A/N: My apologies for the length of time between updates. In the past six months, I have been swamped with double major requirements, suffered severe computer damage four times, and lost this file all four times. This is the fifth time I've written this chapter, and I utterly despise it by now. Mostly because it's a filler chapter. Everything is important further on in the story, but not so much helpful right now. (Shrugs) I did my best. Also . . . I goofed on the chapter preview and gave you last time the preview for chapter 4 not 3. So . . . you get a double preview.
A/N II: Brief summary for those behind: Jamie has been enjoying his summer with his father and Draco, enjoying his very first birthday party. Draco's mother has been found guilty of abuse and also Kissed. He has now forgotten everything about his mother, from her name to the abuse.
Warnings: Mentions of child abuse.
Disclaimer: I own nothing of JKR's. Jitter and Tanya are my own creations.
Jamie Snape and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Original Dark Angel
Chapter 3: To the World as We Know It
"So Draco remembers nothing whatsoever?" Hermione gasped.
"Shh," Jamie hissed, glancing at the next table over. Draco gave no appearance of hearing their conversation and continued helping Ginny with her Potions essay, a half-finished Florean Fortescue special pushed away. Returning to his own cone, Jamie nodded hesitantly.
"That's rough," Ron muttered. "What did Professor Snape say about it?"
"To accept it and move on. Same rules as last April. Don't mention Mrs. Malfoy to Draco. Leave it to the adults and please stay out of trouble," Jamie recited.
"Doesn't he have any theories on why this keeps happening?" Hermione persisted.
"Of course he's got theories," Jamie whispered harshly. "So does Dumbledore, and so do I! Theories aren't going to get us anywhere . . . it doesn't matter if Draco's memory is faulty or it's a curse or something else!"
Hermione stopped and brought up one hand to Jamie's cheek. "I'm sorry," she offered contritely. "I just want to help him, Jamie."
"He's better off not remembering," Jamie whispered back.
Ron stood up, pushing away his chair. "Okay. That's that then. C'mon, Jamie, Mione, Draco. Let's hit the Menagerie and head back to your house for awhile."
His friends hurried to follow him, Draco a bit slower. Ginny slid one arm around the blonde boy's waist affectionately, matching her pace to his, and smiled up at him. The blonde actually smiled back at her, before returning his gaze to Ron. "What do you need from the Menagerie, Ron? A half-decent pet?" he smirked.
Draco and Scabbers had never gotten off to a good start. Not only had Draco been a witness to the bite Scabbers had bestowed upon Goyle on the train before First Year, Draco had been bit himself four times in the last three months. The rat disliked him, and the feeling was mutual.
Draco's smirk became a look of distaste when Ron pulled Scabbers out of his pocket. Scabbers had lost weight and fur equally since Ron and Ginny had returned from Egypt, along with gaining a nervous disposition.
"I need someone to look him over, and we won't see Hagrid until September 1st," Ron explained, rubbing his thumb over the rat's head gently. "He's been acting stranger and stranger ever since we got back. I found him at the bottom of my school trunk this morning, curled up in an old sock." Ron frowned. "I think it's one of yours from living with the Dursleys, Jamie . . . none of mine are mustard-colored."
Jamie wrinkled his nose and waved his hand dismissively. "Scabbers can keep it. Did you want us to come in with you, Ron? 'Mione was going to get herself an owl, but Ginny and I wanted to check out the new Seeker gloves before we go . . . Draco?"
The blonde shook his head. "I'll go with Ron."
Jamie nodded, grabbing Ginny's hand and pulling her after him. "Meet you at the Leaky Cauldron!" he called over his shoulder.
Ron let Hermione go ahead, and waited for Draco to catch up. "Why aren't you looking at the Seeker gloves too?" he asked curiously, tucking Scabbers back into his pocket before the rat tried to escape again.
"I've already seen them," Draco confided. "Jamie will have a pair for Christmas . . . when I was out with the Professor buying Jamie's birthday presents; I paid to have two pairs of the gloves from a shipment leak."
