Dean Thomas wound his arm around Ginny Weasley’s waist and smiled down at her, his eyes looking dazed. The two were sat snuggled in a chair in front of the fire in the Gryffindor common room, and seemed oblivious to the presence of the all other students. Dean reached out hand and gently brushed a piece of Ginny’s hair off her face. Harry scowled. Dean was really annoying him lately, although he wasn’t sure why. He tugged his eyes away but couldn’t help them sliding back a few moments later. They were giggling about something comfortably, and Dean kissed Ginny lightly on the forehead, stroking her hair all the while. Harry’s scowl deepened; his eyebrows were so furrowed over that it was miracle he could see.
“Something bothering you, Harry?” asked Hermione in a voice that was too casual to be natural.
“No,” Harry replied abruptly, bending his head over his Charms Essay.
“Well, something’s bothering me!” said Ron grumpily.
“And what’s that, Ron?” Hermione asked patiently.
“What about her?” Harry asked quickly, looking back up.
“Well, it’s her and Dean, isn’t it?” he exclaimed. “The way they’re acting…you probably haven’t noticed, Harry…” - Hermione smirked at this - “but they’re all over each other! It’s disgusting! I shouldn’t have to look at that! She‘s my little sister! I wouldn’t have minded so much if he‘d bothered to ask for my permission!”
“Your permission?” scoffed Hermione. “I’d like to see you try and give Ginny permission for anything! She’s your sister, not your daughter; and even if she was your daughter she’s old enough to act for herself, you know.”
Ron shook his head stubbornly. “Nah, he still should have asked. It’s just courtesy…if you’re going to go after your mate’s little sister you should at least have the decency to ask!”
“Don’t make it sound so sordid…Dean didn’t ‘go after’ Ginny, Ron! He’s liked her for ages!”
“Yeah, well…that just makes it worse, doesn’t it?”
“How on earth does that make it worse, Ronald Weasley?”
“…Because…”, Ron said slowly, as if he was talking to a three year old, “if he’s liked her for ages he’s going to really want her, isn’t he…you know what I mean. His patience will have run out…he’s going to want…well, you know…”
“You’re pathetic, Ron! You just don’t like the fact that Ginny has a boyfriend, regardless of it being Dean! She’s not seven, you know! She‘s fifteen!”
“Exactly,” said Ron firmly, as if that proved his point. “She’s much too young to be thinking about boys.”
Hermione looked at Ron in disbelief, but then returned to her parchment.
“So, er…they’re definitely going out then?” asked Harry quietly. “They’re not just...you know…seeing each other?”
“Nah, they’re an official item…or they bloody well better be if they’re going be acting like that!” he said, his eyes darkening. Harry turned to look too and felt an icy jolt run through his stomach. Dean and Ginny were wound tightly around each other, kissing deeply. Harry felt his hands curl into fists.
“Oi!” Ron shouted. “I shouldn’t have to watch my little sister getting off with my mate!”
Dean and Ginny broke apart, both blushing slightly.
“Get a room, why don’t you?” Ron spat. Then he stood up suddenly, as the meaning of his words hit him. “Actually, don’t you DARE get a room! If you two disappear somewhere I’m sending an owl straight to mum. No, actually, straight to dad!”
Ginny’s eyes flashed. “Listen, Ronald, I appreciate the fact that this may be awkward for you, so yes, we will make sure that you don’t see it again. BUT we will ‘disappear’ whenever we want to, thank you very much. You better get used to that.”
“You’d better not!” spluttered Ron. “You’re far too young for this!”
“Yes! Far too young! Everyone agrees with me!”
“Really? Let‘s see…” said Ginny scathingly. “Hermione, who do you agree with?”
“Ron already knows my opinion on this, Ginny,” Hermione said heavily. “I’m totally on your side. Sorry, Ron”.
“Harry?” asked Ginny, turning him. “Who do you agree with?”
“Erm…” Harry faltered, torn between wanting to please Ginny, and wanting to side with his best friend. “Well…”
Dean suddenly came up behind Ginny and took her hand in his, squeezing it gently.
“I agree with Ron,” Harry suddenly said, quite loudly. He didn’t know why, but he felt himself glaring at Ginny and Dean. Ginny flushed. Saying nothing, she tightened her grip on Dean’s hand and marched towards the portrait hole. The two of them climbed quickly though it and disappeared. There was a short silence, and then -
“Twat,” said Ron venomously, looking the spot where they had stood.
