Warning: Borrowing JKRowlings characters. HP/SS kissing.
If Only You Had
As told by Professor Severus Snape, Potions Master at Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry
Harry Potter never left after the Dark Lords war ended. It wasn't like he had anyplace to go. His families home destroyed… the one he had with Ginny Weasley and their children. Ginny's dead now as is the oldest child, Lark.
I didn't mean the other house. The one he lived for a short time in with his parents, I've no idea what ever became of that house. I heard it was impressive.
Nor the house he grew up in after his parents house was gone. I heard that one was an average muggle home. Though I have no idea what is actually average about a muggle home. I would think it is very below average. What without the magic and all.
He stays at the castle now as if this is his new home and lives here as if he has no intention of ever leaving. Headmistress McGonagall does not mention this to him. I think she likes him near by. I think she likes being a honorary grandmother to his other two children, Cardinal a boy age six and Nod a girl age four.
The castle is quiet now. Not like it was during the war, then the noise never stopped. There was so many people invading the corridors of the school. Seeking refuge. So many people living here because they had no place to go. No family left, no home, no jobs. But the war is over and they find those things, family they forgot they had, friends that become family, they buy new homes, rebuild the old and as horrible as it is with war comes jobs. Not the jobs one desires but the ones that become necessary when trouble times end: Mortician, grave digger, construction, missing persons investigation, looter.
Potter, he found a new job… sort of. It's a job born of the war. A job found out of necessity. A job no one had dared undertake before. Boring though it was.
It started as a fluke I'm sure. Away to amuse all the young children around. Not only his but those of the refuge. It was entertainment at its oldest form. Story telling. The portraits of the castle told stories of their lives before they became nothing more than oil paint and canvas. Told stories of past students, families, professors, subjects taught through the ages.
And so Potter had undertaken the dubious task of writing the history of the Hogwarts portraits.
All of the Hogwarts portraits.
On all seven floors, in all 4 wings of the castle, sub basements, kitchens and all common rooms, dorm rooms. He sits there on a Henry the fifth era chair, worth more than the blasted castle itself and talks to the portraits, interviews them , sketches, stares…thinks, questions.
Today he sits with his youngest at his feet playing with building blocks, coloring, humming to herself as she braids her red hair, napping at times. His middle sits staring at him… most of the time. He's angry the other. He pulls on his untidy black hair, he has a scar on his cheek from the battle. Its not lighting bolt shaped like his fathers. Its thin and angry and red and new enough to still be a novelty at his age and most likely will fade with time.
They don't speak as Potter sits in a corridor rarely used. I've never seen them speak to each other.
Potter speaks to the portraits, to the professors, visitors and other sorts. His children don't speak to each either. They are quiet. They are like no children I've ever scene before. They don't question incisively like children are task to do. They don't talk to themselves or their toys. They don't fight as siblings do.
I think at times it is a product of war. The silence. Their silence.
Potter is interviewing a difficult portrait today. Its one that doesn't particularly want to his share his story. It's a gruesome portrait, there is a headless body hunched over in the corner bottom left of the canvas, a spill of blood on the floor, a man in the opposite corner with a white wig and with a blood stained nightshirt on. There are medical tools on a table, along with the head. Its very red, shadowed. Black.
Its in a corridor that is not accessible to the children of the school. It had been once… when history of witchcraft and wizardry hadn't been taught by a dull ghost. This wing had been a museum of sorts to wizardry history.
It was mostly cobwebs now.
Potter sits patiently, he has told the portrait why he is there and is waiting.
They are at a impasse at the end of the day.
Potter is back the next.
Children at his feet. His son sits on a set of three steps a few feet away. He is holding a toy truck in his hand. It's a loud one that clicks as it moves. He is running it back and forth, clicking all the while, his eyes trained on his father.
Potter doesn't move nor look at him or reprimand him. He is staring at his notepad.
Days pass and the portrait refuses to tell his story. The children grow restless sitting here without a story. Without sunlight.
