A/N: I recommend you read the new version of the previous chapter before this one (if you haven't already) because I had edited and rewritten most of it.
The rays of sunlight were streaming in through the sides of the drawn curtains, creating pale streaks on the floor when Harry woke the next morning. He rolled over, checking the clock on his nightstand— it read half past eleven. He blinked a few times, then quickly sat up and glanced around the room, a bit bewildered. He couldn't quite believe he'd slept this late. This was definitely the latest he's slept in since coming to Prince Manor, though he probably shouldn't be surprised— he had been exhausted from all those sleepless nights and his father must have given him a larger dose of Dreamless sleep.
Pulling the covers back, Harry threw his legs over the edge of the bed and stood, stretching his arms up over his head until he heard a satisfying pop from his elbows. He couldn't remember the last time he had felt so well rested. It was as if he could run endless laps around the manor or hike up a tall mountain or some other brilliant feat.
He ran a hand through his disheveled hair then made his way to the window and pushed the curtains open, squinting when the blinding sunlight engulfed him as it spilled into the room. When his eyes adjusted, he settled on the window alcove, drawing his knees up and loosely wrapping his arms around them as he gazed out the window. It was a beautiful day— the sun was shining brightly against a blue and cloudless sky, and a few birds would occasionally flutter by, chirping their songs to each other. As he leaned against the cool glass, a rather foreign feeling of contentment settled within him, which was a welcomed difference to the past few days.
When his stomach gave a rather loud grumble, reminding him that he had missed dinner yesterday and breakfast this morning, Harry got up, picked out some clothes from his closet, and went to go get changed.
After getting dressed, Harry glanced back out the window and noticed his father down at the potions garden, appearing to be inspecting a rather vicious looking plant that looked like it could take your arm off if you got too close. He thought Snape looked somewhat odd dressed in his usual black frock coat with his infinite buttons and black trousers, surrounded by a garden full of colorful plants. Harry wondered how the man wasn't suffering from a heat stroke wearing all that black outside during the summer. Then again, he didn't think he'd ever seen his father wearing anything else since he's been here. Did he even own any other clothes in his wardrobe?
As his father began walking back towards the manor, he seemed to have caught sight of Harry in the window and raised an eyebrow up at him. Harry gave a slight smile as he watched Snape disappear from view, the man's words from yesterday coming back to him.
You are not, nor will you ever be, a burden to me... You are my son, Harry... You belong here, and absolutely nothing will change that.
It brought a warmth to his chest that rivaled the sunlight.
Harry had even thrown himself at Snape, and his father didn't push him away in disgust. He had actually held him, even though Harry had almost killed him a few moments before. He couldn't remember the last time someone had hugged him like that. Sure Mrs. Weasley had comforted him in the infirmary after the third task in his fourth year and his friends sometimes threw themselves at him, but that was just different.
Another grumbled protest came from his stomach and Harry pulled away from the window, briefly checking himself in the mirror before heading out his room.
When he arrived in the dining room, Snape was already sitting at the table, a potions journal held up in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. As soon as his father noticed his presence, he set the book down, "I was wondering if you were going to sleep through lunch as well." He gave Harry a brief once over, "How are you feeling, Harry?"
"I actually feel well rested for once," Harry replied, giving a small smile as he slipped into his usual seat at the table.
Their lunch appeared in front of them as soon as he sat down, and Harry felt his mouth water a bit, feeling ravenous all of a sudden. They lapsed into silence for a while as Harry tucked into his lunch. There was a peaceful quietness that surrounded them, and Harry quite liked it, though it was sort of strange not hearing Kieran chattering away across the table from him.
"Did Kieran and his mother really leave?" Harry asked, after swallowing a mouthful of pasta.
"Yesterday," Snape said simply, not looking up from the journal.
"I'm sorry you couldn't go with them..." said Harry, recalling the conversation from yesterday in this very room.
"Do not be," his father said firmly, closing the book with an audible snap. "Whether she likes it or not, I have two sons, not just one. She has no right telling me what to do in regards to you."
Harry smiled faintly, feeling that wave of warmth blossoming in his chest again.
