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Enjoy this chapter!
Harry looked down at the pile of History of Magic homework in front of him. Snape had left for Hogwarts nearly an hour ago to teach his morning class and in that time Harry had accomplished absolutely nothing.
At least nothing in terms of school work.
He had managed to find the chew toy that Bane had lost under the couch over the summer. He had taken Bane outside twice and gotten him a biscuit. He had been to the loo and while there he had seen a spider on the wall and watched it intently for at least ten minutes before carefully taking it outside.
Snape had said that he wanted at least some of his work done before he got home and after the previous day Harry really didn't want to disappoint the man.
After all his crying and their talk the rest of the day had been wonderful.
He picked up his quill and looked down at the questions he was to answer about the Goblin Rebellions. The first question was easy enough, dealing with the prejudice that the goblins had faced at the hands of wizards and witches. Harry wrote down his answer being sure to watch his spelling and punctuation - two things that he knew that his guardian would comment on.
The second question proved to be fairly easy as well. Harry wrote for several moments about the rebellion of 1612 that took place in Hogsmeade.
His eyes scanned the third question as he yawned loudly proving that History of Magic was boring even without Professor Binns droning on.
He glanced down at Bane who was content on the floor with what was left of a bone that Snape had given him before he had left.
Harry instantly decided that he needed a snack. He thought about asking Minka to get him something but then he remembered that at the end of the summer he had hidden a small stash of chocolate frogs and peppermint toads in the back of the kitchen cabinet next to the stove.
He jumped out of his chair. He was trying not to get his hopes up. He hardly expected his treats to still be there. He was sure that Snape had likely found them and disposed of them. He was also sure that his guardian had likely instructed Minka and Kermy to give him something healthy for a snack if he asked.
He opened the cabinet crouching down in front of it. Harry reached his arm to the back of the cabinet smiling as he felt the small bag. He pulled it out and quickly opened it, his smile widening as he saw his candy untouched.
Harry made his way back over to the kitchen table. He set the bag down next to his books and instantly pulled out a peppermint toad. He left the wrapping on the table and took a bite out of the candy as he read the third question once more. He couldn't remember how long Basil Flack had been Minister of Magic in 1752 nor could he figure out why it was important for him to know.
Harry unwrapped a second peppermint toad as he thought about the fact that if he was at Hogwarts he would be in Snape's classroom right now. He wondered if his seat next to Ron was just empty or if someone else had taken it. If someone else had taken it that would leave someone without a partner which didn't make much sense. Harry did hope that Snape remembered to take that into consideration when they worked together though. It wasn't fair to Ron if he had to work alone. Harry would have to remember to mention that to his guardian later. He was sure Snape would act all mean about it - act as if he was scolding him for interfering with his class. He also knew that the man would take his words to heart and remember them when the time came.
Harry couldn't help but wonder what Snape was doing with his class this morning. If they were making a potion Harry decided, he was going to make sure that Snape let him make it that night. Making potions was the best part of Snape's class and he didn't want to miss out on making any of them.
He unwrapped his third peppermint toad dropping the wrapping on top of the other two, creating a smile pile. He bit it in half as he forced himself to look back down at his school work. He had twenty questions to answer and he had only answered two. He groaned to himself. When he was done with History of Magic he was supposed to move onto Charms. Snape had said it as if he actually expected him to complete all twenty questions and have time to work on his Charms work before lunch.
Harry skipped the third question and read over the fourth. He smiled softly realizing he knew exactly why Basil Flack had resigned. He quickly jotted down a few sentences about the goblins becoming allies with the werewolves before he read the fifth question. It was another one that he couldn't remember the answer to. He honestly couldn't remember anything about wand legislation pertaining to the goblins. He knew he could easily look it up in his book but he just really didn't feel like reading over three chapters to find the two answers he needed.
He finished off the third peppermint toad before opening his fourth one. It was the last of them. He still had a small pile of chocolate frogs though.
Harry's head rested on his hand which was being propped up by his elbow. His eyes skimmed over the rest of the questions on the first sheet of parchment. Although he knew the answers to some of them he didn't have any interest in putting his answer into complete sentences and writing them out.
As he finished off the peppermint toad he looked up, his eyes zeroing in on his broom.
The night before he and Snape had discussed the rules that he was supposed to follow while he was home and Snape was at Hogwarts. He was allowed to fly. He had begged to be allowed and agreed to follow several rules but he was allowed. He had to stay in the backyard. He wasn't allowed to do any crazy tricks. If he got hurt even the slightest bit he was supposed to send Minka or Kermy to tell Snape. He had to get a good amount of school work done before flying.
Harry looked down at the three questions that he had managed to answer. Three was good, he thought to himself, at least good enough to take a small break before answering the rest. He glanced up at the clock on the wall. It was still early. Snape said he would be home for lunch. The man's class would be over in about thirty minutes but lunch was still two hours away. He could easily fly for an hour and then come in and work for an hour.
Flying always cleared his mind. He was sure that if he could just get on his broom and feel the wind in his face for a little while when he came back inside he would be totally focused on his work. He would finish all of his History of Magic as well as his Charms work before Snape got back.
Without giving his actions another thought he jumped to his feet causing Bane to abandon his bone and leap up as well.
"You want to come out with me?" Harry asked his pet as he grabbed his broom in his right hand.
Bane's tail wagged as he followed Harry out the back door.
The moment that Harry was outside he straddled his broom kicking off the ground, his school work long forgotten.
Snape stepped through the fireplace and into his parlor. He had spent his morning teaching Harry's class. Several times he had looked up at the seat where his son should have been sitting and felt a pang of guilt at the decision he had made. Although Harry was beginning to accept it much better, Snape still felt guilty about being the cause of it. It was that guilt that had brought him home nearly an hour early. Spending some quality time with Harry was far more important than working on lesson plans at the moment.
