Hi guys! Welcome back to Rude Awakenings: Refresh. I made a small edit to the last chapter, nothing big. I accidentally included more than I intended for the flashes of memories that Harry saw. Here is the updated portion, so what Harry actually saw: 'A pretty red haired witch with emerald green eyes was up on tip-toe's trying to place a kiss...she was across from him at a table at a cafe smiling over her cup of tea, a blush gracing her features...she was bent over in the garden pulling weeds stubbornly...she was running into the mans arms tears running down her face as he limped into the garden...she was laying in bed, a kiss being placed on her forehead by the one that loved her...'
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter and Co.
Chapter 7: Seeking Answers
Harry stood outside the Potion Master's office, rubbing the offended spot on his tailbone where he had hit the floor. The corridors, unlike the Defense training room, offered no such courtesy of charmed padded floors. It became apparent to Harry quite quickly, that Severus Snape would not be opening the door he had been pounding on just moments prior. Furious at the man, he turned on his heel and made his way to his rooms wincing as the spot on his back flared up in pain again. As if he wasn't sore enough from all of his other training that week.
So, Snape didn't want to tell him about what he saw, fine! He'd been solving his own mysteries for years now. One thing was apparent, Snape knew his mother much more so than he had ever let on, had possibly even dated her. Harry screwed up his face in a cringe at the thought. Passing through to his quarters he stripped off his outer robe and settled himself carefully in the nook by the window, looking out upon the Quidditch pitch thoughtfully.
Who did Snape think he was anyway? His mood was atrocious and he couldn't imagine any situation where what he just did would have been appropriate with a student. He had a pounding headache upon all the compiled aches from the week and he felt that if someone touched him the wrong way he would fall apart. Sighing he resigned himself to taking the day to rest tomorrow and hoping for the best.
The week had been tougher than he thought it would be. He had a feeling that this was not at all what Madame Pomfrey had intended when she told him not to over exert himself. He had been feeling the strain on his body build each day, but had been hesitant to speak up. Snape already thought he wasn't serious about learning, he didn't want to give the man anything else to throw in his face.
Groaning at the effort it took to stand, Harry made his way to the enchanted door to see if it had updated with a new assignment as it always did. For once it was blank under Daily Task Goals. Snape had been completely out of sorts at the end of the lesson. Harry committed himself to complete the next three chapters in his Occlumency text that night anyway, so he could have all of tomorrow to recover. He did not intend to incur Snape's wrath when the new week started and he demanded an assignment he never gave.
He still had Defense lessons that afternoon and at this rate, he didn't know how he was going to get through it. He decided to take another long soak in the bath, it was all he had available to him unless he intended to pay a visit to the Hospital Wing, which he was determined to avoid at all costs.
Severus Snape crossed the threshold to Prince Manor for the first time in nearly fifteen years. He had no desire to return to this place once he had taken up his position as Potions Master at Hogwarts. Too many bad memories with his grandparents were held here. Well, that's what he had thought, now he knew it had to do with the memory block, for he had many good memories here too. He had long gotten over the ghosts of his past thanks to his lovely Lily.
Holding his wand out high in front of him, the light reflected off the gold framed mirror over the fireplace. He ignored the house elf that fell at his feet as he entered and strode forward with purpose. He had one thought on his mind, answers, he needed answers and he now knew where he would get them.
He ascended the rich stone stairway, his foot steps echoing in the vast space that had been empty for so many years. As he reached the top he turned swiftly to the left heading to the West Wing. The West Wing… which he now knew, is where he had lived with Lily, before his memories were sealed.
His footsteps were muffled by the runner that ran the length of the cold, dark hallway. The drapes had not been opened for years and were it not for the one elf he kept on staff, they surely would have been full of doxies.
His footsteps slowed as he reached the end of the hall, the dark wood door that was the entrance to their room loomed before him. He reached out a trembling hand, running it down the surface of the wood until it stopped at the handle. Twisting it quickly, he pushed it open. He hesitated to enter. His head was still swimming from the influx of memories, he needed confirmation though. Needed proof that everything he saw was true.
