Author's note: I own nothing, I'm just having fun with J K Rowlings characters. This story may be edited when I can persuade the person who usually checks my stories for spelling, grammar and plot holes to read it (I have spell checked, but they aren't infallible and I'm dyslexic, so)! By the way I don't intend to continue with it, so this is it folks.

Impossible

Harry didn't care what Lupin and Sirius said, he was acutely relived that his occlumency lessons with Snape were over. Potions lessons were going to be awkward after this, he was certain Snape was going to make him pay for intruding on his memories. He did feel guilty about it. He wouldn't pry into any other persons diary after all. Snape was a special case, Sirius had said, he never missed an opportunity to curse his father. But his father had grown up out of it hadn't he? His mother wouldn't have started dating him if she didn't think much of him would she? He got out the photo album Hagrid had given him. The pictures of his mother and father were smiling, laughing and looking very much in love. Everyone told told him what a great person his father was, but he couldn't dismiss what he'd seen. His father had picked on Snape simply because he had been there, because Snape was clearly different. The trouble was he could identify with that. In his second year, everyone had started to hate him because they thought he was the heir of Slytherin. But Snape was evil, even when he had been at school. He'd known more curses than most of the seventh years. Someone like that... Harry sighed, his mind going around in circles. The one good thing was that he was not going to have those horrible occlumency lessons with Snape any more.

#

"I cannot teach him!" Snape roared at Dumbledore. "He looked into my memories!" He was angry and upset. Dumbledore sat back in his chair behind his desk and watched him pace up and down the office ranting.

"He is just like his father! Arrogant little brat! Invading my privacy! How dare he!" Snape continued to shout. He seemed to be starting to run out of steam and was standing in front of Dumbledore panting slightly.

"Sit down Severus." He said calmly. Snape clenched his fists but sank into the chair opposite Dumbledore.

"Are you sure it is Harry you are angry with? The boy was just doing what any curious teenager would do."

"I expected you to excuse his actions!" Snape snapped angrily. "He had no right!"

"I am not disagreeing with you. I am simply stating whilst his actions were wrong, they were not unsurprising." Dumbledore replied gently. "I suspect you are misdirecting a lot of your anger." Snape glared at him. Dumbledore leaned over his desk slightly, his blue eyes holding Snape's.

"By all account Harry has broken into your memories before this point, you were not angry with him then."

"He was making a minute amount of progress." Snape admitted.

"You are not allowing for difference in temperament. You were used to concealing your emotions, hiding your thoughts, occlumency came quite naturally to you. Whereas Harry..."

"Just like his blasted father! Wearing his heart on his sleeve."

"A lot of people do you know. If everyone was the same the world would be very boring." Dumbledore said. "Severus, you cannot blame Harry for your actions within the memory he saw." Snape's face contorted with rage.

"Don't you dare!" Snape yelled. "Potter invaded my privacy! He enjoyed seeing his father..." He paused closing his eyes briefly.

"I can spy for you. Lie to the Dark Lord and give him false information. But I cannot do this. Not Potters son. I tried, Albus. But I cannot." Dumbledore sighed nodding.

"One day Severus, you will have to forgive him for being James and Lily's son." He said quietly. Snape's face became a cold unemotional mask.

"To other matters. You are seeing Voldemort tonight?" Inwardly Dumbledore sighed at the sight of Snape wincing at the use of the name. It was understandable in his case, most people knew what Voldemort did, whereas Snape saw it first hand.

"He wants to know how the Order found out about the attack on Mr Weasley so quickly. As yet he is unaware that Potter saw the attack. However he is pressing me for more information." Dumbledore considered this thoughtfully.

"The portraits Severus. One of them heard Mr Weasley cry out, then came back here and informed me." Severus nodded.

"Where you took the opportunity to remove the Weasley children from the school, as well as Potter. Yes, that makes sense. I will inform him."

"Try to find out what further attempts he intends to make to obtain the prophecy." Dumbledore asked.

"I will. He does not trust me fully however. He remains unconvinced of my loyalty." Snape told him.

