Chapter Forty-Seven: Trial.

"What the hell was that about?" asked Ron after class. He was too frightened to talk again in case Snape took points from them. Gryffindor was already heavily behind everyone else in the point system.

Looking away, Harry walked hurriedly down the corridor for their next lesson. "I had to pee…" he shrugged off awkwardly.

"You know, I got in trouble for you, the least you could do is be honest with me," Ron muttered.

Harry stopped, turning around. "If this has to do with Hermione, I'm not a scapegoat, Ron. Whatever is wrong with you two, then sort it out, because I'm not going to be the middle man." He turned back around and continued walking to Transfiguration. When he looked over his shoulder, Ron was gone, making him feel guilty.
He shouldn't have gone off at him like that. Ron was upset and Hermione was also obviously frustrated. He was their friend. He shouldn't just brush them off. He'd talk to them after class on their break, though. At least he wasn't getting asked about his bathroom trip.
He continued walking once more but yelped when something grabbed him and dragged him into one of the dark corridors. "You've got to stop doing that!" he hissed as he saw the professor. He was much too gifted with stealth. And sneaking about like this? What had gotten into Snape!? He knew better! Although, Harry had to admit, it was actually very exciting.

Snape just smirked. "We're not supposed to be encouraging others with being seen together. Your actions concerned me in class. You seemed distracted. Is everything… satisfactory?"

Harry couldn't help but roll his eyes. "You're admitting you care for me." Even if it was worded like that.

"Oh, please, I don't let just anyone share my quarters," he muttered. "What happened?"

Severus' voice was still commanding but Harry knew there was serious concern. He cleared his throat a little bit and looked away, feeling embarrassed. "It was nothing. I just had to use the bathroom. Forgot to go before breakfast."

"You're a terrible liar, Potter," Severus sighed. "If you think this bond isn't affecting me, you're quite wrong. I can feel when you are… excited." For lack of a better word.

Harry stiffened, feeling even more embarrassed. "T-then why did you ask!?"

"Because you've got to trust me more," said Snape, standing up straight. "Believe it or not, Harry, but I do care for your wellbeing and I care to be told when something is bothering you."

"Please, anything but that—especially in class. What was I to say? I have a stiff one?" Harry murmured. "If I could have just focussed on the quiz questions, then it wouldn't have happened."

Severus just smirked. "I am not changing my teaching to appease you, if that's what you're asking. You're still a student of mine and I shall treat you as such."

"Yeah, except I'm a Gryffindor, which instantly means that I get shafted."

"In more ways than one," Snape hissed darkly. Harry flushed but Severus dropped his hands to his side. "You're not letting the other students get to you about name calling, are you?" Snarry? Please. How the hell did they even make names like that up!? Who thought of these things!?

Harry shrugged a little. "It doesn't bother you?" he asked. "I mean… 'Snarry'? Really? Where the hell do they come up with these things?"

"The names are going to come non-stop. I'm quite used to it by now, I figured you would have been as well. After all, throughout your years of being here, you've been called many a things."

"Yeah, but not Snarry. And why not something more catchy?"

Severus mentally rolled his eyes but the corner of his lips creased. "If anyone gives you trouble, you know where to find me. You best get to class before Professor McGonagall gives you detention."

Harry nodded slowly. "Can we talk after class?"

Snape already knew Harry was worrying over something. He didn't think it was truly the name calling of the other students. Harry had gone through that ever since he'd been at Hogwarts. He did see the tension between his friends, though. Even if Snape didn't care about them much—if at all—he was still very observant.
"Come by my office. I will be there. And Potter… try and keep your magic under control," he stated, Harry nervously smiling. The two of them parted without another word.

*****
After class, Harry took Snape's offer and headed down to the dungeons before dinner. He should have expected it, the students beginning to whisper again. At least it wasn't as bad as it once had been, but it was still irritating.
Knocking on the door, Severus opened it, his teaching robes removed for now.

"Come in," said the Slytherin, closing the door behind Harry once the younger wizard moved in. "What has been bothering you?" He cut straight to the chase. There was no beating around the bush. The whole day for him hadn't been the worst, but it had been tedious with the new name floating around. He ignored it the best he could and tossed out multiple detentions with the worst outcomes possible. The professors were sometimes worse than the students, though. He couldn't exactly give them detention, either. So he'd hidden himself in his office since his final class.

Leaning against the chair, Harry shrugged a little, as if embarrassed to talk about his friend issues with Severus. He knew Snape wasn't exactly the right kind of person to talk about this stuff, but he didn't really have anyone else. If anything, Severus would listen.

"I noticed your classmates were… strained."

"They're my friends, not just my classmates," Harry said. Although today they certainly didn't seem like they were friends. This whole letter from Viktor was getting way out of hand in his opinion.
"I know you don't care about them and I know you don't want to hear the teenage crap they go through," he said, Severus just looking at him with an unreadable expression, "But they're my friends and I care about them. And I'm stuck in the middle when they have fights." The downfall of a trio. Either one was left out or stuck in the middle.

