My Dark Protector

Chapter 34

Harry and Severus used a Portkey to get to Prince Manor, he deliberately ensured it deposited them near the end of the wards. So the entire front of the manor and its surroundings were visible for them to see. Severus kept a tight grip of Harry – who had refused to bring his walker – until both were situated and the dizziness of the magical transportation dissipated. Severus watched Harry closely as he was turned around, he gasped at the sight in front of him.

"Pretty," Harry admitted, green eyes alit with wonder, glancing up at his Dark Protector with adoration.

From where they stood, they could see the manor and the few outhouses that had been added overtime. Large hedges designed in squares with a water fountain inside them. Climbing vines were spread out over the building, beautifully maintained so they didn't grow over the windows. The white windows were clean and spotless even from where they stood, the House-elves did their duty very seriously. Shrubs, flowers and plants adorned the front, with some trees off to the left. The front of the manor was very different from the back, which wasn't quite so neat, spacious and tidy. The grass was cut giving it an appearance of a checker look.

"That it is," Severus admitted, probably for the first time. He had denied himself this property and everything that came with it out of spite. He'd been in it all of a few times, he'd allowed himself a day of weakness imagining him moving in, all the changes he'd make – like turning the pool into a potions lab – but he'd forced those thoughts out of his mind. If his mother had somewhere to go…she would have left that son of a bitch. He wouldn't have grown up with nothing but abuse or watching it go down. Tobias Snape was a disgusting piece of work, he hadn't considered the man his father for a very long time. The only good thing in his life, and the fact he'd lived there was Lily. If given the choice, he wasn't sure he'd give her up, even for a better life living with the Princes. Even if it meant going to Hogwarts with fitted clothes, and a decent upbringing where he was actively encouraged to pursue what he wished and not beaten down and called all manner of names due to his love for magic.

Those thoughts tore him apart sometimes, but truthfully, what good did it do thinking about it? The past was the past, nothing could change it, even if he could…it wouldn't be his past he'd change…it would be Harry's.

"Ready to go and have a look around?" Severus suggested, hoping that Harry would be fine. He would have brought the cat with them, but he had to make sure that Harry wished to remain here before he made any plans whatsoever. He was surprising himself by actually feeling alright if he did move here. It was quite odd, the feelings being responsible for someone elicited. It made you put aside your own feelings, perhaps even dampened them to an extent. He'd sworn never to return here, yet here he was, and he couldn't bring himself to feel angry about it.

Harry nodded his head, looking around eagerly as he began walking. As always his gait was slow and steady, which was good for taking in the sights before him. Before long they were walking on gravel, Severus glanced down as Harry held onto his hand, obviously feeling a little wobbly on uneven ground without his walker. Which was a really good job they didn't have it, otherwise it would have made this part a little difficult admittedly.

"Easy," Severus cautioned as Harry tripped up a bit, not lifting his feet high enough to walk over the gravel. Grasping Harry's elbow to give him better stability than just a hand being held. "Would you like to see around the back or the house first?" giving Harry a choice, he'd been doing that a lot more recently, it created independence according to the books he'd read. It might be meant for children but the reality is that Harry was basically a child relearning everything anyway. Severus waited patiently, standing still until Harry gave an answer.

"Back?" Harry sounded unsure about making his own decisions, but after he said it, he seemed to gain confidence when his Dark Protector merely nodded in agreement.

"Around the back it is," Severus said firmly, guiding both of them off the gravel, and beaten path towards the side of the main building. The two buildings weren't joined, but were close enough to one another that from a distance they looked attached to the other.

More climbing vines were attached to the side of the building to their left, as they walked passed them, Harry's fingers trailed over them with childish fascination. Severus didn't need to worry about them being poisonous like he would have to if Harry touched anything at Hogwarts. None of the House-elves were aware of his visit, or about Harry's condition, he would need to inform them. No, he had to stop making a mental list, not until he knew if perhaps Harry would like to live here. It was odd, he was beginning to wish they could.

