Chapter 3

Waking Serenity was never a problem but today was one of those days when she was just grumpy and tired. He had warned her several times to mind her mouth or Snape would curse it to become glued shut. Sirius had met them before they left and did not look at all happy to see them go.

"I'll come over every now and then to check on you, but I have to tell you that I will most likely come in dog form." He looked at Serenity and smiled, then he turned to Snape and whispered, "Please believe me Sev, that this is not because I believe you need a vacation…but do try and enjoy yourself…and-and try to work out this thing with you and the Potter's."

Severus was just about to say something when Dumbledore came towards them. "All set and ready my boy?" he asked picking Serenity up, who wasn't too fond of being touched at the moment.

"As we will ever be Headmaster." He said somewhat meanly as he took Serenity from him.

She laid her head on his shoulder and sighed. "Papa Albus will you come visit to?" she asked pitifully.

"I will try my best gorgeous." He said stroking her head lovingly.

Serenity nodded and Severus transported their bags to the cottage. "Albus, at some point I'm going to have to return to the Manor and retrieve a few more things."

"My boy, make a list and I will retrieve them for you." Dumbledore said a determined glint in his eyes.

Snape sighed in defeat and walked out of the castle and onto the grounds. He looked at the school and then at the gate to leave it. Maybe this would do him some good, maybe it would do both him and his daughter some good. Or maybe it could end up being a disaster that the two of them have to suffer.

The cottage was just as he had left it all those years ago; the only thing missing was the sound of laughter coming from James, Lily, and Harry. Often during the War he would invite them to stay and enjoy the peace and quiet. Now it was far too quiet for Severus' liking.

"Daddy." He heard his tired daughter coo. "I want to lie down, can you let me go?"

"Are you tired, honey?" he asked looking at her pale face.

"Yes, really tired."

"Okay, I'll wake you when dinner is ready."

He watched her nod and go up the stairs to her room.

Snape sighed sitting in front of the warm fireplace. A loud clap of thunder rang through the house and Snape assumed that at any moment Serenity would come flying down those steps and into his lap, but that did not come.

"What the?" he rose from his chair and walked up the stairs as quickly as he could without making too much of a racket.

He opened the door to Serenity's room to see that she really had gone to sleep. It confused him seeing as Serenity slept fine the night before, her nightmares weren't even enough to awaken her. He summoned a chair and set at her bed side. I wonder what visions her memory is conjuring.

For a moment he considered going into her mind himself to see what she was seeing but then quickly discarded the idea at the thought of the mental damage it could have on her already now relaxed mind.

What are you seeing honey that you are so compelled to see it again?

Serenity shifted in the bed and shivered.

Serenity awoke with a start and began searching the room. It was dark; she must have been asleep for quite a while. Her head was aching and her belly hurt again almost as bad as it had last night

"Daddy!" she called.

As if on cue Serenity could hear footsteps protruding up the steps and down the hallway. "What is it, Serenity?" he asked running into the room.

He looked at Serenity and saw that tears were just barely balancing on her eyelids. "Did the bad man come back, love?"

"No…I don't feel good daddy." She whispered.

Snape went over and placed his hand on Serenity's forehead. There was no strange rise in temperature as a matter of fact her temperature was at a normal cool degree. He looked at Serenity once more and raised an eyebrow.

"Where do you feel sick, Serenity?" he asked scooping her up into his arms.

"My belly hurts and my head is a little sore." She said snuggling her face into his neck.

"Do you think you would be able to drink a potion for me?"

"No," Serenity said, her voice trembling, "I don't want to throw up again daddy."

Snape pulled Serenity's head back and looked into her eyes. There was no sign of fever nor were her cheeks flushed. It was not like Serenity to lie about her health and her tone of voice sounded very sincere. To be completely honest Severus had no clue what to give her other then a pain reliever.

"Are you so certain you are going to throw up?" he asked rubbing circles into her back.

"Yes…I don't want to throw up daddy…" Serenity said more desperately.

"Do you feel like you are going to be sick right now?" Snape asked once again looking at Serenity.

She did not answer; Serenity knew that if she did daddy would make her drink a lot of water so she would have to throw up.

