HOGWARTS HERSELF: A HARRY POTTER FAN-FICTION STORY
Word Count: 1675
Rating: PG for references to child abuse
Summary: A young Harry Potter, scarred from domestic abuse, discovers that Professor Snape is not so very scary after all.
Harry wasn’t afraid of Professor Snape. He found it hard to find fear for a man who didn’t touch him, and wasn’t allowed to physically hurt him.
“Professor, I finished all my homework. Do you need any help?”
“Professor, do you want me help tidy in here?”
“Professor, I’m really good at cleaning. Would you like me to work on some of those nasty cauldrons?”
Professor Snape watched as the Potter boy cleaned first his storeroom and then his classroom with the speed and precision of an especially thorough house elf.
It was . . . befuddling, to say that least. The child had been coming here for weeks, and although he had taken points and given detentions, the boy simply refused to take ‘no’ for an answer.
“Potter, stay after class.”
The other students snickered, but Harry paid them no mind.
“Yes, sir!” He said brightly, wondering if there were new things to chop, gut or debone waiting for him.
At the end of class, after the slowest students had filed out, Harry moved up to stand in front of his professor’s desk.
Snape just stared at him for a moment before clearing his throat.
“Potter,” He said, folding his hands together and leaning across the desk. “You are nothing like either of your parents.”
Harry crossed his hands behind his back and stared pensively at his professor.
“I don’t remember them. I don’t even have a picture of them.” Harry shrugged, disregarding his professor’s known distaste of the gesture. “Why should I be like them? They were brave.” He scuffed a shoe on the floor that he had cleaned so many times.
“You are courageous as well,” Snape said, looking pained at the admission.
“I’m not though. If I was, I’d–” Harry trailed off, ducking his head.
“You would what?” Snape voice pierced his shame.
“I . . . I would stand up to my relatives,” he whispered.
Snape looked at him curiously, dark eyebrows narrowing as though Harry were some kind of bewildering new potion.
“You stand up to me all of the time. You are painfully Gryffindor about it.”
“Sorry,” Harry answered, a smile touching the corners of his lips.
“You aren’t afraid of me. Why?” he asked, head cocked to the side as he openly studied Harry.
Harry’s smile was brilliant.
“Because you aren’t scary.”
Both of Snape’s eyebrows raised impossibly high.
“I assure you that your classmates would disagree. Loudly,” he added, letting his voice drop into the gravelly part of his range.
“You can’t hurt me though. Words might hurt, but you can’t beat me. You can’t break my bones, or burn me,” Harry argued.
He resisted the urge to shrug again.
“Who has done such things to you?” Snape’s lips were white.
Harry had only seen him look like that toward the Weasley twins, and sometimes Neville. It was his turn to cock his head to the side and stare curiously at Snape.
“My family. My uncle, my aunt . . . my cousin and his friends,” He answered, fidgeting where he stood.
“And no one has said anything against them?”
“My headmaster at my last school told me it was the family’s prerogative to choose how to discipline their children.”
“Did he hurt you as well?” Snape’s calm voice was at odds with his pinched face.
“But you do not fear the same from me? From the headmaster? From your head of house?”
“The Hogwarts handbook says physical punishment is not allowed, and that the rule is strictly enforced. It said that the last professor to try it was cast out of the castle by Hogwarts herself.”
Here, Harry smiled and looked up at the walls and the ceiling that he had so studiously scrubbed.
Snape stared at him unblinkingly until Harry’s eyes ached in sympathy.
“Tell me, am I the only one you help?” he asked at long last.
Harry took a step forward and rested his hands on his professor’s desk.
“You’re right when you told me that everyone else was afraid of you. I noticed my first week that other students were always going out of their way to help the professors. All the professors except you. I asked around and they told me that you were evil. That you ate children for breakfast.”
Here, Snape snorted and Harry grinned.
“They said that you chopped students up for ingredients and drank their blood.”
“And for some reason you chose not to believe this tripe?”
“The handbook says you can’t. Anyone who signs the code of conduct–and your name was on the list–can’t go against the handbook.” He reached across the desk, and put his hand atop his professor’s.
