|Who would cry for me?
Author: evil minded PM
AU / This little story is my Christmas present for you. It's not a classical Christmas story. Just a little fiction I came up with, that I want to present you for Christmas with. A few memories from Harry and Severus - Well, merry Christmas '09 to you ..Rated: Fiction M - English - Drama/Family - Severus S. & Harry P. - Chapters: 2 - Words: 26,793 - Reviews: 48 - Favs: 52 - Follows: 7 - Updated: 03-25-10 - Published: 12-23-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5603930
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Who would cry for me?
December, 23rd 2009
Fourth year at Hogwarts
AU / This little story is my Christmas present for you … it's not a - classical - Christmas story. Just a little fiction I came up with, that I wanted to present you for Christmas with. It is just a few series of memories from both, Harry and Severus, nothing more … well, merry Christmas '09 to you …
Well … I do not own Harry Potter, nor Hogwarts, his friends or his belongings … J. K. Rowling owns them all … I just borrow them a bit …
Uhm … and well … sorry for the confusion I create at Hogwarts … I am sure I can straighten it after I am done with this … I at least promise to try …
M – Not suitable for children or teens below the age of 16
Uhm … ok … I have to admit … English is not my language by birth … so … please do not kill me while reading … neither for the bad English I use, nor for what I am writing about …
Well … I of course know that there are things which are not authentic to the book …
AND … I as well know there are things which are logically not possible …
Yet – on paper, everything is allowed, even murder. It is called fantasy, and within fantasy everything is possible … you just have to use it …
Do not question every word you read, do just read and try to feel the words …
In this story I do not stick to the books but to the movies. Not that I would stick much to the books in other stories I wrote or am about to write either, they all are AU … but generally I lean rather on the books than the movies. Well, not in this one …
Story contains references to child abuse.
Child abuse is a really serious thing, it is an evil thing and there are a lot of children in our world that really would need help without being helped, and closing our eyes and pretending it does not exist – is no solution …
I only say – remind yourself of your feelings, of your sympathy, and of your understanding … and handle people, children as well as adults, which are showing any signs – whichever – of once being abused … with understanding and with help …
What does not mean I am not as evil as I pretend to be … ^.~ … believe me – I am …
break … ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ … line
Who would cry for me?
It was December.
December the twenty-first, the day after the second task of the triwizard tournament and the day before the Christmas holidays, and angrily Harry threw himself onto his bed in the Gryffindor tower, face downwards, gripping his pillow with both hands and forming fists. Today had been just one of these days. And he'd had a lot of them during the past twelve years or so.
He had been tired this morning, as so often. His sleep had been plagued by nightmares. Nightmares about the Dursleys, nightmares about his parents and Sirius, even Remus, nightmares about his friends, and finally – nightmares about Voldemort's return. Not to forget nightmares about a certain Professor who taught potions down in the dungeons.
Angrily he sobbed into his pillows.
Of course Snape would say that he caused nightmares, and he would be quite pleased about this. And probably he would be just the more pleased knowing that it had been him, Harry, whom he caused the worst nightmares at all.
As so often in his dreams he had been sitting in his cupboard at first, hungry and hurt, tired, and just waiting for his uncle to present him with his next beating. And he did not have to wait long. His uncle soon had ripped the door open and he had pulled him out of his - 'room' - while screaming at him because he had – yet again – not managed to fulfil all the tasks uncle Vernon had set him before he had left for work this morning. And of course he had not stuck to just screaming at him. Shortly after he had dragged him out of the cupboard and the beating had started. Just as always. It wasn't anything new to him after all.
Well, and then his parents had been there, asking him why he had not saved them, why he had let them die while he had survived, had told him that he deserved the beatings for getting them killed. They had been accompanied by Sirius, asking him why he had allowed them to take him, why he had not saved him from the dementors. And the look in his eyes had been full of disappointment. And then Remus had told him that he had been disappointed in him, that he had let Sirius down, his bond, that he now – again – was alone. That he was angry at him. He had taught him how to produce a patronus after all to fight the dementors and he had asked him what he had taught him for if he wasn't even willing enough to use it to fight them when needed to save Sirius from them.
Ron too had told him that he was weak and pathetic. That he never would be able to defeat Voldemort – You-Know-Who – when if wasn't even able to defend himself from his muggle uncle, and Hermione had reminded him, that he was The-Boy-Who-Lived, The-Chosen-One, and that he was supposed to be the saviour of them all. And then Ron had told him that he would no longer be his friend if he wasn't even able to defend himself from his muggle uncle and Hermione had agreed to this.
And at last, Snape had been there too, looking at him with disappointment on his face, with disgust, and with loathing. But he better thought not about that.
All in all – nothing out of the order. His usual nightmares.
But as always, they had left him just tired. And frustrated, knowing that they all had been right. It had been his fault after all, all of this. His parent's death was his fault, because they had died to keep him safe. And Sirius' death had been his fault, because he had not managed to produce a patronus strong enough to chase away all the dementors. And that Remus was alone now was his fault too, because he had gotten Sirius killed. And Ron was right when he said that he was weak and pathetic. After all, he wasn't able to defend himself against his uncle. He would never be able to fulfil the prophecy and to defeat Voldemort.
So he had not really eaten anything during breakfast in the great hall, as always these days, had stuck to his cup of tea and then left towards the transfiguration classroom, leaving Ron and Hermione behind.
Well, transfiguration had been uneventful. Nothing bad had happened and he was quite glad for that.
The same was with defence against the dark arts. Professor Moody was one who definitely was a demanding teacher, but Harry never had had any problems with defence – at least not in the wizarding way. Defending himself in the muggle world was quite a difference.
However, thus the morning had passed and had left him exhausted. So he had skipped lunch, knowing that he wouldn't be able to get some food down anyway – again, just like so often these days – and he had decided to lay down for an hour or two before he would have to go to his afternoon class.
To potions! With Snape!
And in Snape's class one better would not sleep after all.
However, he had not been able to rest. His head had been about to explode - or to implode. It really hadn't mattered much which way round, the outcome would have been the same anyway.
So he had been dragging himself down into the dungeons to his potions lesson later in the afternoon, sick to the stomach and his head still not sure if it preferred exploding or imploding.
Of course he had not been sleeping during potions, not even he was that foolish, but his tiredness and his headache had been enough to disturb him to a point where he was cutting his ingredients with trembling fingers - ingredients that should have been cut into fine slices. And he had not managed this with his fingers shaking like mad.
Well, Snape had not been pleased, not at all. And he had landed himself in detention.
'Remedial potions', Snape had called it, but really, it wasn't anything else than detention.
And thus – he had missed dinner because of his 'remedial potions'.
Well, not directly. Snape had sent him away shortly before dinner, with the comment that he did not wish to be responsible should he die of hunger. Quite funny, really.
But on his way to the great hall he had met Malfoy. And – well, whenever the both of them met, then they had their wands out.
It would not have mattered much, normally. His favourite subject after all was defence after all and he was quite good at it - but not today, not this evening. He had been just too tired to get anything straight, not even his shield charm and Malfoy had hit him with a spell that had made his nose bleed like mad.
So he had not entered the great hall for dinner but the bathroom on the second floor instead, trying to somehow stench the blood flow and then getting himself cleaned up. By the time he had finished this task, and finally was clean, dinner had been over and so he went towards the Gryffindor tower.
And here he was now.
Tired beyond limits and quite hungry - and frustrated. And still his head was about to explode - or to implode. In other words – it was just one of these days, it was just another day.
break … ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ … line
He was just about to finally get up and – at least to try – to get his homework done, two scrolls of parchment about the use of dreamless sleep potion – quite ironically – its contents and how to brew it, when he felt the castle shivering.
It was something he never before had experienced and he shivered himself for a moment. The stream of magic he felt washing over him, the amount of strength he felt for a moment, and the short shivering itself startled him to no end, and he went out of the dormitory, down into the common room to see whether any of the others had felt the same.
But everything seemed to be quite normal. No one was upset, no one was startled, and no one had paused in whatever they were doing at the moment. As it seemed, only he had felt something coming from the castle. What really did nothing to calm his already strained nerves, in the contrary. Why was it always him?
Well, maybe it was only sleep deprivation. He might have just imagined it. Having hallucinations – so he had heard – was quite normal when being overly tired. So maybe he should just go back to bed and try to finally get some sleep.
But while still glancing around he heard a faint voice that grow louder from second to second, and finally the others looked up as well, looking for the source of the words, the expressions on their faces startled.
Well, maybe he had not imagined it before, the shivering coming from the castle.
And damn - he knew this voice. He knew it from his first year, when he had stuck his ugly face out of the back of Quirrell's head, he knew it from his second year, when he had been down in the chamber of secrets. And he knew it from last year, when he had met Voldemort in Hogsmead, on the platform back to Kings Cross.
And he knew it from his dreams. And he shivered even more - this time definitely with fear.
"I am here." The voice said in a nearly high pitched manner, not screaming, but – with using magic - loud enough so the words were heard within the entire castle. "I am here, and you will hand over one Harry Potter to me. I do not wish to spill wizarding blood needlessly. Thus you have one hour to hand over Harry Potter to me. If you do so, then I will leave and no one will come to harm. You have an hour of time, and after that I will attack the castle if you had not fulfilled my request and all of you will die then. One hour. I will wait at the edge of the forbidden forest."
For a moment he was frozen to the spot with fear, but only for a moment and then Harry quickly made his decision. There really was nothing else to do. And – frankly – he had nothing to lose either. He knew it would happen some day. So - might it be now. Now was an as good time than sometime else.
At least he tried to tell this to himself, but his heart beat wild and loud against his chest nevertheless and he struggled to take one breath after another one, to keep doing so, to not drawn in his fear, to not suffocate with horror. He knew well that he would not survive this final battle. He was but a child, a student in his fourth year now. And the school year was just half way through.
Voldemort on the other hand was an adult wizard, a great wizard, a powerful one who was about fifty years his senior.
What chance did he stand against him? He had none. He would be dead by tonight, and he did not wish to die.
But too many people had already died because of him. His mother, James and Sirius, and now Remus was alone because of him. And Ron and Hermione would probably be the next - or Neville, or someone else. Maybe even Snape.
For a moment he considered to just hide away, maybe somewhere down in the dungeons, in one of the abandoned corridors or chambers. No one ever went down there. No one would find him down there.
But then he forced himself to move. He had to do something. He had to fight. And he would have to die. And maybe he would be able to take Voldemort with him. At least he could not allow more people to die because of him.
While he hurried back into the dormitory he just had left to get dressed and to get his wand, he heard Dumbledore's voice ringing through the castle, magically strengthened, and he halted for a moment, listening.
"Attention! Everyone please stay calm. The prefects all will lead the students into the common rooms of their houses. Everyone please pay attention if anyone of their classmates is missing. Stuck together. The teachers please come to the great hall to discuss what has to be done. No one will leave the common room of their houses until their head of house arrived there to gather everyone down into the great hall where the students will be sleeping tonight. The castle has already sealed herself. No one will be able to get out, and no one will be able to get inside. So there is no reason to fall into panic. Nothing will happen and we already have the situation under control …"
Harry stopped listening to Dumbledore's voice.
He knew, would he listen, then he would do as Dumbledore told and he could not do this. He would have to leave the castle. And he knew he could leave. He had to leave. He had to go the edge of the forbidden forest. He had to face Voldemort.
Quickly he changed into his Jeans and a black sweatshirt, put on his trainers and grabbed his wand from the nightstand beside his bed.
Again for a moment he considered to just lay into his bed and to just pull the blanket over his head, but before he could give in to this he turned and left the dormitory, hurried down the stairs and into the common room.
In the chaos down there he managed to silently slip away, unnoticed, and to leave the common room, heading through the now empty corridors and down towards the entrance hall, trying to not think of what he was about to do.
Thinking of it too much would only make him reconsidering his decision and he could not afford this.
He had to go, and he had to go quickly, before reason took over.
With his wand in his trembling hand he reached the entrance hall, just as Albus Dumbledore left the great hall, spotting him and hurrying towards him.
break … ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ … line
Albus Dumbledore waited a few minutes until every teacher was present in the great hall before he turned towards the four heads of houses, addressing them with a calm voice. "I will be in the great hall for a moment. From there I can ask the castle to control all the corridors, just to ensure that no student is outside the dormitories. I will be back in a few minutes. Please ward the castle meanwhile with a few extra safety measures of your own."
All four teachers, nodded, Sprout with a worried expression on her face, Flitwick with a grim grin, and McGonagall with a calm but determined appearance. Snape gave him a quite strange look. There was something in his eyes and Dumbledore placed a hand on his shoulder. "There is nothing you can do now, Severus. Stay here. Ward the castle to keep him safe." He said, calmly.
Snape still watched him for a moment with worry clearly the most dominating emotion in his eyes before he finally gave a curt nod and turned, his black wand in his hand, already muttering spells under his breath and Dumbledore left the great Hall, closing the double winged doors behind him, just in time to see Harry hurrying towards the entrance door.
"Harry!" He called out, heading towards the boy.
He had known! He just had known that Harry would do something stupid. He had known it!
"Harry!" The headmaster called out again the moment he reached him, his face edged with worry and his eyes alert. "Harry, what are you doing down here? Go back to your dormitory immediately."
But Harry stood his ground, facing the headmaster with shaking hands but with an otherwise calm face. "No, Professor." He managed to say with a steady voice. "I will not go back. I have to go to the edge of the forbidden forest. I have to leave the castle."
