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Lucid Intervals 4/4 (unfinished) HP/SS

Title: Lucid Intervals 4/4
Author: Sundara
Pairing: HP/SS
Rating: Adult
Word Count: 17,127 (unfinished)
Summary: Harry’s magic talents mature earlier than usual, and the consequences last for years.
 
A/N: Originally begun many years ago for the Severus Snape Fuh-Q Fest Scenario #127: Neither Snape nor his partner are loud/vocal during shagging.  In a moment of personal clarity, I had to admit to myself I'm probably never going to finish this story...which makes a part of me very sad, because I adore it, I love what I wrote, but...it's not where my head's at anymore. So...here it is, just because I think it deserves to be seen and read. And, if anyone perchance actually falls in love with it and wants to take a stab at writing the rest of it, hell, go for it! Just let me know, and I'll tell you what I know about what I had planned, if you want. So, with no further ado, here's my languishing, errant Harry Potter/Severus Snape story.


Part One

Part Two

Part Three

oOo

--Wisdom consists of the anticipation of consequences.--
                                               Norman Cousins

“Well, then, how is our impetuous young man doing this morning, Poppy?”

Albus and Poppy's muted voices pulled Severus from a sleep as deep as the dead. He blinked, orienting himself, and tried to clear his muzzy head. A curtain had been erected around his bed, shielding him from casual eyes, but he could see the two figures standing between his bed and the next.

“He's as well as I can make him for the moment. He'll need a day or two of sleep to recover his strength. He nearly burned out all his magic with that little stunt,” Poppy tsked. “I doubt he could levitate so much as a flea at the moment.”

“Ah, well. Harry has never fully comprehended his own magical abilities.”

Severus sat up and pushed the curtain back. “Albus. Poppy. I take it Potter did not do any permanent harm to himself?”

“No, luckily enough this time. The boy needs to learn the outer limits of his own power,” Poppy declared. “His is a right rare talent. Well, and it would need to be, wouldn't it, for him to take on the Dark Lord and prevail.”

Severus sent Albus a narrowed glance.

The mediwitch came over and waved her wand. “How are you feeling this morning, Severus? Any hold-over pain? Soreness?”

“I'm perfectly fine.”

“Excellent. It appears you didn’t absorb too strong a jolt of the overflow.”

“I'd like a word with Albus, if you please,” Severus said abruptly.

Poppy raised her eyebrows, but didn't hesitate. “I'll leave you two to talk, then.” The curtain closed magically behind her.

“Albus,” Severus began carefully after erecting a silencing charm around them, “given all the time and attention you lavished upon our young Wonder Wizard seven years ago, not to mention the subsequent five years he supposedly studied with other master wizards, I am at a loss to comprehend why yesterday's incident occurred.”

The Headmaster sighed and sat down slowly on the edge of Severus' bed. “Harry did study, with three of the best wizards of esoteric magic in Europe and Asia. And excelled in all areas, according to each one.”

“You kept in touch with Potter's mentors?” Severus couldn't hide his surprise.

Albus gave him a droll look. “Not all of us had your motivation to forget Harry existed, dear boy.”

A faint heat suffused Severus' face, and he looked away in annoyance.

“In any event, Minerva did warn me twenty-five years ago. I fear that his early years with his Muggle relatives are the reason for Harry's, ah, shall we say, occasional lapses of control.”

Severus snorted. “Try obvious lapse, or even better, glaring. Possibly even dangerous might fit the occasion best.”

Albus frowned, looking very grave. “It was my decision for Harry to be raised outside of the magical world, for a variety of compelling reasons. However...I believe I failed to fully understand his relatives' complete and utter disgust with all things magical, and so by association, with Harry, also. While he was protected during his youth from the many dangers and pitfalls the magical world offered him, he wasn't very protected from the Muggle world's various harmful effects. His grounding for our world was woefully inadequate.”

