AN: You may all thank Pekeleke for it becoming this massive of a story. I do hope you loved it, Dear. Also, thanks for YenGirl for making this just a bit better – okay, more than a bit.


Harry rolled over and snuggled into the warmth that was surrounding him. When the amount of light in the room penetrated his eyelids, his eyes flew open. Staring at the canopy above him, he let yesterday's events play out in his mind. Eventually it sank in that it had to be past noon for this much light to be in the room.

Raising his head, he looked at Severus. The man was still sleeping, a lock of hair that had fallen over his face moving in time with his breath. Sighing lightly, Harry snuggled closer to him and drifted back to sleep.

They had nothing to do today.

A quiet knock on the door drew Severus out of his dreams. He wasn't sure if he was glad or not. He had just finished dreaming that he was present at the first casting of the wards, and somehow he knew what each part the Founders cast could do. It made him even more surprised that the Dark Lord had been able to destroy them during the Final Battle.

A tendril from the dream slid across his mind, and he heard Salazar explaining that Tom had been able to break them because he was related to him.

The knock sounded again louder this time, and Severus felt Harry shift behind him. Finally opening his eyes, he could see the room shrouded in dusk. 'Hogwarts. We must have slept the day away. I wonder if that is Poppy making sure that we're okay?'

Pushing himself off the comfortable bed, his body feeling stiff, he smiled when he spotted a clean robe draped over his side of the footboard. There was another on Harry's side. Slipping it on, he went to silence their visitor before the persistent knocking woke Harry up.

Opening the door, he raised an eyebrow at Poppy who was glaring at him. "It's been two days, Severus. I am coming in and I am checking on both of you. I've already checked on Minerva." She pointed into the room. "In. I won't wake Harry if he is still sleeping."

Severus felt his eyes widening as he stepped back to let her in. Two days? That must have taken more out of him than he had thought. He sat in the chair that Poppy pointed to without a word.

Two flicks of a wand later, he was handed a glass of water and given a disapproving head shake. Poppy then repeated the actions with Harry who was now groggily sitting up in bed watching the proceedings.

"Only you three would have survived this. You should rest another day or two. Make sure you eat balanced meals." Poppy headed towards the door stopping just inside of it. "Thank you. Mr. Weasley told us what you did."

Severus leaned back into his seat, tiredness still weighing him down. "Us?"

Poppy nodded. "Hagrid, Flitwick, Sprout and the other professors."

Harry leaned against the headboard and gave the medi-witch a rueful smile. "So, are we here until you tell us we can go home, or are we free?"

Poppy's look was answer enough.

It was not long after Poppy left that Severus noticed the mistletoe sprig hanging above the door. He glanced at Harry knowing that neither were up to kissing under the golden bough.

It wasn't until Rubeus came through the door bearing a tea tray that Severus remembered the other uses of the plant. He was positive that Hagrid had hung the sprig there, not as a kissing bough but as a ward and protector for them.

Rubeus caught Severus looking between the sprig and him and nodded. The Allheal had been harvested correctly from an oak deep in the Forbidden Forest, and this was his gift to these two as it would protect them from any evil that could befall them this coming year. He also served them the mistletoe tea, hoping that it would help ward off the ill effect of the witchcraft that they had performed two days ago.

"Thank you, Rubeus." Severus accepted the tea, taking a small sip before nodding towards the other chair. "You can join us if you wish."

Rubeus sank into the now larger chair and nodded towards the branch. "It is yours to take with you when you leave."

Harry looked at the sprig, the cheeky smile on his lips fading when he caught the seriousness in Severus' expression as he thanked the half-giant. He would ask about it later.

Hermoine jotted a quick note onto her parchment before handing it to Keller. "That is all I can tell you. Hogwarts has sealed the matter from everyone who doesn't need to know."

"Mrs. Weasley, you are a member of this team. A valuable one. You should make sure that we know what occurred so that we can record this solution if such an event occurs again." Keller leaned forward, trying to use his physical presence to intimidate the brunette into doing what he wanted.

Hermione decided that this man had a lot to learn about intimidation techniques. Snape had him beat even now, when she knew that he couldn't be all that bad, he was with Harry after all. "Master Keller, I have been oath-bound to secrecy. If you want more information, you are going to have to talk to the Headmistress of Hogwarts. Also, as of this moment, I am no longer a member of your team. I have a new project to work on."

She watched as he sputtered and then headed out her door. Leaning back in her seat, Hermione picked up her newest assignment, a solo one. She was supposed to figure out how to get the rest of that spilled energy into the wards. Smiling, she knew that she would not being working on it alone. Harry, Ron and Severus would be there to help her out.

Severus hung the mistletoe sprig above their front door the minute they returned home and felt the peace it contained fill their house. Leaning against the wall, he waited, but it wasn't long until his patience was rewarded.

Harry came through the door and before it was fully shut, he found himself in a familiar pair of arms, being soundly kissed.