Thank you all for the great reviews! As we draw closer to the end of this fantastic adventure you've joined me on, I would like to ask how many of you would like a sequel of Harry's second year. I have a great idea for it, but not sure if I should write it. Just share your thoughts at the end. Enjoy!
Harry slowly opened his eyes only to be blinded by a bright light. He snapped his eyes shut again and rubbed at the with his hands. He felt so tired and his head hurt. He opened his eyes again, blinking to adjust to the light.
He was lying in a bed in the infirmary wearing a gown and covered in a light sheet. The curtain was drawn around his bed, enclosing him completely.
What surprised Harry the most was Sam, who was lying on the bed with him, head resting on his chest. Sam never joined him in bed; the fox considered it too doglike and rather inappropriate. Harry smiled at the sleeping fox and lifted a hand to pet the soft, fox-sized head.
Sam opened his eyes and lifted his head, flicking his ears as Harry's hand brushed over them.
: Welcome back to the land of the living, Sleeping Beauty.
"Hi, Sam," Harry smiled.
: It's about time you woke up, Sam continued, you had your father up and pacing with worry.
"How long have I been here?" Harry felt his voice crack and he coughed slightly.
: Water to your left. Three days. All weekend, in fact. It's Monday.
"Wow!" Harry's eyes widened at that as he gulped a glass of water. It was room temperature, but it soother his throat. He looked at Sam and said, "And you stayed with me this whole time? You must have been really worried."
: Me? Sam sat up on the bed, pulling away from Harry's petting hand. His ears flattened. Worried? I wasn't worried – I knew you'd wake up. I was just – protecting you.
"While I was unconscious?" Harry smirked.
: Of course! It's your most vulnerable state.
Harry decided to let Sam believe whatever the fox desired and smiled at him. Sam tilted his head, but gave a foxy smile back.
: And just so you know – and I've already told your little friends – if any of you ever hit me with a spell, curse, hex, call it what you will, I will snap your wands with my teeth and make you all feel what second degree burns are like.
Harry glanced around and noticed a chair next to the bed. "Who's is that?"
: Your father's. Like I said, you had him very worried. He would pace by your bed, around the hospital, and slept when he could in that transfigured chair each night. He wouldn't leave your side.
Harry felt terrible for the worry he had caused his dad. He hadn't meant to frighten Severus so. He had just wanted to protect the stone. Who knew it would be so difficult fighting off an adult wizard?
"Severus, honestly, you need to get your sleep!"
Harry smirked at the sound of Madam Pomfrey's voice.
"I will not have you collapsing from exhaustion. Your son is fine and when he wakes, he would be happy to know that his father was well rested and took great care of him while he was unconscious."
"And what if he doesn't wake up?" said a disgruntled Severus. "What if he remains in that state for weeks!? Months!? For Merlin's sake, Poppy, it could be years!"
"Oh, quit being so dramatic! He should be waking soon enough. Now, I am a highly trained mediwitch, if I believed there was any problem as such, I would have shipped him off to St. Mungo's. But he is still here. And if you don't go take a long rest, I'll make sure to . . ."
"Would you quit telling me what to do!?" Severus snapped. "I can take care of myself, tend to someone who'll appreciate your ministering! I'm not leaving until I know Harry is in stable condition."
"I've told you how many times, he is in . . ."
"In an awake stable condition!"
"Oh, would you just go to bed, Severus! You can sleep in one of these beds for all I care!"
"I want to be awake when Harry gains consciousness. And for the last time, quit telling me what to do!"
There was an intense silence and Harry strained to hear more, but then the curtains were brushed aside briefly as Severus stepped through them, closing them behind him. Severus froze at the sight of Harry, his eyes widening slightly. Harry offered a small smile while Sam leaped off the bed.
"Hey, baby!" Severus rushed forward and cupped Harry's cheek, rubbing a thumb along the cheekbone. The man's eyes seemed glassy and his voice a bit choked. "You had me so worried." Severus placed a long kiss on Harry's temple before resting his head lightly against Harry's. "I thought you would never wake up – I was so afraid I had lost you. Are you feeling alright? Does anything hurt?"
