An Ever-Fixed Mark
Summary: Harry is determined to discover the identity of his Half-Blood Prince. 1st person, Harry's POV.
Authors Note: A huge, heart felt thank you to Serpenscript, Plot doctor! I couldn't have done it without her support.
Disclaimer: The characters within are not mine and I am not making any money from this.
A Ever-Fixed mark
Nothing good ever happens at two in the morning. There are no greats feats achieved, no perfect ideas concocted and certainly no irrefutable revelations illuminated past one fifty-nine AM. I know all this and yet I find myself weirdly awake, blinking myopically at The Half-Blood Prince's copy of Advanced Potion-Making.
There is nothing beautiful about the battered book lying innocently on the desk in front of me. The cover is old and dirty and the pages are dog-eared and stained in strange places but for some reason it simply radiates a magnetic frequency attuned solely to me. Everywhere I go, I can feel the solid weight emanating heat inside my bag, distracting me from each conversation and pleading for me to open the cover and peruse its captivating pages. The margins call to me, singing sweetly of their secrets written in neat, spindly handwriting and I yearn to obey; to run my fingers along the words and feel the indentations carved into the paper by a sharp quill, smell the deep, spicy scent still clinging to the care-worn pages. The obsession runs deep, surging through my veins and curling like thick smoke into each thought and yet I don't want to resist the clarion call. I don't want to be free.
The mystery is enchanting, I admit it. Who is The Half-Blood Prince? Is he still alive, making potions somewhere where everyone appreciates his talent? When did he go to Hogwarts? Did he know my parents? Why would he leave his Potions book lying around in some dusty old cabinet? Would he care that someone else is using his old book? Why type of person was he? Was he involved in the first war against Voldemort? If he was, what side did he choose? Do I know him? Have I passed him in Diagon Alley or these very halls, dreadfully ignorant of the person walking behind me? I think that would be the very worst. Having him so near, close enough to talk to or get a butterbeer with on Hogsmeade weekends and not know it. Somehow, The Prince has become my friend and I am desperate to find him.
Ding. Ding. Ding.
The large grandfather clock chimes another wasted hour that I should have been sleeping for instead of staring morosely at a ratty, old book. I cringe at my own wording and realize how tired I am; I would never insult the prince otherwise. I feel an absurd need to apologize to the book for calling it ratty but with an impressive display of restraint, I stay quiet and only stroke the spine in regret.
"Bloody hell, are you still up, mate?" Ron grumbles fuzzily from the stairs. His voice is still gooey with sleep and his eyes are only tiny slits on his pillow-creased face.
"Yeah, couldn't sleep. I'll be up in a bit," I say softly, watching in amusement as he bobbles in agreement and heaves himself back up the stairs.
I know that he thinks I'm just preoccupied with the information I learned with Dumbledore tonight and I am quite happy to let him continue thinking that. I just can't handle them both looking at me with pitying eyes as they try to convince me that my obsession is unhealthy. Or rather Hermione tries to convince me that my obsession is unhealthy and Ron sits there with a blank expression.
There's nothing unhealthy about reading a book, as Hermione should rightly know. She would want to know who The Prince was if it was her Potions book. As it is, she's just put off because The Prince is better at potions than she is. She always hates being outdone.
Merlin, I need to stop thinking about these things and get up to bed before I am completely unable to get up for class tomorrow. Well, I guess I knew that I would never solve the great mystery tonight. It's not as though I actually thought I would discover the identity of The Half-Blood Prince, find his address and then go skipping off to have a night cap with him. I knew that nothing good ever happens after two AM but knowing doesn't stop the stab of disappointment that I feel as I pack the book away under my mattress for safe keeping and slip under the covers.
I yawn deeply, snuggling tightly into a ball and just as the muzzy softness of sleep claims me, I find the energy to whisper softly into my pillow.
"Goodnight My Prince."
