“He cannot stay here, Severus,” Albus said sadly, looking down at the barely responsive boy lying on the hospital bed, sleeping semi-peacefully for once. “With him in this state, the ministry will eat him up.”
“And you think my relatives will do any less?” Severus whispered heatedly back. Albus chuckled.
“Just tell them that he’s recovering from the stress of being a war hero. I may not be very comfortable around your relations, but I do understand them.” Severus glared forbiddingly at the elderly man, who just chuckled, and Severus inwardly cursed at how well his mentor knew him. He drew himself up haughtily.
“I will not be held accountable for what happens to him,” he said icily, and spun to leave the room, his robes billowing out behind him. He ignored the contented twinkle in the old man’s eyes as he left.
“Come along, Potter. We’re already late thanks to your dawdling.” Harry didn’t say anything, but didn’t increase his speed, either. He trudged along behind his professor, eyes fixed on the ground under his feet. Which was actually a fairly safe practice walking around outside the Addams’ house, but one that irritated his professor to no end, because he always did it now.
Severus knocked on the door briskly while Harry closed the gap between them. The door was opened by a man who bore more than a passing resemblance to Frankenstein’s monster before his surgery. “Morticia should be expecting us, Lurch,” Severus said stiffly. Lurch nodded and stepped back to let them in. A woman in a long black evening gown floated down the stairs as they came in.
“Ah, Severus, how good it is to see you again,” she murmured, taking his hand and letting him kiss her fingers. “And this must be young Harry.” Harry looked up at her, guided by her hand, blood-red nails standing out against his skin as they did against her own. “Such a tortured soul,” she crooned to him, and leaned down to kiss his forehead. He blinked at her. “You are welcome here, young one.” He nodded slightly, leaning his head into her hand. “Come, I will show you to your room. Severus, Lurch will take the bags, don’t worry about them. You’re in your usual room.” She took Harry’s hand and led him away, seeming to move naturally at exactly the pace he walked.
About halfway there, Harry suddenly pulled away to look out the window. Morticia moved to look over his shoulder, as though she didn’t know exactly what every window of her house showed. “Ah, the cemetery. Would you like me to introduce you to the ancestors tomorrow? It can take quite some time to see them all, and you should probably settle in for this evening.” He nodded slowly, looking up at her of his own will for the first time.
“I would like that,” he whispered. “You’re very kind.” After a moment more, he turned and awkwardly offered her his arm, which she took gracefully. “I’m sorry, I’m so-” Morticia touched his lips with a single nail.
“Hush now. You’re here to recover from that disgusting display of adoration you’ve been subjected to. It’s no wonder you’re overwhelmed.” She was quiet for a moment, and so was he, though her hand lowered to rest by her side. “You’ll meet my children at dinner, as well as Mamá, and my husband and his brother. Do you think that the seven of us, plus your professor, will be too much of a crowd?” she asked in concern. Harry thought for a moment, and then shook his head. She smiled at him. “Now, here’s your room, Wednesday and Pugsley are just down the hall from you. Pubert is in the nursery next to my room. Fester’s room is in the attic, and Lurch is in the basement. Thing moves around, but don’t let him alarm you dear, he’s harmless.” Harry raised an eyebrow, but didn’t comment; he felt like he’d used up his store of words for the entire evening already. He stepped into the room when Morticia threw open the door. It was done all in dark browns and blacks, a large bed dominating the room. His skimming eyes noted chains permanently attached to each bedpost, as well as hooks and things along the walls and headboard. There was a shuttered door set into one wall, and Morticia pushed it open to reveal a closet with a dresser set into one side. “The door opposite yours is a bathroom. Lurch will be up with your bags in a moment, until then, you look like you could use some rest.” Harry nodded, and Morticia slipped back through the door. Harry sank down onto the bed, kicking his shoes off as he sat, and leaned back into the soft bed. He didn’t notice that it kept sinking under him, the sides raising to cocoon him gently. He was asleep again by the time Lurch came in with his bags. Lurch looked at the bed for a moment, then set the bags down by the closet as quietly as possible.
The children were outside the door when he stepped back out. He raised a finger to his lips, rumbling commandingly. Wednesday and Pugsley nodded, looking slightly disappointed when he shooed them down the hall in front of him, obviously protecting their newest guest. The two exchanged glances; the only people they’d ever seen Lurch so protective of was them and their mother and father.
