Potter and I get back from testing our new brooms. There is nothing more freeing than flying. We spent about three hours doing everything possible – racing each other all the way around the manor, swerving through the three Quidditch hoops my father set up for me in the yard, and showing off as many fancy moves and tricks as we could without falling off our brooms. Only after we had exhausted ourselves to our limits, did we finally agree to come back to the ground and go inside. We stumble into the kitchen, desperate for some water. We each down an entire glass of water without taking a breath. I lean back against the counter and watch him as he attempts to catch his breath.
“Aren’t you glad I made you take the broom?” I say proudly, the large smile on his face answering my question before he even has a chance to speak.
“Alright, alright, you win,” he admits, shaking his head at me.
“So, that was some party you had yesterday.” I try to make conversation as I refill both of our glasses. He takes a long sip of his water before responding.
“Yeah, they really went all out for that one. Especially the miniature model of the castle. Not to mention the food was particularly incredible.”
“I probably ate forty of those cookies that were shaped like Wizard’s chess pieces.”
“Merlin, those things were good.”
We both laugh. Despite having eaten so many of those cookies, I probably burned off all the calories from them just by walking back and forth between our table and the cookie tray. I’m surprised that I didn’t spend the entire rest of the night in a sugar coma.
“Those are quite colourful characters you have for friends as well.”
“They’re all incredible people,” Potter assures me. “You seemed to handle yourself really well with them. You were getting along with them.”
I shrug, taking a slow sip of water. “I guess, with Longbottom at least.”
“One person is at least a step in the right direction. Besides, I’m not saying that you have to like all of them just because I do or Hermione does. We just think it would be easier for you to make some friends with them so you’re more comfortable whenever you have to spend time with all of us in a group.”
“Does that mean I should expect to do things like that on a regular basis?”
“That’s up to you. Although, I must say I was really glad that you were there with us yesterday. I would be lying if I said that I don’t want you to continue being around.” Potter avoids making eye contact with me as he says this, as if he feels uncomfortable admitting that after everything that’s happened he actually wants me around. I feel a little uncomfortable at the confession myself. Of course, I’m glad that he wants me around. Who wants to be told that someone doesn’t want them around? But it’s still odd trying to get used to the new balance of our relationship. Potter looks back at me, crossing his arms over his chest. “So, where did you learn to dance like that?”
“Oh, growing up in the world I did, there are constantly social parties, charity events, business parties – it’s expected for everyone to get all dressed up, drink champagne while making pointless small talk, and slow dancing. I learned how to dance at a very young age, which is definitely more than I can say for you. What the hell was up with you?”
“I’m not the best dancer, alright? Let it go.”
I laugh loudly. “Not the best dancer? Not the best? You’re not even second best. Or third. Or fourth. Or –“
“Okay! I get it! Shut up!” he snaps at me, but still manages an embarrassed laugh. “I never had anyone teaching me how to dance. Besides, it’s not like I need to dance on a regular basis.”
“If you plan to spend more time around my family, you’re going to start dancing on a regular basis. And in front of people who aren’t anything like your little friends.”
“Thanks for making me feel better. Can we talk about something other than my dancing skills or lack thereof please?”
“Alright, how about your birthday present?”
“The broomstick? What about it?”
“Not that present. Your other present.”
“What other present?” He looks at me with confusion. I set my glass of water down on the counter and grab his arm, dragging him out of the kitchen with me. I pull him upstairs and into the attic. The attic is lit only by the small rays of sunlight shining in through the small windows. There are strange objects and heavy boxes in multiple piles scattered all around the room. Dust is blanketing everything and thickening the air. There are cobwebs hanging from the ceiling and intricately designed spider webs stretching across the high corners of the walls. I crouch a bit so that I don’t hit my head on the ceilings as I move through the attic.
“Ow!” Potter exclaims, banging his head roughly on the ceiling. He crouches down beside me, rubbing his hand over the back of his head. “What are we doing up here?”
Ignoring his question, I continue to move all of the boxes around so that I can get to the large trunk underneath. I cough as I inhale all of the dust being kicked up into the air as I toss the boxes to the side. I finally uncover the trunk that I’ve been looking for. Last time I checked up here, there was nothing sitting on top of this trunk, now suddenly it’s buried underneath a mountain of dusty, cardboard boxes. I sigh in frustration, but shake it off in the relief that I’ve finally uncovered it. I brush all the dust from the trunk, revealing the silver, shimmering initials S.S. Potter kneels down next to me as I unlatch the trunk and push the top open.
“What is this?” Potter asks, peering into the trunk.
“After Severus Snape died, his stuff was left to us because we were the closest thing to a family that he had. My parents sold or gave away most of it, but anything that I wanted to keep I stashed away in this trunk. It’s mostly just books and a few knick-knacks.”
Potter reaches into the trunk and shuffles through some of the old books. “These are great. But what does Snape’s old stuff have to do with me?”
“I found a hidden compartment in the lid right here,” I say, pulling open the compartment and catching the envelope that falls out. “I found this inside and thought you might want it.”
I hand Potter the envelope and watch him take it hesitantly. He stares at it for a long moment before opening it with trembling hands. He turns the envelope over and allows the contents to fall out onto his lap. He picks up the stack of letters and examines them, his mouth slightly agape. He scans over a few of the letters between Snape and his mother before putting them down. He picks up the small stack of photographs of woman with long, dark red hair and stunningly bright green eyes. With eyes like those, there is no mistaking that she was Potter’s mother.
