Chapter 61

Partying, Slughorn and Going Home

The guy's had eaten a lovely dinner before going back to hit one of the pubs inside the hotel. They tried to find one of the quieter ones, but it was nearly impossible to do with so many people there. It seemed most people had decided to stay the night at the hotel after the conference. The Potions Masters just squared themselves away at a back table, getting the drinks in; Harry for most part remained on Butterbeer but had two fire whiskey shots. Harry had never felt more accepted in his life, just sitting talking to everyone here. He'd never imagined this, any of it, but he was grateful for it nonetheless.

"I'll get the next drinks," said Sorens standing up grinning like a loony.

"It's my turn," said Harry realizing they had completely bypassed him.

Sorens and the others laughed in amusement, "You won't get served, but you are welcome to try." replied the Potions Master, jerking his head for the teen to follow him. Both of them made their way to the bar, unaware of the black eyes following them possessively.

"Four shots of fire whiskey, five beers." said Sorens, turning to face Harry, "You like him don't you?"

"Who?" asked Harry, but he had a good idea of who Sorens was referring to.

"Severus," said Sorens smirking in amusement.

Harry looked back at the man in question, unknowingly showing his feelings all over his face. He more than liked Severus, he'd liked him for a while when they first met. Slowly overtime, he'd become fond of him, and it blossomed into something deeper. Perhaps it was because Harry wasn't used to loving people, that he easy got attached to others. Just look at Eileen, he loved her more than he'd ever loved his own mother. Oh Merlin, he loved Severus, and apparently everyone could see it too.

Sorens watched Harry closely, and realized the feelings went a little deeper. It wasn't unheard of to form attachments, after all you could spend up to three or four years with your Potions Master. There had been a few scandals over the years, but nothing they couldn't deal with. He could see nothing had happened between them, there was an air of wistfulness about Harry. As if he had his dearest dream within his grasp but yet had not taken it with both hands. His eyes slid over to Severus, watching him, he was eyeing them from the corner of his eyes. Together they would be brilliant at brewing potions, just look at Eileen's potion and all it had accomplished. He loved brewing it, the challenge it posed was just breathtaking. He could only imagine how it felt under duress to get it completed.

"Yes," admitted Harry quietly turning back to the wizard, the urge to drink all four shots of whiskey was overwhelming.

"Don't wait to too long," said Sorens giving Harry his genuine advice, unaware of their little pact.

"Here you are, that's three Galleons," said the bartender, placing the alcohol on a tray for them to take over.

"Here, get a drink for yourself," said Harry passing over the three Galleons and a few Sickles. Although truth be told the guy didn't look like he needed another one.

"Thank you," replied the wizard moving off to serve someone else along the bar.

Sorens grabbed the drinks and they made their way through the crowd, and put them on their table, reclaiming their seats. A bell clanged loudly, indicating it was last drinks served, they would be closing soon. The others gave Sorens a curious look; he still had that smug smirk on his face.

"What did you tell him?" asked Severus leaning over to Harry and whispering into his ear.

"I didn't tell him anything, he guessed." whispered Harry inhaling Severus scent, Merlin he wanted him so badly. Maybe he had drunk too much; it's a good job they'd be leaving soon.

Severus eyed Harry but ultimately just shrugged it off; he couldn't care less what people thought anymore. It was probably just the alcohol talking, but he didn't right now.

"To Potions," said Jacob raising his shot the others all quickly did the same, only Harry had a beer. Clinking the glasses together they took a drink. Once the shots were done, the others opened their beers and leaned back into their seats. Severus slid one hand under the table, and grabbed onto Harry's, sliding his fingers up and down in a soothing manner. He did so without showing any emotion whatsoever, but Harry ended up choking on his beer before quickly regaining his composure.

"Have you decided what you want to do yet Harry?" asked Damon curiously. Whether Harry liked it or not, he'd been talk of the Potions community for the past two years. It was a source of pride that someone so young chose to pursue the subtle science of potions brewing. It could only do good things; maybe open the doors to others wishing to brew. After all if someone so young could do it, surely they could too? They would find out if their hypothesis was correct, in the next few years whether the request for a Potions Master shot up or not.

