Leaving for the Summer
Harry Potter stood on top of the Astronomy Tower looking out over the grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The late afternoon sun slanted through the trees, glittering on the lake below, where the giant squid was sunning lazily. Smiling to herself, she watched her Protectors from above with interest.
Severus was sitting by the lake on one of the benches keeping a wary eye on his niece Phaedra. He had conjured a swing for her and suspended it from one of the heavy branches of an old oak. Phaedra was laughing with delight as she propelled herself higher and higher unmindful of her uncle's words of caution.
Sirius and Remus were talking with Professor Dumbledore. Remus was nodding in agreement. Whatever the old man was telling them Sirius' handsome features had broken out into a mischievous grin. A moment later, he tilted his head back. His barking laugh drifted up to her on the faint breeze. Harry suspected that the old man had reminded them of one of the infamous pranks from their school years when the two of them, her father, and Peter Pettigrew had been known as the Marauders.
The castle grounds were otherwise quiet now, the students having left the week before for the summer. Most of the staff had likewise departed earlier in the day for a much-needed holiday. Harry would also be leaving shortly along with them.
Tiberius Snape had gone ahead of them to oversee the final preparations of the house elves for the reopening of Snape Manor where they would all be making their home. Severus had assured her that it did not have any of the gloomy atmosphere of Grimmauld Place. He had told her that the manor was his ancestral home. The building and grounds stood on a hill overlooking the village of Snape in Suffolk. Their marriage would take place in Snape Church down in the village, as was his family custom. It was to be a private ceremony with Dumbledore officiating. A reception for the invited guests would be held at the manor. There was to be a special celebration for the villagers. The wedding was scheduled for mid July. Neither Harry nor Severus had seen the need for a lengthy engagement since under wizarding law they were merely formalizing the Right of Union. The Right of Protection had already bound them by blood in a form of unconsummated marriage.
Harry had chosen not to take a honeymoon. She was too well known following the final defeat of Voldemort. Even though the initial furor had died down the press continued to hound her and all she wanted was to be left alone. She simply wanted some privacy and to start on her life. Harry also had a feeling that her protectors had something planned for her birthday. She smiled happily wondering what they were trying to keep from her. Right now though all was right with the world.
It had been four months since Harry had vanquished Voldemort's soul back to the afterlife following his physical resurrection through Necromancy. She had then destroyed his physical form in an effort to assure no further attempts at bringing him back to life. The same had been done to Lucius Malfoy one of his lieutenants. Harry fervently hoped that they were rotting in Hell.
Unfortunately, victory had come at a price. Voldemort had resurrected Harry's parents in an effort to control and destroy her. It hadn't worked but in order to stop the Dark Lord she also had to send her parents souls back to the afterlife from whence they had been stolen. Harry was heartbroken to have had them so near only to have to send them back. James and Lily had been proud of her though for doing what was right rather than what was easy. Each had assured her that they had been in a wonderful place and would always be with her even though she could not see them.
Phaedra had also suffered the loss of her parents. The little girl had witnessed their deaths during their escape attempt after the Dark Lord had captured them in Hogsmeade. Harry was sure Severus and Tiberius felt the loss as much as Phaedra but both men were too proud to openly show their feelings. Harry's empathic senses had picked up on their guilt over their inability to save them. Justinian had died early in the battle. Ironically, Circe Snape had died in the same manner as Lily Potter had. She took a killing curse meant for Phaedra just before help had arrived.
There had been other losses too. Mr. and Mrs. Granger, Sirius' cousin Nymphadora Tonks, Charlie Weasley and a number of Aurors had all been killed. Harry began to feel responsible for not being able to do more to save them. Grimacing she remembered how Arsinoe Darkmoon had betrayed them. The beautiful witch had succumbed to the Dark Lord through her jealousy of Harry. Arsinoe had been furious that Harry had been chosen to assume the power of the winged serpent god so prized by the ancient wizards of her tribe.
"Stop it," Harry whispered aloud to herself. "It's over now. Put it in the past where it belongs. It's time you got a life!"
