It was decided to go to the muggle shops that day and save the trip to Diagon Alley until Harry was more comfortable with accepting his magic.

Aria was placed in her stroller, which Catherine had brought with them when she came to Spinner's End, and Harry walked alongside holding Severus's hand. Severus wondered at the rather tight hold the boy had on his hand, but assumed that it had something to do with the boy's muggle relatives. He was right, if only he had known it.

The Dursleys had often attempted to lose him the few times he had gone anywhere with them. He trusted Severus, but he also still believed what his relatives had told him, that he was a worthless freak, not worth the time or attention of anyone. He didn't want to have to leave, both Severus and Catherine had been so nice to him, but he also had a sense of resignation about him, as he believed that sooner or later they would 'come to their senses', as his aunt and uncle would have put it, and realize 'that he wasn't worth the time it would take to tell him to get lost.' So he held onto Severus's hand tightly, not wanting to lose this chance at the family he had always imagined.

Catherine was looking about, having never visited Severus's hometown before. She could see why he hadn't wanted her to visit, as the town was rather run-down, but that paled to insignificance as he wrapped her smaller hand in his, smiling at her as he pointed out a park where the children could play for the time being. She also knew that they would have to leave soon, although she had no idea as to where they would go. Severus had disobeyed Dumbledore when he had removed Harry from his relatives, and she knew that regardless of the reasons, the old man would be furious with his spy. Add on the fact that he would be giving up the mantle of a spy because of his newfound family, and she could already see the Aurors standing outside their house, coming to arrest Severus for kidnapping and for being a Death Eater. He seemed to sense her somber thoughts, squeezing her hand and giving her a reassuring smile. She smiled back, content for now to simply enjoy their outing, their first as a family.


They reached the town's clothing store relatively quickly. They split up, Catherine and Aria heading to one side of the store, while Harry and Severus went to the other. Aria needed a few outfits, as did Catherine, so they were doing their shopping while Severus helped Harry.

"How about this?" Severus said, holding up a green shirt with black designs to Harry for inspection. The boy was so small, so frightfully small, but Severus shoved that concern away for now, wanting to get the child some appropriate clothing. He had shrunk some of his own clothing for Harry that morning, but the boy would need things of his own.

Harry looked up at him with wide eyes, not quite believing what he was hearing. He go to pick the clothes? New ones, not holey hand-me-downs? To his embarrassment, tears sprung to his eyes again. He quickly ducked his head, but it was too late; Severus had seen.

"Harry? What's the matter child?" he asked, placing the shirt back on the rack and kneeling down in front of the small boy. Harry immediately latched his small arms around Severus's neck, clutching tight and burying his face in Severus's neck.

"I get new clothes?" he asked, his voice quiet and partially muffled by Severus's neck.

"Of course child, why wouldn't you? You are my son and I want to take care of you," Severus murmured, gently stroking the messy mop of black hair. He stood, picking Harry up as he did so. "Now, why don't you pick out some things, then we can go find your mother and sister, alright?"

Harry nodded, but even so it was several moments before he removed his face from Severus's neck, and several more before he hesitantly began to pick out a few things.

Severus sighed quietly. One step at a time. He knew it would take time for Harry to trust them completely, and hoped that each crisis was as easily averted as this one had been.


A/N: I know it has been a while since I updated this story and this is relatively short, but the simple answer is that I had no ideas for what to write. Another chapter probably won't be up until after the New Year, February at the latest.