AN: These are a few scenes that didn't make it into either Definition story, and so they're being posted in this 'epilogue' of sorts. It's basically a literary photo album, in which you'll get to see little snapshots of Snape and Harry. Some are important events, some are just daily life. It's in no particular order, I should warn, but the dates will be posted. Hopefully the set up is clear enough, and I'll probably post a few chunks of 'pictures' into this, so it'll be four chapters or so. :)
The Photo Album - Happy Birthday
On the bookcase in the small library of Spinner's End sat a rather elegant looking photo album. It was covered in comfortably worn brown leather, a single strap wrapped around it to keep the photos inside contained safely. There was no cheery and banal label on the front proclaiming it to be a book of vacation photos or a special first Christmas. Instead, a plain silver plate on the front merely stated Snape, 1996 – present.
The pictures inside, while meticulously placed with little silver corner protectors on them, were in no particular order. A clumping of photos showed the barest hint of organization, but each photo was dutifully dated and captioned, mostly with sarcastic undertone as the photos above moved in mostly careless abandon.
July 30th, 1997, just before midnight. A young man stands in his pyjamas at an open bedroom window, clutching a small black wallet and beaming at someone behind the camera. The smile isn't completely innocent, and there is uneven stubble on the man's face, but he still looks rather youthful for having just become an adult. The caption on the photo reads: Elliot's 17th birthday, opening his first gift of the day. Unseen by camera, his father ponders the wisdom of sending three teenagers to Amsterdam.
This year, Snape kept watch on the clock during the evening of the thirtieth. Harry was puttering about in his bedroom, the light still coming from under the door, though there was no music or any other sound playing. Snape had never given him a set bedtime, and he well remembered the ritual from the summer before. At eleven thirty, Snape went downstairs and turned the stove on, breaking chunks of chocolate into a pot and adding some milk.
Harry sat at his desk and finished sorting his school papers, another official year over with. Harry counted his years in two ways, by the first of January and by the 31st of July. Tomorrow he'd be seventeen finally, old enough to be an adult in the wizarding world, old enough to have his own place, leave school if he so desired; get a job, vote, perform magic any time he wanted. Not that Snape had really limited the magic he could do at home.
Harry got up and rubbed the back of his neck, feeling a little down. Tomorrow he'd be seventeen. It didn't quite seem fair, that he'd only been at the house for a little over a year and he was already old enough to leave the so-called nest. Would Snape kick him out? Harry didn't think so, as he'd allowed Harry to decorate the room at the end of last summer, which was a good indicator that Snape didn't mind Harry being there. Even still, Ron was talking a lot about not being about to wait to leave the Burrow, both the twins had set out from home, Seamus and Dean from school had also made waves about getting their own flats in London after Hogwarts. Harry just wanted to stay at home in his room at Spinner's End, waking up in the mornings to Snape's grumpy conversation, walking through town during the day and going to the market, helping out making dinner, tidying up the back garden; doing small things around the house that he'd been forced to do at the Dursleys for a family who never had cared for him.
Harry flopped himself down on the bed and stared out the open window at the pitch-dark night. There wasn't a star to be seen in the sky, and Harry figured that by morning there'd probably be an impressive storm passing through. There was a slight breeze, one that was making the random bits of paper on his corkboard flutter, but other than that it was a calm and comfortable night. Outside his room he heard the stairs creak as Snape came up for the evening. Instead of passing down the hall to the other bedroom, however, Snape seemed to pause and finally knock on Harry's door.
"I'm up." Harry answered, rolling his wand on his bedcovers. His dad entered the room and put a tray on the desk, before sitting on the desk chair. Two mugs sat on the tray, and the steam smelled delicious.
"Ten minutes until the owls?" Snape asked, picking up a small bottle from the tray and unscrewing the cap.
"N no…yes." Harry answered, meeting Snape's eyes and realising that the man knew exactly what Harry was waiting up for.
"Are they not all coming to your party tomorrow?" Snape asked neutrally, pouring a small amount of creamy liquid into both of their mugs.
"What's that?" Harry asked, eyes narrowing. Snape handed him his mug and Harry noted that the smell was rather sweet and had a hint of creaminess that hot chocolate didn't normally carry. "Yeah, they are. I don't know why I'm staying awake, it's just habit."
"That is Bailey's Irish Cream, for a little hot chocolate enhancement." Snape answered, taking a sip of his own mug. "Perhaps your desire to stay awake is indicative of your need to be acknowledged."