"Serenity Evans, do you feel like you are going to be sick? Because you know that the more you hold back the worse your tummy will feel?"

Serenity looked at her hands, she hated throwing up! It was the nastiest thing ever experienced by any human.

"No…I don't want to throw up." Serenity said crossing her arms over her chest.

"Then you will sit and suffer with the pain." Severus said rather meanly.

"Fine." Serenity said pouting.

Snape sighed at his daughter's infuriating behavior and laid her on the couch rather roughly.

"I have no patience to deal with such behavior Serenity Evans," he said softly leaving the room and going into his study.

Serenity heard the door close and felt warm hot tears spill from her eyes. Why was her daddy so mad? He had never treated her so meanly before...maybe daddy really didn't want her around anymore!

Snape needed time to think, he was having such a hard time right now making sense of the situation. He and his daughter were in hiding, he could not work, he was not allowed to leave Ireland, and the next house hold was about twenty miles in the other direction. What was he to do with his spare time!? He could not handle all that much time alone, with nothing to keep him distracted. He could brew potions but some were far more advanced then others not to mention many took up to weeks to make and required constant supervision.

Snape groaned and rubbed his temples and looked at the clock, he had better start on dinner or Serenity would not eat at all. He took the last gulp from his brandy glass and left the room. When he went out into the living room Serenity was no longer there.

"Serenity!" he yelled walking from the living room to the kitchen.

She was not in the kitchen, nor was she in his room upstairs. When Severus checked his room and found it also to be empty his fears began to get the better of him.

"Serenity!" he yelled running through out the house.

He ran outside, it was raining cats and dogs and he prayed that Serenity was not foolish enough to venture out in such horrid weather.

"This is why I didn't want to stay in Ireland." he grumbled taking out his wand. "Point Me, Serenity Evans Snape."

A dim light appeared on the tip of his wand and as Severus came closer to Serenity the light began to get brighter. Finally he looked up and saw a small little figure underneath a large willow tree.

"Serenity!" Snape ran over to her and saw that she had fallen asleep in the rain.

He pulled her up into his arms and rushed her back to the house. When he got into the warmth he lit the fireplace and ran in front of it. He stripped Serenity of her wet clothes and wrapped her in a warm towel. Then he sat and waited for her to awaken.

"Daddy?"

Snape had fallen asleep with his daughter in his arms and when he awoke found her tugging at his shoulder.

"Serenity!" he held her close and kissed the top of her head. "Don't you ever do something so stupid again!" he spat.

"Why, you don't want me anymore." Serenity said with tear filled eyes.

"What do you mean I don't want you? Of course I want you!" he said stroking her cheek.

Serenity pulled away and shook her head in disbelief, "You said that you were too busy for me when you gave me to Alex." she said crying slightly.

"No, darling I said that when I was busy Alex would be watching you from time to time...I never meant that I was giving you away to him! I love you and no one will ever have you but me!" he said wiping each tear away.

"But...you yelled...at m-m-me..." Serenity said her lip trembling terribly.

Snape sighed, now he realized what he did was wrong. He was upset and taking out all his frustrations on his daughter. "I know, and I'm sorry. I shouldn't have snapped at you when you were feeling sick."

Serenity nodded and wiped her eyes. "I still don't feel good daddy."

"Well, it's no wonder seeing as you fell asleep in the cold rain." he said placing his hand on her head and feeling the distinct heat from a high fever. "You have a fever."

"Yuck." Serenity said laying back.

"Indeed, well let's get you into a warm pair of pajamas and into bed." he said picking her up and carrying her upstairs.

The night was calm and Serenity slept soundly waking up every now and again to make sure her daddy was still in the room watching her. When she woke again at about two a.m, she found that Severus had fallen asleep. Serenity sighed and laid back on her pillow, daddy deserved some time to sleep seeing as he had spent the whole evening watching her sleep. Serenity took the quilt that was draped over her bed and laid it on Snape.

"Sleep tight daddy." Serenity said kissing his hand before walking down the steps to the living room,

"Princess!"

Serenity jumped and looked at the fireplace, staring back at her was the face of Sirius.

"Uncle Padfoot!" she yelled excitedly.

"Yep, that's my name...so how are you and the old dungeon bat doing?"

