The kitchen was not what Harry was expecting. The walls were clad in dark wood up to Harry's waist whilst the rest were uncovered brickwork. Tall windows almost reaching the ceiling were along one length of the room letting in light and providing views across the moorland. At the far end of the room there was a huge fireplace with a stove set in. It seemed obvious to him that in days gone past a large open fire would have been roaring for a spit-roast. Around the room there were large counters and tables upon which many elves worked at different jobs. Harry could see one counter covered in drying herbs whilst another elf seemed to be breaking large loaves of bread. Down the centre of the room ran a long table made of light coloured wood that seemed to have been well used over the years. It would easily have seated fifty people and, it occurred to Harry, was probably where all the staff ate their meals together. All in all the room reminded him of the kitchen from the film "A Secret Garden" that he had caught his aunt watching when he was younger. He half expected Dicken to ride up to the windows on his pony now.
Fizzy led Harry to a place halfway down the table where he was quickly served by a variety of elves with different plates.
"We do not expect the Masters to be waking up soon," Fizzy said. Harry nodded and blushed again. "This is Twist" Fizzy beckoned to a young looking female elf dressed in a blue tunic, "She will be your personal elf whilst you are here. If you need anything then just shout for her. After you have finished then Twist will take you to the library. I'm afraid we don't have much else in the way of entertainment here." Fizzy finished before bowing and hastening off the tend to his own duties.
Harry looked over Twist comparing her with what he had seen of Dobby, the crazy elf that had tried his hardest to kill Harry only two summers ago. She was smaller than Dobby, whether due to her age or just because she was femle Harry couldn't tell having never seen another house elf before. Her skin was a pale pink much like that of a slightly sunburnt human than the pale green that Dobby had. Looking around the room though, Harry saw that some elves were slightly blue whilst others looked slightly orange so he supposed it was much like humans with different skin colours. Turning his attention back to Twist he notices that she had short curly blonde coloured hair . If it weren't for her pointed ears then Harry thought she could almost have passed as a human child.
Satisfied with what he saw, Harry remembered his forgotten breakfast and started eating. Twist made to leave when Harry stopped her.
"Twist, would you like to join me?"
The whole of the room turned silent and Harry flushed realising that all the attention in the room was now on him where before the elves had been content to focus on their assigned tasks than to study their new guest.
"Little Master would like Twist to join him?" Twist sniffled, her eyes wide. Harry nodded and pulled out the stool next to him before setting a croissant on a side plate in front of her place. Slowly Twist sat down and the rest of the room returned to their tasks, the noise steadily increasing back to what it was before.
Harry watched from the corner of his eye as Twist slowly reached out and took a bite from the food in front of her. He reached across the table and spooned some fruit salad on to his plate before loading a spoon onto hers.
"Help yourself Twist, I can't possibly eat all this food!" Harry smiled before adding some bacon and eggs to the non-fruit side of his plate. He watched as she cautiously took a slice of bacon too before laughing at her expression of wonderment.
"What do you normally eat Twist?" Harry asked.
"I only left my mother a little while ago. Babies can only have fruit and porridge. Not big enough for meaty things," Twist answered shyly. Harry nodded. 'That explains her size then' he thought.
Harry only managed to eat half a plate of food before he was full. He always found it hard to eat after he came back to Hogwarts from his Dursley's imposed diet. He supposed that it would be no different even if he left earlier than normal this year. He had wondered why no one had noticed that he never ate much. Hermione was usually super observant about everything and even Madame Pomfrey had to have noticed, she was a nurse after all but no one had asked. Harry shrugged off his thoughts. After all, it was only one other thing that didn't make sense about the Wizarding world and the way he was treated in it.
Twist, seeing her Master was finished, led him out of the kitchen via a small door he would never have otherwised noticed. Harry followed her along a narrow passage way that was undecorated but lit by dim electric lights. They turned left at one point before taking a door cunningly labelled by a brass plaque as "The Library". He wondered if Severus and Tom knew these back passages. They were large enough for a human and, given that there was electricity installed, must have been for human servants. Harry wondered if Snape's father had been a muggle or half-blood because no pure blood would have seen the need for electric lighting otherwise.
Passing through the servant door, Harry found himself looking into a circular room that reminded him of an old gentleman's club. There were bottle green leather sofas flanked by mahogany end tables, coffee tables held books that were in use whilst there were three solidly built desks with high backed chairs matching the sofas behind them. Around the walls ran the bookcases, with many levels towering above him. It was obvious that this house belonged to a book lover. As two of the tables were covered in papers, Harry moved to the remaining one and sat in the chair. On the desk where pots of quills and muggle style fountain pens as well as parchment and ordinary paper, even if it was off a higher quality than Harry was used to from primary school.
Twist stood in front of the desk with a thick book.
