Occlumency is on Monday
A/N: I wanted to get this up tonight. There might be a few kinks here and there, I'll fix them later
Something needed to be said about last week's incident, Snape thought to himself. He really did not need to visit that again and he doubted Potter wanted that any more than he did. He also needed to, how had Dumbledore put it? 'Invite the boy for tea?' Well, that was certainly out of the question. He was not about to invite Potter to tea. The utter idea of it was outrageous. Get to know the boy, he says. What is there to know? Snape thought irritably. I know all I ever need to know about Potter.
Even if his assumptions as false (which, for our information, were not), what was the point in 'improving' their 'relationship'? BLASTED IT ALL! Must that man intervene in everything?
"I spoke with the headmaster regarding last week's incident," Snape started and Harry immediately stiffened. Oh no not that again, the Gryffindor despaired.
"Oh," Harry gulped and hung his head low. Was Dumbledore mad at him? Was he disappointed? Ashamed? But the headmaster hadn't said anything to him about it. In fact, Dumbledore hadn't changed his attitude towards Harry; was that good or bad?
"Professor Dumbledore believes that you will learn faster if the environment was less hostile."
Snape raised a single eyebrow. "Eloquent, Potter. He insists that you and I start to get along."
"Like that's going to happen," Harry scoffed and was horrified to discover that he had said it out loud. He hurried to explain himself. "I mean...I meant, I didn't mean."
The corner of Snape' lips twitched at Harry's comment and clear panic. "I think that you may be correct for once, Mr. Potter. I happen to agree with you this time."
Harry stared at Snape wide-eyed and bewildered. "You...you do?"
"The possibility of us getting along equals the possibility of you ever achieving an O in potions. Quite impossible, you see?"
Right, thought Harry, scowling. Thanks for the comparison; like I needed that reference.
"Be as it may, as your professor and superior, you will show me more respect," Snape admonish in a no nonsense tone.
Harry wanted to glare at Snape again. Wasn't that what he'd been trying to do all year? Hadn't he been trying to ignore Snape's gibes and jeers? How was he supposed to respect the man who insisted on provoking and humiliating him at every opportunity? How come Dumbledore always let Snape get away with the ridicule and contempt while pushing Harry to understand Snape's situation? None of this was very fair.
Severus watched for Harry's reaction, knowing that the teenager would be angry. He knew what Dumbledore requested from both of them was going to be difficult. He disliked Potter and Potter gladly returned those feelings. It has been this way for five years.
Severus considered himself a master Occlumency, yet keeping his temper around Potter was like getting the Dark Lord to donate to a Muggle charity. But Severus knew he owed it to his mentor to at least try, and after what happened last week, he owed it to Potter as well.
"Fine," Harry answered forcefully.
Snape raised an eyebrow. "What was that, Mr. Potter?"
"Better," said Snape and Harry was so frustrated he wanted to tear his own hair out. Snape was such a git! If he wanted Harry to be respectful the least he could do was show Harry the same courtesy. Well, no, Harry did not expect Snape to respect him per se, but couldn't he be less aggravating at the least? Couldn't he at least be civil? The bullying hypocrite!
"You may glare at me all you like," said Snape unpleasantly, "but believe me when I say that his is just as disagreeable to me as it is to you."
Right, disagreeable. Well there you go, there's the understatement of the year. Anguish is more like it. Harry thought glumly.
"First things first Mr. Potter. Answer this simple question for me if you will. How is it that whenever and wherever there is trouble, I find you and your friends?"
"And how do you always manage to stumble upon the most dangerous of phenomena within the safest spot in Britain?"
"And willingly participate in such dangers, risking the lives of not only yourself but everyone around you?"
"I don't go looking for trouble, it always finds me."
Snape ignored him. "Do you know what kind of damage you have done to the school since you've been here? The migraines and coronaries you gave your professors, including Headmaster Dumbledore? Not to mention myself!"
"I don't know what you mean, professor."
