Chapter 20

Snape paused his reading to look around at a scene that was turning disturbingly familiar. Harry was sitting on the rug by the coffee table, he was finishing his defense essay and was asking Lupin for some points. Lupin, like Severus, was reading a book and answered Harry's questions, reminding the boy what they had seen in class. And Black. Black was playing pounce with Monty. The furry kitty was busy trying to catch Black's hand, but the man moved it out of his way fast enough, confusing him. All were getting on fine. He had thought that by now he would have managed to at least strangle Black.

Harry stood up and picked up his parchment and put it inside his backpack.

"Anyone need something from the kitchen?"

"Something like what?" asked Black, moving his hands in front of Monty.

"I don't know… water, juice, biscuits, a sandwich, butterbeer?"

"No thank you Harry, I think that I ate enough at dinner," Lupin said.

Severus looked at Harry. The child could eat his weight twice a day. "I thought that you had enough also, child. Look in the cupboard by the door; there are some apples left."

Harry flinched a little. He needed to bring something, not an apple. "I want something salty." He said.

"Under the counter, there are some chips and peanuts."

Harry walked back with a bag of chips and gave Black a can of peanuts.

Black left the furry kitten playing with his tail, stood up and then sat beside Remus. He was looking at the picture on the can – hazelnuts, walnuts and peanuts. He hoped they were good. He removed the tape around the can lid and flipped it. There was a loud pop and the cover flew; along with the lid, a snake jumped out of the can.

"Ah!" Black threw the can to the floor and took out his wand. The snake rattled under the coffee table. Sirius 'stupefied' it and kneeled to take it out. He did it under the expectant glances of Snape and Remus. Harry was out of his sight. He put his hand in carefully, sharpening his ears in case of further movement, and he touched something… it did not feel alive. Grabbing hold of it, he pulled out a plastic snake. Confused, he turned and saw that Harry was laughing, down the sofa. Remus beside him had his legs up, but was also starting to laugh. The only one not sharing the joke was Snape. The man was also pointing his wand at the table and looking startled.

"Got you!" said Harry, trying to stop his laughter.

"Very funny, Prongslet". Sirius threw the snake toward Harry, and it fell by his side on the floor.

"Don't you want to keep it as souvenir? You should have seen your face!" Harry was falling from the sofa.


Harry stopped laughing and turned to look at Snape. The man still had his wand out and looked as when a cauldron was blown in his class.

"Sir?" Harry had not thought about Snape when planning the prank.


"Dad… it was a joke. Look, it's a plastic snake."

"Now! You know that this is no way to treat your guests." Snape's tone was contained, but angry.

But Sirius had asked for it! Why did Snape have to be such an …? Harry knew that he had no way out. He turned to his Godfather and said.

"I'm sorry Sirius… I…"

Black was confused, it was true that his heart still wanted to leave his chest, but it was not a reason for Snape to scold Harry.

"It's ok, Harry. Ha! Ha! No harm done. I'm in one piece, Snape."

Harry looked at Severus. Was that enough?

"It's time for you to go to bed."

"Dad. I…" Harry looked at the clock on the wall.

"Your. Room. Now. Mr. Potter." That along with the famous greasy git's glare, gave Harry no choice.

"Good night, Remus, Sirius." Harry only looked at Snape.

"Sleep tight, Prongslet…" Sirius gave Harry a half hug.

Harry stamped his feet on his way up stairs. It was not fair! It had been a harmless joke! At least now he could tell Sirius that they were even, but it did not make getting sent to bed better.

He looked in the wardrobe for his pajamas and went to the bathroom to get ready. This was a record, being sent to bed early two days in a row. It was not fair! At least he could remember Sirius' face. Thinking about it, Severus and Remus faces were also priceless… he washed his teeth and went out. He was not even sleepy.

Suddenly he had an idea, he went to his trunk and took his invisibility cloak out. He would go back down stairs without being seen.

