A/N: The sequel to To Have a Father, as promised! Perhaps for any newcomers, you should read that one first before you start this one? Just a suggestion. You'll be lost. No slash.
Disclaimer: Not mine! All JK Rowling's.
Summary: In a reality where Severus Snape is Harry's father, he would, at one point, have found it an unimaginable, rather disturbing thought, but Harry's chosen to stay there. Severus, along with his godfather, Sirius, has given Harry three things that he dreamed he'd never have: a father, a home, and the love of a family.
It's the first time in his new life that Harry's going back to a Hogwarts where the previous Harry had died fighting Quirrel for the Philosopher's Stone. Repeating the second year isn't the worst of Harry's troubles, however: his friends aren't acting the same towards him, the whole school can't stop whispering about him, and the only person that seems to accept Harry is, surprisingly, one of his best friends in this reality: Draco Malfoy.
And just when Harry thought he'd be done with switching realities, he soon comes to fully realize that his original reality is lacking a Harry Potter. It's a good thing that he kept the incantation, because if he ever defeats Lord Voldemort in this reality, he'll end up needing to in the other reality, as well. What does his father have to say about all this?
The day that Harry had been dreading was here. After everything—everything that now seemed like a mere, distant memory—it was finally here.
The first day of his second year at Hogwarts.
But what was there to be nervous about? He'd already gone through his second year in the other reality. Except that things were different this time around, weren't they? He had a family, for one. He had Severus, Sirius—and, well, Remus. Harry had been seeing a lot more of Remus lately.
Oh, and of course, Dobby hadn't showed up this time.
Severus had, in vain, tried to calm a nervous, anxious Harry down. When they finally reached his chambers in the dungeons at Hogwarts, Severus actually thought he'd succeeded in doing just that.
"I've never been here before," Harry said, looking around in awe. Then, as if waking from a trance without warning, Harry clutched on to the front of Severus's emerald green robes, his wide eyes meeting Severus's black ones. "Please, Dad, please! I don't want to go!"
"What are you, Harry, five?" Severus frowned. "Merlin, child, I'm not saying that you have to have your teeth yanked out. You love Hogwarts, do you not?"
"I do." Harry let his hands fall to his sides. "I've already gone through my second year, though. Can't I go back to Odlin with Sirius and Remus and help them with their restaurant? It's the grand opening sometime soon."
"I am well aware of the grand opening. And no, you may not leave."
Harry groaned, throwing himself down on the leather sofa before him. This wasn't fair. He'd be an outsider, he knew he would be. Who would want to hang around him? He was supposed to be dead here, only Draco Malfoy had visited him—it wasn't much of a surprise that no one else had—and that had turned out horribly. He'd be avoided. A pariah.
It was just all too weird. It'd be awkward, uncomfortable and humiliating.
"I want to go back home," Harry whispered aloud, his voice small. "I can't do this, Dad. Please don't make me."
"You have nothing to panic over," Severus said soothingly, sitting down beside Harry. He ran his fingers through his son's hair. "You needn't be nervous or anxious, either. I'll be with you the entire time."
Harry sat up, rubbing his nose. "I won't be able to do it."
"Yes you will." Severus fixed him with an intense stare. "You're a Gryffindor. You're brave, Harry. You can do this."
Harry let out a shaky breath, straightening his posture. "I can do this."
Severus raised an eyebrow. "Again. Confidence is the key."
"I can do this. I can."
"Good." Severus stood up, extending a hand to Harry. "Come, let's get you settled in your room."
"Ah...." Harry frowned, trailing off. He tilted his head, giving Severus a puzzled look. "What do you mean? I'm not going to be living in the Gryffindor dormitory?"
"Yes you are," Severus replied. "Usually you would always have an extra room down here. Would you... rather not?"
Harry shook his head. "No, no. I want a room here."
Curiously, Harry followed Severus through his chambers, letting everything around him sink in until it was permanently etched in his mind. Were Severus Snape's chambers like this in his other reality? It'd be difficult to imagine that, since it was rather... homey down here. A little chilly, a little dark even when a few lights were on, but other than that: homey.
