In the middle of the night Harry woke up and looked around disoriented. He felt cold and lonely and a sudden need to go and see his father. He turned on his back and then gasped. His bottom didn't hurt, however the faint sting reminded him what had happened the previous night and the outcomes of being grounded.
Sighing sadly, Harry turned on his other side and looked longingly at the door. He was thirsty and normally, he would get up and get himself some water but he wasn't sure if he was allowed to leave his room. He didn't know the rules for being grounded by Severus and didn't want to disobey Severus again.
Severus' hurt expression was too fresh in Harry's mind. "I'm sorry," Harry whispered into the silent room. It was still new to Harry to have someone who really cared and worried about him. He vowed to himself that he would never go behind Severus' back again.
With his mind more at peace he closed his eyes ready to fall asleep again but then he snapped his eyes open again. The strange feeling was back. The longing to see Severus. Again his eyes wandered to the door of his room. Why was he feeling so nervous?
As Severus knocked at his door the next morning Harry felt exhausted. He had been restless last night with the feeling returning often and Harry felt as if he had just fallen asleep again. Groggily, he tried to sat up but as the world started to spin he let himself fall back onto the mattress with a moan, hiding his face within the crook of his arm.
"Harry! Get up. I won't let you sleep in just because it is weekend. There is a lot of work waiting for you!" With these words Severus stormed into the room.
"Just give me a second," Harry answered in a weak voice that alarmed Severus immediately.
"What's the matter?" he asked walking over to Harry's bed and sitting down next to him. Carefully, he removed the arm from the boy's face.
"I don't know. I'm dizzy. I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't fall back asleep," Harry explained.
Severus placed a hand at Harry's forehead to feel his temperature. Harry sighed and leaned into to cool touch.
"You don't have a fever. Do you have a headache?"
Harry shook his head, "Just light-headed and tired."
Severus frowned worriedly. Lucius' words coming back to his mind. Was this caused by the incomplete bond?
"You should try and get some more sleep. Maybe you will feel better then. If not, maybe a pepper-up potion would do the trick. Do you want something to eat?"
"No, but can I have something to drink please? I'm very thirsty."
"Of course. You are allowed to get you a water whenever you need it. I hope you know that," Severus answered.
"Even when I'm grounded?" Harry asked in a timid voice.
"Yes, even then. You are not confined to your room only. You may move around within our private rooms."
"Didn't know," Harry whispered. "I didn't want to break any rules."
Severus sighed and then stroke through Harry's hair. "Yesterday was a shock to both of us but we need to go on. I was disappointed in your actions but I still love you the same. You can come to me whenever you feel like it. Even in the middle of the night, okay?"
Harry nodded and smiled.
Severus patted his head and then stood. "I will be back in a bit," he said and went to get Harry a glass of water and a dreamless sleep potion.
As Severus woke Harry for lunch the boy felt much better.
"Nice trick!" Draco grumbled as Harry sat down next to him. They were eating lunch at Severus' quarters because of Harry's unexpected tiredness.
"What?" Harry asked confused.
"Really, Harry. I wonder, how you manage to fool Severus but that was one of the oldest tricks."
Harry gaped at the blond, "It wasn't a trick."
Draco scoffed and crossed his arms in clear disbelief.
"Calm down, Draco. Harry will also write an essay about the natural enemies of bats," Severus interrupted before a fight would break lose.
Harry grimaced at the topic of the essay.
"Make a face all you want, but it's time that you learn how dangerous exactly it is to fly without supervision, even if no murderer is at your heals."
After lunch Harry found himself sat at a desk in Severus' study, his head bent over a heavy book which listed all kinds of bats and their natural enemies.
Draco was supposed to read quietly but the blond wasn't very eager to sit and so he walked over to Harry asking, "How is your backside?"
Harry's quill froze mid-sentence. "What?"
"Your backside. You know, after Severus..."
Harry blushed violently, "Why do you ask?"
Draco shrugged his shoulders, "Curiosity."
"Well, it wasn't something I'm eager to repeat. It was the first time he pulled down both of my trousers and..." Harry gulped at the memory, "in the end he... he used a ruler."
