|What is Right: Year Two
Author: Emma Lipardi PM
SEQUEL TO "WHAT IS RIGHT"! The summer before Harry's second year brings a lot of changes. His knowledge of the future is not always helpful. Strange things are happening, and he doesn't know what to do.Rated: Fiction M - English - Harry P. & Severus S. - Chapters: 7 - Words: 29,024 - Reviews: 1,538 - Favs: 2,543 - Follows: 3,692 - Updated: 08-21-12 - Published: 11-09-08 - id: 4645151
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Here you go! Sorry about the long wait. Real Life is mean. I thought eleven pages was a good length. This hasn't seen a beta, as I wanted to get it to you all as soon as possible. ;) Enjoy!
Harry left Draco's room with a smile. Instead of being angry, Draco had been in awe about Harry meeting up with an escaped Azkaban convict, hiding from Aurors, and making it back to the Manor all in one piece. His first comment had been to call Harry a "great prat" for not taking Draco with him for the adventure, but after that first comment, Draco had been especially interested in the various methods Harry and Sirius had used to avoid detection. He seemed disappointed when Harry had explained that a lot of their "avoiding detection" was nothing more than staying inside and out of sight. After that, introductions were made between Canis and Draco, and the two became fast friends.
"Kids are fun, aren't they, Canis?" Harry asked the dog padding along beside him. Canis gave a little "wuff" and wagged his tail. He seemed to have enjoyed roughhousing with the Malfoy heir. "I suppose that we need to go talk to Mr. Malfoy now, huh?" Canis gave a sniff and wagged his tail. "Will you come with me?" Canis leaned against his legs and whined. "Okay, I know. Let's go get this over with."
Harry led the way to Mr. Malfoy's study and knocked on the door. He waited for a second before shrugging at Canis. "Guess he's not here." The door opened and Mr. Malfoy looked down at him.
"Mr. Potter?" Mr. Malfoy appeared surprised to see him. "Everything alright?" He asked.
"May I talk to you?" The boy in front of him threaded his fingers together and fidgeted the slightest bit, his expression hopeful and wary at the same time.
Lucius stepped back and pulled the door open further. "Of course, Mr. Potter." The boy and the dog entered the study. They stood just inside the threshold. "Please make yourself comfortable." Lucius led the way over to a sitting area next to one of the windows and motioned for Harry to join him. The boy chose the seat directly across from him and allowed his legs to dangle. The dog sat next to the chair, looking as though he was going to take part in this conversation. "What did you want to talk about?"
"I wanted to apologize," Harry started. "I'm sorry for making you all worry. There is an explanation, but I don't want it to sound like an excuse." The boy's fingers threaded together and began twisting. He seemed nervous. Lucius relaxed his body back in the chair, trying to make the lad relax a little bit. He was always tense and nervous around the family. Lucius didn't like it. "My relatives allowed me a fair amount of independence, sir. I didn't realize that I was supposed to wait for you. The healer said I was released, so I left. I-" The boy paused for a moment, obviously searching for words. "I didn't realize that anyone would want me around." The boy swung one of his legs and looked frustrated. "I didn't mean to worry anyone, or cause trouble. I just wanted to leave."
"Where did you go?" Lucius asked.
"Well, that was a problem. My aunt didn't want me anymore." The boy grew pale for a moment. The dog laid its head in the boy's lap and Harry's hand came to a rest on top of it, stroking the fur. "I didn't really have anywhere to go. I thought about going to the Leaky Cauldron because it's an inn. I thought he might give me a room. I got distracted by something in a shop, and then Sirius found me." Harry patted the dog's head. He looked up at Lucius with a soft smile. "Sirius was brilliant!"
"My godfather," Harry nodded in a self-satisfied way. "He has a house in Muggle London. He even has a room for me. He took care of me, and spoiled me a little bit."
"You weren't worried that he would hurt you?" Lucius asked curiously. "He escaped from Azkaban."
