Harry gasped, sitting up in bed, breathing shallowly as he looked around his bedroom, looking for something that wasn't there. He drew in a shuddering breath, and then released it once he realized where he was. He was home, safe, and definitely not at the Dursley's. His eyes grew dull and he dropped his head into his hands, bringing his knees up to his chest. He'd been having the same nightmare for a good couple of days, ever since they'd run into his Uncle at King's Cross. It just wouldn't stop, the nightmares kept continuing, even with Harry knowing the man couldn't get to him here. He knew he was safe, yet he was still scared.
Glancing at the clock on his bedside table, Harry frowned, knowing he'd never get back to sleep. And it was still so early. If he had to have these damn nightmares, why couldn't they happen closer to morning? It was just after three a.m. and Harry knew getting anymore sleep tonight would be futile. The dreams would return, as they always did, and he'd rather not deal with them if at all possible. Sleeping was becoming a chore to him now, as much as he needed it.
There was nothing for him to do, and as much as he wouldn't mind going down to the kitchen for a late night snack, he couldn't risk waking his father. And besides which, Cella, their house-elf, would become infinitely concerned and feel it her duty to tell her master. She was a good house-elf, and Harry cared for her, but she could be a pain sometimes, especially when it came to Harry's nocturnal habits.
In so being, there was no other choice but for Harry to remain in his room. And, even though those shadows in the corner played havoc on his imagination, he couldn't risk turning on the light. Instead, he sat on his bed and read a few Quidditch books by the meager light of his wand until the early morning hours, at which point he felt it safe to venture from his room.
Two hours later, Harry finally was sitting in the dining room, eating a healthy breakfast prepared by Cella, and attempting to read the Daily Prophet. Nothing very interesting was contained within the paper, and he discarded it on the table. Upon looking up, he saw that his father was just coming down the stairs, walking towards him.
"Good morning, Harry," he said, sitting down across from him. Cella was instantly at his side, setting plate upon plate of food in front of him.
"Morning," whispered Harry, extremely tired after a sleepless night. Many sleepless nights, in fact.
Severus looked up at him, concerned. "Are you quite well? You look exhausted."
Harry hadn't been telling his father about his dreams; he didn't want to come off as a big baby on their first week together, nor did he wish to disappoint the man. Besides, he felt he could handle his nightmares on his own. They were beginning to take a toll on him however, emotionally as well as physically, but he was certain they wouldn't last for much longer and he could get on with his great new life. He just wished they would go away a little bit sooner.
"I woke up early and couldn't get back to sleep," he explained it away.
His father still eyed him uncertainly, making Harry hope he didn't look as horrible as he felt. "You're paler than normal and there are dark circles under your eyes. What time exactly did you wake up this morning?"
Harry frowned, how did the man see straight through his defenses and right to the truth of the matter? He still wouldn't give in on the nightmares, those were his burden to bear, not his father's.
"So, I woke up a little early. I've just been excited is all. You know, I've been looking forward to spending my summer with you since I was adopted." It was the truth, he had been excited about this, getting to spend time with his family, not having to go back to his relatives. Having his friends come over for the first time ever. It was a lot to be excited about, especially for someone who'd never experienced it before. And Severus felt inclined to believe him.
"Yes, I suppose you would be excited about it. All this is new to you and you haven't fully developed to it all. I suppose that would cause a lack of sleep, but let's try and limit that, shall we? I can always give you a relaxing draught before bed, if you feel you need it. Perhaps then you'd sleep the night through."
A relaxing draught was the last thing he needed. He'd never be able to wake up with one of those in his system, and Severus would hear his screams for sure. He wasn't allowed silencing charms on his room, and his father would know if he did. He'd become very proficient at waking up before a sound even escaped his lips. Quite handy, really. But, a relaxing charm, he wouldn't be able to fight the affects of his nightmares. "No, I think I'll be fine without them. And today, Ron and Hermione are coming over. Ron's been wanting to play Quidditch, and I'm sure after a few games of that I'll be ready for a good, long nap," he said jokingly, yet seriously. "Thanks anyways."
