A Happy Birthday?

Despite all the conflicting emotions that Draco had felt the previous few days, he was excited and eagerly looking forwards to this day. It was Harry's birthday – well, not really, but it was the day of Harry's belated birthday party.

His father had asked Draco for help with the planning and now Draco was proud of himself and curious how Harry would like it.

The hardest part had been the guest list. Neither Draco nor his father knew much about who Harry had befriended, except the Weasley boy and the Granger girl. So Draco invited some of his own friends who he hoped would be open-minded to the change of relation between Harry and Draco. Theodore Nott and Blaise Zabini and even Daphne Greengrass. Draco would have liked to invite more, but he just couldn't think of anyone else. His other classmates had parents that were loyal followers of the Dark Lord and therefore they had been taught that Harry Potter was the devil incarnate. Theo, Blaise and Daphne were more like Draco. They were all happy the Dark Lord was no longer amongst them. They all feared the day the Dark Lord would return.

Pushing aside all thoughts of dark wizards and dark lords, Draco looked over at his father.

The man was on the terrace, giving the last instructions to the house elves about the arrangements. As his gaze fell onto his son, he gave a sharp nod and Draco bolted upstairs to wake up his brother-to-be.


Harry grumbled sleepily as the sunlight suddenly hit his face. Even through his closed eyelids it was far too bright. Before he could hide under his blanket, though, it was yanked forcefully down to his legs.

"What the hell?" Harry yelped and bolted straight up on his bed. His sleep-addled mind cleared up within seconds and Harry stared at Draco in disbelief. "What are you doing?"

Draco grinned evilly. "I'm waking you up, what else?"

"So I noticed, but why? I'm tired. Just leave me alone." Harry tried to jerk his blanket out of Draco's grip.

"No!" Draco protested. "You can sleep tomorrow all you wish, but not today. Everything is ready and waiting!"

"Waiting? For what?" Harry wondered, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.

"For you, of course. Come on. Get ready and come down!" Draco said and then turned to leave the room, but before he reached the door he warned: "And don't you dare fall asleep again. Next time I will use a water charm!"

Harry grumbled once more before he pushed his legs over the bedside and turned his head to look at Mr. Paw, who was still sleeping peacefully on his pillow. Harry smiled at the sight and carefully ran his fingers through the soft fur. The white cat started to purr without waking up.

A warm feeling spread through Harry's body. He loved his new cat and whenever he saw it, he felt greatly thankful towards Draco who gifted him with it. After Hedwig, Mr. Paw was the most precious present he ever got.


A few minutes later, Harry hopped down the steps to the ground level where Dobby waited for him to inform him that breakfast had been served outside on the terrace. Harry frowned but followed the eager house elf.

"I wish you a very happy birthday, young master!" Dobby suddenly said and then vanished.

Harry stopped dead. Birthday? He remembered Lucius talking about giving him a birthday party, but Harry had thought it would be a lunch or dinner. Why would they start that early with breakfast?

Chewing on his bottom lip, Harry stepped out onto the terrace where a long table stood loaded with all kinds of goodies. Next to it was a smaller one with a mountain of presents. Surely they weren't all for him. He didn't even know that many people.

Finally his eyes travelled over to the table that was set for eating and next to which stood a small group of children with Lucius and Severus at the back. They yelled cheerfully: "Happy birthday, Harry!"

Harry stood there and stared, shock and disbelief written all over his face. He tried to say something but his brain failed to supply him with the right words.

"Harry!" a girl suddenly cried and threw herself at the frozen boy. In the next moment wild brown curls blocked Harry's view.

"Hermione?" Harry wondered.

"I have been so worried! You haven't answered any of my letters although we promised to write to each other! I... I... Oh, Harry. I'm so glad you are okay!" The words bubbled out of the over-emotional girl while she nearly choked the poor boy to death.

"It's okay, 'Mione. I'm okay," Harry said, patting the girl awkwardly on the back.

Luckily, as fast as the girl broke down, she pulled herself together again just as fast. "Right. Sorry. Just... Happy birthday!" She said, stepped back and smiled sheepishly as she finally realised that everybody was watching her. With a deep scarlet blush she rejoined the group.