"You will do no such thing, Harry. Go back! Now!"
"I am sorry, Professor, but no." Harry managed to say, wondering himself where from he took the courage to give the headmaster such contradictions. "I cannot. We both knew that this day would come."
"Harry, think about it, my boy." Dumbledore tried another approach. "You are not ready yet."
"I will not be ready in ten years either, Professor." Harry said, panic overtaking him for a short moment before he forced himself to push it back to the back of his mind. "You know as well as I do that I do not stand a chance against Voldemort. The moment I face him, I will die. Never mind when this will be. He always will have a fifty year head start on me."
"You will be quite fine, Harry, if you just wait until …"
"No, Professor." Harry whispered, and this time he sounded really angry. He was angry. "No! Do not pretend! We both always knew that I would not survive this last battle. Maybe I will be able to take Voldemort with me. But I will not survive either. So please, do not pretend, headmaster. And do not lie to me more than you already have done either. It is my decision, and I do know very well that I will die tonight, so please, do not pretend. I have earned myself the truth."
"Then think about the people you leave behind, my boy! Your friends, your family! All the people who would miss you."
"My – 'family' – will be quite pleased the moment you tell them that I finally have died. I guess they gladly will kiss your feet then. They won't miss me. Ron and Hermione are only befriending with me because of my fame - not because of me being just Harry. They surely will not miss me either. They might miss the famous Harry Potter, but not just Harry. So there is no one who actually would miss me."
"Harry." Dumbledore tried again to reason with the boy. He did not really want to use force to get him back to his common room. But he would do so, even if he would not like it. "Harry, listen. Maybe you should know that Professor …"
"Stop!" Harry finally shouted. "Stop! I already do know what you want to say. But do not bring Professor Snape into this!"
"But he is …"
"I know that he is my father!" Harry interrupted the headmaster with an angry voice. "I have known it since I one day had found the letter in the attic. The letter my mother left behind. And I have waited five damn, miserable and painful years until I finally would attend Hogwarts and meet my father. Only to find out that he hated me with all his passion. That he never would accept me as his son. That he was disgusted of me."
Harry meanwhile didn't scream anymore. His voice was sad and low now. "The only positive outcome of this damn letter was, that this knowledge, that one day I would meet my father, that one day I finally would have a family, that this knowledge kept me going through the upcoming years, that this knowledge kept me from doing something stupid. But the rejection afterwards did hurt just the more. So do not brig Professor Snape into this! He would be the last person who would miss me. In the contrary. I guess he would be glad that he finally would be free of me. No, Professor. There is no one who actually would cry for me."
"Harry, I beg you, get a grip on yourself and come to reason." Dumbledore made one last attempt. "You would not even be able to leave the castle. Hogwarts has sealed herself."
"That might be, that the castle has sealed herself, Professor. But I will be able to leave. I can feel it. I have felt the castle when she has sealed herself. And I now feel that I will be able to leave."
"But how …"
"Good luck, Professor, with the wards for the castle. I hope that not too much Death Eaters will be able to actually attack." With this words Harry turned and walked towards the entrance door without looking back, because he knew – the moment he would turn and look back, he would not be able to go on anymore.
Dumbledore, knowing that he had lost, cast a silent spell towards Harry, but the boy had already built a shield around himself. A shield so strong, the spell rebounded and the headmaster was just in time to lower himself onto the floor to avoid his own spell that hit the wall behind him and actually blasted a hole into the masonry.
He blinked in near shock – it hadn't even been a blasting curse he had thrown at the boy! It had been a simple stunner, and yet – it had blasted a hole into the castle's old masonry – and now Harry was gone, had left the castle despite the fact that it had sealed itself off, despite the fact that no one should be able leaving the castle.
Severus would be livid with him. He would kill him. The boy did not know how much Severus did love him. How much he did worry about him. And that he would miss him. That he would cry for him.
break … ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ … line
When Albus re-entered the great hall, Severus looked up and immediately knew that something was wrong.
The headmaster headed directly towards him, his face paler than he ever had seen it, and the moment he reached him he was gripping his shoulder in a nearly painful grasp.
"Severus!" He called out and the Potions Master suddenly felt sick, knowing what exactly Albus was about to tell him. "Severus! It is Harry! He left the castle. He went after Voldemort, and I was unable to do anything against it. He did not listen to reason and the moment I tried to stun him, he already had a shield in place, a shield stronger than …"
Severus Snape did not wait for his colleague and old friend to finish his sentence. He had heard quite enough.
He turned on his heels and hurried out of the great hall, heading towards the entrance doors of Hogwarts, ready to leave the castle, to get his son back, ready to give his position as a spy away to the Dark Lord even. He did not care about this right now. The only thought he could think of was of his son, getting the boy back into safety, keeping him alive somehow and an ice cold feeling crept through him.
A feeling as if an ice cold hand was ripping through his body, through his chest to grasp his heart and squeeze it painfully before ripping it out of his chest with brutal force and he gasped, nearly stumbling while he threw the double winged doors of the great hall open with force, entering the entrance hall and heading towards the large doors across the hall to leave the castle.
But when he reached them, he found himself unable to open them and angrily he hit his fist against the door with all the force he could master. He could not leave the castle. But why then had Harry been able to leave? With a frustrated look on his face he turned towards Albus who had been following him.
"Why am I not able to leave the castle while Harry had been able to do so?" He asked, fear in his voice.
"I do not know, Severus." Dumbledore answered him. "Harry said he felt the castle, when she sealed herself. And he said he could feel that she would allow him to leave."
"This stupid boy!" Severus growled. "He will die! Albus!"
"He does know this, Severus." Albus whispered, finally realizing what Harry had told him, realizing that the boy had walked towards his death and that he had done so knowingly, willingly.
"What do you mean, he knew this?" Severus asked, his dark eyes fixed onto the headmaster with a strange expression, something more than fear, something akin to desperation – something he never before had seen in the Potions Master's black eyes.
"He told me so, Severus. He knew that he would not survive tonight."
Severus leaned against the wall beside the door and he had to gather his entire strength to remain standing, to not slip down the wall. He felt sick. He felt a strange pain in his chest. And he felt his fingers trembling.
This stupid boy! This idiot boy! This silly child!
What had he done? What had he done to his son? Why had he kept the boy at arm length away from him? Why hadn't he told the boy the truth? Then he would have come to him first and he would have been able to keep him safe. Why had he had to display all the hate and all the anger towards the boy, towards his son? And what for? For the sake of his position as a spy? Had it been worth this?
It was his fault if the boy died, if his son died. He would lose him, he knew it. He would lose his son as he had lost Lily so many years ago. The boy would die without knowing how much he loved him. His son would die with the impression that he, his father, hated him, and the fear washing over him seemed to double its efforts.
He had felt fear before. He was used to fear. If one was living as a spy, and living as a spy against the Dark Lord, then you were used to fear. Then fear was a part of your life. Not that he ever would have allowed himself to show this fear, no, but he was a human being after all and just like every human being he felt fear. He just had kept his fear under control all the time, no matter what.
Whenever he had risked his life while visiting a Death Eater meeting, he had kept it under control, not allowing his fear to take the upper hand and causing him to do something stupid.
But the fear he now felt, this raw panic he now felt, this painful feeling in his chest – it was much harder to handle. It seemed to be a nearly impossible task, and the only time he remembered feeling this kind of painful helplessness, was the day when he had learned of the Dark Lord's plans to attack Godric's Hollow, to attack the Potters, to kill Lily and her son, his son, and again he turned towards the doors, tried to open them, physically at first while trying to push them open, but then magically, throwing spell after spell at the wooden doors in front of him, willing them to open up for him, begging the castle to allow him exit, begging the castle to allow him keeping his son safe.
'It has to be this way, Severus Snape.' A whisper ripped through his awareness. 'It has to be this way. He is still on my grounds. And I will keep him safe as good as possible and as long as I can so he will be able to fulfil his task. But it has to be this way. I cannot allow you to go after him. He is the only one I might keep safe in this battle until the final spell against the Dark Lord is cast. For his fate is bound to mine. I will not allow you out, Severus Snape. It has to be this way.'
"We cannot do anything against it." Severus murmured defeated, leaning against the wall once again. "The castle does not allow me to exit. She says it has to be this way. We can do nothing. Why did she allow a boy to leave?"
"I do not know, Severus." Albus answered, truthfully once in his life, for he really did not know.
"We should have told him, Albus!" Severus whispered. "We should have told him, and maybe he would have listened then."
"He already knew this too, Severus." Albus answered, placing his hand on the Potions Master's shoulder, trying to give him some comfort, trying to calm him, trying to do anything to the man that was more than just a friend to him.
Severus lifted his head and looked at Albus. He felt even more sick. That could not have been possible. The boy could not have known. No one had known, besides of Lily, Albus and himself. No one had known about this. Not even Potter, James Potter.
"How …?" Was all he could form into words.
"As it seems, Lily had left a letter behind." Albus explained. "And Harry had found it one day, when he was five or six years old. He already knew."
This time Severus really had to fight to keep his composure. Harry had known. He had known that he had been his father. He should not have known.
Had he – Severus - known that Harry knew, he would have talked to the boy. He would have explained to him why he had treated him as if he loathed him. They could have found a way to secretly meet, to secretly see each other, to secretly spent time together. And now his son had left the castle with the misconception that he hated him. That he was unloved by his own father, hated by his own father, unacknowledged by his own father.
And he knew - that had been the main reason why the boy so easily had walked into his own death just now.
It was his fault, and his fault alone.
"We have done what was possible, Severus." Albus finally said and he watched Severus straightening himself, seemingly back to his normal self, but Albus just knew that under this mask a storm was whirling. "I guess we now should discuss the situation shortly, and then you should gather your Slytherins and bring them into the great hall so they can retire for the night."
"I will." Severus growled darkly at him, his voice slightly trembling. "But after this, I ask you to show me the memory. I would like to see what exactly happened and I would like to see his face and hear his voice."
"You should not torment yourself like this, Severus." Albus answered, not sure if he should agree to Severus' wish.
"It maybe will be the last thing I will be able to see from my son, Albus. And I do not wish to miss this, never mind what it will mean. It definitely is not enough for me to just hear his words retold by you. No offend to your privacy, Albus, but I really insist to see this memory."
For another moment Albus considered to say no, but then he nodded.
"Very well." He said. "We will have a quick conference with the other teachers. And then you might accompany me into my office after you brought your Slytherins into the great hall and have them seen to sleep."
Severus curtly nodded and then turned towards the great hall, wishing to get this all behind so he could watch Albus' memory, his mind still rambling and his chest still clenching painfully.
break … ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ … line
Who would cry for me?
Harry slowly walked towards the edge of the forbidden forest like he had done so many times before whenever he had gone to Care of Magical Creatures. But this time he was in a daze. He felt numb, and the only thing he was able doing while walking was remembering, remembering his time here at Hogwarts – a place he had considered his home, at least in one way or another.
Yet – he did not think about Ron or Hermione, nor about Professor McGonagall, his head of house with whom he had gotten along quite well. He did not even think about the headmaster or Hagrid.
No - he was thinking about his father, remembering all the disappointment, all the hate, and all the disgust he had felt coming from the man towards him during the years, and he felt the sadness, the frustration and the despair yet again washing over him in painful waves, wishing that it had been different, wishing that the man would not have hated him so much, wishing that he would have had a father here who at least cared for him.
Together with all the other new students form Hogwarts Harry stood in front of the stuff table, waiting to be sorted into one of the four houses and he cast a few curious glances at the stuff table in front of him, towards the teachers, wondering if he really would find his father here, and then his eyes met black ones.
Black, shoulder long hair framing a slim face – eyes so dark you could not tell the iris apart from the pupil – a thin mouth that was curled up in annoyance – and long fingers that tapped the corner of his mouth lost in thought – and he knew who this man was. He knew, this was Severus Snape, his father. It was the perfect picture from the description his mother had given away in her letter after all and he knew – this was his father, he had found him. Five years after he had read about him in his mother's letter, five years after he had hidden the letter beneath his old, stinking and worn mattress in his cupboard, five years after he had started hoping for the first time in his life again, hoping for a better future, hoping for having a father – but he had found him, and that was all that mattered. Those five years of waiting, it had been worth, because he now had found his father.
The man looked directly at him, a startled look on his face, with a look in his eyes that remembered him at something like coldness and darkness, but curiosity as well. And he tried to smile around the lump he felt in his throat. He had found his father.
But then the look in his father's eyes turned into something else and he felt loath lingering in those dark eyes. He lowered his gaze and tried to not feel sad and miserable when he thought that somehow his father seemed to hate him.
Maybe he just did not know that he was his father, because he had done nothing so that his father might hate him.
But then, no, that was not possible. He surely knew. He had seen the recognition in his father's face when their eyes had met. He heavily sighed and refused to look back at him.
He had missed the look of concealed desire and ache when his father had turned away, casting just a few further hidden glances into his direction every now and then while he tried to concentrate onto the conversation Quirrel forced upon him, tried to concentrate onto that conversation without success because his mind was with the child that had just entered the great hall to be sorted into one of the houses.
He had missed the look of hidden pride when Professor McGonagall had called his name and he had missed the man's attempt to hide the smile when he had been sorted into Gryffindor, Professor Severus Snape not caring if the child that was his son was sorted into his house or any other. And he had missed the look of relief that had washed over the man's face the moment he had calmed down – relief at the knowledge that his son had made it safely to Hogwarts, that he would be safe now, that he would be kept safe by him now – never mind the fact that the child himself never would learn about it.
