Yet another short story, but surprisingly not slash. My friend wanted me to write a story with Snape and Harry, and the best I can seem to get is a father and son relationship. So, without further adieu, here it is…
Wait, I lied. To clear things up, Harry is about six years old, living at Hogwarts with his guardian, Snape. Who is not the biological father, sorry to disappoint.
Lost and Found
The wind whistled and howled through the aged trees that surrounded Hogwarts, the magical school for Witchcraft and Wizardry, with the pouring rain as its faithful companion. Normally, no sane individual would be caught in such weather, but inside the cozy shelter of the castle, warm, with all the teachers anxious for the start of a new year and the fresh wave of students scheduled to arrive that fall. However, when it came to six (and a half, as he would exclaim) Harry James Potter, Boy-Who-Lived, and currently the most famous icon in the Wizarding World, nothing ever seemed to be normal.
Currently, it was the same young child who was traipsing amongst the grounds of the old school, in pursuit of nothing in particular, but having a grand time in his pass-time. Now, what was said child doing in such poor weather, and where was the responsible adult figure who was supposed to be watching him? Well, he was supposed to be napping and under the watch of Professor McGonagall (or Aunt Minny) while his father attended a meeting at Hogsmeade. However, it was around the same time that the stern matron decided to put him down for a nap, that he decided he wanted to do just the opposite.
At the moment, he was too busy skipping around the Great Lake, casting away the trainers that protected his small feet, and wiggling his toes in the muck, to realize he was travelling to the forest that his father constantly warned him about. But, to his childish mind, nothing seemed forbidden about the wicked foliage of the Forbidden Forest and before he knew it, he was hopping and tumbling around the slick, mossy roots of the ancient trees.
-Back at Hogwarts-
Now, Professor McGonagall was no worrywart, and was extremely confident in her abilities of keeping an eye on a child, but after two hours of eerie silence, without so much of a peep from her ward, and even the strict Professor couldn't ignore the worry at the edge of her thoughts. She had been busying herself by reading in the living-room of Severus' quarters, sitting in an over-stuffed chair, reading by the light of the fireplace. She knew how fussy children tended to be, but Harry seemed to top the charts, especially when it came to nap-time, and seeing as he hadn't made a sound, or even quitted his bedroom once, was slightly disturbing.
Once again the matron's eyes drifted from the text of her novel to scan the darkened hall leading to Harry's bedroom and once more she felt the concern rise with a vengeance; in all her time babysitting the boy, she could solemnly swear he had never slept so long. She pursed her lips, rising from her comfortable position with a stretch, and travelled the length of the room, past the animated portraits in the hallway, to his bedroom. One peep inside shouldn't rouse the child, she rationalized, and it would put her mind at ease.
The door creaked open, and Minerva grimaced at the loud sound before taking out her wand, muttering a quick "lumos." The beam of light lit the room and McGonagall glued her eyes to the immobile lump beneath the pale blue comforter on the four poster bed. She frowned, as it didn't look quite right and moved forward.
"Harry," she called, rustling the covers on the bed, "Are you alright?"
A pillow tumbled from the blanket to the carpeted floor and the Professor groaned, pinching the bridge of her nose. The bed was empty, and by Merlin, when she got her hands on that child…
Harry stumbled; foot caught by a stray root, and once more fell to the rough ground, scraping his knees and palms against the twigs and small rocks that littered the forest floor. He gave a frustrated sob, rubbing his stinging hands against his trousers, and curling up against the mud, trying to hide from the cold rain. He felt completely miserable, soaked through-and-through, shoeless, and lost with seemingly no way of being found. Hot tears welled in his impossibly green eyes, slipping past muddy cheeks as hiccups swelled in his chest.
Somewhere in the brush beside him, a branch snapped sharply, and he looked up in the direction, glimpsing a shadow moving between the trees. He crawled away from the dark, tall figure, wrapping his arms around his knees, and leaning at the base of the tree beside him. Harry glared determinedly at the mysterious form, trying to seem as brave as the heroes in all the storybooks his father read him before bed. Then, from the foliage came a… thing?
Harry frowned at the creature. It seemed to be a horse, but from its waist up, was a well muscled man, with dark brown hair, the same color of his coat, tied in a high pony-tail. It surveyed the area, inhaling deeply, before piercing him with a heated gaze.
"What is a man-child such as you doing so far in the reaches of the Forbidden Forest?" it demanded sternly. Harry bit his lip and sniffed wetly, bravado forgotten.
"I don't know, I want Papa, and I'm not s'pposed to talk to strangers!" Harry wailed pathetically, scrubbing his eyes ruthlessly as tears blurred his visions. He winced as his glasses fell from his face to the ground, one of the lenses popping free from the tight frame. He gave another sob, moving on all fours to pick it up. Looking at the vulnerable, miserable child, the centaur sighed, and scanned the area once more for any predator. He couldn't very leave the pathetic whelp alone in the beast-infested forest in good conscious.
"What is your name?" He asked, and the child looked up, squinting.
"Harry," the boy responded suspiciously, "What's yours?"