"Idiot boy! Don't you realize that when you go on one of your 'adventures' trying to martyr yourself, that there are other people risking their own lives for your well-being? What makes you think you can go about breaking every rule. These rules are constructed for your safety and I cannot recall how many times you have disregarded them! Do you know the trouble you've caused the headmaster and your Head of House when you go about on one of your 'heroic' quests? This is no fairy tale, boy. This is reality with real life consequences for your actions."
"I know that!" Harry objected, but Snape ignored him. "Just because you are the Boy-Who-Lived--" he continued, speaking of the nickname with so much contempt that it scared Harry, "--does not give you the right to go breaking every rule in the book! Nor do you have to 'save' anyone!"
"I don't go looking for trouble!" Harry protested.
"I heard you the first time, Potter," said Snape.
"It's true!" Harry defended himself.
"If you cared to leave things to the adults in charge, then you would not find death at your door everywhere you go."
Harry grew angry. He only wanted to help.
"What has the world come to Potter? When students are not punished for their transgressions, but rewarded? Do you know what could have happened when you so eagerly tried to capture the Philosopher Stone in first year? You could have died, you stupid child! And then what! Who do you think will take the fall for that? A student has not been murdered on Hogwarts ground since Mourning Myrtle and not a single one for three hundred years before that."
"But Voldemort would have got the stone!"
Snape flinched at the Dark Lord's name. "Do not say his name in front of me," he growled so fiercely that it made Harry gulp as he nodded.
"What makes you think that you could save the stone? You were an 11 year old boy, wholly ignorant of the perils you were getting yourself into. The Philosopher's Stone was perfectly safe. It was your mother's sacrifice that saved you the first year, Mr. Potter. Quirrell could have eliminated you without even lifting a finger."
Harry swallowed a lump in his throat when he thought back to the first year. Nobody else was going to save the Philosopher Stone, besides, Professor McGonagall didn't even listen to him when he tried to explain.
"Not only did you put yourself in danger you risked your friends' lives as well. Plunging heedlessly into danger may sound like an act of heroism, but they are the acts of a fool."
"I'm not a fool!" Harry said angrily. He didn't want to be no hero either, all he wanted was to help. It was all he ever wanted.
"AND in your second year. What happened that evening should not have occurred at all. You should not have gone into the Chamber."
"But Ginny could have died! She would have if I hadn't been there to save her!"
"Save her? Mr. Potter, do you really think that Headmaster Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, or any faculty of this school would have left a student to be murdered and die within its grounds?"
"But nobody could get into the Chamber of Secrets. They needed Parseltongue!"
"Contrary to popular belief, there is more than one entrance to the Chamber of Secrets."
"What!" Harry stared at Snape in shock. But he had thought the Myrtle's bathroom was the only entrance to the hidden chamber.
Snape rolled his eyes. "Idiot! How did you and your rescue party get out? Did you ever think of that?"
"Ohh..." Harry murmured in understanding as he recalled how Fawkes had flown them out of a opening in the ceiling. "But I couldn't have known at the time!"
"And again, you risked the lives of friends. Mr. Weasley could have easily gotten crushed under a boulder, lost a leg or his life. One of these days your recklessness will get you in more trouble than you can possibly imagine. If you don't control your emotions and learn to think before you act, you'll end up dead! And you'll drag your little friends with you!"
Harry glared at Snape and bit down on his lip. "I was just trying to do the right thing."
"You should not have gotten involved in the first place. The Chamber of Secrets was not a new exciting mystery that you could solve. I know what motivates you. However, you were but a child Potter, and you still are. There are some things that are left best to those that know that they are doing."
"I am not a child!"
"You are not an adult either."
"Well, what was I suppose to do?"
"You should have consulted an adult. You should have gone to a professor, your Head of House or the headmaster. Given that the creature had attacked and petrified not only students but a ghost as well, what made you think you could take on whatever awaited you in the Chamber? Did your hero complex blind you to the fact that what was down there could be extremely dangerous and deadly?"
