breathless_dawn: (Young Sev)
breathless_dawn ([personal profile] breathless_dawn) wrote on August 20th, 2008 at 05:08 pm
Fic: Forgive

Title: Forgive
Author: breathless_dawn
Rating: PG-13
Characters: Harry, Snape!portrait
Disclaimer: All the characters belong to J.K. I unfortunately don't own any of them.
A/N: My first angsty plunge into Harry Potter fic. The first two drabbles are more or less canon. The rest are post-DH. Unbeta'd, as I'm sure you will be able to tell.

I

 

Harry Potter is fifteen, staring down at his own reflection in the two-way mirror Sirius had given him at Christmas. “Sirius…” he says quietly, questioningly, holding on to the last hope that his godfather isn’t really— He can’t even bring himself to think it. “Sirius,” he says again when his own green eyes continue to stare back up at him, angry now, demanding that he stop hiding.

 

Nothing happens and Harry throws the mirror into his trunk where it shatters into a million pieces. It is oddly satisfying and he seizes the watch on his bedside table and throws it savagely against the wall. The face cracks open and one of the stationary hands falls off. He continues demolishing his own possessions and is in the middle of tearing his scarlet bed hangings down when he sees Neville watching him from the mouth of the stairs.

 

He stops, his arm outstretched and holding onto the curtain he was trying to rip in half. His glasses are about to slip off the end of his nose and Neville looks on with concern.

 

“Harry?”

 

“Fine. I’m fine,” he says, his breathing ragged and shallow. He drops the bed hangings and begins to walk to the stairs. Neville backs against the wall to let him pass. “Forgot…downstairs…” he trails off and walks quickly down the stairs and out of the common room.

 

When he returns to his dormitory an hour later he finds all his things have been mended and repacked. As he approaches the open trunk at the foot of his bed he notices that the pieces of the mirror have been laid on top of one of his sweaters. It appeared the mirror, at least, couldn’t be magically repaired. He takes one of the larger pieces between his fingers and slowly slips it into his pocket knowing that his godfather is dead and will never be there for him again.

 

And for that moment, he completely resents Sirius Black.

 

II

 

Harry is seventeen, sitting in number twelve, Grimmauld Place, in his godfather’s old room. He has read over his mother’s letter to Sirius so much that he knows it by heart. As he places it next to him on the bedspread he looks once again at the photo on the wall. Four smiling faces look at him, not yet knowing that their group would be irrevocably torn apart by Peter Pettigrew’s betrayal of the Potters.

 

Harry tries to prise the photo from the wall again, but despite his best attempts, the picture remains stubbornly in place. So he is left to stare at it until Ron practically drags him from the room, hours after darkness has fallen, insisting that he should eat something. 

 

He follows Ron silently to the kitchen and sits down at the table, ignoring the steaming bowl of stew Kreacher places in front of him.

 

It is not long before Ron and Hermione launch into their plans to invade the Ministry again and Harry thinks, for what must be the thousandth time, that it all leads back to Voldemort. Voldemort was responsible for every horrible thing that had happened to the people he loved. His parents, Sirius, Dumbledore, Moody, Hedwig… All died at his hand and as he broods this thought, he feels now, more than ever, Voldemort has to be defeated, and he, Harry, will be the one to do it.  A renewed surge of courage rushes through him and he feels that he will succeed, will have to succeed, or die trying. Neither can live while the other survives.

 

“Harry? Harry!”

 

It is Hermione’s voice that drags him from his thoughts and he looks around to see that both she and Ron are staring at him with mingled looks of fear and concern on their faces.

 

“Were you seeing into You-Know-Who’s mind again, Harry?” Ron asks anxiously.

 

He shakes his head. Blood pumps in his ears and a feeling of anxious excitement fills his belly. Neither can live while the other survives…

 

“I think we should do it tomorrow,” Harry says resolutely.

 

III

 

Harry Potter is eighteen years old. It’s been two months since he, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny returned to Grimmauld Place together after the Second War. They had managed to remove the protective spells Moody had placed on it and cleaned it up after the Death Eaters had torn the place apart, no doubt searching for traces of Harry. 

 

As he walks toward the staircase, there is no ghostly figure of Albus Dumbledore with sunken eyes and a withered, dead hand that rises up from the floor. It was Harry himself who had finally managed to remove the spell after many failed attempts. Moody’s voice no longer whispered Severus Snape, though Harry feels his tongue roll up in his mouth for a moment as he walks. They weren’t able to fully remove the Tongue-Tying Charm, he remembers.

 

As he walks up the stairs, he notices the tapestry of the Black family tree. He walks slowly into the room and stares at the names in golden thread, shining even more brightly, it seemed, than the last time he saw it. His eyes rove over the holes where Sirius and Tonks’ names should be and he hears Sirius’ voice saying, “You all are too young to understand—there are things worth dying for!”

