Enjoy! And as always feel free to tell me what you love or hate about it :)
Harry ran through the castle. He was thankful that most students were in class at the moment, leaving the halls practically empty. As much as he wanted to see his friends he didn't want to explain why he was at Hogwarts - not even to them.
His feet slowed as he approached the Defense classroom. Everything in him was telling him - screaming at him - to go apologize. He wanted to apologize. Remus more than deserved it. However, he couldn't stop the fear that was creeping up in him. What if Remus never trusted him again? What if the man wouldn't forgive him at all? He would deserve it, he knew that much. Still, he hoped it wouldn't be the case.
Remus was the first person he had become close to that had a close friendship with his parents. He cared about him as more than just a Professor and he had treated him horribly. Harry could feel his stomach flipping over itself. The Giant Squid doing violent laps.
The Defense classroom sounded quiet from his spot just outside the door and he wondered if Remus was in there at all.
Harry took a deep breath before he walked into the classroom.
Remus was sitting at his desk. Piles of paperwork were surrounding him but he didn't look like he was working at all. He was staring off to the side, looking deep in thought.
Harry forced himself to clear his throat loudly causing Remus to look up at him.
"Hi," Harry said awkwardly. He instantly hated himself for sounding like such a dolt.
"Harry," Remus gave the boy a small, sad smile. He instantly noted the tear stains on the child's cheeks, the redness of his eyes. He found himself hoping that Severus wasn't too hard on him.
Harry felt his heart hurt at the look on Remus' face. He slowly walked towards the front of the classroom, approaching the man's desk. "Can we talk?" He asked softly as he slowly sat down on a desk in front of Remus'.
"We can always talk," Remus said kindly as he watched the boy sit. He couldn't help but note that the teenager's guardian had sat in the exact same spot nearly an hour earlier. "What is on your mind?"
Harry eyed the man carefully. He had to be playing at something. Remus should be furious with him. He should be shouting at him and throwing him out of his classroom. Not sitting there sadly agreeing to talk.
"I'm just...I'm really sorry," Harry replied in a sheepish tone. His head was down as the fingers on his right hand carefully traced the edge of the desk he was sitting on. Slowly he forced himself to stop and look up at Remus. He knew that if it were Snape he was talking to he wouldn't have a choice but to look at him and he knew Remus deserved the same respect. "I shouldn't have questioned you at all and definitely not like I did. I was wrong...really wrong...and I really am sorry. I'm sorry I even tried to find out about it."
Remus sighed softly before answering. "I don't mind you knowing Harry. I had intended to tell you multiple times but I just could never quite find the right words or the right moment. For that I apologize."
Remus' words caused a large lump to form in Harry's throat and he swallowed hard several times in an attempt to make it go away. He couldn't cry - he wouldn't cry - not in front of Remus.
"You shouldn't apologize to me," Harry replied as his head dropped once more. "I was wrong. Not you." The last words came out in nearly a whisper.
"As I said, I don't mind that you know. I was only upset at the way in which you questioned me about it. I'm not sure if you are aware but some people can be quite prejudice towards me because of my condition. My fear was that you would look at me differently."
Harry swallowed hard at the words willing himself to keep his emotions under control. It was one thing to cry in front of Snape - even over just a conversation. The relationship that he had with the man allowed for that. He was comfortable around him. He felt safe with him. He trusted him in a way that he wasn't sure he trusted anyone else in the world. He knew that he could cry or whine or act immature and Snape wouldn't judge him for it or hold it against him. If anything the man would do what he could, when he could, to make it all better.
This was Remus though. Harry couldn't look immature in front of Remus - crying over a simple conversation - he just couldn't.
"Snape explained that," he finally answered, his voice hoarse from holding his tears in. "I don't...look at you that way I mean. I never could."
"Thank you Harry," came the soft reply. "That means a great deal to me."
Harry forced his head to raise, looking at Remus once more. He blinked rapidly as the tears threatened to rise to the surface. "I was afraid you weren't going to forgive me," he said honestly.
Remus smiled gently at him. "I will always forgive you," Remus promised. "That is something that you can absolutely count on." He paused for a moment before continuing in a kind tone. "I care for you very much Harry. I have since the moment that James and Lily told me that they were having you. That will never change."
"I was a huge arse," Harry whispered forcing himself to continue looking at Remus. Forcing his head not to drop once more in shame.
"Even when you are a huge arse I care for you," Remus chuckled softly. "And I will still forgive you."
