Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter; None of the original story and/or characters are mine in any way nor do I make any money from these writings.
Warnings: This story will contain both het and Slash parings in the future. It's also a vampire, time travel, and AU story.
Note: Numbers in parenthesis are numbered footnotes you will find at the end of the chapter; also, suggestions & tips to help me improve are always welcome, in any of my stories. =)
A Chance at Life
Eight-year-old Severus Snape was tired…so tired of always hurting...always worrying. For once, he wanted to fall asleep without aching somewhere. He wanted to wake up without worrying about his mother or dreading another day in which he would be hurt and hated. Severus just wanted to be happy, maybe even have a friend.
But most of all he wanted someone that would love him, someone that could fight for him and would fight for him.
On this cold January morning, like many other such mornings, he dreamed of such a person. Even though deep down his inherent rationality kept his expectations rooted in reality, hope was the only thing he had left to cling to.
But what Severus did not know was that at that exact moment an event was taking place that would soon change his life, and the very fabric of time, forever…
Chapter 1: Sometimes, Hope is All it Takes
Harry Potter woke up feeling very disoriented and with a pounding headache. He sat up slowly, took a look around, and realized he was nowhere near Kansas anymore (1)…
It was either very early or very late; he wasn't sure if he was looking at a sunrise or a sunset. Not to mention that he wasn't completely sure he knew where he was. It seemed to be the small park at Spinner's End, but something about it didn't quite fit with how he remembered it. He had absolutely no idea how had he gotten there or why. A few seconds later, he stood up and looked himself over.
He was wearing a dark-green shirt, black trousers and boots below a black robe and his full length cloak. He still had his choker (a black, thin band made to magically adjust to the wearer) which he used to carry his miniaturized trunk, but his wand was nowhere in sight.
"Damn," he cursed softly, not detecting anything dangerous nearby. He summoned Gryffindor's sword as a precaution and focused on the situation. First, he decided to verify he was where he thought he was and walked around the surrounding area warily until he came upon a copy of the Daily Prophet, which was really strange since the Prophet had been out of circulation for over a year now. Curious, he picked it up…it was dated January 6, 1968.
He forced the surprise away and tried to make sense of the situation. He clearly remembered slipping away from the battlefield and going to his hideout to take care of his wounds, taking a shower and going to sleep. Now here he was at Spinner's End park in the same clothes and accessories he had gone to bed with (with the exception of his wand) and apparently somehow in the year 1968. He was beyond confused, but since he could find no trace of either Voldemort or his Death Eaters, he settled on managing things as they come up. He was only glad paranoia still made him sleep prepared or this could have turned out a hundred times worse. Moody would have been so proud.
"I might as well confirm the date," he whispered to himself. He banished the sword and started walking towards the little magical town's commerce center (2). Now that he'd had a little time to get his bearings, he figured it should be around 8 o'clock in the morning so a newspaper stand should be open or will be open soon.
He acquired the newspaper and had some breakfast at a nearby café. Still, the only important fact he learned reading the Prophet was that the date was actually January 9th but there were no articles of interest. So he set off for the park once again, needing to think…
The park was deserted and as he sat on a bench by the pond in the middle of the park, the silence and crisp morning air helping him to relax and think about the situation he found himself in.
He had gone to bed thinking that he had finally fulfilled the prophesy and would be able to 'die off' to the rest of the wizarding world. Everything had been planned for his 'death,' even going so far as to leave a will in case things turned for the worse. He knew he had to be AKed by Voldemort in order to destroy the last horcrux, and given his unique condition he had a 50 percent chance of making it out alive.
He remembered back to his 4th year when everything had started. He had felt so alone and abandoned by his friends and then suddenly he was in constant pain, his bones and muscles aching sporadically, for no reason at all. It had been the one and only time he had gone to Madam Pomfrey on his own initiative. It had been a horrible beginning to his 4th year and the pain continued until the end of the year, Madam Pomfrey could do nothing to help him. In the end, Madam Pomfrey and Snape had joined forces trying to find out what was wrong with him.
As it turned out, the Basilisk back at the end of his second year had bitten deep, injecting a substantial amount of venom into his bone marrow. Fawkes' tears had only been able to neutralize the venom, not destroy it. As a result, the venom and phoenix tears had spread and bonded with his bone marrow during his third year. The reason for his pain during fourth year came about as a manifestation of physical changes taking place in response to the biological and magical alterations happening to his body.
Through a barrage of tests and experiments in the next couple of years they were able to figure out that the Basilisk venom provided Harry with an immunity to poison and slowed down his body's aging process, thus as Harry grew his body's aging process will reach a point of stasis until his body was able start to age normally once again. They had no idea how long he would be stuck on that indeterminate stage however, only that he would stop aging somewhere between his 16th-18th birthday. Snape theorized it could last anywhere from 600-800 years, depending how long it took for the magical properties in the venom and/or phoenix tears to deteriorate within his body. No one could be sure how the killing curse would interact with these anomalies and, if he survived Voldemort, what state his body would be left in.
The phoenix tears produced their own alterations as well. Harry became more receptive to the magical world around him and to the magic within himself. Though he had always had good instincts they became increasingly accurate, to the point that Harry developed a clairvoyance of sorts, getting short visions of past or future events in certain circumstances, or if he concentrated hard enough. This ability became invaluable while on the run with Ron and Hermione, allowing them to remain a step ahead of the Death Eaters with a bit more ease. His only regret was that he had not been able to understand his ability in enough time to prevent Sirius' death.
Harry himself changed, from a naïve young boy to a more insightful individual. He took on a tendency to mask his emotions in public and a bit of a sarcastic or aloof manner to anyone he didn't trust (which he blamed on Snape's influence). Though he remained eternally optimistic about the goodness in people in general he remained cognizant of the fact that as a whole, magical people will still look for solutions to their problems in those they considered powerful, case in point, Dumbledore, Harry, and obviously Voldemort. The only variant was who they decided to follow and Harry was tired of it all. He just wanted to be left alone, to be allowed to have a life of his own without having the Prophet reporting if he was a parselmouth, if he liked to eat sausages for breakfast, or if he had picked his nose in his last public appearance. Once he had fulfilled his duty to the wizarding world 'dying' gave him the perfect way out and those he cared about understood his decision well enough not to contest it.
Now, instead of a well deserved seclusion, he was once again up to his neck in trouble and this time he didn't even know how it came to be that way. So, he sat on his park bench and tried to come up with a plan of action. His instincts were telling him that there was nothing he could do to change what had happened and that whatever or whoever made this happen had not done so wishing him harm. The only thing he could do now was to try to live as peacefully as possible and try to keep out of too much trouble, and so he sat there and planned…
Sunset had long since passed and he was more or less confidant that he would be able to make due; which is why he was now happy to contemplate the reflection of a beautiful overcast moon on the black pond in front of him for a moment. It reminded Harry of many a moonlit walk he had taken with Marcus. He'd always liked cloudy moons. Soon after, he drank down one of the nutrition potions he kept in his trunk and stood up to apparate to the Leaky Cauldron for the night when Harry detected a presence rushing towards him and instinctively reached for his wand (which he didn't have) and braced himself just in time for a small, dark figure to knock him off his feet. It all happened too fast for him to do anything but try and keep the thing's fangs away from his face and curse himself silently for not summoning his sword instead. Both of them rolled around the edge of the pond for some seconds until Harry unexpectedly got a glimpse of his attacker.
He was so shocked by what he was seeing that he got distracted and his attacker took the chance to bite down firmly on Harry's right wrist (which was facing outwards); his radial artery in perfect position for the assailant to bite into with long upper canines.
Harry stopped struggling and slowly sat up to look at the child that was slurping noisily as it fed from him. Indeed, the child was feeding with such hunger that Harry found himself incapable of pushing him off his arm. Instead, he calmly broadened his senses to get a feel of things. All he was able to detect from the child was an intense hunger but he found no wish to hurt or even attack him. The child was merely acting on instinct.
What's more, he felt an instant connection to the child, a sudden completion that settled that nagging sense of misplacement he'd felt since waking up that morning. He also looked somewhat familiar to Harry, so he call out softly to him, "Child..."
The child was calming down, his drinking slowing down until stopping completely a few seconds later. Realization came slowly into his eyes and with it a growing expression of horror. The child quickly let go of his wrist and tried to run back into the darkness but Harry managed to catch him as he turned away from him. He pulled the struggling child onto his lap and held him against his chest. Securing the child's arms with a firm hold, they now both sat facing the pond.
"Child, I won't hurt you." Harry winced as the child tried to bite his arms in an effort to get him to let go.
"On my magic I swear I won't hurt you intentionally, but I reserve the right to act in self defense," Harry vowed in order to get the child to at least listen to him. The child stopped struggling and sat rigidly in Harry's lap, breathing harshly.
"I'm sorry I have to hold you against your will but I can't trust you not to try and run away again. So unfortunately we are gonna have to talk like this, okay?"
The child didn't say anything; Harry sighed tiredly, he could already tell this was going to take a while.
"All right, look, I know you had no idea what you were doing a few minutes ago and I'm assuming you don't know the reason why either," he paused, waiting for the child to either confirm or deny his theory. He didn't.
"You have attacked me and fed from me. I really don't want to turn you in because frankly, I wouldn't trust the Ministry with my worst enemy, much less with a young child. However, if you don't start talking, I won't have any other choice but deliver you to the DRCMC (Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures). So what do you say you help me out here, hmm?"
"All right," the child said in a small but obviously angry voice, confirming Harry's hunch that the child was aware of the magical world. Keeping his intuitive senses open Harry continued, "Good. First of all my name is Harry Potter and I'm a 19-year-old muggle-born. And you are..?"
"Severus…" Harry waited for him to elaborate…..and waited some more…..
"Oh, come on, I'm going to need to know more than that if I'm to help you…"
"Stop it! I just attacked and hurt you and you don't know the first thing about me, so you have no reason to be nice to me. Just tell me whatever it is you want so I can leave," Severus said is obvious annoyance.
Harry remained silent; perhaps the name was not a coincidence after all…
"Believe it or not, I just want to help you."
"Don't think me a fool just because I'm a child. No one is ever just being nice," practically hissing by the time he finished speaking.
"We're gonna be here all night if you can't trust me a bit. What must I do to get you to believe me?"
A long silence.
"Ostendo sum verum."
"And just where did you learn about that spell?"
"I'm not an idiot! I can read just fine you know!"
Harry really had to fight hard not to burst out laughing; Severus was as prickly as a cactus but he couldn't help thinking his attitude kind of cute.
