DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of it, JK Rowling and associates own all rights, no infringement intended, no money is being made, unfortunately.
WARNING; Pre-slash if you do not like do not read remember you have freedom of choice. Reviews appreciated but no flames those will be ignored.
PAIRINGS: HP/SS, GW/NL, RW/HrG
Chapter 21 Conversation with a Gryffindor
Snape had been relaxing in a hot shower his muscles tense from sitting in that damn chair all night when he felt the bond awaken urgently. He could sense Harry's feelings as they changed from calmness to an extreme agitation. As the sensation began to escalate, it began effecting his emotions and he could feel the bond urging him to get to Harry's side. Stepping out of the shower, he began cursing Potter, Dumbledore, the houseful of Gryffindors, and that stupid annoying anonymous voice; all he had wanted to do today was take a nice shower, have a good breakfast, then to brew some potions. It did not seem too much to ask for but no here we go again, somehow deep down he was sure that this was Albus's fault; it had to be. Tossing his head to get his wet hair out of his eyes he reached for a robe wondering what was going on now. Grabbing his wand off the counter he hurried to the next room and with a wave of his hand he activated the mirror. The sight of Harry trying to smash a window with Granger wrestling with him as she tried stopping him shocked him into stillness for a moment. With a snarl worthy of one of Longbottom's exploding cauldrons, he headed for the door on the side of the room since he did not feel like going out through the hall. Cursing violently he wondered how in the name of Merlin things had gone wrong in such a short amount of time.
Storming into the room, he headed straight for Harry and pulled him into a tight embrace. He could feel Harry's magic swirling around them and knew that he had to get it under control before things got out of hand or rather more out of hand. Keeping his voice low and soothing he began to speak, "You're okay, I'm here, Breathe, I have you, You're safe," he repeated the words over and over while stroking his hair in a steady motion. At the same time on a different level, he began pushing feelings of security and caring across the bond. Taking the calming draught that Dobby had brought him unasked he carefully poured it down Harry's throat. He did not know what had caused the distress and Granger was the last person he would have said that would upset Potter so much. He could feel Harry leaning more of his weight on him and tightened his hold fractionally. He ignored the feeling it gave him to know that Harry trusted him so much knowing it was just the bond. "Sleepy" he asked quietly as he continued his soothing touch. At Harry's nod, he asked "ready to go back to bed." He somehow managed to keep his face blank but was unable to prevent his chest moving in a soundless chuckle at Harry's negative shake. Foolish boy could barely stand and that was only due to his support, he shook his head in amused disgust, 'Gryffindors'.
Knowing he had an audience, he was reluctant to show any weakness but they could not stay standing there forever. He could see Granger watching them but there was no condemnation in her face just a strange satisfaction. Okay let us see how she takes this then he thought with a bit of a smirk. If nothing else, he could at least count on her to keep her mouth shut. He needed to get Harry to bed and the only way to do that was to carry him. He ignored the little voice that said, "Never heard of Mobilus Corpus?" As he swung Harry into his arms he was once again dismayed at how light he was, damn those Dursley's he would have to pay them a visit soon. After trying and failing to set his Gryffindor on the bed, he sank down onto the sofa carefully arranging Harry on the seat next to him. No matter how good it felt to have him in his arms, there was no way that Harry would have accepted that once he regained his senses no matter how well they seemed to be getting along. He also decided to ignore for now the fact that he had been calling Potter by his first name for a while. It was probably due to stress. He listened as Granger explained what had happened.
After describing the events, she said, "Sir, I never intended for things to escalate the way they did. According to most of the sources I read, he should not have reached this stage yet. I expected him to continue the passive behaviour he has been exhibiting; there is also the way he has been denying that something out of his control was happening with his relatives. Another possibility was he would try his usual behaviour of admitting something had happened but he was perfectly fine. I believed that it would take many conversations where we dug into what his family had done to him and why they did it before he would start to lash out. When I realized where the conversation was going I did what was suggested and let him bring it to the surface by not letting him redirect the conversation. I was not aggressive but I kept him on track then he blew up. Somehow I think this is just one of those things that happen to Harry."
Snape nodded, Merlin could not the boy do anything normally. "Part of the problem lays in his Gryffindorish tendencies to accept the blame for things he has not done or as he sees it failed to do".
"You do realize that you are having a normal conversation with one of those Gryffindors that you constantly deride and it has not killed you. Amazing isn't it?"
