Altering the events of history
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters and many of the places mentioned in this story. The plot is the only thing created by me.
Thanks to everyone that is patiently sticking with me through my crap waits on updates. Life is busier than I thought! Hope you enjoy the chapter. Let me know what you think. :)
Chapter 6:- Changes
Although it had taken the combined work of many teachers, students and parents; as hoped, Hogwarts had been fully reconstructed within the week target that Albus Dumbledore had set. From the outside and inside, it looked exactly the same as it always had done except there was a different air about it: an air of death and a stain of war. Thinking as positively as possible, some might have said that it was more a feeling of survival that surrounded it. Despite everything that had gone on in those grounds, the school was still carrying on as if nothing had happened; it showed strength and determination, which was mirrored by those that taught and learnt within it.
After spending most of his week attempting to help rebuild the castle, Harry had decided to take up Albus' offer on taking his exams with the other students. He would, of course, need to do a lot of reading for his written exams but that didn't concern him too much. Without a job to worry about, he was certain that he would be able to put a lot of time and effort into his studies. The thought that preoccupied him the most at that current moment in time was how he was supposed to pass a Potions NEWT, particularly knowing that his grade would also reflect his now-partner's teaching abilities. He'd never been able to grasp the concepts of Potions and he was genuinely scared that he would fail and that Severus would be ashamed of him for it. He didn't voice these thoughts out-loud to the man, as he knew it would make Severus angry to hear it but he couldn't help but wonder how he was ever supposed to do well in his worst subject.
As it was the last day before the school was to reopen, Harry decided to take a leisurely stroll around the grounds alone, reminiscing about his time as a student there. He wouldn't be returning to lessons, apart from private ones for Potions and it was this that made him realise how much of an adult he truly was. He had always felt like one of course, with the world on his shoulders and no teenage worries due to needing to mature so quickly, but it was only now that he felt like he had surpassed his teenage years completely. He had finished his years at school, played a very large role in a Wizarding war and was even now in a serious relationship. Overall, he was happy but what was he supposed to be doing next? He still didn't know what he wanted to do career-wise and although there was no genuine rush, he would have preferred to set something in stone, considering how disorganised his life had been thus far.
Being alone and having no reason to be there, Harry took in the beauty of the Hogwarts grounds for the first time since he had arrived there as a new student. The grass almost glowed green, with very few but very nice flowers flowing around in random assortments. The trees in the distance that belonged to the Forbidden Forest were so tall that they must have been planted in the Founders' era and it was part of what gave Hogwarts that protected feel to it. There was nothing about the place that Harry would have called ugly or said that he disliked, purely because it was the first place that he had every truly called home. He remembered his first term there and how right it felt to be among people like him and how welcoming Hogwarts was. He only hoped that now that the war was over, the castle could do the same for the many other students that would learn there over the years.
"You are feeling rather thoughtful today, aren't you?" Severus' voice came from behind him. He hadn't heard or noticed him approach but he wasn't shocked nonetheless.
"Yes I suppose I am."
"Do you mind if I ask what you're thinking about?"
"I'll tell you if you sit by the lake with me."
"It would be my pleasure."
The two of them walked slowly down to the side of the lake, sitting casually in what little shade existed there. Harry looked out onto the surface of the lake and smiled at the reflection of the sun that he could see blazing back at him. Hogwarts was always meant to be a bright and peaceful place like this; he only wished that it hadn't had to endure the war at all.
"I remember when you appeared, flying out of that lake after the Tri-Wizard Tournament task. It had taken a very long time for you to come back up to the surface. Everyone else was already back and they were almost ready to send someone looking for you. I thought that something had gone horribly wrong."
"See, you cared about me even then" Harry teased.
"I have always cared about each of my students but I never could have let any harm come to you. Lily was my best friend and even though I never got on with your father, I always wanted to protect you for her. I'm sure she would have appreciated that until I invited you into my bed."
"I didn't know her but from what I do know; I think she loved me enough to want me to be happy. If she were alive, I'm sure she would have had some difficulty accepting the situation but she would've gotten over it, I'm sure. I don't know. What do you think?"
"I suppose you're right. I think I would have gotten an ear-bashing and several smacks but I'm certain that eventually, she would have been happy for both of us. Then of course, we should bear in mind that she was very feisty. If I hurt you, she would have caused me a severe amount of pain." Severus laughed bitterly at the thought and pulled Harry into him to prevent the sad eyes filling up with tears for the mother that he'd never known.
"Don't be upset. She would want you to be happy. She didn't sacrifice her life for you to be sad."
"Do you hate me?"
"Why on Earth would I?"
"She died to save me" he confessed, choking back the tears.
