Dr. House didn't get home until after Harry had gone to bed, but after he had looked in on his son and examined his black-eye without even a moan out of Harry, he and Severus made plans. One of them was going to have to stay home with Harry each day. They decided that he would spend Friday and Monday with the child, while Sev spent Tuesday and Wednesday at home. That would give Severus a chance to write plans for a sub. If Greg really had to go to the hospital, he could leave Harry with Mrs. Sprout or take him along to the hospital and leave him in the office.

Friday morning Harry woke up late. At first he worried about being late to school and then he remembered that he was suspended. He got up, took care of business, and stumbled into the kitchen. His Dad, who was sitting at the table having coffee and reading a medical journal, looked up at Harry. "Good morning."

Harry looked down. He had no idea what his father was going to say about his suspension. "Good morning, Dad."

Dr. House noted his son's posture and knew that he was worried, 'which is at it should be,' he thought. "Come and sit down, Harry. How's your eye feeling?"

Harry got a bowl and sat down. The cereal and milk were already on the table. "It's fine," he answered. Even though it was still a bit sore, he didn't want to be a whiner.

"Let me see." Dr. House leaned forward and gently touched his son's face. "Yeah, it's healing nicely, but it will be sore for a few days. After breakfast, put an ice pack on it for awhile." Harry nodded and began to pour his cereal.

After Harry had finished his chores, both he and his father spent most of the day reading. Dr. House had to take a few phone calls from his team at the hospital, but he didn't have to go in. When Severus got home he informed Harry that he had brought schoolwork for him, but it would be saved for Monday. Dinner was a quiet affair and Harry, who loved to read, but didn't think his eyes could stand another minute of focusing on a book, went to bed early.

On Saturday the whole family went shopping. Then Harry swept the garage, all by himself. Sunday was similar except that Dr. House had an emergency and left Harry at home with Severus for a bit. Severus fell asleep on the couch so Harry crept into his Dad's office and retrieved his handheld video game which he hid under his bed for later. Then he vacuumed the living room and hallways as he had been ordered to do.

On Monday, before he left for work, Severus woke Harry and reminded him of the restrictions. He also handed him a chore list. Harry groaned, but got up and headed into the kitchen for breakfast (after taking care of the necessities). When he finished his cereal, his Dad still wasn't awake so Harry went into his room, lay down on his bed, and started playing his favorite video game. At first Harry listened carefully for noises that would indicate that his Dad was awake, but after a few minutes he was too involved to notice, even when his Dad limped down the hallway, pushed open Harry's door, and looked in.

When Dr. House cleared his throat, Harry jumped and stuffed his game under his pillow. Greg walked over to Harry and reached out his hand. Biting his lip, Harry picked up the game system and placed it in his Dad's hand. "I presume that you snuck into my office and took this." Harry just nodded. "You've just added two days to your restrictions."

Greg had paused, waiting for an answer. "Yes sir."

"Have you completed the list of chores and homework that Sev gave you?" Harry shook his head. "Well, you better get started." Harry nodded and got off his bed, standing beside it until his Dad pointed toward the kitchen. As Harry headed out the door Greg landed on firm swat on his behind.

"Ow," Harry yelped as he turned around and grabbed his bottom protectively.

"If you disobey the rules of your restriction again, you will get a spanking. Understood?"

"Yes sir," Harry answered quietly. Then he turned around and headed for the kitchen where he was to scrub the floor.

That evening at dinner, Greg made Harry tell Sev what he had done. "Tell Severus what you did to get in trouble today."

"I … um, got… and … it," Harry mumbled to his plate.

"Look at me please," prompted Severus. Harry looked up. "Now, say that again and speak loudly and clearly."

Harry started to look down again, but Severus reached out and tapped underneath Harry's chin to remind him. "I-I got out m-my video game and played it," Harry stated, just a bit louder.

"That's disappointing," Severus told Harry.

"Yes it is," added Greg. "Harry tell him what your punishment is."

