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Chapter Text

- 1- The boy at the lake


He was sitting alone. His back against a rock. The potions book on his legs. Parchment and quill beside him.
The novembers sun was nowhere near enough to keep him warm, but between sitting outside, his fingers cold, and bearing his classmates stares and whispers, he knew what to chose.
It was only a few days ago, that he came upon the petrified body of Mrs. Norris. Ever since, he did not have had a single moment in silence. Rumours were flowing and it seemed for most of them, he was the main culprit.
He hated being famous.

And so, he sat outside, his fingers cold and blue, his cloak tightly entangled, while he tried to prepare for tomorrows test about shrinking solutions. But at least it was quiet.
Dinnertime came close, while the sun started to sink behind the treetops of the forbidden forest. It would not be long for Ron and Hermione to realize he was missing, and the last thing he needed would be for them to send for a search party.

Scanning his notes the last time, he collected his things and rose, his limbs stiff and cold.
His walk up towards the castle was to short for his liking. All to soon he found himself in its entrance hall. By the buzzing, coming from the great hall, he knew, that most of the pupils were already inside.
For a moment he closed his eyes, gathering himself.
Finally he took a deep breath, squared his shoulders and entered the hall.

If no one would have seen him, no one would have guessed something was not alright.



Severus Snape climbed the steps of his dungeons. It took him hours to correct the essays of his third years. His mood was accordingly bad. Even after all this years of teaching, he was still amazed by the amount of imbecility fitting in such small heads. He vowed to himself, if during the coming week only a single cauldron would explode or meld, he would keep the whole class in detention until after Christmas break. The thought alone rose his mood.
Then he reached the last step and froze.

There, in the middle of the entrance hall, someone stood, head down, all alone. According to its height a first year student.
Severus watched patiently. He was not in a hurry to reach the great hall and his interests in dealing with the daily problems of an eleven-year were nearly not existing.
The minutes went by.
No other student turned up and also no one of his colleague.
Eventually, after what felt like ages, the child took a deep breath, squared his shoulders and stepped through the great halls doors, his head held high.
The warm light coming from inside illuminated Potters face.

Severus waited for an other minute before he dared to follow him.


“Where have you been?”, asked Hermione, her voice full of reproach before he had even time to sit down.
“Doing some last readings for potions.”
This explanation seemed to find her consent, for without another word she resumed her discussion with Percy about the goblin wars of 1577.
Harry turned around to speak to Ron, but as soon as he watched Ron filling his mouth with an unhealthy amount of munched potatoes, he turned away again. Ron's table manners could really use some improvements. It was the last thing he needed, as he was starting to feel a bit unwell. He decided for a bun of one of the baskets on the table and drank some pumpkin juice, while he tried and failed to mute the conversations around him.
When he could not take it any more he got up and left the table. He was not even sure if Ron and Hermoine noticed him leaving.
But someone else did.


Again and again Severus’ gaze was drawn towards the Gryffindor table.
When Potter stepped inside he spoke a few words to Ms. Granger, but now he just sat there, playing with the bread roll on his plate.
A single bread roll for dinner! No wonder Severus had mistaken him for a first year. He would have to keep a closer eye on the boy, he decided.
Maybe he should talk to Minerva or even Madam Pomfrey?



When he reached the entrance hall he stopped walking.
He just wished to be left alone. The library would be closed around this time. Briefly he thought about visiting Hagrid, but then he remembered him still sitting at the teachers table.
Without further thinking he turned towards the dungeons. Down there he would not have to listen to anyone to soon.

He walked along the empty passages without any specific destination. Just being down here without all the voices and talking was enough.
When he turned around a corner, a door slightly ajar caught his attention. Slowly he dared to take a look. In the light of his wand, there was what seemed to be an unused classroom. It must have been long ago that the tables and chairs, which were covered in dust, had been sat on by any children.
Harry stood there thinking before he entered the room and stepped closer towards one of the desks.
Down here inside the dungeons it was never really warm, but still better than outside at the lake.
He started cleaning the desk and its chair with a simple cleaning spell Hermione had shown him some time ago. Then he sat down and fetched his potions records.

He made a good progress and even managed to finish an essay for professor Binns, which he had scribbled on for days and days.
It was only a few minutes before curfew, when he finally collected his things and started moving back upstairs.
Maybe, if he could get Hermione to teach him her blue-flames-in-a-jar-spell, it would not be to bad down there.



A few weeks went by.
Now and then Severus had been watching the boy. He did not like, what he had seen.
The boy was not eating much during the joint meals. Dark shadows had shown under his eyes. And in some way he did not look very healthy at all.
From time to time he managed to vanish without any trace and even hid friends did not know, where he was going, at least according to the few conversations he overheard. In one of these discussions Weasley even spoke about how suspicious it was, that Harry was missing so often just now, when everyone thought he was the heir of Slytherin. Granger at least was smart enough to hit him an the shoulder for such stupid ideas. Potter as Slytherins heir.

Today at lunch the boy looked particularly peaky. Only a few hours ago he had the luck to trip over one of his classmates petrified body down in the dungeons.
Severus was wondering what he had been doing there in the first place. It never came to his mind, that the boy could really be the source of these attacks. The thought alone made him laugh. Anyone having a few working braincells should be seeing how the golden boy was suffering by all these rumours.
Before all this began, Severus could have sworn, the boy was arrogant and spoiled and enjoying his fame. Like father like son. But by now he had to revise his ideas about the boy. Since that incident with Potter at the duelling club and since the whole school was talking about him being a parselmouth, Potter had chosen not to ride on this new wave of fame. Instead he had withdrawn more and more. No, the heir of Slytherin, if he was even existing, would be acting without attracting this much attention. He would never have given away his gift in front of the assembled student body.
Not for nothing his snakes were famous for their cunning talents.

Potter pushed away his plate and rose. He had not even touched his food.
Enough was enough.
Not to rise any suspicions, Severus left the great hall through one of its side doors and hurried through a small passage until he reached the entrance hall.
Potter just stepped through the doorway, which led to his dungeons. Without making any noise, Severus followed him.

He was quite sure, no one knew these corridors as well as he did, and he could not think about anything the boy could wish to find here. The Hufflepuff common room, the kitchen and also the common room of his snakes were located in a very different part of the dungeon.
With some surprise he watched, as Potter entered one of the empty classrooms. It had been years ago, that Severus himself had been inside. What was he doing there?
His stolen ingredients came to his mind. Boomslang skin. Maybe he was down here to make polyjuice potion. Just under his nose.
He waited. He would catch him red handed. And then Dumbledore would have to see, Potter was not a saint.

He ripped the door wide open witch a crash and looked around.
He was expecting cauldrons, ingredients, maybe Granger or Weasley,
What he was not expecting was Potter, sitting in a crouch at one of the old tables, a heavy tome about magical history in front of him.
The boy got startled so bad he nearly fell from his chair.

“What exactly are you doing there?” Severus voice was not as intimidating as he would have liked but it was enough to make make him flinch. Without a word Potter pointed a finger at the book his eyes never leaving Severus.
“Use your tongue, Potter. Or did you forget how to produce human language?” The boy crouched down even more.
“I … have been … learning”, he whispered. Severus could nearly not understand what he was saying.
“Learning? Down here? Is the library not good enough for you any more?”
The boy just shrugged.
“Eloquent as ever as I see.” But his voice had lost its bite. He took an other step so he stood in front of the boy. His gaze fell on a jar next to him. Blue flames were dancing inside. He rose an eyebrow. “Nice work.”
The boy shook his head. “Not mine”, he whispered. Then he started coughing.
It sounded deep and barking.
Inside Severus took a deep breath. It was his own fault he had chosen this day to follow the boy.
“Take your stuff!”
He waited by the door, for the boy to reach him and monitored for him to walk ahead.



Harry was being pulled back at his cloak. “Not that direction Potter!”
Confused he turned around. “Where else?” As much as he tried, his voice was still no more than a whisper. Snape in front him gave an irritated sigh. “Potter, where do children go, when they are sick?”
Harry opened his mouth to close it fast again. He nearly would have said inside my cupboard before restricting himself. His head felt like it was filled with cotton and he was struggling more and more to concentrate. He closed his eyes, praying to god or Merlin, to be kept from saying anything wrong, anything stupid.
He hated being ill. It lowered his shields, leaving him vulnerable.
He ripped open his eyes, when he felt a hand on his shoulder and stepped aside, stumbling.


The boy just stood in front of him. Instead of answering his question, he closed his eyes.
He must have been more out of it, then Severus had thought. He raised one hand to cautiously guide him towards the stairs.
He barely had touched him, when the boy suddenly jumped aside nearly knocking himself down in the process. Severus was glad for his fast reflexes, a skill he had trained hard while teaching years and years of stupid children in the art of potions. He caught him at his upper arm and so stopped him from splitting his skull on the stone tiles. Poppy Pomfrey would have skinned him alive if Potter hurt himself in his care.
He waited for the boy to find his balance before he released the tightness of his grip. He did not let go of him entirely while they climbed the stairs. Halfway up he flapped open a tapestry to his left, revealing a secret passage – Potter, he was sure, would not like to be seen like this with him by his side, and he himself felt similar about it. Together they escalade more and more steps, bringing them closer and closer towards the hospital wing.
His first intention had been to just bring the boy to Minerva and let her deal with him. But by now he was kind of curious. Something about this was shady. He had a six sense for these things.


When they finally reached the hospital wing it was empty.
He helped Potter to sit on one of the beds. Then he went to pick up Poppy from her office.

He knocked against the frame of her opened door to make himself known.
The healer rose her head. She had been reading something on her desk. A slight smile curved her lips. “Good evening, Severus. May I help you?”
“Not me, but I think Potter could use your skills.” He made a movement with his head to show the direction.
Poppy took a peek over his shoulder. “What happened this time? Quidditch? I hope he still has all his bones. I tell you Severus, I’m pushing Lockhart down the next tower, if he again has been messing around with him.”
“And I would gladly give you an alibi.” He could not suppress the smile coming to his face. “But unfortunately this lucky day, that I will be rid of Lockhart, will not be today. If you ask me Potter is suffering from a simple throat infection.”
“Oh.” Severus was not sure how the healer managed to sound disappointed and worried at the same time.


Together they left the office. Potter still sat the way he left him, shoulders dropping, his hands on his legs, his gaze lost in time.
“ I assume you will not give any trouble from here on, am I right? We will talk another time about what you were doing in that classroom.”
The boy did not even blink. Well, he would get his answers soon enough.

“Mr. Potter, I was hoping not to see you again this soon. Let me just grab one or two things and then I will be back with you.”
Severus turned around to leave for Poppy's office -she always had some nice tea for him, when he came to visit – when he realized a twitch in the boys leg, nearly not visible under his cloak.
“Poppy.” But the witch was not to be seen.
He leaned forward, taking a closer look. There was an other twitch along his jaw. “Potter.” He waved his hand but Potters eyes were not seeing him. The twitching increased.
With a fluid movement he took him under his legs and shoved him on his back. A little helpless he watched as shudder went through the boys body.
“Poppy! He is seizing.”


In hindsight it was remarkable how fast the somewhat chubby woman could move, if needed. Severus had just ended his sentence, when she was already pushing him aside. With practised movements she did a quick examination of the boy, while waving her wand in complicated patterns. Finally she straightened. “Accio aconvulso.” A small bottle, filled with some bright green fluid sprang to her hand.
Severus watched her closely while she administered two drops of the mixture in each the boys nostrils. Even before she had managed to close the bottle, the seizing started to decrease until it stopped entirely. The boy did not move, only his eyes were blinking tiredly.
The healer did another examination. Then she lifted her wand and two other bottles came flying to her hands. Severus recognized them as Pepper up and a fever-reducer. The labels were written in his own hand.
The short time it took for Poppy to finish her business, was enough for the boy to fall asleep.


“What in Merlins name has just happened”, asked Severus. They were sitting in Poppy's office. Twelve minutes had gone by before he finally had gotten his cup of tea.
The healer shrugged. “I really don’t know for sure. If Potter was younger, I would have said he was having a classic febrile seizure. But I could not find anything else wrong just now. I guess I will have to write to his guardians so the can sent me his medical files. Maybe there was something similar before. But maybe it was just an one time thing.”
She must have realized Severus’ sceptical face, for she added: “You know, it may happen to anyone. Stress, sleep deprivation, an infection...”
“Well we all know Potter has enough of these”, he said. For once lacking his snarky undertone.
For some time, he kept silence, thinking.
“You know”, he started slowly, “Petunia Dursley and me have not met for a very long time. I think it is time to renew our acquaintance.

