Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to JKR.
Harry Potter and the Trip to the Past
Chapter – 1
Nineteen Years Later after the War with Voldemort
Harry had just said goodbye to his two sons and was walking to the apparition point with his young daughter Lily and his wife Ginny. Ron and Hermione, Harry's best friends and married to each other, had done the same to their daughter Rose and were walking just behind him and Ginny. Hugo, their son was walking along with Lily, Harry's youngest child and only daughter, chattering hard with her, both of them speculating about the House Albus, Harry's second son and Hermione and Ron's daughter, Rose, would be sorted into.
James Potter, Harry's eldest was in Gryffindor and in his second year and Albus Severus Potter was on his way to Hogwarts feeling just a little scared he might be placed in Slytherin. While Slytherin did not have the name it did when Harry was a student, it still had a dubious reputation based on the stories of the past and Albus Potter, feeling he may have just enough tendencies to be sorted into Slytherin, was scared.
Harry had done what he could to assuage those fears and had tried his best to tell his young son that Slytherin was certainly not a bad House and there were many brave students who passed out of Slytherin and there were also the Pettigrews who were sorted into Gryffindor. Albus Potter was not impressed simply because he knew if he were sorted into Slytherin, he would be suspected first by the whole School before being accepted if that were even to happen.
Slytherin still had a reputation that was hard to shake. Albus Potter feeling only slightly better after his father told him to argue with the Hat and tell it to place him in Gryffindor if it suggested Slytherin, had waved goodbye rather solemnly and crossed his fingers, hoping for the best.
Harry had invited Ron and Hermione to have lunch with him and Ginny, and all the four adults and the two children crossed the barrier and were now walking to their cars. Lily went with Hugo to ride with the Weasleys and Harry giving a small wave got into his car along with Ginny and started driving to their home in Godric's Hollow.
Harry and Ron had nice cars that were fitted with enough magic to take all of them to Godric's Hollow in about ten minutes. Ron and Hermione had a beautiful cottage walking distance from The Burrow and spent most weekends there with a doting Molly and Arthur.
George had married and had named his first born son after the twin he lost, Fred. He still ran the shop with Ron's help and was a great success. He would never truly get over the death of Fred Weasley but he ploughed on and time slowly changed his sorrow into fond memories and regret that Fred could not live to see all this success and the peace that ensured after the death of Voldemort.
Bill was now a senior curse breaker at Gringotts and they had one daughter Victtoire and a small son Claude. Charlie was still in Romania married to a girl he had met there. The Weasleys were all doing well and Percy was now a high ranking Ministry official and he had fully patched up with his family.
Kingsley Shaklebolt was Minister for Magic and was doing a fine job running the wizarding government.
Harry was the Head of the Aurors and had gained a formidable reputation as its Head. He had over the years become tremendous at wandless magic and also at the Dark Arts. Harry had learned the Dark Arts to formulate various defences against them and he was simply fascinated by them. He realized that they needed extensive cleansing after use and he was very careful with them, lest his mind be corrupted.
Harry was also an expert on wards; wards of any type, blood wards, wards of intent, all types of wards. He could break any ward and could manoeuvre around any.
Harry was also an animagus, though he had mastered the art only much later. He found that he had three animagus forms in him, one magical and two non magical forms. His magical form was a Phoenix, a gorgeous blue and green ice Phoenix. His two non – magical forms were a snake, a very small sized viper and a stag.
No one apart from Ginny, Hermione and Ron knew about Harry's animagus of Phoenix and snake, not even his children. That was kept very secret and Harry used the two forms especially the snake form to eavesdrop and snoop around.
Harry had come a long way from the boy who had not been able to cast a crucio on Bellatrix Lestrange. In the search for the horcruxes, he had cast the imperio and the cruciatus with ease. But now many dark spells and the three unforgivables came to him without thought.
Harry used all of them reserving the avada kedavra only as a desperate measure and only when he was in life threatening circumstances, but he used the others to get any advantage whatsoever from his enemies, who were the left over death eaters and new aspiring wannabe Dark Lords.
In the nineteen years Harry had used the killing curse some three times and he realized that the killing curse does not split the soul if it was used in honest self defence and his mind, intent and reasons were honest. The killing curse would only split the soul if it was used with intent to split the soul or in other words to make horcruxes.