Taking a deep breath and steeling himself he entered the room. He thought he was prepared, but he stumbled backwards at what he saw before him. It was so…so Lily. It was all silvers and grays and whites. With flecks of color interspersed throughout the room. The headboard was a gray Chesterfield, the comforter a plush white feather down. A soft gray blanket with silver threads weaving through lay at the foot of the bed. The canopy hangings all white and sheer silver. His eyes flitted to the frame above the bed, pressed behind the glass were dried flowers from the gardens Lily had worked so hard to restore. A birch wood vanity with a silver framed mirror sat to the right of the bed, Lily's brushes and hair pieces still upon it.
Walking over to the vanity, Severus sat down on the gray Chesterfield bench. Slowly reaching out he picked up a delicate looking object, a white oxeye daisy on a silver clip, the same as were in her hair on their wedding day. Severus remembered gifting this to her on their first anniversary. He had spelled it with an Everfresh Charm and she had favored it in her hair often.
As he set the clip back down, he saw something glint out of the corner of his eye. He froze. Lily's wedding ring… Moving so slowly, as though if he touched it, it would break, he picked up the ring. It looked as if she could have just removed it for a cleaning. It had a thin black gold band with a large emerald set in the middle, smaller emeralds circling the larger. And, yet still, two more small emeralds to either side of the circle of emeralds. He closed his had tightly around it as though if he squeezed hard enough, Lily would materialize beside him.
He shivered even through the burst of warmth that spiked through him as he clutched the ring to his heart. She had always left it with Severus when she was away living her dual life. Had him promise to keep it safe for her until her return to which he had responded every time, 'Always.' Finding the little black ring box in which he had purchased it, he slipped it inside and put it in his pocket. He would continue to keep it safe.
Turning he made to exit the room, he didn't know how much more he could withstand. As he turned on his heel a picture on the fireplace mantle caught his attention. It was Lily, laying on her side on a leaf strewn ground in Autumn, her head propped up by her hand. Baby Harry sat next to her, a small pile of leaves in front of him and Severus was sat on yet the other side of the child. Lily was gazing at Severus the smile clear in her eyes as she laughed at baby Harry throwing leaves in Severus' face. The Potions Master had a scowl on his face, but the smile was evident in the creases of his eyes. This was the last picture they had taken as a family. He tucked this too into a pocket in his robes.
Turning to enter the next room, Potter's room, he steeled himself. Well, he wasn't really Potter now, was he? Never was. He was Lux, but that was neither here nor there. The boy was Harry Potter to the rest of the world and that wasn't likely to change any time soon. Couldn't if he were to keep the boy safe.
He turned the handle, this time not hesitating to step into the room. The walls were painted a deep blue, the hangings around his crib silver. Looking up at the ceiling Severus could see traces of the constellations that Lily had painted on the ceiling all those years ago. A small mobile of golden snitches and silver broomsticks hung over the crib.
How, how had this happened? The spell should have broken years ago. Severus drew back the curtains with his wand and made to look out the window over the now wild garden that even the elves hadn't been able to keep up with. The hedges were neatly trimmed, but the flowers contained within were such a mess, that you'd sooner be able traverse the Forbidden Forest, than the brambles that lay below.
Severus moved to sit in the white rocking chair beside the window. What was he to do now? It was clear that the Potter ch… that Harry was his son, but what was he to do about it? The child clearly hated him and it was no wonder with the way he'd been treated.
As for Severus, he knew he was his son, but he still didn't know the boy. Not really. He had never even taken the time to try. He pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. With these new memories he was no longer able to gather the same ire that hit him when he thought about the boy. Perhaps the primal disdain he felt for the boy was a side effect of the charm that had been placed on him. Lily wouldn't have done such a thing though. So who?
Severus closed his eyes and retreated into his mind searching for anything that might seem out of place. Something he didn't recognize before. He swam past all the new memories that now came to the forefront of his mind. Desperate to make it back to that crumbling wall and obliterate it completely.
He stopped in the furthest recesses of his mind. There it was. Broken and barely standing, but there it was. He gathered the new memories around him and shot forward at the wall with all he could muster. Once…Twice…and on the third time he broke through. A memory floated lazily to the surface and he dove towards it.