"Well then we have a problem since I am currently without a wand. A rather unfortunate accident I must say. Or hadn't you wondered why I'm restraining you purely by physical means?"
"Makes sense I guess…" Harry could have sworn he hear him scowling.
"Here's an idea: I'll take you home tonight and we'll continue this discussion tomorrow afternoon. Besides, if you are what I think you are, you are going to need to feed again tomorrow and given that I'm the only one that knows about this particular craving of yours, I volunteer to be dinner for another day. What do you think?"
"That you will never be accused of eloquence," Severus snapped. "Did you have to make it sound so disgusting?"
Harry burst out laughing, and here he'd always thought Hermione was the only child to ever use words like 'eloquence' in casual conversation. Though he shouldn't have been surprised, the Severus he knew was an exceptionally intelligent individual after all.
"I take that to mean you accept my proposal then?" He asked in between chuckles.
"It's not like I have any other options now do I?"
"A simple 'yes' would have been fine." Harry shook his head gently at Severus' returned silence.
He then stood up slowly, allowing Severus to get to his feet beside him, making sure to keep a firm grip on Severus' right hand but being careful not to hurt him. They both took a moment to take a good look at each other. Since Severus' frown seemed to be getting bigger by the second Harry made sure to keep his face completely blank during his own scrutiny.
Severus was quite small, standing about 3'10'' (117 cm) with intense black eyes; a slightly large, somewhat curved, nose; and loose shoulder-length black hair. He seemed to be very slim under his baggy clothes and though the countenance looking up at him was decidedly unfriendly, Harry couldn't help but find Severus an endearing child in his own way. Harry smiled gently.
"Come on, let's get you home. Which way?"
Severus glared at him and then started walking away from the pond. Harry pressed his right wrist firmly to his body (just below his ribs) in order to help stop any more bleeding from the bite and hurried to keep up with his disgruntled companion.
Things were finally becoming clear...
1 For those of you who don't care for The Wizard of Oz, I simply mean he's no longer home.
2 I know Spinner's End is a muggle town and that Snape is a half-blood in canon but I needed to change things a bit…
Chapter 2: Unexpected Changes
January 9, 1968
Severus Snape was not a typical 8-year old boy. His intelligence and maturity alienated him from most people: children tended to make fun of him and adults didn't know how to act around a child that won't let himself be babied.
But in some ways Severus was just like any other child. It was his birthday and things could not have started off better that morning. He had not even minded eating the stale bread and bland oatmeal for breakfast that morning, he was so happy.
Tobias, (his father, though Severus refused to call him that when he didn't have to) was working until 5pm so Severus and Eileen were free to celebrate his birthday for once. Tobias did not believe in wasting money in useless things like presents or parties, especially not in a son he considered a disappointment and a waste of space. Though he came from a pureblood linage, the family fortune had been squandered away many generations ago. As a result the Snape family was seen as a disgrace, each Snape failing to regain the family honor through the years. This had made Tobias a very bitter and unhappy man, often taking out his frustrations out on his wife and son. His son, Severus, hated him with a passion thus it was a joyous occasion for Severus to be able to spend a birthday with his mother and not have to worry about Tobias' temper.
Severus was only grateful for his mother's love and though he resented his mother's weakness she meant the world to him. At the moment, Severus and his mother had just finished a simple but time consuming numbing paste, which they usually don't dare do, so it was quite a treat. Severus knew how much his mother must have had to save up to buy the ingredients and he couldn't have asked for a better birthday present.
It was time for lunch by the time they had finished with the paste. They went to the kitchen together, removing their potions aprons and placing them on the backs of their chairs since there was no need to hide them at the moment. The kitchen was small and rundown, like all the rooms in the undersized house, but it had a clean and welcoming feel to it that was missing from the rest the house. This was the one place in which Eileen and her son spent most of their time together.
Eileen and Severus went over to the kitchen sink and scrubbed their hands clean. She motioned Severus to the table and began preparing their meager bread and cheese lunch. "Guess what?" His mother asked him mysteriously.
"What?" He repeated with an amused smirk.
"I was able to save up for a proper present this year." Eileen told him proudly.
"Really!" Severus exclaimed happily, a broad smile showing his missing right upper canine.
"Yes indeed," his mother said with a smile. She laid out their lunch and then took her seat with a wink. She then retrieved her ebony wand from her dress pocket and accioed a small present wrapped in bright green paper into the palm of her left hand. Eileen put her wand on the table and cupped both hands beneath the present, stretching out her arms and presenting it to Severus with happiness shining on her face.
Severus stretched out his right arm and accepted it. "Can I open it now?"
Severus unwrapped his present with great care. He had never gotten a properly wrapped up present before. His mother had always sneaked him extra food or a sickle to spend on sweets for when it was safe to do so. He loved sweets as much as he did potions but it was a luxury that was usually only possible a few times a year, if that.
"A Chocolate Frog!" He had never felt so happy in his life. He had gotten his two favorite things on the same day!
But suddenly everything came to a crushing halt. They heard the front door slam open and they looked at each other in dread.
Tobias was home early.
"Hide it! Quick!" His mother whispered to him and he stuffed his present into his pants' pocket quickly, for once thankful of his baggy clothes, his shirt being large enough to cover up the slight bulge in his pocket.
His mother had just picked up their potions aprons looking for a place to hide them when Tobias walked through the kitchen door.
"What the hell is going on around here?...I get fired from work and now I have to come home to see you turning our son into a damn pansy! What have I told you about teaching him potions, uh?" He yelled, roughly grabbing and shaking Eileen by the arm. "Answer me, dammit!"
Severus had never hated Tobias more. He wanted to interfere, to do something but he knew that it would only make things worse, so he left. He ran to his room and shut the door, trying to shut out the sounds coming from the kitchen. He always had to wait there for his mother to come get him once it was safer.
So he crawled under his bed on his belly and tried not to think.
He tried not to think of the squashed birthday present in his pocket. He tried not to think of his mother's weakness…or his own. He tried not to think about his life and most of all…he tried not to think of the tears that were being soaked up by his shabby shirtsleeve.
About an hour later he woke up to the sound of his bedroom door opening.
"Sev…" He heard his mothers whisper. "Your father is very angry about loosing his job again. Try to get out of the house without being seen and don't come back until after 9pm. Be careful honey."
The door closed again and he heard Tobias yelling for Eileen and stomping up the corridor towards his room. A minute later the door banged open and Severus could see Tobias' grubby, booted feet. He shrunk further under the bed and held his breath.
"Eileen, where did you hide that good for nothing brat! ... Answer me! I swear…" His yelling faded as he stalked out of the Severus' bedroom once more and Severus allowed himself to breathe again.
He waited a few more minutes and then got out from under his bed warily. He strained his hearing trying to make sure Tobias was nowhere near and walked over to his trunk at the foot of his bed. He carefully retrieved a coat as quickly and silently as he could and walked over to his bedroom window. He hurriedly opened it and slipped out, closing the window but leaving it open a fraction for when he came back from the park.
He always waited out his father's fits of temper at the park near his house. It was calm, almost always deserted, and Severus enjoyed looking at the pond at night time. The water seemed like an obsidian mirror he had seen in a book once, beautiful and enchanting unlike anything he'd ever seen.
He put on his over-sized coat while kneeling under his windowsill and as he slinked his way around the house he realized his gums here tingling and his stomach was aching in a peculiar manner. He was used to hunger pains but this was different. He had never felt anything like this before, almost like if he were hungry but the hunger felt more acute, deeper somehow. But he tried to ignore it for now and just headed for his favorite bench at the park.
However, it seemed today was simply meant to be a disappointment. There was someone already sitting there. He looked like a teenager, around 16 or 17, but on the short side, no taller than 5' 6" (168 cm) perhaps. He was dressed all in black: trousers, boots, robe and even his cloak. Though he looked young he had a rather imposing air. Just sitting there, doing nothing, his visage looked closed off and cold.
Severus sighed cursing his bad luck and went to sit under his favorite tree instead, close to the far edge of the park. The tree was perfect, standing opposite to a tall shrub and a big boulder on the side, producing a natural barrier on three sides and hiding him quite effectively from anyone that may wander past.
Sitting under his tree with nothing to do he became aware of his stomachache once again. He also touched his gums wearily; they were still tingling but not hurting at least. He inspected them hesitantly but couldn't find anything wrong, though it did seem that his new canine was already on its way. There was nothing he could do about his stomach so he just ignored it as best he could and sat going over potions ingredients in his mind to pass the time.
He spent the rest of the day there, sitting under his tree and getting up every once in a while to get a drink of water or to stretch out his legs as needed. By the time the sunset came about his stomachache was beyond what he could stand and his gums and even his teeth were aching by then. He just remained under the tree being as quiet as possible and wished the pain away with everything he had.
He didn't know how long he remained there, twisting around in pain; but all of a sudden everything stopped. Then just as quickly everything seemed to be rushing at him from all sides. He became aware of the soft rustling of the leaves and the gentle wind going through his hair. Something…..something inside him was changing, he didn't know what it was but he felt awake.
He felt hunger, a need for something….something that was nearby. He could feel it, what he needed was there…somewhere near the middle of the park. He absently felt a dull pain in his mouth and could distantly hear a faint hiss escape from his mouth but could not really bring himself to wonder why this should worry him. All he knew was that he had to go….had to feed…
He soon found himself near the pond, he knew his hunger could be assuaged there, but something told him that he needed to do it fast. If he didn't strike quickly his prey would escape.
Another sharp pain in his belly prompted him to move. He silently moved in on his meal trying to be stealthy but when he saw the teen standing up to leave he panicked. He needed him! He needed it!
He struck in a starved frenzy.
He could almost hear the blood in the man's veins, flowing, rushing…calling to him. He could feel the man struggling to push his face away but he just had to bite…had to drink…..had to end the ache.
Severus was in heaven when he tasted the first drop of that wonderful liquid. It was breathtakingly good. It tasted sweet…so sweet, but slightly tart, like a strawberry that's not quite ripe. He drank; he drank as much as he could, as quickly as he could. He had to drink while he still could, he didn't want to hurt again…Faintly, he realized his prey was no longer struggling…he could calm down, he was not going to run away…and then he heard something….
Severus slowly came to his senses. He looked up, someone was saying something…
"Child," he heard and then he realized what he was doing. He became aware of the blood in his mouth and his hold on the teen's arm. Disgusted by his actions he let go of the wrist and tried to run back to his tree but the teenager caught him mid leap. He struggled but was not strong enough to push him off and though he tried to bite his captor's hands all he managed were a few light nips instead.
"Child, I won't hurt you," he heard the gentle voice once again but refused to let himself be fooled just because he sounded kind.