Harry couldn't help the small grin that appeared on his lips as Remus' words. "Thanks," he said softly. "I really care about you too."
Remus waved a hand at the boy beckoning him over.
Without a moment of hesitation Harry slid off the desk and made his way to Remus.
As soon as he was close enough Remus reached out and pulled the teenager into a tight hug. "Thank you for coming to talk with me," Remus whispered into the boy's ear. "I can't tell you how much I appreciate it."
Harry wrapped his arms tightly around the man as he swallowed his tears once more. He nodded into Remus' chest at the words, not trusting himself enough to speak. He was sure that with even one word he would turn into a blubbering mess.
"I have to get back," Harry said a minute later when he pulled away from the man. "But you'll be over to teach me still right?"
"Absolutely," Remus replied with a smile. "Be sure you study. You have an exam to take the next time I am there."
Harry returned the smile. "I will, promise."
Harry was lying on his stomach, his arms wrapped around his pillow. He knew that Snape would be in any moment to say goodnight and he couldn't help but feel slightly nervous about it.
When he had returned from apologizing to Remus, Snape had hardly said two words to him before he had to return to Hogwarts to teach two more classes for the day.
He had sent a note home informing Harry that he had to proctor a detention and he would not be home until after dinner causing Harry to eat alone.
After he had eaten everything on his plate - he hardly wanted to be scolded for not eating enough - he had bathed and put himself to bed.
That had been over an hour ago and Snape had only now just arrived home. At least he assumed it was Snape. He had heard the floo roar to life. The moment it had Bane had jumped off his bed and ran out of his room. Harry had heard his dog jumping around happily downstairs. The only other person he would do that for would be Remus but Harry couldn't imagine that it was him.
He listened intently for other signs that it was indeed his guardian and when he heard the man speaking with Kermy he knew for sure that it was.
The fact that it was Kermy and not Minka was not lost on Harry. Snape knew that his relationship with Minka was closer. Snape had called Kermy in case Harry had gotten into more trouble somehow and Minka planned on trying to cover for him. Not that she would if Snape asked her a direct question.
Harry took a deep breath as he heard the footsteps on the stairs. He really hoped he wasn't going to be scolded - or punished- anymore for what had happened with Remus. Though if he was being honest with himself he likely did deserve to be punished more. He would be lying if he said that he hadn't expected much more punishment. He had gotten off pretty easy overall.
He heard Snape right outside his bedroom door and nearly closed his eyes and pretended to be asleep. He quickly decided against it though. It was immature and his guardian never fell for it anyway.
Harry saw the man's shadow on the floor, the light in the hall giving him away before Harry would have realized he was in his room.
"Hi," Harry offered softly making no attempt to move at all.
"You're in bed quite early," Snape observed as he sat on the edge of the bed.
Harry shrugged in reply still making no attempt to roll over and face the man. "Where's Bane?"
"Kermy took him out in the yard," Snape explained. "I am sure he will be back up later."
Silence took over the room as Harry searched for the right thing to say. Finally he settled on the most obvious despite how much of a prat he felt like for speaking the words. "Are - are you still mad at me?"
A moment later he felt Snape tap the back of his leg firmly. "I am not going to speak to the back of your head Harry James."
Harry let a small sigh escape his mouth before he rolled over. Slowly he pushed himself up to a sitting position. Pulling his legs up he crossed them in front of him, leaning forward and resting an elbow on his knee and allowing his head to fall into his hand.
"I'm not angry," Snape finally answered his question.
"You were," Harry pointed out the obvious. "You were really angry." He could feel his ears burning at the words but he didn't care. He knew the room was just dark enough, even with the light from the hall, that Snape wouldn't be able to see.
"I was disappointed," Snape replied as he leaned forward. He reached out an arm, his right pointer finger tapping Harry's chin firmly. "You know far better than to behave how you did today. I was quite embarrassed by your behavior."
Harry's eyes filled with tears at the words. He had never meant to embarrass Snape. He absolutely hated the thought that he had.
"I'm really sorry," he whispered willing his tears to refrain from spilling over.
"I know," Snape replied. "I also know that something like this will not happen again. Correct?"
"Correct," Harry answered without hesitation as he sat up straight. His right hand quickly traveled to his face, brushing away a single tear that somehow managed to escape.
"I never again want to feel the way I did today when Remus told me how you had acted," Snape scolded. His tone wasn't harsh. It was actually quite gentle but somehow it still held an underlying tone that made Harry feel roughly two feet tall.
