A New Place To Stay

Chapter 60

Talking To His Father

It was harder to slip away unnoticed with the school so empty, but he succeeded after going to 'bed' at nine o'clock. Since he'd been up until three AM the night before, it wasn't suspicious, added to the fact Harry had been yawning all afternoon. He did have to wait until Neville actually fell asleep though before he could leave. Looking at his watch impatiently as Neville began to snore loudly; finally, it had only taken forty five minutes. Sliding from the bed he put his shoes and cloak on which had his map stuffed inside. Once he was away from that side of the room, he slid a marble along the floor right next to Neville's drawers; he felt guilty about doing it but needs a must. The marble on the floor would let him know the second any moment was sensed. Since the others who usually share his dorm were gone it was logical that any movements the spell detected would in fact be Neville's. Giving one last look to the sleeping boy, grinning in amusement, over the past six years he had gotten used to the boy's snoring. Between Ron and Neville it was like a bloody duet, Ron was definitely louder though and more irritating, he spoke in his sleep as well.

Slipping from the room making sure to be as quiet as possible, leaving the door ajar to give the appearance of him just 'going to the toilet' if he woke up. He trusted Neville and Luna, he really did, but he couldn't risk it, his behaviour towards his dad would change and it was more telling than being able to read someone's mind. It took him a great deal of acting just to stop suspicion arousing, but at least he had experience, Neville didn't although he was good at keeping quiet about things. Not many knew about Neville's parents, which was surprising really, they were one of the two most popular Auror's in the force according to Mad Eye Moody.

"What are you doing up?" asked Hermione, staring at Harry from the corner of the room, as always she was surrounded by parchment and books around the table. Her brown eyes were filled with hope and sadness; she missed her friendship with Harry a great deal. She hadn't expected him to desert her like this; he'd always forgiven them before. She understood why he didn't forgive Ron; he'd messed up before but not her. She was rather envious of Luna and Neville; it should be her helping Harry not them.

"You lost the right to ask me that a long time ago." stated Harry coldly, damn it, why of all people did it have to be her? He should have checked the map, at least then he would have been prepared for it. She would know if he came back down with his cloak, she knew from experience what it meant when things moved by themselves. Deciding to ignore her, he continued on opening the door and leaving the common room, half surprised that she didn't say anything. It definitely wasn't Granger like behaviour; still he would watch his back just to be sure.

Harry unfolded the map, spreading it out as he muttered the password to open it, watching the dots of people curiously, even after all these years he was still in awe of this map. It was foolproof, a lesson he'd learned the hard way after only having it around six months if he was lucky. His dad was in his quarters, not his lab which was unusual as of late, he was up to something and he wasn't sure what. Although he intended to ask tonight, shrugging his shoulders, he made his way down to the dungeons, going slow this time so he didn't end up exhausted as he had earlier. He still ached from that run, his muscles were strained, and he really had to keep up his running again, before he got totally out of shape. Dumbledore was pacing in his office, Slughorn was doing the same in his, he wondered what their fight was about…too bad he hadn't thought to use Fred and George's extendable ears, now those were handy inventions. He was glad he gave his winnings to them; at least they were happy doing what they liked.

"Hi," said Harry as he wandered into the rooms, properly relaxing for the first time in the past few days. Slumping into the seat, he was still tired, but he wanted to know what his dad wanted more than sleep. He had always been too curious for his own good, if he was an Animagus, he'd bet it was a cat. Not only was he overly curious but he seemed to have more than one life, just like the little felines. Added to the fact he hated dogs, but mostly because of Ripper, Marge's dog, he'd bitten him and chased him up a tree when he was younger. The Dursley's had just laughed, and left him there, glad to get him out of their hair for a while, Merlin how he hated them.

"Good evening," said Severus wryly, watching him curiously, he had been down to the rooms while he was away from them earlier today, he wanted to know why. He didn't normally come down unless he was asked, so he was up to something. Keeping Harry safe had been the hardest thing he'd had to do, now it was slightly easier if not more nerve racking knowing just how cunning his son could be. "Were you looking for me earlier?" enquired Severus, knowing the answer was 'no' but ever the Slytherin not asking outright.

"I was just down to get some newspaper clippings I left the last time I was here," said Harry shaking his head, "Although somehow you already suspected that didn't you?" a sly smirk making its way onto his face. He had nothing to hide here; his dad knew him better than anyone else and always would.