Harry shook his head as he leaned into his father, enjoying the attention while it lasted. It didn't last much longer as Harry knew all too well.
"How dare you scare me like that!" Severus growled at Harry, his eyes flaming. "Did you not hear me when I said to leave that stone be? You could have been killed! When you are well again, we will be dealing with your disobedience and I promise you, young man, you will be grounded until you're thirty!"
Harry sunk into his pillow away from his father's furious face that promised a severe punishment in the near future.
"Back off, Severus," Pomfrey said, opening the curtains and pushing Severus aside so she could see Harry. "Why, good morning, dear, you had quite the concussion. I'm going to perform a few tests to make sure your head is clear and there's no further problems going on up there. Developing brains are very vulnerable, you know."
Pomfrey waved her wand around Harry's head.
"It seems all is good. You'll be ready to leave the infirmary soon. Let me get you a couple of potions for you to take just to be safe. I'd like you to rest for the day, so it is highly advised that you stay here . . ."
"Is there a problem he can't come down with me to his room?" Severus questioned, crossing his arms.
"Well, no, but that is entirely up to Harry," Pomfrey challenged, looking down at Harry.
"Well," Harry began, unsure of what to say, glancing over at Sam briefly. He'd rather be as far away from his father's evil glare for as long as possible but he knew there was no avoiding the man forever. Besides, he hated being in the infirmary. "I guess I'd like to go to my room."
Severus smirked while Pomfrey rolled her eyes and huffed in defeat.
"Fine," she said, "but you are to remain in your bed for the day!"
Pomfrey left to gather the potions. Before Severus could open his mouth, a small voice spoke from the doorway.
"Excuse me?" It was Hermione, peeking her head in the infirmary entrance, her bushy hair framing her face. "Is it alright if we visit Harry now, Professor?"
Severus looked at Harry and raised an eyebrow. Harry nodded eagerly, sitting up on the bed.
"Very well," Severus said, motioning to Hermione with a nod of his head and walking away. "But not for very long. And no overexciting him."
Hermione nodded and waved a hand behind her. She led the way into the room with Ron and Draco behind her.
"Hey guys," Harry greeted.
Hermione hugged Harry and Ron and Draco stood on either side of the bed.
"We were so worried about you!" said Hermione softly.
"Yeah, for a second, I thought you'd sleep forever," Ron said.
"Glad you're okay, Harry," Draco smiled.
"What happened?" Harry asked.
"Well," Hermione began, "after I joined Ron and Draco back at the chess match, Sam arrived and asked where you were. He sniffed Ron and said he would be fine before flying off to find you."
"We could hear explosions coming from that room," Ron added.
"Then it got quiet and we waited a long time before Professor Snape and Professor Dumbledore arrived. They made sure we were okay before going to find you. Professor Snape came back carrying you and we all left."
"We didn't see Professor Dumbledore or Sam until the next day," Draco added.
"Why?" Harry looked at Sam. "What happened? What about Quirrell?"
"We don't know what happened. No one does."
"It's been kept secret from the school," Hermione said.
"Our parents know, though," Ron winced. "And Mum and Dad were not happy. Mum brought her hairbrush."
"She came here?" Harry asked.
"Yep. Dumbledore gave her permission. And use of his office."
"Ron had had a slight concussion, so he was in the infirmary all night with you, but after a potion and a spell to clear up infection, he was good to go the next day," informed Hermione.
"Were your parents told?" Harry asked.
"Yes, but they couldn't come, being muggles. But they sent a letter saying that I'm grounded for two weeks when I return. No reading for fun."
"Like that's a terrible thing?" Ron frowned. "Maybe you'll go outside and play Quidditch more."
"What part of muggles escaped your mind?" snapped Hermione.
"What about you, Draco?" Harry asked.
"My parents were notified and Dad let Uncle Severus take care of any punishment."
"He brought the ruler back out."
Harry winced. At least he knew what to look forward to. Not that he was looking forward to punishment at all but he figured it was better that Molly Weasley's hairbrush. Poor Ron.
