Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Elementary Calculations


by kcourtkat 35 reviews

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama,Humor - Characters: Dumbledore,Harry,Hermione,Snape - Published: 2008-06-16 - Updated: 2008-06-17 - 4332 words

1I do not own Harry Potter.

As always, thank you to the people how spend time reading this story and I am very grateful to those of you who review.

Chapter 9: 160x10^6Pa

Albus Dumbledore pinched the bridge of his nose as he felt yesterday’s headache trying to make a comeback as he prepared for the day.

One official day into the term and two of my best professors are already at each other’s throats, and Minerva still won’t talk to me except to go over documents and school related issues.

His misstep from the summer still grated, but he had panicked when he read the rejection letter, taking the easiest course to ensure that the child was in Hogwarts. He had not counted on Minerva’s reaction to hearing that Harry had ‘reconsidered’ attending the school. Ever since he had informed her of the change, she had been giving him suspicious looks. She had demanded to know how he had changed Harry’s mind. He, of course, had not told her about how exactly he accomplished this, but his assurances that it was for the best that the child attend the school seemed only to serve to make her angrier at him. His decision to host the Philosopher’s Stone was an older source of contention, as she was leery of having something that would no doubt draw unfriendly interest to the school. He missed the easy rapport that they use to have.

In all honesty now that Harry was here, he was feeling just the slightest bit of unease. The brief contact he had with him in August was not enough to get a good feel for his personality, but the sorting had been a shock. While both of the boy’s parents were intelligent enough to get into Ravenclaw, they had been placed in Gryffindor. He had expected the same from Harry.

True, his childhood was not as happy per say, and Albus did know that the Dursley’s would keep him humble, and, more importantly, moldable in a way that growing up in the wizarding world would not have accomplished. Plus, adversity bred character. When Minerva had taken a shine to the boy, he had been certain that Harry would be a Gryffindor. It was only right that the saviour of the wizarding world be a Gryffindor after all.

His wand, too, had come as a surprise. He had asked Ollivander years ago to owl him when he sold the holly and phoenix feather wand which was brother to Voldemort’s own, and had been expecting to be contacted due to the destiny they shared. When he had not received a letter from the wand maker, he had been concerned that the boy had changed his mind. He had gone to the wand maker who assured him that, yes, Harry had come by to get his wand, but instead of the brother wand to Voldemort, had an almost unnaturally complete bond with a wand created by one of Ollivander’s ancestors. Ollivander said that if he had not known better, he would have sworn that the wand was custom made with a blood binding. Apparently, while wands did choose the wizard, it was more of a good match at first with a deepening connection as the wand and the wizard’s magic attuned themselves to each other. Such a complete bond from the get go was rare for a generically bought wand.

Albus had to wonder what else he was wrong about.

That he wasn’t in Slytherin was a blessing. Though how he could mold a hero out of a bookish Ravenclaw was driving him to fits. The careful gauntlet he had created around the stone, difficult for a first year but not too difficult, would have been easy enough to guide the young saviour to had he taken after his father in anything but looks. It was too early to tell, but the fact that he had gone to Filius was a blow to that theory. James Potter would not have gone to a professor with a complaint about another, he would have gotten revenge in the form of some prank or other. That was only if he felt the legilimency probe in the first place.

When Severus had arrived cursing the Potter name, he had not been all that surprised. The poor boy really didn’t know how to let a grudge go, even if the rightful recipient was dead. Snape’s first telling of the conflict in class had been heavily laced with references of Harry’s arrogance in comparison with his father’s. It also did not include the legilimency probe, which he only admitted to after Filius had come in with the complaint that Harry had leveled against the potions master.

Things had devolved from there.

Using legilimency on a minor was, while not illegal, severely frowned upon. Filius had wanted to report the incident to the Board of Governors, which would have likely led to Severus’ dismissal. Albus had no doubt that just the thought of the professor possibly plucking secrets out of the minds of their children would send some of the parents on the Board in a tizzy. Most of those would definitely be some of the darker families.

He could not afford to have Severus dismissed from Hogwarts. When Severus had come to him three years before the war ended, he had been ecstatic. Severus had shown him his memories and demonstrated true remorse for the things he had done as a Death Eater. He had said that he wanted to repent in any way for his terrible actions. Albus had been touched when he broke down in tears. He had always known that beneath the gruff exterior was a lonely boy just crying out for some help. It was the pressure from his peers and family that had caused him to join.

He had not wanted to do it, but the tide of the war had turned in Voldemort’s favor. So he convinced the distraught young man that the best thing to do to get redemption was to become a spy for the light. He could see the shock reflect in Severus’ eyes. He had to reassure him that any further actions he took as a spy would be for the greater good.

