Coming back home by CleganeSnape
Summary: After the Battle, the only thing that Harry wants to do is rest, but he notices that there is something that he needs to do first: bring Snape's body back to Hogwarts. Ron and Hermione will be there to help him, while they deal with the effects of the war and learn to find hope where there seemed to be none. Once they find out that certain Potions Master is not as dead as they thought he was, things will start to change. (Snape!Lives)
Categories: Teacher Snape > Trusted Mentor Snape, Misc > Strictly Canon Universe, Parental Snape > Guardian Snape Main Characters: .Snape and Harry (required), Ginny, Hagrid, Hermione, McGonagall, Pomfrey, Ron
Snape Flavour: Canon Snape, Comforting Snape, Depressed Snape, Kind Snape, Mean Snape
Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst, Canon, Drama, Family, General, Hurt/Comfort, Tragedy
Tags: Depression Recovery, Injured!Snape
Takes Place: 7th summer, 7th Year, 8 - Post Hogwarts (young adult Harry), 8 - Pre Epilogue (adult Harry)
Warnings: Panic attack
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 7 Completed: No Word count: 31974 Read: 3661 Published: 13 Oct 2021 Updated: 01 Jan 2022
Getting closer by CleganeSnape
Author's Notes:
Hi! I've changed the format of the writing, from - to "". I hope it's easier to read now and more enjoyable too.
Anyway, have a good day and good reading!
“Potter, where the hell have you been?”

Snape was looking up from his gurney, a frown on his face and a hint of worry in his dark eyes.

“Sir?” Asked Harry, hurrying to close the door behind him.

“You can't just disappear like that, Potter." the Professor reprimanded him. “If we're having a conversation, a normal person would give an explanation before leaving.”

“I'm sorry, I hadn't thought of that.”

“That's obvious.” Snape muttered.

Harry watched him for a few moments, not quite sure what to say. Finally, he decided to change the subject to avoid an argument.

“I've... I've been to Dumbledore's office, sir. Professor McGonagall's, rather. To get this.”

Snape's eyes focused on the object in Harry's hands.

“The Pensive?”

“That's right." Harry nodded, setting it down carefully on a chair. “And also, this.” He pulled the small pot containing Snape's memories from his pocket and approached the gurney, suddenly feeling a little shy. “I... I wanted to thank you again." He said, holding the vial between them. “And I also wanted to assure you that no one but me has seen these memories. Which makes me feel truly privileged.”

Snape stared at him for a moment. Then, he raised his right hand and picked up the flask carefully. For a few seconds he stood like that, not moving and with the vial in front of his nose, watching as the memories swirled against the glass walls.

“Is that why you brought the Pensieve?” He said, his voice cold as ice. “So I could show you more memories?”

“What?” Harry couldn't believe what he'd just heard. “Of course not! I would never ask you to do that. Unless... Unless you wanted to. But that's not the reason I brought it here."

“What for, then?”

Snape was still looking at him with suspicion in his eyes.

“Because I wanted to show you my memories!” Said Harry, offended. “I wanted to settle this debt I owe you!”

Despite those words, Snape continued to stare at him silently, his eyes narrowed.

“By Merlin... What image do you have of me?” Harry said in disbelief, trying to find an answer in the man's features, but they remained unchanged. “You know what? You're right, you don't know me at all. Did you really think that I believe myself with the right to demand more memories from you? After all you've done for me?” He shook his head, frustrated and saddened. “What I meant to say was that I was honored to have seen them. That was all.”

Snape continued to stare at him for a few more seconds, as Harry made an effort to control his emotions and not storm out of the room. He continued to stand there, trying to take deep breaths while holding Snape's gaze, until the professor raised the hand that wasn't holding the vial.

“Alight, Potter. I believe you. My reaction was... uncalled for, perhaps. I...” he took a deep breath, "I'd like to... apologize. I shouldn't have made that assumption. Okay?”

Harry almost opened his mouth like an idiot in shock. Did Snape just admit that he'd made a mistake? And he had apologized? That must have been a first.

The professor was waiting for an answer, though, so he hurried up to reply.

“Okay.” He said, feeling more surprised than angry.

“Good” Snape nodded. “Now give me a few seconds.”

He leaned over to the bedside table to pick up his wand, while Harry watched him, calmer than before. After leaning back against the pillow, the Potions Master sighed and muttered a few words. Instantly, the memories began to rise from the vial until they formed a silver thread that wrapped around the wand. For a few moments, Snape held them there, staring at them and not moving a muscle. Then he raised them to his temples, letting the memories flow back into his mind while he closed his eyes. It still took him a little longer to open them again, but when he did, it seemed to Harry that there was a gleam of pent-up emotion in them.

