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: 29967 Published: 16 Jan 2023 Updated: 13 Jul 2023
Occlumency by Ttime42
Author's Notes:
There is an especially unpleasant punishment in this chapter but it only gets better for our boys after this. Enjoy!
Mr. Weasley was going to be alright. They all visited him in St. Mungo’s over the holiday break and Molly and Arthur were so grateful to Harry that he felt guilty. He hadn’t told them that he was the cause of Mr. Weasley’s injuries, that he had been the snake itself.

“I don’t know what we would do without you, Harry.” Mrs. Weasley pulled him to her bosom in a hug when they were in Arthur’s room, visiting. “Arthur would be dead if not for you. How can we ever repay you?”

The whole Weasley family were gathered around Arthur’s bed, and they looked at Harry in relief. Harry went pink at the attention.

“Uh, just…stay away from snakes, Mr. Weasley.”

He laughed.

-

Mr. Weasley had to stay in the hospital for a while so it was decided that Harry and the rest of the family would spend their Christmas at Grimmauld Place. Sirius didn’t say it but Harry knew he was thrilled to have so many people around. Their trunks and school things were sent over and Harry was looking forward to a relaxing holiday filled with good food, good sleep, good company, and no homework.

Harry was in the bedroom he and Ron usually shared, unpacking, when a tentative knock on the door jamb made him look up. Ron was standing there, looking sheepish.

“Hey.” Harry said in a cool voice.

Ron wrung his hands together and stared at Harry’s bedspread. Suddenly he spoke quickly, “I’ve been a prick. I’m sorry.”

Harry sat on his bed and Ron sat on the bed across from him.

“Why weren’t you talking to me?” Harry asked.

Ron shrugged. “Don’t laugh, but…I was jealous.”

“Jealous of what?” Harry thought back to what the last term had been like for him. “What were you jealous of? Getting spanked by Snape? Trying to avoid Umbridge? Dealing with figuring out this horrible potion on top of quidditch and O.W.Ls all the other homework we have?”

Ron looked mortified by this list but he pressed on and said, “I…like Hermione.” He closed his eyes and his ears turned red.

“Well I like her too.” Harry said, shrugging, “she’s our friend, she—ooohhh, you like her.” Harry smiled.

“Shut up! Don’t laugh!”

“I’m not laughing.” Harry said. “Okay, I’m laughing a little.”

“You guys were just spending so much time together.” Ron got up and walked over to the dresser. He picked up Harry’s snitch and squeezed it absently. “It made me angry.”

“Ron.” Harry was exasperated. “I don’t have feelings like that for Hermione! She’s my friend. Only my friend. Like you are! The only reason we’ve been spending so much time together is because she’s helping me figure out this potion. It’s bloody awful. I…I could really use you next term, mate. We haven’t found an antidote yet.”

Ron huffed and put the snitch down, looking dejected and guilty. “I’m sorry. I’ve been a shit friend.”

“It’s okay. Let’s just forget it, yeah? No more fighting.”

“No more fighting.” Ron agreed. He sat back on the bed. “There’s something else I want to tell you.”

“Yeah.”

“I was thinking of trying out for the quidditch team.”

“Oh, brilliant!” Harry said.

“Really?”

“Yeah!”

One of the Gryffindor players had quit the team mid-season, saying he couldn’t keep up his marks and attend practice twice a week. Angelina had said she would set up some emergency tryouts early next term. She was pushing them hard this year and they’d won more games than they’d lost. Oliver Wood would be proud.

“I’ve been practicing.” Ron said, relieved. “I practiced a lot last term.”

“That’s wicked, mate, I hope you get it.”

Ron grinned. “Thanks.” He sobered and said “and, thanks too, you know, for what you did for dad.”

“You’re welcome.” Harry said, feeling like those words weren’t even remotely adequate. “Your dad has always been great to me, your mum too. If either of them died…” Harry let that thought fade into the empty air.

Ron glanced up at him and said a low voice. “Did Snape really spank you?”

