Chapter 1: Prologue
When Lily Potter, nee Evans, woke, it was not one of those eyes-blinking, slowly waking from a world of sunshine and butterflies, time-to-face-the-day starts. Rather, it was an immediate eye-popping, absolute certainty that something was wrong. The room was dark, but she knew immediately it was not the room she and James shared in Godric's Hollow. The bed was not lumpy enough, the pillow not feathery enough. There was no lingering scent of sandalwood or soft whirring of the ceiling fan that had that odd little squeak. No, she was not in her bed at home, but she did not know where she was either. The last clear memory she had was of her taking Harry from James to put him to bed. They had been joking and relaxed, or as relaxed as they could be knowing a murdering maniac was hunting their son down. Her breath caught at the memory of The Monster, and she slowly moved her right arm off the bed, looking for a table. Nothing. Trying to tamp down the terror that was beginning to fill her, she moved her left hand and hissed in pain as it connected to a table. She felt around the flat surface. No wand. She held a hand out in front of her as she sat up and opened her mouth to call for her wand when a door opened, flooding the room with light, and she froze.
A young man with blonde hair and a lime green robe appeared in the doorway. Before she could think about what was happening she moved he hand towards the man, "Petrificus totalus." The man froze and fell stiffly to the floor. The woman behind him gasped. "Petrificus totalus," Lily called again, and the purple clad woman fell beside the man. A second woman appeared in the doorway, apparently smarted than her co-workers, she did not enter the room. Instead, she held both hands up to show she had no wand and spoke softly.
"Mrs. Potter, you are safe. You are in St. Mungo's. I am Nurse Kealie. That... is Nurse Angela and Healer Powell, a mediwizard."
"Where is my husband? Where is my son? James!" She called out.
The nurse spoke again, "Mrs. Potter, we need to come check you over. Can we come in?"
Lily wished once more for her wand. She knew pointing a finger just wasn't very intimidating. "No. Where is Albus? Albus Dumbledore."
Ah. A name the nurse recognized. "Professor Dumbledore is on his way. He was notified the second your monitor alerted us your condition had changed." The nurse looked down the hallway, said something quietly to someone in the corridor and turned back to Lily. "He is here now."
Her reassuring smile did not comfort Lily, and, as soon as a man looking like her old headmaster appeared, she held her hand out towards him, palm up. "Stop!"
"Albus" froze in the doorway and noticed the two "bodies." "Been practicing your wandless magic, Lily?" He smiled gently up at her. "I brought your wand. I'm going to slowly reach into my pocket and pull it out." He waited for her nod of approval before slowly using one hand to open his outer robe revealing a pocket. He used his other hand to slowly reach inside and pull out a long familiar stick. He held it up to show her. "Do you want me to-"
"Accio wand," Lily called and the wand flew out of "Albus's" hand. Lily caught it and felt the familiar warmth spread through her. She relaxed for a fraction of a second before movement recalled her attention. She pointed her wand to the group of people in the doorway. She locked eyes with "Albus." "What did you say to me when I told you I was pregnant?"
"Another Potter fish for the Lily pond," he responded immediately.
Lily relaxed for the first time since she woke up. "Albus," she said the name on a sigh.
The old professor crossed the room and wrapped his arms around his old student. "Hush. Hush, Lily pond."
She heard the other lady whisper behind them. "Finite Incantatum. You okay, Angela? Healer Powell?"
"Lily," Albus said softly, "do you remember the attack?" She shook her head. "You've been in a coma. These healers need to look you over. Let them do a scan and then we'll talk."
She nodded, a cold fear filling her, and lay back against the pillow. The Mediwizard ran his wand over her body and nodded to Albus. "Thank you, Mr. Dumbledore." He turned to Lily. "I will be back with your test results. In the mean time, I'll order you a tray. I'm sure you are hungry, or will be soon."
The Healer and nurse headed out of the room, as they left a man appeared in the doorway, haggard and weary-looking. "Lily?"
Lily held her wand, out and the man froze. She studied the almost-familiar face. The brown hair and scarred face were familiar to Lily. "Remus?" He smiled that endearingly familiar smile and took a step towards her but froze when she flicked her wand towards him. "Stop. What is my secret nick-name for you?"
"Moonshine," he answered wistfully.
Lily relaxed and held her arms out to the man. "Remmy."
He rushed over to her and wrapped his arms around her, much as Albus had a few minutes earlier. She buried her head in his shoulder and the tears spilled out. "J-James is dead, isn't he?" She looked up into the face of the man she knew she could trust and saw the answer in his eyes.
"You don't remember the attack?" She shook her head again. "S-Sirius." Remus swallowed harshly. The words stuck in his throat. Still hard to admit after all these years.
"Sirius was a spy. He gave you up to V-Voldemort." Lily began to shake her head in denial and Remus nodded. "Yes, Lily. Voldemort found out about the Fidelius Charm. Sirius must have-"
"But he couldn't," Lily interrupted. "Sirius wasn't our secret keeper." She looked back and forth between Remus and Albus.
Albus, who had settled in a chair, jumped to his feet. "What?"
"Not your secret keeper?" Remus asked, his voice harsh as if he'd just been told he wasn't a werewolf after all, all those years had merely been an illusion.
"No," Lily shook her head so hard she feared she might make herself dizzy. "No. James- James and Sirius thought the choice was too obvious. Sirius suggested Peter," she added quietly.
"Peter." Remus choked out. He turned to Albus. "That's why Sirius killed him."
Lily looked at Albus, "Peter is dead?"
Albus nodded. "I'd better go get the minister."
Lily watched Albus leave and looked at Remus. "You thought Sirius betrayed us? Everyone did, because we didn't tell anyone. James thought it would be safer. Where is he? Sirius?"
"Azkaban," Remus replied, a tortured look on his face.
"Oh god." Lily gasped. "How long?" Then she looked at Remus, really looked at him and realized how old he looked. She knew his transformations took a lot out of him, but he looked so much older than last time she had seen him. "How long was I in a coma? What year is it, Remus?"
He looked at her and sighed. "1989."
"Eight years!" Lily cried. "That means Harry is- Where is Harry, Remus." She reached up and clutched at Remus's familiar tweed jacket as panic filled her. "Where is my son, if his godfather has been in prison?"
Remus laid a comforting hand over hers. "Albus left him with your sister."
"Petunia!?" Remus had always hated when Lily got upset. She reminded him of a vengeful harpy, and, honestly, it scared him. No wonder she had faced off against Voldemort thrice with barely a scratch to show for it. "He left my child with that magic-hating muggle and her obnoxious husband? They'll put Harry in a closet and hide him away. Deny his magic." She pulled the covers off and made to stand up.
"Lily, No," Remus caught her as her legs gave out under her. He helped her back in bed. "You haven't used your legs in eight years. They'll need time to regain strength. I'm sure the nurses have kept the muscles working, but you'll still have to adjust. Besides, it's the middle of the night. It'll have to wait until tomorrow."
"I'm afraid it will have to wait a little longer, whatever 'it' is." Remus and Lily turned to see the Healer enter the room. "I have your test results, Mrs. Potter." He looked questioningly at Remus.
"He stays," Lily demanded.
The Healer nodded. "Everything looks normal, but we'll need to run some cognitive tests as well as a C.A.D, Core Abilities Diagnostic, to see if your magic has been affected."
"Because being put in a full body bind wasn't test enough," Lily muttered.
The Healer had the grace to blush. "Ahem. I've already scheduled the tests for nine a.m. We will also start you on a muscle strengthening regimen to help. The earliest I will consider releasing you is Friday morning. That's two days, Mrs. Potter."
She sighed. Her own time as a mediwitch had taught her these were necessary steps. She nodded. The Healer smiled in relief and the three turned at the sound of a knock on her door. A nurse walked in with a tray floating beside her. "Mrs. Potter, this is Nurse Angela. She will be your nurse while you are here. You can trust her," the Healer said pointedly.
Lily blushed and nodded to the nurse. "Sorry."
The nurse beamed at her, "It's quite alright, Mrs. Potter. Our fault really. We forgot you were in the war. Shouldn't have startled you like that."
The tray stopped beside Lily's bed and legs unfolded from it to create a stand. The Healer pulled a green vial from his robes and placed it on the table. "The first of your strengthening regimen. Drink it all, eat up, and get some rest. Your testing starts nine a.m. sharp." He turned and left.
Lily looked up at the nurse who smiled warmly. She pulled the silver dome off the plate to present a large bowl of wonderfully smelling soup. "Healer says just something light and simple. Don't want to over do it." She pulled a thimble out of the pocket of her robe and waved her wand over it. The thimble grew, and Nurse Angela lifted the spoon out of the bowl of soup and transferred some of the soup to her "bowl." She then proceeded to drink the soup and smiled at Lily. "See? Perfectly safe."
Tears filled Lily's eyes at the thoughtful gesture. "Thank you."
The nurse nodded and left the room.
Albus returned while she was eating with a tired looking woman in purple ministry robes. Lily recognized her immediately.
"Oh, Madam Minister, I didn't mean to wake you."
She waved away Lily's concerns, "I would have been extremely upset if I hadn't been woken." She reached the hospital bed and took Lily's hand. "You and your family are heroes, Lily. Your sacrifice has saved so many lives. I am sorry for your loss."
"Thank you, Minister," Lily said through the thickness in her throat.
"Now, what is this I hear about Sirius Black being innocent?"
Lily spent nearly an hour with the Minister, telling her story and answering questions. When she began to yawn Remus ushered the Minister and Albus out. He reassured Lily he wouldn't leave her, and she drifted off to sleep.
"Take Harry and go! It's him. Go! Run!"
"James!" Lily screamed as she sat up, tears streaming down her face.
Strong arms wrapped around her, "Lily, it's okay," the soothing voice enveloped her. "It's Remus. I'm here."
She collapsed in his arms, tears streaming down her face. "James tried to stop him. He tried to save Harry. We were in the living room and James was doing that little smoke trick Harry always loved and getting ready for bed." She gasped against the familiar tweed jacket. "The door flew open and there he was. James told me to take Harry while he went for his wand. I tried to barricade us in Harry's room, but it didn't hold him off. I don't know why he didn't just kill me. He gave me a choice." She looked up at Remus, "He told me if I let him kill my son he would spare me." She laughed harshly. "As if I would just step aside and let someone kill my child. I refused. Three times. He asked me three times to let him kill my child. And then he cursed me. I was ready to die. I saw the green light coming and I was ready, Remus. But then I was surrounded by a blue light and it pushed the Avada curse away from us. That's the last thing I remember."
"Wild Magic," Remus whispered in awe. "James's death, his sacrifice to protect your child, and your own willingness to die for Harry as well. All that love must have called to Harry's Wild Magic. It's rare..."
"But Wild Magic is so hard to contain once it's called forth," Lily fretted, remembering the dire warnings of Flitwick and a long retired Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher about calling forth the innate magic at the core of all people without knowledge and training. "How will Harry have managed all these years?"
"Perhaps, because it was pulled from him, rather than summoned, he has been able to keep it in check," Remus reassured her hopefully.
She nodded, hoping he was right. Petunia's jealousy of Lily had turned to hatred of magic over the years. How could a young child cope with that? She had to get better and get to her Harry.
"The cognitive tests and C.A.D. came back with good results. Keep taking the strengthening potions, and, if you can walk the hall tomorrow, I will release you," the Healer told Lily the following afternoon.
"Perhaps, if you hadn't insisted I be wheeled everywhere I could have worked on my leg strength," Lily told the Healer.
"You have always been a terrible patient, my Lily pad."
Lily brightened at the sound of Albus's voice. "Albus." She hugged the old wizard. "Where have you been? I thought you'd be back this morning."
"Had things to take care of, didn't I? Not every day a war hero wakes up from an eight year nap."
Lily blushed. "Oh, I hope they aren't making a big deal out of it."
"No. No. We've been able to keep a lid on it for the most part. Of course, we will have to eventually let the cat out of the bag, as they say," Albus said. "But that's not why I'm here," his blue eyes took on that all-too-familiar twinkle. "I have a surprise for you."
As if on cue, three people entered her room. Remus walked in first, crossing straight over to her and giving her a hard hug. He pulled back and moved out of the way to reveal the Minister of Magic, looking much more awake than she had the night before. She nodded to Lily and stepped aside. Behind her stood a tall, black haired man. A black beard covered his face, which was thin and gaunt-looking, the clothes he wore were obviously borrowed as they hung loosely on his too-thin frame. It was only the pain that filled the once joyful eyes that allowed Lily to recognize the man she once knew as the happy-go-lucky Sirius Black.
"Sirius," she whispered.
It was all the encouragement he needed. He tore across the room and wrapped his arms around Lily. "Oh, Lils. I am so sorry. So, so sorry," his tortured voice ripped at her heart. "Can you ever forgive me? You must hate me. So sorry, Lily. So sorry. All my fault. God, Lily, I swear, if I'd known-"
Lily pulled back and grabbed Sirius's shoulders, "Look at me, Sirius." She waited until his tear-filled eyes focused on her. "None of us could have known. We- we can't dwell on that now. It's all about Harry now."
Sirius straightened and looked around the hospital room. "Harry? Is he here?"
"No. Albus put him with my sister," she shot a baleful glare at the man. "But, we will go get him as soon as I get out of here and take him home."
"Home?" Lily looked over at Remus who was shaking his head sadly. "Your place in Godric's Hollow was destroyed, Lily. You'll have to find a new place," he added apologetically.
"Grimmauld," Sirius nearly shouted. "Mother passed away a few years ago. I'm the last Black, so it's mine. We'll probably have to clean it up a bit, but you and Harry are more than welcome to stay there. You too, Remus. It's got a basement for-" Sirius caught himself, remembering the Minister of Magic was still there, "your furry little problem." His lips lifted in an almost-smile.
Remus smiled back at his old friend and turned to Lily. "There. Sirius and I will go check it out this afternoon and we'll be back-"
"Tonight." She knew her eyes were begging, but she did not think she was ready to be alone just yet.
Remus nodded, "Yes. Tonight. And we'll take you home tomorrow and get the house all cleaned up. And Saturday we'll bring Harry home."
Chapter 2: 9 & 3/4
If someone were to ask a much older Harry what his favorite number was, he would tell them nine and three-quarters. When questioned, he would answer, because that number changed his life, not once but twice.
When Harry Potter woke, it was not one of those eyes-blinking, slowly waking from a world of sunshine and butterflies time-to-face-the-day starts. Neither was it an immediate, eye-popping absolute certainty that something was wrong. Rather, when he woke, he did so as he did every Saturday or Sunday morning. With a long-suffering sigh, refusing to open his eyes until he heard the pounding of Dudley's feet upstairs. He counted the seconds down until he heard Uncle Vernon's pounding on his cupboard door.
"Get up, you good for nothing lay-about."
Harry snorted, good for nothing except making breakfast, weeding the garden, washing the car, and a million other chores Dudley refused to do. Harry sighed and threw the covers off and crawled out of the cupboard, careful not to hit his head on the stairs. He walked into the kitchen and immediately started breakfast. The sooner Dudley ate the sooner he would run off to play with his friends. When the doorbell rang a half hour later, Harry turned to check the clock. Nine forty-five. Nine and three-quarters. Time to pull the breakfast rolls out of the oven. Nine and three-quarters, his age. He liked being nine and three-quarters, not that it was much different than being nine and a half or even eight and three-quarters, he mused to himself as he placed the pan on the counter. Uncle Vernon slammed his paper on the table and stood up.
"Petunia, What-" he froze as three people entered the kitchen. Harry studied the three newcomers. A woman stood in front, her red hair framed a soft, pretty face, her green eyes reminded Harry of his own. Behind her stood two men. The tallest dressed in dark pants and a vibrant yellow shirt that showed his thin frame, his own hair as dark as Harry's. The other man almost reminded Harry of a dog- soft hair and eyes that would welcome a person home and make them feel safe and warm.
"Hello, Vernon," Harry had never heard his uncle's name said with such venom. He admired the woman already. He must have made an appreciative sound unknowingly because, immediately, almost as one, all three newcomers turned to him. He locked eyes with the woman and it was like looking into a mirror and suddenly he knew, at nine and three-quarters on a Saturday, when he was nine and three-quarter years of age, his life was about to change.
The woman gasped, "Harry!" She crossed the room and dropped to her knees. Tears streamed down her face as she held his shoulders, studying his face. He had never had someone look at him like this, as if he were important, as if he meant something. "My Harry. Oh, you look just like your father." She pulled him close, hugging him as if her life depended on it.
Harry stood there, somehow knowing it was important to this woman to hold him. He looked around the room. His aunt and uncle stood beside the breakfast table, Uncle Vernon's hand protectively on Aunt Petunia's shoulder. Dudley sat in the corner, eyes glued to the telly, oblivious to the goings on. The other two men stood in the doorway, watching him and the woman, looks of joy on their faces. Her words finally registered in Harry's mind.
"You knew my father?"
The woman pulled back to stare at Harry in astonishment. Had he said something wrong? He looked at his aunt but she refused to meet his eyes. "Do you know who I am, Harry?" He shook his head and immediately regretted it at the look of hurt in her eyes. She turned to face his aunt and stood up. "You never brought him to see me?"
"I was not about to set foot in... that place," Aunt Petunia sniffed. "Besides, there was no guarantee you would wake up, so what was the point in giving the boy false hope?"
"The boy," the woman exclaimed, "deserved to at least know where his mother was."
"My mum is dead," Harry whispered and, once again, all eyes were on him. "Both my parents died in a car crash."
"Car crash!" One of the men exclaimed.
"Of all the-" the other began.
Harry raised his hand to his forehead and pushed his hair back, exposing a scar on his forehead. He nodded, "It's where I got this."
Another gasp and the woman was back on her knees, her hand holding his hair back, studying the scar.
Lily's heart seemed to stop. She recognized the shape of the scar. It was the wand movement required to complete the Death Curse. She turned to Sirius and Remus. "The curse hit him. It hit him and he survived." She stood and took a step towards Remus. "Did you know?"
He nodded, "They call him The Boy Who Lived. Albus didn't know if you were ready," he added apologetically.
"Did he not think I would see the scar? Oh, Albus, you insufferable-" she cut herself off and turned back to her son. Once again she knelt to his level. "Harry, I am your mother."
"My-" Harry looked from her to Remus and Sirius, then back at her. "Then-"
Lily shook her head, "No, love. I'm afraid your father really is dead." She shot Petunia a scathing look. "But not from a car accident. He was murdered. And the monster who killed him tried to kill us as well. He's the one that gave you that scar and put me in a coma for the last eight years." She took a deep breath and smiled softly, "And I'm here to take you home."
Harry couldn't believe his ears. Home. With his mother. He had a mother. Well, of course, he had a mother. But his mother was alive! Uncle Vernon's angry voice caught Harry's attention.
"In my house? I won't allow it."
"I wasn't asking, Vernon," his mother said fiercely. "We need a private place to speak with Harry and his room will do just fine."
"I haven't got a room," Harry told them plainly.
His mother glared at his aunt. "Your jealousy and hatred of me goes too far, Petunia. We will talk in the sitting room. Do NOT bother us." She placed a hand on Harry's back and led him into the sitting room. Harry stared at his mother in awe. She was fierce, reminding Harry of a lion on the nature show he had caught a glimpse of one time. The two men followed them, and Harry looked at them curiously. "I suppose you are a bit curious," his mother said kindly. "This is your godfather, Sirius Black." Harry gaped. He had a godfather?
The thin black haired man smiled a large toothy grin at Harry, and Harry held his hand out politely to shake. "It's a pleasure to meet you, sir."
The man grabbed the hand and pulled Harry into a hug. "None of that 'sir' business, Harry. You must call me Sirius. Uncle Sirius, if you wish. Or Padfoot. Merlin, I haven't seen you since you were a tyke. All grown up now aren't you?"
"Not quite, Sirius," the other man said. Sirius backed away from Harry, and Harry stared at the other man, the one that had reminded Harry of a puppy.
"This is Remus Lupin, Harry," his mother told him. "He went to school with your father. Well, we all went to school together."
Remus held his hand out and Harry shook it. "Y-you can hug me if you want," Harry stuttered out. He was actually beginning to like the hugs, he had never felt so much love and acceptance before. He wondered if these people would still like him when they discovered what a freak he was. Remus wordlessly pulled him into a hug.
After a few seconds, Harry felt his mother's hand on his shoulder, "Come, Harry. We have so much to discuss." She led him to the couch, and, as they sat down, Sirius and Remus sat across from them. "Harry, what do you know about magic?"
"Oh, Uncle Vernon says magic isn't real and even the little shows they put on in the parks are nothing but stupid parlor tricks to con decent folk out of their money." There. That should show them he wasn't a freak, so it was okay to like him.
"Sit down, Sirius," Remus told him as he jumped out of the chair, pulling some sort of stick out of his sleeve. Harry's godfather grunted and sat back down, still holding the funny looking stick as if it were a weapon.
His mother must have seen where his eyes were focused. "I have one, too." He turned to look at her, and she was holding something similar. She held it up for him to see. "Do you know what it is?" He shook his head, he didn't think "stick" was the appropriate response. "It's a wand, Harry. A magic wand. It's what witches and wizards use to do magic."
Harry gulped, eyes going from her "wand" to her face and over to Sirius and his "wand," and Harry turned to Remus and the man pulled out his own wand to show Harry. He looked back at his mother. "You're a-" he gulped again, "a witch?"
She nodded and placed a hand on his shoulder. "And you're a wizard, Harry."
He blinked rapidly and shook his head. No, they were wrong. He wasn't anything special, not like them. "No. No, I'm Harry. I'm just Harry."
She put an arm around his shoulder and pulled him closer. "You are so much more than 'just Harry'."
Remus spoke then and Harry turned to look at him. "Have you ever done something you couldn't explain? Especially when you were angry or afraid?"
Harry thought about the time Aunt Petunia had tried to cut all his hair off and the next morning it had grown back. And then there had been last month when Dudley and his friends had been chasing him and the next second he was on the school roof. He nodded carefully.
"That's magic, Harry," his mother said excitedly. "See that candle over there?" She pointed to the fireplace mantle that was covered in pictures of Dudley. Stuck in the middle was a small decorative candle. Harry nodded, then gasped as it rose off the shelf. He looked at his mother who held her wand out, guiding the candle. It landed on the table between them and the two men. She made a slight movement with her wand and Harry jumped when the candle transformed into a rat. It raised up on it's hind legs, sniffed, and scampered off. A loud shriek came from the kitchen and Harry slapped a hand over his mouth to stifle the giggle.
He looked at his mother and the two men across from him. "So, then, I'm not a freak?"
"A-" Remus's mouth opened in shock.
Sirius once again shot out of his chair, "You bloody muggle-"
"Petunia!" His mother cried in outrage. She stood, hands clenched, and looked down at Harry. "Go get your things. We are leaving."
Harry jumped up and ran over to the cupboard. He grabbed his school bag and the few clothes he deemed appropriate to wear; a second pair of pants that mostly fit him, some shirts that Dudley had outgrown several years ago, and a sweater that had somehow (magically?) shrunk down to fit him, and ran back to his mother.
"It that it?" He nodded. She sighed and looked up at Remus and Sirius. "We have a lot of work to do."
Sirius and Remus nodded, "Home first," Remus said, and Harry couldn't agree more.
Mrs. Figg, kind, cat-loving Mrs. Figg knew about magic. And you could travel by fireplace, if you had magic powder. And houses could be hidden.
"You'll have to ignore the portrait of my mother," Sirius told him as they walked inside. "Quite nasty, but we can't move it. Got it covered, so that helps." He pointed down the hall. "Dining room over there, kitchen's that way. Rooms are upstairs." He placed a hand on Harry's shoulder and led him down the hallway. Harry noticed parts of the wall were not as faded, as if pictures or plaques had recently been removed.
"We cleaned a room out for you," his mother said, "but if you prefer another we can have it ready in no time. Oh, and if you find something that doesn't belong to you, give it to Kreacher. Sirius will just throw it out and Kreacher is a bit sentimental."
Sirius rolled his eyes, "I don't know how you stand that thing, Lily."
"Is Kreacher your butler?" Harry remembered Uncle Vernon talking about dinner at his boss's and the very staid butler the man had.
Sirius laughed. "Don't let him hear you call him that."
"Kreacher is a house-elf, Harry," his mother said.
"What's a house-elf?"
Suddenly a... thing appeared on the landing before them. It was only a few feet tall with a huge nose and a head that held large bat-like ears. "What's a house-elf, it says," Harry heard the thing mumble. "Dirty half-blood raised by filthy muggles and doesn't know a thing-"
"Kreacher!" Sirius bellowed and Harry jumped. "You will not speak of Harry that way."
"Sirius," his mother admonished, "I've told you not to speak to Kreacher like that." She smiled at the house-elf. "Hello, Kreacher. This is my son. Remember, I told you we were bringing him home today."
"Kreacher did not see you there, Mistress Lily. Kreacher is sorry," the thing mumbled louder.
"It's okay, Kreacher. We were just showing Harry to his new room." The house-elf nodded and disappeared with a sharp crack that made Harry jump. Lily led Harry through a doorway into a large bedroom with a full sized bed and dresser. Harry looked around in amazement. Even Dudley's room wasn't this big.
"Right then," Sirius said excitedly. "My room's on the top landing. Your mom's right above you, and Remus is on the floor between us. Lunch in half an hour. I'm going to get into some real clothes. Glad to have you home, Harry." He ruffled Harry's already mussed hair and left.
"Right behind you," Remus agreed with a prideful glance at Harry before leaving Harry alone with his mother for the first time.
She smiled down at him, "Well, where would you like to start?"
Harry crossed the room and sat down on the bed. "Tell me about my father. What was he like? How did you meet him?"
Lily smiled and crossed over to sit next to him. She began to talk while Harry listened, enraptured. She told him about meeting James on the train to Hogwarts. How she couldn't stand the obnoxious boy and his friends. How she finally got to know him, and fell in love with the kind, loyal, loving man she eventually married. His generous nature. His ability to find trouble wherever he went. She told him about Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. How he would get a letter next summer. And the little town just outside of the school, Hogsmeade, a town of only witches and wizards. And then there was Diagon Alley, where the Wizarding world did their shopping.
"We'll go Monday and get you some proper robes."
"But I have school Monday," Harry said.
His mother looked startled. "School? It's not out for the summer holiday?"
Harry shook his head, "I still have a week left."
"Oh," she said, sounding disappointed. "Well, I supposed you'll have to finish out the term." There was a knock on the door, and she called for the person to enter. Kreacher walked in, a tea trolley followed behind him. Harry's stomach rumbled at the delicious smell.
"Mistress Lily and the Little Potter missed lunch. It is nearly tea time," the elf informed them as the trolley moved to stop in front of the bed.
"Oh my," his mother exclaimed, "Thank you, Kreacher."
"Yes," Harry echoed gratefully. "It smells wonderful, Mr. Kreacher. Thank you."
The elf's eyes widened, and his mother laughed. "It's just Kreacher, Harry."
Harry blushed and reached for a biscuit. His own eyes widened as he bit into the delicious sweet. "Oh, these are magnificent, Kreacher. You are absolutely brilliant."
Kreacher pushed a plate of sandwiches closer to Harry. "Little Master should not fill up on sweets. He missed his lunch." The elf turned and disappeared through the doorway.
His mother chuckled, "I think you've made a friend."
Harry started. A friend? His first ever friend was a magical creature? What a strange world he had woken up to.
Chapter 3: Making Friends
During their hour's long talk on Harry's first day home (the word had never meant so much) his mother had told him how he'd come by the scar on his forehead. Abut the monster that had torn the Wizarding world apart and killed his father. She had warned Harry that people he had never met thought of him as their savior. People would want to meet him and might even try to worship him. Harry had looked at her in horror. He hated being the center of attention, even in the muggle world (he had finally learned what that word meant) he had done his best to hide in the corners. But he understood. He had done something as a baby and now witches and wizards were amazed by him. He accepted this (not that he had a choice) and was glad he had a whole week to prepare himself, as his mother deemed next Saturday as Diagon Alley Day.
He was wrong. He barely had twenty-four hours before the first knock sounded at the door. They were sitting in the parlor looking through photo albums (pictures moved!) when the knock came.
"That'll be Albus," Remus stated. "I'll go get it."
Harry watched in trepidation as Remus left the room. He looked up to see his mum's reassuring smile at the pat on his leg.
"Hey," Sirius smiled mischievously, "want to see something cool, Harry?"
"Oh no. Not now, Sirius," said his mum with a sort of teasing exasperation.
Harry shrugged, "Sure, why not?" He had seen so many new and exciting things he couldn't even begin to imagine what Sirius was going to show him.
And before his mum could protest further, Sirius bent over and suddenly a large black dog stood in his place.
"Wow," Harry gasped. He looked at his mum, "Can you?"
She shook her head, "No. Animagi are rare, Harry. You won't meet many, even in our world."
"Really, Sirius? You couldn't have done that at a more appropriate time?"
Harry looked up at the sound of Remus's voice. And up. And up, at the literal giant that stood behind him.
"Cone now, Hagrid. I'm an old man and you're blocking the way to the chairs."
The giant jumped as if he had been poked and moved aside, revealing an extremely old wizard with a long, white beard and lilac robes. The old wizard spotted Harry and smiled at him, his pale blue eyes twinkling.
"Harry, my boy."
"Harry, this is Professor Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts," his mother introduced the old man.
Harry stood and held out his hand. "How do you do, sir?"
Professor Dumbledore shook his hand with a surprisingly firm grip and chuckled. "Fine lad, Lily. Pleased to meet you again, Mr. Potter. Last time I saw you, you were a tiny babe."
"Fit in the palm of me hand, you did," the giant said. He crossed over and lifted Harry in a crushing hug before setting him back down and wiping a tear from his eye. "I'm Hagrid, Keeper of keys and grounds at Hogwarts. Knew yer dad, and mum, when they were there. Carried you an' your mum away from Godric's Hollow meself. It's wonderful ter see ya again, 'Arry."
"Are you a giant?" Harry asked in awe.
"Harry!" his mum exclaimed.
Harry heard Sirius laugh and figured he must have changed back to his normal self. Hagrid smiled at him, at least Harry thought it was a smile. The tips of the beard lifted in what he assumed was a smile. "Only half, 'Arry."
The rest of the morning went smoothly. Harry enjoyed meeting the groundskeeper and Headmaster of his future school. They had such wonderful stories of the school, his parents, and even his godfather and Remus. Harry got the feeling they weren't telling him something, but he didn't mind, yet. He was too wrapped up in the new experience of being included in a friendly conversation.
Dudley and his friends had ignored Harry. It was such a relief he even smiled at his teacher for the first time all year. Kreacher had found some of Sirius's old clothes and was such a dab hand with a needle they fit like nothing Harry had ever worn. Harry could almost feel his self-confidence growing. He was finding it harder to concentrate the closer it got to the end of the day. His mum had promised to meet him after school to take him home. The bell finally rang and Harry jumped up to gather his stuff.
"Harry," he looked up to see his teacher looking down on him with concern, "may I have a word with you, please?"
He nodded, watching as the last of the students filed out of the classroom. "Yes, Ms. Winter?"
"I just wondered if everything was okay. You seem- different today. And I noticed you didn't arrive with Dudley this morning." Harry wondered what to tell his teacher. Obviously he couldn't tell her he was a wizard. She would probably try to lock him in the loony bin. "Harry," concern filled his teacher's voice, "did you run away?"
Harry shook his head. "Oh, no, Ms. Winter. I-"
But before Harry could say another word, his mum burst into the room. "Harry?" She spotted him and raced over to him, pulling him against her. "Are you okay, love? You didn't come out with everyone else. I worried. And Petunia's idiot son tried to run away. I had to threaten to curse him before he told me you had stayed behind. I imagine I'll hear from Tunie on that one," she added absentmindedly. "We should go, love."
"Excuse me," Harry looked up to see his teacher still standing there, staring at his mum. "Who are you?"
His mum moved in front of him, blocking Ms. Winter from him. "I'm his mother. Who are you?"
"His parents are dead, and I'm his teacher."
Lily snorted, a sound he was becoming familiar with. "Petunia only wishes I were dead. No, I've been in a coma for eight years. Harry came home with me this weekend."
Harry stepped out from behind his mum "It's okay, Ms. Winter. She really is my mum. I have her eyes," he said proudly.
The teacher studied them intently before nodding and relaxing visibly. "I- I'm glad Harry finally has someone to care for him properly." Harry felt his mum relax. "Will he be finishing the school year here?"
His mum shrugged. "It's only a week. He'll probably finish Primary school here as well."
"And after that?" the teacher inquired politely.
His mum smiled proudly, "He'll be attending the Alma Mater of his father and I."
"Oh," Ms. Winter said surprised, "that's lovely. Family traditions are brilliant. What school did you attend?"
His mum waved her hand vaguely. "It's an independent school for gifted children in Scotland. Harry's been on the waiting list since he was born. Very exclusive," his mum added proudly.
"He never mentioned it," his teacher smiled at him.
"He wasn't aware he was admitted," Harry heard the bitterness in her voice and so, apparently, did the teacher. "Like I said," his mum explained, "very exclusive. My sister wasn't invited when we were children. She was extremely jealous and most likely did not plan on allowing Harry to attend." She smiled down at Harry. "But I know Albus, the Headmaster, can be very persistent. He would have made sure you were able to go, even if I hadn't woken." She looked back at Ms. Winter. "We had best get home. Sirius might send out the hounds to fetch us if we aren't back soon." Harry clapped a hand over his mouth to hold back the laughter. "Harry's godfather. We are staying with him until we can find a house," she explained. "He's like a guard dog sometimes, very protective." She chuckled as she led Harry out of the classroom. The teacher had no idea what the two found so funny and, honestly, didn't care. It was just nice to see Harry loved and laughing.
Harry pressed a hand to his roiling stomach. It was his second side-along Apparition, and he still hated it. "Can we take a cab tomorrow, mum?"
She laughed and ruffled his hair, "Go on upstairs and put your stuff away. I'll have Kreacher take a tea tray to the parlor."
"Have him throw a bone on for my guard dog," Harry giggled.
She chuckled and pushed him playfully towards the stairs. He climbed the stairs and threw his bag just inside his room, still marveling at the size of it. He looked up at the sound of steps coming down the stairs. He smiled when he saw it was Remus.
"How was school, Harry?"
Harry giggled, "Mum came to get me after school and told my teacher we had to hurry home 'cause my godfather was a bit of a guard dog."
Remus chuckled and led Harry into the parlor. Even in the few days Harry had known them, he had come to realize Remus was the serious one, the voice of reason, and Sirius was more likely to lead them into trouble, so very unlike his name. Which is why, when they entered the parlor, seeing his godfather sitting so seriously in a chair with a deep frown marring his face, Harry was taken aback.
"Harry, my boy," Harry turned to see Professor Dumbledore standing near the fireplace.
Harry smiled widely at the old wizard. "Professor, sir. Back so soon?"
Harry heard Remus's sharp intake of breath behind him. "Snape?"
Harry looked around in confusion and noticed another man for the first time. He was as tall as Uncle Sirius, with hair just as black. But, unlike Sirius's ever-present twinkling eyes, this man's eyes were a deep, emotionless black. Harry felt as if the man were trying to see into his soul. When he spoke, the man's voice was deep and smooth.
Harry almost looked around for some other person he hadn't noticed before remembering Uncle Remus's last name was Lupin. Harry could feel the tension in the room. Why was this man here if he didn't care for his uncles? The answer presented itself a second later when his mother walked in.
"Kreacher says we have guests." His mum stepped into the room and froze when her eyes landed on the man standing next to the Headmaster. "Severus."
