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Nie wyrażamy zgody na kopiowanie i umieszczanie naszych ficków i tłumaczeń na chomikach itp.
Ariel & Gobuss
| Chapter 11 - "So Complicated" |
|11. So Complicated|
So complicated, I'm so frustrated.
I wanna hold you close, I wanna push you away,
I wanna make you go, I wanna make you stay.*
Monday came very quickly, and with it the Potions class. And that meant meeting with Snape, whom Harry had managed to successfully avoid all weekend.
Snape, however, hadn’t showed too much interest at the Gryffindor's avoiding. Despite the rage in which he had fallen when Harry had not appeared at Friday’s lesson. In the end he could not chase him all over the castle. Harry had the excuse and Snape couldn’t do anything to him. Or at least it seemed to him… no, at least he hoped so.
Did he even care about me? I’m nothing to him… thought Harry, sitting in the Great Hall and forcing his breakfast on himself.
His thoughts were interrupted by Hermione’s squeal. He jerked his head up and saw that his friend was covering her mouth with her hand and staring in horror at the morning edition of the Daily Prophet lying before her. Several students rose from their seats and leaned over her, trying to find out what had had her so scared. Ron looked over his shoulder and froze with his mouth full of sausages.
Harry swallowed his scrambled eggs and asked:
Hermione looked at him with wide eyes and shook her head as if she was unable to speak. Harry waited until everyone had finished reading, and he was growing more and more concerned watching their shocked faces.
“It’s terrible!” said Parvati Patil shakily and Lavender nodded and immediately pulled her friend aside and whispered something to her excitedly.
Suddenly, Harry heard a scream from the Hufflepuff table. He turned just in time to see a plump, blond second-year Hufflepuff bursting into tears and running out of the hall. When he turned his eyes to the staff table, he saw Professor Dumbledore and Professor Sprout exchange worried glances, then hastily rise from their seats and follow the girl.
Harry noticed that the headmaster seemed very tired. He had dark circles under his eyes and many more wrinkles, as if every day counted for several years to him. Recently, he had seldom appeared at meals. This was very disturbing and the impression that something was very wrong in the fight against Voldemort couldn’t leave Harry. Something that was not written in the Prophet.
He turned back to Hermione, now completely intrigued.
“What happened?” he urged her.
She handed him the paper without a word and stared at the table with moist eyes. Harry grabbed the Prophet eagerly and glanced at the first page. In the black and white photograph he saw the ruins of some buildings and few muggle rescue workers that was wandering between them. He read the headline and fear tugged at his heart.
Mass murder of Muggles
Followers of You-Know-Who murder Muggle families
Tonight, in London, in the northern part of Brend district, took place an attack and mass murder of thirty-six Muggles. Muggle authorities in order not to spread panic among residents, reported as the cause of the collapse of eleven homes a phenomenon called “gas explosion”. The memories of Muggle witnesses of this event were modified. But the Wizarding World held its breath. Aurors who arrived at the scene discovered that the dead were mutilated and massacred. The victims had gouged eyes, parts of their bodies had been cut off or had all the blood drained from them, using an unidentified curse that intercut the skin. The Ministry of Magic is convinced that the mass murder was carried out by a large group of Death Eaters, but do not know whether or not You-Know-Who had taken part in it. Witnesses reported seeing strong, green flashes and clouds in the shape of a skull and snake, floating for some time over the rubble that had remained from the houses. Romilda McDophne – the squib, who lives near the center of the attack told us that among those killed were two of her close friends, with whom she maintained regular contact, since their daughter, Rose Zeller, was attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. They were Eleanor and Jeremy Zeller – both Muggles. For now, we do not know the names of the other dead, but it is known that none of the victims were wizards. The entire Wizarding World is shocked by this tragedy. The Minister of Magic has promised to contact the Muggle Prime Minister and warn him before the next, possible attacks. The investigation of this case continues, but we do not know if we can find and punish the perpetrators, unless they are acting on mandate of He Who Must Not Be Named. It seems that now we can't feel safe anywhere…
Next followed a reminder of various minor attacks, of which Harry had not already learned anything new. He gave Hermione the newspaper, and, recovered, she whispered:
Ron looked equally depressed.
Harry was lost in thought. Voldemort was feeling more confident. He killed with abandon, as if he knew that no one could interfere with him. Harry could feel the hatred increasing in him with similar articles describing the violent actions of this madman and his followers.
He knew that it would not end until Voldemort was defeated. And the whole Wizarding World expected this from him…
No, he couldn’t think about this now! He already had too much on his mind. He didn’t need additional, depressing thoughts. He had to push them aside so he wouldn’t go crazy. He couldn’t do anything right now.
He finished his breakfast in silence and he and his friends left the Great Hall, heading to the dungeons.
The article in the Prophet had for a moment drawn his attention away from Snape and the Potions class, but as he got closer to the classroom, memories and feelings were coming back. And nothing had helped at keeping them away.
