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Nie wyrażamy zgody na kopiowanie i umieszczanie naszych ficków i tłumaczeń na chomikach itp.
Ariel & Gobuss
| Chapter 22 - "Rage" |
Beta Reader: PurpleSonata
Thank you girls!
Now I will let my demons out...
In my hour of darkness they will come again;
Fear, hate, frustration, desperation.
I'll answer with my rage...*
"So how was it?" Harry winced as he heard Ginny's whisper right in his ear.
"How was what?" he asked, surprised, watching Ron's sister move her plate with breakfast and sit down next to him. It was Monday morning.
"Well, you know..." she winked at him knowingly. "Just where were you sneaking in such a suit? Certainly not to clean Snape's cauldrons."
'Quite close ...' Harry thought, involuntarily feeling amused. 'Though I cleaned something else...'
"You're smiling. That means it was indeed... 'interesting' ", Ginny giggled.
"As 'interesting' as it was for you," Harry said quietly. The girl blushed, and after a while they both burst out laughing.
"If only Ron heard our conversation," the Gryffindor mumbled quietly, gasping for breath. Harry glanced at his friend who was sitting some places further, watching them suspiciously.
"What are you whispering about?" he muttered at last, knowing that he'd been caught.
"Not anything that should interest you," Ginny replied haughtily. Hermione sat with her eyes fixed on the "Daily Prophet", so she didn't pay attention to them. Ron blushed and muttered something under his nose and took a big bite of a sausage.
Ginny moved a little closer to him, and just then Harry felt something strange. Tickling at the back of his neck, like a slight whiff of natural magic. He looked around the Great Hall, bewildered, and found himself caught in a very intense look from the Potions Master's dark eyes. He had a strange feeling that suddenly the air filled with sparks. He pushed slightly away from the Gryffindor and the feeling subsided. But Ginny obviously didn't feel anything, because she shifted closer again.
"Who are you looking out for, Harry?" she whispered in his ear. "For her? Which house is she from? Who is this lucky one?"
"Uh..." Harry mumbled, not knowing what to say. He felt all hair on his neck rise, as if it were electrified. Alarmed, he pulled back slightly, and the feeling subsided again immediately.
Ginny probably noticed the look on his face, as she looked at him a little surprised and shrugged.
"Well, don't say if you don't want to. I won't push you. And anyway, what I wanted is to ask you a favor," Harry saw Ginny glance at Ron, and then she leaned over and whispered to him softly: "Could you help me to get out of the Common Room this evening? I'd like to go unnoticed by Ron, to avoid his annoying questions and shadowing. And maybe you could also drag him to the dormitory quite earlier that night, so I could just sneak back... "
"Well, ok, no problem," Harry said quickly, wishing Ginny would get away from him finally. "But let's get back to breakfast now, because Ron is beginning to suspect something."
"Thanks, Harry," Ginny smiled broadly. "I knew I could count on you," she leaned close and kissed him quickly on the cheek.
It happened instantly - the flash and the crack. Ginny screamed and pushed back rapidly.
"What was that?" she asked, looking with amazement at Harry. "It was like I was electrocuted with something."
"It's not me," Harry said quickly, surprised just like she was.
"What happened?" Ron asked when he finally managed to swallow what he had in his mouth.
"Some sort of discharge. She's fine," Harry assured him, with a strange feeling that he knew very well who the perpetrator of all this confusion was.
"You better watch out for him," Seamus' vicious voice reached Harry's ears. "Anyone who gets close to him ends badly . And then the coward denies everything."
"Are you talking about yourself, Seamus?" Harry growled, looking angrily at the boy sitting a bit further down, on the opposite side of the table. "And who has just recently denied everything? First you make shit behind everyone's back, and then pretend to be innocent. Who is the real coward?"
Finnigan's face turned red.
"You think I won't make you pay for what you got me into?" he hissed, voice trembling with anger.
"You're the one to blame!" Harry retorted, feeling that despite all efforts, he was about to lose his temper and explode. He was heartily sick of the continuous mockeries and getting slating from everyone. They didn't want to leave him alone even during a meal! He could feel the frustration that had been gathering inside of him for a few days reaching a critical point and even the smallest remark would soon result in a powerful explosion.
