Here's the next chapter! To the reviews I couldn't respond to, Thanks! I hope you all enjoy the next chapter.
Harry dodged a snowball that was aimed at his face. He gathered up snow into a snowball and threw it back at Ron, missing his red-headed friend by an inch. Ron dodged behind a handmade snow wall and peeked over it as he gathered more snow. Harry hid behind his own wall with fox-sized Sam.
It was the start of Christmas break now and Hermione and Draco had gone home. Harry and Severus would spend Christmas at the castle since it was Severus's turn to stay with students who chose to remain at Hogwarts for break. Although the four students had tried to search for more on Nicolas Flamel, they had come up empty-handed. Hermione suggested the Restricted Section while Draco advised caution if Harry chose to go that route.
Presently, it was Christmas Eve, and he and Ron were playing in the snow outside, enjoying the holiday break. Harry was glad that Ron would remain over the holidays. Harry picked up a snowball and threw it over his fort. He missed.
"Harry," Ron called. "I'm a bit cold, should we head inside now?"
"I'm cold, too," Harry decided. He was only wearing a sweater and his emerald cloak. He didn't think he'd need a heavy winter coat but now he was regretting that choice. His hands felt numb even through his gloves. "Let's head inside. I could use a cup of chocolate."
Harry and Ron ran back for Hogwarts, Sam leaping alongside them through the thick snow. Suddenly, Sam disappeared. Harry stopped, Ron pausing as well.
"Sam?" Harry called out.
Then, a white fox head poked out through the thick snow, followed by a white body. Sam pulled himself out of a particularly deep section of snow, looking like a white arctic fox. Harry and Ron laughed as Sam shook himself back to red. They continued to Hogwarts, slipping through the door and shivered as they adjusted to the warmth of the castle, Sam licking his fur dry.
"Where are your coats!?"
Harry groaned as his father approached them from down the hall, stopping to stand in front of them. He glared down at the shivering boys wearing sweaters and no proper winter attire.
"It is below freezing outside, gentlemen," Severus growled. "Do you not have the common sense to dress appropriately for the weather? Or are you hoping to catch your death out there?"
"No, Dad," Harry said with a bit of annoyance in his voice. "We forgot our coats. It's not that cold outside."
"Watch your cheek, young man," Severus narrowed his eyes at his son.
Harry blushed at being scolded in front of Ron. Severus lifted his wand and cast drying charms at the two boys and Sam. Harry and Ron looked grateful at the gesture while Sam just shook himself out, causing his fur to puff out.
"You better wear a coat the next time you go outside," Severus said. "Both of you."
"What about Sam?" Harry asked with a smirk.
"Last I knew, Sam already had a winter coat of fur on."
: That will all shed off come spring, Sam remarked with a sly smile.
"And you better be outside when that happens," Severus shot back, glaring at the smiling fox.
"We'll wear our coats," Harry said. "Can we go get some hot chocolate now?"
"Fine," Severus said, letting the boys pass him, Sam following at Harry's heels.
"Oh," Harry stopped and looked back at his father. "Is it okay if I stay in Gryffindor Tower tonight? We were all going to play some games and stuff. I just wanted to make sure it would be okay with you since –"
"It's alright, son," Severus smiled. "Have fun. I'll see you tomorrow."
Harry smiled and followed Ron to find some hot drinks.
Harry slowly opened the door to his father's quarters, quietly shutting it behind him. He squinted in the darkness, trying to make out the furniture in the living room before moving pass them, feeling around as he did so. He didn't want to bump into anything and make any loud noises. Harry felt his way to his bedroom, slipping inside and shutting the door softly.
He quickly pulled off his cloak and laid it over his desk chair. He pulled out the chair and sat down to pull off his slippers and socks. As he yanked off a sock, his elbow smacked into a standing book and it fell with a thud on the desk.
Harry froze and listened.
It was silent.
Harry let out a breath and pulled off his other sock carefully. He stood and headed for his bed, but tripped over a slipper he had just pulled off. He stumbled and grabbed the chair to steady himself. The chair leaned back, balancing on two pegs before smashing back down on all four pegs.
