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AU. When Sirius and Remus go looking for Peter Pettigrew, they make a wrong turn and someone else finds him first. Eight years later, Sirius owns a book store and Remus manages it for him. When Harry stumbles into the store and they find out the truth, they decide it's time to be Stealing Harry. (SB/RL slash relationship in later chapters.)

Remus dressed quickly, but by the time he reached the kitchen, he could smell food already cooked and hear voices at the kitchen table; perhaps Snape had started the oatmeal while Harry had run up to fetch them. Considering his skill with potions, it ought to be more than edible.

Remus paused in the shadows of the kitchen doorway, watching as Sirius carried a small tin to the table and sat down next to Harry; Andromeda and Ted sat on the other side, with Snape at the head -- he'd probably staked that for himself -- and Nymphadora at the foot. There was just enough room for a skinny werewolf on the bench next to Sirius, he noted with a smile.

" -- easy on him," Andromeda was saying, as she daintily cut the crusts off her toast.

"He does all right," Sirius answered. "Trooper, he is."

"Didn't I read somewhere -- Snape old man, you ought to know this -- some sort of potion for sedating them?" Ted asked.

Remus realised they were discussing him, and drew a little further back into the shadows.

"It's still being formulated," Snape growled. Harry had pried open the tin and was sprinkling tiny, shining eggs into his oatmeal, while Sirius helped himself liberally to the strawberry jam. "The base is a middle-eastern formula; they have trouble with loup-garou on some of the nomadic trade routes. Apparently the brewing is a rather delicate process."

"Is it a daily dosage?" Andromeda asked. "I mean, I don't see why they'd need sedating the rest of the time. I'd hate to see Remus..." she gestured with her spoon in the air, and glanced at Harry. Remus saw Sirius' head turn to regard his godson, though he couldn't actually see his face. Harry was anointing the eggs in his oatmeal with milk, which was making them hatch -- ah yes. Harrison's Wondrous Eggs; you added them to any cereal with milk, and they hatched into animated candy dragons. He could see the little creatures, made of maple sugar, crawling around in Harry's bowl.

"Monthly," Snape said. "So I'm given to understand."

Remus leaned against the doorway, rubbing his jaw thoughtfully. Everyone in that room knew what he was; barring Snape, none of them seemed to bear him any particular ill will on account of it, and Snape could hardly be blamed for disliking a creature who'd once spiritedly tried to disembowel him.

They all know, he thought.

It was comforting, in a way. Even if he wasn't keen on their discussing ways to sedate him in his absence. Ted was Muggle-born, and probably had no fear of werewolves -- probably hadn't been aware they even existed, as a child. Snape and Sirius had known since they were schoolboys, and while their feelings on the subject were probably polar opposites, at least neither of them walked on eggshells around it. Andromeda had been raised in a family of taste and good manners, if not the best social philosophy, and she handled this as she handled everything, with poise and confidence. Dora was their daughter and would no doubt do the same; besides, any girl who had bright blue hair was probably fairly progressive in her thinking.

Harry was Harry, and had solemnly promised, in his little-boy way, to keep Remus' secret. Remus wondered idly, watching Harry devour a squirming maple-sugar dragon, how long he'd known.

"Is that you lurking in the doorway, Remus?" Andromeda called, with a smile. "Come in, your oatmeal's getting cold."

Remus smiled back and ducked inside, helping himself to a bowlful from the pan on the stove. He reached around Harry, took a handful of candy eggs, and sprinkled them on his cereal, wrinkling his nose at the vaguely pink cast of Sirius' breakfast.

"Jam again?" he asked.

"You'll rot your teeth with those," Sirius answered, as Remus added milk.

"Tell your godson, not me. Morning, Severus," Remus said cheerfully. Snape grunted, and plucked a miniature dragon off of Harry's spoon as the boy offered it to Snake. The creature didn't seem to be in any danger; he was clearly having no part of this strange human food. Snape dropped the squirming candy dragon fastidiously onto the table, where it disintegrated completely. Harry, eyes big as saucers, tried dropping one himself -- or rather, throwing one down onto the table -- and it splatted quite satisfyingly. Snape wiped the area next to his bowl with his napkin, and set a book down there.

"If any of you are remotely interested in the welfare of the child we have apparently gathered to raise, as it were, as a village," he drawled, "you may want to pay a desultory sort of attention to this."