"Stop it, Seamus," Ginny suddenly interjected, "you were once friends."
"I do not make friends with cowards and traitors," the Gryffindor drawled, looking gravely at Harry.
Harry felt something in him begin to crack. This hard, solid wall,which, thanks to Severus, he’d managed to build around himself, began to crumble. So many times had he already been hit by insults, crushed by looks, demolished by hatred - he could barely stand it. And now Seamus was breaking through his wall, leaving huge dints on his way.
"Harry is not a traitor!" Ginny growled, standing in his defense.
"One more word, Seamus, and you will reap your teeth from the floor," Ron muttered.
"You'll see..." the Gryffindor's voice seethed from hatred and grief. "You will see that he will betray us all. Why does he sit here, instead of fighting? My aunt was killed in one of those attacks! He is to blame!" he exclaimed, pointing an accusing finger at Harry who was trembling with anger. "He is nothing but a murderer!"
"Shut up!" Harry felt only a seething rage that flooded his eyes, staining everything with red. Finnigan was the only one he saw, the only one he heard, his words were repeatedly striking and wavering the remains of a shaky wall, releasing something that should have never been released.
An Echo of Ron and Hermione's voices were floating somewhere on the edges of his boiling consciousness, but he heard only Seamus' words:
"And why should I? You can do nothing to me here. You are much too of a coward for that. Anyway..."
The wall collapsed.
Harry lunged forward across the table, throwing everything on the floor. He heard someone’s screams and noises of breaking plates, but he only saw his goal - the terrified face of Seamus. He hit him straight in the nose with his fist, he fell on the chair and both of them landed on the floor. Harry felt a dull pain in the stomach and for a moment he lost his breath, when Seamus' strike hit him. Another strike went to his face, breaking his glasses, but he didn't need them anyway. Harry saw only red as blood fury which was pushing him forward, giving him almost superhuman strength. Harry grabbed Seamus' by the robe, lifted him off the floor and threw him on the table. Pressed him to it and began to pummel. He hit in the face, nose, mouth, neck, wherever he was able to reach. He wanted to crush, to destroy, to level him to the ground. Between the strikes his own snarling voice was reaching his mind roaring with rage. The words came from his mouth by themself:
"You will never..." Crash! "...call me that..." Crash! "...again!"
Harry felt a strong jolt. The immense power detached him from Finnigan. He screamed with rage and surprise, and fell, hitting his head on the bench. Everything before his eyes darkened. He felt a dull pain in his head. For a few moments he didn't know where he was and what happened. Then he heard a voice over him ... Severus' voice.
"Get up, Potter!"
Someone pulled him roughly by the robe, and he rose from the floor. His legs buckled under him, but he maintained his balance. He felt his ragged, sore fists shaking uncontrollably, while the adrenalin began to fall down slowly. Redness which had flooded his eyes disappeared, now he saw only fog. He began to hear other sounds - whispers, shouts, the nervous, almost frightened voice of Professor McGonagall asking Seamus if he could get up.
"Where are my glasses?" he whispered, grabbing his stomach and feeling terrible pain in his nose and left eye. "I can’t see anything."
"Here, Harry," he heard Hermione's trembling voice. "Oculus Reparo."
Someone put the glasses on his nose. He hissed in pain and squeezed his eyes shut for a moment. When he opened them he suddenly gasped, seeing the scene. McGonagall tried to help Seamus who was covered with blood to get up - he was lying on the table, among the remains of breakfast. Plates, cutlery dishes, and his robes were completely covered with food. All the students were gathered around, staring at Harry with an incredulous horror. Between them there were Ron, Hermione and Ginny, looking at him in astonishment. And right
next to him stood Severus, holding him by the robe. When Harry looked at him, he saw the anger in the black eyes. Anger and a glimpse of something else that he couldn't name -some strange movement...
