The snow was nearly up to Simon's knees now, and the child was finding it difficult to keep moving. He was freezing, the snow had slowly leeched all the warmth from his body, even with the griffindown sweater. He tripped and fell face first into a snowdrift, and the cold overwhelmed him.
He no longer knew which way the house was, or where he was, or anything save that it was snowing, he was lost, and for some reason he was very sleepy. A part of his mind whispered that it was stupid to sleep in the snow, but he was very tired from walking and he needed to rest. He would just sit here a moment, just until he felt better.
He hoped Severus or his parents would find him soon, he didn't know it would take them this long. Wait a minute, his parents weren't here, were they? No, they'd gone on a cruise and left him behind, like always. They were always doing that. He shivered. His mother always said he was her little treasure, but if that was so then why was she always going off somewhere with his father and leaving him behind, with the house elves? Why was she never there when Simon needed her? He'd listened to Marietta and Trina talking about their mothers and how they did things with them, like played games and tucked them into bed and read them stories. His mother had never done anything like that, she'd always been too busy. Those things had always been left to the elves.
But his mom had brought him presents from wherever she traveled, he thought wearily. Still, a present wasn't the same. His teeth chattered sharply and he tried to climb to his feet. But for some reason his legs weren't working right. His feet felt funny, heavy and he couldn't move them. But that was okay. He'd sit here for another while. He closed his eyes, recalling the mini Shetland pony his parents had sent him from Scotland for his birthday, since they'd been on business and missed it. The little pony had been adorable and the elves had spared no expense on his party, but Simon hadn't really enjoyed it, now that he thought about it. Why were they never there? he wondered blearily. Did they love him at all? Did anyone?
Two tears traced their way down his cheeks and froze. He was alone, alone in the dark and the cold. No one cares. Not my parents, not Severus. He thought wistfully of the way the Flynns and Snapes got along, they were a real family, he realized. I want that. I wish I hadn't been so dumb. I messed everything up. Why did I ever think this was a good idea? I'm so cold. So very cold. He curled into a ball, too exhausted to fight any more. Where was Severus? He was supposed to find me. But I guess he doesn't care either. All he ever does is yell at me. He said he was ashamed of me . . .because I played with those stupid fireworks. I wish I had some now . . .so they could light the sky and maybe someone could find me . . .
He drifted, and felt himself flying over a vast field. It was warm and sunny there and he was surrounded by hundreds of butterflies. He raced after them and tried to catch them, but they were always just out of reach.
"Come back!" he shouted, jumping up to try and grab one.
From far away he heard a dog barking. He turned to look for it. That was odd, he'd never seen a dog in the butterfly meadow. But he could hear it, getting closer and closer. Then he heard another voice, calling his name, except he couldn't remember what his name was.
"Simon! It's time for dinner. Simon!" He knew that voice. It was Severus Snape, calling him for dinner as he'd promised.
He felt a hand shaking his shoulder and something sticky on his cheek.
"Simon! Simon! Wake up!"
His eyes felt so heavy, but he managed to open them.
And found himself looking up at a very concerned Severus, who was shaking him frantically, trying to bring him out of the hypothermic coma he'd fallen into. Scout was beside him, lying right on him, in fact, warming him with his own body, and licking his cheek while Severus cast warming charm after warming charm, melting the snow enough so he could pick up the half-frozen child.
"Simon! It's Severus. Can you hear me?"
He tried to speak, but his tongue was frozen.
"Nod if you understand me. I'm going to get you out of here, I promise. It'll only be another few minutes."
Simon nodded, relief rushing through him. Severus had found him after all. Maybe he did care, if only a little.
Snape continued to melt the snow about the boy's feet, which were encased in a hard crust. But at last he could dig enough to free them and then he gently picked up the child and wrapped him inside his jacket, holding him against his chest securely. "You're going to be all right, Simon. I've got you and now we're going home, okay?" He tugged on Scout's leash. "Scout! Take us back to the Flynns."
The big dog rose, shook himself, and began making his way back the way they had come, unmindful of the snow that was still falling.
Severus had the leash wound about one wrist while he cradled the shivering child in the other. Thank you Lord, for letting me find him, he offered up a swift prayer as he followed the magehound through the snowy woods. For your mercy, I am truly thankful. Equal parts of relief and irritation swirled through him. He peered down at the small blond head with its red hat nestled into his sheepskin coat and exhaled sharply. "What were you thinking, to run away like that?" he scolded softly. "I nearly had a heart attack when I found you gone."
