The Draught of Asphodel by Ttime42
Summary: When Harry accidentally drinks a brutal potion with roots in dark magic, he has to reluctantly rely on Hogwarts’ prickly Potions Master to fix the outcome.
Categories: Healer Snape, Teacher Snape > Professor Snape, Parental Snape > Guardian Snape Main Characters: None
Snape Flavour: Snape Comforts, Snape is Kind, Snape Spanks, Snape is Stern
Genres: Angst, Family, Fluff, Hurt/Comfort
Media Type: None
Tags: Alternate Universe, Injured!Harry
Takes Place: 5th Year
Warnings: Physical Abuse, Physical Punishment Spanking
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 15 Completed: Yes Word count: 67467 Read: 29964 Published: 16 Jan 2023 Updated: 13 Jul 2023
The Quidditch Match by Ttime42
Harry slept late on Sunday morning. They weren’t going to go to Hogsmeade today as there was really no reason. They couldn’t fly again. The Great Hall had a longer breakfast period on Sundays, on account of many students using the morning to relax, do homework, or sleep. Harry stumbled into the Hall at half ten and found Hermione and Ron at one of the long Gryffindor tables. Ron was eating and watching Hermione, who was engrossed in her new planner, writing notes in it and adding study guides to the tabbed sections.

“Hey.” Harry sat beside Ron.

“Morning, Harry.” He said through a mouthful of toast.

There weren’t many students in the Great Hall. Snape and Lupin were at the teacher’s table, leaned back in their chairs and holding mugs, chatting. Flitwick was talking to Professor Sprout. Harry pulled a platter of sausages and toast towards himself and added some to his plate.

Movement from the ceiling caught his eye and he saw Hedwig. She and a few school owls were carrying a long, rectangular crate.

“What the hell?” Harry said, watching dumbly as the owls came nearer.

“Make space!” Hermione said.

Harry and Ron moved their plates and Hermione the planner as the owls landed hard on the table and released a package that was longer than Harry was tall. The school owls flew off but Hedwig perched on the handle of an empty fruit bowl and stole a crust off Harry’s plate.

“What did you order?” Ron asked, staring at the long, wrapped box in puzzlement.

“Nothing.” Harry said.

“Well, are you going to open it?” Hermione asked.

Harry took his butter knife and slipped it under the crate’s fastenings. He pulled open the top and made a sort of gasping gulping sound.

The logo for the Moonshot Silver was stamped on the outside of the crate.

“What?” He breathed. He ripped open the rest of the box, revealing the beautiful broom.

“What!” Ron grabbed him and started to jump up and down with joy. “What the fuck, Harry?!”

Harry was shocked, staring at the amazing broom. The silver logo glinted in the morning light. The handle glittered. The tail was a handsome twist of deep red and black twigs. He was too stunned to think until Ron hooted and pumped his fist. A smile broke over Harry’s face and he cheered, drawing the attention of other students.

“Harry!” Fred Weasley clapped him on the back and leaned over his shoulder, eying the broom like a starving man would a steak. “Where’d you get this?”

“It just came in the mail! I don’t know!” He couldn’t stop smiling. He put his hands in his hair in disbelief. Who had sent this?

“Wicked!” George ran a reverent finger over the black-bronze handle.

Ron and the twins were chattering and Hermione cleared her throat, getting Harry’s attention. She handed him a note that had fallen out of the packaging. Her eyebrows were up and she didn’t look entirely thrilled as she handed the note to him. Harry unfolded it and read.


Tell them it’s from Black.

-Professor Snape



Harry’s jaw dropped and he stared at Hermione as he folded the note back up and slipped it quietly into his pocket. He turned and looked at the teacher’s table. Lupin waved to him. Snape was completely inscrutable, watching him, sipping from his mug.

Harry couldn’t think much more about it as the rest of the Gryffindor quidditch team showed up and joyfully mobbed him, knocking him onto the floor.




The present members of the quidditch team ran down to the pitch for an impromptu practice. Harry took a turn around the pitch on the broom first. It was even better than it had been the previous day, light under his hands and as responsive as his own soul. He could stay up in the sky for days with it. He landed after a few minutes and let the others take turns having a go. He was glad to share. He could fly it whenever he wanted and he knew that letting everyone have a ride would shoot team morale straight through the stars.

Angelina was as happy as if she’d gotten her own Moonshot Silver.

“We’re gonna kill Slytherin!” She said happily. “Harry’s gonna see the snitch in the first five minutes and with this beauty? He’ll move faster than light! We’re gonna win, I can feel it!”

They spent most of the day flying until the weather started to turn. They went back to the castle before dinner and the team parted ways, congratulating Harry, praising Sirius for being a brilliant godfather, and promising to see each other at the next practice.