"Why don't you ask the old dungeon bat yourself?" said a tired velvet like voice.

"Ah! Hello Sev!" Sirius said still smiling his dog like smile.

"Mutt please tell me you have a very good reason for calling so early in the morning. And Serenity Evans you better have good reason for not being in bed."

Serenity looked at her feet and then up at Snape. "Uh- I wanted a drink."

"Mmm Hmm and what was wrong with the glass of water I left on your night stand?"

"It was icky." Serenity said while wringing her hands.

"Sure it was, get your sick little butt up to bed."

"But daddy, I want to talk to uncle Padfoot!" Serenity said stomping her foot on the cold wooden floor.

Snape smirked at her behavior and said, "And people in Hell want ice water but they aren't getting that anytime soon." he pointed up to the steps and watched as Serenity stomped up them.

"With a little less attitude Serenity Evans or I will make sure to spank your hide."

When he heard that Serenity was no longer stomping up the stairs he sat in front of the fireplace to speak with Sirius more privately.

"What's the news Sirius?" he asked softly.

"Well," Sirius looked around the corner as if to make sure no one was there, "move over, I'm coming through."

Snape nodded and did as he was told. When Sirius came through he noticed that he had a copy of the Daily Prophet in his hand.

"You might want to read this, Sev." he said handing him the paper.

Snape snatched it from his hands and opened it to the front page. There in black and white was a picture of him carrying Serenity from the Potter's house. He continued to look and began reading down the article a loud.

"The search for the wizarding world's savior still continues and although there are no sign of the young Serenity Snape authorities are more determine then ever. I reporter Rita Seeker have been looking into the affairs of the young little heroine and have found that her father and her have gone into hiding; the minister for magic had this to say. "The savior of our world will not live with one of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Name's followers. We will find Ms. Serenity Snape," Snape paused trying to keep the volume of his tone low, "and see to it that she is put in the care of another more responsible guardian. Thank you no more comments." After the informative conversation from the Minister I set out after Headmaster Albus Dumbledore who was less then happy to reveal any information to myself personally but I was able to come by some juicy evidence that Severus Snape's daughter was marked that of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named." Snape slammed his fists down on the coffee table and threw the newspaper into the fireplace watching it crackle and burn.

"I cannot believe this! The Minister has seen me with my daughter and where the Hell did they get that fucking picture!?" he yelled furious.

"Calm down Severus-

"I will not calm down! What the Hell are these moron's playing at!" he spat sitting on the sofa.

"They are trying to take Serenity but Severus there is more then just that. Your house was practically demolished the other day, I was so close to capturing Malfoy but he slipped away with my cousin. You remember Bellatrix I presume."

"What about the other two?" he asked a glimmer of hope in his voice.

"They disappeared but not with Malfoy and Lestrange."

Snape sighed and rubbed his eyes. "I can't handle living like this, Sirius!" he confessed.

"I don't believe you Severus Snape." Sirius said shaking his head and sitting next to him. "You are the most stubborn person I have ever met I know that your will power knows no bounds-"

"I can't do it Padfoot, although Callivera was a horrible mother she kept me company and James and Lily...this was our vacation home."

"Severus, you need to let go. I know that it is hard for you because James you and I were like brothers but Sev you have a daughter that needs your love and apparently you have been neglecting her that love."

"I-"

"You know that you cannot act this way forever if you want to give your daughter the childhood you never had. Do you see the pattern here?"

Severus sighed, he did. When he was a child his mother died from a muggle cancer called Leukemia and his father who had at one time been caring became a cold, abusive, alcoholic arse. Sev had sworn to never raise a hand to his child or treat his kin like the way his father did. But despite that promise he could see the resemblance in the situation.

"What can I do?"

"You can stop living in the past and go towards the future."

Severus nodded but looked around the house, he hated being all alone it was so quiet and eerie, Now Severus did like his alone time no and again but because he was so used to having students jumping around him and his nephew Harry all over him during the Summer Holidays made it more or less irritating rather then relaxing.

"It's too quiet here." he said childishly.

"I have a solution for that." Sirius said happily.

"Oh, when you say something like that it makes me feel nauseous."

