AN: First time writing fanfiction. Let me know what you think.
Severus Snape strode swiftly through the seventh floor corridor of the castle, leading to the headmaster's office. He had received a note not ten minutes prior requesting that he join him immediately and as it was presently nearing midnight, Severus wasted no time in abandoning his nightcap and a new potions book and making his way up from the dungeons.
He approached the stone gargoyles and, rolling his eyes, he said in his usual slow drawl, "Pixie Puffs." The gargoyles lept aside, allowing Snape to enter the circular, stone staircase that began to move on its own, bringing him up to the office door, to which he knocked once and heard a quiet, "Enter," spoken by Albus Dumbledore.
Snape stepped inside and closed the door behind him.
"You wanted to see me, Headmaster?"
"Ah, Severus, my boy. Come in, come in. Have a seat, won't you." Albus gestured towards the chairs in front of his desk and Snape sat down. Albus then held out a bowl of lemon drops and Snape merely shook his head, resisting the urge to once again roll his eyes at the man.
Albus placed the bowl back down on the edge of his desk and gave a small sigh as he seemed to be thinking of just the right words to begin the conversation. He tented his fingers in front of his face before lowering them once more to the desk.
Unable to stand the quiet any longer, Snape said, "Headmaster, you did need to see me for something? Surely you didn't have me leave my quarters just to sit here in silence?"
Ignoring his question though, Albus instead, replied, "Severus, it is just the two of us here, there is no need for all these formalities as I've told you countless times over the last many years."
Snape bit back his usual scathing remark. There was obviously something bothering the older man and the faster he told him what it was, the faster he could get back to his nightcap.
"What is it, dad?"
"Harry Potter has just performed a vast display of accidental magic at his relatives home, and-"
This time, Snape did indeed roll his eyes as he sat back in his chair with a huff. "Of course this would be about Potter." He hissed. "Tell me, did he have a tantrum when they did not cater to his every whim? Was his Welcome Home party not up to his standards?"
Snape opened his mouth to say something else but the look that was suddenly pointed in his direction from the headmaster was one that he hadn't seen in a very long time. The usual twinkle was nowhere in sight and Severus found himself straightening up in his chair. The rest of his reply, died on his lips as he closed his mouth once more.
"I do not know what has caused the loss of control of Harry's emotions, Severus. However, I do know that he has left their home and is now sitting alone at the Leaky Cauldron with nearly an entire Summer left before his return to Hogwarts."
"Surely the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad can sort it all out." Snape pointed out.
"Yes, they have already taken care of everything, unfortunately however, Harry's aunt and uncle are no longer willing to allow him to come back."
At this declaration, Albus pulled a letter from the desk and handed it over to Snape, who took it with a raised eyebrow. Scanning the paper, Snape's lips almost twitched in a smirk at the words written there. Almost.
"I suppose they've finally had enough of his arrogant and flagrant disregard for the rules, though I don't blame them really. I've been saying it all along, what Potter needs is discipline."
"And is it discipline, Severus, to have him be thrown out of his home onto the street? With no one to look after his well being?"
Snape scoffed at this, as if his adoptive father had just said something quite unbelievable. "Oh, come off it, dad. We both know that by the time school lets out next year, they'll have all cooled off and will likely welcome him home with open arms. I dare say Potter is probably loving the idea of being on his own for the summer. Though with his track record, he'll have found trouble before the week is out and someone will have to go and collect him. I expect Molly will jump at the chance to coddle the insufferable brat."
Albus allowed Snape to say his piece and then leaned back in his own chair, frowning slightly.
"Be that as it may, I cannot allow Harry to spend the summer holidays alone and I will not turn a blind eye to what may be more than it seems. I will not make the same mistakes with Harry that I almost made with you. I couldn't bear it."
Neither man spoke for a while after that, each lost in their own thoughts about how Severus came to be in the care of the Headmaster.
Eileen Snape had died the summer before Severus' fourth year at Hogwarts, and that was the year that his father's rage had escalated to new and more damaging heights. He had, as always, hid the bruises and fresh cuts and welts with a disillusionment charm before boarding the train at Kings Cross but he couldn't hide the broken ribs and sprained wrist no matter how hard he tried. He had passed out on the second day of term in the middle of History of Magic and had been immediately taken to the hospital wing. The charms he had worked so hard to keep in place had faltered quickly and Madam Pomfrey had seen everything. Then, despite all begging and pleading, Madam Pomfrey had alerted his head of house and the headmaster about his condition.
Severus lied to them of course, desperately hoping that they would believe his feeble attempts to convince them that his injuries had been sustained some other way then by the hands of his father's drunken rages. But they didn't.
Severus never went back to Spinner's End after that. Not until Tobias Snape had also died, some ten years ago.
A tawny owl swooping in through the open window pulled both men back to the present as he dropped the second letter of the night on Dumbledore's desk before flying back out into the inky, black sky.
