Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Elementary Calculations


by kcourtkat 19 reviews

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG - Genres: Angst,Drama - Characters: Harry,Sirius,Snape - Published: 2008-07-20 - Updated: 2008-07-20 - 4241 words

I do not own Harry Potter.

Thank you readers and reviewers.

Chapter11: 2001-1991

Harry was staring at him again. He and Su Li had finished and bottled their potion. They were now just waiting for the end of class.

Severus snapped at a Hufflepuff who was about to make a mess of his potion, before continuing to patrol the room. He wasn’t sure what to make of the Ravenclaw, but the fact that he had been watching him on and off for the last week was disconcerting. Having the attention of crazy people was never a good thing. Having the attention of a crazy person with magic was worst.

Following the. . . Incident. . . he had done quite a bit of thinking. The conclusion he had come to would have surprised anyone who knew of the animosity between James Potter and himself, but he had never been one to indulge in self delusion. The Incident had been his fault. He had willfully and deliberately set out to antagonize the boy and had succeeded in doing exactly that. Being grateful he had not bled to death wasn’t the measure of success he had been looking for.

He could have ranted to Dumbledore about it, the thought had crossed his mind, but what could he say? He hadn’t felt a hex, or a curse, or anything else hit him. It didn’t help that everyone always praised the boy for being bright, sweet, and polite. Everybody’s darling. Accusing him would only make Severus look paranoid and unreasonable. That Harry could have been lying occurred to him, but he wasn’t a clumsy person, and the memory of green eyes watching his broken body dispassionately was burned in his brain.

Severus pinpointed that as the point where the boy had started going from ‘Potter’ to ‘Harry’. No matter how much like his father the boy looked physically, Potters were suppose to be right up there with the Weasleys as epitome Gryffindors. It hadn’t sunk in till then that the boy wasn’t a Gryffindor.

So he had kept quiet and started treating Harry like one of his more quiet Slytherins. A live and let live sort of situation. It helped that the boy didn’t seem inclined to gloat, he just looked on politely and did his work. Nothing to suggest that there was a soulless monster living in his skin. It had worked for weeks, then Harry began giving him considering looks.

Even the news that Black had gotten out of prison –it never made sense that he had betrayed Potter anyway– was pushed to the back of his mind. As the bell sounded to signify the end of the lesson, he employed his occlumency to keep himself from tensing when Harry sent his hangers on ahead. Severus was in a much better position now than he had been the last time they were alone together, he had his wand in hand and hadn’t just cracked his skull on a stone step. He still stood with the desk between them though.

“Is there some thing I can help you with?” he asked, keeping his tone moderate.

“I was recently introduced to a new area of study and would like your input.” With Harry there watching him attentively and asking for his aid, he could almost understand the teachers that raved about the child. Almost.

“You only just started school. Everything is a new area of study for you.”I am a fully trained wizard, very proficient in Dark Arts and their defense. I am not afraid of an eleven year old. A healthy dose of caution never hurt anyone.

“This particular subject was inspired by you. I thought you might want to contribute to my studies.” Was it his imagination, or was there actual amusement in Harry’s voice when he said that? “I’ve taken up Occlumency, Potions Master. As you were so keen to see into my mind before, I thought you might like this chance to look. Without the retaliation that your previous actions inspired.”

He is laughing at me.

Anger sharpened his voice. “I don’t need to look into your mind to know that you’re insane. And being that I do have the warning I most certainly will not be venturing in there. I have no wish to become one of the unlucky few who lost themselves exploring the mind of someone like you. Insanity is a death trap for a legilimence.” Severus wasn’t about to take the risk. He had always been much better at occlumency than its opposite.

Harry’s head tilted to one side for several seconds before righting itself. “I’d hardly call myself insane, Potions Master.”

Severus scoffed. “Since you won’t do it I’ll do it for you. And why do you keep calling me that?”

