A/N: Hello everyone! This is the final chapter of 'To do what is right'. I truly hope you enjoy reading it (as much as I enjoyed writing it) and please let me know your thoughts when you have finished reading! Enjoy!
'To do what is right'
A smiling Dumbledore and Severus were waiting for Harry and Hermione when they appeared out of the Pensieve. Minerva, who was working at her desk, looked up in surprise when she heard their footsteps; the room had been so quiet up until that point.
"So, did my memories live up to your expectations?" Severus asked eagerly. Harry, who was still overwhelmed by what he had seen, couldn't speak just yet, but nevertheless, Hermione answered promptly.
"They were amazing, brilliant; I have never had the fortune of seeing such skill and team work."
"Harry?" Albus asked, turning his gaze from Hermione to Harry, as if wondering why the boy hadn't spoken yet.
But Harry wasn't looking at Albus, but at Severus whose memories meant more to him than he could ever express.
"Thank you, Professor Snape. The memories were amazing; I had no idea my parents were so..."
"Talented?" Hermione suggested.
"In tune with one another?" Albus chimed in.
"Experienced?" Minerva commented, though she didn't look up from what she was writing.
"Valued?" muttered Severus under his breath, but nevertheless, all those around him heard what he said.
Harry smiled, looking down at the ground as if he were slightly embarrassed or perhaps overwhelmed that his parents were so highly thought of by some of the most skilled, knowledgeable and admirable wizards and witches he knew.
"Yeah, all of those things," Harry agreed.
There was a minutes silence as if all of them were taking a moment to remember the Potters.
Harry broke the silence: "I was hoping to ask you a few questions," Harry said, looking between Albus, Severus and Minerva.
"Certainly," Albus replied and both Minerva and Severus nodded, McGonagall had finished her work and was listening intently.
So, turning to Dumbledore, Harry asked in a tone that hoped reflected his curiosity rather than an accusation: "Why did you send my parents to find out who the Death Eater was being newly inducted? You must have known it was Professor Snape," Harry asserted, with less certainty.
Albus closed his eyes for a moment and placed his hands together as if in prayer. Once he opened his lids, Harry saw the man's bright blue eyes staring at him in a way Harry had never seen before.
"I wish I could say that I sent Lily and James that night because they were the best spies the Order of the Phoenix had or even that they were the only ones available, but unfortunately, that was not the case. You are right; I was almost certain that Voldemort had recruited Severus, and given everything Severus had done whilst he was a student: his creation of Dark spells and his extensive knowledge of the Dark Arts left me in little doubt that he would be eager to learn from Voldemort. Unfortunately, when your parents and Severus were at school, I was as blinded as the other teachers; Lily and James were so talented and charming and in the case of Lily, a model student that I chose however subconsciously, like many others, to block out the teasing and humiliation your father imposed upon many, but most especially, Severus," and Harry watched as Albus glanced to his left with an apologetic expression as he looked at Severus.
"James was disciplined and given more detentions than I could count. He was a trouble maker, but he had a natural knack for magic, so many teachers, myself included ignored his unpleasant side to focus on what we found admirable. Consequently, people like Severus, did not receive the empathy they deserved and were left neglected by both teachers and fellow students. It was not until one occasion, when, if you recall Harry, you witnessed a memory where Severus used a mild form of Sectumsempra on your father."
Harry nodded; he remembered the moment extremely well.
"It was only then," Dumbledore continued, "that I truly realised what the humiliation and segregation James forced upon him and the loss of Lily's friendship had done… true, I always knew Severus had a tendency towards dark magic and so was perhaps always keen to join Voldemort's ranks, but it was only then that I saw how much damage bullying could do to a teenager. From that moment on, I resolved to watch Severus carefully and in the end, I knew that despite his quiet and secretive exterior, he was going to be a talented wizard and given his gifts in spell and potion-making, as well as his extensive knowledge of dark magic, it was only a matter of time, I felt, before Tom would learn of him and seek to recruit Severus. It was only six months after they graduated that I met with Tom who informed me, during a rather heated duel, that he was about to recruit a follower. I must clarify that Tom does not usually brag, but there was a hint in his voice, though I am sure he tried to hide it that indicated to me that he was excited- and of course, he had every reason to be-" Albus said graciously.
"It is hard to imagine the Dark Lord to have been excited about anything except the prospect of killing Harry," Severus said delicately and it was evident to Harry that Professor Snape wasn't very good at accepting praise, which was understandable given his childhood.
"True, Severus, but I assure you, he had great hopes for you; so young and already so talented- he could not believe it. But his excitement left me in no doubt that he had finally managed to find and recruit Severus and of course, I knew, given all I had seen when Severus was at school that the boy would have accepted. And so, I gave the assignment to your parents because I felt it was important for them to see where Severus was in his life- I was not trying to blame them," Albus clarified, to which Harry nodded his understanding. "But tried to show them what I had learnt that day during Severus' sixth year… I believe James was expecting that Severus would one day become a Death Eater, but for Lily, it was a much greater shock. I remember the night she and your father returned from the meeting very well; Lily sat there for five minutes mulling over the fact that Severus was now a Death Eater- she was so upset that James had to tell me what had happened that night; she could hardly speak. She felt guilty and all I hope for as I watched her sit there suffering was that they had learnt at least something from that encounter. I am almost certain that both of them wondered that night what would have happened had James not hexed Severus in the corridors and if Lily remained friends with him."
"The way my mother looked at Professor Snape just before she left- I think that even then she was thinking about that- whether she could have prevented it from happening…"
"Do you remember that moment, Professor Snape?" Hermione asked.
"I do," Severus confirmed, inclining his head. "She took a huge risk in doing what she did; everyone was stirring around us, any one of them could have raised their wands and killed her in those split seconds. But nevertheless, I felt she really wanted to speak to me, if only to let me know that it was her and that she was sorry for what I had become," Severus said looking a little disgusted.
"I am sure she was feeling guilty, Severus," Minerva said gently. "Evidently, she still cared for you."
"Perhaps," Professor Snape agreed, inclining his head.
"I recognized the fire my parents circled around themselves," Harry said excitedly, looking to Dumbledore once again. "It was the one you produced when we were in the cave last year!"
"Correct," Albus confirmed. "However, I imagine that mine was severely more depleted than your parent's was?"
"Yes, but then I realised that you were weak in the cave, you could barely stand, Professor Dumbledore," Harry pointed out.
"Very true, Harry. So, what did your parents do with the fire?" Albus continued.
"It was interesting… my father made it circle around them- I couldn't see through it at all and then just as Voldemort was going to aim an Avada Kedavra at them, the fire stopped and then they joined their wands-"
"They must have been devising a plan," Hermione interrupted. "It must have been a decoy to distract their opponents whilst they discussed what to do."
"I believe you may be right Miss Granger," Dumbledore replied, smiling. "That was frequently the way the Potters operated and the fire 'trick' if I may call it that, was one of their favourites."
"Could the Avada Kedavra have gotten past the fire?" Harry asked, thinking that eventually such a decoy would prove fruitless against Voldemort if he saw it being used enough times.
"It would have, however it is also possible that the spells would have clashed, causing an explosion. Either way your parents would not have been in a good situation had they kept the fire going for too long," Albus clarified.