Chapter Text

- 2 - Appearance

Even considering the environment - the house of Pivet Drive number 4 was disgustingly neat, when Severus arrived at its door. He stood there for a second peeking inside. Light fell from a half closed door illuminating a short hallway. Somewhere a television was running. He was just right in time for the eight-o’clock-news.
Nothing else could be heard.
His breath was forming little clouds in front of him. Winter was coming close.
The doorbell made of bronze shone in the streetlamps light. A descending triad was to be heard when he pushed it down.
How stereotyped!


He heard footsteps, then a door at the and of the hallway was opened. A woman in her fortys, her brown hair neatly dressed came towards the door. Her face, even if a bit to long, would have been nice to look at, if not for the artificial layer of makeup.
For a moment, she stopped moving, looking at him through the doors window, as if she was deciding if he was worth it that she opened it.
Her curiosity won.
Just like in old times.
She cracked open the door, wide enough for her to get a better look, but not wide enough for him to enter.
“Yes? How may I help you?” Her tone could not be called friendly.
„Good evening Petunia, it is also a pleasure to me to meet you again after all these years.”
Petunia Dursley narrowed her eyes.. She tried to remember where she had seen him before. He could see the exact moment, when she realized.
“YOU?! How dare you! I do not want any of you … freaks … inside my house!”, she hissed.
“Well, good thing I am just standing on your doormat then. I don’t care if we talk about this outside where everyone nearby could listen.”
It was amazing how simple it still was to mess with her. Her pale face turning a shade of pink, while she frantically scanned the street for any neighbours. Finally she stepped aside and opened the door. He just had time to come inside before the door was shoved close again.
Eyes full of hatred met his own. So very different than Lily's. Or Potters , he thought.

“What do you want?” She was still only hissing. He did not take the trouble speaking in a low voice. He could not wait to meet the remaining family.
“I am here to talk about”, he hesitated, “Harry. There was a little incident in school today. And for I know how much you love our way of sending letters, I thought it would be for the best, if I visit you myself to save you from any inconvenience
His eyes were scanning the hallway, while he talked. There were pictures along the walls, many of them showing something similar to a big ball wearing rompers in different shades of pastel colours. This would be Harry's cousin he guessed. According to the remaining frames, his body stature had not really improved over the years.
He could not see Potter anywhere.
Not even inside the family portrait, residing in a place of honour.
“What misdeeds did he do now?” Her words were not meant in joke. Her eyes were cold, her voice crud. No glimpse of warmth, no bit of concern.
“Tunie, he ...”
“You know, actually I don’t care. I don’t want to know about it. He wanted to visit this terrible school. You and your kind were willing him to be there. What ever it is he has done, it is not my concern while he is there.”
Severus looked at her thunderstruck. This woman had been looking after the boy for nearly ten years.
“Petunia, he is your nephew. I am sure you do care for his well being.”
“Well being?!” She was not whispering any more. “Well being! What a joke. It was your kind who dumped him at my house. At my doorstep! No one ever asked me if I was willing to take him. No one! He was looking at me with these … with Lily's. eyes. And even then I knew it, that nothing good would come from him. Unnatural. A freak! Just like his parents!”
Severus had to brace himself to not curse her here and now. This would have brought him some short lasted satisfaction. But he knew, in long-term view, it would not be a wise act. A simple interrogation at the ministry's would nearly have been worth it, but he dreaded Dumbledores ethical indoctrination.
In the living room the television was turned of. A huge, fat head was shoved inside the hallway. So this would be Mr. Dursley. Mr. Dursley insecurely watched his wife. But Petunia only waved her hand at him in annoyance.

“Listen, Petunia. Just hand me his medical records so I can leave.” He forced his voice to sound calm.
“I don’t have them”, she nagged.
“Well, then just give me his physicians name and address.”
“Which physician?”, Mr. Dursley entered the conversation. “The little freak never visited any doctor.” Severus glanced from him to his wife and back.

“You want to tell me, he has never fallen ill? No cold, no chicken pox?”
The hesitation of them both was enough to make him flip. His patience had reached its end. His gaze firmly fixated the woman's eyes, entering her mind with ease. It was a cakewalk. She gave no bit of resistance.
It did not take him long to find, what he was looking for. Potter on her doorstep … the horror she felt, when she read Albus’ letter … two toddlers sitting in the floor, one obese and dressed in nice, new clothing, surrounded by toys; the other one small and slim was playing with a little puppet missing one arm. It was an astronaut. Green eyes flashed up for a second, when the astronaut took of the ground all by himself, flying towards the fat boy. Both children were clapping enthusiastic. The astronaut fell back to the floor with a loud noise, when Petunia grabbed her nephews collar with one hand, pulling him inside the hallway roughly. She opened a cupboard under the stairs. There were neither brooms inside, nor stocks. Instead there was a tiny mattress, covered by a thin blanket. Along the back wall small pictures, drawn by a child's hand could be seen. She shoved the boy inside, locking the door behind him from the outside. Back in the kitchen she covered her face with her hands, while tears were running down her face.
He kept digging through her memories. There was not much difference between the scenes. Each burst of magic was followed by punishment. Never she took him in her arms. Whenever she had to touch him it was with hard hands. She was mocking him where she could. She made him clean, made him cook, made him work in the garden. It was her goal to drive out all traces of magic. When her methods failed, she shut him away.
One memory let him pause a little longer. Potter, maybe eight years old, was kneeing in front of the toilet. It was not hard to see he was not feeling well.
Petunia burst in, grabbing him at the collar - that seemed to be one of her bad habits - she dulled him up and dragged him down the stairs and outside the backdoor leading to the yard. “You will not spread your germs in my home. Don’t you dare making Duddy sick.” Without an other word she shut the door, not looking back, leaving the child standing in the rain.

Severus had seen enough. He gave a small jerk, pulling back inside his own mind. All this had lasted no longer than a few seconds.
He felt filthy.
Without taking his gaze from that woman in front of him, he raised his wand aiming it at her fat husband. His fingertips were prickling by his anger.
With his free hand he grasped Petunia at her blouse, drawing her close.
“He is your nephew, Petunia. He is Lily's. child”, he hissed in her ear. “I know, what you have done to him. I saw it in your mind.” Involuntary her hand touched her head.
“Stay where you are, Dursley!” The man had actually tried to come near him. Idiot!
“I do not think, you will be able to see Harry again so soon, Tunie . You should have kept him save. Should have held him dear. He is Lily's. son! Imagine your positions would have been swapped. How do you think she would have treated your precious boy? Imagine. Oh yes, you know exactly how it would have been. You know her. You know how she would have loved your child. How she would have loved him like her own. And what is it you have done? You have soiled her legacy. You have tormented her son. You do not deserve to be called a mother. I will make you regret what you have done. Not now, not today, not tomorrow. One day. And you will not realize when that day has come until it is already to late!” He gave her a push, shoving her away, when he saw the fear flashing in her eyes.

He left her home without a single glance back. As soon as he stepped over the border of her property he turned on his heel, disappearing in the night.

Chapter Text

He was pacing up and down inside Dumbledore‘s office. He could not understand how Poppy and Albus were keeping this calm. Soon, he was sure, he would have run a dyke in Albus’ awfully fluffy carpets. He just could not stand still, while telling them about his meeting with the Dursleys.
“...And I tell you, Albus, no matter what is going on in your fabulous head, it has been a foolish idea to bring leave him there. Protection spells or not. And her fat lump of husband is not better than her. Both of them should be taken to court.” And you could all but join them.
Albus took a deep breath, trying to say some words of his own, but Severus had not finished yet.
“The boy! Will not return there! I can tell you, there are many people, that will agree with my opinion. I will talk to the ministry. I will even address the Daily prophet, if I need to. Merlin, I would even take him in my home myself before I see him being sent back there.”

“What a marvelous idea, my dear.”

Severus stopped walking. “Pardon?” He had been talking himself into a rage.
“I said, I think its a brilliant idea you had there just now. Don’t you think so, Poppy?”
The witch was nodding her head.
Severus was starring at them aghast. He was looking for any clue, this was part of a bad joke. He waited for someone to wake him up from his daydream.
Nothing happened.
He sat down in one of the armchairs slowly, rubbing his face with his hands. Suddenly was feeling rather old.
“You”, he said, resting his hands on his legs, “have gone barmy. Don’t you think the boy deserves to be in a place, where he is cared for? Where he may be just himself?”
“I think, my dear Severus, you are underestimating your own capabilities”, Albus said, while leaning a little forward. “Why do you think, did I leave little Harry in a place outside our world? I admit, that the protection spells Petunia was providing to him, were one of the major points, but there was more to it. Of course there would have been more than enough wizard families willing to take him in, but what life would he have lived then? Famous before he could even think, famous for something he can not even remember.” He raised a hand stopping Severus from giving him another piece of his mind. “Save your breath. I admit, my conceptions were relaying to much on Petunia Dursleys benevolence. I was thinking the legacy of her dead sister would be enough.” Severus gave a snort. Albus kept going, pretending he did not hear him: “But now thing have become the way they are - as sorry as I am about it – and now it is our duty to find the best solution for the boy’s welfare.”
“And the best thing you can come up with, is to leave him with me? What about the Weasleys?” Albus only rose an eyebrow.
“I think, there is no need to decide anything this very day. There are months left until the summer holidays. Maybe you will think about it again, Severus”, Poppy said.
“Maybe, someone should consider asking Harry for his own opinion”, Severus mumbled. Then he turned away, leaving the office.

He did not see the meaningful glances he was given by them.

Chapter Text

- 4 – Developments

Harry woke.
The room, illuminated by the moon, was not his usual room in the Gryffindor tower. Carefully he felt for his glasses and his wand. A short moment and a quick lumos later his suspicions were confirmed: the hospital wing.
He was tired of being here.

He did not need the throbbing in his head and the pain in his throat to know he was sick. He tried to remember coming here, but the last thing he remembered was sitting in his classroom .
For weeks he was strived to learn more about the chamber of secrets. He read book over book in hope of finding any reference.
Then Snape had found him … and then his memory ended.

It was just his luck to make a fool of himself in front of Snape.
He hit his blanket in frustration. He regretted it immediately. His muscles hurt, like he had played Quidditch for hours.
A gaze to the clock at the wall told him it was half past six in the morning. Soon Madam Pomfrey would start her day. Harry looked around. Besides the few petrified people, he was the only person around.
Just wonderful. So the healers attention would concentrate on him alone.
He thought about leaving and returning to his dorm, but he knew he would not make it far.
With a sigh he sank back in his cushions, angrily eyeing the ceiling.

He was thrown back from his dreams by force, when someone hit his toe against his bed frame. The loud swearing that followed, let him know it had been Ron.
“Pst! You will wake him up”, Hermione hissed.
Harry opened his eyes, startling both his friends.
“Sorry Harry”, Ron mumbled. “Did not want to wake you.”
“No worries.” His voice still came out as a croak, but at least he was not reduced to whispering anymore. “What time is it?”
“A little after half past two. We thought we could spent a few minutes before potions visiting you.” Hermione held out his glasses for him. He took them appreciating.
His friend was talking again. “Harry, I told you to go to Madam Pomfrey. Why did you not listen to me?”
“Well I am here now”, Harry tried to joke, but the two of them did not think it any funny. They just lifted their eyebrows at him, looking quite sceptical.
“McGonagall said Snape picked you up down in the dungeons. You must have been pretty out of it”, Ron said.
“Harry, imagine no one would have found you down there. Why did you not come to us for help, when you felt this poorly? And what were you even doing there in the first place? You really have to take better care of yourself. You know, we are your friends. You know you may trust us, don’t you?” Hermiones flood of words were nearly getting to much for him. He did not know, what he should be answering first. Or what there was to be said at all.
Ron came to his rescue: “Hermione, leave him alone. Give him time to recover. We will talk about it another time. All right?”
A bell could be heard.
“Crap, we have to go. We will be back after dinner. See you, Harry.”

He took a deep breath, when they finally left. He was glad, they had come to visit him, but at the moment they were just overkill.




Like always, a mob of students had formed in front of the classroom, waiting to be let inside by Snape.
Ron and Hermione were standing a little aside.
“Did you have to corner him like this?! You know how he is about these things. My mum said, she thinks, he does not get much sympathy by his relatives when he’s not feeling well. … And if you had seen the bars covering his window ...”
Hermione gave him a guilty look. Then her pupils grew wide in shock. A second later a figure dressed in black pushed past them, opening the door leading inside the classroom.