Potter doesn't seem to notice. He is numb.
I come and sit next to his middle and take the truck from him and silence it with a wordless wave of my hand. He glares at me.
I smile at him and he gives me a look of disgust. If he was my child I would have been proud of that look. But as it is he is not. I stand and hold my hand out. He looks to his father for permission but Potter is looking at the portrait. His quill eased over the parchment ready to take notes, to question, to sketch.
The child takes my hand and leaves with me.
At that moment I wonder if at his age the Dark Lord had offered me his hand would I have taken it so freely.
No I had been older. A few more ghost in my adolescent head.
And of course I am no Dark Lord.
He walks with me a ways and looks back at his sister asleep on the Antirue Gabbeh rug, her hair fanned out the red of her hair bleeds into the red of the carpet from our positions you can't tell where one begins and the other ends.
He leaves with me.
As we round the corner, I hear the portrait ask if the one at his feet is truly asleep. Potter must have nodded. For a snort follows and the man in the white wig and nightshirt put his hand on his hip and said, "Well if you're so sodding desperate to know… I did it I killed her… chopped her head right off…"
I walk him outside to the lake, the giant squid has his tentacles on a well rounded rock sunning himself. He is tapping one as if to a tune only he can hear. I walk to the far side of the lake to a spot were the boats of the first years enter an underground tunnel to get to Hogwarts. It's a delay tactic. The professors need time to get the returning students to their tables. The students need time to greet friends. Password need assigning to each new prefects and head boy and girl.
The boy follows, until we are at the bottom of a slope by rocks to sharp and slippery for a child his age to be on. I step out onto the nearest rock and he follows still. I can't decide if he is brave and fearless like his father or angry enough it didn't matter…. Like his father. A few more steps and I squat down and point to a little pond of water surrounded by large boulders. The water from the lake doesn't touch this spot. Its of itself. Alone and unreachable.
He oohs and ahs instantly. The little fishes in this space are beautiful. They are tropical in color, reds and yellow, blue and a electric green with black stripes I've never been able to find anything like them in a book anyplace. Cardinal leans into me, his small arm around my neck. I dip my hand in the water, he follows suite.
Warm, like its fed from an underground hot spring that trickles up enough water just to this spot. I wonder again how the fish got here. They are not magical as far as I can tell.
We stay there along time watching them. Long enough for my legs to ache. Our bellies growl with hunger. Its only then I scoop him up and carry him back to the castle. He says nothing, only resting his head on my shoulder his small fingers twirl a strand of my hair. Its comforting.
Potter says nothing as I deposit his offspring in the chair besides him. He looks up at me and frowns and then back at Cardinal. Its almost as if he hadn't realized the child had been gone. He looks down the table at Nod who is amusing Hagrid with a story about a lady who had her head chopped off.
"Thanks." Potter said.
I nod and pile mashed potato's on my plate followed by an unhealthy dollop of butter and salt.
The days that follow are much the same. Potter and his portraits. His dark corners and restricted hallways of the castle.
Sometimes I sit there and watch him interact with the portraits. The way he speaks to them is peculiar, almost as if portraits have their own language. Their own dialect. Its hard and full of edge. There are no lies from a portrait. There is only truth as a portrait sees it. Or saw it before they died. They know nothing of death.
Potter is careful in what he said to them. Portraits are easily offended.
Its dark in this hallway that we sit now. There is no light except from the tip of his wand. And only that so he can see what he is writing. He could have summons candles to him in this space. He does not. He does not notice these type of things.
Cardinal is sitting in a chair down the way kicking the leg of a suit of armor. It sends an awful ringing noise down the hall each time he does this. Potter says nothing. I'm not even sure he hears it. He is looking up at the man in the portrait.
I cast a silent body bind on the child. I can tell instantly the child wants to scream. Another silent word and I levitate him toward me. Potter watches as I turn with an impressive swirl of my cloak and simply beckon the body to follow me.
