Guardian by JAWorley
Summary: Snape wants to be Slytherin's new head of house. Harry wants a home. Dumbledore has a plan for these two. If Snape can prove he can take care of the 9 year old, the job is his. But taking care of a kid isn't as easy as it looks. As the young dark eyed Potions Professor tries to do his best, Harry learns what it means to have a good guardian, even if he isn't a perfect one.
Categories: Teacher Snape > Professor Snape, Parental Snape > Guardian Snape Main Characters: .Snape and Harry (required), Draco, Dumbledore, Ron
Snape Flavour: Canon Snape, Comforting Snape, Kind Snape, Loving Snape, Stern Snape
Genres: Angst, Drama, Family, General, Hurt/Comfort
Tags: Adoption, Child fic
Takes Place: 0 - Pre Hogwarts (before Harry is 11)
Warnings: Abusive Dursleys, Neglect
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 8 Completed: No Word count: 35966 Read: 12317 Published: 13 May 2021 Updated: 28 Aug 2021
It's Severus by JAWorley
Harry rubbed the sleep from his eyes and wondered what time it was. Oh no! He'd fallen asleep and he still had assignments to do! He looked around wildly, wondering why his papers were gone, and for one long moment was struck with the horrible thought that Sir had collected them while he slept. But when he slid out of bed he found the papers stacked on top of his books on the floor. Sir must have done it because he had definitely fallen asleep last night in the middle of his work.

Pulling the papers out again Harry tried to find his place and finish the last five questions from the English book. Sir had been nice enough to give him extra time to do the work and he'd be disappointed if Harry didn't turn it all in after breakfast.

Someone cleared their throat and Harry looked up from his spot on the floor and found Sir in the door.

"Is breakfast over?" Harry asked, panic in his voice.

"It is not. It has not started yet."

Harry wanted to feel relieved but he still had the rest of his maths to do as well and knew there was little time. He would have to guess about the answers to get it all done.

"Put it away," Sir told him, and Harry frowned.

"I'm not done with it," Harry said quietly. He was really in trouble now.

"I am aware. Please put it away and come into the living room."

Harry tucked the parchment back into the book and stood up. It felt like there were heavy rocks in his stomach. He hoped he wasn't going to get spanked. That's what Aunt Petunia did when she got mad. Uncle Vernon's punishments were always worse than a spanking though.

Sir sat down on the couch with his cup of coffee and Harry stood waiting to hear his punishment, but was told to sit down instead.

"How much free time did you have this week?"

Harry bit his lip. Oh no. He wanted to know how much time he spent being lazy. "None sir," he said, hoping he was convinced. He hadn't spent a single minute being lazy, he just hadn't had enough time to get everything done. He'd even skipped meals yesterday.

When Sir didn't say anything for a few moments, Harry tried to plead his case to him. "I worked really hard. I promise I did. I wasn't lazy at all! I didn't even eat breakfast or lunch yesterday because I was trying to get it all done!" Sir didn't seem pleased by this answer though, and Harry's face and shoulders fell. If that wasn't good enough for him, then no answer he could give would be.

Instead of giving him a punishment though, Sir asked, "Why do you wear your shoes to bed every night?"

Harry looked down at his trainers, confused. He was supposed to be punished and the man wanted to know about his shoes?

"I- like them."

"You did not wear your old shoes to bed."

"I never had new shoes before."

"Never?"

Harry shook his head.

"Then where did your old shoes come from?"

"Dudley."

"Your cousin?"

Harry nodded. Dudley got new shoes all the time, but he always made sure to destroy his shoes before he was done with them so they wouldn't be nice for Harry. Once he had even taken scissors to his shoelaces the night before he knew Harry was going to get them. There was silence for what Harry was sure was several minutes, and he couldn't take it any longer. He wanted to get his punishment over with so he could go back and finish his work and get a head start on the next week's work so this didn't happen again.

"What about my homework sir?"

His dark eyed guardian looked over at him. "I have a meeting with your teacher today to see how much of it is really necessary. It is- unreasonable to make you go through an entire year's worth of schoolwork in one summer. I do not want you skipping meals or staying up until all hours of the night trying to complete it."

