October 31, 1981
Severus Snape sat in Dumbledore's office waiting. It had seemed that as soon as he had begun spying he was always waiting. He waited to see his wife, he waited for updates on his son, and he waited to get his life back.
But this was different. He was now waiting for word on the wellbeing of his family. It was only a little over three years ago that he had reconciled with James Potter and they began to deceive everyone. Lily and Severus had been married in secret just as their seventh year ended and not a month later Dumbledore had recruited him for spying. Keeping Lily safe meant that he had to let her go to James.
Of course James marriage to Lily was just a cover, but Snape had to go months at a time without seeing his wife. It had been hard to leave her every time.
Severus hadn't been too worried for Lily's safety because he knew what she was capable of. She could take care of herself. It wasn't until she had gotten pregnant and given birth to his son that he begun to truly worry for his family.
But tonight it was different. He had been reporting to Dumbledore when suddenly alarms started going off and the man had left, instructing Severus to stay there and wait. He had known what those alarms meant. He knew that by the time Dumbledore returned his family would mostly likely be dead.
He wasn't sure how long he had sat frozen in his seat, but it had seemed like hours before the fireplace burst into green light revealing a wary looking Dumbledore and a sleepy looking child.
It took Severus only a moment to register that it was his son, his Harry. He was up, out of his seat and reaching out to grab the boy before Dumbledore fully stepped through the fireplace.
"Severus, I am so sorry."
The grief in the headmaster's eyes let Severus know that the reason Lily hadn't followed him through the floo was because she was dead.
"No. No. No." Severus choked, holding Harry closer to his chest.
He hadn't seen Lily in months. It had been the night of Harry's first birthday and Dumbledore arranged for him to visit. They had stayed up talking for hours while Harry slept in Lily's arms. They had plans. They had a future.
"Severus I know this is hard but Harry can't stay here. It's too dangerous." Dumbledore came over to Severus and held out his arms to take Harry.
Shaking his head no and clutching Harry closer he said, "Where should I take him?"
"It would be best to separate for now. No one knows he is your son and it is safer that way."
Taking in the headmaster's words he looked down at his son.
"What happened to Voldemort? Why did he spare my son?"
Dumbledore looked him in the eye and simply said, "He didn't."
Severus didn't understand. He smoothed Harry's hair back and that is when he noticed the lightning bolt scar.
"Lily protected your son."
He looked down at the boy who opened his eyes and looked right back. Severus knew that he couldn't risk Harry's safety.
"How long before I can see him again?" As he said the words he felt tears streaming down his face. He knew that life wasn't fair but he had just lost the first person he had ever loved and he was about to lose the last person he had left.
"Not too long, my boy, not too long."
Severus nodded and gave Harry one last squeeze. He handed Harry to the only man he would ever trust with his son's wellbeing.
July 1, 1986
Severus had been teaching potions at Hogwarts ever since that fateful night. It hadn't been easy, in fact it had been so stressful that Severus had often entertained the idea of quitting. But he couldn't do that. As a young potions master he had few job opportunities and even less with most of the world believing him to be a death eater.
Most starting positions for potions work paid very little anyway and Severus needed to save all he could. He knew that he would have his son back one day and he would need money then. James had left Harry his fortune but Severus could never bring himself to spend that money. He would save it for Harry when he became of age.
In the past few years Severus wouldn't usually give himself any free time. Free time meant his mind would wander and he would think of Lily or Harry and it just hurt too much. He was finally on his feet and earning an honest living. Severus knew it wouldn't be long before he would be back with his son once again.
Severus was sitting at the desk in his office when the floo suddenly flared. Out stepped the headmaster, eyes twinkling.
"I have good news. I just finalized the plan for Harry's homecoming."
With his heart starting to feel as if it would burst out of his chest Severus could only manage the words, "How long?"
Saying the words reminded Severus of the night he had given his son away. He remembered asking that same question. He hadn't thought at the time it would take years. He had thought months at the most. But now he could barely let himself believe that he would be seeing Harry again.
"Soon. A week at most."
Severus closed his eyes. He couldn't picture his son. The last time he had seen him the boy had still been a baby. Now he would be so different.
How in the word was he going to take care of the child? He hadn't really been present when he was a baby and he had no experience taking care of small children. But this wasn't just any child, he reminded himself. This was his child.
Taking a deep breath he said, "We will have to have the elves come and prepare my quarters."
Dumbledore nodded, finally letting himself break out into a full-fledged grin.
July 3, 1986
Being up the whole night before, Severus poured himself a large cup of coffee. He hadn't been able to sleep at all the night before, too nervous about bringing his son home. Today was the day he had been waiting for.
Last night he had almost gone and taken Harry himself. Dumbledore had never told Severus where his son was for Harry's safety. When he had found out that the boy had been with Petunia these past years he completely lost it. He knew of Lily's sister's hatred of magic and if she had laid a figure on Harry there would be hell to pay.
Dumbledore had assured him that Harry was fine and had never been harmed by either Petunia or her husband. He had gone to check on the boy and he had never seen a mark on him.
Severus shook his head and walked down the short hallway to his son's new room. He had gone shopping the day before and the elves had done a fine job putting everything into place. There were moving pictures on the wall of jungle animals, a twin bed with a light green canopy, a dresser waiting to be filled with clothes, and various toys and games. It was perfect and he hoped that Harry loved it.
He sat down on the bed and looked at his watch, only an hour to go.
Harry Snape, known to most as Harry Potter, started his day not suspecting that his world was about to change forever. He sat up on his small cot inside the cupboard under the stairs and began to cough. He had been feeling tired and week for a couple days now and last night his throat started to really hurt.
