Chapter 3 – New Beginning
A small wail brought Severus out of his frustrating thoughts, and he looked terrified at the naked baby that was lying on the floor on a small heap of black robes. When he knelt in front of the small child, he couldn't remember having moved in the boy's direction at all. He only saw his son being a baby again. With a flick of his wand, he cleaned the boy from the remainder of the potion and the glass, before he conjured a nappy and a jumpsuit for him and gently scooped him up.
"Dada," the child babbled happily, reaching for Severus' long hair with his tiny fingers.
"Yes, little one, I'm your daddy," Severus replied in his soft, silky voice, pressing a kiss on the child's forehead. "Now, we need to call Aunt Poppy and Granny Minerva."
With the child on his arms, he stepped to the fireplace to call his best friends, who arrived a few minutes later. Severus closed the fireplace to prevent anyone else, including the Headmaster, from coming through, before he quickly informed his colleagues what had happened.
"Your son is one year, two months and twenty days old, and he is completely healthy," Poppy diagnosed after a well placed diagnostic spell.
"Severus, let's cancel Lily's charms now. You can tell Albus that your wife recently died and you had to take your son in. We can charm the copy of his birth certificate to show a new date," Minerva said firmly.
"How can we explain Potter's disappearance though? Everyone knows that he had detention with me tonight," Severus queried, raising an eyebrow.
"We need Filius. He can help us counter Lily's charms, and he can make a dummy that'll look and act like Harry as Filius remembers him," Minerva replied, smirking. She headed to the fireplace, knowing that Severus had merely blocked incoming Floo calls, and contacted the Charms professor, who arrived in the dungeons ten minutes later.
"No problem, I'll help you," Flitwick said gently. "Severus, I suggest that the two of us retreat to your office for a moment. There is no need for the Dummy Harry to see the baby and ask questions."
Five minutes later, Dummy Harry was standing in front of the Potions Master. "What do you think you're doing, Professor?" he hissed. "That hurt."
"You're dismissed," Severus replied in an even voice and observed the boy leave his office as fast as he could.
"The charm will last until Mr. Potter has left for the summer holidays," Flitwick informed his colleague, who gave him an appreciative nod.
"That'll be enough. Leave it to Albus to wonder where the boy has ended up while he was supposed at his relatives' home," Severus said firmly.
"There is only one problem, although I don't think that it's really a problem. He can't use his wand to do magic. He will of course wave it, at least until he notices it, but he'll automatically perform magic with his hands while pulling the necessary magic out of his surroundings. Therefore, you should always pair him with magically strong classmates," Flitwick explained as they headed back into Severus private quarters.
Back in the living room, Minerva and Poppy were playing with the baby that was obviously used to being in his godmothers' presence.
"Very well then, shall we cast the spells on Alexander?" Severus suggested, causing Minerva to chuckle.
"Did you hear your daddy, sweetie? He's going to call you Alexander. Do you like that?"
"Alec," Harry shouted happily, efficiently grabbing Minerva's glasses with a delighted expression on his small face.
"No Alexander, give that back right away," Severus said sternly, causing the small boy to return the glasses immediately.
"I won't cast the spells with you, but I'm going to hold him and observe him in case he needs a pain relieving potion as you proceed," Poppy said, gently taking the boy from Minerva into her left arm, while she readied her wand in her right hand. "Daddy, Granny and Uncle Filius are going to cast a funny charm on you, so you can play hide and seek, all right?" she cooed, smiling at the child as she began to tickle his toes in order to distract him from the changes he might be going to feel as her three colleagues began to cast the spell.
Fortunately, the child's body only changed a little bit. His face became a bit longer, and his hair grew straight, so that Harry hardly noticed anything. He only found that his body became a bit tingly and giggled, because it was so funny.
"Very well done," Poppy commended her colleagues. "Now, since he is one year, two months and twenty days old and we have the twentieth of May 1996, his birthday is the first of March, 1994."
Severus showed his colleague the copy of his son's birth certificate. "Filius, would you be able and willing to change this copy as well as the original that is filed with the Ministry?"
Flitwick frowned. "I'll have to concentrate on the original. If I succeed, this copy here will change automatically." With that, he waved his wand in a complicated movement, muttering a long incantation, and his colleagues observed in amazement how the date on the copy in Severus' hands changed to Alexander's new birth date.
"Thank you very much, Minerva, Poppy, Filius. Now please tell me how I'm supposed to care for a one-year-old when I have to teach classes tomorrow morning?"
Everyone laughed, and Minerva replied dryly, "Well, maybe you ought to have thought about that before doing that stunt tonight."
