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Chapter Two

Simon’s face had darkened when he’d seen the mob of people pour into the small room. A few people, indeed! He sighed inwardly knowing that they all had a right to be there, in their own way. His younger brother sauntered in, followed by the secretary of the local primary school, three teenagers, an old man, a smug chef still wearing his restaurant trousers, a young policeman and last, but not least, a three-year-old girl. They were a motley crew, Simon admitted, but to Harry, they were family.

Beside him, Harry managed to morph his expression of dismay at being so descended upon into one of happiness.


“How are you?”

“Someone get this boy some food!”

“So where exactly is this Dursley then?”

“I cannot believe this happened to you!”

Harry held himself back from drawling, “Really? But this seems to happen almost every year!”

Instead, he said, “Hello, Flora,” and smiled warmly at the young girl who’d clamboured onto the bed. He winced when she climbed across him and wrapped her arms around his neck.

“Now, Flora, Harry’s really not very well…” Simon started, and made an attempt to move the girl from Harry.

“Flora! Get down from there at once!” barked Catherine, the young nurse returning to the room to find something akin to chaos.

“But Muuum!”

“No ‘but’s!”

Remus smiled faintly from the side as the room got louder and more chaotic. Conversations carried on all around Harry, but he didn’t appear to be really taking part in any of them. Seeing a gap to one side, Remus moved to sit down next to Harry.

“I’m glad you’re okay,” Remus said quietly, not knowing why he spoke to someone who couldn’t hear him.

“You call this okay?” Harry murmured to the side of him, repeating his earlier words. Remus gaped openly at Harry, who turned to face him slightly. “Thanks for coming, Remus. I really appreciate it.”

“What was that, Har?” Simon’s brother asked him.

“Nothing, just thinking aloud,” he replied.

“About how great we are and how much you’ve missed me?”

“Something like that, yeah,” Harry said with a smile.

“Shut up, Jack,” Simon said, cuffing his younger brother lightly around his head.

Remus had been staring at Harry for a lon moment. He couldn’t imagine how it had been possible for Harry to have seen through their spells, but then Harry regularly surprised them all. Harry opened his mouth to say something to Remus but it never made its way into coherency, because right then two men came bursting through the door.

“You listen to me, Black –”

“No you listen to me!” Sirius shouted. Next to him, Harry saw Remus close his eyes in a display of disbelief. “You were charged with protecting MY godson with your life, and he mysteriously ends up in a Muggle hospital being sewn back together, what – TWO weeks later? And you have no explanation, no memories as to why or how this occurred? You expect me to believe that?!”

“No, I—” Severus began in a drawl, but was cut off by magic whipping around him. Potter’s magic.

“That’s enough!” Potter said loudly in Severus’ head, and when he glanced at Black, he was sure he’d heard it, too. Black was staring at Potter with an odd expression on his face, almost as if he’d just consumed some kind of vile potion. Severus calmed himself by thinking of ones he could potentially feed Black and their consequent effects.

“What just happened?” Remus asked Harry, not knowing whether he’d be able to respond. He received a playback of the last few moments in his head, complete with Harry’s mental speech. He stiffened. How did Harry know how to do these things? Somewhere in his mind, he registered that Sirius and Severus were shouting at each other again, having momentarily set Harry’s newest ability to one side.

“Well if Minerva was meant to be watching Harry too then where the hell is she?” Sirius demanded.

“I don’t recall,” Severus said in a cool tone, “Oh wait, I remember. She went to fetch Potter’s doting dogfathers. What a marvellous change in company that was.”

“Right, we’re going to talk to her,” Sirius said, grabbing Severus’ wrist in a tight grip.

“The hell we are! I’m not going anywhere with you, Black,” Severus snapped, wrenching his arm back. “Now get your paws off me!”

“I’ll go speak to her myself then.”

“And fill her mind with ten kinds of nonsense, all beginning and ending with me being the cause of Potter’s current state? I think not. You’re coming with me!”

“No, you’re coming with me!”

Remus waved his wand, and they both disappeared. Harry grinned and opened his mouth to say something when Jack put a hand lightly on his shoulder. “We’re going to head off then since you’re clearly not all together again yet.”

Harry smiled up at he and Simon, realising that they were the only two in the room with him.

“I’ll be back first thing tomorrow,” Simon promised.