Ron stifled a course. “Do you think he heard me?”

Chapter Text

- 5 - Moving on

Severus forced himself to keep calm, while he entered his classroom.
Even an unannounced test, followed by an especially long essay as their homework, could not improve his mood.
So Potters friends had some insight on Potters home life, and worse even: Weasleys parents seemed to know about it! And still no one had done anything about it.
Of course Potter had not complained about it. That was something Severus himself was quite familiar with. But his friends … Severus tasted bile, when he thought about it.


After his double lesson, his legs carried him up the stairs. Entering the hospital wing he almost expected Potter to be released by now, but soon his eyes found him, deeply asleep.
Without making any noise he entered Poppys office.


“I see, Potter is in the honor of being your guest.”
The healer turned around. She had been looking for a book in one of her shelves.
“I think that could still be the case by tomorrow.”
She offered him a chair and after some handling a cup of tea. “Seems like you could use it”, she said.
Appreciating he took a sip.
“I slept poorly”, he confessed.
She waited for him to go on.
“I can’t get it out of my head. The things Albus said. That the boy could be left with me. I think, by know I have an idea why he thinks I could have the right background for this. But Poppy, what if because of my background it would be just the wrong thing? Of course I know how a boy like him feels, but that does not mean I would not make any mistakes because of it. What if things would turn out even worse?”
Her hand gave a small twitch when she nearly reached out to touch him, but she knew him well enough for not trying to. “No one is ever perfect, Severus. No one. But tell me, in all these years as head of house Slytherin, did you ever refuse them the help they needed? How often were you making tea for your homesick first years? Did it ever come to your mind to withhold food from them for not meeting your expectations? What would it be, you could be worse at, than these muggles he was living with? And how many thing would it be you could do better than them?”
His gaze was focused on his tea.
“Well, there are still the Weasleys, if everything else fails.”
His dark eyes were were flashing dangerously. “They put bars in front of his window. They locked his thing and himself away. The Weasleyboy knows about it, as does his mother. No one said a single word about it. It may be, they are linking Harry. It may be, they would take him in. BUT I TELL YOU THEY HAD THEIR CHANCE TO PROTECTING HIM AND THEY FAILED! HOW CAN A MOTHER OF SEVEN! SEVEN CHILDREN BE SO … SO … BLIND ?!” He had jumped from his chair, walking up and down.
Exhaust he sat down again. He was clad for the privacy charms surrounding the office.
Poppy took his word without moving. He admired her calm.
She poured him another cup of tea.
“I think you should talk to Harry, before deciding anything.”


Severus knew, she was right, that made it not less difficult.
For one and a half year he had not been very nice to him.
Andjust because of an grude against the boy’s father .
How low he had sank. Lily would turn in her grave, if she knew about it.
Forgive me.
But it was not to late to make up for the mistakes he had made. He was an adult. He would take responsibilities for his errors.
It was high time to put the past behind him. His own school days were long gone.

Chapter Text

-6- The fi(wo)rst step


When Harry opened his eyes, dawn had broken, coating the hospital wing with warm, golden light.
His gaze wandered along the room.
He flinched, when he became aware of the tall, dark figure sitting on a chair near by.

“Good evening Mr. Potter. I hope you are feeling better by now.”

The missing sarcasm was disturbing to Harry. He was used to the mocking within Snapes words, whenever he talked to him.
Self-consciously he turned his eyes towards his bedding. “Yes, Sir.”
Adults treating him like scum, that was a thing he was used to. At least, then he knew what to expect.
Adults suddenly turning nice, were unpredictable. It had not taken him a long time to learn, it was most dangerous to be near uncle Vernon, while he was talking in his friendliest tone.

“Mr. Potter, I think it is overdue, for both of us to have a little talk.”




Severus had been thinking about his speech for quite some time, choosing his words with care.
Now, that he sat in front of the boy he had forgotten most of them.
That was just ridiculous. It was not difficult for him to brew Polyjuice Potion and Wolfsbane with one hand on his back, whilst being blindfolded, but now he could not even remember a few simple words meant for a small boy.
But he would not leave this unfinished.
Best to say the worst part first.

“I am here to apologize for my former behaviour.” Now it was said.
Harry starred at him unbelieving. “Come again?”
“I said, I am sorry about the way I treated you.”
He could see the boy was secretly pinching his leg. He could not hold it against him. The situation felt kind of surreal to him as well.




“Sir? I do not want to seem rude, but...”
Snape gave him a sign to kept going.
“Why now?”
Did he miss something?

Snape took some time before answering. “Let’s say, since our last encounter I was given some cause and time to reassess my attitude towards you. And it came to my mind, it had not been very professional of me to measure you by your fathers behaviour only, just because you are unlucky to share his head of hair.”
That from Snape of all things. At least Harry knew how to use shampoo. He nearly laughed out loud.
What was it Snape was expecting from him?
Hey, no hard feelings. I am used to being everybody's doormat. No problem. Tell Draco I said hello. See you in potions. No, that would not be the right thing.


“Ehm, actually, I do not really know what to say just now.”
Snape made a movement similar to a shrug. “You don’t have to say anything. Keep your time. If I am not wrong, dinner has ended a few minutes ago, and I am sure it will take not long for your friends to take this room by storm any moment from now to save you from boredom . I guess it is time to take my leave.” He rose. “Get well soon. I hope to see you back in potions soon.”


Harry still sat there on the rim of his bed deeply in thoughts, when his friends arrived a few minutes later. His own dinner next to him still untouched.
“Are you feeling sick?”, Ron asked, while he sat down next to him.
Harry looked at him with confusion. “What? … No. I feel good. I … I just had been thinking about some stuff.”
“If there is anything we can do...” Hermione did not have to finish her sentence. Harry knew his friends would listen to him, they would not laugh at him. But he himself was not sure what to make of the talk with Snape yet. He shook of the thoughts and instead was persuaded by Ron and Hermione to eat his food.
His goal was to leave the hospital wing as soon as possible and surely Ron was right, when he said, Madam Pomfrey would not let him go, when he did not even manage to clean his plate.

To his great frustration he still had to stay another night. Madam Pomfrey was telling him something about febrile seizures , stress, sleep deprivation. She just wanted to make sure really was back on his feet. Not half her words made sense to him.


Finally! The next morning he was free to leave.
“You will come back, as soon as you feel not totally well. Understood? The last thing you need is a relapse, with Christmas being so close.”
Harry promised her to be a good boy, and left as fast as his legs would carry him, dreading she would find another reason to keep him if he lingered.


“Harry, there you are!” Hermione waved her hand at him. She had been waiting for him,. saving him a place in transfiguration.
A stake of papers was pushed towards him. “I’ve been taking notes for you. So you will not have to much troubled keeping up.”
Harry thanked her, storing the sheets in his school back.
There was no more time for talking, for Professor Mc Gonagall had arrived and Harry was busy collecting every ounce of his attention to understand the steps, he apparently had missed the lesson before.

Chapter Text

-7- Five points

Potions was their last lesson before lunch and the closer it came, the more anxious Harry got.
Well, being nervous about potions was not really a new thing for him.
Down in the dungeon classroom he constantly watched out for one of the Slytherins to manipulate his cauldron or for Neville to blow something up.
And then of course there was Snape with his teasing.
These were things he was nearly used to by now. But after his talk with Snape the day before, he was not sure what would expect him there today.

Did Snape really mean what he said? Or had it only been a joke at his expense?
Maybe his wits had finally left him for good and the talk had not taken place at all, only in his mind.
That last thought was especially distressing.

“Hey, are you alright?” Ron gave him a gentle nudge. They had already arrived at the classroom. Harry could not really remember walking down the stairs.
“Sure. I was just wondering how many things a person can miss, while being absent for only two days.”
His answer seemed sufficient for Ron.
“Where is Hermione?”
Ron leaned closer, whispering in his ear: “She went to take a look at our little experiment . She said something about it being at some critical stage.”

Harry nodded. He nearly had forgotten about the Polyjuice. That hole idea became more and more insane, the longer he thought about it. As if Malfoy would just sit there in his common room boasting about attacking muggle-borns. No one would be this stupid or he or she would already have been caught.
In his mind it was more likely for them to get blow up, along ghost and wash room.
He not yet found the right moment to talk to his friends about him having second thoughts. Ron was nearly fanatically obsessed with hunting Malfoy down, while Hermione seemed to believe she was infallible and brewing Polyjuice was only a worthy challenge for her.

Hermione scurried to their side the same moment Snape let them inside.
She was grinning wide.
Harry was glad she made it back to them unharmed.
He would definitely have to talk to them.



With some regret Harry realized they had been to slow. All the good seats – far away from the Slytherins and Neville were already taken.
Not having much choice, Harry took a table near Malfoy with only Pansy Parkinson and Goyle dividing them.
What a nice way to start a potions lesson.
At least Ron was sitting next to him by his other side.
Hermione fearlessly had chosen Neville’s table.


Snape, like always, opened his lecture without many words. He gave a few short orders before the instructions and ingredients appeared along the board.
There was not much time today. They would have to do their work quickly.

Actually Harry found potions to be a fascinating subject.
If only the circumstances were different!
There assignment today was to brew a burn ointment. He and Ron were making good time and Harry was beginning to hope, maybe they would manage to submit something passable for once.
With skilful hands he diced the last ingredient, while Ron was stirring in their cauldron.
He kept count, ready to include the cut root at the right moment.
Two times clockwise, four times counter-clockwise, two times clockwise …

With a hiss something came flying at them.
Without much thinking Harry’s seeker-reflexes were kicking in. His hand dashed forward and he got hold of the Filibuster firecracker ere it splashed inside their cauldron.
Horrified he watched the fuse becoming smaller and smaller, smoke forming around his fingers.

Maybe that had not been one of his best ideas.




Blue sparks were dancing around Harry’s Hand.
The hissing stopped.

Harry’s eyes were flying from his undamaged right hand towards Snape standing in front of him, his wand held high, then back towards the fuse.
There were mere two millimetres left.

“Five points to Gryffindor, for saving my classroom from being showered in your unfinished boiling burn ointment, Mr. Potter. The imbecile having the brilliant idea to throw something like that again should be grateful to you.”

Harry did not trust his ears.

Snape turned towards his classmates. “What I tell you now, I will say exactly once , so make sure your housemates will learn about it: the next idiot who dares to bring any kind of firework or a similarly dangerous object inside this classroom will be censured. Maybe I will even manage to get said person expelled for good. This”, he pointed at one of their tables, “is not a playground. You may act out your pubescent jokes on the Quidditch field or elsewhere, but NOT inside this classroom.” That last part had only been a hissing whisper, but no one dared to make a noise, so they all no problems understanding his words.


“For homework you will write six feet about why it is important to keep a minimum of seriousness while practising potions. Including examples, what could have happened today and historical references. And now, put away you things and leave before start I give out detentions. Potter, you stay!”
With a swish of his wand the cauldrons on their tables were emptied. Within minutes all students had fled the classroom, leaving Harry behind.




“Put that down and follow me.”
It was only now, that Harry realised, he still was holding the firecracker.
With some trouble he pried open his uptight fingers.
Snape was waiting for him, holding open a door at the opposite wall of the classroom.

His legs were still shaking, when he reached it.

Chapter Text

-8- What if it has been me?


Severus gently closed the door behind them, eyeing Harry thoroughly from head to toe.
The boy was still shaking but other than that he seemed unharmed.
His own heart was still hammering in his chest.
“Some tea would be in order, I would say.”


He pushed the boy towards one of the chairs standing in front of his desk. He made sure Harry was deposed there safely before he snapped his fingers to order some tea and sandwiches from a little bobbing House elf.
At the moment he actually wished for some Firewhiskey, but drinking it now did not feel quite appropriate.

His order appeared.
“Sugar? Cream?” The boy shook his head.
Severus filled two cups. He gave one to Harry, who took a tentative sip before mumbling something incomprehensible towards his feet.
“Come again, please?”
The boy still did not look up, but at least he spoke louder. “Thank you, Sir.”
“Well, actually it should be me thanking you. That half-brewed burn paste mixed with the explosives could have had a disastrous outcome.”
“I did not even think about, what I was doing. I just reached out in reflex. That thing nearly blew up my hand!”
The cup in his left hand was shaking, while he held out his right one. His wand hand
“I am sure Madam Pomfrey could have healed your hand”, Severus said, to console the boy.
“Thank you, all the same.”

Severus nodded appreciating.


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They drank their tea in silence.
Eventually Snape offered him the plate with the sandwiches. “Help yourself.”
Harry chose one with ham and took a small bite.

