Author's Note: While this is masquerading as Chapter 2, it is actually the prequel to Chapter 1. A lovely reviewer suggested that I add this part, so I am going to attempt it.
CP Warning: While this chapter won't contain any corporal punishment, it will speak of it heavily. Please do not continue reading if this offends you in any way.
This picks up during the reign of Umbridge, soon after Snape catches Harry looking at his memories in Dumbledore's Pensieve. JKR owns all of that, of course.
It was awful. Everything about it was awful, and Harry hated it. He wished he could Scourgify his mind like … well, like his father had done Snape's mouth. He felt sick.
Harry's own father, a common bully! And Sirius was certainly no better. The anger boiled up inside him again. He tried to think of anything else, anything to force the anger back down. If he didn't, he knew he'd end up shouting at Ron and Hermione again—and even Harry felt that he was starting to overdo that a bit.
At least I won't have to bother with Occlumency anymore, he thought bitterly as he hurried along the corridor toward his common room, and was immediately overcome with guilt.
He stopped to angrily kick at a particularly offensive stone in the wall and was about to repeat the gesture when Filch appeared as if from nowhere—spying on him, no doubt—and roughly grasped his arm to pull him away from the wall. Harry jerked away indignantly and absently rubbed at the spot where Snape had gripped him so tightly a couple days before. It was still bruised.
"Don't touch me!" he spat angrily at Filch.
"Oh, yes, Potter, you just keep up that attitude with me," Filch replied, and Harry thought he sounded a bit too happy. "Just keep it up, all the time, kicking at my walls and breaking school rules and you'll see what happens when Educational Decree Number Twenty-nine comes through. Oh, you'll see, then, won't you?"
"What are you talking about?" Harry asked sharply, though he didn't really even care. He had already begun to straighten out his robes and was turning to go.
"Oh, you don't remember?" Filch answered with a nasty delight in his voice. "Headmistress Umbridge—"
Harry scoffed at that and began walking again toward his common room.
"That's fine, yerse," Filch wheezed after him. "You walk away from me now, but we'll see how you like being strung up by the ankles and whipped raw! Oh, it's coming, Potter, it's coming!"
Harry continued walking and rolled his eyes. He'd like to see Filch try something like that with him. The professors would never allow that to happen. McGonagall had been furious with "Moody" when he'd turned Malfoy into a ferret, and even Snape probably wouldn't…
Harry shivered slightly at the realization that Snape probably would enjoy beating him every day if he got the chance. And all because of his arrogant bully of a father! Well, mostly because of him. Some of it might have been his own doing.
No apology had been made for the Pensieve … incident, as Harry now called it in his mind. In fact, Harry had made sure to stay as far away as possible from anywhere that Snape might turn up in the last two days. He'd briefly considered writing him a letter of apology, but gave up on the idea when he couldn't get past Dear Professor Snape, Thank you for not killing me.
"Should just go ask him for my whipping now and get it over with," Harry muttered darkly as he neared the portrait of the Fat Lady.
"I'm afraid that is not the correct password," she said, giving him a hard look.
"Mimbulus mimbletonia," Harry said sullenly, and the portrait swung open without further comment.
Harry paused halfway through the portrait hole.
"Yeah! Why not!" he exclaimed and backed out of the entrance to the common room, leaving a confused Hermione right in mid-sentence.
"Harry! Your homework planner clearly states that you were supposed to be in here studying twenty minutes ago! I don't know where you think you're going, but you're being very rude and I—"
He didn't give her time to follow him, as she most certainly would have done. He adjusted his bag over his shoulder and sprinted straight towards the gargoyle guarding the Headmaster's Office.
"Er. Fizzing whizzbee?" he asked it uncertainly, trying the password Umbridge had used when she'd dragged him to the office to be expelled after having caught the dispersal of a DA meeting.
"You sure about that?" the gargoyle asked crankily.
"Er. Pretty sure," Harry replied hopefully.
The gargoyle eyed him appraisingly.
"I don't suppose you've got her in your pack there, do you?" it asked suspiciously.
"Her? Oh, no, of course not!" Harry replied, swinging his bag down and opening it so the gargoyle could determine whether he'd stuffed Umbridge in there.
"Very well," he said, jumping aside.
Harry finally felt some apprehension as he ascended the staircase and neared the door to the Headmaster's Office. No one would be there, not since Dumbledore had vanished with Fawkes, and he knew what he'd come for. He'd only give the office one look around, and if he didn't see what he needed, he would turn around and leave immediately.
Having justified it all to himself, Harry reached out to open the door, but it swung open before he'd even touched it.
"Hello, Harry," Dumbledore greeted him from behind his desk, not sounding at all surprised to see him.
Harry, however, was shocked to see Dumbledore.
"Professor Dumbledore!" he almost shouted, and then lowered his voice to a shocked whisper after the Headmaster flicked his wand and the door shut behind him. "Professor Dumbledore! What are you doing here?"
"I am the Headmaster, am I not?" Dumbledore asked casually, looking down at the items on his desk.
"Well, yeah, but … but I thought you'd gone, sir," Harry said awkwardly. "What if Umbridge finds you here?"
"I assure you, Harry, I am not in any danger from her. You need not worry. Have you been practicing your Occlumency?"
Dumbledore turned to look out the window, and Harry suddenly felt very annoyed with the Headmaster as he realized that he'd yet to make eye contact with him.
"Er … Well. That's sort of why I'm here," he said uncomfortably.
"Oh?" Dumbledore asked, clasping his hands behind his back and strolling in a seemingly nonchalant manner along the rear wall of his office.
"Yeah," Harry answered irritably. "It seems I'm not very good at Remedial Potions."