He was sitting in the potions classroom down in the dungeons, waiting for his first potions class and he feared the moment when his father would enter the room, remembering the loath he had felt coming from him the day before, during the sorting.
Well, maybe his father had just had a bad day yesterday, maybe he just had been as nervous as he – Harry – had been and maybe he could make it up to him somehow today, maybe he could please his father somehow today, make him see that he tried his best, that he tried to make him proud.
He was startled out of his thoughts when the door banged open and the man swiftly strode inside, towards his desk while he began to speak. And he dutifully wrote down what his father said. He was ready to do all he could to somehow impress the man and to make him proud of him. And then maybe his father would speak with him after the lesson, would acknowledge him.
"There will be no foolish wand waving or silly incantations in this class." His father started the lesson. "As such, I don't expect many of you to appreciate the subtle science and exact art that is potion-making. However, for those select few who possess the predisposition – I can teach you how to bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses. I can tell you how to bottle fame, brew glory and even put a stopper in death. Then again, maybe some of you have come to Hogwarts in possession of abilities so formidable that you feel confident enough to not – pay – attention."
Well it did not work as he had planned. His father was offended by his writing and he watched him with clear disappointment on his face.
"Mr. Potter. Our - new - celebrity." His father addressed him, and Harry felt a shiver running down his back. Again he could feel the same coldness and the same loathing radiating from the man in front of the classroom, just like the day before, and his heart fell.
"Tell me, what would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?" His father asked, his face a mask of boredom. Well, he – Harry – could only shake his head. He didn't know. How was he supposed to know this?
Alright, Hermione Granger, the girl beside him apparently knew. Her hand shot into the air. But he didn't know.
"You don't know? Well, let's try again." His father continued, ignoring Hermione. "Where, Mr. Potter, would you look if I asked you to find me a bezoar?"
Again he didn't know the answer. He did not even know what exactly a bezoar was. "I don't know, sir." He answered, feeling miserable.
"And what is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane?" The older wizard asked his next question and all Harry could say again was, "I don't know, sir."
"Pity." His father finally said, disappointment in his voice and Harry felt sick. Why had his father to hate him so much? He hadn't done anything. "Clearly, fame isn't everything, is it, Mr. Potter?"
Without thinking Harry spoke up. "Clearly Hermione knows. It seems a pity not to ask her."
A moment later his eyes went wide with shock over his own daring and he nearly held his breath.
Damn. He cursed himself for his rushed words. Now he had managed to anger his father even more. Why had he said those words? He really should restrain himself better. How could he ever make it up to the man if he were to let his frustration getting the upper hand? What would his father do now? Maybe he could apologize later?
A few of the other students had begun to laugh, but with a low "silence …" his father easily got them back under control. Somehow his entire radiation made the class obeying him immediately.
After a moment the man went past his desk and swiftly approached him, Harry.
"Put your hand down, you silly girl." His father said when he walked past Hermione and then he pulled a stool from behind and seated himself opposite him, leaning his arms onto the table and watching him for a moment before he spoke to him, giving him the answers to the questions he had asked.
Not to the class, but to him, and to him alone – and for a short moment Harry savoured this moment of closeness.
"For your information, Potter." His father said. "Asphodel and wormwood make a sleeping potion so powerful, it is known as the draught of the living death. A bezoar is a stone taken from the stomach of a goat and would safe you from the most poisons. As for monkshood and wolfsbane, they are the same plant which also goes by the name of aconite."
His father watched him for a moment longer before he addressed the entire class, his eyes only slowly leaving him. "Well? Why aren't you all copying this down?"
After a last glance at him, his father finally stood up and went back to his desk, and Harry felt frustration and a strange feeling of lost, of loneliness the moment his father was gone, watching the spot he had been sitting at for a few seconds more before he copied the answers down.
"And Gryffindors, note that five points will be taken from your house - for your classmate's cheek." His father said.
He had missed the look of hidden longing and care his father had cast at him from across the classroom when he was back at his desk, writing a note by himself. He had missed the man gritting his teeth in pure frustration over the situation, over himself even. And he had missed the longing gaze his father had thrown at him from beneath lidded eyes, wishing that he could explain to his son later, wishing to apologize to the boy later, wishing the situation were not as it were – wishing he were not a spy and cursing Albus.
He was standing in one of the corridors, together with Ron and Hermione, discussing, when Snape turned up, trying to tell them that it surely wasn't Snape who was after the stone without having to reveal his secret, his secret that Snape was his father.
"Good afternoon." The man said with a nearly bored voice and he turned to face him. "Now, what would three young Gryffindors, such as yourselves, be doing inside on a day like this?"
"W-we … we … we were just …" Hermione stammered but was cut off by his father.
"You ought to be careful. People will think you were - up to something." He said, watching Harry for a moment longer before he turned and walked away with long strides, his robes billowing behind him, and he sighed. The year nearly had passed by now, and still his father hated him, loathed him, and was after him wherever he went.
He had missed the look of pain crossing his father's face when he turned and left his son behind, not knowing how much he wished that he could take the boy with him to Spinner's End after the school year, not knowing how much he wished that he could have spent time with the child throughout the school year, not knowing how much he did not loath that child but his position as a spy.
"You were seen by no less than seven muggles." His father growled angrily, watching him and Ron darkly. "Do you have any idea how serious this is? You have risked the exposure of our world. Not to mention the damage you inflicted on a whomping willow that has been on these grounds since before you were born."
"Honestly, Professor Snape, I think it did more damage to us." For a moment he wanted to kick Ron for his words. His father was already angry enough and Ron just worsened the situation.
"Silence!" Professor Snape growled and for a moment he couldn't help flinching. "I assure you that were you in Slytherin and your fate rested with me, the both of you would be on the train home – tonight. As it is …"
"They are not." Professor Dumbledore cut in, and Harry turned towards the headmaster.
He had missed the look of pure relief that crossed his father's face when the headmaster said they were not expelled. He had missed the look of pure relief the moment Severus Snape had laid eyes on him, watching him from head to toe, making sure that he hadn't been hurt, and he had missed the slight frown and the look of pure frustration the moment he had flinched at the "silence" he had growled at them. He had missed the long look the Potions Master had thrown after him the moment he had left his office together with Ron – a thoughtful and worried look.
They were standing in the corridor, together with Professor Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, Professor Sprout, Filch and – his father. And – yet again – Harry was accused of having done something. Which he quite hadn't! Hexing Filch's cat, Mrs. Norris, it was this time, but he hadn't done it.
"If I might, headmaster?" His father inquired, turning towards Professor Dumbledore, his face a calm mask like always. "Perhaps Potter and his friends were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. However –" He walked towards him, not leaving his piercing black eyes off him. "The circumstances are suspicious. I for one don't recall seeing Potter at dinner."
"I'm afraid that's my doing, Severus." Professor Lockhart who just had come along said with a smirk. "You see, Harry had his detention with me."
"That's why Ron and I went looking for him, Professor." Hermione then spoke up and Harry was quite glad that it had not been Ron, for Hermione had enough brains to not offend his father as much as Ron mostly did. "We just found him when he said …"
"Yes? Miss Granger?" His father asked, when Hermione didn't continue.
"When I said, I wasn't hungry." Harry said, looking up at his father, and the older wizard cast a glance at him that clearly said he did not believe a word he said. "We were heading back to the common room when we found Mrs. Norris" Why did he never believe him? He hadn't done anything wrong. Why did he hate him in the first place even? He never had done anything to his father. Suppressing a frustrated sigh he lowered his eyes. Never would he be able to make it up to the man in front of him. Never would he be accepted by his father. And worse, his father would hate him forever. All he ever would do would be for nothing.
Yet – again – he savoured the moment when his father stood in front of him. So close, he just had to stretch out his hand to touch him. So close, he just had to reach out his hand to take his father's hand into his. So close …
Well, he better did not do such a stupid thing. His father would hex him into the next oblivion, would he dare to touch him. The man never touched anyone. Nor would he allow anyone to touch him - and especially not - him - his son whom he hated so much. And even if he would not hex him, he at least would look at him with this deep loath and disgust in his eyes, with all the cold rejection and he doubted that he would be able to stand this. Not today.
No, he better kept himself under control and kept his hand where it was, at his side.
He never saw the look of sorrow and guilt that crossed his father's face for a short moment, when he turned back to the headmaster, a questioning look on his face, silently asking him to not expel these three students, to keep them – to keep his son – safely at Hogwarts. And he had missed the look of relief when it was clear that – no, they were not expelled. He missed the long look of sorrow the man threw after them the moment they were allowed to go back to their dormitory and he missed the angry conversation the Potions Master had with the headmaster a moment later, when they were alone in that corridor, an angry conversation during which Severus Snape cursed Albus Dumbledore to hell and back for insisting that he kept his position as a spy.
break … ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ … line
He remembered the duelling club during which his father had paired him with none other than Malfoy, and he still could remember the loath and the disgust he had seen in his father's eyes while watching him, the disappointment, wondering as always, why it was there, not understanding why it was there, not knowing what he had done to his father so that he hated him as much as he did.
He remembered the smirk on his father's face when Malfoy had cast his first spell at him that had thrown him across the duelling platform. And he still remembered the pain he had felt. Not only the physical pain, but the mental pain as well, the mental pain of being hated by his father, while he was laying there on the platform, not sure why his father hated him so much.
He never had seen the hidden look of concern and worry his father had had on his face for a moment before he had steeled his expression back to his blank mask.
"I've searched the astronomy tower and the owlery, sir. But there's nothing there." He heard Filch saying while he faked sleeping.
They all had been taken from their dormitories to the great hall where the entire student body had settled to sleep after Sirius Black, a from Azkaban escaped mass murderer, had broken into the castle and attacked the Fat Lady to get into the Gryffindor common room.
"Ah, thank you." Professor Dumbledore answered.
"The third floor is clear too, sir." Flitwick said.
"Very good." Again Dumbledore.
"And I have done the dungeons, headmaster." That was his father, and for a moment his heart sped up. "No sign of Black. Nor anywhere else in the castle." What if he would - just for a moment - forget his hatred and come close? To kneel beside him and tuck the blanket over his shoulders? To touch him, while he thought he was sleeping? What if …
"I didn't really expect him to linger." The headmaster said.
"Remarkable feat, don't you think?" The Potions Master said and Harry could see him in his mind, his face, his eyes, his entire features, and for a moment he had to suppress a low sob. "To enter Hogwarts castle on one's own? Completely undetected?"
"Quite remarkable, yes." Dumbledore answered.
"Any theories on how he might have managed it?" They came closer and he pressed his hands into fists, frustrated over the fact that his father never would do such, tucking him into bed. Frustrated over the fact that he wished he would do it. Frustrated over his own crying because he wished …
"Many. And each is as unlikely as the next."
"You may recall - prior to the start of term I expressed concerns about your appointment to our Professor …"
"Not a single Professor in this castle would help Sirius Black to enter it."
"I'm quite convinced the castle is safe and I'm more than willing to send the students back to their houses."
"What about Potter? Should he be warned?" Again Harry felt his heart speeding up. His father at least acknowledged his existence – even if not him being his son, but his existence.
And even if he not was about to – somehow – annoy him at this precise moment.
Had he seen him? Did he watch him in his 'sleep' just now? They were close enough. He surely could see him. But did he? Did he look down at him? He wished he did. He wished he did see him, and he gritted his teeth in frustration. Why did he wish to be loved by this man who in reality hated him so much?
And then – no one, not even Dumbledore, told him much. No one explained something to him. They all kept him in the dark. His entire life was a secret. Even that Professor Snape was his father was a secret.
Yes, Harry knew well what stood at risk, so he never told anyone that he was Professor Snape's son.
However - everyone kept things hidden from him. But his father had just suggested that he was told about Black, and he was grateful for it. He would have cried even harder, wouldn't he have given himself away then.
"Perhaps. But for now let him sleep. For in dreams, we enter a world that is entirely our own."
After the both wizards left the great hall Harry silently cried himself into sleep.
He never noticed the dark eyes that lingered on him with longing and care while the both wizards spoke. And he never noticed the look of pain that was written on his father's face, nor did he notice the headmaster's hand that came up to rest on Snape's arm, to keep him from touching him, to somehow comfort the man who was not allowed to acknowledge his son for the safety of both of them and many other people. He did not notice the man watching him crying while frustration and longing disturbed the usual calmness in those black eyes and he did not notice the lingering presence of the man that even after the conversation refused to leave the great hall and his silently crying son.
He was wandering the corridors, heading down into the dungeons. It was late, after curfew already, but that was what he had planned. It wouldn't do any good to him to be seen by any Slytherins. They only would wonder why he was down here in the dungeons. If they would not hex him first, that was.
But he had to speak to his father. He somehow had to tell him that he wanted him. That he wanted to be accepted by him. Whatever. He did not really know what he would say to him. He just knew that he had to speak to him. So he had taken the marauders map, and now he was here.
Just when he saw a small dot on the map, a small dot labelled with the name 'Severus Snape' coming into his direction. And even on the map the Professor's movements seemed to be more formidable than those of the other dots that were moving throughout the castle.
"Mischief managed." He hastily murmured. "Nox."
Well, the older wizard was already there and the light of his father's wand filled the corridor.
"Potter. What are you doing, wandering the corridors at night?"
"I was sleepwalking." Well, that was not what he originally had planned to say, and again he cursed himself. Why could he not just say 'hey, I'm your son, so accept me finally' no, he always had to say something stupid in the man's presence.
