Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
A special thanks to my beta The Lonely God With a Box. Awesome job as ever.
A/N: Here is chapter 28. I hope that you enjoy it. :)
Arabella's week had been an eventful one. She had not had this many callers in the thirteen years she has been living on Privet Drive. First the unsuspected call from Severus carrying an unconscious Harry. Then, Minerva stopping by. The look on her friend's face broke Arabella's heart. She really thought she was doing so good following Albus' order of watching the house, but after learning Harry's state when Severus performed the diagnostic charm, she had no excuse for her failure. She had let Minerva down. She had let that sweet boy down. Severus was right. She only had one job to do: watch over Harry. How could she ever make it up to Minerva? How would she be able to look Harry in the face? After Severus and Minerva left with Harry, Arabella had not slept the entire night.
I will make it up to Harry, Arabella thought, sitting in her chair in her small living room.
The next day and a half it was quiet again. There was a different feel around the neighborhood since she didn't see Harry anymore. At the end of the second day, she happened to be looking out of her window when she saw a man in black walking with determination towards Number 4. It didn't take her long to recognize that it was Severus. She also noted that he was alone. Harry wasn't with him. She watched him go into the house. She saw flashes of gold, red, and green from the windows. After about thirty minutes, Severus reemerged from the house and walked back down the street. What she saw next had her laughing for the next two hours. When she looked back at the house again, she couldn't believe what she saw. The house was inside out. She laughed and laughed until tears streamed down her face.
Later on that night, after sobering from her laughing, she began to get ready for bed when again she received another caller at her door. This knock was rather forceful so she quickly moved towards the door. Looking at the side window by the door, seeing Albus Dumbledore on the other side, she was not expecting to see him. When she let him in, she noticed that the house across from here was back to normal. Not that she would ever tell anyone what she really saw.
After trying to get the pleasantries out of the way, Dumbledore spoke out as to why he had graced her with his presence. She could tell that he was upset about something so she did the only thing that made since to her. She knew he was fuming about the condition of the house and it took every bit of her strength to keep from laughing at what Severus did to their house. What she did do was play dumb to what Albus was asking. She had never seen Dumbledore so flustered than he was that night.
Finally, thinking that everything was going to be alright, Arabella decided that she could finally relax. Harry was safe. He was with people that she knew could watch out for him.
Then just yesterday, she was graced with more callers. This time it was from her Floo and it were four young men. Severus was the first to walk through followed by Harry then by, who she later learn was Remus Lupin and Sirius Black.
When Harry gained his footing after coming through the Floo, she quickly enveloped the teenager in a hug, which Harry was more than happy to give. Harry really liked Mrs. Figg. She was the only person on this street that, he felt, loved him. After letting the boy go, Severus pulled Arabella to the side and informed her of what was happening. Her heart became heavy when she watched Harry walk back to his relatives' house. The only thing that kept her from arguing against this plan that the gentlemen cooked up was the fact that Harry would not be alone while staying with his relatives.
When Severus left that afternoon, Arabella thought things may just be a little better. Remus came back to her house about an hour after Severus left and he too left through the Floo. It had been three hours and while keeping an eye on the house, Arabella didn't see any unusual movements from Number 4. She continued her needle work, sitting in her favorite chair looking up every so often at the house across the street from her.
It was becoming late and her stitches were so tedious that she was beginning to see double. She placed her needle work in the carpetbag that was next to her chair. She was about to stand when her Floo flared and debris and dust came through. She screamed, covering her face with her arm to guard against anything hitting her face.
Once the dust cleared, she looked around to see if there was any damage and to see what caused her Floo to flare. She was not expecting anyone. Carefully, she walked around. She heard flapping towards the ceiling and saw through the dust clouds that were all around her living room an owl. It didn't take long for her to recognize that it was Harry's owl. Taking a step she felt her foot hit something. Looking down she saw the unconscious form of Remus. She knelt down beside the young man to see how hurt the young man was. Looking at him, she knew that he would need medical attention quickly. Upon looking at her fireplace, she saw that using the Floo was out of the question, so she found a piece of paper and wrote out a small note. Hedwig, once was able to right herself landed on the back of the chair that Arabella was just sitting in. Getting up and slowly walking towards the snowy owl,
“Please, I mean you no harm. Take this to St. Mungo's.”
