THE MATHIAS PROPHECY BOOK III

Privet Drive

Harry was lying in bed reflecting about the last year at Hogwarts and her first week back with her Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon at their house on Privet drive. They had both been waiting for her when she stepped from the hidden partition which kept platform 9 ¾ blocked from the Muggle world.

It had taken them both a moment to recognize her as she walked towards them, since she no longer was disguised as a boy to hide her from Voldemort. She was wearing a skirt and blouse and her hair had grown down around her shoulders. Her aunt and uncle had known about this deception, Dumbledore having told them when her parents had been killed, and they had adhered to her parents desire to protect her by letting everyone believe she was actually a boy. They had done quite well, and when she was old enough to know that she was in fact female, they had made sure she kept quiet by telling her she would be sent away if she ever said anything to anyone. It was not until she was in her sixth year at Hogwarts that she was told the reason by Professor Dumbledore and her Godfather, Sirius Black. She had suspected they knew about this secret identity, and she had confronted the Headmaster for an explanation.

That was when she had learned about a series of predictions, known as the Mathias Prophecy. These prophecies foretold how a young witch with a Muggle born mother and a Pure Blood wizard father would have various encounters with Lord Voldemort and would ultimately defeat him. It was believed that Harry was this child. Indeed, many of the predictions had already come to pass. Harry's parents, along with Dumbledore, and Sirius, had deliberately deceived the world into believing she was a boy; making certain Voldemort would be unaware that the child who would be his undoing had been born.

Harry had not wanted to return to live with the Dursley's. Sirius had been cleared of her parents' betrayal and subsequent murder, along with the murders of thirteen other people. Her parents other friend had been the real murderer, and Harry had helped to bring him to justice, and clear her godfather. She had wanted to go and live with him, and would do so, by the end of July. In the meantime, she had to stay with Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon. She had been furious and upset with this, and Dumbledore had agreed to make some changes when he found out how they had been treating Harry.

Sirius and Remus had joined her on the Hogwarts express back to London, to make certain that her mother's sister and her husband knew their behavior was now suspect. They had changed out of their robes on the train, put on Muggle outfits, and followed her out into the station, walking behind her. Sirius had worn black jeans with a Harley Davidson t-shirt, the sleeves cut off, and a pair of ankle length black boots. His thick black hair had been pulled back into a neat ponytail. The only thing missing had been his motorcycle. Remus was almost his direct opposite. He was wearing khaki trousers with a neat blue polo shirt and a pair of Nike's. His hair was neatly trimmed and he looked like any other clean cut young man. The two of them created quite a contrast to one another. Her aunt and uncle had been unaware that they too, had come from Platform 9 3/4, or that they were even a pair of wizards. As usual, they were not overly affectionate, and greeted her curtly.

"I see that old fool Dumbledore has told you the truth," Uncle Vernon remarked looking her up and down, "it was a ridiculous idea anyway. Your parents were stupid to listen to such nonsense."

"My parents died trying to protect me, and their deception worked," she replied coldly, remembering how Voldemort had sent her back in time last October, to the night they died. She had watched helplessly while Voldemort had entered the house in Godric's Hollow, and murdered them. "And Professor Dumbledore is not an old fool."

"My sister would be alive today if she hadn't gone to that blasted school of yours, and met Potter," Aunt Petunia hissed. "You should just be grateful we agreed to take you in. All the neighbors believed you were a boy. Heaven knows what those weird people have done to them now. I saw them over there, talking to them. Humph, even Dudley didn't know until we told him when we picked him up from school."

"Really, what did he say?" Harry made no effort to hide the sarcasm in her voice.

"It's none of your business," Uncle Vernon gritted his teeth, "let's just get to the car."

"I don't believe that is a very gracious way for you to greet your niece," Remus pleasant voice said from where he was walking behind them."

"Who the hell do you think you are, butting into our business?" Uncle Vernon demanded turning to face him.

"I happen to be a friend of Harry's and one of her teachers. Her parents were good friends of mine."

"Oh, great it's one of them!" Aunt Petunia whispered to her husband.

"Actually, there are two of us," Sirius grinned evilly. "This is Professor Lupin and I am Professor Sirius Black."

"Sirius Black!" Aunt Petunia gasped, "You were that man who was accused of murdering all those people."

"I wouldn't worry so much, Aunt Petunia," Harry said slyly, "my godfather has been released from prison and cleared of any wrong doing. It was my parents other friend who arranged for their murder. Of course, prison did leave him a bit...well...touchy," she shrugged looking from one to the other. "It's Professor Lupin you really have to worry about. He goes a little crazy from time to time, seems he doesn't like the full moon."

"Sirius Black is your godfather?" Uncle Vernon asked nervously.

"I am. I just want to make sure Harry is being properly looked after while I am away on business. She tells me she has had some problems with bars on her windows?"

"We told that old fool Dumbledore they were simply for added security," Aunt Petunia snapped, looking at the two men nervously, "you can never be too careful."

"I don't consider Professor Dumbledore and old fool. He is actually a genius," Remus looked at Petunia smiling coldly.

"Now about these bars, I assume they were on all the windows of the house, including your son's room?"

"Well...er..."Vernon Dursley began nervously watching Sirius spin his wand.

"Mummy...daddy...what is taking you so long to pick up Harry? I want some ice cream! You said I could get some," Dudley's uneven voice greeted them as they reached the street where the car was parked.

He looked ridiculous in a pair of oversized plaid shorts with a white shirt and a bow tie. Harry had to suppress a giggle. If Dudley had his face painted, he would make an excellent clown.

"Come on Harry, you stupid girl. Mummy told me you were pretending just to make us look foolish. You're nothing more than a little twit with a stupid boy's name!"

"Now son, you mustn't speak to Harry like that..." Vernon Dursley began.

Nevertheless, it was too late. Sirius stopped spinning his wand, and his smile was pasted on, Harry's uncle paled, his voice trailing off.

"Now, Dudley baby, you mustn't upset Harry's friends."

"Friends, what friends mummy? You mean these two stupid gits you were talking with?"

"Silens mutus," Sirius glared pointing his wand at Dudley, who immediately had no voice. His mouth was moving with no sound coming out.

Aunt Petunia immediately started to scream, and Uncle Vernon grabbed her, shoving her into the car, trying to keep her quiet. He didn't want a scene in the station.

"Oh my," Remus said casually, "it seems your son has lost his voice."

"He did that!" Uncle Vernon sputtered looking askance at Sirius.

