This is kind of an early Christmas present to you guys. At the moment, it has two parts, but if I get a popular response to continue, I'm sure I can think up something. I'll post the second chapter next Friday. I hope you enjoy. ^.^

1

The day after Harry finally returned to Hogwarts, it rained.

He had been away for so long that he felt out of place for a moment when he first entered into the Great Hall. After the battle against Voldemort and his followers, the castle had begun rebuilding itself, which was very interesting to see as the stones slowly reformed. It was almost done, with only some of Gryffindor tower and some outside walkways left to fix. Copies of all the destroyed portraits had been found to be hung once again along the halls, suits of armor had been fixed up and polished good as new. The moving stairs of the school were up and running with some extra help from some foreign, specially-trained wizards.

Harry was not the only one to be returning to the school this year. Any and all students, even ones who had actually attended their last two years of Hogwarts, had been required by ministry edict to attend an additional two years of schooling, as a result of Voldemort's increased interference during that time. Of course, this had resulted in many complaints, but the edict had been upheld and Harry was in for another two years of torture, along with everyone else. There would be no special attention for the Boy-Who-Lived; not if he had anything to say about it.

McGonagall was to be the next headmaster, of course, and none of the staff had been changed, even, to Harry's great surprise and relief, Severus Snape. When he'd left the man in the Shrieking Shack that night, seemingly a lifetime ago, he'd thought the man dead and gone, but apparently Nagini had wasted too much of her poison on her previous victims. Snape had survived – though just barely, and with pockmarked scars on his throat to tell the tale - to many students' dismay, of course.

Rather than taking up the position as DADA teacher once again, which Harry had to admit wouldn't have been all that bad, Snape had instead gone back to the post of Potions Professor. Harry wouldn't have been spared the man's company either way, though, since he'd been assigned classes in both potions and defense for the year.

He didn't really care about it one way or another, actually. He didn't want to be here. Didn't want to be looked at like he was some all-important person all over again by curious first and second years. It was already so bad that he couldn't go anywhere in wizarding London without being swarmed by fans and the wizarding press.

He'd been given an award for killing Voldemort: Order of Merlin First Class. It was the same recognition that Dumbledore had received for defeating Grindelwald. And, in the end, he had insisted that Snape be given the same recognition as well.

He had confronted Kingsley Shacklebolt and told him upfront that he would refuse his own reward unless Snape was recognized for his incredible sacrifice during the war. Since the public had been crying out for Harry's own recognition, which he felt he didn't deserve at all, frankly, the new Minister of Magic had been pushed into a corner. Snape and Harry had been recognized for their valor in a ceremony the next day, though neither had been too happy about it.

The edict from the ministry about Hogwarts had been issued the day after that, and Harry strongly suspected that it was payback from Kingsley, though the man had firmly denied it when Harry had asked.

Now, walking to class by himself in the dead quiet of the stone halls, Harry felt extraordinarily lost. He had no dreams for the future. No hopes for a career, although anybody who was anybody had offered him a job for after he left Hogwarts. He'd never gotten back together with Ginny, who was suddenly mysteriously absent whenever he entered a room. His year-mates were all subdued when he was around, not wanting to upset him, which had become extremely easy to do after he'd heard about Remus and Tonks' deaths just after the Battle of Hogwarts had ended. He'd let Teddy be taken in by Neville's grandmother for the time being, while he was in school, not wanting him to feel alone in the vast hallways of Hogwarts.

Ron and Hermione were required to attend Hogwarts as well, of course, but since they had just gotten married, they were allowed to share a room, so Harry didn't expect to see much of them. And really, he knew he probably wouldn't. The only class they would share would be DADA since Hermione had decided on a focus to become a curse-breaker like Bill Weasley, which didn't require Potions, and Ron had failed out on the placement exam for potions. Ron still aimed to be an auror, though, and it was basically ensured with his relationship to Harry and the part he had played in Voldemort's demise.

