A/N ~winces~ I know, I know. I should be working on the other stories and not doing a new one. Honestly though this isn't new. Believe it or not this was my first HP story; I just never finished it until now.
I have finally finished the course I was doing, and should have a little bit more time now to get the others ones updated.
Once again many thanks to Periculum for her beta work. Without her I'm sure everyone would be out for my head.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by J.K Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Warner Bros, Bloomsbury. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
The Great Hall was silent, students and Professors alike watching as though spellbound, as Harry Potter and Severus Snape faced off in front of the Head Table. No one moved for fear of bringing down the wrath of either man. Even the Headmaster refused to get involved, merely watching in dismay as his two favorite boys fought. The reaction of the students was mixed. Fear, awe, worry, and then of course joy. Many of the Slytherins couldn't wait to see Harry Potter brought down to his knees. And a few were willing to do what they could to help. Of course the rest of the students would secretly admit that they were waiting for the same thing to happen to Snape.
"How many times do I have to tell you, Snape, I am not my Father?" Harry asked, fury and hurt lacing his voice, though only one person actually heard the hurt.
"You certainly act like it, Mr. Potter. As spoiled, selfish and unforgiving as James Potter was while we were in school and even after. Nothing I have seen from you over the years has told me otherwise," the cold voice responded with Snape's trademark sneer.
"You could not be further from the truth, you slimy git. The only unforgiving one I see here is you. You who refuse to let a school grudge go, and instead transfer it to the son of the man who tormented you," Harry snorted. "From the first time I stepped into this Hall, seven years ago, you've done nothing more than belittle me."
"Are you finished, Potter?" Snape spat, fury now coloring his voice as well.
"Afraid of the truth, Snape?" Harry sneered back. "Are you finally showing your true colors? Those of a yellow-bellied, slimy coward of a snake."
"Do not call me a coward, Mr. Potter. You have no idea what I have done," Snape hissed at him, his eyes narrowed in true anger.
Harry relaxed his defensive posture mockingly. "Yes, yes, I know. Having to face hoards of sniveling brats year after year must be extremely fearful to the faint of heart," Harry said, waving his hand in a dismissive manner.
The snickers from the Gryffindor table were silenced immediately when Snape pulled his wand faster than the eye could follow and pointed it at the slight teen in front of him.
"Attacking an unarmed student, Professor? Awfully brave of you now, isn't it?" Harry smirked.
Snape was visibly shaking in fury. How dare this… this… this child mock him. Reining in his temper he slowly lowered his wand. "You have just proven another of my points."
"And which one would that be?"
"You're just as arrogant as your father as well."
"Ah, back to that are we? I was just wondering why you keep comparing me to my Father. I don't think I've ever heard you tell me that I remind you of my mother in any way. Could it be the real reason you keep comparing me to my father was because you were jealous of his relationship with my mother? After all, I've heard you and she were such great friends." Harry cocked his head to the side and ran his eyes down his professor's body. "No, that just doesn't make sense. I do believe it was the other way around. You were jealous of my mother."
Harry watched in satisfaction as Snape's eyes flared with an inner fire. His professor's wand hand, which had dropped moments ago, came back up, and Harry dodged the curse sent his way. A second curse followed, sending Harry rolling across the floor in order to avoid it. When he came back up to his feet, he was now facing the Slytherin table instead of the Gryffindor table. Green eyes flashed in amusement for a moment before carefully going blank, as he once again faced his professor.
"Did I hit a sore spot, Snape? Was I right? It wasn't my mother you wanted, but my Father. That's why you've been so hard on me. I look too much like the man you wanted for your own."
The whole hall erupted in whispers when Harry said this, and he winced. 'Damn. Those stories are going to be hard to ignore when the reach the paper.' He thought.
"Where's your wand, Potter? And who's your second?"
"I don't need a wand or a second to face you," Harry said with a small smile. "My wand happens to be in the same spot I left it last night."