“Yep,” Harry agreed quietly, bending his head over his essay and carefully avoiding Hermione’s eye.
* * *
“Come in, Harry”, called Dumbledore from inside his office. Harry pushed open the door and walked in, his stomach churning nervously. Dumbledore was sat at his desk, Snape sitting next to him on a wooden chair, deliberately looking the other way.
Harry turned around and saw Remus Lupin hurrying though the door, smiling broadly although he did, as always, look tired. “I was worried I would be late…but it looks like you’ve just arrived too, Harry.” They shook hands warmly.
“Time-keeping has never been one of Potter’s strong points,” said Snape lazily.
“Severus…” said Dumbledore quietly, and Harry knew he must have spoken to Snape before he arrived about not provoking him.
“Good to see you, Albus,” continued Lupin, as if Snape hadn’t spoken. “Severus”.
“Remus,” acknowledged Snape, his lip curling slightly.
“Well,” Dumbledore began briskly, “we all know why we’re here, so let us begin. Harry, if you stand there…and Severus, if you stand opposite him there.”
Harry stood where Dumbledore had pointed and waited for Snape to stand opposite him. He walked over slowly, and when he reached his place looked up, his eyes meeting Harry’s. His eyes glittered dangerously and his mouth was twisted in the usual sneer. Harry gritted his teeth and glared straight back. There was a short pause in which Lupin shot a worried look at Dumbledore, which the older man returned.
“Well Severus, Harry…on the count of three. One….two…three.”
“Legilimens!” Snape hissed quickly, his black eyes boring into Harry’s. Harry quickly tried to raise his ‘wall’, to push Snape’s force back, but he could feel Snape pushing forward strongly. Beads of sweat broke out on both of their foreheads as they carried on their silent, unmoving battle. And then, suddenly, Harry’s wall crumbled and the visions began…he was seven, and Dudley was chasing him around the house, trying to hit him with the remote control…he was eleven, and Quirrell was turning around to reveal the monstrosity on the back of his head….he was fourteen, and standing motionless whilst Cedric Diggory was blasted off his feet by Voldemort…he was fifteen, and watching in horror as Sirius fell, as though in slow motion, through the veil, his mouth in an ’o’ of surprise…
“No!” Harry panted, giving one final push, and staggering against Dumbledore’s desk. Remus put a reassuring hand on his arm.
“Severus?” asked Dumbledore inquiringly.
“Potter barely seems to have improved,” Snape said silkily. “He managed to push me away eventually using only his mind - a feat he never managed to come close to last year - but he allowed me unlimited access into memories he dreads the most. I fear the Dark Lord will find it very easy to penetrate Potter’s defences.”
“Do it again,” Harry said quickly, standing up straight and wiping his forehead. Snape scowled at him.
“I am your teacher, Potter.”
“Professor,” Harry added, putting as much contempt as he could into the three syllables. Snape glared at him for a few moments, and then raised his wand again.
…He was twelve, and staring in horror as the Basilisk slithered towards him…he was thirteen, and hearing his mother scream as a group of Dementors glided towards him…he was sixteen, and feeling rage burn his insides as Dean bent his head to kiss Ginny…
No, Harry told himself firmly, Snape’s not seeing that. He drew all his strength and pushed back with all his might, his heart hammering in his chest. As suddenly as it had entered, Harry felt Snape’s presence leave his mind, and was pleased to see that Snape looked rather hot too.
“Interesting…” said Snape softly. “Does Mr Weasley know of your affection for his sister, Potter?”
Harry felt his face redden but said nothing, staring angrily at him, his hands coiling into fists, hating him.
“Severus, please…” said Dumbledore tiredly. “That is not helping. How was it that time?”
“It was…better,” said Snape grudgingly, “but he still allowed me access for a while into his memories…although these were of less importance than the previous ones…I daresay the Dark Lord has no interest in teenage heartache.”
Harry felt his anger building in his chest. “One more time. Do it again” he commanded sharply. “Sir,” he spat, as an afterthought.
Snape raised his wand again and began his descent into Harry’s mind….but Harry was ready. Screwing his eyes up tightly, he pushed back, concentrating, willing himself to get Snape out. He felt Snape’s force begin to slip, but kept pushing…
And then memories that weren’t his flooded his mind…flashing though so quickly he could hardly discern what they were. Concentrating hard, Harry pushed further in, until a memory came in to focus…
…a younger Snape was standing before Voldemort nervously, waiting for him to speak.
