All the Things That Truly Matter in Life

That morning around nine, Harry rubbed his head as he felt the dull ache. He supposed he should have told Madam Pomfrey about it, but he really didn't want to be a burden. After he had woken up sometime around one-thirty in the morning, he instantly noticed that Snape wasn't anywhere in the room. However, Harry had a feeling that Snape had been there prior to his waking up. The Infirmary just smelled of cloves and other herbs, which Harry always identified with being Snape's particular scent.

Harry glanced around the Hospital Wing. He sighed as he caught the various cards and gifts his friends had left him. He ignored all of them for the envelope in familiar green scrawl. He knew just by the handwriting on the envelope that Snape left it. The handwriting was neat and very carefully written. He broke the Slytherin seal, pulled the letter out, and unfolded it before reading. It only contained two words, which were 'Forgive me.'

Harry's eyes narrowed on the two words. He didn't know of any reason Snape would need for Harry's forgiveness. As far as he knew, the man hadn't done anything that warranted forgiveness. The Gryffindor then leaned back and sighed.

"Ah, good morning, Harry," Dumbledore said with a pleasant smile as he walked in. "Feeling better, I presume?"

"Yes, sir," Harry responded. He set the letter down next to him, not wanting the headmaster to see it. After seeing what he saw, he felt a bit more hesitant and less trusting around the man. "Madam Pomfrey believes I can return to the dorms sometime tomorrow."

"Does she now? Well, that is good news then." The older wizard then sighed before looking more somber. "I must apologize, Harry. I took an unnecessary risk with your life. I should not have allowed you to play Quidditch at such an early age."

"It's all right, sir," Harry quietly replied. What else was he supposed to say to that?

"No, Harry, it is not. My bending the rules for you nearly caused your death and terrible grief for a man who does not need me adding anymore to his life." Harry knew instantly Dumbledore was taking about Snape then. "I have spoken with Professor McGonagall. We have both agreed that we should not allow you to play Quidditch until you are older. I apologize, Harry, for doing this to you, but it really is in your best interests."

"I know, sir, and it's all right. I'm not really sure I want to play Quidditch anymore anyway."

"Perhaps a wise move on your part, Harry," Dumbledore said with a pleasant smile. "It'd perhaps keep your father from having a heart attack also. He truly does love you, Harry."

"I know, sir," Harry replied with a grin. "Even if he doesn't want to say it vocally, I know."

"I must also apologize about leaving you with Dursleys. It was a grievous error on my part, Harry, and I thoroughly apologize for that. I had thought that Petunia could perhaps look beyond her contempt against her sister. I was mistaken." Dumbledore then sighed. "If I had to do it over again, I'd have brought you to your father immediately."

"He's not really supposed to be my father, though, sir," Harry admitted.

"Perhaps not, but he is your father now. Therefore, I have officially removed you from the Dursleys." At the sight of Harry's mouth dropping, Dumbledore chuckled softly. "My boy, even I can't deny a son from being with his father. I have signed the necessary papers. As of this moment, you are officially the son of Severus Snape and Lily Evans. I have yet to speak to Severus about this, but since I found the papers of adoption in his midst anyway, well, I doubt there will be much protest."

"Um, sir, can I ask you something?"

"Of course, Harry, you may ask anything."

"I dreamt some things, and one of the things I dreamt was this silver stuff. It wasn't liquid, but it wasn't gas either. It was coming out of my father's face, and I was bottling it. Do you know what that silver stuff is, sir?"

"I could be wrong, but it sounds as if it is memories, Harry."

"Why would I be bottling them, though?"

"Perhaps to view them again," responded Dumbledore thoughtfully. "In fact, on occasion I even bottle my own thoughts so that I may see them again. It is rather enlightening the second time."

"Is that hard? To pull your memories out?" asked Harry curiously.

"Not particularly, but then I have experience. Why do you ask, Harry?"

"I…well, I thought that maybe I'd let Snape see what I saw in my dreams. They dealt with him so I thought it'd only be fair for him to see them."

"Ah, what a wonderful idea, Harry," exclaimed Dumbledore cheerily. "Think of the memories you wish me to remove." A flask instantly appeared in the older wizard's hands as he slowly pulled his wand out. Harry did as Dumbledore asked. "Are you ready?" Harry nodded once. "Tell me when to stop, and I shall do so."

Within seconds afterwards, Harry watched the fluid-like material airily float from Dumbledore's wand into the flask. He could feel the memories slowly vanishing from his mind. He remained quiet until the first scene he had seen vanished from his memory.

"All right, sir," Harry said. The wand slowly lowered, and the flask closed. "Would he know what to do with these?"

"Oh, yes, Severus most certainly would, Harry. If you'd like I could have Professor Sinistra deliver this to the dungeons later this evening?"

"How about we use the Floo right now?" Professor Sinistra interrupted as she gracefully walked out of the matron's office. Her long emerald robes majestically moved with her as she moved. "Forgive me, Headmaster, but I've just spoken with Madam Pomfrey. As long as either Severus or I are watching you at all times, you may remain down there with us."

"Is he down there?"

"Oh, yes, the terrible bat is down in his wicked dungeons," Professor Sinistra joked. "In fact, the last time I saw him, he was busying himself with some big surprise for you, Harry. If I had to guess, he was brewing you a potion." She then laughed softly. "I myself am now the proud owner of a Felix Felicis potion." Harry's eyes narrowed on her. "Oh, well, it's commonly called 'Liquid Luck'," she explained. "It's a rather ingenious potion if you drink it. For twenty-four hours, you are extremely lucky. So, if you are ever in a bind, drink it and everything starts to go your way."

