Dumbledore, Harry and Sevvy strode out of the Infirmary and up to the Headmasters office.
Sevvy looked at them anxiously. "Are you really not going to make me if I don't want to?"
The headmaster picked him up and sat on the couch with the boy in his lap. Harry sat down next to them.
"You get to decide, Sevvy," Harry said, "but we want to make sure you won't be sorry."
Sevvy bit his lip. "But if I want to stay small, and I change my mind, you can still do the countercurse, right?"
Dumbledore nodded. "Yes, but if you decide to grow up, we can't de-age you again."
Harry nodded. "And we aren't even sure if this curse will allow you to grow up normally, or if you will stay six forever."
Sevvy looked at him with a confused expression on his face. Harry sighed.
"When the bad snake man turned you into a six year old, he used some sort of old spell. You really are six years old now, even if you were born 36 years ago. That you understand, right?"
"Now, we are not sure what that curse did. Maybe you will become seven years old, and then eight, and so on, until you are grown up again. Just like any other child. Do you understand?"
"So I would just get big again."
"Maybe. But it could also be that it is a curse that will make you stay six forever. So in ten years, when you should be as big as me, you will still be six. We don't know that yet."
Severus sucked in his lower lip. "Are…are you still going to take care of me?"
Dumbledore put his arms around the boy and cuddled him.
"Sevvy, my child, no matter what, we will always take care of you as long as we live. We promise."
Harry moved closer and took the little hand in his.
"Of course we will be here for you, you're my baby brother," he smiled.
"But, Sevvy, we also don't know what is going to happen to your adult memories. If you stay small, we don't know exactly what will happen. All we know is that we will love you and take care of you."
Dumbledore kissed the small forehead. "We don't know what will happen if you do want Filius and Minerva to do the countercurse. You may forget all about being six years old again, or maybe you will remember. We don't know that. But like Harry just said, we will love you and take care of you then too. No matter what."
Severus sniffed, his eyes full of tears.
"But nobody liked me when I was big! And I taught POTIONS! I don't want to do that again. I don't think I was happy when I was big. It doesn't feel like I was, but I am happy now, with you and Harry, and Ron and Fred and George and Hermione and Circe and…"
The other two chuckled a bit at the whole list, but then Dumbledore pulled him up, turned him over so the small chest was resting against the headmaster's, and the dark head was comfortably lying on his shoulder, the small form nearly completely folded into the purple robes.
"Severus, my boy, you are my son, I loved you when you were an adult and I love you now. You make me so happy and so proud. You are the best son in the whole world, not only now but also when you were big."
"I don't want to be big again, I want to stay six and grow up normally, or maybe have them do the spell when I'm older. I don't want them to do it now, I want to stay small, Daddy, please!"
Harry and Dumbledore exchanged a glance. "Are you absolutely sure, Sevvy?"
The small head nodded vigorously. "Yes Daddy."
Then the dark eyes clouded with worry. "You aren't going to send me away, are you?"
They both hugged him. "Of course not, Sevvy. You will stay here in the castle. You're a very smart boy; you could go to the lessons you like even."
Dumbledore nodded. "You're my son, so you will live with me, and you can see Harry as often as you like, because he will be here to go to school too."
Harry grinned broadly. "Yes, Sevvy, we can still play Quidditch together and I can still read you stories!"
Severus whooped with joy.
"Now, child, through that door are my own rooms. Your room is behind the third door on the left. Why don't you go look at it and tell me what decorations you want."
Sevvy climbed down from his lap and ran off in search of his new room.
Harry looked at the headmaster. "You would have preferred that he had chosen to grow up," the boy concluded.
"Part of me had hoped that, yes," Dumbledore admitted, "because I might not live long enough to see him grow up again. I miss my adult son. But he will be much happier, will have a much better childhood, and that's all I ever wanted for him. A happy life."
Harry hesitated. "Thank you, sir, that you stood up for him. I…I admit I was afraid…that if he had chosen to grow up again…or had been forced to…" he lowered his eyes.
"That you would have lost him? That he would have returned to his angry sarcastic self?" Dumbledore suggested.