"Newspaper clippings? It was my understanding you'd already gone through them all and found nothing." stated Severus, a small frown on his face as he thoughtfully thought back to the past few weeks. Had he figured it out? If so he truly was brilliant at research, perhaps because he checked in the most obvious places. He had been the one to find out about the Horcruxes, and figured out that he himself was one. Harry was smarter than anyone knew, but at least he didn't have to sit back as Harry's grades suffered badly because of his secretive nature. No, Harry had begun doing extremely well at his work; he had deserved the broomstick he'd given him. Other than for flying whenever he liked, it didn't get used in a more competitive manner, such as Quidditch since Harry hadn't returned to the team despite everyone's hope he would. No they'd turned on Harry one to many times, it had to have happened at some point. Even a dog took only so much before he'd bite back. Unfortunately he didn't have as much free time as Harry, to search for anything, between teaching, Dark Lord's, Dumbledore and Potions he was stretched too thin.

"I missed it," confessed Harry grudgingly, and it irked him something rotten. "It was staring me in the face, but I didn't spot it."

"Then you know where the wand is?" asked Severus cautiously.

"It's been under our noses the entire time," said Harry wryly, passing over two pieces of copied newspaper clippings, before a yawn forced its way out of his mouth. Curling into the seat, slipping his shoes off as the fire warmed him up, keeping an eye on his dad's reactions - he didn't get to see him show much emotion so each time he could it was always fun.

Severus accepted them; arching a curious eyebrow Harry thought Dumbledore had it? His eyes looked over it cursory before staring at the other one. He didn't see what Harry was going on about, but knowing it was there had him searching both of them as if trying to spot the difference. The wands were the two common denominators in the newspapers. Well other than Dumbledore, but considering Harry said he found out who had the wand…it was an obvious conclusion to reach. Then he saw it for himself, the differences, and quickly reached the same conclusion Harry had before him. "Grindelwald," whispered Severus feeling so very foolish, the timing was impeccable when you thought about it.

"Yeah, Neville's Gran told us about how in the old days if you defeated your opponent the wand was rightfully yours, why isn't that taught anymore?" asked Harry curiously.

"The practise has long ago ceased, a lot of the old ways have been. I'll give you a book to read about it, some of its rather fascinating if I'm honest." said Severus, so much had indeed been lost and forgotten over the years. Traditions stopped because of the influx of Muggle Born's to their society, well people blamed them, truth be told it was more to do with others like Dumbledore and the Ministers they had, telling them what was wrong, bad, evil, versus good and light and right. Since Azkaban's inception it was easier to control people with fear of the island. Of course there was always those who rebelled, but that was the way of life.

"It must be," whispered Harry grinning half heartedly, "To have received high praise from the Severus Snape."

"Droll," said Severus, Harry was exhausted; he looked ready to sleep any given moment. Severus stood up, moving towards the roaring fireplace, letting it warm him for a few seconds before he placed the paper in it, it was quickly and efficiently reduced to ash leaving nothing behind to identify. He was cautious for good reason, and it kept him alive.

"What are you up to?" asked Harry in turn facing his father and the fire getting an ache in his neck in the process. "What potion are you working on that's taking up so much of your time?" he wondered mostly out loud.

"You'll find out soon enough, go back up to your dorm before anyone finds out you aren't there." said Severus.

"Don't you trust me?" asked Harry, staring at Severus with hurt shining through his green eyes.

"Don't pull those stunts with me, Harry. You forget I know you all too well, you play very good for your age but I have been at this a lot longer." replied Severus dryly; he was just digging for information using any means necessary.

Harry scowled not even bothering to look sheepish, oh well he had tried but it seemed as if his dad still wasn't in a sharing mood. "Come on, at least give me a clue? You are working on one potion, there's only one laid up in there, not many turn that hue of blue." said Harry, grinning, although there had been no potion ingredient out so he couldn't even make an accurate guess. He wasn't a Potions Master after all, even though he was good with sleeping potions and such, whatever that potion was - he hadn't brewed it yet.

"Harry," sighed Severus exasperated beyond words, his eyes narrowing in on the not so innocent boy sitting on his seat demanding answers. He'd created a monster who observed his surroundings, or more accurately he'd brought out the monster that lurked under the surface. He knew that if he wanted to, he would find it out; he'd proven that time and time again. So did he tell him and satisfy his curiosity or see if he could solve the mystery.

"Blue hue means some sort of sleeping potion, although neither the sleeping draught or the Dreamless Sleeping Potion ever go quiet that colour." said Harry, thoughtfully, eyeing his father curiously, he was rather looking forward to the next challenge that was presented to him.

"Indeed," smirked Severus, Harry's green eyes were twinkling, he like the trill of this.