"If you feel you need one at anytime, all you need do is ask," he told Harry, grasping the Daily Prophet from where Harry had laid it and began perusing through it.
Harry sighed with relief, having successfully managed to dodge another bullet. He felt absolutely awful lying to his father, but it was for the best. He needn't ever know.
Rushing up to his room, Harry made his bed and tidied up his room so it wouldn't look so messy. It hadn't really been all that untidy, but he was so used to keeping his room clean, that it was hard not to stick to old habits. Afterwards, he quickly took a shower and got ready for the day. Ron and Hermione weren't coming over until the afternoon, and he had plenty of time to clean up before they arrived.
As he was removing a few schoolbooks from his trunk, Cella came in, looking startled.
"Master Harry! I's can do that…you, go, shoo!" she exclaimed, trying to force the boy out of his room.
"Cella!" he yelled, picking her up and setting her on his bed. "I'm supposed to clean my room. Not you."
The little elf shook her head vigorously. "No, no, young one, Cella's job!" she was adamant and refused to back down. "Master Harry's friends to be here soon, go wait for them downstairs! I's will clean the room!"
Harry didn't know what to do. Severus had distinctly said cleaning his room was up to him. He couldn't just let the house-elf do all of his work, it wouldn't be fair, but he couldn't hurt her feelings either. But what if his father found out Cella was cleaning his room for him? Would he get in trouble? There was only one thing to do; he had to go speak with him. Otherwise, he wouldn't feel right, and he didn't want to be confused on his duties in the household.
"Dad?" he called. No one was in the dining room, the table had been cleared and was waiting patiently for the next meal.
"I'm in the study, Harry!" yelled a voice from down the hall. Harry nodded, even though his father couldn't see him, and walked down the corridor to his father's study. If only his father would put a weightless charm on these doors. It took all of his strength to open one massive oak door, and normally his back was left feeling strained. "What did you need?" Severus was sitting at his desk filling out some kind of paperwork. Harry didn't ask what it was; he knew it was none of his business.
"Cella keeps trying to clean my room, and even when I tell her it's my job, she won't stop. I don't want her to get in trouble or anything, but could you tell her she doesn't have to do it? She won't listen to me, and I don't want you to think I'm letting Cella do all my chores," he said quickly, twisting his fingers in the bottom of his t-shirt, trying not to look as nervous as he felt.
Severus sat at his desk and stared at the boy. This made Harry even more uneasy. "I was doing it myself, I really was. I wasn't disobeying you," he tried to explain, but his father stood up and motioned at Harry, effectively shutting him up.
"Harry, it's fine, calm down. I know how Cella can be, she's very demanding and headstrong. She's always done all the work around here, and she gets paid. She thinks you shouldn't have to do your chores. But, I'll speak with her about this," he paused then, looking at Harry seriously. Harry winced; he knew he was going to be in trouble for letting her do them in the first place! "Child, you're going to pass out if you don't take a breath!"
Harry gasped, not realizing he'd been holding his breath.
Severus approached his son then, looking so concerned that Harry felt stupid for making such a big deal out of this. Maybe he wasn't as mad as he thought he'd be. "What's wrong, Harry?" he asked, taking Harry's shoulders in his strong hands and squeezing lightly. "What's going through your head?"
Was he that transparent? He tried to pull away from the hands on his shoulders, but the grip wouldn't allow it. Sighing in resignation, Harry looked up at his father, bracing himself for the man's reaction. But then, he wasn't really sure what he was thinking. He was worried he would get in trouble for not doing his part around the Manor, and worried he'd get Cella in trouble for telling Severus she'd been doing his chores. But, he didn't want either of them to get in trouble and didn't want to appear like a tattletale either. He just wanted this summer vacation to be perfect, he wouldn't be able to stand it if his father grew disappointed in him, or worse yet, grew to realize he was an inconvenience and want rid of him, like his relatives had. He couldn't help it, he still had these wandering thoughts that once Severus really got to spend some time with him, he'd see what the Dursley's had seen. Severus had been adamant that he would never get rid of Harry, and yet the fear still remained.