"And I can assure you, I had little desire to join them." Snape sat back in his chair then, turning his head to look towards the large windows with streaks of sunlight filtering in, "Now, considering it's a rather pleasant day out, perhaps you would like to go flying?"
"Can I?" Harry said, trying not to sound too eager, but he was unable to help the hopeful smile that was breaking onto his face. "But I thought I wasn't allowed?"
"You have come to your last dose of nutrients potions," said Snape, gesturing to Harry's goblet of pumpkin juice. "And after having spent so much time in the lab recently, I do believe some fresh air would be beneficial."
"Brilliant!" Harry grinned, a the burst of excitement rushing through him at the thought of getting back on his broom.
The corners of his father's lips twitched upwards briefly, before he grew serious, folding his arms across the table, "However, it is imperative that you remain within the wards," he said sternly. "I don't want to take any chances of the Dark Lord and his followers finding you."
Harry nodded his understanding and grabbed his goblet, downing the rest of his juice.
He was itching to get back on his broom, having not flown his Firebolt since that last quidditch match before Umbridge had confiscated it. Over the last few weeks, Harry had seen his father flying with Kieran from his window, watching as they raced each other or threw a quaffle around. There was a small amount of envy that would bubble within him before he adamantly tamped it down, but he could never stop wondering what it was like to spend time with a parent like that.
Would Snape do the same with him? Should he ask?
Harry bit his lip as he began poking tiny holes into his remaining pasta with his fork.
But his father probably has more important things to do... He knew the man had been rather preoccupied lately, brewing potions for the infirmary and writing his lesson plans. Surely he didn't have time to waste—
"Something on your mind, Harry?"
Harry looked up to see his father regarding him with a slightly raised brow. He set his fork down, pausing for a moment before he cleared his throat. "Um... Could you go flying with me, sir?" he asked hesitantly, then quickly added, "But I can understand if you're busy—"
"Go fetch your broom," Snape said, waving him off, "I will meet you outside."
"Yes, sir." Harry said with an excited smile as he stood from the table and went to retrieve his broom.
There was a warm, gentle breeze that ruffled Harry's hair as he strode out into the backyard, his Firebolt clutched in his hand. The sun was beating down on him, but it wasn't overly hot like Harry thought it would be. When he traveled far enough away from the manor, Harry positioned himself on his broom, taking a deep breath before he pushed off the ground and into the air. He had missed this feeling of freedom and weightlessness associated with flying. It never failed to lift his spirits, allowing him to momentarily forget about all his troubles and worries.
Flattening his body against his broom, Harry sped across the yard, diving, twisting, and spiraling around while the summer wind whipped through his hair and stung his face. He was careful not to go too high up, unsure how high the wards reached, but he made sure he had enough height to perform all his tricks without fear of crashing into the ground. He had just finished a steep dive when he noticed his father standing near the entrance to the potions garden, seemingly observing him. Harry frowned and furrowed his brows as he noted his father's tense grip on his broom, along with the slight scowl on his face.
He wondered why that was, and his stomach suddenly tied itself into a knot.
Am I in trouble? What did I do? Had I done something wrong and not realized it?
He thought he had been careful not to fly past the wards...
Harry was about to fly down to Snape, when his father mounted his broom and flew up to hover next to him instead. His features seemed to have already smoothed over from before, and Harry was just about to ask about that, but his father spoke first.
"What say you and I have a little race, shall we?"
"What?" Harry blurted, a bit caught off guard. Well that wasn't what he had been expecting his father to say.
Snape quirked an unkempt eyebrow, a hint of a smirk on his face, "Afraid of a little challenge?"
Harry just stared at the man for short moment before he shook himself, his mouth stretching into a grin, "Of course not, I was just wondering if you were."
"Very well then," his father said, turning his broom toward the direction of the manor, "First one to make it around the manor and back, wins."
"Okay," Harry nodded.
"On three," Snape announced, as Harry lined up his broom with his father's.
"One..." he began slowly and Harry gripped his broom tighter, feeling a burst of adrenaline building within him. He saw his father turn to give him a mischievous smirk, and with a quickly muttered 'three,' the man had sped off.