Of course killing without reason would embitter and make those who used it recklessly inhuman and sadistic but that was also the case with muggle psychopaths who went on a killing spree or terrorists who did not think twice about killing innocent people with families.
It was nineteen years since the death of Voldemort the psychopath and reckless murderer who had tried his best to tear the Wizarding World apart. It had taken many years before the Wizarding World could stabilize. Population had been at an all time low and so was the economy.
The war had taken its toll and it had been a very turbulent few years after the death of Voldemort. It was almost as it had been when he had started the second war in full swing after the death of Albus Dumbledore.
With Kingsley at the helm and all the Weasleys and Harry, Hermione and so many others chipping in working hard and long hours they had turned the Ministry of Magic and the Wizarding World on its head and brought many, many changes in it.
The first of them all was making all the magical races equal in the eyes of the law and assigning them seats on the Wizengamot and addressing their problems from the base, up wards. Then they had strived very hard to reintegrate all the different magical creatures into Wizarding society. That had taken a good many years to accomplish.
Now for the last few years things were pretty quiet and Harry did not work long hours and he was able to take the weekend off on a regular basis.
All the death eaters except Malfoy had been apprehended. All the Malfoys had escaped because Narcissa helped Harry in the Forest and Lucius spun a tale of being captured and marked against his will. They also told the Wizengamot that Draco had the lives of his parents at stake and he too was forced to take the mark and the proof of their not being death eaters was in the fact that Draco could not kill Dumbledore and Narcissa had saved Harry.
They had got away and after that had made sure by living carefully on the right side of the law and ensuring no one called them dark wizards or death eaters. They kept very much to themselves.
Four years back the Headmasters of Hogwarts along with McGonagall who was retiring that year to give way to a new Headmaster and Transfiguration professor had agreed, after fifteen long years after the death of Voldemort and ten long years of crusade by Harry and Hermione, to put up Snape's portrait in the Headmaster's office.
On the day that had been decided by McGonagall who was Headmistress, to request Hogwarts for Snape's portrait, Harry, Hermione, Ron and Ginny had been there very early so that they could thank the man for his extraordinary contributions without which they would not have won the war with Voldemort.
Harry had also sent word to the Malfoys about Snape's portrait appearing in the Headmaster's office, knowing from Draco the amount of sacrifice Snape had made for that family. Draco had promised to come and he had come just a bit later with his entire family.
Harry's parents and Sirius and Lupin had also portraits in Harry's parent's vault, a vault Harry had known existed only after the war with Voldemort. Lupin also had his own portrait along with Tonks that he had created when their son had been born and had had it hung in Andromeda's home.
James, Sirius, Lily and Lupin had all been twenty in the portraits Harry had hung in his home (he had destroyed Peter's portrait) and that morning they had been waiting for Snape's portrait to appear and the moment Snape's portrait had appeared, Harry had sent word through a house elf all of them had come in into Dumbledore's portrait to meet Snape and thank him.
The moment Snape's portrait had appeared, he had blinked once, only once and then had seemingly understood where he was. He had looked around to see a beaming Dumbledore and had scowled. Then his eyes had fallen on Harry and his black expressionless, inscrutable eyes had widened impossibly.
"You lived." He had breathed and Dumbledore had told him very briefly about Harry being a horcrux Voldemort had not intended to create and that he, Dumbledore had known Harry would not have died, only the horcrux would have been destroyed. Snape had turned incredulous eyes towards him, his face showing his shock. Then he had not spoken a word more.
He had looked at Harry for a long minute and then he had turned and removed his wand and had created wards ensuring that no one would come into his portrait.
Harry's mother came genuinely and eagerly to thank Snape and also to speak to him as his friend and his father, Sirius and Lupin very uncomfortably to thank Snape for his contribution to the war and for his many efforts to save Harry. They were there only because Lily had insisted they thank him, with the exception of Lupin who understood more clearly why Snape had to be thanked for all his help.
James was a bit jealous as well as sulky about thanking Snape of all people whatever he did. His contention was so many people had contributed to the war and had died to save their world. Snape had turned only because he had loved Lily and had wanted to save her.
