Chapter Thirty-six

A/N Harry's new name is Gabriel, but his nickname will be Cherub. ALSO sorry this is so late I have a sick little one :(

June 20th 1987. Ottery St. Catchpole

Gabriel danced about as he placed the books on the long tables against the walls of the tent. He wasn't hiding from the chaos like last year, this year he was listening to a tape of Indian Bollywood music, and happily thinking of where all these books had been bought. Africa, then he smiled as he placed several large books on the shelf; it was there in Africa that he had bound Baba, Dad and himself making them a family. His fathers had already picked out a name for him, Gabriel Alec. They told him Gabriel is the name of an archangel, a warrior, and Alec means 'defender of man'. Freja and Ria still called him Cherub as did the others sometimes, but he liked having a 'real' name.

As he danced, his black cotton pants, and green tunic flowed about him, with each book he picked up he remembered a different city and experience. Moscow had borscht and beautifully painted buildings with onion-shaped tops; Kiev had intricately painted eggs and a huge, shiny silver arch; Athens had baklava and ancient Greek ruins; Amsterdam had fields of tulips and windmills and Berlin large soft pretzels with spicy mustard and a huge wall with guards and wires that made him feel very sad even when his empathic shields were up.

When Gabriel finished placing all of the books he opened another box. Smiling as he saw the carefully wrapped bundles Gabriel rolled up his sleeves, so they wouldn't catch on anything. Lovingly he ran a finger over the braided gold bracelet adorning his wrist; it was a smaller version of the bracelets his Dad and Baba wore. Unwrapping the first piece of hand-blown glass he thought back to that spring. They had gone back to Oma's and had a bonding ceremony. The bond Gabriel had created between them in Zimbabwe was strong and made them a family, but they wanted to have a ceremony with their family and friends. They had stood in the middle of the orchards, leafless branches covered in delicate white and pink blossoms surrounded them. It was such a happy day, there had been a wonderful party, most of the village and Lucas's werewolves came to help them celebrate.

Before they had left they spent a day in the village with Freja's son. He, along with many others in the village blew glass for decoration, and to put the oils and herbs, which came from Oma's farm, into. Gabriel was fascinated watching the glass heated and carefully blown into a desired form. The different colors and shapes they were able to create was awe-inspiring. Gabriel focused on the present as he set out bottles, jars, vials and other beautiful glass objects. On the toy table outside there were several bags of marbles that one of the glass blowers had made. Gabriel loved his set and was becoming quite good at playing different marble games.

Severus Snape quietly watched young Mr. Dragonheart, waiting until his hands were free of the glass objects he was setting out on the table. The boy had changed in the last year, he was much taller, his black hair reached past his shoulders, and he seemed much more confidant. Once he appeared to be finished Severus called out, "Mr. Dragonheart."

Gabriel turned calmly and beamed up at him. "Professor Snape, hello; did you have a good year?"

Severus couldn't help but smile back. The only other child who looked so happy to see him was his godson Draco. "It has been an interesting year, certainly." Severus said thinking of the many cauldrons that had exploded and a missing Harry Potter. As Gabriel walked closer to him the green eyes pierced him, and he thought back to school, to a girl, and then it faded and he was left feeling safe and calm. Shaking his head to clear it he continued. "I assume congratulations are in order, Mr. Dragonheart."

Gabriel beamed, "Thank you Professor Snape. Yes, Mudiwa and Vincent got bonded and adopted me, and please call me Gabriel, or Cherub."

Severus grimaced, "I am not fond of nicknames. I am however willing to call you Gabriel, if you insist."

Gabriel giggled at the Professor's sour face, "Thank you, do you want to see what I collected for you?"


Excitedly Gabriel ran over to the front table where the boxes they stored potions ingredients in were sitting. Gabriel pulled a small black trunk over to the edge. Standing on tiptoes he was able to reach the latches and open the trunk. Severus gasped at all the vials, bottles and jars in the trunk. One by one he examined them. There were so many, and such rare and amazing specimens.

"You collected all of these?" Severus questioned Gabriel.

"Yes, sir."

"How?" he demanded.

Gabriel took a deep breath; he had practiced what to say with Freja and Soto. "I have a way with snakes."

Severus snorted. "I am sure that is an understatement."

"It is rather simple and boring, and as a gypsy and an entertainer I simply cannot ruin a good mystery," Gabriel said shyly, remembering how Freja had used the same line on a man in Istanbul. He had laughed and let it go.

