Disclaimer: I own no part of the Harry Potter fandom. Just the vampires.

A/N: Thank you everyone who has left reviews since last time. You really helped encourage me to keep working on this even though I have so much going on right now I don't even know what free time is anymore. I couldn't let you down! As always, I hope you enjoy this chapter.

Chapter 21

"I thought Weasley was supposed to see spiders every time he got upset," Draco asked Harry quietly as they began setting up their workspace for Potions.

"He was," Harry confirmed, speaking as quietly as he could, "but I removed my spell after talking with your father because I wanted to see the fool's reaction without his fear of spiders getting in the way. Apparently I should have left the spell active to keep him under control."

"No, I quite liked his reaction," Draco disagreed quietly. Harry glanced at Draco out of the corner of his eye in irritation. "Don't give me that look; nothing happened to me and I enjoyed seeing him make a fool of himself. I don't think for one second that Weasley is a real threat but it doesn't mean I won't be keeping an eye on him from now on. Have some faith in my own power."

Harry made a vague noise of agreement, feeling vaguely guilty and properly chastised, before focusing back on their potion. He didn't think his father would call him out in front of everyone for talking and directing any more of Harry's ire on him at this point, but there was no reason to test the man and potentially draw unwanted attention to himself.

Severus subtly watched his son interact with his mate and was suitably impressed. If he wasn't already aware of their relationship, he would have assumed them to merely be friends, or even just acquaintances. They were doing an admirable job of avoiding all casual touching that Severus knew they would want to engage in, being newly bonded.

Perhaps he no longer had the right to be, but he was proud of his son. To see him so confident and happy was a blessing for Severus, though it pained him to think that he could take no credit for his own child's current place in life. In fact, even though he didn't want to think about it, his child was technically dead and had only known cruelty from him during his life. He really was no better than his own father. Before he could drown in his own self-hatred, he strengthened his Occlumency shields as tight as he could, preferring to feel nothing instead of the bottomless pain that accompanied most thoughts related to Harry.

An unexpected knock came at the door and Snape frowned at it before waving his wand to open the door and reveal a nervous student.

"Sorry for the interruption but Headmaster Dumbledore would like to see Neville Longbottom in his office right away, sir," the student spoke quickly, clearly terrified to have disturbed Snape's class. Instead of feeling amusement at the student's fear as he normally would, Severus was only reminded of the similarities between his father and himself that would cause children to fear him.

"Go," Severus said dismissively, looking at Longbottom. He watched the Gryffindor pack his things quickly and glance in Harry's direction. Severus was surprised to see his son nod subtly at the other boy, as if in encouragement, before Longbottom left the room quickly, looking determined.

Did Longbottom know about Harry? How many people knew about his son? Severus impatiently waited for the end of the class period to come, many questions forming in his mind.

When the class was finally over, Severus called out, hoping he wouldn't regret his choice, "Renard, please stay after for a moment."

He saw Draco and a few other Slytherins pause before continuing to get ready to leave. Severus made a mental note of which of his students reacted. His son finished packing and then leaned against his workstation with a mildly confused look on his face while he waited for the other students to leave.

When it was just the two of them, Severus locked the door and cast Silencing Charms. Harry merely watched him quietly, waiting to see what he wanted.

"Do you need to get to a different class right away or can you talk for a minute?" Severus asked, hoping that Harry could talk. He wasn't sure when he would be able to get him alone again in the near future.

"I have a free period," Harry responded neutrally after a moment, sitting down on the table he had been working at.

"I would like to talk, if you are agreeable," Severus said stiffly, feeling extremely uncomfortable. He had no idea how to proceed in this sort of situation where he was supposed to be honest and express feelings of any sort besides anger or bitterness.

"Alright," Harry agreed. "In general or do you have something in particular in mind?"

"Both, I suppose," Severus said slowly. "Does Longbottom know about you?"

"He does," Harry confirmed. "He is helping me with Dumbledore since the old man is trying to train him up as the new Chosen One since he lost me."

"He what?" Severus asked in disbelief. Was Dumbledore really that foolish?

"Yeah, I felt I needed to intervene for Neville's sanity," Harry explained. "I wasn't going to tell him about me, but I needed to do something about what was happening to him. And let him know he didn't need to worry about Voldemort."

"You intend to finish the Dark Lord then?" Severus questioned.

"He Marked what is mine," Harry stated coldly, the vampire side of his son showing through for a moment, "Even if he hadn't, I still would want to pay him back suitably for the mess he made of my life."

They fell into silence. Harry, for his part, was more than content to watch Severus struggle to fix their relationship. He was not going to help or make an effort beyond allowing this attempt at a second chance for the bitter man.