He closed his eyes and groaned to himself. He would not get away from this
Awareness of what he'd done came crushing down on him, not letting him breathe. Strange, but he had no remorse. The roaring monster that had possessed him retreated, but it was still there. And so was the satisfaction that Harry felt seeing the blood flow from Seamus's face, mixed with tears.
He deserved it!
When it became clear that Finnigan could go on his own, McGonagall turned to Harry. Her eyes looked like ones of an angry cat. Harry had the impression that the pupils had become vertical.
"Follow me, Potter!" she hissed icily and, maintaining Seamus, led him to a room located just behind the Great Hall. Snape pushed Harry ahead without a word.
When they were alone and the door slammed shut behind them, they heard an unimaginable noise rise in the Great Hall, but here, in the room, there was a dead silence. McGonagall turned and threw Harry a look so cold as if she wanted to freeze him.
"What is that supposed to mean, Mr. Potter?" she asked in an icy voice. "Never, I repeat, never, throughout all my career, have I seen such a the complete lack of control! What's gotten into you?" her voice began to tremble with indignation.
"They should keep him at St. Mungo," Seamus interjected suddenly, sitting in a chair given to him by McGonagall. "He is dangerous for those around him!"
Harry looked at him and felt a monster roar.
"What, have I got you scared? Who is the coward now?" he smiled with vindictive satisfaction.
"Mr. Potter!" the teacher almost choked with indignation.
Harry felt a sudden pull on his robe. He staggered and took a few steps back, and Snape drew his face close to him and hissed in a voice that could freeze even a fire:
"Calm down, Potter!"
It cooled his fury. In the dark eyes, he saw the raging storm. Snape was as angry as McGonagall, but his anger was much more dangerous for Harry.
The Head of Gryffindor closed her eyes and pressed her hand to her forehead, sighing heavily.
"One of you have to immediately explain to me what happened."
"Seamus insulted me," Harry said quickly, looking at the Professor. "It was a matter of honor."
"Of honor?!" McGonagall opened her eyes wide. "Potter, do you have any idea of what you did? You hurled strikes at another student in the Great Hall, in front of the whole school, and all its teachers! Nothing, I repeat, nothing can justify such behavior!"
"I'm not trying to justify myself. I only want Seamus to apologize to me."
"Never!" the Gryffindor hissed, spitting blood on the stone floor. "What I said is true. He is a murderer. He almost killed me!"
Harry jerked, trying to reach Finnigan and push those words down his throat, but a strong jolt stopped him on the spot.
"Calm down at once both of you!" McGonagall shouted. "Merlin! You are in one House! Where is your Gryffindor loyalty?"
"Potter sold his to You-Know-Who," Seamus snapped.
"Mr. Finnigan!" the Professor gave him an indignant look.
"And maybe this is precisely the reason why you should apologize to me," Harry retorted and noted with satisfaction how Seamus's face went pale with fear.
"Enough of this!" McGonagall exclaimed. "Fifty points will be taken from both of you. I don't know what has gotten into you two, but maybe detention will help you two remember that you are Gryffindors and should encourage each other rather than throw insults when you spend time together. Both of you are assigned to detention two times a week for three hours, 'till the end of the school year. Together."
"What?" they cried almost simultaneously.
"And you're lucky there is a war, otherwise you would have been immediately expelled from school!" she added.
Harry looked at McGonagall incredulously.
"I don't agree!" Seamus squeaked. "He will kill me!"
"If any of you dare to even touch the other one, the detention will be increased from two to four times a week," the teacher said in a determined voice.
Harry felt overwhelmed by despair. Detention with Seamus for the whole year? What about his encounters with Snape? What about Quidditch? What about...
"If I can interject, Minerva," Snape's voice broke Harry's gloomy thoughts, "I don't think that keeping Mr. Potter and Mr. Finnigan together is a good idea. They will rather kill each other than make up. I know that your Gryffindor... idealism makes you believe that spending time together will cool down their anger, but I personally think that Potter will defeat the
Dark Lord sooner rather than make up with Finnigan. He is too fractious, arrogant and stubborn."
McGonagall closed her eyes and sighed.
