Author Notes: This story is a sequel to Holiday Surprises and therefore a part of my Guardian series. I recommend that you read the other stories of that series, before you start on this one, otherwise the story might not make much scenes to you.
The story is Halloween themed and I wish everyone, who celebrates it, a great evening and night.=)
Appreciations: As always, thank you, Yen for beta reading this story and improving it.*hugs* I don`t know what I would do without you.*big hug*
"You would never be a member of the Slytherin Quidditch team if it wasn't for your father's money, Malfoy!"
"And you would be lucky if you ever figure out which side of the broom is the front, Weasley."
Harry rolled his eyes and exchanged an amused look with Hermione.
"They just can't talk normally with each other, can they?"
The young witch just shook her head and glanced at the two arguing boys.
"I guess it's their way of communicating, but at least they aren't really insulting each other anymore."
Harry frowned a little before he slowly nodded. Hermione was, like she was most of the time, right. If Ron and Draco were truly trying to insult each other, it wouldn't be over the harmless topic of their flying skills. No, they would be insulting each others families like they had done during their first year at Hogwarts.
A real smile lit up Harry's face. He would never have believed as recent as a year ago that he would be friends with Draco Malfoy, of all people. Their forced time together during the recent summer holiday had changed a lot between them when they had both learned about each other's pasts.
Harry's smile faltered as he remembered the faint scars on Draco's back, reminders of the beatings he had received from Malfoy senior. Severus had healed them as best he could after learning of them, but a few of the scars were too old to remove.
Rage at Lucius Malfoy welled up in Harry again as he recalled the vulnerable look in a pair of grey eyes when Severus had tended to Draco's back with healing balms. He knew very well how his friend had felt at that time and he hated the fact that he could do nothing to help Draco.
Harry sighed quietly. True, Severus had made sure Draco spent the rest of the summer holidays with Narcissa Malfoy and away from his father, but that wasn't a permanent solution to the problem.
The young Gryffindor gnawed on his lower lip. If only Draco could be permanently removed from his father like Harry himself had been removed from his relatives, it would be much easier, but that wasn't an option where Lucius Malfoy was concerned. Still, Harry trusted Severus when he said he would still find a way to help Draco. He glanced again at Ron and Draco, who were still exchanging comments. Neither Ron nor Hermione knew of Draco's treatment at home, but they still accepted him after Harry had told them about his holidays with the young Slytherin.
Of course, it also helped that Draco hadn't insulted them when they all met up at the Hogwarts Express.
In fact, Hermione had been the first one to accept the young Slytherin as a friend and Harry suspected it had to do with the fact that the blond was one of the top students at Hogwarts. The brilliant witch seemed very glad she had finally found someone who wasn't only interested in discussing Quidditch.
Harry couldn't help chuckling at that especially when Ron and Draco found a common interest in the sport and bonded over it... after the redhead realized the Slytherin had stopped commenting on the financial situation of his family.
"You are so thick, Weasley."
"Hey guys, we should go to the Halloween celebration, now! We are already late!"
All three boys blinked in surprise at Hermione who rolled her eyes.
"Really, haven't you noticed how many Slytherins have already passed this corridor on their way to the Great Hall?
Draco and Ron shook their heads and Harry grinned as Hermione huffed to herself.
"Did they notice us?"
Draco's voice sounded indifferent, but Harry noticed the nervous look in his grey eyes as they darted around the dungeons. The four of them were standing in an alcove since Severus had said it was best if they weren't seen together by the other Slytherin students. Besides, Lucius Malfoy wouldn't be thrilled if he found out his son had befriended a Weasley and a Muggleborn.
That was why they had to make sure to always meet in secret. Although it was fun to sneak around the castle to have fun together, Harry didn't like the fact that they had to treat Draco in public the way they had done in their first year. Today, they had met in the dungeons right before the Halloween celebration, because Harry wanted to tell them the great news.
He could feel a grin spreading on his face.
"What's so funny? I don't fancy the other Slytherins mocking me!"
Harry blinked at Draco and shook his head.
"I was just thinking how much I am looking forward to this evening."
Draco's glare faded, to be replaced by a small smile.
