I Don't Remember

Lessons of a Different Kind


I sighed, sitting back in the chair. Another long day. I gazed placidly around my office. As of this hour, roughly forty vials of different colors and shades lined the walls; the product of many hours of my long work and student's long learning. There would be more tomorrow, and every tomorrow periodically until the final days of school.

I need more shelves.

I rubbed my head with my hands in an effort to wake up. Today the 6th years had been doing Draught of Living Death. The powerful sleeping potion's fumes never failed to make me drowsy when experienced on a wide scale, and I still had more work to do. I considered a home brew to keep myself going. I was too dazed to make my own, but perhaps I could find a spare or two in my cupboards. I rose, yawning, and opened the closet door, running my wand along the shelves in an effort to find it faster.

A knock at the door made me sigh. "Professor Snape, sir?"

I grabbed wakefulness potion and closed the closet behind me. "Speaking. Enter."

The door opened to reveal Harry Potter in a green shirt with a large roaring dragon on it. He also appeared to be wearing the same fireproof chaps and dragonhide boots that Charlie had been using to protect himself from the beasts of his chosen trade. I rose an eyebrow. He grinned.

"You've been helping your soon to be brother-in-law, haven't you?"

He nodded. "He gave me the shirt to go along with it. These boots are really comfortable."

"Aren't they?" I motioned him in. "Have a seat. The way you sounded at the door, I thought it was someone else."

"But you were still expecting me, right?"

"Yes, yes." I took a swallow from the vial and put it down, feeling its effects and with it a sense of dread. "Do we have to do this tonight?"

"You want to figure out how to win the fair maiden's heart, don't you?"

"Don't ever put it like that again." He waited, I sighed. "Won't Molly be rather put out with you?"

"For what? Visiting my new friend Severus, with whom two years ago this would have been a trial and so she'll be so pleased to see we're getting along?"

My shoulders dropped, and begrudgingly I allowed myself to sink into my real misgivings. "I feel so out of my league here."

"No offence, but you kind of are."

I gave him a sharp look. "And you think you're any better?"

He folded his arms at me, a mirror of my usual stance. "I'll be getting married soon. I think I'm doing alright for myself."

"Point taken."

"It's also not been over a decade since I was last on a romantic outing with a girl-"

"Point taken!" I said, a bit louder. Then I took a deep breath, both to calm myself and prepare my words. "I'm sorry about... the other day."

He looked at me for a moment, then put his arms down. "I know a little more about you now, so it didn't really bug me. I just kinda thought we'd moved passed that."

"We have." I frowned a bit at myself. "This is just... That I don't even know how to talk to a woman. This is something I'd completely forgotten how to deal with, and now trying to deal with it is-"

"A nightmare?"

"Ugh. Yes."

"Well, that's why I'm here! Harry Potter, love life extraordinaire!"

Months from now, I thought as I listened to this declaration, when I'm being put in front of the Wizengamont for public indecency, I can look back on this exact moment as to where it all started.

"Severus, why do you look nauseous?"

"No reason." I drummed my fingers on the desk, then nodded. "All right. What do I do?"

"First lesson is compliments. Women love compliments."

"Can't I just resort to the old fashioned methods, where I find a dragon to slay, and then bring her its corpse with my regards to her parents?"

"No, you have to do it this way. Starting with compliments."

"I already pay Hermione compliments."

"Not compliments on her work ethic, Severus. You have to pay her compliments. Let her know you like her outfit, her hair, the way she wears her makeup." I shook my head. "Oh, right, Hermione doesn't wear makeup." I nodded. "Well, perfume then. You just sort of pick something and mention it."

"Oh, Miss Granger," I said, practicing. "I noticed you're wearing the same school robes and have your hair styled in the same way you almost always have it in. Looks good today."

"Well, that just makes us both sound like idiots."

"Really? I wonder why that is."

"You don't always have to be sarcastic."

"Prove me wrong."

"All right! Next lesson." he said loudly. "If you want to take a lady out, you have to give her flowers."

"Does Hermione even like flowers?"

"She's lived in the Muggle world, she loves flowers. Every girl there loves flowers. It's a basic rule of life."

I noted this. "Very well. What kind of flowers?"

"Well, that depends on what you want to say." he continued. "Roses mean you're serious; you'd probably want to wait until after a while to bring those out. But they can also mean that you have no imagination and just picked what everyone else would. Forget-me-nots mean you're trying to be sweet, so they're good, but also very hard to find in most places. Carnations are the go-to flower for simple things with an 'I care about you' added, plus they last a long time in the vase, but they also have no smell whatsoever and get boring. Daffodils, chrysanthemums, and flowers of that nature are a bit more exotic to women, and have some smell, but from what I've seen not everyone likes them and isn't always sure what to make of them. You also have to think on if you're bringing a single flower, a bouquet, a mixed bouquet, or a single flower with baby's breath or small green leaflets because they all can mean something different to the girl you like."

I felt myself sinking. "Anything else?"

"Yes. You also need to worry if she has a vase or not. Because if she doesn't you'll probably need to bring her one rather than be rude and make her go buy one, and so you can get the right kind of vase for the flowers."

I held my head in my hands.

"Don't worry, after you figure out that it's a cakewalk."

I didn't respond to this. "What's the next lesson?"


I raised my head. "That should be simple. Chocolate is easy to find, easy to purchase, and easy to give."

"Bar chocolate, sure. Bar chocolate used for feeling better, definitely. But what I'm talking about comes in little boxes and has fillings in them and is meant to be savored. The more expensive ones have emotions mixed up in their centers."

"Well... all right." I said, starting to feel that sinking feeling again. "Still, its a treat, of candy. It should be fine."

He folded his arms. "Do you know what fillings to get?"

"No." I admitted.

"Do you know who makes the best, second best, and best community grade chocolates?"

"I... No."

"Do you know what shape box to get? How big? The color? If it should have a card? Or a note? Or be personalized to her? Or what each of these details and the combinations of them all mean?"

I gulped, trying very hard not to sound overwhelmed. "No."

He smiled at me, in an almost sympathetic way. "Don't worry, Severus. You've still got time. Hermione's not going to graduate for a while, and she's staying in England to work at the Ministry afterwards."

I hadn't moved from staring at my desk. "I feel doomed."

"You're in the world of romance now. You are doomed." He walked over and patted my back. Such an unfamiliar sensation that to many was incredibly familiar brought me back out of my thoughts and into my office, where I felt the full reality of what was going on. For a moment, I felt excited about the prospect of figuring out how to do this.

"Now we have to talk about venue."

I groaned.

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