Harry & Hermione
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enahma - Coming off the Ropes
Chapter 4 - Shield yourself
Betaed by kateydidnt
Chapter 4 - Shield yourself
"I've heard what happened before Care of Magical Creatures," Snape said that evening when Harry was finally sitting with him in the living room reading the last pages of the novel.
Harry sighed and fixed his attention to the book. He didn't want to look into Severus' eyes, to confess his weakness again...
"Quiet?" his tone now was more serious. "Look at me."
Harry snorted and sighed. Then, slowly, he raised his head.
"What happened precisely?"
"How do you know about it?" Harry asked in return.
"Hagrid told me."
So it was Hagrid. He might have known it after what Hagrid had told him about Quietus and Severus.
"Were you two friends?" he suddenly asked the question, which had been nagging him for hours. His other purpose was avoiding Severus' question.
"No, Quietus was. I had only Slytherin friends."
"But... Hagrid told me that you both visited him..."
"Yes, I visited him many times, but I don't think we were friends. I was always interested in magical creatures as well as plants for my potions... But I asked a question. What happened?"
This was the end. He had to answer.
"Fang, Hagrid's hound recognised me and greeted me in his usual way. He jumped at me and I fell onto Ares and we all collapsed onto the ground. There I... couldn't handle the feeling."
"The bodily contact?"
"Yes. And I fainted."
Snape stood up and began to pace in front of the fireplace.
"We have to find a solution to this."
"I think time will solve it..."
"Perhaps. And why didn't you come to me after the lesson?"
"I had homework and I went to the library to study."
"Arithmancy, you know. I have problems with it," Harry said and as he saw that Severus opened his mouth to say something he quickly went on. "No, I don't need to be tutored now, Severus. I have been studying the whole afternoon."
"Do you understand everything?"
"Well, there was a definition about the prime numbers' use in ancient divinations..."
Harry opened his book and unrolled his parchment. Severus sat next to him and they leaned over the problematic passage...
It was almost midnight when they went to bed.
"It's fortunate I told to you that I didn't need to be tutored," Harry mumbled into his pillow. Severus chuckled.
"But you understand it now, don't you?"
"Yeah," Harry yawned. "But, do you know what I'm dreading now?"
"Tomorrow I will have double potions with the Slytherins and Professor Snape... Just after breakfast."
"Don't mention it. The slimy git."
"5 points from Gryffindor for Potter's too loud breathing. 10 points from Gryffindor for Granger's cheating and 50 points from Gryffindor for Neville's explosion."
"You are insolent as always."
"Oh, I'm sorry..."
When Harry entered the potions classroom he had to face the usual problem again: where to sit. Ares used to sit next to Blaise, there was only Neville who sat alone.
But to sit next to him was just too dangerous. So he stood in the doorframe waiting. It didn't last too long: some minutes later the door opened with a loud boom and Snape ran directly into the unsure Harry.
"What are you standing here?" he asked angrily.
"I don't know where to sit..." Harry mumbled in embarrassment.
They looked at each other for a moment and Harry could see Severus' glare softening.
"You can sit next to Mr Longbottom," he ushered him to the empty place.
Everyone in the classroom was staring at them in awe. This was the first occassion where they could see their Potions Master behaving like any other human being - even the usual scowl was missing from his face. Harry smiled at him in relief, nodded and sat down. As he glanced at Neville out of the corner of his eyes he saw the boy's amazed expression. A Snape sitting next to him? Well, in other classes he could understand. But in Potions?
He turned to him and smiled.
"Hi, Nev... er... Longottom."
Neville froze. He couldn't say a word.
"Open your books at page 12 and take notes. I'll write the potion's ingredients on the board. When you've finished reading it, you can begin to brew it."
The tone was familiar and strange in the same time. Snape's voice was still cold and piercing, but his expression... No scowl, no sneer, none of the usual bitterness. Harry, however felt slightly nervous as he took notes from the text. His incompetence would embarrass Severus, he was sure. Not to mention Neville's wonderful abilities...