"I'm glad that Severus can finally adopt you. The Ministry is really run by dunderheads for giving him so much trouble."
Harry nodded. He didn't know any details, only that it had taken Severus and the Headmaster a long time to get the adoption papers approved. But finally, they could be signed this evening and Severus would really become Harry's Dad then.
The young Gryffindor couldn't wait for the feast to end so that he could return to the dungeons to see the Potions Master. Eleven years ago, he had lost his parents during Halloween and now he would get a new parent on the same day - it seemed very fitting to him.
"In that case, let's hurry to the Great Hall so that you can go see Professor Snape afterwards," Hermione suggested.
"Hermione is right... and I'm starving!" Ron added as he hurried to the staircase after her.
Harry and Draco followed at a slower space. They would have to part as soon as they left the dungeons and Harry wanted to spend a few more minutes with his friend. He didn't get to spend as much time with him as he did with Ron and Hermione.
"Ready for the next Quidditch match?"
Draco's question made Harry grin. They would compete as Seekers against each other and Harry was sure it would be a lot of fun for both of them. He was just about to tell Draco as much when a sharp whisper reached his ears.
"I will kill... let me... tear you apart..."
It was only when Ron and Hermione looked back over their shoulders and hurried back to him that Harry realised how loudly he had spoken.
"Harry, what is it?"
Harry was sure the warm hand squeezing his shoulder belonged to Draco. He leaned into the comfort as he tried to make sense of what he had just heard. That disembodied voice had sounded... threatening.
"There was a voice... it spoke of killing... didn't any of you three hear it?"
Hermione's frown and Ron's puzzled look were enough of an answer, making Harry bite down on his lip. His friends had to think he was crazy, hearing voices which weren't there. They wouldn't believe him and they would either think him a freak or was making things up because he wanted their attention... just like the kids at his primary school when he had told them that he could make toys move. They would...
"Where did the voice come from?"
Harry blinked as Hermione interrupted his thoughts with the serious sounding question.
"It came... out of the wall."
When Ron and Hermione exchanged looks, Harry felt the hand on his shoulder tighten. He felt his heart squeeze in response This was it. The three of them would laugh at him and tell him to stop joking around so they could go to the Halloween feast. He was just about to tell them it was a joke, just to make sure they didn't make fun of him, when Draco spoke again.
"Severus is probably still in his quarters, he hates big celebrations. Why don't I go with Harry to him? Maybe he has an explanation for that voice."
Harry was amazed. He turned his head to stare at Draco who smiled slightly at him and then at his other two friends who were nodding in agreement.
"Yes, that's a good idea. We will cover for you."
When Hermione smiled at them before reaching for Ron's arm, Harry was sure her mind was already trying to come up with an explanation for everything.
"I'll save you some of the pudding, mate," Ron added as the two hurried away again.
"I just hope we won't take that long, since I doubt that Greg or Vince will save me anything," Draco muttered as he turned in the direction of Severus' quarters.
Harry couldn't help smiling again as he walked beside him. The voice and what it had said was still disturbing, but he thought it was much more important that his friends believed him. It made him feel much more confident as they arrived at the door to Severus' quarters.
Damned Halloween celebration!
Severus glared at the clock on the wall which told him he had to go to the Great Hall now if he didn't want Albus to turn up in person and drag him to his doom. Really, why did the headmaster order the house elves to serve masses of sweets at Halloween every year?
It only meant the little dunderheads would become even more annoying than they normally were and get themselves into even more trouble. Of course, it also meant Severus could deduct as many house points as he wanted, but that wouldn't make up for the time he had to brew stomach calming potions for the infirmary. He probably wouldn't have even bothered to do so if Poppy hadn't reminded him of all the times he had spent at her mercy and would probably continue to do so in future.
After all, an experimental potion could explode easily and although Severus would never admit it, he blew up at least one cauldron a term during his research. Hence, it was much wiser to just brew the potions instead of reminding the medi-witch that students should just endure what they had brought upon themselves since he wouldn't want Poppy to use the more painful healing charms on him.