"After I revealed the prophecy" he said quietly.
"I know you blame yourself and I know I blame myself too but really, it wasn't either of us. The person responsible is dead now and we can move on. I just wish I had some memories of her."
"I'll be happy to share my memories of her with you sometime if that would help. You can even use my pensieve if you wish."
It had been a long hard week for Remus Lupin, especially after recently having to empty his old house of all his and his deceased wife's belongings. He couldn't live there since she had died and it took all his courage and energy to spend an entire day removing everything from the building before handing over the key to someone else. Most of his wife's belongings were given to charity; he had no need for them and of course someone else would have make more use out of them other than a substitute for tissues. His heart ripped in two as he gathered together the few things that he had decided to keep for himself in her memory; he would have liked her wedding ring he supposed but he'd rather it was buried with her as it had been. It would mean that their marriage meant something, even in death.
Many people would have found some amount of shame for having to move in with their deceased wife's parents but for Remus, there were too many emotions flying around for shame to even enter his mind. He didn't particularly care how it made him look to others; he knew it was the best move for him and more importantly, his young son. Teddy was only a few weeks old, requiring constant care and since Remus would hopefully be looking for a job very soon, he would need some support during his working hours. Ted and Andromeda were more than happy to assist in any way they could, especially if it meant being able to watch their only grandchild grow up.
Remus looked around at his new room and felt a strange comparison between the clutter caused by his many boxes and belongings and his empty, yet still somehow heavy, chest. The room was nicely decorated and luckily for him, Andromeda had chosen to keep their guest room neutrally coloured and so he wasn't faced with flowers or odd bird decorations. He had already organised all of Teddy's things into drawers and cupboards, wanting to ensure that he would always have everything that he needed to hand. His own items, however, remained in their boxes and Remus had no desire to unpack them. He knew he would have to do it at some point but he couldn't muster motivation to do anything beyond what he absolutely needed to do. Ted had joked that he was likely to become a recluse if he carried on that way but Remus knew there was more truth than jest in the statement.
"How are you Remus?" Andromeda asked kindly, stepping into the room. Her hair was slightly dishevelled and there were bags under her eyes; she hadn't looked much different since the day that her daughter had been taken from her. Remus slapped a very weak but believable smile on his face out of respect- he may have just lost his wife but he had to remember that there were others suffering just as much as he was.
"I'm fine, thank you Andromeda. How are you feeling?" It was one of those moments where thinking back on what he'd said, he wished he hadn't said it. He knew that Andromeda wouldn't offload onto him about how she genuinely felt and so he was practically forcing her to lie.
"Not bad. I was wondering if you wanted us to look after Teddy for a while if you wanted to go and check on Sirius. I know it must be difficult for him to skip such a significant time for our world and I'm sure that you want to be there for him."
"Thank you. I appreciate it but Teddy is my priority. Nothing comes before him and it never will."
"We know that Remus but that doesn't mean that you have to be with him all the time. There are other people that want to spend time with him too, particularly us and I'm sure his godfather would enjoy looking after him on the odd occasion too."
"You're right. I'm just new at this parenting business. I want to make sure that I'm there for him."
"We all do, which is why you need to give us a little more time alone with him. We're happy to have him whenever we can so don't think otherwise."
"Thank you Andromeda. You can spend some time with Teddy if you'd like but I'd rather not go and see Sirius right now. He is finding some things very difficult to cope with and it makes him awkward to be around. I want to help him but not in the way that he wants me to."
"Can I assume that you're talking about Harry and Severus?"
"Is it that obvious?"
"Not exactly, I just thought that it would be the hardest thing for him to understand out of everything. He will get over it if he cares about Harry."
"It doesn't seem that way right now."
Sirius had been persistently asking him information about an incident that had occurred during their school years, involving Severus. He knew that whatever the reason was behind wanting to bring this back up, it wasn't going to be a good thing. He was certain that he was trying to tear Harry and Severus apart and he definitely didn't want to be involved in the situation at all. Luckily, Harry seemed happy at the moment so it seemed that whatever plan Sirius had, it wasn't currently working or possibly not in action. Whatever happened, he would be sure to be there for Harry.
After finishing taking in the beauty of Hogwarts, he packed up a few of the belongings that he had kept in Severus' quarters that he would need at home. The rest of it, he left there with Severus' consent, certain that he would hopefully be able to stay at Hogwarts every now and then with his partner. It felt strange to be leaving Severus after spending the week with him but he reminded himself that his relationship, as serious as it was, was so far less than a year long and he shouldn't even want to live with Severus. Sadly, he couldn't deny to himself that he would miss having the man there with him when he needed him, especially as he had begun having post-war nightmares and Severus had been there to comfort him. He kept these thoughts to himself, fully aware of how ridiculous he would have sounded to anyone, even his best friends.
