"Does…does that mean what I think it means?" asked Ron, taking in the emotional scene that had just transpired in front of everyone. He wasn't sure he completely understood what Harry had just said about Dursley and Draco. But, if what he thought happened had actually happened…holy hell.
Severus looked up but remained silent. "I'm a horrible father," he muttered and finally stood up from the wooden chair he'd found himself in.
"You are no such thing," Molly was quick to defend the man, even though she herself had fought against Vernon Dursley even staying in headquarters. Leaving the children alone in the same house with Harry's Uncle was something she'd fought even harder. But, she hadn't been heard in quite the way she wanted to be and the man stayed in the house just the same. Severus had had no choice in the matter. It had been Dumbledore's decision down to the last word. That didn't make Severus a bad father. Just a father who seemed to have sons with the worst luck when it came to this certain 'person.' Molly thought Dursley was the worst type of person ever created by God.
"I shouldn't have left them here," he continued to insist, degrading himself being the only thing he could seem to do at the moment.
"You're right, though. We shouldn't have left the children here, but we all made that decision, Severus. Not just you alone. Stop blaming yourself, man," said Arthur, placing a steadying hand on the man's shoulder. "Your children need you now."
Snape nodded and went for the door leading to his two children. He shouldn't be down here moping while the boy's suffered in silence. He needed to be there for them. Merlin, he needed to apologize to Draco for being so thickheaded as to not notice something was wrong with him as soon as he'd laid eyes on him. It had never occurred to him that he'd go after Draco. He'd only thought of Harry.
"We have to find somewhere else to house that bastard until the wards are back up," he suddenly said, stopping in the doorway. "I don't care if Azkaban can't take him because he's a bloody Muggle, get him out of this house," he said emphatically, and Sirius was more than happy to oblige.
"It's taken care of, Severus. Don't worry about that, I'll talk to Dumbledore and make sure he knows what happened," he said sadly, thinking of his godson and the blonde teen that he had started to grow fond of as well. He hated thinking about what Dursley had now inflicted on both boys.
Severus thanked the man and finally began the journey upstairs, thinking all the while that he'd wished Albus and Minerva hadn't had to cancel at the last minute for school business. Then he'd be here and know precisely how much his idea had not worked. He couldn't stay mad at the man though; he'd really had no choice but to keep him here. Until they found a suitable place to jail him that wouldn't reveal too much of the case behind it all, mainly Harry's sexual and physical abuse, there'd been no other recourse but to keep Dursley at Grimmauld Place. There had been no other way, but oh, how he regretted it.
The door to Harry's bedroom was shut but Severus could hear the boys' voices coming from within the room. He gently rapped his knuckles against the wood and waited to be allowed in. Or to be shut out completely.
It was a little surprising when the door opened and Harry merely smiled weakly at him. But he was let in. Taking in his surroundings, Severus quickly spotted Draco sitting in the middle of Harry's bed, his arms wrapped around his knees as tightly as he could stand it. Severus didn't want to acknowledge the way he looked, how shattered he appeared at the moment. It wasn't permanent, he had to tell himself, and he'd be just fine. Harry went and sat back down beside the older teen and shrugged his shoulders at his father, his posture saying 'I don't know what to do.' Severus had to admit he was at a loss himself. How could someone screw up so much in just one day? He'd managed it quite nicely, he thought. He wasn't sure how to make this one better, especially considering he thought himself part of the problem. He'd yelled at the blonde, had shaken him even, just after he'd been so horribly abused. How hadn't he seen it on his face? He was a horrible father.
Taking Harry's lead, Severus made himself comfortable on the other side of Draco and started to place a comforting hand on his son's shoulder before he thought better of it. Perhaps he should apologize first. "Draco," he started, and the older teen looked up at him. Severus' voice got stuck in his throat as he noticed the black eye for the first time. "That man," he spat in outrage, "is going to regret ever hurting my sons."
Harry and Draco both doubted those words had been for their ears, but they'd heard them nonetheless. Severus was taking Draco's face in his hands and moving it this way and that, looking for more damage, they supposed. "Are you hurt anywhere else?" he asked, his voice now gentle and caring, his earlier rage now gone as he dealt with his children.
"No," said Draco, one hand absentmindedly pulling at his jeans as he sat on the bed. "I'm fine," he added at Severus' disbelieving look.