The man seemed to almost come alive as soon as she said his name. Remus placed a hand on Harry's shoulder. "How 'bout we have that tea in the kitchen?"
"Excellent idea, Remus," Professor Dumbledore agreed. "Come along, Sirius," and even Harry caught the warning note in the wizard's voice.
Lily waited until they had left the room, plus another minute to give them time to get downstairs before she spoke. "What are you doing here, Severus?"
She saw the flash of pain in his eyes, but refused to react. "I was worried about you, Lily," he said softly, and she was reminded of the small boy peeking out from trees. "When I went to see you yesterday you were gone. I went back to the school, but no one knew where Albus was. I had to wait for him to get back to find out what had happened."
She blinked in surprise at his words. "You came to see me? Went to see me."
He nodded. "I've been to see you once a month every time I could, for the last eight years." His eyes flashed down for the barest of seconds, "And I've apologized every time. I know you hate me, but I have to say it at least once while you're awake," he rushed out, as if afraid she would interrupt him. "I'm sorry for the words I said. You were right, those people led me down a dark path. You were the only true friend I ever had. I don't expect your forgiveness, but I needed you to know," he added on a soft sigh and turned to stare into the fire.
She smiled gently and crossed over to him, knowing he would never dare approach her, a true sign of his remorse. She placed a hand on his arm and he turned startled eyes on him. "I forgive you, Severus."
His eyes widened in shock. "You- do?"
She nodded. "That's all I ever wanted, was an apology."
"But I did apologize," he sputtered.
She shook her head. "You never really meant it, Severus. You weren't willing to change. You weren't-" she paused, took a deep breath, trying to organize her thoughts. "You weren't the person I knew."
He nodded solemnly. "I had a lot of growing up to do, Lily."
She smiled sadly. "We all did, Sev. We all did."
He curved a lip in a half smile, "You haven't called me that in a long time."
She smiled mischievously, "You didn't deserve it."
He laughed, the sound deeper and richer than she had known. "I missed you, Lils." His smile faltered, "I'd like to be friends again, Lily, but there's something you need to know."
She sighed, knowing it would take him forever to finally work the courage up to admit his guilt to her. "I know, Sev. I know you were the one that overheard the prophecy."
He looked at her in shock. "How? Albus said no one knew."
She smirked at him, "Sometimes, I'm a little smarter than Albus gives me credit for. I overheard Albus and Aberforth at Hogwarts. I'll admit, I was angry at first, but then I realized you must have also been the one to warn Albus Voldemort knew about it."
"I begged him to spare your life," Severus said, torment filling his voice.
She nodded, understanding, "He offered. But I refused to give my child's life over to that monster."
Severus shook his head. "I know. Even then, I knew deep down you would never step aside. That's why I went to Albus. I am sorry about Potter, Lily."
"I know, Severus. But, I think it's time to stop living in the past. Harry will need all the support he can get." She smiled softly at her oldest friend.
"Who was that man?" Harry asked shortly after Professor Dumbledore left.
Sirius sneered, "Snivellus."
Remus sighed, "Snape."
"That," came his mum's voice as she entered the kitchen, "was Severus Snape. He is the potions master at Hogwarts and one of my oldest friends. Severus and I practically grew up together. And," she looked pointedly at Sirius, "I think it's time to put the past behind us. We are back together, and it's time to move forward. Build a life we deserve."
"Here. Here," came Remus's reply.
Sirius grunted, "Fine. I will if he will," Harry bit back a chuckle.
Lily rolled her eyes, "Still such a child, Sirius."
A week after school let out Harry still had not been to Diagon Alley. The Daily Prophet, the newspaper to the Wizarding world, had run a special edition the day before they were to go, announcing that Lily potter had awoken from her coma and Sirius Black had been cleared of all charges and freed from Azkaban. Lily had decided that perhaps it wasn't such a good time to go out in public. Since then, they had been practically trapped in Grimmauld Place. Witches and wizards of all ages had camped outside the house. No one knew for sure if the Potters were there, but it was the Black residence and wasn't Sirius Black Harry Potter's godfather?
Lily walked into the parlor and flopped down on the couch. "I don't know how much more I can take. I'm going absolutely barking mad," She groaned.
"That would be Sirius, mum," Harry said from the table where Remus was attempting to teach him to play chess.
"Oh, aren't you just the comedian, Harry. I-"
"You will never guess who I just ran into." Sirius came busting into the room with a big smile on his face, then looked sheepishly at Lily. "Oh, sorry, Lils, did I interrupt you?"
She waved her hand lazily, "Don't mind me. I'm just lamenting my lack of freedom."
"Then I've just the thing." He crossed the room and pushed her legs out of the way so he could sit on the couch. "I finally finished all that paperwork the ministry needed me to sign and was heading out to find a fireplace when I ran into Arthur."
"Arthur?" Lily searched her mind before a light filled her eyes and she sat up, "Weasley? Molly Prewitt's husband?"
"The very one," Sirius confirmed. "He was glad to hear you were doing well. The twins started Hogwarts this year and the oldest just graduated. Got a position with Gringott's as a curse breaker. They're sending him over to Egypt." Sirius waved his hand as if this were not the important news. "Anyway, Arthur said as how Molly would be right pissed with him if he didn't invite us over to the Burrow for a bit of a stay. Plenty of room he says. And he's got that boy just about Harry's age."
Harry looked up from the chessboard at Sirius's words, "A boy my age? Can we go, mum? Please? I've never had a friend my own age."
The word "no" was on Lily's lips. As much as she wanted out of the house, and as much as she longed for another woman to talk to, she felt it would be too much of a burden on poor Molly. But the words that her son had so innocently spoken Avada Kedavra'd the denial. "Alright. But just for a few weeks."
"Yippee," Harry jumped up, knocking over the chess pieces. They grumbled as Harry and Remus set them back up properly.
Harry was seeing red. He had been warned, of course. All three adults had mentioned often enough in the past three days that walking into the Weasley house was akin to entering a paint store that only sold red paint. But he had at least expected a variety of shades. Instead, it was as if someone had just gotten tired of picking out new colors and lined the Weasleys up and ran the same paintbrush over each of them. It seemed the only way to tell them apart was by eye color and age. Except for the set of twins that stood in the back, their heads together.
Harry, his mum, and Sirius had Apparated to the Burrow that morning. Remus had stayed behind, it being only a few days until the full moon (It seemed werewolves were a real thing as well). A tall, thin man with balding hair had come to greet them and led them down the lane to a tall multi-storied house. It reminded Harry of the old nursery rhyme about the woman who lived in a shoe. When they entered the house full of children, he wondered if the rhyme hadn't been written about her after all.
A short, plump, kindly-looking woman stood in the middle of the sitting room, talking to two identical looking boys. Harry imagined she might look a lot nicer if she weren't scowling at the boys. A young girl sat at the kitchen table coloring while a young man that looked remarkably like Mr. Weasley sat next to her, critiquing her drawings. She didn't seem to be paying attention to him. Another boy sat at the end of the table reading a newspaper, he looked to be about thirteen or so, his horn-rimmed glasses making him look stiff and silly for such a young boy. Harry perked up when he saw another boy, this one looking to be about his age, slouching in a chair in the sitting room, his hand held out with a small golden object flying just above it. He threw his head back so it hung off the arm of the chair.
"Come on, Charlie," he whined, "I want to get a good game in before dinner."
Another boy appeared on the stairs holding a pair of boots, "Hold on, Ron. I had to grab my old boots. Mum would kill me if I ruined the new ones."
"...And that means absolutely no more explosions. Charles, if you so much as put a scratch on those boots before the new term, I will personally tell Minerva you cannot play Quidditch. And when I say no more, I mean absolutely none. Inside or out..."
The boy at the table tossed the paper down and jumped up, "Are we playing?"
The youngest boy groaned. "Not you, Perce. I want to actually play at Keeping, not just fly around looking at the birds."
"I'll double as Chaser, it'll make the game last longer," the one on the stairs said as he slid a boot on.
"Not fire. Not water. If Percy doesn't play you'll be one short, Ron. Or Fairy dust either, Fred."
The girl popped up. "I'll be chaser."
"NO!" All six boys cried in unison.
The oldest boy, the one sitting next to her stood. "I'll be third Chaser," he said as if knowing he would eventually be roped into it.
His mother and Sirius had stopped just outside the door, talking to Mr. Weasley and the three finally entered. Harry jumped at Mr. Weasley's loud bellow. "Molly, I've got our guests."
And just like that, the house was quiet (except for a ticking clock) and all eyes were on them. Mrs. Weasley finally broke the awkward silence with a large grin. "Bless me, if it isn't Lily Potter." She crossed the room with arms stretched out and wrapped his mum in a hug, then moved to Sirius. "Sirius Black. Oh, they didn't feed you properly in that awful place. Don't worry, I'll take care of you." Harry thought his godfather had actually put on a fair amount of weight in the last few weeks. And then Mrs. Weasley was pulling Harry against her. "Oh my. Harry Potter, how you've grown. And you look just like your father, too." She stood up and studied him a moment before turning towards the sitting room and motioning a hand towards her, "Come here, Ronnie."
The boy on the couch grabbed the flying ball and swung his legs around, hurrying to his mother. She grabbed his shoulder and pulled him closer to Harry. "Ron, this is Harry. He'll be starting Hogwarts the same year as you. Harry, this is Ron."
Ron held out his hand and Harry shook it. Ron smiled widely. "You're Harry Potter?" Harry nodded. "That's bloody brilliant, mate. You're famous, you know? Come on. We were just about to play Quidditch."
"I've never played that," Harry informed him.
Ron shrugged. "You'll get the hang of it. That's Charlie," Ron pointed to the boy on the stairs who waved his boot at Harry. "He's the best Seeker at Hogwarts. He's gonna play professional someday."
"No, I'm not," Charlie said from the stairs as he shoved his foot in the boot. "I'm going to study dragons. Professor Kettleburn says if I keep doing this good in Care of Magical Creatures, he says he knows a guy at the reserve in Romania."
Ron shrugged as if it didn't matter either way. He pointed to the two boys who had moved towards the fireplace, "That's Fred and George. Or George and Fred, nobody really knows for sure." The twins waved, and Harry saw one slip something into the pocket of the other. "Be careful around them. You never know what they are planning. And that's Ginny, she's the baby."
The small girl glared at her brother. "I'm not a baby, Ronald Weasley," then proceeded to stick her tongue out at him.
"And next to her is Bill. He just graduated and is leaving next month for Egypt. Dad says we'll go visit him and see all the pyramids."
The last boy, the one that had been reading the paper walked forward and held out his hand. "I am Percy. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance."
Harry eyed the boy warily and shook his hand. He looked over at Ron who rolled his eyes. "Come on, Perce. Let poor Harry go. I'm ready to play." He grabbed Harry's hand and pulled him towards the door. "Can you fly?" Harry shook his head and Ron shrugged. "You can just watch for now. I bet Charlie can teach you to handle a broom. He's brilliant at it." Harry followed Ron outside and tried to keep up with his monologue as best he could. He thought, maybe, he finally had a friend.
Chapter 4: ...And Enemies
By the following week, Harry felt as if he had known the Weasleys his entire life. Following Ron's conversations became easier, he knew more about dragons than he cared to, Bill was mostly packed for Egypt, avoiding the twins had become an art form, and even Percy's diatribes were getting easier to tune out. Mr. Weasley had spent an entire afternoon interrogating Harry about his "life as a muggle" and Harry thought it was funny how he would react to even the smallest things. Mrs. Weasley was constantly putting food in front of him, and he now had a collection of colored drawings of dragons and quidditch players. He was also informed all about Hogwarts and Gryffindor (the only house worth mentioning, Ron had informed him) and couldn't wait until he received his letter next year.
"Have you ever done accidental magic, Harry?" Ron asked one night at dinner.
Harry nodded, "I turned my teacher's hair blue once during school."
"School?" Mr. Weasley said in the now familiar interesting-muggle-information voice. "You go to an actual muggle school? Did you hear that, Molly?"
"Will you go next year?" Ron asked, for once interested in the muggle-related conversation.
Harry shrugged and looked over at his mother. She nodded. "Yes, I'm thinking about going to work at St. Mungo's. He's only got a year and then he's off to Hogwarts, and I just know I'll go stir crazy."
"How lovely, dear," Molly said encouragingly.
Harry was glad his mom thought about what she wanted, but it made him a little sad to realize he only had a year with her. The rest of the dinner continued as usual with Harry a bit more subdued. He did perk up a bit when Sirius mentioned Remus would be joining them the following day as he was feeling much better after his "illness".
Being at the Burrow had been good for the lot of them, Lily decided as she lounged languidly in a parlor chair. Harry had made several new friends and learned even more about his heritage, and Remus had been able to recover from his change in the relaxing country air. It had also given her time to reflect. The past month, since waking up, seemed like a blur of emotions. There had been James's death to process, Sirius's imprisonment, Harry's safety and return, so much that she had just had to compartmentalize things and deal with things as they came. Her first evening at the Burrow, once the children were in bed, Molly had sat her down with a warm cuppa and simply said "talk."
So she had. She had, of course, grieved for James in the quiet of her bed chamber, but she had not spoken of his death out loud. Sirius and Remus had had years to grieve for their lost friend, they did not need Lily's fresh grief. It was enough to know they were there for her and Harry. She had also spoken of Albus's betrayal. Of handing her son over to a magic-hating muggle.
"But what was he to do, love?" Molly asked, refilling their cups around one in the morning. "No one knew it had been Wild Magic that had saved Harry. We thought it was the blood sacrifice and you know the only option after that is blood relations." She did, but that didn't make it any easier. She sighed, knowing she would never have the same kind of faith in Albus as she once had. But he was an old wizard who made mistakes and, maybe, didn't know as much as she had once thought he did. In the future, she would just have to make sure she had more say in the fate of her family than he did.
"I'm thinking of joining the DMLE," Sirius said from the couch.
Lily looked up from the novel Molly had loaned her. "Auror?"
Sirius nodded, his dark hair falling over his eyes. He had always been a good looking boy and, now that he was finally filling out, he was turning into a handsome man. Lily smiled at the thought of all the women that would be beating down the door of Grimmauld Place, assuming they could find it. "It wasn't so bad when I did similar work for the Order. And now that I'm cleared of all charges, well, I don't really need the money, Black vaults as they are, but after all those years of doing nothing I get a bit restless, you know?"
Lily nodded. Sirius had never been one to just sit idle. "How did you end up in prison, Sirius? Surely it would have come out in trial you weren't our secret keeper. A bit of Veritaserum."
He blushed and turned away slightly. "There wasn't a trial, Lils."
"What?" The book fell from her hands as she bolted upright in indignation. "But why didn't Albus insist on one?"
He scraped at his cuticles with his thumbnail, an old habit she recognized easily as embarrassment. "Well, it was all said and done by the time he got there. And who's to say he hadn't already decided my guilt? I was supposed to be secret keeper." He stared out the back window at the fading light, and Lily was once again reminded of her misplaced trust in Albus Dumbledore, "and the things Peter was saying. 'It's all your fault, Sirius.' 'If it hadn't been for you, they'd still be alive.' I couldn't refute it, Lily. It was my fault. At the time, I didn't know if you'd survive. If you'd ever wake up. God," he dropped his head into his hands. "I was so wracked with guilt I couldn't think. Didn't know how it would sound to the muggles. They couldn't understand what he meant. It was only words of blame to them, but to me it was the ultimate truth. I had killed James, surely as if I'd said the words myself."
Lily moved to kneel in front of him, wrapping his hands in her smaller ones. "Sirius, you have to stop this. We all thought Peter was a good choice. James trusted him with our lives. This isn't what James would want for you. I'm awake, Harry is with us, you're free, and Peter is dead. You killed him."
Sirius lifted his head to look at Lily, and she was struck by the intensity of his grey eyes. "But I didn't, Lily. Peter killed himself. The bumbling idiot's own spell backfired, and I didn't even get the chance to avenge James's death."
She squeezed his hands. "Maybe it's for the best. Revenge can take a part of you, Sirius. Murder does take a part of you, it fractures your soul. And you have always had a beautiful soul, Sirius." She reached up to press her lips to his temple, and he wrapped her in a hug.
"I'm not sure how a girl like you ended up with a ragtag group that had the audacity to call themselves such a ridiculous name as The Marauders, but I'm glad you did."
She laughed as he pulled back and she rested her hands on his knees. "I think it had to do with James's belief that Remus was incapable of performing his Head Boy duties by himself."
"Do you want to know a secret, Lils?"
"And what possible secrets could you still have from me, Sirius Black?" Lily teased him.
An odd look flickered in his eyes but it was gone a moment later, and Sirius flashed his boyish grin at her. "I don't think James cared one whit about Remus's Head Boy duties. I think he was more concerned with the Head Girl." He gave her a wink and she chuckled as she moved back to her chair and picked up the book.
"So, Auror huh?"
Sirius nodded. "Yes. Spoke to Scrimgeour a bit and he's agreed to rush me through the application process and get the aptitude test going."
She smiled encouragingly at him, "That's great, Sirius."
He nodded but scrunched up his nose. "I'll have to register, though. Can't have an illegal Animagi working for the DMLE."
She gave him a fake pitying frown, "Aw, poor Padfoot. All your secrets coming to light."
He stuck his tongue out, and she laughed at the childish behavior.
"Hurry, mum," Harry called up the stairs.
"Just a minute, Harry. So impatient," her voice floated down to him.
Sirius laughed from the doorway of the parlor. "I guess you must be excited for your first trip to Diagon Alley."
Harry nodded vigorously. "And Ron is going to meet us there, and I haven't seen him in like two weeks."
Sirius laughed again as Lily appeared on the staircase. "Are you coming, Sirius?"
"Of course," he said with an air of nonchalance "My adoring fans miss me."
Lily rolled her eyes and grabbed Harry's hand. "Now, make sure you are very clear when you say 'Diagon Alley' so it takes you straight there, I'll go first, then you, and Sirius last." Harry nodded and the three of them walked towards the kitchen.
Harry was pleasantly surprised at how easily he followed his mother through the Floo network, he had been so sure he would mess it up. But once they had entered the kitchen and his mum stepped through the fire, he easily followed his mother through to Diagon Alley. Harry stumbled into a small, empty room and Sirius followed Harry through the fireplace. Harry's mum placed a hand on his shoulder and turned him towards the door and out into Diagon Alley.
Harry had seen a lot in the few short weeks since he had learned magic was real but, it seemed, every place he went was more and more impressive. Visiting the Weasleys had been his first real taste of the Wizarding world, as Mrs. Weasley used magic for just about everything, but Diagon Alley was simply brilliant. There was an owl emporium, a wand shop, a quidditch store, a store that sold robes, a potions store. Everywhere Harry looked he saw something new and different. There was even an ice cream parlor.
"Madam Malkin's first," Lily said and pointed at a shop down the way. "You'll need proper robes, plus I told Molly to meet us there." They made their way towards the clothing store, and Harry began to realize people were stopping and staring. Some even went so far as to point. Harry had known they were famous, had expected to be recognized, but even this was beyond anything he had feared.
"Buck up, lad," Sirius said softly. "Just think of all the girls it'll get you."
Harry looked at his godfather as if he'd lost his mind. "Ugh. I don't want a girlfriend, Uncle Sirius." He crinkled his nose at the thought.
"Oh," Sirius said, looking amused. "A boyfriend it is then. Ron's awful cute, for a red head," he added, winking at Harry.
"Sirius, that's not what I meant either and you know it," Harry pouted.
His mother stopped in front of a shop and Sirius opened the door for them. She let Harry go in first and smiled up at Sirius, "Harry hasn't decided which he prefers, Sirius."
Sirius laughed and jerked his thumb behind him. "I'm going to the ink store to pick up a few things for Moony. Need anything, Lils?" She shook her head, and he closed the door on them before heading off.
Madam Malkin did not have any other customers, so she had Harry's measurements and a new set of robes for him in no time at all. Harry eagerly slipped into one of his new robes, enjoying the feel of properly fitting clothes. The old clothes of Sirius's that Kreacher had found had fit Harry better than any of Dudley's old clothes ever had, but these were the first clothes that were not hand-me-downs. Harry eyed himself in the dressing room mirror and hugged himself, feeling the new clothes rub against his skin. This was definitely one of the best days of his life. "Mum," he called from the fitting room, "I've been thinking," he slipped his shoes on and stuffed Sirius's old robe into the shopping bag, "I don't think I need any new muggle clothes for school next year. Sirius's old things will do just fine." He stepped out and handed her the bag.
"Nonsense, Harry. Sirius's clothes are old-fashioned even by Wizarding standards." She waved goodbye to Madam Malkin and they stepped outside."I'll just nip on over to Gringott's and exchange some Galleons for British Notes. Look, there's Ron and Ginny now."
Harry looked up to see the two bobbing red heads running towards them. He hugged the two Weasleys as Bill walked up. "Had to run over to Gringott's for some last minute paperwork, you know how those Goblins are, so I told mum I'd bring the kiddos."
"Thank you, Bill. I was just on my way to Gringott's myself," Lily smiled pleasantly at him.
Bill grinned and held out his hand. "Allow me to escort you, Ms. Potter."
"Why thank you, Bill," she said slipping her arm through his. "So kind. Your mother would be proud."
"Care to mention it to her next time you see her?" He said with a wink.
Lily laughed and handed Harry a handful of Galleons. "You kids go on over to Florean's and grab an ice cream. I'll let Sirius know and meet you when I'm done at Gringott's"
"Alright," Harry said jovially. "Thanks, mum." Harry stuffed the coins in his pocket and the three kids ran off for their treat.
Harry had never seen so many ice cream flavors (Ron suggested avoiding the Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans Flavor) and the Weasley kids had always been limited as to how many scoops and toppings they could have, so it took several minutes for the trio to finally decide. Once they had their ice cream, they made their way to an outside table.
"Your new robe is nice, Harry," Ginny said after several minutes of ice cream-eating silence.
"Thanks," Harry grinned widely. He held his arm up and flipped the sleeve back several inches to show a red and gold striped pattern lining. "I even got Madam Malkin to add Gryffindor colors on the inside."
"That's bloody brilliant, mate," Ron said excitedly. "Wish I could do that. All I can hope for is some hand-me-down school robes. But mum says I have to save those for when I actually get into Gryffindor. Maybe Fred and George won't get into Gryffindor."
Ginny snorted, "Who else would take them? Ravenclaw? That's our Fred and George," she said in an imitation of her mother, "smartest of the bunch. Blue and bronze all the way."
Harry and Ron laughed at the impersonation. "If anyone's going into Ravenclaw it'll be you," Ron told her.
"Nah," Harry argued, "Ginny's pretty smart, but she's still got more guts than brains. She puts up with you lot, don't she?"
"I think that was a compliment," Ginny looked at Harry skeptically.
Harry nodded enthusiastically, "I wouldn't dare insult you, Gin. I saw the hex you put on George that first night after he tried to slip that exploding crayon in your box. You know Fred's the one that slipped it to him? Saw him with my own eyes."
Ron laughed. "Course she knows. That's how Ginny works. Fred's been on pins around her for almost a whole month now, waiting for payback. And George is mad at Fred cause nothin's happened to him."
"All that means," Ginny said, licking her spoon, "is that George keeps throwing Filibuster fireworks into Fred's bath." They ate in silence for a few moments before Ginny spoke up again. "Do you know people keep looking over here at you, Harry?"
Harry, who had deliberately sat with his back to the street, nodded. "It's worse when I'm with Mum or Sirius, cause everyone knows them. I just kinda look like my dad so people aren't a hundred percent sure."
"Didn't they print a picture when the Prophet announced your mum was awake?" Ron asked.
Harry nodded. "Yeah, but the only picture they had was when I was a baby, so, unless I walk around like this," Harry pushed his hair back from his forehead to reveal his scar, "people can only guess."
There was a sudden gasp at a nearby table and a woman whispered, "It is Harry Potter. See, I told you, Nadine."
Harry dropped his hand and winced, "See."
Ron chuckled and picked up his bowl, "Sirius is heading this way. Guess it's time to go."
They stood and picked up their dishes but, as Ginny turned around, she bumped into a boy and her melted ice cream spilled down his robe. "Oh, I'm so sorry," she gasped.
The boy sneered down at her, his blond hair almost reflecting the sun. "You should learn to pay attention." His eyes raked over Ginny. "But with that red hair and ratty robe, you must be a Weasley," he said the word as if it were pure filth in his mouth. "So I suppose, even paying attention is out of your price range."
Harry could feel the anger rising inside him at the boy's words. "And you must be a Malfoy," Ron spit out, "with that white hair and attitude as if you were descended from Merlin himself."
The boy turned his attention to Ron, "At least my family isn't a bunch of blood traitors."
"Only because you disown anyone that doesn't marry their cousin."
Harry barely understood what the two boys were saying, but the tones spoke clearly. He moved to stand between Ginny and the blond boy. The boy noticed the movement and turned his glare on Harry. "And who are you?" He sneered as he looked Harry up and down.
"That's Har-" Ginny started to say, but Harry squeezed her arm to silence her.
"Har?" The boy looked at him again and narrowed his eyes. "Harry Potter?" Harry glared at him. "You would do better avoiding such wizards, Potter"
Ginny gasped, but not from the boy's words. She pulled out of Harry's grasp. "Harry," she whispered fiercely.
Harry lifted his hands to see soft blue light emanating from his fingertips and gasped. The other boy did not notice. "I could introduce you to a better class-"
"Harry, no!" Sirius was suddenly beside Harry, grabbing his hands and pushing them down. But it was too late, the boy was already flying backwards, the blue light from Harry's fingers gone in a flash.
And then his mother was in front of him. "Are you okay, Harry?"
He nodded but, before he could say anything another voice drawled, "You should have more control over your child, Evans."
His mother stiffened and turned to face the man who had spoken. Obviously the boy's father, if the matching blond hair and pointy chin were any indication. "Accidental magic, Lucius," she said coldly. "That's why we send them to Hogwarts." She pasted a pitying look on her face. "Or do you not recognize it?" She looked down at the boy pulling himself to his feet. "Oh, I'm so sorry," she said, lowering her voice to a whisper, but not low enough the other spectators couldn't hear. "Is he a squib?" She turned to Harry and the others. "Come children. We must get you back to Bill." She and Sirius led them away through whispered conversation and the Weasley sibling's muffled laughter.
"A Malfoy squib?"
"I've never seen the boy do magic. Accidental or otherwise."
Harry waited until they were several shops away. "Mum, what's a squib?"
She kept her eyes forward but Harry could tell she was fighting a smile. "A squib, Harry, is a person with magical parents who has no magical abilities."
"And," Sirius added, "to Pure Bloods like the Malfoys, an ultimate disgrace."
Harry chuckled and Lily finally let her own laugh out.
Chapter 5: A simple game of chess
Lily explained to Harry about Wild Magic and how it was tied to his emotions. How it was locked inside everyone but only the rare and special ever learned how to access it. She and Remus began working on teaching him how to stay calm, control his emotions, so that when the time came he would be able to control the Wild Magic. They had a small party for Harry's tenth birthday that included Lily, Sirius, Remus, Hagrid, Albus, and the Weasleys. Lily had choked back a sob at Harry's pronouncement that it was the best birthday he ever remembered. She had finally taken him school shopping for muggle clothes after reminding him he couldn't wear the robes to his muggle school. He had reluctantly agreed but still eyed Sirius's robes as the man lounged in the sitting room on their way out of the house. And then Harry started back to school, his final year at Primary School. Lily and Padfoot accompanied him to the schoolyard and watched him wave from the steps before disappearing inside. It still bothered her to let him go for so long during the day, but Padfoot nudged reassuringly at her leg.
As they turned to leave the school, she caught sight of a familiar head of blonde hair and froze. She glared across the schoolyard at the stiff figure of her sister as anger filled her. She could understand and accept Albus's abandonment of Harry, the man had truly had no idea how deep Petunia's hatred of magic had been. Petunia had, after all, once petitioned the man for entrance to Hogwarts. But how could a person treat their kin, a child, the way the Dursley's had treated Harry? Sometimes she wished that branch had hit more than just Petunia's shoulder all those years ago. She felt another nudge against her leg and looked down at the large black dog beside her. She pressed a hand into his thick coat.
"Come along, Padfoot, I've got something to do." She led him to a darkened alley and Disapparated quickly. Sirius growled at her when they appeared in the shadows of a house. She patted his neck. "Sorry, Pads. Come on." She led him to the front of the house and leaned against the door frame, waiting. Padfoot settled patiently on his haunches.
They didn't have to wait long before the blonde figure appeared, glancing behind her occasionally as if expecting to see someone following her. So caught up in her constant vigilance, she started with a tiny squeak when she reached her porch and saw Lily standing there. Lily smiled viciously.
Petunia glanced back down the street then at Lily as if unsure how she had gotten there. She finally pulled herself up with false courage. "What are you doing here?"
"I thought we'd have a little chat," Lily said with an air of nonchalance.
Petunia raised her nose, "Your kind are not welcome here."
Lily sneered at her. "Well, that's obvious, considering how you treated my son," she hissed the last two words and was satisfied to see Petunia flinch.
"I never wanted him. But that... man did not give me a choice."
Lily looked over her pathetic sister. "Jealousy has made you a bitter, pathetic person, Petunia Evans."
The blonde pulled her shoulders back. "It's Dursley, Lily."
"Yes. Dull, Dreary Dursley. I remember when you brought him home. Such a boring boy then and even more insipid now, I imagine. Such an uninspiring partner to give you the boring life you so craved."
"At least my husband is still alive," Petunia hissed.
Lily bit back the curse on her lips and placed a hand on Padfoot's head. Petunia seemed to notice the large black dog for the first time and jerked back. Lily nodded slowly. "Yes. James is dead. He died protecting Harry and I. What did your husband ever do besides sit behind a desk pushing papers? Your husband will never be known beyond your son and his children. My husband died a hero. My son is a hero. Your son will only ever be a bully. And you," Lily's lips curled maliciously. "You will never escape our world, no matter how mundane you make your own. You will always wonder if every person you meet is 'normal' or one of us. That nice lady at the tea shop that always inquires about your family, is she just overly friendly, or is she a curious witch who wishes to know all about your nephew, the famous Harry Potter? Is your husband's new golfing buddy just a man who works at Holdsworth, or a wizard journalist wanting the inside scoop on Lily Potter? Can you trust anyone that doesn't answer your questions in a straight forward manner?" She watched her sister pale with every question directed at her and took a malicious satisfaction in it. "And when you're feeling sad, Petunia, is it just the gloomy weather? Or are there Dementors around? You remember Dementors, don't you, 'Tunie? Severus had such bone-chilling stories about the soul-sucking fiends. And muggles can't even see them. I've seen one, they're just as horrid as he said they were."
Petunia's fist clenched and she stomped her foot, much as she had so often in their childhood. "Stop it, Lily. You can't scare me with your wild stories."
Lily raised an eyebrow. "Wild stories, Petunia? After everything you've seen? People that don't know how to act in your world. Animals that aren't really animals."
"No-" Petunia's eyes dropped to the dog.
"Yes, Petunia. You remember James's best friend, Harry's godfather, Sirius. He was with me the day I came to get Harry. The other man, Remus, he couldn't be here. Still resting from the full moon. Werewolf and all that." Petunia paled even more. "Who delivers your milk? Who do you buy your papers from? Did the picture on that newspaper move? Were those people there a second ago? You can't trust your eyes, can you, Petunia? Muggles who know nothing of our world can write it off as a trick of the eyes and never think twice. But you, you'll always doubt what you see." Lily paused, a sad smile on her lips as she delivered her final blow. "You are a coward, Petunia Evans Dursley. You could not have the one thing you wanted as a child and so you hate it. Hate it with a passion that has consumed you, and it will taint every aspect of your life. You may live in an ordinary house, with an ordinary yard, and your ordinary family, but you will never be ordinary."
Petunia stared at her silently, and Lily could see the doubt and fear creep into her eyes. She grabbed at Sirius's fur and pulled him back into the shadows.
They landed in the shadows of Grimmauld Place and made their way inside. Lily went straight to the study and pulled out Sirius's bottle of fire whiskey. She poured a glass and tossed it back before refilling it and pouring out a second glass. She turned and handed the second glass to Sirius.
"What was that, Lily?"
She took a slow sip. "That, Sirius my dear, is what muggles call psychological torture."
"A muggle approach?" He asked skeptically.
She shrugged. "I realized no curse, no hex, no potion," she paused, "no potion that wouldn't send me to Azkaban would make an impression on her. It could all be cleaned up by the Magical Reversal Squad. She spent years calling my son a freak and locking him in a closet, now she will spend years second guessing herself. It may not happen immediately, but one day she will wake up and realize she has cut herself off from everyone and everything. One day she will realize she is not as normal as she'd like to be." Lily sighed, "Hopefully she will never realize the small chance that Dudley's children could be magical."
Sirius waited for her to sit down on the couch before he settled in the chair across from her. He raised his glass in a silent salute. "What about revenge taking a part of you, Lily?"
She lifted her lips in a cynical smile. "I'm a petty person, Sirius. Sorry if that destroys your image of me."
He shook his head. "You are a momma bear, Lils. You always have been." He took a sip of his whiskey, and they sat in silence for several minutes. "Lily." She looked up at him. "Not just James and Harry. You're a hero, too."
Harry had never been happier or felt more loved. His time with the Weasley's had been amazing and Diagon Alley had been brilliant. He'd finally gotten used to the stares, even if he still hated the attention. The only regret was that he might have hurt the blond boy. It hadn't been until much later that he'd realized he had never apologized for- what? What exactly had he done? One second the boy had been standing there and the next he'd been on the ground and Harry's hands had been glowing. Wild Magic his mum had called it but it scared him. Terrified him really. He wished he were going to Hogwarts already so he could learn to control it. He didn't want to hurt anyone, but he hadn't been able to control what had happened to the boy. Sure the boy had made him angry but violence wasn't an answer, he'd had enough of that with Dudley. And that brought up another concern. School was starting, and he and Dudley would probably be in the same class, again. But Harry had worried for nothing, because Dudley and his friends ignored him, which suited Harry just fine. A few days after school started, his old teacher, Ms. Winter stopped him in the hall to say how well and happy he looked and how pleased she was his mother had not died after all. His mum, Sirius, or Remus would Apparate him to school or home afterwards. Harry was finally starting to get used to the strange pulling sensation. He enjoyed the days he would come home to see Errol, the Weasley owl, lying limply on the doorstep. He always picked the ancient owl up, carried it inside, and fed it after removing Ron's latest letter. Ron had horrible handwriting but Harry didn't care, he devoured the news.
They had Christmas with the Weasleys. Molly had made him a knitted sweater with a large 'H' on it, and Harry hugged it close, the soft wool warm on his face. It was the best Christmas he'd ever had. Even going back to school, didn't ruin his happiness. It only meant he was that much closer to being able to go to Hogwarts. Finally, Harry was done with Primary School. He threw off his muggle clothes and changed into his robes as soon as he reached his room. Ron would be coming for a week before Harry went out to the Burrow for a week later in the summer. His mother had easily gotten a position at St. Mungo's, and Sirius was in training to join the Auror corp which left Harry basically alone and left to his own devices during the day. Which grew tedious after about a week.
Harry was relaxing in the parlor reading a copy of Quidditch Through the Ages that Sirius had given him for Christmas when the fireplace roared to life, green flames filling the once empty space. Before Harry could react, a tall, black-clad figure stepped through the smoke and froze when he saw Harry. It took him a minute to recognize the man.
"You're my mum's friend. Snape," Harry added, pulling the name from his memory.
The man nodded. "And you must be Harry."
"Obviously," Harry said, closing his book and sitting up. He winced at how rude that must have sounded.
Snape narrowed his eyes at Harry. "Where is your mother?"
