Disclaimer : I do not own "Harry Potter" or the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.
Chapter XVII: Disorder
Severus began to gather up the picnic supplies. The biscuits, the crisps, and of course, plain cheese sandwiches. He screwed the lid onto the bottled milk, ignoring the arthritic pain in his fingers. The blanket was folded up with a handy spell, and put inside the basket.
Typically, it took much longer to pack up on November Saturday. Severus would mention it was almost time to leave, and begin interjecting reminders of it in the conversation, such as how the sun was setting, or how cool it was getting. He would begin summoning Ssnitches and Quaffles, putting away books, and begin talking of about what was for supper. The mention of how 'someone' was going to need a bath usually got him a terrible glare, but in true Severus Snape -fashion, he always mentioned it.
Except this time, there was not an abundance of Quidditch supplies, fictional books, or a dirty charge. He was all by his lonesome, on the empty premises of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, watching the sun slowly set.
November Saturday, despite the indications the name gaveits name, was the first week in every August. It had originally been in November, but between the occasional snow flurries, the cold, and Severus' job which occasionally required Saturdays, it that had become inconvenient. Now, obviously, it would have bebeen more aptly renamed to call it 'August Saturday', but it eight years was quite a long time to spend calling something by one name. eight years was too long to call something by one name to change it. The name 'November Saturday' was stuck.
One year after the demise of the Dark Lord, Severus had taken Harry into London. For once, the trip had not involved any sort of doctor, therapist, or errands. It had involved visiting nearly every toy shop in the city, going to a museum, and eating at a Muggle chain restaurant. At the time, Severus' goal was to get Harry's mind off of the Dark Lord, for even just a short while, but the day also had another purpose; to be a day to live a happy, free life.
It was important Harry knew that.
The day had become a tradition. The interest in the top toy shops had only been sustained for so long, but there were plenty of replacements for things like that. As Harry began to insist to see Hogwarts, and November Saturday was moved to August, Hogwarts became the replacement. There were no students there in August, making it much more of a comfort- zone for Harry, who often did very poorly amongst crowds of people.
They did not speak of the Dark Lord often on November Saturdays. He wase had been quite a tender subject for many years, the cause of many meltdowns and tearful confusion. It had taken four years to get Harry to stop referring to the wizard as 'Master' - – now he did not refer to him as anything, but used 'Him' when necessary.
No, despite the fact that November Saturday had originated on the day of the Dark Lord's death and Harry's rescue, they did not speak of it. They avoided the subject like the plague, actually. It was hard to pretend one had a happy and free life when the subject of the Dark Lord was looming over your head.
It was hard to believe that seventeen years had gone by since those terrifying three months in 1995. It was now 2012, and Harry was thirty-two years of age. He had successfully gone through puberty, albeit a bit late due to the medical effects the draining had on him. He had made it through his NEWTs, despite thanks to an at-home education provided by Black and Lupin. He laughed, and smiled. He had been heavily involved in planning the wedding of George Weasley and Hermione Granger, with much many fewer nervous breakdowns than Severus had suspected expectedat the onset of the planning. He spent hours toiling over a notebook Severus had given him for Christmas years ago, trying to invent spells. Harry didn't know it, of course, but Severus often peered into the notebook late at night, just in case. Harry didn't share what the intent of the spells he was trying to invent was until after they were invented; so far they were just creative or fun ones, nothing dangerous. However, a very dangerous and fatal spell would not be beyond Harry, and it was Severus' responsibility to stop prevent their creation. before they happened.
This was the first November Saturday Severus had spent alone. He hadn't wanted to go, but Black and Lupin had urged him to. They had said it would be good for him, that he needed the time alone. Harry had eventually insisted. So Severus had made a half-hearted effort to have a November Saturday all by his lonesome. He had only been out three hours, but it was three hours long enough.
