Disclaimer: Harry Potter is not my own. I'm just playing with the characters.
"Do you want a cookie?"
He looked at him in indifference. Watching the six year old holding a chocolate chip cookie in front of him, most likely Molly's idea. After not responding the young Potter started shifting his feet in discomfort. He raised an eyebrow at that.
Harry Potter had been deaged. A potion incident gone wrong. Severus knew that Neville Longbottom would one day cause a disaster. It was a matter of time. Although, he supposed that it could have been worse. He was roused from his musing as he felt his hand being opened and a crumbled cookie being placed there. He looked down at the sweet then at Potter's innocent face.
"Harry!" came Black's cry. "Come away from that snake" He tried to shuffle the boy away but Potter is stubborn at any age and stood his ground.
"Uhuh," he shook his small head stubbornly, "I wanna play with him"
Everyone had gathered by this point and he could see Albus' twinkling eyes observing the scene.
"Interesting Black, you sound younger than your godson" He smirked liking the way the mutt's face turned Weasley red.
Albus, however, had to intervene before he could enjoy it.
"Now now my boys. Young Harry is being kind. Aren't you Harry." He said smiling at the young child. Potter nodded his head rapidly agreeing. Seeing Black about to make a snide comment he continued, "Molly, perhaps it's time for us to get some dinner in our tummies and an early turn in. We have to have an early start tomorrow if we want to get everything situated in time."
"Of course Albus, come everyone, let's eat."
Miss Granger and Mister Weasley were attempting to lead Potter to the dining room but the small boy wouldn't budge. He could hear Weasley mutter about just grabbing Potter and the subsequent harsh murmur of disagreement from the Miss Granger.
Potter was still waiting for him eat the damn cookie. He looked at it and realized with the discourse he'd crumbled it further. He sighed. "Potter, thank you for the super delicious cookie." Potter beamed at him, not understanding his sarcasm, but waited for him to eat it. He did. It's sugar overriding his taste buds. He stood up. As soon as he did Potter grabbed his hand and tugged it, leading him toward the dining room, leaving Miss Granger and Mister Weasley staring awestruck in their wake.
Black glared at him as he entered. The others tried to hide their smiles at seeing him being tugged by the innocent child.
He sat down and it came to no surprise that the boy sat next to him. He heard more than saw the excited yelp as the boy's chair was raised up so that he could eat without being hindered by height. He couldn't stop the soft smirk that came to his face at the child's happiness. He paused in cutting into his steak as heard the small groan. He looked up at realized no one else had noticed. Potter was reaching for the mash and couldn't reach. His little tongue was out with the force of his concentration. He reached over and picked up the mash, surprising the boy. The surprise turned to gratitude as Severus piled up the mash on his plate and seated it closer to him. The boy shoved a spoonful into his mouth with a smile and was gobbling it down. Severus tutted and reached over to wipe of the excess mash from his mouth. "Watch it Potter. Slow down." He noticed a notable change in the boy's speed.
Black frown. Opened his mouth but one look from Lupin had him shutting it with an audible snap.
Severus found himself focused more on Potter and his meal than his own. Reaching over more than once to keep him relatively clean and helping him cut his chicken to smaller bite size pieces. Soon dinner was coming to an end and he could see Potter was continuously nodding off.
Albus excused himself as did a few others. He was going to make his way to the floo when he heard the unmistakable "ngh" sound as Potter was getting roused by Molly as she tried to pick him up to take him up to bed.
Severus cursed in his mind. He didn't understand why he was feeling so protective over the brat. He'd been a thorn in his side for so long and if someone had told him he'd be caring after the young Potter boy he'd throw them to the mental ward at St. Mungos. But a small part of his mind whispered. You've spent your life protecting that boy. You'd give your life for that child. And now that child was more vulnerable than ever.
He twirled around and stormed over to Molly who was struggling with the child. Unsure as she'd never had a child distancing themselves from her before. Potter reached his hands out to Severus as he came over and Severus gathered him in his arms. Clutching him close as the boy gave a small sigh and snugged into his black robes. "Where?" he whispered. Hoping Molly understood and equally hoping not to disturb his precious cargo in his arms. She led the way to an empty room with two single beds. She whispered as she took out her wand and changed one into a smaller child's size bed. "Albus figured it'd be best to keep him apart from the rest of the teens, seeing as he might have extra needs. We were to take turns spending the night with him. I'll kindly take the first watch, Severus."
"No need. I'll watch Potter."
She smiled widened. "I'll leave you two alone now. Pleasant dreams."
With her gone he sat down, arms heavy with his child. From some unearthly reason he didn't place the boy in his bed, preferring to carry him in his arms awhile longer. Now he was free to think. Why did he feel such a strong attachment to the child. Perhaps it was all the scars he'd seen in the boy, the memories he'd glimpsed of torment, the strength and endurance he'd witnessed. He'd protected the boy for Lily, but also because he was a child worth protecting. This little boy now held his heart in his tiny hand. He was drawn from his thoughts as the hand in question poked his nose.
It started out a small laugh. He looked down at the small face of innocence. "My child" he tickled the boy smiling at the delighted laugh it produced. "It's time for bed."
"No." It was adorable to see his little face frown.
"Yes." He said as he continued to rub circles on his small back, hoping to lure him to sleep. It seemed to be working until the boy became ridged and Severus looked down startled and concerned.
The boy gave a small shake of his head then became still and tense as though he was bracing for impact. "He always comes at night." Harry whispered, "But I promise I've been good." He looked up with an honest and pleading look. Severus felt true anger course through his veins. He'd felt this in the presence of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named but never in reference to a Muggle, at least not until now. How can that walrus of a man think to harm his kid. "Do not worry child. You are safe here. I will protect you, always."
He gave the boy a kiss on his forehead, then on each rosy cheek, his little button nose, then blew on his stomach causing the boy to twist and turn and shriek in laughter. The most precious sound.
He began rubbing the boys back once more. The boy's trusting eyes looking at him with something a kin to love. Severus was unused to this feeling but nevertheless never wanted it to fade. He held the boy for a time, it could have been hours, until his arms started to ache. But he found he just couldn't find it in himself to lay the boy down in his own small bed. Making sure to hold him tight in one arm he decided to take his wand and prepare his own bed, sliding in while not jostling the child and tucking him in next to him. Warmth filled his heart when the boy 'ngh' again when he went to pull away, he sighed and let the boy clutch at his robe with his small hand. Before putting his wand away he place some protective spells on the door then turned to his charge and placed an alerting charm to wake him if the boy was awake or in distress. That being done, he settled down and listened to the small rhythmic breathing of the boy next to him as it lulled him to sleep.