AUTHOR: Iani Ancilla (

PAIRING: HP/SS (Harry Potter/Severus Snape.) It's *slash*, people, slash. Two male characters in love. With each other. And doing stuff. Even if not in this chapter (sigh!).

RATING: R for later chapters. Right now it's maybe PG for language (even if my cousin who's 7 knows the Italian for all of these words, and many more).

TITLE: Turn Back Time

DISCLAIMER: Do I really have to say it? Alas, I do. Not mine. If they were, I'd be in bed with them right now, not here writing... Why can't I have my very own Sev and at least share the property of a Lucius??? Sigh...

THANKS: To Dyane who found the plot-holes in this chapter warned me about them. To Shushu and Pol for moral support and help in resisting gas-room love (you don't want to know), to my aussie English prof, who's too sweet for his own good, and to Hamlet, in the hope of managing to jump him one of these days...

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Chapter 4: A Matter of Style

Harry's first lesson on Monday was DADA, which happened to be his favorite subject, so it was with a bouncing step and a happy soul that he made his way with his friends to the Great Hall for breakfast. As they entered the Hall, owls started flying in from everywhere like every other morning, but this time there were more than usual, and almost all the extra ones were directed to the Slytherins, with the odd Ravenclaw every now and again. Curiously watching those two tables, Harry saw most of those who read their letters gasp and visibly stiffen. He understood what the matter was just when Malfoy, after burning his letter in a showy move, turned quickly to look at the end of the Slytherin table. Following the silver-haired boy's glare, Harry saw the young-looking Professor Snape petting a large raven as he retrieved what looked like a thick magazine from its claws. Sensing Draco's gaze on himself, Snape looked away from his familiar to stare into the other's gray eyes, and waited. He didn't have to do so for long, though, since almost as soon as their eyes locked Malfoy hissed out:


Soft murmurs came from all House Tables. Looking sharply at the other boy, Snape smirked, flexed his fingers in front of his face, and spoke in his famous deadly whisper:

"For one to be a traitor, one must originally be on the same side as those one has supposedly betrayed."

He waited a couple of seconds , until Draco's widening eyes told him his words had sunk in, then he went on.

"I believe the definiton you're looking for, Malfoy, is 'spy-who-fooled-all- of-you-blighters-for-years'."

That said, Snape rose and gathered his books, leaving for class in a flurry of robes.

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The tense atmosphere of the Great Hall was felt even more intensely by the Gryffindor and Slytherin seventh years in their DADA classroom. Snape, the first to get there, was sitting in the first desk on the left of the front row, which usually was Neville's place. Not wanting to sit next to the now- young professor, who still terrorized him, Neville sat down on the right side of the front row, which was usually left empty, and Harry, Ron and Hermione settled down beside him. As always, the second row was entirely taken up by the Slytherins, while all the other Gryffindors occupied the back of the classroom.

McKinnon, the ex-Auror who now taught them Defense Against the Dark Arts, was late, and as they waited for him to arrive, Harry busied himself with watching Snape, who was being taunted by his housemates. The ex-professor wasn't paying a great deal of attention to them, just occasionally waving his wand over his shoulder to deflect a hex or two, without rising to their baits. He was pouring over the DADA book, probably gathering information about the happenings and the new discoveries of the years he'd missed. Peering out from under his books was the magazine he'd received during breakfast, and Harry, who was sitting just two desks away from the raven- haired boy, was dying to know what sort of rubbish his Potions master read. After all, he reflected, if he by chance discovered that the overly dignified Severus Snape had a secret subscription to Witch Weekly or Wizard 3000, he would have blackmail material to last him until the end of school.

In the time Harry had taken to think about his Potions master, the Slytherins had taken their teasing up a notch, and Malfoy, who'd mostly kept to himself until then, finally spoke.

"I'd never had thought it of you, Snape. Risking your life and betraying your Lord for a filthy mud-blood such as Potter..."

At this Snape did turn around to look at his housemates, making himself comfortable with his back against the wall before speaking as if to a little child.

"You do realize, Malfoy, that saying it was Potter who was taken by the Death Eaters, when the Headmaster didn't even utter his name, you're letting out that you know far more than you should, don't you? And you do realize also that with the connections your father has, it's not that difficult for everybody to understand how you'd know what went on on Friday night?"

