DISCLAIMER: I own nothing recognisable. Everything that is belongs to JK Rowling and her publishers...I just get to play with them for a bit before handing them back in relatively decent condition!
WARNINGS: Absolutely NO slash! No Mpreg either! Severus is out of character at the end, but I asked him and he said it was alright.
He was running, running as fast as his legs could carry him. He had to get away quickly before Sir caught up with him. He knew he would be in trouble when he was found, but, if he could manage it, that wouldn't be for hours...if ever. His breath was coming in short gasps and there was a horrible pain in his side, but still, he kept running.
He came to the edge of a cliff and looked around him wildly...he couldn't get caught here! He turned left and began to run again. He had to stay ahead of Sir. He didn't know exactly how he'd done what he did, but he had to keep away from Sir!
The boy stared up through his fringe at the tall, dark man in front of him; he thought that the man was kind of scary looking and he seemed awfully angry at the old man with the long white beard. He didn't know why they were there, only that Aunt had sent a letter to some school and they both had answered it. He had done something freaky again and Uncle had yelled and screamed that the freak needed to go...so Aunt had written the letter.
"You expect me to take the boy, Albus. I know absolutely nothing about taking care of a child, let alone one who won't speak!"
"Severus, my boy..."
"Don't 'my boy' me, Albus! What am I supposed to do with the Potter spawn? I have classes to teach, what am I supposed to do with him then?"
"I'm certain that the boy will have plenty to keep him busy. We can arrange for a tutor to come to the school, possibly someone to help him speak. He's capable of it, he just chooses not to."
"And why doesn't he speak, Albus? Did you ask Petunia that? Why does a perfectly normal seven year old not speak?"
The boy stopped listening as he thought about why...because he had been told not to. Uncle got really mad every time he opened his mouth to say something, so Uncle told him to never speak again. He had listened; he had to...Uncle had threatened to sew his mouth closed if he hadn't. The dark man didn't seem to want to take him, but the old man said that he had to; the old man reminded him of his promise to someone called Lily, called it an 'oth', or something like that.
The boy had never been to school, even though he wanted to go; Cousin got to go, but freaks weren't allowed to go there. He had taught himself to read with some of the children's books that Cousin had thrown away. The boy had rescued them from the rubbish pail and had hidden them in his cupboard. They were now tucked away in the ratty blanket that the boy carried with him. His attention was caught again when the dark man started calling someone's name.
"Let's go, Harry." A pause. "Harry...come here." The man seemed to be getting angrier than he had been before and the boy hoped that this Harry showed up soon, so that the man didn't start yelling. "Boy! Get over here!"
Recognising his name, the boy scurried to the dark man's side and stood there. There was silence and he chanced a look up at the man before casting his eyes back to the floor. He was staring at the boy in horror.
"Albus...he doesn't know his own name! What the hell have they done to him?" What did he mean he didn't know his name? He called Boy and he had gone to him; the boy didn't understand. This Harry that the man had been calling still hadn't shown up and the boy was concerned that someone was going to get a thrashing when they finally did get there.
"I will go back to speak with the Dursleys' and find out exactly what has happened to Harry; you take him on to the school and get the child settled. I'll join you when I'm done here."
The dark man nodded and grabbed the boy's arm, causing him to flinch and hold on to his blanket more tightly. It was a good thing he had; the dark man did something, the boy couldn't figure out what, and it felt like he was being sucked through a really thin straw. He opened his eyes and looked up slightly. There in front of him was the grandest thing the boy had ever seen; a large faerie castle, with spires and everything! The man pulled him through the gate and up to the castle; they went inside and down stairs and more stairs until they reached a picture of a stern man in front of a large smoking bowl. The dark man said some words that the boy didn't understand and the picture opened up to show the inside of a house! The man led the boy to a sofa and pushed him toward it.
"Sit down, I'll see to setting up your room." He stalked off in another direction, leaving the boy standing in the living room. The boy didn't sit; he wasn't allowed on the furniture. Aunt and Uncle had made sure that he knew it wasn't allowed.