He was afraid of what might happen in class, and he knew by experience that Snape would surely think of something. The Professor's explosion of rage, which had resulted from his absence on the previous lesson, had created enormous confusion in Harry’s mind. The knowledge that he was about to meet with him was crushing him.
But the anger and grief were stronger. Even if Snape is up to something, he would not let the man break him! He decided to ignore him completely. He knew that would only irritate Snape, but he didn't care.
The classroom’s door was open. Some students were already sitting at the desks. When he enteried the classroom, Harry felt a cool look from the Slytherin tables. He assumed the most menacing expression he could and then smashed Malfoy with it. It surprised him that the Slytherin, instead of twisting his face in a contemptuous smile, as he usually did, only narrowed his eyes and looked away.
Malfoy, and their words from yesterday’s clash, still troubled him. He sincerely hoped that the Slytherin knew nothing and had been just pretending to provoke him and forcing him to confess. It was the most logical explanation of his behavior that came to Harry’s mind. He didn’t want to even think about any other.
He sat down between Ron and Hermione and set his cauldron and books on the bench.
His heart was pounding like crazy and trying to calm it was impossible.
The moment when the sound of footsteps echoing in the hall broke through the hubbub reigning in the classroom, Harry froze. Snape came into the classroom and when he stood in the middle of the room, he cast a glance at all of the students. Harry sensed that it stopped on him. He held his breath.
“I see that Mr. Potter has decided to recover and honor us with his presence.” The Potions Master’s voice was calm and it was difficult to read anything from it. Apart from the obvious fact that he had decided to mock Harry for as long as it took to break him.
But not this time!
“Did Miss Granger pass you my message?”
Harry nodded, looking at his cauldron the whole time. He remembered well how Hermione had been persecuting him all weekend and running after him with notes, reading them aloud. Harry had finally given up and allowed her to teach him the list of ingredients, preparation and description of Amortentia. He was protesting that he didn’t intend to learn it and that he couldn't care less whether Snape bounced him for lack of preparation, but it was pointless.
“And so I invite you, Mr. Potter,” said Snape, pointing to the first desk – Harry thought for a moment that he would fall over – right in front of the teacher’s desk.
That was cheap shot. He sat motionless for a moment, unable to induce his body to obey.
Was he really want him to sit there?
“We do not have all day, Potter,” snarled Snape. Harry swallowed hard, forced himself to get up, gathered his things and without a word went to the first desk. He was feeling the shape of the dark desk standing in front of him, but he took care not to look at it. The memories which could come back with a glance were too fresh and painful.
Even when a shadow fell on him, Harry had not raised his head. Snape put a parchment with questions in front of him.
“You have half of the lesson,” he said. “Later you will prepare today’s potion.”
Harry was seeing the black, billowing robe next to himself. The long, pale fingers holding the parchment made him shudder when he recalled that those fingers had been in him recently. He pressed his lips together, trying to chase away unwanted thoughts, and nodded. He wanted Snape to go away so much… The smell of potions, which hovered around him was eliciting memories and completely distracting him.
When Snape left to deal with the lesson, Harry breathed a sigh of relief. He looked at the parchment lying before him. There were questions related to the ingredients, method of preparation and description of Amortentia. Thanks to Hermione he knew all the answers.
His eyes involuntarily wandered up and stopped at the desk facing him.
Let’s see how much you like this…
The Potions Master’s words echoed in his head, piercing his heart and making it spasm painfully.
Do not expect anything more from me...
The image before his eyes blurred. Realizing what that meant, he quickly calmed down and took a few deep breaths. He turned his head, pinning his trembling gaze to the wall and pushed away the test.
He won't write it. Snape could bounced him from the class. He didn’t care about it. At least he would finally get rid of him.
He tried not to tremble when he heard the Potions Master’s voice, who, besides the scratching of quills, was the only sound in the classroom. He stubbornly stared at the wall, but the dark shape of the desk in front of him was drawing his gaze like a magnet. He couldn’t refrain from glimpsing at it from time to time. Every time, when his eyes fell on a furniture, Snape’s words rang in his head. Sometimes they were exciting, sometimes painful. But they were always very clear, as if his mind was keeping them all the time and was just waiting to attack him with them.
At some point, the students started the preparation of the potion and Snape sat at his desk. Harry could not resist looking over. The moment when he did, the echo hit him, loud and painful:
If I bind you, will you finally stop playing with my patience?