"Redrick," he answered, "There, we are no longer strangers."
It seemed to cheer the child up, or at least, he was no longer crying.
"Could you disclose to me the location of your father?"
"Papa's at Hogsmeade 'cause he had a meeting, and Aunt Minny is baby-sitting me," Harry hiccupped, "but I didn' wanna take a nap, and I wanted to play, 'n now I'm lost."
The child seemed ready to weep again, and Redrick quickly interrupted his tears.
"Where do you live, Harry? Is it somewhere nearby, perhaps?"
"Me and Papa live in the big castle with Grandpa Dumbledore," Harry stated, standing up and walking closer to Redrick, gazing up at him with large emerald orbs, "do you know where it is?"
The centaur glanced at the bemused child's face, and reached down to encase the smaller one's hand in his own, "I believe I am familiar with the location."
With that, both the creature and little boy set off towards Hogwarts.
-Back to Hogwarts-
Minerva McGonagall does not panic. She was merely experiencing a strange bout of desperation in her continued search for Harry. She had looked everywhere in the bloody castle; beneath beds, in closets, behind suites of armor, abandoned classrooms, every nook and cranny was checked, double-checked, with no sign of Harry. She had even stopped by a multiple of portraits with questions of his whereabouts.
'Lot of bloody help they were,' she thought maliciously, marching towards the Headmaster's office, hoping that he would be aware of the child's location. She halted at the gargoyle, giving it a sneer that would make the resident Potions' Master proud.
"Buttercups," she growled. It whipped out of her way, revealing a cylinder of spiraling stairs. The irate Professor hurried along, entering the office without regard of any business that the Headmaster might be attending to. As she burst open the heavy double-doors, she froze in surprise at the two male figures inside; one she had expected, one she had not.
'Oh dear,' she thought, gazing at Severus Snape, also known as Harry's over-protective father, and caring provider.
"Severus," she said, both surprised and apologetic, "I thought you had business at Hogsmeade."
"It was cancelled," the sour man solemnly replied, raising a long, sculpted eyebrow at her tone. Both men were standing in the colorful, randomly decorated room, and Albus stepped out from behind his desk, genuinely concerned with his Transfiguration Professor's behavior.
"Now, Minerva was there something you needed to tell me?" he asked expectantly. She pursed her lips, giving Severus a guilty glance.
"Harry is missing," she answered gravely.
-To Redrick and Harry-
'This is the last time I attempt to offer any sort of assistance to a man-child,' Redrick thought, helplessly, 'who would of thought he would talk so much.'
For the last half hour, the child had prattled away, chatting animatedly about his amazing "Papa," and how much he had probably worried his "Aunt Minny," and "Grandpa Dumble." Redrick rolled his eyes skyward, breathing a sigh of relief when the trees began to break. At the forests end, however, he froze in momentary indecision, as he had never before left the cover of the forest. Harry seemed to sense his hesitation, looking at him with soulful green eyes.
"Are you feeling okay Mr. Redrick?" Harry asked politely, biting his lip at the thought of his hero feeling bad.
The centaur smiled indulgently at the silly fawn, assuring him he felt fine, before scanning the open area for an immediate threat. When he could glimpse nothing but the castle and poor weather, he continued across the soggy grass. They were about to meet the front entrance of the old building, when it was thrown open, and a desperate figure marched out quickly, an elderly man following quickly behind him. Both parties came to an immediate stop, silence howling along with the wind.
"Papa!" Harry cried, breaking the awkward moment, and making a dash toward his father. Snape met him halfway, enveloping him in a tight embrace. Then, he took Harry by the shoulders, taking in his appearance.
"You stupid, silly child! Do you have any idea how much you worried us?" The man said, hugging him once more in relief, before switching his attention to the centaur, "How?"
"He was wandering about my territory," Redrick explained, before turning to give the Headmaster a pointed stare, "I would appreciate it, sir, that in the future, you would keep your children from my forest, you know the dangers."
Dumbledore bowed deeply, his white whiskers brushing against the ground.
"Thank you, my friend; I will do my best to heed your advice. The Wizarding World owes you a great amount of gratitude, for without your intervention; we would not have only lost a savior, but also a beloved son and grandson."
Redrick nodded, pleased with the response, before turning to leave.
The centaur paused and glanced behind him, meeting Harry's gaze.
"Thanks," the child said, and Redrick smiled at the sincerity, before galloping back to the Forbidden Forest, and all the securities it gave him. After he departed, Severus lifted Harry into his arms, turning to Dumbledore.
"Albus, who was that?" the man demanded, eager to make sure his ward wasn't associating with the wrong type of centaur.
"That was Redrick Blackhoof," the Headmaster said, "Head Chief and Leader of the centaurs of the Forbidden Forest."
The elderly man chuckled softly at the turn of events.
"Our dear Harry certainly knows how to pick his friends."
Thank you for reading, I hope it was enjoyable. Please inform me of any grammar/spelling issues if spotted. (Sometimes, in a rush of typing, I switch of and the around, quite fantastically.)