Chapter 11 : Godric's Hollow
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Harry buried his head into Severus’ robes and mumbled, “No bad dweam, good dweam. I seed my Tapp in my dweam. Whewe is he? Did he died togedew wif Mummy and Daddy?”
Severus carefully stroked the boys back in circles and asked softly, “Who is Tapp, Harry?”
“Hawwy’s teddy,” the child wailed.
Suddenly, Severus remembered something. “Oh, is he the teddy you held in your arm when the bad man attacked you? The one I could see in your memory of that night?”
He felt more than saw that Harry was nodding his head. Seeing that the other teachers had followed him into Harry’s room and were standing behind him, Severus addressed Minerva. “Do you know if the boy had something like a teddy with him when Albus took him to the Dursleys?”
Minerva sadly shook her head. “No, he didn’t have anything except for the blanket he was wrapped in.”
“So there is a small chance that Harry’s teddy could still be in the house and unharmed, correct?” Severus asked again.
“As far as I know, only Albus went into the house. He got rid of Voldemort’s body and rescued Harry. Later, the Aurors entered the house to look for the bodies. But they wouldn’t have taken a teddy bear,” Remus added.
“All right,” Severus resumed, looking over at Poppy pleadingly. “Then we will go to the ruins tomorrow and have a look if your Tapp is still there. Shall we do that, Harry, hmm?”
“Oh, yes, please, Uncle Sevewus. We go for my Tapp!” the small boy shouted excitedly.
“Oh, Harry,” Poppy entreated, stepping nearer to the child. “Don’t get your hopes up too much. Maybe you won’t find it, especially as the house was partially destroyed that night. But you can go and have a look if you want.”
“Hawwy want,” the child insisted. “Fank you, Uncle Sevewus,” he added and placed a sloppy kiss on the man’s cheek, before he put a thumb into his mouth and nestled deeper into his uncle’s robes, falling asleep instantly.
As the next day was a Saturday, Severus decided to leave immediately after breakfast. From the Great Hall, he went up to Harry’s room, and after a short talk with Poppy, who pointed out that the child was still grounded and was therefore not allowed any special treats like ice-cream or such, Severus and Harry left directly from the nursery with a Portkey.
Fortunately, Poppy had spent quite some time in the morning talking to Harry about what had happened on Halloween two years ago and about what he should expect the house to look like. Nevertheless, it was a bit of a shock for the boy when he approached the ruin with Severus. Before they entered what remained of the house, Severus waved his wand to assess the condition of the building. Finally, he put his wand away and gave Harry a confirming nod, thinking it should be safe enough for them to explore the house.
The two took their time, looking in every room and collecting several things, which either Harry wanted to take with him or Severus thought it would be wise to take them so that Harry could have them later like James’ Quidditch trophy or Lily’s diary.
After searching through the ground floor for nearly two hours, Severus suddenly noticed that Harry wasn’t around anymore. He had been so wrapped up in his own thoughts that he hadn’t noticed that the boy had probably made his way up to the second Floor in order to look for his Tapp. Guiltily, Severus stepped up the stairs and entered the nursery, where he froze.
Harry had climbed into his crib and was fast asleep, holding his Tapp tightly in his arms, a small smile playing on his face.
Severus sat down next to the crib on the Floor and put both hands over his face, fighting against the tears that were welling in his eyes. Everything was so horrible; things he had been trying to forget for two years, emotions he had been pushing away during this time – everything had just come back at the sight of this house. In fact, Severus had loved Lily. However, as a Death Eater, he hadn’t been able to have a relationship with her. It would have endangered her too much. He had remained good friends with Lily until she married Potter, but his feelings for the only woman he had ever loved hadn’t changed.
At first, he had hated Harry, because the boy was the symbol of what Severus saw as Lily’s betrayal. Of course, she hadn’t betrayed him as they had never had anything together except for Severus’ feelings towards her, but to him it had felt like a betrayal when she married Potter. Somehow though, the little boy had managed to wiggle his way straight into Severus’ heart, and now, as he had learned to know and love the boy, he reminded him of Lily every single day. In spite of his looking like James, he behaved exactly like his mother.
When he had seen Harry’s memory of the fateful Halloween last year, he had gotten his hopes up beyond reason. Irrationally, he had hoped that maybe Lily wasn’t dead. But where was she? He was sure that if Lily was alive, she would’ve come to look for Harry and maybe even for himself, now that the Dark Lord and James were both dead. However, until now, Lily hadn’t made an appearance. Perhaps, the spell hadn’t sent her to a different place but to a different time? ‘Oh, Lily, please come back. I’d do anything just to see you again,’ he thought, not caring about holding back his tears any more.
