Memories Returned - Chapter 35/? ~ SS & HP ~ PG-13

Title: Memories Returned
Chapter:, 35/?
Pairing: To be determined
Rating: PG-13 for some violence and adult language
Warning: AU (Spoilers for books 1-5, not HBP or DH-compliant), Severitus
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended. No money is made off this fanfiction.
Beta: None – all mistakes are mine
Summary: Harry exchanges mail with Professor Snape, until they both get a letter that is totally unexpected. My attempt at the Severitus Challenge.
Earlier chapters of this story can be read HERE
Edit: July 2018: Thank you to all who are still waiting for an update! :)






The weather continued to be cold and dreary as January slid into February. The sixth years, in Harry’s opinion, were still receiving too much homework from other classes as they struggled to learn non-verbal magic. When casting himself, Harry found he had to be on his guard all the time after forgetting to draw his wand during a Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson on shielding spells, where he conjured an impressive shield silently. Remus Lupin had managed to step in and cover for his wandless magic but held him after class for a lecture on paying attention. Charms and Transfiguration proved to be easier to control his magic in, but Harry had to concentrate on the amount of power he pushed into the spell, as his magic seemed stronger than ever now.

Trudging down towards the dungeons, Harry kept close to the wall of the corridor, dodging the Slytherins who were headed toward the Entrance Hall. Their Quidditch team was practicing that afternoon, and Harry had lingered long enough to know that Draco Malfoy was going to be flying. It had become almost an obsession on his part to try and catch Malfoy going into the Room of Requirement, but he had not yet succeeded. Ginny Weasley had also made herself scarce since the night she had first gone into the Room with the Malfoy, but Harry had seen her accompany him several more times on the Marauders Map. He had not said anything to Ron; their relationship seemed to have returned to some semblance of normal since the holidays and Harry wasn't ready to mess it up again by saying the wrong thing.

Since the Yule celebration, Harry had become more cognizant of the amount of magical energy running through his body. The strength of it was scary and Harry had truly become aware of the sheer power within him when he had tapped into it on purpose to hold Hogwarts' wards in the Chamber of Secrets. It had taken his entire concentration at the time and only as he lay in bed several nights later did Harry realize what had happened. He suspected that Albus Dumbledore had realized as well, having taken the brunt of the ward-bearing from Harry in the Chamber, but Harry didn't believe he had said anything to his father. It was a subject that Harry desperately wanted to talk to Severus about, but his own fear made him hesitate, wondering if this power would make his father see him as abnormal. He didn’t think he could take it if Severus rejected him.

“Harry?”

His father’s voice startled him, coming from right behind him and Harry spun around. One hand over his heart, he narrowed his eyes at the smirk of amusement on the older man’s face.

“You seem a bit on edge, son,” Severus said as they continued to walk towards their rooms. “Did something happen today?”

Harry shook his head, trying to phrase an answer that would satisfy his father even as he walked into the sitting room. He stood in front of his father.

"You know it is better to simply say it, Harry," Severus reminded him gently.

Harry took a deep breath before he looked up at Severus. "I just wanted—" Harr broke off, one hand reaching out to rest his hand on his father's arm. "I don't even know what to say."

Severus' hands settled on his shoulders, guiding him to the sofa where they sat. "I would suggest just start, I'm sure you will be able to get it out."

Taking a deep breath, Harry began to talk about what happened in the Chamber of Secrets and the increase in the strength of his magic. His father sat beside him, arm around Harry's shoulder and listened quietly. As good as it felt to unburden himself, Harry was still apprehensive on how his father would react to him. The familial bond between them told Harry that Severus was surprised, but the warmth and love he felt reassured him.

"I am proud of you, Harry," his father said quietly. "I am surprised it took you this long to say anything, especially as it has apparently been weighing on your mind." Severus turned toward him. "You forget I am very aware of how powerful you are and, through our bond, I can anchor you as well as augment your magic."

Harry met his father's eyes. "So, you know about what happened with the wards when we were in the Chamber?"

"Yes." Papa's eyes narrowed and Harry realized that he'd already discussed the situation with the Headmaster. "And while I realize it was necessary, I don't like feeling your magic was being tested as well."

