A New Place To Stay
Sitting down on the chair, staring blankly at the floor, a shudder ran through Severus' thin frame, his hands were shaking badly. He'd seen and done a lot of things in his life, most of it admittedly not pretty. Yet this…had without about been the most difficult, it had affected him right to the core of being. Curling his fingers into balls, cursing himself, for showing weakness. His mind was no help whatsoever, the episode kept repeating itself over and over again in his mind. Merlin, Harry had just about died for real, if he hadn't started breathing when he did… Jumping from the couch, he ran towards the bathroom, before he was spectacularly sick down the toilet. Holding onto the toilet bowl, still shaking as his stomach rebelled against having anything inside of it anymore.
Groaning weakly, pressing his pound head against the cold porcelain, he hadn't felt like this in a long time. Almost like he'd drank too much, and this was the results. Fifteen years to be exact, after seeing Lily that Halloween night…dead never to return. He'd gotten himself enormously drunk, for weeks, trying to block the sight of her dead body from his mind. He hadn't cared then, but now he did, how Harry had been sobbing in the background, his life irrevocably changed. His own godfather handing him over to Hagrid just to run after Pettigrew. Then placed in a family that would continue to abuse him for years. He dreaded to think what would have happened if not for his interference. Yet he knew, Dumbledore would have expected Harry to sacrifice himself for every single ungrateful, cowardly, simplistic, idiots that made up the magical population of the British magical world.
He sat there for what felt likes days, as his knees stiffened and ached, and his stomach continued to heave. Unfortunately nothing but acid came up, since Severus hadn't been eating properly, too immersed in his potions to really notice anything. Flushing the toilet to get rid of the sick as well as the smell, he shakily got to his feet holding onto the sink to keep his balance. He hadn't expected it to be as hard as it had been, to go through with this.
Staring in the bathroom mirror, his black eyes drawn and haunted, closing his eyes he breathed as evenly as possible. The churning in his stomach continued, Severus opened his cabinet and removed three potions from within it. Swallowing them with great difficulty and his stomach finally began to settle down. Blindly removing his toothbrush from its holder, and automatically began brushing his teeth. Removing the taste of sick, acid and potion residue from his mouth. Feeling worried after an image of Harry's still form flashed before his eyes, he went back into his living area. Staring at Harry's sleeping form, just watching him breathe, it might seem stupid, but after what he'd just been through, anyone would have done the same thing.
"How's my human?" hissed Zar from where he was draped over his sleeping form. His tongue flicking out to taste the air as if it would tell him his answer. His large body half off the couch, and the rest of him lying across Harry's legs, nestling comfortably by the look of things.
"He's sleeping, he will be fine Zar," said Severus in English, sometimes it still surprised him how used he'd gotten to being able to understand Parseltongue. A basilisk, Harry didn't half do things differently that's for sure. Not even Voldemort had a basilisk, it was a good job he didn't, or the world would really have been in danger. He'd already caused the demise of one, something Harry regretted, you could tell when he spoke about it. Irony abounds, more regret for a snake than he had for a human he'd killed during his first year. Although everyone could agree that Quirrell brought it on himself.
"He better be," hissed Zar in warning, if anything happened to his human he wouldn't be happy in the slightest.
Severus just shook his head, he knew Zar wouldn't hurt him, well…giving him another look… feeling a little apprehensive he was pretty sure. He certainly wouldn't like to put it to the test anyway. It was Harry he loved the most, the bond they shared was deep. There was little doubt, Zar had evidently felt Harry's distress and had gotten here so fast, never let it be said that Basilisk's were slow because of their size. He knew without a doubt it was not true in the slightest. He had already known that, thanks to seeing the Basilisk in action during the whole Chamber fiasco.
