This story is a collaboration with hello-nurse2005 (Luck). This plot bunny was originally her baby but she invited me in on the fun.
The Unexpected Snape
By Luck and Imablack
***1 September, 1991 -10:21pm***
Severus Snape tied his house robe around his waist as he stepped out of his private bathroom. He had hoped that the hot water running down his back would relieve the tension, but it had done no good. He was going to have to resort to stronger methods and he went straight for the fire whiskey.
Severus poured himself two good measures and slammed the carafe on the table with a hard thunk. He downed the liquid courage in a single, hard swallow. The heat that poured down his throat wasn't nearly as satisfying as he had hoped it would be. The normally dour man had considered another…many in fact. All he wanted to do was drown out the memory of that night's Welcoming Feast, but he could not. Severus had to be up early to teach classes the next day. Drinking himself into oblivion was something he could not indulge in.
Instead, Severus sat himself on the worn Chesterfield in front of the fire and did something he had not allowed of himself in ten years. He put his head in his hands and cried.
Ever since the end term in June, Severus had been fretting this day—the day Harry Potter was to begin Hogwarts. He had been preparing himself for it in fact…the day the product of the one girl Severus had ever loved and the bully who had tormented him throughout his adolescence walked through the doors of the Great Hall to begin his magical training.
Yes—Severus had prepared himself. He prepared himself to hate the spoiled, arrogant spawn of James Potter. Severus expected to see the emerald eyes of Lily Evans, his beloved, fixed on Potter's snide face. After all, when the brat was born, Dumbledore had lauded how the boy had Lily's striking eyes and Potter's raven hair.
Severus was prepared for his life to turn upside down. He was prepared to go chasing after the little miscreant every night if need be. He had already planned appropriate and inventive detentions and punishments he was certain he would have to dole out.
Yes—Severus was prepared for the arrival of Harry James Potter…but not like this. When he first set eyes on the dark-haired boy who was too small for his age, wearing glasses too large for his face, Severus knew immediately that things were not as he had been led to believe.
Severus Snape was the Potions Master at Europe's premier school of Witchcraft and Wizardry and a former Death Eater who turned spy for the Light. He was accustomed to the unexpected. But nothing could have prepared him for the blow that he was given tonight. His life was about to be turned upside down, alright…in ways he had never expected. Not when he had taken the Dark Mark…not when he found out that his precious Lily had been targeted for extermination…neither could compare to the cold fear that sat in his belly like solid block of lead at that moment.
For that very night, Severus Snape had realized that he was a father. And he was the father of none other than Harry Potter…The Boy Who Lived.
Severus considered pouring another finger of fire whiskey, after all, when he heard the Floo flare to life, heralding the appearance of a not entirely unexpected visitor.
Severus never spared a glance to the hearth; there was only one person who could gain entry into his rooms without his express permission. He said nothing as Albus Dumbledore stepped into his line of sight. The dotty headmaster was still dressed in the ridiculous spangled robes he had worn to the Sorting.
Without bothering to ask Severus' leave, Albus settled himself comfortably into the chair across from his potions master. For a long while Severus refused meet his mentor's expectant gaze. Without realizing when or why he had done so, Severus unexpectedly found himself looking into those damnable, twinkling blue eyes. As usual, they shone with warmth and kindly understanding, and as usual, Severus found himself miffed because of it.
Severus' gut turned in on itself, as if he were a small child caught misbehaving. It annoyed him to no end that the aging wizard could still have such an effect on him. There had been only three people Severus had ever really loved and two of them had passed beyond the Veil long ago. The third was Albus Dumbledore.
Over time, the august headmaster had somehow become the paternal figure Severus had never known in his own father, Tobias Snape. Severus was only a mere child when he first entered the grand, magical edifice of that was Hogwarts. His mother's stories of Albus Dumbledore's legendary power and wisdom were almost too much for a young boy to comprehend, but once he laid eyes on the headmaster, even the young boy understood. Almost immediately, Severus admired him, even as he coveted and feared the famous wizard's awesome power.
Later, as a young man, after Severus realized his gross errors in judgement when he trusted another great and powerful wizard whose words were as sweet as honey, yet dripped venom all the same. Before it was too late to turn back, Severus shifted his efforts towards defending the Light. To some, his willingness to enter the Dark Lord's lair in order to glean valuable information on behalf of the headmaster's Order of the Phoenix, was an act of bravery. To Severus it was an act of selfishness. He knew he had only to save Lily. Severus felt grateful and completely undeserving of Albus' acceptance, understanding and the swift intervention that had kept him out of Azkaban.
Severus felt that a life sentence in the hellish prison was the least he was due for his trespasses. Initially, he assumed that the headmaster came to his aid because Dumbledore had further use for him. In time, however, Severus reluctantly came to realize Dumbledore would never have protected him, much less trusted and confided in him, if the headmaster disliked the younger wizard.
When Severus came to realize that the old man loved him as the son he had never had, flabbergasted couldn't begin to describe how Severus had felt. After all, who could love such an ugly, bitter, emotionally flawed person such as himself?