Harry shrugged his shoulders, "Work. Same as Uncle Sirius."
Snape looked around the room, as if some unknown person might materialize out of thin air. "They left you home alone?" He raised an eyebrow.
Harry snorted, thinking of his over-protective guardians. "Hardly. Kreacher's around somewhere. Most likely hiding in Regulus's old room. And Uncle Remus is upstairs."
The eyebrow went up again. "A house elf and a werewolf two days after a full moon? And anyone can just Floo in."
Harry tossed the book on the small table beside him. "Trust me, they both know you're here. Mum and Uncle Sirius have some pretty awesome charms on this place. Madam Malkin forgot to owl mum she was sending a shop elf with some new robes for Uncle Remus a few months back." Harry laughed at the memory. "That was interesting. Well, not for me. Mum cast an invisibility charm on me, Uncle Remus bound me so I couldn't move, and Uncle Sirius cast a silencing charm. I think he enjoyed that a little too much," Harry added thoughtfully. "I guess they're worried some people might still be after me."
"Do you always talk so much?" Snape drawled.
Harry thought for a second and shrugged, "I suppose I do. Must have picked it up from Ron. He's a Weasley. I guess it's 'cause the Dursleys never really let me talk, so I've got years to make up for."
"Lucky me," the man mumbled. "And who are the Dursley's?" Harry wondered if the man was curious about him, but didn't want to admit it or let it show too much. Most people didn't hesitate to show their curiosity and normally he hated answering intrusive questions. But there was something about this man that made him want to open up. Plus, he was a friend of his mum's so he couldn't be all bad.
"My aunt and uncle and cousin."
A look of unchecked surprise crossed Snape's face for a second. "Someone married Petunia and procreated with her?"
Harry scrunched his forehead in confusion. "Uh, yeah, I guess so. I mean, she married Uncle Vernon and they had Dudley, if that's what you mean."
"Dudley Dursley?" He emphasized the 'D's. "She never was very creative," the man mumbled.
"You knew my aunt?" Harry asked surprised. "Oh, yeah. Mum did say you were her oldest friend, so I s'pose you knew her before Hogwarts."
Snape sniffed, "When will your mother be home?"
Harry looked over at the clock on the mantle. "Oh, not for hours yet. Not before tea time anyways."
"Hmm. I suppose I will go then. Tell her I stopped by... please."
Harry nodded, and Snape turned towards the fireplace. Harry jumped up. "Wait! ... Please."
Snape paused with his hand hovering above the jar of Floo powder and turned to look at Harry over his shoulder. "Yes?"
Harry glanced down, not quite sure how to proceed. "Can you- I mean, would you- I mean..." Harry sighed and shook his head. "Never mind." It was a stupid idea anyways. He didn't know what he'd been thinking.
Snape dropped his hand and turned fully towards Harry. "If you've something to say, Boy. Say it."
Snape wasn't as intimidating as his Uncle Vernon, but he also wasn't as open and friendly as his new friends and family. Harry took a fortifying breath and plunged ahead. "It's just, I'm a bit bored, and if you'd consent to stay for a game of chess, I promise not to talk so much. Uncle Remus usually plays with me but, well, like you said, two days after the full moon." Harry waved his hand, indicating the room upstairs where his uncle rested. "I know you must be terribly busy or maybe even a bit sick of children, but, I just... hoped..."
Harry held his breath as Snape looked from him to the chess table to the fireplace and back to Harry. He narrowed his eyes, "You promise not to ramble?"
Harry let his breath out in a rush and nodded, "Not a word."
Snape walked over to the chess table and sat down. He motioned to the chair across from him, and Harry ran over before he could change his mind. "Some talking will be expected, obviously," Snape said, setting up his pieces. Harry noticed the man had chosen white.
Harry placed his own men on the board. "What should I call you, sir? I mean, mum calls you Severus, and Uncle Remus calls you Snape, and Uncle Siri- Well, I'm sure that's not appropriate. I call Sirius and Remus 'Uncle' even though they aren't really. But I could-"
"I am not your uncle," Snape said vehemently, "and will not be referred to as such. At school you will be required to address me as 'Professor' or 'Sir', but seeing as how you have not even received your letter yet, you may call me Snape."
"Okay... Snape," Harry smiled brightly at him, and Snape stared back.
After only a few moves, it became apparent to Severus that Lily's son had something to say. "Mr. Potter," the boy's head jerked up, "If you have something to say, say it."
He bit at his bottom lip, "Well, it's just. I mean, I wondered-" Severus sighed in exasperation wondering what he had gotten himself into, and the boy rushed on. "What's it like? Hogwarts, I mean."
Severus wasn't sure how to answer that. "It is school, Mr. Potter. I imagine it is much like any other school." Severus moved his knight, and they watched as the horse reared back and trampled Harry's pawn.
They boy shook his head, black hair flying around his face, "Not like any school I've ever been to. I've only been to muggle schools. Charlie, he's a Weasley-"
"Yes. I am very well aware of Mr. Weasley."
"Charlie says there are floating candles, and never-ending food, and a forbidden forest with cen- centers in it."
"Cen-taurs, Mr. Potter."
The boy nodded. "Yeah, those. We never had any of that stuff at my last school. And the closest we had to a ghost teacher was Old Mr. Mathews, but he wasn't dead, just like, five hundred years old, so he only seemed dead."
"Mr. Potter," Severus interrupted the boy with the uneasy feeling that was the only way he would ever be able to hold a two-sided conversation with this child with his best friend's eyes. "You are rambling again. And I assure you, Mr. Mathews is not five hundred years old. Unless Mr. Flamel is sharing his secrets with muggles."
The boy blinked up at him. "Who's Mr. Flamel?" The boy moved his bishop.
"Lupin has done a horrible job of teaching you this game," Severus said blandly.
The boy shook his head, "Uncle Remus says I'm hopeless at chess. Who is Mr. Flamel?"
Severus rolled his eyes, "Nicolas Flamel is a friend of Dumbledore. He invented something called the Philosopher's stone. which is a key ingredient in the Elixir of Life which allows the drinker an extended life."
The boy gaped at him. "So he could live forever?"
Severus shrugged. "I suppose. Though, one assumes one might eventually tire of all life has to offer." The boy looked as if he highly doubted that. "Checkmate."
The boy didn't even look surprised. He held out his hand and Severus shook it. "Thank you for the game, Mr. Snape."
He nodded his head and stood to go. "You will tell your mother I stopped by?"
The boy looked up from studying the board, "Hmm? Oh, yes. Sure."
Severus walked over to the fireplace and hesitated. He turned back to the boy. "If you wish, I can return tomorrow. Perhaps a different chess partner will help you to improve your game."
The boy smiled broadly, reminding Severus of Lily. "That would be brilliant."
Severus nodded once and stepped through the fireplace.
Harry wasn't sure when Snape's visits became a regular occurrence, but almost two weeks later they were sitting at the chess table again.
Snape sighed. "Checkmate."
Harry groaned. "I told you, Snape. He's helpless," Remus called from the couch, and Harry cast him a glare that clearly said "traitor."
"One more, please," Harry begged. "I've almost got it," he lied.
"I get the feeling," Snape said, "that you un-teach him everything I try to get through his thick head, Lupin. Everyday I feel as if he's made progress only to return the next day and he has forgotten it all. Tell me, are using Obliviate, or Confundus on him?" Snape moved his pieces back and motioned for Harry to do the same.
"I try to get him to sleep on his back, but he turns over in his sleep and it rolls right out his ear," Remus said as he flipped the page of his magazine.
"Uncle Remus," Harry whined.
Harry waited his turn and studied the board for a minute before going to make a move. Snape reached for his hand and called out a sharp "No." Harry flinched, pulled his hand back and knocked several pieces on to the floor.
"S-sorry." Harry slid out of the chair onto his hands and knees, crawling under the table to retrieve the pieces. Hands trembling he placed a few pieces on the table and went back for the others. He was concentrating on trying to steady his nerves and didn't see the other man kneel down beside him. Snape placed a hand over Harry's when he reached for another piece. Harry turned unsure green eyes up at him.
"Are you okay, Harry?" Snape asked him softly.
Harry nodded, trying to keep the tears from falling. He didn't want to look like a baby in front of this man. "Yes. It's just- sometimes, when I'm not expecting it, loud noises remind me of Uncle Vernon."
Something hard flashed in the teacher's eyes, "Did he-"
Harry shook his head, "He never hit me. Really. Just got loud, and shoved me into the cupboard. Ow!" Harry hissed. He had reached for a broken piece and cut his finger on the jagged edge.
"Let me see that," Snape grabbed Harry's hand. "Here, let me heal it." Snape stood and grabbed his wand from the chess table. Harry held his hand up to Snape and Snape grabbed his wrist. "Stand up," Snape said exasperatedly and levered Harry up. Snape pointed his wand at Harry's hand.
"Get away from my godson, you son of a-"
Harry's hand was jerked out of Snape's as Snape went flying.
"Sirius, no!" Uncle Remus cried.
Harry realized his godfather was currently on top of Snape, and he watched in horror as the two men struggled. Remus appeared and pulled Sirius back, "Uncle Sirius, what are you doing?" Harry asked, finally finding his voice.
Sirius turned flashing eyes on Harry. "He was going to curse you."
Harry held up his bleeding hand. "He was going to heal me. I cut my hand on a broken chess piece."
Snape had pulled himself up from the floor and straightened his robe. "Perhaps it is time for me to go."
"But, you'll come back again tomorrow, won't you?" Harry knew he was pleading but didn't care. He had enjoyed Snape's company.
"Back again?" Sirius asked incredulously. "Just how often have you been in my house?"
"I invited him," Harry said defiantly.
Remus placed a hand on Harry's shoulder. "Perhaps you should go have Kreacher fix you up."
Harry nodded and headed out of the room, casting a pleading glance at Snape.
"Sit down, Sirius," Remus said behind him. "We need to talk. Please stay. Snape," he added in a softer voice as Harry left the room. He was torn between staying to listen and the pain in his hand. Perhaps Kreacher would be quick. He ran to the kitchen to find Kreacher standing by the stove.
"Kreacher, can you heal me please?" Harry knew it tickled the house elf when Harry said please and thank you and tended to act faster when these words were used. Not that Harry wouldn't have said them anyway.
Kreacher turned around and Harry held his hand out. Kreacher took it and looked it over. "Kreacher must clean it and disinfect it or it will get infected. Kreacher wouldn't want Master Harry to get an infection."
"Thank you, Kreacher." Kreacher lifted his lips in a semblance of a smile and waved his hand over Harry's palm. There was a warm tingling sensation and then a quick cold rush over the cut, and, when Harry looked at it, there was no evidence of the injury. "You're the best, Kreacher. Thanks." Harry ran out of the kitchen, slowing and quieting his steps as he neared the parlor.
"Alright," came Sirius's annoyed voice, "I get it. It's good for Harry to have friends. But how do we know he's not just trying to get on Lily's good side? I assume she knows he's been visiting, as well."
"I'm still in the room, Black. And I can assure you," Snape said sounding bored, "that I am not 'trying to get on Lily's good side.' Lily and I have talked and are rebuilding our friendship. I do not need to use the boy for anything."
"And what happens when you tire of just being friends?"
"What are you insinuating, Black," Harry heard the warning in Snape's voice.
"What are your intentions towards Lily?" His godfather snapped.
Harry recognized Snape's now familiar snort, "Are you serious, Black?" Harry had to cover his mouth to hold back the laugh at Snape's unintentional joke. "Perhaps you should ask Lupin how ridiculous that question is."
"What the hell are you talking about? What is he talking about, Remus? It's a perfectly logical question."
Snape's snort again. "Not really, Sirius," Remus answered in his soft tones.
"Go on and tell him, Lupin. He and James were so convinced I was in love with Lily, they never saw it." Harry leaned in closer, curiosity eating at him.
"Saw what?" Harry could hear the frustration building in Sirius's voice.
A soft sigh that must have come from Remus. "He's gay, Sirius."
Harry was thankful his own gasp was covered by Sirius's "What?"
"Queerer than a flaming fairy," Snape drawled.
"But you dated Bealltrix," came Sirius's doubtful reply.
"Enough to turn any man, I'm sure," Snape drawled. "But, I was already questioning my sexuality. She was a... test, if you will." Snape paused. "Perhaps I should be asking what your intentions are towards Lily."
"She's my best friend's wife," Sirius gasped.
"Who happens to be dead," Snape said flatly.
"I'm not having this conversation with you. Lily is like a sister to me."
Harry heard the front door rattle and tiptoed away from the parlor door just as his mother walked in. She smiled, "Harry."
"Hey, mum. How was work?"
She eyed him curiously. "Fine. How was your day?"
"Good," he nodded. "I think Snape's about ready to give up on me."
"Not yet," came the familiar drawl.
His mum smiled, "Sev, you're still here."
"I was just leaving. I was coming to tell Harry goodbye."
Harry realized it was the second time Snape had used his given name. "Would you like to stay for dinner?" She asked, and Harry crossed his fingers between the folds of his robe.
"Not tonight. But thank you, Lily. Until tomorrow, Mr. Potter."
Harry shook the proffered hand, trying to not let the disappointment show, instead concentrating on the man's words. "You're coming back?"
"Did you not just hear me say I was not ready to give up on you?"
Harry nodded and smiled at his future teacher.
Chapter 6: Letters from Hogwarts I
When Harry woke, it was not one of those eyes-blinking, slowly waking from a world of sunshine and butterflies, time to face the day starts. Rather, it was an immediate, eye-popping, absolute certainty that something wonderful was going to happen. Today was the day he would receive his letter to Hogwarts. When he had left the Burrow last week, Ron had told him exactly how many days it was until their letters would arrive. Harry had been counting the days. He jumped out of bed and ran downstairs to the kitchen. His mother, Sirius, and Remus all sat at the table eating breakfast as if it were a normal Saturday. His mother smiled up at him.
"Good morning, Harry. Hungry?"
Sirius held up a roll. "Kreacher made some excellent breakfast rolls this morning. You should try one."
Remus turned the page of his copy of the Daily Prophet. "You seem a bit distracted, Harry. Something wrong?"
Perhaps Ron had gotten it wrong. Or he had skipped a day in his counting. Harry moved to his seat, trying not to let his disappointment show. He pulled out the chair and sat down.
"Scoot your plate over here and I'll load it down with these pastries."
"Honestly, Sirius. Give him some bacon too, at least. He needs his protein," his mother said.
Harry pushed his plate towards Sirius but instead of it sliding smoothly across the table, it bumped down as if it had been sitting on something. Harry looked down to see a cream envelope that had been hidden under his plate. He picked it up and read his name on the front.
"Ah," he heard Remus say, "I knew I'd misplaced the mail this morning."
"What have you got there, Harry? Is it for me? Hand it here," Sirius said. Harry looked up into the laughing faces of his mother and uncles.
"Oh, you guys are so cruel. You knew. You knew and you let me think- Ugh!" Harry tore open the envelope and pulled out the two sheets of paper.
"Hand me that second page, Harry. That's your supply list. I'll hold on to it until we get to Diagon Alley next week."
Harry slid it across the table and looked up from the letter in his hand, "Can we go today?"
"No. We are meeting the Weasleys there next week before we come back home for your birthday celebration."
"Alright," he sighed. "Can I go write Ron and let him know I got my letter?"
His mum waved her hand, knowing Harry would eventually eat when he got hungry. "Go on."
Harry ran off, eager to write Ron.
It was hard for Harry to concentrate on anything during the next week; Snape had to get his attention several times during their chess games. Finally, on Wednesday, after the third time Harry's mind had wondered, Snape called him sharply.
"Mister Potter. What is your problem?"
Harry blushed, "Sorry, sir."
Snape sighed, then understanding lit his eyes. "You have received your letter."
Harry nodded enthusiastically. "And we're going to Diagon Alley this weekend to get my things. We're meeting the Weasleys and then coming back here for my birthday celebration. Will you come?"
"To your birthday... party?" Snape asked incredulously. He thought for a moment. "Hmm. We shall see. Make sure you get your cauldron from Potage's and your potions supplies from Slug and Jiggers. Only the best for my class. But your mother will know that." Snape waved his hand over the chess table. "Can we get back to our game now, Mr. Potter? I believe you might actually be learning something."
Harry grinned and moved one of his pieces. Snape sighed and shook his head. "Never mind. I misspoke."
Harry wasn't sure if Snape would be going to his birthday celebration later, but he had definitely gotten him a present. Their first stop upon reaching Diagon Alley was Potage's for his cauldron so he would have something to carry his books in. When they entered the shop, a short bald man greeted them warmly.
"Lily Potter. And this must be Young Harry." He crooked his finger at Harry, "Come here, young man. I have something for you."
Harry looked questioningly up at his mother. She smiled reassuringly and urged him towards the counter. The man lifted a cauldron onto the counter. "A little fairy told me it was your birthday and said I was to give you this." He patted the cauldron proudly. "Top of the line, this one. Locally made with the best pewter. It's got a special charmed outer lining to help it heat evenly and the inner lining is EZ-Kleen formula. It's all yours," he pushed the cauldron across the counter to Harry. "Oh, and this too." Harry took the folded parchment Mr. Potage took out of the pocket of his robe.
For Mr. Potter
Hope you are better at Potions than chess.
Harry smiled up at his mum. "It's from Snape. It's a birthday present."
His mother laughed. "Of course. Well, I guess it's off to Madam Malkin's to pick up your robes then. Thank you, Mr. Potage."
They met up with the Weasleys as they were leaving the robe shop, and the group headed over to Flourish and Blotts. The trip to Ollivanders was a little awkward when the wand that chose Harry ended up being the brother to Voldemort's. His mother thought it must have to do with a magical connection Harry must have forged with Voldemort when their magic collided.
An hour later, the group stood inside number twelve Grimmauld Place lining their cauldrons along the stairs for easy retrieval after the celebration. They filed into the parlor where Sirius, Remus, Mr. Wealsey, Hagrid, and Professor Dumbledore waited for them. Harry was excited to see a small table filled with gifts and a cake on the chess table.
"I imagine clearing that chess board will be fairly easy for you, Mr. Potter."
Harry turned at the sound of Snape's voice, beaming brightly. "You came."
"So it would seem. I had to make sure you received my gift." He raised a questioning eyebrow, and, not for the first time, Harry thought he really needed to learn how to do that.
Harry nodded, "Oh. yes. Thank you."
"Harry, come look at this," Ron called from over by Hagrid.
Harry smiled at Snape and ran off to join Ron. "Hagrid got you an owl, Harry," his friend said excitedly.
"Thank you for coming, Sev." Severus looked down at Lily, who had finally made her way over to see him.
"It is a nice celebration," he assured her. "He seems to be enjoying himself."
"It's only his second one," she said sadly. "Well, third, but he doesn't remember his first birthday." Severus shot her a questioning look. She sighed. "Petunia never celebrated his birthday."
He nodded with understanding, remembering his own missed birthdays. Waking up each year, hoping his father wouldn't remember. Sometimes he got his wish, sometimes he didn't. Severus pushed the memories back.
"Sev, I need a favor."
He looked down into the concerned look on Lily's face. "Anything within my powers, Lils."
She smiled softly at the old nickname and motioned for him to follow. She led him out of the parlor and up the stairs to the second floor. She opened a door and motioned for him to enter. He walked into a bedroom decorated with soft gold accents. He glanced at her. "Your room?" She nodded, and he crossed over to the dresser. Several pictures of Harry, by himself, and with his "uncles," were spread across it. He picked up the middle frame which held a picture of baby Harry with both his parents. "Sirius won't be happy I'm in here." He looked at the happy family before placing it back on the dresser.
"I'm a big girl," Lily said. "I don't need Sirius's approval to have a man in my room."
Severus laughed. "You make it sound like we're going to, what do the kids call it these days? Snog."
Lily laughed and patted the bed across from where she sat. "Even if I offered, you wouldn't. Come sit down, Severus. I always hated having to look up at you." Severus smiled gently and sat awkwardly on the edge of the bed.
"What's wrong, Lily?"
She got a far away look in her eyes. "It's Harry. I'm worried about him. When he goes off to Hogwarts."
Was that all? Empty nest syndrome, he believed the muggles called it. And of course it would hit her especially hard. One day she'd had a baby and when she woke up next she'd had a nine year old son. "He'll be fine, Lils." Severus patted her hand. "He's already got Ronald and the Weasley twins. He'll fit in just fine."
She shook her head. "It's not that. Harry doesn't have trouble making friends." Yes, the boy had a way about him. She took a deep breath and looked up into his eyes. "His Wild Magic has been awakened, Sev."
Severus couldn't hold back the gasp. "So, that's how..."
She nodded, "And he had a run in with the Malfoy boy last summer in Diagon Alley. I don't think anyone really realized, but Sirius and I both saw the blue glow on his fingers."
Severus's mind was spinning wildly. "Once he starts practicing magic on a regular basis, the Wild Magic will grow. It's like a magnet. It'll feed from-" he ran a hand down his face. "Merlin, Lily. Do you know how much Wild Magic is just sitting around that castle? He'll need to learn to control his emotions."
"Remus and I have already been helping him with that. But, Sev," she placed a pleading hand on his arm, "eventually he'll need to learn how to actually control the Wild Magic."
Severus swallowed thickly. "And that's where I come in?" He knew what was coming. Oh, the irony. James Potter must be rolling over in his grave. The one thing he had consistently tormented Severus for was the only thing that could help Harry.
As if sensing his line of thought she looked pleadingly at him. "I didn't want to ask you. I know you turned away from that. But, Remus says you're the only one we know and can trust that has dealt with Wild Magic. And Albus agrees," she added softly.
He snorted, "Of course he does." He turned to face her. "Listen, Lils, the Wild Magic we contained for use in the Dark Arts- it isn't the same."
"But it's the closest any of us have come." She leaned across the bed. "Please, Sev. I need to know he's going to be okay. I need to know someone is looking out for Harry."
He sighed and smiled softly at his dearest friend and wiped the tear from her cheek. "Okay, Lily. I'll-"
The door slammed open, and they jumped as it crashed against the wall. Black stood in the now open doorway, glaring at Severus. "What the bloody hell are you doing to her?"
Severus looked at Lily. "See. I told you."
Lily rolled her eyes and stood up, "Oh, stop acting like my big brother, ready to jump any male friend I have."
"I don't think he's feeling very brotherly," Severus mumbled, but neither seemed to hear him.
"Severus and I were just talking," she told the man.
"In your room?" Black asked doubtfully.
"We needed privacy." And Severus could picture the familiar eye roll.
Black's eyes roamed the bed where Severus still sat, refusing to give into Black's unspoken demand. "And a place to sit?" He sneered at Severus. "Thought you didn't swing that way? Guess you had everyone fooled."
Lily sighed, "The only fool here is you, Sirius. Severus has been out since he was thirteen. I tried to tell James, but he wouldn't believe me either." She turned to Severus. "Thank you. It eases my mind knowing I have someone I can count on."
Severus watched her leave and finally stood up. He crossed the room, Black's eyes boring into him. He passed him in the doorway and paused. "This protective older brother act will only go so far. Eventually she'll be ready to move on. She'll always love James, but one day, she'll wake up lonely, and you need to decide if you're willing to step up and take what you want. Or step aside for someone else. Again." And he left.
Dear Mum, Sirius, and Remus:
I'm a Gryffindor. So is Ron (big surprise) and a boy named Neville Longbottom and a weird girl we met on the train, Hermyonee. She is strange. She already read all the required course books plus the entire Hogwarts: A History. I don't think Snape was happy with me going into Gryffindor cause he's been scowling a lot more than usual. Percy says it's just cause he's a Slytherin and he only shows favoritism to them...
Sirius, Mum, Remus:
Thanks for the broom. Draco Malfoy was so jealous when he found out I was going to be on the quidditch team (youngest Seeker in a century) and then the new Nimbus from Uncle Sirius just made it all better. Professor Snape didn't seem too happy about it though...
Remus, Sirius, Mum:
I'm sorry. I know you already heard about the troll (I expect a Howler in the morning and I promise to listen to the entire thing). But it wasn't really my fault. Ron said some pretty mean things about Hermione (I looked at her school papers like you suggested, Mum. That's how she spells it.) and when she didn't show up to the Halloween Feast, I made Ron go find her and apologize. We were looking for her when Professor Quirrell made the announcement so we didn't know. On the positive side, Ron finally got the Leviosa charm right...
Mum, Sirius, Remus:
We beat Slytherin 170 to 60. I thought something was wrong with my broom because it started acting crazy, but I got it under control. I ended up catching the snitch in my mouth. Snitches don't taste very good...
Sirius, Remus, Mum:
Something weird happened last night. A few weeks ago Hagrid won a dragon egg in a card game. We convinced him to let Charlie have the dragon (Hagrid calls him Norbert) but we had to sneak out to the Astronomy tower to deliver Norbert to some of Charlie's friends. Anyway, I guess Malfoy overheard us or something, 'cause we got caught. The four of us plus Neville (Not real sure how he got involved) ended up with detention. I didn't think it'd be that bad when I found out we had detention with Hagrid. I think Malfoy was afraid of the Forbidden Forest 'cause he insisted we take Fang when Hagrid sent us to look for a wounded unicorn. Not sure what good he thought Fang would do. Anyway, by the time we found the unicorn it was already dead. But, Mum, there was something drinking it's blood. I met a Centaur named Firenze and he made it sound like Voldemort was trying to come back...
Uncle Sirius, Remus:
Mum said I should write and let you know I'm okay. And also apologize for my reckless behavior. Snape said it was probably a good thing I had Ron with me or I never would have made it past the giant chess board. Mum said if Hagrid had kept his mouth shut we never would have made it past Fluffy. But then Professor Quirrell would have ended up with the Philosopher's stone. Or maybe not, since he couldn't figure out how to make the Mirror of Erised work. Professor Dumbledore says as how I'm "infused with the Power of Love" or something like that. Either way, we are down a Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. Whoever they get next year HAS to be better than Quirrell...
Chapter 7: Letters from Hogwarts II
Harry left the adults to their after-dinner conversation and went up to his room. He was bored. He hadn't heard from Ron or Hermione in almost two weeks. He walked into his room and shut the door behind him and froze. A house elf stood on his bed. He looked around for Kreacher.
"I thought Sirius only had one house elf."
"Dobby is not being a house elf for Mister Black. Dobby is being a house elf for his own master."
Harry blinked in confusion. "Um, okay. You, uh, wanna sit?" He indicated the bed the elf stood on. He didn't want Kreacher to get blamed for any elf foot prints the new elf might leave on his blanket.
"Oh, Mister Harry Potter is so kind. Dobby has not met many nice wizards. Oh!" Dobby flung himself off the bed and banged his head against the floor. "Dobby should not speak ill of his masters." He stared wide eyed up at Harry. "Harry Potter should not return to Hogwarts. It is too dangerous."
There was a sound outside Harry's door, and Harry turned towards it. When he turned back, the strange house elf was gone. How odd. Not return to Hogwarts? As if!
"I bet he belongs to the Malfoys, and Draco sent him to scare you off," Ron said a few weeks later as he, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny stood outside Flourish and Blotts.
Hermione nodded her head in agreement. "Yeah. Draco is gonna try out for the quidditch team, and he knows he doesn't stand a chance against you. The only reason Gryffindor didn't win the quidditch cup last year is because you were in the hospital."
Harry nodded and held the door open for the other three before following them in.
"Did you see the required book list for Defense?" Ron asked.
Harry frowned and nodded. "Mum says she vaguely remembers Lockhart. Whoever the teacher is must be a huge fan."
"Have you seen his picture?" Hermione asked with a sigh. "He's absolutely adorable."
"George says mum has a crush on him," Ginny giggled.
They located their parents inside the book shop and went to join them.
"We have a very different idea of what disgraces the name of wizard, Malfoy," Mr. Weasley was saying as they walked up. Harry recognized Draco's father from two years ago.
The tall, blond wizard looked down at the book in his hand then over at the four friends and back down at the book in his hand. "Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1)," He looked at Ginny and sneered. Ginny instinctively drew herself up. "This must belong to you." He dropped the book in her cauldron and stormed off.
"Are all Malfoys such big gits?" Ron asked no one in particular.
"Yes," Harry heard his mother say. "Come on, Harry. I've already got your books. Bring your cauldron over here so I don't have to carry them."
Harry made his way to his mother, and she dropped the books into his cauldron.
"Lily Potter." They turned to see a tall man with wavy blond hair and lavender robes. "I would recognize you anywhere. And this must be young Harry. Come. We must have our picture taken together for the Prophet."
He turned them all and a flash blinded Harry momentarily. His vision came back just in time to catch the pile of books being shoved into his arms. He caught them with a grunt. "An entire set of my books," the man was saying, "which you will need in my Defense Against the Dark Arts class. That's right, folks. I am joining the staff at Hogwarts."
Harry groaned and slipped out of the man's reach. He shoved the stack of books at a laughing Ron. "Here. I've already got mine."
Mum, Sirius, Remus:
I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. We didn't think we had much of a choice. When the barrier at the train station closed and we missed the train we didn't know how we were going to get to school. Mr. Weasley's car was the only thing we could think of. We didn't know the invisibility button was going to break. We didn't get expelled, but we did get detention. And a stern lecture from Professor McGonagall, Headmaster Dumbledore and Snape. And the howlers from you and Mrs. Weasley...
Remus, Sirius, Mum:
Professor Lockhart is an idiot. He let a bunch of Cornish Pixies loose in class and ran out when they started attacking. It's a good thing Hermione knew some good spells. There's a first year here that keeps taking pictures of everything. Colin, I think. He's a muggle born and keeps talking about how his dad will like the pictures. He's a bit annoying, but I can still remember my first summer home, so... I just wish he wouldn't follow me around so much.
Sirius, Mum, Remus:
Draco had his father buy the Slytherins Nimbus 2001 brooms and now he's their new seeker. I think Snape is still mad about the whole car thing cause he even gave them permission to kick us off the practice field today. Slytherins are a bunch of gits. Guess I'll just have to show them that talent can't be bought. That's what Hermione said and Draco called her a mudblood (Hagrid told me that wasn't a very nice word) and Ron tried to curse him but it backfired. Ron spent the next hour spitting up slugs. Lockhart still thinks I want to be famous like him and had me addressing envelopes for him. I think he kept me up too late 'cause I could have sworn I started hearing voices...
Mum, Remus, Sirius:
Okay, wow! Where to start? So Nearly Headless Nick invited me to his 500th Deathday party (Remind me to NEVER have a Deathday-themed party) so I dragged Ron and Hermione with me (we only missed the Halloween feast so it was okay). We met all the castle ghosts (including Moaning Myrtle) and the Headless Hunters. But they didn't have any real food (Only rotting stuff) so we left early. That's when I heard the voices again. (Ron says I shouldn't tell anyone 'cause they might think I'm crazy but, I already told you about it and you won't lock me up no matter how crazy I am so I guess it's okay if I tell you.) I tried to follow the voice but we ran into Filch's cat Mrs. Norris. She looked dead, but Professor Dumbledore said she's only petrified. (Pretty sure Snape's still mad 'cause he tried to get me kicked off the quidditch team. Or he knows they don't stand a chance against me. Either way he was a real berk about the whole thing.) I guess it's a good thing we are growing Mandrakes in Herbology. Also, there was something written on the wall about a chamber of secrets. Do you know anything about that? It's all so weird...
Mum, Remus, Sirius:
I'm okay. Madame Pomfrey fixed my arm after Lockhart tried to fix it and ended up getting rid of the bone completely after I broke it when a rogue bludger hit me. Fred and George swear the ball had it out for me. But I caught the snitch and we won. It was right beside Malfoy at one point and he didn't even see it. Oh, Hermione asked Professor Binns about the Chamber of Secrets the other day in class. Apparently it was made by Salazar Slytherin to hold some monster and it's said only the heir of Slytherin can open it. I know who I think it is, but Hermione has a plan. (Don't worry. It's nothing dangerous) Also, a kid was petrified. That Colin kid I was telling you about, the one with the camera. I feel bad for him...
Mum, Sirius, Remus:
I'm a Parselmouth! (That's what Ron called it) Sorry if that's a bit of a shock. I'll start from the beginning. Lockhart decided to start a dueling club (Snape put him in his place, though) But they paired us up and I was put against Malfoy. I think his father has been teaching him some dark magic because he conjured a snake. Only the snake didn't come after me, it went after some Hufflepuff. I told it to stop and it actually listened to me. I didn't realize anything was wrong til i saw everyone staring at me. Ron told me later I was speaking Parseltongue and everyone thought I was egging it on. It was really weird. People are avoiding me now, Fred and George keep teasing me about being the heir of Slytherin since he was one of the greatest known Parselmouths. Oh, Hermione is staying at Hogwarts for Christmas. Can Ron and I stay to keep her company?
Sirius, Remus, Mum:
I can't believe people actually think I'm the heir of Slytherin. I'm not the pureblood that has it out for muggles. My best friend is a muggle born. Ugh! It is so frustrating. And it only got worse. You remember the Hufflepuff Malfoy's snake went after in the dueling club? When I tried to call it off everyone thought I was egging it on? He got petrified, along with Nearly Headless Nick, and of all people, I was the one that found them. It's okay. Soon we'll figure out who is doing all this and they'll be sorry they accused me...
Remus, Mum, Sirius:
I can't believe it isn't Malfoy! I was so sure Draco was the heir of Slytherin. But we found out over Christmas holiday that even Draco doesn't know who the heir is. But we did find out that the chamber had been opened before about 50 years ago. A girl was murdered then. Did you ever hear about that?
Mum, Sirius, Remus:
That stupid Lockhart set cupid-dressed dwarves loose in the school. My roommate, Seamus, sent one to a Hufflepuff boy. And someone sent me one but I don't know who. I tried to run but the stupid thing chased me and made me drop my stuff. Malfoy tried to take some of my things but I caught him. Did you know Hagrid was blamed for opening the Chamber before. I can't believe someone would think Hagrid would do something like that...
It's terrible! Whatever it is, it got Hermione. She and Penelope Clearwater were attacked and petrified outside the library. I guess now they'll believe it wasn't me. And then they sent Hagrid to Azkaban. How stupid can they be? Of course it wasn't Hagrid. And Dumbledore's gone too. I'm so confused and lost. Ron and I have to go find some spiders...
Mum, Remus, Sirius:
We've been taking care of some of Hagrid's pets for him. Did you know he has a giant spider? I miss him. It's just Ron and me now. Although, the other Hufflepuffs did apologize for thinking it was me. Small comforts right?
Mum, Sirius, Remus:
In our defense, Lockhart should not have tried to use Ron's wand to Obliviate us. The whole school new it was broken. And they very well couldn't expect us just to sit back while Ron's sister was down in the Chamber. And we were the only ones that knew how to get to it. We were going to just tell Lockhart how to get into the Chamber when we caught him trying to run away. But everything worked out when Fawkes brought me the sorting hat and the Sword of Gryffindor. Plus Fawkes got me, Ginny, Ron, and Lockhart out safely.
Sirius, Mum, Remus:
Hermione is awake, Hagrid's back, Dunbledore's back, and I caused Mr. Malfoy to free his house elf. Hermione's not too happy about exams being cancelled, but I think she's the only one. I missed her! And I miss you guys too, but I'll see you soon. Lockhart still hasn't recovered his memory so it looks like we'll need a new Defense teacher next year. I hope they get someone who actually knows how to defend against Dark Arts...
Chapter 8: Letters from Hogwarts III
"Have you heard from Mr. Weasley?"
Harry looked up in surprise. He hadn't even realized Snape had been paying attention when he'd mentioned the Weasley's windfall and the family's subsequent trip to Egypt. He nodded. "I received letters from him and Hermione yesterday. She went to France."
