Author's note: This is the continuation of the story started in Harry Potter, Age 8 and Harry Potter, Age 9. You can still read this story by itself, but things might make more sense if you peruse those stories first. But, as an update, in the first book Harry finds his guardians, the Dursley's, all killed and himself placed in the care of Severus Snape. In this book Snape starts out as a mean and indifferent guardian, but eventually they build an accord, and eventually thwart an attempt on Harry's life together. In the second story, Harry goes to Hogwarts to join a special "pre-school" class of others his age, and Lupin is their teacher. Once again a mysterious person threatens his life, and through the unraveling of the bad guy we see Harry make friends, gain confidence, and bond with his caregiver. At the end of the story, Snape officially adopts Harry.

Thank you for continuing on with me in this story, I am looking forward to seeing how Harry's last year before being an official Hogwarts student unfolds. I had a quick little hiatus with a story about Draco, and I'm excited to be back in this world.

Disclaimer: These characters are mostly derived from the works of JK Rowling (there are a few original characters about), and I do not profit in any way from my writing (except the kind reviews people leave me). I have decided not to write a disclaimer for every chapter, so assume that in all the chapters of this story I do not profit nor do I own these characters.

Disclaimer, part 2: This story will contain corporal punishment, or spanking of children. If this is a trigger or difficult thing for you, please read one of the other amazing stories on this site that does not contain it. This will be your final warning, I will not post chapter warnings. This is also not a manual in child rearing, nor does it reflect my own opinions of childrearing. And if you feel like you must flame me on this issue, just know that your posts will be deleted and they don't really bother me. Seriously, find another hobby.

Snape wondered what idiocy led him to agree to have Harry's 10th birthday party at the Weasley's house again. Molly had again outdone herself with the cake, this one was three different flavors and a tiny broomstick of spun sugar at the top. Harry of course was on the real-sized broomstick of his out in the yard with the passel of red-headed Weasleys, showing off the newest tricks he'd been working on during the summer.

All in all it had been a very good summer with Harry. Lupin had stayed over (since when had that werewolf become a relative?) for several weeks as well, and Draco had even visited without incident. Everything had just been feeling so . . . normal. Or at least what Snape thought normal might feel like for other people. His life had never been normal - from abused, neglected and outcast child to death eater to friendless Dungeon Bat to this new manifestation of his life - a father. He even had a friend if you counted that bloody werewolf. Where had his life as a near hermit gone to?

But there was a change even larger than he had dared to admit to himself - even bigger than having a friend and having erstwhile relatives like he had with the Weasleys. He had actually adopted the boy who lived, and he was now a legal father to the son of his childhood enemy and childhood friend. A father. Though he had felt the emotional reality of fatherhood since he had been decided to be Harry's guardian, the legal reality of it was something else entirely.

"The boys are out on their brooms," Molly informed him, coming in the front room. "I can't believe how much Harry has grown this summer."

"He has gotten taller," Snape acknowledged, trying not to feel smug. "It's amazing what proper nutrition can do for a boy."

"He seems so happy since the adoption, Severus," she told him quietly. "It is good to see the both of you so happy."

"He is a good lad," Snape answered her.

"I know Lupin is quite happy being his uncle too," Molly told him. "I've never seen him so happy. All he talks about is Harry."

"He's been actually quite helpful," Snape told her. "Who would have thought I would be able to stand one of the marauders years later?"

"We are, none of us, at our best during our school days," she told him. "That's certainly true for the marauders. But I always thought Lupin was the best of them."

"Perhaps," Snape answered. "Apparently Sirius was the worst."

"That always surprised me," she told him sadly. "They weren't in the same year as we were, but we were all friends. I was always shocked that he had betrayed them like that."

"He must have been out for them all along."

"That's just it," Molly told him. "Sirius had to permanently betray his whole family to join the order, there was no going back. And James' parents basically adopted Sirius during his last few years at school. His own folks were not . . . well suited for parenthood."

