Thanks to owlbait for this theme suggestion.
Want to give Hermione a run for her money in the know-it-all field? Simply play the quiz by commenting on this post with your answers at any time over the weekend. All comments with answers will be screened until the answer sheet is posted on Monday morning EDT. On Monday, all quizzlings with the correct answers will receive a pretty banner to prove their quiz prowess. Ready? Set? Play!
Match the quotes to the story titles without picking the red herring titles:
A Slip of the Tongue by ginny_weasley31
A Taste Of Silence by YsM
Frogs In Winter 01 by ladyofthemasque
The Trouble with Veritaserum by jenocclumency
Wicked Little Secrets by Gin
The Truth Shall Set Him Free by geminiscorp
The Slytherin, the Witch, and the Vanishing Cabinet by Anastadne aka ttfs and ariadne1
Secrets Always Come Out by JenKM1216 aka gypsy_morph
Tell Me Lies by Auror Borealis
About A Potions Master by pigwidgeon37
22 October by acadia_elle
The Danger of Truth by hogwartshoney
1. Goddammit! That wasn’t a Hangover Remedy! That was Truth Serum! He spat it on the carpet, knowing the house-elves would clean it up, and spat some more, too hungover to care that it was not only untidy, but unsanitary, and glared at the misplaced, grey bottle in his hand. Not a blue bottle. Damned shadows, obscuring everything…
Ah, fuck it. That much Truth Serum--even spat out on his floor--would have him telling the truth to all and sundry for the next six or seven hours. He’d have to order a breakfast tray for his room, or give all of his colleagues a very shocking running commentary of whatever bilge dredged itself up out of the bottom of his brain. Corking the bottle, he stuck it back on the shelves, stooped and peered, all but putting his greasy black head in the cabinet, and picked out the correct bottle. A set of the little bottles, actually.
Two blue little bottles for his hangover--he made damned sure they were blue, the right shade of blue, by swaying back and forth so he could eye them in the thin glow of waaaay too bright midmorning light spilling through the high, narrow windows on the fireplace wall, and ducked his head back in for two more white bottles for any lingering drunkenness should leave him completely sober, and completely in control of his reactions and faculties…save for that damned Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Fucking Truth problem, of course. God helped them both if Draco asked him a single thing, before slinking out of here and back to his job at the Ministry of Magic, where--of all possible surprises--he’d managed to become an Auror.
2. The hands of his watch crept slowly around the dial as he watched Hermione expertly prepare the difficult potion.
He had chosen Veritaserum for a multitude of reasons.
It certainly wasn’t the most difficult potion academically, but it was particular. One had to read the mixture and improvise accordingly. The ingredients would react differently depending on the brewer’s intent.
He knew Hermione relied on her intellect but not always her intuition, and that was a vital component in the difference between a mere potions brewer and that of a master.
The other reasons had to do with his own cowardice.
He began to perspire as she funneled the crystal-clear liquid into the dosage vials that he had set out. The brew should produce exactly fifteen individual doses of Veritaserum, no more and no less.
She placed the small corks in each phial, and his hands began to tremble slightly.
Would she ask the right questions of him? Would she dare to be that personal? Would he be brave enough to be forthcoming if she didn’t?
She finished dripping the sealing wax over eleven of the vials. Twelve. Thirteen.
It was now or never.
“Ms Granger, leave one dose unsealed.”
3. “Hermione! Hermione, stop this!”
He tried to force her jaws open, but only succeeded in spreading blood everywhere on her chin and cheeks and on his fingers.
“Class dismissed!” roared Severus. “Black, call Poppy, quickly!”
“Do you think I don’t know this reaction? For goodness’ sake, Black, I’ve seen people under Veritaserum and she won’t talk! Dismiss the class and call Poppy!”
Despite the urgency in Severus’s tone, the students were slow to leave the class, glancing back at Hermione. Severus tried his luck opening her jaws while Sirius fumbled in search for Floo powder.
“Miss Granger, this is just an experiment. You can tell how you feel about me. I’ve heard it all, you know, I don’t think you can surprise me or insult me in any way. Miss Granger, be reasonable!”
“What is she doing?” asked Sirius, frantic.
“She’s biting her tongue off, you fool!” snapped Severus, still trying to coax Hermione out of her decision.
She choked and he closed his eyes in defeat. Sirius reacted like lightning and held a basin under her chin. Obediently, she brought up the blood filling her mouth. A soft splash in the basin made Sirius turn green, looking at the piece of flesh lying in the middle of the blood. Under his very eyes, it turned black and shrivelled up. Sirius felt sick.
4. Tonks made her way over to the Professor. "I'm sorry, sir," she said quietly. "Harry's orders. I'll be here to make sure that nothing untoward happens, and I've insisted that Poppy be present, as well. I want to make this as easy as possible for you. I don't agree with what Harry's doing. Just answer his questions, and you'll be free to go."
As Tonks finished speaking, Harry came up with a phial of clear potion. The Veritaserum. "Drink this, Snape," he ordered.