Harry on the other hand, had been cursed with enough luck to pass the exam, and he'd decided to go through with taking the class in hopes that he would be able to at least earn the title of auror. But he knew no one would care about that. He had killed Voldemort after all, for the second time. No one would care about such a little thing as a failing Potions grade.

He sighed as he made his way to the dungeons, his bag slung over his shoulder casually, and his hand fingering the wand hidden up his sleeve out of habit. The war, and even his childhood and the first years Hogwarts, had taken a toll on him, and he knew it. Nobody else seemed to notice, though. He was tense anytime he didn't have his back to a wall. He never let his wand leave his side for a moment. He hardly ate food from the Great Hall anymore. By Merlin, he was turning into Moody. He almost laughed at the thought, but he ended up shivering in the cool, crisp air instead.

He found the door to the potions classroom not moments later and opened the door slightly to sidle inside. He was early. About two hours early, in fact. No one was even roaming the halls at this time in the morning, but Harry had woken up early, screaming into his own silencing charms. Most of the repeat-students of the Gryffindor house had been moved into the third and fourth years' dorms until the tower was completely fixed, making the rooms very cramped, and Harry couldn't afford to be heard screaming his head off by the younger students. His nightmares forced him out of restful sleep every two or three hours, and he didn't want to attract the kind of attention he had in the past few years. People might think Voldemort was back again, and Harry didn't think he could handle any more talk of that.

He was tired, and he let himself nod off, laying his head down on the desk in front of him not minutes after he settled in the seat. What felt like seconds later, he was being stiffly shaken awake by long-fingered hands. Startled, Harry jerked his head up, letting his wand slide from his sleeve, but still leaving it pointed at the ground. Harry found himself face to face with a disgruntled Snape.

"Put that away, Mr. Potter." He said with a sneer. Still groggy, Harry didn't realize what the man was talking about until a second later, when he blushed from embarrassment and hurriedly stashed his wand up his sleeve again.

"Uh, sorry, Sir." Harry apologized quickly. Snape ignored him, walking to the other end of the room to start writing on the board with the tip of his own wand. As Harry read the words, he saw that Snape was writing out the instructions for a potion. One made for healing those affected by hypothermia; there was no name, only a description. Harry was amazed that the man could write it out so easily without a book to reference.

"Why are you here?" The words came suddenly, jerking Harry from the daze he'd fallen into watching the man write.

"For class, Sir." Harry replied slowly, though he knew that wasn't exactly what Snape was asking.

The man turned to glare at him for a moment, before turning back to his work with a slight snort. "Of course, only you would be this difficult this early in the morning. Well, as you seem to have nothing better to do than test my patience, gather these ingredients-" Snape tapped the board with his finger. "And put them on my desk."

Harry sighed under his breath, not willing to risk Snape's wrath, and stood to do as he'd been directed. Glancing at the board, he nodded and began repeating the ingredients to himself as he walked to the closet where they were kept and carefully brought two of them out to ferry to the desk. He heard the random taps of Snape's wand on the board and began to daydream, almost dozing as he walked back and forth across the room.

He hadn't spoken to Snape after that night in the Shrieking Shack. He felt guilty as hell over leaving the man in there while he was still alive, but not once had the man even glanced at him the handful of times they'd been in the same room together. Harry figured he wouldn't push his apologies on the man, though. He knew Snape wouldn't want to be bothered by his "babbling".

By the fourth trip, he'd completed his task and looked back over at Snape, who was now leaning back against the board, his arms crossed in front of him. The professor had completed the directions to brew the potion and had been watching Harry move. Harry felt his cheeks heat and bit his lip to try to cover his embarrassment at being watched.

"Is there anything else you want me to do, Sir?" Snape's eyes narrowed at the question, but more in curiosity than any form of irritation.

"You can answer my question from before. In full." Harry nearly rolled his eyes before catching himself.

"I couldn't sleep. And I had nothing else to do. We haven't had any homework assigned yet." He shrugged.

"I see." Snape actually looked somewhat understanding, but Harry thought he might have been wrong about that. He'd never been all that great at reading people, after all. That was Snape's area of expertise. "In that case, you can start on this potion now."

