DeRanged:Sorry for posting this story so late but this is a story for a friend whose birthday is today. So anyway I will get to my other stories I'm just a little caught up in school and think its more important. I'm sory and I hope I don't lose any readers. But I hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: I DO NOT OWN HARRY POTTER! Happy now! *runs away sobbing*
Chapter 1: Hurricane of Change
Harry limped through the familiar hallways of the one place he could confidently say was home. The castle's magic seemed to wrap around him, welcoming him back, like a familiar safety quilt or a hug from a mother. The young man could almost hear the echoes of laughter of children that had long left for summer break and the shadows of these ghostly figures raced down the halls to some destination only known only to them. A small smile appeared on the man's face, transforming the very air that surrounded him. His emerald eyes twinkled with a mysterious power that tempted you to delve deeper though you risked drowning. He had changed drastically since his school days.
His once unruly ebony locks now fell in long, thick waves down his back only tamed by the leather cord he used to pull it back at the nape of his neck, a few strips coming down to frame his Fey-like features. Pale skin that rarely ever saw the sun when he was a child was now a deep bronze making the pale scars marring his features look like neon lights on a dark, moonless night. While he was still on the short side because of the abuse he faced as a child his lanky form was replaced by lean muscle. Faded leather pants covered his powerful thighs and calves like a second skin and were tucked into a pair of scuffed and beaten combat boots that made no noise at all on the stone floors having been charmed by the wearer to be so. The rippling muscles of his chest peeked out from the crimson poet's shirt and black vest he wore along with a silver pendent depicting a roaring Chimera with flames shooting from his mouth and wrapping around his paws like a long-lost lover. Dangling from his right ear was a shrunken Basilisk fang and a fiery red and gold Phoenix feather that seemed to shift on a wind that wasn't there. The biggest change in the Wizarding World's Savior was not his features or even his calm, unaffected attitude but rather the cane he used made of a smooth, black holly with a silver handle shaped like a roaring panther's head as well as the loss of his glasses.
Ever since the last attempt made by the left over Death Eater's to gain revenge against the man who murdered their master Harry's knee had never been the same. They had idiotically attacked him in the middle of Diagon Alley where many wizards and witches would jump to his aid; however one of the bigots had gotten in a lucky shot that shattered his knee-cap. They were all arrested and he had been rushed to Saint Mongo's by his pale partner: Draco Malfoy and his husband and Harry's best mate Ron Weasly-Malfoy. The aristocrat had been there with Harry when the Healer's informed him that the dark magic in the spell had imbedded itself within the bone much like bullet that exploded within the bone and, though the knee-cap was fully healed, he would have to live the rest of his life with a limp. The magic could not affect him because his core wouldn't allow it but when he walked on it for too long, or especially in cold weather, it would ache. Draco had actually been the one to give him the cane as a gag gift for his new promotion to Head Auror but surprisingly Harry liked it and had been using it since; without the cane his limp was far more pronounced and quicker to stiffen and ache, not to say that he was reliant upon it as many of his enemies could contest to. Not three years later he passed his position as Head Auror to Draco, the self-appointed mission he had given himself when he accepted the job as Auror was finished and he was ready to stop fighting: he wanted peace. Draco was far better suited for the job anyway, he knew how to handle the bull shit spewed at him from the politicians and still accomplish his job without gaining enemies unlike Harry who all the politicians feared and hated with a passion except for the rare few that had gotten on his good side.
He was brought form his musings when he reached the familiar stone figure of the Gargoyle that had been charged with guarding the Headmaster's office. His stride lengthened and when he came within a few feet the creature jumped aside without prompting or password. With a chuckle and a fond nudge of his magic to the castle's he patted the Gargoyle's arm in thanks as he passed up the stairs hidden behind the bulky figure. As he climbed he heard the sound of the creature moving back and couldn't help but smile when he thought of the reason it was so easy for him to enter places: ever since he had recognized Hogwarts as a sentient being with feelings no room within the castle was barred to him; the portraits were more loyal to him than they were to the Headmistress herself and the ghosts respected him, even Peeves! In a way Hogwarts had marked him as its child and heir, if he wanted to he could become Headmaster but he was willing to leave it in his former Head of House's wise hands.