"He's innocent. Why you all didn't think to use Veritaserum in those trials at the end of the war is beyond me. Honestly, if you want to find out if someone is guilty or not, why not give everyone on trial Veritaserum? Then you know for sure that they are telling the truth. I bought some Veritaserum, he took it, answered all of my questions, and was innocent. Simple."
"You call buying Veritaserum 'simple'?" Lucius asked. "Veritaserum is a Ministry controlled potion…only certain Potions Masters are permitted to make it and keep it on stock. How in the world did you get your hands on it."
"You can find anything if you know where to look and if you offer the right price." The boy said calmly.
"How do you know that the potion was, in fact, Veritaserum and that it worked? How do you know that Sirius Black didn't lie to you?"
"Because I tested it on myself." Harry shrugged. "He promised to ask me only one question, and he did. I told him the truth."
"What did he ask?"
"I don't want to talk about it." Harry shrugged. "I believed him. We did all sorts of things until the Aurors showed up. We went to the park, the cinema, museums. Of course, he made me nap quite a bit, and then Canis here followed me home one day. He's worse than Sirius when it comes to bossing me around." The dog whined then, and thumped his tail against the carpet. Lucius was afraid to think about the fact that the dog seemed to be following the conversation.
"So, you thought you could leave the hospital on your own without people becoming worried?"
"I've never had to worry about such things in the past." Harry said softly. "My cousin Dudley isn't the brightest child; he needs a lot of attention from my aunt and uncle just to get by in the day. My aunt always said that it was good that I could look out for myself. I used to go about town by myself all the time without anyone batting an eyelash, much less contacting the authorities."
"You left without your follow-up potions and without scheduling a follow-up appointment."
"No one told me I needed them or that I needed a follow up appointment. Had they done so, I would have taken care of things." Harry informed the man. Lucius's last comment sounded chiding, and he didn't like it.
"How do you explain that you were still ill?" Lucius asked, trying to make the boy see some sense.
"Muggle medicine doesn't work right away." The boy said. "Often, when you go to the doctor, he'll give you some medicine, advise you to do certain things, and only then are you told to expect an improvement. Recovery takes longer than magic medicine, and I thought this was more of the same. I only started to worry when Professor Snape sent me my potions. Sirius had no clue that I was supposed to have them, or a follow-up appointment. He would have sent me had he known."
"And once you knew you were supposed to have them?"
Harry shrugged, forgetting himself before straightening. "I had them at that point, didn't I? No need to go get them when they're sitting in front of me."
"Ah." Lucius relaxed back into his chair further and decided to go in for a little information digging. "Tell me a little more about Dudley…you said he isn't very bright and needs lots of attention?"
"It took him a while to learn to tie his shoes." Harry offered. "He wasn't very mature." Harry continued. "For his age, I mean. He would have these moments where he would engage in four or five year old child-like behavior. Aunt Petunia always needed to step in and help him at that moment to calm him."
"What did you do when your aunt and uncle were busy with your cousin?" Lucius asked.
"They were busy, so I kept to myself until they weren't busy."
"How often were they 'not busy'?"
The boy shrugged and seemed disinclined to continue talking. The dog put his head in the boy's lap and whined. Harry started petting him and relaxed when the beast liked his hand. "I just didn't mean to worry anyone." He finally said softly, his regret showing on his face.
"When Narcissa and I agreed to be your foster parents, they gave us what I could call a manual on how to care for you. One of the things I am supposed to do is set consequences and boundaries. I daresay no one has ever really taken the time to take care of you before." Did the boy actually pale when he heard the word consequence? "I know for a fact that Professor Snape told you that you had to appear here or at his house several times."
"Sirius said I didn't have to go!" Harry objected. "It wasn't until the Aurors came out of the woodwork that he worried about me being okay!"
