"Oof!" Harry fell to the ground — again. It felt as if he had spent more time on the floor than on his feet this session.

"Abysmal, Potter. That was even worse than your normal, pitiful, effort." Snape glared down at the teen. "Up."

"Don't suppose you could give me a hand," grumbled Harry as he gingerly made his way to his feet.

"In case it has escaped your notice, Potter, I am training you for battle. I sincerely doubt that the Dark Lord will stop to give you a hand . Really, I am being far too generous."

"Bastard," Harry mumbled under his breath, not seeing the hex that knocked him — once again -- to the floor. He stayed there, not really able to think of a good reason to get up again; it seemed futile.

Snape reached down and grabbed his shirt, pulling him up to his feet. Harry swayed for a moment but remained upright.

"I find it frightening that the entire fate of the world rests on your shoulders," Snape snapped, raising his wand.

Harry managed to half-heartedly cast a shield-charm before the hex hit him this time, but he was too weak at this point to stop himself from colliding with the floor.

"I quit!" Harry made no move to get up.

"Pathetic, Potter." Snape turned on his heel and passed through the door into the kitchen.

Harry lay there for a few more minutes, debating if he should follow his former professor. He decided that Snape was probably waiting behind the door to throw a curse at him. He gradually became aware of the fact that the floor was not the most comfortable place to be. Painfully aware of his bruises, he carefully manoeuvred himself onto the sofa.

"Potter, you will eat!" Snape called from the kitchen.

Harry crossed his arms and sat back against the cushion.

"Potter, you are not seriously injured. You will come in here and eat, or the pain you are feeling now will be comparable to having a skinned knee. Do I make myself clear?"

Harry gave a muffled "clear as mud, sir" and extricated himself from the sofa. He raised his wand before pushing entering the kitchen, mildly surprised at the fact that Snape wasn't standing guard at the door but was rather sitting at the table eating a sandwich.

"You have five minutes; I suggest you eat quickly." Snape gestured to the food sitting on the table.

Harry lowered himself into the seat across from Snape and helped himself to a sandwich, deciding that he was rather hungry.

They ate in silence for the next five minutes precisely. Snape then pulled his chair out and cleared his spot, giving Harry a pointed look. Harry sighed and cleared his setting as well.

"I have come a little further in the development of the anti-Torqueo draught..."

They sat down and started to once again work out some more ideas for the potion.

"Honestly, Potter! How did you ever manage an 'E' on your O.W.L.s?" Snape slammed his quill down on the table. "A first-year knows better than to mix faerie wings with frog hearts!"

"Look, I'm trying!"

"I don't have time for your trying ," he spat. "Look, at your best, you are utterly incompetent. Today, though I don't know how, you have managed to exceed your own incompetency by leaps and bounds. Now, I don't know what is going through that empty head of yours, but you will get over it, and you will do it quickly."

"Yes, sir !" Harry all but shouted before he angrily started scratching away at his parchment again.

After he broke the tip of the quill three times, Snape snatched it from him. "That's enough. What is wrong with you?" he growled.

Harry said nothing and tried to grab the quill back from Snape.

"No. Whatever it is that is bothering you is impeding my ability to work. Now, either tell me what it is, or get out and don't come back."

Harry weighed his options, clenching his teeth. He finally decided that Snape was too invaluable a resource to dismiss over his childishness. "I am moving out of the Weasleys' and into the old headquarters this weekend," he ground out.

Snape's eyes narrowed. "Molly Weasley is letting you out of her sight?" he mock-gasped. "Really, did you even inform her?"

"It was her idea."

At this, Snape truly did look shocked. "Surely you jest. Molly Weasley loves you like a son. I saw the way she treated you two summers ago."

"Look, I overheard her talking to Ron about me. She wants me gone, and it isn't right of me to continue to mooch off them."

Snape raised an eyebrow. "The great Harry Potter is worried about inconveniencing someone?"

"She said she doesn't want me there any more. I don't like being a burden."

Snape had heard enough. His eyes bore into Harry's, and Harry felt the brush of Snape's mind against his. The conversation he had overheard the evening before played in his mind before he was able to block Snape out.

"You should keep your mind better guarded; I shouldn't have been able to get that much from you. Are you certain that was Mrs. Weasley you overheard?"

"Who else would it have been? Ron called her 'Mum'! And I know her voice."

"You are certain you weren't dreaming?"

"Of course I am!"

"Then I believe your choice was the correct one. If it continues to bother you, speak with the Weasleys about it. Now, if you are done sulking, I have a potion to complete." Something about Snape's tone was bothering Harry, but he let it go. Snape handed the quill back to Harry. "Now, do you think you can concentrate enough to be of a minimal amount of use? Good."

Harry opened a book and started to work out a possible formula on the parchment. He felt oddly lighter. He rubbed his scar absently, and soon the only sounds in the room were the scratchings of the quills.

Harry handed the parchment he was working on to Snape, who glanced over it. He compared the parchment he had written, and Harry watched the expression on his face. "Of course!" Snape tossed the parchments on the table and grabbed another book.

Harry just blinked as Snape seemed to get lost in the work he was doing.

"If I just... no, but that might..." Harry caught bits of Snape's mutterings.

Harry cleared his throat.

"Potter, you are dismissed. I will see you in two days. See that you are in a better frame of mind, or today will seem like a picnic."

With that, Snape gathered the parchment and books and walked into the room with the Floo, leaving a very confused Harry behind.