Summary: Harry has been living with his new guardian for only four months and is constantly afraid he'd get sent back to his relatives. When one of them ends up sick, Harry's just waiting to be told he's going back to the Dursleys.

A/N: Set during the Christmas holiday Harry's first year at Hogwarts. This story came about after I finished reading these two Harry Potter fics here back to back: "For You I Will" by leggylover03 and "Harry's New Home" by kbinnz. I loved the worlds the authors created in their stories and wanted to write a Snape/Harry guardian fic combining the two and where either Harry or Snape gets sick. This is what I ended up with. I hope you enjoy it. And then when you're done reading mine, go read "For You I Will" and "Harry's New Home."

Disclaimer: Don't own the worlds JK Rowling, leggylover03, and kbinnz created. I'm just borrowing them.

One First of Many

It snuck up on him quickly and before he could do anything about it, Harry let out a soft sneeze into his cupped hands. "Tchoo!"

"Bless you Harry," all seven of the occupants at the dinner table stated almost in unison, though Mrs. Weasley's sentiment was of course the loudest.

Sitting there extremely tense, Harry looked up through his fringe. His eyes found Snape's first, then he quickly looked away. "Thanks," he said quietly to the table, not at all comfortable with the situation. Luckily everyone went back to eating their lunch.

An hour later, Fred, George, Ron, Ginny and Harry were playing a game of exploding snap in the family room. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley and Snape were in the kitchen talking. Mostly it was Mrs. Weasley discussing how to be a parent and guardian. Snape listened and filed a few items away in the event they might be needed later, but generally he just pretended to be interested. He thought he had a good idea on what was needed to be a good guardian for Harry.

After hearing some laughing coming from the kids, Snape looked over towards the family room and noticed Harry was facing away from him. He watched as Harry's upper body bobbed forward while he ducked his head. Unsure what that was about, Snape returned his attention to the conversation around the table.

As time went by, the conversation turned towards Harry and as such, Snape couldn't help but sneak another peek at the boy. He watched again as Harry's upper body bobbed forward. Then the boy dragged a long-sleeved arm across his face. Or at least that's what he thought the boy did. He couldn't tell by looking at Harry's back.

After sitting around talking for another twenty minutes, the adults retired to the family room to join the kids. Mr. Weasley had brought a Muggle board game home from work the prior night and thought it would be fun to see what everyone made of it. They were all seated on the sofas and chairs set up around a coffee table in the middle of the room.

Snape was seated opposite Harry and while waiting for Ginny to make her move, he looked up to Harry wanting to see how he liked the game. Harry was sitting as far back on the sofa as he could get with his chin almost touching his chest. His eyes weren't focused on anything and his face looked flushed. He was completely ignoring the board game everyone was playing. He then watched as Harry swallowed with a wince.

Concerned, Snape rose from the sofa and walked over to Harry.

Harry didn't seem to notice his presence as he stood before him. Snape placed his hand on the boy's right shoulder to get his attention. "Harry?"

Harry slowly raised his eyes and focused on his guardian. "Hmm?"

"Come," Snape stated quietly before moving his hand from the boy's shoulder to his arm to help him stand up.

Slowly standing up and wobbling for a few seconds, Harry finally stood facing Snape.

Snape walked him around the sofa and led him towards one of the empty rooms in the Weasley house. They entered and he closed the door behind him, wanting some privacy to talk. He knew Harry wasn't fond of discussing a lot of things in front of other people. Before he had fully turned around, out of the corner of his eye he saw Harry's upper body bob forward again.

"Harry, what are you doing?" Snape asked confused.

Harry's body tensed. "Nothing," he responded quickly.

Snape looked around the room, not knowing where he even led the boy. He spotted a chair pushed under a desk on the far wall; he must have found the Weasley's office. He walked Harry over to it, pulled it out and had Harry sit down. Seeing another chair in the corner, he brought that over and sat down, facing Harry.

Before beginning any conversation with the boy, Snape just sat there observing Harry. His eyes were downcast, more than likely staring at his shoes or the floor. His face was pale with flushed cheeks and a slightly pink nose. He also noticed the boy shiver every so often even though he was wearing a long-sleeved shirt. Quickly glancing around the room, he spotted a blanket folded on top of a credenza. He retrieved the blanket and draped it around Harry's shoulders.

Harry had yet to say anything.

No sooner did Snape sit down then Harry grabbed the blanket around his right arm, raise his arm and hide his head inside the blanket and bob forward. He heard Harry give a few soft sniffles then watched him remove his head from the blanket.

Snape sighed and rubbed a hand over his face now knowing what the boy had been doing all afternoon. "Harry, are you unwell?"

Harry looked up to Snape. "Nope. I feel fine," he answered even though his raspy and slightly congested voice betrayed him.

Glad the boy was finally looking at him, Snape raised one eyebrow questioningly; it always seemed to work on Harry. And just like always, it worked this time as well.

"I…" Harry began but quickly stopped.

Snape was about to ask what was wrong when he noticed Harry scrunch up his face with his eyes squeezed shut tightly, and then rub at his nose a few times. "Harry," he said quietly, knowing what the boy was trying to do, "it is okay to sneeze."

Harry relaxed his face a few seconds later and dropped his hand in his lap. "I don't have to," he denied. Then he scrunched up his face a few seconds later and rubbed at his nose again.

"I think otherwise." Snape stated. He then leaned forward and gently placed the back of his hand on the boy's forehead and dropped it to both his cheeks. "And you have a slight fever. You are unwell."

When Harry was finally able to relax his face, he started to object. "But I…"

Snape held up a long slim finger. "But nothing." He watched as Harry scrunched up his face one more time. Snape sighed again; he seemed to be doing that a lot lately. "Harry, go ahead and sneeze." He knew Harry had to, desperately, but couldn't understand why he wouldn't. He knew there had to be some explanation, more than likely having to do with the Dursleys, but he'd find that out soon enough and not in this house. Right now he just wanted the boy to give his nose the relief it was looking for. "Everyone sneezes Harry," he finally said, trying to reassure the boy. "It's okay to sneeze," he repeated.

Harry looked up at Snape and began to open his mouth to speak, but instead quickly brought the blanket up to his head and hid inside. His body bobbed forward a few seconds later.

Snape shook his head at the boy in front of him. He didn't care if the sneeze he just witnessed was because of his reassurances or because the boy just couldn't hold it back anymore. He was more worried about the way he did; completely silent and always hiding. Based on the number of times he'd seen the boy sneeze – and if he really thought about it, this evening had been the only time he'd witnessed the act since becoming his guardian four months ago – the full sneeze in the kitchen at dinner had to have been a fluke.

