Snape rounded a short hallway and set off up a narrow set of carpeted stairs.
Harry idly eyed framed watercolour paintings and family portraits. He hoped he’d have a chance to see them in the morning, though he half thought Snape might hide them. He hadn’t forgotten Snape’s firm warning to skin Harry alive if he told Ron or Hermione about any of the things he found in Spinner's End. He wondered if the rule applied to Ms Eileen’s house as well.
They passed a collection of small flower pots sitting in front of a thin window before coming upon a bedroom as crowded as the sitting room.
Snape pulled Harry’s trunk from his pocket and re-sized it before allowing Harry to poke through it for a pair of pyjamas as he disappeared out the door. Harry half worried his entire life would turn into a series of his running from house to house and never knowing whether he’d have his trunk or not. Snape seemed a safe person to keep things with though.
He blinked unsurely around the room as he waited for Snape to return. He hoped Snape would return at least. He wasn’t sure if he was allowed to sleep on the bed in front of him. Snape had brought him to this room, so it would be odd for him to not be allowed on it. He could easily go downstairs and sleep on the couch though.
Before he could question things much further, Snape slipped back into the room and helped him climb up onto the bed.
Maybe they’d trade off between the couch and bed. Harry didn’t know how many bedrooms were in this house. He didn’t take up much space and the couch would certainly make more sense for him rather than Snape.
The bed was cozy enough. Knit covers and thick patterned blankets were layered on top and it was larger than any of the cots he normally slept in. Sitting in the bed seemed to weaken the restlessness still itching in him, though Harry wasn’t sure his mind was quite as ready to sleep. There wasn’t much he could do about his consistently closing eyes though. The uncomfortable dream he’d had still lingered despite his reminder that his mouth wasn’t sewn shut, to say nothing of the experience with Avery, Dumbledore and Voldemort.
He wanted to know what was happening at Grimmauld Place, as well as at Privet Drive. He wanted to know how Ron and Hermione were.
What if Dumbledore punished them for Harry’s behaviour?
He found the pendant on his mum’s necklace and tried to breathe as it warmed. He might be able to write Dumbledore and to tell him not to hurt Ron or Hermione.
After all, they hadn’t run away from Dumbledore, Harry had.
Harry flinched and looked up. He disliked feeling so nervy, but he was unsure of too many things.
“I know this is chaotic and another new place.” Snape began with a whisper. “But this house is safe. It’s where I go, and have always gone, when I need a safe place.” Snape said. “No one will find you here. No one.”
Harry nodded and blinked down at his hands as he fussed with the necklace. He wasn’t sure if his safety was worth Ron and Hermione’s, especially if they didn’t have Snape or Sirius and Lupin to help them. How would they handle Dumbledore? What if he tried to curse them like he’d tried with Harry?
Snape’s fingers enclosed Harry’s, pushing him to look up again.
“I know our current plan isn’t one that many people would enjoy either, waiting is never anyone’s first choice.”
Harry nodded again, wondering what would happen if Sirius never wrote them. He shook that thought from his head quickly though, as Sirius had written to Harry or gotten in contact with him no matter what sort of dangers he was involved in.
“What if—” Harry paused, feeling suddenly self conscious about himself and his worries. He wasn’t sure he remembered any of his ‘what if’ worries ever being taken seriously before. Aunt Petunia certainly hadn’t had time for them. Ron and Hermione had always listened, and their advice was dead useful, but he couldn’t rely on them now, not when they might need to rely on him.
“What if?” Snape asked, seeming to quietly encourage Harry.
Harry quickly shook his head ‘no’ and tried to swallow down his fears. It didn’t feel as if he deserved to worry Snape with his concerns, not when Harry’d been the cause of it all to begin with. This was his fault.
He should handle it.
It was the graveyard all over again, though this time Harry had broken apart Dumbledore’s resistance and potentially given Voldemort the tools he needed to succeed, rather than just assisting in his rebirth, however unwilling he’d been. He put everyone’s lives in danger, again. He’d run from Dumbledore, who had only wanted Harry safe. Dumbledore just didn’t realize the Dursleys weren’t the nicest, he couldn’t see how or why they were so vile. Harry should’ve tried harder to explain that to him, and to explain that he wasn’t Voldemort, despite how much he might've seemed like the man in the Dursley’s front hallway.
