Harry knocked on Severus's door. It was Christmas Eve and he had decided that he could not put this off any longer. Harry's anger had since worn down and he was left feeling lacking as he faced another holiday without a family. Therefore, Harry decided it was time to make amends with his guardian.
Harry's knock went unanswered. He tried the door and it was locked. Faced with the dilemma of either unlocking it himself or coming back later, Harry decided on the former. Despite the disastrous consequences of the last time Harry had let himself in to Snape's office uninvited, he considered the fact that he was simply in his chambers for it was rather late.
Harry unlocked the door and pushed it open to find an empty office.
"Severus?" he called. There wasn't an answer so Harry opened the back door to the workshop. A cauldron filled with a murky brown substance sat on the table but it was otherwise empty. Harry exited and closed the door. He said the password and reopened it to Severus's chambers.
"Severus?" he called once more and walked into the main room. Snape was startled and he dropped the glass he was clutching, spilling the same murky brown stuff all over the floor. He cursed and banished the mess.
"What?" he snapped. "What gives you the right to just barge in here?"Harry defiantly plopped down on the couch. "I am your son, aren't I?"
"You haven't been acting like it," he replied smartly.
"You haven't been deserving it," Harry said cooly.
They sat in a stony silence for a moment. At last, Harry could take it no longer. He stood.
"Severus, what's wrong?" Harry said almost pleadingly. "Are you sick? Is that why you were drinking that disgusting brown stuff?"
Severus stared him down but did not reply. Harry tossed up his hands in frustration.
"Severus, if you tell me what is wrong, I can help you!" Harry said.
"How could you, a twelve year old boy, possibly help me?" Severus asked dryly.
"I defeated Vol- the Dark Lord," Harry said arrogantly.
"You were a baby! And now you are but a child!" he almost shouted. "Curb the arrogance, Potter! And while you are at it, keep your nose out of other people's business."
Harry stared incredulously. "What happened to you? It's like you are back to the old you. The one I hated. Maybe this was a mistake," Harry muttered, referring to coming down here on Christmas Eve. To his dismay, Snape nodded slowly.
"I think it was."
"What?" Harry asked, confused.
"Adopting you," he said. His robes billowed as Severus turned and strode down the hall to his room.
Harry sat in a stunned silence. What in Merlin's name had happened to cause a comment like that? Harry had tried his best to be a good son and Snape had seemed to change after Harry had gotten to know him better. Did he really mean that? Was Harry such a failure that Snape truly regretted his decision?
Harry gritted his teeth. Maybe he regretted it too. Snape was an awful choice for a guardian- what had he been thinking? Living with a Death Eater, what could he expect but mood swings?
Harry sat stubbornly on the couch. Draco was his only friend here for the holidays and he assumed that he would not mind if Harry did not come back that night. He was literally prepared to wait until Christmas for Severus to come back and rescind his comment. The fire crackled and Harry remembered that he had come partly to get advice about the diary. There was no way he would tell Snape about what he had seen now. The thought made him sad.
When Harry awoke, the dawn was just arriving. Sunlight shone through the enchanted windows and filled the cold chambers with a soft morning light. It was Christmas, but Harry's joy was tainted by trepidation. He could slip out now, before Severus arrived and avoid a confrontation but he was a Gryffindor, after all. Harry waited.
"Anyone there?" a voice called from the direction of Severus's room.
"I'm here," Harry replied. He strode to the hallway just as the bathroom door closed. When it opened, a disheveled Snape was revealed.
"Why are you still here?" he snapped.
"I wanted to make up with you. It's Christmas," Harry said with a shrug.
"Very well," Severus replied.
Harry's face broke into a grin. "Really? That is a wonderful Christmas present."
Severus nodded distractedly and Harry was glad that he didn't seem to care about gifts, for Harry hadn't gotten him one.
Harry opened his mouth to say something more, but after looking at the expression on Severus's face, he thought better of it. "See you at the feast."
Severus nodded once more.
With a final glance back, he left the room and almost ran back to the common room. With any luck, there would be presents for him to open.
Draco and Harry's day was spent much like Harry's last Christmas with Ron. They lounged around, snacking and entertaining themselves with their newly acquired possessions. Draco spent a solid hour polishing and trimming his broom before offering Harry the use of his new servicing kit. Harry gladly accepted and sat in front of the fire, handling his broom with gentle care. While he clipped stray twigs, he and Draco chatted.
"Why don't we play a little Quidditch tomorrow? We can recruit a couple of the Ravenclaws for two on two," Harry proposed.
"Okay," Draco agreed. "My team will win."
Harry raised an eyebrow. "I thought we would be on the same team but if you want to play it like that... my team will crush you." He grinned wickedly.
Draco scoffed. "All you can do is Seek. I play any position," he said haughtily.
"Hey, which one of us is on the actual team?" Harry shot back, enjoying this game of casual banter.
