“Put it over there.”
“Would you stop bossing me around.”
“Well, if you did something right, I wouldn’t have to.”
“Boys, boys,” Albus said, walking into the sitting room.
Severus and Remus were moving the furniture around the room. They wanted to do something special for the youngest of the family.
“Remy, if you put that chair over there one more time,” Severus threatened.
Remus lowered the chair to the floor and faced his brother.
“You’ll do what?” Remus challenged.
“Listen, you two,” Albus said, walking in between his adopted sons. “If you don’t stop this bickering, Harry will show up before you’re finished. And I don’t think you want that.”
Remus and Severus glared at each other for another moment before they got back to work.
Albus walked out of the sitting room. He went to make himself some tea. Hearing those two boys arguing was giving him a headache. He smiled, thinking about it. He would take this kind of problem any day of the week. It meant his family was together. Just like he wanted.
The back door to the kitchen opened, and Harry walked in.
“Hey, Grandpa,” Harry said, shrugging his robe off of his shoulders.
“Harry, my boy,” Albus said.
He walked over to his grandson and pulled him into an embrace.
“Happy Birthday,” Albus said, pushing Harry out arms-length. “But you were supposed to be home until tomorrow.”
“They let us out early,” Harry said, smiling. “Where’s da and Uncle Remus?”
There was more arguing coming from the sitting room.
“Can’t you hear them?” Albus said, waving his hand towards the doorway.
“I take it they’re in a good mood,” Harry said, trying to hold back his giggling.
“Yeah,” Albus said sighing. “I don’t know why they love arguing so much.”
“I guess it makes their life more interesting,” Harry said, shrugging his shoulders. “Well, I’m going to go and say hi.”
“Honestly, I’m surprised Severus hasn’t come in here,” puzzled Albus.
“They’ve been teaching me how to mask myself at the training,” Harry said, smiling. “Da can’t feel me. Well, not really.”
Albus nodded. Harry grabbed his things.
“I’ll go the back way,” Harry said. “I want to surprise them.”
Harry left out of the kitchen, heading towards his room.
“Yeah,” Albus said to himself. “They’ll be surprised, alright.”
“Are you happy now,” Remus said, plopping down on the chair that was now next to the fireplace.
“No,” Severus snarled, walking over to Remus and pulling him by his arm to stand up. “There is still more that needs to be done.”
Remus snatched his arm out of Severus’ grip. “Well, do it yourself. I’m tired. I don’t even know why you’re going through all this now. What’s so special about doing this today?”
Severus looked around the now redecorated room. The last time Severus saw Harry, they talked about doing some remodeling. Harry had suggested that he wanted to move the furniture around and give it more walking space, so no one would bump into furniture, trying to maneuver around the room.
Severus felt that his response to Harry’s idea hurt his fledgling. He didn’t like that feeling. The guilt of how he responded, overwhelmed Severus. It wasn’t a bad idea. He just didn’t think that Harry was serious about it.
Looking around, Severus saw that it wasn’t much changed, but it was enough that it could be noticed. Plus, Severus wanted to do something special for his fledgling’s birthday. He hated that he wasn’t scheduled to come home until tomorrow, but Harry said it was the earliest he could get.
“I’m going to my room,” Remus said, bringing Severus out of his thoughts. “You’re on your own.”
Remus walked past is brother, clapping him on his shoulder.
“Good night, little brother,” Remus said.
“Yeah,” Severus said.
Remus headed towards his room when something caught his attention. He stopped in the middle of the hallway and took a deep breath. He knew that smell. Remus’ original destination abandoned; he walked over to the door. He reached out for the door when it opened right before he could touch it.
“What the—” Remus started, but was cut off by someone jumping in his arms
Harry wasn’t expecting to see his uncle this soon. He thought he could get his da and uncle together, but now seeing Remus, Harry couldn’t help how excited he was to see him. Rushing into his arms, squeezing Remus just as tightly as he was doing Harry.
Remus pushed himself back and looked at his nephew. “When did you get here?”
“I just got here,” Harry said, grinning. “I wanted to surprise da. He didn’t seem very happy that I couldn’t come home today.”
“Yeah,” Remus said as an afterthought. “About that, I thought you couldn’t. Not that I’m complaining, but how are you here now?”
“My leave was to start tomorrow,” Harry said, “But last-minute changes, my boss said I could go home today. So, here I am.”
Remus pulled Harry in for another hug. Remus knew Severus was going to be surprised. His tiredness long since forgotten, he walked Harry to the stairs.
“Wait here. Give me a few minutes and then come downstairs.” Remus said when they were at the top of the stairs. “There are a very few times that you can put something over that old bat. This is going to be priceless.”
