One year later
Harry did not open his eyes yet.
He was afraid.
He was afraid to see something that he would not like. But…
The smell was so familiar… this could not be heaven. Heaven could not smell like the infirmary. Harry tried to recollect what the last thing he remembered was, but he couldn't manage. It seemed like the last days… or weeks... had been obliterated from his memory. As he tried harder, it came back to him slowly.
The battle of Hogwarts and Voldemort… the duel…
He tried to move but he was too tired. Finally he tried to wiggle his fingers and he managed it, but someone was holding them tightly, as well as his hand. He slowly opened his eyes and tried to recognise the view: light, and just before him, a big black blob. He did not need his glasses; the muggle contact lenses proved to be more than adequate.
He blinked and when he ascertained that he really was seeing his father, he collected his strength and sat up so suddenly that he almost collapsed against the man.
"Dad," he murmured clinging to the black robes, "dad… you're alive…"
"Yes, I'm alive," came the lightly mocking answer. "It is not so easy to kill me off."
Harry felt awful but he did not want to release Snape. He was afraid if he let go, he would return to the nightmare from which he had not been able to rouse himself for days. The nightmare in which Voldemort did everything in his power to make the world a miserable place.
"I thought…" Harry mumbled. He clenched his eyes shut in order to forget the memory where his father collapsed after the killing curse, just like Sirius.
"There's nothing wrong," Snape said calmly.
Harry wanted to say something else as he leaned back to see his father's face, but he was too weak from losing so much of his magical strength.
The potions master laid him down gently on the pillows.
Harry gulped and asked in a small voice: "What happened? How long have I… been here?"
Snape folded his arms and stared at him with a 'you have to ask?' look.
"Yes, I know I was stupid… you don't have to scold me," Harry said, trying to prevent the inevitable.
"You were stupid?" asked Snape and leaned forward a bit threateningly. "You know, I sometimes have to question if you are normal, Harry. No one wanted you to throw yourself in front of us, precluding even the possibility of us helping you!"
Harry tried to come back with a retort while fighting nausea: "I couldn't do anything else!" he exploded. "You were… you were lying there, and I thought… I was very angry! I did not want anything to happen to you…"
"Really," Snape snarled, "it was a brilliant idea to conjure a shield around us so that the meteors Voldemort let loose all slammed near you."
Harry turned on his left side and huddled away from Snape. "I'm sorry… I just…"
"I know. You wanted it to end," Snape sighed. "Do you remember what happened?"
"Not really," he mumbled tiredly.
"Well, you have been unconscious for three days, ever since the confrontation with Voldemort," the potions master told him. "Actually, we do not know what happened. The only thing we know for sure is that when you thought I had died… you became so angry that you let loose a tremendous amount of energy. Everything was destroyed around you… only we were left unharmed because we were under your shield. When…" here his voice became quieter, "Voldemort died, everything was burned… when you lost consciousness the shield collapsed and we were able to leave. I found you among the ruins… I thought for a moment that you had not survived."
One year ago, Harry had not understood what his role in the process was meant to be. He was surprised that his magical power was the solution. His power was the reason he had not been as ill as the others. His power, which exceeded almost anyone else's, had saved him from a lot of problems during the years. It was strange that his power almost matched that of Snape's and the headmaster's.
Harry looked at Snape over his shoulder a bit guiltily. "But I'm here now… and Voldemort is dead. I knew I would succeed… But you… what happened?"
Snape smiled wanly. "Oh, you can do a lot of things with your mighty power."
"I don't understand…"
"Your power saved me, Harry."
Harry looked gobsmacked. "I don't understand…" he repeated perplexedly. " I saw him hit you with something like the killing curse…"
"Yes, indeed," Snape nodded with a dark look, "but you directed your formidable powers to me and succeeded in saving me… But let's talk about something else." Snape looked at Harry and put his hand on the boy's forehead to check for fever. "Tell me instead how you feel."
Harry yawned and rolled onto his back. Closing his eyes, he mumbled, "I don't feel bad… just very tired… and sleepy." Then he looked up with one eye. "Why am I not in St Mungo's?"
Snape smiled grimly. "Our dear Minister will think twice after the events of two days ago before he risks coming here, or even asking after you."
"Ah," Harry concluded, "you and your influence… or your father's."
Harry knew that the Snape family still had a large influence in Wizarding circles, just like the Malfoys. The Minister had obviously tried to use him before the elections, saying that he supported Harry or something like that. But this did not really interest Harry. Only one thing was important: it was finally over.
"When can we go home?" Harry asked hopefully.
Snape raised a brow. "First, you'll sleep. Then I'll let your friends in for a visit. Maybe afterwards."
Harry yawned again and tightened the covers around himself. "Hm, sounds good… Will you stay?"
"Of course," came the immediate answer. "It is still early. I come in thrice a day to check on you, like now. The winter holidays are starting soon so I don't have many lessons."
