Disclaimer: Nothing you recognize is mine. It mainly belongs to the goddess JKR or an awfully long list of people... (the MOSSes -Ministry Officers of State Security- are mine). If you like it, review and feed my soul. And since we don't need to hurt each other, if you don't like it, don't tell me ! Flamers will be adopted by my family (if you don't believe it's a threat... too bad for you !)
There were betas injured in the process of creation: all praise eccentric_femme and SilentG [http://www.fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=197488]! All remaining mistakes are mine and mine alone.
Chapter Three - Graduation was last Saturday
"Professor Snape? I was wondering if you could help me with that spell?" Harry asked.
"Harry, I've been using your name for months now... You're no longer my student... You can use my name if you want... And, yes, I will help you..." Severus answered.
"Thank you... S-S-Severus."
"Don't hiss when you say my name, Harry... People may mistake you for a Slytherin mascot!" Severus teased him.
Harry Potter and Severus Snape had taken possession of Albus Dumbledore's Hogsmeade house for a third summer.
The last summer was already very different from the first... There was no Confinement Spell, but they had agreed not to leave the house.
They had many visitors. Friends. Mostly.
Molly came only once, since Severus was *not* ready to give the kitchen over to her... Her mother hen syndrome had been fully activated when Albus Dumbledore gave permission to some of Harry's friends to call at the Hogsmeade house, but Severus Snape was absolutely not in the mood to have Molly Weasley transform *his* kitchen into what he considered to be an illogical mess. He had let her prepare one meal and had been highly displeased to find all the herbs rearranged in a way that suited only her. He had made it clear, in polite, but sharp, words, that he would cook from now on and, therefore, she had left rather fast...
Hermione was the first of the students to come and to bring them cakes and magic supplies. Harry suspected that she took the opportunity to have some tutoring in potions.
Some of the Weasley boys came to play Quidditch with Harry and none of them could have imagined that Severus Snape would win the game against them... They had only seen him refereeing. Playing against him was an entirely different story!
Remus Lupin stayed with them for some days and Harry was pleased to note that Severus was more civil with Remus now that his spying activities had given him proof that Pettigrew was indeed alive.
One day, the former Marauder, Peter Pettigrew, used a new kind of Locating Spell and apparated in the parlour, wand in hand and ready to kill Severus. Harry was there and petrified him. Pettigrew was sent to Azkaban and Sirius's name was cleared.
Thus, Sirius finally had the opportunity to spend some days with his godson and Harry was glad that the two older wizards did not kill each other. They were not friends, but were deeply conscious that, now, they were fighting on the same side. There was still a lot of growling, but they never bit. And, truth be told, there were times when Harry enjoyed the show!
That year, Harry was at last a Hogwarts graduate. He had survived school. Now he only had to survive Voldemort once more...
It would still have been too dangerous for Harry and Severus to refuse Albus's protection. Everybody in the Order of the Phoenix was gathering information to fight the Dark Lord, but they knew not enough to launch an attack yet. Since Severus had been obliged to stop spying, their work had been much more difficult. If the members of the Order could spot any trace of Dark activities, those who were performing those activities were cunning enough to evade their pursuers most of the time.
They all knew that Harry and Severus were the two persons Voldemort wanted to have in his power. It was obvious that he wanted to make them pay, the one for a Dark Curse that backfired years ago and for escaping him repeatedly, the other for betraying him twice.
Harry and Severus would have to stay in Albus's house while their friends would work against Voldemort and his minions. And their friends could go on with *their* lives.
Severus was reading Shakespeare to kill time in a decent way. Harry had borrowed that habit, but it was not enough for the young man.
A few days ago his friends had left England. Ron was to go and join his brother Charlie. Hermione had started to train to be an Auror even before the results of their last tests had been published. Once again, Harry Potter could not do what he wanted in his life and he was trying to keep his mind occupied. He felt like he might collapse...
"Show me the spell you want to work on," Severus said.
Harry gave him a piece of parchment which Severus read. Harry saw the eyebrows of his fellow rise in shock.
"Harry! For Merlin's sake! It's a very old and twisted Dark Curse! Where exactly did you find that ?" Severus inquired.
"Restricted Section..." Harry mumbled.
