Chapter 1 : Snape's Wrath
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"Harry Albus Snape, are you drunk?"
Uh oh. I think . . .I think I'm in trouble.
Harry gulped and looked up at his stormy-eyed father and felt a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. Suddenly he didn't think it had been such a good idea to drink that green beer. He swallowed hard and even through the haze of alcohol knew one thing with utter certainty.
His luck had just run out.
"I . . .umm . . .n-not really . . ." For some reason, he knew as soon as he spoke that it was the wrong thing to say.
"Excuse me?" the glower grew darker, there definitely were thunderheads in his father's eyes now. "Would you care to re-phrase that question, Mr. Snape?"
Harry swallowed again. Yes, that had definitely been the wrong thing to say. He knew because he never was addressed by his last name, or all of his names, for that matter, unless he was about to be decimated by his father. If only he could shake off the mist from his brain and figure out how he had gotten drunk off of such a small amount of green beer! "I . . .It was only a tiny bit of green beer, Dad. The leprechaun Bridie said it wouldn't do anything to me."
Severus had both hands on his hips now. "What are you talking about? Is this some kind of alcohol hazed hallucination? What leprechaun?"
"The one that gave me this." He withdrew the lucky clover from his pocket. But it didn't look anything like it used to. All the glitter and gold had been used up and now it just looked like an ordinary plant, slightly crushed.
Severus examined the clover. "Harry, lying to me will only get you in more trouble. I would think you would know that by now." The thunderheads were now shooting lightning.
"I'm not, sir! There really was a leprechaun, her name was Bridie and I saved her from a rat that was going to eat her . . ." he babbled out the whole story. " . . .and then she gave me some green beer to . . .to celebrate St. Patrick's Day."
Severus groaned. "That beer, it wouldn't happen to have been heather ale, would it?"
Harry tried to remember. He did think it might have been. Slowly, he nodded. "Yes, sir. I think she did say it was."
Severus' eyes pinned him. "Harry, how many times must we go through this? You got deathly ill last time drinking summerdew at Prince Manor. Remember? You ought to have learned by now that you should never ever accept a drink from any of the fae, no matter what they say about it! Most fae cordials do not react well with human physiology! You could have poisoned yourself, dammit!"
Harry hung his head. Yes, there was no doubt about it. He had been royally stupid. Again. "Sorry."
"Oh, you will be, believe me. I had thought after the first time, you would use your head, but no, you go and accept a drink from a leprechaun! I'm beginning to think that all your brains are in your backside and maybe I can wallop some sense into you!" Then he whirled about and stalked out of the room, going into his bedroom.
Harry gazed after him blearily. He knew why Severus had left. He had left to calm down before he punished his son. Harry wrapped his arms about himself and felt very sorry and ashamed of himself. His father was right. He really had known better. He wondered if Severus really would wallop him. Severus had only done that once before, when he had beaten up Draco just before school started. It had been more humiliating than painful. But he sure as hell didn't want it to happen again.
He put his head in his hands and groaned. His luck had gone from brilliant to terrible in the space of a few minutes.
Meanwhile, in his bedroom, Severus was pacing up and down, and eyeing the wooden spoon upon his dresser. He was very angry at what his son had done and seriously considering using it. Except . . .he had promised his son he would never spank him in anger or for anything besides beating the spit out of Draco. Severus rubbed his temples, he could feel a headache returning. He still was recovering from the wizard flu and Harry's terrible decision couldn't have come at a worse moment.
He had to admit, he had never felt so disappointed and irritated in his son until now. He had thought he could trust Harry to make good choices, to learn from previous mistakes, but now it appeared he was wrong. And that made him even more upset. He sat down upon his bed, his head in his hands, mirroring his son in the living room, had he only known.
What should he do now?
How should he deal with his son?
His eyes flickered to the spoon. He detested using it, and he didn't think it was sufficient to make his point. Oh sure, it would serve as a reminder for a few hours, and maybe his son would feel the sting of humiliation as well, but Severus doubted it would last beyond that. No, he needed to do something that would impress upon his wayward son the importance of thinking before he acted. And if he didn't do that, the consequences were going to be too terrible to contemplate.
A few smacks with a spoon wasn't going to do it. Besides, that was how Harry's fat lard of an uncle had disciplined his son, and Severus never wanted to emulate that disgusting creature. It was also clear that kind of punishment didn't curb the boy's impulsiveness any, since Harry still rushed into things. So then. He would be forced to get . . .creative.
First, he decided he would allow the boy to sober up naturally, no magic. That would hammer home the effects of overindulging.
Then he would put phase two into action.
Harry's head began to throb and his stomach to churn soon after Severus had departed. The Gryffindor tried to keep still and not think about how sick he was feeling, but it wasn't working. The next thing he knew, he was running towards the bathroom. He soon realized that throwing up violently was not worth drinking any kind of alcohol, fae or otherwise. Nor was the headache that continued slamming him behind the eyeballs.
