Rule 179. A hug is not all Snape needs

Harry Potter left the Potions classroom, his thoughts unusually subdued. He had received quite a tongue-lashing from the snarky Potions Master during class, and to say the least, he was by no means happy about it. His brooding mood continued until dinner, when Ron poked him roughly in the ribs.

"Come out of it, mate," Ron managed, his mouth full of chicken. "He's a right git to say things like that."

"Ron's right, Harry," Hermione cut in. "You shouldn't let him get to you. The things he says aren't true. And besides, he was in a really foul mood already, didn't you notice?"

"No," Harry answered sullenly, staring at his untouched dinner. He suddenly brightened, his green eyes sparkling as he made an effort to keep from laughing at the absurd thought that had suddenly wormed its way into his head. "Maybe – maybe all he needs is a hug!"

Hermione looked at him as if he were insane. "Harry, I really don't think that's a good idea."

"No, you said it yourself, 'Mione! 'He was in a really foul mood.' All anyone ever needs is a hug!"

Harry ran back up to Gryffindor tower, ignoring the looks his two best friends exchanged at the table. He sprinted up to the dorm room and sat on the bed. He would make this as un-embarrassing as possible, in the view of as few people as he could. How? Where? When?

It was over an hour later when Harry crept back downstairs. The common room was full of students chattering excitedly, but Harry ignored them, only pausing slightly when Ron and Hermione appeared on either side of him.

"You can't do this, mate," Ron pleaded. "He'll kill you. The greasy git's a Death Eater! Who's to say he won't turn you over to You-Know-Who the second he gets you alone?"

"Dumbledore trusts him, Ron," Hermione answered, coming to the defense of their teacher. "Besides, you shouldn't say this like that about your teachers." She turned back to Harry. "Harry, this is a stupid idea."

"Leave me alone," Harry bit out, angry. "If you're not coming with me, stay behind."

"Fine, mate. We'll follow under the Cloak." Harry tossed Ron the Invisibility Cloak in response. As an afterthought, the redhead added, "Try not to take him by surprise."

They crept down the corridors, keeping an eye out for the Dungeon Bat.

"There," Hermione whispered in Harry's ear, and he looked ahead. Sure enough, the man was stalking down the corridors, his obsidian eyes looking for students, his robes billowing ominously behind him.

"Potter. What are you doing?" Snape looked around. "Without your idiotic friends, might I add."

Ron tensed under the Cloak, but Hermione grabbed onto him in an attempt to calm him down.

"Just wandering, Professor. I was thinking, though –"

"Quite surprising, I assure you."

Harry glared lightly. "I was thinking about class today, and I wanted to tell you that I don't care what you said to me. You were angry, and I know exactly what you need."

Snape eyed him warily as he replied, "And what is that, Potter?"

Harry jumped forward, wrapping his arms around the lean Potions Master. "A hug!"

"What the bloody –" Snape yelped as he stiffened and tried to twist out of the teenager's grip. "GET OFF ME, POTTER!"

The boy stumbled back in surprise, tripping over the man's cloak and falling to the ground. Snape leaned in until their noses were nearly touching.

"A hug ," he spat, "is not all that I need, Potter. Twenty points from Gryffindor for assault of a teacher."

"But sir! It wasn't assault! It was a hug!" Harry protested.

"It was assault, Potter." Snape straightened, and turned to leave. He stalked down the corridor in the direction he had come.

Ron and Hermione tugged off the Cloak, looking at him carefully.

"Would it be appropriate to say I told you so?" Ron began tentatively, watching Harry's face.

"It's alright," Harry said cheerfully. "Maybe he needs two hugs!"