Disclaimer: I don't own anything of Harry Potter.

Note: Yay, we passed 100 reviews. I am so happy. So first day of the new term, let's begin. Oh right, the story is being translated into French. I am so happy: d

The red beautiful Hogwarts express had always been a source of joy to Harry when he saw it at King's Cross station. It meant getting away from the Dursleys and back to everyday life at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, his home.

But this time, the feeling was different. Oh there was joy, no doubt about that but Harry had mixed feelings when he saw the Hogwarts express coming into Hogsmeade station. Would the first year students be guided by boats over the lake again and just how many students could see the Thestrals now that they had witnessed the Final Battle?

Harry stood on the stairs that led to the main doors, his view from the small village of Hogsmeade and the fire red train that came rolling into the station was marvelous. He wondered how many people would be returning to Hogwarts this year. It was only the first of October; mere months after the Final Battle and the castle had not yet been fully repaired.

There was enough room for the students to have their lessons and to resume most activities but the east wing was closed off to the public. Other sections of the ancient castle were held together by magic and it seemed to be the wish of the castle for some places to remain as monuments for every moment that it was repaired, the castle made sure that it was brought back to the former state of destruction.

Harry had helped enough with trying to rebuild the castle that he had seen it first hand on many occasions. Snape did not always have work for him since the Potions Master was still recovering from his injury and trying to stock his storerooms with his ingredients again. Slughorn had used it all, Snape had growled.

Harry fingered his apprentice badge which he had pinned to his robes. He was waiting for Ron, Hermione and Ginny to come off the train and whoever else would be on there. What kind of welcome would he receive? Would he even be welcome at all or would it be like his sixth year? People hated him and didn't trust him.

"Mr. Potter, you and I are going to Diagon Alley next weekend to pick up some tailored robes for you and some decent shoes. I refuse to have my apprentice dressed like a homeless person." The deep voice had a slightly husky tone to it and Harry turned to find Snape standing beside him.

The older wizard was dressed in his customary black robes and his cold black eyes were currently on Harry's face. Harry allowed the inspection as he had come to call it. Ever since he had fled the potion's classroom when they had first brewed together and Snape had come after him to apologize, the older wizard had made sure Harry ate enough and got regular hours of sleep.

Harry's magic had come back quickly after that and the Dreamless Sleep he had been taking steadily since then had improved his night rest, allowing him to concentrate on his studies with Snape, which were hard enough without the tiredness and fog headedness.

"Of course, sir." Harry offered meekly. He always made sure that he dressed in his clothes he had kept for school and the few Hermione had shrunk for him when they had been on the run last year. But it seemed that Snape had caught on that Harry was always wearing the same clothes, even when he send them to the house elves to be cleaned.

"Good. We need to discuss something. You will continue to abide by the rules I set you about your bedtime and take the nutrition potions twice a day as I have told you. You are still recovering from the battle and I will not have you collapsing simply because the other students return. Should there be any trouble, you know where to find me."

"Of course sir." Harry didn't even need to force his voice to become civil because currently, he knew that he owed how he was feeling to Severus Snape, his master. The Potions Master had been taking care of him, offering him the chance to talk if Harry needed it, even when Harry had yet to take his master up on it.

"I have devised a method of communication." Snape suddenly announced and Harry turned back to look at the wounded wizard. Snape's color had improved greatly and it was slowly returning to the older wizard's normally sallow color and for some reason, it did make Harry extremely glad that Snape wasn't so pale anymore.

"Oh, what is it?" Harry turned back to the taller wizard beside him and Snape raised a dark stern eyebrow and Harry hastily added, "Sir."

Snape's fine boned hand disappeared in his pocket and Harry pretended not to be curious. It was harder to contain as he cast shy glances towards his master as Snape took something out of his pocket and Harry finally turned directly to the older wizard.

He wondered what Snape had come up with. Would it be a coin like Dumbledore's Army and Draco Malfoy had used? Or would it be something like a talking patronus? It would be very cool if he could cast that particular spell. He wondered if his stag would produce his own voice or would it take on a deep voice, his father's voice perhaps?

