Continuing Tales


A Harry Potter Story
by Alexis.Danaan

Part 20 of 26

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6 months, 1 week:

Harry had never been to the little potions shop before but he had heard plenty about it from Hermione. She had been endlessly entertained by the name, taken directly from the book that they had used in their illegal brewing of Polyjuice Potion, and thought it quite fitting for Snape's shop. Harry just thought it was funny that Snape would name his shop after the book that had caused Hermione to steal from his personal stores. Valuing his life, however, he had no intentions of bringing it up. He wasn't sure if the ex-professor knew and if he didn't Harry wasn't going to be the one to enlighten him.

Stepping into the dimly lit store, Harry noted the chime of bells above his head and nearly smirked at the thought of Snape using something so Muggle and announce a patron. Having expected something akin to his dungeon classroom and offices, he was surprised to see that even though the walls were lined with potions ingredients in glass jars the store did not have the same 'doom and gloom' feel to it that the dungeons had had. Despite being cool and a little dark, the shop was clean and spacious, not even the slimy contents of some of the jars could take away from that.

"What do you want, Potter?"

Harry whirled around, his heart beating irrationally fast as his eyes took in the Potions Master standing behind his counter. It was conditioned into him to be afraid when Snape snuck up on him; it used to result in massive point loss and horrible, humiliating detentions. Old habits didn't die hard—they never died at all.

"I came to speak to you," Harry said, trying not to show how unnerved the other man still made him sometimes.

"I have no desire to listen to you," Snape sneered, his hands white knuckled as he gripped the countertop. Harry couldn't help but notice that, despite the stiff way the older wizard held himself, he looked tired and drawn. His eyes had dark smudges underneath them, making his skin look even paler than usual, and Harry suspected that his grip on the countertop was more out of necessity than simple anger.

"Too bad," Harry said, his demeanour shifting. He had to remind himself that he was no longer the little boy, or the half-trained wizard, of years past. He had decided to confront this man for Hermione, because she was one of the best things in his life, his sister in all ways but blood, and he wasn't leaving until he had had his say. "You're going to listen to what I have to say, and you're going to look at what I have to show you, only then will I leave. You can try to force me out before then but we both know that I could make things very, very nasty for you if I wanted to so you're going to cooperate, are you?"

Snape snorted derisively. "You and Weasley have not changed an iota, have you? He, too, threatened me with his so-called clout. I was a fool to think you had matured."

"Ron has no clout," Harry said harshly. "He may be my friend but it's the truth, and as things stand right now, I don't even know if our friendship is going to survive this latest blunder. Fortunately for you, I am not above petty black mail when it comes to my best mate."

"Fortunately?" Snape sneered. "Do I need to find you a dictionary, Potter? Is your education really so pitiful?"

"Fortunately, Snape," Harry repeated, digging into his pockets and pulling out several items as he approached the counter. "Fortunately for you, I happen to have inherited Dumbledore's Pensieve, it wasn't part of Hogwarts. Fortunately for you, Lavender agreed to help me. Fortunately for you, I love Hermione enough to do anything for her, even brave your undoubtedly passionate hatred for me."

Snape eyed him warily, that hatred barely contained to his eyes, as Harry pulled out the shrunken Pensieve and tapped it with his wand to restore it to its original size. It hovered benignly over the various pieces of parchment that Snape had on his countertop as Harry placed three vials of swirling silvery liquid next to it.

"Contrary to what you may believe about your power over me, Potter, you cannot force me to view these memories. If I have to bring about the ruination of my shop and what remains of my reputation in order to cast you out of my life, I will do so," Snape said coldly, looking down his nose at Harry with the utmost disdain.

"I'm sure you would," Harry said agreeably. "But you're going to view these, and I'm going to view them with you so that you don't do anything stupid like try to rush through them, because you owe your son that much, at the very least."

"Sebastian has nothing to—"

"Spare me," Harry said coldly, glaring at the older wizard. "You have not seen your son in a week; you have neglected him as a father because you think you have been wronged. I am here to clear that matter up for you and since I know you never listen to anything I say, I'm going to show you. You're an intelligent man, recent events aside, and you know how to tell whether or not a memory has been doctored so I trust you to understand exactly what it is that I'm trying to tell you."

"I don't want to see her memories," Snape spat, clearly having nothing else to say in response.

