-Harry stirred when he heard a small commotion outside the room.
He groaned and kept his eyes closed. He was still tired and knew he needed to catch up on his sleep. It was the first time in weeks he had slept peacefully without any dreams and he wasn't going to let anything interfere. He turned to his side annoyingly and covered his head with the cover, and realized it didn't smell like his bed. He froze in place at the familiar scent.
He pulled the cover away from his face and as he feared, he was in the hospital wing.
"Why am I here? What is going on?" Harry sat up, panicked. He quickly got off the bed and rushed to the door when it slowly opened.
"Hello, Harry... How do you feel?"
Harry stopped dead in his tracks as the headmaster entered, followed by the worried medi-witch.
"Professor! What's going on? What am I doing here!?"
Harry yelled as Dumbledore slowly held up his hand.
"Harry, please calm down... I would like to ask some questions as well..."
The headmaster of Hogwarts tilted his head as Pomfrey came forward.
"Sit, Mr. Potter. No arguing."
The medi-witch guided Harry to the small bed and forced him to sit. She got her clipboard and started to make notes.
"Do you feel sick? Anything out of the ordinary?"
"Uh.. no. A little tired, but I feel okay," he turned to Dumbledore, "what is this about, sir?"
"Just answer my question, Mr. Potter. What did you eat last night?"
"What? What is this-.." Harry stopped when he saw Pomfrey glare, "..uhh..I had some string beans, a bite of pot roast... and some pumpkin juice.."
Pomfrey looked at Harry in disbelief.
"I wasn't really hungry... and I wanted to get some sleep before I had detention with Professor Umbridge and Professor Snape."
Harry turned away as Pomfrey gave him a stern look.
"All right then," Pomfrey checked the list, "did you take any potion recently?"
Harry shook his head a little, giving both staffs a very confused look. They were observing him with a similar expression, trying to figure him out. Then the mouse started to turn the wheel in his head as it dawned on Harry.
He brought his hands before his eyes hoping to feel his glasses, with no luck. Then he saw his soft and slender hands, showing no signs of callus or Umbridge's punishment. Not even a trace of the small cut from Snape's broken jar. Then unconsciously, he brought his hand to his chest.
..Well, that was it. There was no way he could escape from this one...
"Uhh, indeed. Mr. Potter. Mind explaining what exactly happened?"
The medi-witch crossed her arms with the clipboard still in her hand. Harry could literally feel her eyes digging a hole on the side of his head.
Suddenly, there was a small knock on the door and a Hufflepuff girl peeked her head in.
"Uh, Madam Pomfrey? ..-Oh, sorry."
The girl, probably a first year, saw the company and tried to leave.
"It's alright, come in. What can I do for you?"
Pomfrey turned to the door and approached the newcomer. Harry sighed in relief and mentally thanked the girl.
"Sorry, ma'am. Can I have some Pepper-Up Potion? I'm not feeling very well."
Pomfrey felt the student's head and cheek.
"You don't seem to have a feaver... Do you have a cough?"
"Yes, ma'am. A little.."
Harry watched their interaction until Dumbledore stood before him.
"Can you come to my office, Harry? I think it's more private there. And we can have some tea together. What do you say?"
Harry nodded his head instinctively. "Like there is a choice.."
Besides, he wanted to get out of the hospital wing as soon as possible.
Harry felt better after eating some Muggle candies and lemon tea. He could feel Dumbledore watching him throughout the whole ordeal probably thinking how to start the conversation. He helped him by opening his mouth first.
"I'm sorry, professor.."
"For what, Harry?"
"For.. not telling you about.. this," he looked down, "..sooner."
"But you did plan on telling me?"
"Thank you," Dumbledore smiled, "I'm relieved to hear that."
Harry, not knowing how to respond, shyly nodded and sipped the warm tea. A shiver ran through his body as he was only covered in a thin summer pajama which belonged to Dudley when he was twelve. Nonetheless, it was still big on Harry's small frame and he constantly had to pull the pants up from falling.
