This is a one-shot that I thought of and just demanded to be written, I quite like the idea and hope I managed to capture it as well as I wished.
Harry Potter; AU because Snape, being a potions master, had an antidote to Nagini and so lived. ... Read and Review, enjoy :) _ Chances _
Harry Potter; AU because Snape, being a potions master, had an antidote to Nagini and so lived.
... Read and Review, enjoy :)
_ Chances _
The room smelled of deeply of burnt asphodel and a hint of mint along with an array of disgustingness permeating throughout. The eight students in the room were all concocting their own potion, it had been a 'students choice' day, one in which it was quite obvious many had taken the easy route in choices. They were told to pick any one from the sixth year text. Hermione and Malfoy were the only two students who had chosen a complicated potion, Harry, Parkinson and Neville had chosen from the 'review' section of the fifth years set and the three ravens had chosen somewhat between the two groups.
Harry was seated beside Neville. They were, currently, in the last class before winter hols began. Most students had gone early as the weather had been terrible the past few weeks, to the point in fact, that Hogwarts staff had let all students wishing to go home for break leave on the nicest day in prediction of December, on the agreement that they had all work complete upon returning. Harry, Hermione and a few younger students of the Lions Den had stayed, all the seventh year Ravens that stayed were currently in the room, along with two of five Snakes. No one from the Yellow-and-Black house had stayed from their year.
It hadn't been a whole year since Voldemort had been defeated, Hogwarts had been rebuilt, and it was a redo of last year for everyone, minus the great mouldy-snake, of course. While many students had returned a good amount had stayed home with their families. Snape was still teaching Potions, though he was not the head of Slytherin as he had been 'too wounded during the battle to take on so much' according to both Flitwick and Poppy and his protests had been drowned out when Minerva had agreed. The job had since fallen to the new Defence teacher, one Spencer Thames, a former Snake and Auror who had fought in the latest war and had graduated under Snape. The two lions were both working quietly on their potions when the Potions Master stopped in front of their table.
"It figures. Given the opportunity you two would waste it," the silky tone of the Snake's voice caused both oblivious boys to jump, Harry and Neville both still getting used to the calm of life post-war, had leapt to their feet, knocking both cauldrons together and splashing their professor in one fluid moment. The smell of corroding flesh and the suddenly cut-off cry from their scarred teacher had both boys back in the 'now' while a Patronus sped off in the direction of the ceiling toward, assumably, the Headmistress and/or the Nurse for help.
"Odd, Potter, how we can survive a war, but not a potions class?" The past few months had been a more amicable time than any other in the halls of Hogwarts that anyone could remember, even the feud between the two houses that was near legendary had not only been put on the back-burner, but was almost forgotten. After all, they had fought on the same side at the end. It wasn't something you could forget, not in a year. Not in a lifetime. Even so, the blonde prat was just as snarky as always.
Harry was saved his answer by a scuffle from the pile of robes and dark fabric on the stones. Harry looked to the class, who seemed to take a unanimous step back, allowing for Harry to investigate. The scuffle turned into real movement as Harry uncovered a few layers of both robes and muggle clothing to reveal a tiny infant, who couldn't be older than 18 months, nor younger than 12. Harry swallowed, and as a tiny whimper was released from their Potions-Master-Turned-Infant, Harry picked him up, and the next few minutes were hectic as three important things happened at once.
One, was the immediate opening of the door to allow the admittance of two witches, the Headmistress McGonagall, and the Nurse Pomfrey. The quite gasp of both was barely audible in the silent room.
The second was the quick dismissal of all students from the room, barring both Harry and Neville, who were told to report to the Headmistress' office until she could get to them. As many students left, a vial of the potion that Malfoy collected while Harry picked up their professor, was handed over.
The final event was a whispered sentence that Harry overheard as he exited the classroom; one that chilled his blood almost as much as the events he had lived. "If this is a true De-Ageing, Minnie, then there may be nothing that can be done…"
- - The master in the Child - -
It was forty-three minutes later when a pale and tight-lipped woman walked briskly into the room and sat down, head falling to her hands. It was at least another before she rose and collected herself to speak.
"What potions were you working on?" Minerva McGonagall was seated behind the two students, the heavy wooden desk separating them. They were in the circular office that belonged to al headmasters and mistresses. The office had changed a lot since it came into her possession, namely there were no trinkets lying around, but the walls had even more books than it had before, though the paintings of predecessors were still present, including the previous Headmaster, Dumbledore.
"Page thirty-eight, Ma'am." Neville replied politely, looking sheepish and embarrassed. He had only joined the class because he had been informed that he would need it for a number of careers that he was looking at.
"The first of the review?"
"Are you asking, Mr. Potter, or telling?" McGonagall raised an eyebrow, a stern look on her face that was mirrored in every painting as the previous 'moulders-of-young-minds' looked at them, a fleeting thought of the look being a job-requirement passed through Harry's mind before he flushed at the comment.
"Telling." Nodding, she looked down into her clasped hands a top her desk. Neville looked distinctly uncomfortable. He was staring at his shoes. Harry turned his head to the floor, also. "Is he okay?"
"He is fine, you are both dismissed. Thank you." Her expression did not change as Neville stood and nearly ran from the room, no doubt to tell Ginny of what had occurred. Ever since they had stayed in the Room of Requirement together things between them had changed. They weren't 'together' but may as well be, war changed people, Harry knew that. Though the Weasley's hadn't been too happy that he and Ginny would not be making up, they were happy enough, considering. He and Ginny had experienced too much, too fast, they were no longer the same people, they were very, very different. Neville was good for her now, Harry wasn't. He was still plagued by nightmares, intricate plots and imagery of 'what could have been' were all that Harry could deal with right now, perhaps it was his 'saving people' thing, but he wasn't ready for any kind of relationship, and Ginny… she craved it. She craved a family of her own, a life, she wanted everything put behind her right now, and Harry… he couldn't.
