Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters in this story, for all belong to J.K. Rowling, but I don't think she would mind if I borrowed them for just a moment.
Summary: When Harry is alone in the Astronomy Tower, dealing with the loss of his godfather, professor Snape finds him and offers his advice.
Voor Oma Wub, als eerbetoon. Mag u herinnert worden door iedereen die u liefhad, en door ieder op zijn eigen manier. En voor Opa Simon, zonder uw geduld om mij te leren lezen, had ik zoveel gemist en was ik nooit zo ver gekomen. Dank u.
BREAKING THE SILENCE
The wind blowing past the many towers of the castle made the only sound in the cold night. Everything was dark, except for the stars, high up in the sky. Harry Potter did not care about the wind, the cold or the darkness. Here, high up in the Astronomy Tower, he was more at ease than anywhere else in the castle. Away from the questions and looks from both friends and enemies. He was free to stare into the distance and to think about his lost friend and godfather without being interrupted. Or so he thought. For Harry did not hear the silent sounds of footsteps on the stairs or the cloak, moving in the wind. Even the sound of the door opening, did not alert him.
"I hope you are aware of the fact that I could have you expelled for being here, Mr. Potter,"
Harry's insides turned to ice when he heard the silky voice of his potions professor, yet he did not turn around to face him. He was startled that the man was here, but also noticed the change in his voice. Normally, the voice of professor Snape would be cold, harsh and dripping with sarcasm. Harry was surprised to hear that this time, it held none of those things. The voice now held concern, care and even a hint of softness.
"I asked you a question,"
There was another change now. It still did not held the old terrifying tone Harry was so used to, but it began to sound slightly dangerous. So Harry clenched his fists and said quietly:
"Yes, I am,"
He expected to feel Snape's strong hands pulling him away from the open window of the tower and dragging him to the office of the headmaster, but that did not happen. Harry relaxed a little and let the silence endure. Neither of them moved and it felt almost good to just stand there. It dreadened Harry that it had to end. But it did anyway:
"Will you then please enlighten me and explain why you are here, Mr. Potter?"
Sarcasm and concern sounded through the question. Harry shrugged and let go of his fear for the man, allowing himself to speak the truth.
"Expel me. Take me to the headmaster and expel me. I don't care."
Again there was a silence, but this time it was an entirely different one. Not comforting at all, but threatening. Like the calm before the storm. Harry refrained himself from apologizing, from showing weakness. Instead, he focused on the stars, but even that did not feel good. The stars were unreachable and could not help him. It was almost a relief when Snape spoke again:
"And with that, doom the whole wizarding world?"
Fear came over Harry, both because Snape seemed to know about the prophecy, and because he reminded him of it again. The last weeks, Harry had done his very best to deny the existence of the prophecy, to forget about it and even to make himself believe that is was fake. But in his heart, he knew that it all wasn't true. In his heart, he had always known that it had to be him, but when it finally had been definitive, it was a heavy burden to carry.
"It is already doomed."
This time, Snape's answer came quickly:
"Do you believe that?"
Did he? His thoughts went back to that day at the ministry. He had not been able to save his godfather. How could he be able to save the whole wizarding world if he could not even save the person he cared about most?
"Yes, I believe that,"
He said it with a steady voice. Snape's voice almost regained his old tone again when he answered:
"And then they all died for nothing? James, Lily, Cedric ... and Sirius? They all died in vain?"
"Shut up! Don't talk about him!"
Harry hated himself for losing control and yelling at Snape, but the potions master had spoken of his worst fear.
"And why not?"
The voice was deadly, cold and stern. It scared Harry and he hesistated to answer. Then he remembered that he didn't care anymore and replied:
"You hated him! You loathed him! You wanted him dead!"
Another silence. Harry desperately looked out of the window and waited.
It was merely whispered.
"What do you mean?"
"I didn't," said Snape stronger. "I did not hate him."
Harry turned around and faced his professor. He looked the same with his dark robes, hair and eyes, but there was something different about him. He seemed more vulnerable, almost weak. His face was sad, regretful. He continued:
"We weren't friends, but not enemies either."
Harry let out a hollow, humourless laugh.
"I don't believe you, Snape,"
"Then let me explain it to you, Mr. Potter," Snape answered, deadly again. "We were different. Sirius, James and Remus were Gryffindors. I was a Slytherin. There was no hatred between us, just competitiveness. A prank from their side, followed by a prank of my side. Never did we have any intention to hurt each other. We did hurt each other of course, accidentally, which caused real fights, but no hatred."
"You don't care about him. You did nothing when he died." Harry said to him. Not screaming, not yelling, just cold.
"Do you hate Mr. Malfoy?"
"No, of course not. I don't like him, but I don't hate him either."
Harry knew Snape had trapped him there and turned back to the window.
"I know what you feel."
"No, you don't."
"First, you did not believe Sirius was really dead. You were waiting for him to walk through the door, but he didn't. Then, you became angry, willing to attack any one who mentioned his name and said something about him. And now, every time you think of him, it feels like falling into a black hole. If feels like you'll never be happy again, like a dementor is inside you, sucking away every good feeling and makes you feel guilty for everytime you actually smile, causing you to stop doing that." Professor Snape slowly walked towards Harry, his footsteps clearly audible above the blowing of the wind. Harry felt the hand on his shoulder, but did not shrug it off. It felt comforting, like it had done when Sirius had laid his hand on his shoulder and Harry hated himself for feeling that same way.
"I know," Snape continued. "I've been there."
Harry fought against the tears that were burning in his eyes. Still staring at the stars, he asked:
"Will it every go away?"
"Never," Snape whispered. "It can lessen, though."
Harry felt a tiny bit of hope, burning within him, pulling him a little further out of his own black hole.
"When?" He asked eagerly.
"When you are ready. When you have talked about it, accepted it and put it behind you."
"You mean that I have to forget it?" Harry asked doubtful. He knew he could never do that. He didn't know if he even wanted that.
"No, never forget it." Snape replied. "Pull yourself out of your black hole and move on with your happy memories of him."
"And you've done that with the person you lost?"
"I don't think I can do it." Harry said careful, not wanting to upset Snape now.
"And why not?"
"Well ..." Harry felt embaressed to say so. "I haven't really got any one to talk to, professor."
"I think I can arrange something for you,"
Snape steered Harry towards the door and together they walked back to the Gryffindor tower. They walked in silence, but Harry liked it that way. When they arrived by the portrait of the Fat Lady, neither of them knew what to do. Eventually, Snape broke the silence by saying:
"I think you can do this, Harry. You're not alone. But I am still giving you detention for breaking curfew, tomorrow evening, my office. There is no need to bring anything, but some tea might be nice. It makes talking easier."
Harry looked surprised at his professor and could swear that he saw the ghost of a smile on his face. Then, the man turned and strode away along the corridor, leaving Harry by himself, but a lot less alone.
THE END (for now ...)
This morning, 14 April 2006, my grandmother, Wubbechien de Groot, died of Alzheimer. This story is a tribute to her. However, I don't know whether to leave it here, as a one-shot, or to continue it for a few more chapters. It is up to you. Please let me know ...