I call this my 'Harry adopts Snape' fic in contrast to all the Sevitus fics out there, lol. This was a response to all the Harry/Snape/Draco de-aged stories I've read. I loved them, but whenever the character was re-aged (assuming it got to that point… how many unfinished WIPs are there out there?) the 'father' always seemed to just accept it, or in one case I remember, even started a romantic relationship with his former 'child'! So here's how I picture it.
Oh, and I don't always write such sad fics! I know both of my HP ones have been a bit teary at times but I do write some happy stuff, honestly! And I'll never write anything too dark or without a happy ending.
This is probably a one-shot so don't expect any more of it unless I suddenly get inspiration, which is unlikely but not completely impossible. Unless anyone else wants to volunteer to write a sequel?
Disclaimer: As if I could afford to own Harry Potter. I don't even personally know anyone who could.
Three and a half years.
Nearly forty-three months.
He refused to count the weeks.
Over three and a half years since Professor Severus Snape had become Severus, and then Sevvy.
Nearly forty-three months since the misbehaviour of two fourth years had caused a potion sitting calmly on a shelf to fall. That same amount of time since the falling potion had landed on the Potion Master's head.
A potion that was meant for the aged. Meant to make them young again.
Severus Snape may not have been young, but he was not aged.
He may not have been young, but he certainly became it.
A three-year-old Severus, later nicknamed Sevvy. A cute little boy, nothing like his sarcastic, bitter predecessor. An innocent child, no longer bearing the Mark of the Dark Lord.
There had been a commotion, of course. Students flocking to see what had happened, frightening the small infant. Professor McGonagall swept in and took charge, lifting the child in her arms, allowing him to sink his face into her shoulder, away from the shocked, and in some cases laughing, eyes of her students.
What was to be done with the child? An antidote was possible – after all, it was not the first time in all of history that such a thing had occurred, surely? But it would not be easy to find. And in the meantime, baby Severus needed a home and a guardian.
The solution was not an expected one. He, Harry Potter, had taken the child in. Okay, so he had no real knowledge of child raising, but Molly and Arthur helped. At first it was to be only a temporary thing, Harry did after all have plenty of free time now that Voldemort was gone, but by the time it became clear that the antidote would not soon be found, he had become too attached to simply let go.
Ron had complained, of course. Harry and Snape had despised each other! It wasn't right! But Harry insisted this toddler was not the one who had taught him, was not the one who had invaded his mind with occlumency or who had hated him simply because of who his father had been.
And over time, Sevvy began to call him 'Daddy'.
And Harry had liked it. Had called him his son.
And now it would be over.
An antidote had been found. Three and a half years later, when they were happy, when they were a family. When losing Sevvy would break his heart.
As if anyone cared.
He sat, his six-year-old son cradled in his arms, just feeling numb. How could they do this? How could they end a child's existence, take away Harry's pride and joy?
Dumbledore appeared in the doorway, looking down on the scene sadly. "They're ready Harry."
He looked up, pain filling his face. "No… please."
"I'm sorry Harry. There's nothing I can do."
He began to sob, clutching Sevvy tighter, causing the child to instinctively return the gesture, trying to comfort his crying father. Not understanding what was about to happen.
He just repeated "No," pleading desperately while hugging his child, tears streaming down his face, kissing the soft skin of Sevvy's forehead and stroking his black hair.
Dumbledore just gazed on in sympathy, wishing so much that he could do something, and knowing that he could not. He put his hand on Harry's shoulder, offering that small amount of physical contact as support and comfort, knowing that it would be of no use.
The Ministry official came to the door, demanded that the child be brought in. Harry stood up slowly, clutching Sevvy to him, requiring aid from the headmaster simply to take those few steps into the next room.
The official reached forward, attempting to take the boy, and found his task to be almost impossible, both father and son resisting with all their might. "Please let go, Mr. Potter."
"You can't do this." Harry looked pleadingly at the official, at the others in the room. "Please. Don't take my son."
"He's not your son, Mr. Potter. As sorry as I am for your loss, he has a right to be returned to his real age, and to regain the memories he has lost. You have always known this day would come."
"At least… at least give me some more time with him. Please."
"I'm afraid we can't do that, Mr. Potter. I am truly sorry."
Slowly, reluctantly, Harry allowed the child to be taken from his arms. But as the official carried him away, Sevvy started crying, screaming for his father, squirming desperately in an attempt to get away from this stranger who was holding him. Something in Harry broke, and he rushed to reclaim his child, only to find two strong arms holding him, preventing him from reaching his target.
"No… no. Please… Sevvy…" the incoherent stream of frantic begging never ceased as the others in the room prepared the child to consume the potion one of them held carefully in their hand. Harry turned in Dumbledore's arms, unable to watch, clinging to him as desperately as he had earlier to his child.
A noise, something like a bang, and Harry whimpered.
Dumbledore looked from the tearful man in his arms to the dark-haired man now standing on the other side of the room, surrounded by officials who were now hurriedly offering him clothes.
Snape looked up, confused, momentarily unable to reconcile his two sets of memories; one adult, and one child. As he hesitantly began dressing, he caught sight of the man who had, for a short time, been his father, and the emotions there – love, as only a child could feel it, and hate, as only an adult could – clashed against each other in a fierce war.
Dumbledore quietly lead Harry out, knowing that neither one of them were prepared to meet each other yet.