Malfoy was seething, but clearly not defeated.

"What connections are you talking about? How dare you say my father has anything to do with the Death Ea-"

"Actually, Draco, I was speaking of your father's position within the Ministry. Strange that you'd immediately think about the White Masks, instead. Be that as it may, I wonder if Lucius would be pleased to hear you referring to people who work for the Light Side as 'traitors' and speaking of Voldemort -most of the students flinched at the name- as your Lord. Then again, it's not as if anyone's got any doubts on where the Malfoys' loyalties truly lie..."

Draco had blanched at this, finally realizing how his slips of tongue could cost him and his family dearly, and he looked quite worried. Harry felt almost bad for him. Keyword: almost. All of the Slytherins were now looking speculatively at Malfoy, as if judging whether he was strong and cunning enough to be their leader. Sensing the gravity of the situation as well, Draco made his last attempt at regaining control, stammering out:

"Don't try changing the subject, Snape. Since when do you help mud-bloods?"

"And who are you referring to? Perhaps Lily Evans? Well, she *is* muggle- born, I won't deny that, but at least I'm fairly sure that she and Potter are completely human and legitimate, something which I'm not too sure about in your case, since it wasn't *their* grandfathers who were known to have numerous bastard children with Veelas..."


Malfoy had scrambled away from his chair and was now standing wand-out before Snape, while the black-haired boy had put two rows of desks between them and was waiting in front of the blackboard for the other's attack, twirling his wand in his hand.


A sharp shard of glittering ice left Malfoy's wand, flying at top speed towards the other Slytherin. With a simple flick of his wand and a shout of "Igneo!" Snape cancelled the offensive spell, and not waiting for his adversary to attack again, he cast a hex on him:

"Viscera concrescant!"

Malfoy dropped to the ground clutching at his stomach in pain, but didn't yield, instead looking up at Snape with eyes full of hatred.

"You... bastard!"

Snape's thin lip curled up in a smirk, but after some more impossibly long seconds he released his housemate from the curse and quietly made his way back to his seat.

After a moment of complete calm in which everyone and everything was still, Zabini gathered up his books and moved silently to sit into the desk next to Snape's, while everyone's eyes followed his moves.

The other Slytherins all turned to look as if in askance at Pansy Parkinson, who looked at Snape and then at Malfoy. Then, with a slight shake of her head and a determined expression in her eyes, she crouched down next to the silver-haired boy who was still panting from the aftershocks of the spell, and holding out her hand she told him softly:

"Here, Draco, let me help..."

As she cast a light healing charm and thus demonstrated that her allegiance to Draco wouldn't waver, the Gryffindors came out of their shock and went back to their usual nature.

"Hey, Snape! It's always good to see someone kicking Malfoy's arse, even if it's another Slytherin! Bravo!"

"Yeah, Seamus is right! You acted like a true Gryffindor there!"

Interrupting the soft talk he had started with Blaise, Snape looked up to find Dean Thomas grinning at him and giving him the thumbs-up.

"Piss off, you Gryffindor scum. Why would I want to act like one of you pillocks?"

Where Draco's first reaction to insult had been that of raising his wand, Finnigan and Thomas raised their fists instead, and ran to Snape's desk. Seeing himself outnumbered, Severus tried to get away from them, but as it is difficult to escape when you have to stay inside a relatively small classroom where almost everyone is looking murderously at you, he quickly found himself cornered, with a very pissed off Scottish boy throwing punches at him. Not one to yield without a fight (not that yielding would have been of any use after what he'd said), and cursing himself for his stupidity in forgetting his wand on the desk, where he'd been showing it to Zabini, the black-haired boy tried to at least defend himself, giving a couple of strong kicks to Dean's shins and scratching and clawing at Seamus's face. Blaise made some halfhearted attempts at separating the fighting boys, but he backed away when it became clear that he would be involved in the fight if he didn't. In the meantime Severus, who, despite being the tallest, apparently wasn't very proficient in hand-to-hand combat, was being beaten to a bloody pulp by the two stockier boys.

