DISCLAIMER: Harry Potter and all related characters belong to J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., Scholastic Books, etc. I am merely borrowing them for my own twisted purposes.

WARNINGS: This story is slash, containing male/male relationships. If you find it offensive, then I suggest you go elsewhere. Post-Hogwarts and slightly AU.
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30 Days Guide to Finding Your True Love
Chapter 03 – One Fatal Mistake

By: Deranged Firefly

Studying theories behind Dark Arts proved to be harder than Harry thought. The book entitled A Simple and Basic Guide to Dark Arts was nothing simple or basic. It was about five inches thick and contained complex and complicated words that Harry didn't bother to understand. Only Hermione would enjoy something like this, he thought.

Suddenly, the door opened and in walked Snape looking like your everyday overgrown bat.

"Get up. We will begin your lessons."

"Ever heard of knocking?" Harry asked sarcastically. He was wearing nothing save for his pajama bottoms and was sitted Indian-style, the book on his lap.

Snape gave him a scathing look. "As far as I remember, Potter, this is my house and I can do whatever I please. I expect you downstairs in a minute."

He strode out of the room and Harry resisted the urge to throw the book at Snape.

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Harry came downstairs a five minutes later, fully dressed in Muggle jeans and shirt. It was quite a warm day and wearing wizard robes would be quite stifling and uncomfortable. He can't understand why Snape would choose to wear his teaching robes in a day like this but then, Snape was probably as cold as ice inside and out.

Snape motioned Harry to follow him and lead him at the back of the house towards a small garden outside. Aside from his potions, the garden had been Snape's pride and joy. In here, he grew different plants and herbs ranging from common to rare. Mostly they served their purpose as potions' ingredients. Fresh ingredients increase a potion's effectivity.

"At nine in the morning, every day, I expect you to be here. I won't tolerate tardiness as what you did a while ago. I have better things to do than trying to teach that puny brain of yours.

"Dark Arts is an extremely touchy subject, a reason why it is not part of Hogwart's curriculum. Most people believe that studying Dark Arts makes you an automatic candidate for the next Dark Lord. True that Dark Arts spells are used mainly to maim, hurt, torture, or even kill but it is the intent that makes the difference. For example, Professor Dumbledore would not have defeated the dark wizard Grindelwald without the use of Dark magic – don't act surprised, Potter – the world is not of fun and flowers as you like to believe. Let me demonstrate. Petrifucus Totalus."

The spell caught Harry off-guard. His body became as rigid and stiff as a board and he fell on the ground with a resounding thud. Severus seemed to be enjoying himself. It took him a few seconds to reverse the spell.

"Had I been the Dark Lord, I would have killed you in an instant."

"You suprised me. That's all." Harry replied trying to retain his dignity.

"And I suppose you think that the Dark Lord would have the courtesy of telling you what spell he is going to use on you?"

"Err... no."

"The Body-Bind Curse is considered one of the low level Dark spells. The spell may be relatively harmless but what if your oppenent decided to use the Killing Curse with little or no remorse. You'll be dead, defenceless.

"Today, I'm going to teach you how to cast the Decapitating Curse. I'm sure your Defence Against Dark Arts professor had mentioned it though you never even saw how it is casted."

Harry nodded.

With a wave of his wand, Snape conjured a human dummy made of straw with an uncanny likeness to Harry propped against a wooden pole.

"Décapiter." Snape aimed the spell at the dummy's right arm. The lower half of the arm twisted grotesquely before it was pulled out of the limb with force. The pieces of straw rustled as they scattered on the ground. It was not a pretty sight to see the spell casted on a living being. There was a mad gleam in Snape's eyes making Harry realize, not for the first time, that Snape wasn't a man to mess up with. He shuddered at the thought of Snape using the spell against him.

Snape made Harry practice the spell over and over for an hour. His first two attempts were pitiful as he only suceeded slightly moving the dummy's remaining arm. Using Dark magic was extremely taxing and took a lot of willpower. He found out that it gave the caster a certain amount of pleasure to find out he had the power to take lives. Harry now came to think of what kind of person Snape had been during his Death Eater days.

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After a hurried lunch between the two of them, Snape allowed Harry a thirty minutes' rest and then proceeded with his Occlumency lessons. This time, Harry was better prepared. He had spent his sixth and seventh year practicing how to clear his mind using a Muggle meditation technique called yoga. It was a good thing since it rid him of guilt-ridden thoughts regarding his godfather's death and reduced Voldemort-induced dreams. Of course, he had the occasional nightmares when his nemesis had been particularly trigger-happy with the Cruciatus Curse but that too lessen to bearable amounts. Now, in front of Snape, he cleared his mind by breathing steadily.

Snape raised his wand and cried, "LEGILIMENS!"

Harry made a mental wall in his mind, blocking Snape's entrance. He felt Snape try to probe around his mind and could feel his ward breaking. With inward strength, he pushed Snape out of his mind with such force that Snape was physically thrown backwards.

"Well, Potter, there is still hope for you after all." Snape was momentarily stunned but he regained his composure quickly enough.

Harry couldn't help but grin at Snape's backhanded compliment.

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The next few days had been an improvement for the two of them as they gradually learned to tolerate each other's presence. Even if Harry loathed Snape, he kept a grudging respect for the older man. He knew of Snape's position as a spy for the Order which was not an easy task. Though other people have doubts to where Snape's allegiance truly lie, Harry had come to trust him the same way Dumbledore does. For Severus' part, he secretly admired the younger wizard's abilities. Potter had lots of potential and could prove to anybody that he was worth more than a scar and a name if only he tried.