Harry seeming like Voldemort wasn’t reason enough to hurt his friends. Ron and Hermione hadn’t been like Voldemort, and they would probably give Harry excellent reasons as to why he wasn’t like Voldemort either.
All the same, they didn’t deserve to suffer because of Harry.
He choked on the sob slowly creeping up his throat and desperately wished he wasn’t so self pitying. He needed to get over this. He had to accept what was his fault and move on.
This was his fault, but he’d fix it. He tried to breathe and let it sink in.
Snape’s hands came under his arms and he drew Harry closer, hugging him tightly against his chest.
Harry couldn’t help but consider how comforting being held was. Sometimes it felt like the only thing holding together all of Harry’s jagged and too sharp feelings. He was fairly used to Ron and Hermione hugging him or clapping him on the back, but there was something distinctly comforting about an adult helping Harry without first requiring him to provide a good enough reason to deserve it.
Snape’s fingers carded over his hair as he cupped the back of Harry’s head and something seemed to unravel in him the longer they sat there.
“What if Dumbledore hurts Ron and Hermione?”
His heart stuttered in his chest as the words slipped out of him. He wished he could turn back time and not speak at all. He dreaded Snape’s response. He pushed his face as far into the man’s chest as he could, trying to ignore the fact that he’d spoken at all.
“Molly Weasley doesn’t strike me as the sort to allow her children, biological or otherwise, to come to harm.” Snape answered.
Mrs Weasley! He’d forgotten Mrs Weasley was there. She’d never let anything happen to Ron or Hermione, or any of the other Weasleys. She’d probably take them back to the Burrow if she was worried.
Would that be safe enough though?
Harry was no longer sure about what was safe or not though. Snape said the Dursleys weren’t, but Dumbledore said they were. Dumbledore was the one that Snape trusted to set a ward on Harry’s mind the other night when Harry’d had that horrible vision.
“Harry,” Snape started quietly. “You are long past the point of exhaustion. Do you think you might be worrying yourself unnecessarily by thinking in this state?”
Harry shook his head ‘no’. If he didn’t think about all of it now, he wouldn’t be able to come up with a way to help Ron and Hermione when he needed to. They were safe for the moment, but what if that changed? What if Dumbledore told them about Voldemort coming out of Harry? What if Voldemort came back out of Harry when he was with Ms Eileen? What if he caught Snape helping Harry?
The thought of Snape’s cover being blown because of his actions made Harry’s stomach swirl with nauseas. A cold sweat broke out over him.
Snape pulled him away slightly and his dark eyes narrowed as he looked down at Harry.
“Breathe.” Snape said as he rubbed a hand over Harry’s back. “You’re panicking and you need to try and breathe.”
“What if your cover is blown!” Harry gasped.
“It hasn’t been.” Snape said firmly. “That’s how I know the Dark Lord cannot see through your eyes despite Dumbledore’s worries.” He added.
Harry’s eyes watered as he squeezed them shut and tried to swallow his panic.
“The Dark Lord is too angry and paranoid to patiently allow me to come and go from his place of hiding throughout the week if he believed I’d betrayed him. He is fiercely intelligent, but he is not without faults.”
The thought that they’d base Snape’s safety on Voldemort’s faults made Harry’s skin crawl.
Voldemort’s faults had more to do with his pride and overinflated ego. He was easily smart enough to wait until Snape least expected him to strike.
“Please trust me on this Harry.” Snape brushed Harry’s fringe from his forehead and encouraged his eyes back open. “I have relied on his faults to cover me for years. He does not allow traitors to learn secrets, nor does he allow himself to be made a fool of.”
Harry wasn’t sure he believed Snape about Voldemort’s inability to see through his eyes.
“I will teach you a method to keep him out.” Snape said as he untied the knots around the cloak over Harry’s shoulders. “It’s called Occlumency. It’s complicated magic and you won’t pick it up in one day, but if it will give you some piece of mind—”
Harry nodded wildly and his lungs seemed willing to open a little wider for a few breaths.
“Alright.” Snape said. He shook out his cloak and turned over the bed covers. “First you need to lie down.”
The plush mattress was soft beneath Harry as he crawled to the head of the bed and fell against the pillows. He shivered over the cool sheets until Snape tucked his cloak around back him and pulled the covers up. Once bundled, he half wondered if he’d be able to stay awake long enough to practice Snape’s magic. If felt as if his eyes were becoming too heavy to open.