“Yes. Twice.” Harry shrugged. He didn’t mind telling Ron. Hermione knew but they never talked about it. She supported him with cushioning charms and patient homework tutoring rather than chats about punishment details. Harry doubted she’d ever been punished much by her parents. He really doubted they’d ever smacked her. He’d met them briefly in Diagon Alley once and they seemed bookish and pleasant and very unlikely to ever raise their voices to their daughter, much less a hand.

Ron’s parents, on the other hand, used corporal punishment. Harry had noticed that wizards and witches, despite having magic, were a bit more old fashioned than muggles. Hogwarts still allowed corporal punishment. He knew McGonagall had a cane and Snape had straight up told him that he spanks the Slytherins. Harry could only assume Professors Sprout and Flitwick smacked students too. Harry had learned that many magical families had no issues with using corporal discipline at home. While muggle parenting literature touted the negative effects of it, wizards and witches had no such beliefs and any child who did something barmy could expect to have their backsides warmed at home or at school. Harry shrugged. As wonderful as magic was, it could be deadly, so maybe a tougher approach to rule-enforcing was needed. The Dursleys would never raise a hand to Dudley or his friends. Harry had a fleeting, humorous thought of Dudley meeting Snape’s hard hand. He smothered a grin. Ron had more than once been on the receiving end of his dad’s hand or his mum’s spoon so it wasn’t as mortifying to tell him about it.

“That’s bloody awful.” Ron said.

“Yeah, it is, and it’ll keep happening because he’s such a prat, so help me find the antidote. We’re all looking for it. Snape is talking to other wizards about it, Hermione and I have been going through the library books, trying to find some mention of it. It’s a really old and gross potion. It’s dark magic and there’s not much out there about it.”

Ron nodded. “I can help. I want to help.”

-

The holidays went by fast. They always did. Harry made a point to thoroughly enjoy himself. They stayed up too late playing Exploding Snap and chess. They tried out loads of Fred and George’s products and more than once lost control of a work-in-progress ZanyZippyZapper firework that went spiraling wildly through the house. Harry nearly cried with laughter when it almost set Sirius’ mother’s portrait on fire. Mrs. Weasley and Sirius kept the food flowing and everyone stuffed themselves everyday.

“And don’t forget,” Ginny said brightly, “there’s a Hogsmeade weekend in a couple months so that’s something to look forward to once school starts.”

A few days before they were due back at school, Harry had a visitor.

“Professor Dumbledore?” Harry blurted, amazed at the sight of the Hogwarts Headmaster in the front parlor. His enthusiasm dampened when he saw Snape was with him.

“Harry, dear boy!” Dumbledore beamed at him “It’s good to see you.”

“You too, sir.” He said.

They sat at the small table in the parlor and Sirius made cups of tea appear for everyone. Harry shifted nervously in his seat. He was glad Sirius was put together today. On occasion Harry had noticed his godfather would get lost in his own mind, drink a bit more than was healthy, and slip into these nervous habits where he’d pace around the house and mutter to himself. Harry hated these episodes but he understood that twelve years in Azkaban had done a number on his mental health. Remus Lupin, who was staying at Grimmauld Place over the holidays, ensured Harry that Sirius was working on it and would be okay, eventually. Having people around in the old house seemed to be helping.

Sirius sat beside him, calm and focused, while Snape was across the table beside Dumbledore. Harry chewed the inside of his cheek. What did Dumbledore, Snape, and Sirius want with him? Was it to do with the Draught of Asphodel? Maybe there had been some horrible new development like there was no antidote and Snape was going to be his master forever.

“Harry,” Dumbledore said, “I would like you begin Occlumency next term.”

“Occlumency.” Harry repeated. “What is that?”

Snape spoke. "The magical defense of the mind against external penetration. An obscure branch of magic, but a highly useful one."

“You see, Harry,” Dumbledore said, “you can learn to close your mind against outside antagonists. We think Voldemort may have broken into your mind the night you saw Arthur Weasley attacked. Whether this was on purpose or not, we don’t know. But Occlumency is a kind of magic that, if you master it, will protect you from these kinds of attacks.”

“Sounds interesting.” Harry said, glancing at Sirius. He nodded, encouraging. “But isn’t it useful for me to, well, ‘see’ what Voldemort’s doing?”