Harry, who until then hadn't played any part in what was going on in the classroom, looked appalled at his housemates' violence. Pinning Ron (who looked ready to go and help Dean and Seamus) to his desk with a glare, Harry walked to the corner where the three boys were, and tried to peel his house mates away from Snape, who was now slumped against the wall, his nose bleeding and lip split. As he managed to calm his housemates down, Harry noticed that they weren't completely unscathed, either, even if they were by far in better condition than Snape. Dean grimaced every time he put his weight onto his left ankle, and Seamus sported some bloody scratches on his cheeks. Harry offered a hand up to Snape, wanting to help him and to apologize for the others' behavior, but the Slytherin hissed at him and stood up by himself, his face contorting in pain and disgust as he had to lean onto the wall for support.

"Dean, Seamus, don't you think you overdid it a bit?"

"Harry! How can you say that?!? You heard what he said!"

"And is that a reason to beat him?"

"Well, look at what he did to Malfoy! It's not as if he's helpless, is it?"

Harry just glared at Dean, and it was Snape who answered, even if after the beating his voice wasn't at its usual silky standard but rather scratchy and hoarse:

"He's right, Potter. After all, it's just fair that it should take two Gryffindors to overcome a Slytherin..."

"Now you die!"

"Seamus, stop! Have you got any idea of how many points this will cost us?"

That had he desired effect and froze the Gryffindor, but did nothing to stop Malfoy from walking to where they stood and drawling at Snape:

"Really, and here I thought that good Slytherins had a knack for keeping out of trouble and siding with winners... Says something about you, doesn't it, Snape?"

Everyone held their breath, waiting for the ex-professor's reaction, but Severus narrowed his eyes staring over Harry's shoulder, and then did the unexpected and collapsed to the floor whimpering and clutching his side. Harry started towards him with a concerned expression, but before he could do anything a stern voice came from right behind him.

"And what exactly is happening here?"

The Boy-Who-Lived turned quickly around to find himself face to face with Auror Sean McKinnon, their DADA teacher.

"I- Uhm... Ah, well, you see, sir..."

Harry was at a loss, and didn't know what to say that wouldn't put Dean and Seamus into too much trouble. Unfortunately, McKinnon completely mistook his uncertainty for guilt, and seeing the slumped figure of his now-young colleague behind him, he quickly put two and two together and glared furiously at the Gryffindor.

"Mr. Potter, I made the great mistake of believing you were old enough not to give into petty fights over stupid reasons, and I truly didn't think a Gryffindor capable of raising his hand against someone who obviously is in a very difficult situation..."

"But Profes-"

"SILENCE! Fifty points will be taken from your House, and you will serve detention with Filch tonight for three hours!" Then the furious professor shifted his gaze to Snape, who was quick to wipe the smug grin off his face before it could be detected.

"Severus, are you all right?"

"I think so, sir, but could I go to see Madam Pomfrey after the lesson?"

Harry had to admit that Snape was a far better actor than Malfoy had been when he'd pretended to be hurt during Quidditch, even if that could depend slightly on the fact that Snape was really hurting... Anyway, McKinnon quickly helped Snape to get to his feet, and then said:

"You may go now, Mr. Snape, though it would be best if someone accompanied you. Malfoy...?"

Harry was looking intently at the black-haired boy, and he was probably the only one to catch the malicious glitter in the black eyes as Severus answered in a small voice:

"Uhm, could Blaise come with me instead, sir?"

"Of course, Severus. Maybe they could both come with you, would that be ok?"

"I- I'd prefer going with just Blaise, sir."

It wasn't hard to catch the exact moment in which the teacher's confused concern became suspicion.

"Is there something you need to tell me, Mr. Snape?"

And it was then that Snape truly played his cards like a master:

"I- Sir, it wasn't only Potter who attacked me... It was also Malfoy, and... those two...." said the Slytherin pointing at Finnigan and Thomas, whose names he still didn't know.

The astonished expression on the Auror's face told the boy he'd better add something soon if he wanted to be believed, but, fortunately for Snape, Ron stepped into the conversation trying to defend his friends, and only making the situation worse for them by further pissing off the teacher:

"Professor, he's lying! He was the one who-"

"Be silent, Weasley! When I'll need your opinion I'll ask for it. Fifty points will be taken from your Houses for each of you -he pointed at Seamus, Dean and Draco- and all of you will be serving detention along with Potter! And tomorrow you will be speaking with the Headmaster!"

