1994-10-14: Heal Thyself


Draco_icon.gif Hermione_icon.gif Kevin_icon.gif Mei_icon.gif Siobhan_icon.gif Snape_icon.gif Zarina_icon.gif

Scene Title Heal Thyself
Synopsis Snape instructs the older students in the healing arts.
Location Potions Classroom, Hogwarts
Date October 14, 1994
Watch For Dittany!
Logger Snape

The Potions Classroom is already filling with students in preparation for the next class. Rumours have spread here and there. The last lesson had Polyjuice and that was fun - there are even stories circulating that Snape gave away some Felix Felicis to his younger students. Of course, some students who might usually dread the class are supporting theories that the Potions Master has cracked as they babble excitedly and wait.

Mei wanders into the class, pausing for a moment to look up at the ingredient cupboard. In fact she stares at it for a long time, almost as though looking for something before letting off a sigh and shrug. Turning she heads to her cauldron, her little book of kanji (her notes) pulled out and quill with ink at the ready. Her potions book is put aside for when needed.

Entering with a group of Ravenclaws, Siobhan parts ways amiably and heads towards her seat in the front left-hand corner. Her satchel is set on the floor by her chair and she reaches in to pull out parchment, book and quill. That finished, she takes her seat, doodling on the edges of her parchment to pass the time until something /interesting/ started happening.

The Gryffindors are a tightly knit group and Hermione with a tightly knit smaller group among that. As she steps into the Potions room and takes a seat. Though she has heard the rumors of Snape's cracking, she doesn't believe it. Not until she sees it for herself. Being turned into Ron for an hour wasn't exactly as much fun as other people seemed to have with it. As she unpacks everything she needs for class, she glances about to see other people's reactions to the news.

As the students finally fill up the class, Snape arrives with a sudden, reverberating bang as the door is almost knocked off its hinges. If he has cracked and become nice it doesn’t show in the way he stalks up the aisle, eyes narrowed between two curtains of black hair as he approaches the head of the class. Turning about, he is amazed to find there is still some chatting going on between a few of the students who ascribe to the ‘Snape is nice now’ theory. A withering stare, however, soon silences them.

“Healing magic. What is it that makes healing magic one of the most complex and difficult fields of potion-making?”

Mei raises her hand idly, not trying to be the first like miss "Should have been in Ravenclaw" Granger, but sure not last either. Looking to the professor, canting her head just so, Mei waits to see.

Professor Snape's entrance - while it might surprise several of the younger students, or those believing the ridiculous rumors - doesn't even phase Siobhan. After six years of his class, there's not much left that really /would/ surprise her; at least of the side of him he'd show students. Her quill is dropped neatly into the inkpot as brown eyes follow her Head of House. His question is actually something she can answer this time, since it's common sense, rather than true theory. So, with a slight smirk, she too raises her hand.

The entrance, while known to happen now, does make Hermione jump a little. It always comes at an unexpected time - even when she's expecting it. Just as she thought, there's no new leaf for Snape. He's still going to be the same miserable person as before. However, at the question, her hand shoots straight up. She knows the answer, of course.

Snape gestures towards Mei when her hand takes to the air, demanding an answer of her with a simple stare and an arched brow. As he waits, a wave of his wand inclines a number of wooden lockboxes bound with iron banding to dance out of the cupboard and land with a sonorous thud in front of each student.

Mei nods. "It's just a question of variables professor." The girl speaks softly, adding an explanation. "With healing magic, you don't just take into consideration the damage caused by the spell, potion, or creature; but the after effects. Meaning that while the potion you create may cure a poison, which is all well and good, there is still the matter of organ failure and damage which you have to consider, or bloodloss, or, well like I said; variables." Pursing her lips she shrugs. "In the end, very few potions can actually take care of everything, so the brewer has to take this in mind and try to take as many of the variables they can into consideration and hopefully deal with them."

As Mei is called upon - well, gestured at really - to provide the answer, Siobhan lets her hand fall silently back to rest on her desk. Blowing a bit of hair from her face, she listens carefully to the answer and finds it…not what she would have said. It's a good point, but…frowning thoughtfully, she folds her arms over her chest and drums her fingers against the cloth of her sleeve.

When Mei is gestured at, Hermione lowers her arm and frowns. She likes to be called on and give a right answer. Even if it's with Snape. That's her own version of fighting back. Eyeing Snape, she waits to see how he'll take that answer before she'll raise her own hand again.