"Snape, there was no harm done, it was just a joke."

"I don't remember asking your opinion, Black. That was no way to behave here. Maybe that could be acceptable in his common room, but not here, he should show some respect to the adults around him."

"You have said it, Snape, I am hardly an adult… the joke was on me. And I'm ok with that." And you should brew a potion to improve your sense of humor, thought Sirius, but was clever enough not to say it aloud.

"He shouldn't be doing pranks here. And that is the end of the discussion, Black. Remember my rules."

"It was not Harry's fault."

"What do you mean?"

Sirius had never been scared of Snape, they were the same age and almost the same size. But he understood why his students were. That glare was evil.

"Well, I may have mentioned some jokes that we used to play. You know? When we were young. He may have been influenced by that and…"

"Did you ask him to prank you?"

" Had I…?" He was sure that it was not a good idea to say more.

"Did you?"

"N-no…" Sirius imagined himself with his bag being kicked out of the house.

"Then leave it, Black." Severus stood up. "I'm tired of this, see you tomorrow, Gentlemen."

"Severus, may we use your library for a while, I need to do some research…"

Snape was surprised to be asked. "Suit yourself, Lupin." Even if the werewolf insisted in calling him by his first name, Snape did not like such familiarity.

"Snape, is your liquor cabinet open?" Black was more brazen.

"The cabinet will recognize you, Black."

Sirius did not ask if that meant that the cabinet would allow him to open it or if it would bite him.

"There are several bottles in there, Black, don't drink yourself sick." Severus took the can and snake from the table and left the room.

Harry ran back to his room when he saw Snape climbing up the stairs. Snape had the can of peanuts in one hand and the rubber snake in the other, Monty was running beside him trying to catch the toy. Harry folded the comforter on his bed and lay on it. Breathing slowly to calm himself, he checked that the cloak was tucked under his pillow. Severus entered, looking calmer.

"This is yours." Snape placed the can on the cupboard and let Monty have the snake. "I expect not to see it again, son."

"Yes, Dad." Harry was not ready to accept a truce.

Severus sat beside him. "Harry, they are adults, you know how to behave."

"They are my friends, and… I thought it was funny."

Severus sighed. "It was funny, Harry, it was not appropriate, even if they are your friends. The prank made us take out our wands, someone could have been hurt. You could have been hurt."

"I'm sorry." Harry still was not convinced. "I never thought about that."

"I know." He messed Harry's hair affectionately. "Good night, son."

"Good night, Dad."

Severus went out and closed the door.

Harry needed to talk to Sirius. So he took the cloak again and went back downstairs.

Remus and Sirius had looked at Snape leaving the room with the can and the snake. Monty also left, trying to catch the toy.

"Goodnight to you, too," mumbled Sirius; he resented that Monty didn't want to keep playing with him.

Remus stood up and turned off the lights. He and Sirius walked to the library.

While his friend browsed over the titles in the shelves, Sirius touched the door of the liquor cabinet. He felt a tingle on his finger and heard a click, the door opened slowly.

Sirius found a glass and served himself the golden liquid. He sipped and said, "Mmm. Good one. You know Moonie? I could gladly punch Snape on the nose."

"You don't have to drink it if you don't like it, Sirius."

"The whiskey is good, but Snape is a git."


"You have to admit it. He is a git. No wonder Harry is so…"

"So, what?"

"Wrapped up… what a lame prank was that? The snake was rubber! He couldn't even make the snake look real."


"With just a little motor charm that snake could have flown to my neck and…"

"I think it was enough to startle you."

"It did surprise me, that is the truth, but it lacked subtlety, it was a made joke, no suspense at all. Something fine for a Muggle, but Harry is a wizard, we need to..."

"Sirius…" Remus had a book in his hands and walked toward the door.

"You are not leaving, are you?"

"I am rather tired. I woke up early and finished with all my grading."

"You are getting old."

