A/N: Hello all! I'm currently studying for exams but I found I couldn't quite get this story out of my head. For those of you who've read my 'You've Forgotten Who I Am' this story is similar. When I started that one I wanted to also write one where Snape is the one suffering amnesia. 'Remember Who You Are' is Snape's story as he struggles to regain his past with Harry's help. I thought about the concept for this story for a long time and eventually I decided that the only time Harry would ever be able to legitimately help Snape regain his memories was if he were older. For all of you who are following 'You've Forgotten Who I Am', the sequel to that is my priority. This story will be posted over a much longer period than 'You've Forgotten Who I Am' - probably once a month updates. That's probably all I need to say for the moment apart from the usual disclaimer that JK Rowling owns everything. I hope you enjoy the beginning of this story and I'd love to hear your thoughts! Until next time :)
Remember Who You Are
2nd May, 1998 - Hogwarts
It was evening when Harry woke. For a moment he didn't realise where he was, so unfamiliar had the Gryffindor awnings of his four-poster become. The last of the sunlight crept rapidly across the floor of the dormitory, plunging the room into darkness. Getting up, Harry flicked his wand at the lamp and immediately a warm glow filled the room. Looking round he couldn't quite believe he'd made it back here. Less than twenty four hours ago he had been at King's Cross, speaking with Dumbledore.
He shook the thought from his mind; there were more pressing matters to attend to. He had woken to a new world; one where Voldemort no longer existed. Slowly he moved towards the window. The last twenty four hours had been trying and although he had no obvious wounds his muscles protested despite the short distance. He leant his head against the cool glass, surveying the destruction that lay before him.
Harry did not know how long he stood there. At first he simply stared numbly, taking in the sight of the damaged grounds. Trees had been ripped from the forest and castle masonry decorated the lawns. From his vantage point he couldn't see the state of the castle but he knew it had been hit hard. Entire corridors had been destroyed by the giants and Death Eater's curses. As he stared at the grounds, memories of the fight flashed before his eyes and before long his thoughts had turned to those that had died.
In all fifty people had given their lives. Too many of them Hogwarts students, Harry thought bitterly. Some of them Harry had never even met, he'd simply seen them in the corridors. As he stood by the window he realised his face was wet with silent tears. Reaching up a hand he tried to brush them away but they would not stop. He had not cried properly in years. He had never let himself, especially after Sirius' death. But now he could not stop the tears. He gasped as an involuntary sob was wrenched from him. He felt his legs give way beneath him causing him to slide to the ground.
For a long time he cried as he realised the enormity of what he had achieved and the price that had been paid. Eventually his tears dried up and his sobs diminished. He was left sitting crumpled beneath the window sill, red-eyed and exhausted. He felt better though. It was as if a great weight had been lifted from him. The guilt was still there, he knew, but it was diminished now. Shakily he pulled himself to his feet. He had a role to play, even now. As much as he hated it he needed to be seen by the defenders of Hogwarts.
Moving towards the door, Harry stopped when he noticed a small pile of clothes folded neatly at the end of his four-poster. He smiled slightly as he realised Kreacher must have brought them up whilst he was asleep. Quickly he pulled off his travel worn, battle stained clothes dumping them unceremoniously at the end of his bed. He wasn't sure what he wanted to do with those clothes yet. Absentmindedly he pulled on the fresh trousers and green button down shirt Kreacher had left him. He hesitated before donning the dark robe over the top. Satisfied that he was dressed appropriately he made his way into the bathroom.
His reflection caught him off guard. The difference wasn't as startling as it had been at Shell Cottage but it was still shocking. When he had first seen himself that first night in Shell Cottage he had been so surprised he'd nearly cursed himself. Six months on the run with inadequate supplies had left Harry looking worn, his hair almost shoulder length and matted through with dirt. With Fleur's help he'd cut his hair but the haggard appearance had remained.
He smiled bitterly now as he took in his current appearance. His eyes were puffy and red, his hair unruly and stubble covered his jaw. There were dark shadows beneath his eyes and his cheeks had a hollow look about them. He filled the sink with warm water before cupping some in his hand and washing his face. Leaning against the sink he studied his jaw line, considering the stubble. With a wave of his wand he performed a simple shaving charm. Standing straight he ran his hand across his now smooth jaw before leaving the bathroom, satisfied that he no longer looked like a wraith.