Draco grimaced, "Yes, my dad, too. How many strokes did you get?"
Still red like a tomato, Harry admitted. "Eight. As it was eight times we went flying. I was sure, I will never be able to sit again but well... it's loads better now."
"Why didn't you try to lie?"
"Seriously? How can I lie when I'm already in trouble? Would you lie to your dad?"
"I did, though somehow he didn't believe me. Got twelve strokes in the end. I wish, Severus would have spanked me. Dad is... well, let's say, it is still hard for me to sit. I don't understand why Severus had called my dad," Draco grumbled.
Harry bit his lip in thoughts. Then he said in a low voice, "I'm worried about Severus. He looks so tired all the time."
Before Harry could answer Severus' voice called, "Draco, come here and let Harry work."
Both boys jumped at the unexpected interruption. "Well, see you..." Draco mumbled and then dragged his feet over to his godfather who leaned at the door frame with his arms crossed over his chest.
Harry sighed and then looked down at the book in-front of him.
"The natural enemies of bats are primarily diurnal and nocturnal predators like cats, raptors as well as owls. There are also a whole slew of bigger, sarcophagous bats which hunt smaller bats among other preys."
Harry eyes widen. So... the owlery wasn't the best place for their transformations into bats. In hind-side he wondered why no owl attacked them. Maybe the owls are intelligent enough to distinguish normal bats from transformed vampires?
A shiver ran down Harry's spine as he imagined Hedwig hunting him. Then he shook his head to clear his mind. Sighing once more he looked back into the book and tried to find out what kind of owls and raptors were living in Scotland.
At dinner Harry met Ron and Hermione again. Of course his two friends wanted to know where Harry had been. Harry just told them, that he couldn't talk about it and so his friends assumed, that it was a vampire-thing and left him in peace.
After dinner though, as Harry was about to part ways with them again, Hermione frowned and asked, "You are sleeping in Professor Snape's Quarters again?"
Harry blushed and then nodded, "Yeah. I need to stay for the following week."
"Why? Is something wrong?" Hermione wondered and then added in a whispered tone, "I mean with you."
"No, I'm just... grounded," Harry finally admitted, turning beet red.
Now it was Ron who frowned, "Why?"
"Well, I did something, I shouldn't have done."
If possible these words made his friends even more nervous. Hermione bit her lip and Ron asked hesitantly, "You... erm... you didn't... erm... you know what... bite someone?"
"What?" scandalised, Harry gaped as his friends. Ron looked uncomfortable and even Hermione looked concerned. "Merlin, no! You never have to fear that. In this concern I'm well provided for. I just did something stupid and obviously it was more dangerous than I was aware of. Sev... erm I mean, Professor Snape was very angry with me. That's why I'm grounded. I will not harm anyone. I thought you know that." The last words were spoken in a hurt voice.
An awkward silence fell over the three friends.
"We are sorry Harry," Hermione whispered, "We just wondered what happened. For being grounded for a week we thought something bad must has happened."
"Three weeks," Harry corrected her, "but the other two weeks I'm grounded to the Gryffindor tower."
Hermione gasped. "Three? Harry, what have you done?"
Harry just shook his head and before his friends could say anything more Professor Snape's came over and placed a hand on Harry's shoulder. "Are you ready, Mr. Potter?"
Somewhat relieved with the interruption, Harry gave his friends a faint smile and nodded.
"Good Night, Harry!" Hermione said, although she looked unhappy that their talking time was over.
"Good Night, 'Mione and Ron."
Harry twisted and turned around in his bed but whatever he tried, he couldn't fall asleep. He felt so tired in one way and wide awake in the other. Finally he stood up to get himself something to drink.
On his way to the kitchen he passed the living room where his father sat staring into the flames lost in thoughts. The sudden movement, Severus noticed out of the corner of his eyes, caught his attention.
"Harry, what are you doing still awake?"
Harry stopped in his tracks and turned to look at Severus while nervously playing with the hem of his pyjama top. "I can't fall asleep," the boy said although he look half asleep on his feet.
