As It Began

When Snape is sent to deliver Harry's Hogwarts letter on his 11th birthday, will he still be able to hate Harry after meeting the Dursleys? Harry is a first year at Hogwarts. HP & SS No slash!

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15. Chapter 15

“Close your mind,” Snape commanded Harry.

    Harry tried to obey but found it difficult. “How exactly do I do that, sir?”

    “Think of nothing,” he suggested. “Or perhaps think of a smooth blank wall behind which you are hiding your thoughts.”

    The latter worked better for Harry because he simply could not stop thinking. Instead, he pictured a brick wall that was smooth; no mortar was between the stones.

    “Ready?” Snape asked. Harry nodded, making eye contact. “Legilimens.”

    Harry concentrated hard on his wall and willed it not to break beneath the practiced stab of Snape’s mind. After only a few seconds, Snape managed to dig through a crack on the edge of his barrier, collapsing the wall and allowing memories to spew forth. He did not hold Harry in this state, however. Instead, he released him and stepped back.

    “Think of one of your worst memories,” Snape said. 

    “What? Why would I do that if you’re going to break into my mind?” Harry asked, horrified.

    “For precisely the reason you just demonstrated. You will fight much harder if you do not want me to see what is in your mind,” he explained. “Ready?”

    Harry nodded once more and prepared a stronger, smoother barrier than before. He felt the pressure of Snape’s mind push against his block, trying to discern the weakest spots. This time, it took over a minute for Harry to falter and allow the professor to slip inside. Just as the memory of Harry being locked in his cupboard for a week started to replay, Harry closed his eyes, severing the connection.

    “Again,” Snape commanded.

    This time Harry held out for a few minutes before finally succumbing. Despite Snape’s instructions, Harry was not picking his worst memories, even though these were bad. He got nervous just thinking about what the Dursleys would do if they found out what Snape knew. He had no desire to add to that flame.

    “You are holding back,” Snape accused. “Try harder. If you truly master this, you will be able to Occlude your mind with out thinking, for indefinite periods of time; even while asleep. Now try again.”

    With a deep breath, Harry picked one of his worse memories. This was one that featured Dudley and his gang forcing Harry up a tree and keeping him there for a whole night. Feeling that the embarrassment of Snape watching this memory would be overwhelming, Harry fought his hardest to keep the Professor out. Several minutes passed after Snape uttered the spell. Finally, he cancelled it of his own accord.

    “I believe you have it,” he told Harry. “All you must do now is practice so that it becomes second nature to you.

    “Thank you, sir,” Harry said gratefully. “Hang on, you offered to teach me Occlumency, but how did you know that I found out that you could read minds?” 

    “I can read minds, remember?” Snape said derisively, a sneer across his face.

    “Oh, right,” Harry replied, chastened.

    “Anything happen with Professor Quirrell?” Snape asked.

    “No, sir. Not yet anyway, I’m headed there next actually,” Harry said, glancing at the time. They had been practicing over lunch for Harry had Quidditch practice that evening. The big Slytherin vs. Gryffindor game was in only two days and the team was frantically preparing.

    “You ought to go, then. Better to not give him a reason to give you detention,” Snape pointed out, implying that he would give a detention to a late student.

    “Alright, see you Professor,” he said, departing.

    “Goodbye Harry.”

    Harry smiled to himself and headed off to find Draco and Hermione who were supposed to meet him before Defense Against the Dark Arts. Ron was planning on coming late to the class in favor of finishing his Potions essay that was due the period after. Harry tried to convince him that Quirrell was in fact scarier than Snape, but Ron simply could not believe it. Harry was appalled, for Ron was involved in Harry’s ‘kidnapping’ and had seen the results firsthand. Nevertheless, he decided to let it go and catch up with his other two friends. 

    “Hey there, Harry,” Hermione said as he jogged up behind them.

    “Hi,” Harry replied.

    “Did you know that Draco has an entire library in his house?” Hermione said, eyes glowing.

    “Er, no I didn’t.” He turned to Draco and asked redundantly, “You have a library in your house?”

    “Well it’s not huge but it’d be enough to keep someone occupied for quite a while,” Draco stated. “You’re welcome to come over and use it whenever you like,” he said to them both.

    Harry snorted as Hermione’s eyes glazed over. “What would your parents say? ‘Hey mom, dad, I brought my friends over to hang out in the library’.”

    They laughed at the notion while Hermione scowled, for that seemed to be exactly what she imagined.