"Indeed…" mumbled Harry really sleepily. "We can go shopping again… and maybe I'll find someone for Trenus…"
He felt Snape get up and cover him. "You are exhausted. Don't you want to sleep?" he scoffed. "It seems you are delirious."
"Well now that you say so…" Harry smiled and, in an instant, fell sound asleep… and dreamed about a world where the weight of war did not rest on his shoulders.
"Nooo, I don't want to go there," Harry protested. "Didn't I get enough books already?"
Snape did not let him go but continued steadily to his goal. "Oh no, that's for sure. As many Quidditch books as you bought," he groused, "you should now counter them with something meaningful."
Harry looked with apprehension on the new bookshop which had opened a week after Voldemort's demise. He tried to get out of buying more books, but without success.
"Please dad," he coaxed, "I'll get so many books from granddad… do I really need anymore? I like books just fine… but I don't want even more auror books… I don't have even my NEWTs…"
"Oh, did my father disclose what he will be buying you for Christmas?" asked Snape surprised.
"Don't worry," Snape cut in, "I know a lot of space expanding charms…"
"Harry!" someone cried keenly, and before Harry could recognise the voice, its owner was already hugging him.
Harry returned the hug and they would have stayed that way for longer if someone had not coughed down on them.
"Miss Granger, I appreciate your enthusiasm for Harry, but maybe you should not show it here… and not in this way."
Hermione blushed and let go of Harry awkwardly. "Sorry, professor," she mumbled and then smiled at the boy. "I'm glad that you feel well. I'm sorry that I had to leave yesterday but my parents took their holidays early… Oh, and Harry! Mrs. Weasley invited everyone to Headquarters for dinner."
Harry looked at Snape questioningly who sighed after a glare.
"It was supposed to be a surprise," Snape snarled.
"Oh," Hermione blushed again. "I'm sorry… professor."
The potions master's glare could have killed Hermione. "I hope, Miss Granger, you've finished apologising, otherwise, school or no school, I'll deduct points from Gryffindor."
Hermione smiled at Harry. "Bye, we'll meet tomorrow," she said to Harry. "Good bye, sir," was directed at Snape.
Harry looked after her for a while as she left then turned to his father sullenly. "Did you have to frighten her away?" he asked reproachfully.
"I don't think it would be easy to frighten Miss Granger away from you. It can easily be seen that she likes you a lot," Snape grinned.
"Hey!" Harry reddened in embarrassment as Snape turned with him.
"Come, I think we have to postpone those books."
Harry looked at the new bookshop and saw a horde of reporters hustling the shop clerk.
"Sounds good to me," he enthused as they turned to the next street.
It was full of different vendors offering their goods: Harry saw magic carpets, sweets expending animalistic voices, and a dozen different objects that offered themselves self-sufficiently. He could not resist buying a lot of sweets for his friends to the annoyance of his father. Of course it was not real anger just a sullen remark that he spent too much on them.
When the sun started to go down, the pines which served as a fence appeared in lavish colours. Harry thought that he could sit for hours, drinking hot chocolate on a bench, when Snape seemed to read his thoughts: he suddenly stopped and bought two mugs of hot chocolate then gestured for Harry to sit on a nearby empty bench.
After a time they realised why the bench had been empty despite the crowd in the small place. The goods of the nearby vendors made a lot of noise. Harry looked questioningly at Snape who just shrugged.
"We can go elsewhere if you wish," he suggested, holding the hot mug.
"Oh, no," Harry said right away and sipped from his mug. "It's fine here."
Snape sighed and they sat in silence for awhile. When Harry could not curb his curiosity anymore, he got up and went to the vendors to see where the noises were coming from.
His jaw almost dropped. A lot of old objects were gathered in front of an old man: jewellery boxes, inkwells, cups, and candles.
The vendor smiled at him. "Oh, is that you, Mr. Potter?" he asked in surprise and greeted him with a profound nod.
Harry could hardly hear the old man over the cacophony of voices, so he just smiled and nodded. Snape was right behind him as he was concerned about what would happen if Harry were recognised.
The vendor seemed to be well informed as he nodded towards Snape as well. "Good evening, Severus!"
"Good evening to you as well, Paul," said Snape warmly and looked over the goods. "I think you could spare us a headache if you would cast some silencing charms on these."
The man just shrugged and took the Morning Prophet from a jewellery box which looked hungry.
"Would you like something?" Paul asked, looking at Harry instead of Snape.
Harry puckered his brows in thought as he looked at the dozens of objects.
"No," Snape interrupted coldly.
Harry stepped closer to a couple of quivering spoons, some of which literally crawled away.
"Don't take us, we are not useful," one of them mumbled.
"But I'd like to…" he started again but Snape interrupted at once.
Harry growled angrily while searching one-handed for his money. He groped for some time before realising that Snape was smiling mockingly.
"This can't be!" Harry exploded. "You took my money?"
The potions master just shrugged. "Meee?" he asked innocently. "You left it on the table when we departed."
