The Python Defense
A slightly schizophrenic, occasionally disturbing Fifth Year bawdy H/Hr/more? crack fic by canoncansodoff

A/N: The first four installments of this multi-chapter crack fic were hacked out in fairly short order, forming a fairly coherent story that (while not completed) was sitting at a fairly good place. And there is sat for a long while while I worked on other projects. But then an attack of "and then what happens?" hit me, because as is normally the case I hadn't fleshed out a complete story outline before I dove in. And enough readers were bugging me to answer that question...mostly readers that wanted me to turn the story into a harem fic. And I thought it might be fun to see how long I could dance on the knife's edge between harmony and harem. So here we are...with a three-chapter crack fic that is now 10 chapters long (and growing). Some things never change. ccso, Oct 2010.

Obvious tips of the cap to Monty Python and clell's "Harry Potter and the Marriage Contracts."

Disclaimer: Not my characters, no money being made, etc., etc.

Warning: This chapter contains a few disturbingly graphic descriptions of Dolores Umbridge, Molly Weasley, Petunia Dursley, and Sybill Trelawney. You have been warned.


Chapter 1: Inspired Defenses

The fact that the mental avatars of Legilimency experts lack most of the physical limitations of their "real" analogues allowed Severus Snape to sneer more severely than humanly possible when he dropped into Harry Potter's defensive mindscape.

"Oh, no…not another castle…what ever shall I do?" he asked with dripping sarcasm.

What he did decide to do was follow the well-trod path established during other "Remedial Potions" lessons…conjure a chair, sit, and see how long it took for the boy's overbuilt Occlumency barriers to fall from their own weight.

As soon as he settled himself, a soldier dressed in medieval plate mail and a bullet-shaped helmet called down from the ramparts.

"'Allo? Who is zis?"

The Potions Master rolled his eyes, and shouted, "You know full well who is probing your defenses, Potter." He then gave a dismissive wave towards the stonewalls and added, "A more pertinent question is…what is this?"

"'Zis is 'ze castle of my Master, 'Arry de la Gryffindor."

"Oh, please," said Snape. "The only thing Potter has likely mastered is masturbation."

"Oh, ho…you wish to play ze word games?"

"No, I think I'll just sit and wait for these walls to fall by themselves, just as they have every other time."

"Very well, you 'zilly English wizard…we will now activate ze castle's defenses."

"Right," sneered Snape. "And what might those be?"

"I shall taunt you until you become zo frustrated, zat you leave, silly Englishman…you who call yourself a wand waver…you are no more a wizard 'zen Neville Longbottom iz a Potions Master."

Snape didn't bother to respond beyond a roll of his avatar's eyes.

"You dare to ignore me, English pig-dog?" asked the soldier. "Go and boil your bottom, son of a silly person. I blow my nose at you, you so-called Professor. Thppppt!"

The Head of Slytherin House stared in disbelief as the soldier stuck out his tongue, wiggled his fingers whilst his thumbs were stuck in his ears, then tapped his hands on his helmeted head.

"You will show me respect, Potter."

"I don't 'zink so, you empty-headed animal food trough whopper. I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!"

"You insolent little…!"

"It eez your pee-pee zat iz little, you limp-dicked dunderhead!"

"You dare to…!"

"I dare whatever I want to dare within my own mind, you Umbridge-eating wanker! Go and soil your shorts with lewd dreams of the toad-woman's titties!"

The stomach-churning imagery that Harry's insults generated in Snape's own cranium was so off-putting that he lost all focus on his Legilimens attack, and was bounced from Harry's mind with only the smallest of nudges.

As the "repentant" Death-Eater's mind cleared and he gathered his bearings, Harry Potter did something that had never been done before in the Potions professor's office.

He did a happy dance.

"Oh yeah!…I did it!…Oh yeah!…Go me!…Oh yeah!…"


"Yes, Sir?" Harry asked with a wide smile.

"One hundred points from Gryffindor, and a month of detentions for your impertinence!"

"For what, Sir?"

"For not showing respect! For the insults! For the brain-bleaching taunts!"

"But Sir," Harry protested, with a smile that faded only a bit. "You gave me permission."

"I did no such thing, Potter!"

"Yes you did, Sir…during my very first Occlumency lesson, you instructed me to do whatever I could think of to keep you from accessing my mind. And, well…taunting you is what I thought of this time."