"Harry," he called out.
He had been hoping to find the boy in the parlor working hard on his school work however the parlor was empty.
Snape walked through the parlor and into the kitchen; his eyebrows raising as he took in the sight of the kitchen table.
Harry's books were scattered around, the assignment he had obviously been working on had very few questions completed, a small sea of candy wrappers were piled up next to his work.
Snape didn't even have to turn his head to know that Harry's broom was gone.
He walked over to the table picking up a small brown bag. Peering inside Snape made a disapproving face at the several chocolate frogs. He tucked the bag into an inner pocket of his cloak before walking across the kitchen and out the back door.
His eyes scanned the sky for a moment before he spotted his son. He nearly missed him with the large oak tree in the way.
A small smile crept onto Snape's lips as he watched the boy swoop through the sky, Bane barking happily below him. It often amazed Snape how spectacular the child was at flying. But then he supposed it had been inherited from his father.
Snape watched as Harry slowed down. A moment later the smile on the man's face changed to a look of disbelief as Harry brought his feet up and stood on his broom attempting to catch his snitch. Snape felt his blood boil. The two of them had discussed the rules in detail last night. Snape had been hesitant to even allow Harry to fly when he was not at home. He had only agreed to the teenager's begging when Harry had promised to follow any rule that he set. Yet here they were less than twenty four hours later and the child was already breaking one of them.
"Harry James!" Snape hollered once Harry had sat back down on his broom.
Snape watched as Harry looked down at him, his face plastered with guilt.
"Down here at once!" Snape ordered when the boy made no attempt to land.
A moment later Harry descended in front of him. "I was just practicing for Quidditch," Harry quickly tried to explain when he saw the stern expression on his guardian's face. "Loads of professionals stand on their brooms!"
Snape forced his eyes to narrow as he stared at his son. Part of him wanted to praise Harry on how well he had performed the task while part of him wanted to haul the disobedient brat over his knee.
Bane ran up to Harry nearly knocking him over in excitement causing Harry to laugh softly before growing serious once more.
"What was the rule we agreed upon?"
"That I wouldn't do any dangerous tricks," Harry mumbled before speaking properly again, "but it wasn't really that dangerous. I didn't get hurt and technically you were here so I wasn't home alone." He smiled smugly at his logic.
"Do not for a single moment act as though you were aware I was home," Snape chided him. "You didn't have the slightest idea that I was standing here watching you."
"Well no," Harry admitted. "But it really wasn't that dangerous."
"In the future you will refrain from standing on your broom if you wish to fly again before you turn of age," Snape said harshly. "Understood?"
"Understood," Harry replied glumly.
"Inside please. Let's see how much of your school work you have completed."
Snape watched Harry's face fall though the child did not hesitate in walking towards the house.
"I couldn't concentrate," Harry tried to explain as he propped his broom up next to the window where it belonged. "I tried to, I really did."
Snape eyed the three questions that his son had answered pleased to see that at least they were correct. Still, he forced himself to remain stern. "You had nearly three hours to complete some of your work and you managed to answer three questions? Surely you know this is not acceptable Harry James."
Harry's two front top teeth chewed down on his bottom lip. "Well no," he finally answered. "I just couldn't concentrate Snape."
"Perhaps if you weren't stuffing yourself full of sugar so early in the morning your concentration would be better?" Snape suggested seriously.
Harry eyed the pile of wrappers on the table, for the first time realizing that the bag containing his chocolate frogs was missing. He scowled slightly at his guardian. "I was just having a snack! You didn't have to steal my chocolate frogs!"
"Peppermint toads are not an appropriate snack before noon," Snape scolded ignoring Harry's comment about the chocolate frogs altogether. "If you need a snack you are to ask Kermy or Minka to prepare you one. I believe we have already discussed this topic as well."
Harry sighed softly his ears burning slightly at the chiding. "Don't be mad," he said in a voice just above a whisper.
Snape was silent for a moment before allowing his voice to soften slightly. "You will sit and work on this until it is time for lunch," he informed the child as Harry's shoulders dropped a considerable amount. "I intend to sit here with you," Snape continued. "Perhaps that will help you concentrate."
Harry was torn between groaning and being happy about the idea of Snape spending time with him. Slowly he slid into his seat and picked up his quill.
"History of Magic is just so boring," Harry said softly as he read over the third question for what felt like the hundredth time that morning.
"Whether you find it boring or not you still do not have a choice as to whether you will complete it and complete it well," Snape replied as sat down next to Harry and carefully eyed his work.
"It just all happened so long ago," Harry complained, "there is no reason to have to even know this stuff."
Snape resisted the urge to scold the boy and instead took a different approach. "You are correct, the Goblin Rebellion did happen quite some time ago. However, there are lessons within the lesson that still pertain to your life today."
Harry looked up at his guardian with a confused face. "Huh?"
Snape swallowed willing himself to remain patient. He knew that Harry was smart enough to understand what he had just said, the child simply hadn't been listening. "The Goblin Rebellions took place because the goblins grew tired of the prejudice and discrimination that they were facing at the hands of witches and wizards."
"I know," Harry replied with a nod.
"Prejudice and discrimination still take place today Harry, more than you likely realize. The lesson within the lesson pertains to that," Snape explained.
"So don't treat people poorly or they could rise up and rebel?" Harry asked.
"Indeed," Snape nodded. "Being aware of what your actions could cause is always a good lesson to learn."
"How are people prejudice today though?" Harry questioned.
Snape raised an eyebrow at the boy. "Do people not occasionally judge you for the scar on your head?" Snape asked. "Aside from that I am certain that you have heard the term mudblood."