The information that Severus revealed helped to stop a number of raids, and the Order had eventually accepted him as an asset if not exactly a trusted member. When Sybill Trelawney had given her prophecy, he had felt the stirs of hope at the end of the war, even as he had worried of the time it would take to train a child to defeat the dark lord. He had some concerns as someone had heard a part of the prophecy before he could properly close the door, he never did find out who it was. The Potters and Longbottoms had only told him of their recently discovered pregnancies, and were the only ones who fit the criterion. When Severus came to him four nights later with the news that Voldemort had killed a new recruit for failing to find out the entire prophecy, he had already impressed upon the two couples the importance of immediate action.

No one knew that the couples would be going into hiding until after the fact. Lily Potter, as a Charms Mistress, had cast the Fidelus for her family, while he had cast the one for the Longbottoms.

The tragic events on Halloween 1991 had caused the downfall of the dark lord and the capture of some of his minions. Igor Karkaroff had fingered Severus as a Death Eater, forcing Albus to reveal his position as a spy. Severus had been released into his custody and he had offered him a job at the school.

If Severus was dismissed, he would have no way to keep him close for when Voldemort eventually returned. He was their only spy, and too valuable to lose.

Filius had argued hard for reporting Severus, but Albus had gotten him calmed down by pointing out that he was one of the best Potions Masters in the field and would not be easy to replace. He had also had to reprimand Severus for his actions and promised an apology for Harry. Neither of the two were satisfied, but Severus had realized that his job was on the line, and had given in. After Filius had left Severus had given him a more complete version of the story and said that he had not wanted to bring up the legilimency until he was sure of what he had felt. As he had never heard of a natural Occlumens before either Albus accepted it.

What Severus did might have been wrong, but it did uncover valuable information.

As he made his way down to breakfast, Albus contemplated how to plant the first clues for a certain boy saviour to find.


“If the professor does not come soon she will be late.” Su Li turned concerned eyes to the door.

Harry looked at the cat in front of them on the professor’s desk and resisted the urge to lift an eyebrow. The body might have been different but the magic was the same. The stiff posture and glasses like pattern around the cat’s eyes did nothing to enhance the disguise.

“I don’t think you have anything to worry about,” he murmured quietly to the girl beside him. Padma sat behind them with Boot. All the Ravenclaws were present, sitting in pairs. A familiar girl was across from he and Su on the Gryffindor side of the room.

Granger, was it? The authority lover. He glanced at the empty seat beside her and the equally empty ones behind her. The dedication she showed to the book in front of her was singular. Looks like her gambit to be known for something more than being studious crashed and burned.

His thoughts were interrupted as Weasley and a sandy blond ran into the room.

“We made it.”

McGonagall chose this time to jump from the desk and shape shift. As she reprimanded the two, Harry took in the awed look on his classmates faces. It really was an impressive piece of magic. She proceeded to recite an introduction to the course, turning he desk into a pig and back. The first part of the class was pure lecture before she demonstrated the wand movements and spell to change a matchstick to a needle.

Harry held the piece of wood in his palm, changing it from stick to needle and back within a few seconds, while the professor walked down the aisle. Stifling a disgusted sigh, he put the matchstick in plain view on the desk and pointed his wand at it.

This pretending business is going to get real old, real fast. Tuning out the sounds of his classmates he turned his attention to this mornings meeting with Voldemort.

That whole thing went much better than I thought it would. Something about what he said about Pettigrew is bugging me though. I was too nervous to pick it up then, but I could have sworn I read that a Black was the one who betrayed my parents. Pettigrew was awarded something or other posthumously. I have to send a letter to Stradruk, the transcripts of the Black trial are probably available.

His thoughts were derailed as McGonagall awarded Hermione five points for completing her the transformation.

There’s my cue.

An absent flick of his wand and half hearted mutter of the spell left a perfect needle on his desk. A glance at Su Li showed that she had a silver matchstick.

“Well done, Mr. Potter. Five points to Ravenclaw. Now you should work on changing it back.”

“Could you help me please?”Su whispered.


He spent the rest of the period coaching Su through the transformation.

After class, Padma, Su, and Harry bumped into Hermione in the corridor.

“Miss Granger. So how is Gryffindor treating you?” Okay, so it is slightly cruel to bring it up, he noted as Hermione’s shoulders tightened, but I did warn her. Sort of.

“It’s been great, thank you,” she said with a strained smile, “And how are you?”
“Ravenclaw is wonderful,” a pointed cough interrupted him. “Where are my manners? The lovely lady on my right is Miss Padma Patil,” he waited while the two shook hands, “And the vision of beauty on my left is Miss Su Li.” Su shot him an amused look before greeting the other girl.

“Why aren’t I a vision of beauty?” came Padma’s indignant voice.

“I have a class,” Hermione cut in stepping away from them and turning to leave.