Ron snorted. "Was the leak before or after you got out your moneybag?" he grumbled in mock annoyance. "I expect spectacular Christmas gifts," he reminded him, only mildly petulant. The idea of Lucius Malfoy's fortune being systematically depleted in order to buy things that benefited the former-Harry Potter amused him greatly. He wondered how long it would take the elder Malfoy to notice and if he could do anything to stop Draco. Ron hoped not.
Draco snorted. "Anything autographed by the losing swarm of orange," he nodded. "Got it. Let's go get your rat looked over."
Ron followed Draco to the counter where a bored teenager with an electric-lime Mohawk and scars from something fanged down his arm waited dispassionately, a coal serpent wound around his neck. Draco looked on with interest; Ron thought twice about taking Scabbers out of his pocket.
"Don't mind Ripper," the boy shrugged. "He's harmless."
"Ripper is harmless, he says," Ron muttered, but pulled Scabbers out of his pocket and handed the rat to Draco who dropped Scabbers on the counter unceremoniously.
"He's sick," the blonde explained unnecessarily, reaching out to stroke the head of the coal serpent who had taken an interest in the proceedings. "Nice snake."
"Mm," the green-haired teen agreed, studying Scabbers. "Common garden rat, eh? Two . . . three years old?"
"At least seven years," Ron spoke up. "I got him from my brother."
The older teen blinked. "Most garden rats are lucky to live three years," he said slowly, scooping up Scabbers to study speculatively. "You must take great care of this one." He poked Scabbers and the rat squealed, latching his teeth around the offending finger.
"Scabbers!" Ron yelped, diving after the rat and grabbing on before Scabbers could escape across the floor.
"Ron Weasley, get off that filthy floor this instant," Hermione protested as he rolled to a stop at her feet. Hermione towered over him, a delicate silver cage with a speckled brown owl in one hand.
"I had to get Scabbers," Ron explained, readjusting his grip to hang onto the rat without suffocating it. "Er . . . sorry about your hand."
"Not a big deal," the teen responded, ignoring the blood that dripped onto the counter. "Well, I hate to tell you this, especially considering what a fighter your rat is . . . but he's not going to be around much longer. Seven years is the longest I've ever heard, and it looks like his health is fading fast."
Ron blinked. "Can't you do anything?"
"It's not really worth-"
"Is there anything you can do?" Draco interrupted. "Don't ask me why, but the stupid rat has enormous sentimental value."
"There's a tonic . . . might put off the inevitable for a month or two." The shopkeeper reached under the counter for a vial. "It'll be twelve sickles."
Ron winced as he drew his moneybag. There went the last of his summer money . . . as if the new wand hadn't been expensive enough. But Scabbers was worth it. He carefully tucked the rat into his pocket and handed over the coins, accepting the small vial. "Thanks."
"No problem. Good luck with your rat." The shopkeeper turned and flashed a smile at Hermione. "Now, how can I help you, Miss?"
"I'd like to purchase her," Hermione nodded at the owl, setting the cage carefully on the counter. The teen nodded, and pulled out a ledger, filling the blanks with a sprawling script. "I think I'll call her Athena," she told the boys, a smile lighting her face.
"Over-used and common," Draco snorted.
"Can you do better, Draco?" Hermione shot back.
Draco studied the owl carefully, biting his lip. "Eowyn," he finally mumbled.
Hermione's eyes took on a speculative look. "Eowyn," she whispered, reaching through the bars to gently stroke the approving-bird's head. "That's muggle literature, you know, Draco," she chuckled.
"I blame Millicent," Draco announced with as much dignity as he could manage, heading for the door to get a head start. "Meet you at the Leaky Cauldron."
Hours later, once everyone was home, the guests had all left to rejoin their own families, and Jitter's fine tea had been appreciated, Professor Severus Snape was endeavoring to complete the daily review lessons with his charges. Today was potions, but the boys were distracted from their work by the excitement and exhaustion from earlier today. Snape was distracted too, and almost on the verge of canceling the lesson. Last night could have easily been the metaphorical straw to break the camel's back.
