Disclaimer: I own this awesome sweater and the tea in this cup (… I don't own the cup, unfortunately. It's rather cool), but I do not own Harry Potter.

Beta: Eh, not this time around.

Title: Attention

Contrite Authours Note: My apologies, really. For the longest time I thought that this story had ended with the last chapter… it has the feeling of an end. But recently I've realized that it is not, and that there is still more to be told of this. So here you are- two whole years later. Thank you all for sticking with me through my dry spell. Writing for the longest time had no place in my life. But I still love this story, and the reviews I still get on it (I do! You all still find this and love it and it amazes me) tell me that more will be appreciated. So without further ado, I present…

Chapter Quote: "I fall into his lap. And he catches me."

Hermione shoves me out of the Tower, my book bag hanging from her hand, an annoyed expression on her face. "It is all well and good to wander after curfew Harry, but I will hide your Cloak the next time you pull something like this!"

I grab my bag from her hand, and hug her as hard as I can.

"I love you too, Mione," and laugh as she reaches out and slaps the back of my head. Ron just chuckles, and shakes his head at me.

"You should know better by now, Harry," he says as we jog to the Great Hall, hopefully in time to catch the last minutes of breakfast, "never be in range of Mione when she's in this mood!"

Hermione reached over and punched Ron in the upper arm, much harder than she had hit me, and glared. "Follow your own advice then, wise one."

Ron clutched his shoulder and pouted at the other Gryffindor, even as I laughed loudly at the scene. "Don't laugh, Harry you traitor!" Ron let out a chuckle, and a slight smile even appeared on Hermione's face. "You got me into this!"

"Your own big mouth did that and you know it Ron," I said, still laughing. We slow to a walk as we come to the Great Hall, and I cast a swift Tempus. "And look, more than enough time to eat and catch our breath before class." I grin at Ron even as Hermione once more starts yelling.

"Five minutes! Harry Potter I am going to hit you for real this time!"

I keep my chuckles to myself this time, knowing that right now was truly not the best time to tempt Mione into more violence. As I load up my plate, I catch myself deliberately not looking up at the Staff Table. I freeze for just a second, and wonder why. I take a shallow breath and hold it before letting it out gustily. I will look, unfounded fears be damned.

But Snape is not looking at me- he appears to be in a conversation with McGonagall. I sigh slightly, shaking my head at myself for even bothering to look. He wouldn't be looking at me all the time, I knew this. He shouldn't be looking at me any of the time… Of course, as we begin to finish up our meal and grab our bags from the floor, I looked up again.

And this time, he is looking back.

I see nothing in his expression- his eyes look to be as blank and emotionless as usual- but a knot unravels inside of me and I exhale in relief. I don't know why it was so important for me to meet his eyes in that moment- after all; it is his class we are on our way to- but I can breathe easy now.

"Harry, why is Snape looking like he wants to murder you?" Ron hisses under his breath, and I hold back both the smile and the chuckle that want to come out. Some things never changed.

"I have no idea," I whisper back, glancing up at the Staff Table once more, quickly- and sure enough, Snape was now glaring at the three of us. "Let's not be late to his class." I suggest, and Ron swiftly agrees, probably thinking that Snape will have something dire planned for us it we were even once second late.

But it turned out that being on time was not necessary, as Snape left us to wait in the hall outside of his classroom for almost fifteen minutes. The students milled around uneasily, wondering in whispers what could be taking the Professor so long to get here. Hermione, Ron, and I stood off to the side, a little bit away from the rest of the Gryffindors, frowns on all of our faces.

"It's most likely Order business," Hermione finally stated, tapping her fingers against the strap of her bag. "Professor Snape was speaking to both Professor McGonagall and the Headmaster at breakfast this morning." I peered at her in surprise- she watched Snape? For a brief, brief moment I wondered if she had seen the way he sometimes looks at me.

"Well…" Ron frowned. "I guess that might be right, but…" he trailed off again, and looked at me and Hermione pointedly. It took a second to figure out what he was not saying, but at Hermione's low gasp I understood. A frown twisted my lips, and the three of us shared a look. If Snape had been Called… I shook my head.