Arabella knew from when her late husband was sick that healers and medi-witches would apparate to extreme cases to help wizards or witches that can not get to the hospital on their own. While waiting on Hedwig to deliver the note, Arabella went and got a basin of water an a flannel and started slowly cleaning the dirt and blood off of Remus' face. After about thirty minutes, the distinct pops of someone apparating could be heard in the small house. Within moments of apparating in, three healers and four medi-witches began working on stabilizing Remus so that he could side-along apparate back to St. Mungo's.
Severus walked out of his mother's room and headed for the door. While walking towards the door, he thought back on everything that has occurred. Poppy being attacked. Minerva being kidnapped. Albus threatening him to turn him in. The alliance with the Mutt and the Wolf. But what really stuck out in his mind was Harry. How did that boy weasel his way into that stone heart. Everyone knew that Severus Snape has always been one that had never shown emotion. There were only a few people that he would open his heart to. In the beginning, it was only four people that knew the real, caring side of Severus Snape, and two of those people were dead. His mother, Eileen. His adoptive mother, Minerva. His colleague, Poppy. And his only true friend, Lily. Those four women were the only ones that truly saw Severus. They were the only ones that knew his pain and were there for him to comfort him.
Now, Potter was opening up that part of Severus, and he really didn't know how he was going to deal with that.
Severus walked into the night air. With a resounding pop, Severus disapparated.
Harry was asleep in his bed. For the first time while living with his relatives, did he truly feel comfortable being asleep. When he first came back, he did not believe that what Snape, Remus or, his godfather, Sirius had planned would work. He remember his Professor talking with him before they Floo'ed to Mrs. Figg's house.
Harry was sitting on the bed. A knock on the door pulled him out of his thoughts.
“What are you doing?” Severus asked walking into the room.
“I...I,” Harry hesitated. He put his head down.
Severus walked over towards the bed and sat down next to the child.
“What's wrong, Harry?”
“I really don't want to go back,” Harry confessed.
“I know, child,” Severus sighed. “The last thing I want to do is send you back to those vile people. But you will not be alone.”
“They don't like dogs. I think they only tolerate Ripper because he's my Aunt Marge's dog.”
“Well, that will give you an advantage,” Severus said. “Sirius will not leave your side. As much as it pains me to say, he loves you and is very loyal to you.”
“Yeah, whatever,” Harry deadpanned.
“Potter,” Severus admonished. “You will stop this right now. You will be fine. You will not be alone. And it is only a couple of weeks.”
Harry looked up at his professor. “Will you come and check up on me?”
Severus was taken aback by the request. It has only been a few days and already the boy wanted him near.
“Probably not,” Severus shook his head. Harry put his head down. “You will be fine. Just tell them what we talked about. Remus will handle the rest.”
Harry, his head still down, just nodded.
Harry didn't know why he wanted to be near Professor Snape so much, but all he knew was that as much as his most hated Professor in school for the past few days has been the only person that he has felt calm around. Harry couldn't even say that about Remus and Sirius.
“We must go,” Severus said, standing up and walking towards the door.
Harry watched Professor Snape leave the room. He really didn't want to go, but his Professor was right. All he had to do was just tell his aunt and uncle that they needed to stop and all would be fine. He just wished that he could believe it. Harry stood up, took a deep breath, and walked out of the room. Walking down the hall, the first thought that popped in his head was that he wished that it was Professor Snape staying with him. Harry stopped in the middle of the hall.
Where did that come from? Harry thought, since when did he want to always be with his Professor? Come to think of it, Harry thought. Since when did he start thinking of Professor Snape as his Professor? For the past four years, Professor Snape had, he thought, made his life impossible and miserable. Standing there thinking about it, now he wasn't so sure. It was just Professor Snape being Professor Snape. A small smile graced Harry's lips and he walked the rest of the way down to the parlor.
Harry was startled awake by a pop in the middle of his room. Reaching for his glasses and his wand, that he now keeping under his pillow, Harry sat up in the bed.
Casting the Lumos Charm, Harry watched as one minute no one was standing in the middle of the room to Hedwig's cage and his desk began to shimmer in the light and then disappear. Looking around, he noticed that he was alone. Snuffles was no where to be seen. His heart beating so hard Harry felt it might come out of his chest.
One second he did not know who popped into his room to the next second recognizing who was standing in front of him.
The biggest grin came across Harry's face as he looked at his Potions Professor standing in the middle of his room.
As quickly as he could, he pushed the cover off of his legs and ran to his Professor, wrapping his arms around his neck hugging him.
Severus, keeping the child from again hanging from his neck like a primate, wrapped his arms around the child.
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