After Snape watched Harry give another completely silent sneeze hidden in the blanket, he knew it was time to leave the Weasley's. He stood up and placed the chair he was using back where he found it. He then walked back over to Harry. "Let's go home," he said quietly and removed the blanket from Harry's shoulders. Before folding it and placing it back on the credenza, he pulled his wand out and placed a cleaning and disinfecting spell on it. He didn't want one of the Weasley's to get sick. Once Harry was in front of him, he placed the chair back at the desk and led the boy out to the family room.

As soon as they walked into the family room, all eyes were on the two of them. Snape stopped at the side of the sofa and placed his hands on Harry's shoulders. He glanced around the room and addressed Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. "I think we better be heading home. It's been a long day."

Mrs. Weasley's eyes traveled to Harry. "Yes of course. We hope to see you two again soon."

"Thank you for your hospitality this afternoon." Snape moved, with Harry, to the fireplace to floo to Spinners End.


The second they stepped foot out of Snape's fireplace, Harry began coughing, mostly from flying soot, and dusted off his clothes.

Snape lightly pushed Harry toward his bedroom. "Why don't you go to your room and get into your pajamas. I'll be there in a few minutes."

Harry nodded and slowly walked to his room.

After Harry was out of sight, Snape let out a long sigh. He was hoping he'd have more time before this situation came about. He still wasn't used to caring for another under normal circumstances; let alone when that person was sick. He stood in the center of the room thinking about what he needed to do or get to make Harry more comfortable; and how to get to the bottom of the way Harry sneezed. His first stop, of course, would be his lab. He needed to get a fever reducer, among other potions, for Harry.

Five minutes later Snape knocked on Harry's door and then entered. Harry was lying on the bed on his stomach with the sheet and blanket haphazardly covering his body. Snape walked over to the night table and deposited the items in his hands.

He pulled out a light fever reducer and walked to the bed. "This should bring down your fever Harry."

Harry rolled over and sat up against the headboard, took the offered vial and drank the contents in one gulp.

After returning the now empty vial to the night stand, Snape covered Harry properly with the sheet and blanket and cast a warming spell on them. He then sat on the edge of the bed facing Harry. "We need to talk."

"About what?" Harry asked while scrunching his face up in the now familiar fashion.

"That," Snape said as he tapped Harry on the nose. It definitely wasn't something he would normally do, but thought that the tap would release the itch in the boy's nose. He didn't want Harry to sit there being uncomfortable and having all his concentration on forcing something that naturally happens to stop, instead of on their conversation. Luckily the tap worked.

Harry quickly turned his head away from him and sneezed silently. His entire upper body bobbed forward forcefully. Before relaxing back against the headboard, he bobbed forward again. This sneeze was too powerful to remain completely silent.

Snape inwardly cringed. That had to be painful. "That is what we need to talk about."

"What?" Harry asked somewhat stuffy, then sniffled.

Snape reached into his trouser pocket and pulled out a handkerchief. "Blow," he said as he handed it over to Harry.

Harry took the offered cloth and noisily blew his nose. When he was done he placed it on his bed next to his pillow.

"Why do you try not to sneeze? And when you finally do, why do you hide your face and do so absolutely silently?"

"I don't," Harry denied, not wanting to talk about it, any of it. He hoped if he didn't answer, Snape would drop it.

"You do." He watched Harry shake his head back and forth. "I need to know why," he stated more sternly. "You could cause serious damage by forcing yourself to hold the sneeze in. I do not want to see you do that again." He watched as Harry broke eye contact and looked at his lap. "And while we're on the topic, when were you planning on telling me you were feeling unwell? Do I need remind you that you are to come to me immediately when you are hurt or sick?" he questioned, remembering their conversation about this very thing only a few weeks ago.

Harry knew he owed Snape the truth after everything the man had been doing for him. He slowly raised his eyes and met the concerned one's of his guardian. "I…I'm not supposed to have anyone know when I'm sick. I'm supposed to stay out of sight."

Harry stopped speaking and sniffled while running a finger under his nose. When he saw Snape's finger point to the handkerchief, he picked up the cloth and blew his nose. Then he continued. "But staying out of sight wasn't possible all the time. If the Dursley's and I were forced to be in the same room when I was sick, I had to try to not sneeze or cough, or make it so they couldn't see me when I was unable to stop them from coming." Harry began playing with a loose thread on his blanket; winding and unwinding it around his finger. "I was quickly shown the error in my thinking that hiding my face was good enough. I was…was pun…I was taught that I had to be completely silent. The Dursley's said all fre…" he couldn't finish the word before Snape cut him off.

"What did I tell you about the Dursley's," he stated angrily. He still had a hard time believing what those people did to Harry. "And fr…that other word?" Snape couldn't make himself say "freak." "I will get that soap." Snape made to stand up to get the bar of soap from the boy's bathroom, acting on his promise from the first day he got guardianship over Harry.

"M'sorry," Harry stated quickly, making a grab for the man's arm to keep him in the room. "It's just…this is the first…I don't…" Not knowing exactly how and what he was trying to say, Harry gave up.

Harry knew he had to forget about everything the Dursley's ever said and did to him. But whenever Snape witnessed something for the first time, he always forgot. Like right now. This was the first time he was sick in Snape's presence and he reverted to his old habits. Oh, deep down he knew he shouldn't act like he did at the Dursley's, but it was just so hard at times to forget their influence. It usually wasn't until after Snape reassured and reiterated how wrong the Dursley's were, at least twice, did he remember. Feeling slightly ashamed, Harry dropped his gaze and stared at the finger that again found the loose thread of the blanket. He always seemed to disappoint his guardian.

Snape sank back down onto Harry's bed and readjusted the blanket after the boy settled back against the headboard. He sat there and observed the emotions floating across Harry's face for a few seconds. "Harry, I don't want you to hide anything from me. What the Dursleys made you do is very wrong. You should not have been treated that way. You know that right?"

Harry shrugged his shoulders.

"You were treated wrong. I know it will take time for you to realize how wrong you were treated. And I intend to continue treating you how you should have been all these years." Snape stopped talking and let that sink in. He closed his eyes while running a hand over his face and then let out a long breath. He hoped that one day soon he wouldn't have to have any conversations about the Dursleys again. "How long have you been feeling unwell?" he asked a few seconds later.