"So- I'm not in trouble?"

"You are not."

"Thank you sir."

He fixed Harry with a stern look then and said, "You do not have to call me sir. Is that what you called your guardians before?"

"Sometimes. Mostly Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon."

"Seeing as I am neither your aunt or uncle, or your teacher, you may call me Severus."

Harry suddenly felt sheepish and shy then. He'd never called an adult by their first name before. "Mr. Severus?" he queried.

"Just Severus." Harry gaped at him and he waved him away. "Go get dressed and then come back out. We will go to breakfast and then to Hogsmead to meet with your teacher."

"Yes s-" Harry trailed off. "Ok," he finished shyly, not sure how it would sound coming from his lips to call his guardian Severus.

Ten minutes later Severus led Harry to a table with Professors Sprout and Carcroft and they smiled at Harry as they ate. When they were finished and Severus had magicked his second cup of coffee into a black travel mug with a lid, they walked out onto the grounds and towards the gates.

"Have you been to Hogsmead?" he asked Harry when they made it to the lane outside the gates leading towards the town.

"No."

"It is the only all magical town in Scotland. There's one in Britain and two in Ireland. Usually when you find an all magical village it is located thus because of some sort of strong magic or located near something important to the magical community. Hogsmead is here because of Hogwarts. The workers who built Hogwarts lived here in the ten years during the construction of the school."

"What about the other towns?"

"The Irish Ministry of Magic is located in the center of Culdoc and the stadium for the Irish National Quidditch team is in Drunkerney. The one in Britain is on an unplottable Island West of Blackpool. A witch's coven and an order of mages live there and they recognize no Ministry of Magic as being in authority over them. It is inadvisable to visit unless invited."

It all sounded interesting to Harry, and he couldn't wait to get to Hogsmead to see what a real wizard village looked like. Professor McGonagall had told him about Diagonalley in London, but he hadn't been there yet. It all sounded very exciting.

After walking for fifteen minutes they came to the train platform for the Hogwarts Express and started to pass by houses. After another few minutes they turned onto High Street and Harry tried to take in the name of every shop they passed. There was an apothecary, a pet emporium, something that looked like a candy shop, a place that sold brooms, a pub, a restaurant... Severus steered Harry towards a barber shop and Harry frowned. Weren't they going to see the teacher?

"Our meeting with Mr. Blackwood is not for half an hour. In the meantime, you need a haircut."

"Aunt Petunia always does that," Harry said.

"The barber will have to suffice," Severus told him, and Harry was glad. Aunt Petunia usually attacked him with a pair of garden shears three times a year, and when she was done his hair always looked worse than it had before.

The barber shop was small and there was only one chair and a counter and sink. The tallest man Harry had ever seen (he even towered over Severus) was there leaning on the counter.

"Come for a haircut Severus?" he asked.

"For Harry."

The man motioned to the chair and Harry climbed into it. The barber put a long cloth over his front and tied it in the back. "Now sit still son," he said. "I'm going teh be moving fast. I won the magical haircutting award three years running yeh know."

"What do you mean fast-" but before Harry could finish his sentence, the barber had two pairs of sharp scissors out and was moving around Harry's head at a pace Harry thought just wasn't possible. It was almost like he was just a blur of color moving around him. Harry heard the clip clip of the scissors and saw hair falling in front of his face, and had to resist the urge not to panic. What was he doing to his hair?! No one could cut hair this fast and have it look good. But before Harry could think on it more and try to protest, the barber was done and handing Harry a mirror.

"There yeh go. What d'yeh think?"

Harry took the mirror and examined his reflection. His long messy hair was gone and in its place was perfectly trimmed, combed hair. He almost looked like a different person.

"It- it's short."

"That's the same haircut I used teh give yer dad his last couple years of school. Before that he used teh wear it long an' messy like you."

"My dad came in here?"

"Every time there was a Hogsmead weekend."

Severus was pulling out a pouch of coins and handing a silver one to the barber in payment. He also pulled out three bronze ones and the barber thanked him for the tip.

"Just remember I'm the fastest barber in the UK," he said as Harry stood up. "Any time you need teh look spiffed up, I'm yer man."

