Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: Induction :: 13 :: Coming Home

13 • Coming Home

For once that summer, Harry was still awake well into the evening. He’d spent most of the day in a state of restless excitement, trying very hard to read through some of his books. One in particular from Remus had been very useful. Reading it had been illuminating, and putting the contents into practice not nearly as difficult as he’d expected. However, it had a few odd side effects. Professor Snape’s last visit had been especially troublesome with his mind wandering all over the place.

Harry glanced at the clock again, just as he had several dozen times already. It would be another ten minutes until midnight, another ten minutes until he was seventeen, and considered an adult in the wizarding world. Of course, if he so much as lifted his wand, he had no doubt someone would somehow see it and take him to task for daring such an exhausting feat when he hadn’t even been given a final check-up by Madam Pomfrey.

He rolled his eyes and sighed, hoping that he’d finally been at Privet Drive long enough, and hoping that Professor Dumbledore would finally take him away from his oh-so-loving family. They were so terrorized by the daily visits of wizarding folk that they refused to meet his eye, or even speak to him much above a whisper. But, he could often hear his uncle’s voice, ranting about the injustice of it all and how badly they were being treated.

The window was already open in anticipation of owls. How they always seemed to know to appear just as the clock ticked over to the new day, Harry didn’t know. Every time he had thought to ask about it, he’d been hit with a feeling of foolishness, as though it was simply too stupid a thing to mention. He did think, though, that it would be a nice birthday gift to receive his NEWT results.

Harry glanced back at the clock again to see one minute remaining. This time he kept a constant watch as seconds moved from future to present to past. Right on cue, as midnight arrived, owls flew through his window and vied for space to perch. Harry sat up and swung his feet to the floor, pushing the blanket back so he could stand. After he’d unloaded each package and offered the unburdened owl some water, Harry tucked himself back in, the presents piled on his lap.

From Hermione, a book; she’d sent him a revision guide for the Potions Mastery exams. From Ron and his family, food; they’d sent a selection of home-cooked comfort foods that wouldn’t spoil. Harry got the idea that Ron assumed he wasn’t being fed well. From Hagrid, a surprise; once unwrapped, the groundskeeper’s gift was revealed as several hand-carved figurines, and not rock cakes. Luna sent a rather odd little book about mythical creatures, and Neville sent a guide to easily-grown potions ingredients for the home. Remus, however, sent something more immediately useful, a wand holster, even though he’d already purchased books for Harry earlier.

And from the Ministry, Harry’s NEWT results.

The following scores listed are the final averages. For more
detailed information as to results of both theory and practical
scores (as applicable) check page two of this package. Please
see page three for a listing of potential career options and
appropriate contacts for each.

O Care of Magical Creatures
O Charms
O Defense Against the Dark Arts
O Herbology
— Potions
O Transfiguration

Harry was gratified to see all his hard work pay off. It was just a shame that he’d been attacked, for he was quite sure he’d have received an Outstanding on his Potions NEWT as well. He didn’t even feel smug or prideful in thinking that; he just knew it to be the truth. Harry carefully placed the results back into the envelope and opened his trunk. The books and envelope were tucked away inside. The figurines and food went into his school trunk, though he kept out a muffin to eat before finally settling down to sleep.

He spent the next morning reading Neville’s book, making fanciful plans for a garden of his own at a house he couldn’t even envision yet. But, he still found it an amusing way to spend the first part of his birthday. Petunia arrived in due time carrying a lunch tray, which she slid onto the desk without comment, then left without a backward glance.

Harry shot a dark look at the door and slipped off the bed to sit at the desk. He’d only been eating for perhaps a few minutes when he heard a knock. He called out, “Come in,” then twisted in the chair to see who it was. He was very surprised to see the headmaster walk through, close the door gently behind him, and take a seat on his bed.

“Hello, Harry,” he said simply.

“Professor, it’s good to see you. I hope you don’t mind, I was just having lunch.” Harry jerked his chair around and angled his tray.

“Of course not. I came to see if you were just about ready to leave.” Dumbledore wore a gentle smile and his eyes were bright. “You’re an adult now after all, and I should think you’d be wanting to move on.”

“You bet I am,” breathed Harry, letting his fork dangle down onto the plate. “I can really leave?”

“Yes. I thought that after we got you moved to Hogwarts, I could arrange for you to get training so you can get your apparation licence. I think you’ll agree with me that it’s an important skill.”

Harry nodded, trying not to look overly enthusiastic. “I do. How long does that normally take?”

“It depends on the student. For you, I would expect not long—perhaps a week or two. Have you received your exam results?”

“Yes, sir. All outstandings.” Harry allowed himself a smile of quiet pride. “They were a lovely birthday present.”

“Very good, Harry. Very good. When do you think you could be ready?”

