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Murphy's Law


One ~*~ In Which we find Snape Shopping for Diapers

Smoke billowed, like the cape of a Dementor, up to the moonless black sky. Its source was no longer burning, the fire put out like the lives that had been extinguished there that night. Hooded figures investigated around the smoldering embers of what used to be a cherished home.

Albus Dumbledore, the brilliant lit tip of his wand glinting off his half-moon spectacles, gave a sigh of relief as one of the Aurors picked a bundle up from the wreckage and handed it to him. The ancient wizard stared sadly down at the small child cradled in his arms, the blanket tattered and scorched like a defeated battle flag.

The child did not cry, but stared up at Dumbledore with emerald eyes so large that they seemed to wrap around the sides of his face. Underneath tousled ebony hair lay a small scar-a permanent memory of the night's tragedy. Otherwise, he was unscathed.

"Hello, Harry," Dumbledore said softly to the boy as the other wizards attempted to clear out two bodies, forever still in the arms of death.

~*~

"I will /not/ see him go to the hands of /Muggles/!"

Dumbledore stared, amused, over the tops of his glasses at Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic. "May I remind you that it was yourself who barged in here of your own accord. This matter is not of your concern," he added, his tone rather clipped.

"The authority to decide Harry's custody /has/ been passed to me, Dumbledore," Fudge thundered, although it sounded a trifle self-assuring. "I tell you, with Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew out of the question, the next on the list written by James Potter /himself/ is Severus Snape!"

"What about me?" Remus Lupin, seated in the corner, half-rose from his chair. The deaths of two of his closest friends had not treated him well; dark circles were present under his eyes and his hair and robes were more rumpled than usual. "I would imagine that James placed me on the list."

"Remus," Dumbledore said quietly, "James believed you to be-"

"Oh. Yes, of course." Lupin sat down again, his face unreadable. "Mind, I /am/ willing to take Harry, and I would like very much to do so."

Cornelius shook his head. "Given your current… condition… I would lose all respect in the Ministry if-"

"Do you care about anything /else/ other than the Ministry and your public appearance?" Remus demanded, his high-strung nerves flaring up in annoyance. Merlin, this bumbling buffoon bothered him!

Cornelius ignored the werewolf completely, adopting a look on his face that suggested that Remus was not even worth consorting with. He turned back to Dumbledore and thumped the sheaf of documents with his hand. "The list Potter left behind here states that Snape is his second choice."

"What I don't understand…" Remus said slowly, glowering at the Minister, "is why James would pick Snape. The two utterly loathed each other."

Dumbledore raised an eyebrow. "Remus, I believe that you can answer your own question."

"Of course. Ever the practical joker." Lupin frowned. "It would be like James to rely solely on his… best friend…" the man's expression darkened considerably. "…rather than play it safe."

"And James specifically wrote that he forbids any association of Harry with-" Dumbledore smiled appreciatively. "Well, the word of James' choosing is a bit, er, /ripe/, shall we say. With the Muggles side of Lily's family." There was a soft flutter as he turned to another page.

"It will be Severus, then," Fudge said with as much finality as he could muster. "Harry will go to Severus Snape."

A sudden thought struck Remus Lupin.

"Has anyone /spoken/ to Snape about this yet?"

~*~

Severus Snape was on his third cup of tea for the evening when he noticed the approaching silhouette of an enormous owl from his window.

From the jaunty, confident way it flew, Snape would have bet seven Galleons to a Sickle that it was a Ministry bird. It landed on the porch of Snape's old Tudor with a noiseless "fwoosh" of its wings and clacked its handsome beak in a businesslike manner. The owl thrust forth a talon, waiting for the Hogwarts professor to untie its letter. When the entire procedure had been concluded, the owl clacked its beat again, hooted, and flapped away.

Severus proceeded back inside, poured himself another cup of steaming green tea, and took a seat in his office. Frowning as he attempted to locate a letter opener within all of the /junk/ piled across his desk, he finally gave up the effort and resorted to tearing the side off the envelope.

It was from Fudge. Snape shut his eyes in despair-- /now/ what did the moron want with him? Cornelius had never trusted Snape, and the potions master in turn had never liked the idiot. Even though Dumbledore had convinced all of the Minstry's courts that Severus was /not/ a Death Eater but a spy for their cause, Fudge had still called on him to be executed.

With Voldemort gone, he had finally been granted some peace-peace from spying, peace from making life-or-death decisions almost every day, peace from living in a world of danger. He would rather grovel at James Potter's feet than let that peace be taken away from him.

Snape sighed irritably and looked back down at the letter. His eyes widened, then bulged out to almost inhuman proportions as he skimmed the letter through.

The birds were shaken from their perches in the trees near the harmless-looking old Tudor as Snape screamed aloud, "ARGH!! WHY ME?!!"

~*~

Remus Lupin would not have, if he were asked, described his and Severus' relationship as one in which they despised each other. On the contrary-Remus and Severus had actually been on good terms while they were at Hogwarts. Friends, even. Any animosity between them had simply faded away after graduation, as they were forced to work together on several occasions in the effort against the Dark Lord.

In this way, Remus felt that he should have been offering support of some kind to the gaunt Potions Master, but at the sight of Snape shopping for diapers with a furious snarl on his face and an enraged, almost mad glint in his jet eyes, Lupin could not take it anymore

They were in a Muggle supermarket, where they looked terribly out of place with their wizarding dress and all. Already, two confused-looking employees had asked them if they needed help, each holding a common international phrasebook. Honestly! Did they look /that/ foreign? Snape had scared them shitless and sent them scurrying with his trademark glare and snarl combo.

