April- Harry, age 7

Remus glanced up from his current book, eyes settling on the clock on the mantel. It had been an hour since Harry had requested to play out in the backyard. He had instantly granted the child permission. He was sure one could handle playing exploding snap for so long before becoming bored, and he had actually been thankful for the break.

Chuckling at the thought, the man placed the book to the side before standing and stretching his back.

Humming, Remus moved across to the back door and peered out the back window to nothing. An empty yard.

"Wha-..?" Without waiting another moment, the man opened the back door and stepped out into the yard. "Harry?" He glanced around, a panic rising within his throat. "Harry James!"

Snape stepped out of the fireplace and into his own parlor. He had asked Remus to watch Harry for several hours. The man had expected to return home sometime after supper, his meeting had ended far earlier than he had expected though.

The man was not surprised to find his parlor empty. It was a gorgeous day and he was sure Harry had Remus outside somewhere. There was a chance that the child had even talked the man into going to the park.

A small hum passed Snape's lips as he moved towards the kitchen. He intended to see if the pair were in the yard and to allow Remus to know he had returned and invite the man to stay for the afternoon if he liked.

Remus moved back to the door, opening it and stopping just as Snape had come up to the back door. "Severus..." He rested his foot back down, a breath escaping. He was sure he looked as panicked as he felt.

"Is everything alright?" Snape instantly noticed the panic on the man's face. "Is Harry alright?" He nearly walked past the man and into the yard to see for himself.

Failing to find any words to exactly fit, Remus spoke in a soft tone laced with a clear worry. "I don't know." It was honest, at the very least as he moved back outside, leaving the door partly open for the man. "He had been out here playing." A slight rush entered his voice, glancing around the yard sharply for any sort of movement and finding none. At all.

"Harry," Snape called out hoping that the child would somehow appear. The man let out a frustrated noise a moment later. "How long was he out here?"

"Nearing an hour." Remus turned to look back towards Snape. "He had agreed to stay in the back and not go near the front."

"He knows he is not allowed to play out front alone." Snape's eyes scanned the yard once more. "Just as he knows he is not to leave the backyard without permission." The man took a deep breath before turning on his heel. "You are sure he is not in the house? Perhaps he just went up to his room?"

"Unless he has somehow acquired James' cloak, I never saw or heard him go back in." Remus forced a slow breath. "Not to say he didn't slip by... I had just come out here to find him when you arrived. I haven't checked through the house."

Snape stepped into the kitchen, calling the child loudly once more. A loud sigh escaped him as he moved through the downstairs and quickly up the staircase. He checked the rooms on the upper level quickly before rushing back down the stairs. "If he is hiding somewhere in this house or willingly left the backyard I am going to light his little backside on fire."

Remus was moving towards the front of the house as Snape stepped back down to the first floor. He bit his tongue at the comment, shaking his head only briefly before opening the front door and stepping outside. "I would be more than thankful if he was hiding."

Snape's heart rate had not slowed in the least as he also stepped out onto the front porch. "Harry!" The man called loudly.

Just a couple houses down, Harry paused on his bike with his friends continuing to ride theirs around a small obstacle course they had made. The child looked down the road and towards the house, taking in a breath as he clearly spotted Snape and Remus out front. Snape wasn't supposed to be home yet! Not for... for hours! The seven year old knew the moment he was caught when Remus looked directly his way.

"Severus." Remus' eyes remained on not the group of children but Harry. There was little doubt in his mind.

Snape glanced over to the man before he looked in the direction that Remus was looking. He let out a sigh of relief as his eyes remained on the child. "Harry," he called once more, a bit louder as he moved down the front steps.

"I gotta go guys," Harry muttered softly as he started to ride back towards the house. Once there, he slowed and got off it before bringing it slowly up the walkway.

Remus frowned as he remained on the porch, releasing a sigh of relief as at least the child was unharmed.

As the child slowly made his way up the walkway, Snape waved a hand causing his bike to vanish, relocating to the back shed where it belonged. "Inside please." His tone was stern as he remained on the front steps.

