Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: Induction :: 07 :: Sweet Little Lies

07 • Sweet Little Lies

Saturday, 23 November 1996

Severus heard knocking, far earlier than expected, and a quickly enacted charm allowed him to see that it was Haze waiting outside his door. He left his breakfast and opened the door, closing it after the boy had entered. Resuming his seat, he went back to his meal, pausing long enough to say, “You can wait until I’m finished, or start immediately, Haze. I’ve left instructions for you in the lab.”

Haze smiled and ducked through the lab door.

Severus leisurely finished his food, washed up, then went in himself. Haze already had several cauldrons going, and Severus was pleased to note that the potions chosen were ones a competent brewer could easily do simultaneously. After a quick nod, Severus went about setting up his own work station, gathering the ingredients for veritaserum, and starting a flame under a large gold cauldron.

Several hours went by, and it was approaching lunch, when Severus was able to leave his potion to simmer. The next steps could be done any time after an hour had passed, but before three, lest it be ruined. He looked up at his student and cleared his throat gently so as not to startle him.

When Haze responded, he said, “When you are finished with those, lunch will be waiting.” Then he swept out to the living area, rang for lunch, and washed up, seating himself in his usual chair just as the meal appeared. The boy joined him shortly thereafter, sinking onto the couch and filling his plate with enthusiasm.

The meal itself was quiet; Severus was lost in his own thoughts, and Haze appeared to be anxious to get back to the lab. After that, the next four hours or so went by as quickly. Haze continued to churn out potions from the lists he had, and Severus attended to his cauldron of veritaserum, glad for the fact that he could handle it mostly without thinking.

His thoughts were entirely focused on the boy, and what he wanted to do with him, or more accurately, to him. When his inner clock signaled that the potion was complete, Severus extinguished the flame and set the cauldron aside to cool, casting a quick charm over the top so that no foreign matter could drift into it. After telling Haze to come out when he’d finished, Severus went to wait in his chair.

The moment Haze was seated on the couch Severus said, “Haze, go under.” He ran the boy through deepening several times, then had him open his eyes. “Haze, remember when you were here last and you brought yourself pleasure?”

“Yes.”

“I’d like to try something a little different today.”

Haze nodded lazily.

“But in order to do that, you need to undress first, just like you did last time. Will you do that?”

The boy didn’t speak; he stood up and stripped, dropping his clothes in a pile on the floor, then waited.

Severus let his eyes wander over the boy’s body and said, “You like to please me don’t you, Haze? And obeying me makes you feel good, doesn’t it. That’s right. I have another way for you to please me, Haze. Are you willing to try?”

Haze nodded.

“Very good,” Severus said and stood up. “Follow me, Haze.” He turned and went into the bedroom, tugging off his robes and tossing them to the side. His shoes and remaining clothing followed, after which Severus laid down on his bed and spread his legs.

“Get on the bed, Haze. Kneel between my legs. That’s right. Do you know what I want you to do, Haze?”

“The same thing I did to myself?”

“Yes, but there’s more than that. I’m sure your mouth is just as talented as your fingers, Haze. So use both,” Severus said smoothly.

“But what about. . . .”

Severus arched a brow, then smiled. “That’s why you can swallow, Haze. Does the idea bother you?”

Haze was silent for a full minute. “I don’t know. I guess not,” he said finally.

“Do you like men, Haze? Are you attracted to them?”

“I guess so.”

“What about women?”

Haze gave a slight shrug. “I thought I was once. I don’t know.”

“Interesting. Well, Haze, if you’re willing to please me, perhaps you can figure that out a little better.”

“Yes.”

“Then go ahead and please me, Haze,” Severus coaxed.

And Haze did.

As Severus came down from his bliss high, he looked at his student, seeing immediately how aroused the boy was. He smirked and pulled himself up to a sitting position, scooting back to lean against the headboard.

Haze wiped his mouth and chin, then licked his fingers clean.

“Why don’t you stretch out, Haze. That’s right. Haze, reward yourself.”

The boy used his tongue to clean up after that, too.

*

Dinner passed, with Severus telling the boy he planned to try the veritaserum experiment during their lesson. Haze was more than happy to participate, telling Severus that it would be quite an accomplishment if he could succeed in lying, or at the least refusing to answer.

The first thing Severus had him do, once they were done eating, was fill out a short questionnaire. Nothing on it was particularly difficult to answer; it contained questions such as the boy’s favorite colour, which quidditch team he favored, and other, similarly light topics.