Snape stared down at the practically hyperventilating wizard and snapped with a curl of his lip, "honestly, Remus, if you can't take this better than I…"

He pushed the shopping cart forwards, scowling at another employee, who yelped and ran off.

"When is he coming?" Remus questioned, apparently through with his succumbtion to the fit of laughter he'd just displayed.

"In three days," Severus replied sourly, eyes roaming over the wide shelves of different diapers. "Did Dumbledore agree to this?"

Remus smiled wryly. "He tried to, you know, reason with Fudge. I swear, that man is stupider that some of the hinkypunks I've run across in my travels… All in all, it's not that bad. At least Dumbledore convinced Fudge to let me help."

"Help by stopping /me/ from attempting murder on our dear Minister," Snape grated. "Now look at these ridiculous Muggle contraptions… which one am I supposed to buy?"

"Um…" Moony made an impatient face as he stared around the displays. For some odd reason they all seemed to have pictures of half-naked children on them. "Why not just get all of them and be on the safe side?

~*~

Snape frowned, trying to resist prodding at the child with his wand. "Why isn't he crying"

"Oh, /honestly/!" Remus muttered. "Babies don't cry continuously!"

Dark eyes glinted. "How would you know?"

"I-ehr-" Remus slapped his forehead in exasperation. "Look, it's common sense, all right?"

"Your common sense is deranged," Snape shot back. "All the babies in the movies I've seen are crying constantly. Or eating. Or sleeping."

"Or burping," the werewolf added helpfully.

"Or burping," Severus agreed. He stared down at Harry again. "Potter is doing neither." In the cradle, the small infant gazed upwards with his unusually green orbs, face practically emotionless and staying rather still.

"/Potter/?" Remus demanded incredulously. "Oh, no, Sev, you are /not/ going to raise this child calling him 'Potter' until he's eighteen! His name is Harry!"

Snape scowled, making his eyebrows lower like ominous thunderclouds. "I am suggesting that there may be something wrong with… /Harry/."

"Better," Lupin granted. "There's nothing wrong. I mean, between the two of us, we should be able to sort things out."

Snape looked startled. "'Two' of us?" he echoed.

"Yes," Lupin agreed in a businesslike manner. He pointed. "See my luggage? I'm moving in, Sev. Face it, you need help. I mean, who goes and buys the entire display of diapers in a Muggle supermarket?"

"Only because /you/ told me to!" Severus protested, then realized how remarkably silly he must have looked and shut his mouth. But it was already too late; Remus was laughing his head off, chortling about a goldfish or something. Snape felt the mirth steal across him helplessly as well, and finally dissolved in a rare, much-needed smile.

~*~

Severus Snape was no stickler for interior decorating. His Tudor had been inherited from some long-dead relative that had passed on far beyond the reaches of his time and memory. Luckily, she happened to have been a rather aesthetic lady, as the inside of Snape's home was not ugly or bare. And in the home's many rooms (this relative also had a knack for adding extra chambers as she saw fit) that the insufferably nosy Lupin had snooped about in, there had been one perfect for Harry.

It was medium-sized, painted Slytherin green with gold trimmings. Soft, oriental rugs covered the wooden floor and a beaming window opened up to the sky, shaded by a gauzy curtain. An old light hung from the ceiling.

They moved his crib there and enchanted a few baubles to fly around and such above him for entertainment. Lupin had also managed to find "101 Charms for the Newborn" at Flourish & Blott's, which turned out to be handy in only the magical aspects of raising a child. As a result, Snape had to endure a few embarrassing trips to the local Muggle library to pick up books on diaper changing and such.

He was flicking through one of these, seated in front of the fireplace and remarking to his companion, "I never realized there were so many hazards around the house."

"Hazards?" Remus frowned. "My house was a perfectly safe place to grow up in and it was at least three times more chaotic than yours."

"Proves you were dropped on your head one time too many," Severus responded with one of his incredibly corrosive comebacks. "I think we need to cut the electricity from this place."

"Electricity?" Lupin's frown deepened.

"Honestly, Remus ,the stuff Muggles use to run their-uh,--/appliances/?"

"What's an appliance?"

"The hell should I know?" Snape threw the book down in disgust. "All this damned thing shows me is a little picture of a white box with black markings on it. And it says that these things-" he pointed to a wall, where an electrical outlet was placed-"Are dangerous to babies that stick their fingers in them."

"/Those/ things?" Lupin asked, bending down to take a better look. "They look harmless enough." His eyes narrowed thoughtfully, and he fished a key from the folds of his robes.

"Hey, what are you-" Snape stood up in alarm, but it was too late.

/ZAP!/

Remus went flying across the room, looking as if he'd been hit by fifty consecutive Disarming Charms. His gray-flecked hair was completely on end, his limbs moving rigidly in spasing motions, jerking uncontrollably. His gray eyes were wide with shock.

Severus glanced curiously at the key. It was a bit blackened on one end, but still glinted innocently on the floor. Then he stared back at Lupin, and asked, "how did it feel?"

Remus' eyes rolled up and his mouth stuttered, "H-h-how d-d-did w-w-what f-feel…?"

Snape smirked in a superior sort of way. "Stupidity."

~*~

12-1: Look! The rewrite I promised is here! I thought I would just flesh out some parts because I found them to be rather lacking… hope it's better!