Author: Ria Rose
Disclaimer: I don't own ANYTHING identifiable to the Harry Potter world. J.K. Rowling gets that privilege. Anything you don't recognize, that shits all mine. And I will open up a heaping can of whoop-ass on anyone that tries to steal my shit. Thank you, come again!
Just as a side note, so you all know, this story is also archives at the (Wonderful!) PotionsandSnitches[dot]net. I have several chapters written. I'm trying for a light and fluffy story with some drama to keep things interesting.
By the way: I was a little shit and made this contemporary. Meaning, I moved this up about ten years to make life easy concerning what Harry listens to. Don't like, don't read. Nah nah nah nah nahhhhh nah!
PS: I apologize for failing at life when it comes to updating here for this story. I'll try to be better in the future! No promises though; we all know I suck at life! /Kanye Shrug
Chapter Five: Barbeques, Swimming, Lost Loves, Firecrackers, and Oh! A Severus too!
Enveloped by his friends, Harry felt a surge of warmth. He breathed in the scent of his two best friends, appreciating them more than he ever had before. That very moment would be a comfort to him for years to come. In the dark times when he would still be fighting Voldermort and all hope seemed lost, he would think of this moment: his friends, their embrace, their scent, and the sound of their voices and feel a rush of light invigorate his spirit.
Severus, his voice quiet, urged the two away, "Harry has had a very tiring day. It would be best for him to go to bed and have a decent night's rest."
Hermione nodded and stepped back from her friend as she wiped tears from her eyes. "I'm just so glad that you're okay…" She sniffled and smiled, "Go to sleep…And don't you ever try that again!"
Ron, overwhelmed by the experience, nodded in agreement, "Seriously, mate…"
Unable to help it, Harry hugged them again, "I'm fine, guys." Giving them a reassuring smile, he stepped back and allowed Severus to steer him toward the stairs and to the guest room. The professor's hand shook slightly on Harry's shoulder as the older man led him. The young wizard took notice, but said nothing.
Once he was in pajamas and neatly tucked in, Harry laid awake a long while. His thoughts circled like a bird looking for a place to land. Lonnie had said things could have been so much worse, but Harry did not want to think of just how much poorer they could have been. Just the thought of that man touching him that way made his stomach feel uneasy.
Rolling over, Harry shut his eyes tightly, willing the images away. He thought of Manhattan: the beautiful skyline, the rush of the streets, the sound of the traffic mingled with voices and music, and the feeling that he was nowhere and everywhere at once.
It calmed him; he found the thoughts of the afternoon fall away and leave. He imagined himself walking the streets of the city, anonymous and unknown. Just a young man going wherever he was going. No one would gape at his scar and no one would badger him about his whereabouts. These streets were too busy for anyone to attempt to take him and even though the threat was still very real, it seemed that in New York City there was no hazard of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
Sometime later, he felt Ron slide into bed carefully, as he believed Harry to be asleep. Harry rolled over to face him.
"Sorry, didn't mean to wake you."
Harry nodded, "Just thinking."
"About that man?"
He shook his head, "No, about The City - Manhattan. It's just like the movies."
Harry giggled softly, "Muggle thing. But it's amazing Ron. I want to go back. I've never seen anything like it. Ever. It's so busy and noisy. It's like Muggles don't notice Wizards and Wizards don't notice Muggles. It's fantastic."
"Mum says it's dangerous. But she's never been there, only read about it."
Shrugging, he said, "I don't know if it is or isn't, but when I was there I felt safe, you know? Like no one could touch me. That guy didn't exist as soon as I entered it. It was like the whole thing was just a bad dream."
Ron was quiet for a long moment. "I was so scared today. For you."
"It's not your fault, Harry. I'm just glad that you're all right."
Smiling softly, Harry said, "It's always an adventure, huh?"
"Life would be boring if it wasn't."
Harry snorted, "Our lives are far from boring."
"Trying to sleep here!" Harry and Ron looked over to see Hermione sitting up, her arms crossed and the blankets snug around her Indian-style crossed legs, but she didn't look mad. The two boys smiled and settled down, Harry finally falling into a deep sleep moments later.