Carefully he made his way down the deserted Hogwarts corridors to the Great Hall. The castle was eerily silent and many of the corridors were completely dark, undoubtedly destroyed in the battle. The doors to the Great Hall were thrown open, light spilling out into the Entrance Hall. A low murmur of voices could be heard, giving Harry the impression that the Great Hall was relatively empty. Taking a moment to compose himself he stepped into the Hall.
The four house tables had been removed leaving only the teacher's table, alone on its dais. Several people were clustered around the table and to Harry's relief he realised it was members of the Weasley family. Feeling much more at ease he quickly crossed the distance to the table, his footsteps echoing in the empty space. The quiet chatter broke off as Ron and Ginny looked up. Hermione was seated next to Ron, leaning against him with Ron's arm thrown protectively around her. Ginny sat on Ron's other side, her meal sitting abandoned beside her. Harry felt his heart lift slightly as Ginny smiled sadly at him. Mr Weasley, Mrs Weasley and George were all missing. Percy and Charlie sat glumly at the other end of the table whilst Bill had his arm around Fleur.
'Where is everyone?' Harry asked as he moved to sit next to Ginny.
Before he had left to sleep, Hogwarts had been teeming with families.
'Most people have gone home,' Ron answered, 'unless they...'
He trailed off but Harry knew what he was going to say...unless they lost someone.
'Dinner finished an hour ago,' Hermione continued, as though Ron had not stopped. 'Those that are still here have returned to the emergency accommodation. Professor McGonagall transfigured a few of the classrooms on the ground floor that weren't damaged too badly into dormitories. We were just waiting for the others to get back before we went to bed.'
Harry nodded glumly.
'Oh I nearly forgot Harry,' Ginny said suddenly into the silence. 'Madam Pomfrey wanted to see you when you woke up. She said you disappeared before she could check you over.'
Harry groaned aloud at that, eliciting a small chuckle from Ron and Hermione.
'She already caught up with us mate,' Ron said apologetically, although it didn't help that he was smirking knowingly at Harry.
Resigned to his fate Harry stood up, realising it would be best to get his meeting with Madam Pomfrey over and done with.
'I'll go see her now then,' he said.
'I'll come with you,' Ginny volunteered.
For a moment Harry considered saying yes, but he could see Ginny was exhausted.
'It's alright Gin,' he said gently. 'I might be a while. I'll come find you when I'm done,' he promised before leaning over and giving her a quick kiss on the cheek.
Without looking back he left the Great Hall.
The closer Harry got to the Hospital Wing, the slower his strides became. He knew what awaited him in there. After the battle, the teachers had moved all those who had died up to the Hospital Wing, placing them in an extended wing. The injured had been treated mostly in the Great Hall by various staff and once the battle was over, a contingent of Healers from St Mungo's. Anyone severely injured had been taken to St Mungo's. Harry stopped outside the doors to the Hospital Wing but he could not bring himself to open them. Instead he stood helplessly outside, trying to summon the courage to enter.
Harry jumped slightly as the doors suddenly swung open, revealing a silent George supported by a teary-eyed Mrs Weasley and a stoic Mr Weasley.
'Oh Harry,' cried Mrs Weasley the moment she saw him, immediately enveloping him in a bone-crushing hug.
'I'm so sorry,' Harry began, looking beseechingly over his shoulder at George and Mr Weasley. 'I...I never meant...' he trailed off unsure of what to say.
George didn't seem to hear him but Mr Weasley stepped forward, suddenly grasping his shoulder.
'This wasn't your fault Harry,' he said gently.
Harry could only hold his gaze for a moment but behind the abundant grief he could tell Arthur was speaking in earnest.
'We're so proud of you Harry,' Mrs Weasley said, her arms still wrapped tightly around Harry, as though afraid he would suddenly disappear.
'Come on Molly,' Arthur said softly, carefully disengaging Mrs Weasley from Harry. 'Harry needs to see Poppy now.'
Mrs Weasley nodded numbly, before automatically turning to hold onto George, who was simply staring vacantly at the floor. Arthur looked at his son in concern, before gently guiding the pair past Harry.
'Come back to us when you're done Harry,' he said quietly.
Harry nodded before slipping into the Hospital Wing. A sheet divided the room and Harry knew immediately that those that had died were behind it. Automatically he stepped behind it, knowing that he had to see who had died for him.
The sheet fell back into place with a soft swish but Harry paid it no mind, his gaze fixed steadily on the sixth year Hufflepuff girl who lay before him. She was wearing a simple white gown, her body preserved by a stasis charm. Harry had seen her often enough in the library. She'd had a habit of studying with her Ravenclaw boyfriend. Once or twice Hermione had wondered how they ever got anything done, but Harry had never really minded. As he moved away he realised he'd never learnt her name.
