Author: Kyla Mizuki PM
After the final battle, Harry decides to return to the Shrieking Shack, intent on bringing Severus Snape's body back. He finds Severus alive, surprisingly, but he must get Severus to trust him, to return with him and be healed.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Harry P. & Severus S. - Chapters: 13 - Words: 34,958 - Reviews: 268 - Favs: 189 - Follows: 371 - Updated: 10-07-09 - Published: 03-21-08 - id: 4144807
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Kyla: Well, apparently it is impossible for me to write a oneshot for the HP fandom... haha. XP I decided since there are a few people who want me to continue this story, then I will do my best to keep it going. Thanks for the reviews!! XD
The war was finally over. Harry walked around the Great Hall as he looked at all who had died in the final battle. He had lost one of the Weasleys, as well as Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks. There were many students and Order members that had died, as well as Aurors. Harry felt tears prick the corner of his eyes, but he shook his head roughly in order to get rid of them.
Harry had taken all he could, but soon, he waved to Ron and Hermione, motioning that he was going to go outside to get some air. He did not mean for them to join him outside, but a couple of minutes later, they were there by his side, like always. Together, the three sat in silence for a couple of minutes, all wondering how odd the peace felt.
That was when Harry remembered what had happened at the Shrieking Shack. "Snape," he murmured suddenly, and he knew he had to return to the Shrieking Shack. There was still one body left to recover. "Ron, Hermione," he said and turned to look at them, "there's something I have to do... I want to retrieve Snape's body from the Shrieking Shack and have him properly buried."
Hermione and Ron looked at one another rather uneasily, both still trying to fully comprehend the magnitude of what was the end of the war. None of them had liked Severus Snape, but Hermione and Ron knew that when Harry set his mind to something, it was hard to change the boy's mind.
"Do you want us to come with you?" Hermione asked after a moment's pause. It was her way of telling Harry that she and Ron would not try to stop him. She watched him shift uncomfortably in front of them.
"I really don't know for sure, but... I think this is something I should do alone," Harry muttered, his voice trailing off to silence. He avoided his friends' gazes, fearing they might be angry at him for not wanting them to come, but he would much prefer to save them from seeing Severus's body. The scene was quite gruesome.
"All right, Harry," Ron replied comfortingly and set a hand on Harry's shoulder. When the two boys' gazes met, the redhead gave Harry a sad smile and squeezed his shoulder as a sign of support. "Me and Hermione will cover for you." With that said and done, he stepped back a step.
"Be careful, Harry," Hermione whispered into Harry's ear when she hugged him tight, "you've finally beaten Voldemort... Try to stay out of trouble now, okay?" She too stepped back, her hand immediately seeking out Ron's and intertwining their fingers.
Harry's lips twitched up slightly at the sight of his two best friends. He was happy for them, he truly was. They had each other, but they still had room for Harry. He could always count on them. "I can't stay out of trouble, Hermione. You know that. Trouble always finds me, no matter what," he replied cheekily, "but I'll try to be careful... I'll be back soon."
As Hermione and Ron stood there, Harry picked his Invisibility Cloak off a pile of rubble. He pulled the fabric around his shoulders, and in a moment, he was completely invisible. He watched as his two best friends turned and left the room without another word back to him. This left Harry to follow silently as he could along behind them. Instead of continuing into the Great Hall, like Ron and Hermione, he slipped outside the castle and headed straight for the Whomping Willow.
The secret passageway underneath the violent tree was easy enough for Harry to get to. Harry wondered if it had always really been so simple or if it had been for the fact that he had just defeated Lord Voldemort. He was a bit numb, to be honest. The boy felt as if he were stuck in a dream, and he could not believe it was really all over. With no more Voldemort, he could have a bit of normalcy, right? Once everything settled down, of course.
Thought after thought after thought zoomed through Harry's head at a mile a minute. The usually long trip to the Shrieking Shack went by quicker than Harry would have liked, but he could not turn around and go back now. He had all ready came this far. But... why was he doing this again? Severus and Harry had hated each other, had they not?
"No," Harry told himself quietly and shook his head, "we just never saw eye-to-eye... If Snape hadn't given up his whole life to spy for the Order all these years, would anyone still be here to resist and finally defeat Voldemort?" He mulled things over in his head for a moment.