"Yes, I feared that," Harry admitted.
"But you wouldn't have forgotten this summer together, and you would still have supported him."
"Of course. I don't think I'd ever have been able to forget the little boy he was. I would have missed Sevvy, but I would still have cared for professor Snape."
"Who might not even have been his old nasty self, Harry. For one, he wouldn't have had to spy anymore."
"He would have killed me if he had retained his memories of this summer," Harry suddenly chuckled, "imagine if he remembered sitting on my lap, being read to. Or crying in my arms after a nightmare. I think he'd rather have destroyed the evidence, namely me."
Dumbledore laughed. "We're in for an interesting time, Harry, with a very clever six year old running around the castle."
Harry nodded. "But…Potions…and Defense…"
Dumbledore hesitated. "I wanted to ask Remus to return to Defense, but after his display in the Infirmary just now I'm not sure."
Harry shrugged. "He was the best defense teacher we had. And he can't do anything now that I'm emancipated. Except hand out detentions. He might try to abuse his position as a teacher though, as much as I hate to say it."
"I wouldn't let him," Dumbledore asssured him quickly, "I will make that very clear to him. But yes, he is the best teacher available. So if you really don't mind…"
Harry shook his head. "I think Remus and I will eventually sort out our differences. He'll get used to the adult me eventually," he smiled wryly.
"As for Potions…there are no others as good as Severus, but we don't need another Potions Master per se. Just someone with enough skill to teach."
"Bill Weasley graduated with an Outstanding Potions NEWT," Harry offered, "and he could teach a class on cursebreaking and warding as well. There'll be plenty of students interested in that."
Dumbledore nodded thoughtfully. "Good point. I will ask him. Now, Harry…shall we go see if our boy has managed to decorate his room in Slytherin colors yet?"
"So that's how it is. Severus will not be re-aged. He will stay here and live with me."
Minerva smiled gently. "I'm glad, Albus."
Several of the others stared at her in shock.
"Well, I am!" she said, annoyed, "we all have an inkling, some more then others, of what life has been like for Severus. Did you see how happy he is? Just look at that photo," she pointed to the picture Albus had brought back from the amusement park.
"Have you ever seen either of those boys that happy and carefree? If he wants to stay that way for a while, or until he grows up again naturally, I say we let him."
Flitwick and Arthur nodded their agreement.
"You know we'd have loved to take him in, Albus," Arthur said, his eyes going soft, "but he needs a lot of attention to get over his past, and you are better suited to give him that than we are, with seven other children."
Remus sulked. "I trust that Harry will listen to reason now that the boy is in your care?"
Dumbledore sighed. "Remus, Bill, Minerva, I would like to speak with you for a moment."
When the others had cleared out, Dumbledore turned to the three remaining Order members.
"Minerva, thank you so much for all you have done this summer. You'll make an amazing headmistress when I retire. I wanted to ask you, if you are prepared to take over a little more of my work this year? I've discovered I can't do everything on my own," he admitted wryly.
"And I need to spend time with Severus as well. I have a child to look after now. If you like, we can arrange an apprentice for you to help you out with the younger students."
Minerva nodded her consent. "Of course, Albus. I had been thinking about that myself, and I recently received a letter from one of last years graduates asking if I would consider taking an apprentice."
"Good," Dumbledore beamed. Then he turned to Bill.
"I heard you are skilled at Potions, and I am adding an elective course on cursebreaking and warding to the curriculum. Would you be interested to teach those subjects?"
Bill's eyes widened. "I…well…" He seemed a little doubtful.
"I don't need your answer right away," Dumbledore reassured him, "soon, but not right away. Sleep on it and let me know what you decide before the weekend, will you?"
"Remus," he finally turned to the last member of the small group, "I have thought long and hard about the DADA position. You are without doubt the best qualified, but your behavior worries me. I know you miss Sirius, and you want to be closer to Harry, but my boy, you only succeed in driving him away if you continue like this."
Remus bowed his head. He would have loved the DADA position, since he still couldn't get a job, but Dumbledore was right. He had been pushing Harry because he felt lost without Sirius. The last of his friends had gone, and he was left with nothing but memories.