"Thank you," Harry said, still not certain if he liked the way his hair looked now. He was so used to it being long enough to run his fingers through. His head almost felt cold now. He didn't know much about his father, but thought that if James wore his hair like this that he could at least give it a try. It would grow out again if he didn't like it. He knew that for a fact. Two months ago Aunt Petunia had cut it too short and left bald patches and overnight it had grown out again as if it had never been cut at all. He supposed that was one of the final straws that made his family send him away.

"If my hair grows back are you going to send me to live somewhere else?" Harry asked as they walked down the dirt lane. Severus had paid money for this haircut. If it grew back out spontaneously overnight he would probably be madder than aunt Petunia.

"Do you intend on making it grow out?"

"No."

"I will not send you away. Why do you ask?"

"Sometimes it grows out when I sleep."

"Accidental magic. It is to be expected until you are in your first or second year at Hogwarts."

Expected? Harry had hardly believed he was a wizard when the Headmaster had told him at the train station. If he'd already done accidental magic though, he had to be one. That would also explain why he could do things like make Dudley's toy's shrink into nothingness or look at a weed in the garden and have it suddenly disappear before he'd even reached forward to pull it.

"This is the school," Severus said, and Harry looked up. It was the very last building on the lane. It was square and built of stone and wood like the surrounding buildings, and was two stories tall. It looked fairly small from the outside despite its height. They went up the steps and opened the door. However uninteresting and plain it looked from the outside, Harry knew he liked it immediately as soon as he stepped inside. Inside the wood walls were unpainted, and the whole room felt cozy. There were ten desks around the edges of two walls of the classroom facing the center, and a set of stairs leading up to a loft where Harry could see what looked like large pillows on the floor and several bookshelves. Downstairs there was a blackboard on the wall behind the teacher's desk, a large round carpet and several beanbag chairs, and four or five half bookshelves lining the walls. There was a skeleton of what looked like a small dragon hanging from the ceiling along with other creatures Harry thought might be bats, and on each wall there were hand drawn posters of things like bubbling potions that said things like, "The ten rules of potion making," or of dragons that said, "Always speak politely to an enraged dragon." The room was filled with natural light from the tall windows on both floors.

"Severus, I'm glad you made it. And this must be our young Mr. Potter."

Harry reluctantly pulled his attention away from all the interesting things there were to look at and to the man who was holding his hand out to Harry. He had a brown beard and mustache and a genuine smile. Harry shook his hand and tried to pay attention, though he really wanted to have a closer look at the skeletons hanging from the ceiling.

"That's a dragon," the teacher said. "You can go up to the loft to get a better look if you want while I talk to Severus."

"Thank you," Harry said, and hurried to climb the stairs to the loft. He could hear what they were saying below but it didn't sound interesting enough to listen to. The loft looked even better from up here and he pulled a blue book off one of the shelves and laid down on the soft blue shag carpet on his back. Above him on the ceiling he found another poster that said, ‘But high she shoots through air and light, above all low delay, where nothing earthly bounds her flight, nor shadow dims her way.' The artwork was of some sort of skinny blue dragon flying over violent blue waves, and Harry liked it so much that he wished he had a poster of his own just like it.

He looked down at the blue book and on the cover was a photo of a blue dragon just like the one on the poster. He opened it up and started to read. It was about a dragon called a wind drake who was in a war with a group of mer-people who had stolen it's egg. It couldn't swim so it had to make a deal with a human boy. If the boy would swim down and fight the mer people and bring back the egg, the drake would fly him to wherever he wanted to go. Harry was so engrossed in the book that he didn't hear Severus calling him to come back down. Finally Severus and Mr. Blackwood came up the stairs to see what was keeping him, and found him lying on the floor, ten pages in and oblivious to the rest of the world.

"Ah, so he's a reader," Mr. Blackwood said, and Harry, finally aware that they were there sat up and looked at them.

"You can take that with you," Mr. Blackwood said. "That's one of my favorites."

"Thank you."

"Severus showed me the work you did this week. I can tell you're struggling in maths, so I'm going to come up to the castle three days a week to help you with it. Everything else looked fine. I don't expect you to get all the way through each textbook. If you can get halfway through each one by the end of the summer, then you can do a little extra work here and there through the school year to get all caught up. It'll be fine."

