This story may start a bit violently and the first two chapters contain corporal punishment in form of spankings but the main focus of this story is on Harry finding a family and a place where he finally belongs. Before Harry can find peace and love, though, misunderstandings need to be resloved.
Out Of The Frying Pan
They were just boys and boys sometimes fight with each other. It would be better not to do it in public places and it is never a good idea to hit someone whose father is very influential. Harry would have known this if someone had bothered to teach him manners. The Dursleys certainly didn't bother. They didn't want to be concerned with the troubles their nephew caused in the magical world. So it happened that Harry ended up in front of Mr. Malfoy who suddenly had the right to discipline the obviously under bred boy.
The people in Diagon Alley looked shocked. Had the boy-who-lived really hit the Malfoy heir in the open? They looked around waiting for Mr. Malfoy or the one, with whom Harry Potter lived, to appear and they didn't need to wait long. Mr. Malfoy pushed his way through the crowd to get to his son. He couldn't believe his eyes either. How dare Harry Potter make such a scene in a public place? Has nobody taught him how to behave in public?
Finally he reached the two boys. He fixed Mr. Potter with an angry glare and then crouched down, to help his son up. Draco had tears in his eyes but he wasn't crying. He knew how to hold himself together in public. The pain was terrible though and he pressed his hands against his throbbing side of the face. Mr. Malfoy pulled out a handkerchief and transformed it into a cool-bag and gave it to his son.
Then he turned back at Mr. Potter. "Where is your aunt or uncle?"
Harry was pale and his eyes wide with shock. It hadn't been his intention to hit Draco but it had felt really good. That was, until he noticed all the eyes that stared at him horrified.
"I'm on my own, Sir," Harry replied.
Mr. Malfoy wasn't happy in the least. How irresponsible was that, to let a twelve year old boy roam around all by his own? "I have to tend to my son now but rest assured I will make sure that there are consequences of your behaviour today. Tell your relatives to expect my visit by tomorrow. They will learn about this one way or the other. Good day, Mr. Potter!"
Harry felt an uncomfortable knot form in his stomach. Will Mr. Malfoy really visit him in Privet Drive No. 4? He was sure that his relatives wouldn't care what he had done but if Mr. Malfoy really would appear, then this will lead to a hiding. His relatives hated wizards to no end.
Mr. Malfoy did make his visit the next day but it turned out differently than he had expected.
"Turn around, Mr. Potter," Mr. Malfoy's voice called out and Harry turned away from the corner he was standing in.
"Do you know why you are here?"
"Erm… guess to get punished?" Harry mumbled. He was still in shock that the man had made good on his promise and come after him.
Mr. Malfoy stared hard at the boy. "Speak properly! You are here to get a well-deserved punishment in hopes to correct your abominable behaviour towards your fellow men."
At this, Harry frowned. Why did everyone believe it was entirely his fault? "Isn't my fault that Malf… erm… Draco is such a git," Harry replied stubbornly.
Mr. Malfoy looked livid. "Do you really think insulting my son in front of me is working to your favour?"
"No, I just want to say that Draco started it. I wouldn't have hit him, if he wouldn't have said all those awful things," Harry explained with a wildly pounding heart in his chest.
"We are not discussing the wrongdoings of my son. Rest assured I addressed Draco's misconduct accordingly. Right now we are discussing your wrongdoing. Are you aware that hitting Draco was wrong?"
Harry's frown deepened at that. He couldn't understand why Mr. Malfoy put up so much fuss. It was just one well-placed punch in the face. Dudley did much more with Harry and even without any reason behind his actions. Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon never so much as scolded their son.
"Mr. Potter, I asked you a question and I require an answer. Do you realize that it was wrong to hit Draco?"
Defiantly, Harry crossed his arms, "No. Draco deserved what he got!"
Mr. Malfoy sighed, "Then, Harry, I fear I have to correct the way you are thinking. Come here, please."
Not understanding what was going on and completely unaware of what was going to happen next, the boy stepped closer to the man who sat himself down on an armless chair. Harry frowned confused.
"I don't know how your relatives tend to punish you but I believe in spankings and you, young man, are going to receive one," Mr. Malfoy explained while he took hold of Harry's left wrist. It was good he did, because as soon as Harry heard the word 'spanking' he tried to step back again.