Harry nodded his face growing serious. "Malfoy has called Hermione a mudblood a few times."
"It is an extremely prejudiced term that thankfully most no longer use," Snape replied resisting the urge to floo himself back to Hogwarts and take a ruler to Draco's backside.
"That does make this a tad more interesting," Harry admitted. "But all these dates and names I'm supposed to remember are impossible."
"You are a bright boy. I am sure that if you concentrated while reading you would retain more than you imagine."
Harry shrugged at the words looking absolutely uninspired.
"A challenge then?" Snape proposed.
"A challenge?" Harry repeated the man's words fighting back a yawn.
"You study the facts in this chapter for the next thirty minutes and then I shall quiz you on them. For every question that you get correct you will receive one sickle."
A smile spread across Harry's face as he sat up straighter. "To spend on whatever I want?"
Snape nodded in agreement.
"Even if I want to go to Honeydukes?"
"Even if you want to go to Honeydukes," Snape replied. "However if I find you eating sweets before lunch again you will stand in the corner until you never want to eat another sweet again."
Harry wanted to scowl at the words but he couldn't manage to make the smile on his face diminish.
"I'm too old to stand in a corner," Harry said a moment later, his smile finally falling.
Snape pushed his text book towards him ignoring his complaint. "Your thirty minutes starts now."
Harry wanted to repeat his words until Snape had no choice but to acknowledge him but he also wanted to impress the man and earn some pocket money. He quickly picked up his book and opened it to the correct chapter forcing himself to concentrate as he began reading.
Snape nodded in approval before picking up the list that Minerva had given him of the work Harry was to complete for the week. The child refusing to leave his room and then his venture off to Hogwarts had set him back quite a bit. As it stood Snape couldn't imagine how Harry would complete everything. He would have to ask Minerva for an extension of a day or so before she sent home the next list of work. Eventually Snape would see to it that Harry caught up.
Snape stole a glance at his son. The boy's head was buried in the book looking more interested than bored or tired. Snape looked back down at the list as he selected assignments that Harry could complete today. If he managed to answer enough questions correctly his History of Magic work would not take long. Snape read over what was required of Harry for Charms this week and smirked to himself as he crossed learning and practicing the summoning charm off the list. Snape nearly groaned as he read over the Astronomy assignment. He couldn't imagine that making sure Harry completed three feet on Jupiter's Moons was going to be an easy or pleasant task. He decided instantly that he would tackle that next. Better to get it out of the way, besides maybe Harry would be in a more studious mood later in the day.
Snape looked up at the clock on the wall. Harry still had ten minutes left to study.
Snape looked back down at the list of assignments. For Herbology he was to learn about Gillyweed both by being able to define it as well as recognize it by sight. Snape was pleased that it would be an easy task. He had a supply of Gillyweed in his laboratory. He could easily teach Harry about it without the teenager having to open a book, a fact he was sure Harry would be pleased about. Minerva had assigned reading and several questions to answer in regards to Cross-Species Switches for Transfiguration. Care of Magical Creatures required Harry to write a detailed essay about Fire Crabs while Divination would have him studying tea leaves.
Snape hoped that he would be able to get the child motivated to complete his work in a timely manner. He hardly wanted Harry to fall behind nor did he want to have to resort to threatening the child in order to get him to cooperate - at least threatening him harshly.
Snape glanced up at the clock once more realizing that thirty-two minutes had passed.
"Time is up Harry," he said causing Harry to close his book.
He looked up at Snape appearing slightly nervous. "That wasn't enough time."
"Yet I doubt you spent even that long working earlier," Snape replied knowingly as he picked up the sheet of parchment that contained the questions.
Snape cleared his throat softly. "For how long was Basil Flack Minister of Magic in 1752?"
Harry looked up at his guardian with a nervous expression. "Two months?" He instantly regretted his response. It sounded stupid. How could someone be Minister of Magic for such a short period of time?
"I am?" Harry asked in a dumbfounded voice. "Really?"
"Really," Snape nodded. "Honestly Harry you are far brighter than you give yourself credit for." Snape paused for a moment. "Why did Basil Flack resign?"
"Because the goblins allied with the werewolves," Harry replied confidently. He was sure he knew that one.
"Very good," Snape said. "Can you name one of the goblin rebels?"
Harry was silent for a moment before very hesitantly answering, "Urg the Unclean?"
Snape frowned slightly. "Are you asking me or telling me?"
"I'm telling you," Harry replied. "I think."
"As I have just said you need to have more confidence in that brain of yours. You are absolutely correct."
Harry beamed at Snape's words. "Ask me another one!"
The next twenty minutes passed with Snape questioning Harry and his son answering all but one of them correctly. When he got it wrong Snape made him open his book and find the correct answer and then read it aloud. The man was insistent that reading it aloud would force him to remember it. Harry wanted to complain about the task but he had to admit to himself that he likely wouldn't forget the fact.
"I believe you just earned yourself sixteen sickles," Snape said after Harry answered the last question correctly. "Excellent work indeed." He handed Harry the parchment with the questions on it. "Fill in the answers and you can be done for the morning."
Harry took the parchment from Snape and picked up his quill quickly filling in the answers.
"Neatly so that Professor Binns can read it," Snape reminded him. "You cannot expect to get credit for your hard work if he is unable to do so."
Snape stood as he moved Harry's books off of the table and onto the counter. A wave of his hand caused the wrappers from the candy to vanish and sixteen sickles to appear in their spot.
"Thanks Snape," Harry said not bothering to look up from his work.
"You earned them," Snape reminded him. He peered over Harry's shoulder pleased to find that the child was taking his time. His spelling was perfect and his handwriting was legible.
"What should I do after lunch?" Harry asked as he continued to write. "Charms?"