Two weeks, and Harry still had not come out of his shell; had barely set foot out of his rooms. Had cried himself to sleep at night, and then woken up exhausted. Had walked into his child's bedroom, only to break down at the sight of all the toys and books, still in place on the shelves, and in some cases on the floor. Looking for all the world as if their owner would come back, had simply gone out to play.
And Severus had not dealt with it all that much better than Harry, although admittedly he had a far superior ability to hide that fact, cloaking his feelings in sarcastic comments and deadly glares.
Dumbledore knew that something had to be done. Harry still had too much to live for; he may have lost his child, but he could not be allowed to lose himself as well.
The Hogwarts headmaster tried everything he could think of, and then realised that there was no other way. Shock therapy was the only option, forcing Harry to confront Severus.
But what if it went wrong? What if Severus hated him? To have the grown-up version of his son declare hatred for him… it could break him irreversibly.
But then, one day, Harry would meet him again anyway. It was inevitable. Was it better to do it now, where Dumbledore himself could be there to control it?
He needed to know. Needed to find out how Severus might react. And as much as he might usually go for the subtle approach, there was no way that he could do this without Snape guessing his intentions. So then, far better to just come out and ask.
Snape looked up, and then looked more intently, studying the face before him.
"Severus… I know this won't be easy for you, either of you, but you need to meet with Harry. He's falling apart, Severus, and I think you're the only person who can help him right now. And maybe he's the only person who can help you."
"Severus, please. You can't avoid him forever. Eventually you are going to have to see him again."
"I would far prefer not to."
Dumbledore gazed at him, a knowing expression on his face that made Snape nervous, not that he would ever admit to that. "Are you quite sure about that?"
"Okay, Severus. I know that I am never going to get you to tell me your feelings, so I'm going to tell you them instead."
Snape merely raised an eyebrow.
"You're conflicted. You remember hating him, and so you believe you ought to do so still. However, you don't. You also remember loving him, seeing him as your father, and you are aware that he gave you a far better childhood than your real father ever did."
"I'm afraid I am now too old for bedtime stories, Albus."
"Ah, but you remember them don't you? I certainly do, I cannot count how many times I came to see Harry, only to find him curled up with you on your bed reading a muggle children's book."
"I fail to see the point of this reminiscence."
"You see it all too well. You still see him as a father, Severus, however much that may be strange right now. Your memories of being an infant may be clouded, but they are still present. And yet at the same time, you also see him as a young man you once taught, the son of the man you despised.
You shouldn't be ashamed of it. For the first time in your life you had a real family, and knowing now who that family was is obviously going to take some time to adjust to. You cannot just forget it Severus; you cannot bury it and pretend the past three and a half years never happened. Harry adopted you, in all but legality; he may no longer be your guardian, but he loved the little you as a son, and you are that child, however you may look now."
"I am not his son. He is not even twenty five years old."
"I am not denying that it is an uncomfortable situation. However, if you have any feelings for him, if you care even remotely for the man who looked after you for forty-three months, then you need to do this for him. Just talk to him, Severus. That's all I ask."
Of course, it had taken more than one conversation to convince him, but now Severus was finally standing outside the apartment where Harry Potter lived, his arm raised ready to knock. He told himself firmly that the only reason he was there was to get Dumbledore off his back, and yet somehow he failed to fully convince himself of this. At least he was doing it alone, without the interfering headmaster's presence.
He finally forced himself to strike knuckle to wood, and stood waiting as he heard the slow signs of someone inside making their way over to the door.
"Albus I'm fine, really you don't have to –" Harry stopped mid-sentence, the words failing to get past his lips as he stood staring in shock at his visitor.
"May I come in or are you simply going to stand there staring like an idiot?"
Harry blinked, getting himself together as best he could. "Um… sure. Come in Sev… Professor Snape."
He came in, and then sighed, watching as Harry did his best to stop the emotions he was feeling from appearing on his face. In his hand was a soft toy, a cuddly rabbit that child-Severus had loved. Had he been clutching it when Snape arrived? He thought he saw traces of tears, hastily wiped from the other man's face and not quite gone.
"If you wish…" he said awkwardly, needing to make some kind of gesture, "you may call me Severus."
Harry looked at him, and then closed his eyes briefly. "Thank you, Severus. Um… would you like to sit down?" He seemed to notice the bunny in his arms, quickly dropping it onto a nearby table and seating himself opposite the older man.
Not cheerful, lovable little boy.
Harry was hard pressed to refrain from bursting into tears again right then.
They sat in silence for a while, and then Harry spoke, intending to ask a polite question of why Snape had come, knowing that the answer would be Dumbledore. But rather than the expected question, rather than the uncomfortable reply that would surely come… he found himself unable to speak, and put his head in his hands, his shoulders shaking.
He stopped himself as quickly as he was able, his breathing still slightly erratic. "I'm sorry, Pro- Severus. I… I'm sorry. I just… oh darn it, I can't cope! I miss you, him, whatever, and I have no idea how to get through this! I had a son, a gorgeous, vivacious, incredibly intelligent six year old son, and I keep seeing his… your… things all over my rooms, and god, Severus." He broke down again, and despite himself Snape felt his barriers dropping, his determination fading away.
He leaned forward, touching the arms of the man he just could not stop thinking about as his father, pulling him into his embrace, and crouched there holding him for a long time before he, too, succumbed to the healing tears.