He kept running; he knew what the punishment was for doing freaky things. After the last thrashing that Uncle had given him, he hadn't wanted to risk getting another one. Now he had gone and done something freaky again; Sir was sure to be angry with him and he looked like he could do more damage than Uncle could. Sir was in much better shape than Uncle and didn't wheeze when he walked; he also didn't eat too much, so that meant that he would be faster than Uncle, too.
The boy kept running until he came to the edge of the forest. Sir had told him never to go into the forest unless he or the other man, Hagrid, was with him. The boy debated what to do; he had only been with Sir for three days and he had already earned a thrashing. He might as well go ahead and break another rule.
The boy plunged into the forest.
Severus walked back into the living room after making sure that Harry's room was adequate; he had no earthly idea what the boy would want in there, so he had conjured books, games and a few toys. They could always go to Diagon Alley to get more if Harry didn't like them. He stopped short at the sight of the child still standing in front of the sofa
"Didn't I tell you to sit down?" The boy nodded in response. "Well, sit down then!"
The boy sat on the floor right where he had been standing. He watched as the dark man pinched his nose, as if warding off a sneeze.
"On the sofa, please."
The boy shook his head; he wasn't going to get in trouble for being on the furniture. Uncle had given him a black eye and a split lip the last time, and that had only been because Cousin tripped him and he had fallen onto one of the chairs in the kitchen. The dark man came around the sofa and picked the boy up off of the floor and deposited him on the sofa. The boy stiffened, trying to be as small as possible for when the thrashing came. It didn't matter that the man had put him there, being on the furniture was cause for a really bad beating with the strap.
Severus stared at the boy as he scooted into the corner of the sofa and squeezed his eyes shut; he watched as Harry's body tensed and Severus realised that he was bracing himself for a slap. "I won't hit you. I asked you to sit on the sofa and I put you there; I'm not going to hit you for something I did." Harry didn't relax, but he did open his eyes. "That's at least a little better. My name is Severus Snape, but you will call me Sir. I don't hold with spoiling a child, so be warned...if you break my rules, you will be punished."
The boy nodded; he was used to that. The man went on to explain that the boy was not allowed in any rooms, other than this room, his bedroom, the bathroom and the kitchen. He said that there were things in the other rooms that the boy had no business getting into. The punishment for going where he wasn't supposed to be would be simple; he would receive a spanking if he did anything that put himself or someone else at risk for harm. If it was just a small infraction, the boy would be standing in the corner or be made to stay in his room. He was going to get a room? He had never had a whole room to himself before; he probably wouldn't want to leave that place, ever! Sir explained the rest of the rules to the boy; these were going to be easy to follow. No loud noises, no running, no making a mess, no staying up late and no going into the forest without him or someone named Hagrid; he was also to show respect to everyone and to give them his undivided attention if they were speaking to him.
Sir stood and motioned for the boy to follow him out of the rooms. "Come along, Harry. It's almost time for dinner and we are eating in the Great Hall."
The boy was beginning to worry about Sir's sanity. He was talking to that Harry person he had been calling for earlier; the boy wondered if Sir was so lonely he had invented an invisible friend. The boy had had one, until Uncle had beaten his imagination out of him.
Albus Dumbledore flooed into Severus Snape's chambers; he was fuming! Lily Potter's loving sister had admitted that they had never told Harry his own name, only calling him Boy or Freak. Vernon Dursley, however, had been another matter; by using Legilimency, Albus had determined what had caused the boy's silence and that Harry had been horribly abused while in their 'care'. Looking around, he didn't see Severus or Harry and, glancing at the wall clock, he realised that it was time for dinner; most likely, Severus would have taken Harry up to the Great Hall for the meal. He would speak with Severus later.
Now that he was safely in the forest, away from open ground, the boy slowed to a stop. He needed to catch his breath and try to figure out a way out of this mess. He looked around and, seeing a broken log, he walked over to it and sat down to think. He would eventually have to go back and receive his punishment, but now there were three things he had done. He had done something freaky that hurt Sir; he had run away, even knowing that it would make the punishment worse; now he had gone into the forest, even though Sir had told him not to.
The boy heard a noise to his right and stood as three creatures came into the clearing where he had been sitting. They were the strangest things he had ever seen; they had the upper body of a man, but, from the waist down, they were horses. The boy wondered what they were as they slowly approached him.
