Beta(s): karelia, linlawless
(Highlight to View) Warning(s): None.
(Highlight to View) Prompt: Severus Snape has a cell phone stashed in his desk that works anywhere and anytime. What happens when Hermione finds it and accidentally calls/texts the Doctor? (Choice of incarnation of the Doctor is entirely up to you.) SS/HG or SS & HG.
Note: Many thanks to my amazing betas ~smooches~ The Potterverse belongs to JKR, Doctor Who belongs to the BBC. I only borrow.
Summary: Severus and Hermione are working on a case for MLE that leaves them baffled, but sometimes help comes from an unexpected source.
Severus poured a generous measure of Ogden's Finest into two glasses. Carrying them over to the sofa, he put one in front of a very pale Hermione. 'Drink.'
He watched as she took up the glass with a shaking hand, sniffed at it and then took a large swallow. Only then did he take a mouthful himself. When their glasses were empty, he refilled them.
They sat in silence, occasionally taking sips from their glasses as the sky outside was growing darker.
'Their eyes,' Hermione finally said, her voice barely audible. 'I can't forget those eyes. Hollow, empty, completely dead.'
Severus said nothing, just nodded briefly to indicate that he was listening.
'I've always thought this is what Inferi would look like — or people after a Dementor's kiss.' Hermione's hand was still shaking.
Severus refilled their glasses again before he answered, 'We've already ruled out both of these.'
'I know.' Hermione stared into her glass. 'Have you ever seen an Inferius?'
An image, a foul smell, screams. He quickly dispelled the memory back to a very dark corner of his unconscious. 'Yes.'
Despite Hermione's questioning look, he didn't say anything more. He wasn't going to talk about it. Didn't want to talk about it.
Hermione didn't pursue the question. Severus cast a glance at his colleague. When had that happened? Usually, she was like a dog with a bone when she wanted to know something. Her eyes would glimmer in a specific way and even her hair seemed to sizzle with inquisitive energy. Watching Hermione interrogate a witness was a real treat — as long as one wasn't on the receiving end of her technique, that was.
Apparently, he had been silent a little too long, as she was now looking at him, an odd expression on her face. 'Our victims don't seem to do anyone's bidding,' he said quickly.
'No, they're just empty shells. Apart from the one who died.' Hermione shuddered. 'He just disintegrated.'
Severus suppressed a shudder as well. At least only one victim had died thus far. A young man. His skin had gone all grey; then it had shrivelled and turned to dust. For a brief moment all his blood and intestines had seemed to spill out before they too had turned to dust.
'Do you think they will all die?' Hermione asked in a small voice.
'Eventually, yes. They're stripped of every possible energy. First magic, then the soul and finally even the energy that binds their physical cells together.' This time he couldn't suppress the shudder. He quickly grabbed the bottle and topped up their glasses.
'But why these people? We've looked at every possible connection, and they've got nothing in common. And we still don't know what is causing this, let alone who.' The bottom of Hermione's glass hit the table with an audible "clink".
'So we're back to looking for an obscure curse. We will get to the bottom of this.' Somehow that didn't sound as reassuring as he had expected.
'We'd better.' This time, Hermione topped up their glasses, peering into the empty bottle with a disappointed look.
Severus silently Accio'd a fresh bottle.
Neither said anything as they sipped their drinks.
'You know, this whole turning-to-dust-thing is almost like one of those Muggle vampire films,' Hermione said after a while.
'Vampires don't turn to dust when staked,' Severus replied.
'I know. They bleed like there's no tomorrow, which in their case is true. Not pretty. Dust would be much cleaner. Remember the Sanglotti case?'
'Yeah — messy, that one.'
Suddenly, there was a giggle from Hermione's corner. Severus looked at her. Hermione didn't giggle. She snorted occasionally. Or chuckled. Or she laughed. A warm, melodious laugh, quite beautiful, really. But she never giggled. Surely she wasn't choosing this moment to lapse into hysterics? No, didn't look hysterical at all. Perfectly calm, in fact, apart from the disconcerting giggling. Well, there was a first time for everything. He raised an inquisitive eyebrow in her direction.