Harry followed her with his eyes before looking at the red-haired boy next to her, who looked a bit out of place. He had a half-smile and said: "Hi, mate!"

"Ron!" Harry said in wonder and smiled happily. "You are also here?"

"Of course, can't let you face the snakes all alone!"

"Oi!" The Slytherins protested vehemently.

Harry chuckled and then his gaze met Draco's, Severus's and finally Lucius's. "Thank you! Thank you all!"

"This is your day, Harry. Enjoy it!" Lucius said and with these words the breakfast buffet – or was it brunch? – was opened. Draco introduced Theo, Blaise and Daphne to Harry and the three Slytherins all also wished him a nice birthday.

Harry was wondering if he was still asleep and dreaming. Gryffindors and Slytherins together at one table without quarrelling. Hermione was still eager to learn about all that happened but she tried hard to keep her curiosity at bay. Lucius had warned them all not to overtax Harry or pester him with questions. And she could see the uncertain glint in Harry's eyes. He was happy, at least to some degree, but he also looked insecure and fragile.

"My Dad... erm... I mean Lucius... he thinks that Dumbledore somehow blocked my mail. So I wasn't receiving any letters. I'm sorry that I never wrote back. I was confused by the lack of letters and feared you two didn't want to be friends with me anymore," Harry finally answered Hermione's first question.

"Oh, Harry. Why would you think that?" The girl asked, horrified by the suggestion that she could have let her best friend down.

Harry shrugged. He wasn't up to talking about his relatives and how Dudley made sure nobody ever stayed friends with him. It still hurt to think about it. Now more than ever. Since starting his sessions with Melinda, he realised more and more how wrongly and unfairly he'd been treated by the Dursleys. He never really thought much about it before. It was just the way it had been. The more he understood the wrongdoings of the Dursleys, the more it hurt. And it was hard to accept that he had been abused.

"We are your best mates and we will stand by you no matter what!" Ron said in a strong voice, daring Harry to doubt his words.

Harry smiled, touched by the deep emotions showing in his friends' eyes. "Thank you. It means a lot to me!"

"And who forced you to dye your hair Malfoy-blond?" Ron asked. He tried to make it sound joking, although he was a bit irritated by the blond strands of hair on his friend's head.

"Nobody forced me. Draco and I thought it would look good on me," Harry contradicted in a soft voice. Then he shuddered. That also hadn't been one of his best days, as Lucius wasn't all that happy with Draco's hairstyling idea.

Ron was about to argue but Hermione stepped onto his toe and shut him up. An uncomfortable silence followed.

"Erm... well, what have you done over the holidays?" Harry finally asked to divert the conversation away from himself.

"Oh, I was in France with my parents." Hermione started to tell him about her holidays and Harry smiled again. It was so much better to hear from his friends than to talk about what he had been through. Even Hermione noticed that Harry relaxed more and more during her stories and therefore she kept talking.

Much to Draco's annoyance. "Does this girl ever breathe?" he asked Theo, who sat next to him.

Theo shrugged. "Well, Harry seems to like it and it is his party, isn't it?"

"Yeah, I just thought, well..." Draco trailed off shrugging.

"You hoped he would make friends with us?" Theo supplied.


"Maybe he will. This party just started. Sooner or later Granger will have to stop talking. I mean, how much can happen in a few weeks?"

"Maybe we should play a game of Quidditch?" Blaise wondered.

Draco shook his head. "I'm not sure Harry is allowed to."

"Why, is he grounded or something?"

"No, underweight," Draco whispered.

"Aw... poor Draco, there you finally have a brother and still you have nobody to play Quidditch with," Blaise joked.

Draco punched him in the shoulder. "Shut up!"

"Maybe we should play truth or dare? That way we could get to know each other a bit," Daphne suggested, loud enough for everyone at the table to hear.

Draco and Theo groaned but Harry turned to look at the girl and asked: "What's that?"

"Truth or dare, surely you know it. It's a classic among the party games," Blaise said without thinking.

Harry shook his head, feeling stupid; but before he could hang his head, Hermione helped him out. "It's quite easy. The name says it all. A popular variant is "spin the bottle". You spin a bottle and the person the bottle ends up pointing towards needs to do something, or tell something about themselves that is true."

