Harry awoke to terse whispers. His eyes were still closed though he could hear what was being said above him.
"Should we tell him now?" came Harry's godfather's voice. "Or should we wait?"
"There is no point in prolonging this. Are you sure you have room for the both of us?" Severus's familiar voice asked.
"Of course," Sirius replied. "The house is bigger than you'd think. Besides, most of the Order don't stay at the house."
Harry could resist no longer and opened his eyes.
"Harry," Severus said immediately, helping him to sit up. "How do you feel?"
"Fine," Harry answered. "My head still hurts a bit but I'm fine. What were you talking about just now?"
Severus shared a look with Sirius. Concerned, Harry pushed himself farther up, freeing him from his need for his guardian's help.
"Harry, please don't freak out," Sirius said.
That didn't sound good.
"Don't freak out about what?" Harry demanded.
"Listen, Harry, we really wanted to tell you but we weren't allowed..." Sirius trailed off, sending a helpless look at Severus who was studying Harry intently.
"What? Tell me," Harry insisted.
"During the last Wizarding War, Dumbledore formed a secret society called the Order of the Phoenix. It has been reinstated and has its headquarters at Sirius's house. We are going to stay there, being that you are no longer safe here, as shown by the dementor attack," Severus explained.
"A secret society to fight Voldemort? Why am I just hearing of this?" he asked, trying to keep the accusation from his voice."And these 'meetings' you've been going to, they haven't been Hogwarts, have they?"
"Why didn't you tell me?" Harry demanded, anger coursing through his head, causing it to pound. "Don't you think that I, of all people, should know? I watched him come back! I was there!" Harry raged, tossing the blanket from his legs and standing up. Severus matched and overtook his height. "Didn't you think I would want to help?"
Sirius had melted into the background a bit, leaving Severus to answer the accusations. "You are not of age," he reminded Harry. "Dumbledore seemed to think it was best that you be removed."
Harry's jaw dropped with incredulity. "How can Dumbledore make that choice? He doesn't even know me!"
"He knows you better than you would think," Severus replied. "We all must trust his judgement or else the Order will fall apart."
Harry gritted his teeth. "Even if that judgment means holing me up in a house, alone, for a whole summer? Keeping me in the dark? I bet my friends know, don't they?"Sirius looked at the floor. "They've been staying at the house with us."
"Us? Who's us?" Harry demanded.
"Well, most of the Weasleys, Lupin, some of the aurors..."
Harry angrily swept a hand through his hair. "So my friends have spent more time with my godfather than I have this summer? That's just great."
"I'm sorry, Harry, really. I wanted to tell you but-"
"I wouldn't let him," Snape spoke up bluntly. "It was not in your best interest."
Harry stared at his guardian. "I trusted you to tell me what was going on. Don't you remember, you promised to keep me informed- back when I had to find out that SIrius Black was my godfather from hiding out in the teacher's lounge- remember?" Harry remembered the day exactly, for whenever he wondered if he was missing something important, he thought back to Severus's promise. He put his faith in it, in his guardian.
"I will not tell you things that put you at even more risk-"
"Don't talk to me about risk," Harry said snappily. "I know all about risk. How would keeping me ignorant help reduce the risk?"
"The more you know, the more incentive there is for the Dark Lor-"
"HIS NAME IS VOLDEMORT," Harry exploded. "And he's going to try and kill me either way, so what's it matter? And if you keep keeping me in the freaking dark, it's just going to happen that much faster!"
"I trusted you, Severus," Harry spat, turning to storm to his room. Screw Grimmauld place. Harry didn't want to see his friends right now. They knew what was going on. What gave them more right to know than he? Harry slammed the door, shaking the entire doorframe. He sat on his bed, fuming. Harry's head pounded and his scar hurt. Again. If Severus wouldn't tell Harry about the Order, why should he tell Severus about his scar?
Harry tried to force himself to calm down, to quiet the rush of blood pounding behind his ears. He tried to still his anger, but something deep within him fought against the calm. Some part of him embraced the anger, fed off of it. And Harry didn't resist.
