Chapter 1 : Prologue
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My very first non-Sco/Rose. Tell me how I did?
Disclaimer: You know the drill. I do not own anything you recognize.
Harry Potter sat at his study desk with a glass of fire whiskey in hand. The amber coloured liquid, both intriguing him and repulsing him. What was it that made him want a drink that night?
Ginny and the kids were sleeping. In two days time, his second son would venture into the realm of magic, he would step into the world that had welcomed Harry with open arms and made him feel at home. He owed this world everything.
But there was something about Albus' entry into this alluring world that caused an uneasy feeling to both the father and the son. At most times, Albus' face would light up while speaking about Hogwarts. Like all other children, he said he couldn't wait. His sentiments were true. But in between all this longing, a look would creep into his eyes, only for a few seconds, before leaving him to celebrate and express his excitement once again.
Rose had visited earlier in the day. She wasn't just Al's cousin, but also his closest friend. She jumped around exclaiming about how the 'best phase of their lives' was about to start.' Al was unusually quiet and Rose had taken advantage of his silence to teach him the wand movements of sixteen basic spells in Charms using her training wand. She also gave him a copy of 'Hogwarts- A History' that Hermione had gifted him.
"How typical!" harry exclaimed, laughing. And Ginny had laughed too. Al looked at the book in wonder and asked them whether Hogwarts really looked like that.
But most of his questions revolved obsessively around the sorting hat and how it all happened.
Harry knew that Al was afraid of being sorted into Slytherin. Though he hadn't openly expressed it, Harry and Ginny were able to tell, going by his reactions and questions.
He uneasily eyed the locked drawer that was in front of him. It hadn't been unlocked even once in the last four years. As he drank, he reminisced. Of that dark night four years ago...
He had put on his coat and apparated to Spinner's End on an impulse. He had crossed dingy roads and sewage streams to get to the dilapidated house that had once been the residence of Severus Snape. The house remained in much the same condition. Nobody had brought it down or renovated it. He shuddered because of the cold and eerie aura of dark magic that emanated from the house, but that did not stop him. It had been fifteen years since the war had ended and Harry had found himself thirsty for knowledge. He wanted to know more about the man who had saved his life more times than he could count.
The door responded to a simple 'Alohamora', and after performing the necessary security spells, Harry walked in, conjuring a lantern for himself. The inside of the house looked messier than its outside, if that was possible. There were pages lying around everywhere; books, opened and closed, gathering dust; broken shards of glass littered the floor, along with several oddly coloured stains. Objects that should have lined shelves were lying about everywhere. Harry had wished that he had brought Hermione along.
But he knew that this was something he meant to do alone. And so he wandered about the house, not sure about what he searching for. He walked up and down the creaking stairs and in and out of rooms that had once been inhabited by a man whom Harry had grown to respect and admire. He pushed through old doors and wiped clean grimy windows, aimlessly, without really knowing why he was doing what he was doing. But not once did he feel like he was without purpose. He would leave Spinner's End, departing with more knowledge than he had come there with.
By the faint glow of the lantern, something caught his eye. It was faded and old, but there was a little bit of red and green on it. He was unable to tear his eyes away. He bent down to have a better look at it.
It was the corner of an old photograph, protruding from an old leather diary that he had not noticed before, for it was, like the rest of the room, covered in a thick layer of dust. It was lost in the plethora of books and sheets that meant nothing to his purpose.
Harry lifted the diary and skived off the dust, using his wand. He pulled out the photograph, but as soon as he looked at it, he felt his bones chill. Smiling back at him, was a photo of an eleven year old Lily Potter, one hand was waving out, while the other was planted firmly around the shoulders of Severus Snape. In the background, he could see a dark, maroon coloured train, and an army of people rushing about. Snape's face held a smile that Harry had never seen before. There was no bitterness, no malice. This was the Severus Snape that his mother had known and befriended.
He tucked the photo into his back pocket and opened the diary. It was a muggle book. But he shut it as soon as he read the fading letter on the first page-
"Happy Birthday, Sev. I've known you for a whole year now. Can you believe it? For this birthday, I thought I would give you something from my world. I know it's a plain diary, but there's something magical about being able to fill its blank pages with beautiful words. At least I think so. Plus, this has no spells, no passwords or anything! It's special because of its simplicity. Happy Birthday again!
Harry put the book under his arm and apparated back to his own house. He knew so little about this man, and his own mother, apparently. But, how was he to be blamed? Nobody had ever told him.
He had vowed that he would read the book and learn, but every time he thought of doing so, he felt like he was intruding on something deeply private. Tonight was different. He downed the last of his firewhiskey and opened the drawer. He stared at the leather bound book for a good ten minutes, before bending forward and retrieving it from the place he had given it for so long. The time was right. He would read the book. He would know more about this man who deserved so much more respect than he had got.
His finger ran along the spine of the book. He flipped through it. It was full of words, with letters and photographs tucked in between its pages. Harry wondered what he would find.
He opened the book and read the birthday wish again. He slowly caressed the page, tracing the words. His mother had been as young as his own children when she had written them. He finally turned the page, and got lost in the life and love that Severus Snape had once known.
Phew! I feel like I've just written something incredibly intense, though I know it isn't really so, per se. I started off, as a writer on fanfic, planning to write only Rose/Scorpius stories. But this challenge really called for something different, like this. So, tell me, do you think I've made a good start? What have I done right and what have I done wrong?
And and aaaand, thank you CalypsoJenna for this brilliant opportunity and to F Scott Fitzgerald for writing such a beautiful book, and thus giving me the quote that is the inspiration for this story! :)