"All the same, you knew what you were supposed to do…" Lucius paused while the boy became stubborn. Lucius was out of his depth. Draco was so much easier to deal with. He lowered his gaze for a moment and then looked up again. He suddenly saw a man and not a boy looking out from the boy's eyes. The stubborn tilt of the chin was gone and there was acceptance in the boy's eyes. "I cannot blame you for what your godfather said or did while you were in his care, no matter how much I disagree with it. I cannot blame you for following the orders of an adult while you were in his care. In fact, I'm glad you feel you can trust him, and I can only hope that this all works out to a favorable conclusion." Lucius told him. "All the same, Professor Snape told you to go to his house or to come to ours several times, is that not true?"
"Yes, that's true." The boy agreed. "Honestly, I thought I was acting out of self-preservation. He's going to kill me."
Were all boys this dramatic? Killing him? Snape was more likely to smother him with attention. Perhaps it was a Muggle expression. "You stayed away, yes?" The boy nodded. "A verbal answer, please?"
"Yes, I stayed away, even after Professor Snape told me to go to his house or yours. I was fine!"
"I'm sure Mr. Black did his best, but how much care could he provide after arriving from Azkaban's walls? I'm sure he spent a lot of time asleep, just as you did."
"If that's the case, he only slept when I did, because he was always awake around me." Harry said defensively.
"Hmm. So, the consequence must match what you did, and what Mr. Black would want for your safety." Lucius pondered for a moment. "I think you'll agree that confining you to the grounds would not be unreasonable for what has happened these past few weeks."
"It would not be unreasonable." Harry answered softly as the dog nosed at his leg.
"Perhaps a written letter of apology to your healer, the head of Aurors, and the Minister would help, telling them what you told me about not realizing you were supposed to wait for adults…you could even mention how Muggle medicine works, since that is where your experience with the medical profession comes from. It may calm everyone down."
"Very well. Anything else, Mr. Malfoy?"
"Please consider calling me Lucius." The boy paused and went pale again. "Are you well?" Lucius asked in concern.
"Fine, sir. May I be excused now?"
Lucius wanted to keep the boy there and demand what was troubling him, but finally agreed to dismiss him so that he could gather his own thoughts about this little meeting. He also needed to write a letter to Sirius Black.
Severus Snape stepped out of the Floo at Malfoy manor and pulled himself up to his full height. He looked around at the room before leaving the chamber and heading towards Lucius's study. The man had sent a note about the Potter boy returning from his hiding, and Snape wanted to confirm it for himself.
A quick knock at the door admitted him to the study and Lucius was obviously pleased to see him. "Thank you for coming, old friend." Lucius said as he invited Lucius into his study. "Mr. Potter left me not an hour ago, completely contrite that he made us all worry, but not at all apologetic for having acted as he did."
"I told you that he is not a normal child. He is able to separate his actions from his reasons and justify both. He is contrite at upsetting us, but that is all." Severus lowered himself into the chair offered and took the drink Lucius offered. "I swear, I'm going to throttle the boy." Snape growled to himself. "Make him understand that he just can't do things like this." Snape emptied his drink and sighed. "May I see him?"
Lucius nodded. "Dobby!" The house elf appeared and gave a low bow. "Please tell Mr. Potter that there is someone here to see him." The house elf nodded and disappeared.
Harry jumped when Dobby appeared in his room. "Master Harry Potter, sir, Master Malfoy says you have a visitor here to see you."
"Who is it, Dobby?" Harry asked. Harry had a feeling he knew who it was, but it was always good to be prepared.
"It is Potions Master Severus Snape, Master Harry Potter." Dobby told him.
"Thank you, Dobby. Could you tell them that I'll be right down, please?"
"Of course, Master Harry Potter sir!" Dobby bounced in place for a moment before disappearing again.
"There is something wrong with that elf." Sirius said after turning human again.
"I agree with you, Sirius. What do I do? Snape is going to…argh. The man's going to kill me." Harry said, dropping onto the bed next to his godfather.