Harry absently twisted the engagement ring on her finger. It had been the happiest day of her life when Severus had proposed during the Leaving Feast. He had shown up late and presented her with the ring in front of the whole school. It was a diamond surrounded with alternating emeralds and rubies. Her soul had burst with joy. The once wicked Potions Master was her Soulmate and she loved him so much it hurt.
Remus and Sirius had also been happy for her. She loved them too but also knew they were Soulmates to one another and lovers. Now neither would have to sacrifice their love. They would be bound to her by the blood ritual of the Protectorship and could still be with each other without feeling guilt or betrayal. Harry idly wondered if same sex marriage was allowed in wizarding society. She determined to find out. If so, then circumstances had kept Sirius and Remus apart for far too long. If not, then Harry knew how discreet they both were about their relationship. She would make sure they had their privacy to maintain their intimate relations.
It pleased her that all of them would now be together as a family. Harry would finally have what she had craved for so long and Phaedra would be able to grow up surrounded by a loving aunt and uncles. She would never know the pain of feeling unwanted as Harry had at the Dursleys. Harry was pulled from her reverie by the sound of Phaedra's voice calling to her.
"Miss Harry come on! Uncle Sev says it's time to go." Phaedra was waving up at her excitedly while running over towards where Sirius and Remus were speaking with Dumbledore. Severus followed close behind.
"I'll be right down," Harry called.
They all looked up towards the tower and Harry waved back with a grin. Climbing onto the narrow battlement, she spread her arms falling forward in a graceful dive, transforming into her phoenix. Gliding down with a fanciful loop she landed on Severus' outstretched arm.
"Harry must you always seek attention?" Severus arched his brow pretending to scowl.
"Show off!" Sirius teased.
"Well done Harry," Dumbledore praised blue eyes twinkling.
"Princess you're liable to make Fawkes jealous with all this praise," Remus laughed.
"I like Miss Harry's pretty phoenix," Phaedra commented delightedly while she reached over to pet her soft feathers.
Harry trilled softly before fluttering down to the ground and returning to her human form.
"You know Harry there is something to be said about being able to fly without the use of a broom." Remus winked with a half smile.
"It sure beats having to run down all those stairs from the tower," she laughed.
"I'll drink to that," Sirius agreed grinning.
"Miss Harry will I be able to turn into an animal when I get big?"
"It is unlikely Phaedra. It is not a talent that is often found in our family," Severus answered before Harry had a chance to reply.
"Humph...Just because you can't do it doesn't mean I won't be able to," Phaedra pouted stubbornly sticking out her chin.
Sirius snickered at Phaedra's comment while Severus looked sternly at his niece, lips set in a firm line. He did not wish to lose his temper over her brief impudence. Remus interceded in his practical manner.
"Your uncle is right when he says it's not likely," he smiled patiently, "but that doesn't mean it's impossible."
"You see I can be an animal too!" Phaedra beamed with excitement.
"You'll have to study really hard in Transfiguration when you come to Hogwarts Phaedra." Dumbledore looked at her over his half moon spectacles smiling with amusement.
"What animal do you think you would be Phaedra?" Harry asked curiously.
"Why an owl?" Severus questioned with interest.
"So I could write a letter to mummy and daddy and know where to bring it to them," she stated tossing her head.
The adults shifted uncomfortably. Phaedra missed her parents especially her mother. She still had occasional nightmares and was afraid of losing anyone else. Severus pulled her into a gentle hug his dark eyes worried.
"Phaedra all you need to do is think about them and they'll know. I told you that," he explained softly.
"I know Uncle Severus but I wish I could see my mummy again."
"Me too," he comforted with understanding.
"Phaedra how about if you and I take a trip to Diagon Alley this week?" Harry asked to distract her from the subject of her parents. "We still need to get our wedding clothes."
"Could we have a day of beauty like I used to with mummy?"
"Absolutely. We can have lunch at the Chinese restaurant if you like too and get some ice cream later at Fortescues."
"Can we go to Mr. Fred and George's joke shop too?"