"Don't forget," he had added darkly, "Snape had wanted to ask only for Lily's life and did not care if Harry and I died and if Voldemort had chosen to go after the Longbottoms he would not have bothered at all." But he had come when Lily had insisted and had tried to thank Snape.
Snape's eyes had widened impossibly the second time in minutes as he looked for a long minute at a beaming and tearful and just a tad uncertain Lily Potter. Then he had turned away without acknowledging any of them. Not even Lily Potter and Albus Dumbledore. Both of them had been totally taken aback at Snape's reaction and had tried to call out to him and talk to him.
Only Snape had not turned back and nor had he responded. He had just vanished into a lovely dark green velvet curtain that had hung there behind a simple chair that made up his portrait. Dumbledore and Harry's mother had tried talking to him and McGonagall, James, Sirius and Lupin had tried to call out to him and stiltedly thank him. Snape had not answered at all.
The Malfoys had come within the next ten minutes and Lucius Malfoy had gone close to the portraits had called out to Snape who had appeared from behind a curtain and had spoken in soft tones with him
That was the first time Harry saw the Malfoys and Malfoy's son and wife after the war. His wife was not the pug faced Pansy Parkinson but another pure blood witch and they had one son and a daughter. His son's name was Scorpius and his daughter who was younger was named Rhiannon.
They had come and had nodded only to Harry. They did not even look at anybody else. Not even the Headmaster Dumbledore or McGonagall. Then they had left with Lucius and Draco Malfoy formally thanking Harry and Hermione for fighting Snape's case and enabling Snape's portrait to be put up in the Headmaster's office. They had been there only for a total time of ten minutes and had left at once.
Snape had gone behind the curtain. He was still coming out four years later. Apart from Phineas Nigellus everyone had been shocked and a few of the past Headmasters and Headmistress had been angry. After all the effort Harry had taken to bring Snape's portrait into the august, esteemed and honoured circle, the man had no courtesy to even acknowledge their thanks and when Dumbledore and the Potters and McGonagall had tried to apologize the uncouth man had just walked away.
But Phineas Nigellus had understood the amount of betrayal that Snape must have felt for him to behave like this. When he had time and again, put his life on the line, he was still remembered only for the mistakes he had made and not for his contributions. He kept quiet though, knowing that at that time no one would understand his remarks. But he would say them when the time was right. The right time came that day itself, though it was not him who defended Snape.
McGonagall had flushed in shame when she had seen Snape and had tried to apologize for not understanding and Dumbledore had looked sadly at Snape, the few minutes he had been there. Lily had continuously talk to him, but Snape had not said a word beyond 'you lived' to Harry and had not even glanced at Lily apart from that amazed and astounded look at the beginning.
After calling for him for some time, McGonagall had placed a privacy charm on his portrait so that he would not hear their discussions that would have at best angered him. She need not have bothered because Snape was no longer there; instead the grateful House of Malfoy had created a lovely portrait and had also created links to a potions lab and a portrait of their personal library.
They had done this for the man who had saved their son from a sure death either at the hands of Voldemort for not having killed Dumbledore, or from the Wizarding World had he managed to cast the killing curse. Snape had saved him from both situations by killing Dumbledore and taking everything upon his already bursting head.
Harry had been flabbergasted and shocked that Snape had not even spoken to his mother and had thought that he, Harry would have died. Why should Snape be shocked; after all it was he who had, from the memories he had given Harry that told him he had to go and sacrifice his life for the sake of the Wizarding World. Then Harry's eyes had widened with understanding and remembrance and he had turned with incredulous eyes to Dumbledore.
"Sir, Snape did not know about the horcruxes, did he?" Harry had asked him more than sure he had not known because he remembered the memories that he must have played at least a million times in his head.
"No Harry I did not tell him." Dumbledore had said heavily looking very sad and gazing deeply into the empty portrait as if he could compel Snape to come out.
"He also did not know about the Elder wand did he?" Harry had asked with deceptive calm and Hermione had turned sharply to look at him. Ron and Ginny were watching everything, their eyes going from Harry to Dumbledore. They had not noticed Harry's tone, but Hermione knew that tone and it boded no good for anyone.
Dumbledore had shaken his head and then Harry had asked him the third question to which he knew the answer. "Snape also did not know I would live after Voldemort killed me, did he?" he had asked still calmly.