His stomach clenched and his heart leaped to his throat when he stared with wide-open eyes at the man sitting at his desk. He saw images, memories. He saw himself, completely naked, pressed against the hard desk top and a dark-clothed figure leaning over him. The vision was so real that he shuddered and looked around the classroom, as if fearing that if he saw it, the others would too. But no, the students were busy with their work. No one had any idea. Harry could hardly refrain from laughing with bitterness… None of them knew what had happened in this classroom. None of them knew what their benches had seen… If they knew…
Harry looked at the desk again. His eyes caught Snape’s parted legs under the desk. His robes were large and were hiding what was under them. And Harry knew what was underneath them. What was inside him until recently. A hard, hot penis penetrating him, quickly and brutally. Striking in a sensitive spot, arousing the sparking bursts of heat, under his eyelids, under his skin and in his loins. The lower parts of the dark, long robes were touching the floor. The rough material nudging his naked skin, when Snape clung to him from behind. His gaze wandered a bit higher. Long, pale fingers clenched Snape’s quill, which was hanging motionless over a piece of parchment. The cool touch of these slender hands had sent sparks throughout his body when Snape had been examining every part of it, as if he had wanted to learn it by heart. The fingers tightening on his hips, digging into his skin like claws, pulling him straight to his hot, turgid erection. Harry felt the bitter taste of blood in his mouth, which trickled down from his lips. His eyes went even higher. Snape's arms were wrapped in a black robe. He didn’t look so strong, and yet… These hands had thrown him on the desk, pushing him on it, pressing him onto the hard top. A predatory grip on his wrists, brutally shoved aside his hands, with which he tried to cover himself. He had felt pain, because his nails in his tightly clenched fists were almost digging into his skin. He looked even higher, up to his buttoned neck, up to the tight lips, up to… black eyes staring at him intensely, slightly narrowed, curious, amused.
Harry’s eyes widened suddenly, realizing for how long and how… suggestively he had been staring at Snape. The man had to notice that and have been watching him from the beginning.
He turned his head, feeling like a purple blush covered his face, and his heart jumped up to his throat.
He had forgotten himself for one moment, and all the emotions that he had tried to hide and push deeper into himself had flowed over his face and Snape had certainly noticed them!
He swore to himself that come hell or high water, he wouldn’t look at Snape until the end of the lesson! Or, at least, he would try…
He straightened in his chair, waiting for a malicious comment, a snort, a raspberry, but nothing like that happened. With the corner of his eye he saw the man leaning over his desk and beginning to write something.
The parchment with the questions was laying away from Harry. Snape had to have seen it. So why hadn’t he reacted?
He could clearly hear the sounds of chopping, bubbling cauldrons and whispered conversations behind his back. He concentrated with all his willpower to look at the wall and not think about what was happening around him. And what could happen very soon, when Snape finally lost his patience…
Snape rose from his seat. Harry clenched his fists on his knees. However, the teacher didn’t come up to him. He began to walk around the classroom, checking the progress of the students.
Maybe he is giving me time to change my mind. He wants me to break…
At one point, Snape stood behind him and Harry stiffened. He felt him pinning him with his gaze. He heard his breath behind him. Finally, the Professor walked around the desk and stood in front of him, crossing his arms.
Harry had been waiting for this moment. He knew that in the end it would come, but it still felt like his heart was trying to jump out of his chest.
“I see that inspiration has left you Potter,” said the Potions Master at last. Harry heard everyone stopping working and beginning to watch them with curiosity. He swallowed with difficulty. “I was hoping that your answers would be as profuse as in your previous test…” A familiar note of mockery appeared in the Professor’s voice.
Harry held his breath, when a surge of anger hit in the coastline of his composure.
How dared he!
He forced himself with his whole willpower not to raise his eyes. He pinned his gaze at the desk. He couldn’t let Snape see it… to see how much he was hurt by his words.
When the man spoke again, his voice was even colder. Harry’s indifference had to thrown him off balance.
“If you’re so stubborn, Potter, you leave me no choice. I will be constrained to -- ”
“You can give me a Troll,” Harry interrupted him. “I don’t care.”
His voice was very calm, considering the fact that his emotions were tossing him around. He couldn't see Snape’s face, but he felt that he had to be furious.
“Stop it, Harry!” Hermione’s nervous voice seemed unnaturally loud in the silence ruling the class. “You know the answers. You've learned it.”
Harry froze. He abruptly raised his head and saw Snape slowly moving his gaze to Hermione and then back at Harry. His eyes narrowed.
He guessed it!
Harry began to curse his friend in his thoughts. She destroyed his entire plan. Snape knew that Harry was only pretending in order to be thrown out of the class.
When the Professor spoke again, his voice was icy cold.
“Or maybe you would care about getting a detention for tonight, Potter?”
Harry squeezed his eyes shut.
Now Snape would torment him even more, rather than throw him out of the class. He would not let him get away with such a brazen attempt to lie. The future began to get painted with very dark colors.
“Yes, sir,” he said quietly, “I will report to Professor McGonagall.”
Harry saw with the corner of his eye the Potions Master’s lips twist in a nasty smile.
“You will report to me.”
If Harry wasn’t sitting, he certainly would have fell down to the floor.