When Haze was done, Severus pulled out a vial of veritaserum, giving the boy the standard dose and giving it time to take effect. He rattled off each question, watching as the boy appeared to struggle against the compulsion to answer truthfully. Each time he attempted to lie, trying to force out the wrong answer, but he was not successful.

Severus sighed and gave Haze the antidote, then sat back and pondered the situation.

“You did well, Haze, even though it didn’t work. I know you tried very hard.”

Haze didn’t answer, though he looked a little happier despite the failure.

“I want you to try, for next time, to visualize defenses, like the one you use for Occlumency, but to work against veritaserum. It can be a part of what you already have, or something different. I want you to visualize the defenses as a barrier between what you know is true and the compulsion to be truthful. Can you give that a try?”

“I think so, sir,” Haze replied solemnly.

“Good. On to other business, then. Wait here a moment,” he instructed, then stood and went into his lab, emerging a few moments later with a stack of parchment in his hand, which he handed to Haze. “Your essay. I’ll have to give some thought as to what you can work on next.”

Haze nodded and glanced over the first page.

“I think we’re done for the evening. I’m proud of your efforts, Haze. It’s a little early, but you may go.”

“Thank you, sir. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Severus nodded and watched as the boy gathered his things and departed quietly. After a minute of silent contemplation he went back to the lab and started checking the potions Haze had made that day, putting a thin scarlet line through each one on the lists.

Sunday, 24 November 1996

Sunday was a repeat of the day before, except for three things.

Severus ate breakfast in the Great Hall, and Albus passed him a small, plain box during the meal, giving him a meaningful look. Severus pocketed the box, saying nothing.

Severus spent the hour he had used the day before for pleasure as a time to run Haze through repeated triggers, putting him under, deepening, and reeling off directives instead.

And Haze, during the second test of defenses against veritaserum, managed to stutter out a partial lie before the compulsion to be honest won out. It was counted a small victory, and Severus encouraged Haze to take that success and build on it.

Wednesday, 27 November 1996 - Wednesday, 11 December 1996

The days flowed by for both Severus and Haze. Every Wednesday they would discuss Haze’s defenses, and what additions they were attempting to make, even though some of them were unable to be reliably tested.

Haze had managed to modify them to alert both Albus and Severus of the times Voldemort was trying to touch his mind. Both men were on the look out for news following soon after, either as stories in the Daily Prophet, sent to them by other members of the Order, or through one of the several spies that reported directly to Severus. The Dark Lord had been making some rather odd choices lately.

Every Saturday Haze would work on more of the potions on his list, and would later be prompted to please Severus in a far more direct, intimate way, before being allowed to reward himself. The Occlumency session was devoted to lying under veritaserum, and Haze continued to become more apt at blocking the pressing urge to be truthful.

Sundays were much the same, except that Haze underwent conditioning to reinforce the triggers and directives Severus had implanted, much as before.

Saturday, 14 December 1996

Severus shooed Haze off just before noon, citing the staff meeting he needed to attend after lunch. He ate in the Great Hall with his fellow professors, then trooped along with them to the teacher’s lounge and settled in for what he assumed would be another boring several hours.

After the usual round of reports, most of which Severus considered to be a waste of breath, Minerva decided to speak up.

“Albus, I don’t know whether to be concerned or pleased beyond words,” she began, her face reflecting her turmoil.

“What is it, Minerva?”

“It’s Harry,” she replied, sparing a sharp look to the side when Severus snorted quietly. “He stayed behind after class yesterday. He wanted some advice on a spell I wouldn’t normally be teaching the sixth years until late March or early April at the earliest. After talking to him for a few minutes about it, he was able to perform the spell flawlessly. I don’t understand it.”

Several of the professors raised their brows.

“When I asked him why he was even attempting it he said he was bored in class, having already mastered everything up until that point. I knew he was doing much better at his schoolwork, but I hadn’t realized until that point that he was actively reading ahead, and that classes were becoming a burden to him at the pace we normally go.”

“Now that you mention it, Minerva,” added Pomona, “Harry has been exceptionally useful in Herbology of late and has been turning in top quality assignments. He doesn’t seem to even listen to the lectures, but he has the answers and knows what to do.”

“He doodles in defense,” chimed in Johnathan. “During practical duels, though, he’s been using spells the others haven’t learned yet.”

Filius and Hagrid were nodding through the statements, obviously in agreement.

Albus stroked his beard and shot Severus a quick glance; Severus gave him a nearly imperceptible nod.