"So what do you suggest? I don't have time to watch them both at the individual detentions."
"Potter needs a strong punishment, one he will well remember. Patting him on the head will not help, it will only once again give him the impression that he came through it unscathed. You're too gentle, Minerva,'' seeing that the Professor opened her mouth to protest, Snape raised his voice and continued: "Therefore, I believe that the best way to really punish Potter would be to assign his detentions with me."
Harry opened his eyes wide and looked at Snape with disbelief. McGonagall looked as if she was seriously considering this proposal.
"Very well, Severus," she replied after a moment, gazing sadly at Harry, "maybe you'll be able to change his attitude. I'm sorry, Potter," she turned to Harry.
Sorry? At this moment Harry was so happy that he could hardly restrain himself so not to show it. He lowered his head, quickly hiding the happiness that must have shone in his eyes. He glanced at Seamus, who stared at him threateningly from under streams of congealing blood that had flooded his pale face a few minutes ago.
"Very well," McGonagall continued, "Mr. Finnigan, you come with me to the Hospital Wing. Potter, you should do the same."
Harry nodded, not taking his eyes from the floor. The Professor went to Seamus and helped him to rise from the chair, and holding him, they moved out of the room.
When the door closed behind them, Harry felt the intense gaze of Severus. He shivered involuntarily and closed his eyes, waiting for the inevitable.
"I see that you are completely out of your mind, Potter," Snape growled in a sharp, hoarse voice.
"He deserved it," Harry retorted before he could bite his tongue. He turned around and drove a hard look at Severus, deciding that this time he would not let himself be trashed. Anger was still boiling under his skin.
"And you deserve to have a very painful punishment, which might finally teach you something," Snape hissed, giving Harra a piercing glance . "Self-control and discipline - you are missing them, Potter! And it seems that I'm forced to teach you them by myself!"
"You don't have to," Harry said, trying to look calm. "Until now I managed to control myself good enough."
"Really?" the Potions Master's voice trembled with sarcasm. "I would not say that throwing yourself on another student in front of the whole school is a manifestation of self-control."
"I'm not going to apologize for it!" Harry raised his voice, feeling that anger begin to take him over again. "I am glad that I did it and I wish I could do it again!"
Snape's eyes flashed something dangerous. Harry suddenly slowed down and bit his tongue. He had stepped into a risky area.
"Do not talk back to me here, Potter!" Severus' voice became sharper and even colder, turning into an icicle. "You will keep your nerves in check, whether you like it or not. And you will never lose yourself like that again. And why, you'd ask? Because I said so. And if you break this rule, you will never appear in my presence again. Do you understand?"
Harry felt as if the ground disappeared under his feet.
"Why?" he groaned, looking at Snape in disbelief.
"Because the next time you lose control in an inappropriate situation, you may just expose both of us. I must be sure that I can trust you, Potter. Otherwise I will have to end our... 'agreement'."
Harry had the impression that water had burst into his lungs. For a moment he couldn't breathe. He stared at Snape with eyes widened with fear.
"Don't... you can't..." he whispered through a clenched throat. "I'll never do it again. I promise. I... I will control myself," he came to Severus, who was hammering him with a burning icy anger look and grabbed his robe on his chest, looking deep into his eyes. "You can trust me, Severus."
He saw the anger in the man's eyes slowly cease to burn, but still something fueled them. Snape pressed against his lips, then licked them and hissed through clenched teeth:
"One more thing, Potter. You are not allowed to get close to Weasley."
Harry blinked. Weasley? Had he meant...
"Ginny?" he asked, looking at Severus with uncomprehending eyes. Suddenly he felt Snape grab his arms, his fingers digging painfully into the flesh, and with a jerk he pulled the boy closer to him. Their faces were millimeters apart. "Do not pretend the bigger idiot than you actually are," Severus drawled, staring intently into Harry's stunned eyes. "If she touches you again, and you let her, both of you will bitterly regret it."
Harry felt his eyes go wide with astonishment.
"But for you it will be only the beginning of suffering, Potter. You couldn't even imagine what I'm capable of. Remember one thing... you belong only to me!"