“Excellent,” Snape said quietly. “That’s the first and second step done.”
“It is?” Harry asked.
“Yes. The second step is that you shut your eyes, which you’ve already done.”
“Now, try and imagine you’re on your broom, in the air.”
Almost immediately Harry could feel the airy weightlessness that came with flying. Even though there wasn’t a breeze in the room, he could still feel the phantom brush of wind around him. He didn’t think his imagination was usually this good, but he was willing to explore it.
“You don’t need to limit yourself to the Quidditch Pitch, you can fly wherever you like.”
Harry didn’t know very many places to fly aside from the pitch or the Forbidden Forest, but he assumed any place would serve for now. He almost chose the hut by the sea that Uncle Vernon had brought them too after Harry’s acceptance letters had overwhelmed the Dursleys.
He felt a more happy place might be better.
“Focus on the sky around you.” Snape’s soft voice rippled at the edge of Harry’s thoughts. “And your path ahead, nothing else.”
Harry felt the swoop that ran through him when he spun and looped in the air. He could almost feel his broom beneath his hands. It was hard to think of this as magic. Though if it was, he hoped he was good at it.
The blue sky stretched as far as he could see in his imagination. He spun through dappled clouds and crested high and swung low, wondering if his life could ever be as easy and calm as flying.
Was there even a chance it would be? It didn’t have to be now, but he hoped it’d happen.
He worried he might’ve done this magic wrong, but when he opened his eyes to ask, the room was bright and the sun had come up.
He sat up like lightning and blinked confusedly around him. He couldn’t tell if the spell had worked, or if there had even been a spell. He’d slept, that much was clear, but did Voldemort still have access to him?
Snape didn’t seem to think so, maybe the spell had worked then?
The small bedroom was more colourful in the daylight. His trunk was still on the floor, tucked neatly against a large chest of drawers. Harry half wondered how his mum might’ve decorated the place if she’d had the chance. He felt her seashell lamp would look nice on the chest.
He wondered if Snape would let Harry take it with him the next time they went to his mum’s flat.
Would they ever go back to her flat?
As quick as he’d gotten up he bolted down the stairs and slid into a kitchen he couldn’t remember having seen, though he spotted Snape and Ms Eileen quickly.
Snape seemed like he’d slept, though Harry hoped it hadn’t been on the couch.
“Oh!” Ms Eileen said as her eyes lit up. “Well there’s a bit more energy than last night.”
Harry blinked and smiled sheepishly. He wasn’t sure it was very polite to ask to go back to his mum’s flat after Ms Eileen had let them stay with her. His toes curled over the worn wooden floor and he realized embarrassedly that he hadn’t bothered to put on socks or even change.
“Are you hungry?” Ms Eileen asked, seeming to ignore Harry’s oversight. She stood slowly and made her way over to a skillet. “I‘ve got some eggs, though I’ve not much in the way of toast or oatmeal.”
Harry wasn’t sure what to say, or if he should even say anything. Mrs Weasley was always ready to give him food, for which he was endlessly thankful, but she’d never cooked for him alone. He could just prepare something for himself. It would just have to be easy, eggs might be a bit difficult.
He wasn’t very hungry either.
Snape stepped closer to his mum. “I’ll have an egg, if you’re already cooking.”
Ms Eileen nodded along as she puttered around the kitchen.
“Erm,” Harry’s fingers curled around the hem of his t-shirt. He supposed it wouldn't be so awkward if someone else ate as well. “I will too please, I’ll just, erm, change quickly.”
He tore back around and darted up the steps, tripping as his uncoordinated feet slid out from under him. He half debated hiding in the bedroom for a few extra minutes in case they’d heard him fall.
“Rough few days?” Ms Eileen’s voice echoed quietly from the kitchen.
Harry paused on the step, unsure if he wanted to listen, but curious more than anything.
“It could be better.” Snape said.
“Ah, ‘could be better’,” Ms Eileen’s voice deepened as she mimicked Snape’s low voice. “Harry looked well rested. He seems alright now.”
“I don’t know what I’m doing, especially after last night.” Snape’s voice was almost hard to hear with how quiet it’d gone. “I don’t. I don’t know if I’m making things worse.”
