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Matters of the Heart

Chapter 13

The students gathered in the Main Hall waiting for the all clear to head into Hogsmeade. After the Headmistress addressed the students about behavior and such, she wandlessly opened the doors signaling the OK. Filch stood on the steps with his clipboard and marked off the students as they began to leave.

Fillius and Pomona were at the front of the queue while Severus and Harry were bringing up the rear. Every now and then students would look back to the two of them with awe in their eyes. Their most hated teacher was walking with their most loved teacher...and they were talking like they were best mates! Harry laughed at their antics but for the most part ignored the looks. While Severus pretended not to notice them at all.

"The last time I walked this town was before the final battle. It looks so different now compared to then." Harry said wistfully.

"You missed quite a few battles here while you were gone. Some of them I'm surprised I even survived." Severus said back. Harry turned a questioning look at him and Severus smiled. "My loyalty was always in question...from both sides, and whenever I left the Castle I had to be extremely careful. Several times Fillius saved my arse, believe it or not. That little man can fight with a wand and I'm personally grateful I was on his side of the war."

"Really? Fillius?" Harry murmured. Thinking back to when the Charms instructor had tea with him. "He saved you? How?" Why was this question so important for Harry?

"Honestly, I'm not sure. There were several Death Eaters and sympathizers causing havoc here in town. The Dark Lord held rule over this place waiting for you to show your face."

They continued to walk the center of town watching the students intermittently. "There were charms all around the shops and in the surrounding areas. If you had stepped one foot in the forest around here the blaring sirens would have woken the dead."

"Somehow we knew Hogsmeade would be off limits to us." Harry cut in, "I mean, we thought about coming here several times but the risk was too great. Not just to us but to the war effort as well. In fact, we believed Voldemort would find us and kill us away from other people so we concentrated on protecting ourselves and staying away from places people thought we might go."

"That would have been my choice if I were him." Severus agreed. "But you did go to Godric's Hollow." Raising an eyebrow. "That wasn't very smart even for Miss Granger."

"No it wasn't. Even then he wanted to capture me, not kill me. Thank Merlin old Tom Riddle liked to grandstand. He just couldn't help himself when it came to defeating me. He wanted to make sure his followers and the Light knew exactly who was more powerful."

"Riddle?"

Harry looked sideways to Severus, "Voldemort."

"I know that. Riddle does not sound like a pure-blood name."

"He was a halfblood. His mother was a witch and his father a muggle."

Severus actually smiled and Harry's inner Vampire swooned. "I wonder if Lucius knew that." They both laughed at the thought.

"Probably not. He would never stoop so low as to kiss the hem of a halfblood's robes. I wish I could've seen his face when he found out." Severus added.

Harry studied the other man's face, watching the creases and lines come and go on his forehead. 'What was he thinking?' he wondered. He watched as Severus decided something and blanked his face.

'He's so cute when he's working things out', Harry thought to himself.

He's not cute...Ugh... He's ruggedly handsome and he's all ours!

'True'

Harry touched his Mates elbow and motioned towards the Apothecary. Severus nodded and they adjusted course. These small touches and nuances meant the world to Harry and his Vampire. It's like they're connecting on a different level now, a more equal level, since Harry's return.

Secretly, Harry loved it.

"So Fillius?" Harry prompted, bringing them back on conversation.

"There was an attack here in the village. Death Eaters set fire to the Hogs Head and they were torturing anyone who was in sight. They were looking for you and thought someone in town was hiding you. Albus sent all the professors with fighting skill out, plus himself and we waited for the Aurors to come. The fight was bloody, on both sides." He paused to settle himself. "I was surrounded by four Death Eaters and injured. They had me backed up against an alley wall. I honestly thought I was going to die that day."

"What happened?"

"I'm not quite sure. One minute there were four Death Eaters there, the next only one. I didn't hesitate, I started throwing curse after curse and managed to get away from the wall and out into the open alley. That's when I noticed Fillius dueling another Death Eater. I didn't have time to waste and concentrated on my own Death Eater but before I could dispense of him Fillius took him out from behind."

"What happened to the one he was fighting?" Harry asked.

"Dead. When all was said and done, all four Death Eaters were dead. I was so injured and tired I passed out. Next time I woke up I was in the infirmary."

"Wow. How bad were you injured?"