"I know you will do your best." Dumbledore said. Nodding Snape stood and left his office.

#

"Harry, you must go back to Snape and get him to give you the lessons!" Hermionie said for the hundredth time. Harry sighed.

"No! Have you seen the way he treats me in potions? If I go anywhere near him on my own, he won't need Voldemort to kill me, he'll do it himself!" Hermionie closed her mouth, she couldn't argue with the fact that Snape was treating Harry even more poorly than usual. Every lesson Harry made a potion Snape found some way not to mark it. Sometimes he 'accidentally' knocked it off his desk. Sometimes he intimidated Harry so much he ruined the potion. Sometimes he simply gave the potion a zero regardless of the actually quality of it. Harry hoped Snape would simply ignore him. Getting poor marks in potions wouldn't be so bad if he didn't pick on him too. He was also certain that Snape knew that very well.

"Harry's right. Snape hates him! Anyway how do you know that he wasn't trying to open up his mind further for you-know-who?" Ron said. Harry was about to agree with Ron when Hermionie sighed loudly.

"Not this again! If that were true, wouldn't he still be giving Harry lessons? Rather than stopping them completely? Do use your head!" She shut the large tome in front of her and walked off to her next lesson.

"I don't get why she tries to defend Snape." Ron said.

"She's not defending him." Harry said certainly. "She's just trying to be logical."

"Doesn't mean she's right." Ron said, Harry agreed.

Standing outside the potions classroom Harry found himself wondering how Snape was going to pick on him this time. Vanish his potion because it wasn't good enough? Even though Neville's potions were usually a lot worse than his, not to mention either Crabbe or Goyle's. Please, Harry thought, please just ignore me! Vanish my potion if you like but please no snide remarks or build up my hopes that you'll mark it only to dash them afterwards! Just ignore me. Harry found himself pleading desperately inside the privacy of his head. His hopes of being ignored were almost immediately dashed as soon as he'd entered.

"Today you will be making the Alihotsy Draught, the instructions ore on the board, and the ingredients are in the cupboard. I hope you're attempts will not be as poor as I expect Potters to be."

Don't rise, Harry thought keeping his face down so Snape could not see the anger on his face. He imagined his hands around Snape's throat, throttling him. Admittedly the older wizard was a lot stronger than he was but the mental picture cheered him briefly. Taking deep breaths to try and calm his temper, he went to the cupboard and took out the ingredients he needed. Before he started he re-read the list and went through the ingredients he'd collected to make absolutely sure he'd got the right ones. He'd missed one herb, so Harry went to fetch it.

"Making mistakes so soon Potter?" Snape said. Harry gritted his teeth.

"I missed one of the herbs...sir." He said placing deliberate emphasis on the last word. Almost immediately he realised his mistake, by over emphasising the word 'sir' Snape would undoubtedly pick up on it and make something of it.

"Don't be rude to me Potter, that's detention!"

The Gryffindors in the classroom gasped. The Slytherins sniggered. Hermionie and Ron suddenly went very pale. Harry had stopped dead in front of his desk, frozen in the act of placing the herb on the table.

"Oh please Harry, please don't!" Hermionie said under her breath.

"That is IT!" Harry shouted right back at Snape. "What is the point?! You'll only find some excuse not to mark it anyway! Do what the hell you like! Talk to Dumbledore! Give me detention! Get me expelled! I DON'T CARE!"

If Snape shouted back at him, Harry didn't hear. A red mist had descended. He didn't remembered grabbing his bags, or smashing the potions ingredients as he whirled around, or the shouts from any of the other Gryffindors as he stormed out of the classroom. He finally became more aware as he threw himself onto his dorm bed in Gryffindor tower. Then some of the memories started to guiltily creep back into his mind. Oh god! Had he really shouted at Snape like that? Had he really stormed out of the classroom? Well he was done for now. Miserably Harry started to pack his things into his trunk. He had no particular plan, but he certainly couldn't stay. One way or the other he was going to be expelled. Snape would finally get what he had most wanted since he'd first arrived at the school. Bitterly he imagined Snape and Umbridge together, grinning as he left the school forever. Tears of rage flowed down his cheeks.