“Because it’s your title Potions Master Snape. Being as you’re reluctant to help, perhaps you could point me in the direction of someone who will.”

“Why do you want to have someone look into your mind now anyway? I received the distinct impression that you objected to that.” Okay, so he was a touch bitter, but surely that was understandable considering the circumstances.

“There is only so much that one can learn out of a book without someone to examine the occlumency shield for weaknesses that could be missed. And what I object to is people I don’t know trying magic I don’t know on me without so much as a by your leave.” There was a sharp undertone to those words that had Severus fingering his wand warily.

“Wait a minute. What do you mean ‘magic you don’t know?’ You had a shield up that time.”

“Until later that week I had never even heard of Occlumency. What you encountered was something entirely different.” A small change in Harry’s expression warned Severus away from asking about what it was that he felt.

“Well then,” he said, clearing his throat, “Both the Headmaster and the Dark Lord are very proficient Legilimences. I doubt you will be going to the Dark Lord with an invitation to ruffle through your mind, so the Headmaster is your best bet.”

“Thank you for the information, Potions Master,” Harry said, turning to leave.

“Harry?” The boy turned back to him with an eyebrow raised, he didn’t object to the familiarity though. “I. . . apologize.” It took everything in him to get the words out, he was not used to admitting fault in anything, not out loud anyway.

Harry’s mask fell out of its pleasant lines and cool green eyes examined him for several long moments. Then he inclined his head and approval softened his face.

“Accepted, Potions Master Severus Snape.”

Severus waited till Harry was out of sight before pulling out his chair and sinking into it with a barely audible sigh.

So that’s what his real face looks like then.

He couldn’t help thinking that it suited him much better than what he usually showed.


Harry thought of what he just learned as he made his way to the library. Truthfully, he would never have asked Snape for help if Flitwick had been capable. It appeared that even though the charms professor was decent at occlumency, he was not so good a legilimence.

Flitwick, too, had indicated that Dumbledore was a good person to ask to examine his work so far, but Harry was not about to let that man into his mind. Ever.

So Voldemort is good at legilimency as well then. I’ll have to think about that. I could ask, but do I really want him running around in my head?

In the ten days since he had found the cavern, he had gone through a good deal of his memories. He was not surprised that very few of them were truly happy, or that none of those involved the Dursley’s. On the other hand, there were not many truly unhappy memories after he turned six. Before that time he had wondered why they treated him so different from Dudley and had tried to get their approval. He had actually tried to volunteer to do some of the work that he watched Petunia do around the house, only to be rebuffed.

He never even remembered till he saw the memory that his first efforts to do well in class was because he wanted that approval. He always had been a bright child though. By the time his fifth birthday rolled around he had known that nothing he did would make Petunia and Vernon like him. Then he kept doing well as a way to show them that was better than their fat lump of a son. Shortly before he turned six, he realized that nothing he did would make him better than Dudley in their eyes. So he stopped worrying about them altogether and just turned his attention to finding a way to get away from them.

It had definitely been better for his state of mind to mentally disown them. They weren’t worth consideration as anything more than obstacles in his path to greatness.

And he would be great.

Dumbledore was only another stumbling block in his path. Something to overcome. Xavier was a prestigious school with the children of prestigious people that he should now be making connections with. Instead he was here, in Hogwarts. That was alright though, as long as he kept up his work the Xavier name would still open doors for him. And he could still catch up with those he needed in university.

Even now, as he walked into the library and nodded to Su Li and Padma when he joined them at a table, the thought of ‘Prime Minister Potter’ gave him a warm fuzzy feeling on the inside.


Sirius Orion Black exhaled slowly. He was sitting in the cluttered office of his former Headmaster, waiting for his godson to arrive.

He wasn’t sure what to think of Dumbledore to be honest, but he wasn’t inclined to be charitable. When he had been thrown unceremoniously into Azkaban a decade ago, he had been sure that it was just a matter of time until Dumbledore got him a trial where he could defend himself and testify to Pettigrew’s betrayal. Instead days had passed, then weeks, and months. It had taken time, but he had to face the facts: he had been abandoned. Years worth of loyalty and the old man couldn’t even be bothered to come and talk to him in person. Not even to ask why.