"I want to help you," Severus finally said.

"Why?" Harry asked, genuinely curious.

"You are my son-," Severus began.

"I am not," Harry interrupted. "Your son died, and I am a stranger you have never shown anything but contempt toward. Why should I allow you to help me? Why should I ever trust you? I have no faith in your abilities to spy or assist me, having personal experience with how blinded and prejudiced you are that you cannot even see what is right in front of your nose. I am dead, why bother trying to reconcile beyond a civil relationship for Draco's sake?"

"I would rather spend the rest of my life trying to make amends with you than to lose you completely again," Severus said honestly, through gritted teeth, not liking the barb against his spying abilities but knowing he deserved it. It was also hard for him to be this open and honest. "It seems like my life has been nothing but mistakes that I will forever be trying to make up for. I failed your mother, I failed you, I failed myself… I want to know you, Harry, even if you do not want to know me."

Severus wasn't sure what to make of the scowl on Harry's face when he stopped speaking, wondering if his response was unacceptable. Harry, meanwhile, was reminding himself why he was furious with the man in front of him and why he was not allowed to feel sorry for him.

"Fine," Harry growled out at last, "at the very least, you can tell me whatever small amounts of information Dumbledore trusts you with. Neville is by no means a spy so I'm not really counting on him to bring back too much information, but hopefully he will learn a few things."

There was a few moments of silence before Harry asked, almost against his will, "Will you tell me about my mother? I have always only heard things about James Potter, but nothing about Lily, who is apparently my only real parent in that false union."

Severus felt his lips form into a thin line before he could stop himself from reacting, but his son deserved his memories of his mother. Taking a deep breath, Severus plunged into the memories he had been suppressing for a long time.

"Lily… your mother was the first person to ever show me kindness in my life," Severus finally said after debating what to say. "My father was a muggle and my mother was a pureblood witch. He didn't know until after they married and he was less than pleased by her revelation. When I showed signs of magic, too, my father showed himself to be nothing more than a monster, beating my mother and myself. Lily was the only thing I had to cling to as a child. She was such a bright light in my life, no matter how cold or hurtful I was, she looked past it and stayed by my side."

Severus closed his eyes for a moment in pain before continuing, "We both were accepted to Hogwarts and I had never been more thrilled in my life, even after we were placed in houses that were supposed to be in constant opposition. We stayed close, no matter what stood between us. Lily was the most understanding and forgiving witch I have ever met. She was an angel. I didn't deserve her kindness, nor her love. You saw what I said in our fifth year, when I was once again taken over by my resentment, hatred and loneliness."

Harry merely nodded, remembering the scene he had witnessed, before his father started speaking again, "She should have stopped speaking to me, left me behind and never looked back. But she didn't. It took her a while to get over her anger with me, rightfully, but she forgave me, understood my pain and let it go." There was silence before he said, "I never deserved her."

"Then why did my mother choose you?" Harry asked, feeling slightly desperate to understand what his mother had been thinking. Why would his apparently exceedingly kind mother fall in love with someone like Snape?

"I don't have an answer to that," Snape replied, wishing he understood his beloved's choices. "It may have been a case of opposites attract, that we balanced each other out. I think your mother saw someone that needed to be saved but maybe she also saw beneath all the layers of cruelty that I protected myself with to the man I could be. Perhaps it was because we grew up together and she saw safety, comfort, familiarity… I'm not sure. I can only speculate."

Harry was far from satisfied with this answer but knew it was the best he could hope for with his mother gone. He had a much more pressing question that needed to be answered, though.

"If you loved my mother, a muggleborn and Light supporter, why did you join Voldemort when you graduated?" Harry asked fiercely.

"To save my mother," Snape answered slowly. Seeing Harry's confused look, he continued without prompting, "I was the youngest Potions Master in centuries, a prodigy of sorts. Potions Masters are rather rare, if you were not aware, and Voldemort learned of me immediately. He was also determined to gain me as a follower since he knew I was a Dark wizard. He also knew I had no plans to join his cause, so he kidnapped my mother for ransom: her freedom for my service as a Death Eater. No matter how bitter I was toward her for not protecting me as a child, she was still my mother and I could not abandon her. So I took the Mark, feeling I had no other choice.

"Lily and I had fought frequently about my decision before I made it but I wouldn't be dissuaded. She and I rarely got to see each other at this point due to the pressures we were both facing. I didn't see her for a long time and the next thing I heard, she was marrying James Potter, my most bitter enemy, and far too shortly after that I learned of their apparent child."