"No Harry he did not know. That is why he is very angry." Dumbledore had said and Harry had frozen.
Harry had understood at the time he was with Dumbledore, in his own mind in King's Cross, fifteen years ago, when Dumbledore had told him about the Deathly Hallows. Over the years, though, Harry had been feeling that too much had been asked from Snape and too little given. Snape had been used not only by Voldemort but also by Dumbledore who had used his terrible guilt and had made him a slave to that guilt until the very end.
It had been almost five years before Harry had even started thinking about the unease that Snape and his memories had brought to his mind, but they had grown slowly and surely over the years and had reached boiling point that day. And the resentment had built up, every time some little information was shared and every time Harry and Hermione were refused in their requests to put up Snape's portrait.
At seventeen Harry had been too young to realize the horror that was Snape's life. At thirty six he knew that no one, not Dumbledore, not his mother who was Snape's closest friend, had been even fair to the Slytherin, instead all of them had taken him, his contributions and later on his very life for granted by playing on that guilt.
Harry had been astounded that Dumbledore had made no effort to have Snape's portrait reinstated at first and had initially confronted him. Dumbledore had been evasive saying that he wanted all the Headmasters to agree to have Snape's portrait and not impose it upon them. If he did then, he had told Harry, they might not treat him properly. Harry had agreed reluctantly at the time, but had not been convinced.
"You mean Sir that you sent Snape to his death thinking that Lily Evans's son would die?" Harry had asked with sarcastic amazement in his voice.
"Harry I did not know he would die." Dumbledore had begun slightly confused about Harry's behaviour. He had thought Harry had seen his point of view when they had discussed everything in Harry's mind before the final duel. But Harry cut him off ruthlessly.
"You mean, even though you knew that Voldemort would think that Snape was the owner of the Elder wand, since he killed you, you still thought Voldemort would spare him?" Harry had asked sarcastically and that was when Ginny and the others had noticed that Harry had been fuming.
"So what mate? Snape's got his portrait and it is all way in the past now." Ron had tried only to keep quiet when Harry turned to glare at him.
"You talk as if he begged for it Ron and all of us graciously gave it to him. It has taken Hermione and me fifteen bloody years to get a bloody portrait for a man without whom and whose information we would not have won the war and we would have lost many, many more people. And he did it for Lily Evans's child, Ron not for me or for Dumbledore" Harry had yelled, his frustrations finally coming out.
"So what Harry? It was because of the greasy git that we died in the first place. Else we would have been living. It was he who told the Prophecy to Voldemort." James had yelled back.
"You died because you had a lousy friend who betrayed you for peanuts dad. Not because of a greasy git. And don't call him that." Harry had replied softly his eyes burning with anger.
"Why are you defending him like that? You saw how he called everyone mudblood including your mum and how much he was into the Dark Arts and why, even your mother broke off her friendship with him because of it. Right from his first year, he was a miserable, dirty kid, a death eater in the making." James had burst out furiously glaring at Harry unable to understand why Harry was sticking up for Snape of all people.
"I was dirty, miserable and a bum dad. I boarded the Hogwarts express with torn jeans that was three sizes too big for me and I had not had a bath for nearly three days because the Dursleys felt I was not worth wasting good hot water on, and I came faint with hunger because I had not had my breakfast in the morning. Ron was the first boy who smiled at me and he did not mind the stink that I must have had. That was why I refused Draco Malfoy's hand in friendship. It was because Ron had looked at me as a normal human being instead of a freak." James stared speechlessly at Harry's tirade.
"I saw from the memories how you talked to Snape. He was like me. Dirty and unkempt. But you were no Ron and all of us are not as fortunate as you were dad. We were not the cream of society and we did not have parents alive in my case and those who cared in his, to make a difference."
"But Harry," his mother tearfully started but Harry had not finished.
"I was sorted into Gryffindor. Snape did not have even that comfort. He was sorted into Slytherin and I think it was extremely brave of him to be friends with mum. She was the one friend he had and she gives him ultimatums and then drops him because he calls her a mudblood in anger and only because she had seen him at his most humiliating and Dumbledore says Snape disgusts him because he asked only for mum's life from Voldemort. You guys are amazing. " Harry had burst out just as furiously.