'We really do get the weird ones, don't we?' said Hermione. 'Remember the Harrison case? The horns in odd places?'
Severus found himself grinning. 'Oh, yes. Or the Wexley one: all the colourful slime everywhere?'
Hermione nodded. 'That was rather impressive.' Pouring herself another glass, she asked, 'Do you think it's deliberate? Us getting all the weird ones?'
'Depends on whether you believe in coincidences. Especially where the Ministry is concerned,' Severus replied in a neutral tone of voice.
'Coincidences? Ha! I suppose the MLE was glad they could stick their resident nerds together on a team and dump the more bizarre cases on them.' Hermione was waving her glass around without spilling a single drop.
'Did you just call me a nerd?'
'Did I? Oops.' She quickly added, 'It was compliment. I mean I like working with someone who doesn't need to have his arse wiped for him. You're really rather nice.'
Severus felt a bit warm suddenly. Perhaps, it would be good to open a window? He couldn't be bothered to get up, though; instead, he quickly took another sip before he answered, 'You're a tolerable partner, too.'
This time the silence wavered between awkward and comfortable. Before it could make up its mind, Hermione asked, 'Remember the Davies case? The unregistered Animagus? The bloke who'd turn into a house spider, and it took us ages to suss out how he got away from the crime scenes?'
'Yes. Though his Animagus form was a garden spider.'
Hermione shook her head. 'No, no. A house spider. I'm positive.'
'Garden.' Waving a languid hand, he added, 'The case notes are still in the desk drawer in my study. Feel free to look.'
'I will.' Hermione got up, only swaying slightly, and made her way in an almost-straight line to the door.
Severus, his mind not quite as sharp as usual, stared after her. Stubborn. That was what she was, but she definitely wasn't boring.
Hermione stared at the rectangular device in the drawer. Severus Snape had a mobile phone. Severus Snape. A mobile phone. She tried to wrap her head around a thought that connected these two concepts in the same sentence. For some reason, the way seemed rather long. Giving up on the idea, Hermione picked up the phone and randomly pushed a button, not really expecting anything to happen.
The screen lit up, making her nearly drop the phone whilst her fuzzy mind supplied some waffling about magic and electronic devices. She filed the thought away to examine later when the world would be less wobbly.
Another button and there was an empty screen. She stared at it. It stared back, a tiny blinking cursor waving at her. It all looked a bit like the mobile her mother had had a couple of years ago.
What next? What did she want to say? Then inspiration hit.
Case is crazy. Severus is
She hit the "send" button and then had to grab the rim of the desk because the motion had caused the world around her to sway slightly. There was a piece of her mind hidden beneath several layers of fuzziness that asked whom Hermione had just texted and questioned the wisdom of the whole action. She told it to shut up. Still holding on to the desk, she tried to remember why she had come in here in the first place when there was a funny sort of shrill whirring noise outside.
She met Severus in the corridor as they both dashed out of the back door — just in time to see a wooden blue box materialise in Severus' well-tended garden.
The door of the wooden blue box opened and a thin, dark-haired man stepped out. Hermione took a look at his face and nearly gasped. Suddenly feeling very sober, she swiftly took out her wand and cast a non-verbal Stupefy. There was a flash of red light, and just as he had begun to say, 'SevÑ' the man keeled over.
'What did you do that for?' The woman who had followed the stranger snarled at Hermione before she crouched down at his side. 'Doctor? Are you all right?' she asked.
'He's a Death Eater,' Hermione said. 'I'd recognise his face anywhere.'
'No, he's not.' Severus sounded rather sober again as well. 'He isn't even a wizard. I thought the same when I first met him, though.'
Hermione turned to Severus. 'You two have met before?'
'It's a long story,' he said.
'Oi!' The red-haired woman interrupted. 'If you two have quite finished, here's someone who could do with a bit of help. Unless you plan to do something dodgy to him again.' She eyed Hermione suspiciously.
