They walked down the darkened hallway, ignoring the screams and moans that were beyond the doors they passed. Both were silent and lost in their thoughts. They didn't know what they were going to find and that left them both afraid.
Sirius looked over at Dumbledore and sighed. It had been six years since he last saw his godson. He remembered the look of betrayal on Harry's face as the Aurors dragged him out of the courtroom, the yells of hatred and scorn following him. Sirius felt pain well up inside him as he remembered that he was one of the many to yell hatefully at the boy. He would never forget the look of pain on Harry's face when he screamed that he should have died when Voldemort had killed his parents. He felt overcome with shame, and he stopped walking while trying to breathe as the feelings overwhelmed him.
He felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up at the Headmaster. The man looked at him sadly, and gently squeezed his shoulder in reassurance. Sirius took a shuddering breath, and continued walking towards Harry's cell.
Six years ago, the Ministry accused Harry of killing his best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The teachers had found him standing over their bodies, his wand in his hand and a dazed look on his face. The trial that followed was a farce, rushed through by Minister Fudge, who had been eager for an excuse to get rid of the Boy Who Lived. No one had given Harry the chance to explain what happened. The evidence was clear to them all. Harry's wand showed evidence of the Avada Kedavra curse, and Harry had been standing over their bodies; it was an open and shut case. The rage the Wizarding World felt at their savior's betrayal was overwhelming; they demanded blood.
Everyone he knew; the remaining Weasley family, Sirius, Remus, Dumbledore, even Hagrid, rejected Harry. There had been no one to save him, and the courts sentenced him to serve a lifetime in Azkaban. Six years went by and the name Harry Potter still brought looks of hatred and scowls to everyone's face.
Then the unthinkable happened. There was a Death Eater raid and many died. Some of the Aurors and the Order captured several Death Eaters. To their horror, Ginny Weasley had been among them. When questioned under Veritaserum, she confessed to killing her brother and Hermione. She told them that she joined Voldemort after Harry turned her down. Rage replaced her obsession for Harry when he refused her; she decided to make him pay.
She went to Voldemort with a plan. Her plan had been simple. Frame the Boy Who Lived, make everyone turn against Harry, and make him suffer. Where was the joy in killing the boy when he could be suffering for years? Gleefully, Voldemort agreed to the plan and Ginny stole Harry's wand, then murdered Ron and Hermione. She stunned Harry, dragged him back to the dorm where she released the spell. She then cast the Confundus spell on him, so the when he came to he wouldn't realize what was going on. Ginny ran to the Headmaster with a tale of a fight and yelling.
The Headmaster and several professors arrived just in time to see Harry get off the floor and pick up his wand, looking around in confusion. Harry never knew what hit him. Ginny went back to Voldemort and informed him of her success. They celebrated his fall from grace, and laughed gleefully as the Wizarding World turned their back on the Golden Boy. The world would have never known of the plot if it hadn't been for the lucky chance of capturing Ginny Weasley.
When the Weasleys found out what Ginny had done, they broke down. One of their own had killed another member of the family, and destroyed the life of a boy they considered one of their own. Molly Weasley had been inconsolable, while Arthur turned into a broken old man before their very eyes. Guilt overwhelmed the rest of the family as they realized that they never gave Harry the chance to explain, or even bothered to find out the truth. They just prayed that the boy would forgive them for their mistakes.
It had been the hardest for Sirius to hear because of his own personal experience with betrayal. He had been in a similar position, yet he turned his back on his godson. He hadn't been there to help Harry; he spit in the boy's face and punched him when Harry proclaimed his innocence. He hadn't believed his godson and it tore him up inside to remember his reaction. He had frozen with shock after Dumbledore told him, unable to comprehend what he heard. Remus had been with him and the werewolf howled with pain and shame. It took Snape sneering at the news to awaken Sirius from his trance. Snape was still in the infirmary, recovering from the curse that Sirius had thrown at him. Sirius prayed to whatever god that was out there that Harry would give him the chance to beg for forgiveness.
The two men finally stopped in front of a door, and waited for the guard to open it. Once the door was open, Dumbledore carefully went into the cell, and stopped in horror at the sight of the man sitting on the floor. Harry was thin; the bones were prominent, his ribs were sticking out. Harry's hair was long, it touched the floor and looked as if it hadn't been touched or cleaned in years. It was matted and filthy, and there were bugs crawling throughout it. Harry's skin had scars and scabs; it looked as if his fingernails dug in and tore at the skin. Dumbledore shuddered at the thought. He finally looked at Harry's face and bit back a gasp at Harry's eyes. There were scars around Harry's eyes. It was as if Harry tried to tear out of his skull. They were dull and hollow with no signs of life left in them. Dumbledore moaned with pain and guilt. Six years in Azkaban did what five years of Voldemort could not; it broke Harry. There was no sign of the boy Dumbledore remembered. He was no longer the smiling, laughing boy who had been so passionate about his friends, adopted family, and Quidditch.
He walked over to the young man and squatted down. "Harry, its Albus Dumbledore. Can you hear me?" he asked the broken man softly. He ignored the gasp that came from Sirius and continued to talk to Harry.
"It's time for you to go home. We know what happened now. We know that you didn't kill Ron or Hermione. It was Ginny Weasley. She killed them for revenge. She wanted to make you suffer for refusing her advances. Can you understand me, Harry?" Dumbledore asked gently.
Harry continued to stare into space. There was no spark of recognition, or awareness in his eyes. Dumbledore sighed, and then stood up. He turned towards Sirius and shook his head slowly. Sirius whimpered and rushed past the Headmaster. He squatted down and grabbed Harry's hand. "Harry, its Sirius. I'm sorry for everything, but you're free now. I'm taking you to Hogwarts, and once Poppy checks you out, you can come home with me. I know you probably hate me, but I'm going to take care of you now, kiddo. I'm so sorry, Prongslet," Sirius whispered.
Harry's eyes flickered and his eyes turned towards Sirius. Sirius gasped, shocked, and whispered excitedly, "That's it, Harry, it's me, it's Sirius. Come on, you can see me, I'm right here."
Harry's eyes focused on Sirius and he stared at him blankly. Then the eyes turned cold and he whispered hoarsely, his voice rusty from screaming and disuse, "Sirius?"
"Yeah, kiddo?" the man asked eagerly.
"Bastard! I hate you and I hope you die a horrible, painful death," Harry hissed out and his eyes glowed with insanity. Harry hurled himself at the man and began to strangle Sirius. "Die, Sirius, die…," he muttered repeatedly, spittle flying from his mouth. The eyes were looking at Sirius insanely, and he had a malicious, hate filled grin on his face. Sirius was gasping for breath as Harry choked him, his gaze horrified. He was too busy staring at Harry in shock to try to remove Harry's hands from his throat.
Dumbledore watched as Sirius talked to Harry. It looked as if he was getting through to Harry. He was shocked when Harry told Sirius that he hated him, and froze when Harry jumped on Sirius. It took a few moments before Dumbledore could think clearly enough to take out his wand and knock Harry unconscious. Harry slumped over on to his side, landing next to Sirius. Dumbledore walked over to them to check on Sirius. Sirius stared at the unconscious Harry for a second; taking in gulps of air. He looked up at Dumbledore. "He hates me," the man said mournfully. "He tried to kill me, Headmaster. I think Harry is insane." Sirius broke down crying.
Dumbledore looked at Sirius sadly. "Maybe, or he just needs time to adjust. Let's not give up hope just yet, Sirius. We need to get him out of here first, and then see what happens."
Sirius calmed down and wiped the tears from his eyes. He struggled to get to his feet and the Headmaster gave him a hand to help him up from the floor. With a flick of his wand, and a muttered, "Mobilicorpus," they walked out of the cell with the body of Harry Potter floating behind them. The Headmaster hoped that things would turn out better, but he had a feeling that things were only just beginning.
Sirius sat next to Harry's bed, holding his godson's hand. He was gazing at the gaunt looking young man; his thoughts chaotic. He couldn't get over the look in Harry's eyes when he had attacked Sirius. He had foolishly hoped that Harry would still be sane after all these years, but Harry didn't have an animagus form to help him. Sirius closed his eyes and sighed heavily. No matter what happened, he wasn't going to leave Harry. He would help him through this, and he hoped that things would work out.
He felt a hand on his shoulder, and turned to look at Remus, who was standing next to him, looking at him with concern. "You ok, Padfoot?" he asked.
"I'm fine, Moony. I just didn't expect what I saw today. I don't know why. I personally know what it's like in Azkaban. I was lucky, though. I had my animagus form to help me. Harry didn't. I thought I was getting through to him, and when he attacked me, I was too shocked to defend myself. I shouldn't have been. He hates me Moony, and he has every right to."
"It's going to be all right, Padfoot. He'll get through this, and he'll forgive you. It's what Harry does," Remus said soothingly.
The two men heard a snort behind them, and looked around to see Snape walking over to the bed, a vial of potion in his hand. He sneered at them. "If you believe that, then you two are more ignorant than I thought. You turned on him, betrayed him, spat in his face, and told him he should've died when he was a baby. Are you really dumb enough to think that this young man is going to forgive you?" Snape asked scornfully. He laughed maliciously and said, "I just hope I'm around when he tells you to go to hell."
Sirius snarled at the man and Snape sneered at him. "Down boy, do I need to use a paper?" he asked and walked over to Harry. He uncorked the vial and gently opened his mouth, pouring the contents down his throat. He massaged Harry's throat to force him to swallow the potion, then stepped back, and gazed at the two men disdainfully. "I have given him a nutrient potion to help with his weight and to give him some energy. He will be on the potions for several weeks since he has lost so much weight. Either Poppy or I will be giving them to him. Poppy has decided to keep him here for several days to give his body time to adjust to the potions. Once he's awake, we will move him to a private room where we will give him additional potions. Then the fun will really begin," he said with a wicked grin and stalked past the two furious men.
"I hate him, Moony," Sirius growled and Moony said, "I know, Padfoot, I know." He didn't want to believe Snape, but he thought the man had a point. They had betrayed Harry, and it wasn't going to be easy to get his forgiveness. All they could do was try.
Harry moaned as he moved, his body aching. He felt warmth surrounding and froze. He hadn't felt warm in years. His mind began racing, and he wondered what was going on. He opened his eyes and looked around. He saw bright white walls that were fuzzy since he didn't have his glasses on. His eyes settled on the figure next to him and he stared at Sirius. His eyebrows furrowed as he concentrated on a memory. He blinked at the hazy memory that Sirius and the Headmaster had visited him in Azkaban. He could remember attacking Sirius, trying to strangle the man with his bare hands. Wish I had killed the back stabbing bastard, he snarled to himself.
He heard clinking of glass and looked around. He saw Snape walking towards him with a vial of potions. The man was fuzzy, but he still looked the same as Harry remembered. Maybe a little grayer around the edges, but he still had the same unpleasant look on his face. Harry could honestly say that he didn't hate this man. Snape never turned on him; he never belittled him, never insulted him, never punched him, and never told him he wished he were dead, well no more than usual. While Harry didn't know if Snape believed him guilty or not, he never harmed Harry, so Harry could tolerate him.
Snape walked over to him and put the vial down next to the bed. He looked at Harry and his eyes widened in surprise. He stared at the intense green eyes that were studying him intently, "Hello, Mr. Potter," he greeted softly.
Harry's eyes hardened for a moment and then softened slightly. "Snape," he croaked. "I take it I'm at Hogwarts."
Snape glanced at him, surprised, and said, "I was given to believe that you were insane."
Harry snorted with contempt. "Don't believe everything you hear, Snape. I may be disturbed, but I am far from insane," he paused a moment before continuing, "ok, maybe a little insane."
Snape smirked at him. "I hear you tried to kill your godfather," he said, his eyes amused.
Harry snarled as rage filled his eyes. "That piece of trash deserved it. Too bad that old bastard stopped me. I could've had a real reason to stay in Azkaban. Of course, I would've been putting down a wanted criminal, so I would have been doing my duty as member of the Wizarding World," he sneered.