“Woefully inadequate? Albus, I believe that can apply to your description. If Potter had been any average magical child of Muggle parents come to Hogwarts for schooling, his background would not have mattered. But given who he was, not to mention the abilities he possesses....”

“Yes.” Albus sighed. “You are aware it is a common belief that what is needed to combat pure Evil is pure Good.”

“Pure Good couldn't do combat with a mad sprite,” Severus sneered. “Combat simply isn't in its nature.”

“Exactly. Pure Good and Innocence, while possessing many of the attributes we hold so dear, is also as limited in its way as pure Evil. And a thing is most vulnerable through its limits.

“But if you have something good, and expose it to enough evil so that it begins to understand it, the way it thinks, the ways it works, without losing its orientation and commitment to the goals of Good...ah, then... then  you have a formidable talent. Then you have a wisdom born of knowledge of both Good and Evil, with Good retaining control in the person.”

A familiar shamed regret coiled through Severus and logged in his heart. “But the Good does not always retain control, Albus, as well you should know. Sometimes, Good is weak and is overrun and smothered by Evil.” A sudden realization had Severus turning to Albus in amazement. “Is that  why you encouraged the boy at every turn to break the rules and go where he had no business when he was a student?”

“Wisdom is the end result of knowledge and experience, Severus. While we could teach him rudimentary knowledge, how else was Harry to gain practical experience in the ways of the magical world and of the evil that exists?”

Severus gaped at the Headmaster. “I cannot believe the risks you willingly took. Not only with the hope of the Order, but simply with a boy's life.”

Dumbledore had never looked more sadly inscrutable. “Each of us has our fate, Severus, and Harry's has never been simple. You, of any of us, know that when battling Evil, risk is an inherent factor. It cannot be avoided. We can minimize it to a certain extent with precautions and planning, but to truly live, we must  risk --ourselves and, at times, all we hold dear. To live life fully is to risk, dear boy. For all that you’ve risked over the years, this is, in certain ways, a troubling concept for you.”

Severus stared at the older wizard with pursed lips, deliberately ignoring his comment. “How does this apply to Potter's current problems? Should he--should we--simply dismiss them because risk is an inherent part of life?”

When irritation mixed with sadness chased across the Headmaster's face, Severus felt a brief spurt of pleasure. Merlin knew the man had irritated him enough over the years. But Severus' pleasure turned to alarm when Albus straightened up with an expression of formidable determination.

“Harry, despite all his studies, has at heart a reluctance, a fear, if you will, for the Greater Magicks. It is instinctive and not conscious; its seeds can be found in the great fear and hatred for magic that dictated his childhood. His extended contact with Voldemort's twisted power only augmented and increased it.” Dumbledore held up his hand to halt Severus before he spoke. “Severus--in all your dealings with Harry, did you never notice how much he feared his connection with the Dark Lord?”

“Any sane person would fear it,” Severus retorted. “Voldemort’s was a powerful, malicious evil.”

“Yes. However...their connection was not normal. They shared things with one another. They were connected in ways beyond simple fate. Because of the quirks of magic, they shared powers and abilities. Specific magical traits.”

The unconnected pieces abruptly wove together in Severus' mind. Shocked, he whispered, “The boy believes himself capable of becoming another Dark Lord?”

Albus gave a brief nod.

“But that's absolutely, utterly preposterous,” Severus exclaimed.

“Is it?” Albus asked quietly.

Severus waved his hand and dismissed the idea with ill-concealed impatience. “The boy doesn't have the stomach for it. If anyone should know, it is I, being intimately familiar with that spawn from Hell. Potter couldn't even begin to use his powers to manipulate and cause pain in the ways Voldemort did.”

“Ah. You truly think so?” Albus stared at him over the tops of his half-glasses.

“Of course I do.” The older wizard frowned at him, fingering his beard, and Severus scoffed, “Albus, I cannot believe you harbor doubts about your precious savior child.”