"If you weren't Harry's relatives it would have been a lot worse. You can rest assured that my friend here will be sending me reports on her while I am away," he winked at Harry, as he stuck his thumb towards Remus. "That was just a warning, Vernon. I can call you Vernon, can't I? After all, I am Harry's godfather, so we're almost related," Sirius was grinning broadly at Vernon Dursley's discomfiture. "Now, I expect to hear that she is having a good summer. I'm sure Albus Dumbledore also explained that she would not be with you on weekends and during the day on Wednesday. Oh, and by the way, Dudley will get his voice back in time for breakfast tomorrow."

Vernon Dursley could do nothing but nod. Harry thought he was going to have a stroke since the veins on his neck were bulging and his eyes were popping out of his head. He stared at Sirius in shock, but finally found his voice, sputtering a few words.

"Uh...of course...always did like the child...when did you say you would be back?"

"I will pick her up on July the twenty ninth, in time for her birthday. My friend will be there on Friday of this week to pick her up for the weekend."

"I shall be looking forward to seeing you again," Remus nodded as Sirius assisted Harry into the car. "Good day to you Mr. Dursley."

"Harry, honey you just send word if you need anything," Sirius said meaningfully, and then he and Remus both disapparated in front of the Dursley's after first making sure no one else would notice.

Dudley had cried hysterically all the way back to Privet Drive, and Aunt Petunia kept crooning about her little baby being attacked by those awful men. Harry just pretended not to notice, as her cousin kept mouthing words furiously with no sound. She actually thought it was an improvement over his loud and obnoxious behaviors.

For the rest of the week her aunt and uncle had barely spoken to her, and she was fine with that. Aside from a stiff good morning each day and handing her a plate of food at meals, they avoided her as if she had the plague. Her cousin though, would watch her from a distance and make weird faces. He also kept trying to walk in on her in the bath pretending not to realize she was in the tub. Harry was not allowed to do magic away from Hogwarts, so she decided to get even by baking him some chocolate cupcakes. What she neglected to tell anyone is that she liberally laced some of them with some chocolate flavored laxatives, making sure they were the ones that only Dudley ate. He was up all night in the bathroom, and her aunt was furious, suspecting Harry of putting some kind of a curse on Dudley.

She approached Harry the next morning, "What did you do to my baby boy?"

"Aunt Petunia, you know I can't do magic when I'm not in school," Harry looked at her feigning innocence.

"You put some kind of a curse on him. He can't get out of the bathroom, and he won't eat."

"Maybe he'll lose some weight," Harry knew the remark would land her in trouble, but it was worth it, knowing she had gotten even with Dudley.

"Harry Potter, you go to your room right now, and don't come out until you are called!" Aunt Petunia yelled as she fussed over Dudley, who suddenly jumped up and made a mad dash for the bathroom. "Oh my poor Dudley wudley."

"Yes, Aunt Petunia. I need to write a letter to my godfather anyway," she grinned on her way up the stairs. She really didn't, but enjoyed letting her aunt think she was telling him everything. The look on her aunt's face told her that she was nervous. As she passed the bathroom, she knocked on the door.

"Hey Dudley, this is what happens when you try and watch a witch in the tub. It's a special charm they put on all of us at school to avoid hanky panky," Harry lied, laughing to herself. She knew Dudley could not tell Aunt Petunia or Uncle Vernon without incriminating himself, and it would make him mind his manners.

She did decide to tell Sirius what had happened, knowing he would enjoy the way she had handled the situation without using magic. Reaching her room, she gave Hedwig an owl treat, and spoke quietly to the owl, "I wish I could send you with a letter to Sirius, but it's too dangerous. I will have to send word through Remus. I promise I will bring you with me tomorrow to Professor Snape's. I don't think even he would object to my pet owl. I can't wait to see Snuffles again. She is probably wondering why I haven't been home with her."

Harry had spent the entire day in her room, and her aunt had finally brought her a bowl of vegetable soup for dinner, along with a slice of bread and a glass of milk.

"Your uncle and I want to know what time you expect to be picked up tomorrow, and how they will arrive?"

"I'm not sure Aunt Petunia. I only know they will be here tomorrow evening. I believe it will be Professor Lupin picking me up this week. At least that's what he said at the station. If you'll let me I can send Hedwig with a note to find out," Harry suggested hopefully.

"Absolutely not, you know that you aren't supposed to let that bird out of her cage."

"But she needs the exercise. It will be good for her, and you won't have to hear her screech."

"You just keep that bird quiet, or your uncle will see that she is stuffed and made into a trophy."

"Yes, ma'am," Harry replied as her aunt turned and flounced out of the room.

Now, laying in the bed and reflecting over the first week back with the Dursley's, she was sure the summer would still be miserable, but not quite as bad a usual. She only had four more weeks to go with them, and then she would be going home with Sirius. They would have a month together, before she had to go back to school. Sirius too, would be going back to continue his teaching job, since Dumbledore was still putting in many hours at the Ministry of Magic, and Professor McGonagall, as Deputy Headmistress, had to run the school.

As Harry drifted off to sleep, she smiled to herself, thinking about the various ways Remus could show up. She knew that he would not use floo powder, since the Dursley's had again sealed their electric fireplace, following the fiasco with the Weasleys two years prior. However he showed up, she would be glad to see him...

The dream came slowly, and was very jumbled. Voldemort was talking to that young reporter from the Daily Prophet, Phineas Phibes, who had cornered her in the Leaky Cauldron last Christmas with Professor Snape. He was telling him to garner as much information about Harry and how she was going to spend the summer. He also was asking him to use his status as a reporter to interview the Weasleys. He wanted to know their whereabouts and was particularly interested in Ron. Harry could feel how nervous the young Deatheater was in the presence of his master, and his responses were not to Voldemort's liking.

"Master this will be extremely difficult. I am only a junior reporter. I probably won't be able to interview the Minister of Magic or his family."

"Tell them you are an alumnus of Hogwarts. Get that fool Dumbledore to speak with you and have him arrange it. Say you want to do a story on the school, and how Potter and his friends are doing. Let him think you want people to see the real Harry Potter and not the celebrity, you idiot."

"You mean like a human interest story? How everybody had to adjust when they discovered that Potter was actually a girl?"

"Yes...let them think people are concerned for her welfare. Tell them they think she may have psychological problems from the deception."

"I will try master, but what about the Weasley boy? I doubt his father will let me speak to him."

"Then don't ask. Just follow him and tell him it will be a surprise for his family,"

Voldemort sneered angry with the young man's stupidity.

"I will do my best, My Lord," the young reporter bowed.

"See that you do not fail, Phibes. I do not like failure. I take harsh measures with useless wizards," Voldemort smiled coldly, reaching down to pat his pet snake, Nagini. The snake then wound itself around the young man's feet as Voldemort laughed at his fear. "Crucio! Let that be a warning not to fail," Voldemort's said quietly, his eyes glowing red, as he enjoyed watching the young man squirm in pain. "The Cruciatus curse can be most effective, don't you agree Phibes?"