"On my magic I swear I won't hurt you intentionally, but I reserve the right to act in self defense," the teenager then vowed, surprising Severus into stillness. He couldn't find anything wrong with the phrasing and he was tired from struggling so he decided to listen… for now anyways. Sitting there on another person's lap was way too uncomfortable and Severus was eager to get out of there, the sooner the better.
The teenager tried to get him to talk but Severus had always found that you learned more by keeping silent than trying to talk your way out of things. So he waited…until the teenager threatened him with the DRCMC. He really didn't want to go there. His mother would be beyond worried and who knows what Tobias would do to him…if he allowed him back to begin with. He doubted that Tobias would be willing to deal with a blood sucking creature, especially if it was him; one more thing for Tobias to add to his long list of faults.
"All right," he said concealing his fear with anger and waited for him to finish introducing himself.
He almost scoffed when the teenager said he was 19, there was no way he was an adult; he barely looked like he could be out of Hogwarts! He kept his thoughts to himself though and only gave his first name in return.
He finally lost his patience however when 'Harry' tried to make him believe he was only trying to help. Though he had no idea what this 'man' wanted he just wanted to get out of this mess as soon as possible and go home.
When Harry finally realized that Severus was not going to believe his lies like any other snot-nosed brat he said, "We're gonna be here all night if you can't trust me a bit. What must I do to get you to believe me?"
Severus thought silently, trying to find a request that would reveal his true intentions. Something that Harry would definitely refuse to do and thus prove him a liar. He then remembered something he read in one of his mother's old books, a spell that showed when someone lied: "Ostendo sum verum."
Predictably, Harry tried to mislead him, "And just where did you learn about that spell?"
Severus rolled his eyes since Harry couldn't see him in their current position. Did 'Harry' really thing he was going to be sidetracked so easily?
He hated to be thought an idiot but had to give it to Harry when he came up with a good excuse about why he won't do it.
"… I am currently without a wand. A rather unfortunate accident I must say. Or hadn't you wondered why I'm restraining you purely by physical means?"
"Makes sense I guess…" Severus answered quite unhappy. His plan had failed and he had no idea what to do now.
"Here's an idea: I'll take you home tonight and we'll continue this discussion tomorrow afternoon. Besides, if you are what I think you are, you are going need to feed again tomorrow and given that I'm the only one that knows about this particular craving of yours, I volunteer to be dinner for another day. What do you think?"
"That you will never be accused of eloquence," Severus snapped. "Did you have to make it sound so disgusting?" Really, if Harry was going to pretend to be an adult he could at least try to speak like one.
His life officially sucked…and now the buffoon was laughing his head off for some reason.
He really had no other choice but to do as Harry wanted at this point. Especially since it looked like he knew what was wrong with him. Severus had no idea what was going on, the only creatures he knew that drank blood were vampires but he had never even seen one so he was quite perplexed as to what could be happening to him. So he accepted Harry's terms.
Once they had gotten up Severus took the chance to examine his subjugator more closely. He was as short as he had first thought, with a slender body built, narrow shoulders and small hands for a man. He had short unruly black hair, high cheekbones, bright green eyes, and a faint scar that looked like a bolt of lightning on his forehead. Tobias would have taken one looked at him and declared him a 'pansy' in a second.
Severus however was no fool, for all his delicate appearance the person standing in front of him with a perfectly blank face was powerful. It was not the in-your-face kind of power but a more subtle and dangerous kind that puzzled him. Whether teenager or man, this person embodied enough contradictions to keep him off balance. He realized this man was dangerous but at the same time something inside of him, the same something that he had felt awaken, told him that this man was not a danger to him.
Harry smiled and then said, "Come on, let's get you home. Which way?"
Severus glared at him and started walking away from the pond still puzzled. Harry then turned his head slightly towards him, "If you plan to hide recent events I suggest you try to retract your fangs before we get to our destination."
Fangs?...He lightly ran his tongue over his upper teeth and sure enough he felt two fangs instead of his usual canine, even his old gap had been replaced by a fang. He was surprised he hadn't felt the difference, he hadn't even had a problem speaking clearly.
"Retract?" He asked, not sure what he meant.
"Your fangs are retractable; just try to picture your fangs shrinking to a normal size. They will still look a bit pointier than usual teeth, but that's all."
Severus knew that he had to get his teeth back to normal before he got home so he focused on 'retracting' his fangs and pretended to ignore the teen/man as much as possible. He finally managed to retract them by the time they got to the creek; they will reach his home soon.
When they were finally near his house Harry asked, "What time should I pick you up tomorrow?"
"Be here at 5." Severus ordered and walked off without another word. He had too many things to think about and just wanted to get away from him now that he could.
He looked back when he didn't hear the distinctive crack of apparation. He had assumed that Harry would apparate from there but when he looked back he saw no one there.
He felt a shiver crawl up his spine and it had nothing to do with the cool night air.
He sneaked back into his room through his bedroom window and changed his clothes quickly in case his mother came in to check on him. He knew he was dirty from rolling around on the soil and he even had a few drops of blood here and there. He didn't want to worry his mother and it was better to avoid questions for now. Thinking up a lie wasn't a problem but he'd rather not do it if he didn't have to. Not to mention that he didn't know what was going on with him anyways.
Severus didn't know what to think of 'Harry.' His power was obvious and it was just as obvious that he wanted something from Severus. Whether he had arranged for things to happen this way or if he was just taking advantage of Severus' condition, he didn't know. But one thing he knew was that whatever 'Harry' wanted with him he was going to be extremely careful in his dealings with him...no matter how much his heart was telling him Harry could be trusted.
Chapter 3 – Getting Started
January 9, 1968
"What time should I pick you up tomorrow?" Harry asked Severus once they stopped next to a slow running brook, a small and rundown house about 9 meters (30 ft) in front of them. The walk had been surprisingly short, only about .8 km (.5 mi) from the park.
"Be here at 5." Severus ordered and walked off without another word. Harry just smiled at the attitude and making sure to blank his expression before leaving, apparated to the Leaky Cauldron in London.
Once inside the apparation point at the Cauldron, Harry stepped to the side and took a quick look around. It looked just as dark and shabby as he remembered it, though Tom looked younger with dark brown hair and all of his teeth. Instead of looking like a toothless walnut he looked more like a young Einstein, though his hair was nowhere near as interesting.
The pub was almost empty with only a dark, shrouded figure having a quiet drink in a corner and a rather sad looking drunk talking to Tom at the counter. Harry made his way over to them slowly and waited to be acknowledged not wanting to disturb the conversation.
He saw Tom pat the drunk in the back and lead him towards the Floo with a few whispered assurances. Once the drunk had disappeared in a burst of green flames Tom walked back to Harry and apologized with a smile. "Sorry about that, poor bloke had quite the spat with his wife. Now, how can I help you?"
Harry nodded his head once and replied, "I need a room for two nights please. Also, do you happen to know what time Gringotts is open for business?"
"Not a problem, would you like to pay for both nights or pay each night at a time?"
"That comes to 10 Sickles 10 Knuts then. Would a room next to the stairwell be all right?"
Harry responded that it was, paid the requested amount, and motioned him to lead the way.
Tom nodded and said, "Follow me please; all guestrooms are in the upper floors. I'm Tom; as for Gringotts, they are open for business 24 hours but I wouldn't suggest going there until after 7 tomorrow morning. The customers at Gringotts and going about Diagon Alley around this time of night are bound to be a little rough if you catch my drift…Ah, here we are…" They had stopped on the second floor, in front of the first door on the right from the stairwell. Tom unlocked the door and continued: "the lavatory is through the door on your right, just clap your hands to turn the lights on and off …" Harry raised an eyebrow at that and Tom chuckled good-naturedly.
"Makes things easier for little ones that don't yet have a wand and the occasional squib," he shrugged. "It has been working all right so far, I think I'm gonna make it a permanent feature. Anyways, breakfast is available from 5:30 to 9, and then the kitchen & bar are open for orders from 11am-10pm. Check-out time is before 10am the morning after your last night here; please inform me if you need to extend your stay as soon as you can. If you need anything at any time during your stay just pull the cord next to your bed twice and Igor or I will be right up to help. Here's your key…good night," Tom finished a little hurriedly, not really comfortable with Harry's constant blank expression.
Harry took the key and closed the door. He supposed his cold demeanor can be a bit intimidating for those who are not used to it. He had gotten so used to people treating him the same because they knew who he was, that Tom's reaction took him aback a little. He walked over to the bed by the window and knelt beside it while taking the miniaturized trunk off his choker. Putting the trunk on the floor he took a few steps back and said enlarge. He'd never been so glad he didn't use the standard shrinking charm on his trunk or he would be in big trouble right now without his wand.
The trunk returned to its usual size and Harry took the time to check his wrist. Luckily, the bite wound had stopped bleeding a while ago and already seemed to be healing. Shrugging indifferently he set about opening his trunk and taking inventory of everything he had: his first-aid kit, clothes, daggers, research books, another miniaturized chest containing the remaining Black fortune, his invisibility cloak, a set of communication mirrors, and Hedwig's owl cage. Overall a rather pitiful lot. Unfortunately Hedwig's cage was useless now so there was no point in keeping it but he returned everything else back inside, making sure to put the chest on the top.
Shoulders slumping slightly, he took out his first-aid kit and bandaged up his wrist before getting ready for bed; it should be healed up by tomorrow morning. It had taken a little while to get used to his accelerated healing but considering his usual escapades it was a very welcome side effect.
It had been a long day and tomorrow wasn't going to be any better. The only good thing so far had been meeting Severus and even that had come about in a rather hostile manner. Thank Merlin he was getting a wand tomorrow, it will help him feel a bit better at least.
January 10, 1968
Harry woke up and looked out the window. It was still dark but he felt well rested so he was fairly sure it was sometime before dawn. He really missed his wand, he felt almost naked without it.
After a long hot shower and getting dressed (which included a dagger on his right forearm and one in his left boot) he made sure his things were in order and then went down to breakfast. The place was even emptier than before with only an old witch in attendance who was cooing at her cat and feeding it scraps from her plate.
He walked over to Tom who was sitting behind the counter reading the day's Prophet. "Tom…"
Tom put down the newspaper and smiled in welcome. "Good morning there! I hope you slept well? Oh and before I forget will you please sign in, I forgot last night what with poor Hub crying all over the place and it being so late, it just slipped right off my mind!" Tom said enthusiastically while pushing a thick leader-bound ledger, an inkwell, and a quill towards Harry. He almost smiled; Tom was obviously a morning person.
