When I asked everyone what they would like to see next, a sequel was what was requested the most. So here we go.

I want to thank everyone for their many reviews for the prequel to this. They made me very happy and eager to write again. For anyone who is new. Please read the Potions Apprentice first. Otherwise, you will be very confused.

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to the world of Harry Potter and its characters. These belong to J.K. Rowling

The Potions Journeyman

Chapter 1

"Did you get me something good for my birthday, tomorrow?" Harry asked eagerly.

"What?" Snape asked in mock-astonishment. "It's not your birthday tomorrow. You must be mistaken."

Harry rolled his eyes. "I'm not letting you get out of this one, Severus," he chided. "Like it or not, you're coming to the Weasleys with me. You're not avoiding it by pretending you forgot."

"Surely I might have taken a few blows to the head," Snape replied slyly. "A temporarily lapse in memory will be forgiven, don't you think?"

"I was there," Harry reminded Snape. "You didn't take any blows to the head."

"Perhaps your own memory loss made you forget?"

"I'll drag you there myself if I have to."

"I still don't understand why you would wish for me to be there," Snape sighed. "If not for my sake, think of the damper on your birthday spirits I would surely be."

"Don't be such a git," Harry grinned. "You know I want you there. It's always fun to see you scare the living daylights out of Ron."

"Enjoyable as that may be for me, Don't you think your little friends might fault you for it?"

"They know what you mean to me," Harry smiled, the teasing tone that had been in his voice now gone. "Which is why I want you there more than anything."

Snape shook his head in disbelief at the soft-hearted wretch he had become. "As you wish," he conceded. "Let that be your birthday present."

"Fine," Harry shrugged, calling Snape's bluff expertly. He plopped down onto the soft, fluffy couch they had picked out together and stared at the ceiling above him. He raised his recently injured arm in the air and tested it out as he had done many times in the past week.

"What are you doing?" Snape sighed.

"Just checking if my elbow will remain in place," Harry replied.

"If it did so yesterday, it will do so today," Snape sneered. "Unless you got into trouble again."

"Please," Harry sighed. "What kind of trouble could I possibly get into in this backwards neighbourhood?"

"If I recall, an all-out showdown with the Dark Lord happened right around the corner," Snape said. "Or are you experiencing memory loss after all?"

"You know that's not what I meant," Harry groaned. He flopped onto his belly and leaned on the armrest in order to stare out of the window. Alex was setting up a newly painted white picket fence around the front yard of the house. He stopped for a moment to seemingly crack his back when he locked gazes with Harry. He happily waved to the boy causing Harry to wave back.

"Maybe I should help him," Harry said guiltily.

Snape looked out of the window as well to see what Harry meant before grunting disapprovingly.

"You will do no such thing," he said. "You're still recovering from your injuries. Magic isn't the cure for everything, you know?"

"I know," Harry grumbled, sliding down the couch onto the floor in dismay. "But I'm just so bored!"

"Read a book," Snape suggested.

"I already read every book I own," Harry replied. "Twice!"

"So read them a third time," Snape replied as he turned the page of his own book. "And stop fidgeting."

"Git," Harry muttered under his breath.

"Brat," Snape replied cheerfully. "By the way. This came for you this morning. Perhaps it will take your mind off of things."

Snape waved an envelope in Harry's direction for him to take.

"What's that?" Harry asked.

"Your O.W.L. results I would wager," Snape replied, now flicking the envelope towards Harry when he still hadn't gotten up to collect it.

Harry caught it easily with his seeker reflexes but made no attempt to open it.

"If you expect the parchment to announce the results to you in the same manner a howler would, I can assure you that that will not be happening," Snape said evenly. "What are you worried about?"

"What if my results are bad?" Harry said, "I kind of skipped half of my History of Magic exam because of – well – everything that happened."

"I will take that into account," Snape replied. "Considering your magical prowess, I am sure everything else will be satisfactory."

Harry chuckled. "If you say so." He gathered his Gryffindor courage and opened the envelope. He skipped the accompanying letter with all the background information he didn't particularly care for at that moment and looked at his results.

Astronomy: A
Care of Magical Creatures: E
Charms: E
Defence Against the Dark Arts: O
Divination: P
Herbology: E
History of Magic: D
Potions: O
Transfiguration: E

"I got a Poor in Divination," Harry groaned.

"Excellent," Snape praised. "I would have had to ground you had you done any better."

"And Dreadful in History," Harry continued in equal distress.

"That could only be expected," Snape said. "Would you like me to request a make-up exam for you?"

"No, that's alright," Harry sighed. "It's not as if I want to be a history professor or anything."

"That's for the best," Snape responded. "Because I highly doubt that Professor Binns will ever retire."

Snape winced a little as he repositioned in the couch. His abdomen still hurt somewhat when he moved around at times. He tried not to show it, though.

