A/N: Sheesh, it hasn't even been 2 months yet and I'm getting angry reviews to tell me to update. -- And in my defense, I was gone for 3 of those almost 2 months, and then school started. (but I haven't failed anything yet, so this is a good thing!)
Anyway, chapter is dedicated to 'whyshoulditellyou', who's review scared me into typing this up.
Just a note—I know last chapter happened fast. You can sort of tell I was eager to move on to other stories; the inspiration was fading fast so the chapter was very rushed in an effort to actually get the story finished. This one's kind of like that too. At some point I will go back and edit these last two chapters to flesh them out and extend the story a little more—but it won't be any major plot changes so you won't have to read them again if you don't want to.
Another note: the college here is made up. You'll see when you get there.
Disclaimer: I never said I owned Harry Potter, okay! Tell these creepy dudes to get away from me and stop waving copyrights in my face!
Italics is Parseltongue.
Bold is telepathy-stuff.
"Severus. Tell Draco that I'm proud of him, and that I will be there if he needs me." With that, he swung up onto the back of the thestral and both disappeared, despite all on the field having seen death.
Albus was silent for a moment, as he had been since the remark about the Boy-Who-Lived. He shook his head with a sigh and turned to his staff.
"Minerva, go Fire Call Remus and see if he can get here. Severus, please go check on the students. Filius, call the Minister. The rest of you, help me with the Death Eaters please." The animals looked up as the teachers approached, and opened a space for them to enter the circles. The three named professors walked to the school, then separated in the Entrance Hall.
Severus continued into the great Hall, where he was met by the Stunned bodies of five Death Eaters, hanging motionless near the doors and wrapped up in what seemed to be seamless ropes made up of… napkins? He shook his head and looked beyond, to where the 7th years still protected the others. Wands lowered as they recognized the intruder and Severus allowed a small smile as he approached. Draco met him halfway.
"Sir, did we win?" Severus looked out at the weary children and allowed the smile to grow.
"Voldemort has been defeated and his Death Eaters captured." Ragged cheers filled the air as students turned to their neighbors and shared hugs and exuberant handshakes. Severus looked at the Slytherin before him with wry amusement as a sobbing blur latched onto him. With a sheepish look on his face, which was slowly gaining two spots of color on his cheeks, Draco turned his attention to the bush-haired Gryffindor.
"Shhhh… C'mon Hermione, it's alright… Harry would smile at you and tell you not to be so emotional." Hermione sniffed back her tears and smiled shakily at Draco.
"And you'd come over and tell him to stop being such a hero." Draco just shrugged slightly and she smiled. Then she was off again, ducking into the crowd of students to find a pair of redheads. Draco frowned suddenly and looked at Severus.
"Where's Raven?" The Potions Master sighed.
"He left after defeating Voldemort. Said he didn't want the fame. He gave me a message for you—he's proud of you, and he'll be there if you need him." Draco smiled slightly.
"Aye…" Severus turned and went out to assist with the Death Eaters as Draco began to take charge, sending the Houses to their common rooms to continue partying.
Damien slid off the thestral in an alley, somewhere in London. He smiled at it.
"Thank you." The creature snorted, nuzzled his neck for a moment, took a step backwards, and disappeared again. Damien pulled out his wand and concentrated for a minute. Seconds later, the air before him solidified into Muggle identification for Raven James. Included was a Masters in chemistry and a list of references for Professor James. Raven smiled, took the papers, and slid his wand away, heading for the nearest college.
A little magic later, and Raven was entering the Dean's office an hour or two after the chemistry professor declared he was moving to somewhere warm, like the South United States, and retired. The secretary showed him into the comfortable room. A harried-looking older man sat behind the desk, head in his hands. The name plate was simple wood with 'Dean Charles Whittmoor' in plain gold paint. Raven cleared his throat and the graying man looked up in surprise. Raven smiled slightly.
"Sorry for startling you. Your secretary let me in. I was looking for a job…" Dean Whittmoor looked interested.
"What do you teach?" Raven shrugged.
"I prefer chemistry, if possible." Charles smiled.
"I just lost my chemistry professor. What's your name, and can I see your references?" Raven smiled and handed over the packet.
"Raven James, sir." Charles skimmed through the papers and handed it back.
"Welcome to Rayeth College, Mr. James."
Severus Snape glared out at the students at the new Sorting, about six months after Voldemort's defeat and Damien's disappearance. The man had been raised to almost godly level, the exact reason why he had left in the first place. Severus scowled. In leaving, he had left Severus to deal with the wild and cheerful students who were rejoicing their freedom in the loudest ways possible. With Damien, Severus had found someone he could talk to, who held many of his own thoughts and beliefs, including those on students who didn't try. In Damien, Severus had found a friend.