Harry waited until he heard the grating of the gargoyle allowing Neville to leave before he turned his eyes back up to his old head of house, seeing as how she had given the role to the Care of Magical Creatures professor, Hagrid, (with Hermione's help since next year she would be replacing Binns as the History of Magic teacher, and becoming the Head of Gryffindor), as she was now the Headmistress, Harry swallowed thickly. "What happened? What's going to happen to him?"
"Don't blame yourself, Harry. It wasn't just the potion spill, the… mixture reacted with the potions already in his system that Poppy gave him." Her Scottish brogue trembled, "he will not.. There is nothing we can do to revert him."
Harry turned his eyes about the room, not knowing what to say. Both Professors had come along way, despite their differences in age, opinions and views, they had had a tentative friendship of sorts, especially in the past few years. Harry's eyes drifted to the empty perch of Fawkes. The Phoenix had disappeared and reappeared after Dumbledore's death, and then the battle. There were rumours a plenty, no one was certain as to why he had not bonded to one of the staff especially McGonagall, one rumour stated the bird had belonged to Godric Gryffindor, and had since belonged to each Headmaster/mistress, though that rumour was shut down quickly by many paintings, ghosts and teachers stating that the bird had belonged to Dumbledore, never to any other who worked at the school. Many students had failed in attempts to summon the bird, though he had been seen many times through out the past few months, both in Hogsmead and the school.
"What's going to happen to him?"
"Harry… I.. Do not know." the headmistress seemed to sag even further.
"What about Potions? Slughorn…?"
"I was thinking of a certain student who had never completed, but made his work through potions." A small smile lit her face, though did not reach her eyes.
"George? It may…. Be good for him." both nodded, since Fred's death the whole family had been on hold, the shop had been destroyed in the fighting, he had holed himself up at the Burrow. The overbearing trying of Molly Weasley was only making things worse but they were both attempting to deal with the loss in their own way. They shared a look, a remembrance of laughter, pranks, of before was shared in that single look. Though both had hopes for the boy, they knew it was a very, very slim chance that he would take the job, knowing that he wanted to re-open Weasleys Wizarding Weazes.
The quiet talking was halted as the green light of the floo spread through the room, a wavering wail and Poppy Pomfrey's voice floated to the desk, "Minnie? Will you step through, please?"
Before the light died from the floo-call, both Lions were up and rushing to the fireplace. With a 'look' at Harry, 'Minnie' allowed both Harry and herself, to pass through the fire into the infirmary.
The wailing only grew louder as they stepped into the immaculate (as always) medical wing. Madam Pomfrey stood before them, a frustrated look on her face. Harry craned his head about her as he caught a glimpse of a bed with bars raised that was obviously housing the baby-Snape. Harry missed the look pass between the two witches as Pomfrey bustled passed him, pulling the Headmistress into her office.
Harry dimly noted the closing of the door to the office in the same way he dimly noted himself walking to the crying infant, just as he thought vaguely that Pomfrey could have just silence the boy. Harry stopped just beyond the bars, looking down at the howling Potions-Master-Bane-Of-Harry's-Hogwarts'-Years. The white bed had high ribs raised, keeping the baby inside. Harry stepped closer, his torso pressed against the 'crib'. The baby was screaming his little face purple, eyebrows scrunched into his still-large nose as his mouth was wide open, showing a few little teeth. Little fists pumped and swung at imaginary targets while feet kicked them. He was dressed in a deep emerald jumpsuit, little cauldrons puffing out wisps of different coloured smoke at random intervals in an impossible to discern pattern. Harry had a quick thought that could not register, that his Professor was cute, in a screaming-baby kind of way.
As the howl raised in pitch, causing Harry to wince, he just reached out to pick the baby up, just as Remus had taught him with Teddy, before he widowed his wife and left Teddy fatherless. Harry cuddled him to his chest for the second time. Slowly the fat tears that tracked down his chubby cheeks slowed and the fists tightened around Harry's robes. Harry felt the little head tilt back, and looking down, Harry's green eyes met bright deep-brown, almost black eyes. The Baby seemed to search Harry's expression, his eyes, before, evidently, finding what he had been looking for, because he settled down and laid his head across Harry's shoulder.
Walking about the room, Harry felt the little baby fall into an exhausted slumber. The quiet of the room was broken as an incredulous Madam Pomfrey exited her office to see Harry carrying the baby-potions-master. Harry paused and tilted his head, copying the baby's movement, and looked at the two witches.
"I spend…! And he! Why!" The babbling of the Medi-witch caused a chuckle from the headmistress.
"Harry, please come into the office, we have to talk." Minerva dragged her friend back into the office, Harry followed, a sleeping Snape in his arms.
The oddness of the situation made Harry want to laugh, Snape being cuddled by him!
The office was large, a second chair had been conjured for Harry by McGonagall, as they sat while Pomfrey went about a small yellowed desk. The room had books, both Wizard and Muggle, as well as paintings and equipment about the room that Harry could neither place nor name. One had a woman who had bright yellow hair and robes. With her back to them, Harry could not place the witch.
"Harry? How did you quiet Severus?" The done-babbling woman asked, shock evident in both her posture and voice.
"I picked him up?" Harry looked puzzled from one witch to the other.
"I tried that!" Poppy glared at the wall, turning to look at the woman beside Harry who was hiding a snicker. "I think Sevvie just prefers Harry!"