Lupin smiled at his best friend's pout. "Full moon is close. I have to take the wolfsbane and it makes me sleepy."

"Just stay a while longer."

Remus sat down.

"We have to make Harry liven up. What do you propose?"

"You better call it quits, Padfoot. Snape is not going to take it well if you keep encouraging Harry. At least wait until we get back to Hogwarts."

"But Snivelus has him so wrapped up. He should get a sense of humor. Harry will lose his abilities."

"There are not abilities needed for pranks."

"Moonie, what happened to you? You used to like to plan these things. I guess that I should show Harry how a prank should be done. That way he'll know and…"

"Sirius, I think that it is not a good idea to start a 'prank-war'; remember how the last one ended?"

"McGonagall had more sense of humour than Snape."

"Yes, even though she did not appreciate it when you made all the furniture in the class room float."

"She was not supposed to arrive so early. We were just practicing."

"James and you had to practice writing lines for a week."

"I still remember her evil smile while she was giving us the lines to write…" Sirius kept drinking. "I was thinking about some water bombs… and maybe some itching powder… I think that I could manage some itching powder bombs."

"Padfoot, you are taking this too far, Harry is a good boy…"

"Do you think that Snape would allow me to use his lab… I remember the ingredients of a potion, if I put it in his juice he would speak backwards for at least a day and…"

"Snape would notice that."

"You are right. I'll have to place them in his room, Harry won't tell him. Now help me to…"

Harry stood under the cloak at the door. He had planned to startle his father's friends getting out from the cloak. He had followed them to the library and waited until Sirius served his drink. But after hearing what Sirius was saying he decided to go back to bed.

This was really confusing. He was a disappointment all around. He had played a small joke. A plastic snake jumping out of a can. It was something simple and funny. He had been sent to bed early and lectured by his father as if instead of a plastic snake he had made a basilisk appear, and Sirius thought it was lame, just a stupid Muggle prank. Remus was the only one that was neutral…

As he walked back to his room, he remembered Ron's brothers. The twins were really good at pranks. Harry recalled the foaming sugar that they had placed on the breakfast table, all the drinks had turned into small volcanoes! Also the Dirty face soap that they had put in the prefect's bathroom. Percy had gone the whole day with a smudged face… he also remembered that they put butter outside the Tower baths floor… that had been dangerous, a sixth year had broken his arm and there were several twisted ankles. Harry's ears still rang in sympathy recalling the 'Howler' that Mrs. Weasley had sent.

Harry was too distracted to notice his way; it was too late when he crashed. He did not crash with wall or door, but with something big but soft. Startled out of his thoughts, Harry felt the cloak leaving his head and was faced by Angry-Sneering-Snape in robes. Snape took the cloak, folded it and placed it inside the robe's pocket. Then pierced the green-eyed child with his look.

"Should I patrol the Manor corridors at night to stop you from leaving your room, Mr. Potter?"

"Dad, I… needed a drink."

"And there is no water in your room. And of course you needed to use the cloak to get a glass of water from the kitchen. What were you up to?"

"Nothing. It's not even my bedtime yet. " Harry knew that it was a mistake to say that the moment the words left his mouth.

Snape held him by his arm and walked him to his room. The grip was firm but not hurtful. Harry had to match his stride with that of his angry father. Once beside his bed Harry found himself unceremoniously placed face down between the sheets, felt a hand on the small of his back and six hard smacks on the place where legs turned into buttocks, then the comforter was tucked around him and the lights were turned off. Harry buried his face on the pillow. The tears dried fast and Harry was asleep before the tingling on his back faded.

Harry woke up the next morning remembering the past day's disaster. He also remembered that Sirius planned to 'show' him how to prank and to live in suspense.

Harry was careful leaving his bed. He looked around in search of anything strange and examined his slippers before putting his feet in.

Once at the breakfast table he waited until Remus put sugar in his tea, before putting sugar in his porridge, and was glad when Snape poured his pumpkin juice.