"Okay. My things are all ready."
"Are you ready?"
"Of course not."
"Don't be silly Harry."
"Do you honestly want me to be ready to leave you?" Under Severus' incomprehensible expression, he quickly added: "Okay, I'm ready to go. It's been nice being with you this week. It reminds me of last summer." He had managed to admit some of his feelings but couldn't voice the rest, especially as he knew that Severus wasn't likely to take it particularly well.
"It has been pleasant" Severus admitted.
"There's me thinking that the war and our relationship had made you a bit more open. Never mind. I'm glad that it was pleasant." His final statement had perhaps contained more sarcasm than Harry originally intended but how was he supposed to react? His partner had chosen to ignore the slightly malicious tone and pulled Harry into a stiff hug. Considering that the two were leaving each other again, the embrace was surprisingly emotionless, which in some ways showed that Severus was in fact feeling too much to express anything.
"I'll see you soon. I'm waiting to hear back about my practical potions class but I know I start soon."
"I'm sure that Albus will contact you as soon as he has made arrangements. As far as I am aware, it will just be you, Hermione and Ron. I believe that Draco will also be taking his exams but he doesn't need the private lessons, as he was already decent enough to pass his NEWT practically."
"So's Hermione but she's having the classes too."
"That is entirely her choice. It was not forced upon her."
"Okay. I guess I'll see you then." Harry made his way to the fireplace with his few belongings, not daring to look back now that he had made the situation worse than it already was.
"Is that all?" Severus enquired from behind him. Harry looked back, not fully understanding what he was being asked; Severus didn't wait for a response, as the confusion on his lover's face was enough.
"You're not going to hold on to me, refuse to let go, splash me with your tears and ask if you can stay?" The younger wizard was surprised by the outburst. He had held back his true emotions as much as he could, as to not annoy Severus but it seemed that either way he was going to be wrong.
"I wasn't going to make too much of a big deal out of this because I didn't want you to think I was pathetic. I am really sad to be leaving you and I wish we had a bit more time but I know that soon enough, we'll have all the time in the world. We won a war and now we can get through anything. I know that's all the soppy shit that you didn't want to hear but there you go! You honestly thought that I didn't care? You're a fucking idiot if you think…" He was cut off by a bruising kiss with enough passion to force him to drop the items that he'd collected to take back home with him. Harry sank into the welcoming body of his partner and followed the kiss that was being led by Severus. He smiled slightly but painfully as they broke apart, stating his love for the man, which was quietly returned, before retrieving his things and disappearing through the fireplace for 12 Grimmauld Place.
Going back to one's own house normally left someone with a feeling of relief and familiarity, yet this was exactly the opposite of what Harry felt. For starters, he wasn't entirely sure if the house really did belong to him anymore now that they had discovered that Sirius was alive. It didn't truly matter of course, as it was still home but how much could one genuinely feel that a place was their home if they felt unaccepted? His godfather meant well and he knew that but still, it was difficult to cope with hearing horrible comments about the man that he loved and their relationship together.
The living room was empty and so Harry made his way up to the bedroom to put his things away before looking around for something to do. He had already made arrangements to visit the Burrow the next day, as he, Ron and Hermione were all going to go to Diagon Alley to get any books they might need to take their NEWTs. He hoped that Hermione didn't go too overboard deciding to buy degree level books or some that weren't even closely related to the subjects. He couldn't even consider how intolerable she was going to be having to learn everything for several exams within a few weeks. He knew Dumbledore had said that students could take them whenever they were ready but he didn't think Hermione would be willing to wait. She had started looking into jobs the day after the war had ended and was now more determined than ever to prove her intelligence, despite the fact that everyone already knew how well she would do.
Harry's thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door.
"Come in" he said lazily from the bed. Sirius entered the room, shutting the door behind him and saying nothing until he had sat himself down on his godson's bed.
"I'm glad you've decided to come home. It's quiet without anyone else here. Remus has popped in every now and then but he's got his own things to worry about. It's a shame I can't go out really. I still haven't heard anything from the ministry but I suppose I'm not a priority right now with everything else. I really have missed a lot." Sirius knew that he was waffling now but he just wanted to engage Harry in conversation in the hope that he wouldn't be thrown out of the room. If he had any hope that Harry would see how evil Snape was, he had to be the good one in contrast. From now on, there couldn't be arguments over him, so Sirius had to try to be supportive.
"Missed a lot? You missed the majority of a war. You do know how to make an understatement, don't you?" Harry was trying to be humorous but the blank expression on his face didn't match the slight amusement in his voice.
