Disclaimer from the Prologue applies: All characters and the HP universe belong to JKR, we are only borrowing them for our entertainment.
Disclaimer 2: This is NOT MY STORY, it's a translation of Lilyanjudyth's original work written in Hungarian. I'm posting it here with her permission.
Chapter 13. Omniscience: Part 2.
Somehow Harry managed to remain standing, and after closing the door he fell down onto his bed, unconscious.
"Ah, my Lucius. That's wonderful. I knew I could trust you to obtain even such a rare ingredient. And how fortunate that Saint Mungo's should keep a stock." Harry commended the blond man enthusiastically, accepting the little wooden chest extended toward him.
Lucius bowed deeply after handing over the box.
"Can I be of service with anything else, my Lord?" he inquired reservedly, but Harry could sense the concealed curiosity that tinged the man's even voice. The prying, however censured, annoyed him and his fingers itched to punish the impudent servant. He needed to remind himself that he already had entertainment, and after all Lucius had just delivered what the others failed to.
"No, that is all. Now leave." He snapped the order that immediately removed the man from his presence. As soon as the death eater left the room, he walked through the back door swiftly, caressing the box in his hand.
The door led to a potions laboratory, and Harry in Voldemort's body walked straight to the sizeable cauldron occupying the center of the room. He barely spared a glance for the black-robed figure crumpled to the floor near the workbench. Regardless, a strong impulse to cast Avada on the shaking heap surged up in his mind. How dare the man fail him? How dare he deny Lord Voldemort?
But as his fingers trailed over the lock on the box, the lid snapped open revealing what he had been waiting for. The man on the floor chose this moment to release a wheezing breath, but Harry merely snorted in response, focused now on the potion in front of him. Carefully flicking his wand he added three small pinches worth of the powder from the box, satisfied as he watched the liquid swirl to an angry crimson.
"Must I remind you of your deadlines once more?" he demanded turning from the cauldron and leveling his wand at the figure still hunched on the floor.
Harry vaguely noted that the man struggling for every breath in front of him is the same black robed potions master who had promised to be around, should Harry have need of him. Yet in the dream Harry watches with delight as the figure groans.
"No…it will be done…tomorrow." Snape choked out, as wracking coughs seized his body.
"I hoped so." Harry answered raising Voldemort's wand. "But to remind you of your duties, Crucio."
He watched with delight as the potions master writhed on the floor, his back arching back in pain, and his teeth clenched against a flood of screams.
Harry bolted from his bed drenched in cold sweat. It took him a few moments to get his bearings, and several minutes passed, by the time he realized that he was still at Grimmauld place in complete safety.
He remembered the vague outlines of horrific dreams, in which he saw hundreds of people tortured and killed through Voldemort's eyes. Feeling sick, he recalled that he had personally executed several of them. Well, at least Voldemort did.
And Snape…he had the irrational urge to check on the man. Even though he knew that the memories were just that, past tortures, nothing to be concerned about now. The last time he saw the potions master, the man was healthy, if a bit over-tired. There was no need to dash into trouble just to reassure himself. The professor would immediately realize that Harry had misbehaved and stole one of his potions, and then he would surely loose the man's trust. Forever.
No, he needed to calm down and wash up first. Looking himself up and down Harry realized that he was still wearing his clothes from the day before. Wracking his brain trying to remember what exactly happened after he took the potion, he walked over to his trunk with the intention to dig out some fresh clothes. Leaning forward he soon realized that the potion's effects were not limited to inducing nasty visions. His knees nearly buckled as a wave of nausea hit him, and slowly straightening he tried to fight off the sensation, even as the room continued to reel around him.
He was grateful for the absence of Trenus, who would surely report his condition to the potions master, tattletale candle as he was. Slowly making it to the bathroom, he turned on the shower setting the temperature to cool.
Allowing the water to sooth away some tension, he stood there as images from Voldemort's memories kept assaulting him. He felt dirty, soiled by sharing the monster's thoughts and feelings. Harry stood under the cold water until he started shivering, then wrapping a towel around his waist he went to arrange the bed linen to look like he had slept peacefully.