Severus Snape had been working in his much-abused potions compendium, cataloguing the newest improvements in burn pastes when the cry reached his ears.
The leatherbound book hit the ground and Snape flew out of his seat. Taking the steps two at a time, he almost ran into Jamie in the hall. The boy grabbed his arm and pulled him back towards Draco's room. The blonde was standing in the doorway in confusion.
"Draco doesn't remember Mrs. Malfoy at all!"
Jamie's frantic words made Draco stiffen as he crossed his arms defensively. And as Snape looked from his son's emerald eyes to his ward's silver ones and back, he realized that he was in for a long night.
It had been a long night. Snape had to spend several hours going over the pertinent information because it wasn't safe for them to let Draco just forget about things that others could and would use against him. So he had to explain to his godson-only hours away from being adopted as Snape's son by law-horrible things. He had to look into troubled gray eyes and a cold expression to remind Draco that Narcissa had abused him along with Lucius. He had to tell him that Lucius had set Narcissa up to take the fall and after a trial, Narcissa was given the Dementor's Kiss before being sent back to Azkaban.
They were lucky. Draco sat and listened. Nothing was broken. No one screamed or ranted and railed against the unfairness of it all. And it was unfair. The boys barely had time to recover from one thing before another was dumped in their laps. And although they had a late night and early morning, both boys were remarkably well-behaved.
"Go, Crookshanks! Go!" came the wild cheer from upstairs.
Snape sighed. But there went the last bit of their attention span. "Go see what Tanya is up to and rescue the cat. We'll finish this lesson tomorrow morning."
Jamie tore out of the room, Draco hurrying after him.
"The rat is running . . . running . . . oh, and Crookshanks is hot on its heels! Look at them go!" Tanya clapped her hands soundlessly. "Will the rat make it to the bureau in time? I don't know, but it's going to be close! Go Crookshanks!"
Scabbers scrambled under the bureau as Jamie crashed into the room. Crookshanks didn't fit under the bureau, but that didn't mean that the cat was going to give up.
"Oo . . . Crookshanks has a long reach!" Tanya cried in delight. "Get him, Crookshanks!"
"Scabbers!" Jamie shouted, lunging for the animals. "Stop it, Crookshanks!" Using his body to separate the cat from the bureau, he reached under and felt around until he got a good grip on Scabbers who promptly bit him. "Bloody hell!"
"Don't let Professor Snape hear you talk like that," Draco warned having finally caught up. "You'll be disemboweling toads for weeks."
Jamie glared at him. "Just take Scabbers, Dray." He passed off the rat and crouched to scoop up the massive cat.
Draco held the rat up by its scruff to glare at it. "Bite me and I'll feed you to the cat. I can always buy Ron a new pet." He gave the panicked cat a quick shake. "Knock it off . . . I know you understand me."
"Leave Scabbers alone, Dray . . . you're setting a bad example for Tanya."
"Like you're any better," Draco scoffed.
"You're both terrible ex . . . examples," Tanya agreed, pressing an intangible kiss to Jamie's cheek, making him shiver. "I love you anyway," she declared, throwing her arms around Draco, making the blonde jump, stumbling back into the bedpost.
"I wish you wouldn't do that," he muttered in annoyance.
"It's why I do it," she chirped, floating transparently just above the floor as the sunlight slid through her silver form. "And you love me anyway."
Jamie snickered as Draco turned red. "Tanya," he whispered confidentially. "You know that Draco had to do a lot of walking in Diagon Alley today. And I think he must be pretty tired by now."
"Draco needs a nap!" Tanya declared. "I'll take care of Draco and make sure he gets lots of rest!" Using her cold intangible hands to 'encourage' him backwards towards the bed, Tanya settled in for a long bout of nursing.
"Jamie, I will make you pay for this," Draco swore as he was backed into the bed. Jamie laughed and let himself out of the room. He had his own plans for the rest of the afternoon.