The Potions Master sighed quietly. He hadn't had time to do any experimental brewing recently since he had been busy convincing the wizards and witches at the Child Welfare department of the Ministry he was the right person to adopt Harry Potter. He doubted he would have been successful if it weren't for Albus' support.
Glancing at the papers lying on the table in the living-room, Severus felt a small smile turn up his lips. Harry and he would sign the papers this evening and then the young Gryffindor would truly be his son. There was no better reason for Severus to want the feast to be over as fast as possible. The announcement of him adopting Harry Potter would certainly destroy some of his reputation, but he was prepared to make it clear to his dunderheaded students that he was still the evil bat from the dungeons.
In fact, there was no better time to place new fear into annoying students than the present, Severus thought with a smirk. Pasting a mean sneer on his face and arranging his robes, the Potions Master stalked to the door of his quarters... just as a knock sounded.
A dark eyebrow rose. Shouldn't all the sugar addicted twits be at dinner right now, gorging themselves?
"Enter!" he snarled. He was just about to tell the student off for being late for dinner and annoying him during his private time, when he noticed who it was standing in front of him. The words flew from his mind and the sneer vanished from his face when he took in the pale face of a messy haired boy and the determined look from a pair of grey eyes. Worry clenched in his chest as he noticed how Harry was fidgeting with his hands and didn't meet his eyes.
Something must have happened! And whatever it was, it couldn't be good if Draco had decided on accompanying Harry to see him.
Severus schooled his features into neutrality as he gestured for the two boys to come in and sit on the couch. He called for an elf and requested for three cups of chamomile tea to calm their nerves if necessary, before sitting down in an armchair and focusing on the two boys opposite him.
He still found it interesting to see how close they had become during the summer holidays and the past two months at Hogwarts. Harry sat rigid on the edge of the couch while Draco, instead of leaning back into the soft leather and crossing his arms across his chest, sat as close as possible to him with a calming hand on his shoulder.
Severus would have smiled at the heartwarming sight if it weren't for the worry he had felt which had only increased during the last few minutes.
"What brings you two here instead of stuffing yourself with so much sugar in the Great Hall that even an elephant would become hyperactive?"
Normally, Draco would chuckle at his dry comments and even Harry had started to smile shyly at them, but this time, the boys exchanged a nervous look.
Severus frowned before Harry started to talk, the boy's partially stuttered story increasing his unease. He believed his son at once that he hadn't made up the story, but that cast even more possible problems.
The first one was whether Harry had only imagined it or if it was a real danger. Although it would mean a lot of work, Severus preferred the latter since he didn't want to think about the possibility that his son was hearing voices which didn't exist. Still, he had to exclude that possibility first before he could even think of possible dangers in the castle.
"Have you ever heard voices before?"
He just wanted to make sure this wasn't the case, but as Harry flinched at his question, he was sure the boy had understood it differently.
His dad thought he was crazy!
Harry felt his hands start to tremble even as he tried to remain calm. On the way to Severus' quarters, he had taken heart in the fact that his friends believed him and that Draco seemed so confident that the Potions Master would help him.
It wasn't until Severus had opened the door for them that Harry realized just how crazy his story sounded. He knew his Dad didn't like to hear such nonsense, but he also knew Draco wouldn't allow him to pretend that nothing had happened. So now that he had told Severus everything, his father thought he was crazy.
Harry took a shaky breath. No one would want a crazy child as their own. No one wanted a... freak!
He gulped as his throat closed up. His relatives hadn't wanted him because they thought his magic made him freakish and although Harry knew they were wrong... he knew Severus would only wanted him as long as he was normal, as long as he fitted in. His vision blurred as he looked at the adoption papers on the table. They would never be signed. He would never have a parent and he would have to go back to the Dursleys and...
An arm was slung around his shoulders, pulling him to closer to a warm body. Harry knew Draco was trying to comfort him like how he had done the same to Draco that fateful night during the summer holiday, but he couldn't stop his tears from spilling over. His aunt had once mentioned that crazy people were locked up in madhouses.
It had been obvious at that time, from the look she gave him, that she thought of him when she mentioned it. He didn't want to lose his friends and to be locked up in a small place ever again!
