Chapter 1: Hermione
Hermione stared out of the shop window with a smile on her face.
She had taken down the large purple U-No-Poo poster that had been dangling lopsided; it mentioned “You-Know-Who” on it and since he was gone, it was safe to say it was no longer needed on display. She rolled it up and placed it on the corner of the table where pink bottles of love potions were assembled.
The sight ahead of her, out of the now unobstructed window, was an explosion of color; fireworks were set off every other second, the lights shimmering on the faces of many jubilant witches and wizards mingling on the cobbled street of Diagon Alley.
Faint cheers reached her ears as the parties continued on, and she knew, in a few minutes’ time, she would have to depart from here briefly. There was something else, before she could sit back and fully appreciate this newly attained peace, that she had to do.
Dwelling on this thought, she absentmindedly tightened her grip on her small beaded bag.
She had yet to empty the contents of it.
Truth be told, it felt extremely odd not to have need of those things anymore. After all, she was no longer on the run with Harry and Ron from the most Dark wizard of all time, and even though, of course, it brought her immense relief, she still felt slightly lost without a mission. She’d spent so much time preparing for it all; she studied all the spells and protective enchantments she felt necessary to know, all the while doing all she could to make sure she, Harry, and Ron never got themselves killed.
Now, it was all just quiet.
She was grateful, of course. Everyone was safe now and they won the war and there’s no longer the lingering, overwhelming fear of who might die.
‘And no more camping.’ She thought happily, and smiled to herself again. Yes, she’d never go camping again in her entire life if she could help it.
Of course, she owed it all to Harry, they all did. She remembered that one heart-stopping moment when Hagrid carried him, when she, along with everyone else, thought he was dead, only to appear alive moments later. At that moment, she thought she would faint with relief.
Thoughts now on Harry, her mind went back to their conversation only hours ago.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to go with you?” Harry had asked, concern etched in his face. “I don’t want you to go alone.”
She had smiled. “I won’t be alone, Harry. Ron’s already said he’ll come with me. Besides,” Her eyes had swept over his face, taking in the bright, tired eyes. The memorial services of the fallen that everyone had asked him to attend seemed to have drained his energy. “you should stay. Go be with Ginny. Get some rest.”
And he had agreed, slightly reluctantly, and stayed at the Burrow.
“Good to see the partying is still going on.”
She started, turning to look to the left of her. She had been so lost in her thoughts that she hadn’t noticed Ron come to stand beside her.
He was smiling down at her.
She smiled back. “It’s much-deserved happiness. They can‘t help themselves.”
“I definitely don’t blame them.”
The muffled sounds of boxes thumping to the floor echoed in the back of the shop.
She turned to look back towards the ajar door of the back room. The sight of boxes floating along in midair and stacking onto shelves, directed by a wand, caught her attention for a second, then, as she turned to look back out the window again, she spotted the table near the counter, Patented Daydream Charm boxes atop of it. This brought back another memory, one of her stating how impressed she was with that kind of charmwork.
“For that, Hermione, you can have one for free.”
“For that, Hermione, you can have one for free.”
Fred’s voice rang in her ears, bringing about a pang in her heart, and she turned to look up at Ron, lowering her voice.
“Is George all right?”
At her question Ron’s face became solemn, his eyes sad as he glanced towards the door to the back room.
“I don’t know.” He said quietly. “I mean, he seems to be okay, but I know he’s not. He won’t be for a long time, I reckon.”
She nodded, swallowing the lump in her throat.
Ron looked at her again. “You ready to go?”
This question brought her mind back to what she was planning to do and suddenly she felt doubtful, unsure. “Are you sure you want to come with me, Ron? I can find my parents on my own and restore---”
“Yes, for the tenth time.” Ron cut her off, exasperated, but smiling all the same. “I told you I was coming with you, so I’m coming.”