After rinsing out his mouth, he took a long look at himself in the mirror. He looked like hell. His hair was a wreck, his eyes were bloodshot and he was pale as milk, with a touch of green. Shuddering at the memory of how the beer had tasted even more awful on the return trip, he walked back out into the den to face his father and whatever punishment he had earned.
Severus was standing next to the couch, still wearing his stormy face. Harry saw that he wasn't carrying a spoon. He wondered what it meant. Did his dad think he was too much of a wimp to take a spanking? Not that he wanted one, mind, but . . .
"Hangover?" his father asked icily.
"Uh huh," was about as articulate as he could manage at the moment.
Severus looked unsympathetic. "That's what you get when you put poisonous substances into your body. One would think you'd remember that. Perhaps the second time around will make an impression. I cannot tell you how disappointed I am in you, young man. I thought I could trust you, thought you had learned from the first time, but instead I find you happily swilling ale with a leprechaun. Was it worth it? Did the taste make you feel like you were in heaven?"
"I . . .I can't remember," Harry muttered, now feeling even worse.
"What was that?"
"I said, I can't remember."
"Do you know why you can't remember? Because alcohol kills brain cells, boy! And that's something not even magic can replace. Do you know who you remind me of, Harry Albus Snape? Your grandfather."
Harry shook his head. "No. I'm not like him!" His grandfather, Tobias Snape, had been a drunken bum.
"You're starting down the same path he walked." Severus declared.
"Dad, it was only two beers the size of a thimble!" Harry protested.
"Oh? Which are the equivalent of a six pack or more," Severus shot back. "That's how it starts. Two becomes three and three becomes four and before you know it, you're hooked."
"I'm not an alcoholic! I'm not!" Harry shouted, tears stinging his eyes. This was worse than any walloping. He had lost his father's trust.
"Not yet." Severus walked over and shook him. "And you will become one over my dead body. Listen up and listen good. An alcoholic is born, not made. The gene is inherited and it's in you. Therefore you need to be careful, which you aren't."
"I was! I don't get drunk every night. This was the first time—"
"Second. And the last. Clearly, I can't trust you out of my sight. You need constant supervision."
"Huh? Constant supervision?" Harry repeated.
"Yes. Pay attention!" Severus ordered sharply. "Perhaps a week of my watching you like a hawk will finally impress upon you to think before you act and to think before you reach for a glass of beer, or wine, or anything alcoholic."
"I don't understand."
"You are going to stay within my sight at all times for a week. Where I go, you go. You will be closer than my shadow."
Harry stared at him, horrified. "But . . .but Dad! What about class? What about homework? Or sleep? What about my friends? Or . . .or using the toilet?"
"I will make arrangements with your professors. You can explain to your friends. You'll sleep here, on the settee in my room. I'll stand outside the door to the bathroom, and if you're not out in three minutes I'll come in to check on you like a three-year-old."
"No! You—you can't!"
"Can and will."
"But . . .it's not fair!"
"Neither is life. Get over it. If you don't like the consequences, then think before you act."
Harry couldn't believe this was happening. He had expected to get in trouble, but nothing like this! This was worse than the jail cell. He opened his mouth to blurt out something that he had heard Dudley say once to Petunia and Vernon when they refused to buy him a new TV on the spot—I hate you! But some small spark of self preservation kicked in and he choked back the words. They would destroy further the fragile trust between himself and his father, and besides, they were untrue. He didn't hate his father, he was just angry at what his father was doing. Severus was being cruel and nasty.
"Yes, sir," he muttered with an insolent tone.
"Don't you take an attitude with me, young man!" Severus growled. "You have no one to blame for this but yourself."
"You don't have to punish me like this." Harry sulked.
"Yes, I do. I like it even less than you do, but this seems to be the only way to get through to you. Go and lie down on the couch. Move." He swatted his rebellious offspring on the seat to get him moving.
Harry went, muttering, "I'd never do this to my kid."
Severus snorted. "Well, when you're a father, maybe you can invent a worse punishment to prevent your son from making the same idiotic mistake over and over." He seated himself opposite the couch on the recliner.
Harry flung himself on the couch, facedown. He was, without a doubt, now the unluckiest kid at Hogwarts.
* * * * * *
Once he had woken up, Severus allowed Harry a grace period of an hour and a half to explain to his friends and his girlfriend, as well as Draco, what had happened and what would be going on for the next week.
He found Ron in their dorm room, trying to catch a few winks before going down to supper. He woke up when Harry nudged his foot. "Ron! Get up! I have to tell you something. It's important."
Ron groaned. "Whaddaya want, Harry? Is it time for dinner yet?"
"Bloody hell, Ron! Stop thinking with your stomach. I'm like, under a sentence of death here!"
"Huh?" Ron sat up, now mostly awake. "What's up, mate?"
"My father's lost his mind, that's what. He's . . ." Harry told him what had happened and what Snape's punishment was.
Ron winced. "Man, that's harsh. I'd have rather gotten whacked with my mum's spoon than that. That's so not fair."