How could he tell Severus this without frustrating the man? Harry glanced at the floor, refusing to meet his father's eyes. This was so entirely embarrassing to say, he felt like a complete prat. "I just…I don't want you to be disappointed in me," he paused, looking across the room, before gathering his wits about him. "I don't know what to do. I don't know what I'm supposed to do, what you expect me to do, and what I'm not allowed to do. I just don't want to mess up," he answered pathetically.
Severus gripped Harry's shoulders a bit harder, but not so much that it actually hurt the boy. Harry fidgeted under his father's dark gaze. The man seemed almost lost for words, making Harry shudder in fear. Oh hell, here it comes. He's going to get rid of me. It was an irrational thought, he knew this, hell, he'd been having a lot of irrational thoughts lately, but he was literally terrified. How could he still be so insecure?
Severus seemed to be thinking the same thing, for he finally sighed exasperatedly and pulled the boy to his chest, holding him there with a hand against the back of Harry's head. "Harry, you're not messing anything up. I expect you to be yourself, to be a child, stop worrying so much. You're entirely too serious approximately half the time you're in my presence. If you happen to 'mess up', I won't think any less of you for it, and would you like to know why?" he pulled back to look his son in his eyes, and Harry found himself feeling even more like an idiot. How could he have doubted the man for even a second?
"You love me."
"That's precisely the reason," Severus hugged Harry to his chest once more before stepping away. "Is there anything else you would like to address while we're getting everything out in the open?" he asked.
Harry had a moment where he was sincerely considering telling his father about his nightmares, but he still couldn't bring himself to do it, even after their conversation. If he told Severus of his nightmares, the man would be constantly checking on him, putting a strain on his own much needed sleep to make sure Harry was actually getting his rest. He wouldn't put his father out like that; it just wouldn't be fair to the man. Unless they became unbearable, he wouldn't mention them. His mind made up, Harry shook his head, indicating there was nothing left to talk about.
"Very well, it would be best if you waited in the parlor, Mr. Weasley should be here any moment now," he said suddenly with a fleeting look at the mantel clock.
Harry took a look as well, shocked to discover so much time had passed while he'd been stressing over nothing.
"This is your Quidditch pitch?" asked Ron once they'd stepped off the back patio and into the expansive back yard. The redhead stared in awe. "I wish I could have my own Quidditch pitch," he said dreamily. "Let's play!"
Harry laughed as his best friend sprinted across the lawn, his broom strewn over his shoulder, as he tried to beat the raven-haired teen to the pitch. Harry wasn't even attempting to run, he walked amiably, and grinned when Ron made it to the pitch and Harry was still yards away. "Harry!" he yelled distantly. "Move your arse!"
"Alright, alright!" he broke into a jog and made it to his friend a few moments later. "You're such a nag."
Ron looked affronted. "I am not!" he dropped the trunk containing the Quidditch balls onto the ground and released the lid. "I'm just anxious to start, is all."
"Why?" asked Harry, confused.
"I don't get to stay all day, you know!" he said angrily. "Fred and George told me Mum said I couldn't spend the night, due to a little incident at the beginning of summer vacation," he said vaguely.
Harry was just a bit curious about this 'little incident', but moved on to more important things. "And why would you believe Fred and George?" he asked.
Ron stopped for a moment. "Before I left, Mum was talking to them. As they were walking back towards the house, I heard Mum yell at them to be sure to tell me. They proceeded to tell me I wasn't allowed to stay over, that I should have considered the consequences before doing something so stupid. Mum was leaving with Ginny to go shopping, and I didn't get the chance to argue. I was just thankful I got to come over at all," he said slowly, looking at Harry closely. "Why?"
"I think they were pulling something on you," said Harry, trying not to laugh at his friend's expense. "Dad spoke to your Mum this morning. She's even already sent a bag for you to spend the night. That's probably what Fred and George were supposed to tell you, only they decided to mix it up a bit," he said, smirking.