He could have predicted that! Snape had been seeking for this all the time. And Harry himself had given him an excuse. Rage at himself flooded his mind. He barely nodded his head and whispered:
“I didn’t hear you.” The Professor’s sharp voice forced Harry to compose himself. He gulped and looked up, straight into the angrily burning black eyes. A shiver pierced him, but he didn’t show it.
“Yes sir,” he said loudly.
He saw a grimace of satisfaction passing from the Potions Master’s face. How well he knew it… This expression always meant trouble for him.
At the same time, Snape put his hands on top of the desk and leaned over Harry, pinning him with a hard glare.
“You will report to my office today, after dinner.”
Harry could not take his eyes from the burning gaze. He felt panic overcoming him.
What was he planning?
He nodded, because he was unable to utter a single word more.
“I advise you to prepare, Potter. You will answer all the questions, whether you want it or not.”
I will enter you, whether you want it or not...
The words struck him and made the pain he had so desperately tried to hide become visible on his face.
He pursed his lips and looked away. But he caught that the flames in Potions Master's eyes dimmed for a while. Although his face remained impassive.
Harry looked at the desk and cursed his foolish heart and weak nerves. Snape straightened and growled in the direction of the students:
“Get back to work!”
The hum and the noises of chopping, crushing and bubbling immediately returned. Harry sighed, but instead of relief, just anxiety flowed in him. A detention with Snape was waiting for him. The worst thing that could happen to him…
He failed to prepare the potion in time, which did not surprise him much. He knew that he wouldn’t stand a chance to do the whole work in the half time. In addition, his awareness that he had detention in the evening had completely thrown him off balance. He thought of the possibility of not going, however, when he imagined what might happen to him in the end, he immediately pushed himself out of that thought.
It seemed that he had no choice.
When he heard the bell announcing the end of the class, Harry gathered everything as fast as he could and headed for the exit. He wanted to finally get away. But when he had just reached the door, some figure pushed ahead. Harry staggered and retreated a few steps. Malfoy turned his head and looked at him with hard, hateful glare. A disdainful smile contorted his lips. He turned and walked over to Harry, making him step back. He had no idea what Malfoy was planning to do, but he didn’t like his look very much. He saw Malfoy leaning over and holding his face close to his ear. Harry heard a whisper:
“Your lover had a tough workout last night.” He lowered his voice to an even quieter whisper and hissed: “And you’ll be next, Potter.”
Harry felt dizzy. All the blood drained from his face. He turned his head and looked scared straight at the Slytherin’s face, contorted by a malicious smile.
For a split second, an image of Snape murdering Muggless flashed through his thoughts. Snape was a Death Eater after all. He could have been involved in that…
His legs buckled under him and he had to lean against the doorframe in order not to fall. It felt like all the air had left his lungs. His head was spinning. He looked again at the Slytherin and was horrified to see so much hatred burning in the darkened eyes. More than he had ever seen before.
No, this is impossible! He’s lying! Snape would never...
“Is there a problem, Mr. Malfoy?” Snape’s voice was sharp as a razor. Harry shook himself and saw Malfoy moving away from him and shooting a look of rage at the Professor standing at his desk and looking at them. The Slytherin tossed his head and snorted under his breath.
“See you, Potter,” he spat in his direction with a voice cold as ice, and then walked away briskly.
Harry straightened and, without looking around even once, walked out of class.
What was that supposed to mean? What had Malfoy wanted to tell him? Snape couldn’t have participated in that. It is true that he is a Death Eater, but he is also a spy for Dumbledore. He belongs to the Order of the Phoenix. He couldn’t have done anything like that. It’s impossible!
A little voice in his head reminded him that Snape had already done such things, when he was still on Voldemort’s side, but Harry quickly silenced it. Now everything was different. Right...?
“Harry!” Hermione caught up to him in the next corridor. “What are you doing?” she hissed. “Do you want Snape to expel you? You leaned that all. What were you trying to do?”
Harry looked at her. He was angry at his friend for having blurted everything out in front of Snape, and dropped him in it.
“It’s none of your business,” he retorted, trying to get past her, but she blocked his way.
“It is MY business! I can’t allow you to drop potions! You and I have to have a serious talk.” Her voice trembled with nervousness. Harry looked at her angrily.
“We have nothing to talk about, Hermione,” he hissed through clenched teeth. He pushed her aside and walked quickly from the corridor.
“Wait, Harry!” She tried to stop him, but he didn’t look back even once.
He did not go to lunch, trying to avoid her. At class, he sat with Ron as far away from her as possible. He felt the reproachful glances she was throwing at him, but decided not to care. He already had a detention with Snape. He didn’t need her sermons.
Ron stayed out of it and didn’t mention anything about their argument that would upset him. He mentioned the detention only once, but quickly fell silent when Harry threw him a withering look.