    “Actually, my father is rather intrigued with you, Harry. He thought it was odd that you accepted a Slytherin as a friend and spend so much time with Professor Snape. They’re old friends. I’m sure he’d love to meet you,” Draco said airily. 

    Harry was mildly surprised, but did not acknowledge the offer with more than a glance. He recalled Ron mentioning on the Hogwarts Express that he had heard some strange things about the Malfoy family. He thought that Draco was okay, but resolved to ask Ron about it later.

    “I don’t think that Harry intentionally spends time with Professor Snape,” Hermione pointed out. “I can’t imagine that his detentions are fun.”

    Draco looked mildly surprised. “Really? I heard him say that he hasn’t given out a detention since the first day of classes.”

    Harry hung his head an spoke quietly. “Please don’t tell anyone, especially Ron, but I haven’t really been in detention.”

    “Then what, Harry?” Hermione asked, seeming alarmed that he was breaking some kind of rule.

    “You remember the thing with Quirrell trying to kidnap me?” Harry asked, glancing to make sure they were alone in the corridor. They both nodded, for he had told them everything, including the information on the stone. “Well, he has been mentoring me in classes and in... defense.”

    “I’m sorry, Harry, that must be awful,” Hermione said with feeling.

    Harry shook his head. “This is why I don’t want you to tell Ron just yet, he won’t understand. I sort of like the mentoring sessions. It’s nice finally having someone to talk to,” Harry explained. “Snape really isn’t that bad.”

    “You can always talk to us, too,” Draco offered.

    “I know,” he smiled faintly at the pair of them. “Thank you.”

    They neared the classroom in silence, then assumed their customary seats, leaving one open for Ron. Opening his bag, Harry pulled out his essay on the treatment of werewolf bites. Once the class settled in, they were instructed to turn the essays in to the Professor on his desk. Harry approached more warily than the others, and he felt his scar prickle from across the room as Quirrell’s gaze turned towards him. When he reached the desk, he dropped his parchment in the wicker basket and attempted to Occlude his mind before looking at the Professor. He met his eyes as if meeting a challenge. Fearing that his mental shields would falter, Harry dropped his gaze before turning away. His eyes landed on a piece of jewelry that he had not noticed before: a golden chain on which hung a large locket with decorative filigree in a shape that Harry couldn’t quite make out in this light.

    The moment that his eyes connected with this object, a searing pain shot through Harry’s scar. He barely managed to stop himself from crying out at he dropped to his knees. Draco, who had been right behind him, was at his side in an instant.

    “What is it?” he asked. 

    “Have... to.. go,” Harry gasped. 

    “T-take him to t-t-the hospital w-wing,” Quirrell tremulously commanded Draco. 

    Draco nodded and helped Harry to his feet. They trudged across the classroom, and slipped out of the door. Immediately, Harry’s pain eased and his head was completely clear. He stood up straight.

    “I’m okay now,” Harry said.

    “Were you faking?” Draco asked, eyes narrowing.

    “No,” Harry insisted. “but I do need to see Professor Snape.”

    “What happened?” 

    “I don’t know, I just looked at his necklace and my scar started burning,” he explained.

    “Harry, your scar isn’t burning, it’s bleeding,” Draco said urgently. 

    Harry dabbed it with his finger, wincing at the sensitive skin. “I have salve in my dorm, let’s go.”

    “I thought you wanted to see Professor Snape?” Draco said, clearly confused.

    “He’s teaching, I could call him here, but I don’t think it is that urgent,” Harry said, missing Draco’s inquisitive glance. “I’ll go down before Quidditch.”

    They headed up the stairs to the Gryffindor common room where they found Ron, alone and writing frantically.

    “Hey, aren’t you supposed to be in class?” Ron asked, not having time for greetings.

    “Long story, keep writing,” Harry told him, dashing up the stairs.

    Once inside the boy’s dormitory, Harry rummaged through his possessions looking for the small tin of salve that Snape had given Harry. When at last he found it, he rubbed it gratefully over his lightning bolt shaped scar and almost sighed in relief. He made a mental note to thank Snape later. He descended the steps and joined Ron and Draco at the bottom. Ron had finished his essay and was hoping that the return of Harry and Draco would cover his late arrival.

    Incredibly, this plan worked for him. When they entered the classroom, all eyes turned to them.    

    “Y-you’re back,” Quirrell stated simply. “T-thought I o-only sent M-m-malfoy.”

    “I tagged along,” Ron lied, “Harry’s my friend too.”