"What?" exclaimed Ron, beginning to realize he'd been had. "Those sodding little prats!"
Harry did laugh that time, wondering how Ron would expect anything less out of his twin brothers. "What the hell did you do that upset Fred and George so much they'd do that? Normally they get back at you with some prank."
Ron remained silent, shaking his head. "I'll tell you later," he said sheepishly.
"Tell me now!" yelled Harry, pushing Ron gently in the shoulder. "You can't keep something like this from me. Spill!"
Shaking his head adamantly, Ron mounted his broom and raced into the air. "Later!" he yelled. Harry sighed. He'd really wanted to know, now he'd probably never find out, at least not until he cornered Fred the next time he saw him.
Harry was quick to catch up with Ron and their two-player game began. Mainly, they just practiced their own positions. Harry would try and get the quaffle past Ron, with little to no success, and afterwards, Ron would release the snitch and watch in awe as Harry flew after it. Some of the moves Harry would make were absolutely brilliant, not to mention frightening. On more than one occasion, Ron wondered whether or not Harry would end up face first on the ground.
"Would you be careful!" he yelled after another particularly scary dive on Harry's part.
Harry toned it down a bit after that; worried Ron would have a conniption if he didn't. They played for another hour or so before he heard someone calling their names.
"Harry!" finally, the voice penetrated his determination and the two friends glided down to land on the ground.
"Yeah?" he asked, breathlessly.
"It's time for supper. Why don't the two of you go clean yourselves up before joining me for dinner," he said, more of a demand than a request. Harry nodded and made his way to his own bathroom. Ron watched him as he walked effortlessly into the room and into the bathroom. After a moment, he followed after. He stood watching Harry in the mirror.
"What happened to your door?" he suddenly asked, startling Harry.
Locking eyes with his best friend through the mirror, Harry quickly finished washing his hands before turning around. "You know how I had issues with going into my bedroom at Hogwarts after Severus…" he trailed off, motioning with his hands, trying to convey what he meant. But Ron knew precisely what he meant. After Severus locked Harry in his bedroom, the small teen hadn't been able to go back inside. Still hadn't as far as Ron knew, but he wondered at his ability to enter his bedroom here, at his home. Then he remembered the missing door.
"Does not having a door help?" he asked. He glanced at the doorway, and noticed the door had just been taken off its hinges, for he finally saw it leaning against the wall in the closet across the room.
Harry shrugged nervously. "Yeah, I guess. It's different here," he tried to explain. "I don't have the same memories in this room that I do with my room at Hogwarts. I don't associate this room with the fear I felt when Severus did…that. But, to ease my own concerns, he agreed to let me take the door down until I feel ready to put it back up. That way there's no barrier between the hallway and me. I know it sounds stupid, but it makes me feel better," he added uncomfortably, staring down at the floor.
Ron sighed. "It's not stupid. It's the least stupid thing I've ever heard, in fact. If I were you, I'd have done the same thing and if it makes you feel safe, then do it," said Ron, supportively. He was actually relieved Harry had decided to protect himself in this way. He trusted Snape with Harry, he really did, but after he'd locked his best friend in his bedroom in his state of delirium, he'd been worried. He knew Snape would safeguard against that sort of thing happening again, but he could still worry about his friend. And he didn't plan on stopping anytime soon.
Dinner was eaten in relative silence. Both boys were nearly exhausted after an afternoon full of Quidditch, and more so for Harry, who hadn't been getting hardly any sleep at all.
"Perhaps you two should turn in early?" suggested Severus, idly watching as Cella entered the dining room and with a snap of her fingers, the dishes floated off the table and followed her into the kitchen.
Harry, who had been sitting with his head propped up by his hand, snapped his head up, trying to look more alert. "I'm not that tired," he argued, but Severus wouldn't have it. And neither would Ron.
"Come on mate, I'm beat. I'm more than willing to go to bed early, and you know how abnormal that is for me," he said, trying to convince his friend. He didn't know why Harry was trying to avoid bed, but it was obvious that the raven-haired teen was about to fall asleep sitting at the table.