"Master Jamie," the house-elf greeted him delightedly. "Can Jitter help Master Jamie? Is Master Jamie hungry?"
"No, but I would like your help, Jitter," Jamie hesitated, but plunged into his request. "Today's an important day and I would like to help with pudding." He held up one hand to forestall the elf's protests. "I want to show my dad how much I appreciate everything by helping to make his favorite dessert. But I'll probably need lots of help 'cause I've never made chocolate pudding before. Will you help me, Jitter?"
Jitter sighed heavily. "Master Jamie may make chocolate pudding. Jitter will help . . . on two conditions." The house-elf held up two long thin fingers. "Jitter will make the rest of the meal by himself. And Master Jamie will not help with dinner on any other day. That is what Jitter is for."
"Agreed," Jamie grinned.
Snape sat down for dinner between a subdued Draco and an antsy Jamie. "Tanya won't be joining us for dinner?"
Draco shook his head. "She's doing something in the upstairs hall.
"I'll be careful on my way upstairs tonight," Snape nodded at the tired teen. Despite the blonde's nap, he still appeared exhausted enough to fall asleep at the table. Jamie, however, was sitting on his hands and looked like he would explode at any second. Snape smirked and did what any other good father would. He began to eat . . . calmly, slowly, and silently. Jitter's roast was particularly good tonight.
By the time they got to dessert, Snape was losing the spark of amusement at tormenting Jamie as worry replaced it. Why on earth hadn't the boy opened his mouth or tried to get Snape's attention if he was so excited about something?
Draco seemed to have finally noticed it as well, and sat up straighter, suppressing a yawn. "Jamie? What's up?"
"Nothing," Jamie snickered, bouncing in his seat as he shook his head. "Look . . . chocolate pudding!"
Snape's suspicious nature from being a teacher told him that he was about to be pranked. Jamie was not usually this hyper, and the boy had just spent all morning with the Weasley children. The Twins were known for their pranks and were not among Snape's biggest fans. However, Snape also was a good father who knew his son. Jamie was capable of pulling off a prank with a straight face . . . to give away the prank with a less than stellar performance was hardly the boy's style. And unlike Jamie's biological father, the green-eyed boy had enough compassion and common sense to make sure his pranks were harmless. So after a long measuring look in Jamie's direction, he picked up his fork and took a bite.
"This is very good," he murmured. And he waited . . . just to make sure he didn't turn into a grizzly or sprout a tail. Then he took another bite. "Very good indeed." Jamie's face lit up at that.
Draco tried it and snickered. "You made this, didn't you, Jamie-boy? I hate to think what you had to bribe Jitter with to let you in the kitchen . . . my bathtub is off limits, I'll have you know."
Jamie laughed. "Do you like it, Dray?"
"It's the best chocolate pudding I've ever eaten," Draco declared, intent on inhaling the treat, curving one hand around the dish as if to protect it from the other diners.
Snape turned to his son. "You made this, Jamie?"
Jamie nodded happily. "It's a thank you," he explained.
Snape stiffened as he realized and tried to repress the smile. "Today is the one year anniversary of when you became my son."
"The pudding is excellent," Snape told him. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the scroll, passing it to Draco. "In keeping with tradition," he nodded.
Draco took the scroll and read it avidly. "The adoption papers," he whispered.
"They only await your signature," Snape explained, taking a bite of his dessert as if Draco was not the center of attention. "You do not have to sign them tonight, if you wish more time however. Considering recent events, I most certainly understand if you want to give it some more time."
Draco snorted. "Do you have a quill?"
Snape passed him his best eagle quill and Draco scrawled his former name before carefully writing out his new one in perfect penmanship. Severus took a long look at his ward, then inspected the documents carefully. "Welcome to the family, Draco Snape."
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"Did you ever think that Draco made the right choice for the wrong reasons, Severus?" Dumbledore paused. "I must confess myself disappointed."