"He's willing to put the past behind him, why can't you!" he shouted.

"Oh, yes, let's just pretend that those seven years of torture never occurred, and that we can all be friends again!" Snape snarled, eyes vicious. "Grow up, Potter!"

"You're one to talk, Snape!" He could barely think, the words coming out of his mouth before he could stop them. "You're the one who won't let go of a childish grudge! You're just having a temper tantrum because Mum ended up with James, not-"

His head whipped to the side, blood filling his mouth. His face was numb, right where Snape had struck him. The man stared at him, eyes wide.

Every instinct in his body screamed for him to run, but no... he couldn't. He wouldn't run of his fate. He screwed his eyes shut, and allowed the thought that plagued him to seize control of his mind.

Snape had hit him. Quite hard, too, from the feel of his cheek. It was a fact he could not, would not, ignore, after everything that he'd gone through these last few months.

The Dursleys' abuse of him had been discovered. Through many things, he was found out. From his falling asleep in class because of nightmares of his uncle, to flinching whenever anyone touched him suddenly, people began to piece it together. Those that truly cared had helped, each in their own way, upon hearing the truth.

Professor McGonagall, in particular, had been enraged. He had heard from his friends rumors of what horrible pain had been inflicted upon the Dursleys. He himself did not enjoy the thought of it, seeing as he would rather simply leave them and never bother them again, but there was little he could do.

Dumbledore, surprisingly, had done little but admit that he would need to leave. Truth be told, it had taken quite a lot of arguing with an infuriated McGonagall to get him to agree to even that. The conflict had taken place in Madame Pomfrey's office, when it was presumed he was asleep.

His friends had been incredibly supportive and helpful. Ron, in particular, had been uncharacteristically understanding. Sure, Hermione cried enough, but it only reminded him further just how much she cared for him, and it made his soul ache and wonder exactly how he came by their unbreakable trust in him.

That was all good, but there was only one person who had been able to know exactly how it was he felt.

Snape. Yes, that Snape, the evil bat from the dungeons. Or so it was thought.

He had been one of the few to be involved in the investigation of his treatment at Privet Drive. He had appeared, at an extent, neutral throughout the whole ordeal.

By the time it was over, Harry was at his rope's end. He had been questioned, and he had agreed to have his mind probed. Dumbledore was the one to do it, seeming to have gained ten years when leaving his mind.

It had taken a while for him to heal physically. At one point in the process, Pomfrey was forced to leave, and Snape left to care for him.

He hadn't, for the first time, been insulting him constantly. At one point, they began to speak. And it began.

It had taken quite a while, for sure. But after a while, Harry had come to trust in the man. He was still somewhat wary of him, but he had long come to realize that the man was not simply a bitter, empty shell as everyone assumed him to be.

After a month of such, the man invited him to his quarters. There, he did his homework, as Snape graded papers.

It was a nice place. Warm and comfortably quiet. He had come to enjoy it there and sought refuge there at times.

He looked at the man.

He wanted to forgive him. He wanted to reassure him that it was fine, and that he was sure that it would never happen again.

But he wasn't. He knew the man was of short temper, and could be deadly when angered.

He was of certain values. Harry had been told, repeatedly, that Snape would never willingly hurt a student, and he'd come to believe it.

If he could leave it behind, things could go on as they were. Their bond would deepen, somewhat. Hell, after a while, he may come to see Snape as a paternal figure. The man could protect, would provide him with his every need.


He was reminded of Aunt Petunia. At her best, she would shelter him, give him some extra food. But when in a rage, she was just as horrible as Uncle Vernon. Maybe worse.

Maybe he was selfish. Snape needed company, he was aware of it, and he was the only one who could get close enough to become a friend, maybe even like family.

But what if the man flew into a rage at some point, and Harry was in the way? He could do far worse than a mere slap on the cheek.

This might be his only choice at family. Could he risk never finding another who truly understood him, without regrets? Would he risk any injuries he might receive under Snape's care?

He had to choose. And he did.

"Potter..." he heard Snape's voice. He raised his head. And began to speak.

""You'll heal me, and then I'll go get my stuff." His voice was suprisingly steady.

Snape did not say anything, merely brought out the bruise paste. But in his usually unfathomable black eyes, harry saw the a gleam of remorse.

He did not acknowledge it.

Once Snape was finished, he gathered up his things, and left.

He had to wonder-was it worth?

There was no way to know.

His decision had been made and executed. All he could now was hope it would turn out for the better.