"This is it." Snape held out a dark leather bracelet with a metal charm woven into it that bore a striking resemblance to a striking snake but Harry wasn't sure when suddenly the charm transformed into a flowing S. Harry glanced up, did Snape really intend for him to have that bracelet? Harry had only ever worn his watch and well, this kind of seemed like a bit girly.

It could be a joke of course and Snape would have no doubt had an old grand laugh over it but Harry refused to acknowledge it. Instead he held out his hand and asked. "What does it do?"

Snape's lip curled and he disposed the leather band into Harry's hand. Immediately Harry could feel the forceful swirl of Snape's magic as it swept over his palm before it hummed inside the bracelet. Harry gasped at the odd sensation that erupted over his skin, the almost pleasant feeling of knowing that Snape was close by as the older wizard purred.

"The leather is infused with my magic so that all know who you belong to…." Harry's eyes snapped up to meet the dark eyes as they stared into his own with an intensity that would have been frightening."…who you obey and who your master is. The metal will heat and glow a color for whenever I have need of you and how quickly. Green for a task, yellow for a semi emergency and red for an emergency that cannot wait. I do not care the circumstances you are but when this band flashes red, you better be at my side in less than 3 seconds, Potter, or else. Tap your wand to the bracelet and it will immediately allow you to floo to my location in the castle or to Apparate to my location should I be someplace else. Needless to say, you'll wear the bracelet at all times. You may cast a glamour of illusion charm over the bracelet to allow it to remain hidden from sight should you wish it so."

"Will the bracelet continue to do this? I can feel your magic humming in the bracelet."

"Yes, it will. Other people will feel it should they touch the wrist you wear the bracelet upon." Snape produced a similar bracelet out of his pocket and held it in his hand. There was an H instead of an S and Snape said. "You need to choice an animal so the charm will shift to that in the eyes of muggles."

"You want me to pick an animal?" Harry was uncertain as he stared up at Snape. The older wizard gave a nod, his slender hand holding out the bracelet as he said.

"Touch your wand to the bracelet and think of the animal. The magic should respond to your thoughts and desires and the magic will be infused in the bracelet like mine is in yours."

"You will wear it as well, sir?" Harry didn't even know why he was asking but if he was to wear the bracelet alone he suddenly felt like a prisoner.

"Yes, so if you have an emergency, just tap the bracelet and I will know what will happen. We will work out a coding signal for the colors. Now touch your wand to the bracelet, Potter and focus your magic for a moment."

Harry held his breath as he touched his wand to the bracelet. He wasn't even sure what animal he could be thinking about but suddenly there was a flash of light and Harry felt a sharp tug on his magic. There was even a puff of smoke and then Snape snorted.

Harry coughed to try and clear the smoke from his lungs and flushed immediately. There, on Snape's hand was the same dark leather band only this time with the H replaced with a panther which showed the enormous fangs and had a paw extracted with the dangerous claws but that wasn't the worst of it, no Harry actually felt quite proud of the animal but it was the dark green bands suddenly woven all around in the dark leather.

"Uhm, sir, I didn't mean for that to happen and I…"

"I think that you did, Mr. Potter. Remember that the magic responds to your feelings and inner thoughts. But it is of no matter." Snape's voice wasn't icy as Harry had expected and the older wizard tapped his wand on the bracelet but nothing happened.

The older wizard's expression changed from amusement to weary as he mumbled under his breath while he once more tapped the bracelet. Harry tried to keep his grin hidden but he failed at the sight of the expression on Snape's face.

The bands remained cheerfully woven into Snape's bracelet and finally the older wizard put his wand away, sighing. Harry tried not to meet his master's gaze as he told his shoes. "I am sorry."

"Somehow I doubt that, insolent imp." Snape said curtly before he continued. "Hold out your arm, Mr. Potter so that I can fasten the bracelet around your wrist. Only you or I will be able to charm it off so do not try to attempt others to try for the reproductions will be severe."