When Harry didn't respond, he opened his eyes and looked at Harry. Harry had just brought the handkerchief up to hide his face. He then turned slightly away from Snape and bobbed his head down in a silent sneeze, much to Snape's disappointment.

"What did I just say about that Harry?"

"I know," Harry stated then gave a small yawn.

"Then stop, please."


"How long have you been feeling like this?" Snape asked again.

Harry didn't meet Snape's eyes. "Um…since yesterday afternoon."

Snape was surprised to hear that. He thought he should have picked up that Harry wasn't feeling well before this afternoon. He looked to Harry and watched him shiver. "Why don't you go ahead and lie down." Snape stood up from the bed and waited for Harry to lie down. Once the boy was settled, Snape brought his hand back up to the boy's forehead and frowned. The light fever reducer didn't seem to be effective. He would have to increase Harry's next dose. After readjusting the blanket and tucking it under his chin, he cast another warming spell on it. The first one wasn't warm enough. He then sat back down on the side of the bed.

"Thank you sir," Harry stated as his shivering slowed down.

"There is no need to thank me Harry. This is what any parent or guardian would do for their child."

"I know, but…" At Snape's raised an eyebrow, Harry didn't finish his thought.

"Why don't you go ahead and rest. I'll bring up some soup in a few hours."

Harry nodded and gave another yawn.

"I'll check up on you every so often, but if you need anything…and I mean anything Harry, please let me know."

"I will sir." Harry gave Snape a small smile. Then his face screwed up in anticipation. While fumbling for the handkerchief and coming up empty handed he caught sight of Snape's face and the familiar raised eyebrow. He quickly brought his left arm up to his face and turned away from Snape. "Tchoo!"

"Bless you." Snape stood up and readjusted the blanket. He watched Harry yawn again. "Rest."

Harry nodded as he closed his eyes.

Grabbing the empty vial from the night table, Snape headed out of Harry's room. He was about to close the door completely, but left it half open. With one last look at Harry, he turned and headed for his lab. On his way there he shook his head, unable to believe how he was with Harry. "That boy is making me soft," he said to the empty hallway with a smile.

Searching the many shelves, Severus finally found the additional potions he would need for Harry. With potions in hand, he went to his desk and sat down. He placed the vials off to the side and started working on his class notes for when term began after the holidays.

A while later, he heard very congested coughing coming from Harry's room. Knowing the boy was most likely awake, he called a house elf to bring a bowl of soup, hot tea, and a glass of juice. Taking the tray from the house elf that appeared a few minutes later, he placed the vials on it and went to Harry's room.

Opening the bedroom door all the way, Severus noticed that Harry still appeared to be sleeping. He quietly walked over to the night table next to the bed and set the tray down. Harry was shivering under the blanket. Wanting to check for fever, Severus sat on the side of Harry's bed. He leaned over and gently placed the back of his hand on Harry's forehead. As he started to move his hand to the boy's cheeks, Harry, while still asleep, started to turn his head towards Snape. The two actions together caused Snape's hand to hit Harry's extremely stuffy nose.

An instant later, Harry gave a messy sneeze right onto Snape. "KTCHoo!" Before Harry could lie back on the bed, he gave another messy sneeze, "huKTCCHHhoo!"

At the first sneeze, Snape sat back while pulling out a handkerchief and wiped his face. Under normal circumstances, if this was any other child, he would have been disgusted at what just happened. But he couldn't feel that now; not with this child. After the last sneeze, while still wiping at his face, he watched as Harry's eyes snapped opened and looked at him with shock. "Bless you!" Snape stated.

Harry was now wide awake. "I'm sorry sir. I didn't mean to do that. It just happened," Harry rambled, a little scared at what Snape's reaction might be.

"Relax Harry. It is all right." As he listened to the boy sniffle a few times, he reached to the night table and grabbed a clean handkerchief. He passed it over to Harry. "Blow."

Harry complied.

"Now that that's taken care of…how do you feel?"

Harry shrugged. "I don't know."

Snape raised an eyebrow in question.

"I don't feel well at all."

After taking in the boy's shivering, glassy eyes, and congested breathing, he knew the boy was probably feeling awful. "Well, let's start by seeing if we can bring your temperature down first. Then we'll go from there. I also brought some soup, tea, and juice if you'd like them."


Snape reached over to the night table and pulled out a vial of fever reducer. "Here, drink this first. This should make you feel a little better." Snape handed the vial over to Harry and watched him gulp it down. "Now why don't you lie back down and let this take effect."

Harry slid down on the bed. Before he could reach for the blanket, Snape was covering him up with it.

Once Snape finished with the blanket, he again put his hand on the boy's forehead. Instead of moving it away after a few seconds, he began carding his fingers through his hair. Fifteen minutes later, he found his hand was still in the boy's hair and said boy was almost asleep. He removed his hand and again placed it on the boy's forehead. He then moved it to both cheeks. The fever had finally gone down.

"Well?" Harry asked, expectantly though sounding extremely sleepy.

"The fever is almost gone."

Harry smiled up at the man. His smile, however, quickly faded. He reached for the handkerchief lying next to his pillow and brought it up to his face. "Tchoo!"

"And that, young man, leads me to your next potion." He stood up and walked to the far side of the night table, picked up another vial and handed it to the Harry. "This one is for your congestion."

Harry took this vial, down the contents, and gave the empty vial back to Snape with a grimace. "Yuck!"

Snape smirked as he replaced the vial. "Here, drink this. It'll help get rid of the taste." He handed Harry the glass of cold juice.

Wanting to get rid of the awful taste, Harry quickly drank half the glass of juice. This being the first time his sore throat had anything on it besides room temperate items, it protested and he began coughing. After a few seconds, it seemed like it wasn't going to stop.

A little startled, Snape immediately sat down on the bed next to Harry and began rubbing his back.

The coughing finally ended, but it immediately brought a sneeze. Without any time to grab the handkerchief Snape handed him earlier, Harry brought both hands up to cover his nose and mouth. "heh…KTCHHHHHHH!"

"Bless you!" Snape exclaimed, after the boy let out the powerful sneeze. "I never knew such a small boy could have such a huge sneeze." Snape waited for Harry to say something, but the boy didn't speak. Harry just sat there with his hands pressed against his face. It took a few seconds before Snape realized what happened.

He grabbed two handkerchiefs from the stack he set on the side table and placed one in Harry's lap. He had the other open in his hand and was heading towards Harry's face. "Here, move your hands."

