Here is another part of the original draft. I finally have it all and I can say I’m surprised there were 82 handwritten pages, and in the end they became only 38 letter sized pages in word.
There have been some changes since I first wrote this draft, but for the main part it still applies as a guide as to where I wanted to go with the story. I hope to upload the rest by tomorrow in the afternoon/evening.
With that said, they recounted the last 10 days between Albus, Minerva and Poppy. Harry had taken to heart his promise, and cared for the baby mostly on his own. The boy barely spoke to anyone but little Anne or him; that really surprised Severus. He would sit for hours with the girl on his arms by his bed and… talk. He told her tales of his adventures with Ron, Hermione and occasionally the twins. About potions classes, Neville blowing up or melting cauldrons, and the times the Professor saved his life.
They told him Harry felt responsible for what happened to Anne on top of Cedric’s death. They had not had the foresight to realize the boy would feel that way. Also, even if he did not love his relatives, being ‘abandoned’ by ‘them’ and having no one to turn to affected him more than Harry was willing to admit. Albus was feeling really bad about that, he failed the boy by not listening. Add to that the child was having visions of Voldemort.
In all, Harry refused to sleep because of the nightmares his ‘problems’ brought. Poppy had put a sleeping draught in his food when she first noticed he was not sleeping. The next day he was so angry he blasted all the windows, locked Poppy out of the infirmary for 5 hours, and did not eat for 2 days. The strange thing was the Ministry did not register that use of magic just as it did not register the wandless ‘expelliarmus’ .
“No wonder he was so close to breaking down, in fact I’m surprised he didn’t sooner. Potter is an emotional wreck at the moment,” Severus commented. He actually felt bad for the brat. He probably would keep feeling, and being sensitive until he could rebuild his walls. But it was proving so hard, there… was not even rubble left.
“He held on with all he had because of your daughter…”
“My… daughter,” he muttered as that fact finally sunk in. He had a child. What was he going to do about it? He… was a loner , and had no knowledge of how to deal with an infant. She was half muggle/half wizard and Voldemort was active again, she… what he had left of his Anne was at risk. He would not be able to keep his spying, not if the Dark Lord found out about the mother of his child. “I… Voldemort…”
“You can’t go back child, you already missed three calls. Lucius came to pay you a visit; we hid Harry and little Anne. We told him nothing but… they would use veritasserum and torture to find out.”
“But… I can’t keep her, she’ll be at risk with me and… I… don’t know anything about raising a child!” He sounded panicky.
“You learn to be a parent as you go Severus, no one really takes a course on it,” Minerva told him.
“I just… I just don’t think I can… not without… Anne,”
“She needs you Severus, and… I think you need her too,”
“I don’t know Albus…”
“Think about it, keep her with you for a while today, If… if you choose to give her up, we’ll just make the arrangements for Harry to keep her.”
“WHAT?” At his exclamation, little Anne woke up and began whimpering. At Minerva’s suggestion he rocked her slowly, whispered softly, and allowed his magic to ‘caress’ his daughter. She fell asleep in no time. “What do you mean Albus?”
“He’s her godfather, and even if he’s underage. He will be allowed to keep her.”
“But… he’s a child himself! You saw how he was!”
“Yes, it’s a huge responsibility Severus. But he made it clear, if you didn’t want her…”
“It’s not that… I… do want… her. I just don’t think I can have her.”
“Well, the end result is the same. He won’t let her go an orphanage, he is an orphan; and he’s been unwanted. He won’t let her grow up like that. Harry would not let any child go through life like that if he could. He can’t except for Lily Anne. If it’s a problem he said he’d leave Hogwarts. Though I hope it doesn’t come to that, he is safer here.”
“Stubborn Gryffindor,” Severus muttered angrily. “The brat doesn’t leave me a choice, does he?”
“You do have a choice Sir,” Harry said moving closer and standing at the foot of the bed. He still looked exhausted, but not as close to mental collapse as he had been.
“She’s not safe with me Potter, what makes you think my daughter will be safe with you?” He snapped at the boy. His words were like a physical blow and Harry reeled, needing to grab the foot of the bed for support. The boy went as white as a sheet, his green eyes filled with despair and anguish.
“Yes… you’re right Professor,” he choked, took a deep breath and went on in an ironic tone of voice. “How foolish of me Sir ! I forgot that people around me die like flies. I’m sorry for assuming I could keep anyone safe…” With that he squared his scrawny shoulders and made his way stiffly to the door. Severus knew he had probably mortally wounded the boy. Guilt was already killing him, Potter just needed a push; and he had shoved him.