Albus didn’t blink. “I have every faith in Harry. I am very puzzled by you, however. I find it fascinating, Severus, that your behavior is so very contrary to your stated belief. You avoid Harry like the plague and refuse to acknowledge what happened seven years ago and again yesterday. Your actions bespeak of a threat to your very existence.”

Appalled, Severus stared at his mentor and friend as he blithely dug up a subject Severus had willfully and completely buried seven years ago. He wanted to jump up and leave the room before Albus could say anything else, but he remained, frozen like a pathetic deer.

“Severus, seven years ago, a young, barely-trained, barely-adult young man unconsciously accessed magical skills far beyond his training--something the young man had been doing all of his life. It was a significant moment, for truly, since then, nothing has been the same for either person involved.” The old wizard got to his feet slowly, his silk brocade robes slithering with a sinuous noise off the bed.

“Albus. Really.” Severus’ voice sounded strained.

“I know it is difficult, Severus, but please silence your fears and look beyond them. Think of a young man on the verge of adulthood, linked irrevocably to the most feared Dark wizard of our time, who discovers one day that he has quite unconsciously and quite easily manipulated one of his most knowledgeable teachers. And then afterward, that teacher refuses to have any but the most brief and public of dealings with him. The teacher is afraid of him, of a young man who shares far more than is comfortable with the face of Evil.”

Severus could not meet Albus’ eyes. “That’s not true, Albus.”

“Oh,” Albus nodded benignly, “yes, dear boy, I know it’s not Harry you’ve a fear of. But Harry does not know any better--and after all, it is what he believes in this case that matters.”

“I cannot do anything to change the past, Albus. What’s done is done,” Severus stated thinly.

Albus raised his brows curiously. “Is it, Severus? Is it really?”

“Yes, it is.” Severus finally found his temper and glared at the older wizard.

“Hmmm.” Albus stroked his beard, looking sad. “Well, then. I suppose I shall have to begin thinking about replacements for Harry’s position. No doubt there will be many offers for The Boy Who Prevailed; Harry shouldn’t have any difficulty finding further employment.”

“Potter hates--” The words were out of Severus’ mouth before he could bite them off, to his chagrin.

The old wizard’s eagle eyes focused on him. “Hates his celebrity? Very true. Harry once told me he’d spent his childhood surrounded by people who only saw him as an object, and he did not want to spend his adult life the same way. However,” Albus continued on blithely, “I’m sure his celebrity will come in handy in finding him another place in the wizarding world.”

Albus gathered his robes. “Make sure to follow any instructions Poppy gives you, Severus. You’re not getting any younger.” With that bald statement, the Headmaster left the room.

It had been no surprise that the only wizard Voldemort had feared was Albus Dumbledore. There was no more generally knowledgeable wizard alive than Albus. No more calculating and manipulating a one than he, also, Severus acknowledged with mixed anger and chagrin. The Death Eaters couldn’t hold a candle to Albus.

Taking a deep breath, Severus slid off the bed and slipped back into his robes. He took an inordinate amount of time as he did up each tiny button, pushing them through the appropriate hole with exquisite care. The ritual comforted him. It imparted a sense of girding himself for battle, like donning armor.

Stepping behind the next curtain, Severus found Potter lying sprawled upon the bed, not a muscle quivering. He had to look very closely to notice the slight rise and fall of Potter's chest, indicating life. His eyes were closed and did not move under their lushly lashed lids; his sleep was deep and dreamless. The mop of his hair splayed out on the pillow, overly long and disorderly. The sight of the younger man healthy and sleeping relieved some internal pressure in Severus.

 Potter almost killed himself last night.

The admittance of that fact sent Severus to the chair next to the bed. He sank into it thankfully, appalled at the weakness in his legs.
Perhaps he had been wrong, thinking it completely preposterous that Potter might ever be another Dark Lord. Certainly he had the ability, given what he’d demonstrated last night. Potter definitely had the anger. Dear Merlin, the anger that boy had hidden. It had created the magic that appeared so unexpectedly...and if Potter hadn’t recognized it and stopped it, that magic would have erupted out and onto him.