“Pride goes, Miss Granger,” his soft voice managed to cut through the sounds of children traversing the hall. Hermione’s back was ramrod straight as she walked away, shoulders tightening even further.

“What was that all about?” Padma asked when they started walking toward the stairs.

“Granger and I had an interesting conversation on the train ride here. She wanted to be a Gryffindor, just like the Headmaster.”

“If she didn’t belong in Gryffindor, she would not be in Gryffindor,” Padma objected.

“I’m sure she can be brave given the right environment and motivation, but I’m betting she argued the Hat into that House. I’m also betting that she is starting to regret it.”

“She sat alone the whole period,” Su mused.

“She sat alone last night at dinner as well, and this morning at breakfast,” he added. “I had told her that people aren’t always how they are presented in books, and offered an ear if she needed it.”

“She won’t take it,” Su said with conviction.

“Not according to how things went just now, no,” he agreed.

“How do you know that?” Padma asked looking between the two.

“‘Be careful what you wish for’ is a well known proverb. Granger got what she wanted and things aren’t working out how she thought they would,” Harry said.

“She remembers the conversation as well,” Su continued, “and is probably embarrassed that she might actually need that ear. That’s what you meant, isn’t it? About her pride?” Su focused a penetrating gaze on him.

“Yes. Her pride won’t allow her to say that anything is wrong., and any overture I make will have the scent of pity on it.”

“Ah, I get it,” Padma nodded, “So now the true test begins. It’s still early in the year, she might still be able to make friends. But what sort of friends will she make?”

“Exactly,” he said, “ She could talk to people outside her House, but the fact that she has no one inside will eat at her. And she probably has too much work ethic to buy friendship by doing anyone’s work for them.”

The three paused outside the common room door to answer the riddle. They made their way to an empty table and sat down. With an hour to go before lunch, Su Li and Padma started on the Transfiguration essay, that Harry, due to successfully changing the matchstick to needle and back, was exempt from. He took out a biology text and started studying.

Gryffindor is going to break that girl.


That evening found Harry alone on the fourth floor. Passing the library, he was about to enter one of the passages that would take him to the abandoned part of the castle when the resident potions master’s magic appeared at the edge of his awareness. Assuming that he was going to the library, Harry decided to find a different passage farther away. When Snape’s presence did not disappear, he thinned his shield in front enough to get a mental overlay of everything before him for thirty meters.

His explorations on Sunday had made him more familiar with the secret passages than with the hallways. One such passage was running parallel to him now and there was a stair at the end of it that led up to the fifth floor. Deciding against going to his original destination, he tried to focus on keeping track of Snape on his mental map while feeling out the area in front of him. Once he felt he had a good grasp of the surroundings, Harry smirked.

He had always been a big believer in reaping the consequences of your actions.


Severus Snape observed the arrogant child that had swept in and so casually made a mess of his life. Had been making a mess even before he was born. Severus scowled when he remembered the cruciatius he had been put under for not finding out the entire prophecy.

The good old days.

He had joined the Death Eaters right after graduation, partly because it was expected of him, but mostly for the knowledge he could now exercise on live subjects. Potions he had theorized could now be created and tested. Even if they could never see the light of day with his name attached to them.

Not if he wanted to stay out of Azkaban.

Then his Lord had chosen him -him- to spy on Dumbledore. It was because of his Occlumency shields of course. Even back then he had been proficient in the art. The Dark Lord had still spent several weeks helping him strengthen his shields and testing his ability to hide his true feelings while appearing to be open. Dumbledore was rather proficient himself after all. And so he was sent out to play the broken, regretful, penitent.

Both he and the Dark Lord had expected that he would be asked to give up what information he know and then put into the fray to fight with Dumbledore’s ridiculous Order. That he would have to pretend to fight his comrades in the open while secretly reporting to his Lord.

Instead Severus had blanched in shock when the man actually tried to convince him that being a spy would be the best thing he could do to gain forgiveness. Severus had buried the sudden urge to curse the man. What if he had actually wanted to get out of the Death Eaters? That Old Coot would have twisted the feelings of grief into a conviction that he should go back and any new killing he had to do while spying was covered under a greater good clause in heaven. Severus had felt rather outraged on behalf of his fictitious self.

The Dark Lord had laughed himself sick. He also pointed out that Severus could basically do everything he had been doing before and get on with his life. Only now the Dark Lord would fake a few raids which he would tell the Order about and any too idiot Death Eaters (usually new recruits or those with wavering loyalties) would be sent on them.

He had handled his ‘spying’ as well as his regular duties of making potions for his Lord, earned his Mastery, and everything had gone well.

Until that stupid prophecy.

And the disaster on Halloween.

At least his ‘spying’ for Dumbledore had kept him out of Azkaban when that bastard Karkaroff had squealed. Even gotten him a job. Not that he liked teaching, mind you. But at least he would be close by if -when- his Lord returned.

