Author's Note: The idea for this story came after reading "A Heavy Heart" by JAWorley (found on ). The author of that story mentions something that happens to Harry that I thought would be very interesting to explore further and in a different way.

Timeframe: AU HBP. Follows canon in characterization. Pg. 161, "He had loathed Snape from their first encounter, but Snape had placed himself forever and irrevocably beyond the possibility of Harry's forgiveness by his attitude towards Sirius."

Chapter 1: Sleeping Dragon

"Well, well, well," Snape seethed aloud, his gaze settling on the sixth year Gryffindor in the back of the room. "If it isn't our local celebrity, asleep in my class."

Snape grinned inwardly as he saw Granger and Weasley frantically exchange glances. Granger made a move to wake Potter, but Snape stilled her with one murderous glance.

"Fifty points from Gryffindor and one months detention." Snape's voice was both silky and deadly as he stalked toward the back of the room. The boy had not moved. His elbows rested on the desk, his chin balanced on his fists. His black hair fell in a messy mop over his lopsided glasses.

"POTTER," he yelled, slamming his fist on the boy's desk.

Snape watched with satisfaction as Harry jolted awake, jumping off his stool and barely landing on his feet, a look of wild panic etched clearly across his features.

"So, Mr. Potter," Snape sneered, leaning towards the boy, "We are only two weeks into the term. You've had all summer to rest and recuperate. And yet you seem to think that you are require privileges above and beyond the mere mortals in this class." Snape spun on his heel, addressing the class. "The Great Harry Potter." The Slytherins at the front of the room snickered.

Harry's mouth was tight, his eyes emerald pricks of hatred.

"Why is it, Potter," Snape said, turning back to face the boy, "that you deign to sleep in my class?" Snape placed his arms on the desk and leaned in. "Answer me," he demanded.

Harry's gaze hardened. Snape could feel the waves of anger and hatred radiating off the boy. He knew Harry's control was about to snap.

"Enough of this," Snape breathed, and in an instant, he brushed the surface of Harry's mind. He felt a sense of power as Harry's eyes dilated wide in astonishment. But before Snape could congratulate himself, disturbing images flashed before him, ensnaring him in a web of horrified fascination at the ever changing scenes. Of all things he might have expected to find in the forefront of Potter's mind, that wasn't it.

Suddenly Snape found himself forcefully shoved out of the boy's head. He stumbled backwards, maintaining his balance only by grabbing onto the corner of Potter's desk. Both he and the boy were breathing hard, eyes still locked, ready for a fight.

"Get out! Now!" Snape seethed, pointing towards the door.

Harry did not hesitate. He had his bag in hand and was gone before Snape had time to turn around.

As Snape made his way back up to the front of the classroom, he wondered if Potter would make it to a bathroom in time to vomit.

Shocked, disturbed, and filled with rage, Snape turned to his class. He glared at them, daring any one of them to step out of line so he could vent some of his anger. He scanned the room, finding Weasley's murderous gaze and Granger's tear-filled one. Useless children, he thought to himself.

He managed to get through the rest of his Defense Against the Dark Arts lecture on effective spells against inferi before flooing the headmaster to take over the last hour of his class for the practical portion.

When Dumbledore entered, Snape noticed the direction of the headmaster's gaze as he took in Potter's absence. Snape scoffed inwardly at the surely noble notion that Dumbledore had of Snape's intentions.

As he stalked from the classroom, he leaned down to whisper in Granger's ear: "Perhaps you should consider being a better friend to Mr. Potter."

Her stunned expression gave him a perverse sense of satisfaction.

Infuriated by Potter's insubordination, and built upon six years of mutual loathing, Snape searched the castle for the insufferable Gryffindor. Had he not seen what was in Potter's mind, he surely wouldn't have wasted his time. As it was, he was still not sure he wanted to get involved. He'd just as soon hand the boy over to the headmaster, but he knew that the headmaster would hand him right back, claiming Snape the most capable person to handle the situation.

"Potter, you idiot," he muttered under his breath. Classes were in session and Potter was not anywhere in Gryffindor tower, nor the library, the Great Hall, or any other reasonable place. He couldn't imagine the boy crying in a bathroom stall somewhere either.

A sinking sensation settled in the pit of his stomach as he considered where he himself would have retreated to at that age. He didn't not want to consider even the remotest possibility that he had anything in common with the boy. After exhausting all other possibilities, he made his way to his boyhoodhaven, the North Tower. It was the most desolate and out of the way area of the castle, least frequented by students and teachers alike. Reaching the staircase, he knew he'd found the right place.

He waved his wand through the feeble wards as if they are no more than a fly buzzing around his head. Had the boy learned nothing in all his time here?

He reached the top of the steps to find Potter's back to him, his hands on the railing, looking out over the leaf-strewn grounds of Hogwarts.

"Thinking about jumping?" he drawled.

He watched with something akin to satisfaction as Potter's body went rigid, his hands clenching the railing. "You had no right."

Snape leaned casually against the tower wall and crossed his arms over his chest. "I had every right."

Harry turned around. He looked even more angry and dangerous than he did in class.

Snapescoffed."It is my sworn job as a teacher in this school to look out for the safety and welfare of the students."

Potter gaped at him in disbelief. "My safety was not at issue when you broke into my mind!"

"Was it not, Potter?" Snape inquired as he pushed off the wall and stalked towards Harry. "Do you really think, that you, of all people, you—the chosen one, are not watched beyond measure by every single teacher in this school? Did you really think that no one would notice that you weren't sleeping or eating? That you'd came back to school looking like you'd been attacked by Dementors?"

Potter's eyes flashed, but he said nothing.

"The unfortunate part," Snape continued, "is that I was the one to discover your secret, Potter."

"What are you going to do about it?" Harry challenged, clearly ready to disagree with whatever Snape might suggest.

Snape's only response was a raised eyebrow. He paced back towards the entrance to the tower, turning around as he placed his hand on the cold stone archway that lead to the stairwell. He stopped then, and faced Potter. "Since you were napping at the time, I came here to remind you that your one month of detentions will begin this evening. You will come to my office at 6pm. With your traveling cloak. Don't be late."

Snape smiled coldly at the look of surprise followed by indignation that washed over Potter's face.

"Oh, and by the way, Potter, in case you were planning to gain extra attention and notoriety by jumping, I should tell you that the castle is protected by enchantments and charms that impede students from harming themselves. So unless your goal is an in-depth interview with the headmaster, I wouldn't recommend it."