Ignoring the voice Snape continued, "What he said will of course have to be addressed however I do not feel that it is something the entire household needs to know regardless of their relationship with him." Here he could not help the traditional sneer at the thought all those Gryffindors.
"I agree sir, Harry is a very private person, or as private as he can be everything considered, I thought maybe that the person he talks to should pass on the information to you, Professor Lupin and possibly Madame Pomfrey. You three will have the major role in his care and treatment and should be aware of every thing."
They turned to watch Harry has he moved restlessly, it seemed to Hermione that he was trying to get closer to Snape managing to get one arm across the front of him and turning his head so he almost lay across Snape's chest. She kept her face neutral as she watched Snape carefully re-arranging the blanket around Harry making sure he was completely covered. She never thought would have believed that Snape could cuddle with anyone much less with Harry Potter. Coughing to hide the giggles that were threatening to rise she continued speaking. "I was thinking that we would borrow a pensieve and use that for those of us that he speaks to outside the main circle. I also think that he needs to put some of his memories in as well and observe them with an outside observer. He needs to see that yes he made some hasty decisions and some were not the best decisions; but that once involved he did more then anyone could have expected of him. He did the best he could to keep others alive and he cannot change those decisions." Looking at Harry who seemed to be asleep she leaned forward and whispered, "Department of Mysteries and the Tournament for starters".
Straightening in her seat she smiled sadly at her friend, "Harry has no clue that what he has done is beyond the capability of the average 16 year old. The only reason he did not do more is that he just did not have the experience of say an Auror or even you or Professor Lupin; put any of the rest of us in his place and the consequences would have been catastrophic for us and for the wizarding world. That is just one of the things we have to pound into his head."
Rising Hermione made her way to the door where she paused, "Sir I think there are 3 possible reasons for Harry reacting the way he is:" here she pointed at the way he was laying up against Snape. She began ticking them off on her fingers.
The abuse was not as bad as we feared and there is very little trauma to deal with. Highly unlikely I am sure.
The abuse was as bad as we feared but he is one of the one in a thousand that is capable of pulling themselves together with little or no help. While this is not the most likely of possibilities, this is Harry after all.
The third alternative and the most likely is that the bond is affecting his behaviour by adapting and changing his emotions to help him deal with this crisis.
Snape frowned at her "What do you mean, I swore the oath not him! It should not be changing anything in him, the only thing that he should be doing is deciding the level of the bond."
"I know sir, but the bond could be affecting his behaviour to help him, especially in regards to his personality, lifestyle, and upbringing. The bond senses that there is a problem and is trying to fix it."
"Miss Granger what are you babbling about and for Merlin's sake sit down. You're giving me a headache." He rubbed the bridge of his nose in exasperation; he was not up to dealing with Gryffindor's this early in the morning.
Hermione made her way back to the chair and since her stomach was growling caller for Dobby. When he appeared, she asked for tea and scones for her and Snape figured that would hold them until they had a chance to eat. "Sir I have done a lot of reading since I found out about your oath." Ignoring the roll of the eyes, something she was used to from Harry and Ron she continued in a contemplative tone of voice. "In most cases the bond begins to take effect immediately this has been documented especially in cases of very young children who need the affection and trust of a parent." She could not help but notice the bleak look that appeared momentarily in the eyes of her least favourite teacher which made her sure that she was on the right track. "In your case the situation is different; Harry is no child and does not need a parent. According to Professor Lupin, your oath was to protect Harry. You did not put any parameters on that statement correct?"
Snape had not been able to hold the roll of his eyes at Granger's statement, as if she would do anything else. He abruptly decided to let Dobby leave some of his books in Potter's room accidentally. Taking a sip of tea to hide his confusion he answered her question wondering where she was going with the line of questions. "I believe that my actual oath was that I would be there for him and that I would protect him. I set no parameters because I had no intention of swearing an oath."
Snape was surprised to feel a small sensation of depression and hurt began to grow and quickly traced it to the bond. "I had already decided that he would be put in my care due to the circumstances. As much as Potter and I fought and will probably continue to fight, I would never have let him continue to be in that home with those cretins. No one has the right to hurt a child and here was one under my care being hurt for who he was; there was no way I would let that continue." The feeling eased slightly at these words but still lingered. He decided that despite appearances the brat was awake and listening, how awake he was not sure but definitely aware enough to be hurt by the conversation. He tightened his arm around the brat sending feelings of reassurance down the bond as he waited for Granger to continue.