"I don't have a need to be certified." Harry immediately answered, looking rather annoyed and rolling his eyes. "Acknowledged."
"Of course you do." Snape responded. He sat back in the desk chair, eyeing Harry. The boy sat rigidly against the wall, his one leg folded up and his arm rested on his knee while the other leg was stretched out. Wearing an old and faded t shirt with black sleep pants and his glasses tossed on the bed for the moment, he looked rather like seventeen year old Severus Snape had looked sitting on the bed in the same room.
"Your relatives ignored and disassociated themselves from you for sixteen years." Snape explained. "I'm surprised you've not felt the urge to announce your presence from the astronomy tower."
Somewhere in town the clock struck midnight and bells softly echoed into the window.
"They were more like keepers than relatives." Harry muttered bitterly. He suddenly looked up at Snape and gave a little smirk. "Now that I'm seventeen, maybe I should seek them a little orange. No, harbour them a visit." Harry waved his hand in frustration. "Whatever."
"Oh? Is the great Harry Potter going to resort to petty childish pranks?" Snape asked, eyebrow raised sardonically.
"Er, no. I was planning on just going back to see if they had sparks of Mum's. Anything of Mum's. Since Aunt Petunia was her sister and all." Harry answered quickly, taking a sip of the hot chocolate. "By the way, do you have any really expensive or high class suits I could borrow?"
Snape smiled over his cup, a rather plotting smile that as a student would have sent shivers down Harry's spine.
"That's my boy."
They sat for another five minutes, discussing a last minute to do list for the party the next day. With the hot chocolate finally finished, Harry was ready to shut the window and call it a night. He was an adult now; he didn't need a silly midnight birthday ritual. Snape stood as well, setting both mugs back on the tray.
Harry had just made to close the window when he spotted something black in the sky, hovering over the train station. Harry wistfully allowed himself a few seconds to imagine it an owl, before he turned and shut the window. Snape was standing at the desk still, watching him with arms crossed.
Harry gave him a quizzical look before turning back and noting that the black flying object was getting bigger now. He opened the window and stuck his head out, finally seeing the wingspan of the owl that flew towards him. It was a very regal black owl that landed on his desk and accepted the treat that Snape offered as Harry untied the note and present.
Sitting back on his bed, Harry unfolded the note and read the very familiar lettering that up until last year had only delivered him scathing remarks.
I am proud to call you my son.
Harry looked up to see Snape watching him passively, the face blank of any emotion save for the curiosity in his eyes.
"Thank you." Harry managed to say, knowing that any other card he'd get later that day wouldn't compare to this one.
"Open the present." Snape nodded, sounding satisfied.
Harry tore it open and a brief flash of confusion passed over his face before he realised what he was holding. A brand new leather wallet, one that seemed to be extremely sturdy and deceptively small, and that was filled with Dutch Guilders.
"Against my better judgement, it is for a trip that you, Mr. Weasley, and Miss. Granger may take one long weekend to Amsterdam." Snape supplied.
Harry's head snapped up and he grinned deviously. Ron was going to love Amsterdam.
"Wipe that smirk off your face, idiot. Arthur Weasley, one of the Grangers, and myself will be coming along as well."
Harry's smile faltered and he thought Snape sounded far too smug for having to chaperone a trip to Amsterdam.
"Do you have to?" Harry asked, feigning innocence as his thumb ran over the engraved ES in the corner of the wallet. "We do know how to behave, you know."
Snape's scoff of disbelief counted as a goodnight.
July 31st, 1997. A rather simple but enticing cake sits in the centre of the photo, it's blue and green icing rather brilliant and mixing nicely with the colourful clothes of the party guests surrounding it. Most of them, as the birthday boy is wearing black but his green eyes flash as he blows out the candles. His friends cheer in the frame as he does so, as they crowd in the tiny library of Spinner's End that has become home. The caption reads: A birthday wish; world domination still not obtained.
"Well, your seventeenth birthday, that's a big day." Mr. Weasley said with a smile of reminiscence towards his own coming of age. "In the olden days, a wizard was normally thinking of going on to their career or moving into a new house, and was ready to settle with a witch."
Arthur Weasley was sitting in the library, holding his plate in his lap and taking small bites of his lunch while the others listened in. Snape had made a simple lasagne for lunch and it was a rather big hit on the rainy day.
"Really? Did they require to the book, or was it beige? Er, normal." Harry was sitting on a stool next to the settee where Ron and Hermione were.