"I always wanted to brew independently." admitted Harry.

"Really?" asked Sorens surprised. "Normally when we first start we get a job, brew regularly and well for the lack of better words get ourselves noticed. Get money coming in and perhaps try and create a potion in our spare time." In fact, it's what everyone at this table had done. Although Severus' was more to do with survival than wishing to teach anyone potions.

"You forget he doesn't need to prove himself," smirked Severus, his black eyes gleaming with pride. "He has already done so."

Harry flushed bright red, slouching down further in his seat he hated when the attention was on him.

"True," said Sorens amused, nobody asked what Potions he'd brew next, and it was just something you didn't ask each other. For a variety of different reasons, one they could take the idea and perfect it before you, it wouldn't be the first time it happened betrayal was rife in every community of magic.

One notable person Gilderoy Lockhart, he'd befriended Fredrick Ross last year and proceeded to get his story from him. Lockhart made the mistake of trying to Obliviate him, all that happened was Lockhart being bound and taken to the Ministry. Once there the extent of his crimes had been uncovered, all the books he'd written, adventures he supposedly went on were other peoples. He had been sentenced to Azkaban for life, and the injured parties had been compensated. Afterwards all the books were destroyed and his name blackened.

"So when are you guys going home?" asked Harry hastily changing the subject. They all lived in America, their accents gave them away from the first time Harry met them. From what Harry could gather, it was little wonder they chose to remain there other than the fact it was their home town. They had much better/more potion ingredients, and with sun nearly all year around the ingredients that needed heat to flourish. In fact Damon had his entire garden cornered off and he grew everything. Tended to it himself too and had more wards up protecting the garden than he had on his house.

"We head home tomorrow," said Jacob amused, he didn't want to remain away from his wife and the mother of his child too long. Potions was an important part of his life, but not more important than his child. He'd never thought he'd see the day where he had a kid. Then he met Penelope, she didn't understand past a school education of potions, but she tried and he loved her for that. Then eight months ago she'd set up a special dinner and told him the news, she'd been so worried since they'd never discussed having a family. Now he would have someone to pass his potions knowledge onto, to see perform magic, to see take their first step, it's when he'd known he was ready for the journey into fatherhood.

"How is Penny?" asked Harry, he hadn't got to talk to her properly, thanks to the attack on the Ministry but hopefully he'd get to one day.

"Ready to drop any day now," said Jacob. Other than Severus and of course Harry now, he was the only one who hadn't had a child yet. Sorens already had two children, both grown up, one a Potions Mistress, and the other a defence Master.

"I'd carry all the potions you can," grinned Damon. He had certainly needed it, for five broken bones in his hand after his wife was through with him.

Jacob just shook his head in wry amusement, finishing off his drink.

"I think the entire hospital heard my wife when she was in labour with my son, even through the silencing spells." said Sorens in remembrance. "Of course she said she wouldn't let me near her again but that didn't last long."

Jacob felt his stomach clench in worry, they were doing it on purpose, and he knew that but couldn't brush off their words. He'd put off thinking about the labour but they were just bringing his anxieties back. Even in the magical world they couldn't make it painless, its just one of the unpleasant joys that came with motherhood. He had a charmed pendant on, that would let him know his wife was in labour should it happen before he got back. So he knew he didn't have to worry about missing it.

"We best head out," said Severus standing up, they and two other groups were all that was left, everyone was gone already. The tables were cleaning themselves and chairs flopping on top of them afterwards. As much fun as he'd had, he was rather exhausted he'd been up nearing twenty four hours. He had also missed out on the chance to speak to Slughorn but there would be other times.

"I guess you're right," said Damon, staring around as he too got up, the rest followed.

"Are you leaving early this year again?" asked Sorens as they left the pub, at least they didn't have to walk back to the hotel since they were already in it this time around.

"Don't I always?" replied Severus dryly, he certainly didn't outwear his welcome anywhere.

"I'll write to you," said Jacob. No doubt with a few pictures of his child, he didn't know what they were having. Penelope had decided to wait, she wanted to be surprised. Severus wasn't the most sociable person but Jacob wasn't about to leave him out whether he sneered at the sentimentality or not. Knowing Severus' he'd probably just look at it drolly then roll his eyes.