She stared out the window again, furrowing her brow. Ron’s determination meant the world to her, and honestly, glad as she was not having to go alone, there was plenty that she had to do in order for everything to work. Not only would she have to get to where her parents currently lived, she had to find a way to have them invite her in so she could perform the spell, not to mention all the explanations that had to come after that…
A warm hand slipped into hers, pulling her sharply out of her thoughts.
She looked up into Ron’s face, at his blue eyes filled with warmth and understanding, and the memory came to her, of when she had thrown herself at him and kissed him, wrapping her arms around him as he pulled her close.
She felt her face flush shyly at the memory and smiled.
The products that were once charmed to flash, pop, and swirl around near the window crinkled and squeaked feebly beneath her feet as she moved closer, threading her fingers through his.
Chapter 2: Harry
“It was nice of you to come and visit, Harry.”
He looked up at Andromeda, letting forth a small smile. “I‘m glad to be here.”
They were sitting in her living room opposite each other.
Teddy squirmed in Harry’s lap, his small fingers suddenly reaching for Harry’s glasses.
Harry managed to pull Teddy’s fingers away gently, Teddy smiling toothily all the while.
Andromeda was smiling, amused but slightly apologetic. “He tends to do that.”
Harry smoothed back Teddy’s soft dark blue hair, which, a moment before, had been bright yellow.
“You’re very quiet, Harry.”
He looked up once more, sighting Andromeda’s concerned, thoughtful face.
He smiled again. “Sorry. It’s just… these past few weeks have been pretty busy. All the funerals and everything…”
His throat suddenly tightened. Andromeda nodded.
“I imagine you’re very tired.”
Harry nodded back. He was finding it increasingly hard to speak. What he had thought and felt as he set foot in this house was now overwhelming him.
A flash of movement to the right caught his eye; he turned his head slightly and saw Tonks, smiling broadly, waving at him out of a photograph on a nearby circular table.
He looked back at Andromeda, who looked right back at him, inquisitive.
“Andromeda,” He began, looking down at the coffee table between them. “I’m sorry. Voldemort had been looking for me, and if I’d given myself up earlier, your daughter might never have--”
“Surely you don’t think I blame you, dear?” Andromeda said, surprised, her eyebrows raised.
Teddy leaned his head against Harry’s chest, grasping at his shirt.
Even though he felt relief that Andromeda didn’t hold him at all responsible for her daughter’s death, the ache inside Harry throbbed harder than ever because he wondered if only he had found out the truth earlier and faced Voldemort earlier, perhaps Remus and Tonks and so many others would still be alive…
“Because I don’t,” Andromeda continued. “I’d be mad to. My daughter knew full well what she was getting herself into.”
He didn’t know what exactly to say to this so he merely nodded.
Andromeda’s gaze shifted to one of the pictures of Tonks in the room, each picture another year, another highlight in Tonks’ life. “My Nymphadora was always a brave girl.”
The wistful tone of her voice pierced Harry’s heart, as did the grief of all of those who had also lost a loved one. He couldn’t imagine how this woman must have felt, losing her husband, then her daughter.
He thought of Tonks’s clumsiness, her goofiness, her infectious laugh and her eagerness to fight for what was right, for the side of the good.
He rested his chin lightly on Teddy’s head. Teddy hiccupped in response.
“But I have my grandson,” Andromeda returned her attention back to him, her eyes coming to rest on Teddy in Harry’s arms. A smile curved her mouth. “I have a part of her. I’m grateful for that.”
Words failed Harry once again but thankfully Andromeda changed the subject to spare Harry a response.
“I do hope you come to visit often. You’ll always be welcome here.”
Harry saw the hope in Andromeda’s eyes and marveled at how he must have ever mistaken her for her sister Bellatrix.
Harry nodded. “Thank you. I’d love to. Remus and your daughter made me Teddy’s godfather, after all…”
As if responding to his name, Teddy sat up, fidgeting, trying to move around to look up at Harry.
Harry picked him up slightly and positioned him around in his lap so that Teddy was facing him.