"Thanks." Harry felt relieved. If he could cut his work in half he'd have time to finish this book and maybe get into those other books Professor McGonagall had given him.

"I can tell you're a hard worker. I'm amazed you got through as much work as you did this week. Keep it up Harry."

They went back downstairs and Harry was sad to leave the loft. He wanted to lay up there all day and read. At least he had a soft bed in his room to lay on while he read.

"Is there a place like that in the Hogwarts library to read?" Harry asked after they said goodbye to Mr. Blackwood.

"There is not. Typically students spend free time in their common rooms where there are couches and comfortable chairs."

"Oh."

"You like to read." It was a statement, but one of curiosity.

"Yes."

They walked down the lane for a few minutes and Harry was tempted to open the novel and read as they walked. The boy had just agreed to help the drake, but only if he would fly him to a city in the clouds. Apparently the boy was a prince but his evil stepfather had thrown him from the cloud city so he could take over the throne. The prince needed help getting home so he could take the throne again.

"We will not be returning to Hogwarts for lunch," Severus said, and Harry turned to him. "We have some stores to visit first." He pointed to a shop front that said, 'Faren's Furnishings,' and they went inside.

You couldn't see the floor because it was covered in layers and layers of different shapes and sizes of rugs. There were persian rugs and shag rugs, soft rugs and rough rugs. There were also rugs hanging from the walls. Against the walls there were lamps and end tables, and in the center of the room there were desks stacked two and sometimes three high. Chairs hung upside down from the ceiling. It felt cramped, and Harry wondered how anyone ever found what they wanted with so much to look at. The shopkeeper was nowhere in sight, and Harry wondered what it was that Severus wanted to buy here.

"You will need a rug or two for your room, as well as a nightstand and desk and chair."

"There's so much to look at," Harry said, trying to express how overwhelmed he felt in this cramped space.

"What color rug would you like?"

"Blue, or green. Like the one upstairs in the school." As soon as he said it there was a noise and several rugs on the floor began to lift up, revealing a dark blue shag rug. Harry's eyes grew wide as it levitated up into the air. It waggled back and forth as if asking if it was what he wanted, and he said nervously, "Uh hu." There was a giggle and the rug rolled itself up and sent itself to the counter. Across the shop rugs began lifting themselves off the wall and a small round green rug appeared. It was the same shade of green as his sage colored shirt. "Ok," Harry said. He'd seen Severus levitate things a few times, but he didn't see anyone else in the shop and Severus didn't have his wand out.

"What's going on?" Harry asked, and there was another giggle.

"It's Faren," Severus said. "She has a disillusionment charm on herself. She believes it amusing to have a shop run by a ghost."

As soon as he said it, a woman a little younger than Severus appeared and said, "You're no fun Severus Snape. He was new. Did you see how big his eyes got? Like saucers. But he still answered me like it was nothing out of the ordinary."

"We are in need of a desk, chair, and lamp also."

"And a nightstand," she said. She walked over to a nightstand and levitated it above the other piles of furniture for Harry to see. "How about this one?"

"Ok," Harry said. They all looked the same to him. This one had a small drawer and a shelf on the bottom. She sent it by magic to the counter and then went to the desks stacked in the center of the room.

"With drawers or without?"

"With," Severus said.

"It's just a matter of wood type then. I've got some nice used ones in dark brown, or brand new cherry desks, but they're pricy."

Harry had already walked to one of the used desks though and was looking it over. The stain was a little worn on the legs and there was a scratch across the top drawer, but he decided that he liked it. She walked over and put a gray tag on it and then pulled down a chair from a hook on the ceiling. "This is a good chair. I promise. It's not as uncomfortable as a lot of wood chairs are. There's a cushioning charm on it. It might need to be re-cast but you'll like it."

That just left a lamp, and Harry walked along the walls looking at the various shapes and colors. There was one that looked like it was made of skin, and several that had fur on them. He shuddered and didn't want to think about what had been killed to make those lamps. Instead he settled on a small plain lamp with a white shade.

