Disclaimer: If it were mine, the world would be a really messed up place.
Summary: Harry and Severus end up staying together during part of the summer. What secrets are revealed?
Harry moved his chess piece after a moment of thought. "Your move, Sal," he said to the man who had taught him so much.
Salazar easily made his choice and moved a knight in half the time it had taken Harry to decide where to move. "Checkmate. See, I didn't teach you everything I knew… if I had, I wouldn't be able to beat you every time!"
Harry rolled his eyes at the smirking man in front of him. "Whatever, I'm used to losing. I've been friends with Ron for eight years now, you know."
Salazar grinned at Harry's red-haired friend. "I can deal with a challenge," he said. "Are you up to it, Ronniekins?"
Ron grinned evilly. "Just remember, Slytherin; you can't say I didn't warn you. I attended Hogwarts for seven years, and I beat everybody I played. Including Hermione, and she's a genius."
Ron's bushy-haired girlfriend scowled, and Ginny giggled. Severus merely sneered at his old student, whom he used to despise, and said, "Get much more egotistical and you'll be like Jerome here."
Jerome looked up, mocking offense. "Hey! You say that like it's a bad thing!"
Harry just grinned around at all his friends. Everyone was there: his father, Severus, Ron, Ginny, Hermione, Sal, and Jerome. Everyone except Draco, who was gods-know-where. If there was one thing Draco wasn't, it was easy to track down. Harry's former Slytherin nemesis had taken to travelling all over the world, and hadn't been seen often since his class had graduated a year ago. He had shown up for Ginny's graduation that summer, though. Harry and Hermione reckoned he had a slight crush on the redheaded girl.
A moment later, Harry was interrupted from his thoughts by a freezing sensation in his hand. He immediately recognized it as the ring that his father had given him about three years ago, in his sixth year at Hogwarts.
"Draco is coming in," he announced to the room. All the room's occupants looked pleased, especially Ginny, who was tinged pink. A moment later, the blond swaggered in, eyes roaming the room. His silver-gray eyes paused for a moment on Ginny, but then quickly moved on.
"Hello, everyone," he smiled: quite a change from his days back at Hogwarts, where he had a rather snide personality, especially in his last two years, so he wouldn't be suspected as a spy for the Order.
"Welcome back," Harry said. He had grown rather close to Draco during his sixth and seventh years; it was hard not to: they had been on very close terms, working together under Severus' guidance.
"Where'd you come from?" Hermione asked. She was just as fond of travelling as Draco was, though she had done much less than he.
"I've just portkeyed in from France, actually," Draco said breezily.
Hermione gasped. "Ooo, did you go to Chartres?"
Draco nodded. "Yes, it was nice. I have a lot of pictures of the cathedral there; did you go see it while you were in France?"
Hermione shook her head, looking disappointed. "We had to skip Chartres, because we were running out of time."
"SHIT!" Ron yelled at Salazar Slytherin's smirking visage.
"Real eloquent, Weasel," Draco said dryly. Ron responded by flipping Draco the bird.
It seemed that the once-chess-champion had finally met his match in Hogwarts' fourth founder. No one really wanted to laugh at Ron's predicament, but they found it hard to restrain their grins of glee, and soon Ron was laughing again.
"You just wait, Slytherin." He mock-glared at the dark-featured man. "I know your little tricks now. Next time, I'll be ready."
Salazar grinned. "I'll be waiting, Ronnie."
Ron scowled at his victorious enemy and sat down next to Hermione, who had a smug expression on her face.
"What are you so happy about?" he asked darkly.
"Oh, nothing, Ron. I just find it ironic that you lost after mocking me for never winning at chess."
"Okay, I get it, I'm sorry, now that's enough," Ron said grumpily, pouting slightly at his girlfriend.
Harry grinned. "Tough luck, Ron. You made fun of her; now she'll never leave you alone."
Ron pretended to wail. "NOOOO! I'm doomed, Harry, I'm doomed!"
Severus watched Ron's antics with one eyebrow raised. "Harry, I know you said earlier that this thing was your friend. Are you quite sure you still want to claim him?"
Harry pretended to be thinking about it hard. "You know Dad, I'm not sure. He is pretty crazy."
"Hey!" Ron whipped around. "I'm not crazy!"
"Mmhmm Ron, I'm sure you're not crazy at all," Harry nodded. Then he moved to change the topic. "Has anyone heard from Neville lately?"
Ginny nodded. "Yeah, he wrote me last week. He's been working with experimental plants. He says it's amazing. He's actually planning on going to America in September."
"What for?" Hermione asked.
"To see the Sequoia trees in California. He says that they're supposed to be fantastic."
Hermione nodded enthusiastically. "I've read books about those!"
Draco smirked. "Figures."
Hermione ignored him. "The trees are huge; five people holding hands probably couldn't fit around one."
"That sounds cool," Harry said. "Hey Dad, feel up to a trip?"
Severus groaned. "Oh, Danu, not again… wasn't the one to Italy last summer enough?"
Harry grinned. "C'mon Dad, you have to make up for all those years you weren't in my life. Remember? You aren't absolved yet."
Severus groaned again. "Oh gods… why did I agree to LOVE and honesty?"
Harry beamed cheekily. "Because you love me!"
Severus peeked at him between his fingers. "Are you sure? Because now I'm having doubts… are you absolutely positive that potion was correct?"
Harry grinned. "Yup. You're stuck with me!"
Everybody laughed at the look of horror on Severus' face. Soon he began mocking Ron. "I'm doomed, I'm doomed, I'm doomed…"
Mmm I'm not really sure about this epilogue. I wasn't going to do one, actually, but I figured I owed it to you guys. So sorry if it sucks. My friend who just read it says it doesn't, but she's biased, so I don't buy that…
I am really very pleased with this story. This story was focused on Harry's acceptance of his father, and that has been written. I feel like I have done my duty… it's a very satisfying feeling, too! I know many of you didn't want this story to end, or at least wanted a sequel. Unfortunately, some stories just don't have a sequel, and I think this is one of them. There's just nothing else left of the story to tell. I am scheming about another story though: in fact, I've already written a touch on it. I know how much you all love Salazar, and I'm thinking up a story with him as the main character. It's rare that you find a good story about the Founders, so I think I might just have to write one. Keep an eye out- or just put me on Author Alert, it's simpler- because I'll probably have the new fic out within a month or two. I hope you will all come and read it: I will be waiting for you!
Now I would just like to say thank you. As my readers and reviewers, you have all been great- except for the occasional flamers of course. (And I don't mean the useful critics- I mean the people who tell me my story sucks and that my ideas are shit). But excluding those few, I have loved each and every review I have received. You have all been fantastic: you guys are the people that keep me writing. I wanted to type in every single person that's ever reviewed this story, but then I looked at how many reviews I had and decided to think realistically. I do want to thank one person individually, however, and that is EternalEcho.
You've been here throughout this fic and throughout the five years that we've been best friends. You've encouraged me in not only this, but all my writing endeavors, and I am forever grateful.
I love you,
Good-bye, everyone, and thanks again! I'll see you all in the next fic, and in the meanwhile, you can check out my other story, "Touch Me."