"What ever you want. It will be our day out."
"Unless you want them to come too?" Harry grinned nodding over at the three men.
"No but maybe Miss Hermione and Mrs. Weasley and Ginny could come too."
"Then we'll call them on the floo tonight before it gets too late and ask. I'm sure they would all enjoy it. It will be our treat," Harry said, knowing that Mrs. Weasley wouldn't want to spend the extra money frivolously.
"Will it be all right Uncle Sev?" Phaedra looked up at him hopefully.
"I think it will be all right so long as you are all careful," he answered, giving Harry a silent warning of caution not wanting to disappoint Phaedra.
"Goody! We're going to have fun. I like buying new stuff."
"Then I suggest we get on our way. The sooner we get home the sooner you can complete all your plans," Severus remarked stoically.
"How are we traveling to the manor?" Harry questioned. Phaedra was too young to apparate and no one had mentioned getting a portkey.
"We will be taking the train to Ipswich and then switching to a local in Saxmundham. That will bring us within five miles of the village. We can take a taxi from there."
"I guess there is no floo connection?" Sirius asked.
"It will not be on line until this evening. My uncle chose not to live there alone since he has to travel so extensively. While the house elves have kept the castle in readiness, the floo was shut down except for messages. It is one of the things that Tiberius was attending to before our arrival."
"I remember the castle from when I was there with my father as a boy. I think we were about seven at the time," Sirius commented grinning at Severus. "Phaedra and Harry will enjoy exploring it. I know I did."
"Wait a minute! I thought you said it was a manor house." Harry looked sharply at Severus.
"Snape Manor is actually a castle. The original building was put up in about 1250 as a country manor. It has been called Snape Manor ever since although the present castle is no where near as grand as Hogwarts." Severus shrugged matter of factly. "The town has been inhabited since the Romans came."
"We're really going to live in a castle?" Phaedra questioned brown eyes wide with excitement.
"A small one," Dumbledore responded amused. "And if you don't get moving you'll miss the express to Ipswich."
"Albus is right," Remus agreed glancing at his watch. "Sirius can tell us all about what kind of mischief he caused there as a boy while we are on the train. I'm sure it will be a fascinating story."
Severus scowled at Sirius. Harry had the distinct impression that Sirius had gotten them in trouble during that visit. She was positive when Sirius winked at Severus unable to contain the wicked expression on his face. Remus looked on in consternation but wisely kept his mouth shut.
They all bade a hurried farewell to Dumbledore and headed up the path towards Hogsmeade to catch the train for Suffolk. Harry was almost as excited as Phaedra was. She was curious to see the castle but a bit disconcerted as well. Perhaps if she felt it was too austere they could spend more time in London at Severus' town home.
Remus also had a small house in Wales and she knew that Sirius owned other property besides Grimmauld Place. Unfortunately, his Uncle Alphard had willed his London home to a distant niece. Harry also considered rebuilding the house in Godric's Hollow. She wondered if she owned any other property.
Her thoughts were interrupted as they reached the station and barely got on the train in time. Following Sev and the others into an empty compartment she made a mental note to question Sirius about her holdings later on since he managed her estate along with Dumbledore.
"So are we going to get to hear about whatever trouble you caused at Snape Manor?" Harry looked mischievously at Sirius once they were settled in their seats. She could see Severus stiffen in his seat beside her out of the corner of her eye.
"I'm not too sure Severus wants me to tell my little tale to you love," Sirius answered innocently.
"Obviously you got him into some kind of trouble," Remus commented dryly.
"I was just having a little fun."
"Uncle Sev did Mr. Sirius do something bad to you when you were little?"
"In a manner of speaking," Severus responded glaring at Sirius.
"Sev was it all that bad that you can't laugh about it now that you're grown?" Harry looked at him nervously.
"If you really must know I was showing your godfather the dungeons. There were some old shackles there and he thought it would be fun to experiment with them. I ended up chained to the wall and he took off and closed the door."
"How long were you stuck there?"