So here he was now, ten years later, following the son of his school days nemesis and the one who had brought about the fall of the man he served. He was sure the boy was up to something, his father had always been up to something. Not that he could hurt the little bugger. James Potter’s godforsaken owed life debt had passed itself on to his son. Well, he might not be able to hurt the brat, but he could make his life hell.

That whole thing yesterday had shocked him out of his common sense. He had only been going for a light skim of the boy’s surface thoughts, but then he had hit a shield. So he had tried to break in. Not that he accomplished that, the boy broke eye contact before he could.

Natural Occlumens, my arse. I bet someone trained him. There’s something to think about. And I’m pretty sure we’re walking in circles too, he looked around in confusion, Where did he go?

He looked up and down the corridor whose corner he had just turned. Hurrying down the hall, he came to a staircase heading to the third floor. He could not hear the boy, but there was no way that he could have reached the end of the hall before he turned the corner.

Severus made it down five steps before his foot slid right out from under him. A surprised cry escaped his lips as he reached for the handrail.

And missed.

He had just enough time to feel pain explode in his knee and leg before his world went dark.


The ceiling swam into view as Severus opened his eyes. A pained whimper slipped through his lips as his head throbbed. His hand came up to touch the bloody knot at the back of his head.

He attempted to lift himself only to collapse in agony as his lower body shifted. Reaching into one of his pockets, he pulled out a pain reliever and downed it. It wasn’t strong enough to take the pain away, but it dulled somewhat. Taking stock of himself, he came to the conclusion that he had broken his right femur and torn through the skin. If the bones in his knee were not broken, then the ligaments were torn. His left ankle was at least sprained.

The wetness he could feel at his leg was not encouraging.

“You appear to be in need of help, Potions Master Snape.”

That infuriating politely neutral tone caused him to freeze. He was awkwardly gathered at the bottom of the staircase and, sitting halfway up, was the source of his troubles.

Severus examined the boy, slightly disturbed. Any other first year would have probably run off to get help or, at the very least, be highly agitated. Potter just sat there watching him calmly, the same bland smile that he had seen in class on his face. Severus was starting to wonder if he was all there. His attempt to discreetly palm his wand was thwarted by the fact that his wand was not on his person.

“Are you looking for something?” Potter’s smile didn’t even waver as he glanced at the step beside him and back at his professor. Following the glance, Severus saw his wand resting next to the child. He swallowed and made sure none of his nervousness showed on his face. There was definitely something wrong with the boy.

“Mr. Potter, could you get Madam Pomphrey for me? Please.” He made his voice as calm as he could. He was a full grown wizard and, normally, would not think of any child as a threat. But bleeding on the floor of a deserted --if the dust gathered on the ground was anything to go by– corridor, without his wand, looking into the distressingly empty eyes of the eleven year old, he was very much afraid.

“Now where is my motivation to do that, Potions Master Snape?”

“Pot- Harry, if you don’t get help it is very likely that I might bleed to death right here.”

“Oh, I know,” the smile widened a fraction, “I think you may have nicked one of the smaller veins in you thigh when the bone broke. I give it about half an hour before you fall unconscious.”

“You don’t really want to be a murderer at this stage of your life, do you Harry?”

Harry adjusted his glasses with a finger and tilted his head to the side. The smile went away.

“Yesterday was the first time we ever met face to face, that I can remember, and you took the opportunity to attack me. I take exception to things like that, Potions Master. This might be my prison for the next seven years, but I’ll be damned if I spend that time with people who will take the first opportunity they have to attack me.”

Severus was very alarmed. That disturbing smile was gone, but he wasn’t sure if the expressionless mask he was faced with now was any better. In the seven years of antagonism between him and the boy’s father, he had never seen James Potter’s face look anything like this.

“That was a regrettable mistake, that won’t happen again.”

“One way or the other, I’m sure that it won’t.”

Severus twitched when he got up.

“Don’t worry Potions Master, I’ll get Madam Pomphrey for you. I’m sure if nothing else, you’ve learned not to follow students down abandoned corridors.”

The predatory grin that graced Harry’s lips caused Severus to blanch as he processed the implications of the statement that it came with. The cold voice drifted down as he climbed the stairs.

“If I ever trace an attack on myself to you, it won’t be a leg that you break.”

AN: Okay then, featuring creepy!Harry. I’ll explain what he did in the next chapter. I’m sure most of you will have figured it out.

Sorry for the wait too. RL caught up with me for a while there.

For those of you who PMed me, I feel the need to clarify the title of the previous chapter. The HCl in this case is the gas hydrogen chloride, not the acid which is the end result of the titular formula. So it does make sense in the context of the chapter. Sorry for the confusion.
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