"Sadly, the mutt was cleared of all charges when Pettigrew was captured three years ago," Snape said with a grimace.
Harry snorted. "Figures," he snapped. He turned his head to glare at the man sleeping in the chair. "What is the flea bitten mongrel doing here, and why hasn't he woken up yet?" he asked coldly.
Snape laughed wickedly and replied, "Poppy forced him to drink a sleeping potion. As to why he is here, well, he thinks that he can beg for your forgiveness, and you'll give it to him."
Harry turned to him, his expression filled with disbelief. "You're kidding me?" he asked.
Snape shook his head "I'm afraid not. Both he and that stupid werewolf believe that you are going to forgive them. I tried to let them know that you're not that pathetic, but they are rather ignorant Gryffindors," he said disgustedly.
Once, a long time ago, he would have protested at the insult, but now he couldn't help but agree with Snape's assessment. If they thought they he was going to forgive them, then they were going to be in for a shock. There was no way in hell Harry was forgiving anyone.
Harry gazed at his former Professor and said, "Thanks."
Snape looked at him in surprise. "For what?" he asked.
"I don't know if you believed I was guilty or not, nor do I really care, but you never turned on me, and you never changed your behavior towards me. You treated me like crap before Ron and Hermione died, and while that hurt some, you never treated me any differently after their deaths. I don't feel as if you betrayed me. You never lied to me, and I want to thank you for staying true to that. Out of every one I know, you're the only one I can semi trust now. I know you'll tell me what I need to hear, whether I want to hear it or not," Harry explained.
Snape looked at him, shocked. He hadn't expected to hear that. He looked down at the thin, haunted looking man and gave him a brief smile. "I never thought you were capable of murder, Potter. You were many things; arrogant, obnoxious, a rule breaker, and a rude boy, but you were never a murderer, especially when it came to your two friends. I may not have liked you, Potter, but even I know true friendship when I see it."
Harry swallowed hard and looked away from Snape. He closed his eyes and whispered, "Thanks." He was sleepy and was about to fall back to sleep when Snape's voice startled him awake.
"You can’t go to sleep yet, Potter. I have to give you a potion."
Harry looked at Snape and asked, "What is it?"
"It's just a simple nutrient potion. You've been getting them since they brought you back from Azkaban. It's helping your body gain some much needed weight, and it is restoring the lost vitamins and nutrients that you didn't get while in Azkaban," Snape explained.
"Oh," Harry commented.
Snape handed him the potion bottle. Harry opened the vial and downed the contents. He grimaced slightly at the bitter taste, and handed Snape the empty vial. "Well that was tasty. How long have I been here?" Harry asked, curious.
"Four days. You were lucky to wake up with just me here. Poppy is at St. Mungos checking on a patient, and Dumbledore is at the Ministry," Snape informed him.
Harry nodded in understanding and his eyes began to grow heavy. He looked at Snape and said, "Next time, could you be sure to have a pair of glasses on you? I can't see worth crap." He yawned widely and fell asleep quickly.
Snape glanced at the sleeping man thoughtfully. He had a feeling that things were about to get interesting.
The next time Harry awoke, it was to the sound of humming. He looked towards the source of the noise, and found Madame Pomfrey messing with the blankets on his bed. He moved and she glanced up at him. "Ah, Mr. Potter, you're awake then. Good. I will inform the Headmaster. In the meantime, you need to take this potion," she said cheerfully.
Harry glanced at the potion she was holding suspiciously, and stared at the nurse. He glared at her. "I'm not taking crap from you, lady," he spat angrily.
She pulled back in surprise and some guilt. "I assure you Mr. Potter, it isn’t anything harmful."
Harry sat up, grabbed the potion, and threw it on the floor, where it shattered. He looked back at Pomfrey and hissed, "I am not taking crap from you. Do I have to spell it out for you, or are you that stupid?"
"Mr. Potter, I assure you…" she began, but Harry cut in, "I don't trust you, ya stupid bint. I remember the last time you tried to help me, and I can assure you that you won't get me to take anything from you ever again. If you try to force it down my throat, I will make you suffer."
Madame Pomfrey swallowed hard, and stepped back from Harry. She was afraid of the savage light she could see shining from his eyes. "Very well, Mr. Potter, I will inform the Headmaster that you're awake," she said nervously.
Harry sneered at her. "I want Snape here as well," he snapped.
"Snape?" she asked, confused.
"Don't ask, just do it," he growled, his eyes glowing green with rage.
Madame Pomfrey nodded and rushed off to inform the Headmaster. Harry leaned back against the pillow weakly and sighed. He hated the fact that he even had to talk to the woman. He remembered the last time she had 'helped' him. After the teachers detained Harry in the infirmary, a couple of seventh year Gryffindors had snuck in and proceeded to give him a beating. Madame Pomfrey stopped them and Harry had been grateful, thinking that she was going to help him. The nurse gave him a potion that she had said would help heal his bruises, but instead the potion caused him severe pain. It attacked the nerves of his body, and every time he moved, it caused extreme pain. He had screamed for several minutes as Madame Pomfrey stood there, grinning at him with malice.
She told him that he deserved more for killing his friends and if it had been up to her, she would've given him a poison to take care of him permanently. She had finally gotten tired of hearing his screams and had given him the antidote. Harry had been too weak to put up a fight when the Aurors came to arrest him. He would never forgive the woman for her malicious act, and there was no way in hell he wanted her to touch him.
Waiting impatiently for the Headmaster, Snape and probably his godfather, he closed his eyes and tried to rest. Harry's lip twisted in contempt at the thought of his Godfather and his pet werewolf. Harry was tired, not just physically, but mentally. He was tired of the hypocrisy, tired of the lies, tired of the fighting. He wanted to leave the Wizarding World. This world had brought him nothing but pain and suffering, and when he got the chance, he was gone. He didn't care about anyone in this world anymore. They had proven themselves untrustworthy, and he didn't particular care if Voldemort killed them all.
Azkaban had changed Harry; he was no longer the naïve, innocent boy he was before the Ministry had thrown him into prison at the tender age of sixteen. He had years to brood and learn how to hate those who lived in the Wizarding World. He had decided that if someone could find proof of his innocence and free him from prison, he would leave the Wizarding World. It could go to hell for all he cared. He would have to be careful, though. He knew that Dumbledore and the Ministry wouldn't let him leave. In their minds, he was their savior; he was supposed to kill Voldemort. Harry smiled grimly. The Ministry and Dumbledore were delusional if they thought that he was going to take care of their problems for them now. Voldemort could have the Wizarding World if he wanted it so bad. Harry could care less if the whole society fell. Some might call him cruel for thinking that, but he didn't care. He wasn't about to risk his life for a world that had turned on him. It wasn't worth it to him.
Harry heard a noise and opened his eyes to see the Headmaster, Snape, and his Godfather standing next to his bed. He gave Snape a respectful nod. "You wouldn't happen to know where I can get a pair of glasses do you?" he asked.
Snape opened his mouth to reply when Sirius butted in. "Why are you asking that greasy git? I can get them for you," he said eagerly.
Harry ignored his godfather and looked at Snape expectantly. Snape smirked and pulled a pair of glasses out of the pocket of his robe. He handed them to Harry and he smiled his thanks. Placing them on his face, the world came into focus for the first time in six years. He looked at the Headmaster and noticed that the man's eyes seemed to have lost their twinkle. Dumbledore looked old and tired. He gazed at Harry with guilt and sadness. Harry scowled at him and the Headmaster looked down, his face ashamed. Harry looked over at his godfather and noticed the man's hair was short, and the hair at his temples was turning white. There were deep lines running around his eyes. He looked older and worn down. Sirius was looking at him with hope in his eyes, and Harry glared at him hatefully. He watched as the hope left Sirius's eyes and the man looked away.
Harry finally looked at Snape, and noticed that the man looked a lot older than he had previously thought. He was thinner, his face was gaunter, and there were new lines around his eyes and mouth. His hair had white streaks running through it. Even though Snape was still young for a Wizard, the years of spying and torture from Voldemort looked like they were taking its toll.
He frowned thoughtfully before saying, "You look like shit."
Snape glared at him. "Well, you aren't looking any better," he snapped.
Harry smirked at him and opened his mouth to reply, but was cut off by Sirius. "Harry, why are you talking to that git? I'm right here you know," he whined.
Harry ignored his godfather again and looked at the Headmaster. "I assume you found Ginny?" he asked. "That would be the only way I could be out of Azkaban."
The Headmaster looked at him in surprise and asked, "You knew who killed Ron and Hermione? How?"
"One, you told me in Azkaban, Two, visions," Harry replied slowly, as if talking to a child. "Three, Ginny visited me in Azkaban to share with me the happy news. Unfortunately, since no one here wanted to believe in my innocence, I was unable tell anyone. I assume that bitch will be rotting in hell soon?" he asked.
Dumbledore nodded and replied, "She was given the Kiss yesterday."
"Well, it couldn’t happen to a nicer psycho," Harry muttered.
Snape snickered and Harry grinned up at him. "And people thought I was insane," Harry said with a grin.
"Damn it Harry, don't ignore me. I don't understand why you need to talk to that greasy-headed Death Eater, but you can ignore him now. I'm here and you need to talk to me," Sirius shouted.
Harry turned his head slowly to look at Sirius. His eyes were glowing with rage and Sirius licked his lips nervously. "I hadn't forgotten what I told you in Azkaban. I hate you, and if I could've, I would've killed you where you stood. My parents made a huge mistake naming you as my godfather. You have done nothing but hurt me. I'm ashamed that I even know you. You are dead to me, Sirius Black. From this day forward, I will never utter your name again. May you burn in hell," he growled.
Sirius flinched as if Harry had hit him. He took a step back and stared at Harry, shocked. "No, Harry. I'm sorry. Please, you have to forgive me. I never meant to…" he began to plead.
"Never meant to do what, dogboy? Did you never mean to spit on me? Did you never mean to punch me? Did you never mean to tell me I should have died? Please, stand there and beg with your pitiful excuses. Tell me how misunderstood you were, how you were overly emotional. Please tell me that you didn't mean it, but you're here now, ready to take care of me. Tell me, what other stupid ass excuses do you have to justify your actions? You knew, dogboy, you knew what it was like to be betrayed," Harry said coldly, his eyes bright green with rage. "You knew, yet you still betrayed me."
"You knew that I was the number one enemy of Voldemort, and yet you didn't find it the least bit suspicious that I was suddenly the supposed killer of my best friends? The very two people who meant the world to me? They meant more to me than even you. I considered them my family and yet, you thought there was nothing wrong with the fact that I was to have killed them? How stupid are you, dogboy? Let me tell you, if it had been you, I would've done everything in my power to find out the truth. I would've fought tooth and nail to clear your name, but then that’s where we're different, dogboy."
"I actually thought you loved me. I thought of you as family. Apparently, I mean shit to you. You're nothing to me anymore, dogboy, you or that pathetic pet of a werewolf that you own. I am over the legal age now, and I have no use for you in my life anymore. Please leave here and don't ever come back. I don't want to see you again. If I have to, I'll go to the Ministry, and file a complaint against you. I'm sure they want to keep their precious savior happy right now," Harry said with a sneer. He watched as his godfather wilted in front of him and agony spread over his face. Harry felt nothing but disgust for his godfather.
He turned away and happened to catch Snape's eyes. They looked amused and impressed. Harry smirked at him and glanced at the Headmaster. He was looking at Harry with disapproval and Harry glared at him coldly. "What do you want, you old bastard? You find my words objectionable? Are you going to stand there and ask me to do the right thing? To forgive my dumbass godfather? The day I forgive him is the day I forgive you, and since that isn't going to happen anytime soon you had better not hold your breath. Remember this, Dumbledore, I don't need you. You and the pathetic Wizarding World need me to save your arses from Voldemort. Remember the prophecy, old man. I don't have to kill him. I can sit on my ass and do nothing. I have no reason to save any of you. So, if you don't want me to sit back and watch as you all die, you had better get the hell out of my face. I don't need your crap either. I don't want to see you or dogboy anymore. I would prefer Snape to take care of me because if that bitch touches me, I'll cause her so much pain she'll wish that she was dead," he snapped as he noticed the nurse hovering behind Snape.