“Perhaps I should have young Harry in for a chat,” Albus finally ventured.

Sunday, 15 December 1996

“Ah, Harry. Please come in and make yourself comfortable. Sherbet lemon?”

“Thank you, no, professor.”

Albus smiled at the boy and folded his hands on the desk. “I’ve been hearing some very good things about you again, Harry. I’m quite proud of you, you know.”

“Thank you, sir. I haven’t done anything wrong, have I?”

“Dear me, no. I simply wanted to ask you some questions if that’s all right.” Seeing the boy nod, and ignoring the slightly wary look on his face, Albus continued. “Some of your professors seem to have the feeling that you’ve been getting ahead of the usual pace in class. Is that accurate?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Just how far ahead do you think you are, Harry?” Albus asked with genuine curiosity.

The boy shrugged, seeming uncomfortable. “Well, March or April, sir. We don’t get a syllabus in every class, so I’m not sure for all of them.”

“Is there any particular reason for this, Harry?”

“Classes are sort of boring, sir. With so much free time I decided I may as well do something useful, so I’ve been going through my texts and practicing. I’ve been doing so much better lately. I told you that before, I think. And it’s much easier to get my assignments done, and correctly do the spells, that I’ve been reading ahead and working on stuff as I go along to keep myself occupied.”

Albus furrowed his brow and tapped his thumbs together for a moment. “And how far ahead do you think you’ll be by the last week or so of the Christmas holiday, for curiosity’s sake?”

“I don’t know, sir. It’s hard to say for sure, but I guess I could be done with the sixth year texts by then.”

“How are your potions sessions with Professor Snape going?”

“Very well, sir. I’m just about done with the list of potions he assigned me.”

“Assigned?”

“Yes, sir. I’ve been working my way through all the potions taught at Hogwarts from first year through sixth so that Professor Snape knows I can properly brew them.”

“I see. Very good. Very good indeed. You may run along now, Harry. Have a pleasant afternoon.”

*

Albus brought the impromptu meeting to order; only Harry’s professors had been invited, along with Severus, who was mightily curious to hear what all the fuss was about.

Albus opened the meeting by stating that he had in fact talked to Harry. After playing with his beard for an infuriatingly long time he said, “It appears that young Harry will have completed his sixth year texts by the end of Christmas, if not sooner.”

Everyone started talking at once, aside from Albus and Severus; they simply sat back and tried to make sense of the conflicting speech and escalating voices. After several minutes of wrangling for control, Minerva finally won out.

“Albus, if that is true, then what is he going to do for the remainder of the year? He’ll be bored to point of apathy.”

“Quite possibly, yes.” Albus turned to Severus and said, “Harry tells me he’s just about done with the potions comprehensive you assigned. Is that accurate?”

Severus ignored the odd looks he was getting; apparently Albus had never mentioned the tutoring request to anyone, not even his deputy Minerva. “He’s in the middle of sixth year potions at present, to be specific.”

“And he’s doing well?” persisted Albus.

“Yes, surprisingly enough. Given that I’ve watched the brat make all of them, I know there’s nothing underhanded afoot.” Severus turned to Minerva and said, “If you’re so concerned about the remainder of the year, why not simply have the boy take the year end exams now?”

“What, and pass him up into seventh year if he succeeds?” she parried.

“Why not? You are the one who brought up how this might affect him. It seems to me that if the brat is capable of moving up, then so be it. Either way, at the rate he’s currently progressing, he’ll have finished the seventh year texts by the end of the year and be ready for the NEWTs, which means next year he’ll be even more adrift, assuming he lives so long.”

“Severus—”

“That is enough,” interjected Albus firmly. “The suggestion is not without merit. It would mean I’d need to speak to the board of governors on the matter. They may not be willing to make such an exception.”

Everyone stared at Albus silently.

“If there are no objections, I shall do just that.” Looking around and seeing or hearing no protests, Albus said, “If they can be persuaded, I shall talk to Harry and see if he’s willing to avail himself of the opportunity.” Turning back to Severus he asked, “And do you feel he’d be up to the potions examination?”

“I don’t object, Albus. If he passes it he will be placed into the seventh year NEWT potions class, though he’ll have to continue with the tutoring long enough to catch up to where they are.”

Albus nodded, smiling gently at everyone. “Well then, I’ll arrange to meet with the governors.”

Friday, 20 December 1996

“Thank you for coming to see me, Harry. Please have a seat.” After a pause for the boy to get situated he said, “I have a proposition for you, my boy.”

