Bold – Normal world
Normal- New world
Sadness and reassurance
(In both worlds)
"Harry? Harry! What the hell? Harry! If you're messing around stop it, it's not funny!" I waited with bated breath. Nothing! I ran downstairs and bounded down to the kitchen ignoring my mother's angry screams. I skidded to a stop barely avoiding a collision with Remus. Everyone had stood presumably at the wailing portrait.
"What's going on?" Remus asked worriedly.
I felt tears at the corners of my eyes as I rambled out. "It-its Harry he was there one minute…we were cleaning then…then…I don't know he just…disappeared." I finished finally, blinking back my tears rapidly.
"What do you mean he just disappeared?" Arthur asked confused.
"Exactly what I said – he was there one minute then he disappeared into thin air the next." I snapped out.
"Sirius, getting angry isn't going to help get him back." Remus said.
"I know but what…what if it was death eaters he could be hurt and we wouldn't know. What kind of Godfather am I? I can't even keep him safe in my own house!" The tears were falling now.
Remus wrapped his arms around me; I leaned into his embrace hiding my face in his cloak. "It'll be alright Sirius – we'll find him. He can look after himself, he's a smart kid! And you make a great godfather, it wasn't your fault, you couldn't have done anything." He murmured into my ear. My tears stopped a minute later. I grabbed Remus's sleeve and wiped my tears on it with a small smile. He yanked his arm away shouting my name in dismay before I could blow my nose on it – obviously he knew me too well.
A cough made me turn around to face the door, Dumbledore stood with a smile on his face and twinkling eyes. Snape stood behind him with his usual sneer. McGonagall stood on Dumbledore's other side with a small smile at our antics. Arthur must have contacted them. They walked in and took seats around the table. All smiles that were present before had disappeared after I relayed the incident to them.
Molly stood up sniffling to check on dinner before it burnt. Dumbledore, McGonagall and Snape went to investigate the drawing room where they had been cleaning. The kids walked into the room chatting and laughing. "When's dinner mum I'm hungry?" Ron asked, his stomach growling to prove his point.
"You're always hungry Ron!" Ginny said in exasperation.
"What's going on?" Hermione asked always the perceptible one. At her words the others turned to us questionably.
"You should sit down." Remus said calmly. I wondered briefly how he did it, I mean he can't be that calm on the inside, can he? I looked down feeling a lump in throat and desperately tried to keep the fresh wave of tears from flowing down my cheeks. Fred and George pushed Ron and Ginny into movement. They all took seats at various places around the table.
"Where's Harry?" Fred asked. At this point all of their faces held confusion and worry. I averted my eyes guiltily – it was my fault, I could have done something! I pushed down the overwhelming urge to cry.
"Harry is missing, we are going to investigate and find out what happened and where he is. We will bring him back!" Remus replied forcefully. I couldn't hold them back anymore for the second time in the span of 30 minutes tears barrelled down my face. I swallowed a sob whilst standing up and fleeing from the room. I kept repeating the same words over and over in my head, in a sort of prayer - please come back Harry.
BACK TO HARRY…
Snape allowed Remus and Sirius to stay the night in the guest rooms – a little reluctantly – they didn't seem to get on much in this world either (I wondered if it was even possible) - so I walked with trepidation down the stairs to the dining room for breakfast. I had been given the grand tour yesterday of all except the garden as it was too dark to see anyway. I was currently staying in a luxurious guest bedroom. It was painted light blue with oak furnishing and dark blue bed covering on a soft double bed.
I walked cautiously into the dinning room which was strangely silent. They were all there. Remus and Sirius sat together on one side and Snape sat on the other. They were all drinking what looked like and smelled like coffee. They all looked up at me as I came in; I stopped before walking around the table to sit beside Snape, opposite Sirius.
I fidgeted under their gazes until I became too annoyed and snapped out "What?" in frustration. They jumped a little – well except Snape, he just averted his gaze to his coffee.
"Sorry, it's just…you're so different." Remus said apologetically.
An uncomfortable silence reigned over us as I poured myself a glass of orange juice that was in a jug on the table. We all sat sipping our drinks until I couldn't take anymore of the silence. I asked the one question that had been bugging me since yesterday. "So why didn't this Harry like you two then?" I asked. They looked uncomfortable and didn't reply.
Just when I thought I wasn't going to receive an answer Sirius spoke "Well, he didn't like me because he blamed me for his parents' death." He looked at me then and asked, worry seeping into his voice "You-you don't think that do you?" I quickly shook my head then smiled at him, he heaved a sigh of relief before continuing "He didn't like Remus because he's a – um – maybe he should be the one to tell you." He finished turning his head in Remus' direction. I had a feeling that this was about his 'furry little problem' –as Sirius had once said the marauders had called it.
Remus was shifting uncomfortably and keeping his gaze on the floor as he replied "Because I'm a werewolf." How could you not like someone because of something that was not their fault?
Remus was looking at me anxiously so I told him firmly "If you're wondering if I care – I can assure you that I don't."
"You- You don't? You already knew?" Remus asked in more than a little shock.
"Yup" then added with a smile "to both questions." I replied cheerfully.
"Did I tell you?" He asked sceptically.
"How could you? You were here." I replied doing my best to keep a confused look plastered on my face. Sirius chuckled quietly; Remus and Snape both rolled their eyes. I smile and answered seriously: "No you didn't, we, meaning Hermione, Ron and I, found out for ourselves. Of course Hermione had already pieced it together before we met the wolf you on a full moon." I finished calmly.