"Master...please..." he screamed.

Harry jerked awake, her pulse racing, as the scar on her head throbbed in pain. Getting out of bed, she immediately grabbed a quill and some paper from her trunk, and wrote down the dream before she could forget it.

Returning to bed, she laid awake, listening to the crickets and worrying about Ron and his family. She hoped Sirius was safe, and that Dumbledore could keep the Deatheaters away from them.

Mr. Dursley arrived home early from the office on Friday. Apparently he did not want to leave Aunt Petunia and Dudley alone knowing that another wizard would be coming to get Harry.

Harry had received a letter in with the morning post from Remus, although it had no stamp on it. She suspected it had come by owl and dropped into the mail slot. Remus had told her he would be there at precisely five o'clock, and that they would all be going out to dinner at the Leaky Cauldron. She was not sure whom he had meant by all, and wondered if she should wear muggle clothes or robes. She finally decided to wear a pair of black jeans and the green blouse Professor Snape had given her, with a pair of tennis sneakers. She put her hair up in a French braid, and put on some makeup, knowing Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia would disapprove.

"What is on your face, young lady?" Her aunt questioned sternly.

"Just some makeup. I don't wear a lot, just some mascara, liner and lip stick."

"You're too young to be wearing makeup," Uncle Vernon said with disapproval,

"Go and wash it off right now."

"I have permission to wear it from my godfather."

"Well, he isn't here right now, and I said to wash it off. You look ridiculous. Only harlots wear makeup."

"Harry the harlot, Harry the harlot," Dudley quipped scoffing at her.

"I am not a harlot, tramp, or whatever other word you want to use and I will not wash off my makeup," Harry gritted her teeth angrily.

"Don't you go talking like that to your uncle, young lady! You will wash your face or I will wash it for you!" Aunt Petunia glared angrily as the doorbell rang and they all jumped.

"I'll get it," Harry remarked moving swiftly over to open the front door. "Remus," she breathed with a sigh of relief, "come on in." Harry quickly moved aside to allow Remus to enter.

He too, was dressed in muggle clothes, and smiled happily at Harry, "You look lovely. Are you all set?"

"Yes, let me just go and get my bag." She led him into the living room where her aunt and uncle were sitting on the sofa.

"Good evening Mr. and Mrs. Dursley," Remus said politely, nodding to her aunt as he extended his hand to Vernon, who shook it grudgingly. "It is nice to see you again. Dudley I trust you have gotten your voice back?"

"Uh...yes, Sir," Dudley replied backing up and fleeing the room so fast he almost knocked Harry down as she returned with her back pack, and Hedwig.

"I hope Professor Snape doesn't mind my bringing Hedwig, but I can't leave her here alone," Harry glanced at her aunt and uncle meaningfully.

"I'm sure he will understand," Remus agreed. "I will have Harry back on Monday morning," Remus explained turning back to the Dursleys, "Professor Dumbledore will be picking her up on Wednesday morning for the day, and she will return by nine in the evening. I hope that will not be inconvenient for you?"

"No, I'm sure that will work out quite well," Vernon Dursley assured him.

"Then we shall be going. I have a car waiting out front. Professor Dumbledore was thoughtful enough to secure us transportation from the Ministry of Magic."

"A car...from the Ministry...?" Vernon Dursley began, as he and Petunia followed them to the door.

"We do use some of the more conventional methods of transportation, Mr. Dursley," Remus grinned, his eyes twinkling. "We didn't want you to feel uncomfortable if we just suddenly appeared in your living room."

"Yes...well... perfectly understandable. We will see you back on Monday, Harry," he said, quickly closing the door behind them.

Remus and Harry were both aware that the Dursley's were watching from the living room window as they got into the car. The car disappeared down the street, and turning the corner, it simply vanished from the Muggle world.

They reached a quiet London street, which appeared to be in a rather affluent section of the city, pulling up in front of a large three-story town home. Remus helped Harry from the car, and they walked up to the front entrance. The door was opened by Professor Dumbledore, who greeted Harry with a hug, his blue eyes twinkling.

"Child, it is good to see you. I trust you haven't been too miserable the past week?"

"Let's just say it hasn't been wine and roses," she smiled warmly.

"We will be meeting the others at the Leaky Cauldron," Dumbledore told her as he took her bag, and she put Hedwig's cage down. "Hello, Hedwig," the old man smiled giving the owl a treat, letting her out of the cage.

"Where is Snuffles?" Harry asked looking around for her pet.

"She is out back, in the garden. Come Child, I know you must be anxious to see her."

"Headmaster, I will see to Harry's things while you take her out to see Snuffles."

"Thank you, Remus, but don't let Dobby know. He might be upset that you did his job."

"Dobby's here too?" Harry asked as Remus disappeared up the stairs with her belongings. Hedwig followed happily behind him swooping up the long staircase.

"Dobby insisted on looking after us both. He said I was his employer and you were his friend. He has sworn to protect you."

"Then I had better buy him some more socks, and maybe a hat," she grinned. Socks were Dobby's favorite clothes.

They had reached a door off what appeared to be a small parlor, and going out into the garden, Snuffles immediately bounded up to them. She was wagging her tail furiously, and Harry had bent down to pet her as the dog planted slurpy wet kisses all over her face.

"I think she missed you," Dumbledore laughed.

"I think we missed each other. Look at how big she's getting, and her coat is so nice and fluffy," Harry laughed happily, pulling a dog treat from her pocket.

"Now how has it been at the Dursley's?"

"Strained, my cousin has become a Peeping Tom while I'm in the bath."

"Did you tell your aunt?"

"No," Harry admitted ruefully, "I didn't think she would believe me."

"It's quite possible she would have."

"I doubt it. My uncle just got finished calling me a harlot for wearing makeup and she ordered me to wash if off. They also didn't say a word to Dudley when he kept mimicking my uncle and calling me a harlot over and over."

"I see, and how did you handle both situations?"

"Muggle style, you know I can't do magic away from school."

"I see the twinkle in your eye, Harry. Tell me what you did."

"What she did when?" Remus asked as he came into the garden.

"Harry has had a few problems with her cousin trying to sneak a peek at her in the bath tub. Her aunt and uncle also seem to disapprove of her wearing makeup."

"So that was what the row was all about when I came to the door."

"You overheard us?"

"Some of it, I didn't want to pry. I figured you would tell us in your own good time."

"How much did you hear?"

"Just your aunt yelling at you to wash your face or she would do it for you."

"That was the makeup argument. My uncle said I looked like a harlot. They don't know about Dudley trying to watch me in the tub."