He sat there, crying, for quite a while, glad that Harry was fast asleep. ‘Oh, I’m getting sentimental. How could I have even had the idea to bring the boy to this place? I must be going mad,’ he finally concluded, trying to compose himself before he proceeded to wake Harry up.
“Harry,” he gently called the child. “You have to wake up. If we don’t go back to the castle, Aunt Poppy will be worried about you. We’ve already been here for several hours.”
Harry lazily opened his eyes, happy to see his uncle standing next to him. However… “Awe you sad, Uncle Sevewus?” he asked softly. When his uncle gave him a short nod, he continued, “Hawwy’s sad too. Want my mummy back.”
“Yes, Harry,” Severus said, hardly able to hold back the tears this time. “I know. I want your mummy back, too. I love your mummy very much, just like I love you, little one.”
Harry stumbled onto his feet and extended both hands to Severus. “Up!”
Severus gave him a sad smile and pulled the boy up. Thin arms curled around his neck. Severus extended a hand and picked up the teddy bear. “Now, Harry, I believe you have to introduce someone to me. Is this by chance, Tapp?”
“Yes,” Harry replied, laughing. “Dis is Tapp! Tapp, dis is my bestest uncle, Uncle Sevewus.” ‘He is my new daddy, but I’m not ‘loud to call him dat’, he added in his thoughts. He threw a glance at Severus’ face. “Do you fink Aunt Poppy will be sad if I take Tapp home wif me? Because Harry don’t only cuddle wif de dwagon but also wif Tapp?”
Severus couldn’t help laughing at the child’s innocent logic. “No, Harry, Aunt Poppy won’t mind you bringing Tapp back home. She will be very happy for you, and you have two hands anyway; you can take Tapp in one and the dragon in the other hand and cuddle with both of them, right?”
Harry gave him a satisfied look, and Severus activated the Portkey that took them back straight into Harry’s room at Hogwarts.
The instant they arrived at Harry’s room, Harry took off in search of Poppy, Tapp safely tucked in his arm. “Aunt Poppy, Aunt Poppy! Look, dis is Tapp! Tapp, dis is Aunt Poppy. Aunt Poppy, I’m hungwy.”
Severus, who had followed the boy, addressed Poppy. “Sorry, Poppy, that it took us so long. However, we used the opportunity to search the house for anything useful for Harry and brought several things with us. Harry also took a nap in his baby crib. But we haven’t eaten lunch yet. Would you mind me taking Harry to my quarters for lunch?”
Poppy glanced speculatively at the two faces in front of her, noticing that neither of them were their usual selves. “Yes, Severus, you may take Harry with you. I know that he still should be grounded, but I believe that both of you need the company of each other today.”
Severus threw her a grateful smile. “Thanks Poppy.” She was one of the very few people who knew about his feelings for Lily.
On the last Saturday in November, the first Quidditch match of the school year took place. Gryffindor had to play against Slytherin, and Harry was really looking forward to the game. His friend Bill had managed to get on the Gryffindor house team as chaser, and Harry had a few friends on the Slytherin team as well.
On the day of the match, the weather was fine. However, it was very cold. Harry sat on Poppy’s lap, huddled in a warm blanket. Minerva and Severus were sitting on either side of him.
“Now, listen, Harry,” Minerva said sternly. “If you see the Snitch, keep quiet. Don’t tell the players – they have to find the Snitch themselves.”
“Alwight, Gwanny. Hawwy won’t help de students,” Harry promised sincerely, and he kept his promise although he spotted the Snitch just a few minutes into the game.
The two seekers apparently hadn’t seen Harry’s favourite golden ball, and the game continued for two hours until finally, the Slytherin seeker caught the Snitch.
“Harry seed de Snitch much eawliew,” Harry announced on Poppy’s lap, and everyone laughed.
So far, Harry had enjoyed playschool very much. However, at the beginning of December, he started to cry every morning when Poppy accompanied him to the classroom. On the first day, Poppy and Amelia thought he hadn’t slept well and was tired, on the second day, they supposed he might be getting sick, but on the third day, they knew that they needed to have a talk with the child.
“Harry, what’s wrong?” Poppy asked Harry on their way to the playschool the next morning.
“Hawwy don’t want to go to lessuns.”
“Why not, Harry? You want to be together with all your friends, don’t you?”
“Hmmm. Yes, but Hawwy don’t want to take nap. Hawwy’s not a baby, and Hawwy’s not tiwad, but Amelia always makes Hawwy lie down and dat’s vewy bowing fow Hawwy.”
Poppy laughed. “So that’s your problem? That you have to take a nap?” she asked, unbelievingly. She was relieved though that it seemed to be such a simple problem. “That’s why you didn’t want to attend playschool during the last couple of days?”
