Title: Starting Over: Chapter 2 – 3/?
Warnings: Post war, Torture, Abuse, Child Abuse, Character Death (SS o HP)
Disclaimer: Nope, doesn’t belong to me. I only play with them a bit.
Summary: This is based in the Adoption Challenge issued in WIKTT. I did not make the deadline, but I still think I’ll post this one.
One word and he had turned into mush; well the wet sloppy kiss had probably had something to do with that too. This child had already done in less than an hour what few, if any, had during his entire lifetime. He, Severus Snape -cold unfeeling bastard, bane of all Gryffindors, and commonly known as the ‘greasy git’- had turned into mush. The Potions Master could barely believe it, but with just that one simple word and action the little imp had him wound around his finger. Prime Slytherin material if he had ever seen one. He was also getting soft in his old age. Imagine it, him, giving in just like that. He had practically apparated to Miss Clearstone’s office, followed by a smiling Granger. What was he coming to, letting a Gryffindor –well former Gryffindor- see him become all sentimental. To add insult to injury, adopting the child had felt so oddly right, like he was meant to do that. To give the boy a chance to heal and to have a family, as well as giving himself the chance to have someone who cared for him.
Severus stepped out of the orphanage and onto the busy Diagon Alley, a still asleep and newly named Harold Aidan Snape on his arms. Miss Granger’s nickname had stuck, but he would be addressing the boy as Aidan. It had been the name of one of his uncles, his favorite uncle when he was a child, who died young for not supporting the Dark Lord. This was his way of honoring him, and remembering the one that gave him the incentive to go against his own family and spy on the Dark Lord.
The Potions Master had received detailed information on his… son’s medical condition. The damage was worse than he thought, and he wondered how he had survived. Few, if any, full grown wizards would have. After all the paperwork was done, Miss Granger took it upon herself to instruct him on the whats, hows, and whens of Aidan’s potions, salves and massages. He was no medi-wizard, but a Potions Mastery did require him to know and understand the human body and how to heal it. She was also kind enough, though he would never tell her to her face, to teach him the very basics of caring for his new son. He was not too keen on changing diapers, so he was going to enlist the help of one or two of the school’s house-elves.
Now, armed with a very detailed list of things Aidan would need –again provided by Miss Granger- he set his way to Gringotts. His son only had a couple of clothes changes, and they came from charity, and no toys. The Gryffindor-know-it-all, mentioned that educational toys would help Aidan with his communications skills, and she offered to asses his progress in that area in a couple of weeks. The orphanage did provide him with enough of the necessary healing potions for the boy’s treatment until he was able to brew them. Severus had scoffed when he examined them; all were what he considered substandard works, brewed by inept people with the worse quality of ingredients.
There really was no wonder Aidan was not progressing as expected with his treatment, it was a miracle the potions had not made him sick. He would ask Albus for a few of days off so he could brew a quality batch. That would also give him time to brew a large cauldron of wolfsbane potion for their resident werewolves. He had found the perfect conservative for the potion. It was a muggle chemical that they put in most of their food, and with it the potion lasted almost six months, without altering, loosing potency, or creating any side effects.
Aidan had woken up at the bank, and though at first he had been slightly intimidated by being somewhere he had never been, he was soon eyeing everything curiously; his good hand never releasing his hold on his Daddy’s clothes, feeling safe as long he was in his arms. He had asked timidly what were some of the things he saw, and Severus surprised himself by answering in calm level tones that could almost be labeled patient.
The toddler enjoyed the ride down to the Snape vault, had even giggled a bit, and squealed in delight at some rather sharp turns. The sound of the happy giggles was light and almost musical, it melted a bit more of Potions Master’s walls, and he allowed himself to smile slightly. Severus was sure he had a quidditch fan in the making, not that he minded. He liked the sport –a lot actually, not that he let anyone know- and though he had never tried for the house team, he was an expert flyer. Those who had seen him believed he could have been good enough to try for the seeker position.
With a money bag so full that it almost burst at the seams, the new father and son made their way to Madame Gertrude’s: all for your little young ‘uns. A few of the witches working at the orphanage assured him that he would indeed find what he needed for his son there. As soon as he entered the place a sneer appeared on his face. The store was disgustingly cheerful and bright, there were a lot of contrasting colors and annoying little tunes, it was… sickening. But a look at his son’s face told him Aidan was in toddler heaven. His eyes were open wide and his little mouth was gaping, then he let out a happy squeal, and had he been able, Severus was sure he would have clapped.
“Toys!” Aidan said in an awed voice. “Look Daddy! Lots and lots of toys!” This was yet the longest sentence the child had uttered and it made the lips of the Potions Master curve slightly upward. He was informed that a child of around two, they had determined that was his age, should be able to communicate in simple sentences.