Dressing quickly Harry stepped out to the hallway. There were an unexpected number of people walking around in the normally deserted mansion. Harry didn't recognize any of them, so he directed his steps toward the kitchen, hoping to find Snape there. Surprisingly along with the professor, Mrs. Weasley also sat at the table. Both adults appeared careworn, and Harry's morning nightmares were immediately forgotten in favor of real fears.
"Did something happen?" he croaked, startling both of the adults.
Mrs. Weasley jumped up immediately, engulfing Harry in one of her stereotypical hugs.
"Oh Harry! I'm so glad to see you!" She held him out at arms length to get a better look, and then continued with a sad smile. "No, nothing happened…their condition is unchanged."
Harry released a breath he hadn't realized he had been holding.
"I was afraid…that…" his voice broke, and he focused his eyes to the floor.
"No. Don't worry." Assured Molly, squeezing both of his shoulders. "Their life is not in danger. They are merely…sleeping." Molly glanced back at Snape before continuing. "But I must leave now. Take care, Harry."
He could only nod in response, as Mrs. Weasley bustled out, briefly looking back from the door.
"I visit them every day. Don't worry, everything that can be done is being done for them."
Harry looked up only to watch her retreating back, then walked to the dining table to take a seat.
He reached for the breadbasket to get a slice of toast and scooped some scrambled eggs onto his plate, all the while observing Snape from beneath his brow. The professor was poring over the Prophet, having poured himself a fresh cup of his usual morning tea. Seeing that clearly, the man was not suffering the effects of Voldemort's Cruciatus, Harry scoffed at himself for worrying. In fact, with newspaper in hand the professor appeared to be an entirely different person from the death eater that had crawled at his feet in the memories.
Harry knew the man as a spiteful, bullying teacher who abused his authority at every turn, and made Harry suffer since his very first potions class. Yet the person sitting in front of him looked neither like the death-eater-turned-spy, nor the bitter professor with sadistic tendencies. He appeared tired, worn thin by nights of experimenting and the weight of the wizarding world on his shoulders. His expressionless face revealed nothing, but his eyes shone with determination, underlined by dark smudges, the echoes of countless sleepless nights.
Harry didn't notice that his staring claimed the man's attention, distracting him from his newspaper.
"Mr. Potter, you look rather worse for wear." He said critically. "Did you not sleep?"
Harry broke off a piece of the toast he had been holding and sent one last guarded look at the professor. Feeling embarrassed for being caught staring, and afraid that the man may employ Legilimency and discover his night's activities, Harry was immediately on the defensive.
"Why does it matter? It's none of your business anyway." He said evenly as he stuffed his mouth with toast, pretending to be ravenous.
Snape raised his brows, and returned his focus to the paper.
"No. You are right of course." He said noncommittally. "I have only been looking out for your well-being since you set foot in Hogwarts. Naturally, I wouldn't care if your Gryffindor behavior pushed you into danger." Pausing for effect he pierced the boy with a pointed glare. "Again."
Memories of Snape disobeying and infuriating him flooded Harry's mind. Voldemort's thoughts surfaced, accompanied with the anger and irritation he felt at the dark-clad man in front of him. Harry breathed deeply, attempting to superimpose this morning's worry over the alien thoughts. He nearly succeeded, when memories of Snape taunting Sirius in this very kitchen slipped to the forefront. Slamming his fork down, Harry glared at the man calmly reading on the other side of the table.
"I don't know how many times you feel you must point out my idiocy." He questioned. "Yes, I know, if I had learnt Occlumency I would not have listened to Voldemort, and then Sirius would still be alive."
Snape lowered his paper to look at the heavily breathing boy, who cast down his eyes and began observing the tabletop with seemingly acute interest.
"Certainly." Came the professor's measured response, as the man leaned slightly forward, all the while leveling his intense gaze at the red-faced boy. "And had I taken my promise to get to know you before judging your character, we would not be here either. But when your temper tantrum's so effectively call forth the memory of your sainted father, I have a hard time returning your insults with civility, you understand."