If he'd been able he would have cast a spell to make him lightweight, having Zar on Harry made him feel unnecessarily worried. Shaking his head he sat down on the chair right next to Harry, so he could keep an eye on him. It was a good thing he could keep himself composed no matter the circumstances. If he'd allowed himself to panic blindly things could have gone horribly wrong. He'd come close to it though, much closer than he was comfortable with. He prayed that it had worked, this had been his last solution, and there was no other alternative to be had. He wasn't sure how it would affect the future, but he wasn't even going to consider Dumbledore's probable solution in dealing with it. If Dumbledore dared to bring it up, well he'd show the old fool a taste of his true powers.
Severus jerked awake, aware of the throbbing aches all over his body; he observed the scene in front of him as a grimace of pain left his lips. He could barely believe he'd fallen asleep on the couch, flicking his wand he used a spell to find out the time. Inhaling sharply in disbelief, jerking himself out of the chair, he drank a muscle relaxant potion before spelling his clothe straight. He had no more time to do anything other than get his arse to the Great Hall for breakfast. He was never late for anything, and to start doing so would raise anyone's suspicions.
Sliding into the Great Hall, ignoring the hush that fell over it, the students always reacted like that when he was in the vicinity, yes, even his Slytherin's. He wasn't surprised when they began talking again, sitting himself between Minerva and Sprout. The Head of houses always had a seat next to the Headmaster for some inane reason. Which meant Flitwick was stuck beside Hagrid, who had more than once accidentally stabbed Flitwick with a fork. Too busy talking to pay attention where he was putting the damn thing, missing the food trays by miles. None of the teachers spoke to him, which as probably a good thing. He was lucky if he got three hours sleep last night, for sitting vigil by Harry's side.
Severus mostly picked at his food, moodily observing everyone, his lip curling in repugnance. He couldn't understand how anyone could be so damn cheerful all the time, it grated on his nerves. Part of the reason he'd never been a good teacher in the first place. Sunday morning, and they were all up and…boisterous, there was only a few students who even looked tired.
"Did you even sleep last night Severus? You look exhausted." said Minerva as she placed her coffee back down; she was one of the few who never took offence to his tone or words, well with the exception of Harry when he was brought into the subject.
Severus just grunted not bothering to grace her with an answer.
"That bad?" said Minerva when he didn't reply with a sarcastic retort.
Severus simply rolled his eyes at the woman.
Albus Dumbledore stood up, which prompted Minerva to tap on her goblet to try and gain everyone's attention. The hall little by little got quieter until they were all staring curiously. It wasn't often their breakfast was interrupted by the staff, at least not after the starting feast anyway.
"As you all know Hogsmeade trips are just around the corner, if you wish to attend, please give the permission slips to your head of house before the twelfth of October which is less than a week away. No signed permission means you won't be attending." he said solemnly, his eyes roaming looking for Harry in particular, but he didn't seem to be up yet. "That is all, thank you have a good weekend!" he beamed before sitting down, his twinkle slightly disturbed as he stared down at the Gryffindor table. He'd been noticing it for a while now, but there was something disturbing about Harry. He was different, quite, sombre, and acting very strange, not like the boy he knew that's for certain.
"Excuse me," said Severus removing himself from the table, and making his way to his quarters, intending on checking upon Harry.
"Sir! Sir!" called a voice stopping Severus in his tracks, he of course knew that voice, and he could barely believe he was actually coming to him willingly and without his damn stutter. There was time for that; unfortunately the desire to be vicious to the boy was gone. Harry didn't have many friends; he'd always been that way, choosing a few rather than having a lot. He could have been extremely popular, but chose instead to have a few friends he felt would be loyal and true to him as a boy apposed to a hero. Longbottom had never cared for Harry's title.
"What is it Longbottom? I have better things to do than stand here watching you gaping," snapped Severus after twirling around staring at the boy, his face impassive.
"Do you know where Harry is Sir?" asked Neville, suspicion in his eyes.
