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Author's note/apology: Sorry! I know, I haven't updated in months, and I feel horribly, and I'm really sorry! Life got in the way, but I'm back now, and here's the latest, and I think I can wrap it up in about 10 more chapters. Again I apologize!
Thank you to everyone who reviewed last time!
Waves Start with Ripples
"Poppy, I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself. In my own quarters." If Harry didn't know better he would say a whine was creeping into Snape's voice. He couldn't blame him, really. The last few days had been hell. When they were awake at the same time, he and Snape avoided conversation and both lay there staring at the ceiling.
"Severus Snape, you are not leaving the Hospital Wing until I say that you are well enough, and you are not well." Madame Pomfrey met Snape's glare with her own. Perhaps in a week or so, once you've had plenty of rest and I can make sure your injuries are healing, you may leave, but heaven help me, if you," She turned to include Harry in her stern gaze. "If either of you even thinks about sneaking out of here, I will have the headmaster drag you back, and I WILL bind you to your beds."
"But Madame Pomfrey, I don't even have any injuries." Harry gave her his best puppy eyes.
"Which is why you will probably be released in the morning. If you behave." The mediwitch walked away muttering something about injury-prone idiots. Harry smirked. He glanced at Snape. The man was staring at the ceiling expressionlessly. Harry sighed and tried to get his pillow into a more comfortable position.
"Potter?" The tone of Snape's voice was off, and Harry whipped his head around to meet the black eyes of his father.
"Are you all right Professor?" There had to be something wrong. He sounded... nervous. An emotion Harry would never have associated with the imposing Potions professor.
"Fine, Potter. Or as well as can be expected. I am curious, however, about... that night. The headmaster told me the story but I still have several questions." Snape's voice was more confident now, but still seemed strange somehow. What was different?
"I suppose I would too if I were in your place. What would you like to know sir?" Harry kept his tone respectful. This was the longest civil conversation they'd managed this far and... that was it. Snape's words were missing the usual undercurrent of hatred and contempt.
"How did you come to occupy the Dark Lord's mind?"
"Maybe my new shields were too obvious, but he somehow figured out I had been learning Occlumency. Anyway, he got into my head enough to see that certain memories and thoughts were blocked to him, and I felt him get angry. And then I was having a vision of the meeting, and I took over for long enough to get you a portkey."
"Why?" Snape was sitting up now, staring at Harry like he was a particularly interesting potion ingredient. Harry guessed that this was the question that Snape truly needed an answer to, but Harry didn't really understand what he was asking.
"Why did I take over his mind? That was just a lucky accident that I exploited. Or why did I give you a portkey? To be honest sir, that's the only way I know of to get through Hogwrts' wards. I mean, that's what Crouch used when..."
"No Potter, why? Why did you risk yourself to save an enemy?" Harry was shocked. Surely Snape wasn't asking why he had bothered. But a look at the man's face assured him that he was. He was planning to die. Not that night, maybe, or maybe not until the inevitable final confrontation, but he didn't think he was going to make it through the war alive. He said enemy. Are we still?
"Are we enemies, sir?"
"You know what I mean Potter," the Potions Master snapped. "I disliked you and insulted you, and you were rude and lazy, since you started in my class. You don't like me or trust me, and furthermore, you know that you are much more important to the war effort than I am. So why did you do it?"
"First of all sir," Harry struggled to keep his voice even with the sudden return of Snape's usual tone. "I do not consider you an enemy. Or I would be pointing a wand at you, instead of answering questions. I don't like you. You don't like me either; I think we've both made that pretty obvious. We are both immature when it comes to each other, and I think we both have our reasons, however invalid they may seem in light of certain new information. I don't think either of us is ready to just forget sixteen years of bad history. Despite this, I do have a lot of respect for your role in the war, and you're brilliant at Potions. I hardly think you are dispensable to the fight against Voldemort. And, however much I dislike you, you don't deserve to die like that. Nobody does."
"You do realize that you would have died if not for Ms. Granger's timely interference, correct?" Snape asked incredulously.
Hermione was walking to the Great Hall for lunch when she heard a familiar voice call her name. She turned around to see Remus Lupin striding down the hall towards her.
"Remus! I'm sorry, um, Professor Lupin. When did you arrive?" Hermione asked. She noticed that the werewolf was wearing new robes, and that he looked healthier. It was a good thing to see, and she knew Sirius would have been glad that some of his money went to helping out his old friend.
"Just this morning. Albus has covered the classes since Tuesday when Professor Snape was found. How are you doing?"
"Alright. I'm sure you heard all about our adventure Tuesday night?" At his nod she continued. "Well Harry's better, still tired, but he was released yesterday morning. He spent all day making up work for the week, and he's finishing up this morning. I was going to grab some food, and bring it back to the common room, but if you want to eat with us, I might have a better idea."
"It's Sunday, and I already have Professor Snape's lesson plans to work off of, so I'm free."
Hermione touched her fingers to the bracelet on her wrist. "Harry?"
"Remus is here. Do you want to meet for lunch in the ROR?"
"Sounds great. Meet you there in five."