“I need to find him.” Harry told Hermione. He passed the broom to Ron, who promised solemnly on pain of death to bring it safely to Gryffindor tower. No one besides Hermione and Ron knew the broom was from Snape and Harry intended on keeping it that way.

“It’s blatant favoritism.” Hermione chided. “Tell him you can’t accept.”

“Like hell!” Ron said. “Keep it! He was even more of a prat this year than usual!”

Hermione rolled her eyes.

Harry went along the empty corridor towards the dungeons, pleased when he turned the corner and found Snape walking towards him from the other direction, reading something from a small book.

“Harry.” He nodded in greeting.

Harry couldn’t help himself. “Oh my god, thank you!” He wrapped his arms around his professor’s torso tight, his face mashed into the buttons going up his black shirt. Snape froze, arms raised.

“You have no idea what this means to me.” Harry said, his voice muffled in his shirt. Snape’s back was hot under his hands. The man was like a furnace, truly. No wonder he was comfortable in the icy dungeons.

“Harry.” Snape sounded slightly annoyed as he extracted himself gently from Harry’s hug and waved his hand, opening the door to an empty classroom nearby. They both went in and Snape shut the door.

Harry was pacing and babbling a stream of consciousness. Had he really hugged Snape?! What the hell was the matter with him? “This is incredible, sir, really, it’s amazing—I can’t believe you did that. Merlin that had to be expensive, you must be loaded? I can pay you back? It feels so good after this bullshit year to finally have something nice happen…” He trailed off and stopped pacing. Snape hadn’t said a word, simply watching him pace and babble.

“Why did you get it for me?” Harry asked finally.

“Because you had a supremely difficult year. What you went through with me was bad enough. Umbridge certainly didn’t help. And no, this broom is a gift. I don’t want or expect you to pay me back. You’ve done well, Harry. You’ve earned it.” He paused for a moment as if trying to convince himself to keep talking. “I’m proud of you.” He said it quickly, awkwardly as if the words weren’t familiar to him.

To Harry’s horror, Snape’s praise made his eyes fill. No one had ever told him they were proud of him before. Why did he always end up crying when he was with Snape? Harry rubbed his eyes. “Thank you.” He murmured. He was still in disbelief. Snape had said he was proud of him. Snape had bought him a broom.

“I’ve been a real bastard to you this year.” Snape picked at the binding of his book, “and I…wanted to make it up to you.”

“Sir…” Harry scrubbed his hand through his hair. “It’s so much, though. And teachers aren’t supposed to—wait you’re the Head of Slytherin!”

“Observant of you.”

“I’m playing you guys—I’m Gryffindor—I’m like, the enemy!”

“No house is ‘the enemy’ of another house. You’re all students at Hogwarts. The broom can be our secret and besides,” he scoffed, “even if you told everyone it was from me no one would believe you.”

“That’s true.” Harry said thoughtfully. “Ron and Hermione know.”

“Naturally. Give your godfather the credit. However,” Snape’s voice hardened and stepped towards Harry slowly, “I don’t want you using that broom as a reason for not doing your homework.”

Harry nodded fast.

“You have O.W.Ls coming and I don’t want to see you flying when you should be studying, understand?”

“Yes. Yes, sir.”

Snape came to a stop in front of him. “If I see you slacking off because of that broom I will take it away.”

“Yes, sir! I mean, no, sir. I, I’ll study hard.”

“Good.” Snape put his arm around Harry’s shoulder and pulled him to his side in a hug. Harry looked down as his neck flushed, basking in the hug.

“Thank you again. I…” He went silent, at a loss for words.

Snape shook his head and suppressed an eye roll, glad he’d made the right choice. “You’re welcome, Harry.”

Harry was heading for the common room when he ran into Draco.

“What are you doing here?” Draco sneered as they passed on the stairs that lead to the potions classroom. The classroom wasn’t too far from the Slytherin common room, and unless anyone was going to class, seeing Snape, or going to the Slytherin common room, there was really no reason to be over in this part of the castle.

“None of your bloody business.” Harry pushed past him and walked.

“Hey! Rumor has it you got a Moonshot Silver.”

Harry grinned. “Rumors are true.”

Draco looked stunned.

“What with your father outfitting the entire Slytherin team with Moonshots—”

Draco looked away and Harry had the idea that Malfoy may have been all talk.

“—now it’s a bit more even. We’re really going to wipe the floor with you on Wednesday.” Harry walked away and Draco, for once, had nothing to say.