"Hey!" Harry was almost blown back by his father's tailwind before coming to his senses and taking off after the man.
He caught up to Snape quite easily— his father's broom being no match for his Firebolt. Harry smirked back at him before flattening himself further on his broom and speeding ahead. Glancing over his shoulder, he couldn't help but chuckle when he saw his father scowl and pretend to glare at him, though there was amusement dancing in his dark eyes.
His son did have a talent for flying, Severus could admit, as he hovered on his broom, watching Harry continuing to sail through the air.
They have been flying around the manor for a while now, and Severus had attempted to at least best the boy once in a race, despite knowing that his broom didn't stand the slightest chance against Harry's high quality racing broom. He did come very close one time, though he wasn't sure if that was just Harry taking pity on him. Eventually, he grudgingly admitted defeat and was now watching his son perform more of those daring maneuvers. Even though Harry was often going much too fast for his liking, at least his son did seem to be controlling the broom with ease.
Severus had initially caught a glimpse of Harry from the large windows in his study as his son sped around the property, performing heart stopping aerial feats at breakneck speeds. He couldn't fathom what had gotten into the boy as he immediately grabbed his broom and hurried outside, about to call his son down and demand that he slow the hell down, but decided against it when he caught a glimpse of the look of pure contentment and joy on Harry's face. There was a genuinely happy smile that Severus didn't think he'd seen in a long time. It was certainly the most carefree he had seen of Harry ever since he came to the manor, and Severus found he didn't have the heart to reprimand the boy. He would like to keep that expression on Harry's features for as long as possible, after everything that his son had been through recently.
Though he had lost count of the numerous times his heart leapt into his throat as he watched Harry dive towards the ground, mere inches from crashing into the earth before his son managed to gracefully pull up and level his broom. Severus had instinctively kept a hand on his wand, a cushioning charm on the tip of his tongue just in case. He might as well cast the charm over the entire yard, but even then, it wouldn't help lessen the impact if Harry was going that fast.
Kieran wasn't nearly as daring as Harry was on a broom, and Severus was immensely grateful for that— he didn't think his heart could withstand all the twists and flips if both his sons possessed this daredevil trait. He would likely keel over from heart failure before he even reached forty.
After watching for a few more moments, Severus flew over to his potions garden and landed. He had intended to check up on his potions garden and harvest some of the ingredients that were ready. After this last batch of potions Severus needed to brew, he would finally be finished with restocking the infirmary for the coming term.
He was just inspecting the flower of a plant when he heard the sound of shoes softly crunching on grass behind him.
"Are those Hellebore plants, sir?"
Severus turned around at the sound of Harry's voice. His son was a bit breathless, clutching his broom in his hand, his eyes bright and hair windswept.
"They are," he replied, impressed that Harry had recognized it. Usually his students could only identify the ingredients after they were prepared for use. Severus knelt next to the plant and gestured for Harry to come closer, "These leaves are ready to be harvested and a syrup can be extracted from the flowers."
Harry set his broom down, then knelt beside him. "For the Draught of Peace, right?"
"Yes." Severus nodded.
"How are you going to extract the syrup?" his son asked, looking curiously at the closed flower.
"Like this." Severus gently stroked the underside of a petal with a gloved finger for a few moments until the flower slowly opened, revealing a shimmering blue drop of syrup resting on the tip of the stigma. He then pulled a vial from one of his many robe pockets and collected the drop into it.
"Can I try?" Harry asked after a moment.
"Of course." Severus banished both their brooms back to their rightful places and conjured another pair of gloves. He handed the gloves to Harry and explained the correct way to make the flower open and how to collect the leaves.
"Am I doing this right? It's not opening..." Harry said, frowning down at the flower he'd been trying to coax into opening for the past five minutes.
"Keep trying, it will open eventually. Some are more stubborn than others," Severus replied.
Harry nodded, a determined look crossing his features, similar to how it had appeared on Lily's. And it was during these times when Severus would be reminded of just how much of Lily was still alive in their son. Come to think of it, they were always her expressions that would appear on Harry's face. The way Harry's brows would furrow in concentration or the habit of biting his lip when he was nervous— it was all Lily. Severus had seen it in the lab as well, in those brief moments where his son's lips would curl into that same soft smile, his emerald eyes bright after having successfully brewed a perfect potion.