Harry gave a nod and rolled up his sleeve. Snape's fingers were dry and warm on his skin as they fastened the bracelet around his wrist. Harry shivered a little and met his master's eyes. The magic flared for a moment before settling against his skin and as Harry shuddered his sleeve back into place. The magic faded to a hum and Harry tried to bury the thought that kept resurfacing. I could grow used to this.

Hp

Severus' fingers touched the bracelet in his own pocket and he muttered a charm. He looked down to find that the green bands woven into the bracelet still stood out. He huffed. He had tried every charm and non verbal spell he knew to change them but to no avail.

Severus looked beside him to find Potter watching him, doing his best to hide a grin. The younger wizard looked away at once when Severus raised a dark eyebrow and Severus sighed. Trust his insolent apprentice to show a rare magical potential.

He finally took the bracelet out of his pocket and said. "Well, fasten it around my wrist. I will try other charms later to see if I can charm the colors back."

Potter's face fell and Severus felt a tightening near his heart. Damn the brat.

"Of course, sir." Potter softly said. Severus could almost see the disappointment in Potter's face and the thoughts that no doubt were running around the young wizard's head and as the seeker's quick fingers fastened the bracelet around his wrist, Severus looked critically at the bracelet.

The dark leather was the best he could have chosen, it could stand to be wet and would stand heat without endangering the charms done upon the leather but the dark green leather bands were an almost welcome pattern that broke the dark leather up. It wasn't half bad, Severus decided.

He touched the bracelet and felt the hum of Potter's strong magic before it settled against his skin. Severus ignored the feeling it invoked and finally said. "It will do."

Potter's head snapped up and Severus found himself subjected to the stare of those bright emerald green eyes that blinked in confusion for a moment before Potter said. "You mean you will…"

"I will allow you to put this touch upon the bracelet, yes, you wretched lion." Severus finally snarled. It had nothing to do with the grateful look Potter send his way or the way the green eyes seemed a little more peaceful, not one damn bit.

Hp

Harry sat all alone at the Gryffindor table, nervously playing with the edge of the tablecloth. He cast a look at the teacher's table to see the teachers all assembled and sitting there, the picture of serenity. He sure as hell didn't feel like that.

How would the rest of the school react once they walked through those doors and saw him sitting here? Would they keep walking or would they turn back and even refuse to be in the same room with him?

Harry had no idea but it was always the easiest to go with the worst case scenario. The others were easier to deal with otherwise. He cast a look at the head table again and Snape was looking at him, the dark eyes glittering oddly. Harry sat up straighter. He had as much right to be here as anybody else and if the students couldn't deal with that, well bad luck.

He had saved them all from Voldemort without once even complaining. He had stood between them and every bad thing that Voldemort had stood for. He had saved them and protected them, even when he hadn't been there last year to withstand the Carrows and everything else, he had been on the run for worse things, knowing that if Voldemort caught him, he would be tortured before he would have been allowed to die, if Voldemort had even wanted to kill him.

He glanced up when the murmur of many voices came and the footsteps of the students. He tensed and for a brief moment he felt Snape's magic flare against his skin as if the Potions Master himself tensed.

The first students that entered looked around at the Great Hall, the very sight of the final confrontation between Harry and Voldemort and where so many people had seen that Harry had in the end done the unthinkable and prevailed.

Harry may not have known it at the time but he knew that there weren't many people who truly believed that he could do. How could they when he had been on the run and not standing up for them and saving them? Had they even known what would await him had he done so? What would have awaited him if he had been captured?

The students then stared at the placque that had been left in the Great Hall, right in front of the Head Table and where the Sorting Hat used to sit which now sat a little bit to the right. There marked the place where the evils hell of a man had fallen and Harry swallowed thickly.

Next the attention of the students returned to Harry and they stood staring, simply staring and Harry felt the weight of all of those stares as he tried his best not to feel nervous because of it.

