Title: One Day in a Man's Life
Beta-read: lovetoseverus (thank you so much!!!)
Word Count: 7x100
Challenge: Written for snarry100 prompt 381: Birthday Celebrations.
Disclamer: Don't own the characters. No profit is being made from this story.
A/N: This story was inspired by Emynn's "In an Hour of Shadows," which I translated into Czech (but haven't published yet). I love it!
Summary: Harry reflects on how the 31st July has changed over the years.
"Happy birthday, Harry," a nine-year-old boy sitting in the cupboard under the stairs in number four, Privet Drive whispered into the darkness, into nowhere, only for himself, secretly. It was his birthday, but he wasn't happy. Not at all. He was alone, without friends, without family. His parents were dead, his only relatives treating him like a lowly servant. He had to do everything – tidying up, gardening, cooking… but they were never content with him.
Still, he was strong. One year he'd leave…
He might not be happy today, but he knew that one day... one day he will be.
"Happy birthday, Harry!" some gigantic man shouted genially. He was nearly as big as the house on the rock. Harry had never seen somebody so tall and wide before. But he wasn't scared, rather interested, curious about what the bloke was like and how he could have known Harry's name. It was strange and confusing because he was Harry, just Harry, the small boy from Surrey, do you know? No one has ever cared for him…
And then the man gave him his first birthday present in his life and said, "You're a wizard, Harry." And Harry's world completely changed.
"Happy birthday, Harry!" Ron exclaimed enthusiastically when they returned from Little Whinging by Mr. Weasley's flying Muggle car. Harry was smiling; everything in their peculiar house was so amazing. A clock with names of all the family members showed where they could be found, dishes were doing the washing up by themselves, and Ron's mother hugged him like she wanted to eat him alive.
He liked it, everything, and he was happy. Yes, it was a happy day, and on top of everything, it was his birthday. Everything might not be perfect in his life, but now he felt pure joy.
"Happy birthday, Harry," Sirius said to him one summer at number twelve, Grimmauld Place. They were sitting in the kitchen, eating delicious birthday cake, unwrapping birthday presents and laughing. Laughing as he'd never done before in his life because that day Harry had his family together. Sirius, his godfather who loved him; his friends - Hermione, the smartest witch in England; Ron, his best friend; Molly, who was something like his step-mother. Tonks was there, too, and Remus, and even Dumbledore stopped in for a while.
Harry knew that Voldemort was out there somewhere, but on that day, Voldemort was displaced from his mind, forgotten.
"Happy birthday, Harry," Ginny told him sadly, sorrowfully. She had to suspect something, she had to. Harry knew. But he couldn't say anything. She was like his younger sister and he loved her so much. He couldn't doom her life to failure. Like his, like Hermione's, like Ron's. Not her. He simply couldn't…
He had a job, a job that Dumbledore trusted him to do, and he would succeed. And then they all might be free and happy and everything that people wanted to be. He hoped he would be one of them.
So he let her go. "Thanks, Ginny," he said with a smile.
"Happy birthday, Harry," someone whispered into the darkness that surrounded him. Harry thought he was dreaming. That couldn't be… Snape, could it? He was dead, Harry saw him dying, for Merlin's sake!
"I wish you a happy birthday. You deserve it," Snape repeated softly, like a broken man.
Harry tried to open his eyes and it worked. No matter that he couldn't do anything else, like moving his limbs, because his body was covered by bandages. But he could see now, and he liked the view in front of him.
He smiled at the man and Snape gave him a slight smile back. Did this mean Harry had a future now, too?
"Happy birthday, Harry," Severus said to him in a deep voice.
They lived in Hogsmeade, in a small house only for the two of them, with a library as big as Hogwart's, with a laboratory full of the most diverse ingredients, with a small cupboard for magical brooms, with a simple bedroom and a large, comfortable bed, with… oh, you know, everything that an ordinary magic couple would need.
"Thank you, Severus," Harry answered and embraced him. Yes, now he might finally be happy. Except…
"Oh, a puppy? You're giving me a puppy?" he asked with shocked eyes.
"There are never enough troublemakers, right?"