Harry's head dropped at the words as he lost his battle with his tears. They fell freely down his face now causing him to feel absolutely ashamed at how easily he was crying.
Once more he felt Snape's finger tap his chin, though much more gently this time.
"It's just you and I here Harry," Snape said softly. "There is no need for this shame. Surely we are past that."
Harry lifted his head once more, his two front teeth chewing down on his bottom lip as he nodded.
"I promise...I swear Snape," he pressed. "It will never happen again."
Snape held the boy's gaze for a moment before he nodded. "Okay," he said softly.
As the word registered in Harry's brain he uncrossed his legs. A second later he was on his knees, wrapping his arms tightly around his guardian's neck. His face buried in the man's cloak. He didn't care if it was immature. He just wanted to be close to the man. He wanted to somehow make it up to him for having been so awful.
"I really am sorry," he mumbled into the cloak.
"I know," Snape replied as he wrapped his arms around his son. He gave him a tight squeeze before loosening his grip on him, allowing his right hand to move and begin gently rubbing the boy's back. "You are forgiven," Snape assured him.
Harry slowly pulled away from the man. He sat back, bringing his knees to his chest as his hands worked at brushing away the last of the tears on his face. He was thankful that they had stopped. He hated crying. He hated that a few harsh words from Snape could make him cry.
Snape stood before leaning over and placing an unplanned kiss on top of the teenager's head. "I think you should get some sleep. I will send Bane up."
"Thanks," Harry replied as he let his legs fall down in front of him before sliding down his bed until his head was back on his pillow. "Night."
Harry looked down at the work he was supposed to complete for Transfiguration. It was absolutely the most boring thing he could imagine doing. He would have chosen just about any other assignment to occupy his time for the morning but Snape had been insistent that he complete this. The man had promised him that if it was finished by the time he came home for lunch that Harry would have a surprise for the afternoon.
Harry looked down at his book forcing himself to begin reading and to concentrate and actually retain the information. He could do this. He did it all the time at Hogwarts. It shouldn't be any different because he was home and in the kitchen instead of in a classroom or the library. Still, if he was being honest with himself, he rarely did school work on his own, even at Hogwarts. It was always done because Hermione made him or Snape insisted he complete it under his watchful eye. Had he been left to do it himself the last three years he was sure he would have failed every class he had taken.
He beamed proudly to himself as he flipped to the second page of his reading. He only had four more pages to go. At this rate he would be done his work long before Snape was back.
The pain that shot through his scar caught him off guard. His hands instantly went to his forehead, pressing tightly against the mark. A loud wail of pain escaped his lips and then a moment later he gasped loudly at the intensity of it.
The tears started streaming down his face before he had even a moment to try and control them. He pushed his Transfiguration book away from him in frustration before his hands instantly went back to his scar.
It felt as though it was on fire. He was sure the pain had never been this bad before. Another loud whimper escaped his lips as he turned in his chair, bringing his knees up on the edge of it. He pushed his forehead against his knees hoping that somehow the pressure would help the pain.
His tears quickened as another sharp intense pain shot out of his forehead.
"Master Harry," the concerned voice caught him off guard. He hadn't even heard her appear.
"I'm fine," Harry quickly replied. This was the last thing he needed if Minka told Snape he was done for.
"Master Harry is not fine," Minka replied as her hand rested on Harry's foot. "Minka will fetch Master Snape."
"No!" Harry quickly replied bringing his head up. The tears were still streaming down his face. His head felt like it was about to split it two. "No please don't Minka! You cannot tell him pleeease!" He hated himself for allowing his last word to come out in such a whine. Deep down he knew that it didn't matter. She had seen him whine plenty of times. He had never whined to her though and he felt immature at the very idea that he just had.
The sympathy on her small face deepened. "Master Harry is in so much pain. Master Harry needs Master Snape," she insisted. "Master Snape will know how to make Master Harry better."
"No Minka he won't," Harry replied in a desperate voice. "Please! You can't tell him about this." He paused as he pressed his right hand back on his scar. "Please Minka he'll be so mad at me and he can't make it better."
Minka was quiet for a moment before she reluctantly agreed, "Minka will not tell Master Snape."
Harry breathed a sigh of relief, the pain in his scar finally starting to diminish. "Thank you," he breathed sincerely. He took several deep breaths as he brushed the last of his tears from his face. His legs slowly fell back to the floor.