Severus frowned in worry. "What's the matter? Is something bothering you?" He waved his hand to tell Harry to come over.
Harry sighed and finally sat down next to his father. "I don't know. I'm tired but I can't fall asleep. It's like last night. I'm... I don't know... too nervous, to fall asleep," he whispered and fixed his gaze at the flickering flames in the fireplace.
Suddenly Harry felt two fingers under his chin, forcing him to make eye contact with the man next to him. Severus looked tired himself and very worried. "You tell me, when you need blood, don't you?"
For the first time Harry didn't grimace at the word "blood". Instead his face got serious. "I don't need blood but..." Harry trailed off biting his lip nervously.
"What about you?" Harry surprised himself with these words but as soon as he had spoken them out he knew why he felt so nervous and worried. He suddenly knew why Severus was so tired. It must be because of the bond.
"Yes. Our bond isn't complete as long as you don't drink my blood. What if this nervous feeling comes from that?"
"Are you worried about that?" Severus asked surprised at the boys selflessness.
"I feel guilty. I still owe you my blood but... I'm... I'm..." Harry looked away unable to look into Severus eyes.
"I know Harry but you don't have to feel guilty. I'm fine." Severus reassured.
"I'm such a coward," Harry mumbled to himself.
"No, you are not! Harry, look at me!"
Reluctantly, Harry turn his head back to look at his father.
Severus smiled and stroke a hand over Harry's head. "You are through a lot. So much changed in your life and you are doing a great job adapting. Don't pressure yourself."
"But it worries me seeing you so tired."
"Don't be. I promise, I'm fine enough."
Still looking sceptical Harry asked, "Really?"
"Really! Don't worry. That's my job!"
At these words Harry snickered and then he leaned his head against his father's shoulder. Severus' hand continued to massage Harry's head and the boy hummed in contentment.
They sat in silence for a while but then Harry suddenly sat up a fearful look on his face. "Do you... do you think I also have an incomplete bond with my attacker?"
"No. That's highly unlikely. As you know by now, not all bites are the same. Whoever attacked you wanted you blood and nothing else." Severus explained in a calm voice.
"But how do we have a bond then? I attacked you for the blood, too. I mean, I wasn't even myself back then. I just attacked without knowing what I was doing." Harry wondered.
"I fear that's my fault," Severus admitted, locking eyes with Harry. "I didn't defend myself against you, I admitted you to do it, I... wanted you to do it."
Harry's eyes widen at that, "Why?" he asked, his voice barely audible.
Severus shook his head, "I don't know. I wonder myself. Since my family were murdered, I have been alone. When I founded the Black Moon Hunter Club, I vowed to myself to never bond with one of my charges; to stay independent. I was fine with that solution. So, I really don't know what had driven me to let you drink from me. It's not that I didn't know what would happen, I knew the bond would form and I wanted it. It just felt... right to form the bond. So, it was clearly my fault."
Harry stared at then man open-mouthed, "Fault? Do you think the bond was a mistake?"
Again Severus shook his head, "No. I still think it was the right thing to do."
Relief appeared on Harry's face. "I'm glad you did it. The bond was the best thing that could have happened to me. I have a dad now. Do you have any idea how long I wished for that?"
Severus pulled Harry into his arms and kissed the top of the boy's head. "I'm glad you see it like that."
Harry closed his eyes for a moment and sighed.
"You will let me know if you need my blood, won't you?"
"Yes, Harry. I will, I promise. Don't worry so much. Everything is fine."
Smiling to himself, Harry finally fell asleep secure in the arms of his father and bond partner.
The following afternoon, Harry and Draco were found in the potions classroom scrubbing cauldrons. They didn't talk much but finally Harry screw up his courage and asked the other boy, "Draco? Can I ask you something?"
"Of course. Every distraction from this dumb work is welcomed," the blond-haired boy said.
"Well, erm, I wanted to ask you how it is to get bitten by your bond partner. I mean, does is hurt like the first time?"