An owl flew through the open window and Harry jumped from his chair. If this was what it meant to live in suspense, he would be paranoid before the week's end.

The owl landed in front of Snape and let him take the letter from his extended leg. Then turned to look around the table for something to nibble. Remus placed some bacon close to him and the bird began to eat it.

Severus read the missive and folding it in half, placed it beside his plate. Three pairs of eyes looked at him expectantly, but only Harry dared to ask.

"What is it, Dad? Is it a letter from Dumbledore?"

Of course the child had recognized the school owl.

"Professor Dumbledore, Harry." Harry just nodded. "He says that the wards are in place and he is asking me to go to Hogwarts to test them."

"When are we going?"

Snape stood to the counter and re-filled his cup of coffee. Then he turned to look at Harry.

"You are not going, Harry. I won't let you get to Hogwarts until I am sure that the wards are enough to keep you safe. You will stay here until then."

"But, Dad… You'll be there."

"Probing the wards." Snape looked at Black then at Lupin, pondering what to say. He took a deep breath and said, "Lupin, would you be so kind as to mind Harry for me until I get back from Hogwarts? If it is a problem, I can ask Minerva."

Remus was surprised to be asked. Snape barely talked to him. He could tell that Sirius was offended by the slight.

"No need to call Professor McGonagall, Severus. Sirius and I will gladly stay with Harry and keep him safe."

"Dad, I don't need 'minding'."

Snape filled a plate with apple slices and placed it on the table, in front of Harry.

"Yes, you do, child. The elves will see to your meals as always. Finish with your essays. There is enough snow in the yard to keep you and Black entertained for the rest of the day. Be careful with the pond."

"Can we fly?"

"No. You may not."

"Dad, please. Sirius was showing me a move and …"

"The answer is no. I will feel better knowing that you are keeping both your feet on the ground. Are we clear?"

"Yes, sir."

"Lupin is responsible for you; you have to obey him and do what he tells you to."

"Yes, sir."

"What about me?" Asked Black.

Snape looked at him and said, "I guess that you should obey Lupin too."


"You may reach me by floo if necessary."

Harry was seated at his desk in his study room. He was drawing lines in a parchment, and his potions essay lay forgotten in a corner. He had too many things on his mind to write conclusions. Monty was attacking a piece of paper under his feet.

Harry was trying to think of an appropriate prank for his Godfather. He had to think fast and be able to pull it before his father was back from Hogwarts. Or he would really be in trouble. And it had to be so… big that Sirius would not doubt that Harry was the son of James Potter. Harry thought that during his whole life with the Dursleys he had lived in 'suspense', careful of what he said and what he did. Careful not to trigger something unpleasant… and he had been Dudley's punching bag since he could remember. And that was not funny. It was easy for Harry to put himself in the place of the victims of the pranks, and most of the time he knew it was not funny. He recalled Sirius emotions when he talked about his escapades with Remus and his father. Sirius was only living while he was at school and his friends were his family. Harry could understand that. Ron and Hermione had sustained him during his first two years at school and even now that he had a father to rely on. But he and his friends had used their brains and ideas to solve the mystery of the stone and to find the Chamber of Secrets and save Ginny. The Marauders, as they liked to be called, had entertained themselves with pranks and practical jokes…

Remus entered the room. Harry greeted him silently.

"Hi. Have you finished?"

"Not yet." Harry kept drawing. "I need inspiration."

"Need help?"

"Not really. I have to write my conclusion about the use of the mandragora in potions…"

"Do you want to play chess with me?"

"Where is Sirius?"

"He was taking a nap."

Sirius appeared one hour later. Remus and Harry were finishing their game.

"What are you doing, Moonie, Prongslet?"

"Do you want to play?"

"Boring. Lets go out and play in the snow. Paddy needs to run."