"And they are enjoying their respective trips?"
Harry nodded, and Snape handed over another root for him to chop. This summer, Snape had decided to finally give up on chess with Harry. Instead, Harry was Flooing to Snape's to help him brew potions, in the event he "might actually learn something or at least pass next year." "They won't be back until the week before school starts, so I guess you don't get a break from me," Harry joked.
Snape nodded. "I suppose that is acceptable. We can continue to work on your potions. If the last two years are any indication, you will have no free time between detentions and your little adventures."
Harry smiled slyly at Snape. "We could avoid the detentions. Just count all these afternoons as detention credit."
"If my company is so abhorrent to you, Mr. Potter," Snape began icily.
Harry immediately realized he had hurt the man's feelings and reached across the table to place a hand on Snape's. "I didn't mean it like that." He looked into Snape's dark eyes, "It was a stupid thing to say. I do enjoy our afternoons together." Harry lifted one corner of his lips in a half smile. "Let's say I owe you a detention for that careless remark."
Snape snorted, but Harry caught the slight tug at his lips. "I do not give detention over the summer," and his eyes lowered to where their hands met.
Harry realized he still had his hand on Snape's and moved it back. He shrugged his shoulders. "Alright then. I freely give you permission to assign me detention once this next year for no reason."
Snape snorted again. "You had best get cleaned up. Your mother will expect you home soon. As will Black, and if I know him, he is watching the clock."
"Do you think you and Uncle Sirius will ever get along?" Harry pulled off the extra robe he left at Snape's specifically for their brewing and changed into his clean one.
Snape frowned into the cauldron he was stirring. "Doubtful, Mister Potter. Our animosities run deep." He looked up at Harry, "I suppose the best you can hope for is civility. Now get going."
Harry nodded, "See you tomorrow."
When Harry returned home, his mother and uncles were sitting at the table talking. From the looks on their faces, it looked pretty serious.
"Mum," he said cautiously. "What's wrong?"
She looked up at him. "Harry, sit down. We need to talk."
He pulled his chair out and sat down, looking between the three adults. "Okay. What's wrong?"
Sirius spoke first, "We uncovered some evidence in one of our investigations that a group of Death Eaters may be trying to reform. With a single purpose in mind." He looked significantly at Harry.
"They want to finish what Voldemort started?" The adults nodded, but wouldn't look him in the eye. Suddenly only one thought filled his mind. "Mum! Mum, please don't pull me from Hogwarts. I'll do whatever. I won't sneak out. I won't follow a trail of spiders or some possessed diary."
"What about Hogsmeade?" His mother asked softly.
The question threw him off. "What?"
"Hogsmeade," she repeated. "You'll be a third year. Third years can start going to Hogsmeade."
"I'll stay in the castle. It's not forever right? Just until you catch whoever it is?" He looked at Sirius.
Sirius nodded, but didn't speak. Instead Remus spoke up for the first time. "And I'll be there."
Harry blinked in confusion. "What?"
"Dumbledore has offered me the DADA position."
Harry turned to his mother, "See? I'll be safe."
His mother sighed and Harry knew he was going to Hogwarts.
Mum and Sirius,
I'm sure Uncle Remus will tell you himself but they've posted Dementors around the perimeter of the school. It seems a lot of other families are being threatened as well. Mostly muggle-borns. Also, Hagrid is the new Care of Magical Creatures professor and Hermione is taking a ton of classes. I don't know how she is going to handle it all. I should probably also let you know that, according to Professor Trelawney, the Divination teacher, I'm going to die at some point this year. Most likely by some hideous death. She says she saw the Grimm in my tea leaves, but I think it was just a sign that Padfoot was going to come visit me. I also got to ride a hippogriff, which was terrifying and amazing at the same time. Malfoy, the stupid git, fell off his hippogriff and cut his arm on a rock or something. He had to be taken to the hospital wing. Wuss!
Mum and Sirius,
Uncle Remus is the coolest professor ever! We got to practice on a Boggart in class today. He let Neville start and Neville's greatest fear is Snape for some reason. Remus taught us the Ridikulus spell and Neville imagined Snape dressed in his grandmother's clothes. It was hilarious. (Please don't tell Snape I said that) Most of the class got a chance at it and some of the things they came up with were hilarious.
Mum and Sirius,
The school had its first Hogsmeade weekend and I stayed with Uncle Remus. We played at chess, so I'm sure you know how well that went. We only played one game though, because it's getting close to the full moon and Remus isn't feeling too well. Snape has him on some new potion, so we'll see if that helps. When we got back to our rooms the fat lady wasn't in her portrait and it had been slashed. I'm not sure what happened, but they made us all sleep in the Great Hall while the teachers searched the school.
Mum and Sirius,
I'm okay, but Malfoy is such a git. He claims to still be hurt from his fall, so we had to play Hufflepuff instead. What a baby! I had my arm broken by a bludger last year and still managed to catch the snitch. It was raining pretty bad on game day, so I'm not sure if it was the rain or Dementors that showed up but I fell off my broom. I'm okay but my broom got caught in the Whomping Willow, so it's history. Also, Snape taught Uncle Remus's class while he was out, and now I have to write an essay on how to spot a werewolf. Do you think I'll get detention if I describe Uncle Remus? I might do it anyway. I owe Snape a reason to give me detention because of something I said this last summer. "Distinct characteristics of a werewolf by Harry J. Potter: They can be grumpy in the mornings when not met with a cup of black coffee with a hint of milk. It is sometimes best to address them by the name of Moony when I'm in particular trouble..."
Mum and Sirius,
I know I've told you thank you at least a hundred times since Christmas morning but Oliver and the rest of the team want to include their gratitude for my new Firebolt as well. My Patronus lessons are going slow but Uncle Remus promises not to give up on me. Thanks for suggesting them, Mum. Knowing I'm at least working on a way to fight back has helped the nightmares...
Mum and Sirius,
Getting better at Patronuses. (Patroni?) Remus explained about Dementors' kisses. They sound horrible.
Mum and Sirius,
That stupid git Malfoy went too far this time. He almost made the Ravenclaw seeker fall off her broom during the game. He and some of his friends dressed up as Dementors to try to scare me and it ended up scaring her. On the plus side, they all got detention and I produced a fully formed Patronus. It's a stag, just like dads.
*FOR THE EYES OF LILY POTTER ONLY*
I hope you aren't reading this to Sirius or letting him read it cause I don't know how he will react. I haven't told Uncle Remus. I don't know what to do. Hermione said I should tell Dumbledore but Ron said I should write you. So I'm writing you, then I'm gonna go see Professor Dumbledore. A few months ago Fred and George gave me an old map they had found. It used to be dad's, but I didn't tell them that. It shows Hogwarts and all the people in it and where they are. I was looking at it tonight and I saw something on it that couldn't be right. But it has to be, 'cause Remus wouldn't make a mistake. Mum, it showed Peter Pettigrew in the castle. But he's supposed to be dead. I'm kinda scared, mum. The map shows Dumbledore is awake and in his office. I'm gonna go see him.
Mum and Sirius,
I guess it's okay for Sirius to read this one since I'm sure Uncle Remus has told him by now. Snape caught me in the hall on the way to Dumbledore's and Uncle Remus found us. I told them what I had seen and he took my map, but I don't mind. I know he's only using it to keep an eye out for Peter. I'm still kinda scared. I mean, how did he get in the castle?
What do you mean you knew Peter was alive? Suspected. Whatever. I had a right to know. The rat (literally, apparently) killed my father (close enough). Ron says he's sorry his rat killed my dad but I told him it wasn't his fault. And now I've got a giant dog following me around school as well as the professors watching my every move. I can't even visit Hagrid. This sucks!
Mum and Sirius,
I can't believe Peter escaped. And Uncle Remus won't be coming back to teach next year. I mean, it's great the aurors want his help tracking Pettigrew down, but he was the best Defense teacher we've had. Ron says thanks for the new owl and wants to know if I can go to the World Cup with him. They also got a telephone so Ron can call me (if he can figure out how to use it).
Chapter 9: Letters from Hogwarts IV
"So mom says I can go," Harry dropped the broken dragon scale into the cauldron and watched the brew turn a deep purple. "I've never seen that shade."
Snape looked over Harry's shoulder. "It's because the scale was broken. If it had been a whole scale it would have become blood red and unfit for human consumption. Whole scales are too powerful." He went back to slicing the stem he was dissecting. "I agree with Lupin; there has been no sightings or rumors of Pettigrew since the incident at the school."
Harry shivered at the thought of Pettigrew loose in the world. "And they haven't contacted you?"
Harry saw Snape's lips tighten in disapproval. He hadn't been happy to find out Harry had been eavesdropping on his conversations with his mum and Remus. "No. Despite my apparent dislike of you, I am still seen as a wild card to my former fellow Death Eaters. I don't know if I will be welcomed back by the Dark Lord when he returns. I may have sabotaged my own chances to once again play spy. But despite that," he pointed his knife towards Harry, "my treatment of you remains the same. Our relationship outside these walls-"
"I know, Snape. Mum and I have discussed it in depth."
He nodded. "Good. And as to the quidditch World Cup Final, I believe it will be heavily guarded. It should be safe enough. Like this, Mr. Potter." Snape moved behind Harry and placed his hand over Harry's, redirecting his stirring technique.
Harry smiled over his shoulder at Snape, "Thanks."
Snape lifted the corner of his mouth in that half smile Harry knew so well and stepped back. "Details, Mr. Potter. I despair of you ever passing your O.W.Ls."
Harry shrugged, "I've got two years."
"A most distressing thought, I assure you. You are entering the half way point of your educational career, Mr. Potter. Do you think you will be able to actually focus on school this year?"
Harry reversed his stirring. "It's not like I plan these things. And, besides, last year wasn't so bad."
"No. You only had a mass murderer after you, and the school was crawling with Dementors."
"Not my fault. But I did learn how to make a Patronus."
"Most impressive," Snape said blandly. "Do you suppose, if I created a potion that would scare away Dementors you might manage to brew it properly?"
Harry placed the stirrer gently on the table and shook his head. "Nah. Conjuring a Patronus would definitely be easier than brewing. Now, invent a potion that would ensure I won the quidditch house cup and we can talk."
Snape actually laughed. "How very Slytherin of you. Are you sure the Sorting Hat put you in the right house?" He ruffled Harry's hair but paused at the look on Harry's face. He slid his hand down to cup Harry's chin and forced his head up to look at Snape. "Harry?"
"It's just," Harry tried to look away but Snape kept forcing his face back to look up at him. "Sometimes I wonder. I mean, I'm a parselmouth, and I know I absorbed some of Voldemort's magic. And, perhaps, sometimes I'm not as honest as the other Gryffindors."
Snape moved his hand and grabbed the roots he had sliced. "The hat knows, Mr. Potter. It is not wrong." He dumped the roots into the brew.
"I asked it," Harry mumbled.
Snape's head snapped up, and he looked at Harry. "What?"
"The hat wanted to place me in Slytherin, but I asked it not to. Maybe I'm not a Gryffindor after all."
"Mr. Potter, you risked your life when young Ms. Weasley was trapped in the Chamber, very chivalrous of you, a defining trait I'm told. You went after the Philosopher's stone with only two other eleven-year olds and defeated Quirrell. That was very brave. Stupid, but brave. You saved Ms. Granger from a troll. You tamed a Hippogriff. You were the youngest seeker in a century. Shall I go on with the acts of bravery you have committed?"
Harry hung his head and shook it, "But I have Wild Magic, and I'm a parselmouth."
Snape grabbed Harry's chin again and tilted his head up. "It is not your abilities, but your choices that define who you are, Mr. Potter. Remember that."
Harry nodded and jumped when the brew popped behind him. "Your potion is done, Mr. Potter."
Mum, Sirius, Remus:
Mrs. Weasley said to owl you straight away before the papers got delivered. We are all safe and accounted for. You can't believe anything that Rita lady wrote. Well, I mean there were Death Eaters there and the Dark Mark did show up. We had to run into the woods to keep Hermione safe, but Mr. Weasley found us quickly and no one got hurt. Mr. Weasley and Percy had to go straight to the Ministry this morning, so I'm at the Burrow with Mrs. Weasley. I'll see you in Diagon Alley in a few days.
P.S. Why do we need dress robes this year?
Mum, Sirius, Remus:
Where to start? Hogwarts is hosting the Tri-Wizard Tournament. It sound exciting. And we are going to have students from two other Wizarding schools visit us this year during the competition. Our new Defense teacher is an ex-Auror named Alastor Moody so he might be okay. Not as good as you, Uncle Remus, but we might learn something from him anyway. Colin, the boy with the camera who got Petrified, has a brother. He's a Gryffindor, too. And I think Hermione is loosing her mind. She started ranting about Elf rights last night at dinner.
Mum, Sirius, Remus:
Professor Moody is so awesome. Ron, Hermione, and I got into an argument with Draco last night and Draco tried to hex me, but Moody turned him into a ferret. It was hilarious. Fred and George say he has an awesome class and I can't wait til our first lesson with him. Also, Hermione wanted me to tell Uncle Sirius that he should free Kreacher or at least offer to pay him. I'm telling you she's barking mad.
Mum, Sirius, Remus:
Professor Moody can be so scary. We had out first lesson with him and he showed us the Unforgivable Curses. He showed us on spiders so I guess it wasn't as bad. The Imperio wasn't that bad, but I suppose a person wouldn't want to be controlled like that. The Crucio was horrible and affected Neville pretty bad (Moody gave him an Herbology book later to cheer him up). And the killing curse. I don't know how we ever survived that, mum.
Mum, Sirius, Remus:
We have to start studying for O.W.Ls. We don't even take them until next year. And because of the stupid tournament there's no quidditch this year. It's going to be boring this year. At least you're letting me go into Hogsmeade. And there's the students from the other schools that will be arriving next week. Also, Professor Moody has been teaching us how to resist the Imperius Curse. So far, I'm the only one that can do it. Also, Hermione said I should tell you that my scar has been hurting. It doesn't happen often, usually just when I've had a bad dream, but I can't seem to remember the dreams.
Mum, Sirius, Remus:
I didn't do it!!! I swear. It wasn't me! I don't know how my name ended up in the goblet. I didn't even want to be a part of it. Fred and George tried, but their aging potion didn't work. And now Ron's mad at me. I don't think Snape it too happy either. I shouldn't have even been chosen. Cedric Diggory from Hufflepuff was chosen first. Crouch said it's a binding contract and won't let me out of it. At least I won't have to take finals this year.
Mum, Sirius, Remus:
The whole school hates me (well, most of them) and that stupid Rita Skeeter is only making it worse. She's trying to make this tournament all about me. (Did you SEE what she said about me "crying over my father's grave"?) Cedric is really the Hogwart's Champion. And Viktor Krum, Durmstrang's Champion, is the seeker for Bulgaria, he played at the World Cup Finals. And there's also Fleur Delacour, she is from Beauxbaton's and I'm pretty sure she's at least half Veela. I"m not the only person competing.
Mum, Sirius, Remus:
Dragons!? What am I supposed to do with a dragon? Hagrid sneaked me down to see them (Honestly, I didn't know what we were doing. He told me to meet him with dad's old cloak so I did.) I'm not sure what we are doing with them besides trying to avoid being killed. I know Madame Maxime with Beauxbaton's was there and I saw Karkaroff sneaking around too, so I think it's only fair I tell Cedric what I know.
Mum, Sirius, Remus:
I did it! Moody overheard me telling Cedric and to "reward me for my sense of fair play" he gave me a hint. He said to play to my strengths. I told Hermione it wasn't much of a hint since the only thing I'm good at is Seeking. She said that must be what he meant and made me practice Summoning my broom. It worked! I was able to summon my broom and use my quidditch skills to get the golden egg away from the dragon. So, now I'm tied for first place and the best part is Ron believes me and isn't mad at me anymore. So, now I can relax until the end of February. As soon as I get this egg opened and figure out my next clue. Also, remember the little elf I freed from the Malfoy's? He works at Hogwarts now. It was nice seeing him again.
Mum, Sirius, Remus:
I have to ask a girl to the Yule Ball. All the Champions are required to attend and open the dance. I asked Cho Chang, she's Ravenclaw's seeker and we get along okay, but Cedric already asked her. Ron asked Fleur (the half Veela) and of course she said no. Then he asked Hermione but apparently she's already going with someone but she wouldn't tell us who. And Ginny's going with Neville. This would be so much easier if I could just take Seamus. I wonder if the Patil twins have dates yet? Parvati's in Gryffindor and she seems nice enough.
Mum, Sirius, Remus:
Thank you for the wonderful presents. And advice. The ball was nice. They really went all out with the Great Hall. I didn't trip over my feet. Oh, and Hermione went with Viktor Krum. I thought she couldn't stand him. Ron got mad about it and said Hermione was a traitor. Also, I think Hagrid likes Madame Maxime, I saw them walking together at the ball. And Cedric said I should take a bath with my dragon egg. Whatever that means.
Mum, Sirius, Remus:
That Rita Skeeter is a horrible woman. Did you see the things she wrote about Hagrid? I wish that woman was a bug so I could squash her. I think Dumbledore and I convinced him most people don't care he's half giant. I hope he comes back to teach soon.
Mum, Sirius, Remus:
I figured out the egg. I opened it under the water and heard a song. Apparently, the Merpeople are going to take something important to me and I have to go get it back. I have an hour to find it and take it back. How am I going to be able to stay under water for an hour?
Mum, Sirius, Remus:
I don't care what Hermione says. I couldn't just leave everyone else down there. I had to make sure she and Cho and Fleur's little sister were safe. I couldn't take the chance that the Merpeople would just release them. I'm tied with Cedric for first place now and I don't have to worry about it again until June.
Mum, Sirius, Remus:
They've ruined the quidditch pitch! They destroyed it to grow a stupid maze for this stupid tournament. Also, I had to reassure Krum that Hermione and I were just friends. Good luck to him on that. But while we were talking, Crouch came up rambling a bunch of nonsense. I went to get Dumbledore but by the time I made it back he was gone. Krum had been stunned so he couldn't tell us what happened. It was all really weird.
Dumbledore thinks my scar is connected to Voldemort. It was hurting again and I had a- I don't know, a "vision" in Divinations so I went to see Dumbledore. I looked in his Pensieve and saw some memories I probably shouldn't have. (Did you know about Neville's parents? I thought they were killed like dad) It's got me kind of worried. If my scar is hurting and it's connected to Voldemort, does that mean he's back?
Mum, Sirius, Remus:
I know you just left and I'll see you in a few days but I- I don't know, I guess I just felt like writing. I'm still trying to make sense of everything. Snape says I'm in shock. But, I mean... Cedric's dead. Voldemort's alive. Fudge refuses to believe it. I know some people actually think I'm making it up. Hell, I think some people actually believe I killed Cedric. Thanks for letting me give my winnings to Fred and George. We don't really need it and I think it's important people have a reason to smile. They'll need it in the near future if Voldemort isn't stopped. And the whole thing with Mr. Moody. That poor man. I don't think he'll return as our professor next year.
Chapter 10: Letters From Hogwarts V
Harry leaned against the railing of the stairs and watched the people filing into the dining room. He sighed.
"What has you so blue-deviled, Mr. Potter?"
Harry looked up in surprise. He had forgotten Snape had used one of the upstairs rooms to refresh and change before the meeting. He shrugged, "Being a spoiled brat, I guess."
Snape raised an eyebrow. "How so?"
Harry indicated the dining room, "All these people here and no one to play with." He smiled self-deprecatingly. "You want to play with me?"
Snape looked taken aback for a second. "I believe the Weasleys and Ms. Granger will be here next week. Besides, I though I made it clear the only thing I was willing to do with you was brew potions."
Was that a blush? Surely not. Harry thought he must be imagining things. He shrugged, "It would still be better than doing nothing."
"I thought you would be tired of my company after four years, Mr. Potter."
Harry walked up the stairs towards Snape and his room, moving in front of his potions professor, close enough that their robes were almost touching. He smiled coyly. "I won't tell anyone,Severus. But you're not a terrible person to be around." He moved past the dark man and went to his room. He closed the door behind him and leaned against it, trying to catch his breath. Bloody hell, had he really just flirted with his potions Professor? He ran a hand down the front of his robe, thankful for the jeans he had started wearing under them last year to hide the random hard-ons. Except this one wasn't random at all. Seeing his professor, hair still wet from the shower, standing over him had sent a thrill down Harry's spine. And then he'd opened his mouth and asked Snape to play with him. He groaned into his hands. Harry had never really questioned his sexuality, he had always known he liked boys better than girls. He had even been attracted to Cedric at one point last year.
The thought of Cedric reminded Harry why all those people were downstairs. The Order of the Phoenix. Dumbledore's response to Voldemort's return. Harry hadn't seen much of Dumbledore since school let out, he hadn't seen Hagrid at all, and only very little of Remus. Harry knew they were all on assignments, but he hadn't lied when he told Snape he was bored. Bored and lonely. He couldn't wait for the Weasleys to get here next week. At least then he could be bored with Ron, Hermione, and Ginny.
Harry was ready to go back to school. First, there had been the news that Percy had abandoned the family, siding with the Ministry. Then there was the constant newspaper articles calling him a liar and Dumbledore a deranged old man. And then the Dementors had attacked while he was out with Ron and Hermione. He had produced a Patronus to protect them, but they had been in a muggle area and owls were already waiting when they made it home. The trial had been stressful, but over quickly and their Hogwarts letters were waiting for them when they returned. Ron and Hermione had been made prefects, and Harry was happy for his friends.
Mum, Sirius, Remus, Etc...
Made it to Hogwarts safely. Ron and Hermione had to start their prefect stuff so I sat with Ginny and Neville on the train. Ginny introduced us to a very strange girl. Her name is Luna and her dad owns the Quibbler. Also, Malfoy is a prefect (Thanks, Snape) so there's that to deal with. Did you know these weird, creepy horse like things pull the carriages? I'm not sure why I can see them and the others can't, though Luna said she could see them as well. I should mention our new Defense teacher is Delores Umbridge, Senior Undersecretary to the Minister. Apparently, she's here to oversee the education of young wizard minds. Hermione says that means the Ministry is interfering at Hogwarts. Also, I got into a fight with Seamus about the stupid Prophet articles. Wonder how many times that's going to happen...
Umbridge is a complete git. She absolutely refuses to teach anything and all we do is read from the book. Also, I got detention when I told her Voldemort was back. McGonagall says I need to be careful and keep my temper in check. Hermione thanks Umbridge is here to spy for Fudge.
Ron is our new Keeper. It'll be exciting to play on a team with him instead of just for fun out behind the Burrow. Hermione says I should be careful when I write to you since I hurt my hand when I was doing lines for our new Defense teacher. So I'll just keep this one short...
The new High Inquisitor at Hogwarts is observing the professors to get a better understanding of the curriculum they are teaching. She has also started implementing rules and regulations to make our daily lives more education-centered. We were recently discussing the dueling club Professor Lockhart had attempted during our second year and wondered if there might be someone more suitable for the subject among this years teachers. That idea was quickly laid to rest with Educational Decree twenty-three, which disbanded all clubs, teams, groups, etc. without the High Inquisitor's consent.
Hagrid is back at school, and those things that pull the carriages are called Thestrals (I understand why I see them now). Also, I have been banned from Quidditch. My fault really, as I lost my temper over a silly insult from Malfoy. Also, I've been having these weird dreams. It's hard to explain in writing. I'll tell you more about them when I come home for Christmas.
My Defense classes are going well, Hermione is still doing lots of knitting for SPEW, and Gin took over as Seeker. They said she's quite good...
I'm glad Mr. Weasley is doing better. I'm sorry I was so pouty over the holidays. I guess the lack of sleep was really getting to me. Ginny talked some sense into me and I think I'm doing better now. Also, I'll be starting remedial potions with Professor Snape soon, so that should help some as well. I can't believe Percy sent his sweater back. He can be such a git sometimes. We heard about the breakout. I don't think Neville is taking it too well.
The Quibbler has been banned from Hogwarts, I've lost my Hogsmeade privileges, and Professor Trelawney was dismissed.
Dumbledore is gone, we should not have gone to that meeting, but we are loyal to him.
Snape says my remedial potions no longer needs to continue. Fred and George quit school to open their joke shop. They left behind some pretty big messes the professors are having a hard time cleaning up.
Hagrid has been dismissed and Professor McGonagall got hurt. I think I did okay on my O.W.L.s.
I'm glad Snape understood my message. When I tried to Floo the house and Kreacher had said everyone was gone I was ready to go to the Ministry myself to save Sirius and that could have ended horribly. I think it's a good idea if we destroy the prophecy. Maybe we can do that when I get home. I am SO ready for this year to be over.
Chapter 11: Lines Drawn... and Crossed
"So, Dumbledore is trying to find these 'Horcruxes'?" Harry looked up from grinding the snail shell, and Snape nodded. "And how did he find out Vol-"
"Ah!" Snape held up a finger in warning, then went back to cutting the flobberworm.
Harry rolled his eyes. He got it, really he did. Voldemort was capable of putting a tracking spell on his name. He hadn't yet, but the Order was trying to break Harry of saying the name out loud just in case. "Fine. How did Dumbledore find out about You Know Who's little hobby?"
"Through a memory of Slughorn's. But he demanded protection to give it up."
"And that's why you're taking over the position of Defense teacher? Because Slughorn is a potions master?" Harry showed his mortar of crushed shells to Snape who nodded in acceptance.
"Yes," he dumped the freshly cut worm into the boiling liquid. "Ten minutes boiling, douse the flame, add the shell. Then we'll let it sit for two days."
Harry nodded and checked the time. "Mum said you were going to start helping me learn to control my Wild Magic."
"Yes. Don't think I didn't notice last year your fingers were almost constantly blue," Snape waved his own fingers as if to demonstrate.
Harry shrugged. "Umbridge. I'm finally learning to control my temper, though. She was good for that, at least."
Snape snorted, "We will start tomorrow and work throughout the summer. I hold little hope you will master the skills required in the few short months allotted us, so we will most likely continue during next term."
"I take back what I said last summer. You are a horrible person," Harry glared at him playfully.
"I will take that as a compliment, as I try my hardest."
Harry stuck his tongue out at Snape and the professor chuckled. "So, what then? More Remedial Potions?"
Snape shook his head. "No. Since I will not be the potions professor we cannot use that excuse again. And I doubt anyone in that school will believe you require extra lessons in Defense. Especially as you spent most of the year teaching your own form of Defense class last term."
Harry shrugged. "Someone had to. It did wonders for Neville's confidence. So, what then? Am I to be receiving unearned detentions then? I believe I still owe you at least two."
Snape raised that eyebrow at him. "I only recall you giving me permission for one," he said in that slightly condescending tone.
Harry looked guiltily away from Snape. "There was one night during the Tri-Wizard Tournament I was out after curfew."
"Only one night, Mister Potter?" Snape drawled.
Harry ignored him. "The night Crouch-as-Moody took the map and Filch took my golden egg."
Snape's head jerked up from where he'd been checking the potion, "You were there? I thought you must have run when you heard Filch coming."
"I couldn't. I was stuck. Had my leg caught in one of the trick steps."
"I did not see you," Snape narrowed his eyes at Harry.
Harry shook his head. "You wouldn't have. I was under my invisibility cloak."
Snape nodded as if pieces of a puzzle had fallen into place. "Of course. I assume it was your father's?" Snape waited and Harry finally nodded. "That explains a lot. So that's two detentions you owe me, Mr. Potter. Care to admit to any other transgressions?"
Harry smiled and shook his head, "Not really. Though I'm sure you could probably invent any number of transgressions you feel I must have committed over the last four years."
"And I would most likely be correct in my assumptions."
"I never did steal anything from your supply closet." Harry stretched and arched his back too far, causing the stool to tip back. Harry stumbled off the stool and Snape reached out to catch him. He grabbed Harry's arm and pulled him towards him, making Harry fall against the taller man, his palm flat against the man's beating heart. Harry heard Snape's breath falter as they stared into each others eyes, neither willing to break the contact. Finally, Harry's eyes slid to where his palm rested and smiled slyly up at him. "So you do have a heart after all. Too bad for Ron. I have no idea how he's going to come up with a hundred Galleons."
Snape opened his mouth but nothing came out. He cleared his throat and spoke. "Your potion, Mister Potter."
Harry pulled away, reluctant to leave Snape's strong arms, and grabbed the bowl of shells.
"Sprinkle them evenly across the top," Snape instructed as Harry doused the fire.
Harry sprinkled the crushed shells across the top of the still roiling brew and laid the bowl down. He looked at Snape. "That's it? I don't stir?"
Snape shook his head. "No. The shells will slowly sink and dissolve in the mixture. That's why it needs to sit for two days."
Harry shrugged. "You're the Potions Master." He moved away from the table and pulled his robe off. He wore jeans but no shirt as it could get extremely warm in the potions lab. Harry was fairly happy with his well-toned body, between quidditch and playing fetch with Padfoot his arms were well muscled, and he tried his best to keep his abs in good shape as well. Also, he didn't mind admitting in the deepest corner of his mind that he hoped his lab partner would notice.
"What are you doing, Mister Potter?"
Harry looked over to see Snape watching him, an odd look on his face. "I'm changing my robe, Mr. Snape."
"Don't get smart with me, Potter. Why are you not changing at home?"
Harry rolled his eyes. "I've always kept an extra robe in the lab to work in."
"You were a child then and a fairly messy one at that. There is no need to get undressed here anymore."
Harry turned to fully face Snape and held his arms out as if to say "here I am". "Jealous of my exceptional physique, Professor?"
Snape snorted, but Harry noticed he did not avert his eyes. "Hardly. I keep myself in peak physical condition, Mr. Potter. If I wish to admire a man's body I have no need to look at a boy's."
Harry ignored the implied insult and dropped his arms. "You exercise?"
Snape narrowed his eyes, "Certainly. Contrary to what you and your fellow classmates believe, I do not sit around in the dungeons all day planning how to make student's lives miserable."
Harry smiled, "Can I see?"
"Can you see what, Mr. Potter?" Snape asked in exasperation.
Harry leaned casually against the wall and crossed his arms. "A man's body. In peak physical condition, of course."
This time Harry was absolutely sure Snape blushed before turning to face the brewing table. "Go home, Mr. Potter."
Harry chuckled and grabbed his clean robe off the hook before heading up to the kitchen fireplace. "See you tomorrow, Severus."
Harry walked out, not looking back to see the potions master gripping the table, his knuckles turning white. Snape was slowly breathing in and out, trying to calm his boiling blood. He had an entire summer of dealing with the brat. He had to control himself.
Severus took a deep calming breath and stepped through the green flames. He bit back a groan when he entered the familiar kitchen. A large black dog sat on his hind legs staring at the fireplace.
"It's raining outside. Shouldn't you be chasing cars or something?"
The dog stood up, and Sirius Black pulled a chair away from the table. He motioned to a chair across from him. "I wanted to talk to you and I got bored."
Severus sighed, "I'm going to need some tea for this." He turned to the stove where Kreacher kept a kettle of tea ready at all times for the guests and inhabitants of number twelve. "I'm not due to be here until ten," he placed several small black leaves in the infuser and poured the boiling water over it.
"You're always early," Black said from the table. "Even when you know no one will be there."
Severus took his mug to the table and sat down. "Then they aren't back yet?"
Black shook his head. "Lily never heard the prophesy. She told Dumbledore she had a right to hear it."
Severus looked down into his teacup, wondering if he hadn't used the infuser what Trelawney would see in his leaves. His death, most likely. Vicious and painful. "I never heard it all. Merlin, I was so stupid back then." He jerked his head up to glare at Black, "Do NOT say a word."
Black shook his head. "I wasn't going to. We all made some dumb decisions when we were thrust into the war. I imagine it was even earlier for the Slytherins and other pure-bloods. You didn't have much choice. If you didn't join the Death Eaters you were shunned. And for you, of all people, that wasn't an option. Oh yes." Black said when Severus looked at him in surprise. "I've grown up, Snape." Black fiddled with a small pen knife he had pulled out of his shirt pocket. "I want to apologize for the things I did and said. And on behalf of the Marauders, though I suppose Remus must have apologized ages ago."
Severus nodded, "And I don't think I want you apologizing for anything Pettigrew did. I wouldn't accept it anyway."
Black nodded. "Alright then. Just for me and James, then. You know, he really didn't know about the trap I'd set for you. He was pissed at me for weeks for that. Wanted me to apologize to you, but then you pulled some prank and he forgot about the apology. We were stupid, weren't we?"
Black looked up, and Severus raised his tea in a salute and took a sip. "Now that you have apologized and feel that our... relationship, for lack of a better word, can move into at least a civil acquaintanceship, why did you really wait for me?"
Black looked around the kitchen as if searching for answers or avoiding Severus's penetrating eyes. "How did you know I loved Lily?"
Severus sipped his tea and studied Black. Sometimes men were so dense. "Was in love with you myself, wasn't I? Or thought I was."
Black's head shot up. "What?"
Severus chuckled at the look on the man's face. "Why do you think I followed you and Potter around? I sure as hell didn't want to be his friend." Severus rolled his eyes. "Oh, don't worry. I'm over it now." Severus waved his hand as if shooing a fly. "Crushes fade quickly when one realizes one's homosexual fantasy is straight as an arrow. But I saw. You loved her just as much as James did. I don't think he ever realized. But you cared for him too, so you stepped aside." Severus smiled into his tea. "It was funny actually. Watching to see which of you was going to win her over. Felt a bit sorry for you when she chose James." They sat in silence for a few minutes. Black staring at his penknife, or the table, or maybe just lost in thought. Severus sipped his tea. "You have a second chance now." Black looked up. "She respects you. Don't know what you did to deserve it, but she does."
Black shook his head, "Not during the war. I don't want a desperate war-time marriage."
Severus shrugged. "Worked for Molly and Arthur. Maybe for Bill and the Veela as well."
Before Black could answer, the fireplace roared to life, green light bouncing off the walls. They watched as Harry stumbled into the kitchen followed gracefully by Lily and Dumbledore. Severus eyed the lithe boy and marveled at the change in him from the previous summer when he'd still been fumbling through adolescence. He thought back to the previous day when Harry had pulled his robe off, catching Severus off guard with the toned, tanned body that had been hidden under school robes for the last nine months. Even the memory had Severus's heart rate speeding up.
"All done?" Black asked, pulling Severus from his perusal, and Harry nodded.
"I told them Harry wished to hear the prophecy," Dumbledore said as he sat down. "I don't think they liked that too much. But they didn't have much of a choice. It was Harry's to hear."
Lily snorted. "Fudge even tried to insist he be present when the orb was released." She sat down at the table and looked at Severus, "Been here long?"
"Obviously not," Harry said, "as whatever Sirius used to poison his tea hasn't taken effect yet." Severus picked up the tea cup and took it over to the sink to rinse out. "Hopefully you used something slow acting," Harry said to Black.
"Hoping for a long, drawn out and painful death for me, Potter?" Severus eyed the boy.
Harry shrugged. "That too. But I'd really like to actually learn something from you before you keel over."
Severus placed his cup on the counter. "Well then, shall we go see if any preventative measures I may have taken are enough to overcome Black's murderistic tendencies?"
Harry looked over at Lily, "Is that even a word?"
"Yes. Now go," he pushed Harry towards the door. Lily was still shaking her head when they left.
Severus followed Harry up the stairs. "We can use my room. It's the only place we can have some privacy," he said casually.
Severus felt the blood rush into his cheeks, thankful Harry was in front of him. Bloody hell! "What about a spare room? I wouldn't wish to break your bed, er, any furniture." Fuck! Had he just said that? He was a boy, dammit. And Severus wasn't a pedophile. He could control himself. He had gotten too close to the boy, that's all. The lack of past relationships and his friendship with this boy who was too mature for anyone's good were conspiring against him. He would have to distance himself, especially since they would be spending so much time together, alone. Severus felt his cock twitch at the thought. NO!