Harry blinked as the bike disappeared from his hands, his shoulders slouching as he spared a look between the two. "You're home early," he muttered softly as he passed by Snape and to the front door.

"My meeting ended early." Snape raised his hand, landing a swat to the small rear end as the boy passed by him. It wasn't the hardest swat he had ever dealt the child but it was far from the lightest either.

Remus released a breath, resting an arm on the bannister. "Honestly Sever-" The man was quickly interrupted as Harry turned with a glare towards his guardian. "Don't!" The child stomped inside of the house, being sure to stay out of Snape's reach. "I was fiiine! I was with my friends!"

"Are you allowed to just leave without asking permission to do so first?" Snape stepped into the house.

The child only shrugged, kicking off his trainers and pushing them closer to the wall. "I was gonna be back before you were."

Snape's eyes narrowed on the child as he shook his head firmly. "Your logic was that misbehaving for Remus was alright as I would not find out?" The man did not wait for a response as he took a step closer to the child. "Absolutely not. I believe that there is a corner upstairs in your room with your name on it."

"No!" As if to prove his point, Harry stomped a foot and sat on the bottom of the stairs, his arms wrapping tightly around himself. He had been safe! He was just down the street! It was all an over reaction. "I'm not."

Snape raised a stern eyebrow at the child. "You are heading in the right direction for a stinging backside. Go up to your room."

Harry only tightened his arms around himself, his chin starting to quiver as he stared down to his knees.

"Honestly Harry," Remus spoke softly, peering down to the child who only leaned back further against the stairs, "Did you believe I would say no?"

Harry only offered a small shrug, sparing a glance towards Remus before tossed a glare towards Snape. "Doesn't matter," he muttered, huffing out a breath as he looked away again. "I'm not goin' to my room."

Snape took a step towards the staircase, leaning down slightly in an attempt to see the child's face better. "This is your final warning. Go to your room. Now."

The last thing the man wanted was to embarrass the child in front of Remus, however, Harry was not leaving him with many options.

Harry simply responded by stomping a sock covered foot and standing. "I'm in trouble anyway!"

Snape took the last remaining steps over to the child. He leaned down putting his own face inches from Harry's. "If you do not listen and go to your room, I am going to bring a wooden spoon upstairs with me." The man was sure to keep his voice low in hopes of not embarrassing the child.

Harry turned his head away, sparing a quick glance towards Remus who, if he did hear acted like he didn't. "Dooooont," he whined softly, shaking his head while raising a hand to push Snape's shoulder away.

Snape let out an exasperated sigh as he looked down to the small hand pushing at his shoulder. "One," he said firmly.

The child glared up to the man before slowly standing, turning with a huff. He gave the man no time to continue on with the childish counting before starting to stomp loudly up the stairs.

"Into the corner." Snape's tone was firm as he stood up straight to watch the child go up the stairs. "I will be up in a few moments."

"I'm not goin' to," Harry muttered softly under his breath as he continued up and onto the second floor, sparing a glare down the stairs before disappearing towards his room.

Remus sighed softly, leaning his side against the wall. "Don't be hard on him, Severus. I should have had a better eye on him and I apologize for that."

Snape let out an annoyed sigh. He had heard the child's words but he was not about to comment on them. Harry had gone to his room, he would deal with the rest of it in a moment. The man turned to face his friend. "He knows better than to leave the yard without telling anyone. Just as he knows better than to behave as he just did."

"Still, It's rare enough for him to act up in any way while I'm here. He's more often than not very well behaved." Remus hummed, sparing a look towards the stairs before giving a nod. "But I'll take my leave. I will still have no issue watching him when needed."

"I appreciate your help, as always Remus. I can assure you that this will never happen again when you watch him." The frown on Snape's lips remained as he thought about how his child had just behaved.

The man gave a soft hum as he spared a final look towards the stairs before moving to the parlor. "Attempt to enjoy the rest of the day and surely one mistake won't ruin Harry's afternoon."