Hermione looked back up at Remus and smiled. He looked curiously at her bracelet. "That's what you gave to Harry for Christmas, right? What enchantments did you use?" So Hermione launched into an explanation that took them all the way to the Room of Requirement door. Harry was already inside, sitting on a soft couch with a low table in front of it, already piled with food. Remus took the armchair across from him and Hermione sat close to Harry on the couch. He gave her a one-armed hug and a kiss on the cheek.
"Hi Remus. Good to see you."
"You too, Cub." Remus reached for a ham sandwich. He had missed Hogwarts food. "So, catch me up on the news you two. Besides fighting evil wizards and almost getting yourselves killed, what have you been up to?" The teens talked while they ate and filled Remus in on classes, friends, Hermione's potion, the DA, and their study group.
"We're meeting in about twenty minutes actually," said Hermione, glancing at her watch. "Harry, why don't we ask Remus to help with war preparation and the DA?"
"Why don't we?" asked Harry in return.
"You're right." He turned back to an amused Remus and asked, "Professor Lupin, will you help out with training and the DA?"
"Absolutely. When and where?"
"We're only meeting for the afternoon today, because there aren't any tests or projects this week, but we're planning to make study sessions in the morning and training after lunch, so..." Hermione turned to Harry.
"About 1:00 on Sundays then, and the DA usually meets on Friday night from 5:30 till 8:00. We always meet here, ever since we tried meeting in an empty classroom and ended up covered in popcorn." Harry finished.
"I'll change the room," Hermione said, closing her eyes and picturing the study group's usual haunt, complete with bookshelves, cushions for practicing defense, a small potions lab set-up in one corner, and many armchairs. Soon enough, their friends began to arrive.
"Hey mate. You gonna explain why we're here?" asked Ron, who was followed in by Pat and Ginny. Hermione had forgotten that they, and Luna, were new members of the study group.
"Yeah," Harry answered. "Once everyone is here." Draco and Blaise showed up next, closely followed by the Patil twins, Hannah, and Luna. Neville ran in last, slightly out of breath, with dirt on his hands and clothes.
"Sorry, just realized the time. Was down in the greenhouses," he panted. He smiled at Hermione gratefully when she cleaned him up with a wave of her wand.
"You're welcome. Okay, well, we're all here because we know we'll be in the thick of the war that's begun around us, and we want to be prepared." Hermione stopped. This isn't DA. You aren't running this show. "It was Hannah and Padma's idea though, so I'll let them explain."
"Okay, so, we all know we're getting better at defending ourselves in DA, but we don't think that's enough. We should be finding potions and plants, and protective charms, and runes, anything to help us win, and keep everyone safe," Padma finished with a determined glint in her eye.
"We're open to any suggestions as well," put in Hannah, "and I think that we should look into more advanced offensive spells as well."
"We could come up with some new spells," Ron said, "You, know, element of surprise and all."
"That's a fabulous idea Ronald," said Luna. Ron's ears turned beet red. "I can help with a lot of the charms work."
"Hermione, Parvati, and I can research potions, if you two have no objections," offered Draco, nodding to the girls.
"What, Draco, knowingly inflicting yourself with two Gryffindors?" teased Harry. He put on a mock thoughtful expression. "Okay, well, Neville, hmm, I can't imagine what you'd want to work on..." Everyone laughed, including Neville.
"Anyone want to work on the Herbology aspect with me?" he asked.
"Padma's really good at that," mentioned Parvati. Padma, who had hoped to work with Blaise, sighed, realizing that she would probably be the most useful down in the greenhouses.
"Ron, you're the master strategist, right?" asked Pat. When Ron stammered something incoherent, the rest of the Gryffindors chimed in with the affirmative. "Okay, why don't you and I research spell creation. I'm probably the most advanced in arithmancy, and you can come up with the ideas, since I don't have a creative bone in my body." Ron nodded his agreement.
"I'll work with Luna on charming and enchanting objects," volunteered Ginny.
"Okay, so Blaise, you and me on researching runes?" asked Harry. "It's not my forte really, but I'm decent."
"Luckily Potter, runes are my forte." Blaise smirked. Remus, who had been watching the friends interact, stepped forward.
"It seems you have this mostly covered, but I would like to offer my assistance. If any of you need a pass to the restricted system, I can write it. I'll be here as an additional resource, and at some point, when you need supplies from outside of Hogwarts, I can procure them for you. I have a new house in Hogsmeade village, so going back and forth is no trouble at all,"Remus offered. "And might I suggest that, while you have a good idea of breaking into groups based on strengths, you really should keep communication open, because you may find that your talents merge. Try to spend the last hour of your meetings going over findings and discussing new ideas as a group."
"That sounds like good advice. And thank you Professor!" said Hannah. "So, is everyone okay with meeting here after lunch, working till, say 5:00, then sharing results and heading to dinner?"
"And don't forget, study group meets in the morning, about 9:30. Would any of the newbies like to join?" asked Parvati.
"Luna and I are a year behind, so we'll skip," said Ginny.
"Besides, when else would we brainstorm pranks?" asked Luna dreamily. The faces around the room were all shocked, except for Blaise, who had already known this bit of news.
