AN: This story is an answer to the question of what might have happened to Harry if he had raided Snape's potion stores in his fifth year rather than relying on Dobby to do so. This is a stand-alone story and unrelated to any of my other works. I do not own Harry Potter, and I mean no copyright infringement for this story. I am not going to post chapter warnings, just assume that I won't own Harry Potter at any point in this story. Warnings: Spanking (corporal punishment), no romance and no slash. This is slightly AU but as canon compliant as I can make it.
Harry crept to the potions store under the cover of the invisibility cloak, watching carefully to make sure that nobody would see him. Hermione had told him that she could make a potion that could ease his hand if he could get strained and pickled murtlap, and the only place he knew he could get it was in Snape's stores. Feeling slightly suicidal in his daring, he crept to the storage closet. He had dared a few times over the years to raid Snape's stores, but he knew not to do it unless absolutely necessary. He was unable to sleep due to the burning in his hand, so he decided it was worth it.
Harry reflected that he could have gotten something from Madame Pomfrey, who had a decent reputation for not asking too many questions. But he thought that even she would have reported something to Dumbledore or McGonagall, and he did not want that. He knew in a deep way that this was between him and the pink toad, and he didn't want to put Dumbledore in the uncomfortable position of having to defend Harry to the Ministry. He could take it.
His hand, still burning from the cuts put into it from that bloody black quill, reached out to try the handle. He knew it would be locked, so he raised his wand and whispered, "Alohomora." Surprisingly, the door swung open to welcome him into the potions cupboard. If he had known it was this easy, he would have broken into the potions cupboard much sooner.
Walking inside and dropping the cloak from his face, he began to examine the shelves for Murtlap of any kind. But just as his hand was reaching for a jar of pickled Murtlap, he felt a commanding presence behind him. Gulping, his stomach twisted and his spine shivered at being caught. Praying it was not who he was afraid it was, he slowly turned his head.
"Are you lost, Mr. Potter?" he heard the silky, dangerous voice of Severus Snape ask. "I can't imagine why you would be out of bed at this hour and rifling through my potions supply cupboard."
"Professor," Harry said.
"And I wonder why only your head is visible?" he asked with a sardonic lilt in his voice.
"Sorry, sir," he said automatically, quickly taking off the cloak.
"Sorry?" he asked, his voice acid. "I do not believe you to be now, but I expect that to change over the course of the next hour."
Harry, gulping down his fear at that last comment, tried to school his features not to betray his fear. He had to admit that Snape was fairly scary at the best of times, and being caught red handed stealing from the man after curfew was definitely not the best of times.
"Er, okay," Harry answered. "I think I'll be headed back up to my dorm now. A growing boy needs his sleep and all that."
"You think that, do you?" Snape asked again in that voice that brought shivers to Harry's spine. "A growing boy, indeed."
"I'll just be going then."
"No, Mr. Potter, you won't be," Snape told him firmly, never wavering from the soft and dangerous tones. "You will follow me into my office or I will stun you and levitate you into my office."
Harry gulped. This was looking bad. What was he going to do with him?
"Really, sir, we can talk about detentions tomorrow . . ."
"What makes you think I'm giving you a detention?" Snape asked smoothly. "It seems to me that you've had plenty of those, and they have had very little effect on your belief that you may break any rule you wish. I think we are going to try something else tonight." Snape then flounced off, his robes billowing.
"What do you mean?" Harry asked, nearly trotting to keep up with the man's long strides.
Snape didn't answer him, and instead set a quick clip through the passageway to his office. They were there in under a minute, and Harry found himself being ushered in. Ominously, Snape locked the door and cast a muffling spell on the door. Harry suddenly felt very wary.
"I mean, Mr. Potter, that you have had to answer for precious little of your rule-breaking at Hogwarts these past years," Snape told him in a serious tone. "But by God you will answer tonight."
"Do you want me to write lines?" Harry asked, his eyes wide. He had had enough of those with Umbridge.
"No, not lines," Snape told him, going over to a cupboard and rummaging through it. "I don't see how that would be appropriate in the middle of the night."
"Detention tomorrow then?" he asked, chewing on his lip. Snape was making him feel very, very nervous. "Perhaps all week?"