"And what about their Patronuses?" Harry asked more eagerly still. "They acted as if they were another physical entity… I was certain the Avada Kedavras would have gone right through them!"
"Traditionally, they would have," Minerva explained. "However, what your parents did was advanced magic that only works flawlessly when the two people working side by side love one another. In connecting their wands, they were essentially able to use their positive thoughts empowered their own as well as their partner's Patronus which, if maintained, can cause the Patronuses to become a physical entity, though it would be wrong of me to call them solid… the power your parents provided meant that their Patronuses were able to absorb spells, but given that multiple Avada Kedavras hit them, they exploded on impact."
"How do you know what happened Professor McGonagall?" Harry asked, curiously.
"I was with Albus the night your parents reported back to head quarters."
"Could you do what Lily and James did?" Hermione asked Professor Dumbledore.
"With their Patronuses? I may have been able to do it on my own, but it would have taken much of my energy and probably not worth the effort given that I could more easily maneuver an object in front of me as a form of protection. However, in your parents' case, what they did was valuable for them as Patronuses can be controlled by thought and with only half the power required given the two of them were present, it was an optimal choice on their part, but would hardly benefit a single dueler."
"It must have been very advanced if you could not easily do it," praised Hermione.
"You flatter me Miss Granger, but I assure you that the potential magic between two talented wizards or witches far outweighs the power of one of the most skilled-"
"The most skilled," Harry corrected his professor.
"Ah my boy, thank you and you too, Miss Granger," Albus said, blushing at the praise his students were giving him. "To be able to work together so seamlessly where their extraordinary talent and love for one another was complimentary, equal and mutual provided them with power that Voldemort could not understand."
"The memory where they were dueling Lucius and Professor Snape was also fascinating; how was it possible for them to duel nonverbally, yet still speak? I never knew you could do that-" Harry asked, completely in awe of what he had seen his parents do.
"Because you were well on your way to being able to do non verbal spells," Severus teased.
Harry laughed. "True, but seriously, how can you do that? You must be able to think two things at the same time."
"It is rather difficult," Severus said. "I imagine your parents would have practiced together many times," Severus continued, looking uncertainly at Albus, who was nodding his head.
"They were determined to master it," Albus agreed. "Your parents worked endlessly; they did an amazing job and learnt extremely quickly."
"When they confronted us, I had not yet mastered it," Severus admitted.
"But you can do it now, right?" Harry teased.
"Naturally," Severus replied smiling.
"So do you literally think of two different things at the same time?" Harry asked, intensely curious.
"Yes, but with time and experience, non-verbal spells begin to occur naturally to us which means we can focus on what we are saying out loud and vice versa. For example, I could recite the alphabet and duel much more effectively than I could do arithmetic whilst dueling. The more you practice, the easier it gets and your parents were masters at it," Dumbledore asserted.
"They were simply tormenting me and Lucius that night with how easily they were beating us," Severus admitted. "It was rather insulting; I don't think Lucius ever forgot it- he was furious they left so easily."
"But with Levicorpus, the spell you created, Professor Snape," Hermione said hurriedly. "I do not fully understand how it works- how was James able to stop himself from being completely tipped upside down?"
"Levicorpus is purely a nonverbal spell which means that in order to defend yourself against it, the curse and the countercurse must be said non-verbally at roughly the same time by the attacker and the victim respectively. That day towards the end of my fifth year when James used Levicorpus against me, I was expecting to be able to lower myself down by myself, but I could not. What I realised was that if you know someone is about to use Levicorpus you can think 'Liberacorpus' which will prevent the spell from taking place. But once the spell has taken effect, someone else must relieve you of the spell. So because Lily warned James of my impending Levicorpus, he was able to prevent it from taking full effect which resulted in him appearing to have being half way upside down before being lowered again… no one could have prevented it except him," Severus explained.
"That's really interesting, you were very clever to invent something like that Professor Snape," Hermione said sincerely, and it was clear to Harry that in that moment, she was in awe, and held a great deal of respect for Professor Snape.
"It was how I used my time, I had few other interests," Severus asserted, though it was clear he appreciated and valued Hermione's praise.
"Professor Dumbledore," Harry began. The old man looked at him perceptively through his half moon spectacles. "Did you ever tell my parents what you knew about the prophecy?"
"You wanted them to hear it for themselves?" Harry tried to clarify.
"Yes, but then one could wonder why I didn't send the Longbottoms as well," Dumbledore pointed out. "The fact was that I had the feeling that if the Potters did have a son at the end of July, I was almost certain Tom would choose them- their natural talent which rivaled the Longbottoms who were ten years their senior, would have made Voldemort fearful of you Harry, more than Neville simply for who your parents were. Also, I was not sure at the time whether Lily was pregnant and so, in a way, I wanted to put them on their guard without directly telling them what I thought could be their future and that of their child. Selfishly, I suppose, if they were to have a son, I did not want them to prevent that from happening."
"So you didn't want to change what was 'meant' to happen?" Harry clarified, though he couldn't quite keep the accusation out of his voice.
"Oh Harry, please understand me when I say that I truly valued your parents, they were amazing people, kind, generous and a great asset to me and the Order of the Phoenix. I did not want to lose them and in warning them indirectly of what was to come, I hoped to put them on their guard; they were still young and I know it was very hard for them to stop working for the Order because I had to force them to stay at home in hiding incase Voldemort chose to go after them. I wished it was not them, but it would have been foolish of me not to warn them-"
"The experience almost cost them their life!" Harry objected, getting rather frustrated.
"I know," Albus said sadly. "I am aware of it; James was furious when they arrived back at Headquarters. Your mother was distraught with grief. I was forced to tell them almost everything I knew and admit that I had known this for some time. I did not, however, inform them that you, their son, if you survived would have power the Dark Lord knows not-"
"But that could have given them hope!" Harry argued.
"Or it could have given them a sense of false security, Harry. What if they interpreted it to mean that you would survive his attack? What if your mother did not sacrifice herself for you?"
"My mother would have never left me like that!" Harry yelled.
"Harry, remember that that was the part of the prophecy no one except Professor Dumbledore knew and the part that Voldemort wanted to hear so badly. It could have been dangerous for your parents to have known- Voldemort may have-"
"So you're on his side now?" Harry demanded of Hermione.
"No, Harry, I just think that perhaps it was better that Professor Dumbledore did not tell them- who knows what might have happened had they known," Hermione tried to reason with her friend.
"That is not the point! They had the right to know!" Harry screamed.
"I know Harry, but please try to understand; on top of all this, they also found out that it was Severus who heard the prophecy that night. Your father especially was livid that I did not tell him who it was that heard it- someone they knew. He was convinced that Severus knew to whom the prophecy was referring and chose to tell Voldemort to get back at him-"
"Was he insane?" Severus cut across, staring at Albus.
"I reminded him," Albus said hesitantly. "That you were friends with Lily and that your hatred of him would not have outweighed how much he cared for his wife-"
"He thought he was so important- god, if he only knew the remorse, the pain I went through when I heard-" But Severus could not continue, but he didn't need to; everyone present knew how upset and guilty Severus felt the day Lily died, how he blamed himself…
"I managed to convince him, Severus; however, I believe that if they were not in such a rush to escape, James would have hurt you when he was in his stag form-"
"Because he had not already hurt me enough," Severus muttered and refused to say any more.