The trees were immediately in sight the second they stepped through the back. A variety of trees that all housed fruit hanging from their branches. Along the border of the property were cherry blossom trees the pink clouding anything beyond the perimeter. There wasn't a single sign of anything falling off the trees, the House-elves had evidently been out here recently giving it a good clean.

"Pears!" Harry said, noticing the one closest to him, eyes gleaming as he approached the pear tree, fingers gripping around one and yanking it with surprising strength. Sniffing at it curiously, glancing sideways at his Dark Protector, seeking permission.

Severus laughed, "Go ahead, it's safe," he reassured him, smothering more amusement at the wide eyed look of wonder he received from Harry just because he laughed. It may well be the first time he'd heard a genuine laugh, he didn't know if anyone had laughed in Harry's presence before. Perhaps not, given the fact his life hadn't been a good one, and everyone was just trying to help him recover not make him laugh or worse laugh at him.

Pests weren't able to get at any of the fruit and vegetable grown here, there was also slug repellent along the boarders of his home stopping slugs as well. Additional spells prevented smaller critters from getting to anything. Everything grown within the confines of Prince Manor was fresh, glossy and healthy without any waste whatsoever. So the fruit was very safe for Harry to eat, and honestly, he'd never deny Harry anything, especially fruit which was good for him.

"S' nice," Harry said, eagerly biting into the fruit again, it was juicy and it dribbled down his chin.

Severus bit his tongue, stopping himself from correcting Harry, just this once.

"It's nice," Harry automatically corrected himself as he continued to devour the pear.

Pride shot through Severus, by Merlin, he didn't think he could be more proud if he tried.

Once the pear was naught but the core, Severus automatically flicked his wand, cleaning Harry up and banishing the remainder of the eaten fruit. He stalled a moment before forcing himself to relax, lest he give Harry the wrong impression. Eyes soft and open, watching each reaction Harry went through, a hand automatically grasped onto his clothes as he stared wide eyed and fearful.

"You have nothing to fear, little one," Severus said soothingly, almost wanting to curse himself for his thoughtless actions. Yet they had a breakthrough just this morning, Harry had used magic on his own without prompting and it was definitely wasn't accidental magic. He also hadn't used a wand, he would need to get Harry a wand at one point, unless the focus stones were actually acting as a wand core of sorts enabling Harry to cast magic without any wand.

Cupping his hand around Harry's neck, his thumb stroking up and down the nape, he wasn't surprised when Harry seemed to slump into him. Securing his arms around him, he let Harry come to the conclusion that all was well on his own without too much prompting from him. The magic wasn't going to hurt him, using magic was nothing scary, there wasn't anyone who was going to be furious or use him, not with him around. Harry knew the woman who hurt him was dead, that he'd made sure she wouldn't hurt him again. That was as blatant as a confession to anyone…even Harry. He could be assuming too much, but no, Harry had definitely understood when he told him. He'd made sure of that fact if nothing else.

The thought of magic terrified Harry to the very core of his being, both seeing it and using it. He wasn't sure what prompted his actions this morning, he'd just felt lazy, why traipse all the way to the tap to get water instead of just doing it right there? Then before he knew it, water had filled the bowl, he didn't have the stick that his Dark Protector used though. The last time he'd used magic as accidental as it was due to his fear, he'd ended up in a world of hurt. He'd seen people hurt so much because of what she was doing to him. Harry blinked, his mind comprehending what he'd just thought mere seconds ago. Because of what she was doing to him, for the first time he realized he wasn't to blame. The others had told him, but Harry hadn't believed it. He hadn't believed his Dark Protector. Shame warred with sheer happiness, he wasn't to blame. He didn't hurt anyone, it wasn't his fault. Something stuck in his gut unloosened, making Harry feel freer than ever.