Minka placed her hand on his knee looking up at him with concern. "Is Master Harry better now?"
Harry nodded despite being a bit unsure of himself. His scar certainly felt better but it had come on so strongly out of nowhere that he didn't quite trust that the same thing wouldn't happen again. "Yeah," he finally answered. "I'm okay."
Minka stared at him for a moment before she gave a soft nod. "Minka will let Master Harry finish his work. Minka will be back if it happens again."
"Thanks," Harry said as he righted himself in his seat and pulled his book back towards him.
Minka bowed next to him before vanishing.
A soft sigh escaped Harry's lips as he looked back down at his work. He absolutely had to finish before Snape was back.
"Master Harry needs to stir it faster," Minka instructed as she glanced over at his work. "Much faster."
Harry's brow wrinkled as he began stirring faster. "Like this?"
Minka nodded her approval as she reached for another ingredient and added it to his creation. "Never too much of this," she said seriously as she poured less than a teaspoon in.
Harry nodded seriously as he watched her. A second later he looked down at what he was working on. It didn't look anything like treacle tart. He hoped he wasn't making a complete mess of this.
When she had popped back up to check on him he had just finished his assignment. He was sure that he was going to be bored out of his mind until Snape returned. Then she had mentioned that she was going to go make dessert and he had practically begged her to teach him how. She had finally agreed but not after he promised her numerous times that Snape wouldn't be mad. How could he really? His work was done. Not only was it done but it was neat and he was sure his grammar and spelling were near perfect.
"Master Harry needs to add the molasses," Minka instructed from her spot on the counter next to the stove. "Slowly. Make sure it melts before adding more."
Harry picked up the large cup of molasses and slowly poured some in, stirring it gently as he watched it melt. "This is fun," he decided as he slowly added more. "Thanks Minka."
"Master Harry needs to keep stirring," Minka said in a partially scolding tone.
Harry hadn't even realized that he had stopped stirring until she had said something. His hand quickly started moving the wooden spoon around once more. "Sorry," he offered. He swallowed down the giggle that nearly escaped his mouth. He just couldn't take Minka seriously when she tried to scold him - he just couldn't.
He poured the last of the molasses in as he stirred. He smiled widely as the concoction in front of him finally started to resemble treacle tart.
"What in the world?" The familiar voice came from behind him.
"Master Snape," Minka said nervously as she quickly climbed down from the counter and bowed.
"Minka is teaching me how to make treacle tart," Harry explained glancing over his shoulder at Snape as he continued to stir.
Snape's eyes narrowed in on the child. "You had nothing else to occupy your time?"
"I finished my Transfiguration work," Harry replied with a grin. "And then I was bored so I asked her to teach me." His eyes traveled from Snape down to the small elf. He frowned at how nervous she looked.
"As well as all your other school work?" Snape questioned knowingly.
"Well...no," Harry admitted as he finally stopped stirring and turned around to face the man. "But I did all my Transfiguration work," Harry said once more hoping that his guardian would realize how much work that had actually been.
"I heard you the first time," Snape replied. "You will allow Minka to finish her cooking and you will work on school work until it is time for lunch."
"Snaaape," Harry whined loudly at the unfairness of it all. He nearly stomped his foot as well. He had been really enjoying learning how to cook with Minka. He didn't want to stop now and do school work.
Snape raised a stern eyebrow at the child's reaction. "Did I not tell you this morning that you will be taking the afternoon off of school work for a surprise?"
"Yes but -"
"No Harry," Snape shook his head firmly. "You are going to come to the laboratory with me so that I may teach you about Gillyweed for Herbology."
Harry's shoulders slumped at the words. "Can't we do it later? Tonight or even tomorrow?"
"No," Snape said the single word before turning his attention to Minka. "If you would like to teach Harry how to cook when he is caught up on school work you are welcome to do so," he said kindly. "However I think it would be best if you took your work with you and continued it elsewhere."
Minka nodded vigorously. "Of course Master Snape. Minka is very sorry Sir, very sorry indeed."
"There is no need to be," Snape assured her in a tender tone. He was quite fond of both Minka and Kermy. He knew that some, such as the Malfoys, liked to speak to their house elves as though they were garbage but Snape did not agree with that at all. He was not comfortable with the idea of them punishing themselves or feeling horrible for any of their actions. They were quite good little elves. He was appreciative of how much and how well they cared for Harry. "I am not cross in the least."