"Let me through! What is so bloody interesting that you all have to stop and stare?" The drawling voice made the skin of Harry's neck prickle as he recognized Draco Malfoy's voice. The youngest Malfoy stared at Harry and then said. "Good grief, get used to Potter, he is part of the furniture."

Harry raised a surprised eyebrow at the antics of the older male. Malfoy's and his hatred was notorious in the Wizarding School but it seemed that the recent years had changed the blond wizard. Malfoy was pale and he looked like he had lost weight. The blond hair looked nearly white in the light that came from the many candles in the hall and the grey eyes looked tired and slightly red rimmed. Harry was sure that he couldn't mistake the gaunt look that Draco's face held.

Malfoy was the first one to walk to the Slytherin table and muttering amongst themselves and staring at Harry and the Great Hall the students soon followed. Many more students entered and all of them stared at Harry, even the ones who sat down at Gryffindor table.

They sat at a large distance from Harry and soon the ends of both tables were filled up, leaving a large gap in the middle of the table where Harry sat. Some students greeted him and he smiled at them, trying to greet back but most students ignored him or murmured about him, some actually staring up at the Head Table to see Snape sitting next to Professor McGonagall.

"So he is back. I wonder how long that will be."

"Well, you heard what Potter said. Snape was on our side and the Ministry didn't prosecute him…"

"That doesn't mean anything!"

"Well, Potter's word is enough for me and it should be for you. You saw what happened…"

"It could be a lie and…"

Harry was amazed as he watched the slow trickle of students enter. It seemed to him that not even all the students which had been here before had returned. There weren't even a quarter of the students that had entered but perhaps more were coming.

"HARRY!" Harry glanced up startled, his wand slipping from his sleeve the moment the cry came and it seemed that more students shared that opinion as they stared around at the source of the cry. Ginny was making her way towards him, a large smile on her face, and even before Harry knew it, and she sat down on his lap and whispered. "I missed you so much. Where have you been?"

She didn't wait for an answer for the next moment her arms were wrapped around his neck and her soft lips touched his own. Harry wanted to protest that Ginny was kissing him like this in the Great Hall without even a greeting.

"Ginny!" Harry could hear Ron's voice and Hermione's cry of indignity as Ginny kissed him deeply, not caring that Harry wasn't responding or that his arms weren't even wrapped around her but hanging at his sides, curling into fists as he tried to control himself.

His first instinct was to push Ginny away but her arms were wrapped too tightly around him and her kiss was too deep. All Harry felt was embarrassment to be singled out in such a fashion. Sure the kiss was nice but he didn't want to be kissed now. He didn't want to stand out.

Snape's magic in the bracelet hummed more forcefully against his skin and Harry's eyes widened as he thought about what his master would say. What would Snape say if he saw Harry kissing Ginny like that? He had told Harry in explicit terms that he couldn't form a commitment without Snape's consent.

Did Ginny expect that Harry was going to ask her to marry him? But he had so much that he had to think about and to settle before he could even think of marriage….It was…

It was a strange feeling that overcame him that Harry didn't need to marry Ginny or anybody or make any romantic commitments or promises as long as he was Snape's apprentice. That notion brought a peace to his mind that had long been absent and Harry pushed Ginny away by putting his hands on her shoulders and pulling his head back.

Her brown eyes were wide as they stared into his own and Harry knew that Ginny had felt how he had responded to the kiss. Or lack thereof. Her pretty face consorted with anger as she took his right hand, fingers slipping over the bracelet. For a moment her eyes widen in confusion and then she looked past him, over his shoulder directly at the Head Table and Harry didn't need any eyes in the back of his head to know she was looking at Snape.

Her eyes were blazing as she turned back to look at him before with a sweet smile, she wrapped an arm around his neck and a hand in his hair to pull him forward into a kiss. Harry resisted and calmly reached up to remove her arm as he said. "Ginny, stop this!"

"Stop what, Harry?" She asked innocently, curling up in his lap and tracing patterns on his chest.

"This." He gestured with the hand she wasn't holding to her curled up like a kitten in his lap. "There are enough empty spots at the Gryffindor table for you to sit on your own. I'm not a chair."