Harry had fallen very sick with the pneumonia only the night before. Despite the doses of nutritive potion, breathing agent, and Pepper-Up, he was still too ill to be out at noon, the time Severus had left. It would seem odd to some that a thirty-two- year-old would develop pneumonia in August of all months, but not to Severus. Harry was quite sickly, much of the time. His magic was at such a low level that the potions did not interact with his body the way that they should. Had he not been drained three times in three months, all those years ago, his health would have never been so compromised. And that was no one's fault but Severus', who had intentionally wasted so much Veneficus, to stall the Dark Lord.
Severus picked up the basket and strode over to the Hogwarts gates. He spent less time at Hogwarts than ever these days. He had managed to pick up a raise when Dumbledore had died from the curse of the Dark Lord's ring in 1996, due to the curse the Dark Lord's ring had. When Minerva had became Headmistress, the first thing she did was give Severus a raise, in fact. Apparently she realised how expensive raising a troubled child could be.
Once outside the Hogwarts perimeters, he Apparated to the outside of 12 Grimmauld Place. Black had been requited acquitted in 1997, but and despite his threats ofthreatening moveing, he never had. Harry had never gone to live with him – by the time he had the option, he was too attached to the way his life was to change it.
Privately, Severus had been very smug and happy about that fact. Though he never would have realised it in November of 1995, 'Potter' had indeed grown on him. It could have had something to do with the fact that he was no longer such a brat, though admittedly a lot more of work. It could have had to do with the absence of the James Potter glasses, though Severus would never admit being so shallow. Whatever the reason, he would be damned if he ever moved in with Black full-time.
Though Severus went to Grimmauld Place more days out of the week than not, whenever he Apparated outside, he never just walked in the front door. He always knocked. It irritated Black to no end, who claimed Severus only did it to annoy him. That was actually not the reason at all – Severus did it because the day he walked into Black's home like he was perfectly comfortable doing it was also the day he would throw himself off of Hogwarts' Astronomy Tower.
It would also make Lupin uncomfortable. Severus was not friends with Lupin by any means, but he would not torture him by walking into his house without notice or invitation. It was a line that he could never cross in good conscience, due to their history.
A haggard looking Lupin opened the door. "Severus, you're early!"
Severus stepped in without being proddedprompted to. "It hardly takes longer than three hours to eat a cheese sandwich. How is he?"
Lupin glanced over to the stairs. "He is much better. He insisted on getting up about an hour ago, but Sirius talked him out of it. They're talking. Not about anything important; last I checked, Sirius was trying to teach him how to snap his fingers."
Lupin looked terrible. Not more terrible than usual, but like the disorderly world the Dark Lord had set up, it was not easy for him to look worse more terrible than usual. His face had been permanently distorted by the silver bars of, in the culvert where from which he and Harry had escaped from. A portion of his nose had been reconstructed, and his lips, though badly scarred, still functioned. The skin, however, was very badly burnt, and his ears were nothing more than flaps of skin, rendering Lupin unrecognisable from the man Severus had known twenty years ago. He no doubt frightened people on the street daily – from Severus' standpoint,found it was mildly amusing,, when he ignored forgot how where the deformities got therehad come from.
"That is sad; he is terribly uncoordinated." Harry could barely swim, could not ride a Muggle bike, or even properly twiddle his thumbs. It did not surprise Severus to find that he could not snap his fingers.
"How are you?" Lupin asked.
Severus blinked. How was he? What an absurd question to ask. He was the same as he had been yesterday, and the day before that. He was the same as he had been last year. The arthritis he had developed was painful, but was nothing to worry about; if it hurt badly enough, he would bother useing painkillers.
He and Lupin saw each other almost daily, at least four days out of the week. They were not friends by any means, though they were no longer enemies. Lupin had never asked him how he was before. Not once.
"Well," Severus said, eyeing Lupin carefully. "And yourself?"
Lupin sat on the moth-eaten sofa Black had said he would replace a decade prior. "I cannot complain."
Severus hated it when people said that. There was always something to complain about. Even when your health was pique perfect and your vault overflowing, the weather was terrible. There was always something to spoil your day or mood.
"Severus, I think Sirius knows."
Knows. Knows. I think Sirius knows. Severus' heart began beating too quickly for his age and health. His stomach knotted and turned to ice. How did Black know? How could he know? No one knew – it was a secret that would die with them. Even Harry, who had turned into the most perceptive little bugger, didn't know.