"So... the hair thing... that was you?!" asked Neville incredulously.
"Well, and the Creevey boys," admitted Ginny. Everyone began to laugh, and Remus solemnly shook Luna's, then Ginny's hands, setting off more laughter.
"Moving on... I don't think I'll ever make it out of bed that early on a Sunday, guys. Besides, I'm in hardly any of the same classes," Ron backed out gracefully.
"And I'm in seventh year. It just wouldn't make sense, and I usually meet with my own group sometime during the week anyway. Thanks though," said Pat. Everyone said their goodbyes, and filed out, leaving Harry, Hermione, and Remus.
"You two are welcome at the new place any time by the way," said Remus. He handed Hermione a scrap of paper with the address, which she read and handed to Harry. "It's under the fidelius, so burn that paper." Harry finished reading it and set fire to it with his wand.
"We'll come visit next Hogsmeade weekend," promised Harry.
"Good," Remus replied. "Have you given any thought to your own inheritance?"
"Inheritance?" asked Hermione. Harry looked sheepish.
"I kinda forgot about it..."
"Harry, how do you forget about something like that?" Remus asked.
"Well, life's been busy, Remus, and I had other things on my mind," defended Harry.
"Did Sirius leave you Grimmauld Place Harry?" Hermione asked.
"Yes," he replied. Remus cleared his throat. "And um, 2 billion galleons..."
Hermione stared at him, gaping. Remus laughed. "That's about how Harry looked when I told him."
Moday- visiting Snape, occlumency
Monday after classes, Harry was bored. He had finished all his homework, and with Snape in the Hospital wing, he had no Occlumency lessons, and Hermione was working on an essay for Potions. So he picked up the Occlumency book Snape had given him, and finished the half that he hadn't yet read. And then spent an hour meditating and building up his defences. He took great pleasure adding grindylows to his underwater mindscape, to protect the seaweed-covered trunk of memories. He added a steel lock to the trunk in his mind, and then put it inside a larger trunk, covering it with innocuous memories, that might seem important to an outsider: the kiss with Cho, fighting with Ron, Snape yelling at him in class... Then he closed the lid of that trunk and put another lock on it. He added a bit more seaweed around it, and withdrew from his meditative state. It's still only 5:00!
Harry got up and stretched, deciding on a walk. Half an hour later, his feet had carried him to the Hospital Wing. Sighing, he pushed open the door. He wasn't worried about how Snape was doing, he was simply curious. The man was sitting up in bed, reading some Potions journal or another, and apparently hadn't noticed his visitor.
"What do you want, Potter?" Or not. Snape lowered the journal slightly, and Harry decided to throw caution to the wind, and took a seat near the professor's bed.
"How're you feeling sir?" Harry asked.
"Up until a moment ago, just fine. I seem to have developed a headache, however." He glared at Harry, and the boy laughed.
"Sorry sir. Just wanted to check in. I finished that book you loaned to me. Do you want it back now, or when you get out of here?" Harry asked. Snape stared at him for a long moment.
"You may keep the book, Mr. Potter." Now it was Harry's turn to stare.
"Thank you sir." Silence reigned for a long moment. "Can I get you anything sir?"
"Besides a bottle of Odgen's finest, no, Potter, I believe I have everything I need."
"Alright sir. Um, I guess I'll be going then. Goodbye!" Harry turned and left the Hospital wing.
"Goodbye, Mr. Potter," muttered Severus softly.
"Hello Severus!" called Lupin as he entered. Potter yesterday, Lupin today. Will wonders never cease?
"Lupin," Severus nodded his head in acknowledgement.
"I come bearing gifts, from Harry and his friends. I had to buy some of it for them, so I get to deliver it." Lupin held up a brown gift bag, and handed it to Severus. Inside was... a stack of books? He raised an eyebrow at Lupin. "Oh, sorry. Tap the bag with a finger and say 'Silly Slytherins' and you'll see what's in it. I believe Miss Lovegood and Miss Weasley charmed it so that nobody could see inside. Glowering, Severus tapped the bag and muttered the password.
Inside was a bottle of Odgen's firewhiskey, two glasses, the newest edition of the Potions Journal, a vial of a potion he didn't recognize, and two bars of dark chocolate. The Odgen's was from Harry, bought by Lupin, the glasses from Neville and Hannah, the journal from Hermione, the potion a concoction to disguise the smell of alcohol on one's breath, courtesy of Blaise and Draco, and the chocolate from the Patil twins, Lupin explained. "To disguise the bag again, tap it and say 'Idiot Gryffindors.' Don't ask me, I didn't choose the passwords."
"Idiot Gryffindors," Severus said. He wasn't sure what to say. Nobody had ever gotten him gifts while he was in the Hospital Wing before.
"Well, I've got to go Severus. Enjoy, and get better," Lupin said, turning to leave.
"Lupin," Snape said. the werewolf turned. "I... I made your wolfsbane in advance. It's in my office. The password is 'belladonna'. And tell Potter and his friends..."
"I'll tell them you send your thanks, Severus. Bye!" And Lupin ducked out the door. At least he didn't make me say it.