Severus glanced at Harry as the younger boy patted Draco's hand in a soothing manner. "Can you tell me what happened?" he asked. He knew as much as George had been able to tell him while at the Manor, but he didn't know what had happened in the bedroom between Draco and Vernon Dursley, or how Harry had ended up in the same room with them.
Draco seemed hesitant to say anything and continued messing with his jeans as his godfather and Harry watched him. He was still feeling a bit embarrassed at having fled when Ron had told him Harry basically didn't care about him and only put up with him because he was Severus' godson. He realized later in the evening how wrong he had been, that Harry did consider him a brother. Harry had faced his fears for him, for crying out loud. But, he still didn't like admitting to the fact that he'd believed the redhead at first. And that was the whole reason he'd gone upstairs in the first place, to get away from everyone else.
"Draco?" Severus' tone was light, but frightened, probably thinking Draco was trying to hide something. Even Harry was starting to look nervous.
That gave Draco the courage to start talking, even if he was ashamed of his actions. He told them what had started it all, with practically forcing Harry to go to bed and then Ron's reaction later to his slipped words about Harry being his 'brother.'
Severus looked a bit irate at the news, and Harry was as well. "I can't believe he said that to you," started Harry, standing up as if to go downstairs.
"Where are you going?" asked the blonde.
"To give my 'friend' a piece of my mind!" he said heatedly, but Draco grabbed his arm and forced him back on the bed.
"You don't have to, he's already apologized, said he didn't mean a word he'd said."
Harry relaxed back on the bed. "When'd he do that?"
"After the entire scene in the hallway with Dursley and all, he apologized to me. I could tell by his eyes that he really did feel bad about saying it. I've already forgiven him, so there's no need to go yell at him," insisted Draco, plucking at the comforter now as he realized they were about to get closer to the heart of things.
"Oh," was all Harry said.
"What happened after you left the room?" asked Severus, trying to tactfully get Draco to start talking again.
Draco paused and took in a deep breath. "I went upstairs and somehow ended up on the third floor. I don't know why I did it, I just wanted to open the stupid door. I realized as soon as I did that I shouldn't have even been up there. Harry's Uncle was inside, and I was so scared he was going to get out and get down to Harry," he muttered, and felt Harry and Severus' hands on his shoulders for support. "But, he must have been mental or something, because he thought I was Harry."
Harry still felt awful about that and Draco seemed to sense the younger teen's sudden tenseness. "It's all right, Harry. It wasn't your fault your Uncle was completely deranged," he said. "I was just thankful you weren't up there for him to hurt."
Harry let out an exasperated breath. "But he was hurting you!" he yelled.
"Better me than you! I never wanted you to have to go through that again. You were so hurt and scared when we finally found you, and you still have trouble letting people touch you. I knew if he got his hands on you again there was a chance we'd lose you for good!" said Draco, his voice thick with emotion.
"It shouldn't have happened to either of you," Severus broke into their argument, wondering at the both of them and their skewed logic. "Neither of you should have experienced something quite so heinous as what that man was trying to do to you, Draco, and what he'd already did to Harry. Now, that's enough of that," he told the boys, emphasizing their odd need to protect each other and arguing over it.
Draco sighed and just started talking again, starting with when he saw Harry outside of the door. "That was when I stupidly thought you were going to leave me there," said the blonde, a blush starting on his cheeks. "I'm sorry I ever doubted you, Harry."
"I'm just sorry I started to back away. I never even saw you at first, honestly. I just heard his voice talking the way he used to at me when he was about to…you know…" he trailed off, unable to put a name to what that monster used to do to him.
Unfortunately, they both knew precisely what Harry was referring to. And now Draco had personal experience with it as well.
Harry just wanted this all to be over with, and by the looks of it, so did Draco. His eyes met Draco's and as they looked at each other, Harry was given permission to tell what he'd seen as he'd stood in the doorway earlier in the night. "I came back when I saw Draco underneath my Uncle. I saw what he was doing to him…touching him," he and Draco both shuddered at the same moment. "I don't know what happened, but it was as if I wasn't scared anymore and I just…threw him across the room. We both thought he was knocked out, but he wasn't. He came after us again in the hallway, but by that point we were out of the silencing wards on the room and Ron heard me scream," said Harry, hoping that was enough for their father.