Simon moistened his lips and said, hoarsely, "You . . .care . . .about me?"
"What? Of course I do. Do you think I'd be here otherwise, child?"
"But . . .you said . . .you were ashamed to . . .be related to me . . ."
Inwardly Severus cursed his poor choice of words. They'd been spoken in frustration and anger, he hadn't meant to be quite so harsh. "I shouldn't have said that, Simon. I didn't mean it. What I should have said is that I'm ashamed of your behavior, not you."
Simon smiled. Severus did care. He felt a warm glow inside of him. He snuggled against the older wizard's chest and fell asleep to the sound of Snape's heartbeat.
* * * * * *
Simon woke up just as someone was pulling a pair of flannel pajamas on him. He was no longer cold, but warm and toasty all over. "Dad, I think he's waking up," said a soft voice.
Blue eyes fluttered open and Simon found himself looking at Arista, who had just used her healing power to cure him of frostbite and hypothermia. "Where am I?" he whispered.
"Where you belong. In your bed," answered Severus. "How do you feel?"
"A little sleepy. And my feet are tingly."
"That's from the restored circulation," Arista told her father when he looked at her in concern. "It's normal. It'll go away after awhile, Simon. You can give him a dose of Pepper Up Potion now if you want, Dad."
Snape nodded, and poured a dose out on a spoon. "Open up, child. This will make you feel better."
To his surprise, the kid did as he'd ordered without argument. He took the medicine without complaint, sighing as it warmed him from the inside out. "That feels good, Severus." Steam trickled from his ears.
"He'll be all right now, Dad," said his daughter. "I'll leave you two alone so you can talk and see if Jenna needs any help setting the table."
Severus nodded and waved her off. Then he seated himself in a chair beside the bed and eyed the child he'd rescued with a mixture of concern and sternness. "Do you know how close you came to freezing, Simon Rivers? If Scout wasn't such an incredible tracker, we might not have found you until the spring thaw. Snow stays here in the Poconos for over half the winter. What on earth possessed you to venture out in a snowstorm, you crazy child?"
Simon glanced away. Then he mumbled, "I was mad at you for punishing me and I-I thought . . ."
"It would be better if you left? Or that I'd feel guilty if you were gone?" Severus guessed.
"Both. I know you don't like me." That was spoken into the pillow, but Snape's sharp ears caught it.
"Have I ever said that?" asked the Director. He placed a hand on the boy's shoulder, turning him over. "Look at me when I'm speaking, please. I don't like talking to the back of your head. Now, where did you ever get the notion that I dislike you?"
"Well . . .you-you're always yelling at me for everything . . .and you spanked me . . .you wouldn't do that if you liked me, Severus."
"Ah. You think that my punishing you when you misbehave means I don't like you?"
Simon nodded. "Well . . .yeah. Doesn't it?"
"Child, it's the responsibility of an adult, whether it be as a parent or a relative, to correct you when you make mistakes. That's how you learn. If I didn't care about you, Simon, I wouldn't bother, because it wouldn't matter to me how you behaved. When I scold you or punish you there is always a reason, it most certainly is never for nothing. Why did I put you in time out that first day at my house?"
"Because . . .I screamed at you and knocked over my chair," Simon said slowly.
"Yes. And what did you learn from that?"
"Not to yell and throw chairs."
"Good. Now think about the other times I've scolded you for misbehaving. In all those cases, you did something wrong that made it necessary for me to correct you, right?"
The boy squirmed. "I guess so. But then you spanked me and put me in time out too."
"And you don't think you deserved it? Simon, I asked you this before, but maybe you weren't paying attention. Do you realize what could have happened to you by playing with fireworks? Do you know that you could have been hurt or killed or hurt Amy and Sevvy when you shot them off? Fireworks are not toys, and they were never intended for children to play with. But you told me you were bored and that's why you played with them. I won't accept that excuse, boy. Boredom is no reason to go looking for trouble."
"But I didn't know they'd catch the woods on fire. That never happened when my dad lit them."
"Your father is an adult who knew the right way to handle them, Simon. But fireworks can be dangerous even if you know what you're doing. Playing with fire can have deadly consequences, and rather than have you learn that the hard way, by getting burned or maybe killed, I spanked you. A sore bottom is better than a dead child in my book. And despite what you may think, I did not enjoy punishing you that way."
"Then why did you?" the boy asked sulkily.
"Because it was the only way I could be sure you learned your lesson, Mr. Rivers. Will you ever pick up a firework or touch matches again?"