When a large hand rested on his knee, he looked up. Tearful green eyes met soft dark ones as Severus handed him a clean handkerchief.
"I didn't want to upset you, Harry. I believe you, but I have to think of every possibility before I can decide on any course of action."
Harry gulped and forced himself to voice out his fears.
"Will you... send me to a... madhouse if I... hear voices?"
Black eyes widened in shock and Harry felt Draco moving even closer to him as if to protect him.
"No, of course not! There are a lot of potions which would help you in this case... and mind magic is also a solution."
A finger under his chin forced Harry to keep looking at Severus as the Potions Master continued in a softer voice, "I wouldn't allow anyone to lock up my son."
New tears welled up in Harry's eyes and it took him a few moments before he was able to speak clearly again.
"You would still... want me?"
When the Potions Master nodded, Harry relaxed a little against Draco who had supported him silently all this while without saying anything. He was very thankful Draco had come with him. He loved Ron and Hermione, but he was sure the brilliant witch would have asked thousands of questions by now and Ron just wasn't able to sit still for a few minutes.
Harry squeezed Draco's thigh quickly in gratitude before turning back to his Dad who was still crouched down in front of him. He believed Severus still wanted him since he had never lied to him before, but Harry had to make sure of something else first.
"My Aunt told me that... crazy people are always taken away from their homes and... that no one can do anything against it."
Severus' black orbs darkened at that and his lips turned down in a sneer.
"I don't doubt that you wouldn't... want me," Harry forced himself to continue, "but... it's just..."
"Harry!" The Potions Master interrupted his agitated babbling. "No one will take you away against my will. It's not possible, neither in the Muggle nor in the Wizarding world."
"Why did that stupid Muggle woman tell you something like that?"
Harry turned to Draco to see the grey eyes blazing with anger. A small smile appeared on his face as he realized that it was on his behalf.
"She wanted me to admit that I was lying when... I told her that I could speak with the snakes in the garden." Harry shrugged. "I guess, it was because she doesn't like magic and - what?"
He looked from Draco to his Dad who were both staring at him in disbelief.
"You... can speak with snakes?"
Harry nodded at Draco even as he felt himself getting uneasy again. Surely it wasn't such a big deal for wizards to speak with snakes. Was it?
Severus nodded as if he had heard his silent question.
"That means you are a Parselmouth, Harry. It means that you can speak with snakes and that's a very rare ability."
The Potions Master stopped as if to consider something else before he sighed and continued.
"Salazar Slytherin was also a Parselmouth as is... the Dark Lord."
"But how... what does that mean?" he wanted to know.
This time Draco beat Severus in answering his question.
"It means that you have a cool gift."
Harry shook his head at the excitement in Draco's voice.
"But, if someone finds out that I can speak with snakes and that I hear voices... they will certainly think that I'm crazy."
Fine blond hair tickled Harry's cheek as the young Slytherin shook his head.
"No, you aren't and if they don't believe you... I'll just call Dobby and they will realize what it really means if someone is crazy."
Harry blinked at Draco and didn't even realize at first that Severus had sat down on his other side on the couch, until his father's low voice sounded next to his ear.
"Dobby is a house elf, Harry."
Harry turned to stare at him before turning back to Draco.
"And why is he... crazy?"
When Draco grinned at him before leaning back on the couch, Harry realised the blond liked to be the center of attention. True enough, Draco looked like he was enjoying himself as he started telling them about their weird house elf.
Draco knew how Harry felt. He had felt like a total idiot often enough, when he came to his godfather with something that frightened him, but didn't seem important enough to bother an adult with at the same time.
For example, when he had spent part of the holidays with Severus and had had a nightmare. He had gone to his godfather for comfort, but had also felt utterly foolish to long for a few gentle words. Over the years, Draco had learned that he could go to his godfather with such things, since he wouldn't beat him up for showing weakness like his father would.
Since those stupid Muggles had also beaten up Harry, the young Slytherin could imagine why the boy felt so insecure.
Strange, only a few months ago, Draco would have mocked Harry for crying, but now... he just wanted to comfort him. And if he was able to do so by holding him close and telling him about that crazy house elf of his, that was fine.