"Turn out your pockets." His father demanded, and for a moment Harry didn't know what to do. He surely would confiscate the map, the only thing that always told him where his father was, the only thing that gave him some … the only thing that gave him something.
"Turn out - your pockets!" This time it was a sharp command and Harry obeyed. Pulled out the map.
"What's this?" His father asked.
"Spare bit of parchment." Harry answered, not knowing what to do, trying to think a bit faster than normally when being in his father's presence. He really made a stupid idiot out of himself sometimes.
"Really. Open it."
Harry did open the map and his father pressed his wand over the parchment.
"Reveal your secrets." He said and slowly words appeared on the paper. Harry's heart nearly dropped when he read what was written there.
Oh, oh … Harry thought. That was not good. Well, there was no other way, was there?
"Messrs Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs offer their compliments to Professor Snape and …" Well, how could he go on? How could he read the oncoming insult to his own father? The man was already angry enough to not acknowledging him as his son. He would kill him if he angered him even more now. He would destroy all his hopes of the man maybe acknowledging him one day if he would go on.
"Go on …"
Well, he would have to read it, so better going over with it. "… and request that he keeps his abnormal large nose out of other people business." Harry continued, his voice small and he did not dare to look up at the man in front of him, feeling the anger the older wizard clearly radiated, feeling frustration by himself for – even if it had not been his wish - insulting his father like this.
"What – you insolent little …"
Ok, that was Lupin, and finally lifting his head he saw the defence Professor coming up behind the Potions Master. Well, maybe he would survive this night.
"Well, well, Lupin." His father said angrily. "Out for a little walk in the moonlight, are we?"
"Harry?" Professor Lupin asked, ignoring his colleague's sarcasm. "Are you alright?"
"That remains to be seen." His father threatened, snatching the map out of his hand. "I have now just confiscated a rather curious artefact from Mr. Potter. Take a look, Lupin. Supposed to be your area of expertise. Clearly it's full of – dark magic."
For a moment Harry had to suppress a laugh. The map? Dark Magic? That was quite a joke. And he was sure that his father thought the same, for the words 'dark magic' were spoken in a strange tone of voice, his voice having dropped even deeper than it normally was at those words. The Potions Professor did not think for a second that the map would be possessing dark magic.
"I seriously doubt it, Severus." Professor Lupin said, and Harry was sure that he was startled by something. That he tried to hide it with a nervous laugh. "It looks to me as though it's a parchment designed to insult anyone who tries to read it. I suspect it's a Zonko product. Nevertheless I shall investigate any hidden qualities it may possess. It is, after all, as you say, my area of expertise. Harry, would you come with me, please? Professor. Good night."
For a moment he considered to deny, staying with his father instead, to have a few more moments with him in this corridor, alone, to apologize to him - he did not know what exactly. He just did not want to follow the defence Professor. He wanted to stay.
Nevertheless he did as he was told and followed Professor Lupin.
He had missed the look of frustration and grief his father had hidden until he had turned, before he lifted his wand one last time and with a silent 'nox' turned off the light, hiding the look of pain on his face in the surrounding darkness before he walked away alone while he wished he could have taken his son with him.
He remembered the day when his father had taken over Remus' class in defence last year, the feeling of safety he had felt in the presence of the man, the strength he somehow had pulled from the man's power and certainty his father radiated while striding into the classroom, closing the folding shutters with a few flicks of his wand at the same time. And he remembered that he had hated himself for the fact that he had felt this way, knowing that he man he searched support from, hated him so much.
"Turn to page three hundred ninety-four." Professor Snape said after he had gotten the screen for the projector down, turning and walking towards the back of the classroom where the projector stood.
"Excuse me, sir." Harry leaned over when his father reached his table – against better knowledge not to ask. "Where is Professor Lupin?"
"That is not really your concern, is it, Potter?" His father actually had halted and looked at him, and for a moment – again – Harry felt as if his heart might skip a beat. He was so close now, again, and - maybe he would … no, of course he would not. And then Severus Snape continued walking. "Suffice it to say your Professor finds himself incapable of teaching at the present time. Turn to page three hundred and ninety-four."
Ron beside him skipped through the pages of his book, listlessly, when they moved swiftly by themselves to the required page, causing Ron to gasp and to leap back in his seat startled. Harry hardly could suppress a snicker at that. Sometimes he really found some things his father said or did quite amusing.
"Werewolves?" Ron gasped.
"But sir, we began learning about red caps and hinkypunks. We're not meant to start that for weeks." Hermione said.
"Quiet." His father drawled from behind.
"When did she come in?" Ron again gasped. "Did you see her come in?"
Well, no, he did not see Hermione come in, but he did not really care either. He was frustrated to no end. And he was close to doing something stupid. To just get up and leave the classroom for example, just to get out of the presence of his father who hated him since years and would hate him forever.
Or maybe to get to his feet and hugging the older wizard in front of the entire class - or better in front of the entire school, in the great hall during dinner.
Or maybe to get up and scream at him in front of the entire class - to scream at him that he finally should acknowledge him as his son, that he should stop pretending he was not his son, that he should stop hating him.
Or at least to ask him why he did hate him so much, that surely would be a start, wouldn't it?
"Now, which one of you can tell me the difference between an animagus and a werewolf?" His father meanwhile was back at the front of the class and turned to face the students. "No one?" He asked at the same time, ignoring Hermione's hand that was in the air – as always. "How disappointing" He added.
"Please sir." Hermione said, ignoring the fact that Professor Snape had not asked her. "An animagus is a wizard who elects to turn into an animal. A werewolf has no choice. With each full moon when he transforms, he no longer remembers who he is. He would kill his best friend. Furthermore the werewolf only responds to the call of its own kind."
Malfoy made a howling noise.
"Thank you, Mr. Malfoy." Snape drawled before he turned towards Hermione. "That is the second time you have spoken out of turn, Miss Granger. Are you incapable of restraining yourself or do you take pride in being an insufferable know-it-all?"
"He's got a point, you know." Ron besides him murmured.
"Five points from Gryffindor." Snape continued. "As an antidote to your ignorance and on my desk by Monday morning, two rolls of parchments on the werewolf, with particular emphasis on recognizing it."
"Sir, it's Quidditch tomorrow." Harry could not keep himself from blurting out and Snape hurried towards his table, resting his hands on the wooden surface and leaning close towards him.
"Then I suggest you take extra care, Mr. Potter." He said and Harry for a moment wished his father would lift his hand and ruffle his hair. But of course he did not do so. "Loss of limb will not excuse you. Page three hundred and ninety-four." Then he went on to the back of the classroom, towards the projector.
"Term 'werewolf' is a contraction of the anglo-saxon word 'wer' which means 'man' and 'wolf'. Werewolf, man-wolf. There are several ways to become a werewolf. They include being given the power of shape-shifting, being bitten by a werewolf …"
Harry placed his arms onto the table and laid his head onto his arms, frustration finally taking over the upper hand, and he closed his eyes.
He had missed the look of pain and sorrow his father had had on his face when he had been walking away, towards the projector in the rear part of the classroom. He had missed the twitch of the man's hand that had threatened to go up to his face for a moment to caress the pale forehead of his son when he had been leaning onto the boy's desk. And he had not recognized the searching look, the warning look, the one that asked the boy to be careful during the Quidditch game the next day.
Harry turned in pure frustration. What did Snape want now? He had tried to please the man since nearly four years now – he had given up on doing so meanwhile.
"What's your hurry?" The Potions Master asked. Yet – he gave no answer. What ever for should he? He just wanted to be left alone by the man. The lesser he saw of Snape, the better. It only hurt, knowing that he was his father but refused to acknowledge him, hated him even with as much passion as humanly possible.
"Congratulations." Snape continued, and for a moment Harry's heart skipped against his own better knowledge. Would he accept him yet - after all? "Your performance in the black lake was inspiring. Gillyweed, am I correct?"
"Yes, sir" Harry finally decided to give an answer, his heart beating furiously against his chest and he could feel his knees going wobbly. Was this finally the day he had waited for so long? Had his performance in the lake made Snape proud? Would he acknowledge him finally as his son?
"Ingenious." Snape turned and went into his private storeroom and curiously Harry followed. Snape – or dare he think - his father – climbed up a wooden ladder, searching for something in an upper shelf.
"A rather rare herb, gillyweed. Not something found in your everyday garden. Nor is this." He had found what he had been searching for, as it seemed, for he came back down, holding a small vial in his hand, showing it to Harry.
"Know what it is?" He asked.
"Bubble juice – sir?" Harry could not restrain himself from saying. Somehow the cold tone in Snape's voice told him, that – no, he wouldn't acknowledge him, that – no, he never would do so, that he still hated him. And yet – he did not care anymore. He was beyond this point meanwhile. He did not need him after all. He had lived through the Dursleys, through three years of school with a maniac lingering at his backside to kill him, with friends who only favoured his fame, and – last but not least – with a teacher that was his father but hated him to no end. So, why did he need this man? Why should he need Snape? Why should he even want Snape to be his father?
"Veritaserum." Snape answered. "Three drops of this and you-know-who himself would spill his darkest secrets. The use of it on a student is, regrettably, forbidden. However, should you ever steal from my personal stores again, my hand might just slip over your morning pumpkin juice."
"I haven't stolen anything." He said, not even knowing why he gave him an answer at all. Why he did not just leave, why he did not hex Snape, why he did not just kick him.
Snape leaned close to him. "Don't – lie – to me." He said in a dangerous low tone. "Gillyweed may be innocuous, but boomslang skin, lacewing flies? You and your little friends are brewing polyjuice potion. And believe me, I'm going to find out why."
Snape closed the door and Harry turned, leaving, slowly walking down the corridor into the direction he had taken before, towards the Gryffindor common room.
He had missed the look of despair in his father's eyes when he had closed the door, heavily leaning against the wall, recognizing that something in his son had changed, that his son no longer cared if he was angry at him, if he hated him.
This last memory – it had been yesterday. Yesterday afternoon.
And yes, he really did no longer care if he would be accepted by his father one day. He no longer tried to please the man, and he no longer saw him as his father. He was Snape now, the greasy dungeon git, a bastard of a teacher. Nothing more.
No, he did not hate Snape. Why should he? He was his father after all. No, he rather hated himself.
He hated himself for the fact that he drew strength out of his father, this man who hated him with all the passion he displayed in his ever movement, in his ever word. With all the passion he radiated when he swiftly strode into the classroom or through the halls, proud and strong, straight.
With all the passion he radiated when he moved. Sometimes with quick and short movements which spoke of sureness and strength, sometimes with slow and passionate movements which spoke of attention and self-awareness.
With all the passion he showed in his deep, velvet voice. Sometimes speaking quickly and in a voice that rang low but clearly through the entire classroom, just to fall into a slow sentence, punctuating every word, but always using long winded sentences with words that reminded one at something like archaic speech - a voice that dropped with sarcasm whenever the man spoke, even if it was just a one word remark.
With all the passion he held in his deep, black eyes which cut through you and that seemed to dig into your very soul, cold and dark, and yet so full of life. In this eyes that could display such hate and disgust that one would cringe, yet – that could show curiosity and concern as well - those eyes that somehow had become an anchor to him – Harry.
Yes, he drew strength out of the man, out of his father, his entire presence. And he felt safe then.
If only his father would not hate him, if only he would not be disgusted by him, if only his father would acknowledge him as his son. But he didn't, and he knew he never would.
And nevertheless he – Harry - pulled strength out of him, and he hated himself for this.
break … ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ … line
Who would cry for me?
"Quickly get ready for bed and then gather back here in your common room in ten minutes sharp. No lingering in the bathroom, that goes for the girls especially. You will need nothing for the night. Sleeping arrangements are already made. Flint, Bole, Montague and Warrington, please lead your house into the great hall when you all are ready. I will await you there in fifteen minutes."
He waited a few seconds until he got a nod from most of the students, especially from the four he had given the task to leading the students down into the great hall, and then he inclined his head to give his acknowledgement and turned, left the Slytherin common room, heading down towards the great hall by himself. There was nothing more to do now.
Once again he tried to somehow open the entrance door of the castle, but he had no more success than he had had before and so he entered the great hall, awaiting his students, allowing his thoughts to roam into the past.
He was sitting in the great hall, together with the rest of the teachers, awaiting the first year students and the sorting, knowing that this year his son would be attending Hogwarts, and he wanted to just leave. How would he be supposed to stand seeing his son every day, but not being able to acknowledge him as his son? Not being able to speak to him as his father? Not being able to touch him? To spend time with him? To help him through the school years?
And just because he was Harry Potter, the one child the Dark Lord was after? And just because he was Severus Snape, the spy who worked for the light side against the Dark Lord? Just because the Dark Lord and any of his remaining Death Eaters would kill both of them without batting an eye would they know that he was a spy and Harry Potter his son?
Well, of course, the Dark Lord was gone – for now – but he knew as well as Dumbledore knew, that he would come back one day. That he was not gone for good. And thus – Harry was not safe. Not even at Hogwarts - and especially not in his presence.
The students came in, led by Minerva, and he watched them forming a line in front of the stuff table. And there he was. Harry. He recognized him immediately. The unruly black hair and the round glasses he wore. He looked just like James Potter.
Well – that had been the plan, after all, hadn't it?
Placing all those glamours on him, so he looked like James Potter and would go as his son.
Once again he wondered why he had agreed to that plan, eleven years ago.
