Disclaimer: See Chapter 1
AN: I am so sorry this has taken so long to finish. RL really got in the way then a really big case of writers block.
Chapter 23: Summer's End
The few weeks leading up to the start of the new term were very busy, especially for Harry. He didn't have much time to do anything on his own. Severus kept him busy from the time he got up until it was time for bed at night, only stopping for meals. Harry never realized how much work it was for the teachers to get ready. Severus had to go through the student store's and his own to see what he had and get rid of anything that had gone bad, then write a list of everything that was needed for the new year, separately. He had Harry scrubbing the classroom down to get all the dust cleared out. The house elves had tried to help, but Severus had scared them away, insisting that Harry was going to do it. Once the rest of the teacher's had returned, Severus had Harry helping them with cleaning the classroom's and whatever else he could find for him to do. At night, before Harry could go to bed, Severus had him studying before clearing his mind. By the time he finally made it to bed, he was so tired; he fell asleep as soon as he lay down.
It was finally time for the rest of the students to return. The teacher's were doing any last minute things that needed to be done, while Severus and Harry were in Severus's quarters. Harry was sitting in a chair by the fire while Severus was pacing back and forth in front of said fire, muttering about interfering old codgers. In the past few weeks, Harry had come to realize why Severus was so mad when they first arrived. It wasn't so much the fact that he had to keep Harry with him, but the fact that Dumbledore had told him he had to keep him. Severus had explained that he planned on keeping Harry busy whether Dumbledore had wanted him to or not, but it was the fact that he hadn't been given a choice. Right now, Severus was trying to figure out how to get Harry safely to the train. Dumbledore had a plan and Severus had just been informed of it.
"You'll have to wear your cloak. Stay out of the way of everyone. When it clears some, make your way down to the last car. Your friends will be waiting for you there. Once inside, make sure it's clear, and then you and Nymphadora will switch places as quickly as you can. You have to make sure that all of you are out in time to make it to one of the carriages. Is that clear, Potter?" Severus said, stopping in front of Harry.
"Yes, sir." Harry said, trying not to smile.
They had been going over the plan for over an hour now. Dumbledore had decided that Tonks would be Polyjuiced into Harry and ride the train with Ron and Hermione. Harry was to go with Hagrid to get the first years and make the switch with Tonk's, that way no one would know that Harry was already at Hogwarts. Severus had been against the plan. He didn't think that Tonks would be able to pull it off. Since he hadn't been able to get Dumbledore to change his mind, he had been going over how to get Harry there and making sure that Harry knew the plan flawlessly. Although he would never admit it, it felt good to have someone worry about him.
"Let's go then. We wouldn't want to make the Headmaster wait now, would we?" Severus said with a sneer.
"No, sir." Harry said, trying to hide his smirk.
Harry followed Severus through the corridors up to the Main Entrance. Dumbledore was standing by the door waiting for them. Severus walked past without a word, leaving Harry confused. Dumbledore just shook his head sadly before turning to Harry.
"Come along, Harry. We must not be late." Dumbledore said, smiling at him.
Harry followed, not sure what to make of the two men in front of him. He had never seen anyone openly disrespect Dumbledore like that before. He knew that Severus was upset with the Headmaster and didn't like the plan that he had come up with, but he didn't think he would treat him so disdainfully. Harry himself thought it was a good plan, as long as everything went as planned. He wasn't sure why Severus was so upset with it.
Harry was brought out of his thoughts as they came up to Hagrid.
" 'ello Harry." Hagrid said, slapping him on the back and sending him forward a few steps before he caught himself.
" Hello Hagrid. How have you been?" Harry said, after catching his breathe.
" A'right Harry. We better ge' goin'. Gots to meet the train." Hagrid said, turning to head out.
Harry went to follow but was stopped by Severus's hand on his shoulder. He turned to look inquiringly at Severus.
"Don't forget the plan and stay out of trouble, Potter." Severus said, a slight quirk to his lips.
" Yes, sir. I'll see you at the feast." Harry said with a small smile.
Severus let go of Harry as he hurried to catch up to Hagrid.
"Potter, don't forget your cloak." Severus yelled out as Harry went to go.
Harry smiled as he pulled his invisibility cloak around himself as he tried to keep up with Hagrid. It felt good to have someone care about him, even if they tried not to show it.
Harry waited impatiently for the train to clear some. He didn't want to chance running into someone but he couldn't wait too long either. When it finally looked clear enough for him to get through, he quickly headed onto the train, being careful not to let anything show on him. He quickly made his way down the train, having to dodge other students on his way. When he finally made it to the compartment he could hear his friends in, he lightly knocked to let them know he was there.
" Come on, Ron. We're going to be late." Hermione said as she opened the door to leave.
Harry went in as the door swung shut behind Hermione. Once inside he pulled off the cloak and quickly handed it to Tonks. Tonks took it and pulled it over herself as Ron opened the door to leave, Harry close behind.
"Good luck, Harry." Tonks whispered before they left.
Ron and Harry hurried to catch up to Hermione who was walking pretty slowly for someone that was in a hurry earlier.
" What took you so long? We should have been on our way to school by now." Hermione hissed at Harry as they caught up.
" I had to wait for it to clear out some before I could get I without anyone noticing." Harry whispered back.
They all climbed into the only carriage left. Ron kept looking up at the sky every few minutes, making Harry and Hermione look at him curiously.
"What are you looking at, Ron?" Harry asked.
" We have been followed by a black bird since we left the train." Ron said, pointing up at the sky,
They all looked up and Harry recognized the black crow that was gliding overhead. He smiled to himself as the bird let out a caw before flying ahead and disappearing. It felt really good having someone that cared.
I hope it was at least worth the wait. I had a hard time with Hagrid so if he sounds off, sorry.
I would really like to thank everyone that has reviewed and stuck by me even though it must have seemed as if I disappeared from existents.