"Of course!" Harry looked at the vendor sadly. There were three candles similar to Trenus… and Harry wanted him to have a partner so that Trenus would not be alone. Harry stepped a bit closer to the candles hoping to get around Snape who watched his approach. The objects were talking:
"Ah, you know the witch who sells in the alley next to us…"
"The one who is rolling with the neighbour in the evenings?" asked the next one.
"If you observed better, that's the other neighbour…"
"Stop this gossiping," interjected a third voice which sounded quite feminine.
Harry turned to his father determined.
"If you won't give me money, I swear I'll buy in on credit," he said and Snape raised his brow.
"Sometimes your Slytherin traits show quite clearly," Snape mocked. "You can't be serious about wanting something like that."
"I'm not something like that, I'm an accomplished candle, and not a scrappy…" she shut up suddenly as Snape glared at her. Snape turned to Harry with a question in his eyes.
"Oh dad, don't be like that!" said Harry. "You know how alone Trenus is. Please."
"Severus," interjected the vendor, "if you really have a similar charmed object it would indeed be practical." The glare did not work on Paul. "Harry, if you want to take it now and bring money for it tomorrow..."
"Oh, alright," Snape surrendered and started to search his inner pockets. "I hope it does not cost much."
Harry watched with a look of awe as the old man took a scrap of paper and packed the candle. "I think this will be the best present for Trenus," Harry said, grinning in satisfaction.
"My house will soon be full of little jumping candles," Snape moaned and Harry was struck dumb.
"I won't explain the biology of it," his father groaned. "Let's just say that candles have powers of their own."
Harry took the package from the vendor cheerfully.
"Happy Christmas!" Paul smiled.
"We wish you the same." Snape took the change and both of them returned to the bench, which was already snowed in a bit, as well as their packages.
"I hope you know there will be consequences," Snape stated as they picked up the parcels.
"I'm not afraid of your threats," Harry laughed.
Harry took the candle in both hands as they headed home. Snape's house was not far from the bazaar.
"I'm not afraid either," piped in a feminine voice from the parcel. "You don't seem frightening."
Snape bent down close during his stride. "We'll see, miss," he said in a grim, frightening voice.
Harry felt her flinch.
"Luciana cannot be frightened…"
There was a sudden silence and Harry looked up stunned at the end of Snape's wand.
"What was that for?" asked Harry annoyed.
"There will finally be silence."
"Why, where are we going? Aren't we going home?"
"Oh, we are," Snape laughed and put an arm around him. "Yes, we are going home."
Harry smiled as well. When he got home, he'd release Luciana from the hex and send the sweets to his friends. "Give me those sweets," Harry said. "I don't want you to toss them away into the first bin."
"I won't," Snape said, then released the parcels from one hand. In the next moment, Harry realised that a snowball was coming his way and he couldn't avoid it. "Because I'll eat them all!"
Harry put down the charmed candle and crouched to gather some snow. "Do you know what the others would say in Gryffindor tower if I told them I had a snowball fight with the strict potions professor who was hardly himself…"
"Fine… You're in for it now!" Harry exclaimed and targeted Snape.
But the potions master evaded the snowball and leaned forward, hands on hips. "You missed me," he mocked.
"You just wait, dad!"
And a fierce snowball fight erupted between father and son in front of their house. No wizard passed by; only their laughs filled the quiet street.
After a short time, the bigger black blob became whiter and the smaller one laughed at him from a safe distance while it started to snow again. Then both disappeared into the house with their parcels as the snowfall intensified.
Only the twinkling light of the lamp stayed on, lighting up the small place wanly.
First of all I would like to Wish all of my readers a Merry Christmas from Hungary! :)
I say thank you for all review and others you left for my stoy. I am glad you stayes with me even when a one-year interruption was been in the translation.
As regard the story, I was written this 3 years ago, when I was much more awkward. I would write it in other way if I do this now. I think it would be much more elaborate. Obviously you also noticed the explanation was not so satisfying, Why does Harry react in an other way in connection with the serum? etc.. But I decided it will be done, I didn't want to write it novel length.
You haven't known me yet, but I have a bad habit, that everything I write will be very long, and I made an effort here it wasn't coming off. I was very surprised when the former translator chose this story – but she has seen in it something – perhaps fantasy -, and she wanted to show it you. I hope you enjoyed it without reference this minor errors.
It seems you will not get rid of me in the future, in all probability you will even meet with me, because two of my readers want to translate my two other stories onto English and German.
My livejournal site are written in English – in this help is available -, because I like prepare some calendars and backgrounds for Aspen and her readers. If anything happen in connection with my stories, which are under translation, there I will post it. In addition you can find me on my Hungarian site, , where I always inform my readers, of course in my mother-tongue (hungarian). – I'm sure you know the google-translator's miracle, you can get along quite well with it. :-D
I thank you I could be here with you, I hope I have been very welcome and I will be in the future. :-)