Author's Note: Enjoy!
"What is that you are working on?"
Harry looked up to find Snape peering across the table at his work.
"An essay for Astronomy, three feet on Jupiter's moons," Harry replied in a bored voice.
"You've been working on it for nearly an hour and it appears as though you've hardly got a foot done," Snape observed.
"It's boring," Harry admitted. "I was thinking next year I could swap this class out for Muggle Studies."
"You are absolutely not taking Muggle Studies," Snape shook his head.
"Why not? I'd be good at it!"
"Of course you would, you were raised by muggles weren't you? That class will be nothing but an excuse for you to goof off and still receive a perfect grade. If you want to swap something for Astronomy as you put it, you will take something else that is challenging."
Harry made a face at these words. "That isn't any fun," muttered under his breath.
"School is not meant to be fun, it is meant to broaden your mind," Snape replied. His attention was now back on the papers he was grading.
Harry chose to ignore these words and instead decided to change the subject all together.
"Did you always know that you wanted to be a teacher?"
"What else did you want to do?"
"Stop asking me ridiculous questions and work on your homework. Remember this is a punishment, not a social hour."
Harry was silent for a moment as his attention drifted back to the textbook he had opened in front of him. He read three sentences about the moon directly above Jupiter before he opened his mouth once more.
"Which year's papers are you grading?"
Snape felt his temper rise as he fixed the boy with a stern look. "As I've just told you this is your punishment. Now unless you'd like me to transfigure your book into a slipper and punish you as I originally intended to I expect you to stop pestering me and complete your homework."
Harry winced at the idea of Snape assaulting his bum with the sole of a slipper.
"Sorry," Harry replied in a soft voice. "It's just been so long since we really talked."
Snape watched as the young boy's head dropped, his eyes now focusing back on the thick textbook in front of him. Snape noted the sadness that had been in his voice and instantly felt a pang of guilt race through him.
"Actually I did want to speak with you about something."
Harry's head snapped up, eager to have permission to put off his homework for a few more moments.
"How did you manage to get out of the castle when you went to Hogsmeade? I know you had your cloak of course but surely you couldn't have walked out of the front door without being detected by the dementors, cloak or no cloak."
The eagerness that Harry had been feeling instantly vanished. He had been worried the previous day in the hospital wing that Snape would ask that question and when he didn't he had felt absolutely sure that he had somehow gotten away with never having to answer it.
Harry kept his mouth shut as his eyes roamed back down to the textbook once more.
"I see," Snape replied. "Not so eager to talk now are we?"
Harry shook his head silently.
"Am I right in assuming that you had help and you don't wish to incriminate any of your friends?"
Harry nodded his attention still fully on his book. It wasn't a total lie. Without Fred and George he wouldn't have had the map and without the map he never would have made it to Hogsmeade.
"You can tell Mr. Weasley and Ms. Granger that-"
Harry's head snapped up.
"It wasn't Ron or Hermione," Harry cut Snape off before he could finish his threat.
Ron and Hermione had both received a detention for helping to hide him at Hogsmeade and Harry felt absolutely horrible about it. The last thing he needed was for Snape, or anyone, to think that they had snuck him out of the castle.
Snape raised an eyebrow at these words.
"It wasn't! They didn't even know that I was going to Hogsmeade until I showed up," Harry defended his friends. "And Hermione was even cross with me for it. She thought I was stupid to be there."
"Smart girl," Snape mused.
"So don't blame them," Harry concluded.
"Regardless of who it was, I hope they are aware that their actions were hardly that of someone who is concerned about your well-being."
"How would they have known that a dementor would show up?"
"I'm not referring to the dementors Harry, I am referring to the threat of Sirius Black. If you recall he is the entire reason you are forbidden to go to Hogsmeade in the first place," Snape replied in a stern voice. "He is the reason that if you disobey my rules concerning your safety once more, I am going to personally see to it that you are sleeping on your stomach that evening."
Harry felt the tips of his ears burn at Snape's words. He didn't doubt for a moment that Snape would make good on his threat. For a second he wondered what on earth he had been thinking when he actually missed Snape scolding him.
"Am I clear?"
"Yes," Harry nodded. "I already told you, I'll never do it again. It was really dumb."
"To say the least," Snape agreed. "Now finish your homework, it's nearly time for you to be back in your dormitory."
"Malfoy bloody ruins everything," Ron declared.
The trio was making their way back towards the castle having just left their Care of Magical Creatures class. Ever since the first class of the year when Malfoy had gotten himself injured, Hagrid's classes had been on the boring side. They were no longer introduced to amazing creatures but rather spent the classes much like the one they had just completed, learning about unicorns simply from Hagrid giving a lecture on them. Harry had to admit though that as boring as it was, he was pleased that Hagrid still had a job.
"Personally I found the class interesting," Hermione replied.
"I found it boring," Ron shot back. "Hagrid's first class was wicked and then Malfoy screwed it all up."
Hermione shrugged in reply. "I've got to hurry. I have about two minutes to make it to Muggle Studies."
"You were raised by muggles," Harry replied shocking himself by repeating the very words Snape had said to him the previous night.
"But it's so fascinating to learn about them from the wizarding worlds point of view," Hermione smiled before she rushed off ahead of them.
Harry couldn't help but contemplate what Snape would say if he tried to use the same line on his guardian. He knew it would never work though, he was no Hermione Granger and Snape would see right through it.
"She's mental," Ron muttered before turning to Harry. "What do you want to do?"
Harry shrugged as they climbed the steps to the castle. He had less than two hours until he had to report to Snape's quarters for dinner. He had actually been hoping to go find Remus and see if he was free to talk for a bit but he didn't want to leave Ron all alone.