"Harry?" A voice enquired.

"WHAT?!" Harry shouted back angrily before turning. Gasping Harry saw Dumbledore standing behind him.

"Sorry sir." He said in a small voice.

"Professor Snape told me what happened." Dumbledore said gently.

"Oh good! I bet that was completely unbiased!" Harry growled and started to throw more things at random into his trunk. Dumbledore stepped in front of him and gently placed a hand on his shoulder. He briefly considered telling him that the instant Harry had stormed out of the classroom, Severus had come to see him, and whilst he wasn't exactly contrite did reluctantly realise he might have pushed him too far.

"What are you doing Harry?" Dumbledore asked. Harry suddenly realised he was trying push a pair of socks into his telescope case. He threw both into his trunk.

"I'm packing. You're going to expel me. Snape and Umbridge finally get what they most want." He answered grumpily.

"You are not being expelled." Dumbledore reassured him. At that moment a group of Gryffindors rushed into the dorm room. When they saw Dumbledore they all started speaking at once.

"It wasn't Harry's fault..."

"...antagonised him deliberately..."

"...being completely unfair, vanishing Harry's potions..."

"...greasy haired git..."

"Professor Dumbledore sir?"

"All of you please calm down. Mr Potter is not being expelled. Yes Miss Granger?" Dumbledore turned to her. Hermionie blushed slightly.

"Well sir. I know Professor Snape is a teacher, but he did seem to be going out of his way to annoy Harry. Sorry sir." She paused and Ron blurted: "He's been doing it for weeks! No wonder Harry snapped!" And the Gryffindors started up again. Dumbledore held up his hands and they quietened down.

"This matter is being dealt with. Harry, you may unpack your things, you are not leaving."

#

The news of Harry's fight with Snape spread around the school like wildfire. Each time someone told the story it gradually got more and more elaborate, by the end Snape and Harry had had a wizards duel and most of the dungeons were in ruins because of it. At dinner Harry's fork stopped halfway to his mouth as Hermionie told him this. She smiled at his reaction.

"I though you might like to hear that."

"According to that rumour, who won?" Ron asked. Hermionie shook her head still smiling.

"Really Ron!"

Ron suddenly looked at his plate of food with a curious intensity. Hermionie frowned.

"What is it?" Ron mouthed the word 'Snape', and inclined his head slightly towards the Slytherin table. Harry nearly turned to look, but decided at the last moment he didn't want to. A slight hush came over the hall, but after a few seconds the noise level return to normal when it became clear there wouldn't be another fight.

"Are you still sure he's on our side?" Ron whispered to Hermionie. "The way he treats Harry..."

"I'm right here." Harry said.

"Sorry mate. You know what I mean."

"Dumbledore trusts him." Hermionie said.

"He could make mistakes." Harry pointed out. "He's a sadistic..."

"You-know-who doesn't employ nice people." She answered impatiently. So the argument ran on, usually going around in circles. Hermionie agreeing that Snape wasn't a nice person, but Dumbledore trusted him so therefore he must have a good reason for it. Harry pointed out that no-one was perfect and Dumbledore could be mistaken. Diner ended, they went to the common room with making a unconscious decision to drop the subject of Snape completely. It wasn't entirely successful as other Gryffindors kept approaching him and saying that he was right to react the way he had done and if he needed witnesses he could rely on them. Even people from other years who were nowhere near the potions class at the time.

That night he slept fitfully. At first he dreamt he was back in the potions class shouting at Snape calling him every name under the sun. Then Dumbledore appeared, shaking his head sadly saying he had no choice but to expel him. Snape stood beside Dumbledore looking delighted. Then the scene shifted, he was still looking at Snape, around all seemed quite dark. He was aware of others being present, in black robes and masks. Snape bowed and looked directly into his eyes. With a jolt Harry realised he was witnessing a Death Eater meeting and he was seeing out of Voldemorts eyes.

"Have you found out Severus?" Voldemort demanded in a high cold voice.