"Roaming the place under that cloak of yours?"
The Potions master shook his head and asked, "Would you really be ready to kill someone, Harry ? Even Voldemort? Could you say that particular spell?" he held the parchment for Harry to see, "Or could you say 'Avada Kedavra', even to kill the man who killed your parents and made your life a living Hell? Could you, Harry?"
"Yes... I'd try at least and that'd be the end of it!"
Severus came to sit next to Harry on the sofa.
"What's wrong, Harry?" Severus asked softly.
Over the last few months, the green eyes Lily had given her son had won a battle that James's heritage had started to lose at the beginning.
Harry shrugged and did not answer. Severus waited.
"My life..." The young man finally whispered.
"No, it's not," Severus declared.
Harry shrugged again and whispered, "My parents died, I survived Voldemort, the Dursleys and many other entities, but... Now when in theory I could be free to do what I want, I'm trapped and Voldemort can enjoy the world!... My friends are gone... I'm feeling so... I..." and he started to cry.
That was something Severus had not been expecting. And now, what was he supposed to do for the 'famous Potter'?
He let Harry cry and drain the poison out of his system.
"I'm sorry, Severus. It's just that the sum is too big. I'm fed up!" Harry explained.
"You should cling to your happy memories."
"Which one of the four?" The young man asked bitterly.
Severus was sincerely taken aback. Evidently Harry was on the verge of a breakdown and nobody had paid enough attention to detect the first symptoms, or maybe the young man had kept that emotional burden a well hidden secret.
The Potions master carefully placed a gentle hand on Harry's; the young man clasped it as if he were about to drown and he cried again. Between sobs he managed to say that he was sorry, but Severus found soothing words.
"Am I...? Am I losing my mind?" Harry asked, his voice carrying his fears.
"You badly need a break. A real one..."
"No... kidding!" Harry sniffed.
Severus's gaze suddenly was unfocused. He stood up abruptly and ordered, "Go to your room and pack for a week, I'm taking you somewhere."
"Do as I say and trust me!" Severus said.
Before they disapparated from Hogsmeade, Severus had said that the place where they were going was a secret, even to Albus, and that the person they were visiting would be able to protect them as efficiently as the Hogwarts Headmaster.
Harry blindly followed Severus and they apparated on a landing. A small landing in an old building, where the elevator was a recent addition and where the walls were covered with small pebbles and the stairs with pieces of old-fashioned tiles.
Severus knocked a signal on the dark oak door.
Someone moved behind the door and opened it after having checked who was calling.
A man appeared. He was dressed in Muggle clothes and grinning like a happy Cheshire-Cat. He had sparkling blue eyes and dark-brown hair and he was smaller than his two visitors.
"Do come in!" He invited them.
Both stepped into the flat. He closed the door and took his wand from the book-shelf that was next to the door. He activated a spell which controlled extremely powerful wards that would protect his visitors.
He put his wand back on the shelf and Severus Snape hugged him.
"I'm so glad to see you!" He kindly said.
Turning to Harry and still holding the man, Severus said, "Harry Potter, I would like you to meet my best friend, Jules Ode."
Over tea, Harry was told that Jules and Severus had met at Hogwarts. The man was younger than Severus, but the two Slytherins had become friends. And that friendship had lasted even though Severus became a Death Eater and Jules chose to be an Auror.
"Jules vastly contributed to bringing me back to reality," Severus said.
"How?" Harry wondered.
"When I was informed of the choice Severus had made, I located him and made it clear that it was *not* a good choice..." Jules explained.
"You succeeded because you're an Auror?" Harry asked.
"No... because Severus is my friend and it is that friendship I used to bring him back to our side..." he said.
Severus saw that Harry clearly was puzzled so he provided a non-expurgated explanation, "He found me, knocked me out, tied me up, gave me a thorough Slytherin lecture and shipped me to Albus."
Harry gaped and Jules laughed into his cup, "I shall never forget that look on your face when I punched you Severus!"
Harry saw the Potions master growl and smile at the same time.
Jules put his cup down and said, "I am happy to see you, Severus, and glad to meet you, Harry, but I guess that there's a reason for your coming..."