Nod is instantly on her feet and follows as well. Potter says nothing as I leave with his children.
He makes no move to follow them nor question me.
I take them to the back side of the castle. To one of professor Sprouts old greenhouses.
This will be the first year in Hogwarts history that herbology is not taught. Mostly because there is no professor and secondly because the greenhouses have been destroyed. Safety glass hadn't been enough in the end. Curses only a grown wizard would know had finished them off. The twelve buildings are now nothing more than broken glass and crumbling bricks and misplaced mortar.
If you look carefully you can still see the beauty of the old structure. You can see they had once been taken care of with love and care. That the old occupant had devoted her time and energy to the buildings and had considered the contents precious.
But now its been so long the contents of the buildings had to make due on their own. They have grown wild. The greenery has taken over, larger plants, stronger roots systems choking out lesser seedlings.
The children stand with me marveling at the beauty, even among the destruction. Nod reaches up and takes my free hand. Cardinal's hand is in my other. We stand there to long, in silence. Still. As still as children can be. But these are exceptional children. They do not fidget, they do not whine as children are apt to do. They understand war. Understand more about war than a child should have to.
I pull them along toward the last crumbling structure. Greenhouse number twelve. This was Sprouts personal greenhouse. No students entered here. This is where the most dangerous of plants were housed. This was her personal stash. Her secret.
I take them around to the back where it is easier to enter the building. The front entrance is blocked by debris of building eleven.
I lift Cardinal through the window, then myself and reach back for Nod. She lifts her arms to me instantly.
She is a good child. She is not angry like her brother. Or in a shell shocked state like her father. She is young enough that she will forget this war. She will forget her mother and oldest brother. They will become nothing more than a passing thought at holidays or when the odd picture pops up. She would readily accept any new partner her father would choose.
I do not set her down. I hold her on my hip with one hand, my other steers Cardinal down a little pathway, up over a fallen tree trunk and to the left.
I point to a spot at the base of a dead Snapdragon plant. It had been an actual Snap Dragon. Not the garden variety that muggles love with their pretty pink flowers. These are shoot steam smoke, fire breathing with a foul temper. There was a spot at the base where rain water pooled and mushrooms had grown in a circle. It was now home to a fairy ring, live fairies fluttering. Doing what ever it was fairies did.
They sat on the caps of the mushrooms. Took dips in the water. They glowed and glittered, swirling and twirling. I knelt with Nod sitting on a tree stump, Cardinal sat at my feet mindful of the broken glass nearby.
We watched until we were numb and with out thought. Watched until we are deadened until thoughts were no longer in our minds.
They are good children… silent. But only by the grace of Merlin they are silent. For they have learned something a child should not have to learn. No child should have to be with out thought, no child should have to go to that place in your mind where you do not think.
Nod had nodded off and was limp in my arms. Cardinal was leaning against my legs fighting to stay awake. I was no longer watching the fairies. My head had turned to the night sky long ago. To the stars and the clouds. To the shadows of the castle in the distance.
Touching the boy slightly on his shoulder I motioned for him to rise. Finding my own footing he followed me out of the broken glass and twisted metal. Back to the castle and to the 3rd floor that housed the rooms he shares with his father.
I knocked lightly on the door. There was no noise as I waited. Though I had little doubt that the children's father would be inside.
The door swung open, Potter stood there in blue jeans and t-shirt that read Seeker. The E's in the middle were fading. He looked over his shoulder toward the bedrooms his children shared as if realizing they weren't there. Running a hand through his hair, disrupting the mess that had settled with the end of the day.
He picked up Cardinal and motioned for me to follow. I did. The living room was small. Enough for a small sofa and a chair. The fire place was not lit. I squeezed between the pieces of furniture, Nod still asleep in my arms.
I watched as Potter tucked his middle child into his bed. I followed suite with the youngest. I stood watching her sleep for a moment. Her small fist moved to her mouth. It looked like it would be comforting.