    Quirrell merely grunted and resumed teaching. Luckily, the class was more than half over by this point and therefore was easier to endure. Harry noted that Quirrell’s necklace had either been removed or tucked beneath his robes. 

    Soon enough, they were released to head down to Potions. This class had become much more bearable now that Harry and Snape were on better terms. They were given instructions and the class passed quickly. At the end, he whispered to Draco that he was staying and asked him to inform the other two of the reason he left Quirrell’s class. His friend nodded and ushered Ron and Hermione out of the room.

    “Professor?” Harry asked for Snape’s back was turned to him.

    “Yes?”

    “May I stay for a moment?” Harry inquired. “I don’t have long because I have to get to practice, but there is something I need to tell you.”

    “But of course,” Snape said, unconcerned. “Do tell.”

    “I was handing in an essay to Quirrell-”

    “Professor Quirrell, Harry,” Snape corrected.

    “But he’s helping Vold-”

    “The Dark Lord, Harry,” Snape corrected again, much to Harry‘s frustration.

    “But he’s helping You-Know-Who!” Harry sputtered.

    “Indeed he is, but nevertheless, he is still a Professor at this school and will thus be addressed as one. Do go on,” he said, unfazed.

    Harry rolled his eyes, then paused, expecting a reprimand. It did not come.

    “Contrary to popular belief, I do have other things to do, if you would get on with it.”

    “I Occluded my mind before I looked at him, but I was worried that it might not hold, so I dropped my gaze to his necklace,” Harry started.

    “Necklace?” Snape snapped with a sneer. “I have never seen him wear one.”

    “Neither have I. It was big and gaudy and had some kind of design on the front but I couldn’t tell what it was supposed to make through all of the swirls and such,” Harry admitted. “But anyway, when I looked at it, my scar seared really bad, and Quirrell told Draco to take me to the hospital wing. As soon as I left the room though, it stopped.”

    “Is that so?” Snape said, appearing to contemplate this.

    “Thanks for the salve, Professor. My scar was bleeding but that helped a lot.”

    Snape waved his hand dismissively. “Go, you’ll be late for practice,” he said. “On the other hand, stay. I’d rather like Slytherin to win.”

    “Not a chance,” Harry said with exaggerated cockiness. He said goodbye and exited the office, leaving Snape with his thoughts.

 

----{}-{}-{}----

 

    Later that night, Harry staggered into the common room. He was exhausted from practice and headed straight up to the dormitory. Ron rose to follow him, chatting amiably about Quidditch.

    “So, are we going to kick the Slytherins’ a-”

    “RON,” Hermione yelled up the stairs in reprimand.

    Ron scowled while Harry chuckled. “Of course, they’ve got nothing on us,” Harry stated, confident in his team’s abilities.

    “That’s what I like to hear,” Ron said as they entered the empty room.

    Harry began stripping off his gloves and shoes. “Hey Ron? You remember that conversation we had on the train about the Malfoys?”

    “Harry, I barely remember if I ate breakfast this morning,” Ron replied, rolling his eyes.

    “Believe me, you did,” Harry told him with a laugh. “But really, you mentioned something about hearing some things about the Malfoys. You hinted that they weren’t very good.”

    “Oh, was that when you got all deep about giving people second chances and whatnot?” Ron asked, missing the point.
    “Probably, I don’t know. Anyway, what did you hear about the Malfoys?”

    “Oh. Right. Well, Dad works at the Ministry, you know that, so we pick up snippets of stuff. I’ve heard my parents discussing how they don’t think Mr. Malfoy should have gotten off. They think he should’ve went to Azkaban.”

    “Azkaban?” 

    “Wizard prison,” Ron explained.

    “For what?” Harry asked. 

    “Supporting and helping You-Know-Who. After you did away with him, all of his closest followers were sent to Azkaban, but Malfoy Sr. went free. Something about being forced. My parents don’t believe that though.”

    “Oh,” Harry said, trying to understand the implications of Malfoy and Snape being friends from way back. Back when He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was alive...

    “Why do you ask?” 

    “Just something Draco said...” Harry hedged, though told the truth.

    “Draco is okay, I’m glad he doesn’t hang out with Nott and them,” Ron stated.

    “Yeah, I told you that we can keep him from going bad,” Harry said with determination. 

    “I sure hope so.”

    Harry got cleaned up then collapsed in his bed. He drifted off to sleep thinking about the stone that he had caused Snape to shatter and of Malfoy Sr. Harry dearly hoped that he had placed his trust in the right people.

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