A pause, and all three had to laugh. If that had have been said just one, short, hour ago, everything had been entirely different. Harry was the first to stop, the baby in his arms had made a slight sound, which had brought Harry back to the 'now'. Now, there was a baby, another 'orphan' because of him. Not the war, or at least not just. Harry tightened his grip, this baby had no scars like the man had, he bore no resentment to the world yet. This baby was blank, he was waiting still, for his life.
Minerva's laughter turned into crying and she excused herself. Pomfrey stopped soon after, tears evident in her eyes, also. "He… He's 15 months. Fitting." Harry had a brief look of confusion before she spoke again, "he has no memories, none. He… will never be the Severus Snape we all knew… he's… just a baby."
With those parting words the woman followed McGonagall out of her own office, leaving Harry with the baby alone.
Harry looked down at the sleeping tear-streaked face of the infant. This morning, the baby had been a dour Potions Master. This afternoon, a baby, with no recollection of the life he had lived, nothing to show for all his hard life. Nothing, but a baby, that contained all the promise of all babies. Harry pulled him tighter, standing and exiting the room, only to find McGonagall outside the door, Pomfrey on the bed nearest, sitting.
"I'll watch him. I'll be back after dinner?"
The shock on both witches face showed how little they had expected this. Maybe it was that 'Saving people' thing acting up again, but right now, Harry wanted to hold the infant of the man who had had a worse childhood than Harry's own. While Harry had been neglected, starved and overworked, locked away in a cupboard when not needed like a common appliance; Snape had grown up in a household where he had been beaten by is own father, he was given no respite, where as Harry had had Hogwart's, James's group had made that impossible for Snape. As Harry'd been told, they were similar.
"Alright… I'll see you back here. Right after dinner?" McGonagall had shared a look with her long-time friend before answering, both giving the other an imperceptible nod before giving the 'okay'.
- - A Baby in our Midst - -
The Gryffindor common room was shocked, that is to say the least. Harry had walked in holding the baby-Snape and sat down in an armchair, the baby beginning to wake. Neither had been seen as they walked throughout the castle since leaving the Infirmary. That had been two hours previous. Dinner was to be served in less than that. The infant let out a little yawn as he woke. Black eyes opening to the garish scarlet and gold common room. Harry smiled down at him and, as the baby mirrored his expression, Harry had the same thought as before. The little one was quite cute.
A burbled giggle came from the infant before a familiar person stood before the two of them. "Is that Snape?"
"Yeah, 'Mione. He's stuck like this due to mine and Neville's potion mix which combined to something Pomfrey had given him." Harry bounced his knee, the little boy manoeuvring into a sitting position, Harry's hands on his waist and back.
"Stuck?" Hermione's eyes widened as she looked between the two, obviously not sure. The other two lions in their year, Ron and Neville, walked closer. Ginny followed along with a few younger years who wanted a look at the baby. A few whispers of 'Aw' and disbelief over the identity were heard.
Harry nodded and continued bouncing the baby. Neville looked apologetic, but was dragged away by the uninterested Ginny. Ron looked at the baby with shock. "What is that?"
Harry looked at Ron, annoyed. Before he could tell Ron that Snape was a 'who' not a 'what' his girlfriend smacked him. "It's a baby, Ronald!"
Laughter echoed about the room, causing the baby to copy the students. One of the younger years moved closer catching a hand in her own. "Why is he with you, Harry?"
Sounds died out, the room waiting for the answer, which was not what any of them expected; "why not?" Harry asked her back.
The rest of the time before dinner was spent with Harry conjuring toys (along with most of the staying Lions) for Baby-Snape to play with. Hermione transfigured a sock into a little snake for the baby, and a large amount of blocks seemed to appear that distracted the students more than the baby. Harry played with the Snake along with 'Sevvie' as he had heard Madam Pomfrey call the baby, which he had called him and so had the other Lions.
Sevvie had put the stuffed snake on Harry's head and had pointed and made Harry carry him and the toy in 'piggy-back' rides all through the common room, Hermione had even help by sticking both Baby-Snape to Harry's shoulders and the snake to his head as 'precautions'. They 'jumped' over brides and citied made by the Lions while dancing with Neville and Hermione and fighting with Ron.
As Dinner was about to begin the entire house (consisting of about eleven students) made a line of 'Follow the Leader' into the Great Hall, collecting the six Badgers who had stayed and four of the fifteen Ravens as well as two of the five Snakes. Professor Flitwick had been passing when he was 'swept-up' as he claimed, by a few of his Ravens. The baby on Harry's shoulders pointer and determined most of the movements as he pulled on Harry's hair. The large group made quite the scene, arriving nearly ten minutes late into the Hall due to the route taken. As they entered a particularly loud giggle ad a cry of 'Up!' had Harry hopping with the 'followers' following. Harry felt a sharp tug to the left and turned as the group continued their 'hop' into the room. The silence and then laughter as the staff and students already in the hall caught on to what was happening was deafening.
They made a loop about the hall, in which most of the remaining students and Staff joined in. Hagrid had taken up the rear and soon everyone was sitting at the one large students table that had been replacing the four 'house-tables' ever since September first. The wooden table had different coloured benches if you wished to sit in a specific house though many did not use them. Harry sat down when he was directed as a loud giggle of 'dere!' told him to plop next to Hermione.
As everyone settled down Harry realised that that was the first time that the school had felt happy, had felt at peace since before Dumbledore's death. Harry had to smile and went with his urge to place a happy kiss on Severus' head as the baby sat in his lap swinging a spoon. Harry found himself silent in the boisterous room, excitement over Christmas was clear, as was the glee from everyone, even if they weren't showing it (The snakes above fourth year). His fingers holding Sev tightened as they trembled, his eyes took on a teary sheen as he smiled and pretended the world was right. While his act wore on, after dinner and into dessert, Sev had slowly became quieter, Harry had become almost lost in his own memories. His first Christmas, real that is, back in First year with the twins and Ron and his only season with Sirius. Harry could see the Stone walls of the Ministry of Magic's department of mysteries clear in his mindscape. The table, friends and food disappeared; it was just him watching his godfather falling through the Veil.
