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(Highlight to View) Prompt: In the 23rd century, Professor Granger finds herself butting heads with old-fashioned Headmaster Snape, a wizard who can't even comprehend a modern magical curriculum!
Summary: Potions Professor Hermione Granger wants to update Hogwarts' curriculum, but Headmaster Snape wants nothing to do with her plans.
It was the 18th of September 2263, and Headmaster Severus Snape was relaxing in his office at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The sky was clear, the sun was shining, and Slytherin had 50-1 odds of winning the House Cup. It was a splendid day indeed.
At least it was until he had received word a professor wanted 'just a moment' of his time.
He snorted. It was never 'just' anything with this one.
Well, whatever it was she wanted, he would say no. She'd been given enough already, and he was through with her demands. Making her a professor was bad enough, but he hadn't been part of that decision. That was entirely his predecessors' fault.
There was a brusque knock on the door, and she swept in, not waiting for him to invite her.
She was straight and tall in her black velvet robes. Her eyes were bright, and her hair pulled back into a no-nonsense pouf. Her wide grin was all he needed to see.
"I'm here to talk about—"
"What?" She looked bewildered.
"Whatever it is, no. You've done enough." he frowned.
"Is this about the gardens? We had no idea the turnips would turn sentient—" Her face fell.
"The salamanders, then. I told the third years not to let them out of the cage—"
"It isn't about the salamanders."
"The potions course needs to be updated, Severus," she said flatly. "It's the 23rd century and we still have children chopping things up and swirling them around in pots."
"It is a potions class!"
"Just a little quantum mechanics—"
"What? No!" He was taken aback.
"The Muggles are farming on the moon. It will only be a matter of their technology advancing further than magic—"
"Really? Lets see you farm the moon," she challenged. "It's not just their technology, it's their ideas that are growing. The Muggles talk about leaving the solar system soon!"
"Leaving the—what? To go where?"
"That's the point! They're going and leaving us behind!" she sounded desperate. "I'm not saying we smash the Statute of Secrecy, but we need to at least keep up with them. We have no choice."
Other solar systems! Who knew what types of magic might exist there! What types of potions ingredients hadn't been discovered! What level of catastrophe that would come from trial and error while categorizing them! The students had enough problems with earthly ingredients used for thousands of years. Who knew what would come of new ones?
"I—" he paused. If he said no outright, he knew she would be ready to fight him, and he wasn't in the mood. "I will think on it."
He would not think about it, however. It wasn't something he ever wanted to think about.
He was taking a long walk through the outer corridors of the castle. Space Travel, indeed. He had enough problems without introducing new ingredients to unprepared dunderheads. It would take decades of experimentation and research to discover what they did anyway. The entire episode with dust from Mars had been bad enough and it was from the same solar system!
If there was more research done on a quantum level it might demystify the distillation and creation process for certain potions— He didn't want to think about it. It could turn potions into weapons, more than just poisons. It could change the laws of Transfiguration as well. It could lead to—he shuddered as he thought of it—electricity.
Hermione looked over her newly reconfigured potions laboratory. The new setting was quite satisfactory. For centuries, the room had not changed, but now it was more practical. Tiered flat desks could double as both writing and work areas. The height helped those in the back see better, and the stools were far more comfortable and in cheery yellow. The next thing was to change the color of the dark walls to something brighter. In the old days, the dark was sensible for covering up explosion damage and stains, but cleaning charms had come quite a long way and Hermione detested working in the dark.
She waved her wand and the walls turned a neutral light beige. Already things were easier to see. She was nodding with satisfaction when the door to her classroom opened.
"Professor Granger, I—" There was a pause as the Headmaster looked around the room. "What is the meaning of this?"
"Meaning of what?" Hermione's eyes narrowed. "The other classrooms have had dozens of changes through the centuries. This is the only one unchanged—"
"Because it didn't need changing," Severus said slowly, as if trying to control his temper. "Hundreds of years of tradition—"
"Oh, come off it!" She said, annoyed. "It's not a historical landmark, it's a gloomy dingy place and I'm tired of squinting at labels! The time of potions being a mystery is over. It's time for new set dressing."
"New set—NO!" He was outraged. "Turn it back!"
"No!" Hermione shouted back. "It's my classroom and I'll do what I like with it!"
They stood there huffing at each other for a moment.
"And you are not to make any changes to the curriculum, either," he growled.
"That's not on!" she protested.
"It is now!" he thundered, and with a swish of his robes, he was gone.
The sign fluttered in the wind as students lined up beneath the banner.
Severus Snape narrowed his eyes. He looked across the courtyard and saw Hermione looking like the cat that swallowed the canary cream. It was on, and he had no one to blame but himself.
He stormed over to the table. "What is the meaning of this?" he demanded.
The bewildered Slytherin—of course she would have talked a Slytherin into doing this, the devious cow—just handed over a pamphlet.
He sucked on his teeth for a moment. "New clubs must have approval from the board."
"That educational decree only had a hundred-year clause," the student said weakly.
