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It was five days till the end of term and normally the students would be happily engaged doing nothing more strenuous than packing for the summer or making tentative schedules for next year (if they were obsessed with school, like Hermione), or hanging out with their friends or sleeping. Unless they happened to be Harry Potter. Harry got to spend most of his days down in Snape's dungeon, scrubbing it with a toothbrush, or making Hogwarts' premiere fine squid ink and antibacterial soap, which cleansed skin and cuts without stinging.

Ron, Hermione, and most of the other members of Gryffindor House pitied the young wizard, stuck with Snape for practically the rest of the term, serving detention. Percy was one of the few who did not feel sorry for Harry at all, and said so. "It's no more than you deserve, for running about and nearly getting yourself killed, you know. You must have broken at least a dozen major school rules, even though you saved the Stone."

"Okay, you've made your point, Percy, now can you just let it go?" Ron had remarked crossly. "Harry doesn't need a bloody lecture, he gets enough of them from Snape, I'm sure." Ron and Hermione had sworn Wizard Oath never to reveal Harry's secret adoption by Snape, but both of them seemed happy for him.

"Mind your tone, little brother," Percy warned. "I'm his prefect, I can lecture him if I want to."

"Percy, you're such a bossy perfectionist pain-in-the-arse!" Ron snapped.

The elder Weasley glared at him. "I mean it, Ron. One more comment like that out of your mouth, kid, and I'll go down and ask Snape if I can borrow his ruler again, got me?"

Ron gulped and did not say anything else. His bum had been sore for nearly a day after Percy had spanked him for his part in regaining the Sorcerer's Stone. He certainly did not want another one so soon after the first one.

Harry did not say much either, for he knew that Percy was right to scold him. He had been brave and daring but also reckless and that was why he was paying for it now with all of those punishment chores.

The first task he had been given had been to extract the ink from fifty sacs of small freshwater squid, the offspring of the giant squid that lived in the Black Lake. Snape had caught the squid for him and left them inside of a barrel of water, still alive. Harry had to kill them, cut open the squid's body and remove the ink sac, located near the anus, and then squeeze the ink from it into a large cauldron. The squid had to be alive since the best ink was made from "fresh" squids, not from ones that had been dead and sitting in a pail of water.

At first Harry had balked at killing the squid, for he had never voluntarily killed anything before. Severus had given him a small metal mallet to do the job and he had looked at it and at the squid swimming in the barrel and cried, "Dad, I can't do this. You just want me to . . .bash them on the head?"

"Harry, it's no different than if you went fishing and killed a fish that way."

"I've never been fishing."

"Nevertheless, you could always put the squid on the table and watch it suffocate if you're too squeamish to give it a merciful death with the mallet. Personally, I prefer the mallet, it's much quicker and the squid feels hardly any pain." Severus pointed out.

Harry gritted his teeth and decided to use the mallet. He didn't want to make anything suffer needlessly, even a squid.

Extracting the ink from the squid was a nasty, smelly, and tedious process, requiring him to cut the squid up and use a small silicon strainer to strain the ink into the porcelain cauldron Snape had given him. The ink was then mixed with linseed oil and a small amount of water. By the time he was done with ten squid, he was spattered with ink from head to foot, he smelled like raw fish and his back and hands ached from wielding the mallet and squeezing the ink sacs dry.

Severus dismissed him after he had done twenty-five that night, since he was still recovering from his ordeal down in the chamber. The ink also needed time to settle before it could be decanted into the jars Severus had provided. "Be back here at eight-thirty tomorrow morning. Now go and take a shower and use this ink remover on yourself before you do," he handed Harry a jar of some yellowish liquid that smelled strongly similar to turpentine.

"Yes, sir. Goodnight, sir," he made as if to hug his father, but Snape stepped backwards quickly.

"Don't even think about it, brat."

Harry smirked. "Aww, come on, Dad. Don't you want a hug from your only son?"

"Not when you smell like dead squid, you sly scamp. Eau de cephalopod is not a fragrance I wish to advertise. Now get, you smell like the reject from a cat's last meal." he waved Harry out of the lab, his nose wrinkling.

Harry went, snickering. I'll get him back tomorrow morning. It's his fault I smell so awful, after all.

He arrived at the lab promptly the next morning, and found the same apparatus and the rest of the barrel of squid waiting for him.

Severus was sitting at his desk, a mug of strong coffee at his elbow, marking final exams. "Begin, Mr. Snape," he ordered without looking up from his papers.

