by Bernice

For Maeglinyedi's worst fear challenge. This is not my fear, it's Edgehd's. I fear this tiny fic is a tad boring, but it amused me for the 20 minutes it took to write.

He could still remember the terror, twisting his stomach and loosening his bowels as his mother calmly released his care over to the wizard with the chair and the pliers and the tongs, as the wizened old man with the shaking hands hovered over him, peering myopically, and threatened him with some implement that glinted in the stained and yellow light.

"Hold still and don't scream. I hates it when you little ones scream. Horrible little shrill voices you've got."

Snape's jaw clenched in remembered horror.

"Just hold still, and we'll yank that little bugger right out of there."

And the dentiwizard had planted his knee on little Severus's chest to hold him down as he wrenched whatever tooth was being problematic right out of his jaw, leaving Snape bleeding and screaming in agony, despite his mother's tchting at his weakness. Then they'd leave, Snape with his tooth in a bloody hanky, face swelling up like a balloon - the only time he ever had chubby rosy cheeks as a child - and he'd spend the night dripping blood and saliva onto his pillow.

As an adult, he'd sworn he'd never go back. Never leave himself vulnerable to some lunatic with a sadistic orthodontic fetish. He'd never let anyone poke around in his mouth, touching the soft delicate areas and prodding at raw nerves. And he'd stuck to that faithfully, with all the loyalty of which he was capable, even as his teeth had twisted into unusual patterns, and coloured deep egg yolk yellows and browns. He'd weathered the teasing from his friends and snarled at the abuse from his enemies, and even learned to live with the uncontrollable spitting as his teeth cramped his mouth so that he couldn't hold his juices inside.

But now he was in trouble. Now the throbbing ache he'd tolerated for years had escalated to the point he could no longer eat. He could no longer even breathe in the winters without the cold air causing sharp pain. It throbbed at night, stopping him from sleeping, and pulsed during the day, making him so foul in mood he could no longer even stand himself, his always irascible temper making his job tenuous as he took out the discomfort on everyone who came close. He'd even thrown a cream bun at the Headmaster after the old fart had spent an afternoon tempting him with hard-boiled sweets.

Snape was so fed up with eating nothing but lukewarm soup. And there were few potions left that could cover the stench of his breath. He was even offending himself, lately.

He wouldn't go to a dentiwizard. He couldn't bear the thought of people hearing that he'd cried like a baby, or screamed like a little girl, or even ... even did something worse. And if he hexed the dentiwizard there would be hell to pay. So now he stood outside of a muggle dental office, his appointment card in hand, his muggle pants on his legs, and tried not to throw up. If he hexed a 'Dentist' then he could later use obliviate and no one would be any the wiser.

Inside the place was too clean. It was like nothing that existed in the wizarding world. Even St Mungo's was not this clean, not this white. There were no moving pictures on the walls, no strange demons or distorted creatures wandering the halls, no vampires and no werewolves anywhere. It was all just too weird.

A bright, smiling nurse with abnormally white teeth took his name and asked him to take a seat in the waiting room, and he hated her. She probably enjoyed the screams. The room was filled with peculiar muggles who flipped through magazines and looked entirely too calm for Snape's liking. They were probably all masochists. Or crazy. Odd alien creatures, muggles. He wiped the sweat off his palms onto his trousers, and hated them, too. Sweat prickled on his upper lip and trickled down the back of his neck, and every muscle in his body screamed at him to run. Just get up. Just leave. Just run away. Just hex them all and run. Run away. Run. Run. Run.

He stood up and made to escape, but then his face throbbed, a reminder of the agony he'd been suffering for so long, so he turned the aborted flight into a reach for a magazine and sat back down to stare at the vacuous muggle photos that did not stare back, just smiled with their white, straight smiles and advertised products that no sane wizard would ever want.

"This way please, Mr Stevens," and Snape almost pretended he hadn't heard his muggle name that went along with his phoney phone number, in case he ran and they tried to track him down. But the pain was making it hard to keep his right eye open now as his face swelled, so he dragged his feet into the room after the nurse.

"Please, take a seat."

Snape didn't want to reply to the portly middle aged man in the far too short white robe, so he obeyed in silence, sitting in a chair that horrified him more than that he'd sat in before the wizaengamot. All this torture device needed were the chains.

And then it moved.

Snape gripped the arms in panic as the chair raised itself. Muggle chairs were not supposed to be able to move. It was a trap! Some dark wizard had laid a trap for him, set him up with a chair that would hold him as they tortured him orally with strange metal implements.

Then the dentist clipped a bib around Snape's neck, and Snape was mortified, too embarrassed to be afraid for just a second, although he didn't release his grip on the chair.

"Please, relax, Mr Stevens," the dentist cooed. "Now, if you'd like to tell me the problem?"

"Tooth ache," Snape snapped unco-operatively.

"Right... let me just have a look." The dentist urged Snape to open his jaw and Snape did, admirably avoiding biting the dentist's fingers off. "Oh dear... You have neglected your mouth, haven't you? Still, nothing we can't fix. Ah... I see the problem. Now, if you'd just like to hold still for a moment..."

The dentist held up some long shiny tube with something viscously pointy on one end and came towards Snape and Snape made to jump up.

"No! You are not sticking that thing in me!"

"Oh dear... you're one of those," the dentist mused calmly. "Just one moment. Here, breathe deeply."

Snape wanted to say he did not want to breathe through the small mask that the dentist managed to fit around his nose, and then he wondered how the dentist managed to find one that was big enough for his nose, then he thought how funny he looked, reflected in the dentist's glasses and what a funny white robe the dentist wore that showed his funny bandy legs and Snape suddenly really didn't mind all that much.

"I hate you..." he said, smiling widely at the dentist, who just sighed.

"I know... lots of people do. Dentists are the most hated of all professionals."

"I'm sorry..." Snape felt suddenly so sorry for the poor man, who was just trying to do his job, and wanted to express his sympathy, but just had to say, "I hate you, though," again.

"I'm just going to give you an injection, you won't feel a thing after this."

The dentist waggled his finger against Snape's cheek, which seemed vastly amusing to Snape who chortled away to himself for a while, then there were a few minutes of the dentist grunting and sweating with something really shiny, and that was hilarious, and then the dentist was holding up a brown and twisted tooth. Snape poked it with one finger and laughed.

"That was quite dead, unfortunately. Even a root canal wouldn't have saved it. But the infection should drain nicely, and we'll give you some antibiotics to take home."

"I hate biotics," Snape agreed.

"Now, I'd like t to talk to you about your teeth..." And the dentist took the mask off and gave Snape a long lecture... none of which seemed really so terrifying after all.

Afterwards, Snape stood at the reception desk, with a hand full of literature on tooth straightening and tooth whitening, and a face full of cotton wool, and pondered a perfect, pain free smile.

Before leaving, he found that the bill was the most horrifying thing of all, but he decided if he could face Voldemort in his lair, and Dumbledore in his office, he could probably find the courage to face a portly, middle aged dentist and his chair again.


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