Severus let out a long sigh. "It's not as if I had willingly de-aged the boy."
"Nevertheless, you did that very well, Severus, and I'm willing to keep an eye on my godson, while you're teaching. However, we'll need to inform the Headmaster about his presence," Poppy said gently, causing Severus to throw her a relieved look.
"I'm going to call Albus," Minerva offered and headed to the fireplace, while Filius wished them good luck and left Severus' quarters and the Potions Master waved his wand at the fireplace to re-open the Floo connection.
A few minutes later, the Headmaster stepped out of the fireplace. "Good evening," he said, glancing around in surprise. Who is that?"
"That's my son Alexander," Severus explained softly, showing the Headmaster his son's birth certificate. "The other day, I received notice that my wife has died and I had to take my son in, because he doesn't have any other relatives."
"Very well, my boy. I didn't even know that you were married," Dumbledore said in surprise, causing Severus to sigh. "I don't mind your son living with you of course, but did you think about what you're going to do with him while you're teaching?"
"Poppy has kindly offered to look after him during the day," Severus explained.
Three weeks later, something happened that shocked the entire wizarding world of Britain. Harry Potter and Voldemort met at the Ministry of Magic and duelled, causing them both to die at the hand of each other.
"The prophecy must have been partly wrong," the Headmaster said thoughtfully as he announced the news at breakfast in the Great Hall. "Harry did not have any power the Dark Lord knew not."
"Of course he had the power the Dark Lord knew not," Severus told Minerva and Poppy later on, when they had tea together in his quarters after the Leaving feast. Smirking at their curious expressions, he informed them about the speciality the dummy had possessed according to the Charms teacher. "He didn't use his wand, so that the Dark Lord was able to kill him with his wand at the same time as Dummy Harry extracted the Dark Lord's magic and threw the killing curse back. Thank God it was only a dummy."
"Severus, would you perhaps be willing to consider telling Ms. Granger and Mr. Weasley the truth?" Minerva asked gently. "They're devastated about their friend's assumed death."
"Under no circumstances will I speak with Mr. Weasley, considering how he uses to behave towards me. However, I might be willing to inform Ms. Granger. Is she still in the hospital wing?"
"Yes Severus," Poppy said gently. "I'm going to keep her for another week."
"Very well then; I'll speak with her after everyone else returns home for the summer tomorrow morning.
As soon as Severus returned from the station in Hogsmeade, he strode into the hospital wing and took a seat next to Hermione's bed with Alexander on his lap.
"Hewo Mynee," Alex shouted happily, recognising the nice girl to whom Poppy had introduced to him the day before.
"Hello Alex, hello Professor," Hermione said, trying to cover her tear-stricken face with her hand. "I'm sorry, Professor," she said, unable to fight back the tears.
"Ms. Granger," Severus said softly, "Harry Potter never existed."
"What?" Hermione replied, getting very upset. "He was my best friend."
"Listen to me. Your friend Harry was my son Alex before he was de-aged and before the charms his mother had placed on him were taken off," Severus said bluntly and explained the whole story to the girl.
"May I... may I.." Hermione stuttered, sobbing, "may I cuddle with Alex for a moment?"
"Alex," Severus glanced at his son, "would you like to cuddle with Aunt Hermione for a moment to make her less sad?"
"Of couwse," Alexander shouted and climbed onto the bed, placing a sloppy kiss on Hermione's cheek.
"Thank you Alex," Hermione said, smiling under tears as she cuddled the small boy close. "Do you remember me, sweetie? Do you remember being Harry?"
Alexander threw her a confused look. "Mummy Hawwy, Dada Alec. Hmm," he replied unsurely, causing Hermione to throw the professor an enquiring look.
"Considering the potion he was hit with, he should not have the memories of his former childhood; however, considering how strong his magic is, there is a slight chance that he'll still remember certain situations," Severus said thoughtfully.
"Professor, would you mind me babysitting Alex from time to time?" Hermione asked eagerly. "I'd love to still be in his life if you don't mind."
"I can imagine that there might be times during which I'll be glad to have a responsible babysitter for my son," Severus replied softly, glancing at his son, who was sitting on Hermione's stomach happily babbling incomprehensible baby knowledge. 'Only a mother would be able to understand that,' Severus mused, thinking how his Lily had been able to fool so many great wizards and witches. 'She really was a Mistress of Charms and Enchantment.'
Thank you for your kind support throughout this story!
I'm not a native speaker of English. Please excuse my mistakes or help me to correct them.
All recognizable characters belong to J. K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.