Last time on Filling the Void:

Our Author neglected her story for YEARS.

Oh, and Severus declared Harry "his child" in front of multitudes of wizarding press. Way to go, Sev.

For the first time ever Harry landed smoothly after apparating, but perhaps that was due to the firm grip Snape had on his shoulders.

"Why did we have to leave?"

"Because I wanted to." Severus was clearly in a mood. He was trying to reign himself in, but the boy just wouldn't stop asking questions.

"But why? We were almost done and I could have had more time with my friends!"

"Be that as it may, it was time to leave."


"One more 'but' out of you, Mr. Potter and you'll find yourself standing in the corner long past what is comfortable!"

Harry snapped his mouth shut as his face flushed red. He hadn't expected that. Snape had been so patient with him over the holidays, and now...was this how the whole year was going to be?

Blinking, he muttered "Sorry, sir" and turned to leave. Why couldn't he learn to quit while he was ahead?

"Wait. Just...wait Harry."

Harry let out a breath. So all wasn't lost! He was still Harry!

"Come here please," Snape asked, and while a part of Harry wanted to yell "No!" and stomp off, the bigger part of him wanted to hear what the man had to say. He approached slowly.

Severus sighed. He'd scared the boy. Once upon a time he would have taken a sort of perverse pleasure in that knowledge, now it was just one more mistake he had to make up for.

Reaching out, he gently tugged the boy into his side, leaving his arm around him. It took only seconds for harry to relax into him, although his nervousness was given away by the way he was playing with the loose threads on the end of Severus' robe sleeve.

"I do not like Gilderoy Lockheart. The man is a simpering, fame-hungry, fake. I won't have him using you to further his cause, and I simply will NOT allow strangers to man handle you as if you were a toy to be played with. Boy Who Lived or not, you do not belong to the public."

"Who do I belong to?"

Severus rolled his eyes. Really, the boy had to learn more subtlety if he was going to fish for reassurances.

"No one but yourself. You are not a thing. But for your interpretation you belong to your parents. And to me."

A tiny smile was his reward for that admission.

"It is dangerous for the wizarding world to treat you that way and I will not have it. Next time a stranger touches you and you don't want them to, you say no."

"Even if it's a teacher?"

"Even if it's the minister himself."

Big, surprised eyes glanced at him. "Wow."

"And one more very important thing. Do not ever dally or stop to talk to Lucius Malfoy."

"But I didn't he talked to me!"

"I know that. But in the future I give you permission to be rude and walk away, Harry. He is not a good man and may have designs to hurt you, and I do not want any danger to come to you, do you understand?"

The man was so intense, but Harry couldn't look away. There was something in his eyes that meant Serious Business so all Harry could think to say was "Yes Daddy. I understand."

"Good man. Now go play. Once I've calmed down we can go collect your things from the burroow."

With an invitation from Molly Weasley to join them for dinner, Snape and his charge stood in front of the floo some hours later, Snape in his typical black from head to toe and Harry in new jeans and shirt. For all that they fit him, the boy wouldn't stop wiggling.

"Do you have ants in your pants? Because I can think of any number of spells to assist with that."

"What?! Nooooooo. Just these clothes feel funny."

"Probably because they actually fit you."

"It's weird."

"You shall get used to it."

"And they won't get dirty in the floo?"

"They will not. After that, however..." With that, he gestured to Harry to go first. secretly hoping the twins had set up their landing pad once again.

Despite the fact that Harry had landed rather badly on his way out of the floo, a quick spell to right his eyeglasses and he was in good spirits once more. Around the dinner table the conversation centred on the day at diagon alley, that is, it did when any conversation could be understood.

"I can't believe we ran into good ol' Lucius Malfoy," one of the twins said gleefully.

"I thought you said he was a bad man and that I shouldn't be near him?" Harry asked.

"Oy Harry, are you just now learning about Malfoy? Remember what Hagrid told you!"

"Not all wizards are good, Harry! Stranger danger and all that!"

Harry sat gaping at the twins. Between them and Snape he was starting to feel like he had been very naive. Were there really that many dangerous people in the wizarding world?

"What's stranger danger?" he asked the table, feeling like it was something he ought to already know.

"You know, what you learn as a small kid, not to talk to strangers and all that because they could snatch you."

"Oh. Right. That. Of course!" They had learned a bit about that in primary, but he never gave it much thought. He liked strangers, and had quietly hoped that one of them would snatch him. Only to take him to a better place than the Dursley's, of course.

"What with you being famous and all, you're way more likely to get snatched than us!"

"And even then, Mum's got a replacement eh?" The twins burst out laughing, but Harry looked pale, Severus noticed.

"Eat up, Harry, then we shall head home." he said, quietly cursing the twins. For now Harry, and Ron too it seemed, looked far too worried about his fate as the Boy Who Lived.

"Is someone trying to take Harry?!" Ron asked, fork halfway to his mouth.

Harry too, was looking to him for an asnwer.

"No, no one is trying to kidnap you Harry. I'm simply trying to keep you safe. That is all."

And he'd succeed, too, if it was the last thing he did.