The Professor took the phial and uncorked it. He inspected the contents. "A good batch. I brewed it myself," he said sarcastically. "Do you expect me to drink the entire phial's worth?" Snape asked, with a raised eyebrow.
"Drink it all," Harry ordered.
The Professor uncorked the phial and placed it at his lips to comply. He had drunk a good mouthful before Madam Pomfrey wrested it from his hands.
"Harry Potter, you should know three drops is all it takes. Do you want to kill him?"
"I didn't know; I assumed a phial was a dose," Harry said, uncomfortably.
"How typical." Professor Snape sneered. "Did you ever pay attention in my class, Potter?"
"He's taken more than three drops; let's get this over with so he can go, Harry," Tonks interjected.
Harry, recovering his vindictive zeal, turned to see that Professor Snape had a slightly dazed look on his face from the potion. Harry smirked. He looked like a cat about to finish off the kill it had been toying with.
5. With a sigh of resignation, she downed the rest of her cocktail. There, she felt that pleasant tingle again. What on earth—
The mental chemical analysis was interrupted by a rumbling sound from the fireplace behind her. Now what was that? Hadn’t Ginny told her they were going to be in three? She turned round.
No. No, she refused to acknowledge the truth. It couldn’t be. Ginny and Harry couldn’t be so heartless as to—she closed her eyes and reopened them. He was still there. “Ron! What are you doing here?”
He was looking himself up and down, flexing his fingers. Stupid, conceited bastard. As if that were the right moment for vanity. Although she should be lenient on him. After all, she had broken his nose. No need to say things that would hurt him. Not entirely sincere, maybe, but then one didn’t always have to be… “Ron, you stupid, vain bastard. There’s a mirror over there. Why don’t you go and have a look?”
No. There was no way she could have said that. She had to apologize. “Don’t look at me like an innocent puppy, Ron. I can’t stand it.”
The look he threw her was one of total incomprehension. Small wonder, I never talk like this. And I wonder… then it dawned on her. Shrewd couple indeed. They had laced her drink with Veritaserum—now she understood why it had made her tingle. How sweet of them! They wanted to give her the possibility to tell him once and for all what she thought of him, without being able to gloss over the nastier bits. Poor Ron.
6. Hermione let out an audible groan when she realized the exact words she’d just uttered and the company in which she’d uttered those words. Squeezing her eyes shut and gulping down the bile that had begun to creep up her esophagus from her churning stomach, Hermione wished that the bed she was still lying on would swallow her whole.
“Hermione!” she heard Ron shout. “What did you just say?”
In an attempt to fight the Veritaserum, Hermione tried to block all her thoughts, but the dull senses caused by the alcohol made Occlumency nearly impossible and only caused the quivering in her stomach to increase. Finally giving up and opening her mouth to answer Ron’s question, Hermione promptly vomited all over the floor.
“Weasley!” barked Snape. He pulled out his wand, held it inches from Ron’s face and began speaking again in a threatening whisper. “If I hear you utter another question anywhere near Miss Granger, I shall make sure you are turned into the Weasel that you have proven today you truly are. Only an utter imbecile would mix Veritaserum with alcohol.”
By the time Snape finished speaking with Ron, Hermione was done heaving the remains of her evening meal onto the floor, and Molly was dutifully attending to her, and the mess, with a quick wave of her wand. As soon as Hermione was able to breathe normally again, she felt the urge return to answer Ron’s earlier question. The Veritaserum was still affecting her.
“I had said that I don’t love you the way that Harry and Ginny love each other.” Hermione gulped and squeezed her eyes shut, willing herself not to cry out from humiliation. She continued, “I said that I fancy Professor Snape.”
7. A shocked Harry, realising that something wasn't right, grabbed Hermione's arm and began tugging her out of the common room. Ron smirked at all the appreciative sniggers he heard as he followed them out. Parvati had been particularly brutal this year.
"Well, your hair is still a pathetic entity!" Parvati yelled after them.
"I'm surprised you even know what an entity is!" was the last thing heard before the portrait hole closed.
Once outside, Harry and Ron stared at her: Harry, a little shocked and worried; Ron, a little proud and appreciative.
"What was that about, Hermione?" asked Harry, searching his friend’s face.
Hermione gave him a baleful look. "Well, it's pretty obvious, isn't it? Honestly, Harry, sometimes I wonder if you've been hit one too many times with a Bludger." She looked sadly at Harry and tried to cover her mouth again while Harry tried not to look hurt. "I'm sorry," she said quietly.
"I know," he tried to say dispassionately.
"Veritaserum?" said Ron sympathetically, patting her arm.
"Obviously! No need to question where your brains went." Hermione, close to tears, looked desperately back at Ron. He took a step back, obviously hurt.
"Are you saying I'm stupid?" he asked incredulously. Harry slapped his own palm over Hermione's mouth, which was starting to widen.
"Ron! Shut up!" Ron looked at Harry, a little angry. Harry rolled his eyes. "Let's just get Hermione to Madam Pomfrey."