"No!" Simon replied, shaking his head frantically.
"Good. Then that spanking wasn't for nothing, now was it?"
"No." Then he added, "But my mom and dad never did that to me."
Severus sighed. "It isn't really my place to say how a parent should raise their child, but I'll have you know that I think they hurt you by not punishing you far worse than I did. Because you never learn to tell the difference between right and wrong if someone doesn't correct you when you make a mistake. Your parents meant well, I'm sure . . ."
"No they didn't!" Simon burst out angrily. "They just didn't want to be bothered."
Severus looked at the boy in astonishment. "Whatever do you mean, Simon?"
"They're always away, Severus. On stupid business trips and when they're home, they're always busy doing grown-up stuff. Like going to parties and having lunch or whatever. I only see them when they've bought me something otherwise my house elves take care of me. I thought that was the way everybody's parents were. Until I came here and Marietta told me her mom always told her a story before bed and so did you. Not mine. She told Perry to do that, she didn't have time."
"I'm sure your mother wants to spend time with you . . ." Severus began.
But the child shook his head. "No, she doesn't. She likes to give me presents and tell people about me, but she's never there, Severus. Not like Jenna and Colin are, or you. I asked my dad once if he could play a game with me last time he was home. He said no, he had important work to do. But you're always working, I said. That's my job, what I do best, he said. Then he gave me a new broom and I liked it, but I'd rather have him play with me instead. Only he never does. He's always busy, always!"
Snape raised an eyebrow, astonished at this revelation. Though Simon was given every material thing he ever wanted, it would seem he was denied the very thing a child needed most, the love and attention of his parents. The Rivers gave their son every toy and game money could buy, yet it was no substitute for love. Money couldn't buy happiness, Severus thought sadly. That appeared to be one lesson Simon had learned all too well. Now that he was aware of that, Severus began to see the child's tantrums and spoiled behavior in a slightly different light. They were a way to get attention, because when he acted out his parents came running, and he got to spend time with them, which was really what he wanted in the first place.
"I'm sorry to hear that, Simon. Perhaps I can speak to your parents when they come back from their trip," Severus suggested.
"Won't do any good," Simon said knowingly. "But thanks anyway." He bit his lip, then said quietly, "Thank you for finding me, Severus. You didn't have to, you know."
"Simon, of course I did! I would never leave a child to die."
"Not even one like me?"
"No. No child deserves that, no matter how badly they misbehave. I'm going to tell you something that my mother always told me after she punished me, Simon. She used to say that just because I was bad did not mean she loved me any less. "I may yell at you and punish you, but I will always love you," she told me. It's the same when I punish you, child. I might dislike the things you do, but I don't dislike you, Simon Rivers."
"Really?" Hope sparkled in the child's cerulean eyes.
"Really." Severus assured him. Then he reached out and drew the boy into a hug. "All's forgiven, Simon."
Simon clung to him for a long moment then he said, "I'm sorry I ran away and made you worry, Severus. I won't do it again."
"Good. Because if you ever scare me that way again, boy, I'll turn you over my knee. And that's a promise, Mr. Rivers. So best behave, you hear?"
"Yes, sir. I will."
"You'd better." Snape said gruffly, then he rumpled the boy's hair, much as he did to his own son. Well, I'll be damned. It's a miracle. Arista was right again. "Now, do you think you feel up to coming down and eating Thanksgiving dinner with the rest of the family?"
Simon considered. "Yes, if you really want me to."
"I do. You're family, brat. And you're always welcome at my table." Severus said, and gave the boy a smile. What's more, he meant what he'd said. No matter how aggravating the boy was, he was family. Then he carried the boy down the stairs and into the dining room, where a lavish Thanksgiving feast was spread out on the table.
There was the turkey, roasted to golden perfection. Snape's apple walnut cranberry stuffing was a savory accompaniment to the tender turkey, as was the homemade gravy and cranberry relish. Next to that was the pan of lasagna and opposite it was a bowl of mashed potatoes, swirled with butter. Jenna had also made a sweet potato casserole and green beans with almonds. Trish had brought crescent rolls and honey wheat bread.
The adults had wine and the children apple cider or milk. Severus placed Simon in the chair next to him and Gavin. Colin was seated to his right, at the head of the table and Jenna at the foot, with Sevvy and Amy next to her. Trina, Marietta, Arista, Trish, Flick, and Drake were inbetween them. Scout, Ember, and Surra were all under the table, waiting impatiently for dinner to begin so they could have the scraps that fell on the floor, especially by Sevvy and Amy, who were known for their generosity in feeding begging animals.