"I am going to punish you as I would if you were a Slytherin I had caught doing what you had been doing," Snape told him, still looking through the cupboard. "Here it is then." Snape withdrew a long, thin plank that had been molded into a handle at one end.
"Professor?" Harry asked, confused. Snape had his full attention now.
"Six of the best," Snape told him. "Bend over the desk, Mr. Potter."
"You can't be serious!" Harry cried, beginning to panic. "Professor, you can't do that!"
"I can and I will," Snape told him, his eyes flashing dangerously. "Now bend over that desk before I put you in a body-bind."
"They don't allow you to do this," Harry protested. "Nobody gets punished like this at Hogwarts."
"Just because your head of house chooses not to use the paddle, doesn't mean that it's not used," Snape told him smoothly. "Any Slytherin out of bed after curfew trying to steal from my potions stores would know what to expect."
Harry believed him. He saw his Potions professor in his long black robes standing impossibly tall over him with a wicked-looking paddle in his hand and believed him. And that fact sent his stomach twisting. Could he get out of it? Run? Complain to Dumbledore? Harry knew, though, that if he didn't run or get out of it with a second-rate witch like Umbridge he wasn't going to be able to do it with a competent, determined and intimidating one like Snape.
Snape saw the boy sizing him up, and he was ready if the boy tried to run or get away. He really did hope that the boy would have the sense to just comply and submit to the punishment, it was always harder when they didn't. He knew that he would punish the boy one way or another, so he hoped the lad chose the easier way.
"Nobody's ever done this to me before," Harry told him, his voice sounding very young.
"It would have done you good if someone had," Snape told him, seeing him accept the consequence. "Just remove your robe and then bend over that desk and I'll take it from there."
Harry gulped as he looked at the desk Snape indicated. It was an old desk, scarred with the passing of years, and littered with the debris of potion-making. Deciding that compliance would probably be the best at this point, he walked over to the desk and cleared away the debris. His hands shaking slightly, he unhooked the clasp on his robes. Snape waited as he removed his robes, folded them and placed them on the chair. Snape placed himself calmly beside Harry, waiting for him to comply.
"Now over you go," Snape told him, indicating the desk.
Feeling nearly numb with anxiety, Harry obeyed. He found himself bent over the desk, his cheek touching the smooth wood, shivering in anticipation. He supposed it would hurt, and hurt quite a bit. Would it hurt as much as the black quill? How about when Uncle Vernon smacked him in anger?
The paddle fell, stinging and hard. Harry yelped in surprise, his knees jerking against the desk as the full impact of the paddle was felt.
"That hurt!" he protested.
"It's supposed to," Snape told him coldly. "Now hold still."
Harry did try his best to hold still over that desk, but his knees jerked and hit the desk and his hips jerked involuntarily sideways as the paddle continued to fall. Harry cried out several more times, and by the time the sixth blow fell his tears were dripping down his face and onto the desk. He laid there, prone, trying to catch his breath again.
"Is it, is it done sir?" he asked, his voice hitching.
"That depends entirely upon you, Mr. Potter," Snape answered him in his calm, steely voice. "If you answer me respectfully and truthfully, you are done with the paddle for tonight. If you choose to lie or not answer, then you will receive another dose. Please stay in that position until I determine which you have chosen."
"Yes, sir," Harry nodded.
"What were you trying to steal from my potion stores?"
"Pickled Murtlap," Harry answered truthfully.
"Why did you desire that particular ingredient?"
Harry responded with silence, grimacing. He did not want another swat from that dreaded paddle on his already throbbing backside, but he also didn't want to admit what it was for to Snape.
"I see," Snape nodded quietly. "Was it for yourself or someone else?"
"Myself," Harry answered.
"Where are you injured?" Snape asked him.
"Well, my backside has felt better," Harry answered cheekily.
"You are entirely too cheeky for a boy in your position," Snape told him sternly. "Now answer me this minute or I'm taking you to Madame Pomfrey and she will perform a full physical."
Harry, realizing that he had no option, sighed and looked away. "My hand is sore, sir."
"I am not playing twenty questions, Mr. Potter," Snape snapped at him. "Tell me the entire truth now or off to the infirmary you go."
"It's professor Umbridge, sir," Harry admitted, new tears forming in his eyes as he decided to give up. He knew that Snape was a member of the Order, hopefully he could actually be trusted even if they hated each other. "It was a punishment, sir. She made me write with a quill that hurt my hand."
