|A Smart Discussion
Author: Ketterly PM
Harry comes to Snape to apologize after the Pensieve incident. CP Warning: Contains corporal punishment of a teenager, so please do not read if this offends you.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Hurt/Comfort - Harry P. & Severus S. - Chapters: 2 - Words: 4,683 - Reviews: 24 - Favs: 41 - Follows: 10 - Updated: 05-20-10 - Published: 05-08-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5955398
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Hello," Potter said tentatively, before Snape—Professor Snape—unceremoniously slammed the office door in his face.
It had been mere days since that awful incident in which the professor had caught that arrogant, insufferable Potter happily whiling away his time in the pensieve, viewing his most private memories without consent and without remorse. He hadn't throttled Potter, as had been his first instinct, but he had smashed a jar of cockroaches very near the brat's head. He regretted that—it had been a perfectly good jar of cockroaches.
"Please, Professor, can't we talk about this?" Potter called through the thick dungeon door in his whiny, petulant way.
"Go away before I hex you into oblivion," Snape replied simply, returning to his desk and his stacks of work.
"I . . . You're being unreasonable, sir," Potter stammered in what Snape imagined was a strained attempt at remaining civil. "I've come to apologize."
"I am not interested, Potter, so I suggest you heed my earlier advice and leave at once."
Of course, he knew Potter would do no such thing. He would surely stand at the door and beg to be let in, and work himself into a right state when his every whim was not catered to.
"Professor," he started again, punctuating it with a rather forceful knock at the door.
"Leave, Potter," Snape spat vehemently, trying his best to concentrate on the papers before him without crushing his quill to bits. "Now."
In response, Potter shoved something under his office door. It clattered and rolled to a stop a few feet from his desk. Snape instinctively drew his wand and pointed it at the intruding object, but quickly decided that Potter wouldn't be smart enough to take him out in that fashion. Curiosity won him over, and he moved to pick up the object.
It appeared to be a school cane, about three feet long and made of rattan. It was rather thick, and upon examination, Snape saw that someone, presumably Potter, had scribbled the words "Let's talk" across the middle of the implement. Sighing heavily, Snape swung the door open.
"I thought I told you to leave," he said pointedly.
Potter blushed rather nicely at seeing the cane in his professor's hand. Snape reflected briefly that Potter probably thought it looked right at home there.
"I'm just trying to apologize," Potter said hastily, looking around at the door frame, the walls, and the floor. "But as usual, you refuse to listen to me. Sir," he added, a bit too late for it to have been sincere.
"You may enter," Snape said reluctantly after subjecting the boy to a long, awkward pause.
He stepped back to allow Potter entrance to his office, watching the boy's every move should he attempt something—anything—that would warrant a nice painful hex. Unfortunately, Potter just deposited his school bag onto the floor and stood, looking the epitome of miserable.
"Well?" Snape asked sharply, crossing his arms across his chest while still holding on to the cane. "You've never been at a loss for words before, Potter, so by all means, get on with it."
Potter's face reddened slightly at the rebuke, but he did not lash out as Snape had expected he would.
"I came to apologize," he started.
"So you've said," Snape interrupted. "Let's hear it, then."
Potter cleared his throat uncomfortably.
"I'm sorry, sir," he said quietly. "I shouldn't have done it. It was stupid of me."
Snape snorted slightly, causing Potter to meet his eyes briefly.
"Mr. Potter, which of your many transgressions might you be apologizing for, exactly? You have done many stupid things, for certain. Shall I then just pick the one that suits me best?"
"You know what I'm apologizing for!" Potter replied hotly, glaring holes into the stone floor. "Sir."
Snape said nothing, but merely leaned back against the front of his desk.
Potter gave a sigh that was almost a huff and continued, looking everywhere but his professor's face.
"I'm sorry I violated your privacy by looking in the pensieve," he stated. "I know you think I got a kick out of what I saw there, but I assure you that I didn't."
"Didn't expect to see your precious father and his delinquent friends behaving in such a manner, Potter?"
