Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
A special thanks to The Lonely God With a Box for beta'ing my story.
A/N: I hope you enjoy this chapter.
Eighteen years. For eighteen years, this has not been seen. This had not been heard. It had been a well-kept secret. He didn't want anyone to know. Not Lily. Not Minerva or Poppy. Not the boy who was standing before him. Fear and disgust filled the Potions Master. Fear of what the child before him would think of him. The disgust of the shame that permeated throughout his body.
The one thing, the one memory, Severus never wanted to witness again. How it came to be in his office was a distant thought. The fact that it was indeed here and that Harry saw it was at the forefront of his mind.
When Severus walked into his office, he didn't see Harry at first. He knew that Harry was in his office. What he wasn't expecting was to see Harry from leaning over the Pensive.
It was best never to disrupt a person within the Pensive. There could be severe damage to the viewer. Looking through a Pensive, no matter how benign or violent, came with its risks. If a person wasn't careful, a rather strong memory could cause the viewer physical pain, and a good memory could make the audience forget that they are indeed in a memory and could make the person stay in the memory, replaying the same vision over and over.
Severus looked over Harry's shoulder and saw bits of the memory and knew what memory was in the Pensive.
Because of the violent nature of this particular memory, Severus went in and grabbed the back of Harry's collar, pulling the child free of the memory before things got too graphic in the memory.
Harry felt something grab his collar moments before he felt himself being pulled back. Feeling himself being pulled straight up, tripping over his feet, as they were in a tangled mess from falling forward, Harry almost felt like he was about to fall, but the steady grip on his clothes kept him upright.
Once the room stopped spinning and Harry was able to get his emotions in check, he looked around the chamber. His eyes landed quickly on his da, who's grip was still strong on his clothes.
"What are you doing?" Severus growled.
Harry looked at Severus. His eyes were as big as saucers. Watching that memory scared him. He saw his da just as vulnerable as he would feel when his uncle would go on one of his rages. In the beginning, Harry often wondered how his potions professor could understand what he was going through. He knew why his Professor was wanting to fight in sending him back to his relatives. Why he worked so hard to keep him safe when Harry did have to go back. Severus understood because he lived it.
Severus let go of Harry's collar and stepped away from the child, facing away from him.
"Da. Professor," Harry said, quickly changing to his title so he would not upset him more than he was right now.
"Go to breakfast, Harry," Severus ordered, calmly.
"Go on," Severus said. His back still turned so that he was facing the opposite wall. "I'll see you in class."
Harry looked at his da's back. He wanted to go to him and show him that he understood. But he could feel that Snape wasn't going to receive it in a right way, so Harry walked out of the office.
Severus heard the door close and knew that he was alone. He lowered his head into his hand. He felt his entire world breaking apart around him. He knew when the time came and his past came back to haunt him he would have to talk about that memory. He knew that questions would be asked that he was not ready to answer. What broke his heart more was now that Harry knew, how much longer before his mother knew the truth? Eighteen years.
Sighing, Severus straightened his back as he occluded, moving all his emotions behind his wall. He would get through this day.
Harry closed the door to his da's office and stood there looking at the door. With everything that came out about Harry's home life, Harry could understand how Snape could be feeling, but on the other hand, if anyone would get what he went through, Harry would. Why push him away?
Harry turned and walked towards the stairs that led to the Great Hall. There was much on his mind, so much so, that he didn't notice that someone else was watching him as he ascended the stairs.
Draco knew what door Potter came out of. He wondered why Potter was coming out of his Godfather's office. The intriguing thought was a pleasant reprieve from what has been bothering him since the start of summer holidays. Not that he would go to his Godfather and ask why the Golden Boy was coming out of his office, but it was something to think about.
Draco watched until Harry disappeared from the stairway before he climbed the stairs. He didn't want Harry to see him.
Harry was still thinking about what he saw in that large bowl. He needed to find out everything about what that was in his da's office.
"Hey, Harry," Hermione said when Harry sat down next to her.
"Hey," Harry said, distractedly.
"What's up with you?" Ron asked. He was sitting across from Hermione and Harry.
"I saw something," Harry said, cryptically.
"Okay, what?" Ron asked.
"I don't know what it was, but it was a large bowl like thing. It had this liquid in there. It was filled up to the brim but didn't spill over. I tripped, I guess, and fell into it."
"You okay?" Hermione asked, cutting Harry off.
"Yeah, fine," Harry replied.