"All in all, you did very well, Harry," Snape complimented. "And you got an O in potions, which is most important after all."

"At least I'll get to be in your N.E.W.T. class," Harry grinned.

Surprisingly, Snape smirked mischievously at that statement.

"What?" Harry asked carefully.

"I won't be teaching potions next year, Harry," Snape revealed.

"What?" Harry jumped to his feet, ignoring the dull ache in his leg from where the tendons were cut. "Did Dumbledore sack you? Why?"

"Calm down, you impetuous child," Snape chided, raising the one eyebrow in response. "I've been offered the Defence Against the Dark Arts position and I can't very well teach two classes. I would surely have some mysterious disappearances of students on my hands if I did that."

"Oh," Harry said as he sunk back down. "I wonder what will happen to you this year?"

"Whatever do you mean?" Snape sighed exasperatedly.

"That position is cursed, after all," Harry shrugged. "No one seems to manage it for more than a year."

"Perhaps you wouldn't have gotten a Poor in Divination if you had spouted that particular nonsense on your exam," Snape snarled. "Don't be daft."

Harry looked out of the window again and saw Alex examine the magical Lilies with a frown. "Uh oh," he said.

"What?" Snape asked.

"Aren't you ever afraid that some muggle might think your patch of magical lilies to be somewhat strange?" Harry asked, eyeing Alex carefully.

"They bloom the way the seasons command them to," Snape explained, not at all worried.

"Take it from someone who has actually spent time in a garden," Harry said. "Flowers like those don't just come back year after year for over a decade. You even spelled that patch to be clear of weeds and stuff."

"I doubt anyone will take notice," Snape sighed, utterly bored with the subject.

"Alex seems very intrigued for one," Harry said as he waved at the man once more.

"I'll take care of it," Snape grumbled. He carefully got up from his seat and walked out of the door, towards Alex. Harry watched their exchange with mild interest.

Alex was all smiles and chuckles while Snape talked to him in that calm and eerie way he had about him. Harry saw Snape pull some notes out of his pocket and attempt to hand them to Alex but the muggle held his hands up defensively, refusing to take anything. Snape looked so irritated that it made Harry laugh out loud. Eventually, Snape grabbed hold of Alex' jacket and forcibly stuffed the notes in there before stomping back inside leaving a somewhat peeved Alex on his lawn.

"Bribed him to keep his mouth shut about the lilies?" Harry laughed.

"I merely rewarded him for his services," Snape said gruffly.

"Doesn't look like he wanted your reward," Harry said. "Look."

Snape followed Harry's pointed finger to see Alex put the notes down on their porch, holding the money down with a stone. Snape rapped on the window, causing Alex to look up in alarm before the man waved happily and ran off.

"Dunderhead," Snape muttered. "He should think of his wife."

"He probably does," Harry said as Snape went out to retrieve the money. "He probably thinks about you helping her way back when."

Snape made a non-committal noise before burying his overly large nose back into his book muttering things about muggles and Gryffindors.

"Happy Birthday, Harry!" Ron yelled loudly as soon as Harry stepped through the floo. He clapped Harry on the shoulder but jumped back when Snape appeared next.

"Hello, Professor," Ron greeted shiftily.

"Good morning, Mr Weasley," Snape responded. "How is your potions essay coming along?"

Ron gulped, his face becoming as red as his hair. "Well, er…"

"Harry!" Called a shrill voice. Before Harry could register the presence of his friend, he was engulfed in the bushy mane that was Hermione's. He almost fell backwards by the sheer force of her impromptu hug but the subtle and strong hand of Snape held him upright.

"Kindly steady yourself, Ms Granger," Snape chided lightly. "Harry has not yet recovered from last week's ordeal."

Hermione withdrew immediately, horror on her face. "Oh, Harry, I'm so sorry!"

"It's okay, Hermione," Harry assured with a mean look at his guardian who was glaring back without remorse. "He exaggerates."

"Well, Happy birthday," Hermione said happily, ignoring the comment Harry made. She was clearly still afraid of the fearsome man.

There were at least two members of the Weasley household who did not fear the Potions Master one bit. And they made that very clear when they showered both of the new arrivals with confetti and wildly coloured crickets that chirped the tune to 'Happy birthday'.

"Happy birthday, Harry!" Fred and George cried in unison.

"Oh hey there, Professor," Fred said as he clapped Snape on his thankfully good shoulder. Snape seemed to be too taken aback by that bold gesture to make a snide comment.

"Confetti really is your style," George laughed, winking at their least favourite professor.

Casually, Snape smoothed his robe and attempted to remove some of the confetti by doing so. It multiplied as soon as he touched it.

Harry snorted as he tried to conceal his laughter.

"Well," Snape said sternly. "I'll be happy to be rid of your presences in my class."

Fred sighed sadly," More's the pity, Professor."