8. Black spoke to the class. "Veritaserum, when mixed correctly," he glanced meaningfully at Snape, "is a weapon not to be underestimated. You cannot lie under its influence. Today's lesson is not aimed at teaching you to resist it; that simply isn't possible. Any falsehood, from the polite social fiction to the concealment of information that could destroy you, cannot stand under its effects. I chose Miss Granger because she is, while a fundamentally honest person, also a kind one. You all need to know what this stuff can make you do. Hermione," he said, focusing on her. She waited, the look on her face making it clear she hoped the question would not be too personal. Black smiled at her.
"Don't worry. I'm not going to ask you about your love life or anything like that." The class laughed again, more relaxed this time. Hermione looked relieved.
"Tell us," he continued. His expression was anticipatory. "How do you feel about Professor Snape?" He leaned against the desk again, waiting for the insults to flow. Snape raised one eyebrow, but waited calmly.
"I…" She paled visibly and pressed her hands against her mouth, trying to stop the words from coming out. Her face held panic. Black walked over to her, and gently removed her hands.
"Don't worry, you can say anything you like. There won't be points or detention. This is for science, remember." Another glance at Snape. He repeated his question. "What do you think of Snape?"
"I…" She bit down on her tongue, hard. Blood trickled out of the corner of her mouth. Black's face began to look concerned.
"Is she having a reaction, Snape?" he demanded.
"She's resisting the potion," he answered, striding over to stand in front of Hermione. "Say it, Miss Granger. I can assure you it will be nothing I haven't heard before. I promise not to hold it against you." His voice was unexpectedly gentle.
Her eyes filled with tears.
9. Bypassing the Potions classroom, he entered the laboratory, door banging open loudly.
“Severus! To what do I owe this pleasure?” the current Potions master of Hogwarts asked. He fell silent as Severus pushed Hermione in front of him, slamming the door behind her.
“Veritaserum, Professor Gentry,” Severus said urgently to a small, kindly-looking man. Hermione had the fleeting impression that he would have made Neville into a brilliant potions student with his helpful demeanor.
“That’s a ministry sanctioned potion, Severus. I can’t give you Veritaserum to use on your wife.” Taking in Hermione’s nightgown-clad body, he had jumped to the wrong conclusion.
“Not for her, for me,” Severus snapped impatiently. “You can either give me the Veritaserum, or I will hex you and take it. Which do you prefer?” Severus glared at the man furiously, brandishing his wand threateningly.
“No need to resort to threats, Severus,” he said, obviously curious about Severus’ almost desperate tone. “Accio Veritaserum.” A small bottle shot up from the table into his outstretched hand. “But I insist you remain here so I can monitor the effects it may have on you. I’ll not take responsibility for something I brewed having a bad reaction.”
“I’m a Potions master and have been longer than you,” Severus said with a growl.
“Nevertheless,” the small man said, parting his hands in an apologetic gesture.
“Fine, give it to me.” Turning to Hermione, Severus said, “I will allow Professor Gentry to administer the Veritaserum to me, then you may ask me all the questions you wish.”
“Fine,” Hermione said. She watched, heart beating wildly in her chest. If Severus was willing to take Veritaserum, then he must believe he was telling the truth. What is going on? she wondered.
10. I fingered the small vial of Veritaserum in my pocket. Three drops in her drink and she’d be revealed to all. The entire party would soon see what a fucking arrogant bint their favourite Gryffindor princess really was. Her image of selfless bravery would drop away before their eyes and her true heart of ice would finally show. She can’t fool me. I know why she does the things she does. Same reason Potter does. She wants the adoration of the Wizarding world. She wants the power, the fame, and the glory. But we’ll see about that.
I waited for my opportunity. I crept steadily closer, making my way through the crowd of her admirers. 12 Grimmauld Place was crawling with them. Like maggots.
“Miss Granger,” I said, offering her the drink I’d so carefully prepared. “How pleasant to see you.”
“Professor Snape!” Her voice seemed breathy. Startled to see me, perhaps. She took the drink I offered, glancing at it dubiously before taking a small sip. I needed her to drink the entire thing. Stupid girl. Drink it.
“I was hoping I could speak with you. Privately.” Granger looked at me with a strange look on her face. Damn her. I needed her to drink the entire glass here, in this room full of people, so that I could then proceed to ask the right questions and bring her world crashing down around her knees. There were only three drops of Veritaserum in that glass, and as far as I could tell, she’d probably only gotten half a drop in her. Mustn’t seem suspicious though. I nodded and followed her into the next room. She locked the door behind us.
I watched while she prepared a drink and handed it to me. I was surprised, but I took it from her. Ogden’s Fire Whiskey, straight up. I drank it straight down.
Granger sat on the sofa, patting the cushion beside her. I sat down next to her.
“What’s in my glass?” she asked, smiling.
“Veritaserum,” I answered. Damn it! “You put Veritaserum in MY glass too?” I demanded, more than a little pissed off.