Remus had a smirk on his face as he walked down the stairs. Harry slowly walked down the stairs, hoping he didn’t make a noise. The way the stairs were, he was covered until the last three steps. So, if he walked down far enough, he could see when Remus was ready for him to come down.
“Did you forget something, wolf?” Severus said. There was no harshness behind his words.
“Thought I would get me something to drink,” Remus said. His voice was calm, so he didn’t give away that something was suspicious.
Harry went to the fourth step from the bottom. He did learn how to mask his connection with his da, but he still couldn’t hide his scent. He knew there wouldn’t be time for saying anything. The closer he got to his da, he would know that his fledgling was behind him.
Biting his lip, trying to keep himself from making a sound, Harry saw that Severus was facing the sitting room with his back to the stairs. The more Harry looked at his da, the more he wanted to just rush to him and be engulfed in his arms. He missed his da so much. He didn’t know how much until he was so close to him.
Harry walked the final steps down and slowly walked towards the sitting room. From the corner of his eye, Harry could see Uncle Remus and Grandpa Albus standing in the kitchen doorway.
Severus was lost in his thoughts when he felt something. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. His fledgling. But it couldn’t be.
The instant Severus opened his arms, Harry was in them, wrapping his arms tightly around his da. The scent of safety and love filled Harry’s nose. He thought he could get through this reunion with little emotion, but now being in his da’s arms, the tears flowed. Harry had only been away for seven months, but now in the Potion Master’s arms, it felt like years.
Severus returned his hug just as tightly as Harry was doing. He lowered his head into his fledgling’s hair, breathing in his child’s scent.
After a long moment, Severus and Harry reluctantly released each other. Severus had questions, and he wanted to look at his boy. Severus cupped his hands on Harry’s face.
“When did you get here?” Severus asked.
“I arrived about an hour ago,” Harry said, leaning into his da’s touch.
“I thought you weren’t coming until tomorrow.”
“Last-minute change of plans,” Harry said when Severus let Harry go. “You seemed sad that I couldn’t come home today.” Harry shrugged. “So, I came to surprise you.”
“It’s your birthday,” Severus said. “I’m supposed to surprise you.”
“Seeing your face, feeling you near,” Harry said, wrapping his arms back around Severus’ middle. “Is the best birthday present I will ever need.”
Severus hugged Harry again and then pushed him out, arms-length.
“Let me look at you,” Severus said. “Have you been eating?”
Severus started checking his neck, shoulders, arms, ribs. All the while taking an assessment of his fledgling.
“You look too skinny,” Severus fussed. “You haven’t been eating regularly.”
“I have,” Harry said, though he knew his da wasn’t listening.
“I doubt it,” Severus said. “You will feed tonight.”
Severus' tone broached no argument. Harry wanted to point out that he was no longer a “newborn” fledgling. He could take care of himself. He took the best precautions.
“Do you have enough potions?” Severus asked. “Did you run out?”
“I’m fine, da,” Harry said with a smile on his face.
“Yeah, Sev,” Remus said, walking into the sitting room, followed by Albus. “Harry’s fine. Stop mothering him.”
“I am not mothering him,” Severus said, taken aback at the accusation. “I’m just checking.”
“You’re mothering,” Remus teased. “Well,” Remus walked over to Harry and Severus, “I’m so happy your home,” Remus hugged Harry, “I’m going to bed.”
“Night, Uncle Remus,” Harry said, giving Remus a one-arm hug.
“I think I’ll turn in as well,” Albus said. “Give you two some time alone.”
Harry walked over to Albus and gave his grandpa a hug. Albus kissed Harry’s temple, walked over to Severus, and patted him on his shoulder.
“Good night, my boys,” Albus said, climbing the stairs.
Severus and Harry walked into the sitting room.
“You’ve been remodeling,” Harry commented.
“Yeah,” Severus said. “You made a comment about it last time you were here, and I didn’t think you liked the answer you received.”
“I like it,” Harry said.
Severus sat down on the sofa, and Harry sat next to him. Severus wrapped his arm around Harry’s shoulders. Harry leaned into his da’s side. The feel of familiarity seeped in Harry’s bones.
“You know, I had something special planned for your birthday. But since you weren’t coming home, or so I thought, tomorrow, you’ll get your gift then.”
“I don’t need any gift,” Harry said. His speech becoming slurred. “This is the best gift to have.”
“Oh, yeah,” Severus said, leaning back on the sofa, bringing Harry with him, so they could get more comfortable. “And why is that?”
“Hmm,” Harry said, trying to wake up. “Oh, you.”
“Yeah. You are my best present. Nothing compares to that.”
Harry snuggled more into Severus’ side. Severus was surprised at what he heard. Severus could tell that Harry fell asleep.
“Happy Birthday, my little fledgling,” Severus said. He leaned down and kissed the crown of Harry’s head. “I love you so much!”