"Dobby has always been crazy," Draco started and smirked as he basked into the attention Harry and his godfather gave him. "He only follows orders with reluctance and he wants to be free."
When Harry looked interrogatively at him, Draco shook his head.
"A house elf is bound to the family he or she serves," the young Slytherin elaborated.
"It was sometimes quite amusing to watch him, but this year," Draco paused to take a sip of his tea for dramatic effect before he continued, "he has started talking to himself. He is obsessed with the idea that Hogwarts isn't safe this year and that my father has planned something with an old diary... and some other nonsense about a Chamber of Secrets."
Draco smirked again as he took in Harry's surprised expression.
"Isn't that crazy? My father made sure Dobby can only leave our manor if he is summoned by a member of the family."
A frown appeared on Harry's face.
"But... isn't that cruel? I mean, if he is crazy then he can't help himself and if you father limited him like that, he would certainly feel miserable."
Draco only rolled his eyes. How could he have forgotten that Harry, while his friend, was still a Gryffindor?
Of course Gryffindors weren't as practical as Slytherins!
The blond placed a hand on Harry's shoulder and forced him to lean back on the couch, until they were both half lying against the backrest.
"House elves are very powerful and it would be dangerous if a crazy house elf was allowed to run around freely," he explained before glancing at his godfather.
Severus hadn't said anything about the whole story, but his eyebrows were drawn together and the young Slytherin knew it meant that his godfather was thinking about something. That was strange. As far as Draco was concerned, there wasn't anything to think about in his tale. He was just about to ask his godfather what was wrong when the flames in the fireplace flashed green and the Potions Master got up and hurried over.
Draco was startled when he felt a weight on his shoulder and the brush of soft hair against his cheek.
"Who is it?" Harry's voice sounded right next to his ear.
Startled, Draco glanced sideways to see Harry's head on his shoulder, green eyes half closed. Draco gulped. None of his friends had ever dared to be so close to him and he wouldn't want anyone to use him as a pillow but with Harry it felt... right.
Draco blinked and shook his head at this strange thought before looking over at the fireplace again. He couldn't see much, but the long beard in the flames gave the visitor away.
"It's the headmaster."
When Harry's body tensed, Draco raised a hand without thinking and ran his fingers through the messy black hair to calm his friend.
"Severus will make sure we aren't in any trouble."
Just as the words had left Draco's mouth, the Potions Master got up and walked over to them again. His face was even paler than normal and the young Slytherin had to force himself to remain calm as he noticed the rigid stance of his godfather.
"It gave an attack... the Chamber of Secrets has been opened."
Draco gasped at his godfather as he took in the information and did the only thing he could think of.
"Dobby," he called and instantly, the house elf appeared with a crack.
Was one quiet evening too much to ask for?
Severus shook his head in disbelief and horror as he went over to the two boys.
First, Harry told him that he had heard strange voices and he had to calm his son down with remarkable help from Draco. Then, as if that wasn't enough, Albus told him that Mrs. Norris had been found petrified. Not that Severus was very fond of the damned cat, but what worried him was the sentence written on the wall.
"The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir... beware!"
Severus was certain it wasn't just a prank since no student would be able to petrify a cat. It was very dark magic and that in itself was very alarming. Severus was glad Albus had agreed with him that he should tell the boys what they knew, since the whole school would be aware of the recent events tomorrow morning.
"There was an attack... the Chamber of Secrets has been opened."
Severus watched the shocked faces of his son and godson before Draco called the one creature he had talked about before.
A little house elf in a dirty pillowcaseappeared. He stared wide eyed at the young Malfoy heir and flinched away from Severus before his huge eyes landed on Harry.
"M-master Harry Potter, sir!"
Dobby gave an excited squeak and darted forward, but Severus' quick reflexes stopped the house elf from throwing itself at his son. Severus didn't think Dobby would do Harry any harm since he seemed rather awed to meet the young Gryffindor, but he wasn't going to take any chances. Besides, Harry looked frightened by the creature.
"He won't do anything to you, Harry. I guess Draco wanted to ask him a few questions."
