Disclaimers:  I do not own Harry Potter or any of its characters.  I am only borrowing them for the sole purpose of
entertainment and nothing else.  No money is being made from this.

Notes:  Harry leaves the Hospital Wing.



Sordidus Ars Magica
(Sordid Sorcery)



Part Five


Harry adjusted his robes as he walked down the hallway, feeling a good deal better than he had just last night.  A good night’s
rest as well as several healing charms and potions had done wonders for Harry’s condition.  Sure, he was still achy and sore,
and not completely healed, but at least he could walk around on his own now.

He looked down at his hands, which were still swathed in bandages.  Madam Pomfrey had only healed the more serious injuries
and fixed his teeth really, telling him that the rest would heal in time.  He could breathe easier since it didn’t hurt to do so
anymore and his face wasn’t as bruised, although he did still have a few bruises marking his face.  The inside of his cheek was
no longer torn open, so now he could eat what he wanted for breakfast.

It had taken almost an hour of talking to convince Madam Pomfrey that he was well enough to leave the Hospital Wing.  He
just didn’t like laying around.  Plus, he had classes to get to today that he didn’t want to miss.  He didn’t think it would be good
to miss the first classes of the school term.

However, he paused just outside the door to the Great Hall, unsure of whether or not he could go in there.  Harry was
nervous.  No, it was more than that.  He was terrified.  They had all seen him last night - all the cuts and bruises.  They had
seen him weak.  He didn’t know if he could go in there and face everyone after that.  What if they had questions?  What if they
wanted to know what had happened to him?  Could he really tell them?

His internal musings were cut short as someone cleared their throat behind him.  Harry turned, smiling as he saw Ron and
Hermione.  “Hi, guys.”  He said cheerfully, knowing that they wouldn’t pester him with questions about how he had gotten
hurt.  They already knew.

“Harry!  You’re looking much better.”  Hermione smiled in return.  “Madam Pomfrey did a good job, I see.”

“Doesn’t she always?”  Ron said, jabbing Hermione with his elbow.  Then he smiled at Harry.  “It’s good to see you walking
around on your own again.”

Harry nodded.  “Thanks for the help yesterday.  Think we can get something to eat now?  I’m starving.”

“She fixed your teeth, did she?”  Ron asked, as they walked into the Great Hall.

Harry focused his attention on his friends, not wanting to find out if anyone was staring at him or not.  He didn’t want to be the
focus of attention.  He never had liked that.  So he decided to answer Ron instead.  “Yes, I have all of my teeth again,
thankfully.  And that cut on the inside of my cheek is healed up now.”

They took their seats at the Gryffindor table, chatting as they normally did while they ate.  Harry glanced up at Sirius, smirking
a bit, in a way to tell his Godfather that he was okay.  The others at the table didn’t ask what had happened to him.  No one
chose to bring up the subject of his injuries.  They did still pain him, what was left of them anyway.  Harry found it difficult to
eat, the bandages on his hands obstructing him sometimes.

While he was reaching for a pastry, his ribs chose to remind him that they were still sore.  He winced, pulling his hand back,
covering the bruised area with one bandaged hand in an attempt to lessen the pain.  Hermione’s hand settled on his back and he
barely heard as she asked him if he was okay.  He replied with a nod.

“Just let me get my breath back and I’ll be fine.  Some of those bruises are still a bit tender.”  He said, casting her a reassuring
smile.  At least he hoped it was reassuring.  With the few bruises that still covered his face, he probably just looked pitiful.

“Here ya go, Harry.”  A voice said from his other side.  

Harry turned, a smile spreading over his face as Neville handed him one of the pastries that he had been struggling to reach
for.  “Thanks, Neville.”  Harry replied, taking the pastry gratefully.

“So, why aren’t you still in the Hospital Wing with Pomfrey?”  Ron asked from beside Hermione.

Harry sighed, chewing on his pastry and swallowing the mouthful before talking.  “I don’t want to miss my classes,” he
replied.  “Besides, Madam Pomfrey said that as long as I come back before lunch and dinner to take more of those foul tasting
potions, I can attend classes today.”

“Just don’t overdo it, Harry.”  Hermione advised.  “Don’t push yourself too hard.  I know you probably think that you're fine,
but you are still hurt.”

“I know, I know.”  Harry nodded, sighing again.  “If it would make you feel better, you two can carry my books for me.”  He
smirked.

“I don’t think you’re quite that tired yet, Harry.”  Ron replied, smiling as well.

The rest of breakfast was pleasant.  That is, until Professor McGonagall handed out the schedules and Harry saw what class he
would be having to start off the school term.  “Double Potions with Slytherin?”  Harry frowned, hanging his head and sighing
deeply.  “Just what I need, Snape and Malfoy to bother me.  They’ll probably get a good laugh with the way I look right now.”

“Well, think of it this way, you can get it over with sooner rather than later.”  Hermione said in an attempt to cheer harry.