Harry really felt for Severus in that moment causing all of his previous anger at Albus to abate; what happened happened and as much as he hated to say it, it worked out for the best; Hermione was right, Voldemort was destroyed and no one, even he, thought that that day would ever come.
"Did Voldemort remember what happened after my dad kicked him in the back?"
Severus turned to Harry and was struggling with himself as to whether he should speak or not. Eventually, he took a deep breath and replied:
"When he became conscious, he could not stand; your father had broken the Dark Lord's back- honestly, I expected no less. He ordered me to help repair the damage and as I did so, he lay there trying to work out how Lily and James managed to cause so many injuries. So no, he did not immediately remember what had attacked him, but fearing that he may recall seeing a stag and made the connection between your parent's Patronuses and the animal, I used 'obliviate' against him-"
"What if he found out what you did?" Hermioen asked horrified.
"He did not, but the fear had crossed my mind many times. In the end, I mended his back and implanted a memory in his mind that made him remember, incorrectly that James attacked him from behind which caused him to fall unconscious-"
"Wait- isn't that what Voldemort did to Morfin and that elf, so that they would take the blame for murdering his father and Hepzibath?"
"Very good, Harry!" Dumbledore praised. "That is correct."
"Did you learn how to do that from Voldemort?" Hermione asked.
"I did," Severus nodded. "Though what I did was not nearly as advanced as what the Dark Lord did. I did not implant a complete lie into the Dark Lord's mind and it was in fact, reasonably close to the truth…"
"But, you were only eighteen," Hermione persisted.
"If you knew the incantation Miss Granger, I have no doubt you could have done the same."
Hermione blushed something fierce and Harry couldn't help but laugh.
"Oh no, I don't think so, Professor," she said hurriedly which only made Harry laugh even harder.
"I'm sure you could Hermione," Harry reassured his friend. At this, Hermione fell silent- apparently being compared to the likes of Professor Snape was a huge compliment to her.
Harry was getting tired now and shuddered to think how awake he would be the following day when he had multiple funerals to attend. Nevertheless, there was one more question he wanted to ask.
"Professor McGonagall," Harry began, turning to his left to look at the witch. "Do you remember the day in the staff room when you and Profesor Sprout asked Professsor Snape about Lily?"
Minerva's eyes widened a little. "Did you see that memory, did you?" she asked, looking between Harry and Severus.
"I felt Harry deserved to know what some of his professors thought of his parents," Severus explained.
"Did she ever ask you again?" Harry asked Professor Snape, thinking that perhaps he would give a more straight answer than Minerva, who seemed too shocked that Severus would reveal that memory to anyone.
Severus paused for a moment, thinking. "No, I don't believe she did, but…"
"But what?" Harry encouraged, wanting to know as much as he could.
"She knew… she never asked again, but she knew the truth- knew how I felt," Severus said, looking at Minerva rather fearfully.
"I was unfortunately not as observant as Albus when your parents and Severus were students, but I noticed that Severus and Lily were friends the moment they walked into the Entrance Hall and concluded that they must have gotten to know one another before they boarded the Hogwarts express because I knew they lived in neighbouring towns, but also because-" But then, Minerva stopped speaking and looked at Severus, as if she were truly seeing the man for the first time. "I saw the way he looked at her."
At this, Severus turned away from Minerva and fixated his stare on the left side of his frame.
"I suspected an attachment, but when they were put into rivaling houses I shamefully assumed that the relationship would not last due to peer pressure. I admit to not paying much attention to them after that," Minerva said guiltily, looking at Severus, who still refused to look at her.
"But I was suspicious when Albus informed me that Severus would be taking over Horace's role as Potions master only three years after his graduation," she continued. "I was certain that Hogwarts was the last place he would want to be- not to mention that he was a known Death Eater. Albus refused to tell me why Severus wished to teach and why he was accepted to begin with. I was resolved to trust Albus' decision, but it left me uneasy."
Harry could understand why; apparently nothing was working in Severus' favour back then.
"On Severus' first day, I was struggling to see him as a teacher because I still saw him as my student- I was certain he did not truly want to be there; he had little patience and from his first day, almost every student feared him. Yet, he was talented and I knew that the students would benefit from his knowledge- he was after all, a very intelligent student, but I always wondered why he became a Professor and why Albus trusted him so explicitly. That day when we were in the staff room was my effort to see whether my suspicions were correct- whether Severus continued to harbour feelings for Lily. If I was correct then that would at least explain why Albus trusted him. Given all that I had seen of Severus' behaviour, I was certain I was correct, but I will admit to wanting to know more; I was determined to ask him again for details. I will never forget the look Severus gave me when I eventually had the opportunity to ask him- clearly the thought of Lily was painful enough and I did not wish to add to it, so I never tried to pursue the point."
Harry was watching Severus, who still seemed incapable of speaking, but there was something Harry desperately wanted to tell him.
"I heard what you said when you left the room, Professor Snape," Harry said quietly, uncertain if Severus wanted Minerva to know.
Severus nodded his head in acknowledgement, but Minerva leaned over the desk; evidently, she did not hear what was said.
Harry and Severus looked at one another, uncertain of who should speak. Eventually, Severus asked Minerva:
"Do you remember the question you asked me as I was leaving the staff room?"
"'Did you miss her?'" Minerva repeated, though it was evident that her asking now was as genuine as it was all those years ago. "But you did not respond."
"I did," Severus said hesitantly, "as I left the room."
"What did you say?" Minerva inquired, surprised that all this time she thought there was no answer when in fact there was one.
Severus turned away from Minerva's piercing eyes when he realised that after all this time, he was now admitting to the same woman what he was too afraid to say all those years ago. "Everyday".
Minerva didn't say anything in reply, but her head was tilted slightly and Harry had the feeling that in that moment, she saw Severus for the first time. There was a moment's silence when Minerva continued to stare at Severus when all the while the latter was persistently keeping his back facing her.
Harry desperately wanted to ask Professor McGonagall something, so ventured to break the silence when he was certain Severus was not about the turn around.
"You told me the other day that there was something about Severus that convinced you he could not be a true Death Eater. Do you think that that was why? Because of the way he looked at you in the staff room that day?" Harry asked.
This grabbed Severus' attention.
"Excuse me?" Severus asked, slightly confronted and very confused.
"This year, Severus, I had tremendous difficulty trying to convince myself that you were a two-faced Death Eater. At first, I thought it was simply because I could not accept Albus was wrong about you, but it wasn't that- I just knew and perhaps you are right Potter, perhaps a part of me did remember that moment …"
"You did not believe I was a Death Eater?" Severus asked, shocked that he hadn't fooled her as he had everyone else.
"I acted as if I did, but inside, I- I knew you were not," Minerva said gently. "I tried to appeal to you- all those times we interacted, I tried to find out who you truly were. I was certain that Severus Snape did not simply become a Death Eater, turned spy for Albus and then returned to the Dark Lord's side when he came back to power; there was more to the story and for whatever reason, I felt that you were on our side because you loved Lily…"
Severus paused for a moment and simply stared at Minerva. After a couple of seconds, the situation unnerved Professor McGonagall and Harry could tell that she was severely uncomfortable and Harry did not blame her for Severus' stare was quite intense; he was deep in thought.
