Severus Snape paced back and forth in front of the hearth at Prince Manor; his nervous state would have shocked anyone who was witness to it. His dark blue dress robes swayed and billowed as he made another pass in front of the young man seated in the armchair in front of the flames. The smile on the young man's face was a mix of amused and indulgent, almost one of a parent to a child.
"Severus, please sit down! You're going to wear a hole in the rug." Harry Potter swallowed a chuckle as the older man turned to glare at him.
"I'm nervous; what do you expect?"
Harry stood and placed a calming hand on his arm. "Isn't that supposed to be my job?"
Severus huffed in annoyance before answering. "I don't understand why you're not nervous. Merlin knows I was nervous on my wedding day."
"Draco and I have also been together for three years now; you and Aunt Petunia had only been together for one when you got married. Why are you so nervous?"
Severus sighed heavily as he sat in Harry's abandoned chair. "I'm escorting you down the aisle...I'm standing in the place where your father should be."
A look of understanding crossed Harry's face before he drew up another chair to sit in front of Severus. "Look, I realise that it may have made you uncomfortable, me asking you to escort me to Draco, but you're the only one I could actually see doing it. You're the only one I want doing it."
"But I'm not your father!"
"No, but you're the closest thing I've got to one." Harry smiled at the gobsmacked look on Severus' face.
"What...what about Arthur?" Severus couldn't actually believe what he was hearing. Harry thought of him as a...as a father?
"Arthur's a good man, but he has his own family to watch over. You've been watching over me for years."
"No, no buts. Severus, please listen closely; what I'm about to say is something I've been meaning to say for quite a while, but the time never seemed right. I'm glad I waited because now is the right time. Before I start in, let me ask you a question...what does a father do for his children?"
Severus thought for a long moment before answering. "He protects them, nurtures them, raises them. He gives them the best he can. He loves them unconditionally, without reserve."
"Alright...what have you done for me? You've protected me, nurtured me, raised me. You've given me the best you could, even when it might have been dangerous for you to do so. You've never told me that you love me, but others, like Lucius, have told me that you do. You've done everything for me that a father will do for their child; how can I not look up to you like a father?"
"Is dead. He can't be here. I'm no longer hurt by the fact that my biological father isn't here for me; he hasn't been able to be there for me since I was a baby. You've been there for me since I was in third year."
Severus couldn't seem to wrap his brain around what Harry was saying; the boy actually looked up to him like he would a father! He stared at the younger man, his jaw gaping slightly from the surprise, as Harry continued to speak.
"You were my mother's best friend, even after what you said to her. I found a diary of hers when I finally went through the remains of the house at Godric's Hollow. She forgave you almost immediately, but waited for you to forgive yourself before she approached you. She would want you to do this, since James can't be here.
"You've done so much for me; you tried your hardest to protect me from Dumbledore and Voldemort. You finally got me away from Vernon; you even saved Aunt Petunia and Dudley at the same time. If it hadn't been for the portkey that you gave me, none of the three of us would still be alive. You saved us...you...not someone else. You gave me that portkey...you made sure to be at Kings Cross from fourth year on, so that you could get me to the Infirmary. You did that, not someone else.
"Yes, there are others who care about me and would also have done things like that, but you did that; before anyone else could, you did those things for me. You've made me feel wanted and loved, whether you want to say it or not. When I came out as being gay, and people started attacking me for it, you warned them that you would consider an attack on me like it was an attack on you. Even though most of Gryffindor and, surprisingly enough, Slytherin stood up for me, you told the rest that, if they didn't leave me alone, you would start handing out detentions like Dumbledore gave out sweets. They left me alone after that...because of what you did!
"Yes, James Potter died trying to save me and my mother, but you've been there for me when he couldn't. Once you knew what Vernon was doing, you tried to get me out of there. As much as you and my father didn't like each other, I really don't think he would have a problem with what you've done for me. In fact, I'd like to think that, if he could, he would thank you. He died trying to save me and you saved me, too, so that I could save everyone else. I think that even Sirius would approve of you walking me to Draco's side."
By the time he finished speaking, Harry was on his knees in front of Severus' chair and he was holding the older man's hands tightly in his own. Severus realised that Harry wasn't just saying these things...this was truly how Harry felt. He felt a rush of emotion that hit him like a brick wall; he did love Harry, like he was his own son! Hesitantly, Severus reached out to draw the younger man into his arms and he hugged him...gently at first, then tightening his arms so that he could hide his face in Harry's shoulder; he didn't want Harry to know that his words had made him cry.
Harry felt the dampness on his shoulder and tightened his own arms, silently encouraging Severus to let out all of his emotions. He heard the door open and turned to look; he shook his head slightly at Lucius and the door shut quietly. He trusted that Lucius would inform everyone that there had been a slight delay, but that everything was fine, just so that Draco wouldn't worry.
Harry leaned his head down and whispered in Severus' ear. "Are you alright?" Severus nodded without raising his head off of Harry's shoulder. "Let's get ourselves put back together; I think it's time for the wedding to start."
Severus sat back up and wiped his eyes, making no effort to hide the fact that he had been crying. Harry transfigured a mirror from one of the many books lying on a side table and Severus cast a few spells to get rid of the blotchy complexion and puffy eyes caused by the tears. Harry dried the damp spot on his shoulder and stood up; he held out his hand to Severus and he pulled the older wizard to his feet.
Taking a deep breath, Severus held out his arm for Harry to take and he led his son out to where his fiancé was waiting to spend the rest of his life with him.