"Do you reckon Professor Flitwick will assign a lot of homework this weekend? I really think we've gotten off easy this week and I just know that someone is going to dump a huge research project on us and force everyone to stay in the castle tomorrow," Hermione frets, wringing her hands together anxiously.
"Easy? You think this week was easy?" Ron exclaimed, gesticulating wildly, and looking at Hermione as though she has just told us that she plans to marry Voldemort.
"Well, perhaps easy was the wrong word. But we haven't had nearly the workload that I expected this year and I suppose its just making me nervous," she clarifies, flicking her hair off her face in one, irritated jerk.
"Perhaps it would be better to be grateful we aren't stuck inside at all hours doing research projects and such," Ron grumbles.
"If anyone is going to give us a ton of homework, it's going to be Snape. The sadistic bastard," I grouch through a large yawn, flattening my fringe over the stupid scar that permanently decorates my forehead.
"I bet you're right, mate. It would be just like him to make sure that everyone is just as miserable as he is," Ron agrees loudly, bouncing as he walks.
"What makes you think he's miserable? He finally got the job he always wanted, he gets to torture all the Gryffindors he wants and Dumbledore is gone often enough that he doesn't have to answer for anything he does. I bet he's downright giddy," I say gloomily, readjusting the shoulder strap on my bag.
"Oh for Merlin's sake, would you two stop talking about Snape? I don't think it would kill you to leave off him for one day," Hermione barks, pushing past us and waltzing into the Charms classroom.
"I think it might," Ron mumbles, following after her. I snicker softly, making my way to my seat and settling in for a rather dull lecture about Warding Charms.
As Professor Flitwick stumbles through an exhausting two hour lecture, I can feel my fingers twitch towards my bag on the empty seat next to me. The singing has started again, whispering and cooing seductively, waiting for my control to snap.
I don't care about hearth stones or grounding components, and I certainly don't care about the angst-ridden drama Ron and Hermione have begun. I just want to be five floors below, swathed in the dank, chilled Potions classroom, inhaling Merlin-knows-what, where I can touch my book again; to feel its crinkled pages caress my fingertips and see the adored comments again.
I feel connected to him when I sit in the sturdy, scratched tables where every student for countless decades has sat. Any of the stains and marks on the black surface could have come from his cauldron, his silver blade. I wonder sometimes where he sat; if I would be able to tell just by touching a smudge that it came from him, that this was a tiny piece of him left over for me to find.
"Harry? Are you alright? Class is over, Harry," Hermione prods quietly, sticking me in the ribs with the edge of a book.
"Oh. Right, sorry. Miles away," I shrug, packing up as fast as I can without drawing attention to myself and shuffling out the door after an impatient Hermione.
"Did you catch even half of that lecture?" She gripes, smoothing out her already immaculate robes and tucking a few stray hairs back into place.
"If I said no, will I get smacked?" I hedge.
"No. I know you have a lot on your plate right now… but don't even think that will excuse you forever. Sooner or later, a teacher is going to notice your vacant expression and take points – and then where will you be?" She says in exasperation. I don't even begin to open my mouth to retort. I don't have a death wish today.
"Oi! Where did Ron go?" I say with a start, glancing around in confusion.
"He left as soon as Flitwick excused us. Something about running to grab something from the common room," she mumbles distractedly.
"Oh. Do you reckon we'd better head down to the dungeons before Slughorn notices we're late?" I ask, frowning slightly at the thought of leaving my best mate back in the common room.
Hermione scoffs and nods, acting for all the world as if her answer should have been universally accepted and we trek down the stairs to the dungeons in awkward silence. I do so wish Ron and 'Mione would just get over all this hostility and snog already.
The air grows colder the further down the stairs we progress and I can feel the chill creeping into my bones with each step. Slughorn's classroom looms up from around one of the many twists in the corridor and I have never been so happy to see potions class before.