After class, he decided to rest from his friends and went to Hagrid. Keeping after Crackwats helped him busy himself. Not for long though. He forced himself to go to dinner, because he already was hungry enough. The hard as stone cookies, which Hagrid had offered him, were not fit to eat.
Snape was not at dinner, but that did not improve Harry’s mood. He sat as far away from Hermione as he could, ate his food fast and left the Great Hall, directing his steps towards the dungeons.
When he descended the stairs he felt like his legs would buckle under him. For the first time in a week he was to meet with Snape alone. And this time not in the cupboard or the classroom, but in his office.
He repeated to himself that he was going there only for detention. He would do what Snape would tell him to do and he would leave.
He would be a fool if he didn’t expect that Snape would try to provoke him. After all, he loved humiliating him. He wouldn’t deny himself the fun.
But he wouldn’t let Snape break him. Not this time!
When Harry stood in front of Snape’s office door, his heart almost jumped out of his chest. He took several deep breaths, trying to calm it down, then raised his trembling hand and knocked.
When the door didn’t open immediately, a glimmer of hope that maybe the Professor was not in crept in Harry’s heart. Maybe something important had happened and the detention wouldn’t take place. But after a while he heard footsteps and all hope disappeared in a blink of an eye.
The door opened and Harry’s eyes met the black ones’ piercing gaze. He swallowed but he did not avert his head.
“Good evening, sir,” he said with a slightly hoarse voice. A faint smile ran by the Potions Master’s lips.
“If it will be good, Potter, remains to be seen…”
Harry blinked. This was a strange answer.
Snape stepped back to let him pass. Harry entered the office and looked around. He had been there a few times, but the sight of various strange, unpleasant things floating in jars standing on the shelves always gave him the chills. There was twilight in the room. The walls were cluttered with bottles, jars and books. Everything was in dark, subdued and depressing colors. Harry’s eyes stopped at the middle of the room, staying on the desk. For a moment he could not take his eyes from it.
Will all desks that belong to Snape have that effect on him from now on?
“I see you like my desk, Potter.” The note of amusement in the man’s voice was all too clear.
This is a game, he thought. But he wouldn’t let Snape pull his leg. He came here just to have his detention.
“Can’t we get to the point?” he barked in the Professor’s direction. The Potions Master looked straight at him and his eyes flashed with malignant sparks.
A lickerish smile appeared on the man’s face. Seeing it, Harry suddenly realized how Snape could have read his answer in the context of his earlier remarks for his desk. He blushed.
He was angry with himself that he had been caught in a trap. He wondered whether Snape was going to mention such suggestive issues during the whole detention. It was vicious and calculating. But the Potions Master was just like that.
Harry just wanted to ask what to do when Snape turned away from him and said sharply:
“Follow me, Potter!”
These words surprised Harry. He had thought that the detention would take place in the office. But if not here, then where? There was no other room nearby, apart from – Harry watched in horror as Snape walked to the closed door located on the other side of the room – the Potions Master’s private chambers.
He felt blood rush from his head when Snape opened the door and looked at him expectantly.
No! He wouldn’t enter there! Never in his life! He had to come up with something…
“Maybe you can give me some cauldrons to clean?” he stammered out. “I can clean them out here. I will no longer bother you, sir.”
He winced when he suddenly realized where and when he had uttered these last words. The memories hit him, but he quickly stopped and pushed them deep into the farthest corner of his mind.
Snape raised one eyebrow.
“I have a completely different task for you, Mr. Potter.” The malicious expression did not disappear from his face. Harry felt overcome with panic.
What did he mean? What would he make him to do?
“I feel sick. Could we move the detention to some other time?” he muttered, reaching for his last resort. His senses warned him that if he went through that door, something he was very much afraid of would happen.
Snape did not change his facial expression.
“Some heart problems, Mr. Potter?”
Harry blushed but he quickly composed himself and swore at himself in his thoughts. While he was standing motionless, Snape narrowed his eyes and growled dangerously at him:
“Move, Potter. Do not make me repeat it again.”
The Potions Master’s patience was running out. Harry preferred not to wait and see what would happen when his patience was completely dried up...
He clenched his fists and slowly passed through the door.
The first thing that he saw was a big, green armchair, standing in front of the fireplace where the fire was burning, the flames dancing softly and causing shadows on the walls by the bookshelves. A low table stood beside the armchair and next to another one, but it was smaller and in a darker color. On one wall, between bookcases, was a small bar, which had a lot of bottles of various shapes and sizes. Something suggested to Harry that they were not potions. In a remote corner of the room was a black Pensieve. Harry noticed that it did not contain any thoughts this time. On the opposite side of the room was a door. Probably to the bedroom.
Harry felt the familiar electric current piercing his body when it dawned on him. He was in the Potions Master’s private chambers. Never before had he been there, or even dreamed that one day he would be. He was pretty sure that he was the first student that Snape had allowed to see them. This feeling was quite nice. He had always imagined them to be as bleak as his office. However, they proved to be surprisingly pleasant… and cozy. They may not be furnished in a particularly sophisticated way, but it was much nicer here than the harsh, depressing room through which he had just passed.