"Mate I think that is a bit over the top. Saying mudblood is not correct and your mum had all the right in the world to tell him to get lost." raising a hand asking Harry to keep quiet because he had not finished saying his piece, "wait I have not finished. Asking only for your mum's life and not caring for yours or your dad's is not right. And remember he came only because of your mum. Had it been anybody else he would not have turned. Your dad is right in that." Ron had told him calmly hoping Harry would tone down.
"Sure, he would not have asked for the life of Alice Longbottom. But then I would have never asked for the life of Narcissa Malfoy but I would have killed and would have died to save Hermione or Ginny or my kids or yours. If it had been Hermione, Lavender or Parvati, I would have felt devastated but would have chosen Hermione without hesitating for a second. And you know what Ron. If Voldemort had given me a choice between the two of you I would have died before I chose but I would have still chosen her. Because you would have died without her and I would have lost two friends instead of one.
"He can hardly ask Voldemort of all people to spare the child of the Prophecy and James Potter who has been attacking death eaters all over the place and his own personal enemy can he? He asked for mum because he loved her and he could make a choice Ron. Not because of anything else. I ask the Headmaster if he had a choice between his sister Ariana, Grindelwald and McGonagall; whom would he have chosen?" Harry had hissed in sheer rage and Dumbledore had drawn in a sharp breath and had looked in shock at Harry.
"Why should Snape save me or dad? Would I run like hell and sell my soul to save Ginny or Lucius Malfoy? Come on and grow up. This is war we are speaking about. You don't have to be so sanctimonious and act very pious. And tell me dad would you have died to save Snape? Any of you here? Why should he then? And you were the good, great and honourable guys." Harry had finished scathingly.
All of them had become silent and Lily Potter had started crying in earnest. James was glaring at Harry, unable to believe what he was hearing and Dumbledore had shrivelled in shock, guilt and pain of another huge mistake.
"So you are saying Snape was a fine guy and calling everyone a mudblood was just peachy?" Ron had asked him, his ears red and his face flushed in anger.
He had been shocked at Harry's rage and had felt very uncomfortable when Harry had told him about the choices he would make and Ron knew in his inner heart that what Harry had said was true. He would have killed for Harry and Hermione, he would have sympathized for Dean and Seamus and he had lived with them for six years and they were friends. He also knew he would have laughed for Malfoy and that was who James Potter was to Snape.
He thought for a moment where the scene would be Malfoy, Hermione as Malfoy's wife and their child. His heart twisted and he gnashed his teeth. He knew whom he would have asked Voldemort to spare. And he knew if he had to make a choice between Harry and Hermione, he would have died as well, but he would have chosen Hermione and lived in guilt for the rest of his life. He looked at Harry who was glaring at him itching to hex him.
"No of course not. But that is where he comes from. He has grown up more abused than me. I had you and Hermione and then Sirius. And I had the knowledge that my parents loved me. Whom did Snape have? His father hit him all the time and his mother was a weak sullen witch. Remember how I was in my fifth year? How much I yelled and pushed you guys off because Voldemort was sticking out of my head? I would have broken had you guys run away from me because I had Voldemort in my head. Voldemort would have won the war that year. Snape had no friends except mum and she was not a very good one was she? He could not even bring himself to say a simple hello to her after what, thirty five years."
"You apologize right now Harry. Right now to your mother." James had screamed.
"Dad do you know what a friend does?" Harry had asked him quietly.
"I know very well. One friend may have betrayed, but these two were friends Harry and I am a friend to them as well. Your mother put up more than enough with the git and I will not hear you talking like this about her. Apologize right now." James had glared at Harry. Lily had stared at Harry in horror and shock.
"No I will not dad, because this is my opinion and I am entitled to it. Hermione is my friend dad. She stood by me in my third year when Sirius sent me the Firebolt and we were very thrilled, Ron and I. She went to McGonagall and told her thinking rightly it might have been from Sirius Black, whom all of us at the time thought was a murderer and after me.
"Ron and I did not speak to her for such a long time and even though she was miserable and totally alone, she did not regret her decision. In my fourth year, if she had not been with me I would have collapsed. She kept my sanity for the first task. And in my seventh year, she was already going out with Ron and still chose to stay with me when Ron was angry I was not doing enough and stormed away to Bill's place. She fought with him and she stayed even though she was so miserable without him, just because she could not let me break with the huge burden I was already facing. She knew I would have broken and would have had no clue what to do, had she packed her bags and gone with Ron, who was so angry and accused her of choosing me over him before he left."
