I own nothing... of the HP universe.
Happy Halloween (one day late, though) to all of you (and happy birthday to me (same goes here)), enjoy the story and pleeeaaase, leave me a review!
On with the show:
"I'm sorry, guys, really. I would love to go with you to the feast but I just... I just can't." The twelve year old teen whispered dejectedly lowering his gaze to the floor.
"Harry, it's okay. We understand why you don't want go. But what's much more important: You can tell us, if you want us to stay in the Common room with you." Hermione put a comforting hand on his shoulder always finding the right words earlier than their red headed friend Ron.
"Yeah mate, we will just have a quiet evening here and maybe play a game or two, if you want."
Despite his sadness his friend's support brought a small smile to his lips.
"No, you really ought to go and enjoy the feast. I'll be okay, thank you both for your help, you're great friends." And with that Harry left the Common room before either of them could stop him.
As soon as Harry was through the portrait hole he ran. He ran away from all the glowing pumpkins, from the laughing and excitement, ran until he was deep into the castle's corridors without anyone to see or disturb him. When the young Gryffindor finally stopped he gasped for breath and looked around warily. He was in a part of the castle far away from all others and was finally able to find the solitude he had longed for so badly since the Halloween celebrations had begun.
All Hallows Eve. Halloween as they call it now... the day my parents were murdered as I call it. As soon as the thought entered his mind hot tears started to roll down his cheeks.
It's not fair!! I only want to be able to talk to them! Damn I simply want to see them for once in my life... but that isn't going to happen... ever again.
As Harry slumped boneless on the window pane – pressing his back against to icy cold glass and drawing his knees to his chest – his thoughts turned endlessly around the terrible night when it all happened. Silent sobs began to wrack his body as more and more early memories began to surface reminding him of all he had had... of all he lost.
It was unusual – maybe the encounter with the dark lord was one of the reasons – but Harry remembered some things of his time with his parents as clearly as he recalled the night when Voldemort murdered them.
Harry didn't know how much time had passed when finally he seemed to have no more tears to shed. That didn't make him any happier, though, it only enabled him to think more clearly.
– Something you had no wish for at all when all you could think about were either memories that elicited such a terrible longing inside your heart that you wanted to scream simply to get rid o it or those bone chilling ones that left you stunned and shivering with fear.
And shivering he did! After hours in a cold corridor directly in front of the window the small Gryffindor was achingly chilled. It was that cold seemingly coming from his inside as well as his outside that had him moving at last. For the first time since he came Harry looked around – and swallowed instantly:
This wasn't a floor he knew!! Where was he? And why weren't there any torches ignited?
Suddenly the deserted corridor – so comforting before – seemed really dreary and made the small Gryffindor back against the wall again. Why hadn't he noticed it before?
He tried to gather his courage but the pure sadness of his earlier thoughts and the notion of wandering alone through dark corridors with Voldemort's frightening face in mind left him bereft of any braveness that normally defined his being.
His breath came in little gasps as he looked around again searching for any sounds or shadows in the dark hall. His desperation grew and so did the urge to simply curl up somewhere and tightly close his eyes. If he had known where he was it would have only been the matter of running through them fast enough so that his fear wouldn't stop him. But now....
He would have to go slowly, to look into every dreary corridor to find his way back. The thought alone made his scratchy throat constrict with fear!
I'll never get to the Common room before tomorrow! I will have to wait in this dark corridor and freeze to death. Or so it felt for the young boy.
And so, unhappier than ever before he sank down to on the cold stone floor hugged his knees and waited for anything to happen. Silent tears coursed down his cheeks and he couldn't help the nearly inaudible frightened moans to escape from his by now slightly blue lips.
Severus was prowling the corridors taking away points from everyone who as much as breathed word of him looking like a vampire or such nonsense – after glaring them down and making sure they wouldn't dare to wander of alone on Halloween ever again that is.
It has its advantages to be able to frighten the little brats senseless.
The dark smirk that grazed his harsh features at this thought urged even the bravest (or most stupid) ones of them to flee as fast as they could.
It was when he thought he had finally reached the peace of the many mostly unused corridors when he heard the first sound of quiet broken sniffs (okay scratch that, sobs)!
He rounded the corner swiftly but cautiously only to see none other than Harry Potter huddled on the ground crying softly. Well, that was something new!
Harry's raised his head startled as he heard his name being called by a voice or rather a person he didn't was to see at all. For a moment he even forgot his tears because there directly in front of him stood Severus Snape, infamous bat of the dungeon and incorporation of everything you did not want to meet on Halloween in a dark dreary corridor. The menacing glare and stern posture did nothing to lessen his fear or lighten his embarrassment at being found in such a sorry state.
