A/N: Dear Queen Farli... the reason no magic has really been done is because they're not exactly at Hogwarts yet, and there wasn't much of a need for any earlier, I found. Don't worry, it's not like I scrapped magic altogether :) Thanks for your review. Enjoy.
By the way, it might be REALLY quick update for some people (since I reuploaded the last chapter yesterday because it wasn't showing), but I had originally put up the chapter on the 12th, so I just felt that this chapter would be my treat for those that have been waiting. One more thing before it's on with the last chapter: RIP Patrick Swayze. Thank you.
Harry woke up the next morning to find his room empty. He quickly sat up, eyes scouring the entire room—then finally, they landed on Severus, who was standing to the right of his bed, where the table was. On it was a tray of food and water.
"I thought you might be hungry," Severus said. "That cafeteria is remarkably unsanitary." He made a face.
"Am I able to leave today?" Harry questioned eagerly.
"I don't think so," Severus replied, giving Harry a look. "Perhaps you should give it another day."
Harry sighed, meeting Severus's eye. For a minute, he was tempted to argue with the man—until the thought left his mind, his eyes wandered over the hospital room as another thought entered his mind. He asked, "Where's Remus and Sirius?"
"They left as soon as you fell back asleep," Severus replied. "They had to get up early due to something with Black's restaurant. Now, are you going to eat?"
"All right, all right." Harry groaned as he sat himself upright.
Severus frowned. "Are you hurting?"
Harry grinned weakly. "Just a little." He stared down at the plate of food, licking his cracked, dry lips. Then he made a disgusted face. What was this? Some sort of orange-looking soup, vegetables, lumpy potatoes and a sandwich. He looked up, meeting Severus's eye.
Severus sighed. "What's the matter?"
"What... is this?"
Severus raised his eyebrows. "Your lunch."
Harry swallowed. "There was no... no chips? Or, maybe... chicken noodle soup instead of this orange stuff? Or macaroni—" Harry silenced himself at Severus's look. After swallowing back a sigh, Harry picked up a plastic spoon and began twirling it in the orange soup.
When Severus spoke again, his voice was unusually soft, quiet and distant. "I should have, perhaps, waited until you woke up before I went to get food for you. I had forgotten that... you may not have liked tomato soup like the other Harry once did."
Harry became unbelievably uncomfortable as the events of last night flooded back into his mind. How could he have forgotten?
"No, no," Harry said quickly. "I might like it, I just haven't had it before. Tomato soup, you say?" Harry dipped the spoon in the bowl then brought it to his lips, urging them to part. He forced the spoon inside his mouth, finding it even worse to swallow. When the taste in his mouth became too much to bear, he squeezed his eyes shut and swallowed.
Harry heard Severus sigh. "Harry...."
"There, see?" Harry managed to get out, coughing. "Mm! Yummy."
Harry ignored Severus, his spoon plunging back into the soup again. This time, as Harry brought the spoon to his mouth, Severus placed a firm hand over Harry's.
"Harry," he said again forcefully. "Do not make yourself eat something you dislike just because the other Harry chose to like it."
Harry turned red, lowering the spoon back into the bowl. He refused to meet Severus's gaze. How could something like this happen? Harry had been so sure that Severus knew that he and Harry were not the same person... he just never realized that he would ever feel this hurt about it.
"I am truly sorry about last night," Severus said. "I'm sure you're well aware of what exactly I'm talking about. I just hope that you understand."
"Sure," Harry said, too lightly. "I understand. You just had a lot that needed to be said to your actual son, and you found the perfect chance with me and the accident and everything. And I understand that you probably wish your son was here instead of me, and for that I am truly sorry."
Harry lifted his eyes, giving a false smile. Severus opened his mouth to say something when there was a knock on the opened door. Severus looked around, expecting Sirius. Instead, he was greeted by Evan Taylor, who had multiple cuts on his face and a bruised eye of his own.
Instinctively, Severus stood up.
"Ah, here you are..." Evan chuckled nervously, wringing his hands. He didn't move any closer. Perhaps it was because of the dark, hateful glare that Severus was giving him?
Harry straightened, eyes widening in what Severus could only describe as genuine concern.
"Mr Taylor," Harry said, not taking his eyes off the man in the doorway. He wiggled out of the blankets, trying to stand up.
"Oh, no, no," Evan said quickly, taking two quick strides into the hospital room. He gave Severus another nervous glance. "Stay in bed, Harry. I just came in to check on you. I'm so, so sorry—you have no idea. This was not what I had in mind at all, and agh, I feel so bad—"
"As you should," Severus growled darkly.