"No, sir," Potter answered simply. If he was angry at Snape's choice of words, he didn't express it.
"What exactly do you want from me, Potter?" Snape asked after a moment, absently twirling the cane against the floor between his thumb and forefinger.
The question wasn't meant cruelly, just earnestly.
Potter shifted uneasily and, with some difficulty, it appeared, met his professor's gaze.
"I…I just thought, maybe," he began in true Potter fashion.
"I don't have all night, Potter."
"I mean…I thought maybe you could punish me, and then we could forget about it," he said awkwardly.
"What makes you think I am interested in forgetting about it, Mr. Potter?"
"I knew you'd say that," Potter answered quietly. "I just thought it would make you feel better."
"Make me feel better?" Snape asked wryly.
"Yes, sir. And maybe it would make me feel better, too," he answered honestly.
"I assure you, Mr. Potter," Snape replied, "that one of us would feel much, much worse were I to punish you in this manner." He held up the cane and looked at it as if just remembering it was there. "Do you have any idea how much just a single stroke of the cane can hurt?"
Potter turned four shades of red and indicated that he did not.
"Yet you are foolishly willing to submit to it, swung by me, no less?"
"I am," he answered softly.
"Gryffindor to the core," Snape commented lightly. "Potter, if you think I don't know that you would run to the headmaster as soon as you left my office to inform him of my heinous cruelty—"
"That isn't what this is about, Snape!" Potter replied indignantly. "This is about you and me, no one else. I came to you with the offer, and you can stand there all you like and pretend you wouldn't get any satisfaction out of giving me six of the best, but we both know that isn't true!"
"Do you really think six would be sufficient?" Snape asked calmly, watching with satisfaction as the anger instantly drained from Potter's face and was replaced with another emotion. Regret, most likely.
"Well. You know what I meant," he mumbled. "As many as you like, then."
"Very well, Mr. Potter," Snape replied, drawing himself up from the desk into a standing position. "Let's talk."
Potter met his gaze momentarily before slowly unclasping his robe and carelessly dropping it to the floor on top of his school bag. He stood with his jaw clenched and his hands balled into fists at his sides and made no further attempt at moving. Snape at first took this for defiance, but he grudgingly admitted to himself that the boy was probably waiting for further instruction.
"Bend over that desk," the professor directed, using the cane to indicate the student desk nearest them. He kept a few desks in his office for the many, many detentions he handed out—all deserved, of course. "Hold on to the other side of it, and do not move."
Potter eyed him uncertainly for a moment, as if he were having trouble turning his back on his professor, but then he slowly lowered himself over the desk and stared down into the seat underneath it. His labored breathing did not go unnoticed.
"You know, Mr. Potter," Snape said conversationally as he swished the cane once through the air to test its ferocity, "I believe it is customary in many muggle boarding schools for the miscreant's trousers to be lowered for such a punishment."
He watched with amusement as Potter tensed and his ears turned scarlet.
"But I daresay we can get the job done without resorting to that, don't you think?" the professor asked.
"Whatever you like, sir," Potter answered quietly after a moment.
"I think we'll keep your trousers up this time. Though it would be quite fitting, considering the particular memory in which you so insolently chose to snoop…"
"Please just get on with it, sir," Potter answered impudently.
Snape quickly raised the cane and brought it down smartly in the center of Potter's bottom with a speed and accuracy that surprised them both. Potter gasped and made as if to stand up, but continued to hold onto the desk.
"Mr. Potter, if you cannot take this punishment…" Snape started dryly.
"No," he answered quickly, lowering himself with some effort back over the desk. "I can."
The professor drew the cane back and applied it again just as forcefully, this time aiming slightly below the area he had first assaulted. Potter hissed and tensed his shoulders, but he did not stand.
"You're right. I do feel better," Snape offered with the third stroke, which was lower and caused Potter to wince and cry out slightly.
"See," Potter said sulkily. "I'm not always wrong."
Snape smirked and aimed his next stroke at the top of the boy's thighs, which produced a pleasing yelp accompanied by Potter standing straight up and rubbing unabashedly at the backs of his legs. He chanced a look at his professor, who regarded him coolly but did not comment. Embarrassed, Potter lowered himself once more across the desk.