Snape closed the door and walked over to the bar. Harry stood up against the wall, uncertain and intimidated. He looked at the tall, black-clad silhouette of the man and wondered what Snape could be preparing for him. But he did not dare ask. He was afraid that the answer might frighten him.
After some time, Snape turned and Harry saw two cups and a teapot standing on the heater.
Snape drank tea? This discovery was a surprise for him. He could not imagine this man dealing with such mundane matters.
He rebuked himself for thinking as such. After all, Snape was not a supernatural creature. He was a man. Every so often, when he looked at him, he had the impression that he was something like a dark demon. But that was not true. Harry had found out about that clearly, during those few moments they were alone…
He felt uncomfortable, seeing the intense gaze with which the man was pinning him. He saw Snape moving in his direction. If the Gryffindor had so far managed to keep calm, it was at this moment that his heart almost leaped to his throat and the blood burned in his veins. He began to draw back, but when he felt the bookshelf behind him, he realized that there was no escape for him. The black eyes’ piercing gaze pinned him at the piece of furniture and his mind was flooded by an agitated surge of dread.
Snape had already reached him. Harry smelled the bitter-sweet scent of potions. His legs buckled under him. Snape pressed him and crushed him to the shelves and then…
…he stretched out his hand to reach for one of the books standing on the shelf.
He looked at the cover, then sighed dramatically and put it back into place.
“No, that’s not it…”
Harry stood, trapped between the shelves and the Potions Master’s cool body and slowly regaining his psychological balance. His stomach returned to its place, but his heart was still beating like mad. When Snape reached for his next book, the dizziness only intensified.
He was so close…
Harry thought that this game was so calculated that only Snape could have come up with it. Judging by the reactions of his body, he had succeeded brilliantly. He knew the effect he had on Harry and had decided to use his power. He was doing everything so that Harry would give up and ask him for it. The closeness on the man’s black clad slim body moved him. Harry felt himself getting hard and there was nothing he could do about it. The awareness of this frightened him more than the prospect of standing face to fang with a herd of Venomous Crackwats.
No! Anything but this! he shouted in his mind, telling his body to calm down. But he knew that it was impossible. Not when Snape was so close…
A little more and he will realize… Harry tried to move his hips, but was unable to move. Snape drew even closer and the boy inhaled sharply, feeling his erection rub against the man’s thigh.
“I think I found it.” The Potions Master’s eyes flashed and in his voice appeared a note of malicious satisfaction. Harry wanted to sink into the ground. Snape moved away from him and handed him a book. “You have fifteen minutes to prepare,” he said. “Then I will ask you the question that you had to answer in the test.”
Harry tried not to show how hard it was for him to breathe. He nodded and took the book. For a split second Snape's cold fingers brushed against his hand and made him stiffen for a moment and run out of breath. Snape seemed not to notice, but Harry knew that he did it on purpose. That he was doing everything on purpose …
“Sit down.” Snape pointed to a smaller armchair and he walked over to the counter where the tea was heating up. Harry looked at the book he held in his hands: “The most popular love potions and methods of their preparation.”
He could not believe that Snape wanted to continue the torture. Will he never give up? Harry decided that he wouldn’t let him to break him. Snape could plot to intrigue him, seduce him, and do a thousand other things, but he would never force him to answer these questions. And if he didn’t answer them, Snape would have to flunk him.
The feeling of winning flooded his mind and made him relax a little. He sat in a chair and put the book on his lap. He didn't opened it even when Snape walked over and put two cups of tea on the table. The man sat down in the second armchair, leaned back and stared into the fire. An awkward silence ensued.
Harry tried not to stare too openly, but it was quite difficult. Shadows cast by the flames danced on the man’s aquiline nose and cheekbones. They reflected in his ebony hair and black robe that covered his entire body.
He tore his eyes away from him with difficulty and looked into the fire. He couldn’t understand how it was possible this man to have seemed unattractive to him not so long ago. It is true that he had a big nose, raw and deep wrinkles on his forehead, between his eyebrows and at the corners of his mouth. But all this only gave him a vague, dark charm. How could he not have seen this before?
He sensed that Snape was looking at him.
“I see you know the answer so well that you decided to reject my proposal,” he said in a quiet, cool voice. “Perfect. We may begin.”
Harry took a deep breath and smiled inwardly.
“Recite all the ingredients of the love potion called Amortentia.”
“Unfortunately I cannot do it, sir,” he responded immediately.
Snape’s eyes narrowed, but he didn’t comment on that.
“If so, can you tell me what the smell of a well-brewed potion is?”
