The Tonks house was small, noisy, messy, and cheerful. Severus could hear music playing upstairs, and someone clattering pots in the kitchen, and Ted was already stepping forward to greet him as he came out of the floo.
“Hello, Professor,” he said warmly. “How are you? Andy’s at work, I’m afraid, but you said in your letter it was Harry you wanted to talk to?”
Severus nodded. “Just checking in,” he explained. “Though I do, at last, have an explanation for what happened on the first of September last year - fortunately, it was neither malicious, nor likely to be repeated.”
Ted frowned, clicking his tongue as he thought. “...better talk about that when Andy’s here,” he murmured. “Malicious or not, it’s a gap in our security, and we need to deal with it.”
“Of course,” Severus agreed. Plenty of Death Eaters had underestimated ‘the mudblood who married a Black’ in the war, and learned the better of it. He’d chosen Ted and Andromeda as his allies because they had shown they could protect a child from all the resources the Dark Lord’s people could muster; he would trust them to do so now.
Ted nodded, and his face cleared, returning to his usual cheerful smile. “Come into the kitchen and I’ll get Harry for you - he’s in his room.”
When Harry came downstairs, he was wearing a green shirt, trousers just the right length, and a cheerful smile. "Hello, Professor!" he said. "Is everything alright?”
“Hello, Harry,” Severus replied, watching with amusement as Harry went straight for the biscuit tin next to the kettle. “Everything’s fine, I’m just checking in.”
“Well, that’s alright then,” Harry said, with the air of someone quoting. “D’you want a biscuit? They’ve got apricot bits.”
"No, thank you," Severus replied politely.
Harry shrugged, retrieved a biscuit for himself, and perched on one of the kitchen chairs to nibble at it.
“I’d like to apologise, Harry,” Severus admitted. “I had fully intended to ensure that your place here was more secure, so that you didn’t have to keep it secret this summer. Thus far, however, I have been unable.”
Harry looked at him seriously, those green eyes steady. “It’s nicer visiting Diagon Alley when people don’t know who I am,” he said. “I don’t think I’d want everyone to know. And I’m still here , that’s the important part.”
Severus smiled slightly. “I understand,” he agreed. “Nevertheless, I will keep working on the problem. Do you have plans for the summer?”
Harry grinned at him. “We’re all going to the Natural History Museum on Friday - Ms Andromeda and Hermione and Hermione’s dad and Neville and Ron and Ginny and Lisa and Colin and Colin’s dad. And then next week, before Hermione goes to France, we’re all going to the zoo! Ron’s never seen an elephant, not even a photo until I showed him, and I told him they were as tall as Hagrid’s hut and he didn’t believe me, so we’re going to show him. And I want to see if there’s a snake like Madam Goswami’s.”
It was a simple, but welcome pleasure, to listen to Harry talk about his summer plans. Going flying at the Weasleys, shopping in Diagon, playing and learning and spending time with his friends.
“And then after the party at the Longbottoms, Ms Andromeda and Mr Ted and I are going to India! ” Harry exclaimed. “Madam Goswami invited us back in March. She says that if my Gran was alive, maybe I would have gone already, and it’s high time I met all my cousins.”
“Are there a lot of cousins?” Severus prompted, smiling.
“Heaps!” Harry replied, beaming. “And Madam Goswami says her, um, her cousin’s daughter? Her name’s Priyanka. She teaches all the little kids about talking to snakes, and I can learn too!”