"What happened when you fell in?" Ron asked. "If you fell in that liquid, shouldn't you be wet? You don't look it to me."
"Well, that's the thing," Harry said, leaning closer towards his friends. "I thought I was going to drown or something because it felt like I was pushed into it. When I fell in, at first, I thought I couldn't breathe, but then he felt like I was falling. And when I landed I was in this room."
Hermione and Ron looked at Harry.
"I know it sounds weird," Harry sighed, gauging the looks he was getting from his friends.
"Sounds weird, yes," Hermione said, "but I think with a little research we can find out what that was."
Harry smirked at his friend. He knew if anybody would look into what that was, Hermione would.
"We'll go to the library this afternoon," Hermione said.
"Okay," Harry agreed.
Draco walked into the Great Hall. He saw Potter was with his friends, leaning close together, talking. Sighing, Draco sat down.
The day was long but finally ended. Severus walked into his chambers, wandlessly casting a locking charm on the door and fireplace. He did not want to see anyone. Walking over to the decanter, Severus grabbed one of the tumblers and filled it with the amber liquid.
His classes went okay, even with Harry in one of them. He could see that the boy wanted to talk to him. Severus just couldn't. He could not speak about what the child witnessed. He never saw himself as someone good or the best. Severus never thought of himself as anything special. What gave him his self-worth were the looks he got from his mother, his godson, when he had him, and now the child. The way Harry's eyes would brighten, when he would see him now after the bonding, would just make his heart soar.
Now, it was all gone. Today of all days. Fourteen years ago, Severus lost his best friend, and now, he knew he just lost his child.
He took a huge gulp of the Firewhiskey, feeling the burn as he passed his throat, hoping that the burn will erase what he was feeling at this moment; guilt.
"Is this what you saw?" Hermione asked Harry, sitting next to the boy on the couch. She was in the library as soon as dinner was over.
Harry took the book from her and looked at the passage she had it on.
"A pensive?" Harry said, looking up at Hermione.
Ron walked over towards his friends when he saw them on the sofa.
"How did you find this so fast?" Ron asked, sitting next to Hermione.
"I asked Madam Pince, and she helped me. She led me to the right section in the library."
"It a way of viewing memories," Hermione said.
"So what I saw in there was a memory?" Harry asked.
"Yeah," Hermione said nodding. "But the way you described coming out of it, I don't think you saw the end of it."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, according to this," Hermione said, grabbing the book back, "if it did finish, you would be able to just stand up with no problems. You said Professor Snape pulled you up." Harry nodded. "Then you didn't see it all. But that's what it was."
"Thanks, Hermione," Harry said, deep in thought.
Harry was walking down the hallway when he saw someone standing at the end by a door. As he got closer to the person at the end of the hall, she became more recognizable.
Harry was almost at a full run when he recognized who he was there.
"Mum," Harry exclaimed.
"My son," Lily said, smiling. She opened her arms and was rewarded with her son being enveloped within them.
"Mum, I miss you so much."
"I know, my baby," Lily said. "I miss you too. But there is something that I need you to finish."
Harry stepped back a little so that he could see his mother's face, but not so far as they were still touching each other.
"Finish?" Harry asked. "Finish what?"
"Your da, as you have been so insistent on calling him that," Lily said with a slight chuckle as she saw her son's cheeks get a bit pinkish. "Anyway, Severus," her tone turning serious, "is harboring deep guilt. Only you can relieve him of it."
"What can I do?" Harry asked, worried about his da.
"You saw part of it," Lily said.
Harry thought back to what his mother was talking about.
"The memory?" Lily nodded. "That was da, wasn't it?" Lily nodded again.
Harry bit his lip, contemplating what it was he was supposed to do.
"Listen to me," Lily said, bringing Harry out of his internal thoughts. "You have to view all of it."
Harry was already shaking his head. He knew he was doing something very wrong, snooping into that memory, now that he knew what that was.
"Harry, please," Lily pleaded. "The only way you'll be able to help Severus, your da, is to view that memory in its entirety. You'll understand when you get to the end. When you do, you have to convince him, make him believe. I've asked you once before. I'm asking you again. Will you?"
Harry thought about what his mum was asking. It was a huge risk, but he knew that after everything that he'd been through these past years, it would not be that hard to accomplish. Looking up at his mum, Harry nodded.
Lily smiled, pulling her only son back into an embrace.
"I love you so much."