A sharp flare in his scar told him that the main entertainment had just arrived. The answering tightness around Snape's eye and the slight tensing of his left arm confirmed it. It was also sadly confirmed in the faces of a few of the Slytherins, Draco Malfoy included. What saddened Harry more was the pained flinch from the students in the other houses. He had been sure that he had done a better job at giving these students a fighting chance, even if he couldn't reach the Slytherins.
Using a parody of Parseltongue, he continued his taunts, making sure to avoid looking at the other students in the hopes of keeping the dismay from his eyes, and used the anger from his inability to reach the Slytherin students to fuel his anger in this fight even more. "Your Sssslytherinsss are getting resssstlesss, Ssseverussss. Isss there a reasssson for thisssss? How many of them followed your true chosssen professssion?" he half hissed, knowing this statement would catch the attention of the Headmaster.
This time it wasn't whispers from the students, but from the Professors. From the corner of his eye Harry watched the Headmaster think about what he'd just said. Dumbledore opened his eyes in horror.
"Is this true, Severus?" Dumbledore whispered. "How did you get past the loyalty and protection spells I performed at your request, when you first came to me?"
Snape didn't take his eyes of off Potter. "When the Dark Lord was reborn three years ago, he came back stronger then you could ever believe. I knew then that I made a mistake in coming to you, and confessed everything to my Master. He was kind enough to remove the spells," he explained with a touch of awe, just as the doors to the Great Hall burst open with tremendous force.
"Albus Dumbledore, how nice of you to invite me in," came the hissing voice of Voldemort. "And Harry Potter, alone and defenseless, no wand in sight." He cackled.
Screams of fright echoed as the students tried to move from their tables and away from where Voldemort and his Death Eaters now stood. A quick spell had them all bound back to their seats. Snape sank to his knees and bowed before his Master. No one noticed the figure eight motion he made with his wand.
"Master, just as I told you. They suspected nothing."
"Very well done, my Pet, very well done indeed. You will be rewarded greatly for this victory."
"My thanks, My Lord," Severus murmured.
All of the Professors looked on in shock as He Who Shall Not Be Named approached the head table. They could do nothing to stop him, bound as they were by the same spell that held the students in place.
When Voldemort reached the spot where Snape still knelt, he reached out and stroked the Potions master's face, and smiled in what he considered pleasure when Snape leaned into the touch. "First, you will all watch as I take care of your Savior. And then I'll take out the only other person who would even come close to standing in my way. But before we begin, for Severus's promised reward. Stand, my Pet, I give you The Boy Who Will Finally Die. Do what you will to him, but leave him alive." He laughed, a cruel fire dancing in his blood red eyes.
"Yes, Master. Thank you. You are too kind," Snape murmured once more, and then stood with fluid grace. Stalking over to where Harry stood also, frozen by the binding spell, he slowly circled around the boy. Coming up behind, he wrapped one arm around Harry's waist, and the other hand twisted in dark hair, and pulled Harry's head back hard enough to make Harry hiss in pain. "Did you hear that? I may not have been able to enjoy your father, but I promise you that by the time I'm done with your body, you'll be screaming for more," he hissed in the teen's ear in promise, before spinning him around for a punishing kiss.
Harry managed to grab hold of Snape's wand hand, when the binding spell was lifted, giving himself the chance to fight free of the onslaught. This only worked to have his hand trapped with the unyielding wood of Snape's wand pressed hard against his fingers. When Snape released him, he was spun back around and pulled tight against Snape's chest once more, his hand still captured and wrapped around the wand.
"Master, what would you like to see happen to him?" Snape asked.
Voldemort thought about that for a few minutes before replying. "I want to see him suffer," he hissed.
Snape nodded his head, and brought his and Harry's hand up so that everyone could see the punishing grip. "My Master wants to see you suffer, and I must admit that that is my greatest wish as well. Do you have any last requests, Harry?" he whispered in the struggling teen's ear, his voice, although quiet, echoing within the Great Hall.