Harry scowled. "Severus," he said in a stern voice. He focused on Evan again. "How are you, Mr Taylor?"
"How am I?" Evan let out a laugh of disbelief. "I should be asking you how you are! The first thing I thought of when I came to is 'how is Harry?' and then when they said I couldn't see you I—"
"We get the picture, Mr Taylor," Severus spoke up in a smooth, curt voice. "Not to be impolite, but could you be so kind as to leave?"
Evan frowned, looking almost hurt. "Severus, I honestly am very—"
"There is no need to finish that sentence." Severus raised an eyebrows. "Now, if you would be so kind...?"
Pressing his lips together from saying anything more, Evan cast one more pained look at Harry and then turned around and left the room. Severus's erect figure soon relaxed as he sunk back down in his spot on the bed.
Harry scowled. "You didn't have to be so rude." At Severus's astonished stare, he added, "He was just checking up on me. He was worried. He may try too hard and you may feel threatened—Merlin knows why—but he wasn't that bad at the amusement park. I've never been to one before and it was kind of nice. The... the bumper cars, the roller coasters—ah, well, never mind, but most of it was nice." Harry took a minute to get his breath. "The accident wasn't his fault. I puked everywhere and then...."
"Hm." A stony look appeared on Severus's face. "All this, just to spite me."
Harry couldn't believe his ears. With some difficulty he sputtered, "Spite? You think this is to spite you now? I am one hundred percent serious, Snape: this has nothing to do with you or spiting you!" Harry blinked in bewilderment, looking startled. "S—Severus; Severus."
Severus lost all emotion. He composed himself: standing up, straightening his robes, trying to look detached and indifferent. Just in doing so, the nurse came in with a frown on her face.
"What's all the commotion?" she questioned.
"I must leave now," he said shortly. "Lots to do. I'll be sure to have someone check in on you soon. Get well."
Someone. Not him, someone.
Harry watched Severus leave, suddenly feeling lonely and empty. The food still sat untouched on the table, and there was no way it was going to be touched now. Turning on his side, away from the nurse and the food, Harry spent the rest of the day staring at the blank, white wall before him.
Sirius eyed Severus, who sat in the same booth as he did last time, as he wiped the back of his hand that was not holding a paintbrush over his forehead.
"I don't understand you," he said to Severus. "You and Harry have been fighting more lately than I can ever remember you lot fighting."
"You've noticed it too," Severus said in a dull voice. "How very fascinating."
"Don't be like that." Sirius frowned, setting the dripping paintbrush onto the lid of the paint, then walked over to Severus. "It's not unnatural for father and son to argue and things like that. It's unnatural for a father and son to not argue over something. I just think that it's bound to happen when you have the temper of Harry and the temper of Severus together...."
"Don't act like you know everything," Severus snapped. "I've known from the very start that this is not the same Harry that I've raised, Black. I've known—"
"That we raised."
"—that; it's not as if it's anything new to me. Sometimes... sometimes its easy to just forget. I have been forgetting. He thinks that I rather have the other Harry here than him."
Sirius frowned. "Well Sev, it is easy to forget. I'll admit that, perhaps for a moment or two, it slipped my mind that it wasn't the same Harry. Some day soon that won't happen anymore. And what did you say to him about that? I mean, we both wish that Harry was still here, of course we do! But... we both love this Harry and wouldn't trade him for anyone. Did you tell him that?"
"No... Evan Taylor interrupted us. Can you even fathom how much I wished to hex him?"
Sirius groaned. "But you didn't."
Scowling, Severus stood up. "Of course I didn't. Get me a brush, will you? I refuse to sit any longer."
Sirius shook his head, grabbing a brush and handing it to Severus, then went over to grab his own brush. He paused, waiting for Severus to continue speaking. But he didn't. He glanced over at the man to find him painting one spot on the wall over and over again, as if not realizing that that part was already done.
"Hey, hey, woah!" Sirius went over, taking the brush out of Severus's hand. "What's the matter with you? Just go back over to the hospital and apologize to Harry like you have been. Tell him how you feel and soon enough, when everything is calm and normal, you'll realize that you two aren't fighting anymore. He should be going back to Hogwarts for his second year soon enough, so...."
Severus gave Sirius a dirty look. "I am not a woman; I do not share my feelings. Hand over that brush to me, Black."
"No way," Sirius said. "I don't want you ruining my lovely walls." He set the brush aside, out of Severus's reach. "Now are you listening to me? I know that no one can ever replace Harry Snape. I know that. Harry Potter is much different in many ways; I know that, too. But Harry Potter is in every way as good, kind and special as Harry Snape was. There are even many things about Harry Potter that remind me of our other Harry, you know?"