"As it happens you have already mastered the summoning charm which happened to be your assignment for this week," Snape replied as he sat back down in his seat. "Fortunate really as I have a surprise for you after lunch."
Harry looked up, his work completely abandoned, a cheeky grin plastering his face. "A surprise?"
Snape nodded. "Finish your work so we can eat lunch."
"What kind of surprise?" Harry asked still looking up at the man.
"The kind which you will not get if you do not focus on finishing your work," Snape said with a raised eyebrow.
Harry took the warning and turned his head back to his work, keeping his mouth shut until he wrote the last word.
"Done," he said proudly setting down his quill.
"Very good," Snape nodded his approval. "Put it with your school books."
Harry stood picking up the parchment and his quill and walking across the kitchen to place them with his school things. As he did so Snape sat down at the table and tapped it twice causing lunch to appear.
Harry looked down at the helping of shepherd's pie on his plate as he slid into his chair. It was one of his favorite meals. After the peppermint toads however, he wasn't nearly hungry enough to eat the amount of food that he had been served.
He picked up his fork taking a small bite of his lunch.
"Not hungry?" Snape questioned knowingly. "Though I imagine if I ate a dozen sweets this morning I wouldn't be either."
"It wasn't a dozen," Harry mumbled as he took another small bite.
Snape sighed softly eyeing his child. "If you aren't hungry do not force yourself to eat Harry." He paused for a moment watching as his son put down his fork. He tapped the table causing Harry's lunch to disappear. "You may work on your essay for Astronomy," Snape instructed causing Harry's shoulder's to slump. "If you are hungry again before I am home you may ask Minka to return your lunch to you."
"Snaaape," Harry whined. "You said I could be done for the morning!"
Snape cringed slightly at the annoying sound of the whine. "That was before you decided you were not going to eat lunch. You can work on Astronomy while I eat. I would expect that you could complete at least a quarter of it in that time."
Harry wanted to argue that it was unfair to make him do more work after he had just completed so much for History of Magic. He wanted to point out that Snape was basically going back on what he had said, which he never did. Instead he settled for giving his guardian a pitiful look.
"Wipe that look off your face," Snape said sternly. "Go get your book, a piece of parchment and your quill before I decide that you have been far too naughty this morning for any surprise."
Harry frowned at the words as he pulled himself up out of his seat and collected what he needed.
"Honestly Harry I hope you don't behave like this in your classes."
Harry nearly rolled his eyes at the man as he sat back down. He opened his Astronomy book to the chapter on Jupiter's Moons before picking up his quill. He read over the instructions once more before he began writing.
Snape nodded once in approval as he glanced at the boy before turning his attention back to his lunch. He was sure that the child found the task boring but it had to be completed and the sooner the better. Snape often found that finishing the tasks that you didn't necessarily want to do first made the tasks you were looking forward to do far more rewarding. He knew that in less than an hour Harry would be in a much better mood. If he had to suffer through an essay before that than so be it.
Besides, after his disobedience this morning forcing the child to complete more school work was hardly undeserved. After his careless antics on his broom and the feast of candy Snape should have given him a proper punishment. Instead he had spoiled the boy with sickles and a surprise still to come. Snape inwardly scolded himself. He was becoming far too soft with the child. Before he knew it he would be buying him anything his heart desired and allowing him to do whatever he pleased.
"Mind your punctuation," Snape said. He tried to sound stern but his voice hardly came out in the way. "And watch your spelling," he added in a much harsher tone.
Harry was not going to become a spoiled brat on his watch.
Harry was sitting in the kitchen. He had finished more than a quarter of his Astronomy essay. Snape had left for Hogwarts nearly fifteen minutes prior, promising that his surprise would come soon, but Harry had continued working.
He had been so hesitant to start the essay but now that he had, he really just wanted to get it done or at least get half of it done. Despite the fact that Snape was impossible and a downright git sometimes, he still wanted to make him happy - proud.
Harry's head snapped up as he heard the floo roar to life in the parlor.
"Snape?" He called out.
A moment later Remus walked into the kitchen with a grin on his face. "Hello Harry. Ready for your Defense lesson?"
A wide smile spread across Harry's face, his essay long forgotten as he jumped to his feet. "Really?"
Remus nodded. "Severus asked if I would like to come over once or twice a week and give you a private lesson to keep you caught up with your classmates and I happily accepted."
Harry could hardly contain his excitement. He had been upset about missing out on so many aspects of Hogwarts and Remus' class had been very high on that list. The only thing higher had been time with his friends.
The moment that Harry was close enough Remus pulled him into a quick tight hug, clapping the boy softly on the back as he released him. "How are you Harry?"
Harry shrugged. He almost wanted to confide in Remus about how horrible his first few days at home had been. What a prat he had acted like. How disappointed Snape had been. He couldn't bring himself to do it though. He was sure he would die of mortification if Remus knew how Snape had smacked him. Worse than that, if Remus knew what he had said to Snape.
"It's been okay," Harry finally answered. "Not as bad as I thought it would be."
"Good to hear," Remus replied as he and Harry walked into the parlor. "I was afraid you would be angry with Severus for his decision."
"I guess I was at first," Harry answered honestly. He couldn't help but wonder if Remus already knew everything. If Snape had told him what had happened and how he had acted. Harry felt the tips of his ears grow warm at the thought.
Remus sat down on the couch patting the spot next to him, inviting the teenager to join him. "I am glad to hear that you are feeling better about it," Remus said as Harry sat down. "The decision certainly wasn't an easy one for him to make. I believe he still feels quite guilty about it."
Harry looked over at Remus. He had never considered the idea that Snape actually felt bad for pulling him out of Hogwarts. That he felt guilty about it. He wondered if that was why Snape hadn't really walloped him when they had fought. Not that the smacks he had received hadn't been the worst he had ever endured. Still, after the way he had acted he had expected more.