“No.” Snape said. “the Dark Lord is, as far as we know, unaware of the connection between you. If he is made aware of this connection he will use your mind against you. He will control it. He will unhinge it. The Dark Lord would often torture his victims by showing them images and scenes designed to drive them into madness. He would torture them until they were on the brink of insanity and only then would he kill them.”

Harry stared at Snape, horrified at what this connection really meant.

“We don’t want to endanger you or anyone else.” Dumbledore added.

“Who, who will teach me?” He looked hopefully at Dumbledore.

“Alas, though I am a skilled Legilimens, I should not be the person to teach you. Voldemort, using his connection to you, may somehow take advantage of that and see something we don’t want him to. No, no, our connection would be too great a risk. You will instead be taught by Professor Snape.”

“What?” Harry blurted. He glanced at Snape. The man was glaring at Harry.

“Um, Professor Dumbledore,” Sirius said. “They’re already dealing with that potion. Do you really think—”

“That shouldn’t affect this.” Dumbledore said, waving away Sirius’ concerns. “Professor Snape is a highly accomplished Legilimens himself. I have no doubt of his skill.”

“It’s not his skill I’m concerned about.” Harry said, glancing up at Sirius. It’s his ruddy hard hand.

“Excellent!” Dumbledore stood up.

“Uh, Albus.” Sirius said, standing as well. “Is there really no one else? McGonagall, maybe?”

“Ah, Minerva lacks this particular skill I’m afraid. It’ll go well, Sirius, no need to worry…” Sirius escorted Dumbledore to the door, politely trying to tell him that this was a terrible plan. Moments later, when Dumbledore had gone, Sirius strode back into the parlor.

He pointed at Snape, “if you use this bloody training as an excuse to hit him—”

“I don’t decide when I hit him.” Snape said coldly. He nodded to Harry. “Potter does.”

Sirius looked at Harry, confused. Harry sighed. He badly did not want to talk about this. “He only has to hit me when I upset him.” He slid his eyes to Snape, “which happens a lot. Too much, if you ask me. When I upset him the Nox rubrum attacks me and it’ll only stop when he hits me. If I don’t get hit the Nox rubrum’s attacks will kill me.”

“So you see, Black,” Snape said, smirking, “it’s all on your godson.”

They both looked down at Harry. Harry clenched his jaw. He wanted to shout at Snape. To scream at him, but he didn’t. Upsetting Snape would mean a spanking and he was not about to get spanked by the man at Grimmauld Place, with the Weasleys and Sirius here.

Snape stood up. “Goodbye, Potter. Our lessons will be held Monday nights in my office. Eight pm. Do NOT be late.”

Harry closed his eyes. Snape left out the front door. Sirius didn’t bother escorting him.

“Is there really no way around him spanking you, Harry?” Sirius said in low voice. He seemed to respect that Harry didn’t want this little fact broadcast to the whole household.

“No?” Harry frowned. “Like he said, branding and loss of limb are the other two options. He doesn’t need to hit, er, hit my backside,” Merlin it was awkward to talk about this, “but he does need to whack me to satisfy the potion.” Harry shrugged. “He can’t exactly hit my head or punch my back or anything…”

Sirius frowned. “Has he caned you?”

“No.” Harry said.

“Good. The cane is awful. I was caned a few times at Hogwarts.” He smiled a bit, then sobered. “My father would also….well.” He shook his head. “You don’t want the cane, Harry. Do your utmost to avoid it. Hurts like blazes and leaves bruises and marks for days.”

Harry’s eyes widened. Days? “Yeah, no, he’s just used his hand. That hurts like blazes.” His encounters with Snape were already horrible, he couldn’t imagine being caned by the man and he promised himself he would do his utmost to never, ever earn it.

“Don’t upset him, Harry. I know it’s hard with him of all people, but do your best, yeah?”

Harry nodded fast.

“Bloody hell.” Sirius dragged his hand through his hair. “What a wretched potion.”

“Yeah.”

-

The first Occlumency lesson was an unmitigated disaster. Harry dreaded the lesson all day long, hoping and wishing that either he or Snape would get lost in a vanishing cabinet and never heard from again before eight tonight.