"Nevertheless, you must continue your lessons with Professor Snape," Dumbledore said firmly as he examined a small silver trinket he'd picked up from a cabinet.
"Well, that's going to be pretty difficult, sir, seeing as how he's thrown me out of his office and told me to never come back," Harry snapped.
Dumbledore stiffened at that, and Harry immediately regretted his tone of voice.
"Sorry, sir," he said quietly, feeling his face flush. "I didn't mean … It's just …"
"I will talk to him, Harry," Dumbledore said kindly, exchanging his silver trinket for a copper one. "I am sure that we can clear up whatever misunderstanding the two of you've had so that the lessons may continue."
"No," Harry said quickly, and for a moment Dumbledore did look at him. "It's just … something's happened, sir, and—do you happen to have a cane in here?" He glanced around at the various shelves lining the walls.
"You know I don't walk with a limp," the Headmaster responded immediately, as if that were a perfectly normal question. "A young man such as yourself may think me ancient, but I assure you—"
"Erm … No, I meant like a … a punishment cane, sir," Harry forced the words out uncomfortably. His face colored again and suddenly the laces of his trainers were very interesting.
"You know we don't allow physical punishments here at Hogwarts, Harry," the Headmaster replied evenly, trading his copper trinket for a stack of chocolate frog cards.
Harry snorted humorlessly.
"I guess you haven't read the latest draft of Educational Decree Number … Whatever it is now, then, sir."
"Hmm," Dumbledore said tightly, but did not comment further. He was scowling quite intensely at one of his cards.
Harry shifted his bag to his other shoulder, mainly just to give himself something to do.
"Whatever has happened, I am sure that we three can resolve it peacefully," Dumbledore started again.
"I don't think so, sir," Harry said quietly. "I think I should probably handle this one by myself."
"Your intention is to ask Professor Snape for a punishment, then?" Dumbledore asked after a few moments of silence.
"Well, yes," Harry murmured.
"I must admit," Dumbledore said, smiling politely as he swapped his cards for yet another toy, "that doesn't sound like our Harry Potter."
Harry gave an unexpected burst of genuine laughter and shook his head.
"No, sir, I suppose it doesn't."
"In fact," Dumbledore continued, "I was rather under the impression that Professor Snape is fairly liberal about handing out punishments."
"Oh yes, he is, sir," Harry readily agreed. "Especially to me."
"Yes, it does seem that you earn detention quite often," Dumbledore commented.
"Right," Harry agreed, nodding. "He hates me."
Dumbledore paused for a moment to shuffle some papers on his desk.
"I am sure that isn't true, Harry," he finally said.
Harry made a face, but didn't respond.
"Since Professor Snape has already spent so much time punishing you, perhaps I shall discipline you this time. And then we shall tell him that the matter has been dealt with," Dumbledore said resolutely.
"What? No!" Harry blurted out, quite taken aback by this suggestion. At least, he hoped it had been a suggestion. He let his book bag drop to the floor and fidgeted awkwardly. "I mean … of course you can punish me too if you think … if you think you should, sir…"
Harry suddenly felt very tired and embarrassed, and he hoped the conversation would end soon.
"It's just … it's just that it's … well, it's personal, sir," he said heavily.
"And that," Dumbledore sighed, "is exactly what I'm afraid of, Harry."
With that, Dumbledore turned and reached toward a cabinet that Harry swore hadn't been there a few seconds before. He opened it and withdrew a long—and terribly thick, Harry thought—cane. The cabinet disappeared again as soon as Dumbledore shut the door. He brought the weapon, as Harry immediately began to think of it, to his desk and dropped it there.
"So—so you do have one, then," Harry said, rather accusingly.
Dumbledore paused. "I am a headmaster, am I not?" he asked with a trace of a smile. "Hold out your hand, Harry."
"Sir?" Harry asked, slightly alarmed, but he stepped closer to the front of Dumbledore's desk and obediently held his hand out at once.
Dumbledore inked a quill and scribbled something across the middle of the cane, then lifted it from his desk. For one fleeting moment, Harry was certain that Dumbledore intended to strike his upturned palm, and he winced when the Headmaster dropped it into his waiting hand.
"Er. Thanks," he said uncertainly.
"Remember, Harry," Dumbledore said, focusing on a spot directly above Harry's left shoulder, "Professor Snape is … Professor Snape. I expect that he will be very strict with you."
"Right," Harry mumbled. "I know, sir."
"I also strongly suspect that he will have no interest in caning your hands," Dumbledore said meaningfully.
Harry blushed profusely at that but managed to nod. "I know, sir."
"Very well, then," Dumbledore sighed, as if he had been resolved to this fate instead of Harry. "I will expect your complete discretion concerning my being here today. I can count on that, yes?"
"Yes, sir, of course," Harry answered immediately.
"And I expect that once you and Professor Snape are on better terms, you will resume your Occlumency lessons as soon as possible."
"Yes, sir," Harry replied, but with much less conviction. He seriously doubted that was going to happen, but he wouldn't tell Dumbledore that.
"All right, then, Harry," the Headmaster said with an air of finality. "Until next time."
With that, Dumbledore simply disappeared, leaving Harry standing awkwardly with the cane in his hand. He heaved his bag over his shoulder and rushed down the spiral staircase.
"What do you have, there?" the gargoyle asked him at the bottom. "Nicked that from the Headmaster's Office, did you?"
"Er … Well, no, not exactly," Harry said, realizing he probably shouldn't just carry the thing around out in the open.
Harry glanced down at the "Let's talk" Dumbledore had scrawled across the cane, then stuffed it into his robes and headed for the dungeons. He knew that if he didn't talk to Snape right now, there was a good chance that he never would.