Disclaimer: If I owned Harry Potter, I wouldn't be struggling to pay off student loans, now would I?
Warnings: Language, weird/iffy/disturbing dub-con scene sorta
Chapter 6: Bone vs. Bludger
When Snape opened his eyes the next morning, he was immediately in a good mood. It took him a moment to remember why, true, but when he did... Chuckling as he made his way to the shower, anticipation roiled in his gut, like a small child on Christmas Eve. There was a Quidditch match today. Not just any Quidditch match, though, oh no. This match would be the one where he finally saw James Potter's precious son beaten at his own game. Where the lions would once more lose to the snakes, and he could once more rub the delicious victory in Minerva's distraught, wrinkled face.
As the warm water hit his back he laughed again, already imagining the sweetness of it all. Lucius had been near desperate to get his own spoiled brat on the team, and while Draco was a fair flier, Flint had confided to Snape that he wasn't the top choice for Seeker. Maybe in a year or two, sure, but at the moment he was still too young and inexperienced; and he didn't quite possess the natural talent the Potter brat seemed to have. Of course, Marcus Flint was a true Slytherin, through and through. When Draco had failed to make the team on his own merit and written home crying to daddy, Lucius had immediately come through, 'donating' a whole set of new brooms to the Slytherin team. Flint knew the drill, and even the original Seeker, fifth year Darren White understood and stepped aside with a decent amount of grace. They knew how the game was played, and those with the money had the power. It was a lesson nearly all of his little snakes learned early on.
Of course, what this all meant for Severus himself was a near guaranteed path straight to the Quidditch cup. Even if the thought of getting there on Lucius Malfoy's dime left a bitter taste in his mouth... well, seeing James Potter's crestfallen face would be more than enough to make up for it. Besides, there was hardly anything he could do about it. He knew how the game was played as well.
Waking at six and being clean, dressed, and ready for the day by six-thirty, Severus still had an hour and a half until he headed up to the Great Hall, seeing as how breakfast on weekends didn't start until eight; so naturally, he spent that small portion of the morning in his lab, brewing. Which was why he entered the Hall at approximately eight o'clock with his freshly washed hair now hanging in stringy, oily strands about his face, scowl naturally put into place. No wonder the children thought he had such terrible hygiene.
The rest of the morning was spent grading essays until eleven, when he, like everyone else, headed down towards the Quidditch pitch, a definite spring in his step. This would be perfect, what he'd been waiting for since last year when the little brat first showed himself as his father's bloody clone. Glancing at the somewhat overcast sky, he just hoped it didn't rain. He wanted a clear view of both Potter's and Minerva's faces when they tasted defeat.
Taking his seat up high in the teacher's stands, he fought the urge to fidget impatiently as they slowly began to fill with spectators. After what felt like positively forever (clearly he'd regressed back to mental age of ten at some point during the night), the players flew out and took their positions, Slytherin in handsome green, Gryffindor in garish red. Really, such bright colors were much too flashy and foolhardy to boot; it made the whole lion team such excellent targets. Then they wondered why the got fouled so often.
His ears were suddenly assaulted by the sound of Lee Jordan crowing into his wand about the players, amplified far more than need be (really, wasn't the boy irritating enough in class?), and not for the first time he wondered how Gryffindor got away with using an announcer from their own house when it was their team who was playing. Shouldn't they, perhaps, switch off in order to be fair? They were the noble ones, after all.
Ignoring the over-enthusiastic Professor Vector behind him and the pleasantly smiling Jenkins on his left, Severus forced his full attention towards the match, noting how those new brooms really did wonders for most of his team. Most of them. Young Malfoy appeared to be more interested in showing off his superior speed to Potter than doing his job and searching for the Snitch. To make matters worse, Severus could tell even from where he was sitting that Potter wasn't taking the bait but rather continued to diligently scour the sky. It did not please him when a Gryffindor was more focused and determined than one of his own, and should they lose the game due to Malfoy's ridiculous posturing...