Harry glared at his sobbing mother. "I had Voldemort in my head mum. My friends did not desert me and I won. He was only friends with Avery and Mulciber. Yes, that was wrong and he was a bigoted git with twisted ideas. But where was anyone to whom he could look up and take guidance from? The only girl he respected was so high up there he was lost."
Hermione had had tears rolling down her eyes as she listened to Harry whom she loved like the brother she had never had. She had known Harry appreciated her help and that he loved her too, but this was the first time she had heard him speak so openly. He was still extremely closed about his feelings and sometimes even Ginny had trouble understanding him. She could read him like a book, though.
Ron had no answers to that and Harry had turned and glared at Dumbledore. "He came to you because he was desperate and you used him very nicely didn't you, never respecting him as a human being, all because he hated one Harry Potter and he was frustrated and foolish enough to become a death eater and ask only for Lily's life. You never trusted him and told him what he needed to know and ultimately you did not even give him the satisfaction that he had done his duty to the girl he had loved by telling him I would live through the curse.
"For sixteen years he had put his life in danger and he died without the knowledge both about the Elder wand and thinking he had failed Lily Evans because all his efforts could not save her boy."
"Harry I could hardly tell him everything. It would have been dangerous to him." Dumbledore had pleaded weakly still in shock about Harry's statements about his choices regarding his sister.
"Yeah you could not. You could tell me about the Prophecy and the horcruxes even though I had no skill in Occlumency but you could not take an oath from him and reveal it to him. Especially when he had been doing so much for so long. You thought Draco, his mother and his father worth saving but not Snape. Lucius Malfoy never ever repented becoming a death eater and all of them would have stayed loyal to Voldemort if Draco had not been targeted. Yet, you did not want to hurt them and while I can understand Draco who was just nasty and a bully I could never accept his parents.
"It was because of Narcissa Malfoy's manipulations of Kreacher that Sirius died. Lucius Malfoy has killed along with the best of them and done so much harm in the Ministry and still we don't see you treating them like you did Snape. It had taken all of you fifteen years to acknowledge his contributions and all of you feel indignant he was not thankful enough. All of you suck." Harry had had enough and he had turned and walked away.
The last four years after that confrontation Harry had never stepped into the Headmaster's office and had stopped discussing his past in any way to his parents, Sirius and Lupin.
He spoke to them only about the news in The Daily Prophet and about his children and the Quidditch matches played here and there. No Voldemort, Snape, Dursleys, his work, nothing.
He had only pleasant chit chats never serious discussions about anything. James and Lily Potter had broken down and Sirius had tried his best to make Harry see sense. Only Lupin had understood what Harry had been trying to put across because that was how he had been treated because he was a werewolf and he never tried to convince Harry that the way they had treated Snape was okay.
Harry himself had reacted the way he had because he had seen a lot of himself in Snape. He too had been given no information and had not been trusted until it was too late. No one had told him that Snape had been friends with his mother. No one had told him about the connections he had with Voldemort and he had lost Sirius because of that.
Dumbledore had also made him fight his battle alone. He could have done so much better and saved a lot of those who had died if only he had been allowed to tell certain members of the Order under a magical oath about the horcruxes and asked for their help and also have a united front in fighting Voldemort. Snape alone would have helped him with searching out the horcruxes had he known about them.
All this secrecy Harry had felt only made the already tough task colossal. It had been sheer luck he had won and had destroyed all the horcruxes. So when he had realized Dumbledore had played with Snape just like he had with him, he had seen red and had lashed out at everyone.
He also meant every word he had spoken to his mother. He knew that support from your people and your closest circle made all the difference between winning and losing anything. Snape had lost that day when he had screamed 'mudblood' to his mother. Her lack of understanding and support and her ultimatums with a holier than thou attitude had made him seek the other side that had already attracted him so much.
He was a git, a bully, and very spiteful but Harry knew he was like that because everyone was like that to him in the first place. Apart from Lily no one had shown him trust, friendship and love. He had been laughed at for his shabby clothes and hooked nose. Snape did not know the meaning of trust, value and love and even with Lily he had had it buried so deep in his heart that he had not recognized it or acknowledged it himself. That had been his undoing.