“Sir, I’ve not been allowed out of bed, so I haven’t bothered to unpack really. I’d just need to gather up a couple of things that aren’t in either of my trunks. Personally, I’d be thrilled to see the infirmary again, if only because it should mean I can get up and about.”

“Excellent. In that case, I will have a crew come to collect you this afternoon, if that’s all right with you. That should give you enough time to take care of the last minute details, and be ready when they arrive.”

“Who, sir?”

“Oh, the usual. Moody, Tonks, Remus, along with a few others. I’ll send Fawkes along as well, so you’ll have no doubts.” Dumbledore gave him a meaningful look over the rims of his spectacles. “I’ll be off, then, so you can finish your lunch, and I’ll see you later today.”

“Thank you, sir.” Harry gave him a brilliant smile, watched as the headmaster left, then tackled the remainder of his meal with renewed enthusiasm. The minute he was finished he pushed the tray aside and knelt by the bed, pulling up the loose boards to retrieve his wand, photograph album, and cloak. They went into his school trunk with the exception of his wand, which was secured in his new holster and attached to his forearm.

However, he felt a little silly when he realized he was still wearing his bedclothes, and quickly got changed. After looking around to see what else needed to be packed away, he realized he’d been more truthful than not. Harry picked up Neville’s book again and sat down to read until it was time.

Their arrival was heralded by a burst of flame. Fawkes appeared in his bedroom and trilled a welcome as he settled onto the back of the single chair. Harry closed his book and put it away, saying, “Fawkes!” Seconds later, his door opened and Remus and Tonks piled through, shoving each other good-naturedly as Moody watched from the hall.

“Harry!” cried Tonks, bounding over to grip his shoulders. “You look just fine. Ready to go?”

“I don’t know,” he said nervously. “I kind of like it around here.”

“Harry?” she asked. “What—?”

Remus stepped up and tousled Harry’s hair, making him duck away and laugh. “Yes, Tonks. I’m more than ready to go. Hello, Remus, Moody. Good to see you again. I’ve just got the two trunks, Hedwig’s cage, and my broom to go.”

“No problem, then.” Tonks levitated Harry’s school trunk and headed back downstairs, while Moody stepped into the room. Remus made sure the other trunk was properly closed and carefully tipped it over so he could take it by the handle. Harry grabbed his broom case and the cage, taking a final look around.

“Let’s go,” said Moody gruffly. Fawkes trilled again and launched himself up, disappearing in another burst of flame.

Downstairs the Dursleys were nowhere to be seen, probably having retreated to the lounge so as to not have to see anything unnatural. Harry said a mental farewell to his childhood home and strode out the front door into bright sunshine with his escort forming up around him. Once they were all settled in—the additional cars functioning as a secondary escort—they began the journey to London. The last Harry saw of № 4 Privet Drive was the twitch of a curtain as his aunt watched them drive away.

When they arrived at the castle—via a floo at The Leaky Cauldron to Hogsmeade, and a short carriage ride—Harry was steered in the direction of the infirmary as soon as he walked through the main doors. Madam Pomfrey was delighted to see him and had him sitting on a bed undergoing scans with her wand within seconds. After an agonizing—for Harry—wait, she pronounced him fit and healthy. He gave her effusive thanks and dashed off before she could think of any other tests to run.

It was when he was a safe distance away that he realized he had no idea where he’d be living in the castle. He dithered for a minute, walking back and forth across the hall, then made for the Great Hall. If no one was there, he’d try Dumbledore’s office. He was in luck, though, and quickly approached the gathering of Order members at the end of one of the house tables, sliding quietly onto the bench.

“—on Monday,” Remus was saying.

Albus nodded and turned to Harry with a smile. “Does that sound good to you? You can begin training for your license.” When Harry nodded he turned back. “So long as we have a proper rotation set up for those days, it should be acceptable, and we’ll work around any problems that crop up.”

“When’s dinner?” asked Tonks brightly.

“Remus, would you like to show Harry his new quarters?” asked Albus.

“Sure. Come on, Harry.” He was led, not up the main staircase, but down into the dungeons. “Albus thought you’d be more comfortable nearer to where you’d need to be in order to work toward your mastery, and it won’t interfere with the other training you’ll be undergoing. This way you’ll have your own private lab to work in and room enough for whatever else you need.”

Harry certainly hadn’t expected that much thoughtfulness and was already feeling pleasantly surprised. The door Remus stopped at was down what appeared to be a fairly unused corridor. Though it wouldn’t be hard to find or remember where it was, Harry didn’t recognize the area. He was a little concerned to note that there was no portrait, but the door was nearly invisible and featured a subtle etched design of intertwining serpents.