Respect. That was why Harry was doing this. Though he and Severus never really got along, Harry had respect for him now. After seeing what Severus did, giving up his whole life in order to try and stop Voldemort, a deep respect for the man had grown inside Harry in such a short amount of time. That was what had Harry climbing out of that passageway and into the dilapidated building. That was what kept Harry going forward up the stairs and even further until he was in the very room that Severus's body lay.
A heavy sigh came from Harry's mouth upon seeing the listless body of his Potions professor, the deathly pale skin standing out unhealthily against his dark hair. There was blood everywhere, and Harry had to swallow the urge to be sick. His knees felt weak. Somehow, he managed to walk over to the motionless figure.
No one should have to stand there and look upon a dead body, but Harry had done just that how many times in the past seventeen years? In the past few hours? Memories flashed through his mind's eye, Cedric laying spread-eagled in that graveyard back in Harry's fourth year, Sirius falling through that Veil in the Department of Mysteries, Severus killing Dumbledore upon the Astronomy Tower, Fred lying under the pile of rocks that had killed him, Hedwig being hit by the Killing Curse on the escape from Privet Drive, Tonks and Remus lying dead side-by-side back in the Great Hall with the fifty other people, children and adults alike, who died during that final battle, during the entire war.
"Why?" Harry choked out as he fell to his knees beside Severus. Suddenly, the realization seemed to smack him hard in the face. So many had died. It was like a dam had been broken, and tears clouded his vision. He wiped a hand over his eyes in hopes of ridding himself of his tears, but they just kept coming. He had yet to really mourn anyone, and he was alone now, save for Severus's prone body in front of him. "Why?!" he shouted again angrily, his voice cracking with emotion.
"Potter?" a weak, slightly confused voice murmured from in front of Harry, causing the boy's green eyes to widen. That voice was familiar, but it couldn't be possible.
"Snape?" Harry spoke softly, wiping his eyes once more before peering down at the Potions Master. Did he dare believe that Severus had really survived? There was no way... It had to be impossible. He looked on in shock at Severus.
Meanwhile, Severus's eyes fluttered open, and he used most of what strength he could muster to look up and see if it was Harry Potter he had heard, but all the man could focus on were those beautiful green eyes. "Lily," he croaked, his voice full of strong emotions.
Harry was flabbergasted. Severus thought that Harry was Lily? The man was seeing the girl he loved in Harry Potter's eyes, and Harry felt his stomach drop like a rock. He knew that he had to tell Severus that it was not Lily, but to tell the Potions Master that would surely break the man's heart even more. However, it was something that had to be done. "No, sir," the Gryffindor whispered gently when Severus struggled to lift a hand up to Harry's cheek, "it's not Lily... It's me, Harry."
Realization dawned suddenly, and Severus froze, hand midway to what he had thought had been Lily Evans's cheek. "No," he moaned quietly, "just let me die... Please, no more pain..." He started to drop his hand back down, but a pair of young, Quidditch-roughened hands hurried to clasp it.
"I'm sorry, Snape," Harry apologized solemnly as he gazed down at the Potions Master, "so sorry..." He tightened his hold on Severus's hand, especially when the man attempted to yank his hand from Harry's grip.
"No, you're not," Severus spat, weakly but angrily. He tried to once again pry his hand from the Gryffindor's firm hold. "Do not say things that you don't mean," he added coldly, his resistance weak. "What are you doing here anyway? Have you defeated the Dark Lord yet?" he demanded and tried to push himself to a sitting position while still attempting to free his captive hand. "For Merlin's sake, let go of my hand, Potter!" he added in a furious mumble.
Harry sighed but loosened his grip enough so that Severus could pull his hand away and struggle to sit up. "Yeah, Voldemort's gone now... for good. I managed to slip away so I could come retrieve your body... To be honest, I thought you were dead..." He bit his lip anxiously but allowed Severus some room.
"If only I were so lucky," Severus scowled, trying to push the dizziness that he felt away.
"Don't say that," Harry said and frowned at the comment, "I'm glad you're alive... Too many people are dead..."
"Just go away, Potter," Severus heaved an exhausted sigh, "leave me alone! Return to Hogwarts so that everyone can praise their hero!" He was suddenly angry, angry that Harry would get all the attention and fame, and he, Severus—the man who had given up his whole life to be a spy—would get no recognition whatsoever. He glared at Harry before tipping to the side in his dizzy stupor. "No, leave me alone," he snapped at Harry when the boy tried to reach out to help him.