"Mr. Potter, I suggest you stay still until we are finished," Snape said smoothly as he delivered another stroke just below the last. It must have smarted terribly, but Potter managed to keep his place. He rocked slightly onto his toes, but he did not cry out or stand up.
Snape waited a few moments for him to settle down, for although the boy was silent, he could tell he was on the verge of one of his famous Potter tantrums. He was grasping the edge of the desk so hard that his knuckles had gone white.
Snape lined the cane up for its next designated stroke, midway between Potter's bottom and the backs of his knees. He let it rest there for a moment so that Potter would know what to expect and could dread it appropriately. He brought the cane back and applied it just as swiftly as he had the previous strokes. Potter sucked in a ragged breath and stamped his foot twice on the stone floor.
Snape considered reprimanding him for this outburst, but instead landed a stinging stroke right above the backs of Potter's knees. He didn't think this had been a particularly vicious stroke, and though he refused to fully admit it to himself, he had tempered it slightly due to the lack of cushioning in that area. Potter surprised him, however, by sobbing in earnest.
The professor had fully intended to stripe the boy from his bottom to his knees and back up again, but he reluctantly conceded that they had both had enough. He tossed the cane onto his own desk and watched uncomfortably as Potter openly cried, as silently as he could, still bent over the student desk with his head in the crook of his elbow.
"Stop it, Potter," he admonished lightly after several moments. "You act as if I gave you the beating of the century."
"You'd like to," Potter accused brokenly, still hiding his face in his arm and trying to get his sobs under control.
Snape rolled his eyes and took Potter by the upper arm, forcing him to stand. He turned the boy to face him.
"I didn't give you any more than you deserved, and you know it," he stated frankly.
"You…You're awful," Potter sniffed as he attempted to wipe his tears away on his sleeve. "You're just as awful to me as you were to my mother. Worse. It's no wonder my father treated you like he did. I wish—"
Snape cut him off by taking his shoulders and shaking him harshly.
"You listen to me, Mr. Potter," he snapped. "You came to me. You had no right to infringe upon my privacy the way you did, and it serves you right that you did not like what you saw there. My actions toward your mother were…regrettable. Be that as it may, what you saw was no concern of yours. I took you at your word that we would forget about the incident. Are you a man of your word, or are you not?"
"Yes," Potter said bitterly, lifting his glasses and dragging his sleeve across his eyes. "Yes. Sorry."
Snape released the boy's shoulders and regarded him wearily.
"I'm sorry, too, Potter," he said quietly. "Your mother and I—well, I should not have said those things to her. When we are children, sometimes we are heartless, and we say stupid things. Surely you know this."
Potter smiled wryly at the thinly veiled insult.
"I know, sir," he said, stooping down to retrieve his robe. "Stupid things, such as 'Here's a cane, professor. I'd be delighted if you'd punish me with it'."
Snape raised an eyebrow. "Indeed, Potter. One of your best, as far as 'stupid things' go, I'd say."
Potter finished fastening his robe and slung his bag over his shoulder.
"May I be excused now, Professor?" he asked, almost respectfully.
Snape straightened a few things on his desk before picking up the cane and turning around to hand it to Potter. He glanced at the "Let's talk" scrawled messily along its length. That wasn't Potter's writing; he should have noticed it before. Perhaps if Potter turned in more homework, he might more readily have seen it wasn't his.
"Do tell the headmaster that his… discussion tool… aided our conversation quite nicely," he said, handing Potter the implement.
"Right, sir, I'll do that," Potter said hastily, turning red as he snatched the cane from Snape's grasp. "I just want you to know that he didn't make me come here. I asked him to lend it to me. He tried to talk me out of it, and he said that you might—"
"Potter," Snape interrupted, turning back to the stacks of work still untouched on his desk. "Go away before I hex you into oblivion."
He listened with satisfaction as Potter hurried toward the door and closed it quickly on his way out.