“Alright. One less thing." Said Snape finally, setting the wand and the vial down on the table. “Now, would you mind explaining this crazy idea you've had, Potter? Did you say something about showing me your memories?”

At that question, Harry's nervousness returned. Suddenly, he was transported back several years, and he felt again that insecurity that came over him every time Snape asked a question during Potions class.

“I... Erm...”

“Potter?”

Harry took a deep breath, reminding himself that he was a grown man, that he had defeated the deadliest wizard in recent history, and that his old Potions teacher no longer had any power over him. There was no reason to be intimidated. But then again, that wasn't so easy when Snape was staring at him with those piercing eyes. ‘Bloody dungeon bat,’ thought Harry, not without some affection.

“Yes." He said, despite everything. “That was the idea. It's thanks to your memories that I understand you better and... Well, considering that you said earlier that you don't really know who I am... I thought that, besides being fair, it might help if I showed you my memories. If... if you want to, sir, of course."

He looked up at Snape, worrying that he was going to laugh at him or throw him out of the room, but the teacher was just staring at him in silence, just like he did before. The difference was that the coldness in his eyes was gone, replaced by a curiosity that Harry knew too well. He was used to it because it had been there, in Snape’s eyes, since the moment he had woken up. He noticed that it showed up every time he did something that Snape didn’t expect him to do.

“If you'd offered me something like that a year ago, Potter, I'd have thought it was a joke.”

“Yes, me too.”

Snape sighed.

“But clearly, things have changed... And, I must admit, I'm a little curious.”

Harry's eyebrows rose in surprise, he couldn't believe that Snape was agreeing to his proposal.

“So, yes, Potter. I think it would be a good idea. But," he added, seeing the smile that had spread across the boy's face, "not today.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, not today. I'm tired, and trips to the Pensieve are always tiring. Besides, right now there is another matter that seems more urgent to me.”

“Sir?”

“What happened at Hagrid's hut, Potter. I think we should talk about it.”

The joy Harry had felt at Snape's agreement with his idea diminished considerably when he heard those words.

“I don't want to talk about it.”

“I know, Potter. Neither do I.”

“Then why...?”

“Because we have to." Snape cut him off. “Sit down, Potter.”

Harry looked at him with some apprehension but did as he was told.

“There's nothing to talk about.” He said, swallowing with nervousness.

“If there wasn’t, you wouldn't have gotten so defensive.”

“I'm not defensive." Harry replied. “Besides, why do you care? It's not your job to worry about me anymore.”

Snape glared at him, and Harry had to avert his gaze.

“Make no mistake, Potter. I may no longer be your teacher, and we may have reached a certain cordiality. But I won't tolerate any disrespect from you. Understood?”

Harry pressed his teeth together, trying to remind himself that he had wanted just that, to spend time with Snape and to be able to talk to him about important things. He kept telling those words to himself until, slowly, he managed to regain his composure and nod.

“I understand, sir.”

“Good. Because, as I said, we need to talk about what happened this morning. Before, however, I want to make a couple of things clear. First, you're right, I know that it's no longer my job to worry about your safety, but somehow, I still do. I guess it's a hard habit to break after all these years" He said with a sarcastic smile.

“I suppose it is...”

“But it's not just that, Potter. You've seen my memories, so you know I didn't just want to keep you alive so you could defeat the Dark Lord.”

“No. No, it was for my mother, wasn't it?” Said Harry, remembering. “Mostly for her. The fact that I had to take down Voldemort only made things more complicated.”

“Exactly." Snape nodded; a bit uncomfortable with discussing the topic but knowing that it was important that he made himself clear. "For her sake, I have to make sure you're safe. Even now, after the Dark Lord is not a threat anymore. I can't simply ignore your existence. I hope you can understand that.”

“I do. And I'm glad you aren’t, sir…”

Snape looked at him with surprise and also a hint of discomfort. He wasn't used to anyone caring about his attention.

“Well," he cleared his throat, trying to regain control of the conversation, “as I was saying, I can't just ignore you. As much as that displeases me… So, my only alternative is to make sure you stay out of danger. And that means physical threats but also mental ones.”

Despite the taunt, Harry could sense that Snape felt real concern for him. He might conceal it beneath a surface of sarcasm, but the Professor cared about what happened to him. That comforted Harry: perhaps his relationship with Snape was not as one-sided as it seemed.

“I understand." He said, with a small smile.

“I hope so." Snape nodded, seemingly satisfied. “And now, back to what happened in Hagrid's hut…”

Harry wanted to groan but contained himself.

“You said that you 'thought about things you didn't want to think about',” continued Snape, “and that's why you came running here. Because here you feel, eh... safe.”