Alas.

Harry knocked on Snape’s office door at eight o’clock sharp.

“Enter!” He called.

Harry slipped in.

Snape had one of the armless chairs in the middle of the room. Harry gulped. He hated those chairs.

“Have a seat, Potter.” Snape said, gesturing to the chair.

Harry sat. Snape pulled out his wand. “Focus. I want you to clear your mind. Take a breath.”

Harry took a deep breath in and out. He did his best to empty his mind of all thoughts, though he kept thinking of his friends upstairs having fun without him. They didn’t have to do stupid Occlumency.

“Clear your mind!” Snape pointed his wand at Harry and he braced himself. “Legilimens!”

Images of Grimmauld Place and the Burrow popped up—him and Ron fighting—him and Hermione in the library—gliding through the air on his broom—Dudley making him stand in the toilet—Dudley and his friends chasing a crying Harry up a tree—the snake attacking Mr. Weasley—his scar aching, aching ACHING—

“Ah!” Harry shouted out and Snape stepped back.

“You have to clear your mind, Potter.”

“I’m trying.”

“Try harder! Once more. Clear your mind—Legilimens!”

And so it went. After the tenth time, both of them were frustrated and to Harry’s dismay, that horrible gnawing stinging sensation was radiating up his arms and legs. By failing to successfully shield his mind, he’d been disobeying Snape’s commands telling him to do just that. The Nox rubrum found this to be gross disobedience even though Harry was genuinely trying to block Snape. Worse than that, Snape had seen some stuff Harry never wanted anyone to know about. His aunt and uncle laughing at him, him getting bullied in school, him laying in bed, hungry and forgotten. Harry absolutely hated that Snape of all people was privy to his most private, embarrassing moments.

“Wait! Wait.” Harry panted before Snape could have another go at him. How long had they been at this? Minutes? Hours? “I just need a moment.”

“The Dark Lord won’t give you a moment!”

“I need to rest!” Harry shouted.

“You’re never going to survive him if you don’t try.”

“I am trying!”

Snape shook his head. “Not hard enough. I’m not going to make concessions for you.”

“The Nox rubrum is already attacking me, haven’t you tortured me enough?”

“You don’t know what torture is!” Snape snarled. He was as tired as Harry. As difficult as it was to block an intruder to your mind, it was just as difficult to attempt to break in. He was forcing himself to invade a child’s mind over and over again. He felt more than a little gross about doing that. “Bespoke private lessons are not torture, Potter.”

“I’m not doing more until I’ve had a break.”

Snape shook his head. “Stubborn. Arrogant. Just like your father.”

“My father was a great man.”

Something raged up in Snape at the defense of the horrible man and he grit his teeth. He didn’t care that both of them could use a break. If he’d stopped to think he’d realize that continually pushing both himself and Potter like this was getting them nowhere. They were both frustrated and tired and that was hardly conducive to a clear, focused mind. Snape was too deep in his own anger to pause and certainly conversation about Harry’s oaf of a father wasn’t helping.

“Your father was a swine!” Snape snarled. “Legilimens!” The spell was shouted like a whip crack. Harry actually winced as Snape brutally forced himself into his mind. Harry, sweating and exhausted, couldn’t focus on anything. He was thinking of his father, of his mother. He thought of Sirius and the Weasleys who when all mashed together were sort of like his parents now. His arms and legs ached and burned and that made him think of the spankings Snape had given him. It was awful to relive that pain and anger, knowing the man was right there with him and seeing it from his point of view.

Snape backed out of his head.

“This is useless. You can’t clear your mind if the Nox rubrum has already started affecting you. Come here.” Snape started pulling his sleeve up.

“No!” Harry gasped. He swiped the back of his hand across his damp forehead. “I can do it. I can push past it.”

Snape didn’t look convinced, but he held up his wand again anyway. “Legilimens!” He shouted.

“Protego!” Harry shot back.