A shot of black went streaking at full speed towards Potter's disheveled head, and Severus didn't think on it much except to wonder which of his Beaters had executed such a fine shot. Then when one of the twin Weasels whacked it away and it came careening straight back, an odd little niggling started in the back of his mind. When it happened again, Severus was fully prepared to admit something was wrong. The Bludger had obviously been fixed to go after bespectacled boy heroes, and that didn't bode well for the tiny second year who, after that last pass, just barely managed to cling to his broom.
"Say, isn't that a bit odd?" Jenkins mumbled next to him, his smile finally gone for once.
"It's been tampered with," Vector agreed, though Snape ignored the both of them entirely, his dark eyes affixed on a certain old man sitting across the field in the visitor stands (likely attempting to keep a close eye on Lucius Malfoy, if Severus wagered a guess). The Weasleys had enough of a brain between the two of them to call a time-out, but surely they weren't intending for the game to go on? He was well-versed in the rules of how absolutely nothing interrupted a Quidditch match, but these were unusual circumstances. Not only was this not a professional match (this was a school and these were still children last he'd checked), but someone had clearly tampered with the game's equipment. If that didn't call for a delay, what did?
Yet somehow, he wasn't surprised when Dumbledore just sat there calmly, eyes most likely twinkling as though all was right with the world. Barmy old coot. Fine. Surely Minerva would... One glance down towards the announcer's stand where Lee Jordan continued to prattle on endlessly and he knew no, Minerva wouldn't do anything to stop it. Because much like him, she had looked towards Albus first; and unlike him, she had a nasty habit of revering Albus' word as law. Meaning when she saw how Albus thought everything was just fine and dandy, she forced herself to agree, never mind one of her little lion cubs was in danger.
Cursing the stupidity of reckless, foolhardy Gryffindors, Severus was actually tempted for a brief moment to stop the match himself. As the Slytherin Head of House, he was the only other party capable of doing it (even Madame Hooch as the referee wasn't able to actually stop a match), but why should he? If those two idiots wanted Potter to get hurt, fine, let the brat get hurt. Albus likely saw it as some sort of character building exercise, Minerva was too blind to see anything Albus didn't, and it wasn't his responsibility to take care of a boy who wasn't even in his house. Besides, it was highly unlikely the Bludger would kill him. This might actually be entertaining to watch.
When the time-out ended and the player's returned to their positions once more, Jenkins literally jerked in his seat, eyes positively huge. "Surely they're not... How can they just keep playing? The Bludger..."
Severus' lips quirked at the man's distress. He'd noticed after that interrupted detention how fond Jenkins was of the little brat (another member of his fan club, no doubt), and it was highly amusing to see how worried the man looked now. Even if he did, to a degree, share his sentiments.
At first he was right, it was incredibly entertaining to watch James Potter's son run away from an angry Bludger, looking positively ridiculous in some of the maneuvers he used to avoid the damn thing; but as the rain started to come down and Potter continuously avoided getting his head smashed in where most others would have failed, it became less captivating and more irritating. Because the longer the boy managed to keep his seat and all of his limbs intact, the more impressive the whole display became. Many of the students, still laughing and jeering might not recognize that, but he unfortunately did. He would not be impressed by anyone with the name Potter.
Jenkins positively jumped when the boy held still a moment too long and the furious black ball smashed hard into his arm. Even Severus internally winced, knowing how bone and Bludger did not mix. Well, no harm done. Now Gryffindor would have to call in a reserve Seeker (if they even had one) and Potter would have to— What the devil was the boy doing?
Feeling as though he must be in some sort of horrible, awful nightmare, Severus watched Potter nose-dive at a familiar head of blond hair, the owner of said hair scrambling to get out of the way before they collided. He watched the boy, dominant arm dangling uselessly by his side, grip the slippery broom with his knees and reach out his remaining arm to close his fingers tightly around the elusive golden ball before falling to the muddy ground with a splat. Harry Potter had just caught the Snitch, the Snitch which had been sitting right above his Seeker's head, with a rogue Bludger after him and a broken arm.
Severus felt as though his stomach had just dropped down to his feet. He was impressed by a Potter.
When Harry felt something wet splashing against his face followed only shortly by a stabbing pain in his arm, his first thought was that Ripper had finally caught more than just his ankle. The mad dog had clearly used his arm as a chew toy and was now in the process of drooling all over his conquest. Amazing how much like Dudley an animal could be. Or was it technically the other way around?
