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 faces his fears.



Sordidus Ars Magica
(Sordid Sorcery)



Part Eight


Harry took a deep breath and approached the Potions classroom.  True, his panic attack had just happened the previous day,
but he was determined not to let that get him down.  He was safe now, he knew that, safe from the Dursleys.  He was safe
from being locked in that cupboard under the stairs.  He was safe from Uncle Vernon’s harsh words and even harsher
treatment.

“Harry!”  Ron caught up with him and gave him a concerned look.  “Are you sure you feel up to this?”

Harry paused and took another deep, calming breath.  “No, Ron.  I’m not sure about this.  I have to do it, though.  I have to
get well.”

Ron shook his head.  “You don’t HAVE to do this, Harry.  After what you’ve been through, I think even Snape would have a
rough time of it going in there.”

“Ron’s right, Harry.”  Hermione came to stand on Harry’s other side.  “I could just bring your assignments to you, you know.”

Harry shook his head.  “How am I supposed to brew potions in the dorm room?  No, but thank you.  I have to attend class.”

Ron shrugged and sighed.  “Very well, Harry.  Just remember we’re in there with you.”

Harry smiled.  “Thanks.”  He sighed then, taking another breath before the three of them walked into the classroom.

He could hear the snickering coming from the Slytherins, but he refused to look over at them.  He knew that they were
laughing at him.  He simply walked over to his seat and sat down, concentrating on breathing for a few minutes.  He forced
himself not to jump as the door slammed open and Professor Snape strode into the classroom.  Harry cringed as the professor
halted beside him.

“Mr. Potter ...”  There was a small note of admiration in Snape’s voice.  Then he cleared his throat and looked to another
student.  “Mr. Piel ... if you and your partner would exchange seats with Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley ...”

Harry looked up in surprise.  Jeffrey Piel sat at the back of the class.  And his seat was the closest to the door.  Not about to
question Snape’s motives, Harry grabbed his supplies.  He was again surprised when Snape assisted him with the transition and
accompanied him to the back of the classroom.

Harry was shocked yet again when Snape opened the door to the room and muttered a charm that would keep it open until the
end of class.  Snape turned to him and gave Harry a brief, pleased smile.  It was almost as if the Potion’s teacher was proud of
him.  But that couldn't be possible.  Harry must have been seeing things.

Harry ducked his head shyly.  “Thanks.”  He muttered quietly as Snape passed by him on the way to the front of the classroom.

“Why does HE get special treatment?”  Malfoy’s bitter voice suddenly spoke up.  Harry glanced over, only to see the Slytherin
glaring at him cruelly.  “JUST because he got a little scared doesn’t make him all that special.”

Snape took a breath before speaking, his eyes as cold and calculating as usual.  “Mr. Malfoy, it would be wise of you not to
tease someone who has been through more trauma than any human being, Wizard OR Muggle, should ever have to deal with.  
You might find yourself in a similar place in your life and you will be grateful for someone to understand what it is you’re going
through.  Ten points from Slytherin and not another word against any student in my class, is that understood?  I am here to
teach, not referee.”

The entire class sat in stunned silence.  Malfoy only glared at Harry once again, not seeming phased in the least by Snape’s
words to him.  Still, Harry’s mind was on other things, like the fact that Snape had actually stood up for him.  He couldn’t
believe it.



*****



Severus Snape sat in his office, grading the assignments of his students.  He grimaced as he set aside Mr. Longbottom’s,
deciding that he really didn’t want to look on the boy’s horrendous work just yet.  It turned his stomach to see Potions done so
shabbily.

He looked up as he heard a gentle rapping on his door, glaring as he would at anyone who dared to disturb his work.  However,
his glare faltered for a moment as he saw Sirius Black standing in his doorway.  Seeing the man, he set his glare back on his
face, narrowing his eyes in thinly veiled anger, annoyed by this interruption.

“What do you want, Black?”  Snape hissed.  “Can’t you see I’m busy?  These assignments won’t grade themselves.”

Black cleared his throat, stepping into the office, but not walking too far inward.  “I-I heard what happened in your class today
...”

“Of course you did.  Sniveling students gossip constantly.”  Snape muttered, turning back to the papers on his desk.

“Yes, well ...”  Black started, then paused.  “I wanted to thank you for your consideration of my Godson.  I am certain that
Harry appreciated your concern for his well-being.  Leaving the door open most likely allowed him the sense of security he
needed to finish class this afternoon.”

Snape sighed.  He didn’t like being thanked.  “You misunderstand my reasons.”  He said, trying to avoid hearing Black go on
and on about this topic.  “I merely wanted to ensure his silence during my class.  Mr. Potter needs all the magical education he
can get and I did not want him disrupting my class again.”  He glanced at Black, noting the veiled look of anger on his face.  He
sighed then, amending his words.  “However, I must admit that I was a little pleased to see that Mr. Potter came to my class so
soon after his scare.”

“Going soft on me, Severus?”  Black jested.

Snape didn’t appreciate the easy banter.  He sneered at the man.  “If you’ll excuse me now, I have to finish these papers.  Don’
t you have a class to teach?”