"Tell me about it. But that's my dad for you. He's like the king of insane punishments."
"When's it start?"
"Tomorrow, I think. This next week's really gonna suck. I mean, how can I talk to you if he's standing over me?"
"Yeah. Maybe we can use sign language?"
"Merlin, Ron! I'm just . . .screwed now."
"Yeah. Your luck's gone from great to awful." He patted him on the shoulder. "Tough break."
Harry finished gathering up his clothes and toiletries and stuffing them in, ironically, an overnight duffel. He had used it to pack all his clothes when Severus had spirited him away from the Dursleys. "Well, guess I'll go find Katie and Hermione and Draco and tell them the great news."
"They're in the library. Hermione's tutoring them in Arithmancy." Ron said helpfully. He felt sorry for his friend. But also grateful that Snape wasn't his father.
Harry made his way down to the library. There, in the far corner, were his girlfriend, Hermione, and his brother. All of them had their heads together and were deep in discussion. Harry headed over to their table, which had pieces of parchment with odd equations scribbled on them scattered all over the table.
"Hi, guys. Having fun?"
"Loads, can't you tell?" Draco answered sarcastically.
Hermione poked him. "You were the one who asked me to help you."
Draco sighed. "Never mind. Guess I'm just not in the mood to do any equations tonight."
"Hi, Harry!" Katie bounced up out of her chair and hugged him. "Where have you been? Visiting your dad? How's he doing? Is he getting better?"
"You could say that. He's in rare form," Harry said, his eyes flashing.
Draco cocked his head. "Okay, what happened? He find out about that clover of yours?"
Harry bit his lip. He hated admitting his shortcomings to his brother, because he still had a bit of rivalry going on with him. And besides, it made him look stupid and he didn't like feeling that way in front of the girls. "No. First he found me drunk on the living room floor."
Hermione gasped. "Harry! You didn't!"
"Why would you go and do such a thing?" Katie frowned. "I mean, you know how your dad is about drinking."
"Look, I made a mistake, okay? No need to keep rubbing my nose in it! Bad enough Dad's on the warpath and already skinned me." He told them about Severus becoming his shadow.
"Well, you can't say you didn't deserve it for being so irresponsible," Hermione scolded.
"Thanks ever so much, 'Mione." Harry griped. "I forgot, you're too perfect to ever do anything stupid."
"Hey, don't yell at her." Draco said, his eyes flashing. "If you want my opinion, brother, you got off easy."
"Easy! How can you—"
"How can I say that? Because if I had ever done what you had, Lucius would have killed me. Enough said. At least you can still walk and nothing's broken."
Harry looked at Katie. Surely she would feel sorry for him, especially because this would impact upon their social life. But his girlfriend was wearing a look of disapproval and exasperation on her face. "What?"
"You've really done it this time, Harry. I won't even ask what went through your mind, because I already know the answer."
"Wait a minute! That's not fair! I didn't know what heather ale would do to me."
"Then you shouldn't have drank it," Katie reminded him. "Not after what happened over the summer. But as my mum would say—you reap what you sow. Now you're just going to have to deal with it." She kissed him lightly on the mouth.
He kissed her back, but he was angry with her, and drew away afterwards, saying, "Well, if that's the way you're going to be . . .see you later."
"Harry!" Katie cried. "Don't take your poor decision out on me!"
Harry turned around and kept walking.
Draco scowled after him and said, loudly, "Little brother, you're just asking to get your arse kicked. And not just by Dad either."
Harry returned to the dungeons with his things, and spent the rest of the hour before dinner sulking and moping.
Severus just ignored him, sensing that the boy was trying to make him feel guilty and rescind the punishment. But that tactic was one he was very familiar with, since he had practically raised Draco. Severus knew he had nothing to feel guilty over. His punishment was just and necessary. He didn't like it, but then he doubted if any parent enjoyed laying down the law to his or her child this way. Unless you happened to be a lowlife like his own father. But Severus knew that one way or another, Harry had to learn this lesson.
All too soon, it was suppertime, and Severus practically dragged a reluctant Harry into the hall. He had informed his colleagues and the Headmaster about his discipline and they had agreed to support him. So Harry was seated right next to his father at the staff table, and had to endure the stares and whispers of his peers and the frowns of his teachers.
It was awful. He felt as if he had a sign around his neck flashing the word—Dunderhead—or something close to it. He barely picked at his food.
"Eat," Severus ordered quietly.
"Fine, but don't come crying to me later on that you're starving and can't sleep. Because I won't let you get any snacks from the kitchen."
Harry began to eat, though the food sat in his stomach like lead. He wished he had never met the damn leprechaun or drank that beer. It had been just his bad luck that Severus happened to come out of his room at that moment. All he had needed was a few minutes more and he would have been asleep on the couch.
Next time think before you act, his conscience reminded.
He irritably told it to shut up.
Next: the punishment begins and how will Harry fare?