"That does make it all the more evil for the betrayal," Snape acknowledged. "He must have been mentally ill."

"I never thought that," Molly shook her head. "I just have no explanation. And killing twelve muggles while taking out poor Peter Pettigrew? He never had anything against muggles."

"The Dark Lord can have undue influence on weak minds," Snape told her softly. "I wonder if Sirius just succumbed to the pressure."

"I also just don't think that James and Lily were stupid," Molly shook her head again. "They chose you and Sirius as Godfathers, and I have to believe they were good judges of character."

"What are you saying, Mrs. Weasley?" he asked directly. "Are you saying that you think Sirius was unjustly imprisoned? That the real killer of the Potters is at large?"

"I don't know," she backpedaled, blushing. "I have no idea what is making me even talk to you about this. Maybe it was seeing you and Lupin become friends, it makes me realize how much the war really cost us."

"Perhaps," he answered, non-committally. He did not want to say anything, but the witch's questions rankled in his mind. She made sense - why had Sirius done it? Now that Snape had made his peace with Lupin - and on some level, James - the thought of Sirius niggled the back of his mind. Perhaps it was only his own close scrape with Azkaban, if Dumbledore hadn't applied personally for clemency for him he would be in Azkaban himself.

"P'fessor!" he heard one of the Weasleys cry out. "Come quick! Harry's taken a bludger to the head!"

Snape seemed instantly to be beside the unconscious Harry, casting a diagnostic charm and feeling his skull firmly.

"Is he alright?" he heard Molly ask him anxiously.

"Concussion," he answered tersely. "Sprained wrist."

"Dear me," she said. "You should go have Poppy look at him."

With a nod, Snape said, "He should be fine to move." Very carefully, Snape scooped the boy up in his arms and took him to the floo. It caught him off guard for a minute how much more solid Harry felt in his arms - he certainly had grown a lot since his last birthday. With a firm, "Hogwarts, Infirmary!" he was away back to Hogwarts.

Severus stepped through the floo, and took Harry over to one of the beds.

"What happened?" a woman's voice asked from behind him.

"Bludger to the head during Quidditch," Snape answered quickly. "Fell from a height. He has a concussion and a sprained wrist from my diagnostic. Fetch Madame Pomfrey at once."

"I am her fill in," the voice answered.

Snape turned sharply to see a uniformed mediwitch behind him, smiling calmly at him. "Who are you?" he demanded.

"I am Madame Pomfrey's niece," she answered in a thick highland brogue, arching her eyebrow. "I am a fully trained mediwitch, and a regular healer at St. Mungo's. I'm filling in for Aunt Poppy. Now, are ye goin' tae allow me tae see the patient?"

Glowering at the curly haired, plump witch, he replied, "And just how am I supposed to know that you are not some death eater disguised as a fussy, middle-aged spinster to gain my trust?"

Severus had expected hysterics from the woman, or maybe crying from the middle-aged comment. His glower was usually enough to send nice women aflutter, and reduce anybody with any self-doubt to tears. But when his glower returned to her face, he did not see hysterics nor did he see tears. Instead, he saw piercing blue eyes that were glowering right back at him.

"Ye will back off and let me examine that bairn now or I will hex ye tae the ceiling!" she challenged, actually pushing Snape to the side to begin her examination of Harry.

Snape pulled out his wand, not sure if he was going to hex her or help her, and then was taken aback by her soft crooning voice to Harry. He saw her deftly straighten Harry out and begin to examine his eyes with a flashlight, checking for responsiveness. Her careful fingers crept up his head, checking for swelling, and she checked his fingernails for color. Wordlessly, she withdrew her own wand and ran a diagnostic spell, frowning at the results.

"How long has he been out?" she asked sharply.

"Less than five minutes," Snape answered.

"Were you with him at the time?"

"No, he was outside playing with friends."

"What height did he fall from?"