When they finally began brewing, his nervousness reached peak levels. He could barely breathe, his hands were shaking. And he didn't have the slightest clue how to add the ingredients into the liquid. How to cut them, what the precise order of putting them in was. He only knew that the colour of the ready concoction had to be a clear, bright blue, but as the time went by it turned into an ugly orange rather than blue.
"We forgot to put the sage in," Neville turned to him suddenly.
"Sage?" Harry furrowed his brows. "I've already put that in."
"I don't know," he whispered and they looked at each other perplexed.
"Then... perhaps the temperature of the potion is not high enough."
"Well, I'll try to heat it up a little bit," Neville turned to the cauldron and stirred the fire.
The flames blazed up. The liquid began to steam.
"I think it's enough," Harry gulped at glanced at Neville after some minutes.
"Yeah," he turned to the cauldron to put out the fire. He lifted his wand and murmured a spell. The fire didn't burn out however. Rather, it blazed up again, but this time it was stronger.
"Neville," Harry jumped and pulled out his wand. "Step aside, quick!"
But he had no time to move his hand or say a word: in the next moment the cauldron exploded. Harry reached for Neville and dragged him away from the dangerous area. They fell onto the ground but this time Harry managed to dodge the other boy so at least he didn't faint. Yet. But if Severus...
"Quietus, what was that?" He could see his very pissed off uncle standing over him. Next to him Neville tried to become invisible out of dread. Harry glanced at him, then at Severus again and sighed.
"It exploded," he said matter-of-factly, his face almost as blank and emotionless as Severus' (he trained himself for long hours in front of the mirror to make it perfect, however, he was still far away from perfection).
"I see. But what did you do?" Severus was angry. Very angry. Perhaps the answer wasn't too appropriate.
"Er..." Harry didn't know what to do. If he told Severus about Neville's ineptitude in putting out a simple fire, he would take at least ten points from Gryffindor and give a month of detention to the terrified boy... "I stirred the fire. I think I intensified it..." he gulped and didn't dare to look at the Potions Master. He could feel Neville's wincing next to him.
He just nodded in return, his eyes fixed on his hands.
"Then ten points from Gryffindor for Mr Longbottom's failuren to warn you and a detention for you with Filtch." He turned around and said, "And clean up the mess while the others finish their potions. NOW!"
Harry jumped in feet in surprise and glanced at Neville who just stood frozen staring from Harry to Snape seemingly not knowing what to think.
"Mr Longbottom, should I repeat myself? Clean up the mess NOW!"
Harry could hear Malfoy's snickering and Ron's nervous mumbling while he struggled to remove the traces of the explosion from the desk and the chairs. Sometimes he glanced at Neville who was still under the effect of Harry's behaviour. A Snape - defending him. It had to be hard for him to believe.
While they finished cleaning up, the rest of the class completed their potions and Snape dimissed them.
"Quietus, stay behind," he said to Harry while the class filed out from the classroom. Severus walked at his table, his black robes swishing.
"Yes?" Harry still didn' want to tell Severus what happened. Fortunately he didn't ask him again and he didn't have to lie him, however, disappointment swirled on his face.
"I'll fix you a detention with Filch first, and you will brew this potion again today, after dinner. Understand?" His tone was slightly cold.
"Why Filch?" Harry now lifted his eyes pleadingly. "I'd rather spend a detention with you or Hagrid..."
"I don't want the other students believe that I show favouritism towards you. You aren't a member of any houses so I can't take off points and neither can the other teachers. So be careful: your detentions will be more serious than the other's."
Harry rolled his eyes.
"Beautiful," he murmured and left the classroom.