"Two more days of restriction," Harry answered blandly.

"That seems reasonable," nodded Severus.

"Tell him what happens if you disobey your restrictions again, Harry."

"Spanking," whispered Harry.

"Use a complete sentence," Greg prompted.

"I'll get a spanking."

"Ah, I see. So I hope you will be very careful to obey your restrictions," Severus cautioned. Harry nodded.

The rest of the meal was almost silent and Harry's transgression wasn't discussed again until Severus and Greg were in bed when Greg said, "If he disobeys the restrictions and you catch him or I'm not around, you'll need to spank him."

"I'd rather not."

"Well I don't always want to be the bad guy. You'll have to help out," Greg grumbled.

"I don't think our relationship is ready for anything that intimate."

"How did you spank students at school?"

"I had them lean on a desk or something and gave them a couple of swats with ruler."

"You can do that. That's not very intimate."

"Didn't you promise him that you wouldn't use an implement?"

Greg shook his head, "No, I promised him that I wouldn't whip him with a belt or anything similar."

"I hate to use a ruler. They can bruise. How about a paint stirrer?"

"Sure. That's lightweight, so it would sting, but not bruise, unless you hit him too hard. You won't, will you?

"Don't you trust me?"

"I do, I just, well you haven't spanked a kid in a while."

Snape sighed. "I've found that just a little wrist action is plenty. It's just enough for them to feel a sting."

Greg nodded, "You should tell him at breakfast tomorrow."

"Tell him what?"

"What the procedures will be if you have to administer a spanking. Don't you think he should be forewarned that you will spank him, but you will do it differently?"

"Fine, I'll tell him during breakfast."

"Good night, Sev."

"Night, Greg." Greg went to sleep quickly, but Severus worried about the conversation he would have with Harry in the morning. Finally, listening to Greg's rhythmic breathing, he dropped off to sleep.

At breakfast the next morning, Severus explained how he would spank Harry if it became necessary. "Does-does m-my D-dad know about this?" Harry asked plaintively.

Mr. Snape nodded and added, "Yes, he and I discussed it last night." Then he stood and walked over to the "junk" drawer where they kept odds and ends. He placed the paint stirrer inside the drawer. "We'll keep this here. I hope that we'll never have to use it."

Harry nodded, "Yes, sir."

Harry was very careful to obey his restriction rules all day on Tuesday and Wednesday and before he knew it he was ready to back to school. Mr. Snape had served omelets for breakfast and Harry was clearing the table when Greg asked him to sit down again.

"Harry, do you remember that you are still on restriction through tomorrow?" Harry nodded. While you are at school, we'll loosen the rules just a bit. You may use technology if it is required for your lessons. You may go places with your class. For example, you may join them for lunch. However, you may not play outside. You will sit in the classroom with Sev during recess and before and after school. Do you understand?" Harry nodded. "When you get home, you will follow the same restrictions that you've had for the last week. You will still have chores to complete." Again, Harry nodded. "Okay, you may clear the table now."

When Mr. Snape and Harry got to school on Thursday morning, Harry felt a sense of relief. He had missed seeing his friends and having something to do all day. He easily complied with missing outside time before and after school, but it was a bit harder at recess. His friends really wanted him to come out and play four-square. Harry was too embarrassed to admit that he wasn't allowed, but did excuse himself and walk back to Snape's classroom.

Friday didn't go as well. Harry really wanted to go out with his friends. Snape won't find out, he thought sullenly. I'll just come back early and he won't know that I wasn't still eating lunch. So when recess rolled around Harry went outside with his friends, but he encouraged them to play far away from Snape's classroom windows. Unfortunately he lost track of time, so when the bell rang to end recess he had to quickly run around to another door and rush down the hall to sit in the classroom before Snape got back with the rest of the students. As the class filed in from the outside door, Mr. Snape eyed him. "How nice to see that you made it back from…lunch, Mr. Potter." That's when Harry knew that the jig was up. He was in deep trouble.