But then – well, he knew why. It had been for the boy's safety.
He looked small, much smaller than the rest of the children, and thin, much too thin for his liking.
When the boy looked up at the table, at him, he looked into two emerald green eyes and he had to force himself to not smile at the sight, to look away or he wouldn't be able to restrain himself and he had to catch his breath.
Lily's eyes. So the boy at least had kept them, his mother's eyes.
He never - during the past three years - had changed his behaviour towards his son, had kept his cold mask in place in front of the boy. Never mind how hard it had been, he never had given him a friendly word. Out of fear someone would overhear them and report them to one of the Death Eaters – or to the Dark Lord himself after he came back last year, out of fear that he could endanger his son and cause his death.
He had kept this secret and had never spoken to his son about it. And he had handled the boy with loath and disgust, knowing that Harry never was to learn about this. The boy would not understand and he would be hurt just the more if he knew. Better he kept him in the conception that he hated him because he was a Gryffindor – and the Golden Boy no less.
But Harry had known. His son had known that he was his father. And thus – he had hurt him just the more. He could not even imagine how much he had hurt him during the years by ignoring him, or by insulting him, with the boy's knowledge that it was his father who hated him that much, who refused to acknowledge him as his son.
And now he was about to lose him forever, to lose him to death – just what he had tried to prevent so much, and that knowledge pained him just the more.
The boy was even ready to freely walk into death, knowingly, just because he knew his father hated him, because he never had told him he was his son, because he never had treated him fairly. He was sure that the child would have considered this particular move if he'd had him as his father, knowing that he was loved by at least one person. He would have thought about it, he would have come to him with his plan, with his worries, and he would have been able to keep him safe.
But why had the boy never addressed him with his knowledge? Why had he never asked him for the reason of his hate he displayed against his son? Why had he never –
Well, that one was easy to answer. Harry was not stupid. The boy knew that he could not acknowledge him openly or during lessons, in the corridors. He knew that everything had to be kept a secret, knew that both their lives stood at the risk. But why had he never addressed him during the many detentions he had given the boy just to have him close, never mind how much those detentions had hurt himself, knowing that it was his son and that he had to keep him at arm length away from him? Why had he never …
And then – why should he even? After the first lesson? After this damn fist potions class in which he had insulted and humiliated the boy? And nevertheless Harry had tried to gain his attention, had tried to please him over and over again, he now knew. He always had wondered why Harry still tried to please him, to do all to get praise from him, even if he surely knew that he never would give it.
He now knew why.
Because he had known. And because he had hoped.
He was nervous - more than nervous. And that was not a feeling he liked. He knew this feeling, of course, having felt it quite often enough during the years with the Dark Lord and the Death Eaters, when attending their meetings as a spy. Of course he was nervous then, risking his life. But that was something else. It was not the same nervousness.
Well, he would have to just go through this first lessen somehow, making sure from the start that he would keep Harry away from him. This first lesson would be an important one, and if his plan would go well, then Harry would keep away from him willingly.
So he threw the door to the potions classroom open – well, as he did always, he had a reputation to keep up after all – and swiftly strode to the front of the class, ignoring the students until he reached his desk, turning on his heels.
"There will be no foolish wand waving or silly incantations in this class." He started the lesson his usual way. "As such, I don't expect many of you to appreciate the subtle science and exact art that is potion-making. However, for those select few who possess the predisposition – I can teach you how to bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses. I can tell you how to bottle fame, brew glory and even put a stopper in death. Then again, maybe some of you have come to Hogwarts in possession of abilities so formidable that you feel confident enough to not - pay - attention."
He had watched the class during his speech, student for student, easily recognizing Draco, his godson, son of Lucius Malfoy, his friend and one of the Death Eaters in the Dark Lord's inner circle, and then Harry, his son. And again his heart skipped a beat.
"Mr. Potter. Our - new - celebrity." He said, trying to get as much malice into his voice as possible. Not an easy task when in truth he wanted to do nothing else than to go to his son and to embrace him after this long years he hadn't seen him. Well, that was something, he couldn't do.
"Tell me, what would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?" He asked Harry, trying to keep his emotions off his face. Of course the boy didn't know the answer. How was he supposed to know this? He wasn't even raised by wizards. Albus had placed him by his relative, by muggles, after the death of Lily and James Potter.
The only one who apparently knew the answer was Granger, her hand shot into the air.
Well Harry of course didn't as didn't the rest of the students and the boy shook his head.
"You don't know? Well, let's try again." He said, ignoring Granger, feeling miserable by humiliating his own son like this, but knowing that was the only way to make the boy hating him. "Where, Mr. Potter, would you look if I asked you to find me a bezoar?"
Again Harry didn't know the answer. He guessed that he did not even know what exactly a bezoar was. "I don't know, sir." He answered, and he knew the boy must be feeling miserable, he could hear it in the child's unsure voice.
"And what is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane?" He asked his next question and all Harry could say again was, "I don't know, sir."
"Pity." He finally said, trying to display disappointment, while he felt quite sick. "Clearly, fame isn't everything, is it, Mr. Potter?"
"Clearly Hermione knows. It seems a pity not to ask her." Harry then said, and for a moment Severus had to suppress a smirk. Well, at least the boy was able to shoot back – and to use his own words against him.
A few of the other students had begun laughing, but with a low "silence …" he easily got them back under control. He'd never had any problems of controlling a class.
He cast another glance at the boy, noticing that he had gone pale, and he wondered why. Ok, he had talked back to him, but what had he expected if he treated him unfairly? Of course he would talk back. But then – well, he would take the opportunity of taking a closer look, and after a moment he went past his desk and swiftly approached his son.
"Put your hand down, you silly girl." He said when he walked past Granger and then he pulled a stool from behind and seated himself opposite his son, leaning his arms onto the table and watching him for a moment, the pale face, fear lingering in the green eyes, the shoulders tense and his hands laying on the table one above the other to keep them from trembling, but Severus noticed it anyway. He was a spy after all and he would be a dead one if he would not notice such small things. The boy radiated fear with every part of his body and he wondered why – yet, he didn't avert his eyes, he looked strait at him with a steady gaze of his green eyes.
For a moment he wanted nothing else than to place his own hand on top of his son's and tell him that he had nothing to fear, not from him, but he knew he couldn't do this.
"For your information, Potter." He finally managed to say. "Asphodel and wormwood make a sleeping potion so powerful, it is known as the draught of the living death. A bezoar is a stone taken from the stomach of a goat and would safe you from the most poisons. As for monkshood and wolfsbane, they are the same plant which also goes by the name of aconite."
He watched his son for a moment longer before he addressed the entire class. "Well? Why aren't you all copying this down?"
After a last glance at his son, he finally stood up and went back to his desk, feeling frustrated and angry at himself, angry at the situation itself. Sitting behind his desk he cast a last glance towards the boy, watching him copying the answers down.
He had valued this short moment, sitting opposite his son, being able to look at the boy from such a short distance, seeing every line in his young face, looking into those green eyes.
The Slytherins entered the great hall, followed by the Ravenclaws, and Albus smiled.
"Now that everyone is present, there are mats, sleeping bags, and pillows on the floor along the walls." Albus addressed the students. "Each in the colours of your houses. Please just settle down to sleep and do so quietly. We do not want to disturb other students, now, do we? I am sure the house elves will be quite pleased to bring each of you a late cup of hot chocolate and then you might rest throughout the night and without worries. The castle still is sealed, and every one within will be quite safe."
Yes – Severus thought – everyone within was safe. But what was with the one outside? One student – his son - wasn't safe at all, if he even was still alive at all.
He was standing in one of the corridors when he noticed his son together with Weasley and Granger, discussing something, and he went up to them, knowing that he only hurt himself while seeking out his son's presence, knowing that he could not be friendly with him. Yet – it was the only way he ever could spend time with the boy. A short moment every now and then, a short moment that was painted with his hate he had to display each time.
"Good afternoon." He greeted them, willing his voice to sound bored and his heart sped up when his son turned to face him. "Now, what would three young Gryffindors, such as yourselves, be doing inside on a day like this?"
"W-we … we … we were just …" Granger stammered but after he watched her for a moment, he turned back to his son, trying to take in all of his face he could. He was not here, tormenting himself because of Granger, but because of his son, so that he just for a moment could have a look at the boy.
"You ought to be careful. People will think you were - up to something." He said, watching Harry for a moment longer before he turned and walked away with long strides, his robes billowing behind him, not able to stand the pain any longer. The pain he himself felt by watching his son from such short a distance without being able to just take the boy into his arms, and the pain he caused the boy too.
"Severus?" Albus startled him out of his thoughts.
"Everyone is settled, I take it?" He asked, trying to hide the fact that he had been lost in thoughts, remembering. They had no word yet that Harry was dead. And the Dark Lord would send word. He knew him well enough. The Dark Lord would bath himself in the triumph of having defeated his worst enemy, the one who stood on the top of his list of enemies, the one who was destined to destroy him. He would send word. He would tell the entire wizarding world that the boy was dead.
This word had not come yet. And thus – Harry still was alive. His son still was alive. And thus – he had to be strong. He had to remain his composure. At least until word came back to them. Whether the boy was dead then or alive. Nothing mattered until then. And no matter which way, no matter what would be the outcome, only then he could allow himself to lose his composure.
But Harry still was alive – even if the knowledge that he was alone with that madman right now, that the knowledge of what exactly that madman was capable of doing to his son, drove him nearly mad with worry and he swore to himself - would the boy be alive after this all was over, then he would – finally – take him home. He knew that it wouldn't be easy to make it up to the boy, to get him to trust him. Not after all what he had done. But he would try it.
Would he be dead – well, he didn't know what he would do then. And he better did not think at that either. The boy was not dead yet – at least he hoped.
"Yes, Severus." Albus said, his voice low and sad. "Yes, everyone is settled. Are you ready?" He then asked.
"Of course I am, Albus." Severus said. "That it is what I was waiting for after all."
The headmaster nodded and then turned, leaving the great hall, knowing that enough teachers were there to look after a horde of sleeping students and Severus followed him, again allowing his thoughts to wander away into the past. Into a time when his son had been safe in the castle.
"You were seen by no less than seven muggles." He growled angrily, watching his son and Weasley darkly while at the same time he was relieved to know – Harry was back at the castle after the summer holidays during which had been worried to no end, more than once tempted to visit Privet Drive, Harry was back at Hogwarts, safe and sound.
"Do you have any idea how serious this is?" he continued, wondering how Harry could have been so foolish, driving the Weasley's car to the school. "You have risked the exposure of our world. Not to mention the damage you inflicted on a whomping willow that has been on these grounds since before you were born."
"Honestly, Professor Snape, I think it did more damage to us." Weasley said and he could see Harry nearly kicking the other boy for his words, looking angrily over at his friend.
"Silence!" He growled angrily at the red haired boy that didn't interest him in the slightest and only out of the corner of his eyes he watched Harry flinching at his growl. Narrowing his eyes at the boy he pierced him. What was wrong with Harry? He never before had flinched at his words! Taking a closer look he tried to find anything that could give an explanation away and he even went as far as reaching out with his magic, trying to detect a concealing charm or something similar. But there was none.
"I assure you that were you in Slytherin and your fate rested with me, the both of you would be on the train home – tonight. As it is …"
"They are not." Albus cut in, having just arrived at his office together with Minerva and he turned towards the headmaster, silently asking him to not expulse the boy. Of course he wouldn't have sent him on the train home, had he been in Slytherin, on the contrary.
At the beginning of last school year, when the child had been sorted into Gryffindor, he hadn't minded at all, had even been proud that the child had entered his mother's house. But he wasn't so sure anymore that it had been a good thing at all. If Harry had been in his house, in Slytherin, he would have been able to keep the child more safe and more happy.
He never would have gone after that blasted stone last year, he would have made sure, and he would have been able to show him some things Minerva lacked in teaching her lions. He even would have been able to get Draco, Theodore and Blaise to befriend with Harry and then he wouldn't have had to be as nasty to him as he actually had to be now. A lot could have changed if he had been in his house, he was sure about that meanwhile.
They had reached Albus' office and for a moment he concentrated onto the present, onto such simple things like closing the door after he had entered, like going over to the window and looking down at the snow covered grounds, like … again his thoughts drifted off to the child that right now was some place out there, alone, most likely cold as he was sure that the child had forgotten to take a jacket, like he so often did and he remembered how often he had given him detention after he had been out in the snow without a jacket, heating the dungeons more than necessary to get the child warm again and secretly adding a potion or another to the water in the sink he had the boy scrubbing the cauldrons with.
Of course he had to scrub those cauldrons again after that, the potions he added to the water in the sink only would interfere with any potion that would be brewed in those cauldrons, but he didn't care. If this was the only way so that he could make sure his son would not catch only Merlin knew what during the winter – then he wouldn't mind, then he would do it.
Of course he never had told him that he had given him detention so that he could get him warm and make sure that he wouldn't get ill, had always told him that they were for some ridiculous reasons like – taking a book from the library outside, or carrying a small flame in a glass with them. Sighing he ran his hand over his face in frustration.
He was standing in the corridor, together with Albus, Minerva, Pomona, Filch and – Harry and his - friends. And – yet again – Harry was accused of having done something, but he knew that the boy hadn't. Honestly, hexing Filch's cat, Mrs. Norris, he was sure that there was no single student that wouldn't like doing just that, but while he knew that Harry was a quite very strong young wizard when it came to actual wand magic – he knew that not even he would have managed that, most likely not even one of the sixth or seventh year students, at least not many of them.
