Snape paced restlessly in his room. Scrimegour had called through and asked to speak to Harry as soon as possible. The only problem was that Snape had no idea where his nephew was. He knew where he said he would be, where he should be, but not actually where he was. Scowling in frustration, Snape stalked out of his office. Draco had been studying in the library, where Harry had promised he and Weasley would be. Infuriated, he made his way to the History of Magic classroom, where he could talk to Hermione, the only third of the trio that he knew the whereabouts of. Knocking lightly on the door, he pushed it open. Upon his arrival, the students sat up straighter, elbowed sleeping friends, and pretended to frantically write notes. In all this movement, Snape's eyes caught the wide green eyes of the object of his search. A collective hush fell over the class as Snape's face hardened. Harry gulped, about the last time Harry saw Snape this angry was, no, he'd never seen Snape this angry.
"See you later guys." Harry whispered quietly, before standing, and walking towards his uncle. The trip back to the dungeons was made in complete silence. As soon as they reached the portrait, Snape ground out the password. Standing in the lounge, Harry waited for the yelling to start. But nothing happened. Looking up, Harry saw that Snape was just studying him, a disappointed look on his face.
"I'm…" Harry whispered, but stopped speaking when he saw his uncle shaking his head.
"I don't want to hear you apologise." Severus stated, his voice dangerously low, the first words Harry had heard him say since he had left his chambers early that morning. Harry nodded slowly to himself.
"Then what is it that you want?" A drop of water was slowly making its way down Harry's cheek. "Severus?"
"Do you even care?" Was the only response Harry received. Moving over to his sideboard, Snape poured himself a glass of Firewhisky, and downed it in one shot.
"Is that what you really think?" Harry whispered. "That I don't care?"
"How could I not?" Snape hissed back. "It appears to me that the only thing you care about is you, your ideas, your plans. What do you want to do Harry Potter? Alcohol, Dark Arts? I'm sure you haven't managed to find everything you wanted by simply ignoring the adults around you." Tears were freely flowing down Harry's face as he took in he defeated slump of his guardian's shoulders.
"It's not like that. Please you have to believe me. I promise, that's not what I want." Harry looked desperately into his uncle's eyes. "Please."
"Convince me Harry. I want to believe you, I do. But everything you have done over this past year tells me otherwise. You don't know how to follow orders, you don't think about your safety, you don't plan things through. You just, you see what you want, and you go for it, regardless of the consequences."
"I'll learn." Harry took a step forward. "Just give me a chance. I've got no where else to go." Snape's head snapped in his direction, and he reached out and firmly grasped Harry's shoulders.
"You'll never have to go Harry. I'll yell at you, ground you, make you clean cauldrons or pickle toads, but I'll never throw you out. Even if you became a Death Eater, or decided to work under Cornelius Fudge, I would never give up on you." Slowly leaning his head in, Harry rested his head against Severus' chest. The silence spread. Pulling back Harry looked up, cautiously.
"I've got some work I need to do. I suppose you have somewhere you want to run off to." Harry thought of his friends, and felt an uncomfortable slimy feeling in his stomach; he thought it might be guilt.
"Could I go with you?" Harry asked quietly. "I'm sure you'd have some cauldrons that need cleaning, toads that need pickling, something." Snape smiled sadly.
"I'm sure I could find something for you to pickle."
Several hours later a tentative knock was heard, before they heard the sound of the portrait opening and closing.
"Hello?" A voice called out.
"We're in the lab Draco." Snape called out. The door opened and the blonde haired boy walked in.
"Ah. Well I suppose that that explains why you missed dinner." Draco cast a worried look at Harry. Snape quickly looked at his watch, and lowered the flames of the potion he was making.
"We're done for tonight now. Harry, go clean up." Nodding Harry walked silently out of the room, Draco closely shadowing him. Dumping Harry's books, that Hermione had insisted he needed, Draco followed him into the bathroom, and watched as he started to run his potion stained hands under the water. Draco lifted himself onto the bench and turned to Harry.