Hermione and I make our way quietly down the rows of desks until we reach the middle row and slide into the Gryffindor side. Ron isn't here to cramp the desk, so Hermione and I spread out our things and set up the supplies for the day. According to the syllabus we were given on the first day of class, today we'll be working on the practical procedure for creating Antidotes.
Slughorn stands from behind his desk, clapping his hands and talking rather excitedly. "Settle down now, settle down, please! We have a lot to do today, so we had better get moving. Golpalott's Third Law…who can tell me —? But Miss Granger can, of course!"
Hermione recites at top speed: "Golpalott's-Third-Law- states-that-the-antidote-for-a-blended-poison-will-be-equal-to-more-than-the-sum-of-the-antidotes-for-each-of-the-separate- components."
"Precisely!" Slughorn beams. "Ten points for Gryffindor! Now, if we accept Golpalott's Third Law as true…"
I am just going to have to take Slughorn's word for it that Golpalott's Third Law is true, because I didn't understood any of it. Nobody apart from Hermione seems to be following what Slughorn says next, either.
"…which means, of course, that assuming we have achieved correct identification of the potion's ingredients by Scarpin's Revelaspell, our primary aim is not the relatively simple one of selecting antidotes to those ingredients in and of themselves, but to find that added component which will, by an almost alchemical process, transform these disparate elements —"
Ron had snuck in while Slughorn was speaking and was now staring with an open mouth at the professor. Hermione shot him a rather smug look, as though to say 'That's what you get for being late'. He looked at me with a rather pleading expression, but all I could do was shrug hopelessly at him.
"…and so," Slughorn finishes, "I want each of you to come and take one of these phials from my desk. You are to create an antidote for the poison within it before the end of the lesson. Good luck, and don't forget your protective gloves!"
Hermione shot out of her stool and was halfway towards Slughorn's desk before the rest of the class had realized it was time to move, and by the time Ron and I returned to the table, she had already tipped the contents of her phial into her cauldron and was kindling a fire underneath it.
"It's a shame that the Prince won't be able to help you much with this, Harry," she says brightly as she straightens up. "You have to understand the principles involved this time. No short cuts or cheats!"
Annoyed, I uncork the poison I grabbed from Slughorn's desk, which was a garish shade of pink, tip it into my cauldron and light a fire underneath it. Alright, now I don't have the faintest idea what I am supposed to do next. I glance at Ron, who was now standing there looking rather gormless, having copied everything I did.
"Does the Prince have anything to say?" Ron whispers, looking hopeful at the prospect that he might be bailed out.
"Don't know, let me look," I whisper back, reaching for the book resting lightly on the end of the table.
Letting my fingers separate the pages gently, I quickly find the chapter on Antidotes. There, written in the familiar hand, was Golpalott's Third Law, stated exactly as Hermione had recited it, but not a single illuminating note to explain it. Apparently, the Prince, like Hermione, had no trouble understanding it.
"Nothing," I say gloomily, leaving the book open on the Antidote page just to see the scrawl at the top.
It took me only five minutes to realize that my reputation as the best potion-maker in the class was crashing around my ears. Slughorn had peered hopefully into my cauldron on his first circuit of the dungeon, preparing to exclaim in delight as he usually did, and instead had withdrawn his head hastily, coughing, as the smell of bad eggs overwhelmed him.
Hermione's expression could not have been any smugger; she loathed being out-performed in every Potions class. She was now decanting the mysteriously separated ingredients of her poison into ten different crystal phials. More to avoid watching this irritating sight than anything else, I bent over the Half-Blood Prince's book and turned a few pages with unnecessary force.
And there it was, spread across the bottom of the long list of antidotes.
Just shove a bezoar down their throats.
My eyes are riveted to the words, staring at them for a long moment. Hadn't I once, long ago, heard about bezoars? Hadn't Snape mentioned them in our first ever Potions lesson? 'A stone taken from the stomach of a goat, which will protect from most poisons.'