"If I might, headmaster?" He inquired, turning towards Albus, and he tried to keep his face his usual calm mask like always. "Perhaps Potter and his friends were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. However –" He walked towards the boy, not leaving his piercing black eyes off him, watching him close and savouring the moment of closeness yet again. They were rare enough as it was, those moments. "The circumstances are suspicious. I for one don't recall seeing Potter at dinner." He then added, giving the boy a pointed look, making clear that he knew about his annoying and unhealthy habit of skipping meals – and more often than he liked.
"I'm afraid that's my doing, Severus." Gilderoy who just had come along said with a smirk. "You see, Harry had his detention with me."
"That's why Ron and I went looking for him, Professor." Granger then spoke up and Severus cast an inquiring look at the girl. "We just found him when he said …"
"Yes? Miss Granger?" He asked, when the blasted girl didn't continue.
"When I said, I wasn't hungry." Harry said, looking up at him, and he cast a glance at the boy that clearly said he did not believe a word he said. The child was too thin and he always looked too pale. Sometimes he even wondered if the Dursleys didn't feed him during the holidays as he always came back looking like a skeletal, worrying him, Snape, startling him, and he more than once had ordered the kitchen elves to lace the boy's pumpkin juice with a nutrient potion. But what good was this if this blasted boy always skipped meals?
"We were heading back to the common room when we found Mrs. Norris" His son continued, looking at him as if he wanted to defend himself, before he lowered his eyes and he had seen a moment of immense sadness in them that had him wondering. What had happened to the boy just a moment ago? He knew that he had not lowered his eyes because he had lied, he knew that the boy hadn't, that they really had been on their way to their common room. But what had happened then?
For a moment he wanted nothing else than reaching out and lifting the boy's head, not only to touch him, but to look into those green eyes as well, to try and find out what had him so downcast suddenly, and to simply look at the child's face, to savour another memory of his son. Another memory that only would hurt him – yet, he didn't care.
"Severus?" He heard Albus' voice cutting through his memories and for a moment he wondered if he really should answer the headmaster's call, if he really should come back to reality or if he not rather should stay right here, remembering the boy that was his son and whom he had refused to acknowledge just because he had feared he would endanger the boy's life then that was taken from him right now anyway? He could at least have given the child better memories if nothing else …
It was late, after curfew already, when his alarm got up and taking out a book from one of the drawers, opening it to the page that glowered - he realized it was Harry who was wandering the corridors, heading down into the dungeons – again. It wasn't the first time that he caught the boy wandering the dungeons after curfew and he always had wondered why – and it always had been those tempting times when he had barely been able to resist taking him to his office and talking to him, revealing his secret, telling him that he was his son and that he only played a part, that he only …
He luckily always had been able to somehow manage keeping himself from doing such a foolish thing. Albus immediately would kick his ass and then he wouldn't be able to at least see his son here at school – not to mention that he most likely would get the child killed if he told him. Grabbing his cloak he left his office. He at least had to make sure that the boy went back to bed, the child looked pale and tired enough as it was without him wandering the castle during the nights.
He could see a faint light when he crossed the corner closest to his private quarters that immediately turned off, but his own wand already illuminated the boy's thin frame and he frowned. The boy looked worse than he normally did.
"Potter. What are you doing, wandering the corridors at night?"
"I was sleepwalking." The blasted brat answered and he huffed for a moment. Sleepwalking, consciously and conversing with him while looking up at him defiantly. How much he would like discussing with the boy about that right now, having a normal discussion with the boy like every father had with his thirteen year old son.
Soon the child would …
"Turn out your pockets." He demanded, not ready to go down that lane of thinking right now and he watched the boy struggling. What was he hiding now?
"Turn out - your pockets!" He repeated sharper this time and Harry obeyed. After he had flinched yet again and he narrowed his eyes at the boy.
"What's this?" He asked, still wondering why it was the boy flinched more often the older he got.
"Spare bit of parchment." Harry answered, stating the obvious – and yet, he doubted it. He had seen this particular piece of parchment before. Many years ago, and in the hands of another Potter, one that really had been a Potter, but he recognized it immediately.
"Really." He said. "Open it."
Harry did open the map and he pressed his wand over the parchment.
"Reveal your secrets." He said and slowly words appeared on the paper. "Read it." He then ordered the boy.
There was a slight hesitation and the boy actually looked ill right now he noticed, but then he started reading
"Messrs Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs offer their compliments to Professor Snape and …"
Even if he realized well that the boy's voice trembled with fear, even if he realized that the boy's face had gone deathly pale, that his hands had started trembling, that he clearly didn't want to go on reading – he had to keep from hissing a scathing remark at the boy.
"Go on …" He simply growled quietly.
"… and request that he keeps his abnormal large nose out of other people business." Harry continued, his voice small and he did not dare to look up at him.
"What – you insolent little …" He couldn't help hissing angrily for a moment despite the knowledge that the words had not been the boy's intent, that he only had read what the blasted parchment had written.
"Professor …" He luckily was interrupted before his temper could take the upper hand of him. Alright, that was Lupin.
"Well, well, Lupin." He angrily said. "Out for a little walk in the moonlight, are we?" He wasn't actually angry at Lupin to cut into his words – but at appearing here and now to begin with, robbing him of the chance to have a word with Harry. Of course he knew that he couldn't, but Lupin's presence made clear that he didn't even have the chance for this anymore and his entire anger shifted towards the other teacher at that moment. He at least might have had that chance before. Lupin now had stolen this chance.
"Harry?" Lupin asked, ignoring his words. "Are you alright?"
He had snatched the blasted map out of Harry's hand, knowing fully well what it showed and the thought of being able to see his son at least on this map, even if it would only be the boy's footprints labelled with his name – it would have been some comfort. But the map had ended up with Lupin, the blasted man stealing this from him as well as the chance to speak with his son about … closing his eyes he knew that he wouldn't have been able to do so anyway. And yet – Lupin had stolen that chance from him, as well as the map – and then his son, taking Harry with him.
The boy nearly had snorted at his comment that the map surely held dark magic and the boy's face nearly had changed completely at that near laugh, at the amusement that suddenly had shown in the normally so miserable green eyes, and it was another memory he had saved within his mind, an amused Harry that nearly had made him smile at the brat.
And then Lupin had taken the boy with him, had stolen his son from him that night, had …
"Turn to page three hundred ninety-four." He said after he had gotten the screen for the projector in the defence classroom down, turning and walking towards the back of the classroom where the projector stood. He would have right out refused, overtaking Lupin's class after that man had taken Harry with him only two nights before, but it had been another chance of seeing Harry in a closer proximity than in the great hall during meals, watching him in a class that was not his, that was not potions where the boy definitely felt uncomfortable. And so he had agreed.
"Excuse me, sir." Harry leaned over when he reached the boy's table – looking up at him with a mixture of fear and daring. "Where is Professor Lupin?"
"That is not really your concern, is it, Potter?" He said, stopping at the boy's table for a moment and looking down at him, and for a moment – again – he felt as if his heart might skip a beat at the green eyes that looked at him with – what was it he could detect in them? Hope? But why? Why would the boy look up at him with such hope in his green eyes? On his entire face? He had seen this look on the child's face before, but he never had understood it – and nor did he now.
He was so close now, again, and he could just reach out and – just for a moment – run his hand through the child's hair, but … no, of course he would not. Quickly he continued walking. "Suffice it to say your Professor finds himself incapable of teaching at the present time. Turn to page three hundred and ninety-four."
Weasley who was sitting beside Harry skipped through the pages of his book, listlessly, and he waved his wand at the boy's book, causing the pages to move swiftly by themselves to the required page, causing the redhead to gasp and to leap back in his seat startled. Harry beside him hardly could suppress a snicker at that, he noticed with a small smirk on his own, again amusement radiating off the child's form, just like two days ago at his comment about the map.
"Werewolves?" Weasley gasped.
"But sir, we began learning about red caps and hinkypunks. We're not meant to start that for weeks." Granger said, appearing from ancient runes the girl had taken added to her required curses.
"Quiet." He said.
"When did she come in?" Weasley again gasped towards Harry, quietly. "Did you see her come in?"
Well, no, of course Harry had not seen her coming in, most of the students didn't realize her being late so often as the girl had quite a talent in slipping into the room quietly and unseen. But Harry didn't even give Weasley an answer and somehow he sensed that the boy was about to do something stupid when he crossed the boy's desk – and somehow he had the feeling that it could have to do something with him, Snape. The emotions he could feel coming from the brat were quite disturbing. He could sense the boy's wish to – leave the classroom, to scream at him, to demand knowing why he hated him while at the same time – but that couldn't be! Why would the brat want to do such a stupid thing as to wanting hugging him? That was ridiculous!
"Now, which one of you can tell me the difference between an animagus and a werewolf?" He then asked while going back to the front of the room and then turning back to the class. "No one?" He asked at the same time, ignoring Granger's hand that was in the air – as always. "How disappointing" He added, his mind working in over-speed to find a solution to keep the brat from doing whatever foolish stunt he had in his mind right now.
"Please sir." Granger said, ignoring the fact that he had not asked her. "An animagus is a wizard who elects to turn into an animal. A werewolf has no choice. With each full moon when he transforms, he no longer remembers who he is. He would kill his best friend. Furthermore the werewolf only responds to the call of its own kind."
Malfoy made a howling noise.
"Thank you, Mr. Malfoy." He drawled before he turned towards the blasted girl – and yet, she had given him a chance to keep his son from doing something stupid, knowing that the boy would be very angry at him in a moment, that he surely wouldn't think at – something as stupid as hugging him then. "That is the second time you have spoken out of turn, Miss Granger. Are you incapable of restraining yourself or do you take pride in being an insufferable know-it-all?"
"He's got a point, you know." He heard Weasley murmuring.
"Five points from Gryffindor." He quickly continued. "As an antidote to your ignorance and on my desk by Monday morning, two rolls of parchments on the werewolf, with particular emphasis on recognizing it."
"Sir, it's Quidditch tomorrow." Harry could not keep himself from blurting out and he hurried towards the boy's desk, resting his hands on the wooden surface and leaning close towards his son.
"Then I suggest you take extra care, Mr. Potter." He said, giving the boy a pointed look willing him to understand that he had to be careful during the game, with all those blasted dementors out there, and for a moment he wished nothing else than lifting his hand and ruffle his son's hair. "Loss of limb will not excuse you. Page three hundred and ninety-four." He hissed threateningly and then went on to the back of the classroom, towards the projector, just in time, he knew, or he would have lifted his hand and he would have touched the boy's face then, would have run his hand through the messy mop of black hair, he knew it, because he had already felt his muscles tightening to carry out the movement.
"Term 'werewolf' is a contraction of the anglo-saxon word 'wer' which means 'man' and 'wolf'. Werewolf, man-wolf." He continued with the lesson, watching Harry from behind how the boy placed his arms onto the table and laid his head onto his arms, frustration radiating off him in waves and he sighed himself. If only he could … "There are several ways to become a werewolf. They include being given the power of shape-shifting, being bitten by a werewolf …"
"Severus!" Albus' voice again went through to his mind and this time he finally turned towards the old man, scowling at him angrily.
"It is your fault, Albus!" He accused. "It has been you who had insisted that blasted, damn plan to hide my son, to have Lily marrying Potter and to have my son living with them! Lily has been my wife! And what good had it done? Lily has died anyway, despite your plan! She is dead! And Harry too is about to die, despite your plan! You have been wrong, old man!"
"I know, Severus." Albus quietly said. "And I am sorry. I truly am …"
"Being sorry won't bring Lily back!" Severus growled, taking one of the blasted items from Albus' table and simply throwing it at the wall where it shattered into pieces. "And Being sorry won't keep Harry alive either!" He said, taking another item from the table and throwing it at the wall, destroying it in his rage. "I am sorry as well and it won't undo all the things I have done to Harry! So you can be sorry as long as you wish, old man, but I won't ever forgive your foolish, idiotic and blasted meddling in my life! I hate you, old man! It is your fault that Lily is dead, because I would have been able to protect her and it is your fault that Harry is going to die as well! It is your fault! And it is your fault that Harry never has gotten my comfort, that he went out there to his own death thinking that his own father hated him! He never would have made that move if …"
Leaning his hands onto the edge of the blasted old man's desk he let his head hung for a moment, taking a deep breath while another memory washed over his awareness.
"I've searched the astronomy tower and the owlery, sir. But there's nothing there." Filch informed the headmaster.
They all had been searching the castle and were now meeting in the great hall where the students currently had been gathered to sleep in safety after Sirius Black had broken into the castle and attacked the Fat Lady to get into the Gryffindor common room.
"Ah, thank you." Albus answered.
"The third floor is clear too, sir." Flitwick said.
"Very good." Albus murmured just when he - Severus - reached him.
"And I have done the dungeons, headmaster." He informed the older wizard. "No sign of Black. Nor anywhere else in the castle."
His son was laying there amongst those students and he wanted nothing else than to search him out, to kneel beside him and to touch him in his sleep, to stroke those unruly black hair out of his forehead. Alone the thought of the boy's dormitory having been attacked by Black. He wouldn't have been attacked that easily if he were in Slytherin, in his house, he would have made sure. He had been worried to death the moment he had heard of the attack and only the moment he had seen the boy walking into the great hall with a pillow in his arms had he allowed himself to relax for a bit.