"It was the portraits my lord, one of them heard Weasley cry out and alerted Dumbledore..."

But that was a downright lie! He couldn't understand it. Snape knew that he had seen the attack! He'd seen the memory often enough when giving him the occlumency lessons. Snape was still speaking.

"...he took the opportunity to remove the Weasley children and Potter from the school."

"Where did they stay?"

"I cannot say my lord..." Snape replied with a touch of hesitancy. The Order headquarters! Moody said something about Dumbledore being secret keeper so know one apart from him could reveal it's location.

"Try torturing it out of him!" Another Death Eater suggested. Was that a touch of panic in Snape's eyes? Harry wondered. Voldemort replied.

"At the moment Severus is far too valuable as a spy."

At the moment...Harry caught the phrase and from the look on Snape's face he had too.

"Tell me more about Harry Potter." Voldemort asked coldly. Here it comes, Harry thought. He'll blab about occlumency and how I'm so useless and crap at it. At least when he did he would finally have the evidence he wanted that Snape was not on their side at all.

"He has very little talent and his arrogance revivals that of his father." Snape said smoothly. "His academic performance is so poor that I have been giving him..."

Here it comes, Harry thought.

"...Remedial potions." This caused a slight snigger among some of the other Death Eaters. Harry was astounded, Snape had just lied to Voldemort for him a second time. Another thought struck him, like a block of ice that suddenly fell into the pit of his stomach. He was inside Voldemorts mind, if he discovered this, and could read his thoughts he would know Snape was lying, and his life would not be worth a knut.

"Draco told his father about an argument?" Voldemort asked. He was surprised to see Snape shrug mildly.

"His lack of skill in potions results in frustrations. He is a teenager after all." Voldemorts eyes bored into Snape's, the numerous times he'd been picked on by Snape recently flash past. When Voldemort withdrew he sensed he was pleased.

"Maybe I do take some advantage of my position..." Snape said with a slight smile. Was that why Snape was being mean to him? So he had something to show Voldemort? That he was keeping up his Death Eater ways? He realised he had misjudged Snape badly. Now through a stupid act of curiosity, because he wanted to keep having the visions, because he couldn't 'empty his mind of emotion' he was putting someone's life in terrible danger. Snape was still talking, putting him down in Voldemort's eyes, which he now knew with a flash of inspiration was making him seem less of a threat. Having these visions suddenly didn't seem like a good idea at all. He desperately wanted it to end, to wake up. As if in response to his wish, his eyes fluttered open and he was staring at the ceiling of the Gryffindor dorm. He sat bolt upright, his heart was thumping loudly in his chest, he was surprised the sound of it hadn't woken anyone else.

"You alright 'Arry?" Ron asked sleepily. So his heart had...no that was silly.

"Fine. Bad dream." Lied Harry. Ron turned over in his bed and went straight back to sleep. He flopped back down on his bed, keeping his eyes wide open so he wouldn't fall back to sleep. He couldn't risk entering Voldemort's mind again. His breathing quickened, his mind in turmoil as he tried to calm himself down and think.

He'd been wrong about Snape.

Worse, owed him an apology.

At some point he realised he must have fallen back to sleep. He felt relived that he didn't go back to the Death Eater meeting and had spent a dreamless night. The early morning light streamed in through the window. Glancing at the clock he saw that it was five am. Yesterdays memories clamoured for attention in his mind. In this state he knew trying for an extra hour or two sleep would be pointless so he got up quietly, dressed and made his way to the dorm room. Staring at the fire he wondered what he should do. He knew he had to apologise, last night that seemed like the worse thing he would have to do, but a new thought had joined it. He had to ask Snape to restart occulmency lessons. He rubbed his eyes with the ball of his hands, as if his life couldn't get any worse. He considered calling Sirius and Lupin to ask for their advice, but that would not do any good. If Sirius talked to Snape it would end in an argument, or worse. He remembered the time Snape had first told him of the lessons. He sighed. Much as would love to talk to Sirius he would take it the wrong way. Lupin was a better bet, but Snape didn't like him either. There was Dumbledore, the only person Snape seemed to listen to, he would do what Dumbledore asked him but...He already knew what he had to do, but he was afraid. He heard footsteps on the stone stairs leading from the girls dorm. Hermionie appeared carrying a large pile of books quills and parchment.

