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Severus’s heart is pounding hard in his chest; he hasn’t been this angry in months. He strides towards the dungeons fast, aware of the useless boy struggling to keep up with the pace.

“Sit down,” he hisses, pointing a finger at a chair without slowing his steps, his long robes billowing behind him as he slams his office’s door close and stares and Potter coldly. The boy stares at his own knees instead, his backpack tightly clutched in his arms, wand in his fist and leg bouncing against the floor.

“You stole from me, didn’t you.”

Potter says nothing. Severus grits his teeth. “You broke into my apothecary on Monday, and then, thinking you had gotten away with it, you proceeded with breaking into my office yesterday night as well. Is that correct?”

Silence. Severus wishes he could strike him. “Once again, you prove that you’re nothing but your father’s son — an insolent trickster, ungrateful and selfish. The resemblance is truly uncanny.”

“My father wasn’t selfish,” Potter says.

Severus bangs his hand on his desk and Potter looks up startled. “What were you doing in my office, Potter?”

Potter’s eyes glint, but he stays silent.

“What are you up to this time?”

Still nothing. “Your bag. Hand it over.”

The answer is in there; Potter hugs it tighter, his knuckles going white. He says nothing, and then shakes his head as Severus gets closer.

“No, sir, please —”

Severus takes hold of the bag, but Potter doesn’t let go.

“Hand it over, now.”

“No.” The boy is on the verge of a panic attack, the colour completely vanished from his face, and maybe close to crying. “Professor, please, I — I’ll tell you, please. Please, no!”

The bag is violently snatched away and Severus turns it upside down over his desk. Books and notebooks, only — and some quills. Potter keeps talking, begging, saying it’s only his schoolbooks and nothing else, now standing up and placing his hands over his own books as if to protect them.

“I didn’t steal anything, I swear, I just —” he closes his eyes and there it is — tears. He blinks once and they’re gone. “I didn’t steal anything. It must have been someone else, I swear.”

“And where were you last night between eleven and midnight?”

“I — I was asleep. I was asleep, I didn’t leave the Common Room last night, sir.”

“And can anyone confirm that?”

There is no answer, and Severus begins flipping through the notebooks on his desk, slowly, making sure that he doesn’t miss anything at all. Potter stands frozen on the other side of the desk, his fingers still sprawled over his books, and when Severus attempts to pick up a certain notebook Potter snatches it away and steps back.

“Give that to me, Potter.”

“No.”

“Give that to me instantly or we go straight to the Headmaster. Give it now, Potter!”

“It’s private!”

“Astonishing, how Potters seem to remember how privacy works only when it concerns them, isn’t it? I wonder, wasn’t my apothecary private? Wasn’t my office? Were you somehow encouraged to believe you carry privileges we common people don’t? For the last time, hand that over or I’ll make you!”

There are memories of James flashing through his eyes again, and he thinks he might lose it. Potter offers little resistance this time, and Severus takes the notebook and returns to his desk.

“Sit down,” he repeats harshly, and Potter seems to have completely given up, granting him with one last look of despair before he sits down and closes his eyes.

The notebook is empty, and Severus flips through all the pages to make sure. “Reveal your secrets,” he tries, and that’s all it takes.

“Sir please, it’s private!” Potter yells, looking at all the text that has now appeared on the pages. “Fine, I stole, I broke into your office to steal, please, it’s just — private fantasies, okay, it’s nothing!”

He is terrified, which only makes Severus more intrigued to find out why. A diary indeed, then. He opens a random page and freezes.

I want him to try and teach me Occlumency again. This time I’ll play along. I’ll let him get into my mind and see for himself how hard he makes me. Maybe he’ll use me for his relief then. I want him to tell me how pathetic I am while I suck him off.

His heart seems to have stopped; he suddenly feels dizzy, and places a hand on the desk to support himself as he flips a page.