"Why would I, Longbottom?" sneered Severus his eyes glittering dangerously. Had the boy been to McGonagall? No probably not, otherwise she would have said something earlier. The boy was suspicious of him, why hadn't he gone to her? It wasn't the first time he'd failed to report Harry missing from the dorms when he stayed down in his quarters. Merlin, the urge to read the boy's thoughts were strong, but he'd never violate someone that way. Sure he knew when people were being dishonest, but that's because of 'the tells' the body had, nothing to do with performing Legilimency on people.
"He had detention last night, nobody has seen him since." said Neville, there was something going on, and his mind was filled with all sorts of things. Things he actually didn't want to think about, which did include Snape and Harry together, but he couldn't help but think he was wrong. Harry had shown no interest in anyone, didn't act as though he was in love. He would figure it out somehow, someway, but he wouldn't do Harry the disservice of getting him in trouble or telling on him. Not only would it flush their friendship down the drain, but he would hate to disappoint Harry.
"Not my problem, Longbottom." snapped Severus, turning around he stalked back down to the Dungeon's without another word. Hopefully Harry would wake up soon, he had to make an appearance or people would get even more suspicious. Harry wasn't someone who could blend into the background and be forgotten, he was the boy who lived whether he liked it or not.
The wards on his quarters let him pass, closing the door firmly behind him to find Harry and of course his permanent shadow Zar still on the couch. Zar lifted his head his eyes blinking open (always shielded so nobody ended up petrified) and staring at him before returning to its original position. Pinching the bridge of his nose in impatience, the wait was getting on Severus' last nerve. He needed to know Harry was okay, recovering, and Horcrux free.
Should he wake him or should he just leave him to rest and screw everyone in Hogwarts? At this point in time, he didn't really care what they thought; he never had in all honesty. The choice was taken from him when Harry began to stir in his sleep. Summoning potions he took a seat, waiting on Harry returning to the land of the living. There would be no training today anyway; Harry needed time to recover from the ordeal. His magic may be affected, so perhaps he should test it.
"Who's been dancing on my chest?" murmured Harry his eyes popping open.
Severus couldn't help but chuckle quietly, "That would be me."
"Great," said Harry, wincing finding it hard to breathe without pain flaring in all directions in his chest.
Then he heard that hissing again, his eyes met Zar's before filling with tears. "Zar," choked Harry, sounding as if he'd just lost the most valuable thing in his life.
Severus sat straighter alarmed by the pain in Harry's voice, what on earth was going on? "Harry?" questioned Severus.
"I can't understand him anymore," said Harry still choking in the lump that was steadily growing in size, inside his throat.
Severus' own chest tightened in sympathy for the pain Harry was currently experiencing. There was nothing he could say or do to help him. The loss of such a gift…could never be recovered, he was grateful that he still had some of Zar's eggs so he could brew the potion again. It might not be the same, but at least Harry would understand Zar again. He didn't understand why it was gone; Harry had been speaking parseltongue for years, conversing with Zar on a daily basis. He should still be able to understand him even if he couldn't actually speak it, but Parselmouth wasn't a language open to interpretation. It was a gift, you either had it or you didn't, the likely hood that the Horcrux had caused it seemed more and more likely now. Which meant he had succeeded in his endeavour to remove it, but wouldn't get ahead of himself until he knew for certain.
Harry closed his eyes and hugged the huge basilisk close, tears pouring out of his eyes, as devastation wracked his frame. Harry's hands were only had way around the basilisk, stroking its scales. Zar was still hissing at him, and then it happened…he understood one of the words, before hissing resumed. Harry arched back, his eyes wide continuing to listen to Zar praying it would happen again and it hadn't been his own imagination that was desperate to cling on to the fact he may still be able to talk to snakes. Zar never once stopped hissing, even Severus had gone quiet, and he was the only one that understood him now. Now wasn't that ironic, a while ago it had been the other way around.
The more Zar continued to hiss at him, the more words Harry began to make sense of. As he did so Harry's heartbeat accelerated, hope blooming like a flower in the spring. The tears had dried up, and he began to understand more and more, it was coming back to him! He could barely believe it but it was. Why? How? It made no sense, but for the first time in Harry's life he didn't care! If it enabled him to speak to his familiar again well why should he care?