"I didn't really expect him to linger." Albus said, startling him out of his thoughts, watching him close. Of course his old friend knew what was going through his head.
"Remarkable feat, don't you think? To enter Hogwarts castle on one's own completely undetected?"
"Quite remarkable, yes." Dumbledore answered.
"Any theories on how he might have managed it?" He asked, watching the children on the floor and easily recognizing the unruly black hair of his son.
For a moment he had to grit his teeth when he heard a suppressed sob from his right where the boy laid, knowing by then that he was awake and wanting nothing more than to kneel down beside him, wishing nothing more than to take him into his arms and to comfort him, frustrated over the fact that he could never do such.
"Many. And each is as unlikely as the next." Albus answered, watching him close, laying his hand onto his arm and he had to force himself to not snatch his arm away from the blasted old man's touch, to remain calm even, knowing what the headmaster told him with his touch, namely to keep from caring for his son. And he did not want Albus' comfort - he wanted to take his son into his arms and comfort him.
"You may recall - prior to the start of term I expressed concerns about your appointment to our Professor …" He started, having a hard time controlling his voice so that it wouldn't tremble.
"Not a single Professor in this castle would help Sirius Black to enter it."
"I'm quite convinced the castle is safe and I'm more than willing to send the students back to their houses."
'Of course you would!' He thought. 'If only to get him away from my eyes so I can't do anything foolish!'
"What about Potter? Should he be warned?" He asked, knowing that Harry could hear him. He knew that Albus did not want Harry to know that it was him whom Black was searching, whom Black was willing to attack, whom he wanted to kill. And he wanted his son to know about it so he could be careful. He did not care right now that Albus cast a disappointed glance towards him, knowing that the boy had heard him and knowing that the boy would try finding out what was behind his comment. But Harry had the right to know about Black. And by asking Albus this question while the boy was awake he ensured that Harry would ask the headmaster about this – or inquire on his own. That he at least asked some questions to anyone.
"Perhaps." Albus answered, while another suppressed sob reached his ears. "But for now let him sleep. For in dreams, we enter a world that's entirely our own."
They had left the great hall, but shortly after this Severus went back in under the disguise to watch the students. But he only watched his son while he cried himself into sleep. And he felt waves of pain washing over him while he watched the boy, knowing that he wasn't able to comfort his son. That he would not only risk his own life and his son's but many other lives as well, knowing that he tormented himself while watching his son crying without being able to touch him. But he did not care. He just watched him, even long after he finally had fallen asleep.
And only then he knelt down beside his son for a moment after making sure that no other child was watching, that all of them were sound asleep, allowing himself a small moment of comfort by touching the child's pale forehead, by running his fingertips over the pale skin and stroking a strand of hair out of the pale face – just another memory he stowed within his mind.
Without asking Albus placed a cup of tea in front of Severus and the Potions Master frowned at the older wizard. It was the first time that Albus did so without asking.
"No, thank you, Albus." He said. "I would prefer to see the memory now."
"Are you really sure you want to do this, Severus?" The older wizard asked, watching him with a sad expression. "You only torment yourself, my boy."
"I do not care, Albus." He answered. Why had Albus to ask him again and again? He knew that it would hurt him seeing his son willingly and knowingly walking into his own death. He knew that it would hurt him hearing what his son had to say. But he had to do this. And even if it was only as a punishment for what he had done to his son during the years, remembering the look on the boy's face yesterday afternoon.
It had been the first time in all those years he had seen this capitulation, he had seen that the boy had given up on trying to please him – why ever he had tried that in the first place – that he didn't care anymore.
Harry turned with a look of pure frustration on his face.
"What's your hurry?" He asked. Yet – the boy gave no answer and he had to keep himself from sighing. Four years after he had tried to make his son hating him, back then in his first potions class – he finally had managed, and he didn't like it one bit.
"Congratulations." He continued, and for a moment he could see his son's face lighting up a bit. "Your performance in the black lake was inspiring. Gillyweed, am I correct?" He asked, narrowing his eyes. Why would the child's face lit up by just being given a praise by him, Snape? What was going on? Why was that boy so adamant in making him proud at him? He acted as if – but no … that couldn't be! Harry couldn't know. But why would he …
"Yes, sir" Harry finally decided to give him an answer.
"Ingenious." He turned and went into his private storeroom and the boy followed him inside while he climbed up the wooden ladder that led to his upper shelves, searching for the vial of veritaserum.
"A rather rare herb, gillyweed." He said, rearranging the vials on the shelf. "Not something found in your everyday garden. Nor is this." He had found what he had been searching for and climbed back down, holding a small vial in his hand, showing it to Harry.
"Know what it is?" He asked.
"Bubble juice, sir?" Harry asked, and again Severus had to suppress a laugh. Surely it wasn't. And surely Harry knew exactly that it wasn't bubble juice either.
But then – in this moment he recognized that his son really did not care anymore to somehow please him, his words proof enough, as well as his tone. That he was beyond this point now. This short moment of hope he had seen on his face just a moment ago – it had been one last struggle of the child's hope and nothing else, inflamed at his praise – and upon his cold tone it had been gone, crashed forever most likely, and he knew it.
"Veritaserum." He forced himself to say. "Three drops of this, and you-know-who himself would spill his darkest secrets. The use of it on a student is, regrettably, forbidden. However, should you ever steal from my personal stores again, my hand might just slip over your morning pumpkin juice."
"I haven't stolen anything." Harry answered and Severus somehow knew that he really hadn't, that there had to be more to all the stolen ingredients than he saw now. Nevertheless he leaned close to the boy.
"Don't - lie - to me." He said in a dangerous low tone while observing the boy's eyes closely. And he clearly could see that he had been right. Something in the boy had changed. "Gillyweed may be innocuous, but boomslang skin, lacewing flies? You and your little friends are brewing polyjuice potion. And believe me, I'm going to find out why."
He closed the door, not able to watch his son any longer and then turned, leaning against the wall beside the door, closing his eyes in pure frustration. What was it that had changed in the boy? It was something akin to resignation, as if he would not longer care. But the boy could not know, could he?
That had been yesterday. Yesterday evening.
"I do not care." He repeated, looking at Albus and the headmaster slowly nodded.
"Well, then I guess we do it now." He said, lifting his wand towards his temple and after a moment he brought it away with a silvery substance drawn from his temple. A silvery substance that lingered for a while between the temple and the wand and then it slowly dropped, slowly floating into the pensive that the headmaster had placed at his desk beforehand, while he had been lost within his own memories.
Severus watched the floating memory with a mix of anticipation and fear, while remembering another incident for a moment.
"Harry Potter." Albus' voice rang through the great hall and for a moment Severus froze. He had seen the goblet flaring a fourth time and he had taken a step closer, narrowing his eyes but never would he have thought that his son – Merlin! The boy that right now tried to hide behind Granger and Weasley, was trying to sink deeper onto the bench he was sitting at, he was fourteen only! This was too dangerous! How should he keep the boy out of harm's ways with such a task lingering over his head! People have died in that competition!
"Harry Potter!" Albus' voice called out a second time and he could see the boy getting off his bench, unsurely, clearly scared out of his wits and he immediately knew that he had not put his name into the goblet.
And his mind started running a mile per minute while he watched his son slowly walking towards Albus. Who had put his son's name into the Goblet? And why? What kind of tasks would be on this competition this time? Would the boy have a chance of survival? How could he help him without being found out? Whom could he ask for help? Albus? No – the headmaster surely had no interest in helping, he had learned that much during the past years. Minerva? Maybe, but she didn't know that Harry was his son, he would have to be careful when setting her on helping the boy.
Harry meanwhile was approaching him on his way to the chamber that lay behind the great hall, where all the champions had gathered, and he could see that the child was in a daze, not knowing what was happening to him, scared, unsure and frightened.
The boy that was directly in front of him now stopped for a second, looking up at him, as if asking for his help, as if asking for his comfort, as if …
He barely resisted the urge to lift his hand and to place it onto the boy's shoulder, to squeeze the child's shoulder for a moment, to even pull him close and to fold his arms around the small and thin shaking form, right now more than ever before realizing how small and thin the boy always was and he didn't even dare to frown at that thought, knowing that the moment he moved just one of his facial muscles – he would lose it and do something stupid, taking his son into his arms and leaving Hogwarts with him.
What he should have done back then at the latest if not even before that, he realized and he also realized that it had been just that when Harry had looked up at him back then, the boy asking him, his father, for help, asking him, his father, for comfort, asking him to do something, to …
"I will leave you alone, Severus, if this is your wish while you observe this memory." Albus said and Severus nodded curtly, stepped closer to the pensive the moment Albus had left his office and he touched the whirling liquid in the pensive with the tip of his black wand. A moment later he stood in the middle of the entrance hall, watching his son walking towards the entrance doors.
He took a step towards the boy, as if to stop him, but then he halted, a pained expression on his face, remembering that this was a memory only and that he could do nothing against it. That he could not stop his son running into his death.
"Harry!" He heard Albus calling out from his left but he did not turn his eyes away from his son. He had not noticed the headmaster leaving the great hall.
"Harry, what are you doing down here? Go back to your dormitory immediately." Albus said when he reached Harry and silently Severus willed his son to obey the headmaster, to turn and go back – knowing that he wouldn't.
But the boy stood his ground, facing Albus with shaking hands but with an otherwise calm face. "No, professor." He said with a steady voice. "I will not go back. I have to go to the edge of the forbidden forest. I have to leave the castle."
"You will do no such thing, Harry. Go back! Now!"
"I am sorry, Professor, but no." Harry shook his head and Severus' heart clenched painfully. "I cannot. We both knew that this day would come."
"Harry, think about it, my boy." Dumbledore tried another approach. "You are not ready yet."
"I will not be ready in ten years either, Professor." Harry said, and Severus could feel the panic overtaking the boy for a short moment before he forced himself to push it back into the back of his mind. "You know as well as I do that I do not stand a chance against Voldemort. The moment I face him, I will die. Never mind when this will be. He always will have a fifty year head start on me."
"You will be quite fine, Harry, when you wait until …"
"No, Professor." Harry whispered, sounding angry and Severus wondered why. The boy looked so small right then. "No! Do not pretend! We both always knew that I would not survive this last battle. Maybe I will be able to take Voldemort with me. But I will not survive either. So please, do not pretend, headmaster. And do not lie to me more than you already have either. It is my decision, and I know well that I will die tonight, so please, do not pretend."
Only then the fact that Harry really had run into his death, that he had known it and that he had done so freely, washed over Severus and he gasped at the boy's words. His son had known exactly what he had been about to do. But he was a child! He was fourteen years old only! He was still a child!
"Then think about the people you leave behind, my boy!" Albus said, trying to reason with Harry. "Your friends, your family! All the people who would miss you."
"My – 'family' – will be quite pleased when you tell them that I finally have died." The boy said and Severus lowered his head to his right. What did Harry mean by this? Surely the Dursleys loved the boy. And surely they would miss him greatly. They were his family after all. Petunia was Lily's sister after all.
But then – the boy looking so scared the moment he had neared him during his first potions class, the boy flinching every so often, the boy being so small and thin, skeletal even whenever he came back from the summer holidays – it nearly made sense to him, suddenly. Harry never went back home during the Christmas holidays either …
"I guess they gladly will kiss your feet then." Harry continued, his voice sad and low. "They won't miss me. Ron and Hermione are only befriend with me because of my fame. Not because of me being just Harry. They surely will not miss me either. They might miss the famous Harry Potter, but not just Harry. So there is no one who actually would miss me."
So, that was the reason they had not reported his absence, Weasley and Granger, that they had not reported that their friend was missing. They did not really care about him. And that was the reason why Harry did not spend so much time with them anymore. That explained a lot.
The boy looked quite miserable and he took another step towards him, lifting his hand for a moment as if to touch his shoulder, as if to comfort him. But then he lowered his arm back to his side. He wouldn't be able to touch his son. This was nothing more than just a memory.
"Harry." Dumbledore tried again to reason with the boy. "Harry, listen. Maybe you should know that Professor …"
"Stop!" Harry finally shouted. "Stop! I already know what you want to say. But do not bring Professor Snape into this!"
Severus thought his heart might stop beating for a moment and he pressed his teeth together, pressed his hands into fists to control their trembling.
"But he is …"
"I know that he is my father!" Harry interrupted the headmaster with an angry voice and this time Severus really hitched a breath. So it was true. So it really was true! His son really had known. And he had to fight to keep his composure.
"I have known it since I one day had found the letter in the attic." Harry continued. "The letter my mother had left behind. And I have waited five damn, miserable and painful years until I finally would attend Hogwarts and meet my father. Only to find out that he hated me with all his passion. That he never would accept me as his son. That he was disgusted of me."
Severus didn't notice the tear that was escaping his eye. He didn't notice that he had trouble breathing. He only saw his son standing there, his voice sad and low, admitting that he all those years had known. That he had known! And that he had hoped. That he had wanted him to acknowledge him as his son. That he had …
"The only positive outcome of this damn letter was, that this knowledge, that one day I would meet my father, that one day I finally would have a family, that this knowledge kept me going on during the upcoming years, that this knowledge kept me from doing something stupid."
"But I never hated you, child!" He murmured and for a moment he could see the boy closing his eyes.
"But the rejection afterwards did hurt just the more. So do not bring Professor Snape into this!" Harry said, his eyes still closed.
"And I never was disgusted of you either, Harry." Severus continued to whisper, watching Harry shivering at his words.
"He would be the last person who would miss me. In the contrary. I guess he would be glad that he finally would be free of me. No, Professor. There is no one who would cry for me."