Severus shivered despite his long history of suffering under the Dark Lord’s wrath. How often had he known the touch of Cruciatus by Voldemort’s wand? And yet--something about last evening chilled him. He’d only caught the edges of Potter’s pain, but by Merlin--it nearly had felled him. He still didn’t know how the boy had held back the surge of power without releasing it out to attack him.

Severus thought a moment about Potter’s action and came to a sobering realization: There had been no one ever before who had risked themselves like that while attempting to shield him from pain or suffering. Not anyone in his family, not friends or peers, not even Albus Dumbledore.

Until Harry Potter and the war, and again last night. The famed, celebrated Boy Who Lived and Prevailed. Potter, who Severus had prodded mercilessly for seven long years and subsequently added to Potter’s helpless anger...until now, when Severus had poked and prodded one too many times and had unwittingly released it from its safe place.

If Potter hadn’t held it back, it very well may have killed him. But the boy had held it back, and suffered gravely himself.

Possibly it was a familial trait, Severus pondered as he stared at the familiar, so-still features. Potter the Younger hadn’t been the first of his line to do a good deed for him. Potter the Elder had risked to save him all those years ago--if not life and limb, then he’d at least risked the wrath of friends and teachers.

Then again, it probably wasn’t Severus at all that inspired such concern. Most likely, it could have been anyone for both Potter father and son, and it was simply a matter of their own sense of integrity that neither could stand to see harm come to another and have it besmirch their own hands.

Then there was Lily. She had chosen to protect her child at the ultimate cost to herself, quite a family heritage for young Potter to live up to. By her deed, she had bequeathed her son his peculiar power, imbued as he was with the incomparable power of love.

Severus’ lips twisted as he looked at his personal nemesis. “I should blame your mother for this mess, for the power she gave you. If not for her--” then Severus wouldn’t have struggled with his own memories for seven years.

If not for her, Potter would not have survived at all.

The hand under his moved, and Severus started, snatching his hand away from the warmth of the boy’s skin.

Potter twitched again, his eyes moving rapidly under their lids. A grimace contorted his pale face, and a moan escaped his lush mouth.

Severus frowned. “Potter, wake up. You’re in hospital.”

The boy moaned again, clutching at the sheet covering him. “No, no...didn’t mean....”

“Potter.” Severus leaned over him, put both hands on his shoulders and shook him gently. “Wake up. You’re dreaming.”

Green eyes popped open, wide and full of fear. “Can’t...” he gasped.

Severus grasped Potter more firmly, fingers digging in to tension-filled muscles. Severus’ disarranged hair fell over his shoulders and spilled onto Potter’s face. “Potter, calm down. You’re in hospital. Now breathe, before I have to call Poppy in here to work on you again.”

Potter took a deep breath, then another, his eyes never leaving Severus’ face. Slowly, most of the fear drained from his face.

“You’re...unharmed,” Potter said, voice weak but clearly relieved.

Albus’ comments about Potter rang in Severus’ ears. “Of course I am,” he said with just a touch of impatience. “Why wouldn’t I be?  You’re the one lying in a hospital bed after having burnt out all your magic. So don’t think of attempting even the smallest charm, Potter, or I promise I’ll find a particularly annoying hex to use on you.”

Potter’s mouth quirked up as his eyes drooped down. “Same old Sev--” he managed.

Something clutched in Severus’ chest at that ridiculous appended name coming out of that mouth. “Stop the chatter, Potter, and save your energy. And do not ever again call me by that disgusting appellation.”

“Sev.” Green glinted for a few seconds before Potter’s lids slid all the way closed. “Still smell earthy, like green grass....” His breathing evened out.