“Yes,” Harry confirmed, giving his aunt a pleading glance.
“Do all the other children sleep during that time?” Poppy asked, knowing that Harry had abandoned napping during the day months ago.
“The twins don’t sleep too, but evybone else sleep.”
“All right, Harry. I will talk to Amelia, and we’ll find a way so that you can occupy yourself quietly within the room. All right?”
“Yes, fank you, Aunt Poppy,” Harry said and gave her a slight hug, before he happily entered the classroom, while Poppy went over to Amelia for a short talk.
Together with Mrs. Weasley, the three witches decided to give the children who didn’t want to take a nap the opportunity to sit somewhere and quietly read books. Poppy immediately called a house elf, and when the children entered the room after lunch, everything was prepared accordingly. In a corner of the room, there were a few comfortable looking chairs, and the area was equipped with a small book shelf containing many children’s books. Seeing the books, Harry was delighted.
At first, everyone wanted to sit and read. However, when Amelia threatened that they wouldn’t be allowed to read books anymore instead of a napping if they fell asleep in their afternoon lessons, everyone except for Harry and the twins went right to bed.
One day, Fred discovered a book with an animal Christmas story. “George, Harry, look,” he whispered excitedly. “Shall we read this together? Now, I’m the rabbit, George, you’re the fox, and Harry, you’re the owl. Ooops, Harry, can you read already?”
George and Harry laughed. “I can only wead a little,” Harry whispered. “But I want to wead stowy togedew wif you.”
Noticing that they still needed a narrator, Harry quietly went over to where Amelia was drinking coffee with Mrs. Weasley and whispered, “Amelia, could you please help us wead a stowy?”
“Yes, of course,” Amelia replied, and although Harry still needed a lot of help reading, the four of them somehow managed to read the whole story, which the children loved immediately. “Very good. You did that really well, especially Harry. I didn’t know that you could already read.”
Harry’s eyes twinkled happily. “Amelia, you know, Hawwy like books vewy much and now Hawwy like wead stowy vewy much.”
Amelia was so proud of the children that she suggested that they read the whole story once more in front of all the other children. As it was a Christmas story, it fit very well anyway. Their friends were impressed and loved the story, too.
Two weeks later, the Christmas holidays started. Harry was very disappointed that there was no playschool during the holidays, especially as Poppy had come down with a bad case of flu and wasn’t able to spend the whole time with him. She had managed to stay on her feet until the students returned home for the holidays. However, as soon as the students were gone, Aberforth and Severus forced her to go to bed, and Minerva promised that they would take turns looking after Harry.
Severus, Remus, Sirius, and Minerva did their best to entertain Harry during this time. On the first day, Sirius and Remus took Harry outside for a snowball fight and even helped Harry build a huge snowman directly on the spot that could be seen from the nursery window, so that Poppy could look at it when she came to kiss Harry good night, which she did every evening.
On the second day, Severus took Harry for a daytrip to Cologne in Germany. It was quite far, especially for side-along Apparation. However, Severus wanted to show Harry the beautiful Christmas market that Lily and he had once visited together several years ago. And he noticed immediately that it had been worth the effort. Harry looked in awe at the beautiful ornaments and lights everywhere and was fascinated by the many wooden booths, which were selling many more items than he could have imagined; he didn’t even know there was such a variety of things. Everything was decorated gorgeously. For lunch, they had potato pancakes with apple puree, which Harry enjoyed immensely.
During dinner in the Great Hall, Harry entertained everyone with stories about the stunning Christmas market in Cologne, which inevitably led the teachers to ask Severus why he had thought about going there in the first place. Severus groaned inwardly. He should have placed a spell on the boy so that he wouldn’t have been able to talk about it. As Harry loved speaking he was always talking about everything under the sun, so Severus should have foreseen this little problem. In fact, Lily’s parents had participated in a bus tour exactly to this very market and had told their daughter. Lily had convinced Severus to Apparate there for a day. But of course, he didn’t want everyone present to know this background story.
“I’ll tell you tonight,” he promised Minerva and stood up to put Harry to bed, who had fallen asleep in his dinner.
On the third day of the holidays, it was Minerva’s turn to look after Harry. As it was snowing heavily, she decided to spend some time in her quarters and suggested to Harry that he might like to draw some pictures, which he could give to his aunts and uncles for Christmas.
“Yes, maybe I should make somefing fow Uncle Siwius,” Harry replied seriously. Seeing Minerva’s questioning look, he added, “Santa only bwing pwesents to good boys and mans. Uncle Siwius hasn’t been good, just like Hawwy. Hawwy won’t get a Chwistmas pwesent too.”
“Oh, my sweetie, what have you done that was so bad that you won’t get a Christmas present?” Minerva asked half astonished, half curious.