"From what I've seen of them, they would not believe you anyway. Your aunt believes Dudley is a sweet innocent baby."

"Indeed, and what does she think about Harry?"

"I'm the demon seed from Hell," Harry smiled as they left the garden and returned to the house.

"Now Child, I really don't think it's that bad."

"I know she blames my dad for my mum's death. She told me so. She said if my mum hadn't gone to Hogwarts and met my father she would probably be alive today."

"Painful as it is to admit, she is probably right," Dumbledore informed her gently.

"I don't believe that. My parents chose to stay behind and protect me. They were both very stubborn."

"That must be where you get it from," Remus teased, giving Harry a hug. "So what did you do about Dudley trying to watch you bathe?"

"I baked him some cup cakes," Harry grinned trying to look innocent.

"And what did you put into them?" Snape's sardonic voice came from the door to the parlor.

Harry jumped about ten feet. No matter how hard she tried, she never could get over his moving without a sound, and had not heard him come up the hall.

"Professor Snape, I didn't hear you come in."

"That's because I didn't want you to," He looked at her arching his brow, "now answer my question. What did you put in the cupcakes?"

"What makes you think I put anything in them?"

"You smiled when you said you baked them. It is an old woman's trick to put poison or some other toxic agent into food."

"Now look at this innocent face. Do you three really think I would do something like that to poor Dudley?"

"Yes!" they all chorused.

"Oh, all right. I just laced them with a popular chocolate flavored muggle laxative. Not enough to hurt him mind you, but I'm sure he had a sore butt for days."

"Now explain to me how that will keep him from watching you bathe?" Dumbledore asked pursing his lips.

"I just told him that it was a charm put on the students to keep them from fooling around in school," Harry smiled, her cheeks red.

Dumbledore laughed heartily, as he turned to smile at Harry with a glint in his eye, "I will have to keep that in mind. It is a very useful suggestion to keep the boys in line."

"Albus, I think we should be going. Circe and Phaedra will be waiting for us."

"I agree. Harry, you and Remus will use the floo powder while Severus and I apparate. We will all meet at the Leaky Cauldron," Dumbledore instructed handing them a can of floo powder.

"You ready Princess," Remus asked using her pet name, as he led her over to the hearth.

"So long as you are."

"Then follow me. Albus, we'll see the two of you in a few minutes," Remus said as he stepped into the hearth. "The Leaky Cauldron," he stated, disappearing in a burst of flames.

Harry then followed, and emerged in a few moments right behind him. Dumbledore and Snape were just coming in through the front door and they motioned for Remus and Harry to join them at a table in the back of the room. A slim woman with straight black hair and dark eyes was already seated there, and there was no mistaking the family resemblance to Professor Snape. Sitting with her was a little girl of perhaps five years old. She was adorable with curly blond hair and big brown eyes. She was playing with a stuffed bunny with big floppy ears. Harry and Remus made their way through the crowded room towards the table Snape had indicated, and Harry could hear the little girl talking loudly to her mother.

"Mummy, look, Uncle Severus is here with Dumbledore!"

"Hush, Phaedra, you shouldn't yell," her mother corrected gently. "Uncle Severus can see us."

"Uncle Severus," she beamed jumping up and running over to him, despite her mother's attempt to stop her, "I missed you."

"I missed you too, little one," Severus Snape told his niece as he scooped her up into his arms. "Have you been being good for mummy?" Snape asked her, looking down at his sister.

"She has talked of nothing else except seeing you and the surprise you have for her for the past week. She keeps begging me to tell her who it is she is going to be meeting."

"Mummy won't tell me," she frowned looking at Snape, who was smiling in amusement. "Do you know Mr. Headmaster Dumbledore?"

"Yes, I do. It is someone very special."

"Remus is Snape actually smiling at his niece, or am I hallucinating?" Harry whispered as they walked across the crowded room.

"He adores Phaedra. Circe and her daughter are his only family, aside from a great uncle."

"I thought Professor Snape's sister was single," Harry said meaningfully.

"She is. Phaedra's father was killed in an accident before she was born. He and Circe were engaged to be married when he died, and then she found out she was pregnant. Don't tell anyone I told you."

"I won't," Harry promised, as they approached the table.

"Mr. Headmaster Dumbledore, please tell me who it is? I promise I will be good when they get here," Phaedra wheedled.

Dumbledore smiled patiently at Phaedra, "You will just have to be patient a few minutes longer, little one."

"Ooohhh...I can't wait. I want to know..."

"Phaedra sit down and behave," Snape told her gently but firmly, "play with Mr. Hoppity Hop while we wait. I want you to be a good girl."

"I will Uncle Severus, I promise."

"Good girl, because our guest has arrived," Snape said calmly as Remus and Harry reached the table.

"Mr. Remus," Phaedra bubbled, "did you bring my surprise? Who is it?"

"Who would you like it to be?" Remus asked since Harry was standing behind him, blocked from Phaedra's view.

"A Princess, or maybe a ballet dancer," Phaedra answered thoughtfully.

"Sorry, Remus often calls me Princess, but I'm not really; and I can't dance ballet," Harry said stepping out from behind Professor Lupin, amused by the child's vivacious personality.

"Hello," she said brightly, "I'm Phaedra Alexis Snape, and you're pretty. What's your name?"

"It's nice to meet you Phaedra Alexis Snape," Harry grinned, "and I'll bet you can't guess my name," Harry told her as she and Remus took a seat at the table.

Professor Snape and his sister were smiling, and everyone was looking amused. They all knew that the little girl would never guess her name, since Harry's bangs were covering her scar.

"Hmm...Is your name Althea? I have a friend in kindergarten and she has dark hair like you and her name is Althea."

"No, my name is not Althea, but it is a pretty name."

"Phaedra, maybe she would like to hear what you and Althea like to do in school. What are your favorite games?" Circe Snape spoke quietly to her daughter, as Tom came over to take their order. He winked at Harry as he had overheard the conversation, and knew not to call her by name.

Phaedra ignored her mother's question when she saw Tom. "Mr. Tom, do you know her name?"

"Sure do, Miss Phaedra, but I'm going to let you try and guess. If you get it right I'll give you a free ice cream for dessert."

"Can I have strawberry?'

"Any flavor you want," Tom grinned. He then took their orders and left the table.

The food appeared on their plates a few minutes later. Harry was having fried chicken, Remus and Snape each had a steak, Dumbledore had pork chops, and Circe had ordered flounder. Little Phaedra had gotten a smaller portion of chicken and some French fries, and they continued their conversation during dinner.

"Phaedra, mummy asked you a question before we ordered our food. Do you think our guest would like to know what you and Althea like to play together?"

"We like to play with our dolls and color, and we play make believe broom tag, cause we can't fly yet. Can you fly?"