Suppressing his own emotions wasn't quite so easy like it had been in the beginning, the overwhelming fear didn't close him down as it had in the past. He was having to endure each messy feeling as he grew, both mentally and emotionally. He was still too terrified to act out too much, he didn't want his Dark Protector to send him away.

"Better?" Severus questioned after a few moments of silence.

Harry nodded from where his head was burrowed in his Dark Protector's chest, the anchoring feeling of his hand still on his neck gave him peace of mind.

"Ready to continue?" Severus then asked, he knew that the pool would enchant Harry completely. He loved water so much, he'd spend days in the water if he thought he could get away with it. He was half tempted to tease Harry that he was half-merman but that would have Harry asking questions he probably didn't want the answer to.

"Yes, please!" Harry murmured, voice muffled from Severus' clothes, as he reluctantly unwound himself from his Dark Protector. There was nowhere else he'd rather be, but he really, really did want to see the manor, he was so exited to investigate everything surrounding him.

Ministry Of Magic

Albus Dumbledore felt a tingle of awareness running down his spine as the door to the meeting room was held opened. An unknown wizard stepped through, quite young, barely looking a day over twenty. There was something about him that bothered Albus. The way he walked, the confidence in which he carried himself, had he met this wizard before? It was tugging at his mind and he found that quite bothersome that he couldn't remember.

"Cornelius, who is he?" Albus asked quietly, from where he sat next to Cornelius, who was choosing to sit in on the meetings as is his right. He was the Minister for magic, and he could do what he liked in any department. He even had a vote, he couldn't stand the woman sitting opposite him though, Dolores Umbridge was a…challenging woman even he didn't have the patience to deal with.

"Whom?" Cornelius turned from where he had been conversing with his undersecretary, glancing at the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot.

"The young gentlemen who just entered," Albus gestured just so with his head to let Cornelius know where the wizard was to whom he was referring.

"Ah, that is Lord Aloysius Ambrose, he is new and wishes to take up his family seats within the wizengamot," Cornelius explained, eyes brightening up, "Everything has been proven and he's already been sworn in."

"There is no Ambrose seat for claim," Albus pointed out the obvious, while unobtrusively watching the wizard. He felt like he had seen this wizard somewhere before, it was beginning to rather annoy him.

"No, not on his father's side, no matriarchal," Cornelius informed him, "His mother moved to France I presume, married the father and returned here for an undetermined amount of time. He wasn't forthcoming about his family, I think he suffered a great tragedy," he added his tone tinged with sympathy. He would be kind until he could see what he could get out of any alliance with the wizard.

"Interesting, do you know who his mother is?" Albus asked, as yet more people entered the meeting room. Perhaps it's the mother he knew this Ambrose from. He couldn't remember any news of someone from Britain marrying into the Ambrose line. Perhaps the Delacour's knew, he'd need to ask Fleur, she may be able to get some information for him.

"No, he had all the proof he needed, it was verified by the Goblins, but he wouldn't speak of it, but he is the last of his matriarch line, thus it's his for the taking." Cornelius told him, turning away, fed up with the conversation already. He couldn't give Albus what he didn't know. He had a feeling he'd be asked the same question in a dozen different ways.

Albus was about to stand up, ready to call the meeting to order, there was one seat always empty, the Black one. So, it was to his everlasting shock when the door opened again, revealing Sirius Black, who walked with confidence, but deep in those grey eyes was annoyance. It was evident that Black truly didn't want to be here, he wasn't one for politics Albus knew this. Things were about to get interesting, he thought, giving the Black Lord a nod in silent greeting. What surprised him more was when Black nodded to Ambrose, how do they know each other?

Standing up, "I call this meeting of the wizengamot to order," Albus stated, staring confidently around the room. "Are there any questions or concerns one wishes to bring up before we officially begin?"