Harry averted his eyes to the Floor, before he admitted in a very small voice, “I have pwanked Mrs. Nowwis many times.”
Minerva gasped. “That was you?!”
Harry gave her a slight nod, noticing that his grandmother didn’t seem too upset about this revelation. “Together wif twins,” he added quietly.
“All right, Harry. Of course that was very naughty, but I don’t think that this will be bad enough that Santa won’t bring you any presents,” Minerva said calmly, trying hard not to let Harry see an expression that clearly said ‘congratulations for a few very good pranks on the f… cat.’
In the end, Minerva did convince Harry to draw small Christmas presents for everyone. Harry, who was not very talented at drawing, did his best to draw several pictures of Santa giving presents to someone sitting in front of a Christmas tree. When he had finished drawing a picture, he looked at it until the people on it began to move and their eyes twinkled like his own.
Minerva had to stifle a laugh when she noticed that the person receiving the gift always seemed to be the person who the picture was for. With much imagination, she could even recognize herself in one of the pictures.
After dinner, Severus bathed Harry and put him to bed as he did every evening. Then he read Harry a story and handed the little boy a book to read until Poppy came to tuck him in and switch the lights off. In the meantime, he went over to Poppy’s room to check on her and feed her the necessary potions as she couldn’t use magic on herself, and as a Potions Master he had certain amount of knowledge about Healing.
This evening, he returned to Harry’s room with a very stern face and sat down on the edge of Harry’s bed. When the small boy smiled at him he said, “I’m sorry, Harry, but Aunt Poppy is very ill tonight, and she cannot come to kiss you good night. Will you be a very big boy tonight and go to sleep after being tucked in by me, so that you can help Aunt Poppy?”
“Of couwse,” Harry answered immediately. “Hawwy is big boy, and Hawwy can awleady help Aunt Poppy.” He leaned back tiredly and let Severus tuck him in. “Fank you, Uncle Sevewus. Good night,” he mumbled around the little thumb that was stuck in his mouth.
However, during the night, Harry didn’t sleep very well. He missed his Aunt Poppy so badly, and now Uncle Severus had told him that she was even too ill to come to him. Would she die like his first mum had died? Harry cried himself to sleep but woke up again after a nightmare.
Finally, he climbed out of his bed and walked over into Aunt Poppy’s and Uncle Aberforth’s room. He climbed up into the bed and snuggled close to his aunt, putting his arms around her. Then he tried to send all his magic through his hands over to his Aunt Poppy in order to help her as he had promised Uncle Severus.
In the morning, Poppy was the first to wake up. She noticed immediately that Harry was fast asleep in her arms and groaned inwardly. No Pepper-up Potion would prevent the delicate child from getting the flu after spending the night in her arms while she was so sick. At that moment, Severus entered the room, astonished to see Poppy awake. He immediately waved his wand over his colleague and let out a huge gasp.
“What’s wrong?” Poppy asked astonished.
“How are you feeling?” he returned, waving his wand around Harry this time.
“Actually, I feel fine. I don’t feel ill any more, just a bit tired,” Poppy answered, surprised.
“Yes, my scan told me that you’re completely healed. And I suppose that was Harry’s doing. He has totally depleted his magic. Maybe he has efficiently healed you with his wish magic.”
“Oh no! And now he will probably get the flu because he came to help me. I noticed that he came to my bed, but I felt too ill to throw him out, and Aberforth still wasn’t here when he came. You know how much energy you need to fight against Harry’s wishes.”
“It’s all right, Poppy. Don’t worry about it now. We can only wait and see what happens. I suggest that you still spend the day in bed together with your son and rest. I’ll come and check on you again later.”
Harry slept until late in the afternoon. The next day was Christmas Eve, and for a while, Harry watched the teachers decorating the Great Hall for Christmas. Poppy and Severus had had a long talk with him in the morning, and they had forbidden him to do any magic at least until the end of the holidays. Therefore, Harry sat on the Floor of the Great Hall watching, which he found very boring. He wanted to do something, too.
Finally, he walked back home, looking for Poppy, and glad that she was up and about again. He spent the remaining day helping Poppy check her Potions cabinet and making a list of all potions she needed for the next term, so that Severus could brew them in time. Harry was very proud to be able to help, and Poppy was glad to have a little help.
On Christmas morning, Harry woke up very early. Remembering something that Uncle Sirius had told him the evening before, he jumped off his bed, went to the bathroom, struggled to pull his green robes over his pyjamas and ran through the Hospital wing into the empty halls of the hibernating castle.
I do not own any of the characters in this story; they all belong to J.K.Rowling or are a free creation, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.
Thanks to CaveNymph and ObsidianEmbrace for beta-ing :-)
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