"Have I lost you?" Remus asked with a small grin.
"Huh?" Harry replied feeling like a dolt. "No, I'm here. What are we going to do for Defense?"
Harry didn't mind talking to Remus about what had happened but he was too afraid that the conversation was going to go too far and he was going to have to admit to things that he didn't particularly want the man to ever know about.
Remus cleared his throat. He was aware that the child was purposely changing the subject and he was aware why. Snape had filled him in on what had happened since Harry had been home. Remus was sure that Harry was ashamed of his actions. He hardly wanted to embarrass the child. "Your class has actually started studying the three Unforgivable Curses. I am sure you are aware of why they are called such?"
"Because they are unforgivable," Harry replied. "If you use one you go to Azkaban."
"Exactly," Remus nodded. "Can you name one of them?"
"The Imperius Curse," Harry answered without hesitation.
"Excellent! Can you tell me what it does?"
Remus was quite enjoying teaching Harry alone. Of course he enjoyed being in the classroom immensely. However, there was something rewarding about having solo time with just one student. Had they been in a classroom he never would have called on Harry for every question.
"If you use it on someone you can control that person's actions?" Harry said after a small moment of hesitation. He constantly found himself confusing the Imperious Curse with the Cruciatus Curse.
"Right you are," Remus smiled. "And why would that pose a problem for someone under the curse?"
"Well because you could make that person do whatever you want," Harry said as if the answer were obvious. "All sorts of stuff that is against the law."
"Such as?" Remus prompted kindly.
Harry was silent for a moment as he thought it over. The answer coming to him like a lightbulb going off in his head. "Oh! When You-Know-Who was around people could do things for him under the curse but no one would know they were under the curse and then they would go to Azkaban."
"Precisely! People could also lie about being under the curse and there was little to be done to prove they weren't being truthful. Well done though Harry, very well done! Can you name another?"
Harry winced as he held his hand to his forehead. It had been days since his scar had hurt this badly. He had hoped that it wouldn't happen again.
He swallowed hard willing himself not to yell out in pain. Snape was downstairs and he was sure that if he yelled the man would hear him and come rushing up to his room.
He knew that he was being stupid. He knew that he should tell Snape about it. He also knew how that would go. He wouldn't be able to lie and say that this was the first time. His stomach would flip over itself and he would end up spilling the whole truth. Harry was sure that Snape would be furious if he knew how long his scar had been bothering him. Of course he would tend to his scar and likely give him a potion to make him feel better - but he would be disappointed. He would punish him for sure, Harry was certain about that.
Harry pushed the palm of his hand firmly against the scar in an attempt to make the pain stop. He blinked like a mad man trying to force his tears to remain put. He would not cry over something so stupid.
He held his breath for as long as he could as the pain started to fade away. A moment later he let his hand fall, breathing heavily from the whole ordeal.
Harry left his room and walked down the hallway to the loo. He splashed cold water on his face hoping it would help the redness. He looked into the mirror and carefully moved his hair so that it hid the evidence.
He walked out of the lavatory and stood quietly in the hallway. He wondered if Snape was still in his laboratory. The man had gone in there over an hour ago, minutes after they had finished dinner. Harry had been dying with curiosity over what he was doing. When Snape had informed him that he would be spending the evening working, Harry had immediately asked him if he could help. The man had denied him of his request though stating that the potion he had to make was much too complicated.
Harry made his way down the staircase, turning left at the bottom. He stopped in front of the laboratory door. Snape probably didn't want to be bothered but Harry really didn't want to be alone. He couldn't stop thinking about his scar and why it was hurting and what it meant. He was sure that if he could just be around Snape he would be able to forget about it.
Harry took a deep breath before raising his hand and knocking on the door. Maybe if he could just get into the laboratory he would be able to persuade Snape into letting him help him just a little.
Harry could hear the annoyance in the man's voice already. He nearly just asked a stupid question, maybe if Snape knew where his Quidditch magazine was, instead of walking in. He had come this far though.
He pushed the door open just far enough for him to squeeze into the room and quickly shut it behind him. Snape was hunched over a large cauldron deep in concentration.
"Do you need something?" Snape questioned as he looked up from his work.
"I'm bored," Harry replied as he walked across the room and sat down on a stool.
"You have plenty of school work that can occupy your time," Snape retorted before allowing his head to drop once more. "I cannot entertain you as I must complete this tonight."
"You're sure I can't help?" Harry asked in a hopeful voice. "I could even just hand you things."
Harry heard the tone that his guardian had used. It was the one that meant he didn't want to argue. It was the one that meant that it was the final answer.
"Please?" Harry couldn't help but ask. "I really want to Snape. I won't get in the way."
The silence that enveloped the room was so loud that Harry was sure he could hear his heart beating. He was about to get scolded and he knew it. He could already feel his ears burning, threatening to spread to his cheeks at any moment.
"Very well," Snape replied shocking Harry. "However before you begin I want you to understand that this particular potion is extremely fickle. It is a very difficult potion to make, it is exceptionally advanced. You will have to follow instructions very carefully Harry. Even the slightest mistake will destroy it."
Harry nodded in reply.
"This potion can also be dangerous," Snape continued in a serious voice. "Very dangerous. I expect you to concentrate on what you are doing. I am making this for a friend and I cannot afford any mistakes. Is that understood?"
Harry nodded again as he slid off the stool he was sitting on. "What can I do to help?"
"Come here," Snape waved his hand calling him over. He was sure that as long as Harry followed his instructions and concentrated the child could easily succeed in making the potion. The boy was certainly bright enough.
Harry rushed over to Snape's side before the man had the chance to change his mind.