"Probably fifteen feet, but I am not sure."

"When is the last time he ate?"

"He had lunch about an hour ago."

She didn't ask any more questions as she finished her examination, and then announced, "I do no believe there is permanent harm done."

As if her announcement had assured Harry himself, he began to rouse. Groaning, his hand went to where his head had hit.

"Where am I?" he asked, confused.

"The infirmary at Hogwarts," the Medi-witch told him. "I am Madame MacKenzie, and your father is here too."

"Dad?" Harry asked softly.

"You were hit by a bludger in the head," Snape told him quickly. "You were on your broom with the Weasleys."

"My birthday," Harry breathed, as if he were just remembering.

"Do you feel like you want to vomit?" Madame MacKenzie asked softly.

"Yes," Harry replied, in just enough time for the Mediwitch to conjure a small receptacle and put it under his chin. Harry vomited into the bin, his body racked by the spasms, and then he curled up back onto the bed, weak and shaky.

"It's normal to vomit a bit when ye get hit that hard," Madame MacKenzie told him softly. "There ye go, love, back in bed. Let me get you a soft cloth."

Snape watched as the Medi-witch fussed over Harry, wiping his mouth softly and banishing the receptacle of vomit.

"Are you feeling sleepy, love?" she asked him quietly.

"A little," he answered.

"I need ye tae stay awake for at least the next few hours," she told him. "Yer Dad can help with that. I'm going to floo over to St. Mungo's to pick up a few things, I will be right back."

"Okay," Harry answered, still shaky.

"Might I have a word with you, Dad?" she asked, gesturing over to the floo.

Snape felt torn about leaving Harry's side, but followed the woman over to the floo.

"He will be alright," she assured him. "But his concussion is a serious one. I'm going to fetch a few potions from St. Mungo's for now. But for the next six hours he needs to be closely observed and not allowed to sleep. Can ye be with him for that time?"

"I can," Snape answered stoically.

"Keep him quiet but entertained," she told him. "I will be right back."

And with that, the witch was gone through the floo and Snape looked back on Harry with consternation. Was this child never safe? Had he failed as a guardian by how many times this poor child ends up in the infirmary? Why had he let the lad play with the Weasleys who were all so much bigger and stronger than him?

"Are you there, dad?" he heard Harry ask softly.

"Right here," he replied, rushing to the boy's side.

"It's my fault, dad," Harry admitted hurriedly. "I asked for us to play with bludgers, even though Percy said we shouldn't."

"That was a foolish decision."

Harry flushed. "And then I was trying out this new triple loop that I thought would be able to evade the bludgers, so I told Ron to hit one at me . . ."

"Harry James Potter!" Snape snapped, picturing this all happening in his head. "If you try anything so foolish again I will have you right over my knee . . ."

"It's inhumane tae skelp a lad with a concussion," he heard the Medi-witch interrupt firmly. "And I told ye tae keep him quiet."

"So you did," Snape snapped, his face tight. He felt like a small boy who had been caught sneaking candy.

"Here, Harry, I have a few potions for ye," she turned her attention on her patient. "This first one will help with pain. Here ye go, let's get ye sat up first."

Harry felt his head swim as the gentle and sure hands of the healer helped him sit up, and he felt steadier as his Dad held him firmly. The healer held the first potion to his lips, and even though the taste made him gag, he swallowed it down. She gave him another, and then another, and soon he was feeling relaxed and in less pain.

"Now Harry, I want ye tae stay awake for at least six hours," Madame MacKenzie told him. "Your Dad will stay in here with ye. Ye shouldn't be in any pain, so if anything bothers ye have yer dad fetch me right away."

"Yes, Madame," Harry replied obediently.

"And do ye promise no tae scare him again?" she demanded, looking at Snape.

"I do, Madame," he replied with as much dignity as he could muster.

"Verra well," she answered, then turned to return to her small office. "Let me ken if there is any change."