Author Notes: Hello everyone! A very, very belated Happy Thanksgiving if you celebrate this day.
This is the next installment of Stories for My Daughter, featuring Severus Snape and his adopted son, Harry Potter. My daughter came up with the idea for this a couple of months back, but despite my best efforts, it wasn't until yesterday that my muse finally obliged. Includes some references to past stories of this series so things will make more sense if you are familiar with those :)
Summary: Fourteen year old Harry Potter is determined to save yet another life for Thanksgiving. Featuring an unsuspecting Severus Snape and a little poult. Father/Son relationship.
Warnings: Severe OOCness, silliness and loads of fluff!
Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the brainchild of JK Rowlings.
- Story Start -
Severus Snape knew it was going to be one of those days the moment he opened his eyes.
For a moment, he didn't know why his intuition was telling him this. There was no earthly reason why today should be any different from yesterday or tomorrow... except that Albus Dumbledore - festivities loving old coot that he was - had announced yesterday they would have a feast tonight in honour of Thanksgiving, an American holiday.
Another feast. That must be the reason for his feeling of unease then.
Severus exhaled and sat up, running his fingers through his hair and accidentally dislodging Sasha. When she fell onto his pillow with an annoyed squeak, he picked her up and stroked her head with a gentle finger.
He supposed the house elves would be thankful for permission to finally lug the last quarter of the enormous pumpkin from Halloween out of storage and cook it up. They had been told not to produce anymore pumpkin based dishes since the Halloween feast, apart from the ubiquitous pumpkin juice served during meals.
Severus winced and pushed aside the memory of a florid faced Albus happily going about the school with severely colour clashing robes. At least today's classes hadn't been cancelled, he reassured himself. Placing Sasha back on his pillow - she didn't like getting wet - he got out of bed and went inside the bathroom to get ready for his day.
When he neared the Great Hall half an hour later, Harry, Ronald and Hermione were at the doors, obviously waiting to greet him. Severus hadn't decided if he was more vexed or pleased by his little welcoming committee. Sasha had already started swinging upside down from his earlobe, an annoying habit she indulged in whenever she saw Harry and his friends. Severus made a mental note to cast another shortening charm on his occupied ear tonight. At least she alternated between the two.
"Good morning, dad!"
"Good morning, Professor Snape!"
"In honour of today, Happy Thanksgiving, Professor Snape!"
"Good morning, Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasley and Miss Granger. And Alfred."
His austere tone had no effect whatsoever on a beaming Harry who stepped forward to wrap his arms around his waist for a quick kiss and hug. Severus returned the latter only because his fearsome reputation was already in shreds and had been so for some time.
"And what do you have to be thankful about, Miss Granger?" he asked after Harry released him.
"That we still have classes today, especially double Potions?" Hermione answered with an impish smile.
Scowling, Severus swept inside the Great Hall without comment, ignoring the muffled giggles behind him. He told himself the only reason why he hadn't deducted any points for her cheek was because it was, well, Thanksgiving. He made his way to the Staff Table and sat down next to Albus who was holding a soft conversation with a house elf.
"Anything the matter, Headmaster?" Severus asked once the elf had disappeared with a soft 'pop'.
"Ah, good morning, Severus. No, nothing serious, just that tonight's feast will consist of nine roast turkeys instead of the expected ten."
At Severus' raised eyebrow, Albus smiled, his eyes twinkling.
"I gave the house elves ten broad-breasted white turkey poults during the summer holidays to be raised for tonight's feast; two per table. However, the Staff Table will have to make do with one roast turkey instead."
"One will be plenty, Albus," Minerva said briskly, seating herself on Albus' other side. "Just out of curiosity, what happened to the tenth turkey?"
"Oh, I think that one has an interesting story behind it," Albus told her before giving Severus a sly look over his shoulder.
Something about those twinkling eyes made Severus look at the Gryffindor table where a group of students were crowded around Harry and Ron. He could hear the 'oohs' and 'aahs' from where he sat. It sounded like they were exclaiming over-
No. It was nothing more than a coincidence, he told himself firmly. They were probably gushing over Alfred's latest antics or something. There couldn't possibly be any connection between the remaining turkey and his adopted son... could there?
In the next second, there were a few surprised cries and he saw the students leaping back. Something small, yellow and feathery had leaped onto the Gryffindor table and was running across it, knocking over glasses of pumpkin juice and scattering slices of toast and fried bacon. It stopped at the head of the table and started pecking at the slice of toast held in the hand of a very surprised first year.
Severus wanted to groan. It was a poult, a baby turkey.
- o -
Three months ago, Severus Snape had taken Harry with him when he flooed to Hogwarts during the summer holidays. He had an afternoon's worth of work to complete - checking his store of potions ingredients - and knew his home in Spinner's End wasn't much fun for a thirteen (soon to be fourteen) year old. At least in Hogwarts, Harry could help him and go visit Hagrid and the Owlery, feed the Giant Squid or even talk to the ghosts.
It looked like Harry had done all that and more. He must have found the Hogwarts kitchens and chatted with the house elves there who would have been only too pleased to ply him with cookies and cupcakes. No doubt they had also told him about the ten poults they were rearing in the back for Thanksgiving which the Headmaster had decided to celebrate.
