Tea with Snape
A HariPo oneshot
Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not to me. A little idea that occurred to me right after I got my idea for "The Bravest Man I Ever Knew." It might make more sense if you read that first…. Read, review, and enjoy.
The wizard shook his head and finished his butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks. Still, five months later, he couldn't fathom the idea.
He was a smidge rattled as he paid for his drink and left Hogsmeade. Up the hill, he saw the daunting fortress that was Hogwarts Castle. Merlin, he loved that place. Maybe there he'd find a bit of help.
In no time, he made it to the grounds and entered the campus. As the school year had just ended, only the faculty remained. He swallowed his nervousness and made a beeline for the headmistress' office. When he knocked, Minerva McGonagall was stunned to see him.
"Albus Severus Potter!" she gasped. She put the scroll of parchment in her hands down on her desk and smiled warmly at him, the grandmother in her coming out. Though in school she was good never to show any favoritism, once Harry Potter's children had graduated she had no qualms in being warm towards them. Contrary to popular belief, Minerva McGonagall was an affectionate person.
Al grinned and went ahead and hugged her without permission. "Hello, professor. How are you?"
"I'm fine, but I was just going to ask the same thing of you. Almost ten years and no visits? Your brother haunts this place much more than you do."
"Well…I actually wanted to…speak with someone."
"I'm all ears, Albus."
"Um, I meant with someone else," he said, gesturing to the paintings behind her.
She sighed and rolled her eyes. "Just one of these days, I wish you youngsters would seek out my advice. I'm not all that terrifying. All right, I'll leave you be. I need to go check on something anyway." McGonagall patted his shoulder and went without another word.
Al turned to look past her desk and then moved behind it. He'd never actually been in the headmistress' office long enough to get a good look at what was in here. But he'd heard stories—from his dad, from Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron, from Uncle George, from his brother and sister. Al had been a good kid, and there was never ever any reason for him entering this room unless it had something to do with his Prefect duties.
But now he had a reason, and he searched for a picture his dad had told him often about; just as Harry had said, the picture was in the same spot it had been when his dad had come to speak with its inhabitant almost thirty years ago.
"Hello, Professor Snape."
Severus Snape appeared from the right side of his frame and looked at him. "Oh, Potter. Back again, are we?"
"I'm sorry, sir, but you never met me. My name's Al. I'm Harry Potter's second son."
Snape's eyes widened the tiniest fraction as he took Al in: shorter than Harry and scar-less, though otherwise a little doppelganger with his black hair and green eyes. "Hmph."
Al looked at the man, unsure. "I, um, was wondering if I could tell you a story."
Snape shook his head. "I don't feel like listening to anything of the sort."
Snape groaned and sat in the chair in his portrait. "You're going to anyway, aren't you?" Al nodded. "Then begin. But don't drag things out and don't pause too much."
Al smiled, feeling lighthearted that Snape had given in. "All right, then, where to start… Well, after the war, my dad married Ginny Weasley. They had my brother, James, me, and our sister, Lily." He stumbled over the end of the sentence when Snape picked his head up. "Um… On the other hand, Pansy Parkinson married Blaise Zabini, and they had one daughter."
"Indeed," Snape stated, though he didn't elaborate or comment on his former Slytherins' partnership.
"I was—am—the good kid in my family. About the only thing I did that was strange-ish was falling for Calytrix Zabini. It was out of the ordinary, according to some of my family. But, hey, I love her, and we married a couple of years ago. And now…she's pregnant."
Snape cocked his head to one side. "Ignoring your lack of a talent for storytelling, correct me if I'm wrong…isn't that a good thing?"
"Oh, I think it's wonderful, I do. But…" Al frowned and dropped his eyes to the floor while he tried to sort out the fog in his mind. "I'm unsure about what our new life together will be like. Heck, I surprised myself when I proposed to her, even. I mean, I'm the good one, the polite Potter. I don't do anything special." He closed his eyes and leaned against McGonagall's chair, gripping its back. "It's times like this that make me wish I'd been named differently…" His words trailed off.
