Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, except my imagination

Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, except my imagination

AN: This chapter is now updated. Thanks to JanAQ for her help with all the corrections. Nothing changed in the chapter except some spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. Plot, events, and dialogue are pretty much the same.

The Painful Guardianship

Chapter 1 - The Werewolf Incident

Severus Snape was simply fuming! Then again, when wasn't he?

As he walked in quick paces up the tunnel, he grimaced with every step. His back was killing him and his side was on fire from where he had suffered a terrible fall. But that wasn't what was important now! All he longed for was to wrap his fingers around the brat's neck and strangle him to death, slowly, and painfully. Regretfully, he would have to leave that longing aside, for it was the time to save the brat's life yet again. Not to mention that the sodding old, twinkling fool would have his head if he dared to strangle the boy.

As he continued to walk up, Severus Snape couldn't help but think how stupid the boy was. And that insufferable know it all, his friend, honestly didn't she have any sense at all? Severus, however, wasn't at all surprised to discover that the redhead had no brains as well. How dare they believe that criminal Black and his sidekick, the werewolf, Lupin? Honestly, hadn't they got any common sense? Black was a murderer for Merlin's sake. He was the person responsible for what the Bloody-Boy-Who-Lived-To-Torture-Him had suffered all through his life. How could they? AND HOW DARE THAT BRAT STUN HIM! STUN HIM! Harry Potter stunned Severus Snape. Yes, what a flashy headline that would make in the Daily Prophet. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr … if only he could get hold of the brat now, he would make him pay ..

Alright, enough of that! Just save the brat's life again then kill him yourself later!

Severus finally reached the exit of the tunnel. Getting out, he saw the golden trio standing holding each other by a rock. He felt a sense of immense relief overwhelm him. The children were safe! Severus was simply too pleased … er .. angry to think clearly, and had automatically ignored their odd state. He leapt towards them and got hold of the scarf of the Potter brat's neck. Severus was amused to see Potter looking at him in complete horror. Wait a minute! Potter and his friends were not looking at him! They were looking at something beyond him.

Severus felt a presence behind himself before a sudden shadow blocked the moonlight. He felt his skin crawl and his mouth became dry. With as much pride as he could muster, Snape slowly turned around, and was faced by a very angry werewolf.

It should never be thought that Severus Snape got scared easily, but Severus had to admit that the only thing that had stopped him, the great Severus Snape, the ex-death eater, the harsh hard hearted Slytherin, the bane of every Gryffindor's existence, from screaming like a girl was not pride. It was fear, so much fear that his voice was caught in his throat. Memories suddenly flashed in his brain! That same tunnel, the shack, the werewolf snarling, the terror, and … a stag.

The memory of the stag was what brought Severus back to reality. The stag … and his son, Harry. He had to save Harry.

His mind stopped working. He couldn't think of anything to do to save the children, as annoying as they were, they definitely did not deserve this kind of death. Besides, if they got killed by the werewolf, Snape would be denied the satisfaction of killing them himself later … right? Well this reason was worthy enough then. Having no other thought, Snape pulled them behind himself stretching his arms out to protect them. He did not hesitate. If the werewolf wanted a meal tonight, it should be him, not the children. If the werewolf took him first, the kids would be free to run away.

Snape looked the werewolf in the eye and snarled, his arms still out protecting the children behind him. He felt them struggling to get free but held them firmly in place, his fingers digging in their arms, all the time locking his gaze with the slowly approaching werewolf.

All panic washed out, all fear disappeared, Severus Snape held only one thought in his mind; the children must be kept safe. He didn't care that those children were Potter and his friends, he didn't care that they were Gryffindors or that Potter had just stunned him and let Black escape. He only cared for one thing, that if the children were going to be hurt in any way, it would only happen over his dead body … literally.

