A/N – Sorry it took me so long to update and revise. I have an excuse, I swear! Oh, wait… None of you noticed? OK… Well, on with the story then!

Warnings – Slash, homosexual pairing, guy love, and all that yummy stuff. Love it or leave it.

Disclaimer – None of the characters or settings are mine. I do not wish to be sued.

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Chapter 3 = Lessons

"Are you insane?!?" Ron practically screamed at Harry, causing half the Gryffindor table to turn towards them. "You asked Snape for extra lessons? Why?"

Hermione looked confused and a little hurt. "Harry, I could've helped you with your homework."

"It's not that, Herm," Harry said. "I do fine with our written homework, and you already do help me with that. I meant lessons in making the potions, and you know that the only way I can get that kind of practice is with Snape." Hermione nodded with understanding.

Ron still looked a little shocked. He shook his head and asked, "But why?"

"Ron, did you forget that I want to be an Auror? For that I need extra help in potions." Ron opened his mouth to speak but Harry interrupted with, "I know Snape's bad, but I figure it's worth it, if it'll help me."

Harry picked up a bread roll, thinking the conversation was over. As he was spreading it with butter Ron questioned, "Didn't Moody scare you? He was an Auror and look at him; covered in scars and half insane. Doesn't it worry you that you might turn out like him? One-eyed and all?"

Hermione broke in and said, "Ron, that would be the least of his problems. Many Aurors have died within their first two years of employment. That should worry him more than a few scars."

"Thank you for the concern, but really," Harry shrugged. "It's not like I would want that to be my life-long job. I only want to be an Auror until Voldemort is out of power." Ron shivered slightly at the name. "After that I'd probably want to work here, with Hagrid. Or maybe as a D.A.D.A. teacher." The trio fell silent, as none were able to bring up the reality that Harry might not survive another encounter with Voldemort.

"Well," Hermione said, breaking the silence. "Back to the topic at hand. Are you sure about Snape?"

Harry grimaced, then sighed. " No, but its something I have to do." Ron was the first to change the subject to his favorite subject, Quidditch. The group talked as they ate, the awkward topic forgotten for the moment.

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The day passed much too quickly for Harry's tastes. Suddenly dinner had passed, and it was time to head down to the dungeons. Ron and Hermione wished him luck with pity as they separated.

Harry listened to his footsteps echo down the empty corridor. He swallowed nervously when he reached the door to his Potions classroom, but knocked determinedly.

"Enter," Harry heard through the door. He walked into the room to see Snape facing away from him, stirring a simmering blue potion. Snape ignored him as he continued adding ingredients to his concoction. Harry closed the door behind him and watched Snape. It was the most relaxed he had ever seen Snape. His shoulders were loose and his stance looked almost comfortable. Most of his stiffness seemed to have disappeared, and his hands appeared to be gentle, stirring the potion with ease…

"Potter!" Harry jumped, surprised. "Don't just stand there and stare, get me that jar of flabberworms," Snape said, pointing to a black jar on a shelf against the wall. Harry shook his head, wondering what was wrong with him, staring at Snape and thinking about his hands. He shrugged to himself and quickly obeyed Snape's order.

He handed the jar to Snape and asked curiously, "What's that?" Indicating the cauldron.

Snape glanced at him before answering. "It's an Egyptian sleeping potion. Now, why are you here, Potter?"

Harry sputtered, "I– You were- You're giving me extra lessons so I can be an Auror, remember?"

Snape raised a black eyebrow and said, "Yes, but I meant what you want extra lessons in. Finding and recognizing ingredients, studying for exams, making potions…? Or, knowing you, did you want help with everything?" Snape sneered at him.

"No, Sir," Harry said, his hands clenching at his sides. "I need help with making the potions. I understand it when we go over the directions in class, but when it's time to work alone…"

Snape smirked at Harry and turned back towards his cauldron. "Did you bring your potions text, Potter?"

Harry shook his head and, realizing Snape's back was facing him, answered, "No."

"I figured as much, but thought I'd ask out of courtesy." Snape's voice dripped with sarcasm. He continued to ignore the angered boy behind him as he added, "Go fetch one of the extra books from behind my desk and turn to chapter nine."

Hurrying to comply, Harry questioned, "But we're only on chapter two; it's the first day of school!" He bit his lip, regretting his question, and found the index to the chapter.

"You thought I would be giving you lessons from what we're learning in class, Potter? That would be unfair to the other students. Tsk." Snape scoffed at him. "Now, if you are confused in class, you will ask for help in class." Looking pointedly at Harry he continued. "You are here now to receive extra lessons, and that means starting with chapter nine. Are we clear on this, Potter?"