“You can change the password as soon as you decide on what you want,” said Remus. To the door he said, “Cadbury Flake.” It slid silently aside and Harry stepped into a short entry which opened into a cozy, medium-sized lounge. “That door there off to the side leads to the lab and the one at the back leads into a short hall. Off that is a small kitchen area in case you feel like cooking or eating in, your bedroom, and bathroom.”

“It’s not huge, but it’s still amazing. Plenty of room for me—it’s not like I have all that much stuff.”

“Well, I’ll sit here while you explore, and then we can think about dinner.”

Harry poked his head into the kitchen; it was snug, but big enough to prepare a meal for one and had room for a small table. The bedroom wasn’t large, but it didn’t need to be. Doors led off into a closet—something Harry considered to be a luxury—and the bathroom. All in all, it was a lovely little flat, despite the bare white walls and lack of personal possessions. Walking back to the lounge, he nodded approval at the wall of built-in shelving, then checked out the lab.

It, in contrast, was spacious, with plenty of storage space, shelving, and counters. It was also already outfitted with a selection of cauldrons, beakers, and various other pieces of equipment. He was amazed at how much trouble they’d gone to in order to make him comfortable and to make sure he’d be well set for his goal. It made him wonder just what the year would be like between that, his additional training, and what he was expected to eventually do.

When he re-entered the lounge, Remus had his feet up and was watching the flames in the fireplace. “I think it’s brilliant. It’s so much more than I ever expected.”

“That’s good to hear, Harry. You’ll have a few days to settle in, so why don’t we go hunt down dinner?”

*

Harry started the walk back toward his rooms, thinking about what would make for a good password. Having normally dealt with English passwords, he wasn’t sure if his door would accept one in Parseltongue, though he knew that Salazar Slytherin had managed it with the doorways to the Chamber which used equally odd guardians. As he turned at the first intersection a shadow appeared at his shoulder.

“So.”

“Hello, sir. I’d wondered where you were.” Harry continued walking, though he slowed his pace a little.

“Given that you’re walking around, I can only assume you’ve been deemed fit.”

“Yes, sir. I was just heading to my rooms to unpack. Would you like to join me?”

Severus nodded and said, “And are you satisfied with them?”

“Very much, sir.” Harry glanced sideways to see that Snape had his arms drawn across his chest, with the folds of his robes enveloping him like a shroud. “I didn’t know what to expect, so I was quite surprised, and pleased.”

“It is only fitting. You no longer attend Hogwarts, and you must have a place where you can comfortably work and live that isn’t in the domain of the students.”

They reached Harry’s rooms, and he felt a moment of embarrassment over the password as he spoke it and the door slid aside. “I really need to change that,” he said as he gestured for Severus to enter first. “Do you think it would accept a Parseltongue password?”

“I do not see why it wouldn’t. The worst that could happen is you try and it doesn’t. In any case, I suggest that you share it with no one aside from perhaps myself and Albus, not even your friends. Though, if you do go with Parseltongue, we might want to arrange for an override in English so that in case of emergency, help can reach you.”

“Yes, sorry, I hadn’t thought of that, sir.” In the bedroom Harry opened his school trunk and started tossing things onto the bed haphazardly. “I guess it would be a bit rude, and foolhardy.” He stopped and looked around for a moment, then opened the closet door and shoved the trunk in and against the back wall. “That wouldn’t be a problem, would it—an override?”

Severus, who was standing just inside the door, shook his head and said, “No.”

Harry spent a couple of minutes putting what clothing he had away, then looked up at his mentor and smiled faintly. “I missed you,” he said in a whisper, then started to gather up the odd bits and look for a place to put them. The figurines ended up in the lounge, and his writing supplies ended up in the small desk behind his couch.

When Harry began to unpack his book trunk, Severus took a seat in an overstuffed chair. He left a couple of books unpacked, being careful to hide the omission from his mentor’s line of sight. When he was done he closed the trunk; he’d move it to the closet later. Instead he moved to kneel by Severus’s side and rest his head on Snape’s knee.

He really had missed him. Even with the addition of books to read and learn from, Harry had been keenly lonely. And while his experiments had been interesting, they hadn’t been able to take the place of companionship, or any of the things he’d felt he was missing. When Severus began to run his fingers through Harry’s hair, he felt almost like purring. He had definitely missed this.

Severus—Harry called him that privately—was an intelligent, well-spoken person who held a wealth of information, and more importantly, seemed to actually understand him. He wrapped his arms around Severus’s leg and sighed in content. The previous year had given him something he hadn’t really known he was lacking—that is, once they’d got past their mutual and irrational antagonism. Since then, he’d been happy to set aside the past and do what he could to please the man, and to try to reach his own potential. That he’d begun to realize a great number of things about himself, and Severus, was an unexpected benefit.