"Yes, sir," Harry removed his robe and rolled up his sleeves. Then he thought of something. "Uh, sir? Do you have an apron I could use?"

"Bottom drawer of the lefthand cabinet at the back of the lab," the Potions Master answered. "Glad to see you're thinking straight today."

Harry smiled slightly and went to get a black apron from the cabinet.

This time, he was quicker in performing the disgusting task than yesterday, though he still managed to get splattered liberally with some ink and squid juice. But he finished the task with some twenty minutes to spare and decided to have some fun with his new father. He waited until Severus had set aside the stack of papers he'd been grading before moving silently up beside him and throwing his arms about the tall man.

"Hey, Dad. I'm finished!"

Severus gasped and spluttered, for Harry was very aromatic and he made certain to rub against the older wizard's robes so the smell would be transferred to the other's clothing. "Harry! Get off of me, right now, young man." Severus ordered, too late, of course.

Harry released him, grinning like a Cheshire cat. "Oops. Forgot I still had my apron on."

"You incorrigible brat!" growled his father, pretending to be furious. "Think that's funny, do you?"

"Uh . . .yeah," Harry admitted, before he exploded into laughter.

Severus gave him a pretend Snape glare and scooped up his too-clever son, tossing the giggling boy over his shoulder.

"Hey! What are you doing?"

Severus walked over to a huge cauldron, nearly the height of a man, which he had recently filled with warmed water, in preparation for Harry's second task, and plunked his smug son right into it and said, "Scourgify!"

The cauldron filled with soapy bubbles and Harry was buried almost to his neck in sudsy water. He sputtered and splashed, caught totally off guard by Severus's prank. "Dad! No fair!"

"Very fair. You need a bath, brat, and since you keep forgetting to take one, I'm giving you one myself," Severus said, smirking evilly. Then he chuckled, for Harry looked like a rather grumpy cat, stuck up to his ears in frothy bubbles, glaring indignantly at him. "At least you won't smell like squid now."

Harry stuck his tongue out. "Very funny, Dad."

"Hilarious," Snape agreed, and laughed even harder. "Next time don't try and play pranks on your father. After eleven years of teaching I know them all and then some, thanks to James and his friends, who used to take great enjoyment in teasing me."

Harry coughed, then started to laugh too, for he had never thought the stern professor had a sense of humor. It seemed he was mistaken. After a moment, he began to feel slightly cold and uncomfortable, so he asked, "When are you going to let me out of here?"

"When you behave," Severus answered.

"Okay. Okay. I'll be good."

"I'll think about it," Severus declared wickedly.

"Huh? No fair! Dad, please!"

"But son, you imitate a dolphin so well."

"Dad!"Harry protested.

Severus chuckled, then banished the water and dried Harry off with a brand-new towel. "Don't be such a smartass next time," he lectured, cuffing the boy gently across the back of the head.

"Yes sir, Poseidon," Harry said, then ducked the towel end Snape flicked at his bum.

* * * * * *

But after he had finished bottling the ink and cleaning up the squid remains, it was time for the next punishment chore, making the antibacterial soap.

If Harry had thought extracting the squid ink was hard, the soap-making was ten times harder. Snape gave him a large pile of ashes collected from the fireplaces all over Hogwarts and told Harry to boil them in a large cauldron with a small sluice in the bottom of it, which hung over a chute that connected to another cauldron. "Watch the wood ash carefully and stir it until you see it start to become a brownish liquid. That's called lye and it's one of the prime ingredients in soap. It will start to flow out of the bottom of the cauldron and collect in the other one."

Harry's arms soon grew very tired stirring the wood ash and the fumes from the boiling process made him cough. And that was only the beginning.

Once the lye had been collected, it then had to be mixed with water and another large cauldron full of rendered lard and stirred and stirred endlessly over a simmering fire. The lard mixture could not be too hot and had to be stirred a great deal to prevent it from scorching. The lye smoke stung and burned his nose and throat, and he coughed incessantly until Severus summoned a gentle breeze to draw away some of the acidic stench.

"Harry, where are your goggles?" asked the exasperated Potions Master, handing his son a towel to wipe his streaming eyes.

"Oh. Over there," Harry indicated the pair of goggles upon his work station. "I forgot to put them on."

He summoned them with a wave of his wand and put them on.