Severus nodded and placed his hand on his chest as if it was hurting him somehow. "You'll never have to worry about that monster again, boys. He's gone now. We were just keeping him here because there was nowhere else we could keep him without exposing too much of the circumstances behind his incarceration. I'm so sorry he was able to hurt you both."
"It's my fault he was able to in the first place," said Draco. "If I'd just stayed away and left the door unlocked like I was told, none of this would have happened."
"What's done is done. No need to throw blame, it happened and there's nothing we can do to change that. There are a lot of things I wish I could change about the entire experience, but I can't and neither can you. All we can do is move forward," said Severus, hoping to keep them from blaming themselves for something that honestly couldn't be helped at all. It was a chain of events that had turned badly from the get-go.
Glancing at his godson, Severus ran a hand over the older teen's blonde hair and was grateful when he didn't turn away from the touch as Harry had just after he had been attacked by his Uncle. He hoped Draco wouldn't be as traumatized by this experience as the younger boy had been. There was a difference, he knew, because Harry had been abused for years and never even knew it. It was more understandable that Harry would be more troubled by the entire thing than Draco would. But, he knew the blonde Slytherin wouldn't be unaffected by tonight's events.
"I think it's time for you two to get some sleep," he suggested after a moment of silence. "I know you're both tired, and it is still the middle of the night," he told them.
Harry nodded his head and climbed off of Draco's bed to climb into his own. He watched as his father gently tucked Draco into bed and whispered something in his ear before the man got up and came to Harry's. He repeated the same actions as he had with the other teen and tucked Harry into bed as well. He couldn't bring himself to mind being treated like a child at the moment. It was just nice to have his father here in the same house with him. To keep him safe, and Draco safe as well. He was willing to put up with the man's overprotective tendencies and need to make up for the mistake he knew he had made tonight. He'd long forgiven his father, but he knew Severus would be a long time in forgiving himself.
"I love you," whispered Severus into the raven-haired teen's ear.
Harry looked up at him, somehow surprised by the words. He instinctively raised his arms, an open invitation for a hug, and Severus was quick to pull the boy into his arms. "I love you, too," whispered Harry.
Severus bid the two good night and gently closed the door behind him.
An hour later, Draco was tossing and turning in his bed, thrashing wildly before he wrenched himself from sleep and sat up straight, eyes wide. He took in a great shuddering gasp of air, looking either way in the room to make sure he was truly alone. There was no one holding him down, trying to hurt him. His hand on his chest now, he was finally able to calm his racing heart and fall back into his pillows. "Merlin," he muttered, still taking in calming breaths to ease the panic he had momentarily been in.
A strangled cry from beside him had him realizing he wasn't exactly alone; Harry was still in the room with him. "Harry?" he asked, thinking he'd woken him up with his nightmare. "Are you awake?" he asked, but all he got from Harry was another hoarse whimper. "Oh, shite," he whispered, getting out of bed and going to his brother. "Harry? Come on and wake up! It's just a dream!" he called insistently, but Harry wasn't as easy to wake up as he himself had been.
"No, don't," whimpered Harry and Draco climbed on top of the smaller boy's bed, attempting to shake him into awareness. "Come on, Potter! Wake up!" he called, pushing the boy's shoulder slightly, knowing he could possibly frighten him even more with his actions and trying his hardest not to do so.
Harry woke up with a gasp, his entire frame shaking as if he were freezing, but Draco knew it wasn't the cold that was causing Harry to shiver as he was. "Harry, are you with me?" asked Draco.
The raven-haired teen nodded his head. "I'm sorry if I woke you," he said sadly. Draco was pretty sure he could see moisture building in the boy's eyes but didn't mention anything about it.
"You didn't wake me. I was already awake," he started to explain. "Had a nightmare of my own, actually."
If anything, this news caused Harry to shiver even harder as a tear broke free and slid down his cheek. "Oh, Draco. I'm so sorry!" he said, his voice telling the blonde that Harry was just a moment away from breaking down completely. "This is all my fault."
"What?" Draco tried not to let his jaw drop. "What the hell makes you think any of this is your fault?" he asked, his voice sterner than he'd thought it would be. As Harry flinched, Draco sat down completely on the smaller teen's bed and sighed deeply. "You did nothing wrong, Harry. Absolutely nothing. Anything that went wrong was completely my own fault. None of it was yours. If anything, I should be the one apologizing. I was the idiot who opened the damn door. I'm the one who opened Pandora's box."