"No one had to, but most people did." Mr. Weasley answered, politely ignoring the word substitution. Remus, who was leaning against the windowsill near Mr. Weasley, nodded his agreement.
"There used to be ritual gifts when you turn seventeen, too." Ron quipped. He held out his arm and Harry inspected the very fine gold watch that he wore. "Watches and pocket watches are usually given to the males, and there used to be a sword or dagger as well that was given."
"Brilliant." Harry grinned. "What appropriate skirts? Agh. What boxes obtained the crosses, the women?"
"An arranged marriage, if she were pureblood." Snape answered wryly, his sarcasm not quite tempered even though they had several of Harry's friends over for the party. Snape leaned forward and rubbed the side of Harry's ear softly, popping out the babel fish.
"Really?" Harry blinked, rubbing his ear. He sat back and thought of the pure-blooded students at Hogwarts, of the Slytherins especially. "Is that repetition current?"
"They probably still do, Harry." Hermione interjected, putting her plate down and moving into lecture mode. She completely missed the raised eyebrow from Snape, who was tapping the babel fish with his wand.
"Witches coming of age used to receive ornate baskets with all the necessities to start up a new home."
"Huh." Harry answered. He supposed that would be a rather useful, if not slightly belittling, gift. After all, most of the girls from his class were rather more focused on getting a career and traveling than settling down as soon as they'd left Hogwarts.
"Did you get a lantern, Neville?" Harry asked. He shook his head a second later and corrected himself. "A watch?"
Neville shyly held out his arm for Harry to see the new watch that he wore. Though Neville had rather filled out, being in the house of Professor Snape obviously had put him on a bit of an edge, which Harry could rather understand. Maybe after a few months Neville would be more comfortable visiting.
Snape handed him back the babel fish and Harry popped it into his ear again, counting to ten in Dutch and nodding in relief at the crystal clear echo of his own voice.
"That's really the only tradition that left now, Harry. Besides, Snape already gave you a brilliant watch." Ron grinned, remembering how the watch was dead useful when Harry got into a bind. His grin faltered when he realised what he'd said "Er, Professor Snape."
"What, you mean there's no mystical magic inheritance when I turn 17? No grumbling and cob webbed goblin bursting out of the shadows with a blood quill and the key to an ancient and cursed vault?" Harry laughed, ignoring the name correction and noting that Snape didn't say anything about it either. The babel fish was working well again and his paraphasia seemed to be settling.
"The only thing you'll get when you turn 17 is the intimate knowledge that if you get arrested, instead of bringing you home to me they will let you rot the night in the Ministry's version of a drunk tank." Snape said, swallowing a bite of lasagne as he spoke. "Depending on the crime, you may find jail preferable." Snape added as an afterthought.
"Severus, enough talk about jail. It's the boy's birthday." Molly Weasley interrupted from the kitchen. "Now, who wants cake?"
Lunch plates were banished and the room dimmed as Mr. and Mrs. Weasley started a rather off-key rendition of Happy Birthday. Harry noted that Snape did not join in the singing, but instead looked rather pleased as Fred and George brought the cake out of the kitchen and towards Harry. Seventeen candles flickered on the cake, the tiny flames jumping between each other and surrounding the icing snitch that was in the centre.
"Make a wish, Harry!" Ron commanded after the singing stopped.
Harry quickly glanced at the whole room watching him, thought for a second, and closed his eyes as he blew out the candles. Applause filled the room and Harry knew it didn't matter if his wish came true. This was his first birthday party, and that was prize enough. Snape handed him a knife to cut slices, and there was a shocked silence as it screamed murder as he cut into the blue and green cake. Red blood gushed out and Harry's eyes widened before he realised that it was raspberry filling. The charmed knife was still moaning as Harry flung two small gobs of cake towards the laughing Fred and George, with rather surprising precision.
August 2nd, 1997, Amsterdam. Neon lights flash through the drizzling backdrop of the photograph, a busy thoroughfare in the foreground. One red faced boy, the shade of his blush clashing with his hair, and a rather calmer looking black haired youth stand at the money exchange shop. They appear to be counting out change, and seem completely oblivious to the Sex Museum beside them, until at the last second, they slip inside. Right next to this photo is another, a close up of Ronald Weasley with a rather pained grimace on his face. The blurred buildings in the background speak of an old part of town, and there is a maroon painted traffic obstacle beside his leg. Neat but small writing accompany the photos: Elliot and Ronald attempting to be casual, visiting the Sex Museum for the first, and Ronald Weasley becoming intimately acquainted with the non-passive side to Amsterdam for the latter.