As time passed, and Severus had come to know the headmaster as just a man rather than a myth, he began suspect it was due to the fact the Albus might have seen a bit of himself in Severus. Dumbledore had known the temptation of power that had yielded disastrous results, just as Severus had. This epiphany further ignited Severus' fierce loyalty and the love of a son for his father. He was well aware Dumbledore manipulated and used him at times, but it was obvious the elder wizard genuinely loved and worried over him. Loathe though he was to admit it, Albus spoiled Severus much as one might a petulant son, allowing his Potions Master more leeway with how he ran his classes than the headmaster might his other professors, and enabling Severus during his many infamous, cantankerous mood swings.
This had been obvious in the days and months after Lily's death. The Potion Master was quite sure that the headmaster's influence and guidance had been the only thing that had kept him from meeting his end by his own hand after Lily died. During one of the bleakest times in Severus' life, Dumbledore had saved him once again, this time from suffocating in a thick mire of self-pity and bitter remorse. Therefore, Severus did everything Dumbledore wanted and more, not only because he had promised anything, but also because in reality he wanted to please the older man.
Finally Severus had to speak, if only to end the thunderous silence that had collected in the room. "Did you, by chance, happen to notice anything odd about our new celebrity?"
Severus squirmed under Albus' scrutiny. "Other than the fact that Harry Potter only superficially resembles James and bears an uncannily striking likeness to Hogwarts' current Potions Master; I've noticed nothing out of the ordinary about the boy at all."
"The boy's appearance could be mere coincidence, however, I must know for certain." Then Severus quietly said more to himself than Albus, "If it is true then this changes everything."
"I understand, Severus," Dumbledore assured. "So it is possible then? Harry could be your son?"
Severus nodded his affirmation. "It is a possibility. The timing is right," he said reflectively. "Harry was likely conceived at the end of October."
"I wasn't even aware you had any contact with Lily after the two of you left Hogwarts."
"Before that keen mind of yours comes to the wrong conclusion, old man, it was entirely consensual— by both parties," Severus snapped.
"Severus, it seems you are the one making assumptions," Albus said patiently. "Nothing could be further from my mind. I am well aware that you would never hurt Lily so."
"I won't go into details. The interlude was far too brief and once again, she chose Potter. Scarcely a fortnight had passed after I last saw her, when their marriage announcement appeared in the Daily Prophet," Severus said bitterly
"She was unfaithful to Potter." Severus' announcement lacked the expected note of triumph. "However, in the end, it was him…it was always him."
"She chose to bear your son," Dumbledore murmured. "It was not a decision she was coerced into. Lily was a brilliant witch. No doubt she was aware of her child's paternity."
"Lily would never have aborted the baby, even if it was mine," Severus said sullenly.
"Severus…," Albus began, his voice slightly pained.
"Did you suspect this... this turn of events?" Severus interrupted, not even attempting to hide his suspicion.
"Severus, I pride myself on the fact that my intuition far exceeds that of the ordinary witch or wizard, but even I must confess that I find this turn of events unexpected. I hadn't the least notion that Harry was other than who Lily claimed him to be—the son of James Potter," Dumbledore replied tilting his head in thought. "I am quite aware of your feelings for Lily, of how deeply you still love her. Do you think so little of me to believe I would purposefully keep you from the child you helped her create…your child?"
"You placed him with Lily's sister, correct?"
Dumbledore leaned back into the chair again, steepling his fingers together. "At the time, I felt the Blood Wards that Lily's sacrifice offered him was Harry's best protection."
"And now?" Severus asked contemptibly, his dark eyes flashing as they made contact with the headmaster's. "Tuney was a jealous and vindictive child and I seriously doubt time has changed her."
Dumbledore sighed. "Normally I would not recommend turning a child's life upside down, especially at this juncture. However, these recent events must be taken into consideration. The owls had difficulty delivering Mr Potter's letter. Hagrid took on the task of hand delivering it for me. Perhaps you should speak with him about his encounter with Harry and his guardians?"
For the briefest of moments, Severus was caught off guard and he inadvertently allowed his normally stoic countenance to slip. "If they have…if they have hurt him..." He trailed, off his jaw clenched tightly at the thought of that horse-faced shrew laying one finger on the boy's head.
Severus would not wait. He would get to the bottom of this tonight. Severus dashed to his room to quickly change into trousers and a jumper then grabbed his robes off the back of his chair where he had carelessly thrown them when he returned from the Welcoming Feast, and slipped them on.
"I would like to discuss this visit to the Dursleys. Where might I find Hagrid?" Severus asked, as he smoothed out the non-existent wrinkles. Merlin knows he paid enough for the magical wrinkle-free fabric.
"I expect that he is still in the boat house, securing the punts."
Without saying another word, Severus turned and swept from the room, his dark robes gliding across the stone floor in his wake.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A/N: I would really like to thank Luck for inviting me into this story. We have a ton of fun ideas and I think you all are really going to enjoy this. :D
I would also like to thank her for the incredible fan videos she created for Along Came a Family and Severus Snape and the Potion Master's Daughter (the link for PMD will be available in a day or two on my profile page).
Please remember to let us know what you think. No worries, I am still working on ACaF and PMD. I hope to get some good writing time on both this weekend.