Snape looked at him, surprised by Harry's tone and asked, "What did Poppy do to you?"
"The day I was detained, that bitch gave me a potion that caused pain throughout my whole body. It was like being under the Crucio curse. I couldn't move without screaming, and the whole time she stood there and grinned in glee. Didn't you?" he asked the ashamed woman.
They all turned to look at her in horror, and she turned away, her face ashamed. Harry laughed bitterly. "Oh, now you're horrified. I'm sure at the time you would have been delighted by her actions. Don't be such hypocrites. You would've done nothing more than applaud her at the time. Isn't that what all traitors deserve?" he spat.
Sirius turned towards him and began to plead, "Please, Harry, I didn't know. I'm sorry for what I said, for what I did. Please just give me another chance. I can make things right between us, I know I can. Please Harry, just one more chance!"
"You had your chance," Harry hissed, "and you screwed it up. There are no other chances."
Sirius's eyes filled with tears, and he laid his hand on Harry's arm. He stiffened and the glass in the room began to shake as Harry's eyes began to glow with green fire. He felt a spike in his power, and Sirius went flying across the room. "Don't ever touch me again. I can't stand you near me. Get out and never come back. You too, old man, and take that bitch with you!" Harry yelled. He was panting with rage and the glass on the table next to the bed shattered. Dumbledore rushed over to Sirius, and helped the distraught man up. Together with Poppy, they rushed out of the infirmary. Harry couldn't control his rage anymore, and screamed at the top of his lungs. All the glass in the infirmary shattered, spilling potions all over the floor. Beds went flying, their frames twisted into misshapen things. The floor was cracked, and the doors blasted out of their frames. The wind that blew through the infirmary suddenly stopped, and Harry collapsed against the bed, panting hard. He looked around the wrecked infirmary, his expression stunned. He glanced at Snape, who had erected a shield to save himself from the flying glass and grunted wearily. "Well shit," he said then passed out.
Snape looked around at the destruction of the infirmary, then at the boy, and sighed. He now knew why the young man was able to defeat the Dark Lord so many times. He also knew why Harry was part of the prophecy. If he could get the young man pissed off at the Dark Lord, there would be nothing left of the man. Snape bent over and gathered the young man in his arms.
He turned around and walked out of the infirmary. He happened upon the Headmaster and Poppy as he walked down the hall. He stopped a second and looked at them. "You might want to go back and clean your infirmary. Potter here had a little tantrum," Snape said, amused. "I'm taking him down to my room to take care of him since he wants none of you to have anything to do with him. Good day." Snape nodded at them, and continued his way down to the dungeon. He gave the painting on his door the password, and took Potter to his guest bedroom. He gently laid Potter on the bed, pulled the blankets down, and tucked them over the unconscious man. He took off Potter's glasses and placed them on the nightstand next to the bed. He made sure that Potter was comfortable, and then after a brief glance at the man, he turned and left the room.
Harry woke up slowly. He moaned in pain as he moved his legs. What happened? he wondered groggily. I'm in so much pain. Did I get cursed? Harry's eyes fluttered open and he glanced around the unfamiliar room. The walls were dark red with walnut wood trim. There was a large lit fireplace made of marble in the corner of the room. Looking around, Harry didn't see any windows. It was a dark room, but it was still a nice room. He glanced around for a clock, and saw his glasses on the nightstand, next to the bed. He leaned over to get his glasses, and moaned in pain at the movement. He hissed and moved more carefully, stretching to reach his glasses. He grabbed them and laid back against the pillows. He put on his glasses and yawned widely. He needed to go to the bathroom, but he didn't have a clue as to where it was. He considered his options, and decided that he couldn't wait any longer. He pulled back the blankets and began to get out of bed. Every movement was like a sharp knife stabbing through him. He didn't know what happened to cause this pain, but he hoped he didn't do it again.
His foot touched the floor just as the door to the room flew open. He looked up in surprise, and saw Snape standing in the doorway. "What do you think you're doing?" he snapped as he crossed his arms. The Potions Master glared at him, daring him to lie.
"I need to go to the bathroom," Harry whined.
"Ah, you can find the bathroom after you take some potions," Snape informed him.
"What happened to me? Why do I ache so much?" Harry asked.
"You did a bit of wandless magic. Your suppressed emotions overwhelmed you, and you trashed the infirmary. You were already weak, and expending all that magic didn't help you any. You lowered your magic level significantly. Frankly, you blew a fuse if I remember the Muggle quote accurately. Now, be a good boy and take your potions," Snape said, holding out the vials of potions.
"This one is your nutrient potion, this one is your energy potion, and this one is a pain relieving potion. I am assuming you need that one?" Snape asked archly as he held up the light blue potion. Harry nodded vigorously and grabbed the pain-relieving potion eagerly. He opened it and gulped it down. It took a few seconds before it began working. Harry sighed in relief as the pain in his body slowly disappeared. He felt much better. He swallowed the other potions, and looked at Snape expectantly. The older man sighed, impatiently. "Follow me," he ordered. Harry got off the bed and they walked out of the bedroom and across the living area. Snape stood in front of a door, opened it, and stood aside to let Harry in. "While you're in here, why don't you freshen up. I'm sure you could do with a bath," Snape said.
Harry nodded distractedly, and looked at the bathtub longingly. It had been years since he last had a bath. He paused and asked over his shoulder, "How long was I in Azkaban?"
"Six years," came Snape's abrupt reply. Harry swallowed a lump of anger, and walked over to the tub. He filled it with hot water and when it was full enough, he took off his clothes and stepped in. The water was hot and Harry hissed a little. He sat down, and leaned back, sighing in contentment. Muscles that had been sore for years began to loosen, and Harry felt warmth spread throughout his body. He whimpered happily and closed his eyes. He soaked for several minutes before deciding to wash his hair. He looked around the tub and found several bottles of shampoo and conditioner sitting in the corner. He grabbed a bottle and opened it.
It smelled like coconut. He poured some shampoo in the palm of his hand and began to lather his hair. Someone must have used a spell to clean his hair previously for it was no longer matted. Harry needed to cut it, but he would worry about it later. He rinsed then washed it one more time, before adding the conditioner. After finishing with his hair, he proceeded to wash his body. He washed several times before he was satisfied. He emptied the tub of its dirty water and refilled it again. This time he soaked for the pure joy of it. He closed his eyes and dozed off. He didn't know how long he had been asleep before Snape banged on the door, waking him up. "What?" he yelled, annoyed by the interruption.
"Are you done? You've been in there for a couple of hours," Snape asked, concern lacing his voice.
"I'm fine. I'll be out in a few minutes," Harry called out. He heard Snape grunt and walk away from the door.
Harry noticed that the water had cooled. Figuring it was time to get out; he pushed himself out of the tub and stood. He looked around and found a robe hanging on the back of the door. He grabbed it, and to his surprise, it fit. Maybe Snape left it while I was dozing or even a house-elf. Not overly concerned, he turned back to the tub and drained it. With a yawn, he turned towards the door, and walked out of the bathroom.
"Hey, Snape, can you cut hair? I need to get rid of this crappy hair," he said and looked up. He stopped and scowled at the man sitting on the couch. He looked over at Snape and asked, "Do you have any clothes which I could borrow? I have nothing to wear. I believe Molly destroyed all my things. Not that it matters. I've grown some and lost a lot of weight. I guess that's what happens when one is thrown into prison," Harry watched the Headmaster wince several times. He took enjoyment out making Dumbledore uncomfortable.
Snape looked at him, his eyes amused. "I placed some clothes for you in the bedroom. When you get well enough, I'll take you to Diagon Alley, and there you can get more clothes, and maybe a new wand," he said.
Harry froze and opened his mouth to reply, but remembered that Dumbledore was sitting on the couch. It wouldn't do for the Headmaster to know of his plans. He breathed a large sigh and said, "Fine, if we have to."
Snape sneered and replied, "Indeed we do. I will not have you mooching off me. You're a big boy now and you have your own money. You can take care of yourself."
Harry grinned at him. "Of course, oh growly one," he said mockingly.
Snape glared at him, and the Headmaster cleared his throat. "Harry," he began.
"Mr. Potter," Harry snapped.
The Headmaster looked at him, confused, and asked, "Excuse me?"
"My name is Mr. Potter. Use it. Only my friends can call me Harry, and you are not one of them. If you can't give me that courtesy, then we have nothing to talk about," Harry said coldly.
"Very well, Mr. Potter, I would…" Dumbledore began again and Harry interrupted him.
"Does this have anything to do with the Ministry?" Harry asked coolly.
"Well, no," Dumbledore replied, his expression confused.
"Does this have anything to do with my money and family estate?" Harry asked.
"No," Dumbledore answered.
"Then we have nothing to talk about. I don't want to talk about this school, the Wizarding World, Voldemort, the Weasleys, Dogboy or his pet werewolf. I don't want to talk about forgiveness, my duty, the prophecy, what happened in the infirmary, or hear your pathetic excuses for getting me to forgive others. In other words Headmaster, I don't want to talk to you. I would hate to have to destroy Snape's room, but I will if you touch me, talk to me or try to force me to stay here." Harry looked over at Snape and said, "I'm tired. I'm going to go lie down. If you would, let me know when dinner rolls around." With that said, he left the room, and slammed the bedroom door in anger. Even after telling him, the Headmaster thought he could just waltz in here and talk to him as if nothing had ever happened. I can't wait to leave this god-forsaken place. I hate it here and the sooner I'm away from it, the better the better I'll be, Harry thought.
Snape watched as Potter stomped into his bedroom and slammed the door. He turned back to the stunned Headmaster and smirked. "Looks like Potter isn't ready for forgiveness just yet," Snape said.
Dumbledore shook his head and replied, "I have to admit, I didn't think it would be this hard to get his forgiveness."
Snape looked at him, his face filled with disbelief. "And that was your first mistake," he stated. "Your second is thinking that you're getting any forgiveness at all. I can tell you right now that it's a pipe dream. It's not going to happen."
Dumbledore looked at him and asked seriously, "Do you think he's going to run?"
Snape snorted. "Hardly. While he hates you, dogboy and the werewolf, he loves magic, and I doubt that he would let the Wizarding World fall into the hands of Voldemort. He is too much of a Gryffindor for that. Potter is a hero," he sneered. "He will do his duty, but he'll do it his way. He may even forgive all of you eventually. I don't think it's likely, but it could happen."
Dumbledore sighed heavily. "I know. I know Harry won't let us down. He owes it to the Wizarding World to save them and he will. That's just the way he is, but it's hard to watch him. He is so angry with everyone," he said sadly.
"Don't you think he has a right to be angry?" Snape asked with narrowed eyes.
Dumbledore winced. "I suppose so," he agreed. "I just hope he doesn't allow it to fester. The boy would be better off with his friends. The sooner he sees that, the better. I need to go. I have to calm down Sirius. He was quite upset after Harry's speech."
Snape snorted and the Headmaster gave him a sharp look. "Look out for the boy would you? Let me know if he needs anything," Dumbledore said and Snape nodded. He watched as the Headmaster left his room. Once the door closed, Snape's expression grew grim. "Oh yes, that boy's going to run, and I'm going to help him," he said softly.
"Why?" a voice asked behind him, and he whirled around to see Potter staring at him, shocked.
Snape sighed. "The Headmaster expects you to save them now that you're out of Azkaban. It is your duty; you owe it to the Wizarding World," Snape replied with a sneer. "They are a bunch of hypocrites who put their faith in a child, and then turned their backs when they thought you had killed someone. Now that it's proven you hadn't, you're expected to put on the mantel of savior again and save all those who turned on you. Why would you stay, Potter?" Snape asked.
Harry shook his head and said, "I hadn't planned on staying. I was just surprised that you were going to help me."
