Lily's Thorn

Chapter 13

A/n: Sorry, real life got in the way.

Chapter Thirteen - The Biggest Step

Harry froze as soon as he saw the look on Severus's face. Yes, he was definitely in trouble. He wasn't a coward, though. So, with that in mind, he went down the steps to accept his fate. Severus had his arms crossed over his chest, that glare never leaving his face. "My office. Now." Severus's voice had a tone of finality to it, a tone that said if Harry disobeyed, he'd be grounded for life. He wasn't sure how these father-son things were supposed to work just yet, but he was fairly certain that Severus wasn't supposed to be looking at him like that.

Harry just nodded, and wordlessly followed Severus to his office. As soon as the door closed, the Potions Master turned on him. "You got detention on the third day of classes?" Well, it did sound pretty bad when he put like that. "And I warned you about her! Did you ignore me on purpose, or do you just like getting in trouble?"

Harry was starting to get angry now because Severus was making judgments before he even knew the full story. Then again, that was pretty much his father to a T. "It's not my fault. She was annoying. How did you know anyway?" There was no way Umbridge could have mentioned it.

"Oh, no, of course, forgive me," Severus said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "It's never your fault, is it? And never mind how I found out. That doesn't matter."

"No, not when she's standing there, saying that Voldemort isn't back!" Harry yelled back at him. "And not letting us use magic in class! Come on, it's Defense Against the Dark Arts!" It was ridiculous. He couldn't have just sat there and done nothing.

"The Daily Prophet has been making those claims for months now, Harry, what difference does it make if she says it?" Severus said, still very angry. "And of course, she's not letting you use magic. The Ministry is terrified of Dumbledore and what might be trying to accomplish here. That's why she's here. Isn't that obvious? You know who she reports to. I warned you about her!"

"I know, but I lost my temper! I'm sorry, but she was infuriating. Even the others thought so, too," he said, throwing up his hands. It wasn't as if Severus couldn't understand that. How was he supposed just to sit there, and let her say rubbish like that? That wasn't who he was!

Severus's eyes moved from his face to the right hand, the one that was red and raw from using Umbridge's quill. Harry immediately put it down. "Why is your hand red?" Severus demanded.

"Nothing. I'm fine. It's nothing." He could handle it. He didn't need to whine and cry to his father every time something happened, the way Malfoy sometimes did. He wasn't going to be that person. It was detention - barbaric detention, yes, but he was tough. He could handle it.

"You just got out of a four and a half hour detention with Umbridge," Severus said, sounding very much as if he didn't believe him. "And with you, it's never nothing. Why is your hand red?" With that, Severus grabbed and looked at it. "And raw. Why?" He looked up at him again.

Harry sighed, knowing that he had lost this argument, and explained everything - the black quill, the hours of writing with it, and the way it had healed over. He also told him about the words she'd said as he left. Severus's once angry gaze turned into one of pure fury.

"She did what?" His voice was low and dangerous, and if Harry hadn't been absolutely sure that Severus wouldn't hurt him anymore, he would run as fast as he could in the other direction. He'd seen that look on the Potions Master's face before, and it was never anything good. "Follow me. Now."

"What? Why? I can handle it. It's just -"

"No. It isn't. And I am going to talk to Umbridge for daring to do that to my son. For once, don't argue and do as I say," Severus said, cutting him off. With that, Severus left the room, and Harry had no choice but to follow him. He hoped Severus didn't kill her, not that it wasn't tempting, of course, but probably not the best course of action. He had to admit, though, that he liked the sound of hearing 'my son' coming from Severus.

~*o*x*o*x*o*x*o*x~

Severus didn't even bother looking behind him to see if Harry was there - he knew he was going to follow him. The nerve of that woman… how dare she, that fucking bitch. He had never heard of a quill such as the one Harry described. It was inhumane, and the fact that she had used it on a child - his specifically - was infuriating. There were a thousand ideas running through his head, all of them about how he could get back at her for this. He was nothing if not vindictive.

Severus walked up the stairs until they reached the floor that held Umbridge's rooms. That was when he nearly ran someone over. This someone called out. "Severus! What in Merlin's name -"

Severus turned a fierce glare at Minerva McGonagall. "Not now, Minerva. I have to go and hex some sense into Dolores."

A confused look crossed her face. "What - hex some - what happened?"

Severus sighed. He didn't have time for this. He wasn't about to let Minerva talk him out of it. If anything, it is helpful if she was on his side. Of course, he would never assume that Minerva would disagree with him about this issue. "She used a quill on my son during his detention with her this evening. The quill apparently used his own blood as ink." He turned to Harry. "Jacob, show her your hand."

"But I -"

"I said to show her." Severus was not in the mood for the boy's disobedience and attitude right now. For just a little bit, he wanted him to actually do what he told him to do.