"You do realize I have no idea what you're prattling on about?"
"Right, right, Dad never came back and told you…" Al looked at Snape. "My parents named me 'Albus Severus Potter.'"
A moment of silence passed before Snape groaned again. "Oh, for Merlin's sake…! Can't he just leave me alone…?"
"Dad never said much, but he's told some stories. You and Dumbledore are heroes, no matter what anyone thinks. I believe so, too, but…I can't help but feel Dad cursed me with shoes that are too big to fill. I mean, he named me after two war heroes! Two! Heroes! I'm just—I'm just Al…! I'm no hero… I didn't even get 'Exceeds Expectations' on a bunch of my O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s, just loads of 'Acceptables.'" Al's frown deepened into a grimace. Whenever he thought on his names, he couldn't fight the bit of resentment he felt occasionally towards his father. Yes, James was named for Harry's dad and godfather and Lily for Harry's mum and close friend, but Harry had not actually known the original James and Lily in life, and he'd only known Sirius for a little while. Luna was still a close family friend, but Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape… Harry had known them best out of that cast of characters, and Al had ended up stuck with both names.
"He just couldn't let the idea of my being a hero go…," Snape mused aloud. He looked at Al. "So why have you come to me?"
"I dunno. Maybe you can tell me that you're not so special so I don't feel so bad?"
The Potions teacher raised an eyebrow. "Would that do any good?"
Snape shook his head and grunted. "All I can say is that a name means nothing unless a person wants it to. Your grandfather didn't have to have his name on everyone's lips at school, but he made his pranks famous. Your father didn't have to set out to take down the Dark wizard who made him famous. Dumbledore didn't have to do many of the things he did, but he made a name for himself. It helped in some ways and hindered in others. Personally, I don't think much of my name. What you do with yours is up to you." He smirked and snorted. "Why else would your git of a father have named you for a crazy old wizard and an apathetic Potions Master?"
Al opened his mouth, closed it, opened it again, and then finally closed it. Perhaps Snape meant that Al was leaving enough of a mark on the world…not that he had to. But maybe he'd done all right by himself and his family by having a good education, enjoying his childhood, and doing normal things like falling in love, marrying, and now having a child. Maybe he did not need to be "Albus Severus Potter." He had done perfectly fine as "Al" so far, so why stop? But, hey, it was kind of nice to know that he'd been named for heroes…because every time Al came home, Callie looked at him with a love he wouldn't trade for anything else. Maybe "Al" was a hero, too—her hero.
A pleasant feeling developed in the pit of Al's stomach, and the wizard felt as invigorated as though he'd just downed a very potent cup of tea. Huh. No wonder his dad had come to talk to Snape before. Snape, Al internally chuckled, was quite the psychiatrist without even trying.
Al smiled at Snape and thanked him for the chat. "Have a good day, professor," he said upon leaving. He truly was grateful and glad that he had come up to the castle, and when he went home for the night, he felt as though a burden—one more than twenty years old—had been lifted from his shoulders. His father had not wanted to cause him trouble by giving him such an awe-inducing name; no, Harry had wanted Al to enjoy as much success as his namesakes had.
With similar feeling in his heart and mind, Al and Calytrix welcomed their son into the world four months later. Al named him "Tobias."
Aww, a bit of catharsis for everyone! :D I think I might have liked this more than "The Bravest Man…" Or maybe I just love Al & my OC, Callie. ;3 Poor Sev, though, the series' psychologist! XD
Thanks for reading, and please review!
2017 note: Yeah, 6 yrs after, I deffo can say I prefer this one to "The Bravest Man I Ever Knew." Again, my OC Calytrix appears, and I think they'd make an interesting fit, given their parents' history. That said, I still find this soul-searching using Snape as a sounding board to be interesting…and let's not even mention The Cursed Child (no, I've not read/seen it, but I've had enough spoilers to know I want to avoid it :L).