"Where are my manners? I apologize for my inconsiderateness," Dumbledore's dark blue robe appeared in front of Harry and settled on his lap, "please."
"Thank you, professor."
Harry took the offer and stood up to wrap himself in the warm material. He was delighted to feel the cloth already warm and figured Dumbledore used a warming spell on it. He settled down on the chair comfortably and took the teacup from the table when the two large doors opened.
"Albus, we heard from Poppy that Potter has awa-..."
McGonagall saw Harry sitting across from Dumbledore and sealed her mouth.
Harry sighed when his head of house entered, but had a hard time keeping from groaning out loud when he saw who followed behind her.
"I see Miss Potter has finally awaken."
Snape smiked, more to Dumbledore than Harry. He quietly closed the door and stood there, arms crossed. Harry liked that very much since he didn't have to see his potion professor's face, which was probably full of triumph and delight.
"Potter, what happened?"
McGonagall knelt beside Harry and touched his shoulder. He had never seen her look this concerned.
"Out with it, Potter!" Harry flinched when Snape yelled from behind, "we are not playing your little games anymore!"
"What makes him think I'm playing a game? Does he honestly think I'm doing this on purpose?!" Harry gritted his teeth, hands shaking and making the tea spill a bit. McGonagall thought he was shaking from fear and stroked the small hands as she threw a glare at Snape.
"Severus, please calm yourself," Dumbledore warned, "Harry said he was planning to tell me."
"Exactly when were you planning to enlighten us with this significant knowledge you rarely possess?"
Harry opened his quivering lips.
"I don't see why it is so significant at all. Especially to you, Professor Snape."
"Once again, Potter, that big swelling resting between your shoulders fails to recognize the dangers and risks others has to endure, all to keep your head intact."
McGonagall stood up, threateningly.
"I didn't ask anyone to protect me, now did I?"
"Insolent as always, Potter. Just like your father.. if not more-..."
Dumbledore ordered. Everyone turned to the headmaster, shocked that the great wizard has raised his voice.
"Now, I would like to get us back on track if you don't mind," he turned to Harry who was still in shock, "Harry, can you explain what happened?"
Harry nodded and tightened Dumbledore's robe around his body.
"..Well, I don't know how to explain... but it happens when I'm in great pain or.. really really stressed out..," Harry bit back a yawn, "I guess I wasn't getting enough sleep lately, so..."
"I was told you were screaming in your sleep.. Did you have a vision about Voldemort?"
Dumbledore asked, worriedly.
Harry shook his head.
"No, it was a.. nightmare about Cedric.. and other stuff...," Harry looked at Dumbledore, "I was screaming?"
"Your snake friend witnessed it."
Snape said before Dumbledore could respond. The headmaster eyed Snape but the potions professor glanced away.
"He told you?"
Harry turned to Dumbledore.
"..Yes," the old wizard responded as he turned back to Harry, "as you know, I can do some Legilemency."
Harry nodded. He knew Zinni was communicating with Dumbledore through his mind. He didn't know how it exactly worked with animals, but there were no limits as Dumbledore's magic was concerned.
"Did I.. wake the others?"
Harry asked quietly.
"No, Harry. No one knows except the ones in this room and Madam Pomfrey."
Dumbledore assured. Harry sighed in relief.
"But I've sent a letter to your aunt. Your relatives must know, Harry."
Harry pressed the teacup to his lips.
"They know... I mean, my aunt knows. She had to change my diaper someday."
He laughed and took a sip as the three professors gasped.
"How long has this been going on, Potter?"
"Ever since I can remember... My aunt said I changed quite often when I was a baby. She liked it better when I changed because I was more quiet and didn't fuss as much."
"Your aunt.. She didn't take you to a Muggle doctor.. for this, did she?"
McGonagall asked, perturbed.
"No, she didn't take me to a doctor."
"Not even once.." Harry mentally added. But this seemed to calm McGonagall. It would be very serious if a Muggle other than Harry's family knew about this.
"Why hasn't your aunt informed me about this, Harry? Did you ask her not to tell?"
