Aaaand here is Chapter 6, in which Snape reappears! Yay!
I'm going to be out of town and extremely busy for the next week or so, so I might not be able to get another chapter up for another week or two.
About a Boy – Chapter 6
Snape sat quietly in his office, a cup of tea cooling slowly to his right. He twirled a quill leisurely in his hand as he read the paper at the top of the large stack on his desk.
There was a timid knock on his door and he sat back, running a pale hand through his dark hair before murmuring, "Come in."
He was surprised to see the pointed face and slicked blond hair of Draco Malfoy peek around the large door.
"By all means, do not just stand there, Draco. Have a seat." He gestured to the black leather chairs positioned in front of his desk. When Draco seated himself across from the Potions Master, Snape inquired, "Where is Harry? Is everything alright?"
Judging by the serenity of the boy's expression, Snape had nothing to worry about. Surely if Harry was in trouble, Draco would have burst into the room in a panic, but that knowledge did little to quell the slight nervousness that flickered in the man's chest.
"Yeah, yeah. Harry's up in our dormitory. I told him that I forgot my book down – trust me, it's believable," he added at Snape's glance, "—here so that I could come talk to you."
"I hope I do not hear that you are misplacing your Potions textbook often," Snape murmured silkily. "However, what is it you wish to speak about?"
"Well, Harry and I had Defense Against the Dark Arts today – by the way, I'm certain the bloke is a fake – he's scared of everything!" At Snape's urging, the blond continued, "Anyway, when Quirrell looked at Harry, his scar started hurting. Harry said that his scar had never hurt like that before. It seemed like something that you would want to know, Professor."
Snape's nervousness gave way to a tinge of disappointment. "And why did Harry not see to informing me of this himself?"
"He, uh – he said that he didn't want to worry you, sir," Draco replied. "He didn't want to worry you over nothing."
"That is definitely not nothing," Snape replied darkly, his fingers steepled as he stared off into his dimly lit office, thinking. "Thank you for informing me, Draco. I only wish that Harry would have told me himself." As Draco moved toward the door, Snape called after him, "Draco, you do not have a book to prove your story." He moved to grab one from the shelf behind his desk.
"I'll be fine, Professor. I really do tend to lose all my stuff at some point or another. Thanks though!" He grinned cheekily before dashing out the door.
Snape stared at the heavy door as it swung shut behind the boy. The pain in Harry's scar could truly be insignificant or it could indeed be the sign of something more dangerous. He resolved to talk to the boy about it.
With a shake of his head, he turned back to his essays.
Harry looked up from his Transfiguration homework as Draco ran back into the dormitory empty-handed.
"Where's your book?" he asked quietly, already expecting the answer.
Draco gave a sheepish grin. "It wasn't there. Can you believe I walked all the way to the dungeons for nothing? It's probably buried in my trunk somewhere."
Harry laughed and replied, "You better find it before Potions tomorrow. Dad'll have your head."
Draco stuck his tongue out at the brunette and opened his trunk to begin digging through it. After throwing piles of robes and pointless nonsense onto the floor in the middle of the dormitory, he held up the thick book triumphantly.
"One day you're not going to be able to find your book and it's going to get you into some trouble," Harry muttered, his eyes scanning his homework lazily. "One day, Malfoy. One day."
"But until then, Potter, I'll continue in my ways."
They looked at each other and burst out laughing.
The next morning, Harry sat eating his breakfast, Draco seated on one side and Theo on the other. He was just about to take a large bite of his scrambled eggs when Anthony swooped in and nearly upset his plate. He dropped his fork and darted his hand out to steady his pumpkin juice while the owl took a nibble of his biscuit.
Draco swallowed his mouthful of sausage like a proper Malfoy before pointing to the furled paper attached to the owl's leg. "Open it."
Harry removed the letter and flattened it against the table, smiling slightly when he recognized the familiar spidery script. The note was short and to the point, reading Please see me in my office after breakfast. I wish to speak with you about something rather important. When he glanced up to the Head Table, he noticed that his adopted father was already missing.