"I can understand him," breathed Harry incredulity washing over him.
"You just spoke in parseltongue," said Severus, glad Harry had not lost such a wonderful gift, if only for the sake of his son's happiness, when his familiar was concerned anyway.
"Silly human, you know you got your gift from family," hissed Zar, shaking its large head in apparent exasperation. He was elated to see his human was awake again, and unhurt. When he'd felt his human hurting through the bond, he'd gone nuts, abandoning his hunt for food and getting back here in record time.
Well when the basilisk put it like that, it did make Harry feel incredibly sheepish. For Zar was correct, he was related to the founders, through the Peverell's, to whom both he and Voldemort were related. Slumping against his familiar in relief, overjoyed that he hadn't lost him. He couldn't deny speaking Parselmouth made him feel slightly special, not ashamed like he used to be at the age of twelve. No, he had enjoyed speaking to the Python at the zoo before all that, his shame stemmed solely for the fact people were calling him a Dark Wizard.
"Look at me," said Severus coming forward crouching down next to Harry so they were eye to eye. "Is your chest still sore?" he asked as he inspected Harry's eyes, for what Harry hadn't a clue.
"Yes," said Harry, as if that pain was going to go away quickly.
Severus nodded as if he'd suspected as much, handing over three potions for him to take. "Take your top off," he then demanded.
Harry raised an eyebrow, but did as he was asked; Severus had seen him in a lot less, because sometimes during training or doing the gardening back at Prince Manor he removed his top because he was too hot or too sweaty. He understood why when he looked down; there was a huge bruise on his sternum. No wonder he was in agony, but as soon as the salve was rubbed in, the coolness and potion began doing its work, healing the damage done. "Thanks," said Harry quietly, having someone taking care of him and helping him was still new; it was moments like this that really touched Harry. Made him see Severus more and more of a father figure, despite knowing it would destroy his relationship with Sirius when he found out. Sirius and Severus hated each other so much; he didn't think for a minute he'd be able to have both of them in his life. As angry as he got at Sirius, he still loved him in his own way, the way one loved a stupid harebrained friend or relative he guessed.
"I am sorry," said Severus, feeling an indiscernible emotion run through him seeing the bruise on Harry's chest and knowing he'd done it.
"Can we check the Horcrux is gone?" asked Harry changing the subject unaware of Severus' inner turmoil.
"Of course," said Severus curtly, "Don't fight it." he added despite the fact they'd done this dozens of times in the past to box up the Horcrux. Each time getting easier than the last, surprisingly, when it really should have been the other way around with Harry creating mind shields to close his mind from intrusion.
Harry nodded, green eyes meeting black and lowering his shields giving Severus full access to his mind. There was nobody else he trusted, after all Severus knew absolutely everything, no almost everything there was to know about him. The only thing he didn't know was Harry's desire to call him dad, and… well to be his son. Harry had never known his biological one, other than the fact he liked Quidditch, was on the team Gryffindor team, good at Transfiguration and that he had become an Auror. He had until two years ago known even less about his mum, who had sacrificed her life to save him. Not that he knew everything now, but thanks to the information he'd been able to wrangle out of Severus when he was in a good mood…he knew quite a bit.
Severus delved inside, passed the strands of magic, to find there were a few more than last time. Continuing on, he found Harry's magical core, now just yesterday, there had been a glowing green and black pulsating small ball of magic attached to Harry's. There was nothing at all there, no sign of another persons magic, if he didn't know any better he'd say the gold colour of Harry's magical core had brightened. Having the information he needed, he slipped out, removing himself from Harry's mind taking care not to go to fast and hurt him.
"It's gone," said Severus taking a deep breath, it was exhausting delving so far into someone's magic. Not as much as moving a leech, which he didn't have to do anymore.
