CHAPTER 7 - Pandora's Box
"What?!" Harry blinked, stupidly like someone trying to force himself awake from a dream.
"I think she somehow survived the Dark Lord's attack."
"But... How do you know?" Harry asked genuinely.
"I saw her."
"Saw her?" Harry jumped to his feet, "SAW HER?!", he shouted, "Where? Where is she? Take me to her, please! Where is she? Is she... Did she say anything?!"
"Harry, Harry..." Severus got up from the bed, putting his hands on Harry's shoulders he tried to calm him. "Harry, calm down, please."
"I can't! How can I?" Harry cried, "Take me to her, please Professor. Please!"
"That, Mr. Potter, is my intention. But in order to do that you have to control yourself!" for a moment Severus turned back to his old self and it somehow brought Harry back to reality.
"How?" Harry sighed, helpless.
"Keep breathing, child." Severus ordered, lightly squeezing the boy's shoulders, wishing that there was an easier way.
Twenty minutes later Severus Snape was towering over Harry with his old fierce glare on his face.
"Your behaviour is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated in this school, Mr. Potter. This is the last time I warn you. The seriousness of what you have done requiers me to alert the Headmaster. If I see you wandering along the corridors after curfew one more time, I will deal with this issue in my own ways. Do you understand Mr. Potter?"
"Yes, Professor Snape. I'm so sorry, sir."
"Now go to your dormitory. I don't want to see you again until the breakfast!"
"Yes, Prefessor Snape, sir."
"Get out of my sight now!" Severus looked at Harry one more time with a secret passion in his eyes. It was almost like his eyes were glowing with mischief and only Harry could see it.
Harry couldn't help but smile at the idea of this new form of affiliation. He hurriedly walked to his dormitory, careful not to wake his room-mates, he gingerly set to take his trusty old cloak out from under his bed.
It hadn't been much time since Severus walked back in his private chambers when he heard the light knock on the door. As he walked to the door and opened it, he met what he expected: There was no one to bee seen on the door.
"Anyone saw you?" he asked to the air.
"No!" came Harry's precautious whisper.
"Come in!" Severus whispered back, as he slightly stepped asside from the door to let the invisible bundle walk in the room.
Now they were walking along the restricted corridors of St. Mungo's, squeezing themselves to fit under the cloak together.
"Keep quiet!" Severus warned.
"I am quiet! Stop pushing me!"
"How on earth are we going to take her out of here?"
"Not today, Mr. Potter. We will find a way eventually. Now calm down please and walk quietly!"
When they arrived at a locked wooden door, Severus slowly drew his wand out of the inside of his robes and whispered some incantations in an unknown laguage. The lock clicked open and he reached his hand to grab the handle, but another smaller one stopped him.
"What is it?" Severus asked with worried eyes as he kept looking at the young man beside him.
"I... I..." Harry stuttered, "I don't think I'm ready for this."
"One can never be ready for something like this, Mr. Potter. We have to move along."
With that Severus twisted the door handle and the door cracked open, revealing a white bed and a beautiful auburn haired sleeping woman in it.
"Oh..." Harry sounded. He put one of his hands on the door frame for support.
"Are you alright?" Severus asked.
Harry nodded his head, not moving his eyes from his mother's bed.
"Should I... Can I approach?" he asked.
"Yes..." Severus whispered with a lump forming in his throat. He himself was also shaken up because of the events of the night, but he still carried on.
Slowly both men walked to the bed, Severus dropping the cloak around them and locking the door from inside with his wand. Harry sat on the bed near her and reached out to his mother's soft cheek with tears forming in his eyes.
"I don't understand." he cired, "How could Dumbledore do this?"
"For the greater good..." Severus murmured involuntarily as he rolled his eyes.
"What?!" Harry turned to him with burning eyes.
"His words!" Severus defended, holding his hands up to surrender, "Not mine!"
"Oh..." Harry exhaled, turning his eyes back to his sleeping mother. "I mean, why would he want to do something like this?" he asked this time, "I thought he cared for me and my family."
"Harry," Severus started, taking a deep breath and releasing it, "There are too many things you don't know. And by the way, that stupid old coot never cares for anyone!"
Harry couldn't help but chuckle lightly.
"What are those things that I don't know? Tell me." he demanded.
Severus turned his gaze to the woman he'd loved for so may years.