Teddy giggled up at him, drooling; his hair changed once more, now shockingly pink, mirroring Tonks. His light brown eyes, his father’s eyes, crinkled in the corners as he laughed.
The sound of the laugh filled Harry inside with a kind of warmth.
“Well, that’s settled, then. Tea?” Andromeda’s smile was wide, her eyes flicking up from Teddy’s hair to Harry.
“I’d like that, thanks.” Harry replied, and Andromeda nodded curtly and got up to make some tea.
He thought of Andromeda’s words and knew she was right. Teddy was a part of both Remus and Tonks. So they weren’t completely gone, really.
He remembered how he had felt, growing up with no parents because they had died when he was only a baby. He remembered the neglect and loneliness, even more now.
He was determined Teddy would not know those kinds of feelings, not if Harry could help it.
Teddy made a swipe for Harry’s glasses again in the thoughtful silence and the smile that curled Harry’s lips this time was genuine.
Chapter 3: George
George’s fingers lingered over the piles of boxes: Puking Pastilles, Nosebleed Nougat, Fever Fudge…
He had re-opened the shop two years ago and it appeared as if the shop was even more popular than it had been when it was first opened, if that was even possible.
Everyone wanted to laugh now, and had more reason to, and this shop was the place to go to achieve that.
It had been hard at first, entering this shop for the first time after Fred’s death. He’d be lying to himself if he said it hadn’t been.
At that time, he had entered the shop alone. His family had been eager to go with him, to help him clean up, but he had told them that he’d do fine on his own, that he just needed to do some things himself…
When he had walked through the door of the shop after the war the sight that greeted him had been a sad one.
The shop had been neglected too long. Dust had gathered everywhere, thick on every surface and swirling in the air as the sunlight shone through the windows. Some products, such as the Decoy Detonators, went off with a bang then fizzled out unceremoniously from the back room. The products and decorations that had once made the shop vibrant and colorful had all dimmed, casting a heavy gloom over everything.
He had cleaned the whole shop that day. Without magic.
It had just felt right; cleaning the Muggle way made it a bit better, for his mind was too focused on the tasks at hand given that there was so much to do. It had kept him busy and his mind off other things.
He shook his head, putting that day out of his mind. It had been one of his worst.
He sighed, looking around at the shop. Of course, it looked as good as it always did now. There was just one thing missing and it was felt and noticed every day he unlocked the door and waited for customers.
He remembered when he first laid eyes on Fred’s body. His eyes had been closed, but Harry had told him later, quite uncomfortably but George had truly wanted to know, that Fred’s eyes had been open when he died. Someone had closed Fred’s eyes. He still didn’t know who did to this day. He didn’t need to know. He also remembered the smile on Fred’s face, frozen in place. He remembered the intense disbelief then misery he had felt at seeing his twin dead on the floor of the Great Hall next to all the others who had fallen. He had never thought he’d lose Fred. Sure it had crossed his mind once or twice, but he never truly considered it a possibility. Then he had felt ashamed at how foolish he was because they were at war and you couldn’t assume your loved ones would all survive unscathed from something like that.
The rest of that day had been a blur.
He didn’t dwell on it much anymore.
Instead he only thought of happier times, of more pleasant memories, back when Fred was alive and well.
Doing that was what helped him move forward.
He wandered aimlessly around the front of the shop, barely even knowing he was moving, so lost he was in reminiscing on the past.
He thought, perhaps, what hurt the most was that he never really got to tell Fred goodbye. They had been so busy; they had thrown themselves into the battle and he had never spared one thought of what would happen if Fred didn’t make it.
That had to be his biggest regret.
Of course, he could imagine, quite easily, that Fred would scoff at him for even thinking these things.
George smiled as he imagined Fred smacking him upside the head and telling him that wallowing would do him no good, that he was perfectly fine where he was and that all George should worry about is people not laughing.
