Alright, this is the start of a new story that has been waring for attention in my mind with 'Genesis of Hope'. Now, these chapters will come out slowly, seeing as I'm in Year Twelve and have to deal with that. *Looks extremely depressed and scared* I already hate Year Twelve, yet for some reason, it seems easier. *Shrugs*
So, the gist of the babble above is that if I don't update for a while it's because of either:
a) Genesis Of Hope is taking up my time and creativity or
b) Year Twelve is being a pain and I'm getting too much homework, work, study and all that stuff.
I'll thank you for being patient, and I'll also mention that I do not appreciate flames. All they are is an attempt to make someone else feel better due to another's pain. I write the way I want to write, and while I will read constructive criticism, flames will be blatantly ignored. Telling me that my story is a load of crap and the like will merely be met with indifference.
Now, since that is out of the way, here is the first chapter of 'An Innocent Gift'.
An Innocent Gift
As Severus Snape knelt before the Dark Lord Voldemort, he couldn't help but feel a deep sense of foreboding deep within him. It felt as though the events of tonight's meeting were going to change his life forever, though for better, or worse, he knew not.
"Welcome my loyal Death Eaters. I have some interesting news." Voldemort hissed from his throne. "It seems that our dear Wormtail has come across an unidentified potion. We have the ingredients and the steps to brew this potion, but we don't have what the potion actually does. Now to find out what this potion does, I am going to select one of your numbers to test the potion." Voldemort's crimson eyes scanned the crowd of nervous Death Eaters. They fell on one particular form. "Severus Snape, step forward. You have been given the honour of testing the new potion."
Severus cringed behind his mask as the icy cold hand of fear took a hold of him.
Stepping forward, he bowed and knelt before Voldemort. "You honour me, my Lord." He said respectfully.
Voldemort smirked. "Remove your mask Severus, and drink the potion."
"Yes my Lord." Severus murmured, removing his mask and taking the phial containing the potion. Sniffing it cautiously, he closed his eyes and downed the potion. As he knelt there, his body tense, awaiting the likely gruesome and painful effects of the potion, he could hear the other Death Eaters behind him, shuffling nervously.
"Well Severus? Are there any effects yet?" Voldemort demanded, a tinge of curiosity to his voice.
"None as yet, my Lord."
Voldemort sighed regretfully. "Very well. You may return to Hogwarts, but the minute you start to feel the effects of the potion, you are to owl me. Is that understood?"
"Of course my Lord." And with that, Severus left the Dark Lord's presence, feeling a mixture of pity and contempt for those who had to remain behind.
Severus stumbled once he arrived at the apparation point just outside of the grounds of Hogwarts.
Shaking his head, which felt as if it was filled with cotton, he made his way to Albus Dumbledore's office.
'He wants me to owl him of the effects. he must be getting crazier as time passes because if he was in full control of his mental capabilities he would realise that if one doesn't know what the potion is meant to do, then one may be taking note of things that happen naturally instead of in reaction to the potion.' Severus thought to himself as he stood before the stone gargoyle that guarded the entrance to Albus's office.
Entering the office, his eyes immediately fell upon the Headmaster of Hogwarts as he sat behind his desk, reading a Muggle novel.
Twinkling sky blue eyes looked up at Severus curiously, with touches of concern within them. "Ah, Severus, you have come back. Have you anything to report?"
Severus nodded sharply, then blinked a couple of times to clear his head. "Wormtail," Severus spat the name out. "And the Dark Lord found an unidentified potion that they wished to try. The lucky test subject was me." He said, watching as the concern in the sky blue eyes grew and the twinkle dimmed. "And before you ask or suggest anything, I do not require coddling, nor do I require a visit to the Hospital Wing. So far there have been no effects, and I will promptly test my blood to see what the potion is, once I return to my quarters." Severus looked at the Headmaster pointedly.
As he watched Albus smile at him gently, Severus felt tremors run their course through his body, and his usual indifferent mask slipped from his face as the inky murkiness of unconsciousness grasped him tightly, dragging him deep within its folds of darkness.