"But it says it only takes an hour, Sir. What will I do in class?" Harry asked. He momentarily wondered at how easy it was to add the word 'sir' to his sentences now. He had more than enough reason to show his respect for the man, though, so it shouldn't have been any surprise. But Snape did seem confused by it, even though he said nothing about it.

"I have had a large order from St. Mungo's come in for this potion in bulk, so I am using this class and the next one to cover the order. You can make another batch during class." Snape said, making his way to his desk. It seemed he couldn't resist one last jibe, though. "Do try not to botch it up."

At those words, Harry scowled and resolved to make a potion in which Snape could find no fault at all. He picked up his bag and moved to a table at the front of the classroom near the board so that he could see the spidery script more clearly. He really needed to get a new prescription on his glasses. Maybe he could do it during the coming weekend?

He gathered the amount of ingredients he needed for one batch from the pile of ingredients on Snape's desk and started a fire under a cauldron he pulled from a cabinet at the back of the room. Casting a spell - one that seemed to be a cousin of the aguamenti spell and differed from it only in wand movement - which Snape had taught them in their first year of potions, Harry filled the cauldron halfway and waited for it to come to a boil, as the directions stated. During his wait, he started to prepare all of the ingredients besides the crushed bezoar, which needed to be prepared just before it was dropped into the cauldron.

He carefully sliced four belladonna leaves and pushed them to the side before starting in on crushing two sopophorus beans, all the while sneaking glances at Snape to make sure he wasn't watching Harry blatantly ignore the instruction of "slice the sopophorus bean". He grinned, though he hid the expression by tilting his head down a bit.

One thing Harry had learned when he'd read Snape's old potions book was that the man was brilliant when it came to potions. When he'd won the Felix Felicis potion off of Slughorn with the hints from that book, he'd gone through every potion in it, curious as to whether the "Half-Blood Prince" had substituted crushed sopophorus for sliced in every situation. And it seemed that he had. Harry wondered, amusedly, if Snape had written sliced sopophorus just to mess with his students and make their lives harder.

Harry moved on to shred a small stick of ginger and cut up black beetle parts before dumping the first ingredient, the sliced belladonna leaves, into the cauldron as it started to boil. He stirred it counterclockwise before leaving the potion to lazily follow the spin. The potion turned a deep, rich purple and Harry nodded to himself after checking that the reaction was right, consulting the board. For the next five minutes, he settled in his seat, slicing up some hard-boiled doxy eggs (or at least he assumed they were hard-boiled; there wasn't really any sort a shell around them). He dropped the crushed sopophorus beans into the potion just in time, as Snape pushed his chair away from his desk the very next second and stood to approach Harry.

He started preparing the last ingredient, which was crumbled boomslang skin, trying to ignore the man passing a critical eye over his potion. He broke off his preparation of the boomslang skin to give the potion two more counterclockwise and three slow clockwise stirs, just as Snape began to open his mouth to speak. He closed it at seeing Harry's actions and nodded approvingly before returning to his chair.

Harry could have died a gasping death right then and there. The always disapproving professor had just walked away from his station without a word of criticism! His, Harry Potter's, potion! It was a miracle! As he returned to the boomslang skin he cast a confused and amazed look in the man's general direction, wondering exactly what the man was on, to have given no criticism at all.

Then he snorted to himself at the thought of Severus Snape being high. He just couldn't imagine it.

The next forty-five minutes passed without incident, and Harry devoted every bit of his attention to his potion. Time seemed to pass more quickly than it ever had before, and soon, he was just waiting for his potion to cool so that he could begin pouring it into vials. Snape pushed away from his desk again, where Harry had suspected he had been dozing, and came to inspect his potion for the second time.

Again, he nodded approvingly, but he cast an appraising look onto Harry before speaking. "It came out nicely, Mr. Potter. A first for you, I believe."