Dumbledore watched Harry closely.
"No." "Like she would listen to me." Harry snorted.
"As I grew, I started to change less. Finally, after fourth grade, it completely stopped."
"That's what Aunt Petunia thinks, anyway.." Harry took another sip.
"So, up until now, you haven't changed at all?"
Dumbledore questioned. Snape opened his mouth but decided to keep quiet.
"Yes.. I mean, no..," Harry hesitated but saw Dumbledore urging him on, "well, it happened just once... when Cedric was killed.."
Dumbledore nodded. The room fell silent after that.
Harry's yawn broke the silence. He felt better now that he told Dumbledore and the heavy weights were lifted from his shoulders. Maybe the great wizard can help him find a cure.
"Would you like to rest before meeting your godfather, Harry?"
Harry's eyes went wide.
"You're gonna tell Sirius!?"
"Of course I'm going to tell him, Harry."
"Why? He doesn't need to know!"
"He can't know!" Harry's hands shook, this time in actual fear.
"Harry. You love your godfather, do you not?"
"Of course, I do! That's why I don't want him to worry about me!"
"Think of it this way, Harry. If Sirius kept a secret about himself just because he didn't want you to worry, how would you feel? Wouldn't you feel betrayed?"
Harry opened his mouth but Dumbledore continued.
"If someone you love kept secrets from you, it hurts no matter what. No matter how many times you say to yourself Sirius has the right to keep things to himself, you would not like it if he does."
Harry felt defeated and dropped back on his chair. Dumbledore was right. Sirius had the right to know. That was the least he could do for his godfather. But he was afraid of how he might react.. Especially because of what he told his godfather long ago.
"Yes. I would like some rest before I see him,... please."
Harry finally spoke.
"Of course. But you may not return to your room, Harry. I must place you somewhere else."
"..Do I have to move, sir?"
Harry slumped his shoulders. He knew this was going to happen when people found out. He enjoyed being with his friends.. except when he changed.. He had to constantly figure a way to avoid them when he was in this state.
"I'm afraid you must."
As soon as Dumbledore finished, Dobby appeared in the middle of the room.
"Hello, Harry Potter, sir."
The house-elf greeted.
"Hi, Dobby. How are you?"
Harry asked, delighted to see his friend.
"Fine, Harry Potter, fine."
"Dobby, would you mind showing Harry to his room?"
Dumbledore's eyes glittered.
"No, Dobby won't mind at all, headmaster, sir."
Harry gulped the remaining tea and stood up. He uncurled himself from the warm robe but Dumbledore held up his hand.
"Take it, Harry. You may return it to me later."
"Thank you, professor."
Harry quickly wrapped himself in the soft material as McGonagall commented.
"It's a good thing you don't have any classes today, Potter."
Harry thought his head of house just gave him a smile... Maybe he was more tired than he thought.
Snape moved away from the door as Dobby opened it for Harry. As he walked by the potions professor, Harry looked up at him.
"Professor, do you know where Zi-.. the snake is?"
Snape narrowed his eyes and looked down at the small figure.
"No, I do not know where your snake friend is."
"I wonder why I asked him instead of Dumbledore..." Harry thought in the back of his head. He supposed he'd eventually see Zinni and show him to his new quarters later.
"I trust you'll sleep well, Harry?"
Dumbledore called from his seat.
"Yes, headmaster. My connection with Voldemort is gone for now."
Harry brushed his bangs away to show his scar-less forehead. The three professors looked surprised to say the least and Harry wondered if he'd be hauled back to explain.
But Dumbledore nodded his head and smiled.
"Very well. Good night, Harry. Professor McGonagall will come for you later."
Harry nodded and descended the spiral stairs.
Harry thought he was being taken to his usual room but was relieved to see Dobby turning away from the Gryffindor Tower. The room seemed to be on the same floor, which was good news for Harry.
"That's it! Keep your hands out."
Harry smiled as he heard the familiar voice of Barnabas the Balmy from the painting on the wall. He watched amusingly at the trolls trying to dance in Barnabas' accord when he bumped into Dobby.