"For eleven years you have been the savior of the Wizarding World. You were expected to fight the Dark Lord year after year. I watched as you slipped deeper into depression, pushing everyone but Weasley and Granger away. You spent six years in a hellhole for a crime you didn’t commit simply because it was easier to blame you than it was to find the real killer. Your time here is done, Potter. It's time for you to live your life, and let the Wizarding World live theirs. It's time for them to learn what its like to live without a crutch or a savior," Snape explained.
Harry stared at Snape for a moment before giving him a small smile. "What about you?" he asked. "If I leave, you're in just as much danger as anyone else, if not more. While I could care less about the rest of the Wizarding World, I don't want to leave you here alone. You never betrayed me."
Snape looked at him with surprise before smiling. "I thank you for your concern, Potter. I appreciate it, but you don’t have to worry about me. I'm afraid that I don't have much longer as it is," he informed him.
Harry looked at him, confused. "What do you mean?" he inquired.
"I'm dying, Harry. I have four months at the most. The years of torture from the Dark Lord has finally had an affect. My body is breaking down, and there isn't anything anyone can do about it. It has become my last goal in life to make sure that you're taken care of before I die," Snape explained.
Harry was stunned. For some reason, the thought of Snape dying bothered him. "Are you sure there isn't anything anyone can do?" he asked.
Snape shook his head. "I'm sure," he replied. "I haven't told the Headmaster yet because he would try to save me anyway he could, and frankly Potter, I'm tired. With you taken care of, my debt to your father will be fulfilled. I can finally die and find some peace."
Harry nodded somberly. "I understand. Its funny how just as I find out I like you as a person, I also find out that you're dying. I wish I could've gotten to know you better. If it's all right with you, I would like to stay with you until the end. I can get myself organized so that when you die, I can leave the Wizarding World. It'll also give Dumbledore a false sense of security that I haven't run yet," Harry said with a smirk.
Snape chuckled. "That's positively Slytherin of you. I would like the company, Potter. You also need the time to get better, and to take care of your estate. It would be a good idea to move it to a muggle bank if you have no thoughts of coming back here."
Harry nodded with understanding. "That would be a good idea," he said. Harry rubbed his hands together and chirped cheerfully, "I'm hungry and I need some food. Then I need some more sleep. I'm still quite weak."
Snape nodded and called for a house-elf. He requested dinner for two and when it disappeared Snape looked over at Harry and softly whispered, "I thank you, Potter."
Harry looked at him, surprised. "For what?" he asked.
"For staying with me I guess. Its kind of nice to know that I won't be alone until the end," Snape explained softly.
Harry smiled and nodded. "You're quite welcome. Since I'm staying you can call me Harry."
"And you may call me Severus," Snape responded with a smile.
Several weeks went by, and the two men spent as much time together as they could. Harry took his potions, ate, and rested. He had nightmares about his stay in Azkaban. His emotions fluctuated, and there were several times where he would burst into tears over the simplest thing. He would also scream in terror at things only he could see, but Severus was there to help him. Eventually the episodes lessened, and Harry's emotions began to calm. With the good food and potions, he gained some much needed weight. He finally began to look healthy. With Severus's help, he began to plan where to go after the Potion Master's death. He would need to go somewhere where he wouldn't be found because he knew that as soon as he disappeared, there would be a worldwide search for him.
Severus told him of an untraceable portkey that could be made, but it took so much magic that one needed several days to recuperate. Severus had offered to make it for him as soon as Harry found a place to live.
The Headmaster came by several times during the weeks to try to talk to Harry, but he was ignored. Severus had told Harry about how Black had yelled and screamed at him, blaming Severus for keeping his godson away from him, conveniently forgetting that Harry had told him to never darken his doorway again. Harry shook his head, annoyed at his former godfather's antics. Never thinks about anyone but himself, he thought with disgust.
The Weasleys had also approached Severus with requests to see him. He told them that he would pass along the requests, but it would be up to Harry to choose whether or not he would see them. As of yet, Harry had no interest in seeing the rest of the Weasleys. There was no reason to see them now that Ron was gone. They had turned on him as well, and Harry no longer wanted anything to do with them. There was no one in the Wizarding World he cared for anymore except for Severus, and he would be losing that person in a few months. That thought caused Harry pain. He never thought he would get attached to the man as quickly as he had, but Severus had become his best friend, his mentor, and his father figure all rolled into one. To know that he was going to lose him in a few months made him want to cry, but he wouldn't. He had to be strong for Severus. He could see the pain that the man was in, and he knew that Severus hated being looked at with pity. So Harry stuffed down his emotions, and spent as much time with his friend as he could.
Harry looked up as Severus came stalking into the room. He smiled at Harry. "It's time for you to do some shopping. You need to get another wand, some new clothes, and maybe an owl." Hedwig had been killed by Bill Weasley in retaliation to Ron's death. That was another thing he could never forgive the Weasleys for.
"All right," Harry replied eagerly. Harry put aside his book and got out of the chair. He walked into his bedroom and fixed his hair. He pulled it back and clipped it. Looking into the mirror, he nodded with satisfaction. Severus had finally cut Harry's hair after he threw down his brush in disgust and ranted about how he could do nothing with it. Harry had kept some of the length and it now reached the top of his shoulder. He had it pulled back and held it with a clip that Severus had given him. It was sterling silver with a snake engraved on it. It was quite lovely, and when Severus told him that it belonged to his beloved Grandfather, Harry had treasured it all the more. In his many talks with Severus, he knew that the Potions Master had loved his grandfather dearly, so it had made the gift precious to Harry.
Harry walked out of the bedroom and looked at Severus. "I'm ready," he said.
The dark-haired man followed Severus out of the door and up the stairs to the main floor. Harry hoped that he wouldn't run into his godfather, but he had a feeling that the man was just waiting for a chance to find him.
They walked out of the castle together, and across Hogwarts grounds. Before they could reach the gate, there was a sound of a dog barking. Harry stiffened and turned around, just into time to be thrown onto the ground by a large black dog. The dog proceeded to lick his face, and Harry grabbed the dog and pushed him off. Severus helped him to stand, and Harry glared at the dog in disgust. He glanced up at the man who was walking up behind the dog and growled with anger. He watched as the dog transformed into his godfather. Sirius rushed forward to give him a hug and Harry punched him.
Black fell to the ground and stared at Harry, shocked. He saw the look of insane rage on his godson's face and swallowed hard. He was suddenly afraid of the man his godson had become. Harry glared down at Sirius. "I thought I told you not to bother me again. I believe I told you not to bring your pet werewolf around either. You can't even do a simple thing like that. That is so typical of you. You think of no one else but yourself. Leave me the hell alone, or next time I'll do more than punch you. You don’t seem to think I was serious in my threats to you, but I was. Stay away from me, dogboy," Harry snapped coldly. He turned to walk away when he heard a yell behind him.
Sirius stood up and yelled at Snape, "This is all your fault, you greasy git. If you hadn't hidden him away from me, he would have already forgiven me." Sirius pulled out his wand and aimed it towards Snape. "Cruc…" he began to yell out, but Harry turned around quickly, and grabbed Sirius' hand. He twisted it and Harry heard it snap. He hadn't meant to break it, but at that point he didn't particularly care. Sirius screamed in pain and Harry grabbed Sirius' wand.
Holding the broken wrist in his hand, he squeezed and watched as his godfather screamed once again. Leaning in, he growled out menacingly, "If you try to hurt Severus again, I will give the Ministry a damn good reason to send me back to Azkaban. Touch him and I will kill you. I meant it when I said you were dead to me. It's not Severus that was keeping me from you, it was me. I wanted nothing to do with you. Leave me the hell alone or a broken wrist will seem trivial by the time I get finished with you." Harry dropped Sirius's hand, and watched coldly as the werewolf ran forward to help Sirius.
Harry looked at the werewolf, disgust written on his face. "Take that pathetic mutt away from here, and make sure he doesn't bother me again. The idiot has no one to blame but himself. I don't forgive those who turn their backs on me. I don't forgive those who betrayed me." With that said, he took Sirius's wand and snapped it in two. He threw the pieces on the ground. He looked around and noticed that the Weasleys were looking at him, horrified. "Let that be a lesson to those who want to beg for my forgiveness. It'll never happen. Don't waste my time or yours." With a glare worthy of Snape, Harry turned and walked over to Severus. Together they walked through the gates and past the wards.
Sirius moaned in pain, both physical and emotional. "I've lost him, Moony, I've lost him," he said and burst into tears.
Moony bowed his head and tears fell from his eyes. He didn't know if Sirius was going to recover from this.
Harry walked past the wards and looked over at Severus. "You know, I have no clue how to apparate. I didn't actually learn anything while in Azkaban, you know."
Severus smiled at him. "I am aware of this which is why I have a portkey. The wards around Hogwarts block portkeys. Since we are no longer behind the wards we are able to use it." Severus pulled out a small empty vial, and held it out for Harry to touch. Harry touched it and felt the navel pulling sensation that meant the portkey had been activated. They appeared in front of Gringotts and Harry felt a little sick. "Have I mentioned that I hate portkeys?" Harry asked, his face a little green.
Severus gave him a wicked smile. "Maybe once or twice," he said with a smirk.
Harry snorted and began the walk up the steps to Gringotts. When they were inside the bank, they went to the nearest goblin. Harry showed the goblin his key. "I need to talk to someone about my account," he said.
The goblin gave him a disgruntled look before walking off. Harry waited impatiently for the goblin to come back. He noticed the goblin walking towards him and behind him was another goblin that looked vaguely familiar.
"My name is Griphook. How can I help you?" the goblin asked.
"This is a private matter that needs secrecy," Harry replied.
The goblin looked at them with an intense look before nodding. "Follow me," he said, and walked away with Harry and Severus following behind him.
They walked over to a door, and walked into a rather large office. There were several paintings of the Goblin wars, and one that looked like a family portrait. Griphook touched a crystal and muttered several words. Harry could feel a flash of magic coming from the crystal, then nothing. He glanced around curiously, but didn't see anything different.
Griphook sat at the desk and looked at them. "I have put a security spell to discourage eavesdroppers. What is it that you need?" he inquired
Harry leaned back in the chair and looked at the goblin coolly. "I would like to have a list of all the money and businesses that my family own or has invested in. I would also like a separate listing of all the homes that my family own. I would like a separate list of homes that no one knows about, the ones that are unplotable. I will be requiring more help after I look at my estate," Harry explained.
The goblin nodded and waved his finger. The drawer next to him flew open and began to rifle through it. He pulled out a large folder, and then a smaller one. He placed them both on the desk in front of Harry.
Harry dragged them over to him, and opened the large folder first. He was floored by the number of holdings he had. He skimmed through it quickly and found that all of his businesses were Muggle related. That didn’t make sense to Harry. Why were there no Wizarding businesses in the family? He looked up at the goblin and asked, "How come all of my investments and holdings are Muggle businesses?" Harry's eyes bulged when he saw investments in Microsoft and AOL. Microsoft he could understand to some extent since his parents were alive then, but AOL wasn't founded until 1985. How could they have invested money in that particular business?
"How were some of these investments made? AOL was founded in 1985; my parents were killed in 1981. It doesn't make sense plus the fact that all of these businesses are Muggle related. Where are the Wizarding businesses?" Harry asked, bewildered.
Griphook open the drawer again and pulled out another folder. He opened it and began to skim through it, before pulling out a piece of paper and read it. He put it down and looked at Harry before replying, "All Wizarding business were either sold or dissolved in 1980. In the same year, the Potters invested in thirty small named, relatively unknown Muggles businesses. There are several software companies, insurance companies and construction companies. There were instructions on when to invest in future businesses, such as your AOL investment."
"But why?" Harry asked, confused.
Griphook picked up an envelope and gave it to Harry. He took it, opened it, and began to read. His eyes widened with surprise at what he read.
Lily and I hope you never have to read this, but if you do then that means our friend Sophia was right and we are dead.