"Fair point. I missed more than I can cope with. I keep trying to understand that everything is different but it's too much. Everything has changed. I'm proud of you by the way. I'm proud that despite your young age, you managed to defeat him. You've made the world a better place."
"I'm not proud that I had to become a killer for this to end but it was better for me to have to live with murder than have everyone else continue to die around me. Since I lost you, everything else just seemed to go wrong too. I didn't know how to cope." It felt strange to discuss Sirius' death with the man himself; he had never thought he would have to share his emotions from the past with him.
"I'm sorry that I caused you pain but I am back now, even if I am too late to help you through the war, we've still got time to make up for things. That's if I'm cleared, of course."
"You'll be cleared."
"How exactly do you think they're going to find Peter? He'll be in a sewer somewhere."
"Can't Kingsley vouch for you though? He knows you're innocent. Someone must have seen Pettigrew."
"Kingsley has only just become Minister. He can't risk having people turn against him already. He can't stand by and tell a whole world of people that a mass murderer is innocent with no proof. I'm sure he'll do all he can but there are very few people that can say that they have seen Peter alive, aside from the Death Eaters themselves."
"If enough people say that he's alive then surely they'll at least have to look into it?" Harry asked thoughtfully, thinking on how many people knew that he was alive.
"But all of us run in the same crowd Harry. I don't think it's enough for you, Remus and your friends to testify. It's obvious that you would all do it to defend me."
Harry thought for a moment, wishing there was some way that Sirius could get his freedom. He knew there was something there but the pieces just weren't fitting together.
"Maybe when the Death Eater trials start, someone might name him. They get shorter sentences for giving more names don't they?"
"Let's hope so" Sirius responded, with much less hope in his voice than Harry had expressed towards the idea. His godson remained silent, sensing that the conversation would only get continually more morbid if he chose to answer.
"Harry, I'm sorry for everything that you went through when I wasn't around. I wish I could have been there to make it easier. I promise I will do my best to be there for you from now on."
"You'll be there for me unless it involves my relationship with Severus in some way."
"I don't like him and I don't think he deserves you. I'm not at all happy or comfortable with it but that doesn't mean that it should cause issues between us. I won't get on with him but I will stop what I've been saying. I really am sorry for the things I said to you."
This cheered Harry up slightly and they spent the rest of the time discussing things in general and he even caught Sirius up on what had been happening in the Quidditch league over the past few years. It appeared to be a moment of reformed bonding and it truly would have been, if it weren't for the fact that Sirius' apology was less than genuine and he still wanted to tear his godson and his partner apart. He was just being a lot cleverer about it.
Feeling a little like he was getting his life back on track, Harry was happy to be shopping in Diagon Alley the next day with his friends. Ron was even happier because being closer to the end of school time meant that the educational books were all on sale and he could afford them without shame. Hermione, of course, was just happy to be around books now that she didn't need to use them to search for anything to do with horcruxes. The trio had managed to purchase all of their required books and even a few more in Hermione's case and decided to visit Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour.
The three of them took a seat outside the front, as it was a nice day. Hermione had a copy of the Daily Prophet propped up on her knee as she ate her strawberry ice-cream, reading any parts aloud to Harry and Ron that might interest them.
"The Death Eater trials are coming up. I expect you'll have to be present for some of them, Harry. They're starting with some of the more dangerous ones and going from there. The thing is: they're going to have to hold trials for anyone that's ever been associated with Death Eaters."
"So, you're trying to say that Severus will be on trial?" Harry asked, concerned.
"Yes I imagine so but the fact that they haven't arrested him is a good sign. I wouldn't worry about it, Harry. Anyway, he's got plenty of people to vouch for him. Everyone on the light side will testify that he was a spy for our side."
Harry calmed himself down but looked away from his friends, not wanting them to realise that despite knowing Hermione was right, he was still concerned. He found himself facing a crowd of people that until that point hadn't noticed him. Once they did, they began staring and whispering to each other, not even holding up some form of pretence that they weren't looking at or discussing him. The green-eyed wizard chose to avert his gaze from the group. He'd always been used to this kind of treatment, considering who he was but it made him uncomfortable to think that the things they were saying were bad. This was the first time since the battle that he'd been anywhere other than Hogwarts or Grimmauld Place and if this was what it was going to be like, he understood why some people became hermits.
"You alright, mate?" Ron asked; licking some missed chocolate from his lips.
"Yeah, fine" he lied, finding himself stretching to hear anything that the people said but they were too far away. It wasn't until they walked completely past him that he heard one of them say something that sounded a lot like the word 'faggot'.
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