Albus smiled lightly, though the smile immediately vanished into a mask of concern when he saw his Potions Master shudder then fall back in what appeared to be a faint.
Forgoing the use of magic to stop his fall, Albus leapt from his chair to catch the falling Severus. Once his hands connected with the back of Severus, there was a brilliant flash of light, and Albus could only stare at what was now lying in his arms.
In his arms, surrounded by the numerous layers of the Potions Master's robes was a baby, about seven or eight months old. His young baby skin was as pale as ivory and as smooth and soft as silk. Raven black hair, already reaching his shoulders, curled slightly and was silky soft to the touch, while wide onyx eyes stared up at Albus. The eyes blinked once, twice, then closed as the babe yawned softly, before falling asleep.
Suddenly, the severity of the situation hit him. This was Severus Snape! This sweet, tiny infant was the bane of all Gryffindors, the most feared professor in the entire school, Severus Snape! If the situation was so alarming, Albus probably would be laughing at the irony of it all.
For the first time in many, many years, Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts, Defeater-of-Grindelwald, and holder of many other titles, was at a total loss at what to do.
Suddenly, as his eyes fell on the calendar sitting on his wall, a devilish smirk spread across his face.
His smirk grew as he glanced at his familiar, Fawkes, but it changed to a gentle smile as he looked at the sleeping babe within his arms.
Emerald eyes watched the glowing scarlet numbers, anticipation evident in the brilliant gaze.
Suddenly, the glowing numbers changed, revealing the start of a new day.
The youth smirked as he opened the window to allow the barrage of owls in.
After removing the various packages that the owls carried, the youth gave them the opportunity to drink and rest, as he gave them an owl treat each, before handing one to his snowy owl perched on his shoulder.
The snowy owl's amber eyes gazed lovingly at her master as he smiled up at her. She hooted curiously at him, wondering at the devious, mischievous glint in his brilliant eyes.
The youth laughed softly at the question evident in his owl's gaze. "I'm of age." He said simply, watching with a smirk as his owl's amber gaze seemed to light with a devious glint that matched his.
"I knew you'd like that." He said, chuckling, as he stroked her feathers gently. "Any ideas Hedwig?" he asked curiously.
Hedwig just cooed to her master and nipped him lightly on the ear, offering her support to any of his ideas.
After going through the numerous gifts he had received, he wrote the appropriate thank-you letters and sent them back with the owls.
Eyeing his gifts, he looked at one with something akin to suspicion. One box was filled to the brim with samples from the Weasley Twins joke shop. Though the shop had floundered for a bit in the beginning, business had began to pick up at the start of his sixth year at Hogwarts, when his best friend Ron, who was the younger brother to the twins, had turned the entire Slytherin House into French maids, despite their sex. He chuckled though, knowing that he would have fun with his relatives these holidays.
Suddenly there was a blaze of fire and a calming, melodious tune. When the flames cleared, leaving no evidence of the fire being there, the youth stared in shock at the magnificent creature that was staring at him, it's sable eyes gazing at him, infinite wisdom in those eyes.
"Fawkes." The youth breathed softly, his emerald eyes gazing gently at the phoenix before him. "Dare I ask why you are here?" He asked curiously, watching with a mixture of happiness and dread as the phoenix's eyes danced with a mischievous gleam nearly identical to his master's.
Fawkes tilted his head to the side as he spread his wings and rose into the air with grace, revealing a basket.
Curious, the youth walked over to the basket, but before he could reach it, Fawkes landed on his unoccupied shoulder and offered him a note.
Taking the note, he nodded his head in thanks. "If you're thirsty Fawkes, you can drink over there." He indicated to the water bowl he had for Hedwig.
Fawkes cooed softly, nipping the youth on the ear gently before ghosting over to the snowy owl's perch.