Both men were silent. Jules extended his left hand towards Severus and whispered a spell which informed him that he had come here to help Harry. He stood up, opened his arms and invited Harry to hug him.
When he let Harry go, he knew everything there was to know and Harry felt quiet and soothed.
"Whaoh! Will Hermione be able to do that once she's trained? That was amazing!"
"I was not able to calm you because I've been an Auror in the past. I was able to do that because I am a priest," he said.
Harry gaped again.
Severus knew that his friend had enough power to protect them and that even if Voldemort had found them, he would not have dared to defy someone like Jules.
The priest made two amulets which would hide Severus's and Harry's presence to the wizards or witches they would meet outside. He advised them to change into Muggle clothes before stepping out of his flat: the Muggles *would* acknowledge them and he already had the reputation of being weird and didn't need to be known as the guy who was putting strange men up, thank you...
"For the nights, there's not that much space and I hope you won't mind sharing the sofa... I could share the bed with one of you, but I don't know you, Harry, and, Severus, you're really not good for my nerves, so..."
Harry thought he nearly saw the other man blush when he answered, "I understand, Jules... If you don't mind, Harry, the sofa will be fine..."
"No problem ! It's very kind of you to let us stay, Jules," Harry said.
They organized their schedule for the coming week. Soon afterwards, the two travelling wizards found themselves in the stairs, since Severus had offered an afternoon walk.
When they reached the ground floor, Harry asked, "Hm, Severus... Where are we?"
The Potions Master opened the door of the building and declared, "Paris... France."
They had made a stop at the Gringotts agency to take some Muggle money and Severus started his guided tour of the city.
On the Pont de la Tournelle, Harry was looking at the apse of Notre-Dame and Severus thought that it was exactly what they both needed: a real break from... everything.
"It's so beautiful. Thank you..." Harry whispered.
"You're welcome," Severus answered leaning on the parapet next to him.
"You seem to know the place very well. Do you visit Jules often?"
"No, I had not seen him in years, but I've been spending summers here. It's a place I really like," Severus explained.
"I can see why... It's like London and so different at the same time. It's familiar and yet one can be invisible here... even without an amulet..."
They kept on walking, Severus leading them to a little delicatessen in Le Marais where they bought Mediterranean pastries.
From the way Harry was holding himself, Severus understood that the young man had a question on his mind, but that he was not daring to ask it.
"Harry... Everything is going to be very different now... Now that you are a graduate, Voldemort is going to look for you outside Hogwarts and till the last battle, life is going to be difficult for you. You'll have to be extremely careful... I have been very harsh with you... Because you are James's son *and* because I wanted you to do your very best to use the gift and legacy Lily had bestowed upon you. I am no longer your teacher, but should you need help, you'll find me with your friends, ready to fight... And if there is anything you want to know or ask, do so..."
"Thank you... Thank you so much."
They walked in silence for some time, Harry looking at everything: the Muggles, the buildings, the shops.
"Severus? There's one thing..."
'Here we go' Severus thought.
"What am I going to do now? Albus said nothing about my life after this summer... Do you think he plans to attack Voldemort soon or has he something else in store for me?" Harry wondered.
"From the information I gathered..." Severus saw Harry smile, "Yes, still spying at some level..." the Potions master joked. "It seems that Albus plans to let you stay in the Hogsmeade house."
"Doing what?" Harry asked.
"*That* never was mentioned. But I guess you could work on improving your wizarding skills... You know, you don't have to follow Hermione at the Ministry to train *like* an Auror..."
"Really?" Harry's voice was suddenly full of hope, "Severus... I've never told you how much I appreciate your helping me... in everything. Well, I do. Thanks to you, my understanding of the wizarding world is getting better."
Severus simply smiled. Harry had never seen *that* smile before.
"So, what could I do?" Harry eagerly asked.
Severus told him what the training could be like. New spells, charms, potions and their various combinations. While he spoke, Harry imagined his future. Severus was offering something to cling to.
They slowly walked back to Jules's flat.
"Why did he say that you're not good for his nerves?" Harry asked.
"Because, even if he is a priest, it is *not* in a monk-like sort of way and he told me years ago that I had been his first crush..."