It didn’t help much, but it did make him feel a bit better.  After breakfast, they just had enough time to return to Gryffindor
Tower to retrieve their books, then they were off to the dungeons to sit through what Harry feared was going to be the worst
class in the history of all the Potions classes he had ever had.  This wouldn’t be Snape and Malfoy just making fun of him over
his lack of knowledge like on his first day.  They would see that he had been beaten and would undoubtedly make jokes about
it.  The snide comments would probably be endless and Snape would most likely deduct points from Gryffindor if Harry’s
injuries impeded him in some way.

Harry sighed as he took his seat in Potions class, ignoring the snickers coming from where the Slytherins sat.  He wasn’t up to
a verbal sparring match with Draco Malfoy at the moment, so he chose not to pay attention to any snide comments being
thrown his way.

Not ten minutes later, Snape strode into the classroom, closing the heavy wooden door behind himself.  “Settle down, class.”  
He sneered, heading to the front of the class and taking a role call.  Afterwards, he scrawled an assignment across the board, to
which Hermione and the rest of the class immediately set to work on completing.

Harry however, was sitting at his seat, trying to keep his breathing even.  For the first time in his years at Hogwarts, he took
note of just how dark and dingy Snape’s classroom was.  Sure it was a dungeon, but it hadn’t hit him until now.  With the
door closed, Harry felt trapped, as if he were back in that tiny cupboard on Privet Drive, back with the Dursleys.

Shivers began moving through his body and he lowered his head to the table in front of him, no longer caring if anyone saw
what was happening to him.  He felt an unbearable need to leave, to get out of this room and quickly.  It was all he could do to
keep himself from jumping up and running out right here and now.

He couldn’t breathe, couldn’t take this much longer.  He was trapped, terrified and he couldn’t stop the emotions raging
through his mind.  Harry heard nothing, saw nothing, just wanting the fear to go away, just wanting to get out of this
unbearably small and dark room that he was confined in.

“Come along, Mr. Potter.  I believe you’ve disturbed my class long enough for today.”  Snape’s voice said, cutting through the
haze of fear that had settled in Harry’s mind.  He barely felt as he was removed from the classroom, didn’t realize that he was
walking until he felt a cool breeze brush across his face.

Then he looked up, blinking his eyes.  He was outside.  The sky was beautiful and blue above him.  He wasn’t trapped.  He
was fine.  It was a great relief to him, his heart slowly returning to a more normal pace.  Then reality slammed into him.  He
had just disrupted one of Snape’s classes.  He sighed, casting his gaze down, sure that this would result in him losing
numerous points for Gryffindor.

“Come along, Potter.”  Snape’s voice hissed, his hand closing on Harry’s shoulder and guiding him away.

Harry nodded, but said nothing, keeping his eyes lowered, fearing the punishment he would get for interrupting his first class of
the new school term.  He walked alongside his teacher, not truly sure about where he was being led.  He wasn’t looking where
he was going anyway, almost certain that this experience would not be pleasant.

He was quite surprised when they stopped.  Harry looked up, seeing that he was standing in front of Hagrid’s hut.  He looked
up at Professor Snape, curious as to why the Potions instructor had brought him here.

“What are we doing here, sir?”  He asked, being polite in an attempt to lessen whatever punishment the tall man had in store for
him.

“I assumed that a visit with a friend would help to calm your nerves, Mr. Potter.  I really do not like my class being disrupted,
but I am under the impression that you were unable to stop it,” he replied.  “Did you think I would take points from your
house?”  He smirked, then reached out and knocked sharply on the wooden door.

Harry opened and closed his mouth repeatedly, finding Professor Snape’s behavior most confusing.  Was he being kind to
Harry?  No, that couldn’t be it.  Professor Snape didn’t like Harry in the least bit.  He loathed Harry quite a lot actually.  It wasn’
t a secret.  Everyone in the school knew it.

Before he could utter a sound, Hagrid opened the door to let them in.  He smiled down at Harry, quickly reaching out and
pulling him into a hug that left Harry’s ribs aching from being nearly crushed in Hagrid’s arms.  Hagrid set him down carefully,
gushing apologies as well as tears as he stepped aside to let Professor Snape inside as well.

“So what brings yeh two here?”  Hagrid asked, blowing his nose in a large red handkerchief.

“I believe that Mr. Potter needs some cheering up.”  Snape said, nodding slightly.

Hagrid’s face immediately brightened, a large smile rapidly crossing his features.  “Oh, righ’ I know just the thing to brighten
yer day, Harry.  It’ll just be a moment,”  he said, moving to a rather dark corner of his hut and coming back with a large,
covered cage.  He set the cage on the table at the center of the room.