“You don’t have –”

“I know,” Simon interrupted, “but I want to. I’ll be here every morning until we can get out of here.”

Harry smiled, and Simon pressed a quick kiss to his forehead while Jack ruffled his hair on their way out.

“So, Legilimency, Harry?” Harry turned to Remus. It was shaping up to be a rather long day.

Minerva McGonagall nearly choked on her lunch when twin cracks of apparition sounded from directly behind her.

“No, I apparated you!”

She whipped around and, upon seeing who was standing behind her with their wands aimed squarely at each other, she seriously contemplating apparating away with her lunch.

“What is going on, gentlemen?” she asked in her most intimidating voice, not feeling certain she was up to whatever today’s argument entailed.

“What happened to Harry?” Sirius blurted out.

She wasn’t entirely sure as to why she was so surprised by this line of questioning, considering Harry’s present state, and yet any information she had on the boy seemed fleeting and fluid. The more she tried to pin down what she’d seen in Privet Drive, the harder it became.

“I don’t know,” Minerva eventually replied. Sirius looked shocked, but Severus merely appeared exasperated. He sat down opposite her and held her gaze.

A moment later he spoke to her. “Your memories to do with that street and to a certain extent, Potter, have all been wiped,” Severus said, breaking eye contact.

“Can you retrieve them?” she asked him anxiously. Behind her, Sirius was standing, his expression torn between disbelief and fury.

Severus nodded, his expression remaining stony. “Do not resist me. Try to relax and picture Potter’s house.”

She nodded tersely, and met his eyes with her own. It felt like a pin prick behind her eyes, and then a few more, and then her eyes began to burn. Later, she would reflect that it had felt like a glass shield had cracked and then shattered in her mind. Images began to fly past her then, and she knew that Severus could see them, too.

A fat man with a moustache was shouting at Potter.

A sharp blow dealt to Harry’s ribs. He doubles over in pain soundlessly.

Potter cooking dinner. It smells good. He says something cool and cutting about his relatives and Severus laughs. He looks surprised by his own reaction, and Harry just smiles.

Dumbledore tells them that during their stay, no one, not even Potter, would be able to see them, and that magic was not allowed by anyone.

“I remember everything. Thank you, Severus,” she said quietly.

“Now if only someone could do the same for me,” Severus said, frowning at the table.

“Harry can,” Minerva told him, watching Severus closely.

Severus actually laughed, the first time since they had been in Harry’s company. “Let Potter run rampant in my head? I’d prefer a Hippogriff to Potter!”

“You trained him well, these last few weeks,” she told him. “I would not suggest it if I did not think he was capable.”

“I must apologise, Minerva,” he said in response, “but it appears that I have damaged your brain just now.”

“Remember that he is your only option.”

“I’ll go to Albus then!” Severus snapped at her.

Minerva opened her mouth as if to retort sharply, and then thought better of it. “You do that Severus, but I hope you speak to Harry again before you do.”

Severus eyes narrowed dangerously, but he promised to do as she asked. She  adored Potter admittedly, but she would not suggest Potter do anything that could amount to serious damage on another human. Neither of them could live with such knowledge.

“Your memories will come back slowly for the rest of the day,” Severus told her, realising that her eyes had glazed over slightly. “Let me know if you suffer any side effects.”

It was dark when Severus returned to the hospital. He wasn’t surprised to find the building almost as busy and bustling as it had been that morning. He located Potter’s room with ease, and opened the door to see a mangy dog asleep by the boy’s bed, and Remus Lupin sleeping in an armchair that Severus assumed he’d transfigured. Potter himself was the only one still awake; he was sitting now, and reading a tattered Dickens novel. He looked up when Severus entered, and smiled warmly yet uncertainly.

Potter picked up his wand and cast a silencing spell around Sirius and Remus so as not to wake them.

“Good evening, Professor.”

“Potter.” Severus furrowed his brow. “How are you able to read without your glasses?”

Potter appeared surprised by the question. “Contact lenses,” he replied. “They’re –”

“I know what contact lenses are, Potter,” Severus said, allowing his exasperation to show, “I merely was unaware that you possessed any.”

Potter smiled. “Sorry, I don’t think sometimes. I forget you come from a bit of a Muggle background.” Severus started at that. “It took me ages to explain to Sirius why I was sticking my fingers in my eyes. Anyway, I assume this isn’t a social visit?”