Harry did so with tears starting to form in his eyes.

"Go ahead and wipe your hands on the cloth on your lap." As Snape started to clean up the boy's face, the tears in Harry's eyes began to fall. Snape quickly finished and placed the handkerchief next to him. "What's wrong?"

At those words, Harry threw himself onto the other side of the bed, curled into a ball and laid there with his back to Snape.

Snape sat there looking lost. When he saw the boy's shoulders start to hitch and he heard sniffles, he sighed. Harry was trying to cry silently. He thought Harry had finally overcome crying in silence a few months ago. Snape quickly moved over on the bed so he was closer to Harry. Then he started rubbing the boy's back.

That was obviously too much for Harry to take and he started crying out loud. After about a minute he started to speak. "Why do you…how can you…how can you still want me?" Harry asked between his hitching breaths. "I'm disgusting."

"You are no such thing, Harry." He continued to rub Harry's back, hoping to calm him down.

Harry raised the handkerchief still in his hand, up to his face. "TCCHHooo!"

"You are just a boy with a very bad cold. There is nothing disgusting about it." Snape stopped rubbing Harry's back and repositioned himself so he was sitting against the headboard. "Come here."

Harry turned around and saw Snape's outstretched arm. He slowly got up and sat against the headboard next to Snape.

Once Harry was situated next to him, Snape wiped the tears off of Harry's face then immediately put his arm around him and squeezed him tightly. He then felt Harry rest his head against his chest. "There is nothing you could do Harry, that would ever make me regret being your guardian. You won't be able to get rid of me easily. Okay?"


The two sat like that for about five minutes, both slightly dozing off. It wasn't until Snape felt movement next to him did he open his eyes and look to Harry. Harry was furiously rubbing his nose and sniffing frequently. "What's the matter?" Snape asked, though he knew the answer.

"Itchy," was all Harry replied.

"Well, there's only one solution."

"I know," Harry stated, then stopped rubbing his nose. He took a tentative sniff and began rubbing again. "But it won't happen."

"Why don't you try blowing your nose? Sometimes that helps." Snape picked up the handkerchief Harry had beside him and handed it to the boy.

"I'll try." Harry blew his nose and put the handkerchief back in his lap.

"Better?" Snape asked as he watched Harry's nose twitch.

Harry started to rub his nose again. "No. It's worse." Harry continued his furious rubbing.

Snape watched as Harry's face suddenly fell, then he quickly grabbed the handkerchief from the boy's lap, knowing what was coming. He placed it in the boy's hands just in time.

Harry's head reared back at the first breath. "Heh…heh…hehTCCHHoo!" He sighed after giving the first relieving sneeze only to have his expression freeze as another sneeze took hold of him. "Heh-tchoo!" Followed by another. "Heh-TCHoo!" Then another. "Heh…KTCCHOO!"

"My goodness, bless you!" Snape exclaimed, hoping that was the last for a while. "That must have been some itch. Better now?"

Harry nodded while blowing his nose.

"Good." Snape watched as Harry gave a yawn. "Why don't you go on to sleep. You look exhausted."


"If you get hungry or thirsty, I placed a warming spell on the soup and the tea." Snape got off the bed, but not before giving Harry a one armed hug. He tucked Harry in and stood at the side of the bed. "Feel better. Goodnight Harry."

"'Night," he said, behind another yawn.

Walking out of Harry's room, he paused at the door, turned off the light and left the door partially open before retiring to his own bed. He was exhausted too.


Normally a heavy sleeper, Snape was surprised to see that he would wake up almost every hour and when he was sleeping, it wasn't soundly. He figured it was because Harry was sick and he knew he had to be there for the boy if he was needed. One of the duties of being a parent or guardian he realized. But he didn't miss his sleep at all; if Harry wasn't comfortable, then he wouldn't be either.

Around 2am, Snape woke up to sounds coming from Harry's room. He quickly got up and went to the boy's room. Harry was rolling his head back and forth on his pillow and looked like he was in a little pain. A soft whimper confirmed his suspicions. Snape went to the bed and sat down at the side. He checked Harry for fever and was relieved to see it had not gone back up, though it was still there. Wanting to know what was hurting, Snape gently shook Harry's arm to wake him up. "Harry…Harry,"

Harry slowly opened his eyes and turned his head to look at Snape.

"Harry, what's wrong? What hurts?" Snape asked concerned.

The boy just laid there shaking his head back and forth, not saying anything.


Harry pushed a hand to his right ear with a look of pain clearly on his face. "My ear," he said quietly. "It hurts. Really bad."

Snape rubbed Harry's arm comfortingly. "I think you have an ear infection." Harry then started coughing, then winced when he swallowed. "Does your throat hurt also?" He didn't get a response from Harry.

Harry had pressed his face into his pillow with his hand still putting pressure on his ear.

"Harry," Snape began rubbing Harry's back comfortingly. He knew Harry still had a hard time coming to terms with someone actually caring about him. "I want to know everything that hurts. I want to help you. I do not like seeing you in pain."

Harry lifted his head out of the pillow and quickly swiped at his eyes to remove a few tears. "Everything hurts; my head, my throat and my ears. I can't breathe through my nose, and it actually hurts to breathe. My face even hurts."

Snape looked at Harry's tear filled eyes. "Let me go get some potions and I'll be right back." He watched Harry nod then stood up. He gave the boy's shoulder a squeeze and left to get the potions. It hurt him to see Harry is this much pain.

He came back a few minutes later to see Harry in the same position as when he left. He handed Harry three vials and when they were emptied, he gave Harry the glass of juice and watched as the boy slowly sipped the contents.

Snape took the glass from Harry when he was done and placed it on the night table next to the half empty bowl of soup. He was glad to see that Harry had at least eaten something these past few hours.

He turned around to face the bed and watched Harry give a big yawn. "Now, why don't you try to get to sleep?" He readjusted the blankets on the bed. "If you wake up at any time tonight and are still hurting, let me know please." Snape started to walk away when Harry called his name and grabbed his arm.

"Please don't leave me alone," Harry said desperately.

Snape stopped walking and turned around to face Harry, and saw the pain and desperation in the green eyes staring back at him. "Of course I'll stay, Harry." He knew that growing up, the boy never got any type of comfort and he vowed to himself that he would give all he could to Harry.

As Snape started to walk over to sit in the chair by Harry's desk, Harry wouldn't release his grip on his arm. He looked to Harry and saw the pleading in his eyes.