“You really meant what you said in the hospital wing, didn’t you?” It had taken all his courage to ask that question.
“Yes, I did.” There was no hesitation in the Professors answer.
“I nearly thought my mind had been playing tricks on me.”
“Well then you would have had to have a very lively fantasy, don’t you think so? Or is hearing voices something happening to you on a daily basis?” It was clearly said in jest, but it came so close to truth, it nearly hurt. His eyes were burning.
He took a shaking breath.

It was out of some vague impulse, that he started talking. That he confided to the man sitting opposite if him.
“Professor, if I tell you something, can you promise me I will not be send home?” That was his greatest fear. That they would think he had lost his mind and that he would have to leave Hogwarts to go back to the Dursleys.
Maybe he had enough of managing everything by himself.
Maybe all his strength was used up by now.
The Professor had been keeping him safe before, even if their relationship had been more than a little tight. He had been used to Snape thinking the worst of him until now.

There was not much to loose anymore.

“I promise you, you will not have to return to them.
And Harry believed him.
He was to relived to notice the deeper meaning of these words.

Hesitating he told the dark man about that voice , only he could hear. That voice , which had led him towards two of the victims by now.

“What if they are right? What if it really is me who is making the monster attack the students? Maybe I have gone crazy and just can’t remember it.
All his pent-up fears and sorrows of these past weeks were rushing over him, flushing outside while he spoke.
Against his will a few tears were falling down his cheeks.
He was glad, Snape was listening patiently. If he had been interrupted, he would not have been able to go on, that he was sure about.
When he finished, Snape wordlessly passed him a handkerchief, waiting for Harry to get a grip on himself.


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He waited for the boy to calm down a little. He wanted to make sure he would actually listen to his words.

“I do not think, you have gone crazy, Harry”, he said eventually.
The boy took a deep breath to say something, but Severus held out a hand to stop him. He had not finished yet.
“Madam Pomfrey, after your little episode a few days ago, has examined you quite thoroughly. I know, she would not have allowed you to walk free among us, if you had lost your wits.”
“But what about the voice? Why am I the only one …” Harry suddenly stopped talking, his eyes getting wide. “Snake”, he hissed. More to himself as it seemed.
The Professor gave him a questioning look.
“Sir, what if it is a snake I keep hearing? All the others would not really notice its hissing. To them it would just be some kind of background noise. But for me, for me it is no hissing. I can hear its words!”

Severus thought about it for a moment.
The heraldic animal of Slytherin was a Snake.
“Harry”, he said slowly, “I think you just brought our investigations about that chamber to a whole new level. I think it would be best, if we talk with the headmaster from here on.”

Chapter Text

-9- Open!



Had he been alone, Albus could have kicked himself.
He threw some Floo powder in his fireplace, put his head inside and called for Silvanus Kettleburn.
Behind him, sitting on fluffy chairs, Severus and Harry were waiting.
Severus had been presenting him with Harry’s interesting theory and Albus was feeling quite stupid he had not come up with it himself.
You only had to look at the crest and Salazar Slytherin, as was well known, had been a Parselmouth himself.
The answer had been laying in front of him all these years. The only question left, was where to find the beast and how it managed to roam the school without being seen.

He stepped back, making room, when Silvanus came limping through the fire.
“Hello Albus. Oh, good day Severus. And Mr. Potter, if I’m not wrong. How may I help you?”
After all these years of working with dangerous animals and pubescent students, the Professor was missing a few limbs, but his wits were sharp as ever.

“We think, it is a basilisk, that is roaming our school, endangering the students.”
The old Professor facepalmed.
Albus envied him.
“A basilisk. Albus! It’s a miracle no one is dead!”
“None of the victims had been seeing directly in its eyes. Mrs. Norris had been seeing its reflection in a puddle of water. Mr. Creevey had been seeing it through his camera and that last boy was looking at it with Sir Nicholas between them. It had been pure luck. If I think about what happened the last time … “


Now and then Albus was surprised how fast the world was changing around him and how often the things, that were obvious for him, seemed to be unknown to others.
Of course, Professor Dippet and the Ministry had been trying to sweep everything under the carpet then, but like always there had been rumours leaking outside. But even those were nearly forgotten by now.


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“Really a sad story. A scapegoat had been found soon, but if you ask me, the true culprit got away. A dead girl in one of our washrooms. Indeed tragic all that”, Dumbledore ended his narration.

A sudden thought made Harry jump from his seat.
“Don’t tell me that’s been Myrtle?”
Dumbledore nodded.
“So you say, she never left that room? She died in that same washroom, she is haunting today? That room where we found Mrs. Norris?”
Everyone was starring at him.
“Don’t you see it?!” He himself was sure by now. “Everything starts with this washroom. There has to be the entrance leading to the chamber. And - I don’t know - maybe the basilisk is simply using the pipes to move around.”
“Harry, of course we searched the castle more than once. And of course we searched there as well.”
“But it is said, only Slytherins heir may find the chamber. So what if it only opens for someone speaking Parsel? How could you have been able to find it?”


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It was nearly a hour later they were standing in Moaning Myrtles washroom.
All the students had been banished to their common rooms. Professor Vector, Sinistra, Lockhart and Sprout were watching over them.
All students but Harry.
He stood there, flanked by Snape on his one side and Professor Dumbledore in his other. Fawkes was sitting on the headmaster’s shoulder.
Behind them Professor Flitwick, Kettleburn and McGonagall were waiting. Later one was carrying a heavy, very sharp looking sword with her.
Godric Gryffindors sword he had been told.

In front of them Myrtle was standing in mid air.
She was nearly overjoyed, being visited by so many people at once. And that her visitors were even interested in her death circumstances she seemed to consider an extra bonus.
Harry never before had seen her this happy.

“I never saw anyone that time”, she was telling, indulging in reminiscence. “I had been so angry. And then there was that voice . It sounded strange. Some kind of foreign language maybe. But I am sure it had been a boy. So I threw open my door to tell him what I thought about him being here in the girl’s washroom. And then … then there were these terrible glowing eyes and then … then I … died .” She was sliding to the floor in a theatrical way.

The Professors were exchanging glances.
“Myrtle, where had that been? Where did you see these eyes?”
With her white finger she pointed to a row of sinks.
Together they started their search.

In the end, it was Harry himself, who found the small scratches covering the bottom of one of the taps.
“Professor Snape, isn’t that just looking like a little snake?”, he whispered. He did not dare to speak up, fearing he would make a fool of himself.
Snape leaned down a little. He nodded in agreement, signalling to the others to join them.


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“Alright Harry, let’s try it.”
“What should I say?”
“Often the simplest things are the best solutions”, Dumbledore returned.
Harry did not think that was very helpful.
He was pondering.
He imagined the little snake figure was twining and coiling, stretching and curling its slim body.
At first nothing happened and he was ready to turn away, when suddenly there was loud cracking.
The same moment he was pulled back by slender hands, away from the gap, that was turning and expanding until there was an opening wide enough that even Hagrid would have fit inside.
The wide pipe was leading down in unknown depths. Its walls were covered by greenish slime, spreading a greenish, ghostly light.


Snape tightened his grip on his shoulder.

Chapter Text

- 10 – The Basilisk‘s realm


Probably most of them had not really believed they would be able to find the chamber’s entrance until it was opening wide in front of them.
“Well done, Harry”, the headmaster said.
Harry felt a little proud, he had been right.

Professor Kettleburn was looking for something in his bag, finally producing a small case.
“I think it is high time we start wearing these.”
He opened the lid.
The case contained ten smaller compartments. Harry peeked inside. He himself had never before been owning contact lenses, but he was pretty sure muggle-contacts were not changing colours by the second.

“In fact they are used while working with Medusae, but the producers affirmed, they had also been tested against basilisks. They will protect us from its deadly gaze and also from total petrification, but immobilisation still seems to be a regular occasion. I would really have liked to bring you something else, but it was the best I could find in short term. Unfortunately Basilisks are not part of our curriculum.”
He actually seemed to be sorry about that.

Snape was showing him how to wear the lenses. At first it felt strange, but after blinking once or twice he could hardly feel them anymore.
He eyed himself in one of the mirrors. To his amazement he could hardly see any change. His eyes were as green as ever, if maybe a little brighter.

He turned towards his teachers.
They all were preparing for their descent.
Dumbledore was leaning down to him until they were on eye level.
“I would like it best, if you stayed up here, where you are safe, but I know how useful your gift could be down there. I want you to stay in the back. You will walk between Professor McGonagall and Professor Snape and not leave their sides. Understood?”
Harry nodded.
“Will you promise me, to take Fawkes and leave, should anything go wrong?”
Harry nodded again.
“Well. Then there’s only one more thing … Integer .”
The tip of his wand touched Harry’s cloak. A blue glimmer was spreading over its surface, coating it entirely. For a second the cloak was glowing bright. Then the light ceased, leaving behind nothing but black cloth.
“A simple dirt repellent charm”, Dumbledore explained, answering Harry’s unspoken question. He performed the spell again on his own gown.
The other Professors were equipping themselves in similar ways.


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They waited, while Fawkes was exploring the pipe. After all no one wished to slide straight into the basilisk’s throat.
It took nearly fifteen minutes until there was a high trilling, the phoenix’ signal that everything was alright.

The headmaster was the first to dive down the pipe without hesitation. Kettleburn followed him close, then Flitwick and McGonagall,
Then it was Harry’s turn.

Hesitating he glanced down the tube.
His heart was racing.
Again he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned his head and looking up in black eyes.
“You don’t have to do this, Harry. No one will blame you.”
Harry was glad for his words, but he had come this far with the Professors. He would not turn back now.
Gathering up all his courage he jumped in the pipe.
A noise behind him let him know, Snape was close by.


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The pipe seemed to take no end.
He was starting to think he had taken a wrong turn at some point, when finally the pipe was changing direction, levelling off. Then, without further notice, it ended abruptly.
Harry was flying through the air, before hitting the ground in an ungraceful heap.
Immediately he was pulled aside by someone. Not to soon, for mere seconds after him Snape shot out of the pipe. His landing, half on his hands, half on his feet, was considerably more elegant than Harry’s. The potions master rose by himself, while Kettleburn helped Harry to his feet.

They set off in a long procession. Every step was cracking and grinding under their soles. In the light of their wands Harry realized there was a countless collection of bones covering the ground.
He shivered and forced himself to lift his eyes away from them.

They turned around a corner and Harry’s heart nearly stopped, when he saw the beast.
Stumbling he made a step back, bumping against Snape. The Professor’s grip stopped him from landing on his butt again.
“Don’t worry”, he hissed in his ear. “It’s only its skin.”
Harry did not find it very assuring, that that giant thing in front of them should be the skin the basilisk had outgrown .
How often had the basilisk shed since? How much bigger would it be by now?

Dumbledore and Kettleburn were having a short discussion before they went on.
When they passed the skin, Snape was walking a bit closer by his side. The Professor’s fingers were lightly touching the dark scales.
He gave a little sigh.
Harry turn towards him. Snape shrugged his shoulders. “You can’t imagine how difficult it is to get a hold of the smallest piece of basilisk skin. Really wonderful properties.”
In front of them McGonagall snorted. Harry was quite sure she was mumbling something about stereotypical potion masters .


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Harry was not sure how long they were walking by now.
His feet hurt, but he did not dare to ask for a rest.
Finally, after what felt like an eternity, they reached a door. It was perfectly round and ornamented with skilful crafted snakes.
Just like the door of a safe, Harry thought.
There was neither handle nor keyhole.

With the help of McGonagall and Flitwick, Dumbledore was studying the door for quite some time. They were mumbling mysterious things, while again and again they tapped the door with their wands.
Finally the headmaster turned to Harry.
“My boy, I guess it is your turn again.”

Harry stepped forward. He concentrated his attention on the snakes covering the door.
“Open!”, he hissed. For a second the snake eyes were glowing in emerald, but nothing else happened.
Harry was thinking frantically. Then he had an idea.
“Slytherin’s heir demands his entrance.” He knew he was laying it on quite thick and he was glad no one around him was able understand his words.

There was loud clicking. The rattling of countless small gearwheels.
The round gate swung open.
Harry gave a little cry of delight.

Snape was holding him back, while the remaining Professors were stepping through the hole.
Eventually McGonagall signalled them to follow along.


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Columns formed like snakes were rising on both their sides and seemed to find no end towards the high ceiling.
Magical torches were lighting up in green flames as soon as they came close, bathing the stature of an old man at the end of the chamber in an unnatural shine.

There was no sign of the basilisk.

