Disclaimer: The world of Harry Potter, the characters, the settings, and the details are not my own. J.K Rowling holds the rights to these wonderful things, and I am in awe of her talent. I own only my original characters, and of those there are not many.
Chapter One: Wake Up
"And what cats have to tell/ on each return from hell /is this: that dying is what the living do,/ that dying/ is what the loving do,/ and that dead dogs are those who do not know/ that dying is what, to live, each has to do." – Alastair Reid
If he were still speaking to the media, and he had made sure that he wasn't since the end of the war, he would have told them that everything that had happened had taught him one great life lesson. This lesson, one he had told Ron and Hermione countless times while piss drunk, was that life was a string of surprises until death. Depending on whether his mood was dark or not, he was often fond of adding that the majority of these surprises were bad. Had he have watched the series Deadwood, he no doubt would have changed his motto to "life is one vile fucking task after another", but he wasn't much of a TV watcher.
No instead after the war Harry Potter had made a fine job of disappearing off the face of the planet without going anywhere. He had created spells to make Grimmauld Place look inhabited, had stopped reading the Daily Prophet, and had taken up writing under a false name. In the Muggle world Harry was considered a star, although he made no appearances, and the photo on his book jackets was a fake. He went nowhere without a glamour on, and he never made waves.
Ron believed he was pissing his life away, and never failed to tell him so, but Hermione believed he was dealing with the final battle in his own quiet way. Everyone had lost someone they cared for, but Harry had lost something deeper; something intensely personal. His relationship with Ginny never picked back up, and she didn't seem to mind much. Harry's new life didn't appeal to her at all, and she barely spoke to him anymore.
Hermione had just announced that she and Ron were going to have their first child, so when Harry was told about the new club that was attracting so many customers because of its unique musical act he decided to go alone. He spent an hour spinning his glamour around him, changing his appearance to the point where he would be unrecognizable to anyone, and preparing to be someone happier for the night.
The club was called Je Reviens, and Harry got in with no trouble. It was buzzing, and everyone seemed ready for something that hadn't come yet. The stage at the front of the club was well-equipped and covered in instruments. Harry went straight to the bar and asked for a Firewhiskey from the bartender.
There was a very young girl sitting at the bar next to him, and he was interested in knowing why a child would be allowed in a nightclub. He watched her out of the corner of his eye as she sipped at a coke and read from a thick book. The bartender would occasionally refill her drink without a word, but often smiled at her.
Harry's interest in her peaked when she turned and looked at him. She was delicate, and rather adorable, with large dark eyes and long black hair pulled up into an intricate bun. Her outfit was entirely black, and she seemed so at ease with her surroundings that she may have been born in the club and only known it her whole life.
She smiled at Harry, and leaned closer to him. "Is this your first time?" she asked with a knowing smile, and Harry nodded. "You're going to like it here. I have a feeling this night is going to end very well for you."
Harry stared at her puzzled, and leaned in the way she was, "Why do you think that?" The girl smiled wider, and then put a small hand on his arm. She couldn't be more than twelve or thirteen, and he wondered again why she wasn't at the rebuilt Hogwarts, and where her parents were. She looked nothing like the bartender.
"Because I see very far, and very clearly Harry Potter," and after delivering this statement the lights flickered twice. She looked up at them, then stood and with a smile added, "Come backstage after the show. You'll be glad you did." She left him sitting at the bar; gob smacked, and headed backstage herself.
A few moments later the lights in the club dimmed and the patrons began to murmur as shadowy figures took the stage. Harry turned his attention towards the stage, and watched as the strains of music began and the spotlights kicked on. Standing at the head of the stage with a microphone in her hand was the little girl. She gave the crowd that same dazzling smile, and then began to sing.
To say that she was a good singer would be a dangerous understatement. Harry was blown away by the piercing quality of her voice, and it was obvious the rest of the crowd was too. He was immediately wrapped up in the music. Each song seemed to strike an emotional chord, and at one point in the night Harry found himself openly weeping at the bar as she sang a song about lost love and lost opportunity. If he had been the only one it may have been embarrassing, but the entire room was weeping with him. Harry allowed his mind to travel paths he hadn't gone in a long time as he watched her. He thought of his own lost friends, and the connections he once had to the Wizarding World, connections he had severed in his attempt to overcome the memory of the war. Most of them he didn't mind losing, but there were a few that still haunted him. He missed the staff at Hogwarts, and he missed the feeling of wonder he had when he was still an active part of that world. Even Quidditch had lost most of its allure, and Harry rarely flew for anything other than relaxation these days. He was old before his time, and Ron was right in pointing out that he had been alone these last three years after the war. He was twenty, but he was old.
The band took a break, and the girl came back to the bar through a crowd of congratulatory audience members before she took a seat beside Harry again. She took a long drink from the water the bartender had ready for her before she turned to him. "Are you enjoying yourself sir?" Harry found all he could do was nod. He was studying her a little closer now, and what he was seeing was a work in contrasts. Her eyes were dark, but they seemed to be back lit with a boundless amount of energy. She has obviously outgoing, but her dress was modest and somewhat Gothic with a very high neckline. She seemed so small, but her voice was huge. Finally he found his words, "I was blown away. Really it was brilliant. You look very young to be out here alone though." She seemed amused to hear this, and touched his arm again before she replied, "My father is in the audience. He's watching us right now to make sure you're no pervert. He's got a glamour on too." With that she pointed to a tall man in the front who was staring at them openly. She waved to him, and he got up and joined them without hesitation.
He nodded once to Harry, and then in the silkiest voice Harry had ever heard he spoke to his daughter. "Neruda, you know the rule about strangers." The lights flickered again, and she stood smiling at her father. "You should talk to him father; the two of you have a lot in common." With that she once again took to the stage, and Harry watched her go before turning to her father. The man sat beside him. "You'll have to excuse my daughter. She's far too forward at times." Harry smiled at the man, and wondered about his voice. It was so familiar, and yet so different. The tone was sex personified, and for the first time in a long time Harry found himself interested in a conversation with someone other than his small circle of friends. "It's alright. She seems wonderful. How long has she been singing here?" The man ordered a scotch, and took a sip before turning to Harry. "This is her second appearance. Before this she sang once or twice at the owner's old bar. She insists that singing in these places gives her an outlet for tension." At this Harry raised an eyebrow, "Tension? She's too young to be tense. Is Hogwarts that difficult on her?" The man's hand tightened almost imperceptibly on the glass he was holding. "She's not a student at Hogwarts." Harry started putting pieces together. She was using a microphone in a Wizarding bar, and she wasn't dressed in robes. "I'm sorry. I assumed. Does her mother come to her shows as well?" Harry asked peering around the bar. The man's hand stayed tight, and in a voice that sparked something inside Harry he responded, "Her mother is dead." For a moment the enormity of his social gaffes lay heavily upon him, but the moment ended when he recognized the voice. How had it taken him this long? He leaned forward, his face a mask of astonishment, and asked, "Are you Severus Snape?"