Across the hall, in room he shared with Baylor, Severus laid awake staring at the ceiling while Baylor snored in the bed next to his. He would receive no sleep that night. His guilty conscience was once again keeping him up as he thought of Lizzie, Lily, and Harry and of how he failed all of them.
Hours later, as dawn creased over the Catskills, Severus turned and rolled to his side, watching as light seeped into the room from behind the venetian blinds. Outside the fog was beginning to lift from the mountains and the greenery was slowly coming alive with the sounds of birds and the steady steps of deer as they walked along fields grazing.
And in the small town of Middleburg, a middle aged witch by the name of Elizabeth Grace was receiving a letter from her old friend from school whose owl was tapping ceaselessly at her window.
Come to Georgie's on the 4th of July. We all miss you. Including a snarky bastard. I'll give you a hint as to who it is. His first name starts with an S and ends with an Everus. –Lucy
The morning of July 4th dawned hot and humid and when Harry awoke, he found the blankets in a pile on the floor by the side of the bed and Ron asleep and panting next to him. Sitting up, he wiped sweat from his forehead and glanced over at Hermione. The young witch was on her back lying with her limbs spread and her hair damp with sweat.
The windows in the room were wide open and the ceiling fan on high. Harry groaned, why wasn't the air conditioner on? Standing, he briefly wondered why Georgie didn't use magic to cool his house. Of course, Georgie was the most unconventional wizard he had ever met and seemed dead set on combining muggle technology with magic, but that didn't excuse the heat!
Stretching, Harry prodded Ron but the redhead would not wake. He stood and padded over to Hermione. "Hey, 'Mione? You awake?"
Harry giggled, "Come on, get up and keep me company. Ron is dead to the world."
The young witch groaned and sat up. "I hate you right now. I really do."
"No, you don't."
"Make it up to me."
"Let me have the shower first." The girl grinned and grabbed her shower stuff. With a wink and a wave she set off down the hallway while Harry tried once again in vain to wake Ron.
By 11 o'clock, the trio was up, showered and dressed and outside helping to set up the backyard for the barbeque. Hermione, used to setting up parties without magic was helping to tape red, white, and blue plastic tablecloths to the picnic tables around the yard. Yet, with every gust of wind, the tape failed and the cloths would fly up across the tables. Frustrated, Lucy began to magic them in place, whispering to Hermione not to tell Georgie.
Harry and Severus were given the job of decorating and Ron was handed patriotic confetti to sprinkle on the tables. Severus was struggling with a fountain streamer; he was attempting to hang it from the top of the large green tent he and Baylor had put up the day before. Harry was holding the ladder steady as his professor grunted and dropped the string he was using to tie it.
Reaching to retrieve the white thread, Harry said, "Sir, why don't you use magic to put it up?"
The professor took the string outstretched to him, "Because Georgie values labor. Magic tends to make life very easy and Georgie is very much correct in not allowing things to be overrun by it. This way, we appreciate it more."
"Like the air conditioner breaking?"
"Exactly, Georgie uses muggle electricity because that was how he was raised. He prefers it out of habit and thinks that we, as magical people, are spoiled by the comforts we can obtain. Sure, we could use a cooling charm but then we would never feel heat. Sometimes one must do without in order to appreciate what one has."
Harry nodded, "I guess I see his point. But why does he make you not use magic?"
"Because crossing Georgie is something I'd rather not do." Severus sighed when he finally was able to hang the streamer up. He stepped down the ladder and folded it up with an irritated snap, "I'm not even American and look at me!" He gestured to his shirt. Lucy, Baylor, and Jena had somehow convinced Severus to wear a black tee shirt with the American flag on it. To add insult to injury, Lucy had pinned a blinking flag pin to the shirt as well. It blinked annoyingly but every time Severus would try to remove it his hand was slapped.