Remus leaned around Sirius, interestedly, while Harry peered at the book.

"The particular element in question," Snape said, "Forms the base of a number of more advanced potions. I believe we ought to seriously consider the thought that Pettigrew is attempting a resurrection. I don't think we need look very far for the name of his intended beneficiary. There are a few other uses for this...fluid, but they require other ingredients -- " Snape reluctantly allowed Remus, who had stretched out his hand, to take the book.

"For speaking to the dead...fortunetelling using the -- er, yuk," Remus said, reading one of the potions. "Preservation of the dead...Resurrection, under certain magical circumstances...having the body in one's possession is rather important in these, isn't it?" Remus asked, flipping the page. Snape nodded, grudgingly. "I don't know, he didn't leave a corporeal body behind, which is one of the reasons Dumbledore's convinced he's still out there...for the empowerment of the spirit..." he trailed off, eyes scanning the potion.

"What?" Sirius asked, mouth half-full of oatmeal.

"This requires the blood of two innocent children," Remus said, "taken forcibly, and consumed in part shortly thereafter..."

Snape's eyebrows drew together.

"I saw blood on Peter's face," Remus whispered. "What if -- "

Upstairs, a door slammed, and Moody's voice called urgently. "Black!"

"Down here, Moody!" Sirius called, rising and walking to the doorway. Moody clunked down the stairs, moving as fast as Remus had ever seen him move, and growled when he reached the bottom.

"We're not waiting any longer," he announced. "Pettigrew went after the Longbottoms early this morning. If he's set up in your bookshop, odds are he'll be back by this evening; probably isn't risking getting caught Apparating, specially with a broken leg. Setting traps even as we speak," he added. "Broke the lock on your shop, sorry about that. Aurors'll reimburse you if we catch the little bastard."

"Are the Longbottoms all right?" Andromeda asked. "It's just Frank and Alice's child and his gran, isn't it?"

"Just the child now," Moody grunted. "Far as we can tell, the gran caught them takin' the blood, and there was a right row. Found the boy hiding under the bed, half-dead, told us his gran hexed that Bellatrix woman and from the sound of it broke one of Pettigrew's legs. Boy should be fine," he growled, when Andromeda gave him a look. "Got a great-uncle can take him in -- "

"Algernon Longbottom?" Andromeda demanded.

"Aye, that was -- "

"The man dropped him out of an upstairs window! It was in the Prophet!"

"A concern for later, darling," Ted said, putting a hand on her arm as her eyes flashed indignantly.

"Traps in the bookshop?" Sirius asked. "They're not lethal, are they?"

"Course they're lethal," Moody scoffed.

"Yes, what's the point of traps that let you off with a static shock and a light warning," Remus murmured. "I should make sure they don't destroy anything valuable," he said, to Sirius. Snape was already making notes on the potion Remus had been looking at, muttering to himself under his breath. "Coming?"

Sirius shook his head just as Moody growled that he didn't want the entire city descending on Sandust Books. "I don't want Harry anywhere Peter might be," he said quietly. "And I'm not leaving Harry."

Remus gave him a quick nod, and turned to Moody. "I'll come back with you. Snape -- "

"I need a book," Snape said, snapping the one he was holding shut. "Have you a copy of the Obscurato Legionis?" he asked Sirius, who shook his head.

"Our father thought it was too liberal," he said. "Bought a copy for burning, I think, back in the day when that sort of thing was done."

"It would be illegal for Sandust to stock one," Remus said properly, glancing at Moody, who shook his head in disgust and began clumping up the stairs. He risked a quick confirming nod at Snape.

"The eye sees through walls," Moody called, and Remus looked guilty. "That's a thirty Galleon fine for importing contraband, Lupin, and twenty more for possession."

"I didn't import it," Remus answered, as they climbed the stairs. "It came in a lot I purchased at auction."

"Ten for receiving illegal goods, then," Moody replied, as they emerged from the stairwell into the main hall, and followed him out the door.

"Might we continue this discussion after I've seen the book?" Snape asked impatiently.

"Sandust Books," Moody said. "Remember to Apparate behind the shop; it's on a Muggle street."

They both nodded, and followed a split second after his own Disapparation.


"Algernon Longbottom indeed," Andromeda said, as the three men vanished up the stairwell. She reached for her cloak, hanging by the fire, and began to pull it on. Ted put out a hand to stop her.