"You're up early." She said enquiringly.

"Yeah. Bad night." Harry said.

"Harry..."

"Listen Hermionie. I tell you what I dreamed. I'll tell Ron another time. He'll only over react." He told her of his dream and all he'd witnessed.

"Go on. Say I told you so." He said grumpily. Hermionie smiled kindly.

"What are you going to do?" She asked quietly.

"I don't have a choice do I? I've got to go back to Snape. But how? If I go near him, he'll kill me." Hermionie bit her lip.

"I don't think he would kill someone he's trying to protect." Harry looked at her.

"You know what I mean."

"Talk to Sirius, or Dumbledore..." She suggested.

"I want to. But..." He sighed. "I don't know, I just don't think it will work unless it comes from me." He looked at her, half hoping that she would contradict him. The sad look on her face made his heart sink.

"I think you could talk to someone else first, even if you spoke to him on his own after." She suggested.

"That would just be putting off the inevitable." Harry said miserably. They sat in silence for a long while. The sun crept high into the sky flooded the dorm room with a warm golden glow. The hands of the clock on the wall ticked around to 7.30. Harry frowned.

"Why are we the only ones up?" He asked.

"Because it's Saturday. People like to sleep in on the weekends." Hermionie told him with a smile.

"Saturday?"

"Yes, it comes around once a week." She said with a straight face. Harry smiled at her.

"That's better." She said. "I'm not sure what Snape does at the weekends."

"Supervising his detentions? Hang on, should I be going? Dumbledore didn't mention anything, and I left before Snape told me a time and a place..."

"Yes, now I come to think of it, the way he reacted was odd." She said thoughtfully.

"What do you mean? I don't remember too much. Too angry." He finished sadly.

"Well, he yelled at you and you didn't respond..."

"He yelled? Blimey I didn't even hear him." Harry told her. She raised her eyebrows in surprise.

"He watched you go..." She continued uncertainly. "Everyone was shouting at that point, well we were but he ignored us. Then he told us to be quiet and get on with the potion and then he left."

"And went straight to Dumbledore." Harry finished. "He said Snape told him what happened." He paused. "This isn't helping. I have to go and apologise to him but...how do I make him listen?" Even Hermionie didn't have an answer to that. Snape hated him, and the way things had been left yesterday he wasn't likely to be in a mood to listen. Later more people started to appear, and but he didn't feel like the company. Ron and Hermionie were okay, but all the others just wanted to talk about what had happened. So he went back upstairs to his bed, pulled out his invisibility cloak and wondered aimlessly about the castle.

Inexorably his footsteps took him in the direction of the dungeons, he wanted to confront Snape and get it over and done with. As Harry approached his classroom he was surprised to hear voices. One was Snape's the other belonged to a woman he didn't recognise. He peered through the gap in the door. He recognised the woman as one of the other teachers but he'd never met her before.

"Seven across, nine letters, 'Making Tiger come out of a pyramid, say' please Severus, it's driving me crazy!" The woman was holding a newspaper in one hand and a quill in the other. Snape was behind his desk sorting through some papers.

"Why do you bother with these muggle crosswords?" Snape sounded a little bored.

"I enjoy them." She said simply. "Is it an anagram?"

"How do you enjoy it when you ask everyone else for the answers?" Snape asked.

"I get some of the answers." She said.

Harry heard the sound of heels clicking on stone, turning he saw Umbridge walking down the corridor. He panicked. He wanted to alert the the two teachers in the classroom, but he was invisible under the cloak and did not want to reveal himself. Umbridge had slowed, she was listening to the conversation going on in the classroom. Cow, Harry thought always looking for an opportunity. Not knowing what else to do he wrapped once loudly on the classroom door. He saw the two teachers look up sharply and Harry ran back along the corridor and hid in a shadow. Snape came to the door, looked around and saw Umbridge.