Draco smiles sweetly at Hermione, noting her obvious annoyance at not being called upon to answer. He himself starts making elaborate notes on his scroll.

Zarina lifts a brow as she gives Hermione a sideways glance, though the look is only brief as she turns her sky blue eyes back to her scroll beneath her hand, her slender fingers easily gripping her quill as it quickly scribbles her handwritting across the parchment in her neat, crisp handwriting. With a slow exhale, she tilts her head at her notes, her long snow white hair drifting over one shoulder.

Snape's lip curls slightly at the answer, although the fact that he does not call Mei out on it should suggest that it isn't wrong. He continues on that point, however, speaking as he moves. The way his robes are draped over him seems to conceal his feet, giving him the appearance of some horrible, floating ghost made flesh.

"Noble," Even though Siobhan's hand is no longer up, he gestures to her, "Your answer."

Mei turns to watch the professor, idly…perhaps morbidly, wishing he would trip on something. Just once, she'd love to see him step on the front of his robes and stumble. Turning she adds a few notes of her own to her book, using that small precise rune like writing she always does before looking back and WILLING Snape to trip.

Siobhan doesn't bother to smother her smile, gratified at the chance to give her answer. "It's because each and every person is unique, Professor." She tilts her head. "Not in the 'fuzzy-warm feeling' Disney sort of way," though few in this class will get that reference. "But down to our basic body chemistry. We all react with different drugs and potions in different ways - even potion/potion interactions work differently on some than others." She snorts and shrugs. "Even Muggle healers know that much. It's one of the first things they teach them."

Though Hermione doesn't quite like how Siobhan says 'even Muggle healers' know that, as her parents are dentists and would be considered healers - or at least doctors. Seeing how Snape is calling on other people, she may yet be able to give her own answer and she perks up - straight backed, ready to be called upon.

Draco also doesn't seem to like the reference to muggle healers. He shoots a sour glance over at Siobhan, underlines a word on his scroll, then sits back in his chair looking generally discontented and irate.

Zarina lightly rolls her eyes at the reference of muggles, as if they had anything to do with the topic at hand. Though her quill contines its steady pace across the parchement, marking her notes and thoughts before her bright sapphire eyes flick up to Professor Snape. Only then did her slender finger pause, waiting to hear his reaction and answer before making any further notes.

"Granger," Snape drawls, eyes like a pair of endless, black tunnels turning to stare at the young witch, "If you sit up any straighter you're going to snap your spine and then we'll be able to practice healing draughts first hand."

A sadistic little smirk tugs at his thin, pale lips as though that idea is quite an amusing one. Nevertheless, he pauses a moment and asks of her, "What point are you so keen to illuminate that Huang and Noble have not already touched on?"

Mei gives Hermione a look. It's polite, but it's still "the look". Meaning the "Yeah granger…why are you so keen on proving your classmates wrong look?"

Siobhan's grin grows just a little. No sneer, no censure…from Snape, that's /almost/ praise! As she turns to give Hermione her full attention, she catches Mei's odd look and tilts her head curiously. That's not an expression she expected to see on the shyly sweet younger girl. Huh.

It's not that Hermione wants to prove her classmates wrong, it's just that she wants to get her say. Not noticing any of the looks cast her direction - either in annoyance or pity - she just keeps an even tone. Being able to give an answer is when she feels most comfortable. "I was just going to say, that healing potions are very difficult to brew, especially if you would like to make it for something life threatening or a deep wound. If you miss something even very small, it will cause the person you're trying to heal even more damage, which is dangerous because if they're already hurt, giving them the potion could kill them. Not only that, they're very subtle and very powerful - they would have to be in order to do something like repair wounds. While a potion meant to do harm could be done wrong and it wouldn't matter as much - it's meant to hurt someone, so whatever may happens could be considered the proper solution. You need a specific result from healing potions."

Draco gives a sniggering little laugh at the professor's witticism. He turns to look at Hermione, ready to pounce on her should the Gryffindor genius slip up in any little detail. "Well, of course healing potions can go wrong in the hands of /non-experts/," he comments blithely, making an obvious inference about who he considers an expert in this room and who he does not.

Kevin is sitting quietly in his seat near the back of the room, and although he has made the gesture of taking out a quill and parchment hasn't actually taken any notes. The look he gives Hermione is one of grudging respect. Say what you want about her, the girl can talk.