That was something Harry hadn't considered. Dumbledore was like a grandfather to him. "But he couldn't have known what we would find there, could he?"

"No," Severus said, shaking his head. "However, Albus is not beyond taking advantage of a situation if it presents itself."

"What if I hadn't been strong enough, Papa?" Harry whispered, tilting his head as he thought about the incident.

His father gave him a small smile. "I believe he was very sure about the outcome before he made the decision, Harry. Consider it a compliment that he has such confidence in your abilities."

Harry couldn't help but roll his eyes as his father tapped his wand on the table to call for a tea tray.

hpsshpsshpsshpss


Severus watched as Harry headed out the door to join Hermione for dinner in the Great Hall. His son's resigned acceptance of his magical strength and Severus' explanation of the Headmaster's motivations was reassuring, but Severus knew Harry was still uncomfortable with his power. They would need to step up their training until Harry became comfortable with his gift, otherwise, Severus feared for his mental health. Add to those concerns the issue of his scar and Severus felt he'd could have a breakdown himself!

Severus shook his head and pushed those thoughts firmly away from him. Standing, Severus headed to his private lab to check the latest version of his Horcrux potion before he headed up for dinner. The one fact he knew for certain was that basilisk venom would destroy the soul pieces, but he needed a component which would protect Harry and the flesh around his scar which housed the Horcrux. A component not damaged by heat in brewing the potion or tainted by the other ingredients. Phoenix tears and unicorn blood, both freely given, had amazing restorative and healing properties, but were notoriously hard to work with.

The Slytherin manuscripts Severus had warded in the bottom drawer of his desk had offered some help. In fact, they had given him the base for a deadly potion capable of destroying, in Slytherin's words "the most foul of things". Severus just needed to create a variation of the potion which wouldn't harm the host. Although he'd not found any reference to Horcruxes, per se, Severus had found paragraphs scattered among Slytherin's journals which discussed ensuring immortality and the Dark magic required to attain it.

Pushing his thoughts to the side, Severus checked the three caldrons to make sure they were all still simmering slowly, checking the color of each, before casting a Stasis Spell on them once again. Severus warded the door as he left, making his way toward the Great Hall, his mind still on his potion dilemma. With the Dark Lord gaining followers and power, Severus knew he needed to remove the Horcrux from Harry's scar as soon as he could, especially with half the school year already over. The Dark Lord had become a bit predictable with his attacks at the end of the school term.

The noise level reached him before Severus reached the stairs leading up from the dungeons and he winced. If it weren't for the fact that his son would worry if Severus didn't show up for dinner, Severus would have pivoted around and returned to his rooms. Straightening his shoulders, Severus pasted a sneer on his face and swept into the room. By the time he taken his seat at the head table, Severus was reminded it was a Hogsmeade weekend, the last Apparation lesson was tomorrow, and two-thirds of the student population had spring fever. Signs of young love were everywhere.

It was enough to make Severus want to go eat in the kitchens, where the din of the house-elves working wouldn't be near as loud.

Striding into the Great Hall, Severus allowed his eyes to sweep over the House tables, alighting on his son and Hermione first, sitting across from Ron. Ginny Weasley was no where to be seen. Swinging his head, Severus turned his attention to the Slytherin table, where Draco Malfoy gave him a smirk worthy of his father. Severus deepened his scowl and continued up to the head table, settling into his seat next to Minerva.

"Evening, Severus," Minerva said, leaning closer. "Feels like something is brewing and I don't mean in your lab."

Severus met her eyes and arched an eyebrow. "There is a definite undercurrent of something. Do you have any suspicions?"

Minerva shook her head as they both watched the Headmaster enter through the staff door. "Please tell me Harry isn't going into Hogsmeade tomorrow."

"No, he and Miss Granger are picnicking on school grounds after their Apparation lesson is complete."

Minerva nodded her approval as Albus sat down of the other side of her and dinner immediately appeared on the tables. The feeling of unease that Severus had experienced earlier returned in full force and he was very glad Harry hadn't wanted to go into Hogsmeade. Glancing at the Gryffindor table, Severus was surprised to see Ron Weasley talking animatedly while Harry and Hermione ate. Generally, nothing stood between the teenager and his food, but Ron hadn't made any effort to put anything on his plate. Suspicion flowed through the bond with Harry and Severus gave a sharp nod to confirm he agreed, as he began to fill his own plate. Ginny Weasley seemed to be oblivious to what was going on around her as she pushed food around her plate.