"Finally! Took it long enough," Severus heard Harry muttering as the petals began to open, though there was a slight smile on his features as his son turned to look at him. He nodded in approval and handed the vial to Harry so he could collect the syrup.
At least Harry hadn't become frustrated or discouraged like Kieran had when he'd asked to help in the garden before. Kieran had become bored and disinterested rather quickly, and that was where his two sons differed, Severus supposed. He had the impression that Kieran was merely trying to please him, instead of actually being interested in the subject. Though when Kieran put his mind into the work, the boy usually produced fairly decent potions. Above average compared to the thick headed students he taught every year.
Severus set Harry to collecting from the rest of the Hellebore plants, while he focused on subduing the Chinese chomping cabbages that were munching viciously on some carrots he'd left for them earlier.
Once they collected everything that Severus needed, they made their way down to the potions lab and dropped the freshly picked ingredients off on the table. With a flick of his wand, all the jars filled of freshly picked ingredients organized themselves onto the shelves.
"Go on and take a shower, then you can take a break before dinner," Severus said as he saw Harry wipe the beads of sweat off his forehead with the back of his hand. He began setting up his work space, intending to brew a quick batch of draught of peace.
His son nodded and made to leave, but paused just short of the door and turned around, green eyes shining and small smile on his face. "Thank you for flying with me today, sir."
That night, Harry was curled up on the sofa, relaxing with a charms book open on his lap, but he wasn't reading it, his gaze on the tiny gleaming stars outside his window instead.
He couldn't help replaying the day's activities over in his mind. Today was probably one of the best days he'd had in a long time. It had been brilliant flying with his father and helping him collect potion ingredients. He never realized there was this much to potions, and it was definitely interesting learning the different ways to harvest certain ingredients.
He supposed this was what it was like to spend time with a parent...
There was a knock on his door, and Harry turned his head to see Snape walking in.
"This a well written essay, Harry." His father dropped the rolled up parchment on Harry's desk before coming to stand near the couch.
"Thank you, sir." Harry cracked a smile as he sat up. This assignment was the last he needed to finish before term started, and he had put it off because his father was the professor who taught the subject and he wanted to write it well. Snape had insisted that he proofread it, and the first draft of it was sent back by his father with plenty of suggestions to expand on the topic.
"What are you reading?" Snape asked, glancing at the book in Harry's hand.
"Oh, it's just a charms book I found in the library," Harry replied, closing the book. "It's rather interesting— I didn't know there were so many charms you can conceal yourself with..."
He trailed off when he glanced up and saw his father give him a peculiar look, a gleam in his eyes that he couldn't decipher before they fixated on the book in his hands.
"Your mother gave me this book. This subject had always been fascinating to her," his father said in a soft tone, pausing for a brief moment before continuing, "In fact, the first time she tried casting a glamour in our third year, she ended up with no eyebrows for a week."
"Really?" Harry stared at the book as if he was just seeing it for the first time. There was a fluttering in his chest at hearing about his mother, and a sudden longing to know more filled him. He really didn't know much about his mother, other than that she was an uncommonly kind and gifted witch, and that he had inherited her eyes. Everyone had always seemed to talk about James...
"Can you tell me more about her?" he said, glancing back up at his father. "I don't know much about her really..."
Snape seemed to pause for several moments, and Harry was just about to retract his question when he pulled his wand out and waved it over his left hand. A black rectangular box appeared, just a bit larger than the length of his hand. His father made his way around the sofa, and took a seat next to Harry, settling the box in his lap. It had a thick layer of dust coating the top, as if it had been left forgotten on a shelf for a long period of time. Harry could faintly make out something carved on the corner of the lid— Lily.
Harry inched closer to his father, his heart jumping to his throat as he peered curiously into the box. Inside contained some photographs and a small collection of random things that might not have meant much if he didn't know they were associated with his mother.
"I haven't looked at these in many years," his father murmured, taking out a photo with two figures moving on it.