Harry relented, and walked over to Minerva, holding out his right hand, which was still red and raw. Severus hadn't given him a healing potion yet on purpose because he didn't want her to try to deny it. He didn't know Umbridge that well yet, but now he knew that his feelings about her had been right. That's why he learned to trust his judgment, and why he was even more annoyed that Harry had deliberately ignored him. Did this happen to all parents, or was it just because he was the father of Harry Potter?

Minerva gasped in shock as she saw Harry's hand. "I cannot - I mean - It's horrific! That can't be legal!"

"Of course not," Severus barked. "Now if you don't mind, I have a colleague to kill." With that, he turned and began stalking down the hall.

"I'm coming with you," Minerva called out, as she and Harry followed him to Umbridge's office.

Severus reached Umbridge's rooms and slammed his fist on the door. She answered a moment later, a fuzzy pink dressing robe on. "Severus, Minerva, what is the meaning of -"

"You loathsome bitch," Severus said, pushing his way in, before rounding on her. Harry and Minerva followed, closing the door behind them. He was seething with anger. In fact, he wasn't sure he had ever been this angry before. He could just imagine all the ways he could torture her right now for what she did. "You used that vile quill on my son. How dare you. I will -"

Minerva stepped forward, putting an arm across his chest to stop him. She knew him well enough that she probably assumed that he was about to take out his wand and use some nasty, dark curse on her. She wasn't far off actually. "Dolores, I think what Severus is trying to say," Minerva interrupted, "is that you do not have the authority to punish the child of another teacher. Now, I don't blame you for not realizing that. It's been a long time since any of the staff have had a child, but there you have it." Minerva's tone was matter-of-fact, but there was an edge to her voice. Severus was half-tempted to push Minerva out of the way, and make sure Umbridge knew where she stood.

"You cannot question my authority with the students while they are in my class," Umbridge said, standing her ground. He noticed her gripping her wand tightly.

"I can when it's my son," Severus said. "You -"

Minerva cut him off again. "As I said before, since Severus is Jacob's father and his Head of House, you should have gone straight to him when he acted out," Minerva told her firmly.

Umbridge looked between both of them. Minerva's gaze was firm, and Severus knew his own was full of fury. "Fine," she said, before turning to him. "I trust the punishment will fit the crime." She did not look happy to have her power taken away.

What for saying the truth that you and the morons at the Ministry are too scared to accept? Severus thought to himself. "Do you have children, Dolores?"

Umbridge looked taken aback. "What? No, of course not!" She actually looked a bit offended that he had even suggested the idea.

"Then don't tell me how to raise mine, " Severus said, and with that he stalked out of the room, taking Minerva and Harry with him. He was still fuming. Yes, Harry shouldn't have spoken out in class, but the form of punishment, and on his son.

They walked a bit down the hallway before Harry finally broke. "You didn't have to do that!" he yelled.

Severus turned to him, his glare firmly in place. "And what did you propose I would do when I found out what she'd done? Tell you that's fine and send you on your way."

"Well, no, but I could have handled it!"

"You weren't handling it!" Severus told him. "It was barbaric, and not-"

"But -

"Mr. Snape," Minerva said, interrupting the argument that had transpired in the middle of the hallway, "I'm sure your father was only doing what he thought was right. It was horrible what she did, and of course, any parent in his right mind would be horrified."

That seemed to take Harry aback a bit as his once angry and defensive demeanor seemed to vanish instantly. He looked up at Severus for a moment, before nodding. "Yeah, I suppose you're right. I'm sorry I yelled and got in trouble, Dad."

Severus's anger vanished as he heard that one word. Harry had called him Dad. He was torn between shock at hearing that word from his son's lips and wanting to hear it again. It took him a moment before he could gather his thoughts, but he nodded. "Yes, well… I will see you tomorrow night for your detention." Harry groaned. "She assigned it. My hands are tied."

Harry nodded. "I know that," he said. Severus quickly handed him a healing potion from his robes, saying that he would need it. "Thanks. I guess I'm going to get back to the dorm now. See you tomorrow, Dad. Professor McGonagall." He then turned and left.

Severus just turned and followed Harry with his eyes until he was out of sight. "First time he's called you that," Minerva said. Severus nodded. "Quite powerful, I would imagine. I wouldn't know, personally. You're lucky, you know."

"Yes, I suppose so," Severus agreed, "though that is not a word I would normally use for myself." Somehow, he was, though. Maybe this wasn't the way he would have originally picked for things to happen, but he knew that now he wouldn't have changed it for anything.

"You also realize your outburst and our interference with Umbridge will cost us," Minerva said, glancing over at him.

Severus nodded. "Yes, I am aware," he said. "I do not regret it if that's what you're asking."