“Sorry, I do not know the answer to this question,” replied Harry smoothly, withstanding the gaze that the man thrust at him with his dark eyes. He saw that Snape considered something for a moment, then asked another question:
“Do you know anything about this potion, Potter?”
“I’m sorry, but I know absolutely nothing about it,” he replied in a strong voice, looking straight into the Professor’s eyes.
Snape leaned back in his chair. His face expressed nothing. It seemed that Harry’s lies didn’t cause any impression on him. And yet, he should have fallen into a rage.
He knows that I’m lying, thought Harry, not believing that he was casting insolence at this man and getting away with it.
“And what should I do with you, Potter?” sighed Snape, not taking his eyes off the flickering flames, which seemed to be reflecting within his dark orbs.
Harry could have sworn they were not coming from the fireplace.
“You’ll have to flunk me,” said Harry coldly.
Come on! Get mad! You’re not going to tease it out from me.
Snape did not answer. He looked at the cup standing on the table.
“Your tea is cooling, Potter.”
He reached for his cup and took a few sips. Harry felt his anger overwhelm him.
Why was he so calm? After all, he should have berserk long ago! Bawl and throw him out the door. And the best would be expelling him from the classes. Harry had no knowledge after all.
He angrily grabbed his tea and drank it in one gulp. Maybe when Snape saw that Harry would not break, he would finally give up and find that he had lost? He only needed to remain calm. Composure is the key to success.
Snape put down his cup and pinned him with his penetrating gaze. For a split second Harry thought that an expression on satisfaction crossed his face.
“If so we can continue,” said Snape quietly as he smiled darkly.
Harry couldn’t believe his ears. He still wanted to torment him with these questions? He told him already that he don't know...
Suddenly, something strange happened. The image before the Gryffindor’s eyes began to blur. He blinked several times trying to eradicate the fog, but it did not help. He felt dizzy. Everything around him darkened. He was alone in the silence and emptiness. Snape was only a vague silhouette, which merged into the all-encompassing darkness.
Suddenly, everywhere around him sounded a loud, commanding voice, echoing from distant, invisible walls and returning with even greater force:
“Recite all the ingredients for Amortentia.”
Harry knew that he had to answer this question. Nothing else mattered for him at the moment. He felt like if he didn’t answer, something terrible would happen.
“The ingredients needed to create Amortentia are mainly flowers. These are violets, asters, jasmines or irises. Ideally, these should be collected during the full moon. Moreover, in the cauldron should be included orange peel, grated young mandrake root, verbena and fern spores, mixed with water or alcohol,” he answered in a monotonous voice, as if he was reading it all from the book.
“Excellent,” sounded again the voice. “And now tell me how a properly brewed Amortentia looks.”
The answer to this question seemed to Harry a task more important than anything else. Nothing would be able to stop him from giving it.
“A sign that the potion is well-prepared is the pearl glow and smoke rising in characteristic spirals, which are emanated from it,” replied Harry and was immediately relieved that he had thrown it out. He felt that every question was an enormous weight crushing him and the only way to get rid of it was to answer them.
In the distance loomed the dark silhouette of the Potions Master. A distant part of Harry’s mind vaguely realized that he was the one asking the questions.
“Can you tell me about the smell of Amortentia?” asked the voice.
“Each person feels a different smell for Amortentia,” replied Harry. “The potion’s smell always makes it think of the smells that are most pleasant to him.”
“And what is the most pleasant smell to you?”
“Yours,” replied Harry without hesitation.
After these words, silence followed.
Harry waited impatiently for the next question, but it wouldn’t come. He began to worry. After some time he noticed that the image before his eyes slowly brightened and through the darkness shapes of furniture began to emerge. The voice returned, but it now seemed to him much quieter and more distant. And much less important.
“Just one more question, Potter. Did you have a headache last Friday?”
Harry already had to answer, but something stopped him. He thought that he didn’t want to answer this question.
“Reply,” urged the voice, and Harry felt that the words uprooted themselves from his mouth.
“No, I didn't have a headache.”
The Potions Master’s silhouette sitting in front of him was becoming clearer. Awareness was slowly returning to the boy’s body...
He was in Snape’s private chambers. He had a detention with him. They was drinking tea and...
Harry suddenly felt as if he was hit with a Bludger. He jumped up from his seat, ignoring the fact that he still had blur before his eyes and his head was spinning.
“You gave me Veritaserum!” he exclaimed, his voice breaking, still slightly dazed. “How could you?!” When Snape did not answer, Harry turned to the door. The rage was eradicating the daze. He felt betrayed and cheated. “I’m leaving!” he declared emphatically, but his voice broke again.
“Are you sure that you want to?” asked Snape quietly.
Yes! thought Harry, but his lips said:
He inhaled sharply and closed his eyes, waiting until the potion stopped working completely. He almost felt the triumphant smile on the man’s face. Snape’s dark voice came to his ears:
“You see, Potter? It’s wasn’t that hard.”