He quickly finished the rest of his breakfast and stood up. Brushing the crumbs from his robes, he left the Great Hall and made his way down to the dungeons. When he reached Snape's office, Harry raised his hand and knocked firmly, opening the door when he heard the man's voice invite him to come in.
"Harry." Snape smiled.
Harry could see tension in the man's face, a slight stiffness behind the smile.
"Is everything alright, Dad?" he asked carefully, studying the man's face.
Snape's smile faded immediately. "Is it?"
Harry sat in confusion for a moment before he inquired, "What are you talking about?"
"I was informed that something happened in your Defense class yesterday."
Harry stiffened slightly at the Potions Master's words. "Draco told you? I didn't want…" He trailed off.
"Me to know? Yes, I am aware. Draco came down here last night because he was worried about you Harry. He informed me that your scar was bothering you in Professor Quirrell's class, that this was not something that had occurred before. Harry, these are things I need to know. I need to be informed of what is happening. I know that you are not necessarily accustomed to always sharing everything with adults, but it is imperative that I am aware of occurrences such as these. While they may not necessarily always be important, some may involve your safety. Whether or not I am worried is not important. Whether or not you are safe is." Snape gave him a level glance, obsidian eyes locking with emerald.
Harry looked down. "It wasn't like it was a big deal." He studied his trainers, avoiding the man's eyes.
Snape moved from behind his desk to stand in front of the boy. He grasped Harry's chin lightly and tilted his face up to look at him.
"Regardless, it needs to be treated like it was. Can you tell me exactly what happened?"
Harry drew in a deep breath. "Qui – Professor Quirrell was just talking, sitting in his chair or whatever, and he looked up at me and I got this really sharp pain on my forehead, right in my scar. I think I grabbed my forehead or something and he looked away; it was weird. But it was probably just a headache or something right? I mean, why would my scar hurt just because he looked me in the eyes? Am I just weak? Because if terrified Professor Quirrell can hurt me just by looking at me, then I must really be pathetic." He raised one corner of his mouth in a half-hearted smile.
"You are neither weak nor pathetic, Harry," Snape snapped. He sighed and leaned back against the edge of his desk. "Unfortunately, I do not have an explanation for what happened, but that does mean it was nothing. I need you to inform me if it happens again. Do you understand me?"
"And if anything else that seems strange occurs, whether in his class or outside of it, what will you do?"
"Tell you about it," Harry answered in a slightly bored drawl.
Snape looked at the boy for a long moment before giving a small smirk. "Very well."
As Harry got up and began walking toward the door, Snape reached out and grabbed him gently, pulling the boy back into a tight embrace. He pressed his lips to the top of Harry's head and muttered into the mop of wild hair, "Please do not ever keep me in the dark because you are afraid that I will be worried. Your happiness and your safety are of utmost importance to me, okay?"
Harry nodded and gave the man a smile before making his way toward the door.
"And Harry?" The boy turned back to face him. "You are welcome to join me for dinner in my quarters tonight. Draco may come as well if you so wish."
As Harry smiled and exited through the heavy wooden door, Snape reseated himself behind his desk. He hadn't learned much more about the strange incident between his son and Quirrell, but that did nothing to ease or heighten his suspicion of the man. In fact, the Headmaster himself had asked the Potions Master to keep a watchful eye trained on the new Defense teacher. Snape intended to do just that.
He ran both hands through his dark, somewhat greasy hair. Clearly Harry's lightning bolt-shaped scar was more than an ordinary scar; that much was obvious. But what sort of connection did the boy have with the stuttering, suspicious, garlic-reeking Professor Quirrell?
That night at precisely five-thirty, Harry knocked and entered Snape's quarters. The Potions Master looked up from where he was seated in the black leather armchair and stood, placing both hands on his back and arching his spine to stretch before looking around.