Wednesday afternoon was cloudy and cool, threatening rain. The whole school was at the pitch, ready to watch the game between the Gryffindors and Slytherins—none of whom had a Moonshot Silver. The Moonshot felt great in Harry’s gloved hand and he couldn’t wait to fly it in front of the whole school. He felt smug as hell surrounded by all these Slytherins while secretly knowing that Snape had given him and only him the best broom in existence. Madame Hooch blew the whistle and the teams took off. Harry indulged himself in the simple joy of being airborne on such a fine broom for exactly three seconds before he started looking for the snitch. The cheering crowd was a din of background noise. He heard Luna’s roaring Gryffindor hat and smiled. A bludger came flying towards him and he did a lazy spin, easily dodging it.

Lee Jordan was commenting, talking mostly about Harry’s broom.

“—what a beaut the Moonshot Silver is. Looks great out there on the pitch, maybe the rest of the Gryffindors can get their hands one too, hmmm?”

“Jordan! Focus!” McGonagall’s muffled voice could be heard and the boy hastily shifted into commenting on what he was seeing.

“A nice pass there from George Weasley and OH! That was a close call with that bludger, Katie! Good thing Fred was there to beat off. Beat IT off, I mean!”

“LEE JORDAN!”

“Slip of the tongue, Professor, won’t happen again!”

The clouds gathered, turning grey and angry. Any moment now it would start to pour.

Each team scored and Harry hadn’t seen a whiff of the snitch. He had seen Malfoy’s face though. He looked angry and jealous every time he caught sight of Harry mounted on the sleek broom.

“What happened, Malfoy?” Harry said, unable to resist a taunt. “Daddy didn’t come through with the brooms?”

His face turned red. “You’re dead, Potter!”

Harry zoomed off and Malfoy was unable to keep up. Harry caught a glimpse of gold but it vanished as soon as he saw it. Damn. A few raindrops fell from the sky. Harry muttered the impervious incantation Hermione taught him so the water wouldn’t stick to his glasses.

He saw a bludger go flying from George’s bat right towards Malfoy. He ducked at the last second and it soared past him. The crowd let out a “ooohhh!”

Malfoy flew up to George and shouted something. George responded. Malfoy yelled something else and Harry glided towards them.

“Fuck off, Malfoy!” George yelled. He looked upset.

“Your whole family is a bunch of pathetic, poor, lowlifes!” Malfoy yelled. George, annoyed, flew off, putting distance between them.

“Malfoy, even if you did see the snitch, there’s no way you could catch it on that snail you’re riding!” Harry yelled.

George threw his head back, laughing.

Draco snarled and Harry sailed off, delighted, light as a feather and fast as a cheetah.

The snitch!

He dove, zooming to the ground at speed. He was vaguely aware of Lee Jordan’s excited screaming voice and the rise in volume from the crowd. The snitch vanished and Harry pulled up.

“DID HE GET IT, FOLKS?” Lee bellowed.

Harry gave two thumbs down and half the crowd groaned while the other half cheered.

“The Moonshot Silver that Potter’s currently flying is a stunning little number of a broom, just released a few weeks ago in fact.” Lee added.

“Jordan, enough with the broom!” McGonagall shouted behind him. “The game!”

“Oh look at that, Slytherin just scored.”

Cheers and groans once again erupted.

“Hey Weasley!” Draco yelled over the sheeting rain. “You’re useless and your whole team is useless—just like your useless loser of a father!”

Harry slowed. His blood began to boil.

“You little arsehole!” George shouted. He dove for Malfoy but he darted off, laughing. Harry’s heart was pounding but he pushed the enraged feeling aside. He’d been getting better at controlling his angry feelings this year and much of that was thanks in part to Snape’s ministrations, as much as he hated to admit it. Also destroying Umbridge’s office had released a lot of tension. He still couldn’t believe he hadn’t been expelled for that.

Harry looked for the snitch. It was elusive this game and the rain that was pouring now certainly wasn’t helping. Was that it? No.

He heard Draco shouting again at George. Harry rolled his eyes. This was getting ridiculous. The words, “stinking hovel” and “ugly mother” reached Harry’s ears.

“Hey Potter! Your mum was a mudblood, maybe that’s why you like hanging out with lowlifes like the Weasleys!” Harry’s temper exploded. Harry zoomed towards Draco, George beside him, completely forgetting that they were in the middle of a quidditch game. Draco caught a beater’s bat his teammate tossed him. A bludger followed and Draco whacked it hard towards Harry. He ducked, heard a snapping crunching sound, and then suddenly everything was spinning and the wet grass was getting close fast. The crowd gasped and Harry managed to keep his body above his broom, grateful now that Oliver Wood had insisted so long ago that they all practiced how to fall properly. The Moonshot wobbled dangerously and listed to the side. He drifted into George who already had his hands on Malfoy and the three of them crashed to the muddy ground in a tangled heap of broomsticks.

The crowd was going nuts.

“C’mere, ya little shit head!” George shouted. He leaped to his feet and threw himself on Malfoy. Malfoy kneed George in the ribs and Harry pounced on Draco, landing a satisfying punch to his face.