"Is there something I can do for you?" He asked smoothly. Umbridge looked slightly ruffled.

"As it happens there is Severus." She said trying to regain some of he confidence. She held her head up high and walked into his classroom without being asked.

"Oh Charity!" Umbridge said sounding slightly surprised. "What are you doing here?"

"I asking my colleague a question. Why?" Charity answered sharply.

"Was it relating to educational matters?" Umbridge asked with in her girlish voice.

"Of course." Snape answered before Charity. Harry thought quickly. No Umbridge hadn't been there long enough to hear the earlier part of their conversation. He was beginning to admire Snape's ability to lie. Umbridge narrowed her eyes, then turned to Snape.

"I am given to understand should I require any potions I can come to you?"

"Providing I have the potion in stock, yes." Snape replied.

"Excellent." Umbridge said turning she left, the sound of her heels clicking on the stones getting fainter as she walked away.

"What a..."

"She's not out of earshot." Snape warned her. Charity waited. "She is now." Snape continued still standing by the door with a slightly perplexed look.

"Bitch." Charity finished. Snape turned to look at her.

"Geometric."

"Pardon?"

"The answer to your crossword clue." Snape said.

"Oh thanks! You know..." Charity stood and joined Snape by the door. "...if you wanted to sort her out, the rest of us would give you a cast iron alibi." They looked at each other briefly.

"I have a visitor." Snape told her.

"Oh well. I'll puzzle out the rest of my crossword somewhere else." Charity left still holding her muggle newspaper frowning at it as she walked away. Snape watched her for a few moments.

"Potter!" Snape called loudly. "Get in here!" Harry's heart leapt into his mouth, how did he do that? He'd known someone had knocked on the door, and since he couldn't see anyone outside and since Harry was the only one in the school with an invisibility cloak...Now he thought about it, it was obvious. Harry trudged into the classroom trying not to view it as walking into the mouth of a crocodile. As he walked in Harry removed his cloak.

"Taking to eavesdropping now Potter?" Snape growled angrily, his face showing the utter hatred Harry was accustomed to seeing. This was going to be impossible, still he had to try.

"No Professor, at least I heard Umbridge coming...I wanted to talk to you!" He finished, deciding to come straight to the point before Snape threw him out.

"We have nothing to say to each other Potter..." He replied coldly.

"I saw your meeting last night!" He said in a rush. Snape glared at him.

"What?!" Snape looked very angry now. Harry panicked this was not going they way he had imagined.

"You told Voldemort that the portrait heard Arthur Weasley screaming and went to tell Dumbledore. How could I possibly know that if I hadn't? And then he asked you where the Weasley's had gone and you couldn't say and another Death Eater said..."

"Potter!" Snape shouted. He aimed his wand at the door which slammed shut, then he muttered a few incantations, presumably to make sure they were not being overheard.

"It is not your job to..." Snape started to say when he interrupted him

"Listen in on Death Eater meetings, I know. Oh please listen to me! I wanted to say...sorry." He finished feebly. Snape was watching him, still with a look of dislike on his face. But, Harry thought quietly, at least he wasn't shouting.

"I'm sorry for prying into your memories. It was wrong. I shouldn't have done done it. I'm sorry for doubting you." Harry paused waiting for some sort of reaction from Snape.

"You pried into my personal memories and you think saying sorry will induce me to forgive you?" Snape said angrily. This was more of what he was expecting.

"What can I say?" Harry said desperately. "I'm sorry my dad bullied you! But there is nothing I can do about that!"

"Your father...!" Snape started to shout.

"I am not my father!" Harry shouted back. They both paused glaring at each other, both breathing quickly. Snape turned his back on Harry.

"Why are you here Potter?!"

"I need you to keep teaching me occlumency!"

"You what?!" Snape whirled back to him. The look on his face was frightening. Harry spoke quickly, his words coming out in a torrent.