"Thank Merlin," said Harry relieved beyond belief. "You did it!" unable to conceal his pride, he was always amazed at how brilliant his dad was. He created spells, potions anything at the drop of a hat; he could never do what Severus could. Such a life shouldn't be wasted teaching them how to brew potions or defence. He couldn't help but wonder what life would be like once Voldemort was gone. Would Severus still want him? Would he still be welcome in Prince Manor? Or would he be moved aside after his purpose was complete? He swallowed thickly, removing the thoughts not wanting to dwell on them. He'd deal with it if and when it happened, and be happy right now. Harry had always been good at doing that. Living life for the moment.
"I did," said Severus, his lips twitching into a small extremely rare smile.
"You are brilliant," said Harry honestly, "You are." seeing Severus' masks slip on, he didn't know how to deal with people complimenting him then.
"Go on, you have to make an appearance in the Great Hall, I'm sure Neville is worried about you. He approached me earlier wanting to know where you were." said Severus, trying to shoo Harry away, not replying to his earlier statement.
"Neville actually came up to you and asked about me?" gaped Harry completely and utterly gobsmacked as he slid out of Zar's hold and sat up. He could barely believe his ears, if he didn't know Severus so well; he would have assumed he was kidding him on.
"Without stuttering," added Severus as an afterthought banishing the used potions bottles to the sink in his lab. Getting his quarters back into an orderly fashion.
"Whoa!" said Harry grabbing a hold of the couch as the room span around him.
"Easy," said Severus looking over his eyes narrowed in concern, from where he stood in the kitchen boiling up the kettle to have a coffee. Now that Harry was really alright, he found himself suddenly extremely hungry. It's what he got for shuffling his food around on his plate earlier. Thankfully the house elves would be all too happy to help him out.
"I'm fine," said Harry shaking his head as he tested his limbs, he must have just gotten up to quickly.
"Before you go, I want you to test your magic, it may have decreased or increased without the Horcrux." said Severus, coming back into the living room.
"Accio cloak," said Harry using the wand that once belonged to Slytherin's son, the cloak came to him without a problem.
"Well?" asked Severus curiously.
"It's a little bit more powerful, nothing anyone will notice," said Harry looking relieved at that.
"Very good," said Severus, "Go on then, get some breakfast, eat it all you need your strength. Use this when you go to your bed tonight." added Severus handing Harry a jar of the salve he'd just used on his chest not five minutes ago.
"Alright," said Harry, shrugging on his cloak and pocketing the jar, "I'll see you later."
"Bye," said Severus watching Harry go. His thoughts lingered on Harry's words, 'you are brilliant, you are.' he knew he was, and he wasn't being completely smug. Yet he had felt very peculiar when Harry had said it to him, nobody had ever said anything like that before. Never had anyone acknowledged his contributions to the magical society, his eyes when he'd said it had transported him back to the age of nine, the way Lily used to look at him. Had she thought he was brilliant back then? Their look had been identical, unfortunately he would never know, Lily was gone half because of his actions and Pettigrew's.
There we go! I decided to let Harry keep his gift :) you are right he wouldnt be Harry without it :D I also know nothing exciting is happening yet but let me assure you it will its just going through a rough dry part of the story until we can get to the goods parts which hopefully will begin happening pretty soon! until then you will have to bear with me i know its boring so will we spice the story up and have Draco making the biggest mistake of his life and using the imperious curse on Luna instead of Katie Bell? infurating Harry enough to attack the blonde and severus having to intervine? or perhaps Hermione? in doing so she will change and come to realize harry was right? and help in the fight? or just attacked and never changing? would harry still attack Draco? no matter how badly you fall out with someone after all...it doesnt erase everything you did together and how you used to feel. Or Angela Spinnet (sp?) the captain of the Gryffindor quidditch team? or like his father use the Weasley's to do his dirty work (the journal/ginny incident) or will he be caught by Harry before he can act it out caught using the imperious cures? R&R PLEASE!