Harry was so shocked that he couldn't utter a word. At the bottom of those black eyes there was raging a conflagration, which would consume him if he only dared to protest. However, it didn't even occur to him doing so. The burning fire he saw touched him as well, making him feel an incredible ardor. He groaned when Severus let go of his arms and almost immediately Harry fell to his knees. He pulled his hands and entwined them around Snape's waist, pressing his face into Severus’s black robes.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you upset," he whispered softly, enjoying the smell and the roughness of the material. He raised his face and looked at Severus. When Snape's eyes dipped in Harry's emerald ones, he added: "Don't worry. I'm just yours, Severus."
He saw that something flickered in those black obsidian pupils. The anger on his face changed to satisfaction. After a moment, Harry saw Snape raise his hand. He felt the gentle touch of cool fingers on his cheek. Harry closed his eyes, surrendering to the caress. The feeling was very subtle, but it sent sparks along his body, causing him to tremble. His senses began to receive such a strong stimulus it seemed that one more moment - and he'll explode. How could one simple touch provoke such a violent reaction?
Harry sighed and smiled, and then the fingers were gone. He opened his eyes suddenly and looked with surprise at Snape, whose face in an instant took a cold, fierce expression.
"Get up, Potter. Someone can come in here," he grabbed him by the robe and pulled him up to standing position. Harry blinked a few times, confused. "You should go to the Hospital Wing. Let Pomfrey look at you, but you are to come to my lesson regardless of your condition. Understand?"
Harry nodded, hiding a smile. He didn't know why, but despite sore ribs and bruises on his face, he felt suddenly so... wonderful.
When Harry left the Hospital Wing, his friends surrounded him, shouting one over another. Hermione began to chatter that he should not have done it, that it'd been irresponsible and reckless on his part. Also, that Harry shouldn't have let Seamus provoke him, and that it was very fortunate he wasn't going to be expelled. At one point, Harry couldn't stand it any more and growled that he had already had one sermon from McGonagall and didn't intend to listen to the second. Ron expressed his sincere sympathy when he heard that Harry would have detentions until the end of the school year with Snape, and seemed to be more concerned about it than Harry himself: ("Detentions with Snape? Two times a week? 'Till the end of the school year!? I think I'd rather die..."). Ginny congratulated him on his courage, and was impressed by his strength, and Neville looked at Harry as if he suddenly turned into a three-headed, fire-breathing dragon which at any moment could attack him.
"And I think that Harry did the right thing," Luna put an end to the discussion. "Each of us would react the same way. Now at least he won't be bothered again, because everyone is afraid that they will land in the Hospital Wing with a mutilated face." She smiled happily when everyone looked at her with a mixture of amazement and disbelief. Ron just stared.
"What are you talking about? That’s precisely why Harry got the detentions with Snape! Until the end of the year! Do you understand? Snape!"
"He's lucky," Luna said, smiling madly. "He could get a detention with somebody else."
Harry blushed. Quickly, he glanced at his friends, but Hermione just shook her head, and Ron tapped his forehead when the Ravenclaw turned to leave. Perhaps they both decided that she had said something stupid once again and it was not worth it to even try to understand her.
It turned out that Luna was right. Harry was very pleasantly surprised with the transformation that had taken place among the students after the morning’s incident. Suddenly they all began trying to stay away from him. Mocking badges had disappeared somewhere, and in the corridors there were no more songs about him and shouts like, "Potter is a cowardly traitor!" This didn't mean, however, that they no longer paid attention to him, as wherever Harry went, he was greeted by hostile glances and whispers behind his back, but he had already gotten used to those. At least it was better than open insults and hurl calumnies, which, like the stones had only one task - deeply hurt the victim.
"I'm worried, Ron," Hermione's voice broke through Harry's mind, reminding him where he was, in Potions class. Snape was not here yet.
"You will get Outstanding anyway, as always," the redhead snorted, turning from the nervous friend.
"And if I gummed up the whole work? If something was not right? I have a bad feeling," Hermione didn't budge.