"So you think that my instructions allowed for hurling vulgar images?"

"Have to admit that it worked, Sir, don't you?" Harry asked. "Once you worried more about how to respond to the banter than focus on your attack, it was easy for me to push you out of my head."

The Slytherin Head of House seethed at Harry's logic.

"You think that you're so smart, don't you Potter? So witty? Think that you've found a way around showing your betters proper respect?"

Snape then let out a deep breath, as an evil-looking gleam gelled in his eyes.

"Tell me, Potter, whose bits do you dream of late at night? What voyeuristic perversions do you dwell on as you wank in the shower? Wait….don't bothering answering me, I think that I'll find out for myself."


"You heard me, Potter, I am going to shred your defenses, and ferret out every single witch...or limp-wristed wizard…that you dream about…every classmate that you lust over…every perverse memory of lace and flesh that you use as wanking material!"

The Legilimens expert grinned when he spotted the fear in the eyes of his dead enemy's spawn. Snape then slowly counted to ten.

While he wanted to get on with the hunt for embarrassing details, he knew that the hunt would be that much more fruitful if he waited. The reason for this was simple human nature. Tell someone not to think of something, and they can't help but to think it. Warn someone that all of their embarrassing moments will be found and put on display, and they will inexorably pull those moments out of long-term memory, and worry over them in their short-term memory banks (which were always easier for a mental invader to access).

Once the count was complete, Snape demanded, "Clear your mind, boy." He then thrust his wand towards Harry's face and called out the incantation...not with the usual shout, but with a sickly-sweet sing-songy voice that dripped with sadistic glee.

Severus Snape had suggested many different ways that Harry might build Occlumency barriers. Nothing too helpful, mind you…just enough instruction to convince the Headmaster that these remedial potions lessons were more than straight-out mind-rape sessions. Almost invariably, Harry had thought of strong castles defending his memories, or impenetrable steel walls. Snape was therefore caught off guard when he was presented with something completely different.

It was a distance-based defense.

He had dropped into a barren wilderness…an arid high plains environment, with flat-topped mesas on the horizon, and expansive grasslands in the foreground. The air was hot, crisp, and filled with many strange scents that were not native to the British Isles.

It was an admittedly intriguing mindscape.

Snape's avatar was able to discern two scents amongst the many…a very distant whiff of dinner, and a dog that was keeping that dinner from him. When he raised his nose to the wind to better locate his prey, the Head of Slytherin House was quite surprised to discover that this nose was on the end of a furry snout. And then he realized that his visual perspective was low to the ground, and that his furry bare feet had pads and claws.

A fear that he'd been turned into Sirius Black's animagus form was discounted when Snape noted his avatar's mottled fur coloring, and decided that Potter wouldn't have made his godfather the symbolic host for predatory mental intruders.

He just might, however, imagine invaders to be wolves, if his protected memories were thought of as a flock of sheep.

And there was indeed a flock high up in the valley of this mindscape…a flock of sheep guarded by a large white dog with a lightning bolt-shaped patch of black fur on his forehead.

Snape shook his head dismissively…it would be so simple to sneak up on the flock…even if he chose to play by Potter's mindscape rules.

The avatar advanced on his prey at a leisurely pace, until a change in wind direction suddenly left him upwind of his potential prey. That the sheep and their guard caught his scent was soon proven out, as the dog barked and began to push the flock towards a corral that was protected by high barbwire fences. Snape's avatar howled, and broke out into a dead run across the short grass.

As he closed he tdistance, Snape noted that there were far too many sheep for one dog to protect, and that they had strayed too far from the protective fencing. And the best part? The best part was that the guard dog knew just how vulnerable he had left his flock, and was being forced to make some tough choices on what to save, and what to (literally) leave to the wolves.

There were, for example, a handful of sheep who were totally ignoring the dog's warnings as they mindlessly continued to graze.

"This is almost too easy," Snape thought, as he leapt into the air and pounced on one of these left-behinds. The mental image was released just as soon as his bite drew blood.

Molly Weasley's immense arse wobbles and jiggles freely as she does some nude dishwashing in the Burrow's kitchen and sings along with the Wizarding Wireless…

"Yuck!" Snape howled, as he spit the image out of his mouth. "The boy is more perverse then I thought."

He jumped over the downed sheep and bit down on the neck of a second straggler.