"There's only one other potion that could fit in that column, but the seventh years make that…why are you brewing it yourself when there's plenty to go around?" asked Harry, finally figuring it out. Draught of the living death, it sends the drinker into a slumber that would and could be mistaken for being dead and it could last indefinitely. Why would he be making it? It made no logical sense to him. "Are you giving it to Narcissa Malfoy?" he asked doubtfully, it would the most sense but was by no means airtight.

"No," replied Severus impressed with his quick thinking. Harry would have definitely got passed his potions logic puzzle in first year if he'd applied himself, oh and if Granger hadn't been quick to take the challenge upon to herself.

"Draco Malfoy?" he asked even more doubtfully.

Severus shook his head before he retook his seat, it seemed as though Harry was pretty wide awake now, even though he should be in his dorm.

Harry's mind whirled in confusion, what else could there be? Or rather who else could their be? Was he just jumping to the wrong conclusion and the potion wasn't going to be used? No, that wasn't it, Severus didn't do things without a purpose, and he just couldn't see what the purpose was right now. Unless…he wouldn't….would he? No, that was just insanity; it would never work…would it? "Dumbledore? You're going to feed the potion to Dumbledore?"

"Yes, it's the only way to succeed, but the potion is going to be altered slightly, it needs to be activated at the right moment." said Severus, only the original potion didn't work like that, hence why he had to change it. One of the Dursley's was finally going to come in handy. He would be testing it out on one of them, since they were human not rats, it would work the same way it would if they weren't transfigured. He was praying it would work; he didn't have a lot of time to adjust it if it didn't work. It took a month to brew, the one he was creating would take one month two weeks, it would be ready by the end of January, and it would be February before he could test the results accurately. Perhaps it would be best to think of an alternative now just in case, certainly wouldn't hurt. At least then he would be able to test another if the first failed, but to him failure wasn't an option. Not with something as important as this, it's why he'd been giving it his utmost concentration.

"He's going to be fucking pissed," said Harry his lip twitching at the prospect of getting one over Dumbledore.

"It is the only way." Severus reminded him.

"I didn't say I was against the plan," replied Harry quietly, he was bone aching tired.

"Indeed not," said Severus conceding the point.

"What are we going to do about the other Horcruxes?" asked Harry, "I mean Gringotts? I know Quirrelmort got in but how the hell would we?"

"We? Aren't doing anything, at least not right now…not until we have to." said Severus, he was putting off thinking about it really. The only way they could accomplish this, in his opinion was to break into Gringotts. The second they did Bellatrix would have to tell the Dark Lord and he would know someone knew about his Horcruxes. Then there was the possibility of him making more, that they wouldn't be able to find or destroy. The timing had to be absolutely right, just like this did otherwise hell would descend upon them in the form of the Dark Lord.

"Timing?" asked Harry.

Severus nodded curtly. "Timing." it was everything, especially with the last two, kill Nagini he would still figure it out…and he never let that animal out of his sight for it to just 'leave and never come back' or just too busy hunting. It was just pure luck on their part the rest of the Horcruxes had been dealt with - without the Dark Lord any the wiser. Although if he grew suspicious and actually checked on them well the game was up too. "Now get up those stairs, go to bed." he added more firmly than last time.

"Oh, all right," murmured Harry, too tired to argue anymore anyway. He could do with some sleep, a lot of sleep actually…he just hoped Granger hadn't said anything. He wouldn't put it past her to just go straight to Dumbledore with tales of how he was gone from the common room past curfew.

"Before you go, take this. Keep it on you at all times. Nobody else will be able to see it; it's a Portkey, keyed into your magical signature. Although others can come should you wish it, it will act accordingly if anyone is trying to hop in on your Portkey." said Severus, handing over the chain.

"Does it have an activation word?" asked Harry curiously, placing it firmly around his neck taking Severus' words to heart.

"Yes, the activation word is home, and that's exactly where it will take you." said Severus seriously. He had one similar around his own neck, dark times were coming and he'd be a fool not to take every precaution necessarily to ensure their survival.

"Did you give Malfoy one?" asked Harry enquiringly, as always able to hide his jealousy.

"No, and under no circumstances is he to be made aware of what is happening is that understood? He must think what he sees that night truly happened. The Dark Lord will reach into his thoughts and get through everything without pausing." said Severus warningly, he loved his godson, and he really did. Unfortunately he was a Slytherin, and he'd been raised by Lucius Malfoy getting his own way all the time, and regretfully he was a boy who would give up anyone to get his own way. He could only hope that the Dark Lord didn't dig too deep and find out that his godson knew about his true identity or everything they were doing to help him would be moot. Draco was just angry at the thought of following a Half-blood, after all he'd been weaned on the fact he was superior to them all being a pureblood. Yes even him, when all was said and done.