"Have fun," said Sorens patting Severus back.

"He's sixteen," said Severus sniping at his friend, worse because he had to remind himself all the time.

"Not for long," teased Sorens. "It's about time you settled down old boy, we were beginning to think you'd taken a vow of celibacy."

"Ha-ha-ha," said Severus dryly.

"He's quite a catch," admired Sorens.

Severus glared in warning, friend or no friend he didn't like others staring at Harry.

"Oh boy, you are in deep." said Sorens unruffled by the glare. "I'll write to you." he said when they caught up with the others. He'd let Severus and Harry tell the guys if and when they began dating. He certainly looked forward to their faces, since they seemed pretty oblivious to anything between them.

"Take care, both of you." said Jacob; they were going back to an island filled with nothing but war.

"If it gets too much, you are always welcome to stay with us, even your mum, I mean it guys." said Damon seriously, but he knew Severus wouldn't do it.

"Thank you," said Harry, their worry was extremely touching.

"No problem," said Damon patting Harry on the back.

"Night," said Sorens fishing out his key for his room, and the others all murmured goodnight as the elevator began dropping them off at their floor. Since Severus and Harry were at the top, they were the last to get off. Remaining quiet so they didn't wake Eileen up, they crept into the room, passed the sleeping woman and into the bedroom, flipping the light on as they did.

"Oh no," said Severus cursing quietly.

Harry just grinned in devilment, not even blinking at the glare he received from Severus. Harry moved around and took a few unnecessary frilly pillows from the bed and put them on the chair. Kicking off his shoes, he removed his cloak before cursing quietly. He quickly made his way through to the bathroom to relieve himself sighing in relief; he hadn't realized how desperate he'd been. Re-buttoning his trousers he went through to the mini-bar and grabbed two bottles of water, he needed to hydrate desperately.

"Do you want some water?" asked Harry yawning tiredly.

"I wouldn't mind," replied Severus already in the bed and covered.

"Sparkling." said Harry offhandedly as he flung the plastic bottle at him and sat on the bed. Taking a deep drink, enjoying the refreshing taste of lemon and lime. He liked the flavour water he decided, he'd definitely be taking some home with him. Removing his jeans leaving his boxers and t-shirt on he slid into bed relishing in the warm emanating from the warming charm that had been placed on it by the hotel. "Night." murmured Harry, turning his light off. He'd show Severus he could be grown up, and wait until he was ready. Even if it was killing him to be so close and not let his hands just...wander.

"Goodnight," replied Severus, sounding slightly bemused.

Harry woke up the next morning, only to find Severus was already up and dressed. If his wet hair was anything to go by, he'd just finished taking a shower. Wincing at the pain in his forehead, Merlin the hangovers were the worst thing ever. Sitting up feeling slightly sick, he wasn't surprised to see a hangover remedy on his nightstand. A small smile played across his face, Severus thought of everything. Uncorking the potion he drank it in one gulp, before washing the taste away with the water. Which by the way was still cold, thanks to the cooling charms placed on the bottle.

"You know, you don't have anything I haven't seen before." said Harry feeling a little put out he wasn't getting a little treat for being good. Honestly it was like Severus did it on purpose, he so badly wanted a physical relationship with him.

"Go shower, we are due down for breakfast in twenty minutes." said Severus, he had made reservations in one of the restaurants inside the hotel. He was hungry, or at least now he was, before the potion he wouldn't have eaten all day.

"Alright," muttered Harry, removing himself from the warmth of the bed, removing his t-shirt and walked through to the Ensuite showing Severus what he was missing. He was a teenager at the end of the day, not an adult he couldn't be grown up all the time. In record time he showered, did the toilet and of course brushed his teeth, remembering to use bottled water. Grabbing his boxers from the floor he went back through to the room and pulled clothes out of his bag. Since they were going home, he made sure it was warm clothes he put on. He would miss the warm weather, he even had the beginning of a tan and he'd only been outside half a day.

"Where's Eileen?" asked Harry when he went through to the sitting area. Clipping his cloak around his neck, his hair already dried.

"She's already gone down," said Severus, "She also wants to look at a few things she saw and decided she wanted."