Harry nodded, knowing he was defeated. "Okay, I guess I am a little tired," he finally conceded.
Ron waited by the door as Harry said goodnight to his father, and was even a bit surprised when Snape hugged Harry before letting him go. Sometimes it was just odd seeing the man being a father. But he had to admit that he was good at it.
After changing into their pajamas and brushing their teeth, the two boys climbed into their respective beds. Ron had his own bed set against the south wall, with Harry's directly across from him.
"Goodnight, Harry," mumbled Ron sleepily.
Harry pulled the covers up to his chin before glancing over at his friend. "Yeah, goodnight, Ron," he said, equally sleepy, but not looking forward to the nightmares he was almost positive he would have during the night.
It was a few hours before the raven-haired teen was even able to fall asleep. After tossing and turning and simultaneously keeping his best friend up, Ron had gotten fed up and asked him to stay still. Harry did so, even knowing it would undoubtedly cause him to fall asleep. The constant moving was a technique he used to keep himself awake. No such luck tonight, though, and eventually, the boy had fallen fast asleep.
At around three in the morning, Ron woke up groggily. Glancing at the clock he groaned, wondering why in the world he would possibly wake up this early. He looked around the room, trying to find the cause of his early rising, only to notice that Harry was tossing his head quite fitfully.
"Harry?" he asked, knowing the boy wouldn't answer considering he was asleep. "Hey, Harry!" he yelled a bit louder, but still garnered no response. When Harry started whimpering Ron jumped out of bed and rushed to his side.
Ron touched his shoulder, but even in sleep, Harry recoiled from the touch as if he'd been struck. "No," he mumbled, pushing away at Ron with his hands. Gently, Ron pushed Harry's hands down and started shaking him.
"Come on, Harry, it's just a dream. Wake up now," he called, desperately trying to pull his friend from the nightmare he was currently trapped in. "It's not real. Wake up, mate!" he emphasized his words with another harsh shake of the shoulders, and it did the trick. Harry jolted into a sitting position and nearly shoved Ron straight off the bed.
Harry gasped for breath, feeling as if his chest had been constricted and the air had just been allowed in. He saw a glimmer of someone sitting beside him on his bed and nearly panicked. He shoved at the figure and nearly succeeded in pushing it off the bed. The person persisted and tried to touch him again. Harry recoiled and tried kicking, but he was grabbed and forcefully restrained before he could do any damage. Finally, he could hear what the person was speaking and realized with a shock that it was only Ron. His best friend. Someone he trusted with his life. "Ron?" he asked weakly, still trying to get out of the other boy's strong grip.
"Are you calm now?" he asked. Harry nodded, looking anywhere but at Ron.
"Sorry for acting like such an idiot," he said quietly, and when Ron finally released him, he sat up in bed and scooted towards the backboard.
"That must have been some nightmare," said Ron suddenly. Harry looked up at him wonderingly.
"How'd you know it was a nightmare?"
Ron looked slightly flabbergasted. "With all the fuss you were making, how could it be anything else?"
Harry once again looked away. "I didn't realize, sorry."
"Well you don't have to apologize for it. I was just saying…" he trailed off, not wanting to make Harry feel even more isolated than he already looked. "Do you want to talk about it?" he asked instead, before realizing that wasn't a much better offer.
"No!" Harry said instantly, before blushing and turning away. "No, it's not important anyways."
Ron wasn't so sure about that, if the way Harry had been reacting to the nightmare was any indication. "Have you talked to your father about it?" he asked, wondering if this was the first time Harry had had a bad dream. He remembered the way his friend had tossed and turned at the beginning of the night and figured there'd been more than just one.
"No," he responded quickly, looking up at Ron in alarm. "And you can't either."
Ron had been starting to stand up from Harry's bed, but at those words, he fell back onto the bed and glared at his best friend. "Why not?"