"This is the room, Harry Potter, sir."
Dobby pointed at the wall opposite from the painting.
"Uhh... Dobby? I don't see anything.."
Harry touched the wall. Nope, there wasn't any invisible door.
"It's the Come and Go Room, Harry Potter, sir. Sometimes it is there, and sometimes it is not.. Harry Potter have to walk by the wall three times and think about Harry Potter's room."
"Think about my room?"
"Yes. Think of all the things you need in your room, Harry Potter, sir."
Harry tried to think about his "dream room" as it had its own bathroom, sink tub, and a fireplace... but, he was too tired to bother with those now. He just wanted a nice comfortable bed to sleep on. As he walked by the wall three times, a door suddenly appeared.
"There it is, Harry Potter, sir. Your room."
Dobby opened the door and to Harry's surprise, a wonderful small room was there with a bed exactly how he imagined it.
"It's too small for Harry Potter, sir. Harry Potter need a bigger room."
Dobby was about to close it when Harry held it with his hand.
"No, no! This is fine! More than fine, it's perfect!"
Harry stepped in the room in awe. He had no idea this room existed even though his common room was on the same floor.
"Dobby, how did you know about this place?"
"All the house-elf knows, Harry Potter, sir. Dobby took care of Winky when Dobby brought her here."
"Really? How is she?"
Harry sat on the bed.
"Winky is fine, Harry Potter, sir. Thank you. Will Harry Potter need anything else?"
"Uh.. I don't need it now, but I will need my clothes later..."
"Dobby will bring it here. It will be here when Harry Potter wake up."
"Thank you, Dobby. Good night."
"Good night, Harry Potter."
The house-elf disappeared with a single snap of his fingers.
Harry slowly took Dumbledore's robe off as he looked around for a closet to hang. He blinked as the wall turned into a small closet and a single hanger appeared.
"I love this room."
Harry smiled and carefully hung the dark blue robe.
He jumped on the soft bed and dug his body in the fluffy covers. The pillow was equally soft and he remembered he imagined it to be feather-filled.
"If I knew I get to live here, I would've told Dumbledore sooner." Harry giggled and closed his eyes.
Sleep will come easy now.
Harry felt like a whole new person when he woke up.
He looked around to see what time it was and a clock appeared on the wall showing it was almost four-thirty. He noticed the closet with Dumbledore's robe was filled with his own clothes. He stretched his body and desired a hot relaxing bath, which was unusual since he always preferred a quick shower.
"I wonder when McGonagall is coming..." He thought as he grabbed his khaki pants and dark-gray sweater. They were some of the few clothing that actually fit him. He entered a bathroom which appeared just moments ago and smiled to himself.
"I really love this room."
Separate shower room, a large tub, and a vanity sink. It had all the elements that would please... a girl... and it frightened Harry somewhat..
"I just want a taste of luxury.. that's all.." He told himself as he started the tub. He quickly undressed himself and washed his hair in the shower as the tub continued to fill. He was just in time to stop the water as he finished washing his body.
"Ahhh... Total bliss."
He said to himself as he sunk his body in the tub. This was luxury at its best. Harry never had a relaxing time in the tub and finally, on this day, he realized what he's been missing.
He leaned his head back and closed his eyes for a while. Unconsciously, he brought his hand up to feel the smooth surface of his forehead. It felt odd not having a scar there no matter how many times he changed. He slowly looked down at his body and poked his chest.
"Oh god.. they're actually growing..." Harry groaned and thought about Hermione and Ginny. He never paid attention to that particular part of girl's anatomy(so he tells himself), but figured theirs are filling up too. He observed his own and wondered if they were bigger or smaller than average..
"What the-! Did I just?-.."
Harry yelled and drowned his head from embarrassment. He could not believe what he'd just considered. He seriously hoped it was due to the hot steam in his brain.
"Maybe a relaxing bath was a bad idea..."
He blew bubbles and stood up. He needed some time to get use to luxury without thinking so much.
