Harry apologises and Snape plans revenge.
His stomach twisted in painful knots and his feet felt cold and clammy as he lay restlessly in his dormitory bed. Even though Harry was hot underneath the heavy blankets, every time he threw them off, he’d start to feel shivery again and ended up cocooning himself in the smothering heat of his covers.
His head swirled mercilessly with the words that his future self had said.
So unless you want to be responsible for Sirius’s death and many others…
The dire seriousness of the situation hadn’t hit home until an hour later, and now Harry couldn’t stop himself from thinking about it.
If he did not learn Occlumency, people would die. The lives of many rested on his scrawny shoulders. It was enough to keep anybody from falling asleep.
Harry’s mind felt disconnected from the rest of his body. His eyes were heavy, but he could not close them.
Why couldn’t his future self have given him some help? Or at least advice on how to deal with Snape.
A huge snore from Ron made Harry jump so bad that he fell out of his bed.
Harry groaned from the floor and laid his head on his crossed arms. He was too tired to get up, plus the cool carpet felt nice against his hot flesh. Harry sighed a little. What in the world was he going to do?
Snape likes respect.
If Harry respected Snape he would apologize for poking his face in what wasn‘t his to see. But how should I he go about it?
“Professor, I need to apologize,” Harry said quietly. No, that wouldn’t work. Harry wanted to sound like he wasn’t being forced to apologize even though he was.
Very Slytherin, Harry thought with a grimace.
He started again, “Professor, I want to apologize.” That sounded better because now he wanted to apologize now he was doing it of his own free will.
With the opening taken care of the task of apologizing to Severus Snape didn’t seem to hard. Harry was satisfied several hours later. He had a draft of the apology now all he had to do was smooth the edges.
Harry fell asleep soon after discovering that. His mind was more at ease and for once he didn’t have nightmares.
Snickers and sunlight surrounded Harry as he woke up. Briefly, he wondered why his bedspread smelled like dirty socks. And when it was so cold. And so hard. Then he realized he was lying face down on the floor.
Well, Harry though, that certainly explains the snickers, but why am I on th….
Suddenly, Harry remembered what had happened the other night, and if it wasn’t for the smell of the carpet, Harry would have been quite happy to lie on the floor for the rest of the day.
“Were the bugs lonely, Harry?” Seamus asked innocently.
Ron, Dean, and Seamus burst into laughter.
“Since when do you sleep on the floor, mate?” Ron asked when he was done laughing.
Harry’s answer was slightly muffled since he had still not gotten of the floor, but everyone heard him say. “Why? Is this your spot?”
Ron grinned as the other boys laughed. Then he told Harry to hurry up and headed out to the bathroom.
Gradually, Harry got up and got dressed without bothering to take a shower. He gathered his scattered homework, and made his way down to the Great Hall. The table was set, but there weren’t many students in the hall yet. Harry sat down. He was staring at his empty plate, lost in his thoughts, when Hermione and Ron entered the Great Hall and rushed over to him.
“Why didn’t you wait for us?” Ron asked as he plopped down across from Harry. Hermione moved to sit beside Ron. She stopped to stare at Harry.
“You…you look terrible!” Hermione said as she stood over Harry, arms laden with her usual ten or twelve books.
“Thanks,” Harry said dryly, but neither of them smiled. Harry sighed.
“I just didn’t sleep well, that’s all,” he said to Hermione, who had that suspicious look in her eyes.
“Hmm,” Hermione said as she sat down, and Harry hoped that she would leave it at that.
The mail arrived. Hermione unrolled her Daily Prophet and glanced through it. “Nothing,” she announced a minute later. Ron made a grunting noise and Hermione frowned at him before asking casually. “So, how did Remedial Potions go?” She started loading Harry’s plate with food.
“I’m not two!” Harry said indignantly. He ignored Hermione’s question as he quickly pulled his plate away.
Hermione glared and Ron snickered as a heap of eggs landed on the table right were Harry’s plate had been.
“Could’ve fooled me,” Hermione muttered to her plate and Ron laughed aloud.