Harry laughed quietly. He, Ron, and Hermione had gracefully accepted the shirts given to them. Ron's was blue with an eagle on it, Hermione had a white tank with red, white, and blue stars, and Harry wore a red shirt with fireworks. "If you can't beat them, Professor, join them. Isn't that the saying?"
"Bloody revolution," Severus mumbled as he stalked away with the ladder.
Lucy stepped up beside Harry and watched as Severus walked away. "Spoil sport!" She quipped. "The revolution was ages ago. You'd think he's get over it by now. But NO! Can't insult the queen! Or ministry, or…I don't know a damn thing about British Magical Government. 'Course, I always skipped that class. So that could be why."
Chuckling, Harry turned to help Georgie, who was dragging the barbeque past him and under a small white tent.
In just about two hours, the backyard was set. Coolers lined the walls, a long white one for beer, a smaller red one for soda, a blue one for juice and water, and another red one holding the frozen burgers, steaks, hotdogs, and other items to be cooked. Set in front of the coolers was a table filled with napkins, plates, forks, knives, and spoons; next to them was red beer cups and a mini-cooler filled with ice. Georgie had bought two kegs and seated them in round red tubs sporting on one the emblem of the local Quidditch team and on the other the Yankees symbol. They were packed with ice around the metal kegs and labeled 'Bud Light' and 'Bud.'
Georgie had hooked up a muggle radio so he could listen to the muggle sport of baseball (Yankees versus the Red Sox.), and a Wizard Wireless to listen the Quidditch game (the New York Bombers versus the Ohio Broomsticks.).
Severus had helped Lucy hook up speakers so they could play their rock music obnoxiously loud. Baylor constantly warned them about how not all wizards worshipped Guns 'N Roses and they better put on some good shit. "And if you think about putting on that wizard wannabe rock crap, I swear to God I'll break that fucking radio! There's ONE thing that muggles do better than wizards and THAT'S MUSIC!" Lucy just lifted her sunglasses, rolled her eyes at Baylor, and went back to what she was doing.
It was nearing four when the first guests arrived. The trio sat at one of the red wooden picnic tables and ate chips as they watched the yard fill up with witches and wizards. Now and then Severus would lead someone over to introduce them, but usually, it seemed, he couldn't be bothered. He was too busy sipping a bottled Bud and making fun of Georgie's apron and chef's hat as the older wizard barbequed.
The first group of kids to arrive were Baylor's. Gina and Michelle were 14 and 16 respectively and in an instant, Harry knew he had found love in Michelle's dark hair and beautiful brown eyes. Then she opened her mouth and the feeling vanished.
"You know, I was SUPPOSED to be at the MALL with RICHARD and not HERE in the middle of bumfuck New York at some lame ass barbeque." With a huff, she sat across from Harry and Hermione and next to Ron. The red head inched away from her and Hermione rolled her eyes. "I know RIGHT?" Michelle exclaimed, thinking Hermione's action was one of agreeing with her own. Hermione's eyes went wide but, thankfully, she kept her mouth shut.
Gina, on the other hand, was awkwardly pretty with mousey brown hair and grey eyes. She had a nose too small for her face but full lips, a brilliant smile, and a much better personality than her sister.
She extended her hand, "I'm Gina." The trio each took her hand and introduced themselves. "And this," she jerked her thumb toward her sister, "is Michelle. Dad is out to get her and Richard is her snot nosed idiot boyfriend."
"Ew! Shut up!" Michelle yelled, stood, and stormed off toward her father. "DA-AH-AD! Gina is RUINING EVERYTHING!"
"Is she always like that?" Harry asked.
There was a screech across the lawn. "I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU WOULD DO THIS TO ME, DAD! YOU'RE RUINING MY LIFE!" With another screech, Michelle covered her face and took off into the house crying.
"I have this theory," Gina started, "That she's actually a dragon that was transformed into a human. And that's why her temper is so bad. Either that or the PMS potion backfired again."
"Or someone stole her egg." Harry said, remembering his fourth year.
"Nesting mother dragons, they're pretty vicious."
"OH! That explains EVERYTHING! She had to have been switched at birth!"