"What?" Severus clenched his fists. "How did he find out? I did not tell him – was it you?"
Lupin looked up at Severus, puzzled. "What are you- – calm down. I wasn't talking about that. Sit."
Unabashed, Severus did not sit, or calm down. He had nightmares every so often of what had happened between himself and Lupin, and knew that what had happened weighed heavily on Lupin, too. They had never told anybody.
"I'm talking about Harry's attitude of late. I think Sirius knows why."
Severus relaxed. Harry had been most stubborn of late, demanding to have his own way. He had been most quite obstinate, even to Black, which was rare. Neither Severus, nor Harry's therapist, had been able to pry out of him what was bothering him so out of him. The fact that Black might have been able to figured it out before hime did didn't bother him. in the comparison to how hHe feltwas only worried in about having how to resolve the situation possibly resolved.
Severus sank into the same armchair he had occupied seventeen years ago, hours after Harry's recoveryrescue. "Did he say what it was?"
"I thinkHe thinks Ron's divorce upset him," Lupin said.
Ronald Weasley had married Gryffindor Lavender Brown several years ago – Harry had served as best man at the wedding. It was a marriage doomed from the start, and that was not a reflection on Weasley's personality in the slightest; no one could stand the that Brown chit.
Severus frowned. "That It is hardly news to Harry that they are separating. He has known for months that they were struggling. I was not aware that he had any particular attachment to Lavender Weasley née Brown."
Lupin glanced up the stairs before continuing. "Not the fact that they are getting divorced, Severus, but the divorce itself. We wonder if perhaps he is feeling frustrated. Divorce is a sign of failure in many people's eyes, and his life has not exactly been . . ."
Harry would never marry, nor would he ever have a serious lady friend. Severus believed that with absolute sincerity. There had been a time, when Harry had been in his early twenties, where he had had hope, but it had quickly vanished when he saw how Harry reacted to a woman's advancementadvances. In the most technical sense, he was still a virgin, and Severus doubted that would ever change.
He hadn't thought that the that fact made Harry miserable, however. He had thought thoughts of sexual intimacy made Harry uncomfortable. Harry confided in Severus nearly everything, a larger quantity of things than he did Black or Lupin. He had never spoken of being raped or harmed sexually, but had rehashed the Lestranges' love-fest many times. Severus had, of course, assumed there was more to Harry's fear of sexual things than he blatantly admitted, but had never focused on finding out what they were.
There was always another trauma more important to find out about.
"I was not aware he had an interest in that area," Severus said. "After the panic attack he had at his coming- of- age party, I spoke to him – you remember that." For Harry's seventeenth birthday, there had been a very small coming- of- age party for him. The Weasleys, Granger, and Longbottom had been the only ones invited. A gag gift – Severus could no longer recall who it had been from – had been a pornography magazine. Most boys would have laughed it off (or gratefully accepted it), but Harry'd had a nervous breakdown.
"I tried to figure out if it was the images in the magazine, the sex of the couple, or the magazine itself,." Severus recalled. "He does, oOddly enough, he blames the course of his life on a desk, in which he found a dirty magazine."
Harry had been a strange boy to raise. There had been no Wizard Weeklys found under the mattress, no rubbers buried in the rubbish bin. He had reason to be that way though – Harry had told him several times, late at night between sobs, of the threats the Dark Lord had made if 'Pet' were to touch 'itself'.
"You will need to talk to him about it. His lips are sealed on the matter, to us," Lupin said. "I suspect, however, it is more to do with the subject of love, lust, and his lack of interest in it, than having the interest and being unable to act on it."
Lupin shifted on the sofa. His amber eyes were serious, eyes that were the only normal part of an otherwise marred face. "Severus, I have never told anyone. I never will. I could never tell Sirius – were he to find out . . . " He shook his head.
Severus gritted his teeth. They rarely spoke of the secret between them, and he did not want to discuss it now.
He stood. "Is he ready to go home? I would like to get him into his own bed, if the dogfather does not mind."