"Sounds cool," said Harry with a grin.

"Oh, yes, you definitely are their son," Professor Sinistra muttered with a laugh. She then spelled Harry's hospital gown into a set of robes. She held her hand out for him to use as he got to his feet.

"You know?" asked Harry quietly. He noticed Dumbledore watching them closely as if the man felt like he was losing something precious.

"That someday I'm going to be your wicked stepmother, oh, yes, I know, Mr. Prince."

"Prince?" repeated Harry.

"You see, Severus always told me that if we ever had children, they'd have his mother's surname. I just naturally assumed that you would be the same case. I see I was mistaken, though. I will continue to refer to you as Mr. Potter then."

"No, that's all right. I sort of like 'Prince," Harry said with a smile.

"You seem to be very accepting of all this, Harry," Dumbledore said as he handed over the flask.

"I'll still think of James Potter as my dad, sir, but Snape's my father now," Harry said holding the flask. "I've always wanted a family, sir. And in a way, I'm getting one. If Snape's willing to have me, then I'm more than willing to be his son. It's about time I had someone that loved me."

"Well said, Harry," Professor Sinistra replied before wrapping an arm around Harry. She slowly led him towards the open Floo. When she felt Harry hesitate, she stopped. "It's all right, Harry. The flames will freeze once I throw the Floo powder into the fireplace. It won't hurt a bit, love." She then flashed a brief smile before he slowly walked towards the now green flames. "Snape's rooms," she said as soon as they were both in. The green flames roared with life, taking them to their destination.

As soon as they arrived, though, Professor Sinistra felt her momentum pitching forward towards the floor. She wrapped her arm tighter around Harry and braced herself. However, her collision never came with the floor. She opened her eyes and glanced towards Severus who had his hand outstretched. She flashed a brief appreciative smile before she stood up straight again. She then quickly helped Harry over to the couch before brushing off her robes. She glanced towards Harry and at Severus. Both were eyeing each other with uncertainty.

"Well, I'll leave you boys alone," said Professor Sinistra with a smile. She silently walked towards the back bedroom and shut the door behind her so they'd have privacy.

"How do you feel?"

"My head kind of hurts," Harry replied. "Other than that I'm good."

"You did not feel the need to inform Pomfrey of this ache?" responded Snape with a bit of a growl in his voice. However, any anger quickly disappeared as he took a deep breath. "Forgive me. I meant nothing by my words just now. Would you object if I cast a diagnostic charm on you?"

Harry shook his head. He watched Snape expertly wave his ebony wand over his head before the man sighed. Was that a good sigh or was it bad? Harry couldn't tell, and the man's face didn't give anything away.

"It is just a minor headache, which is to be expected. There is no swelling in your brain, and your skull appears to have healed adequately."

"Okay," Harry replied. Snape sounded so clinical. He guessed that was just the man's way of telling him he was fine, which Harry knew. He then noticed Snape staring at the flask in Harry's hands. "Oh, um, well, I thought you'd like to see these."

"See what exactly?" replied Snape with a look of intrigue.

"It's, well, it shows how we're…you know…related."

"In other words, how I am your father," restated Snape.

"Yeah," Harry said quietly.

"I see." Snape then calmly grabbed the flask from Harry.

Harry watched the man methodically walk towards a desk near the far corner before pulling out a silver bowl. He curiously observed the silvery material float into it a few seconds later. When Snape glanced back at him, Harry saw the regret in the man's eyes again.

"You know, you don't have anything for me to forgive you for," Harry preemptively said.

"You don't know that."

"Yeah, I do, and I think those will show you that I know at least part of it."

Snape turned back to the silver bowl before putting his head in it. Harry's eyes narrowed on that. Is that what Dumbledore meant by viewing the memories? Sometimes being a wizard was so strange.

Harry knew the memories would take a while for Snape to view so he leaned back into the sofa. He had to admit that he was curious what Snape had been working on before he arrived. However, looking around, Harry found nothing out of the ordinary. The bookshelves seemed clean again and alphabetized by subject, but Snape usually had Mokai do that. The large Slytherin banner still hung to the left of Harry, blocking out the sun. The kitchen was clean as always. Nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary in the sitting room at least. He then craned his neck towards the small hallway that contained doors to Snape's bedroom and private potions lab. However, Harry noticed a new door that he had never seen before. He glanced towards Snape who was still viewing Harry's memories. Had the man—no—he couldn't have—could he have? Chewing his bottom lip for a while, Harry did his very best not to think about that new door and the implications it would mean for him.

Harry didn't have to wait much longer before Snape pulled his head back out of the bowl. The man's dark eyes flickered towards Harry with a strange emotion before the man glanced away. Harry watched Snape draw in calming breaths for a few moments. He hadn't meant to make Snape angry. He just thought Snape needed to know the truth.

"You may cease in your silly thoughts, Harry," Snape said in a worn out voice. "I'm not mad."

"But something is wrong, though," Harry responded.

"No. Nothing is wrong now."

"What'd you mean?"

"We now know the truth, Harry. Like Syrene said, we can prevent it from occurring." He then sighed heavily before running a hand through his hair.

"You were right. You never were with Mum, but it doesn't change anything." When Snape glanced at him, Harry smiled. "You're still my dad. I mean, of course James Potter should be my dad, but he isn't. As I said, there's nothing for you to apologize. You're my dad, and that's all that matters."

"Yes, I suppose you're right, Harry. You're my son, and it's all that should matter in the end."

A/N: Kind of a horrid ending I know, but I felt that everything was left said that needed to be. Thank you so much for sticking with me through the end. It's been fun. :)