"Take this," Snape handed him the large wooden spoon he had been holding. "I am going to add an ingredient. The moment that the last drop has been poured you are going to stir twenty times to the left, pause for five seconds, and then stir twenty times to the right. Understood?"
Harry nodded eagerly.
"What are you going to do? Snape questioned as he picked up a small vial.
"Stir it twenty times to the left, wait five seconds, and then stir it twenty times to the right," Harry repeated the man's words back to him.
"As soon as the last drop goes in."
Snape nodded his approval, "Very good." He pulled a small cork out of the vial. "Now pay attention."
Harry watched as Snape poured the dark liquid into the cauldron and the moment the last drop fell he began stirring. He could feel Snape's eyes on him as he silently counted. When he reached twenty he stopped, counting to five in his head, before beginning to stir in the other direction.
The silence of the room caused his mind to wander back to the pain his scar had just caused. He wondered if Hermione had figured anything out about it. He would have to remember to owl her tomorrow and ask.
"Slow down Harry," Snape instructed firmly. "You are on nineteen."
The man's voice quickly brought Harry's thoughts back to the present as he stirred the potion for the last time.
Harry watched as his guardian picked up a large jug marked as being poisonous.
"This is monkshood," Snape explained. "As I am sure you have noticed it is highly poisonous. This entire jug needs to be added in small increments. As I do so you will continue to stir to the right. If you stop for even a moment the consequences could be disastrous. I am trusting you to pay attention Harry James."
Harry nodded seriously. He couldn't believe how much trust Snape was putting in him at the moment. He felt a sense of pride surge through him as he watched Snape take the lid off of the jug.
The man lifted the large crock and nodded to Harry signaling that it was time to start stirring. Harry instantly sprang to action as Snape began slowly pouring the liquid in. After a moment he stopped, however Harry kept stirring. The minutes ticked by and then Snape began pouring once more.
Harry's thoughts drifted off again. He could owl Hermione in the morning right after breakfast and maybe ask her to floo call him if she had the time in between classes. Then they could talk properly about his scar. Maybe she had an idea as to why it was bothering him or even if there was something he could do to lessen the pain. He was sure that if anyone, aside from Snape, would be able to help him it would be her. He was also sure that she had to have some thoughts on it by now.
Harry was so deep in thought that he hadn't even realized he had stopped stirring until he felt his guardian take a firm grip of his arm and pull him away from the wooden table. Seconds later the cauldron bubbled over, a small explosion sending the potion flying all over the table. Two small drops of it landed on Harry's arm instantly causing him to wince in pain.
Snape quickly whipped out his wand waving it over Harry's arm causing the pain to cease. He gave his son a stern look before walking past him.
Harry stayed silent, frozen to his spot as he watched Snape search through his supply closet. How could he have been stupid enough to stop stirring? Snape had said he trusted him and he had completely mucked it all up!
Snape walked back over to him with a small jar in his hand. He quickly unscrewed the lid, dipped two of his fingers in the thick salve and rubbed it on Harry's arm where the potion had been. Harry watched as his inflamed skin instantly returned to it's normal shade.
Harry looked at the man's face instantly regretting doing so. Snape was scowling, his lips set in a tight line.
"Snape," Harry said in a whisper.
If the man heard him he didn't acknowledge him. Instead Snape turned him around resting a hand between his shoulder blades as he walked him across the room and pushed him towards the corner with a particularly smarting smack to his backside that caused Harry to yelp loudly.
"You will stay there without one word Harry James!"
Harry stopped himself from moving inches before he would have been in the corner and turned around to face his guardian. "Snape it was an accident!"
"Harry," Snape hissed causing the boy's blood to run cold. "Corner. Now."
Harry quickly turned around and faced the wall. "For how long?" He couldn't help but ask with a hint of a whine in his tone. He didn't want to annoy the man but he had to know. He just wanted to apologize and try and make things right.
Snape surveyed the mess that his son had caused. "Until I say otherwise," he answered angrily. "Now silence!"
Harry could hardly help the tears that were running down his face. He hated this. The smack hadn't even hurt - not that bad anyway. He had endured far worse pain numerous times in his life without shedding a single tear. That was different though. It wasn't the smack. It was the fact that Snape thought he deserved one. It was that he had made the man angry. He had ruined the potion. He had disappointed his guardian.
Harry cringed as he heard Snape throw what sounded like a rag into the sink. He wanted to apologize again but he didn't want to make the man angrier either.
Snape quickly cleaned up the mess silently praying that he had another jug of monkshood in his supply closet either here or at Hogwarts. It was too late in the evening to go out and purchase it and he had to complete this potion tonight.
He glanced up at his son. He would have liked to pull the child out of the corner and haul him over his knee until the boy couldn't sit properly for a week. Harry was quite lucky that his laziness hadn't injured both of them. The explosion could have easily been much worse than it was.
Snape walked across the room and sat down in a chair in the far corner. He needed to reel his temper in before he dealt with Harry. Doing so now would only result in Snape acting in a way he would later regret and he refused to do so. He refused to act too harshly. They had come too far for that.
He took several deep breaths as he willed his temper to calm. He was sure that Harry had been in the corner for at least fifteen minutes now and he was slightly impressed that the boy had managed to keep quiet.
Snape raised his leg, kicking the chair across from him out so that it was easily accessible. "Come here," he spoke in a voice so stern he hardly recognized it as his own.
Harry didn't budge from his spot nearly causing Snape to lose control and fetch the child himself.
He cleared his throat loudly. "I believe I asked you to do something young man. Do not make me repeat myself."
Harry slowly turned around but made no attempt at moving.
Snape raised his hand and crooked a finger at him before pointing to the chair in front of him. "Now," he said angrily.