Nothing more was said until they pulled into the driveway at home. Then Mr. Snape turned to Harry and calmly said, "Harry, as soon as we get in the house, go to your room and put on your pajamas. I'll be in to deal with you in a few minutes."

Harry could feel the hot tears welling up in his eyes and didn't want to speak so he nodded. Mr. Snape walked ahead and unlocked the door. Harry walked in and kicked off his shoes. Then he jogged to his room where he hurried to put on his pajamas. Next he went into the bathroom and washed his face with a cool cloth. Finally he sat on his bed to wait.

He didn't have to wait very long. Just a few minutes later He saw Snape's black slacks and socks standing in the doorway. His teacher knocked softly on the doorjamb and walked into Harry's room where he sat on Harry's desk chair facing Harry. "Explain to me why you would choose to disobey your restriction rules today, the last day that you were to be on restriction."

Harry shrugged.

"A verbal answer please."

"I don't know. It was stupid. I just wanted to play with my friends. I didn't think that you'd find out."

"Tell me, Harry. If you had disobeyed and I hadn't found out, would it have been okay?" Snape was not smiling, but he didn't look angry either.

Harry played with his fingernails, while Severus waited for him to think. "No, it still would have been wrong and I probably would have felt guilty or something."

"That's because you know right from wrong, Harry. It's a good thing. You need to follow your moral compass."

"I know. I'm sorry."

"Yes, I'm sure you are and you are going to be sorrier in a few minutes. Go and get the paddle, please," Snape said sternly.

Harry gasped and his eyes flew open wide as he looked up at Mr. Snape. "I-I h-have t-t-to get it m-myself?" he stuttered.

"Yes, you do. You better hurry because if you take too long, I'll add extra swats." Harry jumped up and rushed to the kitchen where he opened the junk drawer. He immediately spotted the evil paint stirrer, right on top. He reached out gingerly and picked it up, holding it loosely, as if it were hot. He was surprised at how lightweight it felt. Slowly he closed the drawer, turned, and walked back to his room.

While Harry had been gone, Severus had moved to the bed and turned the chair so that it was parallel to the bed rather than facing it. Harry paused in the doorway. Snape reached out his hand for the paddle. "Come here, Harry. That's it." Harry handed him the paddle. "Now stand right here, lean over, and hold onto the seat of the chair. Very good." Harry was tense and was clenching all of his muscles. "If you move your hands, I'll add extra swats." Harry grabbed the seat tighter. "Do you understand?"

Harry turned his head toward his teacher, his Dad's boyfriend, his soon to be step-father, and whispered, "Yes, sir."

"Very good," answered Snape. Harry felt a light tap immediately followed by a swat right where his bottom met his thighs. That stung! Harry stood and grabbed his bottom. "Put your hands back on the chair. You've just earned an extra swat." Harry grasped the seat. After the second swat, he managed to stay in position. Although tears were already leaking out of his eyes, Harry was determined not to cry out. "Harry, if you hadn't reached back, we would be finished now, but you have one more," said Severus quietly. Harry nodded and one more swat was landed on his bottom. Thwack! That one hurt the worst, but Harry maintained his position. He didn't want more. "You may stand up now."

Harry did and a tissue was thrust into his hand. "When your father gets home, I'll expect you to tell him about this." Harry just nodded. "Get yourself cleaned up and then come and do your chores." Harry nodded again. Mr. Snape turned and walked out of the room.

"I hate you," yelled Harry as the door was closing. Then he grabbed a book and threw it at the door. Snape heard the invective and the thump as something hit the door, but he chose to ignore it.

Harry had spent several minutes pouting and thinking evil thoughts about Mr. Snape when he realized that his bottom didn't even hurt any more. He walked into his bathroom, pulled down his pants, and tried to examine his rear in the mirror, but he wasn't tall enough. The vanity was in the way and his step stool had disappeared, so he climbed up on the counter, turned around, and twisted his head to see. His bottom was its normal pale self. He wasn't sure whether to be happy or disappointed. If Snape had left bruises or blisters or something then surely his Dad would have been angry with Snape. On the other hand he was glad to have a pain-free bottom.

