Disclaimer: All recognizable characters belong to J.K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.
Thanks a lot to my beta-reader, saiyanwizardgurl, for correcting my mistakes.
I'm not a native speaker of English!
here is the promised sequel to "The Final Breeze". I had different plans for this story but then everthing changed. I hope you will like it neverthelss. I do like it a lot. The first chapter is very depressing but I pormise form chapter 2 on it will become better.
Please read "The Final Breeze" before your start this sequel because otherwise it won't make any sense! It will be explained later in the story but for all these who hat to be in the dark, this story starts on a weekend in October after Harry's summer with Alastor, Severus and Poppy at Hogwarts. After Voldemort was defeated, Harry started his 6th year, so now it is October of Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts.
To my Harry and his new family readers. I'm writing on the last chapters for the story now. The whole first part of my Harry and his new family series will have around 77 chapters.
To my Cherokee readers. I'm very sorry to inform you that I still haven't heard from my beta. I have absolutley no idea how to go on. The story will not be abandoned!!! I have more chapters written already. So there will come and update but i can't say when!
Chapter 1 – Depressions
"They should be happy, Alastor." Poppy shifted closer to Alastor and hid her tears-stained face in his broad chest. The fireplace crackled and the warmth from it heated her skin, but her insides were cold with worry. Depression threatened to overwhelm her lately, and she fought hard to remain sane for the sake of the two men she called her sons.
"They need time, Poppy. Everything will be fine," Alastor said, tired. He felt years older than he had felt while they were still fighting Voldemort. He did not believe his own words, but he tried to be strong for his wife. Every day he saw her becoming more desperate, and he feared she would one day break from all the worrying and sorrow.
Poppy tightened her grip on Alastor's robes and buried her face more forcefully into his chest, trying to suppress the sobs that were already escaping her.
Sighing, Alastor drew Poppy in an even tighter embrace. They needed that kind of contact; it made them feel that they really were not alone. Throughout the day, they tried to be optimistic and cheerful, but they gave in to their stress during the evenings.
"Maybe we should just risk it and make our journey," Alastor suggested uncertainly.
"Severus isn't ready for traveling, Alastor. We both know it. If it wasn't for Harry, he wouldn't even be here." The last words almost did not make it out of her mouth because the lump in her throat became more prominent the more she thought about their current situation.
"Don't say that, Poppy. He will get used to it." Alastor fought against his own tears. He had to be strong. When he broke down, they all would be lost.
"No, he won't. He doesn't see the slow progress of healing as something positive, and soon Harry will fall deep into depression when he isn't able to help him any longer." Poppy sat up again and wiped the tears from her eyes. "Voldemort is dead, and we all survived, but we aren't the family we wanted to be." With that, Poppy stood up and left to seek the loneliness of their bedroom. She knew Alastor wouldn't come to bed soon, and so she would have enough time to cry herself to sleep without worrying him more than she already did.
When Poppy had left the room, Alastor rested his elbows on his knees and hid his face in his hands. Moments later, tears were leaking through his fingers and silent sobs shook his body.
Harry lay curled up in a tight ball on his bed. Like every night before, he tried to fall asleep but could not because so many thoughts were going through his head. He felt tired and feared he soon would not have the energy to cheer Severus up any longer. The darkness in him spread from day to day—or, rather, from one of Severus' bad days to the next. Unfortunately, the bad days were becoming more frequent lately. At first, Severus tried to be optimistic and hoped his magic would return, but he was an impatient man and so he wasn't satisfied by the very slow progress he was making.
Harry was very proud of Severus for trying so hard, but he felt that the tiredness he himself had felt over the last few months was getting to Severus as well. The fear that Severus would give up completely one day was strong, and the fear that Harry would not be able to support him just as powerful.
If somebody asked Harry to explain how he felt lately, he would not be able to answer. It was something like a dark seed slowly growing and spreading inside him. This dark plant was cut down by nice moments full of love with Alastor, Poppy, and Severus. His physical pains after the final battle had all healed very quickly, but the emotional pain had not.