Harry took a bite of his eggs just as Hermione repeated her question. But thanks to Fred and George, Harry didn’t have time to answer as he changed into a giant canary. Apparently being the twins financial backer wasn‘t enough to stop them from playing pranks on said backer.
“Fred! George!” Hermione warned the laughing twins as Harry’s feathers molted. “One day somebody’s going to give you a taste of your own medicine!”
“Relax 'Mione, it’s just a joke!” Ron said as he brushed feathers out of Harry’s food.
“Ugh!” Harry exclaimed, after he was fully human again. He was looking at his feather covered food. “I don’t think I’m hungry anymore.”
“Aww, Harrikens isn’t mad is he?” Fred asked with a playful grin.
“No I’m not mad,” Harry said, “And don’t call me that.”
“Don’t call you Harrikens?” George asked in fake puzzlement. Ron and Fred were grinning at there friends unfortunate position. Hermione on the other hand rolled her eyes and buried her head in one of her books.
“Yes, don’t call me Harrikens!” Harry burst out loudly. Draco Malfoy was passing by the Gryffindor table when Harry’s announcement stopped him in his tracks. Draco laughed out loud and then moved on to spread the embarrassing nickname.
“I‘m out of here,” Harry said gruffly.
“But Harry…” said Hermione after sending a glare to the now subdued Weasleys.
“It’s ok. I need to work on my Potions project, anyway.” Hermione frowned but told him that she and Ron would meet him at Charms.
The rookwood creates a chain reaction. If there is too much or too little…
That just didn’t sound right. Harry sighed and shifted in the library chair.
Harry looked at the clock. He had fifteen minutes before Charms started. Well, he always got bad grades in Potions. One more wouldn’t matter.
Harry wasn’t paying attention In Charms, and as a result his haired turned a deep shade of purple. This would have been fine if they had been practicing hair coloring charms. But unfortunately for Harry, they weren’t. Ron, the git, was still laughing as he, Harry, and Hermione left class. Harry left with extra homework in his clenched fists.
“Harry! Would you stop dragging your feet?” Hermione exclaimed. It was after lunch, now, and they were making their way Potions. Harry had been dreading this moment all day for the last several hours.
“Can’t we just skip this class, 'Mione? Just this once?” Ron asked whiningly.
Hermione started a lecture in her exasperated voice. This wasn’t the first time she had had this argument. Harry didn't listen. He was imagining how his talk with Snape would go. Even in his imagination, the outcome didn’t look good.
Harry looked upon the Potions classroom door with dread.
The Syltherins shoved there way in first, leaving the Gryffindors to have the worst seats up front. Both houses were pairing up. Harry sat down quickly next to Hermione. Ron, who was left standing in the isle, frowned before sitting next to Dean.
Sorry Ron, Harry thought, but I need to get this lesson right and I can’t do that without Hermione‘s help.
Snape silently came out of the shadows in the back of the room, leaving Harry with a feeling that the man had been watching him. The Head of Slytherin looked around the room with distaste. “If you did your assignment, you should have no trouble making this potion," he said in his quiet, dangerous tone. "If not….” Snape let ominous silence hang in the air.
Harry shivered slightly even though the dungeon wasn’t cold. Snape threw one final glance around the room. “You have thirty minutes.”
The instruction for the potion appeared on the board. For a second, all the students were still.
“Well, what are you waiting for?” Snape snapped and students from both houses scrambled to get the ingredients they would need. Snape hadn’t looked at Harry once and it made him nervous.
Harry paid close attention to his and Hermione’s potion. The last thing he needed was for it to blow up. Snape had already taken twenty points from Neville for his overrunning cauldron.
Hermione was stirring the potion counter clockwise when Harry felt the hairs on the back of his neck rise up. Snape was looking at his back, he was sure of it. Hermione glanced at Harry when he stiffened beside her but quickly turned her attention back to their needy potion.
“Time's up,” Snape said from the back of the room and the feeling that he was being watched left Harry.