"No. Lemmi go!" Harry started to panic all of a sudden and tried to get free, "You have no right to do that. You're not my father!"
"I can and I will," Lucius pointed out and pulled the struggling boy between his legs to grab Harry's other hand. Giving Harry's arms a light shake he commanded the child to listen. As the boy stopped his struggling he went on, "Your relatives made it more than clear that they do not wish to be concerned with your ill mannered behaviour. Right now my solicitor is working to transfer your guardianship over to me. As a distant relative, it is my right to claim guardianship of you, if your current guardians are proven unfit to raise you properly."
Harry paled as he learned this little piece of news. "You are going to be my guardian?" the boy asked shell shocked.
It wasn't that he would be sad to leave his relatives for good but the Malfoys? He felt like he was getting out of the frying pan into the fire.
"Indeed. We will discuss the details at a later date. Right now we will address your latest misdeed." With those words Mr. Malfoy pulled Harry over his knees.
Harry gasped as cold air suddenly hit the skin of his buttocks and thighs. As he realized that his trousers were pooling around his ankles and that his bum was bare, he tried to stand up again. Mr. Malfoy had trapped Harry with his left arm, holding the boy in place with an iron grip. Before Harry could increase his struggling, the first smack was delivered on his upturned bottom.
Harry stopped in his tracks and gasped at the burning sensation but then fought harder to get free.
"No! Lemmi go!" Harry cried hysterically and struggled for dear life, "Lemmi go! You cannot do that!"
"Harry, calm down," Mr. Malfoy' commanded loudly over the boy's screams and stopped the smacking. As the boy stopped his struggle he continued in a much calmer voice, "There is nothing you can do to prevent this punishment. If I have to pause right now you will go back into the corner and we will continue this discussion at a later point but rest assured you will get a spanking."
Mr. Malfoy waited until Harry's breathing got under control again, then he asked, "Ready to continue?"
Harry didn't answer immediately but he realised that there was no way out of this punishment and he had already been standing in that dreadful corner for an eternity, so he finally said in a very small voice, "o... okay."
At that, Mr. Malfoy renewed his hold on Harry, which the boy hadn't realized had loosened before. Then one smack followed the next until Harry's bottom felt as if it was flaming and the boy started to hiss.
"Why are you in this position?" Mr. Malfoy started his lecture.
Breathing harshly Harry answered, "Because I hit Draco."
"Correct. Why was it wrong to hit Draco?"
This time no answer followed. "Harry, why was it wrong?" Mr. Malfoy repeated in a very stern voice.
"Dunno," Harry shouted in frustration and a smack followed immediately. "Ow"
"Dudley never got punished when he and his friends hit me," Harry cried out. Although he knew perfectly well that hitting someone was not right, in this instance he found it extremely unfair how often Dudley had been able to hit him without following punishment and he, Harry, just once hit Draco and received the worst punishment ever.
"Are you trying to tell me, you think hitting someone is an appropriate behaviour?" Mr. Malfoy asked shocked by the boy's words.
Harry sighed. "No, but I don't understand what the big deal is."
Lucius frowned, he couldn't believe his ears. "The big deal, as you put it, is that you can not run around punching everyone who dares to say something you do not like to hear. If your cousin never got punished for his behaviour, than your relatives are more than proven unfit to raise you or any child in that matter," he explained.
"I don't punch everyone," Harry pointed out.
"Oh, so it is just Draco then?" Lucius concluded "And that's okay because…?"
Harry huffed, frustrated "It wasn't my intention but he got me angry and I…"
As the boy's voice trailed off, Lucius continued for him, "… you lost control?"
"Yes," Harry admitted meekly.
"And if it would have been someone else, you would have been able to restrain your anger?" Lucius wondered.
No reply followed and silence hung between the two for a while.
"I don't know," Harry whispered defeated.
Realizing that he was slowly getting through Lucius asked, "Do you want people to think that you can not control yourself?"
"No," Harry said in the same whispering tone.
"Do you believe people will think that you can't control yourself after your display at Diagon Alley?"
Harry sighed and answered "They may."
"Indeed," Lucius was pleased to hear but then he repeated his earlier question, "So was it okay to hit Draco?"
"No. I'm sorry," Harry answered abjectly.
"Hmm… I'm not convinced, Harry. First you said Draco earned this punch, now you tell me you are sorry?" Lucius reminded.