Harry didn't try to hold back his short bark of laughter, seeing humor in the man's statement for the first time. "Yes sir. Though I'm sure it would have happened earlier without all the extra ingredients that your Slytherins have been adding throughout the years."

Snape raised a brow before drawing his wand to summon a rack of empty vials to Harry's table. "Indeed." Harry half-scowled, half-smirked at Snape's dry tone.

"I must admit that you have had the quickest reflexes I've yet seen when dealing with such situations." Harry's eyes widened at the apparent compliment, but Snape continued as he vanished the leftover ingredient parts from the table. "I've never seen anyone so eager to catch a toad stomach in my life." Harry scowled. He hadn't known that Snape had known about that one. It had been rather obvious though, he supposed.

"That's not fair, Sir. You gave me detention for that one."

"Yes, because you managed to push Mr. Zabini's sleeve into his cauldron's fire at the same time. I assure you that I also took twenty points from Slytherin later that evening."

"Really?" Snape didn't answer the apparently rhetorical question and Harry snorted. He hadn't heard that part of the story. But then, Snape never had openly taken points from Slytherin. Maybe he'd been trying to protect them? Probably.

Right then he was incredibly jealous of the Slytherin house. McGonagall had never done as much for her Gryffindors. In fact, if he hadn't been told that she was the head of Gryffindor head of house in his first year, he wouldn't have known it even now, besides the times where she handed out student class schedules in the Great Hall. He'd noticed something else, too, over the years. He'd never once seen a Slytherin alone in the halls of Hogwarts. Never had he seen a single Slytherin confront any student of another house. Never had he seen them fight amongst themselves.

It must have been so nice.

But he couldn't think about that. It was nothing he could change.

"No offense, Sir, but I hadn't thought you'd ever noticed any of that."

"Oh, I assure you, I did. Have you never wondered why the Slytherin points always go down overnight?" Snape said, with an amused tone.

"Why didn't you ever take them in class? Everyone thinks you show favoritism for your snakes." Harry asked, genuinely curious. He took a vial and carefully started to ladle the potion into it with the spoon. If he didn't spill any, this batch would make ten vials. Snape took a vial as well and transfigured a quill he pulled from his pocket into a spoon for himself.

"Someone has to, don't you think?"

As he nodded, Harry marveled at the civility to their conversation. Suddenly, he wondered if he were still dreaming. How was it possible that he and Snape were talking about the past without venom in their voices? But Harry figured that if Snape could do it, he sure as hell could too. Besides, he didn't really care too much for their bitter exchanges of the past. He'd much prefer to have an enjoyable exchange with the man every once and a while

"True. And I suppose the other Heads of House always showed a bit of favoritism too. Especially Dumbledore in my first year." Harry admitted. He stoppered the vial in his hand and set it back down in the tray, picking up another to fill.

Snape scowled. Harry suspected that the phrase "I will not speak ill of the dead" was running incessantly through the man's mind right then. He decided to change the subject for the man.

"Have you been well, Sir?" Harry asked, and even he was surprised with the question that had come out of his mouth. "I mean…After…" He wasn't exactly sure what he meant.

"Yes, Mr. Potter. I am well."

They didn't speak again after that. It was almost time for class to start by the time they finished bottling Harry's potion, and Snape walked towards his desk with the tray of vials. He paused for a moment and glanced back to watch Harry gather the ingredients for another batch of the potion.

"Oh, and, Mr. Potter?"

"Yes, Sir?" Harry replied, glancing up. The professor didn't turn around as he placed the vials one by one into a dark-colored velvet bag.

"Note please, for this batch, that the instructions say to chop the sopophorus beans, not crush them."

With that said, he left Harry to stare in dismay at his back. He was saved from answering by the first of the students coming to class. He could swear, though, that he'd seen Snape smile in pure amusement for just a moment.

xXx

DADA was just as horrible as it had ever been, minus the times when Remus and Severus had taught. And though Severus' reign of terror had been slightly infuriating at times, he had at least known about every aspect of what he was teaching. The teacher they had this year was dangerously incompetent and could barely perform third year spells. Fortunately, Harry was mostly left alone in this class the moment he demonstrated proficiency in a certain spell, but everyone else was basically relearning everything from first year up. The people he had taught in DA meetings, including Ron and Hermione, of course, also looked rather bored, but they allowed the other students to learn without complaint.