The image of Fred’s face, still smiling even in death, rose unbidden once more in his mind’s eye.
Well, that was one consolation, George supposed. At least Fred had died happy.
His smile faded, despite the consolation.
I miss you, Forge. It’s never been the same with you gone.
I miss you, Forge. It’s never been the same with you gone.
Before he knew it he had wandered into the back room. He was shrouded in darkness here and he frowned, moving back out a little into the weak light filtering through the front windows.
It was nearly seven o’clock in the evening now, he guessed. Ron had already left an hour ago.
The door opened, emitting a loud bird’s caw. George suppressed a snicker; he had changed it from a horse’s neigh a couple of days ago.
The person entered the shop, light footsteps advancing forward a little then coming to a halt.
He couldn’t see who it was because he was still too far in the back. But he knew.
‘I didn’t plan this, honestly.’ George thought, unable to help himself. ‘I know you dated her once, but I met up with her again a year ago. It turns out we have a lot more in common than I thought and she laughs at my jokes, so…’
He let his thought trail off there.
He could imagine that the latter reason would have settled it for Fred.
‘Say no more.’ He would undoubtedly respond.
“George?” Angelina asked softly and George left the back room completely and emerged into the front of the shop.
Angelina smiled at him, her dark braids hanging over her shoulders.
Her fingers drummed absentmindedly against the counter, which she was leaning against. “You promised me you’d take me out tonight. You didn’t forget, did you?”
He grinned. “Of course I didn’t. I keep my promises.”
Angelina beamed. “Then let’s go.”
She grabbed hold of his hand, leading him out the door.
As he swung the door shut she waited as he stopped and drew his wand out of his back pocket with his other hand, tapping it against the doorknob, locking it.
As he did so, he glanced inside at the shop through the window to his immediate right. He didn’t know why exactly, but even as he did, he only saw that the shop was as empty and still as he left it.
He walked slowly away with Angelina, and as he did so he could have swore he heard the faint sound of a bird’s caw.
He looked up at the sky but there was no sight of any bird soaring through it.
He knew he must have imagined it, of course, and that if he looked back as he and Angelina made their way further down the street toward the archway that would lead back into the Leaky Cauldron, he would see his shop door still closed.
But, feeling a newfound sense of peace, he didn’t bother looking back.
Chapter 4: Neville
When the bell rang and his last class for the day filed out of greenhouse three, Neville followed them out then turned back to close the door and lock it with a tap of his wand.
It was dinnertime; all the students would no doubt be headed to the Great Hall by now in packs, eager to fill their stomachs after another long day of classes. Sure enough, around twenty students were walking toward the stone steps from Hagrid’s hut after their Care of Magical Creatures lesson. Hagrid milled about in front of his cabin, his massive back to the students, putting away what they had been studying. Neville squinted and thought he could make out very big cages. He shuddered slightly. He didn’t even want to know.
Creatures put away safely, Hagrid turned back around and made his way toward the stone steps, now only a few more students disappearing though the doors into the Hall.
Neville had only raised a hand up in a wave when he realized that Hagrid probably couldn’t see him from here.
Neville leaned against the glass door, feeling at ease. He often liked doing this after his last class of the day: merely hanging around the greenhouses, surrounded by the plants (despite how poisonous or fierce they could be) and feeling the strong breeze from the Forbidden Forest carry all the way to him even here, blowing his hair back.
It didn’t matter if he missed dinner, which, on occasion, he did, but there was just something about being out here on his own that was so calming. Besides, he could always have something to eat in his office.
He had a lot of memories here. A lot of good and a lot of bad. He had felt at home here but almost could have lost his life here during the battle. Many lives had been lost here and that was a stain upon the castle and grounds that would never fade. But it was still home and a safe haven again to others, even to him.
He looked towards the Forbidden Forest, at the dark trees swaying, and remembered when he had detention there in his first year.
