Hey people, sorry about the mass amount of time between updates, I kinda got REALLY sick, like hospitalized sick, for agesssss. Took like 2 months off work and school, and then spent another 2 month attempting to catch up with it all while still being sick, they had just found a combination of drugs that were good enough to let me keep going in life… it was a truly fun time in my life!

Okay, enough bitching… thanks for all the reviews, totally appreciated it!

Chapter Nineteen

It was the next morning as the family finished eating breakfast that Harry dropped his next bombshell. Sitting over the breakfast table he calmly announced that he had spoken to his Uncle in Motobo and would be leaving after lunch that very day.

Draco merely stared wide-eyed as he felt the level of tension in the dining room sky rocketed with that simple revelation. Alex sure knew how to get his godfather's attention.

Severus seemed to be trying to regain the ability to speak following the demonstration of the unlikely act of swallowing his own tongue. Who knew 'the great bat' had the ability to make that rather interesting face.

Cassi was just as shocked as her husband but at least had the piece of mind to attempt to maintain some level of calm. Cassi knew her husband, and she knew that he was not going to handle this sudden declaration calmly. Cassi was also growing to know her eldest son, and she knew that any overt demonstration by his father suggesting that he had some right to Harry's life would not go over well.

Tainen always seemed to miss the good stuff- ah well, to be young!

"WHAT?!" It was occurring to Harry that Snape tended to react to shock in only one way when dealing with Harry- a hastily yelled 'WHAT'. It amused him that he was what messed with the ice-cold spy's cool so easily.

"What 'what'? My Uncle wants me to come home. Holidays are over in a few weeks and he feels it is important that I see the rest of my family before school starts again. It's not like this seriously messes with any plans. I mean, don't you and Draco both have to return to Hogwarts, like, tomorrow or something? Tainen's summer schedule will be up soon and he will be returning with Cassi to his kiddie group. My leaving now is not pivotal." Harry managed to maintain a sneer and a patented eye brow raise which in combination seemed to suggest that any idiot knows these things and why was Severus asking such stupid questions.

With that said Harry inclined his head to the rest of the table in goodbye and left, he had deliberately left that announcement till after breakfast so there was no impediment to his hasty departure following his announcement. A strategic retreat, as it were.

It was no surprise to Harry when he heard the knock on his door not 15 minutes later. His money was on it being lovely peace-keeper Cassi, so it was a surprise when he opened the door to find Draco standing somewhat nervously on the other side.

"Hey, come on in. What's up?" Harry asked in question to Draco's discomfort.

"You really know how to surprise your father don't you?!"

"Well, I like keeping people on their toes. 'Sides, what did I say that wasn't true? And I think my Uncle has been very generous in letting me stay here. He does have custody of me, he knew how my mother felt about my father, and he just doesn't like him on principle. But when I decided I wanted to come here, he let me."

"Why did you decide to come here?" Draco hadn't realized that his brother might take that statement wrong until he saw him grimace at it. "I mean, you said it yourself that you two never really got along, that you had never before even stayed overnight, you don't seem to be reaching out to Sev, so I don't think you came here to finally get to know your father or anything like that, so, why?" Draco hastened to explain his earlier statement.

Alex paused for a second, like he was trying to figure it out himself. "Tainen is getting older now, he… I want him to know his big brother. I want to be a part of his life and if, to do that, that means staying with my father, spending time with him, then I am prepared to do that." With that Harry slammed his trunk shut, "now if you'll excuse me, I guess I better go deal with this…"

It didn't take Harry long to find Severus, he was sitting in his study working on some form of paper work, studiously ignoring his eldest son when he entered the room though it was obvious he knew Harry was there by the force with which he seemed to be slamming the papers around on his desk.

"It is logical, sir. You and Draco are both gone tomorrow, this allows me to leave at the same time without it in anyway being suspicious, and also, I always spend the night before we return to Hogwarts with the Weasley's."

Severus knew what his son was saying made sense, but that didn't stop him from wanting his son to leave for school from his home. He knew that with Draco there it was extremely impractical, but he wanted that last second scrounge to make sure everything was packed, that nothing had been forgotten, he wanted to experience it. Although, with the care Harry took to always remain ready packed he supposed there would be no last minute scrounge with his son.

"I realize all this, and you are right, it is practical." It was obvious that a 'but…' of some variety was coming and Harry had no desire to hear it.

Harry was therefore quick to jump in before Severus had a chance to begin his next sentence. "Great, so I'll see you for lunch and afterwards I'll be off." Harry wanted to leave things there, this seemed like the perfect moment to end the conversation but, alas, there was still business to discuss. "We should perhaps discuss school, sir. It would not be good for your health to in any way alter your behavior toward me, that being said we need to maintain the behavior toward each other of previous years."

Already Severus was missing the 'Daddy dearests' and 'Father mines' of the past few weeks, despite the fact that Harry had always maintained a slightly sarcastic tone when calling him that, it was by far better then calling him 'sir'.

Again, he knew his son was right, but that didn't help at all. In fact, he rather wished his son were just a little less right all the time. He always had a read on any situation and a logical course of action to handle it. It was infuriating, because the logical course of action was rarely the course that gave Severus what he wanted.

He had taken too long to think about it, because Harry was already heading out the door having made some cursory goodbye.

Harry to-do list seemed to shrinking rapidly today, only one thing to go Harry supposed. Draco had been easy, Sev had been in too much shock to prove difficult (and Harry really hoped to be gone by the time that changed), packing was no problem, Tainen was really too young to understand so that would only take a few moments, all that left was Cassi.

It hadn't taken Harry long to start genuinely liking his 'dreaded step-mother'. She was nice, always tried to keep the peace, never pushed, and Harry could tell that she was really trying. He appreciated that, appreciated that he wasn't easy, that suddenly finding out you had a step-son, and one like him to boot, can't have been easy, and yet she never complained, never made him feel awkward or unwelcome. She welcomed him into her home with open arms, she even made him feel like she wanted him there.

He found her outside watching over Tainen as he played some intricate game that seemed to involve hiding between bushes in the garden.

"Cassi?"

"I knew you'd be leaving soon anyway. Just… promise to keep in touch, that we can at least talk about you staying here next summer, maybe even negotiate about possible Christmas visitation?"

They exchanged small smiles, they understood each other.

"If you need to contact me during the school year, use an owl that won't be recognized by anyone, even Malfoy who probably knows your family owls well. I'll keep in touch, can't be letting him forget me now." Harry indicated Tainen. "You know I don't plan ahead so Christmas is not even a conversation yet." He looked her right in the eyes, "It's been real Cassi, thanks."

They both knew he what he was talking about, both knew that it was the closest to gushing he was ever likely to get, she knew he meant it and it was enough for her. She didn't even comment when he beat a hasty retreat in the form of heading over to Tainen. It was still an hour till lunch and he was ready, may as well spend the rest of the day with his brother.

Lunch was a quite affair, there was no gushing, no sudden emotional displays, they ate and afterwards simple goodbyes were said. Harry hugged Cassi and Tainen, shook hands with Draco, explaining that it was best to contact him by sending letters to Cassi and that she would send them on if he were so inclined, then came time to say goodbye to Severus.

"Well, ah, see ya…" and he was gone, up the stairs to grab his trunk before taking the port-key Charlie had made for him during his visit, to the Weasley Home.

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