"Yes, I slept well," Harry answered calmly while writing down his name. "I was wondering if I could get some breakfast and if you could then open up the wall-entrance to Diagon Alley for me?"
"Potter huh...?" Tom muttered after seeing his name. He gave him a long look but had to look away in the end when Harry just stared right back. "Umm, right, no problem, breakfast will be 2 Sickles, take a seat and I'll be right back." Harry almost laughed right there and then. Tom was almost running to the kitchen trying to get away from him.
He took a seat at one of the tables nearest to the Diagon entrance and placed two Sickles by the edge of the table. Tom soon came back with his meal and left again as fast as his short little legs would carry him.
Harry ate his meal and then called Tom to open up the wall for him. The poor man didn't even try to ask why he didn't do it himself; he just wished him a good day and left him on his own again.
Harry barely noticed the archway shrinking back into solid wall, he was too entranced by what he was seeing. Back home, Diagon Alley had fallen under Voldemort's control about 6 months before the war ended. He had not set foot in it in for over a year and even on his first time there, it had been nothing like this. The people were smiling and carefree. All of them walking around in a leisurely manner and shopping without fear or constantly keeping an eye on their surroundings. Every store, from the pet shop to the Apothecary had at least two customers and there were no closed-down shops or battle-scared storefronts. It was the most uplifting sight he had seem since he got here.
Stopping himself from relaxing his guard, he easily wove his way through the crowd and headed to Gringotts. The people he came across kept their distance if they happened to catch a glimpse of his face, so it was a very swift trip. Once he made it to the front doors of the bank he nodded to the Goblins guarding the entrance and made his way inside.
He loosened up his body and strolled over to the first available counter. "I would like to open a high security account please."
The Goblin stared at him. Harry stared right back. Then the Goblin gave him a sharp-toothed smile (or grimace depending on how you looked at it) and said: "This way please."
Harry followed the Goblin through a pair of steel doors behind him and then to a corridor with doors featuring golden nameplates. They stopped in front of a door with a plaque that said, Nagnot Grod. The Goblin leading him knocked twice and then opened the door. "A costumer wishes to open a high security account Master Grod," he spoke to the Goblin sitting behind a desk about 20feet (6m) beyond the open door.
Now Harry was really becoming fascinated (not that you could see it on his face). If he wasn't mistaken, and he doubted it because Master Grod looked very disgruntled right now, this Goblin had surely lead him to the most sourly Goblin available! Who would have thought, Goblins actually had a sense of humor, evidently leaning towards the nasty side, but present none the less. At least this part of his plan wasn't going to be boring.
"Very well, send him in."
The Goblin flashed his teeth at him again and looked disgruntled when he did nothing else but nod at him. If he didn't already know any better, Harry could have sworn that the Goblin stalked off in a huff. He stepped inside and broadened his awareness, trying to discern as much as possible about the office. He really hated going into a room he knew nothing about; it was always harder to make an exit when you didn't even know if there was an exit.
He detected another Goblin inside the office by the door and the strong intertwining Goblin magic surrounded the office, but nothing threatening to his senses. Therefore, he wasn't at all surprised when the Goblin next to him closed the door and said, "Remove you weapons please." Now that was surprising. Everyone present knew that neither party would attack in any way; it would be bad for businesses obviously…. What was the point of relinquishing his weapons?
"Mmmm…why should I do as you request?" Harry asked aloofly put still politely.
The Goblin looked to Master Grod. Harry doubted anyone had ever actually refused to do as asked before or then again, maybe no one had ever come to open an account while so armed.
"You are the first Wizard to actually question an obviously pointless request of ours." Master Grod smiled…Goblins can smile! "What is your business with us today?"
Harry merely arched an eyebrow but answered nonetheless. "My name is Harry Potter and like I mentioned before I would like to open a high security account. In addition, I would also like to acquire a house-elf. I'm afraid I have never worked with one before, so I'm not quite sure how to go about it."
Master Grod looked…surprised? But he quickly returned to his regular sour-Goblin expression and responded. "Well, first off let's see about that account and then we will look into the house-elf issue." He pulled out what seemed to be a blank piece of parchment and set it on the desk between the two of them.
"If you would please place a drop of blood on this in order to establish identity…"
Harry complied, not really worried about whatever it would show. Goblins never got mixed up with wizarding affairs, especially if their customer had more than enough gold to do business with them.
The parchment absorbed the blood and two lone words appeared in bright red letters: Harry Potter
Master Grod's eyes widened, he was definitely surprised.
"Is there a problem?"
"No. No, of course not. It is just very unusual to meet the originator of a bloodline."
"Don't you see this type of thing with muggle-borns?"
Master Grod looked stuck between disgusted and disdainful. Harry contained the urge to giggle, he really was having too much fun. It looked like Dumbledore's company had corrupted him after all…
"Actually no. The usual so-called 'muggle-borns' are in truth descendants of squibs and through them automatically attain a magical lineage. The last true muggle-born that opened an account with us was Rowena Ravenclaw in the year 1023."
"I see. Is there anything else you need before I turn over my money?"
"No, this parchment enables us to find your magical signature if we need to contact you. Don't worry, our Blood-Linage parchments cannot be taken outside the walls of Gringotts, not even by a Gringotts Goblin. The parchment is enchanted to return to its original location if taken beyond our boundaries and they cannot be altered in any way or copied without your permission."
"All right, let's get to business then," Harry replied while taking off his miniaturized his trunk and setting it on the floor a few feet from his chair. He quietly enlarged it and quickly removed the chest with the Black fortune. He placed the chest on the desk and enlarged it as well. Then he promptly shrunk his trunk again and sat back down.
"I'm not exactly sure how much I have in here but I'm sure you won't have a problem finding out for me." Harry informed them coolly as he opened up the chest for them.
"Not at all..." Master Grod rumbled and his assistant quickly took out a medium sized cart from somewhere under the desk and proceeded to empty the contents of the chest into the cart; a running tally appearing on a roll of parchment attached to the cart's side. Once done with the counting Master Grod ripped off the portion containing the final tally and pushed the cart under his desk once more. His thin, almost nonexistent eyebrows rose slightly on his brow and he said somewhat sarcastically, "Well Mr. Potter, for being muggle-born you have quite the sum in wizarding money."
Harry simply remained silent and waited.
"The total amount of your currency comes to 489,000 Galleons, 41 Sickles, and 194 Knuts."
"Mmmm…I guess I spent a bit more than I had thought in my travels…I would like a money pouch linked to my vault and I would like to receive bimonthly account statements instead of just the usual monthly. What is the annual fee for the account, the cost of the money pouch, and are there any other charges I should be aware of?" Harry inquired politely.
"There will be a one time opening fee of 1 Galleon; the annual fee for a high security vault is 10 Galleons, and the money pouch will be 15 Sickles (If you loose your pouch report it immediately and we are not responsible for any stolen funds linked to your pouch. A replacement pouch costs 1 Galleon 2 Sickles which includes the processing fee). Also, there will be a supplementary annual charge of 12 Sickles for the additional account statements." Master Grod recited tonelessly.
"I accept the fees," Harry said.
"Good," Master Grod waved to the other Goblin, who pressed his finger to the side of the desk where the cart had been returned. Meanwhile, Master Grod pressed his index finger to the Blood-Linage parchment and whispered something in Gobbledegook. The parchment rapidly filling up with what looked like gibberish to Harry and a key appeared on top of it. Then Grod turned to address Harry once more. "Your account has been processed and here is your vault key. Vault number 782. Now that's settled, are there any especial skills you need your house-elf to excel at?"
"Not really, I just need one that dislikes cooking," Harry answered casually while pocketing his vault key.
"Excuse me." The Goblin peered at him with what Harry was sure was a vaguely puzzled expression, though the sneer came back soon enough.
Harry smiled, slightly condescending, and replied. "If you cannot acquiesce to my specification I suppose I'll make do with whatever you have available…"
Master Grod drew himself up and answered through clenched teeth. "Gringotts takes great pride on the quality of its service and I assure you your request will be fulfilled to your expectations. Your…unique requirement however might make your wait rather lengthy unfortunately, so in respect to your wizarding nature and comfort I would like to make a suggestion. Would you perhaps be willing to accept another distinguishing quality in your elf? I am sure you don't want to spend whatever time it takes to find your house-elf with a couple of Goblins…." Harry cut him off quickly waving his hand in dismissal.
"Thank you for thinking of my comfort but I don't mind waiting….with Goblins or otherwise." They both then looked at each other with equally small and fake smiles; though Harry was at a disadvantage since he lacked the pointy teeth to match a Goblin's intimidating appearance.
"Make yourself comfortable and we shall see about your house-elf." Harry thought that Master Grod had left along with his assistant just so that he won't have to look at him anymore. He looked quite displeased with Harry's request.
Harry remained sitting while he waited. He closed his eyes thinking about the scolding Hermione would be giving him if she knew he was getting a house-elf. However, if things were to go down the way he thought, he was really going to need some loyal help; not to mention that he really did enjoyed elfish company, once they had calmed down a bit.
An hour later Master Grod returned with a young house-elf wearing a dirty pillowcase following behind him. He was even smaller then Dobby had been; with big dark-blue eyes, a long nose, and bat-like ears, one of which he was twisting around in nervousness.
"This elf seems to meet your specifications…." He said walking towards his own seat and motioning to the house-elf.
Harry stood up and knelt on one knee in front of the elf standing in the middle of the room.
"What is your name?" He asked the elf.
"N-Noodle, sir." The elf answered timidly.
Harry nodded and said, "Well Noodle, would I be correct in assuming you hate cooking?"
"Well sir, Noodle can cook, sir. But Noodle likes cleaning and gardening, much much better."
"Mmm…good enough. I will be preparing most of the meals and I don't want an elf that would mind or that would try to take over my kitchen."
"Oh no, no, no, no, no! Noodle would nevers! I won't disobey master!" The elf assured Harry hurriedly, his ears flapping erratically as he shook his head in emphasis.
"Good, I will take you as my elf then if you agree…" He was cut off by the overenthusiastic elf. "Oh yes, yes, yes! Yes Noodle does!"
"Then we will go to Madam Malkin's to get you some clothes later today and then we'll be on our way. I don't want you to worry though; I will not be giving you clothes. I simply like my elf to be clean and well dressed, that's all. You will also have to take meals with me if I'm home, will you be able to put up with that? "
Harry could even feel the Goblin staring at him in shock now.
"Eat with master…" The little elf was near tears and just trailed off in astonishment until he answered a couple seconds later, "yes, Noodle still wants to serve master."