"So, no one knows a thing that happened in the final chamber?"
"We were hoping you'd tell us what happened," Hermione replied, the other two nodding in agreement.
Harry explained how he had entered the final chamber and how they had been right about Quirrell. He recited what Quirrell had said to him about wanting fame and power and how Quirrell had used him to get to the stone. Then, he talked about Sam's involvement, how the fox was enchanted but managed to snap out of it and save the stone and Harry. Then, Quirrell had started throwing curses at Harry that made his ears ring. Harry said that the last thing he remembered was Quirrell pointing his wand at him and a large fireball. That was it.
"How scary!" Hermione whimpered.
"So, you don't even know what happened," Draco sighed.
"Who cares?" Ron said. "Harry's safe and that's all that matters. But you did protect the stone right?"
"Err . . ." Harry wasn't sure what happened to the stone.
"The stone is safe," came a voice from the doorway.
Everyone turned and watched Dumbledore enter the infirmary.
"Good morning, Professor," Hermione greeted, remembering her manners.
"It is a good morning, isn't it, Miss Granger? Would you three mind if I spoke to Harry alone?"
"Not at all," Hermione led the boys out of the infirmary. "We'll see you later, Harry."
"Sir," Harry looked up at Dumbledore who sat in the chair near Harry's bed. "What did happen to the stone and Quirrell? Where is he? Did he escape? Was he captured? Is the stone safe?"
"Slow down, my boy," Dumbledore smiled. "I can't keep up with young minds like yours. One question at a time."
"He is dead, Harry."
Dumbledore looked across Harry to the other side of the bed where Sam sat. The fox's ears pivoted back but Sam didn't move otherwise.
: The last thing you said you saw was a fireball, correct? They do tend to explode. And it's best that you do not remember because it is not a pretty sight when they strike the face.
Harry grimaced and swallowed, feeling nauseas.
"So, he's dead. And the stone?"
"Safe. As it would have been had you not been involved. The Mirror would not have allowed Quirrell to take it – it never would have given it to him as he desired to use the stone. If you remember, it gave it to you because you wanted it, but had no desire to use it."
"Then, I didn't have to go after it, did I?"
"It was heroic, Harry, but rather unnecessary. Even if he had managed to snatch the stone, professionally trained Aurors would have quickly tracked him down. He may be a thief, but he is no dark wizard yet."
"I'd like to remind you to try to make your years at Hogwarts unlike your first. While not all events are in our control, all of our actions are. And because of recent events, the death of Quirrell, the Ministry of Magic had to be notified and they are not happy about this. Especially Sam."
"Why Sam?" Harry looked down at the fox.
"He killed a wizard, Harry. Do you remember what happened in your third year when that beautiful Hippogriff attacked Mr. Malfoy?"
"It was Draco's fault . . ."
"Do you remember what happened?"
"Yes. They wanted to execute him."
"If you are not careful, Harry, you may put Sam in a similar situation."
"I'm sorry, sir."
"As much as I would like to award you points for this, as I did before, I'm afraid this time, I cannot. I'm sorry Harry, but I have taken ten points from each of you four kids. I have already told the other three yesterday."
"That's thirty more points from Gryffindor!" exclaimed Harry.
"And completely fair," Severus said, rejoining Harry and Sam.
"But Dad, Gryffindor will never catch up now. There's no way for us to win the House Cup."
"You should have thought of that before you went on your little escapade then, shouldn't you have?"
"Dad . . ."
"No whining. I don't want to hear another word about it. Be glad that that's all the Headmaster is taking. I could always add another ten points each."
"I have the potions," Pomfrey said, adding to the crowd. "Oh, I'm sorry, Albus, are you discussing something? Should I come back."
"No need, Poppy," Albus waved her apology aside. "I was just leaving. Remember what I told you, Harry. And stay out of more trouble.
Once Dumbledore left, Pomfrey began giving Harry three different potions. One for any remaining infections, one for the minor cuts and bruises Harry had, and a final to prevent any more concussions from coming back.
"Are you feeling well enough to walk down with me?" Severus asked.
"Yes, I'm fine. I can walk."