Petunia Dursley removes still-warm knickers from her Muggle clothes dryer. She slips them on, then grinds her silk-covered fanny against the white metal appliance…

"Horrid!" thought Snape, as his avatar vomited. "I can't believe that…."

A third ewe sauntered in front of the wolf. It was too tempting a target, and Snape bit.

Sibyll Trelawney lies on the floor of her former classroom, dressed only in a scarf and thick glasses. Her legs are spread in the air as she grinds a crystal ball against her hairless fanny. The ball acts as a magnifying lens, making her engorged labia appear even larger as she moans , "Oh, Severus! Oh Severus! Oh Severus!"…

Snape's avatar was left with an empty stomach as the "memory" he spat out was followed by the contents of his stomach. In between heaves, he caught sight of a grinning dog who was watching from a distance.

"Blasted Potter!" thought the Potions professor. "These were diversionary traps!"

The planted "memories" designed to repulse Snape and put him off the attack instead enraged him. No Potter was going to get the best of him two times in a row!

The lupine avatar lunged towards the flock of real memories. The sheep dog yelped, and retreated towards his last line of defense.

With the guard dog's focus on protecting a small group of deliciously plump targets, Snape's avatar dodged towards the unprotected rear of the main flock, where small, lamb-sized targets were struggling to keep up with the others. The wolf couldn't tell if the size represented the relative age of the memories, or their relative importance…at least not until he caught up with one of the laggards and hamstrung its hind leg with a ferocious bite.

Cho Chang closes her eyes, leans forward, and delivers a very soggy kiss…

"That's it?" Snape thought to himself. "That's all that he got from the girl?" He spit out the hobbled lamb, and bit into another unprotected memory.

Ginny Weasley walks out of an upstairs bathroom in Grimmauld Place dressed only in a towel, and passes Harry in the hallway. Just before she reaches the door to her bedroom, the towel "accidentally" slips, giving the boy a glimpse of the redhead's boyish bum…

The wolf shook his head with disappointment as he scraped the last little bits of meat from that bone. Potter must not have had the bollocks to follow up on the tart's obvious invitation.

There was a third unprotected memory within easy striking range. It was a little plumper than the other two, and showed much more promise. Snape pounced, and was immersed in the memory.

It was sometime during the winter months in Hogwarts. Snape views the Great Hall from Harry's eyes as a flock of owls sweeps in through the windows and begins to deliver the day's mail. Harry is surprised and suspicious when a small brown owl lands in front of him. His gaze immediately shifts up to the Head Table and to Dolores Umbridge. (Ah, Snape thought…it must be a recent memory).

Umbridge's mail censors have been in full force, leaving the Boy-Who-Lived with even less correspondence then normal. But perhaps this got through because of the wax seal? Or more specifically, due to mark of an Ancient and Noble Pureblood family within the wax?

Harry turns to his side, and asks Hermione to cast a curse detection spell on the letter. She does, and declares it safe to open. So he does, and is surprised to discover a letter from the patriarch of the Greengrass family, inviting him to begin negotiations on a marriage contract involving his daughter Daphne. There is a draft betrothal contract attached to the cover letter with terms that Harry doesn't understand, and doesn't think he needs to understand.

He looks across the hall, to where Daphne Greengrass is sitting at the Slytherin table. She looks up from her plate, notices the envelope, then immediately drops her gaze back to a rasher of bacon as her face blushes bright red. Harry is confused, and a bit embarrassed about the situation. When Hermione asks him what the letter is about, he lies and says that it was just some bureaucratic nonsense from the Ministry. Harry then tries to stuff the letter and contract back into the envelope.

And that is when he notices the wizarding photographs that were still inside.

He doesn't have a clear view of the images, as he was looking at them down the length of the long envelope, but was he sees is enough to cause his blushing cheeks to give Daphne's a run for her money.

Hermione asks to see the letter, but Harry brushes her off, promising to show her when they are in a more private setting. And only after he had a chance to remove those photographs from the envelope.

The memory faded to gray as Snape finished gnawing one of the lamb's shanks. Seeing plenty of meat on another untouched leg, he grabbed hold and bit into a new scene that Harry had apparently mentally attached to the first.

The Fifth-Year Gryffindor walks into his empty dormitory room with the same envelope in hand. He goes immediately to his bed, and draws his curtains. Once a Lumos provides sufficient light, he opens the envelope and dumps its contents onto the duvet. There are three different wizarding photographs in the envelope, each depicting the same two-part sequence of events in different settings: a) Daphne Greengrass nervously smiles at the camera, and, b) Daphne Greengrass gets naked.