Harry woke up, looking around. He was in his bed in his dorm. Looking over at the clock, he saw that he slept the entire night. Sitting up, his dream seemed to rush to the forefront of his mind. A smile graced his lips as he remembered being in his mother's presence. The smile faded a little thinking now on what it was he had to do. Since it was still early, Harry figured he would do what he did yesterday. Quietly getting up, Harry went to his trunk, grabbed his cloak and headed down to his da's office.
When he got there, just like yesterday, Harry was able to get into the office with no problem. Now knowing where he was going and had a purpose, Harry walked straight to the pensive and looked at it. He knew that he would, once again, be invading his da's privacy, but he believed his mum in his dreams that it would help his Professor in the long run.
Taking a deep breath, Harry lowered his head into the silvery liquid. He fell into the memory, but this time, it felt like a more controlled fall than it did yesterday. Again, the memory started with a small child curled up by the wall on the floor. Knowing who the boy was and that a man was coming through the door at any moment, Harry was able to pay attention to the entire memory, unlike yesterday.
The crash let Harry know that he was getting to the part right before Snape pulled him out. Determined to stand his ground, Harry held firmly and watched the entire room just in case Severus came in and took him out again.
The man staggered into the chamber. Harry could see the skillet in the man's hand. He could hear his da whimpering on the floor. Harry felt his own heart start to speed up with fear as it reminded him of one of the many times his uncle would come into his room at night to beat him. Harry felt his throat tighten when he saw the man standing over his da. Harry wanted to help badly, but he knew he couldn't. He had read the passage that Hermione pointed out in the book, saying that viewing a memory in the pensive was like watching a movie. There was nothing that the viewer could do to change or alter what has happened. Harry also learned that this particular memory was taken from the extra magic in the room, so this was from the chamber's point of view so to speak.
"Look at me when I speak to you, freak!"
The voice brought Harry's attention back to what he was looking at. He was now about to see what happened next. What his da obviously didn't want him to see.
Severus lifted his head and looked at his father.
"Do you think you can do something like that and get away with it?" Tobias yelled, raising the skillet up into the air.
"Please, father," young Severus pleaded. "I didn't mean to."
Tobias wasn't listening to his son's pleas as he brought the skillet down fast. Trying to avoid the hit he knew was coming towards his head, Severus tilted his head to the side barely missing the strike on the side of his ear. The skillet did find a target, landing full force on his shoulder. Severus heard the unmistakable sound of his collarbone cracking, as well as felt the excruciating pain in his shoulder. The impact of the hit made his vision darken.
Harry saw Severus' eyes close.
Tobias was raising the skillet again for another blow when a light came from the now unconscious boy on the floor.
Harry watched as a sphere came from the center of Severus' chest encasing the entire boy.
Tobias, either not seeing the sphere or not paying attention, swung the skillet down towards Severus for another blow. This time he was determined to hit the boy's head.
The skillet hit just above the sphere with such intense force that the recoil was fast and brutal. The skillet was aimed to hit someone in the head, and with the magic in the room, it got to the target, just not the intended target.
Harry watched in horror as the skillet came back on to Tobias, hitting the man right above his left eyebrow. Tobias fell to the floor like as if he had no more bones in his body.
The sudden quietness was almost deafening to Harry. It took him a second to realize that no one was moving. Taking a deep breath, Harry moved closer towards the two Snape men on the floor. As he got closer, Harry saw that the sphere was diminishing around his da. The area shrunk into itself before taking shape and standing over the two males.
The woman that was now standing over Severus knelt down and looked at the unconscious boy.
"Oh my sweet, sweet boy," she said, combing her fingers through Severus' bloodied hair. "Never had I wanted this for you."
Harry watched as the woman looked at the older male and put her hand on his chest.
"You were supposed to love your son, my son," she said. "Not hurt him."
Her grip on his chest tightened. Harry heard a gurgling sound coming from Tobias and then it stopped. Tobias was still. The figure of the woman disappeared.
Harry didn't know how long it was still in that room. Time seemed to just completely stand still. Young Severus began to stir. His left eye was swollen shut. His shoulder was in a weird angle. His nose was crooked.
Harry saw his da slowly get on his hands and knees, hissing and wincing at the pain crawl out of the room. The first thought that went through Harry's mind was how strong his Professor had to be to be still able to move after the beating he just received.
The memory ended and Harry felt himself being pulled back into his body. At the same time he, once again, felt a hand gripping the back of his collar.