Severus nodded at his godson who smiled proudly as if the Potions Master was just about to award house points. He agreed it was quite clever of his little Slytherin to call the house elf, which had talked about the Chamber of Secrets all summer long, after learning of the attack.
"Dobby, what do you know about the Chamber of Secrets?"
The house elf shuddered at the question, but started talking.
"It be open... the nasty creature are free and Hogwarts not safe anymore... not safe for Master Harry Potter, sir."
Severus only rolled his eyes at the squeaking of the house elf, but gestured for Draco to continue his questioning, since Lucius had made sure Dobby could only answer to a member of the Malfoy family.
"Who has opened the Chamber, Dobby?"
"Same bad wizard as before... Dobby not saying name... Dobby can't."
The same wizard as before, but...
Severus felt the last bit of color draining from his cheeks. Albus had told him that he was sure that the Dark Lord had opened the Chamber the last time when he had still been Tom Riddle, but... no, the Dark Lord couldn't be back. It was impossible!
"How has he opened the Chamber, then?"
Severus only frowned for a moment at Draco, since the young Slytherin didn't try to force Dobby to say the name of the person, but then he realized that his godson probably assumed that his father had forbidden the house elf to do that.
It was a logical conclusion after all.
"Diary... used diary from... bad Master... no, no, bad Dobby, bad Dobby."
It was only thanks to Severus' iron grip on the house elf's arm that Dobby was only able to hit his hand once on the table, before Draco ordered him to stop.
"Shall I order him to bring the diary here?"
Severus nodded while his mind worked at high speed. If the Dark Lord was acting through a cursed diary and if he had understood Malfoy correctly then Lucius was responsible for its presence at the school. If played well, they could use this against the influential pureblood...
Severus had just finished that thought when Dobby popped in again with a worn, black diary in his hands. Tom M. Riddle was written on the front and Severus knew that he had been right with his suspicions.
"Where was this diary?"
The Potions Master took the book warily from the house elf. He could feel the dark magic it possessed, but he couldn't tell yet which curses had been placed on it.
"Red haired witch in Lion house had it, Master Draco Malfoy, sir."
Severus shook his head when Harry looked as if he was about to jump up from the couch and do something typically Gryffindor, and therefore foolish.
"I'll tell the headmaster about our findings and he will make sure that Miss Weasley is safe. You two will remain here until I'm back again and... good job in summoning Dobby, Draco."
The Potions Master allowed himself a small smile, before he went to the fireplace and called out Albus' office to talk with the headmaster.
He just hoped that the new found information would help them in some way.
"What is taking him so long?"
Harry looked anxiously at the fireplace. His Dad had gone for a couple of hours now and he was worried. He didn't really know what was going on and Draco hadn't been able to give him any answers. The young Slytherin only knew that the Chamber of Secrets was rumored to have been opened fifty years ago and that a student had died at that time.
There was a legend that Salazar Slytherin had placed a monster in the Chamber and that his heir would set it loose to kill all Muggleborns and half-bloods, but there wasn't any proof that the Chamber existed.
Harry gnawed at his lower lip. What if there really was a monster and his Dad and the headmaster hadn't been able to defeat it and...
"He will come back. Severus is a great wizard."
Harry glanced worriedly at Draco who was holding out a chicken sandwich to him. Severus had ordered some food from the kitchens before going off with the headmaster.
With a sigh, Harry took the sandwich and forced himself to eat a few bites before putting it back on the plate. He feared he would throw up from nerves if he tried to eat anymore. The only good thing was that he wasn't alone. It would have been horrible to wait all by himself for his Dad to return.
Harry leaned back again and smiled a bit as Draco wrapped an arm around his shoulder and drew him close to his side. It was strange, Harry mused as he bedded his head on the blond's shoulder again. He had never done this before with Ron or, heaven forbid, Hermione, but it felt right to lie next to Draco like this. It calmed him in a way he couldn't explain.
Harry felt his eyes grew heavy as he listened to the rhythmic beating of Draco's heart.
"Is everything alright?"
Harry opened his eyes to the sound of Draco's voice. He realised he must have fallen asleep, since he felt much more rested and at ease than before.