He had just begun to climb down when he heard Snape's voice, which was steadily growing closer. "What is taking you so long? You need to come and finish your...Harry Potter, what are you doing?"

Just as Snape strode into the bathroom, Harry fell, and Snape reached out and caught him. "Whoa, Harry, what are you doing?" He asked as he steadied Harry, who quickly pulled up his pants. "Why on Earth were your pants down?"

"I-I w-wanted to see," Harry paused.

Snape smirked. "Were you checking out the damage?" Staring at the floor miserably, Harry nodded. "So, did I leave blisters and bruises?" Still staring at the floor morosely, Harry shook his head. "Good. A spanking is just meant to sting for a few minutes."

Harry nodded.

"Okay, kiddo, it's time for you to complete your chores." Snape said as he gently shoved the boy toward the door.

Although Harry was still really upset about Snape punishing him, he was starting to feel a little better. The man hadn't made fun of him for looking at his bottom in the mirror. He also hadn't said anything about Harry yelling and throwing something, and the gentle push on Harry's shoulders had felt nice. As Harry dusted the shelves he reflected on his recent interactions with his teacher. When he punched Vince, Snape hadn't yelled at him or anything. He had gently rubbed Harry's hands to comfort him during their discussion. Also Snape had managed to catch Harry as he fell off the counter. Snape hadn't even scolded Harry for climbing up. His Dad probably would have given him a swat for doing something dangerous and dumb. As a matter of fact, when he put it all together, Harry realized that Mr. Snape had really been trying to be a trustworthy, constant figure in his life. Sure, he was strict, but he had been fair. Yet Harry was really having trouble getting over Mr. Snape's unfairness in January.

Greg came home about 6:00 with Chinese food for everybody and the three men hustled to set the table and distribute the food. Once they were all seated, Severus nodded at Harry to remind him to speak to his father.

"Dad?"

"Harry."

"Can I tell you something?"

"I hope so."

Harry sighed. "I mean: may I tell you something?"

"Please do."

Harry looked down at his plate and started fiddling around with his chopsticks. "Harry, what is it."

"Well," Harry looked at Severus who reassured him.

"Go ahead, Harry, tell him what happened."

Harry sighed again. "Umm. I..well..um, Mr. Snape had to spank me today," he mumbled to his plate.

"Harry, please look at me." Harry could feel his ears getting hot, but he looked up. "It's hard for me to understand you when you speak to your plate. Did you say that Severus spanked you today?" Harry nodded. "What happened? Why did he do that?"

Harry started to look down again, but Greg touched him gently under his chin. Harry looked into his Dad's blue eyes. They were so different from Snape's eyes which were almost black. "I went out for recess today."

"That wasn't a very good idea."

"I know. I'm sorry."

"Did Severus provide you with a sufficient spanking, or do I need to spank you again?"

Harry winced and glanced at Mr. Snape who nodded. Looking back toward his father, he answered, "His spanking was very sufficient."

"So you don't need another one?"

"No, thank you.

"Good. I hate spanking you." Greg looked at Severus.

"Me too."

Both men looked at Harry. "Ugh, I hate talking about this. Can we eat now?"

"Good idea," Greg laughed and began serving Harry some fried rice.

"Dad, there's something I'd like to talk about with you," Harry stated when his father came to check on him that evening.

"Sure, what is it?" Greg asked as he entered Harry's bedroom and straddled Harry's desk chair.

Harry sat up and faced his dad. "Well, it's about Mr. Snape."

"What about him?"

"He confuses me."

"How?"

"Well, remember at the beginning of the year when I had that tantrum at school?"

"Vaguely."

