Sorry all for the long wait again. SOOO the thing is this past year I came out as trans to like everyone and now to all of you as well. It has been a hellish year, and I am trying to get back to writing and I am so sorry it took so long but I do have more than one story now in the works, so be glad for that I guess. I was moving bases and am now in okinawa, Japan where I am having some problems at home and here so sorry bare with me while I try to write you what I owe you. I will probably write more sooner I hope I have just been pretty depressed about my life lately and some other things. I also love to read, so if you have any suggestions let me know. I am happy to say that this is probably the last chapter of vacation before we have the announcement of Harry's parentage and then to the castle we go. Oh the mischief that can be had there. Who is excited? I am for sure and then after that two weeks at the castle we have, drum roll please, the school year. Ooh the joys to be had playing with that plot. Well, I've rambled long enough. As usual it is not mine.

Chapter Thirteen

"Hello. Severus, are you awake?" Lucius called out.

Severus chuckled and spelled the door to open. "Good morning, Lucius."

The man walked into the kitchen with an eyebrow raised. Severus could not be bothered to care he was still in his bedclothes as he'd only just begun his first cup of coffee upon awakening. Besides he was on vacation and was up all night with a very distraught little boy.

"Good morning, old friend. Fatherhood suits you illy today. You look ragged."

Severus sneered and turned his cup back to drain the coffee into his system. He would prefer a much faster method such as an injection of the substance, but three cups would just had to suffice. He heard Albus chuckle and glared at the oddly clothed man fully dressed in a gaudy hawaiian shirt, bermuda shorts, and sandals with flamingo covered socks. "Merlin! Albus, it is too early for your wardrobe choice."

His father simply chuckled and went back to his tea and morning paper. Lucius chuckled as well and took a seat across from Severus and funnily by Albus. Severus simply cocked an eyebrow. "Tea, Lucius, or shall you join the darkside of the morning drinks?"
The man smirked. "Black coffee, of course, Severus."

Severus smirked and spelled a cup to be made. It was sent to the table once finished and Lucius breathed it in before sipping at it. "Perfect, Severus, as always."

Severus smirked and inclined his head before gulping his second cup. "So, where are the boys?"

"Bed." At Lucius's raised brow, he turned to look at the door to the boy's room. "Harry had a nightmare, which led to an accident last night. Draco stayed up with me and Harry, and now they are both catching up on much needed sleep."

Lucius inclined his head. "A long night is a fair reason for your dishevelment. I will refrain from waking Draco then if there is such a reason."

Severus too inclined his head in return. "So, how was my dragon yesterday, Severus. I do hope his decorum was becoming?"

Severus thought back to the beginning of the yesterday. Sullenness and bullying completely, but the rest… "He was much better behaved than he had been. I believe we have made headway in the fight for their friendship."

Lucius smiled a real smile then. "Good because I want my nephew over for a visit soon where Narcissa may meet him."

Severus chuckled at the man's eagerness. "To think all it took was blood."

Lucius shook his head. "That began it, but knowing that little boy, no one could hate or hurt him."

"Except those muggles," Severus growled.

Lucius too scowled at the mentioning of those creatures. Severus felt another tug of brotherhood with his old friend. "What is being done about those… creatures?"

Severus smiled vindictively and recalled how less and less he had done this since Harry had come into his life. It was not a bad change… "I have a few… ideas I have pondered over when able."

Lucius also had a vicious and gleeful smile at this. Two death eaters turned spies and the leader of the light all avidly listening to the downfall of a muggle family. What an odd scene they must make. "Retribution spells are easy to find in tombs I have from before. After the trip to my son's mind, I have come very familiar with the intricacies of their separate abuse tactics. The boy will need to have the spell on him until he feels remorse as he is a child, but his will make his room feel like the cupboard my son lived in for ten years, the food he eats will be tasteless, and all his friends will leave him. He will feel he always has to watch his back and like no one loves him because he is a freak. It will make him feel remorse for the bullying he did to my son over the years he has been there."

