Prompt from Snapegirl: Setting end of GOF. Sirius must apologize to Severus for tormenting him during their childhood, the Shrieking Shack, etc. in front of Harry, who is Sev's ward, before Severus will consent to work with and forgive Sirius.

The Apology

Snape billowed into the infirmary, intent upon getting to Harry's bedside. How could they have all been so stupid? Barty Junior Polyjuiced as Moody! He knew someone had placed his ward's name in the cup, but no one had suspected Moody! All he wanted to do right now was to make sure Harry was all right. He winced momentarily as the mark on his arm burned viciously, but he ignored its summons. He would never answer its siren song again; he had more important things to take care of – like his ward. He was brought up short, however, at the sight of Sirius Black hugging said ward.

"Black! What are you doing here?" Without even realising it, Severus had his wand trained on the fugitive. Several people gasped, moving away, and he shrugged off Albus' hand when the old man tried to placate him, focusing on the bedraggled man in front of him: his childhood tormentor. His anger simmered slowly beneath the surface; he hated Black more than he had hated Potter, when it came right down to it. "I could call the Dementor right now, Black. He's downstairs, sucking out Barty's soul this very instant. I'm sure he'd be delighted to have you for afters!" he taunted, a sneer twisting his features.

Sirius made as if to lunge at Snape, but Arthur grabbed him and Harry yelled, "NO, SIRIUS! DON'T! He's my guardian!"

Sirius Black turned an anguished face to his godson, shrugging off Arthur's hands. "Your guardian? Harry, you don't need him! You've got me! I'm your godfather! He's belittled you the whole time you've been here, you told me so yourself last year!"

"Things happened last summer, Sirius. Things you couldn't have done anything about… Severus saved me, and he's been helping me all year. We've put our differences behind us, you need to as well," he advised.

"How, Harry? How has Sniv… Snape helped you?" Sirius pleaded.

"Don't call him that, Sirius – please don't call him that around me. He loves me, Sirius. He took care of me, watched over me all year, and got me free of the Dursleys. You couldn't do that as a fugitive. I know you love me, and I love you too, but I needed a 'father' who was around, who I could go to this year, what with this damned tournament and everything. Severus has become that for me. I agreed to his guardianship, Sirius. I wanted it. I needed it!"

Severus had stayed silent during this exchange, but he never lowered his wand. What Harry was telling the mutt was true, however. He had saved the boy; with the result that they had come to an understanding by the time term had started. That understanding had blossomed into love for each other, the love of a father for a son. Severus had willingly taken on the guardianship of the boy, and he wasn't going to stand here and listen to Black belittle him, or his ward, about it. Dumbledore stepped forward to place himself between the two men, raising his hands in a calming manner.

"Gentlemen, I must point out that we are all on the same side here. Voldemort has arisen again, we need to pull together and work as a team to minimise his damage. I need you two to work together. Such dissonance amongst our ranks only works to his advantage!"

Severus kept his wand and eyes fastened on Black. "I will only work with him, Headmaster, if he apologises to me for the torment he caused me. For attempting to murder me," he ground out.

Black snorted at that, causing Severus to tighten the hold on his wand. Harry looked between his two mentors and sighed. He threw back his covers and slipped out of bed, causing Mrs Weasley and Madam Pomfrey to throw fits. He ignored them, however, in order to grab Sirius and drag him away from his guardian.

"Sirius, please. You have to apologise. Voldemort is back! We need Severus and his knowledge. We need you! Please, apologise – for my sake? You know what you did was wrong." Sirius' eyes had begun to go soft around the edges as his godson pleaded with him, but had burned with hatred again as he spoke the last sentence.

"You don't understand, Harry. He was a Snake back then! Always sneaking around; following us. All I did was pull a prank to teach him a lesson."

Harry shook his head vehemently. "No, Sirius, what Fred and George do are pranks. They aren't meant to harm permanently. What you did with the Shrieking Shack was premeditated murder! You meant for Remus to kill Severus, or at least bite him. Admit it!" Harry'd had a long time to think about the end of the previous year and all the revelations he'd heard about the dynamics between his guardian and the marauders. After talking to Severus, and writing to Remus and Sirius over the year, he had come to the conclusion that Sirius and Severus were both to blame, but that Sirius had truly meant for Snape to die that night.

A gamut of emotions played clearly across his godfather's face as Harry waited for his answer. Severus lowered his wand to his side, but it was clear he was just waiting for an excuse to hex Black. Finally Sirius gave in. "Fine, I wanted him to die."

"Good, now apologise to him for it," Harry prompted. "Please, Sirius? I really need you both in my life as much as possible and that won't happen if you don't apologise." He turned on his last, great weapon, according to Severus: he fixed Sirius with his 'whipped puppy-dog' face. Per Severus, no one was immune to it. In fact, Severus used it as his proof that Harry should have let the hat prevail when it declared Harry suitable for Slytherin.

And Sirius wasn't going to be the first to stand firm. His resolve melted into pools of liquid butter as his godson turned on his charm. He gave one last pleading look to Harry, which clearly had 'Do I have to?' written all over it, straightened his spine and walked towards Snape, stopping a few feet away from his adversary, but did not extend his hand.