In the entrance hall of the castle he had sliced off the head of Voldemort’s snake, and the memory came to him nearly every time he set foot in there. He remembered vividly the feel of the Sorting hat over his eyes, blocking his sight as it was set ablaze, such a stark, horrible contrast to the moment when he had eagerly and nervously pulled the hat down over his head to let it decide which House to place him in. He had been afraid in that moment, more afraid than anything as fire erupted over his head, but all he knew then was that he couldn’t stop fighting, that he had to keep being brave, just like everyone else opposing Voldemort was, just like his parents were. He hoped he made his parents proud that night. If only they could have seen him…
He shook off that forlorn feeling and tried to think of other things.
Harry had sent him an owl yesterday with a letter announcing that his and Ginny’s first child had been born the night before. It had been hastily scrawled, quite brief, but Neville appreciated it just the same. The letter had told him that the child was a boy, had been named James Sirius Potter, that they were all fine and happy, and had ended urging Neville to pay them a visit this upcoming weekend for lunch. Ron and Hermione would be there also. Neville had sent an owl back immediately, accepting the invitation.
Luna continued to send him letters also, asking how he was and giving him proud, and very detailed, updates on her research on unusual creatures (which she and her father were traveling around countries looking for and getting information from eyewitnesses). To anyone else, this would be strange and annoying but Neville knew Luna for too long and had already grown used to her. In fact, he couldn’t help but look forward to her letters for they were quite amusing, in their own way.
Hermione, as well, sent him letters from time to time, asking him to come visit her and Ron (which he often did), who had gotten married a little over a year ago, and how his teaching was going. He appreciated her thoughtfulness very much; she was, after all, one of the first to be friendly with him at the beginning of school. He remembered how many tight spots she had gotten him out of, particularly in Potions class. She was often punished and ridiculed for it. He couldn’t help but be grateful to her.
The sky was now darkening and lightning flickered in the clouds, bringing the loud boom of thunder with it. Not wanting to get caught in a downpour of rain, he stood back upright and hurried across the grounds toward the stone steps into the castle.
As he entered the rumble of many conversations and the clinking of plates and silverware reached his ears from the Great Hall, but before he could enter it a boy appeared out of it, hurrying toward him with an almost nervous expression on his face.
He recognized the boy. Small, sandy-haired, and pale-faced… Neville vaguely remembered him, he must be a first year.
As the boy came to a halt in front of him, it clicked. He was indeed a first year and his name was…
“Professor,” The boy asked breathlessly, gazing up at him. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Sure,” Neville smiled, and something in the boy’s voice sparked the memory. The boy was in one of his earlier classes and had answered a question correctly, earning points for Hufflepuff. “Robert, is it?”
Robert nodded; something in the boy’s face reminded him of someone.
“I’ve heard from some of the older students that you still have the coin you used for Dumbledore’s Army, to tell you when meetings were. Is it true?”
The boy’s excited face was too much. Neville simply couldn’t let him down.
Fortunately, he wouldn’t have to in this situation.
“Yes, it is,” Neville said, grinning. “I still keep it in one of the drawers in my office. Would you like to see it?”
The boy stared up at him in blank shock for a moment, then his face split in a wide grin. “Yes, I would! I can’t wait to tell my friends that you still have it, that’s so cool!”
And suddenly, in the boy’s shy smile and eager face, Neville was reminded of himself at the age of eleven.
“Come along, then,” He said to the boy, still smiling, and together they walked past the Great Hall and up the marble stairs.
Chapter 5: Albus Severus
Sure enough, almost as if his father’s words to him before he boarded the Hogwarts Express had been foreshadowing this occurrence, Albus Severus was Sorted into Slytherin.
James had clapped him on the back on the way out of the Great Hall after dinner. “There’s a first time for everything, Al.”
That statement didn’t exactly make him feel better at all.
He recalled his father’s words and they did comfort him, but the looks on the other House students’ faces when they passed him hadn’t exactly been very friendly, and he knew why. He had heard enough from overhearing his parents, along with Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione, discuss how back when they were students, Slytherin wasn’t exactly liked by the other Houses.