"Yes, I fly quite often. I have a Firebolt Lightening Rod broom. But I'm only allowed to fly at school."

"Can you fly as good as Uncle Severus?" Phaedra asked jubilantly, beaming at Professor Snape, who shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "He flies real fast, and he can swoop and dive and everything. He played quidditch this year at Hogwarts with Harry Potter. She's just my favorite person, besides Uncle Severus."

"Why is that?" Harry asked trying to keep a straight face as the others sat smiling in amusement.

"Well, she's famous. I'll bet she's pretty too, but not as pretty as you are. I like to play Harry Potter in school with Althea. We take turns pretending to be Harry Potter. Our teacher told us all about her in school. She says Harry Potter will be able to stop a really bad wizard. People are so afraid of him that they don't even say his name."

"No, they don't," Harry agreed, "but you should never be afraid to say a name, because it can't hurt you."
"Do you know the bad wizard's name?" Phaedra asked curiously.

"Yes, I do. He actually has two names. His real name is Tom Malvolo Riddle, but he changed it to Lord Voldemort to make people afraid of him," Harry told Phaedra quietly, so as not to be overheard by the other patrons in the Leaky Cauldron.

"Ooohhh...that sounds mean. Did you ever see him?"

"Uh huh," Harry nodded.

"Was he scary, like my teacher says?"

"Phaedra, you will give yourself nightmares," Circe cut in trying to avoid causing Harry an uncomfortable situation. "Maybe our guest would prefer to talk about something nice."

"Okay mummy. Do you go to school?"

"I go to Hogwarts."

"That's where Uncle Severus and Mr. Remus go to work. Mr. Dumbledore is Headmaster. Do you have Uncle Severus as a teacher?" Phaedra looked at Snape adoringly.

Harry looked at Snape, and had all she could do not to start laughing. He was extremely uncomfortable with his niece's display of affection out in public.

"As a matter of fact, I do. Mr. Remus is my teacher too."

"Do you like Uncle Severus? Is he a fun teacher?"

Dumbledore's eyes were twinkling, and Remus was grinning broadly, while Snape shifted uncomfortably in his chair.

"Phaedra, that is not a nice thing to ask our guest," Snape told his niece quietly.

"That's all right, Professor. I don't mind," Harry said looking at Snape mischievously. "Your Uncle Severus is a very good teacher, Phaedra. He teaches a very hard subject."

"He teaches how to mix magic potions!" The little girl smiled with delight. "Can you mix love potions?"

"No, Phaedra, we aren't allowed to mix love potions."

"I want to mix potions, but Uncle Severus won't let me. He says I'm too little. I have to be seven and able to read all the words and then he will teach me."

"Well, your uncle is right. How can you mix something if you can't read what to put in?"

"Hmm...I don't know. But mummy lets me help the house elves to mix things."

"Good practice. First you learn how to mix things, and then you learn what to mix," Harry told her logically, and they could all see her thinking about it.

"I guess so," Phaedra frowned. "Do you like Hogwarts?"

"Very much, I learn how to do all sorts of magic."

"Can you play quidditch?"

"I play quidditch all the time. It's a lot of fun. I'm on my house team."

"Are you in Slytherin? Uncle Severus is head of Slytherin, you know."

"No, Phaedra, I'm in Gryffindor. We are the rival house to Slytherin."

"I know, that's where Harry Potter is! Do you know her?"

"Yes, I know her quite well."

"Is she really brave, like everyone says?"

"I think she cares about the people she loves, and that helps to make her brave."

"Do you think she's pretty?"

"I never really thought about it."

"My teacher says she pretended to be a boy for a long time, but that's silly. How can you pretend to be a boy?"

"It's easy. You just dress like a boy and do everything a boy would do. Harry just got too big to do it any longer."

"Why did she do it?"

"Because of the bad wizard. Her parents knew he would try and hurt her."

"Why did he want to hurt her?"

"He knew she would try to stop him."

"My teacher says she has done all kinds of wonderful things. She even killed a basilisk!"

"Phaedra," Dumbledore looked at her, his blue eyes alight with mischief, "if you ever meet Harry what would you say to her?"

"Excuse me, Miss Phaedra; did you guess her name yet?" Tom asked returning to the table.

"No, is it almost time for dessert?"

"Not just yet, Phaedra," Snape told her, "some of us are still eating dinner."

"Oh, good, I really want some strawberry ice cream."

"I'm sure Uncle Severus will get you the ice cream even if you don't guess her name," Circe remarked to her daughter.

"Will you, Uncle Severus?" She asked hopefully.

"Yes, Phaedra, so long as you continue to behave," Snape assured her, the corners of his lips turned up in a slight smile.

"I will, I'm being good, aren't I everybody?"

"I think you're being very good," Dumbledore smiled warmly. "Tom we'll be ready in a little while," Dumbledore told the innkeeper. Tom nodded and left to wait on another customer. Dumbledore then redirected his attention to Phaedra. "Now, tell us what you would say to Harry Potter."

"I would tell her that she should hurry up and make the bad wizard go away. I would also ask her what the scariest thing she ever had to do was."

"Is there anything else?" Dumbledore coaxed.

"I would want to see if she really has a scar like a lightening bolt. My friend Althea says that she doesn't believe it, cause the healers would have fixed it."

"Phaedra, didn't I tell you that Miss Potter does have the scar on her forehead?" Professor Snape inquired.

"Yes, but Althea says..."

"Well, Althea is wrong. She does have a scar like a lightening bolt," Harry grinned.

"Did you ever see it?"

"Every day," she said trying to give Phaedra a clue as to who she was.

"Really? " She asked her brown eyes wide with excitement.

"Ever time I look in the mirror to comb my hair," Harry laughed, unable to contain her delight with Phaedra.

"But that means... "You're her!" She gasped kneeling on the chair to reach across the table and pushing Harry's bangs off her forehead. "You do...you do have the scar!"

"Phaedra, sit down, you are being rude to Miss Potter," Circe corrected the little girl.

"I'm sorry, mummy. I didn't mean to jump on her."

"That's quite all right, Phaedra," Harry smiled, "I never thought my scar could cause someone such delight."

"Miss Potter, forgive me for not introducing myself, but Phaedra was having such a good time trying to guess who you were that I didn't want to spoil the surprise for her. I'm Severus' older sister, Circe Snape."

"It's nice to meet you. You have an interesting name. Was everyone in your family named something either Latin or from ancient Rome?"

"I see you know your mythology and languages. Do you know where the name Circe comes from?"

"I believe she was a supposed to be a famous sorceress"

"What's a sorcess?" Phaedra demanded mispronouncing the word.

