Harry was early to Defense, and realized, with a bit of an electric shiver, that most people were actually later than usual.
Had Snape's students started to look forward to his class? Oh, if he only knew. Harry thought wryly. Harry couldn't decide whether he'd storm off, smirk smugly, or let out a harsh, warm laugh - the kind that comes from a throat not used to it. Maybe not used to it... anymore.
Students began to file in, Slytherins first, and Harry caught more than one of them looking at each other with just a trace of concern on their faces. As much as Harry wanted to help Snape, who looked like he had more than a foot through death's door - he realized that approaching the Slytherins would be a mistake. Slytherins hated showing weakness, and expected if they did, that it would be pounced on by the nearest predator. That applied, in some strange way, to Slytherin House as a whole, of which Snape was Head.
What, did they really think Harry would manage some type of prank because Snape wasn't capable of chasing him down? Harry's mind helpfully supplied, "Or maybe they think you'd get yourself in trouble, and Snape would kill himself trying to save you." That thought was uncomfortable. Harry wanted away from that thought. He was better now, stronger, more capable. If he got in trouble, Snape wouldn't need to come running, because he'd fix it himself.
Quietly, as if inside a great silence, Harry heard Snape's words about him going into battle, "You'll be a good soldier, if you can survive the first few fights. Not that I expect you to." Most people - even, perhaps, Professor Dumbledore - would have expected that to be some measure of concealed, twisted truth. Harry'd heard it though, and he heard the unvarnished honesty of it. That wasn't a man who'd jump through hell and high water (or, at this rate, a ford), to save Harry. Obscured though his feelings were, Harry felt a little glad of that, proud even.
The class itself was nearly boring. Snape strode in - Harry privately suspected he'd do so even if blood was spurting out of his mouth... or other orifices. Dignity meant a lot to Snape, it seemed. Perhaps if it hadn't been that specific memory, Harry'd not have had several potion implements and glass objects thrown directly at his head.
Snape, eschewing the podium for once, simply strode through everyone, turned around and leaned his back on the wall, "Your assignment for today is to find five ways to defeat a Yeti."
Harry opened up his book, starting to look at the Table of Contents. Shielding, Defense, Wordless Casting, Wandless Casting... nothing about anything to do with creatures of any sort. His eyes left the page, finding Hermione already reading about thewee beas
Harry had a sudden thought, flipping through his papers until he found Snape's syllabus. He'd hardly glanced at it, when a voice sounded from what seemed miles above his shoulder. "Well, Mister Potter, has your arrogance grown so much that you feel entitled to not complete the assignment?"
Harry looked up, trying for innocent wide eyes, "I'm just consulting the syllabus."
"And what does that have to do with completing your assignment?" Snape asked, his hand landing suddenly on Harry's shoulder and squeezing visetight. Harry would normally have suspected "taking out anger on Harry's person", except that Snape's skeletal hand served to reemphasize that Snape might fall over at any minute.
"I'm trying to find what chapter to read." Harry said, though he was really doing no such thing.
"I'm afraid that you'll be disappointed, then," Snape said snidely. Before he could remove his hand from Harry's shoulder, Harry's quick hand caught his wrist. Harry gave Snape a glare, one that said, "I know you're making this assignment up right now."
As if Harry's hand wasn't even there, Snape said, "The point of this assignment is to consult your classmates and create a working picture together."
Harry mentally translated, Tell truth from lies and superstition. Harry smirked, After all, Snape couldn't teach them everything.
[Got any clue about the syllabus? Leave a review if you want more!]