"Don't worry; it isn't a female...although I still think you would do well to find yourself another woman."

"No thank you, I've had my fill of women, now what is this solution."

"Well you of course remember Remus?"

"Of course! How could I forget the man that almost bit my head off...literally."

Sirius turned red, that was his fault. "Please don't mention that to him...he feels really bad about it to this day-"

"I know mutt and relax I have more couth then that. Please continue what about Remus?"

"Well he has just found himself in a very upsetting situation. You see his older brother died and his daughter was left in the care of Remus and you know how hard it is for Remus to hold a job considering the fact that he is a werewolf so I thought that since you want someone to keep you company you would allow Lupin and his niece to stay with you. That way it will keep you busy as well as the little princess."

Snape nodded in approval. "That is actually a good idea Padfoot. Very well you can tell Moony that he is welcome to stay here with his niece...what did you say her name was?"

"I didn't. Her name is Rachel she is about Serenity's age maybe a month or two older."

"Okay then you can tell Rachel and Remus they may stay here, when should I be expecting them?"

"Possibly around noon later today."

"Alright then, well I am going to go to bed, I will talk to you later mutt."

Sirius laughed and said, "Should I show you my birth certificate?"

"Why would I want to see your birth certificate mutt?"

"Because you seem to think that my name is mutt and not Sirius."

Snape smirked and chuckled, "Ah yes but mutt is so you...it says a lot about you Padfoot."

When Sirius disappeared Snape went upstairs to tell the news to Serenity. He opened the door to her bedroom and found her passed out in the chair Severus had been occupying during the evening. He smiled and scooped the small child up into his arms and tucked her comfortably into bed.

"Da?" she asked still drowsy and in a deep sleep.

"Yes love, I'm here." he said kissing her forehead and stroking her hair.

"I love you daddy." Serenity yawned turning on her side.

"I love you too Serenity." Snape said grinning slightly.

He walked out of the room and into his own. He sat on his bed at first and sighed. His daughter still loved him, he didn't screw it up! He still had the chance to give his daughter the childhood he never had and hadn't he promised to in the first place? Tears filled his eyes and he nodded. He had and he was so close to breaking that promise.

When the sun had come up Snape found that he was the first up and Serenity was still asleep battling her fever induced dreams. Normally Severus would awaken her but right now he had to make breakfast and start the day. It was still chilly downstairs and for the love him he could not remember where the thermostat was. He shivered slightly and went into the kitchen. He looked and saw an owl over on the window sill. Calmly he walked over and opened the window. The bird had a package tied around its foot and Severus delicately took the package. He recognized the owl to belong to Minerva; he wondered what she could have sent. He opened the box and smiled. Bless that dear woman's heart for sending him his potion ingredients and books. He would have to definitely send her something for the trouble of getting around his messy potions cupboard.

When Serenity finally awoke Severus found her downstairs sitting at the kitchen table waiting for him.

"Good morning Serenity." He said kissing her head. "Hmm, your fever went down considerably. How are you feeling love?"

"Better daddy, what's for breakfast?"

Snape smiled, he was glad she had her appetite back, "What would you like my dear child?"

"Uhh…can I have some butter toast and scrabbled eggs please?" she asked grinning at him.

"Of course you can lady bug." He said kissing her cheek again and setting off to work.

When he had Serenity situated and eating breakfast he began telling her about the day to come.

"So uncle Moony is coming and he is bringing my cousin?" she asked taking another nibble of her toast.

"Yes, her name is Rachel and I thought you would enjoy playing with her."

"It will be nice having a friend over to play with, it gets really boring sometimes when it's just you and me daddy."

Severus chuckled and folded his arms over his chest as if offended by the innocent comment. "Oh, I see you don't like playing with me anymore."

"No, I do daddy but I want to play with someone my age….you're too old to play with me." Serenity said harmlessly.

"I am not too old to play with you." Severus argued reaching for her plate, "Are you finished?"

Serenity nodded and laughed. "Are you jealous daddy?"

"Of course not…but you were my best friend first." He said defensively.

"Nuh Uh, uncle Prongs is."

Severus smiled and sighed. "I think you mean was, love bug."

"Nope," Serenity began shaking her head, "he's still your friend…just a little bit farther away then you'd like him to be."