They searched the hole chamber.
Finally they reassembled at the stature’s feet.
“I say, the boy should try calling it”, Kettleburn suggested. “If others were able to control it, it is quite possible Mr. Potter can do the same with his Parsel. Maybe we will even be able to learn something about that other person’s identity. We others should be ready, in case it fails.”

Harry took a deep breath. He wanted to make sure, the basilisk, if it really was near by, would be able to hear him.
“ King of the Snakes”, interesting, he actually had tried to say the word basilisk. “Hear me King of Snakes, and follow my call.”
There was a creak coming from the stature’s head.
They waited in suspense.
Inch for inch the mouth of Salazar Slytherin opened.
The man must have been quite theatrical, Harry thought.

“A Parselmouth.”

Harry jumped, when he heard the voice.
It was the same voice he had been following for months. But it was lacking its murderous tone. Instead it even seemed to be elated.

“It’s been long, since I met one of your kind, little one.”

With a dull crashing the snake landed just in front of Harry’s feet.
Harry was to surprised to close his eyes in time.
The basilisk was busting his wildest imaginations. Its scales were shining in some blackish green. Its huge body was held up by countless little pairs of legs. And on its head there was a comb, similar to that of a cock, but made of crimson feathers.

And its eyes … its eyes were shining green just like his own.

Chapter Text

-11- Basilisk


Harry was sitting on the floor. The basilisk lay right in front of him, his head resting on the stone tiles.
On Harry’s word the Professors had stepped back a little. Only Snape had declined, instead taking his stand beside him.
The potions master did his best to appear relaxed, but not very successful, Harry thought. His white fingers were holding his wand tightly and his black eyes were flashing dangerously.

Harry himself, after the first exchange with the snake, felt surprisingly at ease.

The basilisk was remarkably smart.
Harry no longer thought of him as a beast or monster.
No, he was a fascinating, remarkable being and Harry felt his heartbeat quicken, when he thought about someone using him for their own goals.


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The basilisk was not the same one Salazar Slytherin had been keeping down here, years and years ago. But he was one of her descendants. The last one hatching from her eggs.
For some time the only world he had known had been the inside of the chamber and he felt content with his life.


Then, one day, the round stone at the other chambers end had opened.
A boy had stepped inside his realm … and he had been speaking to him.
It had been the first time the basilisk met someone he could talk to.
Oh, how happy he had been.
An invisible lid had appeared in front of his eyes, whenever he met the boy, protecting him from his deadly gaze.
Until then, the basilisk had not even known about that extra lid.

Now it protected Harry.

The basilisk spoke about the boy, Tom he called him.
Tom had been telling him about the world outside his chamber. About the wonders you could see.
In the end it had not been difficult for Tom to convince him to follow him upwards.

The basilisk could not get enough of this new world.

Most time they managed not to meet anyone.
Once or twice they were seen. But Tom reassured him his teachers would be able to revive the humans from their petrification.
The basilisk had been following Tom. He had been trusting him.

And then … then there had been that little girl.
Not older than Tom himself.
His eyes met hers, eyes filled with anger and sorrow.

Again and again Tom had told him no one would get hurt.
But Tom had not been saying the truth.
Disappointed and livid the basilisk had returned to his chamber.

And Tom never came to see him again.

Again he had been alone. Pondering.
Tom had been using him, manipulating him. That much he understood by then.
And bit by bit the desire for revenge had grown in his heart.

Repeatedly he had been roaming the school, but there was no sign of his prey.

At some point he decided to give up.
The students were coming and leaving. And coming and leaving.
He barely noticed it anymore.

Until something touched his senses.

Again he left his chamber. His sensitive scent told him it was Tom, but something in his smell was tasting false. Dark.
Again and again he nearly had him.

Again and again.

There had been some collateral damages on his quest. He could not risk to be get discovered.
His prey was so close.
But he gave his best not to kill anyone.

Not again.

Tom was there. Within his reach.
She had him.
She carried him.


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“Who is she?”, Harry interrupted the basilisk’s story.
“A little girl, hair like fire, not bigger than you.”
“What do you mean, when you say: She carried him?”
“He’s in her bag. I don’t know how she does it, but I can smell him. He’s in there.”

Harry pondered. A girl with red hair.
Many witches in Hogwarts were red-haired, but considering her high she must have been one of the younger students. Harry doubted, there was any older girl smaller than him. Even his own classmates had outgrown him by now … and also some of the first years.


He turned to his Professors, repeating the basilisk’s words.
There seemed to be some deeper understanding in Dumbledore’s eyes, when he told them about Tom and about his presence in a student’s bag.

“Ask him about the colour of her tie”, Snape said.
Harry felt stupid for not thinking of it himself.

The basilisk’s tongue dashed forward, touching the knot around Harry’s neck. Beside him Snape pulled up his wand. The basilisk turned to look at him, scanning him from head to toe, the thin layer still in front of his eyes.
The king of snakes gave a hiss, pulling back a little, while Snape slowly lowered his wand.
Harry took a deep breath.
“That thing around her neck, looks just like yours”, the basilisk said.

So a Gryffindor it was.
A small red-haired Gryffindor-girl.
“Ginny”, he whispered.

Behind him Professor McGonagall gave an extremely creative curse. Harry was surprised, his stern teacher even knew such words.
She exchanged some silently spoken words with Dumbledore before she turned to leave, the sword still tightly in her hand.

It was not long before the others followed her.
Dumbledore arranged for a heap of fresh meat to be brought from the kitchens. ( In gratitude for his help. )

Harry had to swear he would come back as soon as possible.
It was a promise he felt glad to give.


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Harry could not feel his feet anymore, when finally he and Snape reached the pipe, which led them down before.
The others had sped ahead, leaving only Fawkes with them.

Harry was infinitely grateful he had not to climb the slide.
In shortest time the phoenix had been carrying them up.

The force of gravity hit him as soon as he let go of the bird’s feathers and surely he would have keeled over if not for Snape to crab his arm.

He was sure, Snape would bring him back to the Gryffindor tower or maybe to the hospital wing, but instead he led him to Dumbledore’s office.
The Professor deposed him on one of the fluffy couches, before ordering some tea from an eager house elf.

Chapter Text

-12- Tom


Within minutes the boy had been falling asleep.

The waiting was unnerving.

Finally the office door opened and Albus stepped inside. In one hand he held Gryffindor’s sword. Beside him Filius was balancing a small black notebook at the tip of his wand.
Harry sat up abruptly.
“Where is Ginny?”, the boy asked, his voice filled with sorrow.
Albus held up his hand, trying to calm him down.
“Professor McGonagall and Madam Pomfrey are attending to her. I am sure no lasting harm has been done.”
On the headmaster’s command the carpets on the floor slid away, storing themselves in a corner. Underneath a circle, filled with complicated lines and baroque runes, came into view.
With his wand Albus was drawing red glowing symbols in the air, before adding them to the floor. Eventually he gave a sign to Filius to bring the book. With utmost care it was arranged in the circle’s centre.

It seemed the book’s outlines were starting to blur a little.

Albus was mumbling something in a language Severus could not understand.
Dark mist was forming around the book, swirling and solidifying.
Little by little the figure of a young man could be seen.
Nearly translucent he stood there in the middle of the circle, his black hair falling boldly over a handsome face. He was wearing the robe of a Hogwarts student, but its cut was unusual.

“Good evening Tom. I would never have guessed to met you gain in this office in that attire.”
The boy looked at Albus. Something similar to mocking lay in his eyes.
Professor Dumbledore . As I see, people had been right, when they told me someone made you headmaster of this establishment. I really had great intentions for this place. But now I find it my visions were disturbed, again .”
Without further warning the ghostly figure lunged at Albus.

The lines along the floor lit up, shredding the boy’s misty substance as soon as his body connected to the light.

Albus never hesitated. With a fluent movement the sword darted forward. Stabbing through the book’s lid and pages, sticking it to the floor underneath ,when its tip connected to the wood.
There was a scream, not sounding human at all, coming from the book.
Severus’ hair rose on his arms, while a tingle in his neck warned him of danger.
Black ink was flowing from between the pages, streaming along the floor, breaking at the barrier of light.

Beside him Harry gave a sudden gasp. The boy lifted a hand, touching the scar above his brow, his face deadly pale.
Severus reached for his shoulders, holding him tight.
The child looked only moments away from fainting.


Then it was over.
The pearcing scream ebbed away.
Only a small black trickle remaining from the rip in the book’s lid.

He was sitting beside the boy, his arm surrounding him securely. He could not even remember he had sat down.
The boy was leaning into him, his face buried in in Severus’ robe. The body underneath his fingers was trembling and shaking.
Slowly Harry was calming down, finally falling still, until Severus nearly thought he had fallen asleep.

He knew his colleague’s eyes were on them, watching them, but just now it did not madder to him.
Gently he rubbed the slender shoulders.
To his surprise Harry lifted his head. Stabbing green eyes met his gaze.
“It was Voldemort.”, the boy whispered.

There was no doubt in his voice.


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“Tom Marvolo Riddle”, Albus wrote the name with his wand in midair, “is: Lord Voldemort.” The letters danced around, changing until they were forming the Dark Lord’s name.
Severus felt a shiver running down his back.

Albus told them his point of view.
He told them about Tom’s time in school, about his early pursuit of power. About how young Tom had opened the chamber for the first time, while he stayed at Hogwarts. How he created a special kind of diary, that should help him to complete his work at a later time, when his plans failed.
Said diary eventually found its way into Ms. Weasley’s hands, where she got it was not clarified by then, possessing the girl.
If Tom’s plans would have worked out, he would have taken more and more of her life-force until nearly nothing would have been left of her self, while Voldemort would have been able to leave his book for good.

It seemed the Dark Lord had found a way to make a part of himself immortal.

Or even more than one part , it came to Severus’ mind, when he remembered Quirrell.
Albus himself did not say anything about it, but Severus had the feeling he knew more than he gave away.

Should he keep his secrets for today. But Severus would not forget about it, and he would peg away until he learned the whole truth from his old teacher.



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Harry still seemed a little unsteady when they left the headmaster’s office together.
Severus considered giving him a calming-draught before sending him to bed. Or better some dreamless-sleep?

The decision was taken from him, when they nearly had reached the stairs leading to the Gryffindor’s tower.

All of a sudden Harry stopped walking.
A muscle in his jaw was twitching.
A tremor was spreading over his body.

Severus managed to catch the boy, just before he was cracking open his skull on the hard stone tiles.
A little awkward he was digging around in his robes with one hand, while with his other he tried to shield the boy’s head from getting hurt. A quick spell cushioned the floor underneath them, so he was able to focus his concentration on his search alone.


He took the small phial between the fingers of his left.
Two drops in each nostril.
Carefully he turned the boy on his left side.
He already had sent out his Patronus.
Then there was nothing he could do but wait.

The draught was acting fast.
Green eyes were blinking at him, before closing again.

Severus was kneeling beside the sleeping child until Poppy finally arrived.

Chapter Text

-13- The dark man



“It’s really a shame Madam Pomfrey has suspended you from Quidditch”, Ron mumbled.
They were sitting in the common room, close to one of the fire places.


It had been only minutes before, that Harry had joint them. It had taken him some time and many words to persuade Snape to escort him to the chamber again. After all the basilisk was waiting for him to full fill his promise.
A house elf brought them down. Now, that the chambers location was known, it was easier to get there. Dumbledore had given Tom Riddle’s diary to Harry. A gift for the basilisk.
No one was really sure, what should be done with the giant snake in long term, but for know it seemed he could stay down in his realm.


“Oh Ron, you have heard what Madam Pomfrey had said. She only wishes for Harry to recover from the events in the chamber before he may return to his broom. Do you actually wish for Harry to break his neck?”
Ron at least was decent enough to look a little guilty.
Harry himself felt his ears turn red, while he listened to Hermione.


It had been quite embarrassing for him, when Madam Pomfrey and Professor Snape were talking to him, after he woke up in the hospital wing again.
As if his scar and himself alone had not been strange enough.
Why could he not just be normal? And not so, so … damaged ?
“Harry, you are not damaged”, Snape had told him. “No one is perfect. Some people have uneven legs, some have an allergy to sharkfishcat-talons and some have epilepsy – or they are having a huge nose like myself.”
That even made him laugh.
Little by little he realized Snape was not as grim as everyone thought.


But still he could not bring himself to tell his friends about his new freakishness .
First he had been telling himself he would wait for the right moment. Then he realized, that moment was long gone.
A house elf was bringing him a special draught early in the morning and late in the evening.
Harry was praying no one would see it.


