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Harry's Hands

By Megan Nielson

Other

Chapter 13

Disclaimer: I'm not JK rowling and I make no money off of thisWarnings: mentions of abuse, minor swearing, etc

If Hermione could see him right at this moment, she would've been very proud. Knee-deep in a pile of unshelved books, Harry was cautiously flipping through a very old treatise on the subject of magical ailments. So old, in fact, that the amount of 'ye's and 'thou arts' made it quite difficult to follow. The other books surrounding him were perhaps just as old, if not older, and so dry that they made the desert look like the Hawaiian coastline. And why was this non-academically inclined boy searching through all of these obscure books on mediwizardry in a sickeningly Hermione-ish way? Well, that was a secret to everyone except for himself.

Clamping the treatise closed, Harry realized after the 145th 'ye' or so that the tome was hardly going to be of help to him. Embarrassingly enough, it had taken three chapters for him to realize that the book was not about 'hands' at all- it was about the musculoskeletal structure of animal familiars in the magical Middle East versus other regions.

Flopping the book carelessly on its spine, Harry sighed dramatically yet again. Nothing was helping him! He of course had realized that, having never heard in his lifetime of what was happening to him happen to anyone else, it was going to be quite the search to find even the mere footnote about his hand-problem... err magic problem? Dream problem? The fact that he was not even entirely sure what the real problem was, was in and of itself also a problem. His eyes fixated blankly on the ceiling and in his mind he remarked at how pretty the criss-crossing pattern was; they were like little lines incised into the vaulting and, upon closer inspection, the boy realized that there existed small, hollowed squares within the - wait! Harry shook himself, instantly becoming cognizant of how off track he was getting. He absolutely had to stay focused, if he didn't then... then who knows how bad his problem would get?

Jumping to his feet, he started putting books he'd already scoured for information away in their proper spot. Chewing his lip, he intended to reach over and grab for another heavy tome, yet the moment his hand lifted up the book flew obediently through the air and thumped hard against his chest. "Oof!" Harry said, almost tripping backwards, and grappling the book awkwardly before it could fall to the floor. He blinked, seeing the thing in his arms and wondering just how he had managed to...

Silly, he couldn't have done that. It's just not possibly that he summoned a book wandlessly and wordlessly; it was more likely that it flew to him on its own, right? He had seen books flying around by themselves during the height of the school year sometimes. He stood there, doubting his own hypothesis yet not outright denying it.

Standing still, with the heavy thing ensconced in his arms, Harry heard a nearly silent pop and small, pitter-pattering footsteps. Only a moment later, a greenish, cheerful house elf walked around the corner, "Sirs."

"Hello, who're you?" the boy asked curtly, "Do you need something?" he added, before setting the tome down onto the table he'd sat at for the last few hours. It was a moment before he realized to pull his sleeves over his hands, lest the house elf was like Wrinkly and could somehow see the glowing that was invisible to himself.

Dotty watched the subtle action, pinning his arms still with her gaze and appearing deep in thought before returning the boy's eyes politely. She had seemed to notice, yet didn't say anything about it, Harry noted uneasily. "Mines name is Dotty, Sirs, Mr. Snape says for me to brings yous to his office."

"What for?" Harry felt his heart drop into his stomach. Snape. Snape had seen him cry. He had seen him cry and he wanted to talk about it, or ridicule him, or... no, no need to jump to conclusions. Not yet.

"I don't know, Sirs." Dotty replied, extending an arm in a gesture meant to convey that they were going to apparate. Taking a deep, calming breath, Harry grasped the arm and, after being squeezed through a tube, appeared in the professor's office.

Dotty smiled, bowed to the two men, and popped out of existence.

The boy stared resolutely at everything besides Snape, trying without success to derive some sort of comfort from the cool, unsympathetic stone walls of the dungeons and the cupboards stuffed with potions ingredients.

The professor eyed the boy suspiciously. "Sit down, Mr. Potter, we have much to talk about." he ordered as suavely as he possibly could.

The boy obediently sat in the seat directly before the deep red, yet slightly brown tinted, desk. Distracting himself with the task of examining the carefully organized quills and papers on the desk, he had yet to notice that Snape was looking at him expectantly. "Mr. Potter," the professor said in his rich, infamous drawl, "Do me the courtesy of looking at me."

Begrudgingly, the boy peered at him with faintly red cheeks. "Sir? What is this about?"

Snape's eyes bored deeply into his own, skewering him like meat on a kabob. "I presume you haven't eaten yet?" he said, deflecting the question.

Harry had a sheepish grin on his face, breaking the tension between the two. "I had forgotten, sir."

"Daft boy," the teenager heard Snape mutter to himself, before leaving the room momentarily and arriving again with a full plate of biscuits and fruit. "Eat."

Warily picking up a ripe peach and nibbling into its surface, Harry shifted his gaze to a window that was slightly to the left of the glowering professor. It must have been an illusion, the boy noted, the dungeons were underground after all. Who'd have known the great bat would enjoy a view to the outside world?