Sirius had spent years in that cramped cell, clinging to the knowledge that he was innocent of betraying his friends. Thanking his animagus form for the relief it brought from the dementors that patrolled the halls of the prison. Even the thought that he had left his godson to pursue the traitor did not cause quite as much guilt in his dog form. That Harry would live with Lily’s friend Alice and her husband Frank only took the edge off the sharp pain that lashed at him when he stayed as a man.

His wait had ended two weeks ago when he had been dragged out of his place in Azkaban and taken to a Ministry holding cell. It had been days before anyone would tell him what was going on. He was finally getting his long awaited trial. Sirius had been brought in front of the full Wizengamot on what he later learned was Thursday night and dosed with veritaserum. What followed had caused an uproar as long held ‘truths’ were destroyed. Pettigrew had his Order of Merlin stripped and was declared ‘dangerous and to be apprehended on sight.’

He was released later into the custody of St. Mungo’s where he had talked to Dumbledore for the first time in ten years. Sirius could only be grateful that he had not heard about Harry’s living environment before leaving Azkaban, he would surely have gone insane. Alice and Frank Longbottom were permanent residents of the hospital, only a floor below his. Lily and James’ son had been living with Petunia Dursley. He could not think of a more unpleasant person than Lily’s sister, and Harry had been living with her.

Merlin he was a failure. He had failed as a son, a best friend, and a godfather.

He sent a letter to Harry to introduce himself and ask for a meeting. The reply he had gotten back had seemed very bare and exposed nothing of the boy’s personality. Sirius then spent the next week getting as well as a battery of nutrient potions and the constant monitoring and spells of the Healers could make him. He didn’t want his godson’s first impression of him to be of a vagabond. So while he wasn’t at his best, he was a good deal better than he was when they pulled him out of Azkaban.

Now, waiting here for the Headmaster to return with Harry, he didn’t know what to expect. What sort of person would come out of the open scorn that Petunia undoubtedly showed to her sister’s child. Dumbledore had called him a nice boy, very quiet, and bright. What did that mean? Both Lily and James had been very spirited at that age. Did Petunia crush that out of him. He couldn’t imagine the happy, active baby that he had held in his arms to be a wallflower.

He did not care what the Headmaster said, Harry was his godson and legally should be in his custody. Would have been in his custody if Dumbledore had done what he was suppose to as the Chief Warlock and forced a trial.

While in the Hospital he had gotten his hands on back and current issues of the Prophet. Dumbledore might have kept his position as Chief Warlock (he was too influential to be ousted just like that), but he was on shaky ground and not in a place to hold enough leverage to stop Sirius from removing Harry from Dursley custody. Blood protection or no blood protection, Lily would not want her son anywhere near Petunia. He only hoped that he was in time to reverse some of the damage.

Sirius stood up as the door opened, smoothing his new robes. The Headmaster came in first followed by a black haired youth in a blue long sleeved button down shirt and faded black jeans.

Merlin, he looks just like his father. The thought died a quick death when he saw nothing more than polite interest in the green eyes examining him. There was none of the lively mischief that he was used to from James, nor any of the good natured laughter from Lily.

“Harry, my boy,” Dumbledore started eyes twinkling.

“Mr. Potter.”

“Mr. Potter,” he continued, twinkle dimming. “This is Sirius Black. He was one of your father’s close friends, while he was in Hogwarts.”

Sirius looked between the two. Harry’s tone had been nothing short of polite, but there was a definite problem between them. So his spirit isn’t gone completely then.

“Harry,” he said reaching for his godson, “Merlin I thought I would never see you again. I missed you so. . .” Sirius trailed off when Harry’s face blanked briefly as he sidestepped his hands. “I. . . ahh. . .”