"A young child, here, in the forest? Where did you come from child?" The largest creature spoke, frightening the boy with how deep his voice was.
The boy shook his head and another one of the creatures came closer to him. "Are you from the castle, child?" The boy nodded. "I am Firenze and my companions are Ronan and Bane. We are centaurs and live in the forest. If you are from the castle, then you should know that the forest is dangerous for humans to be in. Come child, I will carry you to the edge of the forest." The boy noticed that the centaur called Bane stiffened slightly, but made no comment. Firenze lowered the front half of his body so that the boy could climb onto his back; the boy hesitated, but climbed on, holding onto the centaur's waist as he stood and began walking toward the castle.
"Why would a human child come into the forest so close to nightfall? Are you lost child?" Ronan asked. The boy shook his head. "Do you not speak?" Again, the boy shook his head. "Which adult do you belong to?" The boy didn't know how to answer this so he turned slightly to look at the centaur and gestured to his nose, Sir's most prominent feature, and then to his head, moving his hand to indicate long hair. Ronan nodded. "Ah, Severus Snape. You are not his son, you bear no resemblance to him." Once again, the boy shook his head, feeling very sad; he was no one's son, no one wanted him.
Firenze chuckled. "You're going to have a hard time using your magic if you cannot speak, child." He felt the small body on his back stiffen and he stopped walking. "Do you not know you are a wizard?"
The boy's second day with Sir had been fairly uneventful. Sir had to teach, so he gave the boy several books to read. He had some problems with some of the words, but was able to read most of them in the first book. It was a book about potions and something called elixirs and how to begin to prepare the ingredients to make them. He recognised some of the plants mentioned; Aunt had several of them growing in her garden. Once it got to a point that the boy couldn't read most of the words, he put the book down and picked up another. It was an interesting book called 'The Tales of Beedle the Bard'; it was a book of children's faerie tales, and the boy enjoyed it very much.
After Sir's classes were done for the day, he took the boy upstairs so that they could eat in the Great Hall again. The boy began to wonder if Sir's invisible friend was visible to everyone but him; all of the people sitting at the long table in the front of the Great Hall kept asking Harry how he was doing. Of course, the boy didn't hear an answer, leading him to believe that, because Uncle had beaten his imagination out of him, he wasn't able to see or hear this Harry person. The boy didn't see the looks of worry passing back and forth between the adults.
The next day went much the same as the second. After Sir's classes were over, he received some visitors. The first was a tall blonde man with a haughty expression on his face; the second was a blonde boy, who looked to be the same age as the boy. Sir introduced them to his imaginary friend, but the boy paid attention to their names...Lucius and Draco Malfoy. Sir said that Draco was his godson and Draco called Sir 'Uncle Severus'.
Mr. Malfoy and Sir began to talk in quiet voices, so Draco walked up to the boy. "Don't you talk?"
The boy shook his head. He didn't like meeting new people; they always asked too many questions...Draco was no exception.
"Why are you living with Uncle Severus?" The boy shrugged his shoulders.
"You're going to have problems unless you learn to talk, you know that don't you?" The boy nodded. Draco started listening to his father and Sir talk to each other.
"Luc, I have no idea what has happened to the child. Albus said that he needed to speak with me about him, but he was called away before I could arrange a meeting with him. What do I do?"
"Why don't you try Legilimency? It couldn't hurt, and you would definitely learn more about the boy. You said that he is able to speak, but chooses not to? Why?"
"I don't know...I have a feeling that Albus found out but, as I said, he was called away by the Minister. He hasn't been back for two days."
Draco looked at the boy and an evil smirk crossed his face. "Ooh...Legilimency! I've heard that Uncle Severus is really good at it. You don't know what it is, do you?" The boy shook his head. Draco leaned in and looked like he was going to tell the boy a secret. "I've heard that it hurts. Since Uncle Severus is so good at it, he could probably make it hurt even more."
The boy backed away from Draco, looking around him in panic. What if Sir was going to do this legilmany stuff to him? He didn't want to hurt anymore; he thought that Sir and the old man had taken him away from Aunt and Uncle because they were hurting him. Did they bring him here only to hurt him again? The boy completely missed the amused look on Draco's face as he watched the boy's terror increase.