Harry's room was a mixture of an emerald green and a dark blue; the bed was done up and untouched. Harry quickly snuck a glance at Severus to see that the professor had a pained look on his face.
"I don't have to stay here," Harry said immediately. "Honestly, I can just stay in the Gryffindor dormitories and—"
"No," Severus answered firmly. "This will be your room, understand?" he cleared his throat. "You can unpack some of your things down here if you wish, and leave some of the others in your suitcase for the dormitory. The welcoming feast will be later on tonight, as you know, and until then you may relax while I prepare for classes."
Harry sighed. "I can't come with you?"
Severus narrowed his eyes. "I wish you wouldn't. You're still recovering from the accident. Speaking of that, if you are in any pain I want you to seek me out in my classroom immediately so I can give you your medicine."
Harry made a face. "I haven't been in pain for a while. I'm really done recovering. Can I come with you now?"
An amused look crossed Severus's face as he leaned down and kissed the top of Harry's head. "Rest, Harry. Don't forget: you can do this."
He could do this. He could do this. His father even said so: he could do this. While Severus had been in his classroom, Harry repeated those four words to himself as he did what he was told and rested on a bed that hardly felt like his.
Perhaps it'd feel more like his if some of Harry's drawings from when he must've been a little boy were gone? Or those clothes in one of the drawers that were pulled open a little bit? The toys in the closet?
Who was he kidding? He couldn't ask Severus to take those things away. That would just be rude and hurtful, wouldn't it? Insulting. He was in a stranger's room, in a stranger's bed, and it would most likely always feel that way.
He watched the minutes tick by, the hours change from one to the other. The time to go to the Great Hall was coming faster and faster. But he could do it; he could do it.
And then Severus was back, ready to collect Harry and bring him to the Great Hall. Harry's hands were clammy and his heart beat faster than it ever had before. He felt sick. The butterflies in his stomach were going to make him vomit.
The teachers were polite enough, Harry found. They did their best not to stare—but perhaps Severus's warning glare helped a little with that.
"Go on," he whispered to Harry as the students began piling in the room. "Take a seat. I'm right here."
"Dad." Harry's voice was hoarse and pleading, and he felt near tears. "Please, I'm begging you."
Severus had a hurt look on his face. "Don't make me feel like a bad person," he implored, grasping Harry's shoulders gently. "You can do this, remember? I'm begging you."
Harry let out a shaky breath, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand. He nodded. "Okay. Okay. You'll be here, right?"
"Of course." Severus breathed a sigh of relief, pressing his lips against Harry's temple. "Be brave. I love you."
"Love you, too." Harry swallowed, noticing before he turned around that Dumbledore gave him a wink. To make him feel better, probably. Was it that noticing? Harry tried to take in steady, slow breaths as he neared the Gryffindor table. The students were still settling in, and in amongst them he tried to spot Ron and Hermione, or even Draco Malfoy, but he couldn't see any of them.
People were starting to stare. Harry could feel their eyes on his back, and even the people sitting at the Gryffindor table gawked. The sudden whispering among them was about him, or was he just being paranoid? Harry kept his eyes trained down on his hands self-consciously, wishing he were back at the Dursleys.
No. Anything but the Dursleys. He wanted to stay here with Severus and Sirius so... he'd just have to endure this. He could endure it.
He could do it.
He suddenly lifted his eyes as he felt another presence beside him. Or, two other presences actually, Harry corrected himself as his heart skipped a beat. Ron and Hermione.
They were both staring at him in awe, standing when mostly everyone else except for the first years were sitting. Harry's face burned as the staring and whispering didn't cease.
Hermione's lip trembled as she spoke. "Harry...."
He offered a weak, nervous smile. "Hermione."
Hermione's eyes widened, and her lip trembled a little more violently. "You know my name."
"Of course I do." Harry frowned. "You're one of my best friends." He turned his eyes onto Ron. "You too, Ron."
Ron's eyes were wide and, looking pale (and maybe a little sick?), Ron slipped down next to Harry, with Hermione sitting on the other side of Ron.