Gulping at the look on the red-head's face, Harry suddenly looked away and pulled a hand through his black locks, not wanting to make eye contact. "I don't want him to worry over nothing, Ron. They're not that bad," he said slowly, finally making eye contact with his friend before speaking again. "It is just stuff from the battle, seeing all those people hurt, knowing I almost lost my father," he lied.
Ron nodded sympathetically. "I can understand that. I've been having a few bad dreams about that myself. But, I still think it would help to talk to your dad about it," he tried helpfully.
Harry shook his head. "I think I'll live," he replied jokingly. The redhead didn't seem very amused though. "They're not as bad as they were, so I think they're finally starting to fade."
He hated lying to Ron, but if the boy knew the true extent of his nightmares, he'd definitely make him talk to his father about it, something he wasn't ready to do, not just yet. And he'd promised himself if they got unbearable he'd go to his dad. He meant to keep that promise.
Harry lay back down in his bed. "I'm sure."
The next morning, Ron woke up before Harry, and seeing the boy sleeping so peacefully, decided it wouldn't be such a bad thing to let him sleep in a bit longer. After silently getting ready for the day he went down to the dining room, hoping breakfast was already waiting on the table. It just so happened that it was, but there was also someone already seated at the table.
"Professor Snape," Ron said suddenly, feeling awkward being in the room alone with Snape without his best friend.
"Mr. Weasley," Snape greeted him with a nod and a wave towards the table. "Have a seat."
Ron complied immediately, but made no move to retrieve any food. After a moment of silence, Severus looked up again and sighed humorously. "The food is here for our consumption, please, help yourself," he said, gesturing to all the food still placed on the table.
Feeling like a complete heel, Ron did as he was told, piling food onto his plate. "Thanks, sir," he said, mouth already stuffed full of food.
Severus stared at him for a moment, feeling slightly disgusted, yet amused. "Anytime," he said slowly before turning back to his own food. If he watched the boy much longer, he'd lose his own appetite. "Where's Harry?" he asked when the boy hadn't shown up after a few minutes.
Ron shrugged his shoulders, put his fork down, swallowed, and finally looked up at his Professor. "He's still sleeping. I figured I'd just let him sleep in after the night he'd had," he said, and nearly choked on his next bite of food when he realized what he'd said.
"What do you mean? Exactly what kind of night did he have?" asked Severus, lowering his own fork to the plate.
Ron stumbled on his words, not wanting to give Harry's secret away. He'd seemed adamant the night before that he didn't want his father knowing about his nightmares. But was that really what was in his best interests? Not really, at least not in Ron's mind. "He had a nightmare," he said, hating that he was betraying his friend, but it was obvious the boy wasn't getting any sleep. Something had to be done.
"A nightmare…" he trailed off, as if realizing something. He threw his napkin down on his plate and started to stand up.
"What are you going to do?" asked Ron, standing as well. Snape didn't look too pleased, but Ron couldn't figure out why the man would be angry at Harry over something like this. He should be concerned…not acting like this. "He's had a bad night!" Ron suddenly yelled, following after the man. "You can't go in there and start yelling at him," he proclaimed, grabbing Snape's sleeve, causing him to stop. Ron looked at his hand that was still clinging to the black sleeve and then up to Snape's face. He instantly released the man but stood his ground. "What's your problem?" he asked heatedly.
Snape crossed his arms and glared at the boy currently blocking the stairs. "My problem, Mr. Weasley, is that my son has been having nightmares since the beginning of break and deemed it unnecessary to inform me. I will not tolerate lying, not even from my son. The relationship we have is to be an honest one. He must learn that I will not abide this type of behavior!"
Ron bristled at the man's words, suddenly having a deep instinctual urge to protect his best friend. As the man stalked up the stairs, Ron shouted after him. "What are you going to do? Lock him in his room again!"
Severus spun around on the staircase, glaring daggers at the boy. "How dare you-"
Ron cut him off, slamming up the stairs after him. "If you go in there with an attitude like that you're going to terrify him. Have you learned nothing?"