'No. I'm sorry. I thought he was someone else.' Hermione crouched next to the woman and pointed her wand at the stranger again. 'I'm just going to wake him up. It won't hurt him,' she explained before she cast Ennervate.
Opening his eyes, the man sat up. He blinked a few times and rubbed his hand through his dark hair. 'Nice reflexes,' he said, looking at Hermione.
'Erm, thank you. And sorry. I confused you with someone else.' She now realised that whilst his features did resemble Barty Crouch Jr's, his expression was calm and his eyes shone with kindness. Definitely not a resurrected Death Eater. Which answered one question, but left her with a myriad of others.
The stranger stood up. 'Why don't we start again?'
Hermione nodded and stood as well. 'That would be nice. I'm Hermione Granger.'
'Nice to meet you, Hermione Granger. I'm the Doctor,' the stranger said, offering his hand.
As she shook it, she asked, 'Doctor?'
'Just Doctor. And this is Donna, Donna Noble.' He pointed to his companion.
'Nice to meet you, too, Donna.'
Donna was still looking at her with a bit of suspicion, but at Hermione's words her expression softened slightly. 'What are you? Some sort of police officer?'
'ActuallyÑ' she began when Severus interrupted. 'Yes. In our world she is.' He turned to the Doctor. 'What brings you here?'
'You rang meÉ Well if I say rang, I mean a message, or rather, a text. Bit cryptic though.'
The expression on Severus' face was cryptic, too. 'I did no such thing.'
'ButÑ' the Doctor began.
'I don't think he did,' Donna interjected looking at Hermione.
Hermione felt all eyes suddenly turning to her. 'Erm. Now that you're here, how about a nice cup of tea?'
'Excellent,' the Doctor replied.
She practically ran into Severus' kitchen. She had just pointed her wand at the kettle and started rummaging through one of the cupboards in search of teabags when a familiar shape appeared in the doorway. He shoved a vial of Sober-Up potion into her hand before he hissed, 'What have you done?'
'Accidentally texted a friend of yours?' she suggested.
'Define accidentally. You fell into the desk drawer and your hand just happened to land on the keyboard?'
'Erm.' Hermione busied herself with unstoppering the vial and downing the potion. The unwelcome feeling of really being sober again combined with the inkling that she had done something a bit stupid spread through her.
'And what were you doing with my personal things anyway?'
'You asked me to look in the drawer for some sodding case notes.'
'Not in that drawer, I didn't.'
'Did too.' Hermione decided it was time to go on the offensive. 'And why do you have a mobile phone anyway? And who are these friends of yours? And what's with the strange box?'
'It's a 1950s police box. Perhaps you should brush up on your Muggle history. It's also a spaceship.'
'My Muggle history is fine, thank you very much. Also — a spaceship? And I suppose the two currently sitting in your living room are aliens, too?' She looked at Severus' expression closely to determine if he was still pissed, or if he was having her on. His face was inscrutable.
'Only the Doctor is an alien. A Timelord in fact. Donna is a Muggle.'
'I hate to break it to you, but aliens and spaceships are the stuff of Muggle fiction.' Hermione ignored the hissing kettle for the moment.
Severus took the time to pour water into the four mugs sitting on the kitchen table. 'Just like witches and wizards are only a Muggle legend,' he said.
Hermione observed that Severus remembered how she took her tea: splash of milk, no sugar when the next question occurred to her. 'Where did you meet him?'
'It's a long story,' he answered.
'How about a summary?'
Severus sighed. 'You're not going to stop pestering me until I tell you, are you?'
'Donna and the Doctor found me after the Dark LordÉ Well, after the incident with Nagini. They realised I wasn't dead and brought me to people who could heal me. After my recovery I travelled with them for a bit.'
Hermione started at him. 'You travelled in space?'
'That must have been amazing. I want to know all about it.'
'Some other time, perhaps.' Severus pointed in the general direction of the living room before he waved his wand at the four steaming mugs that obediently followed him down the corridor.