Harry wobbled on his feet at first, but after Severus helped stable him, he followed his father down to their quarters. After changing into comfortable clothes, Severus set Harry up on the couch, forcing him to lie back down, though Harry protested.
"But, I'm not tired! All I've done is sleep for three days. I'm fine now."
"You have to rest for the day," said Severus sternly. He pushed Harry down on the couch, keeping a hand on his chest so he couldn't rise back up. "You just recovered from a concussion – that, young man, is not normal sleeping."
"Dad, please let me up," Harry pushed against his father's hand. "I don't want to sleep. Can I at least eat something?"
"You may. But you are not leaving this couch. You don't have to sleep, but you will stay here and rest. Stop trying to get up!"
Harry groaned and let his head drop on the pillow. "I hate this. I want to do something other than lie on this stupid couch."
"If you're feeling so well, we could get right to your punishment."
Severus glared down at Harry and crossed his arms. Harry said nothing, just pouted up at his father's strict expression. He definitely didn't want to jump right into his punishment at the moment. Maybe being sick wasn't such a bad thing. He could deal with his father's doting for a while longer. Harry crossed his own arms as Severus placed a light blanket over him. Severus sat on the edge of the couch and smiled at his son's stubborn expression.
"You remind me of your mother," he said, causing a small smile on Harry's lips. "Nothing I did was ever good enough on her sick days. She'd fight me about lying down and resting just like you do."
Harry smiled at his father, his eyes starting to feel heavy.
"I have a grilled cheese sandwich for you if you're still hungry."
Harry nodded, rolling on his side to get more comfortable.
Severus stood and left to the kitchen. Harry loved hearing about his mother – the happy memories and about how much he was like her. Everyone always said he had her eyes, but only his father could really compare him and his mother so perfectly and in many ways. Harry loved it. He pictured his mother fighting Severus about lying down on the couch and resting. She wanted to go outside instead and fly on her broom or romp in the valley of wildflowers. Severus kept chasing her, trying to catch her to bring her back inside.
The image in his head slowly turned into a beautiful dream and when Severus returned, Harry was asleep. Severus smiled down at his son and placed the plate of grilled cheese on the coffee table for when Harry woke up. He wondered what Harry was dreaming about that had his boy smiling. He ran a hand through the messy hair and placed a kiss on his son's fringe before leaving him to rest.
Harry yawned and opened his eyes. He could hear water running nearby and he paused to listen to it. The sound was entrancing and he almost fell back to sleep. He blinked a few times before realizing that the sound was coming from the shower. Severus must be in there.
Harry sat up on the couch and looked at a plate on the coffee table in front of him. He frowned at it, wondering why there was an empty plate on the table.
: It was grilled cheese.
Harry looked over at Sam in his dog bed. The fox smiled at him and flicked his ears.
: Feeling better?
"Yeah," Harry yawned. "Where's the grilled cheese?"
: Gone. And it was delicious. Sam licked his lips.
"Hey! I think that was for me."
: Probably, but you should know by now that any food left unattended is fair game. If you're hungry, your father said you can head up to dinner with your friends while he finishes his shower. But only if you're feeling well.
"I feel fine," Harry stood and stretched. "When's dinner?"
: In ten minutes.
"Great! We can head up now."
: Perhaps you'll find more grilled cheese, Sam said as he stood and walked at Harry's heel.
"No," Harry shook his head as he held the door for Sam before letting it close softly behind them. "Nothing is better than Dad's French toast grilled cheese with extra melty brie cheese."
Harry licked his lips at the thought.
: So that's what that cheese was. Sam licked his own lips in remembrance.
"Yeah, and you ate it! Bad Sam, bad! How do you say bad in Japanese?"
: Why, so you can scold me properly? Bad is warui.
"Wah-roo-ee?" Harry made a face. "That's a funny word."
: It's funny because it's not your language.
"How do you say fox?"
: I'm going to let you think on that one. Sam looked up at Harry with an amused look, his ears flopping as he tilted his head.