Her face showed hurt and she hissed. "But I like sitting here."

"And I don't! If we're in Gryffindor tower it is fine but not in the Great Hall. I don't need you to draw any more attention to me." Red infused her face and Ginny got up in a moment, towering over him.

"Oh and when you are in Gryffindor tower you'll have another excuse for us not to cuddle. I never get to see you again; Harry and I didn't even know that you'd been injured. You could've told me, you know. I'm your girlfriend after all!"

"I didn't tell anybody because I assumed that you've known or been informed already. I've been a little busy you know…"

"Yeah, with Snape!" Her tone rose accusingly and Harry tried to keep his magic under control as it rose to defend him. He squeezed it down ruthlessly, it couldn't get out of hand now, and he couldn't afford and allow it.

"Keep your voice down. I don't want a scene." He hissed at her and Ginny paled. She swayed for a moment and her eyes flashed and then she shouted. "I hate you, Harry James Potter! We'll talk about this but I'll be sure to do it in private then since you only consider what you want and never what anybody else wants!"

With those words she stormed out and Harry could feel all eyes in the Great Hall upon him as he shrunk back into his seat, judging him and some no doubt laughing at him. Snape's magic soothingly raised goose bumps on his skin but Harry refused to look at the Head Table to see his master's condescending gaze.

He heard Hermione huff beside him and snapped at her, meeting her angry gaze. "What?"

"Don't you think that could've gone a little better?" She said.

"Oh, no kidding, I thought it was perfect the way it was." He snarled sarcastically. Her eyes narrowed and she hissed.

"Don't take that tone with me, Harry Potter! Ginny has been worried sick about you…."

"Yeah, funny way to show it to snog me senselessly instead of asking!"

"You weren't exactly waiting for her either!" Hermione seemed to swell with the injustice of the situation in her eyes.

"What was I supposed to do? Wait around the bloody station for you lot. You've got any idea how cold it is?"

"It is what a friend would do!" Hermione bristled.

"Yeah, I've been a very lousy friend, ridding you of a dark lord and then focusing on my own recuperation and getting my own life in order instead of fawning over everybody else. I'm so sorry…" Harry growled. He was getting fed up with this. Was everybody queuing to lecture him?

"Stop pretending then and say what you want!" She cried out.

"Fine, I'll be sure to print it the moment I figure out what it is the bloody world expects of me to do and what it is that I actually want, alright!"

"You're impossible, Harry Potter!"

"It is my middle name, right along with the Boy Who Lived and the Chosen One!" He sneered with a sneer worthy of Snape himself.

Hermione let out a frightening hiss that was a mixture of rage and pain and Harry looked at her, finally saying. "Sod off if you're going to give me a piece of your mind to trying to make me feeling guilty, Hermione, I am doing that well enough on my own."

Hermione paled and then rose, pushing her chair back before she stormed out of the hall. Harry sighed, that was the second female in ten minutes he had managed to chase away. Perhaps he could make it 3 out of three as he turned to Ron who was calmly sitting beside him, blinking at the deafening silence Hermione's departure had left behind.

"Now you've got another reason to hate me. I don't only make Hermione miserable but your sister as well." Harry said coldly, casting a glance at his best friend.

Ron looked back calmly and then shuddered and said. "Well, I wouldn't tolerate what she said just as much as you did and Ginny, well…I wouldn't have liked what she did, truthfully, I didn't."

"I know, I mean she could've just said hello and be done with it. I don't need the whole school to know that she is fond of me."

"Looks more like lust to me, mate." Harry grimaced and met Ron's grin as he said.

"That must make you very happy."

"You know me, I am an easy guy to please, a little bit of food, not too much homework, plenty of sleep and some money to go round and Hermione and I am happy." Harry laughed for the first time in what felt like ages, or at least since the students came in.

"So Snape's been treating you well?" Ron gestured with his hand to Harry and in response he raised an eyebrow. "You know, not torturing you and stuff? You look loads better actually." Ron's ears went red and Harry got a feeling that Ron was trying to say something.