"Okay, sounds like fun. What happens if you don't want to do or say something?" Harry asked carefully.

"Erm... it's your party, so I would say you choose what should happen in that case."

Harry's eyes grew wide. "But I... erm, I don't know. Maybe this person could get another question or task?"

Everybody nodded in agreement, nobody dared to refuse Harry this back door for the game.

"So all we need is a bottle?" Harry asked and before he could call for a house elf, Dobby appeared already with an empty bottle in his hands. "Erm... Thanks!"

They cleared the table and placed the bottle in the middle. Hermione gave it a push and it started to spin. It stopped as it pointed towards Theodore and the boy groaned. "Why always me?"

"Truth or dare?" Hermione asked.

"Truth, I guess," Theo answered nervously.

"Okay. Erm..." Hermione thought for a while and then asked: "What do most of your friends think about you that is totally untrue?"

"As if I have that many friends. Hmm... well...let's see. Most of my friends think that I hate Chocolate Frogs, but in truth, I love them."

"Really?" Malfoy arched an eyebrow.

"Yes. I don't know why everybody thinks I don't like them. I even started to collect the cards but I haven't gotten very far yet."

"Okay, good to know. Next birthday you will get a box full of Chocolate Frogs!" Draco said and chuckled.

Theo grabbed the bottle and twisted it anew. It spun a few times and then pointed towards Ron. "Truth or dare?"

Ron shifted uncomfortably, unsure how much he could trust the other. "Erm... truth."

Theo smiled at the nervous look, then he asked: "What do you fear the most?"

Immediately Ron relaxed again. This questions wasn't as evil as he would have thought. "Spiders," he answered easily.

"Spiders? Really? Not dragons, or werewolves, or vampires?" Blaise asked.

"Well, I haven't met any of them but spiders... They have far too many legs," Ron explained and the others laughed.

Ron took the bottle and after some rotations it pointed at Hermione.

"Truth!" Hermione said even before Ron asked.

"Okay. Hmm... Is there something you like more than books?"

"Hmm... I really love books very much, but yes, there is something that I like more." Hermione paused and then looked at Harry and said a single word. "Friends!"

Harry blushed and looked down, their earlier talk clearly in mind.

Draco was next and Hermione asked how much time he needed every morning to style his hair. The girl blushed while asking, but Theo and Blaise laughed, amused, and Daphne deadpanned that it was surely more time than anyone else.

Draco huffed and crossed his arms. "If you must know, it's ten minutes at most."

While the others still sniggered, Draco grabbed the bottle and gave it a strong spin. It stopped at Harry this time. Harry gulped and looked up at his soon-to-be-brother.

"Well, brother, truth or dare?"

"Erm... truth?"

Draco nodded and then thought hard to find a good question. After a while he locked eyes with Harry and asked: "Why did the Sorting Hat take that long to sort you?"

Harry froze. Draco knew the answer to that already, so he would know if Harry lied. The green-eyed boy started to chew on his bottom lip. Was he ready to confess to his friends that he had the potential to be a Slytherin? How would they react? Would Ron still stand by his side no matter what?

Carefully, Harry let his gaze wander from Draco, Theo, Blaise, and Daphne to Hermione and finally Ron. They all looked eager to hear the answer. "Erm... The Sorting Hat wasn't entirely sure where to put me," he finally admitted. He could still hear the hat's exact words in his mind:

"Hmm. Difficult. Very Difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind, either. There's talent, oh my goodness, yes – and a nice thirst to prove yourself, now that's interesting... So where shall I put you?"

And Harry had begged the hat not to put him into Slytherin. He had heard from Ron that it was the house of his parents' murderer and he knew already that Draco was in Slytherin. At that time he didn't like Draco very much.

"Not Slytherin, eh? Are you sure? You could be great, you know, it's all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that – no? Well, if you're sure – better be GRYFFINDOR!"

"It considered putting me into Slytherin; said I would be great there," Harry whispered.

Silence met his words. Fearfully, Harry looked towards Ron and Hermione. Surprise was clearly written across their faces. Then Hermione squinted her eyes at Harry and asked in a stern voice: "You are better not thinking that that is going to change anything! You are still the boy I met on the train. Knowing that you also have Slytherin potential doesn't change the boy I got to know. It doesn't change who you are. You do understand that the principle of the houses is to make it easier for you to find friends, not to make foes of people from other houses, don't you?"