Severus let go of Harry as soon as the ash settled in the Floo. Though Harry was perfectly capable of Flooing by himself, Severus still held him. Just in case. You heard the stories of children being snatched from the Floo, and though Harry was well over seventeen, Severus still considered him a child where it counted.
Harry marched out of the Floo, and sat himself crossed-legged in the centre of their small sitting- room floor. He resumed what he had been doing when before bedtime approached the previous evening, sorting out magazine clipping for a collage he had been making.
Severus levitated a chair over next to Harry, and sat on it, looking over Harry's progress. "Harry, are you feeling well?"
Harry crumpbled up a small picture of the United States Quidditch player, Brett Dooley. "Fine,." hHe grumbled.
"You hardly seem fine." Severus reached down for the crumpled scrap, ignoring the pain in his body as he reached down for the crumbled scrap. He smoothed it out over his knee. "Why do you not want this? I thought Mr. Dooley was your favourite foreign Beater."
"He's a Chaser." Harry did not turn around to give Severus' comment attention. "He lost a game last week."
"Ah. And we give up on people just because they lose?"
Harry did not respond, and only continued sorting.
Severus tried again. "Harry, it' is seven o'clock; why don't you go get your bath things? I will go upstairs and run the water."
"Not dirty,." Harry muttered.
Admittedly, Harry was much cleaner than he was typically was onafter a November Saturdays. He had spent the day in bed, rather than in the mud.
"You are upset about missing your November Saturday," Severus said. "We can go tomorrow, or next Saturday."
"Not the same." Harry banished his discarded scraps, and stood.
"You're right,; it isn't. However, you would have had a terriblen awful time today. Besides your illness, there was a terrible stench in the air. I think the Malfoy family was touring the school, to decide the ideal place to put their statue in front of the entrance to the Slytherin Common room."
Harry did n'ot bat an eye. Despite his encounters with Lucius Malfoy in 1995, he the man was not a sore subject. "That's nice," Harry said.
Severus raised an eyebrow. "That they' are erecting a statue to a Malfoy in Hogwarts?"
"No, that I missed them." He hesitated. "Does Draco still have just the three kids?"
Lupin had said he suspected Harry was frustrated over his lack of sexual interest. This subject was dangerously close to that. "It depends on whom you ask; some suspect he fathered his sister-in-law's child, also."
"Oh." Harry bit his lip, wrapping his arms around himself. "Um, I guess, um, can we- – did you have a good time today, besides the stench?"
"Hardly. Dry cheese sandwiches disgust me." Severus stood, levitating the chair to its original location. "In fact, I only ate one; there are many more left in the picnic basket, if you would like to eat them for supper tonight."
"Now?" The boy's green eyes lit up.
"After your bath. Go."
"Come here, Kitten."
Voldemort's long fingernails grazed the back of his neck, massaging his skin. Harry arched his back involuntarily as Voldemort began scratching it his back.
"I missed my kitten,." Voldemort whispered in Harry's ear. "It left me."
Harry shuddered. "Didn't mean to."
"Did it miss me, also?"
Did Harry miss Voldemort? He missed getting his back scratched. He liked the feeling he got when he thought about how he was when he was with Voldemort – part of it felt so innocent and free, though he had hardly been free.
Voldemort grabbed Harry's arm, squeezing it so hard that his fingernails caused his arm to bleed freely. "It is not happy to see me?"
Harry's head began to swim. He didn't know what Voldemort wanted, what would happen if he answered 'yes'. If he answered 'yes', would Voldemort somehow conjure him back to his quarters? Would he take someone else with him? It was already his fault Lupin had so much pain in his face all the time – he didn't want to be responsible for the pain of someone else.
And he would miss Snape. He liked Snape now, most times.
But if he answered 'no', what would happen? Would his eyeballs get burned and busted out? They looked like his mum's. Would he get stabbed with a bamboo stick? Would he burn the bottoms of his feet be so badly burned that he'd have to use a cane like Lupin sometimes did? He didn't like burns.