Albus unrolled the single piece of parchment and recognized Minerva's neat handwriting immediately. "It's from your mother." He supplied Snape's unasked question. He read the letter once, and then a second time, his expression showing deepening anger with every passing word. He stood up and walked around the desk before thrusting the letter into Snape's outstretched hand. Snape began to read it for himself.
I have said all along that they are the worst sort of muggles, but even I never expected it to be to this extent. Using Evanesco, I've been inside the house and after what I saw, he simply can't be allowed to come back here, Albus. There are bars on his window! Locks and a CATFLAP on his door through which it seems they are putting what little food they give him. Unheated cans of soup and a moldy piece of bread! His bedroom, if you can call it that, is bare of anything save for a small bed and a wardrobe. But that's not even the worst part! It looked as if the lock on the cupboard under the stairs had been blasted open and when I looked inside, I found a makeshift bed of dirty blankets and a handful of broken toys. To think he must have been living there! None of this even touches on how the muggles were acting when I first arrived, though of course they didn't see me, but it was absolutely dreadful.
I'm staying here until the ministry gets here so that they can do a full investigation but I should be home in the morning so I can tell you even more then. He's not coming back here Albus. I absolutely will not have it!
Snape put down the letter and stood up to walk over to the window, looking out over the grounds as he crossed his arms in front of him. It was a while before he spoke, but when he did, his voice sounded strained.
"I don't suppose Mum could be exaggerating?" He glanced over his shoulder at Albus.
The vehement glare that Dumbledore shot his way answered that question and for the second time that night, Severus remembered the all too familiar feeling of being scolded by the man. "No, I didn't think so." He added on before turning back towards the window.
Another moment passed in silence before Dumbledore nodded to himself and said in a no nonsense voice, "You'll collect him in the morning then."
Snape looked up, stunned by his father's words. "I will?"
The Headmaster nodded again. "Of course you will. He simply can't stay alone in the Leaky Cauldron all summer. Not that I don't trust Tom to keep an eye on the boy, but you said it yourself, he'll likely find trouble within the week and with Black on the loose, it is imperative that he is kept safe. Yes," He went on as if convincing himself, "this is the safest place for him. We'll have to turn your guest room down in your quarters into a room more suitable for a thirteen year old, of course."
"My guest room? Da-"
"Well where else is he going to sleep, Severus? You can't expect him to stay alone in Gryffindor Tower all summer."
"You've got to be joking!" Severus suddenly seemed to find his voice and it was rising as if what Dumbledore was suggesting was only just now sinking in. "I'm not taking the brat in! Aside from the fact that I'm sure there are countless people who would be willing, least of all the Weasley's, the boy hates me, and I assure you, Headmaster, the feeling is mutual!"
"Ah, Severus," Albus said almost cheerily as if his son hadn't just admitted to hating a student. "I can't think of anyone more suited to take him in. And besides that, the Weasley's are on holiday in Egypt at the moment, not that it matters. They would hardly be able to take on another child no matter how much they would like to. No, Harry will come here."
"And what if I don't want to do this?" Snape huffed. "What if I outright refuse?"
Dumbledore turned somber eyes to Severus. "Would you, my son? Would you refuse a boy the chance to have a safe place? The chance to be happy and healthy? Would you deny him those things when you yourself know what it feels like to not have them? What of your promise, hm? Did you not willingly promise me anything?"
"Please don't ask me to do this." Snape begged, his voice soft as he turned his back on the window and leaned against the frame, his arms still crossed over his chest as he stared down at the floor in front of him.
Dumbledore crossed the office to stand in front of him and used his finger to tip his chin up to look him in the eyes as he had so often done in the past. Snape had long since stopped flinching away at the small contact and dark, obsidian eyes met bright blue ones.
"Severus, if you can't find it in your heart to look past an old rivalry with a dead man for Harry's sake, do it for her. You promised to keep her son safe. Harry is Lily's son just as much as he is James'."
After several long moments in which Snape truly warred with himself, he finally gave a faint nod and Albus smiled, the twinkle once more in place.
"Alright, but I'm telling you right now, I will not coddle that boy. I will not stand by while he continuously disobeys every rule set to keep him safe. If I'm to do this, then I'm doing it my way. He will have rules and when he breaks them, he will be held responsible for his actions."
Dumbledore nodded but spoke firmly, "As you wish, Severus, however, if I find that you have abused your power over him, you will have me to answer to. Are we clear?"
Snape gave a swift nod and moved away from the window towards the door. "If there's nothing else, I really would like to get back. It seems I have much to do before in the morning."
Dumbledore smiled. "Good night, Severus." He called after him.
"Good night, Dad." He answered back with a last roll of his eyes though there was really no annoyance behind it. He sighed as he stepped out of the office and shut the door behind him.
"Merlin," he groaned, "all I wanted was to enjoy my drink and finish my book."