"Nevertheless, it's tradition—"
There was a loud snort behind him. He ignored it.
"It should have been cleared," he continued and frowned his deepest frown.
Thankfully, it still worked on students and they were soon packing it up.
"Still bullying students, Severus?" She wasn't going away.
"Still using them like pawns?" He asked before he turned on his heel and stormed off.
The club may have officially gone away, but the pamphlets didn't, and Severus was smart enough to know a flame had been kindled among the studentry.
Severus closed his eyes and calmed himself. He opened his eyes again.
Faster than the speed of light!
He would simply have to cancel Hogsmede weekend. That was all there was to it.
"You can't cancel Hogsmede the school governors will never have it."
Severus glared at the portrait of former Headmistress Minerva McGonagall as if he could will her words to be untrue.
"It doesn't matter if the students are there. Their parents will be there, and they'll start making demands." Former Headmaster Phineas Nigellus said.
"Their—what?!" Severus was furious.
"She wasn't born yesterday, Severus," McGonagall said imperiously. "Of course, she invited the parents. And the governors."
Severus closed his eyes and tried to compose himself.
"Potter has been plotting for a week," Nigellus reported.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Severus asked stonily.
"Tell you? He wanted to have his portrait at Grimmauld Place unstuck so he could be brought along!" McGonagall snorted.
"So did you!" Nigellus accused.
"My opinion—" started an old wizard in purple robes and a gold picture frame.
"Wasn't asked for," Severus snapped.
"Severus!" McGonagall chided.
Severus grumbled, but stayed silent.
"Go on, Albus," McGonagall's portrait encouraged.
"While she's correct in updating the potions curriculum, I must say faster than the speed of light Quidditch seems dangerous." Former Headmaster Albus Dumbledore furrowed his brows. "It seems to close to apparition."
"No one's ever splinched themselves by going fast, Albus," McGonagall reasoned.
Severus grumbled to himself. "Yet."
"I don't think they actually go that fast, Dumbledore," Nigellus said. "It's a new broom prototype."
"Hmmm…" the old man mused.
"Why don't you beat her at her own game?" Nigellus asked.
"What do you mean?" Severus perked up.
"You're trying to avoid a mess. Don't. Let her hang herself," Nigellus snorted.
"If I didn't think the school itself would be threatened, I would."
"Are her ideas really that dangerous?" McGonagall asked.
"Close enough," Severus sniffed.
"How is brightening up the potions classroom dangerous?" Dumbledore asked curiously.
"Some of those ingredients shouldn't be exposed to light," Severus grumbled.
"That problem was solved with ceramic pots," McGonagall looked at Severus over the tops of her spectacles.
"The turnips had the third years trapped in a greenhouse for the better part of an afternoon!"
"Whose idea was it to cross-breed them with mandrakes in the first place?" McGonagall asked.
"Of course, you'd take her side. She was one of your favorite students," Severus said bitterly.
"Believe it or not, so were you," snorted McGonagall.
Dumbledore let out a snicker and Severus glared at him.
"Just go to the blasted thing and wait for something to go wrong," Nigellus suggested. "Something always goes wrong when Potter's involved."
That wasn't a bad idea.
The day was chilly. The wind was coming down from the north and people had brought out their jackets and scarves. There were more people than Severus thought there would be, but then again Hermione used Potter's power of popularity to bring people in.
The demonstration hadn't been faster than light, much to Severus' relief. The new changes to Quidditch had been a new broom prototype, as expected, but also padded bludgers that moved faster, and the addition of several different colored balls made of materials that reacted differently when hit by a beater.
The speed got peoples' attention, but not much else. "Better luck next time," he told her cheerfully. He left her with her shoulders slumped in defeat. He almost felt sorry for her.
Intermediate Power Transfers
The theory was interesting, but it seemed far too dangerous to be explored at Hogwarts. In fact, most of the ideas from the underground science program were too dangerous to be investigated at Hogwarts. He'd had to notify the Department of Mysteries more than once, but they were no help. They thought the ideas the students were coming up with were interesting and they had suggested perhaps a program with interns before Severus had glared them into silence.
The request for thorium had been the last straw.
"The Hufflepuffs are out of control. This must stop!" Severus slapped the requisition form on his desk.
Hermione regarded him coolly. "The Department of—"
"To hell with what the Department of Mysteries has to say!" Severus barked.
She stopped and waited for him to finish.
"The Department of Mysteries has decided to halt scientific projects at Hogwarts," she said simply.
"They never had permission to begin them in the first place!" Severus growled.
"Then you should be happy for a change," she snapped. "Rejoice! Hogwarts is doomed to stay in the dark ages! Tra-la for tradition!"
Then she turned on her heel and stormed out.
Everything? Severus was startled at the idea. What had they done that made the DoM put a stop to them?
Not everything had been a bad idea. As he had thought when she had first made the proposal, he wished he'd have thought of it.
He sat down to think quietly. A portrait cleared its throat behind Severus. He ignored it.
