Chapter VI - Settings and Masks
"Cut it out, let me go," said Snape, noticeably trying to get a grip on himself despite the magic waves rushing around the two of them.
"You... you bastard, you had the nerve to make me forget that, why?" Harry stepped back a little and examined him from head to toe. "What are you trying to do, kill yourself? You need to go to the Hospital Wing."
"No, that place is horrendous." He pushed Harry away with both gentleness and determination, then went on with a sarcastic edge, "You won't get to celebrate the end of your bloody Potions teacher so soon."
"You're trying to deflect me, but I'm not falling for it. You have to be taken care of. If you don't want to go to the Hospital Wing, then I can help you take care of those wounds."
The predictable sneer took over Snape's face. "I know that plot, it's an overused cliché. But it's totally out of character for me. I'm not playing that role. That hurt/comfort nonsense exploits people's basic emotions, it's too mawkish and in bad taste. Moreover, it's bored me shitless already. If you pardon my French."
"Er... Are you all right? What are you talking about?"
"I'm saying this trick is too old, Potter. Possible settings... One: you prepare me a bath with healing potions; take me to the tub and ask me if I want you to scrub my back. In order to be able to move freely, you peel off your clothes as well and get into the tub... Two: I take my clothes off, lie down on the bed, and you start rubbing that special all-healing balsam on my body. You apply it slowly, with sensual moves... all over me... Three: you tell me you won't leave me alone in this state and decide to sleep in my bedroom. Since I only have one bed, a very large one... Anyway. If those were the settings you had in mind, forget it. It's not going to happen."
"It's you making up all those settings, I haven't said a word of it. For starters, what makes you think I'm gay? Worse: why would I want to sleep with a greasy old man?"
Snape's eyes narrowed, pulverising Harry with a glare. "Very well, Mr Potter. Get out."
"Great. Then you can go on with your favourite roles. One: the martyr. You feel guilty and reckon you have a debt to pay, so you don't accept anyone's help and suffer alone, till the end... when you'll probably sacrifice yourself to achieve redemption. Two: you use a mask that makes you look cold and inaccessible. You've been using that mask for so long that you can't take it off anymore. Three..."
"Enough, Potter. I'm exhausted. I don't know why that blasted mirror, instead of showing you the future, reflected images of that day and reversed a spell as complex as a Memory Charm. But if to keep you away from me I have to recast that charm a thousand times, I will do it, do you understand? Now get out of here."
"Er... what about the essay you told me to write?"
"What about it? Just hand it to me."
Harry picked the parchment up from the table and gave it to Snape. "It's just that... I have a few questions... I wish you would explain some things to me."
Once again, Snape's eyes narrowed threateningly. "Tomorrow. Be here at the same hour you came tonight."