Black chuckled lightly.  “Fine, I’ll leave you to your dungeon then.  However, I tell you this, Severus Snape, I will get you to
admit you like Harry one of these days.  I saw how you treated Hedwig after you found her in the owlery.  And I heard the
concern in your voice when you were speaking with Professor Dumbledore.”

Snape was about to argue the man’s statements.  However, his words were silenced by the fact that Black hastily departed.  
With a grumble and a frown, Snape turned back to the assignments on his desk and set to grading them once again.



*****



Draco snapped awake in the middle of the night once again.  He sat upright, blinking as the cold ate away at him.  He was free
again.  He smiled, looking around the dorm room warily.  He didn’t see that anyone else was awake, so he rose from bed,
putting on his slippers and robe as he quietly fled the room.  Before leaving though, he reached into his trunk and pulled out the
Invisibility Cloak that his father had given to him, for use if he ever required Draco’s presence, he would put it on and flee into
the dark forest where Lucius Malfoy would await him.

Shaking off the memories, Draco swung the cloak around himself, covering himself from head to toe.  Then he all but ran
from the room, moving swiftly and silently until he was out of the Slytherin dormitory and free to roam around.

It wasn’t until he was outside that he stopped.  He stood there on the lawn, looking up at the sky, at the glimmering stars above
him.  It was so beautiful out here, so lovely.  He threw the cloak from his shoulders, leaving it to lie on the grass as he stood
there, extending his arms to either side of his body as he enjoyed the sights and sounds, the scents of the warm autumn
evening.



*****



Harry frowned as he awakened.  It was still dark out, too dark to be awake.  He grumbled as he reached for his glasses,
fumbling with putting them on.  Then he got out of bed, yawning as he walked to the nearest window.  There was something.  
He didn’t know why.  He just felt a need to look outside.

And then he saw it.  There, standing outside for no apparent reason was Draco Malfoy.  Harry blinked.  What the hell was
Malfoy doing outside in the middle of the night?  As he watched, Harry’s confusion only seemed to grow.

Malfoy stared up at the sky.  Harry couldn’t make out his features from here, so he couldn’t be certain of his expression.  But
still, this was odd behavior.  And it only got odder.  While Harry watched him, Malfoy raised his arms to either side of his body
and slowly began to spin around in circles, just like Harry remembered doing when he had been smaller.  After a few minutes,
Malfoy fell and lay on the grass, always looking up at the stars.

Harry shook his head and backed away from the window.  That’s it.  He had to be losing his mind.  He simply couldn’t have
seen what he thought he saw.  Malfoy did not seem to be the type to happily romp around in the grass.  Still shaking his head,
Harry returned to bed, crawling under his blankets and put his glasses back on the table.  There was no way that had been
real.  He must still be dreaming, there was no other explanation.



*****



Draco lay in the cool, damp grass.  He panted for breath, a light sheen of sweat cooling against his heated skin.  He had always
wanted to spin around for no good reason.  But for most of his life he was not in control of his own body.  And other times,
his father had simply deemed it too undignified an action to tolerate.  He smiled as he lay there, happy to just lie there and look
up at the shimmering stars in the sky.

“Yeh shouldn’t be wanderin’ around outside so late ...”  The booming voice of Rubeus Hagrid called, bringing Draco from his
happy moment.  “Yeh could ge’ in trouble.”

Draco sat up, immediately filled with a sense of fear.  Would this get back to his father?  He didn’t want his father to know that
he had been wandering around.  He didn’t want the elder Malfoy to know that he had been free for a time.  He wanted to keep
his freedom, even if he only had it during the middle of the night.  He didn’t want to go back to being that cold zombie again.

“I-I’m sorry.  P-Please don’t tell my father,” Draco whimpered, his body breaking out into intense shivers.  “I ... I’ll go back
to b-bed!  I swear!”  He could feel the hot streams of tears falling from his eyes, but couldn’t stop it.  He was terrified.  He
didn’t want his father to know.

Draco turned to flee, but his arm was caught in a strong grip.  He turned, his eyes wide as he shook, fearing what Hagrid
meant to say or do.

“Hey now, yer not afeared of me, are yeh?”  Hagrid asked, his dark eyes twinkling.

Draco didn’t answer that, not sure how to.  “P-Please let me go.  I’ll go back to bed.”  He whispered, just trying to get out of
this awkward and frightening situation.

“Now, now there ... nothin’ to be worried ‘bout.”  Hagrid said, releasing his hold on Draco’s arm and smiling at him.  “Come
on, I think yeh could do with a nice cup o’ tea.”  He clapped his hand on Draco’s back.  “It’ll do yer nerves good.”

Draco shook his head.  “No, please, sir.  I-I’m fine.  Please, let me go back to the dorm?”

Hagrid nodded, a look of concern in his twinkling eyes.  “If yeh’d rather.  Go on then.  Maybe ‘nother night.”

Draco nodded.  “Yes, another night.  Thank you,” he said, even as he backed away from the lumbering half-giant.  Hagrid
looked worried about him, but Draco didn’t allow himself to linger.  He couldn’t take the chance.  He simply couldn’t risk his
father finding out about these moments of freedom.



To Be Continued . . .