Disclaimer: None of this belongs to the me (boo hoo). It's all J.K. Rowling's
Summary: Snape is asked to be the godfather of a child and Hermione plays a vital part..
A/N: First of all I want to thank muggline, who offered to translate this story into English. (The story is originally written in German, you can find it here at too. I had to change the title from "being the godfather" into "the godfather", since it wasn't possible to post a story here with the same title.)
Massive thanks to our beta ladyofthemask, who who eliminated quite a few Germanisms here...
Muggline and ladyofthemask, the two of you did a great job, thank you for everything!
I hope you guys like the story. Reviews are love.
The house had appeared shabby and neglected right from the start, but when Harry got nearer, he saw that it was indeed in a much worse state than he had thought at first. There were large crevices in the grey walls, the roof had several holes and the windows were covered in a thick layer of dirt as if they had not been cleaned in a decade. The house on Spinner's End appeared anything but inviting in the dull light of the winter sun, and Harry asked himself for the umpteenth time whether he was about to make a giant mistake.
Nevertheless, he was there, and something deep inside told him to swallow all his reservations and knock before he had a chance to change his mind. He felt that James' firm grip on his hand became even tighter when the door opened after a few moments, revealing the gaunt figure of a man in the doorframe.
If Snape was surprised to be face to face with Harry after eight years, at least he did not give it away. "Potter," he said slowly, scrutinising the young man for quite a while before he finally opened the door just a little bit more. Severus Snape had never been one of those wizards whose appearance would leave a good impression at first glance. Harry remembered him as a tall man with a hooked nose, whose face bore an expression of rejection and disdain most of the time. His looks had not become more pleasing throughout the years, to the contrary. Snape's hair was even longer than it had been; it looked unwashed and limp. It seemed as if his skin had become even more pallid; his hollow cheeks made him look like a ghost with his prominent nose standing out clearly from his face. On the whole, he looked more scruffy than ever in his threadbare black clothes that obviously had not been changed for quite a while.
The house's state of neglect reflected its inhabitant's in a perfect way.
"Hello," said Harry in a dull voice, holding his ground against the black eyes that were fixated on him.
"To what do I owe the honour of your visit?" asked Snape in a cool voice and made no move to let him enter.
"May I come in? It is very cold outside," Harry answered, holding the tiny bundle in his left arm even tighter to his body.
Instead of doing what he was obviously expected to do, Snape bent down to look at the little boy who clutched Harry's hand. "And who are you?" he asked calmly.
The child was obviously scared by him, but he did not step back when he rose its head and answered, "James."
"Naturally," Snape answered, and his thin, pale lips twisted in a humourless smile. "Anything else would have been quite the surprise." Then he straightened while jerkily moving his head towards the inside of the house, revealing a hideous scar on his neck for a split second.
While following him inside, Harry thought back and remembered how Snape had been found by Professor McGonagall back then. According to her report, he had been lying in the Shrieking Shack, more dead than alive, blank black eyes staring at the ceiling, the gaping wound at his neck crusted with blood. He also remembered the strange mixture of relief and agitation when, some weeks later, word got round that Snape would survive.
"Sit down," Snape said briefly and indicated a worn-out armchair, the original colour of which had probably been green once.
Harry slowly sunk into the armchair and looked around. The room was scantily furnished, with three mismatched armchairs, a rickety table on three legs and a bookshelf on the opposite wall, crammed with dusty tomes. The smell was of mould and old dirt, and Harry involuntarily caressed James' head in a soothing movement while softly rocking the sleeping baby with the other hand. This was not a suitable environment for a child. This was not a suitable environment for anyone at all.
"So," Snape said with a drawl, seating himself opposite Harry. "Head of the Auror Office, I have heard?"
"Yes," Harry answered in a calm voice. "This is what I've always wanted to do." He forced himself to ignore Snape's mocking grin.
"And Mr. Weasley is in on it, too – still eagerly trying to live in your shadow. It seems he has not managed to claim a leading position for himself."
Are you quite finished? Harry almost exclaimed, but he bit his tongue and took several deep breaths. "Looks like it," he squeezed out. " Nothing has changed, he thought. No matter which risks Snape has taken and how wrong my opinion of him has been – our mutual dislike is just too strong.
"Where is your esteemed spouse, if I may ask?"
"Ginny is at home, recovering from the birth. She was quite happy to have the house all to herself, without screaming children."
"I understand," replied Snape, although, in Harry's opinion, he would be the last person on earth to understand the everyday occurrences of family life. There was an unpleasant pause.
"What do you do to spend your time?," he finally asked, breaching the awkward silence between them.
"I brew potions upon request for St. Mungo's and supply some healers abroad, too", answered Snape briefly and continued after a short break, "However, I do not believe that you are here to discuss my social life. What do you want?"
"I am here to ask if you would be the godfather of my son." Those words, though he had pronounced them loud and clear, suddenly seemed strange to Harry's ears – as if somebody else had spoken them, not him.
He had lain awake for several nights and passed all those years that he had spent at Hogwarts in review. In his thoughts, he had not seen the loathed Potions master through the eyes of the quick-tempered teenager that he had been then, but assessed him with the mind of the adult man he was now. Snape had been a bitter man, unfair and sadistic, whose only joy had consisted in the torture of others. But still, there had been something buried deep inside of him. Something that had incited him to protect Harry and to expose himself to the mortal danger that came with his existence as a double agent.
For a split second, Snape's face showed pure amazement while his eyes wandered to the bundle in Harry's arm. But when Harry looked up to him, his stare was as blank as it had ever been.
"And what, pray tell, convinces you that I am the best choice for the position of a godfather?" he asked.
Harry shrugged, looked past Snape and murmured: "When I thought about it, it just felt right. We never had the opportunity to talk about the things that happened back then, during the battle of Hogwarts."