Doge opened his mouth before closing it with a snap, this wasn't the time or the place. Yet every time he tried to approach his best friend, to give him both council and an ear to listen to he was just given empty platitudes. What had happened to cause Albus to turn so swiftly and suddenly? If it weren't for the fact he knew nobody could use the Imperius curse on his old friend he would believe he was under it. He knew everything there was to know about Albus, they shared everything, except this.

That was what Doge thought. It couldn't have been further from the truth. There were things Albus would never entrust to a single soul. No matter how good and pure they were, he was much too cautious for that. In fact out of everyone, his spy actually knew the most, well, nearly everything actually. A wizard who you shouldn't trust, trusting a spy was a duplicitous thing to do. Yet he did indeed trust Severus, far greater than anyone else.

Silence reigned for a minute, as Albus waited on anyone speaking up, but nobody did.

"Very well, I call your attention to the latest pieces of legislation," Albus said, flicking his wand, and folders – three of them – flew from the desk at the back of the room and onto the circular bench which currently housed them all. Three folders set themselves down in front of each wizard. All fifty-two of them.

"What the fuck is this?" Sirius barked out in anger, seeing the first piece and not even attempting to read it all. Seething in anger, his grey eyes boring holes into Umbridge's who just sat there smug as you please, unafraid of the wizard before her.

Ambrose cleared his throat, giving Sirius what could only be called an amused look before it was stuck behind a very professional façade. "It is to my understanding that the attacks on humans by werewolves had actually decreased over the years?"

"It is so," Doge declared, and he'd know, he was all about statistics.

"Indeed, and it's solely because they have found a way to gain control, with the Wolfbane potion," Ambrose declared.

"Very much so," Albus nodded firmly.

"Then why, may I ask does anyone propose to make it even more impossible for werewolves to acquire jobs in order to pay for the wolfsbane they so need?" Ambrose drawled out, looking bored and annoyed for a moment. "It's almost as if you wish for the attacks to happen Madame Umbridge, our children are the future, to be so careless with the future makes one wonder what you are really attempting here,"

"There may be more attacks than anyone knows, statistics don't show everything," Umbridge declared, sweat beating at her forehead. She was used to people getting annoyed, or arguing with her, not outright basically saying she was endangering the magical population. If they believed that, she may never get her in again.

"Unlikely, if there were unknown werewolves out there, we would know," Albus stated resolutely.

"Quite frankly, alienating the entire race is just asking for war, which would result in a great many wizards and witches being bitten," Ambrose continued, trying his best to ensure she wasn't going to be at further meetings, she was wasting his time, he didn't want to see this sort of legislations talk about boring. "You really should frankly keep your personal prejudice to yourself Madame Umbridge, you are in a position of power which can cause complications. This is not being done for the greater good of the magical world, this is you using your limited power to abuse it."

"Nonsense," Umbridge said, managing to stop herself spluttering unattractively. "Werewolves are a danger to our way of life, we need a way to control them before they get out of hand." Her tone haughty despite her growing frustration at the wizard. She'd need to find something on him and quickly, prevent this escalating further. She couldn't back down now, or worse be shoved aside, she'd worked too hard to get to where she was.

"You are a danger to our way of life," Ambrose retorted seriously, his tone grim, "I suggest we prevent any further pieces of useless legislation by blocking any and all attempts made by Madame Umbridge to waste our time, judging by everyone's resignation, this is not the first piece of legislation she's proposed over werewolves." Acting as though he didn't know, when in fact he did.

"Indeed," Lucius drawled with boredom. He'd had to listen to her go on and on and on for years, it was the most intolerable part of being in the wizengamot. If he was going to see a chance of her getting banned so to speak, he'd do it in a heartbeat. "I second the vote."

"All those in agreement, raise your hand," Albus called out, watching in surprise as the majority of the people actually raised their hands, lighting their wand tips signifying an official answer. Forty-two out of the fifty-two all agreed to have Umbridge barred from anything wizengamot related, Cornelius wasn't one of those who raised his hand. "At Forty-two, we are in agreement, any legislations and votes from Dolores Umbridge are now disqualified and she is therefore banned from participating." Unfortunately, as the undersecretary she would still have the right to remain within the room. Not quite so easy to get rid of her.