Within the week, he sent a letter to his parents telling them of this.
The reply back consoled him slightly.
I’m sorry to hear that, Al. His father had replied. It was the same back when I was a student, as you know. But remember what I told you before you got on the train. Your mother and I are very proud of you, regardless, and you should be proud of yourself as well.
The rest of the reply was just overkill on his mum’s part: how are you? Have you made any friends? How do you like the castle? Did you see Neville? Did you see Hagrid? (Say hello to them for me, by the way). Is James all right? I’ve already sent him a letter, but still… Tell Rose I say hello. Do you need me to send anything to you? And on and on and on…
It took him about thirty minutes to finish the reply letter that would assuage her concerns and doubts. But that was mum for you. He was already used to it.
But he did make friends with kids his age from Slytherin, and even he and Scorpius held some conversations (Scorpius was actually pretty nice and they might become real friends later on but Albus decided it’d probably be best to keep that quiet from his family for now); James defended him whenever the situation called for it; and he and Rose (who was Sorted into Ravenclaw, which didn’t surprise him at all because she was so smart that sometimes she made him feel downright stupid, but Aunt Hermione was thrilled about this, according to the letter she had sent, which Rose had shown him) often found time to hang out together, especially during the weekends. The classes were as interesting as James had always told him and he and Rose often visited Hagrid for tea whenever they were able to, but they didn’t exactly share his views on certain creatures. It was bad enough having to deal with them during Care of Magical Creatures, but they made sure to keep quiet about this because Hagrid was one of the coolest teachers anyway, beside Professor Longbottom.
It was only nearing Christmas when Albus first actually stopped to read the plaque put up on the wall beside the great oak doors into the castle. It listed the names of those who had died on the good side in the battle at Hogwarts some nineteen years before. His dad had mentioned it once or twice, said he was involved in it and everything, along with mum and Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron, and the rest of the Weasley family, but whenever dad would speak more than that mum would give him a look and he’d go quiet. Dad said mum thought he was too young to know all the details at his age. He had tried to get more information out of dad when mum wasn’t around, but dad would always look around him and tell him that he really couldn’t say any more because mum was really good at those Bat-Bogey hexes.
Albus’s eyes scanned the list. Uncle Fred was on there, along with Teddy’s parents, but then another name caught his eye, a very familiar name.
Rose came up beside him, hoisting her bag full of books over her shoulder. “Hey, Al.”
“Look, Rose.” He pointed near the bottom of the list, toward the name Severus Snape. “There’s the man my dad named me after.”
“Hmm.” Rose peered at the name. “I remember mum mentioning him once or twice. She’d get a bit sad whenever he was mentioned. She said she regretted not knowing sooner… or something like that. But he was her teacher when she was here. He taught Potions. He was your dad’s and mum’s and my dad’s teacher, too.”
Albus felt curiosity rise in him. His dad had never really given him the full details of why he was named after this man, just what he was told before he got on the train. He knew he was named after Albus Dumbledore, he knew that a long time ago, but it was always this man, Severus Snape, that intrigued him because he wasn’t talked of very much.
“Dad said he got quite a few detentions from him,” Rose continued, oblivious to Albus being lost in thought and not really taking in her words. “But I suppose that was because Dad was a troublemaker or something. Then I guess he deserved it.”
Rose drew herself up to her full height as she said this, as best as she could under the heavy weight of the books, and the serious look on her face told Albus that she supposed that settled the matter.
“Come on, we better get to class,” Rose said a moment later, and reluctantly Albus followed, his head still buzzing.
He didn’t forget about this at all over the next couple of weeks and was determined to get something out of dad during the Christmas holidays. Perhaps if dad had too much of Uncle George’s special eggnog…
And so he found himself, two days before Christmas, entering the kitchen quietly after mum had put Lily to bed. James was already holed up in his room and dad usually lingered in the kitchen before going up to bed at around midnight or so.