"Bad enough. To this day I still don't know how he took out three of those Death Eaters single handedly. I owe him several life debts but he insists that I don't." Shaking his head, "and my magic had accepted that. It's unheard of, but he won't elaborate and I stopped pushing."

"Remind me never to underestimate our fellow Professor." Harry joked.

"Yes, he might not look like it but that little half Goblin is a master dueler and master battle man. He's lethal with a wand and as graceful as a Veela when fighting. I was very much in awe of him." Severus opened the Apothecary door and motioned for Harry to enter first. Once inside, Severus pointed down the first aisle and Harry followed.

Severus came up beside him and pointed again to the back shelf. "I would swear the man had more training than just being a dueling champion, his knowledge of spells goes way beyond any dueling club I've been in. And his moves are more defensive in nature than they should be. Ah! He finally has it!" He exclaimed happily as he reached for the weird can on the shelf. "I've been looking for this for ages. I guess he finally got tired of me asking for it." He held up the odd can before grabbing another.

Harry chuckled and watched as Severus collected his prize. "Maybe Fillius did have some other training. Have you ever asked him?"

"Actually I have but he would never give me a straight answer. Like it's some big secret or something. I can keep a secret, you know. I was a spy for the light while pretending to spy for that monster. But I understand his unwillingness to divulge his secrets, so I just let it go. The man protected me when no one else did, the least I can do for him is honour his wishes." He said matter of factly.

Harry understood secrets very well and was beginning to wonder if Fillius knew Severus was destined to be his mate; even then - when he didn't even know he had a creature gene in him.

Maybe it's time to have that tea with the warrior Fillius and soon.

XxxX

"Severus, I was thinking."

"Merlin help us!"

"Haha, funny."

Severus gave Harry a sideways shoulder bump but continued walking. Harry relished the feeling of seeing this side of the stern man when no one else could, even in public.

"Seriously, I was thinking about Halloween this year. I think I would like to visit my parent's…" Just then a student came barreling past them.

"Johnson! You will walk like a human being or you will be serving detention with me, on the next Hogsmeade weekend!" Severus snarled.

That stopped the student cold in his tracks and with caution he began to walk, slow at first gradually getting faster to catch up to his friends.

Chuckling Harry touched Severus' arm again, "I thought he was going to wet his pants." Not able to hold his laughter any longer.

"That would have been a bonus." He smirked to the younger man and the sides of his mouth tilted up slightly. Harry squeezed his arm while laughing out loud.

His inner vampire beamed with glee.

"Harry I think going to your parents gravesite is a great idea. How often do you visit?"

They made it to The Three Broomsticks and found a table near the back. Some of the students watched them but soon realized they weren't being watched so continued on with what they were doing. Secretly though, they watched to make sure their favorite Professor was okay.

Harry looked sad and answered quietly, "I'm ashamed to say I've only been the one time." At Severus' confused look he added, "During the Horcrux hunt when Hermione and I went to Godric's Hollow. It was Christmas time and there was snow everywhere. I had never been there before so we went to the graveyard and to the house. It was so surreal." His eyes shone a little with tears and his voice was soft. The memory still hurt his heart.

"I bet. You had never gone before that?"

"No. When was the last time you were there?" Harry asked. Not wanting to get into all that.

Severus' face paled. Harry kept quiet and waited patiently for him to respond. Severus looked down at his entwined fingers. "I have only been to your mother's grave once. She was my best friend for many years and I fucked it up. I went there not long after the funeral to ask for her forgiveness for what I'd done. Not just for calling her that awful word but for telling the Dark Lord about the prophecy. I never thought of going back."

Harry continued to stare at the top of Severus' head. The silence between them was uncomfortable but he was determined not to let it be.

We are inviting him to come with us, right? More bonding time and touches. I think he could use that as much as we do

'I know.'

Harry reached over and clasped the older hands in his own and whispered. "Come with me."

The older man looked up into pleading green eyes, "Why would you want me too?" And Harry could see the pain in his eyes.

"Because you're my best friend and maybe, just maybe, this visit would help us both. I mean, I'll understand if you chose not to come with me - I'll be sad but I'd understand."

He could feel the other man's eyes boring into his head. He wanted to touch his face, touch his hair that was hanging aside his face. More than anything he wanted to hold him and comfort him but they weren't there yet. So he waited.