Severus paused for a moment, keeping a strong hold of his emotions lest he break down completely. These were thoughts he hadn't contemplated for years. Harry, for his part, saw the conflicting emotions and devastation on his father's face as he recollected his harsh past and felt himself unwillingly softening toward the man.

"I could only assume she had been cheating on me, and after considering how often we had been fighting at this point, I didn't think it far-fetched. I never did get to see your mother again and I lost all hope and purpose for being alive and started to serve the Dark Lord more faithfully, believing I had been ultimately betrayed and used by my Light lover," Snape's face was filled with self-loathing and Harry finally understood an aspect of his father's personality he hadn't before. He had an extreme inability to let go of the past and tended to blame himself for everything; it was an irritating habit Harry himself had displayed in abundance while he was alive. "I heard a prophecy about one who was to bring down the Dark Lord and brought it back to the man. When he targeted the Potter's, as much as I wanted to harden my heart and remain cold to the situation, I couldn't stop myself from trying to save Lily. I begged for her to be spared."

"So that's why…" Harry murmured to himself absently. Snape paused at the interruption and looked at him confused, so Harry explained, "When the Dementors come near me, I hear James' and Lily's last moments before Voldemort killed them. I always wondered why Voldemort asked her to stand aside multiple times before finally killing her when she continually refused."

Snape looked pained by Harry's confession. In truth, Severus felt unexpectedly hurt by the fact that Harry's only memory of his mother was of her murder. It was horrible to Severus to be reminded that his son had no memories of the wonderful woman his mother had been.

Harry decided not to acknowledge the look. He would never know his mother, there was nothing he could do about that.

"So, you want to help me?" Harry asked, bringing their conversation back to the beginning.


"Well, just keep spying on the Order and Dumbledore but report it to me now," Harry shrugged. "Remus is currently staying with my Sire-"

"That's where the wolf is?!" Severus growled out angrily. Harry gave him a harsh look.

"Yes, Dumbledore sent him onto my Sire's land to investigate a report of a bunch of rogue vampires," Harry sneered. "Obviously, we are not rogues, and had I not been there, Remus would be dead. You may not like him, but I will always consider him an honorary godfather for being there for me while I was alive and will protect him."

Severus looked down in defeat, knowing for once to keep his opinions to himself if he wanted Harry to ever speak to him again. As much as Severus resented the wolf, he was also able to feel a measure of gratitude toward him for looking after his son when he had not.

"Alright," Severus replied, far more agreeably than Harry thought the man was capable of, "who sent him to your Sire claiming him to be a rogue though?"

"Jasper," Harry growled, shaking his head at Snape's look to indicate it was a conversation for another time. "Anyway, Remus is no longer here, and so you would be my only link into the Order now. Additionally, I will be 'kidnapping' the Malfoys soon and can only imagine the things will come to a head shortly after I do. Would you like to be part of this kidnapping?"

"No," Severus replied immediately. At Harry surprised look, he explained, "I will be no use to you if I am kidnapped. Additionally, I need to look after my Slytherins, as you should know by now that no one else will."

Harry nodded his head in acceptance before asking with a smirk, "So, when would you like to meet my Sire?"

Neville found he didn't need to do much acting when the Headmaster called him to his office. He still felt nervous and determined; the only previous emotions he was now lacking was terror and helplessness. Instead of being nervous because he was worried about not being able to meet the task Dumbledore had laid down before him, he was nervous of being found out and revealing Harry's secrets or failing him. His determination still had the same goal, though; to protect the Wizarding World and not let Harry down. Knowing Harry was still alive only strengthened his resolve.

The aged Headmaster bid him to enter his room and Neville took his seat, only trembling slightly with the nervousness that he wished he could overcome.

"Good morning, my boy," Dumbledore greeted cheerily, "how are you?"

"Fine, sir," he replied. "You?"

"Good, good, now," the old man folded his hands in front of him before fixing Neville with his customary serious gaze over the top of his half moon spectacles, getting right to the point for once, "you remember what we spoke of in regards to Voldemort's immortality?"

"Yes, sir."

"I have found an area that I believe to be an ideal hiding spot for one of the his Horcruxes," Dumbledore stated. "It is an area he visited once as a child and showed his cruel side to two children he was raised with."

Neville felt his stomach jump a bit in anxiety as his adrenaline spiked for a moment. Stupid unconscious body reactions. He took a deep breath to try to center himself a bit.

"Are we going to go, sir?" Neville asked in the steadiest voice he could, forcing as much determination into his voice as possible.

"We are," Dumbledore affirmed. "Right now, in fact."