Harry sat there for a moment agape, trying to process what he heard.
"A promise?" he finally managed to ask, still not comprehending. Snape had not only implied that he had been trying to act civil toward Harry, but also came very close to openly admitting his responsibility in Sirius' death.
"Indeed, Potter," he returned scathingly. "I'm sitting here with you because of the manipulations of an old man. Ever since Black died, I have kept a close eye on you, as the Headmaster was reluctant to do so." The professor paused feigning like he was faced with a difficult puzzle. "His decision may have had something to do with the complete destruction of his office furniture at your able hands…"
The last sentence had Harry blushing so fiercely that he decided to take a closer look at his breakfast scramble. His nausea returned full force as soon as he lifted the fork and a whiff of the smell reached his nostrils. Ignoring his food in favor of a cup of tea, he reluctantly recalled that even though the school year had started miserably for him, it had not been Snape's fault this time.
In fact, the professor let slip several of his misdeeds in potions class. And while he did assign many detentions, none of them were with Filtch. Seeing it in a different light, Harry realized that they allowed the potions master to keep a closer eye on him. His grimace at the thought seemed to prompt Snape into further admissions.
"As hard as it is for me to believe, you are not nearly comparable to your father," he continued quietly, clearing his throat. "Albus is usually right, and I do see it now. He was correct when pointing out our resemblance in face of my protestations against teaching you last year. I'm not blind enough to deny that I have unfairly judged you as an arrogant, spoilt child."
Harry felt acutely uncomfortable hearing the professor's words. Yet, he found it hard to believe that the man, who had spent five years torturing and humiliating him in school, had done it due to a misunderstanding. Deciding to voice his doubts, he raised his eyes to the professor's face.
"Why should I believe that you have been watching out for me?" he asked, surprised that his words came out with such vehemence. "Each time you saw me in the hallway, and every time I dared to take a breath in potions class you did nothing but belittled me and humiliated me in front of my friends!"
Snape leaned back and crossed his arms before delivering his answer.
"As I've said, memories of you father are all too easy to call forth. You resemble him greatly, at least in appearance…and some memories are hard to forget." The professor said obligingly. "There are many things in my past, which I prefer not to talk about. Among them are several ignominies I have suffered at your father's hands. In addition to the ones you already are aware of." He added at Harry's questioning look.
Harry was about to inquire of the nature of these events, but taking a closer look at the man's face he realized that it must have cost tremendous effort for the professor to share this much.
He returned to his barely-touched breakfast with a sigh, as the mention of his father's past behavior added to the guilt he already felt. Harry slowly managed to swallow one bite of the scramble, but he felt too queasy to attempt another forkful.
Trenus decided to join them at his moment, and Harry used his entrance as a cover to push his plate aside. With no distraction, his mind immediately wandered back to the tortures he dreamt of.
"Potter!" he heard Snape call out, as the man snapped his fingers an inch from his face. "Did you hear me?"
Harry refocused his eyes with some effort.
"I'm sorry, sir, but I didn't." he admitted quietly.
"Potter," the man repeated. "I asked whether you felt up to assisting me in the lab, assuming you have nothing better to do… I need to prepare several ingredients for the next round of testing."
"Of course." Came the instantaneous reply as the boy immediately jumped up from the table. He gulped down the last of his tea, while Snape stood and cleared away the leftovers with a swish of his wand.
"I just arrived, and both of you have to leave less then a minute after?" whined Trenus from the corner of the table.
"Yes, and make sure you don't follow us, the lab is no place for an irritating candle." Cut in Harry, before Snape could reply. "You would probably annoy me into exploding this entire place."
"For once I agree with Potter." Harry heard Snape announce, while he already took off toward the lab. "Stay here, and find some other way to entertain yourself."
A/N.: Thanks for everyone who's reading. And special thanks for all who reviewed. I will try to get the next chapter up in a timely fashion.