"How did it hurt your hand?" he asked, his face cold and emotionless.
"It cut the words onto my hand," Harry told him. "It used my blood as ink."
"That is called a black quill, Mr. Potter," he told the boy calmly. "You may stand up and come here."
Harry pushed himself off the desk, wiping his eyes. What was Snape going to do now? Was this the point where he emulated Umbridge's punishment and brought out another black quill?
Harry followed Snape over to a cupboard, and Snape placed the paddle in it. Removing a few of the jars, he motioned Harry over to the table.
"Your hand, Mr. Potter?" he asked, holding his hand out.
Hesitating, Harry gingerly put his sore hand in Severus' own. He found Severus' hand surprisingly warm and dry.
"Murtlap essence is better for something like this than pickled murtlap," Snape told him, dabbing a liquid on that reminded Harry of the smell of rotten seaweed. Then, switching bottles, he applied a scant drop of a brownish liquid to the wounds. "Dittany is rare and expensive," Snape told him, drawing the liquid across the wound. "But it will prevent scarring."
"Thank you, sir," Harry replied in astonishment, watching the reddened letters fade and the pain lessen.
"Why on earth did you choose to steal ingredients from my cupboard instead of telling Madame Pomfrey or Dumbledore about what that woman did to you?" he asked Harry, his black eyes boring holes into Harry's green, bespeckled ones.
Harry gulped and looked away. "How do you know I didn't?" Harry asked.
"You wouldn't risk getting in trouble stealing Murlap if you were going to tell Madame Pomfrey," he answered. "And I would have heard about it if you had told either of them."
"I know how hard it would be on Dumbledore," Harry tried to explain. "It could cost him his job. And then where would we be? So I thought it was best to keep it between Umbridge and me."
"Hmm," Snape commented noncommittally.
"Besides I can take it," Harry told him with a hard glint in his eye. "And Dumbledore's been . . . distracted. He might not mind."
"What did you lie about?" Snape asked, his face still impassive.
"Literate as always," Snape drawled. "Why did she have you write that particular phrase, Mr. Potter?"
"'I must not tell lies?'"
"Unless there's another phrase she has also used," Snape looked intently at his face.
"She had me write it because I insisted that Voldemort was back," Harry told him. "And I may have insinuated that the lessons were not what we needed."
"I see," Snape nodded again. "Clearly you have never heard that discretion is the better part of valor."
"It's just too hard to listen to her!" Harry protested. "How she blathers on about the ministry and safety, and turns us into a generation of sitting ducks."
"I see," Snape repeated.
"Do you?" Harry asked, meeting Snape's eyes in desperation. "You keep saying that, but do you?"
"I do," Snape said, and for once thought he really did. This Potter was not at all the Potter he had hated for the last five years. He needed time to think.
"You will come to detention tomorrow evening," Snape told him. "Eight o'clock, and I expect you to be on time."
"Yes, sir," Harry answered. "But I thought that . . . with the paddle . . . that was my punishment, sir."
"Clearly you need a bit more," Snape told him severely. "And in the meantime, I do not want you to resort to thievery. If something happens that you should need a potion or salve, you may come to me."
"Are you going to tell Dumbledore?" Harry asked carefully.
"I haven't decided yet," Snape told him honestly.
Harry accepted that, and one of his hands crept unconsciously to his backside. The stinging had subsided somewhat, but it still ached.
"Go to bed now, Mr. Potter."
"If I come to you, will I get in trouble?" Harry asked. "I don't want to, well, you know . . ."
"I will overlook being out after curfew if you come straight to my office," Snape told him. "But if I ever catch you stealing from me again . . ."
"I won't," Harry promised. "I won't. I promise."
"Good," Snape nodded again. "Now go to bed. I will have a house elf check on you, and if you are not under your covers in fifteen minutes I will tuck you in. And I will bring the paddle."
"I'm going!" Harry protested.
"See that you do," Snape told him firmly.
Snape watched the boy scurry away, fearful of the promised consequence. Snape leaned back in his chair, steepling his fingers and pressing them against his lips. This was going to take some thought.
AN: Please let me know what you think. I feel like this could be a two chapter sort of story or maybe a longer one - I'm undecided.