But before they began to eat, Colin proposed that they all follow a Flynn family tradition and say something they were thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day. "I'll start. I'm thankful to my lovely wife, Jenna, for agreeing to marry me. I don't know how you put up with me."
"It's the mystery of the century, hon," his wife smiled and everyone laughed. Then she said, "And I'm thankful I managed to get this whole dinner together all in one day."
So it went, around the table, Arista was thankful for having a baby, Drake for his new job, courtesy of Severus, Trish was thankful for Flick returning from a tough case safe and sound. Flick said he was thankful for that and the fact that Trish was still waiting for him at home when he got there.
"I can't count how many Hunters I know who've come back from a case to find their wife or girlfriend's left a note saying sorry, but I couldn't take the stress or I found somebody else who's home more than three days a week." Flick said, and Colin nodded in agreement. Being the spouse of a Hunter was not for everyone.
Trina said she was thankful her parents let her spend Thanksgiving with Drake. Marietta said she was thankful they had Scout, who could find everyone who got lost. Amy said she was thankful Surra had kittens, so she could show her cousins. "How about you, Sevvy? What're you thankful for?"
Sevvy thought for a moment. Then he said, "Pumpkin pie!" For that was his favorite dessert.
"He's your son all right, Colin!" laughed Arista. She looked at her brother. "How about you, Gav?"
"Umm . . .I'm thankful Dad didn't ground me for not finishing my potions homework last week."
Colin raised an eyebrow. "What's this, Sev? Getting soft in your old age?"
"Hardly, Flynn. He was sick last week, so I gave him another day, plus an additional reading assignment." Severus defended. "And I'm thankful to be here with my family, who are, thank God, all safe and sound." Then he turned to Simon. "Well, Simon? What are you thankful for?"
The eight-year-old thought for a long moment. Then he looked straight at Severus and said, very quietly, "I'm thankful for you, Severus, 'cause you came and found me even when I didn't deserve it. And this is the very best Thanksgiving ever."
Severus put an arm about his young cousin and lifted his glass in a toast. "You're welcome, Simon. And I'll drink to that."
So did everyone else. "And now, enough talking, let's eat before it gets cold," said Colin.
Food appeared on everyone's plate and they all stuffed themselves. No one complained and they all agreed it was delicious, the best Thanksgiving dinner they'd ever had. When everyone had enough, they gave a great number of scraps to the animals, then sent Gavin, Marietta, Trina, and Simon into the kitchen to wash the dishes.
"Me?" Simon stared at Severus. "But I don't know how."
"Then it's about time you learned, Rivers. Go on."
"C'mon, kid," Gavin called. "I'll show you how to do a cleaning charm, it's not hard."
Simon hesitated for an instant, about to say that cleaning was a job for house elves, not wizards. But then he thought better of it and rose and followed Gavin into the kitchen.
After the dishes were washed and dried, Jenna, Arista, and Trish brought out the dessert. There was apple pie, chocolate cake, chocolate chip brownies, and the all important pumpkin pie. Coffee, tea, and hot cocoa were served along with it.
Simon ate his piece of pumpkin pie slowly, savoring the sweet taste and hoping that his parents decided to go on another cruise next year, so he could spend Thanksgiving with the Snapes again. He'd apologized to Amy and Sevvy for scaring them with the fireworks and they had forgiven him, though Amy couldn't resist adding, "See? I told you not to play with matches, Simon."
"Okay, you were right. Now how about we play a game of cards?"
"What kind of game? Like Go Fish?"
"Nah. That's for babies. I can show you how to play five-card draw poker."
"Simon," a silky voice whispered in his ear. "You've already introduced those children to the dangers of playing with matches today. I don't think you want to add gambling to that list, do you?"
Simon jumped about a foot. Severus was standing right behind him, giving him a familiar frown. "Uh, no sir?" he began uncertainly.
"Good answer. Now, play Go Fish or some other card game."
"Aw, Severus! Can't I just—"
"No. Go Fish, Simon. Or else you can play go to bed."
The boy heaved a sigh. "Yes sir," and obeyed, because he had learned that Severus always had a reason for his orders, even if he didn't understand what it was. And though a part of him bristled rebelliously at being told what to do, another part recalled that Severus cared about him, and he was very thankful for that.
