The following day found Harry curled up in the library with the book Snape had referred him to during their most recent convocation. Students who had passed him throughout the day were adamant he hadn't moved, his face fixated into a bemused smile, and the only sign of life the occasional bark of laughter and rustle of the pages. As the evening drew to a close Harry mused over the topics of convocation he aimed to discuss that evening with Snape; and that thought led him trailing all the way to the Headmistresses office.
A brief conversation with his former head of house rendered his mind at rest, and Minerva politely informed him that if Hermione continued to owl her as frequently as she had begun to since Harry's visitation started, and then her hand would fall off in over-exertion. Still chuckling after Minerva had left, Harry turned to Snape's portrait to find the stern face he had come to expect in lessons when he had been misbehaving.
"Is there something wrong professor?" Harry chortled in the fashion of a portly gentleman.
Exasperated Snape replied, "Mr Potter I do not pretend to be amused to falsities or formal niceties which I never indulged in while I was alive. As much as I respect Minerva I cannot pretend that I do not find it tedious to listen to such inane chatter. I may be dead but I would prefer it if you did not waste my time."
It was almost too much for Harry, who cackled gleefully before returning to a straight face and proceeded to rummage around in his bag to search for something completely unknown to Snape.
"Potter, please realise I have no temperament for show-and-tell, and do not make a habit of conversing with previous students."
Rolling his eyes, Harry drew the book that Snape had referenced from his bag, and placed it upon his lap. "Professor despite my E in potions, I have no doubt in the fact that you were well aware of the fact that there was no way on earth that I could complete the potion you told me of."
"Surely I cannot be blamed for your ignorance Potter?" was the arrogant response.
Nodding Harry laughed, "Yes I was hoping you'd respond as such. Your wit never fails to amuse me professor. I am sorry to say I never fully appreciated it while you taught me."
"In all my years of teaching I dared not to hope that one pupil would understand my humour, or references. Miss Granger- ah- Mrs Weasley, was the one exception to that, and while I was at school here it was…"
They both paused, and an awkard moment ensued, ended when Harry brushed it over. "So is there a solution to my taking the potion?"
"It won't' be sold anywhere Mr Potter, and there is only one person competent enough in the field I would trust to make a potion as delicate as this; unfortunately for you she won't do it."
"That complicates things, Hermione certainly won't… oh never mind I'll find another way."
Snape shook is head in wonderment, he had thought the boys proposal over, and had come to the decision that it was a bad idea, and that the potion should not be attempted at all costs. Impulsively he let his thoughts known, and much to his surprise Potter was rational and considered his thoughts, concluding that now was not the time to put such a thing into action, and the matter should be halted for the time being.
Harry's thoughts now strayed into another direction, and Snape had a rough idea of the next topic of conversation would be.
"I never did thank you for healing Draco back in sixth year, if he'd died because of me…."
"I didn't do it for you Potter..."
"Of course, I mean just…."
"I did it for several other reasons. For one Draco was my student, and my godson. However more selfishly, I couldn't bear it if a spell I had invented had been the one to kill my own godson, regardless of the fact that you only reacted to his aggression."
"He was shocked, understandably. He'd been crying," Harry responded truthfully, "my first thought was to help but when he saw me and reacted, I let my thoughts fly away from me."
Harry paused and looked up, flashing a grin, "It was one heck of a spell though."
Snape let out a rare smile and agreed, "I'd never heard Lily swear so much as when she first saw sectumsempra in use, and when I told her I created it she didn't speak to me for a week."
The two shared a moment of laughter, before Harry ploughed on.
"When did you realise that Draco couldn't kill Albus…when you knew he wasn't fully….doomed into service."
"After you cursed him, I think. He seemed shocked that you'd do something like that, and I remember commenting that war changes everyone. If anyone could change him Potter it was always going to be you."
Harry smiled genuinely, "I'm glad to hear that, I was so appalled with myself after that, I mean I had no idea what the spell did except your note, 'for enemies' which I might add was a serious understatement."
"I hadn't meant for anyone else to read my notes Potter."
"Just like you didn't mean to structure the exam paper like that? So why give the book the title of belonging to the half-blood prince? You wanted to become a legend, remembered for creating all those spells, the Hogwarts mystery, a treasure?"
"I wanted to become a marauder, I wanted to become someone who was admired, and yet knowing who I was people would never had done that; and so the half-blood prince was created, and my anonymity granted, with the exception of your mother who saw through the guise immediately."
Confusedly Harry replied, "But she hated you then, since fifth year?"
"Yes she did, she never forgave me after that but after she'd heard that the half-blood prince had created that spell she cut off the small correspondence we had. Your mother owled me with a note telling me to inform the new royalty of Hogwarts that his efforts were unappreciated. I saw her at the slug club that week but she wouldn't look me in the eyes, and it wasn't until Sirius Black used the spell on me that she forgave me. I never used the spell on anyone at school and she knew that, she had faith in me even though she despised what I had become. However much people tell you that you resemble James, I see only Lily inside you, which made teaching you such a discomfort. To say I was suitably relieved upon realising that you possessed no talent for potions, is an understatement indeed."
"Was my mother the reason you saved my life so many times?"
"I'll admit that was the primary reason I helped you, along with my allegiance to Albus and my duty as a professor, but I don't think I could have stood for my being responsible for the death of all three Potters, no matter how much I despised you, or wished your fathers painful death at school."
"I'll always remember when Hermione set your robes on fire in first year because we thought you were trying to kill me," Harry grinned.
"Those robes were a birthday present from Albus I'll have you know."
"No doubt you mended them in an instant though."
"Well yes, but being burnt isn't the most pleasurable of experiences."
Both paused in a moment of reflection, Harry twiddling with his fingers and Snape tapping his on his armchair. When Harry looked up his eyes met with Snapes, and Harry spoke, "It's a relief, this I mean," he gestured to the both of them, "I never talked to you when you were alive and nobody's ever told me about mum before. It's…nice."
"I'm not going to pretend I like you Potter, but I'm glad I could tell you about Lily."
There was a noise which disturbed them both, and they both looked towards the door, where it swayed with a creak, as if hastily shut. Just down the corridor Hermione stood with her former head of house, out of breath, but both of them were beaming at each other, looking particularly pleased with themselves.
A bond, however small, had been created between the two reluctant wizards, who only had one connection which lasted a lifetime, and beyond.