Disclaimer: The characters here and the world they inhabit are the creation and property of JK Rowling.
They met at an inter-departmental cocktail party. It was the sort of affair advisors put together to convince themselves that they were getting their students out and about, but it rarely resulted in anything more interesting than a great many headaches the next morning.
Knowing this, Severus Snape planned to skip this next event. However, Nick said there was a new wonder girl in Oiler's group. She might understand the arithmantic properties behind the materials he was studying. He prepared himself for a lot of inane jokes about how his name sounded like “seven” and her name was derived from a word meaning seven as a jittery girl barely out of Hogwarts tried to pathetically break the ice.
There was something about the arithmantic angle of his work that he couldn't quite resolve. It would be worth meeting the twit to see whether she could help him at all. He walked into the room and looked toward Oiler. There should be a foolish child somewhere near him.
There wasn't one. Oiler and Nick were talking to a young woman who had an intelligent look of interest in her face. Her hair had been hastily pulled back into a ponytail, and her robe was a bit rumpled, yet there was a sort of glow about her. She looked as though she'd just come from a round of intense studying in which she'd made a breakthrough. The other option was that she had just left a man's bed.
He pulled himself up short. Why would he think of sex in terms of a woman he'd never met? He looked at her again. She had the glow that he felt whenever he'd done something great with a Potion. The fact that he found it alluring was troublesome, and he entertained fourth and fifth thoughts about his decision to come. He looked toward the drink table, but Nick saw him.
“Oh, Severus! Come meet Septima. I took the liberty of describing your current project to her, and she's quite fascinated.”
The girl with the ponytail reached her hand out, realized her drink was still in it, and blushed. She switched hands and shook with him. “Mr. Snape! I'm so glad to finally meet you! I was a couple of years behind you at Hogwarts, of course, and the professors always told me I'd never be as good as you.”
“Oh?” She was starting to gush. He glanced at the drink table.
She shrugged. “Professor Erwin was wrong, of course.”
“Yes, he finally admitted when he told me my N.E.W.T. grade that I'd gone beyond you, and oddly enough, in the area where Arithmancy meets Potions.”
“You've been doing work in that area?”
“I'm hoping to write my thesis in that area.”
“How far have you got?”
“I've found equations to describe some simpler materials. I'm not sure how they would relate to whatever you're working with.”
Snape had carefully worked them over as they spoke so that now he could get something from the drink table. Now he sipped and looked at her over his glass. He coughed and looked at his drink. Who in the same of Salazar would ever think a pumpkintini was a good idea? He looked at her again. That shine was for her work. He found himself again wondering if she had a shine for a wizard and decided it didn't matter. Tonight she would be with him as they discussed quantum mechanics.
He put his drink down and leaned over, speaking confidentially. It gave him an opportunity to gauge her reaction. Her eyes got wide and she sucked in her breath, but she kept eye contact. He smelled something... she was interested.
“Why don't we go get some coffee and discuss it?” he asked. She nodded, and he noted with satisfaction that there was a new shine in her eyes.
A/N: This was in response to reviews of the one drabble, indicating that there was some interest in what came before that night. This story will be a series of drabble-length vignettes. As always, although I try to stay consistent with the canon, I don't trouble myself with absolute compliance.
Thank you to Trickie Woo for beta reading and to my friends here for reading and reviewing!