They put on their jackets and gloves and ran out to play. It was fun. They ran until they were tired and then tried to build a snowman, but the snow was too hard. They tried to melt it using their wands, but it froze before they were able to make the balls. When it was getting dark, they entered the kitchen and had to use several warming charms before they started to feel comfortable. Harry thought that his nose was about to fall off.

Dinner was great and Sirius insisted in having hot chocolate.

"Do you want some marshmallows?"

Harry took a sip and said, "There are no more marshmallows."

"Are we out of them? I can go to the village to get some. Want to come?"

Remus answered before Harry.

"You can ask Hogwarts kitchens for the marshmallows, Sirius; we should not leave the Manor."

"Moonie, it is a Muggle village. What danger can they be to two grown up wizards?"

"Have you forgotten the witches' burnings?"

"Remus! You and I can protect Harry if the need arises. We'll be there and back in less than an hour."

"Padfoot, Severus asked us to keep Harry safe between the Manor wards."

"And the greasy git is now your best friend!"

Sirius went out in his tantrum and transformed into Paddy. The big black dog ran toward the trees.

"Do not worry about him, Harry. He'll come around after he gets tired."

Sirius took his time. He returned once Harry was ready for bed.

"You can stay up if you want."

"I'm going to read for a while. Want to play something?" Harry took Sirius to his playroom, they took out Harry's train, and while Sirius played engineer, Harry used his blocks to build a bridge.

"Remus is a good friend, Harry, but sometimes responsibility goes to his head."

"No problem. It was better to stay inside the wards." Harry could tell that Sirius was not in favor of following the rules.

"We can fly tomorrow."

"I don't think that my dad will be back early. He said that the test would take all day. Maybe the next day…"

"I meant that we could fly early in the morning, before Remus wakes up."


"If we do it early enough, no one would know. Snape is paranoid. What could happen to you? I'll wake you up as soon as the sun is up."

Harry had a very restless night. He knew that Sirius would be hurt if he did not go with him to fly in the morning. But his father would find out and Harry hated to disappoint him. He really wanted to be able to fly his new broom in the next quidditch match… and he still had no ideas about the prank. Maybe it he could contact Ron's brothers… but not at this time in the morning. Harry left his bed early and went to finish his potions essay. At least that helped to appease his conscience a little. After finishing, he took out his colors and started drawing, again, nothing definite, lines and colors, colors and lines; and as if inspiration had only waited for his mind to be distracted, while mixing the colors he found the answer.

When Sirius knocked at his room, Harry was already dressed in warm clothes and was carrying his helmet.

"Good, Prongslet, good… I thought you would still be asleep. Let me change."

"I'll meet you downstairs, Sirius."

Harry looked at his Godfather running back happily. His father was right. Sirius was barely an adult.

Sirius entered silently into the room he shared with Remus. He had to be very careful, as he knew that the werewolf had very good hearing. His clothes were already over his bed, so in no time he was dressed and ready to go. This was going all right. Before he was close to the door, Remus' voice startled him.

"Where are you going, Padfoot?"

"Do not worry. Harry and I will keep under the wards."

"What? Sirius, it's still dark."

"The curtains are closed. Sun is up. Do not worry, stay warm, I'll call you for breakfast…" Sirius darted out of the room.

Remus stood up. He still felt the effects of the wolfsbane and needed a moment to get his bearings, knowing his impulsive friend, he only put on a jacket over his pajamas and ran out of the room and downstairs. He hoped to be able to prevent Sirius from doing something crazy.

Lupin heard the scream as he reached the first floor. It was Sirius screaming. He went to the kitchen and outside to the yard. He was not prepared for what he saw.

On the white frozen ground lay Harry, face down. His arms were in a strange position. One arm was holding a broom, the other had a gash in the middle, where blood was pouring. Beside Harry's head, in a puddle of blood, was the helmet.

Sirius was kneeling beside his godson, crying, afraid to touch him.