"I've summoned you down here for a number of reasons." Snape interjected, breaking the train of Harry's thought effectively. "Mostly, to account for your rather hysterical attitude last night."

The boy narrowly missed biting down on his own tongue, and nearly choked on a haphazard bit of fruit that had been close to travelling down his windpipe. His face colored faster than an artist painting a blank canvas. Barely able to speak with the lump in his throat, Harry hissed, "I've got no idea what you're talking about."

"Oh, I think you do, Mr. Potter." the man retorted conspiratorially, hearing a sharp intake of air. "I want you to tell me what it was about."

Harry growled, his eyes gleaming with a mixture of embarrassment and anger. "Well, I'm not going to. It's none of your business."

"None of my business? None of MY business?" Snape barked, feeling a rush of madness from the former enmity that existed between the two. "Hmm, how about you nearly dying when you arrived here? Is that none of my business? Maybe I should've just left you there, or better yet, carted you off back to those relatives of yours! They surely would've sympathetic to you, yet it isn't any of my business anyways. Just like how it isn't my business to heal your ungrateful hide or provide you with Nutrient Potions!"

Harry sat and listened to the endless harangue, viciously rubbing away the angry tears brimming in his eyes. "You didn't have to do those things. No one made you." he muttered with a quivering lip before adding more vindictively, "I didn't ask you to help me, anyways. I made it by fine on my own before, I sure as hell can make it by fine on my own now. No one's ever given a damn about me before, so why now?"

"Just like your damned father," the professor retorted acerbically, "Arrogant, ungrateful, not able to see how much people care about you..."

The boy clamped his ears with his hands obstinately, realizing bitterly that nothing had changed at all between him and the professor. The man was just as scathing and cynical as he always had been, and the last few days had been a rare yet false reprieve. It must've all been a ruse, or something set up by Dumbledore. He felt the acidic sting of anger zip through his spine and, in a fierce rage, yelled, "I'm not my father!" before storming out of the room.

Slamming the door with a resounding bang, he left Snape in utter silence. Calculatingly, the man considered going after the boy yet decided it was probably better to give him some space at the moment. There was no need to spend half the night trying to convince Potter of anything when he was like this and the time would be better spent bottling ingredients. With that thought in mind, the man went to work.

Adeptly, Severus gripped his scalpel and starting stripping away the soft leaves of an aconite plant. The longer he stood there, trying futilely to distract himself, the more prominent an emotion of stinging regret pierced him. He shouldn't have said half of the things he had said to the boy- hell, all of the things he had said to the boy. A burning feeling spread throughout his chest as he noted that he had carelessly brought up the boy's dead father in the heat of the argument; that was definitely not acceptable.

If he were going to be any form of guidance for the boy, he would have to control himself. The man wondered if such a task would prove impossible.

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Harry fled from the office as quickly as possible, hiding his burning face with one arm and clenching his fingers painfully against his thrumming palms. The sheer heat of his anger radiated out from him in waves, causing the foundations of the stones beneath him to rumble unnoticeably when he passed by them and the long, decorative rug on the stone floor to singe slightly on the edges. Barely even thinking, he just knew he needed to get out of the restrictive confines of the castle.

The boy summoned his broom and, before he knew it, he was up in mid air. His green eyes watered in contact with the wind as he zipped through the sky with incredible grace and speed. The broom arched obediently with each abrupt turn, making the jerky motions seem fluid and rehearsed as he shot downwards, upwards, and sideways. The daring rolls, leaps, dives and stunts all spoke of the skill and insipidity of a trained flier.

Soon his actions all seemed to blend into one big motion as time withered away like flowers in the wintertime. Seconds, minutes and hours were only marked by the sun's gradual descent across the sky, causing the bright afternoon to transition into a murky, pale orange dusk, and afterwards nighttime itself took over.

Shivering, exhausted and burnt out, Harry quickly became aware of how sore he was. His hands, having been clamped over the broom for hours, were nearly stuck to the surface of the wood itself and his back was throbbing smartly. The cool wind and constant motion made his ears ring uncomfortably and his head whirl, the boy noted with a grimace. Deciding to do a once over on the Great Lake and then curl up under some warm covers, Harry descended down to it and nearly skimmed his toes against the black waters.

It really was quite dark outside, and by now the surface of the lake was nearly indistinguishable from the grassy ground besides the faint glimmer reflected from the moon. Looking with a steady gaze at the impenetrably black water, the frail teenager ruminated about how creepy it looked yet he was slightly comforted by the thought that he had passed these waters a thousand times before.

With careless distraction, the boy shifted his thoughts back to what had happened in Snape's office. It was exactly because of this distraction, in conjunction with the hazy darkness of night, that Harry did not notice the large, tentacled appendage quickly approaching him before it was too late.

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hohohoho dramatic ending.

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