"Why on earth do they put a museum like that right on the main street? Anyone can see you walking in." Ron grumbled, slouching on the bench and pretending to study his map.
"Maybe that's the point. You shouldn't be ashamed of sex." Harry shrugged, checking his watch. "Look, we've got to meet The Dads in an hour. Let's just go."
Ron stood after Harry and jammed his map into his back pocket. "Alright, alright."
"Just think of how cultured you'll be. Maybe Hermione will appreciate that." Harry teased, stopping Ron in front of the money exchange office to count out the exact change they needed.
"I'm just glad Hermione won't get here till tonight." Ron mumbled.
The sex museum was quite a bit more educational than either Harry or Ron had ever imagined it would have been. Harry thought that the ancient Romans and Greeks were a lot more comfortable with sexuality than he'd ever given them credit for, and that the downstairs 'kink' room display was a bit too much for his personal tastes. A lot too much. Ron seemed to be taken by the pornography photographs from the turn of the century, which Harry had to agree were rather well done for the technology of the time.
When they left the museum an hour later the rain had subsided mostly, only misting here and there as they weaved their way through the tourists along the Damrak. To their left there were calls from restaurant matrons who tried to lure them in to eat there. Harry didn't know the exact name for the profession, but he found them highly annoying and both he and Ron steadfastly ignored them. It only took a moment to reach the little park square just on the north side of the De Bijenkorf, and both Snape and Mr. Weasley were already waiting. Mr. Weasley had a black and red umbrella in hand, with three white X's on it, and Snape looked bored.
"We're detouring to my tea shop before going to De Kromweg." Snape announced, standing and leading them towards the southeast corner of the square.
"Sounds valid." Harry shrugged. "Sounds good, I mean."
They rounded a corner and started walking up Warmoesstraat, which Harry thought looked vaguely familiar.
"So. Did you boys have fun?" Mr. Weasley asked, causing Ron to blush.
They passed two sex shops, which Mr. Weasley didn't seem to notice but that both Harry and Ron did.
"Er…yeah. We did. Took in a museum, learned some stuff, you know." Ron stuttered.
"Oh really?" Snape asked, and Harry's eyes widened as he realised where they were. Snape's fancy tea shop, Geels & Co, was right next door to the sex shop Snape had caught him in the summer before. "And was it…illuminating?"
Harry watched as Snape swiftly walked to the back of the store and selected bags of loose-leaf tea with precision. He had a feeling that Snape knew exactly where they'd been, as usual.
"Huh?" Harry asked, blinking the shop back into focus. Snape was paying for enough tea to keep a normal person stocked for months.
"I asked if it was enlightening." Snape repeated, his eyebrow quirked and a smirk on his face. Ron was in the back of the shop still, explaining the different tea gadgets to his father.
"Yes." Harry answered, ignoring the blush on his cheeks. He was seventeen now, he could talk to Snape like an adult. "If muggles are that creative with pornography, I can only imagine what wizards can do with moving pictures."
Snape didn't hold back his laugh.
They took a different route back towards De Kromweg, the Red Light District not looking nearly as dangerous or seedy in the daytime as it had that night last summer. Ron seemed to be rather embarrassed that Mr. Weasley was very curious about most of the shops and tattoo parlours in the area, even pausing to ask about the leather shop that they passed on the way. Snape answered his enquiry with a rather calm voice, but Harry suspected he was rather amused at Mr. Weasley's subsequent 'well then!"
"Honestly, this place is one of those what happens in Amsterdam, stays in Amsterdam kind of places." Harry said in a low voice to Ron.
"Yeah, or anything here stays under oath or something." Ron agreed. They'd fallen behind Mr. Weasley and Snape a little bit, and were looking around with rather wide eyes at the neighbourhood.
"Definitely. But a friends don't obliviate friends kind of thing. I imagine it would be a weekend to remember." Harry snickered.
"Friends don't obliviate friends?" came Snape's disbelieving repetition. Harry wondered just how refined Snape's hearing was. "Tell me that after you've gone to university."
"Ah, would you really want to know what I got up to at university?" Harry asked cheekily, remembering what Snape had told him about things that he really did not want to know about Harry's life.
"Not particularly." Snape confirmed.
They came across a church, which was marked on Harry's map as being the Oude Kerk, and Ron muttered that he was very glad his mother had not come along on the trip.
"Between the sex shops, the coffee shops, and the women in the window, Mum would have conniptions!" Ron hissed, trying to keep his gaze averted from the half naked women in the windows whistling at him.