“You want toys Aidan?” The boy nodded enthusiastically. “Well, we’ll get some for you after we buy what you need,” he told the boy who was almost bursting with excitement.
“Pomis Daddy? Pomis?” The hope and eagerness in the little one’s eyes made him say the next.
“Surely you had lots of toys before Aidan,”
“No toys fo’ feak boy,” he said sadly looking ashamed and… resigned. “Feak boy bad, boy do bad feaky things, boy no food and no toys.” Severus did not like the look on his boy’s face; he also did not like what he was hearing. He wanted to be wrong but it actually sounded like his real family had called Aidan a freak. His eyes narrowed in anger, Aidan was a sweet child why would he be called something like that?
“Who is feek boy?” He decided to ask, just to make sure Aidan was talking about himself.
“Not feek, frrreak,” Aidan stressed to pronounce correctly. The ‘r’s gave him some trouble, but he managed. “I feak boy…” he said in a fearful tone of voice.
“What is your name?” he asked surprised that it had not occurred to him to ask before. He had the uneasy hunch that he was not going to like the answer his… son was going to give him.
“Feak,” Aidan stated.
“Surely that is not your name…”
“Is feak, they say feak all the time, boy too. I is feak.” The child responded looking at him with fear in his eyes. “Daddy mad at feak?”
“No, Daddy is not mad,” he surprised himself by saying in a soft soothing voice, even though inside he was seething. He was starting to believe that Aidan’s parents were muggles, who did not understand magic, and either feared it or disliked it. “I’m not mad at you. But remember your name is Aidan now, not freak. So what is your name?”
“Fffeee…” he began and saw his Daddy’s face, it was not happy, so he changed what he was saying. “Ai-dan,”
“That’s right, you are Aidan Snape. You are a GOOD little boy, and you’ll have toys Aidan many toys.”
“Deally Daddy? Not feak? Not bad boy?”
“Really Aidan, you’re not a bad boy,” he stressed this and hoped that he had managed to get the point across to the child.
“Daddy says Ai-dan not bad boy, Ai-dan good boy,” Aidan said and beamed his Daddy a huge smile.
“That’s right I say so.” This got him another wet sloppy kiss on his cheek, from a very happy boy. He had been so focused on his child that he had not noticed the young witch that approached him until she startled them.
“May I be of assistance Professor Snape?”
Ginny Weasley had been rather shocked to see her potions professor at the store. She had been working there since she graduated, and had seen lots of unlikely parents, but never one as unlikely as Snape. Especially because he was acting much more paternal that many who she would have believed better suited to raising a child. Ginny was also surprised that the dour man had adopted someone so young; she would have thought he would go for a teenager probably fifteen or so. Someone he would not have to keep for long.
“Miss Weasley, this is an unexpected surprise.” Severus recovered quickly, while Aidan turned to look at her a bit intrigued, his working hand tightening his hold on his Daddy’s clothes.
“I have to say the same Professor. I’ve been working here for a while; I couldn’t help but hear that your son’s name is Aidan?” He nodded, and the little boy stared at her, like he was assessing her, before he too nodded. “It is a lovely name, for a very handsome little boy.” This got her a rather disbelieving look from said little boy, and a rather strange proud look from Snape. These two seemed rather well suited for each other.
“Miss Weasley, I just adopted Aidan, and I have to say I know nothing of what a toddler needs. Miss Granger provided me with a list of items to buy. Maybe you can tell me if there is something else that is required.” He asked politely as he handed her the list.
“I’ll be glad to assist you Professor, and you too Aidan,” she said smiling at the toddler. This time he gave her a slightly reserved smile. “There doesn’t seem to be anything missing, but I believe you might want to select the clothes. Why don’t you come this way?” She suggested leading the unlikely pair to the clothing area.
A few hours later Severus knew Aidan liked green, blue and oddly enough black, although he did not mind red, and he positively hated orange and yellow. He had been right in his assumption that he had a quidditch fan in the making, his boy loved quidditch motifs on his clothing. On the toys he absolutely adored dragons, snakes and owls, besides quidditch things. A blue pajama with bubbling cauldrons called Aidan’s attention, and he ended buying him some toy cauldrons and ladles, his son seemed to like them. Perhaps he could interest him in his profession from a young age.
Miss Weasley was an excellent sales witch. By the time he left the store, his money bag was considerably lighter. He had probably bought half their inventory, which included furniture. A quidditch themed bedroom set for the boy’s room, with posters, paintings, window drapes, and photos, blue of course. She had suggested a lot of educational children’s books as well as some especial toys that would help with his development and the therapy for his arm and legs. His best buy though was a strap on carrier. It was for younger children, but adapted quite well to Aidan. It would allow him to carry the child, leaving his hands free to do what he needed; the thing included a self expandable as well as a light weight charm, so he barely noticed the child’s weight. Aidan liked it too as it left his working arm free.