Severus looked like he was about to reply, but then thought against it. Sirius held back a sigh and continued. "Sev, I know you love Harry Potter just as much as you loved Harry Snape. You know I'm not good at making motivational speeches or any kind of speeches for that matter, so all I'm going to say is that you should tell him that."
Severus gave his eyes a swift roll. "He knows that, Black. Besides, this is just ridiculous. I am very well aware that they are two different Harry's, so this shouldn't be posing any type of problem!"
"Well, it is," Sirius pointed out. "Otherwise you wouldn't be here."
Severus's lip curled. "All right, very well. You should go to the hospital and see how Harry's managing. I need to sort a few things out before I see him after today."
Sirius wiped his hands on his dirty jeans. "Sounds good, I need a break from all this painting. If you see Remus when you go home, will you tell him that the green that was supposed to be lime green is a puke green and that he should know the difference? I had the color chart right there, and I said to him, 'Moony, this—'"
"That's all very well," Severus interrupted abruptly. "You might as well save that story for when I truly have the energy to pretend to listen."
Sirius screwed his face up at Severus, then rolled his eyes.
For the past however many minutes Harry had been alone, nurses and doctors had all come in to check on him. So when he heard movement by the door, it was no surprise that he suspected that it was one of the nurses again.
Harry quickly turned around on his other side, wincing as he did so. Instead of facing Severus, he was facing an alarmed-looking Sirius.
"You shouldn't have moved so quickly," Sirius reprimanded gently. "You hurt yourself, kid."
"Thanks," Harry said sarcastically, resuming the position on his side facing the wall again. "Ireally needed someone to point that out to me." At Sirius's glare, Harry let out a small sigh and apologized.
"It's all right," Sirius said slowly. "Both you and Snape are in foul mood's today."
Harry perked up, rolling over again. "You talked to Severus?"
"Does he—?" Harry stopped. "Never mind."
Sirius dragged a chair over to the other side of Harry's bed, by the wall. He lowered himself on to it, trying to choose how he was going to word this next.
"I know about what happened last night with what Severus said," Sirius started, faltering. He scratched the side of his side.
"What he meant to say to the other Harry?" Harry put in, frowning.
"He didn't mean it just for the other Harry," Sirius explained. "He meant it for you too."
Harry snorted, pushing his bangs out of his face gently, avoiding the tender bruise. "I don't want to talk about this anymore."
"We didn't have this problem before," Harry interrupted loudly, sitting up. "I thought everything was clear that I'm not the same Harry. We must've said it loads of times. Why now?"
"Maybe seeing you in a hospital brought back some unwanted memories."
Harry sighed, looking almost desperate. "Memories that have nothing to do with me! Can't... can't you just see this Harry and remember that it's not him, but me? That even though we look the same we're not—"
"We do, Harry—"
"No, I don't think you do!"
Sirius sighed, massaging his temples. "People have got to stop interrupting each other." He lowered his hands and gave Harry a look. "Will you stop interrupting me if I promise to stop interrupting you?"
Silently, Harry nodded in agreement. "Can we stop talking about this now, please?"
Sirius stood up, grinning. "Yeah." Then he leaned forward, ruffling Harry's hair gently. "Don't worry too much about you and Snape, though. You both have tempers; you both tend to get angry and frustrated easily. This'll pass by tomorrow when you're back home, kid. Hey, did I tell you about the rumors going on around town about you? They can really exaggerate things."
Severus was sitting on his bed with a pile of something on one side of him and a box on the other. That's how Remus found him when he walked into the room.
Severus twisted his head around. "Lupin. Do you need something?"
Remus shook his head. "Just wanted to see how you're doing."
"I am fine." After a moment's pause, with Remus still standing in the doorway, Severus frowned. "Is there anything else?"
Remus slowly shook his head, staring at the box that Severus now held in his hands. "What are you doing?"
"Ah." Severus glanced briefly down at the black, velvet box. "It's...."
Remus came in closer to inspect it. He looked down at the pile of photographs, then peered into the box, where a few more already lay. His lips parted in realization.
"You're putting the photographs of Harry away," he stated softly. "Are you sure, Severus?"
"I feel it's the best thing to do," Severus said shortly.
Remus hesitated. "You're not going to keep at least one out? You wouldn't want to put every memory of him in a box, surely?"