A few beds down he found her boyfriend. He was almost unsurprised to find him. The two had never been far apart in life.
'Thank you,' he whispered quietly to the nameless boy, as he had for everyone he had passed so far.
A few more paces and he found the tiny body of Colin Creevey. Blindly Harry reached out for the end of the bed, to steady himself as the world tilted around him. Tears clouded his vision but he made no move to hide them. After an immeasurable time Harry finally found the strength to move on.
Remus and Tonks lay next to each other. Seeing Remus again wasn't as hard as he'd expected. His dealings with the Resurrection Stone had reassured him that Remus would always be watching over him now. That he was a part of Harry. It was hard for him to see Tonks though. She had always been so full of life. He made a silent vow as he stood before the pair that he would love Teddy as his own son.
Finally he reached Fred. Seeing him once again was perhaps the hardest of all for Harry, for he had been a brother to him. As he stood silently by the bed he remembered all the times he had laughed with Fred...conspired with Fred...played Quidditch with Fred...been rescued by Fred. He truly had been one of his brothers.
'I'm so sorry,' Harry said quietly.
'It wasn't your fault Harry,' a voice said from behind him.
Turning swiftly Harry found himself face to face with a careworn Madam Pomfrey. How long she had been watching him he could not say. Quietly the matron stepped forward before gently guiding Harry out of the silent wing and towards her office. He was surprised to see Professor McGonagall already seated at Madam Pomfrey's desk, surrounded by scrolls of parchment. He frowned in confusion until he remembered she had taken on the roll of Headmistress, given the fate of her predecessor.
'Where's Professor Snape?' he asked suddenly, as he realised that Snape's body had not been among the deceased.
Madam Pomfrey and Professor McGonagall both gazed at him in confusion and Harry realised with horror that no one had gone to retrieve his body.
'We weren't sure Harry...'
'No one knew where he was...'
The witches spoke together but Harry barely heard them. He had explained Snape's allegiance to the Hall at large as he had stood for the last time before Voldemort. It only occurred to him now though that it was likely only a few people had taken in his explanation. At the time most people had still been processing his sudden reappearance after his "death" and realising what it meant for the battle.
'Severus Snape was Dumbledore's man,' he said decisively.
He stood suddenly then, startling McGonagall and Pomfrey.
'Where are you going Harry?' Pomfrey demanded, determined to examine him properly whilst he was still in her grasp.
'I'm going to bring him home,' Harry said simply.
Harry crossed the grounds, hidden beneath his Invisibility Cloak. He wanted to do this alone, undisturbed. As he walked he mulled over the enigma that had been Severus Snape. The man had never been pleasant but he had saved Harry's life countless times. Over the past few hours Harry had processed Snape's last memories and he had realised that he truly regretted the man's death. The revelation that Snape had known and loved his mother was enormous and Harry wished he had learnt of Snape's true loyalties earlier. There was so much he wanted to say to the man and so much he wished to ask the man about Lily Evans. But he had died.
Harry pulled the cloak off himself as he entered the tunnel beneath the Whomping Willow. Bent double he moved through the tunnel, his thoughts occupied with Snape's actions. The end of the tunnel came into sight and agilely Harry pulled himself up into the room where Snape had died. He was so distracted by his thoughts that it took him a moment to realise what was missing.
'What the...' he said aloud in shock.
Snape was nowhere to be seen.
For a moment Harry thought he was in the wrong room but he realised he couldn't be. He lit his wand, confirming that the dark stain on the floor was Snape's blood. Harry paled slightly as he took in the amount of blood, remembering the feeling as he'd tried to stop the blood gushing from the man's wounds. Lifting his wand higher he caught sight of a bundle in the corner. Cautiously he lifted it to inspect it. With a start he realised it was Snape's teaching robes. They were heavy with congealed blood, and Harry jumped as something fell to the floor. Bending down he picked up the object. It was Snape's wand. The dark wood warmed slightly as though it recognised him. Automatically Harry pocketed it. Gathering up Snape's robe he quickly searched the remainder of the Shrieking Shack but he knew he would find nothing. Someone had taken Snape, he was sure of it. The wounds Snape had suffered were too great for the man to have left by himself.
It was a small chance, but the moment he had felt Snape's wand warm in his hand Harry had known for sure that somewhere Severus Snape was alive. Find Snape's saviour and he would find the man himself, he thought.
