Harry cringed as he entered his bedroom to find Ginny sitting on their bed with her arms crossed tightly.

"So," she began, taking a long pause. Her face quickly morphed from anger to exhaustion. "Merlin, Harry. I don't even know where to begin. How could you not tell me?"

She sighed and looked up at him, her face contorted. "I just don't understand why you wouldn't trust me."

A wave of nausea hit Harry. He stared at the pattern of the bedspread, avoiding Ginny's eyes and discovering yet another dimension of consequence caused by the whole decade-long secret-keeping business. He had no idea how Snape had managed to do it so well all those years.

"Gin," Harry slid next to her on the bed and wrapped an arm around her as he tried to gather words, "of course I trust you. Honestly, I sort of had no idea what I was doing with the whole thing..."

"Well I can believe that," she snorted, looking down at her hands.

Harry smiled sadly and absentmindedly scratched his scar. "Then, things just kind of happened, and I thought it would be better if people didn't know. For a while there it seemed like there may have been Death Eaters that would come back for him."

Ginny glanced sideways at him.

"So, in that way, I wanted to protect everyone," Harry swallowed as she looked into his eyes.

"That makes sense, I guess." Ginny wiggled out of his arms and stood up. Then, she began pacing in front of him, her bare feet making small footprints in the thick crimson carpeting. "But, really, you should have told me if it was possible that-that this could happen."

"True," Harry said, his throat feeling excessively dry.

"I mean, he's in the same house with our daughter, Harry. I know you respect him and all that, but we both know he's terrible with children. And what about when James and Al come home? And what if Teddy needs his room? Christmas is only a few months away..." she took a deep breath and regained composure. "This is just crazy."

"You're right, dear," Harry flopped back on the bed and stared at the ceiling. What had he done?

"Nothing is going to be the same," Ginny said.

She crawled next to Harry, and he folded her into his arms.

Ginny was right.


While he stared at the celling above Teddy Lupin's bed, Severus felt, for a moment, real anger like he had not experienced in years.

It burbled through his body, bringing a jagged sneer across his lips.

After a few moments stewing, he turned to look at a small pile of vomit next to his bed and winced.

Bloody, bloody hell, Severus thought. His body was apparently useless, and even his fantasies were turning on him.

The sad, vile, little pile made the reality of his situation finally become vivid for Severus. He was a feeble old man living at the house of a family who didn't much care for him. Using the last wisps of his anger for strength, he hoisted himself up into a seated position and fumbled around on the nightstand for his wand. Upon finding it, he quickly cleaned the pile with a flick, and took a deep breath.

At least he could still do magic.

He put the wand back on the nightstand and looked at the emergency stone Potter had left there. Of all of his darkest fears, having James and Lily's son attempt to carry him to bed while Remus Lupin's son winked at him from 400 different angles had never even entered Snape's head as a possibility.

Somewhere at the back of his mind, Severus heard the mild chuckle of Albus Dumbledore. He would find this amusing, the old devil.

Thoughts of Dumbledore began fly from the recesses of his memory as Severus watched Teddy Lupin clumsily fly a broomstick in a blurry photograph near his shoulder. Their long talks near the end of Dumbledore's life seemed to expand and take on a heightened quality as they danced across his brain.

A pig for slaughter. That's what he called Potter during a pivotal moment in those conversations. Dumbledore's eyes had glittered in that oh-so-Dumbledore way when he realized Severus did care for Harry, at least in some way.

Severus closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

Of course, Albus had been right-everything had worked out for Harry. As per usual.

Severus, however, had again been just an expendable piece in the Potter saga. How lovely.

He shook his head as images flashed before him: casting a Doe patronus in the woods for Harry to find, watching Harry yell at him in the Great Hall before Nagini bit him later that day, watching Harry walk up to the sorting hat, Lily's face as she told him she would never talk to him again before she disappeared behind the portrait of the fat lady.

He gulped down what may have been another round of sick as he remembered discussing how he would have to kill his friend.

For the first time, It occurred to him that Albus had been his best friend. Furthermore, it occurred to him that he may have been Albus'. Strange, that he had never realized this before.


"Oi, careful you don't fall in there, mate."

Albus did in fact whack his nose into the pages of "Slytherin Headmasters: The Serpent's Gifts to Education," when he heard the voice behind him.

"Sorry," Scorpius Malfoy grimaced awkwardly. "Didn't think you'd actually do it. You okay?"

"Yeah, I'm alright," Albus said, trying to laugh it off as he rubbed his nose. "Are you?"

Blood was trickling from a small cut above Scorpius' eye. The bright red droplets looked particularly alarming next to his pale skin the white-blond hair of his eyebrow.

"Oh, right," he said touching it and looking down at his hand with a furrowed brow. "Ran into Moriarty."

"Moriarty?" Albus felt seriously confused. What would Moriarty have to fight with a well-known pureblooded Slytherin about?

"He and his goons like to rag on me about my father," Scorpius said, as if answering Al's telepathic question. "How death eaters ruined our house reputation and the like," he snorted. "Can't win for losing, I guess."

He slid down to sit on the floor in front of the nearest bookshelf. "Good idea to hide here. Bet the moron has never touched a book." A sarcastic smile played on his lips as Scorpius crossed his arms behind his head.

Laughter escaped Albus' throat for the first time since he had arrived at Hogwarts. However, he was quick to stifle it.

"How do you know I'm hiding?"

Scorpius raised his bloodied eyebrow, and Albus sighed.

"Don't envy you mate."

The boys shared a loaded, silent moment.

"Anyway," Scorpius began. Al could tell that the other boy didn't want to make him talk about his family, and felt a tiny burst of appreciation.

"What's the book?"