He continued steadily up the stairs up to the familiar office that he could describe down to the last bauble; remembering times when he climbed these same steps in his younger years to speak with the one man he had looked to as a mentor. When he reached the door he shifted slightly before knocking softly, but firmly, waiting for a prompting to enter. When no answer came he listened closely and heard raised voices, and curious as well as a little worried he pushed open the door silently only to be faced with the most amusing sight that he had to fight off a fit of laughter. Minerva McGonagall, current Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Head of Gryffindor House, and Transfiguration Professor, stood glaring at the portrait of his former mentor and her former boss, Albus Dumbledore, with her hands on her hips and lips pursed to an almost invisible line. The glare was the one that came in close second compared to the deathly glare of the Greasy Bat of the Dungeon, Severus Snape. Dumbledore didn't seem affected at all; sitting happily in his armchair sucking peacefully on what Harry could confidently infer was a lemon drop with that familiar twinkle in his bright blue eyes. Fighting a snort, Harry made his way silently into the office, shutting the door behind him, and sat in one of the seats placed before the desk in the center of the office.
The moment he sat down and put his cane to the side, his knee was occupied with the familiar feathered form of Fawkes, singing silently in greeting and butting Harry's chest with his beak to prompt the man to stroke his feathers. With a smile and shaking his head in exasperation he began to do so, fighting off a wince as his knee began to make itself known. As if sensing his pain Fawkes leaned forward and cried over the knee, abating the aches for a few more hours. With a grin Harry scratched the magical bird beneath the beak in thanks before looking up to meet familiar twinkling eyes. Dumbledore cast him a covert amused grin and wink before turning his attention quickly back on Minerva before the woman realized they weren't alone as they once had been.
"Albus," Minerva's tone was warning but Harry was distracted from what she was saying when he heard the door open silently behind him and turned to see Severus Snape, one of the most hated Professor and man he respected and loved secretly, slinking in silently using years of spy skills. Dark onyx eyes met his own emeralds, shock showing for an instant along with some emotion that Harry didn't have time to identify because Severus quickly placed an unemotional mask on again.
He strode forward without and sat in the other chair beside Harry's own, avoiding looking in Harry's general direction. With a sigh Harry turned back to watching the amusing sight of Minerva chewing out Dumbledore. The next thing he saw broke his control the greatest wizard of his age, fierce defeater of Grindewald, and the one man Voldemort ever feared was now cowering behind his chair as the petit woman before him gestured angrily with her wand: he burst in to loud, fully-bellied laughter.
The elder woman spun around in shock, freezing at the sight of two of the men she respected as much as the man behind her. She saw the twinkle of amusement that Severus fought to hide behind a disinterested mask and Harry leaning back in his chair, head thrown back and laughing deeply, eyes shut. The air around Harry seemed to shimmer with his happiness and Fawkes was singing along with the man's laughter creating a symphony of the most beautiful nature. Minerva couldn't even find any embarrassment that they had seen her so out of character; she smiled sadly knowing Harry had had little to laugh and smile about as of late.
Slowly Harry calmed and his emeralds twinkled brighter than Dumbledore's ever could as he smiled at Minerva in greeting. The usually stern woman tried for an affronted look, "Why Mr. Potter I do believe it is rude to laugh at someone's expense," she said teasingly.
Harry winked at her, "Ah, but I was laughing at Professor Dumbledore Headmistress," he said in a mock wise tone.
Minerva snorted daintily, "True enough, very well then you are pardoned," she said, catching the twitch of Severus's lips as he fought not to smirk.
"I find myself slightly insulted but I will let it slide if you will start calling me Albus, dear boy after all you are no longer a student here," the old man said, coming out from behind his chair looking nonchalant though his appearance was ruffled. The other portraits snickered as the man settled once more in his chair and Harry smiled exasperated at the man.
"Very well, if I must," the young man said with a mock put-upon sigh before sneaking a sly wink toward the portrait causing the man to burst into laughter, "Now what can I do for you Headmistress?" he asked, turning his attention fully to the happy woman who now sat behind her desk.
Minerva rolled her eyes, "If you are going to become the new Defense Professor Harry you're going to have to start calling me by my first name," she said, a sly look in her eye.
Harry rolled his eyes in exasperation until the meaning of her words caught up with him and he froze in shock, "Excuse me?" his voice was quiet with his shock, was he even qualified to teach students?!
As if reading his mind Minerva snorted, "Harry you taught nearly half the school in your fifth year, you've gained experience in the War as well as in your five years as an Auror I think you are pretty qualified for the job," she said, "Mr. Longbottom and his wife are constantly regaling me with how great a teacher you were. Then there is the big fact that scores in Defense raised on O.W.L.s as well as N.E.W.T.s since the "DA" I believe it is called?" the woman said, shooting down any Harry's arguments before he could get them out, "And I know for a fact you are wonderful with children!"