"Well, that's a little extreme," said Harry, sniffing slightly. "And I know you didn't do it on purpose or anything. But, he's my Uncle. I'm the reason he hates this world so much. I'm the reason he tried to attack you. It's all my fault, don't you see?" he asked, his voice taught with tension. "I caused my Uncle to be like this!"
Draco's look of incredulity made Harry's tirade of self-loathing come to a screeching halt. "That's a complete load of shite and you know it. You did nothing to cause your Uncle to become the person he became. He did that all on his own. You're a wonderful person Harry. I don't care what that man said to you or what he did to you. You're a great person, someone I'm glad to call a friend. You didn't make him the way he is, Harry. He did. If he couldn't see what a great kid you are, then he didn't deserve to have you as family. And you deserved so much better than you got, Harry," said Draco emphatically.
Harry nodded. "We both deserved better than what we got."
A smile lit the blonde's face. "Well, we got it, didn't we? You, Severus and me. We're all a family now, the way I see it."
Harry smiled shyly in return. "Yes, I think we are. We got the better end of the deal, now that I think about it."
"Yes, we did. We got a wonderful father who loves us unconditionally. Obviously. I'm not so sure anyone else would put up with all the baggage we happened to bring with us. But, Severus does. I think it actually makes him care more about us. I feel more for him than I ever did for my own father, that's for certain."
Harry grinned. "I feel an extremely cheesy moment coming on here," he said jokingly, lightly punching Draco in the shoulder.
Draco scoffed. "Me? Cheesy? I think not, Potter," he said, doing as Harry had done and punched the smaller boy in the shoulder playfully.
"Well, what am I supposed to think?" he asked, his smile now spreading to his eyes. He was feeling more light-hearted than he had in quite a while. It was a rather pleasant feeling. "It sounded pretty emotional to me," he said, still grinning ear to ear.
"I can get emotional!" said Draco, indignant, but smiling just as Harry was.
"I didn't say you couldn't!" exclaimed Harry, settling back on his bed as Draco made to tackle him. He was surprised he didn't flinch straight away at the movement. He was proud to realize that he didn't, in fact. He ended up with a pillow swung into his face, and Harry was quick to retaliate. The pillow fight lasted for a good ten minutes before Severus came knocking on the door, a frown on his face.
"Could we not wake the dead, gentlemen?" he asked, his hair disheveled and a night robe draping his muscular frame let them know he'd indeed been sleeping.
"Sorry, Dad," said Harry quickly, pushing Draco and his pillow off his bed and onto the floor. "We were just going back to bed. Really," he added at his father's disbelieving look.
"Go to bed, boys," he said sternly, but there was a light in his eyes that let them know they weren't really in trouble. "I'll see you in the morning."
"Yes, sir," both said immediately and climbed into their respective beds before the lights were turned off and Severus closed the door behind him.
In the dark, even though he'd been perfectly fine just moments before, Harry started to feel alone and semi-frightened. He didn't know what his problem was, but he had felt fine until Draco had gone to his own bed. He looked over and saw that Draco was lying on his side, his eyes closed. He was probably already drifting back to sleep, thought Harry. It would be mean to disrupt him now.
The smaller of the two teens tossed on his bed, trying to find a comfortable position, but he couldn't seem to find one. He considered getting up and turning on the lights, but thought better of it. Draco would only wake up and ask questions. He turned back onto his side, facing away from his brother, and closed his eyes. Instantly, he saw the face of his Uncle, and his eyes snapped back open. "This is pathetic," he muttered to himself, turning onto his back again. He let out a startled yell when he saw a silhouette standing over him.
"It's just me!" said Draco, turning on the bedside lamp and sitting down beside Harry. "Are you all right?" he asked, his voice deep with concern. "What's wrong?"
Harry sighed and sat up in bed. "I can't get back to sleep," he admitted. "I'm sorry. Did I wake you?"
Draco groaned. "No, you did not wake me. I was still awake, waiting for you to calm down before I let myself go to sleep," he explained quietly.