That Potter had not been in the Great Hall Severus had noticed almost instantly but after making a snarky comment to Minerva that her little lion king was absent he had not thought about it any further. To find him here and crying nonetheless was something the Potions master wanted to have a closer look into.
"You weren't at the feast, why are here in the halls – especially in this part – when it's way after curfew, young man?!" He sneered at the obviously frightened boy. Harry struggled to get to his feet as fast as possible all the while stammering an explanation:
"I had... I didn't... It was...!"
"What, Potter?" Harry could feel his eyes tear up again and looked down in shame. His shivering became more violent while he stood in front of Snape who was waiting impatiently for an answer.
"Well Potter, today would be appropriate." The quiet snarl got Harry talking finally.
He won't let me go, if I don't answer.... Do I even want to go... being alone in these dark unknown corridors again?
"I... I didn't want to celebrate today 'cos... 'cos Voldemort murdered my parents today! So I went to find a quiet place but then... when I wanted go to the Common Room...." He trailed of uncertainly his voice becoming a nearly inaudible whisper at the end. The little Gryffindor swallowed thickly waiting for the scathing reply.
"Potter, for how long have you been here? It must have been quite a while for how much you are shivering." Curiously, Snape's drawl was not as sharp as it usually was. Harry looked up at that.
"I don't... since shortly before the feast." He confessed a little unsteadily.
"Hmm, and why didn't you go back to your Common Room when you – as you put it wanted to?"
Am I in serious trouble now? Would Snape even understand why I did it? No, surely not.
The thought alone made his breath hitch and his stomach clench.
"I noticed I had got lost and there weren't any lights here...." He didn't have to say more, Severus understood quite well why the little brat hadn't found the will to return to the main part of Hogwarts.
Thinking about his fear of going back made all the other sad and frightening thoughts come back like a wave. Unconsciously he backed away a little hugging his small body with his arms. He didn't hear his own nearly unnoticeable sniffing. When a hand was then placed on his neck and he was pulled forward firmly but (surprisingly) gently Harry gave a start at first. That was until he realised Snape's grip wasn't as strong or fierce as it had been on the one or two occasions when the Slytherin had pulled Ron and him back from some frothing potion.
Now he eventually heard the quiet spoken words.
"Well Potter, come on, I don't have all night and neither do you!"
Is it only my imagination or is Snape more soft spoken than before?
Little other thoughts penetrated Harry's quite foggy mind when Snape took him through the many corridors to the dungeons.
"Sit, Potter." Severus commanded but not as harshly as he would normally do. As soon as the boy had took a seat on his sofa he picked up a blanket and slung it around the trembling shoulders.
I've done it only so that Minerva has no reason to chop me to pieces, if her precious little Gryffindor gets a cold! Or so he told himself.
Potter looked up at him surprised and for the first time Severus saw the full extent of what the last hours had done to Harry: His face was pale, drawn and tear streaked and on top of it all there was a blue tinge to his lips. Not even to mention the trembling and occasionally hitching of his breath.
Snape shook his head mildly before going to the small kitchenette and making a big mug of tea for the shivering brat.
You're getting soft, damn it! A few days ago – hell, in the morning even – you would have questioned him relentlessly, doled out detention and then have sent him back to his Common Room alone!
But this time... this situation was different.
He went back to his unwilling charge pressing the mug into his hands.
"Drink it as long as it's hot otherwise it will be wasted." The command was unmistakable and for once in his lifePotter simply obeyed, even responding with quiet, sincere:
"Thank you, Sir."
Why did Snape give me a blanket and even this tea? Could it be that he isn't mad... or even better, that he understands?
It was almost too much to hope for as the Dursleys had never understood anything regarding the death of his parents.
Severus gave an almost unnoticeable nod and then waited for Potter to drink his tea, warm up a bit and get a grip on his obviously troubling emotions.
The topic I'm going to talk about with Potter is nothing I should breach in ire or (even if I only admit it to myself) in belittling him.
He set his intense gaze on the small Gryffindor as he asked in a quiet almost velvety sort of voice:
"Potter, did you ever consider that all Hallows Eve is one of the most fitting occasions to mourn and your parents' death?" At first Potter only seemed to be confused, then surprise at Severus' comment took over and finally he thought about what the Potions master had meant with it.
Shyly and not at all sure, if it would not end in humiliation for him, Harry looked up and hesitantly locked his gaze with the black onyxes of his Professor.
"Sir, I don't... I mean, yes, in a way I understand what you mean but why Halloween of all days?" Now he looked genially curious and for the first time since he taught the boy he seemed to be eager to listen. Slowly Severus took a seat in the dark green plush armchair laying his fingers together and setting his hands in his lap. The Gryffindor turned a little so that he could have a better view on the older one.