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Christmas was coming close. A certain chaos broke out in the common room when everyone started packing and searching for the things they would take home.
At first Hermione and Ron had planed to stay in Hogwarts over Christmas. But then Hermione’s parents won a trip to France and Ron’s mum, after the debacle with Ginny, had ordered her sons home. Ginny would return to Hogwarts after the Christmas break, and Ron’s parents wished their family to be united for the feast.

“Hey Hermione, what about the potion?” It just came to Harry’s mind , startling him.
“What potion?”, Hermione asked, while she moved books here and there, trying to decide which to take with her and which to leave behind.
“What potion?! Hermione! The potion! ” He could not really cry out the word Polyjuice while they were sitting in the middle of the common room.
Finally the sickle seemed to drop.
“Ah, that potion . You will not believe me, but when we were told about what happened down in the chamber – well the day after it happened – I immediately went to eliminate all traces about what we had been doing. But when I got there, there was only my cauldron standing there, already cleaned. Everything else was gone. I have been waiting for days for someone to come and expel us, McGonagall maybe. But nothing happened so far. I really can’t imagine who has been helping us there.”

Harry, however, had a suspicion who it had been.



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The basilisk had been happy to listen to Harry.

He had been smelling the book with his tongue.
That was the pray he had been looking for.
But know it was dead.
The grey-haired one had been killing it. He was in his debt know.

He did not hesitate to give his word to the boy, that he would not roam the school without their approval.
His realm was down here.
Still they promised him to bring him food, if he wished for it.

He was really glad he had met Harry.
He was hoping the boy would visit him again soon.

He also liked the dark man, that came with the boy.
That man was guarding the boy.
He himself had not yet bred any descendants, but his instincts were there and he could understand how the dark felt.

He allowed them to take some of his shed skin.
He had no use for it himself anyhow.

Chapter Text

-14- Pensive Times


It was early in the Christmas morning when Harry slipped through the portrait hole.
There were no other students but him and some fifth and seven years, studying for their upcoming examinations, left in the tower. Their fellow Gryffindors had left them days before to join their families for the holidays.

Quietly he scurried along the empty corridors. What he was doing was not really against the rules, but he did not wish to clash with Filch.
Such things destroyed the festive mood.


In front of a dark oaken door he stood still and knocked.
All of a sudden he felt terribly stupid.
It was a Holiday.
Christmas morning.
As if Snape would be sitting in his office at a time like this. Probably it would be wiser to talk to him after breakfast.
He was just about to turn around, when at the end of the corridor a door was opened.
Harry was sure it had not been there only moments before.

“Harry? What are you doing here?”
Snape stood there, waving him to step closer.
“I … I have ...” Snape did not wait for him to finish his stuttering, but instead shoved him inside.
What he saw, left Harry speechless.
There was the rumour going around Snape actually was a vampire and slept in a coffin deep down a crypt.
Not that Harry had ever believed any of these stories, but he still had not expected, what he saw.
No jars filled with bizarre creatures.
No dark room with only a minimum of furniture.
Instead Harry found himself inside a cosy living room filled with a couch in dark green and two fitting armchairs that stood in front of a crackling fireplace. Thick carpets covered the floor and morning light fell through enchanted windows, painting colourful patterns along the paneled walls.
Harry realized his mouth was wide opened.
“No what you have expected, I guess”, Snape said behind him.
“Not exactly, Sir.”

No one in the Gryffindor tower would believe him about this.

Snape led him towards the couch.
“So Harry, what is it, that brings you down here this early in the morning?”
Harry awkwardly searched his bag, carefully producing a tiny phial filled with some blackish green liquid.
“Merry Christmas, Sir. Professor Kettleburn and Sal were nice enough to help me with your present.”


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Snapes expression did not change the slightest bit. Harry felt his hands getting wet.
Who would made a present to their teacher?

Finally Snape cleared his throat.
“Hm, Harry, do you actually know what it is you are giving there to me? This phial is worth a fortune.” An insecure overtone had mixed in his voice.
“I guess it must be quite difficult to get some poison of a living basilisk, but I myself would not even know what to do with it and I wanted to thank you. Sal also thinks you should have it.”
Snape used the time Harry needed to take a breath to say something of his own.
“Harry, I really feel honoured, but I hope you know I was not expecting anything from you for helping you out a little. And this bottle here”, his slender finger glided along its smooth surface, “is worth more than I earn over an entire year.”
Harry did not know what to say. He had not the slightest Idea how much a Hogwarts Professor would earn, but actually it did not really madder to him.
“Well, but even if someone would be willing to pay me that much for it, I would not know what said person would do with it. I would not want anyone to misuse it with bad intentions. And for anyone else but you Sal would not even had let me take his poison.”


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These green eyes were looking at him.
Yes, they were just like Lilly’s eyes, but there was more. There was a seriousness Snape would not have expected in any twelve year old boy.
With a small bow he took the phial from the boy’s hands.
“I am honoured by your trust, Harry. I swear to you, I will not disappoint you.”
The boy relaxed visibly.

Severus ordered some tea and Christmas cookies from one of the house elves and they were chatting pleasantly until it was time for breakfast.
Still caught in their conversation when they entered the great hall, neither of them was aware the talking in the room stopped for a few moments, everyone turning towards them, when they together sat down at the short table, used for the meals while most people had left Hogwarts.


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Nervous Severus was walking up and down his living room. Harry would come down any minute now to have some tea with him.
He was looking forward to see the boy. The conversations with him turned out to be quite interesting, now that they got to know each other a little better.
They had met regularly over the last few days. Harry had been helping him with some draughts and solutions he had to prepare for the hospital wing and had done some decent work.
Afterwards they had sat together for a light meal, talking about this and that.

Today they would meet for tea alone.
Only two days from now the other students would come back from their holidays and there were some things Severus wanted to talk about with Harry before that.
He had been thinking about it for quite some time.
What had been the worst idea to him only weeks ago, seemed not that absurd for him anymore. He had been talking to Albus and Poppy about it and also asked Minerva about her thoughts. They all would second him, speak to his behalf, when it came to the formalities.
But first he would have to talk to Harry.


A soft knocking pulled him from his thoughts.
With a swish of his wand he opened the door.
Harry stepped inside, grinning widely and took his place on the couch. He was wearing a nice jumper in dark green.
“A Weasley-jumper if I am not wrong.” He had taught enough of her red haired children to recognize Mrs. Weasley’s stile.
Harry’s smile turned even wider. “Nice, isn’t it? She also sent me some home-made cookies.” Out of his bag he pulled a nicely decorated tin, putting it on the table between them.
Severus poured their teas and settled down in his armchair.

“You know, Harry, there is something I would like to discuss with you.”
There was no use walking around the hot cauldron for to long. Better to get it over with.
With a small jolt the boy sat up a little straighter and carefully put down his cup.
“Did something happen? Has something happened to Ron? Or Hermione?!”
“No, no”, Severus declined. “As far as I know, both of them are at their best health. No, it’s about you. And me, when I think about it.”
The boy frowned insecurely.
“Professor Dumbledore, Madam Pomfrey, Professor McGonagall and me have realized, the Dursleys are not the best choice of people to care for a magical child in long term.”
The boy’s mouth literally fell open.
“What I try to say is, we think you should not return to Privet Drive for the summer, except it is your explicit wish to go there.” As far as he was concerned, the boy should not come ten feet close to his family, but he knew to well how it felt to be subjected to an adults will. He did not wish for Harry to see himself as a victim.
“I … Sir, do you say it is my choice, if I wish to live with my aunt and uncle or not?”
“Not exactly, Harry.” Severus chose his words with greatest care. “We fear it could be harmful for you to keep living there. But if you wish to visit them now and then, there could be made arrangements about it.” Under closest supervision , he thought to himself.

For some time Harry kept silent.
Severus gave him the time he needed to process the news.


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Harry was sitting there, thinking intensely. He had been anticipating many things, but not this.
He knew, Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia were not treating him the same they treated Dudley. He also knew deep inside, most other relatives were not handling their nephews like they did. But it had never come to his mind, he could have a choice not to live with them anymore, let alone never to have to see them again.
They were the only family he had left and Privet Drive had, until Harry had come to Hogwarts, been the only home he had known.
On the other side …

“I actually do not know, if I want to visit my family or not”, he finally said.
Insecurely he glanced at Snape. The man gave a short nod.
Their eyes met and to Harry’s surprise he saw some deeper understanding in these dark eyes.
“It’s nothing you have to decide immediately, Harry. It will always be your right to decide if and when you met your family again.”
Harry took a deep breath, feeling some of his anxiousness leaving him. Thinking was becoming a little easier again.
“If I do not live with the Dursleys anymore, where will I stay during the summer?”

Professor Dumbledore had been telling him, Hogwarts would not be an option, when he had asked him the year before.
What else was there?
The Weasleys?
But he had been staying there only a few days the last summer, and they already had their hands full with raising their own hordes of children.
Maybe he would be send to someone totally strange.
“Actually I wanted to offer you to stay at my place during the holidays. I am owning a small house. It’s nothing special, but there is an unused guest room, that would be happy to give you a shelter. It would not have to be something irreversibly. We could see how it works out in the summer, or even the Easter holidays, if you like to and if we both realize it goes smoothly, then you will always be welcome there.”


“That also is something, you have not to decide just know. You could talk about it with some of your friends or someone else you trust. It will be alright, if you say you wish to live somewhere else instead. I think, that is nothing you can decide imme...”
“No”, Harry interrupted him. “I guess it would not be to bad to stay at your place. I really would like a try.”
He grinned.
“If I I think about it, if I said something like that a year ago, I would have sent myself to St. Mungo’s.”
“And I gladly would have arranged your carriage there.” Snape smiled and Harry knew, it had been the right decision to make.
This man he could trust.

As crazy as that idea seemed at first glance, Harry felt quite sure it would work out well.
“I am glad to hear my offer does not put you off immediately”, Snape said. “But before you actually make your decision, I wish to tell you something I feel you should know about.”

Slowly the Professor rolled up the sleeve of his robe, followed by the white one underneath.
Snape’s arm, long and pale, came into view.
The Professor turned his arm a little so Harry could see it’s lower side.
The faded green-black tattoo of a snake, emerging from a skull, could be seen. For a second Harry thought the picture was moving, but when he took a closer look it stayed still.
All in all it was a plain picture without much artistic finesse, but still there was some darkness coming from it, you could not describe with words.
A shiver ran down Harry’s spine.


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“Do you know, what that is, Harry?”
Harry shook his head.
“It is called the dark mark . The Dark Lord has given it to all his followers. His Death eaters . It was a sign of his lordship over them and a proof of their loyalty towards him.”
You have been serving Voldemort?” Disbelieve and dismay were struggling in Harry’s voice.
“I could try to sugarcoat it. I could say my life had not always been easy. That I had been young and amenable to suggestions. That I had the wrong friends. But the truth is, that I simply have been stupid. Stupid and resentful. I made some wrong decisions and burdened myself with guilt, I will never be able to compensate.”

The boy got up from the couch without saying a word.
Severus dropped his gaze. He did not want to see the boy leaving.


Instead of a closing door he heard the gentle clatter of porcelain being moved.
He looked up.
Harry had been refilling both their cups.
Severus eyes were burning.

“When did you realize, that Voldemort’s path was not your own, Sir?” The boy sounded calm and sober.
“When I learned he was about to murder my oldest friend.”
The words emerged deep from his soul.
How long had it been, that he had talked about it.
The burning in his eyes grew stronger.
“That’s a decent cause, Sir. And were you able to help your friend?”


The tears, suddenly running down his cheeks, were surprising him as much as Harry.

Chapter Text

-15- Insomnis


Harry could not fall asleep.
He was lying on his back, his gaze fixed to the canopy above him.

No one would ever believe him that Snape had been crying.
Not that he ever would tell anyone about it.
Not even Ron.

The Professor had needed some time to regain his composure. Then he had been telling him everything. Or at least enough, that Harry thought he could understand him a little better.
He had told him about Lilly, Harry’s mother. About how he had met her the first time. How they became friends. Went to Hogwarts together. It had been Snape, who had told her what she was. A witch.
He told him about the conflict that had led to the rift in their friendship.
He had also talked about James. Not much, but it seemed between Snape and his father, it had been even worse than between himself and Malfoy.
And he had been telling him about the remorse and desperation he had felt, when he had finally realized which dark path he had been travelling on.
To late.

