When the children had finished showing Ron and Hermione the house they returned downstairs to where Severus was awaiting them in his study. He wanted to take the opportunity to ensure that their guests were familiar with the house rules and that his own children understood that they still applied. Breakfast would be at 8:00 and he expected them to have dressed. They were still required to spend at least four more hours in the schoolroom this week and this he recommended they get it out of the way before Friday. They also had a clothes fitting, dance class, swordsmanship lesson and portrait sitting to attend and he would be most disappointed if they thought to neglect any of these responsibilities but otherwise he hoped they had fun. He then enquired as to what their plans for the rest of the afternoon were.
"We are going to play Quidditch!" Evan informed him excitedly beaming from ear to ear.
"If that's okay with you?" Harry added politely.
"How do you intend to play Quidditch with only five people, the teams wouldn't even be even?" Severus asked feigning suspicion as he seized on this as the perfect excuse of inviting Ginevra to join them but Harry had mistakenly thought it was his father's way of suggesting he might like to join them. "You could join us if you like?" he offered avoiding the gazes of his friends. He was sure they wouldn't want to play with the snarky Potions Professor and yet he wanted them to see that he wasn't really like that. Not here at home anyways.
"Are you sure your friends want to spend their summer holidays playing Quidditch with a greasy dungeon bat? Severus asked his son, fixing the youngest Weasley boy with a questionable smirk that nearly made the poor boy choke.
Harry gulped, fearing not for the first time that his father could actually read minds. He stammered for a minute unable to decide how to respond, when Snape surprised them all by tousling Ronald's hair and leading them outside. "I was joking" he stated laughing before while enquiring as to how exactly one played three-aside Quidditch.
Ron looked up at his professor in bewilderment before launching into an animated description of the many possible formations as Harry and the twins went to fetch the Quidditch supplies. "Well first you decide whether you want to play properly with Bludgers and everything or just the Quaffle or whatever. If you decide to use all three you could have one beater, two chasers, play last man back for keeper and have everyone chase after the Snitch, or you just dodge the Bludgers and have two chasers and permanent keeper/seeker or everyone can just play all three. In that case you know Harry would be the one to catch the Snitch though so then you need to decide if you need to balance it out somehow."
"It's disappointing that you don't put this much thought into your schoolwork Weasley." Severus goaded when his sons friend finally paused for air, causing Hermione to laugh.
Just then Harry and the twins returned and taking the shrunken Quidditch chest from them Severus led the way to an open area of lawn.
Happy with the location he dropped the chest to the lawn and tapped it once with his wand causing it to expand to its usual size. He then took out the hoops and spelled them up into the air.
"Gryffindor's Golden Trio against the Illustrious House of Snape, Severus suggested, "Each team may play whatever formation they like."
The children nodded and the teams separated to discuss tactics. "Aren't you part of the Illustrious House of Snape too?" Ron asked Harry somewhat defensively as the three of them huddled together at the other end of the field."
Harry looked at him in confusion "I suppose so but it wouldn't be a Gryffindor trio without me now would it?"
"No but I wouldn't want to think he treats you like the odd man out just because you didn't grow up here or you don't have his name."
"Technically I do have his name now" Harry confessed to his friends, "He had to apply to the Ministry to have my birth records amended. When finalising the papers he had it officially changed to Harry James Potter Snape but we agreed that there wasn't much point in trying to get anyone to use it. Not when Harry Potter is the Boy who Lived plus somehow I'm still the heir to the Potters heir so it would be a little off if I just dropped the name."
Looking around at the wealth that surrounded his friend now, Ron felt a twinge of jealously and had to remind himself that while his family were poor at least he had grown up in a loving home with two loving parents. Disgusted at himself for this moment of bitterness Ron quickly turned the conversation back to tactics and having settled on a game plan they turned and nodded to the opposition that they were ready to start and Snape summoned Cobb to request he throw up the balls between the teams.
The Golden Trio won when Harry inevitably caught the snitch but the teams had been quite evenly matched and the Snapes had actually been in the lead when Harry decided to turn his attention to searching for it. Hermione didn't share the same love of Quidditch her friends did and it was quite reluctantly she had agreed to play in the first place her not being particularly confident on a broom but she was proud of her effort having scored quite a few points herself. The twins too were still rather inexperienced flyers and while they too had performed adequately it really was their father who had carried the team and not just through his most decidedly Slytherin plays.
"He's not bad for an old man!" Ron quipped as they walked back up to the house to clean up before dinner.
"He's not old!" Hermione admonished explaining that Harry was born only a couple of years after his mother had finished school and that her and Snape had been in the same class meaning that he would only be around 32 or 33.
To Harry this meant his father was still a good twenty years older than he was, and twenty years was a long time and therefore his father could be considered old but to Ron whose parents were older than this it was inconceivable that he could be a parent or even a teacher and still be that young. He argued the impossibility of it until Hermione exasperated the situation further by suggesting that compared to Professors McGonagall or Dumbledore, Snape was practically a child himself.
After they tidied themselves up for dinner they went into the nursery to wait until it was time to go down.