He was offered a small upward tilt at the corner of Harry’s lips. “No one is quite that familiar with me,” Harry said extending a hand. “It’s nothing personal.”

Sirius shook his hand smiling sadly. I suppose it was sort of silly to expect him to just fall into my arms the first time we meet. First time he would remember anyway.

“Why don’t the two of you have a seat and talk while I go,” Dumbledore said, with the look of a proud grandfather as he turned, intending to walk to the door.

“Oh don’t do that,” Harry said, effectively stopping him. The Headmaster looked at him in surprise. “Harry, I assure you, Sirius would never do anything to harm you,” he said throwing an apologetic glance at Sirius who recoiled in indignation.

“Now see here Headmaster. What the hell do you think you’re getting at, suggesting that I would hurt my own godson?”

“I’m sorry Sirius, but Harry evidently needs some reassurance that he will be safe. I’m sure you wouldn’t put your pride above that.”

Pride. How dare he? But then, what would Harry have heard about me. That I murdered thirteen people and caused the deaths of his parents.

It did not help that he did blame himself for James and Lily dying.

If I hadn’t suggested that they changed Secret Keepers they might still be alive now. Harry could have grown up with them and not with that. . .with Petunia. Even now after being proven innocent, am I really? I should never have let Hagrid take him from me. I already hurt him, Merlin, I’ve hurt him so much.

The sound of a clearing throat cause the two to focus on the child in question. One eyebrow was raised while he looked at them.

“I was merely going to suggest that instead of kicking you out of your own office, Mr. Black and I could explore the grounds while we got to know each other,” came the dry, vaguely condescending voice.

Sirius laughed. There was no amusement in it, just bitter, angry, resentment. Always so nice to know what others think of you.

“Let’s get out of here. It’s been too long since I’ve walked around in the fresh air and sunshine.”

They left the Headmaster looking after them, regretful and crestfallen.

“So,” Sirius started a touch awkwardly, glancing at the youth beside him. “Ravenclaw then. You must like books.”


Sirius cast around for something to say while they navigated the corridors. What do you talk about with the godson you haven’t seen in ten years after you abandoned him to the tender (nonexistent) mercies of his relatives.

“Do you like Quidditch?” he blurted out, before flinching. Quidditch? Is that the best I could do?

“I’ve never seen a game.”

“Oh. I guess that makes sense,” he said with a strained laugh. Silence fell between them until they reached the castle doors. There were numerous students out on the grounds enjoying their weekend freedom from classes. Sirius’ presence provoked a number of curious looks and whispers. “What do you like?”

“I like to swim,” Harry offered, “I find it relaxing. I also like the colour blue, and learning magic.” He led them away from the students and close to the Forbidden Forest. Harry sat down in the grass under the shade of one of the trees. He gestured to the tree across from him in an offer for Sirius to sit.

“This place brings back memories. Your father– ”

“Quiet,” Harry said sharply, cutting off his reminiscing. He looked him over briefly and Sirius got the impression that he had been weighted and found wanting.

“You are my godfather, yes? Don’t say anything, it was a rhetorical question. On October 31st you knew there had been an attack, yes? And my parents were dead. Then, on November 3rd you attacked Pettigrew, yes? Now, I was found dumped on the Dursley’s doorsteps on the second of November, which shouldn’t have happened, because you are my godfather and therefore my legal guardian. Explain yourself.”

Sirius buried his face in his hands. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” he glanced up pleadingly into pitiless green eyes. He got up and started pacing restlessly. “I didn’t mean to. . . I. . .damn it.”

He sat down again and looked at Harry.

“Back in school, me and James, we were best friends, you know. And with Remus and Peter we were unstoppable. The Marauders we called ourselves. Thought we were the best thing to happen to Hogwarts since the founding. We went through a lot together, the four of us. Then we graduated and James and I went through Auror training together and he married your mother. Then everything gets all messed up after we joined the war effort,” he sighed and ran his hands through his hair.