Sophia Wainwright is a dear friend of ours, but she is also a seer. On her advice we have dissolve, and sold all of our Wizarding businesses. We have invested all that money into several unknown Muggles businesses that will, in time, flourish and grow, making more money than thought possible. We have also left instructions to invest in certain companies in the future as advised by Sophia
Harry, my son, if you are reading this then that means the Wizarding World has turned its back on you and you are preparing to leave it. I have hopes that it will not come to this, but our friend Sophia has never been wrong. So, with this in mind, we have made it easier for you to leave.
In America, there is a lovely six bedroom, three bathroom, two story house that no one knows about. It has been hidden behind wards, so that it can never be found by the Wizarding World. It has also been hidden by the Fidelius spell, and below is the address to the home so that you may find it. Show only those you trust not to betray you. The secret-keeper is a lovely house-elf by them name of Tinker. She is half house-elf and half- fairy, and she will live quite a long time. Don't ask me how that happened, son, as the images give me nightmares. Just accept it and move on. Tinker should be with you throughout your whole life, and possibly your children's lives, if you have any.
Harry, I want you to know that your mother and I are proud of you, and we are in no way ashamed or disappointed in you for leaving. I understand completely that you can no longer stay in a World that has betrayed and hurt you so much. I'm sure that you're wondering that if we knew ahead of time about your situation, then that must mean we knew about our deaths. We do, son. We know we're going to die, but in our death there will be years of relative peace. It is something that needs to be done. Our only worry is you. We took measures to have you raised by Sirius, as he is your godfather. I hope that you will have a good life with him. We don't know when the Wizarding World will betray you or why, we just know that it does. I hope with the help of Sirius and Remus, you can find some peace afterwards. Give those two rascals our love, for I know that this will be hard on them as well.
I'm sure by now you know about the prophecy regarding you. Ignore it! Know that Voldemort will eventually be defeated, but it won't be by you. Sophia said that the victorious one will be "the one who has a love of plants". I have no idea who that might be, but it won't be you. So go, live, be free to do what you want. Live how you want without the worries of the Wizarding World to burden you. Your mother and I love you very much, and we are never more proud of you than at this very moment.
With all our love,
Your loving parents,
James and Lily Potter
125 Clover Road
Harry reached up to wipe the tears that had fallen from his eyes. He gave Severus the letter to read, and the man looked at him with surprise. Harry nodded his head and Severus took the note. Harry watched the expression cross the man's face, and when he was finally done he looked over and Harry and smiled. "You're free," he said joyfully.
Harry nodded and smiled. "I am. Voldemort will be defeated, but not by me. If I read it right, Neville will be the one to kill him. It only makes sense since we were the two the prophecy talked about. I don't have to stay around here anymore. Well, other than for you."
Severus looked at him seriously and said, "Harry, you know that you don't have to stay for me. You can leave at anytime."
Harry shook his head. "You're my last friend Severus, and I'm not about to leave you. No, I'll stay until the very end." Harry watched as Severus' eyes shined for a brief moment before he looked away to regain his composure.
Harry turned his attention back to the attentive goblin. "I want all my money, holdings, and investments to be transferred to a Muggle bank account under the name of Jamison Ronald Granger. All wizarding properties shall be placed under that name as well, and I want it hidden from the Wizarding World. I want to keep the original paperwork and all other copies are to be destroyed. There are to be no copies except for what I have. I want all traces of any transactions done in the Potter name to be destroyed. I don't want anyone in the Wizarding World to be able to find a thing. I also want a Blood Oath contract written and signed by you that states that you will never tell anyone where I am, what I was doing here, that I had even been here, and what my new name is. As far as the Wizarding World is concerned, Harry James Potter has disappeared off the face of the earth," he explained.
Griphook stared at him, and with a small smile, he nodded. "Very well Mr. Potter, I will do so. If you would wait for me here?" Griphook asked and Harry nodded. He watched as the small goblin got up from his desk and walked out of the office.
Severus and Harry waited for over an hour, making small talk. They talked about what Harry was going to do in his new life. Now that Harry was rich, working wouldn't be a concern. Harry thought he might investigate the Wizarding World of the States, and see what they had to offer. He knew that the American Wizarding World was more diverse and less controlled. He didn't want to be away from magic completely.
Griphook walked back into the office and sat down at the desk. "I have opened an account for you in Durango, Colorado under the name of Jamison Ronald Granger. I have also opened another account for you in the Bank of America in Denver. You have over a billion dollars of American Muggle money, and the bank in Durango was not large enough to cover it. I have also taken the courtesy of making you several Muggle identifications under your new name," he explained. He opened the folder and pulled out several items. He handed them to Harry, who took them. "This is a Driver's License, this is your Birth Certificate, this one is your Social Security card, and this is your Passport. Since you are a British citizen, you will also need Green Card. This one updates every two years. You won't have to worry about renewing it. If there is anything else that you need, please send me an owl, and I will get it for you." Griphook informed him.
Griphook also gave Harry the original paperwork of the transactions. He handed over all the paperwork for Harry's Estate. Harry watched as Griphook burned the copies, and then he passed over the Blood Oath contract. Harry took and looked at it with satisfaction. He looked at the goblin and smiled. He put out his hand for the goblin to shake, and Griphook looked at him, surprised. Apparently, he wasn't use to such respect. Griphook shook his hand, and Harry gave him a respectful nod. "It was a pleasure doing business with you, Griphook. I'm not for sure if the Goblin Society cares or not, but Voldemort will be eventually defeated. It just won't be by me. Maybe you should make sure that your holdings are secure just to be on the safe side."
With another nod, Harry left the office, with Severus following him. They walked out of the bank together, and Severus looked over at Harry. "Where to next?" he asked.
"I guess we should go to Ollivanders. I need a new wand," Harry replied thoughtfully.
They made their way towards the wand maker's shop. They passed the twin's business and Harry stopped suddenly. He stared at the shop absently. "If I invest in a business and they make me a silent partner, can I sue them if my portion of the money was never put into my account?" Harry asked Severus loudly, and the Potions Master gave him a puzzled look. He glanced around and saw the Weasley twins standing by the door of their shop, looking at Harry with sadness.
Severus smirked as he realized what Harry was doing. "Yes, I'm pretty sure you can sue them for everything they owe you," he replied. "Also with the fact that you are the Boy Who Lived and you were unjustly imprisoned, the Ministry would like to keep their savior happy. You could probably get more than that. They might even give you the business in compensation."
Harry looked over at the twins and said with a sneer, "I'll keep that in mind." He watched with glee as the twins paled, their expression horrified, and went running back into their shop, no doubt to find a way to stop Harry from taking their shop.
Harry snickered and began to walk down the street again. They finally made it to Ollivander's shop and Harry walked in. He looked around the dark small shop, trying to find the weird old man who owned the shop.
"Ah, Mr. Potter, I was wondering if I would be seeing you again. Here for a new wand I assume?" Mr. Ollivander inquired as he came out from behind the shelves.
"No, I just came to play with the pretty sticks," Harry replied sarcastically. "What do you think?" he sneered.
Mr. Ollivander looked at him, his expression surprised, then brushed aside the comment. "If you would please Mr. Potter, please hold out your wand hand. If I remember correctly, it's your right hand, is that so?"
Harry nodded, held out his arm, and watched the man began to measure him. Harry knew that he had grown since the first time he had come here, so he waited patiently for the man to do his job. After Mr. Ollivander was done, the old man wandered behind the shelves and began to pick out several boxes. He brought them to the counter, and Harry tried them all, but none of them seemed to work. Harry sighed softly. This might take a while, he thought, annoyed.
"Not to worry, not to worry. Every wizard has a wand. The older you get, the more your power grows. What may not have worked for you as a child could be the very wand for you today," Mr. Ollivander said cheerfully. He searched and there was still no wand for Harry. He stopped and looked at Harry thoughtfully before saying, "I think I have it. Excuse me a second while I get it."
The old man rushed into the back of his shop and began to rummage through some boxes. Harry could him mumbling to himself. Finally, he heard "Aha! Found it," from the back of the shop and the man rushed back into the room.
Mr. Ollivander set the box down and opened it. Harry stared at the wand in wonder, and he knew that he had found his wand. He picked up the white wand and waved it. There was flash of light, and the wand began to glow and Harry felt his magic flare up and then calm down. The wand stopped glowing, and Harry looked at the delighted old man with a question on his face. "What is it made of?" Harry asked.
"The wood is White Birch from America. It's very sturdy but pliable. It was spelled and blessed by a Native American shaman. Three were blessed and spelled, and they were given to my great grandfather as a gift. He made three different wands with three different cores, and the first two found their wizards, but this one never found its wizard until now," Mr. Ollivander explained cheerfully.
"What's the core?" Harry asked.
"Heart of a basilisk," Mr. Ollivander said with a smile.
Harry looked at him, surprised. "Really?"
"Yes, Mr. Potter. It's a very powerful wand. I believe it is in the right hands now. Take good care of it."
Harry nodded and paid the man for the wand. With a small wave, Severus and Harry left the shop.
"Now where?" Severus asked.
"I need to get some new clothes," Harry stated.
"Very well, meet me at the Leaky Cauldron when you're done. I have to get a few things," Severus said. Harry agreed and went off to find his clothes.
Severus turned and walked in the opposite direction. He went to the Apothecary where he picked up a few ingredients for a potion he was making. He took his time as he figured it would be a while before Harry was done shopping for clothes. He reached down to get a vial, and winced as his body stiffened with pain. He breathed softly through the pain, and waited for it to subside before walking slowly. The bouts of pain were getting more frequent. He tried to hide them from Harry, but he knew he wasn't doing a very good job. He had seen Harry look at him in concern several times. It would figure that the one time he felt he was ready to die would be the time he found something to live for. He never knew what kind of man Harry was since he never took the time to get to know him when he was a child. In the last several weeks, they had become close and Severus considered the young man his best friend, his only friend.
He thought it sad that he would finally find such a friend at the end of his life, but he had to laugh at the irony. Severus shook his head and looked around for more ingredients. If this worked, it would be great, but if not, Harry would never need to know.
Severus paid for his ingredients and walked out of the shop. He wandered down the street aimlessly, and his eyes skipped over to the Eeylops Owl Emporium shop. Harry had made a comment days earlier about getting a new owl. Severus gazed at the shop thoughtfully; Harry had loved Hedwig because his first friend, Hagrid, had bought her for him. Even if the man wasn't Harry's friend any longer, that didn't stop Harry from thinking of Hedwig with affection and longing.
Making up his mind, Severus crossed the street, and entered the shop. He walked around the shop, but couldn't find what he wanted. He didn't want to get Harry any old owl; he wanted something that would remind Harry of Severus once he was gone. He took his time and looked around some more. He was getting frustrated as he realized there was nothing here. Severus sighed and turned to walk out of the shop. He jumped back, startled. Standing in front of him was the shopkeeper. The man looked at him owlishly and asked, "Can I help you?"
"No, there's nothing here I want. Excuse me," Severus stated, and began to walk around the shopkeeper. He stopped when the shopkeeper reached out and gently grabbed his arm.
The shopkeeper looked at him expectantly and asked, "What exactly are you looking for? I may be able to help."
Severus stared the man thoughtfully before nodding. "I'm looking for an owl for a friend. His previous owl died and he needs another one, but I don't want just any owl. I want an intelligent owl, an owl that was bred for companionship as well as being able to deliver the post," he explained.
The shopkeeper nodded in understanding. "Mmm…I see your problem. Not many people get an owl for more than just delivering the post. Come with me, I have several owls in the back that you might interest you. They're quite intelligent, but I don't put them out in the front of the shop. As I said, not many are interested in companionship."
Curious, Severus followed the man into the back of the shop. The shopkeeper looked at him and said, "Take your time. I have things I need to do, so just find me when you find the one you want."
Walking into the room, Severus saw several owls and stopped. He stared at the white owl that looked almost exactly like Hedwig. He decided to pass on that particular owl. He wanted to get Harry a different owl, not another one to replace Hedwig. He doubted any owl would replace Hedwig in Harry's heart though. Looking past the snowy owl, he saw a brown owl, but it still wasn't what he wanted.