Harry looked away a few seconds later, dropped his hands from Snape's arm and looked at his lap, beginning to feel humiliated. A few seconds later, he gave a very congested and painful sneeze. "KTCCCCHOOO!" After the sneeze, he started rubbing his throat and upper chest. "Ouch." Removing his hand a few seconds later, he rolled over on his side facing away from Snape. "Never mind sir," he said dejectedly. "Sorry to bother you. G'night."

Snape shook his head at the overly emotional boy on the bed. He walked back to the bed and sat down. He fluffed up one of the pillows behind him and sat against the headboard, legs out in front of him. "Come here."

Harry reluctantly turned over and saw Snape's outstretched arm. He couldn't ignore it and found himself wrapped in Snape's arm a few seconds later with his head resting on the man's chest.

Snape pulled the blankets up over Harry and himself and gave Harry's shoulder a squeeze. "Go to sleep Harry." He watched Harry yawn.


As he watched Harry fall asleep, Snape began carding his hands through the boy's hair. He was actually glad Harry asked him to stay. As much as he wanted to sleep in his own bed, he didn't think he could leave Harry's side with him feeling so bad. He just wasn't sure how Harry would have felt about it. He did have a feeling that as soon as the boy was better, he would be deeply embarrassed about what he had asked.


Snape had only planned on staying with Harry until the boy fell asleep, but that was not how it happened. He awoke many hours later to the sun shining on his face and found himself still in Harry's bed, though he was lying down in it now, not sitting up. Harry was, surprisingly, still lying with his head on his chest, though he wasn't sleeping. He was just lying there staring at some location on his lower chest.

Feeling something that seemed out of place and was tickling him, Snape looked down at his lower chest. He had his left hand on his chest and Harry was running a finger all over the top of it. Then every once in a while, Harry would hold one of his fingers within his own small hand.

As Snape lay there alternating from watching Harry play with his hand to watching the boy's face, he felt something he hoped he wouldn't be feeling once Harry had come down ill. But he should have known it was inevitable. "Harry," he said urgently with a somewhat raspy voice as Harry wrapped his small hand around a few of his own fingers and was holding on like his life depended on it. "Can I have my hand please?" When Harry wouldn't release his hand, he went to ask again. "Harry?" he repeated desperately.

Harry immediately let go of Snape's hand and tried to roll away from the man to lie on his side, upset that he made his guardian mad.

Snape held on tighter to Harry when he tried to leave, but he didn't have time to tell him why he needed his hand. The inevitable came on too quick. All he had time to do was bring his left elbow to his face and turn away from Harry. "HARRRRSH! HARRRRSH! HAAARRRSSH!"

Harry jumped at the sound of Snape's sneezes, then tried to move away again in the man's slightly lax grip. Snape wouldn't let go.

"Harry, I didn't mean to make you upset. I just needed…"

"S'okay," said Harry as he relaxed back against Snape.

Snape dropped the subject. "How are you feeling?" he asked, then felt the boy's forehead and cheeks. "You're fever hasn't come back."

Harry gave a small smile. "Almost everything is the same as last night."

Snape looked to the clock sitting on Harry's desk. He moved to get up from the bed. "Looks like your due for another dose of potions. I'll be right back." He watched Harry snuggle down in the blankets then left for the potions.

When he was down in his lab gathering two doses of the required potions for Harry, he decided to take a pain relieving potion himself. He had an awful headache, and was beginning to feel congested, though he wouldn't take anything for the congestion. He wanted to be alert for Harry and that potion would make him drowsy.

With potions in hand, Snape went back to Harry's room. He was halfway there when another tickle in his nose stopped him. "HAARRRSH! HAAARRSH! HARRRRSHH!" After recovering, he continued on to Harry's room. Upon entering, he found Harry sleeping. He put all but one of the potions on the night table. "Harry, I'm sorry to wake you but I've got the potions for you."

Harry opened his eyes and looked at Snape. "I wasn't asleep." He took the vial Snape offered and drank the contents. When he was finished with that potion, he was handed two more.

After Snape set the last vial on the night table he sat down on the side of the bed. "I'm going to get you something to eat. What would you like? Some toast maybe?"

"Toast I guess, though I'm not really hungry."

"I know you're not Harry, but I'd like you to try to eat a little." Snape found himself carding his hand through Harry's hair again. It seemed to relax Harry when he did it, and if he were honest with himself, he loved the contact with the boy. He couldn't get enough. He was slowly realizing that as much as Harry needed him, his need for Harry was equal.


Snape left the room and came back a few minutes later with a tray full of toast, some jam, two glasses of juice, a pot of tea and two cups. He set it down on the night table and pulled the desk chair over and sat down. He poured two cups of tea and set one close to Harry.

Harry sat up and took a sip of tea. "That feels good on my throat. Thanks!" He then took a piece of toast and spread some jam on it. Then he took a small bite of toast.

Satisfied that Harry was trying to eat a little, Snape reached for a glass of juice. As soon as he had the glass in hand, though, he put it back on the night table. He quickly grabbed a handkerchief off of the night table, glad he put a few extra there for Harry's use, turned away from the food and brought the cloth up to his face. "HARRRRRSH! HARRRSSSSHH! HARRRRRSSH!" He blew his nose and put the handkerchief in the pocket in his pajamas bottoms. Instead of reaching for the juice again, Snape grabbed the cup of tea and took a few long sips. Feeling eyes on him, he looked over at the bed. Harry was staring at him.

"Are you all right sir?" Harry asked, sounding a little guilty.

"Nothing to concern yourself with Harry." He nodded to the few bites of toast left on the plate in front of Harry. "Finish your toast."

"I'm not hungry anymore." He gave a yawn. "I'm just really tired."

"Okay. Try to get some rest. I'll leave you be. If you need me, I'll be in the study or my room."

Harry took one last sip of tea and sank down into his bed.

As Harry closed his eyes, Snape stood up and walked over to the bed. Harry looked a little pale so he decided to check for fever before he left, even though he had checked not more than half an hour ago. He had a slight temperature this time, but would continue to watch it. It could have been caused from the warm tea.


Snape felt awful. He hadn't felt this bad in years. He knew this would be one of the drawbacks with caring for a child. He had heard that whatever illness children had, their parents would soon come down with it also. He just thought his immune system would have been stronger.