Harry blushed and then stuttered: "Erm... yes... of course."

"If anything...," Blaise started, "...this revelation gives us Slytherins more reasons to make friends with you."

Harry smiled at that but then he glanced back at Ron, who still hadn't said anything. Ron looked a bit shocked. He was so used to belittling the Slytherins; to seeing them just as dark wizards in training. Yes, he promised Snape not start a fight with the Slytherins, but he wasn't sure what to think about Harry being half Slytherin. The blond strands in his hair had already been quite a shock to him. Was Harry morphing into a Malfoy? And if he was, where did that leave Ron? Could he still be Harry's best friend?

"Ron," Harry's desperate voice pulled him out of his thoughts. "Say something."

"I... erm." Ron trailed off again but the pleading look in Harry's eyes told him that he was still important to Harry and Ron wasn't ready to give up on his black-haired friend. "I'm still your best mate, right?" he said finally with a strong voice that didn't leave any room for arguments.

Slowly, Harry's worried face morphed into a big happy smile. "Of course you are!" he confirmed.

At that, Ron smiled, too. Harry's relieved look showed him that he was still needed.

After that, they continued to play their truth or dare game. Blaise was the first who chose dare instead of truth. Daphne was the one who dared him to dance for a minute without any music. Turned out that the boy was quite a good dancer.

Later, as the game turned to Daphne and the girl also chose dare, her task was to kiss her right neighbour, which was Blaise. Daphne gave Draco, who'd given her the dare, a hard glare before she turned to the dark-skinned boy and blushed violently. Blaise just grinned at her and wriggled his eyebrows in a suggestive way.

It was a very quick kiss and nobody would have thought much about it if Daphne hadn't kept casting stolen glances at Blaise every now and then since the kiss, which gave the others the impression that she had a crush on the, truthfully, good looking boy.

They all had a very good time and were laughing a lot. Harry was very happy. After they had cake, it was time to open the presents.

"They are really all for me?" Harry asked disbelievingly.

"Yes, why not? You are the birthday boy today, aren't you?" Draco said and grinned.

Harry still shook his head in shock. He was not used to getting presents. His first real present was Hedwig, whom he got from Hagrid. Then last Christmas he got a Weasley jumper, Chocolate Frogs and the invisibility cloak from his father; and this summer he got Mr. Paw, and that was it. But this table in front of him held a lot more presents than he'd ever gotten in his entire life.

"That's from me," Ron said and took one of the smaller ones. "It's not much and Fred and George helped me a bit." The red-haired boy looked a bit ashamed, he was sure the other presents would be far more valuable than his meagre attempt at a gift.

Curiously, Harry opened the brown paper to reveal a box with various candies inside.

"These are joke sweets," Ron explained at Harry's questioning look. "They are from Zonko's in Hogsmeade. My brothers said they are the best from their collection. They want to bring out their own joke sweets soon. They experiment a lot at home."

"What do they do?" Harry wondered and picked up a brilliantly red one.

"The red ones make you sound like an animal for a few seconds. A lion, or an elephant, or a monkey."

Harry smiled. "Sounds interesting. And the blue ones?"

The redhead explained that the blue drops changed the colour of your skin, the green ones gave you funny hairstyles and the yellow ones changed your voice. The effect always lasted just a few seconds but Harry thought that it would be a lot of fun.

"Thank you!" he said and gave Ron a one-armed hug. "This is brilliant."

Hermione was next, and nobody was surprised that her present was a book. It was a book about magical creatures. Many of them Harry had never heard of. He thanked Hermione with a teary smile.

Blaise gave him a collection of classy looking quills and Theo's present held various coloured inks. From Daphne Harry got a journal with an emerald coloured leather cover and reinforced edges of gold.

Draco gifted him with dragonhide Quidditch gloves. From Severus Harry got a potions guide including a detailed description of how best to prepare you potion ingredients and from Lucius he got a complete drawing kit.

Harry couldn't hold back the tears of happiness any longer. Lovingly, his finger traced the different coloured pencils. Then he stood and wrapped his arms firmly around the blond-haired man. "Thank you so much, all of you," Harry whispered before he buried his face deeper into Lucius's robe.