"What happened? Are you alright? Hermione and the others came up to me, told me to see how you were, and to tell you that they're sorry. They were so worried when you missed dinner, and Snape wasn't there either. Ron started making up all these horrible scenarios like Snape was still yelling at you, or had finally managed to get you expelled, or had locked you up somewhere in the dungeons, where you'd rot for the rest of eternity, or until he saved you. So they decided that because I'd still be able to get in to see you, I'd be able to pass messages if need be. Apparently, Binns never even stopped lecturing through all the time after you left, when Ron and Ginny got into a whispered argument with Hermione and ended up leaving as well. They'd love to talk to you. Are you coming back to the dorms for anytime tonight?" Harry smiled lightly at the sheer amount of questions asked in the short amount of time.
"I'm going to stay here for a bit, but I'm fine." Harry chuckled slightly at Draco's raised eyebrow. "Honest"
"Yes." Draco replied sarcastically. "Because it's every student's dream to spend every minute of their day working in a potions lab, and the rest of their time under the supervision of their guardian. I can see why this is fine."
"I screwed up Draco. I'm staying. Say hi to the others for me will you." Finished with cleaning his face, arms and hands Harry walked out to the kitchen. Gently taking his seat, Harry picked lightly at his food.
"Are you joining us Draco?" Snape asked quietly. Harry didn't look up, but he heard the portrait open and close, before his guardian took a seat opposite him, and started to eat. Harry continued to pick at his food for several minutes before Snape put his fork down.
"You don't have to stay Harry. I'm sure your friends are worried." Harry nodded gently.
"I know. I just wanna stay here."
"You don't want to continue planning whatever it was that you had to go to History of Magic to talk about?" Harry shrugged. "Is it against school rules?" Harry looked intensely at his plate. "Is it illegal?" The silence slowly stretched, and the younger wizard finally looked up. "Harry!" Harry looked away again.
"It's not dangerous." Snape raised an eyebrow. "Well, not seriously dangerous."
"And that makes it alright does it? I can't believe Miss Granger has gone through with this."
"We did research, we're going to take this one step at a time, and we'll monitor each other."
"Monitor each other do what?"
"Do what, Harry?"
"We, well, we want to become Animagi. There was this potion in a book that we borrowed from Professor McGonagall, and then I made it one of times that you said I could practise in your lab, and that's what we were doing that period, we took the potion."
"And I assume that you were not planning to have adult supervision when you first transformed nor inform the Ministry when you did." Even though it wasn't a question, Harry nodded. "While I don't condone the former, the latter is a good idea." Harry looked up quickly.
"Really?" Snape nodded.
"While I was brewing I decided that I might step up our lessons. We're covering a lot in our weekly lessons, but I could teach you other things, how to assess the situation, ways to go about fighting in different situations, different ways to combine simple spells." Harry grinned brilliantly, a sight that, until that moment, Severus hadn't realised he missed.
"But why?" Harry asked. "Why would you go so far out of your way?"
"I hope that it will help us avoid these situations. Maybe if I taught you better ways to respond, you won't feel as if you're the only person that can solve the problem, and that you wouldn't have to rely on just hoping for something to happen. Maybe if I taught you different things, certain questionable things, and I showed you my faith in you, you might trust me enough to not lie to my face."
"I didn't mean to…"Harry started to explain, but was cut off by Severus.
"Of course you meant to. You can't accidentally look someone in the eyes and lie to them. You planned to, and it wasn't the first time either. I want you to be able to trust me enough to tell me your insane schemes, and believe that I will either support you, offer suggestions, or if I don't allow you to follow through with your scheme, understand that I do so for a good reason."
"I'll earn your trust back, I promise I will."
"I know you will Harry. You've been here all afternoon, and I know you're not here because you like slicing up tentacles. I have noticed." Harry smiled brightly.
"I think I'll go do some essays. Do you want me in the lounge?"
"I don't mind if you do it in your room Harry, I'm not going to watch you every minute of the day. Just make sure you get some sleep." Standing up, Harry made his way to his room.
"I'm sorry." Snape looked up, and was about to open his mouth. "No." Harry stilled his guardian's speech. "You keep giving me chances, and I keep letting you down. I'm going to make you proud of me, just you wait and see."