"He was firm with me, but he wasn't really mean." Harry's dad nodded. "It was the same when I left school and I had to stay with him all day for a week. He didn't scold me or make me feel stupid about it or anything." Greg nodded again. "But then," Harry groused, "in January he was mean to me and I hadn't done anything. He was just mad at you."

"I'm sorry about that."

"Yeah, but it's not your fault."

"I made him angry."

"But he shouldn't have taken it out on me."

"True."

"But ever since that day he came to breakfast, I think he's been pretty fair, but I just don't know if I can trust him."

"That's understandable, Harry. He was quite unfair to you."

"Yeah, but, I think he wants me to trust him."

"Probably," Greg agreed, glancing up at Severus who was standing in the doorway nodding.

"I was really afraid when he spanked me, today."

"Why was that?"

"Umm," Harry started picking at his nails. Greg gently tapped Harry's hands to stop him. "I didn't know what to expect. I mean he had told me how it was going to work, but I thought it might be like when Mom's boyfriends whipped me."

"That makes sense."

"But it wasn't like that, much."

"How was it like that?"

"Having to lean on the chair. They usually did it on my bed, but having to stay in position was really hard, especially when I was so scared. I like it when you hold me over your knees. Well, I don't like it, but I feel safer." Greg nodded noncommittally. "Do you think Mr. Snape could do that if he ever has to spank me again?"

"Do what?"

"Hold me over his knees. He could still use the paddle, or whatever, but after what happened in the bathroom, I think I'd be okay with him, you know."

"I'm afraid I don't. What happened in the bathroom?"

"Oh," Harry could feel his ears warming up, "Um, I was standing on the counter looking at my bottom and I fell, but Mr. Snape caught me."

"What were you doing on the counter?" Greg asked incredulously.

"I wanted to see if he'd bruised me or anything, but I wasn't tall enough and I couldn't find my step-stool."

"Did you look under your sink?"

"No."

"I believe that it's under your sink. I don't want you up on the counter. You could have been hurt."

"I'm sorry, Daddy." Greg nodded. "So, what do I do about Mr. Snape?"

"I suggest talking with him."

"What am I going to say?" Harry scoffed. "Mr. Snape, will you please pull my pants down, turn me over your knee, and spank me ?"

"Yes."

"No, Daddy, it's too embarrassing."

Just then Harry heard a deep silky voice behind him, "There's no need to be embarrassed."

Harry jumped off his bed and turned to face Mr. Snape. "What are you doing here?" Harry yelled.

Snape answered calmly, "Checking on you."

"You were spying on me." Harry yelled again.

"That wasn't my intention."

"But you did, you jerk." At that he felt a sudden sting in his behind. He spun around to face his dad. "Hey, why'd you do that?" Everytime he screamed his voice got a little higher in pitch. Pretty soon only dogs would be able to hear him.

"You were being disrespectful."

Harry stomped his foot. "No, I wasn't." Like a snake striking its prey, Greg's hand reached out and swatted Harry's bottom again. "Ow." With that, Harry climbed over his bed and ran into his bathroom, slamming the door on the way in.

Greg got up swiftly and followed Harry into the bathroom. As he grabbed Harry's arm, he asked, "What did I tell you about slamming doors?"

Harry, who was already crying, sucked in a couple of breaths and answered, "not to."

"That's right," Greg responded and gave Harry a third swat on the rear. By now Harry was weeping. Greg let go. "Harry, get yourself together and then come back out. We need to finish this discussion." Harry nodded as he wiped his eyes with his pajama sleeve.

Harry closed the door behind his father, gently this time, and sank to the floor. At first he just cried. He was so angry at Snape for spying on him and then his Dad had smacked his bottom. It just wasn't fair. Was somebody going to spank Mr. Snape for being nosey? Of course not. As Harry started to calm down he realized that he had been disrespectful. He probably deserved the swats he had received, but that didn't make it fair. He reached around to rub thinking about how much it had hurt when his Dad had swatted him. That's when he realized that the sting was already gone. Harry could hear his Dad and teacher talking in his bedroom, but he couldn't tell what they were saying.