"The headmaster and I took care of the mysterious Chamber."
Harry sat up abruptly as he heard the smooth voice of the Potions Master and squinted at the tall man standing in front of the couch. His vision was a little blurred since Draco had obviously taken his glasses off, but Harry was still able to recognize Severus.
"Dad! You're back!"
Jumping up from the couch, he wrapped his arms around the Potions Master. Dust and sand tickled Harry's nose as he buried his head in the black robes, but he didn't care as two strong arms closed around him. He barely registered himself being lifted up and only came to his senses when he found himself sitting on Severus' lap, who had taken his place on the couch.
A faint blush crept into Harry's cheeks as he dared to glance at Draco. The blond only winked at him, but didn't make a comment on his childish behavior. Relaxing against Severus' back, Harry allowed himself to ask the first question which came to his mind.
"What has happened?"
Severus had never before been so glad to come back to his quarters. No, not even after a meeting with Voldemort had he felt so utterly relieved that he was still alive. It was less dangerous to fool the Dark Lord than it was to fight against a Basilisk.
Severus still shuddered at the memory. After telling Albus what he had found out and showing him the diary, understanding had flashed across the face of the old wizard and they had both moved to the bathroom of Moaning Myrtle. After all, she had been the only student who had died when the Chamber had been opened the last time.
The Potions Master shook his head slowly, thinking Salazar must have been a pervert to place the entrance to his Chambers in the girls' bathroom. He and Albus had both come to the conclusion that the monster couldn't be anything else than a Basilisk after they heard the tale of the whining ghost.
Severus was impressed that Albus had been able to force the memory of Tom Riddle to help them and to give him the ability to speak Parseltongue to open the secret passage to the Chamber. It had been thrilling and frightening at the same time to wander through huge Chamber underneath Hogwarts, especially since they knew that they had to defeat a poisonous snake in the end.
Again, Albus had forced the memory Riddle to call the serpent and they were able to kill it before it realized that they weren't his Master. Still, Severus was sure he would have nightmares for years to come about the giant snake, which could have killed them with only a look from her eyes.
The Potions Master's thoughts were interrupted as Harry woke up. He admitted he had thought it rather cute to see Draco and his son cuddled so close together, although he would never tell them so. They already didn't fear him... he couldn't take the chance that they would confuse him with Molly Weasley next!
"Dad! You're back!"
An instant later, Severus found his arms full of Harry. A pleased smile flicked across his face as he lifted the boy up and sat down on the couch with him, daring Draco to tease Harry with a glare. But his godson only smiled at him and winked at Harry before both boys looked eagerly at him as Harry asked what had happened.
Severus summed up the happenings as fast as possible without mentioning his fear or how the Basilisk had looked after he had hit it with several Sectumsempra.He would have to go back to the Chamber later to collect some rare ingredients from the Basilisk, which were useful in many expensive potions.
Severus smirked inwardly as he thought of what Voldemort would do if he knew the previous familiar of his ancestor was used in potions.
"And what happened with the diary?"
This time, the Potions Master showed his smirk openly as he regarded Draco.
"The headmaster and I have destroyed it after collecting enough evidence that the book had truly belonged to the Dark Lord... and that your father was responsible for his appearance at the school."
When Draco frowned, Severus was forced to elaborate.
"I'm sure that your father doesn't want anyone to know of his involvement in setting loose a Basilisk at Hogwarts... an Unbreakable Vow that he doesn't harm you in any way anymore should be a small price for our silence."
Grey eyes lit up significantly, but before either of them could say anything, Harry had jumped off Severus' lap and was hugging Draco fiercely now.
"I'm so happy that he won't hurt you again, Draco!"
Severus only shook his head in disbelief. Typical Gryffindors!
He was certain Harry didn't even know what an Unbreakable Vow was, but he just trusted the Potions Master to tell the truth. Somehow, that thought also filled Severus with warmth as he allowed the two boys to hug a little longer before clearing his throat to get their attention.
The two boys drew back a little, but still sat snuggled close on the couch.