After sneezing for the eighteenth time in the last hour, Snape groaned and put his head in his hands. He couldn't remember ever getting this sick. If Harry wasn't staying with him for the holidays, he would have undoubtedly missed this illness; but he wouldn't give up Harry for anything. "HARRRRRSH! HAARRRSSSH! HAARRRRRRSH! Won't this sneezing end?" he asked his empty study after blowing his nose. He put his face in his hands and closed his eyes, trying to ignore the pain he was feeling. He knew some of it could be relieved with the potions on Harry's night table, but he could not take them. He couldn't risk sleeping while Harry was sick in case he was needed. Instead, he turned his attention to the task at hand, grading second year essays.


The congested sneeze behind him startled Snape. He turned around from the desk and saw Harry standing at the entrance of the study with a blanket and pillow in one hand and a crumpled handkerchief in the other. With his eyes almost closed and his hair sticking up all over, Harry looked like he just woke up. "Harry, did you need something?"

Harry looked at Snape with glassy eyes. "No sir," he said quietly. "I was getting bored of my room and of being alone. It's okay for me to be here isn't it?" he asked, hoping he wasn't overstepping some boundaries his guardian had on him while he was sick.

"It's perfectly fine." Snape got up and walked to Harry. He took the blanket and pillow from the boy and led him over to the sofa. He fluffed the pillow and set it against the arm of the sofa. "Why don't you get comfy." After Harry sat down on the sofa with his feet tucked under him, Snape draped the blanket over him. "Good?"

Harry nodded then yawned. "Whatcha doing?" he asked, as Snape went back to the desk, sat down and picked up his quill.

"Grading some essays."

"Oh." Harry watched Snape for a few minutes. Then he got bored. "Sir, is my book still here? The one I was reading yesterday?"

Snape put down the quill and went to the side table on the far end of the sofa. He picked up the book and handed it to Harry.


"You're welcome, Harry. Would you like anything to drink?"

"Tea would be good. My…my throat still hurts and the tea feels good on it." He stated quietly and looked down at his lap feeling ashamed because he told his guardian how he was feeling.

"Harry, please don't feel ashamed of letting me know what's hurting you. Like I said before, I do not like seeing you in pain. Okay?" He watched Harry nod then went to get the tea. After getting two cups of tea from the kitchen and giving one to Harry, Snape slowly went back to the desk to finish grading the essays. As he was almost there, he was overcome with dizziness. He quickly placed the cup down and grabbed hold of the side of the desk to steady himself. Then he lowered himself down into the chair. He put his head in his hands and just sat there for a few minutes with his head pounding, waiting for the dizzy sensation to pass.

Feeling eyes on him, Snape slowly turned his head to look over to the sofa. He met Harry's eyes before the boy dropped his gaze in guilt a second later. He watched Harry for a few seconds more than turned his attention to the essays.

An hour later and not hearing a sound coming from Harry, Snape looked towards the sofa. Harry had fallen asleep, at some point, sitting up on the sofa with his book open in his hands resting on his lap. Snape stood up and slowly walked over to the sofa. He removed the book from Harry's hands and gently guided the boy down so he was lying on the sofa. He covered him with the blanket, and checked his forehead for fever. Glad the fever seemed to be gone, Snape went back over to the desk. Needing a warm drink for his sore throat, he cast a warming spell on his tea and sipped the steaming liquid.

Wanting to finish up the remaining essays before the end of the day, Snape set back to working on them. Unfortunately the writing was swimming before his eyes. He put down his quill and rubbed his eyes and at his temples trying to make the headache, no doubt caused by the congestion he felt, disappear. Before he removed his fingers from his temples, he felt an extremely strong tingling sensation in his nose. He didn't want to wake Harry with what he knew was coming, but his sneezes were much too harsh for him to suppress. Besides, didn't he just tell Harry yesterday not to do that? Without any time to do anything except remove the handkerchief from his pocket, Snape gave into the feeling and hoped he wouldn't wake Harry. "Heh…HAARRRRSHH! HRRRRSHHH! HAARRRRRSSHHH!" Snape blew his nose trying to remove the congestion. When he was done, he looked over to the sofa. Unfortunately, Harry was awake. "Sorry I woke you Harry."

Harry yawned. "That's all right."

Snape glanced at the clock on the wall. "Since it's now almost 2 o'clock and we seemed to have missed lunch, how about some soup?"

"I guess so," Harry replied while shrugging.

Since Snape didn't have the energy to heat up the soup, he called the house elf to bring them their lunch. Snape was actually surprised that Harry ate a little more than him. And it looked like Harry knew this as well.

After taking a sip of juice that was brought with the soup, Harry stood up and grabbed his blanket and pillow. "I think I'll go back to my room."

"That is fine. Remember, if you need me, I'll be here or in my room."


Snape watched Harry leave the study then finished the grading the final essay on the desk. When he was done, he headed to his bedroom. As he began the journey, he began to realize how bad he was feeling. His head was pounding, he was so congested it felt like his head would explode and his throat was killing him. He only hoped that Harry hadn't felt this bad. Thinking of Harry made him go to the boy's room first to see if he needed anything. And it had been a while since the boy's last dose of potions.

He entered Harry's room and found him lying on his bed on top of the covers staring at the ceiling. He slowly walked over to the bed. "What are you doing on top of the blanket?" He picked a side up and made room for Harry to get under. "Get under the blanket." Harry squirmed underneath. Before tucking Harry in, he made Harry take the three vials of potions. Once the vials were emptied, Snape carded his fingers through Harry's hair a few times then picked up the tray of empty vials, dishes and cups from this morning. "Sleep tight and feel better."

"You too sir," Harry responded sadly. He knew his guardian was sick and it was all because of him. He still couldn't do anything right.

Snape looked at Harry for a few seconds then turned around and headed to his own bedroom, leaving both bedroom doors slightly open. As soon as he got to his room, he got into more comfortable clothes and got right into bed. The minute his head hit the pillow, he groaned. He wasn't sure how much more of this cold he could take. Sure, he could stand the effects of the Cruciatus and other curses the Dark Lord had thrown at him over the years, but right now, this cold seemed ten times worse. After giving another groan, Snape closed his eyes and fell into a restless sleep.


Harry lay awake in his bed a few hours later feeling extremely guilty at getting his guardian sick. He thought it was only a matter of time now before Snape changed his mind about him. When he began to hear coughing and sneezing coming from Snape's bedroom, he decided to see if the professor was feeling all right and to see if he needed anything; maybe that would make Snape want to keep him. Harry slowly got out of bed and wandered into Snape's bedroom. He stood at the doorway and looked at Snape lying on the bed.