Meanwhile, Greg and Severus were discussing Greg's reaction to slammed doors. After Greg had smacked Harry and returned to his seat, Severus had raised an eyebrow at him. "What?" asked Greg who was still trying to calm down.

"That seemed like an over-reaction to a slammed door." Greg looked away. Snape sat down on the bed and studied Greg's face. "Do you want to talk about it?"

"You're right. I should have just ignored the slammed door, but there's something about that noise that just infuriates me."

"Why?" Greg shook his head. "You don't know?" Again, Greg shook his hand. "Think about when you've heard slammed doors before."

Greg nodded, "It was my father, well the man who raised me. He slammed doors. Sometimes he'd kick me out of the house for the night, and he slam the door." Greg's whispering voice halted.

"So, the sound of slamming doors must give you a bit of a flashback."

Again, Greg nodded.

Harry knew that his father and teacher weren't going to go away so he might as well get it over with. He grabbed some toilet paper and blew his nose. Then he stood and washed his face. It was time to face the music. He opened the door and peeked out. His Dad was back in Harry's desk chair, but Mr. Snape was sitting near the foot of his bed. Harry started to get mad, but then he realized that there was nowhere else for Snape to sit.

"Come over here, Harry," Greg called gently, but firmly. Harry walked slowly over and stood on the other side of the bed. He didn't want to be within swatting distance. "Have a seat." Harry climbed onto his bed and leaned against the headboard with his legs crossed. "That's better son. Severus wants to speak with you."

Harry turned his eyes toward Mr. Snape, but he didn't make eye contact. "Harry?" There was no response. "Harry, are you listening?" asked Mr. Snape. Harry nodded, but barely. "I wish to apologize to you. I should not have been eavesdropping on you, especially when I already knew that you were having trouble trusting me."

Harry shrugged.

"Do you have something to say to Severus, Harry?"

Harry shrugged, but quickly added. "I should have asked Dad to close the door if I wanted a private conversation. I'm sorry that I yelled at you."

"I forgive you."

Harry looked at his Dad. "I'm sorry, Daddy. I know I shouldn't talk to people like that." His father just nodded, but Harry knew that he was forgiven.

"Harry," Snape was speaking again. "I shouldn't have listened, but I'm glad I did."

"Why?" Harry whispered.

"Because you told your Dad things that you never would have told me. My mistreatment of you in January has done a lot of lasting damage and I'm truly sorry about that. You are right that I have been trying to show you that you can trust me." Harry nodded. "That's one reason I didn't hold you when I spanked you. I thought it would make you uncomfortable."

"It probably would have," Harry answered, "but now I know that not being held is worse."

"So in the future, you'd prefer if I turn you over my knee?"

Harry nodded and then gave a sheepish grin. "I'd rather you didn't spank me at all."

"I feel the same."

"Umm, are you still going to use the paddle?"

"I'd like to think about that some more. Okay?" Harry nodded.

"I also wish to apologize to you, Harry." Harry looked at his father questioningly. "I shouldn't have swatted you for slamming the door. Slamming doors is a natural kid thing. I'd prefer you didn't, but I won't spank you for it any more."

"Thanks, Dad."

"You need to get to sleep now, Harry," Greg noted as he stood up.

"Okay, good night Dad. Good night Mr. Snape."

"Good night, Harry," they answered in unison as they headed for the door.

"Wait, can I have a hug?" Harry questioned as he jumped off the bed and headed for his Dad.

Greg reached down and put his arms around the small boy. "Sleep tight, kiddo."

Harry reached toward Mr. Snape. "Will you hug me, too?" Severus smiled and knelt down to hug Harry as Greg grinned.

"Okay, off to bed," Severus said as he stood up. Then he gave Harry a gentle shove toward the bed.

"That went well," Greg said as he sat on the couch.

"Yeah, splendidly," Severus answered sardonically.