Draco paused his scrubbing and turned towards Harry, "I'm not sure if I'm the right person to ask. My first bite didn't really hurt at all. Father was very careful with the bite so all I felt was a faint sting. It also helps when it's done on a new moon night, because at this time you feel closer with your partner. Why are you asking?"
Harry looked unsure, "I told you about Severus' tiredness yesterday."
"Yes. Do you think it has something to do with that?" Draco arched an eyebrow.
"I'm quite sure. I also feel strange from time to time. When I'm tired I can't fell asleep and when I'm awake I sometimes feel suddenly tired. It's just for a moment but I'm pretty sure it is because of Severus. He... He needs my blood and I'm not sure if he will hold on until next new moon."
"Hm," Draco made a thoughtful expression, "We could brew a pepper-up potion with just your blood. It would be more effective than the normal one."
"But we don't know how to brew it," Harry countered.
"You don't know how to do it. I can brew the potion even when asleep," Draco boasted.
Harry rolled his eyes, "Okay, but then there is still the problem when we should do it."
"This evening of course. Severus will be at the teacher's meeting. We can brew it in the Vault. There we have all ingredient at hand."
"The Vault? What's that?"
"The blood party room, of course."
"Okay, but... erm... we should asked if we are allowed to do it. I don't want to go behind his back again."
"Coward!" Draco said and crossed his arms. "It's for Severus and it isn't dangerous, or something, why should he be mad? If you ask before hand he we cannot surprise him."
Harry hung his head chewing on his lower lip. He had a bad feeling about that and so he resolved that this time he won't do something, which consequences he couldn't estimate.
"Still, I will ask him!" Harry said resolutely.
Draco scoffed at that, then he turned away took his sponge and continued to scrub his cauldron.
This action hurt Harry but Severus was more important to him right now.
Suddenly Draco pointed out. "He will say no, you know. Not because it's dangerous but because adults always say no. And Severus will deny that he needs the potion. He tends to deny himself what would help him. That's the way he is."
"We will see." Harry said not wanting to believe Draco's words.
At dinner in Severus' quarters Harry watched his father and notices once more how unbelievable tired the man looked. He tried to hide it, of course, but he couldn't fool Harry. The boy practically felt his tiredness.
"Erm... Dad?" Harry started.
"Hm?" Severus hummed distractedly.
"Draco and I... erm... we wanted to know if we are allowed to brew a potion this evening."
At the word 'potion' the man pricked his ears and looked up. "Potion? What kind of potion?"
Harry sucked his lower lip between his teeth in nervousness. "Erm... pepper-up... with just my blood. Draco said he knows the potion by heart and he thinks it would help you better than the other pepper-up potion."
Severus gave Harry a soft smile. "I know, you are worried but it will not be necessary. Beside... are you really ready to donate that much blood, that would be necessary for the potion?"
"Erm..." Harry's eyes widen, "How much blood would be necessary?"
"Like at a muggle blood donation. Half a litre at least. The recipe is created for a large quantity, as it designed to cover a whole supply of a month. Of course you can change the proportion but it would be pointless to make less than a litre of the potion," Severus explained and Harry paled with every word.
"Oh," he whispered and lost all appetite.
In the evening both boys sat in Severus' study working on another essay for Severus. This time the topic was 'dandelion roots' and in which potions they are used.
"You know, if you hadn't said something we would be brewing right now instead of writing stupid essays," Draco complained.
"Shut up," Harry grumbled.
"I told you-" Draco started once more but Harry interrupted him.
Angrily the black-haired boy looked at Draco and hissed, "You have told a lot of things, just not how much blood we would need for the potion."
Draco looked taken aback. "Oh, come on, Harry. Half a litre is nothing. What do you think how much Severus will drink, once he bites you?"
"What?" Harry paled again, "How... how much will he drink?"
Draco shrugged, "I don't know exactly but he is a full grown man. I'm sure it will be more... Harry? Where are you going?"
The blond-haired boy watched the fleeing boy in bewilderment. When he heard a door slamming in the distance he finally realised his mistake. "Damn, Severus will kill me."
Draco stood and was about to walk towards Harry's room as he suddenly stopped. He could hear the other boys sobs coming from the bathroom. He tried to open the door, but it was obviously locked so he knocked instead.