Harry fought to breathe as the walls began to close around him. The only light seemed to come from millions of tiny little wisps reaching for his Padfoot, each one condemning him, blaming him for the death, thanking him for it.
Harry blinked and looked down. The wisps were receding, the light shining from the young boy in his arms. Severus looked up at him and, slowly, voices came through his mind, cutting away the scene that he had been stuck in. The baby made a delighted sound and pointed at Hermione who was talking animatedly with Hagrid. "Mi'mmy!"
"Yes! That is 'Mione, do you want to say hullo?" Harry cuddled the baby into his chest, picking him up from his lap. Trying to hold the baby against himself as a physical barrier between the memories and himself. He dropped another little butterfly kiss to the drk mop of hair, almost as messy as his own was. Harry whispered a thank you as he walked around the table toward his friends. The baby shouting at the kiss and nonsense to Harry seeing as he really couldn't decipher it.
"Mr. Potter? Remember, back to the infirmary when you are done, please." Headmistress McGonagall smiled at the two boys as they walked passed; turning once again to speak with her colleagues.
"Harry!" Hermione slid over on the bench, welcoming the dark-haired boys to sit between her and the half-giant. Hagrid looked at the baby sheepishly before excusing himself, saying he had some babies of his own to see to. "The Niffler eggs are to hatch tonight,"
"My'mee!" the little boy shouted, leaning toward her and away from Harry. Both shared a look at the incredulous situation they found themselves in, one that had no cure it seemed. Harry caught a glimpse of the dour potions master in the child when he glared back at him.
"Hey! What did I do?" Harry huffed. Hermione rolled her eyes as the baby crossed his arms. The glare didn't change, causing Harry to stifle his laughter at the imagery of his old teacher and the baby. "Do you want to leave?"
While the glare didn't change the boy began struggling in Hermione's arms. A cross look crossed her face, "Here," she handed the child back. "Why not walk around with him? He's probably bored, we've been sitting here for almost two hours already, he must be tired."
Standing with Sev in his arms, Harry took Hermione's advice and walked in a circle. Hermione offered to walk him to the Infirmary. He looked around, most of the students still in the hall, same for the teachers, the only ones missing were the headmistress, Hagrid, Flitwick and Thames. And Snape, though Severus was here. Harry fought another wave of uncertainty about the baby, about the day that had passed. "That's okay, 'Mione, we can manage, right Sevvie?" Harry directed to the half-asleep baby on his hip, head tucked onto his shoulder. Chuckling Harry waved to the Hall, "You're needed here, we're down enough teachers as is."
The walk to the Hospital Wing was slow. Harry wasn't dragging his feet, per se, more like walking slow so not to wake the baby. By the time he got there they had passed a number of portraits who had just had to be spoken to for minutes about meaningless drivel as Harry's inner 'Snape' said. The brightly lit room had the four teachers sitting at what Harry could only say must have been a transfigured bed into a nicely coloured table made of the same wood as Pomfrey's office's desk was made of. McGonagall sat directly facing the door, Pomfrey and Flitwick on either side and, surprisingly, Thames was beside Pomfrey.
"Sorry, he fell asleep." Harry slid into the remaining chair at the small table, moving Sev from his hip onto his lap, one of the tiny cauldrons on the suit blowing a bright red series of smoke circles from his shoulder.
"Harry, Thames is an accomplished Potions Journeyman." McGonagall said, taking a sip from her cup of tea. Another cup was passed to Harry, steam curling off the top.
"Oh… Okay?" confusion coloured his answer.
Chuckling, Thames smiled a pointy smile, "Gryffindors. She means I can take over for the Baby in your arms. While I am not a master, I am quite good. Even Professor Snape had said so."
The cryptic words of McGonagall clicked. The semi-exasperated look on Thames' face reminded him of the looks Mr. Weasley would give his children. Harry flushed pink and nodded, "But what about Defence?"
"That, Mr. Potter, is what everyone is here for." Flitwick informed him.
"Not for Sevvie?"
"Afterwards, yes, but not right now. Did you not teach your underground classes during fifth year? And did you not teach your friends before, and after, that?" McGonagall's voice was swift, cutting Harry off as soon as his words had finished. The looks from the table told Harry that what he had surmised was correct.
"You want me to teach defence? I'm a student!" Harry's voice rose in pitch, this day could not get odder from his perspective.
"That is the plan."
"I'm still a student!"
"And the most qualified. How often have you helped Prof. Thames this year?" McGonagall eyed him as though this was all formalities, that it was decided. Which, knowing what Harry knew, it probably was. "Didn't you beat him in a duel earlier this term?"
"That's not teaching! Besides-" Harry was cut off as Severus made a small whine, eyes scrunching unhappily as he turned his face toward Harry's armpit. Calming down Harry looked at his old Head of House, "Hermione and Ron both helped me."
"I'll help, and from what I heard they only helped with planning." Spencer Thames was sitting much like a smart Lockhart before him. His hair was just above the nape of his neck, tight curls that reminded Harry of Sirius. The man looked a lot like he imagined his godfather would have had he not gone to Azkaban, and had lighter hair, eyes and skin. The man was nice enough though, not as strict as Snape or McGonagall but no where near as favouriting towards his house. He was more like Flitwick in that aspect.
"What about my classes?" Harry turned back after giving the man a nod.
"You won't be able to attend them, but you are a good student, if you wish to take the NEWTs at the end of the year, you may, but this is a job offer, one that would have been made as soon as you were finished exams anyway." the headmistress told Harry. Eyes falling to the sleeping baby. "You have until Sunday night to decide. Professor Thames has already offered you his help, and you will have mine and Flitwick's as well."