That understanding sparked a flame of hope within Harry, one that would burn for many years.
In the year following the final battle, Harry studied for his NEWTs externally. He completed his NEWTs in Potions, Charms, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration and Herbology before applying to enter the Auror Academy in August 1999. Strictly speaking he could have entered without the qualifications but if Harry was going to join, he wanted to do it by the book.
Whilst studying, Harry was instrumental in bringing many Death Eaters to justice. His testimonies and his pardons were numerous. Kingsley was officially named Minister for Magic and worked closely with Harry. Upon Harry's suggestion Draco and Narcissa Malfoy were completely pardoned for their roles in the War.
The shambles the Ministry had been left in took several months to correct, under Kingsley's careful guidance. As such, Lucius Malfoy spent several weeks in Azkaban awaiting trial for his role in the War. Harry kept his own views on Malfoy's imprisonment to himself but it was with Ginny's blessing that he withheld his testimony against Mr Malfoy.
In all cases surrounding followers who claimed they had been under the Imperius curse Harry argued for a long time to grant them all pardons. He remembered too vividly Stan Shunpike's expressionless face beneath a Death Eater mask. Despite his own misgivings Kingsley reluctantly pardoned them all. Many Death Eater's had been killed but those that belonged to Voldemort's inner circle were once more imprisoned for life in Azkaban.
Ginny completed her final year at Hogwarts and graduated in July 1999. Upon finishing school she joined the Holyhead Harpies in August and played with them for four seasons, retiring in May 2003. Harry graduated from the Auror Academy in 2002 with first class honours. On August 11, 2002 (Ginny's 21st birthday), Harry proposed to her. A delighted Mrs Weasley burst into tears upon hearing the news. Harry found this quite amusing given he had been dating her daughter properly since May 2, 1998.
In early 2003, Harry was promoted to Deputy Head of the Auror Corp after refusing to take on the Head of Department role – claiming he was too inexperienced. Since Ginny was doing her final tour with the Holyhead Harpies and Harry was adjusting to his new job the couple decided to postpone their marriage until August. On August 14th 2003, Ginerva Weasley married Harry James Potter. The pair were married at the Godric's Hollow church amidst a huge crowd of friends and family. The reception was held at the Burrow and was a strictly private event.
To Harry's absolute surprise Dudley Dursley attended the wedding. He apologised for his mother's absence although he did tell Harry that secretly he thought Petunia was happy for him. Dudley himself planned to marry in the next year and invited both Ginny and Harry to the wedding. Both of them attended although Ginny was heavily pregnant with their first child at the time. The couple moved into Grimmauld Place, where they had been living together since their engagement. Ted Remus lived intermittently with them but both Ginny and Harry loved the boy as their own son.
Ginny gave birth to James Sirius Potter on the 9th August, 2004. The birth was long but both Harry and Ginny fell in love with their son the moment they saw him. James was born at 2:15am and Ginny didn't think she had ever seen Harry so happy. The couple had declined to learn the sex of their child before his birth and had only discussed baby names in passing. Both Harry and Ginny wanted to wait before they named their child.
At 4am James was named.
Harry was seated on the bed with his arms wrapped around Ginny, their tiny child cradled protectively against Ginny. The boy was asleep, his little fist curled reflexively around Ginny's finger. Harry had been quiet since the birth and was studying his little son with wonder. It was Ginny who finally broke the silence.
'What about James Sirius Potter?' she asked quietly, stroking her son's hair gently.
Harry had suggested both names as possibilities when they had discussed it before their son's birth but he had never suggested them together. Seeing her son now though, Ginny knew it was the right name for him. Harry's grip tightened slightly on Ginny and she looked up to see his green eyes studying her earnestly.
'Are you sure?' he asked.
Ginny simply nodded in response, and Harry's face split into a smile.
'James Sirius Potter,' he whispered.
Their son opened his eyes, the same warm brown as Ginny's, and they both knew they'd made the right decision.
When James turned one, Andromeda suggested that Teddy live more permanently with the Potter's. Teddy loved playing with James and Andromeda wanted her grandson to grow up with other children. Harry and Ginny made their decision almost instantly and Teddy Lupin moved into Grimmauld Place permanently.
Teddy doted on Harry and Harry loved the boy completely. He attended the local muggle school – Harry would drop him off in the mornings, and Ginny would pick him up – and occasionally Harry took him into work with him (which Teddy absolutely loved). Andromeda was always on hand to see Teddy but she wanted Teddy to belong to Harry's family – and Harry wanted Teddy to have a family more than anything. The arrival of the second Potter child though meant that their family was quite busy and Andromeda often spent her days with Ginny at Grimmauld Place, helping her with the young children.