I had this dream again. He fucks and beats me so hard I’m bruised all over. He makes me kiss his boots and stares into my eyes until I die. Sometimes, I want to crawl into the dungeons and wake him with a blowjob so good he’s lightheaded for the rest of the day.

Another page.

I don’t think he’s gay. I don’t even know if I’m gay. It makes no sense, I think I’m cursed. I think I’m in… I can’t even say it. I can’t be in love with a man. I can’t be in love with Snape. I must be cursed.

He keeps reading, until he can’t anymore. He looks at the boy who’s now cradling his head in his hands, elbows on his knees, face entirely hidden, fingers into his own hair.

“What is this?” he asks, but his voice is hoarse, and his legs can barely support him. “What is this, Potter?”

He gets no answer and he is suddenly deranged, tired or pranks, tired of Potters, tired of little boys who think they can have a laugh at his own expense. He crosses the distance and all but smacks the notebook on Potter’s head, who refuses to meet his eyes, and he’s tempted to grab him and torture him beyond repair right where they stand, but the boy just sits still, very still, breathing hard.

“Is this some kind of foolish joke?”

No answer, and Severus hates him deeply, more than ever.

“Your fame is very unlikely to save you this time, especially if all the fanatics chasing you were to see these so-called private notes of yours… No? Should I owl the Prophet, perhaps? What is this rubbish, Potter? Speak up!”

He wants to spit on the boy, and he would, but more than that he wants to make him suffer. “Whose dare was it, then? I doubt you thought of all of this by yourself,” he says bitterly, still clutching the notebook tightly. Then, “Get up, we’re going to the Headmaster. He might want to hear you read your little stories to him, such an imaginative spirit that you are.”

“Sir…”

“Up, Potter.”

“I told you I’m sorry, what do you want me to do? I told you it was private!” He looks up and Severus is shocked to see tears. Potter breathes hard, gets up, looks away as he attempts to wipe his tears while more are coming. Then he snorts to himself bitterly, still looking away. “It was private.”

And suddenly, Severus understands.

“Keep it. Ruin my life with it if you want. I didn’t want you to know, I told you it was private. You should have listened.”

The rage inside him hasn’t subsided, but he’s now horrified too. It isn’t a joke. He suddenly wishes it was. It is real? His diary?

“What were you doing in my office?” he asks stupidly, not knowing what else to say.

“Snooping around, what else?” He offers a silent chuckle, still looking away. “Just trying to get to know you without you ever noticing. I didn’t steal anything.”

Severus says nothing. He looks at the notebook, and knows he’ll read it all if he’s left alone with it. He also knows his dignity would be destroyed should anyone ever find it. He’s tempted to look again, just once. He thinks of Lily. Lily’s boy, thinking of him like that.

He throws it viciously into the fireplace and watches as the flames devour it. Potter turns slowly and watches too, his face hidden in the shadows.

“If you ever use my name in such debaucheries again I’ll destroy you.”

Potter nods.

“Does anyone know of this?”

“No, no one.”

“Good.”

Should he still take him to Dumbledore? Should he just dismiss him? Remove points? He’s reminded of James’ gang having a laugh as he hangs upside down, naked, helpless, and he wonders why Potters have always been so obsessed with making him feel exposed.

“Of all the things you could do to make me want to vomit when looking at you, this tops the list,” he says, a new wave of anger threatening to explode. “Your devoted fans would give an arm and a leg to know what a sham you really are after all, wouldn’t they? Who would imagine their saviour would have the ability to ever imagine these unholy —”

He expects something, but the boy doesn’t talk back. He has nothing to defend himself with. “What were you hoping to achieve, Potter? Entitled to always have the right to make a joke out of people you owe your life to, people who’d deserve your respect if you even knew what the meaning of that word is!”

He’s afraid he’ll hit him, and with the diary turned to ashes he has nothing to show to Dumbledore. “Get out of my sight,” he says, “out!”

The boy runs, and the door closes behind him with a bang. Severus is numb.