Both teachers nodded, talking amongst themselves as Harry turned to his own tumultuous thoughts. On one hand, he had found it fun back in Year Five, but full time? He wouldn't be a student anymore. On another, he wouldn't have to go to classes or deal with the fake-life he had been living since the war. He could begin anew, not pretend as though he hadn't changed.
"What about Sevvie?" Harry looked up, mildly surprised to see that only Minerva and Poppy were present.
"What do you mean?" he had a feeling the smart witch was playing stupid with her answer. "Poppy will continue trying to remedy his predicament, until then he will be staying here, at least for the holidays."
Nodding Harry stood, tired. "Will you look after him, just for the weekend?" McGonagall smiled at his expression of disbelief. "He likes you."
Harry nodded. "I'll show you to my old Quarters. If you accept the Defence position you may keep them. They have another entrance near both the Defence and Transifguration class rooms if you need any help."
They padded through the halls, stopping before a painting of a trio of cats rolling at the feet of a sitting wizard, his robes as garish as the late-Headmaster's had been. The man squinted his pale yellow eyes at them a thin mouth similar to the woman beside Harry frowned as he picked the kittens up and set them on his lap. "Aren't you a little young for children? Where did you find this one, Minnie?"
"He's Harry Potter, Baies. He'll be staying here with Severus Snape, the babe in his arms, for the weekend; if not longer. Now, Florencia mobilius." with a dramatic eye-roll the painting opened, allowing the three to enter.
The entrance opened into a great room, assumably the living room. Book shelves lined the walls in a deep ochre, a cream coloured couch and chair set took most of the space. There was a table the same colour as the shelves between the chair and couch, the polished surface unmarred by use. The walls were a pleasant stone while the floor was wood paneling. Harry looked at the one Painting above a fireplace opposite the couch, angular to the chair, where a fire was already roaring merrily, the painting was a plain view of the Hogwarts grounds, showing a bit of the pitch and lake, the background the Forest.
"If you are needed, Baies can appear in that painting, as can many others." Minerva walked passed Harry and Sevvie toward a hallway branching off the room. "This door," she pointed to the first door on the right of the hallway, "is the bathroom. That's the kitchen and dining area," she pointed left, to another room off the hall they were currently in that was kitty-corner to the bathroom. "these two doors are the bedrooms. They are only furbished with a desk, wardrobe and bed at the moment. The elves with bring anything else you require. There is a crib in the one on the right for the time being." she gestured to the two doors, one on the left, one on the right, both the same soft wooden tone of the bathroom door. "That room is an office. It can connect to any classroom but is not at the moment." that door had a darker colour to it.
"Wow… Thank you, Professor." Harry opened the door on the left, a white crib and changetable ensemble was set in the far corner, a window charmed to look over the Quidditch pitch covered almost the whole wall. Setting the sleeping Snape into the crib, Harry whispered goodnight before turning back to McGonagall.
"If you do not feel comfortable leaving him on his own in here, call for an elf to move a bed in here for now." She smiled warmly. "I hope you take the job, you are far from a student, Harry."
She was gone. Harry stood in the room, listening to the breathing of himself and of Sevvie. After a while he whispered for a house elf. When she appeared, introducing her self as 'Cedar' and quickly setting him up with a bed, he quickly drifted off into a restful sleep, one of the first he had had in years.
- - - Beginnings? - - -
There was a whimper, a small sound the permeated the air around Harry. He cracked open an eye, unsure of what had woken him… there? The sound was a definite whimper. Almost like one of Ms. Figgs cats… again? Harry sat up, the world blurry and dark as he struggle to pinpoint his location. The walls weren't that of his dorm, nor was there the constant noice of the slumbering teens that had surrounded him ten of twelve months since he was eleven, minus the time he had been gone last year, that is.
"Sevvie!" Harry's mind connected the last of the puzzle pieces, the small child with slightly messy, just-passed-ear length hair (well on it's way to being as long as before the De-Aging) was sleeping, or had been, just across the room. "Sev?" He scrambled to the baby's bedside. The dark-eyed child looked up at him, a few stray tears leaking down his rounded cheeks, the sharpened angles gone with age, the child lifted his arms, another whimper escaping him. "Come on, little guy, there we go…"
An odd scent assailed Harry's nose and he realised what he hadn't done the night before, something he had hated with Teddy the few times he had done it. Sevvie needed his diaper changed. Whispering a 'lumos' that lit the room in a soft bluish glow, he set Sev down on the change-table; a fresh nappy instantly appearing as he did so, as well a powder he recognized by scent as Baby Powder. The baby fought Harry as he undid the pyjamas Sev had worn all day to get to the nappy, barely restraining the boy Harry wasn't certain if he had gained a new bruise or two from the sharp little heels the boy had.
It was only after he had finished and redressed the worn-out baby that Harry remembered a spell he had witnessed Tonks perform on her son numerous times when she didn't wish to change him. Sighing tiredly Harry set the baby back only to hear another whimper before his back was even turned as he began to go to his own bed. "What now?" he groaned, internally; hoisting the baby once more into his arms.
Twenty minutes of pacing about the teacher's quarters had Harry debating the job offer and his future. He had even made a list as to why he 'should' go for the position.
He didn't fit in, not with the students and not with his friends anymore. (But he never had.)
He (honestly) loved teaching, helping his friends, students. (Even if he had had a lot of help with the D.A)
It would keep him from joining the Aurors. (Even if it would be more monotonous.)
He didn't want to be an Auror. (He didn't know 'what' he wanted, though, except that that not doing it would break everyones expectations of him.)
