Sorry for the long wait! I've already gotten started on the next chapter though :)- Life & Work have just been so hectic, and I just got quite a few web design comissions to work on. Enjoy, and as always, comments are more than welcome! E-mailing them works too :) I've gotten a couple of those recently :D

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He would have been more than happy to follow Snape's orders -- really! More than happy to sit in this dreary little cottage, perhaps make himself up a cup of tea to help pass the time. Unfortunately fate, it seemed, had other plans for him this day. Quite a few plans actually.

First, the storm started, and the stability of this structure was called in to question, as the roof instantly started leaking, the patter-patter of raindrops falling into strategically places pots and pans around the corners of the room, and one atop the table he was sitting at. And then another one started right on his head

Well, needless to say, he quickly moved from that spot, instead choosing to lean against the sink int he kitchen, hoping that that area would be less prone to leaks starting. In that, at least, he was lucky.

And still, he would have been more than happy to continue in silence, not moving from the kitchen -- dare he call anything that belonged to Snape "quaint"? But yes, the kitchen did seem to fit that description. He even had little nick nacks! It was as he was perusing over one such nick nack on the refrigerator door, that the second surprise of the evening came a-nocking on the door ... literally.

Hoping fervently that the person -- who ever it was -- would simply go away if they thought that nobody was home, Harry kept himself rooted to the spot, wincing when another knock came to the door, louder, and more insistant this time. "Snape! Open the bloody door!"

Harry froze at the familiar voice, swallowing nervously as he edged around the counter, standing in the middle of the room and staring apprehensively at the door as he wrang his hands togeather.

Where was his famed Gryffindor bravery? Once, he would have run in with all his guns blazing -- figuratively, or course. Although, a spell or two would have been on his lips, at the very least. But now, all he wanted to do was curl up in a corner and ignore the insistant voice of Lucius Malfoy.

And how the hell had that particular idiot gotten out of Azkaban? He highly doubted there were that many people in the ministry who could be bought off ... but you never knew. He'd certaintly been wrong before.

After the next round of shouting, however, Harry frowned in consternation, staring at the door with interest now. Maybe ... that hadn't sounded quite like Malfoy after all.

Edging toward the door, Harry stared apprehensively at the offending piece of wood, continuing to worry on his lower lip as he debated his options.

He really shouldn't have been debating anything -- Snape had told him to stay out of sight, and not leave the house. He certaintly wouldn't want Harry answering the door to any visitors, especially any that sounded even remotely like Lucius Malfoy.

Taking a deep breath, Harry edged to the side, so that he would be at least partially hidden, and opened the door.

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Mik blinked in confusion as the door seemed to suddenly open by itself, before he noticed movement out of the corner of his eye.

A dark-haired boy stood to the side, partially hidden by the door, with the most startling pair of emerald green eyes watching him warily. As the seconds ticked slowly by, the boy started fidgeting, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, and Mik could almost see the boy's intense want to flee the room.

Well, this certaintly wasn't what he had been expecting.

Slowly entering the house -- if you could call this pitiful shack a house -- Mik took careful care to keep his hands held away from his body, trying to keep his actions as non-threatening as possible. The door swung closed behind him, and he finially came to a stop in the middle of the room, turning to face his companion.

"Are you supposed to be here?" He asked cautiously, idly wondering if the boy had simply wandered his way in here. The kid certaintly looked like a runaway, with his ill-fitting clothes and drawn expression, as if he hadn't gotten a good night's sleep in days, perhaps weeks.

THe boy straightened at that, sending an angry scowl his way. "Yes. Professor Snape told me to wait here." Mik nearly choked on that, but settled instead for a coughing fit, as he attempted to digest what the boy had just said.

"Did you just ... Sev's a Professor?" Somehow, he just couldn't quite seem to grasp that. Weren't Professor's paid well? Well enough to get them adecent house, or at least an apartment, out of this crummy neighborhood, frequented by prostitutes and drug dealers. Even after living here for so many years, he still had a healthy dose of fear every tmie he walked down the street -- and he stayed indoors after the sun went down, at all costs. That was when it was most dangerous.

Licking his suddenly dry lips, Mik sank in to one of the only chairs in the room, staring off into space with a bemused expression. Sev certaintly was full of contradictions. Of course he'd known that the first time they'd met, with the man's obviously humble surrounding, yet a high and mighty attitude more fitting for royalty than a bum barely paying his bills.

Noticing that the boy was beiginning to fidget even more than before, Mik tried to smile in what he hoped was a reassuring manner. "My name's Mik, by the way. I stay here, with Severus, when he's not off gallavanting to make some money. Athough, now i know why he always slacks off so much in the summer. Kind of surprised me, when I thought he had to work his ass off to pay for this place."

Harry smiled at that, twisting his fingers nervously togeather, before finially takingthe offered seat at the table, curling one leg underneath him. "My name's Harry. Harry Potter."

"You wouldn't be related to James Potter, would you? Sev tends to rant about him from time to time, although most of his anger seems to be directed at that Black fellow. I swear, that man known how to hold a grudge like no other."

Even through the pain of the mention of his godfather's name, Harry still couldn't help but smile. Yes, that certaintly described Snape, alright.

"Professor Snape teaches ... chemistry, at my boarding school." It was quickly becomming apparent that his man knew nothing of the magical world, and Harry couldn't help but wonder by Snape lived with a muggle -- and a muggle who looked remarkably like a dark-haired Lucius Malfoy, at that.

Relieved at the sight of that smile, Mik relaxed more comfortably in to his chair, turning his gaze tot he ceiling for a moment before he finially got up, moving into the kitchen. "How about some food? I'm starved."

It wasn't until nearly two hours later that Snape finially arrived back, far more relaxed than when he had left. Time spent with the Malfoy family usually had a way of doing that to him -- although if it was from the alcohol or the company, he was never quite sure. Somehow, he always ended up with copious amounts of brandy in his system before he left their company.

However, his good mood quickly evaported when he opened the door to find Mik chatting comfortably with his student, a grin on his lips as he sat far too close to the boy.

Grinding hs teeth togeather silently, Snape made sure to slam the door behind him, smirking when both of the younger men jumped in surprise. Mik quickly drew his hand away from where it had been playing with Harry's hair, a guilty look flashing across his face before he smiled innocently up at his housemate.

"Sev! Harry here was just telling me about some of your classes. I never knew Chemistry could be so ... excruciating." Mik moved his arm so it was rersting behind Harry's shoulders on the couch they were sitting on.

Severus merely glared at his room mate, even more incensed by the fact that the man wasn't intimidated int he least. He merely grinned back in good humour, fingers curling around to play with Potter's hair.

And Potter, apparently, found no fault in this, since he didn't move away from the touches, or even really respond to them at all. He simply continued watching Severus, a questioning look in his eyes.

"Potter, we're leaving. Now." Harry merely shrugged his shoulders, standing to his feet and throwing an apologetic glance Mik's' way before following his teacher deeper into the small cottage.