Zarina frowns slightly, looking from the Professor to Hermione as she answers the question, despite how she wasn't even called up. She releases a slow sigh, shaking her snow white head at herself as she returns her attention back to her scroll. Note writing any further notes, her bright eyes narrow at what she has so far with some thought, debating on what else to add before just shrugging a shoulder at her parchment.

"These lockboxes," Snape continues, not so much as pausing to acknowledge the correct answer, "Contain one of the rarest ingredients used outside of the Dark Arts. As such, you are undeservingly fortunate to be permitted to handle it and use it in today's class." He pays no regard to Malfoy's interjection, perhaps showing signs of favouring Slytherin in that he brooks the interruption.

In the box lies a rather ordinary-looking white herb, flowers on green stalks that seem to tangle together in a bundle, "Origanum dictamnus, or Cretan Dittany."

"It is prized by Muggle 'folk healers'," he utters the words with the utmost contempt, "But beyond their clumsy attempts to soothe upset stomachs, it is also a powerful restorative when its essence is properly extracted."

Mei takes a moment to look at the flowers and then smiles softly to herself. Reaching out she gently draws her fingers over the blooms, not daring to pick them up for fear of bruising the precious flowers. Not paying much attention to anything else, the girl seems lost in the ingredient.

Listening attentively, Siobhan leans in to more closely examine the flower. A slight inhalation confirms the identity in her memory, evoking a small smile. Looking from the petals to Snape, she hazards a question. "Is this one of those flowers you have to steep to pull the extract from it?" Like is done for rosewater, or other such tonics.

Merely rolling her eyes at Draco's comment, Hermione settles her attention on the box in front of her. Eyebrows raising when she realizes what's in front of her, she opens the box very carefully. "I wonder if that means we'll be making the Wiggenwald potion," she whispers to her partner. "I've read all about them from the library. It's supposed to be very had to make, and fascinating, of course. Waking up a person from a magically induced sleep."

Draco starts to write again on his scroll, not only words but also setting down a quick sketch of the flower inside his box. Granger gets another frosty glance, though he stops short of actually drawing Snape's attention to her whispering in class.

Zarina sets down her quill, opening the lockbox on her table as she reaches her hand towards it and opens the box, frowning slightly at the flower though for now she doesn't pick it up. Her bright sapphire eyes look back up to Professor Snape as he continues, giving the name and explaining further of what it is used for. She purses her lips just lightly before glancing back to the bundled flower stocks.

Kevin inspects his herb and the box it comes in. He picks up the box and rotates it to get a better look at what is inside instead of picking it up directly. If only he had some tongs or tweezers or something, but to actually root around in his bag for something suitable would probably take too long.

Oddly enough, when Siobhan asks her question Snape appears to be engrossed by a thought – so much so that it is not immediately apparent that he heard her. He remedies this swiftly enough with a dismissive, “Yes – and today we will be extracting the essence and then creating an infusion with stewed mandrake.”

When Hermione begins whispering, he stops and stares down his nose at her, “We will be spending the next several classes preparing ingredients for various healing tonics, balms and remedies. Remove your dittany from the box.”

The last order seems to be addressed to everyone, though he still glares at Miss Granger.

Mei nods some, slowly taking a parchment scrap from her book she always carries. Taking time to place it below the box, Mei doesn't even dare try to use magic. Rather she slowly tips the box up over the parchment, making sure to gently tap the bottom to get all the flowers and stems out onto the paper. Looking inside the box to make sure nothing stuck, she nods and places it aside.

Siobhan, however, is much more at home with the practical side of things. Clearing off a space on her worktable, she pulls out her wand and levitates the flower from the box, setting it gently on the table before releasing the spell. That out of the way, she closes her box and sets it too off to one side. No need to clutter her workspace.

When caught whispering by Snape, Hermione quickly shuts her mouth. She hates it when he stares down his crooked nose at her like that. Waving her wand, she goes about preparing the dittany for whatever they're going to do with it next with a faint pink flush to her face. She knows he's watching her, so she attempts to do it carefully. No need to harm the rare flower while being watched.

Draco rolls his scroll around so that a blank section is face upwards, then empties out his dittany onto the scroll, closes his box, and awaits further instruction.

Kevin tips the box over and sets it on the far corner of his desk. At least he doesn't have the shadows of the box obstructing his view, but the lighting in the dungeon is awful. "Would it kill him to knock out a few windows and let some natural light in here?" he mutters while peering at the herb.