"No, Little One, Sore cer ess," Dumbledore corrected, breaking the word into syllables so she could say it. "It is another name for witch."

"I know mummy is a witch. So am I." Phaedra shook her head at Dumbledore. "Miss Harry, did you really kill a basilisk?"

"Yes, Phaedra I really killed a basilisk."

"Were you scared?"

"Yes, I was scared."

"Why didn't you just run away?"

"My best friend's sister was in trouble. I couldn't just leave or she would have died," Harry explained as Tom returned to take their dessert orders.

"I heard you guessed who your surprise guest was," Tom laughed, "so you will get a free dessert of strawberry ice cream with two scoops!"

"Hooray, I'm getting two scoops everyone!" Phaedra bounced up and down in her seat, as they all grinned.

Tom quickly took their dessert orders, and they all sat back and relaxed as they ate. Phaedra was quiet while she concentrated on her ice cream, and Harry watched her with interest. She had little experience with young children, and watching Phaedra she wondered what it would have been like if her parents hadn't died, and had other children after her.

She thought of the Weasley's, they all seemed so happy. Would she have been close with her siblings too? A part of her yearned for the comfort and companionship of a brother or sister. Dumbledore must have sensed her thoughts since he put his hand on hers, and gave it a gentle squeeze.

"Phaedra could use a surrogate sister to look up to, and I can't think of a better one than you," he commented softly, his blue eyes serious.

"She's adorable," Harry replied noncommittally.

"Miss Harry, you still didn't tell me when you were scared the most," Phaedra said looking up from her ice cream.

"It was during the Tri Wizard Tournament."

"What's a tournament?"

"It's a kind of contest. This one was between Hogwarts and two other schools. I had to get back something that I valued most."

"That doesn't sound scary."

"How about if you have to do it underwater and only have an hour, or you will loose it forever?"

"What did you have to get back?"

"My best friend, Ron, was being held captive by the Merpeople. If I didn't save

him, he would drown. At least that is what I thought. It was really just a test, and he would have been released."

"But you did save him, didn't you?" Phaedra asked wide-eyed.

"She not only saved him Phaedra, she saved another little girl, and helped to save two other people," Dumbledore beamed proudly.

"Did you win the contest?" Phaedra asked as Harry shifted uncomfortably.

"Yes, Phaedra, Miss Potter won the contest. However, she doesn't like to talk about it," Professor Snape told her noting Harry's discomfort at the memory of Cedric's death at the end of the tournament.

"Why?" She asked innocently.

"Because another student died at the end of the contest, Phaedra," Harry said quietly.

"Miss Harry, I didn't mean to make you sad. Mummy, Uncle Severus, please tell her I didn't mean it."

"She knows, Phaedra," Remus replied as Snape pulled the child onto his lap, cradling her to calm her down. "Maybe she would like to see your bunny. It might make her feel better."

Phaedra picked up the stuffed toy and handed it to Harry.

"His name is Mr.Hoppity Hop. He is nice and warm and keeps me company at night."

"Thank you, Phaedra. I never had a bunny when I was little. I feel better already."

Phaedra smiled happily, "Are you going to stay with us at Uncle Severus' house tonight?"

"Yes, Phaedra, Miss Harry will be coming every weekend and on Wednesday during the day," Remus informed the little girl. "Your uncle will also be taking care of her dog over the summer."

"You have a doggie? My mummy says I can't have one because we live in a partment."

"You mean an apartment." Harry corrected her.

"That's what I said!" Phaedra insisted. "Can I see your doggie?"

"Of course, she is at your uncle's house. So is my pet owl."

"Mummy has an owl. His name is Jupiter. Mummy says he's a barn owl."

"I have a snowy owl and her name is Hedwig"

"Jupiter bites, does Hedwig?"

"Sometimes she will nip my finger when she's mad at me."

"Jupiter bit my finger once and I got all bloody. Uncle Severus cleaned it and put a potion on it and it was all better in a few minutes," she proudly announced, hugging Professor Snape.

"Phaedra have you finished your ice cream? If so, we should be getting on home. It is almost your bedtime," Professor Snape said affectionately.

"Mummy please can I stay up with Miss Harry? Please?"

"We'll see dear," Circe told her patiently.

"Uncle Severus, please can I stay up with Miss Harry?"

"It's up to your mother. If you behave she may let you stay up for a little while longer."

"Phaedra, we will all be going out tomorrow. If you're really good maybe Headmaster Dumbledore will tell you where," Remus told the little girl as they stood up to leave.

"Miss Harry do you know where we're going?"

"No, so be good so we can find out," Harry chuckled curiously.

"I promise Miss Harry, I'll be real good," Phaedra said taking her mother's hand.

"Circe would you like me to take Phaedra?" Snape inquired, "Or are you traveling with floo powder?"

"Can I go with Miss Harry?"

"No, Phaedra. Miss Harry is using floo powder and she is not used to traveling the system. She's been known to come out of the wrong grate," Dumbledore smiled, his blue eyes twinkling. "Would you like to apparate with me?"

"Can I?" She asked awed.

"Of course, Little One," the old man beamed taking her in his arms, and Harry felt a pang of jealousy.

"Come on, Princess, let's get back. I'm sure Phaedra would like to help you feed Snuffles," Remus steered Harry back towards the hearth. "Snape town home," he threw the floo powder and disappeared into the system.

Harry then followed and re-emerged in the parlor to find Dumbledore already there with Remus and Phaedra. Snape and Circe entered from the hall a moment later.

"Miss Harry, can I see your doggie now?"

"Of course, Phaedra. Professor, Snuffles needs to be fed, where are you keeping her dog food?"

"I believe Dobby has probably fed her for you. He wanted to help with her, so I put him in charge of seeing that she has food and water," Snape replied as he rang for the house elf, and Dobby appeared.

"Harry Potter, welcome, welcome!" Dobby bounced over to her happily.

"Thank you Dobby. Has Snuffles been fed?"

"Yes, Miss Harry. Dobby has taken good care of Harry Potter's dog. Two cups of dry food and one can daily. Dobby also makes sure she gets plenty of water. She has been staying with Professor Snape at night. Do you want her in with you?"

"Yes, Dobby," Harry smiled at Snape who shrugged and arched his brow.

"Dobby would you bring us a pot of tea and some milk for Miss Phaedra."

"Dobby will see to it, Sir. Tea for the adults and milk for Miss Phaedra," Dobby repeated and disappeared with a snap of his fingers, and a wink at Harry. A moment later, the tea tray appeared along with two glasses of milk and some cookies and cakes.

"How come there are two milks?" Phaedra asked puzzled.

"One is for Miss Harry, Little One," Dumbledore explained patting Phaedra on the head.