"Oh," said Harry nodding his head, "Are we leaving straight after?"

"Yes so remember everything." said Severus as he shrunk his own things using the Accio spell to see if he'd forgotten anything. A few empty vials flew into view and he placed them in his pocket. "And the money for all the potions is on the table, don't forget that."

"They were all sold?" asked Harry from the bedroom, as he hastily packed everything into the holdall. Remembering the stuff in the bathroom, he grabbed his toiletry bag and made sure everything was in it. Shrinking it, he put it in the bag since he was messy and full.

"Yes," replied Severus. As if there had been any doubt, Harry's potions were brilliant, and would probably take a while for the demand to calm.

Copying Severus he Accio'ed for anything else he could have forgotten, only the money bag floated towards him. Slipping it into the inside of his cloak pocket. Hoisting his holdall, he put it over his shoulder and exited the bedroom. He headed for the mini-bar and grabbed ten bottles of the water he liked and put them in the bag. Only then did he shrink it, and place it safely beside his bag of money. As they were leaving he also grabbed a handful of grapes and an apple. Closing and locking the door he caught up with Severus as the elevator door pinged.

"Did you enjoy the hotel?" asked Severus once the doors closed.

"I think it's brilliant!" said Harry.

"Good," said Severus, perhaps he had chosen an appropriate birthday gift after all. It was open ended so they could leave whenever they liked, especially if Harry had no desire to leave right away after his birthday.

The elevator doors opened and Harry followed Severus to the restaurant, since there were many he didn't know which he'd chosen. Getting lost once was enough for him, thank you very much. The smell of coffee was strong in the air, causing both of them to inhale sharply.

"I'll be back in a minute, I'm going to talk to Professor Slughorn," said Severus spotting his old Head of house.

"Alright," said Harry but Severus was already half way towards the teacher. Sniggering in amusement, he shook his head; he looked around but didn't see Eileen anywhere. He did notice Terrance sitting on his own looking miserable, poor guy; it must have been awful having Cooper as a Potions Master. He went over to the table and made two coffees, leaving one black and placing some milk and sugar on the tray and making plating himself some food.

"Mind if I sit here?" asked Harry, knowing very well that Severus wouldn't be eating any breakfast.

Terrance looked up surprised to see Harry standing there; he'd seen them last night having fun and felt envious of how close they all were. "Sure," said Terrance.

"Here," said Harry handing over a coffee "Looks like you could use it."

"Thanks," said Terrance smiling weakly. Not bothering to put sugar or milk into his coffee, the stronger the better in his opinion.

"Congratulations by the way," said Harry honestly.

"You too," said Terrance. He'd worked hard to get his Mastery, despite Cooper making it unbearable. His parents had known Cooper, so they'd paid him to take him on. He half suspected they'd known what he'd be like, and hoped he'd give in and do something else. His parents weren't happy that he'd chosen Potions to be his chosen field. Everyone in the family was expected to follow the family tradition and become healers.

"I have to ask, did you read upon the brain for when you made those two potions?" asked Harry curiously.

"Yeah, took me a year." said Terrance tiredly; drinking the coffee Harry brought him.

"So you know a lot about the mind? The pathways and matter?" asked Harry.

"Yes, I felt like a complete idiot at first." replied Terrance. Thankfully most information had come from his brother and sister, who knew alot about the subject matter. Still hadn't made it easy, but they'd taken it slow. His parents though wouldn't help him, just suggested he take on an apprenticship at St. Mungo's (American branch).

"I know, I still feel that way," said Harry laughing in amusement.

Terrance just grinned in response to Harry's statement. "You'll get there, I can recommend a few books if you like?" enquired Terrance.

"I'd like that," said Harry smiling in gratitude.

"Harry! Lets go." said Severus, "Portkey activates in five minutes!"

"Write to me?" asked Harry standing up, banishing the remains of his breakfast.

"Sure," said Terrance surprised.

"Great! Cya!" said Harry quickly manoeuvring through the magical people sitting on their chairs having breakfast. He quickly met up with Severus and grinned at Eileen who once again had her hands full of things.