Professor Snape shook his head and chuckled. "All right, keep your secrets. I will need to spend some time looking through everything." Pulling a battered blue book out of his robes he handed it to Gabriel. "This is for you."

Gabriel looked over the book: it was a guide to collecting plant and animal potion ingredients. Opening it up he saw that Professor Snape had written notes in the margins. Gabriel grinned; this would give him a lot of information. He didn't know why or how, but he knew that books which had belong to others talked to him, and he learned a lot very quickly. "Thank you very much, Professor Snape."

"You are most welcome, Gabriel."

Thirty minutes later Severus was in shock. There were approximately 20,000 Galleons worth of snake material in front of him. He didn't have the money for all of this. In order to 'prove' himself to the Ministry he was cut off from his inheritance. The Ministry couldn't make Gringotts keep it from him, but to prove he felt remorse for becoming a Death Eater he needed to stay away from his money for another three years. Dumbledore paid him well, and he was given a huge allowance to purchase work robes and potions supplies for his classes and the potions he made for the school. He saved his money, spending the majority of his savings every year while he was here purchasing the highest quality ingredients. Sighing deeply he began to separate out a few vials.

"Professor Snape is that all you want? Did I collect them wrong?" Gabriel asked him.

"No, Gabriel these are very fine ingredients. They are also very expensive and I cannot get everything I want," Severus explained.

Gabriel's forehead wrinkled in confusion. "But, I got them for you. If you don't want something I will try and sell it later, but don't worry about the money."

"Gabriel, that is very generous of you, but it wouldn't be right." Part of him was screaming to take what the boy was offering; another said not to ruin the relationship he had with his best suppliers.

Stubbornly Gabriel locked eyes with Professor Snape. "Freja says you are the best Potions master in Europe. She said that you use ingredients like these to make new and better potions to help people. So these are for you. When you use these and make amazing potions, and people give you lots of money for them, then you can pay me more, but for now you will take what you want for the money you have." Gabriel folded his little arms over his chest and jutted out his jaw, as if daring Severus to challenge him.

It took all of Severus's will power to not laugh at the young man. He had seen such a look on his godson's face and knew that fighting was not the easiest course of action. He was just about to answer, when Adonis walked into the tent.

"Oh dear, Cherub has that look. Best to give in now, it makes life so much easier." Adonis chuckled. Gabriel quickly glared at the golden man before returning his emerald gaze to Severus' black eyes.

Severus chuckled, a deep rich sound which made both Gabriel and Adonis shiver – but for very different reasons. "I had already figured that out, but thank you for the warning. Gabriel, I will set aside what I want, and if you could please get your fathers, I want to make sure this is also acceptable to them."

He frowned, trying to figure out if Professor Snape was going to try and get away with anything, then nodded and went to get his Baba and Dad. When he retuned ten minutes later with his fathers in tow, Severus had the majority of the snake ingredients in front of him.

"Hello, Professor Snape, Gabriel said that you wanted to speak with us," Vincent said holding out his hand.

Severus shook the proffered hand warmly. "Yes, thank you. I wanted to make sure the agreement Gabriel and I reach is acceptable to you and your husband."

Mudiwa looked puzzled. "We told Gabriel that what he collected is his to sell."

"Well yes, and Gabriel is most insistent that I am to take whatever I want for whatever I can afford, however these are very valuable items and I cannot in good conscience go through with this without your approval," Severus explained.

"That is very kind of you; however, what Gabriel earns is for him to save and to spend. It is up to him to set his price," Vincent said simply.

Severus nodded and looked down at the items he had chosen, about 10,000 Galleons worth. He left much of the venom as very little was needed to have a big effect on a potion, and what he had was far more than he could see himself using in a year. He had taken almost all of the scales, eggs, and the few bones and fangs that were available. Taking a deep breath Severus looked down into stubborn green eyes. "Are you quite certain?" he asked one last time. Gabriel growled in annoyance. Severus snorted; 'Merlin this boy was stubborn' ! "Well, then here, one thousand Galleons."

Gabriel took the pouch, and smiled. "I hope you enjoy them."

Severus smirked, "I am sure I will." Then turning to Vincent he asked. "Where is Ms. Nef? I would like to finish my shopping."

June 21st 1987.