Snape was obviously surprised by this, as Harry immediately had access to his thoughts and memories. Harry saw a lonely boy without friends who lived in a household dominated by an abusive father. He saw a boy the students laughed at. For the first time he saw Snape how his own father had seen him: a victim. Harry watched in horror as Sirius attempted to trick Snape into going into the Shrieking Shack when Lupin, a dangerous werewolf and not the gentle DADA teacher, was crazed on the night of a full moon. Harry saw his father, accompanied by Sirius, cast a spell on Snape by the Hogwarts Lake, hanging him upside down in the air while everyone laughed—

In an instant Harry was back in Snape’s office, covered in fresh sweat, dismayed by what he’d seen. His dad was a bully? Sirius too? Why was his father a bully? Snape stalked towards him, furious, and fisted his hand in Harry’s shirt.

“How DARE you!” He hissed.

“I didn’t see anything!” Harry said, trying to break out of the man’s grasp. He pushed weakly at Snape’s hands.

“You’re lying!” Snape shouted. His eyes were coal black and his rage was terrifying.

“I’m sorry!” Harry said, trying not to cry.

“Oh you will be.”

Snape grabbed his arm and sat in the chair.

“No!” Harry shouted. He tried to pull away but it was like trying to pull his arm out of a steel trap. Snape was strong as a dragon. He threw Harry over his left knee, pinned him down, and started spanking him as hard as he could.

“You’re as bad as your father.” Snape said, his voice tight and cold. “Arrogant,”

Smack!

“stubborn,”

Smack!

“rude,”

Smack!

“insolent,”

Smack!

Harry could only hang there over his leg, horrified, bracing himself as best he could as Snape landed slap after hard slap. Harry was already so worn out and stressed from the Occlumency that he didn’t even try to fight the tears.

“Stop, ow! Stop! OW!” Harry grit his teeth as Snape unleashed his wrath on his poor bottom. The pain ratcheted up until Harry was curled over his leg, his fist clutching the leg of the chair and the other grabbing a handful of Snape’s trousers. His bottom and thighs were blazing, throbbing, aching as Snape pummeled him. Snape grunted and lifted Harry to his feet. He was shaking and he mopped his face, unable to see for his tears. Snape grabbed the waistband of his sweatpants and yanked them and his underpants down in one go.

“No!” Harry whacked Snape’s hand away and reached for his clothes.

“Shut up, Potter.” Snape grabbed his arm and gave him a painful shake that rattled Harry’s teeth. “Take your punishment.” Snape threw him back down over his knee so hard Harry almost toppled onto the floor. His ribs ached from slamming into Snape’s knee. He was too stunned and tired to fight back.

“If you hadn’t taken this potion,”

Smack!

“this wouldn’t be happening. This is your fault, now be still and take what’s coming to you.”

Smack!

“It was an accident!” Harry said, trying to defend himself. “I didn’t mean to take it!”

“Accio paddle!” Snape commanded.

“No, not a paddle!” Harry panicked and threw his hand back, trying to cover himself. A few jars on the shelves behind them rattled as Harry’s magic reacted his panic. A constructed skeleton of a rat fell to the floor and splintered. He watched the pieces skitter across the floor. He hadn’t had an accidental magic slip in years. Snape grabbed his wrist and pushed it up to the small of his back. Harry tried to wriggle away, to escape, anything. Snape was too strong. Harry couldn’t move. “I’m sorry!” He didn’t know what else to say. Snape was so furious that Harry wondered if he was even hearing him.

“Your blessed father deserved discipline like this.” Snape snarled. He whacked the paddle against Harry’s bottom, hard. Oh, that hurt. He thought Snape’s hand had hurt. The solid wood of the paddle was entirely different to a warm hand. Thwack! “He was an awful child who grew into an arrogant,” Thwack! “prideful man.”

Thwack!

Thwack!

Thwack!

“What do you think of your great father now, Potter?” Thwack! “Of that mutt of a godfather?” Thwack! “They tried to kill me.” Thwack!

Harry was sobbing, barely listening to Snape. All the fight had gone out of him and Snape shoved him off his lap. Harry thudded to the cold stone floor and scooted back from the enraged Potions Master.