"Why?" Harry slowed his walking pace as he tried to think of a word that would be Japanese for fox. He wasn't sure why the kitsune would think he would magically know what the word for fox was, it wasn't like he said the word every day or something. Sam was a strange kitsune, Harry couldn't help but think. "I've no clue. Can you tell me?"
Sam sighed and shook out his fur. Nevermind. What is this, let's learn a new language?
"That's a great idea! What's hello?"
: Set myself up for that one, didn't I? Konnichiwa.
"Konnichiwa! I knew that!"
: Then why did you ask?
"I guess I forgot. I've heard it before though. How do you say . . . goodbye?"
: Well, you could say, uh, mata ne.
"Mata ne!" Harry repeated. "This is fun. I'll be speaking Japanese in no time!"
Sam rolled his eyes and shook his head, but he smiled at Harry regardless.
"How do you say something like . . . um, that's cool or umm, great job, or uhh . . ."
: How about one phrase at a time? Great job is yaku yatta.
"Yaku yatta! I like that one! That's fun to say. Yaku yatta! Oh, what about – what about thank you?"
: Arigatou. And when you thank someone as such, you should always give a formal bow.
"Arigatou," said Harry bowing deeply. "Like that?"
: You're definitely European, but it'll pass.
"You never told me what fox is in Japanese."
Sam tilted his head with an odd smile, but before he could respond, two men from around the corner snagged him around the neck with rabies-pole-like instruments. Sam snarled and twisted and spun in circles against the ropes tightening around his neck. He could feel his energy draining and he fought the magical devices more, the two men pulling harder on them.
"What are you doing?" Harry shouted at them.
Harry watched as Sam bit down on one of the poles and whipped his head around, fighting the man at the end of the pole, who merely tightened his grip.
"Stop it!" Harry charged one of the men handling the poles when a third man grabbed him from behind. He recognized the Auror uniform on this man.
"Stop it, kid!" The man restraining Harry snapped. "They are professional magizoologists. Let them do their job."
"Let me go!" Harry screamed, kicking and pounding on the man. "Let Sam go!"
"We have been informed that this fox killed a wizard."
"He saved me! Leave him alone!" Harry struggled harder against the man, watching as Sam began to wobble on his feet, looking weary as he stumbled a bit, his actions slowing down. Tears streamed down Harry's cheeks.
"Sam!" Harry screamed. "Leave him alone!"
"Unhand my son!"
Harry recognized his father's voice. Severus shoved the Auror away from Harry and pulled his son into his side, holding him firmly when Harry began struggling against him, reaching out towards Sam. The fox looked exhausted as he stood there panting and legs trembling with poles attached to him, being held tightly by two magizoologists. Severus recognized the poles as energy draining tools usually used on larger beasts to control them better, such as wild hippogriffs.
"What are you doing to Sam? Release him!" Severus demanded.
"Is this creature yours?" the Auror asked.
"Yes, he is my son's familiar."
"Are you aware that it is illegal to harbor a beast classified XXXXX?"
Severus didn't answer. He didn't even know that kitsune were classified so highly. He knew they were dangerous, but after meeting Sam, he didn't think they were unreasonably dangerous to that point. But Sam had mentioned that due to poaching of his kind, many kitsune hate humans and kill on sight of them. But Sam wasn't like that. That didn't mean Severus wanted to go to Azkaban though.
"I was unaware. But Sam means no harm to anyone, he –"
"We were informed that he has killed a wizard," the Auror interrupted. "And due to recent events, this fox has been ordered to be executed before he harms or maims another."
Severus stared in shock at the Auror and then cast a glance at Sam, who was still panting and shaking.
"NO!" Harry screamed. "Let him go! Let Sam go!"
Severus shushed Harry and held him tighter as the boy turned and cried into his robes. Severus glared at the Auror, watching as the magizoologists conjured a small cage and backed Sam up into it, though Sam gave the last bit of resistance he could before collapsing within the confines. Harry cried harder as the three men carried Sam away.
Severus had to stop this. He would need the headmaster's help to battle for Sam's freedom.
Sorry it was a little short, but I hope you enjoyed it! I know, cliffhanger and all, but share your thoughts and if you would like to see a sequel.