On Severus' good days, Harry felt well. He could breathe easier and felt hopeful. They enjoyed brewing together. Severus hands still gave him a lot of problems, but together they were a good team. Their current project was an anti-aging salve for Poppy. She was complaining about the crinkles around her eyes, and so Severus and Harry thought an original concoction would be a great birthday gift for her. This project kept them sane even though so many things had gone wrong lately.
Harry felt Severus become tenser while brewing. Frowning was the only thing Severus was capable of now. Harry could still remember the joyful and relaxed mood in which they had brewed while Voldemort was still alive. Harry chuckled darkly. Imagine that, Harry Potter wishing for Voldemort to be back again.
Harry pulled at his hair. This habit had come back to him a month ago, and this time Severus was not there to hold him back. Poppy and Alastor were not around either. Why should I fight against it when even Poppy seems to have given up? Harry thought, miserable.
He could tell that no sleep would come tonight. The only chance Harry had was changing into his hellhound form, and that he did. He puffed, relieved, when his head cleared instantly. It was so much easier in his hellhound form that he questioned from time to time whether it was even worth it to change back.
Severus lay curled up in a tight ball in his bed. He held his hands in front of his eyes to study them. For once they were not shaking. The more he worked with them, the more they hurt. Brewing with Harry was all he looked forward to. He could hardly stand normal family life because he could see Poppy breaking about not being able to help him heal more, and as good of an actor as Alastor was, he could not fool Severus either. Severus would never invade their minds, but he guessed he would find the same thoughts in them as in his own. It would have been better to never have used that damn Port Key. Death was better than this.
But there was still Harry. The boy he called his brother. They had looked forward to the time without Voldemort, and it pained Severus more for Harry than himself that this wish had not come true. Severus had thought about suicide very often lately, but he knew that would kill Harry, and so he would never do it. That means unending suffering for me, Severus thought miserably. Being like this will make Poppy and Alastor break sooner or later, but Severus did not have the energy to act happier or more hopeful in their presence. There was no energy left.
If I could get some real sleep, Harry and I would be able to finally finish the potion for Poppy tomorrow, Severus thought angrily and pulled at his hair. The sudden pain in his head and fingers made him stop and made him chuckle insanely. I am not even able to do this anymore.
Poppy lay curled up in a tight ball on their bed. Alastor had not joined her yet. Tears were still pouring from her eyes. Not only did she doubt her ability of being a good surrogate mother, but she was beginning to lose confidence in her ability as a Mediwitch. What kind of a Mediwitch am I if I can't help Severus and Harry? Both refused to see another Healer, and so Poppy felt alone and overworked. Nobody could help her, not even her husband or her best friends Minerva, Albus, and Pomona. Poppy sighed. Never would she have guessed that life after Voldemort's defeat would be like this.
Half an hour later, Alastor came into the bedroom, spooning up beside Poppy. She was not asleep. So he kissed her head and mumbled, "Everything will be okay, Poppy. You will see."
Snuggling Alastor's arm tighter to her chest, she replied, "I hope so."
As always with the first rays of sun, the world looked a bit brighter than the night. Severus and Harry met in the bathroom. "You look horrible," Harry said teasingly.
"You don't look any better, Potter," Severus replied, ruffling Harry's hair. Ignoring the pain this action caused him, Severus went to get his toothbrush.
"Potions lab after breakfast?" Harry asked, his toothbrush between his teeth.
"Don't speak with your mouth full, brat. You really have no manners," Severus scolded him playfully.
Harry was happy that it was a good morning. Maybe it was because they both had good hope that the salve would finally be finished today.
"They looked much better than yesterday, Poppy," Alastor said to cheer his wife up after breakfast.
Poppy turned form the sink to look seriously at her husband. "You don't have to do that, Alastor."
"What are you talking about?" Alastor asked, puzzled.
"You know exactly what I'm talking about. You don't have to be the strong one around me. You can't fool me." Seeing that he was thinking about how to respond, she just shook her head sadly. "I had enough time to think, Alastor. I will speak with both of them after lunch. They have to see another Healer. I can't do this anymore. This situation isn't good for anyone. I hope you will be on my side in that conversation."