"Come on then," said Eileen beaming at them. It was so much fun being able to buy whatever she wanted. It's not something she'd been able to do since she was a child. Since the age of seventeen, she'd had to scrape to get by, even with the shop. Now though with it sold she had more money than she would ever spend. She loved every second of getting away from the UK. She'd bought something for both her son and a boy she loved like one.

Holding onto the Portkey the hotel and its surrounding disappeared.

"Master Severus! Mistress Eileen! Master Harry! Welcome back," said Dobby beaming at them as their Portkey materialized in the foyer of Prince Manor.

"Thank you Dobby," said Eileen politely.

"You are welcome," replied Dobby before going back to cleaning the fire, which he succeeded in doing with a few clicks of his finger then promptly lit it. The fire crackled merrily masking Dobby's departure as they sat down. Grateful to be back home once again, despite the war.

Harry immersed himself in his potion, it's the first time he'd brewed anything since returning from the trip. Between trying to map out Voldemort's life, reading books on the mind, brain and its pathways, as well as the nerves in the body all in aid to try and help Neville's parents. He just wanted away from books and research, he felt as though his mind was literally about to explode. What if he'd taken on too much? What if he couldn't do this? Not only would it disappoint himself but Neville as well. Nev was counting on him to make his parents better, so they could come back to him. He wasn't even this scared about the war, or defeating Voldemort.

His friends were precious to him, they meant everything, more than all the money in the world, more than even Potions. They were all he had in the world, other than Eileen and Severus of course, none more special than Luna who also felt inconsolably guilty. She'd seen it, as it was happening yet was trying to convince herself she could have stopped it. She couldn't have any more than he could have; they'd been trapped in the Ministry of Magic. No he had to do this, if it's the last thing he did, he'd do it damn it.

Using the small stopper he sucked some of the ingredient out, and dropped two plops into the potion. If he'd been paying the proper amount of attention, he'd have realized it wasn't the correct ingredient. As it was Harry gasped in shock, clutching the stopper causing the ingredient to go all over his hand. Noticing that the potion was turning violent red, then before Harry could think let alone react, a large resounding boom penetrated the air; as Harry went flying into the wall with two simultaneous cracks his body fell almost lifeless. His arm sitting at an odd angle his hand at the side of his head. Agony coursed through Harry causing him to scream and writhe in the corner of the room, Merlin he'd never felt anything like it before in his life. Even the Cruciatus curse was preferable to this.

"Are the books any good?" asked Eileen her lips twitching, sipping her hot chocolate, which she was in the rare mood for today.

"Nothing as of yet," admitted Severus, even he couldn't be bothered looking at another one. The words were just blurring together, he was determined to see it through. If one of them could help them, then they would do it. He'd set up a meeting with Slughorn the day he'd seen him, under the pretext of taking to Harry of course. He would be coming in a week's time, the first free date he had teaching students. His precious Slug club came first of course, much to his consternation the man had not changed.

"I hope you find something," said Eileen.

"I do too," said Severus, their lives may well depend on it.

Just then Eileen and Severus froze in shock when they felt the manor shake on its foundations. Severus leapt from the chair, his book slipping from his grasp forgotten. Then he heard it, a soul wrenching agonising scream of despair, any colour Severus had left him completely. He'd never heard anything like it before in his life, oh Merlin, please let Harry be alive. He couldn't speak for the life of him, as he ran faster than he had ever before. He had to get to Harry, screaming was better than silence right now. Even if it made his stomach protest heavily.

"Harry!" cried Eileen not as composed as her son, tears streaming down her face as she tried to hurry along as well. Not surprising her son was well ahead of her, none of the house had been caved in, and that was something at least.

Severus wrenched open the lab door only to cough as smoke billowed out at an alarming rate...then an ominous silence descended upon the manor as if a dark cloud had moved in on it. Harry wasn't screaming anymore, but that didn't comfort them the least.

Bet you didnt see that one coming did you? what just happened? will harry forget everything for the past four years? will St. Mungos be able to help? or will Severus be doomed to lose Harry before anything began? or will he just begin all over again? determined to have his harry back? or will Harry be severely burned and near death? will anything good come out of it? oh and would you like to see Mpreg for this story? cant remember if i asked before! R&R PLEASE!