At the mention of Dumbledore Snape paled a bit, conscious that his little act wouldn't fool the elder wizard, and tugging at the professor's sleeve he managed to whisper:

"It's not that important, sir... There's no need to disturb the Headmaster..."

Staring at him with a doubtful look on his strong features, McKinnon sighed and gave in.

"All right, Mr. Snape, but please warn me, should anything like this happen again."

"Yes, sir."

"And all of you, be grateful to him, for I'm positive that the Headmaster wouldn't have liked this one bit."

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Severus was sitting on his Infirmary bed and chatting with Blaise, who was proving to be quite smart and funny, when the door opened and in came Professor McGonagall. Looking sharply at him, she motioned for Zabini to go with a quick gesture, and as soon as the door closed behind the boy she spoke in an angry voice:

"Severus Sulpicius Snape, I know you and I know my Gryffindors! I might believe Malfoy attacked you when he learnt about your being a spy, but those from my House must have been provoked to gain such a reaction! Now explain yourself!"

Saying that Severus was startled wouldn't be saying half of it, and he mentally slapped himself when he realized that he hadn't thought about his aunt, who knew him too well to fall for such a simple lie. Deciding that the best course of action would be that of telling the truth, he did just that, even though he couldn't help revising it a bit, portraying himself as the almost innocent victim of the circumstances and the other boys as unexplainably unfriendly and violent. Minerva clearly didn't fall for the lies, but someway her nephew managed to move her enough to get her to soften a bit, so that once his narration was over she was looking almost kindly at him, and it was in a gentle tone that she spoke.

"Severus, why in Merlin's name did you do that? You knew they would get angry at you."

Thinking about it for a moment, the boy opted once again for a truthful answer:

"Well, I needed to make it clear that I wouldn't be on Draco's side, and I needed to know who would follow me and who him. The Gryffs weren't planned, but I surely couldn't let them speak to me as if I were one of *them*."

Overlooking Severus' comment about her own House, she asked:

"And what have you discovered?"

Looking up at her with a calculating expression in his pitch-black eyes, he thought about it for a couple of seconds, then answered:

"Blaise will be with me, as long as that doesn't cost him too much. The others are against me, but apart from Draco they shouldn't present a great problem. I hope."

"Just tell us if anything happens."

"I'm more concerned about the Gryffindors right now."

Suddenly going back to her normal persona at the thought of her House, McGonagall bristled and briskly rose and walked away, lingering just a moment at the doorstep to toss him a half-glare from over her shoulder:

"That's your own fault. You lost us one-hundred fifty points. Just be grateful I won't do anything, but remember it's just for this once."

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While McGonagall was making her way to her classroom to prepare for the next lesson, the Boy-Who-Lived was staring numbly into a Seer ball, which wasn't revealing any deep secrets to him apart from the fact that the incense-fumes of the Divination classroom could leave permanent halos on crystal, beside making him sleepy.



"Ron to Harry, Ron to Harry, can you hear us Harry? You should at least pretend to listen while she predicts your atrociously painful death, otherwise she'll give us extra homework!"


"C'mon, Ron, it's useless. You know Harry always manages to get stoned with this bloody incense."

Awakened by Dean's comment, Harry tried to deny, but his protests ended up in a big yawn which made his friends snigger at him.

"Harry, how will you manage detention tonight if you're already sleeping now?"

Ron's comment earned an offended snort from Seamus.

"Stupid greasy git. Now Gryffindor is third after Slytherin and Ravenclaw."

"Well, it's your fault, really, you shouldn't complain. Harry is the one who should be wanting to hex the slimy prat into next week! I wonder why the hell he said it was Harry who attacked him, when he'd been defending him just until then!"

Looking at Ron with big green eyes and the dreamy expression which he always got from the fumes during Divination, Harry stated in a solemn tone:

"He had to. It was a matter of style."

He almost cracked his jaw around a huge yawn while his friends looked disbelievingly at him, but when they overcame their shock and tried asking for explanation, his head had already hit the table, and he was snoring lightly, sleeping peacefully as he dreamt of shiny crystal balls, sadistic black-eyed Slytherins, and snitch-shaped marshmallows.

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Iani Ancilla