Harry blushed at those words but nodded with determination. That was the truth, he couldn't deny it. Besides, if Snape had devoted his whole life to keeping him alive, it was only natural that he should feel safe with him.

“Well," Snape continued. “I want to know what those 'things you didn't want to think about' were.”

Harry swallowed and gripped the armrest of the chair, trying to calm himself.

“I don't want to talk about it.”

“Obviously, Potter. If you don't want to think about it, you don't want to talk about it either. But it's important that you do.

“Why?”

“You know why." said Snape irritably. “So that you don't run away every time someone mentions something you don't want to hear. This is exactly like Occlumency. You need to learn to control your emotions, Potter.”

Harry frowned, suddenly remembering who was in front of him. This was Snape, his most hated teacher, and the least patient person in the Universe. What on earth was he doing, talking to him about feelings and the traumas the war had left him with?

“I don't want to control my emotions, okay? They're part of me. If I didn't have them, I'd be exactly like Voldemort. A being without love or any kind of remorse. Besides,” he said, raising his voice without realizing it, “I don't have to control them! It's perfectly normal to be devastated when you lose people you care about! It's normal to be traumatized when you or your friends are tortured! Or when you live in fear for months, looking behind you all the time because you have a psychopath after you who wants to kill you! Or when you...!

“Potter.”

Harry realized he had been shouting and snapped his mouth shut. He looked at Snape, fearing he had angered the professor, but saw only concern in his gaze.

“Potter. I don't think you understood me. Or maybe... Maybe I didn't make myself clear.” It was obvious how difficult it was for Snape to admit that. “You see, I... I'm not saying that you must give up your feelings. But it is important that you keep them under control, so that they don't control you instead.”

Harry looked at him, still unconvinced, but appreciating the effort Snape was making in trying to explain himself. That had never happened during the failed Occlumency lessons.

“I think I see the problem now," Snape continued, "why you were never able to learn to close your mind to the Dark Lord. You are like an open book: you show every emotion and thought on your face. You show them in your actions and in your words.”

Coming from Snape, that should have been a criticism, but he had said it with such a tone of amazement that Harry wasn't sure if it was a reproach or a compliment.

“If a master Occlumens seeks to hide every feeling; you do just the opposite. And that's how you managed to defeat the Dark Lord at the Ministry. Yes, Dumbledore explained it to me.” He added after seeing the questioning gaze that Harry had sent his way. “You threw all your emotions at him, everything you were feeling at the time. With an intensity he could never have imagined. That must have hurt, no doubt. And that's why he never entered your mind again.”

Harry nodded; he knew all of that. Dumbledore had also told him after Sirius's death.

“It wasn't the traditional method, but it was certainly effective.” Snape continued, his lips curving into something resembling a smile. “But if it had been anyone else and not him, those feelings wouldn't have affected him at all. Or at least they wouldn't have stopped him from digging into your mind.”

“Where are you going with all this, sir?”

Harry had found out that Snape's thoughts were complex and that to follow them he had to pay attention to his lengthy explanations. It was relaxing in a way, and he enjoyed trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together with each new idea the professor added. Still, sometimes he got frustrated at having to wait so long to reach the final conclusion.

“Where am I going with this?” Snape repeated. “I’m trying to make you understand that, although you managed to prevent the Dark Lord from entering your mind, you never actually learned to control yourself. Your emotions were beneficial against him, but now you face an even more dangerous enemy. Those feelings that were once so useful could now drive you mad.”

Harry swallowed hard. He didn't like being told what to do, but Snape seemed to be speaking from experience.

“I... Maybe... Maybe you’ve got a point.” He said after thinking about it for a few seconds. “I don't want to give up my feelings, but it is true that it's not nice when they control me like this.”

“I'm glad you understand and agree with me, Potter. It's the first step. And now..." he said with a gentleness that Harry had never heard from him before, "… could you tell me what happened in Hagrid's hut?”

Harry fiddled with his fingers for a few moments. He wanted to open up to Snape, but at the same time the idea frightened him: talking about certain things could be very painful. Although, he reminded himself, if anyone could understand what he was going through, it was Snape. So could his friends, obviously, but Harry didn't want to worry them or make them suffer by forcing them to remember. No, if he was going to talk to anyone, it had to be the Potions Master.

He took a deep breath and looked up to meet the man's gaze. There had been a time when those black eyes had seemed cold and reminiscent of dark tunnels, but now Harry could see something else in them. Something that comforted him and made him feel safe. Like a Patronus. Like Snape's doe was in the room, calming him with its presence. He focused on those feelings and continued to breathe slowly, holding Snape's gaze. Finally, summoning up all his courage, he nodded:

“Alright, I will tell you.”
To be continued...


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