He already knew that he wouldn't be let off his chores just because he wasn't feeling well. He wished and wished that his aunt would treat him the way Dudley was treated. He had been watching for years as his aunt and uncle gave the boy hugs and kisses and comforted him when he needed it.
He jumped as his aunt pounded on his door.
"Come now and begin breakfast!"
Harry tried to sit up but a wave of dizziness caught him off guard. He closed his eyes and leaned back onto his bed. He wasn't sure how long he lay there before he heard his aunt open the door.
"What is wrong with your hearing boy? I told you to come make breakfast." She paused seeing that Harry wasn't trying to sit up and looked the boy up and down.
"Fine stay in here all day and see if I care!"
Harry knew that he would pay for staying in bed the next day when he had an even longer list of chores. Oh how he missed school. It had only been let out a month and already his life followed the same pattern. He woke up and started doing chores until it grew to be dark out again. Throughout the day he would try and get pieces of food here and there but with Dudley around it became harder and harder to do.
He wished that he could be taken away from this dreadful place. He wanted more than anything to have his parents back. He couldn't remember anything about them except that dream with the green light. He shuddered and decided not to think about that. He shifted positions and let sleeptake him.
Harry wasn't sure how long he was asleep for when he heard knocking at the door. He didn't really pay attention to the voices because neighbors were always coming and going to gossip with Aunt Petunia.
What did get his attention was an angry shout and loud footsteps making their way over to his cupboard. He wasn't prepared when the door was yanked open and light flooded in.
He didn't have the energy to lift his head but he did blink open his eyes. He saw a man dressed in black with long hair half covering his face.
"Oh Harry," he whispered while reaching out to touch him. "Can you come out here?"
Harry wanted to obey the man. He seemed a lot nicer than his aunt and uncle. Plus he touched him. He got the occasional push from his uncle or cousin but most people never touched him, never mind run their hands through his hair as the man was doing now. Harry couldn't help but close his eyes and lean into the touch.
"Don't worry we will get you home now."
Harry opened his eyes and watched as the man gently reached in and pulled him out into the light. He took him up into his arms and stood up. Harry leaned his head against the man's shoulders. It was nice to be held.
Severus held Harry close and looked from Dumbledore to Petunia giving them both looks that could kill. How dare Dumbledore leave Harry here with this wrench? He was kept in the cupboard, obviously not being cared for.
The boy was running a fever and Severus knew he had to leave before he did something that would land him in Azkaban. He apparated on the spot to the first place he ever truly called home.
From the Hogwarts gates he hurried into the castle and up the many stairs to the infirmary.
He sat down on the nearest bed not yet ready to let go of Harry.
The mediwitch came out of her office and stopped when she saw the boy in his arms.
Severus nodded, "He is running a fever."
Poppy nodded and motioned for Severus to lay the boy on the bed. He did so reluctantly and watched as she preformed various diagnostic spells.
"I'm pretty sure he has the flu. I'll start him on a fever reducer and something for his throat and lungs. He should be right as rain in a few days."
Severus nodded and started to wake his son up so the boy could take his potions. He waited as Harry opened his eyes again. Severus couldn't believe he still had his mother's eyes. He had more than her eyes really. Studying his face he could see her nose and chin. Looking closer he could also see himself in the boy. The shape of his face, his cheekbones, even the curve of his mouth all matched Severus' own.
"Here drink this, it will make you feel better." Severus helped him drink the potions.
"Thanks," Harry replied in a harsh whisper.
Severus nodded before he started to run his fingers through the boys' hair once more. Harry closed his eyes again and his breathing evened out.
The next two days flew by for both Severus and Harry. Harry drifted in and out of awareness and Severus didn't leave his side. He explained to Harry who he was and how sorry he was. Harry didn't understand all of what Severus said but he did know that he was his father and he would never be returning to the Dursley's care again.
The third day that Harry spent in the hospital wing he opened his eyes to bright sunlight pouring in the windows and his father, head bowed, sleeping in the chair. He could barely believe this was real. He had a father who cared for him while he was sick.
He needed to use the loo so he slipped out of bed and went to do his business. Walking back to his bed he watched as his father stretched and looked around until his eyes fell on Harry. He smiled and motioned for him to come back to bed.
"How do you feel today?"
"Good I'm glad. Today we shall be going home."
"I thought we already were home." Harry said looking around the infirmary.
"Well we do live here at Hogwarts but my quarters are downstairs."
Harry nodded not looking the man in the eye. What was his home going to be like? Would he go back to a cupboard? He liked the openness of the place he had been staying. It was never truly dark, even at night a light was left on in the corner.
"How's my patient doing today?" He looked up at the familiar voice and locked eyes with the easygoing women.
"Much better, ma'am."
"Good then just take these potions and you can be on your way. I'm sure you will be happier to eat breakfast in your quarters."
Harry downed each of the three potions and then looked expectantly at his father. He couldn't stop from smiling as he said the word in his head. Father.
He got off of his bed and stood before the women while his father stretched once more and stood up himself.
"Now take care of yourself young man. I don't want to see you up here again anytime soon."
Harry nodded once more.
"And he can take that nutrient potion we discussed for a month and then I'll come by and check to see how he's growing."
Harry didn't see his father respond because just then he was taken by the women and held in a long and tight embrace.
"Be a good boy now Harry." She said into his ear. Harry wrapped in arms around the women and hugged back, not able to keep a grin off of his face.
He was released after a moment and his father took his hand. The man guided him through the doors and down a long hallway He tried to keep up with his long strides but he was already getting tired. It wasn't long before his father picked him up and carried Harry in his strong arms.
Harry sighed contently once again putting his head to his father's shoulders and thinking that this is what it feels like to be loved.