"The Weasleys came in last night. No spare rooms." Harry stopped at a door and pushed it open. He grinned at Severus and his heart leapt, "I even cleaned up."
Severus stepped inside and paused, avoiding looking at the bed was easy with Harry's attempt at "cleaning." Piles of clothes filled two chairs while another pile sat atop the dresser. His school trunk sat open against a wall, a small tornado obviously having attacked it. Beside the open trunk a desk sat littered with books, scrolls, and quills. Across the room, Hedwig's empty cage stood open next to the window and Harry's broom leaned against a closet door. In the middle of the room stood a large four-poster, its red and gold coverings rumpled as if someone had just risen.
"That's quite a large bed for one person," Fuck! He cleared his throat. "You'll need room. We'll have to move it," he added quickly.
"Oh, uh-" Harry dropped to his hands and knees and looked under the bed. He popped back up. "Yeah, it's safe." He smiled and Severus waved his wand and the bed slid across the floor.
"Excellent," Severus drawled, "no dead animals."
Harry laughed. "I'm not that bad. Though I wouldn't mind finding a dead rat. Preferably one with a missing toe."
Severus snorted but covered it quickly with a cough. "Are you ready to begin, Mr. Potter?"
Chapter 12: Making a Connection
Sorry it's taken a while to get this chapter up. My muse struck and wouldn't shut up until I got the story out. I'll post it when I'm done with this one and hope you guys will think it was worth the interruption. Until then... On with the story.
Harry groaned as Snape pushed him against the wall and pressed a hand to his stomach, his long fingers digging into Harry's firm muscles. "Here, Mr. Potter," his voice growled out. Snape slid his hand up to Harry's chest, "Or here. Or maybe," he took his hand from Harry and slapped him upside the head, "it starts up here. You've plenty of room up there."
Harry pushed away from the wall and knocked Snape's hands off him. "Keep that up and we just might find out where it starts. Can we take a break?" Exasperation laced his voice.
"No. NO!" Snape repeated and walked over to Harry's door. He turned the key in the lock and jammed it into his pocket. "Two weeks, Mr. Potter. I have been trying to get you to call forth your Wild Magic for two weeks. We have tried Malfoy, Umbridge, Pettigrew. None of it is working. So if I have to keep you locked in this room for the next week until you are pissed enough to blow the door off I will. Do you think I enjoy spending my time with a fifteen year old child every day of my summer holiday?"
"I'm sixteen now, dammit," Harry screamed at him. "I wish to hell you would make up your mind what you want from me. Last year it was 'clear your mind, Potter. Let go of the resentment'."
"That was Occlumency. Now, I need you to get angry. We need to know where your magic starts. You need to be able to summon it or dismiss it at will. We are very lucky your state of shock back in the cemetery kept the Wild Magic at bay. If the Dark Lord had discovered it then, he never would have released you or even given you a chance to fight back. But we can't do anything without the knowledge of where to start, Mr. Potter. It centers on your emotions." Snape took a deep breath as if to calm his own roiling emotions and sneered at Harry. "If anger isn't working, perhaps we can try passion. Got a girlfriend we can call to come suck you off?"
Snape's bored tone was the tipping point for Harry. "You'd have better luck with a man." Harry smirked at Snape. "Wanna give it a try? Word is you'd know how to do it."
Snape blinked several times, and Harry almost feared he'd crossed the line, but was too angry to care. Snape's eyes raked over Harry as if assessing him and they rose to meet green, a condescending look in them, "You are a child, Mr. Potter. And even if you weren't, you are not my type." He paused and satisfaction flashed in his black eyes. "I don't do spoiled brats."
Anger surged through Harry. "Fuck off, Severus."
Snape smiled, "Hold it there, Harry." Harry froze, confused. "Do you feel it? Close your eyes and find it. Find where it starts."
Harry looked down where Snape clasped his wrist and saw the blue tips of his fingers. He gasped and closed his eyes, searching for the magic he could feel building inside him. And there it was. Of course. How stupid he'd been. "My heart," he whispered.
He heard Snape sigh. "Of course. Concentrate on it and reach for it with your mind. Make the connection so you will be able to call for it."
Harry tried to reach his mind out to the magic. He imagined a vine, climbing from his mind down to his heart, connecting the two so they fed off each other. "How do I know if I've got it? I mean, I think I do," Harry said uncertainly.
"What would you say if I called Ms. Granger a mudblood?" Harry's eyes popped open, anger blazing. "I'd say you've got it, Mr. Potter."
Harry blinked in confusion, "How do you know?"
"Your eyes were almost as blue as your fingers," Snape said blandly, as if this were an every day occurrence.
Harry nodded in understanding. "Now what?"
"Now," Snape said, reaching into his pocket, "we go eat dinner." He tossed the key to Harry who snatched it out of the air and went to unlock the door.
"'I meant, do you teach me how to control it now?"
They headed down the stairs to the dining room. "Patience, Mr. Potter. One thing at a time. First you must master calling and releasing it. Then we will work on controlling and maintaining." Harry sighed and rolled his eyes. "You never were one to take your cauldron from the fire before adding the quills."
"Ah, still alive, I see," his mum said as they entered the dining room.
"Yes," Snape drawled as he sat down. "Though I won't let my guard down knowing any of you might be carrying poisons on your person."
"That shouldn't be necessary," Harry said, knowing of the many threats that had been thrown Snape's way after the house had had to listen to Harry's ill temper over the last few weeks. He filled his plate and smiled up at his mother. "Now that we've found it, and I'm pretty sure I can call it forth next time."
The people around the table smiled at him. "Oh, well done, Harry." "Good job, Mate." "About time."
"Hear, hear," Snape agreed with the last comment and raised his glass in mock salute to Harry.
"You had better be glad I'm not the potions teacher this year," Snape said, reading over Harry's shoulder. "You'd never get into my N.E.W.T. level class with an Exceeds Expectations."
Harry looked up at Snape hopefully. "Do you think Slughorn will let me in?"
"I don't see why not," Snape shrugged. "If you're finished admiring your O.W.Ls, do you mind if we get started?"
"Hmm?" Harry looked up at Snape. "Oh, yeah." He put the letter on the table for the others to see later and led Snape up to his room. "Thanks for letting me take a few days off," Harry said as they headed up the stairs.
"We both needed a break," Snape said behind him.
Harry nodded in agreement and closed the door behind Snape once they had entered. Snape moved the bed back to open the floor and conjured two large overstuffed chairs. "Have a seat, Mr. Potter."
Harry sat down in one of the chairs and Snape took the other. "Ready to have that heart to heart talk, Severus?"
"Shut up, Potter," Snape sneered. "And I did not give you leave to use my first name." Harry chuckled. "We need to concentrate on your ability to summon and dismiss the Wild Magic. You need to understand that once you actually start using the Wild Magic it will grow. That is why it is important you be able to call it back. We are starting here, instead of Hogwarts because the school is teeming with Wild Magic and like calls to like, if you will. You are not, under any circumstances to do Wild Magic outside without an adult present."
Harry nodded his understanding at Snape's severe tone, "Yes, sir." He rubbed his hands together and slapped his knees. "Okay. What do I do?"
"That connection you built the other day, you're going to follow it back and find that magic again. I want you to recall it slowly. Don't jump into it, Potter. It could hurt us both if you do." He stared Harry down, and Harry swallowed hard and nodded. "I want you to close your eyes and concentrate. As soon as I say Stop, you call it back, pull it back inside. Ready?"
Harry nodded and closed his eyes. "Think about where it was." Snape's soothing voice helped him relax as he remembered where the feeling had started, right in his heart. He thought he felt the familiar sensation and mentally grabbed for it.
"I found it."
"Good. Now slowly reach for- I said slowly, Mr. Potter. Stop. Pull it back. Let go," Snape's tone was frantic now, and Harry tried to release the magic but it was pulling him in. "Dammit, Potter, open your eyes."
Harry's eyes flew open just in time to see Snape lunging at him and pulling him onto the floor. A blue light erupted around them, knocking Harry's head against the floor. Harry groaned as Snape jumped up. "Dammit, Harry, I said reach for it slowly. Damn Gryffindor. Do you have any idea what you could have done? For once in your life will you listen to me? This isn't something you can just jump right into."
The door flew open and several people barreled into the room.
"What the bloody hell?" Sirius bellowed.
"Harry, are you okay?" His mother rushed over to help him up.
"Bloody hell, mate. what did you do to your room?" Harry looked around at Ron's question and realized his room looked as if a small bomb had exploded. Harry jumped when Kreacher appeared beside him.
"Kreacher will have to fix it. Repair the bed. Repair the dresser. Not washing those filthy muggle clothes," the elf muttered as he inventoried the room.
"Lupin," Snape called, "Potter will need a salve for his hands. Perhaps what you use for your scratches." Harry realized his hands did indeed hurt. "We can't do this here," Snape continued. "We need a safer place. I've got a room in my house I can charm the walls. I'll be back in two days to try again, that should give you time to heal. Do NOT attempt this on your own," Snape glared at him and waited for Harry's nod before heading towards the door.
"Professor," Harry called and Snape paused and turned to look at him. "I'm sorry." Their eyes met and held for a minute before Snape nodded and left.
"This will be our last lesson for a while, Potter."
Harry looked up at Snape. "Giving up on me just as I get the hang of it? That's not like you, Professor."
Snape rolled his eyes, and Harry smiled at the un-professor like expression. "You are doing adequate, Potter." Harry snorted. He had successfully summoned and dismissed his Wild Magic in varying degrees several times over the last few weeks. "But," Snape continued, "I have to return to Hogwarts, and I believe you will be going to Diagon Alley tomorrow."
Harry nodded. "Yeah. I can't wait to see Fred and George's place. They said I could have whatever I want, no charge, since I gave them the start up funding."
"Mmm. Hopefully you will be purchasing actual school supplies as well."
"Oh, yeah. Mum'll make sure I do," Harry tucked his legs under him in the large chair.
"Ms. Granger as well, no doubt." Snape pulled a small book out of the pocket of his robe. "You've already talked to Slughorn about your O.W.L.?"
Harry nodded. "Yeah. He said he'd love to have me in his class."
Snape held the book out to Harry. "Here. This might be useful since I will not be there to personally keep you from blowing up my potions lab."
Harry took the book and began flipping through the pages. There was writing in the margins and, as he read over some of the comments, Harry realized they were improvements to the recipes. "Oh, wow, thanks. Who's the Half-blood Prince?" Harry looked up at him.
Snape cleared his throat and looked away. "No one. Just a reminder of who I was. That I didn't really belong. Now," he cut off whatever Harry was going to say, "put it away so we can get started."
Harry closed the book and tucked it into his pocket. "You said we were going to do something a little different today."
Snape nodded. "Yes. You are going to start by summoning just a small amount of the Wild Magic and using it to destroy and then repair an orb." Snape waved his wand in a circle and a small glass orb appeared, floating in front of Harry.
Harry nodded and closed his eyes, feeling the connection and drawing out the Wild Magic that was becoming so familiar to him. He opened his eyes and focused on the orb.
"Think about what you want," Snape said softly. "Picture it in your mind." Harry nodded, picturing the small orb disintegrating. He held his hand out, blue light dancing around his fingers. He pictured the light reaching out to the orb and wrapping itself around the glass, crushing it. The blue light slowly moved out towards the orb and Harry watched in awe as glass shattered around them. "Now fix it." The orb reformed and Harry smiled smugly at Snape. Snape glared at Harry and grabbed the floating orb out of the air and threw it against the floor. Harry jumped as it shattered and looked up at Snape in shock. "Congratulations, Mr. Potter. You can do non-verbal, wandless magic. I don't care about that."
Harry sighed. He hadn't meant to. But when Snape had told him to fix it, Reparo had automatically popped into his head. Snape leaned forward in his chair. "Fix. It." He tapped the side of Harry's head, "Imagine it. Think it. A witch or wizard is born with the ability to control the innate magic inside them. Wild Magic is the magic that is at the core of every living thing. It is inside us. It surrounds us. Few are able to control it and contain it. It took Dumbledore and Tom Riddle years, but even they have not unlocked theirs to the extent that your father's sacrifice has done for you. And you do not have the luxury of years. As soon as- if he gains control of the Ministry, you will be enemy number one. How long do you think that will take? He gathers followers every day. One year, maybe two, if we are lucky. Do you understand, Mr. Potter? Regular magic is not strong enough."
Harry nodded. "Sorry, Professor."
Snape nodded and sat back. "Fix it."
Harry looked at the broken glass around him. He recalled watching the orb fall and break and reversed the memory in his mind. Imagined the glass coming back together and reforming a solid orb. He held his hand out towards the floor and the blue light ebbed out and covered the pieces laying on the floor. In a flash, the glass shot up and an orb filled Harry's hand. He grinned up at Snape.
Snape nodded. "Acceptable. Do it again."
An hour later, there was a knock on the door to the room they were using.
"Enter," Snape called. Harry looked up as the door opened and Ron and Hermione walked in. "Mr. Weasley. Ms. Granger. Right on time."
Harry looked at Snape in confusion. What were his friends doing here?
"Ah. Excellent. I'm not late," Dumbledore appeared behind his friends.
"Am I putting on an exhibition, then?" Harry asked and looked past Dumbledore. "Anyone else coming?"
"Sit down, Mr. Potter," Snape said, ignoring his, no doubt insolent, questions. Harry rolled his eyes but sat. Dumbledore conjured three chairs and the others sat as well. Apparently he was putting on a show. "As I told you, with the term starting, we won't have as much time to practice. Ms. Granger has agreed to stand in my stead a few nights a week. And Professor Dumbledore wishes to observe your progress."
"Then why is Ron here? No offense," Harry said quickly to his best mate. Ron shrugged as if it didn't matter.
Snape snorted, "As if i could keep him away."
Harry nodded. This was true. Even if Ron hadn't been invited, it would only be a matter of time before he and Hermione had filled him in. Snape turned to Hermione. "The key, Ms. Granger, is control. Potter must learn to control the Wild Magic. We will slowly increase the amount he uses. The more he uses, the more powerful it becomes. He must learn to control it before it overpowers him. I am sure you have done your research." She nodded. Snape formed a new orb and floated it over to Harry. "Mr. Potter."
Harry concentrated on the orb, it was getting easier, but still took some concentration. He watched as the Wild Magic flowed from his hands and wrapped around the orb, crushing it. Hermione gasped. Harry sent the blue light out around his feet and gathered the glass shards. A second later, he handed a fully formed orb back to Snape.
"Harry!" Hermione gasped.
"Bloody hell, mate."
"Well done, Harry," Dumbledore congratulated.
"It's a start," Snape said. "I want faster, Ms. Granger." Hermione looked over at Snape. "Faster reaction time, more targets, better accuracy. I want to be able to fill the room with a hundred red orbs and he needs to be able to destroy the one black orb. Do you understand?"
Hermione nodded and looked at Harry. The look in her eyes scared him. He hated when she got that specific look of determination. "Absolutely. Professor."
"Good," Snape said. "If you have done your research thoroughly, Ms. Granger, you will know Wild Magic is called Wild for a reason and should under no circumstances be practiced outside." She nodded. "Excellent. I believe you will know an appropriate place to practice then. You will have mine and the headmaster's express permission to be out after hours on the nights we discussed."
"But only until midnight," Dumbledore added. "You still have school."
Snape nodded. "Exactly. I will see you at the start of term feast."
Dumbledore led them out to Snape's kitchen and to the fireplace. Harry turned to Snape before stepping through. "Thanks for everything this summer, Professor."
Snape nodded, and Harry stepped into the green flames.
Dumbledore was back. Umbridge was gone. The Ministry had learned the hard way they could not control the school. There were, however, guards at the gate, scanning for illegal/dark magic items. Filch stood close by, ready to confiscate anything with the Weasley's Wizard Wheezes logo on it. Harry smiled. He was going back to Hogwarts.
"What N.E.W.T. levels are you taking, Harry?" Harry looked up as Neville slid into the seat across from him and Ginny, who arrived only moments before, red faced and breathing hard. The blond smiled shyly at Luna and looked back up at Harry.
"Charms, Defense, Herbology, Potions, and Transfiguration. All the ones I need to become an Auror. Mum finally said I had to drop Divination to concentrate on more important things."
"Potions?" Neville repeated. "You got an Outstanding then? I only received an Acceptable myself."
Harry shook his head. "No, only got an Exceeds, but Snape's not doing potions this year. We have a new potions professor. Snape's doing Defense."
"Are you taking Defense, Neville? You were very good at it last year," Luna said quietly.
Neville blushed, and Harry shared a knowing smile with Ginny. "Y-yes. I got an Outstanding thanks to Harry. We ought to all know Defense, shouldn't we, Harry?"
Ginny nodded. "Oh, yes. Especially these days. 'Course Harry's been practicing all summer, so he's already got a head start."
"As well he should," Luna said quietly. "If You Know Who gets the chance, he'll come straight for Harry." After her announcement the other three sat quietly until they were invited to meet Professor Slughorn for lunch.
Harry leaned over to Luna as the other two were leaving. "Don't feel bad, Luna. He's a bit of a git," he told her, aware the girl hadn't received an invitation. "I wouldn't go if I could avoid it."
Luna smiled up at him. "It's okay, Harry. I've got next week's issue to read."
Harry smiled at her as he left the cabin.
"Why'd you have to give me detention already?" Harry asked Snape as he threw his bag down on the table.
"Missing the Slug Club already, Potter?"
Harry stared up at Snape with something akin to hero worship, "You knew. You knew he was going to have a dinner."
Snape nodded. "I overheard him mention it to Professor McGonagall. I thought you might appreciate an out. Plus, I don't want you falling out of practice." Snape waved his wand and a glass orb appeared in front of Harry. Harry sighed and went to work.
"Thanks again for the book," Harry said after a half hour of practicing. "It's amazing."
"It helps then?" Snape asked, not looking up from the book in front of him.
"Oh yes. I won a bottle of Felix Felicis from Slughorn using it."
"Do not think to use that against my team, Captain Potter."
Harry laughed. "Oh no. I much prefer to beat the Slytherins the old fashioned way. With skill and talent."
Snape snorted. "Why don't you put some of that skill and talent to use," he pointed to the orb.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione spent the next several weeks disappearing most nights into the Room of Requirement. Hermione took turns creating orbs for Harry and helping Ron with his homework. It didn't take long for Neville and Luna to realize the trio were back in the room. When Neville expressed hurt that they had started the D.A. back up without him, Hermione invited him along. Luna joined them soon after. Luna was able to produce the orbs as well, and soon she and Hermione took turns working with Harry. Luna's orbs would often take odd shapes, which Hermione thought was good for Harry since putting them back together took more effort than just imagining a round ball.
Ron had dared to ask why Ginny hadn't joined them and was quickly informed by Hermione that Ginny spent most of her evenings with Dean Thomas. Ron, apparently, did not like this and grumbled the rest of the evening about his sister dating "boys like Dean" whatever that meant. Harry ignored him and continued to practice. He also made sure Hermione let them take a break once every other week to invite the D.A. back in for extra training. Because the students might be forced to face Death Eaters again, and what kind of person would Harry be if he didn't give his friends the chance to hone their own skills? Not that Snape wasn't an excellent Defense teacher, so the D.A. meetings became more of extra practice and a time for Harry to catch up on his homework.
During the first Hogsmeade weekend, someone slipped a package into Katy Bell's bag. When she saw it, she tried to open it and was instantly hit with a curse. Harry needed a Chaser. Ginny was ecstatic, Ron was pissed, Harry was concerned.
"Why'd you have to put him on the team?"
"He was second best after Katy. I couldn't skip him just because my best mate's sister is dating him," Harry explained for the third time.
"Why not?" Ron pouted as they made their way to the Room of Requirement.
As they walked in, several glass orbs rushed at them. Without a second thought, Harry raised his hand and blue light flew out, shattering the orbs.
Luna clapped. "I know you could do it, Harry."
"I hope you don't expect me to put them back together," Harry told them as he closed the door behind Ron.
"Not this time," Hermione told him. "But it's time to work on your focus. And something besides destruction. Professor Snape wants you to work on controlling objects."
Harry groaned. "I've got a game coming up."
"Harry," Hermione admonished. "You can play quidditch with your eyes closed. This is what we need to focus on."
Harry walked into Snape's classroom and tossed his bag on a table. Snape looked up at him and then back down at the scrolls on his desk. "It is often joked about, among the younger set, that when a person starts to get old the first thing to go is the memory. Am I to assume that, since I do not recall giving you detention, I am now entering that stage?"
"I'm calling in one of those detentions."
Snape looked up at Harry in surprise. "Volunteering for detention, Mr. Potter? Should I be concerned?"
Harry pulled a book out of his bag and reached for his quill. "I can't be in that room right now. Ron won't stop snogging Lavender. Hermione's pissed at him. Slughorn is following me around wanting to know who I'm taking to his Christmas party. Romilda Vane is trying to slip a love potion to me. Even Malfoy has hardly said a word to me. The whole world's gone mad."
"It was bound to happen. You are all teenagers. There is an empty classroom across the hall you can practice in for a few days if I have a student in here for detention."
"Still handing those out?" Harry looked up with a teasing smile.
"Always," Snape drawled back. "Ms. Granger says you are improving."
"Well, I haven't blown up the castle yet."
Snape snorted. "Do your homework. Tomorrow you can get back to practice."
A week later, Harry looked around the potions classroom. "Why are we in here?"
Snape laid a stack of papers on the desk. "Mr. Malfoy has detention with Slughorn to work on a potion, except Slughorn has fallen ill. It seems one of the students was able to slip in some Weasley products and Slughorn was unaware it was more than candy. You may practice in the room next door. I want to work on your focus, so as soon as I get Mr. Malfoy started, I will be over there."
"Yes, Sir." Harry turned, hurrying out of the room. He had done a decent job of avoiding Malfoy this year, and he wanted to keep it that way.
Severus picked up a scroll as he waited for Malfoy to arrive, keeping an eye on the time. He really was quite impressed with the progress Harry was making and was anxious to move forward with the man- boy's training.
"P-professor Snape. Where's Professor Slughorn?"
Severus looked up as Malfoy slid onto a stool. "He is ill. The instructions are on the board. Get started." Malfoy gathered the ingredients and looked up when Severus stood. "I will be back to check on your progress. I suggest you attempt a credible potion this time, Mr. Malfoy. I do not relish my evenings being interrupted to oversee a detention I did not personally give out."
At least he wouldn't be under Snape's watchful glare, Draco thought as the teacher left.
"What the bloody hell, Snape? I thought you were joking," Harry said as he looked around the room.
"I rarely joke, Mr. Potter," Snape said. "Find the black orb."
"There's got to be like, a thousand orbs in here."
"A hundred," Snape corrected.
Harry sighed, knowing it was useless to argue with the man. Harry watched as the orbs slowly began to move around the empty classroom. It did not take him long to locate the black orb. He raised a hand and sent a stream of blue light out towards it but missed as the orb flew away.
"You moved it," Harry accused.
"You expect your target to stand and wait for you to kill it?" Harry glared at the bloody git.
After a half hour Harry was getting frustrated. There were too many "innocent" orbs, and the black one kept moving. What he needed was for the innocent orbs to get out of his way and the black orb to stay still. An idea hit Harry and he felt his eyes widen. He looked over to where Snape sat, watching him as if Harry were there for his personal entertainment. He could do it. No one said he had to rely purely on his Wild Magic to defeat Voldemort. Hadn't he been using regular magic the last five years? At some point he would have to learn to incorporate both forms. Why not start tonight? Harry stood still a moment, studying the orbs. He slowly reached into his robe and wrapped his hand around his wand. He eyed Snape, who hadn't seemed to notice. Harry moved his left hand and blue light ebbed out in waves, grabbing a hold of the innocents and pushing them out of his way. He made a clear path to the black orb and quickly pointed his wand at the black orb. "Aresto momentum!" The black orb slowed considerably as if it were forcing its way through water, and Harry released the white orbs and quickly shot a bolt of blue light at his target before the innocents could block his path again. Black glass shattered to the floor. Harry stared, stunned that he had actually done it. Snape's slow clap brought Harry out of his shock. Harry whooped, startling Snape and the remaining orbs crashed to the ground.
"Oh, damn," Harry gasped. "I"m sorry, Professor. I'll help you clean in up." Harry took a step towards the man but not all of the orbs had shattered completely and Harry stepped on a half orb, slipping. He fell to the ground, grabbing onto a desk, but not before a shard of glass cut through his robe and sliced into his knee. "Bloody hell." He stood and reached down to pull his robe up, exposing a bloodied knee.
Snape jumped to his feet at the sight of the blood gushing from the deep cut, "Dammit, Harry. The supply closet, quickly. I've got something we can put on that."
Draco had been happily (well, as happy as one could be in detention) working on his potion for the last twenty minutes. He was currently slicing a flobberworm when the door flew open and Snape walked in. Draco almost sliced his finger open at the loud bang. He looked up as Potter walked in behind the professor.
"The supply closet, Potter. And pull your robe up," Draco heard an audible sigh from Potter as Snape crossed over to his desk and pulled open a drawer. He stuck something in his pocket and followed Potter into the supply closet.
"Put your foot up on that stool. I have something that will help with the pain," Draco heard him say as he closed the door.
What the fuck? Draco forgot about his potion and slowly made his way over to the closet door. He jumped at the sound of a loud thump and glass breaking.
"Fuck! That hurts, Severus!" Potter screamed.
Draco could barely hear Snape's reply. "I told you it might sting. This would be easier on both of us, if you would just relax. I promise it will stop hurting in a minute. And will you please stop breaking my things?"
There was a few minutes of quiet mumbling that Draco couldn't make out. He was about to give up and head back to his potion when he heard Snape speak again. "Oh, for the love of- let it out, Potter. You'll feel better."
Suddenly there was a loud moan followed by a quieter litany of fuckfuckfuck, and Draco felt his face heat up and trousers tighten. Sweet Merlin! Potter and Snape?
"I'm almost done. Is that enough or do you want more?"
"God no," Potter gasped out. Draco heard movement on the other side of the door and he raced back to where his cauldron sat. He grabbed the knife and hurriedly began chopping the worms again. The door swung open and Snape walked out. Draco's head automatically snapped up, meeting Snape's black eyes.
"Aren't you done with that potion yet, Mr. Malfoy?"
"A-almost, Professor." He lowered his head to the worm and heard Potter come out of the closet.
"You could have warned me," Potter said accusingly.
"Man up, Potter," Snape snarled. "This isn't the first time you've gotten hurt. I told you when we started, if you rush into it we could both end up hurt. At least we didn't destroy an entire room this time. Go clean up and get some rest. I want you well rested and ready for another round tomorrow."
"Tomorrow? Don't I at least get a day off?"
Draco was doing his best to concentrate on his worm but it was difficult. "You could always go back to Ronald-"
"I'll see you tomorrow," Potter interrupted the Professor.
Weasley? Draco was pretty sure Weasley was straight, but maybe that Lavender girl was just a rebound. He sneaked a glance up under the guise of adding his worms to see Potter limping towards the door. Damn, Snape must have been pretty rough.
"Potter." Both boys turned to look at Snape, "tonight was- acceptable. A creative approach I had not expected of you." Draco glanced back at Potter who smiled triumphantly as he turned and limped out of the room.
Damn! Lucky bastard, Draco thought as he stirred his potion.
"Luna?" Harry looked up at the bored tone. Snape stood next to him, watching the corner of the room where Luna stood talking to Hermione.
Harry shrugged. "At least I don't have to worry about her trying to slip me a love potion."
Snape took a sip from the glass in his hand and glanced around the room. "Isn't Mr. Longbottom fairly proficient in Herbology? I've heard there are some pretty lethal plants out there. I'd keep an eye on my drinks for a while yet."
Harry grinned at Snape. "Why, Professor, did you just make a joke?"
Snape looked at him and Harry thought he saw a slight twinkle in the dark eyes. "I thought I told you, Mr. Potter, I don't joke."
Harry opened his mouth to say something when they were distracted by a commotion by the door. They turned to see Filch dragging Malfoy in.
"Caught this one trying to gate crash."
Harry heard Snape sigh in frustration. "Dammit, Draco," he mumbled. "That boy is supposed to be keeping a low profile." Harry watched as Snape crossed the rooms and, grabbing Malfoy by the elbow, led him out into the corridor.
"What was Malfoy doing here?" Hermione asked from beside Harry.
He shrugged and nodded his head to a place behind Hermione. "Cormac just walked in from the balcony."
"Oh, damn," she muttered.
"You want to get out of here?"
"Please," Hermione begged.
Harry nodded. "You go get Luna and I'll meet you out in the hall. Slug's just spotted me, and I think that vampire fellow he's got following him wants a taste of me."
Hermione giggled and nodded as she made a beeline to Luna. Harry turned and barrelled out the door, hurrying before Slughorn and the vampire could catch him. Harry heard muted voices down the hall and, curious, cautiously made his way towards them.
"This isn't about me, Draco," he heard Snape hiss. "You are supposed to be keeping a low profile. Isn't it bad enough the things your father is doing? I promised your mother I'd keep you safe."
"I'm not a baby," Malfoy snarled. "I don't need someone holding my hand. Especially someone that's screwing a Gryffindor." A sharp pain went through Harry's heart. Was Snape in a relationship with one of his classmates, or a seventh year? Was that the reason he seemed so distant at times? Harry felt sick to his stomach.
"For the last time, Draco. There is nothing between Mr. Potter and myself. What you think you know is the imaginings of a dirty minded teenager."
Harry heard a door open behind him and the echoes of the Christmas party spilled out into the corridor. Harry rushed back just as Hermione and Luna stepped out.
"I'll have to spend the next month dodging him now," Hermione was saying. "Why did I invite him?"
"To make Ronald jealous, of course," Luna said.
"Well," Harry said, quickly interrupting Hermione's sure-to-be scathing remark, "at least we get to go home in a few days."
Hermione nodded with a sigh. "Yeah, mum and dad have a big celebration planned since it's been a while since I was home for the holidays. They don't really count last year."
They rounded the corner, and Harry was surprised to see Snape and Malfoy still standing there.
"How many dates have you got, Potter?" Malfoy smirked and looked at Snape to gauge his reaction.
"Tired of hiding already, Granger?" Snape said, ignoring Malfoy's jab.
Hermione shrugged. "We were just going to see if Neville wanted to hang out for a bit."
Snape looked over at Harry. "Mmm. Remember what I said, Mr. Potter."
Harry bit his lip to hold back a smile. "Yes, sir."
"Goodnight, Professor," Luna said as the trio moved forward.
He nodded to them and turned back to Malfoy. "Don't let me catch you out again, Draco. Get back to your dorm."
"What did he mean, Harry?" Hermione asked.
Harry waved a hand dismissively. "Just that when we returned after break, I was going to have to work harder."
"Oh, yes. Most definitely," Hermione agreed.
Harry groaned. What had he just done to himself?
So, little side note. The whole Draco brewing scene was actually my inspiration for this whole story.
Chapter 14: Revelations
After the Christmas break, Harry did indeed work harder. They were back in the Room of Requirement. Ron and Hermione had come to a sort of truce on Harry's behalf, and Hermione and Luna worked with Harry on integrating his dual magical abilities. By the end of February, Harry was getting bored with the "orb game" and begged Hermione for something new. She and Luna added more black "target" orbs.
Two good things came out of Ron's "Birthday brush with death." Hermione had finally forgiven Ron (him calling out to her on his "death bed" may have had a hand in it) and the staff finally realized someone was after Dumbledore. Slughorn couldn't remember where he had gotten the overly expensive bottle of mead he'd poured for the three of them, only that it had been intended as a gift for Dumbledore. Ron began spending more time in the Room of Requirement to get away from Lavender, and he and Hermione's relationship was mending fast. Ron had also, grudgingly, accepted Ginny's relationship with Dean and the two of them, along with Dean's best friend Seamus had begun joining them in the room as well. Harry's secret ability to control Wild Magic was fast becoming on open secret amongst the D. A. Alumni.
It was a Saturday in mid-April when Lavender finally found her way into the Room of Requirement to confront Ron. By this time Neville had produced a veritable forest of plants, giving Harry obstacles to work around, and Hermione and Luna were both producing and controlling several orbs each. On this day, Ron and Neville were sequestered in one corner going over their Herbology notes while Ginny, Dean, and Seamus gathered near the door laughing and talking over Dean's latest drawing. The door slammed open and Lavender stormed in, a look of triumph on her face. Parvati slid in behind her friend and pressed herself against the wall, as if to hide from the oncoming confrontation.
"Ronald Weasley, we are done." She stormed across the room towards where he sat, staring dumbfounded up at her. "It's one excuse after another with you. Ever since you started spending more time with her," Lavender pointed at Hermione, "you've been avoiding me. I demand a reason."
"Perhaps he's tired of your demands," Hermione said, crossing over to them.
"'Mione, I got this," Ron said, scrambling to his feet. Neville also jumped up and sidled over to Luna.
"Then do something about it," Hermione growled, glaring at the other girl.
Lavender crossed her arms, "Oh. Who's demanding now?"
Unfortunately, Lavender had not closed the door completely and Draco Malfoy chose that moment to walk in. "Having a party, Potter?" He looked around the room. "So many Gryffindors poor Ravenclaw must feel left out." Malfoy took a few steps into the room and held out his hand in invitation. "Come along, Little Luna, I'll keep you company."
Neville stepped in front of Luna, "Leave her alone, Malfoy." Harry saw Ginny motion to Parvati and mouth "Snape." Parvati slipped out of the room unnoticed.
Draco smirked, "Staking a claim, Longbottom? Isn't that sweet?"
"Shut up, Malfoy," Harry said.
Draco looked at him, "Am I ruining your fun, Potter? What are you all doing in here anyway?"
"Mind your own business," Hermione told him.
Severus had sent his last first year away from detention and decided to use the extra time to check on Potter. Granger had mentioned in her weekly reports that some of the other students were helping to create obstacles for Potter, and he wished to see the boy's progress. He had just entered the stairwell when the Gryffindor Patil slammed in to him.
"Ms. Patil, you had better have an excellent-"
She blinked as if just realizing exactly who she had slammed into. "Professor!" She gasped out of breath and pointed behind her. "Harry. Malfoy." She held a hand up as if to show him her palm, "Blue lights from," she gasped again, trying to catch her breath, "his hands. Ginny said-"
"Damn it," Snape pushed the girl aside and ran up the stairs. "Damn Malfoy. He can't leave well enough alone," Snape mumbled as he took the stairs two at a time. The door to the Room of Requirement stood open and several Gryffindor and Ravenclaw students stood outside it. "Back to your dorms," Snape barked and the students scattered.
"Get. Out. Malfoy." Potter was saying as Severus entered the room. "No one wants you here."
Severus looked around at the other occupants of the room. They were so absorbed in the exchange between Malfoy and Potter, no one noticed the blue sparks surging around Potter's fingers. Potter must have felt them subconsciously because Severus realized the boy was clenching and unclenching his hands and rubbing his thumb across his fingers. Severus closed the door behind him to prevent any other onlookers from peering in.
Malfoy snorted, "Don't want me in a room full of half-bloods, Potter? Half-bloods, blood traitors, and mud-"
"NO!" Severus yelled out and ran towards Malfoy. "Shields," he ordered as he threw up his own shield and grabbed Malfoy, throwing them both to the floor. He was relieved to hear several echoes of "Protego" seconds before the blast of blue light filled the room.
He waited several seconds for any backlash before standing up and pulling Malfoy up off the floor. "Of all the stupid-"
"Ooow," the boy howled. "I think my arm is broken, Professor."
