Author's Note: Just a warning: this story WILL contain scenes dealing with corporal punishment. If that's not your cup of tea then feel free to exit out. Otherwise, enjoy and feel free to tell me what you love or hate about it.
Severus Snape strode down the seventh floor corridor at great speed, his mind racing with curiosity. He had been in his private quarters, just pouring himself a nightcap, when a high strung house-elf by the name of Pinka had appeared, insisting that the Headmaster needed his assistance immediately.
Severus rounded a corner, bringing him within feet of the gargoyle statue. It wasn't unusual for Albus to want to meet late in the evening, it was however strange for him to send a house-elf to do his bidding. Normally he would walk himself down to the dungeons, rather than request that he be met in his office.
Severus halted in front of the gargoyle. "Mint Humbugs." He uttered the name of the ridiculous muggle candy in a completely un-amused voice.
The gargoyle leapt to the side, causing the wall to split in two and reveal a spiral stone staircase. Without hesitation, Severus stepped onto the first stone step and allowed the staircase to move him upwards.
It wasn't until he was nearly at the oak door that he heard a discussion taking place. Clearly, he wasn't the only one that Albus had summoned.
Severus reached forward to take hold of the brass knocker on the door, however, before he was able to do so, the door opened on its own accord.
"Ah good Severus!"
"Albus," Severus nodded before turning his attention to his fellow colleague. "Minerva."
The old witch smiled politely. "I'll just be going then."
Severus watched as she crossed the room, giving Albus a small hopeful smile before closing the door behind her.
"Severus," Albus smiled warmly as he gestured to an empty chair in front of his desk.
Severus gingerly lowered himself into the chair.
He looked up to see the old man holding out his favorite dish of candy, a warm smile on his face.
Severus shook his head, declining the offer, before he opened his mouth. He made to speak, but the Headmaster cut him off before he could even open his mouth.
"I'm sure you're curious as to why I asked you to see you at this hour."
"I don't doubt that you have your reasons," Severus replied, "though I am intrigued as to why it could not wait until the morning."
"I recently received word from Cornelius Fudge about a situation that took place earlier this evening."
At these words, Severus raised an eyebrow. He wasn't particularly fond of Fudge, however, his personal feelings aside, he was quite curious about what situation could have possibly taken place. He had just read over the evening edition of The Daily Prophet less than an hour ago and hadn't seen anything out of the ordinary. Whatever the situation was, the press hadn't gotten wind of it or it wasn't something that would interest them.
"Situation?" Severus questioned when Albus remained silent.
"It appears that Mr. Potter performed some accidental magic this evening while in his relative's home."
Of course, Severus thought to himself, that blasted child couldn't stay out of trouble if he tried, which he never did.
"Apparently he blew up his Aunt," Albus explained.
Severus instantly noticed the hint of amusement in the Headmaster's eye. "I hardly think blowing up his Aunt is something to grin about!"
"The woman is fine, back to normal from what I understand, though his aunt and uncle are a bit shaken by the whole ordeal."
Severus was silent as he tried to figure out what a child's accidental magic had to do with him and why in Merlin's name it was depriving him of his nightcap, not to mention his sleep.
"Cornelius went on to explain to me that after this ordeal with his Aunt occurred, Harry left his house and somehow managed to summon the Knight Bus."
Now Albus had Severus' full attention. As much as the Potter child absolutely unnerved Severus, his safety and well- being was still a number one concern in his eyes. He was not a normal child in that aspect and the idea that he was out wandering around the streets of London just days after Sirius Black had escaped from Azkaban was enough to set Severus' nerves over the edge.
"Rest assured the child is safe and currently at The Leaky Cauldron. Cornelius has also personally spoken to several local shop owners asking them to keep an eye on Harry should he wander around Diagon Alley."
Severus snorted to himself at these words. Imagine a thirteen year old wandering around without any supervision at all. It was practically a reward for his misbehavior, Severus thought to himself. If anything he should be reprimanded for his actions not praised and rewarded with a week-long vacation.
"Unfortunately," Albus continued, "due to these recent actions, Harry's relatives no longer want him to reside with them."
Severus felt his blood begin to boil at the words. He hadn't seen Petunia in years but if she was anything like she had been as a child then she was absolutely vile. It had always amazed him that she and Lily could even be related, let alone be sisters. It didn't really surprise him that she would turn her back on Lily's child after such an incident.
"She made a promise," Severus practically hissed the words.
"She doesn't seem to have much regard for that promise," Albus spoke calmly. "This leaves me with the duty of finding a suitable guardian for Harry."
"Shouldn't the Ministry be responsible for the child?"
"Perhaps. However, I spoke with Cornelius and he agreed to allow the responsibility to fall on me. After all, I know Harry far better than he does."
"And what is your solution?" Severus spoke before he could stop himself. "Send him to live with the Weasleys where Molly will coddle him and allow his atrocious behavior to continue?"
"Do you have a better suggestion?" Albus asked in a kind voice. "I know I am far too old for the job of keeping up with an active thirteen year old, as is Minerva. Having a child in your care full time is much different from teaching them for a few hours a week."
"Potter is already far too out of control as it is," Severus said in a serious voice. "He doesn't apply himself to his studies, and he is constantly getting into mischief. Take the whole incident with the Chamber of Secrets for example."
"He saved Ginny Weasley's life," Albus pointed out in a gentle tone.
"And nearly lost his own in the process! That child needs someone who will make him be responsible for his actions, not reward him every time he uses poor judgment!"
"I see your point Severus but may I also point out that Harry needs love as well, and having someone who loves him unconditionally, unlike his relatives, may make a world of a difference."
Severus huffed at these words.
"And I expect you to remember that when dealing with him once he is in your care," Albus continued.
Severus felt the blood drain from his face. "In my care? Surely you don't mean I will..."
"You said yourself Severus that you feel you know what Harry needs. You also pointed out that the Weasley household would not be a proper fit for him. If you have another suggestion I'm all ears but I don't see who..."
"Lupin!" Severus interrupted as the name quickly popped into his mind. "You've been speaking to him recently and I'm aware you've asked him to teach this coming school year. He was also friends with Harry's father as well as..."
"As well as a werewolf," Albus supplied in a sad voice. "Remus crossed my mind immediately but he does have his own issues to contend with. And though there is not a doubt in my mind that Harry and Remus wouldn't get on wonderfully, they don't know each other either."
Severus admitted to himself that perhaps Remus wasn't the best idea. He likely would end up treating the child as everyone else did, excusing his poor behavior and even rewarding him for it time and time again.
"And what makes you think Potter will want to be under my care?"
"I'll speak with Harry about it myself," Albus replied. "Make him see it's what is best."
"It's absolutely preposterous is what it is! The idea of this whole plan is just nonsensical and..."
"Think of Lily, Severus," Albus interrupted in a gentle voice. "He is still her son."
Severus was silent as the thought of Lily entered his mind without his consent. It was true, he did vow to keep the boy safe simply because of who his mother was. However, who his father was often made him wish the child didn't exist at all.
"If I agree to this it will be done my way, under my terms," Severus spoke in a low voice. "I won't have you or anyone else stepping in at any and every moment."
"That will be fine Severus," Albus nodded. His eye lost its normal twinkle as he continued. "However you will not abuse your power either. If you feel Harry needs a sterner upbringing I will allow you to supply him with one but I expect you to supply him with common kindness as well."
"He will receive kindness when it is deserved," Severus replied. "I will not go out of my way to be cruel to the boy. You have my word."
"I knew I could count on you," Albus smiled warmly. "I'll be going to speak with Harry first thing in the morning."