Oh, and Hermione was here. That... wasn't right.
Forcing his eyes open, he was immediately accosted by a set of very white teeth which could only possibly belong to one person. *"Oh, no, not you," he moaned.
"Doesn't know what he's saying," said Lockhart loudly to the anxious crowd of Gryffindors pressing around them. "Not to worry, Harry. I'm about to fix your arm."*
Oh no, the boy thought, terrified. Someone help me. Dumbledore, McGonagall, Snape. Someone please help me.
He should have known better, of course. No one ever came to his rescue, no matter what the situation. Why should this be any different? That was why he suddenly found himself lying on the ground with absolutely no bones to speak of in his right arm. Just wonderful.
"Here now, what's the hold up? Why hasn't this boy been taken to the Hospital Wing?"
Turning hopeful eyes towards the sound, Harry squinted at the sea of legs to see them parting, making way for someone. When Professor Jenkins stepped fully into view, Harry was happy enough to kiss him, thinking that for once, even if they were late, someone had come for him. Jenkins would save him from Lockhart now, right? Then again... Jenkins was a really nice person. He might not want a confrontation—
"What in Merlin's name?" The Astronomy professor dropped down to his knees, shouldering Lockhart rather forcibly out of the way as he gently reached forward and took Harry's boneless arm into his hands. Harry had to look away to keep from being sick at the sight. "How on earth— Harry, what happened? The Bludger hit you, so I'd assumed you'd maybe broken..." The man trailed off when he saw green eyes focused on Lockhart's stupidly grinning face and the kind expression of concern he wore tightened. "Oh."
"My fault, that," Lockhart quipped brightly, as though removing someone's bones was an everyday sort of mistake. "A simple side-effect of the spell I used— not a common one, of course, but it does occasionally—"
"Why didn't you just send him up to the Hospital Wing in the first place?"
There was a very prominent silence after that, everyone present going quiet in shock. None of the students had ever heard Professor Jenkins interrupt someone before, let alone speak in such cold tones; but he'd done it now to Lockhart. On Harry's behalf.
"Ah, yes, well— best he does that now, eh? Mr. Weasley, Miss Granger if you'd—"
"I've got it under control," Jenkins cut him off again, moving to slip his arm beneath Harry's shoulder blades and help him stand. The boy wobbled a bit on his feet once he was up, but the strong arm that wrapped itself around him and pulled him safely into his professor's side kept him on his feet. It also made his stomach flutter and his chest feel warm. "Perhaps next time, Gilderoy, you'll leave the healing work up to the professionals."
Everyone watched on in astonishment as Jenkins helped Harry up to the Hospital Wing, his arm never leaving the boy even when he was clearly all right. Once away from prying eyes and open ears Harry dared to lean a bit more against the older man's coat, sending a shy smile his way. "Thank you, sir. For helping me."
"Don't be ridiculous, Harry. It's my job to look after my students."
Harry nodded in agreement, it was true, but he somehow just knew the easygoing man wouldn't have told Lockhart off so thoroughly for just any of his students. Was he wrong, or was he really something special to the Astronomy teacher? "Thanks anyway."
When they reached the Hospital Wing, Madame Pomfrey wasn't happy. "If you'd come straight to me, I could have had it mended in a heartbeat. As it is now—"
"You can fix it, can't you?" Harry asked worriedly, vaguely registering the pat on the shoulder he got from Jenkins.
"Oh, I can fix it, all right; but it will be painful. I can't believe you allowed this to happen, Roger."
Blinking rather stupidly (who was Roger?), it was only after seeing Professor Jenkins' flushed embarrassment that Harry realized she'd called the man by his first name; and he was oddly excited that he now knew something else about his favorite professor.
"I'm afraid I didn't arrive until after the damage was done, Madame," Professor Jenkins murmured softly, head bowed like a scolded child. "Gilderoy was—"
"Oh. Him." With a disdainful snort, the mediwitch tossed a pair of pajamas onto the bed, turning to leave as she went on, "You'll need to stay the night. Change into those, Mr. Potter, you know the drill."