"Well now you've done it."
"Shut it, Black," Severus snapped. "I did not see you helping."
"It didn't look like you needed it," Sirius replied. "You set him off just by being your normal, sympathetic self."
Severus glared at him.
"Hey, don't give me that look," Sirius said. "I wanted to tell him beforehand but no..."
Severus shook his head impatiently. "That is not all. Harry must learn to control his temper. I will not tolerate such blatant disrespect and he will not go sulk in his room like a moody teenager."
"He is a moody teenager," Sirius pointed out.
"I have warned him about this already," Severus said, ignoring Sirius's comment. "I will give him a half hour to calm down before I go break down his door, if necessary."
"You mind if I stick around?" Sirius asked innocently. "That should go over well."
Severus shot him a dark look and headed upstairs to pack his things. Agreeable-Harry or not, they were going to Grimmauld place. Harry's safety was valued over his happiness in Severus's mind, not that his happiness was completely disregarded. As he passed Harry's door, Severus paused, listening. He heard nothing. Not surprised, he continued on his way.
Harry considered running away. He would have, except he didn't have anywhere to go. Besides, Harry wasn't even sure he really wanted to run away; maybe he was just angry. That much was for certain, though the target of his anger was still unclear. Severus made an easy target, being that he kept Harry in the dark all summer, yet Harry knew that it was really Dumbledore's fault. Dumbledore. He had spoken to Dumbledore maybe five times in the past four years and still he thought to control Harry's life? What gave him the right to decide who gets informed and who doesn't? At this point, Harry figured that if he hadn't earned the man's approval then he never would.
Thinking this about Dumbledore, Harry was forced to acknowledge how much Severus respected him. There were few people whom Severus showed such a blatant respect, almost admiration for. The Minister of Magic definitely didn't garner anywhere near the respect that Dumbledore did. Harry wondered why. He wondered what Dumbledore had done to gain such an undying loyalty. Maybe he'd ask Severus one day. Despite Harry's current misgivings, he truly trusted Severus more than anyone he could think of. If Severus trusted Dumbledore... well, Harry couldn't accept Dumbledore's decisions blindly in his current mental state, but later he would probably give in.
A loud knock sounded around the room. Harry glanced at the time, wondering how long he had been thinking.
Even after acknowledging that his anger wasn't solely directed at his guardian, he was still irked with Severus. He had broken many orders before, Harry knew, so why couldn't he have told Harry? Even after he thought his friends didn't care about him anymore, Harry thought. It dawned on Harry that they might deserve an apology. Then again, maybe not.
"What?" Harry said shortly.
The doorknob rattled but it was locked. "Can I come in?" Severus's mildly irritated voice asked through the thick wood.
"I guess," Harry replied, sounding difficult.
"Alohomora," came Severus's muffled voice. There was a click and then Snape stepped into the room. He looked at Harry sitting on the bed and then closed the door.
There was silence as they looked at one another, each waiting for the other to speak.
"Well, are you not going to apologize?" Severus asked expectantly.
Harry's jaw almost dropped. "Apologize?" he asked, anger spiking again. "Shouldn't you be the one apologizing?"
Severus seemed to choose his words carefully. "I... regret that this situation has hurt you so. However, I do not regret the fact that I acted in what I believed to be your best interest. I am sorry that I was not able to protect you from the dementor attack. Your recalcitrant remarks, on the other hand, were out of line."
Harry opened his mouth to protest but Severus cut him off with a hand.
"I understand that they may have been called for, but you had no right to deliver them in such a manner. It will not be tolerated. Is that understood?"
Glaring, Harry responded, "Yes." He didn't exactly put much effort into sounding sincere.
Severus stiffened. "Good. Now pack your things. We are leaving shortly."
"We?" Harry asked, deliberately sounding surprised and disappointed. "You're going too?"
A flicker of hurt passed over Severus's face and for a moment, Harry wondered if he had gone too far. With two short strides, he came to sit next to Harry on the bed.
"Don't do this, Harry," Severus said softly.
"Don't do what?" Harry asked innocently.