Setting aside a blank scroll, Zarina carefully sets the plant on the parchment without touching it, closing the box and setting it to the side to expand her workspace a bit further. Narrowing her eyes on the plant for a moment, she returns to her notes, the tip of her quill writing down the physical features of the plant under the name it was listed as. She purses her lips slightly in thought before absently reaching up to brush a lock of silver white from her cheek, looking back to the Professor to await further instruction.

“Five points from Ravenclaw,” Snape calls, eyes lifting from Hermione to stare daggers across the class at Kevin, “For Entwhistle’s inability to focus on the task at hand and not interior decor.”

Moving to the head of the class, Snape gestures at the blackboard with his wand and conjures up an intricate diagram of the dittany plant in chalk. It is strangely animated, dissecting itself before the students’ very eyes.

“Follow these instructions and steep the separate extracts in warm water – no naked flames near the dittany unless you want to lose your eyebrows.”

Pursing her lips, Mei hmms. Looking to the various plant parts she does as instructed with everything…well almost everything. Mei takes a somewhat curious course when it comes to the flowers and the leaves themselves. Looking to her cauldron first, she purses her lips and then hmms. The leaves and flowers are set aside for now, while she warms her water. Once the water is used to extract from the stems and bits, she turns to the leaves and flowers. That's when she does a curious thing. Killing the flame under her now empty and dry cauldron, she adds the last bits and actually dries them. Taking only a short time to make a kind of tea which lets her better extract the essences in some warm water she had left over.

Rather than take Mei's curious by-way, Siobhan follows her own manner of doing things. Filling her cauldron with water from the lion's head, she sets it on the far end of her workspace and - just to be safe - uses bluebell flames to heat the water. That done, she turns to her dittany. Teeth sink into her lower lip, an expression of concentration as she uses her wand and a simple slicing charm to mimic as best she can the diagram on the board. Once all of her pieces are cut up and seperated, she pours the water - now quite warm - into three smaller containers; one for petals, one for leaves and another for the inner bits, since she's not sure just /which/ bits give the extract needed. Smaller bluebell flames are set beneath each container - just enough to maintain the warm temperature of the water.

Zarina narrows her eyes narrow at the board as Professor Snape conjures a detailed diagram and instructions, her focus sharpening as her slender fingers quickly flies her handwriting across her parchment, making sure to get every last detail before it is erased from the board entirely, as the Professor has done in the past. Placing the quill on the table again. Narrowing her sapphire eyes at the board for only a moment, she follows the instructions at the animation moves by itself, following in its lead as she dissects the plant carefully into several pieces. The water in her cauldron heated, the flame so small they barely glow.

Kevin grumbles deep in his throat, but wisely decides to keep further opinions to himself. On one end of his station the water heats while on the other Kevin arranges his sample like the example. He deftly cuts into the dittany, and quickly has all the parts separated. The flame heating the water is extinguished, but was a little too strong in the first place and he has to wait for the water to cool off before moving on to the steeping portion.

Draco transfigures his cauldron to a smaller size to better suit the job at hand, and once it's filled with water he sets it to heat up while carefully working on the plant. When the water boils, he reduces the heat under it and waits a few moments for it to cool before carefully adding the herb to create an infusion as directed.

“You will be leaving the leaves to soak until next lesson,” Snape announces to the class at large, arms folding over his chest, “At which point we will be using the extracted essence as an ingredient for a powerful healing balm.”

Mei just nods, slowly using the end of her wand to stir the last bits of dried leaves and flowers before scooting back and drying it.

With a nod towards their professor, Siobhan reinforces her bluebells to last longer. She'll check on them later; reinforce them if need be. That done, she leans back in her chair, idly twirling her wand and watching Snape for any further instructions.

Zarina briefly glances to Professor Snape before returning to the plant, saving other parts of the disected plant before taking the leaves and adds them into the water. She watches the leaves move within the water, swirling under the light simmer. Storing the rest of the plant for potential other potions in the future.

Kevin checks over his station, making sure everything will hold up until the next class. The one thing he does write down all class is a reminder to check the temperature frequently to make sure it doesn't fluctuate all over the place.

“Dismissed,” Snape says with a distracted wave of his hand, not bothering to wait for the class to leave before departing himself. He moves towards the door of the dungeons, brow furrowed deeply in thought – moving like a man with somewhere else to be.

Enough said. Siobhan, with one more glance at her three running bluebell flames, stows her things in her satchel and departs as well. She doesn't say anything aloud, but there's a thoughtful expression on her face, as if trying to understand a particularly complex puzzle.

This was the 4th-7th Year Potions Class for the third week of May.

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