"That is quite harsh," Lucius said with obvious countenance.

Severus smirked. "Indeed."

"It is not too harsh though for a child bully who could due to lose some weight and gain some humility."

"As I too thought, my friend. The wife, Petunia, will always feel someone is gossiping about her, feel aches and pains from doing chores pushed on her, and her house will look dirty and decrepit no matter how much she cleans."

Lucius smirked and chuckled evilly. "Ooh, that will be delightful for the muggle hag. She'll not know what to do. What is her length in her own personal torment."

"She will feel the effects for seventeen years. There is no reason to go easy on her and as she would have continued this until Harry was grown, I have no reason to go easy on her or shorten her sentence."

Lucius smiled cruelly again. "Delightful."

Severus smirked at his friend's obvious enjoyment. "And the fat walrus shall feel all the pain my son has felt at irregular intervals, he will be too weary to leave his own home, he will begin to treat his wife and son as he treated Harry without the physicality, and he will know what he is doing but has no control to stop. He will feel helpless, like a freak, for seventeen years, and I hope it causes him as much pain as possible."

Lucius smiled brightly. "Severus, my friend, you have not lost your touch at all. Just as brilliant as ever."

Severus rolled his eyes. "Obviously. These are all potions as well with charms added, perfect for the son of both Severus Snape and Lily Evans. They will know what hit them when I force it down their throats. They deserve it after all they have done to my son."

"If there becomes a need for the wards of detection to be loosely configured, allow me only a day of preparation."

Severus saw the man's broad grin and smirked. "Of course. I will need it for when I detain them."

Severus gave a feral grin to match Lucius's own before he noticed his father. The man was frowning at them. "I understand the need for revenge after Arianna," Severus winced at the reminder of his father's sister. "But remember that hurting those that hurt you can make you into something you do not know. Yes, get retribution, but revenge is never the option. Equal their bad acts, but do not exceed them. I want them to pay for what they did to my grandson, but when you have done so, continue on with your life. Understood, boys?"

Severus nodded along with Lucius, who looked only slightly indignant at being called a boy. "We understand, Father, and this is the only steps to our plans."

Albus nodded. "Thank you for listening, boys."

Severus looked to Lucius and smirked. "Next week when I can pawn Harry off in the castle to Albus for a time?"

Lucius smirked. "It's a date."

HPSSHPSS

Harry whined as the sun settled on his face. He turned and rolled over in the bed, trying to search for some more warmth. When he didn't find the source from last night, he opened his eyes to see he was not in his room either at home or at the beach. He looked confused until he recalled his dad had taken him to his room after he was redressed into his dinosaur pajamas. Something about sheets or something else. He gave a mournful sigh when he realised he was no longer asleep enough to stay in the bed without extra body contact.

He gave a sluggish whine as he pushed himself out of the bed and hit the floor with his feet on the cold hardwood. It made him miss home's nice carpeted floors before he was padding his way out of the hall in the direction of the deep tones of his father. He clutched at the plushy he had had under his arm upon awakening and staggered his way into the kitchen. Once he caught sight of his father, he only had eyes for the man and the heat he could provide.

He rubbed at his eyes as he climbed onto the man's lap and clutched at the the fabric of the man's dressing gown. He heard the rumble in his father's chest as the man chuckled, and he buried his face into his chest to get closer to the sooting fibrations offered to him so easily. He wasn't through snuggling in quite contentedly when he heard another deep laugh that was most certainly not his Papa's. He turned toward the noise and blushed a deep red when he saw Mr. Malfoy sitting at the table with his father and Papa.

He diverted his eyes and buried himself back into his little burrow of safety in his Daddy's body. He felt the laugh again this time but took it quite offensively and whined his frustrations. He was much too tired and not awake enough to care that he sounded like a wounded kitten. His father rubbed at his hair and pressed a kiss to the curled locks. Harry breathed in deep at that and turned a beaming smile up at his father. The man returned him with a kind smile.

"Good morning, little one. Was your sleep better?"