"Serves you right, Malfoy. Twenty points from Slytherin for reckless endangerment." Severus looked up in time to see Finnigan's shield disappear into his wand. "Finnigan, escort Mr. Malfoy to the hospital wing. As soon as Madam Pomfrey is done with him I want him in my office."
Severus turned at Granger's scream to see her rushing towards the figure laying on the floor. Severus's stomach lurched at the sight. She dropped to her knees and reached towards Harry. "Stop." Severus rushed across the room and pushed the idiot girl back as he dropped to his knees beside Harry. "There might be residual magic."
Granger glared at him from where she was sprawled on the floor, having fallen back when he pushed her, Neville and Luna holding her as she tried to lunge at Severus. "Why didn't you protect Harry? You should have protected Harry, not bloody Malfoy. He started it."
Severus waved his wand over Harry's limp form, checking for excess Wild Magic. "The magic would not hurt him, Ms. Granger," he said in a deceptively calm tone.
"Not hurt him?" She screamed. "Look at him."
"He has collapsed from magical exhaustion and knocked himself out," Severus informed her. He picked Harry up in his arms and stood. He looked around the room at Harry's friends, his anger rising. "Do you see now?" His eyes bore into Granger's. "Do you see why it is so important he learn to control it? Not a single one of you even noticed he was getting out of control. If you are going to be in here, help him! Ten points each for lack of observational skills." He turned to look at Weasley, who was still trying to shake the Brown girl off his arm. "Brown!" The girl started and turned wide eyes on him. "Ten points for being where you don't belong. Your dorm, Weasley. Now."
The red head nodded and ran out of the room, Severus followed and caught the other Weasley's eye as he walked towards the door. "Make sure Ms. Granger and the others are uninjured." She nodded wordlessly, and he left. He knew he could have probably used a spell to levitate Harry to his dorm without any effects from the Wild Magic but, despite the words he had said to Ms. Granger, he needed to know Harry was truly okay. He needed to feel the warm body next to his. Needed to feel Harry's heart beat against his own. Weasley had the Fat Lady's portrait open for him, and he stepped through. Half of Gryffindor must have been in the common room. They gasped and called out for "Professor Snape" or "Ron" but the two ignored them and kept walking. Weasley opened the door and pointed to the bed closest to the window.
"His bed," he said in a tremulous voice.
"No one comes in," Severus told him. The boy nodded, and Severus kicked the door closed behind him. He carried Harry over to the bed and gently set him down on the rumpled covers. Severus couldn't help a small smile at seeing Harry's area was the messiest. Severus sat on the bed beside Harry and felt for his pulse again. It was stronger now, and Severus let out a sigh of relief. He leaned over Harry, bracing one hand on the headboard, to reach under Harry's head with his free hand and feel for lumps or, Merlin forbid, blood. His fingers slid through Harry's soft hair, feeling along the scalp. Severus closed his eyes at the sensuous feel of Harry's hair against his skin. There was a soft moan, and Severus's eyes snapped open to meet blazing green. They held for a second before Severus felt the pressure of Harry's hand on his neck, pulling him closer. Harry lifted his head and his soft lips met Severus's, moving over his in a soft caress. Harry's tongue slipped across Severus's lips, teasing him open. Severus gave in with a soft sigh, and Harry's tongue slid between his lips, caressing Severus's tongue. Severus tentatively slipped his own tongue into Harry's mouth, brushing it against Harry's lower lip. Harry moaned and grabbed Severus's robes, pulling the older man down on top of him. Severus felt Harry's hard prick press against his thigh and reality crashed in around him. Severus jerked his head back and jumped off the bed.
"No. Absolutely not! You will not use me to satisfy your curiosity or work out your daddy issues. I am your teacher, Potter. This is unseemly."
Potter pushed himself up with his elbows. "Okay, first of all, I don't need you to satisfy my curiosity. Seamus was quite willing to do that months ago. Second, if I had daddy issues don't you think I'd go to Sirius? He is, after all, the closest thing I have to a father." Potter sighed audibly. "I like you, Severus. I have for years," Potter looked down at his robes, cheeks turning a soft pink.
"You're a child," Severus said softly.
Potter looked up at him, green eyes flat, "And you're an arse. It doesn't change anything."
"I'm your teacher," Severus said almost desperately.
Potter rose from the bed abruptly and Severus took a step back. Green eyes softened, "You're scared." Severus bristled at the words and opened his mouth to give the boy a scathing set down. Potter held up his hand to stop the tirade. "It's okay. I get it. You aren't used to being close to people. I'm underage. And, yes, you are my professor." Potter sat back down and smiled gently at him. "It's okay. I can be patient."
Severus snorted in disbelief but caught himself. Too late. Potter had heard and chuckled. A commotion outside the doors reminded Severus they weren't alone, and he seized the excuse to get away from this conversation. "Your public awaits, Potter," he snarled and strode to the door. He pulled it open to see the Weasley facing off against his sister, Granger, and several other Gryffindors. They all froze and looked expectantly up at him, Weasley's face the most hopeful.
"He is awake," Severus announced and stormed off, hoping Malfoy was done in the hospital wing. He needed to yell at someone.
Chapter 15: Prisoner of War
Sorry this took a while to get up. I haven't been feeling well.
Draco was a Slytherin. He'd been a Slytherin since the day he was born. The Sorting Hat had only made it official. And as a Slytherin, he had been glared at, sneered at, and ignored by Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and even Hufflepuffs since his first day at Hogwarts. The last several weeks had been different, though. It was as if Potter were their god and Draco had personally spit on him. Which, he guessed, was a fairly accurate description of what had occurred. Potter was the "Chosen One" and Draco had insulted him. Well, Potter shouldn't be such a smug arse.
Draco stepped into the DADA classroom and tossed his bag on the table near the door. Another Saturday detention with Snape. He pulled the chair out, prepared to do more lines.
"Do not sit down," Snape's voice came from the back of the classroom.
Draco looked up to see Snape place a jar on a shelf and make his way to the front of the classroom. "Come with me, Mr. Malfoy."
Draco grabbed his bag up again and hurried after the professor.
"You think," Snape spoke as Draco hurried to keep up with the man's long strides, "that because you are a pure blood you are better than other people, Draco. You know nothing." Draco was taken aback at the sneer. "Do you know what a telephone is?" The professor glanced back and Draco shook his head. "Granger knows. And so does Potter. Even Weasley knows. And they know how to use one, as well. You wouldn't last a week in the muggle world. People like your father don't realize the things muggles can teach us. But that is not what today is about." They were walking up the stairs by now. "As head of Slytherin house, and having some inclination just where things have been heading for a while now, I have tried to make you students aware that there are choices open to you. Your father chose his stance a long time ago, but you do not have to follow in his footsteps. That is what your mother has been trying to get through your stubborn head. I have stayed out of it, or tried to, as I very much felt it was a family matter, and I had done my part to the best of my ability. But you have given me no choice. I promised to protect you and you have made it clear you do not wish my interference. Fine. I will accept that." They entered the seventh floor corridor and Snape stopped in front of the door to the room Draco had cornered Potter in. "I will allow you to make your own decision, but you should know what you, and your father by his own actions, are up against."
He opened the door and motioned for Draco to go in. Draco entered the room and froze in awe. It was a completely different sight than what had greeted him last time. Nothing he had ever seen had prepared him for the sight before him. Spaced around the room were pots of vines that, where previously they had been merely saplings, now had grown upward without any visible means of support. Granger and Lovegood stood against the wall across from him, lazily waving their wands in a seemingly random pattern. Longbottom stood off to the left with Finnigan, who was practicing water-making spells with him. Thomas and the two youngest Weasleys were on the right, talking amongst themselves. Suddenly there was a flash of blue light from the middle of the room. Draco looked to see Potter moving his hand, directing the light that flowed out. The blue light seemed to separate and wrap itself around each of several orbs that floated around the room. Draco knew immediately what that blue light meant, though he'd only read about it before.
"Neville," Granger called out.
Longbottom looked up and, realizing they had started whatever was going to happen, tore away from Finnigan and ran across the room. He waved his wand and streams of water shot out. The blue light wrapped around the water and seemed to mold it into an intricate dance.
"Seamus," Weasley called out and suddenly several of the vines caught fire as Finnigan waved his wand.
Draco heard the Weaslette giggle and call out, "Harry, make them dance."
Potter laughed from the middle of the room. "You're so easily amused, Gin." Draco watched as Potter waved his hand and the water began spinning across the room like a sideways corkscrew, the orbs moved in and out of the water spiral.
Snape moved beside him and Draco turned, startled, having forgotten the man was there. He held his wand out, creating several black orbs that levitated in front of him. With a sharp movement of his hand the orbs flew out into the room. "Attack!" Snape called and Draco almost ducked at the man's urgent tone.
The atmosphere in the room suddenly changed. Longbottom took control of the water, shooting streams at Potter. Finnigan jumped up and started shooting balls of fire at Potter as well. Thomas and the two Weasleys separated, spreading around the room, throwing curses and hexes at Potter. Granger and Lovegood didn't move, but their wand movements became more determined. A blast of water shot across the room, drenching Ginny Weasley. Potter pointed his wand and Thomas seized up and fell over. A vine near Draco wrapped around Ron Weasley and he fell down, throwing one last hex at Potter. The original orbs seemed to clear a path to each black orb as a flash of blue light destroyed each black orb in turn. As one, the original, white orbs moved to a corner of the room and a stream of water separated from Longbottom's water stream and doused the fires.
Granger yelled a "Finite Incantatum" and Weasley and Thomas stood up.
"Bloody hell, Harry. I'm soaking wet. That was brilliant," Ginny Weasley called.
"I can't believe you actually got Ginny this time," Finnigan called laughingly.
Snape moved forward, towards the congratulatory circle and the Gryffindors quieted down. "Not bad, Potter. You have made marked progress. Do you suppose you could do it with people?"
"I don't know, Professor. We could try," Potter's eyes locked onto Draco and suddenly Draco felt sick to his stomach at the memory of the shattering black glass.
"Perhaps another time." Snape turned towards Draco and started walking towards the door. "Let's go, Mr. Malfoy."
"Professor." They both turned to see Potter tossing a red orb into the air. "What do I do with the red one?"
Draco risked a look at the potions professor and saw a satisfied smirk on the man's lips. "Ah. Not bad, Potter. That is your prisoner of war. I'd hold onto him, he might be valuable one of these days." Snape turned and left the room and Draco followed.
Draco was a Slytherin. He'd been a Slytherin since the day he was born, and Slytherins may have been known for their ambition and cunning, but they also knew when a strategic retreat was in order.
Ron watched as Snape and Malfoy left and turned to Harry. "Did you know he was bringing Malfoy?"
Harry shook his head. "I thought Malfoy was doing detention with Filch."
"I imagine Draco Malfoy will think twice before he insults you again, Harry," Luna said.
Neville laughed. "I bet you're right, Luna. I'll make sure to stay close to Harry when Malfoy's around."
Luna slid up next to him and slipped her hand into his. "You were great too, Neville. You don't need Harry to protect you."
Neville blushed. "Everyone did great," Hermione said, pulling attention away from the shy couple.
"So, what is that, mate?" Ron asked, indicating the red orb.
"Don't know. I just noticed a different one and thought I should hold onto it. I just called it to me and slipped it into my robe."
"Snape said it was a prisoner of war," Seamus said. "Wonder what that means."
Harry shrugged. "He said to hold onto it, so I guess I will." He shoved it back into his pocket. "Man, I'm starved after that."
"Me too," Ron agreed wholeheartedly.
The Gryffindors immediately saw a difference in Malfoy's attitude and treatment of them. If he didn't exactly apologize to any of them, he never went out of his way to antagonize or insult them. As May faded into June, Harry became restless, wanting to spend more time outside. Before he knew it, it was time for their end of year exams. Harry sat in his last Defense class of the year reading his revisions that Hermione had written up for him and Ron.
"Potter." Harry's head snapped up, "Granger, Weasley, Longbottom, Finnigan, Thomas, a word after class."
The six students looked questioningly at each other, each one shrugging in confusion. "What did you do, mate?" Ron hissed to Harry as the rest of the class filed out. Harry noticed several of the Slytherins smirking at the Gryffindors.
Dean poked him with his quill. "It had to be you, Harry. If it's Snape, it's always you."
Harry saw Neville nodding in agreement out the side of his eye. Harry sighed, mentally agreeing with Dean, he did have a way with provoking Snape. The door closed behind the last student, and the group turned to look up at Snape. He didn't say anything for several minutes and the group sat frozen, waiting. Harry heard Ron's stomach rumble and he bit back a laugh. Ron kicked him under the table and Harry glared at him. Suddenly there was a knock on the door and the six Gryffindors turned as one to watch the door open. Ginny and Luna slipped in, Ginny's eyes widened in surprise when she saw Harry and the others.
"Ah, excellent, Ms. Weasley, Ms. Lovegood, have a seat." the two girls slid into the closest seats. "You have your Defense Against the Dark Arts end of year exam Monday morning," as if they needed reminding, Harry thought. "I wish to see each of you in my classroom ten minutes before class starts."
"Oh," Ginny spoke up, "But Luna and I have O.W.Ls."
Snape glared at her. "O.W.Ls do not start until 9:30. You can spare ten minutes for me." Ginny nodded. "That is all. You may go." The group sat in stunned silence. "You may go," Snape repeated and the group scrambled to grab their stuff and get to the Great Hall for lunch.
"Bloody hell," Ron said when they were some distance from the classroom. "Now I'll be too nervous all week to study."
"Me too," Dean agreed.
"Blimey," Seamus gasped. "You don't suppose he's going to give us all detention all next year for being in the Room of Requirement after hours?"
Hermione shook her head. "He gave us express permission to be out after hours."
"For you three," Seamus pointed out. "Not the rest of us." Hermione just shrugged.
The topic came up several times over the next week and throughout the weekend. They discussed every possibility they could think of from Snape assigning them extra work over the summer (Hermione liked this idea) to holding them back next year. (This one upset Hermione greatly and Ron had to reassure her Snape couldn't do that.)
By Monday morning none of them could hardly eat. Except Ron, who seemed to eat enough for all of them. Harry had finally forced himself to take a bite of toast when a shadow fell across their table. Harry looked up to see Snape.
Snape looked over the worried group, "A quarter hour," his eyes fell on Harry. "If you still have it, Mr. Potter, bring your prisoner."
Harry watched in confusion as Snape walked off. He turned at the tug on his sleeve. "The red orb, Harry," Hermione said desperately. "Do you still have it?"
"It's in my trunk."
"Go get it, mate," Dean said urgently. "Go get it before we have to meet him."
Harry shoved the toast into his mouth and jumped up. He ran all the way up to his dorm room and flung his trunk open. He pulled robes out, tossing them on the floor until he found the orb. He almost tripped on his discarded robes on his way out of the room. He ran into the classroom with only a minute to spare. Snape and the others turned to him as he slid to a stop just inside the door. He stopped to catch his breath, and Snape held his hand out. Harry went to hand him the red orb but a thought crossed his mind and he pulled the orb back. A few of his friends gasped.
"Harry," Hermione hissed. "What are you doing? Give it back."
"No," he said determinedly. "This is my prisoner of war, isn't it, Professor?" He looked at Snape.
Snape lowered his hand and leaned against his desk, arms crossed. "It is, Mr. Potter."
"And if I remember correctly from Professor Binn's class-"
"You remember his class?" Seamus asked in awe.
Harry continued, ignoring his fellow Gryffindor. "In some wars, high profile people were held as prisoners and exchanged for other prisoners, information, or favors."
Snape nodded. "Very good, Mr. Potter. I will be sure to let Binns know you paid attention in at least one of his classes." He held his hand out again. "Now, I will take my orb back."
Harry shook his head. "What will you give me?" He looked around at his friends. "Us. What will you give us?"
"Negotiating, Mr. Potter?" Snape crossed his arms and leaned back studying him. "Very well, Mr. Potter. What are your demands?" Harry thought carefully. He knew what he wanted, but it wouldn't help anyone else. Would Snape agree? But Hermione wouldn't be very happy. And there was Luna and Ginny to consider. "Mr. Potter, I will have students entering my classroom any minute now. And I believe two of your number have O.W.L. exams to get to."
Harry took a deep breath, it was a chance he would have to take. "None of us have to take the end of year exam and we receive Outstandings. Luna and Ginny have the option to take your class next year as long as they receive Exceeds, even potions."
"Acceptables," Snape countered and Hermione gasped, "and only Defense."
Harry shook his head, "Outstandings, Potions or Defense. And Hermione gets unlimited access to the Restricted Section in the library." Snape eyed him and Harry held up the orb. "You have nothing to trade," he dared.
Snape eyed each of the students before turning his dark stare on Harry. "You drive a hard bargain, Mr. Potter. I doubt your own father could have come up with such demands that so benefited everyone." Snape nodded and held out his hand. "Done."
Dean, Seamus, and Neville gave him slaps on the back and a quick Thanks before hurrying off before the professor changed his mind. Luna and Ginny also thanked him with hugs before rushing off to their O.W.L. exams. Ron went to gather their things and Harry crossed over to Snape and held out the orb. Snape grabbed Harry's wrist and pulled him closer, his hot breath against Harry's ear sent a shiver down his spine.
"My willingness to compromise today does not reflect my opinion or inconsistency about other matter, Potter. Do not get any ideas." He grabbed the orb out of Harry's hand and walked away.
"Come on, 'Mione," Ron's voice broke Harry's trance and he looked over to see Hermione standing forlornly by a desk. "We've already got an Outstanding," Ron hissed, "let's go before he changes his mind."
Harry crossed over to Hermione and grabbed her hand. "I knew you wouldn't like it, which is why I threw in the Restricted Section."
She smiled up at him. "You're amazing, Harry"
As they walked out of the classroom, Harry saw several Slytherins, including Malfoy, staring wide-eyed. Harry smiled smugly and waved at them as he walked out.
Chapter 16: Harry Potter and the Hot-Blooded Prince
Sorry it's been a while. Been busy with work and sick. Oh, look! Harry's seventeen...
"That was a nice thing you did. With the orb."
Snape looked up from the chessboard. "Been waiting two whole weeks to tell me that?" Harry shrugged as he moved a pawn. Snape sighed, "You deserved it. And were it not for the diligence of your friends, you might not have learnt so quickly or effectively."
Harry nodded in agreement. "Why are we back to chess? I thought you said I was useless?"
"You are. But I do not trust you to control yourself when we are alone."
Harry looked around the empty room. "We're alone here."
"In this room maybe. But not in the house," Snape pointed out.
Harry smiled wickedly. "Will you scream for help if I attack you?"
Snape glared at him. "I will hex you, and then I will be in trouble with your mother and most of the other inhabitants of this house."
"You aren't scared of my mother," Harry scoffed. "You're scared of how you'll react to me."
"You don't know what you are talking about, Potter," Snape growled.
Harry leaned across the chessboard and whispered, "I was there when you kissed me."
Snape jerked back, "You kissed me, Potter. Do not distort facts to suit your own desires."
"The only thing I desire," Harry said with a wink, "is you."
"I insist you desist with that line on thinking, Potter. I have told you, even if I did think of you in that way-"
Harry waved his hand, "You're my teacher and I'm underage. I'll be seventeen in a few weeks."
Snape sighed, "I will still be your teacher. You are too damn stubborn, but so am I."
Harry thought it sounded like a challenge. "I will win," he promised.
Snape snorted. "You'll win at chess first."
Severus wasn't sure how much longer he could take Harry's teasing. He knew it was his own fault for going back day after day, but it had become an obsession. He couldn't seem to stop torturing himself. He knew once Harry turned seventeen he would try something. But Severus was still the man's teacher. He hoped it was enough to keep Harry at bay, but he doubted it. Maybe he should just give in, the temptation was strong. Watching the man day after day, the way his lithe form moved as if putting on a show for Severus, teasing him with every step. He knew some of it was intentional. But there were times when the man's natural innocence was more enticing that any practiced or contrived flirting. The way his green eyes brightened with mirth, his wide smile and deep laughter that sent tendrils of lust spiraling through Severus's body. His contagious enthusiasm and natural curiosity. It all worked to break down Severus's resolve. Oh, yes, temptation was very strong. But he knew, once Harry had won, it would be over. Harry would move on to his next challenge. And Snape didn't know if he could handle that.
Severus took a deep breath to steady his nerves and grabbed a handful of Floo powder. He tossed it into the fireplace and stepped through, calling his destination. When he stepped out into the kitchen of 12 Grimmauld Place he froze. Lily and Black stood next to the sink, his hands circling her waist, Lily looking up into the man's eyes, a blush on her cheeks. The scuffle of Severus's boot on the fireplace made them jump apart and turn to see who had arrived. Lily's blush deepened.
Severus brushed invisible soot from his robe. "Don't mind me. Just passing through."
Lily turned to the sink and began messing with the dishes. Severus nodded at Black and walked out of the kitchen. Harry was sitting at the chess table when Severus walked in.
"Mum and Sirius still snogging?" he asked without looking up.
Severus crossed the room and sat down across from Harry. "No."
Harry looked up at him, the recently ever-present gleam in his eye. "You must be feeling left out."
Severus narrowed his eyes at Harry. "What are you talking about, Mr. Potter?"
"Bill and Fleur. Remus and Tonks. And now Mum and Sirius. Everyone's hooking up." Harry's hand slid across the table, his broom-roughened finger gliding down Severus's thumb. "Snogging."
Severus jerked his hand back. "Potter," he growled a warning.
Harry dropped his hand back into his lap and shrugged. "I just though it must suck. Seeing all these people getting together."
"I'll be seventeen in two weeks."
"I heard it's a common muggle practice for people to hook up at weddings."
"Harry!" Severus bellowed. "Stop that right now." Harry smirked at him, and Severus glared back and growled. He wished he could get up and leave. But if he stood, Harry would see the effect he had on him and it would only get worse. Dammit. Why couldn't Lily have had a girl? "Make your move."
Harry winked at him. "I thought I already had."
Severus felt like a trapped rat, waiting for the boat to sink. He had put in a token appearance at Harry's birthday celebration and had stayed at the wedding long enough to witness the first dance. He'd seen Harry looking for him even as he'd slipped out of the tent. He eyed the whiskey decanter on the shelf but refrained from reaching for it. He would need a clear head if Harry found him. He sighed. How had this happened? A friendship with Lily's boy, that's all he'd offered that day. But Harry had grown on him. Severus had come to respect him. His resilience, his bravery and willingness to sacrifice himself for others. He was all the things Severus had admired in Lily as they'd grown up, only tenfold. He was never very sure when that respect or friendship had become more. One day he'd simply looked at the boy and just knew he could so easily fall in love with him. And once he'd realized that, it was only a matter of time until the attraction had set in. He'd fought it as long as possible, denied he could ever look at a child like that. But even at fifteen Harry was an old soul, too mature for his age, and already showing signs of the man he'd become. He could have fought it, continued to hide it and deny it if it hadn't been for that damn kiss.
"Master Prince," Severus jumped at the voice and turned to see a small house elf standing in the doorway. He still wasn't used to the small creature.
"What is it, Wistie?"
"You wished to know when Wistie had locked up. Did Master Prince need anything else tonight?"
"No, Wistie." He waved the house elf off. "You may retire for the evening. I won't be up much longer."
"Very good, Master Prince. Good evening."
The house elf disappeared, and Severus walked out of the room and went to double check the front door. The house elf had placed excellent protective spells on the door, as usual. Severus went down to the kitchen and poured himself a glass of milk. It wasn't whiskey, but it would do. He took a sip and made his way back to the study. He stopped just inside the door and finished off the milk. He placed the cup on the table beside the door and sighed. He'd never get to sleep tonight.
"I find whiskey helps me relax."
Severus turned at the words to see Harry standing beside the shelf he had eyed longingly earlier. "Dammit, Harry. How'd you find me?"
Harry downed the glass of whiskey he held and returned the glass to the shelf. "So you were hiding from me."
"No," Severus said a little too quickly. "No, I always try to spend a few weeks at Prince Manor each summer."
"Hmm." Harry pushed away from the shelves and surveyed the room. "Prince Manor." He waved a finger at Severus. "Very clever of you. Your mother was the witch. Eileen Prince. I had Hermione do some research. The Half-Blood Prince. I get it now."
Harry was only inches from him. Severus could smell the whiskey from his breath mingled with Harry's own scent. He clenched his fist to keep himself from reaching out to the man. The memory of their kiss once again rose in his mind. His eyes slid to the shelf where Harry's empty glass sat. He should have had that whiskey after all.
Harry chuckled sending a bolt of desire down Severus's groin. "Needing that whiskey after all, Severus?"
Severus's eyes shot back to Harry's. "How did you get in?" He pushed past Harry, finally deciding on the whiskey.
"Did you know Wild Magic is what Elves use? It's very easy to counter when you get the hang of it. Don't worry, I put the charms back up."
Severus poured a finger of whiskey and tossed it back. He took a deep breath and reached for the decanter again.
"Careful," Harry interrupted him. "Wouldn't want to get drunk. You might do something you regret."
Severus dropped his hand from the glass container and set his empty glass next to Harry's. "Go home, Harry."
He knew the second before Harry's hands touched his shoulders that he had moved behind him. "I'm seventeen now, Severus."
Severus swallowed the lump in his throat. "I'm still your teacher."
His mouth was next to Severus's ear, his hot breath sent shivers down Severus's spine. When had Harry gotten so tall? "Not until September First."
"That's not how it works, Harry." Severus snapped at him and tried to pull away but Harry held him in place.
Harry pressed his body against him, and Severus's breath caught at the feel of Harry's erection pressing against him. Fingers brushed his long hair aside and he felt Harry's soft lips against his neck, his tongue whispering against his skin. Harry slid a hand down Severus's arm and around to rest on his stomach, pulling them closer together. "Why are you denying us both what we want?" The hand slid over Severus's erection and he shuddered, his logical reasons to fight Harry getting lost in the cloud of need.
"Someone has to be reasonable," he pointed out as he fought the cloud to find those reasons once more. "Someone has to think of the consequences." Harry's hand rubbed against him and Severus pressed his hips forward. "Harry, you have to stop."
"Kiss me, Severus," his tongue flicked out against Severus's ear and he was lost. He was out of reasons to fight it. He let the foggy haze cloud everything out and turned in Harry's arms. He pulled Harry against him and Harry's mouth was on his with a soft moan. It was sweeter than he remembered, the lips softer than he recalled. His tongue swept into Harry's mouth, tasting the whiskey on his tongue. Severus turned them and pushed Harry against the shelves. He fumbled at the buttons on Harry's jeans wondering why the man had even bothered to change out of the formal dress robe. Harry moaned into his mouth when Severus finally got the zipper down and slid his hand inside the shorts. Severus slid his mouth to Harry's jawline and kissed his way down to his neck.
Harry's hips bucked against Severus's hand, pressing the silky hardness against his palm. "Sev. Mmm. Ah, Sev."
"Dammit, Harry," Severus rasped against the man's slender neck. "This is so wrong."
Harry blinked when the man disappeared from his line of sight. "Sev, I-" the words were lost on a moan as he felt Severus's hand wrap around the base of his prick. Oh god! He felt the wet tongue slide along his length and gasped. His hand gripped the shelf behind him, "Sev. Aah."
Severus's tongue licked at the slit on the tip of Harry's cock, circled the head, and teased the sensitive organ. Harry moaned at the brilliant sensation. Severus's lips wrapped around him, and Harry felt himself slide deep into the warm cavern. "Shite," he screamed as he thrust his hips forward and the tip of his cock connected with the back of Severus's throat. Severus moaned and Harry almost lost it. He grabbed at Severus's hair, the thick strands falling like silk through his fingers. Harry lost coherent thought as Severus's mouth moved over him. Licking his length, teasing the head of his cock with his tongue, stroking his balls. "Ah. Sev. Severus. Oh Merlin. Oh gods. I need- I want-"
Severus seemed to understand what he needed and bobbed his head, sucking Harry down his throat and running his tongue along his length as he pulled back. Harry moaned every time the head of his cock hit the back of Severus's throat, his balls tightening and something coiling deep inside him. He thrust his hips forward, and Severus moaned around him again. It was the last straw for Harry and he felt himself explode in Severus's mouth. "Sev!" Harry cried out as Severus swallowed his ejaculate and licked him clean. Harry gasped and moaned as the man laved at his sensitive prick, his eyes shut tight against the blinding stars flooding his vision.
Severus stood up and pressed his lips to Harry's. Harry moaned at the taste of himself on Severus's lips. Severus pulled away and Harry's eyes fluttered open.
"Go home, Harry." Harry reached out to him but Severus backed away shaking his head. "I'm still your teacher. Even if we are between terms. Go home and forget about us. Forget about me." He turned and left the room.
"Never," Harry whispered to the retreating figure.
Chapter 17: The Trouble With Seventh Years
Since you had to wait so long for an update, have two.
"Harry," Hermione repeated.
He looked up at his friends, his eyes still glazed, "Huh?"
"I said, Ron and I still have to go to Flourish and Blott's. You already got your books, haven't you?"
Harry nodded absentmindedly. "Yeah."
"Why don't you grab an ice cream, and we'll meet you in a bit? Shouldn't take us long."
Hermione watched Harry nod and walk off. She sighed. "Poor, Harry. I guess things didn't go so well with Snape."
Ron looked at her as if she'd gone mental. "What's he got to do with Harry?"
Hermione looked at hims as if he were the one that had lost his mind. It was times like this she wondered how she could possibly be falling in love with him. "Really, Ronald. Harry's been in love with Snape for years." She rolled her eyes at the look of horror on his face. "Oh, come off it, Ron. I don't know how you didn't know."
"Well, it's not like we talk about feelings. I didn't even know about him and Seamus until they had broken up."
She shrugged her shoulders. "Well, they weren't really a thing. They just had a... thing."
"Huh?" Ron looked at her as if she were speaking a foreign language. "'Mione, you make no sense."
She slipped an arm through the crook of his elbow and pulled him along. "Come on, Won-Won. We have books to get."
"You're never going to let me forget that, are you?" She chuckled. "Wait. Is Snape even gay?"
Hermione nodded. "Most definitely." She paused a second in thought. "Or at least bi. Either way he wants Harry just as much as Harry wants him."
"Then why is Harry so depressed? Shouldn't he be happy. Though, I wouldn't be very happy if Snape wanted me like that."
Hermione looked at him in surprise. "Are you gay, Ron?"
"No!" Ron said loudly and several people on the street turned to look at them. Ron blushed furiously. "I only meant that if I was. Which I'm not. Not that there's anything wrong with it. I mean-"
"Shut up, Ron." Hermione giggled, relieved to know she hadn't missed a vital clue. "Anyway, Harry was hunting for him at the wedding. I figured he must have finally tracked him down 'cause he's been distracted this last week."
Ron held the door open for her and followed her into the bookshop. "But, if he wants-" he paused, looked around the busy bookshop and leaned closer to her, lowering his voice. "If he wants Harry as much as Harry wants him, why would he turn him away?"
"Because he's a teacher," Hermione whispered back, as if it should have been obvious. "There's no way S- he would allow himself to be with a student. Regardless of his own feelings."
"Damn," Ron's face fell. "That's too bad. Getting laid on a regular basis might make him easier to deal with."
"Ronald Weasley!" Hermione gasped and giggled.
Harry couldn't remember what he'd ordered so it surprised him when a familiar voice said, "I'll take the same."
Harry turned in shock to see Malfoy standing beside him. He eyed Harry, "My treat," and laid a Galleon on the counter.
Harry sneered at the blond. "I don't need your father's money."
Malfoy shrugged. "Not my father's money anymore is it?"
And then Harry remembered an article in the Prophet. Lucius Malfoy had been caught with several Death Eaters that had escaped Azkaban in his home. Narcissa and Draco had been in France on vacation and so had not been accused as part of the conspiracy. Though, according to several members of the Order, they were being monitored very closely. "Oh, yeah. Sorry." Harry took his ice cream from Mr. Fortescue. "Thanks," he nodded towards Malfoy and turned to go. He got halfway to the door before Malfoy caught up with him.
"Potter, wait." Harry turned to look at him. "Look, sometimes people do or say things because it's what their parents expect." He looked down at his ice cream then back at Harry. "But sometimes parents can be wrong." His eyes pleaded with Harry to understand what he wasn't saying.
Harry nodded. "And sometimes it's time to make your own decisions. We're adults now, Malfoy. It may be time to start acting like it."
Malfoy seemed to sag in relief. "Yes, exactly." They stood in silence for a few seconds. "Well, see you on the train then, Potter." Malfoy nodded as if going through a mental checklist to make sure he had said everything and turned to leave.
"Malfoy." The blond looked over his shoulder and Harry held up the bowl of ice cream. "When we were children- I should have apologized years ago."
Malfoy nodded and left the shop. Harry followed him out and watched him walk off down the street. Hermione appeared beside him.
"Was that Malfoy?"
"And you didn't dump your ice cream all over him?" Ron asked in disbelief.
"I think-" Harry looked at his friends in shock. "I think he just apologized."
Harry made his way down the corridor of the train to find an empty cabin. Ron and Hermione had gone to the Prefects cabin leaving him to find a place for them. He saw Neville poke his head out of a cabin and smile at him. He motioned for Harry to join him. "Come on, Harry. It's just me and Luna. You can sit with us. I saw Ginny and Dean go into a cabin back there but it looked full."
"Alright," Harry slid into the cabin and smiled as Neville sat down next to Luna. She slipped a hand into his and smiled up at the blond. Neville blushed. He had finally gotten up the nerve to ask Luna to dance at Bill and Fleur's wedding.
"How was your summer?" He asked them.
Luna smiled up at Neville. "Very nice."
Neville's blush deepened. "Yes. Very good. You?"
Harry shrugged and looked out the window. "Much the same as usual I guess."
He felt a hand on his knee and looked over to see Luna leaning forward. "It's okay, Harry. You'll graduate at the end of the school year and then it won't matter. He'll see that."
Harry looked into her knowing eyes and smiled. "Thanks, Luna."
She smiled and sat back against the seat. Neville looked at him questioningly but Harry just gazed out the window.
Harry looked up some time later when Ron and Hermione walked into the cabin. Ron had an odd look on his face as he lowered himself into a seat and Harry glanced quizzically at Hermione.
"You were right, Harry. Malfoy was actually nice to us. He even-" Hermione paused as if she still couldn't believe it. "He even said he shouldn't have said certain things about people simply because of their parentage. And he said he was glad that someone who deserved it was made Head Girl."
She sat down beside Ron, still in shock. They sat in silence for a few minutes before the door opened again. The five students looked up to see Malfoy standing in the doorway. The young man actually looked embarrassed to be there. Neville stood up and moved to the other side of Luna, placing himself between her and Malfoy.
She grabbed his arm, "Neville-"
Malfoy held up a hand. "No. It's okay. I was a right prat last ye-" Ron snorted and Malfoy sighed, "the last few years. Can I sit?" He motioned to the empty seat beside Neville.
The five looked between each other, then looked to Harry, after a consensus had been reached. Harry nodded at Malfoy. "Sure."
He smiled in thanks and sat down. The six of them sat in awkward silence for several minutes before Malfoy spoke. "You don't have to worry about me stealing your girlfriend, Longbottom. I'm gay."
Neville blinked at him and seemed to relax a bit.
"So's Harry," Ron blurted, never one to stand an awkward silence.
"Ronald," Hermione admonished.
Harry laughed. "It's not like it's a secret, 'Mione. You forget I was with Seamus for almost a month last year."
Neville snorted. "Yeah. And he's excellent at keeping his relationships quiet."
"Finnigan's gay?" Draco asked in surprise.