"Don't even start with the 'I'm sorry' nonsense, Harry!" said Draco emphatically. "If you can't sleep, don't sit here and let it get the best of you. Wake me up!" he insisted, before making the smaller boy shove over.
"What are you doing?" asked Harry; clearly stunned the boy was getting into bed with him.
No one else may have noticed, but Draco had woken up enough times in the middle of the night to have taken stock of the fact that Harry slept a hell of a lot better when someone slept with him. He'd woken up on several occasions to see that Zane had gotten into bed with Harry during the night, and Harry slept without nightmares on those occasions. He knew what had to be done, and he was willing to do it if Harry could get to sleep without having to deal with the horrors of his dreams. His memories.
"I'm staying with you. Move over!" he said insistently once more.
Harry was more than relieved that Draco was willing to stay with him, but he couldn't put him out like that. "You don't have to, Draco," he said quietly. "I'll be fine."
The blonde sighed and continued to studiously ignore the boy's protests. "You and I both know you'll sleep better if someone stays with you. Now, just deal with the fact that I'm going to be that person and that I am your big brother now. It's like…my job to take care of you."
Harry shook his head. "You don't have to feel obligated to stay, Dray," he started, but the blonde was quick to cut him off.
"This isn't an obligation, Harry. I care about you. I want to help you. I know you'd do the same for me and nothing you say right now will convince me to move my rear end out of your bed. So, shove over and stop complaining, okay? I want to stay with you!" Draco waited until Harry finally moved and gave him enough room the lie down. "This is what brothers are for," he said quietly, making sure Harry was tucked in and secure before he settled his head on his own pillow he'd taken from his bed. Luckily, their beds were large enough for both of them to fit without completely invading each other's personal space, but close enough to make Harry feel safe.
He was just beginning to think Harry had drifted off when he heard it. It was very small and slightly muffled, but Draco understood.
Draco softly smiled and gently ruffled the other boy's hair. "You're welcome."
Snape Manor was re-warded the next morning, bright and early. Severus didn't want his children in Grimmauld Place any longer than was absolutely necessary. They were already traumatized enough as it was, he didn't want them having to stay in the same house where they'd been so viciously attacked just the previous evening.
He'd been a little astonished when he had gone to wake the boys that morning to find them both in Harry's bed. He'd realized right away that Harry hadn't been able to get to sleep on his own. Which meant he'd probably had a nightmare. Draco hadn't been the only one to wake up in the middle of the night to find Zane in bed with Harry when he'd gone to check on his sons. He'd wanted to put a stop to it at first. It just didn't seem sanitary to have a big slobbering dog sleeping in the same bed with the boy, but once he noticed Harry slept better on those nights, he didn't push the matter. He wondered if Harry even knew the mutt was there. He seriously doubted it.
But, whatever helped his son, he was willing to do. And now it seemed, whatever helped one child helped the other.
Any other thoughts he was having regarding his children was swept away as Sirius entered the kitchen and sat down at the table across from him. Severus conjured another glass and motioned for the tea service in front of him. "Help yourself," he said.
Sirius was more than happy to oblige him and poured his glass full on steaming tea. He seemed to be in desperate need of a pick me up. "Caffeine is such a wonderful thing," he said, sipping from the cup slowly.
"How were things at the Ministry?" asked Severus.
Sirius shrugged his broad shoulders. "They went."
Sighing, Severus resisted the urge to kick the man. "What happened with Dursley?" he asked, the name of his son's Uncle spat with utmost hatred. He hoped the man would just find a hole and rot in it, but the odds of that happening were slim. Non-existent, actually.
"They agreed to take him and hold him in a private prison. No one will hear about what he did to Harry or Draco. And he'll be locked up for a very long time, Severus, without any chance of parole," he said, feeling more than smug at the fact that Dursley would no longer have the chance to hurt the boys currently sleeping upstairs. "I asked that he be put in a maximum security area of the prison. And believe me, no one likes child abusers…he'll have a wonderful time in his new home," he said sarcastically.
Severus grinned evilly. "Splendid."
School was set to begin the next day and Harry was busy trying to shove all of his belongings into his trunk. He had a tendency of waiting until the last minute, something that irritated his father to no end. Severus had bought him a new one the week previous, one that had an endless amount of space in it. It was something that was coming in extremely helpful at the moment since he didn't know where he would have shoved everything. It was almost a shock to realize how many items of clothing he now owned. They were his own, not hand-me-downs or anything shabby. It was wonderful.