"Was until you left me," Harry grumbled into the man's collarbone.

His dad chuckled and pressed another kiss to his hair. "My apologies, Prince Snape. I should have remembered you needed a body source for heat."

Harry snorted at his father's sarcasm and wiggled to get closer to him. "S'okay. Just don't let it happen again, peasant."

Everyone had a chuckle at that, but Harry was far to snuggled up to care. "Good morning, Prince Snape."

Harry jolted at the deep voice and peeked through his father's hair at whoever was speaking to him. He remembered Mr. Malfoy again and blushed deeply at the man seeing him like this. His father grabbed him under the arms and pulled him away from where he was hiding. Harry pouted at the loss of contact but tried not to whine so much now that he remembered they had a guest. He glared while his father tsked at him. "Someone is being very mean this morning. Now, what do you say to Uncle Lucius, Harry."

Harry blushed deeper and made grabby hands at his father. The man firmly shook his head at him. Harry caved and sent a quick look over to 'Uncle Lucius' who was pouting at him. Harry giggled at the man's face and smiled. "Good morning, Uncle Lucius."

The man smiled at him in a way that Harry had never thought a Malfoy could. "How have you been, Prince Harry? Slay any dragons lately?"
"No," he mumbled into his daddy's neck.

His father's hand strayed into his curls, and Harry relaxed against him further at the contact. He wanted to go back to bed where he wasn't so embarrassed. "Someone needs to wake up more. How about some breakfast, huh, Snakelet?"

That peeked Harry's interest. He jerked his head away from the man and looked up at his smirking face. He nodded his head frantically. He was starving, and it was just like his daddy to know that. The man chuckled and set him down at the chair beside them. Harry frowned thought he kept himself from whining since he was getting him food and he had already looked like a little baby in front of Uncle Lucius. His dad made him a plate of eggs and bacon and poured him a glass of orange juice before sitting it all down in front of him along with his nasty potion he took every morning. He downed the nasty medicine and dug into his food.

He was almost finished when Draco stumbled into the room. The boy found a seat and collapsed onto his arms. "Dragon, you are a Malfoy. Manners, young man."

Draco groaned at his father's scolding but lifted up. Harry smirked at his expense, and Draco stuck his tongue out at him. Harry giggled and thought about flicking eggs at him before he saw the look his father was giving him. 'How did the man know?'

He smiled sheepishly and finished his food quickly. He was done before Draco had even barely touched his eggs, so he had to wait at the table. He turned to where his papa had just stood up and gave the man a questioning look when he turned his clothes into vibrant robes. The man made to walk off when Harry jumped from his chair and clung to the man's legs. The man chuckled and ruffled his hair. "What is it, little one?"

"Papa, where you going?"

His papa arched a brow and almost looked like Dad's actual father for a moment. "Child, you know I have to announce your parentage today."

Harry's stomach dropped and his eyes began to feel really itchy. 'That was today.'

He had forgotten all about it with all the fun they had been having. He didn't want that to be today. He wanted to have fun and play, but he couldn't when all he could think about was everyone knowing. It'd be nice to be able to be around Daddy all the time, but people'd know he was himself after that, and it was just when his face started to look more like Daddy's too.

"Oh."

His papa gave a sympathetic smile and picked him up. "Well, give us a hug before I go."

Harry nodded sadly and clung to his papa. "I'll miss you."

His papa chuckled which made Harry give an indignant huff. "I will be back by lunchtime, child. Don't be so forlorn."

Harry nodded against the man's shoulder. He was not about to get down. He didn't feel like it. He wanted to stay curled against someone today because he was just too upset people were going to be mean about him being Professor Snape's son. He was gently pulled away by familiar hands. As soon as he was close enough, he latched onto his daddy and curled against the man with his face in the man's neck.

"Goodbye, Father. Be safe."

"Goodbye, Severus. I'll be back in time for lunch. Try to keep him entertained."