"I'm not leaving here without you, sir," Harry replied, that Gryffindor stubbornness flashing its colors. "I came here to bring you back to Hogwarts," he said and tried to help Severus up.
"Why?" the man snarled and jerked away weakly from Hary, "Why?! So they can torture me? Kill me? So they can use me as a trophy to show that the Dark Lord has truly been defeated?" He thrashed weakly around in order to get as far away from Harry as he could, effectively managing to back himself against a wall.
"Who's they?" Harry asked cautiously, pausing in front of the grimacing man. "What are you talking about?"
"You are so dense... Think about it," Severus snapped, eyes narrowed to slits, "Who else would I be talking about? The Ministry, Potter, I'm talking about the Ministry! I'm a Death Eater! I killed Albus Dumbledore!" With that said, the Death Eater-turned-spy could no longer play the part he had resigned himself to all those years ago, and the strong and proud man dissolved into body-wracking sobs. "I killed him, but Fawkes still saved me," he choked out under his breath after a moment.
So, that's how Snape survived, Harry noted to himself mentally. Fawkes had left Hogwarts upon Albus Dumbledore's death, but to where, Harry never knew. It was possible that the phoenix came when Severus needed him. He helped him because Severus was still loyal to Albus, no matter his actions. It had all been planned, but this man had been forced to play the part of a loyal Death Eater, killing the one he was truly loyal to.
Harry's lips formed a small, sad smile, and he knelt in front of Severus. "You're a hero, Snape," he argued quietly, "Dumbledore knew you were loyal to him... If you weren't then Fawkes wouldn't have come to save you... He helped you because he knew Dumbledore would want you to live..." He leaned forward cautiously and set a hand on Severus's arm.
"Lies," Severus whispered harshly as he brushed Harry's hand away roughly, "some hero I am... Look at where it got me, Potter! I have spent my whole life as a spy, and no one even cares! I'll be sent off to Azkaban for the rest of my life... I'll be lucky to escape the Dementor's Kiss! Some hero!" he scoffed to himself.
"I'm sure we can clear your name," Harry said confidently and tried to console this man he thought he had hated for years, trying to coerce him into returning to Hogwarts with the Boy-Who-Lived. Even though Fawkes had kept him from dying, the Potions Master was still in need of medical attention, and a Calming Draught would not go amiss either. "Come on, sir," he said and attempted to hoist the man up.
Severus, however, flinched and pushed Harry violently away. The Gryffindor fell backwards onto his rump with a thud and a groan of pain. "I'm not going, Potter," Severus stated coldly, "what part of that can't your imbecilic brain comprehend?"
"You need to see a Healer," Harry sighed. He argued with Severus for another few minutes, noting that the Potions Master grew weaker by the minute. "Trust me," he said.
"Trusting you would be the biggest mistake of my life," Severus snarled, hoping to scare Harry off. If he could at least infuriate the boy, then Harry would leave him, saying he deserved to die.
Harry's eyes flashed angrily at Severus's comment, but he sighed and reigned in his fury with great difficulty. "Don't make me stupefy you," he warned boldly.
"You wouldn't dare," Severus growled, eyes narrowed. Instinctively, he drew further from Harry, watching the boy warily. His hands fumbled around the immediate area of floor in search for his wand, but then realization slapped him in the face when his mind flashed an image of Voldemort holding the Elder Wand in his hands, sneering down his nose at his bloodied follower.
Harry held his wand up and met the Potions Master's exhausted gaze directly. "Do you really want to bet on it?" he asked.
Severus moaned as he felt even more of his magic drain away in an attempt to keep him alive just a little while longer. He eyed Harry cautiously for a moment then sighed. A defeated nod allowed the Harry to pull the older man to his feet. They headed for the door at a slow but fairly steady pace in silence.
"Why are you doing this...? What do you hope to gain from helping me?" Severus asked in a voice that screamed exhaustion. They had just came down the staircase, the dust stirring up heavily around them.
"I can't just leave you here," Harry stated as if it were the most obvious answer he could give, "I don't expect anything in return, and I'm not about to let someone else die if I can help it." He stared straight ahead, his footsteps slow but determined to match Severus's.