Once the soap mixture had sat for at least two days, Severus gave him special lichen to add to it, plus some fruit extract oils, like lemon and orange and strawberry, to scent it and give it antibacterial properties. He also cast a spell over it to make the soap very soothing and non-stinging when used upon open wounds and burned or abraded skin. Pomfrey used the soap exclusively in the Hospital Wing and it was also put in all the dispensers in the bathrooms of the school.

Harry sniffed the soap as it was hardening and the pleasant citrus tang reminded him of several times during his childhood when he had been summoned to Snape's lab so the dark angel could fix various cuts and scrapes gleaned from Dudley and his gang of bullies. "You used this on me when I was little."

"Yes, it is very versatile, and ideal for cleaning out cuts without causing more pain to an injured child."

Harry straightened up with a groan, for he was quite stiff and sore from bending over a cauldron stirring for so many hours, since Severus had him making several batches of soap. "Yeah, but it's a bitch and a half to make," he complained.

"Language, young man. Otherwise you'll be eating some of it," reproved his father.

"Sorry. But it's true." Harry rubbed the small of his back.

"Just remember, you would not be making it at all if you hadn't gone adventuring, foolish child. Now quit whining and go tend cauldron number four."

Harry muttered, "Wicked damn vampire bat," under his breath and started over to stir the fourth cauldron.

"What was that?"

Harry paled. "Nothing, sir."

"That's what I thought," Severus snorted.

When he returned to Gryffindor Tower that evening he was quite sore and felt like he was about the Headmaster's age.

"Rough detention, Harry?" asked Ron as Harry downed a Muscle Relieving Potion and then drank a cup of mint tea.

"The worst. Never get Snape mad at you, Ron." Harry said feelingly, since there were still people about in the common room. Then he leaned over and whispered in his friend's ear, "I'd have taken Percy's punishment over my dad's, believe me. I feel like a hundred unicorns and centaurs have stomped me. And it's still not done yet. I still have two more days to serve before the end of term feast."

Ron shook his head. "You still glad he's your dad now, Harry?"

Harry nodded. "‘Course I am. He's strict as hell, but well, I did deserve it. He really cares for me, Ron, more than anything. That's why he punishes me like this, so I'll quit being so impulsive and getting myself into scrapes that might kill me."

"Is it working?"

"Hell, yeah. Next time I discover a dark wizard's infiltrated the school, I'll tell him first, so he can kick the git's arse." He rubbed his neck gingerly. One thing he knew for certain, he would think long and hard about terrifying Severus out of his wits by leaping into danger, if this was what came of it.

But at last all of his punishment chores were served, and the last evening at Hogwarts had arrived. All of the students and staff were gathered in the Great Hall for the final farewell feast, and the final points were tallied up in the House hourglasses and assigned. Harry was a bit late for the feast, he'd just finished putting away the last mop in the supply closet he'd used, and he arrived to find the Hall decked out in silver and green banners and streamers-the colors of Slytherin House.

He slid into his place between Ron and Percy, with Hermione across from him. The tables were piled high with delicious food, turkey, baked tarragon chicken, honey-glazed ham, mounds of crunchy potatoes, buttered beans, rolls, gravy, vegetables, a feast fit for kings. Harry was starving, he'd last eaten at midday, when Severus had fed him a tuna sandwich and a glass of chocolate milk.

"Glad you could make it, Harry," joked Fred. "Thought for a minute old Snape was going to keep you chained to the wall of his dungeon."

"No, even he's not that cruel," Harry said, smiling a little.

"Hush. Dumbledore's going to give the end of the year address," Hermione scolded, seeing the old wizard step up to the podium.

"Oh joy," Percy muttered, rolling his eyes.

"Another year has gone by! Great Merlin, but time does fly." There were good-natured groans at that unintentional rhyme. Dumbledore cleared his throat, then continued. "Forgive the ramblings of an old man, I know you're all waiting to sink your teeth into this fabulous feast. What a year it has been! I hope your brains are a little fuller with knowledge . . .though you have all summer to forget and start the new year as empty as you were the previous year. . ."

More snickers followed this statement.

"However, there is the House cup to be awarded. The points stand thus. In fourth place, Gryffindor, with three hundred and twelve points, in third place, Hufflepuff, with three-hundred and fifty-two, Ravenclaw is second with four hundred and twenty-six points, and Slytherin is first with four hundred and seventy-two."

A storm of cheering and screaming broke out from the Slytherin table, and Draco smirked nastily at Harry from across the room.

"Yes, well done, Slytherin," Dumbledore said, sounding rather bored. Then his tone changed to one of eagerness. "However, recent events must be taken into consideration."