He felt his father nod before the door was closed behind his papa. He felt tears on his cheeks and rubbed them against his dad's robe. He was carried toward his room and felt when the man sat down on the bed with his still against him. He just wasn't ready to come out yet. Today was not going to be fun.

"Harry," his father called. "Harry, look at me, Snakelet."

Harry wanted to ignore him, but he couldn't do that to his daddy. He peeked up at the man who gave him a warm smile. "What's this all about, Snakelet?"

"Dunno. Just scared. There gonna make fun of me and be all mean."

His father mussed his hair. "People will always be like that, child, but you will always have me and Papa, and now you have Ron, Hermione, Draco, and Uncle Lucius as well. Lots of people will still be here for you, so do not carry on so, okay, Snakelet?"
Harry nodded. "Okay, Daddy."

"Alright how about you get dressed while I go put on some clothes then we can start your surprise for today."

Harry's ears perked up at that. "Surprise?"

"Yes, child. Now, get dressed for the beach, okay?"

Harry nodded happily and jumped from his daddy's arms to the floor. He went to his drawers and pulled out a shark shirt and some swim shorts before changing real quick. He slipped on his flip-flops and grabbed his fish covered beach hat before going back to the kitchen. Uncle Lucius and Draco were having a conversation at the table, and Draco looked like he was pouting at Uncle Lucius's stern glare. It was funny watching Draco pout.

"No, Draco, you may not invite yourself to stay over here."

"But, Dad, I want to stay and play at the beach with Harry. Please, Dad."

"No, I will not invite you to stay here without your Uncle asking first it is impolite."

The younger blonde huffed and crossed his arms over his chest. Harry ran to the table and tapped his Uncle Lucius on the arm. The man turned to him curiously. "What is it, Harry?"

"Could Draco stay, Uncle Lucius?"

"I'm not sure he deserves to, Harry."

"Please, Uncle Lucius. I want to have someone to play with today. You know, so I can forget about what's happening today."

Harry slowly manipulated his eyes to water and his lip to tremble. Daddy will be so proud when he hears how Slytherin he was being. He heard said Dad enter the kitchen before he was swept into strong arms. "Is my little Snakelet manipulating his Uncle Lucius?"

"Aw, Severus, I was going to let him continue. He was doing so well."
Harry grinned at his Uncle Lucius. The man really was a lot different then he expected. The man ruffled his hair and with a put upon sigh answered, "I suppose."

Harry and Draco both yipped with joy while the two adults laughed at their happiness. Harry grabbed hold of his Uncle Lucius and gave the surprised man a hug before going back to his dad. Draco did the same to Uncle Lucius before both of them were standing beside Harry's father. "Well, it seems they have made their choice, old friend. Would you like to stay as well to help a poor potions master out?"

The grin Uncle Lucius gave his dad was vicious. "Not a chance, dear Severus. Play nicely, Draco. Have a good time, Harry. I will be back for my son tonight."

Harry's father growled as the man popped away, and both Harry and Draco had a laugh at his expense. Harry's father glared at them both, and they made a very tactical retreat to Harry's room laughing the whole way. They both were breathing heavily as Harry took a seat on the floor. Draco gave a snobbish look at the idea, but Harry firmly patted the place in front of him to indicate where the boy was to sit.

Draco rolled his eyes as he sat down. "You are lucky I like you, Harry, because no one makes a Malfoy sit on the floor."

Harry laughed and put on his own kind of snobbish look and pushed his nose up with a finger. "Yes, we Malfoys are much too good to be sitting where filthy commoners walk."

Harry laughed while Draco cracked a small smile. "Very good imitation, Snape. We'll make a pureblood out of you yet."

Harry's face turned into disgust. "No thanks. Yuck!"

Harry watched as Draco smirked. "Well, you are a little Slytherin, especially after this morning."

Harry also smirked. "Fine then, you are a Gryffindor because you're family."

Harry watched the boy turn green and his face turn into disgust. "That is not how that works, Harry, and furthermore, I will never be a Gryffindor, and I still despise all of them on a cellular level, besides you. And you, dear little cousin, are spared only because you are my sweet little cousin."