Harry frowned. He wished the man would stop talking and get on with the punishment. This all was so unfair. Draco had been so nasty with his words. Harry was sure everybody in his place would have lost his temper with the git. Laying over Mr. Malfoy's lap however, made Harry rethink what he had done was indeed wrong.
"Draco did earn this punch," he pointed out but then continued defeated, "but it wasn't right to punch him in public. I should have had more self-control and maybe I shouldn't have punched him at all. It's a sign of weakness. I don't want to look weak."
Lucius was aware that this was the best he could get from the boy. "Good Harry. Maybe there is hope. Let us finish with this lecture."
Harry gasped as Mr. Malfoy continued to smack Harry's already smarting behind and soon the boy started to sob as the pain got nearly unbearable. All Harry wanted now was the end of this punishment and so he tried everything he thought Mr. Malfoy wanted to hear.
"I'm… ow… sorry, Mr. Malfoy. I will not… punch Draco again… ouch… I swear!" Harry wailed.
"Don't give me your word, if you can't keep your promise. Rest assured as my ward you will land yourself over my knee more often. Let's hope it will not be too soon." With these words Mr. Malfoy ended his lecture with an almighty smack to Harry's sensitive sit spot and then pulled the boy up and corrected his clothing with a flick of his wand.
Then he opened his arms but Harry just stared at him in confusion. Mr. Malfoy stood up and then wrapped his arms around the distraught child. "You are forgiven, Harry."
"F… for…given?" Harry asked bewildered trying to pull out of the embrace.
"Yes, forgiven, child. I think you learned your lesson and will think the next time before you act like a hooligan, will you not?" Mr. Malfoy asked without loosening his arms around the boy.
Harry nodded, still not understanding what was going on. He felt really horrible and drained, his bottom was stinging, he couldn't stop his tears and on top of that Mr. Malfoy was hugging him. Never before had he received a hug after getting punished. Wasn't Mr. Malfoy angry at him any longer? The Dursleys never forgave him that soon after punishment.
"I don't want him as my brother!" Draco yelled shell-shocked at the dinner table as he learned that his father had guardianship over his least favourite fellow student.
Harry ducked his head.
"Draco!" Lucius warned his son. "Calm down or we will discuss this in my study."
Draco shut his mouth immediately knowing exactly how such a discussion would go but he still glared at Harry. When he thought his father wouldn't notice he whispered to Harry. "This is my Dad. Do you hear me? You are just an unwanted little freak, who-"
Harry paled at that and his fork clattered nosily back into his plate. He had hoped the word 'freak' would not follow him from the Dursleys to the Malfoys but obviously he was wrong. Will he really always be the freak?
"DRACO! That's enough. Come with me," Mr. Malfoy growled at his son.
At this, Draco's eyes grew wide. "No, Dad, please. I'm sorry. I won't say anything else."
Mr. Malfoy glared, "I warned you before, Draco. I will not tolerate your behaviour. If you can't listen I will make sure you do in the future."
"No, please," Draco pleaded, tears already glittering in his eyes.
Harry watched horrified as Lucius took his son at the upper arm and dragged him away. Till now he wasn't sure if Draco got the same harsh treatment as Harry got after the incident in Diagon Alley. Now all doubts vanished.
Left alone at the dining table, Harry felt so out of place. Just yesterday his life was normal. At least as normal as his life could be with hiding from Dudley or running away for a day to escape his uncle and aunt, like he did with his run-in with Draco.
This morning though, his life took a new turn. He still couldn't believe that Malfoy suddenly turned up at his relatives to discuss his misbehaviour in Diagon Alley with his aunt, who wasn't interested in the least.
"What the freak does in this Freak Alley is not my problem," she had hissed at the man.
Mr. Malfoy had been furious with Aunt Petunia but as she had said that he could deal with Harry as he saw fit, the man had not hesitated in taking Harry with him, away from these horrible Muggles. Harry hadn't been aware that he would never go back to the Dursleys at that time. Lucius had placed him into a corner in his study and left him there for a while.
Now Harry knew that he obviously had been contacting his solicitor to transfer the guardianship over to the Malfoys. Apparently Mr. Malfoy had a great influence when just a few hours later everything was settled.
Harry shifted uncomfortably on his seat. His backside was still reminding him on what happened earlier in Mr. Malfoy's study.