Draco scowled. "We'll see who is better tomorrow."
By the time the feast rolled around, Harry and Draco had stuffed themselves so full of chocolates and other treats, courtesy of Mrs. Weasley, that they were not very hungry. That did not, however, stop them from eating until they were about ready to burst. Harry had taken the seat that was generally avoided: the one across from Professor Snape. The two didn't talk much other than the customary "Merry Christmas" and a few trivial sentiments. The silence was okay for Harry, though, for at least it wasn't bickering and snide comments like the night before. Despite the patch-up that morning, Harry and Severus's relationship wasn't entirely back to normal. Harry did understand that it would take work.
Draco rolled his eyes as Lockhart recounted a fantastical story of how he singlehandedly brought down a Manticore with only his wand in hand. McGonagall looked positively skeptical and Harry had to resist laughing. Dumbledore had no problem, however. He gave a hearty chuckle and clapped Lockhart on the back. It seemed like a happy eternity until the last of the desserts were cleared from everybody's plates and Harry rose to leave.
"Bye, Severus," Harry said, earning a few soft looks from the teachers.
"Be careful, Harry," he said sternly.
Harry nodded and went off with Draco, ready to collapse into bed and let his dreams whisk him away.
"Come on, Harry!" Draco shouted, rousing Harry. "The Ravenclaws are meeting us at the pitch in fifteen minutes."
"Fifteen minutes?" Harry asked blearily. "Okay."
He dressed in some warm clothes for it was snowing lightly outside and grabbed his gloves and broom. Glad that he was still full from the feast the day before, Harry headed out to the pitch with Draco.
"Who'd you get to play?" Harry asked, for he had left that part up to Draco.
"Toby Lennox is going to be on my team and Yeanna Hart will be on yours."
"Yeanna Hart?" Harry asked. "I'm not sure I know her. Is she good?"
"Not as good as Toby," Draco responded with a sly grin.
Harry elbowed him lightly. "Draco! I thought you were going to be fair about this."
Draco pointed to himself. "Slytherin, remember?"
Harry rolled his eyes as they stepped onto the pitch. The wind was biting and Harry used a warming charm on almost all of his articles of clothing.
"Hi, Harry," a female voice said from behind him.
"Hi. You're Yeanna, right?" Harry asked.
She blushed. Oh no, not one of those, he thought. How would he play with her when she was so distracted by his fame? Harry brought his eyes to meet her gaze and realized she was not blushing at him, but rather at Draco. Oh. Harry shifted awkwardly.
"So, uh, what position do you normally play?" Harry asked.
"Chaser," she replied confidently.
"Great," Harry said. "I can Keep."
She nodded and they assumed their positions across from the other pair. Harry had begged the Quidditch materials off of Mrs. Hooch but without her there was no whistle.
"Uh, okay, go!" Draco said and released the balls. He hopped onto his broom and rose to Harry's height. Rather than stay to make a comment, Harry sped off towards the goal posts since there was no Snitch to look for in this pickup game.
Yeanna was actually fairly good with the Quaffle and due to her small frame, could dodge most of Toby's attempted blocks. Draco was Harry's counterpart but he did not have the experience of playing against the unforgiving Weasley twins. Therefore, he let two goals in before he managed to stop one. For his part, Harry only let in one the entire game. The unofficially kept score was 90 to 10 and Harry felt that despite what Draco had said, Yeanna was the better player.
"Great job up there, Yeanna!" Harry congratulated when at last their feet touched solid ground. "Are you on the Quidditch team? I didn't see you last month when we played Ravenclaw."
"No," she said breathily. "Its more of a side interest. Maybe next year."
She held out her hand. "Nice playing with you, Harry."
"Same to you," he said as he accepted the handshake.
Harry turned towards Draco and Toby.
"You wouldn't be able to make a goal if the post was the size of the pitch, Lennox. Too bad you aren't on the Quidditch team. We would have crushed you even worse than we did," Draco was saying to the Ravenclaw boy.
"Yeah, well, if I don't like the way our team is doing, maybe I should just change houses," he said snidely. "Come on, Yeanna."
Harry grabbed Draco by the arm and spun him around. "What was that about?" he demanded. "Toby wasn't that bad, it isn't his fault."
Draco glared at Harry. "You don't understand do you?"
Harry lowered his voice. "No. Tell me."
"Quidditch was the one thing I could control. Now I can't even do that," he said, anger from the outburst gone.
Harry frowned. He got the feeling he was talking about the diary, but until he knew more, Harry did not want to say anything.
"If you need help, just tell me, okay?" Harry offered.
Draco nodded and they headed back up to the castle. Harry went to the dorm and stripped off his wet clothes. As he was putting his gloves away, Harry realized the diary, hidden in his photo album, was gone.
AN: Sorry it took so long for this chapter! It's been a bit crazy with the holidays coming up and everything but hopefully I'm back on track now.