"I will, Harry. I promise. But this is not a good time. Not here." he pleaded.
"Okay." Harry replied giving in. He slowly pulled his legs up and lay down beside his mother, inhaling her sweet scent as he closed his eyes.
"You don't know how many times I have imagined this moment." he whispered, "You cannot know..."
"Yes I can." Severus replied, surprising him, "Because I've imagined the same thing."
Leaving his mother at St. Mungo's was very hard for Harry but he knew they had to do it. Back in Severus Snape's private quarters, he was now sitting on the sofa in front of the fireplace with, again, a cup of hot chocolate in his hands. Sipping his hot beverage he tried to wipe the images of his mother from his mind but he couldn't.
"It's alright." spoke a silky voice behind him and he felt two strong hands on his shoulders, squeezing gently giving him comfort.
"We are going to bring her here and find a cure. She will be alright, Harry, I promise. She will be so happy to see you again. She will be so proud. This is your life's turning point, your second chance."
"But she will be mad at you?"
"Yes." Severus replied remorsefully.
"But I want her to forgive you, Severus."
"So do I, Harry."
With that, Harry slowly got up from the sofa and made his way behind it. He slowly pushed his arms up and wrapped them around the man's shoulders, slowly and cautiously. The man tensed at first but gradually relaxed as he too curled his own arms around the boys torso. First Harry felt his tears fall accross his face. Sensing the boys light sobs, Severus followed suit. They stayed that way, crying against each other until they were exhausted.
"Look here what I've found." Harry spoke, excitedly walking to Severus' desk with a thick old book in his hands. Severus curiously grabbed one side of the open book and set to read.
"Hmm..." he sounded, "We should consider this ancient version of bodybound hex, but Harry, I think Lily's situation has something to do with dark magic."
"Dark magic?" Harry asked, confused.
"Yes, that must be a quite complicated, advanced dark magic, since it's been keeping her asleep for fifteen years. Dumbledore must have worked on it very passionately."
"But..." Harry was now frustrated, "How can we break it if it's that sophisticated advanced dark magic?"
Severus's left eyebrow slowly lifted as he stared Harry with proud eyes.
"Mr. Potter, it might have escaped your notice, but I myself am quite capable of producing and breaking dark magic, since I am a high rank death eater, the youngest potions master of England and an advanced legilimens. I am also the only death eater who can produce a patronus charm and also the only one who could manage to deceive the Dark Lord, I am mastered at wandless magic and I can fly...!" Severus barely could hold himself from chuckling as he stared at the sheepishly stunned expression on Harry's face.
"Well I... I..." Harry was at a loss of words. He kept stuttering for a while before finally asking, "Wow, really?!"
With that Severus burst out laughing, he had to cover his eyes as tears started flowing out. This kind of laughter was not an everyday occurance.
"And you are also capable of laughing. That is also very advanced human ability." Harry teased Severus.
Still frantically laughing, Severus raised his hand and messed Harry's hair playfully. Harry bowed his head and as Severus rested his hand on his head and gently pulled him to his chest, he leaned on Severus' strong body, first laughing but then suddenly tears poured out of his eyes like a waterfall.
Sensing Harry's sudden mood change, Severus put his other hand around Harry's shoulders and pulled him even closer to himself. Harry threw his arms around the man as waves of tears and emotion flowed out of him, shaking his whole body.
"Talk to me." Severus demanded.
"This..." Harry spoke, his face was still hidden in Severus' robes. "This... I want this to continue."
Severus was puzzled, "Well, you can stay there as long as you like. I'm quite alright with that." he replied, stroking Harry's messy hair.
"No, it's not that."
"Then what is it?"
With that question, Harry burried his face even deeper in his professor's robes and clenched his fists holding onto the thick fabric. He spoke with a muffled voice:
"No, it's stupid. You will laugh at me!"
"No, I won't."
"Harry, tell me please!"
Harry sniffed as he lifted up his face, he looked at Severus with red teary eyes.
"Well... I felt... I mean it's almost like... You... I... Oh... I can't..."
"Harry! Please, I won't laugh I promise. I'm worried now, please tell me."
"I've never known a father since I was a baby. So I don't know what it's like to have a father. But, now I feel like... It must be something like this. I mean... You understand and you are... I... I don't want to lose this feeling when finally... I mean... When she wakes... We don't know how she will be like. Maybe she will hate both of us. But maybe she will hate..."