“Nice!” George growled. They all slipped in the mud and fell.

They ignored Madame Hooch, screaming at them to stop fighting. None of them saw the teachers running across the field. Madame Hooch shot a spell at them and missed.

Draco scrambled to his feet and swung his fist, connecting with George. Harry jumped on him. Malfoy ducked and swung blindly, getting a lucky shot when he hit Harry in the side of the face. He saw stars. Harry shook his head and shoved him to the mud and George straddled him. George landed a punch and Malfoy covered his muddy, bloody face.

“Punch him again!” Harry screamed.

A very familiar heavy hand wrapped around his arm like a band of iron. “Stop it, Potter!” Snape’s voice was behind him, shouting to be heard over the rain.

“I’m gonna kill him!”

“You will not!”

Harry twisted and yanked his arm out of Snape’s grasp. It hurt when he broke free and the crowd let out a low, awed “oooohhhh!” at Harry’s boldness as he blatantly, publicly disobeyed the strictest teacher in the school. Both of them almost fell into the mud. Snape swore.

“He insulted Ron’s dad!” Harry shouted, advancing again on a cowering Malfoy. “He called my mum mudblood!” He really wanted to land another punch to Malfoy’s ugly mug. It felt good to get angry and let it out on Malfoy’s face.

And if he was going to get it from Snape, he may as well make it worth it.

Two heavy hands landed on both his biceps and Snape hauled him backwards. Harry didn’t need to see his face to know he was pissed off.

McGonagall cast a stinging hex that hit George in the leg and Draco in the ribs and they finally broke apart, hissing in pain. Madame Hooch yanked George away from Malfoy. Draco stood up, shaken. Blood was dripping from his mouth and nose.

Something about seeing Malfoy’s blood made Harry want to punch him more. He jerked his arm, trying to get out of Snape’s grip again.

“Harry!” Snape growled. He very nearly smacked him on the backside before remembering that most of the school was watching. “What has gotten into you!?”

Harry bared his teeth. Snape gave him a little shake and leaned down, speaking in his ear. “You are three seconds away from getting smacked in front of the whole school. Would you like a spanking right now? Right here? Because I will.”

The threat of the spanking took some of the fight out of the boy and Harry relaxed.

“No.” He answered Snape. “No. Okay I won’t punch him again. Let me go.”

“I will not.” Snape scoffed. He clamped his hand on Harry’s scruff and spun him around, marching him towards the castle. He followed McGonagall who was leading a very angry George and Malfoy.

Harry glanced back. His Moonshot was laying pathetically in the wet grass, a chunk of the splintered tail broken off and twisted.

Being on the receiving end of one of McGonagall’s heated lectures was bad. Receiving a dressing down from Snape delivered in a ice-cold tone was also bad. Getting scolded by both of them together? That was just cruel.

Harry, George, and Draco were stood in front of her desk. Harry’s arm was still sore from where he’d ripped himself away from Snape. The side of his face hurt from where Draco had slugged him. His glasses had broken and were already repaired and back on his nose and his left eye was swelling and warm. George had a bloody nose and an impressive bruise on his jaw. Draco, outnumbered, looked the worst. He had a bruised eye, a nose that had finally stopped bleeding, and a split lip. All of them were rumpled and muddy and all of them had watery eyes. Not from the fight, but because Snape had picked them apart without raising his razor-sharp voice above the volume of a normal conversation, chastising them dearly about respect and maturity. He brought all three boys to the brink of tears before handing the reins to McGonagall.

She was reprimanding them now far more voluminously than Snape had. “Brawling like trolls in front of the entire school!” McGonagall chided. “You three have muddied the name of this institution with your disrespectful display of violence!” Snape was beside her, arms crossed so the folds of his cloak made him look like a great bat, glaring at each miscreant in turn. George and Harry held their heads high. Draco was staring at the floor. Harry didn’t care what happened. He was not going to stand by while someone insulted the Weasleys or his mother even if it meant a spanking.

“What do you have to say for yourselves?” She snarled.

“Draco insulted my dad.” George said.

“He got what was coming to him.” Harry added.

“Draco, why did you insult Mr. Weasley?” Snape asked.

“I was just ragging on them, Professor.” Draco said to him. “Like at any other game. These two went mental!”

“You haven’t seen mental, dickhead.” George snapped.

“George!” McGonagall shouted. “Language!”

“He was saying terrible things about my mum and their mum and their whole family.” Harry said to McGonagall. “He broke my broom on purpose with the bludger.” He said this to Snape.

“No, I didn’t.” Draco said, unconvincing.

“Malfoy,” Snape said, “did you break the broom tail on purpose?”

Draco nodded pathetically and hung his head again.