"Harry, mate," Ron whispered in awe. "I... I...."
Harry felt miserable as he lowered his eyes back down onto his hands, and Dumbledore stood up to make his speech, and introduce the new teacher. He wasn't expecting anything much from Ron and Hermione—but maybe a simple sentence from one of his best friends would've made him feel a little better?
Harry knew that, along with everyone else who was staring at him, Severus happened to be one of them. But not for the same reason. Harry just couldn't bring himself to meet his gaze.
When would this be over? He wished the sorting would go on faster. He wasn't even hungry. How could he be when he felt like he was going to be sick?
"Oh, Harry," Hermione suddenly whispered, leaning over Ron to talk to him. Harry looked up. "Don't look so sad. You can't expect us all to be okay with this on the first day, can you? Especially when it's not even... well, you?"
Harry didn't say anything. It wasn't the Harry they knew, but couldn't they at least make an effort? They were doing the best they could, Harry suddenly thought, answering himself. It was a lot to take in, wasn't it?
Even the first years were staring at him. One by one they got sorted, and the ones that were sorted into Gryffindor seemed to be both excited and terrified as they tried to sit near him, or even when they just walked by him. Harry even heard a few whisper to each other that, "that was Harry Snape, who'd died and then was brought back to life out of the grave."
And still, Severus was trying to catch his eye, even as the food appeared on the table. Hermione and Ron were whispering to each other, but Harry didn't even bother to try and include himself. He kept reminding himself that this was only the first day, that things would get better. They would, right?
"Would you look at that?" Harry heard the girl next to him whisper. "He died last year, and apparently some other Harry from another reality or dimension took over his body. D'you reckon it's the same body that they buried in the ground? Ick! Quick, can you see any decaying parts on him?"
Harry's eyes fluttered shut, trying to block out the noise. He opened them, turning his head around to see that a group from Ravenclaw had their heads turned. Same with Hufflepuff, Slytherin—they were all staring at him. Talking about him. He could hear them, whispering about him, about the situation.
He had to go. He couldn't do this.
Abruptly, Harry stood up: all the more reason for people to stare and whisper. He bolted out of the Great Hall, not even taking a glance over his shoulder as he left. Where was he going to go? He wouldn't go in the dormitory. He wouldn't be able to stay there, with everyone else, gawking and whispering...
Harry spun around to face Draco, who's cheeks looked a little flushed. Had he been running after him?
"I told you it would take a while," Draco said, his chest heaving up and down. "How in Merlin's name can you run so fast?"
Harry shook his head, ignoring Draco's question. "I'm sorry Malfoy, I just can't do this."
Draco frowned. "It's Draco, thanks. And you can do this. Don't let anyone get to you."
"You don't understand," Harry said, his eyes wide. "Ron and Hermione can't even talk to me. Everyone's staring and whispering, and—and I just can't take it anymore." He shook his head again when Draco opened his mouth. "If you're going to call me a coward, then go right ahead, because it's what I am."
Draco scowled. "A coward? The other Harry wasn't the only one who faced Quirrel, was he? You did too, didn't you?"
Harry blinked, taken aback. "Well—"
"And how old are you in your reality, hm? A year or two older?"
"Even if the Philosopher's Stone happened to be the bravest thing you've ever done since you started your Hogwarts, it's still a brave thing." He eyed Harry, almost with disgust. "You are no coward."
With that, Draco spun on his heel, walking back toward the Great Hall.
"Draco!" Harry suddenly blurted out loudly. The boy froze, turning around slowly. Harry gave a single shoulder a small shrug. "Thank you."
Draco nodded his head, turning around again. Harry bit his lip, glancing around the corridor. There was only one place that he could go. What had Severus said the password was again?
It took Harry a few times to get the password to Severus's chambers right. As soon as he was in, he noticed a piece of parchment on the oak colored table. It was from Sirius.