He looked down at his abdomen, and realised that he was nude. For some reason, that did not surprise him. He could see the crusted- over wound, and remembered the draining. He didn't like draining.
Harry screamed, He sat up in bed, and looked around to his very familiar surroundings.
He was home. He knew he was home. His bedroom walls were painted blue, and his windows were securely warded so that no one could see in from the outside. His bed covers were wet, and smelled like urine.
He looked behind him. There was nothing but his bedside table and his dresser. His closet was kept open so that he could see inside at all times – Voldemort's red eyes were not really visible there in the darkness, looking at him. It was just his imagination.
Or was it? He leaned forward, narrowing his eyes so that he could see better.
One eye winked at him.
He rolled out of bed, and began to run as fast as he could. He stumbled over his slippers beside his bed, but kept on running.
He ran across the hall, and jumped onto Snape's bed.
Snape sat up, his wand in hand, but quickly relaxed. Like always.
"Potter?" hHe said, groggily. He lied lay back down. "Did you forget your wand?"
It was in his room. Where Voldemort could get it. They had twin cores. He had forgotten it in his haste.
"Oops?" He buried his face in Snape's chest.
Snape placed his hand on the back of Harry's head. "You did not clean yourself up, I meant, Harry. Scourgify."
The smell disappeared from Harry, as did the wetness of his pyjamas.
"Sorry." Harry burrowed himself under the covers.
Snape sighed. He rolled over so that he faced Harry. "It was just a nightmare. You' are all right."
Snape did had not see those eyes. Had he seen the eyes, he would have understood. "Saw red eyes."
"I am not denying that it could have very well seemed that way to you, but you are still safe. Nothing in this home can harm you." Snape seemed very confident in his warding spells.
Harry curled his legs up against his chest even tighter. He always slept that way. "Sleeping in here."
"And should I not allow you to?"
Why wouldn't he allow him to? He always allowed him to. He Harry didn't do it very often anymore, only once a week or so. It wasn't like he abused the privilege. Often.
Harry lifted his head. "You should go see the eyes. You'd know."
Snape groaned. "I do not need to see them; I know what you're seeing."
"That's why I'm here." Harry sat up when Snape got out of bed, "Where are you going?"
Snape placed the featherFeather-light Light charm Charm on Harry, the charm Voldemort had always used to pick him up. Snape was just as skinny as Voldemort, but didn't hold him as tightly, so it was more comfortable.
"We are going to drink some warm milk and talk about some things." Snape wouldn't be able to carry him if it weren't for the featherFeather-light Light charm Charm – he was too old.
"Um, talk 'bout what?" Harry grabbed onto Snape's nightshirt as they descended down the stairs, in case he should fall. "It's two in the morning."
"Let me congratulate you on that keen observation; it is two in the morning." Snape settled Harry on the sofa before stepping off into their meagre kitchen to pour Harry some milk.
Harry wrapped the throw blanket around his shoulders, and peered over the arm of the sofa, watching Snape. "Why milk? Why not tea?"
"Because the natural properties of the tea will make you more anxious, and keep you up all night. We hardly need that." Snape came over with a mug of milk for Harry, and tea for himself. "Now, let's talk."
Harry tried to snuggle up against Snape, but Snape didn't let him. "The eyes are not really eyes. You know that, Harry. They are not real in the sense that they belong to somebody psychically in your closet, watching you."
Harry wrapped the blanket tighter around himself, and sipped at his milk. He liked cold milk better. "Then how come I can see them?"
"Because they are there," Snape simply said, taking a sip of his tea. "The Dark Lord is unable to pass on to the afterlife, remaining forever in a similar form similar to that what you saw him asin before he regained his body in early 1995."
Harry shuddered. They hardly ever talked about anything that went on in 1995.
"It is no mystery why his spirit, or the mass he is in, watches you." Snape brought his legs up onto the sofa, stretching his legsthem behind Harry.
"Yeah,." Harry mused. "He misses me."
"No, Harry; that is not the case." Snape gently said gently. "I do not know that he can feel emotions the same way we do, but if he can, he does not miss you. It is more of an obsession, an angry obsession. That is not a reflection on your loveability as a person; many people love you in this world. He is not capable of loving anyone, or missing anyone the way you and I do."