"Just one; I want to see your 'Master' rotting in hell before I die," Harry answered, his voice strong and clear, no hint of pain evident in it.
Snape simply laughed, before pushing Harry to his knees. Stepping back, he cast a series of whipping curses that effectively shredded Harry's shirt off his body, without drawing blood. "Very nice, Harry. I see you filled out just lovely with all your training," he drawled, a cruel gleam in his eyes as he looked over the teen.
Harry pulled the remains of his shirt from his arms as he stood once more. "Just for you," Harry mocked back, affecting a coy look, and raking his eyes over Snape in turn. "Too bad you'll never enjoy it."
"We shall see, Mr. Potter, we shall see."
Being careful not to give his thoughts away, Harry snapped forward to kick the older man, only to be caught and pulled back against Snape's chest. Hissing in pain as Snape's wand stabbed him in the neck, he swore in Parseltongue, ~God damn ssson of a fucking bitch. ~
Voldemort laughed in reply. "Now now, Harry, what would your ever-adoring public say if they could understand what you just said? For that matter, what would your filthy Muggle mother say if she could see you now?"
"Who knows?" Harry panted. "That it was the truth I suppose. I'm just wondering what your mother would say, seeing her precious baby Tom as the homicidal murder that he's become. Oh that's right; she gave up the will to live when your darling Muggle father was freed from the love potions and left her," Harry retorted back, struggling once more to get away from Snape's firm grip and almost succeeding.
"How dare you?" Voldemort hissed. "Hold him ssstill, Ssseverusss, I'm going to enjoy this." He walked forward and backhanded the teen across the face.
Harry slumped against Snape's chest for a moment to clear the dizziness, before standing up straight once more, his hands gripping Snape's wrist to help him keep his balance against the ringing in his ears. Spitting a mouthful of blood directly at Voldemort, Harry gave a silent cheer when it landed on his face. "Fuck you, Tom Riddle. You're nothing more than a bloody half-blood hypocrite, with delusions of grandeur," he growled out, the fingers of his left hand slipping to touch the handle of Snape's wand, forcing his magic to his fingertips.
Voldemort slipped the rest of the way into a blind rage, and raised his wand. "Avada…"
Harry and Snape never gave him the chance to finish the curse, as their magic combined and pushed down the wand they both held. "Avada Kedavra!" they stated as one.
The spell light that should have been green came out a twisted mixture of green and blinding white, hitting the Dark Lord directly in the chest. Instead of killing him instantly, the light swirled around Voldemort, forcing back the darkness of the soul that tried to escape. Slowly, the last of the darkness faded, leaving a husk of a man that slowly fell to the ground. Stunned silence reigned in the Great Hall for a moment before the magical backwash from his death rushed back up the connection to each of the man's Death Eaters. A single shriek came from multiple throats including Harry's, as the magic tried to fill the void left behind.
The last thing Harry remembered, before darkness claimed him, was strong arms taking a tighter grip and the feeling of weightlessness.
Green eyes fluttered slowly open, before closing quickly against the bright light. "I hate this place," he muttered, his voice cracking from the dryness in his throat.
A soft chuckle drew his attention as an even softer spell was spoken and the bright sunlight was dimmed. "Is that better, my child?"
One eye cracked open slightly once more before Harry sighed in relief. "Water?" He questioned.
"Of course, dear boy," he heard and moments later a straw was placed against his lips.
Sucking down a few mouthfuls, Harry opened his eyes fully to see Albus Dumbledore sitting beside his bed. "Where's Severus?" He asked next.
Albus sighed softly before motioning to the next bed. "He managed to break your fall, and had laid you out on the floor before he too collapsed. We barely managed to break his hold on you to bring you both here," he told Harry. "That was some fight the two of you staged; it took me a few minutes after you both fell to realize that you had plotted the whole thing. Care to tell me why you didn't bother telling me about this plan of yours?"