Snape hummed softly at the words as he watched the man approach the fireplace. "He had better be standing in the corner up there, that is all I will say on the matter."

Remus chose not to comment on those words as he took a handful of floo powder, bidding the man a final farewell before disappearing into the green flames.

Upstairs, Harry sat on his bed. His pillow held tightly to his front as he glared down to his bed. He wasn't going to stand in the stupid corner.

Snape let out a breath as the man vanished. He nearly went to the kitchen to retrieve a wooden spoon but decided against it. The child was only seven after all. The man moved up the staircase, hoping that the child had calmed some since he had gone upstairs. He was in no mood to continue to deal with the tantrum Harry had been having.

The man pushed open the boy's bedroom door, his frustration rising as he spotted Harry sitting on his bed.

Harry tightened his hold on his pillow as his door opened, keeping his stare down on the covers. His hand rubbed up and down the pillow case slowly before he slowly looked over to Snape.

The man's lips pressed into a tight line as he walked across the room. He reached out and took a gentle yet firm grip on Harry's upper arm before he pulled the boy off the bed and to his feet.

"Snaaape." Harry pulled his arm away, slapping the man's arm lightly away as he moved back and sat down on the edge of his bed. "Noo."

"Don't you dare hit me," the man hissed as he pulled the child to his feet once more. He quickly walked Harry across the room, placing him firmly in the corner before landing a stinging swat to the small rear end.

The child yelped at the smack, blinking as hot tears burned at his eyes. He had hardly touched Snape! His breathing hitched, raising a hand up to rub under his glasses.

Snape remained standing behind the child, as if he expected him to try and move out of the corner. "You had better stay in that corner and remain silent, little boy."

Harry glared over his shoulder briefly towards the man, quickly looking away to rub at his face once more with a loud sniff. "I was f-fine," he muttered softly.

Snape huffed softly at the words before he moved over to the child's bed. "Fine? Your behavior has been appalling."

The boy stared down to his sock clad feet, wrapping his arms loosely around his middle. "I was just like... two houses down!"

Snape raised an eyebrow at the words as he silently counted down backwards from ten before he lost his patience completely. A moment later he swallowed hard before responding, "if you are unable to stand there silently I can certainly restart your time in the corner every time that you speak."

"No," Harry uttered softly as he shifted his feet slightly. Having to stand in the corner at all was one of the worst punishments in his opinion.

"Then remain silent for the next ten minutes." Snape's hand moved to pinch the bridge of his nose as he thought over the child's long list of misbehavior.

Harry very nearly commented on the time but refrained, releasing a huff instead as his shoulders slouched down a considerable amount. He really did think he would be home before Snape would.

As Snape thought over the child's misbehavior, he felt his annoyance and disappointment with the whole situation growing once more. The man waved his hand causing the wooden spoon from downstairs to fly into the room, hovering in front of his face. Plucking it from the air, the man set it down on the bed beside him before he glanced at the time, noting that Harry still had a few minutes left.

Raising a hand, the child removed his glasses with a hitched breath. Surely it had been ten minutes by now! Snape was just keeping there extra time now. He was sure of it.

Snape let out a soft sigh. Another minute or two was not going to make a difference as far as his own annoyance was concerned. He cleared his throat loudly. "Bring yourself over here, Harry James."

Turning, Harry immediately paused as his eyes fell to the man's side and to the spoon. "No," he muttered, remaining in place as he shifted his gaze back to his guardian.

"Do not tell me no." Snape raised his hand and crooked a finger to the boy. "Come here." The same finger pointed firmly to the space between his knees. "Now."

Remaining still for a long moment, the child released a watery sigh and slowly moved forward and towards his guardian. He stopped just short of standing in front of him before closing the small gap and standing between Snape's knees as pointed.

The man took in a breath as he tried to decide which instance of misbehavior to address first. After a long moment his hand moved to firmly tap the underside of the same chin. "What did you say downstairs? That you had planned on being home before I was?"

Harry blinked, raising his head up to stare at Snape for a long moment before slowly nodding his head. "Yeah."