“Mum?” Potter whispers at the photographs, blinking repeatedly to fight back the tears that are so clearly burning in his eyes. I force myself not to say anything, but instead to just give him a moment to process what he is seeing. “Snape had these pictures of my mother? Why are you giving them to me?”
“Well, she’s your mother, so you should have them. It wouldn’t be right for me to keep them from you. Besides, I’m sure that Snape would rather them be admired by you than buried up in this rusty trunk collecting dust with everything else.”
He breaks his eyes away from the photographs just long enough to look me in the eye, making the tears welling up in his own unbearably more noticeable, and stuttering out, “T-thank you. You have no idea. Thank you.”
“Happy Birthday, Harry Potter.”
Potter doesn’t respond – he simply smiles down at the pictures in his hands, flipping through them one after the other. I don’t want to interrupt him, so I decide to look through the old books that I kept in the trunk. There are a lot of books about potion-making in here, a few other school books, and some story books. There is even a journal in here that I can’t bring myself to read. Merlin only knows what kind of stuff Snape would write about in that thing. The idea of reading all about his pitiful unrequited love for Potter’s mother makes me a bit sick to my stomach. The idea of Snape being in love with anyone is just too bizarre for me to even comprehend.
I avoid the journal and look through the other books. All of the books have writing in them. The potions books have notes about how the instructions are wrong and what’s the correct way to brew that particular potion. The story books have random thoughts and opinions scribbled in the margins. The other school books have notes about creative and unexpected ways to learn the different spells that are listed. Apparently he was a prolific note-taker. He wrote all of his thoughts in the margins of books. Why did he even bother with a journal? He might as well have written his own book along the margins of fifty other books he owned.
Perhaps I can’t blame him though, right? Sometimes there are just so many thoughts invading your mind at once that you feel like your brain could explode. Maybe it’s helpful to write some of them down to help ease your mind. Although the problem with writing down your over-abundance of thoughts is: Where the hell would you start? Ever since I learned how to read I would read every book I could get my hands on, but it never occurred to me that those books I fell in love with came from someone who had an over-abundance of thoughts crammed inside their brain just like I do. The only difference is, they were able to take those thoughts and translate them into a story. For the rest of us who can’t do such a thing, we need to find other methods of clearing our minds from the insanity.
As I put the books back into the trunk, I wonder what type of story I could create if I vented all my thoughts and emotions through made-up characters on a piece of paper. I guess we’ll never know. Potter shoves the letters and photographs back into the large envelope and holds it tightly to his chest. It’s a good thing I’m allowing him to keep those because it’s doubtful I’d be able to pry them from his grip otherwise.
“Can we get out of this dirty old attic now?” I groan, looking around in disgust at the large spider webs. I shudder. “I really don’t want to be up here when the owner of that masterpiece comes home.”
Potter grimaces at the web as well. “Let’s get out of here.”
I laugh at the both of us. I don’t care how tough and cool you think you are – spiders are creepy as hell. We all avoid them as much as we possibly can. We quickly tumble out of the attic and go to sit down in the sitting room. Cat is lying on the floor in front of the fireplace, pushing a ball back and forth with Granger’s freakish feline. She greets us both with a wide grin as we enter the room.
“Hey!” Cat sings. “Happy Birthday, Harry! That was such a great party you had yesterday! I’m so glad that you invited me to come along!”
“Thanks, Cat,” Potter says, still gazing down at the envelope in his hands. “I’m glad that you had fun. I hope I’m going to see you again after tomorrow.”
“Oh, don’t remind me!” She buries her face in her hands for a moment dramatically. “I can’t believe that we’re all going home tomorrow. Well, almost all of us. It’s been so much fun having everyone stay here like this. It’s been like one giant slumber party! You’re so lucky that you get to stay here, Harry!”
“Oh, yeah, I’m so lucky,” Potter says sarcastically, shoving me out of his way as he walks around the sofa to sit on the floor with Cat. He scratches Crookshanks behind the ears before looking back at me over his shoulder. I know that he was just messing with me, so I just shake it off and sit on the sofa, hitting him over the back of the head as I sit down. He simply laughs in response, swatting my hand away from him and returning his attention to Cat.
“I really hope that we get to see each other again, too,” Cat tells him, finally replying to his earlier comment. “It’s quite entertaining being around all of you. I would miss you all. Especially Hermione! I love Hermione. Besides, Harry, it’s been really nice having you around. My other friends are fantastic, but they don’t really understand my situation, you know?”
“Oh, yeah, I know what you mean.” Potter flips the envelope over in his hands a few times.
“Don’t you think you two are overreacting a bit?” I ask cynically. “Just because you are all going back to your real homes now doesn’t mean you’re moving to another country or something. It’s not like we’ll never have the opportunity to see each other again.”
“That’s not the point, Draco,” Cat argues. “Of course we’ll be seeing each other again. But it’s still different from living in the same house and being able to see each other every single day.”
“Aren’t you sick of seeing us every single day? I know I am.”
“Thanks,” Potter grumbles over his shoulder.
“You don’t get it,” Cat sighs.
“What don’t I get?” I shrug my shoulders. I know that Cat can be very excitable and that this kind of thing must be important to her, but I don’t see what the big deal is. So what if Blaise moves out? I saw him every day before and I’ll continue to see him every day afterward. Potter isn’t going anywhere so I’m stuck with him for who knows how much longer. Granger and I will still see each other every day. The Weasleys will be gone and I never wanted to see them every day in the first place, so there’s no hard feelings there.
“Even though we can occasionally see each other if we want, things are still going to change. This is probably the last time that we’ll ever all be together like this.”
Only one more chapter left! - Catazar