"I don't think I belong there, but I'll go for you. I too value your friendship above others." He seemed to relax after saying this and sat up straighter when Harry's smile lit up his face.

XxxX

The next couple of weeks flew by. Between teaching, running, detentions and his almost daily visits with Severus, Halloween was upon them faster than Harry was prepared for.

He was nervous. Nervous and anxious. More so than he should be, but he's decided that on their visit to Godric's Hollow he would tell Severus more about his creature inheritance.

With his stomach flipping and his nerves twitching he donned his running gear and headed out for a quick run. No feeding this time, just a few laps around the Castle to clear his mind then a quick shower before meeting his Mate at the front doors around noon.

His body was humming, his skin glowing and his heart racing with the knowledge of what he was planning on doing today. Even his inner self was jittery.

Today is the day. I'm nervous and excited at the same time. How much are you planning on telling him? How are you going to tell him? How do you think he'll react?

'Merlin'

*laughter* I feel so happy. The bond is growing stronger everyday. The only thing missing is the claiming and I'm hoping this will be the first step in the right direction. I can't wait to hold him, touch him and taste him….

Harry tried to tune him out as he kept rambling on and on and on; concentrating solely on his running but it wasn't easy.

...listening to him moan and scream…

He rounded the back of the Castle, his steps hitting the ground hard, sweat forming on his brow…

...tasting him, licking his essence and savoring the flavor…

'Please'

...oh yes! Hearing his sexy voice beg, beg for our…

"Enough!" Harry stopped short, panting in frustration.

What?

"Please stop. I'm trying to calm down and you're working me up!"

"Professor Potter are you okay?"

Harry felt his face heat up. 'Great, now they're going to think I'm crazy'

"Yeah, I'm fine." He grunted and started running not bothering to look back.

*laughing*

XxxX

Harry looked at himself in the mirror and studied his attire. He was still nervous but a good nervous now.

It will be fine. He's our friend and friends understand.

He blew out a breath, ran his hands down his front and nodded at himself. Let's do this.

Severus was already at the Main doors and Harry took a minute to soak him in. He was dressed all in black but not in robes. He was wearing a muggle suit that fit him extremely well.

Fuck

When Severus spotted him he smiled and watched as Harry made his way toward him.

Merlin, he's scrumptious.

"Harry, you look frightened." The older man joked. "Are you going to be ill?"

This actually eased Harry's worries. He patted the older man's shoulder and smiled. "I guess I'm just anxious. I feel like I'm meeting them for the first time. It's been so long. I'm glad you're coming with me." Greens eyes shone brightly and Severus returned the pat on his back.

"Shall we?" He said and opened the door for them.

They apparated to a street in Godric's Hollow. The same street Harry and Hermione walked down on their visit that Christmas morning. In front of them was the small church with the cemetery behind it. They walked closely and slowly towards the gate.

"Harry" Severus stopped him just as he reached for the handle. "I can't tell you how much this means to me. I want you to know that I loved your mother."

"I know and I'm very glad you came with me. We both loved her."

"Maybe I should wait here while you go in first and pay your respects. Then I'll join you. These are your parents. They sacrificed for you. You need to connect with them first."

"Severus…"

"I promise I'll be right here and when you're ready send your Patronus. Go on." He opened the gate for Harry and nudged him through.

Harry wanted to argue, to tell the man he wanted the support but Severus pushed him along, so he went. Walking around the church to the older headstones, he felt his heart beat faster. He began to feel chills up his arm and down his back, he bit his bottom lip several times before licking them then wiping them with the back of his hand. Why was he so nervous? What should he say? Should he say anything?

Listen to me. Our parents loved us enough to die for us. They died for you. So you could have a life, so you could experience love with someone and have your own family. Talk from your heart, Harry. You might not remember them much but they remember you. Trust your instincts.

'Thanks. Trust my instincts.'

He found the headstones, looking almost new with manicured grass and flowers adorning them. He conjured a bouquet of lilies and placed them gently on his mum's grave. Then he conjured a blanket and spread it over both graves and sat down. He read both headstones more than once before he attempted to speak. It was difficult with the lump in his throat but he pushed past it. As he started, tears formed in his eyes and fell slowly as he emptied his heart to his parents.