Hedwig glared briefly at the phoenix, before returning her attention to her master. She hooted softly, reassuring her master. Her master, though he was happy, he hadn't been the same after their return from the place where there were many human chicks, her master called it a 'school', four seasons ago. Nor had he sent her with letters to the dog-that-was-a-man-wizard, that seemed to care for her master. After their return, four seasons ago, her dear master had fallen into depression, nothing she could do would shake him out of it. It was only after a visit from the man-who-was-also-wolf and a, she believed her master called them 'visions', did his attitude change and Hedwig could see remnants of the boy she had been purchased for, many seasons ago. The fire that had been in his eyes came back with a vengeance and a new determination settled over him. The following morning, her master left the, Hedwig gave a derisive hoot at this thought, nest and went to the place where she had been brought from, without being seen by the man-wizard that was watching them. They had later returned when the night was waking, and her master seemed very pleased with himself.
A gasp from her master shook Hedwig out of her memories, and she looked down at him, as he stared at the parchment in his hands.
Hooting curiously, she watched as his eyes scanned over the letter a second time.
'Dear Mr. Potter,
First, may I say happy birthday, and that I hope you enjoy your coming of age.' Here he broke off, as the letter went into the inane chatter that was essentially the Headmaster's way of leading up to something big. 'Now, I'm sure you are curious as to what is inside the basket that accompanied Fawkes. That is my present to you, though I'm certain that you won't see it that way. Please forgive an old man for his meddling and well, all my, what is it that Minerva uses?. Ah, that's right, my quirks,' A wry smile broke across the youth's face as he could imagine his Head of House referring to the Headmaster's eccentricities as quirks. 'You're the only one I could trust with such a.. gift as it is. and I pray that you can forget your past and live the life that was kept from you.' His eyes narrowed. Dumbledore was stalling. He never stalled, unless he knew that he wasn't going to like it. 'When you return to Hogwarts, could you please see me immediately after the Sorting Feast to. discuss things.
The youth blinked, this was an odd letter, even for Dumbledore's standards. Suddenly, a movement out of the corner of his eye made him spin around, reaching for his wand as he did so, and drawing it in a swift motion. His eyes narrowed as they landed on the basket that was twitching.
Peering into the basket, the youth could only stare in surprise at the wide onyx eyes that were staring back at him. Stepping back from the basket, his eyes widened as the letter gave a jump in his hands. Turning his gaze back to the letter, somewhat reluctantly, the youth's eyes almost popped out of his head as he read the post script that had appeared.
'P.S. His name is Severus Snape, and yes, he is, or rather, was, your Potions Master. It seems that this is the result of an unidentified potion that Voldemort decided to test on Severus. I have given him to you in hopes to end the feud between the two of you, and also, you are the only one I trust with his safety.
Severus, like yourself, had a hard childhood before he arrived at Hogwarts. Please give him the chance to have the childhood that both him and yourself have missed, due to an old man's misguided feelings.
Oh, you will also find books on how to care for children within the basket, though I have no doubt you will be a natural at it.
The youth could only stare at the letter in his hands for a few moments, before returning his stunned gaze to the infant child in the basket, who yawned cutely, before his eyes closed and he drifted back into the land of sleep.
"Is he mad? Severus Snape and Harry Potter? He'll skin me alive when he returns to his natural age." The young man said in a whisper. He looked up at Hedwig, who was gazing at the babe with a gentle, curious look. "What do you think, girl?" He asked softly.
Hedwig returned her gaze to her master and cooed gently, showing that she thought he should care for the human chick.
He sighed. "Fine." He then shot a glance at the smug looking Fawkes. "Your master is crazy." He muttered, before writing a short note saying that he would take care of Snape and that they were definitely going to. discuss things once he returned to Hogwarts. Handing the note to Fawkes, he watched as the phoenix disappeared in a blaze of flames.
Picking up the basket gently, he placed it on the bed and in what was an instinctive gesture, he made sure that Snape was warm and covered.
Once that was done, Harry James Potter, The-Boy-Who-Lived, sighed and attempted to sleep, knowing that this year was going to be the most difficult and the weirdest of his years at Hogwarts.