“Malfoy, I’m disappointed in you.” Snape said. He looked at Harry and said, “I’m disappointed in all of you.”

Harry’s insides tensed up at those words and he looked away, his neck heating in shame. Since when did he care what Snape thought about him? Who cares if the man was disappointed in him? When had that changed? Right around the time he apologized and started being decent to me.

“I don’t regret what I did.” Harry said boldly.

“Me neither.” George added.

McGonagall shook her head. “Your loyalty is admirable, Mr. Potter, but you all still broke the rules and will be punished.”

“With me, Malfoy.” Snape said. “We will continue our discussion in my office.”

Harry knew that tone. Draco wouldn’t be sitting comfortably today. And neither would he, for that matter. He could already feel the Nox rubrum coming to life, making his entire body ache.

Snape swept out of McGonagall’s office. Draco followed dejectedly and Harry almost felt bad for him. Almost.

“Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasley, both of you will serve detention with me and twenty points will be lost. Both of you will have detention tomorrow night. Report to the library at seven.”

“Yes, Professor,” they both said.

“Mr. Weasley, go to Madame Pomfrey and get cleaned up.”

“Yes, ma’am.” George turned and left the office, leaving McGonagall and Harry alone.

“Do you need Severus’ attention?”

“I will. I don’t get attacks as often as I did last term but the ones I do get are really bad.”

She nodded. “Head down to the dungeons then. Do you need Madam Pomfrey?”

“Once he’s through with me I will.” Harry muttered. He turned to leave.

“Harry, before you go, is everything alright with Severus now?”

Harry nodded. “He apologized. Um, he’s been really good about it, actually. He’s, well, he’s decent about it all. He gives me healing potions and numbing stuff.”

“Excellent.” She nodded, relieved. Good job, Severus, she thought to herself. “Alright, go on, quick. You rather did earn this one I’m afraid.”




As much as Harry hated the prospect of a spanking, this time, it felt worth it. He had landed good punches on Draco and felt fortified to take whatever Snape did to him. He would cry and it would hurt, but nothing beat the satisfaction of having drawn that annoying little git’s pure blood out onto his fists.

Sharp lances of pain shot through his torso as he approached Snape’s office and he hoped the man was done with Draco. The rest of the school was returning to the castle. Harry vaguely wondered which team won. Angelina would have put the subs in. The office door was open. Snape saw him coming and waved him inside. Harry entered and pushed the door closed. He leaned back on it.

“Thought you’d come down.” Snape said. “Learned your lesson about waiting last time, hm?

“Yessir.”

Harry noticed the paddle on the desk and wondered if that was for him or if Draco had become acquainted with it.

“What did you do to Draco?” He asked.

“That is none of your concern.” Snape said.

Harry gasped and dropped into a crouch by the door. His whole body buzzed with pain.

Snape came over to him and helped him get to his feet.

“I’m guessing you need to ‘see me?’” Snape asked.

“Yes.”

“Honestly, Potter, what were you thinking?”

Potter?

“Draco insulted the Weasleys!” Harry snapped, stung by the use of his surname instead of the more informal first name basis Snape had slipped into. “He called my mum a mudblood! I wasn’t going to let that fly.”

“Wrong as he was, that’s no excuse for pummeling him. I almost smacked you on the pitch! I had to repeatedly pull you off of him.”

Harry shrugged and Snape’s temper flared.

“Don’t you have anything to say for yourself?”

“So what?” Harry said, annoyed. “Yes, that’s my excuse. It’s not a good one but Draco was being an arsehole and I don’t regret punching him. Also? He broke the broom! On purpose! Because he was jealous!”

Snape stood there with tight folded arms and a stern expression on his face. “Do not shout at me.”

“Sorry.”

“That broom can be fixed.” Snape said.

“Malfoy can be fixed too.” Harry muttered.

Snape pointed to the armless chair and Harry went over to it. He frowned. “What should I…?”

“Put your hands on the seat of the chair.”

Harry’s stomach dropped. “You’re not going to sit?”

“Not this time, Potter.”

There it was again. Potter. Why did Snape call him Potter? What happened to ‘Harry’ when it was just the two of them? He liked when Snape called him by his first name. And why wouldn’t Snape put him over his knee? He preferred being over the man’s knee. The whole ordeal was easier to take when he was held snug and tight over Snape’s sturdy leg.

It was just nice to have an adult in his life who seemed to give a damn. He wondered if this was what having parents felt like. Someone who knew things who would encourage you and defend you and tell you when you screwed up. He never in a million years though it would be Snape that he’d feel anything positive towards, but given everything that had happened this year he supposed it made a weird kind of sense. Him and the self-proclaimed ‘bastard’ had developed a strange relationship born in a painful crucible. Harry genuinely respected the man now and valued his opinion and even companionship. As far as he could tell, Snape at least somewhat returned that sentiment. He’d given him all that detention time to finish homework in his office and he made Umbridge leave him alone and he gave him sweets and let him redo the peace potion and he’d gifted him the broom! The beautiful Moonshot with its tail now shattered. Harry didn’t want to lose whatever that fledgling relationship was between him and Snape but he didn’t know how to further strengthen and preserve it either. He respected Snape now, possibly more than any other teacher. He actively wanted to do right by him.