"Mum, dad. I'm not sure what to say to you. I'm sorry for starters for not visiting you sooner or more often. I suppose you know where and with whom I grew up with, so visiting you before I was legal wasn't happening." He looked to the church and kept talking. "I'm sorry you didn't get to see me grow up. And I'm sorry I didn't get to see you grow old. I wish I had.

Voldemort is dead now. He's been gone for five years now. Your sacrifice was not in vain. You know, when I was growing up in that house with those people I would question why you left me. Of course I thought you died in a car crash for ten years of my life. But then I found magic and Hogwarts and friends and I forgot to wish for a family. I found one in Ron, Hermione and the Headmaster."

He wiped his face and sobbed. "But as the years progressed I realized...I realized that the ones I counted on didn't love me…oh god...would never love me like you did. I've never missed two people as much as I've missed you guys. And I love you so much for loving me as much as you do." A sob escaped him, tears and snot ruining his face. "I'm not going to go into details but just know that I'm okay now."

He stopped talking and allowed his grief to run its course. When he was here with Hermione they didn't have time to stay and grieve. It was a quick 'hi there' visit. Now all his emotions are pouring out of him and he's finding it hard to stop.

Severus?

Harry shook his head once. 'Not yet'. He gathered himself together, cleaned his face and looked at their engraved names. Under each of their names there's a trio of hearts. Two large ones touching and a smaller one just below. The smaller one is open on the right side and he wondered why it wasn't finished. Just looking at the hearts filled him with love and he knew it symbolized their family.

"After everything was said and done I came into my creature inheritance. I wish I'd had known it was possible before it happened but I'm glad it did. I'm so happy now. I have a wonderful family with people I love dearly and who love me. I've been gone for the past five years training and learning and have only just returned. I'm here for my Other." He smiled unknowingly, "Mum, dad… it's Severus Snape. I know there's not a lot of love between you guys but I hope that you're happy for me. I know he'll make me very happy."

He sat quiet for a few minutes thinking about Severus and his future. Wondering if his parents would really be happy for him. Of course, he knew his parents were dead but a part of him secretly wanted some acknowledgement that his Other was accepted. He began to feel serene and more comfortable, his senses reaching out to Severus to make sure he was still there. He was. Smiling again he began to stand. That's when he noticed it. The trio of hearts had become four. The smaller one had closed and next to it a new one had started. It wasn't closed but just at the beginning of creation. Harry's breath hitched.

He ran his fingers over the new addition reverently tears welling in his eyes. "Thank you" he whispered. "Thank you, Mum and dad." He waved his wand and Prongs appeared next to him. "Go get Severus and walk him over." He said to the stag never taking his fingers off the hearts.

XxxX

They were in the graveyard for a long time. He gave the older man his space when the man choked up. He knew the love Severus had for Lily was not sexual. More along the lines of brother and sister. His skin was a light with tingles and the bond he felt vibrate with pleasure at the knowledge his parents approved.

"I never noticed these hearts here before." Severus inquired. "But to be fair I was only here briefly long ago and my grief was horrible. What do they mean?" He asked as he turned to face Harry.

"Severus, I think it's time I told you something."

Severus lifted an eyebrow and moved closer to him. "Okay, are you alright?"

"Yeah I'm fine. I want to tell you what creature I am. I've been wanting to tell you for a while now but I've been too scared to." The bond hummed inside him and he tried to look confident at the older man. Guess he was failing because Severus came closer and put his hands on his shoulders.

"Why ever would you be scared? We are friends, best friends and we've told each other things before. Some good, some bad. What makes this any different?"

Harry studied the man's face looking for confidence in his words. "I don't want to lose you as a friend. I've come to cherish what we have."

"Harry" he said softly and with one hand took hold of Harry's braid and ran it through his fingers. Harry's inner vampire nearly fainted. "I cherish what we have as well, don't you trust me enough with such a personal secret?"

"It's not a matter of trust, Severus. It's about putting my whole self out there to someone. I've never done that before."

"You don't have to tell me. I'm not pressuring you to and honestly it doesn't matter to me what you are. I like you, I like talking to you, being with you, we have fun together and I don't do fun." He chuckled. "Nothing you tell me will change how I feel about you. Okay?"

It will be okay. See it doesn't matter to him!

Severus kept his hold on Harry's shoulders and sighed. "Honestly, if you're not a Living Vampire then what could you possibly be?"

XxxX

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