'What?' He stopped so abruptly that the mugs nearly smashed into him; they stopped about an inch from his back, hovering in mid-air.
'Biscuits? Also, if the woman is a Muggle, isn't there a potential problem with the Statute of Secrecy?'
'In the cupboard. And no.' He didn't elaborate any further as he stalked towards his living room. Hermione shook her head before she Accio'd the jammy dodgers and followed him.
Donna looked from Severus to Hermione and back. 'I'm so glad you've found someone, Severus,' she said.
Severus nearly choked on his piece of biscuit. 'We work together. And we're friends.'
A warm feeling spread through Hermione as she heard Severus calling her a friend. She also noticed that he hadn't explicitly denied Donna's assumption. Quickly quelling the hopeful smile that had crept onto her face, she asked Donna, 'And you two? Are youÉ?'
'Oh, no,' the Doctor cut in. 'We're not a couple.'
'So not a couple,' Donna confirmed.
Hermione waited for the awkwardness that usually followed conversations like these.
Instead the Doctor asked, 'So this case of yours. You mentioned it was crazy?'
Hermione could almost feel the look Severus was sure to cast in her direction. Before the Doctor could quote other things she might have said in her text, she quickly answered, 'Not crazy so much as weird. We've got a couple of random victims whose magical energy has been drained. They become practically walking shells before their life force is drained as well. So far there has been one death, but we assume that the others will die eventually as well if we can't find a solution.'
When the Doctor nodded briefly, she continued, 'We've ruled out a number of causes already, so we're probably looking for a very obscure curse and someone who has a motive and the ability to cast it.'
'Hm,' the Doctor said. 'I assume you have notes? Theories? Law enforcement people usually have.'
'Yes, both actually.'
'Could I see them?'
A look at Severus confirmed that he agreed, so Hermione fetched their case file for the Doctor. He pulled a pair of specs from the pocket of his suit, put them on and began to read.
The Doctor put aside the case file. He appeared to be in deep thought. Finally he took off his spectacles again and said, 'I'd like to see the victims.'
'We've found quarters for them at MLE, but you need access codes and it will be a bit difficult to get you authorised at this time of night,' Hermione said.
'No problem. We just take the TARDIS.' Without further explanation, the Doctor rose and strode towards the door.
'His ship can go anywhere at any time,' Donna explained.
'Isn't it a bit small for the four of us?' asked Hermione.
There was no answer as Severus and Donna shared a knowing smile. Frowning, she followed them outside where the Doctor already held the door of his blue box open for them. With a deep breath, Hermione stepped over the threshold and found herself inside a large circular room. Its walls were copper-coloured with a pattern that almost looked like honeycombs. In the middle was some sort of console built around a glowing column, and several corridors seemed to lead away from what was apparently the main room of the ship. Most importantly, it was big. Much bigger than the outside suggested. She took another look around. 'Your version of an Extension Charm I take it?'
'Never heard that one before,' the Doctor said. 'But it's a good way of putting it.'
He was already busy pushing buttons and pulling levers. As the column began to move rapidly up and down, the odd noise started again. 'Allons-y,' the Doctor said.
Hermione sidled closer to the console to investigate all the switches, levers and blinking lights, but all too soon, they came to a halt again. Why did the stupid Ministry have to be so close to Severus' house? Oh, right, case to solve. Priorities and all that. She followed the other three into the long Ministry corridor that led to the temporary quarters of their victims. Strictly speaking, these were holding cells for criminals, but since they had no other place for the poor sods, they had tried to make them as comfortable as possible.
A brief feeling of relief spread through her when she didn't spot any suspicious heaps of dust on the floor, and all eight victims were accounted for. Severus opened the cell door with a quick wave of his wand and led the Doctor inside. Hermione watched him take a small tool from his suit — he seemed to carry around all sorts of things — and point it at the nearest victim. A small blue light was visible at the tip; it almost looked like he was running a diagnostic spell.