"We will miss you dearly," George said as he put a hand to his heart. "But we will make sure that our fantastic pranks will never be forgotten. You see -"

"We have decided –"

"- To open a joke shop!"

"And you have been selected to test out very first products!"

Snape glared at them. "I suppose it was too much to wish for a year free of your shenanigans."

"Come on, Professor," Fred teased. "You know you'll miss us."

"We've always been your favourites," George agreed.

Snape – who had quite enough of the multiplying confetti and harassing crickets at this point – moved his wand to banish the blasted joke products into nothingness.

George clicked his tongue. "That won't do, Fred."

"Indeed not, George," Fred agreed. "That was too easy. We will need to make some improvements."

"But for now, Quidditch, Harry?" George asked.

"Absolutely!" Harry agreed eagerly.

"I think not," Snape said sternly. "Must I remind you, once again, that you are still injured?"

Harry rolled his eyes. "I'll be fine," he whined. "I've had much worse than this if you remember. And besides, it's not like it's going to be dangerous or anything."

"Fine," Snape complied. "But if you fall off your broom, you are banned from Quidditch this year."

"Ha! I'd like to see you say that to McGonagall," Harry challenged. But he didn't wait around to hear Snape's reply. Instead, he rushed off to the Weasleys who were already waiting for him to get on his broom. Hermione was keeping score rather than getting into the air herself.

"How are you fairing, Severus?" Molly asked as she put down a glass of pumpkin juice next to him. "I can't imagine the difficulty of suddenly taking in a teenage boy."

"Try one that keeps trying to get killed every year," Snape added with annoyance. "It's a good thing the Dark Lord is finally gone."

"I hear they might give Harry an award for his services," Molly said.

"I doubt he'll appreciate that," Snape chuckled. "I think he's quite content staying out of the spotlight."

"You know him well," Molly smiled. "And you are right, of course. Didn't you have any reporters come to your door yet?"

"I think that most people don't know that Harry lives with me now," Snape replied. " Let alone that they know where I live. And even that changed overnight."

"I'll take that as a no," Molly replied. Snape nodded.

Snape watched Harry toss the quaffle through a makeshift hoop, bypassing Ron to do so. He laughed as he did a victory loop around his best friend who seemed to seethe on his broomstick.

"Molly," Snape asked hesitantly. "Does Harry look happy to you?"

Molly eyed him questioningly before diverting her gaze to the raven-haired child in the air.

"Most of the time," she said. "More so now than he used to. But I think he's always had a lot on his mind."

"I see," Snape sighed.

"Don't worry, Severus," Molly said encouragingly. "I'm sure that – with You-Know-Who gone – he will be a lot happier all around. The weight of the world should no longer be on his shoulders."

"You're probably right," Snape said evenly. "Thank you, Molly."

"Anytime," Molly said sweetly. "Would you like a fire whiskey, dear?"

"Very much so," Snape grinned.

"Present time!" Fred and George yelled as they thrust a big box into Harry's arms. "Please look away, Professor," Fred added.

Harry received a load of joke products that came with strict instructions. Snape did not look away. In fact, he was interested to see what kind of mischief he could expect.

"Please try them out and let us know how they worked," George said. "Honest feedback only, please."

"Will do," Harry grinned before accepting his other gifts. He received the usual load of sweets, homemade pudding and quidditch novelties from the Weasleys. From Lupin and Hermione, he got books. At least that would give him something to do for the rest of the summer.

"What did you get him, Severus?" Molly asked encouragingly.

"I showed up," Snape shrugged. "That was our agreement."

"That it was," Harry smirked, once again calling Snape's bluff.

The pair stared each other down for a minute or two before Snape conceded. "Brat," he said in an almost loving way. He tousled Harry's head roughly causing Ron's mouth to fall open.

"Stop it!" Harry chuckled and stepped back from the offending hand.

"Happy Birthday," Snape said and suddenly handed Harry two gifts that he seemed to have conjured out of thin air. Naturally, they were wrapped in green paper with silver ribbons.

"Really?" Harry asked incredulously. "How many times do I have to remind you that I'm in Gryffindor!"

"No way," Snape gasped theatrically. "That must have slipped my mind. Are you quite sure?"

Hermione snorted and received an anxious glare from Ron for it. Molly and Arthur just wore big and goofy grins.

"Slytherins," Harry muttered before ripping the paper off the first, smaller box. Inside of it was a large, golden cuff with crimson adornments at its edges. In the rim, there was a hole with a sort of small and flat quill inserted into it.

"It's beautiful," Harry said honestly, slapping the cuff on his left wrist.

"Try using the quill to write something on it," Snape said.

Curious, Harry did as he was told. He wrote the word 'hi' and watched it disappear much like the words in Tom Riddle's diary had done.

"Look," Snape said and he showed Harry a cuff he was wearing made of silver and green. On its surface, the word 'hi' had appeared.