And so Severus proceeded to tell his young student the history of all Hallows Eve and what wizards believed in regard to this day:
"It is said that on Halloween the gates to the otherworld, the realm of the dead, are wider open than at any other point in time. Muggles and wizards alike believe that tonight the barrier between the living and the dead is nearly nonexistent so if one were to convey a message to the ones he's lost he would be wise to do it precisely at this time of the year."
His dark eyes rested on his charge searching for understanding in the boy's eyes. It seemed as if he had been successful because Potter's brow was drawn in thought. For some time neither of them spoke.
"Why tonight and not on New Year or such important date?" Severus knew that Harry unconsciously wanted to stall time, to push away the thoughts of mourning and loneliness but he granted him his wish and began to explain once more.
"Because, Mr. Potter, all Hallows Eve is the night of endings." He was interrupted by Harry's quiet sorrowful "Yes." It spoke of an understanding deeper than that of an unattached person.
"In the Celtic myths Samhain, celebrated on November the first, is the turning point, the point when one year of harvesting ends and another begins... at least that was what they believed in the old days."
Harry nodded mutely all the while playing nervously or maybe anxiously with the hem of his blanket. For a while Snape simply studied his most unexpected guest for the evening then he asked another question:
"Potter, tell me, what did you do in the years prior to this? Did you never visit your parent's grave?" Given his reaction this question seemed to have hit a sore spot. The Gryffindor nearly flinched away before quickly looking down to hide his feelings. But he couldn't fool Severus with that. He had clearly seen the pain and even the anger on Potter's young face.
When no answer came the Potions master prodded a bit more. (As unbelievable as it seemed he didn't do this for his personal amusement for the brats own good.)
"Well, Potter, I asked you a question."
When Harry raised his head again the anger was evident on his face. The only question that remained: Was it really directed at him or maybe at something completely different?
"No! I haven't been! Not one damn time!! And all because my aunt doesn't give a damn that her sister died! She and uncle Vernon only say that mum and dad were good for nothing drunks but that's not true!!! It simply isn't!!!" The last bit was shouted brokenly as new tears began to pool down the flushed cheeks.
Obviously Severus had found an important piece to this puzzle. And although he was quite shocked at what Harry's guardians had told the boy about his parents now he knew a big part of what Potter's problem was. As unwillingly as Severus admitted it, in order to give the child advice he would have to calm him down beforehand. It touched even his cold heart to see his student sob into his drawn up knees unable to contain everything that had troubled him tonight any longer.
For Harry it was as if a dam inside his heart had broken. No matter how much he wished not to he had reached his limit. The tears and sobs came unbidden and not even the fear of embarrassment could stop them now. He hadn't openly cried in mourning for years, had all bottled it up because at his relatives' house those antics as uncle Vernon called them were an unwanted display of emotion.
He felt the hand firmly placed on his back before he heard the words... comforting, soft spoken words that for once showed understanding instead of scorn or sarcasm.
"Hush, Potter. It's okay. Cry for them but don't work yourself up completely...."
His sobs tuned out the voice momentarily. It moved nearer instead right next to his ear it seemed.
"Hush child, calm down... deep breaths... that's good... let it out... all of it."
With that Snape drew the weeping boy to his side as he had seated himself next to the Gryffindor when his words hadn't seemed to penetrate Potter's mind anymore. Harry acted on pure instinct now, turning towards the normally harsh, cold man gripping the thick black fabric tightly before letting go of his control completely.
It took a long time for Harry to finally calm down and when he did he was exhausted to the bone. Breathing heavily he leant against the Potions master feeling as if he had run a marathon.
The thick woollen blanket was slung around him again but this time Snape stood before gently pushing him down on the sofa. While all Harry could do was lift his head as Snape placed a heavenly soft pillow under his head the dark man looked down upon him calmly.
"Keep in mind what I tell you now: For your lost ones to hear or see you, you don't need to stand at their grave. They will know what you do always and everywhere, regardless if that is for the good or the bad. Think about it, if you ever again get into a situation, in which someone keeps you from mourning or commemorating them, but now sleep, child. You need a good night's rest more than challenging thoughts tonight."
Harry could only nod tiredly but for once on a Halloween night he felt as if a burden had been lifted off his shoulders. And as his eyes seemingly closed on their own accord he suddenly heard soft music... a piece he knew well as it was the one his parents so long ago had played to him when sleep had been elusive.
Severus placed the musical box on the mantel piece of his fireplace reliving his very own memories of a certain fiery haired witch that gave him this item as a present smiling and saying that her son loved the song as much as he did. His glance at the now peacefully sleeping boy was not a loathing one at last.
Maybe some lost souls had intervened and made him find the Gryffindor in the hall tonight. ... Maybe it would make a difference in how they acted toward each other in the future.
I hope you liked it and are in a wonderful Halloween mood now (although it's over now. -.-")!
Please, be kind and leave me a little review. I apologize for all mistakes I made as English is not my mother language.