Snape stared at his daughter in amazement. It was as if this little five year old new more then he did. She probably did, she was after his daughter and very smart. Actually she reminded him a little bit of Albus.

"You're absolutely right my little angel." He said taking her plate and placing it in the kitchen sink.

The day consisted of Serenity bouncing around the room asking Severus when uncle Moony would be arriving or if she and he could go and retrieve them their selves. After the twentieth no he could see that his daughter was becoming more and more restless

"Would you like something to do?" Severus finally asked.

"No, I want to see uncle Moony!" Serenity whined.

"Well people in Hell want ice water but they aren't getting that any time soon."

"Daddy!" Serenity said reproachfully.

"Okay, why don't we go for a walk around the grounds?" Severus asked standing from his seat.

"Can't we go to uncle Padfoot's?" Serenity asked sadly.

"No, we can't risk being seen in London." Severus said coldly. "Go get your sneakers on and I'll tie them for you."

He watched as Serenity bowed her head in disappointment and trudged away dragging her feet on the carpet. When she came back about ten minutes later with her flip flops Severus shook his head in disagreement.

"I said sneakers, it is September the weather is colder."

"But daddy I can't find my sneakers." She said reaching up for him to carry her.

"Well you aren't going out with those, you just barely got over a fever."

"But I can't find them."

"Then I will go and help you." Severus said heading up stairs.

No wonder Serenity couldn't find anything, her room was in absolute shambles. Her clothes were thrown all over the room as were various toys she owned.

"Serenity Evans Snape!" he spat sternly.

"Yeah daddy?" Serenity asked innocently batting her long eye lashes.

"This room is atrocious and you will be cleaning it when we come back before uncle Moony comes over."

Serenity groaned but nodded anyway. She hated cleaning, especially when doing it with magic was so much easier.

"Thank you." He said taking out his wand. "Accio sneakers."

Serenity watched as a pair of green and black sneakers fell into his hands.

"Serenity, here you go love."

"Thank you daddy." Serenity said taking them and putting them on her bare feet.

"Darling, socks go on before the sneaker."

He watched his prodigy giggle and pull the shoes off.

"Daddy," she said giggling, "I don't-

"Here" He said giving her a pair of socks that had little snakes sewed into the fabric.

Before they left he tied her hair into a ponytail using a green ribbon and he smiled proudly at his handy work, Serenity looked adorable.

It was a beautiful morning and the sun was high in the flawless blue sky. Serenity skipped gleefully at her father's side completely unaware of the things happening around her. It was like she was in her own little world and nothing outside could touch her. How Severus wished he could return to that simple age, but then again when he was that age nothing was simple.

"Daddy!" Serenity yelled running around him.

"What?!" he said in the same enthusiastic way.

"Let's play a game." She laughed.

"Hmmm what would you like to play?"

"I want to play…hide and seek." She said latching to his leg.

"Really?" he asked picking her up.

"Nose goes." Serenity said quickly placing a finger on her nose.

"What?"

"That means you're it daddy." Serenity said matter-of-factly.

Severus raised his one eyebrow and looked at her with tight lips.

"What…I didn't make it up, Emery told me that." She said pulling her arms out and onto her hips.

"Humph, very well little brat I will be it." He tickled her sides and listened to her explode with laughter.

"Da…DAD…ha ha!" she gasped trying to push his hands away.

Severus laughed as well and placed his daughter on the ground.

"Well you better go hide, ladybug. If I find you I will tickle you senseless."

Serenity smiled and ran in the other direction. Severus closed his eyes and played along; sometimes he forgot that his daughter was only five. He set out in the direction she was heading making sure to keep very quiet so Serenity wouldn't know he was…peeking…as she would put it. He saw her run and turn a corner still giggling at her brilliance.

Suddenly it became deathly quiet and there was no sound, the birds could not even be heard.

"Serenity!" he called.

There was no answer.

"Serenity!" he said a little more urgently.

Silence.

"Serenity Evans Snape!" he yelled.

Severus ran to where he thought Serenity had been hiding to find that she was no longer there but her green little ribbon tie. He took into his hand and for a moment could swear that his heart would burst from his chest.