Azkaban or Childhood?

A/N: This is Co-written by the lovely and talented Halo'n'Horns!!

Chapter 1: Options and Agreements

Sirius strolled into Dumbledore's office; the silver instruments that covered every available surface were whirring and puffing colored smoke as usual. Sirius was a free man for real now. He had been cleared of all charges once Pettigrew had been proven to be still alive.

Too bad the little rat got away again though…

Still, that was the ministries problem now, not his. Let them run around with their heads up their arse for a bit, after all, they did it so well. He snorted. Actually he was curious about Dumbledore's mysterious letter calling him here. It had only said that they had a serious matter to discuss, and that an innocent friend's life could be helped by his actions. Dumbledore himself was sitting at his desk, his hands steepled in front of him and his bright blue eyes twinkling.

Uh-oh… he thought to himself.

It was at that point that he noticed Severus Snape sitting in one of the armchairs looking, if it were possible, even more sour than usual with his arms folded and a nasty scowl in place.

"Snape." He said with a nod.

"Black." Was his reply.

"Boys, now that you're here Sirius we can finish discussing Severus's options." Dumbledore said cheerfully, picking up a tin of lumpy yellow sweets. "Lemon drop my boy?" he offered Sirius.

"Err, no thank you Dumbledore." He said awkwardly.

"Suit yourself, they really are quite splendid." He said as he plucked one out and savored it.

"Now, as I'm sure you are aware, Severus has been recently found guilty of being an active death eater again." Dumbledore said, his tone becoming more grave.

Sirius shifted, "Well yes but, I would have thought you'd be able to explain that he's spying for our side still."

Severus snorted in derision. "Please, you don't really think those asinine people at the ministry are capable of understanding the work that I do?"

Sirius growled, "While I'm sure that it takes quite a bit of preparation before one kisses the arse of the Dark Lord I wouldn't exactly call it 'work'." He sniped at him.

"And since when are you a judge of work?! You've spent the past twelve years in Azkaban prison! How much work did you do there I wonder?!" Snape said angrily raising his voice and getting out of his chair.

"Now Severus," Dumbledore said quietly, trying to calm them down.

"At least I wasn't a turncoat and haven't spent my years being a greasy git of a potions professor, whose one delight in life is frightening the living daylights out of little children!" Sirius stood as well and bellowed back at him.


Both of them took as step back from each other and looked away from each other, but they were still livid looking. Dumbledore continued to look at them sharply over his half moon spectacles until they both sat back down, glaring in opposite directions.

"Now, as I was saying, Severus has been charged and found guilty. Which means, Sirius, I'm sure you know that he must be sent to Azkaban."

Sirius winced, he might dislike Severus but he would never wish Azkaban on anyone.

"However, I have reasoned with the Wizengamot and they have seen fit to offer Severus a second option."

Severus scowled even more and sank into his armchair with his arms crossed. "Some bloody option."

Sirius raised his eyebrows, "I'm glad to hear that headmaster but I don't see what that has to do with me."

"Well, you see Sirius, Severus's other option is to be de-aged. They would like him to have the option of starting over again."

"Sod that! They just want an opportunity to humiliate me publicly!" Severus snapped. "They don't give a bloody damn about me or my supposed well being! This is all about teaching me a lesson, and that you would even think, Dumbledore, to compound my embarrassment by asking this man of all people to take over guardianship is disgusting!"

Sirius felt his jaw drop. So that was it, Dumbledore wanted him to become Severus Snape's guardian? The poor old wizard had to be off his rocker, yep that was the only explanation, Voldemort's return had cracked the poor old Mugwump's mind. "Dumbledore, look, I can't take 

Severus. I mean, we don't even like each other and I've just set about taking custody of Harry. I'll have enough on my plate taking care of a fourteen year old, never mind however old he'll be when they de-age him."

"I'm NOT being DE-AGED!!" Severus yelled, slamming a fist on the chairs arm. Sirius was surprised to see that his eyes looked watery.