“That’s not what I meant!” Severus said, but the boy did not stop. The once cold man debated what to do, he owed to Potter the fact that he had his daughter, a small piece of Anne. He handed his baby to Albus and went after the boy.
Harry was at the door when he heard steps, he turned to see Snape getting closer, and panicked. He boltled in a dead run. He heard the older man call after him, but he had no intention of stopping. To his surprise, the man was fast and tackled him. Harry fought as hard as he could, but he had already burned whatever reserves he still had. He lay still panting to catch his breath. Severus was also breathing hard after being prostrated in bed and not eating, he was not in the best condition; Potter was also very fast and elusive.
“I don’t blame you,” Severus said, he sat against a wall, but still held on to the boy. “I wanted to, I really did. But it really wasn’t your fault.”
“But… there must have been something I could do. Surely if I hadn’t hesitated in using magic,” Harry sobbed.
“From what you told me she was already wounded when you went in her help. As much as it hurts me to say it, there was nothing you could do.” Tears began falling from his eyes .
“It’s… not fair! People die near me and I can’t do anything… I’m so weak.”
“No, life isn’t fair. It has a damn sick sense of humour. It… gives you hope, let’s you dream and then takes it away . ”
“I’m sorry Sir… I’m really sorry… I caused you so much pain…”
“It hurts so very much,” he choked. “To know I won’t see her, laugh with her again. You know? I could not believe she loved me. The ‘greasy git’, evil potions professor; the most unsociable being in the wizarding world…”
“She asked me to tell you she’ll love you always and to take care of your daughter for her,” Harry’s words got him a choked sob, followed by a few more. Both cried for a bit more, it really pained Harry to see that strong wizard hurting so much.
“I am grateful to you… Harry…”
“But I …”
“You delivered my daughter. You were there and because of that she ‘s alive, I know about her and what happened to Anne. You’ve earned my undying gratitude boy.”
After a while they made their way back to the infirmary. Madame Pomfrey began to berate both of them for the foolish stunt, but it was the headmaster who stopped her. At his suggestion they shared dinner together. Harry was not feeling very hungry, but forced himself to eat more to gain his strength. Snape was restricted to broth and afterward he took dreamless sleep potion. Minerva took care of Lily Anne for the night.
The events of that night broke the ice between Harry and Severus. They had common ground and that was Lily Anne. The boy became intent on involving the older wizard in the care of his daughter. In teaching him all that he learned and by the end of the week there were frail attempts at bickering over diaper changes. None wanted to do it, and it was like playing Russian roulette. Feedings were all right. Harry let Snape do most of those, as both Minerva and Poppy agreed it would help the Potions Master to bond with his daughter.
Severus had yet to rebuild his walls. He was still grieving, but now that he realized he was needed it was a bit easier to go on. There were times when he still lost himself but, oddly enough, Harry became attuned to those moods and did not let wallow in them too long. He used little Lily Anne to break him out of them. But if it was not enough, he would place a hand on the wizard’s shoulder and talk to him about everything at first. Then, when he realized that talking about potions and ingredients would snap out him of it; he used that. Harry was probably going to know more about Potions and ingredients than Hermione by the end of the summer.
H arry really did not mind, he had decided that if he had no one that cared about him, there were others he could take care of instead. So he took it unto himself to look after Snape. The man was not bad at all. The boy also looked after Lily Anne, she was like a little sister and he was happy to notice she recognized and preferred that he carry her, instead of Madam Pomfrey or McGonagall.
Severus was back to health after a week of being in the infirmary, and he was allowed to move about. He had accepted to have tea with Albus in his office, and leave his daughter in Harry’s competent hands. Who would have thought ‘the-boy-who-lived’ would turn out to be so good with the babies ? He had also noticed Harry really cared for his little girl, the boy positively adored her.
As he drank tea, Albus moved the conversation to school matters, a ‘safe’ subject, and also one that would get him back to the land of the living. It was something to keep his mind occupied and away from brooding. Severus’ had noticed Harry’s attempts at snapping him out of his depression, he was… grateful, and… moved that the boy would try to help him get back on his feet. Albus had really been right about him. Potter was a good kid, with a big heart.
They talked about the school’s security. Albus was sure that with little Anne staying at Hogwarts he could implement blood-relation wards like the ones he had used in Privet Drive for Harry. Those wards would strengthen the school’s protection and ‘the-boy-who-lived’ would also benefit from that. There were a few other protective wards the Potions Master could cast as a father. Severus was a very powerful wizard. The Headmaster also wanted Harry to try his hand at weaving some wards based on his relation to Lily Anne. The boy was really strong, he just needed more direct guidance and work on his wandless magic.
