|Scene Title||1994-09-07: Pulvis Et Umbra Sumus (We Are Dust and Shadow)|
|Synopsis||Snape and Sechnall discuss a strange potion outside of Hogsmeade.|
|Date||September 7, 1994|
|Watch For||Mention of a certain pudgy ex-Professor.|
|Chronology||A strange potion presented to Sechnall by Tonks is brought to the attention of Severus Snape.|
Not exactly the most picturesque scene here. It's a dirt packed road that winds away from the main area of the village and leads off into the woods that claim the countryside. In a way, it's a peaceful walk, but quiet in that way that makes it feel haunted. Perhaps this feeling is due to the presence of the boarded up shack set back from the road. Word has it, this is the most haunted dwelling in Britain.
It seems to Severus Snape that old 'acquaintances' are coming out of the woodwork these days. First Falton and now a missive by owl from Swancoate asking to meet him in Hogsmeade at his nearest convenience. He's familiar with the man, of course, and he knows who he is looking for but he cannot help but think on just what circumstances may be bringing them all together again for seemingly-random reasons.
Sweeping down Hogsmeade's main street, a black and ominous figure against the usual happy colours of the village, Snape immediately turns onto a familiar road. Untended and deserted, it is precisely the place for meetings that he wishes to keep from becoming public knowledge. His robes swish about him as he makes his way down the dirt-packed road, eyes fixed ahead of him.
Another figure is making its way down the dingy little pathway, seeming to blend in with its surroundings more by virtue of a shared quality of blandness than anything else. Sechnall, dressed in a shabby brown overcoat and cloak, the latter of which currently has the hood drawn up, is waiting in the agreed-upon location. He's a bit early, but that's not unusual for the mild-mannered alchemist, and he's used to waiting. When he notices the form of an approaching Wizard in the distance he tenses momentarily, one hand going into his sleeve to grip the wand that's hidden there in a discreet strap, but he quickly recognizes the bat-like man and withdraws his hand empty of contents. "Severus," He says quite softly, waiting until the professor is close enough to hear the sound above the cricket-calls and other random night-noises.
"Swancoate," comes the reply from Snape, pausing a good distance from his fellow Death Eater - enough distance to be able to successfully defend against a hastily-flung spell. No, he still does not trust his former partners in crime who believe him to be a turncoat and he will take no risks tonight.
The alchemist nods once greeted, and clears his throat. "I apologize for the inconvenience of bringing you here, but I thought you might be interested in this.." He reaches into his coat - slowly, for he, too, spent enough time in the company of those with paranoia to learn not to make unnecessarily sudden moves - and takes out a small vial. "You might recall that I've been running a potion shop in Diagon for.. well, it's no matter. A young lady brought this to me earlier today to have it identified. I've brought this small portion for you to examine." He extends the vial. "Tell me, what do you think, off the top of your head?"
Snape's wand emerges quite suddenly from his sleeve, almost as though he's attacking - but he is simply casting a silent summoning charm to bring the vial towards him. He will not be closing the gap between the pair of them any time soon it seems. The vial in hand, he turns it over to examine the thick, black potion that it contains with an even and practiced stare.
"It is dark magic," Snape answers plainly as he looks at it, "That much is for certain. Who gave this to you?"
Seeming perhaps slightly less startled than the average person might be by Snape's behavior, Sechnall gives a satisfactory nod upon hearing the other man's verdict. "I suspected as much. It was obvious that it wasn't a common substance, at least. It was given to me by a young woman, as I said - she did not give me her name, and I didn't ask. She came in after the shop was closed, and I thought the circumstances rather odd.. and didn't want to pry overmuch. I have two days until she returns for the solution." He is silent briefly, obviously lost in thought, before adding: "Ah, let me see. She was.. of rather average height and build. Blonde hair worn in that 'spiky' fashion popular with young people. Green eyes."
"Hm," the description seems to fall on deaf ears, Snape too enthralled in the strange potion to actually pay much attention to who this young, spiky woman might have been. He nods his head, still turning the vial about in his fingers, "Leave this with me. I have a … suspicion as to what it may be. And if I am correct then you would be advised to keep this out of your morning Pumpkin Juice."
"Oh, I'm intrigued. I hope you'll get back to me if and when you learn anything, Severus," Sechnall replies with suppressed enthusiasm. Somebody's getting their Ravenclaw-nerd-side on. "You can reach me at the address I owled you from. If you happen to need a larger sample or any additional information I might provide, just write." He glances at the Slytherin professor, not failing to notice the curiousity there, either; a little surprising, considering Snape is possibly the only person he'd rank above himself in terms of potions-expertise born within their decade.
"I think," Snape drawls slowly, dark eyes flicking up to lock on Sechnall, "That if this is what I believe it to be then we had best take it to a Potions Master who may have seen it brewed within his lifetime. Horace Slughorn springs to mind."
Now /that/ does get a reaction - Sechnall blinks, slightly surprised, before slowly nodding in assent. "Slughorn, you say? Do you think he's.. trustworthy?" The meaning behind the question goes unsaid: despite repeated attempts, even Voldemort could never bring the prior Slytherin Head of House under his sway. "But then, I suppose there's no reason to disclose any more information to him than is necessary."
"He is a swelled-up old buffoon," Snape says plainly, depositing the vial of potion into one of the hidden pockets in his robes, "But he is an expert with Potions and it was from him that I heard the story … which I believe may relate to this potion."
"And I presume you know how to initiate contact with him, then? I was under the impression that he'd been quite difficult to find by.. others." Sechnall inquires in a tone that registers as slightly more cool than usual. "Not that I doubt your word, of course."
"I'll find him," Snape answers, not betraying how he plans to locate the elusive former Potions Master, "But until then I think you should keep the rest of the potion out of sight. While I doubt any of the Ministry officials will know what it is, you will be looking at a lengthy stretch in Azkaban if one of them does."
Nodding, Sechnall lifts his hands to pull the front of his coat slightly tighter around his thin frame to ward off some of the night-chill. "That sounds decidedly undesirable. I'll be waiting to hear from you, then. Ah, and I, er, appreciate your time," He half-stutters, slipping back into his usual diminutive-nobody mien now that business is over with. After a couple of seconds the hollow-pop sound of Apparation announces his exit, and the spot he'd been occupying a second before is replaced with empty air.
Snape simply watches the other man go, pale fingers turning the vial of the newly-acquired potion about in his pockets. Safe in his belief that nobody is watching, he draws it out once again and holds it up to the dim light of evening. Before too long, he's hidden it once again and turned back around to stalk towards Hogsmeade proper.