First of all HUGE thanks to AJ Elfhawk and Miechieco, who were so kind to beta this story for me in record time. Really guys, you are both awesome:-)
All the remaining mistakes are mine. Let me know and I'll do my best to correct them.
"Stop fidgeting Potter. Concentrate!"
Harry flinched, the sharp jerk of his body making him fail yet again at the regular motion of clock-wise stirring.
"Useless. Vanish it all and start again. And clean your equipment properly this time."
"Potter, are you deaf as well as bovine? Did I not tell you the last six times that you must cool the cauldron before refilling it?"
The water ran silvery white over his hands and they trembled with the weight of the large pewter cauldron.
"Yes sir what? Yes I was told so, or yes I am a half-brained moron unable to follow the simplest of instructions?"
"That wasn't rhetorical, Potter. I would appreciate it if you answered when addressed, or do you lack manners as well as brains now?"
"I'm sorry sir, I'm just really tired after everything that happened today and-"
"What are you implying, boy? That my healing potions aren't on par with your undoubtedly expert tastes?"
"No! That's not what I – "
"Or did you..." Snape continued, fixing Harry with a narrowed glare. "Did you perhaps not tell me the complete truth?"
"No sir. I'm fine, all the fingers have pretty much healed by now."
And the fingers were almost healed by now, so it wasn't as though he was lying.
"Are you quite certain?"
Harry flexed his hands for show, managing not to react at the remaining pain as his knuckles cracked. He hated army shoes.
"If that's the case, you must have expected to be given some slack with this being the first day of holiday, correct?"
Slack? God, who needed rest? It was only the first free day after OWL's and an unending ride on the express to take care of the packing. Then the Dursleys, the exhausting apparition to Snape's and all the foul potions forced upon him to stop the bleeding.
So no, of course he didn't want to rest for a bit. What a silly idea.
Harry lowered his head and bit his lip, hoping if anything that the last question was rhetoric. And yes, he damned knew what rhetoric meant, even with his apparent lack of brains.
"Then what are you waiting for? Do you think the Dark Lord will be soft on you just because you are not feeling all roses and peaches? Toughen up Potter, you aren't the only person with problems in this world! Stop sulking and heat your flame to blue this time."
SSStop sssulking! Harry mocked mentally. Just because he was a parseltongue didn't mean Snape had to flipping hiss at him all the time!
"Breakfast will be served at seven prompt. You will be here on time."
Harry didn't need to ask what would happen if he was late. After all, he wasn't daft, dim, slow or completely brainless. What he was however, was closely familiar with how it felt to go through a day on empty stomach, and despite Snape's beliefs, he was smart enough to avoid that at any cost.
"I do believe I made all the other matters clear?"
No shouting, no running, no playing, no stealing, no slacking, no cheating, no wandering, no nothing.
"Anything else you need?"
"May I have a bit of dreamless sleep tonight?"
"Are you feeling physical or psychological discomfort? I hope you realise you can trust me with anything. Potter?"
Trussst me with anything, Potter.
"…No sir, I'm fine, just…problems with falling at sleep at new places, you know…"
Black, piercing stare.
"I don't. Relying on potions for such trivialities may well get you addicted, you fool. Now off with you. I have been forced to cope with your tedious company for the rest of the holidays, the least you can do is stay put after curfew."
"I understand, sir. Good night."
The bed was sweated through, the linen all but glued to Harry's skin. He was tired, exhausted, yet the moment he'd close his eyes…
"...you freak! You'll remember this time! All the neighbours could have seen! But no more I tell you, NO MORE!"
Harry jerked on the bed, once again having slipped into the torturous memories just as he was on the verge of falling asleep. The scenes from the day played again and again in his mind as the pain of his body escalated with every passing minute.
At least Snape let him keep his wand. Much as he might suck at healing charms, his silencing charms were definitely high above average.
Harry bit his lips as another surge of pain cramped his already strained muscles. His back was the worst, sending bolts of agony up and down his spine with every breath.
Harry slid from the bed with moan. Enough was enough.
The door to his room opened without any creak.
No wandering… Well he wasn't wandering per se, he knew exactly where he wanted to go.
And it wasn't like the man had to know.
No lying… What a joke!
