Monday hadn't been so bad, since the students were using the whole time to brew, but today I'd had to lecture. While I most likely surpassed the Dark Lord in potions knowledge, he was still an extremely clever and well-learned man, and teaching him had been surprisingly embarrassing. It had been a long time since I'd been so nervous giving a lecture, and the Dark Lord's coy smirk throughout hadn't helped. I'd managed to avoid making eye contact with him, but I could feel his presence. Hopefully no one had noticed my embarrassment. This whole affair was surprisingly humiliating.
"Good news?" I repeated blankly. Whatever the Dark Lord had planned for me, I was sure it wasn't good.
"Well, good for one of us at least." The sixty plus year-old man played with the straps on his bag while he grinned eagerly at me from his youthful face. Every part of this was disturbing. "I've finally thought of a way for you to start repaying me for your betrayal."
Oh gods. The fearful look must have shown on my face (and when had I become so obvious?) for the Dark Lord actually laughed at me.
"When do you wish to go?" I asked, setting aside for the moment concerns over possible layers of deception.
"This weekend, I think," the Dark Lord replied, and he must have noticed my hesitation, for he raised his eyebrows and continued: "What, do you have something better to do?"
"Your other self will likely summon me this weekend," I warned.
He wrinkled his nose, a gesture so unlike the Dark Lord that for a moment I thought it might be Potter again. "Do you know when?"
"Likely Saturday evening," I hazarded a guess. "I expected to receive a summons last weekend but didn't, so this weekend seems very likely."
"So we'll go tomorrow evening, and then again on Sunday if we need to."
I hesitated again, and the Dark Lord let out an exasperated sigh. "What else could you possibly have? You were never this busy when you were younger."
"I have agreed to take Dolores Umbridge on a date," I said stiffly, and the Dark Lord gaped at me.
"Oh Severus, I had no idea you were so… desperate."
"It's a favour for the headmaster," I elaborated quickly. "He desires information about Umbridge's plans, and since she seems to favour me…"
"I was a dark lord and I'm not sure even I would stoop that low," the Dark Lord commented, a touch of awe in his voice.
"It's actually our second date," I further explained, appreciating his understanding for just how unfortunate this turn of events had been.
"Is it… serious?" he asked in horrified amusement. He seemed to get some joy from the situation, but I found myself appreciating his sympathy nonetheless.
"Of course not," I protested, and he looked embarrassingly skeptical.
"Do you want it to be?" he asked, and it took me a moment before I realised he was teasing me.
"Most assuredly not."
"So when's your date?" the Dark Lord asked gleefully.
"We're getting lunch on Sunday."
"Excellent. So Sunday evening is free then. Friday and Sunday it is. I'll be by your office tomorrow evening, and we start hunting."
I flinched at the word, knowing he wasn't joking. That list was… Rather intense.
"What time should I expect you?" I asked, reminding myself again to keep my tone polite and respectful.
"Eh, nine maybe," he tossed out carelessly. 'Nine maybe.' How delightful. "Anyway, I'm off. Have fun with your whatever it is you do." He waved at me dismissively and left the room.
"How charming," I muttered to myself, pulling my notes on the diary closer. I had work to do.
"Oh Severus, you have no idea," he said dramatically, and threw himself into the chair across my desk. "I've had absolutely the longest week."
"Oh?" I asked politely. I was sure mine had been longer, but I wasn't about to argue.
"Hermione's interesting enough, and apparently she's Potter's only friend anyway, but the rest of them are so boring. And classes are a nightmare. I feel like they've gotten easier since I was in school. I swear that some of the things we're covering were covered in my fourth year, or even earlier."
"Different professors cover material in different orders," I suggested. Frankly, I thought the other professors and I had done quite a good job of tightening up Hogwarts' curriculum (with the exception of Umbridge). True, the Ministry wasn't exactly helping our efforts, cutting funding wherever they could get away with it, but we made do.
"It's absolutely dreadful. And my plans can only be progressed so quickly, so I've found myself with oodles of free time." The Dark Lord let out an over-exaggerated sigh.
"Ahah!" he said triumphantly, although his voice was still quiet. "Severus, to your right you will find a pile of unicorn excrement. Sift through it and find something useful, will you?" Well, that answered my question. Potent magical ingredients couldn't be collected with magic without contaminating them, and I supposed the Dark Lord felt he was above grunt work.
"I thought we were looking for erklings?" I asked in annoyance. "And how am I supposed to go through the fucking pile if I can't see anything?"
There was a moment of silence. I let go of the Dark Lord's cloak.
"I mean, yes, of course, Harry." I sank down slowly to my knees and felt something squishy.
"Isn't this exciting, Severus?" the Dark Lord whispered to me as I grabbed his cloak again.
"Perhaps," I replied neutrally, and I heard him huff.
"You're so much less fun in your old age," the Dark Lord commented, and I gaped at him.
"You're much older than me," I protested.
"Ah, but I'm young at heart," the Dark Lord responded airily. We started moving again, at the same halting pace we'd started earlier.
"Physically, yes," I pointed out, and there was no verbal response.
The Dark Lord settled onto my couch and yawned widely. I felt myself yawn in response, against my will, and realised I'd been awake for almost twenty-four hours. It rather felt like I was dying.
"I'm going to bed," I informed him, and watched as the Dark Lord didn't move.
"Alright," he said mildly, and I stared at him pointedly. He rolled his eyes. "I'm tired, Severus. I'm going to rest my eyes. The Gryffindor tower is up eight flights of stairs and I simply can't be bothered with that right now." He toed his shoes off and stretched purposefully out on the couch.
"Very well," I acquiesced with a sigh. I was too tired to debate the point any further, and instead retreated to my bedroom, where I fell into bed almost immediately.
I must have fallen asleep quickly, because the next thing I knew I was being jolted awake by a loud banging.
I shot up in bed, feeling both alert and horribly groggy at the same time. Recognising the banging as someone at the door, I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed and into the sitting room.
The Dark Lord was lying on his back, one foot dangling over the edge of the couch and an arm thrown across his face.
"Please make it stop," he said groggily, shooting a glare at the door from underneath his arm.
I managed to stumble over to the door and pulled it open. Minerva was standing there, looking positively frantic. I instantly felt more alert, and moreover incredibly thankful that the angle of the door meant that she couldn't see what looked like Potter sleeping on my couch.
"What?" I asked grumpily.
"Potter's missing," she told