Harry nodded and replied, "Yes, Sir."

"Good. Turn to the second lesson in the chapter. Right. Now read that page and follow the directions. You'll find all the ingredients in the cabinet by my desk." Snape abruptly left Harry's side and returned to his desk. "After you're finished, you are to clean up. You will have a six inch essay on the history of this potion, its effects, and it's uses on my desk when we meet again on Wednesday." He searched Harry's face for a moment, then picked up a book and reclined in his chair.

How am I supposed to get better at this when he won't help me? Just tells me what to do and buries his nose in a book. Harry unclenched his teeth and set about finding the ingredients. Eye of newt, crushed tortoise shell, shredded pixie wing… Harry blanched as he read further down the list. It called for blood from the maker and he wondered how much blood was needed. He decided to ask Snape when he came to that part.

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"Um, Professor?" Snape looked up at the hesitant inquiry. Potter looked back at him blankly.

"Yes?" He asked expectantly. "What do you want, Potter?" Snape had almost thought that they were going to get through the entire hour without any interruptions from the boy. He'd obviously thought wrong.

Potter looked down at his book before saying, "The directions call for my blood…"

Sneering, Snape asked, "And the problem is…?"

He looked back up at his Professor and said, "It's just that I was wondering how much."

Snape sniggered slightly and said, "Shall I use a muggle analogy for you, Potter?"

The boy shrugged. "Ok."

"Well, if someone asks you for a screwdriver what kind do you get?"

Potter seemed surprised that he knew what a screwdriver was, let alone knew an analogy for his question. "You'd get a flat-head." He waited for Snape to finish.

"Right. And if they wanted a special one they'd ask for…?"

"A Phillips-head?"

Snape nodded his agreement. "Right again, Potter. Must be a record." A sneer. "Anyway, the same goes for potions calling for blood. If they want one drop, they'll just ask for blood. If it wants a specific amount, it will say so. Understand?"

Potter looked relieved when he said, "Yes, Sir." Thinking the problem resolved, Snape settled back into his seat. "Professor?"

This time Snape didn't even try to hold back his angry glare as he asked, "What do you want now, Potter?"

The boy at least had the decency to look sheepish as he answered, "I was wondering how I was supposed to get the blood out of me."

Snape sighed in exasperation and stood. He walked over to a floor cabinet and searched for a moment before standing and striding over to the boy. Potter unconsciously took a step back and tried to see what Snape held in his hands.

Snape looked impassively at him and ordered, "Come here." Potter obeyed cautiously. "Hold out your left hand, palms up."

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Harry was surprised and almost pulled back when Snape took his hand in his own. "Hold still," the older man demanded. Harry stood quietly as Snape took a cotton swab with alcohol and rubbed the tip of his forefinger. Having Snape hold his hand seemed strangely… Intimate. He was being unnaturally gentle with Harry.

I wish he'd hurry up, Harry thought; uncomfortable with how close they were. They were so close that he could distinguish Snape's scent. He smelled of spices and aloe and something else that Harry couldn't recognize. A very good blend indeed.

"Ow!" Harry was startled back into reality as a slight pain jabbed at his finger. Snape had pricked him with a needle while he'd been thinking. Must be the fumes in here, Harry thought absently as he watched a drop of red blood well up to the surface of his skin. Snape, still holding his hand, turned it so it was hovering over the potion, and squeezed. The drop became larger until it finally dripped free and fell into cauldron below. The potion hissed slightly before turning from a light green to a deep scarlet.

Snape abruptly released Harry's hand and said, "I must admit that I'm surprised, Potter. The potion looks as it should." Before Harry could even acknowledge that he'd just received a complement from Snape, the man added, "But looks can be deceiving, can't they? Now, ladle some of that into a beaker and clean up this mess." He indicated the table covered in excess waste. "Then you're free to go."

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Later that night Harry lay in bed thinking about his lesson with Snape. All in all he thought things went fairly well. Except for that part when Snape held his hand. He'd felt a little intoxicated by Snape's scent and hadn't realized what he was thinking. Again Harry dismissed it as the thick fumes in the room and snuggled deeper into his warm bedding. He'd think more about it when he wasn't so tired…

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A/N – Well that was fun. Did anyone understand my screwdriver analogy? Was it bad? I think there'll be some juicy lemons coming up soon if anybody is interested or needs to be forewarned, lol. Please R+R ! ! !