"This is all my fault… James was my fault, also… Harry, please…"

Remus walked slowly. This had to be a horrible nightmare… his mind tried to understand. Had Harry being flying? This was too close to the house. Harry's window was on the other side, no way that he… his nose started working. That was not blood. Unless Harry had syrup running through his veins, he was a sweet child but no… that was not blood. Syrup and paint… the little fiend! Once calmed, Remus walked closer and his worries disappeared as he saw Harry's eyes opening and closing fast. He kneeled and placed his hand on the small of Harry's back. The child was trying to breathe calmly. Remus could end the charade with a little tickling…

Sirius was so distraught that Remus was going to start laughing.

Remus was pondering what to do. Should he tell on the boy? Should he allow Sirius to think the child was harmed? He had to do something fast or…

"What are you doing out here?" asked Severus casually from the kitchen door. He walked until he stood beside Harry. "What…?"

"Dad!" Harry had to turn around in order to sit on the frozen ground. "You're back." Harry looked at his Godfather.

Sirius looked amazed, after believing that his godson was gravely injured… the child had just… sit… Then it dawned on him. This had been a prank. Only a prank!

"You smart little devil… I'm going to kill you…"

Sirius jumped over Harry and started tickling him. The move was so fast that Severus stepped back once that he realized that Harry was in no danger.

Lupin stood beside him.

"Severus… I…"

"Keep your explanations for later, Lupin. I want to talk to my son first."

"Stop it, Paddy, please!" Harry could barely breath between the laughing…"Paddy, please."

"Black, that is quite enough." Severus stepped toward the laughing bundle.

Sirius felt tired, it had been too early, he had been too scared and worried and the relief had been exhausting. He lay on the ground, his arms still holding Harry. He looked at Snape standing beside him and released the child.

Severus extended his hand and took Harry's, pulling him up. He felt a sticky material in them. He looked at his hands and said: "What is this?"

"Syrup… Dad. I…"

"Was this supposed to be blood?"

"Yes." Harry's voice we almost inaudible, Harry found his feet very interesting.

Snape took him by the shoulders and turned him around, Harry was covered with the red syrup. He then kneeled and touched Harry's arms and legs.

"I'm all right, it was only pretend, I didn't fall."

"Go to your room and take a shower. You have ten minutes."

Harry went inside,; he didn't dare to say another word.

Still on the ground Sirius tasted the syrup. "I should have known it was not blood. You knew, didn't you, Moonie?"

"Yes, Sirius… I smelled it as soon as I got closer." Lupin extended his hand and Sirius took it. Once standing, both men looked at Snape, who was at the door.

"So you kept the pranks and jokes going." It was not a question.

"No, Snape, we…" Were going to fly, was not a good answer either… "I guess I also need to take a shower…"

"The wards at Hogwarts are in place. You can leave after breakfast."

With that Severus turned around and went into the kitchen.

Severus entered Harry's room and sat on the couch. He could hear the shower going. What had he gotten into the last day? What had made him think that the child would be safe staying with those two clowns?"

The shower stopped. He could hear Harry entering his bedroom. After a couple of minutes he went to the door and knocked.

Harry opened.


The child was wearing sport pants and sweatshirt. His hair was still wet. Severus entered the room and sat on his rocking chair beside the bed.

"Sit here, Harry." Snape indicated the bed.

Harry was trying to read how angry his father was. He had called him Harry, not Harry James or Potter.

"Am I in too much trouble?"

"Not sure yet," Severus sighed, "Tell me what happened."

"I can't really explain…"

"In that case you are certainly in trouble." Snape placed a hand on Harry's knee. "You can tell me everything."

"I know you do not like pranks or jokes… But yesterday… Sirius was kind of sad. I tried to cheer him up."

"You were pretending to be injured, how was that going to cheer him up?"

"You saw him, he was laughing when he realized it was a joke… Pranks remind him of my father. And that makes him happy…"

"Harry, there is no need for you to emulate your father… Black has no right to burden you with that."

"He loved my father."

"That is good, I guess, but he has to learn to love you."

