Chapter Eighteen - The Scientist
"Can we go to Hogsmeade this afternoon and meet up with Ron and Hermione?" Harry asked Snape hesitantly. The headmaster seemed intent on a quiet weekend afternoon of potion-making.
Snape snorted, "Absolutely not. I don't know about you Potter, but I'd like to survive until summertime."
"Right," Harry replied, wondering why he had even bothered to ask. He looked across the room to where Snape was carefully titrating a foggy potion. His intense black eyes got caught in Harry's momentarily but quickly refocused themselves on the task at hand.
"Listen, what am I supposed to call you now?" Harry wondered awkwardly.
"What do you mean?" Snape replied, genuinely confused at first. He was absorbed in his work.
"Da-" Harry ventured.
"Absolutely not," Snape snapped, "How many times do I have to remind you that you are not the fruit of my loins? You may call me Professor Snape, as you have always done, Potter. No affectionate embellishments are necessary."
Severus frowned. The boy almost seemed eager, God forbid, to embrace him as his father. He wasn't quite ready for that yet. It had only been two hours.
Harry groaned suddenly, throwing his head back against the dungeon wall.
Snape rolled his eyes at such unwarranted teenage theatrics.
"Listen, Potter, I know you're probably getting cabin fever, but—"
"Severus Snape," the boy almost hissed, "You have betrayed me."
"WHAT?! Betray? You?" Snape hollered, approaching the child where he sat, "Do you have any idea...?!"
Harry looked up at his new parent, his green eyes filled with pure odium. The boy's scar was pulsating, almost blazing.
"OH! Oh my God! Harry! Close your mind, boy! Drive him out, for all our sakes!" Snape suddenly understood that it wasn't Harry speaking.
"Son of a mudblood!" Harry shrieked uncharacteristically, lunging at his headmaster.
Instead of evading him, Snape caught him in his strong arms.
"Foolish boy! Foolish boy… Close your mind, Potter! Foolish…too much time…playing Quidditch, breaking rules…." Snape wrestled the writhing, screeching child as the possessed brat tried to choke him, "Harry Potter…I swear…"
"Damn you!" Harry roared wildly.
"Damn you!" Snape snorted, almost amused at this attempt on his life, "You're too short to reach my neck."
Harry's violent movements slowed, and a moment later he was only clutching onto Snape's robes tightly.
"What just happened?" Harry asked, perplexed, as he broke away from Snape's hold.
"The Dark Lord decided to pay us a little visit… compliments of you," Snape said softly, "Do you have any idea…how this might have happened?"
"Oh no…" Harry realized, his heart sinking, "I'm really sorry, professor. I just never got the hang of that Occlumency…thing."
"Well, I am telling you, Potter, that that Occlumency thing--as you call it-- might have saved my life tonight if you weren't such an equally pathetic assassin," Snape eyed Harry reprovingly.
"I tried to kill you?" Harry asked quietly, suddenly scared of himself.
"No, Potter, the Dark Lord tried to kill me," Snape retorted softly, "there is a difference…however subtle." He sneered.
"It might as well have been me," Harry shook his head, "I haven't been working hard enough. Really, it's my fault."
Snape hesitated. Whenever the boy said that so self-loathingly he felt compelled to reassure him.
"Well, you did manage to drive him out eventually," Snape reminded him calmly, "Good job, actually."
Harry looked at him, doubtful. It wasn't like Snape to give out compliments, especially when they weren't deserved.
Severus quickly patted Harry on the shoulder against his better judgment.
"I'll try harder next time, I promise," Harry said, making eye contact with his guardian.
Snape smirked at Harry's bigheartedness, "See that you do. Now, Potter, would you like to assist me in brewing some more Dreamless Sleeping Draught? I'll teach you how. It is something that you ought to know how to do."
Harry could not help but to laugh at Snape's innocent enthusiasm when it came to potions.
"I would like nothing more," he responded sarcastically.
"Cheek," Snape's voice raised dangerously, "Next time, say it like you mean it, Potter."