Harry, it read
You really need to see Padfoot and Moony's. We've finished painting, we have all the tables and chairs out... it's really coming together. Are you and Snape coming home for Christmas or are we coming to you lot? If you're coming here you can see it then. By the way, Black is fine. He's getting very big, and whenever he meows I reckon he's trying to tell me that he misses you. Or that he wants me to feed him again.
Tell me how your first day back goes. I'll be thinking of you, and so will Remus. He says hi.
Sirius, Remus and Black
PS: Do you like the owl? You can keep her. Her name's Hedwig. A little bee told me that you might like that name. You also forgot your wand, in case you were wondering. Snape has it now.
The owl? There wasn't an owl. Was there?
As if answering Harry's question, the snowy owl flew out of one of the rooms, landing on his right shoulder. Harry's mouth parted in surprise. She looked... like a mirror image of the Hedwig back in Harry's reality.
But, wait. The wand? Harry's wand? Harry didn't have a wand: it snapped when he fell on it.
Pushing those thoughts aside, and placing Hedwig gently on the table, Harry searched desperately around the room for parchment and a quill. When he found them, he scribbled a quick reply to Sirius, which honestly had nothing to do with Sirius's letter in the first place.
Take me home now.
Glancing at the very brief letter when he finished, Harry sighed and added: PS: I love Hedwig, she's beautiful. Thank you. It almost ruined the urgency a bit, but Harry didn't mind.
"Will you take this to Sirius?" Harry asked Hedwig softly.
Hedwig hooted around the same time that Harry heard Severus loudly say, "Harry Potter, if you're not in here so help me—" He was cut off as Hedwig flew by him and out the portrait hole. He sighed in irritation. "I see that you've found your new owl."
Harry straightened, not even realizing that Severus had called him by his real name. Severus, however, didn't give Harry a chance to reply as he continued with: "What was the meaning of running out of the Great Hall like you did?"
"I told you I couldn't do it," Harry answered weakly. "Ron and Hermione could barely even talk to me, and everyone was staring and whispering. It was too much."
Severus sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. He walked past Harry, sitting himself down in his armchair. Harry remained by the table, waiting for Severus to speak.
"Dad?" Harry finally said tentatively, when Severus said nothing. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," Severus replied, though he didn't sound fine. "I knew the first day would be difficult, there was no doubt in my mind—"
"Don't give up," Harry suddenly blurted out. Severus looked at him quizzically. "I won't give up if you won't give up," Harry continued. He frowned thoughtfully. "Draco was all right with me, he didn't act like the others. You know, maybe... maybe more people will start acting the same way. In time."
Severus gave Harry a look. "I thought you couldn't do it? You were quite insistent about that."
"But you sounded like you were going to give up on me," Harry said again, in a soft voice. "And I want to prove to you that I can do it." He hesitated. "Just don't make me go back to the dormitories. I can't do that."
"You want to stay here?" Severus clarified.
Harry nodded in response, and was delighted to see that Severus had begun nodding himself. As Harry latched his arms around Severus in a hug, Severus reminded him, "Just for now. We'll see how it goes."
The bedroom would take some getting used to, that was for sure. It was comfy though, but that still didn't mean that Harry went to sleep as soon as his head touched the pillow. There were too many thoughts in his head; too many worries.
What if he had breakfast, lunch and dinner down here instead of going to the Great Hall? Severus wouldn't mind, would he? Especially if he was sleeping down here to begin with? He could be the one who merely went to classes and chose not to associate himself with anyone. Would that really be such a bad thing? He had Severus for company, and Hedwig now, too.
Did he really need friends? Did anyone really need friends?
Maybe they did. But did he?
Harry's brow furrowed together as Severus's loud, angry voice bounced off the walls. Who was he yelling at? Slipping out of bed, Harry tip-toed across the cold floor and turned the doorknob slowly, opening the door just a crack.
He opened it wider when he saw who it was.
"That was quick," Harry said out loud as he faced an agitated-looking Severus and an agitated-looking Sirius.
A/N: Feedback is ENCOURAGED, welcome, and I am looking forward to reading them and seeing what you guys think so far! If you're generous, I'll be generous, and update sooner than you could possibly imagine :) Thank you guys very, very much!