"Last night I was looking through his eyes I thought if he found out I was there and read my mind he would find out you were lying to him and kill you!" Snape was staring at him oddly. His black eyes boring into Harry's. He knew what he was doing so he met his gaze unflinchingly. After a moment Snape frowned.

"You were...concerned for me?" He sounded utterly bewildered.

"Yes."

Snape made his way behind his desk and sank into his chair. He pinched the bridge of his nose, suddenly looking incredibly tired. Pointing his wand at the store cupboard, a potion flew out and into Snape's hand. He drained it in one gulp.

"Sir?" Harry asked tentatively.

"Headache." Snape said shortly. One of the portraits in the room acquired an occupant. Harry recognised it as one of the female headmistresses of Hogwarts.

"He wants to see you."

"This day cannot get much better." Snape commented.

"That's odd." Harry said.

"What?" Snape snapped at him. Harry shrugged.

"I was thinking the same thing."

Snape stood and paced briefly in front of the painting.

"Tell Albus...tell him..." He glanced at Harry. "That I am busy. I will come later." The painting looked surprised but vanished.

"We must settle this Potter." Snape said.

"Yes sir." He agreed. "I will do everything you tell me but..." He stopped abruptly wondering if he dare go further.

"Yes?" Snape queried.

"Vol..." Harry remembered in time Snape didn't like hearing his other master's name and didn't want to antagonise him further. "He isn't sleeping. I know. But he isn't constantly attacking me either. And he doesn't know I can see into his mind yet. So..." He paused again, then plunged on. "All I want is a little patience."

Snape didn't say anything immediately so Harry continued. "I will work as hard as I can, but I don't find this occulmency easy."

Maybe he had been pushing too hard, but that had only been because he wanted the boy to be able to protect himself from the Dark Lord's mind. If the Dark Lord found out about the connection, he would be able to control the boys mind and manipulate it. However the boy was standing there wearing his tormentors face, his mother's eyes and it hurt.

At one point, you're going to have to forgive him for being James and Lily's son...

Give and take, that was what the boy meant. Logically it was a reasonable request. Further he was right, he was not his father...Merlin! Was he falling into the same trap as Black? Occasionally he had caught him referring to Potter as James!

In temperament he is more like his mother.

He felt a moments irritation. Dumbledore could be extremely manipulative! Potter was still looking at him slightly nervously. Snape couldn't help but feel a minute amount of admiration, considering what had passed between them yesterday it had taken no small amount of courage to come and face him alone.

"Very well Potter. I will endeavour to be more patient. However you must follow my instructions."

"I will sir." Harry responded immediately. Severus sighed momentarily.

"However I cannot promise to keep my temper in check all the time." I've had a lifetime of hating your father and you in turn, it's not a habit I can break easily he added mentally.

"No-one is perfect sir...Err I mean I'll make mistakes too...I mean I'll try not to." Harry stumbled over his words. For a moment he thought Snape was going to start at him again. But he appeared to pause as though considering his answer and Harry was astonished to see him smile very slightly.

"No Potter, no-one is perfect." There was a pause.

"Now we must go to the Headmaster." Snape said.

"We?" He sounded surprised.

"Yes, he will know you are with me. I must inform him I am continuing with your lessons. Come." Snape swept from the classroom a few doors away was his office. Inside the fireplace was roaring. He took a handful of floo power.

"By floo sir?" Harry sounded puzzled.

"Yes. It avoids a long tedious walk."

#

"Harry is with Severus?" Dumbledore looked at the painting sounding confused.

"Yes." The portrait confirmed. "I don't think they were aware of my presence for the whole time. They started by shouting at each other, but by the time I'd left they weren't."

"I don't believe it." Dumbledore said.

"He said he'd come later." Dumbledore shook his head smiling. Harry would have been the instigator he was sure. Guilt perhaps? At losing his temper in front of a Professor? Not likely, there was a history of antagonism between the pair of them. But apparently something had happened, he was curious to find out what. A more immediate necessity was to find out what happened at the Death Eater meeting. Minutes later Harry stepped out from the fireplace, seconds later Snape stepped through.

"Severus..." Dumbledore said warningly.