"I am fairly certain that you are to behave for Remus just as you would for me. Is that not true?" Snape raised an eyebrow at the child.

"Well yeah," the child muttered softly, shifting his feet as he looked down towards Snape's knee briefly.

"And if I had been home would you have left the yard without asking?" Snape's hand moved around the boy to land a firm tap to his rear end.

Harry jumped just slightly, taking a half step back as he slowly shook his head. "No...but I wasn't far! Or alone."

"That is not the point." Snape's hand tapped firmly once more. "Remus thought you were missing! He thought something had happened to you!" The man's eyes narrowed on the child. "Have you any idea how worried he was and then how worried I was when we could not find you?"

Harry flinched slightly, looking back down to Snape's knee as the man spoke. He could only shake his head with a soft, "No." He shifted his feet once more, raising a hand up to rub across his face.

Snape's hand tapped firmly once more. "And then what happened? What was that behavior that I saw downstairs, little boy?"

The child's chin quivered slightly as he took a partial step away with a whine, "Stooop. I dunno! Matt came over and asked if I wanted to ride bikes with them. And I did! Then we moved down towards his house. We weren't faaar, so I thought it would be okay!" Harry lowered his arms down to his sides, looking back up to Snape with blurred vision. "Then you came home," he muttered softly.

Snape reached out taking a gentle hold on the boy's arm and carefully pulling him the step back towards him. "You said that you thought you would be home before I was which leads me to believe that you knew you were misbehaving and you thought I would never find out."

"Well." Harry frowned more to himself then. "Yeah." He raised up his other hand, rubbing it across his face to clear away the tears that had once more risen.

The man reached out, carefully plucking the child's glasses from his face. He folded them and set them down beside the wooden spoon before his attention fell back to his child. "Why is that? Because you knew you were breaking a big rule by just leaving without asking Remus if you could?"

The child's eyes followed Snape's hand, settling on the spoon for a long moment before blinking and looking back to the man. He could only shrug a shoulder, otherwise refusing to actually say yes. "Sorry."

"You know the rules. You know why they are in place." Snape's hand moved to tap the child's backside firmly once more. "You know better than to throw a tantrum like you did downstairs. You also know the consequence for your behavior."

"Snaaaape," Harry whined as he started to move away once again. He nearly stomped a foot as he shook his head, sparing a glance down before back to the man. "You're not even bein' fair! I said I'm sorrry."The child moved around, refusing to give Snape the chance to grab him again before he sat down at the end of the bed to hide his bottom away from any more assaults.

The man could have easily reached over and grabbed the child but he was not about to be quite so forceful. "You misbehaved and scared Remus, as well as me, half to death and you only did so because I was not home and you thought that you could get away with it." The man looked over at the child before crooking a finger. "Come here."

"No." Harry shook his head, keeping himself firmly sat at the end of the bed as he looked down to his knees. "You're going to use the spoooon." A whine entered the child's tone as he leaned forward slightly. "Dooon't!"

"I certainly think you are deserving of one swat with the spoon." The man crooked his finger once more. "And if I have to start counting to get you to obey it is going to be another swat with it for each number I have to say."

Staring down to his knees for a long moment, Harry slowly slid off the bed and stepped back over towards Snape. "Sorry," he whispered.

The man gave a small nod at the apology. He had never planned on giving Harry more than one swat with the wooden spoon but then he knew the child well enough to know that the threat would work.

The man reached out, undoing the child's trousers. "We have been over this at least a dozen times, Harry. You are to behave for Remus just as you would for me. Is that clear?"

Harry only gave a single nod, raising both hands to rub at his eyes. "You d-don't gotta use the sp-spoon," he said, sniffing as he kept his hands pressed to his face. "Yo-your hand hurts enough. I promise!"

"Nor did you have to throw a tantrum downstairs or smack me before you went into the corner." The man carefully moved the boy to his side.

"I didn't meaaaaan to smack you." The child lowered his hands as he was moved, vision blurred as fresh tears welled up. "Really!" He uselessly rubbed at his face with his right hand before lowering back to his side.