"Most of the day. Apparently your godfather told everyone that I had gone for a walk on the grounds. No one found me for quite some time."
"I'm sure they were all relieved when they did."
"Actually my father was furious. He said that I should never have allowed myself to be manipulated into such a situation. I was severely punished for failing into such a simple trap. My father berated me all the way home."
"I'm sorry Severus I never knew," Sirius stated honestly. "If it's any consolation I was given a hell of a beating by my mother and punished for a week."
"Didn't you live at the castle?"
"No Harry. My uncle was the heir. We were there visiting. My father wanted to get to know the Black family more intimately and Sirius' father had some business with Uncle Tiberius. It was felt that your godfather and I should get to know one another better since it was assumed we would be traveling in the same social circles when we got to Hogwarts."
"Well that obviously was not the case," Remus remarked, "but it was a long time ago and should be nothing more than water under the bridge now."
"What do water and bridges have to do with Uncle Sev being locked in a dungeon?"
"It's just an expression Phaedra. It means it was a long time ago and should be forgotten," Harry explained.
"Mr. Sirius I love you but you were a really bad boy sometimes."
"I was always in trouble Phaedra," Sirius laughed. "I liked to play pranks on people but sometimes I never thought about the consequences." Sirius glanced between Remus and Severus and Harry knew he was thinking about the incident with the Shrieking Shack.
The rest of the train ride to Ipswich was spent in pleasant conversation and Harry played a game of exploding snap with Phaedra. She was anxious to get to the castle, have a hot bath, and relax after dinner. She also needed to contact her friends about the day out with Phaedra. They made their connection to the local train at Saxmundham in plenty of time and the twenty-minute trip was uneventful. As promised a taxi was waiting for them at the station. Harry was glad their luggage had been sent on ahead. Climbing into the taxi she realized it was a wizarding car. Severus merely arched his brow in amusement.
"Welcome home m'Lord. It be good to see the castle occupied again. My name is Clarence Spellcaster." The jovial cabbie bowed to Severus.
"Thank you Clarence." Snape nodded curtly. "We are in a bit of a hurry. It has been a long day and the ladies are tired."
"Right. I'll have ya up to the castle in a jiffy." He climbed into the cab and whisked them on their way.
Harry studied the cab driver with interest. He was short and bulky with a ruddy complexion and a rather flat nose. A tuft of brown hair stuck out from beneath his cap. He was obviously a wizard and appeared to be middle aged but Harry couldn't say for certain. He glanced at Harry in his rear view mirror and she was grateful that her fringe covered the scar on her forehead. Even though it was now faded and smaller it would never be completely gone and was a dead give away as to her identity.
"Is it a long drive up to the castle?" Harry asked pleasantly when he caught her looking at him.
"No Miss. We'll be there in about fifteen minutes once we get over the bridge and out of this traffic. Ye'll be able to see it from there. No need to hide it from the Muggles since they have known of it's existence for centuries. Don't know his Lordship is a wizard though," he laughed.
"I take it the village is both wizard and muggle?" Remus asked.
"Aye. There are also some squibs there too. We all get along although the Muggles don't realize they are livin' side by side with magic folk. We were luckier than most durin' the war. The Dark Lord only sent in his Dementors and then only once."
"Did anyone lose their soul?" Sirius questioned.
"Aye, three Muggles and a squib. We were lucky the Aurors arrived when they did though or it could have been much worse. Happened just before the New Year celebrations were about to start."
"I don't like Dementors," Phaedra stated moving closer to Harry. "They are cold and scary."
"Aye that they are."
"Well that's all over with now and the whole village is lookin' forward to the celebration next month. Should be almost as good as the one followin' the end of the war. Everyone's talkin' 'bout the weddin' especially since the young viscount weren't wed in the village last time." He glanced in the mirror at Snape who merely ignored the comment. "All we know is that the bride is supposed to be someone important."
"I never knew your uncle was an Earl," Harry commented looking daggers at Severus for not telling her he was a viscount.
"Most of the Pureblood families are gentry Harry," Sirius remarked calmly. "We just don't hold seats in the Muggle Parliament. You know our government is kept separate."