Ron rolled his eyes. "Slytherins. So wrapped up in your git-ness."
"Ronald," Hermione reprimanded. "Language."
"Yeah, Ronnie," Harry laughed, "how many times does she have to remind you, that's not a word."
"Oh, but she was fine with it when you were discussing my git-ness," he rolled his eyes.
"It wasn't just you we were discussing," Hermione defended herself. "It-" She looked up at Harry and cut herself off.
"It what?" Ron demanded, then looked over at Hermione and realized she was looking at Harry. "Oh."
Harry shrugged. "It's bound to come up, 'Mione. I'll be okay." He smiled reassuringly at his friends.
"When's the trolley going to be here? I'm starved."
The first thing Severus noticed when Harry walked into the Great Hall with the other students was the feeling of longing that clenched at his gut. He studied Harry so intently that it took him a minute to notice the second thing. Harry was talking to Draco and neither looked ready to kill the other. Narcissa had commented about Draco's change since Lucius's imprisonment, but Severus hadn't expected the boy to start talking to Gryffindors. The man, Severus realized. Draco was an adult now and the head of his family. Draco wasn't the only seventeen year old at Hogwarts, a voice in the back of his head reminded him. Severus closed his eyes, trying to push the thought away. Instead, the memory of Harry's lips on his, the feel of him in his mouth, the taste of him, assaulted him. Severus forced his eyes open only to meet searing green. Harry smiled at him and winked before making his way to the Gryffindor table. Severus groaned. It was going to be a long year.
Severus was going to be sick. Heart sick. Stomach sick. It was the same thing these days. And it was his own damn fault. He had told Harry to forget about him. He couldn't fault the man for finding someone his own age. Malfoy was good looking, if one was in to pointy, bony, boys. He had watched Harry and Malfoy become closer over the last few weeks. Talking between classes, talking during class, even hanging out with Harry's other friends after school and on the weekends. He supposed it was only natural that the two boys' relationship would grow into something more once they had formed a friendship. Malfoy had never tried to hide his sexuality inside the Slytherin dungeons, even if he wasn't completely open about it. Severus tried, once again, to convince himself he'd done the right thing. He looked up as students began filing into the potions lab. At least he was back in his old classroom.
"Oh, give off, Harry," Granger said as several students walked in. "You meant every word of it."
"No." Harry laughed, and Severus's breath caught in his chest at the sweet sound. "No, honestly I didn't." He grabbed Malfoy's arm, "Except the part about beating your arse."
Malfoy snorted and tossed his bag under the table. "Won't be my arse this year, Potter. I quit."
Severus couldn't see Harry's face but he could easily picture the look of surprise. "You quit?"
Malfoy nodded. "Yeah. I only played 'cause my father wanted me to. I'd rather watch other people kick your arse," he laughed.
"Not likely, Malfoy," Harry scoffed.
Harry constantly felt as though Severus was watching him. Most of the time he could look up and pinpoint the man, catching him only for a split second before the man realized he'd been caught and looked away. The first few weeks after Severus's rejection had hurt. But then he'd run into Malfoy in Diagon Alley and their conversation had started him thinking. This was his last year at Hogwarts. He was practically a fully legal adult, and Severus was an adult and deserved to be respected as such. He had practically asked Harry to respect the boundaries placed on them by his position with the school, so he would. More than a month in and so far nothing had happened to indicate he might have another year of magical mayhem. He was going to enjoy it as long as he could. Once they had graduated, he would be a legal adult and no longer one of Severus's students. And now he knew how to find him. He'd give the man this year. But then, all bets were off. Severus would have no excuses left. He'd have to give their relationship a shot.
The was the thought that kept Harry going, allowed him to forge a new friendship with Malfoy. And also what kept him from storming upstairs and knocking his two friends upside the head. They had to figure out their own relationship. Though he was starting to wonder if they ever would.
Harry looked over at Malfoy. "What?"
"Romione," he repeated. "Ron and Hermione. It's a couple name," Malfoy waved his hand. "It's a muggle thing. Where's the rest of the Golden Trio?"
"Up in the dorms. They refuse to go to Hogsmeade together. They got in another fight last night. How do you know about muggle things?" Harry stared at Malfoy.
Malfoy actually blushed. "Professor Snape said something about telephones last year and it got me curious. What did they fight about this time?" Malfoy grabbed a slice of toast and bit into it.
"Lavender asked Ron something about the upcoming game, and 'Mione accused him of wanting to get back together with Lavender."
Malfoy rolled his eyes. "Those two just need to get over it and snog."
Harry nodded. "Yeah."
Malfoy smiled and grabbed Harry's arm. "Go get Hermione and meet me in the courtyard." He jumped up from the table and headed off.
Harry twisted around. "Malfoy, what-" but the other man was gone. Sure, why not? He'd offered to take Ron earlier and the red head had refused. He'd go see if Hermione wanted to go. He caught her coming down from her dorm.
"What are you doing, 'Mione?"
"I'm going to the library," she sniffed haughtily.
"Nah. Come to Hogsmeade with me and Malfoy."
"What about-" she paused and looked around before continuing, "you know who?"
"Voldemort?" Harry teased. "Oh, I don't think he wants to go to Hogsmeade."
Hermione stomped her foot. "Harry James, you know what I meant."
Harry waved his hand. "Ron said he didn't feel like going."
"Oh. Okay then. Let me go get my cloak." She turned and ran back up the stairs, reappearing a few minutes later with her cloak. They stepped out of the common room and Hermione looked around. "Where's Draco?"
"He said he'd meet us in the courtyard. Probably had to go get his own cloak." Harry shrugged as they headed down the hallway to the stairs.
They made their way to the courtyard and donned their cloaks while they waited for Malfoy. Harry wondered what Malfoy had planned; he didn't trust the Slytherin. He didn't have long to wait. A few minutes after they arrived, Malfoy arrived dragging a protesting Ron.
"I told you I don't want to go to Hogsmeade," Ron complained.
Harry heard Hermine gasp. "Oh no. No. No. No!"
Harry grabbed Hermione's arm. "'Mione, wait. Don't go."
Ron heard him and looked up to see the other two Gryffindors. He turned and glared at Malfoy. "You are such a git, Malfoy."
Malfoy and Ron reached them and stopped before them. Ron and Hermione looked in opposite directions, refusing to meet anyone's eyes.
"I don't know how Potter put up with you two the last six years," Hermione gasped and glared at the Slytherin. He ignored her and continued, "but I don't feel like dealing with jealous immaturity all year."
"Oi," Ron gasped.
"So I'm going to do us all a favor. Hermione Granger," she glared at him, "Ron's in love with you."
"He thinks you are the most wonderful person he's ever met." Hermione turned to Ron, who was glaring at Malfoy. Malfoy looked at Ron. "Ronald Weasley, Hermione is in love with you. You should probably do something about that." Malfoy looked at Harry. "Wanna go to Honeyduke's?"
Harry shrugged. "Sure." He and Malfoy walked off as Ron reached over to take Hermione's hand.
Harry looked back when they reached the courtyard gate. His friends stood close, holding hands, their heads together. He shuddered at the thought of het sex and looked over at Malfoy. "If I wake up one morning and catch those two in bed, I blame you."
The blond shrugged. "Alright."
So far, Harry had not woken to find Hermione in Ron's bed. He supposed he wasn't surprised. Hermione was too cautious and Ron was usually slow to initiate things. Neither was one to jump into things. Except after the Quidditch game when Ron had caused the Slytherins to miss at least three separate goals. After the game, Hermione had had no qualms about throwing herself into his arms and giving him a congratulatory kiss. Harry was happy for his friends, but it made him long for a relationship with Severus even more. He had even caught himself staring longingly at the potions professor. So far, no one other than his closest friends had noticed. But the memories had been keeping him up at night and even McGonagall had noticed his lack of sleep.
"You know what sucks about being a Gryffindor?" It was mid-December and Harry and Draco sat on Draco's bed after a successful trip to Zonko's and Honeyduke's, a pile of candy between them.
Draco leaned forward, "Something sucks about being a Gryffindor? Oh, do tell, Potter."
Harry laughed and pushed Draco back against the foot board. "I only meant being in the same house as my friends. I never know what I'm going to walk in on." Draco laughed. "I'm serious," Harry pouted. "The other day I was trying to do my homework and I had Ron and 'Mione snogging on one side and Dean and Ginny on the other."
Draco reached for a nougat and popped it in his mouth. "You should find a boyfriend. Then you'd have someone to snog too," Draco suggested.
Harry shook his head. "No. I don't want any complications this year. I'm ready for an easy year." Harry took a bite of his chocolate wand.
"It can't be that easy with the threat of You Know Who hanging over your head. What are you going to do when he comes back?"
Harry shrugged. "I don't know. Just go with it and hope everything works out."
Draco's mouth dropped open. "Seriously, Harry?"
Harry lifted a shoulder in a half shrug and finished off the wand. "Worked so far."
Draco rolled his eyes. "Gods, Harry. Are you at least still practicing your Wild Magic?"
"Sure." Harry searched through the pile of candy. "They won't let me forget it will they? Snape, Dumbledore, mum, Hermione." Harry unwrapped a cauldron cake and shoved it in his mouth. "It kinda sucks, you know. Everyone watching me. Waiting."
"I can't even imagine. I mean, it was bad enough being a Malfoy. They wanted me to try to find a way for some of the Death Eaters to get into Hogwarts. That's why mum took me to France. She wanted to keep me away from father's influence."
Harry lay back on Draco's bed and stretched out. "I'll just be glad when it's all over." He sighed. "I should go back to my dorm and crash."
Draco shrugged. "You could just crash here. Hide out for a bit."
"Maybe I will." Harry closed his eyes and reached for another cauldron cake. He had just gotten it open and taken a bite when Draco spoke again.
"Harry, you're friends with Finnigan aren't you?"
"Seamus?" Harry mumbled. "Yeah. He's my room mate."
"Who was that guy he was hanging out with in town?"
"Dean? You know him."
"No. The blond."
Harry wracked his brain. "Michael? He's a fifth year Hufflepuff."
"Are he and Seamus.. you know... together?"
Harry snorted and rolled his head to look at Draco. "They're cousins." Harry lifted up on his elbows. "You interested? I could ask Seamus if his cousin's gay."
Draco looked horrified. "His cousin? Gods no! But Seamus is hot as fuck."
Harry shook his head and lay back down. "And he knows it, too. Seamus doesn't do serious, Draco."
"Who said anything about getting serious? I just want to fuck him."
Harry's laugh turned into a yawn and he rolled over. "I'll put in a good word for you then."
Draco was not going to be happy. Severus knew it, but there was little he could do. Narcissa's note had been very specific. Draco needed to stay at school over the holidays. Lucius was demanding to see the boy. The Cause needed him. Severus snorted. Lucius wanted Draco to secure their family's good graces with the Dark Lord. The young Malfoy wasn't in the common room so he went to the boy's dorm room. The room was empty except a sleeping figure on Malfoy's bed. That wasn't Malfoy. Severus's heart lurched as he crossed the room. He'd never seen Harry asleep. There had been several times he'd seen the boy unconscious in the hospital wing, but here he looked so different. Candy wrappers strewn on the bed and a few littered the floor. He had a smear of chocolate near his mouth, and Severus had never wanted anything more than to bend over and lick the chocolate off. Maybe it would wake Harry and then Harry would kiss him. He could almost feel Harry's hands on him, exploring him, bringing him to completion. Severus's breath caught. There was a noise behind him and Severus whirled to see Malfoy standing in the doorway, his shirt in his hand.
"I can explain, Professor." Severus looked from Malfoy to Harry and back, anger and hurt welling up inside him. "Harry needed a place to crash."
"And here I thought he had been assigned a room in Gryffindor tower. How remiss of the staff to allow a child to roam the corridors or six years."
Draco rolled his eyes. "Don't be an arse, Snape. Of course he has a room. There was just some concern about Weasley and Granger occupying his room."
"And why would Ms. Weasley and Ms. Granger be in the boy's dorm?"
"Oh, really, Severus," came the groggy voice from the bed and Severus felt the blood rush to his groin at the sleep roughened voice. He turned to see a sleepy Harry sitting up, sliding his glasses on. "He means Ron and Hermione. They've started dating."
Severus raised an eyebrow. "Finally?"
Harry nodded and covered a yawn. He turned around and grabbed a handful of candy from the pile on the bed and stuffed it into his pocket. He grabbed a cauldron cake and stood up. "Thanks for letting me share your bed, Draco. And don't worry, I haven't forgotten what we talked about." He pushed past Severus and left.
Severus turned to Draco. "We need to talk, Mr. Malfoy."
Draco turned to him, "I'm seventeen. I can make my own decisions. If I want Potter in my bed I'll let him." Severus raised an eyebrow, years of controlling his emotions coming to his aide. "Crash. To crash in my bed," the blond clarified.
"I am not here about that. I received a note from your mother."
Draco paled. "I'd better sit down."
Chapter 18: A Simple Game of Chess II
Severus didn't know what was worse. Thinking Harry and Draco were together or seeing Harry in Draco's bed and having it confirmed. Of course, Draco had denied them being in a relationship, but Severus knew in his heart that he had lost Harry. And it was his own damn fault. He had pushed Harry away. The last week had been hell. He was going to have to learn to deal with it, he knew. It was only December, but at least the Christmas break was coming up, and he could hide for a while.
Severus opened the door to his classroom to let the seventh years in, mentally preparing to deal with Harry for the next two hours, when he heard the man yelling down the corridor.
"Hey, Seamus! Malfoy and I are heading into potions. Wanna come help him light his fire?"
"Fuck, Harry," Draco hissed.
"Language, Mr. Malfoy," Severus said automatically as Harry's words began to sink in.
"Oi, Malfoy, you say the word," Finnigan called back. "My match is always on fire for you. What about you, Potter? Need a fire lit? I bet I can take care of both you at once."
Harry laughed "No thanks, Seamus. I'm waiting for the right time to strike my own match." Harry looked up and caught Severus's eye. He winked at him as he passed through to the classroom.
Severus heard a soft sigh and turned to see Granger entering the room. She spoke softly as she passed him, rolling her eyes. "How could anyone pass up the opportunity to be with that?" She spoke up as she tossed her bag under the table. "So subtle, Harry."
For Harry, the months passed slowly. Each hour was a countdown until dinner when he would see Severus. Each day was a countdown until he was back in the potions lab. Each week was a countdown until the end of school. Harry stayed at Hogwarts during the holiday to keep Draco company. He knew Draco was worried about the fine line his mother was walking. Keeping up appearances with the Death Eaters, namely her sister, and keeping Draco out of their influence. When the other students returned after the new year things became pretty intense between Draco and Seamus, and Harry found himself spending more and more time in his own company. Harry didn't mind much. It gave him time to study and practice his Wild Magic. Of course, practicing his magic had been more fun the previous year when he had friends to help him.
Harry sighed. Who was he kidding? He was bored. It was Saturday afternoon, a Hogsmeade weekend, and he was wandering the school corridors. When he looked up he wasn't surprised to see he had wandered down into the dungeons. He shrugged mentally and continued on. Why not? It was worth a shot. As Harry neared the potions lab he could see light was in fact shining under the door. He knocked lightly and opened the door, not bothering to wait for a reply. A girl in Hufflepuff colors sat at a desk, a quill in hand, scribbling furiously over a parchment. Severus sat at his desk, hunched over a stack of papers. Or he had been, until Harry's entrance. The Hufflepuff had looked up as well.
"You may go, Ms. Goodfellow," the girl shot up and grabbed her things. "Seven o'clock Monday evening."
"Yes, Professor," she muttered as she ran out the door.
Severus looked over at Harry. "What are you doing here, Potter?"
Harry shrugged and walked over to Severus's desk. He moved a stack of scrolls aside and rested his butt on the desk, half sitting, half standing. "Maybe I'm ready for that second detention I owe you. Wouldn't want you to wait until the last day of class." Harry paused for a second and smirked. "On second thought, if you gave me detention the last day of school, by the time I made it to your classroom I would no longer be your student. You sly dog."
Severus rolled his eyes and stood up. "Such an idea never crossed my mind, Mr. Potter. Now kindly remove your arse from my desk. I have papers to grade."
"Language, Mr. Snape," Harry tutted.
Harry held up his hands in surrender and stood up from the desk. "Actually I came to see if you'd be up for a game of chess. Or I could help you in the lab?"
Severus lifted an eyebrow. "Bored, Mr. Potter?"
"Honestly, yeah." Harry lifted a vial off Severus's desk and studied the yellow and blue liquid. "Everyone's off snogging or- other stuff."
"Lighting each others fires?" Severus offered.
Harry smiled. "Yeah. Something like that."
"One condition, Mr. Potter," Severus said snatching the vial from his hand.
"We already tried me not talking. It didn't work too well."
Severus snorted. "You must control yourself. Saturdays are my day to relax, and I will not spend the day fending off a hormonal seventeen year old."
Harry smiled. "Deal. When we're playing, I'll control myself."
Severus nodded and went to clear off a table.
Harry was late. Normally it wouldn't get to Severus as much as it did today but he had just spent the last two hours with a first year who couldn't tell the difference between flobberworm and dragon dung. And he had gotten used to having Harry to himself for a few hours each Saturday since they'd started playing chess again over a month ago. Severus was heading up to the seventh floor when he saw a familiar red head in front of him.
"Weasley!" Weasley and Granger stopped abruptly and turned to face him. "Where is Potter?"
"In the Room of Requirement," Granger volunteered immediately, "with Draco. Seamus broke up with him this morning."
Severus barely heard the last part as he had already continued on. He reached the seventh floor and saw the door to the hidden room was open a tiny bit. He neared it quietly and cautiously pushed it open. His gut clenched at the sight in front of him. Harry had his hands on Draco's arms, Draco's hands were wrapped around Harry's waist, their lips pressed together. Severus backed up to leave the room, his heart shattering at his feet, his head spinning with pain, until he heard Harry speak.
"Draco, I said no." Severus watched through the crack in the door as Harry pushed the blond away. "I won't be your rebound. I only wanted to check on you. See if you were okay."
Draco reached a hand out, "Come on, Harry. It's just a little fun before we leave school."
"I told you I didn't want anything complicated this year."
Draco studied Harry and shook his head. "No. That's not it. There's something else. You're in love with someone." Severus's heart leapt as red filled Harry's cheeks.
Harry shook his head and turned to stare at the fireplace. "It doesn't matter. We can't be together right now."
"Is he younger than us?" Draco shook his head. "No, younger isn't your type. So what is it? Is he a-"
"It's Voldemort," Harry blurted.
Draco's head shot back as if he'd been slapped. "You're in love-"
"No, you idiot," Harry looked at Draco in disgust. "I can't be with anyone because of Voldemort. He'll use anything to get to me."
Draco nodded in understanding. "Yeah I guess so. I was gonna ask if it was a teacher."
Harry snorted. "Yes. I'm in love with Professor Binns. We are waiting until I die so we can be together forever."
"Git." Draco snorted. "I thought it might be Snape."
Harry snapped his head around to look at Draco. "Snape?"
Draco nodded. "I thought you two had a thing last year."
Harry snorted. "Snape would never let a student come between him and his position here." Severus was surprised to note that there was no bitterness in Harry's statement.
Draco nodded in agreement. "Well, whoever it is, I hope he knows how lucky he is. You're a great guy, Harry. Even if you are a Gryffindork."
Harry snorted. "Thanks, Draco. You'll find someone-"
Severus heard movement around the corner and stepped away from the door just as Longbottom and Lovegood rounded the corner. They froze when they saw him.
"Professor," Lovegood said.
Severus looked at Longbottom, "Is Potter in the common room? We had a meeting?"
Longbottom started to shake his head when a muttered "Shite" came from the room behind him.
"I believe I found him." Severus turned around, "Language, Potter," and stepped towards the door just as it flew open. Harry and Draco stepped out. Severus raised his brow.
"Sorry, Professor," Draco said. "My fault. I held him up. He's all yours now." Draco sauntered past him to join Lovegood and Longbottom.
"I just have to get my books," Harry said, and Severus followed him into the Room of Requirement, the door sliding shut behind him. Harry bent down in front of the fireplace, disappearing behind the large couch to gather his books. "I was studying when Draco came in." Harry shoved his books in the bag and looked up at Severus. "How much did you hear?"
"I beg your pardon?" Severus stepped forward to the end of the couch.
Harry rolled his eyes. "Oh come on, Severus. You think my body can't tell when you're near? I went hard the second you entered the hallway."
"Perhaps that was just a reaction to Mr. Malfoy's kiss," Severus bit out.
Harry smiled. "Jealous, Sev?"
Severus snorted. "As if I care who you kiss."
"Okay, first of all, he kissed me. And second, I think you care very much." Harry leaned against the wall beside the fireplace and smiled. "If it's any consolation, you're a much better kisser."
Severus closed the space between them and grabbed Harry's shoulder. "You are not to mention that. Ever!"
Harry reached up and slid his hand to the back of Severus's neck, threading his fingers through Severus's hair. He stifled a moan as his breath caught. "Kiss me, Severus."
Severus shook his head but didn't fight as Harry pulled him closer. Severus sighed as his lips met Harry's. He moved closer, pressing his body against Harry's as he opened his mouth, welcoming the familiar sensation of Harry's tongue sliding against his. He moved his mouth, licking his way up Harry's jaw to his ear. He nibbled on Harry's earlobe, and Harry grabbed his waist, pulling him closer.
"Touch me, Sev," Harry pleaded. "Oh sweet Merlin, I need your hands on me. Please."
Harry pressed his lips to Severus's neck and he was lost. He pulled Harry's robe up until his hands found skin. "Dammit, Harry, pants," Severus growled.
Harry chuckled. "I was going to put some on before I came to see you. Oh shite, Sev. Right there."
Severus had slid his hand to the front of Harry's shorts and grabbed the bulge through the fabric. "Language, Potter," he rasped out.
Harry arched against him. "Shut up and put your hands down my shorts."
Severus chuckled as he obeyed Harry. They both gasped as Severus's fingers wrapped around Harry's cock. Harry bucked his hips against Severus's hand. He hissed when Severus ran a callused thumb over the tip of Harry's cock, spreading the pre-come around the hard member.
"Let me touch you, Sev," Harry pleaded.
Severus shook his head against Harry's neck. "No."
Harry moved his head until his mouth was against Severus's ear, and he sucked on his earlobe. "Then rub yourself off on my leg, Severus. I want to feel you throbbing against me." He flicked his tongue against Severus's ear.
"You're impossible. Harry." But he began to move against him as he stroked the teenager. Soon Severus had set a steady rhythm, stroking Harry and pressing his own hard cock against the firm thigh. Harry's moans filled his mind as he stroked and fondled him. Severus rubbed against Harry, his breathing becoming more ragged the closer he got to his release. "Harry," he moaned, "Ah, Harry. Mmm."
Severus sighed as he pulsed against Harry's leg, the wet come seeping through his robe causing the fabric to stick to Harry. Harry bucked against his hand and Severus soon felt the pulsing orgasm as wet liquid covered his hand. Without thinking he lifted his hand to his lips and licked the come from his fingers. "Mmm. You taste so good. I'd almost forgotten." Severus opened his eyes and met Harry's. He leaned forward and pressed his mouth against Harry's for a quick hard kiss. He pulled back. "This can't happen again."
Harry nodded. "I know."
Severus nodded. "And I don't think we should meet for chess anymore."
Harry looked down. "I know. It'll be hard enough just seeing you. Being alone is definitely not a good idea."
Severus nodded. "Exactly." Severus waved his wand to clean them up and turned to leave, not daring to relax until he was safely back in his office.
The first of May brought a harried Dumbledore to the castle in the middle of the night. He summoned the Heads of House and professors. Voldemort was pissed. Most of his Horcruxes, the pieces of his soul he had made during his lifetime that allowed him to live on, had been destroyed. He was tired of waiting, he was coming after Harry. Dumbledore ordered the younger children to be taken down into the deepest parts of the castle. Escape tunnels could take them into Hogsmeade if the castle became too dangerous.
Harry was woken by Hermione's fierce shaking. "Harry. Harry, wake up. He's coming. It's time."
Harry shot up and grabbed for his glasses. "What?"
"Ron and I were making our rounds when we heard the portraits talking. Dumbledore's ordered everyone to the dungeons."
Harry was out of bed, throwing his robes on over his night clothes. "Where's Ron?"
"I'm here, Mate," Ron's voice came behind Hermione. "I was waking the others. 'Mione, you should go get Ginny."
She nodded and left the other boys to get dressed. Ron crossed over to Dean, "Go wait for Ginny and get her to the dungeons. Keep my sister safe, Thomas." Dean nodded and ran out of the room.
"I've got to go find Luna," Neville said and raced out of the room as well.
Harry sat down on his bed. This was it. It was really happening. Dammit! He hadn't even gotten a full year. Damn Voldemort.
"Mate? Harry?" Ron's voice sounded behind him and he stood up.
"Get 'Mione and get to the dungeons," Harry said as he strode out of the room.
Ron followed. "We're not abandoning you. Not now."
"I want you safe," Harry said fiercely. "No one else is going to die for me."
"What's going on?" Hermione asked as she met them at the bottom of the stairs.
"Where's Ginny?" Harry asked.
"Dean took her-"
Harry nodded. "Good. Go with them."
"Harry?" She looked from Harry to Ron. "Ron?"
"He's going to try to do it by himself," Ron told her.
"Harry, you can't." She grabbed his arm as he stepped through the portrait hole.
He whirled to face her. "I have to, 'Mione. It's what I've been training for."
A determined look entered her eyes. "You may have to fight him alone, but you don't have to face him alone."
Harry stood looking into the eyes of his two best friends. The two who had started this journey with him the night they had opened the door to Fluffy's room. Or maybe even before that when they'd taken down a mountain troll. He nodded. "Okay. Let's go." But as they turned to go Luna and Neville ran up.
"You aren't going anywhere without us," Neville said.
Harry sighed and nodded, leading the group down the stairs. They met McGonagall and Flitwick coming up the stairs. Their Head of House looked at each of them before sighing and reaching out to grab Harry's hand. She squeezed it and blinked rapidly as if to stop the flow of tears. She and the half-goblin stepped aside and let the group pass. They continued on down the stairs until they reached the entrance hall. They saw Draco standing at the other end, A tall, dark-skinned boy standing over him.
"If you go out there with him you'll be a traitor, Malfoy. Do you know what HE does to traitors?"
Draco shook the boy's hand off his arm. "He's my friend, Blaise."
"You just want to fuck him," the boy spat at him.
"Oh come off it, Blaise. If you were smart you'd see that Harry's the one that's going to win this war."
The group ran over to Draco. "Draco, you need to get to safety," Hermione told him.
Draco snorted. "Just like you, Granger? And Weasley and Lovegood? Even Longbottom is going with Harry. I may not have been his friend as long as the rest of you, but I won't abandon him. Even Thomas and Weaslette won't abandon him." He pointed up the stairs and the group looked up to see Dean and Ginny running towards them.
"Ginny," Ron called, "get out of here."
"No. Harry's my friend too, Ronald."
"It's your head, Malfoy," Blaise said as he stormed off.
"Zabini," Draco called and the Slytherin turned to face his roommate. Draco drew his wand. "If you use your wand against any of us, it'll be the last thing you do."
Blaise turned and ran off down the corridor.
Harry's scar began to pound and he grabbed his head as he fell to his knees. Hermione placed a hand on his shoulder as she knelt down. "Harry?"
Harry looked up and turned his head to stare at the large door. "He's here."
"At the gate?" Ginny asked hopefully.
Harry shook his head. "The shields have fallen."
As if on cue, the students heard yelling on the other side of the large wooden doors. Harry rose to his feet and slowly began walking towards the door. As if sensing his needs, the castle doors opened for him, and Harry stepped out into the night. Silence filled the courtyard as Harry crossed to the steps. He passed the teachers, professors who had taught him how to use and control his magic watched him in awe. There were the Weasleys. Arthur, Molly, Fred and George, Percy (that caused a double take), Charlie, even Bill and Fleur. Other members of the Order were scattered about, wands drawn. Remus and Tonks, hands clasped stood beside Moody, his wild eye swirling crazily. Harry jerked his head towards the forest when he heard his name screamed. Hagrid held his frantic mother back with one hand, the other hand grasped the arm of Sirius. Harry blinked back tears, hating that they had to see this, and mouthed "I love you". She nodded her understanding, tears streaming down her face. There would be no stepping between her child and the monster this time.
"Harry Potter. The boy who lived."
Harry turned as the pale, black-robed figure made its way up the path. Voldemort. "Finally come out of hiding, Tom?" Harry called to the approaching figure.
"I am Lord Voldemort. And tonight you will die."
"Tonight? It is nearly morning, Tom." Harry looked behind Voldemort to see the Death Eaters that had followed him onto the castle grounds then turned to look at the people around him, wands pointed all around. Harry sat down on the steps and placed his wand on the ground.
"Stand up and fight, Potter," Voldemort demanded.
Harry leaned back, bracing his elbows against the step behind him. "You see, Tom, what we have here is what the muggles call a Mexican standoff. Once the first spell is cast, all hell will break out and when the magic settles it will still be just you and I standing here," Harry looked down at the step he sat on, "Well, I'll still be sitting."
Voldemort looked around him and noticed the calculating looks on his follower's faces. "Put your wands down. I will have the pleasure of killing the boy." Most of the Death Eaters lowered their wands but did not put them away.
"You know, Voldy," Harry said, "Can I call you Voldy?"
"The thing is, I have something you don't."
"You have nothing I want," he sneered.
"I didn't say you wanted it. I just said I have something you don't." Harry looked around him once more to see the people gathered outside. "All those people behind you followed you out of fear, or greed, or the idea of personal gain."
Voldemort smiled, if it could be called that, "And what is wrong with that?"
Harry shrugged. "Nothing. Except all these other people are out here for love." Harry looked at the professors. "Love for the students in that castle." He looked at his friends. "Love born of friendship." He looked at his mum and Sirius who had stopped struggling against Hagrid's grip. "And love of family." Harry turned back to Voldemort. "Love is what makes us strong and keeps us going when all hope is lost." He turned his head slightly at a figure half hidden in the shadows of the castle and locked eyes with Severus. "Love is worth dying for."
"Then stand up and die."
Harry saw the flash of anguish in Severus's eyes as he reached down and grabbed his wand, jumping up to throw a shield around himself just in time. "I see you have a new wand, Tom. But it won't help. There's something else I have, Tom," Harry called.
"I. Am. Voldemort."
"So you keep insisting. Did you know, Tom," he stressed the name, "that Dumbledore has been training me in Wild Magic? Surely you realized what it was when I was an infant." He could see by the surprise in the red eyes the man had not considered it. Thought, like so many others, it had been his mother's almost-sacrifice. "The power that my father's sacrifice unleashed in me. They never let me use it outside and I understand now. You made a mistake in forcing me to come outside to confront you. It has been building in me since I walked out those doors." Harry held his hand up and it seemed as if the very stars from heaven were shooting towards him. There had always been a slight yearning every time he was outdoors to collect the magic around him, but he had fought against it, having long ago been warned against giving in to the desire. He understood now why Dumbledore had been so insistent on it. The blue light from his hands began to spread across his body, enveloping him. Harry noticed some of the Death Eaters begin to back away.
Voldemort lowered his wand a fraction. "If you are so powerful, Potter, why are you stalling?"
"Tom, don't do this," came Dumbledore's voice behind Harry.
Harry smiled. "About time you got here, Albus. I am in need of my wand." Harry held his hand out and the wand in Dumbledore's hand shot over to Harry. Unphased, Dumbledore pulled another wand out of his sleeve. Harry held the wand up. "I think you were searching for this. You see, Albus startled me one day when I was practicing my Wild Magic. Very hard to control, Wild Magic. One must constantly practice to keep it under control. Anyway, it seems when I disarmed him, his wand decided it liked me better." Harry looked at the wand as if studying it. "I scoffed at Ollivander when he told me a wand chooses its master. Do you know the only wand that can focus Wild Magic is Elder?" Harry heard the gasps of understanding echo across the courtyard. More Death Eaters snuck away.
"You talk too much, Potter."
Harry laughed. "So I've been told."
"Kill them all," Voldemort ordered and suddenly wands went up and magic burst all around them. Harry threw up a shield and looked around. His world seemed to be moving in slow motion. Arthur and Molly battled the Lestranges. Hagrid fought off Greyback. His mother, Sirius, and several others fought off other Death Eaters. He looked over to see Severus fighting off Lucius, Draco sent spells at his own father, begging him to stop. His friends fought off Death Eaters all around him. A movement to his right caught his attention and he turned to see Luna scrambling up the steps, a large snake slithering towards her.
"Neville," Her screams of terror echoing across the courtyard.
Something fluttered down to land on Neville's head and he yanked it off to the echo of Peeve's laughter. He looked at the brown, worn sorting hat and reached inside. Harry didn't have to guess to know what had just happened. As if to confirm his suspicions, Neville pulled the silver sword out of the hat. Neville ran over to Luna and swung the sword, cutting the snake in half.
"Enough!" Harry yelled. "This ends now, Tom Riddle." Harry grabbed the wand with both hands and a bolt of blue light shot out of the wand and the world went silent as everyone seemed to stop and watch as Voldemort disintegrated in front of them, his ashes swirling in the wind of the early dawn light. Harry felt drained, as if every ounce of life force had been sucked from him. He felt the world swimming, swirling around him as his legs gave out.
"Harry!" Severus's tortured scream was the only sound that penetrated the darkness.
I'm trying to get this finished so I can move on, so I thought I'd be nice and give you guys 2 more chapters this weekend. Except I didn't realize which one the second one was until I started typing it. Sorry for the cliffhanger. I'll try to get the next one up so you don't have to scream at me too much.
Chapter 20: Aftermath
Can I just say, you guys are great. I can't believe you stuck with me for 19 chapters with hardly no smut. OMG! What was I thinking? God I so have to make it up to you people...
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Harry drifted in and out of consciousness. He was back in the hospital wing at Hogwarts; he had been here so often in his seven years he knew the smells like an old friend. He heard the Weasleys whispering over him, but couldn't make out what they said. Ron and Hermione were talking to him, but Hermione's words were too muffled. Other people came and went but he couldn't stay awake long enough to focus. At one point he thought he must have woken but it was dark and he couldn't see much. He thought he heard a noise and turned to see a figure sitting in the chair beside his bed, hunched over, head resting in their hands. Harry must have made a noise, because the figure looked up, and Harry looked into red-rimmed black eyes. Severus stood up and leaned over Harry.
"Sev," he whispered hoarsely.
"Shh." He leaned forward and pressed his lips to Harry's. "Rest. I've given you a potion. You need to heal."
Harry nodded and drifted off again. When he woke up again it was light outside and people stood around his bed. Sirius sat in the chair beside his bed and his mum stood talking to Dumbledore. He moved to sit up and all eyes were instantly on him.
"Harry," His mother raced over to him, flinging her arms around him and crying into his hair. He patted her back reassuringly.
"Welcome back, Mr. Potter," Dumbledore smiled at him.
"How long have I been out?" He asked through his mother's frazzled hair.
"Three days," came Sirius's voice.
"What happened?" His mother pulled away finally and sat in the chair she had pulled away from Sirius and grasped Harry's hand in hers. He could feel her own shaking, and he was once again overcome with guilt that she had had to watch that terrible scene. He sat up and looked over at Dumbledore.
"Just as we planned. You held him off until I could get there with your wand. By the time I arrived you were pulsing with Wild Magic. It was over so fast," Dumbledore almost sounded disappointed.
Harry looked at his mum, almost scared to ask, but needing to know. "How many did we loose?"