The look in Snape's eyes if he discovered what really happened this morning. The shock, the scorn, the hidden satisfaction. Finally the stupid, dim witted, spoiled brat got what he deserved. Too weak, too slow. Tough it out Potter, The Dark Lord won't stop at just a belt and boots Potter, so you better get used to it! You're not the only one getting it rough!
Here he was. And the door was locked.
Screw the slimy git, it wasn't like the potion was that expensive!
…and as for addiction, he couldn't give a shit. Not with the memories still freshly written into his flesh.
"…like a bloody dog, needs to be taught discipline the hard way, he does!"
Harry shook his head free of the memories of his uncle as he entered the storage room. It was ridiculous really, why bother using a locking charm to which every wizard child knew the counter spell after their first charm lesson? Who was the brainless one here now? It took Harry several minutes to find the right jar. Of course it would be on the uppermost shelf. Just typical. And it wasn't as if he was in any condition to climb over the shelves.
"Accio Dreamless Sleep."
Instead of flying into his hand as expected, the selected jar turned fluorescent blue, beginning to shiver and spin in its place. Harry's eyes widened in apprehension as all the neighbouring jars and glasses began to glow and spin, the motion spreading in every directions, the rotting beetle heads, snake's teeth and pickled newt tongues all gleaming and turning as if on some macabre carousel, the rattling growing steadily louder as they gained speed with every passing second.
Despite knowing something was seriously wrong, the first jar that exploded still caught Harry by surprise.
He just barely managed to slam the door shut behind himself before the mother of all explosions shook the house to its foundations.
"…and out of all the idiotic, witless things to do you decided to use ACCIO!"
"YES POTTER? The first years know not to mix kinetic magic with raw potion ingredients nearby! What did you do in potions class if you needed an ingredient?"
"I went to the potions stor-"
"YOU WENT POTTER! You. WENT. You didn't accio the ingredients, didn't levitate them into your cauldron. What for Merlin's sake have you been doing in my classes if you can't even remember that?"
"I-I wasn't thinking clear-"
"No Potter, you weren't thinking at all. But this is enough. You are here to be trained to fight the Dark Lord, Potter. Understand! The DARK LORD! If you think you can take matters lightly, send all precaution to hell the moment you feel a bit weary, you are sadly mistaken!"
"I know sir! I know tha- "
"To think it had to be me to arrange free practise of magic over the summer… Now you make me wish I'd just let you stay with the Dursleys, let them deal with you! Obviously they got something right, at the very least their house still seems to be standing with all four walls intact!"
Harry froze at the direction to which the conversation was steering, fear clawing up his throat.
"Will you...send me back?"
"You would like that, wouldn't you? Getting away from your troubles, just like always! No way, Potter. Not this time. You are staying and paying the consequences for once, make no mistake!"
Harry all but crumpled onto the floor with relief. He wasn't going back. That changed everything! "Sir, I'll clean up the room, and pay for all the ingredients myself, I promise!"
"Damn right you will. But apart from that, I need to make sure you will think twice the next time you get the urge to crush the result of my long time hard work with a single act of utter stupidity."
The dark look wasn't just piercing this time, it slashed through Harry's eyes, making him want to run and hide for the rest of the summer.
"What do you mean?"
"What I mean, Potter, is that the likes of you learn the hard way."
"Potter, you seem to suffer under the false assumption you have a choice in the matter. Let me make it clear to you. You don't. Now stop fidgeting and get yourself over here!"
"Anything else sir! Please! I-I won't…I won't go flying for the rest of the holidays!"
"…and will study potions everyday! Four no-no six hours!"
Black, freezing stare.
"…I won't… I won't…I won't eat every second day! Honestly, I really don't need much food anyway. And you can even save some money! What do you say?
"What I say Potter, is to stop your foolish babbling and get over here!
The heavy wooden ruler in Snape's hand drew out an ominously beckoning half-circle.
Harry couldn't help but step back at the sharp swish that accompanied the movement. God, how he hated that noise.
"Stupid as you've never failed to prove, I believe you know how to walk forward, Potter."
Harry swallowed, making his best effort at putting one leg in front of each other. How much could it hurt after all? He had already gone through worse.