As he stood there watching the boy--the man--sleep, a tangle of emotions arose in Severus, warring within him. When footsteps approached, he wrenched the curtain aside, ignoring the startled look on Pomfrey’s face.

“What’s wrong? Is Harry--?”

“He’s fine,” Severus’ lip curled. “He woke up his normal, obnoxious self, and after sharing a few brilliant words with me, promptly fell back asleep. I informed him he wasn’t to attempt any magic at the present time until told otherwise, and if he tried to do so, I would hex him into the next life. I think he understood my meaning.”

Poppy’s mouth flattened. “No doubt. Severus, why don’t you go back to the dungeon and rest for the day? It’s been a bit of an ordeal for you, also.”

“I am perfectly fine,” Severus growled, incensed beyond containment. “There is nothing wrong with me, and no reason to think there is. Mollycoddle the Boy Wonder, if you feel a need to do so. He’s the one who whisked himself to the brink of death.”

With that scathing suggestion, Severus fled the hospital wing with as much dignity as he could manage, striding down the stairs and corridors to his own rooms in the dungeon.

The quiet and dim lighting usually soothed him when he fled the upper floors of the castle, but today he found little comfort. Looking at the rug disturbed out of its place by the many feet tramping in the room last night, he could not help but recall the image of Potter lying helplessly in the grip of tremendous pain. Merlin, but the boy had magic power. He always had. And just as before, the electric feel of it, crackling around him in seductive waves, drew Severus in.

Wasn’t that how Voldemort had drawn him in all those years ago?

Severus shuddered, throwing off the memories that lurked in the shadows. He waved his wand and chanted under his breath, wanting to erase every tell-tale presence from last night’s debacle. The furniture moved into to its normal place, and items that had spilled or dropped flew back to their prior spot. The rug twisted back into its proper position, and the soot-blackened footprints of the others who had floo’d in disappeared as if they had never been imprinted on the carpet. The room shone with a vicious gleam.

As Severus turned toward his desk, something sparkled from the edge of the old antique kilim, something foreign in the midst of the rug’s flat colors of deep red and dark green. He reached to pick it up and halted in mid-motion as the magic emanating from it engulfed his hand. More slowly now, he kneeled and narrowed his gaze at the small item.

Crystaline and golden, it shimmered in the firelight, a small spherical object the size of one’s hand. Severus waved his hand over it to detect any dark intent, then picked it up and stood.

A spell-catcher. He hadn’t seen one this finely wrought in years. It must have fallen out of Potter’s robes when he crashed to the floor, although why on earth Potter was walking around with a spell-catcher in his pockets made for some interesting food for thought. They had a variety of uses, mostly benign, although some were not.

Shifting the orb, he watched it refract the light from the flames. Perhaps it was something Potter planned on using in his classes. Whatever it was, it would have to be returned, Severus thought, as he pocketed the orb inside his voluminous robes. But later, preferably much later. Severus had no desire to come face to face with his unfinished business so soon. Too much had been unearthed in the past day, things long buried, things he would rather have stayed buried. As far as he was concerned, they could remain quiescent as long as possible.

.oOo.

--Love is the wisdom of the fool and the folly of the wise.--
                                                            Samuel Johnson

Stupid, Harry berated himself the moment he stepped one foot into the Great Hall. He should have anticipated this, but he hadn’t. He forced his features into a calm mask as he waded into the sea of magical energy generated by the staff and students gathered for dinner. If he stopped now and turned tail and ran out of the room like his instincts were screaming for him to do, well...it wasn’t likely no one would notice. Or forget.

“Good Morning, Professor,” various students hailed him.

Gritting his teeth, Harry nodded politely as he walked up the aisle between Hufflepuff and Gryffindor tables. He felt naked and vulnerable, walking through the students scattered at the tables, children who had more magic in them at the moment than he did. It only emphasized the sheer, blind stupidity of his actions a day and a half ago.

“Professor Potter,” Terrance Stone rose up from the Gryffindor table to capture Harry’s attention. “Are you up for a go on the pitch this afternoon?”

