Hate.  Not Fear.  Hate

Bernice

Beta read by no one.  Bad me.

So, maeglinyedi has this challenge, where you write your worst fears into the Harry Potter world.  I have stupid phobias.

-oo0oo-

Snape hovered outside the apothecary, trying to catch sideways glimpses of all the interesting potions and ingredients and shiny bottles through the door, without making it obvious he was doing so. He scowled at customers who passed him as they went about their business, and tried his best to look like he was up to no good.

I'm not here to shop, he tried to project with his body language, I'm just here to conduct unsavoury business. He moved his shoulders in such a way as to suggest he was about to steal an elderly witch's enormous handbag, and she clutched it to her chest, her eyes shooting daggers at him.

A pretty young witch in far too tightly fitting robes stood near the doorway, and tried to catch his eye, "Can I help you, sir?"

"When I want your help, I'll ask for it!" he snapped at her. She ducked back into the store with a wounded expression. How dare she imply he wanted something. Why couldn't they leave him alone? He just wanted to go in and quietly make his choices, fondle the bottles, smell the herbs, shake the bottles of ground up bones and squish the eyeballs. What gave her the right to hover over him, to try and pressure him into purchases, to be all helpful and happy and perky? She was probably going to judge his ancient robes and unkempt appearance and think he couldn't afford most things anyway. Which he couldn't, on a teacher's salary, but that didn't mean he wasn't allowed to look at them anyway. He could dream, couldn't he? It wasn't her place to judge him and sniff down her small nose at him when he left without buying anything. It wasn't her place to try and pretend they were friends. Damned woman, they had no relationship at all outside of seller and buyer, and he didn't see why he had to be polite, or nice, or why she had to pretend that she cared at all, when he knew full well that she secretly hated him. He'd worked in shops. He knew how much the assistants hated all customers. He loathed, more than anything, the two-faced forced friendliness that hid the assistants' desire to spit on his purchases. He knew all about hiding those desires - he was a spy. And a teacher. And if he was rude, they'd overcharge. If he swore at them or threatened them to make them leave him alone, they'd call the aurors, and he'd have to spend another embarrassing afternoon explaining how he had every right to shop unmolested and that it was the shop assistant's fault anyway.

Saved! Longbottom came wandering past, eyes glazed over with happiness as he slurped on a rainbow coloured ice cream, his tongue and lips dyed bright blues and greens and oranges. So involved in his treat he hadn't even seen his hated potion master until Snape reached out and grabbed his shoulder.

Longbottom squealed, jumped, and dropped his ice cream, looking up at Snape in utter terror, his mouth slack, his skin turning pale and clammy. "You can't... we're not in school... you can't..."

"Longbottom, stop your jabbering, you imbecilic child. I have a job for you, rather than wasting your day consuming useless calories. If you do this for me, with no foul ups, I will not only replace your vile confection, but I promise you that I will not take any points from you for the entirety of next week."

Longbottom looked at him nervously, his eyes flicking, as he weighed up what was a wonderful opportunity not to embarrass his house, against whatever unholy and foul mission Snape could bestow upon him.

"What... what is it, sir?"

"Take this list, go into that store, purchase the items on the list with this money," Snape handed Longbottom a small purse of knuts and sickles. "Then return the goods to me. Do you think you can do that?"

"Th... that's all?"

"Yes, that's all, Longbottom. Are you having trouble with your hearing as well? Do you think you can manage something this simple without causing an explosion?"

"No! Er, I mean yes, sir, I'll do it now."

Snape waited for what seemed like an interminable amount of time, then finally the boy came out carrying several well-stocked bags, and handed them to Snape along with his change and the list, which had been carefully checked off.

"Miss Snelling, the lady who works there, says you're welcome to go in anytime, Sir... She said you don't have to be-"

"Quiet, boy. You have no idea what you are talking about. Take this," Snape handed over a few coins, more than adequate to cover several ice creams, "and keep your mouth shut, do you understand?"

"No... but I'll be quiet. You promised you wouldn't...?"

"I won't. Be gone with you now."

Longbottom scuttled away up the street, grinning broadly, and skipped a few times when he got closer to Honeydukes.

Snape clutched his bags to his chest, unconsciously copying the old lady from earlier. Damn but he hated shop assistants. Hated. Not feared. Hated them.


NOTE: No offence intended to shop assistants. I've been one. You're all lovely people. I would just rather pay someone else to talk to you, tis all.

 

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