"You realize that even if you tell Albus or the Ministry, she won't lose her job," Minerva pointed out. "Nothing will happen."

Severus groaned. "Yes, Minerva, I realize that," he said. "I have my own brand of retribution." She raised an eyebrow. "All in good time. All in good time." A smirk crossed his face, and he headed back to his rooms.

~*o*x*o*x*o*x*o*x~

Harry woke up the next morning with Moirai chewing on his hair. He looked at her, picking her up. She was getting a bit round in the belly area now, not quite as scrawny as she was when he had picked her out at Magical Menageries. "What are you doing, you little brat?" He asked the small, black kitten. She gave a single meow and then squirmed in his hands, pawing at him. He held her close to him, but she put her paws up to stop her from getting any closer. "Fine, you silly little thing," he said, letting her go. She scampered off to the edge of the bed, curled up and began cleaning herself.

Harry shook his head and got out of bed. As soon as he got dressed, a very annoyed Draco came up to him. "So, what happened to you? After detention, you came back to the dorm and went straight to bed." His hands were crossed over his chest.

Harry just shrugged. "Yeah, my dad caught me coming back, and wasn't happy," he told him. "By the way, how do you wonder he found about that since Umbridge and I were in her office all night?" He raised an eyebrow and looked pointedly at Draco.

Draco shrugged. "Of course, I told him," he said. "He asked where you were, so I told him. What did you expect me to do?"

"Nothing less," he said as they went down to breakfast. "It all worked out for the best anyway."

As they sat down, Draco asked, "So what happened? You said the Professor wasn't happy that you got detention. I mean, not that that woman didn't deserve it, of course."

Harry sighed, wondering how much he should tell them. So, he told them about the quill, earning some horrified gasps from their friends sitting around them. He explained that his father had been furious, and with McGonagall's assistance, had gotten the detention switched from Umbridge to his Dad.

"That's just horrible!" Daphne cried from a couple of seats down. "What a vile woman!"

"Yeah, so I wouldn't recommend getting detention with her," he warned.

"Thanks for the warning," Salenia said from his left.

After that, they had their second Herbology class, followed by their second History of Magic class. After lunch, they had their second Care of Magical Creatures class. Hagrid still wasn't back, and Harry hoped that he was okay. He didn't have time to enjoy dinner, as he had to run to his father's office. After all, he had detention still, even if it wasn't with Umbridge. At least with Severus, he knew what to expect.

"So, what do you want me to clean?" Harry asked as he walked in the room.

"Nothing," Severus said, not looking up from the stack of papers he was grading. Harry frowned, thoroughly confused. What did he mean, nothing? As if sensing what he was thinking, his dad took his wand and turned the chair on the other side of the desk around so that it faced the wall instead of him. After that, he waved it again, but Harry didn't see that it had done anything. "Sit." Harry did as he was told, and then he saw a spot that had been made on the wall opposite from him. "You will practice your Occlumency meditation. Stare at the spot on the wall, and meditate. Do not look away until I say."

Harry froze for a second, before glancing back at Severus. Surely, he couldn't be serious. "For how long?" He knew his voice betrayed how much he hated this idea. It was torturous! Not like Umbridge, of course, but in its own way.

"For one consecutive hour," Severus told him. Harry noticed the word 'consecutive.' "Again, do not move until I say."

Harry sighed, and did as he was told. He tried to meditate, but he couldn't meditate for that long. He was sure that Severus didn't mean for him to do that, but merely to try. It was hard, though. It felt like thelongest hour of his life. At one point, he couldn't take it anymore. He was going to go crazy! Surely, this wasn't possible. No one could do this! "Has it been an hour yet, Dad?" he asked. Harry hadn't called him that intentionally. It had slipped out completely by accident. It seemed, though, that a dam had broken. The word came out a lot easier, and he had never considered using it before.

"Fifteen minutes."

"Huh?" What did he mean by that? It made no sense.

"That was how much longer you had left," Severus said. "You remember I said consecutively."

Harry groaned. "You can't be serious!"

"I don't joke," Severus said. "Start over. It wouldn't be detention if it were easy. Now do it again."

Harry groaned again, even louder if possible. He tried to meditate this time, too, but that was easier said than done. Eventually, he just sat there and stared at the wall. Trying not to sigh, he actually attempted to meditate. It wasn't that he didn't want to, it was just… He was staring at a wall. This was horrible. He would rather clean.

"You may stop now," Severus said.

Harry sighed relief. "Thank God," he said, turning the chair around to face Severus. "So, what else?"

"Nothing, you've been here nearly two hours, you can go," Severus said, stopping grading papers to look up at him.