Harry grinned sheepishly. "We needed you to react honestly. One false move on either of our parts and Riddle would have been warned. We found out clearly by accident that each of the marked students had a way to contact him instantly. All it would have taken was a single finger to land on their charms and Tom would have known it was a set up."
"And since the two of you fight all the time anyway…" Albus trailed off.
"It was the perfect cover," another voice croaked.
"Welcome back, my boy," Albus beamed. "We were wondering how long it would take the two of you to wake up."
Severus struggled to sit up, and Albus was quick to help, handing over a glass of water as soon as Severus was once more comfortable. "How long have we been here?" Severus asked, after a quick glance at Harry to ensure he was alright.
"You've been here for three weeks. Its four days before Christmas, and all of the students have been sent home, including Mr. Weasley and Miss Granger, although it took a considerable amount of time to convince them to go home to their families." Albus tilted his head to the side slightly, while glancing between the two in the infirmary beds. "It also took a considerable amount of persuasion to convince the authorities to allow Severus to remain here as well."
Harry sat up straight in alarm, ignoring the twinge of discomfort he felt at the movement. "What happened?" He demanded, as his magic started to swirl around him in agitation.
Albus watched the reaction in awe for a moment before coming back to himself. "Minister Fudge demanded that we remove Severus to a holding cell where the Ministry Healers could treat him. He had the whole school of witnesses who would back each other on the fight the two of you had. Amazingly enough it was the Gryffindors who refused to allow that to happen. Mr. Weasley came in with written statements that proved the two you where working together. Fudge had no choice but to leave you both here until you woke up, when the students basically lined up in front of your beds with wands drawn. The Aurors didn't stand a chance with that bunch," he told the two of them, blue eyes twinkling brightly.
Harry lay back down and threw a smirk at his darker companion. "I win!"
"Yes, yes, I admit I was wrong. Do you feel better now?" Severus sneered in disgust.
"Oh, no doubt I most definitely will after I collect my forfeit," Harry said with a happy sigh, closing his eyes in contentment.
"Gentlemen, would you care to explain this to me. What bet and what forfeit?" Albus asked, his eyes still twinkling in amusement despite the confusion.
Chuckling softly, Harry opened one eye and gave the Headmaster a grin. "I bet Severus that the Gryffindors would stand by me no matter what happened, and that Ron would have gone against everything that he saw in the Great Hall and honour my request that he follow my written directions no matter what."
"Of course I believed that the opposite would happen, considering what exactly the Gryffindors thought of me, being the greasy git and Head of Slytherin, never mind the fact that I was a Death Eater," Severus added.
"I…see…and the forfeit?"
"Now that was true brilliance. I bet a night of his undivided attention against a night spent in his lab processing his most foul ingredients. There was no way I could lose."
"I still can't see how you could never lose, Harry. Were you so sure of Mr. Weasley's support?" Snape asked him.
"Well yes I was, but either way I would have been with you all night, therefore it was a win-win situation."
"Slytherin!" Snape growled at the teen.
"Gryffindor!" Harry teased back.
Albus watched in pleasure as the two younger wizards snarked at each other, his eyes twinkling brightly. "How long have the two of you been working together?" he finally managed to ask.
Harry and Severus both blinked at the older man in surprise, having both forgotten that he was there. Seeing the twinkle, both men groaned in dismay. "I blame you, Potter," Severus sighed.
"Like that's anything new!" Harry replied, his eyes going slightly hazy as he thought back to when this all started. "During the summer before my fourth year, I realized that he wasn't as evil as I had always thought. He put on a great show, and sure acted like it, but if he had been that evil he wouldn't have ever stepped between me and Moony. I understand that my friends were there as well, but it was me that he tried to hide the most," Harry explained, ignoring the growl from the other bed at the mention of the werewolf.