The trip back to Hogwarts did not seem to take nearly as long as when Harry had come through minutes before, but by the time they climbed back inside the castle, Severus was on the verge of passing out. He carried on for as long as he could, but his strength, as well as his courage, failed him when they came upon the entrance to the Great Hall. Inside, Ministry officials and Aurors swarmed, as well as others who would just as soon hex him now and ask questions later.
"I can't go in there," Severus said defeated and tried to pull away from Harry. He stumbled slightly, but the Gryffindor managed to maneuver his weight around to balance the two of them better.
"You need to see a Healer," Harry repeated with a sigh.
"I will not be given the privilege of seeing a Healer," Severus argued quietly, mentally cursing his weakness and his inability to escape the teenage boy known as Harry Potter. "I'll be shipped straight away to a Ministry holding cell, if not straight to Azkaban itself."
"You don't know that," Harry argued as he readjusted his hold on the man.
"Yes, I do," Severus snarled and rolled up his left sleeve. He showed off his branded arm, the Dark Mark taunting him as it turned a permanent black. He stared hard at Harry, trying to get his point across, and stated furiously, "I am a Death Eater... I have no wand with which to defend myself, I am injured and weak... I do not stand a chance."
"Yes, you do. I'll make sure that you see a Healer, I promise," Harry said. His face held that determined spark that Severus so envied. "Trust me," the boy added, a slight pleading tone edging into his voice.
There was that word again. Trust. Severus would have scoffed at the boy like usual, but at this point, he was weak and found it would be useless to do so. "Do whatever you like, Potter," he sighed, "it's not as if I could fight you off..." He conceded defeat and let himself be drug into the Great Hall. A hush fell upon their arrival, and the tension in the room tickled the hairs on his arms.
"It's Snape!" a Ministry official exclaimed suddenly, "Arrest him!"
Aurors from around the room rushed forward, drawing their wands and pointing them at the two dark-haired wizards. They beckoned Harry away from Severus, telling him to step away and let them handle the Death Eater.
"No," Harry replied angrily, snapping out his own wand and leveling it on the Ministry official who had ordered the Aurors to arrest Severus. "I told him that he would see a Healer," he said matter-o-fact, eyes hard and blazing, "now lower your wands and let us through!"
The Aurors teetered on the verge of listening to Harry. They wanted to follow the Ministry, but Harry Potter was the one who had defeated He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. In the end, they stepped aside and lowered their wands, allowing the Gryffindor to limp by, supporting Severus as he helped the older man over to the Healers from St. Mungo's. "Can someone help him?" he asked the Healers, but the group of them turned up their noses and refused to help. "What's your problem?!" Harry snarled when they began wandering off to tend to patients without so much as a guilty dip of their head.
"I told you, Potter," Severus sighed wearily. It was time to face the music, time to prepare for Azkaban and accept the fact that his life was officially over.
"No," Harry said urgently, "I need a Healer," he added, louder and louder. His spirits began to plummet. Won't anyone help him? He looked around desperately, refusing to listen to Severus, as well as ignoring the Ministry's attempts at coercing him into letting them "take care of" the wounded man he was supporting.
"Severus," Poppy Pomfrey gasped as she came over from the back room to see what the commotion was all about. "Out of my way," she demanded and unceremoniously elbowed her way through the crowd of Ministry officials, "I said out of my way!"
"Madame Pomfrey," Harry exclaimed in relief. He smiled wide. She would help Severus, so he helped ease the Potions Master down to the floor. "See? I told you I'd get you a Healer... Pomfrey is the best anyway," the boy said proudly with a grin, his voice loud enough to drift over to the other Healers to let them know that they had royally pissed him off.
"So you did, Potter," Severus replied quietly and allowed himself to relax as Poppy began waving her wand around his lithe form, his eyes never straying from the famous Gryffindor.
Harry sat back on his haunches and looked around. Once he spotted Hermione and Ron, he stood up and dusted off his robes. "I'll be back," he said, but to Severus or Poppy, the Potions Master was not sure. Why would I care if he doesn't come back? He sighed and turned his attention to his forearm. Underneath his sleeve was that loathsome mark. I'll never be rid of it, he grimaced, there's no way... Why didn't Potter just leave me to die in the Shrieking Shack?