"What do you think you're doing?"

"Going to see the poor boy," she replied, "and prevent Algernon from coming anywhere near him. You remember, we met him at that dinner party, he's quite entirely mad, Ted."

"The hospital isn't open to visitors for another two hours, and you'll only get into trouble if you go now," Ted said calmly. "I'm sure they have guards on him, knowing Moody, and if he was as badly hurt as Moody implied, he'll probably be there some time."

Andromeda lifted her chin imperiously and Sirius, watching, had a moment of deja vu; it was a gesture not uncommon in the family, when a woman of the Blacks was being argued with.

"Who's Neville?" Harry asked, before Andromeda could speak. "Did they do to him what they did to me?"

Andromeda, distracted, turned to look at the boy.

"Worse, love, because he didn't have Sirius protecting him," she said, as Sirius pulled Harry close to his hip, careful of the bandage on his shoulder and neck. "That's why he's in hospital," she added, glaring at her husband, "And that's why we ought to go see him."

"I'm not saying you shouldn't go see him," Ted sighed. Sirius glanced at Nymphadora; she was calmly finishing her cereal. Clearly she'd come to an understanding of her parents'...dynamic relationship. "I'm saying you ought to wait until he's allowed to have visitors. We could take Harry to see him, get us out of the house for a while. We could have Harry's cuts looked at while we were there. I'm sure they wouldn't deny the Boy Who Lived a chance to visit with Neville."

Sirius took a moment to admire the sheer brilliance of Ted Tonks.

Even if Andromeda had gone during visiting hours, they weren't likely to let the sister of the woman who'd helped to maim Neville in to see him. The Boy Who Lived, on the other hand, would make a lovely photo op for the reporters and good publicity for the hospital. And it would still get Andromeda in to talk some sense into anyone attempting to send Neville Longbottom home with a man who'd dropped him out his bedroom window last year.

"Can I bring Snake?" Harry asked.

"As long as you hide him," Sirius said. Andromeda pulled off her cloak, grudgingly.

"We'll go promptly at ten," she announced. "Dora, I want you to take Harry to the library. Sirius will be up shortly."

"I will?" Sirius asked.

"I'll do the washing-up here," Ted said, kissing his wife, who accepted the kiss with only a slight sulk.

"Yes," Andromeda said to Sirius. "I'd like a word with you."

Sirius obediently followed her up the stairs, and down the corridor that led to the front door. Near the entryway she stopped, and leaned against the wall, regarding him with a look so like his father's that he almost flinched. It wasn't anger, though; it was just that piercing gaze that she and Bellatrix and Narcissa all shared.

"I know we haven't always been close, Sirius," she said quietly, "and with you living mostly-Muggle, and especially lately, I guess I can understand that, though I always felt perhaps...we being the only two decent ones left..." she shrugged. "It doesn't matter. I think you ought to know I know about you and Remus."

Sirius gaped at her.

"And you're two grown men, and while I'm sure I don't know how it's done, what you two do in the privacy of your own home is your own business..." she said, waving a hand dismissively. "I don't mind you sharing a room here, either. But I think perhaps you ought to consider telling Harry soon. And consider how you ought to. He's getting bigger, he'll start noticing. If he hasn't already."

"Harry?" Sirius fumbled. "But we haven't even told -- how on earth did you know?"

"The man was naked in your bed, Sirius," she said, with a hint of a smile. "I saw when I came to wake you up yesterday. I can't say I disapprove of your choice."

Sirius put a hand over his face. Andromeda continued.

"And I suppose -- you could have told me, you know. When you ran away from your parents. I know you wanted to stay with the Potters so as not to cause trouble for me, and that was very thoughtful of you, but you could have told me it was because you were in love with a half-blood. I assume you didn't tell them about the werewolf part." He saw a thoughtful look cross her face, through his fingers. "Did they know it was a man? I can imagine that part wouldn't go over well either -- "

"No, Andromeda -- you've got the wrong end of the stick," he said, desperately. Her smile widened.

"It's all right, Sirius, we're family, you don't have to lie to me."

"I'm not lying. I didn't run away because of him -- well, sort of," he allowed. "But it wasn't because -- oh, any of those reasons. You know how Dad was. He just...he said something about Dark Creatures once too often and I let him have it."

"Yes, I remember the bruise where he punched you," she said, a trifle sadly. "But you are in love with Remus, aren't you?"