"Come on Phaedra, lets go and see Snuffles. She likes company. She's really still a puppy."

"Snuffles is a funny name. I like it."

"Maybe Remus would like to come too?" Harry asked looking at the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.

"Of course, Princess. I would enjoy being in the company of two such lovely young women."

Remus sensed that Harry needed to talk to him, while Dumbledore and Snape both looked at her curiously. The trio headed off into the garden as Snape and Dumbledore sat back while Circe poured the tea.

"Albus, she's lovely. I half expected a monster for all the times Severus would complain to me about Harry Potter. I wondered why he suddenly changed his tune over the past year."

"Circe, Severus never really disliked Harry. In the beginning, when he believed her to be a boy, he found it easier to make her dislike him so he could keep an eye on her. That way any of Voldemort's supporters would not become suspicious. There was a time during her first year when Harry actually believed Severus was the one trying to steal the Philosopher's stone. Now that Severus has realized she is actually the witch from the Mathias Prophecy, it has given him a renewed hope that the Dark Lord can be defeated," Dumbledore studied Snape who was sitting straight and stiff with a scowl on his face.

"Now little brother, I know that look," Circe reprimanded him in a motherly fashion, "you know Albus is telling the truth. I can also see you are becoming quite fond of her. Just be careful, she is still underage, and you are quite a bit older than she is."

"Circe, I am well aware of Harry Potter's youth. I am old enough to be her father. I have no desire to start another relationship. Voldemort took that part of me away a long time ago. I am merely concerned for her well-being. Her youth is both a hindrance to Voldemort and a help."

"What makes you say that, Severus?" Dumbledore queried.

"Her youth makes her brave enough to challenge him, but it also makes her reckless. She doesn't fully recognize his power as of yet, and while she fears him, she will not back down."

"It is her loyalty and affection for the people she cares about, Severus, which will help her to win. Voldemort can't understand that. He will leave his Deatheaters to fight and disappear. She will stand with her supporters until the end. She puts others before herself. Something Voldemort has never done."

"Albus do you really believe in the Mathias Prophecy? I know that Chandra Mathias made some startling predictions about you too," Circe remarked with awe. Even when she had been in Hogwarts herself, and he had just been a teacher, she had admired him, and could feel his power. She was getting a similar feeling about Harry.

"Chandra Mathias was never wrong. So far, everything she stated about Harry has happened. Nevertheless, Severus is right; her youth does make her vulnerable. She needs to be trained to protect herself and I fear we are running out of time," Dumbledore stated worriedly as he set his teacup down at the sound of the garden door opening.

Snuffles bounded in and ran directly over to him, and he pet her affectionately. She then sniffed Circe, as Phaedra laughed with pleasure. Snuffles then went over to Snape who made her sit, before giving her a dog treat from his pocket. Phaedra then climbed onto her uncle's lap and contented herself with her milk and cookies. Harry too, helped herself, and sat back to relax as Remus poured himself some tea.

"Uncle Severus could you get a doggie and we could keep it here?"

"No, Phaedra. I am away from home at school most of the year, and you are in Cornwall."

"I'll tell you what, Phaedra, how about if you share Snuffles with me. She comes to Hogwarts with me, so your uncle and I can send you pictures and reports about how she is. Then, when we're not at Hogwarts you can come to visit her."

"Could I mummy?" Phaedra begged.

"I think it could be arranged," her mother smiled taking the little girl into her arms. "Now I think it's time you went to bed. It's past eight o'clock and we have a busy day tomorrow."

"Where are we going?"

"Little One, we are going to the zoo. If you are a very good girl, maybe Miss Harry will talk to the snakes for you if there aren't too many Muggles around," Dumbledore said looking at Harry with a twinkle in his blue eyes.

"Will you, Miss Harry? Please?"

"If there aren't a lot of people there I will talk to the snakes provided you go up to bed and go right to sleep."

"I will, I promise," Phaedra yawned, taking her mother's hand and following her out of the room to get ready for bed.

"Headmaster, Harry needs to speak with us. She said her scar was hurting last night," Remus informed them quietly.

"Child, are you all right?"

"Yes, I'm fine, but I had a dream last night. I wrote it down for you so I wouldn't forget." Harry took a piece of paper out of her pocket and handed it to Dumbledore.

"Professor Snape, that reporter, Phineas Phibes was in it. He was talking to Voldemort about me and the Weasley's."

"Harry, this is very important," Snape looked grave, "do you feel like it was a warning, or just a regular dream?"

"I've had dreams like this before, and they seem to be accurate. It's like the time Voldemort knew when I scanned you the night you found out I was a girl. You remember, it was when Professor Dumbledore realized I was empathic?"

Snape nodded and exchanged glances with Dumbledore, "I told you that I suspected Phibes was a Deatheater, this may just confirm it."

"Possibly," Dumbledore replied as he unfolded the paper and read Harry's dream. "Harry, you said these dreams are similar to the time Voldemort knew you were empathically linked with Professor Snape. Do you feel that you are linking with him empathically while you are asleep?"

"I don't know. It's more as if I'm in the room watching. Like I can see through his eyes."

"Princess, do you get the feeling he is aware of you?"

"No, not at all. If he were, he would let me know it, of that I am certain."

"What makes you so sure?"

"Remus, he wouldn't discuss his plans in front of me. He is usually planning my demise or at least an attempt on someone close to me. I think if it were a trap or a ploy I would be able to feel it. I usually block his emotions because they are so intense with hate and anger, but I am still aware of them. I can feel the darkness in his soul, much like I can feel the wolf in you," Harry explained referring to the fact that Professor Lupin was a werewolf.

"Miss Potter, Harry, are you sure you have no telepathic ability?"

"Professor Snape, I'm sure I don't. I think this has more to do with my scar. Voldemort and I are linked somehow. He said it himself the night Malfoy attacked you. He knew I was there in the room, despite my cloak. He claimed he could sense my presence. He also felt me when I scanned you that time."

"Hmm... Dumbledore sat back thinking, his eyes closed. They all sat quietly while he contemplated the situation, and Harry wondered if he weren't asleep. "Harry has this ever happened while you were awake?"

"No Sir, only at night while I sleep. Unless you count the time in divination, but I really think I fell asleep. I don't believe I went into an actual trance."

"I believe that this happens because you are relaxed and your mind is clear. Have you ever felt like Lord Voldemort was in touch with you?"

"No, Headmaster, no wait! It happened once, my first year at Hogwarts. It only just occurred to me, but that night, after I had been sorted into Gryffindor, after telling the sorting hat not to put me into Slytherin. I had a weird dream that Professor Quirrell's turban was talking to me. It said that I had to transfer into Slytherin immediately, that it was my destiny. I just suddenly realized, but it had to have been Voldemort talking to me from inside the turban," Harry remarked worriedly, "do you think that when I have these dreams and he is talking with his Deatheaters he is aware of me?"