Lucius hugged the boy back and held him for a while.

The three Slytherin boys looked at each other and they all silently agreed that Harry would be their friend in the future. Daphne and Hermione awed at the hugging scene and Ron look thoroughly puzzled. Nothing he had witnessed today fit what his mum told him about the Malfoys. Harry was without any doubt happy.

"There is still one present left," Lucius said and gently pushed Harry back. The green-eyed boy cast him a puzzled look. The table with the presents was empty now.

"Come!" the blond-haired man said in a mysterious voice. They walked down the few steps into the garden and moved towards the big tree under which Draco and Harry had sat many days before. When Lucius stopped, Harry looked at him questioningly.

"Draco? Would you be so kind?" Lucius asked with a grin.

Draco stepped forwards and then pulled out his wand. He pointed it at the tree and said "Finite Incantatem."

As the invisibility spell fell away, it revealed a big wooden house in the tree. It was nothing compared to the simple hut in Aunt Marge's garden. This was much bigger, much nicer, much cooler. This was simply much more than Harry would have dreamed of.

His still wet eyes were once again brimming with tears. He was speechless.

"Oh wow," Hermione said with gleaming eyes. "It's wonderful!"

"A house in a tree? What is that good for?" Theo wondered aloud. "I mean it's cool, but... well... it's really cool!"

Draco grinned and then walked over to Harry. "And? Is it as you imagined it?"

Harry shook his head. "No. Not even close to what I'd had in mind," he whispered and before Draco's smile fell from his face he added. "It's better. So much better. It's awesome!"

At this confession Draco's smile was back. "Severus helped with the design."

"I can't believe it. You did that just because I wanted it. A stupid childish fantasy." Harry looked at Draco, at Lucius and Severus.

Lucius smiled back and Severus just shrugged his shoulder.

Then Harry looked back at the house and declared: "I love it!"

"You still haven't seen it from the inside," Draco pointed out. "Come on!" With these words the blond-haired boy grabbed Harry's hand and pulled him towards the comfortable spiral staircase up onto the veranda of the tree house. The veranda was big enough to hold a table and two benches.

While Harry looked down towards the others still on the ground he waved and called to them: "What are you waiting for, come up!"

"Harry!" Draco shouted and the addressed boy turned around. Draco stood by a door and held it open. Curious, Harry walked over to him and looked inside. The room before him held a table with two benches but also a comfortable lounge with couches and armchairs. There were bookshelves and a small cupboard.

"This is for drinks. Severus called it a fridge or something like that. The house elves will keep it stocked and the cooling charm will keep the drinks cold," Draco explained. He had never heard of the fridge before, but he had to admit that if you wanted to be on your own, it was cool not to have to call an elf every few minutes.

"Oh wow, Harry. This is so awesome!" Hermione came to a halt next to the green-eyed boy. "You are really lucky, you know?"

Harry shrugged helplessly. "Well, yes, it seems so."

While the other kids still looked around the tree house, Harry went back down to hug Severus and Lucius.

"I take it that the house is to your liking?" Severus asked.

"Are you joking? It's perfect! Thank you so much. I can't say it often enough."

"Harry," Lucius suddenly said in a more serious voice and the boy stiffened immediately. "I also have a response from Sirius Black. I haven't read it, but I talked a bit with him and there are some things we should talk about when your friends are gone. Meet me in my study, okay?"

"Are you not staying?" Harry asked.

Lucius stroked through Harry's black mop of hair. "Enjoy your time with your friends. We will see each other later."

Puzzled, Harry looked at Severus. "Why is he working so much?"

"I guess he is already preparing your blood adoption, next week," Severus said, keeping silent of the fact that the hearing of the Dursleys was also approaching. "You know, to make you a real Malfoy."

Harry smiled at that. "I already feel like one. So many presents. I'm not used to that. I will get spoiled soon."

Severus laughed at that, knowing that Harry would never allow himself to get spoiled. He was far too selfless for that. "Don't worry. I will keep you grounded."

Harry leaned against Severus while he watched his friends still running around his new tree house.

"Hey, Harry, what are you doing down there? Come up!" Draco yelled.