Harry grit his teeth and bent down, placing his leather-clad hands on the chair seat. He still had his quidditch gear on. The way it was designed, it wasn’t possible to take just the trousers down without removing half the clothes so over fabric it would be. It didn’t much matter. The trouser fabric was thin. Snape picked up the paddle, transfigured it into the heavier wooden hairbrush, and came to his side. He pushed aside the long red cape of the quidditch uniform to reveal Harry’s backside.

“Brace yourself, Potter.” Snape brought the brush down hard and tears that had nothing to do with the physical pain of the smack immediately fell from Harry’s eyes. Another smack, then another. Harry stared at the seat of the chair, wishing he was over the man’s leg. His backside hurt, of course it did, but the distance hurt more. Snape didn’t want to touch him, just like his relatives never wanted to touch him. Snape probably hated him now because Harry kept screwing up and forcing the man to waste his time on him. Harry assumed Snape was upset that the broom was broken. He would probably take the expensive gift away. Vernon had told Harry loads of times that ‘freaks don’t deserve nice things’ and it looked like it was true. Harry hadn’t even owned the broom a week before he managed to break it.

It was like all the progress they’d been making since the apology was unraveling with every distant smack. This unusual pseudo-mentorship was slipping like sand through his fingers and Harry hated it. A sob escaped his mouth and he reached up to wipe his eyes, the leather glove rough on his skin. More tears fell and he hung his head, his shoulders heaving with his cries.

Snape paused, listening to the boy sob. Potter’s reaction seemed odd. He didn’t normally cry this hard this early on in a punishment. He’d only smacked him three times. He shrugged and chalked it up to the fight and the epic scolding in McGonagall’s office. He knew how awful it was to be scolded and he and Minerva had laid into them hard, wanting to impart just how foolish they’d all looked.

Harry tensed up and gasped and Snape knew another jolt had just wracked his body. He enchanted the stinging hex onto the smooth wood.

“A few more, Potter.”

Harry glanced back at the hated brush. He nodded and Snape snapped the hard-backed brush all over his bottom. Harry choked on a cry and Snape’s heart, an organ he never paid much attention to, cracked. He ignored it and brought the brush down several more times quickly with the intention of ending the attacks as fast as possible. He paused and put his hand on Harry’s back, doing his best to ignore the cries as he watched the ticking clock.

Harry’s body convulsed as another attack wracked his muscles. He put his hand on his chest and coughed. The brush wasn’t stopping the attacks. Snape took a deep breath and transfigured the brush into a cane. Could he? He’d never held a cane in his life, much less whacked someone with it. The thin stick of wood was light in his hand. How could something so light and thin hurt so badly?


“Unnatural, dirty little freak.” Tobias’ words seared forever into Severus’ head as the man hefted a cane over his trembling son. “I’ll whip that magic shit right out of you.”


“Snape!” Harry shuddered, rubbing his chest.

Before he could think any more about it, Snape raised the cane and slammed it smartly across Harry’s backside. Harry was silent, shocked for a moment before he gasped raggedly as the pain bit. Snape, not wanting Harry to have a heart attack and die—he had no more modified cardiac potions—swung again, this time a bit wildly. He caught Harry diagonally and the tip of the cane cut into his hip.

Harry sank into a kneeling position, his head ducked into his folded arms on the chair. He was sobbing harder than ever with one hand pressed against his backside and Snape felt like the world’s worst person. He imagined how this would look to another teacher: him standing over the cowering boy, wielding a cane while the child curled on the floor in a puddle of red and gold fabric, wailing his heart out. Snape closed his eyes. He had become his own father. Harry’s inflamed eye and bruised face certainly didn’t help and the tableau was disturbingly familiar to Snape. It was never ever one he wanted to see repeated with himself in the position of the domineering, abusive arsehole.

He rubbed his hand over his face, surprised to find his cheeks were damp. He could count on one hand the number of times he’d cried since coming of age. Harry had now been present during two of those times.

Logic started kicking in. He wasn’t prone to allowing his emotions to run off without him. He realized on some level that his beating Potter truly wasn’t the same thing as his father having a go at him. He remembered Harry’s voice in Albus’ office a few days ago saying, “you’re not beating me…it’s the potion, not you.”

He shook his head. Harry was right. It was the potion. He hated what it made him become.