Harry quickly scurried across the room not wanting to make the man any madder than he already was. "I'm sorry," he mumbled as he sat down. His head was lowered causing his words to go into his chest.
Snape ignored the muttering for a moment as he carefully pulled Harry's chair, adjusting it so that they were properly facing each other, their knees touching.
Gently Snape reached out and tapped Harry's chin once with his right pointer finger. It was a warning and he knew his son would take it as such. "You will look at me Harry James. You will also speak so that I can hear and understand what you are saying."
Harry's head quickly snapped up causing Snape to feel a rush of pain and guilt at the tear stained face. "I said I am sorry," Harry repeated his words in a much clearer voice.
Snape leaned forward resting his elbows on his knees, his forehead practically touching his sons. "Tell me why you are sorry."
Harry gave the man a mortified look which Snape chose to ignore. He did not care if his son was embarrassed. He expected an answer and if Harry couldn't give him that they would continue their conversation after he warmed his backside.
"I'm sorry that I messed up the potion," Harry explained after a moment of silence. "I know it was important."
Snape took a deep breath in an attempt to keep his temper under control. He tapped Harry's knee gently with two fingers. "What did I tell you at the start? Before I even allowed you to begin? That it was dangerous?"
Harry nodded as he choked out a small sob before speaking. "And that I had to pay attention to your instructions. That I...I had to concentrate."
"I put quite a lot of trust in you with this Harry. However I know that you are smart. I knew that you could handle it. You let yourself get distracted. Half of this room could have exploded if we were further along when you stopped stirring."
Snape's voice was calmer now and somehow it made Harry feel even worse. A fresh batch of tears rushed to the surface as he looked at his guardian.
"I'm sorry," he said through the tears. "I really am Snape."
Snape nodded but refused to acknowledge the words in any other way. "You will go up to your room."
Harry opened his mouth to respond but before he could get a word out Snape beat him to it.
"No arguments Harry. Upstairs and continue working on your school work."
Harry slowly stood, his tears falling even faster now. "I really am sorry Snape. Please don't be mad."
Snape wanted nothing more than to comfort his child but he would not allow himself to do so. Harry had made a disastrous mistake and he needed to realize that before he was cuddled and forgiven. Instead he placed a gentle hand on Harry's back giving him a slight nudge towards the door. "Go on."
When Harry made no attempt to move Snape continued. "Calm down. The world has not ended Harry. I will be up there in just a moment and then we will continue this conversation. In the meantime start on your school work."
Snape watched as his child gave him one last pitiful look before walking across the room and exiting.
Snape sighed loudly once the door closed. He pinched the bridge of his nose as he tried to decide how to deal with his child. He found himself wishing he could go back an hour in time and deny Harry's request to help him.
A moment later he was on his feet. He moved quickly to his supply closet searching for another jug of monkshood, sighing in relief as he discovered one tucked in a far back corner. He carefully pulled it out and set it on the table.
He stole a quick glance at the clock on the wall. It was nearly ten at night. It would take him at least two hours to complete the potion now that he would need to start over. He needed to deal with his child before then.
Snape turned on his heel and walked out of the room. He quickly ascended the staircase and once in front of Harry's bedroom door he knocked once and pushed it open.
He was pleased to find Harry at his desk working intently.
As he stepped inside the room, Harry turned giving him a sad look. "Hi," he said softly.
Snape walked across the room and sat on Harry's bed before motioning for the child to join him.
Harry slowly stood. "I'm almost done my Astronomy essay," he offered as if that would erase his mistake.
The moment the child was close enough Snape took a gentle grip on his arms and positioned him so that he was standing directly in front of him. Snape was pleased to find that the tears had stopped but the teenager still looked miserable.
"Please don't wallop me," Harry practically whispered. "I really didn't mean to mess up."
Snape raised an eyebrow. Although he welcomed the recent changes in his relationship with Harry, they still shocked him at times. "Although you certainly are deserving of a spanking for your carelessness I do not intend to do so," Snape said in a serious yet kind tone. "You are forgiven Harry. However, in the future, should I let you help me with such an important potion again, it will be your last chance to prove yourself."
Harry breathed out a sigh of relief at Snape's forgiveness. "I won't mess up again. I promise."
"I'm sure you will not," Snape replied. "The fate of your backside will depend on it." He paused as he watched his son's face burn in shame causing his heart to soften a bit. "You are a very capable wizard. You just need to learn to concentrate and stay focused."
Harry nodded in reply before Snape wrapped his arms around the boy and pulled him in for a tight hug.
"You have no idea how dangerous potions can be Harry," Snape said speaking softly into the boy's hair. "You could inhale the wrong fume and die before you even knew what was happening. As I said earlier, had a few more minutes passed before you stopped stirring you could be seriously injured right now. I cannot allow that to happen due to recklessness or laziness."
Harry nodded once more willing himself not to start weeping again. He never felt more safe than he did when he was in Snape's arms, that alone was enough to mess with his emotions. Add in Snape's words and he was on the verge of a breakdown.
"It is the sole reason that you are not allowed in the laboratory by yourself," Snape continued. "I would never forgive myself if you were seriously injured in there."
A single tear escaped Harry's eye and he moved his head wiping it off onto Snape's shirt.
"I'll concentrate better next time," he promised. "I'll make sure I listen."
"Then we will not speak of this again," Snape promised giving the child one last tight squeeze before releasing his grip. "It is getting late and you should start getting ready for bed."
Harry nodded as he let go of his guardian's cloak.
"I have to go down to the laboratory to start the potion over," Snape explained causing guilt to sweep over Harry's face once more. "But before you fall asleep call Minka to let me know and I shall come up and say goodnight."
Harry turned onto his side and he looked up at his ceiling. It was late. Close to midnight. Snape had been in ages ago to say good night, assuring him once more that he was not cross with him. The man had ruffled his hair gently, kissed his forehead, and whispered a few more comforting words before promising his child that he wasn't completely banished from helping him in the laboratory.