“Get out of my sight, dirty boy.” Snape bellowed. He grabbed a jar of cockroaches off his shelf and chucked it. Harry yelped dove to the side. He yanked his trousers up over his raw backside and took off out of the office, through the classroom, and into the corridor, up some stairs, and into another corridor. He didn’t pay attention to where he was going, he simply ran to put as much distance as possible between himself and the dungeons.

He rounded a corner and almost ran right into Dolores Umbridge.

He gasped and whirled around, furiously wiping tears from his eyes. This night was sliding from awful into absolutely terrible.

“Mr. Potter.” She said, her voice sweet and concerned. “Whatever is the matter?”

“N-nothing.”

“My dear boy, you’re crying.”

“Uh, just tired is all.” He finished wiping his eyes. His backside roared in pain. His whole world was tiling out of control. He had never seen Snape lose it like that. The man was always so controlled and in command. His rage had been terrifying and shocking. Harry’s backside still burned and throbbed and Umbridge was the cherry on top of the rotten sundae this evening had been.

“Young boys like you need their sleep. What are you doing out of bed so late?”

Something in Harry told him not to tell her about the Occlumency. And he’d be damned if he told her about the Nox rubrum.

“Uh, I was getting extra potions lessons.”

“Oh. Still?” She cupped his face. Her hands were cold. “Was Professor Snape too hard on you?”

“Uh...”

Yes he was but my father was a prick and I maybe deserved it?

“Aw, I know Professor Snape’s methods may be medieval, but you’ll thank him one day.” She kept her hand on his face, rubbing her thumb gently over the tears tracks on his cheek. She was staring at him just a little too closely for comfort. Her grin was a little too happy, like she was glad to see him cry.

“I’d better be off to bed.” He said, stepping away from her.

“Yes. You wouldn’t want to get punished for being out after curfew, Mr. Potter.” She smiled sweetly at him and he walked away as quickly as he could, trying not to shiver.

He turned another corner and reached a boy’s bathroom. He took a few moments to lean on the sink and breathe and get himself under control. His hands were shaking. His face felt slimy from where she’d touched him. His backside still throbbed. He splashed some water on his face, trying to scrub off where she’d touched him. A shower was in order tonight. If nothing else it would relax him enough to sleep. He carefully lowered his sweats to inspect the damage. His butt was bright red and he could see darker marks lower down from where the paddle had landed. He would bruise, he was certain of it.

He sagged against the sink. He couldn’t keep this up. He could take the pain of it. A sore backside wasn’t the issue. Harry knew how to deal with physical pain but Snape’s anger was wearing him thin. He’d spanked harry the first time for a bunch of stuff that had happened years ago, and the second time he was ice cold and nearly threatened to chop off his fingers. His was bullying Harry just like Harry’s father had bullied him in school. Harry stared at his red eyes in the mirror and wondered if he deserved this. Harry’s dad beat on Snape so now Snape got to beat on him. It was justified in a sick way.

“Dammit, dad.” He muttered. His father had been a real prick. And Sirius had been there too, egging his dad on. Harry shook his head, ashamed at both of them. Harry would never bully another student like that. The only student he regularly got into it with was Malfoy and he was different, somehow. Malfoy was a wealthy prat with loads of friends and parents who could get him things. He wasn’t an obvious target the way Snape had been at his age.

Harry went back out into the corridor and made his way up to the tower. Hermione was in the common room, curled on the sofa with a book. She did a double take when she saw him. He tried to sneak past her—

“—Harry!” She pushed her book aside and went to him. He turned away from her. He didn’t want her to see his tear-streaked face.

“Hermione, I really just want to go to bed.”

“Okay,” she nodded, immediately gathering that Harry had a horrible lesson, “but let me give you something.” She went to her bag and retrieved a potion vial. She handed it to him.

“What’s this?”

“I made healing potion for you. It has some other ingredients too, to relax you.”

“Aw, Hermione.” He closed his fist around the potion and looked into her eyes. She gave him a sympathetic smile when she saw his red, puffy face. “When did you do this?” He sniffed.

“I’ve been brewing them on the fire here at night.” She gestured to the common room fire.

“What? Where do you get the ingredients?”

“Oh, I’ve been stealing from Snape.” She said this in the same tone someone would use when chatting about what they ate for breakfast.

