle. She frowned at her line of thought and then looked up as the door opened and the Head Girl, a Hufflepuff do-gooder, looked in.
"Can we send them in, Professor?"
She asked the same thing every day, always in the same polite tone. Mara nodded and then gave Snape a look.
"You will not – I repeat, not – deduct points for anything. These students have been very well-behaved, so you will merely call them to attention if they do anything. Do try to not be sarcastic."
She stood up as the students flowed inside in a steady stream, taking up their usual positions. Mara had noticed early on that the Ravenclaws took the front, the Gryffindors the right, the Hufflepuffs the left, and the Slytherins the back. Very rarely did she see any mingling. She stood up and sat up on the desk, leaning on her leg. The clock chimed on her desk and she nodded at them genially.
"Afternoon. I trust you've had a wonderful, Potions-free day?"
There was a general muttering as the students noticed – right before they answered, by the way – the Potions professor seated in a chair, glowering at them. They kept tactful silence and Mara laughed.
"That was mean of me. I apologize, Professor Snape." He grunted, an indication of either 'I don't care' or 'Apology accepted'. Or perhaps 'Go screw yourself'. "Shall we start then?"
He stood up and smoothed his robes, arching an eyebrow at her briefly. She shrugged at him.
"If you'll recall our talk about the moon's transformation and a werewolf's chromosomes, you'll remember... what? Can anyone answer?"
To no one's surprise, several Ravenclaws – almost all of them, actually – put up their hands. Mara was surprised to see a Slytherin put up his and she called on him suspiciously.
"A werewolf's chromosomes change when the moonlight hits any part of their skin."
"Wonderful. Five points to Slytherin." She grinned. "I love being a professor. What else do we know in relation to the Wolfsbane Potion. Miss Reed?"
A Ravenclaw fifth-year answered her question. "The moonlight activates and morphs a werewolf's personality chromosome, for lack of a better term. The Wolfsbane Potion keeps this mutation from happening, enabling them to keep a human mind."
"In better words than I put it. Well done, five points to Ravenclaw. Here we have Professor Snape, who was exceedingly essential to the creation of the Wolfsbane Potion. A few words, Professor?"
He glared at her briefly before striding up to stand next to her.
"The Wolfsbane Potion started with a base potion that has long since been forgotten. It was an essentially simple potion, probably made with water, lemon juice, ginger, and some other ingredients. The current version of the potion includes, obviously, wolfsbane tempered with jasmine, rosemary, ground unicorn horn, extract of Devil's Snare, and other obscure items that our Herbology professor was kind enough to procure."
"And it does, actually, include vanilla extract, which helps in no way at all," she said sarcastically. The idea fell flat. "Wolfsbane Potion has a notoriously foul taste. There have been several, several attempts to make it taste better... I believe the one that has been continuously tried is chocolate?"
She looked Remus' way, who grinned cheekily. The students snorted.
"Hm, yes, I do believe that our Defense professor's fascination for chocolate is known among the students. Approximately how much chocolate do you receive on Valentine's Day, Remus?"
"Oh... a few tons."
There some laughter and she shook her head. "Pathetic," she muttered with a slight smile on her face.
"The Wolfsbane Potion idea originated from the wizard myth – Muggles have no idea this myth exists – of Lycaon drinking something at a festival that rid him of his curse for a few months. It is believed that with a constant intake of this potion, we may be able to rid werewolves of their burden."
"At least, that's what we hope."
Snape shot Mara a sharp look and she fell silent, the corners of her lips twitching upwards.
"I do believe that the students would do well to see the Wolfsbane Potion you have in storage, Professor. Where is it?"
"I'll get it now."
He swept out of the room and Mara gave a dramatic huff.
"Somebody's cold and distant," she said with an elegant arching of her eyebrows, a spectacular imitation of Snape.
"You should know by now, Alexandria, that it is how I am," he proclaimed dryly from the doorway.
"Whoops, caught with my foot in my mouth," she said with a childish giggle that didn't become her. Snape snorted at her and showed them the Wolfsbane Potion.
"A small quantity which I hope that our chocolate-crazed professor would be so good to drink afterwards, even though he will resolutely wish that it tasted like chocolate. I'm afraid the best I can do, Professor Lupin, is a mere scent of vanilla."
It took a moment for the fact to register that Snape had made a joke. The students looked surprised and Mara covered a smile with her hand as the potion was sniffed and gagged at. Remus looked surprised as well, shooting Mara an incredulous look.
"I think now is apt time to inform you that there are people working on the original Wolfsbane potion, the one supposedly able to cure lycanthropy. It is an immensely complex and not completely known potion that requires the base potion and a virgin brewer."
The class looked interested. "Who's brewing it?" someone asked.
Mara gave them a toothy smile. "I am."
Whispers ran along the length of the room and Snape shot Mara a sharp look. She merely gave him an innocent look back. Mara had succeeded in filtering out any rumors of a relationship between her and Severus and the news that the substitute Charms professor was a virgin would reach the staff before tomorrow morning.
With that, Mara and Snape continued the class.
Not much to say here. Just: read, review, and hold your pants on! Use an iron belt or something...