Receiving a quick unspoken request from Dumbledore, Bill and Minerva quietly left. Dumbledore sat in front of Remus.
"Child, I know. It has been very hard on you. But you are going about it the wrong way. Believe me, I have gained some experience with that recently."
He reached out and tipped the werewolf's chin up so he could look him in the eye.
"I'm going to give you the DADA position. You are a good teacher. Between the two of them, Hermione and Bill will be able to sort out the Wolfsbane problem. But there are two conditions: first that you act civil towards both Harry and Severus. No abusing your position to take revenge. And secondly, you are going to have a few chats with the Grey Lady."
He sighed. "This isn't like you, Remus, this unreliable, sulky, heartless behavior. I understand it, but it can't continue."
Remus hesitated. "I…I miss…Sirius so much," he admitted softly, "I just wanted…to keep Harry close…and at the same time, I can't…can't bear to be around him, and see James and Lily in him…I'm so confused…"
Reaching over, Dumbledore pulled the younger man in a hug.
"It'll be ok. I'll be here to help you, I promise. The Grey Lady will help you. She is quite amazing, although I don't always appreciate her patting my hand in sympathy…"
Chuckling slightly, Remus consented and promised to do his best.
Dumbledore sat back after his last new professor had left and smiled as he looked at the picture of Harry and Severus. He lazily undid the Silencing charm and closed his eyes, enjoying the happy screams of the excited boys.
The Weasley boys and Hermione looked up in surprise when Harry entered with a still six years old Severus.
The boy ran towards them. "I can stay six! Daddy and Harry let me stay six! I don't have to grow up and teach potions, and I get to live at Hogwarts with you all and Daddy and I can bring Circe, Daddy said, and I can stay here until the new term starts…"
Fred and George snorted.
"Slow down, little one…"
"it's a bit hard…"
"to follow at this pace."
Harry laughed, a happy, carefree, unstrained laugh.
"Severus will live with Albus after the holidays, but until we go back to Hogwarts, we can stay here. Sevvy will even get to go to class, and graduate before he is ten," Harry teased.
Sevvy smiled happily. "Daddy says he'll let me get sorted so I can go to classes I like. And I can still play Quidditch with you all!"
His lower lip disappeared between his teeth again.
"But you want to play with your friends," he said sadly.
Ron picked him up and threw him in the air, catching him flawlessly. It was a game Sevvy loved and he squealed happily.
"We will be playing Quidditch with our friends, but we will always make time to play with you too," he said, throwing the boy in the air again.
"And we will send you…"
"our new gags to try out…"
"on unsuspecting students and teachers." The twins said,
Severus walked over and patted her hand. "Don't worry, Mione, I won't use the one that dyes your hair purple," he said sweetly.
The boys looked away, trying not to laugh, and Hermione did her best to glare. Finally she gave in and chuckled as well.
"We need to have a party," Fred decided.
"We need to celebrate this wonderful news," George immediately agreed.
"And how do we do that?" they asked the small boy, who grinned from ear to ear.
"We Floo Florean, and have him send us an icecream and pie dinner!" the boy cried happily.
"Are you ready, Sevvy?"
"I'm a bit scared. What if they laugh at me?"
"They won't," Harry reassured him.
They were standing in the Entrance Hall, listening to the sounds of the First Years being Sorted through the wooden doors.
"…and finally," they heard the headmaster say, "we will Sort a special young man, who you will see frequently around the school. I trust you will treat him kindly. Even though you all knew him, you will need to make his acquaintance again. This boy is six years old, and was formerly your potions master. My son, Severus."
The stunned silence was deafening.
Harry smiled at the boy who was holding his hand tightly.
"Ready to get Sorted?" he asked.
"Come on then, kiddo. You're going to have the time of your life here."
Together, they walked into the quiet Hall, through the rows of students. Severus smiled at Harry, let go of his hand, and walked up to the Sorting hat under the proud gaze of his father and his brother.
A/N the end of part one of the trilogy. Hope you enjoyed it. The next part will be about Sevvy's new life at Hogwarts. Thanks for all the wonderful reviews!