Disclaimer: All recognizable characters belong to J.K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.

Thanks a lot to my beta-reader, saiyanwizardgurl, for correcting my mistakes.

I also would like to thank my motovation betas!

I'm not a native speaker of English!


Chapter 28 – Roan

-II

"He calmed down in the end. I think he just wanted to get it out. Grandma pulled my ear very hard." Harry rubbed his ear.

"Yes, she is good at that, and she gives it this odd last twist before she let go that makes it hurt for several more minutes."

"Yeah, and then grandpa smacked my head while I did my homework."

Severus snorted. "Did it help?"

"Very funny, Dad. I will take this into my room before Eathan and Lysander ruin it." He remembered his last history essay being covered with chocolate finger prints.

"You'd better do so. They are with their sweet addict grandfather right now and will be back any minute."

-II-

After Harry had quickly thrown his clothes into his wardrobe, he let his fingers wander over his big forest mural in hope of finding Roan, his swamp horse. Not being able to find him, Harry gave up and went into the long hall of Dumbledore's Manson.

"Dad?"

A pop sounded through the hall and Paul appeared in front of Harry. "No shouting in the hall, Young Master Harry."

"Yeah, sorry, Paul. I'm looking for my father. Do you know where he is?"

"Master Severus and Madam Ivy are in the Master bedroom."

"Is it safe to go in there?"

"Excuse me?"

Harry rolled his eyes. "Forget it, Paul. Thanks for your help."

When Harry turned around to knock on Severus' bedroom door, Paul said, "They are unpacking if that was what you asked for, Young Master Harry." A popping sound and the elf vanished.

"They are unpacking, Young Master Harry," Harry imitated Paul's snotty tone and rolled his eyes.

After he was called in, Harry stepped into his parents' bedroom.

"Dad?"

"Yes, Harry!"

"Ehm...how long will you need here?"

"What's the matter? Just spit it out, Harry." Severus smoothed the clothes out he had just neatly placed into his wardrobe. Harry bit his bottom lip, remembering his wildly-thrown clothes. He hoped his mother or Paul would not check.

"Ehm...I hoped we could go and look for the horses. Please."

"I have to finish unpacking first, but then I'll have time for you. Go find the twins to keep yourself occupied, and I will fetch you when I'm done."

"Great!" Harry said, excited. He did not have much hope that Severus would have time for him.

When Harry stepped into Eathan and Lysander's room, he was almost hit by Lysander darting out of his brother's reach. Catching his little brother, Harry asked, "What's going on here?"

"We're just playing, Harry," Eathan said quickly, totally out of breath. Harry often behaved like a big brother lately, so Eathan knew he better make clear that they were not fighting.

"Playing?" Harry looked at Lysander, who had found his balance again. His shy brother nodded.

"Where is Osy?"

"Under the bed," Eathan said and pointed.

"Oh, boys, you shouldn't scare him so much. He doesn't know this place." Harry knelt down to look under the bed.

"But he ran under it as soon as we came in. He isn't hiding because we ran," Eathan explained.

"He is your responsibility. You should have made him feel safe and at home here." The young brothers let their heads hang as Harry appeared with the frightened bird from under the bed.

Harry sat down on Eathan's bed and pet the frightened bird. "Look, Osy, everything is all right. There is nothing to be scared of."

Lysander scooted closer and petted Osy as well. "Yes, this is our home, Osy. You will be here during the summer, too."

"No, Ly. Mummy and Daddy already told you that they already are looking for someone to take Osy, and if they don't find someone before summer holidays, Osy has to stay with Hagrid. He needs more fresh air than we can offer him, and he needs a little friend."

"But we are his friends and we have a lot of fresh air here," Eathan said.

"He is a social bird that needs one of his own as a friend. It would be torture to keep him alone for a long time. And the weather here is too cold for him. He would get ill." Seeing Lysander start to cry, Harry added, "Come on. It's not as if the two of you are hearing this for the first time. You want Osy to be happy, don't you?"