He went to Harry’s side and laid his hand softly on his dark head, offering comfort. A sudden thought that he never had anyone to do this for him after his father had finished entered his head. Rather than breaking him that thought somehow gave him strength. He would be the kind of adult for Harry that he needed when he was a child. Snape blinked a few times, getting his own emotions finally in check, and looked at the clock to count the seconds. After all these horrible beatings, how could Harry ever look at him again? How could they ever be in the same room together? Once Harry had taken the antidote, he would never want to speak to him again.

“Anything?” Snape asked. He cleared his throat.

Harry shook his head. Snape turned the cane back into the paddle and sent it over to his desk.

Harry dragged himself to his feet and Snape steadied him. Harry paused to rub his backside for a few seconds. His eyes were red and his face flushed and wet. He had a blank look on his face like he had just received terrible news. He turned to leave the office.

“Potter.” Snape said.

Harry shook his head and walked away.

“Harry!”

Harry froze, almost turned around, but kept walking.

Snape watched him go. Something was different. This wasn’t like the other times and Snape couldn’t figure out why. He sat at his desk and rubbed his temples, unable to shake the feeling that something was truly wrong.




Gryffindor won the quidditch game after Angelina put the subs in. The team was happy but the win was still tarnished by the fight. Harry was sullen after visiting Madame Pomfrey to fix his face and nothing Ron or Hermione did could snap him out of it. His bum still hurt. He felt bad about what he’d had and then lost with Snape. He felt bad about the broom too. It wouldn’t fly without an intact tail.

“Man, fuck Malfoy for destroying it on purpose.” Ron said over breakfast the next day.

Harry said nothing as he stared at his plate, containing half a piece of toast and a chunk of melon. He’d been thinking about the broom and Snape since leaving Snape’s office. Tubs of bruisewort balm, healing potion, and a few of the relaxation candies had been delivered to his bedside shelf the day of the match. The sight of them made the corner of his mouth go up before he realized Snape was just doing what had become a habitual duty, providing soothers for the pain. He’d applied the medicine and his arse felt loads better even despite the cane.

He’d been avoiding Snape as well as he could. He was as silent as a grave in class and never made eye contact. Snape was back to his usual snappish self, docking ludicrous points. Yesterday he took five points from his own house because Pansy Parkinson’s shoe was untied and ten from Neville because he dropped his paring knife.

“Can Sirius send the broom for repairs?” Hermione asked after taking a bite of eggs. She was reading through her dragon hide planner, chock full of study notes.

“Maybe.” Harry said. Or he’ll just take it away from me. He didn’t offer any more and Hermione and Ron exchanged a worried look. Ginny came over and sat down with them. Harry sat up straighter and grinned at her.

“Hey, Harry.” She said. “Was McGonagall’s detention awful?” She tactfully avoided the disastrous game. George had announced to the rest of his siblings that Harry was his new favorite non-twin brother because he’d defended their parents and endured McGonagall’s wrath alongside him.

“No.” Harry told her. “She put us in the library organizing some dusty old archives. It was boring.” He shrugged and ripped his toast in half. He didn’t say that the student librarian, Zoe, had been working last night and had helped them. They’d finished early and all sat around talking until Zoe made herself scarce when McGonagall came and collected them.

The first of the O.W.Ls were starting the following Monday and the fifth years were all nervous wrecks.

Harry’s Friday dragged by. He attended his classes, paying attention to the teachers emphasizing the exams and taking notes. Snape was still in a foul mood in Potions and he seemed to glare at Harry several times. He snarled at Malfoy and took points away because the boy had asked Crabbe for a spare quill, he’d also docked ten points for a disrespectful face Ron had supposedly made and when Snape asked Harry to stay behind after class, he almost didn’t out of spite.

Harry dragged himself up the desk at the front of the room once everyone else cleared out.

“Could you come to my office hours today?” He asked Harry.

“Sure, sir.”

“Thank you.” Snape glanced at him, searching. “Are you well, Potter?” He’d barely eaten at breakfast and seemed rather subdued.

“Fine, sir. I’ll see you in your office hours.”

Snape nodded and watched Harry leave. He shook his head as he stacked and adjusted some pages. The boy hated him and for good reason. Their arrangement was draining and painful in every way. He’d bought the broom for Harry as if that could make up for a year of beatings required by a simple mistake. He’d apparently been getting cut up by Umbridge too, plus studying for the O.W.Ls. No wonder the lad was sullen. Snape had some good news to offer him, so hopefully that would improve Potter’s mood.

Harry knocked on Snape’s door a few hours later. He wasn’t getting attacks, nor had he disobeyed or otherwise upset the man. Harry wondered what Snape wanted with him.

“Enter!”

Harry came inside.

“Ah, Harry.” Snape put his quill down and stood.

“Hello, Professor.”