“Well for someone who doesn’t know, it looks like you’re doing alright.” Ms Eileen said back.
“He found you first thing in the morning and doesn’t flinch when you come near him. That’s better than you think.”
Snape scoffed. “The bar is not that low.”
“It’s higher than it looks.” Ms Eileen’s voice was firm as she spoke. “You have many fine skills. I’m particularly fond of your ability to listen. It’s one of your more useful talents as well.”
“Listening won’t stop Death Eaters.”
“No, but it’ll make the effects of their attacks feel considered and heard. What is it you’ve said about Dumbledore from the outset?”
Snape sighed and seemed unwilling to answer the question. Harry nervously shifted his weight between his feet, wondering if his lack of answer was because he knew Harry was listening.
“He doesn’t always listen.”
The sound of eggshells cracking drove him to hurry the rest of the way up the stairs and into the bedroom.
He tugged his mum’s old jumper over his head as he debated their conversation. He couldn’t decide how he felt about it, but he didn’t think it’d been terrible. Not like how most conversations about him went at least. This one seemed to be more about Snape’s behaviour.
Harry silently vowed to pay more attention to him, especially after Avery.
He also needed to ask about Ron and Hermione. Sirius and Lupin as well. Any of them might’ve sent more information while Harry’d been asleep. He spun in place and searched for a clock, but couldn’t find one.
Maybe he’d convince someone to take him to a store so he could buy a wristwatch that’d fit his small wrist if he stayed six for much longer.
After taking care of the more pressing morning rituals, Harry quickly slipped back down the stairs.
“No,” Snape’s voice rang along the hallway. “I don’t know what Dumbledore will say if he sees Harry. He’s fearful of what information might somehow find its way to the Dark Lord.” He added. “I won’t bring Harry back when Dumbledore cannot see Petunia for what she is.”
“Has anyone asked Petunia to weigh in? She clearly has an opinion.” Ms Eileen asked.
Harry inched farther along the hallway, unsure if he should disrupt their conversation. He didn’t want to be caught eavesdropping but this seemed like the sort of conversation he normally wouldn't have been allowed to listen to.
Snape had asked Harry for his thoughts when they came up with plans before though. Maybe he’d want Harry present?
He lingered nervously near the doorway as he debated.
“I won’t bring Harry anywhere near her either and I see no point in addressing her. Dumbledore doesn’t see her knack for cruelty. He only sees her bitterness.” Snape answered back as the sound of a fork sliding over a plate echoed.
“Well, if Harry ran from them both, I’m sure Dumbledore got an eyeful.”
Snape hummed. “What he sees and what he surmises are two different stories.”
“It’s hard to rationalize yourself as a protector when the person you’re trying to protect runs from you though.” Ms Eileen said. “He may have been blind before, but I have a feeling he’s been enlightened.”
A tea cup landed softly on it’s saucer.
“Harry’s friend said Dumbledore had asked questions, but she didn’t say what kind. If he’d asked her where Harry might hide, she’d have likely asked Harry if he was safe, but she didn’t. For all you know, Dumbledore asked them about Petunia.” Ms Eileen continued.
“I find it hard to imagine he’s had a sudden change of heart.” Snape said waspishly.
“Less a change of heart, and more a new consideration of what he can no longer afford to be blind to. Besides, what help would two children who haven’t been in contact with Harry be in finding him?”
“If he thought they had been in contact though—”
“You said it yourself. His friends had never visited in that house. They’d never slept over or run around the neighbourhood.” Ms Eileen said. “Neither of those kids would know where to look. They don’t know you and you’ve said they’re not close with Black, so they wouldn’t know where the two of you would hide either.”
Harry stepped into the kitchen, feeling he’d learn more by being a part of the conversation.
“Welcome back, Sev’s already eaten.” Ms Eileen’s eyebrows rose as she spotted him and she waved him to a seat. She quickly spooned several eggs onto his plate and set a glass of milk in front of him before returning to her own spot.
Harry poked at his food. He still wasn’t very hungry, despite how little he’d eaten over the last few days. His stomach was in knots and he vaguely remembered Snape warning him to eat as he had at six. He eyed Snape’s plate, wondering if he’d should eat everything or not. Mrs Weasley generally liked clean plates and Aunt Petunia gave Harry less the next time they ate if he didn’t eat everything. She never wanted him wasting food.