Both boys nodded sadly.

"You should use the time you have with him as best as possible. Maybe we can convince him of the safety of this house by giving him a treat." Harry looked up and called for Paul.

"What can I do for you, Young Masters?" Paul asked politely.

"Can you bring us some cheese?"

"For the bird, Young Master Harry?"

"Yes, for the bird, Master Paul," Harry said, annoyed.

"Young Master Harry should not call me that," Paul said sternly. Lately, they had come along quiet well, but Harry got annoyed by Paul's reprimanding and controlling nature and being called Young Master Harry all the time. It sounded so stupid.

Harry groaned. "Why can't you just go and get the damn cheese?"

"Language, Harry. Apologize to Paul," Severus, who had just entered the room, ordered.

"But he's always asking questions and not doing what I ask," Harry said, not being able to control his anger.

"He is an educational house-elf. He is trained to question any order you give him, and I have explained this to you several times. Now apologize, or you will spend the rest of the day inside," Severus said sternly.

"I'm sorry, Paul," Harry said between gritted teeth.

"I can't bring Young Master Harry the cheese as Madam Ivy and Madam Minerva have forbidden me to do so. It's not good for the bird. I can bring you some nuts. The bird likes them, and they are healthy for him," Paul explained in his usual, arrogant tone.

"Fine, then, the nuts," Harry said impatiently.

"Harry," Severus said warningly. "I'm not joking. I expect you to be polite to Paul."

Harry's forehead became crinkled by his suppressed anger. "It's not fair."

Severus groaned. Sometimes Harry was like Eathan; he did not know when to stop.

"What's not fair?"

"That he is allowed to treat me like the twins. I'm much older."

"You are still a child. He is trained to educate children, Harry. Giving the bird cheese would have been unhealthy for it. You need to learn that not everything you deem to be right is so. Learning is the main task for children, no matter what age. Paul is helping you. He isn't trying to help you wash or telling you to go to sleep at eight, right?"

Harry did not answer but tried to calm down.

"He is making differences between you and your brothers, but when he thinks you have to be taught something, he will do so and has the right to. That's what we have him for."

"I know. I'm sorry, Paul," Harry said, much calmer and meaning it this time.

"I'm going to get the nuts, Young Master Harry," Paul said friendly and not arrogantly this time.

"Thank you."

When Paul was gone, Harry asked, "Does he always have to call me that?"

"He is a house-elf. They feel the need to call us by our title."

Harry sighed, but could not argue more because Paul was back. "Master Severus, Master Albus is calling via Floo."

"Thanks, Paul." Severus stood up from Lysander's bed and looked at Harry. "Get ready to go outside in ten minutes, Harry. I will wait for you in the living room."

"Yeah, going outside!" Eathan screamed, not having heard that only Harry was addressed.

"Oh no, not you two. I will go outside with Harry. The two of you have an appointment with the barber. You mother will come and get you in a few minutes."

"Not the barber!" Eathan said miserably and held his head.

"Yes, the barber, and you won't give your mother any trouble, am I understood?" Severus glared at his little sons, who both looked as if they have to go to the dentist.

"Ten minutes, Harry, and make sure to be warmly dressed."

X-X

"Ready?" Severus asked when Harry came into the room.

"Yes," Harry said, excited.

Severus stepped closer to Harry and grabbed for his sweater.

"Dad, please," Harry protested when Severus pointed out that he only wore his sweater. "Undershirts are for babies."

"It's April, but it is still very cold, Harry. Go and dress yourself correctly. That means undershirt, shirt, and sweater, and don't forget warm socks."

Grumbling something unclear, Harry went back to his room. Two minutes later he was back, dressed in all the necessary clothes to satisfy his parents.