Snape had been used just like he, Harry had been; only he was not fortunate to survive the war because he had no one, unlike Harry who had Hermione, Ron, the Weasleys and the Order with him.
Ron had never tried to speak to him about Snape after that day. He avoided Snape and all allied subjects like the plague and when Harry and Hermione would discuss Ron and Ginny would sit silently on the sidelines and watch.
Now after dropping off his sons at the King's Cross station, Harry and Ginny reached Godric's Hollow and walked in along with Ron, Hermione, Lily and Hugo.
They walked in and Harry and Ron who had decided to make lunch for the family went into the kitchen arguing about the merits of Chudley Cannons and all that the team that had not won for over a century had to do to come even close to winning the Quidditch cup.
Ginny rolled her eyes and grinned at Hermione. They were sitting in the kitchen and listening to the arguments between the boys. James, Lily, Sirius and Lupin also walked into the kitchen and a more hilarious discussion ensued and soon all of them were having a delicious lunch.
Ron was looking very proud of the aroma that came from the dishes and Harry was very much amused.
They finished chatting and laughing about that season's hopefuls and about which matches they would never want to miss and slowly they made their way out to the drawing room and settled down with their coffee.
"Ah this is life." Ron groaned in pleasure taking a sip of his coffee.
"Don't you have to go to the Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes?" James asked him.
Ron grinned shook his head. "No James I got the day off. My daughter is going to school for the first time and it is so long since I met with Harry so leisurely, I decided to bunk."
Hermione smiled at her husband and turned to smile at Harry. "You have taken the day off too, today Harry?" she asked him.
"No Hermione, I will be going in the evening and look at some paperwork, but only for a couple of hours." Harry smiled back at her.
They spent time until Harry was to leave chatting and arguing pleasantly. Just before Harry was to leave for his office, Lily spoke up. Ron, Hermione and Hugo had decided to stay for dinner and Hermione had decided to accompany Harry to the Ministry and look at a few papers herself. She was one of the top officials in the department of Magical Law Enforcement.
"Harry even today Albus was asking after you dear." Lily said softly.
"Yes mum. That is very nice of him." Harry said equally softly and only with a hint of sarcasm in his voice.
'Harry he wants to meet with you alone and talk to you about something very important." Lily said persevering. James, Sirius and Lupin were like Ron. They never spoke about Snape and Dumbledore.
"I think I will pass mum. Really." Harry smiled at her, a bit of warning in his voice.
"He wants to apologize to you Harry. Is that too much for him to ask?" Lily asked him not caring for the warning in his tone.
"He need not apologize to me mum. He needs to do that to Snape." Harry replied finality in his tone, "I have nothing against him mum."
"Then go and see him now. Please Harry. Listen to me this once." Lily pleaded with him.
Harry was silent for some time. "Okay I will see him tonight after I finish with my paperwork and he had better not sound all knowing or act as if he had only best intentions in his heart." Harry growled, a bit unfairly because Dumbledore did have the best intentions, only he manipulated everyone to achieve them.
"But he did Harry. He did think the best. Only he lost sight of the fact that he was dealing with persons with human emotions. So did I." she said very softly. Harry looked sharply at her.
"I was so intent on the obvious sense of right and wrong, I committed a blunder that will make me swim in my guilt until the end of time or until Severus forgives me. As I don't see that happening, I must live with this guilt Harry. My excuse is I was very young and I was well pathetic." She finished tremulously.
Harry nodded sadly. "Yes mum. You were very young and you were fighting against the word mudblood to notice more. I do not blame you but Dumbledore should have been able to see more. He did not because he too thought Slytherin was not worthy and those in Slytherin were truly bad."
"That is not true Harry." Lily argued with him. No one else was speaking until now when Hermione spoke.
"It is true Lily. I remember Snape's memories where Dumbledore says Snape is brave and that he feels that they sort too early in Hogwarts. I received the worst insults from Slytherin, but even I know that not all Slytherin is bad just as not all Gryffindor is good. Peter was a Gryffindor and Snape was a Slytherin." She smiled her eyes showing her understanding at Lily's plight and guilt but siding with Harry all the same.