“Thank you for meeting with me. I have good news.”

“Oh?”

“Two things. I sent your broom in for repairs. The warranty lasts a year. You should be getting it back within the week.”

“Thank you, sir!” Harry said. His eyes lit up with joy.

Snape nodded. “Also, I want to show you something. Follow me.” The man moved for the door at the top of the small staircase to the left of his desk. Harry had always assumed this was the entrance to a torture chamber. Snape went up the steps and unlocked the door. The big round room was flooded with warmth and sunlight. It was startling after the dark chill of the rest of the dungeons. Harry stepped into the space, his mouth agape. There were hundreds of plants in here. Vines and ivies curled over the walls. He saw pots of aconite and dittany, a dark tank of gillyweed, big pink puffapods, spleenwort, orange marigolds, pure white asphodel, common roses in every hue, and loads of others he didn’t recognize. The air was fresh and humid and the windows offered a beautiful view of the lake and countryside. There was a tiny pond on the opposite side of the room and in it were lotuses and water lilies. Some bizarre fanged fish were swimming in the depths. Harry looked at Snape.

“What is this room?”

“It’s for potion supplies.” Snape said offhandedly, like every teacher had their own greenhouse. “I can grow and harvest a good portion of what I need for my classes. Saves me time if I need something in a hurry. I was able to brew the Solis argenti so quickly because I had plenty of the ingredients in this room.”

Harry nodded. This space was so different from the chilled dungeons. It was like stepping from Snape’s office onto another planet. Snape allowed him to look around for a few more moments.

“I had no idea this room was here.”

“Of course you didn’t. I don’t allow students in here. Come.” Snape beckoned him and showed him to the tiniest cauldron Harry had ever seen bubbling over a small fire on a table. The mug-sized cauldron was made of silver and an aquamarine potion was emitting shimmering green steam.

“Do you know what this is?”

Harry blinked. It didn’t look like anything they’d covered in the last year.

“Er, no?”

“It’s the antidote.”

Harry gasped. “When will it be ready?”

“Several days yet.” Snape said. “Right around the time you finish your O.W.Ls”

They both stared at each other. Neither said anything for a moment.

“You did it.” Harry murmured. “You found all the ingredients? Even the milk from that weird goat?”

“That was lucky. A fellow in Ireland had one and was willing to trade.”

Harry stared down at the little cauldron. He didn’t know what to say. Emotions were surging through him. He was finally going to be rid of this stupid, painful, horrible curse of a potion…which meant he wasn’t going to be spending as much time with Snape...which was good because most of their time spent together involved Snape whacking his backside…but Harry would miss Snape. He wouldn’t miss the backside whacking but he would miss the surly professor. Snape really wasn’t bad. When he wasn’t shouting in class or hitting him Harry found his company not just tolerable but agreeable. He was actually a decent teacher when he wanted to be. Harry had brewed that Draught of Peace perfectly with Snape’s tutelage and Harry wished badly that he could recapture that tranquil moment between them.

He liked Snape’s solid, strong ‘don’t fuck with me’ presence. He had a firm hand and strict rules but all that grounded Harry somehow. Harry absolutely believed that no matter how bad things got, Snape could fix whatever the problem was. Snape gave a damn about him and that was more than most other adults had given him. Snape was smart and could be thoughtful and Harry was shocked to find he was comforted by being near the man.

Who knew? All of this was a revelation to Harry, but, seeing as Snape couldn’t stand to touch him or even call him by his first name anymore, the feeling was obviously not mutual. And anyway, what did Snape want with an orphan fifth year? He had loads of students. Harry wasn’t special.

“I won’t have to deal with this anymore.” Harry said. “Imagine, I can upset you in class and not get spanked for it!” He grinned mischievously, curious to see how the man would react.

Snape stared at him with a stern expression but Harry could see a touch of humor underneath. “I wouldn’t count on it.”

Harry’s mouth twisted into a bitten back smile. “This is great, sir.” Harry said, staring at the potion in wonder. “Thank you for doing it. For working on it.”

“I’m glad to.”

There was an awkward silence. Harry felt like he should say more, tell the Professor how much he had actually helped him this year. Snape kept him safe when the potion was trying to kill him and he had actually been nice to Harry for the first time ever. He’d protected him and supported him and all of that consistently coming from an adult was new and lovely. He wanted to tell Snape that he desired their little bond to flourish. He didn’t though. What he said was,

“I’d better get to lunch.”

Snape nodded. “Yes, off with you. I’ll find you when it’s ready.”

Harry nodded and left. Snape watched him go and felt bereft. Just a few more days and then Potter would be out of his hair. He wouldn’t have to waste time paddling the boy for every stupid infraction. They’d been waiting for this all term, so….why was he not looking forward to it more?
The End.


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