"What!?!" He practically shouted. All of them were all staring at me in shock.
"Well you were working at Hogwarts and Sirius escaped – we didn't know you were innocent until that day – Sirius ran up to us, trying to get Pettigrew but you ended up grabbing Ron's leg in your mouth and you dragged him into the shrieking shack. Hermione and I followed after a brief encounter with the Whomping Willow. Well Remus turned up, having seen Sirius on the marauders' map. You – well they – both started explaining how you were innocent and you were about to force Pettigrew to transform back into a human but Snape appeared having seen us all on the map which Remus left in his office. Well Sirius and Snape exchanged a few words, Snape was trying to take us all to the castle, but well Hermione, Ron and I cast expelliarmus at him at the same time. He…uh…was blasted back into the wall and got knocked out– sorry. Well anyway we found out the truth and we got out of the shack. That's when we realised that Remus hadn't taken his potion. So anyway Remus transformed, Pettigrew escaped, Snape tried to protect Hermione, Ron and me, Sirius transformed into Padfoot and attacked Remus…" I continued to tell them the rest of the story up until the point where Sirius escaped and Remus quit, leaving stunned silence in its wake. I fidgeted under their intense gazes.
"You did all that in your third year?" Snape asked being the first to recover.
I snorted. "You should here about what I did the previous two years. Scratch that every other year" They were staring at me again. Oops.
I was forced to recount every year in full detail, they remained silent throughout the whole thing. I almost couldn't finish the end of fourth year; I had to keep blinking back tears when I reached the part about Cedric. When I had finished, Sirius stood up so abruptly that his chair fell back with a thud as it made contact with the floor. He rushed around the table and yanked me out of my chair and pulled me into a hug before I knew what was happening. I stood stock still for a few minutes, but snapped out of it when I felt Sirius pulling back. I wrapped my arms around him and asked "What's this in aid of?"
"You shouldn't have had to go through all of that." He replied.
"Oh." Was all I could say into his quickly becoming soaked cloak. My tears were flowing unrelentingly down my face as images of Cedric flashed past my eyes. I hadn't allowed myself to mourn his death yet and it felt so good to finally be able to that I couldn't stop the tears anymore. "It was all my fault." I murmured in despair.
"No...No it wasn't your fault, not at all. Dumbledore should never have let you compete...and you couldn't have known...you couldn't have done anything!" Sirius told me firmly hugging me tighter.
"He's right Harry. It wasn't at all your fault." Remus piped up from his seat.
And then came the words that truly comforted me, the words that changed everything, the words that I had been longing to hear, the words that made me see reason, the words that made me truly believe it wasn't my fault, the words that came from a man who I knew spoke the truth, a man who had never comforted me, a man who now didn't even know me, a man who wouldn't be blinded by love and sympathy, a man who I knew wouldn't think of me as the other Harry but a different Harry someone he didn't know, a man who was an outsider looking in rather than someone already involved that pitied me or loved me, a man so private that the only truly personal knowledge I have of him is his name: Severus Snape.
"It'll be all right Harry. It wasn't your fault! You've been through a lot but none of it...none of it is your fault. There is no need for you to feel guilty. No one, not even Cedric would blame you – of that I am sure." Were the words that spilled out of his mouth. I stared at him for a long while, more tears escaping my eyes.
He started to look uncomfortable and I knew this was probably going to be the worst mistake of my life, that I was probably committing suicide by even entertaining the thought, but my body didn't seem to be responding to my brain's orders to stay still, to stay safe, and to forget the ridiculous idea immediately. Instead, as if someone else was controlling my body and I was watching from a safe distance above my body, I gently untangled myself from Sirius's Embrace and walked over to him, to the man who had taken pleasure in assuring that my life was far more miserable than it had to be. But I reminded myself that this wasn't the same man, this was someone completely different, someone I couldn't judge from my worlds Snape's actions.
It seemed to me to take an eternity for me to walk over to him, but in reality was probably only 3 seconds. He watched my every move and as soon as I got close to him he stood up, probably expecting me to curse or shout at him, as he had no doubt remembered that I had told him I hated him – or the other Snape – the night before. But I didn't shout and I didn't curse him, no, in fact my wand stayed where it was on the kitchen table at Grimmauld Place back in my world.
No, instead...I hugged him, I actually wrapped my arms securely around his waist and hid my flaming red face in his thick back cloak and whispered "thank you". He stiffened and drew in a quick breath, and I assumed that this Snape wasn't used to random people he didn't know hugging him either. I don't know what I was expecting but it wasn't to have two strong arms wrap around me. I relaxed then not even realising that I had tensed up at all. I breathed a sigh of relief and contentment as I felt fingers carding through my hair and a soft 'shhh' come from above my head. It was then that I realised I was shaking and not only that but I was sobbing... SOBBING on my most hated teacher.
My brain seemed to re-attach itself with my body as soon as I had calmed down. I felt a little dazed light a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I instantly became embarrassed when I took a step back from him, breaking the embrace. "Err...sorry." I said awkwardly.
He seemed to fare a little better and said in an emotionless voice "you've nothing to be sorry for. Perhaps we should finish breakfast?" he said it as a question but we all knew it was intended as an order. Snape and I resumed our seats at the table. Sirius and Remus, having pulled themselves out of their daze – in which their mouths hung open and their eyes were almost popping out of their sockets, joined us a moment later.