“’Tish, where is our young guest?” Gomez asked suddenly, looking at his wife across the table. Severus looked up, irritation quite plain on his face as he realized Potter hadn’t made it downstairs yet.
“Lurch said that he was asleep when he brought his bags up, he’s probably still asleep. I’m sure he’ll be fine until morning. The poor thing looked exhausted.” Gomez nodded.
“Well, then we shan’t disturb him until morning,” he said decisively. He looked pointedly at the children until they nodded, even Pubert.
Wednesday moved decisively down the hall from her room later that night. Pugsley looked at her from the doorway to his room. “We’re not supposed to bother him tonight.”
“I’m not going to bother him,” she said calmly. “I just want to see him.”
“He’s all swallowed up in his bed,” Pugsley objected, proving that he’d been thinking the same as she, but hadn’t waited as long to make sure it was safe.
“We both know that the bed will unswallow him as soon as I come into the room,” she said proudly. She was quite glad that she’d technically become a woman, even if she’d never made use of her new status. A man’s bed would free him for a woman, and a woman’s for a man, if there was the potential for attraction between them. She didn’t know how it worked in other households, but she’d been told that it wasn’t so in the so-called ‘normal’ world.
She opened the door quietly, moving in to stand next to the head of his bed. She stared down at him as his eyes fluttered sleepily, revealing the barest hint of jade before they closed again. Pugsley moved to stand next to her.
“He looks sad,” Pugsley said simply. Wednesday nodded without speaking. After a few more moments, she took Pugsley’s hand and led him from the room. The bed groaned as it settled down again. “So do we like him, Wednesday?” Wednesday’s hand tightened on his as she pushed him back into his room.
“I don’t know, Pugs, I haven’t decided yet. But I think so.” Pugsley just nodded. “Go inside and go to sleep now,” she commanded. He nodded again and disappeared into his room. Wednesday stood a moment looking towards Harry’s door before moving to her own. The morning would be soon enough to find out more about this boy, now that her curiosity was at least partially satisfied.
Harry stumbled into the kitchen the next morning, Thing riding on his shoulder. He froze in the doorway, and Thing jumped up and snapped to get his attention, then pointed to an empty chair before landing back on his shoulder. Harry nodded slightly and moved to sit in it. He didn’t comment on the hard, uncomfortable wooden chair; even if he’d been inclined to, it was rather obvious that the chairs around the table were a matched set, so what was the point?
“How was your sleep, Harry?” Morticia asked softly as Grandmama dished out a breakfast that he was hesitant to try to identify. He poked it with a fork, noting that the lump in the center moved with a small moan. Severus snorted from the other end of the table.
“Dreadful,” Harry replied shortly. Morticia smiled.
“I’m glad that you’re settling in so quickly. I’m sure that in no time, you’ll feel right at home.” Harry shot her a slightly confused look, but didn’t say anything, preferring to turn his attention to where he was playing with his food rather than eating it.
“Pass the salt,” the girl next to him said absently, holding out a hand.
“Wednesday, what do we say?”
“Now!” the girl snapped at him. Harry raised an eyebrow and stared at her, waiting until she turned so he could meet cold chocolate-brown eyes with his own, then shrugged and handed her the salt. She watched him for a moment longer, as he finally dared to take a single bite of the moving meal in front of him. He blinked and snatched the salt back, applying it liberally to his food, then set the shaker on top of her head with a slight smirk. She rolled her eyes, but blushed slightly. Across the table, Pugsley was grumbling under his breath about how he’d never thought to do that.
Harry followed Morticia silently as she walked easily through the massive cemetery on the Adams family land. She was telling him about the ancestors, their names and how they’d died mostly, but there were a few tidbits from their lives thrown in. To a child who had never known about anyone further back than his own parents, it was fascinating.
“I wish I knew as much about my family,” he murmured when Morticia paused. She turned to look at him. “I don’t even know my grandparents’ names. No one would ever talk about them to me.” Morticia gently led him to a bench engraved with yet more names, and they sat.
“Tell me what you do know,” Morticia urged him gently. Harry shrugged slightly.