The corridor, which led to the potions classroom was dark and empty. Harry stopped for a brief moment and he lingered in the past's events. Whenever he had come here he had been exrtemelly nervous and sometimes angry too. The memories of the old, greasy Snape came to his mind. Snape yelling at him, bullying Neville, hurting Hermione and favourizing the Slytherins. The always cold and hateful glances towards him... And now everything had changed. Snape turned Severus, the hatred turned into care, the nervousness turned into longing and the dark dungeons turned to be his home.
Well, perhaps Severus didn't change for anyone else, as Harry studied him during the class he had to assume that he was almost the same: evil remarks about the Gryffindors' work, praises for Slytherins. The only difference was that he now ignored Harry - and even Neville. Yes, Severus was the same as always: the greasy, mean git, narrow-minded, biased, full of prejudices - still much like Sirius, and in a certain sense Ron too, who...
"You did it on purpose."
...held prejudices against his ex-friend and now waited for him in the empty hallway to have a little quarrel with him. Harry turned to Ron.
"What?" he asked confused.
"You sabotaged the potion just to loose points off of Gryffindor."
Harry could feel his anger emerging in his chest.
"Sabotaged? What? I didn't..." he began but Ron interrupted him.
"Then why did you say that to Snape? Don't tell me that you wanted to save Neville?"
"Why not?" Harry asked arrogantly. "And what if I wanted to? Leave me alone. It's not your business."
"Listen, Snape," Ron hissed at him with his clenched teeth. "I don't know what you are up to. Why you expressed condolence to me. Why you are together with us in the lessons. Why you pretend to defend Neville. Why you try to befriend Hagrid. But don't forget, I won't believe you. Never."
Harry gulped. Suddenly, it was too much to bear.
"I understand," he managed to whisper and circling Ron faced the DADA classroom.
So Ron would never believe him. Ron would never give him a chance. He was lost to him. And he would remain lost.
It was... bad. It hurt. And all of it was the result of the stupid secret- keeping. He stopped. He would tell him! He couldn't pretend otherwise any more! He wanted Ron back, his friendship and... But no. No, not because of the fear of the possible tortures. He was really related to Snape and now he could see that Ron had serious aversions towards the professor. And Ron... had already left him in a lurch in a much more serious situation than this, when he had needed his help. And now, if he had let him know that he was Harry Potter... or was he? Who was he? Confusion swirled in his mind.
Harry sat on the stair.
He was Harry Potter. But he wasn't James Potter's son. He was a Snape. Well, he wasn't Severus' son either but he wasn't sure Ron could distinguish. If indeed he could. He was a Snape and not a Potter and it would be enough reason to hate him.
And, Harry thought, it was better that Ron hated him as Quietus Snape than as he would have hated him as Harry Potter, son of Quietus Snape and nephew of Severus Snape.
It wasn't a happy thought. Not at all.
He could feel tears burning in his eyes. No! He wasn't allowed to cry, to show weakness! He clenched his hands in frustration and stood up.
Defense Against the Dark Arts.
He was late.
Detention again. He shuddered.
It would have been better to choose Slytherin. Or even Ravenclaw. Now he had to face the Gryffindors' hatred again and to bear the consequence of his tardiness. He resisted the urge to turn around and march to Severus' quarters, lock the door behind him and never come out. Instead, he lifted his bag and put his legs one after the other.
He was late. Too late.
Two detentions in one day. Marvelous. Quietus Snape, the offspring of the Snape family, the bright and cunning Snapes, was unable to brew a potion properly, was unable to get to classes in time. Not to mention the other lacks of ability, such as touching, sleeping or eating. He leaned against the wall with trembling legs. He didn't want this day to go on.
"Quietus, are you alright?" a concerned voice sounded behind him.
It was the Headmaster.
"I will be late to my defense lesson," Harry sighed. "And... I don't..."
Dumbledore cast a sympathetic look at him.
"I will accompany you, and I will excuse your delay, alright?"
The first positive event of the day.
"Thank you, Headmaster."
"You are welcome."
