velvetfiction: (Default)
[personal profile] velvetfiction
Title: Hook and Bait
Author: [personal profile] velvetmouse, written for the July 2009 [ profile] hbpchallenge
Characters and pairings: Slughorn, Snape
Rating and warnings, if any: G, just a bit of AU goodness
Prompt, if any: none, really. just an odd little "what if" scenario that popped into my head
Summary: What if someone gently pushed Snape in another direction?


Horace Slughorn surveyed his Rolodex (enchanted, of course) with satisfaction. He knew others saw him as merely a power-grubbing sycophant, but maintaining the kind of connections that he did took a lot of effort. Part of his routine at the beginning of every school year was to survey and update his contacts. He looked at the lists he had created and grunted in pleasure.

Nearly four hundred contacts, covering all walks of life. He was well represented in the political arena, both domestic and abroad; he had nearly a dozen former students in the upper echelons of academia, and an equal number in leading research and development positions. He even had a number of well-placed contacts in the Muggle world, mostly Muggle-born or half-blooded students who had abandoned the Wizarding world for one reason or another. The only area he was a bit weak in at the moment was the medical field. Johnson had become more and more distant over the past few years and no longer was to be counted on; Prewitt had abandoned a promising career to raise her growing family; Sensling had some potential, but was probably too lazy to ever really get anywhere.

With a frown, Slughorn turned to his student rolls. This was the other part of his task, to take promising sixth- and seventh-year students and gently nudge them towards the areas in which he had future needs. The seventh-years were an uninspiring lot. The one or two who had sufficient potential were already committed to careers in other fields. But the sixth-years, now there was a class for the ages! Two candidates, in particular, could be superstars in medicine, if they chose.

But no, Lily Evans already had her heart set on working for the Department of Mysteries, and that was too valuable a resource to divert. In fact, he had already put her in touch with his sole contact in that department. While she was brilliant at potions, she was a genius at charms, and that combination would be best served researching for the DoM.

Which left the student in his own house. It was perfect, really.


"Mr. Snape, stay a moment," Professor Slughorn called out over the din of the students packing up their belongings.

"Oooo, what'd you do this time, Snivillus?" a voice from the Gryffindor side of the room taunted.

"Would you shut up, Black? For once in your life?" That exasperated voice came from Evans.

The ensuing argument carried them out into the hall and soon the potions classroom was left in blessed quiet.

"Sir?" Slughorn studied the young man who approached his desk. So much anger, so much drive, so much potential. All he needed to do was to aim it in the right direction. The lad was a genius when it came to potions, already better than he would ever be. But then, he never claimed to be a Master. He had achieved his Journeyman ranking, enough to be qualified to teach, and then settled back and ushered others on their way to greatness.

"First, I wanted to commend you on the modifications to the Draught of Peace that you and Evans came up with. Remarkable work, there." He paused for some acknowledgment, but the boy continued to stare resolutely down at his feet, although his cheeks colored slightly.

"Second, I know we had that careers advice session at the end of last year, but over this past summer I got to thinking. Tell me, Mr. Snape, have you ever considered a career in medicine?"

The student's head snapped up and he looked at his professor incredulously. " 'm not some sort of bloody Hufflepuff do-gooder," he practically growled, but his eyes dropped back down to the floor.

"No, no, no, my boy. I don't expect you to go into nursing or medi-wizardry." Slughorn let out a great belly laugh, as though Snape had just cracked the funniest joke in the world. "Not at all. You haven't the right temperament for that. No, I'm talking about the field of medicinal potions."

"Sir?" The boy's stance had chance from defensive to curious, and Slughorn clapped a hand on his shoulder.

"It's a burgeoning field, my boy. All the greatest minds are working there now. It's where the most cutting-edge development is being done, you know." Ah, there it was. There was a spark of interest in Snape's eyes now. The lad was justifiably proud of his ability to modify and develop potions; it was just what Slughorn needed to hook the lad. Now, to bait that hook with something irresistible.

"Just think, Mr. Snape," he said confidentially, "all those medi-wizards, all those patients, all those wealthy patrons coming to you to develop potions that might save lives. World-wide fame, renowned within the field as a great innovator. And I hear it pays well too." Slughorn looked critically at his student for a moment. Yes, the interest was definitely there now. "Does that sound like something that might interest you?"

"Y-yes, sir. But - " Snape's eyes dropped to the floor again. "How would I do that, sir? I - I haven't the money to buy an apprenticeship."

"Well, I just happen to know that Madam Pomfrey is in dire need of an assistant to help keep the hospital wing stocked. She has also agreed that one out of every five cauldrons is yours to experiment with as you like - she simply asks that you check with her and myself about any modifications you make and keep a strict record of what you do. She, in turn, will let you know about any changes in effectiveness to the potions and salves you modify. The school would, of course, pay you a nominal sum for your time. Now how does that sound?"

That drew a rare smile from the normally dour young man. "That sounds brilliant, sir. I don't know how to thank you enough."

Slughorn waved him off. "Nonsense, lad, it's part of my job. I'm only glad we seem to have found something you enjoy. Now why don't you run along to the hospital wing and find out what the Madam wants you to begin with. I will set aside part of my lab for your use. You may come down anytime - but no shirking off your other classes, you hear?"

"Ye-yes, sir. Thank you, sir!"

Slughorn couldn't help but chuckle as Snape practically scampered out of the classroom, like a firstie on his way to his first Quidditch match. Oh yes, that one would do just fine.

He popped a piece of candied pineapple into his mouth, a reward for a job well done.


End Notes: Slughorn's selling points were largely inspired by Laume's awesome story The Better Man, in which Snape himself expresses similar sentiments.


velvetfiction: (Default)


Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags