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 Seeing Reason and Realisations, chapter 76

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Anzahl der Beiträge : 50
Anmeldedatum : 25.10.14
Ort : Bodensee

BeitragThema: Seeing Reason and Realisations, chapter 76   Do Jul 19, 2018 9:57 am

Chapter beta: my darling Dani
Chapter translator: Aivy

Next week my co-translator will be back! Woohoo!




I entered the Hall after Snape, who apparently had shooed Harry away. You had to give him credit, he didn’t show the slightest bit of pain in his posture as he swept down the aisle dramatically in his billowy robes. What a proud man. He reminded me of my own stubbornness. I caught Harry's worried look, who followed Snape suspiciously, then looked at me excitedly, but before he could say anything I was faster:

“Not here, Harry. Later, in the Room!” I whispered, sitting down wearily on the bench.

“What does she mean, Harry?” Ron asked, chomping.

“Nothing, Ron. She just wants to show me a spell!” Harry made me speechless as I assumed he had seen my name next to Snape's in his room. Nonetheless, I gratefully accepted the reprieve.

I noticed Dean, Seamus, Lav, Pav, and Neville eying me carefully and I got venomous looks from Ginny across the table. But that did not bother me at all, the events with Snape went around in my head.

Oh goddess, that had been a near thing; he had lost too much blood! Why didn’t that stubborn bastard just apparate after getting injured? Why did he have to collect his troops and continue to fight with these injuries until he had eliminated two of the three Order members? Whatever that meant, I had not asked, because if they were dead, I would find out soon enough. Now I searched my conscience meticulously: Would it affect me?

I shrugged as I tasted the hot, strong coffee on my tongue and drank it greedily, and there came the realisation! No, I didn’t care what could have happened to Tonks, Moody and Shacklebolt. It was different when the possibility of Snape or Draco getting hurt came to my mind. And yes, I admitted in the privacy of my mind, I didn’t want to lose Snape! Why deny it to myself? I enjoyed the company of this difficult, complex man more and more. He had become a mentor to me in many ways, whom I admired and to whom I owed so much.

I would never say, ask or admit it openly, but I would like to know if he himself knew whom he was loyal to? Who he served? Who owned his loyalty? Though from what I knew about the members of my new family, it was probably more along the line of: ‘I stand on my own side or on my family’s side and the rest can be handled as necessary.’ Flexibility in all circumstances seemed to be the motto. And if I was one thing, that thing was flexible.

I would submit to this dictate, I didn’t really have a choice. There were not many alternative ways open to me. Some wouldn’t understand that, but let’s be realistic, shockingly open and honest: As soon as Lucius and Snape found out that I was a member of the Malfoy family, both wouldn’t give me many means and opportunities to decide freely about my own life. I had the protection of a powerful family and distinguished, important men, but I would become a plaything to them. They had all already claimed me in one way or another. My fear that Snape would lose his inhibitions following these new insights didn’t make it any easier for me or make me feel any better.

Draco should not be forgotten either. He was an impressive personality if he wanted to be, and that was the problem: he didn’t always want to, but more often than not. This young man had power in abundance, you could feel that and sometimes, when he paraded his superiority in his common room, he could scare me more than Snape or Lucius when he bit me, but that wasn’t something that I would ever admit. These two men had done everything they could to make Draco a worthy successor and he had done everything to absorb only the best of both men, and combined it!

He would surprise us all in the future and most likely teach us to fear him. I only succeeded in putting him in second place at school because Draco's true interests lay in grey and black magic, fields in which he was years ahead of me. No wonder, as that particular branch of magic had opened up to me just approximately three years ago. He also had had the best teachers available. I was glad that in spite of all that I could still stand up to him in so many subjects.

And thanks to the fact that I'd been part of the Malfoy family since the Christmas holidays, even though nobody knew it, I would do anything to protect and assist them, just as I had helped Snape last night. I knew he couldn’t leap over his shadow and express his gratitude to me; he would regard it as a weakness and he wouldn’t and couldn’t show any, but I was able to live with that. This gentle kiss was the only testimony that he acknowledged what I had done for him and he would never show me more. And no, I knew, he hadn’t been indifferent to me for a long time. Even though he thought I wasn’t aware of the kiss, I sure wasn’t expecting anything from him and I think he was glad I didn’t ask for it.

I sighed heavily into my cup of steaming coffee and shook my head over my depressing thoughts. Where would all this end?

After the afternoon classes, Harry and I broke away from the others, sneaking into the Room of Requirement. We wouldn’t have too much time since he had called a DA training for today and thus I hoped I could satisfy him with my slimmed down version of events.

We entered a very small, very cosy room with a fireplace. He had requested two chairs in which we took a seat.

“Harry!”

“Hermione?” Harry tilted his head and looked at me seriously, adjusting the glasses on his nose with his index finger. “What do you have to tell me?”

“I assume you are referring to last night?” I clarified and crossed my legs.

“Thanks for sending me your Patronus; it delivered your message… So, what kept you away?” he demanded relentlessly, watching my face observantly.

“I think you already know that. Surely you would have consulted the map where I was?” I raised my eyebrows playfully.

“Naturally! I'm all the more curious...” he admitted with an unreadable gaze but broke out into a cheeky grin when he noticed how we were circling each other and I laughed back. “... how you are going to explain that to me.”

Today, I would have the opportunity to get Harry's honest opinion of the Order and I was curious. During class, I had pondered on what to tell him, and I would have to break my promise to Snape that I wouldn’t tell anyone. Of course, I would not give away all the details, but Snape would probably freak out as soon as he became aware of it anyway. I would have to weather it when it happened because I had finally decided, after long deliberation, to test Harry's reaction.

“Well, I spent the night with Snape!” I confessed and saw him pull out his wand and hold it tightly. He looked at it, taking a deep breath, and then quickly raised his eyes and fixed me with a hard stare.

“As you know, I knew that already and as you can see, I find it difficult to accept that and about to fly into a rage, but I won’t have to point that out to you, right?” he said with forced calmness and a flat voice. Harry’s eyes glowed like green, blazing flames; his magic agglomerating in a visible aura that not everyone was able to manifest. Who had said that you should underestimate Harry Potter? It took him effort to control his voice and he groaned.

“No, Harry. I'm even more thankful that you are so grown-up to hear my explanation first before screaming around!” I was happy, looking at him calmly.

“I would do everything to make you proud of me. But please, do not torture me anymore whether I have to kill him now because he molested you or not?” he demanded briskly, impatiently, playing with his wand, rolling it back and forth in his fingers. He seemed very threatening with that dark power that surrounded him, but I remained the epitome of calmness.

“You know, I had detention. He wasn’t there and so I started to brew ... At ten o'clock the door opened and he came in... Harry, you have to swear to tell this to nobody! Really nobody. He would never forgive me for that. Although I promised not to tell anyone, I know I have to tell you. But please, promise me that it will stay between the two of us!” I pleaded with Harry and worried about his lessons with Snape and whether he would be able to keep our secret to himself. He blinked at me in surprise, though he also recognised how important his assurance was to me and that it wasn’t easy for me. He took his time, and yet he nodded slowly, deliberately, not taking his eyes off me.

“I promise you I won’t tell anyone what you are about to tell me. However, if he did something to you, I cannot promise you not to confront him!” he offered me with restrictions. It was probably the best thing I could expect from Harry and so I nodded in agreement.

“... So, where was I? He came in, looking terrible! He got involved in a fight, and Harry, I can’t go into the details right now, since he wouldn’t approve, but believe me, he was still not healed this morning, showing nothing only through sheer stubbornness! Let me only say this much: I fought all night to save him, he almost bled to death! Otherwise, nothing happened!” I said insistently seriously and watched as Harry looked at me with big, disbelieving eyes and displayed a very astonished expression.

“Why didn’t you call a teacher or the mediwitch?” he said suspiciously, but quickly.

“There was no time, Harry. In the beginning, it was all a matter of minutes ... and then it didn’t matter and I was so busy that I found no time for it and in my defense ... I wasn’t thinking, I just acted!” I defended myself while crossing my arms in front of my chest.

“It's hard for me to believe that. I mean, he was behaving like always at breakfast... Hm, when I think about it, maybe he was a little pale ... paler than usual and he has deducted fewer points from the poor soul who crossed his path, that's it! Wait a moment?! How come you can heal serious injuries? I mean, did not you feel sick at the sight of the wounds?” He came quickly to the point while I tried to avoid his searching eyes.

“Well, what should I say? I’m just the best!” I grinned coyly. “I grew up with doctors who have been putting me in first aid classes for years, and I'm also familiar with disgusting medical books ... How could I cure him so well? Well, I was sitting at the source, so I stuffed him with potions; I could draw on abundant resources. Harry, he would have died yesterday without me, believe me!” I confessed solemnly, looking at him insistently, and I saw how understanding and acceptance slowly entered Harry's eyes.

“I don’t think you’re lying to me, but how did he take it? I imagine he was delighted to have been rescued by a Gryffindor, wasn’t he?”

Yeah, sometimes you're really not stupid, Harry, but that I was allowed to feel his lips gently touching mine, you wouldn’t believe me, or wouldn’t want to.

“Why do you think I had to promise him not to tell anyone? It didn’t change anything, but I did not expect or hope for that; I was just acting. And Harry, even if you may not like it, but I would do it again without hesitation!” I confessed confidently and stubbornly raised my chin.

“Why would I judge you when you decide to help someone? I would never do such a thing. However, what were you doing resting right next to him? I think you like him!” he enquired suspiciously and curiously.

“Believe it or not, Harry, I fell asleep. Do you know how strenuous healing spells are? And I had to heal very, very much! How do you get the idea that I like him? He’s my professor!” I exclaimed indignantly in the end.

“Ok, but he is not grateful or thanked you in any way? Even tho you still defend him and show yourself worried about him. You don’t do that with people you don’t like!” it came smartly from Harry and he looked at me wisely. “And I'm shocked that you were sleeping in a professor's bed, Hermione!” He was all puffed up and I bit my tongue in annoyance. I just hated this accursed Marauders’ Map right now.

“No, he was actually very silent and moody! He did not thank me and I don’t like him ... really! I’m only impressed by his knowledge and skills, that's all!” I said, miffed, and straightened up angrily. “And what do you want to accuse me of? That I’ve a crush on Snape? That I what ...? Harry, I just fell asleep and he was delirious, you cannot interpret anything from it. But alright, we live in weird times, though please don’t impute anything to me! And on him, too! The man slept deeply and firmly!” I was pretty upset after all.

“Mh-mh, I agree with you on the difficult times and I hope I can trust your words. Yes, silent and ill-tempered, that's how I know that evil, malicious man. He is so disgusting and ungrateful!” Harry spat. “He does not deserve your sympathy and compassion! And are you sure? I wonder how anyone can admire someone like that. Maybe you're under a spell?” He looked at me with concern.

“Harry, everyone who has been hurt so severely deserves my sympathy. Don’t be so hard, please, it doesn’t suit you! And what spell? Bullshit!” I dismissed his suspicion as I thought he had misjudged Snape. After all, he had always helped me immediately, whether I was an annoying Gryffindor or not.

“How did he actually get the injuries?” he asked suddenly. Now we would see what he thought of the Order.

“He was on a mission for the Death Eaters in Diagon Alley and Moody, Tonks, and Shacklebolt did that to him. I am and was horrified that they could do that to him!” I summarized, still shaking my head that they were always acting so nice, but apparently they weren’t what they pretended to be.

“What?! Order members almost killed Snape? That’s sick! Even if I cannot stand him, I would never kill my own spy, right?” he rasped quickly, running a hand through his messy hair in agitation.

“No, Harry, you wouldn’t! But they didn’t know that it was him ... He didn’t get a chance to inform them!” I then presented the facts correctly.

“Heavy, I didn’t think they were already resorting to such means,” Harry looked very thoughtful. “Well, I'm horrified too. Above all, I'm wondering how Snape can continue to be a real, true spy for the Order. I cannot imagine that his feelings are very positive towards the people who almost killed him.” Harry also very aptly expressed my thoughts, as I too wondered how one could ever forget that.

“What do you think about the Order?” I asked the most important question for me.

“"Not much! I'm not told anything! I haven’t formed much of an opinion so far. The worst part is that they seem to attack their own people. Like I said, I don’t trust Snape and I don’t know why Dumbledore thinks he could, but with such actions, I find it increasingly difficult to believe that Snape is loyal!” he ranted with unusual expressiveness.

“Good question, Harry. I have asked myself the same. On the other hand, this is not our problem but theirs and please, I have to remind you of your promise: You must not tell them, not even Sirius, that the Order attacked Snape!” I insisted urgently.

“Ron can never know!” Harry interjected, nodding at the same time.

“How did you arrive at that conclusion?” I was perplexed and frowned.

“I don’t think he could grasp all of that; even I'm having a hard time to do that. I don’t like Snape and - at the risk of repeating myself - I also don’t understand how Dumbledore can trust him. Although I don’t really understand Dumbledore at all since the summer, so it's all very confusing and gives me a headache! Hermione, say, why does everything have to be so complicated?” Harry asked sadly, sliding off his seat and crawling over to me on his knees.

“Hermione…” He now knelt in front of me and embraced my knees. “Please don’t lie to me! I could not handle that, just don’t lie to me. If you don’t want to tell me something... okay, but do not lie to me, that would destroy me! If the person I trust most, who is my family, would lie to me…” He sounded downright desperate, clinging to me, and I was wavering as never before, wanting to make a complete confession, but I couldn’t.

Not after I had looked into his eyes. I saw his doubts about the whole world and himself, I saw his scruples, I could see his morality. No, Harry was not ready yet ... not ready for the truth. He would need evidence to believe it and I couldn’t give it to him yet. His intact worldview was still too strong to be shaken by only If's and But's. He did mistrust Dumbledore in principle, however, it wasn’t enough to believe me completely, considering that even I was struggling to believe everything!

“Harry, I promise you that I won’t lie to you. Even though I broke Snape's promise - and I do feel very bad about that - I hope you believe me that I will try to never lie to you. Maybe I have not told you everything yet, but I have never lied, when you asked me something directly! And thank you for giving me the opportunity of silence, which I’m going to use because I haven’t really told you everything that's going on up there. But I can tell you that I will someday, I promise! But regarding Snape, I wasn’t lying. Nothing more happened, although I find what happened more than enough!” I affirmed fervently, stroking his dark brown hair soothingly, and sighed.

“Thank you,” Harry whispered, resting his head on top of my thighs.

“I have to thank you for not freaking out and for covering for me in front of Ron. I don’t want to know what scenarios you were imagining.” I tapped him on his forehead.

“They were not the prettiest, but I know that you can take care of yourself and so I wanted to show you that I trust you. Just as you always trust me when I’m causing mischief!” he offered truthfully. He gave me a sweet smile and I was about to answer because we were not finished yet; Harry obviously had some questions and I wanted to answer him partly, when the door suddenly opened and the first members of the DA entered, so we had to postpone our conversation, unfortunately. They paused for a moment at the entrance, when they saw Harry kneeling at my feet and it was just the right lot who’d arrived there: Cho and her friend, Ginny, and Corner, who gawked in astonishment and perplexity.

Harry looked up morosely from my lap where he had buried his face up until now, his face displaying a tormented smile.

“Harry, you are already here?” Ginny’s voice was more on the squeaky side. She had caught herself first and rushed towards us. “Did we disturb you?” She sounded slightly spiteful.

“Yes, and you are too early!” The charming retort came from my scrubby head, which rolled his eyes slightly.

“Hello, Ginny!” I said and got a dirty sideways glance. Harry reluctantly got up and pulled me with him, grabbing my hips and leaning forward to whisper into my ear:

“You know, I won’t let you escape forever? At some point, you will tell me what you think you cannot tell me now, Hermione!” he threatened me playfully. Then he left me standing there and went to Corner to greet him. I was so astonished, my mask almost slipped, but I could prevent it in the last second. However, I still had to lean on the back of the chair with one hand, as I didn’t really know Harry like that. That could have been Draco in his purest form!

I had to smile. Wasn’t it wonderful how we all kept so many secrets from each other? Because Harry hadn’t said anything about what had changed him that much and that was making it exciting! I straightened up and was also surprised by his dominant behaviour, but fine, we had to train now.

When we were all gathered, everyone showed that they had now mastered the disarming and shielding spells perfectly. Then we demonstrated our skill with the Patronus Charm. That Harry had managed to get so many members to create a corporeal Patronus was amazing.

Thus, Cho showed her stately swan, Ginny a proud horse, Ernie Macmillan his huge boar, Seamus a crafty fox, Luna's dreamy bunny hopped around, my busy otter floated around the room, and even Ron had managed to summon an animal partner; much to the chagrin of the Twins, he had a playful terrier. Only Fred and George were holding back and sticking their heads together conspiringly. I think none of the DA knew their animals. The two were really pig-headed, but they stubbornly refused to show their Patroni to anyone.

It was beautiful, unique and exotic to see so many of these silvery-grey animals flip across the room. It was an incredibly uplifting feeling to watch these animals and to contemplate the radiant and happy faces of the proud wizards and witches. Those who didn’t create a corporeal Patronus at least already got a very substantial mist, which gave everyone hope.

I noticed how proud Harry was. He beamed happily at his success as a teacher and he had every right to do so. To teach such a difficult spell and to get it conveyed to so many, he could definitely be smug about that. He was a good teacher. It was not clear if these silvery creatures would prove helpful in a Dementor attack, as it would be much harder to maintain the happiness then, but only the future would show that.

The time was over and many were still caught in a state of happiness and celebration, which the Twins used to pitch and sell their joke articles to them. Immediately, Harry's mood changed and he waved at me to say goodbye. He left the Room with the face of someone walking to the gallows to take on Snape and his next Occlumency lesson.

Suddenly, a shaken and pale, sweaty and trembling Harry stormed the common room, showing a completely horrified, panicked, and stunned countenance. His confused eyes wandered desperately through the common room.

I suddenly had a very bad feeling in my stomach, which reminded me a little bit of Harry's first Occlumency lesson, when I had flipped out and stormed to Snape to hold him accountable. Only that I could not beat him now if he had done something again since he still was not fully restored after last night. So what has the old bat done now, I thought desperately.

So I got ready again to face the uncertainties of life. Could there never be a quiet evening? Did I have something about me that screamed: ‘Are you in trouble, then come to me’? Did I behave maternally?

I could make out Harry's distressed eyes focussing on me with a hopeful expression. He seemed to be in shock when he turned to me in dismay.

“Hermione, come quickly. You have to help me… quick, quick!” he shouted hoarsely and begged so tremulously for me to hurry that a shiver ran down my spine. Rarely had I experienced him so unsettled. He was already running towards me and I jumped up when he grabbed my hand hard. He pulled me frantically and relentlessly with him so that I could only stumble after him. The surprised and confused looks of our housemates, we both overlooked generously.

“What happened ... what happened again?” I shouted in shock as his clammy hand clenched around mine convulsively. It hurt.

“Harry! You don’t look good, mate. What is it? Take it easy!” Ron joined us as well, but Harry waved his other hand gruffly and once again we were the centre of interest of our housemates who had stopped all their activities to watch us.

“Sorry, Ron, but only Hermione can help me. I hate to say it, but we should hurry if I'm not to land in Azkaban!” he hissed so softly that only I could hear it, and in reaction, I pulled my hand over my mouth and stifled a frightened, angry scream. That these two stubborn, obstinate idiots couldn’t be left alone! What happened? Did Harry really attack him? How? Were the suture torn open? I didn’t wait any longer; I flew off, ran as if the devil was after me and even overtook Harry, so that I actually pulled Harry behind me and not the other way ‘round, and finally broke free. I could still hear Harry yelling at Ron not to worry.

The Gryffindors had just looked completely taken aback and some had rolled their eyes, annoyed with us as we pulled off one dramatic performance in a Draco-like fashion after the next.

That did not bother me at all. Snape had to be in a bad state if Harry talked about Azkaban, so I rushed to the secret passage, leaving Harry far behind. He had been delayed thanks to Ron and so I had taken advantage and had run ahead. Only a few minutes after Harry had informed me, I reached Snape's office and stormed through the door that stood ajar. As expected, I found the unconscious professor on the stony floor of his office. A pool of blood had spread around him, his breathing choppy, and his black, long hair clung to his face in tangles. Shit, that did not look good, the sutures had to be torn open. It looked like the wounds had burst again under the clothes. Ouch, that had to have hurt!

I didn’t hesitate, immediately opening the door to his private quarters with the password, and with a Mobili Corpus, I levitated the lifeless body into the bedroom. I acted routinely and quickly and put him carefully down on his bed. Then I hexed only the upper body free this time because I knew that his lower regions were unhurt.

Abruptly I paused, my breath caught and I had to suppress a small sob as I registered the extent that my beautiful work had actually burst open. Wide-gaping, the flaps of skin were separated again, the flesh ripped badly. Almost wistfully, I examined how the beautiful, dark red blood ran over his bare, marked upper body and left behind red rivulets on his pale skin.

Resolutely I conjured needle and thread again, once more summoned the potions and the ointment to me and cleaned me and his two wounds with a Tergeo. Just then, I heard a wheezing Harry reach the threshold of the bedroom door and I looked up reproachfully. However, he said nothing, so I only eyed the pale young man, who seemed very upset and seemed to stand beside himself.

“Did you close the door?” I asked harshly, stripping off my shoes with my feet and climbing onto the bed, determined to once again begin my favourite activity of sewing the professor back together. Thanks to the uneven margin of the wound, the whole thing didn’t hold and heal nearly as well as the smooth cut of my stab injury.

Harry had stepped next to me and was watching Snape silently, staring in horror at my fingers that were relentlessly gripping the flaps of skin, ruthlessly pulling them together and sewing quickly and accurately, without hesitation. I hurried, ignoring the way I touched flesh, skin and blood.

“Hermione, that’s disgusting. I’m getting sick!” Harry groaned and gagged, looking deathly pale when I looked up for a moment.

“Not now, Harry. Get a grip on yourself. Do you see the vials on the bed? Good. The red potion is the Blood-Replenishing Potion, give him that one first, that’s important. Do it!” I ordered mercilessly without looking up again. My bloodied hands worked quickly, stitch by stitch. Somehow, my talent to sew skin was greater than working with cloth, should that worry me? No, I just took it more seriously. I rather hoped was the reason for my occurring sewing skills. I made rapid progress, even though I had to stitch together even more skin or it had to overlap even more since the torn areas of the skin where the threads had previously been inside, were frayed; I could not think of another word.

When I successfully knotted the first wound again, I chanced a quick glance and saw that Harry was busy with the blue potion, carefully pouring it down Snape’s throat and helping him swallow it. He had climbed onto the bed like me, just from the other side, and held the professor's head in his arms with astonishing concern and compassion, looking at the unconscious face with a troubled expression. My observation took perhaps two seconds, then I returned to the still open wound and pierced his skin there as well. I would worry later about Harry's unusual behaviour, now I had no time for it.

When, after a sheer endless time, I finally reached for the ointment pot, it was handed to me with the top already screwed off and once again I spread it generously over the sutured wounds with my hands. Then I straightened up groaning and was a little exhausted. I hated to do that, I realised clearly, crystal clearly.

“I cannot give him another Blood-Replenishing Potion in the next two hours,” I regretted softly, absentmindedly brushing my forehead with a hand and Harry blinked at me in shock.

“Um, Hermione, you… you have - there!” He pointed frantically to his forehead. I got up and went purposefully into the bathroom and washed my bloody face.

When I came back, I saw how Harry - just like Draco yesterday - was trying to cover up the professor. He was just taking off his shoes by hand and then covered him up to the neck, and I thought I was dreaming. What happened there? I stepped right next to Harry, who was standing by the bed now and watching Snape with an awkward expression. United we looked down at the unconscious man.

“Hermione, I nearly murdered him, didn’t I?” he whispered timidly.

“Yes!” I replied callously, but I was ruthlessly honest.

“I… I…,” he stuttered completely distraught.

“Not here, he needs rest. Come with me!”

I turned away decidedly and lead him into the living room. There I headed purposefully to the hidden bar, which, as I now knew, was behind the right bookshelf and filled each of us a glass of nice, old, and strong fire-whiskey. Patching up the professor twice in two nights! That didn’t happen very often; I needed something to calm me down.

“I want to know why you seem to know your way around here so well,” Harry asked me suddenly, when I put the drink into his hand and settled in Snape’s favourite armchair, or rather flopped down very inelegantly.

“No!” Somehow it was really hard for me to be nice right now.

“Mh-hm, I thought so. I believe I actually don’t want to know!” he suddenly confessed softly and shyly. That made me look surprised and I frowned thoughtfully.

“Alright!” I said quite sparingly. Oh, I was in a bad mood! I downed the first mouthful. Ah, it burned today, but it was good. That was just what I needed now to calm my nerves. Harry smelled the contents of his glass cautiously and wrinkled his nose. Though then he shrugged, took a courageous sip, and coughed pitifully.

“Chhrr… Hermione, how can you gulp that down? … That… Ugh, that tastes like rubbing alcohol!” he stuttered in a croaking voice, disgusted and grimacing.

“Harry, I doubt you ever drank rubbing alcohol, otherwise you wouldn’t be under the living still!” I said - oh, I could be so very venomous verbally - and got an eye roll from him.

“Mh-hm… You are angry?” he grumbled after a razor-sharp realisation. Wasn’t that an enlightenment?! Yes, I was. Great, Snape would have been fully restored in a day or two and now that ... Great, really great. And so I just looked at him sideways and shrugged my shoulders.

“Yes, Harry! I told you he was hurt, severely hurt! What part of that didn’t you understand? What actually happened? You behave strangely towards Snape!” I wanted to know the details and gazed at him encouragingly. Harry rewarded me with a pitiful, deep moan.

“Hermione, it was terrible! He treated me as condescendingly as always, and I forgot what you said. He didn’t show in the slightest that he was not healthy. I mean, that can make you forget it! He was as mocking, vicious and cynical as ever, and when he saw one of the last visions ... It's as if something wants to pull me to the door in the Department of Mysteries and I get overwhelmed with curiosity. To go through that door - behind it lies a round, dark room - and to get out what's inside, that's what I want, that's what I felt at that moment. He totally freaked out. He forced me to break off and snarled at me badly! Why wouldn’t I run straight to the Dark Lord, to quote him directly…” He gnawed on his lips now, hard enough to make it bleed lightly, but he didn’t seem to be bothered by that right now. “...then he just continued on with brute force. He was an ass, as always, just barged in and rummaged around in my mind... Oh, then ... then I defended myself. I was so angry, so mad, how he chewed me up again...That I'm so cocky and arrogant... and so on... Then, then, I cast a shield charm and... I was totally surprised as it pulled me into Snape’s mind. That was crass. I was horrified, I mean, that was not the first shield charm I’d cast, it has never happened before!” he shook his head in disbelief and was slightly lost in thought.

“Harry, he's not up to par, that's why you've managed to penetrate his defense!” I told him insistently and he caught himself, focussing his sharp gaze on me.

“Sadly, that wasn’t the only effect of the spell. He hit the wall with full force, that was quite hard, and stayed down. Blood spread pretty quickly, though I didn’t notice that at first,” he admitted shamefully.

“And why not?” I enquired.

“Well, I was still in his mind, the connection didn’t break even when he fell unconscious, and then I saw a memory. And Hermione… it was terrible!” Harry's lower lip began to tremble; he was about to burst into tears. What had he witnessed that affected him so much?

“That's not so bad. We know that Snape's past couldn’t have been beautiful! No one is the person they are today for no reason... Harry?” I calmly spoke to the distressed boy in front of me, trying to soothe him.

“Yes, but Hermione, that’s not… not just…” he cried out with indignation. “He was right! Don’t you understand? With everything, he always told me the truth! Always! Everyone else always lies to me, but not he! I’m shocked, but he is the only one… Although if I don’t want to hear it, or realise it, he always said the truth!” he exclaimed with so much desperation and such deep pain in his voice that my heart ached instantly. What had Harry seen or heard in Snape's memory that made him so upset? He seemed shaken, he seemed confused and desperate, and now tears ran down Harry's pale face and he sniffed, distraught.

“Harry, talk to me! What did you see? Take another sip, it warms you from the inside!” I requested and he did it; he drank and inhaled sharply, but the burning pain seemed to bring him back to his senses.

“I… I could watch, out on the grounds of Hogwarts! It was summer, the Marauders had just sat their O.W.L. exams and went to the lake. James, Sirius, Remus, and… and Peter were together and then… then Snape was there. You’ve never seen him like that, so young, so inconspicuous… more like Neville… Not the gloomy, fear-inspiring, powerful and dark figure. He sat under a tree at the lake and was reading a book… Well, they, James and Sirius, they started a fight with Snape, and well, alone he didn’t have a chance, especially as they ambushed him, and…” Harry buried his head in his hands with no regard for his glasses and groaned in embarrassment. “... I’m soooo ashamed… I can’t even say what I think about it! It’s the worst… what they did, not even Malfoy ever did something comparable to me. No, not even Malfoy did something so… so… I don’t know what word to use for that, but not even he ever humiliated a classmate that way,” Harry told me completely unsettled, seeming more than rattled, and I listened in dismay.

“What, Harry, what did they do to Snape?” I asked worriedly.

“They hexed him with that one spell - Do you remember it? You used it on me during our duel - the Levicorpus, and what’s worse is that he was dressed in wizard fashion and so his pants were exposed… It was so embarrassing and not the least bit funny or amusing, but the Marauders were losing it. Their words were so hurtful and they just wanted to rob him of his ability to talk back when she arrived, my mother. She defended him… though I thought she only made it worse and more humiliating for Snape. With a grimace made of hate, embarrassment, and helplessness, he screamed at her and called her a mudblood. I still can’t wrap my head around it… I mean, yes, it’s an insult and bad and all that… However… She looked at him icily and turned her back on him while he still hung in the air so humiliatingly, half-naked, and all the students gathered around in a crowd… She simply left! I would never do something like that. Who does that? I mean, Malfoy keeps saying that to you and you couldn’t care less. I believe, the way you are helping Snape who’s also never been nice to you, but always nasty, Malfoy could insult you as much as he wanted and you would stand by him in a situation like that, wouldn’t you? I mean, that were special circumstances! Snape was out of his mind; I would have been, too!” He finished his rant breathlessly, sinking down on the couch in exhaustion and looking around in shock. I was horrified. So Snape had to suffer under the Marauders, oh dear. I was sorry for him but also for Harry, that he had been so harshly confronted with reality. I was terribly disappointed in Sirius, too, but I forbid myself to waste a thought on him.

“And… and the worst of it… Okay, I’m disappointed with my mother, I only ever hear of the great Gryffindor. I could feel Snape's feelings through the connection and there was so much desperation... But, but what upsets me so much ... My father was really like Snape has been claiming for years ... A nasty, conceited, arrogant and extremely boastful boy, who thought he was the king of Hogwarts, and he took it out on those weaker than him. I defended my fa… James for years in front of Snape, said that he is lying and my dad was a really great guy. I open my mouth self-righteously and don’t even have the slightest idea what I'm talking about! I mean, I don’t know anything about my parents! And he is right and must rightly ask, what an idiot I am,” Harry sputtered in dismay. However, I fully understood him, because I too was a little or even very much disconcerted.

This realisation was terrible. How must this proud, withdrawn and gifted man have felt when Potter and Sirius showed him up like that? That was no joke, that was not funny, that was just abysmally evil and mean. Doing so in front of other students was despicable, and he was right, even Draco would still leave an opponent their dignity. Even if he hurt them or killed them, he would do it with style. Style was part of being a Slytherin!

