When You Thought I Wasn't Looking
Disclaimer: Don't own anything but the plot.
Timeline/Spoilers: After OotP
Summary: Sequel to Second Sight. Harry takes another look at the Potions master he thought he knew.
Author Notes: Thank you everyone for all your wonderful reviews. This part would have come out much later had you not encouraged me to continue the story!
As to some skepticism I have received about the validity of the Dursley's starving Harry I have this to say. Vernon Dursley I think is rather too frightened of Harry's protectors (Moody etc.) to actually lay a hand on him. Petunia seems too weak of a person to try anything more than a slap. As for Dudley... Yes, I did write that he was beating up Harry, but he was not present for Moody's little threat and he believes (stupidly) that his father can protect him. Starvation seemed the sort of route that they would take if they were to hurt Harry. It's a rather passive action and cannot necessarily be blamed on them. They could claim Harry was so distraught he couldn't eat etc...
This story was originally archived as its own story after a great deal of confusion on the part of the reader I have moved it here. Although it is not truthfully the second chapter of Second Sight.
"Hold it the greatest sin to prefer existence to honor and for the sake of life to lose the reasons for living."
Waking up in the infirmary wasn't a new experience for me. Waking up and seeing Professor Snape sleeping in the chair next to me was.
For a moment confusion reigned. I struggled to remember what had happened.
Then it hit me. Hogwarts. I wasn't supposed to be there. It was summer vacation and I was supposed to be with the Dursley's. For a moment I felt a panic well inside of me. Had something happened at the Dursley's? For all I knew it was possible there had been another attack.
Deciding that information was more important to me than avoiding a snarky Professor I decided to wake up Snape.
I paused, my hand almost touching the man. I had never voluntarily touched him and I was vaguely disturbed when I did.
He was warm.
I suppose like everyone else I thought cold blood ran in his veins.
A brief touch and his eyes flashed open. Locked with mine and I froze. My hand still hovered near his and I pulled it back like a naughty child.
A pregnant pause and I opened my mouth to speak, but he abruptly raised a hand to stop me. With the jerk he motioned toward the door.
Dumbledore had arrived.
I was suddenly strangely glad that he hadn't been there when I'd woken up. His absence had allowed time to glimpse Snape without his Armour.
Snape stood and exchanged a brief word with Dumbledore before leaving the room abruptly.
Dumbledore then approached me and began the long, convoluted process of "not" explaining what had happened. All I managed to glean from the man was the fact that Snape had arrived at Hogwarts with me, unconscious, in tow.
I wasn't sure exactly what to say to that. What to think of this information, especially when Dumbledore mention in that offhand way of his that he had in no way told Snape to fetch me.
I was allowed to stay at Hogwarts for the remainder of the summer. It was the eighteenth of July and I couldn't have been happier. I was allowed to stay in the one place that I called "home".
Of course a week later I wasn't quite so excited. Most of the castle was locked up considering it was summertime and no one was around either. The only people that had stayed at Hogwarts for the summer were Dumbledore, Pomfrey, Filch and of course Snape.
Because of this I was really starved for some human company. Sure I occasionally had tea with Dumbledore, but he was a busy man and rarely had the time to indulge a child. I honestly didn't have any real desire to speak to Pomfrey and certainly none for Filch.
Snape on the other hand I wasn't sure about. Before this incident I wouldn't have even considered willingly placing myself in his company, but I found I couldn't understand why he had rescued me from the Dursley's.
So I took to watching the man, just a half glance here and a stolen look there. He didn't appear too different from the Snape I remembered.
Then one day it happened. I caught another rare glimpse of the man Snape kept hidden inside.
McGonagall had returned to Hogwarts after setting the affairs from her sister's death. She came into the great hall disheveled and obviously upset. If she was surprised at seeing me there she didn't show it. With a long exhausted sigh she plunked her body down in the chair next to Snape.
Snape, who was currently reading the paper, placed a cup of hot tea in front of McGonagall without even a second glance. A moment later he raised a single eyebrow in her direction, but she merely shook her head and he nodded in response.
