Category: General/Drama

Summary: Sometimes a few words are all it takes to change how you think of someone. And sometimes the one person you thought could never understand is the only person who can. Harry/Snape friendship

Spoilers: PS-OOTP

Disclaimer: Harry Potter and its characters/locales etc are not mine but remain the exclusive property of J.K. Rowing et al.

A/N:  This is the first of a mini-series of Harry/Snape friendship fics I've been writing. I know it starts similarly to a lot of post-OOTP fics of this type but I do have original ideas, just be patient please. It's also my first Harry Potter fic so feedback on this to allow me to tweak the others before posting would be great. Help on Snape's dialogue would be especially appreciated, but no flames please!

'Cursed creature!' Severus Snape hissed angrily at the snowy owl that had disturbed his silence. The owl seemed unperturbed and waited patiently for the professor to take the letter from her. Then, with a soft hoot, it flew out the open window, leaving him to return to the quiet. Unfortunately on unrolling the parchment he did nothing of the sort.

'Now he's not even content simply to torment me in term-time?!' The scrawl was instantly recognisable. It was one, after all, that he had spent five years writing over with scathing comments in green ink.

'Damn boy probably just thought of more reasons I was responsible for the mutt's death.'

Yet he scanned the text nonetheless, curiosity overweighing the desire to simply cast Incendio. What he read caused him to sit back heavily on his couch and reread it again slowly:

Professor Snape,

                        First off, I'm sorry for disturbing you during the holidays and I hope you'll forgive me enough to read this. I want to apologise for last year. I know you won't believe that I seriously mean this but I've had a lot of time to think this summer. I blamed myself what happened to Sirius and I took it out on you. As for the pensieve thing, I do honestly regret that. The only excuse I can make is that at the time I really did believe that the Order was hiding things from me that I needed to know. I went into your memories looking for these, not to invade your privacy. But I've been thinking about how terrified and furious I was when you mentioned using Veritaserum on me. I suppose you felt a million times worse seeing me in your memories. To make things clear I didn't mention what I saw to any students, not even Ron or Hermione. I did mention it to Sirius and Remus, but only because I was searching desperately for some reason for how they acted. Unfortunately neither had one. If it makes you feel any better, I think you probably had a point about my dad, but I'm not him. I've never bullied anyone just because they were there. Draco and me are different, it's a mutual hatred, and we don't fight four on one. Also, believe it or not, I've been bullied before and I know what its like to be harassed for no reason, remember my second and fourth years?  This isn't to say that I have a right to sympathy from you, just that I would never use information like that to my advantage; I know too well what it feels like. Finally, not that it helps, but I'm sorry for what they did, as well as for what I did. And I promise I won't tell anyone else, so don't worry about it.

                                                            Yours sincerely,

                                                                                    Harry Potter

'Well that wasn't exactly expected' he murmured.

It was one month after Potter's surprising declaration and this would be the first time Severus would see him since. Speaking to a large group of people who distrusted him wasn't the ideal setting for it but he obeyed the Headmaster. Dumbledore had called an Order meeting at 12 Grimmauld Place to allow him to outline what he had learnt and he decided to arrive early to talk to Harry about the next year. Opening the door he wondered at the lack of people. With a sigh that was almost relief he spotted Mrs Weasley.

 'Professor Snape! I'm sorry, I didn't hear you come in.'

'It's of no consequence.' He answered coolly. 'But I will admit it is unusual.'

'Oh I know, we're just having a minor crisis.' She replied in a rush.

'Surely it is either a crisis or it isn't. They're seldom minor.'

She laughed nervously.

'Well in that case it's not a crisis. But we have lost Harry.'

'I would have imagined that was impossible. The house is only so big. Unless he's left it?'

'No, no. The wards won't let anyone leave without the incantation. We just can't find where in the house he is.'

'Again, I must confess I find that unlikely.' At that point Hermione and Ron came down the stairs at a canter. Both pulled up abruptly, Hermione with a small squeak.