“I mean, why are Sirius and Remus lying to me and telling me how great my parents were? That's what I ask you. Hagrid too. Everyone tells me what a funny, great and impressive bunch they had been. At Grimmauld Place, Sirius always attacks Snape verbally and Remus is also quite cold and dismissive. But I mean, why are they saying Snape is lying when I tell them he's been insulting James again? Why? Shouldn’t they tell me that some of Snape's statements are true?!” he answered with rage, now ripping violently on his hair because of his accumulated feelings, I also couldn’t understand that. It was bad and terrible and completely incomprehensible to me.

“Calm down. You are helping no one this way. What happened next?” I said softly, wanting to distract him from pulling out his hair.

“I… I was so horrified that I probably broke the spell myself? No idea and then I saw the professor lying unconsciously on the floor and registered the blood that had spread so rapidly, and then I remembered what you said about his injuries and, thanks to your education, I threw an Episkey at him quickly and in panic. I really don’t know how I remembered that... And then I rushed to get you... And I still haven’t got my head around it, too much happened too fast!” he stuttered, slightly panicky. That too much had happened too fast, I fully agreed with him there.

“That was good, you did well. It was the right decision to come and get me!” I complimented him and patted his shoulder.

“That… Were those the wounds he got from Moody, Tonks and the other Order member? They really wanted to kill him, didn’t they? That is not good…” Harry said in a funny, undefinable tone. One thing I could say now, if this continued, it would be easy for me to tell Harry my truths. If it hadn’t been so inappropriate, I would have smiled contentedly. He immediately shot his next question at me. “Why did you have to sew it? That looked so nasty, I'm still feeling queasy. How can you do that? You stood there like a warrior and sewed so confidently.”

“So many questions? Snape told me that the spells that hit him were grey and dark curses, so they are hard to heal. That’s why you have to sew, it’s not nice but there are worse things. Skin is sometimes harder to repair than flesh and tissue. And, well, I always do what needs to be done. Luckily, I have a strong stomach!” I downplayed my achievements and saw how Harry was gulping down his glass when the pictures came back to his mind.

“I’m so whacked!” he murmured, exhausted, and slumped down.

“I’m sure you are. Lie down on the couch,” I offered, got up, and pulled the blanket over him, which had laid folded at the end of the seat. “Sleep! I'm going over to Snape, he needs the next batch of potions and I don’t want him moving too much!” I explained. Harry grabbed my hand, holding me back.

“Hermione, thanks… What would I do without you? I guess you were right about Snape! He really isn’t the monster Ron thinks he is. My f… James isn’t innocent of making him the man he is today. I’ll have to rethink so much! Although, I don’t think I can keep seeing him the way I used to ... When I saw him lying there, in his bed, I felt so sorry!” Harry empathetically acknowledged and looked at me uncomfortably with big, shocked eyes.

“For the love of the goddess, Harry, never say that out loud. Don’t even think it! He would never thank you, never! Do you understand? He does not want your sympathy or understanding! He will go mad soon enough, because of what happened,” I tried to take all illusions from Harry. He was not allowed to indulge in the dream or the wishful thinking that Snape was a nice, good or, heaven forbid, a friendly person.

“But I’ll never again be able to see him the way I saw him before this happened. No matter how he behaves, that's my opinion!” Harry replied stubbornly. He could be so obstinate if he wanted to.

“It's good, Harry, sleep on it! I just meant that you should not expect him to treat you differently now. Most likely he is even meaner than before since you have seen behind the facade!” I pressed on, determined to present the situation as it was and prevent new complications.

“Mh-hm, yes, you’re probably right! I think he can not help it anymore. However, I think that doesn’t matter for it doesn’t change anything. He never lied!” he whispered more and more softly, then he closed his tired eyes. Harry didn’t seem to be able to endure much. But that he was mentally exhausted was not surprising. I mean, the realization that the reality of his parents, who, since he knew of them, had been put on a glorious, holy pedestal by all and everyone, was so very different, had to be a world-shattering revelation to Harry.

It must have affected him badly that his father, whom he evidently refused to continue to call by this title, as often as he had said ‘James,’ had been a man whom Harry would have despised and ignored or even opposed in his schooldays. It had to hurt him to face the fact that he wouldn’t have liked James Potter, that they would never have become friends. All this knowledge had to sink in first because it didn’t fit with his existing image of his perfect parents.

Poor Harry, he was spared nothing.

Snape seemed to have risen in his esteem. How would that develop? We would see. With that thought, I went back into the bedroom and to my patient.
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Seeing Reason and Realisations, chapter 76
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