The cab driver swung his head over his shoulder at the comment and almost had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting another car. His eyes were open wide as he looked at the small group of travelers accompanying the heir to the manor.
"Holy shit! You be Harry Potter!"
"Clarence that will be quite enough of that language in front of my niece!" Severus snapped.
"Beggin' yer pardon M'Lord. I was just so takin' aback by seein' Harry Potter in me cab."
"It's all right Clarence I'm used to the reactions by now and call me Harry please."
"Aye it will be a pleasure. I know yer part of a Protectorship. Are these two yer Protectors?" he questioned looking for new information to gossip with amongst his mates.
"Actually all three of them are my protectors."
"But...does that mean...Er...Are ye going ter take the formal rites with the viscount?"
Harry glanced at Severus who was glaring at the cabbie but holding his temper while Remus pretended to look out the window and Sirius lowered his head to hide the smirk on his lips.
"Is he asking if you and Uncle Severus are getting married?" Phaedra demanded.
"In a manner of speaking," Harry replied feeling the color rise to her cheeks.
"Oh. Well then they are. I am going to be in the wedding."
"Is that so Miss?" Clarence smiled.
Harry could sense the man's excitement. She was sure that he would head for the local pub as soon as he dropped them off.
"Clarence could you do me a favor and not say anything to your mates about this. I really would like some privacy and it gets hard some times with people always wanting to get close. I'm really just an ordinary person."
"If ye really want me ter I won't say nothin' to me mates," he said trying to conceal the disappointment in his voice.
"There will be an extra large tip in it for you tonight if you do that for my goddaughter."
"Christ you have to be Sirius Black and that means..."
"I'm Remus Lupin." Remus finished for him.
"Welcome to our village. We be glad to have ye here. All o' ya." Clarence glanced in his mirror at Lupin. "And if Mr. Lupin ever needs anythin' just let me know. My sister has the same problem and he helped her through it a few years back. I dunno if ye'll remember her though."
"What is her name?" Remus asked with understanding.
"Sandra Claypit. She lives on a small farm near Wales. Doesn't like ter be too close to people ya know."
"Ah...I do remember her. Her husband abandoned her after she was bitten and took their children with him. It must be at least ten years ago. We still correspond from time to time."
"Aye. She said you kept her from takin' her life and helped her to see that she could make a life fer herself. Most of our kin don't talk with her no more but I refuse to be like that. She's still me sister 'cept when the moon is full and then she takes some potion to keep her head when she ken get it."
"Wolfbane Potion," Remus stated.
"I shall see that she gets a supply for your silence regarding my fiancé," Severus commented. "It can be stored for up to six months and I need to make it for Lupin anyway."
"Thank you M'Lord. If ya ever need anythin' just ask. I am much beholdin' ter ya."
"I shall make note of it Clarence."
"Ah...we're almost there. Ye'll be able ter see the castle when we get around the next bend Miss Potter...Er...Harry."
Harry looked up and gave him a wink, green eyes sparkling with interest, as he rounded the bend. The castle was standing up on a hill overlooking lush green fields that led down to the river where there was an old mill. The village sprawled out around the river. It appeared that at one time the mill had been one of the main industries. Harry's heart was pounding with excitement. It was a lovely setting and while not as imposing as Hogwarts it was quite beautiful.
"Well what do you think?" Sirius questioned. "Would you say that Severus' ancestral home is somewhere where we could all be happy?"
"I think I better keep a good eye on Phaedra. If I know Sev there is at least one secret passage in that building." Harry looked at Severus who was studying her with his familiar sneer. "It is lovely though."
Severus inclined his head in agreement as the cabbie turned up the long drive. Harry was tired and hungry but couldn't help feeling a bit overwhelmed. In all her life she had never anticipated living in such an imposing home. The cab pulled up to the front of the manor and Tiberius came out to greet them. Phaedra bounced out of the car first and ran over to her uncle. He scooped her up affectionately.