Harry had to stop the grin from splitting his face in two, he was inordinately smug that Draco Malfoy wasn't trusted enough to be told. It was childish he knew, but he always felt on edge around Malfoy. Not just because they were school boy rivals, some would claim they were enemies but Harry had bigger people after his life to think about calling Malfoy his enemy. He liked him even less lately; especially with how close he was with his dad, although that thought might not be accurate. So Malfoy was going to think he was killing Dumbledore? That made no sense…Malfoy as much as he was an idiot and bully didn't have the guts to kill anyone or anything.

"You think Malfoy could kill Dumbledore? I mean really do it?" asked Harry, a frowning marring his head, he'd seen how desperate the boy was at finding a solution to help him.

"Thankfully, no. I don't think he has it in him to murder anyone." said Severus.

"Are you out of your mind?!" shouted Harry, standing up looking horrified and shocked to the core. Oh he understood what his dad wasn't saying! That he would be the one to cast the curse that supposedly ended Dumbledore's life. Which was all well and good but it didn't help if they killed him before the ruse could be blown wide open. "You can't do that; you won't live to see next year if you do! He's too damn popular! They'll be out for blood…as brilliant as you are at defending yourself - it'll be too much!"

"Calm down," said Severus sternly, "I can look after myself you need not worry, my reputation will ensure nobody will try anything."

"If anything happens before this is over, I'll bring you back just so I can do it myself!" said Harry, before he walked out of the room without looking back.

Severus watched him go, his black eyes piercing, he hadn't made any promises, because even he knew it would be more of a platitude. In war there was no guarantee, added to the fact he was a spy made his survival less than thirty percent possible, if that. All he could do was try and reassure Harry that he would do his best. He hadn't lied to Harry and he wasn't about to start now, no matter how much it upset him. It obviously did, he'd known his reaction wouldn't be positive to say the least. Sighing softly, wondering how long Harry would remain in a huff, hopefully not long because he had a training lesson, if he could call it that anymore, Harry had surpassed anything he could teach him. That surely would help with any issues he had, he didn't like the prospect any better, but at least he'd have Dumbledore out of the way, and surviving the damn war. If they both heaven forbid died well…Minerva would be left clues as to what had really gone down. Hopefully his training would be enough for Harry to survive, it had to be, he'd sworn to keep Harry alive to protect him…for Lily and that's what he would do. His new will was already lodged at Gringotts, most of his belongings and things were to go to Harry if he survived, a small amount was going to his godson. If Harry died well Draco would receive it all, but he rather hoped it wouldn't happen. He'd also left a letter for Harry should the worst happen so he knew how proud he was of him.

Harry stomped up the stairs, not caring who saw him right now, he was furious. He was going to risk his life for that ungrateful sod! Merlin that just enraged him he half hoped Malfoy cast the curse himself. His dad's position was dangerous as it was without adding him supposedly the killer of Dumbledore as well. Voldemort was terrified of Dumbledore to some extent! What would his reaction be to hearing that Severus had killed him? Would he kill Severus out of fear? Or elevate him to a higher position? He didn't know which he preferred. If he did elevate him he would have jealous Death Eaters after him as well as everyone who remotely liked Dumbledore to a certain extent. Dumbledore, he'd forgotten to tell his dad about the fight he'd had with Slughorn.

Sighing softly, he slid into his bed once again; Neville hadn't woken up at all. Biting his lip, he shouldn't have reacted like that; he knew his dad was only doing what he thought was best. He just didn't want anything bad to happen to him, off all the people he had to come to love as a father figure it was him, Merlin they'd both be lucky if they survived. If they did he promised himself he would tell Severus what he thought of him, and how grateful he was that he'd been kind and treated him like a son and trained him. He didn't care if the man didn't feel the same way, it was a promise he vowed to keep.

He just prayed he had that chance.

Sleep didn't come easy to either men that night, when it did it was filled with nightmares that left them uneasy and restless. Unfortnately this was just the calm before the storm, it would be a long time before either one of them could rest easy.

There we go, the next chapter will include a long time jump unless you want to see Severus actually tinkering with the potion on the Dursleys and showing what he planned and then implementing that plan out? as for pairing...I always did say it wouldn't have one...luna is out of the question really so how about Hermione? second chance? who else is there really? nobody harry can trust...unless he gets a child out of a one night stand... :P and is content with that what do you think? who will Harry be paired with? R&R Please!