Seriously thinking about getting the snowy owl he turned back towards the owl and froze. Sitting in the corner of the room, in the shadow, was a large black owl. There wasn't a speck of white on him anywhere. His large yellow eyes were glaring at him, and he shook his body in agitation. He was beautiful. Enthralled, Severus walked over to the owl and looked at him. "My, aren't you a handsome fella," he complimented softly. The owl hooted in agreement and Severus smiled.
"Would you like to come home with me? I'm looking for an owl for a friend. He would love to have another owl for companionship. He really misses his other owl that died. Are you ready to leave this place and find somewhere else to live?" Severus asked as he petted the owl.
The owl hooted excitedly and Severus made up his mind. "Stay right here and I'll be back with the owner."
Walking out of the back room, he found the shopkeeper, and practically dragged them man towards the back room with excitement. He pointed out the black owl and the man looked at him sharply. "You want that demon bird?" he asked skeptically. "He doesn't have a very good temperament." The owl and Severus both glared at him, and the man stepped back. "Never mind, you'll both be perfect for one another. Very well then, get the bird and follow me."
Severus turned towards the owl and lifted his arm. The owl flew onto his arm, and walked up it to settle on his shoulder. Severus waited patiently as the bird settled. He walked out to main shop area. He picked out a nice black iron perch that the bird had hooted excitedly over. He found a large brass cage for the owl to be transported in. He took all the items over to the counter and set them down. He paid for the owl and the items, and then shrunk them, and stuck them in his pocket.
Walking out of the shop, he decided to get a room at the Leaky Cauldron where Harry and he could have a private lunch. With a slight bounce in his step, he made his way towards to inn, the owl perched on his shoulder. He was excited and he hoped that Harry would like his present.
Harry stumbled into the Leaky Cauldron and yawned tiredly. He hated shopping for clothes. He just hoped that Severus hadn't been waiting long. It had been a couple of hours since they parted, but the woman in the clothes shop had gotten so excited about the fact that Harry needed a whole new wardrobe that she went nuts. He let her have her way. He had given his name and a place to send his clothes as he paid for them. He left the shop, amused as the witch stared at him, her expression astonished. She had never known that she was dressing Harry Potter.
Harry chuckled again at the memory, and looked around for Severus. He didn't see him anywhere and he frowned. Surely, Severus was done shopping by now. He was still looking around when someone tapped him on the shoulder. Turning around he saw Tom, the owner of the inn, smiling at him. "Mr. Potter, sir," he greeted softly, not wanting to draw attention from the other patrons. "Professor Snape would like you to join him in room 23 for lunch. It's on the second floor."
"Thank you, Tom," Harry replied and walked up the stairs.
He found the room and tried to open the door, but found it locked. Confused, Harry knocked on the door and called out, "Severus? It's Harry. Open the door, it's locked."
"Just a second, Harry," Severus answered. Harry heard movement in the room and grabbed his wand. He didn't know for sure what was going on, but it was suspicious that the door was locked. The door clicked open and Harry looked at the looming man warily.
"Why was the door locked?" Harry asked.
"I was hiding your present," Severus replied.
Harry's face brightened. "You bought me a present. What is it?" he asked eagerly.
Severus opened the door wider, and let Harry in the room. Harry glanced around the room, but didn't see anything out of place. He turned around, faced his friend, and began to bounce excitedly. "So, where is it? Can I have it now? Will I like? Will…" Harry trailed off as Severus held up hand to stave off the questions. He chuckled at Harry's eagerness.
Severus looked at Harry a little nervously. "I don't usually do this, so I hope you like it. I wasn't trying to replace her, you see, I just thought you would like another one. If you don’t like it, I can take it back and get another one, but I really hope you like it because I do, and I want you to have something to remember me by when I am gone," Severus babbled. Harry stared at him in surprise and amusement. He had never seen Severus so nervous.
"Whatever it is, I'm sure I'll like it. Now, show me," Harry demanded with a grin.
Severus nodded, took out his wand, and cancelled the disillusionment and the silencing spell that surrounded the owl. Harry watch as an owl appeared. He stood still for a moment, and then walked over to the owl. The owl hooted and glared at him impatiently. He hooted imperiously and Harry began to smile. He reached up slowly, and petted the owl on the head. "Oh, Merlin, you are quite handsome, aren't you?" Harry asked gently. The owl puffed up with pride. Harry started to chuckle, and the bird and Severus glared at him. He began to howl with laughter. After he calmed down, he smiled at Severus.
"Thank you, Severus. You got the perfect owl for me to remember you by. He glares just like you do," Harry said with a chuckle. He petted the owl and looked at the large black owl in wonder. He didn't think he had ever seen a black owl before. Regardless, he was quite the beauty. "I love him. Thank you so much," Harry said sincerely as he gave the man a large smile. He could see Severus relax as Harry accepted the owl.
Severus walked over to the table and sat down. "I thought we could have lunch here before we go back to Hogwarts."
Harry yawned then nodded. "That would be acceptable. Would you order lunch while I use the bathroom? Get me whatever you want." He headed for the door of the room and walked out. He was back a few minutes later, and saw the food sitting on the table. His stomach growled, and he hurried over to sit down. He began to eat, talking with Severus about his clothing experience, and glancing over at the yet to be name owl several times.
For the first time in years, Harry was content.
A couple of months later, Harry was sitting on the couch reading while petting Nara's head. Harry still snickered at the argument Severus and he had over naming the owl. Harry wanted to name him Severus in honor of his friend, but Severus had refused. They had a row about it and Harry had pouted. It was while reading J.R.R. Tolkien's book, Lord of the Rings, that he came across a list of Elvish names. To his surprise, there was a name for Severus. With a wicked smile, Harry had told Severus that the owl's name was Naracion, Nara for short.
Looking bemused at the determined look on Harry's face, Severus agreed, never knowing that Harry had gotten his way. Harry chuckled at the memory, and jumped when he heard a tired voice ask him, "Why are you laughing?"
Harry looked at Severus and his smiled slipped. "No particular reason," he replied.
Severus just grunted and closed his eyes. Harry was losing his friend, and it was so obvious now. Severus' hair had completely whitened in the last two months. It was a side effect from his body shutting down. He could barely stand, let alone move. Movement was painful for Severus, and he was drugged up on pain relieving potions. Severus had finally let the Headmaster know about his condition when one day he literally couldn't get out of bed to teach class. The Headmaster had been devastated. Harry never really knew if it was because he was losing a friend, or if it was because he was losing a spy in the ever-raging war with Voldemort.
Voldemort had made several attempts to get to Harry, but they failed. Harry rarely went out in public, preferring to stay away from the Wizarding World. He had been slightly optimistic by his successful shopping trip, so he had gone to Flourish and Blotts alone. He was barley inside the shop before admirers and reporters swarmed around him. He barely escaped with his life, he told Severus dramatically, and the man just rolled his eyes and snorted. Harry had sulked all day until Severus promised him that he would go buy him some books. Harry smiled at another memory of his time with Severus.
"Harry," Severus called out softly.
Harry looked up at Severus. "Yeah?" he asked.
"Could you help me to my bed? I'm feeling very tired," Severus replied, exhaustion lacing his voice.
Harry nodded and put his book down. He walked over to the couch that Severus was lying on, leaned down, and lifted the man gently. Severus had lost so much weight in the last month. He was so thin and light that Harry had no problem picking him up from the couch. He carried Severus into his room, and laid him down on the bed. He covered him up with the blankets, making sure that his thin body was warm. "Do you need any potions?" Harry asked, concerned.
Severus nodded his head and pointed towards the small night table that sat next to the bed. "Yes, there's a potion in the drawer. Could you get it for me?" he asked.
Harry opened the drawer and pulled out a potion bottle. It was pearly white and glowed slightly. He handed it to Severus and he drank it down. Severus sighed with satisfaction. "I don't believe I'm going to have a problem sleeping." Severus glanced up at Harry, his expression gentle. "You know that it won't be long, don't you?" he asked.
Harry's mouth quivered as he nodded his head. "I know Severus, I know," he said sadly.
Severus smiled at him gently, sighed as deep as he could without causing himself pain, and slipped into sleep. Harry restrained the urge to scream at the unfairness of it all. He patted the man on the arm, and walked out of the bedroom. He didn't move far in case Severus needed him.
Harry sat down in the chair, trying to hold back the tears, and thought back to the last couple of months. His godfather and the werewolf had never approached him again. He would occasionally see his heart broken godfather around the castle, watching him sadly, but Harry couldn't make himself care. He had told his godfather that he would never forgive him. However, if Sirius didn't want to believe it, then that was his problem.
After the Weasleys saw the scene with Sirius, they were no longer brave enough to approach him, well except for Molly, but a few sharp words about how Ron would be ashamed of his family put her in her place, and she never approached him again. The twins watched him in agitation every time they saw him, sure that he was going to take away their business. Harry snickered, amused, knowing that he had no need for their shop, but they didn't know that.
The Headmaster tried to get Harry to complete his education, but Harry had just sneered at the old wizard, telling him he wasn't interested. Dumbledore had threatened to have the Ministry pass a law to force him to finish his education, and Harry laughed saying if he did that then he was leaving for Germany where he could finish his schooling at Durmstrang. The Headmaster, never sure if Harry was lying or not, couldn't take the chance, so he backed down. Once Severus got worse, Harry had no thoughts of going anywhere. He had Severus help him with the important lessons that he had missed; Potions, DADA, and Runes. Severus needed something to do when he could no longer stand to make his potions.
Harry bit his lip to keep from crying. He never knew that he was going to care for the man as much as he did when he made the promise to help him almost four months ago. Not that it would have stopped him from being here. He had made a promise and by Merlin, he was going to keep it, no matter how painful it was. He would never be ready for Severus to die, but he knew it would be happening soon. He was just grateful for the time that they'd had together.
After Severus died, Harry would be leaving the Wizarding World. He had an untraceable international portkey hanging around his neck in the form of a snake. Severus had made the portkey for him, and he had suffered several days for making it. Harry had begged him not to make the portkey, but Severus was stubborn. Harry couldn't refuse the man the one act that would take him away from the Wizarding World. So, he took care of Severus after he made the portkey, as his way of saying thanks.
After Severus died, Harry was leaving for his home in Colorado. Severus had gone with him to check out the house. Harry had fallen instantly in love with it. It was a large yellow two-story house. A porch surrounded the whole house, and a large garden grew in the back of the house that was filled with herbs and vegetables. There was also a large flower garden in the front of the house, the colorful flowers making it a sight to see. Harry's favorite place was the courtyard in the back of the house. There were hedges of flowers surrounding the area, enclosing it, making it a hide away. There was also a great view of the Colorado Mountains, and the air was fresh and clean.
Harry had no neighbors for miles around, and there was wildlife in the huge forest at the south end of the house. Severus too, had fallen in love with it, and teased Harry that the basement would've made a wonderful place for a potions lab. Harry had laughed, but found to his delight, that there was an actual potions lab in the cellar next to the house. Severus had been in heaven, and Harry had left him there, playing in the lab.
Harry closed his eyes and dozed until a quivering voice called for him. Jumping out of the chair, he walked into the bedroom, making his way over to the bed, where he sat down. "What is it, Sev?" he asked.
"It's time, Harry," Severus replied, his eyes a little scared.
"No," Harry whimpered and grabbed onto Severus' hand. "There's still so much to do and so much to say. I'm not ready for you to leave yet, Sev. I'm not ready for you to go."
Severus chuckled, reached up with a shaky hand, and patted Harry's face. "For once, I wish I didn't have to go, Harry. In the last several months, you have become the best friend anyone could've ever asked for. You've made my life complete in a way that I had never known before. I will miss you, Harry," Severus said with a soft smile.
Harry began to cry. "I named the stupid owl after you," he blurted out.
Severus began to laugh softly and replied, "I know that, Harry. I've read the books, you know. I know how much Nara means to you, and I know how much you wanted to name him after me." Severus gasped in pain, breathing shallowly, his hand gripping Harry's tightly. "I ask only one thing of you, Harry," he requested breathlessly.
"Anything, my friend, you know that," Harry replied with a sniffle.