Mr. Malfoy and Draco left through the hearth, the same way they came in, but not before Draco told the boy to remember what he had said. The boy was now shaking; he had a feeling that Sir was going to use that thing on him. Why else would Mr. Malfoy have mentioned it? The boy could feel Sir watching him and he tried to calm himself; it was hard to do when Draco's words kept running through his mind.
Severus noticed that Harry seemed ill at ease and wondered what Draco had done to make him like that. Severus held no illusions about his godson; he was a spoiled brat and didn't like to share anything...and that probably included his godfather. He slowly walked over to Harry and placed a calming hand on the child's shoulder. "Can you come sit on the sofa, please? I would like to talk to you for a moment."
The boy nodded and followed Sir to the sofa. He was still unsure about sitting on the furniture, but Sir had asked him to. Once they had both sat down, Sir turned to the boy and started talking.
"Albus was supposed to speak with me about your aunt and uncle, but he was called away. I don't know when he will return, but I think that it should be soon. In the meantime, I would like to try something, to see if I can help you. It's called Legilimency and it allows me to see your memories. Would you allow me to do this?"
The boy shook his head violently; Sir did want to use that thing on him! He looked around frantically, trying to find a way to get away from Sir without getting hurt. He felt the strange feeling he always did right before he did something freaky. NO! He couldn't do ANYTHING freaky here; they would send him back to Aunt and Uncle, if he did! Suddenly he felt like something burst out of his skin and Sir went flying back off of the sofa. He hit his head on the desk and just lay there.
Oh No! thought the boy, I did something to Sir! They're going to send me back! I've got to leave before they can do that! The boy ran into his room and grabbed his blanket and his books and quickly wrapped the books up before leaving the room. He went back into the living room to find that Sir was moaning and moving his head. He had to leave!
The boy ran to the door and pushed it open; he stepped through the opening and pushed the door shut after him. He ran up the stairs until he came to the floor where the Great Hall was. He knew the big doors were here, so he ran toward where he thought they were. The boy pushed open one of the doors and ran out, not bothering to close it behind him. He had to get as far away as possible!
Albus flooed into Severus' quarters from his own; Minister Bagnold was, in his opinion, an idiot and far too young to sit in that office. He looked around when he stepped out of the floo and was shocked to see Severus lying on the floor. Albus hurried to his side and propped up the young man as he was trying to get his wits about him.
"Severus, what happened?"
"Lucius and Draco were here and I'm afraid that Draco told Harry something that frightened him. I don't know what it was, but his accidental magic lashed out at me, throwing me off of the sofa and into the desk. Please see if he's in his room."
Albus walked into Harry's room and found nothing. There was no sign of the child. He walked back out into the living room shaking his head. "He's not there Severus. Where could he have gone?"
Severus didn't waste time; he picked up his wand and held it flat in the palm of his hand. "Point Me, Harry Potter." The wand twitched and pointed at the door. Severus and Albus left the rooms and followed the directions of the wand. Once they reached the Entrance Hall, Severus cast the spell again and the wand pointed out of the doors. Severus paled; if Harry had gone outside, there was no telling where he was right then. They stepped outside of the doors and both Severus and Albus cast the charm. "Point Me, Harry Potter!"
They watched as their wands both pointed in the same direction...toward the Forbidden Forest. Albus looked at Severus. "You don't think he'd go there, do you?"
"If he's terrified that I'm going to be angry, he might. Come on, we have to find him." They both took off, Severus running as fast as he could and Albus bringing up the rear at a quick walk. He was over one hundred years old and couldn't quite make a run at his age. As they neared the forest, their wands veered off to their right; they turned to move in that direction but stopped in their tracks at the sight before them.
Three centaurs stepped out of the forest and one of them had a very frightened looking Harry Potter on his back. Albus stepped forward as the centaurs approached, making sure to put his wand away and keep his hands where they could see them.
"Firenze, Bane, Ronan," he nodded his head at the three, "We thank you for bringing back our wayward child."
Severus stepped forward, having already slipped his wand into the holster on his arm. "As the child is my responsibility, I am now greatly in your debt. At any time, you may name your price and I will gladly pay it."
