As Harry Potter walked down the drafty corridor leading to the dungeons, he wished with all his might he could turn back. Ignore Dumbledore's request for Occlumency lessons, and just be a coward. Run back to his warm dormitory bed and hide under the covers like a six year old. Or worse, like Snape expected him too. That was the only thought that drove him on. Proving that prat of a potions master wrong. Showing him that Harry Potter wasn't (as Snape knew him) just the Boy Who By Some Miracle And His Own Parents Stupidity Lived Even Though He Is Good For Nothing.
No. If it meant proving Snape and the Death Eaters wrong, he could take anything thrown at him and more. It's what his dad would have wanted to do.
Keeping the idea of making his dad proud in the front of his mind, he pushed open the door to the dungeons. He would do better this time. No more letting Snape invade his most private thoughts. The lessons hadn't been going on long so Snape hadn't seen much, but Harry was no fool. Snape would want to drag this out as long as possible, save exploiting the juiciest details 'til he least expected it.
Surprising or not, the Boy Who Lived did have secrets. Nothing he could get in trouble for of course, but ones he still didn't want Snape to know. Ones he didn't want anyone to know…
"Potter." He couldn't see the professor in the shadows of the potions room, but he could hear the distaste in his voice. Like he had swallowed a nasty Bertie Botts Every Flavor Bean. No doubt if they made a bean that tasted like Harry, Snape would choke on it. If only.
"Another night of searching through your putrid little brain. How exciting."
"Yeah, well I'm not exactly relishing the experience either Snape."
Snape emerged in an indignent flourish.
"Five points from Gryffindor for talking back to a teacher."
Harry held back the insult fighting to leave his mouth. He wouldn't give Snape the satisfaction. Not tonight. Get in, do the lesson, get out. Snape could bait him all he wanted, he had more important things to deal with than some bitter professors personal vendetta. Like, oh I don't know, saving the wizarding world from ultimate destruction by the hands of the Dark Lord? Yeah, something along those lines.
"Yes sir." He muttered through gritted teeth. Focus Harry. Focus on the plan. What you didn't think he had a plan? Oh, he did. A plan he had come up with all by himself.
Okay, that was a lie. It was all Hermione's idea. Wasn't it always?
But now wasn't the time to think about Hermione, much as he wanted to. He needed to focus on the plan.
He had been in one of those self-pitying mopey moods, wondering what to do about the next time he was trapped down here with Snape.
***"Surely it can't be that bad. I'm sure you're getting better. Right?" Hermione's kind sympathy didn't mask her worry.
"Hermione, I'm lousy at Occlumency. Like, really rubbish. I might as well be Ron trying to learn Ancient Runes!" Hermione tried to hide a smile as the Weasley in question snorted into his Butterbeer (courtesy of the twins' secret trips to Hogsmead).
"Oy!" Ron spluttered, indignant.
"Oh come off it Ron, you know he's right." She didn't even try to hide her smile this time, just shoved him playfully to bring him to the point he was laughing with them instead of being laughed at. She was always so great at that.
"Whatever." And thus ended the argument. One of the many thirty second rows they had, and always seemed to leave Harry wondering how he had gotten so lucky to have friends like these…like her...
"So there's no chance you can improve really fast? Like you did for the Tri-Wizard Tournament?" Ron said, working to divert the conversation to anything other then his failure at academics.
"I don't think so. From what I've read about Occlumency, it isn't the kind of skill you can just pick up. You have to be born with that kind of talent." Of course she had read about it. Why did he even bother being surprised with her vast knowledge anymore?
"Then why would Dumbledore have him training with Snape?"
"He must think with all of Harry's other skills he must have this one as well."
She thought he was skilled?
"There's no point otherwise. He'd just be subjecting Harry to weekly mind invasions."
A cheery thought. She really thought he was skilled?
"But if he can't learn it, what about a loophole? Some way a cheatingf the system?"
"You would think of cheating Ron. Always the easy way out."
"Hey, you were the one who's going on about it being pointless. How 'bout a little optimism?"
"Well apparently there's a new definition of optimism that involves cheating instead of-" She stopped mid-berate and got the wide-eyed look that clearly meant she had had an epiphany.
"Ron! That's brilliant!"
Oh, now Ron was brilliant? Fine, just forget about me being skilled then. Not like I care. Oh wait, she's saying something.
"Don't you see Harry? You CAN cheat!"
Hermione? Talking about cheating? Something had to be terribly wrong.
Hermione just rolled her eyes at the 'huh?' looks on the two boys faces and pressed on:
"If you can't block Snape from reading your thoughts, all you have to do is give him decoy thoughts!"
More confused looks.