Severus relaxed his shoulders a little as he approached Harry. "I'm no stranger to what you feel. I was once your age. I'm no stranger to being a scapegoat, either," he muttered, arms going behind his back.
He was no therapist, and Harry was right, he didn't particularly care about teenage drama, but he still did care about the students here at Hogwarts. He may be a strict and particularly cruel (to Gryffindors) professor, but that didn't mean he didn't care. He just didn't deal with idiotic behaviour.
"What is the problem?"

Honestly, Harry was surprised that Severus asked. He knew the Potions master wasn't as cold as he made himself out to be, but this was Hermione and Ron… At the same time, they were bonded, perhaps he just cared about his feelings in all of this and that it was affecting him during school hours.
"It's just boyfriend and girlfriend stuff. Honestly, Ron acts more like a girl than Hermione sometimes," he said, shaking his head. Severus just kept his gaze, making him continue. "Hermione got a letter from Viktor Krum. It had nothing special on it or anything hinting that he still liked her, but Ron got all nasty over it and I'm stuck in the middle while they won't even talk to each other."

Severus mentally groaned at the thought of this happening. Honestly, there was nothing he could do—not that he would anyway—and there wasn't much Harry could do, either.
"I see…" he murmured, leaning down onto the desk and folding his arms. "So this is affecting your schoolwork?"

"Is that all you care about? How it affects my grades? These are my friends we're talking about here!"

Severus nodded. Yes, they were his friends, and although Severus himself was detached, he knew very well that Harry was close and cared about these two others. "Unfortunately, I don't think you can do much about it. It's something they must discuss and overcome themselves. What do you want me to do? Give them a love potion?" he shrugged. "You know very well that that is not real love, simply obsession."

"I'd never wish that upon someone else," said the Gryffindor. Not after what Ginny had done to him and put him through—and made him do. Just remembering it made him angry all over again.
"I guess you're right. I can't do much but be there for them when they need me. I know you aren't friends with them, and I don't expect anything from you, but I know you understand. I know you would have done the same for my mother if she was upset."

Severus looked to those green eyes, relaxing a little. Yes, he would have done anything to get Lily back. He never understood what Granger saw in Weasley, though. Honestly, he always thought Granger and Potter would have dated. Well, before Harry admitted to being attracted to men in the end.
He chose his words carefully, not wishing to offend Harry's friends, "This is not your position, Harry. Every relationship has its dramas. Perhaps you're best to stay out of it—even if they are your friends. The stress on you and the possibility of you snapping and causing an even larger strain between them is not worth it, correct?"

Harry just looked away, thinking for a moment. Maybe Snape was right. He'd already gone off at Ron before and that wasn't helping anyone. But they were his friends. He didn't want them breaking up because he didn't step in and help.
"But I want to be there for them. I want to make it all better," he said, looking down. He soon looked up as a pale hand led his eyes back to Severus'.

"I know you do," said the professor, seeing so much of Lily in him, "but perhaps this is not your battle for once. Sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants and sometimes it lets go without warning. If Granger and Weasley are to split their relationship, then perhaps it is for the best. You don't really know what is going on inside their minds."

Splitting up? Really? No, that couldn't happen! This was just a fight. They all had fights, like Snape just said—even they'd had their fair share. He couldn't even picture Ron and Hermione going back to just friends. They couldn't! Ron was… too bitter.
Frowning, he took Severus' hand into his own. "Thanks for listening," he said, looking up. "I know it's just teenage drama to you but these are my friends and they're important to me. And thanks for showing that you care."

Severus nodded. "I've said it before, Harry, I do care for your wellbeing. Unfortunately, dinner is about to start. You best head to the Great Hall."

"What about you?"

"What of me?"

"The trial," Harry said. "It's coming up soon… aren't you nervous?"

Severus just shrugged. "With the Muggle in custody, it's going to be difficult to prove Desiree's innocence. Now that my life is cleared, I simply hope she gets what she deserves."

"So you're not worried?" asked the Gryffindor, hiding the fact that he was well aware the day of the trial was Severus' birthday. What if Desiree got off and just tried to do it again? Could they be certain she was going to be locked away for this?

The Slytherin shook his head. "I hardly have reason to be. I will be attending but you must stay in school. I will inform you when I am able to and when classes have finished. Until then…" Severus eyed the door.

Harry got the hint. "I'll see you in class," he said, nodding.

Severus watched as Harry walked out of his office. He knew the trial was coming up, but with the last few events and his life in the clear, he really didn't have much to worry about anymore, did he? The only thing that worried him was that something else could pop up. For his sake, he hoped that wouldn't be the case. He'd had enough stress the last year… or pretty much the last twenty years of his life.