Grimacing, the boy sat up, reaching his one good arm down to untie his muddy Quidditch shoes, biting his tongue in annoyance when he saw they were rather thickly knotted and nearly impossible to undo without two hands.
"Ah, here, Harry, let me." The man bent and gently brushed his hand away, fumbling with the laces himself while Harry sat there and tried not to smile. This was nice. He'd never had an adult help him when he was hurt before. Aunt Petunia had always just screeched at him to get cleaned up before he got blood on her floor, Uncle Vernon had thrown him out of sight into his cupboard, and thus far, the only adult at Hogwarts that had helped him a bit when he got injured was Madame Pomfrey because that was her job. None of the other professors had ever done anything like this for him before; not even Professor McGonagall and she was his Head of House.
"Thank you, sir."
Jenkins slipped the first shoe off and started on the other, shooting the boy a glance and a sigh. "Really, Harry, you have to stop all this thanking business. Save it for when it's really necessary, hm?"
Harry blushed and ducked his head. It wasn't necessary right now? "Right. Sorry." He'd just wanted the professor to know how much he appreciated the help, that was all.
Jenkins dropped the other shoe, another heavier sigh following. "You're awfully sensitive over some issues, aren't you?"
The smaller male stared, unsure how to answer or even if he was expected to. "Er..."
"Never mind." The professor reached out and ruffled the boy's hair, smiling at how Harry still leaned into the touch like a happy cat. "Let's get the rest of these dirty things off."
Before Harry could protest, the man was stripping away his filthy uniform, tossing it uncaringly to the floor. He tried not to blush when before too long he was in just his pants, but he wasn't used to being seen in so little despite living in a dorm and it was embarrassing. Though he figured since he and Professor Jenkins were both men it didn't really matter...
Fidgeting and waiting for the man to help him into his pajamas next, Harry wondered what the hold up was. Peeking up from beneath his fringe, he was a bit startled to see the professor... staring. Just staring, with an odd look on his face, one he didn't recognize. The boy quickly looked down at himself, wondering if he was injured or had something on him, but there was nothing there. Just his skinny, pale body clad in only a pair of pants that thankfully weren't too huge and worn. Confused he looked back up, raising his eyebrows the older man's way. What was wrong? "Er... sir?"
As though waking from a trance, Jenkins started and then turned rather red himself before giving the boy a kind smile. "Sorry, Harry, got lost there for a moment. Let's get your clothes on before you catch cold."
Smiling back, completely unconcerned, Harry reached for the pajama bottoms, only to have the man take them from him and put them on the boy himself. Besides the fact that Jenkins seemed to be moving awfully slow, Harry didn't mind, unable to recall a time where someone had helped him dress.
"There we are," Jenkins said cheerfully, reaching for the pajama top as well before pausing. Leaning forward, the man startled Harry when he wrapped his hands around the boy's chest, frowning at how far he could reach. "You should really eat more, Harry, you're far too thin. Look at how clearly your ribs show."
Harry scowled, not ever liking it when comments were made about his weight. It really wasn't his fault his relatives never fed him; or at least it wasn't something he could control. There was nothing he could do about being magical.
The professor moved his thumb just a fraction against his sensitive skin, and before he knew it, Harry was giggling like a little girl. Damn.
"Oh?" Jenkins looked incredibly amused. "What's this?"
"It's— it's nothing, sir. I'm just a little ticklish."
Oh shit, Harry thought right before he was being mercilessly suffocated with laughter as the man ran his fingers along his ribcage. Doubling over and attempting to bat the hands away, he gasped out, "S-stop... c'mon, I... ahaha!"
Chuckling happily himself, Jenkins finally relented, though he didn't release the boy from his grasp. Calming down and managing to catch his breath, Harry wondered what the professor was doing, running his hands over him like that. Was he... petting him? That's sort of what it felt like, and it was rather odd. The tickling he understood, but what exactly were these stroking motions about? "Sir?"
Jenkins' smile was friendly, warm; affectionate. "You're such a good boy, Harry."
Fully laying back, any awkwardness long gone, Harry smiled too. He was a good boy.