Harry looked in the cauldron. It was violet, just like the instructions said it should be.
So why was Hermione looking so nervous and suspicious?
Snape came over to their potion last and lifted the stirrer. Harry felt his heart sink as the potion stretched like glue from the cauldron to the bottom of the stirrer.
Snape tisked in mock symphony as the Syltherins snickered in the back.
“Mr. Potter read the thirteenth instruction now since you obviously didn‘t read it earlier.”
“Add the simeon powder before adding the murkose root.” Harry read out loud.
“Read the instructions thoroughly before you try to brew a potion in my classroom Potter. Is that clear?” Snape asked loudly. Syltherins snickered in the background.
“Yes, sir.” Harry muttered. What else could he do? Harry hated the feeling on helplessness that was overcoming him. He was positive that he had done the potion right. But now wasn’t the time to fight; he coulddo that later.
“Failed…again.” Snape walked to his desk.
Through his rage, Harry could faintly hear Draco Malfoy laughing. It took everything Harry had not to storm out right then and there.
Responsible for Sirius’s death…
Those words would haunt him for the rest of his life if he failed.
“It should have been perfect,” Hermione muttered to herself.
Harry glumly wrote down the homework Snape was assigning. He felt responsible for Hermione’s newly broken record.
Hermione was still staring into space when Snape dismissed them. The Gryffindors tried to beat the Syltherins to the door. Everybody was eager to get away from Snape.
“You guys go on ahead. I need to do something first,” Harry told Ron and Hermione. Ron didn’t want to stay any longer in the dungeons than necessary, so after giving Harry a quizzical look, he fled. Hermione, however, was harder to get rid of.
“Harry, Gryffindor has already lost twenty points today because of Neville. This is not a good time to do something stupid.” Harry had to bend his head down just to hear Hermione because she was speaking so softly.
“I don’t plan on losing any points," Harry responded reassuringly. "I just need to ask a question.”
Hermione let out a huff of air before leaving the dungeons to catch up with Ron.
This was it.
Come on Harry, you can do it. Just muster some of that Gryffindor courage and ask him.
Snape was grading papers at his desk and pointedly ignoring Harry.
Harry steeped closer to the desk. Snape still didn't look up, so Harry cleared his throat.
Without looking up, Snape said, “Others might have time to waste on you, Potter, but I do not. Say what you want and then leave my presence.”
“Professor, I want to apologize--”
“Don’t waste your time.”
Harry stared at his professor. The man wasn’t going to make this easy. He took a deep breath and hoped that Snape hadn’t heard.
“I wish to apologize to you for my conduct, especially this year. Honesty compels me to admit that at least a portion of the fault for our...uh, poor relationship falls on my shoulders.
Whatever the original causes, I know I gave you reasons enough to dislike me, particularly in the last few weeks. I want to apologize for not doing my best in your classes, particularly our remedial potions lessons.”
Harry took a breath and hoped that Snape was actually listening. It had taken him hours to come up with this speech and even more time to memorize it. Without looking at Snape he continued.
“Whatever misconceptions I might have held, you were attempting to teach me, and I was not particularly receptive, nor did I do my assignments properly. I fear that if I fail in this, it will have dire effects on my life later, and I am well aware that I will have only myself to blame."
Harry dared to take a quick look at Snape. He had stopped writing and was now staring without emotion at his desk.
"It has also come to my attention that you might have some concerns for the information I inadvertently discovered while in our final session of remedial potions. Please believe me when I tell you that I do understand your situation, and I have no intentions of using the information in any way. Moreover, I feel compelled to apologize, as the only living Potter, for the actions of my father. Please accept my apologies, numerous and belated as they may be.”
Harry sighed. There, I apologized. Well, that wasn’t so bad.
“I do not have time for the witless maunderings of sentimental Gryffindors.”
Harry was cut off as Snape stood up. Harry gulped. He had forgotten how tall Snape was.
Pointing at the door with one pale hand, Snape shouted. "Get out!” When Harry didn't move fast enough, Snape stepped towards him menacingly and Harry stumbled backwards into a desk.