Umbridge's face went through all kinds of all colours as she watched the wand tips light up. First pale, then red, then puce quite honestly it wasn't a surprise when she stood and shrieked at the top of her lungs that werewolves were going to be the death of them all. That they would all see, that she was right and when they found out they'd be apologising to her on bended knees.

Sirius bared his teeth ferally at the raging woman who was just a step away from having steam bellowing out of her ears in rage. She stomped off, her body jiggling as she left, the door was slammed closed behind her in her fury. Sirius glanced at Ambrose nodding his thanks, unaware of just who he was thanking. If he had any indication, he would have been just as red in the face as Umbridge was just moments ago. The file with the legislation disappeared with a puff of smoke, as they all settled once again as if they hadn't just watched a grown woman throw a temper outburst worthy of a two-year-old.

"Let's get back down to business," Albus said after a few moments of silence, letting the Wizengamot members to calm themselves down. Some were disgusted, others deeply amused while others looked blatantly relieved that her presence was gone. "The second piece of legislation calls for…social workers," Albus stared at the paperwork in surprise, "For a department to be created within the Ministry solely for the care and benefit of our underage witches and witches,"

Most wizards here wouldn't even understand the concept of a social worker, or wouldn't if it wasn't plainly written down by Ambrose to help them understand. Albus thought as he read the entirety of the folder. The way he wrote it made it clear that he had spent some time in the Muggle world, perhaps Cornelius' words earlier rung true, perhaps he had suffered some sort of tragedy in his childhood. Given how comfortable he was in a magical setting, it mustn't have been until he was of age. Before all this with Harry, he would have assumed that it wasn't all bad, but now…now he understood just how horrific Muggle's could be in a way that hadn't penetrated his mind as a young boy after what they did to Ariana. Not that Albus actually knew what they did, his father had never revealed it. Albus never wanted to know either, he just wished he had his sister with him, to apologise, to let her grow up, have a normal unencumbered life.

This, all this he was doing, it wasn't just for Harry but for Ariana too, in her memory.

"I will take the reins on this shall I?" Ambrose suggested, seeing as Dumbledore wasn't going to speak. He was quite fascinated and so desperately wanted to know what was going on in the old fools mind. "Having our children in the Muggle world is risking exposure, with the advancements taking place in the Muggle world, we could be talking world wide exposure within minutes with their electronic gadgets. We must protect our society, and cannot, I repeat, cannot blame the children for outbursts of accidental magic, all children go through it. It's a celebration when most children here do so, but in the Muggle world…it sows fear and discord. We need our of social services here in the wizarding world, to take children out of social services in the Muggle world and bring them home. It isn't just Muggle-borns who are left there but some Pure-blood's as well who have no immediate family and there is no check to see if he or she has potential family out there."

Under no circumstances will a child be sent back to the Muggle world

Each child will undergo blood heritage testing in order to see the closets living relative.

Each child will be given a chance to be blood adopted.

If a relative cannot be found, they will remain in the custody of Social Services until such time a family can be found.

It was obviously just a first rough draught Albus realized, reading through the stipulations called forth. He could think of dozens of more that could do well with being placed forth. He found himself quite happy to deal with this piece of legislation, perhaps he could get everything done quicker if more than one person is helping grease the wheels so to speak.

"We need this," Black stated firmly, his grey eyes solemn. "We always say the children come first…well now it the chance to prove it. I mean what if you died Madam Bones…what would come of your niece…Susan who is still a minor by magical law?" her godparents were dead as well, since the Bones family had chosen family members to be godparents to the little girl.

"Your own godson wouldn't have disappeared either, would he?" Carrow stated, his eyes holding no emotion whatsoever.