They faced the defense room again.
"How are you doing?" Dumbledore's voice broke the silence.
"Hard," Harry sighed. "It seems that all decisions I made turned to be wrong."
"That I'm not sorted, I'm with the Gryffindors in lessons..."
"These weren't your decisions alone. And this is just the second day of school, Quietus. You'll see it will be much better..."
Despite Dumbledore's company, the arrival to the class wasn't too comfortable. Harry saw the students' and the teacher's annoyance over his delay and he sat next to Neville as fast as he could. He didn't look at him or at anybody, he opened his book, took his quill in hand and began to scribble the notes from the board.
All of it was becoming too uncomfortable. Mrs Figg's speaking about shields and shielding spells, defence tactics during wizards' duel... The same Mrs Figg he could have seen several times making tea and showing boring photos of his beloved cats, who had taken care of him when the Dursleys had had other things to do or attend, whose leg had been broken by Dudley, the old, perhaps a little senile woman - now explaining about spells and tactic and dark wizards... And she wasn't old really, he seemed to be in her fourties. All was just too strange and Harry couldn't concentrate at the material. Sometimes he lifted his eyes and struggled to pay more attention but he couldn't.
Everything was too strange. His whole life.
He didn't like it. Not at all.
"...and we will learn about this kind of spells too. Many of them are not the part of the general curriculum but I will teach them to you nevertheless. There are two main kinds of shielding spells..."
Everybody was paying attention, even Neville, only Harry found it hard to listen.
Spells, shields... And what could you do if you didn't have your wand to defend yourself? When you were encircled by the enemy and you were alone? What kind of spell was strong enough to save you, your life?
If he had known any shielding spell in front of Voldemort... But what could you do when you had to bear the curses defenseless?
"Please, Mr Thomas..."
As Harry snapped out of his gaze he could see Dean stepping in front of the professor, his wand in hand.
"Its name is Clipeus, which was the name of a little, round shield, used in the Roman army. It's the easiest to learn and use. But, remember it, it only shields from the simple, similarly easy spells and curses only. Like, for example, Tarantallegra. I now ask Mr Thomas to throw me the mentioned curse. Right?"
Dean nodded and they assumed the classic duelling posture and raised their wands.
"Tarantallegra!" Dean shouted. And Mrs Figg in the same time.
The air vibrated around the woman and the spell faded instantly. The professor nodded at Dean.
"You can sit down, Mr Thomas. So? Did you notice anything important?"
Naturally it was Hermione's hand, which was lifted first.
"The shield didn't reflect the spell but absorbed it."
"Very well, Miss Granger. 5 points. Other things to notice?"
Silence. Harry looked at the others, but nobody raised their hand. He cleared his throat quietly and lifted his hand cautiously.
The professor turned to him. She had brown eyes, many times bright brown (as she had talked about her cats), but now they were cold and Harry could feel the rejection in them. He winced.
"You pointed your wand to yourself."
The woman just stared at him for a moment then nodded.
"Can you tell me the reason behind it too?" she asked, but the tone of the question was more similar to one asked in the dungeons of the Spanish Inquisition rather than in Hogwarts, DADA class.
"I think you can direct the spell's direction wherever you want. You can build a shield around another person if you point at him."
"Good. 5 points to Gryffidnor."
Harry blinked in surprise.
"But... Professor, he is not a Gryffindor!" It was Ron's voice yelling indignantly. Harry turned to him and he could see him crossing his arms in anger.
"He disturbed the lesson with his delay. I think Gryffindor's house can be rewarded with his points as a compensation."
Harry's face flashed in shame. He lowered his gaze at the table and didn't lift it until the lesson's end. Was this woman the same he knew from the Privet Drive? The nice, kind old lady?
Very well. Dumbledore decided to tell Severus' past to the staff and now he had to bear the consequences of it. Harry was sure.
Hatred. Hatred was in the professor's eyes.