"Then it's a good thing I didn't bring any of hers," Harry growled, pouring all three vials into the Pensieve in successive order so they would play chronologically. "These belong to Lavender and I. After you have viewed them I will leave you to the rest of your miserable existence, so why don't you just fucking play nice?"

Snape glared at him, one that could have defined the phrase 'if looks could kill', and Harry suspected that the older man very much wanted to hex him out of the shop. Harry fingered his wand in his robes and hoped that if Snape decided he'd rather not co-operate, thank you very much, Harry would be quicker on the draw.

Thankfully, for both of them, Snape relented. Scowling he said, "Fine. Let us get this over with."

"After you," Harry gestured towards the Pensieve which, almost as if it was sentient, had expanded so that it could easily accommodate both of them. With a long suffering sigh, Severus waved his wand at the door behind Harry, raising the wards, before lowering his face to the cool surface. As soon as his long, hooked nose touched the liquid his body fell forward, disappearing beneath the surface without creating so much as a ripple. Harry quickly followed.

He landed beside Snape mere seconds after the first memory began.

"This is Lavender's," Harry murmured to the other man before turning his attention to what was going on around him. He had asked for her contribution and told her what he planned on doing with them, but she had not told him exactly what it was that she was giving him.

"I'm going to come home to a red and gold nursery, aren't I?" Hermione asked, smiling widely at Lavender while Snape sat in a chair next to her bed with his son in his arms.

"No!" Lavender laughed. "Severus wouldn't let us. He said it was better for the baby to be in a room full of soft, light colours."

"He did, did he?" Hermione turned to look at Snape and her smile softened as her eyes lingered on the man in question. Harry could see her gaze following the movement of Snape's hand as he brushed gentle fingers against his son's cheeks...

The world shifted to a kitchen that Harry wasn't familiar with but that hardly mattered because Hermione was in a right fit and she stole all of his attention.

"Can you believe him!" Hermione raged as she paced the floor in front of the sink like a caged animal.

"Well, to be honest? Yes. It's Ron, remember?" Lavender shrugged.

"But to just barge into Severus' shop and... and talk to him like that? Where the hell does he get off? Who does he think he is?"

"Hermione, calm down," Lavender eyed her friend with a slightly worried expression.

"I can't!" she tossed her hands up in the air. "I just bloody can't! He stood there and called Severus all sorts of nasty names as if it's his right!"

"Snape is a big boy, Hermione," Lavender said. "He's been hearing that kind of thing for years."

"That's the problem, Lav. Everyone thinks it's okay to take shots at him and it's not right. He's not ugly, he's not dirty, and he's not evil. He's lovely, actually, and—"

Lavender spluttered and laughed. "Did you just call Snape lovely?"

"Lavender," Hermione warned, fire in her eyes.

Lavender held up her hands in mock surrender. "I'm not saying anything against him, 'Mione, I'm just saying the man isn't lovely. Lovely is...mushy, pastel colours and floral patterned cushions that have been embroidered by your Nan. Snape is not lovely."

"Okay, perhaps lovely is the wrong word," Hermione conceded, pausing in her restless pacing. "He's not your traditional handsome, no, but sexy for sure."

"Oh?" Lavender said, her interest piqued. "Do tell."

"You've never seen him without those robes on," Hermione grinned devilishly.

"Nor will I probably ever," Lavender laughed. "So put my curiosity to rest and tell me."

"Mmmm...," Hermione leaned back against the counter with a smile on her face. "Muggle trousers, Lavender. God," she sighed and wiggled her eyebrows. "He looks fucking fantastic in them. The night we ran into each other in that pub? He was dressed like a Muggle and, I swear to god, I sat there and undressed him with my eyes."

Lavender burst into laughter. "You also undressed him with your hands, as I understand it."

"You're damn right I did," Hermione chuckled. "Honestly? If more women knew what was hidden under those robes..."

"So he's hung like a dragon then?"

"LAVENDER!" Hermione shrieked in laughter. "You're disgusting. I'm not talking to you about that, it's private."

"Ah, a gal can dream."

The scene shifted once more and Harry found himself squished against Severus as the pair of them tried to find somewhere to stand in Hermione's relatively small bathroom.

"Merlin, lose the sappy look on your face," Lavender teased, eyeing Hermione. "I'm about to vomit in my mouth over here."

"Shut up," Hermione smiled. "I'm just happy, that's all."