They had had this discussion quite a few times over the years. Voldemort couldn't love; Voldemort wasn't capable of much emotion except anger, obsession, and the sub-emotions that went along with thatthem, like jealousy. Snape insisted on it, and Sirius insisted on it. Remus didn't say much about it, but he always nodded in agreement with Sirius.
But they didn't know. They had never been around Voldemort like he had. They had never been Pet or Kitten. They had never had Voldemort scratch their backs, or rub them down in the bathtub. They had never slept at Voldemort's feet, or curled up against him by the fire.
Perhaps the emotions between wasn't love that Harry or and Voldemort felt about itweren't love, but there emotions were definitely emotions there. Strong, indefinable ones. He didn't want to be with Voldemort, in his fortress-place, but he couldn't help his confusing feelings.
"Don't cry." Snape conjured a handkerchief and handed it to Harry. "It is not your fault. And it hardly matters. This mass, this thing we are talking about, does not have a mind or a soul that we know ofas we know them. It is not capable of speaking, talking, or throwing growing itself on the back of someone's head. It can only float from place to place and watch. It may be a bit eerie, but you are safe."
"Can't you ward against it?" Harry cried out. "I don't like it! It's creepy!"
"I would not go as so far as to say it is a physical thing one can ward against, Harry. I have seen it very few times, but I would consider it more of a magical, spiritual, supernatural thing. It does not put you in danger. It is safe. Remember what you said about wondering if the Dark Lord would kill you? That had he planned on it, he would have done it already?"
He had thought that a lot back in 1995. "Yeah."
"It has been nearly seventeen years nearly since we first saw the eyes, this mass. Don't you think that if it could speak, that if it could physically put nightmares in your mind, then it would have done it long ago?"
It did make sense. Harry knew what Snape was saying, but it didn't make the thing go away. "It's not comforting to hear that the soulless spirit of someone is obsessed with you."
"It is not." Snape said.
Harry leaned against the opposite arm of the sofa, putting his legs on the outer side of the sofa, so that he and Snape could both stretch out – his legs did not encompass the amount of length Snape's did. and stretched his legs out next to Snape's.
"Have you heard anything else from Ron Weasley?" Snape asked.
Ron had told Harry a fortnight ago, when stopping in for a visit, that he and Lavender were getting a divorce. Divorce was frowned on upon in the Wizarding world, because Purebloods were encouraged to have tons of magical babies, but it was still allowed. Harry felt bad for both Ron and Lavender, but if a divorce made them happier, he was all for it.
"Yeah. He told me that since they have no kids, it shouldn't be too messy. He said I wouldn't have to get involved to or take sides or anything. But if I did have to, I would take Ron's side."
"Very loyal. You're a good friend. I think it' is a bit naïve of him to assume Miss Lavender will not make a mess of it, however; she seems to enjoylike the melodrama. And despite your friendship with Ron, there isyou have no obligation to get involved in the legal partities of their separation." Snape pinched his nose. "There is a subject I would like to broach that you will be uncomfortable with."
That wasn't news. Snape always wanted to talk about things Harry was uncomfortable with. He never let Harry be, to do his own things. He always wanted to talk. He wanted to talk about what happened then, or what he thoughtabout that, or if Harry knew this. Then, he would dragged him off to Doctor Hill's office twice a week, to talk about how he felt about things that had happened this week, last week, five, ten, twenty years ago.
Snape always wanted him to talk. Talking was the last thing Harry ever felt like doing.
"It doesn't bug me that Uncle Vernon died. It bugs me that it doesn't bug me,." Harry repeated his response to the subject what he had been constantly asked about in thethis past month. Uncle Vernon had had a massive heart attack, according to the papers. It had been a long time coming, between his weight and temper. Harry cared, he supposed, but he hadn't wanted to go to the funeral. He hadn't cried. He didn't even feel sad at all, which made him feel bad. He hadn't seen Uncle Vernon since he was fifteen, though that was hardly a good excuse. When family died, you were supposed to be sad; it made him sad that he wasn't sad.
