Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to Joanne Kathleen Rowling.
A/N: Well, the end is finally here. I am glad that so many of you have enjoyed my story. I would like to thank all of the people that reviewed, especially those who did so several times; however, you are all appreciated. I may or may not write another story now that this one is finished. If I did write another one, though, it would probably not be until this summer. Thanks again.
Harry was wandering around the grounds of Hogwarts. Dumbledore was busy working, while Sirius had gone to Grimmauld Place for the morning in order to make the house more habitable for humans to live in. Snape was busily brewing potions down in his dungeons, and Harry decided that he didn't feel like interrupting the man. Madam Pomfrey had declared Harry well enough to leave the Hospital Wing that morning, so he was content to just take a leisurely walk outside.
Plopping down on a rock beside the lake and crossing his legs beneath him, Harry leaned against a tree and rested his eyes for a moment. Dumbledore would be finishing all of his work at some point today, but Harry didn't know whether Dumbledore would be taking Harry with him or whether he would be allowed to go with Sirius. Harry hadn't been able to spend much time with Sirius this summer, but he didn't want the Headmaster's feelings to be hurt by leaving him alone. Earlier in the summer, Dumbledore had said that he would be able to stay at Grimmauld Place; however, he didn't know if the Headmaster would allow him to go with Sirius now, and Harry wasn't even sure how long he would be able to stay with Sirius.
Letting out a loud sigh, Harry eventually pulled his body up from his comfortable position on the ground. Since he was going to be leaving that evening, he decided that it would probably be polite to go say goodbye to Snape now. Harry hoped that the Potions Master didn't mind him coming down right now, and he hoped that his teacher wasn't too busy. He turned towards the doors of the school and began walking over to them.
Once Harry had trailed down to the dungeons and stood in front of the potions lab, he raised his hand and lightly knocked on the door. After hearing a faint voice telling him to enter, Harry pushed the door open and walked over to the professor. Snape was putting the finishing touches on one of his potions, so Harry stayed silent until Snape was done adding the last ingredient. The Potions Master took the cauldron off the fire before turning to Harry.
"Hi, Professor," greeted Harry.
"Hello, Potter. What brings you down here?"
"I'm leaving Hogwarts tonight, so I just thought that I would come say goodbye to you now," Harry replied.
Snape looked surprised for a second that Harry had wanted to tell him goodbye. He was quickly able to get his emotions back under control. "Will you be staying with Black now?"
"I don't know yet. Professor Dumbledore hasn't said anything about it. He's been working a lot."
"Are you fully recovered from your injuries now?" Snape inquired.
"I was just released from the Infirmary this morning. I've been feeling good for a while though," answered Harry.
"Have you read any of the newspapers lately? They are all raving about you and how you defeated the Dark Lord. I imagine that they will soon be adding some new nicknames to your long repertoire," Snape smirked. "It is quite sickening actually."
Harry groaned. "Great. Now I'll never be normal."
Snape ignored Harry's words. "Before you know it, you will be the "Destroyer of You-Know-Who" or the "Boy-Who-Still-Lives" or the-"
Harry began to laugh. "Okay, okay. You can stop now. I get the picture."
After Harry stopped laughing, there was a comfortable silence in the dungeons for a few minutes. Snape hesitantly began to speak after a moment. "If you don't have anything to do right now, you can help me make a few more potions. All you would have to do would be to read the instructions to me. These potions are fairly new, so I am not all that familiar with the procedures yet."
Harry gave a small smile. "I don't mind helping you. It's been a little boring around here this morning by myself."
Snape silently handed Harry the book before walking over to the ingredients cupboard. Harry spent the afternoon calling out ingredients and instructions while Snape would follow Harry's directions. Harry had never liked making potions before, but not having his teacher insulting him all of the time caused him to enjoy it more.
After working together for a few hours, Harry said goodbye to Snape one more time before heading up to Dumbledore's office. He figured that the Headmaster should have had enough time to finish all of his work by now. Upon entering the office, Dumbledore brightened up at seeing Harry, and Fawkes flew over to greet him.
"Have a seat, Harry. There are a few things that we must discuss before we leave," Dumbledore said.
Harry sat down across from the Headmaster and waited to hear what his plans would be for the rest of the summer.
"You will be able to go stay with Sirius this summer, but it will have to wait for a few more days. He wants to finish fixing up the house first before you come over, and he wanted to decorate a room just for you to have when you stay there," explained Dumbledore.
Harry relaxed when he heard the news. He was glad that he would be able to spend some time with his godfather.
"How long will I be staying there?" questioned Harry.
"Sirius and I have talked about it, and you will stay there for two weeks right now. If you want to stay there longer, however, I will understand."
"No, that's okay, sir. I've loved staying with you this summer, and if you don't mind, I want to spend some more time at your house."
Dumbledore gave Harry a gentle smile. "I'm glad that you feel that way. During the first week of your stay with Sirius, it will be just the two of you. During the second week, however, Ron and Hermione will be permitted to stay at Grimmauld Place as well. You will come back to my house after those two weeks, but you will still be able to stay with Sirius at Grimmauld Place at any point in time after that. You will also be allowed to owl your friends once again, and you can visit each other several times before school starts."
Throughout Dumbledore's speech, Harry kept getting more and more excited. This was some of the best news that he had heard in a long time. Even though it had been great staying with the Headmaster for the first part of the summer, he had still felt slightly alienated from his friends.
"Thank you very much, Professor. This really means a lot to me," Harry gratefully replied.
"You are quite welcome, Harry. I'm sorry that you weren't able to do all of this before," responded Dumbledore.
"That's okay, sir. This summer has had some rough times, but overall, it's been pretty good. Are we about ready to leave?" asked Harry.
"Almost. I just have a few other things to talk to you about. I don't know if you are aware or not, but Peter Pettigrew was not one of the Death Eaters that were captured the night that the Order members and I came to rescue you. Because of that, Sirius still has to hide from the Ministry. Since your family members are gone and Sirius is hiding, I was wondering if you would allow me to have guardianship of you," Dumbledore said.
Harry sat back against his chair stunned at what he was hearing. Dumbledore had taken him into his house and taken care of him, but guardianship was more stable and permanent than all of that.
Dumbledore continued speaking. "Even if Peter had been caught and Sirius had been freed, I still would have wanted to be your guardian, but I wouldn't have stood in Sirius's way. I don't want you to think that I am only doing this because there is no other option. I would have done it before now; however, no one was supposed to know that you were staying with me while Voldemort was still alive. Now that he is dead, though, I can be your guardian if you want me to."
The Headmaster quit speaking so that he could hear Harry's response. Harry continued to sit in silence for a few more seconds before running over to Dumbledore and throwing his arms around him. Even though he was surprised at Harry's reaction, the Headmaster quickly engulfed Harry in a hug.
"Having a family was one of the things that I have wanted ever since I was younger. I would love for you to be my guardian," Harry replied once he had pulled back from the hug a bit and looked Dumbledore in the eye.
"Thank you, Harry. We will go to the Ministry soon and sign all of the required papers."
Harry smiled for a bit before a thought caused his smile to falter. "What will Sirius think? I don't want him to feel hurt that we're doing this."
"I have already spoken to Sirius about all of this. He was very glad that you had someone to take care of you since he can't. He just wants you to be safe and happy," replied Dumbledore.
Harry felt relieved that everything seemed to working out perfectly for him. He released the Headmaster and stepped back when Dumbledore began to stand up. Dumbledore walked over to the fireplace and took the jar of Floo powder off of the mantle. He held the open jar out to Harry.
"Come on, Harry. Let's go home."