This is a mere drabble from a longer fic idea my brain has been playing with. This is my first foray into Severitus, so please let me know what you think. Thanks a lot to Coffeeonthepatio for daring me to try this, and for the use of her Patronus idea from 'From the Corner', another excellent fic.

Severus Snape was not a pleasant man. He was not a patient man. He was not a happy man. And right now, as he stormed through the castle after last period with sixth year Gryffindor and Slytherins, he was a furious man. His forbidding form swept through the castle, cutting a swathe through the students milling around. He turned sharply into the Great Hall, took a fistful of green powder from his pocket and cast it into the great fireplace, following swiftly after.

He stepped out into a small but homely cottage. He dropped his black teaching robe onto a paisley patterned armchair and with it; his harsh demeanour fell away also. He took a deep cleansing breath and unbuttoned his frock coat. He walked into the kitchen in search of a glass of water, and found a note on the terracotta tiled table.


I have nipped out to Petunia's. Dudley is ill and I said I would do what I can for him. Dinner is in the oven and I will be back soon.


Severus sighed. Such was the state of his marriage these days. No 'Dear', no 'Love' nothing to show that the note was for her husband and not a friend or errant teenager. After the fall of the Dark Lord, and her consequent widowing, Lily had seemed happy to be marrying her childhood friend. Lately however, Severus wondered why she had wed him at all.

He slipped off his frock coat, dropping it into the laundry hamper with his cravat and gently opened a door in the hall into a dimly lit white painted room. There slumbering softly was a small boy of 9, with unruly dark hair and the slightest hint of a scar. His glasses sat on the bedside table, on top of his favourite comic 'Marvin the Mad Muggle.' The dim glow in the room came from the doe Patronus that Lily had left watching over her son while she ran to her sister's aid.

Severus sat carefully onto the boy's bed, tucking the blanket further over his shoulders with a slight wistful smile. By all accounts he should hate the boy. He was the ghost of his father, intruding on the new marriage. He was the image of a man who had tormented him throughout his schooldays. And yet, Severus had come to love the boy as his own. He had raised him from a baby, seen him take his first tentative steps, heard his first words, seen him ride a broom the first time, cleaned up his puke that time the Weasley child gave him Gastric flu. Even Lily's less than friendly treatment of him of late hadn't soured him to the boy. In fact, it was the boy's unconditional love that allowed Severus to endure the slights of the mother's rejection.

Young Harry loved his stepfather dearly, and promised to be a bright and attentive student when he stepped into his classroom two years hence. The boy would often sit by his stepfather's side while he brewed or wrote or read; chuntering on endlessly, or asking myriad questions. The poor boy still had no idea of the consequences of his scar, or what would be expected of him in years to come, and Severus hadn't the heart to spoil the innocent wonder in the dear child's eyes. He was well aware of the sacrifices he would be expected to make, and what he would be forced to endure to protect his stepson. And strangely, he found himself proud to step up to the plate.

"For you Harry. Always for you." Severus sighed, kissing the boy softly on his forehead and retreating into the misery of the cold, loveless bedroom.