He turned his attention back to his miserable looking child.
"If you have any hope of taking the afternoon off you had best wipe that look off of your face Harry James. I can just as easily cancel your afternoon plans and you can spend the rest of the day working on school work."
Harry shook his head at the threat. "No, please don't."
"If that is not what you want then come with me to the laboratory so that we may get your Herbology assignment completed."
Harry felt his shoulders sag a bit more as he begrudgingly followed Snape out of the room.
"I can't tell you how wonderful it is to see you," Sirius beamed. "I feel like it has been ages."
"I know," Harry replied softly as he returned his godfather's smile.
When Snape had said that he would get a surprise, Harry had assumed that the man had meant another Professor, maybe McGonagall, showing up to teach him. He never in a million years expected Remus to walk in announcing that he would be taking him to visit Sirius. Harry had hardly been able to contain his excitement as he rushed upstairs to get his trainers on.
"I hear you are home from Hogwarts for the school year?" Sirius asked.
Harry tried to read his godfather's expression. The man didn't look mad. Harry was torn on how he felt about that. Part of him wanted Sirius to be on his side. To be furious about the idea that Snape had made him leave Hogwarts for the entire year. He wanted Sirius to tell him that he could have done fine in the Tournament. That he probably could have even won if he was given the chance. Yet in the same breath, he didn't want to listen to Sirius badmouth Snape. He didn't want his godfather mad at his guardian again.
"Yeah," Harry replied. "Snape said it was the only way otherwise the Ministry would try and take me from him."
Sirius raised an eyebrow at the words. "I don't know much about what the Ministry has threatened but he is absolutely right to keep you home this year. Whoever put your name in that Goblet is not your friend Harry. People have died in the Tournament. Pulling you from it was the best thing your guardian could have done."
Harry nodded seriously. "I know. I still hate being home from Hogwarts though." He was testing the man and he knew it. He couldn't help but wonder how Sirius would react to the words as opposed to Snape.
Remus was in the other room. He had said that he wanted to look at a book that he had spotted in the study the other day but Harry suspected that he just wanted to give them some time alone. Harry was thankful for it. He loved Remus but he never would have made such a statement in front of him. Not with Remus privy to information that Snape told him. Harry was nearly certain that Remus knew all about his behavior those first few days they were home. He was also pretty certain that Remus would know what he was doing in mentioning that he hated being home to Sirius. And he was absolutely certain that he wouldn't like it.
"I bet you do," Sirius replied in a sullen voice, clearly concerned for his godson. "That can't be much fun. You know I could teach you about a dozen ways in and out of that castle. You would never get caught. Your dad and I never did."
Harry smirked at the words. He was tempted by the offer but he could only imagine how Snape would react if he was caught. "Maybe," Harry finally decided on. "I am going to ask him if I can visit my friends tomorrow."
"It is Saturday. I don't see why he wouldn't allow that." Sirius leaned back on the couch, his arms reaching over his head as he stretched before bringing them back down at his sides.
Harry shrugged. "I'm kind of behind on my school work," he admitted. "And he gave me the afternoon off today to visit you. He might want me to work tomorrow."
"You can't work all day. Surely he'll give you a break at some point."
"Yeah," Harry said with a shrug. "Maybe."
The pair sat in silence for a long moment before Sirius sat up a bit straighter giving his godson's leg a gentle poke. "I heard that you know about Remus' condition now."
Harry could instantly feel his cheeks blushing, a guilty look sweeping over his face. Of course, Remus would tell Sirius all about that. Harry really hoped that he wasn't about to be scolded by his godfather. Sirius had never really done so but he was sure if it was for Harry being rude to Remus he would.
"Hey," Sirius said gently as he turned his body so he was now facing Harry. "Why the face?"
Harry shrugged silently as he turned his head in the opposite direction. He wanted to tell his godfather that if he was going to scold him to just do it already.
"I still feel really bad about being rude to him," Harry offered hoping that his words would somehow help his predicament.
"He said that he thought you did," Sirius replied. "I'm not upset with you Harry. I just wanted to explain why I can turn into a dog and why Pettigrew can turn into a rat...your dad could turn into a stag, I'm not sure if you knew that."
"I do," Harry replied with a nod as he turned his head back to face his godfather. He could no longer feel his face burning and he was thankful for it. "Snape told me that he could."
Sirius refrained from commenting on this information. He couldn't help but wonder if his godson's guardian had mentioned how he came to know about their ability to transform. "We learned to do so in order to be able to be with Remus when he transformed," Sirius explained. "It was your dad's idea actually."