'Miss Granger, perhaps you can enlighten me. How exactly did you manage to lose Potter? Surely someone of your… abilities can cast a spell to find him? '

'Well…' she began carefully. 'We've been studying hard of course. And we were trying out some of next year's charms. The Obscure Sagit? Which works, of course you know this, almost like a secret-keeper or the Unplottable charms. So you can only be found by someone who knows where you are. We think maybe he's cast it.'

'Has Potter been acting in a manner which you find strange? Stranger than usual at any rate.' He watched Ron bristle with mild satisfaction but was still undoubtedly curious. Hermione placed a restraining hand on Ron's arm.

'He's been acting like someone in mourning. Which isn't at all strange. I suppose he hasn't been sleeping well, he's very quiet. But that's normal.'

'Much as I am loathe to call Potter quiet…So you taught a boy who's obviously troubled a charm that allows him to hide. Hardly the act of supposedly the most intelligent student in Hogwarts.' She blushed deeply and this time it was Ron who placed the calming hand. Snape wondered abstractly if the blatancy of the attraction was part of what had driven Potter to hide. The girl recovered and answered.

'We just wanted to be ready for next year. It's important that we stay focused, Harry especially. The charm could help him hide if necessary, which is more important than us being worried.'

He reluctantly inclined his head at the logic. But…

'He does own an invisibility cloak.'

'Which anyone can Accio if they know he's in the room.' she countered.

'Very well. The charm works so that if you look, genuinely believing him to be there, he will be revealed, yes?' She nodded and he went on.

'So why haven't you found him? You two should have the best idea of where he would be.'

'We've looked!' Ron exclaimed. 'In our room, the girl's room, all the living rooms and the kitchen. He's not easy to find.'

'You've looked in Black's room I assume?' he asked distractedly. At the confused expressions he refocused.

'No?' He shook his head and muttered, 'I'm surrounded by imbeciles.'

'The place is a practically a mausoleum.' Mrs Weasley explained. 'Remus won't let it be touched.'

'Which would be a very good reason for the boy to go there. Honestly woman…'

Ron was getting agitated again but Hermione nodded in sudden recognition.

'Of course. I'm sorry professor we weren't really thinking.'

'Apparently not.'

He walked up the stairs, with Mrs Weasley directing him to Sirius' room. Opening the door he looked towards the bed and a body flickered into focus. Harry was asleep with the duvet pulled to his face. His eyes had dark circles below them and tears clung to his lashes. Hermione and Mrs Weasley looked stricken but Ron moved towards Harry to wake him.

'Wait.' Snape halted him. 'There's no point in wakening him before the meeting.'

'We're going to the meeting?' Hermione asked.

'Professor Dumbledore has decided that, yes. You seem to end up in the middle of events anyway, no matter how hard those in authority try to prevent you.'

Hermione smiled carefully and Ron grinned but his mother sighed deeply. He felt an uncommon urge to reassure her.

'I assure you that you won't be involved in any operations. This is just to keep you informed.' They nodded and started to walk out, presumably to squeal together privately. As Hermione passed he put a hand out.

'Miss Granger, if you are to attend my class next year I would advise you to go beyond the set texts. Although I'm sure that's not something I need to tell you. Congratulations by the way.' At her confused look he continued.

'You topped the year. Draco is cursing you loudly to all and sundry.' She smiled brightly up at him in surprise and he favoured her with a slight softening of features. They left the room and Severus heard her excited murmurings as the two continued down the hall. Mrs Weasley smiled worriedly at him and walked out. He took parchment and quill from his pocket and wrote a brief note before leaving.

Harry woke up feeling, if not exactly well, then better than he had for some time. Curiously he picked up the scrap of parchment that had been laid carefully beside him.

Harry,

            I received your letter. Remember to clear your mind before sleeping and talk to Miss Granger about the books you should read. I'll see you in Occulmency and Potions next year. Congratulations on your O.W.L.s.

                                                                        Professor Snape

Breathing deeply as if some of the weight had been lifted from his shoulders Harry got up and walked downstairs. Entering the meeting room, which was now almost full, he threw an encouraging, if shy, smile towards the man who was tensely preparing his address. With a slight nod Severus acknowledged him, turned to his audience, and began to speak.

A/N 2. If anyone can give me a better ending I'd appreciate it. So was it okay or should I rethink before posting the next bit? Reviews are begged for!