Seven years later
Harry grabbed two tea cups and saucers and balanced them on one hand while he grabbed the whistling teapot with the other. He set one cup and saucer before one chair and the others in the chair across from it. He poured the hot water over the loose tea leaves in the filter until the teapot was full. Then he left the tea to steam while he turned back to the stove. Sausage, eggs, and toast – just the way Snape liked them.
"Breakfast is ready," Harry called loudly over his shoulder.
"How many times have I told you not to yell?" Snape groused as he trudged into the kitchen. "And you've dripped water all over the table. Where's Vampyr? I told you to feed him first or else he'll be begging for our food."
"He's fed and outside," Harry assured him. "Stop grumbling and sit down. The tea's almost ready."
"Probably bitter," Snape sneered as he sat down. "You ruin a pot of tea quicker than anyone else."
Harry smiled as he turned back to the stove.
In the eight years, the kitchen had undergone a few changes, along with the rest of the house. They now had hot water pumped into a large kitchen sink, a full gas stove, and better cooking ware and utensils.
And where the house used to have four rooms with a hall and a single bathroom, there was now a built-on dining room and adjacent study downstairs. Upstairs, Snape still had his old room, but Harry now slept in a bigger bedroom over the dining room, and he had his own closet. There was a second bathroom upstairs and both were now fully modernized.
They had bought the property next door to build on to house, and Harry had worked in the summers with Snape to turn the unused land into gardens and walkways along with a piece of lash grass field.
Of course, Snape had fought against every single one of the changes, but Harry had pressed, and each year brought a new room or new bit of remodeling until the house was looking rather fine.
"Why are you up so early?" Snape complained as he watched Harry cook. "You don't have your ridiculous training today, do you?"
"No, Auror training starts again next week," Harry sighed as he dished the food out on the two plates. "And it's not silly. I've been working really hard this last year."
Snape sniffed disdainfully. "Oh, very hard, wasting your parents' money on fixing up this dump. What a bunch of nonsense."
"It looks better," Harry declared. "No reason for us to live in a garbage heap."
"I never lived in a garbage heap!"
"Dad, it's fine," Harry insisted. "Stop complaining. It makes you sound too old."
"Listen to me, young man," Snape pointed a finger at him. "You may think that you're a brilliant wizard now that you've turned nineteen, but I can still deliver a hell of a punishment."
"You haven't punished me since I came of age," Harry retorted. "And I still say that if I was old enough to drink fire whiskey on my birthday, then I was old enough to decide if I wanted to get drunk and vomit all over the flower beds."
"And I still say you deserved every last lick of the two dozen you got with my belt," Snape replied.
"Eat your food," Harry put the plate down in front of him.
A few minutes of silence followed until Snape said, "It's ridiculous, you and me paying to double the size of this house. We were perfectly fine in four rooms. A bit cramped when we had visitors, but I told you I don't like having people over."
Harry took a deep breath and looked at the older man. "I might as well tell you – tonight . . . I'm going to see her. And – and I'm going to ask her to marry me."
Snape stare for second and then grimaced. "That twit? You're actually serious about her? I forbid it."
"Dad," Harry said, trying not to sigh.
"Fine, marry who you like," Snape shrugged. "Go live where you like – I won't stop you."
"I'm bringing her to live here after we're married," Harry continued.
"You'll do no such thing!' Snape yelled.
Outside, Vampyr barked, worried at the loud noise.
"She's coming to live here," Harry said quietly. "I'm not leaving you alone, and I'm marrying her so she's going to live here."
"A woman in this house?" Snape seethed. "This is a bachelors' establishment."
"Not anymore. And my room is big enough for the two of us. And my old room – I was thinking about using it as a nursery."
"No, not yet," Harry wanted to laugh, but he forced himself to stay serious. "But in a few years maybe – come on, don't you want to be a grandfather?"
"I want no such thing. You ungrateful boy, I knew the moment I let you stay, it would be nothing but problems. You had to stay here – you begged me to take you from your relatives' house to come live with me. You climbed a tree and couldn't get down so Vampyr rescued you and then you asked to come live with me."
"I think you're remembering it wrong," Harry grinned over his cup of tea.
"Well, it's your word against mine and I'm always right," Snape said decisively.
Harry made no comment. In the years that he had lived with Snape, he had learned to let some things just pass. The first year had been hard, especially at school. But the years got easier as he got older, and by the time he was fifteen he got to have Hermione and Ron come and stay part of the summer, a tough thing to do because Snape did not like Hermione and Vampyr didn't like Ron.
Voldemort proved a problem, too, and Harry encountered several near-death experiences only to defeat him in the end. Snape had been frantic after every fight, and Harry came to expect a month of pampering interspersed with lectures and hard swats following the fights. Snape worried about him constantly, hiding his concern with gruff comments about how he didn't care about the miserable orphan left on his hands.
"Once she lives here, you can't tell her about the way you treated me," Harry decided. "Some secrets should stay between a father and son."
"You and your secrets," Snape huffed. "Always into trouble. You better be a perfect gentleman to her or I'll straighten you right out. I'm still master of this house, no matter how old you get. That's won't ever change. If you challenge my authority, I'll see how a good whipping and a week in the cellar help to change your mind."
"I love you, Dad," Harry said cheekily.
A pause, and then Snape admitted, "I love you, too, Son."