They played several rounds of Go Fish, War, and Exploding Snap before the Flynns declared it was bedtime for the two youngest children.
"But Mom! Uncle Sev didn't give us our present yet," Amy reminded her. "And I was good all day."
"She is right. I'd forgotten all about it what with Simon getting lost and all," Severus conceded. He summoned the two gifts for his goddaughter and her brother with a lazy wave. "Here you go, Amy." He handed her a brightly wrapped package.
She squealed and tore off the paper to reveal a Fairy Flutter doll, which was the latest rage among all the little wizard girls. The doll was charmed to hover and fly short distances and you could change the color of its dress with a word and it shot magical fairy dust from its little wand. Amy was practically jumping up and down. "A Fairy Flutter doll! I've been wanting this my whole life."
"Her whole life being last month," Colin chuckled. "Merlin, Sev, what do you think this is, Christmas?"
"I went to the Octagonal Garden to meet a client, and they were selling them," answered the Director. Then he accepted Amy's eager hug and thank you.
For Sevvy there was a toy magehound like Marietta's original one, only this one actually moved and barked on command. "Doggie! My doggie!" the toddler crowed, hugging the soft toy.
"What do you say, Sevvy?" prompted Jenna.
"Love my Uncle Sev!" cried the golden-haired moppet and then he ran over to the Potions Master and hugged his leg.
"Aww, that's so sweet!" chorused the girls.
"You're welcome, Trouble," said Severus, then he picked up the little boy and handed him over to his mother. "I guess now I'm forgiven for smacking his hand."
"I'd say so," Jenna laughed. "All right, you two rugrats. Time for bed. Now march." And she herded Amy before her into the bedroom.
Colin snapped his fingers and four presents appeared before him. "Trina, you're first, since you're the oldest."
She shyly accepted a flat package wrapped in moons and stars. "Thank you, sir."
"Colin," he corrected. "Only my apprentices sir me."
She opened it to reveal a book entitled The Proper Care and Training of Your Magehound Puppy. "Oh! How did you know I got a puppy from Scout's last litter?"
"How do you think, brat?" laughed her brother. "It's all I've heard out of your mouth for the past month."
"Oh stuff it, Drake," his sister ordered, then she gave Colin and Jenna a huge smile. "Thank you very much. Now I can help my dad train the puppies. Maybe we can start our own K9 division in Britain."
"Sounds like a good plan," approved Colin. Then he called Gavin over next.
Gavin tore open his present and both eyebrows went up. "Awesome, Uncle Colin!"
It was a book called Potion Pranks For All Occasions, and Severus groaned upon seeing it.
"Flynn, can I throttle you? He doesn't need any encouragement."
"Oh, lighten up, Snape. Every kid needs one of those," laughed the Hunter, his blue eyes glinting mischievously.
Severus shot his son a warning look. "If you do any of those pranks during my lessons, you will be grounded, Gavin."
"Okay, Dad. But I'm allowed after them, right?"
"Yes. But for Merlin's sake, don't show the formulas to the twins. They don't know the meaning of restraint." He was referring to Nick and Drew, his twin nephews, who were mischief-makers extraordinaire.
"Don't have to. They've got their own copy," Gavin smirked.
"God help us all," groaned the professor.
"Marietta? This one's for you, sweetie," Jenna said, and handed her a small box.
Inside was a small gold chain with a miniature picture of Ember on it. "Oh! It's beautiful, Jenna!" She ran over to hug both of them, then asked Arista to put it on her. She loved jewelry.
"And this one's yours, Simon." Jenna held out a fourth present.
The eight-year-old took it, then looked at Severus. "I'm allowed to have it? But you said I couldn't before."
"After the way you've behaved, you shouldn't, but since you've been punished enough for one day, I'll allow it," said the Director. "Go ahead and open it."
Simon tore off the paper. Inside was a child's Quidditch set, complete with all the balls and bats plus a handbook of rules, everything except for the brooms. "Wow! Neat!"
"I had one of those when I was your age," Colin told him. "I loved it. You can play it with two or more players."
"Thanks, Colin and Jenna." Simon said, thinking he'd have to tell his dad to cancel the order he'd placed last week for one, since this set was much cooler than the one he'd originally picked out.
"We can play it tomorrow," Gavin said. "Marietta and Trina can borrow brooms from Aunt Jen and Uncle Colin."
"I'm captain of one team," Simon insisted.
"Fine, but I'll whip your butt anyway," said his dark-haired cousin, then he mock cuffed him on the back of the head.
