Just Another Quiet Day
Severus put his hand on the door to his quarters and it opened soundlessly. He entered and stood completely still as the door swung closed again, tilting his head to the side to listen.
"Dobby is looking." A squeaky voice answered. "Dobby is liking it very much."
A short pause followed, where Severus imagined he could hear the sound of a crayon against paper. Well, the corner of his mouth quirked slightly upward, he knew it was there. Next, the squeaky voice asked, "Is that a bird, Master Harry?"
"No, Dobby, it's a dragon!" the little boy sounded highly offended, but then added in a quieter tone; "You think Daddy will be home soon?"
Severus did not wait for a response but strode forward towards Harry's room. The door was ajar and he pushed it fully open. Two set of eyes glanced up, though Severus had no doubt that the house-elf had already known he was in the hall. The small boy's whole face lit up. He grabbed his drawing and almost stumbled in his rush to get to his feet. A moment later he was bouncing in front of Severus.
"Look, Daddy, look!"
The drawing mostly looked like a mass of blue and green to Severus. How in the world had the house-elf found a bird in that? He bent to pick the boy up and put him on his hip.
"I see, Harry. A very nice dragon, indeed."
At that, Harry turned to the house-elf again. "See, Dobby!" the boy proclaimed. "Daddy knew it was a dragon!"
Dobby just smiled widely and got to his feet, turning to Severus who raised an expectant eyebrow. "Well?"
"Master Harry has been fine. Master Harry and Dobby visited the Headmaster for tea and –"
"Professor Headmaster was wearing pink socks, Daddy! With flying frogs!"
Severus didn't even make an effort to sound surprised, he just shook his head at the old man's antics and started for the living room. The house-elf followed them, "Master Harry was missing his daddy in the afternoon so Dobby suggested drawing a picture."
"Yes, Daddy." Harry handed him the drawing. "This is for you!"
"Thank you. Such an… interesting… piece will have to go up with the rest."
Taking a seat on the couch with Harry on his lap, Severus said to the house-elf;
"That'll be all."
"Yes, Master Professor Snape. Bye Master Harry."
"Bye, Dobby." Harry didn't turn to look at the house-elf as he said his good-byes; he just waved with one hand and tucked his head into his father's chest. Looking down at the dark hair that was so much like his own, Severus couldn't help but cup the back of Harry's head. The little boy sighed softly and snuggled closer.
"Have you already had dinner?" Severus asked.
"P'fessor Dumbedole gave me a chocolate biscuit."
At that, Severus felt his lips tighten into a thin line. How many times had he asked Albus not to give the boy sweets? You'd think a one-hundred-and-eleven-year-old would know better. Next time Severus would have to warn the headmaster, instead of ask him.
"We'll have to get some real food into you then." Gently he pushed the boy away and put him on his feet before standing himself.
As soon as Severus was on his feet a pair of short, thin arms reached upwards. "Harry," Severus said with a sigh, "You have legs to walk with."
Immediately, he scolded himself for lifting the boy up when he came home. He couldn't really carry the boy around one moment and tell him no next, could he? Still, it was another thing to hug him when he came back from classes than carry him to the dinner table. Severus shook his head and took one of the small hands and went into the kitchen.
It was still a few minutes until five o'clock, when dinner was served in the Great Hall and also in Severus' quarters. Those minutes were filled with endless chatter about the Headmaster's socks, about Dobby, Hagrid, dragons and other things that were fascinating to a small boy's mind.
After dinner, Harry played on the floor in the living room while Severus graded papers. The boy was fairly quiet, but occasionally Severus could hear a quiet roar of a dragon and murmured words. A few months ago there would've been complete silence in the room, with the child glancing up every couple of minutes as he hunched over his toys. Progress, Severus thought, every day. When the boy actually throws his first tantrum like a normal child, I'll probably be relived. He recalled hundreds of days in these rooms, when he'd sat by the fire and listened to what he'd thought was blessed silence after a day of teaching.
When the clock struck seven thirty Harry was sent to change into his night clothes and wash up before Severus brushed his teeth for him. The boy had done it himself as soon as he could hold a toothbrush and his teeth had not been in a good state.
"Will you read me a story, Daddy?"
"Hm…" The boy looked tired, it might be preferable not to, this evening. Fridays he always seemed exhausted, after a week of going on adventures in the castle with Dobby and having the tutor there three days. And the boy rarely fell asleep during story time, no, it was better not to tonight.
"We shall see. Off to bed with you."
Harry didn't complain, but his head dropped a little at what he obviously thought was a no. He crossed the room and crawled into the bed, pulling the covers up high. With an inward sigh Severus sat on the chair by the bed. He looked at the small pile of books on the bedside table.
"Harry," he said and the boy looked up, hope in those green eyes, "I promise I shall read you one tomorrow evening."
"Okay." He sounded disappointed but a yawn followed. "What're we doing tomorrow?"
"I have yet to decide."
"Can we go look for the squid?"
The boy had an endless fascination for the squid and the lake after reading a story about sea creatures. He knew for a fact that Dobby had already taken him down there twice this week. However, it was a good way to entertain the boy. Also, some fresh air and a bit of exercise did them both good.
"Yes, after breakfast, I think."
He was rewarded by a smile even as Harry's eyes dropped. Severus rose from the chair and stroked the mop of dark hair before he started for the door.
In the doorway he paused, and looked back at the sleeping boy. Now and then it would strike him, how odd this all was compared to his life just six months ago. But as he watched the sleeping face, he also thought he was blessed. Or perhaps just very lucky.
They both were.
A/N: I know Dobby can't really be at Hogwarts at this time, but I just like him so much!