Morning came, and Harry awoke to find that Snape was still fast asleep. Shaking himself mentally, Harry realised that he wouldn't be able to call Snape 'Snape', seeing as that wouldn't be good for such a small child. He was going to have to call him 'Severus'.
Harry sighed, then he frowned, hearing his name shouted. He shook his head. 'No, I'm not going to raise a child, even if it is Sn. Severus, in this household.' He thought to himself. He smirked. 'After tormenting the Dursleys for a bit, I'll take him home.'
A pounding at the door made him look up sharply, and glance at Sn. Severus. Seeing the tiny face scrunch up, but continue to sleep, Harry let out a sigh of relief, before storming over to the door.
Pulling it open, he stared into the weak blue eyes that belonged to his cousin.
While Dudley had lost some weight over the past two, three years, it wasn't enough for him to take on a definite shape other than that of a blob. Also, while Dudley wasn't growing in any way, be it horizontally or vertically, Harry had finally had his growth spurt and had grown about a foot, maybe two taller, so he practically towered over Dudley.
"What?" Harry snapped softly.
Dudley glared at him. "Mum says to get down and cook us breakfast or she'll send up Dad." Dudley threatened.
Harry smirked, and pushed his way out of his room, the movement so unexpected that Dudley slammed into the opposite wall, causing the house to shake. Quickly glancing back into his room, he saw that the babe was still sleeping. Before he closed his door though, he motioned for Hedwig to come to him, and she landed on his shoulder.
Before he could take another step though, Dudley hurried down the stairs, and immediately began to complain to his parents.
Harry rolled his eyes and walked into the kitchen, watching with hidden glee as his aunt and uncle's eyes narrowed in hatred and disgust at the sight of his owl. So concerned were they with his owl, that they didn't notice his wand holster strapped to his arm.
"You freak. Apologise for what you did to Dudley, and maybe I won't kill that ruddy bird of yours." Vernon sneered.
The Dursleys were braver now, seeing as they were no longer under the threat of Sirius Black, or the Order. Sirius had died in Harry's fifth year, falling through a veil that separated the living world from the world of the dead. And the Order, while they had been there for Harry for the start of his summer holidays that year after Sirius's death, they seemed to be on suicide watch and their protection soon became too oppressive for Harry to handle in his time of grief, and so he sent a letter, begging for them to stop the guard, and the requiring of letters. At first the Order had been suspicious, but Harry soon convinced them that they needn't be so worried.
Harry smirked. "It's nice to know I'm so loved by my family that they remember my birthday." He drawled, shuddering inwardly as he realised it reminded him of Malfoy.
"If you're after gifts." Vernon started, but Petunia's horrified gasp broke him off. "What is it dear?"
Harry's smirk grew. "So, you remember what happened when Mum turned seventeen, do you?"
Petunia's eyes focused on Harry's wand holster. "You. you're of age." She stated softly.
Harry grinned. "Yes I am, which means I can use my magic." He waited for the explosion. He wasn't disappointed.
Vernon stood with a strangled shout, his face rapidly turning red as he advanced on Harry, his intent evident in his piggy little eyes.
"Tsk, tsk, Uncle Vernon." Harry said, drawing his wand and pointing it at Vernon. "You really shouldn't try to harm a wizard who is capable of using his magic." Harry scolded. Suddenly, his eyes lit up, and he strode into the lounge room, where he faced the large portrait of Vernon, Petunia and Dudley. Smirking, he began to cast spells over it, causing the portrait to change to one of his mother, father and himself standing in front of Hogwarts. With a quick flick of his wrist, he made the portrait a magical one, and grinned at his parents, who grinned back. With one last flick of his wrist, he charmed the portrait with the same charm that was on Mrs. Black's portrait in Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place. The portrait now couldn't be removed by hand, nor could it be burned, painted over or anything like that.