Potter touched the sleeve of my robe. I follow him out of the room into the small living room. "Brandy, fire whiskey?" he question.
I shake my head in decline.
He gestures toward the sofa, I sit and he sits next to me. Our legs touch. He makes no apologies about it. I watch him as he sighs. Potter is not the boy he was when a student here. He is a man now, with children and loss. He has little lines in the corner of his eyes. His face has an unhealthy parlor about it. It's the war.
"I've become a bad parent." he says out of no where. Breaking me from my thoughts.
"I never use to be this way….I use to be the dotting parent. A good father. It use to drive Ginny barking mad the patience I had."
I nod. Nights are always the time for confessions. When the mind is tired the mouth will speak. My mother use to say that. She's dead now.
He runs a hand through his hair again. Its not as clean as it use to be. He's not as clean cut as he use to be, there is scruff on his chin. Ink on his pants. His hands need to be washed.
Wizardry cleaning charms are only temp fixes for soap and water.
I would know.
"I don't mean to hold you up Severus, I'm sure you want to go to bed." He said, though he makes no move to get up.
I shrug my shoulders. I have no place to be. Nights are the worse after war. Loneliness is the worse. The isolation. The ways the room cave in on you. Strangling you. The trapped feeling four walls can give you, as if they will buckle in on you at any moment and trap you forever in their misery.
I shudder. I can't make myself move. Potter rises finally. Its my cue to leave. I follow him to the door.
"Thanks Severus… with the kids and all." he stands just as tall as I. if not a inch taller. Not that it matters in boots.
He's close to me. His hand on my arm. "I'll try and be a better parent. If not for me but for them."
I turn to leave. Potters grip tightens on my arm. I turn toward him. He's close. His face, eyes, nose, lips, mouth are close. His breath is fresh with to many a freshening charms.
Somehow his hand has made is way to my neck. To my throat, a single finger is stroking my throat. It feels nice. Goose bumps nice.
His lips are on mine. His tongue asked my mouth for entrance that I grant. Its nice. Comforting. There is need but not so much that its unwelcome. He pulls back. His breathing is heavy, eyes closed, mouth open. He rest his forehead against mine.
"Daddy," we both look over toward the children's bedroom. Nod is standing in the doorway. Pink and white bunny slippers on her feet. "I'm thirsty."
Potter nods. His finger grazes my cheek. "Goodnight Severus." he whispers.
That night I don't think as I fall asleep. That night the room doesn't close in on me.
Today Potter is asking me for entrance to the Slytherin dorm rooms. He wants to get the dorm done before the students get back from Easter break.
I want to tell him that Slytherin portraits will be difficult not only because he is a Gryffindor but because he is Harry Potter. I don't he will find out on his own. I'm sure he expects it, their difficulty.
The children follow him up to the top floor where the seventh years are housed. The rooms are neat and orderly. Only by the grace of house elves. Slytherins are not tidy by any means. They never had to be. There was always a house elf to clean up any mess.
I go to the window and open it. It's a narrow window. It cast more light than looks probable. Potter sets ups his chair in front of a angry looking wizard. He looks at the children in disgust, I believe he was a professor here in the 16th century.
I do not ask. That is Potters job. He will find out.
The children set in. Nod is spread out on the rug crayons and paper. Sugar cookie and milk. Cardinal is wandering around the room. Looking at the swords above the fireplace, the suite of armor for the only centaur to ever be a student at Hogwarts. He wanders to the window after a while and takes a seat. The sun on his face, the red highlighted in his otherwise black hair. His long legs stretched out before him. For the first time I realize he is aptly named. He looks like a cardinal.
Potter is talking to the portrait. He is sucking up. He seems to be playing up the great history of Slytherin angle. Its most likely the way to go with this lot. Most Slytherins like to think they had a great impact on their house. That they left their mark on the wizarding society. Most did not. At least not in a sense people want to remember.
The two are talking as I watch the sun make its way around the room.
