"Voldemort is on the move." Sirius said gravely. Harry felt his pulse quicken and his heart threatened to deafen him.

"What can we do?" Harry said. A creak somewhere behind Sirius.

"Someone's coming. I'm sorry I can't be of more help… but for now, it seems like… you're on your own."

On your own. How hauntingly familiar.

The hissing of a snake made him flinch. "Harry…" It whispered.

"Harry…" That was his dad's voice.

"Potter." Snape?


Harry jumped awake, his heart racing in his chest as he tried to shake away the dream. He sat up and breathed deeply, trying to calm his heart down. He shuddered at the cold sweat that clung to his skin and got out of bed, sitting by the window ledge while his friends slept. He could feel the icy draft coming in from a corner of the ledge and savoured the numbness the cold brought with it.

Today was the day. The day Hermione's crazy idea began. How was he even supposed to teach a whole class Defense Against the Dark Arts? The handful of spells he knew could hardly make up a curriculum. It would give him a chance to practice what he did know, he supposed. He sighed and grabbed his things to go to the showers. He had to try something. He couldn't stand feeling like a sitting duck.


"'These disappearances are exactly how it started before'. Sirius probably scared him out of his wits! You have to do something Snape!"

Severus rubbed his temples as a bottle of fire whiskey floated beside him and poured him a drink on the floating glass cup. He took it and downed it in one go. He grimaced and put the cup down.

"What the devil do you want me to do? He's your moronic friend. The blithering idiot just can't stop seeing the boy as you." Severus sneered.

"Don't be ridiculous… Sirius knows Harry's just a boy, I think it's good to keep him informed but not… that way." Potter crossed his arms over his chest and sat on Severus' empty chair, staring at the flames in the fireplace, trying to think of a solution.

"You look like an absolute moron when you try to use that minute brain of yours. How you passed auror training is anyone's guess. No doubt your dad being head auror helped with that." Severus scoffed, irritated once more.

"Bugger off, Snape." Potter rolled his eyes at him and looked about to insult him some more when he froze, his eyes widening and looking at him in a way that made Severus squirm deep inside. Any plan by James Potter meant nothing good for Severus Snape since they first laid eyes on each other.

"Umbridge, the minister, they don't want Harry trained in combat."

"Yes you said that." Severus said, narrowing his eyes at James.

"But Harry needs to know how to defend himself…" James said dismissively in a way that Severus just knew was a way to make his conclusion more dramatic.

"You and Miss Granger seem to be in agreement then." He said, not daring to look away from the suspicious looking pureblood.

"You're trained in combat, surely, to be in Voldemort's inner circle and in Dumbledore's service." Ah, there it was.

"No. Absolutely not." Severus said and shot to his feet, storming away from the ghost.

"Absolutely yes!" Potter followed.

"I am not training the boy as if he's some… soldier! He's only fifteen years old!" Severus snapped at Potter who looked conflicted but determined.

"I know that. But you've seen how useless Dumbledore was in protecting him! What if Harry had reacted any slower! What if those Dementors had given him the kiss?" Potter made a very valid point and Severus crossed his arms over his chest, shaking his head. "If it was anyone other than Dumbledore I'd say he was actually trying to get Harry killed!" The ghost protested and Severus shook his head.

"As if. Dumbledore would do anything to protect the boy. It was he that asked me to protect Harry." He said taking a deep breath. But all his training by his two mentors highlighted the many red flags that showed quite the opposite. "No! I cannot start doubting professor Dumbledore!" He insisted.

"Of course not... I trusted him with our lives, didn't I?" James said, sounding convinced of the headmaster's honesty, but his words sent a chill down Severus' spine that he tried to ignore.

Train the boy? Could he do that? "Perhaps… it's not… a terrible idea." He sighed, unable to believe he was agreeing with James Potter on this. "Fine. I will train the boy to defend himself."


Harry looked around as he snuck back toward the tower after the second DA meeting. He was just about to turn the corner on the third floor corridor when a hand grabbed him by the arm and yanked him behind a column and into the shadows.

Panic coursed through his veins.

The clicking of Umbridge's heels on the stone echoed louder than his heart in his ears and he saw the malicious woman walk straight past, missing him by seconds. Harry looked up to see that Snape had been the one to save him.

"Thanks…" He said surprised.

"Very careless, Potter. Give me one good reason why I shouldn't give you a detention for being out after hours?" Snape demanded. Somehow it was hard for Harry to feel intimidated by the threat when the other had just saved him from Umbridge.

"I, uh, I…"

"Eloquent as always. Next time have a valid explanation. Wouldn't want Umbridge to discover any illegal gatherings occurring, would we?"

Harry couldn't help it. He looked at the potions master stunned. How the heck had they been discovered already? It didn't make sense!

"How did you know?" He finally managed to force out.