Hermione cracked up, "Was that Michelle's golden egg, Harry?"
"Must have been. Can't believe she's still pissed about that!"
"What are you guys talking about?" Gina asked with a laugh.
"Nothing, nothing." Harry said, "But I think I know what type of dragon your sister is."
"And what would that be?"
Ron grinned and quipped, "A Hungarian Horntail."
Gina laughed loudly, "Well, there's your problem!"
As the sun set, muggle fireworks were brought out in large crates. Severus lit a bottle rocket and grinned as it took off. "Best part? These are completely illegal in New York." He lit another with the burning end of his cigarette. It took off out the empty beer bottle he was using to launch it and whistled into the sky. Turning to Harry, Severus held the bottle out. "Want to try?"
"Yes!" Jumping up from the lawn chair he was seated in, Harry stood at Severus' side and took the bottle.
"Okay, so what you need to do is slip the bottle rocket in like this, and light this end, here," he reached into his pocket and pulled out his pack of Marlboro Reds and lit one using his already burning cigarette. Handing it to Harry, he warned, "Don't smoke it or I swear to God I'll make life miserable at Hogwarts next year. Just use it to light the fireworks. Place it up by the…Right good. Now hold your arm out and shake the bottle gently. Up Harry! Raise your arm up!" Severus laughed, "You're going to set the damn house on fire!"
Harry blushed and raised his arm, pointing the bottle upwards; he had never set off fireworks before. Lightly, he shook the bottle and the loud whistle of the firecracker shot out and sailed into the air. Harry laughed happily.
"Want to try another?" At Harry's nod, he put five bottle rockets into the bottle. "Light then all together, hold your arm up and keep shaking."
Across the yard, Ron and Hermione watched as rocket after rocket took flight into the air from the bottle. Harry looked so happy, happier than they had ever seen him. Severus took out another type firework and showed Harry how to light it; he threw it several yards from them and laughed when Harry jumped as the explosive bangs sounded.
Harry was elated. He smiled up at the man he had once sworn to hate. No longer did he see the greasy bat of the dungeons. Instead, in its place, was the James Dean of professors: Severus Snape, cool and casual in Levis and boots, pockets jiggling with spare muggle change and Marlboros, his hair tied back and arms filled with tattoos.
Hermione tilted her head as she watched her friend; the way Harry was looking at Severus was the way she and Ron looked at their own fathers.
It was nearing nine when Georgie fired up the barbeque again. On it went the marinated chicken breasts, steaks, and tinfoil wrapped corn. The trio licked their lips at the smells and waited expectantly for the food even though they had only eaten dinner a few hours before. But cheeseburgers and Lucy famous macaroni salad couldn't compete, no matter how delicious Lucy's salad was, with steaks and barbequed corn on the cob.
Gina had proven herself to be a fun companion, as she, the trio and two other teens named Corey and Jay bonded while swimming and poking fun at Michelle and the other children who were too snotty to ruin their hair by swimming in the pool.
Now, as Georgie cooked, the group sat on towels just outside the pool, drying off in the heat and talking nonsense about music, magic, and school. Neither Jay nor Corey made a big deal about Harry's scar and Gina had already shown herself to not be an avid follower of Harry Potter. Harry was able to relax around them.
"Is that who I think it is?"
Harry looked up to see what had drawn Corey attention from their current conversation about what was better: wizard rock music or muggle rock music, to see a beautiful witch walk further into the yard. Her dark hair was long and swayed as she walked.
"Who is that?" Ron asked.
"That the woman in the picture!" Hermione's voiced was hushed and rushed, "I think she dated Professor Snape!" Harry's mouth dropped.
"They didn't just date, they were practically engaged. They broke up when The Hogwarts headmaster offered Uncle Sev a position." Jay interjected. "He pretty much broke her heart."
"Oh come off it, Jay, it was mutual. Sev was devastated as well." Gina said. "I wonder why she's here."
"I'll give you two guesses," Corey pointed his finger at Lucy and Jena, both looking smug and proud of themselves.