He sighed, fixed a scowl on his face (it wouldn't do to suddenly change his attitude—might cause a few heart attacks among his students), and thought back to his 'extracurricular activity'—searching for Damien Raven. He had a few leads he wanted to look into…
Raven James, Rayeth College's Chemistry professor of a little less then one semester, grinned at his friend and drinking buddy, Alex Hudson, Biology professor. The two science men were well known at the college as brilliant, if a little odd, so they were often forgiven for the strictness of their classes. Outside of class, however, they were regulars at a nearby bar where many of the student worked and went. The bar, called The Second World, was a well-lit and respected establishment, unlike some others. Every Friday night, the Second World would allow students and others to provide the entertainment, which tended to draw larger crowds.
Alex grinned back from his seat at the Second World on the last night they had without classes, the second semester that Raven had been here. They had become fast friends, finding in each other a fellow spirit. This Friday night, they were going to perform another of their 'famous' acts.
As Raven was lifting his glass to his mouth, about five minutes before he and Alex were to go on, a familiar face walked in. Several of the nearby fellow patrons turned, concerned, as the black haired professor began to cough. Alex leapt up, gleefully smacking his friend hard on the back.
"Breathe!" Raven glared through teary eyes as he waved his fellow professor off (and the worries of the other patrons away), as he finally managed to clear his throat.
"'M alright. Honest." Alex eyed him slightly.
"What happened? Why did you start choking?" Raven shook his head.
"Nothing. Just swallowed wrong." The biology professor frowned, but said nothing as he returned to his seat, knowing that nothing more would be coaxed out of his friend.
As Alex returned to his meal, Raven peered with deep emerald eyes at the man that had entered and taken a seat at the bar. It was rare that Severus Snape did not wear robes, but there was no way that Raven could forget the man, even after several months. Severus was sitting dejectedly, swirling a glass of liquor in one hand. Raven debated with himself over going to talk to him or not. Before a decision could be reached, Alex made one for him.
"Raven? You ok?" The man shook himself and smiled.
"Yeah, I'm alright." Alex sighed, the smiled.
"We're to get ready. They want us out as soon as possible." Raven picked up a bag from under his seat, one nearly identical to the one Alex already held. They nodded to the bartender as they went through one of the side doors.
Severus sighed and swirled his glass again before sipping the liquid. He didn't even know what it was—he'd just ordered the strongest this bar had. He'd skipped dinner again, pushing his detentions onto Filch, in order to check the newest leads he'd found. It was a week after the first day at Hogwarts, and he'd been searching for Damien every other night. Once again, however, he hadn't found anything. He'd discovered this bar by change and gone straight for the bar itself, to drink away his depression before he had to go back to the castle.
The dour man looked up as the lights dimmed, then came back. One of the waitresses picked up a microphone and spoke into it. She stood by a raised platform against the back wall, with a curtain hiding the 'back stage' area from view.
"Welcome back to the Second World ladies and gentlemen! As I'm sure most of you know, on Friday nights we feature anyone about 18 who would like to perform. You might have noticed two of our regulars, sitting at their table." She paused as several people began to clap. Once it died down, she continued with a grin.
"I see several of you know who I'm talking about! Please welcome our occapella duo, the scientific pair, those teachers who never get along with the English teachers; our very own Stopper of Death!" The crowd burst into cheers as she put the mike down and backed away. The curtain rippled, then billowed outward as colored fog swept onto the stage. Two tall forms materialized from the fog as it died down.
Severus spared the one on the left a moment's glance. He had dusty blonde hair and bleu eyes that peered out at he crowd, and wore a loose navy blue shirt with black trousers. The second man held the wizard's attention. Wearing a dark green shirt and identical black trousers which only matched the black hair and piercing green eyes… Those eyes turned to meet onyx and only the fact that it was currently resting on the bar kept the glass of liquor from crashing through suddenly nerveless fingers. The man he knew as Damien raven smiled somewhat sadly before looking to his partner and tapping his foot four times. They began to sing, the one on the left a base, Damien a baritone. The green eyes returned to Severus' own.
"If you listen, you can hear
Just how much I miss it there.
Hear it said, without a sound,
Silence all around.
Can't you tell, can't you see,
I can't live with fame on me.
Friends we'd be, if not for they,
Fair-weather fans of long ago.
The months are lonely,
Nary a tear shall fall.
Worked through acquaintance,
Through colleague into friend.
Days of pain, passing sorrows,
Persevered to the end.
Made it to friends,
Yet I ran away.
The camera turned,
I got scared.
Couldn't face it,
Couldn't face it,
I wish I had stayed."
The song ended and the crowd cheered as the two men got off the stage, grinning at the bartender before leaving. Severus turned to the barman.
"Who were they?" The man grinned slightly.