"No, Child, I don't. I think you are able to find him because of that scar. He is correct when he says you are linked, I have told you that myself. The only thing that will break the link is when one of you dies. It is one of the reasons you are such a threat to him. That scar is like a divining rod, instead of water it points to Voldemort. I think that first time at Hogwarts he was able to contact you simply because you were in such close proximity. He has a powerful mind, you know."

"That is an interesting theory, Albus, but why can't she just go and look for him?" Remus contemplated the notion but was ready to dismiss it.

"It will only work when she is asleep because her brain wave pattern changes and must be similar enough to Voldemort's that she actually is seeing through his eyes."

"Then maybe we can find out what he is up to. How about a sleeping potion to help her relax and we could monitor her dreams."

"No, Remus, I have something else in mind. Harry, how would you feel about hypnosis?" Dumbledore asked looking at her over his half moon spectacles.

"Hypnosis? I've never really thought about it. Does it really work?"

"If it is done properly, yes. Would you be willing to let Severus hypnotize you?"

"I don't know, can I think about it? It rather reminds me of a form of the Imperious curse. I've heard stories about people being hypnotized to act like chickens or do things they didn't want to do."

"Child that is a myth, you can't be made to do anything against your will while hypnotized, like you can under the Imperious Curse."

"Just the same, I would prefer to think about it."

Dumbledore noted that Harry was uncomfortable with the idea.

"Of, course Child, no one wants to push you to do something that will distress you. Just remember if you agree to it, you will not be asleep, merely in a state of intense relaxation. Severus will bring you out of the trance immediately if there is any sign of trouble."

"I'll remember. Now if nobody minds. I'm tired. It has been a long day and because of the dream, I didn't sleep well last night. I'd like to get some rest."

"Of course, Child," Dumbledore kissed her on the forehead.

"I'll show you to your room, Miss Potter," Snape rose from the chair by the fire.

"I won't be going with you tomorrow, Princess. Do you want me to give Padfoot any messages?"

Harry grinned at Remus, "Tell him all about my week with the Dursley's. Remind him he will owe me big-time by the time of my birthday for this. Let him know about the dream too. It concerns him and the Weasleys. I know Dumbledore will tell you all about it anyway once I'm safely tucked away," she smiled wickedly at the Headmaster, who met her gaze with one of his own.

"Good night, Harry," Remus Lupin said amused, "have fun tomorrow."

"Good night, Remus," Harry responded following Professor Snape from the room.

He led her up a curved wooden staircase with beautifully carved spindles and newel posts and down a long hall to a room overlooking the garden. Snuffles had accompanied them, and Harry noted there was a dog bed set up in the corner of the room for her. A canopy bed stood in the middle of the room, and her clothes had been put away in the dresser by the house elves. A small bath stood off to one side, so she didn't have to share. She smiled with pleasure, and Snape was pleased that she liked the room.

"I see the room is to your liking, Miss Potter."

"It's very pretty, and please call me Harry."

"You might try calling me Severus. I believe I gave you permission to do so several months ago so long as we were not in school."

"You did, Severus. I'm just used to calling you Professor Snape. I have visions of myself forgetting and calling you by your given name in class. God I would be doing detention for my whole seventh year," Harry groaned with a look of mock agony.

"I think you are more than capable of remembering not to call me Severus in class," Snape smiled amused.

"You absolutely glow when you smile. I told you to do it more often. I would love for Ron to see you now," she smirked, "he would go into a state of shock."

"Then he will just have to content himself with believing me to be a tyrant. He gets quite flustered when I catch him off guard."

"And you just love doing it to him too."

"He needs to be more alert to his surroundings, especially since you and he are so close."

"I worry about him, more so now after what happened with Hermione and Voldemort," she replied thinking about how Hermione had betrayed her while under an Imperious curse from Lord Voldemort. This had resulted in Hermione's suspension from Hogwarts for two months, due to her jeopardizing the safety of the students.

"He and his family are being given as much protection as possible."

"I know, Sirius is one of the people helping to keep them safe," Harry could not keep a trace of bitterness from creeping into her voice.

"He has a debt to repay, and he is doing it for you. The Weasley's are the family you were denied, and he knows that."

"I just hope nothing happens to him."

"Black is a smart wizard even if he is impulsive. He survived Azkaban for twelve years. His ability as an animagus will also be an asset should there be any trouble."

"I know all that...it's just...never mind," Harry said sitting down on the bed and studying her hands.

Professor Snape gently tilted her chin up and looked her in the eye, "you're still angry with him."

"I suppose I am. I just feel that he could have stayed to protect me instead. He owes a debt to the Weasley's for helping him, but maybe he owes a bigger one to me. I don't know, maybe I'm just being selfish. Just when I think something good is within my reach..." Harry looked away again, unable to hide her pain. "You know, Ron complains that his family is poor, but he doesn't know how rich he really is. I think I would trade all the money in my vault at Gringott's to have a loving family like that."

"Miss Potter...Harry...one day when this is all behind you, I'm sure you will have that which has so far eluded you. Perhaps it is better right now that you don't have a close family. Voldemort would only try to get to you through them. Believe me...I know..." Snape's voice trailed off, and a far away look came into his eyes. Harry could sense his pain.

"Professor...er...Severus...I'm sorry. I didn't mean to dredge up painful memories. I'm just tired and it's making me morose. I know Sirius really cares about me."

Snape recovered himself quickly, "Good night then, Harry. My room is across the hall and Lupin and Dumbledore are sharing a room two doors down on the right. Should your scar hurt during the night do not hesitate to wake us."

"I suppose if I don't you'll never let me hear the end of it?"

"You're right, I won't. Black may be on a mission for the Order, but so am I."

"Then I shall make sure I bang on your door first. It wouldn't be right to wake Dumbledore too soon. At his age he deserves a good nights rest."

"I shall be looking forward to it. I don't sleep most of the time anyway."

"So I've noticed," she grinned remembering all the nights she had encountered him up at school.

"Good night, Harry. I shall see you at breakfast if not sooner."

"Good night, Severus."

Snape just arched his brow, and left the room without a sound. Harry was tired, but decided to soak in the tub before going to bed. She found some scented bath oils and poured them into the tub, settling herself into the steamy water. Her body immediately began to relax, and she was amazed to realize how tense she had actually been. Twenty minutes later, she climbed out of the bath and put on her nightgown. The heady scent of the garden wafted in through the open window. The bed was extremely comfortable, and she fell asleep to the chirping of the crickets down below in the garden, with no dreams of Voldemort to disturb her.

21