Harry had been trying to sleep but his mind was still wide awake. He couldn't stop thinking about his scar and why it was hurting. He couldn't stop wondering who Snape had been making the potion for. He couldn't stop hoping that Hermione would be able to floo call in the morning.
He knew Snape was still working on the potion. The house was far too quiet for the man to be anywhere else. He had gone back downstairs after staying goodnight and Harry hadn't heard a sound since. It was late and Snape had to be up early to go teach. A realization that made him feel guilty all over again.
Harry sat up straight as he heard the floo roar to life below him.
He listened intently as a door closed loudly. Likely the door to the laboratory. He heard muffled speaking downstairs and the sounds of Bane's nails hitting the hardwood floor as he jumped around in excitement.
He knew he shouldn't. If he got caught there was no way he was talking Snape out of walloping him. He had been swatted for far less than something so blatantly disobedient.
He couldn't help it though.
Harry slowly slid out of his bed and crept across his room. He held his breath as he pushed his door open just a little farther only exhaling when it didn't loudly squeak in reply.
Slowly he moved down the hallway, the voices becoming clearer as he did. He instantly recognized that Snape was speaking to Remus.
"I have just completed it however, as you know, it must sit untouched in the cauldron for three hours before bottling it. I assure you I will deliver it in the morning just after breakfast."
Harry felt his insides coil at the realization that the potion he had mucked up had been for Remus of all people.
"That will be more than fine," Remus replied kindly. "I am thankful for the help Severus. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it. I know it is not an easy potion to prepare."
Harry carefully leaned against the wall at the top of the staircase. He could see their shadows and he held his breath as Snape's shadow suddenly threw its hands up.
"It would have been completed and ready for you to take with you at this moment if it weren't for my allowing Harry to help with it." He paused for a moment as Harry felt his ears burn in shame. "That blasted child. I warned him how serious his being permitted to help me was and he still did not listen. He is lucky he did not blow up my entire laboratory. He is also fortunate that he was not injured as well as that he will find himself able to sit tomorrow."
The heat from Harry's ears traveled south and took over his entire face.
"I'm sure it was an accident Severus," Remus replied kindly. "I cannot imagine Harry doing such a thing on purpose."
Snape made a loud disapproving sound. "An accident that could have been prevented had he been paying an ounce of attention."
There was a long moment of silence and then Remus' voice.
"No matter. The important thing is that it is completed now and Harry likely learned a valuable lesson in the process. Again Severus, I do appreciate your help."
"Of course," Snape replied. "I do not wish to be rude however I must retire. It is after midnight. Tomorrow promises to be a long day."
Harry quickly backed up the hallway. When he was far enough from the staircase he turned and made his way to his room. Climbing under his covers he rolled onto his side and closed his eyes in an attempt to appear asleep.
Several moments later he heard his bedroom door squeak softly.
"Don't think for one moment that you are fooling me Harry," Snape said without an ounce of sterness in his voice.
Harry slowly opened his eyes to see his guardian crouched down next to him, his face only inches from his.
"You should be well asleep by now," Snape said gently as his hand reached out and ran down the side of Harry's face. The man raised an eyebrow at him. "Any particular reason you are not?"
"Does this still have to do with earlier? I have told you several times that I have forgiven you."
Harry shrugged once more and then quickly stopped himself. He knew Snape wouldn't put up with it for long and he didn't want to be scolded any more tonight. "Yeah I guess," he whispered. "I really didn't mean to disappoint you."
"What did I tell you earlier?" Snape asked seriously as he placed a finger under Harry's chin gently forcing the child to look him in the eye. "That you are forgiven?"
"I do not say those words lightly Harry James. I mean them when I say them to you. It is time for you to let your mistakes from earlier go. Understood?"
When Harry didn't respond Snape removed his hand from his chin and stood. He leaned over the child and landed a swat to his quilt covered backside.
Harry closed his eyes tightly at the action. It wasn't the hardest swat he had ever received. With his blankets over him and his pajama pants on he had hardly felt it at all. He had still felt it though - in more than one place.
A second later Snape was crouched down in front of Harry once more, giving the child a serious look. "Listen to me very carefully," Snape said pausing until Harry nodded in confirmation. "You are a child. It is expected that you will make mistakes. If you did not do so I would be quite worried actually. However when you are forgiven for those mistakes it is very important that you forgive yourself as well. Understood?"
Harry nodded seriously the tears rimming his eyes. He loved Snape probably more than anyone else in the world. He never felt more at home- more like he belonged somewhere- than in moments like this. He was sure that no one else could ever come close to making him feel so loved hours after he had destroyed everything - again.
"It is very late and you have school work to complete tomorrow," Snape continued a moment later his right hand ruffling Harry's hair as he spoke. "Do you need something to assist you in sleeping?"
Snape held his stare for a moment before nodding once. "I am going to go wash up and then I will check on you once more. If you are awake you are going to take a sleeping draught without argument."
Harry nodded in agreement as Snape stood.
"Can I ask you something first?"
His guardian looked down at him. "You may."
"Who was the potion for?" Harry questioned. He hoped that Snape would tell him but he had a feeling that he wasn't going to.
His voice wasn't stern but confused.
"Earlier, downstairs - you said the potion was for your friend. Which friend?"
"Sorry Harry but that is not your business," Snape replied as he pulled the child's quilt up so that it covered his shoulders. "Now try and get some sleep. I will be back in a few moments."
Harry watched as Snape walked out of his room. He closed his eyes willing sleep to come as he made a mental To Do list for the following morning.
Owl Hermione, complete the paper for Astronomy, look up monkshood.