As the oldest centaur present, Bane slowly came forward. "There is no debt, Severus Snape. We require nothing other than that you educate your younglings on some of the dangers of the forest. If we hadn't happened upon the child when we did, any number of things could have happened to him. Simply telling them that the forest is out of bounds is not enough...the children need to be told what can happen to them in there."
Albus nodded. "I will make an announcement in the morning and will have Professor Kettleburn educate all of the students on the creatures that can be found in your home."
Firenze knelt down so that the boy could slide off of his back, but he stopped him before he could leave. "Child, tell the dark one your problems. I sense that you need someone to speak with. I realise that you do not speak, but that is now by choice, not out of necessity. Write it down for him, tell him why you do not speak. That one...of all the teachers here, that one will understand." The boy nodded and threw his arms around the centaur's neck, hugging him tightly. "Thank you, Child. I know I will see you again; the stars have told me this. You will be a great man someday."
Firenze rose and, with a nod to the two adults, turned with the other centaurs and galloped back to the safety of the forest. Severus carefully approached Harry. The child was very pale and looked as if he was bracing for a blow.
"I won't hurt you...I just want to make sure you're alright." Severus knelt down in front of Harry, not caring that the evening dew was soaking into the knees of his trousers. "Are you hurt anywhere?"
The boy shook his head, keeping his eyes on the ground and his hands clasped behind his back. Severus recognised the submissive stance; he had assumed it all too frequently in his youth. He lightly wrapped his arms around the child and hugged him. He could feel the shock run through the small body as Harry registered that he wasn't going to be beaten. Severus stood, with Harry still in his arms, and felt the small arms hesitantly rise to curl around his neck. If Severus was correct, this could well be the first hug that the child had received since his parents were killed almost six years before.
Together, the three walked back into the castle and down into the dungeons. Once there, Severus laid Harry down on the sofa and produced a phial of Dreamless Sleep potion. The child needed to sleep without fear of nightmares of today haunting him; it would also give him time to speak with Albus alone. Harry clamped his lips shut and turned his head away from the phial; Severus was worried about his reaction. Normally, that would mean that Harry was just being stubborn, but, in this case, Severus felt it was probably because he had been forced to drink things that caused him pain. Severus made up his mind to get Poppy down here just as soon as the child fell asleep.
"I realise that you don't want to take this, but it won't hurt you. Watch." Severus raised the phial to his lips and took a small sip, not enough to affect him, but enough so that Harry could see that the level of the fluid had lowered. He held out the phial for Harry to look at; the child studied it and then looked back at him, judging to see if there was a reaction to the liquid. When he saw that there wasn't, Harry nodded. Severus held the phial to his lips and Harry opened them obediently; once he swallowed the potion, it was less than a minute before the Dreamless Sleep took effect. The child's eyes fluttered closed and his body relaxed into the cushions of the sofa. Standing, Severus walked over to the floo and fire-called the Hogwarts medi-witch. When Poppy arrived, she began running a series of complicated scans on Harry, giving Severus time to speak with Albus.
"What did you find out from the muggles?"
"Petunia Dursley admitted that Harry doesn't know his name. She said that they have only ever called him Boy or Freak. That is far more easily corrected than the rest...you may want to sit down for this, Severus." Severus' eyes widened as he allowed Albus to lead him to the small dining table. He glanced back at Poppy, who looked up with tears in her eyes.
"I want to hear what he has to say as well, Severus...let him speak." Severus nodded and motioned to Albus to begin. He didn't sit down, he had the feeling he wanted to be standing so that he could work off his frustrations with pacing.
"I found what has caused Harry to be silent; Vernon Dursley threatened to sew his mouth closed if he spoke again. Then, there is the physical abuse..." Albus sighed as he thought about all he had seen in the Dursleys' memories. He turned to the medi-witch. "Poppy, please remove Harry's clothing, down to his underclothes." Albus pulled an unresisting Severus over to the sofa as Poppy did what Albus had requested.
The three adults gasped as they looked at Harry's body. The child was not much more than skin and bones, explaining why he hadn't eaten much at the meals in the Great Hall; but what really arrested their attention were the scars running across his chest and sides, snaking around to the child's back. Severus ran a shaking finger over one and then moved the same finger to trace a matching scar on his own chest. The child had been whipped!