On their way to the meadow, Severus laid his hand on Harry's neck. Until then, Harry had enjoyed the silence and the cold wind in his face. He loved it here. The air smelled of salty water. Severus' hand on his neck meant something he would not like was coming.

"Harry, I told you I would talk with James about your tiredness."

Harry felt a heavy weight on his chest. What would come now? Did he have to go back to the clinic?

"Your Healers will have a meeting on Monday morning, and we have an appointment with them in the afternoon."

"We?"

"You, your mother, and me. We'll go directly from here to the clinic. Albus and Minerva will watch over the twins."

Harry let his head hang. "Do you think I have to stay?"

"No, I don't think so, Harry. Don't worry about it. I think you will just have to explain what you are feeling and how much it affects you. Please be honest, Harry. It wouldn't help if you lied to make it look less serious."

"But I don't want to go back," Harry said honestly.

"Like I said, I don't think that's what they will decide. We will wait until Monday to worry about it. Now, let's have some fun."

Harry was sure Severus had chosen this moment to tell him the bad news as he knew Harry would be quickly distracted from it by his horse.

Severus whistled, and Harry could feel the ground under him vibrate. Shortly after, the swamp horses broke out of the forest. Harry watched, transfixed at how the big horses were crossing the meadow and came to a stop in front of them. Farruk, Severus' horse, was as hasty as always and pranced around them excitedly.

Harry could not concentrate for long on the young horse as Roan stepped closer and bumped Harry's chest with his big head. "Human," Roan greeted Harry in his mind.

"Hey, Roan," Harry said happily and petted the calm horse's head. "Glad to see me?"

"Always, human."

Harry laughed. "And I am to see you." He leaned his head against Roan's and closed his eyes, everything around him vanished and it seemed he was one with Roan. When he opened his eyes again, he was on Roan's back, not knowing when and how he had got there.

Severus was on Farruk's back but was having problems controlling the over-excited horse. "Ready for a ride? I fear I can't hold Farruk back much longer."

"Sure," Harry said, grinning.

They rode to the cliff and not for the first time in his life with the Snapes was Harry grateful for his adoptive mother's paranoid habit of dressing her kids according to the weather. He would have frozen to death without his undershirt. The salty breeze almost froze on Harry's face even though it was April. The sea was rough, and big waves were breaking on the cliff.

"Dad? Is there anything I should know about Easter traditions?" Harry asked when they slowly rode back.

"Worried again? You need to stop getting scared of things that are fun, Harry. First Christmas, then New Year's Eve, and now Easter. Yes, there are traditions, and you will learn them one after another. Hopefully you will like them. So stop worrying about it."

Harry sighed. It was so easy for them to say that. They grew up with all the traditions, but Harry felt so stupid when he had no clue of what was happening.

"I have to go into town to get a few things for those traditions. Do you want to join me?"

"Muggle town?"

"Yes."

"How are we going there?"

"That will be your choice, but I would like to take the motorcycle."

Harry turned his head so abruptly that he felt a bit dizzy. "You must be kidding."

Severus laughed one of his rich hearty laughs. "What? You think only the Weasleys have a motorcycle?"

"You can drive?"

"I have a Muggle driver's license for cars and motorcycles."

"Cool."

"So what will it be?"

"The motorcycle, of course," Harry said, hardly able to breathe normally in anticipation of the ride.

"Your potion applicator, Harry," Severus reminded him.

"No, James said I should try to control it first," Harry said, out of breath. He closed his eyes and tried the breathing technique he learned from Healer Jacob. After a minute, Harry groaned and grabbed for the applicator. After he let the potion take effect, Harry looked over to Severus. "Doesn't work often."

"It was worth a try, Harry. There's nothing wrong with taking the potion, is there?"

"Yeah," Harry said, still a bit disappointed that the breathing technique had not worked. It would have been cool to show Severus that he could manage it.

When Harry stepped in the garage of the mansion, he was speechless. His eyes could not decide where to look first. It was just amazing.


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