Harry scowled at the boy and felt his lip push out on it's own accord as he crossed his arms petulantly across his chest. "M'not little, Draco."

The older boy smirked cooly over at the pouting Gryffindor, making Harry ten times more annoyed with the smug snake. "Sure, you aren't, Snakeling."

Harry pushed the boy. "Prat."

His cousin laughed at him and smiled. "Only to everyone but you, Harry. I just like to tease."

Harry smiled and giggled back before thinking a sobering thought."You'll still talk to me at school, right?"

The blonde aristocrat rolled his eyes exaggeratingly before nodding to the shaken Harry. "Of course, I will talk to you and walk you to class, and if needed, we can study together."

"Okay, as long as Ron and Hermione can be there too. I don't want them feeling left out."

The blonde looked outraged. "What about me? I'll be the odd snake out."

Harry thought that over. "We can always have some of your friends be my friends too."

Harry watched happily as Draco nodded reluctantly. "I can think of a few who would fit that selective criteria."

Harry nodded before stopping dead. "Draco, I am not befriending Crabbe and Goyle."

The snake smirked at him. "But you are a snake, Harry, and we snakes are all sticking together."

Harry shook his head. "No way!"

His cousin smiled broader. "Yes, you are, Lil' Prince."

Harry perked up at his other nickname. "That's Dad's families' name."

The older boy smirked and nodded his head. "Yes, yes it is, and it is you're title in Slytherin. So, you have to be friends with all your people, Sire," the blonde mocked.

Harry's face looked like he had sucked on a lemon. "O-okay, but I'm not really sure they would want to study with us."

Harry watched his cousin look exasperated again. "Harry, I'm not even their friend, not really, and we don't have to friend anyone you don't want to right now."

Harry beamed at his cousin and hugged him. Somehow that was the exact moment that two other Gryffindors came barreling into the room. Harry had time to hear his name squealed before a thing of bushy hair collided into him. He felt his whole body squeezed, but he was grinning into Hermione's hair as he hugged her back. He saw Ron rush over, and as soon as Hermione released him, the other boy latched onto him. Harry felt his whole body washed with happiness at feeling so loved.

He had just enough time to look at him cousin to know he needed to solve a problem. The boy's cool mask wasn't up fast enough to hide the fear, pain, and jealousy he must have been feeling from Harry's friends coming. Harry could understand, since he was sure he would feel the same way come September when he had to share both Draco and his Daddy. He was just happy that at least when Hermione noticed him she nodded to the boy rather than making it a big deal, not that they were being nice but civility was something.

The same couldn't be said for Ron because as soon as he released Harry and turned to see the blonde boy, Ron shouted out the boy's name as if it were a curse and put himself between he and Harry. Harry felt slightly angry at Ron for again assuming the worst. Why couldn't Ron ever just wait before he went all angry?

Harry pushed Ron aside gently and walked to the center of his three friends. He hadn't gotten his words together before Ron was yelling, "What is that slimy Slytherin doing here?"

Harry bristled at the insult. Ron knew who his dad was now, and that was not a way to win points with Harry. Harry could also see Draco bristle from the new people and also the challenge. Harry hoped he knew Harry would defend their budding friendship, but Draco was already off with his own defenses. "Obviously, Weaslby, I was invited, and it is nice to see you as well."

Ron's fists clenched, and Harry was happy for small miracles when Hermione placed a hand on his chest for Harry. He took a deep breath before stepping between them more. "Draco, Ron, please. I don't want any of my friends to fight."

Harry watched Draco's smug look from the comfort of his assured position in front of Harry's friends. Harry internally rolled his eyes at his cousin. He was so predictable now.

"Friends?!" Harry jumped at the shout from Ron and spun to face him, his whole body already shaking. Ron didn't seem to notice and only got redder. "He's a git, a prat, Harry. He's not your friend."

Harry watched his speech failing him as Draco stepped up to Harry, putting his hand on the shaking boy's shoulder. "I am Harry's friend, Weasel, and I am his cousin."