“I understand you have the contents of the prophecy, Severus.”
“Yes, my Lord,” said Snape, bowing deeply.
“And what does it say?” the high, cold voice inquired.
“It says, ‘The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches, born to those who have thrice defied him, and born as the seventh month dies’. I heard it straight from her mouth, my Lord.”
"How...interesting..." Voldemort said softly.
And then Harry felt a shove in his head, and the memory slipped away, leaving him with nothing but puzzled blankness in his head.
“Well, that looked like you made progress, Harry. What happened?” asked Dumbledore briskly. Harry said nothing, gazing at Snape. His head was reeling. Snape looked back at Harry, his expression unreadable, although his face looked suddenly pale. Did that mean…Snape…
“It was you,” Harry whispered, forcing the words out with huge effort. Snape said nothing, just stared at him, with that odd look upon his face.
“It was you…”
“What are you talking about, Harry?” asked Lupin, taking a step forward.
Harry ignored him. His head was spinning; he had a horrible feeling he was about to vomit, and his breath was catching in his throat. He shook his head violently. He felt nothing but blankness, his mind didn’t seem to be working. Dumbledore wouldn’t have let him teach at Hogwarts if he had…but Harry had just seen it. He had seen the proof. And then, suddenly, the rage came -
“IT WAS YOU! YOU TOLD VOLDEMORT ABOUT THE PROPHECY! IT’S BECAUSE OF YOU MY MUM AND DAD ARE DEAD! IT’S YOUR FAULT! YOU DID IT!"
Every angry thought Harry had ever had about Voldemort had abated and Snape was now the bearer of all his hatred. He had no memory of having moved, but he suddenly found both him and Snape sprawled across the floor, one of his hands pinning Snape to the ground whilst the other attempted to hit every inch he could reach.
“Harry, no!” Strong hands were tugging him off Snape, pulling him away, and Harry let them, feeling suddenly exhausted. He closed his eyes for a few moments, his head still reeling, hearing raised voices and chairs scraping. When he opened them he saw Dumbledore standing next to Snape, talking to him in a low, urgent voice. To Harry’s intense pleasure he saw blood dripping from Snape’s nose onto his collar. Dumbledore raised his wand and the blood vanished, but Harry’s morbid pleasure remained.
“Albus, what happened?” asked Lupin, who still had both arms tight around Harry, restraining him in case he made a sudden lunge again at Snape. “Surely what Harry said…it cant be…"
“Its TRUE!” Harry spat. “I saw it, it was HIM!” He suddenly turned to Dumbledore, furious. “How could you let him teach here? HOW COULD YOU? After everything you said to me, after all the things you said about me trusting him…how could you not tell me that it was him? Because you knew, didn’t you? DIDN’T YOU?” Harry suddenly felt tears spring into his eyes, and his voice broke. “How could you?” he whispered, clinging to Lupin’s arm as his knees shook.
“Harry, Harry…yes, I knew. But what good would it have done if I had told you earlier?” Dumbledore said desperately, his face pale. “You disliked him enough, and I needed you to trust him, I needed you to -"
“YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING TO TELL ME EVERYTHING LAST YEAR! YOU LIED TO ME! I have every right not to trust him! How could you let him teach here…how could you let him teach ME when you knew what he’d done?”
“Harry, I - ”
“And YOU!” Harry snarled, turning to Snape. “How can you even speak about my dad after what you did? How can you say all that stuff about him…that he was a coward, that he was a bully…HOW THE HELL CAN YOU SAY ALL THAT AFTER WHAT YOU DID TO HIM??”
Still Snape said nothing; he just looked at Harry, his face a mask of blankness. Lupin had not spoken a word since Harry had had his outburst, but he suddenly took a step forward towards Snape.
“You bastard,” he said quietly, his face ashen. “You loathsome, spineless bastard. How can you even look Harry in the eye after what you’ve done?”
Snape still remained silent, although his eyes flashed.
“Remus, if you will sit I will explain everything. And Harry, you too…”
Harry shook his head at Dumbledore. He was no longer angry with him, but he felt utterly disappointed and dejected. This time, he thought, he really had lost his trust in Dumbledore.
“No, sir,” he said calmly. “I don’t want to hear it.” Turning away sharply he walked blindly to the door, pulled it open and stumbled down the stairs.
Write a Review The Darkest Hours: Snape's Little Secret