"Harry, let me in. I'm sorry... but... I promise, it's not so bad to get bitten by an adult. As you know my father is also drinking from me, you don't really feel the loss of blood. The bite is an unique experience and nothing you have to worry about. Please, open the door."
"Draco! What's going on here?"
The addressed boy spun around looking horrified at the nearing man. "Severus? You are already back?"
"What happened? Is Harry in there?" Severus asked worried. He had been in the middle of the meeting when he had suddenly felt a rising panic. It had been just for a moment but it had been long enough to know that something was wrong.
"We just talked," Draco explained. "I forgot how sensitive Harry is about the topic."
Severus took Draco by the shoulders "What did you two talk about?"
"The bite and... and the amount of blood someone may lose during a bite," Draco told with a trembling voice, "I'm sorry. I didn't want to scare him."
The man closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. Then he looked back at Draco and said, "Go to your dormitory, we will talk tomorrow."
"But," Draco gulped, "The essay?"
"Isn't important right now. Please, go," Severus said, trying hard to use a calm voice, although he was anything but calm.
"Yes, Sir," Draco whispered and left with his head hung in sadness.
Severus also knocked at the bathroom door. "Harry. It's me, please open the door." But there was no reaction from the inside. Then Severus tried to contact Harry telepathically, also without any reaction.
"Harry, I'm coming in now," Severus warned and pulled out his wand. He unlocked the door with a spell and then carefully pushed the door open.
The boy sat next to the bathtub on the floor. His legs pulled up and his head hidden by his crossed arms.
Severus crouched down in-front of the distraught child. "Hey, Meadow Moon. What's the problem?"
"I'm so sorry!" the boy said between his sobs.
"What are you sorry for?" Severus asked and place a hand over the crossed arms.
"Because I... I can't... I want but I can't..." Harry said without looking up.
"Shhh... it's alright Harry. Calm down, please."
Instead Harry's sobs increased. "I can't... it's tearing me apart."
Severus was at a loss for words and actions. "Oh, Harry," he whispered to himself with a sigh. "Come on, let's go to your room."
"No," the boy answered but didn't fight the hands that pulled him up and then wrapped themselves around him to carry him out of the bathroom.
Harry continued to sob, now into the crook of Severus neck. As they reached Harry's room, Severus sat himself onto Harry's bed and placed the boy in his lap. For a long moment nobody moved or said anything until Harry finally straightened his back and slowly looked up at Severus with a tearful face.
"I'm so ungrateful," he whispered in a sad voice.
Severus shook his head, "Why are you saying that?"
"Because you need my blood. I want to help you, that you aren't so tired anymore but I'm such a coward. I'm so afraid," Harry explained.
"Harry, why are you pushing yourself that much? I told you already that I'm fine. I can wait."
"No, you can't," Harry shook his head, "You say that all the time but it's not true. I'm not blind, you know?"
Severus tightened his arms around the boy and pulled him even closer. "I'm fine. I swear! Yes, I'm tired from time to time but that's nothing new. You just see more of my real me when you live with me that closely. The last days had been stressful because of the sighting of Sirius Black near Hogsmead. Dumbledore wants to strengthen the wards and we teachers are working on contingency plans. My tiredness is not caused by you."
"But you would feel better with my blood, wouldn't you?" Harry said and wriggled himself out of the tight embrace to look back into Severus' eyes.
Severus smiled and kissed Harry's forehead, "You cannot influence the bond by force. Everything happens when the time is right. You will feel it, when you are ready. There is no point to stress yourself. You haven't done anything wrong, my son. Please, stop worrying so much and trust the bond."
"But what, if I'm still not ready next new moon? What if I need too long?" Harry asked still worried.
"That will not happen," Severus said with conviction, "You will be ready, when you need to be ready."
Harry had a hard time believing that but Severus seemed to be so confident, it was kind of calming "You are sure?"
"I'm sure!" the man said once more.
"Okay," the boy said and leaned his head back against the man shoulder. "I love you!"
"I love you, too, my dear son."