"I knew there was something strange about the way you interacted with me this year," Severus whispered, still staring at the woman. "Now it all makes sense. I thought you were going insane. I lost count of how many times I spoke to Albus about you," Severus whispered, clearly in a state of both shock and relief.
"I am truly sorry, Severus," Minerva said, getting up from behind her desk and coming around to stand next to Hermione and Harry, facing Severus' portrait. "It was not making sense to me; I knew you were not a bad person and I am so glad that I was right," Minerva said, smiling a little.
Severus ran his hand through his hair in distress which Harry had never seen him do before. "If I had lived till old age, I swear, you would have taken years off my life, Minerva," Severus gasped and although he was being serious, everyone else found it a little amusing.
"But thank you," Severus continued, looking like his normal self again, "for believing in me."
Soon after this, Harry and Hermione forced themselves to leave Hogwarts for they needed to rest and be at the Burrow early the next morning.
Saying goodbye to Albus, Severus and even Minerva was difficult and watching the castle disappear before his eyes was almost impossible to endure; he did not know when he would be back or when he would see his Professors again. Harry would have given anything to be able to spend endless days cooped up in the Headmaster's office talking to Albus and Severus, but the school was to be closed until September and Harry had much to do before he could think about returning, and he would start tomorrow by telling Ron everything he had learnt that night.
As he tried to fall asleep that night, everything finally sunk in- Voldemort's defeat, Severus' portrait, the truth about his parents and how admired and talented they were- Harry did not know whether to laugh in happiness or cry with relief. For now, all he could hope was that one day he would have the opportunity to return to Hogwarts- the place that changed his life- a place where he met so many extraordinary people- he would never forget Albus and Severus…
8 Years later…
Harry was out of breath. McGonagall had tried asking him what he was doing at Hogwarts, but he could barely answer her; he had to get to Severus and Dumbledore.
Taking the steps two at a time, Harry thought through the last couple of days he had had and wondered how he, let alone Ginny, survived it. Thankfully, his wife and their two sons were at home, safe and sound and his mother-in-law was helping Ginny settle-in which meant that Harry could take a brief hour to visit Hogwarts.
Minerva, who was following Harry in an attempt to find out what the man was doing here, yelled the password from the end of the corridor so the gargoyle would move aside and Harry could get past.
Without even knocking, Harry bounded through the door to the office to be a greeted by a very shocked Dumbledore and Severus.
"Harry!" Albus exclaimed, not sure whether he should be delighted or concerned to see the man there, for Harry hadn't been to Hogwarts since James was born.
"Good evening, Professor Dumbledore- Severus," Harry puffed, trying to catch his breath.
"Evening Harry," Severus replied, looking worried. "Did you run here?"
Harry nodded. "I'm so tired and have had no sleep in two days, but before I went home, I wanted to tell you that Ginny gave birth to a baby boy this morning," Harry said smiling.
But the exclamation didn't just come from the people to whom he was talking, but everyone.
By this time, Minerva had caught up to Harry and joined in on congratulating her former student.
"What is his name?" Albus asked, even though he had a sneaking suspicion of what the answer would be given that Harry didn't visit Hogwarts the day James was born.
"Albus Severus," Harry said proudly, a huge smile on his face.
Dumbledore placed his hand on his chest and bowed from his frame towards the man before him.
"I am honoured, Harry."
"The choice was simple," Harry admitted. "No other name fit as well as yours and Severus'… to be able to name our son after both of you is an honour in itself; I should be thanking you!" Harry laughed, but then, realizing Severus had not said anything since Harry said the name Albus Severus, he turned to the man and asked him.
"What do you think?"
Severus turned away from Harry's gaze, whether due to embarrassment because everyone was looking at him or due to indecision, Harry wasn't sure. There was silence. Eventually, Severus spoke, however quietly.
Harry didn't reply immediately; he was too busy searching for an aspect of Severus' face that would give him a hint about how he was feeling. When he couldn't find one, Harry asked gently, walking just a little bit closer to the man's portrait:
"What's the matter, Severus?"
"I- it- this was unexpected; I had so little to do with your life- treated you with contempt, conceit, and bitterness… such behaviour to a child is hardly worth honouring," Severus pointed out in what sounded like a matter-of-fact tone, but Harry knew that Severus felt he did more bad than good in Harry's life and Harry was only too eager to prove him wrong.
"Perhaps I was innocent and did not deserve your attacks, but given how much I look like my dad and considering everything he did to you, I cannot blame you for wanting to inflict some pain onto his son," Harry said empathically and he truly meant it. If Harry had known in his first year about Severus' history with his parents, he was certain he would have had sympathy for him- despite all of the positive things his mother and father did in their lives, Harry would never forget what they did to Severus.
"Your forgiveness means everything, Harry," Severus said gracious and given the emotion in his eyes, Harry could tell he meant it.
"It was not as if I was completely innocent; I took every opportunity I had to bad-mouth you… before my final year I believe the feeling became mutual," Harry smiled.
"And of that year, what have I done? Delivered you bad news-"
"Protected me as best you could, telling me the truth about your past, left me those wonderful memories, made me your heir… hmm, I see what you mean, Severus, you have done nothing honourable," Harry laughed and he was glad to see a small smile spread across Severus' face in spite of himself.
"But I must say, your story, what you went through, what you sacrificed, your bravery, skill, determination and passion… that changed my life- your life influenced mine and so, it is my honour to be able to name my son after you. He will forever remind me of you- of both of you," Harry rectified looking between Albus and Severus' portraits.
"Thank you for saying so, Harry," Severus replied softly averting his eyes as he spoke, and Harry knew his words had touched his friend.
"Who does your son look like, Potter?" Minerva asked, perhaps to take the attention away from Severus, at whom, everyone was looking at.
Harry smiled and look directly at Severus when he replied:
"He has black hair- both myself and Ginny feel he will look very much like me and, what surprised me most of all? He has my mother's eyes."
"No," Severus corrected gently, and Harry noticed that he seemed determined to communicate how Harry was mistaken. "Your son has your eyes, Harry."
Harry didn't know what it was about those words, but for a full minute, he could not speak. Obviously, biologically, his son inherited his, Harry's, eyes… but to hear someone refer to his eyes as his own was different and made him feel more than just his mother's offspring; he was capable of being his own person- an individual. Throughout the last few months of Severus's life, he gave Harry what no one else had: the opportunity to see where he was from, but also his potential, his capabilities and the trust that any parent gives to their child, that in the end, they find their way.
Even though Harry was not quite ready to speak just yet, Minerva, Albus and Severus seemed to understand why; he was making a life of his own, without the prophecy, without expectation, but with all the freedom he could ever hope for; he was going to be happy.
Minerva gently placed her hand on Harry's shoulder, who appreciated the gesture; he was certain that she knew how much those words meant to him, especially coming from Severus; how could a man who loved Lily so much see her unique, beautiful eyes as belonging to anyone else, but the woman he loved? And now, in this moment as Harry stood watching Severus Snape, he realized that this was a big step… for both of them. Severus' life was no longer about the pain, guilt and remorse that surrounded the loss of Lily and Harry's was not longer about his past, but his future; he truly felt that it was his turn to pass on his skills, his knowledge, his values, the way he sees the world, not through his mother's eyes, but through his own.