"Welcome to Snape Manor Harry. I know Sirius was here many years ago but I don't believe Remus has had the pleasure."
"No. Although I am somewhat familiar with the history of the village and the house," Remus offered shaking his hand in greeting.
"I want to see the dungeons," Phaedra laughed.
"Perhaps we could get Sirius to show them to you," Severus teased his mood lightening. "Just don't let him talk you into trying any shackles."
"I kind of thought he might like to try them on," Phaedra giggled.
"Heaven help us all. She's as bad as Sirius," Remus chuckled as they entered the large foyer.
"The elves will show you to your rooms to freshen up before dinner," Tiberius informed them. "Severus I have given you the master suite since you are to be married. I felt is was more appropriate. I have no need of such a large suite of rooms. Harry will be quartered next door with Phaedra until after the wedding when she moves in with you. Remus and Sirius are down the hall on the left."
"Thank you Uncle but are you certain you do not..."
"No Severus. I have no need of the rooms. I have taken the smaller suite at the top of the hall for myself. I am away on business much of the time anyway so it will suit my needs perfectly," he explained as a series of loud pops greeted their ears.
"Harry Potter!" Dobby cried flinging himself around her legs. "Welcome to our new home. It is a most fitting house for such a great witch."
"Thank you Dobby," Harry grinned rolling her eyes, "but could you let go of my legs now?"
"Oh, Dobby is sorry. He did not wish to upset Harry Potter."
"You didn't upset me Dobby and I am very glad to see you. Is Winky here too?"
"I am over here Miss Harry." Winky came forward timidly. "I am going to be your personal elf and will help Hazel look after Miss Phaedra."
"In that case I would really like to take a shower before dinner. It's been a long day."
"Of course Miss Harry. Winky will be honored to take you to your room with Miss Phaedra."
The elves led them up a grand curving staircase. The paneling on the walls was carved with images of magical animals and the portraits hanging in the gallery were whispering amongst themselves. Harry was grateful when she reached the room she would share with Phaedra until after the formal rites. There was a huge canopy bed in the room. It looked like it could sleep four rather than one adult and a child. The windows overlooked the gardens below. Phaedra was delighted and proceeded to jump on the bed like a trampoline.
"Miss Phaedra," Hazel admonished popping into the room. "You know better than to do that."
"If she jumped any higher she would hit the canopy," Harry giggled at the old house elf. "I admit that if it were just a four poster I wouldn't mind jumping on it too."
"Miss Harry are you teasing this old elf?"
"Who me?" Harry pretended to look innocent but Hazel was having none of it.
"As Mistress of the manor you should be properly dignified," the elf stated firmly.
"Hazel there is a time to be dignified and a time to have some fun and I'll bet you've jumped on more than a few of the beds in this castle."
Hazel just harrumphed and hid behind her ears, which were a bright pink. Harry knew she had caught her unawares and gave the old elf a wink as she headed into the bathroom to take a fast shower.
Dinner was an elegant affair to celebrate the reopening of the manor. The elves prepared a scrumptious feast of roast lamb, potatoes, broccoli, and summer squash. For dessert there was chocolate cake. Remus and Harry were in their glory. Following dinner the men went into the library where there was a large billiards table. Severus enjoyed beating them at snooker. Harry read a book to Phaedra all about baby unicorns and then played a game of wizard's chess. Phaedra was not yet skilled but she put up a good fight almost winning the last match.
It was after eight when Phaedra reminded her to call the Weasley's and Hermione. Harry was able to use the floo in the same room. Mrs. Weasley was reluctant at first but Harry convinced her that it would be her treat and since they all needed new robes for the wedding she could use the advice of the older woman. Ginny was thrilled and never passed up a chance to get new clothes. As luck would have it Ron and Hermione had been at the Burrow for dinner and Hermione was delighted to have an outing. Since it was Wednesday they all decided to meet on Saturday at the Burrow and then go to Diagon Alley.