"Don't forget me. Remember me in your heart, along with Ron and Hermione. Know that wherever I am, I am watching over you, as are Ron and Hermione. Just think, I get to spend the rest of eternity with a Weasley and the Know It All," Severus teased.
Harry gave a wet laugh that was caught in his throat as Severus began to gasp for breath. Realizing that Severus was fighting to hold on longer for Harry, he whispered softly, "Rest now, Severus. It's time for you to rest. You can let go now. I'll remember you always. Be at peace my friend, be at peace." He sat there, gripping Severus's hand as the Potions Master took a breath, then another, until he finally stopped breathing. Harry waited, hoping for another breath, but he knew in his heart that Severus was gone.
Squeezing Severus' hand tightly, he began to sob loudly. He gathered Severus' body in his arms and rocked back and forth; knowing no matter what, his friend wouldn't open his eyes and glare at him, or call him an idiotic boy with affection. He would never hear the man's wicked laugh or see the warm black eyes fill with humor and gentleness. Harry didn't know how long he laid there sobbing. He wasn't aware of anything around him until he felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up and saw the saddened gaze of the Headmaster.
His lips trembling, tears rolling down his face, he said with a trembling voice, "He's gone now, Headmaster. My friend's gone." He swallowed another sob and continued. "He wants to be buried at his manor in two days time. He doesn't want a large elaborate ceremony, just a simple one. He just wants to be remembered, that’s all. Just to be remembered," Harry said sadly, as he gazed down at the body of his best friend.
Dumbledore looked at the devastated young man and smiled gently. "I don't think that is going to be a problem, Harry." The young man nodded distractedly, his gaze still upon his dead friend's face.
The Headmaster pulled Harry gently away from Severus. "You need to let the people from the Ministry record his death, and get him ready for the burial." Harry sniffed and nodded in understanding.
Dumbledore led him out of the room and past the Ministry workers. Once Harry had left the room, they began doing their job.
Harry gazed around the room, feeling lost. He didn't know what to do. For the last month, he had been taking care of Severus, and now, there was time on his hand, and he couldn't do anything. He was eager to leave now. Two more days and he would be gone. There was nothing keeping him here any longer.
He suddenly turned towards the Headmaster. "After Severus is buried, I want to call a press conference. It's time I did something for the Wizarding World. I've been so worried about Severus, that I wanted nothing else to distract me. It's time I spoke to the Wizarding World. I promised Severus that I would," Harry said firmly.
"Of course, Harry," Dumbledore replied quietly. Harry saw that Dumbledore tried to hide his delight and he sneered to himself. Oh, are you going to be in for a surprise you old bastard, Harry thought. He remembered the conversation Severus and he had had about giving the Wizarding World a going away speech. Severus had suggested holding a press conference. The Potions Master thought it would be a lovely way to say goodbye to everyone. The contempt and scorn on his face as he had said that had Harry laughing. The fact that Harry was giving the press conference meant that the newspapers would be all over it. Every newspaper would have a representative there. Harry promised Severus that he would do it. Harry snickered sadly to himself. I'm doing it for you Sev, just as I promised you, he thought wistfully.
Harry walked away from the Headmaster and sat down on the couch. He wrapped himself up in the blanket that Severus had been using. He could smell the scent of his friend, and he felt comforted. He looked around the room and was thankful that he wouldn't have to worry about packing up Severus' things. They had already gone through them and packed them away. Harry reached up and touched the necklace that Sev had given him. It was another item that had belonged to Severus's beloved grandfather. When Harry asked him why he was giving him things that had once belonged to his grandfather, Severus had smiled at him shyly, and said that he was giving them to someone he cared about, and his grandfather would've approved.
Harry started to cry softly and began to rock back and forth. He missed his friend, just as much as he missed Ron and Hermione. Take care of Sev, guys. He really is the best friend you could ever have.
Two days later, the day was bright and sunny. The birds chirped cheerfully and the temperature was warm. Harry hated it. He stood in front of his mirror and tried to look civilized as Sev liked to call it. He couldn't seem to make himself care what he looked like. He made sure his black robe was straight, and his hair was pulled back with the silver dragon clip Severus had given him. He couldn't get rid of the pale drawn face, or the red eyes. They had formed from the lack of sleep and crying that he had done over the last two day. He shrugged and turned away from the mirror. He walked out of his bedroom, and looked around the bare living room one last time. It would be the last time he ever saw it. He had already sent Nara to the house, along with his clothes, and personal items. As soon as the funeral was over, he would have his press conference, and then he would be free. Free to live his life. How he wished that Sev were here to see it. It was only with Severus' help that it was achieved.
Harry walked up the steps to the main floor and walked into the Great Hall where the Headmaster and his godfather were waiting. Ignoring his godfather, Harry nodded at the Headmaster, and together, they walked out the Great Hall. They walked towards the front door and out of the castle. They passed through the wards and the Headmaster took out an old sock. Harry touched it and the portkey was activated.
Harry looked around his surroundings curiously. He was in a graveyard, and in the distance, he could see a large manor house. He was slightly curious about what Severus' home looked like, but not enough to put off his plans. Harry followed the Headmaster and his godfather into what looked a like a church. Looking around, he saw the building had high vaulted ceilings. The large beautiful stained glass windows were filled with snakes and dragons. There were rows of pews on each side of the building, and on the pews hung white flowers. Harry could see the white candles that were placed randomly around the room. The color white was a reminder of rebirth. Standing in the front of the building was a large altar made of white marble. On the altar laid Severus' casket, which was also white. Harry chuckled. Severus would've hated this. He was a man who had loved black.
Harry walked slowly to Severus's casket. His eyes got blurry from the tears, and he gazed down onto the face of his best friend. Severus looked like he was sleeping. The spells that the Wizarding World used for their burials were gentler than what the Muggles did to their dead. Preservation spells were placed on the body, so that the body could be shown for a year. The preserved body was then placed behind a clear protective screen in their tomb, so that the body could be viewed after the burial. Many witches and wizards took time before coming to view a body. It was tradition for the viewing of the body to last a year. Once that year was over, the protective screen faded away and the casket and tomb closed permanently. Then the preservation spells wore off and body began to decompose.
Harry bowed his head, tears falling from his eyes. He sniffed a couple of times then looked at Severus. "I won't forget you my friend," he whispered softly.
He turned away from the casket and sat down on the pew, his head bowed. He ignored the people around him. After a few minutes, he had finally composed himself and looked around. He could see the teachers from Hogwarts, members from the Order of the Phoenix, and a few people that Harry didn't know. Harry shook his head in sad amusement. Severus would've hated this. If it had been his choice, he would've only had the Headmaster and Harry at the burial ceremony.
After the people sat down, the Headmaster walked up the front of the building. He looked at them somberly and began to speak.
"My friends, a good man has passed on. Severus Snape was not a polite man, nor was he a friendly man, but he was a good man. He was a man who spent years trying to atone for past mistakes. He was a man who spied for the side of light for over twenty years. On this day, we mourn and celebrate his passing. Lift our voices together as we say the Poem of Passing," Dumbledore instructed.
All the voices in the building began to speak in harmony.
"Beloved one, you are dead,
but you are not alone.
We are here with you,
the beloved dead await you.
You go from love
Carry with you
May our love carry you
and open the way."
The voices trailed off and Dumbledore called out several names. "Harry Potter, Mad Eye Moody, Minerva McGonagall, Kingsley Shacklebolt and Amelia Bones, if you would please come up and stand around the casket in a circle."
They walked up to the casket and formed a circle. Dumbledore lit some incense. The smell of sweet grass wafted around the room.
"By Water, By Earth, By Fire, By Air, By Spirit, Be this circle bound as we desire! So mote it be!" the Headmaster began.
"I conjure thee, O Circle of power that thou beset a meeting place of truth, love and joy.
A shield against all wickedness and evil, a boundary between the worlds of men and the realms of the mighty ones. A rampart of protection that will preserve and contain the energy they we will raise within thee. In the names of the Dark Goddess and the Dark Tanist. So mote it be."
Dumbledore leaned over to light the black candles that were surrounding the casket.
"O candle of power to this circle give the knowledge and truth in which all power lives. So mote it be."
Then he lit the white candles. "O candle of light send forth all we do to cause only changes deserving and true. So mote it be," he intoned solemnly.
He leaned over and lit the last of candles, which were brown. "O candle of the mother on whom we all live for all that we take in return we must give. So mote it be."
"Great Guardians of the North, South, East and West, we call to your powers. Be here in our circle, join our rite. So mote it be," the Headmaster intoned once again.
"We call to the Dark Goddess, The Crone, The Reaper, The Comforter, and The Sister in life and death. Be with us, join our rite! Blessed be. We call to the Dark Tanist who resides in Caer Sidi, Greeter at the gates of Death and Life again. Be with us, join our rite! Blessed be," Dumbledore cried out.
"Today we gather to bid farewell to one who has begun the journey from life into death. Today we gather to call the Ancestors, those who have gone before us, to be with us in this rite. We call to the Goddess and God to join us in this rite. We call to the elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water, to be with us here today."
"Gifts to guide and ease your journey, Gifts to empower you to cross the bridge and Gifts to bless you when once again you leave the land of Spirit for rebirth to the Land of Life. We offer these gifts into the Cauldron of Rebirth," Dumbledore said.
He motioned to Harry to place his gift on the altar.
Harry placed the small plant on the white slab and began to speak. "I offer you the gift of sweet pea. May it remind you of our friendship always. Know that you will never be forgotten. Blessed be!" he whispered painfully.
Minerva placed her gift down on the altar. "I offer you the gift of catnip. May it remind you of any happiness that you had and will have again in your new life. Blessed be!" she said with a sniff.
Moody placed his gift down on the altar and gruffly began to speak. "I offer you the gift of yarrow. May you have the courage in your next life that you had in this one. Constant Vigilance, my friend. Blessed be!" he said solemnly.
Kingsley placed his gift down on the altar. "I offer you the gift of nutmeg. May you have the health in your next life that you couldn't have in this one. Blessed be!" he said, his voice rumbling.
Amelia placed her gift down on the altar. "I offer you the gift of ash. May you have prosperity in your next life. Blessed be!"
Dumbledore placed his gift down on the altar and patted it softly. "I offer you the gift of gardenia. May you have the peace in your next life that you couldn't have in this one. Blessed be!"
Together they began to speak, "We offer these gifts to you, Severus Snape. May they bless you now and always. By Water may your emotions be carried and cleansed. By Fire may your soul light shine brightly in the other world. By Air may your spirit rise and soar. By Earth may you find comfort and peace within Her arms. May the Ancestors light your path. May the Goddess embrace your soul. May the God guide your rebirth. And may the Wheel turn again to bring you there. Merry Part, Blessed Be, and Merry Meet Again."
Dumbledore took over the rest of the ceremony as he began to speak once again. "Guardians of the North, South, East and West we thank you for your part in our circle. Return from whence you came harming none along the way. So mote it be."
"This circle is open but never broken. May the Blessings of the Dark God and Dark Goddess teach you the value of life! So mote it be!" Dumbledore said.
They all stood back from the casket and Harry bowed his head, trying to stop the tears. It seemed so final now that the burial was over. There was nothing keeping him here anymore. It would soon be time for the press conference and then he was gone from the world that had caused him so much pain. He felt a sense of relief to finally be free.
Harry waited for the Headmaster to talk to the other members of the Order. He was staring into space when he felt a presence next to him. Turning he saw that it was his godfather. "What, dogboy?" he asked coldly.
"I heard you were going to talk to the Wizarding World. Does that mean you are beginning to forgive us for our mistakes?" Sirius questioned hopefully.
Harry leaned forward and hissed out, "Not in this life or the next, dogfather." He walked around the man, and headed towards the door of the building. He heard the Headmaster call out to him, but Harry ignored him. He stepped out of the building, into the bright sunlight, and took a deep breath. The building had been stifling. He leaned against the building and waited for the Headmaster. Several minutes later, the man came walking out and looked around for him. Dumbledore's eyes lit up when he saw Harry leaning against the building.