10 years later
"Al!" Harry called up the stairs for his youngest son. "Please come down here for a moment."
"Coming!" the boy called back and two seconds later Harry and Ginny heard footsteps pelting down the stairs and into the kitchen.
"Come here," Harry said quietly, indicating slowly with his finger that his son should come closer.
Confused and a little worried, Albus stepped closer to his father.
"I was thinking of taking you to Hogwarts tomorrow," Harry whispered and then immediately pressed his finger to his lips to indicate that his son shouldn't get too loud for his sister was upstairs (James was already at Hogwarts).
"Really Dad?" Albus asked, clearly very excited, but then the boy became concerned again. "But why?"
"Well I think it is finally time you met the two Headmasters after whom you were named," Harry said and watched with delight as his son's face lit up.
"Professor Dumbledore and Professor Snape?""
"Albus and Severus, yes," Harry said smiling. "So are you up for it?"
"Yeah!" Al exclaimed, but then put his hand to his mouth, remembering that Lily wasn't meant to know.
"I'm glad… so I will wake you up early tomorrow morning, okay?"
"Okay! Do you think we'll get to see James?" Albus asked excitedly.
"We'll look for him after we've spoken to Professor Snape and Professor Dumbledore, okay?"
"Well you better go to bed!" Harry encouraged and laughed as Albus almost tripped over himself as he bounded up the stairs.
"Do you think we have done the right thing? Allowing Albus to meet Dumbledore and Severus without his brother and sister?" Ginny asked uncertainly. "I am sure James and Lily would like to meet them too," she added.
Harry nodded as he sat next to his wife and put his arm around her.
"James and Lily know after whom Al was named… it wouldn't surprise me if James has already seen them, though we can hope it was not because he was sent to the Headmistresses office. This- this is special for Albus, he's been looking forward to it for so long ever since we told him about Albus and Severus two years ago and I told the Headmasters we named our youngest son after them, so I think it would be just easier if I only took Albus." But even as he said it, Harry felt guilty; he knew his daughter would be disappointed, but he would make it up to her… he still had Severus' memories of Lily.
Harry had restless sleep that night; he was so uncertain about what was going to happen the next day that it drove him crazy. He knew that Albus and Severus would be understanding, kind and gentle with Al, but he wasn't sure how his son would react. In the end, Harry had to tell himself that it was important- necessary to introduce his youngest son to his namesakes before he went to Hogwarts the following year. Knowing that Al was excited was enough for Harry to conclude that he was doing the right thing which allowed him to fall asleep, if only for a short while until the sun came up and it was time to take his son to Hogwarts for the first time.
Harry was thankful that all the students were in class when they arrived the next day. Al had gone from being exhilarated that morning to being riddled with nervous excitement; he could hardly keep still and Harry hoped that entering Hogwarts and meeting its two previous Heads would not be too much for the boy.
"How much further until we get there Dad?" Albus asked as they had entered the Entrance Hall. But whatever his father's reply was, Al would not have heard; his mouth dropped at the sight of the massive room with multiple moving staircases.
"Al did you hear me?" Harry asked, laughing at the look on his son's face. "The Headmaster's office is on the third floor." This brought Albus back to reality and as they walked up the many flights of stairs, the boy was caught between feelings of awe and excitement and nervousness. When they were half way along the second floor, Harry felt his son's palms become sweaty and knew that it was not due to the effort required to climb the stairs; he was apprehensive.
When they reached the gargoyle, Harry paused to crouch down next to his son.
"Are you okay, Al?" he asked gently.
"What if they don't like me?" Albus asked looking a little upset. Harry knew it was this fear that was concerning the boy most and the reason why he was so anxious.
"They will like you, Al, trust me."
"But I have their names, what if they don't like that?" Albus asked and Harry smiled in memory of what Albus and Severus actually said when they were told that he had named his son after them.
"I told them that I named you Albus Severus," Harry said kindly, giving his son a hug. "They were very happy to be given such an honour."
"But they didn't know me, how can they be honoured? What if I don't do well at school and they're embarrassed by me?"
"Oh Al," Harry gently, giving his son yet another hug. "There is so much more to life than your grades, but who you are as a person; there is no value in being the best wizard in the world if no one likes or respects you."
"Yeah, I guess so," Albus said quietly, apparently reassured by his father's words.
"Are you ready?" Harry asked his son as he stood up again.
"Good morning Professor McGonagall," Harry said cheerfully when he saw Minerva sitting at her desk.
"Good morning, Harry," Minerva returned the tone and stood up to greet them properly.
"And this must be Albus, correct?" Minerva asked bending over slightly in the hope that Albus would not be so intimidated for it was clear, even to her, that the boy was terrified.
Albus nodded his head.
"He looks exactly as you did when you first came to Hogwarts, Harry."
"I know; I could hardly believe it myself as I watched him grow up," Harry said with a huge smile on his face, but then his expression changed when he realised that his son had turned pale; he was staring at the portraits of Albus and Severus on the opposite side of the office.
"Excuse me," Harry whispered to Minerva, who nodded her understanding as Harry knelt down next to his son again.
"Are you okay, Al?" Harry asked gently.
"Is that them?" Albus asked, though he didn't point- he didn't have to; his eyes were so wide Harry could see exactly where his was staring.
"Yes. Did you want to go and say 'hello' to them?"
But Al didn't answer; all he could do was watch the two portraits look back at him. Harry was torn between approaching the two previous headmasters to greet them in the hope that this would encourage Albus to do the same, or stay with his son until he was ready.
Both Albus and Severus were smiling at Al, though for Severus it was particularly shocking to see that the boy looked identical to how Harry did when he arrived at Hogwarts for the first time. It was uncanny and Severus wasn't sure he would be able to move past it.
"Why does Professor Snape's portrait look different to all the other ones?" Albus asked his father as he looked around the walls and saw the portraits of all the other headmasters and headmistresses from the past. Harry had the feeling his son was stalling for time.
"Well that is actually quite an interesting story," Harry said, looking at Minerva who smiled in memory of the day Severus' portrait was created.
"Why don't we walk just a little bit closer and then I will tell you?" Harry encouraged. "Come on, Al," Harry said, holding out his hand for his son to take, which he did, however hesitantly.
"Good morning Professor Dumbledore, Professor Snape," Harry said happily whilst still holding onto his son's hand. "I would like to introduce you to my son, Albus Severus," Harry continued and then bent down next to his son and placed an arm around the boy who was only getting more nervous by the minute.
"It's nice to finally meet you, Albus," Dumbledore said kindly, his blue eyes twinkling. "Is it a little scary to talk to us?" he asked.
"You have nothing to worry about; we've been looking forward to meeting you for some time," Severus said kindly.
"Yes indeed, I will never forget the day your dad burst through those doors," Dumbledore reminisced, pointing towards the door through which Al and his father just came through, "to tell us that he named his son Albus Severus. So try not to be afraid or nervous; we would like to get to know you."