Ginny gave birth to her second son on the 18th January, 2006. As soon as she saw him she knew this child would grow up to be the spitting image of his father. Albus had Harry's exact eyes. The moment Harry saw that his son had inherited his eyes – Lily's eyes – something changed in his expression. Harry was silent for most of the day, as numerous visitors arrived to congratulate them, and Ginny could tell he was deep in thought. He was such a proud father, she thought as she watched him hold his new son close. Late that afternoon Harry and Ginny finally got a moment to themselves to discuss names.
'Do you really think he's gone Gin?' Harry asked suddenly.
She knew immediately who he was asking about. Harry was staring at her in earnest and Ginny could tell that her answer was important to him. Since his disappearance Harry had often spoken about Severus Snape. He had returned from the Shrieking Shack empty handed except for a robe and Snape's wand. A look of complete determination had been in his eyes that day as he'd told the Weasleys, Hermione, Madam Pomfrey and Professor McGonagall that he was sure Snape was still alive somewhere. Upon returning he'd disappeared off to the Headmaster's office to speak to Dumbledore's portrait. Whatever Dumbledore had told him though, Harry had not liked it. Still Ginny knew that tucked away in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement was a small file dedicated to Severus Snape. Each year Harry allocated a small amount of resources to finding the man – but Ginny knew it was only ever Harry who searched for him.
Harry had never shown her or anyone else the memories Severus Snape had left him – and Ginny had never asked to see them. She had believed Harry the moment he had told her of Snape's true loyalties. Despite his inability to locate the man, Harry had yet to give up the search. He had explained his reasons to Ginny countless times and eventually she had finally agreed, albeit tentatively, that it was possible that Snape could still be alive. Something Dumbledore had let slip, the night Harry had spoken to his portrait, had cemented Harry's belief that Snape was still alive.
Despite Harry's certainty, Headmistress McGonagall placed a granite slab by Dumbledore's tomb recognising Severus' contribution to the war. As far as the Wizarding World was concerned Severus Snape had died by Voldemort's hand in the final battle. To Harry's disgust the memorial was vandalised within months of being placed. The perpetrators were never caught but their message was clear. TRAITOR had been painted across the slab, in chicken's blood.
The way Harry was looking at her now though, absolutely determined to hear the truth, she knew she could not lie to him.
'I think you would have heard something by now Harry,' she said gently.
For the briefest of seconds a look of guilt and sadness flashed across Harry's face but he hid it well.
'Maybe you're right,' he admitted softly, but Ginny could tell he didn't quite believe that.
Finally Harry had looked up from their son.
'I want to honour them Gin,' he said quietly. 'The Headmaster's of Hogwarts. They both gave their lives for me...for us.'
Ginny watched her husband closely as he gazed at their son. He was right, both Dumbledore and Snape had protected Harry and given their lives for him. She looked down at the tiny bundle clutched to her chest, mulling the names over in her mind. His eyes were open and he was staring quietly at his parents.
'Albus Severus Potter,' she whispered.
Harry's grip tightened on her slightly and Ginny smiled as she looked over at him.
The name fit their child perfectly.
James loved his new brother from the moment he met him and the Potter family adjusted easily to its newest member. In 2007 Harry was made Head of the Auror Corp – the youngest ever. Despite the hours his new job required he still found time to devote himself to his slow search for Severus Snape. Periodically he would visit Albus' portrait but he was as stubborn as always, remaining particularly tight-lipped about the whole thing. Each time he visited the office though Harry would look for Snape's portrait – but it had never appeared.
30th September, 2008 - London
It was a miserable autumn day in London but not even the drizzling rain could wipe the smile off Harry Potter's face as he turned onto Grimmauld Place. He took the steps to number 12 two at a time, letting himself in with a wave of his wand. The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black had passed to Harry upon the death of his godfather twelve years ago but the house was unrecognisable now. With a little help from Kreacher, the darkness and gloom that had once permeated the house had been replaced by the vibrant, messy Potter household.
'I'm home,' Harry called out as he stepped inside.
Distractedly he flung his wet overcoat at the coat rack, which caught it easily before deftly depositing it upon one of its hooks. An excited yell and the sound of racing footsteps met Harry's announcement and within seconds the boys were upon him.
'Dad!' Teddy yelled, his hair changing colour rapidly in his excitement, as he bounced around Harry's legs. 'Tell us! Tell us! Tell us!' he chanted.