All the same, every time he went to DADA class he felt angrier and angrier. He wasn't sure why exactly. Maybe it was because of the fact that he could have learned so much more, protected so many more people, if only he had learned what he was supposed to in this class. But different teachers every year prevented that. And Umbridge hadn't helped one whit either; he could never consider her a teacher.

Oh sure, he could have gone off and learned it on his own, but when? Between moments where he was catching his breath from saving people or after his head was still spinning from being called the next dark lord and the wizarding world's savior every other month? Or maybe that one year where he was forced to participate in a tournament that threatened his life throughout the course of an entire school year. Or perhaps during the Summer when his wand had been locked away in a closet or Dementors had attacked him.

He blamed this burning anger for his over-the-top reaction to one of the usual Slytherin taunts towards his fame. He'd been walking down from the Great Hall after eating a small dinner, his appetite lost after reading yet another article about him in the Daily Prophet. Granted, it wasn't so bad of an article this time. He'd managed to convince Skeeter to stay away from stories that even mentioned his name. Well…no, actually. He and Hermione had actually threatened to kill the woman if she wrote another word about him. So far it had been working.

But without Skeeter hogging all the news, some other reporters had gotten brave.

This article had been about his parents. It had speculated to its readers, in a rather dry tone, about whether Harry would follow in the footsteps of either of them, and if so, which one. He'd known his father had been an auror, but he hadn't known that his mother had taken up a career in potions. Maybe that's what had made the anger finally boil over. That he had learned about his mother from a newspaper instead of from her own lips, or at least from one of her friends.

So when an older Slytherin, maybe seventh year, Harry thought, came up to him, followed up by two younger boys that he didn't recognize, Harry wasn't in the mood to walk away peacefully.

"Are you enjoying the press bit, Potter?"

"Leave me alone." Harry warned. He knew that if it had been Malfoy, the blond would have walked away without a second glance had he heard that tone in Harry's voice, although he surely would have left a few scathing comments behind. But this boy obviously did not know what was good for him and didn't stop. Besides, thankfully, Malfoy had taken to being a recluse since returning to Hogwarts. Harry hadn't seen him or his family since the celebratory feast after the battle.

"Why, Potter? You afraid of the big bad Slytherin?" The boy taunted. Harry couldn't stop the scoff that emerged from his throat at the pitiful attempt to rile him. The other boys' hackles rose. The younger one, to the right of the older boy, seemed to be the smartest one of the group. He knew exactly which buttons to push.

"I saw you the other day in the potions class ahead of class time. I heard you used to be a dunce in potions. I wouldn't be surprised if you were sucking Snape's dick just to get him to help you follow in your precious mommy's footsteps." The Slytherin must have sneered with those last words, but Harry couldn't have seen for the red that blurred his vision.

Thankfully, he forgot he had a wand. Although the Slytherins in front of him may not have thought as much. He rushed forward, swinging blindly at the Slytherin brat who had even dared to speak about his mother in such a way. He felt a sliver of surprise underneath all that rage to find that some of the anger was because the boy had disrespected Snape so bluntly as well.

Unfortunately, he never reached the boy because the older Slytherin managed to catch him before he got there. He absently noticed that the third Slytherin had backed up and rushed off in the direction of the Great Hall with a slightly horrified look on his face.

Harry tried his best to tear his way free from the bigger Slytherin, but it was like he was back struggling to get away from Dudley all over again. The boy had wrapped iron-like arms around his own arms and chest stopping any and all movement forward towards the younger boy, who was now cowering in an alcove off of the main hallway. Harry nearly screamed with his rage.

