Sorry for the long wait. I'm also sorry this is so short, I really do hope to have time soon to get back to writing, but as we all know real life disrupts even the best laid plans. I'm stil looking for a beta if anyone can help with that. I can't promise regular updates, unfortunately. I've got a lot going on, and I'm not particularly happy with the length of this chapter, but I did want to put out something.

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Three

"Just a minute," Petunia called out as she rushed to the door. "Sorry, I was just- Oh, Severus, please come in. The boys are napping, they should be up in a few minutes."

"So you have decided it is time for me to meet the boy?"

"He's almost four, in about four months. Vernon and I both agree the sooner Harry starts to learn the better chance he will most likely have. There's not much I can tell him, not being magical myself."

"And the primers? The stories?"

"The boys have torn through them. Harry's fascinated."

"Hmm, well, at least he won't be a recalcitrant student," Severus said gruffly as he swept into the house only to stop abruptly and stare at the small body standing on the middle of the staircase.

"Mummy," the small dark haired child said. "I'm up. Who's that?"

Then two glittering emerald eyes, much too large for the face they sat, looked up at him and Severus felt his breath leave him. The child was obviously a Potter. His wild hair and shape of his nose attested to that. But as the child tilted his head and the light caught his face, Severus could see the faint hint of auburn in his hair and a light smattering of freckles on his cheeks. The boy's brow furrowed, curiosity twinkling in his eyes and Severus could not help but me reminded of the little girl he met so many years ago. The girl who defended him when all the other children called him weird. The girl who never minded his eccentricities and always, always had a kind word. The girl who provided his escape when his home life was too much to bear. His first ever friend and the only one who he knew who provided him unconditional friendship.

Severus came back to himself to find himself seated and the little body that could only be Harry standing nervously in front of him, with Petunia hovering in the background.

"Are you alright mister?"

"Yes, of course," Severus replied. "I was merely caught off guard."

"It's ok. Mummy says I get di-tracted all the time. But there is so much to learn and see and do! I'm Harry. Mummy says your name is Mr. Snape and you knew my other mummy. She also said you're the person who gave her all of the wicked cool magic books. Dud and I love them lots! We read them all the time, so thank you for giving them to us."

"You're most welcome, Harry. Your mum is right. I knew your mum and your 'other mum' since we were little, just older than you are. Your other mum was my best friend and I loved her very much."

"I think she must have loved you very much, too Mr. Snape."

"How would you know?"

Harry looked at him very seriously before answering, "Cuz, mummy says other mummy was magical like me. And if she was like me then she could see you have a good heart Mr. Snape."

Severus found himself caught off guard by the solemnity of Harry's words. "There are those that would disagree with you Harry."

"Well, they're silly. I can tell you have a good heart and we'll be great friends."

A very small smile curved the corner of Severus' mouth, "Yes, Harry, I do believe we will."

Harry beamed, grabbing Severus' hand and dragging him towards the stairs, "Come on, you have to meet Dud! He's my brother- Oh! Can you do the magic in the books? Cuz mummy says she can't, but one day I'll be able to and you would help teach me."

"Wait Harry," Petunia interrupted. "Why don't you go get Dud and your books while Mr. Snape and I speak for a moment?"

Harry gave a small pout. "Ok, mummy. You'll have to see my room later Mr. Snape. I'll be back with Dud quick!"

Harry scampered off to find his brother and Severus did little else but stare after him, a dumbstruck look on his face.

"I know. It's sort of terrifying isn't it, realizing just how much he is like her," Petunia said softly.

"It's uncanny," Severus whispered in reply, before with a start, seemingly realizing where he was and drawing his battered defenses around himself. " I suppose I will consent to teach the child. He seems bright enough that this will not be a complete waste of my time and resources. If your son has manifested magic, I suppose while I am here I might teach him as well."

Though he did not show it, Petunia's loud, clear laugh in response to his words startled him. "There's no point hiding behind verbosity now, Severus. Harry's seen straight through to the heart of you. He's decided you're to be his friend, and you know as well as I do trying to stop him would be no more successful than attempting to pull the moon from the sky. However, I understand the need for shields, so if this is yours feel free. Just don't be surprised to find yourself acting out of character. Though, I would like to thank you for helping Harry. Thank you for helping to protect my son. If there is ever anything, anything at all-"

Severus cut her off with a soft snort of derision. "I'm not doing this for you, Tuney. We both know I'm doing it for Lily."

"Thank you all the same."

With that they fell into companionable silence, waiting patiently on the boys they could her coming down the stairs, both young voices full of excitement, although one is heavy with sleep. When Harry rounded the corner pulling earnestly on his brother's arm and chatting a mile a minute in joyous anticipation of what he is to learn, Severus could not help the small smile that curled his lips, involuntary remembering a beautiful petite, red-headed girl having once done the same to a sullen, dark-haired boy.

Notes: I did attempt to edit this, but I'm also rather sleepy, so please if there are spelling or grammatical errors point them out to me.
Thanks for reading! Love peace and hair grease, Raindancer08