"He saw the meeting last night." Snape answered him.

"Ah. That was it. I wondered." Dumbledore nodded. Harry felt as though there was an entire section of the conversation that he'd missed.

"I didn't mean to." Harry persisted. "But it made me realise...that I needed to learn this occlumency stuff."

"Tell me what you saw Harry."

He told Dumbledore everything that he saw of the meeting. Then keeping his gaze strictly on Dumbledore to avoid looking as Snape told him how frightened he'd been that Voldemort would read his mind and find out Professor Snape had been lying. He could feel himself getting redder as he spoke and fervently hoped he could avoid seeing the expression on Snape's face.

"Is that all you saw?" Snape asked. Reluctantly Harry looked at Snape.

"Yes. I managed to wake up. After that I kept my eyes open, trying to stay awake, you know. I didn't want to see any more. I mean I thought it might be dangerous." Harry suddenly yawned, he couldn't help himself. His nights sleep had been disturbed and he'd tried to keep himself awake after the meeting he'd seen. He saw Snape absently rubbing his eyes, and realised that he'd had been at the meeting, which meant he hadn't had much sleep either. If Voldemort called him quite often...well it went some way to explain why Snape might be grumpy most of the time. Dumbledore seemed to be thinking along similar lines.

"Have either of you had breakfast?" He asked. Before either could answer a portrait rushed back into it's painting.

"That woman is coming!" That woman could only mean Umbridge.

"Cloak Potter!" Snape snapped. Harry whipped out his cloak and covered himself with it. Snape whirled around planting his hands on Dumbledore's desk.

"He deserves to spend the rest of the year in detention! He shouted at me in my own classroom.." Snape was yelling loudly. Harry's had to bit his tongue, he sounded so full of rage and hatred, his black eyes blazed. Dumbledore stood drawing himself up to face him.

"Severus..." He started sternly. In that second the door to Dumbledore's office opened and in walked Umbridge, a large girlish smile on her fat toadish face. Both Snape and Dumbledore looked at her.

"Can I help you Dolores?" Dumbledore asked mildly. Snape merely narrowed his eyes in her direction.

"I was looking for Mr Potter." She said sweetly. "He is not to be found in his common room."

"Why were you looking for him, may I ask?"

"The question of his outburst in your classroom yesterday Severus." She said smiling. "There is the question of his...punishment." Under the invisibility cloak Harry gritted his teeth. The scars on the back of his hand spelling out the words 'I must not tell lies' still red on his hand. But Harry was feeling some admiration for Snape, the way he managed to put on an act as easily as a muggle could flick a switch.

"Any punishment Potter gets for his outburst will be spent with me, Professor Umbridge." Snape replied coolly.

"Discipline in this school..." Umbridge started.

"Comes under my control. Any detention Harry Potter serves will be with Severus." Dumbledore said firmly.

"Hmm." Umbridge said with a touch of irritation, she turned and left. For a few moments all three listened to her footsteps fading away.

"She is worse than some Death Eaters I know." Snape commented still looking at the door.

"What do you mean?" Dumbledore frowned. Snape turned to him.

"Hasn't Potter shown you his hand?"

"Harry?" Dumbledore asked. He came out from under the cloak and put forward his hand. 'I must not tell lies' still red.

"I may be something of a disciplinarian Albus, but I don't physically torture students." Snape looked at Dumbledore meaningfully. "She enjoys it." Dumbledore shook his head in disgust.

"Have you something for this Severus?" He asked. Snape gave Harry's hand a cursory glance.

"I have something that will serve."

"These occulmency lessons. Are you both sure you can work together?" Dumbledore was looking chiefly at Snape, a look of concern on his face. There was silence.

"I want to try. I'm sorry for annoying you. I will work at it and I will try to not get on your nerves." Harry said.

"And I will try to be patient." Snape replied looking back at Harry.

"Well I think that rounds it up to six." Dumbledore said after a moment. Seeing the confusion on their faces Dumbledore explained.

"Impossible things before breakfast. Speaking of which." Dumbledore waved his wand and two plates of food appeared.