"Two minutes left, everyone!" Slughorn bellows, snapping me out of my daze.
I spring into action and walk as fast as I can towards the supply closet. Pushing aside unicorn hair and tangled dried herbs until, at last, I see a small card box with the word Bezoars written on top. Inside, there were a dozen small, dried brown things that resembled kidneys more than actual stones. I grabbed one and shoved the box back into place.
I hurry back to my desk and just manage to sit down before Slughorn announces that our time is up. He begins making his way down the rows, peaking into cauldrons and making comments as he goes. Nobody has managed to finish the task, although Hermione was attempting to cram in a few more ingredients into her bottle before Slughorn reached her. Ron had given up entirely and was now mostly trying to not inhale the putrid fumes billowing from his cauldron. Secretly hoping that Ron's potion is so bad that Slughorn will simply forget to even check mine, I sit as quietly as I can with the bezoar clutched in my sweaty palm, trying not to hyperventilate.
Professor Slughorn reached our table at last. Passing over Ron's cauldron with a grimace and moved on very quickly.
"And you Harry? What do you have to show me?" he asked, waddling his way to my cauldron.
I gulp and hold out my hand, palm up, with the bezoar sitting heavily in the centre. Slughorn looked down at it for a whole ten seconds. I can't help wondering, for a brief moment, whether or not he was going to shout at me. Then, as I was starting to sweat harder, he threw his head back and laughed.
"You've got nerve, boy!" He booms, taking to bezoar from my hand and holding it up for the class to see. "Oh, you're like your mother…well, I can't fault you…a bezoar would certainly act as an antidote to all these potions!"
Hermione, who was sweaty-faced and had soot on her nose, looks livid. Her half-finished antidote, comprising fifty-two ingredients including a chunk of her own hair, bubbled sluggishly behind Slughorn, who had eyes for nobody but me.
"And you thought of a bezoar all by yourself, did you, Harry?" she asks through gritted teeth.
"That's the individual spirit a real potion-maker needs!" says Slughorn happily, before I could reply. "Just like his mother, she had the same intuitive grasp of potion-making, it's undoubtedly from Lily he gets it…yes, Harry, yes, if you've got a bezoar on hand, of course that would do the trick…although as they don't work on everything, and are pretty rare, it's still worth knowing how to mix antidotes…"
The only person in the room looking angrier than Hermione was Malfoy, who, I was happy to see, has spilled something that looked like cat sick all over himself. Before either of them could express their fury that I managed to come top of the class by not doing any work, however, the bell rang.
"Time to pack up!" says Slughorn. "And an extra ten points to Gryffindor for sheer cheek!" Still chuckling, he waddles back to his desk at the front of the classroom.
Ron looked at me pointedly, but I shake my head at him, already packing up my supplies and shoving my trusty copy of Advanced Potion-Making into the inside pocket of my robes. I'll be pouring over the pages for the rest of the night, trying to read every little comment I possibly can before I pass out from exhaustion. I can't believe I haven't made this goal before now, but I guarantee that I won't be missing any more opportunities to know my prince better.
When we reached the common room, Hermione went off to work alone on her Ancient Runes homework while Ron sulked on the large couch facing the fireplace. I imagine that he is mostly upset that I didn't manage to slip him a bezoar too. Oh well, he'll be fine by tomorrow… and if he's not, then I'll just sort him out.
Climbing up the stairs to the dorm, I gently lift the Half-Blood Prince's book out of my pocket and smooth my hand over the cover in anticipation. I rip my school robe off, kick out of my shoes and bounce onto my bed and close the curtains. Reclining on my stomach, I open the new cover and run my fingertips over the well-loved identity. This book is the property of the Half-Blood Prince.
Flipping past the introduction (which has no notes in the margins), I read the little comments attached to The Draught of Living Death. Although interesting, I have no real interest to the little corrections to existing potions that I am sure he spent a lot of time working on. The things I'm most interested in are the little comments and remarks written on blank spaces between chapters, at the top of the pages, and squeezed in the margins. Each little message I read, feeds the fire of obsession growing inside me. I can feel it surging and panting inside my chest with each word.