But before this could happen, a huge big black dog ran unexpectedly into the scene. The first thought that Severus had was: Great, now we also have a grim! But he soon discovered that it was not a grim, but rather worse. The dog was that insufferable git Black, the murderer, in his animagus form. Yes he did know about it. He remembered one of the pranks that Black and Potter had - no. Snape would later have a lot of time to replay those memories in his mind while sulking in front of the fire, but right now he needed to get the children to safety. Especially now that there were two beasts instead of one. But no! … The dog, instead of attacking them as well, was attacking the werewolf! Why the hell was Black trying to save them? Watching in horror as the two beasts fought, with his arms still stretched protectively against the three children, Snape tried to contemplate on how they would proceed to move away without catching the attention of the werewolf once more. Snape finally had the idea of crawling away with the children. He was still reluctant to look away from the beast, so he only moved his head one inch to speak to the children behind him. At that specific moment, the werewolf managed to get hold of Black. The beast lifted the dog easily, and with a snarl raised his claws and slapped the dog hard on face and shoulder. Severus cringed as the werewolf threw the dog on the ground and raised his claws again fully intending to tear apart the now unconscious form.

Harry, unable to endure the scene, decided to have a say in the matter. Screaming out his godfather's name, Harry squirmed himself free of Snape's grasp and ran towards the fighting beasts.

God, NO! Stupid, stupid boy, what does he think he can do? The boy didn't even have his wand. The insufferable girl Granger had also started trying to get herself free from Snape to follow. For the first time in his life, Severus Snape was unable to make a decision. He couldn't possibly leave the girl and the wounded redhead, but at the same time he couldn't let Potter deal with the beasts alone. Besides, Snape didn't have his wand as well. Slowly, Severus began to panic as he watched Harry approaching the two beasts. The werewolf looked up, most probably picking up Harry's … erm … Potter's scent with renewed interest. The beast whirled around to face Harry, looking him in the eye. Stupid stupid stupid boy!. Why did he leave the protectiveness of his arms? Why did he squirm free? That Gryffindorish, saving people thing that the boy unfortunately possessed will kill him one day! Well it seemed that "one day" would be today.

Dread washed over Severus as the werewolf approached the boy who was now frozen in fear. He watched the scene wide eyed while trying his utmost to restrain the now two struggling children.

No, he couldn't. Severus suddenly dumped the children and ran towards Harry. He pushed the boy down to the ground and snarled at the werewolf, who became enraged. Harry was again frozen in his spot with both pain and fear unable to make up his mind whether to crawl away to safety or help his teacher.

The werewolf got hold of Snape by curling his fist on a handful of potions master's robes; the beast raised his other arm and prepared to slap the head off the black clothed figure, promising himself a good meal. Snape looked at the werewolf with determination in his eyes; he didn't care if he died. Just before the werewolf brought his arm down to Snape's face, Snape looked and thundered at Harry to run to the castle with his friends. He turned his head to see the werewolf's face just an inch away from his own face and felt the cool swishing air on his hair as the wolf's arm was coming down to tear him apart.

Snape didn't exactly recall what happened next. He remembered hearing Harry screaming "Noo!", then, he must have blinked because when he opened his eyes again, the werewolf was no longer holding him and Harry Potter was clinging to the werewolf's back. Severus' eyes went wide. No No Nooo, if they came out of this alive, he was definitely going to kill that boy! Snape started to throw small rocks at the werewolf's head. He watched in horror as the werewolf tried to throw Harry onto the ground. Snape's breath caught in his throat, fear and panic washing over him. He tuned out the werewolf's snarls, Harry's gasps, the girl's screams and the redhead's shouts. He fixed his eyes on one thing, the werewolf. After that, everything happened as if in slow motion. The werewolf finally reached back and took hold of the boy's shirt pulling him in front of its eyes. He threw the boy to the ground, growled ….

And that was it …

Something inside Severus broke. He felt a surge of light reeling inside his body, trapped, and Snape couldn't bear it. He had to release that light, it was burning him. He raised his arms and pointed his hands towards the werewolf. The light came out of his fingers to stun the werewolf flatly in the chest, throwing it to the ground shocked and unconscious.

Everything suddenly stopped. There were no more screams, shouts, growls, snarls, nor gasps. Snape looked around. Granger was now collapsed on the ground looking worse for wear, tears silently running down her cheeks. Weasley was beside her with immense relief on his face. Both beasts were now unconscious … and Potter … He was lying on the ground, breathing heavily as he tried to calm himself down after the traumatizing experience. Potter … that insufferable brat … that stupid boy … that … that .. Gryffindor! …. Oh, he was SO going to pay. The brat could've got himself killed by a werewolf! How dare he scare me to death …? How dare he …?