"Didn't mean for it to go this far, did you?" McGonagalls voice asked.
Severus was silent.
"Was it so much to ask for? If you'd just said yes it wouldn't have gotten this far."
"I realize that."
"What are you going to do?"
He stood up. "I'm going to figure out why the Department of Mysteries put an end to their shenanigans."
"I'm afraid that information is confidential." The blond woman said shortly.
"Surely you can't mean all scientific experimentation," Severus said. "That's a loose rule. It could mean anything."
"Anything outside of normal Hogwarts' curriculum," she stated simply.
"I see." He turned on his heel and stormed off.
She almost had him!
Severus Snape sat behind his desk fuming.
It was bad enough to be hounded by a professor, but the newest barrage of requests from students were unacceptable. He had approved one meeting, but it was only because the boy was the son of a diplomat. It was good to keep allies close.
The boy was tall, blond, and had been sorted into Slytherin. He was the reason for Slytherin's winning Quidditch streak and it pleased Severus to see him, even if he knew he would have to let the boy down.
The young man talked Severus through the stages of his experiment. It was impressive and innovative. It could change the way Transfiguration was done.
Severus made a discontented noise. "I see you have given this a great deal of thought and I appreciate your enthusiasm—"
"If this project isn't approved, I'm taking it to Durmstrang."
"What?" Severus snapped.
"They've already showed interest in funding the project, my father thought it was prudent to give Hogwarts another chance, but I see it cannot be worked out." The 7th year began packing up his presentation.
Severus had to hold himself back. "Did Professor Granger put you up to this?"
"The Gryffindor professor and I have very little to do with each other," he said flatly as he continued packing.
"She is a Hogwarts professor and you will treat her as such regardless of her House assignment when she was a student." Severus heard himself snapping.
Severus watched as the boy finished.
"Report to Professor Plunk tomorrow and ask him about your ideas," Severus managed to grind out between his teeth. "If it's to change the rules of Transfiguration the Transfiguration professor should have an opinion. I'd like a second one before you make any decisions about transferring."
"Thank you, Headmaster."
Severus watched him closely. Nothing. Not a twitch of an eyelash, not the tiniest of smirks. This had nothing to do with Hermione Granger. The spark had caught fire.
It started out small and in bits and pieces. Biology added to Care of Magical Creatures. Earth sciences to Herbology, and chemistry to Potions. Muggle Studies was gaining popularity with its new programs exploring nuclear energy and propulsion, and Astronomy was hinting at getting a closer look at the galaxy.
Severus grumbled the whole way, but his grumbling finally stopped when the new genetics program sparked a movement for unadulterated potion ingredients.
It was the 7th of November 2263 and Headmaster Severus Snape was standing near a potions station lazily swirling a thick green liquid in a silver cauldron.
He heard footsteps behind him, but even she couldn't bother him today. "Another request, Granger?"
He turned to look at her, her arms full of herbs to be chopped and sorted into their canisters.
"Is your experiment going well?" she asked as she dropped the herbs on another workstation.
"It is," he reluctantly confirmed. It should make him happy. He was happy moments ago. He'd thought she couldn't bother him, but it was because of her it was going so well, so it did bother him. It bothered him very much.
"How's the new mugwort working out for you?"
He threw a pinch in his mixture and nodded as it turned purple. "Very well."
"Too light in here or do you need me to close the windows?" she lightly teased.
"Good." She started chopping. After a few moments she stopped. "You know, change doesn't have to be painful, Severus." He said nothing, just added more ingredients to his potion. "If I remember right, you made some changes to the course curriculum and created new things as well."
"I was too young to know better and I created a cutting curse that almost killed a student."
The chopping stopped. "Not all new things are destructive."
"You don't know that until you create them."
"Tell that to Draco Malfoy. I hear his scar is impressive."
"You put a warning on the spell. Harry ignored it."
"He didn't ignore it. He used it as instruction."
"That doesn't mean all new things are bad." She said as if he were being silly. The cooperative program with the Department of Mysteries—"
"Can happen at the Ministry and not at Hogwarts. We're not equipped to handle everything, as much as everyone would like to think so." Severus sniffed. "I'll not be known as the last Headmaster of the Former School of Hogwarts."
"Don't you think you're being a little dramatic?"
"No, I don't."
"Would it make you feel better if there were strict restrictions on who could experiment with what?" she suggested.
"I'll have some preliminary guidelines drawn up and in your office by Monday."
"Thank you. From the students as well as me."
He grunted again.
She finished her chopping and sorting, and finally left, her black robes swishing behind her and the smell of garden herbs in the air.
Severus took a scoop of rose thorns and added them to his potion. It bubbled and steamed and smelled like wet stones in the rain. Perfect. Even better with the earthy herbal smell of the Potions professor—potions ingredients, he meant.
He tried not to linger on that thought, but it kept teasing him from the edge of his thoughts as he worked.
He finally gave in and thought about her for a moment.
Maybe she wasn't half-bad after all.