Molly watched Harry sleeping. They had talked about various charms and spells used in a wizarding household and she had recommended him a few books for starters. And if he was able to do these he could always ask her for more advanced ones.
She was glad to have at least one interested in this. None of her boys were interested in it too much, knowing the most important ones already (making tea and getting the dishes cleaned) and Ginny was interested in other things. Well, she still had a year before she was allowed to officially do magic outside of school. Maybe her interest would come then.
Molly was startled out of her thoughts by the door opening. She could see Severus entering the room and a second later she was once again startled when the previously sleeping Harry called out for Severus to join him in bed.
She could see the older wizarding blushing at this obvious request in her presence. Molly decided to not linger for much longer, that is once she knew how the trial ended.
"How did the Wizengamot decide?"
"Positive in many ways, although the Dursleys got a lighter punishment due to nobody checking on Harry and their being unaware of the tougher verdicts in the wizarding world. It ended with Vernon Dursley receiving 10 years in Azkaban. Petunia Dursley will never again raise a child, will do social services and all inheritance she received from your parents and grandparents will go to you. Dudley Dursley also will have to do social services regularly and go to a psychologist and a behaviour therapy since the Wizengamot thinks that he acted only because he was taught to. They hope to change this and make him more tolerant. Albus lost all his titles and Minerva was announced his successor. He will also go to Azkaban."
After that silence reined the room, all three thinking about what happened. Molly was just about to excuse herself when Harry said, "In a way I'm glad that Dudley wasn't punished so hard. I hope he learns that life isn't as easy as he thinks it is. While they might not have done anything bad to him, they spoiled him so much that I always thought he'd never survive on his own. In a way he is a victim just like me, the only difference is that in my case it is more obvious."
"You're right dear. I hope he is still able to change. But I will go now, I still have to make dinner," said Molly before going to Harry and hugging him.
"Goodbye," answered Harry.
Severus thanked her for making sure that Harry didn't feel too lonely and led her out.
Once he arrived back in the room he stripped down to his boxers and joined Harry in bed.
"Are you alright?"
"I'm somehow feeling a little better knowing that Dumbledore won't be able to influence my life anymore. It still feels kind of unreal, the thought that I won't be returning to the Dursleys, that Dumbledore isn't Headmaster anymore. There's a new peace in me, as if nothing bad can happen anymore," answered Harry.
Severus smiled, that was exactly the way he had felt when the verdict was announced.
They cuddled a bit, enjoying the silence and just being together. No one would come between them once again.
After a while Severus interrupted the silence, "You know Harry, there's something that I've been thinking about since I read your letter. You mentioned abilities that no one knows about. What exactly are those? And why did you keep them a secret in your first year? After your second I can understand what with the incident about you being a Parselmouth."
Harry didn't answer immediately, contemplating how to answer the question. He knew that he had to answer and that he could trust Severus with the answer, but that didn't change the fact that no one knew.
"As I mentioned in the letter I learned how to hide my abilities. When I first went to Primary School and excelled at it, I think I was the best without wanting to sound like Hermione, I thought that my aunt and uncle would like me then, but they still found a reason to punish me. Dudley belonged to the worst in the year and I wasn't supposed to be better. So I deliberately made mistakes also I knew better. Over time I learned to be as 'good' as Dudley. I did the same when I started Hogwarts; the only difference is that this time I took Ron as my example, the only exception being DADA. In my first year I didn't trust anyone with this and while the incident in my second year played a role I still didn't trust anyone. The likeliest persons to find out before that would have been Ron and Hermione. With time I my trust in Dumbledore actually shrank and I didn't know if the other teachers would tell him, after all he is the Headmaster. After the incident during the duelling club I also decided to research what was normal and what not. I never thought that speaking to snakes was not normal. It sounded like English to me after all," here Harry took a small break to catch his breath again, "As to what I can do… I can read other thoughts on certain occasions. When they're thinking about something at with a certain intensity for example. That's how I realised what Dumbledore had done; he was so focused on his plan for me to be alone. Mostly I can read other emotions. It helps me know whom I can trust and whom I better shouldn't. Although it didn't help me much with you since you didn't like me for reasons that had nothing to do with me."