"After my name came out of the Goblet of Fire, and everyone turned on me, I found refuge in one of the rooms in the dungeons. It was dark and damp and far off the beaten track, and unknown to me, right next door to a certain snarky professor. After my second night spent hiding in that room, I started to find some basic comforts. The room wasn't as damp, a soft light emitted from the walls, a few scatter cushions and a heating spell or two. When I started to do some reading in there, I found a desk and chair, along with a lamp. I didn't think anything of it, considering that Dobby was in the castle, I figured this was his way of helping without actually breaking his vow to me."
"What caused you to believe otherwise?" Albus asked, giving his Potions Master and amused smile.
"Would you believe it was a defense book?" Harry asked. "After we found out that we would be going up against dragons, I started to practice the Summoning Charm, and anything else that I could think of that would help. It wasn't going well, the spell just would not come, no matter how much Hermione tried to help, and then I found this book. It gave me diagrams and pronunciation tips, along with other handy information. After that whenever I really started to struggle with something, I usually found something in the room that would help."
"And this caused you to think of Severus?"
"Well no, but it did stop me from thinking it was a house elf. I mean, how would they now just what book I needed when I needed it. It was the notes that started to pop up whenever we were going to have a test in Potions. Just hints here in there. 'Study this, do that, work on this,' all of which were charmed so that I couldn't tell who exactly wrote them. Of course my suspicions were confirmed when food laced with a nutrient potion, or some other helpful potion started to show up. It was then that I knew who it was."
"Why didn't you tell anyone about the potions at the very least? It could have been any number of people who could have done you harm," Albus questioned in clear despair.
"I was going to; right up until I realized the book that the plate was sitting on was on detection spells, both wanded and wandless. I read through it, left to check the library to verify the information, and then went back and cast every spell I could find at the plate. It came back clean except from the nutrient potion, which I also tested to make sure it wasn't something else."
"You tested the potion? Which book was it?"
Severus smirked from where he was listening. "The one that I wrote and you edited, Albus."
Harry nodded his head in agreement. "I even checked with Madam Pince to make sure it wasn't a fake."
"And then you confronted Severus," Albus stated.
Harry looked at him in horror. "Great Merlin, no. I didn't want to be hexed anytime soon. I reckoned if he wanted to tell me, then he would."
Albus looked from student to teacher, confused. "Then when did you?"
"He didn't," Severus answered. "It wasn't until after the fiasco at the Ministry that I actually went to him in person. Harry was making himself sick in his grief before he left for the summer, and started to draw into himself. A few nights he refused to go to his own bed and just sat shivering in the cold. I finally had enough of that, and went to him the night before the train left."
"After a telling-off for not taking care of myself, which I barely listened to, I was shocked right out of my depression when Severus drew me into a rather awkward hug," Harry continued. "I spent the rest of the night crying into his shoulder, until I finally fell asleep. I woke up the next morning curled up against him on his sofa."
"After making sure that he was okay, and then making sure he actually ate a proper meal, I sent him on his way."
"He spent the rest of the summer insisting that I not blame myself. Every few days, I would get a letter demanding to know how I was doing, what I was doing, if I was eating, doing my homework, getting enough sleep. You name it, he wanted to know. It almost drove me mad. When I finally sent him a letter ranting at him, he showed up in person. Aunt Petunia was not impressed, and Uncle Vernon almost went purple with rage. Severus explained to them in no uncertain terms what I was supposed to be doing, how much I was supposed to be doing, and ordering them to make sure I did everything he ordered me to do, because he would know if I wasn't and would be back to take them to task for it. To this day I'm not sure if it was my best or worst summer."
Harry and Severus took turns explaining the rest of that summer, and the following two years at school, while Albus sat in disbelief at what exactly the two of them had done, all without anyone else finding out.
"Are the two of you sure that no one has figured this out. What about Miss Granger and Mr. Weasley?" he finally asked.
