The Vow And It's consequences

Chapter 25

A New Day

Harry blinked sleepily, wakening up from his sleep once again. He'd been doing so much sleeping lately, he wasn't used to it. Normally he was forced to cater to his family's every whim, whether he was sick or tired. He was so warm and cosy, it was really nice, and he couldn't help but wonder why Severus had helped him. Nobody in his life had helped him before, not even the man who'd bowed to him in a shop one day. He'd asked his aunt if he knew him, but he'd just been slapped and sent to his cupboard. He'd been locked in for three days; he should have known better he hadn't been allowed to ask questions. He was allowed now, he'd asked a few questions since coming here, and he wasn't hurt for it. He wasn't used to the food either, but it was the best he'd ever tasted. A smile spread out across his small face, he was in his bear onesie again. He really liked it; it was so soft and comfy, and kept him really warm.

The people he'd seen yesterday had given him presents! He'd never been given any before. They were in his room on his bed, and Severus had said they were his to play with whenever he wanted to. Staring down at the teddies, he felt hope renewing that he was here to stay for good. He never wanted to leave, and if he was a good boy maybe it would stay that way. Clutching his bear and dragon close, he closed his eyes and relished the warmth surrounding him. No more wakening up with loud banging on his door and forced to do chores from the tight enclosed cupboard.

"Good morning, Harry," said Severus entering his bedroom after knocking once. Not surprised to see the child awake, he had wards on him that let him know when he was awake. He would remove them in the future when Harry was more comfortable here. He didn't want the child wandering around the manor, despite the fact he had wards preventing him from going anywhere dangerous.

"Morning sir," murmured Harry shyly.

"Time to get up, let's get a bath ready for you," said Severus, wandering through to the bathroom. Filling the tub as he went about getting things Harry would need. A small towel, face cloth before pouring in some bubble bath for him. Shaking his head wryly, he really had gotten used to this routine too quickly. Lucius and Minerva were coming again today for a few hours; hopefully it would be during Harry's nap. Which by the way he would be stopping in a fortnight, he was up way later than children should be at night. Then again it might have something to do with the fact he was recovering and sleeping a lot during the day.

"Good boy," said Severus, noticing Harry had removed his onesie and was sitting on the toilet. He obviously hadn't been taught to pee standing up. Which didn't surprise him, yet another task that would fall to him. Not yet though, not until Harry was more comfortable with him, and he with Harry.

Severus moved the small blue step box to the middle of the bath, beside the handles so Harry could get in himself. He didn't want Harry to become to reliant on him, he was five years old to do so would be detrimental to his growth. He knew Harry would become reliant on him but he didn't want him to become completely dependant on him for everything. According to the book he was reading, children liked to feel independent at his age. For most part at the Dursley's he had been forced into independence, in all things.

"Come on then, up you get," said Severus keeping an eye on Harry, but as he predicted he didn't need help getting in. "Well done."

Harry smiled shyly at him, as he sat in the bath.

"Go on then, play with the toys Harry, they are yours," said Severus seriously. Handing one to him, before moving out of the bathroom. Getting Harry's stuff prepared for the day, if he continued growing at the rate he hoped, he would need to buy Harry a new wardrobe. With the potions and regular food he should sprout out. He looked more like a two year old than the five years of age he was right now. With the new potion he was trying, it should remove any permanent damage the Dursley's had inflicted on him by starving him.

Harry slowly began to remove the toys from the little colourful shelf attached to the wall. The soldiers reminded him of the ones he'd had in his cupboard. So he wasn't so reluctant to play with those, he did remain quiet, it was second nature to remain quiet to him. Nobody liked hearing his voice, and if he had cried he would have been walloped a good one. Playing with the odd looking creature, with lots of legs (tentacles) squeezing it, water spouted out its mouth causing him to giggle at the water all over his face.

"I see you like the Giant Squid," said Severus his lips twitching in amusement as he came back in.

Harry nodded, so that's what it was, a squid, he'd never seen anything like it before in his life.

"We will have visitors again today," said Severus dipping the face cloth into the water and washing Harry's face, and wiping behind his ears making sure he was properly cleaned up. "They were here yesterday and they won't hurt you, I promise. Minerva and Lucius are here to help me with something." He was hopeful by christmas that Harry would be more comfortable, so Draco could come and play with him.

"Kay," said Harry.

"Okay," said Severus automatically correcting him, it was best to help him now while his mind could absorb it. Harry was at an age where he would be able to remember things easily, the mind was like a sponge or so the book said.

"Okay," repeated Harry.