He heard a knock on the door exactly when he zipped up his pants. Harry quickly ran to the door but stopped and retrieved Dumbledore's robe. He neatly folded the fine fabric and opened the door.
"Hello, Professor McGo-.."
Harry's smile turned into confusion when he saw Snape standing there.
"Your head of house needed to take care of some things. The headmaster requested me to escort you instead."
He then peeked in the room.
"So, how does it feel to have all the luxury in the world, Potter? I bet it makes you feel special."
"What does Dumbledore have against me?" Harry moaned and forced the door shut.
"Shall we go then, professor?"
Snape 'humphed' and turned away.
Walking to Dumbledore's office never felt this far as Harry watched the billowing robe before him. It was laborious to keep up as the potions professor seemed to be floating on thin air. The other students in the hall watched the odd pair as they headed to the Great Hall for dinner. Harry groaned and drooped his head as three familiar figures approached them.
"Good evening, professor."
The blond greeted, but his eyes were on Harry.
Snape nodded in return.
"I was wondering if you could go over the Draft of Peace again, sir. I tried by myself but it seems I'm doing something wrong. I suspect I'm putting too much hellebore essence, but I'm not certain.."
"Of course. I enjoy assisting those who are gifted and commited to study, unlike those who prefers to wander around aimlessly," Harry could feel them both smirking down at him, "come see me at eight."
"Thank you, professor."
Draco nodded and turned to Harry.
"What happened, Potter? Did you fall down a lake or something?"
Harry only towel-dried his unruly hair and the tips were still dripping wet. Harry looked up at the blond and realized for the first time how intimidating he was. He appeared to be a lot bigger and his presence overawed Harry.
"Where's your other set of eyes?"
Draco's comment made Crabbe and Goyle snicker. Harry kept his glare as he fought the urge to step back as Draco drew near.
"Potter? Did you actually fall down the lake? You seemed to have shrunk."
This earned another chortle from the two Slytherins, but Harry saw Draco wasn't laughing. His eyes looked down on Harry as if to search for something he couldn't quite get his hands on. Harry was about to push the blond away when he was roughly plucked by a strong hand.
"Potter didn't drown in any lake, unfortunately, but he is indeed in trouble," Snape smirked at Harry, "it seems as though trouble follows him everywhere.
"That's nothing new."
Goyle snickered. Still, Draco was observing Harry.
"Good evening, gentlemen."
Snape half dragged Harry as he tried to regain his balance.
"Watch yourself, Potter. Especially around Draco." Snape muttered once they were out of earshot.
"...I wonder if he noticed.."
Harry whispered to himself.
"That you're a unappealing girl instead of a unappealing boy? No, I highly doubt he could tell the difference," Snape side-glanced Harry, "but he did notice something, Potter. You can't blame him for being a Slytherin. Extremely clever and perceptive."
"I think he forgot about Crabbe and Goyle..." Harry thought amusingly as he followed. He realized it didn't take much effort to keep up, for Snape dropped his pace. Harry wondered if he was deliberately distancing himself in front of other students, since now they were the only ones in the hall.
"Which brings into question," Snape continued without turning, "how dense are your relatives? They must have raised you in a attic to not notice your transformation."
"Close. Cupboard." Harry mentally corrected. "My aunt knows."
"So why hasn't she told them?"
"..She's... probably worried.."
Snape whispered the password once they've reached the gargoyle.
"Of course, this is Harry Potter we're talking about. How could I forget?" Snape sneered, "I bet she takes delight in overprotecting you."
"I meant she's worried about her husband and son.."
Harry unintentionally whispered, but Snape heard it anyway. He lifted his eyebrow at him but Harry quickly climbed the stairs. "Like you would know anything about my family." He thought with contempt.
"Hello, Harry," Dumbledore greeted as soon as Harry opened the door, "please, have a seat."
Headmaster was seated at his usual desk as Harry's eyes shifted to the bright golden-red creature behind him. He smiled and took one of the empty chairs.
"Hello, professor. Hello, Fawkes."