Harry digested this information. He couldn't help but remember months ago when Snape had said that his dad and Sirius should have been expelled for learning how to do such a thing. He didn't agree with his guardian's words then and he definitely didn't now.
"It was my dad's idea?" Harry asked turning his body to face his godfather. "Really?"
Sirius nodded with a grin. "It took us ages to learn how but when we finally got it down we would sneak out on every full moon and transfer so he didn't have to be alone."
Harry smiled softly at the thought. He would do that for Ron or Hermione. He knew that he would. It was nice to think that his dad was that good of a friend to Remus that he had thought of doing such a thing.
"I just thought you would want to know that. I have been wanting to tell you," Sirius replied. "I couldn't until you knew about Remus though."
"Thanks for telling me," Harry said softly.
Silence swept across the room once more.
Harry's thoughts went to earlier that morning and the pain that he had felt in his scar. He wanted to tell someone - an adult. Someone that might be able to help him. He knew that he should tell Snape but it was too late for that. Snape would be furious if he knew how long it had been going on and Harry knew that if he was questioned he wouldn't be able to lie. It was one thing to withhold information from Snape. It was another thing entirely to lie directly to the man's face. Harry had far more trouble with the latter. The very idea of doing so made him feel ill.
Maybe he could tell Sirius though. Sirius wouldn't go mental on him. Sirius wouldn't tell Snape either and Harry was fairly certain that if he asked him not to he wouldn't even tell Remus. Sirius was smart too. Even Snape had admitted in the past that Sirius had been a very good student. He was smart enough to learn how to transform into a dog. He was smart enough to break out of Azkaban too. He might be smart enough to figure out why his scar was hurting and how to make it stop.
Harry took a deep breath.
"Harry," Remus' voice pulled him from his thoughts completely. "It's time to head back now."
"Already?" Sirius couldn't help but ask. "Honestly Remus the boy just got here."
"I promised Severus I would have him back in two hours," Remus clarified. "However, I do intend to talk to him about allowing Harry to come visit more often."
Harry smiled at the words as he stood. Despite the fact that he was annoyed that he didn't get the chance to talk to Sirius about his scar he couldn't help but feel thankful that Remus was going to talk to Snape. He did want to see Sirius more often but he didn't want to be the one to bring it up. He knew that if he did he would likely get an earful about how he needed to get caught on his school work before he did anything else.
"I'll see you soon," Harry smiled at his godfather.
"You had a nice visit then?" Snape asked before taking a bite of his dinner.
"Yeah," Harry nodded. "Thanks for letting me go to see him." He had nearly told Snape the reason that his dad and Sirius could change into animals but he had thought better of it. He was sure if he did he would get some lecture about how he had better not ever think of doing such a thing. He didn't want to give Snape any reason to be annoyed at Sirius.
"After you eat I want you to work on your Care of Magical Creatures essay for at least an hour," Snape informed him.
Harry refrained from complaining. He had seen his opening and it was almost too perfect.
"Can I talk to you about something?" Harry asked in what he hoped was a nonchalant voice.
Snape looked over at the boy raising an eyebrow slightly. "You may."
"I was wondering if maybe I could go to Hogwarts tomorrow to visit my friends?" Harry asked. "It is Saturday and I could do the whole essay tonight and then maybe do some more homework tomorrow night too."
Snape considered the request for a moment. He could stand to spend some time in his classroom tomorrow preparing for the week to come.
"I could even do more than just the essay tonight," Harry offered when Snape didn't answer him. He glanced up at his guardian with a hopeful look. "I just miss my friends...a lot."
Snape nodded at the words. "I think that allowing you to visit Hogwarts for a few hours tomorrow would be acceptable. I have some work I could do while you are there."
"Thanks Snape," Harry said with a small grin.
Harry pushed his face into his pillow as Bane gently licked his hand. The tears were streaming down his face once more. His scar felt like it was on fire. It felt like his head was going to split in two.
Snape had been in to say goodnight ages ago. Harry was sure it as well past one in the morning. He was sure that his guardian was fast asleep across the hall and the last thing he wanted was to wake the man up with his sobs.
His knuckles turned white as he reached up and gripped on the end of his mattress, pushing his face even further into his pillow as he choked on his muffled sobs.
An exceptionally agonizing jolt of pain shot through his scar causing Harry to literally wail into his pillow. He prayed that Snape couldn't hear him.