"It's a means of communicating," Snape explained. "With your knack of finding danger wherever you go, I thought this might be a fitting gift. It might also ease my worries a bit."

"Thank you," Harry said, smiling brightly. "I don't expect to be needing it this year but it's beautiful either way."

"I hope you're right, Harry," Snape said before motioning to the larger package.

As eager as a young child, Harry ripped the paper of the soft and light package to shreds revealing a set of gorgeous robes.

"Wow," Ron said adoringly. "Nice duelling robes, Professor Snape."

"Duelling robes?" Harry asked. He unfurled the fabric and stared in awe at the beautifully sown black robes with golden detailing that almost seemed like what muggles would call Elvish. The sleeves had room for storing one's wand and the inner pockets were designed to hold potions. There were even some hidden pockets for items you didn't want revealed to your enemy. The fabric was light but seemed very sturdy.

"You'll be needing those in my class," Snape said. "So I thought I would give you a head start."

Harry very much doubted that any of the other students would be buying duelling robes as gorgeous and expensive-looking as these. Emerald eyes sought out obsidian, screaming gratitude.

"Thank you so much," Harry said. Even after all those years, he was still not entirely used to getting gifts. And who knew that Snape could be so thoughtful with his. Before Harry had even realized it, he had wrapped his arms around Snape's waist in a warm hug which Snape reciprocated immediately albeit awkwardly.

"Think nothing of it, Harry," Snape said. "You deserve all of this and much more."

When Harry pulled away and turned back to his friends, he saw them all gape at them in various stages of shock. He supposed it had to be quite rare to see Snape exhibit any kind of emotion, let alone one of love. Harry grinned. That was exactly what that was. Love.

"Who wants cake?" Molly asked, breaking the silence. She revealed a large birthday cake that she made herself. It flashed brightly in the Gryffindor colours and had sixteen candles lit on top.

"Make a wish, Harry," Arthur urged.

Harry thought long and hard. He already had everything he wanted and didn't want to ask for anything more. So instead, he wished for everything to stay like this. Because right now, he was happy.

When Harry and Snape stepped out of the floo again, they were met with a rapid knock on their door. It was already late and Snape told Harry to wait in the sitting room.

"Voldemort may be gone but there are still Death Eaters on the loose," he had explained.

Wand at the ready, he opened his door, only to be aiming the magical stick at Alex' face. He looked utterly confused and even a bit upset.

"Alexander," Snape greeted. "It is late. Is something wrong with Emma?"

"Emma's fine, Severus," Alex frowned. "But there is something I need to ask you."

By now, Harry- who realized there was no danger – had stepped up as well.

"Would you like to come in?" he asked.

"Oh, Harry," Alex greeted. "Happy birthday, kiddo. And yes, thank you."

Begrudgingly, Snape allowed Alex entry, cocking an eyebrow at his dishevelled and somewhat dirty appearance. Harry brought him a cup of tea that he seemed to eye somewhat suspiciously before taking a sip.

"What's wrong?" Harry asked.

"Okay," Alex said, clearly gathering courage for something. "Severus, I have always defended you against some of the people who thought you were a vampire. I mean, how silly can you get, right? But I always knew there was something off about you."

"Excuse me?" Snape growled.

"Yeah, I love you and all, but you are out of the ordinary as I'm sure you'll admit."

Snape grunted disapprovingly but held his tongue.

"So look, I wanted to get Harry something nice for his birthday," Alex explained. "So I thought that maybe I could find something in the remains of your old house. You know, belongings that you had been unable to collect or something. So I sifted through the rubble and the dust, only finding bits and pieces of what used to be books when I unearthed a door that led to a cellar of some kind."

"Ah," Snape said.

"Yeah!" Alex acknowledged. "It was like finding a medieval witch's lair. Stuffed with cauldrons and nasty looking ingredients it was. I found books there that were somewhat more intact and – well – you know me, I'm curious. So I took a gander. The things I read in there! I almost thought it was a joke but if so, it was a very elaborate one."

Snape gripped his wand a little tighter which didn't escape Harry's notice.

"So I wanted to head back here and ask you what this was all about when all of a sudden and out of the blue, a tall and ancient man appeared. His beard was long enough to tuck into his pants. I was scared of him at first but he seemed very kind. He just smiled at me and asked me if I knew you. So naturally, I regaled him with one of the many stories that I have of you. He laughed – because of course he did – and disappeared! Just like that!"

"Bloody Dumbledore," Snape growled. "Decrepit, senile old bat."

"Yeah, so er…" Alex concluded. "Are you a magician or a witch or something, Severus?"

And so it begins. This is kind of a prelude because the real stuff will happen at Hogwarts but we'll get there.

Please give me a review if you can. I'm eager to hear your thoughts.

Last revised on 12/07/2020