Sirius reached out a hand and tousled Harry's hair. Harry reached out a hand and pushed Sirius away from him. Sirius pushed back and the two ended up play fighting for a few seconds before Sirius stood up from the bed and hoisted Harry over his head. Harry let his limbs dangle for a moment before folding his arms and glaring down at his godfather. "Put me down." He said firmly.
"You're no fun." Sirius lowered Harry to eye level and dropped a kiss on Harry's forehead. "You know Snape better than I do, so play this one by ear. I'll be there with you. If I have to bite him, just give me the sign and I'll turn protective doggie on him, alright?"
"Okay," Harry said as Sirius lowered him to the floor. He gathered up the letters that Mr. Malfoy suggested he write and put them into a pocket as Sirius returned to dog form and waited at the door. "I'm holding you responsible if he ends up killing me." He muttered. Sirius whined, but then wagged his tail. Harry rolled his eyes and led the way to the study where the Potions Master was waiting.
He knocked on the door, feeling as though he was reporting to the principal's office to receive detention. Mr. Malfoy's voice called for him to enter and he opened the door, peering around the edge of the door. "You wanted to see me, sir?" He asked, hoping that Snape had managed to disappear in the last five minutes.
"Please come in, Mr. Potter. Professor Snape is here to see you." Lucius Malfoy beckoned him in with one hand.
Harry entered the room. Snape was standing at the window, looking out onto the grounds. "May I have the use of your study, Lucius?" Snape asked. Harry hoped that Malfoy would say "no", but the man simply nodded and left the room.
Snape turned around and looked down his nose at Harry. His eyes shifted to the animal next to him. "The dog needs to wait outside." He told the boy.
"He's sort of protective of me." Harry warned him.
"That's precisely why he needs to wait in the hall." Snape informed him grimly. Harry felt his eyes widen before he turned towards the door. He opened the door and told Sirius to wait outside. Sirius turned stubborn and sat just inside the door, refusing to leave the room.
"Canis, out." Harry said, his voice shaky. The dog lay down and yawned. Harry wanted to bash his head against the door. The Potions Master was not patient when upset.
Snape solved the problem by nudging the dog out the door with a booted foot and slamming the door closed. Harry backed away a few steps and eyed the man. He crooked his finger at Harry and Harry stepped forward to stand in front of the man.
Snape reached down and took hold of Harry's arm before lowering his face to reach Harry's height. He looked at Harry's face for a moment and Harry tightened his shields, not wanting Snape to break into his mind. Snape wrapped his arms around Harry and held him for a few brief seconds, mumbling something about safe and alive. Harry was shocked when Snape whirled him around and landed a quick swat to his backside. Snape's hold on his arm didn't loosen as he dragged Harry to the corner and pushed his nose against the wall. "You are to stand there and think about what you have done." Snape told him. "Do not move until you can tell me why I did what I just did."
"I'm going to be standing here forever, then. I can't pretend to know the mysteries of your mind." Harry told him.
"Mind your cheek." Snape said with another swat. Harry decided against going further with the thought that he would be standing there forever, because he had no idea why the man thought swats were necessary. Snape walked away and settled in the chair behind Harry. Pages turning told Harry that Snape was reading. Harry reached back to rub away some of the stinging, but Snape's voice caused him to freeze. "Hands at your side, Mr. Potter, or I'll make you hold them above your head." He leaned his head forward to rest on the wall. "Head up!"
Harry felt the time ticking away and he allowed his brain to wander, going over things he had read early that morning. He said nursery rhymes to himself. He counted the pattern swirls on the wall. He listed potions ingredients. Ten minutes passed. Twenty minutes. Thirty minutes. An hour.
"Can't you just punish me?" Harry said softly.
"The point of punishment is to teach you why what you did was wrong. It is evident that any punishments your relatives may have dispensed did so without any actual reason or instruction of proper behavior." Snape's calm voice grated on Harry's nerves. He had a growing feeling that he was back with his trainer, and that the real punishment was just a few moments away. His throat grew tight for a moment. "Can you tell me why what you did was wrong?"