He was in Dumbledore's office, Albus was sat calmly behind his desk.
"Where is my son, Albus?! Where have you hidden him?" Severus was frantic, more frantic than he had ever been in his life. The love of his life had just died and his son needed him, but he was no where to be found.
"Son, Severus? I'm afraid I have no idea what you mean."
"Don't play coy with me, Albus! You know exactly of which I speak. Lux, I mean 'Harry' is my son. You've suspected for months don't play your senile old man act with me. I won't have it! Now where is he?! You told me to trust you, that the prophecy would serve only as a distraction to the Dark Lord and where has that trust gotten me?" Severus was leaning across the desk practically spitting in the old man's face, he became more and more infuriated as the man remained calm.
"Ah, yes. You see, I was afraid we may hit this little snag. I was rather desperate to avoid it, but it seems that it will not be possible." Quicker than Severus was able to comprehend, Albus' wand was in his hand, poking Severus in the temple. Distraught as he was, Severus barely heard the man's next words.
"I think it best, for the safety of all parties involved, if we just forget this little detail. Now let's see, you are master enough at Occlumency that you would notice being obliviated. So what say we seal up that wall Lily was so clever to create. We have not seen the last of Lord Voldemort. Protect him you shall, from a distance. It is best." There was a brief fleck of sadness that entered the old man's eye as he sealed the wall before Severus could raise a hand.
That conniving, lunatic of an old man. How dare he! Albus had a terrible habit of overstepping boundaries, but this time he had more than overstepped. He had obliterated the boundary line. Oh, Albus would get a piece of his mind and he would be damned if the old coot tried to talk his way out of this one. Not even bothering to make his way out of the house he apparated straight to the gates of Hogwarts. He strode swiftly through the gates, robes flaring menacingly behind him. It was a very good thing school was not in session or he may have petrified students with a single glare.
When Harry finally got out of the bath he only had a half hour until his next lesson. He got dressed and ladled himself a bowl of chicken and rice soup, dipping the roll in as he ate quickly in the window seat that was quickly becoming his favorite spot. As the table popped out of existence, Harry checked the time and made for the door, but the schedule caught his eye. Sometime while he was in the bath, it had changed, he must not have heard the bell over the gushing faucets. His defense lesson had been canceled and it had been replaced with instruction for self-study.
That was so...not Snape. Snape was clearly upset about something, but what? It was obvious from what he had seen that his mother and Snape had been friends. Was it possible that he was that upset at having those memories thrust to the forefront of his mind. Harry was having a hard time reconciling the dark, foreboding man with a man that cared about someone.
Harry ran a hand back through his long hair. It was all just so frustrating, why couldn't his summers be normal? Wasn't it enough that his school year was always interrupted by some machination of Voldemort? For once it would be great if all he had to worry about was normal teenage drama. He grabbed the Defense Book Hermione had given him for his birthday from the shelf above his desk. Determined to get some fresh air he headed outside to study under the big beech tree beside the Black Lake.
Severus strode straight through the gates of Hogwarts on a war path. Intent to make that old man pay for what he had done. He was halfway up the path when a snowy white owl flying down from the owlry caught his eye. He watched the familiar as it flew down to it's master and gracefully land on his shoulder, nipping at the boys ear.
He stopped, making his way off the path and peering out to survey the dark-haired boy below. What was he supposed to do? The boy hated him and who could blame him. He had taken out his frustration with the dreams, which he now knew where actually memories, on the boy in his last Occlumency lesson. It was of course completely contradictory to everything he had been trying to teach the child.
He took a deep breath, really, going to Albus was not the best course of action right now. He had been about to burst in to his office like some undisciplined Gryffindor. As he stared at the boy, that he now knew was his son, he felt a fierce flame of protectiveness blaze to life inside of him. He could best protect his son by keeping this to himself. Albus could not know what he knew. He could not risk having the meddling old fool in his business.