"Hermione, you always have a bad feeling. And when did they ever come true? Trelawney was right. You are hopeless in predicting the future."
Hermione turned red with anger. She turned back to Ron and didn't say any other words to him.
"She is awful sometimes," the red head Gryffindor sighed softly, bending down to Harry. "Sometimes she behaves as if she were possessed."
"I heard that, Ronald!" Hermione exclaimed. Ron made a face as if she hit him by her voice, but before he could answer, a sudden silence reigned over the class. The door swung open and the Potions Master entered. For Harry, one look was enough to figure out that Snape wasn't in a good mood. Perhaps he was still annoyed because of the morning incident.
The Professor stopped in the middle of the class and looked at everyone uncharitably (Harry could have sworn that Snape's eyes narrowed when they reached him), then without a word he turned his back to the students and waved his wand at his desk. Rolls of parchment flew from there and went straight to their hands. Harry unrolled his homework and immediately saw the rating: Troll.
He opened his eyes wide with disbelief. How was it possible? After all, he wrote everything down he’d found in books about this potion! He quickly ran his eyes down the page and read the note written in red ink:
The Wiggilweld Potion? Never heard of it, Potter, and therefore I can not check your work.
"What the fuck?!" he muttered under his breath. "What is the name of the Potion we wrote about?" he asked Hermione who was opening her parchment.
"The Wiggenweld Potion," said the Gryffindor, plunging her nose into her work.
Harry felt a devastating wave of anger flood his mind.
He had noted long ago that Snape didn't give him any privileges. Potions classes were still the same ordeal for him, as always. He even had the impression that Snape had become even more demanding regarding Harry. As if their fucking meant that he should automatically better understand Potions.
But now Snape had just outdone himself! How could he? Harry was assured that everything was fine! One stupid mistake - and all his efforts went in vain. He'd been working on it deep into the night. He wanted to make Snape at least once pleased with him, so he saw that Harry tried, that he cared! That was probably the longest and best work on Potions he had ever written, and this... bastard didn't check it just because he made a mistake in the title!
"Damn, we screwed up again," said Ron, looking over his shoulder. "If things still go on like this... "
"Oh no!" Hermione's moan was so loud that they both immediately stopped and looked at her with surprise. The girl stared at her essay, shock and disbelief intermingled in her face. "I got... Acceptable."
"Oh, well, that is really a tragedy," Ron snorted, pushing away from her and rolling his eyes.
"But... but this is impossible. Everything I wrote is right, I'm sure! I checked five times."
"Apparently, Snape decided that it wasn't that well," Ron sighed. "Come on, Hermione. Has he ever fairly graded us? Look," he put his parchment under her nose . "I have Dreadful. I always get either Dreadful or Troll. Is it okay to you?"
"In your case, definitely yes," Hermione said, shaking her head and staring in disbelief at her assessment. Ron snorted angrily and turned his back to her.
Harry stopped listening to them and looked at his essay. He wouldn't give up so easily! He took a pen, dipped it into the ink, crossed out the title and on the top wrote in large block letters:
THE WIGGENWELD POTION
He got up and walked over to Snape's desk. He stretched the parchment toward the Professor and said in a cool voice:
"I fixed the Potion's name. I would like it if you once again checked my essay, because it cost me a lot of time and efforts."
Snape glanced at Harry and in his eyes there flickered a shade of mockery:
"Really? And why would I exactly check your work again?"
"Because mine is the only one you didn't read, sir" Harry hissed through his teeth. "Since I've corrected an error, I believe that... "
"Tell me the name of the Potion," Severus interrupted him.
"The Wiggenweld Potion," Harry replied, not looking at the essay. Snape raised an eyebrow.
"Are you sure?"
Harry hesitated. Could it be that he messed something up again? He glanced at the paper. He hoped that Hermione wasn't mistaken.
"Yes, I'm sure," he replied and gave the work to the Professor. "Could you now...?" he asked, trying to let Severus know that he had had enough of his pedantic meticulousness. He knew he was doing it on purpose. The man looked into his eyes and waited. Harry guessed what. "Please," he added, although the word hardly passed through his throat.