The phoenix seemed to respond as it flapped its wings. Snape snorted and took the seat closest to Dumbledore and farthest from Harry... Where he could easily observe everything.
Harry regarded Snape and eyed Dumbledore questioningly.
"Isn't Sirius coming here?" Harry asked. But what he really wanted to ask was, "why the hell is Snape staying?"
"Unfortunately," Snape crossed his legs and laced his fingers as if to indicate he wasn't going anywhere, "due to your imprudent judgement, Black is setting his paws on Hogwarts ground once again."
Dumbledore looked sharply at Snape but Harry wisely decided to change the subject.
"Thank you for this, professor," he placed the robe on Dumbledore's desk, "and for letting me use the Come and Go Room."
The bushy brows were raised.
"Is that what the house-elves call it?" Dumbledore smiled, "you do not need to thank me, Harry. And it is the Room of Requirement, I believe."
Someone yelled as harsh clicking noises ascended the stairs and advanced to the door. Harry didn't even get the chance to turn around as the door opened with a loud pang!
"Ahh, speak of the devil."
Snape jeered as the great black dog growled. It looked about and soon as it saw Harry, it transformed into its human form.
Sirius cried and grabbed the small shoulders, kneeling to Harry's eye-level.
"Are you all right? No one hurt you?"
Remus and McGonagall entered the room as Sirius checked his godson. Snape amusingly watched the two and turned to McGonagall.
"That was.. a rather loud display, Minerva. I hope no students were around when you called the mutt's name?"
Minerva blushed as Remus gave the potions professor a tired look. Sirius would usually jump Snape but he was too engrossed with Harry at the moment.
"I apologize, Albus.. Black started running as soon as I announced the password."
McGonagall atoned as she took the seat opposite from Snape.
"You were in the room when you called?"
Dumbledore turned to his headmistress.
"Yes. I was on the first step."
"Then, you shouldn't worry. I've set the charm from there."
Dumbledore smiled and turned his attention back at Harry and Sirius.
Harry stuttered as Sirius gripped the small frame.
"You better be, Harry!.. You better be sorry!"
The others started at the volume of anger in Sirius' voice. Dumbledore eyed Remus but the werewolf seemed equally confused.
"You lied, Harry! You lied to me! Why?"
The last word gave a sense of desperation as Sirius' eyebrows knitted together. It hurt Harry tremendously knowing he was the reason for Sirius' distress. "I.. I didn't want you to-.."
"Don't give me that! Not now, not ever," Sirius glared daggers at his best friend's son, "don't justify yourself at my expense, Harry."
Now, Harry was visisbly trembling, eyes looking down to avoid Sirius' glower. Seeing the child so frightened deteriorated Sirius' rage and the sharpness in his eyes faded.
"Oh, Harry!" Sirius pulled the child in a tight embrace, "do you have any idea how scared I was?"
Sirius' voice croaked and Harry thought his godfather was going to sob in front of his former professors, best friend, and even his worst enemy.
Harry's fragile arms clung to Sirius' neck as he became aware how fast the man's heart was beating. He must have been so shocked to hear the news.. And to come all the way to Hogwarts despite the risks... Harry gripped Sirius' collar as he whispered his name again.
The room was silent until Dumbledore offered everyone some tea.
"Are you hungry, Harry? You haven't eaten anything decent all day."
Harry was still enveloped in a hug when he nodded.
"I am a little hungry, I guess."
An house-elf brought some food as Sirius finally released Harry, but would not let go his hand. He pulled himself a chair enclosing the gap from Harry all the while keeping his firm grip on the small hand. Remus sat on the other side, his armchair touching Harry's as well. Harry complained he couldn't get any food with Sirius' restraint but his godfather wouldn't let him go. He sighed and grabbed a plate with one hand as Remus scolded his friend that Harry couldn't eat without his hand.
"Yes, he can. His right hand is unoccupied."
Sirius pointed out as Remus exhaled loudly. Harry rolled his eyes as he started to eat, his lips still curled.