*****
When the 9th or January rolled around, Harry was up as early as possible. He snuck down to the dungeons with his Cloak so no one could see him. He wanted to not only see Severus before he had to leave for the trial, but he also wanted to wish him a happy birthday, too.
Of course, Snape was not aware of this. He'd had help from one of the elves and was going to surprise Severus with a birthday cake. Who didn't like cake? Even Snape ate cake. Plus, he wanted the day to start off with at least something nice.
Grabbing his wand from his pocket, he opened the door and snuck into the bedroom before slipping out from beneath the Cloak. "Sev?" he whispered. Fawkes stirred on his perch and fluffed his feathers up. He was surprised Severus was still asleep. Well, that was before he saw the flagon on the bedside table.

It wasn't long before Snape woke up—he wasn't known to be a heavy sleeper even when induced with potion. "Potter, what are you doing down here?" he asked. Did he even really need to ask? Harry never obeyed the rules, it was ridiculous. It wasn't like he was angry to see him, though. It was nice having someone willing to break the rules just to see you.

"Happy birthday," said the younger wizard eagerly as he made the single candle glow.

Severus just looked at it for a moment, stunned. He relaxed the best he could at the clear sign of affection. "Who told you?" he asked, blowing the candle out as Harry told him to make a wish.

"A wizard never reveals his secrets," Harry grinned. Severus just smirked. "Do you like it?" He didn't want to be invading Snape's personal space or making him feel uncomfortable, but it was his birthday and he wasn't going to just ignore that.

Getting up from the bed, Snape took the small plate with the small cake on it. "It's a surprise, and I'm not fond of those—as you know—but… it's a pleasant one," he stated, turning to face Harry. "Cake isn't for breakfast, but I suppose on a day like this I can treat myself."

Harry mentally chuckled but took the other half of the small cake that was offered to him.

"House elf?"

"Yeah… sorry… I didn't have time for anything better. I also couldn't get you anything, but-,"

"Harry, you know this is more than enough for me," said Snape, putting the plate down onto the bedside table. "Thank you."

"You really like it?"

Severus gave a single nod. "This is very much appreciated." And certainly on a day like this. He had the trial first thing in the morning, which he'd better start getting ready for. Although most of the stress was off his life being turned around and getting tossed into Azkaban, it didn't make things simply go away. He wanted Desiree to serve her time for making his life miserable. Be it his mistake in public, being locked away as a Death Eater was a little extreme in his opinion.

Harry sat on the edge of the bed as he put his now empty plate down. Cake wasn't an ideal breakfast but, to be perfectly honest, he didn't care. It was a rare opportunity for him and he was more than happy to share it with Severus. He just wished the Slytherin's birthday didn't have to be ruined by going to the Ministry.
"Who will be filling in for you classes?" he asked as Severus moved towards the dresser to get some formal robes out. Now that Desiree was gone (hopefully for good), they didn't exactly have a substitute.

"It's only one day, and only for as long as the trial takes," informed the Potions master. "The Defence against the Dark Arts professor will be filling in for me." Ironically. He still wanted the position. Maybe one day he'd be trusted with it. Probably never, though. Knowing Dumbledore and how manipulative he could be—even if Minerva was Headmistress.
When he turned around, Harry was standing before him and his arms lowered. He could tell the Gryffindor was worrying for him. He didn't really know why. It wasn't like his life was on the line anymore. Harry didn't have anything to worry about.

"What if she goes free? You know if she does she'll only do it again. Don't you want to know why she's doing this to you? Why she picked you? Our relationship? Your job?"

Harry's voice was heavy with concern. It wasn't like he hadn't tossed all of that out of his mind, he was just focussing on her getting locked away. He knew very well that that could be a possibility if she got away scot free. But with the evidence and Kingsley on his side, he had a feeling that the outcome would be good—for him at least.
"I've considered it," he admitted, "but with the Ministry on my side, I highly doubt that's how things will turn."

"You still have enemies, Sev… You know it all comes down to a vote. Just like it did with me. I still had people going against me…"

"Yes, but I have you on my side," said Snape. "Do you honestly think the Ministry would upset you that much? The Harry Potter? Now that they have evidence it's all a scandal that they can blow out of proportion and make headlines out of."

"They could do that with locking you away, too…" Harry noted harshly.

Severus just looked at the younger wizard. He wasn't wrong, but he doubted that would be the case considering how hush Kingsley wanted all of this to be. He doubted there would even be a whole crowd there for her trial. Just him and maybe the two Aurors.
"I have to get ready," he stated, not wanting to discuss it anymore. "I will see you privately after the trial to inform you of the results. You best get back to Gryffindor Tower before you get yourself into trouble for being down here."
Turning back to the younger wizard, he lifted his chin and looked down at him. Still being relatively new to a relationship, he was not going to promise something he couldn't keep. He didn't know whether or not Desiree would go to Azkaban, but he hoped she would. He also wished he had something more lightening to say to Harry.
Instead, he leant down and gave the Gryffindor a small kiss. "I will find you when I come back," he reassured with the smallest of smiles creasing the very corner of his lips. He then ushered Harry back out and made sure he was under the Cloak before he got himself dressed for the trial.

Artist comment:

So sorry for the massive delay. I went on holiday, had no internet and I have a job now. REALLY trying to get back to writing this. Thank you for being so, so patient. You guys are amazing.