The room went still. The Slytherins quit smiling and looked very confused.

Up at the staff table, Severus leaned over and hissed to Minerva, "What is that devious old fox up to now, Minerva?"

Minerva gave a slight shake of her head. "I have no idea, Sev," she whispered out of the corner of her mouth. "But he's got that look in his eye, the one that means he's plotting something."

"Christ have mercy," Severus muttered. "He had better not do what I think he's going to, the damn meddling old man."

Albus cleared his throat, and his blue eyes were twinkling madly. "I have a few last-minute points to dish out. Let's see now . . ."

"First, to Mr. Ronald Weasley . . .for the best game of chess Hogwarts has seen in many years, I award Gryffindor fifty points."

Ron went beet red and the rest of his House cheered so loudly the stars upon the ceiling quivered. Percy was saying proudly, "That's my little brother . . .a chess master, he beat McGonagall's giant chess set, the heroic little imbecile . . .!" Then he reached over and thumped Ron on the back. "You did good, Ronnie, but if you ever scare me that way again, I'll make sure you won't sit for a month," he said softly, so that only his brother, Harry, and Hermione could hear.

"Whatever, Perce," Ron shrugged, grinning in embarrassment.

Dumbledore lifted his hands and there was silence.

"Second, to Miss Hermione Granger, for cool logic and critical thinking in a crisis, I award fifty points."

Hermione covered her face with her hands, Harry figured she was crying, overwhelmed by it all. The Gryffindors were stamping and screeching, they were now a hundred points up, challenging Ravenclaw for second place.

Harry darted a look up at the staff table.

The teachers looked shell-shocked, all except McGonagall and Snape.

Minerva was frowning and Severus looked like he wanted to spit fire.

Then Dumbledore called his name. "Third to Mr. Harry Potter, for sheer nerve and outstanding courage in the face of extreme danger, I award sixty points."

The room went insane. Harry wanted nothing more than to hide under the table. The noise grated on his sensitive eardrums and he couldn't help feeling that there was something wrong with this last minute gifting of points. True, they had done what Dumbledore had said, but they had also been very disobedient and broken every rule ever set for students and almost died. He had plenty of time to think while serving his punishment with Severus, and he had come to the realization that his adventure that night had been foolhardy and could have easily ended in tragedy as well as triumph.

And yet here was Dumbledore, rewarding him for it.

Harry shook his head. It wasn't right. Gryffindor was now tied with Slytherin.

He snuck another look at the staff table.

Snape looked thunderous and Minerva did not look happy either, oddly enough.

But the Headmaster continued, oblivious. "There are all kinds of courage, however. It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to an enemy, but an even greater one to stand up to your friends. To Neville Longbottom, I award ten points."

Neville was nearly smothered by his well-meaning Housemates.

The Slytherins were looking as if someone had come and drenched them with a lakeful of freezing cold water.

Harry was silent, alone out of Gryffindor he was not clapping and cheering. That's wrong. Neville only stood up to us because he was under a compulsion spell from Voldemort, he was forced. And we might have saved the Stone and I might have defeated Quirrell and Voldemort, but we could have also been killed and endangered the whole school. We shouldn't be rewarded for that. Slytherin worked hard all year to earn those points, it isn't fair to steal their victory.

He rose to his feet and made his way up the hall, ignoring the cheers and catcalls, and tugged on Dumbledore's sleeve.

"Yes, my boy?" Dumbledore was beaming like a kid at Christmas. "I think a change of decoration is in order." He made as if to clap his hands.

"Wait, sir!" Harry cried. "I don't deserve those points."

"Whyever not, my boy?"

"Because I broke school rules to earn them. It's not right, sir."

Dumbledore looked startled. "But you also saved us from a great danger, Harry."

"I know, sir. But Professor Snape did too, he would have defeated Quirrell if I hadn't distracted him. Why don't you reward him as well as me, he's more deserving of it than I am." Harry pressed.

"Harry, professors don't get points for doing their duty."

"Maybe they should." Harry said stubbornly. "The point is, sir, I don't want to be rewarded for this. I didn't do it for that, I did it because I felt I had to and if you reward me for it-for breaking rules-kids will think it's okay to do the same thing. And it's not. They could die doing what I did, sir."

Dumbledore looked astonished. "I see Severus has already begun to rub off on you, Harry. What do you suggest I do?"

"Take my sixty points away and let Slytherin win the cup," Harry said calmly. "They earned it . . .the right way. They deserve it."