With the young Weasley’s help he changed Aidan into a set of his new clothes and disposed the old ones. He looked cute in green robes with bludgers that also made his eyes more vivid, black pants, a green t-shirt and sneakers. They had tried to tame his hair and finally gave up when they realized nothing they did was going to do that, although she did trim it and taught him the charm.
Most of the things he bought were going to be delivered to Hogwarts and should be there by the time he arrived. But Miss Weasley suggested he carried a bag with essentials. Like diapers, a change of clothes, a cloak, a blanket, some toys, and instead of a bottle he should try to get little Aidan used to drink from a training cup, he was old enough already. Her guess was that because of his injuries, the medi-wizard at the orphanage had preferred to use a bottle to get the child to drink his potions. Severus ended agreeing to everything she suggested and left the store carrying a brightly decorated blue bag –with zooming snitches- filled with everything his son might need, and it included a tall chair.
Miss Granger had recommended that he flooed to Hogwarts, as children as young as Aidan had a bit of trouble with apparating. It was mostly psychological since they did not comprehend what was happening. So after leaving the store he headed to the Leaky Cauldron. He would floo to the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmead and walk to Hogwarts. They’d be on time for dinner in the Great Hall. Severus was usually loath to become a spectacle, but the sooner he got over the brats’ and his colleagues’ curiosity the better.
Aidan was afraid of flooing, but contrary to what he expected this boy didn’t make a racket with his crying. He had only whimpered and trembling in fear, and he told him he did not like it. It did not take long for Severus to calm and reassure the scared little boy, and he found it quite strange that he was able to say the soft comforting words and rub his child’s back, rather easily. No one would have believed it, and as it was, he had trouble believing it himself. But since he found Aidan that afternoon he had been behaving quite different from his usual self. In fact, he started after feeling that odd tingling sensation at the orphanage’s infirmary. He would have to check himself for any mellowing spell, or behavior changing hexes.
Before entering the already half-full hall, Severus took the time to explain to Aidan in very simple terms what would happen. This again was Miss Granger’s suggestion, he had been following it so far, and the boy had yet to make a fuss. His child was rather shy, and from what little he had been able to tell, did not like crowded places. But he would have to get used to the noise of the Great Hall at meal times. To give his new son a bit more reassurance, Severus decided to carry him in his arms instead of the carrier. That way the boy would be able to hold him if he got scared; he then asked Aidan if he was ready and at the small boy’s nod he entered the crowded room.
All noise ceased for a moment as the fearsome Potions Master entered carrying in his arms a toddler. Students and teachers alike watched in stunned silence as he made his way to his usual place at the end of the teacher’s table in front of his Slytherins. As soon as he reached the steps all hell broke loose and the students broke in groups to comment about the Slytherin’s Head of House child. The sudden noise startled Aidan and he cowered in his Daddy’s arms burying his head on his neck to ‘hide’, and clutching him tightly with his working hand. Severus sat and then rubbed his son’s back reassuringly at the time he muttered some soft comforting words that seemed to ease the child, while his colleagues clearly gaped at him. He then turned to look at the students and glared at them, daring the insufferable brats to make any comment.
It worked and the children calmed the noise a bit; Severus then treated them to his trademark sneer. Aidan noticed that it was quieter and got the courage to look around. He then saw his Daddy sneer at them, so he decided to copy the expression and sneer at the loud boys and girls. Of course on him the sneer was cute, and while the boys started chuckling, the sound of many girls saying ‘Aw how cute!’ was louder. Severus turned to see what had got that reaction from the female population and saw his son sneering. For a moment he just stared at him, not knowing what to do. In the end he had to fight to hide the rather proud smile that threatened to appear on his face, instead he simply smirked.
Ignoring the baffled looks he was receiving from his colleagues, he sat Aidan on the table while he took out from the boy’s bag the high chair, his training cup, his spoon and (babero). He returned the chair to its normal size and placed the slightly squirming child on it. Aidan didn’t like the idea of sitting there very much and whimpered a bit, and raised his arm to him.
“No Aidan, you have to stay there for dinner.”
“I wan up Daddy,” the toddler whined and again the hall became quiet. “Up.” He managed to bounce a bit on his behind his weak legs moving slightly.
“No, you have to stay there,” He said firmly, and then he explained remembering to keep it simple. “You see that everyone is sitting on their own chairs for dinner, don’t you Aidan?” The child shyly looked around and then nodded hesitantly. “Well you have to stay on your chair too so you can eat like everyone else. Aren’t you hungry?”
“Yeeesss hungy, hungy,”