"And I would prefer this to remain so," Snape snapped.
"Listen, what you felt for my mother..."
Snape leapt to his feet, and before Harry even knew what happened, his former teacher had reached the door and pulled it wide open. "Thank you for your visit," he said in an icy voice, "but I am afraid I cannot comply with your request."
"You don't understand..." Harry began – he suddenly felt as if he were back in the Potions classroom, at the same time despising and fearing Snape's outbursts.
"Oh, I do understand very well, Potter. To you, my appointment as your son's godfather would mean orchestrating some maudlin kind of reconciliation," he almost spat the word, as if there were something poisonous in his mouth, "of which we both know that we do not want it. For some strange reason, you are unable to let the past rest. Whatever I did, I did it for your mother. Not for you or anyone else. Only for her. You owe me nothing, Potter. Our ways parted in the moment you killed the Dark Lord when I knew that I had fulfilled what I had promised myself and her. And now I would like you to leave."
"Fine!" Harry flung at him while he felt the anger boiling inside. How could he be so wrong and come up with the idea of making Snape a godfather! This atrocious man who hated everyone and everything, himself included. No, a little voice inside of him corrected, he did love Mum. More than anything. He rushed out of the armchair. The baby, awakened by the hurried movement, made a dissatisfied noise. "Shhh.." Harry murmured in a calming voice and caressed the little head. "James, come here, we'll go home to Mummy" With an eager nod, James got up and followed his father, who was walking towards the door.
While passing Snape, he looked at him contemptuously for the last time and said, "I hope you go on enjoying your life in this stinking hole here and continue drifting away from any kind of civilisation I thought that we might be able to overcome our mutual dislike and start acting like normal people. It is quite obvious that I have been wrong. Have a nice day!"
Without a word, Snape observed Harry walk along the street with his children until he finally rounded a corner and disappeared from his view.
Some hours later, night had already fallen, and soft snowfall made the environment look more romantic than it really was, another person knocked at Snape's door. Nobody had bothered to come to Spinner's End and pay him a visit for years. Mostly, of course, because he carefully avoided any kind of company and bluntly expressed his wish to be disturbed by no one. He rose from his armchair with a bad feeling and went to open the door.
Shivering, with her arms crossed in front of her chest and jumping up and down, Hermione Granger was standing at his doorstep, and her expression became quite strange when he spoke out her name. She looked as if she had wanted the door to open and to stay closed at the same time. "Miss Granger, is this going to be some kind of class reunion everybody knows about but me?" he snarled.
She blew on her hands to warm them and said with an embarrassed smile: "Please, sir, excuse me for disturbing you."
"You do, indeed!" he cut her short and looked over her shoulder.
"I am alone," she reassured him hastily, drawing the right conclusions from his glare. "Sir, it is just that Harry told me what a catastrophe his visit here has been and I thought..."
"You could meddle and poke your nose into things that are of no concern to you?"
Her lips were pressed together tightly, probably to keep herself from saying things that she would regret later, he presumed, and she stared at him. He almost could not remember the way she had looked when he had last seen her, but he was quite sure that she had hardly resembled the young woman she was now. Her features had lost their youthful naiveté, and there was a certain seriousness in her eyes that had nothing to do with thirst for knowledge but everything with the experiences she had made in the war.
"Would you like to come in?" he asked, although he clearly insinuated that he would like nothing less than to be in her company.
"Thank you, yes, I would," she said and slipped past him towards the inside of the house.
"Sir, I will get to the point straight away and not waste your time longer than necessary," she said, taking a seat in the armchair he offered. "Harry would like you to be his son's godfather. I have known him half my life, and I know that Harry has never been good at expressing himself. I think he forgot to tell you that he thinks you are one of the bravest wizards he has ever known and that he admires you for the things you have done over all those years." She swallowed and avoided his gaze with embarrassment when he looked her up and down without a word while his face did not give away one single hint of what he might think. "Harry cannot express these things properly."
"Which is why you have made it your business to do this for him, which was already one of your favourite occupations back in school, Miss Granger. I can see that nothing has changed about that."
Her cheeks flushed bright red when she met his gaze. "Well, someone has got to do it," she answered defiantly. "Be that as it may, sir. To make you the godfather is Harry's way to tell you that, in spite of everything that transpired between you, he values you more than he could verbally express."
"How exceedingly honourable, isn't it," Snape gibed.
The young woman sighed in frustration and ran both hands through her long, curly hair where some snowflakes could still be seen. "He does not do it out of some misunderstood sense of guilt towards you, don't you understand?" she blurted out.
"Mind your tone, Miss Granger," he retorted in a cutting voice. "I am not used to being spoken to like that in my own house."
"I don't believe that anyone speaks to you at all in your own house," she exclaimed before she could hold her tongue. Quickly, she covered her mouth with one hand. "I am sorry sir, it was not my intention to be rude."
She rose from the armchair, avoiding his icy glare, and said slowly: "I can see, however, when a case is lost. Please excuse my wasting your time for nothing. Nevertheless, I would like to inform you that Harry will now probably ask Neville Longbottom whether he would like to be Albus Severus' godfather."
She paused briefly, as if by coincidence, and was unable to suppress her small smile when she saw him wince.
"Albus Severus'," she answered with an innocent expression while observing, quite fascinated, how Snape's features changed into a look of utter bewilderment. "That is the name of the baby," she explained patiently." Didn't Harry mention it?"
Having said that, she proceeded towards the door and used his perplexity to play her last trump card: "I think that Lily would have wanted you to put everything aside and become the godfather of this child," she said softly and felt a slight pang of pity when she saw his pained expression upon hearing the name. "Think about it, sir. Please!" she whispered when she opened the door and went outside into the cold winter's night.