Both Weasley offspring would need to be watched with renewed vigor.

hpsshpsshpsshpss


The next day dawned sunny and warm, much to Harry's delight, and he was in a good mood as he had breakfast with his father in their quarters. They made plans to make a trip to the Ministry the following Tuesday, when both had a free period in the afternoon, and obtain Harry's Apparation license. Although he wasn't yet seventeen, the Headmaster had arranged for Harry to get a special license. Today's final lesson was more a formality than a need, especially when Harry realized he'd been unknowingly Apparating for years. A trip to Gringotts was also on Severus' agenda as the goblins kept amazing records.

Harry worked on his assignments until it was time to go up to the Great Hall, quietly tapping on the closed door of Papa's private lab to let him know he was leaving. While he didn't know what potion his father was diligently working on, Harry was a little concerned about how tired and worn the man had looked this morning. Maybe after their picnic, he and Hermione could spend some time helping in the lab.

Hermione met him at the top of the dungeon stairs with a smile and they walked outside to where the Apparation hoops had been set up on the side yard. They were given an opportunity to practice Apparating into Hogsmeade before their exam. The elderly Ministry wizard repeatedly checked his pocket watch before ending the practice session after exactly fifteen minutes. Harry stepped back as the students were directed to form a line and come up when their names were called for their individual practical. Hermione gave him a anxious smile as they lined up.

Despite her nerves, Hermione passed her exam without a problem and gave Harry a smile as she headed back into the castle. Neville Longbottom was so shaky that Harry wouldn't have been surprised if he'd splinched himself, but to Neville's surprise, he'd passed. Malfoy sneered at the Ministry wizard before Apparating with an ease which spoke of long practice and Harry narrowed his eyes at the prat. When his turn came, Harry had no problem following the instructions given and passed without a hitch.

With a smug grin, Harry run up the stairs to see Hermione and Severus waiting for him in the Entry Hall, a picnic basket at their feet. His father arched a eyebrow as Harry swept Hermione up and twirled her around.

"I assume you passed your practical," his father said dryly.

Laughing, Harry let Hermione go and started to grab Severus, who thwarted his plans by reeling him in for a quick hug and then pushing him to arm's length.

"I had every faith in you," Severus said, the corner of his mouth twitching upward. "Now, you have your portkey?"

Harry patted the necklace under his robes, a portkey his father had fashioned out of a silver lily pendant his mother had given to each of his fathers before he was born. "Yes, sir."

"And the activation word?"

"Her name," Harry said softly as he pulled the necklace out from under his jumper to show Hermione.

"Very good, now have a good time," Severus told them as he stepped back. "And behave!"

"Yes, Father!" Harry flashed him a cheeky grin before grabbing the basket and Hermione's hand.

They walked down to the Quidditch pitch in companionable silence, watching most of the younger students heading into the castle for lunch. A larger group of older students had gone into Hogsmeade after breakfast that morning, accompanied by a majority of their professors. With no one practicing, the pitch was empty and the only sounds were of the birds and the insects. Harry chose a nice sunny spot on the far side of the field for their picnic.

Harry took the basket as Hermione enlarged a blanket she pulled from her pocket and spread it out on the ground. Setting the basket in the center, Harry knelt on the blanket, mimicking Hermione as she opened the top.

"Oh, my goodness! The house-elves have made us a feast!" She smiled at Harry as she began to take dishes out. "And I forgot! Ron gave us some chocolates for afters!"

Harry watched as Hermione reached into the basket and drew out a blue bag. A bird screeched overhead as Harry's eyes widened in horror at the aura of blue surrounding the bag. Time slowed down as he lunged at Hermione, one hand reaching to bat away the bag as the other wrapped around her arm. The sickening yank behind his navel told him it was too late and the portkey had activated.

It seemed forever that they swirled through space, Harry trying to pull his wits together as fear and panic exploded through him. Trying to twist himself around so he could better protect them, Harry slammed hard onto a floor of some type of stone as they landed in a dimly lit room.