"Meddlers!" Hermione gasped, "The professor hates meddlers!"
"Well, that's Luce and Jena's full time job. Crap, Severus hasn't seen her yet."
Gina snorted, "Georgie has. He's letting the chicken burn! Georgie!" She stood and ran over to him, set on saving the food and not too concerned with the fact that she had just brought attention to that part of the yard.
Severus looked amused for a half a second as he watched Gina try to salvage the food, then he caught sight of Lizzie Grace, flawless in jeans and black heels, her black shirt tight and showing curves, and her trademark silver hoops swinging with the hair Severus himself always found hard to resist touching. His breath caught in his throat. Even after all these years, she still made him feel like he was an incompetent schoolboy.
Her gaze shifted through the yard, purposeful, she was searching for something. Her eyes stopped on Severus. And there it was.
Her stride was always sure, confident, and sexy as hell and always melted Severus to the spot where he stood. She looked at him and only him when she walked right passed the trio who sat with mouth hanging open and passed the two meddlers who looked more than slightly proud of themselves.
When she stopped in front of Severus, she paused only briefly before slapping him clear across the face. Hermione jolted and Lucy cursed under her breath. It was short lived though, as soon as she slapped him, she raised her hand to hit him again when Severus grabbed her arm, pulled her close, and kissed her. The arm fell around his neck.
Only the whopping from the backyard brought them apart, it was only a startled second however, as Lizzie grabbed him and kissed him again. Simultaneously, they both flipped off the rest of the guests. Even the laughter couldn't tear them apart this time.
Baylor and Severus handled the bigger fireworks with much more caution than bottle rockets. And though they sipped beer in-between lights, they made sure that the house and ground around them were hosed down and kept their cigarettes a safe distance from the firecrackers. Even with Lizzie wrapped around his waist, Severus made sure not to be distracted. Color lit up the sky with bright explosions and the teens - the trio, Baylor's daughters, Jay, Corey, and the other kids - laughed and applauded from blankets laid on the ground and ancient lawn chairs. They ate ice cream and mud pie as well as strawberries and blueberries doused in whipped cream and firecracker ice pops. They sipped root beer from old-fashioned glass bottles and when their fill was had, they lay black on the soft blankets to watch the rest of Severus and Baylor's impromptu firework display.
The finale went off loudly and the color splashed across Harry's face in bursts of light as he watched the beautiful explosions envelop the sky. The glow reflected off his glasses and the scent of burnt gun power lingered in his nose. The night was perfect.
As a huge red firework exploded above them, Harry shyly blushed and looked away. The firework illuminated Lizzie and Severus as they kissed under the glow. Harry caught the eyes of his best friends and snickered, who would ever have thought it?
When the final firework began to fade, the entire backyard broke out in cheers. Harry whooped and clapped loudly, laughing and still wiping dessert from the corners of his mouth. When Severus plopped down on the blanket next to him with his own ice pop, Harry poked fun at the drippings of sweets running down his professor's chin and onto the absurd blinking ornament, which, at some point, stopped blinking. He had finally detached himself Lizzie and she now stood talking with Lucy and Jena, laughing and hitting their arms as they exclaimed, wildly, how happy they were that she was back.
"Hey, Sev, show the kid some sparklers and morning glories, won't ya?" Georgie called out and walked over. He handed Severus two boxes and a lighter. Severus licked up the rest of his ice pop and stood. Hermione was already showing Ron how to work the sparklers and the redhead was writing his name in the air with it.
Severus lit a sparkler and handed it to Harry. "Move it through the air." Harry stared at the sparkling stick and moved it quickly; laughing out right at the laser like streak it left only briefly. When the sparkler burnt out, Severus lit another. Harry took it with confidence and spun around, all the while watching the light trail after his hand. He spun faster and faster, growing dizzy with joy. It was like muggle magic.
The sparkler smoldered and went out but he kept spinning, high on his happiness. When he stopped, he stumbled, but Severus caught the small body and lifted him over his shoulder. "Special delivery!" he cracked as he marched toward the pool.