Trying his best to avoid the same situation he had with Dudley, Harry hoped to gain Draco's acceptance somehow. Therefore he played along as Draco accidentally destroyed one of the vases in the corridor and denied it afterwards. Harry didn't consider that if Draco wasn't the culprit it would have to be him but he didn't back out either and so he took the blame for it.
He wasn't prepared however how extreme Mr. Malfoy's reaction would be. Obviously it was a very expensive vase, because the man was excessively furious with Harry.
Thinking Harry did it to rebel against his new living arrangements Mr. Malfoy didn't go easy on the boy. He dragged the assumed culprit into his study, not releasing his arm until the door was closed behind them.
"I told you that nobody is allowed to run inside the house or play in the halls, didn't I? Do you think you are above my house rules?" he yelled.
"No, Sir," Harry whispered shocked about the amount of venom in Mr. Malfoy's voice.
"Then why did you do it?" Lucius demanded to know, but Harry kept silent. He didn't want to lie to Mr. Malfoy but he also couldn't tell the truth and betray Draco if he wanted to get on Draco's good side.
Misunderstanding the boy's silence Mr. Malfoy growled angrily "Stubborn again? This is going to change immediately, come here!"
Realizing what was going to happen Harry lost all colour in his face. His heart was beating wildly in his chest. "I… I can pay for the vase," he tried to talk himself out of trouble.
Lucius shook his head. "This is not about money, Harry. I want you to behave and abide by the rules. Something your relatives obviously didn't bother to teach you. Now come here, lower your trousers and bend over."
Harry was horrified. Last time Lucius spelled Harry's trousers down. Having to do it on his own as if he would agree with this punishment was much more embarrassing. Harry's hands trembled as he loosened the button of his trousers and pushed them down to his knees. Still in his boxers Harry bent over the waiting lap.
With a quick movement, Harry's boxers were down, too, and the first smack was delivered. Harry gasped. He had forgotten how much exactly Lucius' hand can hurt, specially so soon after his last spanking.
After a few smacks Lucius paused and asked, "Why are you in this position?"
Harry sniffed but stayed silent, which earned him an extra hard smack.
Lucius glared at the back of Harry's head and repeated his question. "Why are you in this position, Harry?"
"M'sorry," Harry whispered in tears.
Not at all satisfied Lucius pointed out, "I still expect an answer!"
"M'sorry, Sir," Harry said again receiving another extra smack which caused Harry to yelp.
Lucius waited but as it seemed the boy was not going not say more he was furious again. "Why. are. you. in. this. position?" he asked and delivered hard smacks with every word right to Harry's sensitive sit spot but instead of an answer as Lucius had hoped to get out of the boy deep heartbroken sobs suddenly shook Harry's body.
Lucius stopped frowning to himself. He hadn't expected that Harry would stay stubborn in this position. Last time Harry had fought with him but at least he had spoken until in the end he had realised and admitted his mistake. So what was different this time? Why couldn't the boy just say what he had done? Taking in the redness of the boy's bottom he knew it was already burning unbearably.
Finally he pulled the boy up as it seemed Harry couldn't calm down again. If Harry was just stubborn, why did he look so heartbroken and lost? The man wondered.
To say the man was at his wit's end was an understatement. "Harry, calm down. Surely you understand why I had to punish you?"
"It… It's just a… a vase. I don't... don't understand why it's… I… I can… repair it… M…muggle way… if you want," Harry said between his sobs.
"I don't care about the vase. I care about the rules I put in place," Lucius explained.
"It was an accident," Harry sniffed.
"Because you were running?" Lucius tried again.
"I forgot... I'm sorry... I will not run again," the boy finally stuttered in his fear.
Lucius sighed but finally nodded. "Good, we will end this discussion for now. See that you don't break the rules again. You may dress yourself."
"Yes, Sir," Harry whispered and pulled his boxers and trousers up again, hissing as the fabric scratched over the abused skin. Then he stood with a bent head and waited to be dismissed.
Lucius studied Harry for a long time unsure what to do with this boy but Harry really looked lost. Lucius knew that Draco is still not ready to accept Harry in this family so he finally opened his arms.
With sad eyes Harry looked up, confusion written all over his face.
"Come here," Lucius encouraged the boy in a soft voice that stood in complete contrast to his earlier yelling.
Harry stepped closer but stiffened as Lucius pulled him into a hug.