“You have to understand, the Death Eaters were causing so much destruction and because of those masks, no one knew who they were. They were turning our homes into battlefields. Anyone who didn’t subscribe to their pureblood propaganda had to watch out. Then your mother got pregnant and I became their Secret Keeper. After you were born, we figured out that someone was leaking information to You-Know-Who. It could have been anyone. Close to that Halloween there was an attack where I almost got captured. I talked your parents into switching and not telling. It was all my fault. When I saw you there in the wreck of the house all I could think was that it was my fault. I should never have let Hagrid take you away from me, but I thought the Headmaster would keep you safe while I hunted down the traitorous rat.

“I thought you would be safe. I would never have let you go if I knew that he was going to bring you to the Dursley’s. You have to believe me.”

“What about this Remus character that was such good friends with you?”

“Remus Lupin. Well, when we were trying to figure out who the spy might be, there were some. . . circumstances, that put Remus on the list of possible spies. That’s why we never told him about the switch. I don’t know why he never got into contact with you. I sent a letter to him the same time I contacted you, but I haven’t heard back from him.

“I never meant for any of this to happen,” he said softly, staring at the ground. “It’s all so wrong. I’m sorry.” He rubbed his hand across his eyes.

“I know. . . I don’t have the right. . . but can we get to know each other?” Sirius asked haltingly. “I thought it might be so easy you see. . . I used to imagine what you would be like. And you would be a prankster like your father. You looked so much like him as a baby. You were always into everything always laughing.,” he stole a look at Harry’s impassive face. “I. . .I don’t even know if you,” a bark of bitter laughter escaped him.

“Can you forgive me?” he asked running his hand across his eyes again. “I can’t even forgive me.”

Harry nodded slowly at him. “I’ll have to think about what you said for a bit, but why don’t you tell me a little about yourself in the meantime.”

Sirius looked up at him hopefully, and smiled. He extended a hand, “Hi. I’m Sirius Black, it’s nice to meet you.”

Harry huffed softly in amusement, taking his hand. “Harry Potter, likewise.”


Harry settled into his bed for the night thinking about what to do with Sirius. He really was more displeased with his godfather than he was with Voldemort. True, Voldemort killed his parents, but that is the sort of thing he would expect from the Dark Lord.

Sirius had left his freshly injured godson to chase off after someone. Yes, Pettigrew had betrayed the Potters, but one would think that a newly orphaned infant would take the priority spot in his regard.

If I were injured by the rat and he had the choice to take care of me or go after Pettigrew, which would he choose?

He’s not reliable, and I don’t know where his loyalties will rest in the future. We’ll be exchanging letters over the next few weeks, so I can feel out his thoughts on that. I refuse to inherit my parents’ place in this war. Until I have some sort of reassurance that he won’t cause me trouble in the future he can’t be trusted.

And I will need to have a few words with this Remus person. At least Sirius had an excuse for not getting into contact with me. Unless he’s dead I want to know what Lupin’s story is.

AN: Okay then. I doubt I’ll be getting any questions about the meaning of this chapter title. If Sirius comes off a little angsty, well, he just spent ten years in Azkaban, and is just meeting the godson that he learned spent that time with someone he wouldn't wish on his worst enemy, he has a right. Next chapter will cover the all important Halloween. I know a lot of you will be very irritated with me when you see what I have planned, but thems the breaks. Ja ne.

Time line so far

Sept 1: Harry reaches Hogwarts

3: First day of classes

4: Morning talk with V.

Evening confrontation with Sev.

5: Send to Gringotts for Black transcripts.

Flitwick gives Harry occlumency book

22: Amelia Bones contacted.

Rita Skeeter contacted

23: Rita starts campaign against Dumbledore

Sirius removed from Azkaban

Harry finds his memories

27: Sirius’ trial

Oct: 3: Harry’s talk with Snape

6: Sirius meets Harry
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