Snape visibly startled at his touch.
“But I made up my mind by myself. Sure, you yelled at me. My relatives do that too. You questioned my intelligence, but I’m used to that .”
Snape scowled and spat, “I would be very careful in continuing to compare me to those animals you live with.”
Harry continued on without acknowledging his words.
“You don’t push me. You don’t hit me. You don’t beat me. You tell me to get out or I’ll miss lunch,” he said smiling. “You ask if I have time to bother you, questioning if I’ve done my homework. No adult has ever asked me that,” he added, not letting go of Snape’s hands, even as moisture gathered in his eyes. “You teach me things as I cleaned, explaining the difference between the ingredients in the storeroom many times.”
“I merely did not want you mixing them up,” Snape argued in a growl.
“You told us our first day of class that you didn’t want us to get hurt. Only dunderheads blow up cauldrons, right, Professor? Only dunderheads don’t prepare. Only dunderheads don’t read ahead and practice their knowledge outside of class.” He grinned tremulously, still watery eyed.
“You know what, Professor?” Harry’s voice dropped to a whisper.
“You’re my favorite professor. Ron thinks I’m barking mad. But he has his family, while I got stuck with the Dursleys. He doesn’t know what it’s like to go to bed hungry. Or not to be safe in your own house. Now I’m learning what it’s like to be taken care of too.”
Snape shook his head in the negative at his words, and opened his mouth to speak, but Harry beat him to it.
“I’m safe with you. Even if you’re supposed to be scary, you’re still the safest. You don’t even like me, but you still won’t hurt me, and you won’t let me get hurt. That’s why you’re my favorite. You might hate me, but you’ll never hurt me. That’s why I’m not afraid of you. You have all the reasons in the world. Professor McGonagall told me that you didn’t get on with my dad and his friends. That they were awful to you, and no one ever stopped them. You have reasons to be mean to me, and I get that, but likewise, I know you won’t ever lay a hand to me.”
“Because of the code that I signed?”
“Naw,” Harry grinned, and let go of Snape to wipe away the moisture that had gathered under his glasses. “‘Cause you’re good.”
“Now I know you’re taking the mickey,” Snape spat.
“No, I’m not. And someday, I want to be just like you.”
“Potter,” Snape’s voice was more than a little strained. “You do not.”
“I do! You hate me, but don’t hurt me. My relatives do both, and we even share some of the same blood.”
“Potter . . . I don’t hate you.”
Harry’s smile was beatific.
“You shouldn’t like me. I am not a nice man.”
“Nice and good aren’t the same thing.”
Snape sighed and looked at the small boy standing in front of his desk. The boy who wasn’t afraid of him. The boy whose life was so miserable that he seemed to consider it a treat to spend time with the most distasteful man in the school.
His father had gone out of his way to bully him, and his son had gone out of his way to help him. It didn’t make any sense, and thinking about it made his head hurt.
“Most would disagree with you, Mr. Potter.”
“Most don’t really know me, Professor. I can make up my own mind. I don’t need their approval.”
“You’re going to be late to your next class.”
“You could write me a note?”
He sighed again. What was he getting himself into?
“On one agreement,” he said at last.
“You come back tonight and let me take you to the Infirmary.”
He had thought the boy would argue, would fight, would . . . something.
“You think I should?”
Snape swallowed hard and began looking in his desk for a spare piece of parchment. Anything to avoid those brilliant green eyes staring back up at him.
“I do. Are we in accord?”
“If you think I should, then of course I’ll go. Will you stay with me?”
“Would you want me to?” Snape asked, quickly writing a nondescript note that revealed absolutely no details of their time together.
“Please,” Potter answered, all traces of tears gone.
“I will meet you here at seven o’clock sharp. Do not be late.”
He stood up and made his way around the desk, intent on returning to his office to ponder on the very strange conversation he had just had.
“Yes, sir,” Harry answered.
Then, spontaneously, he hugged his professor around the middle, shocking Snape to his core. A second later, he grabbed his bag and ran out the door.
“See you at seven, sir!”