The Doctor looked at the results on his device and frowned. 'Hm,' he said, moving on to the next victim and then the next until he had examined them all. His frown became deeper, his expression more worried with each result whilst the people in the cell didn't react to him at all, their dead eyes staring blankly into nothing.
By chance, Hermione's eyes fell on Donna's face. She looked horrified and full of pity at the same time, a tear glistening in the corner of her eye. She could probably do with a hug, but then Hermione didn't know her well enough for that.
'I don't think this was caused by a curse,' the Doctor announced as he joined the others in front of the cell again, his gadget still in hand.
Hermione asked, 'What is that? Some sort of diagnostic device?'
'It's called a sonic screwdriver. Really handy,' the Doctor said.
'Timelord's equivalent of a wand. I'll explain later,' added Severus.
'I'll hold you to it. You've got a lot of explaining to do,' said Hermione. She turned to the Doctor. 'If this isn't a curse, and we've already ruled out Dementors, then what the hell is going on here?'
'It's more a question of who than of what. I've come across something similar a few times. Could be the SlitheenÉ Hm, no. Then we'd have them walking around wearing these people as bodysuits. Must be something that wants what's inside, not the outer shell. Yes. YES! That's it. We're looking for something like the Wire.'
A quick glance at Severus confirmed that he had become lost somewhere during the Doctor's rapid speech as well. Hermione concentrated on what sounded like the pertinent bit of information. 'The Wire?'
'Criminal from Hermethica. Turned itself into an energy being and came to earth to feed off the signals of human brains by using electrical waves,' the Doctor explained.
'Do you think it's come back?'
'Nah. The Wire is gone for good. I made sure of that. But the pattern is very similar.'
Severus looked thoughtful. 'Only, this being is feeding off magical energy. And since magic is tied to the very being of a witch or wizard, this is the result.' He pointed at the victims.
The Doctor nodded. 'Magical energy is much tastier.'
'So if we're dealing with an alien being who is feeding on magical energy, can we stop it with magic?' Hermione had started to scribble notes on a scrap of parchment that lay on the table.
'We need to find it first,' Severus pointed out, looking over her shoulder at her notes. He was soon joined by Donna and the Doctor.
They were all staring at the notes where Hermione had again tried to draw connections between the victims to find a common denominator that would lead them to their perpetrator.
'Hang on,' Donna said. 'What if the connection isn't the victims, but where they happened to be at the time?'
Hermione wrote down the location where each victim had been found, and suddenly the seemingly random attack patterns made a lot more sense.
'Brilliant!' the Doctor exclaimed. 'Donna Noble, you're brilliant.'
'Three months temping at a travel agent's and you know all about directions and destinations,' Donna said.
Meanwhile, Hermione had begun to draw lines between the different locations and done a few calculations in her head. 'I think I know where the next attack is going to be, and judging by the time we found the other victims, it's going happen soon.'
Severus asked, 'Where?'
'Norfolk. Not far from Norwich, I think. Though if we Apparate we risk being its next victims, as the magical energy would give us away.' She noticed Severus, Donna and the Doctor were looking at her oddly.
Then the Doctor said, 'Spaceship. Remember?'
'Oh, right. What are we waiting for, then?'
She noticed that Severus was trying very hard not to grin as they trooped back into the TARDIS. 'Don't you dare,' she whispered.
'Wouldn't dream of it,' he replied, his mouth twitching.
The whirring noise stopped. This time Hermione didn't have time to ponder the console, as they had been too busy discussing possible ways to stop the alien.
'Let's run through this one more time,' Severus said. 'As soon as the entity attacks, Hermione and I will attempt a binding spell. Then the Doctor will reverse the energy current, thus making it unpalatable to the alien and trapping it into a stable net. '
'Remember, we only get one chance and we have to be quick,' Hermione added.
Outside, they found themselves in the countryside, looking at a path winding through fields towards a village in the distance.
'And now?' asked Hermione.
'Now we wait,' replied Severus.
They didn't have to wait long before an elderly man wandered down the path towards the village. He wore green trainers, black trousers and, despite the bright early morning sun, a transparent purple mackintosh. A top hat was perched jauntily on his head.