“I know my father’s parents were involved in the first war. My mother’s parents had two girls and always wanted a son. My mother and father were killed trying to protect me at the end of the first war. I know that all my grandparents are dead, but not how, or why, or when. Just that they are. I have two living relations, my aunt and cousin. Aunt Petunia spoiled Dudley something awful. He always got at least half of my portion of anything. I came to Hogwarts half-starved and barely able to even understand what a friend was. I’d never known affection since my parents died.” Morticia would have been tempted to think he was trying to play on her sympathy, except for the blankness in his face and voice, and the rote way he recited it, as though it didn’t even matter. Someone trying to play her would have been more passionate about it, trying to be more convincing. She wrapped an arm around his shoulders and drew him close, petting his hair softly as he began to cry. Someone would pay, she vowed, for keeping this boy from his family.
Wednesday found him that afternoon, sitting on the sill of the window looking out onto the cemetery. He looked up at her approach, but said nothing.
“Would you like to play a game with me?” she asked softly, her eyes fixed on his face. He looked at her for a long moment, and then shrugged.
“Why not?” He stood and followed her to the attic, not noticing Morticia watching from a landing. “Where are we going?”
“To the attic,” she replied absently. He nodded.
“What game are we going to play?” Her smile turned wicked.
“It’s called, ‘Is There A God?’.”
“Where’s Potter?” Severus asked Morticia almost 20 minutes later. “The headmaster wishes to speak with him.” Morticia smiled.
“He’s up in the attic, playing with Wednesday.” Frowning slightly, he mentally catalogued, trying to figure out which of Wednesday’s toys were in the attic. His eyes widened and he took off for the attic at a dead run. Morticia smirked behind him. “Really. As if I would let him be harmed,” she murmured.
Severus arrived in the room just in time to see Wednesday throw the switch for the electric chair that Harry was wired into. He instantly moved to pull it back up, which was difficult since Wednesday was still holding on to it. He eventually persevered, despite the addition of Wednesday’s bodyweight, and started to unwire the boy to see if she’d killed him, ranting under his breath about stupid, suicidal teenagers and their need to impress.
“Really professor.” Harry’s voice seemed to echo throughout the room. “I never knew you cared.” Severus snorted.
“Stupid boy,” he muttered again, relieved that he was talking, and apparently coherent.
“Uncle Sev!” Wednesday protested. “You’re ruining our game!”
“I don’t care what you play with your brother, but Potter is here under my protection. There shall be no potential maiming!” Harry snorted.
“Oh, so now you have a problem with potential maiming.” The buckles of the straps fell open and he stood suddenly. “Throughout my school career you’ve never had a problem with me potentially being hurt, but now, suddenly, you grow a conscience. Why? Now that I’ve proven I’m worth something?” His magic broke from him and pinned Severus to the wall. “For your information, I’m feeling much better.” He took Wednesday’s hand. “Come, since the professor saw fit to interrupt us, we’ll have to find another game.” He escorted her out of the room before the professor could say anything else.
They ended up out in the cemetery again. Wednesday took his hand and led him in a wandering path around the graves to a small pavilion. “This is where my father proposed to my mother,” she said idly, sitting on one of the benches. “So why is Uncle Sev being so mean to you and not letting you play?” Harry snorted.
“Story of my life. He's always hated me. Though, in this case, I think he thought he was protecting me. I didn't grow up here like you did, after all.”
“So he thought you would get hurt by the electricity?” Harry nodded.
“I think so. But honestly, I feel a lot better.”
“Of course you do. You were looking just like Uncle Fester does when his charge starts to run out. So I knew it would help you.” Harry smiled and bowed to her.
“Then I thank you for your assistance, fair lady.” He kissed the back of her hand. She smiled slightly, embarrassed. Other than her parents, she'd never seen anyone who acted like that towards each other.
“Aren't they just perfect together, Gomez?” Morticia asked her husband softly as they looked out the window at their daughter and her new friend.
“Aye, cara mia, I hardly have the heart to watch them,” he replied just as softly.
“They remind me of us when we first met.”
“The first moment I saw you, I knew that to be without you again would be a dreadful agony, and to be with you, the sweetest bliss of pain.” Gomez drew Morticia close, kissing her passionately, as outside, unnoticed by any who had been watching, Harry dared to lean forwards and press a chaste kiss to Wednesday's lips.