"Professors Alex Hudson and Raven James, biology and chemistry teachers down at Rayeth College. They come by here as often as they can. I think Raven writes the songs." Severus drained his drink, dropped some Muggle money in the waiting hand, and left. Once outside, he ducked into a dark alley and Apparated to the edge of Hogwarts' wards, moving quickly to the Headmaster's office. Severus barged into the Headmaster's office.
"Albus! I found him!" The old man looked up with a smile.
"Very good Severus. What do you want me to do about it?" Severus smirked slightly.
"Accept my resignation." Almost gleefully, he watched as Dumbledore's face showed clear surprise. Wishing he had a camera, he continued.
"I would like to go and try to figure out exactly why he left, and it would be hard to get away and teach as a cat." He smirked again as Albus tried to shake himself back to the present.
"Very well then, Severus… hmm—I shall have to Fire Call Miss Granger; she'd surely enjoy teaching…" Severus sneered for a moment as the Headmaster muttered, then turned and left he office in a rush to dump his lesson plans on the desk, pack away his belongings and banish them to his manor, change to Muggle clothes, and leave.
Once past the gates, he Apparated into an alley near the school, dark eyes searching quickly for a Muggle that might have seen him. When he was satisfied that no one was there, he popped slightly into his Animagus form. The small, mostly-black cat twitched long whiskers, dark onyx examining the corners of the alley for life. A sleek tail swished, twining around the left back leg. That paw had a white stripe on it, the remnant of a scar on his human form's foot. Even now he winced slightly at the memory—a reminder of what the Whomping Willow could do. With a satisfied meow, the Severus-cat raced down the alley to the college, slipping through the gate and searching for Damien.
Raven chuckled at a joke Alex made as they walked out of the chemistry office, having dropped by to get the papers Raven needed to grade. Said papers were dropped on the floor as a small black cat raced for them, mewing pitifully, and leapt up into his shocked arms. The cat buried itself against him as one of the college guard dogs (of which there were a total of two, and mostly there for the few students who were studying security and security animals) came tearing around the corner, barking wildly.
Alex, shocked into action, raised two fingers to his mouth and whistled sharply. The dog stopped and turned, silent. Alex pointed to the fence, where a whistle could be heard from a gate further down. The dog turned to head back to its trainer. Alex turned back to Raven, to find him examining the ball of fur that had launched itself at him.
"Raven?" The professor looked up distractedly.
"Hmm? I'm fine. Help me with the papers, will you?" Five minutes later, the pair was once again returning to their rooms, Raven with papers in hand. This time, however, the black eyes of the cat on his shoulder stared around with bright curiosity.
Several students looked up in surprise as the professor that had seemed so strict the day before entered the room, absently stroking a small black cat's head. They jumped back to themselves, however, when he began to talk.
"Your assignment is on the board. We discussed it yesterday; see how well you do now that you have to do it. Begin." As they paired up and began to mix chemicals together, Raven looked down at the cat he had sat on the desk and smiled.
"So what to call you? I can't politely call you cat. I never liked being 'boy'. Hmm… Cain? Lucifer? Adrian? Dane? Snake? How about Severus?" For all of the other names, the cat had merely tilted his head and twitched his tail. At the final name, however, one paw lifted slightly in what could almost be a handshake. Raven smiled and rubbed the soft fur under the cat's chin, causing the eyes to narrow to slits of pleasure.
"Very well, Severus it is then." Before he could continue, there was a sharp explosion in the middle of the room. A pair of the students looked up, a little sheepish and a little singed. Raven's countenance changed in a flash as he thundered down on them.
"Mr. Mason and Mr. Woodward! You are not supposed to mix in hydrochloric acid until later!" He sighed and motioned to the desk.
"Clean this up, then go to the nurse and get her to check you out." He returned to his desk, reaching out to scratch his cat's head. Slowly the class began to filter out as they completed their mixtures, the lesson finished. Raven sighed as the last pair cleaned up their workspace and left, and smiled down at Severus.
"Only four more to go." Severus yawned at him and curled up on the corner of the desk. Raven chuckled and pulled out his plans for the next class.
Four years passed quickly. Hermione Granger discovered a love for teaching potions, while her students discovered that while only a summer out of school when she started and somewhat strict, they learned as much if not more then when professor Snape was teaching. Severus Snape learned all of Raven's habits and quirks, until he could tell you exactly what the man would do at any given time, though why you would ask the cat is another question. The students at Rayeth college grew used to the black cat that never left their professor's side. Raven James learned not to bother trying to lock his cat in the room, because he always got out again. They grew close to each other, to the point where he would speak absently to the cat about whatever was on his mind. This was how Severus finally learned who he was really living with.
Severus looked up with a yawn as Raven walked back into the living room from the bathroom. His hair was pushed back over his shoulders, dripping onto the towel draped there. Raven sighed as he began to untangle the knots.