"You better go!" Severus said. "Before they destroy your new little playroom."

"Little?" Harry asked, arching an eyebrow. "It's more like a palace."

"Not in Lucius's and Draco's eyes. They wanted to add enlargement charms. It took some time until they understood that a tree house doesn't have to be a whole manor but just a room to hang out in alone or with friends," the man told Harry.

The boy chuckled. "I'm glad you could convince them not to use any enlargement charms. It's big enough as it is."

"Harry!" Draco yelled once more.

"Go," Severus said and Harry ran back to the wooden stairs and up into his own little kingdom.

The afternoon went by and the evening was approaching fast. They had a bonfire and made their dinner on wooden sticks; sausages, fish, bread, corn, jacket potatoes and other vegetables, and the house elves made different kinds of dips and salads.

Finally Harry's party came to an end. Hermione hugged the birthday boy and whispered in his ear: "I'm so glad you found a new family. It comes as a surprise that it is with the Malfoys, but I can see that you are happy. You earned this, never doubt that. You have a right to a family!"

"Thank you, 'Mione. It means a lot to me that you are still my friend even though we had a rocky start with the Malfoys," Harry whispered back.

The next one to say goodbye was Ron. "Mate, I don't know what you did to the Slytherins but the party was brilliant. Glad I could convince my mum to let me go."

Harry frowned at these words. "Why wouldn't your mum let you come?"

"Well... she doesn't like Malfoys. It's an old story, don't think about it. It doesn't matter where you live now, you are still the Harry Potter I know."

Harry bit his lips nervously and then asked carefully: "Will it still be okay for you if I become Harry Potter Malfoy?"

Ron's eyes widened at that. "What do you mean?"

"I will become a Malfoy, a real Malfoy. Next week. Lucius will adopt me by blood and magic. I may look a bit different afterwards. Some of the Malfoy genes will merge with mine."

"Is that the reason why you dyed your hair blond? To get used to it?" Ron wondered.

"Erm... well, no, not really. We, I mean Draco and I, just thought it would look cool on me." Harry shrugged and then shuddered. That hadn't been an easy day at all but on the pro side he brought Mr. Paw to life. But since then his magic ran riot. In hindsight, he was amazed that nothing had happened during his party.

"Well, it does look good. It's just..." Ron shrugged a shoulder, "... I guess I need to get used to it."

"So, are you okay to stay friends with me, even if I'm half Malfoy?"

Ron made a contemplative face. "Hm... let me think... - Yes, of course! I'm your best friend, am I not?"

Harry beamed. "You are!"

The three Slytherins - Blaise, Theo and Daphne - also said their goodbyes, congratulated Harry to his nice party and promised to stay in touch till the next school year.

"So?" Draco asked smugly. "How did you like your 'party of your life'?"

"It was brilliant. Thank you all so much!" Harry said and hugged Draco and Severus.


A soft knock made Lucius look up. "Come in!" he called out and Harry entered the study.

"Hello, Harry. How was your party?"

"Best party ever!" Harry said with a smile and glided into the seat in front of Lucius's desk. Lucius returned the smile and then pulled a drawer open to give Harry Sirius Black's letter.

The boy removed the ribbon and opened the scroll.

"Dear Harry,

I'm surprised that you wrote me. I was sure you would blame me for your parents death, as all the others do. Maybe it was my fault. I shouldn't have suggested to make Peter the secret keeper.

Just know I would never have betrayed your parents. Your dad was like a brother to me. I wish I could see you, hold you in my arms and tell you everything that has happened, but I can't.

I was also surprised that Lucius brought your letter, but he explained a bit to me about why you are in his care now. I can't understand why Albus put you with Lily's sister. Everybody knows how much she hates magic since she isn't a witch like her sister.

I love you, Harry. I love you like I would my own son. Take care!

Yours, Sirius.

PS: If you see a rat with a missing toe, get an adult. This rat may be an animagus."

Lucius held out a handkerchief to Harry. The boy looked up surprised. He hadn't noticed the tears running down his cheeks. "Thanks," he whispered and then read through the letter a second time. His hands were shaking and his heart tightened painfully. This man was innocent? He went to jail although he hadn't done anything wrong? If he was such a good friend to his dad, he surely would have taken care of Harry. He would have raised him instead of the Dursleys.