"Boy knows what he likes," Faren said, going to the old-fashioned register to ring up their purchases. "Two Galleons, six Sickles and a Knut." Severus dug the money out of his coin pouch and she said, "This going to your quarters in the Dungeons?"

"It is."

"I'll have it delivered by dinner. Max is out on a delivery right now to the Aisle of Arran."

"Fine. Thank you."

She waved to Harry as they exited, and he waved back. He couldn't believe he was getting rugs and a desk. He'd have all kinds of places to read in his room now. Even Dudley didn't have nice soft rugs like the ones he'd picked out.

They had barely taken ten steps down the lane when Severus steered him into another shop. At first Harry thought they were going into Honeydukes the candy store, but they went into a door just next to it, and Harry was surprised to see colorful toys and posters on shelves lining the walls. It was a kids store.

"What are we getting here?" Harry asked, not daring to get his hopes up. There was a poster of the wind drake on the wall just like at the schoolhouse, and Harry wanted it.

"You did not bring any of your belongings from home. You will need something to keep you occupied during your free time."

"I didn't have anything to bring from home," Harry said, but he was so intent on the poster that he missed the look Severus gave him.

"You may pick out one poster, something comfortable to sit on, and four toys," Severus said. Harry looked up at him in awe and didn't move. That was a lot of things and it wasn't even his birthday. Usually aunt Petunia waited until his birthday to give him all of Dudley's old clothes and backpacks. They never wrapped them or made him a cake or even made mention of his birthday, but he was happy that it was being acknowledged in some way.

"Well?" Severus said when he looked down and found Harry staring at him.

"I get all that?"

Severus wasn't sure what to say. With the report Dumbledore had given from Harry's family about why he'd been sent away, he would have thought the boy had been spoiled rotten. But he seemed genuinely surprised and uncertain about four toys, a poster, and a large pillow or bean bag chair.

"Yes."

Harry looked at that moment like he was trying very hard to contain himself. His face lit up and he squirmed, and then walked away stiffly like he was trying to act composed. He went straight to the poster on the wall and asked the aging store clerk if he could have it. The clerk found the rolled up copy of it and handed it to Harry, who couldn't stop grinning. Harry went to the corner of the store where there were a variety of shapes and colors of bean bag chairs and large pillows made of different types of fabrics and picked out a squishy bright blue bean bag chair made of crushed velvet. Blue was clearly his favorite color. Then he turned his attention to the toys around the store and seemed lost. Severus went over to him.

"What do you like to play with?"

"I'm not sure."

"What toys did you and your cousin play with?"

"Dudley played with video games," Harry said. He also had a bike and skateboard, half a dozen balls, army men, interlocking building blocks, and an entire toy chest of toys in his room Harry rarely ever saw. Sometimes Dudley played board games with Harry if none of his friends were around, but he always cheated, and if Harry ever won Dudley complained to aunt Petunia and Harry got in trouble for 'cheating'.

"Perhaps a ball."

Harry looked to the large bin of balls. There was a strange red ball he didn't recognize. "What's that red one?"

"A Quaffle. It's used when playing Quidditch."

Harry went over to it and picked it up. It was slightly spongy and had several large spherical indentations on it. Then he put it back. "I don't know how to play Quidditch," he said.

"The other students at the school will know how to play, and will likely be playing ground versions during free time."

Harry picked up the red Quaffle again and then walked around looking at the other toys. There were potions kits, chess sets, and games with names like Gob Stones. There were cards that exploded and puzzles featuring pictures of goblins and mer-people. Harry didn't know what to choose until he came to a display of toy dragons and drakes. There looked to be at least 20 different kinds. Carefully examining each one, he finally came to a silver and blue drake similar to the one in the poster. Now if he could only find a toy to be the prince from the book. A few feet away there was a bin full of knights, mages, witches, wizards, children, townsfolk and other characters. There were even several labeled 'Muggle' that looked like they'd come out of a telly show about World War II. Harry found one of a teenage boy wearing simple clothes, and decided that this would be his prince.

"The drake and person count as one toy," Severus said. He was holding the book Harry had borrowed, and Harry wondered if he had read it, or had looked through it while Harry was looking at the toys. "You may pick out two more."