'Definitely a wizard,' Hermione observed, drawing her wand.
They edged closer to the path when Severus suddenly whispered. 'Don't you think there's something odd about that scarecrow?'
There was a slight, barely visible disturbance in the air around the ragged figure on the edge of the field. Hermione nodded.
'It's the scarecrow,' she whispered to the Doctor and Donna.
Instead of moving closer to the path, they turned in the direction of the scarecrow. Hermione felt her heart pounding, her attention becoming sharper as she focused all her senses on the current of air before her.
There was a moment of utter stillness, as if time had frozen, and then the air around the scarecrow turned into a whirlwind dissolving, and moving in a series of white flashes toward the unsuspecting wizard.
Hermione's spell reached the entity at the same time as Severus', momentarily rendering the whirl of light motionless. At that moment, the Doctor sprang forward, pointing his sonic screwdriver at it. The light vibrated as if testing the constraints, but the Doctor's hold didn't waver. Finally it stilled, but it was obvious that the bindings wouldn't hold it for long.
Hermione cast a frantic glance around her, spotting a discarded beer can. 'Donna,' she yelled, 'the can.'
Donna picked it up and threw it in Hermione's direction.
She caught it, transfiguring it into a secure glass container and sprinted towards the Doctor. 'Put it in here.'
The Doctor forced the entity into the jar. It seemed to struggle, but in the end had no choice. Hermione put on the lid and sealed it with her wand. For good measure, the Doctor sealed it, too. Only then did Hermione notice that Severus was right behind her, wand drawn, ready to intervene if anything went wrong. She turned to him. 'Thank you.'
He nodded and briefly put a hand on her shoulder.
'What happens now?' Donna asked.
'Now we take him back where he belongs,' the Doctor replied.
'You know what this is, then?' Severus peered at the jar, suspicion evident on his face.
'Yes, I realised it as soon as I saw its attack pattern. They're a race of energy beings wandering the Peregrine galaxy in large family groups. Usually, they feed on all sorts of energy present in that corner of space. This is just a baby, I suspect he got lost, fell to earth and was trying to find a way home. Apparently, magical energy is particularly tasty and excellent baby food,' the Doctor explained.
Hermione stared at the glass jar and found it hard to see a little lost child in it. 'Hm,' she said. 'What will happen to his victims?'
'Now that he isn't feeding from them any longer, they should recover completely. It might take a bit of time, though.'
'Someone died. He won't recover, and for his family things will never be right again.' Hermione pointed her wand at the jar.
The Doctor was watching her closely. 'If you kill him, you have two dead instead of one. And he has a family too,' he pointed out.
'Hermione,' Severus said softly.
Hermione stared at the whirling light in the jar. She tried to imagine it exploding, shattering the being inside into oblivion. Instead she saw people crying over a lost child, over someone missing, someone who would never return. Very slowly, she lowered her wand and took a step back.
She saw visible relief spread over the Doctor's and Donna's faces and felt Severus' arm round her back. She drew a deep, shuddering breath and nodded.
'Right, we should be off then,' the Doctor announced. 'Better get the little fellow here home quickly.'
'It was good to see you again, Severus Snape, and nice to have met you, Hermione Granger.' He hugged them both, followed by Donna.
'I hope to see you again,' Donna said. 'Oh, and you two? A lot than more friends.'
Hermione and Severus were still avoiding to look at each other long after the TARDIS had disappeared.
'Right, best check on our victims,' Severus finally said, his tone all business.
Hermione nodded as something feeling suspiciously like disappointment crept through her. 'Fancy lunch after that?' she asked anyway, tentatively curling her fingers around Severus'.
Disappointment was chased away by a lovely warm feeling when he squeezed her hand and answered, 'That would be very nice.'
1. "Pissed" means drunk in British English.
2. House and Garden spiders are actual species of British spiders
3. The Wire is an alien being from the Doctor Who episode The Idiot's Lantern