In Harry's seventh year, with Dumbledore's death, McGonagall had become Headmistress of Hogwarts, and Harry had been raised to the position of commander of the Order of the Phoenix.
In spite of everything that he had learned in his last two years, he didn't feel prepared for the task.
And nothing could be worse than having to face Severus Snape at such a moment.
They were sitting in the kitchen of 12 Grimmauld Place.
"Snape, I'm going to be totally frank with you. I don't appreciate your methods. I don't trust you."
Snape paled, clenched his fists and got up, looming above Harry. "I have always followed Albus Dumbledore's orders to the letter," he declared between gritted teeth.
"Maybe," said Harry, getting up to face the older wizard. "Anyway, I don't agree with the functions attributed to you. I don't want to see any member of the Order participating in Death Eaters' attacks, torturing people or even killing them indiscriminately."
Snape was getting paler and paler. "This is a war, Mr Potter. With all your arrogance, you don't see that there are things that have to be done, things that might not be agreeable to your tastes."
"I have never been arrogant, Snape. You insist on confounding me with my father. I'm not my father. I know that you hated each other, and I don't agree with the way I've seen him and his friends treating you. But I'm sure you were not always a passive victim." Seeing Snape making a gesture of protest, Harry raised his hand to stop him. "Anyway, past is past. What matters now is that I don't like your methods, and you are not useful to the Order anymore. I'm relieving you of your duties in the Order."
Several emotions seemed to pass over Snape's face at that moment. It was almost like watching the slow crumbling of a mighty rock. However, instead of falling, Severus Snape took out his wand, turned it to himself and pronounced, "Avada..."
Quick as a lightning, with the reflexes acquired in many months of training, Harry shouted, almost at the same time, "Expelliarmus!"
The spells met and deflected. And Severus Snape fell to the ground, stunned but alive, and still conscious.
Harry knelt in front of him, and Snape buried his face in his hands.
"Oh, Merlin. What have I done?" said Harry.
He got up with a determined look, and helped Snape to his feet. Then he flicked his wand in Snape's direction. "Obliviate."
A second later, Snape was staring at him with a vague, perplexed expression. "What..."
"Sit down, Snape. Professor Snape."
Still with a dumbfounded air, Snape obeyed, sitting at the long oak table.
Harry's hands were trembling. "I... er... You're right. I'm an idiot. I don't know why they thought I could be the leader."
"Because you are the most powerful wizard in our ranks," Snape stated matter-of-factly.
"But that doesn't make me a leader."
"You will learn," said Snape, in the same straightforward tone.
Harry smiled. Then he had a funny idea. "Do you... er... Do you know where Dumbledore used to store the tea?"
Snape got up and circled the table, stopping in front of a cupboard. He opened it and produced a tin of Earl Grey tea, which he handed to Harry. Then he did the same with another tin. "You will need this one too, Mr Potter."
Harry opened the tin and smiled again. "Do you want a sherbet lemon, Severus?"
Ptyx, June 2004