Without a word, Snape stalked to where Harry was lying, picked him up off the ground, shocked at how light the boy's weight was, honestly, didn't the boy ever eat?

Harry looked up, confusion written on his face as his professor carried him. He felt warm and safe… and puzzled. Harry felt his professor sit down and then he was being placed over the man's lap, face down. He heard gasps from Ron and Hermione but before he could register what was happening, there came the first SMACK on his bottom. Not giving Harry any time to be shocked, hard smacks started raining on his bottom. A very strong hand was coming down again and again covering his behind with sharp slaps. He squirmed and wiggled but to no avail. He could not believe this was happening.

Harry Potter .. the Boy-Who-Lived, was getting spanked (hard) over his teacher's lap!

His bottom stung badly as heat built up over his bottom and it was getting sore … very sore. With every SMACK, Harry's body jerked. He didn't know that Snape possessed such a firm hand. Snape kept slapping him again and again, determined to soundly punish his bottom. Harry could not help the tears leaking out, slowly joined by small gasps as every SMACK resounded around.

A few minutes later, Harry was bawling freely, crying his heart out, blubbering apologies, and promising to be good. In between kicks, Harry realized that he would never be able to sit down again, he just knew it.

Then as suddenly as he started, Severus stopped the spanking, finally satisfied that the boy was thoroughly punished. He looked up to see Weasley and Granger frozen to the spot looking down at the now limp and sobbing form of Harry over his lap. Snape sneered at the other two before putting his hand on Harry's back, gently rubbing small circles to calm him down.

Harry felt a gentle hand rubbing his back, and despite its gentleness, it triggered more tears on his part. Harry continued in his heart-broken sobs for sometime until he began to calm down. His bottom was on fire, and he was getting cold. He was far beyond feeling embarrassed or humiliated at his position. Although he wanted to get up, he didn't want to loose the warmth of the body he was pressed against nor the gentle hand that was comforting him.

Harry then felt someone shifting him and wrapping strong arms around his shoulders, lifting him up to hold him tight and rest his head on a comfortable shoulder. Glad to have some warmth and comfort, he continued to cry silently, resting his head on that shoulder, and holding on for dear life. Harry heard a soothing voice, gentle and silky, hushing him and he felt himself being gently rocked back and forth like a little child. He had never felt safer in his life and was too tired to open his eyes. After some time, he struggled to open his eyes, and looked up to a face, very close to his own. He blinked … surely he was dreaming!

Severus looked down as Harry opened his eyes to look at him. He had been holding the child in his arms and rocking him. Severus lips twitched a bit, then he chastised himself immediately .. No he was NOT going to smile. He asked, his voice too gentle for his taste: "Are you alright now?"

Snape? Holding him? Harry, too shocked to say anything, just nodded looking up at him in bewilderment, his face flushed and his eyes puffy from crying.

"Good. Mr. Potter, do you know that you had scared me nearly to death? I would greatly appreciate it if you refrain from doing so in the future. Am I understood?"

Harry nodded again, tears building in his eyes once more. "'m S-sorry …," he croaked. Severus just nodded briefly and rested Harry's head on his shoulder again.

Finally Ron and Hermione came to their senses. Ron suddenly began fuming while Hermione resumed her crying. Through her tears, Hermione spoke softly: "Sir, we need to .. you know .. castle .. Dumbledore …"

Severus looked up at Hermione. Yes, always the logical one. He looked from Hermione to Weasley who was seething by now and muttering things that sounded suspiciously like "greasy git". "I would hold my temper in check if I were you, Mr. Weasley. You are already in enough trouble as it is! And yes, Miss Granger, please hurry to the castle, and find Professor Dumbledore. Inform him of the situation and ask him to come here."

Snape then studied Hermione's state. She was obviously upset but thankfully not hurt. Well a few scratches but nothing serious. "You are not hurt, are you Miss Granger?"

"No sir."

"Good. Go on now. And it would be better if you could get Madame Pomfrey to come as well, for Mr. Weasley here."