Teddy had been calling Harry 'Dad' since he'd learnt to talk. At seventeen Harry had felt out of his depth in the role but with Andromeda's encouragement and with the realisation that he wanted Teddy to belong to a family he'd let the name stick. Now, having had his own children, he wondered why he'd ever been worried. Standing beside Teddy, three year old James had joined in the chant and Harry had to hold back a laugh as the two children jumped excitedly around him.
'You promised Dad!' James reminded him, staring beseechingly at his father.
'Alright, alright,' Harry said amusedly, crouching down to their height.
Out of the corner of his eye he noticed Andromeda enter the hallway, Albus snuggled against her chest. She met his gaze eagerly and Harry knew she too was waiting to hear his news.
'You have a beautiful baby sister,' Harry declared proudly.
'A sister!' James exclaimed in wonder, bouncing excitedly on the spot.
'What's her name?' Teddy asked, beaming at Harry.
'Lily Luna Potter,' Harry answered barely able to keep his face from splitting, so big was his grin.
'Congratulations Harry,' Andromeda said warmly, hugging Harry as he got to his feet.
'When can we go and see Mummy?' James interrupted, tugging on Harry's trousers.
'Well,' Harry replied carefully looking over to Andromeda. 'If it's alright with Grandma Tonks, I don't see why you can't go now.'
'Please can we go gran?' Teddy pleaded, looking imploringly towards his grandmother.
'Alright,' Andromeda replied, smiling. 'Go and put your coats on boys.'
The two boys raced off upstairs both eager to meet their new sister.
'Thanks Andy,' Harry said tiredly.
Ginny had gone into labour early the previous afternoon. Harry had rushed straight from work to take her into St Mungo's but it hadn't been until mid-morning that Lily Luna had finally arrived. Amazingly Ginny had managed a few hours of sleep earlier in the night, but Harry had been too nervous to sleep. Instead he had spent the early hours of the morning prowling restlessly through St Mungo's. Luckily Andromeda had been on hand to watch the children for the night. Stooping slightly, Harry reached out to take Albus off her.
'How's Al been?' he asked quietly, his brow creasing slightly with concern as he studied his abnormally quiet two-year old son.
Gently he carded his hand through Al's hair, noting with relief that his fever had finally broken. Albus had picked up an upper respiratory tract infection over the last week, which had been particularly persistent. Earlier in the week he'd been quite sick. Fearing for Ginny and the unborn child, Harry had taken Al to the Burrow. It had been a trying few days, what with Al wanting his mother at times but eventually he seemed to have turned the corner. Still, Harry had felt particularly guilty leaving Andromeda to mind a sick toddler as well as James and Teddy overnight.
'He's much better Harry,' Andy said gently, seeing Harry's concern. 'I think he's just tired. His cough has certainly settled down, which is good.'
Harry nodded in agreement.
'Now are you sure you don't want to take the boys back to St Mungo's?' Andromeda asked, as they heard Teddy and James on the stairs.
'No, no,' Harry said determinedly. 'I'll stay home and look after Al, besides I'm sure Ginny will want to see you.'
'Well if you're sure Harry,' she replied.
'Absolutely,' he agreed. 'I've got some work to catch up on anyway,' he added bemusedly.
'Alright then,' Andy said, smiling as Teddy and James came into sight. 'Let's go then boys.'
Harry smiled as he waved goodbye from the doorstep.
'Just you and me now Al,' he said quietly, switching the child to his other side.
Albus didn't respond, and Harry looked down to find his son asleep in his arms. Gently he carried him upstairs to his office.
As Head of the Auror Corp not even Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived-Twice, could afford to take days off work. Gently he placed Al down on the couch in his office before moving to examine the mound of paperwork that was piled in his overflowing In-tray. He had placed a particularly useful charm on the tray in his office at the Ministry that allowed him to receive his messages whilst at home. Now though, he was beginning to regret it slightly as messages continued to pile up. It seemed his office was particularly busy today. Resigning himself to his task he pulled the first of the many parchments from his tray out, unrolling it as he set to work.
Around lunchtime Harry was distracted from his work as Al climbed up into his lap. He looked much better now and Harry was relieved to find his cough really had settled down.
'Hey Al,' he said gently putting down his quill. 'How are you feeling?'
Absentmindedly he checked the boy's temple, reassuring himself that the fever truly had broken. Of the three boys that lived in Grimmauld Place, Al was by far the quietest.