Harry nodded and went to take his seat once more. "Then it's settled. I'll take Noodle with me. Also, while you were gone I remembered something; does Gringotts still set up bets on the professional Quidditch matches?"
"Yes…the bet is matched with the closest opposing bet or is taken up by Gringotts, if interested…" Grod answered slowly, as if unsure he really wanted to hear whatever Harry would turn up with next.
"Then I would like to place 500 Galleons on the Chudley Cannons to win on tomorrow's game against the Appleby Arrows. 300 Galleons to win for the Wimbourne Wasps playing against the Falmouth Falcons on the 11th and another 300 Galleons for a tie on the Wimbourne Wasps and Puddlemere United game on the 14th." He also remembered Ron telling of another game on the 15th won by the Kenmare Kestrels but he didn't get a good feel about it so decided against placing that final bet. He should turn up enough profit from the other wagers anyways.
Grod frowned at him and shook his head, muttering about crazy wizards and wasting good money on pure lunacy, while shuffling desk-papers about. "Gringotts will take the Cannons' wager since there are no sane wizards that would bet 500 Galleons on them and I have set up the corresponding opposing ventures for the other two."
Harry simply nodded unperturbed and motioned towards Noodle, "How much is the total then?"
"210 Galleons in addition to all account fees. Here is your first account statement and if you do not return on the 15th to check your winnings/losses personally they will automatically be added or deducted to/from your vault the next day. You will receive your account statement every 15th and at the end of each month. Here is your money pouch. Place your vault key inside and simply think of the key or the amount needed and it will appear. Is there anything else I can help you with today?" Grod asked rather rudely by now.
"No. That'll be all for today. Have a nice day." He said to Grod with a small smile, just to irk him and motioned for Noodle to follow him. Once on the hallway Noodle completed his bond with Harry and they went about their way.
Once outside Gringotts they finally went to Ollivanders.
Harry and Noodle entered, a chime ringing softly as they stepped up to the counter. Old Ollivander appeared as mysteriously as ever murmuring a soft, "Good morning." His wide pale white-grey eyes still creeping Harry out. He was staring at Harry as if seeing something no one else could see.
"I need a wand." Harry stated a bit irritated. He just wanted his wand and to get on with his day.
"Let's see what we have here then…" the old man murmured almost talking to himself, and so the search for Harry's wand was begun…
Two hours later Harry was about ready to scream in frustration, the first time had only taken half an hour and he had been a 'tricky customer' back then as well.
"I wonder…" Ollivander said looking cool as a cucumber.
"What exactly?" Harry asked with no patience left in him.
"You know Mr.…" Ollivander gave him a look and waited.
"Potter." Harry snapped wanting to hurry things along as much as possible.
"Mr. Potter, all wands are made with a core of a powerful magical substance. We use unicorn hairs, phoenix feathers, even veela hair, etc. There is a wide range of magical substances available but do you know why we use them?" Harry rightly assumed this was a rhetorical question and waited for the old man to finish his lecture.
"The reason is that magical beings need powerful enough substances to channel their magic. This is how matching takes place, by finding the right complement in power and temperament between the core and the user. Power varies throughout the range of magical substances just like they vary among magical beings, thus a proper wand can be made for every kind of witch and wizard imaginable. You, however, are unique. Your magic is too powerful to allow an efficient flow of magic through a regular wand core; no complement exists in nature for your magic. Your magic will incinerate low-power cores and powerful cores will hinder your spell casting because they would not be powerful enough to truly mach you."
"But I had no problem with my previous wand and it was a completely regular wand core," Harry contradicted.
"Ah, but you must have had that wand from childhood. Magic, like most things, matures with time. Because this process is a slow one the wand you use during your development will adapt to your magic as well, especially because at the time you use it so much in your schooling, it facilitates the process." He looked at Harry as if trying to decide something and then said, "Wait here please."
He disappeared beyond a tower of wand boxes and then returned a few minutes later with a brown box in his hands. Harry was interested; the boxes everywhere around the store were either gray or black.
"Try this one: neem-wood and vampire-bat fangs, 10 inches; nice and sturdy." Harry took the dark reddish-brown wand and decided right then and there that it was the last one he would try. He would take his chances going to Knockturn Alley if he had to but he'd had enough of Ollivander wands for the day.
However as soon as he took the wand , he knew he'd found the one when he felt a sudden rush of warmth go through his body. There were no flashing lights or sudden fireworks but the wand felt completely comfortable and even familiar in his hand.
"Ah…provably the only wand of its kind, made by my great-grandfather you know. Perfect for healing and defense. A very unusual combination."
Harry was really curious how the fangs of a non-magical creature could even be used for a wand core but he was too annoyed to wait through what would undoubtedly be a very long explanation. Instead he paid the 2 Galleons for his wand and rushed out the door.
He took a long deep breath once outside and turned to Noodle, "I'm really sorry about that, I didn't think it would take so long to get a wand. Why don't you go ahead of me? I have a room at the Leaky Cauldron, #2, go wait for me there until I return. Here's a Galleon, buy yourself something if you get hungry, we'll go buy your clothes tomorrow." He turned around and swiftly headed for Knockturn Alley. He knew Noodle will be fine and he didn't want to stay too long in case Noodle started channeling Dobby.
He put on his hood and headed for the bookstore Hermione had gotten most of their research books from. It was in one of those books in fact that he had read about human-vampires, which is what he believed Severus was. He was hoping to find a book that will help Severus, as well as a copy of the original book he had read, The Vampire by Kula Countdra. The Vampire was too advanced for Severus at the moment, not to mention that it was a 1970 special edition.
He finally saw the store: Binks' Rare & Limited Ed. Books. He stepped inside and walked towards the witch sorting books by the cash register. "Excuse me; do you have any books on magical beings?" She pointed to the left without looking up and said, "Last aisle, follow the arrows."
He walked to where she had indicated and saw two arrows. One was pointing to the right marked: Vampires & Veela. The other one was marked: Werewolves & Yeti and pointed to the left. And that's when he got his first real shock of the day.
Albus Dumbledore was standing near the end of the aisle reading a book in front of the werewolf section. He was under glamour of course, but Harry had been able to look through those for the past three years. Under the gentle rainbow like swirls of magic surrounding Dumbledore, Harry could see a much younger Dumbledore than the one he knew. He was dressed in bright purple robes with little golden broomsticks flying around, but his beard and hair were a mix of bright auburn and white, instead of the complete silver-white he was used to. He felt overwhelming grief and love for the old man, along with a faint resentment that he didn't even try to hold back.
Harry made sure his hood covered his face adequately and focused his senses on Dumbledore. Dumbledore was contemplating something with slight worry but hopeful at the same time; and deeper still he felt happiness, a satisfied feeling of accomplishment but a little worried about being good enough for the job.
Harry slowly retreated and remembered that it was around this time that Dumbledore had been appointed Deputy Headmaster, and he didn't have to wonder why he was reading up on werewolves. Following his instincts he approached, stopping a couple of feet in front of Dumbledore. "Don't worry Professor, you will be a wonderful Deputy and the young werewolf will be a very clever Gryffindor, one of the best students to ever attend Hogwarts."
Dumbledore almost dropped the book he was reading in astonishment but didn't reply. Harry calmly walked over to the vampire section and ignored Dumbledore's piercing stare at his back. A few more seconds passed and then Dumbledore left without a word.
Harry sighed into his chest, he really hated when he acted on pure instinct. He had no idea what he was going to say until he had already said it. It always felt eerie whenever that happened; it was too reminiscent of Trelawney for his peace of mind.
Pushing the event aside for now he focused on the books in front of him instead and an hour of searching later, Harry walked to the register with his finds. Born a Human-Vampire: A Guide, Vol. I-II; Reaching Maturity (for when Severus was older); The Vampire (1960ed.); and Human-Vampires: A Parent's Guide. The last one should come in handy, if he was going to try and help Severus he might as well learn as much as he could, not to mention that he could also make a copy for Severus' mother as well. From what little he remembered of Snape, he loved his mother so he had high hopes that he will find an ally in her instead a hindrance. The Snape he knew was not a vampire though, so he still wasn't sure what made the change possible this time around, but he had the feeling that he had something to do with it.
He headed back to his room at the Leaky Cauldron wishing he could just apparate. He was tired and hungry and wanted nothing more than some warm food and a soft bed. He checked the time and saw it was 12:48pm already. No wonder he was hungry.
Harry walked straight to his room and the first thing he saw as he entered was a very distressed house-elf standing in the middle of the room. He contained a tired sigh. "Hello Noodle, did you eat already?"
"Just Harry, please." Harry said gently but there was no mistaking the obvious command.
Noodle stared at him wide eyed, looking like he was having trouble speaking.
"Why didn't you eat? You weren't hungry?" Harry asked as he removed his cloak and shoes. Noodle quickly went over him and picked up his discarded clothes. Harry knew Noodle could have taken care of it with a snap of his fingers so he was probably going nuts with nothing to do.
"No….sir. Noodle wasn't hungry."
"I see…are you hungry now? I'm starving. Please buy enough food for the both of us downstairs. Take any more money you need from here, I'm going take a short nap while you come back, ok?" Harry instructed while placing some money on the bedside table and lay down on the bed. He didn't know why he was so tired; maybe it was yesterday's blood loss.
Still, he was going to loose more blood tonight, not to mention that the conversation would undoubtedly be stressful. But things will work out well in the end, now he just had to visit the Ministry and a real state agent tomorrow and his new life would officially begin.
Surprisingly, he was looking forward to it and he fell asleep with a tiny smile on his face.
AN: I have made up my own system to figure out the whole money thing.
Basically: 6 Knuts = $ 1 (US)
1 Sickle = $ 5
1 Galleon = $82
1 Galleon = 17 Sickles
1 Sickle = 29 Knuts
Chapter 4: A Meeting and Taking Care of Business
Harry apparated to meet with Severus at a quarter to five, he just hoped things turned out better now that he had a wand. He then saw Severus leaving his house and making his way towards him.
"Good evening, Severus." Severus was not frowning like yesterday, but he looked very unhappy. He also had a bruise on the right side of his jaw. Harry didn't mention it, deciding it would be better to wait until they were under the truth spell instead.
"Do you know of a place we can talk or would you rather we apparated to my place? I have a room at the Leaky Cauldron… I am still under oath not to hurt you and I guarantee your safety while you're with me."
Severus gave him a long suspicious look and sighed. "Let's go to your place," and approached to stand next to Harry. Harry put his arm around Severus' shoulders and apparated them to his room. Once there he quickly let go of Severus, who had gone stiff at Harry's touch. He clapped his hands to turn on the lights and took out his wand to levitate his bedside table to the middle of the room. Lastly, he conjured two cushioned chairs, low enough to match Severus' height comfortably.