He wanted to stay at his home, Hogwarts. (Even if she wasn't the same, exactly, as before.)
He'd never have to see the Dursleys again. (Either way, though.)
Sighing Harry noticed Severus had fallen asleep and that, hopefully would stay that way, and he meandered back into their room for some much welcomed rest, the sun beginning to peak above the quidditch pitch, lightening the room as he 'noxed' the magical light away.
- - - Sunday - - -
"Where's the fiery knight, on his white horse?" Harry cooed as he pointed to a page of the book he was currently reading to Severus. There was a large white horse taking up most of the page, while a knight who was actually ignited by flames was sitting atop it, a great Lance in his hand, the sky a deep purple while the grass was a garish rainbow. Harry thought the old Headmaster would love a set of pretty robes made of the myriad of colours and patterns from the grass.
They were sitting in the living room of the Quarters, breakfast had just ended and both Hermione and Neville had joined him in the rooms, discussing what had made the 'local' news, or, as Harry put it, the job offer from Headmistress McGonagall. He had told them during the meal along with Luna and Ron, the latter of whom, had gone of in a jealous huff about being the unfairness of his life compared to anyone else's.
Currently, the two Lions were watching Harry read a small childrens story book Hermione had transfigured from a few tissues. It was a replica of one she had had when she was younger that she said she remembered. It didn't make much sense and the three adults had had a good laugh when, after the first few pages, the story, which had been about a devious mouse and cookies, was suddenly about a cookie monster and then switched to a mouse fighting a dragon while a knight was lost in the wood, which was what Harry was currently on.
Harry had flipped pages and, upon seeing the delightedly confused Severus, had interjected his own story between pages to allow some semblance of a story rather than nonsense. It apparently was working as Severus pointed to a horse that was actually carrying a knight in flames, a large lance in his hand while he was facing away from the battle, the forest around his concealing the mouse and dragon from him, somehow.
Harry was so engrossed with his charge that he was the only one not to notice the appearance of McGonagall and Pomfrey, both of whom stood there in silence, watching and listening to the story as the next page revealed a caterpillar who was happily munching on a cookie that the mouse was searching for. Harry claimed they had been eaten by the dragon and met the Caterpillar, who had been eaten the day before, and were almost done their journey as there was the Magical Cookie!
"As fantastic as the story is, Mr Potter, Mme. Pomfrey would like to check up on our resident infant, please."
Started Harry's head shot up, the book almost falling into said baby. His face flushing a pink colour that matched Luna's radish earrings. "Of course, I'm sorry, Professor."
"For what?" Pomfrey queried as Harry set the book upon the table and hoisted himself and Severus off the floor, approaching his elders, a pink face and avoiding their eyes, appearing to be concentrating on the child.
The medi-witch took the child and holding him in her left hand she began to cast Diagnostic spells on little Sevvie. Unfortunately the young wizard didn't like having a stick waved about him and began a slow wail, building up for a major ear-splitter. Fists pumping and reaching for anything he could get his hands on, Harry winced. Even the tiny animated cauldrons on his pyjamas seemed in agreement with their wearer as they bubbled and frothed in an angry (Gryffindor) colour. Finally; however, the witch deemed done and handed him back to Harry.
Rubbing slow circles on the young toddlers back Harry calmed Sev down to a low cry, large tear drops still slipping from his eyes. "What did you find?"
"Other than confirming my earlier findings, nothing, fortunately." Mme Pomfrey smiled, taking a seat on one of the armchairs across from Hermione and Neville, McGonagall conjuring another for herself near the door. "He has been properly De-Aged. There will be no more of the Severus Snape we all knew, for good or worse."
"But wasn't he the greatest Potions Master in all of Britain?" Hermione's shocked outcry had Neville showing a blatantly relieved, though apologetic expression.
"He was, Miss Granger." McGonagall gave her a mournful smile.
"What will happen to Professor… To Severus, now?" Neville spoke, interrupting what was sure to be a diatribe from Hermione on the loss they now had.
"Well, I suppose for the time-being he will stay here." McGonagall gave a stern look to the three students, "It is, afterall, what we should do for him. He'd like to be raised by people he knows. Even if he doesn't remember."
Harry was silent, Severus was quiet in his arms, playing with the collar of his shirt. He knew he-
"Mr. Potter?" a voice shattered his thoughts before he could get a grip on what they were.
"I'm sorry, I was just thinking. I'm going to go for a walk, is it alright if I take Sev? I think he would like to see the grounds," in his mind he was picturing the snow about the lake and showing the area to the boy.
"Of course! Are you feeling alright, though?" McGonagall looked at the two of them, her sharp eyes looking for any signs in Harry, Pomfrey alerted and searching him as well.
"You can stay here, we'll be back soon, by lunch time I think."
"Have fun you two, and yes, if you don't mind we will stay here. I can speak to these two about next year until you return."
Harry nodded, he remembered Neville was going to apprentice under Professor Sprout to become the new Herbology teacher when she retired when he was finished his training. Unlike defence and history that was a much more 'hands-on' (you'll kill yourself and others if you don't know what your doing) job that he would be apprenticing a few years before he took a test (which he'd probably pass now) and then he would take over as the Herbology teacher. Harry wasn't sure what they would be doing for the Head of Hufflepuff since Neville was a lion, not a badger, but he had always thought Nev would have been good in that house too.
- - - Not All Fun and Games - - -
The grounds were chilly, Harry had conjured a bright yellow suit, to the detriment of Sev's mood until they had begun to play and he forgot of the hated colour he was wearing, and a bright blue coat for himself; along with black mitts and boots for the both of them. They were, currently, attempting to make a snow man.
Sev toddled beside Harry, providing encouragement, and attempting to help out whenever he could. They had the base ball already complete. It was taller then Sev was, not quite circular, but close enough.