He handed the photo to Harry, who took it slowly, his eyes widening slightly as he gazed down at a young girl and boy, sitting cross legged under a large oak tree in what appeared to be a Muggle backyard. The girl's lips quirked into a tiny smile as she regarded the boy next to her, who had his head bent over an open book on his lap, a curtain of black hair partially concealing his face. Harry's chest tightened and he swallowed hard when she turned to the camera and waved happily to him, one hand trying to tuck a few strands of vibrant red hair behind her ears as a gentle breeze teased it into her eyes.
"This was taken before our first year at Hogwarts," his father said.
"When did you two meet?" Harry asked, his eyes still drinking in the image as it replayed.
"We had lived close to each other as children," Snape explained, "I was the one who told her she was a witch, which she initially took as an insult." Harry cracked a small smile and looked up at him, noticing his father's dark eyes were slightly brighter than usual as he continued, "She was able to float off swings after jumping from great heights and animate flowers in the palm of her hand."
"Of course, Petunia was quite upset that she could not do the same, and was envious of Lily's abilities. She even wrote a letter to Dumbledore once, asking if she could attend Hogwarts with her sister."
Harry blinked, his jaw almost dropping to the floor. "She wanted to go to Hogwarts?" he said in disbelief. He couldn't quite believe that... Petunia absolutely loathed magic and anything to do with it. She and Vernon would throw a fit every time Harry had performed a bit of accidental magic when he was little. It was inconceivable to think that there had been a time when Petunia had wanted to be magical.
"She changed her mind on the day Lily was supposed to leave, however, claiming that Lily was abnormal and repeatedly calling her a freak."
"She really called her that?"
His father nodded, a dark contemptuous look crossing his features as he muttered, "Some things never change, it seems."
Harry frowned and looked back down at the picture, "Where was this?"
"In her parent's backyard," Snape said softly, a fond look appearing briefly on his features. "They were the kindest Muggles I have ever met; I was always welcome in their home."
"What happened to them?" Harry asked quietly. "Aunt Petunia's never mentioned them before." He couldn't recall her saying anything about them, not even to Dudley. He briefly wondered what it would have been like if his grandparents had raised him instead of the Dursleys. They certainly seemed to accept that they had a witch in the family.
"I'm not sure, I believed they passed away before you were born," Snape replied solemnly.
"Oh," Harry whispered, then he looked up at his father. "What about your parents?"
He saw his father's face darken slightly, "They could never hold a candle to her parents." Harry could have swore he heard some underlying bitterness in his father's tone, and wondered about that, but he didn't ask as the man pulled out two more photographs from the box.
One was a polaroid depicting teenage versions of his parents, settled underneath a large tree with the Black Lake and Hogwarts in the background. It was the same spot that Harry had sat under many times, doing homework or studying with Ron and Hermione. In the picture, Lily would nudge Snape's arm every so often, trying to get his attention while she smiled at the camera. Snape would briefly look up with a slight scowl at her before turning away, his nose once again buried in a book.
"I never enjoyed having my photo taken," his father said, "Lily had charmed that blasted camera to follow us around that day, trying to get a good picture."
He handed the other photo to Harry, "This was the only time I had allowed her to take a proper photo."
Harry gazed down at the two teenagers now standing next to each other. Snape stood a bit awkwardly, lips twitching into a slightly uncomfortable smile while Lily smiled brightly, green eyes glowing with obvious joy, her arm moving to wrap around him as she leaned comfortably into his side.
On the bottom of the photo, there were words written in a neat and loopy handwriting, almost like Hermione's:
I love this one of us, Sev!
Harry smiled softly and gently traced the inked words with his finger, thinking that only his mother could have gotten away with calling his father, Sev.
After replacing the photos back in the box, Harry noticed a small rolled up piece of parchment, and lifted it out of the box, carefully unfurling it. It appeared to be a drawing of someone with cauldrons that were bubbling away drawn beside them. He looked closer and recognized Snape as the subject of the drawing, though it was a rather crude drawing of the real thing.
"She had drawn that picture of me in fourth year," his father said, lips twitching very slightly, "I believe she may have unintentionally exaggerated one of my undesirable features."