Severus' wand hand twitched a bit as the cur approached him, but he didn't raise his wand again, yet.

"Snape, I wish to apologise for the way I treated you in school, and after," Sirius began formally. "I especially wish to ask your forgiveness for when I led you to the Shack. It was inexcusable of me, and I can understand if you never want to talk to me again, except that if I want to see Harry, I guess I will have to go through you now. And," he snuck a look at Dumbledore who was standing, beaming at him, next to Snape, "and I suppose if we must work together in the Order, it would help if we could get along."

Severus stood there, stony-faced, as he considered Black's apology. As far as apologies went, it wasn't a bad one. He really didn't want to accept it, but he was the one who had asked for it in the first place.

He snuck a look at his ward, who had been chivvied back to bed by Molly and Poppy. Harry looked exhausted from his brush with near-death: eyes red with crying over his friend's death, complexion pale with shock, his right arm bandaged where he had been cut… Severus still didn't know all that Harry had been through, but he could guess at how horrific it was. No one should have seen that.

Harry looked back at him, his wish clear in his eyes. He wanted these two men, the two most important men in his life, to declare a truce; for his sake as well as that of the world at large. How could Severus resist that plea? He couldn't. His wand hand relaxed as he finally nodded in Black's direction.

"I shall accept your apology, Black. Now, if you don't mind, I need to see my ward and make sure there are no lasting remnants of the Dark Lord's magic on him." He raised an eyebrow, daring Sirius to naysay him, but the man – after a moment's hesitation – moved out of Severus' way and let him approach the bed.

"I'll just take off then," Sirius said to Harry. "I expect Albus needs me to contact some people?" He directed his question to the headmaster standing nearby.

"Thank you, Sirius, that would be helpful. If you would go to Remus and let him know what has happened, I will contact you there when we know more," Dumbledore stated. Sirius nodded his head in acknowledgement of his orders and turned back to his godson.

"Take care, Harry." He aimed a glance in Snape's direction, who was hovering on the other side of the bed. "If your guardian gives you any grief, you know how to find me… But I think he has everything well in hand." He laid his own hand on Harry's shoulder, but before he could release his grip Harry had grasped it.

"Thanks, Sirius. That meant a lot to me, and…" he lowered his voice to a whisper, so that Sirius had to lean in to catch his next words, "and I think it meant a lot to him as well," the boy confided. A snort was heard coming from the other side of the bed as Severus measured out several different potions he wanted Harry to take. Godfather and godson smirked at each other in shared amusement before Sirius melted down into his huge black dog form, gave a bark of goodbye to the room as a whole and left the ward.

Harry turned as Severus sat on the edge of his bed and handed him the first of a long line of potions. "I suppose," the older man began, "that you are going to insist on seeing your dogfather on a regular basis?"

Harry started to shrug his shoulders, but gave it up as a bad cause; it hurt too much now that he was starting to come down from all the excitement. He was beginning to ache in places he had no remembrance of even injuring. "I'd like to see him more often, yeah. If you don't mind?"

Severus twisted his lips. "And if I do mind?"

Harry looked panicked for a moment. "You wouldn't actually forbid me from seeing him, would you?"

Severus let him hang for a moment before relieving his mind, watching as Harry downed the first of the medicinal draughts. "No, I suppose not. But he is not the most responsible of adults, Harry."

"I know, but before last summer he was the first adult I knew who cared about me as Harry, not as the 'Boy Who Lived'." He grimaced as he downed a few more of the potion cups his guardian handed him. Severus gave him a long look, then reached out and ran a hand over Harry's cheek. Harry leaned into the caress, soaking in the comfort his guardian offered.

"I understand, Harry, and I'll try not to come between you two. But I am your guardian, not him, and if I forbid you at any time to see him – I am only doing so for your own safety. I only wish I could have kept you safer today! No." He raised a hand against Harry's suddenly open mouth. "No, don't tell me now. The story can be saved for tomorrow when you are feeling better and we can take the time to discuss it. Now, I want you to finish these potions and lay down to get some rest. I'm sure Albus has some things he wants me to do, as well."

Harry suddenly looked anguished at the thought of Severus leaving. "Don't go yet!"

Severus scooted forward on the mattress, motioning Harry to lie down. The boy complied, well used to obeying the stern professor. Severus let a small smile lift his lips as he arranged the blanket around theboy, then ran a hand again along Harry's head. "I'll stay until you fall asleep, brat."

"Then I won't fall… asleep…" Harry insisted, failing miserably in his conviction as he yawned quite loudly in the middle of his statement.

"That will be very hard to do, seeing as the last potion you took was Dreamless Sleep," Severus said, chuckling softly at Harry's glare. "Now, close your eyes…" His suggestion, in his low hypnotic voice, worked like a charm on the boy and Harry sighed as he closed his eyes. Within two more breaths he was sound asleep. Severus leaned forward to remove the child's glasses, placing them on the nightstand. Not even caring who was in the room watching, he bent a little lower, placing a light kiss on Harry's forehead. "Sleep well, son."