"I've wasted enough time today dealing with your piques and tantrums," Snape said brusquely, "So get to work. You can consider this as serving one of your numerous detentions."
Harry Potter nodded, saying, "Yes sir," and found himself a decent (if hardbacked) stool to sit and work on casting two spells at once. It'd been an odd request from the start, but Harry quickly found that trying to make two different spells not merge was an interesting problem. So much so that he'd probably have spent the next four hours (until lunch) working on it.
... except that Hermione Granger came "looking for him." Now, Harry'd known that Hermione had been spending more consistent time with Snape than he had - all the markings on the inside of that particular suit of armor proved that.
Somewhat surprisingly - at least Harry was surprised, Snape kept his enormous nose out of it. He'd let Granger in, and then had simply sat back down and continued to grade papers. Harry hadn't wanted to look, but even while he was busy working, he was aware that Snape was working on Potions homework. And Snape's commentary on that was generally scathing - at best.
Harry tried not to worry about it, narrowing his vision down until he wasn't even thinking about Hermione. What had Snape said - that he was able to Occlude if he was in the middle of battle. Snape had been attempting wandless Legimancy on him. And that felt like cheating, but had Harry really expected otherwise? Slytherin first, teacher second, fairness never.
And then Harry dove into the intricacies of trying to cast ambidextrously, of trying to have two spells at once. He used two pencils, not even quills - a pencil had the same solidity as a wand, and thus swished more like the way Harry was expecting...
It didn't work. Nothing seemed to work, but Harry didn't let himself give up. He'd done that too many times over the years, and he wasn't about to be outsmarted by this task. Other people knew how to cast like this (though, a part of Harry asked if any Order members - except Snape - knew how? Maybe Moody?)...
Harry was not going to be unprepared. Again.
Pulling his brain back on the subject, he gathered himself. Lumos, Nox. First one and then the other, never the two at once.
It took about twenty minutes, before Snape looked up. "Potter," he said, "Why are you practicing paired spells?"
"Because then I'd know when I cast them simultaneously, sir." Harry Potter said, noticing Hermione Granger's head snap up, like she had a question she needed to ask. She'd learned the hard way how to bite her tongue near Snape, so Harry resolutely blocked that chain of thought.
"What is the most important element of wandless casting?" Snape asked, in a voice soft as a dropped pin.
"Willpower and intent." Harry responded. Snape just looked at him, which sent Harry's brain scrambling. When it hit him, it hurt like a bludger, "Oh."
"Yes, Oh," Snape mocked ruthlessly, "That's an advanced tactic, and one that you'd be lucky to master in ten years."*
Harry flushed in embarrassment.
"Shield and stun," Snape said, his voice sounding almost as if he wasn't even thinking about Harry anymore. Which Harry didn't mind. Having all of Snape's attention focused on you was like having a Sphinx studying you. Or was that a manticore?
[a/n: Harry's really having trouble with this assignment, isn't he? This isn't the first time it's been assigned, you realize?
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