"I am sure that you did not mean to wander off either." Snape lowered the boy's trousers. "You are lucky I didn't put you over my knee downstairs right in front of Remus."

"Y-you wouldn't do that." Harry blinked several times, causing the tears to fall as he shook his head.

"If you ever act so poorly and scare me like that again, I absolutely will." Snape took a gentle yet firm of the boy's hand, guiding him over his lap.

The child's breathing hitched as he was moved, one hand latching onto Snape's pant leg as he leaned his head closer to his bed. It wasn't fair! A sob shook his shoulders as he rubbed his face into his elbow, his back shaking as he took in a deep breath.

The man took in a deep breath as he hooked his fingers into the small underpants and moved them down and out of the way, nearly cringing as he did so. He knew what kind of reaction it would cause. "I never want to hear of you leaving this property without permission again."

"Wait, noo!" Harry instantly reached a hand back, attempting to cover up his bottom while trying to squirm his way off of the man's lap. "Don't!" A sob shook his small frame as he shook his head. "I wooont!"

Snape took a firm hold on the small hand, easily holding it to the child's side before he raised his other hand and brought it down in a stinging smack. "I am extremely disappointed in you."

A yelp escaped the child, immediately stopping his struggle as he leaned his head into his free arm. Eyes closing tightly, Harry sobbed loudly, perhaps overly so, but loudly all the same.

Snape nearly rolled his eyes as he allowed his hand to fall several more times. There was no way he was being hard enough on the child to cause such sobbing. "I never want to see behavior like I saw today again. Is that understood?"

Harry could only nod, rubbing his face into his arm to clear away the tears that had fallen. Taking in a ragged breath, a soft, "Yes," finally passing his lips.

"And if you ever raise your hand at me again I am going to light a fire on your rear end with the spoon." The man enunciated each word with a smack.

"N-neeever!" A leg kicked up as Harry started to squirm to get away. "Stoooop! I'm s-sorry!" He was sure his bottom was on fire! His day was ruined after it had been going so well.

Snape paused for a moment, reaching over to pick up the spoon. He knew he was being hard on the child but he also knew that he never wanted the child to scare him in such a way again. "We are nearly done."

Harry sniffed loudly as he lightly tugged at his arm to free it from Snape's hold. "Snaaape.." the child whined, his breathing hitching as he took in several deep breaths. "I'm sorrryy."

"And it will never happen again." The man let the wooden spoon fall. It was hardly a swat with it at all but he was sure it was enough to get the child's attention. He was sure the mere act of using it at all was plenty.

It honestly hadn't hurt as much as expected, but the fact it was used at all hurt the most. Harry raised his hand up, rubbing at his face in vain as the tears continued to fall as he only shook his head.

The man set the spoon to the side before he released his grip on the small hand. "Okay," he said softly as his hand moved to rub the child's back. "You are okay."

Once his hand was free, Harry moved it to his face as well. He heaved a loud sob before moving his hands away and standing with a slight stumble. Quickly, the child fixed his clothes before moving forward and pressing himself to Snape's chest. The child sobs became muffled as he hid his face into the man's front, hiccuping before releasing a slow breath. "Sorry."

"I know." Snape wrapped his arms around the child before he slowly lifted him and placed him on his lap. "You are very forgiven, little boy." The man bent his neck, leaning down slightly to press a kiss to the side of the boy's face. "You just cry it out and then we will talk a bit more."

Harry closed his eyes, wincing just slightly as he was placed down. He nodded slowly, resting his head up slightly to lean against Snape's shoulder. It took several minutes before he released a much more calm breath, shoulders slouching down slowly.

"I want you to listen to me very carefully." Snape cleared his throat as he stood with the child in his arms. "Can you do that?" He adjusted Harry slightly.

"Mhm." He nodded slowly, wrapping his arms firmly around Snape's neck as the man stood.