"Alas, I cannot do that, Harry. The points are already tallied."

Harry scowled. "Then award more points to Slytherin, sir. So that we're tied and we both win the cup. That's fair, sort of."

The Headmaster considered. "That has never happened before, Harry."

"So? There's a first time for everything."

The hubbub had finally subsided. Dumbledore raised his arms for silence. "It has been brought to my attention that Slytherin also deserves some points, for playing an amazing game of Quidditch , I award ten House points to Seeker Gavin Thorne."

There was a roar at the Slytherin table.

Everyone else just looked utterly confused. What the hell was going on?

"The score stands tied between Gryffindor and Slytherin," Dumbledore went on. "This has never happened before, however there is a first time for all things. It is my decision that the House cup be awarded to both Slytherin and Gryffindor, for both are equally deserving of it."

Then he clapped his hands and half the room was decorated in the crimson and gold and lions of Gryffindor House.

"I don't understand." Minerva was muttering. "What kind of game is Albus playing now, Severus?"

"One not of his choosing," Severus answered proudly. "Harry was speaking to him a moment ago, and whatever he said made Albus reward Slytherin as well as Gryffindor. A good thing, for my snakes have worked hard all year to earn those points."

"Your son is a good boy, Severus," Minerva said, so quietly that only he could hear. "You ought to be very proud of him."

"I am." Snape replied, and it was true.

"Make sure you tell him that," Minerva reminded gently. "Don't be like my father, and hoard praise from him until he despairs of ever receiving any from you."

"I won't. I promised Lily long ago that I would treat him as I would have wished to be treated by my own father. I have tried as best as I could to live up to that promise. I will make sure he knows he has done very well." Then he stood up and offered her his hand, congratulating her on her House winning the cup, and Minerva did likewise.

A new precedent had been set that year, and it was one that would continue for many many years thereafter, thanks to the honesty and justice of one small boy, who had taken his father's words to heart and in so doing had brought a kind of peace between two rival Houses.

* * * * * *

They were still talking about the unexpected shared victory days later, when they got their exam results. Both Ron and Harry had done better than they had expected, they had passed everything, though Harry's best marks were in Potions, Transfiguration, and Charms, with Defense a close runner up. Hermione, of course had aced all her exams, getting the highest grades in her year.

"Congratulations," Harry said, and she blushed.

"All I care about is that I didn't fail anything and now Mum can't ground me over the summer," Ron heaved a sigh of relief. "Guess I'd better start packing."

"You mean you haven't?" Hermione gaped at him. "I've been packed since last week."

"Girls!" Ron shook his head, then went back up to his room to pack.

Hermione and Harry smiled at one another. "Are you all ready to leave, Harry?" she asked. "To go and spend the summer with your . . .uh . . .dad?"

"Yeah, but first I have to go back to the Dursleys for a bit. Just until the papers are finalized by the Ministry. Dad says it shouldn't take too long, maybe only three days and then he'll come pick me up and I can spend the summer with him."

"Where does he live? I've always wondered."

"I don't know. He said it wasn't safe for me to know that right now, until everything was set. So I'll find out in a couple of days, I guess."

"I'll send you an owl in a week, so don't forget to write, okay?"

"Sure. Maybe you can even come to visit or something."

"That would be great. Do you think he'll mind?"

Harry shook his head. "No. He said you were good friends."

Hermione beamed, for one did not hear those words from the strict professor every day. "I hope you have an excellent holiday, Harry."

"Me too. It should be great, once I leave the Dursleys, that is."

"Were they really that bad?"

"Uh . . .bad enough. I only have to put up with them for a few days though, so I can handle it. And besides, they don't know I can't use magic outside of school," Harry said with a wicked smirk. "I'm mostly packed, why don't we go down to Hagrid's for a last cup of tea?" he suggested. "I'll tell Ron to meet us there when he's done."

Hermione smiled.

Harry returned a few minutes later and they walked together down the familiar path to the gamekeeper's hut.

On the way there, Harry spotted a familiar spotted feline pacing a few yards ahead of them. "Look there, Hermione," he pointed.

Hermione followed the tip of his finger and gasped.

"Oh my heavens! It's a snow leopard! How gorgeous he is! Does he belong to someone?"

Harry chuckled. "No, he's nobody's pet. He's wild, roams the forest and goes where he pleases. He protects students though, looks out for them, he saved me that night in the Forbidden Forest. His name, Hagrid says, is Wraith."

"Wraith. It fits him." Hermione said, gazing at the great cat in awe.