"But I would miss you, child!" The Potions Master whispered, watching his son gritting his teeth.
"Harry, I beg you, get a grip on yourself and come to reason." Dumbledore made one last attempt.
"And I definitely would cry for you, child!" Severus whispered, his voice barely audible, watching his son hitching a breath.
"You would not even be able to leave the castle. Hogwarts has sealed herself." Albus continued.
"You do not know how much I love you, my son!" Severus took another step towards the boy who looked so lost in this moment and he again lifted his hand as if to touch the boy in front of him. "You do not know how much I would miss you, child!"
The boy in front of him, his son, Harry, turned and gazing up at him he met his eyes, locked his green eyes into his black ones, watching him with an expression of fear mixed with hope in his face.
"Yes." Severus whispered roughly while he lowered himself onto one knee in front of his son, even if he knew that it only was a memory, that it only was an image that would not hear his words – nor see him. He couldn't change a memory. "I never did hate you. I just never noticed that you knew. I would have spoken to you earlier if I had known."
Slowly he reached out and lightly touched the boy's cheek, fearing that his hand might not touch a solid face but something like air, afraid that he just imagined this. This was a memory only after all. "I do love you, child. And I would miss you. Greatly. Do not go, Harry!" He said, as if willing the memory to hear him and to do as he had said, to obey him for once.
"No more hate?" Harry just asked.
"There never was hate." Severus answered, frowning. "And never again will I pretend this towards you either."
"But what of Voldemort?" Harry asked, his voice unsure now. He knew what he had to do. But he did not want to do it. He had a chance now. A chance with his father. A second chance.
"I do not care about him right now." Severus answered, not sure what to think. This was a memory – and yet, Harry could see him, talked to him even and he could touch him, felt a warm and living shoulder beneath his hand. "But when it has to be done, then we will do it - together. I will not allow you to leave alone."
'But it is already done.' The castle whispered and both, Severus and Harry looked up, startled. 'It is already done. Harry Potter has already left the castle. And together with the boy, killed by Voldemort, the last Horcrux was destroyed. Tom Riddle has gone after all. Destroyed by the same killing curse he cast against the boy. It is already done.'
For a long moment time seemed to stop in its tracks, and then Severus slowly looked back at Harry, at the boy in front of him, at his son.
"No!" He whispered, lifting his hand once more to touch his son's cheek. He had been so close. It had been so close.
But he should have known.
This was nothing more than a memory after all. This was nothing more than a memory and Harry was dead, his son was gone forever, dead, killed by the Dark Lord.
Harry smiled. "But do you not understand, sir?" He asked. "Harry Potter is dead. But I am here. Do you not see what that means?"
"But …" Severus chocked out while he was no longer able to keep his tears at bay. He had lost his son. Harry was dead. Harry was killed by Voldemort. The castle had said so, and the castle could not be wrong about that. "But that is a memory. It is Albus' memory I am watching."
"I know." Harry answered him. "But we are able to speak to each other."
Of course his son was right and he knew it. They were able to speak to each other, whatever reason for. Something that wasn't possible in a memory and he knew that, and Severus simply did not understand how that was possible. He was able to even touch the boy and his son did not follow Albus' memory but reacted to him, his father.
So, maybe he wasn't dead? But then again. It was just a memory, wasn't it? And a memory could not be alive nor brought back to life. It wasn't possible. Nothing, not even magic, could bring back the dead. Nothing!
Yet - his son had asked him if he didn't see what that meant.
"Yes, Harry." He whispered. "But I do not understand what it means. Would I be able to stay with you in Albus' memory? Or would you be able to leave it? To come back with me? Could we both go out there to face the Dark Lord so I could protect you and thus change what had happened?"
"But I do not have to go out there anymore, sir." The boy answered, smiling at him and Severus again felt his chest squeeze painfully. This boy, the child that he had tormented so much, this child smiled at him. At him! "Would you really give up your life to stay here with me?" Harry then asked, watching him with such a desperate look that Severus took his son's hands into his own, running his thumbs over the back of the boy's hands.
"I would." He answered. "Of course I would. I do not care about the life out there, when I finally have you back, even if it would mean that it would be only in a memory. As long as I can be with you. I do not care about anything else anymore. I should have done that years ago already! I should have taken you and I should have left with you already years ago! And I do apologize for everything I have done to you, I am sorry about that."
The boy took a step towards him, until he was close enough so he could reach out himself and then he leaned forwards, leaned with his side against the man's chest who was his father, a soft sob escaping him. He had his father. Finally. After years of yearning and longing, he had his father.
The soft pull of the pensive that called him back startled Severus and he knew that his time was up, he knew that this memory, changed or not, was over, and desperately he wrapped his arms around the boy and pulled him into a tight embrace, pressed the small body against his own, vowing to himself that he would not release the boy whether the pensive would allow it or not and at the same time he felt the boy's arms slip around his waist, holding tightly at him as well. He simply would not leave the pensive!
He gladly was willing staying in here, because only here was his son, because out there – his son was dead and no one and nothing could bring the dead back, not even magic, he already had been at that point tonight. And so he would remain here, gladly giving up his real life, because he had no reason to live anymore out there, with his son now dead – he had no reason anymore to go back and so he simply would remain here.
A moment later he stood back in Albus' office and for a moment he couldn't help giving away a shout of pure frustration. He had lost yet again and he should have known. It had been a memory and a memory only, and never mind how much magic was good for doing things that were not possible for muggles – no one could bring a memory to life, no one could take persons or even things out of a memory. And no one could remain within a memory for living there either. It simply was not possible.
One could alter a memory, he knew that, or one could obliviate a person even, he knew that as well – but only while the person the memory belongs to was alive and held the memory within his head. No one could do so with a memory that had left a person's head, that was placed into a pensive. And he knew that for sure, he was a master legillimence after all. If there was one person that knew anything about a memory and how to handle it, how to view it, how to alter it or how to hide it – then it was him.
And he knew that no matter what – it wasn't possible taking a person out of a memory, neither from a pensive nor from one's mind – while it wasn't able to remain within a memory either. He had fooled himself. And he had fooled the memory that was his son.
And so – he was here, and his son was dead.
break … ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ … line
He didn't know what he would do now, he only knew that he felt empty, that he didn't know what to do now, that he didn't have any reason to go on somehow. He never had been a materialistic man and he never had been an acquisitive man. Ambitious, yes, demanding and fierce, yes, that too, he even was challenging and proud, but surely not interested in possession – and he had lived for his son, even if he never had shown it towards the boy, even if he had displayed open hate towards the boy so he wouldn't lose his cover as a spy – he had not liked it, but it had been necessary to keep the child alive, to keep him safe, to keep him from being killed by the Dark Lord and his Death Eaters. And yet, he knew that he should have kicked Albus and the order years ago and that he should have taken his son instead, leaving Britain even if it would have been necessary.
Harry would be alive still, if he had. It was his fault that Harry had died, and his alone.
It had been Harry who had given him a reason to go on after Lily's death, the knowledge that he would have to keep his son safe and alive, but right now – no, there wasn't a reason anymore and in pure frustration, knowing that he would not be willing to go on now after Harry's death, now without a reason anymore, he curled his hands into fists – until he recognized that he held the folds of a robe in them and he looked down at the fabric of the boy's cloak in his hands, for the first time since many years a sob escaping his throat at that reminder of what he could have had, had he been not so foolish. But then …
There, still in his arms, was leaning his son against his chest, chocking with his own sobs he tried to hold back somehow and after a short moment of shock he pulled the fabric of the cloak closer, pulling the boy on his shoulders closer as well and he finally released the fabric, folded his arms around the thin shoulders and lowered his chin onto the unruly black hair, only now noticing the boy's arms that still were around his own waist, Harry still holding onto him just as well.
How had that been possible? How had he been able to pull the boy out of the pensive?
Yet - he didn't really care. He had his son. And he had him here, in the real world, outside of the pensive that only was a memory – did this mean that Harry was alive? Did this mean that … the castle had said that Harry was dead, killed by Voldemort and the castle did not lie – but he had his son here within his arms and in Albus' office! A trembling and sobbing mass of a child, but he held him here within his arms, a real and living body!
"Hush, child." He finally whispered into the mop of black hair beneath his chin. "Calm down, child, everything is alright now, everything is fine. I have you, and I will not let you go again. I am here now, calm down."
And looking down he looked into two unsure green eyes that watched him, unsure, scared and warily, while the child himself still trembled in his arms.
"Did you … did you mean what you said?" His son finally asked after a few moments more, fear in his voice. Fear of being rejected again.
"Every word." Severus answered just as Albus re-entered his office, stopping mid-step at the picture that greeted him, looking from Severus to Harry and then back to Severus, blinking in confusion.
Harry ignored the headmaster. He still was angry at him for not telling him the entire truth, for having lied to him. "So, you … you really would acknowledge me as your son now?"
"No." Severus said, nearly chuckling at the disappointed look in the boy's eyes, at the pale face that fell. "No, I would not, because I do." He smiled while finally did what he had wanted doing throughout the past four years – he ran his hand through his son's hair. "I do acknowledge you. And I do not care what you have to say to this, Albus." He did not even turn towards the headmaster at those words. "You have absolutely no say in this actually. I will take my son down into the dungeons and he will have a room in my quarters where he can come whenever he wants to."
"But …" Albus asked still confused. "But how is this possible."
"I do not care how it is possible." Severus growled darkly, taking a deep breath and running his hand down his son's face. "I do not care how it is possible. It is, and I nothing else is important to me."
"Well …" Harry shrugged his shoulders. He either did not really care as long as it was true and not a dream - or a memory. "Maybe because it's nearly Christmas." He answered and at the same moment large flocks of snow began falling outside the window, covering the grounds of Hogwarts with a white and soft blanket that was untouched for once.
Covering the body of a raven haired boy that had died on Hogwarts ground, near the forbidden forest and just an hour ago under a white blanket to give the dead body rest and peace.
break … ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ … line
To be continued
Next time in Who would cry for me
Simply - where do we go from here …
Added author's notes:
[December, 23rd 2009]
thank you for reading - and yes, I would appreciate it if you took the time to review this chapter … thank you …
[March, 25th 2010]
I also do say thank you to VampireRose, Priestess of light, Steve, Lucius, Jean and every other one who asked for a sequel:
I don't know if I'll write one, I might have a title in mind for a sequel, but honestly, with eleven reviews? I guess people don't really like it enough for reading a sequel to it. Maybe I will write one, if there really is more interest one day.
[July, 9th 2011]
I stumbled over my own story – yes, I know, that sounds weird, but well, I guess – like dear Severus and Catlady said – my mind seems to be a very scary place, a crazy mass. However – I guess that yes, I will write a sequel. I am just not sure if it will be a story of its own or if I will simply write a new chapter on this one here … I have gone over the story for now and I have prepared it for both, a sequel or a new chapter, we'll see …
meanwhile at Hogwarts - dungeons - evil minded's quarters - the desk for being correct
Severus: I see, you finally have changed the ending.
evil minded: *looks startled* what … oh, you … what are you doing here ? on my laptop ? and yes, I have. Why ?
Severus: *folds his arms in front of his chest* Well, I did not like your original ending. I am quite glad that you decided to not kill Harry and giving him a second chance instead.
evil minded: oh, that … well, I thought you might be quite glad about it.
Severus: *huffs* as if you had done it because of me – it had been your readers who had not known if Harry was dead or alive yet. However – I actually am glad about it nevertheless, but if you ever destroy my reputation again and make a crying fool out of me, then you will rue the day you began writing here.
evil minded: *smirks* trying to threaten me? you think I have the name evil minded for nothing ?
Severus: *smirks back* Maybe not. But you better should keep an eye on your every morning coffee … you better never mess up with a spy and Potions Master …
evil minded: *gulps* ok, ok ... you won … I won't do it again … *crosses fingers behind her back* …
Severus: *smirks* Good. But - as you gave me back my son, is there any favour you would ask of me?
evil minded: well … there actually is … yes …
Severus: ^.~ … And that might be - which?
evil minded: well … you see … you have quite a reputation …
Severus: *interrupts evil minded* … if you do not destroy it …
evil minded: *ignores the interruption* … and quite a lot of potions at hand … maybe you just could ask the readers you meet here on this story - friendly please - to leave a review behind? for quite a lot of them place this story on their favourite list without giving a review. they think this story is good enough to keep it in their lists but apparently it is not good enough so they would honour my work … yet - it only would take them a few minutes of their time …
Severus: I see what you mean …
evil minded: *smiles* thank you …
Severus: *huffs angrily* … just remember your promise … never - ever - again - destroy - my reputation … you would not like the outcome if you did …
evil minded: *smirks evilly* sure, I won't destroy it, never ever again …
evil minded: .oO( … not on this story here at least … but there might be others … ) …
Severus: *narrows his eyes at evil minded* You do know, that I am a master when it comes to legillimens, don't you?
evil minded: yes, of course I know this … but you should know, I already have my own poison in my system … your potions surely won't harm me …
evil minded turns off the laptop with an evil grin on her face, gets a cup of coffee and then lightens a cigarette, quite glad for being a such dark person, planning to maybe publish this dialogue with the Potions Master so every one can read it … maybe there would even be some more dialogues in the near future … but on the other hand - no, better not - the man always drove her up the walls …
Severus: .oO( … I fear she is ill, thinking she has a dialogue with an imaginary person … there surely is something wrong with her mind … )