Snape finished blowing his nose and groaned. The pressure in his head was now almost unbearable and every movement and sound was making it ten times worse. He wished he could take the potion for the congestion.

"Sir?" Harry said, quietly.

"What do you want?" Snape asked sharply while struggling to sit up and look to the doorway. The movement caused him to moan in pain.

"Um…I was just wondering if…um…did you need me to get you anything?

"Get out," Snape spat, before he could help himself. He was feeling too irritable to think clearly.

"But sir…" Harry tried to continue.

"NOW!" Snape bellowed.

Extremely hurt, Harry looked at Snape with tears forming in his eyes. This was the first time Snape ever yelled at him. It was true. It was definitely true. He made Snape hate him. And why wouldn't he? What kind of guardian would want to keep a sick child around, tend to them at all hours of the day and night and then eventually get sick themselves? Snape certainly wouldn't. Now he would be given back to the Dursleys. He ruined it all. "I…I'm sorry," Harry bawled. Then he quickly ran out of Snape's room.

The look on Harry's face and the slamming of the front door immediately snapped Snape out of his irritability. What had he just done? He quickly got out of bed, ignoring all the pain he felt, and went after Harry.

He rushed out the front of the house into the cold snowy outdoors. Ignoring his shivering he called out for Harry and searched the front and side of the house. He was moving to the back of the house when he stopped abruptly to sneeze. "HARRRSSHH! HARRRRRRRSH! Heh…heh…HARRRRRRSSSH! Harry, where are you?" Snape yelled now running to the back of the house. He couldn't see Harry anywhere. He was now getting worried. It was way too cold out here; especially when Harry was dressed only in pajamas and socks. He could care less about the way he was dressed, which was almost exactly the same as Harry. "Harry!" He ran to the other side of the house and still couldn't find Harry.

Snape went back in to the house to make sure Harry didn't go back in. He wasn't in there. Snape went back outside and was now panicking. "Harry!" He continued calling out to the boy while circling the house again. All the running around was making Snape feel worse. He had a hard time thinking clearly with the pounding in his head and he was on the verse of collapse from his weakened state. He reached the back of the house for the third time and stopped in the middle. "HARRY!" he yelled in desperation. "HARRY!" Still no sign of the boy. Snape slowly fell to his knees in the snow, his body no longer able to keep him up.

The wet snow was slowly seeping through the clothes Snape was wearing and he started shivering. He sniffed a few times and fumbled for his handkerchief. Being in the cold wasn't helping his congestion any. In fact it was making him worse. He quickly brought the cloth up to his face. "HRRRSHHH! HRRRRRSHH! HARRRRRRRSSSSH! Harry…Harry! Where are y…HARRRRRRRSH! HAARRRRRSSSSH! HARRSSSHHH! Where are you Harry?"

Snape moved to sit on the ground. He could care less that he was sitting in the snow. All he cared about at that moment was Harry. He brought his knees up and put his head on them. What kind of guardian was he? He thought he'd be better than this…better than the Dursley's. But he wasn't. He didn't deserve to be the guardian of any child. Now he needed to go to Dumbledore and tell him he lost Harry. He didn't want to see the disappointed look that his mentor would give him.

He sniffed a few times, closed his eyes and shook his head back and forth. "What am I going to do?"


After Harry ran out the front door, he realized how cold it was, but he was not going to go back to the warmth of the house. He didn't want to make his guardian any madder at him. Instead he remembered the spot under the house where he met a snake earlier in the week. He ran to the back of the house, and crawled in the opening between two flower beds. He lay down shivering and wiped at the tears that continued to stream down his face while watching the snow fall in front of him.

No more than a minute later, he heard his guardian calling his name; no doubt ready to send him on his way back to the Dursley's. He was not going to show himself. He would just wait under the house until Snape went back inside, then he would just leave the property. There had to be some place he could go. If he could find Hedwig, he could ask Ron for help.

It couldn't be long now before Snape returned inside the house. So he just lay there watching the grounds in front of him. After a few minutes, he no longer heard Snape and thought that the man went back in the house. He would wait a few more minutes before he left the grounds.

Unfortunately, right as he was about to crawl out, he heard and saw Snape again. But he didn't stay long. He seemed to be running around the outside of the house. The next time he saw Snape, he stopped running, almost right in front of him. Harry just lay there watching as Snape crumpled to the cold wet ground.

"Albus was right. I don't deserve to be anyone's guardian." Snape placed his head in his hands and just sat there thinking about how he messed this up. "I thought I was doing pretty good. What kind of guardian am I?" he asked, heartbroken. "I'm no better than the Dursleys. Albus will now take Harry away from me. What am I going to do? I can't live without him."

Harry sat up while listening to Snape talk to himself. The man seemed so sad. And as Harry sat there, he began to realize that Snape still wanted to be his guardian. But he felt extremely guilty. He was the one who caused the man to become so sad. Without giving it a second thought, Harry climbed out from under the house and walked up to Snape. "You're the best guardian there is, Professor Snape," Harry said quietly when he was almost next to the man.

Snape snapped his head to the sound, ignoring the pounding the movement caused. The minute he saw Harry, he got up to his knees, reached up and pulled the boy into a bone-crushing hug. "Don't you dare do that to me again Harry," he said, voice cracking with emotion.

Harry returned the hug with tears falling down his face. "I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. When you yelled at me, I thought you didn't want me anymore. That you were going to take me back to the Dursleys. I'm sorry."

Snape released Harry from the hug and pushed him back just far enough to look into his eyes. "Remember what I said yesterday? There was nothing you could ever do to make me regret becoming your guardian. I will never return you to your relatives."

"I know," Harry sniffed, "but I got you sick."

"So? That will not make me want to get rid of you." Snape started wiping away the tears falling down Harry's face. "For the record, you will more than likely get me sick many more times in the future. It is not your fault now and it will never be your fault. That's just one of the things that come with having a family, Harry. You understand?"

Harry nodded his head up and down.

"Good." Snape pulled Harry back into a hug, but the boy immediately tried to push him away. "What's wrong?" he asked, not wanting the boy out of his arms just yet.


"Bless you. Come on, let get you in the house before you have a relapse and I come down with pneumonia." Snape shakily stood up and with an arm around Harry, went back into the house.