 

But was it worth it for Sirius to die for Harry’s stupid mistake? And was it worth it for Tonks and Lupin to leave their son to fight the Death Eaters just to protect Harry from Voldemort? Teddy was now nearly one year old, growing up with his grandmother, parentless, like he was.

 

He punches the tapestry with all his might and tries to tear it off the wall. “Diffindo!” he screams angrily, not caring that the tapestry will not detach itself from the wall, or that the power of his spell has cut through the sleeves of his sweater leaving small cuts along his forearms.

 

He relishes the throbbing in his fist and the pain in his arms because he can’t help but feel that, even though everyone would tell him differently, he was responsible for their deaths. He was the one they had all tried so hard to protect. He was the reason Voldemort had risen to power again. And he can’t stand it. He is not sure that the feeling of guilt will ever go away, and he’s not sure he even wants it to because forgetting is almost harder than remembering.

 

IV

 

Harry is twenty-nine and sitting in his study reading over a letter from Neville about Severus Snape’s portrait at Hogwarts, laughing softly, when he notices movement in the portrait on the wall next to him. He looks up from the letter and says smilingly, “Neville tells me you’re driving the Headmaster up the wall.”

 

Snape sidles into the portrait. “Does he?” he asks in a dry voice that tells Harry he could care less about what Neville Longbottom or Headmaster Gibbons think of him. “Then perhaps Longbottom should keep his--”

 

“Have you seen Teddy around?” Harry asks, cutting him off.

 

“Your heathen of a godson? More often than I should like, I must say.” He glowers. “I assume the school has you to thank for teaching that little monster to make fireballs follow people around and singe bits of their hair off?”

 

He raises his eyebrows. “If I knew how to do that, don’t you think I would have used it on you while I was still at school?” Severus is obviously not amused, and Harry, resisting the urge to laugh at him says, “Oh, come off it. I’m sure you suggested a multitude of horribly foul detention ideas to Headmaster Gibbons the minute you knew Teddy was behind it all.”

 

“If you’re suggesting that I have nothing better to do than come up with punishment ideas for any Weasley, Potter, or Lupin that sets foot inside Hogwarts, you are mistaken. In any case, I did not come here to talk about your godson’s bad behaviour.”

 

“Oh?” Harry knows this is not entirely true, as Snape reports to him at least once a week about something Teddy has done. “Why did you come, then?”

 

“To ask you to stop sulking. Or at least to take it to a different room where I don’t have to have the unfortunate pleasure of hearing your incessant sighing and self-pity.”

 

Snape looks at him and it gives Harry the uncomfortably familiar sensation that he is reading his mind. He frowns and looks away from him, remembering what Snape told him about eye contact being key to Legilimency. Though, when he thinks about it, he is quite sure portraits can’t perform Legilimency, and he remembers he had never really mastered Occlumency, anyway.

 

 “Oh.”

 

“And what, might I ask, is making you so…”

 

“Upset?” Harry suggests dully when he can’t seem to find the word.

 

“I was thinking more along the lines of ‘annoyingly morose’, but yes.”

 

Harry sighs and continues to avoid eye contact with his former potions professor. “You—You don’t blame me for your--for you being--?”

 

“Dead?” Snape replies frankly. “Potter, it amazes me that, even now, you continue to play the self-centred hero.” Harry should have seen this coming, but he bites back the retort on his tongue and turns around to face the portrait again. Snape pauses and watches him for a moment before continuing. “I assume you want to know whether I think you deserve forgiveness for what happened to me and so many others that night?”

 

He can’t bring himself to respond and looks at a spot just above Snape’s head. “My answer?” Snape says, “No. You don’t deserve forgiveness of any sort…”

 

His answer startles him into looking back into his heavy gaze. “That’s what you think, is it?” he asks, and he’s not even sure his voice is loud enough to be heard.

 

Snape continues as if there was no interruption. “…because if you thought any of the ones who died that night thought you responsible for what happened to them, you are mistaken. Each of them knew what was at risk.”

 

Harry thinks that he sounds a bit like Sirius, before Remus and Tonks appear in his head. “But--”

 

“They knew,” Severus says, as if reading his mind. “They could have remained safe in their homes but they chose to fight, didn’t they?” He pauses. “Stop pining for forgiveness you don’t need or deserve, Harry.”

 

Harry is surprised at how sincere he sounds and is momentarily speechless. “I—Thanks…” he mutters sheepishly after a long silence, to which Snape bows his head ever so slightly.

 

“Now, where are your other offspring? I’d like to see them before I leave.”

 
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