Snape didn't say anything for a moment. He took a deep breath, as if calming himself from throwing Ron back down the stairs. "I hadn't planned on speaking to my son with anything less than concern, Mr. Weasley. My foul mood is based solely on your incessant blubbering that I can't do my own job as a father," he stopped suddenly and turned his fierce gaze onto the boy who was now feeling incredibly stupid. "I do not appreciate your accusations and would prefer it if I never heard them again. If you continue in this state, I will have to ask you to leave and never return," he finished softly, and not waiting for the boy's response, began to head up the stairs again.
Ron hesitated for all but a second before opening his incredibly large mouth again. "Professor?" he asked sullenly.
Snape stopped, but didn't turn around. "Mr. Weasley?"
"I'm not trying to be a pain, I swear, but I think maybe you should wait for Harry to come to you," he said slowly, waiting for the outburst he felt sure was coming.
Severus turned around and watched the boy with a critical eye. It was true that Harry would deeply resent being forced to talk about his nightmares, and that could create a very large wedge between them, something he didn't want to risk with his son. He could accept that and nodded. "I suppose I agree with that. However, if Harry starts to have any more problems, I will be speaking with him whether he wants me to or not. Severus expected a long conversation between himself and Harry in the near future.
"That sounds good, Professor. Thanks," said Ron, not daring to make eye contact with the man after saying so many horrible things to him. "I really am sorry about what I said earlier." Severus nodded. "You wouldn't really keep me from Harry, would you?" he asked, fearing Snape's words from before. If the man never let him in their house ever again, he'd hardly ever see Harry. He knew he wouldn't be able to stand that.
"I just said you weren't allowed in my home if you persisted. So far, you haven't done so. However, I wouldn't keep Harry from you even if you were to annoy me so much that I banned you from my home. Harry would still be allowed at yours."
Ron sighed in relief. "Great," he said slowly, letting out a breath of air he hadn't realized he'd been holding. Severus smirked. "Why don't you see about waking Harry and having him join us for breakfast?" asked Severus before turning and retreating into the dining room. Ron waited until the man was out of sight before rushing back upstairs. He couldn't believe the narrow miss he'd just had with his best friend's father. He'd be lucky if he weren't thrown out before the day was finished.
That afternoon Ron left to go back to the Burrow, and with his Mum allowing, he'd be back with Hermione on Monday. The weekend was looking to be interesting, considering both Sirius and Remus were coming over to see how he was doing. They were to arrive the next morning and Harry couldn't help but be excited. Even though it had only been a week since he'd last seen them, it felt like much longer.
After Ron had left, Harry began to spend more time with his father. He would help in the laboratory if he had any inkling of how to make the potion he was brewing, or other times they'd just sit in companionable silence while reading in Severus' study. It was during one of these times that the floo came to life, spitting out two grown men into the Study.
"Hello, Black, Lupin," stated Severus, not bothering to look up from his paper. Harry grinned at his father before jumping up from his chair and throwing his arms around the newly arrived men.
"Hey!" he yelled as they embraced him in return. "You're late!" Not that he minded, but they were usually so punctual.
"Sorry about that," Remus apologized, "We actually lost track of the time. We've been fixing up my old house for the past few days and we're even adding a new room for you when you come to visit us," said Lupin excitedly. Harry beamed at him.
"Splendid," remarked Severus, not sounding thrilled at all, but Harry noticed that his godfather and Remus just ignored him. It was odd, being in a room with these three men, mainly because they didn't really get along but were trying for his sake. And so long as they tried, Harry wouldn't complain, although he'd love it to pieces if someday they could be in the same room together without all this tension.
Harry shot a look at his father, as if saying 'be nice,' before turning back to Sirius and Remus. "Come on, I'll show you around the house," he said, grabbing onto a sleeve from each man and jerking. "Let's go."
"This isn't a house, Harry, this is a ruddy castle," remarked Sirius, looking at all the elaborate decorations throughout with shoddily disguised awe. "I had no idea Snape was this rich!"