'Daddy,' Albus said happily, standing up on Harry's knees and giving his father a sloppy kiss.
Harry laughed, picking the toddler up and blowing a quick raspberry on his tummy.
'Time for lunch eh Al?' Harry said as he carried the boy downstairs.
Harry expertly prepared a Peanut Butter sandwich for his son and listened as the little boy chatted happily. When Al was done, he followed Harry back upstairs. Harry stopped by Al's room and summoned a sketchpad and pencils for the boy to occupy himself with while Harry worked.
Re-entering his study Harry's gaze was drawn immediately to the fireplace. Green flames roared in the hearth and Harry wasn't surprised to find his assistant's head floating in the flames. Michael Gibbons was four years younger than Harry and had been a Hufflepuff at Hogwarts. The young man was hardworking and intensely loyal – something Harry truly appreciated. He was sure that Gibbons' spent a lot of his time ensuring Harry and his family were kept out of the public eye.
'Michael,' Harry called in greeting as he set Albus up on the floor of his office. 'What can I do for you?'
'Hello Harry,' Michael replied distractedly, and Harry realised he was talking to several other people at the same time. 'Sorry Harry, it's madness here,' Michael said after a moment. 'Some nutcases have set off several simultaneous attacks in Muggle London. No one's been hurt,' he added hastily when he saw the alarm in Harry's face. 'We've just got our hands full dealing with modifying memories and catching the idiots who did it.'
'Was there any warning about the attack?' Harry asked, his brow creasing.
'None,' Michael replied gloomily. 'Hatchman's got the situation in hand though sir and we've got teams dealing with the Muggles now.'
'Good,' said Harry. Hatchman was one of the more experienced Aurors in Harry's Department. If he was on the job it was likely Ron was also – which meant the attack would be tying up the majority of his Department.
'I'm sorry to call on you Harry,' Michael continued hurriedly 'but there's no one else available.'
'What is it?' Harry asked seriously.
'We've had reports of an incident not too far from where you are,' he explained quickly. 'Anderson is on the scene with the Muggle Police but he needs backup. There are numerous Muggle witnesses and the details are confusing.'
Harry sighed, looking over at Albus who was still drawing.
'What's the address?' Harry asked resignedly.
Hastily he scribbled down the details Gibbons could supply him with and the address.
'Could you warn Anderson that I'll have Al with me?' Harry asked as he finished writing.
Michael nodded once before his head disappeared with a pop from the fireplace. Without waiting Harry summoned his Muggle ID and Al's jacket. Crouching by his son, he pulled the jacket on and as an afterthought applied a warming charm before picking him up.
'Daddy has to go into work Al,' he said as he carried his son downstairs. 'Are you alright to come with me?'
Albus nodded eagerly, Teddy had regaled both James and Albus with stories of how exciting Harry's work was. At the door Harry paused only to pull on his dried overcoat before grabbing an umbrella and stepping out onto the street. With a discreet wave of his wand he unlocked his car and strapped Al into his seat. Ginny and Harry had decided early on that having a car would be quite useful and both of them had Muggle licenses. Smoothly Harry pulled off from the curb, his Ministry car barely making a noise. Within moments he was a block from his desired destination. Turning onto the street Harry pulled up, just down from the line of emergency vehicles. A grey figure detached itself from the police cohort and hurried down to meet Harry as he got out of the car.
'Harry,' Anderson called in greeting. 'Thank goodness you made it. It's starting to get out of hand.'
Harry greeted Anderson with a warm handshake before moving round to get Al out. Greg Anderson was a squib. Harry had recruited him several years ago as a liaison officer between the Police and the Ministry. His unique insight into both worlds made him an invaluable resource.
'Here I'll take him,' Greg volunteered as Harry started towards the Police officers clustered around several ambulances.
'Oh thanks,' Harry said gratefully, handing his son over carefully.
Al smiled delightedly as he recognised Anderson giving the man a quick hug. Harry smiled at the pair before turning his attention to the scene before him. They were on a busy little street, lined with several shops. Passerby's had stopped to sticky beak at the scene, capitalising on the brief break in the rain to stand around. Harry moved forward importantly to where a group of officers were clustered close to one of the ambulances, taking witness statements.
'He's over there,' Anderson muttered from beside him, nodding to an ambulance where a single figure was being attended to.
A police officer and a paramedic blocked Harry's view of the man but he ignored him for the moment. He'd talk to the Muggles first. Approaching the most senior of the Muggle officers Harry flashed his warrant card.
'Detective Inspector Potter,' he said authoritatively.