"I know everyone around here thinks it was wrong, but I had things to do! I didn't want to …" The tight feeling was back and he reached up to undo his top button. Snape whirled him around again and lowered himself to his knees in front of Harry. Harry backed up into the corner and swallowed.
"Mr. Potter, do you think Miss Granger's parents allow her to go off on her own?" Snape asked. His eyes were intense. Harry looked away and then back, breaking Snape's connection.
"Of course not. She's just a kid." He told him.
"And why should you not be shown the same consideration?" Snape raised an eyebrow, but he truly looked as though he wanted to hear Harry's thoughts.
"I'm different!" Harry insisted. "I'm not a little kid! I can take care of myself!"
"I beg to differ, but you are still small, and still prone to misjudgment. The way you just left hospital without your potions, and how you kept away from everyone even when directed to find your way to the Malfoys or my own home does not speak of maturity, Mr. Potter, or of concern for your own welfare." Snape told him. "What if someone less than good had found you?" Snape asked. "There are very many bad people in this world, Mr. Potter, who would like nothing more than to end your life, or give you a fate worse than death. A trip down Knockturn Alley would reveal all of the places a child should not know about."
"I already know about them… I know how to protect myself from that." Harry told him. His throat closed up around the idea. Before, when he wasn't fighting Voldemort and when he wasn't training, he had difficulty sleeping and so had skulked around Knockturn Alley. He had discovered that wizards had the same vices as Muggles, but they were able to keep children hidden from the authorities much easier. He had used disguises to enter those places, earn the keepers' trust, and in turn, free some of the children from the hell they had endured. The most disturbing scene he had ever found was a Harry Potter room and the two boys who had looked just like him locked inside.
Some of his thoughts must have shown on his face, because Snape's hand tightened the slightest bit. "Who was it?"
"It hasn't happened yet…not for years." Harry told him. "I don't think it will. So many things are different now." He added in an odd voice, deciding to go with his "I have the sight!" persona.
"Thank goodness for small mercies." Snape said, wrapping his arms around Harry. Harry pulled away almost immediately, uncomfortable with Snape after the last hour spent in his presence.
"I'm not sorry," Harry said firmly. "There were things I needed to do without someone telling me what time to come in for lunch." Harry said, moving towards the window and staring out over the grounds of Malfoy Manor. "You have to understand, Professor, that I am not a little kid, no matter what I look like." Harry insisted. "My life isn't my own, and I can't just wait for adults to decide what to do in every situation. I must act on my own."
"Why is that, Mr. Potter?" One of Snape's hands dropped onto his shoulder and steered him over to an armchair. "Tell me about it."
Harry almost laughed. He wanted to tell Snape everything about it…immediately. His past, the training, his capture and imprisonment. Everything. Instead, he merely sat for a moment. "Let's just say that I know things you can't know yet." Harry finally offered. "It will change if I tell you, sir. I can't let it change."
Snape's facial expression was dubious and he snorted. "I doubt that very much, Mr. Potter." He said after a moment's consideration. He leaned forward, forearms on his knees. "I believe you see possible futures, and one of them has caused you to stop thinking clearly."
"Then why am I always right?"
"Hmm. Point." Snape sat back and folded one leg over the over, deep in thought about Harry's words. Snape finally sighed. "Very well, Mr. Potter. I'm afraid that I will have to concede to you in this. You are not a normal child, and you've argued your position well. Sadly, I cannot agree with you, regardless of concession. Therefore, I suggest a compromise."
Harry's grin died before it made it to his face. "Compromise?"
"Yes. You may have 'things to do' and do not require adult help. All the same, I require that I know you are safe. We are going to compromise. Would you accept me as a companion on these little quests of yours?"
"Absolutely not." Harry said firmly.
"Why not?" Snape's tone was light.