And sure enough, as Albus peered around the hallway corner into the kitchen, he saw his dad sitting at the kitchen table, a mug between his hands.
The floor creaked as Albus took a step forward and his dad looked up.
“Al,” His dad said, surprised. “What’s up?”
Albus sat down in the chair across from his dad and thought of how best to approach the subject. He would have to figure it out soon before Mum came in to join them.
“You want some hot chocolate?” His dad asked.
His dad flicked his wand toward the kitchen counter. A mug full of steaming hot chocolate immediately zoomed toward Albus, skidding a little along the table in front of him.
Albus wondered why there was a cup of hot chocolate conveniently set aside. “Were you waiting for Mum, Dad?”
His dad shook his head. “No, I was waiting for you, Al.”
What? Could he know I was going to ask? But how?
His dad smiled. “It’s okay. Rose told your Aunt Hermione that you saw the plaque with Snape’s name on it at school.”
Annoyance rose in Albus. He should have known Rose would tell her Mum… but it wasn't exactly her fault, since he didn’t tell her to keep quiet about it anyway….
“I knew you would ask me questions about your namesake eventually,” His dad continued, peering at him. “At school, you might hear things from people, so I had to prepare myself for this.”
Albus tried to gather his bearings. He didn’t exactly know where this was going.
His dad smiled again. “All right, then. Fire away. Ask me what you want to know.”
Albus looked around behind him at the dark hallway. It was almost as if he expected to see Mum standing there.
“But mum…” He voiced his thought aloud.
“It’s okay, Al. I’ve talked to her about this. She agreed that you deserve to know what you want.”
This was Albus’s courage. “Okay. Tell me about Snape. Why did you really name me after him? What did he do?”
Albus caught the hesitant look on his dad’s face before it was dispelled. “He was a teacher at Hogwarts. He and I…” His dad faltered, took a sip of hot chocolate, then pushed on. “We didn’t get along. There were a lot of misunderstandings… complications…”
Suddenly his dad leaned across the table, his face solemn. “What you have to understand, Al, is that I can’t exactly explain everything. There are things about Severus Snape that I can’t tell you, not right now. Perhaps when you’re older…”
Disappointment was all Albus felt. Why was everyone so tight-lipped about this man?
“But,” His dad continued, leaning back in his chair. “I will tell you this. I wasn’t making up what I told you before you got on the train. He was the bravest man I’d ever known. I doubted him at first, but later, after his death, I found out the truth about him. He had been helping me all along. If it weren’t for him, Al, I wouldn’t be here right now.”
Albus mulled this over in his head then thought of what else he wanted to know.
“How did he die?”
“He was killed in the war.”
“You don’t need to know,” His dad said, and fidgeted slightly on the chair as if suppressing a shudder. “I saw it. It wasn’t a nice, clean death.”
Albus recognized the finality in his tone about this topic and moved on. Perhaps he didn’t want to know, if it was really that bad.
“Did he have a family?”
Albus saw sadness tinge his dad’s bright green eyes, eyes identical to his own. “No, he didn’t.”
“Where is he buried?” This question, oddly enough, interested him the most.
“I had him buried near where he used to live.”
Albus nodded, staring down at the table, thinking hard. He lifted his mug of hot chocolate, which he had forgotten about until now, and took a sip.
“All you really need to know, Al,” His dad said, running his hand through his hair. “is that he was a good man. You should be proud to be named after him.”
“Do you visit his grave?”
The question left Albus’s mouth before he had even thought about it.
His dad looked taken aback for a moment then answered, “From time to time.”
Albus nodded again, then looked into his dad’s face. His dad waited patiently.
“Can I visit the grave with you sometime?”
His dad blinked, then studied him for a long moment.
“I’d just like to see.” Albus explained.
Finally, his dad smiled, and some sort of understanding seemed to pass between them. “I think that’d be good.”