"Good," said Severus giving Harry a rare smile. Before helping Harry out of the tub, wrapping him in a towel. Harry wandered back through to the bedroom as Severus cleaned up. He could have left it to the Elves but he wasn't used to them doing everything for him.

"Would you like to take two of your toys down?" asked Severus, as Harry to dress himself.

"Yes please sir," said Harry eagerly.

Kneeling before the child, not wanting to be called 'Sir' all the time, it reminded him too much of being at Hogwarts and teaching students. It's not what he wanted Harry to think of him, his mind had been on Lucius' words and he couldn't stop himself from thinking on it. What if Lucius was right? Could it be up to him as Harry's adopted father to safe guard his future? His fingers automatically buttoning the cloak Harry had left undone.

"Harry, when I removed you from the Dursley's I adopted you, you are officially my son." said Severus softly, "There is a potion that can make it even more official, if you would like to take it." should he tell him that Dumbledore and Black could make his life hell if they tried to take him?

"Does that mean you won't take me back to the Dursley's?" asked Harry, his sorrowful green eyes beseeching the black ones of his saviour. To Harry that's exactly what Severus was, his black night in shining armour.

"Whether you take it or not, you will never end up back at the Dursley's Harry." vowed Severus firmly. "They hurt you, and it's against the law to hurt children, Harry. They are in prison for what they did, and will never get their hands on you again."

Harry's eyes widened further at that information, he didn't know what prison was but it seemed like a place where horrible people went. He didn't even spare a thought about what had happened to Dudley, after the way the boy had treated him nobody could blame him.

"The reason I ask about the potion," said Severus still deeply conflicted, if he said this then there was little doubt Harry would agree out of fear or worry. Yet whether he took it or not he had adopted Harry, he would remain with him, he wasn't a man who admitted defeat or let others tell him what to do. "Is because your other godfather could gain custody of you, he is close to Albus Dumbledore and I don't want him near you."

"Will he lock my magic again?" asked Harry innocently not understanding how grievous it was to do such a thing.

"He could, it's a bad, bad thing to do Harry, nobody should have their magic locked away." said Severus, his knees were beginning to ache on the floor.

"Can I call you daddy?" asked Harry, Dudley called Vernon that, and he had wished for years to have a daddy. He wanted it more than anything else in the world; it's what he'd prayed for stuck in his cupboard every night.

Severus stared at the five year old stunned, his mind felt as though it had shut down completely. It was the last thing he had expected out of his mouth. Perhaps Harry wasn't as emotionally scarred by what the Dursley's had done after all. Was he even ready to be a father? He'd never imagined being one in his life, not even when he'd contemplated a future with Lily when they were younger. His own father had been a bastard, and the only experience he had was with Draco and Lucius. Staring at the green eyes filled with desperation, he realized this wasn't about him. He was already officially Harry's guardian and father. This was about a desperate five year old who just wanted to be loved.

"Why do you want me to be your…dad?" asked Severus, he wouldn't do this he decided, if it was out of fear he'd be taken away. It wasn't right; nobody should make that kind of decision out of fear. He didn't care what Lucius had said, children were capable of making their own decisions he had.

"I've always wanted one," said Harry, and it was as simple as that.

"Then yes, you can call me dad," said Severus awkwardly, he could tell from the look on Harry's face it was a desire he really wanted, this had nothing to do with fear and he felt elated.

Harry sniffled his green eyes filling with tears, then two the surprise of them both Harry launched himself at his saviour. His small arms wrapping desperately around his neck, clutching him close burring his head in his neck getting it wet with tears.

Severus froze in shock, staring down at the brown messy haired child, unable to comprehend what he'd just done. He must be utterly mental; nobody in their right mind touched him. Nobody had touched him kindly apart from Lily nearly his entire life. Draco hugged his legs when he came but this…this was different. Relaxing slightly, Severus awkwardly hugged Harry back, one hand patting at his back. Harry's magic tingled against where he was against his body. Breathing deeply, he felt a strange foreign feeling, what was that? It made him feel emotional; when he felt like that his instinct was to push them away. He couldn't do that to Harry, or he would ruin any progress he'd made with the child.

Closing his eyes it dawned on him that maybe…just maybe Harry wasn't the only one being saved.

"Alright, Harry?" asked Severus, never stopping in his rubbing his back.

"Yes, dad." said Harry shyly from where he was burried in his neck.

Severus' heart clenched, he hadn't felt this emotional since Lily had died. He certainly hadn't expected this when he woke up this morning. "Let's go eat breakfast." replied Severus, patiently waiting for Harry to let go, as he did he felt ridicolous for wanting those arms back.