Harry froze once more and listened.
He could hear noise from his father's room and sighed. He had woken his father this time. He waited expectantly as his door opened and his father appeared in the doorway.
"What are you doing here, son?" Severus asked.
"Sorry," Harry smiled apologetically. "I didn't mean to wake you. I guess I really wanted to be down here with you Christmas morning. We always were and it felt . . . I don't know, weird to be in my tower and all . . ."
"I'm flattered," Severus said, crossing his arms. "But it's one in the morning. You couldn't have made that decision sooner. Perhaps before curfew?"
"Sorry. I couldn't sleep."
"How many biscuits did you eat?"
"Not . . . many."
"Mm-hmm. Alright, in bed with you."
Severus entered Harry's room as Harry jumped into his bed and crawled under the covers. Severus tucked Harry in and sat on the edge of the bed.
"Father Christmas isn't going to know where to take your presents if you keep moving on him," Severus smiled at his son.
"Dad, I'm too old for that," Harry said.
"Is that so? I'll be sure to tell him that when he arrives."
"Ha-ha." Harry sat up a bit and kissed his father's cheek. "Happy Christmas, Dad."
"Happy Christmas, son." Severus re-tucked Harry in and stood, planting a kiss on the boy's head before retreating to his own room.
That same morning, Harry woke up before his father, as he usually did on Christmas morning, and he ran into his father's room, climbing up on the bed and shaking his father to wake him. Harry had seen the gifts under the small tree in the living room and he wondered why his father didn't understand the importance of waking up to open presents.
"Dad, wake up!" Harry said, shaking the man's shoulder. "It's Christmas! Uncle Remus just owled – he'll be here soon with Uncle Sirius. No, Dad, don't roll over – wake up!"
Severus had turned onto his stomach so Harry couldn't keep shaking his shoulder. He turned his head to the side so he could speak.
"You should have stayed in your tower," the man mumbled with a sleep-filled voice. "Get off my bed – get out of here. It's too early."
"Dad, it's almost ten o'clock."
Harry sighed and jumped off his father's bed. He ran into the kitchen where the house elves had already set up breakfast for them. Harry grabbed his father's cup of coffee and slowly made his way back to his father's room, being careful not to spill it. He held the cup up towards his father's face, wafting the scent.
Severus opened his eyes and he narrowed them at Harry.
"Really?" the man scowled.
"Yep," Harry smirked. "Get up or no coffee."
Severus chuckled as he pushed himself up, throwing his legs over the side and sitting up on his bed. He stretched out his arms before accepting the cup of hot dark coffee from his demanding and threatening son, bringing it up to his mouth and taking a small sip and burning the roof of his mouth and tip of his tongue slightly. It was still a little too hot to drink from and he set it down on his bedside stand.
"You know what goes good with coffee?" Severus asked his son who stood in front of him.
"What?" Harry prepared himself to go fetch whatever else Severus would need if it meant the man getting out of bed.
"Breakfast," Severus smirked. "A little protein. Looks like you'll have to do."
Severus snatched Harry around the waist and pulled him close before pretending to eat at his neck while slightly tickling the boy's sides. Harry squealed and laughed in his father's grip, trying hard to squirm out of the man's strong arms.
"Num-num, delicious!" Severus said as he continued to 'eat' and tickle his son.
"Dad!" Harry screamed, laughing hard. "Stop! I can't breathe!"
Severus finally let up on his son, but still hugged him close.
"Maybe next time you'll think twice before waking me up so early."
"But it's not early," Harry argued, still giggling. Severus snorted and squeezed Harry warmly. Harry returned the hug.
"I guess you're ready to go open presents."
"I was ready hours ago!"
"You weren't up hours ago. Go get dressed, mister."
As soon as Severus released him, Harry took off to his room and quickly changed into clothes for the day. When he ran back into the living room, he saw Severus leaving his own bedroom, dressed in his usual dark clothes, but for once not wearing robes. He had the cup of coffee in his hand. He frowned at Harry.
"There is no need to run around like a troll is after you," Severus scolded.
"I've had a troll after me before," Harry reminded.