One photograph is set in the bathroom, giving Harry an intimate introduction to the order in which Daphne soaps up her different bits. The second is, amazingly enough, staged in Snape's own classroom, with the Slytherin witch doing a striptease in front of the blackboard. And the third…the third is a nature shoot. Daphne is in the woods, where a unicorn allows her a naked petting session (presumably establishing her credentials as a virgin).

Strong emotions bleed into the memory as Harry examines each photograph. First there is confusion…why would a Slytherin that he'd barely spoken three words to over the previous five years want to marry him? And why would she consent to having nude wizarding photographs taken of her?

But it doesn't take long for lust to overwhelm the wondering…Harry watches all three images a second-time through, and freezes each at a certain point in time with the tip of his wand. The bath picture stops just as the beautiful black-haired witch pinches both of her hard, soap-covered nipples. The potions classroom striptease is frozen as she sits back onto Snape's desk and exposes her well-trimmed fanny. And the nature shot is interrupted when Daphne turns her back to the camera, wiggles her heart-shaped arse, and nuzzles the unicorn's nose with her own. The teen-aged wizard uses a sticking charm to fix the pictures to the inside of his bed curtains, freeing up hands that hike up his robes and unzip his tented trousers...

Snape was furious as he spit out the partially digested memory…not just because he'd almost witnessed Potter rubbing one off as he lusted after a student who had posed in the all-together for Potter's benefit, but mainly because the dunderhead didn't think that this memory was worth very much protection. Or perhaps the boy had once again tricked him into eavesdropping on a planted memory?

There was plenty of meat left on this memory, but Severus had no desire to waste time on what must have been a false image. And he was angry enough to focus on what the Potter boy obviously valued more, so he dropped the dead carcass and dashed towards a six-pack of memories that the sheepdog was trying desperately to herd behind the protective fence.

As Snape's wolf approached this small group, the dog turned and tried to scare him off with a ferocious growl. But once his back was turned, one of the six sheep began to stray. The dog's eyes went wide with fright when he spied this one specific memory walking off unprotected, and he ran away from the others so as to place him in between it and the wolf.

Snape's wolf howled in delight. Confident that he'd be able to feast on the one memory that Potter guarded above all, he turned towards the abandoned group and pounced on the nearest memory.

It is obviously from Potter's Fourth Year, and he had just surfaced from the lake during the Second Task with the Veela's little sister in tow. He helps the young girl up onto the dock, where Fleur jumps up from her chair, throws off her towel, and rushes to embrace the little girl. There is a furious bit of dialogue in French that neither Harry nor Snape understand, and then Gabrielle grabs her sister's hand and leads her to Harry. The French champion smiles, and it is at this point that the Fourth-Year notices that Fleur's swimming costume is translucent, and clinging to her skin in a way that clearly defines the dimensions of her perky brown nipples, and the vertical cleft between the tops of her long legs.

The French champion pulls Harry into an embrace that smashes those brown nipples against Harry's chest, and the well-defined cleft against Harry's crotch.

"Zank you for zaving my leetle sister's life," Fleur whispers into his ear. "We owe you a life-debt zat I will repay however you wish."

Harry's mind goes blank, so that he doesn't notice when the part-Veela suggests how he might choose to be rewarded by grinding her mound against his rapidly growing erection.

"You don't owe me anything," he stammers. "You would have done the same for me."

Fleur glances over his shoulder to where Ron is drying off, and giggles.

"Perhaps," she purrs, although she doesn't really mean it. "But zere iz still a debt…and if you don't allow me to repay you, zen I am afraid zat my zister will insist on repaying you herself."

Harry looks at the eight-year old girl and startles as she winks at him, and slowly licks her lips with the tip of her tongue.

"You drive a hard bargain, Miss Delacour," he replies. "I accept. Perhaps we can work out a 'repayment' in a few day's time?"

Fleur smiles, and reaches down to give the young English wizard's bum a squeeze.

"I look forward to it."

The friends and classmates of the two Champions come forward, and force them apart to offer individual congratulations.

The memory faded to gray mist, and then faded back in with an attached memory where Harry and Fleur meet in an unused classroom.