At the bottom of the page dedicated to poisonous mushrooms, there is one line written in overly large writing, traced over and over again until the words were bolded, notated with spirals and curls surrounding it. Only the dead see the end of war.
Only the dead see the end of war…
Only the dead.
I turn the page quickly in order to banish the compulsion to linger over the words until morning. There are more corrections on the next page, indicating that one should add a sprig of peppermint to the Elixir to Induce Euphoria to counter the ill effects.
"Harry! It's almost dinner. Are you coming down?" Ron asks shortly.
"Oh. Yeah, 'course," I reply, pushing the Princes book under my mattress and shoving aside the curtains and clamoring out of bed.
"What are you doing in there?" he asks, obviously extending an olive branch.
I took it gratefully.
"Just looking over some notes," I say. It's not as if I lied, I really was looking over some notes… just not my own notes.
"That's boring. Your starting to act like 'Mione," he laughs, trudging down the stairs and out the portrait hole to dinner.
Hermione was still acting snobbish, and Ron was too busy eating to distract me from my thoughts. For some reason, I keep seeing the embellished sentence scrolling over and over again in my mind. It seems so… familiar. No, familiar isn't the right word… Its like Deja Vous, I know I've never heard it before and yet some part of me has. A part of me, the part that niggles at my brain, embraces this sentence.
The shepherd's pie is bland and the conversation is positively dead so I slowly stand from the bench and make my way out of the Great Hall as inconspicuously as possible. The halls are pleasantly empty and I make it to the dorm room without talking to a single person.
I detour to the loo, washing up and changing into my pyjama bottoms before plopping back onto my bed. Reaching around, I dig the Prince's book out from under the mattress and recline into the pillows. My eyes close without my express permission and I rest the book on my stomach. Stroking the spine absentmindedly, I allow myself to catch up on some much needed rest.
The hallways are clear of students, there are only shadows here to keep me company. They bend and twist wickedly, forming shapes before disintegrating randomly. A breeze curls in from an open window, changing the shadows and forcing them to group together oddly. They grow, towering over me before crashing down into the shape of a man. I can't see his face, everything is shadows now. At its feet lies a battered, stained copy of Advanced Potion-Making, making a base for the thing to balance he speaks, his voice is velvet arched over steel and I yearn to wrap myself around it and never crawl out again.
"Let's match the power of Lord Voldemort, Heir of Salazar Slytherin, against the famous Harry Potter." The voice hisses, making my hair stand on end. The voice doesn't fit the words; that beautiful voice spitting out Tom Riddle's words.
The shadow shifts again, growing shorter and somehow managing to look scruffy.
"You are not weak, Harry. You have nothing to be ashamed of." It says, this time soothingly but the voice is still wrong. I know this voice… somehow, somewhere outside of here. This voice does not belong to Remus Lupin.
The shadow grows again, growing taller than any of the other forms, widening strangely.
"What's comin' will come, an' we'll meet it when it does." It chortles, adding an odd accent to the rolling voice. It doesn't fit at all. I think I would have known if Hagrid had a voice like that; Its so very wrong that the oddity makes me look away from the faceless shadow.
It shits again, shrinking and tapering off into a relatively tall, slim figure. The Prince's book at its feet flutters and tips eagerly.
"Fools who wear their hearts proudly on their sleeves, who cannot control their emotions, who wallow in sad memories and allow themselves to be provoked easily – weak people, in other words – they stand no chance against his powers! He will penetrate your mind with absurd ease, Potter." The shadow purrs darkly, perfectly at ease with its voice. A sudden flash of obsidian eyes set into a pale face and the shadow shudders violently before sweeping into the Prince's book.