I recognized the look on his face. It was the same look Ron or Hermione would give me after a particularly trying experience. Usually it was an experience that we weren't allowed to talk about. So we had learned to use the subtle language of raised eyebrows and meaningful gestures.
I saw the mute inquiry by Snape and McGonagall's equally slight response. He had asked her if she was all right, if she needed help.
Two days later when I was passing by McGonagall's quarters I saw him place something in front of her door. It was a vase with a single flower in it.
I waited around in the shadows until McGonagall returned to her quarters. When she saw what was there, her tired, drawn face lifted. She smiled a sad little smile, picked up the vase and entered her quarters.
I was curious and the next day when McGonagall offered to have to tea with me I accepted.
McGonagall and I chatted about mundane trivial things for awhile and then she smiled and told me she had requested my presence for a reason. She wanted to share with me the pictures of her sister. Through convoluted wizarding lineage I was in fact related to the woman.
She explained to me that her sister's name was named after a flower called an azalea. The very same type of flower that I had seen Snape deliver to McGonagall's quarters...
I suppose this incident only incited more curiosity in me. I wanted to understand this strange man that only rarely showed in the Professor.
So I watched.
A week passed before I caught another glance of the enigma. Former Professor Lupin arrived at Hogwarts wearing threadbare robes and a weary smile. Professor Snape appeared with the frothing goblet of wolfsbane and delivered it without a smile.
I waited in the shadows and wondered where Remus would go in order to transform. I would have offered my company, but he was not allowed to know I was not at the Dursley's.
Snape merely gestured for Remus to follow him. He was moving slowly enough, I noted, that Remus could sip the potion as well as walk. I followed at a safe distance and started in surprise at where they were.
Snape's private quarters. Emphasis on the word PRIVATE. I had never seen anyone enter Snape's chambers, or leave for that matter. That day with my very eyes I watched as he opened his home, at least for a few hours, to a man that had tried to kill him.
Perhaps Snape did this only because he wanted to be sure where exactly Remus was, or to watch the effects of his potion. Or maybe he wanted to confront a fear of werewolves. I certainly didn't know what possessed the man to open his door, but I wasn't complaining. Remus needed more companionship and security than the world was giving him.
More incidents began to appear before my very eyes. A small touch here, or a covert gesture here and slowly the man became more human. It was with no small amount of surprise that I realized that Snape made these gestures all the time. They were so small that I and no one else had ever even noticed. Now that I did notice I was fiercely curious. The problem lay in approaching the man, because he did in fact loathe my company.
Luckily an opportunity presented itself on my birthday.
I had gone to the kitchens in order to grab a bite to eat. Once there I was literally accosted by Dobby. He and all the other kitchen elves had a created a cake. An ENORMOUS cake. The words "Happy Birthday Harry" were written across the top and I smiled as I remembered the first cake I had ever received.
With a deep breath I blew out the candles.
With tears of happiness Dobby cut a slice so large even Hagrid would have blanched and placed it in front of me. I smiled a tad weakly. I didn't really have the stomach for cake just then. The idea that I was celebrating my birthday alone, again, was rather too depressing.
So I barely registered Dobby cutting another slice of the cake. That is until Dobby headed into the shadows of the kitchen and I realized I could discern the smoky outline of a figure standing there.
Then Dobby piped up and asked if a Mr. Snape would be wanting some of Mr. Potter's cake. The idea that Snape was lurking in the shadows yet again almost made me laugh, but I was too interested in the reply to actually do so.
Without a sound Snape materialized before me. He was as frighteningly imposing as always, but my opinion of him had changed and he did not grate against my nerves as he used to.
He didn't say a word, just picked up a fork and ate my cake with me. I realize how much that must have cost him. He hates sweet things and has commented on that more than once to Dumbledore, but he ate that cake with me.
Maybe he felt sorry for me. Or maybe he understood just what it was like to celebrate your birthday alone. I've never asked him the details of his change of heart towards me, I just appreciate it for what it is.
And that cake, I suppose, was the start of it all.
Two years later we could almost be labeled friends. If not that, than at least not enemies any longer.
He asked me one day what exactly made me change my mind about him. I smiled and told him, "You thought I wasn't looking..." He merely blinked at me. So I continued, my smile growing wider by the minute.