The three professors were well entertained by the scene. Sirius was acting like an overprotective father, Remus a tired mother, and Harry as a daughter caught in the middle. Snape even detected McGonagall fighting to conceal her smile.
"Now," Dumbledore calculated the right time to interrupt, "could you explain, Sirius?"
Sirius turned to Harry before he even opened his mouth. This was one of the reasons Harry's love for his godfather was unrivaled. Sirius always treated him with respect even though he didn't deserve it sometimes. Harry nodded to grant the permission.
"Harry told me on his third year that he wasn't changing anymore.. Not since his Muggle-school years."
Everyone in the room gasped.
"You knew about Potter's transformation?"
McGonagall charged with disbelief.
Sirius simply nodded.
"And you, Lupin?"
"He didn't know anything about it until you owled," Sirius defended his friend, "...I didn't know it was still happening either.."
Harry's fork stopped as he whispered his apology.
"No, Harry. I don't want your apology. I want you to promise me never to do this again," Sirius leaned, "don't ever keep things from me, especially something this important. You trust me, don't you?"
Harry nodded without hesitation. His godfather didn't tell Remus about this, and they've been friends before he was even born.
"It's not that... I don't trust you, Sirius." "I just don't want you to get hurt.." Harry didn't say it out loud but Sirius read his mind.
"Harry, I'm even more hurt you didn't tell me sooner.. I just wish you could rely on me more. What's the point of being your godfather if you're hurting alone?" Sirius kissed Harry's head, "share me your pain, Harry. I'll hurt with you. I survived Azkaban, I can take it."
Harry smiled and embraced him. Tears were ready to spill out of his eyes as he sniffled in Sirius' chest.
"You have no idea, Sirius," Harry whispered so only Sirius could hear, "you have no idea how much that means to me..." "and how much you mean to me." Harry gulped and dug his face in Sirius' neck. His godfather nodded his head and hugged back. He smelled a little sweaty and somewhat like Grimmauld Place.
"I would stay away from me if I were you," Sirius smirked and gently pushed Harry away, "I didn't take a bath yet."
"I don't mind. You smell like Snuffles."
Harry laughed. Sirius followed and brushed Harry's wet hair away from his face.
"You're going to catch a cold, Harry," Sirius scolded but his fingers slowly traced the smooth forehead, "it's really gone, your scar." He smiled.
Remus leaned forward as Harry turned to him. Remus' eyes grew as he saw no trace of the bolt-like mark. He turned to Sirius.
"..How could this be?"
"Yes, I would like to know as well."
Dumbledore placed his cup down as he looked intently at Sirius.
All eyes were on Sirius except for Harry. He was facing down and Sirius could feel his hand trembling and beginning to sweat. He defiantly turned to Dumbledore.
"I would like a moment alone with Harry."
Everyone narrowed their eyes as Harry looked up at his godfather. Sirius smiled and tightened his hold on the small hand.
"I would like to talk to him alone and see if he agrees to-.."
"Your lack of manner and respect never ceases to amaze me, Black," Snape interfered and eyed Harry, "no wonder the boy acts the way he does. He gets it from his godfather."
"I wasn't asking you, Snape!" Sirius growled but Harry gripped the strong hand to hold him back, "I was asking Dumbledore. And as for respect, I can say the same to you, Snivellus. I respect Harry too much to disclose something against his will, not that you would know."
"You're right," Snape smirked, "I wouldn't know anything about respect, especially to Potter."
Dumbledore stood before Sirius could make any attempt to attack.
"This is not about you two. It's about Harry," he sighed tiredly, "now, you wanted some time alone with Harry, I will allow it. But before I dismiss you, I want to bring forth some upsetting news."
Sirius eased on his chair as Harry straightened his back. He knew it was about him since Dumbledore was sending him a worried look.
"I've received a response from your aunt, Harry," Harry visibly shuddered, "she sounds very upset this has happened again. As you said, she believes the last time it happened was fourth grade. Though she noted it wasn't for certain because she just took your word for it."
"Like she would really care."
Dumbledore continued, undaunted.