Minerva Floo'ed to Prince Hall, staring around curiously, there was nobody here. Not wanting to look around, feeling it too improper she waited for Severus to come. He would know someone was here; there were wards all around the place. She'd eaten at Hogwarts before coming right here; it was safe since Albus was at the Ministry trying to find Harry along with the Auror's.

A doe Patronus message startled her but she watched it appear before her waiting on what he would say. "Minerva we are in the gardens," it said before bowing low and disappearing in a mist having done its task.

Well it was a beautiful day; she couldn't blame them for wanting to make the best of it with it being summer. It wasn't like Severus to go outside though, there was a reason he was so pale, and he preferred the dungeons. Opening the living room door she made her way through the tastefully decorated foyer, the chandelier was absolutely breathtaking. The Prince's certainly had taste, she mused as she passed it and opened the front door, hopefully it would be this way and not out the back. Transforming into her Animagus form after closing the door, she bounced off enjoying some free time as a tabby cat.

As Minerva neared Severus and Harry, the child noticed her first. Quicker than lightening he had her scooped up in his arms, surprisingly not hurting her. "Look, a kitty." said Harry, showing his dad, and he was his daddy, nothing could stop him from being.

"That, Harry isn't just a kitty," smirked Severus in amusement his black eyes twinkling. "Put her back on the floor and watch."

Harry carefully sat it back down hoping she wouldn't run away, he'd never seen many animals. His aunt didn't like dogs or cats; she called them vermin, except when Marge was there. He hated that dog; it barked and growled at him, it frightened him. He shrieked when it begun to turn into the woman from yesterday, it was the most magic he'd ever seen. His green eyes watched her in awe, how had she done it? Could he do it too? He wanted to be a kitty as well! The next thing Harry knew he was looking at the world from an even lower angle.

"Dear Merlin's ghost!" said Minerva gazing at the grey kitten mesmerised. How had he managed to do that? He was five years old! It shouldn't be possible…it took years to master human transformation. She felt herself melt just staring at the grey cat, his green eyes standing out against his fur he was so cute. She went to pick him up, but the kitten flinched from her, before bounding away crawling up Severus' leg and burrowing itself in his lap.

"Severus? Are you okay?" asked Minerva swallowing thickly, he seemed to be in a state of shock.

Severus shook himself out of his thoughts, staring at her as if she was insane; he had custody of a five year old child that could apparently transform himself into an Animagus form! Of course he wasn't alright. He'd only been up a few hours and he just wanted to go back to sleep and get over the shocks of the day already. Was there any more surprises around the bloody corner?

"I am sorry, Severus," said Minerva, if she hadn't used her Animagus form Harry wouldn't have transformed himself.

"Its fine," said Severus soothing the small ball of fur, which by the way fitted comfortably in the palm of his hand without any difficulty. "Harry are you okay? Put your paw up if you are."

The little grey paw rose up, pawing at his clothes. Severus rubbed at his ears, faintly amused, perhaps the focus stone was focusing his magic more than anyone expected. He'd seen Minerva do it and then bam he was one. He was one powerful little boy, given who he had defeated…even if only temporarily he shouldn't be surprised. Bending over he placed the kitten on all four legs back on the grass, he was safe from anything that could get to him here in Prince Hall.

Minerva conjured a ball of catnip and rolled it along the glass, causing Harry to run after it. Her lips twitched at the sight, he was a beautiful kitten, but he was a beautiful boy so why not? The difference was astonishing, what had happened since yesterday to cause this?

"He seems more…happy," said Minerva sitting down next to Severus.

Severus stared at the grey ball of fur having a delightful time with the catnip Minerva had conjured before facing the woman. "He asked to call me dad," confessed Severus, still stupefied over it really.

"Really?" asked Minerva not as surprised as Severus seemed. "I'm not surprised, Severus. You took him in, saved him and are giving him everything he hasn't had since he was a year old…that of which he cannot remember."

"I haven't had him long, how can he trust so soon?" asked Severus, baffled.

"Children don't lose the capacity to trust until they are older, much more jaded that five. Despite what he has been through. I think Harry just believes in you, they also have a great capacity to love." said Minerva.

"I did not trust even as a child," said Severus bluntly.

"Yes you did, but your trust was given to a child your own age…Lily." said Minerva knowingly. "You were also much older, jaded in a way I hope Harry never gets. All the adults failed you, not just your parents...and Harry hasn't experenced that." it was only the dursley's and Figg she supposed who had failed him, he hadn't begun school and watched the rest of the adults ignore him or the signs in front of their eyes.

"Perhaps," said Severus thoughtfully.

"He's adapting to magic with finesse," said Minerva proudly.

"He's adapting to everything too easily," said Severus his voice conveying just how much it was freaking him out.