Nod comes to me mid afternoon a drawing of me in her hand. There's a lot of black in the drawing.
I pull a basket from my breast pocket and with a wordless wave of my wand it grows larger. Cardinal comes over as I pull out bread and butter. Ham and cheese and more sugar cookies. Potter drifts over as well.
We had an impromptu lunch on the bed of a seventh year named Damnish. He is a pleasant boy with eyes the color of coral. I think he is destine for great things. And by those things I mean Potter will have to come out of exile of being an Auror and kill the boy dead before he does us all in. I wander briefly about eyes color, can you measure greatness no matter if good or bad by the hue of ones eyes. Potters so green and Voldemort's so red.
Coral isn't far off from red.
I have told no one this. It will come in time and of course I could be wrong. Though I doubt I am. I rarely am.
I don't think that Potter can even handle these thoughts now. Its only been a year. Maybe less.
I put away the lunch things and put the basket back in my pocket. Potter meanders back over to the painting. Though he does not take a seat. I stand and motion for the children to follow. They do so quietly, silently.
Cardinal takes Nods hand as they begin the journey down the stairs.
Potter tugs on my sleeve as I make a motion to follow them. My eyes watch him watch me. His eyes are darker now. Perhaps its age or the way the light catches them. I don't think so though. There's something in them, something more than before when he was just a student.
I thinks it's the battle, the lives lost, not only those of his wife and child but all the lives lost in this war. it's the numbness one tries and afflict on oneself.
The Dark Lord was more sadistic this time. Revenge on a child that year after year out smarts you does that to a evil dark lord.
Potter's fingers find there way to my neck, caressing. I want to shudder in pleasure, in warmth. But I mostly want to see his eyes the way he looks at me. Its not like when he looked at Ginny Weasley. Its more intense, its hard and strong.
Though I have no doubt he loved her as his wife and the mother of his children. Love after war is different.
He pulls me forward and his lips are on mine. Its not like last night.
Its forceful and filled with need. I say nothing as he pulls me against his chest. His lips, tongue, mouth feel good. Warm. My hand falls to his hip. His hand feel there way to my waist, my chest, back. They wander. Its more than nice.
Potter breaks for breath first. He pants in my ear. The warm breath feels good.
"We should go see what the kids are doing." he said after a few moments.
I nod. Following as he leads the way down the seven flights of stairs to the Slytherin common room. The Bloody Baron is filling them in on a gruesome tale of love lost.
I lead them across the lawn to the stables behind Hagrid's hut. The Groundkeeper is tossing hay into several of the stalls. I guide the children to the back of the barn where several of the larger stalls are at.
Its here that the sick unicorn is resting. He ate red berries that he shouldn't have, not only does he now have a stomach ache but his silvery coat has turned red. Its rare that a unicorn seeks out Hagrid stables but this one sought him out about a week ago. He's nearly ready to return to the heard.
Nod looks at the male with something akin to wonder. She reaches out her hand then thinks better of it. Looks at me for permission. I nod giving my consent as she enters the round and timidly pets the mane. Cardinal follows behind her and does the same.
Though unicorns don't generally like the males in wizarding society, Cardinal is young enough that the animal sees no danger in him, yet.
Potter and I watch from the gate. Potter's hand rests on my arm. I make no move to shake him off. We watch the kids play with the unicorn. He amuses them by changing colors from silver and then red. A sign the berries are almost out of his system. Nod has the honor of touching his horn. A rare moment.
Cardinal comes over. "I'm hungry. I agree. Its been a long day in the fresh air and sun. Nod joins us after saying her good-byes to the creature. She will make a good gamekeepers or a rare bread specialist. She is kind and patient enough for such a craft.
Once in the castle Potter heads straight for his rooms with his children. I turn toward my rooms when my hand is caught by Potter's. "Won't you join us Severus." I'm not given a choice as Nod takes my other hand.