'Sergeant Wilson, sir,' he replied.
'Perhaps you could explain the situation to me Sergeant,' Harry asked politely.
'Certainly sir,' the officer replied. 'We arrived twenty minutes ago after receiving a call that a man – Mr Smith,' here he inclined his head towards the man Anderson had pointed out earlier, 'was being attacked by several youths. When we arrived we found all four of them,' this time he pointed to the other ambulance where four disgruntled youths sat handcuffed on the ground whilst several paramedics attended to them, 'unconscious and uninjured.'
The man hesitated, and Harry could tell he was unsure of how to finish his explanation.
'Go on,' Harry prompted calmly.
'Well...' the officer began uncertainly, 'it sounds ridiculous sir, but witnesses claim they saw the youths attack Mr Smith...and he certainly has been injured sir...but then they say Mr Smith attacked his attackers...they say he threw them all from him...at once sir!'
Wilson's tone was coloured with disbelief but Harry could tell the man was struggling to find a more logical explanation.
'Did he really?' Harry replied curiously, more to himself than Wilson.
Once more he looked towards the ambulance, but Mr Smith was still hidden from view.
'So they say sir,' Wilson replied in a frustrated tone. 'Anyway we arrested all of them sir. Some passerby's stopped Mr Smith from leaving the scene.'
'Excellent,' Harry said absentmindedly before excusing himself to talk to Anderson.
'Well it certainly sounds like magic, probably a stunner,' Harry said gravely, 'but why would he stay on the scene?' he mused to himself. 'And you're sure he carried no wand?'
'Searched him myself Harry,' Greg replied. 'Nothing to suggest he was a wizard at all.'
'Interesting,' Harry murmured. 'Do we have anything on him?'
'His name is John Smith,' Greg supplied. 'I checked his file – no criminal record, although there is an odd bit in his file from ten years ago. He turned up in an A&E with life threatening wounds and no identification. Doctors treated him and he recovered well enough, except when he woke up he claimed to have no idea who he was. Well, the local Police got involved and spent a few weeks trying to find next of kin but nobody ever came forward. In the end the hospital discharged him with a new identity. One of the junior doctors had written his file up with the name John Smith when he was first admitted and so the name stuck. Anyway he was on benefits for a couple of years assisted housing etc but he seemed to have a knack as a Pharmacist. Got himself a job and managed to set himself up. He's been living in Hackney ever since.'
'Alright,' Harry sighed. 'I'll modify their memories, and then I'll talk to our mystery man.'
It was a relatively easy process for Harry to modify the witness's memories. Those that had actually seen the event were already subconsciously trying to alter the memory to fit their own reality. All it took from Harry then was a slight nudge of their thoughts so that they re-ordered them in a much more logical and Muggle way. In all only four people had witnessed the stunners but Harry also made sure he altered the memories of the youths as well – although they remembered little of the event. All that remained then was for Harry to alter the police and paramedics memories so that they forgot the witnesses had ever mentioned the word 'magic'. Finally only the paramedic and police officer by John Smith remained.
Approaching them, Harry swiftly altered their memories from behind.
'I'll take him from here,' Harry said quietly to the young officer standing guard.
'Yes sir,' the young man answered before hastily moving away, although he looked slightly confused.
The paramedic was removing her gloves as Harry approached and she looked up to speak to him.
'Just cuts and bruises,' she reported succinctly. 'Possibly a broken nose, but he'll be fine to answer a few questions now.'
'Thank you,' Harry replied as the paramedic left him.
As she moved aside Harry saw John Smith for the first time. His head was bent forward, a bloody cloth clutched awkwardly to his nose to stem the bleeding. Harry realised the paramedic must have been holding the cloth in place before because the man's hands were handcuffed. He'd forgotten that Wilson had informed him that they'd arrested everyone.
'Perhaps I could have a moment of your time Mister Smith,' Harry said carefully to the silent man.
Harry's mode of address seemed to surprise the man and he looked up, for the first time showing his face.
Harry stepped backwards in shock.
'Professor?' he asked without thinking.
His hair had been trimmed into a neat Muggle style, the black eyes lacked their usual hatred and the nose was obviously broken but it did not stop Harry from recognising the man before him. He was older but it was without a doubt Severus Snape.
A/N: Thought I better explain that between 1998 and 2008 I've provided a bit of Harry and Ginny's backstory (hopefully it's fairly clear). Undoubtedly more will come to light as the story progresses. The remainder of this story will continue on from 30th September 2008. Hope you all enjoyed!