"Where is Draco?" he inquired in interest, beckoning Harry toward the dining room.
"I didn't want him to come."
Snape gave him a sharp look. "Did something happen between you? If it was about him informing me of the incident with Professor Quirrell, you need to realize, Harry, that he was being a good friend. He was looking out for you."
Harry looked slightly amused, but his tone was serious. "No, no, I understand. Nothing happened between us. I just – I don't know – I wanted it to be just us, you know? I mean, yeah, you're here all the time, but it's not the same. I miss you. I miss living here with you, without us both having to run off to classes. I miss spending time with you."
Snape felt a strange tightness in his chest as he stood before the boy. He stepped forward and wrapped his arms around Harry's shoulders, pulling him close. "I miss you too. But like you said, I am always here. You are free to come down here any time, even if you wish to stay the night."
"I know," Harry whispered, wrapping his arms around the man's thin waist and pressing his face into the man's stomach.
"Come on, let's eat. Despite all those nutrient potions, you are still far too thin. I have half a mind to put you back on them." He ushered the eleven-year-old to the table, chuckling at the boy's startled and protesting face.
As they took their seats, two full plates appeared on the table, nearly overflowing with food.
"I hope you like shepherd's pie," Snape remarked as he examined the house elves' choice of dinner. He noticed Harry picking warily at the mashed potato crust.
"I've never had it. Are these potatoes?" The boy lifted a small forkful of the substance and scrutinized it.
"Yes, those are potatoes," Snaped sighed. "Shepherd's pie is fairly decent. It's meat with a mashed potato crust. I take it you never prepared it either, then?"
Harry shook his head and took his first bite. He chewed and swallowed politely before giving his opinion. "It's passable."
"I'm glad to see your dinner has passed the infamous critique of one Harry Potter," Snape drawled dryly as he took another bite. Harry hummed happily and continued eating.
After a few moments, Harry asked, "So, have any of your notorious dunderheads blown up any potions yet?" He smiled.
"No." Snape narrowed his eyes. "Do not be the first."
"I'm not a dunderhead!" Harry protested, trying to hold back a smirk.
"No, you are not," Snape murmured. "You most certainly are not. Which of your classes do you enjoy the most?"
"Besides Potions?" Harry asked innocently, and Snape muttered something that sounded a lot like 'suck-up.' "I'm not sure. They're all so interesting! Maybe Transfiguration, though. Or Charms! I don't know, really." He laughed. "I was really excited about Defense, but it ended up being such a disappointment since Quirrell doesn't really teach us anything at all. Besides, he makes me nervous."
Snape looked closely at the boy's face. "Professor Quirrell makes you nervous? How so?"
A slightly uncomfortable look appeared on Harry's face. "It's not really anything in particular. He hasn't done anything to make me uncomfortable, but it's just something about him. I just don't like being around him. He's just… strange. I don't know."
"I see. He most certainly is a little strange." Snape smirked and Harry did the same, greatly resembling the older wizard.
After a few moments, Harry pushed the remainder of his dinner away from him and Snape followed suit. As they stood up, the plates disappeared.
When they both had seated themselves on the couch, Snape asked, "Is there anything in particular you wish to do tonight? Reading? Brewing? Hide-and-seek is not an option," he added, catching the look on the boy's face.
"Can we play chess? Draco taught me last week so I'm still learning. Don't go easy on me though!"
Snape waved his wand and a chess board appeared on the coffee table in front of them. "Very well. But I do feel the need to warn you – you will lose."
Harry gave the man a genuine smile. "I know. But it's worth it. At least I'm getting better. Besides, I get to spend time with you."
Snape smiled at the boy. "The feeling is mutual."
By the end of the night, Harry had lost several rounds of chess to the Potions Master. But as he had said, it was well worth it. He leaned heavily against his father, who was reading, and fell asleep.
Another little filler chapter because we really needed some Harry/Snape interaction.
Please review! :) I'll have another chapter up as soon as I can.