*Hours and hours later, Harry woke quite suddenly in the pitch blackness and gave a small yelp of pain: His arm now felt full of large splinters. For a second, he thought that was what had woken him. Then, with a thrill of horror, he realized that someone was sponging his forehead in the dark.
"Get off!" he said loudly, and then, "Dobby!"
The house-elf's goggling tennis ball eyes were peering at Harry through the darkness. A single tear was running down his long, pointed nose.
"Harry Potter came back to school," he whispered miserably. "Dobby warned and warned Harry Potter. Ah sir, why didn't you heed Dobby? Why didn't Harry Potter go back home when he missed the train?"
"What're you doing here?" he said. "And how did you know I missed the train?"* No... he knew exactly how the elf had known. Just like the letters earlier that summer. "You blocked the barrier. You made us miss the train. Do you have any idea how much trouble we got in for that?"
"Dobby is most sorry, sir; but Harry Potter should have gone home. Evil things are happening at Hogwarts... and there is even more danger here than Dobby first thought. It is not safe for Harry Potter here, not safe at all."
"What evil things?" Harry sat up as quickly as he could when he was so off-balance due to his arm. "Does this have to do with the writing on the wall? Mrs. Norris?"
Nodding his head while his ears flapped about wildly Dobby agreed, "That is part of it, yes, sir; but there is more. More danger towards Harry Potter that Dobby did not foresee. Harry Potter must go home and get away from that man!"
Blinking bewildered, Harry tried to follow along with the near hysterical little house-elf's chatter. Man? What man? Was... it like last year? When Quirrel had Voldemort fused to the back of his head and tried to kill him? If he was in danger from a professor, his first guess would be Snape but... Snape was mean, not really dangerous... "What do you mean, Dobby? What man? Who's after me?" The unsaid 'this time' hung thickly in the air, and Harry was pretty sure even a generally oblivious creature like Dobby could sense it.
Dobby made an odd gesture towards his mouth, like he couldn't speak, before seeming to change his mind. Obviously this wasn't like the previous situation earlier in the summer where his 'family' had forbidden him to discuss the subject, leaving the house-elf to bang his head off random bits of furniture in penance. This was something else entirely, and Dobby was free to speak of it as he pleased. "The man who was with Harry Potter before. The man who helped Harry Potter after he was hit by Dobby's Bludger."
The man who helped... Did Dobby really consider Lockhart's folly as help? Surely even he wasn't that daft. Unless... unless he meant Professor Jenkins; but that was just absurd. "Professor Jenkins isn't after me. He's nice, and he always helps me out, and he really listens, and... hang on. Did you just say it was your Bludger that did this?"
He got his answer when the house-elf looked sheepishly away.
A sudden noise made both of the pair start in surprise. Dobby turned frantically towards the angry boy, squeaking desperately, "Listen! Harry Potter must go home! If he stays here—"
"Don't you get it?" Harry snapped, fed up with all this nonsensical talk of danger and doom and running away. "I can't go home because this is my home. Hogwarts is where I belong, and I'm not about to leave it; no matter what danger might be here."
Dobby's whole frame seemed to quiver, but a second, louder noise alerted him to the fact that he was out of time. "Then Harry Potter must at least promise Dobby to stay away from that man. He is dangerous. He will hurt Harry Potter."
"What, like your Bludger did?" The anger was bubbling up in Harry's gut as the elf's words played over and over in his head. "Don't you dare talk about Professor Jenkins like that. Don't you say a word about him! I won't let you—"
The Hospital Wing doors finally opened with a small bang, and Dobby instantly disappeared in a puff of smoke while Harry threw himself back into a lying position on the bed. Pretending to be asleep and peeking out through a small slit in mostly closed eyes, he felt his stomach get sick as his gaze fell on the Petrified form of little Colin Creevey.
So yeah, that scene is definitely as graphic as I'm going. Even writing that made me feel kinda sick.
Apparently is deleting stories, or at least they say they will, just as I start getting back into writing. On that note, I'm not above shamelessly asking for an AO3 invitation from anyone who can give it and thinks I deserve it. I'll forever be in your debt.
*taken directly from CoS