Potter quickly orders dinner from the house elves. The children eat quietly. Potter mentions that he will need to get into the Slytherin dorms again the rest of the week.
After tucking the children into bed. Potter pours us wine. Sitting it on the coffee table before us. He sits on the sofa next to me. Are legs touch. Arms, thighs, knees…
His arm pulls me toward him half way. He meets me the other half.
This kiss is longer. More passion filled, more tongue. He moans as his fingers find their way to my hair. My neck, chest and finally my thigh, which is now thrown over Potters leg. Somehow in this the buttons on my robe come undone. It's a subtle skill.
"Stay with me tonight." he whispers.
I nod as he kisses me again and again.
"I miss your voice Severus." he says out of the blue.
I pull back. Shocked.
"I meant no offense. I just imagine it all husky now. That purr you had. I imagine you saying 'Mister Potter the proper way to take my clothes off is to start at the bottom and work your way up. If you had paid more attention in class we wouldn't be having this discussion.' Your voice was always so sexy." he kisses me again… and again.
I let him.
My mouth finds his earlobe, throat and to his flat stomach and finally his center. His shirt is over his head and off in mere seconds.
He stands suddenly. Pulling me with him. Leading me to the room across from the children's. His room is plain. Impersonal. it's the standard Hogwarts issued guest room. There are no pictures or family heirlooms. Those things are hard to grab as you're running for you life, as it was he only got out with two children, losing one and a wife.
Potter makes no apologies for the state of his room. He shuts the door and locks it. I press him up against the door nibbling that spot along were his hairline and shoulder meet. He growls and flips us so that I'm the one against the door. Its not a position I'm usually comfortable with. But for Potter I'll let it be for now.
Its not a ghastly snore but its enough, that will drive me crazy on some nights. I cast a silencing spell on him. Its driving me crazy now.
There's a tap on the door. I get up throwing on my boxers as I do so. Cardinal stands there. He doesn't seem shocked that I'm standing there, " My zipper is stuck, I've got to pee." he says yanking at the pajama pants. I nod casting a wandless unlocking charm. Tomorrow I'll switch all the children's pants to ties or with some kind of permanent unlocking charm. He dashes for the bathroom.
I wait a moment in the hall to make sure he makes it back to bed. He does.
Potter has stopped snoring. His eyes are open. He's awake. "Are your rooms larger than these?" he questions.
I shake my head in decline.
"We'll have to ask McGonagall to ask the castle to make the rooms larger. You're good with the kids. Perhaps its time they had their own room and a library for you, maybe a lab or something. Our room needs to be bigger as well." Potter is lost in thought.
I nod in agreement. I don't have much. Mostly books and clothes. Yes, clothes, there are variations of black and I do wear a bit of blue and green, though usually so dark you might think its black. that's the untrained eye for you.
The new rooms are finished. His, mine, the children. We are on the fourth floor now. All of us. Potter is teaching potions while I take some time off to complete the book I've been meaning to write for the last 10years. He's not as affective as I was teaching the class. Even after I lost my voice students knew not to cross me. Stinging charms have that affect. Potters much to nice about it all.
Cardinal and Nod accepted me right away in to the family. War does that it makes you cling to others, to readily accept what you might not of before. I won't be here in Harry Potter's bed otherwise.
I pull a stack of parchment from a box, Potter and I have been unpacking for days. it's the interview with the portraits. I shake them at him gaining his attention.
"Merlin, I forgot all about these." Potter says. "I should hold on to these they might be useful, I really should finish these…"
I know he never will. I take them back, placing them in a folder and set it on the top shelf. I know Potter will never have use for them again. Once you remember how to live again, there's no need for those tasks that numb you, not once you remember how to think again. The necessity of war disappear with time. Life goes back to normal. Times does that, acceptance, forgiveness. It helps when you remember you have family, friends and a partner.
Portrait interviews aren't really needed after all, though I never mention it to Potter. After all the portraits stories are in Hogwarts a History.
Don't be shy review.