"Hey can you show me the map?" Ron asked in an excited voice.
When Harry had first explained the Marauder's Map to Ron, the read head had been annoyed that his brothers had never confided in him about it. Harry had offered to show him the map but Ron had declined. Clearly he was now having a change of heart.
"Sure," Harry nodded.
"Wicked," Ron smiled widely as they climbed the staircase that led to their dormitory.
"It is pretty cool," Harry agreed.
"You could show me the secret passageway too."
"No," Harry quickly shook his head. "I can't go there again."
Ron made an annoyed face as the two stopped outside the portrait of the fat lady. "What do you mean? Why not?"
"Snape will bloody murder me if I get caught in the secret passage," Harry replied in an honest voice. "I'm not doing it."
"We don't have to go in it you can just show me where it is."
Harry shook his head. There was no way he was risking being caught in such a compromising situation.
"What's the big deal?" Ron asked in an annoyed voice.
"The big deal is that I snuck out of the castle and into Hogsmeade and Snape hardly punished me at all for it-"
"He's forcing you to miss dinner every night this week."
"I'm not missing dinner," Harry clarified. "I just have to eat with him which is hardly a punishment at all. I'm not pushing my luck."
Ron practically rolled his eyes at these words. "You never cared before."
"It was different before," Harry tried to explain. He could tell that Ron was getting mad but he didn't care he wasn't going to change his mind. Snape had been brilliant in not murdering him for going to Hogsmeade, the last thing he wanted was to be caught lingering around a secret passageway so soon after.
"I covered for you in Hogsmeade."
"I never asked you to do that," Harry pointed out. He knew it was a weak argument at best.
"Whatever," Ron said in an angry voice. "I don't want to see the stupid bloody map anyway."
"Ron don't be-"
"No," Ron cut him off as he turned and took the two steps towards the portrait leading to the Gryffindor tower. "You know you never seemed to care before Snape came along. I always had parents and I still always risked getting into trouble for you."
"I never made you do anything," Harry responded angrily. "You never acted like you cared."
"Because I don't, I know how to have fun."
Harry opened his mouth to respond and tell Ron that they could have fun without breaking rules but before he could Ron practically yelled the password at the Fat Lady and disappeared into the tower.
Without giving his actions a second thought Harry turned on his heel and headed back down the staircase towards the dungeons. The last thing he wanted was to be anywhere near his red headed friend.
He walked past a group of Ravenclaws that were standing in the main foyer before heading down the stairs to the hallway that led to Snape's chambers.
If he was remembering the man's schedule correctly, Snape was teaching a class at the moment but Harry didn't care all he wanted was to be as far away from Ron as possible.
He pushed open the door that led to Snape's parlor slamming it behind him all his anger towards Ron now on the surface.
"What in Merlin's name?" He heard Snape's voice thunder.
Harry's head turned noticing for the first time his guardian sitting in his armchair, the Daily Prophet in his hands.
"Sorry," Harry quickly responded. "I thought you were teaching a class."
"And you came to break my door while I was gone?"
Harry shook his head as he crossed the room practically throwing himself onto Snape's couch.
"What in the world has gotten into you?" Snape asked in a curious voice.
Harry instantly took note that as little as two weeks ago if given the same situation Snape's voice would have been stern, but now he couldn't find a trace of that.
"I had an argument with Ron," Harry admitted as he picked at the fabric on the corner of the couch cushion.
"I'm sure you two will work it out in no time."
Harry shrugged. "He's being an arse." The word escaped his mouth before he could stop it.
"If I ever hear that word come out of your mouth again yours will be in impending danger."
"Sorry," Harry replied in a sincere voice. "It just came out."
"In the future see to it that it does not. When a man uses profanity to support an argument, it indicates that either the man or the argument is weak."
Silence reigned for several long moments before Snape cleared his throat.
"Do you wish to talk about the row you are having with Mr. Weasley?"
Harry certainly wasn't about to tell Snape that it had to do with a secret passageway. Doing so would only result in his having to confess about the map and doing that was basically a suicide mission.
"Well there is something I want to discuss with you."
Harry glanced in Snape's direction.
"And I would appreciate it if you would stop picking at that cushion and moping while I did so," Snape continued in a snarky tone.
Harry's hand instantly dropped onto his lap as he sat up a bit straighter.
Snape fixed him with a stern look before he spoke again.
"As I am sure you have noticed the dementors seem to effect you quite differently than they do your classmates."
Harry nodded in reply. Of course he had noticed. It was bloody embarrassing to faint every time one came near him while his classmates watched in confusion.
"What I am sure you do not know is that there is a spell that often succeeds in keeping them at bay," Snape went on. "Given that you have been attacked on more than one occasion, I think that teaching you said spell would only benefit you in the long run."
"You're going to teach me?" Harry asked eagerly.
"No. Unfortunately I do not have the extra time in my schedule at the moment however, Professor Lupin does and he has volunteered to take the time to teach you."
"Wicked," Harry smiled.
"I expect you to take this seriously Harry. This is magic that is very advanced for your age. Now I don't mean to discourage you as I don't doubt that you can learn it but you will need to concentrate and make a commitment to doing so."
"I will," Harry nodded seriously. It was always a bit exciting to him to learn a new spell and hearing that it was advanced only heightened his excitement even more.
"And before you get any ridiculous notions in your head please know that I really am busy Harry and that if I had the time to teach you myself I certainly would."
Harry nodded once more smiling softly at Snape's words. Somehow, here in Snape's parlor, the row he was having with Ron seemed to be a million miles away. All that truly mattered was that things were right with Snape, a fact that a few months ago Harry never would have believed would have mattered.