"Would you like something to drink before we begin?" He asked while closing the window curtains and securing the room. When he turned back to Severus he noticed him blushing and glowering at him.
"I'm hungry," Severus replied stiffly but noticeably embarrassed.
"I'm sorry," Harry said feeling guilty and inconsiderate. "I realized you needed to feed when I saw that bruise on your jaw. You probably didn't feed enough yesterday. Not to mention that you will need to feed twice a day for the next 4-5 years. You must be starving by now."
He quickly retrieved a blood replenishing potion from his trunk and drank it down. He then placed his wand on the table and knelt next to the nearest chair, facing towards it. "Please take a seat, it will be more comfortable for you to feed this way." Harry said while folding up his left robe sleeve and performing a few cleansing charms on his wrist.
Once Severus sat down, Harry offered him his wrist. Severus gave him one last long searching look and bit down a little too enthusiastically.
Harry hissed at the slight sting. "Try to drink slowly. It is easy to overfeed when you don't know your limits yet."
Severus followed his advice and fed slowly for the next ten minutes, his eyes closed. He finally finished and nodded in thanks while licking his lips lightly. Harry smiled kindly and stood up feeling a little dizzy as he made his way to the chair on the opposite side of the table.
"Are you all right?" Severus asked.
"I'm fine. Just got up too fast I think." He sat down on the other side of the table and asked, "How do you want to go about this?"
"Perform the spell and we'll take it from there."
Harry grasped his wand and making a sweeping gesture to include Severus and himself said, "Ostendo sum verum." A small transparent globe appeared on the center of the table.
"It is done. Just as a reminder, once the globe is activated any time you or I say a lie the globe will turn red. Otherwise it remains white. Ready?"
"Yes, but I get to go first." Severus demanded looking Harry straight in the eye. Harry did not smile, he could see Severus was being serious and didn't want him to think he was laughing at him.
"Agreed." He then touched his wand to the globe, "Activate." The globe turned black for a second before becoming a solid white.
"I want to test it first." Severus told Harry and then focused on the globe. "My favorite color is red." The globe turned red and Severus nodded, satisfied with the results.
"Repeat what you told me yesterday about yourself. I want to make sure we don't miss anything."
"My name is Harry Potter, 19 years old and before my 10th birthday had no idea that magic was real." The globe remained white.
Harry asked his question next. "Why did you accept to meet with me? I know you had no reason to trust me, even with my vow."
Severus frowned, "I didn't want to be turned in to the Ministry and I don't want my mother to know about…all this…I prefer to take my chances with you than go tell her I'm getting blackmailed because I have turned into a bloodsucking monster…I hope my luck will be better than yesterday's. Whatever it is you want from me, it can't be all that bad without breaking your vow."
Severus then looked him straight in the eye for a second. "Do you really want to help me and if so why?"
Harry arched an eyebrow. It looks like this was the question he had really wanted to ask.
"I honestly want to help you." The globe remained white. "As for why…that's complicated. I want to help you because it is in my power to do so. Deep down inside me I know I am here to help you." The globe remained white and Severus' feeling became so intense that Harry felt them crashing into him in a flood: hope…doubt…joy…hurt….and then it became too jumbled for Harry to decipher. Harry quickly strengthened his Occlumency shields with a wince. This phenomenon was very rare; usually Harry needed to significantly focus on someone in order to achieve such intense emotional impressions.
"Tell me about yourself, like I have." Harry prompted next in order to help Severus back on track.
Severus swallowed. "Severus Snape, 8 years old, pureblood…What makes you think you are here to help me?" Severus asked softly, eyes firmly set on the globe now.
"I know...the same way I know the doubt, fear, and pain you are feeling right now. I knew it when I first met you and I know that you need my help to guide you through the changes you are going through; to help you escape your abusive father and to be there for you when you need me. I will be here to help you in every way I can, for as long as I can."
The globe remained white and Harry let Severus take in everything he had said. He also noticed that Severus' jaw had completely healed, no hint of the bruise remained. All vampires heal quickly, so long as they are well fed.
"Things are not like I thought…are they?" Severus asked, blinking away tears he refused to let fall.
"No. And I'm glad you are starting to trust me." Harry paused, thinking about the best way to phrase what he wanted to say. "You are not a bloodsucking monster. What you are, is a vampire. A human-vampire to be exact."
Severus leaned on the table, interested. "How can a vampire be human?"
"Vampires, like veela, centaurs, werewolves, etc., are magical beings, just like witches and wizards. I don't see other magical beings as not being human, but rather more as humans from different races. This is my own personal view mind you and I don't know, nor care, how the rest of the wizarding world sees things. To further answer you question, human-vampires is a term for one type of vampire.
"A human-vampire is born from a witch and wizard that are carriers of vampire genes. If their child inherit these genes from both of them and then have these genes become active, the child becomes what is known as a human-vampire. There are different types of vampires as well as a complicated hierarchy within vampire society that I will teach you later on… What you need to know right now is that you will need to feed twice a day until you reach puberty. At that time your hunger will abate and you will only need to feed once a day, and in lesser quantities. You will also notice that your senses will become much sharper. Though your sense of taste will remain almost unchanged, your strength, hearing, and sense of smell will surpass human limits effortlessly. But these changes will happen gradually in the next year or so. You will just need to be careful about hiding your superhuman attributes from those you rather not know about your vampirism."
By now Severus had gone back to staring at the globe and Harry didn't know what was more shocking to Severus, what Harry was telling him or the fact that the globe remained white all the way through his lecture.
"Severus," Harry waited for his attention once more. "Things will never be the same again…and your mother needs to know about this." Severus' jaw almost hit the table, but he quickly took control of himself and glared at Harry instead.
"Easy for you to say; you're not the one that has to tell her! And what the hell am I suppose to say anyway? I barely know what I am right now!"
Harry got up and retrieved Born a Human-Vampire: A Guide, Vol. I-II. He placed the books in front of Severus and retook his seat. "I bought these for you today. It was the most comprehensive guide I could find. There are a few others I got as well, but they're for when you're older. These ones will tell you everything you need to know, the first volume in particular. The second one is just as good but mostly pertains to puberty. If you have any additionally questions feel welcome to ask me." Harry stopped here, knowing that Severus wasn't going to like what he was about to say next. "I'm also going to need to meet with your mother as soon as possible…"
Severus scoffed. "That will take a miracle. Tobias is out of a job again. He's going to spend the rest of the year at the house, if not longer."
Harry was confused, this sounded like something Tobias did often. "How does your mother pay for necessities then? Does he make your mother work?"
"No. As long as mom doesn't work and Tobias is out of a job, he's able to claim Family Assistance from the Ministry. It's supposed to act as supplemental income until he finds a job again, but believe me, he won't be running to the nearest unemployment office any time soon."
"If Tobias…I'm assuming Tobias is your father..?" Severus nodded with a grimace of distaste. "…is going to be spending so much time home, it makes things even more urgent and more complicated. I know he's abusive so even if you weren't a vampire I would still try to get you out of there as soon as possible. You cannot be sneaking around twice a day to feed. If I can convince your mother to leave Tobias I have the means to take care of you both. She's an adult after all and in a better position to do something about your situation."
Severus didn't comment on that, looking more than just slightly skeptical about Harry's last remark.
"You are going to have to read as much as you can tonight so that you can talk to her tomorrow morning. Afterward, get her to feed you if possible. It's not a good idea to miss feedings. But I really need to meet with her. I need her support if I'm to help you both."
Harry then called for Igor to bring him writing utensils. Severus waited and thought about everything Harry had told him. He was still having a hard time believing that everything wasn't just a dream. He had come to this meeting thinking that Harry would refuse to do the spell with some lame excuse and that he would be ordered to do something is exchange for information about his condition.
Instead, here he was with a man that not only submitted to a truth detection spell willingly but also promised to help him and his mother escape Tobias while still under the spell. It was as if all his prayers had been answered, though he was still afraid that all of this will somehow head south. But until all this turned out to be a trap, a lie, or whatever else, he had hope. The fact that Harry wanted to meet with his mother gave him faith that this was for real. Until something happened to tell him otherwise he will trust Harry on his word.
When Igor returned, Harry started writing a letter as soon as he left and talked to Severus as he wrote. "I am going to give you a communication mirror. Tell your mother as much as you can beforehand and then give her this letter. In it I tell her who I am, how we met, and ask her approval to meet with me tomorrow night."
"Are you out of your mind! Tobias will be there…!" Harry held up a hand and motioned Severus to calm down. "I am asking her agreement to knockout your father actually. This way I can meet with your mother at your house. I am simply proposing your house because I believe she would feel more comfortable in familiar surroundings but we can go elsewhere if she wishes. I'm not giving her many specifics so it's up to you to make everything clear."
Severus shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He had actually forgotten how powerful Harry probably was. He nodded in acknowledgment.
"I think that's all we can do today. Here is the letter for your mother and the mirror. She only needs to say my full name, Harry Potter, to activate it. But she is only to call me if she opposes my showing up there tomorrow. I don't want her to take any additional risks if she doesn't have to. If she does not contact me before 8:30pm I'll take that as the go-ahead and will meet with you both at 9."
Severus took the items and put them in his pocket. "All right, I'll see you tomorrow then?"
When Harry saw the hope and small smile on Severus' face, Harry couldn't help replying with a big smile of his own. "Of course and don't worry too much, things will turn out fine."
Severus couldn't sleep. He was euphoric.
The first thing he had done after getting home was skim the first volume from the books Harry had given him, just like he had suggested. It hadn't been as bad as he had thought. In addition to what Harry had told him the only important changes where to his personality. It said that his possessiveness and protective instincts will increase in relation to anyone he considered family. All vampires were like this by nature and saw their family as belonging to them and in turn, belonging to their families. He didn't completely understand what that meant but it didn't sound like it was anything horrible. Having strong family ties cannot be bad no matter how you looked at it.
Still, on the other hand, the more Severus thought about what he had to tell his mother, the less he wanted to tell her. In the end, he spent hours turning about on his bed until he fell into a restless sleep, still unsure about what he would tell her or how.
The next morning after Tobias' rant concerning the poor quality of breakfast, Severus signaled to his mother that he needed to talk to her in private. She nodded discreetly and informed him through their own special hand signals to meet with her by the brook in an hour.
"Honey? What is it you needed to talk about?" Eileen asked her son as soon as she got there.