Severus woke up to a nagging ringing in his head. Very rarely did he ever drink as much as he had done last night. Growing up with his father, Severus tried to only consume alcohol in a social setting. Last night was a different situation. He was trying to forget his past that kept coming forward in his mind.
Slowly getting up from his bed, he made his way to his bathroom. Waving his hand, the light came on, instantly giving him a headache, and the ringing in his head seemed to intensify.
Going to the basin, cupping his hands and filling them with water, Severus splashed some water on his face. After drying it, he reached for one of his pain reliever potions to try and help with his headache.
After taking medicine, he grabbed a flannel off the side of the basin and let it sit under warm water. Once it was nice and soaked, Severus placed it over his eyes. The warmth of the flannel smoothed out the last remaining tension in his forehead. Leaning against the wall, Severus tried to relax.
Abruptly, he lowered the flannel and quickly left the bathroom. He realized what that ringing was and where it was coming from. All residual pain quickly faded as he rushed out of his chambers and into his office. Stepping into the door, Severus was hit with deja vu. Harry was once again in his office with his face inside the pensive. Severus was angry with himself for not getting that out of his office yesterday, but that was to be dealt with later. He needed to get Harry out of that memory.
Once again, Severus rushed over to Harry, gripping the back of the boy's collar and yanking him out of the memory.
"Da," Harry said in shock surprised.
Severus didn't know if his surprise was because he was standing there or if it was because he once again had gotten caught snooping around in his office. Last time, Severus was able to rein in his temper to not yell at the child, but this time he couldn't.
"How dare you," Severus snarled.
"Get out," Severus tone was quiet.
"Da, please," Harry pleaded. "I can explain."
"Explain?" Severus sneered. "Explain how you blatantly snooped around my office. How you once again stuck your nose where it did not belong. Tell me, Potter. What do you have to explain to me?" The more Severus spoke, the angrier his tone became. It had been a while since Harry heard that tone from his Professor.
"I had to," Harry said, his voice starting to tremble.
"You had to? Inform me, who was twisting your arm to break into my office?"
Harry's jaw dropped at the accusation. Break in. How could he break in if his magical signature was attached to it?
"I'm sorry," Harry said, quietly.
"You're sorry," Severus' voice got louder, pacing the length of the office. "You're sorry? You're always sorry."
Severus was angry. No, he was livid. More so at himself than Harry, but the child was an easy target. In three large strides, he was in front of Harry.
Seeing the anger in his da's face, Harry retook a step but couldn't go far as the wall was right behind him. Severus gripped the front of his shirt in the attempt of pulling the child out of the office.
"Get out," Severus growled.
"No," Harry yelled.
He gripped Severus' robes, making it hard to move. Harry was determined to stand his ground. Severus tried to move the child, but because of the grip he had on him, Severus couldn't move much.
"I'm sorry," Harry pleaded, struggling to stand his ground.
Severus stopped trying to pull the child instead of prying his hands off of his robes. He needed to get away from the child.
"Let go of me," Severus ordered.
"No," Harry said, trying to pull Severus closer towards him. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry."
"Potter," Severus growled.
"Harry," Harry's head shot up, looking at his da. Tears were already pooling in his eyes. "I had to. I had to," hoping his da would believe his words.
"Let go of me, Potter."
"Harry. Harry. HARRY!"
A few empty jars that Severus had on his corner table exploded at Harry's exclamation. Severus, on instinct, stepped closer to Harry as if to shield him from the flying glass even though he was the one that broke them in the first place.
Harry took that instant to latch himself on to his da and hold for dear life.
"Harry. Harry. Harry," the child mumbled into Severus' chest.
Severus slowly wrapped his arms around the now trembling boy. He sighed as the boy held on to him tighter.
After a moment of them just standing there, and Harry mumbling his name over and over against Severus' body, Severus spoke.
"Calm yourself," Severus' tone was smooth and even, rubbing circles on the child's back. "Calm yourself, Harry."
Severus heard the child mumble something but, because he refused to move his head, Severus couldn't understand him, so he settled on just calmly speaking to him until he calmed himself on his own.
"You're going to make yourself sick if you keep this up," Severus chided softly. "Calm down, Harry. We'll talk later."
"I'm sorry, da," Harry said, his voice muffled against Severus' body. "I had to. Mum told me. It wasn't your fault."
A/N: Thank you to everyone that has reviewed, favored and followed my story. I know I left a huge cliffhanger last chapter. I didn't want you to have to wait a long time to see what happened next.
Please leave a review letting me know what you though of this chapter.
Many hugs and kisses to you all.