Harry gave a huff and slouched slightly in his chair, "Dammit Minerva," with a sigh he scrubbed his eyes tiredly, unsure. Fawkes bumped his chin and reminded the man that he was there. Harry met the Phoenix's golden eyes and felt feelings of reassurance and calm fill him as the light creature sang soothingly.
With a huff that came out as a breath chuckle Harry stroked the bird's head, "You just want me here so I can come and give you frequent scratches," he said amused as Fawkes attempted to give an innocent look.
Rolling his eyes he looked up to meet Minerva's hopeful eyes and gave a groan, "Fine," he said, resigned, "And I just retired too," he muttered shaking his head with fond exasperation.
Minerva gave a grin of triumph and a silky baritone cut through the air reminding the two former Gryffindors that there was someone else there, "Is there a reason you called me here Minerva other than to torture me with the fact that I'm going to see the annoying brat far more than I would like?" Severus asked eyes trained on Minerva in a stare that made her quite uncomfortable.
Seeming to gather herself under the irritated black glare and curious emerald gaze she spoke almost stiffly, "I have decided to heed your complaints of being unable to do your duties without a little help and have decided to make Harry here your Assistant Head of House," she said with forced calm.
There was a tense silence as what the woman just said seemed to sink into the minds of the two. Harry had no problems doing this having lost any prejudice he may have had for the Slytherin house long before his fifth year; in fact he had done so in his fourth when he, Ron, and Neville had made friends with Blaise Zabini and Theodore Nott in secret. Severus on the other hand couldn't seem to let go of his prejudice against the boy for offences done by his father though he knew the feelings stirring within him for the boy-no young man before him he was unwilling to admit it even to himself.
Harry's cool voice cut through the silence almost more piercingly than Severus's sharp tongue, "Albus the next time you wish to meddle within either Professor Snape's or I's life please do so to our faces rather than using Minerva as a tool to get what you want," his emerald eyes were sharp and swirled with power and slight anger.
Albus's eyes were wide and he said in a soft, apologetic tone, "I did not wish to anger or offend either of you boys, I'm sorry if that is what it seemed was my goal."
Harry inhaled deeply, trying to gain control of his irritation, "Albus you know better than anyone how I hate to be controlled like a puppet on a string, I've lived as a chess piece for seventeen years and do not wish to continue as one," he said wearily, "Next time you want something Albus say it to my face; I didn't deal with that shite from the damn politicians that plagued me like leeches when I was an Auror I sure as hell won't accept I from a man I respect," he said firmly.
There was silence before Albus spoke up gently, "Of course Harry, I apologize. And I apologize to you Severus for once again trying to manipulate your life rather than asking you," the old man said, the twinkle gone from his eyes and replaced by a sad, pitying light.
Severus, while shocked, could still comprehend what was going on and nodded his head slowly in acceptance, "Apology accepted, I learned long ago it is your annoying way of saying you care," he sneered slightly at this, but if you bothered to look you would see a gentle forgiving look in his dark orbs.
There was an awkward silence before Minerva seemed to have found her tongue once more, "So will you both accept?" she asked, truly curious.
Harry spoke up, voice calm once more, "I am perfectly fine with it but I do believe the decision should fall to Professor Snape considering it is his House," he said reasonably, giving Fawkes one last pat, feeling the Phoenix's need to go, before he flew off and out the window that opened on its own with a small flourish of Harry's hand.
Severus ignored the small voice in his head trying to prove to him Harry wasn't what he thought of the young man and thought about the pros and cons of the situation: he was Slytherin after all he wouldn't go barging into this like some brash Gryffindor. After a while he sighed the damned pros outweighed the cons and the small part of him that he could never seem to kill off glowed happily, "I have no issues, however there will be some stipulations Mr. Potter," he said silkily.
The room seemed to let out a breath a relief (more like Minerva and the portraits in the room that saw the love shared between the two men) and Harry bowed his head in acquiesces, emerald eyes like calm, open lakes. Severus gave his own decisive nod before turning back to the cat Animagus behind the desk who had been slumped in relief only to quickly straighten when she caught her colleague's eyes on her, giving him a questioning look.
"Is that all Minerva or is there more drivel you wish to discuss to waste my time?" Severus drawled silkily, raising a slim sarcastic brow.
