Harry had gone to bed, Ron not noticing because he was so thick with Lavender Brown. Neville noticed, but knew better than to ask.
He'd tried to go to sleep.
Truly, he'd tried.
But it was galling, the Slytherins' laughter, the smothered amusement in Snape's eyes - Harry hadn't needed to see it to know it was there. Making fun of him, saying that he'd never be as good as even Goyle (not that Harry had anything against the big bloke). Harry remembered Dudley making fun of him, his teachers looking down at him in elementary.
Hadn't hurt as bad then, had it?
That thought rested uneasily in his mind, until his mind turned from it to a building anger.
Everyone else was long abed.
Harry had questions to ask.
Severus Snape had long ago sent the missive he'd written, drunken his SoberUp! potion. Late as it was, he was marking potions papers. Somehow he never seemed to remember how long they'd take. At least Granger wasn't writing her usual four times the assigned work. He hadn't the time for it. As he marked someone who couldn't tell the difference between coriander root and leaves (how blitheringly stupid did you have to be?), he sighed.
It was passing midnight, and Snape's door nearly rattled on its hinges, when someone pounded on the outside. Hagrid, Snape thought, standing up, and relaxing his face as he opened the door for the man.
Snape spent a moment blinking in surprise - though no other trace of it passed his face, as he found Harry Potter standing in front of his door. Blasted boy knew better than that, surely?
Snape's longfingered hand was on the middle of Potter's back, pushing him through the door as he efficiently covered the child from peeping eyes. "Were you seen?" Snape snapped.
"No," Harry Potter said, took a breath, and said, "Invisibility cloak."
"Well," Snape drawled, "The spoiled little boy admits it." Snape raised an eyebrow.
Harry looked back at him truculently, but refused to rise to the bait. That was an improvement over general Gryffindor Psychology.
"You will learn better without crutches." Snape said, holding out his hand.
Harry nodded, putting the invisibility cloak into Snape's hand. Unexpected, that. Children love to have devices to defy authority figures.
"What brings you hear, this time of night," Snape said.
Harry's answer rolled off his tongue, Likely thought of on the way down, "Order Business."
Snape looked him over, raising an eyebrow, "Oh? Not terribly urgent I'd imagine, from the relative sluggishness of your arrival."
"I couldn't sleep," Harry started.
Snape couldn't resist interrupting, in his customary sarcastic drawl, "Did you come to me for warm milk?"
"Answers, really," Harry said, still in his day clothes.
"Does this have anything to do with your new jewelry?" Snape asked, his eyes fixated on the hot pink lily that seemed to spark every so often. "A new paramour, perhaps?"
Harry gave Snape such a look - easily translated as Very Funny. "No, that used to be my mum's." Harry said, looking a little sad and chagrined.
Lily had always hated anything with lilies on it. "I had not realized you were so adept at lying." Severus Snape shot Harry Potter a look that his own Slytherins would have understood as approval. Snape doubted Potter would recognize it that way. He's learning but... years behind.
Harry's green eyes lept up to Snape's, and he snapped back, "How did you know?" Harry paused and then said, in a much softer tone, "I wasn't supposed to say where I got this..."
"I recognized the handiwork," Snape said, which wasn't strictly true. However, there was only one artificer in the castle good enough to create something this unusual. Well, perhaps good was a poor moniker. Batty and brilliant was the better appelation, surely. Luna Lovegood believe that all her artifacts were alive, and so she regularly talked with inanimate objects. The child was around the bend, had lost her marbles, and was on a bus so short... But enough. Snape had sworn to himself, that he was never going to tell Lovegood how objectively clinically insane her ideas were. Because they worked. The blasted sylph had enough power of belief that when she talked to inanimate objects, they actually listened. Daft, but brilliant.
"Oh," Harry said, at last, tilting his head up to look Snape in the eyes.
"Yes, oh. And I sincerely doubt she wanted you to lie to teachers." Snape's eyes briefly flashed as he spoke.
Potter shrugged, "She didn't say."
"So you admit the crafter was female?" Snape said, smirking.
"Yeah, I do," Harry said, a wisp of a smile on his face.
"I must confess to some curiousity. What is that pendant? supposed to do?" Snape asked.
"Something about my emotions," Harry said, "Help me control them." Potter was still biting off his words, but the pendant had stopped sparking at least.
"Help you, or help others?" Snape asked rhetorically.
Harry shrugged, and Snape continued, "You had questions? It's high past time you got to bed." His voice had an edge in it that his Slytherins knew meant get on with it. If Potter didn't know by now, well, he'd learn.
"Why'd you make fun of me in class today? What's the point of a lesson when you're showing me worse than I can actually fight? Wasn't that supposed to be showing people better than they are now?" Harry asked, petulantly.
Snape realized that Potter had been thinking - no, stewing - over this. Likely since the end of class. "Did you want to yell?" Snape said, only his eyes betraying his temper, "I can cast a silencing charm if you'd like?"
Harry's shake of the head was like an axe chopping a tree. Firm and headlong at once. "Just answer the questions."
[a/n: Third post of the day. Finally managed one that's past 1000 words! yay me!
What do you think snape's answers are? Leave a review, please!]