"We-ell…" Harry started rubbing the back of his neck. "The two of them knew something was up and hinted at it a time or two. The others in the dorm figured I just had a love interest that I didn't want the tabloids to get hold of. Hermione and Ron only mentioned it once, and that was at the beginning of this year, when Ron asked if I was going to be 'tutored' again this year. Hermione just asked that I made sure to teach them anything of interest I managed to 'come up with' and that was all they said. Of course, the look they shared the first time Severus snarled at me in Potions was definitely amused, and let me know that they knew what was going on, but they never said anything about it."
"You never told me that!" Severus sneered.
"You never asked. Besides, you're the spy, you should have figured it out on your own," Harry sneered back.
Albus looked at the two in shocked amazement, breaking up another sniping match before it could start. "Well, I'm not sure what to say. The two of you working together is something I would have never seen coming. Thank you both, my boys, for doing this great service for all of this."
The night of the leaving feast, Harry sat amongst his friends, laughing at the newest prank that had been pulled on the Ravenclaws, courtesy of the Weasley twins - via their little sister. Bringing themselves under control, Seamus leaned over and mock whispered, "So, Harry, are you finally going to tell us who she is?"
Barely looking up from his plate, filled with the less healthy variety of food available, Harry shrugged his shoulders. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Sure you don't, Potter. You've only been disappearing from the dorm nearly every night for the past three years, and sometimes you barely make it back in time to change for breakfast," Dean added.
Neville, who after all these years was still a quiet boy, but was almost twice as observant as Hermione, chimed in. "I think the question is not who she is, but who HE is," he pointed out slyly.
"YOU'RE GAY?!?" several of those surrounding Harry yelled, causing Harry to drop his head into his hands and groan in dismay, while Hermione, Ron, Ginny and Neville laughed.
"Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for outing me to the public," Harry snarled, much to the amusement of the Gryffindors.
The laughter this statement caused was quickly silenced, and before Harry had a chance to wonder why, a slim hand landed on his shoulder.
"Is there a problem here?" a cool voiced asked, the usually disdain missing for once.
"No, sir," Harry mumbled, a light blush making its way across his cheeks.
"I see." The cool glance up and down the table made sure the snickering remained nearly silent. "A…friendly...warning, Mr. Potter, your way or my way."
Harry spun around in his seat, dislodging the hand on his shoulder as he stared up at the Potions Master. "But Sir…"
"No buts, Mr. Potter, you know my stand on this subject."
"Yes, Sir, I know, but…"
"I do not care. Your way or my way."
Dropping his eyes, Harry nodded his head. "Of course, Sir, my way it is, Sir." Looking up hopefully, Harry gave the man his best 'puppy dog eyes' look. "All of it, Sir?"
Determined not to give in to that look, Snape held Harry's gaze as everyone in the Great Hall tried to figure out what was going on. Finally Snape nodded his head. "Most of it," he answered before walking away, only to stop a few feet further down. "I will be watching, Mr. Potter," he finished, and continued back to his spot at the head table.
"Isn't he always?" Harry groaned, and stared at his plate in dismay. He could almost feel the impatience radiating off the man increase, the longer it took to fix whatever it was Snape wanted fixed.
"Harry?" Hermione asked in confusion.
Harry just threw his blood sister a Snape-like glare before vanishing half the food on his plate and replacing it with healthier choices, not wanting the man to follow through on his threat of feeding him like a baby if he didn't. "So what's everyone doing this summer?" he asked instead.
This safe conversation lasted through dinner, and once the Headmaster was done saying his piece, up into the Gryffindor common room as well. There the spotlight was once again passed to Harry.
"What are you going to do this summer now that you are finally free of your relatives?" Neville asked.
With a sigh of satisfaction, Harry gave everyone a blinding smile. "Travelling."
"Really, Harry? That's great. Where are you going?" Hermione asked, excited for her best friend.
"Well, between the Potter and Black Estates, there are about two dozen different properties that are no longer in use. I reckon I'll take the next year or so and go through them all, sort out which ones need to be fixed up so they're livable once again and which one'sto demolish if it's just not worth the effort. After that, I'll decide which ones I can sell or give away, or turn into something useful, maybe an orphanage or two within both worlds," Harry replied thoughtfully.