"Yeah," Lavender's voice became soft as she smiled at her friend. "You really are, aren't you?"

"I am. He... I like having him here," Hermione admitted. "We get on a lot better than I originally thought we would, and I love watching him with Sebastian." She sighed and shook her head. "I sound like a total sap but...every time I see him smile at his son I want to kiss him..."

Suddenly the two wizards were plunged into darkness as the memory shifted abruptly. Harry heard the wet sniffle and turned in that direction, barely able to make out the shape of a bed in the pitch black.

"I don't know what to do Lavender...I've lost him..."

"You haven't lost him. He'll come to his senses."

Hermione didn't answer. She just cried harder.

As if affected by a Time-Turner, Hermione's bedroom flooded with the light of morning. Sebastian sat in Lavender's lap holding his teddy and pulling on her necklaces.

"Did you know that Ron asked me to convince Severus to give Sebastian up to be raised by Ron and I?" Hermione said, leaning against her headboard and plucking despondently at her sweats. She looked like absolute shite; her face was ragged and tired, pale and miserable. Her hair hung about her face limp and unwashed.

"No," Lavender's eyes went wide. "Really? Merlin, Ron."

"He's got this image of Severus from when we were kids," Hermione shrugged, her eyes red and swollen. "He still thinks of him as the angry man forced to straddle two very dangerous worlds with absolutely no help or recognition from the people he risked his life to protect. Even now when it's public knowledge that he's the reason why we lived long enough to see the war end, that he saved countless lives by reporting to Dumbledore, people still think he's some evil, miserable git."

"And Ron thinks that he wouldn't want you and Sebastian," Lavender mused. "That he would give you up to another wizard."

"Well," Hermione whispered, her voice suddenly thick, "I don't know about me, but he would never give up Sebastian. I told Ron he was absolutely nuts, not to mention wrong, but...he didn't listen."

"Of course," the blonde witch said. "He's Ron, he's thick. But seriously, Severus will take his head out of his arse, I know it."

Hermione snorted. "Even if he did, I'm not sure I care anymore..."

Harry didn't dare look at the other man as the memories shifted once more and became a scene that he remembered all too well from the morning Ginny had Floo'd him, yelling something about Ron and Hermione snogging in public. He didn't want to watch his friend break down again and so he turned to Snape who, thankfully, was riveted to the scene before him. Harry caught snippets of the words as he watched unmasked emotion race across Snape's face and for the first time he wished that he knew this man well enough to understand what those flashes meant.

"Y-You don't smell like Se-Severus..."

"Ron kissed you didn't he?"

"He kept going on and on about how we could give a relationship another go and it would work if we tried. I told him, nicely, that he was barking up the wrong tree, it didn't work then and it certainly wouldn't work now. He didn't listen to me, of course."

"Instead, he leaned over the table and planted one on me. I was so shocked at first Harry, I didn't move and then he...ugh."

"He's just as bad as the rest of them, he clearly believes I'm a whore, too."

Harry noted, with some satisfaction, that Snape flinched at the venom in Hermione's voice but it was the last part of the memory that seemed to hit the message home. He watched as all the colour drained from the older wizard's face, making him look almost as pale as he had when Harry, Ron and Hermione had found him dying in the Shrieking Shack.

"I can't pin it down to one thing; he makes me happy and I just...I love him."

"He gave his heart away a long time ago, Harry."

The memory ended and the world went dark around them seconds before Harry felt his feet lift off the floor and he pulled his dry face out of the Pensieve liquid. Across from him, Severus did the same, eyes downcast and his expression a calm mask of indifference. If Harry hadn't seen the very real emotions playing across the other man's face while he witnessed the memories he might have thought that Snape truly was incapable of feeling anything.

Without a word, Harry swirled his wand over the surface of the Pensieve, calling back his memories and guiding them into the two bottles. He did the same thing for Lavender's, sealing all of them and shrinking down the Pensieve. Snape watched his movements but did not seem to actually see what was happening in front of him.

Pocketing everything that he came with, Harry turned away from the counter and made for the door. He didn't hesitate to flip the 'Open' sign over so that it displayed 'Closed' to those out on the street. With ease he dropped the wards to let himself out and opened the door.

He had done as much as he could.


A Harry Potter Story
by Alexis.Danaan

Part 20 of 26

<< Previous     Home     Next >>