How dare anyone speak with such venom towards his mother, who had so selflessly sacrificed her life so that he may live? How dare anyone speak like they knew him? How dare that boy speak even a single negative word about his own head of house, who had sacrificed his entire life to make sure that his Slytherins would be safe from the influence of Voldemort? How DARE he?

Running on raw anger, Harry gripped the biceps of the arms holding him and leaned all his weight forward, hoping to overbalance the boy and throw him over his head. That didn't work, but he managed to lift the boy far enough off the ground that he when set him back down, the landing was lurching enough to make him loosen his grip. Harry pulled his right arm forward and jabbed his elbow back with all his strength, right into the ribs of the boy behind him. He heard a breathless exclamation of pain and broke the boy's hold completely by grinding his heel into one of the boy's feet. This time he expressed his pain with an audible shout and jerked backwards.

Harry gave a satisfied grunt and began moving forward towards the cowering boy in the alcove, but he was stopped by a long-fingered hand on his shoulder. He jerked around, ready to fight off another Slytherin, but paled and stepped back when he saw the face of an incensed ex-Death Eater. Panting behind him was the small Slytherin who had run off not long ago.

"Mr. Potter. Fifty points from Gryffindor. Detention. Now. My office." Snape was furious. Harry nearly whimpered with dismay. He was glad of it when Snape turned his gaze away from him, though the man's hand tightened to a painful grip on his shoulder.

"Mr. Sigel, Mr. Pince. Fifty points from Slytherin. Go back to the common room now. I will deal with you later." The two boys paled and turned, scurrying back from whence they came. Snape turned to the last boy. "Mr. Reese. Thank you for informing me of the situation. Ten points to Slytherin. You may go now." The boy nodded, casting a fearful glance at Harry, before heading back once again to the Great Hall. Harry shivered to be left alone with Snape.

The man didn't say a word as he began to drag Harry down to the dungeons. As Harry tried to keep up without stumbling, he got paler and paler as he realized what he'd done. For Merlin's sake, he had just attempted to assault a child who must have been no older than thirteen. There was no excuse.

His stomach churned and he grew nauseous. He lowered his eyes from Snape's back. He could see that the man was more than angry.

My God. And we'd only just begun to get along. Harry felt tears gathering in his eyes as he realized he'd just ruined any chance of any sort of amicable relationship with Snape. One of the tears nearly dropped as he realized just how much he had wanted that. How he'd wanted to prove that he was worth all of Snape's sacrifices for him and his mother and the entire damned wizarding world...

His anger felt so feeble now in the aftermath. He felt so…so stupid!

By the time they reached Snape's office, Harry had grown so horrified at his own behavior that he barely flinched when he was practically thrown into one of the chairs in front of Snape's desk. When the man sat down in his chair on the other side of the desk, Harry dropped his head into his hands, nearly tearing his own hair out of his head in his frustration. Without prompting he spoke.

"I…I'm so sorry, Sir. Merlin…I don't know why I- no, I do, I just- I can't believe I- Oh, Merlin!" Harry couldn't even manage a complete sentence. He didn't stop babbling until Snape interrupted him. The man's voice wasn't as angry as he thought it would be.

"What did they say?" Harry's now red-rimmed eyes, just barely holding back tears, shot up to Snape's. The Potion's Master was…well, Harry wasn't sure how the man felt at that particular moment. The only way Harry could describe him was, well, composed. He was leaning back in his high-backed chair, hands clasped in his lap.

"I, um, they…they said… that boy said…" Now Harry blushed, finally registering exactly what the boy had actually said. "He, uh, accused me of…" He couldn't complete the sentence.

"What did they say, Mr. Potter?" Snape's voice was hard, and his eyes reflected the same tone. Harry's eyes widened. So the man wasn't quite as calm as he seemed. He dropped his head and mumbled.

"What? Don't make me repeat myself." Snape warned.

Harry drew in a deep breath. "They…accused me of…uh… 'sucking your dick', Sir. For you to help me in potions. To follow-" Here Harry's voice cracked. His heart was still sore from the knowledge that a newspaper knew Lily Potter better than her own son. "To follow in my mother's footsteps, Sir."