"Yes, indeed," Severus moved to the kitchen where he prepared a plate of food. "But there are no trolls in my quarters so I expect you to walk before you run into something. Or break something."
Severus put a blueberry muffin, eggs, and a small bowl of fruit salad on the plate and handed it to Harry along with a fork.
"Take that out to the living room. Eat over the coffee table, please."
Harry walked out to his usual spot when they had Christmas at Hogwarts, on the floor by their small Christmas tree in front of the coffee table. He set his plate down and took a bit of his warm muffin before it got too cold. His father never really decorated much in his quarters, but Harry didn't mind. As long as he could decorate the tree, he was happy. The small tree had the usual handmade ornaments, glitter pinecones, and stringed popcorn. His father charmed tiny, blue lights on the tree, which Harry loved to watch twinkle.
Severus walked out of the kitchen with his own plate of food. He flicked his wand at the fireplace and a fire roared to life. He sat down in his armchair and took a sip of coffee. Harry knew he was good to start opening presents.
Harry decided to open the gifts from his friends first. He received a box of chocolate frogs from Hermione and Draco, along with a broom servicing kit from Uncle Lucius and Aunt Narcissa, which Harry couldn't wait to apply to his Nimbus. From Aunt Petunia and Dudley (his relationship with Uncle Vernon was still rocky), he received a board game called Labyrinth and new gloves and a matching scarf. Harry opened a parcel from Hagrid to find a roughly cut wooden flute. Harry smiled at it and blew in it – it sounded a bit like an owl.
"Isn't it cool, Dad?" Harry crawled over to Severus to show him the flute. Severus took it and studied the whittled instrument.
"It's very nicely made," Severus said. He pointed to Harry's plate. "Eat more of your fruit."
Harry crawled over to his breakfast, the eggs gone and half a muffin remaining, and ate more strawberries and blueberries. Then, he heard music from his flute. Harry looked up and watched his father play a slow melody on the flute. It sounded beautiful. Severus finished after a moment.
"That's all I know," Severus said, handing the flute back to Harry.
"Can you show me how to do that?" Harry asked.
"Of course – but later. You have more gifts to open. And I'm sure Hagrid could teach you more."
Harry crawled over to his presents again, opening a lumpy parcel. He found an emerald green sweater and smiled. There was also a box of fudge. Mrs. Weasley had learned of Ron's new friend and immediately took a liking to Harry.
"This is from Mrs. Weasley," Harry smiled, already taking off his red sweater to replace it with his new sweater.
"Harry, do you have to . . ." Severus sighed as he caught the red sweater his son threw at him. He sent a weak glare his son's way. Harry wriggled into the new green sweater while Severus folded Harry's neglected sweater and set it aside.
"What do you think?" Harry asked, standing in front of his father.
"It looks very nice," Severus smiled, adjusting the bottom of the sweater. "Mrs. Weasley did a very nice job stitching it."
"I bet you have one!" Harry dug through the parcels for his father and quickly found another lumpy parcel from Mrs. Weasley. He smiled and held it out to Severus.
"Well, I'm sure she doesn't expect me to wear it," Severus sneered at the package.
"Please," Harry said, opening the package for his father and pulling out a blue jumper. "Look, you have fudge, too."
"Harry, go back to your presents."
"I want to see what else you got." Harry rummaged through the parcels for his father.
"Probably what I usually get ever year – a few new ingredients for my supply and muggle and wizard treats from the Headmaster."
"Which you usually give to me."
"You won't be getting any if you don't get back to your side."
"At least open this one from me," Harry held out a small package to his father.
Severus stared at the package and up at Harry. Usually, Harry gave him a drawing, a card, or something small that he could afford with his allowance. This didn't seem to be the usual gifts from Harry. Severus took the gift and slowly opened it, watching as Harry clasped his hands behind his back and watched him expectantly.
Severus pulled out a small vial of a clear liquid. He frowned and turned the bottle in his hand, looking for a label. There didn't seem to be any words on it, but he did see his initials engraved on the bottom of it. The vial was an old one of his, which meant Harry probably took it to collect whatever was inside.
"I had to borrow a vial," Harry admitted. "But it's phoenix tears."