"I do not have a hero complex! And I did go to a professor. I went to Lockheart," Harry pointed out, even though Lockheart proved to be more of a liability than any help. On the other hand, if Lockheart had not collapsed the tunnel, there was no telling how things would have ended.
Snape snorted sarcastically. "Lockheart was a fraud, Potter. A pack of puffskeins would have been of more help! At least you can throw them at the basilisk!"
"But he was the DADA professor! I really thought that he could help." Of course, thought Harry, after he and Ron discovered Lockheart was a fraud they were really just blocking his escape route by forcing him down the chamber. That had been a bad idea as it turned out.
"Obviously you thought wrong!" Snape said severely. "Of all the professors available to help, you had to choose them most incompetent of them all?"
"There was no time..."
"Idiot boy, of course there was time. If there was time for you to try and convince that fool to help, then there would have been time to get some real help. You should not have down there at all, let alone by yourself to handle something like that. I would have a hard time holding my own against a basilisk; even Professor Dumbledore himself would have taken the upmost care when facing such a formidable foe. The basilisk runs on instinct, and an animal driven by instinct to kill is a thing to be afraid of."
Harry swallowed uncomfortably.
"That is one of your greatest faults, Mr. Potter. You act before you think. You are rash and reckless and jump at the chance to help when the situation is way out of your league. Typical Gryffindor." Snape shook his head, exasperated.
"Okay, okay I get it." Harry muttered feeling annoyed at being scolded by his professor.
"I am uncertain of how much you are getting," Snape said sternly. "Don't you realize how incredibly fortunate you are to have escaped all these incidents relatively unharmed? I don't care who you think you are, Potter. Boy-who-lived or not, you are still a boy. Your indifference regarding your own safety may seem an act of nobility…" Snape trailed off. "You know so very little the difference between what is noble and what is foolish."
"This is why Occlumency is so difficult for you to learn," Snape continued. "You are too quick tempered, too emotional and too easily affected by those erratic emotions. It is essential that you learn to reel in your emotions and not let them dominate your actions. Learn to keep a level head, Potter. Do use your brains. You keep insisting that you are not a dunderhead, now is the time to prove it."
Harry kept his eyes averted, choosing to stare at a spot on the floor. Chastised, he shrugged his shoulders. "Whatever."
Snape gritted his teeth together; he was determined to make Harry understand.
"And in third year when you so wisely decided to go after Black?" He said severely. "Did you believe you could hold your own against a mass murderer who remains to this date the only individual ever to break out of Azkaban?"
Harry turned on Snape and shouted. "I didn't know it was Sirius! And My godfather is not a murderer!"
"Oh, so you were simply chasing a rabid, bloodthirsty canine into the extremely ill-tempered Whomping Willow?"
"There was not time! That thing could have tore Ron apart!"
"As it could have done to both you and Ms. Granger!" Snape indicated harshly.
"Well, there were three of us; we could have take on a dog!" Harry justified. "Was just a dog…"
"Did that beast look anything like just a dog to you, Potter?"
Harry again shrugged. No, he knew at the time it wasn't just a dog. It was…well, the omen or some sort of vicious magical creature.
Harry bit his lip and tried to breathe even. He was tired of Snape yelling at him and making him feel like a fool. "Can I go now?"
"Not yet, I'm not finished with you." Harry groaned, not caring anymore if Snape heard.
"Luck has been on your side once too many and things will not end to your favour forever. If you continue on the path you are on now; recklessly plunging into action, thinking before you act, there willbe severe ramifications."
"I get it okay? Someone could get hurt, I could get killed," Harry rolled his eyes and drawled.
"Exactly!" Snape snapped, then said slowly. "This is a very serious matter, Mr. Potter, and a matter of life and death. I will not have you take it so lightly! What do I need to do to get you to understand?"
Harry slumped in his chair.
"Anymore dreams of late, Mr. Potter?" Snape asked almost casually, trying a different approach.
Harry knitted his brows together, hating Snape for bringing up his dreams. It was true that he had been having odd dreams—well, dream really – as it was always the same dream night after night and it always involved a mysterious door he could never open. But he wasn't going to tell it all to Snape just so that the man could ridicule him for whatever.