"And she does not know how to handle this situation. She is afraid.. she can no longer take care of you, Harry."
McGonagall turned sharply at Dumbledore while Sirius snorted again. Remus and Snape remained motionless, different thoughts running through their minds. As for Harry, he just blinked and waited for Dumbledore to finish.
"I am terribly sorry, Harry.. She wants you out of her house.."
"Of course she wants him out!" Sirius shouted in disgust, "she knows once they find out, her husband and son will have their ways with him! And their sick arses will be sent to prison!"
Remus and McGonagall choked on air, color draining from their faces. Dumbledore and Snape were taken aback as well, just not as obvious. They all turned to Harry as he bit his lips.
"Was that the bad news?" Sirius cackled, "believe me, after this, I'm never going to let Harry see them. Ever. I don't care about the blood protection shit. He is in much danger in that house as being surrounded by Death Eaters, ..if not worse."
The room went dead silent. Harry didn't meet their gazes, but he knew everyone in the room were observing him.. Probably waiting for him to laugh and say how ridiculous Sirius was.. But he couldn't. As much as he wanted to believe the Dursleys wouldn't go that far, he feared it is quite possible they might use the condition against him somehow. He knew how twisted and cruel Dudley's friends could be at times.. He shuddered.
"Come on, you must be freezing," Sirius stood and pulled Harry up, "let's get you dry."
Though he very well knew Harry wasn't shivering because of his undried hair, Sirius used it to their advantage to be excused promptly.
"You two may retire. We will be having dinner here so when you're finished, please come and join us."
Dumbledore beamed. In other words, they have to report back as soon as they were finished.
"Thank you, Dumbledore."
Sirius stood up and pulled Harry with him. Harry patted Remus' shoulder and whispered, "talk to you later" as he was gently guided to the door. As they made their way to the exit, Sirius transformed back to his Animagus form and nudged against Harry. The boy laughed and stroked the thick fur as they slowly descended the stairs. Remus continued to stare worriedly even though they were out of sight, and some critical remark was on the tip of Snape's tongue but he couldn't bring himself to say it. He was still bothered by Sirius' earlier comment.
"Of course she wants him out! She knows once they find out, her husband and son will have their ways with him!"
Was the mutt out of his mind? Who in the right mind would have their ways with their own nephew? Snape relaxed in his chair realizing for the first time he was tense. He heard a quiet conversation between Dumbledore and McGonagall, trying to lighten the mood by talking about Quidditch, though Remus remained uninvolved. Snape didn't feel like participating either(that would be the day), so he blocked them out as he enveloped himself in his thoughts. He recalled what Harry had said before they entered Dumbledore's office.
"I meant she's worried about her husband and son.."
Greatly disturbed,.. was the word for it. Snape scowled. "Was that what Potter was referring to? His aunt being concerned about her husband and son having their ways with him and getting punished for it?"
He propped his elbow on the armchair and settled his chin on the back of his hand. Though he had to admit his own pleasure in tormenting the boy, this was something even Potter didn't deserve. No student should live in fear and rejection of their own family. And to this degree... where the boy literally had to protect his physical well-being from the relatives of his deceased mother, who died to prevent him from suffering.
Snape felt sick. This kind of evil was something even the Dark Lord has never committed. It was sinful, as dark as they come. Immorality...
Snape snickered bitterly to himself. "As if I am the one to talk of morals..."
Dumbledore glanced at his potions professor and noticed he was expressionless, which wasn't surprising but this was a peculiar look. The headmaster knew Severus Snape well enough that this particular feature was a look of concern. He felt delighted as he had no doubt Harry and Snape would play a major role for Voldemort's undoing.
Though the room was filled with savory scent of food, no one even dared to touch the plates. After hearing what Sirius had said, their appetite was non-existent. Even McGonagall's attempt to strike a conversation with Remus died down as she stared at nothing. Snape slowly sipped his tea, still veiled in thoughts. Remus' finger tapped soundlessly on the armchair. Dumbledore stood next to Fawkes, stroking the gentle yet strong feathers.
The food slowly went cold.