Once finished, he shoved his trunk into the corner and out of his way before going downstairs to join his family for supper. Draco and Severus were both waiting in the kitchen when he arrived, looking equally impatient.
"I told you to do that last night," said Draco, sounding just a bit too haughty for Harry's tastes.
"Draco, when did you pack your belongings?" asked Severus suddenly, breaking into their conversation.
The blonde Slytherin waved his hand absentmindedly. "That's not of any consequence," he said, trying to ignore his father. "I'm packed."
"So am I!" said Harry, sitting down at the table while grabbing a biscuit from the serving bowl.
"Yes, and you finished packing your trunk…when was it…oh yes, thirty minutes ago," said Severus, grinning at both his children.
"You prat!" yelled Harry, throwing his biscuit at Draco. He sat shocked for a moment, uncomprehending that he'd just thrown food at his brother…in front of his father. "Sorry," he said slowly. "I'll just get that…" he muttered, and rose to grab the biscuit from Draco's lap. He was worried he'd get into trouble, seeing as how food throwing was strictly against the rules.
He was shocked, therefore, when he was pelted in the face with the exact same biscuit he'd just launched at Draco. "Hey!" he yelled indignantly at Draco. He glanced nervously at his father, but the man was just smiling.
"Make a mess and you clean it up," he said quietly. Draco immediately lowered the handful of broccoli and spinach salad he had picked up from his plate.
Harry grinned widely at his family. It was nice to act like a kid and not get into trouble for it…within reason that was.
"Have you told Ron yet?" asked Draco, sitting nervously on his bed. They were leaving in just two hours to board the Hogwarts train. He couldn't believe he was actually worried about what Ronald Weasley would think about it.
"Yes, I told him," said Harry. Ron, Fred, and George had all looked pleased when they'd discovered.
Draco picked at the lint on his shirt as if it were the most interesting sight in the room. "And, what'd he say about it?"
Harry shrugged noncommittally. "Oh, I don't know."
"Harry!" yelled Draco, looking completely off center. "You can't just not know! How'd he react! Come on!"
"Why don't you just ask him yourself?" asked the emerald-eyed boy, twinkling with mischief.
Draco scowled angrily at the smaller teen and tossed his pillow at the boy's face. "You know what happened the last time I even mentioned it! Now it's for real. I don't want him having a fit this time around. And, I won't have him hurting your feelings," he said softly.
Harry couldn't help himself. He smiled at his brother's protectiveness over him. "Dray, he was fine with it. He's actually very happy that Severus decided to adopt you. You are my brother now, in all but blood, and he knows that. He still feels bad about what he said to you that day. In fact, he asked me to remind you that he never meant a word that he'd said," the boy informed him. "He said he'd try to never get that pissed off at you again!"
Draco looked a little flabbergasted. "Really. How nice," he said, sarcasm in his voice.
"He really is trying, Draco. Just give him a chance, okay? He'll be a good and loyal friend if you just let him."
"Right, fine. But if he does anything to hurt you, he'll have me to deal with," said Draco, his arms crossed definitely over his chest.
Harry grinned. "I'll be sure to tell him that!"
"Great, that'll start a fight as soon as we step foot on the train!"
A well-aimed shot from Harry's pillow nailed Draco directly in the face. "You're so dramatic."
"Oh, I'm going to miss you two when you're gone back to school," said Deliverance, pulling both boys into a huge hug. "You two take care of each other and watch each other's backs, understood?" she asked, her tone of voice strict, though Harry was for sure she was about to cry.
" We will, Deliverance. Don't worry about that," insisted Harry, hugging the woman tighter around the middle.
She sniffled and nodded. "Oh, and don't forget to take Zane with you. He'd be miserable without you, and I simply can't deal with him when he misses you!" she said, and Harry nodded. Zane was standing at his feet, so it was highly unlikely he'd be able to forget him. He could stay with Hagrid again this year as he knew the half-giant loved Zane almost as much as he loved Fang.
She placed her hands on either boy's shoulder and stared at them lovingly. She quickly kissed them both on the forehead before rushing from the room, tears brimming in her eyes.