"It has to do with the things I can't tell you about." Harry finally said.
"I don't need to know what you are doing," Snape explained. "I just require you to take someone along."
"Canis went with me last time." Harry countered.
"Yes, a dog. Very smart. Great idea, Potter. How many spells can the hound handle?" Snape's sarcasm could be very painful sometimes.
"This is the part where we compromise, Potter. You can take me, or I'll make sure you never see the light of day again without the company of two concerned and watchful adults." Snape told him.
"I doubt that." Harry said, getting ready to stand.
"Two words, Mr. Potter: Narcissa Malfoy. 'Dear me, Narcissa. Mr. Potter looks a little worn out.'"
"That won't work." Harry said, shaking his head.
"Care to test that little theory?" Snape stood and motioned for Harry to follow him. Canis leapt upon Harry the minute the door opened and then growled at Snape.
"Careful, mutt. I know potions that could use you." Snape said, holding out his wand.
"There are no potions that use dog parts, Professor." Harry said.
"No known potions, that's true. Or rather, published potions." Harry thought about it and figured that Snape could very well have developed such a potion and shuddered.
Snape led the way to the sitting room where Narcissa was reading. He shoved Harry ahead of him and Harry noticed Mr. Malfoy was in the corner, also reading, but he was reading a bundle of papers that appeared to be giving him something important to think about while reading them. It appeared that they were waiting for them, for they both looked up when Harry and Snape entered the room. "We've finished," Snape announced to the room at large. "Narcissa, I think the time I spent with Mr. Potter may have worsened his condition. He's looking a little off."
Narcissa stood and moved to stand in front of Harry before lowering a slow hand to his forehead. "He is slightly warm, Severus."
"I'm fine!" Harry protested. He felt fine for the first time in a long time. "Really!"
"The boy doth protest too much." Snape said, looking far too innocent and rocking on his heels. Harry could sense the gloating behind those words and glared up at Snape with all the vehemence he could muster.
"You're flushing right now." Narcissa said firmly. "Let's get you upstairs for a little lay down before dinner, Harry. If you're still this way come dinner time, I'll send for the doctor to give you a visit."
Harry couldn't even speak. Narcissa was pulling him out of the room by his hand. He looked back to see Snape grinning from ear to ear.
"You Slytherin!" Harry called back to him, thoroughly disgusted. Narcissa stopped when Harry stopped moving. "Just a minute, please." He slipped away from Narcissa and had to fight to keep from stomping back to Snape.
He twisted his hand and set up a silencing spell to keep the others from hearing their conversation. Snape looked at him, surprised to see the magic. "Fine." He bit out between his teeth. "We'll compromise…now call her off." Harry glared up at him.
"All of my conditions without question?" Snape said, folding his arms.
"Within reason." Harry said. "As I said before, there are things you don't know about." Harry said softly. "If I say no, you'll have to trust me."
"Very well. Take down whatever you did. We'll talk about that later." Harry twisted his wrist and the spell came down. Snape stepped forward and looked up at Narcissa. "I think we can agree that Harry here will take his books to bed for the hour before dinner. Is that acceptable?"
Narcissa appeared to think about it, twisting her hands in indecision. "I suppose that's acceptable. I would feel better about it if he saw the doctor."
"I made an appointment for him tomorrow." Lucius said absently from his corner. "Let the boy alone for a while, Narcissa. I'm sure Canis will keep an eye on him in the meantime." Canis gave a little "ruff" of agreement and nudged Harry towards the door making whuffing noises as he pushed Harry from the room.
Severus turned to Narcissa and gave a slight bow. "Madame, my admiration of your acting skills knows no limits." He told her as she smirked at the two men in the room.
"You have my admiration as well, Cissy. Superb job. Now, if he feels the need to wander about, he'll at least have an adult with him." Lucius collapsed into a nearby armchair and sighed, one hand going up to massage his temple. "I fear that life is going to be interesting from here on out."