“What?!”

“From the stores in the classroom. When we go to get our ingredients for class I just take what I need.” She folded her arms. Harry stared at her in impressed amazement, then let out a fast, hysterical laugh.

“He deserves to be stolen from! He’s hurting you.”

“No argument here.” He gave her a quick hug. “Thanks, Hermione. This will be great.”

She nodded. “You’re welcome.”

He took a quick shower and went to his bed. It was nearly eleven and he was exhausted.

“Hey, Harry.” Ron said. Him and Seamus were playing wizard chess quietly on Ron’s bed.

“Hi Ron. Seamus.” Harry got into bed, feeling cold.

They murmured hellos, each focused on the game. That was fine by Harry. He didn’t feel like talking to anyone.

Harry pulled his curtains half closed and knocked back Hermione’s potion. He buried himself under the blankets, hoping he could fall asleep…

When he opened his eyes, it was because Ron was shaking him awake the next morning.

“Hey, why are you still asleep? We have breakfast.” He gestured with his thumb towards the door. Harry could hear the other boys thundering out of the dorm and down the steps. He glanced up. Ron was in his uniform and robes.

“I don’t feel so good.”

“Oh. Okay. Did you have another, you know, vision thing?”

“No. I’m just really tired. And, uh, my stomach hurts.” It didn’t but he didn’t want to tell Ron that he just couldn’t face anything today.

“Feel better, then.” Ron said. He disappeared and Harry fell back into a doze in the silence. It was true, he didn’t feel well. He didn’t want to see anyone, not yet. He really didn’t want to see Snape today and anyway, Hermione would just bring him whatever homework he was missing.

He must have slept longer than he thought because when he woke up next, Hermione was sitting beside his bed, reading. Ron was chucking a miniature stuffed quaffle ball into the air and catching it. A cup of tea and a banana were on Harry’s bedside table.

“Hermione.” He muttered. “Ron.” He scooted up into a sitting position and winced when his backside stung-throbbed.

“Drink this.” She said, giving him the tea. “There’s a healing potion in it.”

Harry gulped gratefully. “Thanks, guys. Uh, shouldn’t you be in History of Magic by now?”

“Oh, we skived off early.” Hermione waved her hand dismissively.

Ron beamed and dropped a kiss on her head. “It was her idea.”

Harry grinned, pleased at her spate of rule-breaking.

“Binns didn’t even notice us leave.” Hermione said. “But never mind that, how was Occlumency?” She asked. Harry had the feeling she may have already guessed it was wretched.

He told them everything.

“That’s not on, mate.” Ron said. He sat at the end of Harry’s bed, quaffle forgotten.

“I mean, my dad was awful to him. Maybe I deserve it…” Harry hadn’t gone into the details of the vision, but skirted around it, saying that his father and Sirius had been a couple of pricks. He hadn’t even told them everything about the spanking, leaving out the bit where Snape, in his fury, had paddled him bare. That was too humiliating to admit.

“No, Harry.” Hermione said. “You do not deserve what he did to you. At all. He’s your teacher. He’s not just another student here who you get into fights with. He has power over you, even more so now with the Draught of Asphodel. He abused that power last night.”

“It’s not as bad as all that. If he doesn’t hit me I could die!”

“Harry,” Hermione said gently. “It sounds like yesterday was really bad. He was calling you names. Look at you! You’re missing class because of this. Are you bruised?”

His silence answered her question. He wasn’t about to say how colorful his bum was.

She crossed her arms. “I think you should go to Dumbledore.”

“No way, Dumbledore okayed this.”

“Then go to McGonagall.” Ron said.

“I don’t want to.”

“Harry, he went too far.” Her voice was firm. “He called you names, he hit you too hard. He threw glass at you! He wasn’t in control.”

“Rich of him, considering what you were there to study.” Ron muttered.

Hermione took a quick breath. “If you don’t tell McGonagall, I will!”

Harry groaned and stared at the ceiling. “Fine. I’ll go today. But I don’t know what she’s going to tell me. There’s no antidote yet. It’s not like she can make it stop.”
The End.
End Notes:
As I said, it will get better for them...thanks for reading!


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