From his spot on the floor of the Great Hall, Severus could feel the glares of every Ministry official in the room. He saw Kingsley Shacklebolt, past Auror, member of the Order of the Phoenix, and current Minister of Magic himself, gesturing to Minerva McGonagall. He could see how frustrated Minerva was getting as she tried to rapidly discuss something with the Minister. She had been Headmistress upon Dumbledore's death, and she was currently working her magic again as Head of the school. Her eyes slid to the side to meet with Severus's briefly before returning to Kingsley. She gave him a clipped answer and spun on her heel, heading straight for Poppy and her patient.
"Severus," Minerva said softly in greeting.
"Headmistress," Severus replied stiffly, tensing and allowing a defensive look to morph onto his face. The two may have been colleagues, but who knew if he would be forgiven for following Albus's orders to kill him.
"No need to be so formal," Minerva chuckled, wrinkled face smoothing out with the quirking of her lips into a small smile. "We've known each other for years."
Severus felt relief flood through his body, successfully relaxing his tense muscles. He allowed himself to return the smallest of smiles in the elderly woman's direction. "Minerva," he settled on saying in an alternative greeting.
"How are you feeling?" Minerva asked gently and took note of the man's rumpled appearance. His robes were torn and hanging off his pale drawn form. Dried blood stained various areas of skin, and he looked more than a little worse for the wear.
"I've been better," Severus admitted quietly and cut his eyes away from Minerva's. He could see the look of pity in her eyes, and it made him very uncomfortable. He knew he must look completely dreadful.
"Well," Minerva said after a small laugh void of any humor, "I came to see how you were doing and to tell you that you are expected back as the Potions Professor when Hogwarts re-opens. Also, I would like to pass on to you the honor of being the Deputy Headmaster. So, come see me in two weeks to discuss when would be an appropriate time to re-open the school." She rose an eyebrow in amusement at the way his head snapped up to meet her gaze, his face shining with wary astonishment.
For a few moments, Severus could only gape at the Headmistress. It was another few seconds before he managed to strangle out, "Certainly you jest, Minerva."
"No, I am serious," Minerva said sternly, resolve heard in her tone of voice and seen in her posture.
"Are you sure?" he asked quietly and looked to the floor again.
"Yes, I am very sure," she replied briskly, a smile pulling at her face.
"Very well," Severus murmured and bowed his head forward respectfully.
"Good," Minerva said, "I'll be looking forward to our meeting in two weeks. Do not forget, Severus," she warned lightly, teasingly. "Get well soon," she added before drifting away from him.
"Do you have any pains?" Poppy asked Severus and drew away enough to eye the dark-haired man intently for any injuries she might have missed.
Severus shook his head. "No... thank you, Madame," he said, deciding not to mention the ache that was pulsing in his left forearm. There was nothing to be done about that particular pain. At the moment, all he wanted was to clean up, get some food, and fall into bed and never wake up again. His whole body screamed exhaustion.
"No problem," Poppy gave him a smile. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to check some of the other patients," she added and stood up. She nodded at someone over the Potions Master's shoulder before sweeping away, a stern expression back on her face.
Severus tensed and looked over his shoulder to see who was standing there. He half expected it to be the Minister of Magic accompanied by an Auror to arrest him. Just because he had known Kingsley when working in the Order of the Phoenix, he knew the man would think he was still one of the Dark Lord's followers. He had killed Albus after all, so he bore no real anger to Kingsley for wanting Albus's killer taken to Azkaban. He prepared to quietly and obediently accept his punishment..
Instead of Kingsley, however, the Potions Master was surprised to see a boy with dark hair and eyes as green as Lily Evans had been. "Potter," the now retired spy said in bitter acknowledgment. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw the Minister had started to make a beeline for the pair, but when Kingsley took note of Harry's glare and the way he sat down by Severus, he seemed to think better of coming over straight away. So, the Minister headed for a group of Aurors and Order members mixed.
"I can't believe him," Harry mumbled and scowled at Kingsley's back.
"Why not?" Severus sneered, "He's merely doing his job. If I am a danger to the Wizarding World, then it is for the best that he arrests me and does not let past ties affect his judgment."
"But you're not a threat," Harry argued with a frown.
"You are young, Potter. You do not understand," Severus sighed and tried to wipe away any trace of exhaustion from his eyes. He needed to be alert, especially when he was surrounded by so many witches and wizards who thought him a threat.