Minerva gave a sniff while Harry gave an amused smirk knowing the Slytherin said such things to rile the woman up, "Actually yes, because Harry will be your Assistant Head he will be living in the Dungeons to be closer to the Slytherin dormitories therefore you will be showing him to his room after he gathers the things he will need to move in. You will also be helping him to form his lesson plan for the year should he need it," her tone was stiff with her obvious irritation.
Harry winced, it seemed the Gryffindor part of Minerva had gotten the better of her tongue and by the look in Severus's eyes then she had gone too far. Trying to divert a conflict with an ease born from experience Harry spoke up, "That will be unnecessary Minerva but thank you for the concern. I can gather my things quite quickly considering I don't have much and I am sure I can find the room Professor Snape deems suitable for me with the help of the castle or a house elf, Professor Snape has more important duties than to lead a former student around and act as tour guide," he said calmly in a neutral tone.
Severus found himself once more shocked at the boy's Slytherin like wording and cunning trying once more to bury the small voice from that one spot that refused to go away that had once more risen to the surface. Then he felt a bit of irritation rise within him, how dare the arrogant man deem him too busy and make him seem like the bad guy!
"No," his voice was cool and coated with his irritation, "I will lead you to your room," he sneered.
Harry raised a brow, not knowing what he had done this time. With a sigh he came understand that until Severus realized he, Harry, was not his father than he could never win when it came to trying to help because the spy would find some way to twist it to make him the bad guy. Fighting the urge to roll his eyes he nodded, "Very well, thank you Professor Snape. Is there anything else you need of us Minerva?" Harry asked cordially, turning to the exasperated woman.
She gave Harry a wry grin and shook her head, "There is the teaching contract but you can easily take that with you and wait to turn it in to me with your lesson plan tomorrow when you come to visit me to have tea and talk," she said, voice leaving no room for argument.
Harry snorted fondly, "Of course," he said, "But you won't be getting any juicy gossip, you've asked the Auror," he said with a wink, standing slowly and using the arm rests for support so as not to put too much strain on his bad knee. Picking up his cane deftly he took the paper Minerva held out to him and gave a small bow, "Apologize to Fawkes for me Minerva, for not staying to say a proper goodbye," before turning to Severus who had stood as well, "Whenever you are ready Professor," he said kindly.
Severus gave a sneer and turned with the cliché flourish of his black cloak and stalked out of the office at a fast pace. Harry stood for a moment watching the man go before shaking his head in fond exasperation and saying one more thing to Minerva before he rushed to catch up with the man, "You would think I were a leper," his tone sad.
When both men were gone Minerva slumped in her seat, her heart going out to both men. She could see the love they held for each other but Severus's foolish pride and prejudices were blinding him and Harry was someone to suffer in silence and who wouldn't push something like this: most likely because he thought his feelings unrequited. Albus, who understood completely, sent the back of Minerva's chair a sympathetic smile but he knew by the end of this year, possibly before those two would be together.
Harry rushed to catch up with Severus's long strides, biting off a hiss as his knee sent of shots of sharp pain in protest. With a grunt he pushed the pain to the back of his mind as he had learned long ago as a child at the Dursley's and moved faster, lifting his cane and trotting to catch up. When he nearly became level with the man he once again used his cane to help his stride and was soon side-by-side with the dark figure that had once haunted his more mundane nightmares.
The silence surrounding them wasn't unsettling to Harry who had always been a calm, laid-back person who always preferred silence to loud, raucous noise. Instead of dwelling on the tense silence between them he instead glanced around the hallways they traveled refreshing his memory, unnecessary but something to pass the time and that amused Harry even when he was a student, and remembering adventures he had had with friends in certain spots with a fond smile.
Severus was covertly sending glances over to the young man who fit his stride easily and, surprisingly, just as gracefully even with the limp. His footfalls were silent and if Severus wasn't watching him now he wouldn't even know the man was there. A question was bugging him that had been on his mind the moment he had left the Headmistress's office and was begging to be let into the air.
After a moment's hesitation he finally decided to ask, "Mr. Potter," his baritone voice deep and rich like chocolate, "Why did you give up your job as Head Auror? Did the Ministry Officials finally realize you were nothing but a spoiled brat and decided to actually give it to someone who has earned it?" he sneered, but part of him winced at that last part, he knew what the boy-man dammit! - had sacrificed in the war.
Harry's features froze but there was still a pleasant look on his face, for some reason Severus felt a chill go down his spine: the look was obviously fake and forced, it did not look right on the young man's face.