"See you around, Mum, Dad." He said softly, before striding up to his room, smirking at the startled shouts from the Dursleys below. He quickly packed his trunk and shrunk it, placing it within his top pocket. He then walked over to the sleeping babe and picked up the basket that was serving as his bed. Taking one last look around the room that he had. borrowed over the last seven years, he sneered and shut the door. Walking over to Dudley's room, he smirked as he threw a few of the Twins' prank lollies into the room. Nothing that would require magic to reverse, but things that would wear off after a while, like Canary Creams.
Walking downstairs, he saw that the Dursleys were still staring at the portrait in shock, letting out little shrieks of horror as the portrait moved. He laughed softly at them as he made his way to the door.
Vernon saw him first. "Get rid of this. this." Vernon couldn't seem to finish the sentence, but Harry simply shrugged.
"Ah, but you see, my dear Uncle, I don't want to. Since you seem to think that Muggles are far more superior to Wizards, you get rid of it." Harry taunted, before stepping outside. He smirked at the startled looks on the Dursleys' faces, then looked at Hedwig, who had landed on his shoulder, gently, before turning his gaze back to the Dursleys. "Well, I'm going now. I'd say it's been nice living with you, but in all reality, it hasn't. May the Wizarding World never intrude in your delusions again, except of course for the painting." Harry saw Vernon raise his arm and was about to bring it down in an attempt to strike Harry, but he merely smirked and disapparated with a loud 'pop'.
Harry reappeared in front of a large house, surrounded by lush forests. He looked over the house with intense pride. This was his home. He had gotten it built at the start of the summer holidays the year before, after Remus Lupin and a vision convinced him that wallowing in depression was not going to bring Sirius back. The builders had done a magnificent job, and due to one of his clauses, they had erased their memories of the house once the job was complete so Harry could have his privacy.
Harry smirked, feeling the wards that surrounded his home. He had set the wards during his sixth year with the help of a Time-Turner that he had found within his robes after the incident at the Department of Mysteries. While he was at school, he would lock himself in a room and would use the Time-Turner to travel back in time as far as it was possible. He would then make his way to the Room of Requirement and use a fireplace to floo out of Hogwarts to his home and work on setting the wards surrounding the house. He did this for the entire year and now his home was even more protected than Hogwarts herself.
He shook his head. 'If Ron or Hermione found out about this, they'd be shocked.' He thought to himself. 'Hermione would have a fit about all the rules and laws I've broken and how I've placed myself in danger, where as Ron would sulk because I didn't tell him about it and invite him along, then he would have a fit when he realises how Slytherin I'm acting.' He smirked at the last part. If there was one things that his friends thought, it was that Slytherins and anyone even remotely associating with Slytherins were evil. He, himself, at one time had though that, when he was young and naïve, but now, now after seeing so much pain and death, he knew that his Slytherin side might be the very thing to save him.
Harry shook his head once more and started for the house, knowing that the house would be clean and tidy, thanks to Dobby and Winky's help.
When Harry had approached Dobby the year before with an offering of a position in his new home, the excitable house elf had agreed instantly. Winky had overheard them, and since she was happier serving a family, she had asked, rather softly and respectfully, if she too could work for 'Mister Harry Potter, sir.'
Harry had agreed, but only on the condition that she would have a day off, with no arguments. Winky had reluctantly agreed to these terms, and they spent one day a week at Harry's home, making sure everything was in order and that it wasn't getting dirty and overrun. Now that Harry was here to stay, so would Winky and Dobby.
Harry narrowed his eyes in thought. While he didn't really want to care for Snape, he knew that he couldn't deny the innocent infant a loving family, so he wouldn't foist the child off into Dobby and Winky's hands while on holidays, but, when they returned to Hogwarts, he would need someone to care for the child while he was in classes. Dobby and Winky would be able to care for him while classes were on, right?
Harry entered his home with a sigh. He was home, it was his home, and there was no one there to lock him in a cupboard if he did something they didn't like.
"Master Harry Potter sir! You is home!" Came Winky's voice as she rushed down the hallway.