Harry went back to the bin and picked out an evil looking mer-man and then laid eyes on a set of interlocking building blocks that claimed they would change colors when constructed into a castle or other things. They were the magical version of Dudley's Legos. It was a big box and claimed it had over 3,000 pieces and Harry thought it was probably expensive. Seventeen sickles was the price. Harry didn't know how much wizard money was worth, but 17 sounded like a lot. He set the box back down, but Severus came up behind him and picked it up again. "Is this what you want?"

Harry bit his lip and nodded. They took the toys to the counter where Harry's poster and bright blue bean bag chair were and Severus paid 2 Galleons for the lot. There was another box that the storekeeper put into the bag and Harry wondered what it was. He hadn't picked out anything else, but Severus must have.

Fascinated, Harry watched as Severus asked to use the store's floo, and the shopkeeper agreed. He went to the fireplace and threw a handful of green powder in, making bright green flames erupt, and then Severus said, "Snape quarters, Hogwarts." There was another bright flash and Severus threw the two bags of toys into it and they were gone. The flames disappeared immediately. Harry was stunned. He stood there mouth hanging open and willed himself not to cry. He knew that getting toys was too good to be true. He must have asked for too much or done something wrong. This was punishment for not getting his school work done.

"Er, Severus," said the store owner. Severus turned and the man pointed to Harry who looked like he'd been hit in the face and stunned.

"The toys are not destroyed," Severus said. "I have sent them back to Hogwarts. The floo is one way wizards travel or transport items."

"Are you sure?"

"They will be waiting on the hearth when we get back. I did not want to return to Hogwarts right away and did not want to carry the bags around."

Harry took a deep breath and decided he'd have to take his word for it. If he got back and there were toys there waiting for him, then he would be very lucky. And if he got back and there were no toys, then life would be normal.

Severus took the still uncertain Harry to Madam Pudifoots cafe and ordered them two sandwiches and two cups of tea. Harry ate quietly and Severus observed him. So far he had not seen a spoiled, lazy child who was constantly in trouble. Then again, maybe the child was feeling properly chastised for having been sent away from his family, and was on his best behavior so he wouldn't be sent away again. That had been one of his questions earlier hadn't it? Would he be sent away for accidental magic? Though why he would be sent away for accidental magic, Severus didn't know.

"You said you didn't have things to bring with you from home. Were the toys you had shared between you and your cousin?"

Harry looked at him like he was crazy as he finished his cup of tea. "What do you mean?"

"Because you had no toys with you I assumed you were not allowed to take any because they belonged to both you and your cousin."

"No," Harry said, sounding a little sad, "they were all his."

Severus raised his brows. That couldn't be true. He had to be exaggerating. "Your aunt and uncle did not provide any toys or games for you?"

"I got Dudley's old clothes for all my birthdays, and new underwear for Christmas. I wasn't allowed to play with any of Dudley's toys, only a few of his board games."

Frowning Severus stirred his tea and said, "I have never heard of such a thing." He hadn't meant it as, 'I don't believe you,' but that's how Harry seemed to take it. He looked away and his face turned red. Severus was going to revise his statement, but decided to drop it because he really wasn't sure if he should believe Harry or not. He did seem surprised about the purchased toys however and thought that four was a large number.

"When is your birthday?"

"July 31st. It was my birthday a few days ago."

Severus choked on his tea then and was surprised he hadn't accidentally spit any out onto his shirt.

"Are you ok sir?" Harry asked, seeming surprised.

"I'm fine," Severus said, checking that he hadn't spilled anything. "And I told you, my name is Severus."

He set his tea down and looked at Harry. "Your family put you on a train days before your birthday?"

"It's ok, we never celebrate it."

"And your cousin's birthday?"

"He always has a party. I'm not usually allowed to go."

Severus took a deep breath. The more Harry said the more uncertain he was. Harry seemed sincere but everything he had said so far seemed like a ploy for sympathy. Yet the child didn't seem like the type to ask for sympathy considering he'd missed meals and passed out, and later missed meals in order to get his work done. He hadn't even complained about lack of bedroom furnishings or toys or free-time.

They finished their meal without any more questions and walked back to Hogwarts. When they got into the quarters, Harry rushed to the hearth in front of the fireplace and seemed genuinely surprised to see his new toys there. "They're here!"