Severus looked up at Harry. How did Harry manage to collect such an expensive, rare ingredient?
"I went to the Headmaster's office. You know his familiar, Fawkes. I asked Dumbledore if it would be alright to have some of Fawkes' tears for you as a gift and he said only if Fawkes offered because he can't just make a phoenix cry - that would be wrong and all. So, I talked to Fawkes every day for weeks telling him how much it would mean to me and to you if I could have his tears and one day Fawkes cried into the vial and I thanked him and . . ."
"Harry, breathe," Severus said, setting the vial carefully don on the coffee table.
Harry took a deep breath, unaware that he had been getting carried away. He knew his father would love the gift - or at least he had hoped so. He spent a lot of time thinking about what to get Severus for Christmas and he wasn't sure if Fawkes would have shared his tears in time. He was glad the phoenix did.
"Come here," Severus opened his arms and Harry fell into them. "Thank you, son. It is a wonderful gift. You're a good boy."
Harry returned to opening the last gifts from his father. The usual new gloves, scarves, boots, and clothes were present. Mostly candy was in his stocking, along with a new toothbrush. Harry also found new non-fiction books, both muggle and wizarding. Harry couldn't wait to start reading them. He also found a large drawing pad with new pencils and colored pencils. There was also quidditch materials: new knee pads, elbow pads, and a helmet. Trust his father to think about safety at all times.
His father's last gift was another book, Beginner's Defensive Magic Vol. 1. Harry immediately began flipping through the book. Even with D.A.D.A class, Harry enjoyed his father's one-on-one lessons the man had started giving him every Saturday. Harry loved learning from Severus and loved the practical spells he was learning. But his father insisted that he still attended his normal classes as there was value to the theory.
Severus left to refill his coffee while Harry debated if he should open his father's gifts for the man or not when one last parcel caught his eye. Harry crawled under the small tree and pulled out the parcel. He quickly tore it open and gasped.
The invisibility cloak!
A note fell in his lap.
James Potter's will states: "And if I pass young, I wish for my invisibility cloak to be given to the first born child of Lily Evans, for I love her dearly and her child will be full of her spirit, energy, and mischievousness."
Remember to use it wisely.
Harry gaped at the cloak. He never thought he'd ever see it again in this reality. He smiled and stood, draping the cloak over his shoulders and watching his body disappear. He laughed. This had to have come from Dumbledore once again.
"Hey, Dad! Come look at . . ."
Harry stopped abruptly. Knowing his father, Severus would wish to "hold on to the cloak" to avoid any mischief making. He really didn't want to lose his new cloak so soon. He took the cloak off and sat back down, stuffing it under some of his new clothes.
"What is it, Harry?" Severus asked as he walked back in with a refilled cup of coffee.
"Err, we still need to open your last few gifts."
"I don't need to be a seer to guess what they are, Harry," Severus said.
: I've never known what a seer was until I met that Trelawney, Sam said as he appeared into the room, sitting down next to the tree, medium-dog sized. Are they all that crazy?
"Unfortunately so," Severus answered.
: She stopped me one day outside of the Great Hall and tried to tell me that she saw a lot of pain in my future.
"And what did you say?" Severus asked.
: Nothing. I bit her.
"Sam," Severus scolded. Harry laughed until his father sent a glare his way.
: She only said, 'in my future,' she didn't say who the pain was for. Besides, she was in my way.
"I'm surprised I haven't heard from her about your behavior," Severus said.
: Ah, she left with indignation, claiming that she could see I had no disease to spread and that I was just afraid of her prediction. She's got the first part right. Lucky her.
"Oh, Sam," Severus shook his head at the fox before reaching for a package still under the tree slightly. He slowly unwrapped it. "I'm not sure if I should give this to you."
Sam's nose began twitching madly as Severus unwrapped the parcel at a torturously slow pace. Harry remembered what he and his father had found while shopping without Sam one day. He smirked.
"I mean really," Severus continued. "I don't think you deserve this smoked pork femur bone."
: Oh, I smell that smoked pork, Sam barked, standing up and wagging his tails slightly. Come now, she deserved it.