Harry sighed. He hadn't managed to convince the house elf to call him 'Harry', and it seemed that she had rubbed off on Dobby, who also called him 'Master Harry Potter'. He rolled his eyes slightly, then answered the happy elf. "Yes Winky, I am. How have you and Dobby been?"
"We is being fine, Master Harry Potter sir. Is you wanting Winky and Dobby to be doing something?" Winky asked, her eyes wide.
Harry shook his head. "Can you just prepare a small breakfast please, as well as a baby bottle of warm milk please." Harry requested politely.
Winky's eyes widened with curiosity. "Why is Master Harry Potter sir needing a baby bottle?" She asked without thinking, before gasping. "Bad Winky!" She cried and was about to slam her head into the wall when Harry's voice rang over her.
"Winky, I have told you. No punishing yourself for speaking your mind. You know I don't like it." Harry said sternly, watching as Winky stopped abruptly and nodded. "Now, in answer to your question, the Headmaster decided I was the only one he trusted to take care of something." And with that, Harry knelt down in front of the elf and showed her the sleeping Snape.
Winky's eyes seemed to fill with awe. "A baby, Master Harry Potter sir? What is being his name?"
Harry laughed softly. "This, my dear Winky, is Severus Snape, Potions Master of Hogwarts. Now, I'm going up to my room. Please bring breakfast and the bottle up there please. Also, please tell Dobby that I wish to see him in half an hour." Harry said.
Winky nodded and disappeared with a pop, while Harry walked upstairs to his room. Opening his door, he looked around the room with pleasure. The walls and ceiling had been spelled to resemble the forest that surrounded the house, and it was so lifelike that creatures walked across the walls, and birds flew across the ceiling, which was like the ceiling of the Great Hall in Hogwarts. The carpet was a dark, rich green that was soft to the touch. All of his furniture was made with a dark mahogany wood. His bed was large and the coverings were dark green and black, which would probably disappoint Ron.
Placing the basket on his bed, Harry took his trunk out of his pocket and un-shrunk it, before opening it and placing everything away. He placed his prize Firebolt on the wall where it was laid out proudly, placed his school texts in his bookshelf that was there if he decided to do homework in his room instead of in the study downstairs. The bookshelf also held other texts that interested him and he intended to read them. His robes were hung up and his other school supplies were placed in a neat pile in the corner of the room. Finally came his photo album and his invisibility cloak, the first of which he placed on his beside table, the other, he hung from a hook on the wall, right beside the Firebolt.
He then transfigured a cot out of a paper clip he found in his pocket and conjured up a small set of drawers in which he would keep Sna. Severus's clothes.
Suddenly, Winky appeared in the room. "Here Master Harry Potter sir. Breakfast and a bottle for young master Snape sir."
Harry smiled slightly at the fact that his house elf had already accepted Severus as part of his family.
"Thank you Winky." Harry said with a smile, watching as the house elf beamed, before placing the tray of breakfast and bottle on the desk.
Harry picked up the bottle, then looked over at the basket to see that Sn.. Severus was awake. He steeled himself inwardly. "Hey there, little guy." He said softly, walking over to the basket, seeing how S. Severus was watching him. "Are you hungry?" He asked as he reached into the basket and carefully lifted Severus out, holding him in the crook of his arm. He held the bottle to the side of Severus's mouth and watched as the mouth opened and took hold of the nipple and began to suck greedily.
"I guess you haven't had much to eat, huh Severus?" Harry whispered softly. He then looked at Severus's left arm. "You shouldn't have the mark, huh? Well, let's see how you are when you're not trying to hide the fact that you're a spy for the Light." Harry murmured.
When Severus was finished with the bottle, Harry, going on instinct, grabbed a small blanket, placed it over his shoulder and began to burp the child. Once he was sure that Severus wouldn't have gas, he rocked the child back and forth, murmuring soothingly to him.
Severus's deep onyx eyes gazed up at Harry sleepily, and one thought passed through the child's mind before he fell asleep.
Please review and let me know what you think. Maybe I should remove it and finish 'Genesis of Hope', before starting a new one. I don't know, you tell me.