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Potion Variations

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"You should have mentioned you had submitted your paper to the Potions Journal," Severus said over afternoon tea.

Harry looked up, startled. "How did you..." He put down his mug of tea.

Severus just shot him a baleful look.

"Right. You're a reviewer for the journal," Harry sighed. He slumped back in his chair.

"You were aware of that," Severus felt obligated to point out.

"Yeah, I know," Harry admitted, rubbing his forehead. "I didn't think they'd send it to you." He sat up straighter. "Wait, that's supposed to be a blind review. How do you know it's my paper?"


"I am admittedly familiar with your writing style," Severus started. "And, if you will recall, we did discuss the difference between verbena as an individual plant type and as the name of a plant species."

"Of course, you would remember that!" Harry muttered.

"Your proposal of using nashia inaguensis in place of aloysia citrodora in an unguent to improve wound healing is a variant of that discussion," Severus elaborated.

"I just thought it would be... useful to point out that there are non-European varieties of verbena that might be better options," Harry huffed.

"It's actually rather brilliant," Severus said softly.


Harry grinned. "Really?"

"The use of ingredients not readily available in England makes a subtle but important point that there is a larger world we should be familiar with," Severus said.

"That was one of my goals!" Harry admitted. "And, perhaps, if I can show there are good reasons to go outside of England for... for anything... that would be a help!"

"Potions Masters are used to gathering materials in many parts of the world, but--" Severus held a hand up to stop Harry's thought "--once it has been tested, you will have the medical community also asking more questions."


"You think it's good?" Harry asked with some uncertainty.

"I think it's well done. You lay out the rationale for the different ingredients coherently, the changes in brewing the potion are precise, and the summary is concise but thoughtful."

"You'd recommend it?" Harry asked.

"Of course not," Severus smirked. "That's a definite conflict of interest."

Harry's eyes widened.

"It's only fair," Severus said gently.

"I know, I know," Harry agreed, reluctantly.

"I will send it back with a strongly worded note that they should know better than to send me your work." Severus took a biscuit from the tea tray.


Harry panted. "More..."

Severus added another finger.

Harry and Severus often liked to take their time. The preparation charms didn't allow for that.

"Maybe your next project should be..." he twisted his fingers, making Harry moan. "... a variation of lubrication."

"I... could do that..." Harry panted. He gave a low whine as Severus pressed on his prostate.

"What would you do?" Severus asked silkily.

"Ooohhhh.... yes!" Harry murmured. "I'd... something sensory... for both of us."

"What would you recommend?" Severus asked.

"Maybe... borage..." Harry bowed and came, untouched.

"That could be very interesting," Severus leaned in for a warm kiss.