"You could share his bed..." Harry said, blushing and surprised at his own audacity.
"He is my friend... but I am not interested in him..."
Harry raised his eyebrows.
"No, Harry, we won't be exchanging confidences in that *field* for months or maybe years," Severus stated.
"Why are those flags missing one colour of the rainbow?" Harry wondered aloud.
"Those are the symbol of the gay community," Severus informed him.
"So they can know where they are?"
"Yes," Severus simply said.
"That's a good idea and a nice symbol..." Harry reflected.
Jules's sofa converted into a bed and the two guests talked a lot.
"So, Harry, what will you do when you're back in Hogsmeade?"
"Five, now.." The young man whispered.
Severus turned to him and saw that he had fallen fast asleep in a second. He turned off the light and drifted to sleep smiling. That day, he had done something good, even if adding only one happy memory in the life of Harry Potter was not that much...
When Jules came in the room to wake them up, he was forced to giggle: the two wizards were carefully sleeping on each side of the mattress, as if being in the same room was already too much.
He sat next to Severus and gently whispered in his ear, "Time to go to school..."
Severus thought he was late for his first class, attending or teaching was not the important question. He jumped in bed, waking Harry in the process and Jules started to laugh.
"Hmmmmmm?" Harry inquired and Jules explained his little joke.
"I'm not working today, boys. What do you say we go out together?" the priest offered.
"Work?" Harry succeeded in articulating.
"I may be a wizard, a former Auror and a priest, but I now have a Muggle job. Come, let's have breakfast..."
From that moment on, Harry, for the first time of his life, started to have a glimpse of what a normal life could be. A life where his main preoccupation would not be to survive a lunatic. A life where he simply could enjoy the company of friends over tea and toast...
On their last day, something funny happened near the Louvre. They were looking at the books displayed by second-hand sellers on the quay when they spotted two unmistakable figures : Draco Malfoy and Ginny Weasley.
Harry froze, but Severus whispered in his ear "They cannot see us, relax."
The two wizards observed the odd couple and when Draco invited Ginny to cross the Pont des Arts, Severus whistled.
"What?" Harry inquired.
"That particular bridge is the Lovers' bridge..." Severus explained.
"Wha... What's Draco doing here? With her?"
"There's one way to know... Follow me!" Severus said.
They caught up with the couple, Severus looked deep down in Draco's eyes and he finally led Harry away from them.
"Draco's sincere. He's not trying to play some trick. I don't know for her, but she's not in danger because of him..." Severus concluded.
"How do you know?" Harry wondered.
"Another Slytherin trick. We can know whether our fellow Slytherins are sincere or not..."
"Must be useful... Could you explain a little bit more or is it for Slytherin ears only and not to be told to a Gryffie?" Harry asked.
"Maybe we'll make something of you, Potter!" Severus teased the young man.
Harry laughed softly and shook his head. Severus noticed that the sparks were back in his green eyes.
"I hope you're not sad, Harry..." Severus said with compassion.
Harry laughed out loud and said, "Ginny is my friend... but I've never been interested in her *that* way..."
That sentence rang a bell and Harry wondered what the Potions master had meant when he had mentioned Jules. Was it possible that both were meaning the same thing? But Harry dismissed that thought very fast.
On his side, Severus was deep in his thoughts.
Back in Hogsmeade, Albus never asked where they had been. He trusted both men and guessed that they would not have gone away if they had not found a place as safe as his house and if they had not been badly needing the escapade.
His trust was more than justified when Severus started to train Harry.
The Potions master was sharing everything he knew with the young man. He shared his Slytherin knowledge. He showed him the tricks of the Dark Arts. He explained how to be a spy and survive as such.
When he was no longer enough, their friends came to help and in turn, Harry shared his new knowledge with Severus.
Months went by.
Harry stayed in the Hogsmeade house and Albus had given permission to Dobby to use his powers to bring the Potions master there every night and during the week-ends.
Harry and Severus were becoming a team. A very efficient one.
After their training, when they bade each other good night, just before Dobby brought Severus back in his quarters near his Slytherin students, they often secretly reflected that they missed the discussions they had in a sofa in Paris.
Both hoped that they would share again such good moments, but they did not really acknowledged that wish...
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