The anger and the sense of injustice was bathing the shores of the Gryffindor’s mind and towering waves of the wounded pride was stroking in his self-control.
How could he do it? How dare he!
He opened his eyes and forced himself to look at the man’s face, which bore an expression of satisfaction.
“You had no right to do it,” he said in a trembling voice, feeling like his legs would give way under him at any moment.
“You forced me to do this, Potter,” said Snape quietly. “If you were not so stubborn and insolent, I would not have done that.”
Harry’s legs refused to obey. He sank into an armchair and buried his face in his hands.
It had all been in vain. Why had he tried so hard? Why had he tried to convince Snape that he would never allow him to break him? This whole week had been one big nightmare. He tried to be hard and inflexible, but his whole sacrifice, all his provisions had been ruined. That for which he had worked so hard to fight for a whole week had all been destroyed by Snape in just a minute. And whatever he set out to do, however he wouldn’t try to fight him, now he was sitting in his chambers, completely crushed and defeated. He remembered that Snape had threatened to give him Veritaserum in a lesson one day, but he had never thought he would really do it…
“Potter.” Snape’s quiet voice barely passed through the raging tornado of thoughts and feelings in Harry’s head, but he didn’t pay attention to it at all.
He should've predicted that it would end like that. It was not worth fighting Snape, because it's impossible to beat him. He always achieved what he wanted. He always had his way. He was too smart, too clever to be overcome. And Harry felt it extremely painfully.
“Look at me.” The Potions Master’s voice was unusually gentle, but Harry was completely immersed in his thoughts. He shook his head, wanting Snape to leave him alone.
The last questions had completely destroyed the image of himself he was trying to build. He made a moron of himself. Everything came to grief. And he told Snape such things… What would Snape have to think about him? That Harry is a stupid, naïve brat who did not know what he wanted. And the worst thing was that it was true…
He would never beat him. He may just as well give up right now.
Harry’s heart began to slowly calm down and the blood in his veins ceased to boil. The noise in his head stopped.
He had to get a grip! He could not break down in front of the Potions Master.
He began to breathe deeply, letting his raging emotions out. He sighed a few times before he lowered his hands and looked at Snape.
The man was hammering him with his penetrating, pensive gaze. Harry swallowed hard, but forced himself not to avert his head. He decided to keep the remains of his dignity.
“Why are you hurting yourself so much?” The Potions Master’s voice was incredibly quiet and calm when he spoke these words. But their sense struck Harry with such force that for a moment he ran out of air in his lungs.
“If you are so afraid of your desires,” continued Snape in the same calm tone, “I give you a choice.” He pointed to the door. “You can go if you want to. I will not stop you.”
Harry sat in his chair, incapable of any movement, and watched as Snape got up and walked over to the bookcases, selected a book and sat down in his armchair again, plunging into the book.
He looked at Snape and then at the door.
He felt that his consciousness had split in two, completely different personalities, which began to fight among themselves.
You can get out. He allowed you to do that. You can finally get free of him.
And you will continue to hurt yourself. And you will continue to long for him. This will not change. You still want him.
Snape is a hopeless case. He will always treat you like this. You will never get what you really desire.
And what do you desire the most? Just him. You will finally succeed. You can’t give up now. You knew what kind of person he was. You knew that this would not be easy. But the harder it is, the sweeter the taste of victory is. With your devotion you will manage to break him. You will finally win.
You have no chance. Everyone must accept defeat in the end. He loves to hurt and will do it again. Do you want this?
But if you leave now, you will really regret it. You will regret that you didn’t take the chance. And you will suffer.
And don't you suffer now? Look what he forced you into. You were humiliated once again. How much can you stand?
You have to believe in yourself. You cannot just give up. If you do, you will lose everything you’ve won so far. All your efforts will be wasted.
You can stand on your dignity and get out of here now. At least you will retain your pride.
And what will you have? Only your pride. You still will be unhappy.
And now are you happy?
If you give up, maybe you can save your pride and someday maybe you manage to forget him. But your heart will remain empty and you will never fill it with anything.
But at least you will be finally free…
No, you will never be free when he will be near you. Every day you will see him will be torture for you, because you will be still remember that you had a chance and never took it. That you had a choice…
Harry took a very long and very deep breath. Then he looked at Snape, who was sitting quietly in an armchair reading a book. He was unaware of the battle which was taking place in his student’s mind.
Harry closed his eyes and sighed slowly.
He made a decision.
He slowly rose from his seat, trying not to pay attention to the fact that his legs were bending under him and that each step needed huge effort. He circled the table and stood right in front of the Potions Master, and then gently pulled the book from his hands and put it aside.
Harry’s heart leapt up when Snape moved his piercing gaze to him and winked.
Harry reached out and touched the man’s rough, cold cheek.
He smiled and whispered:
“I choose you.”
"So complicated" by Carolyn Dawn Johnson
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