Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

Chapter 1: The explosion

"Well well well, if it isn't the Golden Boy strutting around the corridors, in the dungeons no less." Came a silky voice from behind him. "Where is your little fan club, Potter? Finally got tired of you?"

Harry sighed in annoyance and turned around. "I don't have a fan club, as you put it, professor. And I certainly do not need people following me around everywhere I go."

"No way… don't tell me that the great Harry Potter has grown bored of his fame? Does the celebrity life not meet your expectations? One would think that the Boy-Who-Lived, the savior of the wizarding world, the ChosenOne –"

"Oh, will you shut it already?" Harry snapped and turned abruptly to face the Potions Professor whose face had suddenly turned livid. Oh oh here it comes Harry thought I'm dead, I'm soooo dead.

"Come again?" Snape said icily, his most menacing scowl in place.

Harry felt his stomach clench in apprehension and opened his mouth to try and minimize the damage, but he never got the chance to even make a sound as a loud BANG made everything around them tremble. Dust filled the corridor blinding them and soon stone started falling from the ceiling. As the quake intensified, both student and teacher swayed on their feet and had to lean against the wall to stop themselves from collapsing. Suddenly, the ground gave out under their feet and they fell.

The time slowed down making the fall seem interminable. When they finally landed – or crashed more like – it was to the sound of bones colliding with stone and breaking – or rather shattering – inevitably. The two gasps of pain – however loud – were completely overcome by the noise of stones crashing and exploding all around them. After what seemed to be an eternity, the ruckus came to an end, leaving only two ragged breathings to be heard.

Upon impact – be it because of the adrenaline or the collision itself – both Harry and Snape lost consciousness.

Harry was the first to come around and je instantly noticed was the pain in his left shoulder throbbing all the way down his foot, by way of his back, hip and leg. Imust've landed on my side He thought.

Gritting his teeth and trying to tune out the pain, he tried to get on his hands and knees but failed miserably. Changing tactics, he leveled himself on his right elbow and right knee to try and flip himself to lie on his back but the pain increased tenfold and he ended up lying prone once again.

Amazingly enough, his glasses were intact and he could make out the still figure of his professor lying just a few inches away.

"Professor?" Harry asked, his voice hoarse. "Professor Snape?"

When no response came, he felt panic rising in him. Could he be…? Heshook his head. No, no, surely not. Harry extended his right (uninjured) arm and lightly shook the older man's shoulder. "Professor, can you hear me?"

This time, the Potions Master groaned and his eyes fluttered open as Harry sighed in relief.

"Potter?" The older man asked groggily.

"It's me, sir. Thank Merlin, I thought you were dead for a moment." Harry said seriously.

Snape, who was lying on his back, tried to straighten himself in a sitting position, pushing on his arms which caused him to hiss in pain and flop back down.

"You shouldn't move, sir. You're going to injure yourself further otherwise." Harry advised.

But the professor didn't listen and pushed on his arms once more. He paused midway breathing heavily and then in an ultimate effort, managed to sit leaning against the wall. He grimaced in pain and clenched his pelvis.

"Where are you hurt, sir?" Harry asked, worried to see his usually stoic professor show signs of weakness.

"Why do you care of all people, Potter?" Snape snarled, though he lacked his usual fierceness.

"Well, sir, this might come as a shocker to you but I don't actually take pleasure in seeing people suffering, regardless of my feelings for them." Harry snapped.

Snape stared at Harry but stayed silent. After a few minutes Harry wasn't expecting the man to answer, so when he next spoke Harry almost jumped in surprise.

"I believe that my pelvis is fractured, as well as several other bones in both of my legs." Snape said without meeting Harry's eyes. "Thankfully, my upper body seems to be just fine."

"I guess that's good. I mean it's not like you need your legs to cut ingredients or stir a potion. You'll just have to brew sitting down for a while."

"Your logic never ceases to astound me, Potter. We are stuck here in the rambles for Merlin knows how long, and all you think I should care about is whether or not I can brew potions."

"You really are a killjoy, sir." Harry sighed in exasperation.

"'Killjoy'? I hardly think there is anyjoy to kill at the moment." Snape scoffed

"It was a figure of speech, sir" Harry said. "You know, it's when you say something-"

"I know what a figure of speech is, Potter. You certainly donot need to explain the functioning of the English language to me."

"So much for trying to lighten the mood." Harry mumbled.

"I do not need you to 'lighten the mood', as you put it Potter. As a matter of fact, it would be preferable if you ceased speaking at all. I could do without your unremitting torrent of words."

"Well it's not like there's much to do here, you see-"

"Oh well spotted" Snape interrupted, scoffing.

"- and maybe you choose to think of the pain over talking to the 'Potter brat' but I actually need to take my mind off it not to pass out." Harry finished angrily, slightly panting.

Snape didn't say anything for a few seconds. Then, in a calm and gentle voice he echoed Harry's earlier question. "Where are you hurt?"

Harry met his professor's eyes, pausing. Then sighed. "My left side."

"Your side? As in the lateral part of your abdomen?"

"No, I mean the left side of my body, on which I landed."

Seeing Snape's inquiring raised eyebrow, Harry explained. "My left hand, wrist, arm, elbow, shoulder, ribs, hip, thigh, knee, shin, ankle, foot, and whatever other bones there are. The entire left side really."

Snape frowned. "Your ribs hurt?"

Harry nodded slowly.

"Can you breathe properly?" Snape asked, seeming almost… worried?

"Um… define properly?" Harry inquired.

"Are you out of breath? Do you feel like coughing?" Does your lung burn?" Snape urged.

"Well I guess I'm a little short of breath but other than that…" Harry replied. Then, noticing Snape's contemplative expression, he asked. "Why do you ask, sir?"

"When ribs break they can damage the lungs quite severely. I wanted to make sure you had not punctured them. It seems that your breathlessness comes from both the pain and the pressure of your broken ribs on your lung, which is why it would be preferable for you not to stay in this particular position."

"Yes, well I figured that much, sir, but it's not like I can really move you see." Harry pointed out.

Snape thought about it for a moment, staring calculatingly at Harry. After a few seconds he sighed and started maneuvering himself to get closer to the boy, not without wincing and hissing in obvious pain.

"Sir, I really don't think you should move" Harry said.

"Be quiet, Potter." Snape said, still getting closer. He aligned his body with Harry's, allowing their limbs to touch.

"I'm going to ask you to push on your right arm as much as you can, Potter." Snape said.

Without a word, but with a questioning look, Harry did as he was told. His eyes watered and his face contorted in pain. As fast as he could, Snape slid himself under Harry's right side and pulled the boy on top of his torso. Harry rested his head on his teacher's chest and sighed in relief when he felt the pressure in his left side alleviate, allowing him to breathe easier.

"Better?" Snape asked.

"Much. Thank you, sir." Harry said honestly.

Neither spoke for a long time. Then, out of nowhere, Harry said. "You know I really meant it, sir. About not enjoying myself in your pensive."