Severus found himself hoping this behavior was to be blamed on exhaustion and relief and didn't mean that his godson was turned into a Gryffindor... or a sentimental Hufflepuff.
"As I said before, the monster was a Basilisk and he was summoned by parseltongue."
He looked expectantly at Harry, whose green eyes widened in understanding.
"I heard... the voice belonged to the... Basilisk?! Gross."
"See?" Draco winked at him. "You aren't any crazier than most Gryffindors."
Severus only rolled his eyes as this comment led to a tickling fight right on his couch. He should probably think about the ominous comments Albus had made about the diary and how the headmaster seemed to suspect there was more behind all that, but the Potions Master found himself unable to do so.
Right now, Severus had to get two exhausted boys to bed and he almost feared this task would be harder than fighting the Basilisk earlier.
Harry stumbled into the living-room, where the Potions Master was still reading on the couch. He and Draco had been allowed to stay in Severus' quarters since the headmaster had told Severus that classes for tomorrow were cancelled.
Harry liked that he was sharing a bed with Draco tonight. His Dad had offered to transfigure another bed for them, but the two boys wanted to sleep together like they had done for some nights during the holidays. Harry was aware that Severus had only agreed to this because he had wanted them to go to bed and he felt a little bad that he had stayed up so long with Draco, when it was clear Severus wanted some time for himself.
It was almost midnight now and Draco had already fallen asleep, but Harry couldn't sleep as long as there was still something on his mind. Once again, he felt bad to disturb Severus especially when the Potions Master sighed as soon he looked up and saw him.
"I'm sorry, but I..."
"Stupid child, come here if you don't want to catch a cold in only your pajamas."
Harry didn't need to be told twice. He stumbled to Severus and was covered with a woolen blanket before the Potions Master wrapped an arm around him as they sat together on the couch.
"Did you have a nightmare?"
Harry shook his head and bit on his lip as he glanced from his Dad to the papers still lying on the table. Severus had obviously followed his gaze as a hand ruffled his hair.
"We can sign them tomorrow, Harry."
The young Gryffindor shook his head.
"No, I want to sign it today, because... it's still Halloween and... my parents died at that day and... I want you as a Dad... today..."
Harry ducked his head in shame as the dark orbs stared disbelievingly at him. He knew he sounded utterly childish. It didn't matter if the papers were signed today or tomorrow. As long as Severus wanted him as his son, that was all that mattered, but...
"We can sign them now if you want to."
Green eyes blinked up at the Potions Master. The dark orbs seemed much gentler than they normally did and his voice also sounded much hoarser than normal.
Harry just hoped that his Dad hadn't caught a cold, but he didn't ask. He uncovered himself from the blanket and watched happily as Severus summoned a quill and ink.
"I hope your handwriting isn't as bad at this hour as it is during classes otherwise the Ministry will need days to decipher your signature."
Harry stuck out his lower lip at that, but signed his name extra carefully on the paper. Severus had already gone through the paper with him and also explained why Harry had to sign it, although he was still a minor. The young Gryffindor hadn't completely understood it, but it had to do with the fact that it was a magical contract and that every participant and witness had to sign it so that it was magically valid.
Harry watched as Severus signed his name next to his. They had all agreed that Harry should keep his name and they had only added Snapeto it.
From now on, he was Harry James Snape-Potter.
Harry liked that a part of his name was the same as his Dad's, since that showed that they truly belonged together. He waited impatiently until Severus had finished the signing and put the quill aside, before he leaped at the surprised Potions Master. They both stumbled backwards on the couch and Harry found himself cuddled against the chest of Severus as he smiled brightly up at him.
"I love you, Dad."
Harry saw something glistening in the dark orbs, but before he could ask if Severus was alright, his Dad had already pressed his head against his shoulder and was stroking his hair. Harry heard the Potions Master taking a shaky breath before thin lips were pressed against his forehead.
"I love you, too... you impossible Gryffindor."
A big smile lit up Harry's face as he snuggled against the warmth of his Dad just as the minute hand of the clock moved to the centre of the number twelve.
A new day had started and it also marked the beginning of a new life for Harry and Severus... and the young Gryffindor was sure that it would be brilliant.