An impatient Snape spat out one shank and bit into the other, willing the memory to speed forward to what he anticipated to be an premature ejaculation. When that didn't happen he tackled the ribs, and then the shoulders, and then he swallowed the head in whole. But all of the bits of this one lamb left a sour taste in his mouth…instead of awkward, embarrassing liaisons, the memories were of two teenagers who kept their robes on as they just talked about their lives, their difficulties, and their loves. The emotions tied to the scene included trust, and warmth and friendship…exactly the sort of thing that Snape didn't want to experience (and force Harry to relive). Disgusted, Snape tossed the carcass aside and pounced onto another target.

He is attending a party after a Quidditch victory…most likely Harry's third year, based on who was in uniform. It is just the team members in the room, and after a lot of butterbeer Fred and George convince the female Chasers to play a game of strip poker with the boys. Soon everyone is down to their undergarments. Katie Bell is the last one to lose her robes, and shows off a skimpy black bra and matching thong that catches Harry's eye. Katie then loses the next hand as well. She protests, but is eventually chided into stripping off her bra. It's the first time that Harry has seen bared breasts, and it creates an embarrassingly large tent in his boxer shorts. His teammates tease him without mercy as he adjusts himself to keep from poking out the front flap.

More of the game is played, and Fred Weasley and Oliver Wood go starkers. Alicia and Angelina then lose their tops, allowing Harry to compare differences in breast size, breast shape, and nipple color. Alicia is doing some comparison of her own, and asks, "How many witches can sleep under that tent, Harry?"

Katie Bell once again loses, and all of the boys are excited (well, Oliver is non-plussed, and Harry wonders if that says something about his captain's interests). The young witch turns around and slowly strips off her thong. Harry notices that the fabric is stuck up in between her arse cheeks, and has to be dragged along as the knickers are slipped down over Katie's thighs.

Once she's stepped her feet out of the holes, Katie swings the thong around on a finger, then throws it blindly over her shoulder. It lands on Harry's head, and his nose with filled with an intoxicating musky scent. He's embarrassed and aroused as he pulls the undergarment away from his face. Just then, one of Fred and George's perimeter alarms goes off…a professor or prefect is coming. Everybody scrambles to banish the booze and throw on their robes. Things get almost back to "normal" when McGonagall arrives, and shuts down the party.

Harry realizes that he still has Katie's knickers, and he balls them up in his fist to hide them from their Head of House. He freaks when he feels just how wet the fabric is, and realizes that it's not just because his palms are sweaty. As they file out of the party room under Minerva's watchful eye, Harry brushes up against Katie and passes her the pants. She squeezes his hand, waggles her eyebrows, and mouths the words, "Keep them."

Snape was impressed, and also rather excited as he finished off the memory…not sexually excited by what he just experienced, but excited about what he had yet to see. If Potter sacrificed this memory to save the others, what were they like? He spit out this latest carcass and looked up. Harry's sheepdog avatar has gotten the other memories behind the fence, and was standing protectively in front of the gate.

The Potions Master sneered as his wolf stood up on its hind legs. With a wave of his front paw he broke through Harry's constructed lupine form, and replaced the avatar with his own wand-wielding representation. Snape immediately cast a stunning spell towards Harry's sheepdog, which was too shocked to dodge the attack.

Once Potter's avatar was downed and defenseless, Snape turned towards the barbwire corral and banished it with a wave of his mental wand.

There weren't many unprotected sheep on the other side, but the limited menu was rich and satisfying. In short order Snape digested the following memories:

Susan Bones and Lisa Turpin do some naked lesbian snogging and crotch grinding in the Owlery as Harry watches and wanks underneath his invisibility cloak….

Luna Lovegood convinces Harry to join her in a rather chilly Winter Solstice nude run through the Forbidden Forest in search of dancing ice fairies…

Harry sneaks into the witch's Quidditch field locker room, and watches as the female Gryffindor Chasers share a shower. He is caught out, and given a choice by the three smiling witches…either join them in the naked wash-up as their "Soap Boy", or explain what he was doing there to McGonagall. Harry reluctantly strips down as the three naked witches line up to have their fannies scrubbed to the point of orgasmic release…

Snape pulled out of this last memory early, but with a wide smile on his avatar's face. Potter was already under a lifetime Quidditch ban, but the three Chasers were still playing for Gryffindor. If this last scene proved out to be real (rather than a fabricated wanking fantasy) then they might all be booted from the team as well, thereby ensuring the Cup's return to Slytherin House.