He led the boy directly to the bathroom and started up a warm bubble bath. "Why don't you take a quick bath to clean off the dirt and warm up? I'll have new pajamas and some tea waiting when you're done."

After shutting the bathroom door behind him, Snape decided to take a shower himself; hoping the steam would make him feel better. Unfortunately, it didn't have any effect. He was still feeling awful.


A while later, Harry, now clean and warm, quietly got back into his bed. He sat against the headboard and pulled the blankets up.

Snape was standing in the bedroom doorway just watching him.

"Why did you yell at me?" Harry asked quietly, wondering if he should even ask the question.

Snape wiped his nose with a handkerchief and looked at Harry with sadness. "I apologize for that Harry. I wasn't thinking clearly." He paused not wanting to go into why he yelled at Harry because he knew the boy would think the wrong thing. But he knew he had to explain. He walked over to Harry's bed and sat down. "You see Harry, I wanted to be there for you in the event you needed me or needed potions."

"I don't understand."

"Do you remember how you felt last night when you told me you had the ear infection?" Snape watched Harry nod. "Well, I am feeling that bad right now. I have been almost all day."

"So why don't you take any of the potions you gave me?" Harry asked.

"Like I said, I want to be there for you."

"But I…"

"The potions cause drowsiness. If I were to take them and you ended up needed something from me, you probably wouldn't have been able to wake me." Snape watched as Harry looked down at his lap with realization.

"I did this. I made you not want to feel better. I caused you to yell at me." Tears started to well up in Harry's eyes again. "I still don't see why you want me when I cause all these problems."

"Harry, you don't…" Snape quickly withdrew the handkerchief from his pocket and turned away from Harry. "HRRRSSSH! HRRRRRSSSH! HAAARRRRSSSSHH!" He blew his nose a few times then turned back to Harry. "Harry, you don't cause any problems. Not taking any potions was my decision. I couldn't take the potions to make me feel better when you were ill."

"I got along fine all on my own when I was sick living with the Dursleys," Harry protested.

"But you shouldn't have had to. Harry, you don't know it because you've never experienced it, but this is what happens in a family. The children always come first. Harry you will always come first for me and I wouldn't have it any other way." The second he stopped talking, Harry threw the covers off and flung himself at him; wrapping him in a ferocious hug.

Harry took Snape's words to heart; the man didn't outright say he was his father, but that was the way Harry understood it. "I'm so glad you're my family."

Snape returned the hug. "So am I." He let the boy determine when to end the hug. If he had it his way, they would stay like this for hours.

When Snape gave a sniffle, Harry sat back against the headboard. "You can go ahead and take the potions, professor. I feel well enough now."

Not really believing his statement or wanting to leave Harry to his own devices, but knowing it would be best to get the relief the potions would provide, Snape nodded. "Very well."

"I'll look after you now." Harry said quietly, with a small smile.

Snape gave Harry a smile in return. "I know you'll be excellent at it." He ruffled the hair on Harry's head and stood up. "I'll take the potions in about five minutes so I'll be asleep for a few hours. If anything should come up and you can't rouse me, just call for the house elf."


Snape was almost to the door when Harry spoke again. "Professor, would you mind if I stayed in your room with you for a while?" He knew the man's room was off limits but thought maybe he'd change his mind this once.

"You're more than welcome, Harry." Snape watched Harry smile wider then left the bedroom. He went to his lab to retrieve several doses of potions and brought them back to his own bedroom. After taking one dose of each, he lay on his bed with a groan and closed his eyes; waiting for the relief that would be coming at any minute.

When the pain was getting unbearable again, Snape awoke to find that he was under the covers. He remembered falling asleep with the covers pushed to the side of him. A smile formed on his face when he realized it was Harry who covered him. He quickly downed the next dose of potions and went back to sleep.

Snape started to wake hours later, feeling the potions start to wear off. He was in pain, yet not in enough pain to take another dose of potions. So he just laid there with his eyes closed.

Harry had been lying on the far side of Snape's bed for the past half hour. When he looked at the man, he could tell he still wasn't feeling well. His face was etched with pain. Knowing how Snape was feeling, he crawled over to the man and sat on his knees. He began to talk very quietly to Snape. "Whenever you did this to me, I loved it and it made me feel a whole lot better. I hope it makes you feel better." Harry then began to card his fingers through Snape's hair the way the man had done to him on countless occasions the past few days. "I couldn't get enough of it and I still can't. But I don't know if I deserve to have the comfort." Harry stated the last sentence sadly.

"You see, while living with the Dursleys, I always saw my Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia doing this to Dudley when he was sick, hurt, or just because. When I was very little, I asked what they were doing. They said they were comforting Dudley. I then asked why they never did it to me. I was told it was because only people who were cared about and loved deserved to have it done. I don't know if I should believe them because you are always saying that whatever the Dursleys tell me is a lie and I should never be treated the way they treated me. But I do hope it's true. Because then that means that someone cares about me and loves me. And that's the way I feel about you." Harry stopped talking but continued carding his fingers through Snape's hair.

As soon as Harry stopped talking, Snape felt a big painful lump form in his throat and felt a tingling sensation behind his eyes. He wanted to talk to Harry, but he knew he shouldn't. He knew the only reason Harry even said all that was because the boy thought he was asleep. Instead he tried to swallow the lump in his throat and willed the tears not to fall and tried to go back to sleep.

Suddenly, Harry's stopped his ministrations. Snape was slightly disappointed. He wouldn't admit it to Harry, but the act did bring comfort; it was something he himself never experienced as a child also. He then began to wonder if maybe the boy knew he was awake, but those thoughts disappeared a second later.

Harry removed his hand from Snape's hair, pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and turned away from the man. "Heh…hehTCCCHoo!" He had tried to sneeze quietly, but this one was unfortunately too big to do so. He just hoped he didn't wake Snape. He looked over to the man and saw that he was still asleep.

Glad that Snape was still asleep, Harry gave a big yawn. He crawled over to Snape and curled up against the man's side. "I hope you feel better soon, dad," Harry murmured before closing his eyes. Not even realizing what he had just said.

Snape, however knew what the boy said. And the minute the word was spoken, he stopped breathing. He was overcome with a feeling of joy and the lump and tears he thought he conquered, reappeared. But this time he didn't do anything to stop them.

After Snape pulled himself together, he rolled over onto his side and faced Harry. He then began carding his hand through the boy's hair. It would take a while to reassure Harry, and there would be many firsts to overcome, but Snape would never regret becoming Harry's guardian; and possible father in the future.