Severus looked down at the pictures, pursing his lips. "I suppose I'll keep a few out," he finally said decidedly. "I just feel that, perhaps it's time for some new photographs?"
Remus smiled sadly. "I think that may be a good idea."
Severus plucked out four pictures from the pile, putting them in a new pile altogether. The rest, he placed gently in the velvet box, tucking the said box gently into the top drawer of his nightstand.
"Sirius should be back soon," Remus said as he started out the door. "I'd imagine visiting hours should be up. I can tell him to lock everything up when he gets back if you're going to sleep."
"No," Severus said quickly, standing. "I'll lock up."
When Sirius came home shortly afterwards, and when Severus was sure that Remus and Sirius were in their rooms, he slipped out of the house as quietly as he could. It didn't take long to get back to the hospital, and up to the third floor. Just outside Harry's door, he was met by a nurse, who told him that Harry was sleeping, and there were five minutes left until visiting hours were over.
Severus had nodded his head, thinking the entire time that perhaps it was best if Harry was sleeping. He stepped into the room, drawing closer to Harry's bed. The boy looked so peaceful. His bruises didn't look as bad as they had yesterday, either, and the cuts on his face were starting to heal a little bit.
Severus found he had a much better time whispering an, "I'm sorry" to the boy when he was asleep rather than if he was awake. But, either way, that wouldn't stop him tomorrow from saying 'I'm sorry' again when Harry was back home.
Harry loved coming home. He'd only been in that hospital—what, a day?—and he was already sick of it. Now, he was home. The first place he ever really, truly considered his home, other than Hogwarts.
Harry was rather petulant that morning when Severus hadn't arrived to pick him up. No, he'd made Sirius come and get him instead. Sirius didn't mention anything of it—he was in a buoyant mood, acting as if nothing was wrong when something was wrong.
Harry didn't talk much on the car ride home. If Sirius asked a question, he answered it. Harry had other things on his mind, like what was so important to Severus that he couldn't—wouldn't—come to pick his own son up? Oh, but of course, he wasn't really Severus's son, was he?
As they approached the house, Harry was relieved to see that there were no townspeople cluttered around the house, waiting for Harry's return. Did they even know?
"Sirius!" Harry suddenly blurted out as Sirius passed right by the house. "Where are you going?"
"Hm?" Sirius glanced sideways at Harry, frowning. "Oh, right, yes. A bloke left some paint at the Hall that I'm supposed to pick up today. You don't mind if I do that now, do you?"
"Er... no," Harry said, frowning as well. "Paint? For your restaurant?"
Sirius nodded brightly. "It's coming along really well. You'll be impressed. I just need to pick this paint up and then I think the painting might be finished! Oh, actually, no, I still have to finish the border." Sirius sighed. "Someday soon I'll be done."
He pulled into the parking lot, pressing his foot against the break abruptly as he tried not to go over the curb. Harry had to grab on to something to keep him from jerking forward. One car accident was quite enough.
"Severus said that he couldn't believe that muggle ever gave me my license because he thinks I can't drive," Sirius said as he shut off the engine. "I think I'm fairly good, don't you? It's loads of fun sometimes, driving. We both had to get our license when we moved here and everything," he continued. "Snape's just so precise when it comes to driving." He made a noise, shaking his head.
"Well..." Harry trailed off. "You're an... interesting driver."
Sirius chuckled. "Thank you. Want to come in and help me?"
"Help you... lift a bucket of paint?"
"No, no. You can just tell me if you like the color or not. I need your feedback here, kid."
Harry nodded in agreement, unbuckling his seatbelt. He stepped out of the car and followed Sirius through the doors of the Hall. For it being the morning, with the sun shining brightly in the sky, the Hall was unbelievably dark. Within a minute, Harry realized it was because none of the lights were on.
And then he saw why.
"Welcome home, Harry!"
Harry blinked, startled when the lights turned back on as soon as everyone yelled that, repeating exactly what was written on the banner that hung in the back of the room. The whole town wasn't there, but if Harry had to estimate, he would've guessed that there were fifty people there, including Severus and Remus.
He felt arms wrap around his waist, and glanced down to see a woman who he recognized as Maddie, hugging onto his middle.
"You're back! Ooh, you were the talk of the town, luv! We haven't had something dramatic happen in this town since Danny Zukerman drove his car right through the DIY store two years ago!"
Harry laughed weakly, embarrassed. Sirius put an arm over his shoulder and led him over to Severus.
"This is quite the welcoming home, Sev," Sirius said brightly. "You've put it together nicely." He put a fist to his mouth, coughing. "Hey, Moony? There's this, uh, bucket of paint over there that I need your feedback on. The color of it, for the restaurant. Why don't we just go over here?"