Ron's mouth dropped, and he looked to Harry like he was utterly betrayed. "Harry? Mate, please say it's not true?"

Hermione was the one to smack Ron upside the back of the head when Harry started to hop from foot-to-foot feeling undecided and shaken from the anger in his friend's eyes. "You are doing it again, Ron. Now do you need me to remind you what happened the last time you upset Harry about his family?"

Ron's face paled, and it was like that one reminder knocked all the fight out of him. He shook his head furiously at Hermione before turning to Harry with a sheepish look. "Sorry, mate."

Harry was almost ready to say it was okay before he saw Draco's tight face. "I'm not the one you insulted, Ron."

Harry gave a pointed look to his left where Draco was standing, and Ron rubbed his face tiredly before looking to Draco. "Sorry, Malfoy."

Draco cracked a smirk that made Harry elbow him, which was probably nothing but a reminder to be nice. ""Apology accepted, Weasel."

Harry smacked Draco on the arm. "Drake!"

The older boy rolled his eyes at the stern look Harry gave him. "I also apologize, Weasley."

Harry beamed at his cousin and best friends, and both boys felt grudgingly better with the smaller's approval.

"Now we can all go play on the beach!"

HPSSHPSS

The sounds of a herd of children (hippogriffs) as his son and his friends all ran into the kitchen, where he was nursing another cup of coffee. He looked up when the one with his hair and his love's eyes approached. "Yes, Harry," he prodded with his quirked eyebrow.

The boy smiled at him and with so much progress Severus was speechless crawled up onto his lap with a smirk on his face. The Slytherin boy! If the boy had not let out a little contented sigh when he settled and only if not for that (who are you fooling, Snape?), Severus would have put the little blighter on his own two feet to spare his already breaking reputation. As it stood, he curled around the smaller body and rested his chin on the boy's head, looking over it at his paper with the announcement in it.

"Now what do you want, little Snake?"

The boy giggled and turned to look at him with his (if possible) more perfect than this morning puppy-dog eyes. "Can we go to the beach?"

Severus was already very undecided about this, his son, while adorable looking at him like that, was not a skilled swimmer by any means and had not even known how until this past week, but he knew he couldn't embarrass the boy by pointing this out in front of his friends. He had barely taught the boy much thus far, but the way the boy looked all pleading lip and sparkling green eyes (how could the lips the boy inherited from him even make that pouty lip?) made Severus melt. It was adorable (not that he would ever say that word aloud to anyone ever) with his mother's button nose and Severus's eyebrows. He was a goner.

He sighed and nodded. "You may go: however," his teaching tone slipping in to stop the victory cheers of the blighters and the one particular one jumping up and down on his lap, "You will have to put up with my accompaniment and will not go out too far while also staying in my sight. Is all I have said clear, Mr. Snape?"

His son nodded his head avidly looking as if Christmas had come early and looked to his friends. "He said yes," the boy said needlessly as they had all watched in amusement as their little friend wrapped the mean Dungeon Bat around his little pinky finger.

'How was he to deal with all of them together?' he thought with an audible groan

HPSSHPSS

The little blighters were sprinting ahead of him on the sand while Severus slowly made his way over to his reserved set of chairs where his charges had already dropped their things. Severus called out to them to be careful as they went running for the water. Severus was truly worried for his son, but he had agreed if only to himself that Harry needed to try to act more his age, and if that took allowing the boy to be slightly reckless, than Severus would only have to make a blood pressure draught or five thousand for the foreseeable future.

Severus posted himself in his chair, leaving on his shirtless top to protect from the sun while he watched out for the four hooligans screeching in the waves. His seemed from his view that the children were having an enjoyable splashing around in the shallower water. Draco mostly stayed with Harry while his own amiable child worked as a go between for the three unlikely friends his son had gathered to his side.

