Harry shuffled his potatoes around on his plate, confused thoughts bouncing around in his head. His entire family – Sirius and Remus included – were seated around the table. They had chosen to dine in the Potter's rooms that day, with a delicious meal provided by the House Elves. But the meal was far from Harry's mind.
Instead, all he could think about was Snape's memory. The way that his father had shamelessly bullied the boy in his fifth year. And with the way they had been acting, that couldn't have been the only time that Snape had been bullied.
It made Harry sick, to think that his father and his father's friends, whom he had always looked up to even when they were still 'dead', had acted so like his bullying cousin. Harry could recount all the times that Dudley had run after him, his friends in tow, intent on beating Harry black and blue. Or all the times that Dudley had prevented Harry from having friends, or forming essential human connections. Harry's stomach curled sickeningly at the thought that James was like that, and he pushed his food away resolutely.
"Harry? Are you okay?" Lily's concerned eyes seemed to cut through him, as if she knew something was torturing Harry's mind.
"I'm fine," Harry muttered. "Just not hungry."
"Nonsense!" said Sirius jovially. "You're thin enough as it is – you need to eat up!"
Harry's stomach flipped again, thinking of the people who had made him thin. Mentally comparing them to his parents. His parents were good people, right?
"You look a little pale," said Lily. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"Like I said, I'm fine," said Harry, a note of aggravation entering his voice.
"You know, you say you're fine… but it seems like a lot of times you really aren't," said Remus, his voice deceptively light. "We can tell something's wrong, Harry. You just need to tell us."
Lily nodded encouragingly. Any other conversation had ceased at this point, and all of the adults were looking at Harry expectantly. Harry's first inclination was to simply deny it, to show them that he could take anything that was coming his way. But then he forcibly reminded himself that they were his parents, that he could tell them anything.
"I saw something today," he started, "that was a little… disturbing."
"Was it Sirius's live pants?" asked James. "Because if it was, I completely understand. It scares us all."
"No, no. Nothing like that," said Harry quickly. "I had an Occlumency lesson with Professor Snape today, and… well…" Here Harry hesitated. Did he really want to tell his parents that he had snooped in Snape's personal life?
"Professor Snape?" asked James.
Harry colored a little, but pushed on. "He had to leave to take care of something and left his pensieve in his office. I thought it might contain some information, something that could help out the Order, so I went in."
"What?" Lily shrieked. "You invaded his privacy?"
Harry tried to downplay it. "He wasn't that mad, he just kicked me out of his office. Anyways, what I saw –"
"He 'just' kicked you out of his office? Is he going to continue the lessons?" Lily leaned forward, staring deep into Harry's eyes. Harry found it hard to keep eye contact with her, shame burning in his stomach and making it turn and turn and turn.
"I don't think so, no. But I wanted to talk about what I saw…"
"So let me get this straight," Lily said, "you invaded Snape's private thoughts, and then proceeded to be banned from lessons from him."
"You're grounded," Lily said.
"What?" Harry yelped.
"Grounded," Lily nodded. "That was completely irresponsible of you. You're a teenager now, you should be able to distinguish between right and wrong."
Harry gaped at her. The burn of shame was beginning to turn into the hot flame of anger. "But what I saw –"
"And did you find any big secrets that would help the Order?" interrupted Lily.
"Well, no. But –"
"Of course you didn't! Professor Snape is a responsible adult who works extremely hard. He puts his life in danger every time he goes to a Death Eater meeting, and when he comes back, he gets treated like this? No respect and hatred from all sides? How is that fair? He tells everything to the Order. Of course you didn't find anything in there!"
The anger got hotter. "Mum, I need you to listen to me."
"No, you listen to me! You will march down to Professor Snape's office after dinner and apologize. You will ask him – beg, if need be – for him to resume the Occlumency lessons."
And just like that, the anger consumed him. Harry stood up, his chair scraping the floor loudly, as he stared down at his mother. "If you had listened to me, you would know that I what actually did see was pretty disturbing." Here Harry turned to his father and Sirius, both of whom were sitting there letting the argument play out. "It was a certain memory of two boys bullying Snape in their fifth year, after OWLs."
James and Sirius both paled a little, but Harry carried on. "And I don't appreciate being talked to like I'm a child. You're right, I'm a teenager – a teenager who survived years without any parents. You saunter back into my life and just take over – as if I'll just give in and accept everything that you say. How can you possibly expect me to listen to you when you weren't there for me?"
Lily looked stricken. "Harry, we couldn't be there for you. We died for you."
But Harry just shook his head in disgust. "I'm sorry, but you can't expect me just to take this. I have enough on my plate as it is."
But then Remus turned to him, a calculating look in his eye, and said, "You do, don't you, Harry? Have you told your parents yet what you're doing down in the Chamber?"
And Harry's entire body went cold.
A/N: Hey everyone! Sorry for the short chapter, but I thought that I should at least try to get something up. I know it's been a couple of years now since I last updated, and I'm really sorry for the long hiatus!
I've lost almost all of my passion for this story, especially after rereading it. In my opinion, the first twenty or so chapters are crap, if not all of the story. I wrote it when I was much younger and my writing was undeveloped. I've been toying with the idea of just rewriting it all, but I haven't decided yet.
I'll continue to try and update, but I make no guarantees. Thanks!