Nearly everyone gasped in shock at Carrow's callous words, his own children were suspected Death Eaters. They hadn't been arrested, but it didn't pass anyone's notice that they rarely made an appearance in public after You-Know-Who's downfall.

Albus stiffened, ready to stop Sirius from making a mistake that would see him barred as well as Umbridge.

Sirius inhaled sharply, "No, no he wouldn't have," he revealed, grey eyes filled with pain and resignation, "But if I ever find him…I want him to know I did everything I could." He promised ardently, quite easily making it seem as though he truly hadn't seen his godson since that faithful night. Albus wouldn't have thought he had it in him. "This…this is all for him." he had no other reason for this…even if it bored him to death. Or rather he thought it would, he'd been having fun with the whole thing with Umbridge.

Ambrose made a mental note to visit Carrow manor after this, with Black firmly on his side…he had greater chance of succeeding on all legislations, he had the most votes to his seat. A few half-truths revealed and he had Sirius Black exactly where he wanted him. If he'd been anyone else he would have felt guilty, but his goals came first. Even at that, he wasn't a wizard for feeling guilty, it was a useless emotion. Although the closest he'd ever came…was in actual fact regarding Harry Potter oddly enough.

He couldn't wait to meet the boy.

And he would one day, of that he was silently determined. Severus would know better than to deny him, if he knew what was good for him. Yet there was no denying just how protective Severus was of the child.

"Let's vote to see whether this legislation will be pushed forth?" Albus called, and by pushed forth, everyone would take it home, make amends to it, until they could all come to a single agreement on how the legislation should look. How it should be, only then would it be approved or discarded. If it was approved, the construction would begin immediately, a new department would be opened up, which increased new jobs for the magical world, which was also a very good thing.

He made a mental note to ensue that a oath to do no harm, never to ignore a child's suffering or accept bribery. He would refuse to pass it otherwise, he would not let anything interfere with the running of such a vital department. It would be one of the first things he was going to write on the legislation.

Un an unprecedented turn of events, each wand lit up, agreeing with the legislation to be put forth. Fifty-one lights, Albus could scarcely believe it. Things never usually went that smoothly, it could only be because Ambrose had called into question the secrecy of their world. The protection of the children, if they didn't agree…then it would not look good at all. He was impressed despite himself. It wasn't often – or at all – that someone new came on the scene and had a legislation put forth, and definitely not with everyone in agreement.

The folders were placed aside, and the last one, his one, was turned to next, Albus waited impatiently for them to read through the paperwork. Which seemed to take forever, with him being the only one who wasn't immersed in the reading. This wouldn't be as easy as the previous one, he had a fight on his hands. He honestly wouldn't be surprised if it was turned down, but he was determined to see it through. Even if he had to keep changing the legislation slightly until he got what he wanted.

Ambrose read through the legislation piece, not surprised by it's contents, he had known it was coming. Well, known it entailed, but not every detail. He knew most wizards would have a problem with it, and he quietly mulled over how best to get them to agree. He wasn't above playing dirty if he had to in order to get what he wanted. He wasn't Dumbledore, who would try the gentle sympathetic approach. He knew no other way, it was just who the old fool was.

Sitting back, a thoughtful look on his face as he awaited everyone reading through the three pages. Unsurprisingly it was very long, very to the point and with every stipulation possible attached. He hadn't bothered doing such a thing, knowing that it might not pass. That was the way he was used to, his legislations being tossed aside. He savagely wondered if Dumbledore would have done it again if his birth name was on it.

"Who would be privy to such a scan?" Bones surprisingly was the one to ask.

"It doesn't matter who! It's unethical to ask for such a procedure done!" protested one such member of the wizengamot.

"I agree, it's offensive!" it implicated they abused their child, their heir, and it wasn't something done often.

Albus ignored the naysayers, "The only one who will see the results of the scans are Madam Pomfrey, who might I add is sworn in as a Medi-witch to prevent any such concern. She does not gossip about the safety and wellbeing of her patients." He patiently chided them.