Then just as quickly as it had started - it stopped.
Harry stayed on his stomach, his hands still gripping tightly on his mattress too afraid to move for fear that his scar would start hurting again.
After several moments without pain, Harry slowly let go of his mattress and rolled over. He brushed his tears from his cheeks despite the fact that they were still falling as he tried to get his breathing under control.
His breath shuddered as Bane whined softly next to him.
He had to figure this out. He had to make it stop. He couldn't keep doing this.
"You can't be serious?" Hermione said in disbelief as she turned around to face them, no longer looking out the large window. "Malfoy? Really?"
"Who else would it have been?" Ron defended his words. "Think about it!"
"You think about it," Hermione replied. "How did he get past the age line? Students older than him couldn't even figure it out. I highly doubt that he could."
Ron was at a loss for words but Harry nodded in agreement with Hermione. "She is right," he admitted. "As much as I don't want to admit it, I don't think it was him."
The three of them were up in the Owlery. Their common room had been overcrowded as it was pouring outside leaving them nowhere else to go for a private conversation.
"He might know who it was though," Ron pointed out. "I wouldn't put it pass the git."
Harry thought the words over. He wouldn't put it pass Malfoy either. He was sure that Snape wouldn't agree though. Actually he was sure Snape wouldn't even like the thought. He was sure that the man would have a million and one reasons as to why Malfoy had nothing to do with it. He was sure that his guardian would think the whole idea was stupid.
"We could make Polyjuice Potion," Hermione said softly. "Try and talk to him."
Harry gave her a doubtful look.
"Not you," she said softly looking at Harry. "Sorry but I don't see how that would work if you aren't here. Ron and I could though. We could take the last of the ingredients we need from Professor Snape's storage closet and-"
"He'll still question me," Harry cut her off. "Even if I'm not here he'll still ask if I somehow know who did it."
Harry knew his words were true. He could vividly see Snape questioning him, asking if it was Ron or Hermione that took it.
"Lie," Ron yawned as he leaned back on the large beam.
Harry nodded as though that had been his plan all along. He couldn't help but wonder why Ron found it so easy to lie to his parents yet Harry would rather fling himself out the window than lie to Snape. He couldn't help but wonder if it wasn't really that easy for Ron. If he just acted as though it was.
"Real nice Ronald," Hermione muttered as she walked across the Owlery and sat down next to Harry on the beam across from Ron.
"Your parents are muggles Hermione it's not the same. You could write them and tell them all about Polyjuice Potion and they wouldn't even realize you did anything wrong," Ron pointed out causing Harry to smile. His friend did have a valid point.
Hermione shrugged in reply clearly unable to argue the redhead's point.
"I should head back soon," Harry said softly hating that he had to leave his friends and go back home. Snape had told him that he had four hours at Hogwarts and he was sure he was closing in on that if he hadn't passed it already.
"You have to stop in the Tower first," Ron said standing. "Fred and George have been brilliant lately. They are coming up with all sorts of products and things, more than they ever have before. They put together a bag of them for you to have, it's all really brilliant honestly."
Harry was suddenly feeling very thankful that Snape had forced him to wear a jacket. He had argued with the man until he had nearly ended up in the corner. Harry had seen no point in wearing a jacket. It wasn't as if he was going to be outside, it was pouring. His guardian had been insistent though until Harry had finally given in. Now, it would effectively hide the bag from Snape.
"Brilliant or not they are going to get themselves in trouble," Hermione replied as she stood.
"You weren't complaining when they gave you an Extendable Ear," Ron said giving her a pointed look.
"Yes well that's different. You don't ingest that."
Harry laughed at her words as he stood. "You don't trust Fred and George?" He questioned with a grin.
"It's not about that," she insisted. "I just don't see the point in half of their products."
"Are you kidding?" Ron asked as the trio headed towards the staircase. "You could eat their Fever Fudge and get out of classes for a whole day!"
Hermione wrinkled her nose at the words. "But why would anyone want to do that?"
Snape looked up at the clock in his classroom. Harry was nearly fifteen minutes late. A year ago he would have been fuming. A year ago he would have likely already been setting off to find the child with the intent to warm his backside the moment he got him back home.
It was amazing what a year could do.
Snape looked back down at his work. He would give the boy another fifteen minutes before he allowed it to annoy him.
A knock on his open classroom door pulled him from his thoughts. Snape raised his head to see Lucius Malfoy walking into his classroom.