"Mom, have you ever heard of human-vampires?" Severus asked her while looking at a dead beetle by his feet.
"What? No…" She trailed off not sure what it was Severus was trying to get at.
"A human-vampire is born whenever a witch and wizard, carrying enough vampire genes, have a child that receives such genes from both of them. It is not exactly known how or why, but if the genes become active, the child then becomes what is known as a human-vampire."
Eileen was starting to get worried. Severus would have never brought this up out of simple curiosity; he was trying to make a point. She heard Severus sigh slowly and deeply.
"On the night of my birthday…something happened. I went to my special tree, you know, the one at the park… and I changed. I attacked someone. I felt so hungry and well…I-I'm a human-vampire."
Eileen sank to her knees flabbergasted, she didn't know what to say and then she realized just what he had said. "Wait. Did you just say you attacked someone? What happened? Are they all right? Why didn't you tell me about this before?"
Severus then told her about Harry as quickly as he could, they were running out of time.
"So you are saying that this man is coming to see me tonight and I have no way to communicate with him?"
Severus really felt bad about lying, but he didn't want to risk her saying no and postponing everything even more. He trusted Harry and so will she once they had a chance to talk. He chose to ignore completely the little voice in the back of his head telling him he was doing something really stupid. For once, he was going to trust his instincts more than his intelligence and until something happened to change his opinion of Harry, he wasn't about to change his mind.
Harry Potter checked out of the Leaky Cauldron at 8am that morning. He quickly made his way to the real state agent's office and was able to secure an appointment for an isolated 4 bedroom house with a potions lab, a garden, and a large kitchen at 6pm that same day. Right after that he quickly made his way to the Ministry of Magic.
"Excuse me, where do I inquire about wizarding examinations?" He asked at the information desk. The yawning teen witch told him to go to the 5th level and look for the sign opposite the International Magical Cooperation, 'Aptitude Examinations and NEWT Testing.'
After half an hour of waiting for a representative he was finally called forward. "Thank you for waiting. What can I do for you today?"
"I was informed that I need N.E.W.T. scores in order to get a respectable job in the wizarding world, is this information correct?"
The representative looked taken aback. "This is correct…Your accent makes me think you are British, how is it that you do not know about N.E.W.T.'s? You are a British wizard are you not?"
"Yes I am. However, I spent some childhood years in the U.S. I was there when I was informed I was a wizard. I'm muggle-born. When I returned, my guardians arranged for private tutors to control my magic but I had never considered living in the wizarding world until now. I wish to take my N.E.W.T.'s, today if possible." Harry said with calm authority.
The testing representative was looking at him wide-eyed by the time Harry finished speaking. It wasn't everyday a self-proclaimed muggle-born acted with such confidence in front of a Ministry official. He sat there so long that Harry cleared his throat to get his attention once more.
"…Yes. Are you registered with the British Ministry or under the American? You are an adult, correct?
"Yes, I'm 19. I am not registered at either Ministry."
"Due to your age and muggle-born status you will need to register through the use of 'Blood-Linage.' Do you need me to explain what it is?"
"After you are done with that you can make an appointment with us to take your N.E.W.T.'s. Standard waiting time: 6 weeks." He informed him with a fake smile, obviously waiting for Harry to leave.
Harry frowned and leaned forward in a subtly intimidating manner. "Unacceptable. I need to get this done today. Do you or do you not have expedited services?"
"Yes…but I would advice you study before taking your exams. The results will be critical to your future and expedited services cost 35 Galleons. It is really not in your best interest to-"
Harry interrupted smoothly. "I accept the charges, is it possible to get registered here while I wait for my tests to be arranged?"
The representative was gaping at him. Harry had counted three cavities by the time he started speaking again. "Yes. Sure. I mean, it's not a problem."
While the registration was taking place he came to the realization that muggle-born prejudice was worse he remembered. The representative kept trying to treat him like an ignorant muggle and acted surprised that Harry could actually pay the equivalent of a full month's salary to take exams that would otherwise be free of charge. He also noticed that he wasn't informed that he could take the O.W.L.'s instead, N.E.W.T.'s were only required for Ministry officials, not even all Hogwarts professors had tried to take them.
Once registration had been taken care of they finally moved on to the tests. "Which N.E.W.T.'s will you be taking? You need a minimum of four."
"Defense Against the Dark Arts, Divination, Care of Magical Creatures, Muggle Studies, and Transfiguration."
The representative nodded while tapping a light blue parchment with his wand. "Follow me please. You will be taking Muggle Studies first, there is no practical for this subject. I'll take you to your next exam as soon as you are done with this one. You will have your scores an hour after your last test."
Out of the five tests he took only DADA and Transfiguration had theory and practical components. Divination only consisted of a practical and CMC surprisingly, was only theory. In the end, he left the Ministry of Magic at 5:56pm with good marks:
(NA: Not Applicable , O: Outstanding , EE: Exceeds Expectations)
theory / practical
Defense Against the Dark Arts: O / EE
Care of Magical Creatures: O / NA
Muggle Studies: O / NA
Transfiguration: EE / O
Divination: NA / O
He was starving by then. The exams weren't all that strenuous to him but they did work up an appetite. Unfortunately, he didn't have time for that. He needed to get a house first and foremost. Besides, he had plenty of experience with hunger; both from growing up with the Dursleys and from the rigors of war.
He barely made it to his real state agent's office a little after 6. "I apologize for my tardiness. I was delayed at the Ministry longer than I had planned."
"It is quite all right. You are my last client of the day. Now…unfortunately, I was only able to find two houses that meet your specifications on such short notice." The middle-aged gentleman replied, getting straight to business.
"The first one is a two story house…" He quickly described the two houses and their locations. In the end Harry chose to go see the one near Hogsmead. No matter how it looked, he'll take it. Even if he had to move out later on, it was a good idea to own a house near Hogwarts. He side-apparated with the realtor to check it out. It was a spacious single story house.
The kitchen towards the back of the house was beautiful with a built-in white marble table in the center, big enough to easily accommodate five people. Aside from a back door leading to the garden, the rest of the kitchen was made up of white cabinets, half of them with unbreakable glass doors, nicely done with beautiful silver handles. The stove and oven where white and silver as well, the oven big enough for a 16lb turkey but it was so well incorporated to the kitchen wall that it was almost invisible. Finally, the sink was made from the same marble as the table with polished silver faucets.
The four bedrooms were spacious, all of them of equal size and with built-in closets. A rarity, since most wizarding folk preferred to use magical trunks to store their clothing. There was only one bathroom though, complete with an extra-large bathtub and a separate shower stall with sliding glass doors (unbreakable of course). Finally, the basement was a standard potions lab with stone surfaces and ingredient cabinets with glass doors, everything made without magic. But unlike the rest of the house, which seemed to follow an overall white motif, the basement was made in somber colors: dark stone and dark brown wood.
Outside, 30 feet away from the house and garden, the perimeter was surrounded by trees on all sides. The façade faced a footpath leading to Hogsmead or the Forbidden Forest depending on direction. The house was about a 15minute brisk walk from both.
All in all, Harry was more than satisfied. He signed the needed paperwork and paid 400 Galleons for the house. Once alone in his new home Harry conjured an easy chair and sat down to rest a moment before had had to meet with Severus' mother; he just wanted a few moments before handling that hurdle.
Chapter 5: Becoming Acquainted
Promptly at 9pm Harry apparated silently to the Snape's front door, wand at the ready. He then knocked twice, firmly.
"What the hell do you want this time of night!" A drunken Tobias answered the door with a bottle of whiskey in one hand and his wand in the other. Harry quickly cast a powerful sleeping charm on him and walked inside as Tobias fell over backwards. Harry almost rolled his eyes at the man's incompetence.
"You came!" He heard Severus call out and turned to see him being followed by a very nervous looking Eileen Snape, grasping her wand.
"Hello Severus. Madam." He nodded politely.
"Where do you want him placed Mrs. Snape?"
Eileen cringed. "Is he all right?"
Harry blinked. "Of course. He's merely asleep, just like I explained in my letter."
"Letter?" She asked confused and they both turned to a very edgy looking Severus.
"I'm sorry all right. Here, you can read it now." Harry glared lightly at him while he waited for Eileen to finish reading and Severus glared right back, unrepentant.
"Well, this explains a few things." Eileen said more calmly but Harry noticed she didn't let go of her wand just yet neither. "The sitting room is straight ahead on your right; please put him on the couch."
Harry levitated Tobias with a silent wave of his wand and did as she requested.
"Please follow Severus to the kitchen." Harry remained silent as Eileen followed behind him and took the seat Severus offered him at the kitchen table.
"Thank you, Severus, Mrs. Snape."
"Eileen. Are you familiar with the globe of truth spell?"
"Yes, I am." Eileen answered a bit hesitant.
"What I am about to tell you will be hard for anyone to believe so I request that you cast it on us in order to work this out with as little difficulty as possible."
Eileen glanced at Severus, surprised by the request, but relaxed a bit more as Severus gave her an encouraging nod. Eileen raised her wand and performed the spell. Harry then slowly placed his wand on the table and ignored Eileen's tightening grip on her own wand.
"I met Severus the night before yesterday, in less than ideal circumstances I admit…I'm assuming he explained that part already?...Good. When I met him I realized that he didn't know what had happened to him and I also deduced from his tattered clothes and malnourished appearance that he was not in a good family situation… Call it a hunch if you will. When I met with him again last night my hunch was confirmed when I saw his bruised jaw and depressed demeanor. To make a long story short, he told me about your situation and I would like to offer my help."
"Mr. Potter…We are both adults and we both know that people don't just help others out of the goodness of their hearts, especially in this time and age. What is it that you really want from us?" She asked trying to keep her sight on the hand nearest his wand and the globe at the same time.
"I want to help you and Severus get out of this situation… for both of you to be happy. I admit I'm no guardian angel, but neither is it my intention to hurt, mislead, or use either of you in anything nefarious." Eileen's eyes widened as the globe in the middle of the table remained white.
"Why?" She asked in a small voice.
"My reasons are complicated and I won't tell you all of them but believe me when I say that I know what it is like to be trapped in a situation you can do nothing about. I want to help and I have the means to do it." Harry answered gently but with confidence.
Silence enveloped the room until it was broken by Harry's stomach giving a long, very painful sounding growl.
Severus looked at Harry in question, amused by Harry's light blush.
"Sorry about that. It's been a long day and I haven't had time to eat today." He quickly continued before Eileen could say anything. "Don't worry about it. I'll take care of this later."
Harry then noticed her looking at him with an indecipherable expression on her face. "Would you like to ask me something? Whatever it is, I promise I'll do my best to answer without taking offense."
