“Maybe you are right about him, Hope.”

Hope flicked her head towards Harry in surprise. She straightened up instantly and turned to the voice. She could sense Severus getting up behind her, his right arm still placed possessively around her. She smiled to herself, and concentrated on Harry. She had completely forgotten about him. Harry stood there with a forlorn look on his face, his eyes almost brimming with tears and his fists cupped together tightly.

“He is my godfather, Harry. I love him. I-” She was stopped by Harry’s hand.

Snape subconsciously tighten his hold on Hope’s shoulder. How could he have done this?!? The Potter boy had seen him at his weakest and would surely tell the whole school by tomorrow. His carefully calculated image, designed to repel others, would be smashed to smithereens. He stood silently, waiting for the boy’s reply as one single question enveloped his thoughts: Why was the boy so affected by Hope hugging her godfather?

“I have a godfather too, Hope. I mean, I did.” Harry’s voice grew softer, “I loved him more than life. I found a way into the Ministry of Magic in the middle of the night because I thought he was in trouble. I would have died for him.” Harry’s eyes blazed with pain, as Hope felt an unfathomable amount of grief, “I know what it’s like to love someone. I know what it’s like to lose them,” he shot a passing glance at Dumbeldore, “and I’m not a child either.”

Harry stared deep into Hope’s identical emeralds. He paused as the silence almost audibly crackled with tension. He turned back to Hermione and Ron, who stood in shock, pushing past them. He started down the staircase when a voice stopped him.

“Pot- Harry.” Harry’s attention flicked to the speaker, but his eyes remained staring at the stones in front of him. The voice was level and slow, “She trusts you. Take care of her. Take very, very good care of her.” Snape suddenly let go of Hope, who started towards the entrance.

“I will, Sir. Like she’s my own sister.” Harry’s reply was followed by the sound of his footsteps pattering down the stone steps.

(this would’ve made such a great cliffhanger…)

Hope watched Harry disappear around the rim. When she looked up, everyone else was staring at her. Dumbeldore’s baby blue eyes twinkled mischievously while Hermione looked at her with a calculative look. Ron tried to catch her eyes in vain, trying to radiate assurance, but Snape stared at her with an unemotional mask. She smiled softly at them, these people who cared. Her voice was barely more than a whisper. “Nice. I’ve got a dad, a new friend, a boyfriend,” her eyes flicked questioningly at Ron who beamed, “and now a brother. It seems just yesterday, someone told me I was an orphan.” Hope looked down at the stone floor, not daring to meet anyone else’s eye. “If you’ll excuse me, I have some things to unpack.” With a polite nod of her head, Hope fled down the stairs. She had more than just friends. She had family.

Hope had barely reached the main hallway when two voices called out to her. She turned and waited for Hermione and Ron. Hermione ran up to her, gave her a quick hug and whispered a goodbye before chasing after Harry. Before Hope had blinked once, Ron had taken Hermione’s place. He smiled lovingly and planted a soft kiss on her lips. He put his arm around her waist as she leaned into him. They walked slowly down the corridor like that, all the way to the Common Room, where there were friends waiting.

A/N: I realize that this itself is a cliffhanger, not as good as the aforementioned, but hey! Thanks to those who are reviewing! Special thanks to my three mentors: Kyleigh, Jane Potter, and the5thmaurader. Another cheerful shout-out to ginny_lover, my pen-buddy who has been reviewing since the very beginning! As a side note, Jane brought up a good point, if you don't like how I did something, please review and tell me! I could use it! Thanks to my readers as well! Toodles!

~sandstar

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