"I..." Sirius paused. "Yes, but -- no, wait, there is a but -- it's not like it's been ten or twelve years, Andromeda. It's barely been two days."

It was Andromeda's turn to stare. "Two days?"

Sirius nodded. "Just since the attack. Well. I'd been...we'd been...discussing things for a while before that, but not nearly so long as you think. A few weeks at most. Night before last it sort of...exploded on us."

"But you've been friends for years, I just naturally assumed...and nobody ever asked you?" she asked. Sirius shook his head.

"Wait, you assumed?" he demanded. Andromeda nodded. "When? Why did you assume?"

"Well, you never were the settling-down-with-a-nice-girl type, and you spend an awful lot of time with him, and it's so easy to see what he feels," Andromeda said. "When you come into the room, he could get mauled by a Hippogriff and not notice it. The rest of us become background noise."

"That's not -- " Sirius crossed his arms, ducking his head. "Is that really true?"

Andromeda nodded gravely.

"Oh." Sirius rubbed his jaw with one hand. "That's...good. Thank you, Andromeda."

"You should still tell Harry," she said, stopping him as he began to walk away. "Especially if it's new. He'll see it. I'm not one to tell you how to raise your child, Sirius, but it'll only lead to a very confused young boy if you don't at least give him a few facts of life. There are books," she said helpfully.

Sirius turned and stared. "Books?" he asked, voice cracking slightly.

"Well, of course. Don't you have a shelf for that kind of thing in the bookshop?" she said, with a laugh.

"Books about...that?" he asked. "For...for men?"

"Sure. I wouldn't recommend you give them to Harry directly, but they might pave the way a bit."

Sirius resolved to stop by the shop that afternoon and have a brief and instructional discussion with Remus about Books On This Sort Of Thing. Forget educating Harry -- he needed an education of his own.

"Don't look so thunderstruck, Sirius," Andromeda said, taking his arm as they walked towards the library. Clanking from the kitchen told them Ted was doing dishes Muggle-fashion. "I bet," she said, teasingly, "there are even a few in the Black family library."

"Never," Sirius answered. "Blacks Don't Do That Sort Of Thing, Andromeda, you know that. I'm fairly sure my mother was working on a needlepoint concerning that when she died."

Andromeda grinned. "We shall see."

She pushed open the doors to the library, and stopped on the threshold. "Now if I were a book about naughty things like this," she said, tapping her finger on her chin, "I'd be on a high shelf, in a very dim corner, perhaps hidden behind something..."

"I'm going to go sit with Harry," Sirius said. "Remus left some reading, might as well be thorough about it."

Andromeda nodded and wandered off; her daughter poked her head around a corner and waved to Sirius, who picked up a handful of books from Remus' study table as he passed.

When his father and mother had still been alive, the reading nook was, it was always clear, a place to See, rather than a place to Sit. It commanded the best view of the front street outside the house -- which was not all that splendid a view anymore, really -- and it was a place his father might take someone to have brandy after dinner. It had several lush couches and chairs, but Sirius had never, of course, been allowed on any of them on pain of one of his father's infrequent but not ineffective whippings.

No wonder I became a dog, he thought, only slightly morbidly. Even when I was a kid they didn't want me on the furniture.

Now, of course, he grinned to see Harry, tucked in a corner of a richly brocaded couch, his sneakers up on the end of it, a book propped on his knees. Dora was lounging across a chair, blue-tinged hair falling over one armrest, listening to him read. Snake was gliding silently across the couch, towards an unsuspecting spider spinning a web on the windowsill.

" -- advancing over the sea, two immense serpents. They came upon the land, and the crowd fled in all directions. The serpents advanced directly to the spot where he stood with his two sons. They first attacked the children, winding round their bodies and breathing in their faces. The father, attempting to rescue them, is next seized and involved in the serpents' coils," Harry read. Sirius raised his eyebrows. "Brilliant," Harry added, lifting up the book to show Sirius a picture in it.

"What on earth are you letting him read?" Sirius asked. Nymphadora grinned.

"Bullfinch's Mythology. Muggle book about Greece," she said. "Brought it from home, it's mandatory reading in the Muggle Studies course I've got this fall at the Academy. Harry likes it, don't you?"

"It's all gods and magic and all," Harry agreed. "I don't see why the snakes had to kill his sons though."