"Yes, Severus, Harry's history is much like yours; I believe, however, that his abuse began much earlier than yours. Your father didn't begin to abuse you until you showed signs of accidental magic, correct?" Severus nodded, keeping his eyes locked on the boy. "We must, somehow, be able to convince Harry that it is alright for him to speak. Poppy, has there been any damage to his vocal cords?"
The medi-witch shook her head. "No, they are in perfect condition. How long has it been since he has spoken?"
"From what I gathered from Vernon Dursley's memories, it has been at least two years, possibly three, since the child has spoken any words. Will that affect his ability to speak eventually?"
"It shouldn't, but we should get a speech therapist in here, once Harry realises that he doesn't have to remain silent any longer." She paused for a moment to think about what she had to say. "He has several broken bones that never healed properly, including some of his ribs. They will all have to be broken again and reset. If you would like, I could put him into a deeper sleep, where he won't feel anything, and do this now; he will be in some pain when he wakes up, but it shouldn't be bad."
Albus looked to Severus for his approval and Severus realised that he was now the guardian of a very abused small child. "Yes, please do, Poppy. I will explain to him what we did once he wakes up; hopefully he won't hate me for causing him more pain." Severus expression told the other two that he wasn't looking forward to that conversation, but he would take care to explain everything to Harry, so that he understood. "Did you get the papers for me, Albus? I want to make sure that the Ministry can't send him back there for any reason."
Albus pulled a thick sheaf of parchment out of his robes and handed them to his Potions Master. "Before you start filling them out, think about something, if you would. Even if you are his guardian, the Ministry can still take him away from you. There are some out there who won't like that a former Death Eater has guardianship over The Boy Who Lived. I'm going to recommend that we speak with Gringotts and request that they handle an adoption for us."
Severus felt his jaw drop slightly. "Albus, you can't be serious! The people would like an adoption just about as much as the guardianship…most likely even less! How are we supposed to get that past the Minister?"
"Most people don't know, but Gringotts is the only place in the wizarding world that can circumvent the Ministry. Anything that is done at Gringotts automatically gets filed with the Ministry. It doesn't even need to be approved by the Ministry; if Gringotts says that it is legal and above-board, the Ministry takes their word for it."
Severus found himself nodding; if someone had asked him, just four days ago, if he would ever contemplate adopting the child of James Potter, he would have laughed at them. Now, here he was; not only was he past the contemplation stage, but he had agreed to adopt Harry…The Boy Who Lived…a small boy who had no idea that name was even Harry Potter. Severus' eyes widened; he might be able to make this work very well for Harry. If he gave him a new name, and told him that the new name meant that his aunt and uncle could never find him, he might be able to convince Harry to start to speak again. He looked at Albus. "Contact them."
The boy woke the next morning and felt all achy, like he had caught a cold during the night. He carefully looked around and found that he was lying in the bed in his room. He tried to sit up, but everything hurt too much. The door opened and Sir walked in carrying a tray. The boy could smell the food on it and his stomach growled in response. Sir smiled slightly and the boy thought that he looked ever so much nicer with a smile on his face.
"Good morning. I've brought us some breakfast and I'm going to eat in here with you, if that's alright."
The boy nodded and smiled a bit in return. He wondered if he could get Sir to put his arms around him again; it had felt so good to have him do that last night that the boy wanted him to do it again...and again. He looked up from underneath his fringe and hesitantly lifted his arms to the tall man, hoping he wasn't going to tell him no.
Severus set the tray down and watched as Harry lifted his arms up; it seemed that the child wanted another hug. He sat down next to Harry on the bed and lifted him into his lap; Severus wasn't used to giving people hugs, but he was going to make an effort, for Harry. He eased his arms around the small child and brought him closer to his chest; Harry was making some odd noises and it was a minute before Severus realised that the child was crying. Severus began to rub Harry's back in small circles, trying to soothe the child, all the while keeping him firmly against his chest. Once Harry's tears had eased off, Severus looked down at him and smiled a bit again.