He didn't say a word again until the end of the lesson. He was just sitting in silence and taking notes. When Neville tried to open a dialog Harry hushed him with a glare and fled out of the classroom as soon as the lesson ended.
Herbology with the Hufflepuffs was the next lesson. Damn it! And after lunch there would be Charms with Flitwick.
Harry compelled himself to walk directly to the greenhouses resisting the urge to run and find Severus somewhere in the dungeons. He too had lessons to give, he just couldn't bother him with his stupid problems. He had to face them. He was strong enough to do it. He wouldn't flee.
"Hey, Sn... er... wait me, please!"
Harry stopped as he heard the familiar voice behind him. He stopped and turned to Hermione.
"Look, I think that Mrs Figg was very unfair with you," she explained. "I don't know, why, but she acted... strange."
Harry shrugged but inside he was quite grateful to Hermione who dared to speak to him despite Ron's disapproving look.
"You can call me Quietus," he looked at her. "And I don't mind. She is not the first who hates me just because I am professor Snape's son."
Hermione blushed slightly.
"Yeah, Ron does the same..."
"And many others. So? Is that all you wanted to tell me?"
"I... I just wanted to say that... Give it a little time and they will accept you, I'm sure."
"They? Who are you thinking about?"
"Everyone. The students, the teachers. They will get used to the idea that professor Snape has a son, and that he is not like him."
Harry laughed bitterly.
"Well, perhaps. Or perhaps not. I'm quite sure that Weasley, for example, won't forget my parentage, however, that's not my fault. And on the other hand I don't mind if they think I'm like my father." The last sentence he said quite loudly so that Ron could hear it perfectly. The red-haired boy winced as he caught it.
Hermione looked at him intensely and nodded.
"You're right. Would you mind working with me in Herbology?" she asked suddenly ignoring Ron who turned around in protest.
Harry shook his head.
"No, go and work with Ron. I'm alright with Neville," and as Hermione opened her mouth he added, "Really."
He cast a last cold and despising look at Ron and stopped to wait for Neville who was walking behind them.
"Thanks, Quietus." Neville stood next to him grinning broadly.
Harry sighed and asked in mock annoyance.
"For saving me."
"Saving?" Harry smiled. Naturally, he knew very well what Neville's thanksgiving was about. "Isn't that a little bit exaggerated?"
"Well, your father and me are... let me put this way: we aren't on good terms," he cast a serious look at Harry. "And he, generally rails me in potions..."
"It was our common mistake. I don't know what we did wrong either." Harry interrupted the now bright red Neville. "However, I think you got the easier punishment..."
"Do you know Filch?" Neville asked amused.
"Of course. We arrived here two weeks ago."
As they entered the greenhouse the first person Harry noticed was Janus' sister, Leah. She was talking with the other Hufflepuff girl, Hannah when they entered the greenhouse.
"Hi, Leah," Harry smiled at her. She blushed and turned around pretending to examine a pile of dried rib-grass lying on the table while Hannah leaned towards her and after a moment the two girls were giggling idiotically.
Harry and Neville looked at each other questioningly. Then Harry shrugged and they stepped to an empty table. After some moments two Hufflepuffs joined them: Ernie and Justin. They were so much lost in a conversation that they didn't notice Harry's presence until professor Sprout greeted the class and especially Quietus Snape. But then, the effect was pretty amusing: Ernie's eyes widened and his mouth curved down, Justin went pale and couldn't help but gasp like fish out of water repeatedly for long minutes.
"Hi, he's Quietus Snape," Neville introduced the grinning Harry - he couldn't remain emotionless seeing the two boys' shock.
"Good lord," Justin moaned and blinked at Neville who was still smiling. "You - and him, together?"
Harry had to fight hard to suppress the emerging laugh. Neville too was snickering under his breath, which made the two boys' shock greater.
"Well, yes," Neville confessed and introduced them to Harry.