Sirius settled in next to Harry, taking great delight in propping his feet on the low table in front of them. Take that, house, he thought.

"Anyway, they're the bad guys, because La...oo..." Harry gave Dora an inquiring look.

"Laocoon," she said.

"Right. He's trying to stop the Spartans invading Troy. Bit stupid, really," Harry decided. He leaned on Sirius' arm, and flipped through the rest of the book. "And they're not the only ones who die, Dora says."

"Maybe this isn't a book you should be reading," Sirius said gently, lifting it away.

"I'm not gonna die, am I, Sirius?" Harry asked.

"Not in the near future. Why?"

"Mr. Moody said they almost killed another boy like me."

"Well, he didn't have me protecting him, and you do." Sirius looked down at him. "All right then, Harry?"

"I'm scared," Harry whispered, which is a large admission for a nine-year-old boy.

"It'll be okay," Sirius answered, when what he really wanted to say was I'm scared too. He put his arm around Harry, pulling him closer, and thought to himself Hell, I think I've finally grown up.

"Sorry," Dora murmured. "I didn't think it could do him any harm."

"Not your fault," Sirius replied, as Andromeda appeared. She smiled.

"Aren't you three a picture," she said. "Here, Sirius, I brought something for you."

Sirius took a look at the book she was offering, blushed, and quickly tucked it under a cushion, away from Nymphadora and Harry's curious eyes. "Where'd you find something like that?"

"There's a row of suspiciously healthy potted plants on one of the shelves. Turns out they were an illusion charm," Andromeda replied, as Nymphadora snuck the book out from under the cushion. Her eyes grew wide as dinner plates, and she shoved it back quickly.

"I' it later. Thank you, Andromeda," Sirius said firmly. "For now..." he sighed as he picked up one of Remus' books. "I hate doing nothing, you know. Being stuck here."

"Better to be here with Harry than off somewhere trying to get yourself killed," she said comfortingly. "It's only until the hospital's visiting hours, then we can go see the Longbottom boy. In the meantime," she said, settling herself composedly on a chair, "Dora, sit up straight and don't make Harry do your homework for you."

Sirius exchanged a grin with Nymphadora, who rolled her eyes and straightened in the chair, opening Bullfinch's Mythology, while Sirius found a more appropriate book for Harry from the pile on the table, and opened one of the ones Remus had been annotating, handing one to Andromeda. Comfortable, bookish silence settled on the room.

When he thought everyone was sufficiently distracted, Sirius pulled out the book Andromeda had brought him, and placed it inside the larger book he was reading.

Andromeda grinned behind her own volume.


There was an owl for Sirius just before they left for the hospital, a hastily-scrawled note from Remus saying all was well and he'd meet them at St. Mungo's for lunch, unless there was a change of plan. Sirius tucked the parchment in his pocket and gestured for Andromeda to Apparate; Nymphadora floo'd out first, and Sirius wrapped his arms around Harry, floo'ing with him cautiously.

St. Mungo's smelled of antiseptic and made Sirius nervous. He kept a grip on Harry's shoulder while Andromeda wrangled with the mediwitch, backed up by Ted; Nymphadora had wandered off and knocked over someone's chair, and was trying to help right it and repair it, apologetically.

"All right, let's have a look at the lad," someone said, and Sirius instinctively stepped in front of his godson, snarling. The Healer almost leapt backwards.

"It's all right, Sirius, I asked him to," Andromeda said sharply. Sirius stayed where he was, Harry peering around his hip. "Perhaps a private room?" she asked, with all the self-assurance of five centuries of good breeding behind her. The Healer, still looking warily at Sirius, gestured to a room down the hall.

"As soon as Harry's checked out, we're all going to go see Neville," she said, while Sirius watched the Healer prod Harry, warily. She showed him the satchel she'd been carrying, which had two pairs of Harry's pyjamas and some books in it. "I can't imagine he's had much to do, sitting in hospital all day."

"He looks fine," the Healer interrupted, pressing a new bandage over the vicious slice that ran from the corner of Harry's shoulder and neck, across his collarbone, and nearly over the hollow of his throat. Sirius winced, seeing the deep gash. "There's not much more to be done for him; I think you're right, Madame Tonks, the blade must have been spelled. Here you are lad, I think I've got a box of juice around here somewhere..."

"He's fine," Sirius said, brusquely, and helped Harry off the table. "We'll go see Neville now."