Hermione asked about the lessons in the schoolroom the professor had mentioned earlier, eager to discover if her friend had learned anything particularly interesting over the summer. Harry shrugged, the other things were in preparation for his party so he understood the need to do them despite the presence of company and they couldn't keep cancelling on the swordmaster but he had rather hoped his father might forgo the time spent in the classroom while his friends were here.
"Maybe we could ask him if we could get it over with tonight?" Lily suggested that way we will have more time to play later in the week.
Severus regarded their request. It would be far too late when they went to bed if they tried to spend four hours studying now not to mention the fact that there was no way he could expect them to stay attentive for that long but he agreed to an hour which he spent practicing wandless magic with them and going over some of the topics Lockhart would have adequately covered with them last year if he had been in anyway competent as a teacher.
He had expected the children to disappear up to the nursery as soon as he dismissed them from the schoolroom but surprisingly they seemed quite happy in his company and followed him back to the drawing room instead where they began to discuss plans for the party.
Lily was beside herself with excitement they had never had a party before and shyly asked Hermione if she knew how to put up her hair and what she thought about dancing.
Ron made a rather rude comment about how unruly Hermione's hair could be forcing Severus to reprimand him and request that he apologise before assuring both girls that Loxie was a wonder with hair and would ensure they looked like the little princesses they were for the ball although he would much rather if Lily at least wore hers down.
Hermione blushed at her stern teacher calling her a princess but was saved from further embarrassment when Lily moved on to Ron and his ability to dance. Turning quite crimson Ron confessed he had no idea how to dance and that he intended to sit out of that part of the festivities altogether. This appalled both twins to no end and despite their father reminding them that the dance mistress was coming and could rectify that tomorrow they insisted upon their father beginning the lessons there and then.
Harry had wondered why Evan cared, he was a good dancer having studied it with their sister for many years but wasn't overly obsessed with it the way she was until he realised that Evan was afraid that if Ron didn't dance, he Harry wouldn't either and then his brother would be forced to either suffer it alone or disappoint Lily so reluctantly he followed Snape to the ballroom, jokingly suggesting that his father partner Ron the way he had done with him previously but his father glared at him, it seemed the idea of his dancing with one of his male students was a step to far. Evan suggested he partner Hermione and Lily Ron to teach them the basics but Hermione was far too tall for Evan and he thought it better for Ron to become accustomed to leading so he had Hermione and Ron copy the twins as both himself and Harry looked on then once they got the general gist of things he swapped out Evan for Harry and asked him to pay close attention to the other boys form and correct them if necessary before excusing himself. He knew he wouldn't get a better excuse to invite Miss Weasley to join them than this so returning to his office he pulled out a sheet of parchment and wrote to her to request her assistance.
I understand that you undoubtedly have many plans for your summer holidays but I am hoping you may be able to reschedule so that you may assist me with the preparations for Harry's birthday.
There is a dance mistress coming tomorrow and in my haste to organise things I overlooked the fact that there would be three boys but only two girls in attendance and now find myself in urgent need of a third girl to make up the last pair.
If there is any way you could make yourself available to join us in the morning? I would be incredibly grateful and if you could organise someway of waiting here to help out for the rest of the week even more so.
Please let me know by return of owl if you could assist me in this matter.
Ginny squealed in delight before running down the stairs to her mother to ask if she might go. Dance lessons with Harry! Of course she wanted to do it and it wasn't like she had anything else on.
Molly and Arthur put on an act of debating it for a few minutes before agreeing that Molly would drop her over in the morning and warning her that she better behave.
Ginny promised and squealed again before running up the stairs three at a time in her haste to send out her response. Her brothers met her on the landing, wondering what on earth all the commotion was about, they rolled their eyes when she gleefully informed them her news but she didn't care she was too excited to even care what her brothers thought. Shutting the door to their sarcastic comments she whipped out some parchment and began penning her eager reply.
It took a couple of attempts before she could decide what exactly she wanted to say. The first few sheets wasted by her inability to decide how she should address the Potions Master, he had signed his letter Severus Snape thus inviting her to address him as such and yet seeing it on paper made her feel uneasy, even if he was her friend's father he was still her teacher and she had a sneaking suspicion that to do so would still be considered an impertinence. She balled up that page and took out another settling for the formal Mr. Snape since he had addressed her as Miss Weasley before changing her mind again and simply writing 'Professor'.
I would be delighted to assist. My mother will escort me to your house first thing tomorrow morning and I may stay for the week.
The owl swooped into the ballroom where Snape had rejoined the children. He graciously caught the missive and read it with a smile before calling for Ron's attention and advising him that his sister would be joining them in the morning.
"Why?" Ron asked with a twinge of annoyance.
"Because Mr. Weasley I invited her!" Severus replied slightly annoyed that the boy would question his right to invite anyone into his home "I realised the need for a third girl for tomorrows lesson and I thought her the most appropriate option, but if you have a legitimate objection I could perhaps invite Miss Parkinson in her stead. That would surely disappoint your sister now though which would be rather unfair. Harry, do you object to Ginevra's coming?"
"Of course not!" Harry replied perplexed.
"Very well that's settled then." Severus said feeling unreasonably triumphant in himself. " I will see you in the morning, there are a few things I must attend to before I go to bed" he then reminded Lily and Evan that their bed time was soon approaching and kissed each of his own children on their foreheads before bidding them all a goodnight.