"Do you have classes with the Gryffindors? But... how?" asked Ernie finally.
"McGonagall fixed my time-table and she and Seve... er... my father agreed to put me there."
"You call your father by his first name!" Justin gasped again.
"I'm not used to calling him otherwise. We didn't live together until this summer."
"Were you raised by muggles?" For this time Justin's expression turned unthinkalby confused and even Neville glanced at Harry in keen interest. Harry shot a gaze at the professor who was explaining something about the wolf's-claws or Lycopus and its use in healing werewolves and turned to his companions again.
"Yes, my grandparents. But I'm not allowed to say any more about them."
"Then you did study in a muggle school until last year!"
"Of course," Harry became nervous. He didn't know anything about muggle secondary schools or their materials so he decided to close the topic. "But I think we must pay attention to the professor's explanations..."
"Yeah," both boys seemed disconcerted as they turned their attention to Porfessor Sprout.
To Harry's great relief the professor didn't intend to test or to get to know him so he could work calmly with the plants under Neville's professional guidance.
"How is that you are so... untalented at Potions? You know the plants pretty well and we use them to brew concoctions too..." he asked the shy boy as Professor Sprout dismissed the class.
"It's not a matter of talent..." he mumbled embarrassed and Harry suddenly realized that Neville wouldn't share THIS problem with him of all people.
"Alright," he said. "See you in Charms then," he added and joined Ares at the Slytherin table.
He sighed as he thought of the upcoming lesson. Charms with professor Flitwick.
Since he had met with the short professor at the Head Table on the first day they had arrived at Hogwarts he had been learning Charms (in addition to Arithmancy, of course), he had even taken a look at the present year's curriculum so as not to be ashamed in front of his father's ex Head of House. But he was still frightened as he thought of it. Expectations... expectations which concerned his behaviour, his personality, his knowledge... And prejudices, which he couldn't just alter without enormous effort... Did he have enough strength to do it? Or... did living up to the expectations mean changing? Did he have to change at all?
But he had changed already. He wasn't that boy he had been four years ago, not even the boy he had been three months ago, not any more. He was much more shy and timid as he survived two weeks in pain and fear and he lost the faith he had in his own invulnerability. He recognised that even he could be killed easily, he could be shamed, tortured and violated in every way. He already knew what it meant to be exposed and defenceless and sometimes he wondered if light really could overcome darkness. He wasn't sure any more, and his self-esteem suffered from that as well.
He was still busy with these thoughts when the lesson began, but as the professor entered the room Harry put them aside and concentrated on the task lying before him.
He was not disappointed. The professor's main aim in the lesson was to verify the level of Harry's knowledge in Charms and he made every effort to find the holes in it.
Sometimes Harry cast a short glance at Hermione who gave up lifting her hand after the first ten minutes as she realized that she wouldn't have the chance to answer even one of the dozens of questions the professor asked Harry. When he finally finished his investigation, half the class was almost asleep with boredom. Except for three: the professor, Harry and Hermione.
"Very well, Mr Snape. I'm REALLY sorry that you are not a member of my house... The same talent that your father has and especially your uncle had, the same brilliance..."
Ron snored angrily (perhaps awakening out of a beautiful dream) as the professor continued praising Harry. He, however, was extremelly happy when the lesson finished and left the room immediately. His ears were burning and he didn't dare lift his head to the others... One thing was sure: the professor hadn't made his situation easier. Indeed.
He didn't stop until he reached the door of their quarters and pressed his finger quickly to the white dot. He closed the door behind him and leaned to the wall, his heart pounding.
But after a while he confessed to himself that he didn't feel bad. On the contrary.
Yes, he was embarrassed, but... he didn't feel uncomfortable. Flitwick compared him with Severus and his father and he said he was like them. Was it pride, which he could sense emerging in his chest? Pride for what? His knowledge? His 'brilliance'?
He sank down and sat on the ground in thoughts.