"As I said they would be. Take them to your room."

Harry ran to his room with the bags and a few minutes later Severus could hear the box of interlocking blocks being dumped on the floor. He went to the closet and pulled out a box with a lid that snapped into place and took it to Harry's room. "When you are done store them in here. Harry took it but he was absorbed in building what looked like a castle and trying to figure out how to get the blocks to turn a watery color of blue. Severus left him to it and felt oddly satisfied as he went to sit at his desk to revise the homework and assignments Harry would need to get done before the end of the summer. He cut it down to 7 math assignments a week instead of 14, and cut the science and history reading in half. Blackwood said he thought Harry was doing fine in English and could probably get away with only completing the last few chapters of the English text, so Severus only had to assign a few pages of homework for that. The new schedule looked a lot more doable, and he intended to remind Harry again that he wasn't to skip meals or stay up too late doing work.

The floo flared and a note popped out of it onto the hearth. Severus picked it up. It was from Faren stating that her brother Max was on his way with the furniture they had purchased. He went to Harry's room and found him sitting on the bean bag chair and playing with the blocks.

"Put them away. The furniture will be here in a few minutes and you will need space to move things around."

Harry carefully picked up his partially built blue castle (the bricks really did look like water and had a realistic wave pattern that was moving between them), and put it into the box. He picked up the bean bag chair and box and put it on the bed with the other toys.

"There will be no room for the desk with the bed in the middle of the room."

"We can put it over here," Harry said, excitement in his voice. He pointed to the wall and Severus moved forward to help him push it to the wall in the corner opposite the door.

"Go up to the Entrance Hall and meet Max. You can show him the way to the quarters."

Harry grabbed his blue wind drake and made haste out of the quarters and up through the castle to the Entrance Hall. He pushed open one of the massive oak doors and waited until he saw the delivery man coming up the drive. He ran out to meet him and looked on in awe as he levitated all of the furniture ahead of him. It was tied together with several long ropes.

"Are these yours?" Max asked, and Harry nodded. "You can carry the lamp. It keeps trying to topple off the pile." He paused and pulled down the lamp and handed it to Harry. Excited Harry ran ahead, lamp in one hand and drake in the other, and into the Entrance Hall, making Max pick up the pace behind him.

He didn't see Professor McGonagall but she called out to him as he ran towards the Dungeon entrance. "Harry!"

"Severus bought them for me!" Harry shouted happily as he went down the stairs, not even letting her ask where the items had come from. Max hurried after him and called out for him to slow down when Harry had reached the bottom.

"Sorry," Harry said when Max caught up, but he only smiled and reached forward to tousle Harry's short hair.

Able to navigate the path to Severus' quarters now with ease, Harry lead Max to the quarters and when they got there, Max lowered the pile of furniture to the ground and began untying it so they could carry one piece at a time through the door. Severus appeared from inside to help and together the two men carried the furniture into Harry's room.

"Are you looking forward to your last year?" Severus asked Max as the teen carried both rolled rugs in over his shoulder and set them on the floor.

"I didn't make Head Boy, but I think I've still got a chance to make Captain of the Quidditch team."

"I have it on good authority that you will."

"Excellent."

Severus pulled out a handful of Knuts and gave them to Max for the delivery. "Thank you, and tell Faren thank you as well."

"I will Professor. Have a good day. Bye Harry." He gave a last look at Harry, eyes traveling to his scar which was now uncovered with his new haircut, and left.

"What did you mean his last year?" Harry asked as he unrolled the blue shag rug and Severus moved the desk and bed on top of it.

"He will be a seventh year in Ravenclaw this year."

"Oh. I thought he was all grown up."

"He practically is."

Harry put his smaller round sage colored rug in the corner by the wardrobe and then put his bean bag chair on top of it. Severus brought another box with a snapping lid in that was the same as the one for the interlocking bricks and told Harry he could keep the rest of his toys in that. When Harry put the Quaffle and three action figures into the box, it looked awfully empty, and Severus felt bad that he had bought so little for him. It would have to do for now, he told himself, and left him to his new possessions.

To be continued...


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