"Well, I guess we'll learn sooner or later." I slanted my eyes over towards the Slytherins, who had gathered on the opposite side of the hallway. Draco looked less than amused by the wait, but not worried, and I felt my shoulders relax. If there was anyone who knew when something was going on, it was Malfoy.

And mere moments later, the door to the classroom was thrown open with magic, banging against the wall as Snape swept up the hallway, a truly vicious glare resting on his face. "Inside," he hissed as he moved past the massed students, and we hurried to obey. Hermione, Ron, and I shared brief, relieved looks as he took his place behind his desk. At least our fear had not been the cause of his lateness.

"Wands away," Snape intoned, "quills out. You have a quiz."

Hermione gaped at the Professor in horror, frozen in the act of putting her wand away. I choked back a laugh at her expression, and fiddled with my quill as I waited for the parchment to float to my desk.

"Your time is up." Our parchments floated out from under our quills, drawing an indignant gasp from Hermione- who had no doubt been in the middle of a sentence. "Now get out." We all froze at our desks, and Ron cast a quick, suspicious Tempus under his desk. Even my eyes widened in surprise; Snape, letting us out twenty minutes early?

"If you are waiting for an engraved invitation, you will not get it. You have less than one minute to clear out, or I will hold you here to clean the First Years cauldrons." Snape's acidic threat snapped us out of our shock, and the class about tripped over themselves trying to get out. "Not you, Potter," Snape added, distaste clear in his tone. "Stay behind."

Hermione raised an eyebrow at me but I shook my head- it wouldn't be necessary for them to wait for me. Merlin only knew what I did this time, though. "Good luck mate," Ron snorted, "Even I have no idea what you did to deserve it."

"Oi, thanks." I rolled my eyes. "Now get out or you'll be late for McGonagall too." Hermione caught Ron's arm and dragged him after her. They were the last two out of the class, and the door shut with an ominous bang.

I turned slowly, wondering what I had done this time, but knowing that I actually hadn't done anything to deserve an after class talking-to. I heard and felt the locking spell snick into place, and at the sound Snape leaned back in his chair.

"What did I do?" I heard myself ask, walking closer to him. Snape raised a brow at me as I closed the distance between us, resting my hip on the edge of his desk as I had before.

"Nothing. It is the Headmaster who has caused the issue this time." His expressionless midnight eyes looked me up and down slowly, and even though I tried to stop it, heat trailed through me everywhere his eyes touched.

"Is that so?" I asked, folding my arms across my chest, not missing the possessive flare that lit Snape's black eyes for just a second. "Why?"

"He has decided in his infinite wisdom-" the sneer that crossed the older man's face was a work of art, perfect in expressing his disdain, and heat surged through me at the sight- "that I should being to retrain you in Legilimency." I could not help the snort of disbelief that escaped me. Snape just looked at me, and I cocked my head to the side.

"And you will do this, or… what?" I wondered, and tensed as Snape broke eye contact.

"Or he will teach you."

I froze.

That would be… bad. Very bad.

My arms dropped to my sides as I tried to process this, and gripped the edge of his desk. My mind raced, imagining all the ways that Dumbledore teaching me could go horribly wrong. A long, elegant finger raised my chin, and I found myself looking once more into dark, dark eyes.

"He believes that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named will be able to break into your mind and…" Snape hesitated, and I closed my eyes, knowing what he was about to say. "And cause a repeat of the events of your fifth year."

"Yes, well…" I trailed off, and Snape's full hand cupped my chin. I leaned into his touch, and sighed. "Shit."

"What did Snape need to talk to you about, Harry?" Hermione's question made me flinch, and she stopped walking completely to turn and face me. "Harry?" Her voice rose, and I grimaced.

"I'll tell you later, Mione, after classes." She narrowed her eyes at me, but Ron put his hand on her shoulder and spun her around to enter McGonagall's classroom. The day flew by in a blur- Lord knows I don't want to learn Legilimency again- although, maybe this time it would be different- we are different people. Two whole years have passed since Snape's last attempts to teach me this art and so, so much has changed.

But still, something inside me shivers at the thought, but I know I will have to agree. For Dumbledore to see what I have been doing- what we have been doing- no. Snape will have to teach me, and I will just have to let it happen.

Hermione shoved me into the chair by the fireplace hours later, and slashes her wand with the Muffilato spell on her lips. "What happened?" she demanded, ignoring the looks we were receiving from the rest of the House.