"I have my sources." Snape said and looked at him as if in deep thought, as if trying to analyse something deep in his soul and Harry looked away, knowing that whatever the other was analysing he'd find some fault in it. It was Harry after all. The Dursleys had spent ten years of his life convincing him of his inadequacy. Snape had only helped to reinforce those words ever since he started at Hogwarts. But something had changed this year. "I have a proposition for you, Potter." Harry looked back up.

"A proposition?"

"The Dark Lord is back, we know it. Leaving you without education in Defence would be ridiculous." Harry looked shocked that the other came to the same conclusion so close to Hermione having done so and narrowed his eyes. Was the potions master… spying on him? "I have years of experience training under professor Dumbledore and a handful being trained by the Dark Lord. Against my better judgement… I'm offering to train you."

Harry was so busy wondering how the other had managed to spy on them that he'd stopped paying attention. "Wait, what?" He said rather stupidly.

Snape gave him a light smack to the back of the head. "Pay attention. I am offering to train you in Defence, Potter."

Harry opened his mouth to argue his disbelief. This had to be a trap, a trap to get him in bigger trouble. No, that didn't make sense. Not after everything the other had done for him so far.

His memory went to second year, how Snape wiped the floor with Lockhart without breaking a sweat. In fact, he did so without even loosing his stance. Harry had never admitted it, but he remembered thinking that Snape had looked very cool on that day. He could get training to be able to at least defend himself if he needed to.

"Yes, I'll do it." Harry said, unable to keep the eagerness from his voice. "When do we start?" He was determined not to let Umbridge or the stupid ministry win in making him absolutely useless. Then, if he became good enough, he could convince the Order to let him join in the summer.

"Tomorrow night. After class. Try and keep yourself out of detention." He warned him.

"It's not like I willingly try and get detentions." He argued. Snape began to glare at him and Harry huffed. "Yes, sir." He said, annoyance in his chest that he was put in a desperate enough situation to accept help from his most hated teacher. No matter how strange he was behaving this year.

Somehow he avoided detention. Somehow he got through Defence class without talking back to the horrid woman. He saw disappointment flicker in her face when she couldn't get a response out of him. The promise of training kept him docile the rest of the day.

As he entered the unused classroom Snape summoned him to, he looked around at the cleared out space. The tables and chairs were all lined up against the walls along with a couple of empty bookshelves. Everything looked like it had at least half a century of dust on it, except for the central area, which Snape probably had cleaned.

Speaking of Snape, he heard him muttering something to someone. Once more, there was no one with him when he walked in, but the potions master did quiet down. He turned to him and summoned Harry with a wave of his hand. A wand flick later and the door locked behind Harry.

"I have set protective wards around the room to block the sounds of spells from being overheard. Although we're not going to be using wands for a while." Snape said and came closer, closing a book he'd been browsing through.

"What are we going to do then?" Harry asked. Before Harry registered it, a fist was flying to his face. He closed his eyes and flinched, but the blow never reached him. Harry opened his eyes to see the fist having stopped half an inch from where his nose had been.

"We're going to fix your reflexes." Snape said simply and put his arm down. "That was a slow punch for me. It is something you should be able to avoid easily."

Slow? That was slow? "I thought I had pretty fast reflexes from Quiditch." He said, embarrassed. After all he reacted very fast during matches.

"Combat and Quidditch are two very different things." Snape said. Once more his fist flew to Harry and Harry's heart jumped and be closed his eyes, covering his face but not really moving out of the way. He growled and opened his eyes to see Snape having stopped in front of him once more. "I'm trained enough to be able to successfully stop before I hit you. Though there could always be an accident. You should know that before we start." He said.

"Not like DeathEaters are going to stop if they attack me." Harry said stepping away from Snape anyway. "But they also won't use their fists when they can use their wands."

"A valid point. Take out your wand, Potter." Snape said.

Harry pulled his wand out on Snape. A quick flick of Snape's wand. His own wand flew out of his hand. Snape's wand was inches away from his chest. Harry's heart raced at the other's speed.

"What are you going to do now, Potter? You've been disarmed and your enemy is a metre in front of you."

"That's not fair, I wasn't ready." Harry exclaimed. Snape lowered his wand and nodded.

"Exactly." Harry looked at his discarded wand and went to pick it up.

"Well… what would you do if you got disarmed?" He challenged. What would Snape do other than perhaps duck? Snape pondered his words and put his own wand down and stepped as far away from Harry as he would.

"I'm about three metres away from you. You're going to try and stun me before I get to you. Understood?" Harry nodded and gripped his wand tighter. Snape ran towards him and Harry aimed for him.

"Stupefy!" Snape jumped out of the way before the first syllable was spoken. In a speed Harry would never have imagined Snape having, he rolled towards him, knocked his legs from under him, physically yanked his wand out of his hands and pointed it at his chest.

Harry was vaguely aware of the bruise-like sensation on his behind from landing on it and the smug look of victory on Snape's face.

'That… was wicked.' It was the only thought Harry could register in that moment.