“Not today, I’m afraid,” he replied. Severus took an empty glass from the bedside table and transfigured it into an uncomfortable-looking chair. He sat down, pulling a face so slight, it was barely perceptible, but Potter noticed.

“Not a comfortable chair, sir?” he asked, with a hint of amusement in his voice.

“Transfiguration has never been one of my skills,” Severus admitted grudgingly, not sure why he was telling Potter this.

Harry laughed lightly, his battered face contorting strangely when he did so. “I’d forgotten about that. I can’t imagine you being poor at anything. Sir.”

“Poor? I am not poor at anything, Potter,” Severus said indignantly. “I merely focus my talents in more lucrative areas.”

Potter smiled again slightly, as if to say that he doubted it, but did not push the point. Potter the perceptive, who noticed painful chairs, and knew that he wasn’t good at transfiguration, and knew of his Muggle family. Potter who saw through disillusionment charms, and practiced Legilimency as if he’d known it al his life. Potter who smiled at him without hatred or malice, as if he didn’t mind his presence. He wanted his memories back if only to figure Potter out.

“So how can I help you, sir?”

Severus took a deep breath. “Professor McGonagall tells me you’ve become very good at legilimency these last few weeks.”

Harry stared at him as if he’d grown another head. Or offered him sweets. “Yes, sir.”

“Good enough to lift a memory charm?”

And suddenly, for Harry, everything clicked together. Why he’d suddenly acted like the last few weeks hadn’t happened; because for Snape, they hadn’t.

“I’m not sure, sir. I know how to but —” he trailed off.

At least he was being honest, Severus mused. “You’ll do, Potter. I can only think of two Legilimens, and I don’t want either in my mind. You’re the closest I’ve got.”

Harry swallowed and nodded. Knowing he’d get no more invitation than that, he looked into Snape’s eyes.

“Legilimens,” Harry said quietly. His wand lay on his bedside table. Severus noted dimly that he’d never touched it.

Memories were flying, and Harry’s hands moved quickly through the air, performing wandless magic. He pushed memories aside, or pulled others forwards. Had either Sirius or Remus woken then, they would have likened Harry’s movements to those had he been using a Muggle computer keyboard, interspersed with sliding and pushing motions horizontally and vertically through the air.

It took a lot longer than removing Minerva’s memory blocks; Harry found a few more as he worked. Finally, Severus felt his eyes burning beyond anything he’d ever felt before, and Harry’s hands were shaking violently, his head throbbing. Something somewhere cracked, and Harry hoped dearly that it was the memory charm, and not Snape’s mind. Memories of the past week began to fly past them, and Harry closed his eyes, severing contact.

Severus breathed deeply, as the past few weeks pushed and shoved in his head, vying to be viewed and considered. There were a few older memories there as well that Severus had never seen before either. He couldn’t believe Potter had really done it. He had been expecting brain damage, or at least a concussion.

“Sir, are you all right?”

Severus’ eyes snapped opened then. “Perfectly, thank you.”

“Then I did it? You’re —” Harry’s voice sounded tentative and anxious, even to his own ears.

Severus got to his feet and turned his chair back into a glass. Setting it back on the table, he said, “My mental facilities are fully functioning, if that’s what you’re asking, Mr Potter.” He took a breath. “And my memories have been returned to me, with a mild headache.”

Harry breathed a sigh of relief, and then went on to apologise profusely for the headache he had inadvertently caused.

“Considering I was expecting brain damage, a headache is an acceptable alternative. You did well for a first attempt,” Severus said quietly. Memories swirled in front of his vision randomly, assaulting him at odd moments. It would take a day or so to really understand the last few weeks, he supposed.

He surveyed the boy in front of him. Harry was pale and shaking faintly from the exertion used in the Legilimency, and bruises overlapped with the dark circles under his eyes from sleep deprivation. Severus wondered for a brief moment what he’d been thinking of, asking a boy in Potter’s condition to help him, but swiftly pushed the thought aside. It was done now.

Potter gave him a sleepy smile, and on the floor Black growled faintly and rolled over in his sleep.

“Get some rest,” Severus said as he moved towards the door, and after further reflection added, “and thank you.”

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