The blankets are tangled around my legs, sweat is dripping down my face and I can't seem to stop shaking. The brief flicker of pitch black eyes seems to be branded into the back of my eyelids. The image is stuck, replaying over and over again in a sick repetition, like a broken muggle record player.
There was something there, just out of reach, which I know would explain everything… if I could only remember the entire dream. I recall something about Remus and Hagrid talking in an abnormal voice, something about dark, molten eyes glinting inside a pallid face… and Voldemort! Of course! The dream was so very bizarre that it must have come from Voldemort. My scar doesn't hurt, but that doesn't mean that the Dark Lord didn't penetrate my mind again. I best go to Dumbledore.
The decision made, I slide out of bed and dig my invisibility cloak out from my trunk. Once the cloak is secured around me, I ghost down the stairs and out the portrait hole without any kafuffle at all.
Reaching the gargoyle that guards Dumbledore's office with incredible ease, I recite the password (Acid Pops) but the statue remains immobile. Several attempts later, and I move on to hitting and kicking at the figure savagely, sweating even worse than before. Yet, no matter how hard I assault the guardian, it refuses move aside in the slightest.
"Ah, Mr. Potter. Out for another midnight stroll, are we?" A smug voice drawls, issuing, it seems, from the shadows themselves. An unpleasant roll of my stomach, followed by the irrational urge to flee as quickly as I can back to bed, accompanies my sharp inhalation before I master myself.
Calm down, for Merlin's sake. No matter how close to the dream this situation seems, this is absolutely not a shape-shifting shadow determined to show me every known Half-Blood in my immediate acquaintance. The castle is warded; no Death Eaters could possibly enter the grounds with them in place without setting off a multitude of alarms and fail-safes.
"I need to see the Headmaster," I declare, tilting my chin up proudly, managing to cover the shaking of my voice with an impressive bravado.
I get the feeling of keen eyes running over my face, but the person is still shrouded in darkness. The person – man – 'hmms' softly before sweeping out from the blackened corner. Oh, of course. I don't know how I could have missed it. Professor Snape, cloak whirling about his ankles, stands before me looking rather… concerned. No, it couldn't be concern – maybe he just got a piece of bad meat at dinner.
"What is it, Potter? Is it your scar?" Snape barks urgently, striding forward and gripping my chin in his cool, thin fingers and lowering his head to look directly in my eyes.
"I don't know. I think it might be something like before. That's why I need to see Dumbledore," I reply earnestly. Don't be rude, just be as polite as possible and maybe he wont take points for being out after curfew.
"Professor Dumbledore is away from the castle at the moment. You'll have to come with me. Now," he says, emphasizing the word Professor greatly and pulling me along behind him by my arm when I didn't move fast enough for his liking.
"I can walk on my own, you know," I mumble churlishly.
"Be silent and hurry up," he snaps, glowering over his shoulder at me.
"Yes, sir," I reply with poor grace, quickening my footsteps to keep up with his long stride. Sometimes, being short really blows.
The staircases seem to cooperate with the snarky git, and we descend towards his office quicker than I expected. The great oak door snicks shut behind me as Snape whirls around on the spot and crosses his arms over his chest.
"Well, what did you see?" he demands sharply, locking his unbearably dark gaze on my own.
"There was a huge shadow that… shifted into people I know and said things in a weird voice. Voldemort was there, he was saying something about matching skills with me like he did in the Chamber of Secrets in second year. It was just bizarre, and I woke up all… disoriented. I don't know, I thought it might be important," I stutter out, totally unable to piece together more than that.
Professor Snape blinks once and then rolls his eyes dramatically. Arching one thin brow, he says sharply, "Yes, and?"
"Well it wasn't just that, I mean it was… I can't actually remember a whole lot of it at this exact moment, but I'm telling you it was so strange, it has to be from Vol- …er… You-Know-Who," I explain, gently amending Voldemort's name at his pointedly narrowed eyes.