Harry gave a soft chuckle, realizing that his mother had indeed drawn Snape's nose larger than normal.
His father then gently lifted what looked like a Muggle snow globe from the corner of the box and handed it over to Harry, who held it carefully. He had seen Aunt Petunia displaying many of these trinkets on the mantle above the fireplace during the holidays, but unlike the Muggle counterpart, this snow globe didn't seem to need to be shaken for the snow to continue falling. There were two kids inside, continuously pulling a sled to the top of a rather steep hill and then sliding down together.
"Your mother made this," his father said reverently. "She gifted this to me for Christmas in our third year."
"Wow," Harry breathed, amazed by the magic. "Is that you and Mum in there?"
"It is," Snape nodded, "She was very gifted at charms."
"It's brilliant," Harry whispered as he watched his parents sledding down the hill again. He could see smiles on their faces as they glided speedily down the slope. He felt as if he could have watched it for hours, but after a few more minutes of gazing into the snow globe, Harry gently set it back down into the box.
The last thing was a turquoise ribbon, that had been hidden in the corner by the snow globe.
"She always had her hair tied up with a ribbon during potion classes. It used to drive her mad whenever the fumes made her hair frizzy," his father explained.
Harry rubbed the smooth fabric between his forefinger and thumb, trying to imagine his mother tying her hair up with it.
"Lily had a natural talent for potions," Snape continued. "She would consistently be at top of the class."
"Really?" Harry was a bit surprised and also pleased to hear of this new tidbit of information. He smiled crookedly up at his father, "She did better than you?"
There was a tiny smile on his father's usually stoic features, "It was always between the two of us that fought for the top spot."
"I guess I didn't really inherit that talent," Harry muttered, lowering his eyes back to the ribbon in his hand.
"You have been doing well in our potion lessons recently," Snape said, a faint note of pride in his tone.
Harry nodded, cracking a small smile, "I've been finding it more interesting lately. It's sort of like cooking, but more precise and dangerous."
"Indeed," his father replied.
They lapsed into silence for a while as Harry put the ribbon back into the box and gazed at the pictures of his mother smiling up at him again.
Ever since he received that letter from his mother, Harry had wondered how his mother and Snape had gotten together, but now, it was obvious. They had known each other since they were young, and the way his father spoke of her... and the way she had wrote about him... He briefly imagined what it would have been like if he had grown up with her and Snape, and a sudden wave of grief swept through him.
If only Trelawney didn't make that stupid prophecy... He hated Voldemort even more now— not for marking him, but for taking his mother away before he had ever gotten the chance to know her. Harry would have given anything to have just one happy memory of his mother. All he remembered were her screams and pleads to spare his life...
"I wish I got to know her," Harry whispered sadly, his chest unbelievably tight. "The only memory I have of her is when she was murdered."
His father seemed to stiffen and didn't respond for a while, until Harry felt a warm hand on his knee, "I wish you did too," he murmured. "You would have experienced her fiery temper and overprotectiveness for all those dangerous stunts you pulled over the years." The corners of his lips quirked ever so slightly, before he gave a sad sigh, "She would have never let you out of her sight."
"You remind me so much of her," Snape said softly, after a long pause. "You're more like her than you know, Harry."
Somehow, his chest seemed to constrict even more at that.
It was silent for several minutes again, both of them seemingly lost in their own thoughts.
"Do you still lo..." Harry began, but trailed off, lowering his eyes and biting the inside of his cheek. He didn't know what compelled him to ask, but then the memory of his father, Clarice, and Kieran in Diagon Alley flashed through his mind. He just felt the need to know... They had seemed like they fancied each other... And Harry didn't know how long his father had known Clarice, but he assumed they've known each other for a long time as well, considering they had Kieran together...
Harry snapped his head up as a burst of silver light erupted out of the tip of his father's wand, illuminating the entire room to the point where it was almost blinding. He squinted at it until it took a shape, forming into a shining silvery doe that cantered gracefully once around the room before coming to a stop directly in front of him. He looked into those translucent eyes of the patronus, feeling a strange sense of familiarity with the silver creature, as it stared steadily back at him.