Once Harry was finished with the plans for the shopping trip they all went for a walk in the gardens. Sirius couldn't help but transform and was romping around with Phaedra. By the time they retired to bed Phaedra was exhausted and fell right to sleep. Sirius and Remus gave Harry a brief kiss on the cheek before retiring to their room leaving Harry and Severus alone in the hall. Harry couldn't help but snicker as she noticed Sirius give a quick wave of his wand and mutter a silencing charm before he shut the door.
"Now what do you suppose they are up to?" Harry remarked feeling her cheeks grow hot.
"If I need to tell you that perhaps you should have a prenuptial chat with Molly Weasley," Severus said taking her into his arms.
"I don't think that will be necessary," she replied unable to look him in the eyes.
"And why Miss Potter is that?" he teased tilting her chin up to look at him.
"If I need to tell you that perhaps you should be the one having a prenuptial chat with my godfather," she countered.
"Are you sure you don't want to take a brief honeymoon Harry?"
"I'm happy wherever we are so long as we're together. Maybe we can go away some other time. I don't feel comfortable leaving Phaedra yet. Besides it's a big castle. How many bedrooms are there anyway?"
"More than enough," he sneered arching his brow in amusement. "I love you Harry."
"I know and guess what?"
"I love you too. If someone had told me when I first went to Hogwarts that I would fall in love with that nasty Potions Master I would have thought they were daft."
"Indeed and what changed your mind?"
"I grew up and came out of hiding my gender. I saw what was underneath that cold facade you like to show the world and found a very caring sensitive human being."
"Did you now?"
"Uh huh," she smiled looking into his dark eyes.
He lowered his head and their lips met in a deep kiss tongues gently exploring each other's mouths. Severus pressed his body into hers and she arched her back up to meet him. Harry could feel him holding back and was aware of the warmth spreading down from the pit of her stomach into her thighs. She could feel his excitement as he pulled her closer and was aware of his erection. Somewhere in the back of her mind she wished he would just carry her off to his room as their kisses deepened and became more fervent. They snogged for a few more minutes before he gently pulled back withdrawing his tongue from her mouth to kiss the top of her head. Harry rested her head on his chest as he stoked her back.
"I think it's time you got some sleep," he murmured reluctant to let her go.
"I would much prefer to stay with you," she answered boldly.
"I know. However I believe Sirius would hex me unmercifully if I took you to bed before I put a ring on your finger."
"Since when are you afraid of my godfather?"
"I'm not but I am very much in love with you and don't want you to feel guilty about being with me before we enact the formal rites."
"I wouldn't feel guilty."
"Perhaps not but I would."
"Ah...a gentleman to the end," she teased.
"Go get some sleep. I'll see you at breakfast."
"Okay but I will have you know that I am doing so under protest." She grinned up at him.
"And if I were to tell you that Sirius is standing behind us in his doorway with Lupin watching us what would you say to that?"
"I'd say you are a very good liar."
"Oh I don't know about that," Sirius familiar voice echoed from behind Harry who spun around in shock. He was grinning back at her wickedly and Lupin was smiling behind him. "I may be your protector but I'm still your godfather and I told you I would look out for your virtue."
"I seem to remember that I said I could handle the problem of my virtue," she countered trying to sound angry but too embarrassed to pull it off.
"Besides Harry we all swore a wizard's oath to James that none of us would touch you until after the formal rites," Lupin admitted blushing.
"Arrrggghhh..." Harry growled at the three wizards before disappearing into her room.
"Somehow I get the feeling she isn't too happy with any of us right now," Sirius chuckled.
"She'll get over it." Lupin winked. "Besides much as Severus may have wanted to take her with him he really is too much of a gentleman to do so."
"You are quite right on that score Lupin. I would have had her wait even without the oath." Severus nodded at the two men. "Goodnight."
"Goodnight," they responded in unison. Severus disappeared into his room and they turned back to each other resetting the silencing charm as they closed their door.
Harry couldn't help but grin to herself as she got into bed beside Phaedra. Annoyed as she was that they had been sworn to an oath by her father she was still flattered that James had cared about her welfare. She fell asleep thinking about her wedding night with a shiver of excitement coursing through her body.