Sirius winked at Severus, pulling Remus away from the two. Harry shifted, uncomfortable.
"Harry," Severus started, unsure, only to have Harry cut him off.
"I hope you know how difficult it is to feel like you're competing with someone who isn't even around anymore," Harry said bitterly. "I don't want to sound uncaring or unsympathetic either, I just didn't really think it was an issue, until this."
"It's not," Severus said curtly. "Now, will you let me talk to you without cutting in?"
"I don't know if I want to hear what you've got to say," Harry replied stiffly, his expression cold.
"You will whether you like it or not," Severus snapped, no longer looking tolerant. "I won't withstand that tone, nor your impudence. If I hear something like that from you again, you'll be in your room until it's time for us to leave for Hogwarts."
Harry flinched. "Sorry," he mumbled. He opened his mouth, as if to say something else, then closed it.
"Look at me," Severus suddenly whispered, the change of voice nearly causing Harry to look up. When he didn't, Severus said a little more forcefully, "Look at me."
Harry finally did just so. He didn't move when Severus placed his finger underneath Harry's chin. He simply stared back, waiting for Severus to speak.
"Harry Potter," Severus said gently. "My son. I love you. I will always love and miss my other son, but you are as much mine as he was."
Harry felt his breath get caught in his throat. Then, much like Maddie had done earlier to him, Harry threw his arms around Severus's middle and hugged his father tightly, his cheek resting against the softness of Severus's robes.
"I love you too, Dad... my dad."
Harry wasn't too eager to let go of Severus as someone started speaking. To his embarrassment, he couldn't place the speakers' name, even though she did look familiar. One of the ladies who presented Black to him?
"I just wanted to welcome Harry home," she started, "back with his father, godfather and everyone else who has a special place for Harry in their hearts. I want to wish him a speedy recovery and the best of luck in the new school year. I also want to wish Sirius Black luck with his new restaurant—"
"About that!" Sirius suddenly yelled out. Near the back of the room with Remus, he quickly ran up to the front. "I want to let everyone know that I have some news about that restaurant. Firstly, I want everyone to welcome my new partner, Remus Lupin!" Everyone clapped—and to Harry's amusement, someone even wolf-whistled. Sirius scowled at whoever did that. "No, Benny, that was not meant in a dirty way." He sighed. "Anyway, secondly," Sirius continued, "Remus and I have decided on a name. I wanted to call it Padfoot's Place...."
Harry's smile grew wide as Sirius looked directly at him, winking. It seemed so long ago when that conversation, as well as that name, had been brought up.
"...But since Remus and I are partners now," Sirius continued, "we've decided on Padfoot and Moony's."
Everyone at the Hall burst into applause. His cheeks aching from smiling so much, Harry still clapped loudly along with everyone else, and Severus joined in soon enough. As soon as everyone began settling down again, Harry felt a hand on his back. It was Severus.
"Shall we leave?" Severus asked. "I'm sure they'll understand."
Harry glanced back at the people before following Severus discreetly out the doors. "I still have to get my things for second year."
"I went yesterday and bought them all for you," said Severus. "I suspected that you wouldn't have the energy to get them."
Harry let out a breath of relief, squinting his eyes in the sun. "Well, at least Dobby didn't show up this year."
Severus's brow furrowed together. "Pardon?"
Harry shook his head. "Never mind." He grinned up at Severus. "Maybe things'll be different this year."
Severus looked down at Harry, his expression clearly showing that he had no idea what to make of that statement. He merely said in reply, "Maybe."
A/N: PLEASE READ:
Th-th-that's all, folks! Or is it? Really? I'm not sure. I don't think so.
I have read many, many stories where Sev is Harry's father or adopts him or whatever is similar to that, and many have taken place during the second book, and it basically follows the book word-for-word except for now, Sev is taking care of Harry.
See where I'm going with this? I. Don't. Want. To. Do. That. So, if I write a sequel to this, I will try my damnedest to NOT do that. I want to be original when I write Harry's second year. First of all, do you wish for me to write a sequel? That is the imperative question. If so, here's the title of To Have a Father's sequel: Because You're Mine.
Yes, the title is Because You're Mine and it'll be up ASAP (so keep checking my profile for it!), I swear, depending on the reviews for this last chapter (maybe within a few days or so?) so do review please: feedback, comments, ideas, suggestions, all are encouraged! Review, review, review! :) Thank you so much for your patience and being my motivation to finish this. Hopefully you'll do the same for the sequel!