[Blaise jumps outside the door, startled by a loud sound from within. He takes a deep breath, steeling himself for Severus' bad mood. He knocks, wondering if he'll even be allowed to stay.]
[Severus relents his Boil-Damn-You stare as he realizes that if the potion boils too soon, it will be ruined and he'll have to begin all over again.]
[Blaise steps into Severus' office, moving cautiously. Voice soft, pleasant and soothing,] Good Evening, Professor.
If it has been a good evening for you, I am exceedingly envious.
[Severus steps away from his work table, rolling his shoulders slightly in an attempt to ease his tension.]
But you provide a welcome distraction.
[With a quick, judging glance at his potion, Severus washes his hands and rings a small bell. A house elf quickly appears with tea and buscuits, and vanishes immediately afterward. He gestures toward the fire.]
If you will.
[Blaise chuckles slightly,] I didn't think you allowed for distractions, [He says, walking over to his chair.]
[Severus sits in his own chair and arches an eyebrow as he looks at Blaise.] Everyone needs a distraction occasionally. Even I. [He scowls] Especially dealing with temperamental potions.
[Blaise glances over at the potion in question, looks back at Severus,] What are you making?
[Severus remains silent as he pours their tea.] An experimental potion--it's an idea I've been toying with for several months. I would be working on additions to the wolvesbane potion, but... [A smirk tugs at the corner of his mouth] I've already added chaparral, and I have no wish for Lupin to be suspicious. [His smirk deepens as he relives the look on Lupin's face.] I do hope it was especially awful.
[Blaise laughs, looking at Severus like he wishes he didn't believe him.] So it's personal work, then? [He asks, trying not to wonder if the Professor spoke with Dumbledore about his apprenticeship.]
I suppose you could say that--I've been attempting to infuse certain qualities of wandwork into a potion. Take Wingardium Leviosa, although that is a simple example. If I could find some way to infuse that charm into a potion, then you wouldn't necessarily need your wand to cast the spell. [Severus stares at his tea] It hasn't been approved by the Ministry, as of yet--but it's much more challenging than the drivel the Experimental Potions Department sends me to correct.
[Blaise straightens, nodding thoughtfully,] But. Couldn't Muggles use them then as well, if they got their hands on them?
[Severus inclines his head] Although I have not had the opportunity to perform any experiments, it is theoretically possible. I was considering finding a way to personalize it for those with magical blood--or simply keeping it for my own private use.
[Blaise chews his lip, mulling it over. He sips his tea and, after a moment, says, simply] Interesting.
[Severus settles back in his chair] I believe the idea has merit. [His eyes darken, and he shoots another look at his simmering cauldron] Although, at the moment, it is infuriatingly uncooperative.
[Blaise tilts his head,] How do you mean?
[Severus shakes his head] I haven't yet been able to find a stabilizing agent, so my measurements are not as... precise as I would like. Herbs that work well together in theory react violently in actual practice.
It's of little concern, as I'm sure I'll be able to solve its inadequacies if I had more time.
[Blaise pauses, then says tentatively,] Did you. Speak with Dumbledore?
[Severus smirks--he wondered how long it would take Blaise to broach the subject--and clears his expression]
I did speak to the headmaster about you. He said he would consider it, but was worried about the constraints on my time, as I normally have a great deal to do and could not always devote myself to your potions education.
But, [Blaise frowns,] Isn't that what you already are doing - essentially, I mean? Devoting yourself to all of our Potions education? Besides, I can be of help, I promise.
Blaise, I don't doubt your usefulness. However, an apprenticeship is extraordinarily difficult and time consuming, if you wish to learn correctly. As for my... responsibilities... I have a great many that do not concern the children at this school.
When the headmaster gives me an answer, Blaise, I shall let you know.
[Blaise looks down, nods. He's already giving up on the idea,] Thank you anyway, sir, [He murmurs, sipping his tea.]
[Severus watches Blaise silently, sipping his tea.]
[Blaise chews his lip, thinking random thoughts and drinking his tea. He doesn't realize he's finished it until his brings it to his lips and there's nothing in it. Frowning, he tries to decide if he should ask for more or just call it a night. It doesn't seem either of them are the best company tonight.]
[Severus pours himself another cup of tea, musing quietly to himself. Hemlock jumps on his lap and he absently scratches behind her ears. Abruptly, he says] What are the ingredients and effects of Gero Juice?
[Blaise blinks, surprised, but answers automatically,] Gero Juice is composed mostly of Malaclaw shells, dried nettles and powdered ginger. It's effects being that the drinker becomes incredibly unlucky. It's prohibeted due to abuse by gamblers, and an overdose causes the drinker to grow purple ear.