"Great! See you tomorrow, then?" With that, Harry left. He was not looking forward to two more days of this detention that Severus had given him - staring at a wall for an hour. Seriously, he'd rather clean.

~*o*x*o*x*o*x*o*x~

Harry left his father's office and walked towards the Slytherin dorm. As soon as he got inside, he stopped and froze. While some people were milling around in small groups, for the most part, the Slytherin dorms had been split into two large groups. One was closer to him, made up of mostly the younger years, who seemed to be playing Truth or Dare. The other group was on the other side, nearest to the glass wall that looked out into the lake. The older years were there. Both groups were sitting in a circle, but the older group had a few bottles of alcohol, and every person had a glass.

How had they gotten alcohol? Harry thought to himself. He knew Fred and George snuck out to get it for the Gryffindor parties, but how had the Slytherins gotten ahold of some? He could have sworn he heard someone say, "Never have I ever…" though the voice faded off, so he couldn't hear what they hadn't done. About half of the people in the group took a swig from their glass. Some of them must have noticed him because some glanced at him. Pansy elbowed Draco in the side. The blonde turned around and met his gaze. He smiled, and waved him over, motioning for Pansy to make room.

Harry, however, had absolutely no interest in playing "Never Have I Ever." He had seen some of the older years play it during parties in Gryffindor Tower, but he always been too busy not getting killed by something to care. Besides, he hadn't done anything, never kissed, or… anything. What was he supposed to do, sit there like an idiot? For some reason, it annoyed him that Draco and everyone else was playing it when he couldn't. So, they had all done… things? He knew that Draco and Pansy had gone to the Yule Ball together last year, so maybe they had… but that annoyed him, and he wasn't sure why.

Harry made a beeline past them and went straight into his dorm and went to studying. No one came after him, and that was okay. It was quite a while later before the door burst open and a slightly angry Draco Malfoy stood there, hands on his hips. "Jacob, where the fuck were you?"

"Detention and then studying."

Draco scoffed. "I know that, you bloody moron. I motioned you over. I know you saw me. Why didn't you come over?" Harry shrugged his shoulders, not saying anything. "We were just playing Never Have I Ever." He made it sound as if it was no big deal.

Harry was silent for a second but didn't say a word. It was clear that Draco was waiting for an explanation. "Does it matter?"

Draco's hands moved from his hips to be crossed over his chest. "So, what, you just didn't feel like hanging out with your friends after detention with the Professor?"

Harry wasn't sure why, but then he just blurted it out. "I haven't done anything, okay!"

Draco blinked for a second, but his posture relaxed. "Is that all that was bothering you?" He was acting like it wasn't a big deal at all.

"Well, I haven't, so how can I play a game like that?" Harry asked. "Besides, isn't it a Muggle game?"

Draco shrugged. "It's just a drinking game," he said. "Besides, we can add truth serum to ours if we wanted to, to make it more fun. At any rate, I haven't done anything, either. I mean, there was that one kiss between Blaise and me last year during Truth or Dare, but that was nothing. It was barely even a real kiss. At any rate, it's fun to sit there and watch everyone else drink for the simplest things." A smirk crossed the blonde's face.

Harry didn't think that sounded like fun at all, and it was quite weird to him that it didn't seem to bother Draco at all. "What, so… you haven't, I mean… done anything else?"

Draco shook his head. "No, why? I'm not just going to go out with just anyone, you know. Don't think everyone is as experienced as they might want you to think."

Harry just sat there for a second. He wasn't sure what to say. "So, how often do you guys play the games? It seems a bit… out of character."

Draco laughed and sat down on the edge of his bed. "And you would know that, how? You've been here less than a week," he said. "For your information, we only do it the first Friday back, you know, as a welcome back. Then, after Quidditch games, if we win, of course, and then right before the end of the school year."

"My dad doesn't know?" He remembered McGonagall having to come and break things up before, and wondered how that worked here with the proximity of the Slytherin dorms to his rooms.

"I don't think he cares as long as we keep things reasonable," Draco said. "We're not too wild in here, or anything, at least not compared to how I'm sure those Gryffindors act." Harry could attest to that, at least. He had seen some of the parties for himself. "Anyway, next time, you should join us and not come in here and hide."

Draco got off his bed after that and went to his own. After that, the others started arriving. He wasn't sure what to think about… well, anything really. The Slytherins played drinking games. Draco had wanted him to play, had made room for him. Draco who, contrary to Harry's opinion, hadn't done anything, not with Pansy, except for a brief kiss with Blaise last year that he didn't count. He was bothered by Draco playing the game and confused that he hadn't done anything. All this was after a very weird detention with his father.

Harry resigned himself not to think about any of it right now, to push it out of his mind and go to sleep. He could deal with this another time, any other time. Moirai curled him next to him, and he slowly drifted off.