Ambrose rolled his eyes, yes, Dumbledore hadn't changed, that was not the way to go about it. "I do hope you're not quickly forgetting the deaths of Miss. Fenwick and Mr. Fenwick," he said coolly, "They were I believe regularly abused from the age of four, Mr. Fenwick died as a result of severe abuse and starvation, in Hogwarts walls two days after the school started back up. It was only when they went to arrest the father that they found out about the squib twin, who did not survive the help St. Mungo's tried to provide the child. This went down seventy years ago, and is surely remembered by many in this room."

Albus paled just thinking about it, those children had been Benjy's cousins, he had been very good friends with Benjy Fenwick. Who had regretfully not survived the first war with Voldemort, in fact they hadn't found all of the poor wizard, he'd been buried with only an arm and a few fingers. He'd had classes with Bill Fenwick, the boy who had died in Gryffindor Common room in fact. Doge had been the one to find him, he could still hear the echo of his horrified screams when he found the their dead classmate and fellow Gryffindor. He hadn't thought much about them if he was honest, he'd had his own worries, his mother, sister and his father who had been in Azkaban at that point.

Many others grimaced as well, being so callously reminded of such a disgusting wizard that was William Fenwick who abused his two children. He had died in Azkaban and nobody had mourned the bastard. He was an exception to the rules, everyone denied knowing him after the news got out.

"That is only an example of well-known case," Ambrose pointed out, enjoying the discomfort he was causing, but mindful not to show it. "I am sure I could find other cases just as severe if I did some digging,"

Sirius swallowed thickly, he'd hated his parents, sure, but he couldn't say he'd been abused, perhaps verbally when he didn't do what they wanted. The thought of anyone hurting their child enough to kill them so horrified them. He knew Ambrose was one of those abuse statistics, Harry was too…perhaps it was too frequent to allow anyone their privacy.

"If this had been in place," Ambrose tapped the folder, "It would help prevent more abuse heaped upon children, it won't give them back their childhood, but it would secure their future. If you've got nothing to hide in regard to how your children or grandchildren are treated…then what exactly do you have to lose?" he challenged them.

Sirius watched the room and its occupants, still reeling over what he heard, but admiration was beginning to creep up in him for Ambrose. He had them all eating out of his hand, and the best part was they'd been very reluctant and furious at the thought of the children being given intense scans upon their persons the day after they entered Hogwarts walls.

"Will this be each year or only once? What if the abuse begins after their first year?" Sirius questioned, "Or if they're sent to live with different relatives?"

"Something you should add as a stipulation for the legislation being moved forward, if it gets the agreement of the wizengamot today," Bones as always, was curt but fair in telling Sirius what to do.

It appeared as though Dumbledore had forgot to consider something while writing it, quite honestly he could smack his own forehead in exasperation for such an obvious mistake.

"Let's vote!" Albus called, holding his breath, it could go either way, and Albus truly wanted this to go in his favour. Heart pounding he watched as one by one hands began to raise, others frowning in quiet contemplation. Albus' own wand was raised, until a decision had been reached. Thirty people out of the fifty-one still in the room, they had won, only just.

Ambrose was furious with the dark fraction, they were primarily abstaining from voting. He wasn't going to be impressed if he had to reveal his new identity to them.

They were passed the first hurdle, it wasn't complete yet, minds could be changed right up until the very moment they officially stamped their approval on the entire document giving it the wizengamot seal of approval. Agreeing to push it through and making it legal were two different processes.

Just knowing they were going to consider it was a load off, it gave him hope that he would be finally listened to.

He could see Doge wasn't happy, he had a feeling he'd be having the wizard in his office pretty soon.

He only wished he could tell him, but he couldn't the more people who come aware the greater chance of being found out.

Harry was too important to him to consider taking any chances.

Albus inwardly apologised to his old friend.