"I understand just fine," Harry replied coolly, "and I also understand that you aren't a threat." He was adamant about this, even when Severus shook his head and added a sigh for good measure, falling silent as he could not think of a good enough response. "So, you feeling better?" the Gryffindor asked awkwardly, eyes flitting from his professor's face to his hands to the floor and back to cycle around again.
Severus eyed Harry for a moment, lip curling as he decided whether or not he should humor the boy. "A bit," he finally admitted, sounding very tired.
"You look like you're about dead on your feet," Harry half-joked.
"I feel about dead, to be honest," Severus murmured and massaged at his sore neck, hoping to ease the tension there, as well as the tension still hanging between himself and Harry.
"How ever could you tell?" the Potions Master sneered momentarily at the boy beside him, voice dry and heavy with sarcasm..
Harry immediately scowled back at the man. "Don't snap at me, I'm just trying to be nice," he said tersely.
"That is exactly why I am snapping, Potter," Severus replied coldly, "you're up to something... I'm not sure what exactly, but I do not trust you. Why must you insist on pestering me?" He tried again futilely to relieve the tension that had seen fit to plague his muscles.
Harry sighed and moved to sit behind Severus. Hesitantly, he reached forward and grabbed gently at the Potions Master's shoulders, squeezing and massaging his neck and shoulders in order to help release the tension gathered in those muscles. "I'm trying to be friends," he murmured as he kneaded his hands gently, massaging harder at his muscles as he felt Severus's body stiffen further upon realizing that he was getting a massage.
"Potter," Severus growled in warning and attempted to jerk from Harry's grasp, "stop it."
"I'm trying to be nice," Harry scowled but when his hands were batted violently away, he reluctantly moved back to sit by Severus's side. "I know we didn't get along before, but... now that the war's over.. I don't want to fight. I've had enough fighting to last me a lifetime," he admitted quietly, gaze settling intently upon the floor.
Again, Severus eyed the Gryffindor thoroughly, unsure what to make of him. "Are you asking for a truce?" he asked , having to force a sneer onto his face.
"Well," Harry said hesitantly, "yeah..."
Severus sighed and ran his hands through his lank locks to get them out of his face. "Though I loathe to admit it," he began with a pinched expression on his face, "I am indebted to you... If you would like a truce in return, then I suppose that can be arranged..."
"Really?" Harry asked and perked up at that. He smiled over at Severus and added with a nod, "Then that'll work. So... Truce?" The boy held out his right hand and looked expectantly to the Potions Master.
Severus, however, was much more resistant to calling a truce so quickly. His mind ran through a list of possible pros and cons to decide what was the best decision. On one hand, he would be calling a truce with the son of his childhood tormentor, but on the other hand, having Harry as an ally would likely save him from the fate of Azkaban. In the end, he stretched out to grasp the Gryffindor's hand and shake it. "Truce," he near-whispered.
"Excuse me," Kingsley cleared his throat just as Harry and Severus officially finalized their truce. "I was wondering if I could have a word with you, Harry."
"Sure," Harry shrugged but made no move to stand. When the Minister beckoned him up, he glared. "I'm fine right here," he said shortly, "anything you want to say, you can say it here." He knew better than to leave Severus when there were Aurors milling around, Aurors that would jump at the chance to hex Severus once Harry's back was turned.
Kingsley flickered his gaze to Severus for a moment. He had hoped to pull Harry aside and try to convince him to allow the Aurors to take care of Severus, but he also hoped to draw the boy away long enough for some of the Aurors to arrest the man while Harry was otherwise preoccupied. If that was what it took, then he was willing to do it. He did not understand why Harry was trying so hard to help this Death Eater, especially after the Potions Master had killed Albus Dumbledore. "I was hoping for a private word," the Minister said.
"No," Harry was adamant, "say what you want to say and leave me alone. If you haven't noticed, I just killed Voldemort. I would really appreciate it if I could rest." His eyes narrowed, and the look on his face was dangerously reminiscent of Severus's notorious death glare.
"I understand that, Harry," Kingsley replied and held his hands up to show surrender. He did not want to get Harry worked up because he knew he would pay for it, sooner or later. "But I really must insist," he added.
"I said no, Kingsley," Harry sighed and ran a distracted hand through his wild hair.