"They are resilient." replied Minerva. "Did you read the newspaper?"

"No, I didn't, I was too stunned," confessed Severus, he'd barely eaten any breakfast. Things were just moving to fast, he was getting too attached to Harry. Then there was the fact Harry was getting attached enough to want to call him dad. Not only that but the will reading, Black and Dumbledore, it was all happening at once. He'd wanted to wait until Harry was eleven years old before anyone found out.

"They are transferring Sirius Black from Azkaban to the Ministry to stand trial to find out." said Minerva giving him the rundown.

"The Daily Prophet knows?" asked Severus surprised.

"Mmm, Rita Skeeters, she gets her nose in places it has no right being in." said Minerva.

"Indeed," said Severus, wincing at the sharp claws bending over he picked up the exhausted kitten. Now was the moment of truth if Harry could transform himself back or not, thankfully Minerva was here if he couldn't. "I would like to see a human boy, Harry. Just want to turn back to normal and it should happen."

Severus waited patiently, he turned to Minerva, just about to nod at her to help Harry when he transformed into a child once again. Harry scooted as far away from Minerva as he could, it seemed despite earlier he wasn't ready to trust her just yet. "You are a clever boy!" said Severus mesmerised.

Harry smiled shyly, his chest heaving up and down quicker than normal; with all the exercise he had it wasn't surprising. He huddled against his dad, he wasn't a freak, here he was normal and it's all he'd ever wanted.

"You are very clever," agreed Minerva.

"That's Lucius, perhaps we should take this inside," said Severus, standing up, placing the exhausted child on his hip before both of them wandered in. At least Harry would be down for his nap during this meeting like he had wanted.

"Accio Harry's toys," said Minerva grabbing the bouncy ball and colouring and much to her amusement the transfigured catnip ball also came flying through mid air, before getting in step with Severus.

"I recognized the ring," said Severus as they were ejected from the pensive. They felt like they were in the twilight zone, watching Tom Riddle as a student at Hogwarts. Charming the students, even Minerva when he was younger. He had been one hell of a teachers pet, especially with Slughorn. It was certainly a side they had never encountered with the Slytherin heir/Dark Lord.

"You should," said Minerva.

"Should I?" asked Severus sitting down.

"The Gaunt's," said Lucius as realisation dawned. "My father ranted about how such a great name could come to ruins. I think my great grandfather had hoped to merge both names, but when he met Merope Gaunt he decided against it. She was nothing more than a squib if I remember correctly. The ring, it was on the fathers hand when he was arrested…his picture was in the newspaper."

"Yes, but she gave birth to one of the most powerful wizards we've seen, Merope Gaunt is Tom Riddle's mother." said Minerva bluntly.

"I have never seen the Dark Lord with it on, have you?" asked Severus.

"No," said Lucius, "But I did go to the shop and found out that a Slytherin locket was appraised along with a Huffelpuff cup. According to Borgin the woman was found dead, a House Elf was arrested for the murder…and the items were never found." he didn't mention how much it cost to get the information out of Borgin. Honestly he half just wanted to drug the idiot with Veritaserum and get his answers. Nonetheless it was worth it, they had two items now that could be potential Horcruxes.

"Finding out what items could be Horcruxes doesn't help us, we do not know where they are." said Severus reluctantly.

"Yeah, true," said Lucius looking defeated. "Wait…there is only one possible place for the cup to be, the Ministry ceased the Lestrange properties…everything will be in Gringotts." going from defeated to elated in a matter of seconds.

"Of course," said Severus nodding his head.

"Narcissa would be able to get it," said Lucius. She was a Black, which meant they had to move quickly before Sirius Black received control of them again…or rather took control since the vaults weren't ceased since he didn't receive a trial.

"Which leaves two potential Hogwarts heir items, the diadem and the sword, none of which have been glimpsed since the founder's time." said Minerva.

"There is one thing that would know," said Severus wryly, his eyes twinkling deviously.

"What?" asked Minerva and Lucius curiously.

"Actually three things, maybe four." said Severus. "The sorting hat, then there are the House Elves, not to forget the ghosts and Portraits." everyone dismissed them when they shouldn't they were everywhere, they saw everything.

"I shall ask Narcissa to accompany me to Gringotts," said Lucius.

"I'll ask around find out what I can," said Minerva. "I'll come tomorrow afternoon for Harry's first tutoring session."

And more unravelling...the picture on the front is how i imagine Harry in his animagus form ;) cute or what? :D what did you think of the chapter? I'm at a bit of a loose end with the story right any ideas are welcomed...well apart from the horcrux front i suppose lol R&R PLEASE!