Again, he wizard pointed at the door and yelled, “Get out of my sight!”
Harry turned and ran. He ran all the way to the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, and he was tempted to keep running past it. He really did not want to deal with Umbridge right now. But he didn’t have a choice. With a heartfelt sigh he entered the room.
“Mr. Potter,” Umbridge purred. “You’re late. What a pity. I’ll just have to assign you another detention.”
Harry was too worn out to argue. He flopped down beside Neville. Harry didn’t meet Ron or Hermione’s worried eyes as he opened his defense book.
As Umbridge droned, Harry let his mind wander. He wondered what he had done wrong. The speech had seemed alright to him. What had Snape not liked about it?
Or better yet: was there anything that Snape did like?
All Harry could think of was black clothes.
Neville nudged him.
“Mr. Potter, I asked you a question. Do I need to add another detention for lack of attention?”
“Harry, you really need to start paying attention!” Hermione scolded Harry later as they walked to dinner. “Umbridge has no limitation to how many detentions she will assign. You won’t have time to do anything!”
“She’s right, mate,” Ron said unexpectedly.
Hermione looked at him amusedly. “You finally figured that out, have you?”
Ron looked away and Hermione smirked. There was a bounce in her step all the way to the Great Hall. She didn’t ask her question again and Harry didn’t remind her.
Worrying about the future had made Harry extra hungry. His mouth was so full he couldn’t even talk. Of course, that set of Hermione off with a lecture on manners.
At 7:40 that night, Harry went to detention.
The halls were empty and the walk to Umbridge‘s office was quiet. Harry sighed wearily as he reached the office door. Much more of Umbridge’s quill and his hand would fall off. Resignedly, he entered.
Umbridge saw him enter and smiled wolfishly. From a side drawer in her desk, she pulled out a long white quill. Lines again. “I want you to write with your left hand this time," Umbridge said. "We don’t want these lines to overlap the ones on the other hand, now, do we?”
It wasn't really a question, so instead of answering, Harry thought up slow, painful tortures to inflict on a certain toad wearing a pink bow.
“Write 'I must not be late.'” She placed the blood quill in Harry’s hand, and then went sit at her desk.
Writing with his left hand was not easy. The first red sentence that appeared on his hand was very messy.
Just like the first time he had used a blood quill, the cut healed immediately.
That won’t last long, Harry thought to himself grimly.
An hour later, Harry’s writing was much better but now the cut wasn’t healing itself and Harry was biting his tongue. Umbridge came up to him and took his injured hand in her chubby, uncaring ones.
“That looks good enough," she said. "I’m sure you won’t be late again anytime soon.”
Harry just looked at her emotionlessly. She smiled.
After she dismissed Harry, he made his way to the Room Of Requirement.
His future self was already there, twirling a time-turner in his hands.
“Sorry, I had detention.” His future self’s eyes went immediately to his right hand.
Harry held up his left. “She made me use my left hand.”
His future self nodded. “Just what we need, another scar.” He looked worse then he had yesterday. “Tell me about Snape.”
Harry told him how he had apologized and the response he had received.
“He either thinks that your not being truthful, that Dumbledore set you up to this, or possibly that you’re mocking him,” said his older self, enumerating carefully.
“He sounds kind of…”
“Cagey? Pensive? Guarded? He is all those things.” The older Harry sighed. “Tell me, what do you know about Snape?”
Harry racked his brains. “Um…he likes black?”
His older self sighed again and Harry really couldn’t blame him.
“Ok, I have a little over an hour. After tonight I won’t be able to see you again.”
“Why not?” Harry’s eyebrows were creased.
“Last night I used a potion to come back in time, but the ingredients are so rare that I won’t be able to make the potion again. So tonight I’m using this time-turner.” He waved the small object.
“This time-turner is the same one you and Hermione used in third year. But time-turners only last for so long before there magic runs out and this one has almost had enough. Soon it won’t work and I don’t want to be stuck somewhere in time.”
Harry older self sat on the floor and after a second of hesitation, Harry did so, too.