Harry sighed. "Well, that went better than I thought it would, actually," he said, smiling a bit as his father came out of the kitchen that Deliverance had just run into, a look of bewilderment on his face.
"I take it she said her goodbyes?" asked Severus, meeting his children in the middle of the foyer.
"Aha. I should have guessed when she went straight for a chocolate bar and had tears rolling down her face. That woman can be so emotional," he said. Severus was happy when Harry smiled again. It seemed ever since that night only less than a month ago that the boy had begun to smile less and less. Perhaps he'd just been imagining it, but he thought the boy was finally dealing with the horrible deal he'd been dealt. He felt like it had helped when Severus had told both the boys where Dursley was currently residing, and that he wouldn't be seeing the light of day for a very long time. They'd both been relieved to hear the news, as both were afraid he'd be sent back to Grimmauld Place once they had left. Fortunately, they wouldn't have to worry about a crazed man attacking them the next time they visited Headquarters.
"Do you have all your belongings?" asked Severus, taking in the trunks sitting beside the stairs.
"Yes, Dad," they both said simultaneously, and Harry and Draco both broke into grins, laughing softly.
Severus smiled. He definitely liked the sound of that, and seeing the happiness reflected on both of his son's faces reassured him they would be okay at Hogwarts. He'd been worrying about sending them off to school so soon after this last hardship, but his children's resilience had surprised him once again. Things weren't perfect, and Severus knew neither Harry nor Draco would ever truly forget what had happened to them, but he knew things were on the right track for once. He knew they were going to be okay, and so was he. They'd get through this together, as a family.
"Well, if you're ready we should be going then. I'll have to drop you off and then go directly to the school to be ready to meet my new first years," he said offhandedly, shrinking Harry and Draco's trunks and shoving them in his pocket. "Shall we go?"
"Yes, sir," they said, and started for the door. They were going to drive to the train station, which was something Harry found extremely odd, that Severus Snape owned a vehicle. I suppose it would come in handy at some points, though.
Jensen was outside with Jupiter when they came out and Harry quickly rushed over to tell them both good bye. The dark haired man swept a leg over Jupe's large body and landed gracefully on the ground when he saw the boy coming.
"Are you leaving?" he asked, shaking Harry's hand when he approached.
"Yes. We'll be back for Christmas Holiday, though," he said, smiling. He went up to Jupiter then and wrapped his arms around the animal's large, solid neck. "I'll miss you, Jupe," he said sadly. He really would, too, probably more than anything. He'd still been dropping by regularly to talk to the horse. It helped somehow, and Harry found himself wondering if there wasn't something magical about this animal. He supposed he'd never know. "Thanks for helping me, Jupe," he whispered, and he could have sworn the horse was trying to hug him back as Jupiter's head came around his shoulder once more.
"Bye!" he called as he ran over to where Severus and Draco were waiting for him.
The ride to the train station was mostly silent, save for sporadic bursts from Draco and himself as they discussed the upcoming year at school and their plans for Quidditch. Harry eventually quieted down and stared out the window, watching as the scenery flew past. He smiled as he thought about his family; glad they would all be close by when they went back to Hogwarts. He knew he'd need them as he continued to deal with everything, and Draco would need them as well. But, Harry, like Severus, knew they were going to be okay. Everything would work out now. They were a family, and families could get through anything.
A/N: Well peeps, that's all. My story is officially over! Man, this is sad. But, I'm kind of happy too. Now, I get to start on Broken Dreams and everything.
I hope you all enjoyed the story and it's ending brought about some closure for you all. I hate it when stories don't end with closure…hehe. I'm hoping I tied up all the loose ends, too. I'm thinking I did, but if I didn't, please let me know.
I don't plan to write another sequel to this story, just for everyone's information. I doubt I would either. I'm honestly not sure what I would write about if I did. So, I think I can officially say the Somewhere I Belong saga is finished! Harry's finally found where he belongs…with his family!
Thanks go out to everyone who inspired me to write this story. You know who you are and how much you've helped me! I'm sure I never would have finished this if I didn't have all of your support!
Please stick around with the Yahoo group, as I'm starting Broken Dreams again now that I'm finally finished with this. I'm sure Nita and I are going to come up with another type of writing contest for the group as well, now that I'm finished with the SIB trilogy.
Thanks again! Please review and let me know how you liked the story overall, okay? Thanks