Of course that meant he could not tell Harry yet either, not until he had more of a handle on his Occlumency. If Albus ever suspected, he would not hesitate to push into Harry's mind and Harry was at no level to recognize an obliviation. Turning back up to the castle, Severus determined that the boy would learn an acceptable degree of Occlumency by the end of the month, even if it meant he had to alter his teaching style. He curled his lip slightly at that, Severs was never the type of man who liked to admit when he had been wrong, but thus far this summer, he had failed the boy. He felt sick enough having canceled a lesson. He had never canceled a lesson in all his years as a teacher it went against everything he was.
"Harry, my boy! Please come in, have a seat. Lemon drop?" Dumbledore proffered the silver tin to Harry which he waved away with one hand.
"No thank you, Professor." Harry had woken up, quite irritably, to the chime of an update to his calendar stating he was to meet Albus in his office at 9am. As he had dragged his aching body out of bed, he cursed to himself, apparently he would not begetting the lie in he had been planning. He felt miserable, completely exhausted and he was doing his best to keep it off of his face.
"Very well." Dumbledore sighed, he would never understand why no one ever accepted the muggle confection. "Now, you must be wondering why I wanted to see you this morning." He peered at Harry over his half moon glasses expecting an answer, even though it ought to be a redundant question.
"Yes, sir." Harry replied obediently, mentally rolling his eyes at Dumbledore's antics. He had to be in control of everything.
"I have a tentative plan set for your visit to Diagon Alley, I just have one more member of the Order that I need to speak with." Dumbledore looked quite pleased with himself, as though he had done Harry a great favor and in a way, the boy relented, he had. Harry brightened, straightening slightly in his chair, eager to see his friends again.
"I have arranged next Sunday for you to visit with your little friends, you will be departing from my office with two Order members. You will be allowed only three hours in Diagon Alley, so I suggest you make the most of your time. I expect you to stay close to the Order members at all time, no wandering off. Understood?" The wizened wizard peered seriously at the young wizard in front of him.
"I understand. Thank you, sir." Harry conceded, the man did deserve thanks, even if he wasn't on the best of terms with him at the time.
"Very well. You are dismissed." He smiled kindly at Harry. Harry stood swiftly making for the door when Dumbledore's voice stopped him short.
"Ah. Harry." Harry turned around tentatively raising an eyebrow in question. "Perhaps a haircut wouldn't be amiss while you are out."
Harry nodded his understanding and hurried down the spiral staircase anxious to get back to his rooms. Perhaps he could squeeze in a couple more hours sleep yet. In his hurry he narrowly avoided crashing into his Transfiguration's Professor. He maneuvered around her at the last second, as she held a hand to her heart with a gasp, startled.
"Sorry, Professor McGonagall." Harry exclaimed helping to steady the stern witch.
"And you are..." She paused, taking in the appearance of the wizard in front of her. Harry saw it when the flash or recognition entered her eye. He didn't look that different. Did he? "What on earth are you doing here, Mr. Potter?"
"You mean you don't know?" Harry asked before he could stop himself. He was sure Dumbledore would have told the Deputy Headmistress he was here.
"I assure you I have absolutely no idea, Mr. Potter. I was just on my way to see Albus to discuss the upcoming year." She surveyed the boy in front of her, if she didn't know better she would think he was a Snape and not a Potter at all. The difference from last year was remarkable and she wrinkled her eyebrows in thought.
"I've had to take up summer Occlumency and Defense lessons with Professor Snape. I've been given a room in the dungeons." Harry sighed, purposely not elaborating on the reason he arrived at Hogwarts to begin with. If she didn't know, he certainly wasn't going to be the one to enlighten her. Pity was the last thing he wanted. He just wanted to keep moving forward and all the studying was sure helping him not to think on things past.
"Ah, I see. Well I'm sure Albus will fill me in. On your way, Mr. Potter." She smiled kindly at him, she had always had a soft spot for the boy.
"Bye Professor!" Harry waved and turned on his his heel his robes billowing behind as he made for the stairs. Professor McGonagall gave the password to the stone gargoyle and thought to herself, 'Perhaps Harry has been spending a bit too much time with Severus, I'll have to be sure to invite him for biscuits soon.'
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