Author:bonfoi Rating: G Pairing: Severus Snape/Remus Lupin, Harry Potter Summary: Harry’s waited a long time to see Snape in his frame. Challenge:severus_sighs’ Third Anniversary Celebration, including the actual date: 2 October 2011 Word Count: 1,066 Genre: Alternate Universe; Romance Warnings: Canon Deaths A/N: Beta by Sighing Selkie with many thanks for the straightforward advice and the speed of her work. Prompt: Things Harry did not say to Severus' portrait [yet]
Disclaimer: The world of Harry Potter, its characters and settings are the copyrighted works of J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., her publishing companies and affiliates. No profit was made from the writing of this story nor was any malice intended in any way, shape or form to the author or the actors/actresses who so brilliantly have brought them to life.
This author is not responsible for underage readers. Please observe the ratings, warnings, and age of legal consent for your country.
The frame sat empty for a year and a day after Harry had defeated Voldemort. It was the darkest wood Harry had ever seen, inscribed thickly with spells and potions recipes. The canvas had been the color of weak tea until a week before. Now, there were shelves lined with heavy tomes and ancient scrolls along the walls. There was a heavy wooden trestle table with esoteric glassware, a potion bubbling away in a small, dented cauldron, and a rack of potion ingredients seemingly ready for addition to it. In the background there was a blazing fire in the fireplace, the heat almost perceptible. A chair, in well-worn dark velvet, was off to the side, the corner of a matching one barely showing in the frame. A doorway—partially screened by a curtain—was visible if one stared into the right corner.
Harry often looked into that corner, waiting for Snape to appear. He always stopped at Hogwarts on Wednesdays, at the same time Snape had taken tea according to McGonagall. So far, only the accoutrements of the room had appeared, but Harry would have sworn there was a faint flutter of the curtain over the doorway, as if someone had just ducked through it seconds before he stepped into the Headmistress’ office.
Finally, it caught up with him, all the guilt, the anger, the pain of it, and Harry collapsed beneath the frame, his slide down the rough stone wall done in fits and starts. He leaned back, smacking his head into the wall and grimacing.
“What a fucking mess,” he groaned.
“You’re still alive to complain, Potter.”
Harry crawled away from the wall and turned, shock making his jaw drop.
Severus Snape, vibrant, with snapping eyes, stirred the potion bubbling on his bench. He looked much better than the worn, dead man who’d disappeared so mysteriously from the Shrieking Shack. Hell, he looked just as he had when Harry first came to Hogwarts Castle.
“You-you’re…finally!” Harry was incoherent.
“Enough burbling, Potter. I see my portrait resides in the Head’s office. I am…honored,” Snape said. There was no sarcasm, no bite, and Harry’s jaws snapped shut.
“We’ve been waiting…sir.” Harry ducked his head and then looked up sharply at Snape’s full-throated laughter.
“Potter, really, such deference to a dead man.” Snape crossed his arms, the edge of his robes falling back to reveal a pristine left forearm. Snape noted the direction of Harry’s gaze and looked himself. “Ah, I see I saved the world again.”
“Yeah. Yeah, you did,” Harry acknowledged in a hushed voice. “If you and Remus hadn’t been there, feeding me information and encouragement, I don’t think I could have killed the bastard.” He struggled up onto his knees and stared up at Snape’s portrait.
“I’m sorry I was such a right bastard when Remus told me he was in love with you…sir.” Harry bit his lip, his cheeks flushing. “I didn’t understand. I didn’t think you had a heart.”
Snape laughed again, this time with an edge. “Such sweet words, Potter. Too little, too late.”
“Severus,” another voice chided.
Harry’s eyes widened as the curtain over the doorway was pulled aside and Remus Lupin came into the painted room.
“Remus!” Harry reached out, his fingertips ghosting over the hand of the only father figure he’d truly accepted.
“Hello, Harry.” Remus reached out himself, grimacing when he couldn’t feel Harry’s touch. “Looks like peace has been good to you.”
“I could almost say the same for you.” Harry’s gaze flickered between Remus and Snape.
“Severus kindly had me included in his painting when things became…difficult.”
Snape sniffed and looked down his long nose. “I wasn’t going to spend eternity in a painting without some coherent and intelligent conversation.” He looked under his eyelashes as he turned slightly toward Remus. “And my bed would have cold with just me in it.”
Harry shuddered and groaned. “That’s one image I didn’t want in my mind. Never, ever.”
Remus stepped closer to Snape and wove his fingers between potions-stained ones. “You don’t mind now?” Remus asked.
Harry shook his head vehemently. “No. I’ve no right to judge. I was wrong to hate Professor Snape, wrong to think he’d just turn his back on everything after all the things he’d done.” Harry frowned. “I was too young, you know. I didn’t know who to trust, but I should have always trusted you, sir.” Harry’s green eyes bore into Severus’. “I’m sorry I didn’t remember how you’d been saving my life for years.”
Snape shuffled closer to the frame’s edge and leaned forward, the magic of the portrait holding him in, just barely. “If you care to visit us again, Potter, I would not be averse to speaking at length with you.” He nodded, an unfathomable look in his eyes, and then turned away in a flurry of swirling robes.
Remus grinned and leaned back against the trestle table. “He’s forgiven you for being James’ son, you know.”
Harry grinned at that. “I’m glad. I forgave him for a lot more. I…I will come back and talk, you know. Tell him that. I think I’m ready to learn what he tried to teach me all those years.”
Snape’s voice came out from behind the curtain. “I heard. Now go and have some tea, Potter. I look forward to your next visit.” Remus chuckled and Harry grinned.
“Yeah, I guess it’s time for food.” Harry scrambled to his feet. He raised his voice so it would carry. “Thank you, Professor Snape! I wouldn’t be here without you.”
“As I always averred.” Remus and Harry shared a smile before Remus winked and turned toward the curtained doorway.
Harry stood watching as the painted candles dimmed and the fire magically banked itself. The potion froze in mid-bubble. Only a faint line of light came from the hidden doorway and then it disappeared.
“He’s been watching for you, young Potter.”
Harry looked up at Phineas Nigellus Black’s portrait.
“I’m glad to see you honoring your mentor, Potter.” The old headmaster nodded sagely and then settled back into his chair with a sigh. “Now, off with you, young man. We portraits need our rest.”
Harry grinned to himself and left the Head’s office with a lighter step. Who would ever have thought Severus Snape would welcome a conversation with Harry Potter? “Will wonders never cease,” Harry murmured under his breath as the door closed softly behind him.