Lily sighed and left it there lest Harry changed his mind.
Dumbledore had been deeply upset and he had withdrawn into himself for many weeks before he even spoke a word to the others. He realized once again the mistakes he had committed in the name of the greater good had made Snape and so many others pay a very heavy price for them.
He had sent word to the Malfoy home asking for Snape to come at least once to his portrait but so far there had been no reply. He had been asking for Harry at regular intervals and he had wanted to grovel to Harry and also enlist his aid in trying to get Snape here to Hogwarts or allow Albus Dumbledore to go to even Malfoy Manor and also seek his salvation.
He was willing to do anything to talk to Snape and beg for his forgiveness. But in the last four years Snape had not visited even once.
Harry had not asked to see Snape. He knew Snape hated him and to tell the truth Harry himself did not feel any great love for the man. But he had sympathized and shared an empathy with the man for doing so much for so little.
Now Harry and Hermione got up a little lazily promising to come back in a few hours and nodding to his mother's anxious reminder to visit Dumbledore and went to the fireplace.
Harry and Hermione threw a bit of floo powder and flooed straight into the Ministry's auror office and waved goodbye to Hermione who took the floo from his office to hers. Harry sat down and for the next two hours there was only silence as Harry waded his way through a lot of paperwork.
He was putting his papers away when his floo burnt green and his assistant's head poked out and seeing him, looked very relieved and asked him to come over urgently.
Harry was there the next minute and followed his deputy to a holding cell.
"Harry he was captured because of very dark activity in one of the remote islands in the Outer Hebrides and following that trail we were able to capture him. He has not spoken so far and veritaserum has no effect on him."
"Where exactly was this place?" Harry asked him and got the place in one of the remotest corner of the Outer Hebrides.
"What else did you find there?" Harry asked him frowning. The man was wild looking and was probably older than Albus Dumbledore. He had snow white hair that looked unkempt and he was dressed very shabbily. His eyes were grey and they were very alert and very bright and right now they were piercing Harry's face calmly without a hint of fear.
"What else did you find there? Anything at all?" Harry asked still looking at the man who was looking straight back at him.
"We found a potion bubbling away in a cauldron and this chain with a very small time turner hanging on his neck." The deputy said very helpfully.
Harry was now curious. He leaned forward still not touching the chain or the time turner, took a careful look at it and then looked at the man.
"Sir, there was a huge dark magic registered in the area where you were living. No other magical creature or human wizard or witch was found except you. Do you have anything to say and could you please tell us what you were most likely researching?"
The wild man's eyes widened at this line of polite questioning.
Harry smiled. "If you have a reasonable answer for our query, there is no reason why you cannot get back to what you were doing." He said softly.
The man cleared his throat and spoke slowly. "I have been researching time turners Mr. Potter. Yes I am responsible for the dark activity and that was because I was adding certain runes to defeat time and combined they sparked off dark magic. I meant no harm sir."
The deputy scowled, "You could have told me all that. I wouldn't have disturbed Harry."
Harry smiled. "No matter Geoff. Have you been successful in creating them though?" he asked thoughtfully.
"I don't know sir. I have these notes of my ancestor and they are incomplete at best. I have been trying to fill in the gaps, without much success though."
"What is this time turner Geoff removed from you?" he asked the one his deputy was holding.
"Oh I bought that in a second hand shop more than a century ago when I started my research for them. This is not real."
Harry took it into his hands and examined it, sending his magic to it. The time turner was so tiny there were only a few grains, maybe only twenty five or so. Each grain was round and well defined.
Harry's magic examined it and there was no magical response and Harry concluded the man was telling the truth. He asked a few more questions about the potion and the rune combination and silently agreed that the dark magic was a result of the potion and rune combination and nothing else.
He nodded to the old, wild man and was about to hand over the minute time turner when it slipped from his hand and fell to the floor.
Harry using his seeker reflexes tried to catch it before it hit the floor. But the time turner was faster than him and it hit the floor and broke. Harry wildly tried to grab it and fell on top of it. For a second there was nothing.
Harry felt everything spinning away. Glimpse of so many incidents came rushing to him and he could only stare helplessly and clutch his bursting head. Then he knew no more.
End of chapter – 1