Harry must have asked to see the turkeys and the ever obliging elves would have been only too pleased to show him. And of course, there just had to be one that wasn't growing like the others and bullied by the others, especially during feeding time.
In short, it was a baby turkey just gobbling to be rescued.
It was obvious Harry had picked up some Slytherin traits from his adopted father since he never said a word when they had met up for tea later on. Severus suppressed any feelings of pride that arose at this thought.
"So, what have you been doing for the past couple of hours, Harry?" he remembered asking after taking a sip of piping hot tea.
"Visited Hagrid, took away some rock cakes to feed the Giant Squid and told the ghosts not to let Hagrid know," Harry had answered promptly before biting into a chocolate eclair.
"That is good," Severus had said and then he hastily added, "feeding the Giant Squid, I mean. That is your good deed for today."
When Harry had given him a sunny smile and reached for a second eclair, Severus remembered thinking it was just as well he had brought Harry to Hogwarts. Now, standing outside the Great Hall with the Headmaster and looking down at the fluffy poult in Harry's hands, he wasn't so sure.
"Just what do you intend to do with it, Harry?" he asked, arms folded across his chest. Thankfully, Sasha had stopped her infernal swinging on his earlobe and was now engaged in one of her other favourite past times, acting as a cloak accessory.
"It's a him and I want to keep him as a pet!" Harry said brightly, his green eyes wide and hopeful.
Severus fought the urge to facepalm himself.
"You already have an owl and a mouse. Two animals who I might add are right next to each other on the food chain," he said in a severe tone.
"Your father is right, Harry," Albus chipped in, his eyes twinkling. No doubt the old coot was thinking back to the previous year's Christmas dinner fiasco. "You already have Hedwig and er, Arnold."
"His name isn't Arnold," Harry pointed out.
"His name isn't Albert either," Harry said, reaching up to pet the mouse on his shoulder as if he feared it would be offended.
"It is Alfred," Severus gritted out. "And we are not talking about him, but about that poult in your hand."
"His name is-"
"I do not want to know his name," Severus interrupted him. "We are not keeping him!"
"Now, now, Severus," Albus began, but quickly held up his hands in surrender when Severus turned to glare at him.
"But what will happen to him, dad?" Harry asked in a plaintive tone, now petting the downy yellow feathers. "He hasn't grown a bit since the summer. The elves weigh him everyday to make sure."
Severus stared as Alfred ran down Harry's arm to sit astride the poult's back, looking as if he were ready for a ride. For a moment, his traitorous mind added reins and a little saddle to the picture and then he shook his head hard, horrified.
It was bad enough that Harry brought Alfred to every single lesson - Sprout already had a tiny pair of earmuffs in her collection for mandrake repotting days - and Sasha followed Severus to his. At least Severus had succeeded in persuading her not to sit on top of his head unless they were in the privacy of his quarters, an exercise that now necessitated weekly purchases of expensive, imported gnats.
"We are not keeping him and that is final!" he stated.
"Oh well," Albus shrugged. "In that case, I will just return him to my supplier for a full refund."
Both Severus and Harry blinked and turned to stare at him.
"But what will happen to him then?" Harry asked, cradling the poult protectively against his chest.
Albus shook his head. He looked as sober as Severus had ever seen him.
"It would be out of my hands, Harry, so I have no idea."
Severus was sure the Headmaster did, the same as him. Despite knowing it would be folly, he found himself looking down at Harry's distressed green eyes, Alfred's bright black ones and finally, the poult's brown ones. There were many good reasons why a student shouldn't have a baby turkey as a pet, especially in a Wizarding school, but for some reason... he couldn't think of any.
"Dad?" Harry asked softly. "May I keep him, please? He's a tiny little thing and won't eat much. He'll also be good company for Alfred."
As Severus continued wracking his brains, Sasha squeaked and climbed up to his shoulder. He felt a wingtip brush against his cheek before she leapt off his shoulder and landed on the poult's head. Turning around, she looked up at him and squeaked again, Alfred peering up at him from behind her.
Severus closed his eyes and exhaled, shaking his head. If there really was a bad reason to keep a poult as a pet, it looked like they would be the first ones to find out. Opening his eyes, he reached out a hand to gently stroke the poult.
"Very well, you may keep him, Harry," he said, striving to keep his voice even. He had a brief glimpse of sparkling green eyes and a beaming smile and then suddenly, his arms were full of boy, mouse, bat and poult while his ears were assaulted with a happy cry.
"Thank you, dad, thank you! I promise you won't regret it!"
Aware that Albus was chuckling merrily by his side, Severus fought to free himself from the veritable zoo.
"That will do," he muttered, brushing at his robes once his son had released him.
"So what is his name, Harry?" Albus asked, his eyes back to twinkling at full force.
Severus' hands froze, his eyes involuntarily going to Albus who was staring at Harry, looking rather stunned. Quelling the hysterical laughter that threatened to erupt from his throat, Severus turned back to Harry and nodded.
"A very good name for a turkey, Harry."
- Story End -
A/N: Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed it, please do leave a review when you favourite!