Snape raised an eyebrow again.
"Well, since you asked, how could I refuse?" the mockery with which the teacher said it was almost palpable. Harry with an effort swallowed the bitter words which crowded on his lips. Snape glanced at the parchment, frowned, looked back at Harry and said: "Rewrite it, and bring me it the next lesson."
Harry stared at him. Rewrite? But it took him several hours. He’d made only one small mistake!
Anger popped and lit with a bright, hot flame.
"Forget it," he drawled icily, crushing his work and angrily turning on his heel. He was so angry with Snape that it took great difficulty to control his trembling hands. He went near the trash bin and furiously threw a ball of crushed parchment there. Under interested and astonished eyes of students, he returned to his bench.
"What happened, Harry?" Ron whispered worriedly when Harry sat down on the chair. "Why did you throw your work away?"
"Never mind," Harry cut him off sharply, avoiding Hermione's pensive look, and staring at the bench.
"Don't worry, man. It's not the first time you got Troll. Somehow you'll get over it," Ron awkwardly tried to comfort him.
"Stop it, Ron. Did you not see how much time Harry spent on the work? Almost as much as I did, but Snape doesn't care.,, I've had enough," Hermione whispered, biting her lip. "He cannot treat us that way."
Harry felt the approaching trouble, but before he could stop her, she raised her hand. Too late, Snape noticed. He cast a disdainful look to the Gryffindor and said:
"What is it, Miss Granger?"
Hermione cleared her throat and started in a strong, but slightly trembling voice:
"I think the grade that I received is inadequate to my knowledge and skills. I'm sure I wrote everything correctly, and received only Acceptable. On what basis was my work graded in this way?"
All the eyes which, during her speech, watched her, now rested back on the Potions Master. Harry saw Snape's eyes change from uncharitable to... threatening. He groaned to himself. Hermione should not have said that. At least not today.
"You controvert my way of grading, Granger?" the Professor's voice became hoarse and dangerously elevated. "You got a grade you deserved."
Hermione looked extremely stubborn. It seemed that Snape's cutting look as part of the class shrank, didn't impress her at all.
"I think I deserve a higher grade," she said firmly, looking straight into his eyes. "But if you think otherwise, sir, please explain to me what was wrong with my work. Then I'll be able to correct it."
Harry had the impression that the air suddenly filled with electricity. Just like when Ginny sat too close to him. Snape's face contorted in anger with which he had been fighting all day, and was finally finding a way to be released. The Professor got up and walked to the bench at which there sat Harry, Ron and Hermione. The whole class was waiting in complete silence full of horror and anticipation at what was going to happen in a moment. No one who spoke to the Potions Master like that could finish well.
"You got that grade because you are an arrogant, conceited, always smart off ignorant who does not know when she shouldn't talk and where the dividing line is," Hermione's eyes widened in surprise, but Snape still hadn’t finished with her yet. "Maybe I should expelled you from my classes once and for all, and then you'll understand that you are not so special at all - just a pathetic student who is obsessed with the desire to be the best at school and who wants everyone to admire her. The truth is, that beyond memorizing formulas from textbooks, you cannot boast of any knowledge, and instead of intelligence, you have in mind only tones of unworthy informations."
When he finished, the class was caught in a dead silence. Hermione had tears in her eyes and seemed to be fighting with herself so as not to burst into tears in front of the whole class. Harry stared at Snape in disbelief.
How could he tell her that? She was his friend! She always defended him, helped him! It's thanks to her he'd been found when Malfoy and his gang had beaten him up and abandoned in the cupboard. She always stood by Harry’s side, and Snape should have kept that in mind! He couldn't allow him to trash Hermione like that!
"That was not nice, sir," he said in a cool voice, thrusting a hard look at Severus. "You shouldn't have said that to her, sir. She just wanted to express her opinion and to understand... "
"I didn't allow you to speak, Potter. It's not your business,” Snape hissed, sending Harry a warning look.
"Yes, it is my business," he replied with emphasis, but Snape didn't let him continue.