Snape pulled in a breath, and when Harry looked up, it was to see wide, angry eyes.

"Mr. Potter, you saw the article in the Daily Prophet." It wasn't a question, but Harry nodded anyway. "That was why you threw down your paper and stormed out of the Hall?"

This time it was a question. Harry nodded again.

Snape seemed to know why the article had upset him, because he didn't ask.

"What happened before you attacked them?" Harry flinched at the question, not wanting to hear the fact from Snape's mouth that he had done something so monumentally stupid. But he answered anyway, desperate to keep Snape from hating him. It didn't seem as if all was lost yet, judging by the man's reaction to his account of the situation.

"I left the hall to go calm down and I think they circled around to stop me. The older one, Sigel, I think you called him, tried to bait me, but I managed to calm myself down enough to try and tell them to leave me alone, but then the other kid, Pince, he said-" He couldn't say anymore, his throat tightened. "Please, I'm sorry, Sir. I'll apologize. I'll do anything, detentions, double homework, anything. Just please don't-"

Harry gasped at what his panic had almost made him say. He hadn't realized how much he had been affected by that one conversation only a few days ago with Snape. He hadn't realized how much he had valued that honest praise. Hadn't realized how he had come to respect Snape after learning about all he had done. He buried his face back into his hands.

There was silence. It stretched on for minutes on end, the only sound in the office being the quick, panicked breaths that Harry gasped in and out.

"Don't what, Mr. Potter?" Snape asked gently, or at least, that was how Harry heard it.

He groaned internally. Why couldn't he just keep his mouth shut? He mumbled the answer, but he could practically feel Snape's irritation with his response. He repeated it more loudly, his heart clenching.

"Please don't…please don't go back to the way we were?" The pitch of the last word rose ever so slightly, making it into a pleading question.

The silence stretched on again, made longer by Harry's increasing dread towards Snape's response.

"Look at me." Snape said. Harry slowly raised his head. He was suddenly struck by the absolute lack of anger on the professor's face. Snape slowly shook his head, making sure his eyes met Harry's the whole time.

"There is no need whatsoever to go back to the way we acted before. None." Harry's heart rose in his throat and his despair melted away little by little. But he was still disturbed by how he had ever thought attacking that boy would solve a thing.

"I understand why you reacted the way you did. I can tell you regret it." Harry vigorously nodded his head in response to Snape's words. "But you still attempted physical violence upon a student. That calls for punishment, you understand?"

"I understand, Sir." He responded immediately. Gods, Harry felt like a small child again when Snape talked to him like this. Like he wasn't the savior of the world. Oh, how he appreciated it. He only wished he had seen this side of the man before, and that he hadn't mistrusted him for so long. Things might not have been so bad, then.

Snape studied him before setting his elbows upon his desk and clasping his hands together. "You will report to Minerva and tell her what happened. There is no need to repeat Mr. Pince's more vulgar comments." Harry couldn't stop the blood from rising to his face. "You will then write a formal letter of apology to Mr. Sigel for your attempts on his person and bring it to me to check over before taking it to him personally. And finally, you will be serving three weeks of detention, every night, including weekends, with me."

"Yes, Sir." He thought he shouldn't be so happy that Snape would be willing to sacrifice his personal time for him to serve detention.

"I do not expect you to write or speak any apology to Mr. Pince, or Mr. Reese, as neither was harmed. But you should expect to receive one from Mr. Pince within the next day. His comments were completely unacceptable."

"Yes, Sir." Harry slowly relaxed as the man didn't speak again, realizing that that was the end of the list of punishments that Snape planned to assign him.

"And Mr. Potter. I should tell you that you would not need any help from me, in any way, to follow in your mother's footsteps. You are well on your way already."

Harry couldn't stop the tears then. He wondered if Snape minded.

So...I know it kind of skipped around in subjects a bit, but other than that, take a sec and tell me what you thought, okay? Thanks in advance! ^.^