Ron settled on the couch across from me, and pulled Hermione down next to him, trying to get her to relax against his side. "Easy, Mione. He said he'll tell us, and he will. Just give him a second."

I smile gratefully a Ron, before taking a deep breath. "Dumbledore wants Snape to train me in Legilimeny and Occulmency again." Their silence was almost as startled as mine had been when Snape had told me, and a slight smile hit my lips.

"Is he insane?" Hermione hissed, leaning nearer to me. "Doesn't he remember what happened the last time Snape tried to teach you that?" Ron's sudden grin at Hermione makes me laugh- it has been a long time since Hermione has referred to a teacher without 'Professor' before their names and it is a sign of how truly upset she is that she neglected to use the title.

"Well, apparently Dumbledore brought up Fifth Year…" I trail off, and the sudden looks of sympathy on my two friend's faces almost overwhelm me. "And even I have to admit that the man has a point with that." I put my head in my hands, and sighed. I felt Hermione's hand pat my hair, and I smiled up at her and Ron.

"At least," Ron began, tapping his lips with his forefinger, "at least you and Snape have worked out some of your differences." He glanced at me, unsure. "Right?"

"Yea…" I laugh unsteadily. "Some. If you can call it that."

Hermione shook her finger at the both of us, and frowned. "Well at least this time, we've learned more about the two arts, and can help you."

Ron looked at Hermione, confused. "We have?" She smacked his arm and glared.

"If you had read any of the books I've given you, Ronald, you would know what I'm talking about." He cowered behind his raised hands, and I laughed again, glad to have these two with me.

"Well, that's all he wanted to say to me. Apparently my lessons begin next Monday, so I have some time to prepare until then." Hermione looked up from her fight with Ron, and nodded.

"Alright. I will do what I can to help you get prepared before then." I nodded to her in thanks, and began to walk towards the Fat Lady's portrait. "Harry!" I turned at Ron's shout, and cocked my head at him.


He laughed. "Get back before breakfast this time, yeah?" I winked, and nodded.

"Yea, sure, of course mate." The sound of his laughter followed me out of the Tower and into the hallway, only cut off when the Fat Lady shut her frame.

I pulled my Cloak out of my pocket and swung it around myself, barely in time. Ginny and Lavender came around the corner moments later, and I pressed myself against the wall as they passed. I made to move on, but their conversation caught my attention.

Lavender laughed at Ginny, and brushed her hair out of her eyes. "Oh, Gin. You know Harry is clueless. You'd have to whack him over the head and tie him up to get his attention at all."

Ginny glared at her friend, and pushed her slightly. "Sometimes I don't think he even knows I exist." She said mournfully, running a hand through her hair.

My eyes widen slowly, until I think they are going to pop out of my head. Is this what I think it is…?

Ginny sighs, and glances at Lavender. "Think maybe Hermione can put in a good word for me?"

Lavender shrugged. "She's his best friend, can't hurt to ask." With that, they go inside the portrait. I just stand there for a moment, shocked by what I have just heard.

"It's rude to eavesdrop, Mr. Potter." The Fat Lady informs me, and I drop the hood of my cloak long enough so she can see me stick my tongue out at her.

"They said my name, it was fair game ma'am." She just shakes her head at me, and I walk away, still somewhat shaken by what I had seen.

But my feet walk purposely towards the dungeons, and I hope Snape is not busy. I need him right now- I need to feel him and have him surround me. Before I know it I am at the door to his classroom, holding my breath, wondering if I even have a reason to still be as nervous as I am. But I open the door and shut it behind me, and Snape looks up as I slide the Cloak off of my shoulders. My heart feels like it is going to beat out of my chest- memories of Fifth Year, Ginny's conversation, my encounter with Snape earlier today- these memories are swarming me, making it hard to breathe.

Onyx eyes watch as I stumble towards him. He sets aside his quill, stacks our quizzes to the side of the table, and pushes his chair back from the desk. I know he is in my mind, gleaning information from me, and I can see his eyes start to burn as he witnesses my memory of Ginny's conversation.

I fall into his lap.

And he catches me.

And the continuation of this chapter is to follow shortly. Please let me know what you think.