It had come to a point when Severus had finally allowed the Boy-who-Lived to help him in his laboratory. Help meaning Harry had to scrub used cauldrons, arrange the bottles of vile potions ingredients, or label the said bottles. Harry wasn't complaining but he couldn't understand why Snape would want to let him do those mundane tasks whereas the man had a house elf could very well do his job. Maybe its because Snape' is such a snarky git, a voice in his head said. And that was it.

Due to Dumbledore's insistence, Snape had researched on potions that may used against the Dark Lord. Many people think that Potions was an obscure branch of magic. One had to have a certain skill and patience to created potions not like Transfiguration or Charms where all you do is wave your wand and say foolish words. He had narrowed what he had researched into two choices: The Draught of Pur Coeur or Amorverdadero Potion. What was curious was that both of them were powerful aphrodisiacs or commonly known as love potions. These was forbidden according to the Ministry but Severus had a long list of illegal activities that these ones hardly count. The Draught of Pur Coeur's effects was swift and lethal but the potion was extremely hard to make even at Severus' skills. Its ingredients were rare and hard to find and it will take days to months before he could brew it. Amorvedadero Potion was easier to make but its effects was subtle and took a month or so to take effect. What Severus was trying to come up was a hybrid between the two potions that he knew would be so powerful.

It was already late in the evening. Severus was tired but he was still persisted on. He felt he had now come close to cracking the potion but he couldn't figure out the missing ingredient. He needed a look at the Amorvedadero Potion again. He turned to find his sole companion for two weeks now seated lazily at a chair.

"Give me that vial of pink liquid, Potter."

Harry frowned. Snape was better at ordering and bossing him around than the three Dursleys put together. He had just sat down after an hour of scrubbing a particularly big cauldron and he was dead tired. Now Snape wanted him to get something that he could have gotten himself.

"Either you get here or I'll throw it to you."

Snape glared at him menacingly. He had no time for games with the former Gryffindor. He opened his mouth to speak but a bottle already went sailing and crashed right in front of him. The contents splattered on his robes and face, drenching him with pink liquid.

"What have you done?" he hissed, his voice dangerously low. Harry never saw him this angry. His nostrils were flaring and Harry was almost positve that steam was coming coming out from Snape's ears. Snape's eyes was narrowed into two black slits.

"I... " Harry wasn't able to finish his sentence.

"GET OUT! Get out of my lab. Tomorrow you'll be out of my house. Still here? Don't make me use the Unforgivables on you."

When Potter sped out the room after the mention of the Unforgivables, Severus collapsed on the floor still drenched in the pink liquid. Potter had really done it this time! The vial had contained an unfinished sample of Amorverdadero. An illegal love potion in which the one contaminated with it had to be kissed by someone who loves the person within a month or die with a broken heart. It was commonly used in the Middle Ages to insolent girls who refused to marry. Even though he hadn't digested it, he knew that the effects were the same but at least it was less.

Finally, after having the strength to move, Snape went upstairs to make a call using his fireplace.

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"Dumbledore's Office!" He shouted over the green flames. A second later, Dumbledore's head appeared. He looked as if he had been roused from sleep. Upon seeing Severus' face, the old man seemed to lit up.

"What can I do for you, my boy?"

"Potter." Severus spat, the word filled with as much venom he could muster.

"Ah, so you two are finally getting along then?"

"I want him out of my house."

"How are his lessons going?" The headmaster acted as if he hadn't heard a thing.

Severus growled in frustration. Count on Albus to side with his Golden Boy or choose this moment to be temporarily deaf.

"Albus. I'm going to die in a month." There. Without theatrics. Of course, Severus knew he was going to die any moment soon. It was one of the 'perks' of being a spy. Once the Dark Lord knew of his treachery, one simple Avada Kedavra would end everything. He had long planned on an event like that. He had his Potions lessons planned and outline for the peruse of the next person to step in his place. Once he made his last breath, the Snape estate and his cottage was to be transferred to Dumbledore hands. But this one was a different case. He didn't want to die because of some stupid love potion.

Albus face grew serious and yet he never lost that damned twinkle of his.

"Tell me what happened."

Severus launched the story of the 'The Potion Incident' as he called it in a biased way. It was Potter's fault why he had come to this.

"Now Severus, I'm sure Harry hadn't meant that. It was an accident."

"Accident or not, he should have learned enough never throw bottles of potions like it was a Quaffle. I was right all along, he is really his father's son. I thought – " Severus abruptly stopped in mid-sentence. He was about to admit that Potter junior was no way like Potter senior. He was worse.

"I'm afraid I cannot have Harry moved out of your care. His life is very much in danger and getting him out of your place will leave him exposed for Voldemort to see. Severus, do this as one little favor for me. You know you're the closest thing I could have for a son."

"No Albus. Not this time. I want to spend my remaining days in peace."

Albus sighed deeply.

"Very well. You will be relieved of your Order duties. I want your resignation letter as a Potions professor by the next day. And I'll be sending you a tin of lemon drops as a going away present."

That bastard! Albus knew that Severus still held a tiny spark of hope that he will be saved from what the potion had condemned him. Severus wasn't about to give up easily. He knew he had no choice.

"Someday you'll pay for this." He threatened Albus while the old codger merely gave him a crooked smile, his twinkling eyes shoned somewhat brighter.

After the fire call, Severus went to his rooms to change wondering why he had to spend his remaining days with a Potter. Fate was really cruel to him.

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Next Chapter: Harry meets someone unexpected.

Author's Ramblings:
Décapiter – (Fr.) to decapitate
Pur Coeur – (Fr.) pure heart
Amor Verdadero – (Sp.) true love
Hmm... I don't trust my translations so please bear with me. I hope you enjoyed this chapter and I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to click the tiny little button called 'Go' and review my piece. Thanks for those who reviewed the previous chapter: ataraxis, Pilas, Fuzzy-Bumpkins, Halcyon, DaughterofDeath, Stella, and duchesscarml.