The ball they were currently rolling was only at Sev's knees, barely half of what they needed. Harry wanted to have two large balls, and a few sticks for arms. He was hoping to be able to conjure a top-hat for the snow-man, while letting his charge add the facial features.
When the ball was done, and set upon the other ball, Harry had to lift a very excited Sev up onto the balls. Harry mused that this young Snape was more excitable due to his age, knowing what he did about the Professor's childhood from the Legilimency and talks with Remus and Sirius, had his train of thought believing that the boy hadn't had a chance to do anything 'fun' or childlike in a long time. He knew the boy had been beaten at home, bullied and tortured at school, and really had had only one friend; who he felt he had betrayed all those years. Harry guessed that most of the bitterness was from those things, but the quiet, solitude-liking disposition was more something he had been born with. Harry laughed as the young toddler waved his hands, happily sitting just at Harry shoulder height.
It wasn't so funny after Harry had conjured sticks for arms, told Sev that he needed to get off so they could add the snowmans face where he was sitting, and, once done, they both stepped back to see their final product.
And suddenly it was alive. The snowman began to move about them, a slow dance of the two balls of snow, the tiny stick arms and cheery face happily moving toward them in a not-so-straight path.
"Did you do that Sev?" Harry gasped, shocked at the sudden Accidental magic the boy had performed, though he shouldn't have been, they do call it 'accidental' magic or a reason.
"Yeea!" the boy reached 'up' to the snowman, Harry just barely lifting him up before the 'snowman' could. The face seemed to turn angry as it turned to the two of them, reaching determinedly for the child.
"Can you make him… back to snow?" Harry took a few steps back, the animated balls of snow jumping forward, still jerking it's 'arms' to hold Severus, it's 'creator'. "I think he needs to be taller… don't you?" the young boy denied and just happily watched from Harry's arms.
The balls of snow leapt forward again, making Harry leap back to keep the boy from being ripped from his arms, a slight cry escaping him. Harry almost lost his footing as he turned and began a slow run through the hard, deep snow. The snowman followed them.
Harry was running for the doors, happy to see Luna with her gleaming white-blonde hair exiting, a long red-headed Weasley next to her. The two girl both stood shocked and Harry realised they must make quite a sight, him holding Severus Snape, albeit in a baby's form and void of all memories and life he had had before, but still a Snape, running from an animated Snow man, determined to hold the baby. Harry knew that he could turn around and, hopefully, have time to cast a 'Finite' on the snow, but he didn't want to risk Severus, unsure of what the Sticks and snow would do.
"Harry!" the blonde girl cried out just before he felt the icy cold of the snow near his back, he took all the magic he could gather in his hands, just like with the Protego or Patronus charms, and set it around the baby, hoping to keep him from harm, before everything went black, icy and heavy.
A wail was heard just before he fell completely unconscious.
- - Lost without A Light to Lead Me - -
The darkness was receding. There was an echo of light around Harry, as if he was on that Platform when he died. The light was pulsing, darker and darker, exactly like an echo fading the longer it went on. Harry laid there unable to move though not worried.
He was devoid of emotions, it wasn't like the first time, where he was thinking of the war, it wasn't like anything save for, perhaps, the darkest nights at the Dursleys. It was numbing, the slowly darkening pulse of light was neither irritating or comforting; it, like everything else, was unimportant.
The stone beneath him was not felt, the air not moving with his breath, the pulse unchanging in its odd pattern; it was just Harry.
Eventually a few memories returned to him, the first meeting back in Madam Malkims with the pointy-faced little scion of a 'pure-blooded' elitist. Harry recalled, in turn, the meetings of Hermione, both before and during the troll incident, the was the Weasleys helped him onto the strange Platform 9¾ and the meetings of both Remus and Sirius. He remembered their deaths, no longer in turn, as first the strange Veil took Sirius and then the war took Remus, Fred, he saw Dumbledore fall, he saw Snape attacked by Nagini; pull forth the antidote to her venom from within his robes where it had lain for years in wait, he saw his parents, he watched his mother crying for mercy on him… He saw the death of strangers… he saw the beginning of the weird slideshow begin again, this time with his meeting of the snake from the zoo. He watched it all repeat, different images and scenes mixed throughout the more familiar ones. He saw it without passion, devoid of feeling he stared, a mild pang making the strange lights falter, dim just a little more, the echo falling slower, the dim Platform now encased in darkness more often than it was lit by the pulse of fading light.
Like ripples in the water the light came, bringing the pictures of his life, the good and the bad, life and death, memories or impressions, dreams or reality.
Harry blinked slowly, a feeling of… something making it's way through the numbed fog he was in; it was unpleasant, but wanted. He looked at the picture the echo brought, it was of Hermione and Ron fighting, he felt… relieved to see them. He blinked again, it was dark. The pulse was steady, growing a bit, but not enough. He felt the strange feeling diminish before the numbness took over once more. As though it had never been there both the slideshow and the feeling receded fully, allowing only the pulsing light echo throughout the Platform as Harry sunk deeper into the numbed feeling, welcoming it.
He opened his eyes, the same echo of light, now fainter, barely outlined the walls nearest him, a dim picture trailing on each pulse. He saw the same memories, only intertwined were impressions that left lingering feelings on Harry, left him not-so numb, made the light flare just enough to make out the outline of stone.
He saw his hated professor become a child, become an infant. He saw the animated snowman; he saw the fall of Sirius; he watched as a happy Neville and Ginny made their way onto the grounds over the bright grass of the summer, the blood and gore cleaned up from the battle just weeks, maybe months, ago.
Harry felt the pulse grow stronger, each light blinked harder, flaring the room quickly with bright light.