"Watch yourself, brat," warned Gavin, but he was smiling when he said it.
"All right, you can discuss Quidditch tomorrow," Snape interrupted. "All of you kids need to be in bed."
There came a chorus of groans at that, but the Director just gave them a look and said silkily, "Or else you'll be sorry when I wake you up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to help me cook breakfast."
"Never mind!" Gavin said quickly. "I'm going."
"Me too!" agreed Marietta.
"What's so bad about that?" Simon wondered.
"It's not why he's waking you up that's bad. It's how. He shoots a freezing jet of water in your face from his wand and yells rise and shine, Mr. Snape right in your ear. It's not fun."
"Oh. Guess we'd better go to bed then."
"Wise decision, Mr. Rivers," smirked Severus.
The kids bid them all good night and went upstairs.
"You're so mean, Dad," scolded Arista.
"Hey, whatever works."
"Did you really do that to Gavin?" asked Trish.
"Once. After he refused to get up for lessons for the third morning in a row," said her father with an evil chuckle. "It worked like a charm."
"Maybe I ought to take notes. Because if our kid is anything like Arista he or she won't wake up for anything short of a national disaster," remarked Drake.
"Funny, Drake," his wife growled, then mock-punched him in the ribs.
Laughing, he caught Arista's hand in his own and said, "Good thing I know one way to wake you that never fails."
"What's that? With a brass band?" teased Snape.
Arista shot him a perfectly honed Snape glare.
"No. I give her a kiss," chuckled Drake.
"Now there's a smart man," praised Jenna. She looked pointedly at her husband. "You taking notes, Flynn?"
"Don't need to," Colin drawled. "Because I've already got a surefire way of waking you up in two seconds."
"What's that?" asked Flick.
"I call Amy and Sevvy and tell them to wake up Mommy," admitted the Hunter, smirking like a devil.
"Good one, Colin," laughed Flick. "I'll have to try that someday."
"You need to have kids first, Bowen," Trish reminded him.
"I'll borrow Arista's at first," shot back Flick.
Trish rolled her eyes. "Now see what you've started?"
"That's Colin for you. A born troublemaker," Jenna said. "Like young Mr. Rivers."
"Speaking of Simon, what prompted the sudden change in attitude?" wondered Colin.
"A period of contemplation and a good dose of Snape discipline," answered Severus. "Either that or a miracle. I just hope it lasts." Then he leaned back in his chair and sipped his second cup of tea, thinking that this holiday really had turned out to be the very best Thanksgiving he'd ever had.
* * * * *
Years later, when Simon was a grown man and at twenty-four, the youngest President of the American Magical Association, he gave a speech at his inauguration thanking all those who'd helped him get where he was today. He was also heir to the Rivers empire, since his parents had both died of overwork last year.
"I'd like to thank my parents for financing this campaign, because it was their money that paid for it," Simon began. "But another person was very influential in helping me to become the man I am today, and I owe him more than I can ever repay. Most of you know him as the Director of the DHI, Severus Snape. He and I are distant cousins, but he's actually been more like a father to me. Severus used to be a Potions Master a long time ago and I learned magic from him same as all the other kids in my family. But I learned other things besides magic from him. I'd like to thank him for teaching me the meaning of responsibility and honesty, which I'd never learned until I met him, and for being there when I needed advice, and also for tanning my hide when I needed it too." Here he chuckled and so did all of the audience. "Without his discipline and love I'd be nothing more than a rich spoiled playboy and I'd not be standing here before you tonight. Thank you, Severus, for everything, you took the worst brat in America and made him into the President of the AMA." Then he bowed and stepped off the podium to a round of thunderous applause.
Farther back in the audience, a tall wizard in a black cloak and Hunter uniform smiled proudly. "You're very welcome, my boy. I guess you really were paying attention after all, Mr. Rivers." Then he rose to congratulate the new President, thinking how far the young man had come from the sulky spoiled brat he'd brought home that Thanksgiving break sixteen years ago.
Hope you all liked this little story. I may or may not include future stories in this series with Simon, who did give more headches to Severus, a LOT more, before finally changing for the better. But Severus's love and firmness, along with a few more spankings, finally cured the brat, as you can see.
And now, get ready for the sequel to this and Some Good Guys Wear Black--Someone to Watch Over Me . . .it has angst, drama, adventure and a whole new case for Director Snape and the troublehunting firecaller Gavin to solve, one that will reveal some of the mysteries hidden in Gavin's past.