"Little Master, this book is the master book to the whole library. Tell it what you want and the book will come to you," she squeaked before placing it in front of him. Harry eagerly took it and started flicking through. He was so engrossed as he saw the list of titles available in the library that he didn't see Twist popping away. There was everything that Harry could imagine in this library – Muggle and Wizarding fiction as well as non-fiction on every conceivable topic. At Hogwarts he had been unable to use the library to the fullest as Ron detested it and so made it difficult for Harry to go whilst Hermione happily took on the role of researcher making it hard for Harry to protest any need to go. At primary school, Harry had sought solace in the library as one of the few places where he wouldn't be bullied. Whilst it may not have been a library like this one, it was a quiet room where the only people were others who were shy or bullied like him. His cousin never went in unless he was forced to by a teacher so Harry was always safe there. Deciding upon 'The Animal In You' by N. Hertzburg, Harry settled down upon a sofa to read.
The light outside was starting to dim when Severus found Harry in the library. He and Tom had agreed to leave Harry to settle in for the day before bombarding him with information. If they were needed then the house elves were more than capable of contacting them but otherwise they would ease Harry into their company. Whilst he might have been easily accepting the night before, both older men put that down to Harry being tired and over excited and neither man wanted to alienate him by moving too fast.
When Severus opened the door he saw Harry curled up with a pile of books at his feet. Harry loked up at the sound of approaching footsteps and smiled at his most hated professor.
"I hope you don't mind me being in the library, sir. Fizzy suggested it this morning after breakfast." Harry said softly. Severus smiled at the young boy.
"Yes, we are lacking somewhat in entertainment options here." Severus said with a small frown. He was thinking about the ways in which he would have to change the manor in order to please Harry. The pleasing Harry part was not what caused the frown but the fact that he had forgotten something so crucially important. He added it to the mental list of things to talk about over dinner tonight.
"Dinner is almost ready now if you want to join us in the dining room? I don't know what time you had lunch but I'm quite hungry myself." Severus said before gesturing towards the door. He waited for Harry to uncurl from the sofa and took the books that Harry gathered in his arms and placed them on the side table nearest to him. "If you have finished with them then the room will automatically put them away but they will still be there next time you are here if you have not. A rather clever spell if I do say so myself"
"Do you know who invented it sir?" Harry asked eagerly whilst following the tall man. This sounded like a new branch of research he could do.
"Your mother," was Severus short response. Harry was aghast. He didn't know that his Mum and Professor Snape had been friends yet alone that she was clever enough to design her very own spells.
"Did you know my Mum then?" he asked rapidly.
"Yes, she was a good friend of mine before we grew apart." Severus looked a little sad at this so Harry decided not to push him any further. He was unable to anyway because by this point they had arrived at what looked like a formal dining room, although Harry would later learn that this was in fact just the family dining room and never used for guests.
Tom was waiting at the head of the table reading a copy of The Daily Prophet. He looked up when Severus and Harry entered and gestured to the seats beside him. As they sat down, Severus on the right and Harry on the left, dinner appeared on the table. The food was mouthwatering to look at. There were steaming bowls of vegetables, a large pot of mash potato and a glorious roast chicken. Tom stood to carve the chicken and offered the first slice to Harry. Harry was shocked. Even with his limited understanding of manners and customs – both muggle and Wizarding, Harry knew that being offered to eat first meant you were an honoured guest. Assuming, correctly, that he would not be punished for eating here, Harry loaded a spoonful of everything onto his plate. He was scared that this was a dream that he would wake up from and be back at the Dursley's but until that time he was going to make the most of it. The other two men served themselves with more decorum and restraint whilst making small talk.
"Did you do anything interesting today?" Tom asked Harry whilst spooning his own portion of mash potato.
"Yeah, I went to the library and I found some cool books on becoming an animagus. My father and my godfather were animagi and I really want to become one." Harry replied with a beaming smile before suddenly going quiet. "Sirius will hate me won't he?" Harry whispered looking about to cry.
The two men were not going to talk to Harry about anything too serious until after dinner but seemingly had no choice now.
"I went to see him today," Severus said with great reserve. "He was pleased that you weren't at your family's anymore. Apparently he already knew that we were soul mates and has been trying to tell someone since he escaped from Azkaban."
"Someone placed a spell on him so he couldn't reveal it unless the other person already knew," Tom interjected with a knowing look at Severus. It dind't take a genius to figure out who it was that had placed that spell.
"He and the werewolf will be over for a visit tomorrow afternoon." Severus finished off before taking another bite of his own food. Harry nodded with an excited smile upon his face. He hadn't seen his godfather since they had helped him escape and he enjoyed spending time with Remus. Whilst he had originally blamed Severus for bursting in at that moment and not helping get Sirius' innocence known, he had come to the conclusion that actually the man was very brave going up against who he thought was a homicidal maniac to protect the children in his care.
Harry could only eat half his plate before he was full and pushed his plate to one side. This didn't go unnoticed by the other two men but they made no comment. Instead they shared a glance that promised they would look into Harry's home life and make someone pay.