Harry couldn’t help it, he was curious.  He took a seat next to the table, watching the cage with curiosity.  A moment later,
Hagrid pulled the cover off, revealing a delightfully wonderful sight to Harry.  It was Hedwig, alive, albeit not well.  She was
resting on a perch, sleeping with her head tucked under one wing.  She looked quite thin, and there was a bandage around her
injured wing.  Still, she was the most beautiful owl he had ever seen in his entire life.  He felt tears prickling in his eyes as he
opened the door of the cage, reaching in and delicately stroking his hand over the feathers of her uninjured wing.

“How is Hedwig’s health progressing, Hagrid?”  Professor Snape asked.

“She cheered up a bit and nibbled on her food when I told her that Harry was safe.  I think she’ll be just fine if given enough
time to heal up.”  Hagrid replied.

Harry smiled, glad to hear that.  He watched, thrilled to be reunited with his feathered friend, as Hedwig pulled her head from
beneath her wing and hooted at him.  “It’s nice to see you too,”  he whispered, chuckling lightly as she nipped at the bandages
on his fingers affectionately.  He knew that she was going to get better, although he wasn’t exactly sure of how he knew that.  
It was just a feeling, something inside of him that said they would both be healthy again.

Relief washed over Harry like a calming wave.  He continued to stroke his fingers along Hedwig’s wing, yawning sleepily after
only a few moments.  Now that the adrenaline had worn off, he was feeling quite tired.  The stress of that panic attack fading
from his mind left him wanting to sleep now.  He set his one arm on the table, laying his head down on it while he continued to
pet Hedwig with his other hand.  After a few more minutes, his heavy eyelids finally fell shut and he slipped to sleep, his hand
falling to lay across the perch that Hedwig was resting on.


*****


Professor Snape sighed, shaking his head briefly when he saw that Harry had fallen asleep.  He stepped over, gently picking
Harry up and cradling him in his arms.  “If you’ll excuse me, I believe that Mr. Potter should get some rest,”  Snape said.

Hagrid nodded, opening the door for Snape and stepping aside to let him pass.  He said nothing to Snape, closing his door as
soon as the Potions instructor had walked out.  Snape quietly strode through the halls of Hogwarts, carrying Harry’s sleeping
form.  He purposely took the back way to Gryffindor Tower, not wanting to alter his reputation by being seen helping someone
that he was known to despise.

The fat lady in the picture glared at Snape, looking him up and down with a rather thinly veiled look of contempt.  Snape
ignored her attitude, looking down at Harry instead.  He lightly shook the sleeping youth, being careful not to injure him.

“Mr. Potter, could you give this lady the password so that we can get inside?”  Snape suggested.  He was a Professor, and
could just tell the portrait to open, but decided against it.  Harry knew the password, so why not use it?

Harry blinked his eyes, eventually focusing on the portrait of the fat lady.  He mumbled something that sounded unintelligible to
Snape, but apparently it was the correct password, since the portrait swung open to let them in.  

Snape shook his head, adjusting his hold on Harry’s body as he stepped into the Gryffindor common room.  He walked
knowingly up the stairs - he had been in here before on rare occasions - and into the room that Harry shared with his fellow
sixth year students.  He then set Harry down on one of the beds.  Harry’s luggage was at the foot of the bed, clearly labeled, so
he was certain this was the right one.

Carefully, he pulled off Harry’s robes and removed his shoes.  He set Harry’s glasses on the bedside table, arranging the young
man on the bed, then covering him lightly with the blankets.  He was about to leave, when a hand gripped his wrist.  He turned,
only to see Harry watching him with tired, confused eyes.

“Why are you being so nice?”  Harry asked, releasing his hold on Snape’s wrist, although his eyes still held confusion and
pleaded with him for an answer.

“Nice?  Do not misunderstand me, Mr. Potter.  Personal feelings aside, you are a student and the ward of one of my fellow
teachers.  I am simply doing what any other of your professors would do,” Snape replied, deciding it would be best not to
change the young man’s ideas about him.  If Harry Potter saw him as a horrible person, a cruel bastard, then he would remain
one until he felt like appearing otherwise.

“Oh,”  Harry simply said, turning his gaze away and yawning.

“I suggest you take the remainder of the day to rest, Mr. Potter.  I will inform your other teachers that you will not be up to
attending classes.”  Snape said, watching as Harry nodded slightly.

“Yes, sir,” he whispered quietly, staring down at the blankets.

Snape sighed.  “There is no need for you to endanger your health by pushing yourself too hard, too quickly,” Snape said.  “I
am sure you will be able to make up any missed assignments with those friends of yours.”  He paused, then added.  “Get some
sleep.  It will do you good.”

Harry nodded.  Snape turned and walked to the door, pausing for a moment before leaving.  He looked back, a faint trace of a
smirk curling his lips as he saw that Harry was asleep already.  Then he shook his head to clear his mind of kind thoughts,
leaving the Gryffindor tower and returning to his dungeon and the class he had left waiting.



To Be Continued . . .