"You've been a naughty fox lately," Severus smirked, holding the large bone up. Sam sat down, keeping his eyes glued on the bone, his mouth open and he was panting slightly, his tails still wagging on the floor. "You've bitten me as well."
: You try having potions shoved down your throat and see how you like it. You'd be biting people, too.
Harry laughed at his father and Sam. The fox was nearly drooling for the bone and Severus was evilly keeping it just out of reach of Sam's mouth, but quite close to his nose, which continued twitching. Severus shook his head at Sam before lowering the bone and allowing Sam to take it. Sam lunged forward and bit down on as much as his mouth could fit over, growing slightly in size to make it easier. Sam carried the bone over to his dog bed and began chomping on it.
"Happy Christmas, Sam," Harry and Severus said.
: Happy Christmas, Sam said, lifting his head and tilting it slightly.
It was at that moment that the floo flared and Remus and Sirius stepped through. Harry quickly ran to greet them, hugging them and wishing them a happy Christmas. Harry accepted a couple more gifts from them. From his Uncle Remus, he got three muggle classic books: Treasure Island, The Little Prince, and Aesop's Fables. His Uncle Sirius had given him a pack of Exploding Snap cards to play with his dormmates. Severus was given a bottle of Baileys Irish Cream, a whiskey. Even Sam was given a bag of rabbit bone treats.
"So, Harry," Sirius sat down next to Harry on the couch. "How has your year been going? I know your father owled us about the troll incident."
"I had to help my friend," Harry explained. "She didn't know about the troll."
"Well, let me tell you," Remus said, sitting in an armchair across from the couch, Severus joining them. "It was quite an exciting read."
"Exciting?" Severus snapped. "My son nearly being smashed by a mountain troll is exciting?"
"Oh, don't get so worked-up, Severus," Sirius said. "Harry is just looking for adventure."
"And trouble," Remus added.
"A death wish, more like it," Severus muttered.
"I was just helping a friend!" Harry insisted, laughing.
"Well, how's Quidditch?" Sirius asked. "The youngest seeker in a century!"
Harry filled his uncles in on what had happened during his year thus far, glad to have them to talk to.
After spending a couple hours with his family and eating a quick lunch, Harry left to find his friends. He found Ron and they talked about what they had received, Ron taking note of the Weasley sweater. Harry showed off his invisibility cloak, which he had hidden in his emerald cloak to escape his father's observant eye. Ron was amazed and Harry allowed Ron a turn under the cloak. They found the twins, who forced a sweater over Percy's head, and together they played a few games. Another incredible Christmas.
Harry ran through the halls away from Filch and that blasted cat. He had forgotten that some books in the Restricted Section screamed. Harry could hear footsteps after him and he kept running, making sure the cloak covered him, breathing heavy. He turned a corner and nearly collided into the last person he wanted to see.
Severus was walking with Sam at his side. Harry slowly moved around them, trying to keep his feet quiet.
"I don't trust him," Severus was telling Sam. "I want you near Harry when . . ."
Suddenly, Severus stopped talking and looked in Harry's direction. Harry clamped a hand over his mouth, realizing that his breathing probably caught his father's attention. He hoped Severus couldn't hear is fast-beating heart because it sounded like thunder to his ears.
Severus reached out a hand towards Harry, who quickly took a step back, his father's hand missing him by an inch. Severus frowned as his hand closed over nothing and flashed a look of confusion at Sam. Sam looked up at Severus before looking back in Harry's direction, his nose twitching. The fox tilted his head to the side, looking just as confused as Severus.
Harry stood rooted to the spot, too nervous to move with his father so close and Sam with his heightened hearing.
Filch appeared around the corner with Mrs. Norris.
"You asked me to come directly to you, Professor, if anyone was wondering around at night, and somebody's been in the library – Restricted Section."
"The Restricted Section?" Severus raised an eyebrow at that, then sighed as if it was a huge inconvenience. "Well, they can't be far, we'll catch them. Care to lend a hand, Sam? Or a paw?"
