WARNINGS – OOTP SPOILERS

                        - (PRE) SLASH – SEVERUS/HARRY

DISCLAIMER: All characters/trademarked and copyrighted indicia are property of J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury, Scholastic and Warner Bros. I own my brain, the Harry Potter books and films I purchased and my computer (and some really rather fetching socks).

Rating – R for slashy nature, violence and icky images in future chapters.

Pairings – main: SS/HP side: HG/RW, DM/GW

Author's Notes/Summary – Was I the only one who, when they were reading this chapter, was screaming at Harry to apologise?  Started as a one-shot, but now is the beginnings of a fic thanks to bullying encouragement.

More than he would have liked, Harry though about Snape's memory of his father.

He thought about the cruel names and comments flung at Snape, who, he was able to admit, had done nothing to provoke it.

He thought about the active humiliation – the way his own father had tormented a person in the same way Dudley had him.

He thought about how like himself before he had learnt about his powers Snape had seemed.

He thought about the nickname – 'Snivellus'.  God, he knew it was so stupid, but even 'Scarhead' got to him sometimes.

And when he thought about it, even Malfoy wasn't that bad.  Yet.

It had been bad enough before his mother had interrupted, but how far would they have taken it?

He looked down at his hand.

"I must not tell lies."

Tossing and turning, he wondered if it was right to be using Sirius' house now that he was dead.

Well, technically it was his house now.  How bizarre.

Finally, admitting to himself that he wasn't able to sleep and wasn't likely to be able to any time soon, he got up, slipped on his slippers and quietly descended the stairs.

There was, unexpectedly, a light on in the kitchen.

When he pushed the door open, he found Snape and Moody sitting at the table in silence.

When they heard him, they looked up; one curiously, the other accusingly.

"I couldn't sleep," he muttered, going to the sink and filling the kettle up with water to boil.

Moody, looking at Snape with his good eye and Harry with the other, stood up.

"I'll go check on Tonks."

And he left.

Harry took a mug from the little wooden tree Mrs Weasley had brought, then, looking back at Snape, lifted another one and gesture questioningly with it to the tub of hot chocolate mix.

Surprisingly, Snape nodded, but only after raising his eyebrows derisively in mock shock.

The only sounds for a while were the water boiling in the kettle and then the tink of a spoon on ceramic.

Harry carried both mugs over to the table and pushed one over to Snape as he sat down, pulling his close and blowing on it before taking a tentative sip.

Deeming it too hot, he set it aside to cool, then ran his finger absently over his 'lies' scar.

"What does it say?"

Snape's voice, though low and not full of its usual malice, startled him badly, and the resultant jump made the hot liquid wobble precariously in the mugs.

He looked down at his hand as if to read it; as if it weren't burnt into his mind as well as scribed into his flesh.

"I must not tell lies."

Snape looked darkly contemplative.

"Why did you do it?"

Harry looked at him incredulously.  Did Snape think he'd willingly done it to himself?

"I… Umbridge.  Her detentions?  It was my punishment for telling the truth."

Snape took a sip of his drink.  Harry waited for the insult that was sure to come, but it never did.

"You never told Dumbledore."

It was more of a question than it seemed.

"He had other things to worry about."

Snape nodded and they lapsed into silence.

When Harry finished his drink, he rinsed and washed out his mug, leaving it to drip dry.

He got to the door, but turned back to Snape before he opened it, unconsciously fingering the scar on his hand again.

"Professor, I…"

Snape looked up, expression inscrutable.

"About your pensieve – I wanted to apologise."

Snape just stared at him.  Harry was grateful enough that he wasn't yelling to think much of his silence.

"I'm sorry.  Not just for invading your privacy, but for my father.  He never really had a chance to grow up, but I like to think that he would have if he had.  I'm sorry."

Snape kept staring.  Harry bent his head and turned to the door, putting his hand on the door handle.  Without turning around, he spoke again.

"I didn't laugh.  I… I would never laugh."

And with that he opened the door.  It was almost shut when Snape spoke again.

"Potter."

Harry let the door open a little and turned his head.

"We will continue with the occlumancy lessons beginning tomorrow afternoon.  I will come get you.  Practice tonight before you sleep."

Fighting an inexplicable urge to smile, Harry nodded.

"Thank you professor."

This time the door closed with no interruptions.

When he turned to go upstairs he found Moody standing at the bottom end of the corridor.

He stared at Harry for a while before nodding.

Harry nodded back and ascended the staircase.

Settling down into bed, Harry began to clear his mind.

Between that, the late hour, the hot chocolate and the strange feeling of peace in him, it wasn't long before he was asleep.

It took Snape a lot longer to succumb to unconsciousness that night.

XOX,

Mia Snape

To all those nice reviewers – yes, you got your way!

Anora – I pity your fingers and I'm glad you didn't have to put them through undue pain.

Too Lazy To Sign In – Ah, the lethargy these days!  Anyway, whoever you are, thank you for the kind words.  Sorry if I was unusually cruel!  Hopefully the next chapter made up for it.

Thanks also go to:

Stinky Stan

allison lightning

Audraniac

Facade

bluebird161221

HavenKane

Jeanne

Leah

Animegirl18 aka Hoshiko

Thanks for reviewing.