"Are you ready for the press conference?" he asked and Harry nodded.
"Minister Fudge was excited by the press conference that he decided to have it at the Ministry if that’s all right with you?" Dumbledore asked kindly, his eyes twinkling.
Harry shrugged nonchalantly, but inwardly he was dancing with glee. The Ministry, for whatever stupid reason, didn't have wards against portkeys. I can make a dramatic exit worthy of Severus, he thought, amused. Dumbledore nodded and pulled out another sock. Harry touched it and was portkeyed to the Ministry.
He looked around and saw that several reporters were already there. They began to whisper in excitement as he appeared. He saw a rapidly approaching Minister and grimaced slightly at the man.
"Ah, Mr. Potter, Harry. May I call you, Harry?" the Minister asked excitedly.
"No, you incompetent twit, you can't." Harry said and the room went silent. He held back a snicker as he realized that he had spent way too much time with Severus. The Minister looked flustered and Dumbledore gave him a look of disapproval. Harry just sneered at them both. "So, where are the rest of the reporters?" he asked coldly.
"They should be here any minute now," Fudge answered nervously. "Ah, there they are now. If you will excuse me, I have to greet them." Harry watched, amused, as Fudge rushed off, eager to get away from Harry.
"Really, Harry, did you have to do that?" Dumbledore asked sternly.
Harry looked at him coldly. "Just because you kiss his ass doesn't mean I will. I'm nobody's lapdog Dumbledore, yours or the Minister."
He walked away from the shocked man and nodded to a couple of the reporters. He walked off to a corner of the room to wait until they were ready.
"Hello, Harry," a voice greeted beside him.
He turned and saw Luna Lovegood standing next to him. She had been one of the few who had believed him. "Luna, what are you doing here?"
"I work for my father as a reporter. Since you asked for all reporters to be here, well here I am. So, you're leaving, are you?" she asked, her voice dreamy.
Harry stared at her in surprise, then amusement. "I forgot how you sometimes see things that others don't."
"Mmm…true. I wish you well, Harry. I can't say that I blame you for leaving our world. There isn't much here to offer you anymore, is there?" she asked quietly. Her dreamy eyes were glancing around the room. Harry idly wondered what she saw out there.
Harry shook his head. "No, there isn't. Since you were a friend, I'll let you on a little secret. Voldemort will be defeated, just not by me," he whispered.
"And you would know this how?" she asked curiously.
"Let's just say it involved a seer and leave it at that." Luna nodded in understanding. The Headmaster called him over and Harry looked at Luna. "It was good seeing again, Luna."
"Goodbye, Harry," she said softly.
Harry walked away from the strange girl, and stepped up to podium where Dumbledore was waiting for him. The old man smiled at him brightly and Harry restrained himself from growling at him.
He turned to reporters and smiled ferally. The reporters shivered in fright and began to fidget.
"Wizard and Witches of the Wizarding World, I hold this press conference today in request of a friend who died two days ago. He suggested that I should talk to the Wizarding World and let you know what I am going to do next. I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words," Harry began.
"For six years I rotted in Azkaban while you sat comfortable in your homes, secure in the knowledge that I was the killer. You were wrong. You thought that I would forgive you all for your negligence and complicity, you were wrong. You believed that now that I was out and forgiven by all of you, I would grateful for it. You were wrong. You never bothered looking for the real killer because it would have been too inconvenient. You are nothing but sheep, only too willing to follow anyone whose opinion mattered," he said with contempt.
The reporters began to fidget even more as they realized that things were not going the way that they thought. Dumbledore frowned at Harry and Fudge looked terrified. Harry smirked.
"For years, I had to put up with being the hero, then the insane crazy boy who lied about Voldemort's return. Again, you were wrong. For years, I had to listen to Fudge as he lied to all of you about the return of Voldemort. He knew of Voldemort's return before the Wizarding World ever did, but he was too concern with his power so he lied to you all and people died because of it." The reporters whispered and Harry turned to glare at the fidgeting Minister. He turned back to the podium and continued his speech.
"There is a prophecy that I am going to be the hero of the Wizarding World. It states that I will be the one to defeat Voldemort or die trying. 'The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches . . . born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies . . . and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not . . . and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives . . . the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies . . .' "
Harry heard the gasps of shock from the reporters, and the stunned look on Dumbledore's face. He hadn't guessed that Harry was going to share the prophecy with the entire Wizarding World. Voldemort would know of it now.
"I am here to tell you that again, you are wrong. I am not your savior. I can care less if each and every one of you die. This world has done nothing but made me hurt and suffer for years. You can all go to hell as far as I'm concerned. I wash my hands of all of you and Voldemort is welcome to this pathetic world. I hope that this teaches you that you should be careful how you treat others as it will bite you on the ass later," Harry said with a sneer.
"You thought I would save you all and you were wrong. The one person who kept me in the Wizarding World this long is dead, and I have no reason to stay. I'm leaving and I'm never going to return. You deal with your own problems for now on. To hell with you all," he snarled. He smirked at the shocked looks on the reporters faces. His job was done. Too bad Severus wasn't here to see it.
Harry stepped back from the podium and watch as chaos ensued. He saw Luna smiling at him and nodded to her. He turned towards Dumbledore and smirked at him. "I'm not your weapon anymore, Headmaster," Harry chirped cheerfully. "Find another patsy." He watched Dumbledore sitting there, frozen in shock and grinned.
Harry reached up, grabbed the portkey that hung around his neck and whispered, "Home." He disappeared, never to return to the Wizarding World again.
Harry sat on his front porch, drinking a cup of coffee. The day had turned into evening and the sky was red from the setting sun. He sighed in contentment. The last two weeks since he left the Wizarding World had been some of the best in his life. He only wished that he could share this moment with Ron, Hermione, and Severus. He had a feeling that they were watching and that they approved.
He heard a hoot and looked up. Nara was prancing on the wooden rail of the porch and Harry laughed. "What is it, boy? You're acting awfully squirrelly today." He leaned over and petted the owl. He missed Severus so much. He missed his snarky comments, his icy glares, and his small shy smiles when Harry complimented him. Harry leaned back and sighed, he knew eventually the pain would subside, and he would no longer feel as if a rock resided in his stomach, but until then, he needed time -- time to remember and time to mourn as he had with Ron and Hermione.
Harry took another sip of coffee and promptly choked when he heard a voice behind him.
"You know if I was the Dark Lord you would be dead."
Harry sat frozen, then slowly turned and looked behind him. He couldn't help but stare in disbelief at the figure that was hiding in the shadows.
"Severus?" he whispered, shocked.
"Hello, Harry," the man greeted with a smirk.
Harry stood up and pointed his wand at the man. "I don’t know who you are, but Severus Snape is dead. I saw the body myself," he snarled angrily. He was furious that someone would pretend to be his best friend. He vowed to make the Wizard pay.
Severus chuckled at Harry's outrage. "You saw a body. It was merely a transfigured body made to deceive everyone," he informed him.
"Why? How are you alive? I was there Severus, I heard you die, and I saw you die," he said, his voice shaky.
Severus's expression softened with regret. "I did die Harry, don't think that I didn't, but before I died, I took a potion, remember?" he asked.
Harry nodded, remembering the pearly white potion that Severus drank before he died. He looked at Severus, confused and said, "I remember."
Severus smiled at him and began to explain. "I had been working on that potion for six months. I didn't know why because at that point in time, I was ready to die. I just wanted my peace, but then you came back into my life, and for the first time I wanted to live. You had become the best friend I ever had; you had also become my family. So I continued to work on the potion, never letting you know about it ahead of time in case it didn't work," he explained gently as Harry began to frown.
"I took care of my finances, transferring my money over to Muggle money. I made plans with a house-elf to replace my body with a transfigured body. The house-elf then took my body to the manor and hid it, waiting to see if I would wake up or not."
"What was the potion?" Harry asked.
"It's a very rare potion that is difficult to make. It takes a lot of dedication. It's called Bringer of Life. It’s a very powerful healing potion and restorative. It has to been taken within hours of death, and not everyone knows when they're going to die, but I knew. I could feel my body dying inch by inch, and when the time was close I took the potion," Severus explained.
Harry was angry. He glared at Severus and demanded, "Why didn't you tell me, damn it? I would've been there for you, waiting to help you."
Severus gave him a regretful look. "I know you would have Harry, and that's why I didn't tell you. I wasn't even sure the potion would work. There is a large chance of it not working. I didn't want you to get your hopes up only to have them dashed when it didn't do its job," he explained gently.
Harry stewed briefly, but reluctantly admitted that it made sense. "So, how does it work?" he asked curiously.
"As soon as your body dies, the potion casts a very strong preservation spell on the body, so that it won't begin decomposing. Then the potion begins to heal the damaged tissues, restoring the body to a former state. After the work is done, a spell that was added to the potion restores that body to life, giving the heart small pulses of energy to stimulate it into beating again. If it works, then a person can be restored to life, if not then the potion fails, the preservation spell is taken off and the body begins to decompose. I was lucky that it worked for me," Severus said with a smile.
"What are you doing here then? I'm sure the Headmaster would be delighted to see you," Harry snapped tensely.
"I'm dead in the Wizarding World, Harry. No one but my house-elf knows that I am even alive. I'm free; free to live, free from spying, free to do whatever I want. So, I came here. Now, I want to know, do you have room for one more? I hear you have a wonderful Potions lab," Severus teased.
Harry's cup crashed onto the floor, as he flung himself at Severus. He hugged the man hard, and tried to strangle the sob that wanted to escape. "I missed you," he mumbled. "I felt lost without my friend. I kept wanting to tell you things, and when I turned around you weren't there. I never knew that I could care for someone so much in three and half months. You're my best friend, mentor, and my father figure all rolled into one," he told him with a trembling voice.
Severus wrapped his arms around Harry and hugged him. "I missed you too. I woke up three days ago, and this was the first place I wanted to be, but I was too weak. I needed to take some potions to help me restore my body, but as soon as I was able, I came here. Is that ok, Harry?" Severus asked nervously.
"You know perfectly well that it's fine," Harry replied, exasperated. He stepped back and looked at Severus, who had stepped out of the shadows. Harry's eyes widened, shocked, as he exclaimed, "Severus, your hair."
Severus chuckled self-consciously. "Like I said, the potion restores your body to a former state. I guess I never realized how much damage Voldemort had caused me," he said ruefully.
Harry stared at the man in disbelief. The man looked as if twenty years had been taken from him. His hair was no longer snowy white, it had turned black, and it was a little thicker than before. Where it had once been greasy, it was now shiny. The wrinkles around his eyes and mouth that had been caused by pain and stress were gone, making him look years younger. There was a twinkle in his eyes and Severus looked content.
Harry laughed with joy and hugged the man again. "I would be delighted if you stayed here with me. You know there's enough room for you and your nasty potions," he teased with a grin.
Severus scowled playfully and smacked Harry's arm, chuckling softly. Harry had a thought and pulled back from Severus, looking at him carefully.
"What about your Dark Mark? Did the potion heal that as well?" Harry asked, curious.
Severus smiled and rolled up his sleeve. The skin was bare and smooth. There was no sign of the Dark Mark anywhere. Harry touched his arm softly and smiled softly.
"Oh, Severus, This is great!" Harry exclaimed joyfully.
Severus smiled in agreement. "It wasn't the potion that got rid of the mark. It was my death. The connection to Voldemort was broken when I died. The Dark Mark just became another tattoo and the potion got rid of it. I'm finally free. After all these years, I'm finally free of that mad man. Unless some reason he finds you here then that might be a problem, but I doubt that will happen. I'm just glad to be free of the mark."
Harry was smiling at him in joy and he whispered softly, "I'm so glad your back."
Severus grabbed him in a hug and whispered back, "As am I Harry, as am I."
They stood together in silence never seeing the ghostly figures of a red headed boy and a brown bushy haired girl. They stood together, arms wrapped around each other, smiling at the hugging figures in contentment. "We love you, Harry. May you be at peace," they whispered and with one last smile, they disappeared.