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Chapter 5 : The Lessons Begin
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The following day was Sunday, and this meant it would be her first lesson with Professor Snape. She spent her morning in the library working through homework, and simply losing herself in the blissful world of books. Lunch was the usual affair, but at least this time she had a legitimate excuse to give the boys. She had not told them about her lessons, and they seemed too wary of her to ask what her meeting with Dumbledore was about. So instead she said that she had to meet with a professor, and promptly made her way down to the dungeons 15 minutes early. She once again knocked on the door to the potions classroom, and was met with the usual
She entered the room, and stood silently in front of his desk, waiting for him to give her instructions.
“For the sake of discretion and safety, we will be conducting these lessons in the Room of Requirement, surely you remember that particular room Miss Granger?” he said with a sneer.
“yes Sir” she replied seemingly unfazed by his demeanour.
“good, follow me.”
They made their way to the Room of Requirement, and when they entered, it had taken on the appearance of comfortable room with no furniture but plenty of plush rugs and soft pillows. Professor Snape closed the door and instructed Hermione to sit in the middle of the room, on one of the rugs. He too followed and sat a few feet across from her.
“now, the first thing to learn in Occlumency is to clear your mind. Self discipline is the key to learning to protect your mind. Clear your thoughts completely, try to reach a place of calm, and peace.” He instructed “this practice of meditation is the first step. In order for you to even attempt to learn, you must make a habit of meditating every day. I suggest clearing your mind before bed every night.”
Hermione nodded in understanding, she remembered Harry saying that professor Snape had instructed him to do this as well. However in the few minutes that she tried to clear her mind, she found little success. Every time she closed her eyes she was accosted with images of her mother, her sister, of that blasted cell they kept her in.
“push your thoughts and worries away. Think of something soothing, something that will calm you” he said in a low, silky voice. “nod when you have completed each task I assign”
Hermione merely nodded.
“good, now keep that calm place, do not allow other thoughts to infiltrate that peace”
Hermione nodded again after a few moments.
“alright, good.” He said seemingly satisfied. “open your eyes. Now am I correct in assuming that you have already read up on all the theory?”
“yes Sir, I did last year, to help Harry”
“typical, well, it makes things easier now” he replied sarcastically, “in that case you know that Occlumency is all about managing your mind. You need to sort your thoughts, visualize them in such a way as to lock them away. Essentially you need to make your mind a maze. Understand?”
“good, now that is something you must work on in your own time. I cannot help you with that, it is something you need to master yourself. For starters we will practice by seeing if you can push me out of your mind.”
“alright. Um…how exactly do I do that?”
“It cannot be learned from a book, it is a practical skill. When I enter your mind try your hardest to push me out, understand?”
“good. Let us begin”
They practiced hard for 2 hours, and had still made little to no progress, leaving them both very frustrated and angry.
“You need to try harder!” Professor Snape yelled
“I am trying!” Hermione answered frustrated.
“not hard enough.” He said viciously. “again!”
He pushed into her mind, sifting through her thoughts easily. Hermione tried to push him out, they had started out standing up, but she was now on her knees, drenched in sweat from the effort of trying to keep him out of her head.
“push me out damn it!” he yelled.
She gritted her teeth, and clenched her eyes, anger coursing through her. Anger at everything, at not being able to accomplish her task, at Dumbledore and his idiotic questions, at the Death Eaters who tortured her, at her life in general. She used this anger and with one final spurt of energy, she pushed with all her might.
Severus was surprised, as he was suddenly thrust out of her mind with a force stronger than he had expected. What surprised him more though was the lingering taste of her intense hate, anger, and thirst for revenge.
“good.” He said as he tried to regain his composure. “you did reasonably well for your first attempt.”
Hermione simply nodded. She was exhausted, body, mind and soul. He certainly wasn’t exaggerating when he said it would be intensive. Her body ached from the physical strain, and she was now sporting a pounding headache thanks to their four hour session. It seemed that these lessons were going to be more difficult than she had originally imagined. However, if there was one thing that drove Hermione to succeed, it was failure. And she would master Occlumency if for no other reason, than to prove those death eaters wrong. They tried to break her, but she would be damned if she allowed them to kill her spirit. They thought she was strong before, well, that was nothing compared to what she would become. That day Hermione vowed that by the time she left the confines of Hogwarts, she would be the most dangerous woman alive, for she had already sworn to get her revenge, and in order to do that, she needed to train. With that thought in mind she cleared her mind as Professor Snape had instructed, and then went to bed, knowing that the next day, she would attack her lessons with a new vigour.
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