Of course, Harry could not approve, what Snape had been doing as a younger man.
And if he was completely earnest, he had not understood everything Snape had been telling him, but it seemed Snape somehow had been involved in Voldemorts decision to kill his family.
Harry realized, many people would be using that fact to hate the Professor, reproaching him with his guilt.
But during the last weeks, Harry got to know a different side of Severus Snape. He got to know a man he could respect. And even if he never had the chance to get to know his parents, he felt, his mother, who as everyone told him had been kind and gentle, would have agreed with him, when he decided to forgive her old friend.
He had been surprised Snape had been telling him all these things. Adults, in his opinion, to often tried to keep things from children. It would have really been hard for him if he ever learned the truth from anyone else. That surely would have destroyed the newly found trust that had grown between them.
No, even if it made him a little sad, he was glad, it had been Snape himself who told him about it. Even more, when he thought about living with him for six weeks during the summer holidays.
Because that was still what he wished for.

Snape had told him again and again he would understand, if Harry decided against it.
Harry had promised him to think about it again. Just to put him at ease.

Now he lay on his back and did not dare to fall asleep. Maybe everything could prove to be a dream as soon as he woke up.
It was well past midnight by now.
At some point he could not take it anymore. He slipped out of his bed and in his shoes.

For a change he had not to make an effort not to wake anyone, when he stepped out of his room. One of the few benefits of being the only one of his roommates to stay in the castle.
Driven by some inner agitation he climbed the portrait hole. His feet were carrying him through the hallways.
He did not pay attention where he was going and it was a miracle he neither stumbled upon Mrs. Norris nor Filch.


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The creaking of a door brought him back to reality.
In front of him stood Snape, his glowing wand in hand, a dressing gown around his shoulders.
He was looking at him with knitted brows.
Harry had the feeling, Snape had been talking to him, but he could not remember what the Professor had said.
He could not even remember why he came down here.
Or how.

His head felt oddly blank.


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Severus had been more than a little surprised, when the soft bell, that informed him about visitors at his door, woke him from his sleep.

According to the clock on the mantlepiece it was a little past two o’clock in the morning.
His neck gave a small crack when he straightened. He had been falling asleep in his armchair.

Even more surprised he was, when he opened the door, seeing who stood there.
He had expected to find one of his Slytherins.
Instead it was Harry.

The boy was clad only in a pyjama much to big for him and a pair of sneakers, that had seen better days. He was starring at the floor, his gaze empty.
Sluggishly the boy rose his head, but Severus did not really get the feeling he was really aware of his surroundings.
A twitch along the boy’s cheek caught his attention.

Without much thinking he took him by his shoulder, his grip gently but still tight, leading him inside and toward his couch.

Accio robe

When finally he had found the phial filled with green liquid, the twitching had already spread over the boy’s body.
The convulsions did not last for long and were already subsiding, when Severus had just applied the second drop.


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Harry woke up in a bed as comfortable as his own in the Gryffindor tower, but it was definitely not his own.
He searched for his glasses and looked around squinting.

He found himself in a small chamber, the walls painted in green and silver. A dark nightstand, a dresser and a simple desk with its chair were the only other furniture inside the room, leaving nearly not room for anything else.

He had not the slightest clue, where he was. Or how he had come here.

His shoes were nowhere to find.
Trying not to make any noise, he got um and tiptoed to the door.
Carefully he tried the handle and nearly jumped, when the door opened without any resistance.
With utmost care he slid through the crack stepping in a corridor with more doors on both sides. One door to his right was slightly ajar. A slim ray of light fell to the opening.
Harry knocked warily.
No one answered.
Slowly he pushed open the door … and found himself in Snapes living room.

Relief was flooding through him, nearly leaving him dizzy.

Behind him there was a creak.
Harry turned around.
Snape stood there, a green dressing gown around his slim body, a towel in his hands, drying his hair.
“Good morning, Harry.”
The fact, that Snape was neither surprised nor angry to see him took away some of Harry’s anxiousness – even if he still had no clue how he ended up in Snape’s quarters.
“Ehm, good morning, Sir.” Insecurely he stepped from one foot to the other.
“I must admit I have been quite surprised to find you in front of my door last night. I don’t know how much you can remember, but you were having a short seizure.”
Well that at least explained the sore feeling in his muscles.
“I … it … I am really sorry, Professor”, Harry began, but Snape made a declining gesture.
“What ever it had been, you were planing to do, I am sure it had not been that . But never the less I am anything but happy that you were roaming the school at two o’clock in the morning. Why don’t you take a seat in the living room, while I get myself ready and then we will have breakfast and a little talk.”


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With a swish of Snapes wand the water kettle started boiling, while the Professor was plying with boxes filled with tea. Harry was sitting on a chair at Snape’s small kitchen table, eyeing the contents of the plates in front of him, that were filled with ham and scrambled eggs.
Snape had invited him to join him for breakfast.
Not in the great hall, as Harry first had thought, but in his own, private kitchen.

With a soft clack a cup of tea flew towards him, landing within his reach. A second cup followed soon, before Snape took a seat opposite of him.
A small phial, filled with a well known fluid appeared next to Harry’s hand.
Harry felt his skin grow hot, then cold. He nearly physically could feel Snape’s sharp gaze.
“Are you alright, Harry?”
Harry gave a nod, then shrugged his shoulders before finally he shook his head.
“I’ve forgotten to take it”, he whispered.

He expected Snape to scold him, to scream, to be furious.
It had always been like that, when he did something wrong.
Instead the Professor took a piece of toast, spreading butter on it.

Harry was confused. “Are you not … angry?”
Snape stopped in his movements, his eyes connecting with Harry’s. “Harry, you are only twelve years old. You have had an stirring day and if there would be anyone I should be angry with, it would be me or Madam Pomfrey or Professor McGonagall, because we have not been making sure you remembered to take your medicine. We are the adults here after all, and it is our responsibility to take care of you.”

Harry’s throat suddenly felt hurtfully tight.
He was used to be looking out for himself.
He hurried to take a sip of his tea. It did not matter to him, that he burned his tongue, when it saved him from giving an immediately answer.
When he put down his cup Snape pushed the phial in his hand.
“Madam Pomfrey and I think it would be best if from now on you get your potion at breakfast and dinner and not in your dorm anymore. The house-elves will send it to your table.”
Harry nodded and opened the bottle.
The potion, like always, tasted a little strange. Like a mixture of toothpaste and liquorice. Not outright unpleasant, but neither exactly nice.

With another sip of tea he banish the lingering taste.

Chapter Text

-16- Detention


„Gosh Harry, I think you are the only person I know, who managed to get detention with Snape over Christmas break”, Seamus said with a pitiful gaze.
“That’s not true.” “You know us”, Fred and George declared.

Harry himself was not bothered by it much.
Snape had been quite understanding, that he had not been able to sleep. But Harry roaming the school at night had not been to his approval, so Harry had earned himself a detention during the last weekend of the holidays.
Secretly Harry even was looking forward to it a little, for Snape had told him he would be needing his help with a potion. But Harry did not dare to tell this to his friend. He knew, his dorm mates would not understand it.
So he just sat there, shrugging his shoulders, turning his attention back to his breakfast, while his classmates were planing a game of Quidditch for the afternoon.



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At ten o’clock sharp he knocked against Snape’s office door.
Together they stepped through the door leading to the Professor’s private laboratory.
They were brewing the first stage of a, as Harry was thinking, very complicated potion. Well, Snape was doing the actual brewing. Harry only helped him with preparing the ingredients.
The Professor, to Harry’s amazement, was using no books or notes at all, but instead was retrieving all information from his memory.
Harry was sure he had been learning more about potions that single days, than he had during the past year.
Without much effort Snape explained him the different properties of the ingredients as they went. Harry learned why it was important to make a difference in cutting and chopping, mincing and crushing.
Harry listened carefully, absorbing the information.
Brewing felt a little like cooking to him. And cooking had always been one of the few things at the Dursley’s he had actually enjoyed.
Now, that Snape had stopped with his nagging and constant critique about his poor performance, he realized he liked potions quite well.
Snape himself seemed fairly pleased by his work. Once or twice he corrected Harry’s grip around his knife or showed him a more effective way to handle a specific ingredient, but mostly he was approving about his work.


“Well, we are done for today. I would say we have earned ourselves some tea now.”
Snape extinguished the flames, took the cauldron from its stand and transferred its contents into a huge bulb. The bulb was sealed by a stopper and some wax before it was sent to a special holding device on one of the boards along the wall.
“What happens with it now?”, Harry asked.
“The potion has to rest for thirty-six hours before I may begin with its next stage.”
“Aha, and how many stages will there be until it is finished?”
“Seven. And three of them are demanding to be brewed at the right phase of the moon.”
“That sounds really complicated. Sir, maybe my question comes a little late, but what exactly is that potion meant to do?”
There was another door leading from the laboratory. Snape opened it and Harry stepped past him, finding himself in Snape’s private rooms. He knitted his brows in confusion. “Professor, actually I could swear the door leading to your office, and the one leading to your quarters are not ordered like this from the outside.”
“Sounds like magic to me, don’t you think so”, Snape said with a smile.


They sat down in Snape’s living room, where a tiny house elf was served them their tea. Harry still had trouble to distinguish whether these elves were male or female.
Snape took a sip of his tea and put down his cup. He leant forward a little, bringing together the tips of his slender fingers. “You have asked about the potion we were brewing.”
Harry gave a nod. He nearly had forgotten about his last question still being unanswered.
“Its name is Wolfsbane potion . It is, as you have already realized, a very complicated potion to brew, but its uses outweigh the troubles. Do you know, what Wolfsbane is used for?”
“Healing werewolfs?” Harry thought he had read something about it in his defence book.
“There is no way to heal a werewolf.” It sounded oddly embittered. “No, the potion only ensures they will not turn into brainless, murdering beasts. Or at least not more brainless than they are in their human forms.” Again that bitter tone.
Nevertheless Harry thought that potion sounded like a pretty cool thing. “But that means they will not be a danger for other humans anymore, doesn’t it?”
Snape leaned even closer towards him.
He seemed to struggle for his next words, choosing them with utmost care. “Harry, whatever you do, there is one thing you should always remember: a werewolf will never be harmless. You should never make the mistake to underestimate one of them, be it in their human or their beast form. With or without the potion, they will never be mere human or animal. And even a potion like Wolfsbane has its limitations. It must be brewed precisely. It has to be taken on a regular basis over the week before the next full moon, always at the same time. Only a few hours of variance can result in a complete loss of function and then no one should be near the beast when it shifts its form.”
“Oh.” Harry took a moment to think about his Professor’s words. “But when the werewolf is reliable and takes it with great care...”
“Then he will, at least if he is sensible about it, roll up somewhere and sleeps through the night without troubling anyone and that is the reason why I even take the efforts to brew it.”
They remained silent for some time.

“I do not wish to sound overcurious, but I would not have thought, such a potion would be needed here at Hogwarts.”
“I for myself am not surprised by anything occurring at Hogwarts anymore, but actually that potion is meant for someone outside of Hogwarts and its grounds.”


…. To be continued …

Chapter Text

-17- Wolfsbane


Wolfsbane! You’ve been allowed to brew Wolfsbane with him?! Wolfsbane.” Hermione’s high voice was loud enough to be heard by everyone inside the common room.
“Well, actually I have only been doing the cutting”, Harry tried to calm her down, but his efforts were in vain.
“Hermione, people could think you are jealous of Harry because he has been in detention for the weekend”, Ron chimed in.
“Jealous? Of course I am jealous! Not about the detention of course. But don’t you see what an opportunity that had been? There are only a few potion masters in Great Britain, which are able to brew that potion.”
“I did not even know, that Snape is that good”, Harry mumbled.
“Good? Harry, he is one of the best in Europe. The youngest wizard to become a potion master in over a hundred years. We all could learn a lot of things from him, if you would stop wasting the lessons, having your quarrels with the Slytherins.”

Inwardly Harry thought, she actually had a point, but he did not dare to say so in front of Ron and the other Gryffindors. The past year had been difficult enough for him so far.
Of course his classmates had become aware of the fact, that Snape was not picking on him anymore, but according to their theories it had to be because of Dumbledore interfering. “Pretty sure he heard about it and told him he would kick him out, if he doesn’t stop.”
Harry did not set them straight. He was scared about what they would say, if they knew, Harry had spent the greater part of the last holidays with Snape.
By choice.
And that he even planed to live with him during the summer.
Just because he wished to.
Especially Ron’s reaction was what he feared.
Before he went to Hogwarts, he never had had any friends. Dudley had seen to that. And now that he finally learned, how it felt to have friends, his greatest fear was to loose them.