He wasn't proud of his talent. It was not his talent, but his diligence, which helped him to survive the lesson. And he wasn't brilliant either.
It was something else.
He stood up and stepped to the mantelpiece. He took the photo album cautiously and, sitting on the sofa, he opened it.
Quietus with Severus.
Quietus with his mother.
Quietus with James Potter - he smiled at them warmly.
Quietus with Harold Potter.
Quietus standing alone, smiling, the prefects' badge on his chest, his wand in hand playfully...
Harry touched the wand in his belt. The same wand: his own was just too familiar to use in front of the others.
Pictures and remainders, nothing else. But now he was compared to his father and it was as if some part of him were still alive, something in his son, Harry... Perhaps he really wasn't as inept as he thought himself...? Perhaps Severus wouldn' have to be ashamed of him.
No. The last thought was really stupid. Severus would be never ashamed of him, even if everyone detested Harry with good reason. Severus now was prepossessed towards him and noone could change that. Harry smiled and strode to the living room and entered the kitchenette. He put some apples in a bag, picked up his books and parchments and left for the library.
On the previous day he had gone there to study; he was sure nobody would be there. He was wrong: he could see several Ravenclaws reading or taking notes from various books and tomes and even some others from other houses writing their homework that they hadn't done during the holidays. He looked for a separated place and he prepared there for his lessons. Now he walked to the same place - it was between the last row of shelves and the wall and with a sigh he compelled himself to pay attention again. He had to be ready by dinner, because after dinner he would go to brew that damned potion with Severus.
His studying was uneventful and boring. The situation was just too similar to when Ron had abandoned him last year and he had spent his time with Hermione - Ron, Ron again and his 'old' life to which would never return... He had to live his life now as the brilliant Quietus and it required more work and study and less fun.
He hated it. But it was much better than any dungeons and torture. And, perhaps, Ron's case was still NOT lost. Just needed time. And Harry was about to pay the price for it.
"Where were you?" Ares asked him at dinner.
"Library," he answered.
"Why? It was just the second day..."
Harry grinned widely as he remembered the same words as he had asked Hermione countless times, however, his answer was slightly different from hers.
"I like studying there. At home I have to stay alone and I prefer company."
"Why didn't you join us?"
"In the Slytherin common room?" Harry rolled his eyes. "You're mental, Ares. I don't want to fight the stupid Malfoy just to have the opportunity to sit there. It's not worth the trouble. Maybe later, but not now."
"I understand," Ares nodded in thought.
"And I don't like to be the center of attention. I'd rather wait some weeks or months until everybody gets used to my... er... existence," he winked at the brown-haired boy playfully. "You know, in the library I can be alone and not alone at the same time."
He said the same to Severus when he asked where he was during the afternoon.
"And I told Ares the same," he added. "He asked me the same question."
"Ares?" Severus furrowed his eyebrows.
"Ares Nott, one of your beloved fifth year Slytherins," Harry answered impatiently as he started cutting up the sage to add to the potion.
Snape stopped in mid-motion.
"Are you friends with him?"
"Friends? Severus, it has only been two days!" Harry cried indignantly and took a scarab beetle in his hand. "No. We are just... talking about things. He is quite alone and me too, so..." he shrugged.
"I see," Severus sighed. "But I think you should be VERY careful with him. His father..."
"I know, I know!" Harry slapped the beetles down to the table. "But tell me, what can I do? He is the only fifth year Slytherin who talks to me willingly. The others hate me or are afraid of me because of Draco's behaviour. He seems happy to be with me and I even think he doesn't know what his father is!"
"Calm down, Quietus. I didn't want to..."
"Then what do you want? Of course I won't leave the school's ground or be alone for long with him. I'm not so stupid."
"Alright, but take another scarab because you smashed that in your hand," Severus interrupted him.
Harry looked at the beetle in his hand.
"Scarab? This potion needs scarab to be completed?"