"That is not the subject I wish to discuss tonight." Snape set his tea aside.
Goosebumps crawled up Harry's skin. "I don't want to talk about Him, either." Every time he shut his eyes, he saw those eyes. And the smile. He could feel his touch. Down there.
"It is not my intention to talk about the Dark Lord; discussion discussing about him will hardly lull allow you to return to sleep tonightback to sleep within the next hour or two.," Snape dryly said dryly. "No.; I want to discuss your future."
Harry didn't think about his future much, and if it were not for Snape and Doctor Hill bringing it up all the time, he would think about his past probably even less. He liked to think about now; what he was doing now, who he was with now, what he might be doing within the next few hours or days. He did n'ot think of about the distant future, but except when someone brought it up.
He knew Snape was going to die someday. He Harry knew he'd probably outlive both him Snape and Sirius. He knew that Lupin's life expectancy, as a werewolf, was substantially lower than a wizard's, so Lupin only had perhaps forty years left. He knew that Ron and Hermione were both older than him, though not by much, so perhaps if he were lucky–-
"Don't want to talk about it." Harry looked down into his milk. He would have to live all by himself someday. He didn't know if he could do that. He would have to live alone, with the eyes watching him.
"I' am sure you do n'ot, but I feel I must ask; are you happy with the way things are? Do you ever wish things were different?"
What did Snape mean by that? Of course Harry wished things were different sometimes. He wished a lot of things were different, sometimes. He wished that Lupin felt better and wasn't in so much pain. He wished his nightmares would go away without aid of Dreamless Sleep. He wished Snape would allow him to develop an addiction to Dreamless Sleep. He wished Ron was happier, and wished that Ginny would get her life in order. He wished he had more friends, that he wasn't so lonely. He wished that he had a way of fixing that, a way of actually being able to be social without being scared or panicky, like normal people. He wished he could like girls – or boys – like other people.
But if he did like people the way people liked people, that would mean he would get married and have kids. He couldn't imagine that; how would he make money? He'd have to get a job. How could he talk to his wife and kids? How could he be around them? Would that mean he'd never have time to work in his spell book? What would they think if they found out he was Pet? When they found out–-
He felt Snape's arms wrap around him. "Harry, breathe,." Snape ordered. "You' are all right.; Bbreathe."
Harry breathed. Sometimes, he forgot to. "Sorry."
"Quite all right." Snape let go, and moved to sit on the edge of the sofa. His dark eyes looked at Harry carefully. "Do you remember the question?"
He did, but he didn't know how to answer. Was he supposed to say 'yes'? He supposed 'yes' would be the truth, but then Snape would ask for more details. Harry didn't want to share those particular fears and guilts, because then Snape would either try to get him to accept things as they were or get things to happen that Harry didn't know if he wanted to happen. It was all so confusing, these things that weren't supposed to be so confusing.
"You realise, Harry, that I am unwed,." Snape said slowly said.
Of course Harry realised that. He didn't know why exactly; Snape had never said. He had asked Snape once if Snape had ever had a love, and Snape had said 'yes', but had not further elaborated. He didn't think that Snape was all too that good-looking, but then again, he didn't think most people were exceptionally good-looking. Some were more attractive than others, but no one he had ever met thus far gave him that 'can't eat, can't sleep, fly to the stars, over the stadium' kind of feeling.
There were just so many things he felt like everyone knew, and he just didn't. Like how to like someone in that way.
"I know that."
"It is not that I find women unattractive; I simply do not feel the need to incorporate a serious romantic attachment into my life."
Yeah, but not serious ones are okay. He knew that a couple of times a year, when he had spent the night at Grimmauld Place, Snape had had a lady friend over. He could always tell, but he never said anything.
"It has little to do with you, Harry; had I needed someone like that in my life, I would have found someone long before we met." Snape cleared his throat. "Not everyone needs someone in the way that, say, Granger needs her husband."
"Or Sirius needs Remus?" Harry asked.