“Sev and I were discussing yesterday, though neither of us seem to be making much headway.”
Harry looked up, excited that they hadn’t changed the subject.
“Black sent a message this morning detailing how they’d led Dumbledore on a chase, though Dumbledore seems to have realized that we caught onto his tracking spell and returned to Grimmauld Place. Black is now dealing with him directly and from the sound of the message, there doesn’t appear to be much diplomacy.” Snape said. He pinched the bridge of his nose before rubbing his fingers into his eyes.
Harry hoped again that he hadn’t slept on the couch.
“Do you think I-or maybe you, should write a letter to Dumbledore? Harry asked as he cut through his first egg.
“A letter won’t keep him from searching.” Snape answered as his eyes slid over Harry and his plate.
“He might have experienced some growth though, don’t count that out.” Ms Eileen said. “It’s hard to watch the people you try to care for run from you because of your own actions.”
Snape nodded, but kept quiet.
“Do you think Dumbledore would take me back again?” Harry asked. “Even after everything?”
A misty silver-grey wolf drifted through the small window above the sink and dropped onto the floor. It loped along the length of the table before sitting in front of Snape and opening it’s long snout, allowing Lupin’s soft voice to whisper around them.
“Conversations are quickly dissolving. Molly found out about what happened at Privet Drive and Mad-Eye is attempting to cover up Avery’s actions on the Ministry’s end.”
“It seems odd that Dumbledore hasn’t messaged me himself if things are dissolving.” Snape said idly.
“Also,” Lupin’s voice continued. “Hermione cornered me and requested that you come as soon as you can, though she refuses to say why.”
Harry jerked and stared at the blurry patronus. Yesterday's worries exploded in his thoughts and he couldn’t shake the feeling he hadn’t been told that something awful had happened. He couldn’t begin to wonder what it was. Knowing Hermione, it could be anything.
Why would she only want Snape though?
“Only that it’s extremely important. She won’t open the door for anyone else.” The patronus faded as it ended the message, leaving no sign it’d ever been there.
Ms Eileen stood and waved her wand at the tea cup and saucer, sending them bobbing through the air toward the sink.
“I dislike being summoned by Miss Granger.” Snape muttered with a dark look.
“Think of it less like a summoning and more like a plea for assistance, as that’s what it sounds like, besides,” Ms Eileen smiled as she flicked her wand over the pan and countertops. “She’s clever as they come from what you’ve said.”
Harry felt his eyes widen and he stared at Snape as shock trickled through him.
“Passing exams with high marks does not qualify for ‘clever as they come.’” Snape said quickly. “It could easily be that she just wants information and is hiding in her room until she gets it.”
Ms Eileen frowned and clicked her tongue as she stepped from the room. “I’ll be back in a mo’, say goodbye if you’re leaving though.” She called behind her as she disappeared down the hallway.
“Hermione’s not like that.” Harry said firmly. “And I want to help her!”
It felt like the discussion about Neville all over again. Harry hadn’t been in a state to argue about Snape’s treatment of Neville when it’d come up, but he could argue now. If Snape was capable of seeing Harry in a new light, he could see his friends that way as well.
Snape pinched the bridge of his nose again. “Apologies, Harry. I will visit her today and speak with her.” He said. “Politely.” He added.
“Oh.” Harry said, feeling his quick anger settle. “Can we go now?” Harry asked as he poked at another egg. He didn’t fancy continuing to eat, he was already feeling uncomfortably full. He had the entire glass of milk to go through as well.
“Not quite.” Snape said as he sniffed and sat up. “I want to talk before we consider you leaving.”
“Would you like me to take your plate?” Snape asked, holding his hand out as he stood.
Harry blinked at Snape and tried to guess if he’d still be able to eat later if he hadn’t eaten everything. Snape hadn’t ever taken away his food before.
The last time he’d eaten with Snape, he hadn’t said anything about Harry wasting food when he hadn’t been able to eat everything.
“I will always give you food, Harry.” Snape said quietly. “And you’re equally welcome to dislike foods, or request them.” He added. “We might want to start with soups or less greasy foods for a while, given what you’ve eaten over the last few days.”
Harry blinked and tried to consider what that might look like. He wondered what Ms Eileen would say if Harry said he hadn’t liked something. He didn’t think there were any foods he truly didn’t like.