"Why don't you ask Severus about his portrait?" Harry whispered into his son's ear. Al looked at his father with wide eyes as if hardly believing his father expected him to speak. Harry rubbed his son's back as a form of encouragement which eventually worked because Albus asked timidly, looking at Severus:
"Why is your portrait different from the others?"
"Do you like it?" Severus asked, gesturing towards himself.
Albus nodded enthusiastically.
"I am happy to hear it because this," Severus said, pointing at himself, "is how your father sees me."
Al looked up at his father.
"Really? But how?"
"Do you remember me telling you that Professor Snape was appointed Headmaster by Voldemort?" Harry reminded his son and while Al seemed undeterred by what his father said, Minerva, Albus and Severus were shocked by what they were hearing.
"Well because Severus had not been properly appointed by the Ministry of Magic, he was not considered to be the rightful Headmaster of Hogwarts, so-"
"But he was good," Albus interrupted, looking hesitantly at Severus and then immediately averted his eyes when he saw the man was looking back at him. "He protected the school- he was a good Headmaster."
"Yes, he was. But you see Al, when a Headmaster or Headmistress dies, the school creates a portrait of that Head and places it in here," Harry explained, gesturing towards the many portraits around them. "But because the school didn't recognize Severus as the Headmaster, it did not make a portrait of him, so I asked Professor McGonagall whether we could get one made and so we did, only…"
"You made this?" Albus asked in disbelief and awe.
Harry nodded. "Professor McGonagall gave me a blank canvas and told me to say Professor Snape's name followed by a certain incantation. I did what she said and this is what came out," Harry said, gesturing towards Severus' portrait.
"Because it was your father who uttered the incantation, Severus' portrait is an image of how your father saw him back then which is why his is different to the others, as they were created by the school."
Albus nodded his understanding. "That's cool."
"I'm glad you think so," Harry laughed.
"Is it true that you knew everything, Professor Dumbledore?" Albus asked and Harry laughed, glad that his son was becoming his usual self again.
"Oh my dear boy, it is not possible to know everything and I assure you that I did not, though I do understand why your father thought I did," Albus said kindly. "I died when I was one hundred and sixty six years old and after living on this earth for that long, you learn a lot."
"But Dad said you were smart and- and seemed to be able to predict the future and you had interesting silver instruments and knew that Voldemort had accidently made my dad a horcrux and you knew where Dad was going, what he was doing and sometimes you even looked at him like you were x-raying him!"
Albus laughed. "I was intelligent, I will not hesitate to admit that- I read widely, the entirety of my free time was doing research into areas of magic that few had thought to explore. But I was not able to predict the future, although I suppose many of my guesses were correct in that regard. And yes, I was almost certain that Harry was a Horcrux, he could speak Parseltongue and he had tremendous insight into Voldemort's thoughts and emotions but only because there were few other possible options. I am not sure if your father told you but ever since his parents died until Voldemort was destroyed, I ensured that I always had someone watching over him for me. I did not know your father's thoughts, but I did know a lot about him- I needed to know everything I could if I was to make sure he stayed safe."
"And it worked!"
"It did indeed," Albus inclined his head, smiling.
"Could you show me what you did when you x-rayed my dad with your eyes?"
Albus smiled, but did not hesitate to oblige; he looked down at Al along his crooked nose and used Legilimency on the boy and saw what he was about to ask next.
"Woah!" Albus said, staring back into Dumbledore's eyes. "That's freaky- in a cool way," Al added quickly.
"So now, I understand that you want to ask Professor Snape something?" Dumbledore asked, much to Al's surprise.
"How did you know I wanted to ask Professor Snape something?"
"Whenever I 'x-rayed' your father with my eyes, I was using Legilimency against him," Dumbledore explained.
"Oh, so you did know what people were thinking."
"I did, but only through Legilimency. But the skill, although difficult, is not rare; Professor Snape was a proficient Legilimens as well, though I suppose I was particularly advanced at the art," Albus admitted.
"I hope I will be able to do Legilimency one day," Al said hopefully, looking between Severus and Albus' portraits in admiration of the two of them.
"I am sure you will, Albus," Severus said smiling. "Is there something you wanted to ask me before?"
"Oh yeah, my dad told me about you and my grandmother," but then the boy stopped to laugh as Severus cringed at the realization that if he were still alive, he would be in his fifties and that Lily would have been a grandmother. "Was your Patronus really a doe?"
"It was," Severus confirmed.
"Wow… and you really loved her?"
"Did she love you back?"
Harry was watching Severus apologetically; he didn't think Al would be adventurous enough to ask such things, but alas, he was and Harry hoped that Severus would bear with it.
"She- she loved me as a friend."
"Nothing more," Severus agreed, relieved that they boy didn't push the point.
"That's sad," Albus said more to himself than Severus, though everyone still heard and paused for a moment, not quite sure what to say.
When Al was ready to move on with more questions, he asked Severus: "Were you really in Slytherin?" and his tone suggested that he couldn't believe it to be true.
"Yes, I was."
"But you're not a bad person."
"Not all Slytherins are bad, Al," Harry reminded his son.
"I know, but James said that a lot of the bad wizards were in Slytherin," Albus told his father as if it were fact.
"And that was true back when Professor Snape was at school," Dumbledore said. "But even then, not all Slytherins were bad."
"Yeah, I guess… but no one ever mentions that good wizards come from Slytherin too, James always talks about how bad they are."
"It has long been the case the Slytherin house had a bad reputation, but in any house, even Gryffindor, there were always exceptions-"
"Like Professor Snape?"
"Like Professor Snape," Dumbledore agreed with the boy
Harry turned to Severus to see that he a small smile was forming on his lips, happy and relieved that the boy was willing to understand, to learn and accept that not everyone is the same- that people can change.
"Professor Dumbledore, what was your favourite subject at school?" Al asked.
It was a question Harry had never thought to ask the man and one he now realised, he was interested in knowing.
"Transfiguration, most definitely; I taught the subject for quite a few years before I was appointed Headmaster."
"Could you turn into an Animagus? James, my brother, told me that his transfiguration teacher was an Animagus and could transform into an eagle at will. Could you do that?" Of this question, it seemed that Harry was more interested in the answer than his son; he knew that Dumbledore had a great affiliation with Fawkes and that he most likely had a phoenix Patronus, given the quick glimpses he had of it, but he never stopped to wonder whether the Headmaster had an Animagus.
"Before I answer you, Albus, I wonder whether your father knows the answer to this?" Dumbledore asked looking at Harry.
"I- well, I never thought to ask you… but I remember Hermione looking up the official registry during our first year and I am certain you were not on the list," Harry recalled.
"That would be correct."
"So you weren't an Animagus?" Al asked, slightly crestfallen.
"Not necessarily, Al," Harry replied, looking more closely at Dumbledore, wondering whether he, like his father and Godfather, had an illegal Animagus form. "You do not have to be registered to be an Animagus," Harry reminded his son, whose eyes widened.
"Yeah, your dad was an illegal Animagus, as was Sirius, right?"
"Were you an illegal Animagus?" Al asked Dumbledore with a look of excitement. Even this prospect caught Minerva's attention; apparently, if Dumbledore was an Animagus, this was unknown to her.
"I was," Albus admitted. "But please do not see it as being a responsible thing to do. I was very lucky to not have been caught. Though admittedly, I rarely transformed."