"Oh for Merlin's sake, Potter! Its one thirty in the morning, and we both have class at eight. Either spit out something of importance or go back to your dormitory immediately," he snarls, looking angrier and angrier the longer it takes me to form a coherent response.
"I… cant! It's too fuzzy now. But Professor – " I begin only to be seized by a wonderful (or intolerable) idea. In response, Snape raises both eyebrows. "Well, surely, you can just look!"
"Look?" he drawls, clearly shocked by my suggestion.
"You know as well as I do that I'm pants at Occlumency. You could just pop in and have a peek and get a much more accurate recount," I say triumphantly.
"You are inviting me to pillage your mind in order to find out what exactly your dream was about?" Snape asks slowly, looking angry again although I have no idea why.
"Yes," I say firmly.
"Are you completely out of your mind, Potter? You never invite someone to use Legilimency on you! Ever! Do you understand me?" He hisses, so angry that his normally pallid face drained of every ounce of color and the vein in this temple begins to pulse violently.
"But –," I start awkwardly.
"NO BUTS! Did it even occur to you that I could completely rape your mind of every single thought, every single memory your stunted brain has ever processed?" He shouts, obviously outraged.
"I know you won't do those things. Just because I don't like you doesn't mean that I don't trust you," I explain slowly, as though talking to a small child. Sometimes adults can be really dense.
Snape was silent for a full twenty seconds before I really started to get nervous. Oh god, he is going to shout at me and stick me in detention for the rest of the term. Taking a chance and looking up at him through my fringe, I'm unsurprised to see him stone faced and impassive, but as our eyes meet he does the most shocking thing I have ever seen.
Professor Severus Snape throws back his head and laughs. Loudly. The sound is like rich dark chocolate, singeing the nerves of my spine pleasantly. Who knew that his laugh/voice/smile would be so… hot? Well, maybe not hot… Oh, who am I kidding? Sweet Salazar, he should smile more often! He looks ten years younger when he isn't scowling.
"That is absolutely priceless. Get over here then," he demands, still chuckling. I obey, in complete shock. Grabbing my right arm in his surprisingly gentle hold, he draws me closer, looks directly in my eyes, raises his ebony wand and says, "Legilimens."
Snape skims the memories of the last few moments, seeing my impression of his laugh and the walk to his office, yet he doesn't linger over anything, not even my seamless walk down from Gryffindor tower, stopping only when he reaches the eerie dream that had seemed so fuzzy only two seconds ago, but now unfurled gently, neatly, for him.
He replayed the dream three times before withdrawing gently. His face is still unreadable yet there seems to be a glint of humour swimming in his eyes. His lip twitches before he masters himself and then he releases me from his grip.
"I can safely say that Voldemort was not involved at all and you can be assured that there was no portent of doom within that rather melodramatic exploration of your personal confusion," he says, lip twitching again mid-rant but he smoothed out his face before I could really get a look at it.
"Oh. Oh. Ok then. Sorry to disturb you, Sir," I stutter, blinking rapidly and backing towards the office door.
"Potter," he says just as I reach the door, waiting until I turn around to speak again. "It was … very responsible of you to seek help tonight. You did the right thing," he forces out, looking sour.
"Thank you, sir," I reply, smiling at Professor Snape for the very first time in history before turning the handle and walking out of his office. As I walk back to Gryffindor Tower, I can't help thinking that for one split second, right before the door closed behind me, Snape might have looked… pleased.
Author's Note: Well, here I am - back from the dead and itching for your opinion on my newest endeavor. I know, I have been terrible about updating my current stories but when the muse strikes, a writer must bend to its will. Fortunately for my beloved reader, this story is mostly written so updates will be coming rather quickly. As always, REVIEW if you think I should continue. Please, I am desperate for some feedback and I so love hearing from you all. I hope you enjoy this - I think it might possibly be the hardest project I have ever underwent.
Oceans of Love,