"Like you did…"

"Yes, Harry, like I did… Like I do."

"I think he loves me, but he misses my father. Is that why you do not like me to do pranks? You do not want me to be like my father."

Severus made an invitation with his open arms and Harry joined him in the rocking chair.

"Harry, you are James Potter's son, you have his looks and I guess some of his traits… I do not want to take him out of you. That is why I think you need to associate with Black and Lupin. But if that association is going to harm you, Harry… or pressure you to want to emulate them…"

"I get in enough trouble by myself."

"That's what I think…" Harry snuggled into Snape's neck.

"Yesterday, in the evening, Sirius wanted to go to the village to get marshmallows and Remus said we shouldn't and… Sirius… he is good, but he thinks that obeying the rules is no fun. I… Later… He said that we could fly early because you wouldn't be here and Remus would be asleep… I said I would because he was so sad and then I thought… I thought about the prank and how he wouldn't want me to be hurt, so I painted the syrup and… "

"You were going to fly."

"I told him I would. I was not going to, not really. You returned sooner."

"We probed the wards all night."

"Are you tired?"

"A little."

"You could have slept in the dungeons."

"I could. But I wanted to have breakfast with my green-eyed devil son. And I find him in a puddle of blood painted syrup…"

"I'm sorry. Were you worried?"

"You were moving before I realized it was supposed to be blood."

"Sirius was crying."

"Wasn't that what you wanted?"

"I just wanted to worry him a little… he thought I was dying. He tickled me so much…"

"Pranks like that are dangerous…"

"I should apologize…"

"Yes, you should."

That moment they heard a knock on Harry's door. As it only could be Lupin or Black, Severus said, "Come in."

Black entered hesitantly. He was surprised to see Harry sitting on Snape's Lap.

"Snape, we'll be ready to go after breakfast…"

"Why are you going, it's not New Year, yet…" Interjected Harry.

"Sit, Black." Snape indicated Harry's bed.

"We are leaving, Prongslet… after all, the wards are working now."

"But you were going to stay until New Year…"

"Yes, but…"Sirius looked at Snape, "but we have to go now."

"Sirius… I am sorry for that prank… I thought it would be funny…"

"It was… when I realized that you were all right, but I was very scared at first, do not do anything like that to me again, please."

"I won't."

"He won't," said Snape. "And you are welcome to stay until New Year, Black."

"But you said that…"

"I know what I said. And now I am saying you can stay. Can you accept that?"

"Thanks, I guess…" Black stood.


"Yes…?" Sirius sat again on Harry's bed.

"Black, Harry and I were talking. He thinks that you want him to be like James. That is why he planned those pranks. Do you have to see James in Harry to love him?"

"To love him? Harry, I love you… I miss your father very much, he was my best mate and I don't think I'll stop missing him. You look a lot like him, but… You are my godson, I… held you as a baby. I love you, Harry. That is why I was so scared when I thought that you were hurt…"

Severus pushed the boy into Black's arms. He closed his eyes and his son hugged the man.

"Now, as we have cleared that question, I want your attention. Mr. Potter. If I see, hear or learn about any other prank, joke, practical joke, coincidence or accident, you, my boy, are going to receive a very thorough spanking; am I clear?"

Harry was nestled between Sirius' arms. He looked Severus in the eyes and said. "Yes, dad."

"And Black…"

"You can't spank me, Snape."

"I can't, but you'll be invited to witness."

"Are you crazy?"

"Nothing has been proved. If I have to spank your godson, Black, because he keeps wanting to emulate your dead friend at your instance, you are going to be present, even if I have to petrify you… are we clear?"

"Yes, Snape. You sadistic bastard."

"Now that we are clear, let's get some breakfast."

Snape stood up and left the room. Harry and Sirius kept sitting on Harry's bed.

"Do you think that he meant it?"

"I am not going to test him."

"Smart boy."


I hope you like it.

Thanks a lot to Celeste and Kat for their help.