"Perhaps at a later time then," Kingsley said kindly and nodded farewell.
"Yeah, that would be good... Owl me," Harry said in a clipped yet polite tone, scowling as he watched the Minister sweep away to join a group of Aurors and other Ministry officials. "Well, that wasn't as loud a discussion as I figured it would be," he sighed and turned back to Severus, who remained quiet as he contemplated how much older Harry seemed now. "Snape?" the boy asked and waved a hand in front of the man's face to get his attention, "Are you still with me? Or have I lost you?"
"Stop waving that hand in front of my face this instant," Severus snapped and shifted around uncomfortably, wishing that he could return to his old quarters down in the dungeons of Hogwarts.
"You're so irritable," Harry groused but stopped annoying the man with his hand waving.
"No wonder," Severus replied dryly.
"Yeah, I understand," Harry sighed heavily and again ran his hand through messy locks of black hair. He pushed his glasses farther up on his nose. "You're tired and ready to find somewhere to collapse," he explained and looked as if he too wouldn't mind finding such a place and sleeping for a few days.
Severus grunted out an inaudible answer and turned his head away from the boy. He was still wondering why Harry was hanging around him. He had gotten what he wanted; a truce, so what was he still doing there? "You could sneak off using that blasted Invisibility Cloak of your fathers," he sneered in the silence.
"No," Harry shook his head, not paying any mind to the bitter, resentful and loathing tone of the man's voice, "everyone would get worried... I just want to get things settled down enough where everyone can get some sleep," he sighed and kicked out his legs so they stretched out straight over the floor, his weight propped up by his elbows. "Are you hungry? I could go get you something to eat," Harry said in earnest, green eyes flicking to Severus.
"Why are you still here, Potter?" Severus sighed instead, "You've the truce you wanted, so kindly spare me this idle conversation." He forced himself to scowl at the boy, trying to ignore the feeling that was creeping up inside him, the feeling that told him that he liked Harry's company and that he did not really want to run him off.
"Snape," Harry mirrored Severus's sigh and said, "you know you need my help. If I leave you alone then the Ministry's going to try and haul you off to Azkaban, so I'm not going to leave you on your own... As a matter of fact, I think it's best if you move in with me for a while.. Just until everything settles down, of course," he added in a hurry, not liking the look that morphed on the Potions Master's face.
"What makes you think that I would live with you, of all people?"
Harry rolled his eyes skyward and stated, "I told you that you'd just have to trust me. I'm sure I can get your name cleared, but that might involve staying with me for a while."
"There is no power on this earth that could convince me to live with you," Severus said stoically, a death glare curling his lip up in a sneer.
"Snape, please... just... just tell me you'll think about it. I know you don't want to go to Azkaban... who does? But just think on it, okay? Promise? I've only just gotten a truce with you," Harry muttered and fidgeted his fingers absently, hoping Severus would come to stay with him. For some reason, he felt drawn to the Potions Master, and it wasn't just his hero complex popping up to save the man from Azkaban. His newfound respect for him ran deeper than Harry had expected.
Severus spotted the thoughtful frown that told him how deep in thought Harry was. While the boy was thinking, the Potions Master allowed his mind to ponder Harry's offer. The boy acted much more respectful, and it was like he could read Severus better, could somehow understand him. He zoned back to reality to see Harry waving his hand in front of his face again. He scowled and grabbed the boy's wrist in his right hand, pushing it down to the floor in warning. The two became trapped in a staring contest for a few seconds. Harry briefly wondered what Severus was up to, since the man had not spoken yet and he still held the Gryffindor's hand as though it was the most natural thing in the world. "Very well, Potter," the older of the two murmured and allowed his eyelids to droop over his black irises as he spoke the next words, "I will consider your offer..."
Harry beamed at the man before him. "Great! All right, I'll go get you some food, how's that sound?" He stood up even as he asked and kept on talking, his grin widening when Severus stared at him in confusion and surprise. The Gryffindor looked around and then motioned someone over. "Hermione, can you stay with Snape? I'll be back, I'm just going to see about what we're doing for supper."
"All right, Harry," Hermione said gently and hugged him, a wide smile on her face. "I'll be right here."
"Thanks," Harry said to her as he returned her hug. Then, he looked down at Severus and gave him a small smile. "Thanks, Snape," he whispered before straightening up and jogging off to find Minerva.