"We have to get him out of there!" Harry said locking eyes with Lucius.

"It's not that easy, Harry."

"But he said he is innocent!" the boy yelled angrily.

Lucius jerked at Harry's outburst. Then he forced himself to calmly reply. "I know. Calm down!"

Harry shook his head in disbelief. He jumped out of his chair and shouted, "Calm down? How can I calm down? There is an innocent man wrongfully imprisoned. He doesn't belong in prison."

"I know," Lucius said in a loud and stern voice. "But he is not getting out of prison faster if you work yourself up. So calm down, or this conversation is over. I didn't call you into my study to get yelled at. I asked you to see me so we could talk about it."

Harry sat back down and forced himself to take a calming breath. He didn't know why he exploded like that. He just felt as if he got denied something very important to him. It made him angry. Luckily, this time his magic didn't go crazy. After a short moment of silence, Harry whispered: "Sorry."

"I know it's hard to imagine that someone innocent was sent to Azkaban. It shouldn't happen. That's why normally, the accused get a trial. And there are many ways to force the truth out of someone. As it turns out, Sirius Black never got a trial. That's an outrage. Especially as the man is of the noble and ancient house of Black. The ministry will fight and deny this fact as long as possible, but I promise you I will do everything in my power to bring out the truth and get Mr. Black the trial he should have gotten eleven years ago."

Harry was speechless. Obviously, Lucius was as angry about this as Harry himself. Slowly, a small smile tugged at the corners of Harry's lips. Lucius would help him. A sudden warmth spread through the boy's body. "Thank you!" he whispered. "Thank you for everything. You do so much for me."

Lucius scoffed. "I just do what every father would do, Harry. And when Mr. Black is innocent and we are the only ones knowing it, it is our responsibility to see that justice is served."

Harry frowned in confusion. 'What every father would do?' But Lucius did so much already. The birthday party, the tree house, all the help with the homework and his writing skills. He also helped with Harry's eyesight and with his emotional problems. Surely not every father would do so much. Uncle Vernon would do none of that. Maybe he would help Dudley, but never Harry.

Harry gulped. Once again he got reminded of what he was denied at the Dursleys. Everyday, he realized more shades of the abuse he went through.

"Harry!" Lucius's voice barely got through to the boy who was shaking again in anger and hurt. Harry also didn't realize that the whole room shook. The books on the shelves and quills on the table. Even the windows rattled as the magic poured uncontrolled out of the boy.

"Harry, please. Calm down!" Lucius asked once more, this time louder. He wasn't sure how to act. His instinct told him to hug the boy and help him calm down, but the other day when he had tried that, he had got thrown across the to room, without Harry even realising what he was doing.

After a moment of thinking, Lucius decided that no matter what would happen, he would show Harry that he was here for him. So he rounded the table and wrapped his arms around the trembling boy. "Shh... it's okay," he whispered into Harry's ear.

Lucius was prepared to land on his bum again, but the magical blow never came. Instead, the windows stopped their rattling and the other objects calmed down, too. Only Harry's body didn't stop shaking. The boy squirmed around and buried his face in Lucius's robes.

The man sighed and strengthened his hug. It was a big step for Harry to turn towards him for help to calm down. It hadn't happened since before the magical outbursts started. Most of the time it was Severus who got through to Harry, or Melinda if she was around. For Lucius it was a clear sign that Harry was recovering.

After a while Harry sagged in Lucius's arms and the boy whispered: "I'm sorry. It's happened again."

"Don't apologize. Not for that."

Harry tried to get out of the man's hug but Lucius didn't budge.

"It shouldn't happen at all," the boy protested, embarrassed. "What will happen if I go back to school? Everybody will see what a freak I am."

Lucius frowned at that. He loosened his arms to grab the boy and push him at arm length. "Stop saying that! You are no freak! And don't stress yourself about these incidents. They will go away. Besides, this time nobody got hurt and nothing was broken. It's getting better. You start responding to help and that's all that matters. Your friends will be able to help you, when you are back in school."

Harry sighed and hung his head.

"It's not a sign of weakness to accept help, but strength!" Lucius pointed out.