"My childhood was rotten enough as it was once; I have no desire to relive it. Besides, you were the last option for guardianship anyway so it doesn't matter."

Sirius looked surprised. "I'm the last option? Doesn't anyone want you?" he winced inwardly at the way that sounded.

Snape scoffed, "Why, Black, would anyone in their right mind want a death eater turned child in their home? Especially as it seems I will be keeping most of my memories intact. No, no one wants something like me around, I might corrupt the other snot nosed brats in their care."

"Severus, stop that. You are not unloved, if the ministry hadn't informed me that due to my advanced age caring for you would not be allowed I'd have taken you in a heartbeat as would Minerva. And Remus cannot care for you full time due to his being a werewolf; or he would, I'm sure, have agreed. Mad-eye… well, he's retired and not in his best state of mind as you know. Mundungus would use you, no doubt, to rob people and Molly and the Weaslyies already have too many offspring and not enough money. " Dumbledore said to the younger wizard.

Sirius, twiddles with his fingers. Damn it! Now I feel guilty… it's me or Azkaban is it? Despite what Snape may say I can tell he doesn't relish the idea of a stint there… oh bloody hell! I am so going to regret this.

"Ah, Dumbledore…"

Said wizard turned his sky blue and twinkling eyes towards him, "Yes Sirius?"

"If, if mind you, I decided to say yes… what would happen?"

Severus sputtered in shock, or possibly outrage, it was hard to tell which. Dumbledore merely smiled.

"Why then Severus would be de-aged to about seven years of age, and you would become his legal guardian. It would be a binding magical contract of course. Also; in case you were, as you mentioned earlier, worried about having too much on your plate, Remus has thoughtfully offered to live with you and share in the caretaking duties."

"I thought the ministry said he was unfit, or so you said?"

"Yes, unfit to be the sole guardian, not unfit to help you. Besides, with Severus to brew him the wolvesbane potion, I daresay he'll be more comfortable with you."

"Excuse me." Came a sardonic and bitter voice, "But would either of you like to include me in this little discussion about my future?"

"Now Severus, we discussed that much already. You agreed that if anyone of the candidates for guardianship would take you that you would go with that option. I will not let you put yourself in Azkaban."

"We weren't supposed to get to the end of the list!!" he cried out in frustration, his voice cracking a little.

Sirius shook his head, he couldn't really blame him. If their roles were reversed he wouldn't want to be in Snape's care either. Still, he didn't want to watch him and Dumbledore argue so he cut in.

"Severus I might not like you a lot but if I was your guardian I wouldn't abuse you. I swear you'd have three meals a day, a room, err… toys I suppose." He trailed off, Merlin's pants this was awkward!

"Toys? And I suppose you'd bathe me and tuck me into bed as well Black? At the age of seven there isn't a hell of a lot I would be able to do for myself." Snape said waspishly.

Sirius felt his face heat up. He hadn't thought of any of those things…

"See? He can't take care of m-of a child. I doubt he'll be capable of taking care of himself, never mind Potter."

Sirius was on his feet in a moment, "You leave my godson out of this Snape!"

Dumbledore cleared his throat mildly, and Sirius sat down once more.

"Now then, if Sirius agrees to take you Severus then that's all there is to it. I will not allow you to go to Azkaban, it is not really up for discussion." He said, turning away from a gaping Severus and looking back at Sirius. "Well my boy? I won't think less of you if you decide to say no, just so you understand."

Looking into those clear bright eyes, Sirius didn't doubt this either, Dumbledore was a level headed man. So Sirius steeled himself and said "I'll do it."

"Splendid! The de-aging spells will be performed at the ministry in a couple of days, to give you time to get ready, and the paperwork will be ready to sign then as well."

"Good, well… I'll see you both in two days then." He said, rising and nodding at each, trying desperately not laugh at the look of shock and horror stuck on Severus's face as he turned and left the headmaster's office.

To be continued…