Ah. Hello. Been a while, hasn't it? I spent a loooong time on this chapter, and while I was dilly-dallying (doing that whole "must graduate, can't fail" thing), you crazy people reviewed the mess out of this story. I am shocked, gratified, and amazed. I hope this new chapter continues to satisfy your crazy Snape, adorable Harry, and singing wards cravings. On another note (in this surprisingly long AN), my good friend pocketnin has drawn possibly the most adorable portrayal of Snape and Harry, together, in the history of man. It isn't scanned yet, but once it is a link to it will appear in my profile, so keep an eye out! (And now, this redonkulously long AN will end, and the story will begin.)
Disclaimer: Oh, you know.
As the sun set over Spinner's End, the three victorious generals of the War on Dirt sat inside and enjoyed some marvelous tea biscuits.
They had spent the day scrubbing, washing, skating around on soapy sponges and beating down anything that tried to rise up and make itself sentient. (that last bit had been a big problem in the kitchen sink) McGonagall had been persuaded by an extremely enthusiastic Harry to stay and help battle the forces of dirt and grime, and she and Snape had tackled the kitchen while Harry took care of the living room. The three of them had done the rest of the house together, and Snape rather hoped that it would be enough to convince McGonagall that Harry was better off with him. After all, he hated having to wipe people's memories.
As a matter of fact, McGonagall was beyond thinking that Harry was better off with Snape and was well into the realm of plotting ways of murdering Dumbledore for leaving him with a neglectful family for four years.
"I told him," she said indignantly over a steaming cup of tea, "repeatedly, that those Dursley's were no good."
Harry nodded in appreciation of fact.
"The question I have for you, though," she said to Snape, "is how you're going to keep up with this lad at Hogwarts during the school year."
Harry blinked at Snape in surprise. "Why would you be at Hogwarts during the school year?"
"He's a professor there." McGonagall said briskly. "Now, Severus—"
"I'm not going to be teaching at Hogwarts this year."
McGonagall put her teacup down. "Excuse me?"
"Instead," Snape said grandly, drawing himself up, "I shall be raising my illustrious charge and doing very important potions research."
"Very important, is it?" McGonagall asked skeptically.
"Very important." Snape agreed. "So important, in fact, that we are going to have to hide ourselves away and have crazy world-wide adventures, never staying in one place for…more than a few…"
Snape might have continued that line of thought if McGonagall hadn't directed a particularly murderous glare at him. He decided it was time to stop dilly-dallying.
"Of course, by world-wide adventures I mean that I'll need your help casting the fidelius charm on my house, and that we'll stay here and have adorable shenanigans."
It was the hopeful smile that got McGonagall. "Oh, very well. But you're forgetting something very important." She turned to Harry, who had been watching their exchange with avid interest. "How do you feel about those plans, Harry?"
Harry gave her his best five-year-old smile. "I'm very good at being illustrious, ma'am!"
McGonagall melted. "Well, I certainly can't argue with that. Severus, do you want to do the wards now?"
Snape nodded, then pointed a stern look at Harry. "Refrain from wandering off, little person."
As Snape and McGonagall went outside to start casting the fidelous, Harry wandered about behind them with the pretense of watching them do magic. Once outside, however, he decided that the inviting patch of mud that was situated down the lane was a more interesting prospect. He briefly put his index finger over his mouth and glanced upwards—warning the wards to be quiet—and started off towards the mud.
He made it about five steps before he ran into an invisible wall and toppled backwards onto his bottom.
Intrigued, Harry extended his arm. Nothing stopped it. He stood up, brushed off the bottom of his pants, took a tentative step forward…and bounced off the once again present invisible wall.
He pondered this new phenomenon for a moment. Perhaps Mr. Snape had done something magical to keep him near the house. Harry glanced back at the house, where the adult in question was busily waving his wand around, completely oblivious to the actions of his young charge.
Harry glanced back at the house, then towards the invisible wall, then back at the house.
Then he stood up and bounced off the wall again. He giggled a bit.
The wards, up until this point, had been making quiet disapproving noises, not unlike the music in a horror movie while the main character is sneaking through the haunted house. When Harry started backing up a few steps and taking the invisible wall at a run (giggling all the while), they decided that it was all in good fun, softened the wall just a little bit more (it was, after all, there because they wanted him to stay safe), and started softly humming a bouncy carnival-esque tune.
Somewhere in the Great Beyond, James Potter looked down on his son in pure bewilderment for a few minutes, then turned to his wife. "You don't think his taking a killing curse to the head caused brain damage, do you?"
Lily Potter simply smiled. "I'm thinking of a boy who, at age eleven, was often found banging his head against walls and giggling delightedly."
James flushed. "I didn't do it that often…"
Back at the house, Snape and McGonagall finished their spellwork and found themselves gazing at, respectively, a slightly run-down house and a muddy patch of ground.
"Well," McGonagall said in obvious satisfaction, "I can't see the house. I assume you can, Severus?"
"Yes, ma'am." Snape replied, too recently out of school to really consider McGonagall an equal rather than an authority figure.
"In that case, I'll be off. Do owl me if you need anything, Severus. I shall be more than happy to bring you anything you need, or even tutor young Mr. Potter?" Snape couldn't help but smile at the hopeful tone her voice took on at the end of her assurance.
"I will. Little person!" He called, finally turning around and realizing what Harry was doing. "Come on, time to go inside." Harry obediently ran to his side.
"Are you leaving now, Ms. McGonagall?" He asked meekly.
McGonagall took a brief pause to clear the sudden moisture from her eyes—darn his adorable piteous look—and gave him a kind smile. "I'm sure I'll be back to visit before long, young man." She took another pause for moisture removal when he flung his arms around her legs and hugged her tightly. "Behave for Severus, now."
As Snape and Harry went inside (possibly to have adorable shenanigans, but mostly because it was getting dark outside and Snape had been hoping to try out his newly cleaned fireplace), McGonagall apparated to Hogsmeade and began a very angry walk to Hogwarts.
Coincidentally, at that exact moment Albus Dumbledore's mortal peril alarm went off, and he cowered for a moment before grabbing the suitcase he always kept packed under his desk and diving through the floo to a hasty vacation in the Bahamas.
By the time he returned, three days later, McGonagall had had significant time to cool down and was no longer in a completely murderous mood. As a result, Dumbledore never realized just how much danger he had been in, and consequently he decided that his mortal peril detector was defective and threw it out.
One day, he would regret that decision. Oh, would he regret.