"Don't forget the cobble art, Ronald." Snape pointed out, his finger indicating towards a plaque nestled into the stones beside the church. During a negotiation that had cost Harry two hours of preparing potion ingredients, Snape had agreed to address his friends as Hermione and Ronald outside of school. He refused to use the shortened 'Ron', and Harry knew when not to push.
Glancing down at the plaque, Harry's jaw dropped as he saw that it was an impression of a hand groping a woman's breast. There was no explanation nearby, and it seemed to have been placed there randomly. Ron, who hadn't stopped neither walking nor taking his bugged eyes off the plaque, let out a gust of air and a groan all of a sudden. Harry sucked back air in sympathy as his friend doubled over and clutched at his midsection.
All throughout the city were rounded maroon painted poles, with the city's three X insignia on them. Snape had called them Amsterdammertjes, and explained that they marked the street and the sidewalk. Harry thought they looked suspiciously like oversized penises, and figured that they weren't all that pleasant to walk into and…well...pole oneself. He would have laughed, but the feeling of 'we're going to make you throw up' from one's genitals was something he'd experienced before and it really wasn't funny. Mostly. Harry bit his lip to avoid the ghost of a snicker appearing.
"The twins would probably find this place hilarious." Harry finally said, not knowing what else to say as Mr. Weasley discreetly told Ron a healing charm he could perform.
"Undoubtedly." Snape agreed, looking far too amused to be sympathetic.
August 3rd, 1997. The picture moves slightly slower than real time as a young man with unruly black hair cycles into the frame, the bike wobbly for reasons unrelated to the cobblestone he's riding over. There is a young woman sitting sideways on the back luggage rack of the bike, holding onto the boy's waist for dear life as they both laugh. A second male on his own bike rides passed, grinning to himself as they pass the café in the background. In which Elliot discovers that riding a bike with a passenger is nothing like flying a broom.
"We've only got two bikes." Ron pointed out. The sun had mostly decided to join them, and the lazy Sunday after noon was perfect for a small bike ride.
"That doesn't stop the Dutch." Harry pointed out. They were standing beside a small statue in a non-touristy square that Snape had led them to earlier. The adults, Snape, Mr. Weasley, and Mrs. Granger, were seated at a café nearby and no doubt talking about the 'children' as they had afternoon tea. Ron had made mentions of renting bikes earlier, after almost being run over by four and wanting to see if they were anything like flying on a broom. The rental shop only had two left, however, but Hermione didn't seem that put off.
"Oh honestly. Look, we've seen plenty of people do it, and the bike seems sturdy. It should be easy enough." Hermione interjected, hands on her hips.
"Yeah, but they're watching!" Ron whispered loudly, nodding his head back towards where the parents were seated.
"Ron, they're always watching." Harry deadpanned, rolling his eyes. "Come on Hermione, you and I can try it."
"Oi!" Ron blurted.
Harry walked his bike over towards the small step in the road that indicated the path beside the statue. Hermione followed, looking at the small luggage rack over the rear wheel of the bike.
Ron had followed, but was staring ahead at a streetlight that had a bike hanging from it.
"Is that some sort of bizarre sport here?" He asked, pointing at the bike and wondering if it had been transfigured there.
"Must be." Harry shrugged. "I don't think wizards are doing it though."
"Why not?" Ron asked, a bit put out that Harry knew exactly what he was thinking.
"There's scratch marks in the paint of the streetlight, Ron. From where they hoisted it up. If it were wizards, they would have just used magic." Hermione explained, smoothing her hands on her skirt. "Ready?" She asked Harry.
"Yep." Harry replied. "Although, if they're underage, they couldn't use magic."
Harry pushed off slowly and tried to ride as straight as possible as Hermione did a fast walk beside him and suddenly hopped up onto the rack. She landed with a small thump, her legs hanging out to the left side of the bike and causing Harry to swerve a bit.
"Ride faster, Harry!" Ron told him, cycling beside and making sure Hermione didn't fall.
Hermione had a death grip on his waist from behind, which with unparalleled bad timing was rather ticklish and caused Harry to start laughing. He steadied them out as they cycled faster and Hermione joined into the giggling, seeming to get the hang of balancing herself on the back.
Ron did a tip of an imaginary hat as they passed the café where their parents were, and they received a short round of applause, Snape's claps rather mocking.
"You think that was fun; I don't know how to stop." Harry chirped, going faster.
"Harry!" Hermione shouted, half indignant as she swatted the back of his head and laughed.