While Harry still was deeply in thoughts, Ron and Hermione loudly were continuing their discussion about Snape’s qualities as a teacher. Harry was not listen to them anymore.
“Stop it you two”, finally one of the twins interrupted. Harry thought it could have been George, but was not entirely sure about it. “You two are free to continue your fight, as soon as everyone has left for dinner, so we are not forced to listen to your bickering. Come on Harry! It seems you could use some real food, after you’ve been caught up in the dungeons all day.”
Before Harry could protest, the two red-heads had taken him left and right, pulling him to his feet, manoeuvring him through the portrait hole, leaving behind a stunned Ron and a speechless Hermione.


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“Don’t let yourself get talked into something by Ron”, the left one, maybe Fred, said, when they had made it a few steps away from the common room. “Exactly. Snape may seem like a slave driver while he teaches, but if you think about, that every day he tries to stop imbecile students from blowing up his classroom, you nearly could understand him a little, I guess”, the other one filled in.
Harry only nodded quietly.
Behind them footsteps could be heard.
“Well Harry, here it is where our paths will separate.” “See you soon.”
And with that they vanished behind one of the tapestries.


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Ron and Hermione had chosen to stop their dispute and Harry actually was able do enjoy his dinner. He had been missing them and was happy that the holidays finally were over.
Ron was heaping mountains of mashed potatoes on his plate. Hermione beside him was reading in one of Lockhart’s books.
Things were, as they ever had been.
A small vial appeared on the table in front of him. Harry took it, draining it in one go before he took a sip of his pumpkin juice to banish its taste from his tongue.
Beside him Seamus curiously sniffed the empty vial. “Hmm, smells strange. What exactly is that, Harry?”
“Vitamins”, Harry mumbled.
Soon he left the table, declaring he still had to finish his essay for Professor Flitwick, before anyone else could ask more questions.

Chapter Text

-18- The great hero


Lockhart’s lessons exasperated Harry. And that after only two weeks in the new term.
Even with Quirrell, who had been stuttering and possessed by Voldemort, they had been learning more, than with this beau who was using every opportunity he could find to blow his own horn.
Saving an entire village, when lifting the curse of a werewolf.

It was the third time Lockhart was demonstrating that exact scene to them. This time it was poor Ron who had been chosen as the werewolf. Lockhart, of course, was playing himself.
“...and then the beast opens its mouth. Only inches away from my throat. But I, at the last moment, can reach for my wand ...”
Harry could not stand it any longer. He had the feeling he would burst, if he had to endure that nonsense another minute.
“If you are such a great hero, why is it, that your colleagues have left you behind to act as a babysitter, while they went to find the beast in Slytherin’s chamber?”

He had not spoken out very loud, but everyone in the room heard his words.
All eyes were switching from Lockhart to him and back again. Only a few gazes were shining with indignation. How could he dare to speak to the great Lockhart like that! But it seemed most of his classmates were not sad about the interruption and here and there he even won an encouraging gesture.
Lockhart himself was starring at him disbelieving. “Come again, please?”
Harry took a deep breath. “I asked you, why you, while you are such a prodigy, have not been going to the Chamber of secrets but instead have been sitting around in a common room?”
His classmates were making approving noises.
“I … I … the headmaster, the headmaster has of course chosen me to keep the students of this school save, while he himself...”
Harry laughed out loud. A quiet voice back in his head was telling him to be more careful, but he ignored it. His patience finally had come to an end.
“Chosen you?! Do you really think, we are stupid enough to believe such nonsense? Nothing you have been showing us during the year has actually been working. I even doubt, that only a single thing you have written in your books has ever been done by you. Probably you’ve just made the hole thing up to ...”
He was not able o finish his sentence.
The otherwise bright smile of his professor had twisted to an ugly grimace, while he lunged at Harry, his wand in hand, throwing them both to the ground.

From now on I will sit in the last row only was the last clear thought Harry had, before the back of his head connected painfully with the table behind him.
Only vague he felt, that Lockhart was pressing his wand against the pit between his jaw and his neck right underneath his left ear, while his with his other hand he tightly held him by his chin.
Expelliamus! “Stupor! The polyphonic spell ripped Lockhart’s wand away. Red sparks were flying towards them and Harry thought he felt a tingling sensation through Lockhart’s hand, before the professor above him went slack. The sudden growth in weigh was pressing against him, taking away his breath and he was very glad, when helpful hands were pulling the professor away from him.
“GO! Get McGonagall and Madam Pomfrey”, Harry heard, followed by hasty steps and the slamming of a heavy door.

Harry sat up. Dark spots were dancing in front of him, clouding his vision.
Someone took him by his shoulder.
“Careful Harry.” Ron’s voice.
Harry sluggishly felt the back of his head, which was still throbbing painfully.
His fingers came away oddly warm and sticky.
He dropped his arm again.
“Shit! Is that blood?”, Seamus asked, his voice a mixture of revulsion and fascination.
“You attacked a teacher. You’ve beaten a teacher!” Lavender’s high voice was shrilling in Harry’s ears.
“I definitely have not beaten him. I’ve only been using a simple stunning spell. And I am sure what we did will be seen as self-defence. After all he is the one who attacked Harry first. And that as a professor even!”
If Harry would not have felt so poorly just now, he would have laughed.
For Hermione all teachers were like saints.
He felt Ron’s grip around his shoulders tighten.
“You alright there, Harry? You’re looking a little pale. You’re shivering.”
Harry, who needed all his concentration to keep his stomach at bay, only shook his head.
“Neville, make the others leave. I guess Harry could need some peace and quiet just now.”

Their cloaks rustling and feet clattering, his classmates slowly left the room.
Ron and Hermione were changing a few words.
Shortly afterwards she put something next to him on the floor.
Harry looked at it.
A bucket. Where she found it he was not sure, but it did not matter right now.
His thoughts were tumbling through his head and seemed to dissolve before he could get a grip of them.
“Just in case”, Ron mumbled.

Harry would have thanked them, but a twitch in his jaw was hindering him.

Chapter Text

-19- Friendship (part one)


Severus hasted along the hallways.
The crowd of students in front of him disbanded like a swarm of flies, when he came upon them, his cloak billowing behind him.

With more force than necessary he threw open the door.
His gaze immediately fell on Lockhart’s cloak in shining brightly purple. His colleague’s body was laying on the floor of the aisle. Someone had been nice enough to roll the unconscious man to his side.
What a shame! Someone had pre-empted him.
He would have to find a good moment to award the Gryffindors some well earned house points.
Granger was kneeing on the floor in the first row, Weasley beside her.
Severus hurried to get to them.

Lockhart definitely could wait.

They had been using Weasley’s cloak as a pillow for Harry’s head. Had shoved away desks and chairs.
Harry himself lay on his side, blinking at them in confusion.
“How long?”, the Professor asked.
“Forty-four seconds.”
He silently thanked Merlin for Ms. Granger’s quick comprehension.
“He hit his head, Sir. First we thought it was not so bad, only a laceration. But then ...” Her voice broke as she stifled a sob. Weasley, also he seemed just as shocked, insecurely patted her shoulder, trying to comfort her.
It could have been lovely to watch, had Severus had found the time to note it.

“Harry.” He carefully touched the boy’s arm. “Can you hear me?”
A small nod.
Severus rose his wand. His silver doe darted away in search of Poppy.
He examined Harry’s eyes with skilled hands. The pupils were reacting a little to slow, but at least they were the same size.
“Ouch.” Harry squinted his eyes and tried to move away from the light.
“You never do things by half, do you? To get yourself get knocked out earning yourself a concussion, by Lockhart of all people. It’s nearly laughable.”
Ms. Granger gasped, when Harry gave him the finger.
Severus had to suppress a laugh.
It had not been something he had been expecting from Harry, but that the boy was able to react to his teasing at all, felt oddly reassuring to him.

Fast steps were introducing Poppy’s entrance, Minerva by her side.
“Merlin! Severus, what happened?”
“What exactly had been occurring surely can be explained by Ms. Granger and Mr. Weasley later on. I just know, what Finnigan has told me, when he ran into me in the staff room in full panic. It seems Harry was having a battle of words with our dear colleague , but Lockhart soon decided to end it by knocking him half unconscious, before holding him at wandpoint. His classmates then decided to interfere, standing up to the great hero of many battles. And as we all can see, said hero had no chance against some half grown witches and wizards.”
Poppy knelt down beside Harry. Granger and Weasley eagerly made room for her.
“Ms. Granger said, the convulsion were lasting for forty-four seconds only. The both of them had been smart enough to shield him from further harm. The laceration he got from Lockhart.”
The healer nodded, while with fast hands she examined Harry. Now and then she waved her wand, producing colourful sparks.
Finally she nodded, seeming content with the results.
“Well Mr. Potter, it seems, you have not suffered any lasting harm.”

Harry did not answer her. He had fallen asleep.
The healer floated him on a stretcher, levitating him outside.
Minerva followed them with Lockhart in tow, leaving Severus and the two children behind.


“I never would have thought I would ever be saying something like that, but Mr. Weasley, Ms. Granger, for your thoughtful and fast acting you have earned yourself twenty points each.”
Both of them were starring at him like they were trying to consider weather him or them just had lost their wits.
“Ehm, thank you. Professor, is Harry really going to be alright?”, the girl finally asked.
“I know, Madam Pomfrey surely is quite good with her work, but my parents are sending me to first aid lessons each summer and I am very sure it is not a good sign if someone has a seizure after sustaining a head injury.”
Severus gave a sigh.
He had been telling Harry more than once, that it would be wiser to tell his friends about it, but that boy could be stubbornly as a mule.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - -to be continued - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Chapter Text

- 19 B- Friendship


Harry turned around half asleep. Underneath him linen sheets rustled.

Not again.

He did not have to open his eyes to know where he was.
He sighed in frustration.
“Harry, are you awake?” That had been Ron.
“Eloquent as ever. Haven’t I told you he would be just the same, when he wakes up?”
Oh, he had not expected Snape to be there.
Harry opened his eyes and felt for his glasses… and could not find them.
Someone was nice enough to help him.
His brain seemed to work slower than usual.

Ron and Hermione were sitting site by site next to him, Snape on a chair near his feet. He was relived no one else could be seen nearby.
“What’s happn’d?”
Not only his brain, also his tongue seemed to work in slow motion.
His friend exchanged insecure looks.
Well, that was never a good sign.

“It seems you had the great idea to confront Lockhart in class today. Luckily that man, as the talented wizard that he is, had chosen to first attack you with brutal body force instead of cursing you. He even managed to give you a concussion. Congratulations! That should make you the first and only person ever to be defeated by him. Your friends and classmates stepped in and stopped him from killing you. But the event, it seems, has triggered a short seizure. By the way, you have not only found yourself friends with courage and high responsiveness, but also friends with remarkably good first-aid skills. And said friends have been quite offended by the idea, that you thought they would leave you if they learned, you are not like everyone else. We were having two wonderful hours to talk about you and your seizures, and what to do, if they again witness you having one and no one else is around. What is exactly the thing I told you over and over again would only be a matter of time to happen. As you can see, the both of them have not been running away so far but instead chose to sit here, waiting for your awakening.”

Harry needed a few moments to understand the things Snape just had told him.
He could feel his eyes filling with tears.
Hermione caringly pressed his hand and Ron was padding his knee a little awkwardly, while he cried.
“Professor, you really could have chosen your words with a bit more care!”
“It’s alright”, Harry sniffled. “I am only relived you finally know about it. And I guess I’m still a little out of it.”

“I think it will be no problem, if I leave you to your friends for know, Harry. I will come back later in the evening.” The Professor handed him a handkerchief.
Harry tried his tears and blew his nose.
“ Thank you. See you later, Professor.”


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“Harry, what exactly happened between you and Snape?”, Ron asked as soon as the Professor had disappeared. “Since when does he call you Harry? And I’m very sure that no one ever flipped the finger at one of his professors in Hogwarts without further consequences. Most of all if that professor has been Snape.”
“I’ve been doing WHAT ? Impossible.”
“But I tell you, that’s exactly what happened. And Snape even seemed to think it to be funny. I always have thought he is not even able to do it, but I tell you, he smiled.”
Harry took a deep breath. Also he could not remember anything, he would have to apologise to Snape, as soon as they met again.

“You maybe won’t believe me, but Snape is capable of laughing too.” And of crying . But that he would never be telling anyone. “He can be really nice.”
Ron looked at him bewildered. “I think Madam Pomfrey better should be taking another look at your head.”

Harry gave him a friendly nudge for that.


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