"I'd go back to the wizarding world now if I could, you know. The fame will not have died, but I miss them all. I named you after the Potions Master, Severus Snape. He's part of the reason I don't want to go back, in a way. I enjoyed his friendship, but if I stayed, they'd eventually find out who I was and he'd hate me for it." Severus tilted his head slightly to look at Raven, highly curious now.
"Severus hated my father, and wouldn't look past it. He couldn't see Harry Potter, only James. What would he say if he knew that I was Slytherin's true Heir?" Raven, or Harry potter, looked over in worry as his cat began to choke and sputter.
"Severus? What is it? Hairball?" Severus got himself under control and went over to the suite's door, meowing softly. Raven frowned, a little worried, but opened it and let him out, closing the door only slightly so the cat could get back in. He returned to untangling his hair, still frowning.
Outside the door, Severus raced for the outside and padded into a clump of trees. There he shifted back to human for the first time in four years—he didn't need to change back in order to Apparate short distances, like he did to get out of the locked room when Raven—no, he was Harry now—tried to keep him in. He stretched cat-like before sighing and burying his head in his hands.
So Raven James and Damien Raven were both Harry potter, who just happened to be Slytherin's Heir. Severus had greatly enjoyed the company of Damien and of Raven, yet not Harry. What if the man was right? Did he really look at Harry Potter and see only James Potter? …Yes, he had.
His mind made up, Severus summoned a parchment, quill, and ink, writing a quick message. Looking around, he selected a leaf and Transfigured it into an owl. His voice was rough, due to lack of use, as he tied the letter to the bird's leg.
"Take this to Raven James when it gets dark." The owl hooted and flew up to perch in one of the branches. Severus sighed, looked around, and shifted back to the cat, walking slowly back to the suite.
Raven looked up as the door opened, then closed. Severus sat there, blinking quietly up at him, before coming over a pushing his head against Raven's leg, twining around them and purring. The man who disliked his fame smiled and obediently knelt down to pet the cat.
It was turning dark when Raven looked up, startled. There was another tapping at the window, where a dark form hovered. The man went to and opened the window, stepping back in shock when an owl flew in and held out a leg, looking cheerful. It was the first time in four and a half years that an owl had come near him with a letter. The cat jumped up on the table beside the bird, examined it, then turned his attention to the letter. Raven reached out and took the letter from the owl, who fluffed out his feathers proudly. He opened the letter and read it aloud.
"Raven James, Damien Raven, or Harry Potter, whatever you would like to be called: I would like you to return to Hogwarts. Your friends would like very much if you came back from the dead, Harry. I'd like to be counted among those friends, Heir of Slytherin. I think I can see past James if I try. Severus Snape." Raven smiled.
"Well Severus, what do you say we go get Siltivi, Hedwig, and Karal and bring the Snake Tamer Harry back to Hogwarts?" Severus purred and ran after him as Raven James went to hand in his resignation.
Siltivi hissed gleefully as she wound herself around Harry.
"Masssster! I missed you!" Karal cawed happily as he landed on the shoulder not occupied by a resting Severus. Hedwig hooted tiredly as she landed on the nearby branch. Siltivi looked over the cat and hissed.
"Masssster, that isss not a cat. That isss a human with cat-nessss, much like the lady from that cassstle." Harry raised an eyebrow.
"If that issss what they are called, then yessss." Harry sighed softly, shook his head, and Apparated.
Once at Hogwarts, he paused on the stairs and rested on hand on the stones. His question was sent to the castle.
"Who is with me?" She didn't answer in words, but a picture in his mind showed Severus Snape in a room shifting into the cat he had named Severus. Harry withdrew his hand and turned to place the cat on the ground.
"Are you going to change back now Severus?" The cat looked up at him for a moment, then shifted into the Potions Master. He looked at Harry, voice still harsh with disuse.
"How did you know it was me?" Harry smiled slightly.
"Siltivi told me you were a human, not a cat, and Hogwarts told me who you were. You did have me fooled for four years, Severus." They were silent for a moment.
"I did enjoy your company, Severus." A smile tugged at thin lips.
"I suppose I can say the same, Harry. After four years I know all your little habits by heart. Stop trying to avert your eyes. I told you in the letter that I wanted to be your friend." With small smiles, they turned to re-enter Hogwarts.
A/N: Alright? That's the end. Like I said, if I revise it, it'll just extend the last two chapters but won't really cause any plot changes.
Yes, I wrote that song in the middle. It's really bad, and I'm sorry.
I'd answer everyone's review except I'm apparently not supposed to do that, so… sorry… but I love you all for reviewing! (and apparently, you need to do a short review with caps and a 'curse' in there to get me writing again!) /huggles/ Thanks everyone for staying with me through this story, extremely slow as I am!