The room seemed white with the light, no longer just an echo it was the wave; crashing into everything, illuminating every part of both Harry and the Platform.
With the light came not just one picture or scene, but came all. Harry was surrounded by blurry, rapidly moving and white scenes. The light encompassing them all around Harry.
With the new visuals came sound, none of it important until he heard a shocked outcry from a little boy who had no one, who was exactly as he had been just moment, or perhaps days, earlier; numb… alone… dying…
- - - Awake, Finally. - - -
"Harry!" A loud, feminine, voice screamed through his thoughts, all but one dominant thought. "You're awake!"
"Wh-" his voice cracked, sounding hoarse and strained. He swallowed, tried again, "Sev?"
The room was obviously the Medi-witches lair, the pristine scent, the white look and the urge to 'Get-Out' all too familiar to Harry in his young years. He was being pushed down, he could hear perhaps five voices, perhaps more, he could feel at least three different hands on his body, holding him down. He could seen the blurry shapes of three people, a tallish one topped with grey, a squatter, also grey shape and a bright brown one, he knew one was Hermione, the first voice he had heard.
The sounds all stopped, the lights began to fade. He fuzzily made out a final statement, quieting the rest on his own.
"He's asleep, Harry…"
- Decisions. -
"Ah! You're awake, Harry!" the voice cheered from his bedside, a happy noise accompanying it.
"Se-Sev?" Harry cracked open his eyes, greeted by the same sights as yesterday, the same white space that was indistinguishable in details to his eyes, the same bright feeling and the exact same voice. "'Mione?"
"An' Tev!" that happy voice called out.
Harry tried to sit up, the hands that held him down the previous time now lifting him, helping him to sit and wake up. "How are you feeling? You've been out for a few hours… your heart stopped beating for a minute…" Hermione's voice trailed off.
Harry looked around the blurry room, unable to see anyone but the shapes or Hermione and the dark blob of Severus. "Did I?" He held out his hands for the baby, seeing him leaning toward the bed and him.
"Here," she handed both Severus and a glass of water to Harry, "Madam Pomfrey couldn't find anything wrong though, once the…uhm…" she trailed of, her face too far away for Harry to make-out the amused (though relieved) expression she wore.
Harry cuddled the baby close, he drank the whole glass through slow, steady sips, having been told often enough to slow-down after he first woke up. He could hear footsteps approaching, most likely alerted by either Hermione or a monitoring spell that he had awoken. "What time is it?"
"Past someone's bedtime, that's for sure. We couldn't keep him asleep, though." Hermione sighed affectionately. Harry chuckled, Severus had grown on them all in the past few days, more so than Harry would have ever thought possible.
"Give him to Professor McGonagall, now Harry." the voice of the Medi-Witch told in an 'obey my every word' voice, "He's already asleep, and I want to know how you're feeling, properly."
Having given the young toddler to Minerva, Harry laid back down on his own, feeling much better than he had when he had awoken either time, but not quite as good as he had on Sunday Morning. He closed his eyes as the familiar wand of Mme. Pomfrey wavered over him, dancing in a still familiar pattern. A thought crossed his mind, 'what would have happened if I hadn't woken up…?'
"Well, Mr. Potter, I don't know why you slept for so long, but you're all fine. I am asking you to take it easy for a while, you did give us all quite a scare, after all." the matronly witch of the Infirmary diagnosed, taking a step back to allow Harry to sit up once more, handing him a pair of glasses he knew were his own.
"Can I have him back, now, Professor?" Both Minerva and Hermione gave him odd looks, one handing over the sleeping baby with only a quirked eye-brow while the other pursed her lips, gears churning a mile-a-minute all the while. "Thanks."
The low talking of the two elders was interspersed with interjections from both students.
"Harry," Hermione started during a pause in conversation from the three women and Harry, Severus contentedly sleeping cuddled in Harry's arms while said boy leaned back against the pillows tiredly. At his nod she continued, "Ginny said you protected Sevvie, casting a strong shield around him… It's why you got so hurt, the snowman crushed you against the magic, but Sev was fine, the snowman was half-dissolved by a spell from Luna by that time, fully when they got to you," she rambled.
"What she's trying to tell you, is that you created a very strong shield of pure-magic that most likely saved the young lad," McGonagall translated, tossing a fond look at her student.
"About that… Professor? I'd like to accept the job-" he was cut off by happy squeals from his best friend and the immediate chatter of both of his elders. Scowling slightly, though the expression was far from reaching his eyes, "Only though, if I can keep him."
The silence from the three witches was instant. Only to be lost mere seconds later in incredulous laughter from both Hermione and Mme. Pomfey, no matter how out of character the matronly woman was acting. McGonagall raised both eye-brows high into her steely-turning hair, "I expected no less from how you've been acting, Mr. Potter." she shook her head, lips quirked as she looked at her long-time friend and Hermione.
"He calls-" Hermione was cut of as another giggle escaped, "He calls you 'Daddy', Harry! He has since you got hurt!"
Harry smiled down at the baby that was once his nemesis, the bane of his Hogwarts life, now his reason for returning to the living. He nodded to himself. He remembered the Train Station, the images, sounds. He had been contemplating just last week what he was still alive for, and now he knew.
"So, Harry, will it be Severus Potter, now?" Hermione giggled as Madam Pomfrey, finally under control, ushered everyone out of her Wing, telling them that Harry had to rest, seeing as he was barely awake now, the young child still cuddled close.
He was alive because he survived; just like he would make sure Severus would, together.
And...! I hope I managed it quite well, Thank you for reading!
Please tell me of any mistakes I have made, I wrote this over the course of a few days and excitedly posted it with only one overview, since I usually do two, I may have missed more mistakes, if so, PLEASE tell me so I may fix them!
. February, 24, 2011 .