Snape's eyes narrowed momentarily. "Or like that, yes. It is not a reason for low self-esteem, or anger. It is not something to feel bad over. Like In the same way that you do not need to feel bad about your feelingslack of feeling about towards Mr. Dursley, you do not need to feel bad that you do not feel the need for romantic or sexual attachments."
Bile rose in Harry's throat. Romantic or sexual attachments? A spouse and kids would mean a romantic or sexual attachments. He had been worried about how to talk and interact with them as people, but of course for them there to be a spouses and kids, there would need to be a romantic and sexual attachments. He couldn't do that. Not ever. It was wrong. It wasn't allowed. If he did that, it would–-
He breathed before Snape could had to remind him to. "I know."
Snape searched himhis face. "Are you sure?"
Things weren't right. Were things supposed to go this way, all this time? When he was born, had there been some sort of destiny picked out for him, saying what was supposed to happen? Or had someone made a choice, creating an alternate time line, leading him where he was? Who made that choice, and when? What choice? Was it his choice, opening that desk drawer? Or his stupid fault, for trying to get Dudley in trouble? Perhaps it would not have happened had he not ran run for the loo from in the candy shop, and or then ruan back out so quickly. Perhaps it was that boy's fault for–- Piers, that was his name, wasn't it? It was funny how things once so important to him, he had were now long forgotten.
What would his world be like had Voldemort not captured him? Would he like girls? Would he have kissed someone before? Would he have liked it, instead of the mere thought making him ill? Would he like for people to touch him, without explicit consent? Would he have married Cho Chang, had lots of kids, and played Seeker for Manchester? Perhaps he would have contracted Dragon Pox and died. Perhaps Ron wouldn't have married Lavender. Maybe he would have married Hermione, or even Harry – Harry could have liked blokes. He had never had the chance to honestly find out. He didn't think he would have, but he had no way of knowing for sure.
Things were in such disarray, and the only person to blame for sure was the person Harry wanted to blame the least. It was Voldemort's fault everything was in such disorder. It was Voldemort's fault than that every time he thought of being Touched, he thought of Him. It was Voldemort's fault that snakes, large crowds of people, shrieks, simple back rubs, and tuna took him to a scary place, that they caused panic attacks that had caused him to be committed to a private health facility several times.
Or was it his fault? Snape had always said that Voldemort had only died through because of a loophole in the prophecy. A loophole involving Harry killing him. Harry had been responsible for Voldemort's death, despite Snape being the one to actually kill him. Had Voldemort not died, Harry would still be with him now. He would probably be happier in his that oblivion, than he was having to deal with what he had to deal with now.
It wasn't that Harry wanted to go back to that; he didn't want to go back to that at all. He didn't miss being Kitten, or crawling all about the floor. He didn't miss the Cruciatus, or the pain of hearing others tortured. But sometimes, late at night, when he wasn't being watched by the eyes, sometimes he thought he missed Voldemort himself. He wasn't sure. He knew he could never tell Snape that, though. It was a confusion he would have to carry with him, always.
Harry James Potter lived in Devon with Severus Snaper for the rest of his life, and was the creator of may spells used regularly by the Wizarding population today. He died on November 10th, 2036, at the age of fifty-six, at home. The combined physical effects of the draining of Veneficus forty-one years prior led to the contraction of a common disease, to which he quickly succumbed to. He lived in Devon with Severus Snape for the rest of his life, and was the creator of many spells used regularly by the Wizarding population today.
Remus Lupin never fully recovered from the time he spent captured by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Despite the severe physical malformations obtained through torture and silver, he remained physically healthy throughout his life. The emotional trauma, however, was quite a different story. He died of an aneurysm at the age of ninety-one. He and Severus Snape (1960-2120) carried their secret to their graves.
The world never became truly aware of what happened between He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and Harry Potter in 1995. And how could they, as the sole survivor of the duo was hardly sure of what happened himself. Perhaps it remains is best left up to personal perception, and speculation. What everyone does know is that through whateverbecause of the turmoil, anguish, and disorder He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named caused, Harry Potter, The-Boy-Who-Lived, was never the same.