"What was your form?" But it wasn't Al but Minerva who was asked the question.
"A phoenix," Albus confirmed.
"Is that why you had such a powerful connection with Fawkes?"
"It is possible that it intensified our bond, but I had Fawkes for many years, ever since I was a boy."
"Why did you decide to become an illegal Animagus?" Al asked.
"It was wrong of me, but I, like your grandfather, learnt to transform whilst I was still at Hogwarts and realised pretty quickly that I was able to use my phoenix form to my advantage. If you are a registered Animagus, anyone can look at the register just as Hermione did all those years ago. I did not want people to know and I assure you it did me well to keep it a secret."
"All this time Albus, I had no idea," Minerva said in disbelief.
"Nor I," said Severus.
"But it's so cool you could turn into a phoenix. I wish I could have seen it," Al admitted, a little disappointed.
"Me too," Minerva, Severus and Harry said simultaneously.
"I am sorry to disappoint you all, but did you know that Professor McGonagall is a registered Animgus, Albus?" Dumbledore asked Al.
The boy quickly turned to Minerva. "Really? What animal do you turn into?"
"A cat, nothing nearly as exciting as a phoenix, I assure you."
"Could- could you show me?"
"Of course." One moment Minerva was standing there and then the next, she was a cat.
"Wow!" Al exclaimed and laughed when the cat began to weave itself between his legs. But no one was laughing as much as Dumbledore.
"My, my Professor McGonagall, I had no idea you had it in you. If you had behaved like this in Privet Drive the morning we delivered Harry to the Dursleys, no one would have been suspicious of the cat who sat bolt upright on the wall reading a map."
"You can still read whilst you are an animal? That's cool! But how did you hold the parchment in your paws?" Al asked.
At this, Minerva transformed back into her human form.
"I rested it on the wall," Minerva answered Al and then turned to the older Albus and said: "I was spying that day, I had to be alert; that is an entirely different thing to being in your own office with a child."
"Of course, I completely understand."
"Does it hurt to transform?" Al asked Minerva and Albus.
"No, not at all. It feels rather strange at first, but it does not take long for you to feel like the animal is a part of you."
"I hope I am good at transfiguration because then maybe I could become an Animagus one day."
"Anything is possible," Harry encouraged his son.
"Yeah… I wonder what animal I'd be… oh well, I guess I'll have to wait. So what was your favourite subject Professor Snape?"
"Potions and defense against the dark arts," answered Severus.
"Oh yeah, Dad told me about your Potions book and how it helped him get top of potions that year. You must have been really smart to know how to change in potions to make them better than what the writer of the textbook suggested!" Albus said, sounding impressed.
"I had the opportunity to practice a lot before I went to Hogwarts. But yes, I suppose I was talented in that domain," Severus explained.
"And were you really good at Defence against the Dark Arts because you knew so much about dark magic?" Al asked as if the fact that Severus knew dark magic was neither a surprise nor something that deterred him from liking the man.
Severus looked at Harry slightly confused, but Harry simply smiled; he was honest with his children about their past and who Severus and Albus were.
"My knowledge of dark magic would have helped, yes," Severus agreed.
"Your brother is in his defense against the dark arts class at the moment, he should be out soon if you wanted to say hello," Minerva told Albus and his father.
"Thanks Professor McGonagall, perhaps we should see him before we go home? I'm sure Mum will have lunch ready very soon and that Lily will be dying to hear about Hogwarts," Harry tried to motivate his son, knowing that it would be difficult for the boy to leave.
"Oh… oh ok," Al said, clearly disappointed as he looked longingly at Albus and Severus and Harry knew the feeling- the great desire to talk more with two of the greatest wizards Harry will ever know.
"It was a pleasure to meet you, Albus," said Severus.
"I am sure we will talk soon; am I correct in saying that you will be coming to Hogwarts next year?" Dumbledore asked, to which Albus nodded.
"You can come and visit us then, how does that sound?" Dumbledore asked.
"Okay!" Al exclaimed, clearly looking forward to the next time he'll be coming to Hogwarts.
"Thank you for talking with me," he said as his father led him towards the door.
"It was our pleasure, my dear boy."
"Thank you for coming to see us," Severus called across the room.
"That's okay! I'll see you next year!" Albus waved goodbye as Harry allowed his son to go in front of him as they walked down the spiral staircase, Harry also waving goodbye as he left, thanking all of the Professors as he closed the door behind them.
The following year…
Harry had just finished helping his two sons load their trunks onto the Hogwarts express as they, Lily and Ginny were standing on the platform saying their goodbyes.
"Do not forget to write to us tomorrow morning," Ginny said to Albus as she kissed him goodbye. "Your brother forgot last year."
"But you knew I was okay otherwise you would have heard from Professor McGonagall and I always knew I was going to get into Gryffindor," James defended himself.
"Yes, but that didn't stop us worrying," Harry pointed out to his eldest son.
"It's okay, I won't forget," Al reassured his parents.
"Unless you get put into Slytherin!" James teased. "Then you won't want to tell them."
"James!" Ginny and Harry said at the same time. "There is nothing wrong with being in Slytherin just as much as there is nothing wrong with being put into Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw!" Harry continued, slightly annoyed that his son was so outspoken on a platform that was filled with first years who were probably terrified of being sorted where the last thing they needed to hear was someone giving Slytherin a bad name when in reality, the four houses of Hogwarts were closer now than they have been for many years.
"It wouldn't matter if I'm in Slytherin anyway," Albus said casually to his elder brother, something of which James was not expecting to hear.
"But me and Mum and Dad, we're all in Gryffindor! You'd be left out!"
"No I wouldn't be," Al cheerfully told his brother. "Because Professor Snape was in Slytherin! Good people are in Slytherin too," he educated his brother, to which James was lost for words.
Harry laughed a little at his eldest's confusion and annoyance at being wrong.
Then the whistle sounded, indicating that all the students should board the train.
"I'm going to miss you!" Lily cried as he grabbed Albus and then James around their middle, hugging them tightly.
"We'll miss you too, Lily. But don't worry, you'll be coming to Hogwarts in two years," Albus reminded his sister.
"I know, but it is too far away! I wish I could go now!" Lily cried tearfully; she was close to both of her brothers and felt sad that she would have no one to play with for months at a time.
"I'll write to you," James offered, "and tell you what is happening so you won't feel left out."
"Okay," Lily said quietly, as she wiped her tears away.
"Have a good year," Harry said, hugging both of his sons one last time. "Keep an eye out for one another and no sneaking off!" the last statement, Harry directed towards his eldest.
"Send our love to Neville, Professor Snape and Professor Dumbledore for us," Ginny said as she kissed her sons goodbye.
"But we have to call Neville Professor Longbottom, Mum, it's just weird; we can't send him your love," James pointed out, looking a little grossed out by the prospect.
"Hopefully I will get to see Professor Snape and Professor Dumbledore again and if I do I will tell them you said 'hi'," Al offered.
"Unless you get sent to the Headmistress' office because you got into trouble," James challenged his brother, who coolly replied: "Well at least I would get to see them again."
James humphed in annoyance and then boarded the train, waving to his parents at the door before walking down the carriages to find a seat.
"Good bye Lily, Mum, Dad. I'll write to you soon!" Albus said a little sadly as he too boarded the train.