"She's beautiful," Harry murmured, reaching forward as the doe bowed its head and nuzzled against his hand.
"It was your mother's," his father said softly, his dark eyes glittering. It was like looking at a night sky full of stars.
Harry felt his throat constrict, his chest aching as he leaned slightly against his father.
That's why he felt as if the patronus was familiar. It was like she was still here, watching over them. Didn't he read somewhere that it was rare for two people to have the same patronus... She must be his happiest memory...
He felt his father's strong arm wrap around his shoulder, gently pulling him closer into the man's side.
They watched silently as the doe seemed to nod in approval, then it turned and galloped off out the window, vanishing into the starry darkness.
"You must have really loved her..." Harry whispered after a quiet moment— it was barely audible, yet his father still seemed to hear it.
"I always will." He stated, his grip tightening around Harry, and after a moment's pause, his father murmured, "Even more so, knowing she gave me you."
Harry gave a watery smile, and leaned further into the embrace, his chest tight yet his heart seemed to soar within it.
Severus was settled in a chair next to Harry's bed, listening to his son's even breathing after having briefly helped him organize and clear his mind. He had initially intended to begin Harry's Occlumency lessons tonight, but after the last hour, his own emotions were in a state of disarray.
He sighed heavily as he leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees and burying his face in his hands— he hadn't planned on reminiscing tonight, having pad locked those memories away so long ago.
I wish I got to know her, Harry had said.
His heart clenched uncomfortably— their son would never know how full of life Lily was, or how much joy she could spread to everyone around her. Harry would never be able to hear Lily's sweet laughter or see her bright smile that could light up a room full of darkness. And after everything that Harry went through over the years, from those damn Muggles to the Dark Lord, Severus knew Lily would have fought tooth and nail to protect their son if she were here. She would have cursed Petunia and her despicable whale of a husband for the way they treated Harry. And Lily wouldn't have hesitated in hexing him as well for being so cruel to their son these past few years.
After rubbing his eyes, Severus leaned back in his chair, glancing at the box of Lily's possessions he had set on Harry's nightstand beside a dark red covered book. There was something sticking out of it that caught Severus' attention. When he opened the book, what he saw inside caused his breath to catch in his throat.
It was a photo album, but the pictures displayed on the first page were pictures of Lily and baby Harry, and himself.
Where did Harry get these?
He gazed down at the photos, drawing in a slightly trembling breath as he watched the interactions of the people in them.
Everyone in these photos seemed so... content.
He was holding Harry in a rocking chair as they both slept soundly... He was bouncing Harry on his knee as the baby giggled happily... In another, he was making ridiculous motions with the spoon as he attempted to feed Harry in a high chair.
It was like looking at an alternative version of himself...
Then it struck him— the letter from Lily... and the vial of...
He hadn't looked at them yet— it was about time he did.
Setting the album back on the nightstand and taking one more look at Harry, Severus left the room and quickly went to his study. He undid the wards on the drawer and carefully pulled out the vial of swirling silvery-white memories.
Severus retrieved his Pensieve from the cabinet near his desk, uncorked the vial, and slowly tipped the silvery contents into it, where they swirled and shimmered brightly.
He stared down at the basin for a moment, feeling a bit apprehensive over what he was about to witness.
Taking a deep breath and not wanting to prolong this any further, Severus bent forward, but before he could make contact with the silvery substance, an alarm signaling a Floo call sounded.
"Severus?" It was Poppy's voice, sounding a bit breathless and frantic. "Severus, are you there?"
Severus straightened and took a few steps toward the fireplace, "What is it, Poppy?"
"Oh, Severus!" She exclaimed when she saw him, "Something has happened to Albus, I need your help. Please come quickly."
A/N: Well there ya have it. I'm sorry this took forever, I've been extremely busy these last few months and was stuck with some major writer's block. This chapter ended up a lot longer than I originally intended.
Thanks so much to everyone who has reviewed, followed, and favorited this story! We're getting closer to those long awaited memory scenes— they're coming in the chapter after the next one! I hope you've enjoyed this chapter, and let me know what you think! I have most of the story mapped out, but I'd love to hear your suggestions of anything you'd like to see happen in the story.