"As usual, you have to play role of a defender of the victims. You cannot sit quietly and mind your own business. As usual, you decided to stir up something that doesn't concern you, to get to the spotlight. Is this your new way to suck up to the former friends, Potter?"
He was hit below the belt. Harry felt a surge of rage as powerful and blinding as at this mornings breakfast. With great difficulty he refrained from throwing himself at... And what would he do? He swallowed, took a deep breath and continued, as if Snape hadn't interrupted him:
"Hermione is my friend and I will not let you trash her... " he stopped, seeing Severus' eyes rapidly constrict, sending him a warning signal. He bit his tongue and quickly improved: "I will not let you, sir, trash her, because she's done nothing wrong."
The Potions Master's face had turned pale with rage. He pressed his lips together so hard that they became just a barely visible line on his face radiating with a desire for revenge. Eyes threw thunderbolts; he looked like he wanted to turn Harry into a pile of ash.
"Listen, you arrogant little brat... “Snape took a step toward Harry, but suddenly stopped, as if trying to control himself. Harry thought he succeeded, because after a while Snape licked his lips, turned back and waved his wand in the direction of his desk. Amazed, Harry saw the roll of parchment fly to him and fall to the bench before him. It was empty. Harry looked up with surprise at Snape, who suddenly appeared next to him.
"You're going to write three hundred times 'I will not interfere in others people's business and I will speak respectfully to the teacher.' If you are not finished by the end of class, you will remain after it and write as long as you need to remember it," the man hissed venomously.
'Oh, so he wants to play this way...' Harry thought, feeling his anger rise in him even more. He looked straight at the piercing black eyes and said in a firm voice:
"All right. I'll write it, if you, sir, write on the blackboard "I will not be rude to my students." Just once."
After these words, several things happened simultaneously. Hermione shrieked in horror, Ron put his head in his hands, Seamus, who had been laughing quietly to himself, choked and turned pale, and the rest of the class held their breath.
Harry saw Snape's eyes widen and his face become deathly gray. In his eyes there flashed a lust for murder and fire so great that in a split second it could swallow Harry and turn him to ash.
"What have you said to me, Potter?" he muttered in a voice trembling with rage. Harry had the impression that he saw foam at the corners of Snape’s mouth. Snape seemed to be on the edge of exploding. Harry felt that he had gone too far, but he would not give up. He had a right to defend Hermione! "Because of your insolence, obstinacy and arrogance, Gryffindor loses fifty points. At detention you will clean every tile in every toilet in the school.” But the Potions Master's words only poured oil on the flames burning in them both, and nothing could quench it now.
"I don't care how many detentions I'll get from you and how many points you'll take from me!" Harry almost shouted, feeling that one more moment and he would explode. "You use your power to humiliate us and trash us. And no one protests, because they all are afraid of you. But I'm not afraid!"
"Harry, stop it!" Hermione screamed terrified, grabbing his arm. Snape seemed as though he had long ago crossed the border of fury, and now he was already far on the other side. He looked like a demon standing near the gateway leading to hell.
"Get out, Potter!" he hissed so viciously that Harry involuntarily felt a shiver on his back. "Get your stuff and get out of my sight! Now!"
Harry squeezed his eyes shut, sucking in air violently. When he opened them, he saw that everyone was staring at him in horror mixed with... admiration. Snape turned his back to him and Harry couldn't read the expression on his face now. It was even worse than overt anger that had emanated from Severus a little while ago. Harry knew he had gone too far, that he’d exceeded a certain border which should not have been crossed, should not have even been approached to.
He felt very strong pressure in his throat and stomach. With difficulty he rose from his seat. and with trembling hands, he gathered his things. He glanced again at Severus, but all the time the man stood with his back turned on him, and Harry felt a twinge of regret.
No, he couldn't feel any remorse! He'd done the right thing! It's Snape who’d acted like a complete asshole!
He threw his bag on his shoulder and left the class, followed by looks full of disbelief and anxiety. When he crossed the threshold of the classroom, he couldn't keep from slamming the door. The echo spread this sound around along the corridors of the dungeons.
* "My rage" by Rage
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