"Well, well, Harry Potter. So nice of you to join us," Voldemort's high-pitch voice echoed around them. "But must you always bring a spare?"

Harry scrambled to his feet as several people laughed, wand in hand and pain surging through his shoulder as Hermione struggled up to stand up.

"Avada Kedava!"

"NO!"

Harry flung himself sideways, knocking both Hermione and himself to the ground, covering Hemione with his body. The last thing Harry heard was a shrill scream as every cell in his body exploded in agony and blackness enveloped him.

hpsshpsshpsshpss


Searing pain tore at Severus' chest, feeling like it had been torn open and he lost the ability to breath. Doubling over, he could only wrap his arms around himself, his mind automatically reaching out to his son through pulse after pulse of pain. Then, as abrupt as it started, the pain ended with a great wrenching feeling. It felt like Severus was empty, as if everything had been ripped from him and he realized, he could no longer feel Harry.

Gathering himself, Severus automatically extinguished the flame underneath the Horcrux potion and ran toward the Entrance Hall. It hadn't been thirty minutes since Harry and Hermione had headed out for their picnic on the Quidditch pitch. A pale Draco Malfoy stood half-hidden in an alcove near the huge oak doors, watching as Severus ran across the Hall, Severus ignored him as he reached for the door handle.

"Severus!"

Dumbledore's voice rang out across the landing and Severus slowed slightly as he wrenched open the oak door. "It's Harry, he's—"

A shrill scream filled the hall as Hermione, holding an unresponsive Harry in her arms, appeared. She was still holding the emergency portkey Severus had made for Harry, which dropped them to the floor right next to him. Hermione's eyes were wild, her voice uncharacteristically hysterical as she scrambled off Harry and started to press on his chest.

"He's dead! The filthy bastard killed Harry!"

Severus didn't hesitate; kneeling down, he pulled Harry into his arms and ran towards the Hospital Wing. His mind registered how limp his son was and the lack of breath as he tucked Harry's face into his neck while he ran. He blocked everything out of his mind, except putting one foot in front of the other and praying to any deity would listen to help his son. Severus made a thousand promises before he reached the double door of his destination, which swung open at his approach.

"Poppy!" Severus wasn't able to keep the desperation out of his voice as he yelled, "POPPY!"

"Severus?" Poppy hurried out of her storeroom, wiping her hand on a towel. "What is the—"

"He's not breathing!" Severus cut her off as he lowered Harry on to the nearest bed, sliding to his knees beside him and positioning his hands on Harry's chest.

"Severus!" Poppy gasped. "His scar!"

Dumbledore guided a sobbing Hermione into the room as Severus looked up at Harry's forehead, only to see blood flowing from the curse scar. A quiet hiss snapped Severus' eyes back to his son and he watched as the chest under his hands abruptly began to rise.

"Harry!"

Severus leaned over him just as Harry's eyes popped open, blinking several times, before he started struggling to sit up. The desperate look in those eyes unnerved Severus as his hands were knocked aside.

"Papa? Hermione! NO!"

Pressing Harry back down firmly, Severus made soothing sounds as Hermione fell to her knees on the other side of the bed and grasped one of Harry's flailing hands. Harry continued to move about, despite Severus' attempts to keep him still, all the while chaotic feelings filled him as the bond reestablished itself.

"Mr. Potter!"

Poppy's no-nonsense voice cut through the commotion and Harry stilled, taking a deep, shuddering breath. His eyes slowly focused in on Severus' face and his face crumpled as he shook loose his hands and reached for his father. Hermione slid an arm around Harry's back and buried her face in his shirt. Severus wrapped his arms around both of the teenagers, holding on to both tightly. Feeling Harry's shoulders shake, Severus tightened his arms and looked over his shoulder to nod at Poppy.

While the mediwitch cast a diagnostic on the teenagers, Severus met Dumbledore's eyes as he moved to stand beside the bed.

"If my interpretation is correct, Harry was hit with the Killing Curse when they were Portkeyed from their picnic. If that is the case, then Voldemort believes he is dead and that he has just successfully fulfilled the prophecy."