"I know you are not my son but I really wish you to become family." With these words new tears started to fall.
"What's the matter, Harry? Is the thought to belonging to the Malfoy's that intolerably to you?" Lucius asked somewhat hurt but Harry was unable to talk. He just stood there and cried.
As Harry finally calmed down he was half asleep. Lucius walked him to his room and helped him into his bed. Harry fell asleep immediately but Lucius stood at Harry's bed for a long while, still not understanding what to think of Harry's odd behaviour.
As he finally left Harry, he floo called a friend of his.
Draco saw his big chance to get free of the unwanted brother. Believing, if Harry was too much trouble his father would get rid of him, he brought Harry more often into trouble within the following week. Draco had no idea why Harry was so ready to take the blame of all the "incidents" but he didn't mind in the least.
Lucius didn't know what to do with Harry. On one hand, the boy admitted his misdeeds more or less; on the other hand Lucius got the feeling that something wasn't quite right. He had given the boy at least three more spankings for things he just couldn't let go unpunished and every time the feeling, that something was wrong, grew.
Harry never looked guilt-stricken. He apologized for all the incidents but there was no regret in his eyes; there was sadness and loneliness. Because of that Lucius couldn't explain why Harry broke the rules all the time. If the boy wanted to be accepted, he just had to abide to the rules. Why was that so difficult? His rules weren't that hard to follow.
One morning at breakfast, Lucius realized he couldn't ignore Harry's changes any longer. The boy's green eyes had lost its vitality. Harry spent most of his time out of sight of everybody and whenever he walked into Harry's room, the boy was sitting on his bed reading, or staring into space. Coming to think about it he wondered when Harry had the time to pull all these pranks if he never left his room except for the meals. Sighing he glanced at his son and was shocked.
Draco seemed to be very happy about something and he was casting gleaming smirks at Harry every now and then. Lucius frowned as an idea struck him. That couldn't be, could it?
The idea was so horrible that Lucius called his friend to talk with him about his conjecture.
"Harry, have you been in the kitchen and did you take all the stirrers?" Lucius asked as he strode into Harry's room.
Harry sat cross-legged on his bed with a book in his lab but not really reading it. As the boy looked up, fear crossed his features before it was replaced with silent acceptance for whatever may follow.
"I'm sorry, Sir," came the standard reply from Harry.
"That doesn't answer my question. Did you do it?" Lucius went on watching the boy more closely.
With his eyes downcast Harry said, "It was just a prank."
Lucius realized that Harry hadn't really admitted that it was him but was ready to take the blame.
"A prank indeed," Lucius growled, "Come with me. We will go into my study."
Harry froze for a moment before he put the book back onto the bedside table with trembling hands. Lucius sighed as he watched the boy but then he lead the way to his study. As he held the door open to Harry he saw this lost look in the boy's eyes again.
"Sit down, Harry. We need to talk," Lucius said and sat by his desk.
"I'm sorry, Sir." Harry said automatically taking the place in-front of Mr. Malfoy's desk.
"And what are you sorry for?" Lucius wondered.
Harry looked up with a panicky face. He had forgotten what his reputed misdeed had been this time. He gulped and then answered generally "For causing trouble."
Lucius shook his head sadly. What kind of confession was that? Obviously Harry didn't even know what he was supposed to have done. Sighing the man frowned and asked "Then why don't you stop with the misbehaviour?"
Silence followed. Harry had hung his head again and was playing nervously with his fingers. It's hard to stop something you had no control over. Although Draco never showed any signs that he was impressed with Harry's bravery, Harry was still not giving up his hope with the blond boy.
"Shall I take a guess, Harry?" Lucius finally asked, fixing the boy with a stern look.
Harry gulped again and then glanced up at the man.
"I believe you cannot stop causing trouble, because you never started it."
Startled Harry stared at Mr. Malfoy. "But it was my fault," he tried to convince the man.
Lucius shook his head once more. "No, Harry. I don't think so. You never look conscience-stricken to me. Today you even showed fear."
"But it was me. I'm sorry, really. I shouldn't have...," Harry trailed off, still not remembering what his misdeed should have been.
"You shouldn't have... what? Do you even know what you are accused of?" Lucius said angrily still not understanding Harry's behaviour.
"I shouldn't have played that prank. It wasn't a good idea," Harry tried once more.