Eileen turned to look at the globe. "Do you really wish to help us without requiring anything in exchange for your aid?"
"I truly want to help you and no, I don't require anything in exchange." Harry assured her and Severus went to hug his mother when she broke down sobbing.
"He truly means it, mom. I didn't believe him at first either, but the globe can't be wrong."
"Excuse me, I'm sorry to interrupt," Harry said, noticing Severus' overly pale complexion. "Did Severus get to feed today?"
Eileen blushed in indignation. "I don't have a lot but I always make sure he eats something at least twice a day!"
"That's not what I meant, madam. Severus needs to feed on blood twice a day."
Eileen blanched and Severus turned his face away from her. "Severus didn't mention it, and it didn't really occur to me, I figured it was a one time thing…I thought human-vampires were different somehow."
"I didn't know how to tell you," Severus said in a low voice. Eileen looked to Harry in supplication, not knowing what to say.
"Severus, I know this is new to you and very unusual. But believe me, you have nothing to be ashamed of. I have only ever fed one other vampire and we both saw it as something he needed and that I was able to provide. You are a vampire now and feeding on blood is completely normal. In time you will come to realize this as well." Severus remained by his mother's side but nodded in understanding.
"Ma'am, I don't mean to be offensive but how long has it been since either of you have had regular, adequate meals?"
Eileen kept her gaze on the table in front of her and cleared her throat. "Since before Severus was born at least."
"I see…in that case I don't think it would be sensible for you to feed Severus in the next few months. However, until then it will probably be a good idea to be present during feeding; to help you become used to the idea."
Eileen gave her son a gentle squeeze around the waist and agreed. "Yes, that sounds like a good idea. Will you be feeding him now?"
Harry quickly arranged for another feeding like yesterday's. Eileen watched in fascination but could not help feeling slightly revolted at the same time. She knew that she would need to 'feed' her son at some point. The thought of having her son drinking her blood was disturbing, though now that she saw it being done it didn't look as bad as she would have thought.
"Thank you, I was really hungry." Severus told Harry when he finished with a satisfied expression and returned to his seat once more.
"I was wondering how you were planning to help us?" Eileen asked Harry after he finished healing his wrist, a little curious about how far this young man would go to help them.
"I have a proposal. All I need is your approval and cooperation. The first thing we need to do is for you to divorce Tobias." Eileen frowned.
"Please let me just lay it all out and then we can change whatever you don't approve of, all right?" Eileen agreed but didn't look happy about it.
"You have grounds for divorce because of the domestic abuse and neglect. Your memories will be more than enough proof to secure its approval. As soon as that's done, I will marry you right there and then. Let me make this very clear: It will strictly be a marriage of convenience. You don't even have to take my name, you and Severus can use 'Prince' if you wish. I only want to marry you so that I have the legal right to protect you and Severus if/or when Tobias comes after you. I have already purchased a house for us near Hogsmead that I think will be adequate for our needs. It is lacking furniture and everything but I didn't want to get anything you wouldn't like, so I decided to wait for your opinion before I went shopping. As your husband I will also assume all responsibility for your welfare. Naturally, shelter, food, clothing, and a monthly allowance are all a given. But I do have one particular quirk…"
Eileen and Severus were sitting completely dumbfounded. Never in their wildest dreams had they imagined anything like what Harry was telling them. Whatever that quirk was, they knew that it couldn't be anything that would harm them so it didn't matter what it was, they would accept it.
"I like to cook. Cooking is a favorite past time of mine and I like to cook whenever I can. You can still cook if you wish or if you don't like my cooking but I just wanted to warn you. I'll probably be in the kitchen a lot. Will that be a problem?"
Severus was in shock. "That's your quirk…to cook? But that's women's work…or a house elf's!"
Eileen covered her face with her hands in embarrassment and Harry looked amused at Severus' earnest proclamation.
"If we are to live under the same roof I think you should know that my views are extremely liberal. I don't believe on limitations based on gender, I support same-sex marriages, and I hate the werewolf registration act." Severus and Eileen looked at each other sideways, not knowing how to react to that. But they both knew Harry's offer was too good to pass up just because their benefactor had weird views on gender roles and whatnot.
"That's fine, we can accept that I think. Nor do I find anything wrong with your plan, but are you sure you have enough money for what you propose?"
"More than sure. I wouldn't have proposed it unless I was certain I could do it." The globe still remained white.
"The spell I placed Tobias under will last 24 hours or more, so we are free to do all this tomorrow if you are ready."
Eileen found no point on putting off the divorce. Harry seemed sincere and she couldn't let an offer like this pass up. Waiting won't change anything of importance other than prolong her suffering and her son's. "Well, I don't mind, but do you realize I'm almost old enough to be your mother? I'm used to being the topic of gossip, so I don't care, but in your case…"
Eileen trailed off once she realized what she was saying. Severus choked on a laugh and Harry just looked at her.
"I guess that was a foolish question." Eileen admitted. If a man was secure enough to admit liking to cook, he probably didn't care much for society gossip either.
"I will come here to pick both of you up tomorrow morning at 8:30. Pack only things of sentimental value. I'll be taking you both shopping for essentials after we finish at the Ministry. We can buy everything else we need later on." Eileen and Severus saw Harry to their door soon after and they hugged each other in happiness when they were alone once more.
Whatever…whoever, this man was…he was the answer to their prayers. It was all up to fate from here on, but they had faith that their luck had just turned for the better.
Harry picked them up at 8:30am as arranged and they went straight to the Ministry. They spoke very little. Harry kept silent as was his usual habit in public places and Eileen and Severus were too nervous about what was going to happen to bother with idle chitchat. Eileen especially, she was seeing this side of Harry for the first time and it made her a feel a little bit nervous to see him looking so unapproachable.
Once at the Ministry they took the lift to Level 2, Department of Magical Law Enforcement; Office of Family Law & Procedures. A young woman sitting by the office entrance welcomed them. "Good morning. Are you all together?"
"Yes." Harry answered evenly.
"Please take a seat and we'll call you as soon as one of our officers is available. Your name please?"
"We'll be calling you momentarily."
They all took a seat and Harry was pleasantly surprised when Severus chose to sit next to him, their arms and thighs touching. No one would have seen anything extraordinary in such a gesture, bur for Severus, who was such a reserved individual that rarely initiated physical contact, this seemingly innocuous act was beyond remarkable, especially after knowing him for such a short time.
Harry discreetly and gently squeezed Severus' arm in silent encouragement. Eileen smiled at the sight but didn't remark upon it.
They were called 10 minutes later.
"Good morning. I am Officer Marcellina Goldman, how may I help you today?"
Harry nodded at Eileen to answer.
"Good morning…W-we are here today to do a number of things, but first of all I need a divorce." Eileen replied after a slight hesitation.
"Well, you can certainly file for divorce, is this gentleman your…" She asked, taking in Harry's young appearance with skepticism.
"No, no, no…My husband is not here today. He does not even know I'm here actually."
"Under what grounds do you…" The Officer began with obvious disapproval. Divorce was very unusual in the wizarding world and not well-looked upon. She trailed off however under Harry's glare and Eileen's muted answer, "Domestic abuse."
"I see," Officer Goldman said in a much softer tone. "I will need proof of abuse. Can you submit memories for a minimum of 5 different instances of abuse?" Eileen nodded with an audible swallow.
"Try to choose memories that show Severus at different ages. Otherwise, they might make you do it again." Harry said in a cool tone. He was more than familiar with the Ministry's wiles and didn't want to make Eileen have to go through that again just because they couldn't tell if all the memories were truly from different occasions.
"Excuse me sir, but why exactly are you here?" She questioned Harry tersely.
"I'm her future husband." Harry answered just as coolly as before and Severus glowered at her in reproach.
She nodded sharply at him and retrieved a pensieve. After helping Eileen place her memories within it and looking through them herself, a paler looking Goldman approved the divorce. She then asked them if there was anything else they needed after finishing up the paperwork.
"Yes, I would like to marry Eileen…now." Harry said firmly but in a polite enough tone.
Goldman's right eyelid twitched. "There are blood tests required before…"
Harry cut her off, "I am muggle-born, the requirement does not apply." This time a vein visibly throbbed at her temple and Harry toed Severus under the desk to get him to quit smirking.
"Is this truly what you wish, Ms. Prince?" She asked Eileen.
Once the marriage paperwork was ready she asked Eileen if she wanted to keep her maiden name or take on Harry's. When Eileen said she wanted to keep 'Prince,' Severus piped in, "I want to change my name to 'Prince' as well."
"I'm sorry but you are Mr. Snape's only heir. Even though he has lost his legal claim over you as well as all visitation rights, unless he disinherits you, you are still the only Snape heir. You can only refuse once you reach legal independence, at 17. Though you cannot discard the Snape name for now, you can add 'Prince' as a secondary family name. You may also change your first and middle names if you wish."
"All right. I'll keep Severus but there is no way I'm keeping Tobias as a middle name. I don't need one. Just Severus Snape Prince is fine. And if people think that Snape is my middle name I'm not going to bother correcting them." Severus grumbled and crossed his arms in emphasis. Harry thought Severus looked quite adorable, though Eileen's exasperated sigh told him she disagreed.
The paperwork was finally done an hour later and Harry said as they finished, "I have one more item I need you to arrange for me today. I would like to name Severus my sole heir…and no, he's not required to take my name to claim his inheritance."
This time, both the eyelid twitched, and the vein throbbed. "Please fill out these forms and Gringotts will be receiving their copy by the end of the week."
They were able to leave the Ministry by midday and Harry took them to a vegetarian Chinese restaurant for lunch. They had a pleasant meal and Harry and Severus left to the restroom for Severus to feed before leaving.
On their way back they ran into Harold Potter in the hallway, an event Harry had known would happen but still surprising in its rapidity.
It was like looking at an older, more masculine version of Harry. Harold was a middle-aged man with light blue eyes and shoulder length hair tied back at the base of the neck. Harry tried to walk by with a polite acknowledgment but Harold was not satisfied with that.
"Excuse me; I don't believe we have met before."
"No, we have not."
"Harold Potter; pleasure to meet you." Harold said with a small bow.
"Likewise. Harry Potter…but if you'll excuse us we are running late." Harold was too stunned by Harry's last name to protest his departure.
"I thought you were muggle-born?" Severus asked confused, noticing the resemblance.
"I am and you know I didn't lie to you. It's just a coincidence; a passing likeness." Severus wasn't really convinced but let it go at that so he asked Harry what they were gong to do next instead.
"Diagon Alley." Harry answered him with a grin.