"Don't you dare! Severus!" Shrieking, Harry was dumped into the pool, clothes and all. He held onto his glasses, making sure he didn't lose them in the water. When he surfaced, he heard the deep and rich laugh of Severus. "You suck!"
But his professor only grinned and took a half step back, poised himself, and lunged into the pool. "Cannon ball!" He barely had time to surface before Lucy was kicking off her flip-flops and jumping into the pool in her clothes as well.
There was a battle cry, a loud 'AY AY AY AYYYY!' as Lizzie ran and dove on top of Severus.
Harry laughed and ducked when Baylor joined in and jumped over him, splashing and tossing Gina, who had jumped after him, over his shoulder. Harry yelled out excitedly as half the backyard, including Hermione and Ron, all dived into the pool in their clothes.
The underwater lights in the in-ground pool shimmied with the moving water; briefly dimming out when someone swam passed them. The lit tiki lamps wavered and the smell of citronella mingled with the scent of chorine. Looking around, Harry watched quietly; he was enjoying the moment. Steam lifted from the heated water and swirled up and around him.
Someone swam behind him, grabbed him, and lifted him in the air. He only saw Severus briefly before he had to suck in his breath and hold his nose and glasses before he was tossed in the air. Moments after he surfaced, Hermione landed next to him. She shrieked and flailed as she sailed into the water and Harry wasted no time in pouncing on her. Without hesitation, Ron lunged and tackled Harry. They splashed loudly at each other, leaning back to kick their feet to make bigger splashes.
The rest of the night blurred together as Harry swam until he was too tired to even lift himself from the pool. The other children had long since disappeared inside. Wrapped in towels that Severus placed a heating charm on, the trio dried themselves as quickly as they could, shedding their wet jeans and covering themselves with towels. Their giggles were tired but enthusiastic and when they were finally ushered inside, they found Gina, Michelle, and the other kids snuggled up in sleeping bags in the living room.
In dry clothes, they lay under the top sheet only, the three best friends, snuggled in one bed, listening to the adults talk and the fire pit crack through the window. In the distance, they sometimes heard more fireworks going off and the occasional burst of laughter from the patio.
All too soon though, the voices dimmed, and smelling faintly of chlorine, they drifted off one by one, smiles still playing on their lips.
A knock sounded on the door early in the morning, rousing the occupants of the house. Harry, refreshed from such a deep swim induced sleep, crept out of the bedroom and peered over the banister into the living room and front hall. Baylor, surprisingly, was sleeping on the couch. That meant Severus was in his room alone and…Oh. Harry snickered; Lizzie was in there too. He was about the answer the door himself after the visitor knocked again, louder. But Georgie jogged passed him and down the steps. Harry moved so he could obtain a better view of the door. He was partially hidden by a rather large plant, but the position offered him the best view, still though, he could not clearly see all he wanted.
Georgie opened the door, "Hello?"
"I am looking for Severus Snape."
Harry instantly recognized the voice that belonged to the man hidden from his sight by Georgie's broad body. He felt the blood run from his face. His heart dropped.
Georgie, obviously, had no clue who he was. "And you would be who? Certainly not the President. It's 7 in the morning, come back later."
"I know he is here and my business is urgent. You will send for him immediately."
"No. This is my house, I'll wake my guest when I see fit!" Georgie sternly said.
"Out of my way old man, or there will be consequences."
"You can put your wand away, there is no business shoving that thing in my face!"
Ron crept up next to Harry and whispered, "Who is it?" Harry turned a white face toward his friend. "Harry? Mate, you okay?"
The voice at the door grew loud and angry, "You will tell Severus that I am here right this instant. Do not make me use this!"
Georgie brought his shoulders up, "And whom should I say is calling?"
There was a pause and then the deep and silky voice replied, "Lucius Malfoy."
I can say this: I loved writing this chapter because it brought me back to my own childhood and the summer parties we had, most notably the Fourth of July. Everyone should experience a BBQ for the fourth at least once in their lives. :) Please review!