Severus suspected that in some way the four would become a congruent group without a block between the two bigger boys. He was thankful they could at least get along for the sake of Harry when the day was such a large one for their family. Harry was going to want to read the paper tomorrow to see the reactions of the people, but Severus didn't want the boy to worry what they thought.

He had allowed the boy to read the article, which Albus had wrote, Severus had proofread, and then had scanned once more in the paper itself before handing it to the boy. He knew he was being overprotective, but the child had just gotten to a good place and past some of the more painful hurdles to recovery. He was still a shaky child in the face of anger, but that bravery and spark were back. He wanted it to stay that way.

The article, after a thorough read, had only mentioned that Severus was the father and that it was newly found information. It also mentioned the adoption, their want for privacy and well-wishes and a slight threat in the last few lines Severus had added when his father had not been looking. It only stated in slightly detectable words that he would crush those that tried to hurt his son for this and anyone for that matter that attempted to hurt the boy for any reason. He was not a smotherer. Not at all. He was a hoverer.

He was so glad that he was too as that moment he saw the two idiot boy's that were Draco and Mr. Weasley leading his son out further by his arms. Ms. Granger seemed to be scolding the boy's, and Severus could see from here Harry was dancing from foot to foot with nerves. Severus sighed and made his way into the water wanting to be closer before calling them all back for the scolding of a lifetime.

He was waded out close enough to call out to Harry without yelling, but as soon as the boy turned back to face him, a wave came over the top of him, toppling the small boy, who cried out with a gurgled yelp.

Severus felt his heart pound out of his chest as he rushed to the boy. The other two boys were both still picking themselves up as well and hadn't noticed Harry's lack of return. Severus reached in deeper than he thought it would be and pulled as he felt his son's arm. The boy came scrambling up into his arms coughing and crying. Severus realised the boy had been on a downward slope and had went farther than he could touch and had gotten scared, making himself unable to try to swim up.

Severus cradled the boy to his chest and checked his other charges, seeing as they were all fine if only a little shook up, he glared at the boys sending them a seething hiss to go to the chairs. He turned next to Ms. Granger, who looked worried and shaken both. Severus gave a comforting nod and sent her up to fetch him a towel for when he and Harry made it back.

With the other three sent ahead, Severus took the moment to have his alone conversation with Harry who was only sniveling now and getting gunk Severus would have to ignore for now on his shirt. Severus perched the boy on his hip, and when the child tried to hide in his neck, Severus grabbed the boy's chin and steered him to his stern gaze.

The boy gulped and his shoulders hunched up protectively. Severus sighed and rubbed the boy's back to soothe at least his instinctive defenses.

"Harry, why were you going out there?"

The boy bit his lip breathing in heavily and coughing before looking down. The boy shrugged, and Severus felt his nostrils flare. This was not the time to get angry though, so he tapped the boy's head and waited for his eyes. "Harry, I know you heard me say to stay close. I had not wanted to embarrass you by saying why in front of your friends, but you and I both know you are not ready to swim anything too wild, so why did you let your friends lead you out there?"

The boy sniffled and his lip wobbled. "I'm so sorry, Daddy, but we were all playing, and they wanted to go farther, but I said I wasn't supposed to, and they all looked at me sadly, and then I said I could swim real well, and the Draco wanted to take me out with him, but Ron wanted me too, so they were pulling me together, and I just wanted to be like them."

Severus would never understand children, but he did see the boy was trying to be like his peers, which while good as an idea, was not ideal when his life was in danger. "Harry, I want you to be able to be with your peers and do things they do, but do you think anyone else would allow their twelve year old who can't swim out too far?"

The boy shook his head looking close to tears. "Now, there is no reason to cry. I know you are sorry, and that wave probably made you twice as sorry, so there will only be a small time out tonight before bed, and then we will call it even, but, Harry, do not do something like that again. I really need to keep my heart able to beat at a regular pace."

The boy laughed and nodded. "I won't, Dad. I promise."

Severus nodded and finished getting them out of the ocean. He set the boy on his feet and watched as the boy's friend gave him a towel. Severus smiled at her and turned to go toward the other dunderheads.

