Some hours later, Harry breathed a sigh of relief as they entered 12 Grimmuald Place, the Potter family home.
Upon realizing where they were, Snape shuddered. Memories of his dreary time as an Order of the Phoenix agent and the darker post-Dumbledore days that followed swirled into his mind like a cloud of grey smoke.
However, the house looked nothing like it had the last time he set foot there.
Gone was the screaming portrait of Walburga Black, the Black family tree and almost all remnants of its former owners. In their place were Quidditch flyers, large paintings, children's drawings, and charmed wallpaper adorned with a variety of strange beasts. Multi-colored candles lit the home, throwing light on thick carpets and over-stuffed, lived-in looking couches.
Though it looked similar to the Granger-Weasley household, there were considerably more quaffles than books.
Snape spotted a table packed with family photographs in front of an overflowing case of broomsticks and other Quidditch equipment. He averted his eyes as the mental image of James and Lily Potter's wedding photograph joined the growing cloud of smoke in his brain.
The new 12 Grimmuald Place was even more horrible than before, Snape decided.
"Alright Lily-pily," came a voice behind him, making Snape jump slightly. "Let's get you to bed."
Ginny gently steered Lily towards the stairs as Harry wheeled Snape down a a small hallway.
"Be right up," he said, nodding slightly to Ginny.
"Will Uncle Severus be okay?" Snape heard the girl ask. His stomach lurched with embarrassment and he shifted uncomfortably. How long would these kids insist on calling him Uncle?
Harry, too, groaned inwardly.
As they turned down the corridor, candles along the walls spontaneously lighted with a warm glow.
"Er," Harry said as he walked, "I'm, eh, I'm sorry if dinner was a bit much. We probably should have just come here."
Harry stopped to open a door plastered with a large "Weird Sisters" poster. Inside, dark blue walls were covered with more rock posters as well as Hufflepuff banners, drawings, notes and various other items to be found in a teen wizard's bedroom. The most recent additions appeared to be photographs of a young man sporting different color hair in every shot alongside a beautiful blonde haired, freckle-faced girl.
"This is Teddy's room usually," said Harry as Snape's eyes scanned the walls. "My godson. It should be, you know, fairly comfortable. And, he will probably pack up some of this during Christmas break," he said, gesturing to the walls, "He's going on a research trip in Cambodia," Harry added, sounding irritatingly proud. To Snape, at least.
An awkward silence followed as Snape recalled Teddy as the name Remus Lupin had given his son.
After a life of running from the Marauders, he had been brought back from death solely the wallow in their ashes, it seemed.
Snape closed his eyes and seemed so still for a moment that Harry again wondered if he was dead.
"Anyway," Harry cleared his throat, "what I meant to say is that this all happened a bit fast. Its a bit strange for me and it must be strange for you."
Snape let out an involuntary snort.
"Good you're alive," said Harry with an eye roll. Being civil to the old git really was exhausting, even if he was a hero.
Alive. Snape could barely comprehend the word's meaning. Nearly all of the people he knew in life were dead; Lily, Dumbledore, even James, Sirius, Remus and Peter.
He hadn't actually felt alive since before Lily died. Since before he lost her as a friend.
Snape was jostled from his melancholy thoughts as Harry wheeled him up to the bed, and moved to help him into it.
"Potter, I'm don't know what you are trying to prove with all of this care and concern business, but I can certainly get myself into bed."
It felt good to snap at Harry after the searing shame of hardly being able to eat dinner in front of a group of strangers.
"Ah," said Harry, backing away. "Of course. Well if you do need any help, the hospital gave us these," he pulled out two emergency crystals and set them on the bedside table next to some worn down quills, "Yours should glow green when you touch it I think...and here is that potion for your neck," he said while rifling through his robes for it.
Snape nodded curtly.
"Okay, well." Harry sighed, and took off his glasses for a moment to rub his eyes. "Have a good night, professor," Snape thought it felt as if Potter's voice seemed to cling to the walls as he gently shut the door.