At that Harry laughed cheerlessly. "That's what Melinda is trying to tell me, too. But you can't fool me. There will be others who will point their finger and laugh at me, not understanding what I am going through."

"And are they important to you?" the man asked provocatively.

Harry frowned and didn't know how to reply.

"Or are your friends important? Don't forget one of your biggest rivals in school is your brother now. He will not laugh at you. And I'm sure Mr. Weasley and Ms. Granger also will not make fun of you. So, who are you afraid of? If any Slytherins give you trouble, Severus will deal with them, and I'm sure Professor McGonagall will do the same with the Gryffindors. You have many people who are willing to help you, you just have to let them."

Sighing, Harry fell forwards to lean his head against Lucius's shoulder. "And I really didn't hurt you?" the boy asked softly.

"No, you didn't. Everything is okay."


Later that evening as both boys were sleeping peacefully, Severus and Lucius sat together as they used to do after a tiring day and the blond-haired man told the other about Harry's magical outburst.

"He is fighting tooth and nail against accepting what family is about. Melinda also told me that Harry has trouble accepting the fact that he has a right to be a part of this family. It's a kind of defence mechanism. If he doesn't let us in, it won't hurt so much if he were to lose us again. She thinks the adoption will give Harry more reassurance that this is not just a temporary solution," Severus said with a thoughtful expression.

Lucius shook his head in disbelief. "It's hard to understand what happened in Harry's childhood to make him so distrustful of anything good that happens in his life."

Severus nodded. "He will learn with time. It's our responsibility to give him all the stability he needs. One day he will not look at you with wide and disbelieving eyes when you tell him that you care about him."

Lucius cringed at that, because that was exactly what Harry was doing. Then he sighed and said with a half-smile: "At least his birthday party was a complete success. I'm glad that Mr. Weasley wasn't as stubborn as his mother. I don't want to imagine what harm it would have done to Harry if the boy had turned his back to him."

"It's obvious that their bond of friendship runs deeper than one would expect after just a year. Maybe their joint adventures tied them together. In school they are called the 'Golden Trio' by my Slytherins."

"I wish I could come to Hogwarts with you. It seems to never get boring."

"If you like to scold your sons on a daily basis."

Lucius frowned, "Surely they aren't the only ones getting into trouble."

Severus arched an eyebrow and gave his friend a pointed look. Then he held up his hand and counted with his fingers. "Well... let's see. With Harry, there was the troll incident, one evening they stumbled into the room with Fluffy, Hagrid's cerberus, the story around Hagrid's dragon and then of course the incident with the philosopher's stone and I'm sure I know only half of Harry's adventures. And Draco... he took a remembrall from Mr. Longbottom and incited Harry to fly on his broom in his first flying lesson without supervision, he also instigated a duel at midnight, spied a lot on the Golden Trio, used every change to rile up Harry and his friends and believed he could bend the rules to his liking just because I am his godfather. I assure you, no other students attract as much attention as these two."

Lucius chuckled at that. Draco should count himself lucky that he hadn't heard of all this before, or he wouldn't have sat properly for a whole week. Then he frowned. He had no idea how he would deal with such situations in the future. Since Harry came into his life and after the fiasco of the first week, he didn't know if he could ever spank Draco or Harry without a second thought. Well, he knew he would not be able to spank Harry ever again.

On the other hand he also needed to provide rules and consequences. Especially for Harry, it was necessary to give him the assurance and stability he so obviously needed; and Draco also needed to understand that his actions still had consequences.

Situations like these made his longing for his missing wife so much stronger. Would he be able to find her one day? Would she like Harry as much as he did? And what would happen if the Dark Lord returned? He was no fool, he knew that Lord Voldemort would be back sooner or later. The darkening of the mark on his arm was proof enough.

AN: Now I need your help. Harry's Adoption is approaching. We all know already that the ritual, that will take place, will change Harry's genes and therefore his appearance. But in what way? Let me know what you would like to change on Harry. Shall he get blond hair? Shall his hair grew longer? Or are there just minimal facial changes? Will he get taller? Will he get the best of all and morph into a eye cacher? Think about it and let me know about your ideas. There is just one thing I will not change, and that are Harry's eyes. They had to be green in my opinion. THX! =)