HPSSHPSS

Draco was going to die. He knew he was going to die as well as he knew he shouldn't have tried to pull Harry with him and Weasley out farther. He knew his cousin was smaller, but the boy had been so sure he could swim. He was going to have to be crushed first by Uncle Sev then by his dad. He did not like the sound of the rest of his day.

His uncle was soon in front of them, and wow, did he look mad. Draco cringed making himself smaller in his fright. Draco was only slightly happier that Weasley was doing the same. In all honesty, he would never wish Uncle Sev's tongue-lashings on anyone. Especially not the one's that came because of Harry. They were in for it.

"You two have to be the dumbest most insolent set of dunderheads I have ever met. I tell you not to go out too far, and what do you do? You drag Harry, who is never going to say no to anyone, out into the deeper parts of the water when he just learned to swim this week." \

Draco paled his eyes beginning to sting. He hadn't known. He wouldn't have hurt Harry. He was his big cousin. His job was to protect Harry. "Sir, we…"

"Silence." The hiss from his uncle sent Draco shivering and curling in on himself. "You two are his protectors, and we talked about this already. I talked to both of you about protecting him. He looks up to you two. I expected better from both of you, and I am deeply disappointed."

Draco hung his head feeling sick to his stomach. How could he have been so terrible? How could he have ruined his uncle's trust like that?

"... And that is why…" Draco perked up having missed some of his Uncle's speech, "I will expect better from you next time."

"Next time?" Draco could not help but ask like it was the one thing he had wanted to hear most.
His uncle raised his sardonic brow as Draco's father had deemed it. "Well, of course, Mr. Malfoy. Everyone knows it's three strikes."

Draco let out a woof of air, just feeling that knowledge soothe the part of him that was dreading his uncle not letting him be Harry's protector anymore or even his friend.

"What about telling o-our parents, sir?"

Hearing Weasley's stuttered speech made Draco perk his head back up to full attention. He needed the answer to this one too. The dark man smirked and raised both brows. "Mr. Weasley, there's no need for that because I am sure after you and Mr. Malfoy finish your two feet essays on being protectors and responsible friends, I will have no necessary reason to tell them, now will I, Mr. Weasley?"

The red head jumped and nodded avidly. "No, sir. No reason. I-it'll be done."

Uncle Sev nodded sagely and smirked again. "See that it does, both of you," he said with a stern look to Draco.

Draco nodded his head avidly too and felt lucky he got out of this unscathed but for a sore wrist. He was feeling really lucky now. And Harry was okay, and he was still his friend and his protector and his cousin, and… wow, he needed a nap.

HPSSHPSS

Harry was waiting in bed for his Daddy and Papa. His eyes were drooping, and he kept having to shake himself awake. It wasn't all that late, but he was tired after running around with his friends all day and the water and everything else. It had been a super good day, and he hadn't thought about the paper once. He was so glad his dad had thought of that.

He watched with hooded eyes as the two men came into the room and propped themselves on either side of his bed. Harry smiled sleepily at both while the two rubbed a hand over his hair. He let out contented sigh loving feeling so loved. He smiled goofily and scrunched into the covers, closing his eyes tight.

"What are you doing, Snakelet?"

Harry peered at his father with one eye before shutting it quickly. "I 'anna go 'leep feelin' good."

Harry felt someone rub his hair while the other kissed his cheek. Telling from the stubble and not the feel of a full beard, it was his daddy, who had not shaved all day. "Well, we would not stop you. We wanted you to feel good all day today, especially now."

Harry nodded with a yawn curling toward his dad as his papa rubbed his back. "Did. Was Nice. Liked beach."

He could hear chuckles, but they were getting further away as the soothing circles grew lighter and the touches to smooth his hair drifted away. "Go to sleep, child."

"We'll watch over you, and in the morning, we'll talk."

Harry made a noise he was sure, but not really sure what kind. He hoped it was agreeable. "We love you, Harry."

"Sweet dreams, little one."