Severus had let Harry lead the way for the past two hours, which was spent truly investigating the grounds and insides of Prince Manor. Harry had eaten more in two hours than he usually did in a day. All of it fruit, so Severus didn't mind quite naturally, the more vitamins he got the better. He did keep an eye on his legs to ensure they weren't shaking with the strain, off keeping him up for so long. Also ensured he remained nearby, Harry was touching everything he could see, being gentle of course, not wishing to break anything.

The only places not investigated yet were the pool and the potions lab, which Harry was not going to get into either. Not for a while at least, not until Severus had taught him to respect potions, the consequences and inherit dangers of brewing and the ingredients. He'd teach him as if he were a child – which he essentially was – first getting him used to handling ingredients, how to cut, and such.

Merlin, he was actually looking forward to teaching Harry about potions. It was his passion, but he didn't normally like teaching, as all the students and teachers at Hogwarts could attest. Yet teaching someone one on one, it would be much easier and less stressful.

"Come, Harry, I have something I want to show you," Severus said, seeing the first sign of tiredness coming from him. It seemed as if it might be catching up on him after all. He'd done much greater than Severus could have hoped for, he was so proud of him.

"A surprise?" Harry asked inquisitively as a two-year-old, his legs twitching a little as he grew sore and tired.

Severus' lips twitched, "Certainly something you'll enjoy," he didn't really consider it a surprise, and no other boy would ever consider it one either. Removing a vial from his cloak pocket, and handed it to Harry without a word, giving a nod of encouragement for him to take it, as he uncorked it for him.

Harry gratefully guzzled the potion down, green eyes brightening considerably after the pain reliever began to work almost right away. The aftertaste was rather yucky but he didn't mind, medicine had never been 'wasted' on him at the Dursley's and no help given at the hospital, so getting it here was…more than Harry could have ever dreamed.

"Ready to go?" Severus questioned, today was for Harry, he wanted him to enjoy this trip where he didn't need to feel hidden away. He felt an unsurmountable weight of guilt that Harry felt that way, even if it was meant to be for his own good. Harry already had enough to endure without thinking he was being hidden away from other people. Part of him just wanted to de-age him, let him go out make friends, and be an actual child for a while. It wasn't as if Harry could approach a child as he was, the Muggles would probably grab their children and run or judge to hell and back. Everyone in the magical world knew who Harry was, so the prospect of getting him a friend – even one at the age of eleven or so – wasn't truly possible. The only other alternative was to weed out potential friends for Harry in Hogwarts and pick ones who would be more than likely to be what Harry needed to grow into who he was meant to be.

The pool was at the very foundations of the manor, very out of place, he wasn't sure what his ancestors were thinking to be frank. It was beautiful in its own way, very out of the manors character, but if Harry liked it then honestly, it could remain there for all he cared. Opening the door, he used his wand to light up the darkened hallway, nothing terrified Harry more than dark enclosed spaces. He would always remain claustrophobic. If Harry wished to remain here, then he'd need to get dozens of oil lamps installed so that if and when he came down here, the light would lead the way and prevent any panic attacked or fear.

Guiding Harry down, keeping a tight grip on his elbow, so that he could easily get down the stairs, the banister helping him along the way.

Once they were at the door, the sound of the water being heard through it, Harry immediately perked up to Severus' everlasting amusement. Swinging the door open, Harry gasped in delight, "Pool!" twitching as if he just wanted to jump up and down and expend some of his energy.

It encompassed Harry's entire attention.

There we go! I'll add what the pool is supposed to look like on the photo for this story :) another decent length chapter! YAY! I guess getting up a few hours earlier (6 o'clock) helps me get a chapter out without too much trouble. Although I'm not sure if I can do that every day but we'll see how it goes :D I think this will be how the chapters will go from now on, a bit political a bit Harry perhaps even 'Voldemort' not playing Ambrose but I am having fun with that! I hope you're all still enjoying it this chapter came surprisingly easy compared to previous chapters so there's hope for it yet :) Read and Review please!