"Yeah, he has been good. I even have a bedtime." Harry rolled his eyes. Ron's eyes went wide and then said. "Oh man, that is torture, especially to a wizard who is of age."

"Well, it is reality but it isn't all that bad. I have to be in bed by 11, homework done and all. At least that is what I think he means."

"Oh well, you sure look better under his care." Ron said carefully.

"You think me incapable of taking care of myself?" Harry raised an eyebrow.

"Mate, I lived with you for years, I know you need and deserve somebody to look out for you." Harry didn't know what to say to that and Ron's ears were bright red as he said softly. "Look, Harry, what I'm trying to say is that I'm sorry for the way I responded. I was in a bad state and…"

"I know, it isn't easy when you lose somebody you love." Harry tried to keep his voice level. Ron shook his head as he said.

"It doesn't excuse the fact that I was a right ass and I apologize for that."

"You were right, you were an ass."

Ron laughed and clasped him on the shoulder and finally Harry could feel himself smiling, a genuine smile and he had the courage to look up at his master to see that Snape regarded him and gave him a nod and as peace flooded him, Harry knew Snape was pleased with him and that feeling was making him feel better than he had done in a long time.

Hp

Severus growled low in his throat when he saw Ginevra Weasley literally pounce on his apprentice. He had told Potter in explicit terms, well maybe not so explicit, that he was not to form any commitment. Beside him, Minerva made a disgusted sound in the back of her throat.

"I hadn't expected Miss Weasley to be quite so tactile."

"She was licking off my apprentice. That'll cost points." He snarled, unsure if he was more disgusted by the display or Potter's enthusiasm.

"I doubt that'll be necessary, Severus, Just look." He followed Minerva's pointed look, half hoping to find the opportunity to give his apprentice a good tongue lashing and make the brat feel miserable for the little stunt he had pulled with the bracelet. Instead he saw Ginevra Weasley storming away from Potter after a row of words.

"Well, that changes things." He merely said.

"I am sure there will be other opportunities for you to take points this evening." Minerva said consolingly as she patted his arm.

"And that is supposed to console me how exactly?" He hissed back. The bantering reminds him of old times, before the war happened and he was made Headmaster and managed to alienate everybody because he was forced to keep his role as spy intact.

He looked around the Great Hall. Students cast uncertain glances towards him and some just ignored him, sitting in the very room where the Dark Lord had been defeated and looked lost and out of place.

"Where are the first years or is Hagrid still guiding them across the lake?" He asked instead, glancing at the patchy hat that was sitting on the stool, apparently silent. There was no nervous and excited energy around the hat this time which was strange. Normally one could feel the energy the hat displayed on the eve of sorting.

"There are no first years for another month. They'll come when the rest of the upper years have settled in and we can fully turn our attention to the education of the young and bright minds of the newest magic generation." Minerva said stiffly.

Severus frowned but he didn't say anything. This term would be hard enough without having the normal cheeky first years seek his attention. His dark gaze sought out the other students, Draco Malfoy was in his seat, refusing to look up at him and meet his eyes.

The boy looked even worse than he did when he was ordered to kill Dumbledore. Whiteness does not become Draco, Severus decided. "Who is Malfoy's tutor?" He asked.

Minerva lips thinned as she said, taking a sip of her wine. "I am."

"But I thought you're Granger's tutor." He said surprised.

"I am. I am hoping that they can both help each other with overcoming their differences and Draco needs all the help he can get trying to get his life back in order, especially with his father in Azkaban and his mother under house arrest and under suspicion from the Ministry."

"But why do you have two students under your wing and now me? I am qualified enough to look after the Slytherins." Severus wasn't sure what he was feeling, but it wasn't anger or frustration. It was distrust that she didn't trust him enough to….

"Because you have your hands full with Harry." She merely said, looking him in the eye and reminding him of her animagus form. Severus' head turned back to regard Potter when Granger stormed out. He wasn't the only member of staff that raised strange eyebrows at this.