“Because I knew we wouldn’t have a lot of time I wrote some things down.” He handed Harry a rather worn book. The man pointed a finger at Harry. “Don’t lose that and don’t let anybody see it. In fact, once your done with it, you should burn it.”
Harry looked down at the book, itching to open it, but a bit afraid of what it may say. The book was brown and had Harry initials written on the cover.
“Do you have any questions?” the elder Potter asked.
Duh, Harry thought but what he said was something that had been bothering him.
“Um… how does Sirius die in your time?”
“He falls through a veil in the Department of Mysteries.”
“A veil?” Harry asked unbelievingly.
“It divides the dead from the living.”
Harry’s future self raised one eyebrow humorlessly. “‘Oh’ is right. Now listen, Snape might test you to make sure you’re sincerely sorry. The test could be anything. But whatever it is, don’t start yelling,”
“I know how you are. And don’t interrupt me again.”
“Sorry,” Harry said in a voice that said he wasn’t.
“Whatever you do, don’t listen in on conversations. Learn some spells that will actually cause some damage. You can’t go around shooting disarming spells against a heard of Death Eaters.”
Harry nodded and hoped that he could remember all this.
“I wrote all this in that book so you wouldn’t forget.”
It was like his future self had read his mind.
“There’s something else that’s bothering you. What is it?”
Was he really that easy to read?
“Er…Well, last night you said that I…um, ‘threw somebody to the dogs.’” Who was it?”
His older self glanced at him. “Dudley.”
Harry choked on air and his future self rolled his eyes.
“Dudley! You’re joking!”
“I don’t joke anymore,” his future self said. There was an uncomfortable silence before Harry’s future self broke it.
“Make sure you read that book and make sure to tell people if you start having visions. I don’t mean just Hermione and Ron. Don’t be offended that Dumbledore isn’t looking at you.”
“Ok.” Harry nodded.
“Let’s see, I think that’s all. Oh, and don’t use too many Quidditch analogies in your homework.”
“What if Snape refuses to teach me Occlumency?” Harry asked worriedly. What if it was all for nothing? What if Snape didn’t decide to teach him and people he loved still died?
“Teach yourself,” he future self said. “That’s what he did. You might also think about getting in shape physically. You’d be surprised by how much it helps.”
“Ok, I’ll try that,” Harry said, trying not to sound offended.
“I guess I’ll see you in the mirror.”
Harry laughed as he watched his future self turn the time-turner and disappear.
Harry looked at the worn brown book. Maybe there was hope yet.
Severus Snape was a very good judge of character. At this moment there was only two people in Hogwarts he didn’t think he had completely figured out.
Albus Dumbledore and Harry Bloody Potter.
He didn’t think he would ever understand Albus and his strange ways. Everything about him was a riddle. Every miniscule action Albus made had hidden meanings. It was infuriating, but Severus was used to it by now.
But he was disappointed to find out that there might be something else to Potter, too.
Grudgingly, Snape admitted to himself that the speech was very well thought out and something about the way Potter had said it did seem…sincere.
One thing was for sure: throwing Potter against a wall did wonders for his vocabulary.
Since when did the boy use words like “conduct” and “misconceptions”? The boy couldn’t possibly conceive that he might have done something wrong.
No, perfect Potter would never admit to doing anything wrong, Snape thought, his dislike for the boy rising like boiling water. Potter couldn’t be alone in this. The speech was just not the boy’s style. Potter undoubtedly ran straight to Albus.
It made sense, really. Though he had mountain of respect for the old wizards, that did not change the fact that Albus Dumbledore was a meddling old coot.
But then, that led to what was truly offensive about the whole thing: Albus’s insistence that he must work with Potter. Never mind that Snape found the boy utterly insufferable.
Snape sighed. He would just have to show Albus and Potter that he would not be trifled with. But how?
A potion, of course, was the answer. He’d just have to give Potter a taste of his own medicine.
With that happy thought, Severus Snape went back to reading the mindless essays of second year Hufflepuffs.