"No, sir. Nothing out of the ordinary," Harry muttered.
"Do not lie to me, Potter. There is something bothering you, is there not?"
"That's none of your business!" Harry almost shouted, incensed. Snape knew enough about his private memories without knowing about his dreams as well.
Harry scowled fiercely. "Fine, but it's no business of yours anyhow."
"I'll have you know that it is very much my business."
"I don't see how..."
"Contrary to what you obviously have ingrained in your head, I do not wish to know about your meaningless dreams. However, it is clear to me that your dreams have been anything but meaningless."
"You don't know that," said Harry. "They're just stupid dreams."
"Are they?" Snape questioned.
"Well,ya," Harry lied, looking as guilty as day was clear.
"Funny, because I seem recall an incident before Christmas, one that involved a very peculiar dream."
"That was before."
"I don't have dreams like that anymore."
Snape sighed. "You are a terrible liar, Potter. Now tell me the truth so that I can help."
"I don't need your help."
"Very well. But let me tell you something first," said Snape leaning forward. "Do you know why Professor Dumbledore is requesting me to teach your Occlumency?"
"You told me that first lesson, he can control my mind with it right?"
"Oh can do more than that, Potter. He can do far worse than simply control your mind. Do you know what a skilled Legilimens such as the Dark Lord is capable of, Mr. Potter?"
"I thought not. The Dark Lord as practiced at Legilimency as one can get. As of now, he is unaware of your apparent link with him, but I promise you that if he does find out things will get ugly faster than you can draw your wand. He will use this connection to his full advantage. When used rightfully, the mind can become more powerful than you can imagine. The Dark Lord can attack your mind, Potter, any time he wish it. He may choose to send you disturbing images when you sleep and force you to witness one of his tortures sessions. You will become an unwilling participant in his games, forced to bear witness. There will be nothing to block out the screams of his victims as they are burned alive and tortured, for hours if he pleases. He may lure you out of Hogwarts by sending you false images and lead you to exactly where he wants you. He may indeed, torture you by making you believe you are feeling excruciating pain when you are not. He will not tire of this, certainly not before you are broken and mad."
"He can read your mind, and discover all your secrets; your strengths and weakness; and who you hold dear to your heart, and every single detail about everything in you have knowledge to -"
Snape continued sinisterly, preying on Harry's weak spots.
" – that means the Order, Mr. Weasley and his entire family, Ms Granger and her parents and even your Muggle relatives. He will know who to target and believe me, Potter, he will take great pleasure in destroying them just to watch you suffer."
Harry stared at Snape wide-eyed with a look of fear on his face. Good, thought Snape, his words were finally hitting home.
"He can destroy you, Potter and everything you hold dear. Occlumency will keep you safe, prevent a Legilimens from accessing your mind and protect you if a penetration does occur. Now do you understand?"
Harry took deep breaths. He could do that? He didn't know a Legilimens could do all those things.
"This is why you must master Occlumency as quickly as possible. Even if you are not able to resist a penetration of your mind from a direct assault, you will be able to block him from your dreams. If you learn these skills, not only will they help you block out Legilimency attacks, they will help you keep calm and think rationally in the face of chaos. These skills are part of what kept me alive, Potter. They are no small matter."
Harry remained silent, talking it all in.
"One of the most powerful wizards of today is after you, Potter. It is a miracle that you are still alive with hardly a scratch on you, and that is only due to the work of others, the blood protection of your mother and sheer dumb luck. Do you understand the gravity of what I am telling you?" asked Snape heavily.
"Yes," Harry muttered meekly.
Snape sighed and pinched the bridge of his long nose. "Very well, that is enough for tonight. You are dismissed. I know that what I have said to night is troubling. But try not to dwell on it too much. Just understand, accept it remember this information in the future."
"Yes sir," Harry answered and made to get up when Snape stopped him.
"Do not forget what I said today," said Snape pointedly. "Everything that I've said."
Harry nodded and left, pulling the door shut behind him.