"Bye Albus!" Lily called, waving as hard as she could as she ran along the platform in an effort to find where her brothers were seated.
"Lily, be careful!" Harry called out after his daughter, following her as best she could, but with so many people it was difficult to do so. "Lily, stop running!" Harry yelled and sure enough just as he did, his daughter ran into a man and fell over.
"Lily! Are you alright? I told you not to run," Harry said gently, not wanting to get mad at his daughter on a day that was already difficult enough for her as it was.
But Lily couldn't answer; she was crying as she held her knee which had a graze on it. Harry whipped out his wand and healed his daughter's scrape and then picked her up, only to realize that the man she ran in to was still standing there. Ginny was walking towards her husband and daughter, having reassured her sons that their sister was okay, but froze, just as Harry had when he came face to face with the man Lily ran into: Draco Malfoy.
"Is your daughter alright?" Draco asked, as if pretending he did not recognize to whom he was talking.
"She will be," Harry told Draco as he rubbed his daughter's back, who was now silently crying on his shoulder.
"This is my wife Astoria," Draco gestured towards the woman standing to his left, "and the boy sitting there," Draco said pointing at the second last carriage from the end, "is our son Scorpius Hyperion. This is Harry and Ginny Potter," Draco told his wife.
"It is a pleasure to meet you Mr. Potter, of course, I have heard a lot about you."
Harry had a feeling Astoria looked familiar and wondered whether she went to Hogwarts, but regardless, he could tell that she was a respectable, kind woman and Harry took no time in returning her handshake.
"This is our youngest of three children, Lily Luna," Ginny introduced her daughter, who still was not game enough to turn around to face the man she had run into and his wife.
"Our sons are on the train…" Ginny paused to turn around and see if she could find Albus for he was not sitting where she found him before. "Oh! Well our eldest, James Sirius is sitting up the other end, but our youngest son is sitting in the same carriage as your son!" Ginny said, shocked.
"Really?" Harry said, turning around to see it for himself.
"What is your other son's name?" Draco asked as if Ginny's exclamation did not deter him, though it was evident that he couldn't quite believe it either.
"Albus Severus," Harry said, turning around.
"Fitting names," Draco acknowledged.
"Thank you," Harry said, only now realizing how weird it was to be talking to Draco after so many years.
"My father told me that you were responsible for the portrait of Severus that now resides in the Head's office?" Draco continued his inquiry.
"That is correct, it was placed there the afternoon of the funeral."
"I am glad; he did a lot for me, it is the least he deserves," Draco said quietly.
"I completely agree, though as you now know, we felt the need to name one of our son's after him too," Harry said with a smile.
"I have never seen you here before, is this Scorpius' first year?" Ginny asked.
"Yes, he has been looking forward to it for years," Astoria replied. "We have never heard the end of it."
"Is he hoping to get into Slytherin?" Harry asked.
"I believe so, but he does not seem too concerned about it," Draco replied. "What about your children?"
"Well James has already been sorted into Gryffindor, but this is also Albus' first year and while his brother keeps trying to scare him with the possibility of being in Slytherin- I'm sorry-" Harry added quickly, wanting to make it clear that he now has nothing against Slytherins. "Albus told his brother that good people can be in Slytherin too," Harry said smiling.
Draco and Astoria laughed, but the latter said: "But surely given that yourself, Ginny and James were all in Gryffindor, he would want to be too?"
"You would think so," Ginny replied, "But if he is put into Slytherin, he is reassured by the fact that Severus was a Slytherin; he would perceive such a placement to be an honour, I believe" said Ginny, happy that her son was so accepting unlike their older son.
"And rightly so," Draco confirmed, nodding his head. "Severus was a good man."
And so the conversation continued as the four adults and Lily remained on the platform to wave to their family members as they left the station and then remained an hour longer talking about what had happened between Severus' funeral and now. Once Lily had recovered from the shock of falling over, she was her usual self and began asking Astoria and Draco all sorts of things about their past and how they knew her parents.
When it was finally time to say goodbye, Harry and Draco shook hands and said they would keep in touch and so they did, because as it turned out Scorpius and Albus became friends and the two boys wanted to play during their summer and Christmas breaks.
But what Harry would never forget about Albus' first year at Hogwarts was the letter he and his wife received from their youngest son the following morning.
Hi Mum and Dad,,
Guess what? Professor Dumbledore and Professor Snape were able to leave their portraits to come and watch the sorting ceremony yesterday! I was so excited to see them again! I was so nervous getting up onto the stool and putting the hat on. I sat there hoping that I would be put into Slytherin or Gryffindor. And then, just as James told me, the hat spoke to me- he knew what I was thinking! He said that he could tell I was tossing up between being in Slytherin or Gryffindor, which he thought was pretty weird given that not many people would be tossing up between two houses. He said that I could only be in one house, so he thought about it and felt that I was best suited to Gryffindor, but he 'admired' the fact that I also wanted to be in Slytherin. So, I am officially a Gryffindor now, just like both of you!
After the feast, I spoke to Professor Dumbledore and Professor Snape, who were still in the Great Hall and told them you said 'hi'. I was just about to leave when a boy named Scorpius came up to me. We were sitting on the train together- I ran into his compartment to see if Lily was okay. He was sorted into Slytherin, but he told me that his Dad's name is Draco Malfoy and when he found out that my dad was Harry Potter, we knew our dads must have been in the same year at Hogwarts. We talked the whole way on the train ride and even though we are in different houses, we have some classes together and he agreed that we would try to hang out on weekends. I introduced him to Rose last night and she seemed to like him too, but James doesn't like him, probably because he is in Slytherin.
Anyway, I better stop writing because I need go to my Potions class. The Gryffindor's share Potions and transfiguration classes together which is pretty cool because then I can tell Scorpius about Professor Dumbledore and Professor Snape- he seems interested to know more. But don't worry; I'll still do my work! I don't know the name of my potions teacher yet or what they are like, but I am determined to be good at Potions, just like Professor Snape was.
I'll write again soon!
Harry slept soundly that night; his second son was happy at Hogwarts and not only was he showing now more than ever, a determination to do not only his family, but Albus and Severus proud, but he was making friends from different houses, including Draco Malfoy's son. It was a possibility Harry would have never foreseen and yet he was happy nonetheless, that his son and Draco's were able to transcend the prejudices their father's held towards each other. Harry felt privileged to be able to witness how much the Wizarding World had changed since he was a student at Hogwarts. Never did he imagine that a Gryffindor would be best friends with a Slytherin, and never did he even dream that Draco and he would ever be friends, but the future brought many changes and Harry could not wait to find out what else he will learn about the world he helped rebuild. Harry wanted to teach his children why the war was won, because people like Severus did what was right, not what was easiest. Although they were victorious, the war created many losses and yet… Harry couldn't help but see the many gains.
A/N: I wish to thank everyone who stayed with me throughout the writing of this fanfic. I truly loved writing it and thank all you for taking the time to read it! I hope you all enjoyed the final chapter of 'To do what is right'. Please, please write me a review and tell me what you thought! I am sorry for not including Ron, Hermione, Rose and Hugo in the final section of this chapter; I felt it was too complicated to incorporate them in with the Draco storyline.