"Spell it out for us 'Mione." She sighed dramatically like she had to explain 2+2=4 to a thirty year old.
"You have things you don't want Snape to know right?"
"Bloody hell yes." The least of which being that he was in love with his best friend. That he walked the halls of Hogwarts each day wanting to shout it loud enough to be heard from the Astronomy tower. That he wanted to tell her every chance he got how brilliant she was, how happy she made him, how he would be lost without her.
And how much he struggled with the fact that Ron- his other best friend- had her affections instead.
Had it not been for the brotherly bond the two shared, Harry probably would have hexed him out of his mind by now.
"Right, well all you have to do is focus on a memory or thought you don't mind him knowing-like I don't know, something like what you had for breakfast this morning- and focus on that so hard he won't be able to find anything else!"
It was brilliant.
"Bloody fantastic is what that is! I can't believe I thought of it!"
This time Harry beat Hermione to the shove.***
"Right then, here we go" Snape's cold voice brought him out of his thoughts. Not much for small talk. God I'd hate to imagine him at foreplay, Harry thought dryly.
The thought was pushed aside as Snape raised his wand. His movement was quick but so were Harry's instincts, and he had been expecting something like this.
Harry winced. The invasion hurt just as much as it always did; the sneering wizard in front of him taking a magical sledge hammer to his mental defenses.
Bitter prat. Okay, focus Harry. Don't let him in. Breakfast. Think about breakfast. Eggs, toast, pumpkin juice-
***Hermione had been sitting across from him. She had looked great that morning. It had been a light homework night so she had actually had time to sleep. Her eyes were bright as she laughed at Fred and George's jokes. She was so beautiful when she laughed.
He ignored Ron's arm draped possessively around her shoulder, instead letting his mind wander, imagining- with the kind of creative mind only a sex-starved teenage boy possessed- exactly what he would do to her if he had the chance.
He wouldn't kiss her half-heartedly like he had with Ginny, oh no. (The two had broken up months ago, and looking back he realized just how little he had invested in the relationship. But there were no hard feelings. On either part) He would take his time with Hermione. Make sure to explore every corner of her mouth, discovering what she liked. What she loved.
As he kissed her he'd press her up against a wall. Didn't really matter which one, just somewhere private where he could put his entire mind and body into the process. She'd give him back the same attention, making delicious little noises that made his shiver and kiss her even harder. Her entire body would be flush up against his own, her hands hanging tightly to his hair, while his own where a bit more...mobile. They'd start at her hips- which he'd noticed in the past were much curvier than her school robes led the pubic to believe- and then inch ever so slowly up her back, slipping under her school shirt to feel her skin. Such skin. And the minute they did Hermione would give a little gasp. Just a little one. Letting him know his ascension was approved.
And ascend he would, still slowly, half his brain enjoying the feel of her, the other half quite enjoying the things she was doing with her mouth. Which would now be on his neck (a weakness that Ginny had never discovered)and from there he'd simply loose it.
He'd go back to her lips, kissing her furiously, punishing her for finding his weak spot. He'd tear at her robes, not even caring how much damage was done to the fabric, only knowing he needed her out of them now.
She'd do the same, because in this wonderful fantasy she wanted him as much as he wanted her.
But at this point logic reared it's ugly head. Hermione would never want him the way he wanted her. He could see it in the way she looked at Ron.
Ron. Brother or not, it was moments like this when Harry really wanted to punch the git. Throttle him for not realizing just how incredible she really was. Tell him very clearly how she deserved so much better than him.
And as the three of them finished breakfast, he watched in disgust as Hermione - the girl who deserved to be given the world and more- held Ron's hand as they made there way to Charms…and it made him sick.***
"Well, well, well." Snape's voice was like a bucket of icy slime being poured down his back.
He wasn't in the Great Hall. He was in the dungeons, his most personal thoughts being invaded by the potions master.
"Looks like the Boy Who Lived doesn't get everything he wants after all." Had Snape had the ability to show emotion Harry might have said he was giddy. The slimy feeling of his voice was replaced by cold fury.
"You son of a bitch." He didn't even care any more. House points be damned, Snape had gone too far this time.
"How does it feel Potter? Knowing the one women you truly love is in love with an oaf." His sneer was bordering on obscene. "Looks like we're not so different, you and I."
"Go to hell." And he ran. Ran from Snape, from the memories, from the shame. But he didn't run quite fast enough, because just as he was about to heave open the dungeon door he heard Snape call after him.
"I'm already in it Potter! We both are!"
And for the first time in his life, he knew Snape was telling the truth.
P.S- Whether you love it or hate it, please review and tell me what I did wrong.