The thought of attempting to fly his Nimbus with no magical ability made Harry shudder briefly. “Sorry, Mr. Stone. I’m, er...” Harry rubbed idly at his chest. “I’m recuperating from a bout of being under the weather. Madam Pomfrey made me promise to behave for a few days.”

“Oh.” The young Gryffindor’s face fell at the news, then he looked back up, hopeful. “Let me know when you’re up for it?”

“I will,” Harry gave what felt more like a grimace than a smile before he continued up the aisle.

He reached the front of the room and steeled himself. Many of the staff sat at the table, talking and eating breakfast. Quickly, furtively, he glanced down at the far end, but the dark head he expected was not there. Blunt relief and sharp disappointment clashed as he looked away.

Both Pomfrey and Dumbledore eyed him as he took his seat.

“You’re looking well this morning, Harry,” Dumbledore said.

Harry nodded briefly, busying himself by putting food on his plate. “Thanks to both of you,” he murmured.

“And Severus,” Dumbledore added genially.

“Is he--” Harry couldn’t halt the question before it started out of his mouth.

Dumbledore waved a fork. “Severus is fine, Harry. He experienced no lasting effects.”

Harry’s gaze flickered to Pomfrey, and he relaxed infinitesimally when she nodded, agreeing. “Good,” he said, his voice rough. Saying nothing further, he turned away and applied himself to his breakfast. Picking at the eggs and fruit he’d absently piled on his plate, he ended up doing little more than drinking a glass of pumpkin juice.

His toast had been shredded into crumbs when the door behind the staff table opened. Harry’s gaze riveted on the figure emerging, robes billowing as he slid quietly into his seat three steps away.

Severus Snape, the object of his damnably persistent, obviously unwanted and not exactly healthy attention.

He looked well enough, Harry thought as his gaze narrowed on the older wizard. No dark circles under his eyes; his thick, striped hair spilled down his back in faint waves. But the looser style of robes he’d taken to wearing in the recent years was not in evidence this morning. This morning, the multitudinous buttons and layers Harry remembered from his own school years were back, augmenting the touch-me-not, formidable appearance Harry remembered so well.

So the cranky, old Potions Master woke up today needing to layer armor between himself and the world. Harry pursed his mouth and stabbed at his helpless food. It wasn’t as if Harry could actually  do anything to anyone right now, since he currently was helpless as a squib. His potential must cast a long shadow to have Snape buttoned up like a virgin fearing sacrifice.

“‘Arry, what’s got ya lookin’ like a thundercloud this bright ‘n lovely day?” Hagrid’s cheerful, booming voice briefly pulled Harry out of his fugue.

Flashing a small but sincere smile, Harry gave up pretense at eating. “Dunno, just tired, I guess.”

Hagrid dragged a chair back from the table next to Harry and lowered his girth into it. “Aye, suppose so. Burnin’ out yer magic ain’t no small thing. Y’had me right worried there fer a bit ‘till ya woke up. Foolish thing fer ya ta go and do.” Hagrid’s voice carried further than necessary, and Harry winced.

“Hagrid, I’d rather the students not find out about the...my situation, so if you could....” Harry gestured with his hand to be quiet.

“Oh, right, will do, Harry.” Hagrid nodded knowingly and leaned in toward Harry with a loud whisper. “Wouldn’t do fer them ta be knowin’ they could get the best of the Boy Who Prevailed, now woodit?” Hagrid grinned cheerfully.

That accurate and wholly unwanted observation made Harry’s stomach roll. “Better eat before the food disappears,” Harry tried to redirect Hagrid’s attention.

“Right. I’m hungry as Fluffy this mornin’.” Hagrid nodded vigorously as he loaded his plate with a variety of eggs, sausage and bread. “Been needin’ to make a new batch of rock cakes. Maybe ya can come to th’ hut this afternoon fer a visit, we’ll sit n’ talk n’ I’ll make a fresh batch of ‘em. How’s that sound, Harry?”