Frowning, Severus nodded as he assimilated the information, trying to grasp the fact that Harry had survived the Killing Curse once again. "Draco Malfoy was lurking in the Entrance Hall, who witness Harry and Hermione's return."

Dumbledore stroked his beard for a moment. "I think it imperative that we allow him to think Harry has died."

"Professor?" Hermione lifted her head, red-rimmed eyes furious. "You need to find Ronald and Ginny; it was Ron who put the bag of sweets into our picnic basket. It turned out to be a Portkey and I know Ron wouldn't willing create one."

"Excellent suggestion," Dumbledore said with a nod, his wand in hand. "Perhaps Minerva can find them and escort them to my office."

With a wave of his wand, the silvery form of a phoenix appeared before them and Severus turned back to his son as the Headmaster gave the Patronus instructions. Poppy had completed a complicated diagnostic spell on both Harry and Hermione. She levitated a second bed over and gently peeled Hermione off of Harry. Poppy transfigured Hermione's clothes into a nightgown, before easing her into the bed. Switching her attention back to Harry, Poppy gave him a stern look as Severus helped settle Harry back in his bed and transfigured his clothing into a tee shirt and sleeping pants. A Calming Draught appeared in front of him and Severus took ahold of it, while Hermione caught Harry's hand.

"No, Papa, no yet." Harry seemed lucid, allowing Poppy to bandage his forehead. "I need to tell you what happened."

Severus nodded, his free hand settling on the top of the blanket over Harry's chest. "If you feel able, son."

Taking a deep breath, Harry quietly began to tell them what had happened after the Portkey deposited onto a rough stone floor. "He then asked me why I'd brought a spare, just like in the graveyard."

Harry's eyes took on a haunted quality and Severus could feel his pain.

"So, I just knew what he was going to do when he cast the Killing Curse—" Harry's voice broke.

"Harry threw himself in front of the curse," Hermione whispered.

Harry swallowed and looked between Severus and Dumbledore. "As the spell hit me, something started a horrible screeching and then Voldemort screamed. At the same time, my forehead felt like it had been cut in two by a white-hot knife." Harry took a deep breath. "That's all I remember."

Hermione was nodding. "Harry was blocking my view of him, it was more a cry of pain, I think, but I'm not sure who it was. I remembered the Portkey Harry had and was able to pull it out and activate it."

"And thank Merlin you did!" Severus told her gratefully.

"I think," the Headmaster interjected quietly, "it would be best to take both Harry and Hermione to your rooms, Severus, and let them recover."

"And let everyone believe Harry is dead?" Severus said shrewdly.

"Indeed, my boy," Dumbledore acknowledge. "And it will give us time to investigate what effect this may have had."

"They'll definitely be safer with me," Severus muttered as he exchanged a look with Poppy, who nodded her consent. "Harry, Miss Granger, do you think you can Floo?"



hpsshpsshpsshpss


"Papa?" Harry whispered softly, knowing Hermione had finally fallen asleep in her transfigured bed on the opposite side of his room.

Severus cast a silent Muffliato around them before sitting on the edge of Harry's bed. He fussed with the blanket until Harry grasped his hand.

"Do you think the shrieking I heard was the Horcrux in my scar dying?" Even though they had never specifically discussed it, Harry knew his father had made the connection.

Severus met his eyes and slowly nodded. "Yes, I believe it was, especially after how you described the diary's reaction to your stabbing it with the basilisk fang in the Chamber."

Harry used his free hand to rub his eyes, fingers lingering as he encountered the plaster on his forehead. "Maybe killing a piece of his own soul hurt him."

"We can only hope, son," Severus told him quietly, before handing him a a vial of Dreamless Sleep potion.
Harry took it and swallowed a mouthful with a grimace. "You're going to get that necklace off of Ginny?"

"Yes, I'll head up to the Headmaster's office as soon as Remus arrives to watch over the two of you."

Yawning widely, Harry turned over on his side. "'S not like we were looking for trouble," he grumbled.

Harry didn't fight as sleep pulled him under, feeling his father kiss his temple.

"No need, my dear son, trouble seems to be able to find you all too easily!"


Comments

Woah! What an intense chapter! Had me on the edge of my seat the whole time! Thank you for sharing!
Thank you!