"I don't want to side with her only because she's my mother. I mean... She is my mother and I love her so much... But... Oh, this is so stupid. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I mean you don't have to put up with me forever and..."
"But I'm just petrified... I..."
Severus threw his arms back around Harry's shoulders again. But this time he squeezed so much that it caused Harry to stop talking.
"Stop it," Severus whispered, painfully. "Stop it. You're my son. You're my son! I love you like one. And nothing's ever going to change that. I promise!"
"Really?!" Harry asked innocently.
"Really!" Severus replied. He backed a little to look at Harry. Harry was shocked when he saw tears in his professor's eyes.
"You cry?" he asked, bewildered.
"Yes, sometimes I do." Severus replied, bitterly smiling.
"Really?" Harry chuckled.
"Stop asking that stupid question!" Severus elboved him playfully. "Come here." he spoke as he embraced his newly found son sincerely.
"For Merlin's sake, when did this happen?" he asked, still disbelieving what was happening.
"I don't know." Harry replied, "Are you... Do you feel uncomfortable about it?"
"No, I don't. As a matter of fact, I'm glad."
"Yeah, so am I..."
"Harry, I'm so sorry for the way I have treated you for years. I had been cruel and I am so regretful about it. But when I realized you were nothing like I'd thought you to be, something changed in my heart. And now I know that you are the son I've needed for so many years. I mean if it is also how you feel. There's a chance that in another universe, a universe in which I was not so stupid, you could have been my own. But even then, I couldn't have loved you more. I'm so sorry it took me too long to understand this." Severus spoke from his heart.
"Can't we just be a family? A normal one. You, me and mum?"
"Believe me, that's the only thing I want. But I don't want to give you false hope."
"I know. I'm sorry."
"I don't know what will happen. But what I know is, we have to keep working on your mother's case."
"Yes! Yes, sorry."
"And I have an idea."
"An idea?" Harry eyes lit, "What is it?"
"It's a potion which reveals all kinds of magic that had been set on one person. I will start working on it tonight. It takes two days to prepare."
"Can I help?"
"Do you really want to?"
"Very well then." Severus cleared his throat, "Mr. Potter, you have detention with me every night this week!"
"Brilliant!" Harry's eyes sparkled excitement as he lightly took his new found father in a quick embrace.
Three days later, they were again standing in Lily's hospital room under the invisibility cloak.
"Are you ready?" Severus asked.
Severus eliminated the cloak and taking out the potion from his pocked, he started murmuring some incantations as he levitated the potion bottle above Lily's body. The potion glowed for a moment and suddenly it disappeared. Harry was stunned when he saw his mother's body suddenly glowing green and they heard an unfamiliar female voice whispering some Latin words.
Severus listened the voice carefully with an unreadable expression on his face.
"Damn it!" he swore, "He tried to obliviate her. But the spell malfunctioned, causing her to fall into a coma."
"Obliviate? Won't she remember anything?"
"I don't know the extent of the spell yet, Harry. I have to wake her to find out. Let's not keep our expectations too high, alright?"
With that, Severus set to work on a very complicated spell which seemingly was taking all of his energy and literally exhausting him. Harry walked and grabbed him by his waist right on time. But Severus kept murmuring the incantations, sweating heavily as if he was fighting mentally with a strong enemy.
Long moments later he finally lowered his wand and out of breath, he set his eyes on the woman he loved, panting.
"Come on, Lily!" he whispered.
First her eyelids started flickering and then her body began jerking. Without even realizing, Severus threw himself out and sat on the bed, gently holding her shoulders in order to keep her steady.
"You can do it." he spoke again. Harry was totally speechless as he kept watching the scene before his eyes.
A couple of minutes later, Lily's eyelids flew open and she immediately closed them against the blinding light.
"Lily?" Severus called, her name rasped against his dry throat.
Lily opened her eyes and stared up at Severus. He gulped.
"Severus, is it you?" she asked with a faint smile.
"Yes..." Severus exhaled. His heart was a block of ice.
Lily slowly put her hands on Severus' cheeks, observing his face. Her brow furrowed and her beautiful eyes clouded as if she was fighting to hold back tears, the she finally asked:
"What happened to you?!"
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