Harry looked at his godfather questioningly. "How could you not? Severus' family has always been rich, even when he was still attending Hogwarts. Didn't you know?" he asked.
Sirius looked utterly bewildered. "I had no idea," he said slowly. "I mean, he was always dressed so poorly."
Harry shot a dark look at his godfather. "Would that have changed your opinion of him? If he'd dressed in elegant robes and flaunted his wealth?" asked Harry, stopping completely in the hallway between the second and third floors. He was so angry. "I'm rich, you know, and I didn't dress like I had any money because I wasn't allowed to! The Dursley's wouldn't give me any descent clothes!" he nearly yelled, and felt a hand land gently on his shoulder behind him. Remus squeezed his shoulder lightly and it helped Harry to calm down.
"Harry-" started Sirius, but Harry wasn't ready to listen to him just yet.
"No, just stop it," he whispered, crossing his arms across his chest defensively. "If you had seen me without my Hogwarts uniform on when we first met, would you have thought me worthless too?" he asked shakily. The hand on his shoulder tightened.
"What?" asked Sirius, appalled. "No! How could you think that? I wouldn't have cared what you were dressed as!"
"Oh, really?" Harry was still feeling hurt, and he wasn't even sure where the feelings were even coming from.
"Yes, really! I love you, Harry, no matter what. When I said that about Snape, I wasn't trying to degrade him or make him seem any lesser in your eyes. I was just making an observation. Please, Harry, where's this all coming from?"
Harry sighed deeply and threw his hands in the air in frustration. "I don't know!" he yelled, trying to turn away from the both of them, but Remus' hand on his shoulder kept him immobile. "I guess I'm just tired and blowing things out of proportion," he sighed again. "I'm sorry I yelled at you," he said slowly.
"It's no problem, Harry," said Sirius softly. He came closer and when Harry didn't move away from him, he embraced the boy. "Snape and I have never gotten along just on principle. He was a Slytherin and I was a Gryffindor. It had nothing to do with how much money he had or didn't have," he whispered in Harry's ear. The boy nodded and threw his arms around Sirius in return.
"I'm such a prat," he said, smiling.
"That's all right, Harry, we'll love you anyways," said Remus, speaking for the first time since the argument began. Harry grinned at them and then yawned tiredly, trying to hide it with his hand. "Have you been sleeping well?"
Harry shrugged his shoulders as if it were nothing. "Just been excited to be home, I think. I'll probably sleep like the dead tonight, though," he said, brushing it off.
"Well, let's finish this grand tour," demanded Sirius, rushing up the flight of stairs to nose about in Snape's home. "This is great, Remus. We definitely need to get a castle!" he yelled down at them.
Remus grinned and shook his head. "Sometimes, he acts just like a kid," he said, but with a distant look in his eyes. Harry knew he was thinking of the time Sirius lost while in Azkaban. Sometimes Harry felt the same way, as if he was denied his childhood and kept locked away, just, as his godfather had been. At least Sirius had been older. "We'd better go find him before he discovers Snape's rooms and does something he probably won't regret."
A/N: I hope you all enjoyed the first chapter of Somewhere I Belong 3!
I know I said I'd get re-started on Broken Dreams before starting this one, but I think I'm going to hold off on that story until after I completely finish this one. I might write a chapter or two if I'm having writers block for SIB. But, otherwise, anyone who has been waiting patiently for the next chapter will have to wait just a little bit longer. But, I'm hopeful that SIB3 won't be as long as it's predecessor.
In The Next Chapter: POSSIBILITIES:
Harry continues to have horrifying nightmares that cause him to become more and more exhausted.
Ron and Hermione come to visit, as well as a certain set of twins.
Severus spends more time with Harry.
Harry has an accident.
In two weeks.
Thanks for everyone who has reviewed, especially those of you who have reviewed every single loving chapter. You guys rock, Chikifriend, Kira, and anyone else who has.
Please Review and let me know what you think of the opening chapter! Love ya!
Thanks to Nita, my wonderful beta-reader, I don't know what I'd do without you!