He stepped closer and hugged her. "Of course I will be."
"Pay attention, Harry!" Severus scolded him when he let one of the spider legs fall into their project.
"I'm sorry. I didn't sleep well. I'm a bit tired," Harry mumbled. Seeing Severus' skeptical look at the potion, he asked, "What is it?"
"I am not sure. It should not look like that. Something is off. Are you sure that you measured the beetle eggs correctly?"
"Sure I did," Harry said quickly, but to be honest he had gotten confused mid-count and just hoped it was right.
Severus shrugged it off. His fingers were hurting horribly, and he was glad that they would soon be forced to take a break for lunch. "Let us put the last spider legs in and pause for lunch." He grabbed the last spider legs and carefully sprinkled them into the cauldron. "Just a few minutes of simmering before I cast the Stasis charm," Severus mumbled and started cleaning the work table. When he was on his way to the trash can, he heard a faint hissing and turned abruptly. He had only seconds to run over and throw himself in front of Harry before the potion exploded.
"Where are they?" Poppy asked, worried.
"I'll go get them," Alastor said, standing up from the table.
"I'll go, too. Who knows if they'll talk you into joining them," Poppy said and followed her husband.
Poppy was not looking forward to the conversation after lunch, but something had to change. What Poppy saw when she stepped into the laboratory was not one of the changes she had in mind, but since when did anything ever go like she imagined it?
The whole lab was covered with potion. The cauldron had flown to the other end of the room from the force of the explosion. Behind the workbench lay two boys, and when Poppy and Alastor looked closer, their fears were proven true. They were Severus and Harry. Poppy quickly went into Healer mode and checked the boys while shouting out commands to Alastor.
"What happened, Poppy?" Albus asked while entering the hospital wing.
"I don't know what they were working on, but it exploded and covered Severus completely. Harry was mostly protected by Severus. A sample of the potion has been sent to St. Mungo's. It doesn't seem to have any negative effects on their health. The only thing that happened is that Severus is now thirteen and Harry is twelve. Their bodies are adjusting to the change and, in Severus' case, to his injuries. Due to his younger bones, his fingers can be completely healed now," Poppy explained. Seeing Albus' questioning look, she added, "Oh, please don't look at me like that, Albus. I'm sorry that I can't see a really bad thing about what happened. You know how they were feeling and behaving lately. We already came to a point were we would have been forced to make drastic decisions, but I wasn't able to talk to them about it because of this accident. Seeing Severus' younger body adjust much better to his injuries, I can't feel bad about this."
Albus sighed. He knew what this small family had gone through in the last month. Depression had befallen them all, and he was very concerned about them. Seeing Poppy happy about an accident like this made it even more clear how desperate they had been. "What about Severus' magic?"
Poppy's face fell. "It's the same, but if he remains young long enough, he may be able to get it back, and he can learn much more easily from the beginning rather than if he was an adult. The only thing I really worry about is whether or not they still have their adult minds and memories." She sighed heavily. "I don't know what to wish for, Albus."
When tears ran over Poppy's cheek, Albus hugged her. "If they revert back to their young minds, they won't remember our family. They won't remember what we went through and how we loved them. I feel bad for wishing that they still remember because if this potion is permanent, it would be much easier for them to live without the old memories," Poppy explained between sobs.
Albus rubbed calming circles on Poppy's back. "Shhh, Poppy. I know. We will just wait and do the best we can. Maybe you should take a Calming Draught."
Poppy pushed out of the embrace and straightened up. "No, I have to be fully aware when they wake. Come on, I'm sure you want to see them."
Albus followed Poppy to the two beds close to her office. Alastor was sitting between the beds, watching his sons. Albus' hand laid on Alastor's shoulder was all that was needed to express his feeling to his old friend.
"They haven't woken up yet, Albus," Alastor stated.
"Then we just have to wait." With that, Albus summoned another chair and sat down beside Alastor to keep him company for a while.