His voice was soft and cordially, as if he were speaking to a stranger on the street, as he answered, "I stopped being Head Auror because I have enough blood on my hands as it is and do not need to add more skeletons to my closet. I had done what I originally set out to do when I took the Auror position I was offered and I would not sit and deal with whining shits who never got off their arses or got their hands dirty with the bloods of innocents of war," Harry's voice remained cordially giving a larger impact when he delivered these sentences.
"Draco was better suited for the position, he knew how to diplomatically tell them to go fuck themselves without repercussions on the men of the department and still get the job done and that's why I recommended him in the first place. Any more questions Professor?" he asked, raising a brow. His eyes, now jade, swirled with cold anger and an eerie power, a wind blew through his locks and the very light in the hallway seemed to be fading.
Severus was taken aback and, though he hated to admit it sometimes, he knew when he was wrong and when to apologize. If they were going to work together to protect the snakes that came next year and the ones who were coming back they would at least need to be descent to each other, "I apologize for implying you were incompetent at your job and that you were inexperienced in the acts of fighting," he said grudgingly, but Harry could see he was sincere.
Slowly but surely light returned, the temperature rose and the wind disappeared. Harry's eyes softened and became a weary, faded green and he nodded his head in acceptance, "I should also apologize for snapping at you as I did," he said, his tone conveying just how bone weary he was, "I've had to many idiots who greatly resemble Fudge in personality question my actions and decisions constantly in the same condescending tone that it becomes an instinct," here his tone was sheepish as he rubbed the back of his head.
Severus winced, "Understandable."
Silence fell between them once again when Harry remembered something and quickly spoke up in prompting, "You spoke of stipulations Professor?"
Severus nodded, calmer now and fighting to push away years of prejudice that always rose to the surface at the sight of the Savior. Now that he thought about it his hatred, or dislike really, of the brat had lessened, perhaps because Harry no longer looked like a carbon copy of James Potter his tormentor. The voice was back whispering that the man was his own person and Severus had to accept the voices words as truth for the first time in a very long time.
"You will deal with the younger year snakes to start off, if there is any problems with the older students send it to me. I have monthly checks on all my students: to talk about grades, where they need improvement, where they can get assistance, and to listen if they should need someone to talk to. There are also some of my snakes who are severely abused and I have weekly meetings with them to help them reassimilate back into the school mindset as well as to help them through the psychological issues that might arise: I want you to sit in on these. I will also be putting you in charge of the Quidditch team and anything pertaining to it because you were quite the star in school. Finally, after the speech I give my own to the first years and those coming back and you may say your own piece and answer questions. Is everything clear?" he said calmly.
Harry nodded and spoke up, curiosity gleaming in his emerald orbs, "Is there a reason you are suddenly being cordial Professor, or should I worry even more that there will be some obscure potion in my coffee tomorrow morning?" he joked.
Severus felt his lips twitch slightly, "I do not have time to be acting childishly with a colleague and do not wish to risk missing something important that will affect my snakes negatively," he paused before smirking and giving in a smooth drawl, "and the potion would most likely be in your tea or pumpkin juice for neither affects the potion and both are strong enough to conceal the taste."
Harry shook his head giving a chuckle and a snort, "I know far too many men and women failed passing me a love potion by making the mistake of putting it in my coffee that I drank at the office," here he gave a mischievous wink, "never needed sugar though."
Severus found a chuckle torn from him and Harry hid his shock easily enough with a small, amused smile. They quickly approached a familiar portrait which Harry assumed would be guarding his rooms. When they came to stop in front of it Harry turned to Severus and caught his attention before he left, "If we are going to be calling a truce I would appreciate it if you called me Harry, I'm my own person and want no association with my father in your mind," he said calmly, eyes meeting Severus's own deep onyx head on without a flinch.
Severus was shocked at the man's daring but hesitantly nodded in acceptance, "You may call me Snape," he said, smoothly and Harry chuckled, "Blimey a whole title drop, careful you might make my head inflate with that favoritism," he drawled sarcastically sending Severus a playful wink before limping into the now open door that lead to his new rooms. Severus stood stock still before the now closed portrait of Salazar Slytherin before shaking his head and chuckling in amusement as he turned to make his way to his own rooms.
Salazar, who had been watching the whole scene play out the moment the two rounded the corner couldn't help but like the man whose rooms he was guarding, something told him the man brought more than a wind of change but a bloody hurricane and he couldn't wait to see where things landed.