Molly Weasley fussed about the Burrow making sure everything was ready to go. Her children could tell something was wrong, but didn't ask what.

"Is everyone ready? It is time to go to the Solstice party."

Everyone gathered round and touching the portkey, felt a pull behind their navels and then landed in a heap. Carefully righting themselves, they looked over to where the noise was coming from and smiled. The tents were set up, many of their friends were there, and soon the show would begin. As they walked towards the festivities Molly and Arthur both kept their eyes open looking for Harry Potter. Molly's breath caught every time a black haired child passed by. This was driving her crazy, where was he? Trying not to think about the terrible things that could be happening to him, Molly plastered on a smile.

"The Weasley Clan!" greeted Adonis, "how are all of you?"

All of the kids answered at once and Adonis blinked at the chaos of sound. "Children!" snapped Molly. "We are doing very well, thank you," she said to Adonis.

"Wonderful. I bet you kids are wondering where Cherub is." At their nods Adonis shouted for him.

Soon Gabriel was running towards them, black hair flying about his shoulders from under a black head scarf, green eyes sparkling. Both Arthur and Molly stiffened with recognition for a second, before the magic of the circle protected Gabriel yet again and swept the idea from their minds.

Molly clasped her hands to her breast; he looked so good. No longer thin and pale, he was a ball of vibrant energy and so obviously happy. "Come here, Cherub, and give us a hug." As her arms wrapped around him all the worry and fear she was holding inside seemed to vanish. Somehow she knew Harry Potter was just fine. When Arthur asked later how she knew and why she had stopped worrying she simply shrugged and said, "A mother's intuition."

Gabriel didn't sit with the Weasleys, as this year he was in the performance. When it was over and he had cleaned up he was pounced on by Fred, George, Bill, Charlie, Ron and Ginny. They demanded he show them some of the things he had done, and so they spent their time before dinner learning simple acrobatics, and stretches and exercises to prepare for the statue work. They all promised to practice everyday so that next Solstice he could teach them more.

June 22 1987.

As the adults packed up their stuff Gabriel walked around the field making sure all the rubbish was picked up. As he neared a hedge Gabriel heard a rustling sound. "Hello, is anyone there?" he called out as he knelt down and moved closer to the sound. He squealed as a large, shaggy black dog popped out from the bushes. Calming down he looked at the thin dirty dog – he was huge and seemed friendly. Holding out his hand he called to the dog. "Hello there boy, how are you? Come here and let me make sure you're okay."

The dog whined and moved closer. Gabriel smiled and began to carefully pet the stray mutt. "You seem unhurt. Why don't you come with me and I will get you some water and food." The dog barked as if he understood and cautiously followed the child back to camp. Gabriel had introduced himself, and told the dog all about his family by the time they reached the tents.

Freja was the first to see them muttering to herself, "Oh, that explains the tarot reading."

"Freja look what I found," Gabriel exclaimed happily. "He is really friendly. I know he looks really bad," at this the dog looked affronted and whined, "but I am sure with a bath and some food he will be, well not good looking, but clean and scary. Can we keep him? Please?" The dog snorted at this and turned away from the boy.

Freja smiled, "I am sorry, but a dog is just not a doable pet, we cross into too many different countries. Anyway I bet Aurora wouldn't like it very much."

Gabriel stroked the black rainbow-tinted snake around his neck. She hung around most times, keeping quiet and unseen by those who didn't know she was there. "But where will he go?" Gabriel asked, sadness and worry in his voice.

Freja smiled knowingly, "Oh, he has his own journey. Why don't we get him some food and let him rest."

Gabriel sniffed, "Okay." Taking Freja's hand they went into the bus and cooked up some eggs with cheese, slices of toast, and Gabriel had insisted on having yogurt with fruit. Placing the food in front of the dog, they were happy to see him dig in. Once he was done eating, Gabriel brought out a ball and the two played until it was time to go.

Gabriel fell to his knees and hugged the dog fiercely, burying his face in the matted fur. "I will miss you. Good luck! I hope you find a happy home."

The dog huffed and snuggled the boy as best as he could. As Gabriel left and went into the bus, the small blond-haired woman came over to the dog.

"I am not sure what this means but I have a message for you, it came to me during a tarot reading last week: 'the rat you need is living with the ginger clan, the Weasleys I believe'."

The black dog growled and then bowed low in thanks. He had a rat to uncover.