There'd be time enough for direct questioning under Veritaserum on that point, once he backed out of the boy's mind. But first…there was one more ewe remaining. It had been the stray memory that Potter had protected above all others, and it was the plumpest, tastiest-looking memory in the flock.

Snape cornered the frightened animal, leapt, and bit down on its neck.

Harry enters the Hogwarts library, and makes his way through the front tables with a clear destination in mind..."their" table, right in front of the Restricted Section.

Hermione is already there, and immersed in a thick book that rests on the tabletop. She's chewing on the nub of a quill, and idly twisting a lock of curly hair with her fingers. Needing to stretch a bit, she arches her back, spreads out her arms, and tucks a bent leg underneath her other leg. Harry hesitates, not believing what he just saw under the table…when Hermione shifted her seating position, her skirt rode up onto her thighs, giving him a clear up-skirt view of sheer white knickers over short bushy pubes.

He recovers just enough to nonchalantly respond to his best friend's greeting, and quickly sits down at the table…

The memory faded to gray mist, leaving Snape confused. This was Potter's most vulnerable moment in his hormonally-charged life? Greengrass sends him nude photographs, the Veela squeezes his bum, and he rubs off the three Gryffindor chasers in their shower, but this is what he chose to guard? A flash of sheer Mudblood knickers?

Wanting to understand why, the lupine avatar gulped down the rest of the lanb, releasing one attached memory after another...

Potter gets an orgasmic rush as he recalls seeing Hermione's sheer white knickers…

Potter gets an orgasmic rush as he imagines that Hermione hadn't been wearing knickers when she flashed him….

Potter gets an orgasmic rush as he imagines Hermione's fingers buried in those sheer white knickers…

Potter gets an orgasmic rush as he imagines crawling under the table and pushing those sheer white knickers to the side with his nose…

On and on they went…fifteen different versions of the same scene, all formulated to help Potter rub one off.

Or rub fifteen off, to be more precise.

Snape was so focused on the images that he didn't notice Harry's avatar regain consciousness…which also meant that he didn't notice as Harry turned on Snape's avatar and tackled him to the ground.

"You fucking bastard!" the boy shouted. "You fucking bastard!"

Snape heard Potter curse over and over again, until he realized that they were both out of the constructed mindscape and back inside his office.


"What, you fucking bastard?"

"We are no longer within your mind," the Potions Master said with a smirk. "The 'you gave me permission to insult you' excuse no longer holds."

"Oh." Harry said quietly. He then stared hard at Snape with eyes that would have been hurling knives, had they been so equipped.

Snape met Harry's stare head-on for a few seconds, before he shook his head and sneered, "You couldn't punch my nose if you Engorgio'd it."

"What did you just say?" Harry demanded.

"You heard me, Potter."

"But…you read my mind…without using your wand…or saying the incantation?"

Snape snorted. "Alarming, isn't it…when you broadcast your thoughts so loudly that I can read them that way?"

The Potions professor leaned back into his chair, crossed his arms over his chest, and grinned.

"I am now well within my rights to dock you those hundred points and issue those detentions," he gloated. "But perhaps…perhaps there would be a more lasting impact on your demeanor if I used what I just learned instead."

"You wouldn't dare," Harry hissed. "My godfather would have your head."

"He hasn't the reach from his little hidely hole, now…does he?" Snape asked. He waved towards the door and added, "You're dismissed, Potter."

Harry stared at the Slytherin Head of House for a few moments, broadcasting thoughts that involved far more than a punch to the nose. But as there seemed to be nothing more to be accomplished by staying within the office, he stood, and shuffled out into dungeon-level passageway.

"Be sure to say hello to Granger tonight," the professor called out through the opened doorway. "It might be the last time that she allows you within hearing range."

The bellowing laughter that punctuated Snape's taunts rang in Harry's ears as he walked down the hallway. He was certain that Snape would make good on the implied threat, and pass what he'd seen within Harry's mind to Draco Malfoy. And then Draco, or Pansy, or possibly every member of Slytherin house would humiliate Hermione in the morning with the news.

Unless…unless Harry beat Draco to it, and confessed to Hermione first.

The Boy-Who-Lusted-After-His-Best-Friend (and this was definitely not Ron, thank you very much) used the short amount of time that it took to walk to the Tower to summon up all of the Gryffindor courage that he could muster.

He was quite certain that he would need it.