Harry nodded absently, letting Hagrid’s soothing ramble float around him as the genial man stuffed what appeared to be enough food for three people through his beard. The rest of the staff didn’t bother Harry, leaving him to his private thoughts for the remainder of breakfast. When the drag of chairs scraping over the flagstone floor finally penetrated his brain, he looked up from the mess on his plate.

And saw the tail end of Snape’s robes disappear back through the doorway in which he’d arrived.

“Bloody hell,” Harry spit out a bit too loud, interrupting Hagrid’s monologue on his latest acquisitions.

”Wot’s that, Harry?” Hagrid looked at him with confusion.

Harry pushed back his own chair, shaking his head. “It’s...I’ll see you this afternoon, Hagrid.” If I’m still here, he added silently.

“Harry? What--Harry!”

Hagrid’s words were cut off as Harry disappeared through the rear door.

The corridor lay empty in both directions; Snape had wasted no time leaving the area. Down to the dungeons, then. Either his private rooms, or his workroom or office.

He needed to finish it now, Harry realized as he wound his way down the stairs toward the chill lower levels. Now, before his magic returned. While the playing field was not just leveled, but reversed, with him helpless as a kitten--and absolutely no threat to Snape at all. Surely the damned wizard would respond positively to Harry’s request now of all times.

It was just.... He shuddered briefly to think of what kind of payment Snape would extract from him if he decided to allow Harry to stay. Hours upon hours of chopping slimy bits for potions, gathering bushels of ingredients in the Forbidden Forest on the dark of the moon...God knew what Snape’s twisted mind would conjure up. Giving private quidditch lessons to the Slytherin team. Most likely it would include something humiliating, since Snape felt humiliated by succumbing to the effect of the damned Afficio.

Although how Snape’s humiliation could be stronger than Harry’s was beyond him. Snape’s part was only that of a victim; Harry was the perpetrator of the insidious magic. And totally unconscious of doing so. How could anything be more humiliating than having studied for years, be the current DADA professor and an acknowledged authority on the subject, and yet still be unable to control his own magic?

As he approached Snape’s private rooms, nothing happened until he couldn’t find the door. Snape’s wards, and the concealment charm...he’d forgotten about them. With his magic burnt out, he hadn’t felt the mild repelling wards at all, walking through them without a qualm. But that didn’t help him find the damn door.

“Snape, I want to talk to you. Open the damn door.” Frustrated, Harry started hitting randomly on the wall as he walked along. “Snape, I know you’re in there. Open up, dammit.” His anger had grown to the point that he didn’t care if the Slytherins heard his taunting. “Open up, Snape, or are you afraid to face me? Is the big, bad Potions Master afraid to face the evil Defence Against the Dark Arts professor?” He punctuated his words with more wall banging.

“I can’t imagine why I would be afraid to face you, Potter. Even if you are acting like you belong in St. Mungo’s under round-the-clock care.”

Harry whirled around and stared down the hallway. Snape stood watching him, his arms crossed and a sardonic expression on his saturnine features.

“As you can see, I am not there. I’ve been in my workroom, the door open the entire time, quite accessible if you had explored further. But then again, the entire population of the dungeons would have missed your delightful tirade if you had.”



***********

A few Latin terms, just because:

libertas: the state or condition of a freeman, a being free, freedom, liberty, freedom from restraint or obligation, free will, etc.

afficio: to do something to one, i.e. to exert an influence on body or mind, so that it is brought into a certain state

cupio: to long for a thing, to desire, wish (designating a natural, involuntary inclination, or an unbridled or passionate desire, while volo indicates an energetic will)

volo: expressing any exercise of volition; to wish, want, intend, purpose, propose, mean, will; it is my will, purpose, intention, plan, policy (syn.: cupio, opto; but volo properly implies a purpose).