“Yes, professor?”

“When we talked last you said you thought you’d be done with your sixth year texts shortly, correct?”

Harry nodded.

“Would you be willing to spend the last week of the holiday taking the exams you would normally take at the end of the year?”

“Er, yes, but. . . .”

“If you were to pass them, Harry, we would move you up into seventh year studies,” Albus explained.

Harry gaped.

Chuckling, Albus waited for the boy to speak.

He was mildly surprised when a sly look crossed Harry’s face before he asked, “What about potions, sir?”

“That too. Professor Snape has already agreed.”

“And my friends, sir? Would I even still be in the same dorm as Ron?” Harry persisted.

“If you would prefer it, yes. I see no reason to move you if it would make you unhappy.”

Harry went silent, eyes narrowed. After a bit he asked, “You said if I passed them I’d be moved up, professor. Does that mean I’d take the NEWTs this year, then?”

Albus nodded. “It does.”

“Then what about next year, sir?”

“Well, there are certain rules about residency at Hogwarts that even I cannot abrogate. However,” he said, holding up a hand to silence his student, “an apprenticeship of sorts could be arranged so that you could stay and be trained further. You need not fear that you would be left to the Dursleys simply because you availed yourself of this offer.”

That seemed to decide him, as Harry immediately said, “Count me in, sir.”

“Splendid, Harry! Come the 30th of December, your sixth year examinations will start. You’ll receive a schedule in the next few days so you know what to expect. If you don’t have any questions, you may run along.”

“Thank you, sir!”

Once Harry had whisked away, Albus pulled out parchment and began to write a series of notes, one to each of Harry’s professors, and one to Severus Snape.

Wednesday, 25 December 1996

A cheerfully smiling Harry arrived at the table and sat between his two friends. All of them filled their plates with enthusiasm, though Hermione spent a good part of her time leaning across Harry to admonish Ron on his lack of table manners.

Severus watched from the far end of the table, wishing he could push the two brats away and drag Haze off to his chambers. He had missed having the boy at the weekend, no doubt because his own needs had not been properly attended to he told himself, and knew that he might have to wait until the second week of January before he could have the boy again. That is, if his discreet little invitation for that evening didn’t work.

His sharp hearing picked up bits of their conversation; the girl seemed overwhelmed and pleased that Haze would be taking his exams so early, while the Weasley boy was less than happy. No matter, as it wasn’t their decision. He was somewhat surprised, though, that Granger wasn’t jealous.

*

A knock came at his door at precisely 7.05 pm. Severus opened his door to an empty hallway, and frowned. As he was about to close the door and curse over insufferable brats and their ill-humored pranks, he felt someone brush by him and heard the rustle of fabric against his robes.

He closed the door and turned in time to see Haze slide his invisibility cloak from his form and drape it over the arm of the couch.

“You wanted to see me, sir?”

“Yes indeed. Would you care to take a seat?” he asked, then strode quickly to one of the shelves when the boy complied. The box was where he’d left it. He had not bothered to wrap it, considering it a waste of time and effort better used elsewhere.

He picked it up, crossed to and sat down in his chair, then held out the box to Haze, who took it with a vague look of confusion.

“Go ahead, open it. Consider it an early gift for when you pass your exams.”

Hazed stared at the box for a minute, then shot Severus a look, before popping the lid and inhaling sharply.

“They belonged to your parents. I thought you might wish to have them, perhaps wear them on your right hand. They’ll size to fit automatically,” Severus explained calmly.

“But . . . how?”

“Even I have secrets, Haze.”

The boy gave him a look Severus couldn’t decipher, then pulled the rings from the box, slipping each one on his right ring finger to form a double band. After they’d sized themselves, Haze said simply, “Thank you, sir.”

“You’re quite welcome. Though, I suggest if your friends should ask after them that you say the delivery was by owl, and anonymous, or something to that effect.”

The boy nodded absently, holding up his hand for a moment.

Severus, unable to hold back any longer, said, “Haze, go under.”

What followed was a fairly standard reinforcement routine, with one exception.

“Haze, repeat after me. Every time I notice my parents’ wedding rings I will subconsciously remember the directives Professor Snape has given me.”

“Good boy. Haze, repeat after me. I will not remove my parents’ wedding rings for any reason.”

“Very good, Haze. Would you like to pleasure me? I missed you.”

At the boy’s nod, Severus gestured for him to follow and headed for the bedroom. A short time later he was once again thanking Merlin for the permanent silencing and imperturbable charms on his quarters.