Wraith had paused and turned to glance over his shoulder. He saw the two watching him and turned about. His brilliant golden eyes met Harry's and Harry smiled. Wraith purred, then paced forward until he was standing barely three feet from the two apprentice wizards.

"Hello, Wraith." Hermione whispered. She half-reached out a hand to touch the silky white and ebony pelt, but froze at the last minute, recalling this was a wild creature.

"You can touch him, Hermione," Harry said.

"But you said he's wild."

"Wild at heart, but he'd never hurt you."

Hermione remained where she was, however, until Wraith shoved his head under her hand and purred loudly, as if to say, There silly girl, now you have my permission to stroke me. Tentatively, she stroked the thick fur, marveling at its silky soft feel. "Oh! It's like petting silk and satin, Harry. Thank you," she told the cat, who dipped his head briefly.

"C'mon, Hermione. Let's get going."


They continued down the path, Wraith returning to walking some ways off to the side of them as an escort.

Harry concealed a grin, wondering what Hermione would have thought if she knew that Wraith was actually her Potions professor.

They reached Hagrid's cottage without mishap and Wraith vanished into the trees, content to wait until they emerged from the cottage to guard them again.

Ron arrived soon after their second cup of tea, he'd been helping his brothers pack too.

"So, ya all set to return home?" Hagrid inquired genially. "Bet ya can't wait to see the back o' this place."

"No, I love it here!" said Hermione stoutly. "But I do miss my home and my parents too."

"Me too," Ron agreed. "You should come and stay for a bit, both of you."

"Okay, maybe I will," said Harry.

Hagrid was rummaging in one of his cabinets. "Now where did I put that . . . ah! Here it is!"

He pulled a rather dusty black photo album out and cleaned it with a rag before presenting it to Harry. "I forgot to give you this before you went after the Stone. It's your mum and dad's wedding album They'd have liked you to have it."

Harry took the album reverently. "Thank you, Hagrid." he leafed through it, a lump coming into his throat. The album was all he had left of them and he loved watching the wizard photos moving. The others were quiet and respectful while he perused the album, then he thanked Hagrid again and finished his tea. "I'm going to walk a bit. I need to be alone, okay?"

Hermione and Ron nodded, and Harry left the gamekeeper's hut quickly, walking towards the lakeshore.

Almost immediately, Wraith rose from where he was lying a few yards away and followed.

Harry walked for awhile, recalling with bittersweet longing the way his parents had been when he had last seen them. He sat down by the lake and put the album on his knees and looked out over the water, thinking about how different things might have been if James and Lily had lived.

He felt the snow leopard's head bump his back and he turned around and put an arm across the great cat's neck and hugged him hard. Wraith's chest rumbled in a worried sort of purr.

"I'm okay. Just . . .thinking. It's been some year, huh?"

Wraith huffed.

"I'm kind of sad to see it come to an end, but I still have the summer to look forward to, right? It should be one of the best summers I've ever had." Harry leaned his head against Wraith's shoulder, and together they relaxed by the lakeside, soaking up the peace and serenity of the golden afternoon, until a loud whistle blew, summoning the students back inside to gather their belongings and make their way to the carriages and boats and from there to the Hogwarts Express.

Harry hesitated, reluctant to leave, until the snow leopard blurred into a tall black-cloaked wizard, who embraced the slender boy for a long moment before saying, "Go on, Harry. I will see you soon, in three days. Hurry now, your friends are waiting and you don't want to miss the train."

"I know." Harry didn't move though, his face was still pressed up against the velvet robes and he inhaled the familiar spicy scent that was uniquely Snape's own, drawing it into him, to sustain him over the next three days. "Bye, Dad. See you soon," he managed at last.

"It's only three days, son. By then the paperwork should be official and the blood wards transferred and I can come get you as Uncle Toby." Severus promised. "I'll owl you if anything changes, not that I think it will. Off with you now, brat, before you end up walking back to Surrey."

Severus ruffled his son's hair, then sent him on his way with a light pat on his behind. Harry went, wishing the three days were over, so he could begin his new life with his new father, the dark angel. Only three more days. I guess I can live with that. It's not so long, really. Besides, what could happen in three days?


Chapter End Notes:

Well, what did you think of the twist at the end of the feast?

No, this is NOT over!

Next: Despite his resolve to make the best of things, Harry finds his summer starting out on a dreadful note, as the Dursleys go on vacation, leaving him alone with Aunt Marge.

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