"It seems that your apprentice is in disagreement with the female population today." Fillius' voice was soft and Severus glanced at Potter's messy head. Potter's magic hummed against his skin, a mere echo of the younger male's magic. Potter was upset and he had reason to be, even if Severus couldn't understand the words that had been spoken between Weasley, Granger and his apprentice.

He rose from the table as Minerva said. "I've yet to give my speech, Severus."

"I am sure you can do it without me holding your hand. I need to sort out my apprentice."

"But Harry hasn't done anything, Severus." Flitwick cried and Severus growled.

"I know. I'm not a blind dunderhead and I am more than capable of handling my apprentice. The bloody boy needs looking after."

He was already down the steps even before he realized what he'd said but no amount of embarrassment could contain him from doing his job as a master.

Hp

Harry stared at the empty plate in front of him. He'd lost all appetite since his fight with Hermione. Ron's apology had made him feel better but all he wanted to do was to go to Gryffindor Tower to be alone. But the tower would be off limit since Hermione and Ginny were no doubt crying in each other's arms about what a bastard he was.

Ron's elbow hit him in the side and Harry shifted a little on the bench. "Harry!" Ron hissed and Harry looked up to see that the whole table had frozen, staring down at the end where Snape was watching them, scowling darkly.

Harry sat up a little straighter before Snape drawled. "To me, Potter!"

Harry frowned, what had he done now? The magic on the bracelet soothed over his skin and Snape jerked with his head toward the entrance hall and then held out a slender hand and said. "I thought I did not need to repeat myself, to me, Mr. Potter."

Exchanging a confused look with Ron, Harry rose and followed Snape out of the Great Hall. He hurried to catch up with the long strides of his master and finally fell into step beside Snape, who didn't slow down. Harry kept silent, waiting for the older wizard to speak and finally Snape turned to him, arms crossed over the broad chest to glower down at Harry.

"Miss Weasley and Miss Granger saw reason to pick a fight with you today, why was that?"

Harry shuffled his feet and flushed. A part of him wanted to tell Snape that it was none of his sodding business but another part of him wanted to confide in the older wizard. He sighed, ran a hand through his hair and said. "Ginny wasn't happy with the way I reacted to her kiss or my lack of reaction and Hermione wasn't happy with the way I treated Ginny."

"You are aware that I've not given consent for your commitment with Miss Weasley."

"Yeah, I know, sir." Harry looked away.

"I've no problem with your liaison with Miss Weasley but should you wish it, and while I strongly advice against being dishonest in a relationship, I can…withhold my consent until you sort yourself out, Potter."

Harry's gaze snapped up to meet the dark eyes as he asked. "You mean it?"

"Yes, should you express a profound wish to be in a committed relationship with anybody, I'll give my consent, unless I see reason that the relationship is harmful. I however, will not give my consent when you fight with your girlfriend as Miss Weasley so helpfully pointed out."

Harry didn't even know why he was suddenly beaming but he had a hard time to hold his grin. "Of course, sir."

"Therefore, you'll tell me, Potter, if you wish to be in a relationship with Miss Weasley at this point or I should withhold my consent so you've got time to sort yourself out further and focus on your studies."

"Uhm…could you withhold your consent for a while, sir? Just until I've had some time to think." Harry looked up into the dark eyes.

"Of course, Mr. Potter. I shall have my owl deliver a note to Miss Weasley to inform her of my wishes and our agreement, which goes beyond all commitments except those of marriage or engagement made prior to our apprenticeship." Snape gave Harry a nod and as Harry watched his master stalk away, he couldn't help but think that he had done well in choosing Snape as his master for Snape did look out for him.

That is it for now. I hope you liked it. Review of course.

Next chapter: His first day of class and will his restored reputation do him any good or will the students refuse to believe Severus? Can he teach them Defense against the Dark Arts or will the students refuse to be taught by a former Death Eater? Will the relationship between Harry and Ginny grow colder now that Snape had refused to give consent or will Ginny try to defy the rules? That and more in: managing.