"The way I understand it the bond is decided by the needs of the other party in this case Harry. The one thing that he wants more then anything else in the world is someone who cares enough about him to see him, not his father's son, not his mother's sacrifice, not the Boy-Who-Lived, not the youngest seeker in a century, just Harry. Harry needs to know that someone is willing to put him first. As important as he is to me, to Ron and his family, Professor Lupin, the headmaster, none of us put him first. While Professor Lupin cares for him, he is too tangled up in his past to care enough. I have my family to worry about since they are Muggles; Ron has his family all of which are in dangerous occupations. Mr. & Mrs. Weasley adore him but they have seven children to watch, the headmaster forgets that he is not some perfect saviour able to kill the villain and return to his everyday life with no problems not to mention he is so busy looking at the big picture that he forgets we are all real people not chess pieces." Here she paused because her voice had been rising towards the end, she had not realized that she was that annoyed with the headmaster.
Taking a sip of tea to calm herself she continued, "While I have to admit you would not have been my first choice to help you are in fact perfect for the job. You have no immediate family and are not currently involved with anyone at this time correct." She winced slightly at the glare and sharp nod she received, "I know that that this seems highly personal to be asking but what I am trying to say is that you would not suffer a conflict of interest by spending a lot of time with Harry. Your work as a spy means you have been in plenty of dangerous situations and have faced horrors that most people have never dreamed of. As head of Slytherin house, you have dealt with children with issues involving abuse or neglect. You have the cunning and self-preservation of a Slytherin and the judgement of an adult this will temper his boldness and impulsive nature. You have the strengths to offset his weaknesses and he has the strengths to offset yours." She gave him a smug smile as his glare intensified. He would be good for Harry and Harry would be good for him. Why he had not insulted her in 5 minutes and was actually holding a civilized conversation with a Gryffindor. She did wonder if he had realized that the changes were affecting him as well not that he would ever admit it of course.
"Harry of course is not the most observant of people when it comes to how people are feeling about him. He does not seem to realize just how many of the students male and female stare at him because they find him attractive. Between Quidditch and the constant duelling, he does have a very nice body, eyes that any girl would kill for and a mouth that is just begging to be kissed. To top it all off he is sweet and protective." She hastily took a bite of scone making a production of it to hide the giggles. The glare Snape had given her felt as if it could scorch her. The look in his eyes gave her the shivers. "The problem is that he is so innocent about people's motives, he believes in people that he knows, and he is ripe for disaster. Some of his friends have done their best to keep some of the more aggressive boys and girls away from him but it is getting harder to do. He needs someone to love that he can depend on, someone that can lend him a shoulder or give him a kick in the ass when needed. I am worried that one of these days he is going to be tricked into some kind of marriage contract because of his kind heart."
Okay time to change the subject because she was not sure that the Snape was not ready to go off and hex some poor student. She had a feeling he knew exactly whom she was talking about, not that they had been subtle. The only one that missed the signs was Harry. "Anyway as I was saying before I got sidetracked, he will need your help to understand what information the bond is sending him. In addition, of course Harry being Harry you will need to reassure him that you have no protest to the bond. If you did, you would never have done it in the first place."
"When you two are ready for breakfast ask for Dobby. One of us will be available to stay with Harry anytime you need us to but I believe that as fast as the bond is maturing that you two need to spend some time together. Right now, you are probably the best judge of how much he can handle mentally, physically and emotionally. I will explain to the others so that the interruptions will be kept to a minimum. We have 3 ½ weeks until you need to leave to prepare for school. By that time, we should have a better idea of the strength and type of the bond. Ideally, he needs a few days of focussing on rest and healing before dealing with any more issues but this is Harry. I will not let anyone cancel the charm since he needs to heal completely and he has proven to not be the best judge of that. I will send in Dobby with a change of clothes for you sir." With a smirk worthy of Salazar Slytherin she rose to her feet and made her way quickly to the door, "Oh by the way I don't know if you are aware of it but Harry is bi, he feels that the gender should not matter." She quickly slid out of the door before the irate Professor could hex her. She never felt the subtle tinge of magic as she made her way down the hall, she could not wait to confirm her ideas with Ginny. Oh, life was going to get interesting.