Severus looked at him with those fathomless dark eyes. "Do not play ignorant. It does not suit you," he snapped halfheartedly. "Now that the Dark Lo-"
"Yes, I know his name. Now that he has returned, we must be more vigilant than ever. This is not the time to be squabbling amongst ourselves. This is not the time to be torn apart; we must all work together."
"It's a bit hard to work together when you don't even know who's working," Harry muttered.
"Harry, stop. Now you know what is going on, and we are going to join the others. Other than your feelings and your head, nothing has really been hurt. It would be easier if you simply let this go."
"'Sometimes we need to choose between what is right and what is easy'," Harry quoted automatically.
"What?" Severus asked, his solemnity broken by confusion.
Harry shrugged. "Dumbledore said that once; Hermione quotes it every time Ron and I try to skive off homework."
"Does that happen often?" Severus asked, raising a brow.
"Not with Hermione around."
Severus shook his head, a bit exasperated. "Regardless, are we alright now? Or would you like to stew in your anger a bit longer?"
Harry knew he was being snide but Harry had forgiven him somewhere along the line. He nodded and returned, "Yeah. We're good. Sorry."
"I am sorry too, Harry," Severus said softly. "I am sorry that you were attacked, I am sorry that I cannot protect you here any longer. I am sorry that there is nothing I can do to protect you from the Da-Voldemort."
Harry smiled lightly at his guardians use of Voldemort's name. Finally.
"Er, there's something I should probably tell you..."
Severus started in concern. "What?"Harry's lips twisted as he gathered his thoughts. "I've uh... My scar's been hurting a lot lately."
Severus's brow furrowed. "When did this start?"
Harry hesitated. "At the beginning of summer."
Severus looked at him, deeply worried. "Why did you not say anything sooner? Merlin, Harry, it has been months!"
For a moment, Harry felt guilty that his withholding information was causing Severus such distress and concern. But then again, didn't that go both ways? "You seemed to be so busy and I didn't really think it was important. The first few times, yeah, but then I kind of started ignoring it. Got used to it." After a moment, Harry admitted, "Then I wasn't going to tell you because I was angry."
Severus ran a hand through his hair. "Harry, no matter how busy I am, I will always have time for you. Please do not keep anything like this from me again, even if you are angry."
Harry thought for a moment. "I'll promise if you promise to not keep anything like the Order of the freaking Phoenix from me again."
"I can only agree under the stipulation that I can keep something from you if by telling you, you would be placed in mortal danger," Severus said.
Harry weighed this in his mind. "Agreed."
Severus reached over with an arm and gave Harry a half hug. Harry leaned into his guardian's shoulder. "I'm glad we got that resolved," he admitted.
"As am I. Are you ready to go?"
"In a few minutes I can be," Harry said. He sighed. "I'm not so sure I want to see my friends though."
"Are you still angry with them? I thought you had given them a second chance."
"That was before I knew they were at headquarters. They know more than I do; that's worse than them all together simply having fun. Now I know they're having informed fun. Plus, they lied to me," Harry said stubbornly.
"Do not be too hard on them, Harry. They never actually heard anything. The meetings were private. They have been cleaning, mostly," Severus informed him.
So they had been serious about that. Harry scoffed, "'Privacy' has never stopped the twins. I bet they know something."
"Let us hope that they do not."
Harry looked at him in askance.
"Or else Mrs. Weasley will have to think up some new and creative form of punishment."
Harry laughed lightly. He could only imagine that was true.
AN: There have been a few "concerns" brought up about the handling of the investigation of Cedric's death by the international wizarding police, per say. I tried to give a brief explanation (chapter 3) about why they would turn the investigation over to Fudge (so that he can then cover it up) but I'll admit that it isn't very detailed or thorough. Please keep in mind, however, that this is simply a story (and a fanfiction, at that) and it will not always be logical or accurate. After all, I really don't know enough about law, let alone Wizarding law, to write intelligibly about their motivations. Sorry for any confusion, but I recommend accepting it the way it is, for the whole topic will probably not be mentioned again. Thanks!