His friends hadn’t understood his change of attitude, though Hermione had taken it as a sign of his growing maturity. When he’d then begun to take his studies as seriously, or more seriously, as she did for her own, she’d been extraordinarily pleased at the turn of events. Of course, she was and had always been an intellectual. Ron, on the other hand, had floundered, whined, and eventually given in sullenly to Harry’s change of priorities. Harry hoped that his friend would find his own satisfaction in a job well done—not just in a game well played.

It would be harder this year, being apart from them. He’d have to make even more of an effort to set aside time to spend with them, preferably in less studious pursuits. Meeting only to study or revise seemed like a half-hearted attempt, selfish in nature and miserly of his time. He’d also have to overcome Ron’s upset over quidditch; no longer a student, Harry had of necessity retired as seeker.

The stronger motion of Severus’s fingers brought Harry out of his thoughts and back to how he felt. He sighed again and twisted to look up at his mentor. “May I?” he breathed.

“No, Haze.” Before Harry could do more than jerk back slightly in confusion and burgeoning hurt, Severus said, “Not here. There’s something I want to show you.” Harry nodded and pulled away so he could stand, then followed Severus into his bedroom. With furrowed brow, he watched as his mentor approached the bare stretch of wall on the far side of the bed. “Come here, Haze,” he requested, and when Harry was standing next to him, said with the barest hint of a smile quirking the corner of his mouth, “Open sesame.”

Harry blinked as a section of the wall disappeared, then followed Severus through. “How—?” He was standing in the living area of the professor’s private quarters.

“Very simple, Haze. I was not unaware of this entrance, and it has always been heavily warded. However, with you in those quarters, I decided to make use of it. This way you will be able come here without sacrificing anyone’s privacy.”

Harry grinned and stepped into the room, past Severus, and turned around. Reaching out to touch his mentor’s sleeve he repeated, “May I?” A second later he pulled on his arm, backing up toward the bedroom, then turned and walked through and began to undress. Severus stood watching him from the doorway, stepping in only after Harry was naked. Harry slowly undressed him and drew him onto the bed, then knelt between his legs.

Several minutes later, when Severus was groaning in pleasure, Harry lifted his head to speak. “I want—” he began, then stopped.

“Yes?” Something indefinable flared in Severus’s eyes.

“Will you—” He crawled up the bed so that his face was directly over Severus’s, their bodies pressed together. “I want to know what I’ve been missing . . . sir.”

His mentor’s eyes widened slightly, then half closed. “I think,” he said as he reached up to place a hand on the back of Harry’s neck, “that you can drop the sir in private.” Then Harry was pulled down into a kiss that was rough and spoke of barely controlled savagery. He felt almost as though he was being violated as Severus explored his mouth, his head swimming as though he couldn’t get enough air into his lungs.

This was nothing like those tentative—and in retrospect, horrible—kisses he’d shared with Cho so long ago. This was every nerve of his body coming to life, every muscle straining to be closer, and his hips moving with a will of their own. Without warning he was flipped over and pinned to the bed beneath Severus’s greater weight and his neck attacked with sharp teeth and a tongue that seemed to be everywhere at once.

Harry closed his eyes and just let the sensations wash over him, moaning out his pleasure and trying to arch upward to create a delicious pressure and friction. Barely heard was the sound of a drawer opening and closing. When he was on the verge of hyperventilating, Severus pulled back, making him want to weep for the loss. He opened his eyes enough to see Severus liberally applying a lubricant to himself, and then his neck was being savaged again.

He strained up, but could not make contact, for Severus was holding himself apart. A moment later he arched involuntarily as a slick finger entered him and smoothly moved inside, then two, which tore a groan from his throat, then three. Harry honestly thought he might die, and wouldn’t have cared if he did at that moment. Severus continued to work his fingers as his mouth moved back to claim Harry’s mouth a second time.

Despite the preparation, Harry wasn’t actually prepared for the feeling of Severus entering him, slow as it was. His body contracted in sudden fear and some pain, but as the moments passed he willed himself to relax and accept. Severus stung his lower lip with a sharp bite and sank himself fully, momentarily confusing Harry’s sense of pain. They stayed locked together, motionless but for their mouths, and then Severus braced himself with his arms and began to move with smooth, long thrusts.

With the little part left of his mind that could think, Harry knew that there was nothing of sweetness here. It was primal and rough, tempered only enough to assure that he wasn’t reflexively trying to pull free of what was being done to him. But, as the seconds ticked by, and Harry became adjusted to things, it all came together in a melange of delicious friction, soft tongues, and the increasingly pleasurable feeling of Severus moving inside him.

And when it ended, as it must, Harry felt his world threatening to slip away for one, long exquisite moment. Now he had a pretty good idea what he’d been missing.