Here Severus had to smile. He had been so focused on the face and had seen James Potter in everything that Harry had done that he simply projected certain facial expressions over the ones that actually were shown. Luckily things had changed during the one detention Harry had stood up to him. He truly had been surprised to hear that someone actually had taken notes on his introduction speech.
"Well, then there is the wandless magic I can do. I learned how to control my outburst before I even knew about magic and Hogwarts, but I could only do a few things, like making my blanket softer and warmer in winter or heal small injuries. I perfected it once I arrived at Hogwarts. The last thing I can do is talk with animals, not just snakes. I usually speak with Hedwig and I know I can speak with Crookshanks, Hermione's cat. I never succeeded with Pettigrew while he was still Ron's rat, but that might have been because he actually is an animagus, not a real rat," finished Harry.
Severus was astonished. Not only that Harry was able to do that, but that he had been able to hide it. That was quite a task at Hogwarts. "That quite a collection and I'm surprised that they're still a secret what with the way everyone seems to know a secret so quickly. I think it should remain so. It would be a great advantage against Voldemort. It also explains why you never seemed to be able to do Occlumency. You've got to do it in a different way due to your ability to sense emotions and thoughts and I possibly did not explain it the best way, just like Potions."
"Yeah, just like Potions. I never understood how I should clear my mind," answered Harry.
He had thought the whole last year about asking for another attempt at Occlumency, but was always afraid of failing again. Maybe it was time to start another one, now that they were more open with things and Severus knew what he was capable of.
Severus had to laugh, "What a pair we make. I'll start teaching you once Poppy declares you fit to leave bed and return to lessons, but for now we should rest. The way I know you, you'll want to start as soon as possible. I wonder how the other teachers will react if you suddenly get better or will you continue with your act?"
"I think I'll take Hermione as my model instead of Ron now. She already saw me reading your Potions Book and she even admitted to not understanding everything in it yet," answered Harry, "And yes, I'd like to start as soon as possible. I also want to try out some spells Molly explained to me. You'll have to taste my first magically made dinner then."
"I can hardly wait for that. I'll tell you whether I prefer your Muggle or Wizarding cooking better," responded Sev, pulling Harry even closer.
After a little more small talk both soon fell asleep.
A few weeks after the trial things had ebbed down a bit. The Gossip had turned to other things and the students started to focus on lessons and were awaiting the first game of the Quidditch season. For Harry this Monday morning at the end of September would be his first back to lessons.
He stood in front of the doors leading to the Great Hall, afraid to go in. Harry was scared how everyone would react to him being back and to what had been revealed since the school had started. He was startled out of his thoughts when someone laid a hand on his shoulder. Turning around he looked into the face of his lover, who looked encouragingly at him.
Taking a deep breath he took a step closer to the doors and opened it. At first no one looked at him, but with time more and more looked at him and then they started clapping, welcoming him back. Harry smiled shortly before turning and walking to the Gryffindor table, directing his way so he would sit next to Hermione who had visited him nearly daily. Their friendship might never be the same again as it was before, but they were working on a new one that would most probably end up being stronger and this time they had a common interest to talk about. On his way to her he was welcomed back by various Gryffindors, the only one that actually ignored him was Ron, but he found that he didn't care as much. Taking his seat between Ginny and Hermione, who both insisted on hugging him until he couldn't breathe anymore, Harry felt truly happy for the first time in his life. There was no Dumbledore anymore who could manipulate him, he wouldn't have to return to the Dursley's, and he had his Sev and friends that were there for him. For the first time in his life he thought that his future actually looked bright.
Looking at the Head table he found Severus sitting at his usual place, smiling at him. He could hear quite a few surprised gasps, but from what he heard Severus had become a little nicer and fairer during his lessons. Yes, his future was truly looking bright and he knew that one day he would have a nice, large family just like Mrs. Weasley and he would forever remember the child he lost. The child that made this future possible and one day they would be reunited in a future still far away.