The man leaned down picking up the wooden spoon and slipping it into his pocket. "I understand that you were only two doors down with your friends, however, when you just leave without asking and no one knows where you are it causes people to panic." Snape leaned down once more, picking up the child's owl and holding it out for him to take. "Later today I want you to write Remus a letter and apologize."

Blinking, the child reached and took a gentle hold on the owl before holding it between his and Snape's front. He gave a nod, rubbing his cheek against Snape's chest with a soft, "Okay."

Snape moved over to the child's wardrobe, pulling out a clean pair of sleep pants before he moved back over to the bed and sat down. "Let's get these on you please. I think that you are well past due for a nap."

"Kay." Harry's voice remained soft as he rubbed his cheek against his toy owl. "C-can I stay with you? And sleep."

Snape placed the child on the floor in front of him, his hands moving to push down his trousers once more. "Would you like to nap on the couch?"

Stepping out of the trousers, Harry nodded against his owl. "Ye-yeah."

The man placed the trousers down on the bed before holding out the sleep pants for the child to step into. "You need a washcloth for that face of yours as well."

Stepping into the pajama bottoms, Harry only shrugged as he moved to lean back into Snape's front. His face did hurt, a lot. "Okay... are you s-still cross?"

The man hummed softly as he lifted the child, standing once more. "I am not cross." He waved a hand causing Harry's pillow and blanket to relocate to the couch. "However, I meant what I said. I do not want the behavior I saw to ever occur again." He paused, forcing his tone to go slightly stern. "I had better never see you raise a hand at me again either. Are we clear on that?"

The child nodded firmly, curling one arm around Snape's neck while the other held his owl tightly. "I w-won't. Promise."

"Very good." Snape moved out of the child's room and down the hallway. "I also think you are going to need to play inside for the rest of the day."

Harry's shoulders slouched at the words, though he didn't even want to see his friends after what had just happened. Still... "All day?"

Snape gave a nod as he adjusted the child in his arms before starting down the staircase. "You are quite lucky it is not all weekend." The man cleared his throat softly. "You can spend the rest of today writing your apology letter to Remus and reviewing your spelling words with me."

"Oh... was Remus cross?" He asked, adjusting his hold around Snape's neck as they descended down the stairs. Remus was never one to be upset. Not really at least, even whenever he tried.

"Remus was very worried. He thought you had been kidnapped or were lost." The man stepped onto the first floor. "He was scared. You scared him."

Guilt plastered across the child's face at the words, shifting his head to tuck it under Snape's chin with a very soft, "Oh."

"Just as you did me when I arrived home and you were nowhere to be found." The man's hand tapped the boy's rear end gently. "Which is why you are supposed to ask before you leave."

Shifting slightly, Harry lowered his head down to rest his chin against his owl. "'M sorry."

"And you are forgiven but it had best not happen again." The man moved over to the couch. Sitting down he waved a hand causing a cool washcloth to appear. "Let me see your face, please."

"It hurts," he muttered, raising his head up and away from Snape's chest as the washcloth appeared. Yet before the man had a chance, he did a quick brush across his face with his sleeve.

"The washcloth will feel much better than your sleeve." The man gently pressed it under the boy's right eye with a soft hum.

Harry nodded slowly before curling up against Snape's chest, leaning his head into the cloth as his eyes closed. "Th-thanks," he uttered softly, holding his owl tightly as his thumb rubbed across the soft fur of the toy.

Snape carefully moved the cloth under the child's left eye before he reached over and took hold of Harry's blanket, pulling it over the child. "Take a nice nap and then we will see about your spelling words."

"Okay," he breathed, shoulders and back relaxing as he was covered up. A hum passed as Harry blinked his right open for a brief moment before allowing it to close. "Sorry I scared you."

"Hush." Snape's fingertips gently tapped the boy's back ."I know it will not happen again." The man bent his neck, leaning down to press a kiss to the top of the boy's head. "Go to sleep now."

Harry shifted slightly, getting more comfortable while holding his owl properly against his stomach. "Kay," the child whispered, taking mere moments before his breathing slowly evened out.