Hey, everyone! I'm sorry I took so long to update this story. I thought the last chapter had been posted but imagine my surprise when I learnt it wasn't. I hope you enjoyed this story and once I'm done working on my current projects, I might be working towards a sequel.
For Harry, Hogsmeade was unknown territory; he'd only ever heard about it, so naturally, as soon as his head stopped spinning from apparating, he began glancing around, taking in everything he could. But unfortunately, he was sore, aching and tired and found no pleasure from taking in all of the new sites and sounds. Witches and wizards were glancing sadly at Harry while pretending they weren't.
As Harry and Professor Snape made their way to the castle, they remained quiet; both deep in thought about what they had been through over the past couple days. For Severus, it was learning how badly abused Harry actually was and for Harry, it was the shock of being freed from his summer prison with his relatives. The idea of never seeing them again was wonderful and filled Harry with joy and delight.
It wasn't until Harry stumbled over a rock and hissed as the pain in his ankle registered that the silence was broken.
"Are you okay to walk the rest of the way?" Severus asked, watching Harry's expression as he continued walking forward. Severus knew that Harry's ankle wouldn't be 100 percent healed until morning and before the child could answer, he had scooped him into his arms and continued walking.
"I have a confession to make. It's not very often that I'm wrong about people, Mr Potter but it so happens in your case, I was wrong. I automatically assumed that you would be spoiled and ignorant like your father but after these past couple days I've learned the truth."
"Well, it we're being completely honest, the sorting hat wanted to put me in Slytherin but after hearing everyone's views on the house, I let it sway me away and I still regret not going to Slytherin sometimes because of the opinions of two people," Harry told Severus honestly, watching the man's face briefly displayed shock before returning to normal.
"Oh?" Was all Severus managed before Harry started talking again.
"Now that I think about it, it would have done a lot of good for the school, people seeing me and Slytherin. Their views on the house would start to change and instead of seeing evil snakes, they'd see people," Harry said, thinking of everything he could have learned from Slytherin; from the influential members, to the united front they held. Harry also knew how much they supported each other from study groups to house activities.
"As true as that might be, there might be those who would go around saying that it was a sign that you were going to become the next dark lord," Severus said, clearly referring to some of the less bright students.
"So, let them. I have more important things to worry about than the opinions of a few idiots."
Harry said the statement as though he'd been thinking about this for a while and it lead Severus to think about some of the journal entries he'd read that fit Harry's claim perfectly.
"Just think, with those study groups, I might actually learn to use a quill and then I could get better grades than Hermione," Harry said, a small grin filling his face as he thought of the possibilities. "But it's too late."
"What makes you say that? If you wanted, we could have you resorted once you get healed up; if that's what you really want."
"I didn't know it was possible. Can we..."
"Of course, we can," Severus said, smiling at the idea of actually winning a Quidditch match and Harry beamed at the idea of actually going where the sorting hat had originally wanted.
As they made their way towards the castle, Harry told Severus all of his observations over the past year, all of the things he wanted to accomplish in Slytherin and happily avoided discussing his relatives.
Severus bypassed the hospital wing altogether and took Harry down to his quarters; he knew what was wrong with Harry and it was only a matter of a few potions before Harry would be back on his feet. He wouldn't have to worry about Poppy putting in a report because the spell he'd placed on the Dursleys would leave them spilling their guts the first time anyone knocked on the door. Yes, there was a smug satisfaction knowing that justice would be served soon.
The next day, after a brief visit to the headmaster's office and one surprisingly quick encounter with the sorting hat later, Harry and Severus made their way back towards the dungeons.
"What's going to happen to me? Now that I'm not with the Dursleys?" Harry asked Severus.
Severus had spent so much time focusing on escaping the Dursleys, rescuing and healing Harry that he hadn't had time to worry about making long-term arrangements for Harry.
This was a matter that was going to need to be handled with a certain amount of discretion; if the wizarding world found out that the Boy-Who-Lived was in need of a home, Lucius Malfoy, Molly Weasley and Merlin knew who else would be fighting over who would get him. As much as Molly loved Harry, Severus knew that Harry's new house colours would set off tensions in the house.
Severus knew that Harry wanted to be closer with Draco than he was but perhaps they would be best holding off on forced-brotherhood until they could stand to be in the same room together.
"I think, for this summer, you can stay with me; that will give us time to worry about long-term arrangements. What do you think?"
"I think that sounds okay," Harry said, glad that he wouldn't have to worry about being shuffled along for the rest of the summer. He'd heard about kids going through that and it sounded awful. They'd be able to work out the finer details, so come next Summer, Harry would have a place to stay for sure. This could also be a good chance for Harry to get to know his new Head of House, learn a lot about the wizarding world and perhaps get ahead in his classes.
The next morning, Harry read in the paper that the Dursleys had been arrested for child abuse; of course, this wasn't a surprise for Severus or Harry but it had still been amusing to read. Apparently, Vernon Dursley had been pulled over on the way to work because his tail light wasn't working and had not even hesitated to inform the officer about all the atrocities he'd subjected his nephew to and had apparently gone as far as to offer demonstrations.
The Muggle authorities had no idea how to deal with them because they seemed to go out of their way to approach people and tell them everything they'd done to their nephew. This included cops at the door, strangers in the streets, clerks at stores and one very confused girl-guide who was just trying to sell them a box of cookies.
What Harry loved reading the most was how the trial was delayed pending the results of the psychiatric evaluation.
By the middle of summer, Harry had fallen into a beautiful routine with Severus; Harry would study one topic or another while Severus prepared lesson plans in the morning. In the evening, they would brew together. Harry was pleased to learn that without Severus breathing down his neck, he was actually quite good at potions; the was probably to do with all the years he'd spent cooking for the Dursleys.
The Dursleys who had been declared mentally unfit were sentenced to an indefinite stay in a secure psychiatric institution but knowing the spell Severus had put on them, Harry knew they wouldn't be getting out anytime soon.
As soon as the Dursleys were declared unfit guardians, a rush of applications came through only to be told that guardianship had already been signed over to Severus Snape.
Ron Weasley had taken a while to get over everything he'd discovered about Harry that summer but had gotten over it upon discovering that his friend hadn't changed too drastically since becoming a snake.
For Harry, things were looking up; he was in a home where he was treated like a human being with a guardian who actually cared about him. He'd even been given his own bedroom with a massive bed and for the first time in his life, Harry had his own toys.
Harry was now looking forward to the new school but he was nervous about how his peers were going to react to him being in Slytherin now. But that was a worry for another day because for now, Harry's only concern was simply enjoying the summer and being a kid for once in his life.