Sam growled at Severus's remark, probably saying something snide in return, before following the two men and cat. Harry quickly slipped into a door that was ajar. He waited until the footsteps disappeared. He sighed and turned around. Then he saw it.
A mirror standing alone in what looked like an unused classroom. It was a magnificent mirror, as high as the ceiling, with an ornate gold frame, standing on two clawed feet. An inscription carved around the top read: Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi.
Harry pulled off his cloak.
The Mirror of Erised, Harry remembered. Harry slowly approached and looked into it, seeing his reflection. Then, Lily appeared, his mother. Harry smiled. Of course.
Then, more people appeared and Harry figured two elderly couple were Mr. and Mrs. Evans. He had seen some pictures of them. Another couple may have been his father's parents. He recognized Tobias and Eileen from the photos his father had showed him. Tobias had his father's height and facial features, while Eileen had his father's hair and smile. Harry smiled back at her. More faces appeared of an extended family he would never know, along with . . . James Potter?
Harry looked at James, wondering why he was there as well. He smiled at him, waving.
"I see you have once again found the Mirror of Erised."
Harry spun on his feet and looked at Albus Dumbledore. The wizard came to stand next to Harry.
"I – I didn't see you, sir."
"I believe we've been through this before, haven't we?" Dumbledore smiled. "The delights of the mirror - the deepest, most desperate desires of our hearts - not dwelling on dreams and forgetting to live."
"I know, sir. I won't go looking for it again," Harry said. "But it shows me my family, like before, but James Potter is still in it, along with the Potters."
"Is James no longer your family simply because you are in a new reality?"
"Well, he's not a relation in this reality."
"He would have been your uncle," Dumbledore smiled. "Not by blood, of course, but like Remus and Sirius. You are from two worlds, Harry. Your desires from the previous are still inside you and always will be. And even if that were not the case, he's relationship he would have had with you here had he survived the Wizarding War would have been like your uncles. It would only make since that you would wish for him to be so. To meet him."
"I guess fate doesn't want me to meet Lily or James. Just like before."
"Remember, some things are just meant to be."
"I remember. Sir?"
"What do you really see when you look in the mirror?"
"Is it so unbelievable that a man cannot desire for socks?"
"I'm sorry. It's a personal question, I know."
"Even the best of us all, Harry, with a second chance or not, will still make the worst of mistakes. I believe your friend, Sam, knows this all too well."
Dumbledore looked behind them and Harry followed his gaze. Sam was sitting not far behind them, his gaze on the mirror, head tilted and his ears dropped slightly. Harry glanced towards the door, half-expecting to see his father, glad when he didn't.
: I can say that I have made several terrible mistakes, Sam said, moving forward and sitting in between Harry and Dumbledore. Mistakes I could have easily avoided, but I always thought I was doing what was best.
"What do you see, Sam?"
Sam remained silent, staring at the mirror, before sighing and saying, I'm sure nothing unlike yours.
Harry felt stupid for asking, remembering that Sam had told him that he had lost his family to hunters. All but one sister. It wasn't hard to imagine what Sam desired.
"Now," Dumbledore said. "Why don't you put that admirable cloak back on and get off to bed? The mirror will be moved to a new home tomorrow."
"Yes, sir," Harry said, picking up his cloak. "Sorry for being out of bed."
"Let's just hope this doesn't become an old habit," Dumbledore's eyes twinkled. "Goodnight, Harry."
Harry put the cloak, watching Sam tilt his head at him. The fox walked at Harry's side, constantly brushing up against him to see if he was still there, as they returned to Gryffindor Tower. Harry found the walk amusing, smiling at Sam. He was sure no one would be suspicious of Sam walking alone, as the fox sometimes did. Even if Sam wasn't really alone.
: Let me guess – you don't wish for your father to know of this . . . cloak.
"Not now," Harry answered. "Please don't tell him, Sam."
: As long as you don't endanger yourself with it.
Harry returned to bed and crawled under the covers. He was upset that he hadn't found anything on Nicolas Flamel, but glad to have escaped his father that night and kept the cloak hidden. It had been a close call. Sam rested on his dog bed, his yellow eyes wide open while Harry fell asleep.
I hope you all enjoyed. Please review!