She shook her head. "None, Harry. Everyone lived, thanks to you." She smiled proudly at him and pushed his hair back from his forehead. "Some injuries, but you got the worst."
"Luna twisted an ankle. Hermione broke her arm. And Seamus had some burns, but that's nothing new." Harry looked over to see Ron and Hermione standing in the doorway.
"Harry," Hermione ran over to him and flung her arms around him, just as his mother had done. "You did it, Harry. He's gone for good this time."
He hugged her back, "And everyone's okay?"
She pulled back and wiped the tears from her eyes, nodding. "A few cuts and bruises. They rounded up most of the Death Eaters before they even reached Hogsmeade."
Madam Pomfrey walked up and took Harry's wrist, checking his pulse. "You've seen him, now get to class. Mr. Potter needs to eat and I need to check him over."
"We'll come back before dinner," Ron promised, "with the others." Hermione nodded and his two best friends left.
Sirius stood, "I'm going to use Albus's fireplace to Floo the Order and the Ministry, Lily. Kingsley wants a full report from Harry."
Harry watched as Dumbledore and Sirius left and Madame Pomfrey went to speak to the house elf that had just appeared. His mum took his hand back in hers.
"You okay, Love?"
He nodded. "Mum," he hesitated. "Mum, where is..."
"Oh, honey. He went back to his students. He reached you first and carried you up here, I wasn't sure if he was even going to let anyone near you. Once Poppy said you'd be okay he left." She kissed his forehead. "Severus isn't good with feelings, Sweetheart. He needs time."
Harry nodded. "I love him."
She smiled reassuringly. "I know, Love. I've known for years."
Harry looked at her in shock. "You have? And you don't mind?"
Green eyes met green. "I was worried at first, he's so much older. But you yourself are such an old soul, and Sirius said Sev would never do anything as long as you were underage."
Harry shook his head. "He's been stubborn. So, Sirius knows, too?"
She chuckled. "Let's just say, there weren't too many people surprised by Severus's reaction when you fell."
Harry felt his cheeks heat up but was saved from having to respond by Pomfrey's return with a bowl of stew. "Eat up, Mr. Potter."
Over the rest of the afternoon people trickled in to see Harry. Remus and Tonks came in with a gurgling Teddy. Bill and Fleur stopped by with Charlie. Arthur, Molly, and the twins brought homemade cauldron cakes. Hagrid stopped by as did Moody. Pomfrey shooed everyone out around two so Harry could get some rest. He woke up a few minutes before Ron and Hermione came barreling into the room. They were followed seconds later by Neville, Luna, Ginny, Dean, Draco, and Seamus. They talked for several minutes about the last few days.
Harry smiled at Neville. "I saw you kill Nagini with the Sword of Gryffindor."
"He was magnificent," Luna said and hugged Neville's arm as the blond Gryffindor blushed.
Harry turned to Draco. "Your dad?"
Draco sighed and shook his head. "He made his decision. He tried to curse Seamus," Draco looked at Seamus and the Irishman smiled down at him and slid his hand into Draco's. "I petrified him until the Aurors got there. He's back in Azkaban, I didn't even know he'd escaped."
Harry looked up at a movement in the doorway to see Severus standing there. He opened his mouth to say something, but Severus cut him off with a shake of his head and walked off. Harry sighed and leaned back against the pillows. His throat was suddenly tight with emotion.
Harry spent the next day being questioned by members of the Ministry, each wanting to know different details, all wanting to know the same thing. Was You Know Who really gone? Harry answered question after question until he promised to contact them if he remembered anything else. His mum sat stoically through it all, allowing him to handle everything. An hour before classes ended for the day Madam Pomfrey released him to return to his dorm. His mum and Sirius escorted him up the stairs and passed the clapping portraits. Once he was settled and had reassured his mum he was fine and he would see her in a month, they finally left. They were gone less than ten minutes before Hermione and Ron came running into the room.
"Pomfrey sent a house elf to wait for us after class to let us know she'd sent you to your room," Hermione explained.
Ron plopped down on the bed beside Harry. "Glad to have you back, Mate."
"I'm glad I'm finally out of that hospital bed. I hope I never have to see that room again."
Ron laughed. "Think you can make it a month?"
There was a soft tap at the door and the trio looked up to see Professor McGonagall standing in the doorway. "Harry my dear, I'm so glad to see you are doing better. Dumbledore wanted me to make sure you would be going to dinner. There is an entire school that wishes to see their hero." She smiled consolingly at him.
"Yeah, mate," Ron slapped him on the back. "Now you get to deal with what we've been dealing with."
Harry rolled his eyes. "What I really want is a shower." He looked at McGonagall, "And you can inform Albus I shall allow my adoring fans to lay eyes upon my coveted person tonight during the dinner hour." McGonagall raised her eyebrows at Harry and turned to leave. "You love me, Professor," Harry called out to her as she walked away. He looked back at Ron, "About that shower."
"I'd wear your cloak if you don't wish to be waylaid on the way," Ron suggested. "I'll even walk with you to get the doors so no one gets suspicious."
Harry nodded and reached under his mattress where he hid the cloak.
"Snape asked about you," Ron volunteered once they were safely in the bathroom and Harry was standing in the shower enjoying the warm spray. "Actually, his exacts words were: I trust Mr. Potter is recovering nicely after his latest adventure? Which is him basically begging for information."
Harry grabbed the soap and began soaping himself up. "What did you say?"
"I told him if he wanted to know how you were doing he should just go see you himself."
Harry stuck his head out of the shower. "Ron, you didn't?"
Ron looked up from where he was playing with his wand, shooting small beams of light onto the tiles and shrugged. "Sure I did. But 'Mione told me to stop being a git and told him you were doing fine." Harry sighed with relief and stepped back under the water. "When is he just going to stop pretending and be honest with himself?"
Harry snorted. "Says the guy that waited until his one-time worst enemy told Hermione how you felt. Besides, technically I'm still a student. I haven't graduated yet."
Ron snorted. "As if any teacher would fail you after this week."
Harry stepped out of the shower feeling a thousand times better and wrapped a towel around his waist. He tossed the cloak back over himself, and Ron led the way back to their dorm. Neville, Seamus, Dean, and Ginny were gathered in the room when they returned. They turned to Ron as soon as he walked in.
"Where's Harry?" Neville demanded.
"We heard he was released from Hospital," Ginny said.
Ron looked at his sister, "You need to leave, Gin."
Ginny crossed her arms and raised her chin defiantly. "Why should I?"
"Because I'm completely naked under this invisibility cloak," Harry answered.
Ginny's face turned bright red and she ran from the room. Ron laughed. "That was bloody brilliant, mate."
Harry took the cloak off, laughing, "I couldn't help it. It was just too perfect." He crossed the room and dug a clean set of clothes out of his trunk.
They were late. They hadn't meant to be. Harry had actually planned to be in the Great Hall long before dinner started but they had run into Hagrid. And then Flitwick. And Nearly Headless Nick had cornered them. And, of course, the Grey Lady had to apologize for her part in the whole thing. So that by the time they reached the Great Hall they were a quarter hour late. Ron pushed open the door, and Harry took a deep breath before stepping in. Of course he wouldn't be able to slip in unnoticed. Nothing for him was ever that easy. It was as if the entire school sensed his presence. When he entered the hall a silence seemed to wash over the entire room. And then, as if it had been rehearsed, the entire school broke into cheers and applause. Harry could feel the blush covering his face. He looked around the room at the other students, then up at the professors. His eyes moved along the head table until they locked with ebony. Harry smiled and Severus raised his glass in a mock salute. Harry narrowed his eyes playfully at Severus and made his way to his table.
It was like his very first trip to Diagon Alley all over again. Harry Potter, savior of the Wizarding world. After a week Harry was sick of it. Dammit, he wasn't the only one. There had been others there. Yes, he had killed Voldemort, but others had given him the strength, taught him to use the proper tools, protected him as he faced off against the dark menace. It was frustrating. He made the decision to speak with his mother about talking to the Daily Prophet. An idea struck him. They'd done it before, they could do it again.
"Hermione," she jumped at the suddenness of his voice.
"Harry, you very nearly gave me a heart attack."
He leaned across the table and lowered his voice. "Isn't there a Ravenclaw you mentioned wanted to be a journalist?"
Hermione's eyes lit up. "Harry, you're brilliant. I'll go get her."
Hermione jumped up, scanned the Ravenclaw table and crossed the room. She stopped and knelt down, said something to a dark haired girl and the two stood up. Hermione led the confused looking girl over to Harry's side of the table.
"Harry, this is Audrey Turnell. Audrey, I'm sure you know Harry."
The girl held out her hand and Harry shook it. "It's a real pleasure to meet you, Harry." She smiled and Harry liked her immediately. She was nothing like Rita Skeeter.
"You a seventh year?" He asked and she nodded. "'Mione said you wanted to work at the Prophet?" Another nod. "You want an exclusive that'll guarantee you an in?"
Her eyes widened. "Wi- with you?"
Harry nodded. "But not about me." She looked confused. "Look," he continued, "what I did was great, I get that. But I didn't do it alone. And people need to know that. Write the story I want, and when the Prophet publishes it, I'll give you an exclusive interview."
She squealed and hugged Harry. "Absolutely, Mr. Potter." She held her hand out, "I look forward to doing business with you." Harry smiled and shook her hand.
"Same here, Ms. Turnell."
Severus was torn. It had been almost a month since the term ended, and he still hadn't heard from Harry. He'd seen plenty. It was hard to miss the front page of the Prophet. But Harry hadn't contacted him. Had he decided that, now that there wasn't anything standing in the way, Severus was no longer worth the chase? Had the Savior of the Wizarding world finally met someone his own age? Had he been waiting for Severus to make the next move? Should he have sent a note inviting Harry over for a game of chess, or tea, or something? Damn it, he'd never been in lo-lust like this before. How was he supposed to know how to go on? And Harry's birthday was tomorrow, was he just supposed to show up at Grimmauld Place with a present like everything was normal?
Severus looked down at the newspaper on his desk. A picture of Harry and Shacklebolt talking in the lobby of the Ministry was beneath the headlines: Potter Continues Testimony, More Followers Sent to Azkaban. He grabbed the paper and tossed it into the drawer with all the others and reached for his tumbler. He downed the fire whiskey and sat the glass on the desk with a thud.
"Drinking again, Severus?"
Severus jumped up at the voice and grabbed his wand. He lowered the wand when he saw who was standing in the doorway. "Damn it, Harry. I would have thought you would know better by now than to sneak up on a wizard."
Harry shrugged and walked into the study. "You should have an alarm charm on your fireplace."
"Not just anyone can get in," Severus told him, watching the way Harry's hips moved as he crossed the room.
"So, I'm special?" He asked with that saucy smile that sent bolts of lust coursing through Severus.
"No," Severus denied quickly. "It's still set from when you would come over for potions. I've just never changed it."
Harry walked around the desk. "I think that's what muggles call a Freudian slip." He slid between Severus and the desk. Severus fought to keep his breathing even. "Miss me?"
"No," Severus said breathlessly.
Harry laughed and slid a hand up Severus's chest and rested it on his shoulder. "Don't lie to me, Severus. Would it help if I said I missed you?" Severus snorted and Harry's eyes widened. "Oh. You're mad at me," he said as if he hadn't thought this a possibility.
"I have no reason to be mad at you, Potter."
Harry slid his other hand up to Severus's shoulder and wrapped his fingers around Severus's nape. Severus tried to suppress a shudder as Harry's fingers played with his hair. "Did you think I forgot about you, Sev? Or maybe you thought I'd moved on." Severus's eyes flicked away from Harry, afraid he would see the truth in them. Harry sucked in a breath. "You did. You thought I gave up on you." He pulled Severus closer until their bodies touched. "I could never forget about you, Sev. I've waited too long to give up now that you'll finally give me a chance."
Severus watched Harry's lips moving, felt the heat from his body, and felt his hardness against him. "I never said I'd give you a chance," he licked his dry lips, and Harry smiled saucily.
"Alright. You don't have to give me a chance but you owe me."
Severus's eyes shot up to Harry's, wondering what the man was up to. "Owe you?"
Harry nodded. "Yes. It's only fair. Last year you got to suck me off and then during the school year I came in your hand. And you wouldn't let me even touch you," Harry pouted and leaned closer to whisper in Severus's ear. "I want the chance to make you come."
"I came," Severus argued, fighting back the shiver from the heat of that soft voice and stepping back a fraction.
Harry snorted and rolled his eyes. "In your own shorts, with your robe between us. I want to feel you come in my hand, I want your come all over me, Severus. I want to know what you smell like. I want to know what you taste like." Severus could feel himself trembling with need, his breath catching in his chest as Harry's fingers trailed down his chest and over his stomach. "I want to know what you feel like in my mouth." Once again Harry's voice lowered to a whisper, "I want to know how deep I can take you. In my mouth and in my-"
"Fuck," Severus growled and crushed his mouth against Harry's. Harry opened for him, and Severus slid his tongue in, caressing Harry's tongue, tasting the sweet wine Harry must have had with his dinner. Severus ran his fingers through Harry's hair, pulling him closer and plundering his mouth over and over. He pulled back gasping and moved to the strong jawline, slender neck, sucking on the tender skin. He felt Harry tugging on his robes, felt the fabric sliding up. Harry slipped his fingers inside the waist of Severus's shorts and pushed them down. He wrapped his hands around Severus's outer thighs and squeezed the hard muscles, then ran his hands up and grabbed his arse. Severus gasped.
"I guess you are in peak physical condition," the man teased.
"Damn it, Harry. You said you wanted to touch me. Touch me," Severus demanded and sucked on Harry's ear, flicking his tongue in and out.
"I love it when you get all authoritative. I'm going to go back to Hogwarts next year and sit in on your first year classes and come every time you yell at a student," Harry said, squeezing Severus's firm arse.
Severus growled, "Harry, if you don't wrap your hand around my cock this second, I'm going to suck you off and leave."
Harry chuckled. "It's your house. You'll have to come back at some point." He gasped as he was suddenly pushed back onto the desk. Severus pushed his robes up and yanked Harry's shorts off. He stroked Harry's hard cock and leaned over him.
"Haven't you learned, Mr. Potter? I'm not a very patient man."
Harry moaned, "Ah. Mmm. Okay. I won't tease, Sev. Let me touch you."
"No." Severus moved down his body and ran a tongue up Harry's length. Harry's hips bucked against the desk, and Severus pushed him up so his feet could brace against the edge. Severus licked the tip of the leaking head, the precome tingling in his mouth at the memory of the taste. "Sev, please," Harry begged. Severus ignored him, reveling in the memory of what he wanted. His tongue circled the head, ready to take him deep. "I want to touch," Harry pleaded.
"You still have a lot to learn, Potter," Severus said and slid his mouth down Harry's cock. Harry moaned. Severus echoed the moan as Harry's cock filled his mouth, the head sliding against the back of his throat. He closed his eyes, inhaling the sweet scent, remembering the feel of the thick cock filling his mouth. He moved his head, running his tongue along the thick length and over the sensitive tip; he moved to flick his tongue against Harry's balls and suck on them. He wrapped his lips around Harry again and sucked him in, swallowing around him. Harry was a moaning, incoherent mess, as he begged and pleaded as his cock slid down Severus's throat.
"Oh shite, Sev. Gods yes." Harry moved his hips under Severus's mouth, and Severus wrapped his fingers around the base of Harry's cock and began pulling on him as he sucked, his saliva lubricating the path for his fingers to work quickly. "Oh, Severus. Yes. Faster. Please. Yes. Sev." Severus tightened his grip on Harry and moved his hand faster. He ran his tongue up the length and pressed it against the slit at the head. Harry's hips bucked, "Oh, yes." Severus sucked him down as the come began to fill his mouth with each pulse of Harry's cock. He moaned as the familiar taste slid down his throat.
Severus stood and Harry reached for the hand he held out. Severus pulled him up to a sitting position, and Harry's feet slipped off the desk. Severus grabbed Harry's other wrist and held his hands pinned against the desk. He leaned over the man. "I should follow through on my threat and walk away," he said against Harry's ear, "but I find I do not wish to be done with you. So, I will give you what you want." He looked around the study. "But not here. Come along, Potter." Severus took his hand and helped him down from the desk then led him out of the study and up the stairs. Severus flicked his wand when they entered his room and several lamps spluttered on. He pulled Harry towards him and pressed his mouth to his. Severus pressed against him, backing the younger man up until he felt Harry bump into the bed behind him. "Lay down," Severus ordered. Harry reached out and grabbed Severus's robe and pulled it over the man's head, tossing it the floor. He ran his hands over Severus's chest.
"Damn. If I had known 'peak physical condition' looked like this I would have demanded to see it years ago.
Severus pulled Harry's own robes from the man and grabbed the glasses from his face, tossing them on the bedside table and pressed his hand against Harry's chest. "Lay. Down."
Harry smiled. "Yes, sir." He dropped down and slid back on the bed. Severus climbed on the bed and slid a knee between Harry's legs. He braced his hands on either side of Harry's head and leaned down to flick a tongue at Harry's nipple. Harry hissed and Severus bit down gently on the hard nub. He slipped his other leg between Harry's and spread the man's legs apart. He rubbed his cock against Harry's already hardening prick. Harry moaned and pressed his hips up. Severus kissed his way up Harry's chest to his neck.
"Did you mean it, Harry?" He looked down at the man beneath him.
Harry blinked up at him, green glazed eyes studied him. "Mean what?"
Severus shifted his hips and the head of his cock pressed against Harry's anus. "That you want me inside of you." Severus sucked on Harry's neck. "I need to know now."
Harry lifted his hips, rubbing against Severus's cock. "Yes. I have waited so long for this. For you."
Severus looked down at Harry. "You mean you've never-" Harry shook his head, his cheeks turning a delicious pink. "I thought you and Finnigan-"
Harry shook his head. "We just messed around a bit. Wanking each other mostly. Some blow jobs." Harry's fingers trailed down Severus's cheek. "We'll have to rely on your experience."
Severus shook his head and felt his own cheeks burn. "I've never either."
Harry's eyes flared with lust as he looked at him in shock. "Top or bottom?" Severus shook his head. Harry smiled and wrapped his hands around Severus's nape. "I guess we'll have to figure it out together. I watched Draco and Seamus once."
Severus reared back in shock. "You what? I knew Finnigan was open, but I had no idea he was that open."
Harry chuckled. "They didn't know I was there. It was an accident. I was on my bed under my invisibility cloak when they came in. It was- enlightening."
Severus rolled his eyes. "I think we can figure it out despite your voyeuristic tendencies."
Harry moved his hips under Severus, rubbing his balls against Severus's cock. "I'm ready to learn, Professor."
Severus bit into Harry's neck and he yelped. "It only took you eight years, Mr. Potter." Severus pulled open the drawer in the bedside table and pulled out the lubricating potion he'd developed last year thanks to constant thoughts of the man beneath him. He coated his fingers in the liquid and moved between Harry's legs. He teased at the hole as his lips moved over Harry's neck, ears, lips. He plundered Harry's mouth as he slid the digit in. He moaned at the tight heat and worked the man loose, sliding the finger in and out. "I'll be gentle," He promised against the soft lips. He slid another finger in and Harry's hands clutched at his back. He moaned and arched against Severus. "I won't lie," Severus said breathlessly, "I'm big, Harry. It might hurt."
"I don't care," Harry gasped as Severus slid a third finger inside. "I just want you inside me."
Severus moved his fingers inside Harry, stretching him. Harry's hips arched on a scream. "Sev. Oh Merlin." Severus smiled and moved his fingers again, rubbing against Harry's prostate. Just because he'd never didn't mean he didn't know what to do. In theory. "Sev. Oh fuck, yes."
Severus spent a little more time stretching Harry, sliding his fingers in and out, he wanted the man ready for him so as to cause as little pain as possible. He slowly slid his fingers out and coated his cock. He reached for Harry's prick and began to stroke the man, licking at Harry's nipple as he placed the head of his cock against the prepared hole. Harry hissed as Severus began to push inside him. Severus pressed his lips to Harry's, "Relax, Harry. I got you." He covered Harry's mouth and slid his tongue against Harry's. Harry moaned, and Severus felt the man relax beneath him. He stroked Harry's cock as he slowly pushed himself in. He gasped as his balls hit Harry's arse. He closed his eyes at the overwhelming sensation. God he felt incredible. So tight, so warm, so... so phenomenal.
"Sev? Are you okay?" Harry's hushed whisper brought Severus back, still trying to fight back the immediate urge to just come.
He sighed. "You feel incredible, Harry. So much better than I ever imagined."
"You too, Sev." Severus opened his eyes and looked down into Harry's familiar green eyes. "You feel amazing too, Sev." He ran a hand down Severus's chest. "But do you think you could," Harry shifted his hips, "start to move."
Severus chuckled and grabbed one of Harry's thighs, "Bend your leg." Harry obeyed, and Severus felt the man open up more as his leg slid up. He grabbed the leg and lifted it onto his shoulder.
Harry hissed and arched his hips. "Sev! Oh yes." The other leg raised on its own accord.
Severus moved his hips, pulling out until just the tip was inside Harry, then pushed slowly back inside. The tip of his cock rubbing against Harry's prostate. At Harry's "Oh, fuck!" Severus awarded Slytherin a hundred points for good aim. He smiled cockily.
"You like that, Harry?"
"Yes. Yes. Do it again," Harry nodded frantically, and Severus pulled out and pressed in again. "Oh Merlin! Yes. Again." Severus obeyed. "More, faster, Sev. Oh, faster," Harry begged, and Severus mentally awarded fifty points for enthusiasm. Fuck, this was wonderful. So incredible. The way he slid so easily in and out of Harry's tight heat. How he was enveloped by Harry in a way his own hands had never been able to surround him, pleasure him. Harry gripped him, tight and hot while his hands pulled Severus's head down to kiss him fiercely. Severus moved faster, pounding into Harry. His cock sliding in and out, the sound of skin against skin echoing around them, mixed with grunts and gasps and yes. Severus's hips thrusting hard into Harry as the man arched against him, his legs slid down to wrap around Severus's waist. A nervous energy enveloped Severus, Harry's every gasp of approval sent lust curling through him to settle in his belly. Building into something incredible.
"Oh yes. Yes," Harry arched against him. "I'm going to come. Oh god, Sev. Touch me, please. I want to come in your hand,"
Severus moved back on his knees and wrapped his hand around Harry's cock. He began to stroke him, letting the silky heat slid through his hand as he matched the rhythm of his cock pounding into Harry. He watched the beautiful man clutch desperately at the sheets beneath them, the way the glistening head peaked out of his fist as he stroked the man. "Come for me, Harry."
Harry screamed as his cock throbbed in Severus's hand, his come spilling over them. Harry's orgasm pulsed around Severus's, cock and he dropped forward to pound harder into the welcome heat, each thrust pulling a grunt from him as he reached for the elusive knot that was building inside him. He tossed his own head back with a groan as his cock pulsed inside Harry, filling his lover with his own release. He thrust twice more, emptying himself completely before collapsing on top of the beautiful man beneath him. A part of him knew he needed to gain his strength so he could roll off Harry but another part was still wrapped in bliss. Soft kisses along his collar bone eventually pulled him from his stupor, and he finally moved off Harry, the two men hissing softly as he he slipped from the youth's body. He collapsed beside Harry and pulled the lithe form against him and whispered groggily.
"Okay. I'll give you a chance." Harry giggled as he snuggled back against Severus.
Just the epilogue left. Hope you enjoyed
Harry woke feeling more content and relaxed than he had in a long time. His body hurt, of course. Who wouldn't after being woken no less that five times for a bout of intense love making? Well, he had been the one to wake Severus that one time. He could still taste the man on his lips. He smiled to himself.
"Ah, good. You're awake."
Harry reached out and located his glasses. He slid them on and opened his eyes to see Severus standing over him with two steaming mugs. He placed them on the bedside table and sat down on the edge of the bed.
"You should drink the tea. I put a potion in it to help with the soreness."
Harry sat up, wincing slightly at the pain in his back. He picked up the mug and took a sip of the warm liquid. "Mmm. You know, Severus," Harry said looking up at him, "you don't have to drug me. I'm always willing."
Severus snorted. "You weren't very willing at six o'clock this morning." He smirked, "At least not at first."
Harry rolled his eyes. "Oh, excuse me for needing some rest. I've been in court practically every day for the last month repeating the same story at every boring arse trial and when I finally get over here you fuck the hell out me five times. Even someone as young as me needs some rest."
Severus took a sip of his own tea and licked the droplets off the top of his lips. Harry felt his cock begin to stir. "Technically it was six. Just because I didn't pull out that one time doesn't mean you get to count it as one. You came, I came, we rested. Then I fucked you again. Simple math, Potter. One and one makes two." Severus smirked at him.
Harry took another sip and looked over the rim at Severus. "Or in your case, six."
Severus ran his eyes down Harry's body, pausing at the tented sheet, then looked back in his green eyes. "And I'm ready for seven."
Harry hid his smile behind the cup."You're insatiable, Sev. Besides, my potion master told me I need to drink my- Hey!"
Harry laughed at the look on Severus's face as he grabbed the mug from Harry's hand and placed it on the table beside his own. He plucked the glasses from Harry's face and they landed next to the mugs. He climbed over Harry and covered his mouth with his in a quick kiss. "You never listened before, why start now?"
Harry chuckled and ran his hands down Severus's thighs. "I listened last night."
Severus's brow went up. "Oh, is that it, then?" Severus pushed Harry back down onto the bed. "I have to have my cock inside you before you'll listen?"
Harry shrugged and smiled up at him. "If that's what it takes."
Severus tore the sheet from between them and rubbed himself against Harry. Harry moaned and arched against him.
"Harry," Severus moaned against his mouth. He pulled back, gasping. "Harry, I want you inside me. I want to feel you. Let me ride you."
Harry's breath hitched at the silky need in Severus's voice. How could he deny him? "Yes. Yes, okay. What do I need to do?" It wasn't as if he'd been in a position to take notes the previous night.
Severus grinned down at him. "Lay back and enjoy it."
Harry looked at him in confusion. "Don't I need to stretch you?"
Severus wrapped his hand around Harry's cock and began coating it with lubricant. "Just because I've never done this before, doesn't mean I haven't learned how to pleasure myself, Harry. I've known I was gay for about twenty years longer than you have. I've learned things."
Harry laughed as Severus's meaning sank in. "You have toys." He levered himself up on his elbows and watched Severus applying the lube to his prick. He licked his lips. "Can I see them?"
Severus looked up at him as his hand disappeared behind him to add lube to his own hole. Harry's breath hitched at the thought of Severus's fingers sliding in and out of his own arse. He wished he could see that, he'd have to have Severus show him that erotic image later. Harry blinked his eyes back into focus as Severus grabbed his cock again and guided Harry to his arse. "No," he said as he pressed himself down onto Harry.
Harry moaned and fell back as conscious thought left him. "Later then. Oh fuck. Much later."
Severus moaned as his hips met Harry's. "No," he gasped out.
Harry reached out and began stroking Severus's cock. "You'll give in, Sev. You always do."
Severus didn't say anything but began to move, sliding up and down Harry's cock. "Merlin, Harry. You feel so good."
"Oh, Sev. Fuck, that's amazing." Harry moaned and bucked his hips against Severus as he slid up and down. "Don't stop. Harder, Severus." Fuck, it was incredible watching this man move over him. He didn't think he'd ever get tired of this sight. And he felt amazing. No wonder Severus had woken him so many times during the night. The tight heat was incredible as Severus rode him. Pounding onto him as Harry stroked the large cock in his hand.
"Touch me, Harry," Severus demanded. "Stroke me."
"I am." Harry tightened his grip.
"Not. Hard. Enough." Severus said on each downward thrust. He wrapped his hand tight around Harry's and tried to pump himself.
"No," Harry said and pushed his hand away. "You're going to make me come and then you're going to come in my mouth," Harry demanded. "I want to taste you again."
"Then come for me, Harry, so I can feel my cock throbbing against your tongue." Severus clenched his arse cheeks around Harry, and Harry screamed as he started pounding him harder.
"Fuck! Ah, damn, Sev. I'm so close. So close. I- I- oooh, Sev."
Severus continued riding him as his cock pulsed inside him, squirting his come up into the tight cavern and emptying his balls as Harry screamed his approval. Harry had barely caught his breath when Severus pulled off him and moved over him. Harry opened his mouth wide to accept his lover's gift, and Severus slid his heavy cock between his lips. Severus stroked his hair back.
"Relax, Harry. I got it." He continued to run his fingers through Harry's hair and grabbed a handful before he started thrusting into him. "Ah, yes, Harry. Run your tongue over my cock." Harry obeyed him, tasting Severus as best he could. "Fuck yes. Swallow, Harry. Swallow, I need to come." Harry swallowed around Severus's cock and felt the first burst of come hit his throat. "Oh, Harry." Harry sucked and swallowed the salty come until Severus was spent. Severus pulled his limp cock from Harry's mouth and collapsed beside him.
"Perhaps it's a good thing I didn't take you until after you had graduated," Severus mumbled against his shoulder. "There's no way I would have been able to be in the same room with you for two hours and not fuck you."
Harry laughed. "Poor Ron would have died of mortification."
"I bet Malfoy and Finnigan would have enjoyed the show," Severus chuckled.
"Hermione would have just complained that I was ruining my potion by not paying attention."
"No," Severus said and kissed his ear, "I know potions timing. I'm sure I could get us both off within the simmering time frame."
Harry turned to face Severus, a mischievous smile on his lips. "Is that a challenge, Professor? And what do I get if I hold out and you ruin the potion?"
"If you make me ruin a potion, Potter," Severus growled, "I might have to punish you."
Harry's eyes widened. "Spanking, Sev? I never knew. Do you like to be spanked or do the spanking?"
Severus's eyes widened in alarm. "No. Absolutely not. Do not go down that road, Mr. Potter."
Harry smiled wickedly at him. "Sorry, Professor. You're cock isn't inside me. I can't take orders from you."
"I ought to put my cock back in your mouth. That'll keep you quiet," Severus growled.
Harry chuckled. "Still trying to find ways to shut me up, Snape? I thought you gave up on that."
Severus's dark eyes twinkled. "I have discovered new techniques."
"But what if I have something important to say?" Harry asked innocently.
"What sort of 'important things' do you have to say?" Severus teased.
Harry thought for a minute. "Mmm. And Yes. And More." Harry inched closer to the man as he spoke. "And harder and please and oh, Sev." His mouth was a hair's breadth from Severus's. Severus groaned and captured Harry's lips with his own. Harry moved into the kiss, rolling on top of Severus, his hard cock pressing into Severus's thigh.
"Really, Harry? And you said I was insatiable. I can't do it again. It's too soon. I'm exhausted."
Harry kissed his neck, "Who's the one that's resisting now?"
"I had to get us both off last time," Severus defended.
"Then let me do the work. It's my erection." As if to prove his intentions, Harry pressed his hips against Severus, trapping his cock between them. He moved his hips, rubbing himself against Severus. Severus grabbed his head and pulled it down, pressing his tongue into Harry's mouth. Harry felt Severus's hand slide down his body and grasp his arse, pushing him harder against him. Harry bucked his hips and moaned, moving his mouth to Severus's neck.
"Come for me, Harry. I want to feel your come sliding down my skin," Severus slid a finger into Harry's arse.
"Oh, shite, Sev." Harry bucked against him and felt the first pulse of desire as his come spread out between them. He moaned as his orgasm shook his body.
He collapsed onto Severus's chest, the pounding of their hearts echoing through his body. After a few minutes he raised his eyes to meet Severus's. Something flashed in the dark eyes and Severus inhaled sharply. His voice came out in a whisper. "Say it, Harry."
Harry's eyes widened. "Are you sure, Sev? I didn't know if you'd be ready to hear it."
Severus wrapped his arms around Harry and flipped him over. He looked down into Harry's green eyes. "I only want to hear it, if it's you saying it."
Harry smiled gently and brushed a strand of hair out of Severus's face. "I love you, Severus Snape."
Severus closed his eyes as if allowing the words to wash over him. He slowly lowered his lips to Harry's. The kiss was soft, slow, and gentle. Reverent. Harry glorified in it as Severus swept his tongue along Harry's. He ended the kiss with a quick peck at the corner of Harry's lips and looked down into the green eyes. "I love you too, Harry James Potter."
"Ah, Sev." Harry pulled him down for a quick hard kiss. He sighed happily as Severus pulled away.
"By the way, Harry. Happy birthday."
Harry's eyes widened and he sat up quickly, causing Severus to fall back on the bed. Harry looked around the room frantically. "What time is it?"
Severus laughed. "What's the matter, Potter? Got a hot date?" Severus waved a hand and a clock appeared on the wall.
"Almost noon? We have to get going," Harry turned frantic eyes on Severus. "My mum will kill me if I'm late."
Severus grinned at Harry and ran a finger down his naked back. "Eighteen and still scared of mommy, Harry? Even in the muggle world you're an adult."
"She'll hold you responsible if I'm late, Severus."
It was Severus's turn to shoot up. "She knows you're with me? Fuck, Harry. She'll murder me. What time do we have to be there? Wait. Where do we have to be?" Severus had rolled off the bed and was reaching for their robes.
"Grimmauld Place," Harry said, taking his robe from Severus. "At least by two. My birthday celebration starts at three. Mum and Sirius are taking off early to get ready. They are announcing their engagement at dinner afterwards. Kind of an all-for-one."
"It's about time," Severus mumbled as he slid into his own robe. "I suppose we'll be announcing our relationship as well?"
Harry accioed his glasses and slipped them on with a smile. "Well, we did just spend the last twelve hours having mad, passionate sex and you did just express your undying love for me."
Severus rolled his eyes and rounded the bed. He pulled Harry close to him, "I did not express my undying love, Mr. Potter."
Harry smiled impishly up at him. "You might as well have, Professor."
Severus sighed. "You're a pain in the arse, Potter."
Harry winked cheekily. "It'll get easier. You just need more practice."
Severus growled and pressed his lips to Harry's sliding his tongue into his mouth. He nibbled on Harry's lower lip and pressed himself against Harry's erection. "Harry," Severus said when he pulled back.
"Potter!" Severus snapped and Harry's eyes flew open.
"What? I was having a moment."
"You can have a moment later," Severus told him. "Do you want to move in?"
Harry blinked in confusion. "What?"
Severus closed his eyes in blatant annoyance. "Do. You. Want. To. Move. In? I figured you'll be over here most of the time anyway. And the fireplace has a direct link to my quarters at the school. So, while you're in training you can still come see me. If you want."
Harry smiled broadly. "Oh, I want. I want very much. Yes, I'll move in, Sev. I'd love to move in. Besides, it's safer than risking running into mum trying to sneak back into her room."
Severus laughed. "Lily was always a bit old fashioned."
Harry shrugged at his parent's antics. A thought struck him and he smiled wickedly at Severus. "Hey, Sev."
Severus eyed him warily. "What, Potter?"
"Do you have a stand up shower?"
"Yeeesss..." He said carefully.
Harry pressed up against him, "Is it big enough for two?"
Severus's breath hitched. "Y-yes."
"I just thought," Harry said innocently, "I mean, we only have two hours for both of us to get dressed, and I thought it might go faster if we took a shower together." Harry's grin widened. "Plus, I've heard shower sex can be amazing."
"Damn it, Harry. You're going to be the death of me." He rubbed his hard cock against Harry's. "If we are late, I'm telling your mother you wanted to have rough shower sex."
Harry grabbed his hand and led him towards the bathroom he'd located last night. "We won't be late."
They were late.
Yeah. Finally done. Thanks for all the wonderful comments and Kudos. I hope you all enjoyed this one and don't worry, I haven't forgotten about that one story I promised back in Ch 12. It's coming up next.