"Um…mate, I really don't want to burst your bubble, but you're not going alone, are you? Those Blacks were really a paranoid bunch, and you never know what nasty surprises you might come across," Ron had to add.
"Are you completely off your rocker, Ron? Do you really think that they would allow me to go off on my own for a year or more, especially if I 'may' be near dark magic, without some kind of support?"
"Don't you mean 'he' won't let you?" Neville asked.
"I have no idea who you're talking about, Nev, no idea at all."
Everyone in the room was too occupied with teasing Harry to bother finding out 'who' exactly 'he' was to notice the knowing smiles passing between Hermione, Ron and Neville.
The commotion that took over on the morning the students were due to leave for the summer started even earlier than normal when a group consisting of the entire male contingent of the Gryffindor seventh years, Hermione Granger and Ginny Weasley banged on the office door of their Head of House. Hermione, Ron and Neville tried to be overheard over the rest as they attempted to tell the group that Harry Potter was not in danger. Professor McGonagall tried to understand what was being said, but could not make sense of anything.
"Enough! Mr. Thomas, please explain to me what exactly is wrong."
Taking a deep breath, Dean finally managed to blurt out the problem. "Harry's gone. His trunk and everything is missing from our room."
"Honestly, Dean, we tried to tell you that he's perfectly safe, but you wouldn't listen to us," Hermione sighed.
"Do you know where he is, Miss. Granger?" Professor McGonagall asked.
"Well no, not exactly, but he's not in danger or anything," Hermione tried to explain.
"We shall see about that. Follow me to the Headmaster's office."
Shaking her head in dismay, Hermione motioned to the others and the group set off to explain everything to the Headmaster. He of course reacted the way his deputy expected, and ordered a search of the school, leading the way himself down the Potions master's rooms to see if Severus had any idea where Harry might be found.
Severus answered the door to his quarters still tying his dressing gown on, only to be confronted with one of his worst nightmares. "What?" He growled at the assembled group of Gryffindors.
"I am sorry to disturb you this early in the morning, Severus, but we seem to missing a student. Do you have any idea where we may find Harry?" Albus asked in concern.
Letting the group into his common room, Severus gave the students an extra dark glare. "If anyone finds out where my quarters are…" he trailed off in warning. Satisfied with the terrified looks the group gave him, he offered everyone tea.
"Perhaps, Severus, you didn't hear the question. Harry is missing. Do you have any idea where he may be?" McGonagall questioned once again in annoyance.
"Behind you," another voice answered calmly.
Turning around everyone could see a sleep-rumpled Harry Potter.
"I told you he wasn't in danger," Hermione said.
"You told us that you had no idea where he was," Seamus pointed out.
"And we didn't. You just never asked if we knew who he was with," Neville pointed out.
"Longbottom? You told Longbottom, of all people?" Severus snarled at his partner.
"I did not. I told you Ron and Hermione suspected, but I had no idea that Neville knew. For this I blame you."
"Me? Why me? If anyone is at fault it would be you!"
"Actually, Sir, Harry's right. I knew he was seeing someone, and it didn't take a genius to see that your attitude towards him had changed. I just put things together and came up with the correct assumption," Neville stated calmly.
"Told you so," Harry said, turning back to the bedroom he'd come out of and closing the door behind him.
Albus' eyes twinkled brightly as he ushered everyone back out of Severus' quarters. "I expect to see both of you at breakfast this morning," he told the Potions master over his shoulder.
"As you wish, Headmaster."
Nodding his head, Albus shut the door firmly behind him, before allowing himself a chuckle. "Well, I knew they were getting along better, but this I didn't expect," he stated, much to the astonishment of the others.
"Harry and Severus?" Minerva asked still in shock.
"Indeed, my dear, indeed. And I couldn't think of a better pairing for either of them," Albus replied, leading the rest back out of the dungeons.