"Severus, working on a Saturday?"
Snape nodded as he stood. He suddenly found himself hoping his child would be later yet. "Just going over some lesson plans. What brings you to Hogwarts?"
"Paying a visit to Draco," Lucius explained as he peered into a large cauldron on a table. His face turned to one of disgust as he stood up straight once more. "How has he been doing this school year?"
Snape refrained from informing Lucius of the two last encounters he had with the boy. He knew how strict Lucius was with the child. There was discipline and then there was flat out abuse. As far as Snape was concerned he could deal with Draco's misbehavior without Lucius ever being privy to it.
"Quite well," Snape replied as he walked around to the front of his desk. "His grades are above average as well."
"Well Severus you know that I expect nothing less. You should try such tactics with your own charge. I hear there was some trouble with the Potter boy. The article in the paper said you pulled him from school."
"Albus insisted upon it," Snape answered with ease. "He was dead set against the child competing."
Lucius rolled his eyes at the words. "Perhaps the boy shouldn't have put his name in the Goblet then. As if his scar doesn't bring him enough fame he has to go searching for it at every chance."
"An understatement," Snape forced the words out of his mouth.
"Can't anything be done about Albus' constant coddling of the boy? It's revolting," Lucius said in a disgusted tone.
"Unfortunately not," Snape replied coolly.
"Pity." Lucius clucked his tongue before speaking once more. "I suppose I should go find Draco. I am sure he is wondering what is taking me so long."
"I'm sure he is," Snape replied. He would have bet that Draco was dreading his father's visit. The boy worshiped the man but Snape knew for a fact that he preferred to do so from afar.
"We will talk again soon," Lucius promised as he turned on his heel and headed for the door.
"I look forward to it," Snape forced the words out of his mouth.
He watched as the man exited his classroom. He would have to remember to check on Draco later that evening. To make sure the child was alright. Make sure his father hadn't found a reason to take any displeasure out on him.
Snape walked back around his desk, sitting once more. He let out a soft sigh of relief that Harry hadn't walked in on that conversation. It was easy to act as though he didn't care for the child when he wasn't present. He wasn't so sure he could be as convincing when Harry was in the room.
He looked back down at his work. He still had a pile to get through. He also had to go into the Forest this evening for an ingredient that he was nearly out of.
He picked up his quill and began making notes. His concentration only lasted for a moment though before Harry came running into his classroom.
He stole a glance at the clock before fixing his child with a stern look.
"What time did I tell you to be back?" Snape asked as he stood.
"Uh three," Harry replied.
"What time is it?"
Harry glanced up at the clock, his shoulders sagging as he did. "Almost four."
"How unfortunate," Snape replied sternly.
"I just lost track of time talking to Ron and Hermione," Harry quickly tried to explain. "We were up in the Owlery and there is no clock up there. I didn't even realize how late it was."
"Is it wise to go where there is no means to tell time when you were to be back here by three?" Snape questioned as he crossed the classroom approaching the child.
He knew that he should hand down some sort of punishment to the teenager for being so late, even if it didn't include his hand meeting his backside. Still, he couldn't help but feel a pang of guilt at the mere thought. Harry had been spending times with his friends. His friends that he had pulled Harry away from when he removed him from Hogwarts.
Harry shook his head as he quickly sat down at a desk, effectively taking his bum out of the line of fire. "No Sir."
"I will not be home until late this evening and I expect you to get a decent amount of your school work done before I return," Snape replied changing the subject completely.
Harry quickly nodded. He would have promised just about anything in order to avoid getting in trouble for being so late.
"Up," Snape instructed. "I will walk you back to our parlor so you may floo home."
Harry stood without hesitation, following his guardian out of the classroom and down the hallway. He eyed the man carefully. He didn't seem as annoyed as he had only moments earlier.
"How come you will be late?" Harry asked as they approached the parlor door.
"I have some work to complete as well as some students to check on," Snape explained.
Harry wanted to ask what he meant about checking on students but he didn't want to push his luck either. He followed Snape into the parlor and then over to the fireplace.
"At least two subjects completed," Snape instructed as Harry took a handful of floo powder. "Make sure you eat a proper dinner as well. I will know if you do not."
"I will," Harry promised as he stepped into the fireplace.
"And behave yourself," Snape reminded him in a stern voice.
Harry nodded in reply before he dropped the floo powder, Snape's face vanishing a moment later.