But the thought of Snape knowing!
So far he was able to hide his condition, but who knew in what state would he'd be in should Snape really get the opportunity to vent his frustrations on him… all the years of pent up hostility.
Harry stopped again.
"Sir, please, can't you think of anything else? I promise I won't disappoint you ever again, just not…this!" His eyes transfixed on the ruler as if already anticipating the negative answer.
"Potter. Your evasions are only confirming that this is what I should have done years ago. Obviously, though so uncaring of other people's feelings, just the thought of having yourself hurt is enough to reduce you to an even bigger dimwit than usual. Come here this instant, do not test me!"
The last word was accompanied with a swish and crack as Snape let the ruler snap against his left palm.
Harry could feel sweat running down his back, stinging something awful.
"But-but you have no right touching me!"
"There you are mistaken my boy. I am your guardian, remember? I am here to take care of you, with all the implications. And as I see it, the implication of blowing a storage room apart is a serious thrashing."
…a ssseriousss thrassshing…
Harry could feel the panic making his vision tunnel in, the thundering waves of his heart beat roared in his ears. The only solution now was to run for it. He turned on his shaky feet, grasping for the door handle, his sweaty hands slide over it the first and second time, scrambling to get a grip.
Before he could have a third go, a pair of powerful, bony hands grabbed him and in a movement too quick to comprehend he was being thrown over Snape's knees, his face mere centimetres from the stone floor.
This was a dream. A dream. A dre-
Snape frowned, blocking out the annoying screeches and howls. He had barely even begun for Merlin's sake! The skin of the boy's backside was still white, yet the little brat seemed to be set on shouting the house down, seeing as he didn't succeed with the explosion.
Little (SWAT) ungrateful (SWAT) fool (SWAT). Spoiled (SWAT) Gryffindor (SWAT) brat.
Snape dealt out the punishment with great relish. Finally he would make the boy pay for the years of getting away with dodging every single school rule. Damn old Albus and his soft old heart, didn't he see this was what the boy needed? The response was already quite impressive, the boy was all tears and apologies and they hardly even began.
"No more cheek, eh?" Snape smirked and dealt out a particularly hard set of swats. He would correct this problem once and for all, the brat would think twice the next time he decided to blow storages room up! His backside would not forget this in a hurry!
And yet, he must be losing his touch. Potter's skin hadn't even turned pink.
But the boy screamed as if he was flailing him raw with the ruler. Drama queen…
Snape make the next set really count, ignoring the by now pitiful moans and jerks of the body over his laps.
Still the skin stayed stubbornly pale.
Snape stopped his hand in mid motion, shocked. He threw the ruler aside, fumbling for his wand instead.
"Glamour finite incantatem!"
Oh sweet Merlin!
Harry lay on the cold floor curled up into a tight ball.
Snape knew. He knew everything! Harry closed his eyes in humiliation.
But then Snape was talking to him, and Harry scraped out his last reserves to take in the torrent of words as he looked up.
"Potter! Your back is … And your ribs! Why didn't you say something? I asked you if you hurt anywhere else!"
"It's probably my lack of brains," Harry drawled, the effect of the cheeky tone mostly destroyed by the fact the words were muffled into the floor.
Harry could hear Snape slowly coming closer. Then there was a long, painful silence.
"I take it you didn't crush your hands while packing up."
Another eternity went by, then the swish of robes as Snape shifted closer, too close for comfort, a warm presence hovering indecisively behind his back.
"Potter, if I you had only told me…you know I would have never…"
Don't touch me. Please just don't.
Harry felt like screaming the words out loud. But no matter what Snape thought of him, he wasn't stupid. And he had learned his lesson.
Nothing had changed.
AN: Personally, I think all those fluffy stories out there about Snape being the perfect caring father to Harry are completely improbable. Don't take me wrong, I love reading them, but I do believe what I wrote is more along the lines of what would really happen, should Snape try to have his way at raising Harry. It would be a complete disaster…
Plus, the horrid finals I'm just pushing my way through might have something to do with the depressing turn the story has taken.
Love it? Hate it? Or just want to yell at me for having my kinky way with Harry's bottom? I am taking it all! Cheer me up with some reviews, they always make my day:-)