"Do you feel better now?" Harry nodded and rested his head back on Severus' chest. "We need to talk about some things today, but I want you to eat a good breakfast first." Severus kept the child in his lap as the two ate the food on the tray. Severus watched Harry eat and gauged how many calories he was getting from what he was putting in his mouth. Once they had finished, Severus figured that Harry had eaten about 300 calories worth of eggs, toast and milk; it was not nearly enough for a seven year old child, let alone one who had basically been starved for most of his life. He guessed that he was going to have to give Harry nutrient potions to make up the difference until the child was used to eating regularly. He stood and carried Harry on his hip into the living room and sat on the sofa, keeping Harry firmly in his lap.
"Now, I know that you think your name is Boy, right?" Harry nodded. "Did your aunt and uncle give you that name?" Again, Harry nodded. "Alright then, what we're going to do today will give you a new name." Severus was aware of the bright green eyes staring up at him in wonder.
The boy didn't quite understand how Sir could give him a new name, if Aunt and Uncle had already given him one. He listened as Sir explained that he was going to be adopting him and making the boy his son. The boy's eyes filled with tears again, but this time they were happy ones. Sir was going to adopt him? Sir wanted him to be his son? After what he had done the day before, Sir still wanted to be his father? The boy sobbed into Sir's chest, thinking that he never wanted to leave, that he wanted to stay right there...always.
Sir had explained the whole thing that morning; when the boy got his new name, Aunt and Uncle would never be able to find him again. Sir said that Uncle would never be able to carry out his threat of sewing the boy's mouth shut. The boy looked at Sir and wondered if that meant he would be able to speak again. He vaguely remembered how to talk, but he wasn't really sure; it had been so long since he had been allowed to say anything. The old man came back and he had another strange looking creature with him; Sir told him that it was a goblin from something called Gringotts.
Sir and the goblin had explained that the boy might feel a little pain, but Sir would give the boy something to make the pain go away. It had made the boy a little worried, until Sir had told him that now, he would look a little bit like Sir, too. The boy had smiled at Sir and the old man and they had smiled back.
Sir had him lie on his own bed and had given him a cup to drink from. The liquid in the cup tasted horrible, but, if this made him Sir's son, then he would drink it. The boy finished the liquid and handed the cup back to the old man who then said some strange words and waved his stick over the boy's body.
Suddenly it felt as if the boy's body was on fire! He remembered that Sir had said that it might hurt; he just hadn't thought it would hurt this badly. Sir pressed something against the boy's lips and he swallowed as another liquid was poured into his mouth. The pain started to go away. The boy felt as if he was stretching, but the stretching didn't stop; it kept right on going. The boy felt the sleeves of his shirt get shorter and the legs of his trousers became too short as well. Just as suddenly as the pain started, it stopped.
Severus helped his son sit up in the bed and he opened his eyes; Severus was pleased to see that his eyes were still the bright green they had been. "Now, I believe I promised you a new name." His son nodded, his expression eager. "How do you like the name Evan Alexander Snape?" Severus held his breath as the child thought about the name for a moment and then smiled and nodded at him.
Evan looked up at Sir-his father and smiled again. He wondered if he had really meant it when he said that he would be able to speak now. The old man knelt down and looked Evan in the eye.
"Do you want me to leave you and your father alone now? I think you have something to say to him, don't you?"
Evan nodded and the old man and the goblin left; Evan knew they were just going into the next room, but he was glad to be alone with his father. Sir sat on the edge of the bed and pulled Evan into his arms.
"Remember I told you that your aunt and uncle couldn't ever find you again? Well, now you don't have to worry anymore. If you want to, you may talk as much as you wish." Severus held his breath again as he waited to see if his son was going to speak.
Evan drew a deep breath and opened his mouth. "May I call you Daddy?" The voice was quiet and slightly hoarse after not being used for so long, but, to Severus, it was the most beautiful sound in the world.
Severus hugged Evan to his chest, tears streaming down his cheeks. "Of course, Son. Of course you may! I would be honoured if you would call me Daddy." He felt two small hands wiping the tears from his face and opened his eyes to look at his son.
"Thank you, Daddy." Evan snuggled up to his father and smiled. He had a daddy now; now he was a real boy, not one that no one wanted. He looked up into the almost black eyes of his father.
"I think...I think I love you, Daddy."
Severus Snape cried again as he finally felt like he was whole. He would deal with his godson on another day...today was just for him and his son.