Andromeda and the Healer exchanged a look, but she shrugged, and he seemed content to follow her lead. Up a flight of stairs they went, down another hallway, past two Aurors without trouble, and into a small white room. A young boy in white hospital issue clothing was lying in the bed, curled up, back to the door.

"He hasn't spoken much. His great-uncle was here early this morning, but he's not able to stay -- pressing business, apparently," the Healer said. Andromeda snorted. "I understand you've brought young Harry to give him a bit of company?"

"Yes, that's right," Andromeda said smoothly. "Thank you, we'll call you if we need anything."

The Healer, looking as though he'd like to object, shut his mouth at a glance from her, and left, door swinging a bit behind him.

"Is that him?" Harry whispered to Sirius, who nodded. "Is he asleep?"

Andromeda leaned over the bed. "Doesn't look like it. Hi, Neville. My name's Andromeda."

The boy didn't move, except to raise a hand to rub one eye, irritably.

"We heard you were here and thought we'd bring you some books and things," she continued. "And we brought Harry along. He's about your age, aren't you Harry?"

"Hi, Neville," Harry said, following Andromeda's example. The boy buried his face in the pillow. Harry and Andromeda exchanged a look so comically helpless that Sirius hid a grin. Ted didn't bother to hide his.

"Wouldn't you like to have a look at a book?" Andromeda asked. "It must be boring, being here alone."

"No," Neville said, into the pillow.

"They're good books," Harry said. "They're about magic and -- "

"I hate magic!"

Harry frowned. "Why? Magic's brilliant."

Neville didn't answer.

"You wouldn't feel like that if you grew up with Muggles," Harry said confidently. Andromeda put a hand on his shoulder.

"Maybe we ought to leave the books on the bed for him," she said, eyeing Neville curiously. "And we brought you some nice soft pyjamas, much nicer than the hospital ones."

"They're mine, but you can use them," Harry said. "They're clean, and all. You want red stripes or Snitches-and-Broomsticks?"

Neville lifted his head a little. "You've got pyjamas with Snitches on?" he asked. Andromeda beamed and held up a pyjama shirt.

Sirius, who had become a father without going through the intermediary stages of birth or toddlerhood, watched with a little awe as Andromeda deftly helped the boy into the new clothing, seemingly without disturbing the blankets at all. Neville looked down at the cuffs, when he was done, and smiled a little. Then he moved his head too quickly, to look up at Andromeda, and whimpered when the bandage at his neck pulled. Harry watched, idly, as the other boy breathed deep.

"Mine hurts too," he said, pulling down the collar of his shirt. "It's getting better though. Hey, you want to see my snake?"

Neville looked rather alarmed at this. "You've got a snake? Does it bite?"

"No, he's tame," Harry said, pushing up his sleeve and showing off where Snake was wound around his arm. Neville made a small noise of fear, and Harry stroked Snake's head.

"He'll be nice if I tell him to," Harry reassured the boy. "Go on then. He's sleepy."

Neville, hesitantly, stretched his hand out, barely touching the smooth, soft snakeskin. "He's warm!"

"Yeah, had him under my sleeve all morning," Harry said. Andromeda stepped backwards, until she was standing with Sirius and Ted. Harry launched into a detailed lecture on how snakes were cold-blooded creatures and what that meant, as he unwound his pet and placed him on the blanket, so that Neville could pet him more easily.

"Poor boy," Andromeda said softly. Sirius glanced at her. "I know the Longbottom family, passingly. Not to speak ill of the dead, but I'll bet this is the first time he's been allowed anywhere near someone his own age. And I'm sure it's the first time he's been let near a snake."

Sirius watched as Snake, apparently on command from Harry, reared up and hissed. Neville smiled anxiously.

"Andromeda," Ted warned.

"Yes, dear?"

"You've got that look in your eye."

"What look is that?" Andromeda asked, as Harry and Neville giggled over something.

"The same look you had when you took in that boot-faced stray cat for the sole reason that it was horribly ugly," Ted answered. "That mama-lion look."

"Nonsense," Andromeda replied. "I just think it's madness to entrust the boy to a man who pushed him off a pier."

Neville had consented to have Snake coiled up on top of his head, and was sitting very still while the animal explored his fringe.

"He does look like a very sweet boy, doesn't he?" Andromeda mused, with an absent sort of smile.

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