He handed his plate over regardless, glad to be rid of it.
“If you aren’t hungry, you need only say.” He added firmly. “Also, before you sleep tonight, I want to practice Occlumency again and—”
“Will I be on the couch?” Harry asked before he could stop himself.
“The couch?” Snape’s eyebrows furrowed.
“Right, cause I had the bed last night.” Harry said. “I take up less room than you too, so you should have the bed.”
Snape shook his head as he set the plates in the sink and flicked his wand similarly to how Ms Eileen had moments earlier. “No, no Harry I just transfigured the couch into a bed.”
“Oh.” Harry said, feeling slightly dumb for having forgotten about magic.
“I’d far rather you slept in a bed and in a bedroom as well. I’m not sure how to make that more comfortable for you yet. We might get Lily’s blanket from her flat.” Snape trailed off quietly as he returned to his seat.
“Can I bring her seashell lamp too?” Harry asked.
Snape hummed agreeably. “In addition to Occlumency, I want to address something you said last night.”
Harry couldn’t hide the nervousness that curled inside of him.
“You said you said you’d seen the Dark Lord.” Snape began.
Harry nodded again, though more slowly this time as the worry that Voldemort could actually see through his eyes and that Snape was wrong built in him. Maybe the magic they’d done last night hadn’t worked, which Harry felt could easily happen as it wasn’t like any magic he’d done at school.
“You said you’d seen him in your cupboard.”
What felt like ice water ran down Harry’s back. He hadn’t realized he’d said that. The uncomfortable fullness of his stomach roiled and churned. He’d thought he could handle the cupboard and Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon. He despised the cupboard, and felt now more than ever that it’d been cruel. He hadn’t thought it would get back to Snape though, or Sirius and Lupin. He didn’t want to add further humiliation to himself.
He’d forgotten about Lupin saying they’d clear up Aunt Petunia’s abuse after escaping.
“No, no, Harry—”
Snape stood quickly and rounded the table before dropping to his knees in front of Harry’s chair. His hands floated near Harry, though he didn’t reach out.
“I’m not a mop!” Harry whinged as the argument he and Uncle Vernon had flooded his thoughts.
The pain he’d felt earlier bloomed once more and he couldn’t seem to get a handle on himself. The Dursleys had told him to keep quiet, wait patiently and to pretend he didn’t exist until he’d need to. He’d wanted Snape then more than ever.
“I didn’t choose to go in there! Uncle Vernon said I had to!”
“I know.” Snape reached out, slowly cupping the back of Harry’s head. “Vernon’s behaviour was my fault. I should not have held Petunia to her word not to harm you, even if she agreed to our terms.”
Harry shook his head wildly against his plummeting emotions. “She didn’t say anything to me. She didn’t even look at me.”
“She didn’t need to.” Snape said softly. “I know you don’t want to discuss that house, but I think you might find some comfort in speaking about it.” He carded a hand through Harry’s hair. “You’ve experienced events that no one, least of all a fifteen year old, should experience.”
Fear swarmed him. He couldn’t imagine someone wanting to listen to him whinge about his problems.
Aunt Petunia crowed in his ear and viciously reminded him of how little he was truly worth. If anyone did listen to him, how could he know they wouldn’t turn around and sell everything he said to the Daily Prophet?
His stomach rebelled at the thought of Rita Skeeter’s articles and the taunts Malfoy would come up with.
A damp cloth brushed over his forehead and Harry blinked down, catching Snape’s cautious and worried eyes. He handed Harry a glass of water after assuring he wasn’t going to sick up.
Harry shook his head ‘no’ as he took a sip.
Snape nodded and stood. “I want you to think about it. It doesn’t have to be a decision you make now or even soon.” He held his hand out for Harry, who grabbed it and was quickly pulled up onto Snape’s hip. “Let’s think of things that will make your bedroom more comfortable.”
Harry wasn’t sure how to feel about a place he could consider his. He was glad to put the last conversation behind himself though. He didn’t want to think of the Durlsey’s until next summer at least.
His fingers knotted into the fabric at Snape’s shoulder as fear and worry still shuddered through him.
Snape rubbed a hand over his back as they stepped up the stairs.
“Then, as my presence has been requested by Miss Granger, I will endeavor to politely meet with her.”