Massaging his forehead Lucius tried to calm himself down. Why was the boy so stubborn? Dead silence followed the next minutes until Lucius said in a low voice, "You are right. It wouldn't have been a good idea if someone would have played that prank."
At that, Harry frowned.
"Yes, you heard right," Lucius confirmed, "There is an 'if' because nobody took all the stirrers. I made that up to prove a theory."
At this, Harry's eyes grew wide. Horror-stricken he whispered, "What theory?"
"That you are trying to make me believe that you misbehaved. That you are taking the blame of crimes you never did. I don't understand though, why you are doing it? Did you hope I would let you return to your relatives?"
"No," Harry whispered and looked so pale that Lucius feared the boy would faint. "No. I don't want to go back to the Dursleys."
"Then why did you do this?" Lucius asked desperate to understand the boy's reasons. But Harry hung his head and stayed silent again. Never before had Lucius felt so clueless. Pinching the bridge of his nose, he wondered how he could make Harry speak up.
"You... you are not going to spank Draco, are you?" Harry's soft voice suddenly cut through the silence.
Taken aback Lucius looked up again. Then he snorted. "Oh, I will. He will be lucky if he can sit at all tomorrow."
"No, Mr. Malfoy, please don't," Harry begged suddenly, taking Lucius by surprise.
Was that the reason why Harry took the blame? Lucius wondered. "Harry, are you protecting my son? He did nothing to earn your protection. He disappointed and hurt me a lot and it was cruel of him to let me punish you instead of him."
Harry shook his head. "But he is your son. I'm just a freak. I'm the one who disturbs this family. I don't belong here. I don't deserve a family, I'm just trouble."
"Who told you such nonsense?" Lucius asked shocked "Of course you deserve a family. You are definitely not a freak. You are a child. A normal magical child. Obviously someone made a grave mistake by placing you with these horrible muggles. Did they tell you all this nonsense?"
Blinking back tears, Harry wanted to defend his relatives but his voice didn't work anymore.
Lucius looked sad while he watched the child struggling against the tears. Then suddenly realisation hit him and he felt incredibility guilty. What had he done? He had spanked the boy needlessly. "I can't describe how sorry I am that I treated you so horribly. If only I had known sooner that Draco stage-managed all this. I punished you so hard because I thought you were rebelling against me."
Finally the tears started to fall on Harry's face. Lucius stood, walked around the desk and then pulled the distraught boy into a hug. He felt Harry stiffen and Lucius cringed and let go of the boy again. What had he done? Instead he took Harry's hands into his.
"Will you ever trust me after what I did to you?" He wondered aloud, "Will you ever forgive me?"
Harry didn't answer. He wasn't sure if he had the right to blame Mr. Malfoy for his actions. The man just did, what he thought was right. Mr. Malfoy had no way to know that it was Draco all the time. On the other hand Harry couldn't say if he would trust this stern man ever. He never learned to trust anybody and least of all adults.
After some time Lucius said, "Harry? I really hate the idea to push you away. Especially after all these misunderstandings but I would like to have a day or two with my son to correct his ill behaviour and I don't wish you near Draco until I'm through with him. Would it be okay for you to stay with a good friend of mine?"
Harry wiped away his tears and looked up in puzzlement.
"You don't have to if you don't want to but I cannot predict how my son will react to this correction in behaviour and I would hate to see you come to any more harm," Lucius explained.
Harry nodded and tried to smile. "To… to what friend?"
At that, Harry paled again. Didn't Mr. Malfoy know how much the potion master hated Harry? Or was that a kind of punishment for all his lying?
Lucius saw Harry losing all his colour and remembered suddenly Harry's and Severus' relationship in school and what Harry must be thinking. "Harry. I swear, he will treat you well. He knows already what has happened."
"He hates me," Harry whispered with fresh tears in his eyes.
At that Lucius hugged Harry again. "No, he doesn't, I swear. And I will come over and put you to bed if you wish, okay?"
Lucius held the boy until the tremors ceased a bit.
"Okay," Harry whispered finally giving in to his fate. If Lucius wanted him to go, who was he to deny him his wish? It's not that he belonged here anyway.
Lucius cringed at the defeated tone of voice of the boy, "I'm so sorry for what I put you through. I really hope after all this we all can become family. I already love you, Harry, I really do."
Harry didn't know what to answer nor what to believe. Nobody ever loved him since his parents died.