Albus then moved to talk about what Severus wanted to do since he was out of the infirmary. The younger wizard mentioned that he wanted to go back to his chambers. It was then that he realized the dungeons were no place for a baby. They were too cold and damp, without mentioning dark. Severus had groaned and muttered something about his life being thorn in little pieces and rearranged without his permission. The headmaster agreed that children, once they came, produced that effect on the otherwise orderly lives of parents. He avoided mentioning that it was more of a strain for single parents. But Severus did mention it sadly.
Dumbledore suggested he could use one of the empty apartments in the professors’ wing. There was bound to be one to his liking, and the house-elves would take care of moving everything. The younger wizard just sighed resigned, he dreaded apartment gazing. If he wasn’t wrong there were at least fifteen, some had not been used in a century or more. Albus also dropped the hint that Severus should visit either Hogsmead or Diagon Alley for baby things. His daughter had only the barest essentials and would require much more. Severus groaned, he hated shopping unless it was books or something Potions’ related.
“How can people deal with all these… changes?”
“The best they can my child. Some prepare months in advance, others? Well at the last minute, you’ll get used to it, don’t worry.”
“Can you imagine what’s going to happen if a student sees me in a baby shop? My reputation will be ruined!”
“Well, they better get used to seeing you carrying a baby around,” Albus said eyes twinkling madly with amusement; and Severus groaned aloud again .
“Oh Merlin, be merciful,” the Potions Master muttered
“It’ll be fine my child, look at it this way; you’ll have an unlimited supply of baby sitters. ”
“Very funny Albus,” he sneered.
“I think it is,” the older wizard chuckled but then got serious. “There’s one more thing I wanted to talk with you, Harry.”
“What about him?”
“Well, he can’t stay the way he is now. I… need to find a family and a place to stay the rest of the summer.”
“So you’re going to send him away,” Severus stated softly . He had gotten used to the boy, and he knew Harry was not going to like being separated from little Anne. He… Potter was a great help and not just with the baby.
“Yes,” Albus confirmed sadly.
“Do you have a place already?” The Potions Master inquired trying not to sound too interested and failing miserably.
“I have a couple but I haven’t decided yet… There’s another option but…” the old wizard hesitated knowing it might be asking too much of the younger man before him.
“But…?” Severus raised one eyebrow denoting interest.
“Do you think you can deal with a baby and a teenager my child? I know you both have made your peace, but it is another change.” Albus paused to let his words sink in, then went on. “Harry needs attention, needs to feel wanted and that he’s not just dumped on people who would much rather do without him.” His voice was filled with regret. It was his fault the boy felt that way. He had, after all, been the one who decided to leave Harry with those terrible muggles. “The poor boy has had enough rejection his whole life at the hands of those despicable muggles; and I have no one to blame but myself. I don’t want to repeat the same mistake. The families I chose have no kids and they were looking for one. They don’t know it is Harry Potter, just a kid that really needs to be loved. They aren’t death Eaters and they have pledged to protect the light .”
Severus was silent thinking, he was not sure he could offer what Albus wanted, to love the boy. He knew he was not numb, as he had begun to love his little girl, and was fond of Potter. The Potions Master still was not sure it was good idea to let people close so soon after loosing Anne. His heart had always been frail, and that was why he had built his walls in the first place.
“It’s ok Severus, I understand. You’re learning to be a father to your daughter. I can’t really ask you to take another child.”
“I haven’t said that I won’t take him, Albus. He is really a great help with Lily. He adores her and she knows him. You feel her magic almost glow when he’s around. He… has also been a great help to get me going, he didn’t have to, and has not explained why. But… Harry won’t let me dwell in my memories to long. I can’t promise to love him as a son, I… I’m not sure I’m able… But… he won’t be burden and… I’ll miss him if you send him away.” He ended admitting the last.
“Are you sure my child?” Albus had considered the possibility of Severus taking Harry in, but had been sure the younger wizard would not agree. That was why he felt compelled to ask again, to make sure it was what Severus wanted.
“Yes, he’ll be welcomed in my… family, if that is what he wants. Are we going to trial for his guardianship?”
“No, we found the Dursleys , and they signed a release of their guardianship of the boy to whoever we decided. You’ll only have to sign the Ministry documents. I have the parchments right here…”
“I… rather ask him first Albus,” Severus informed his mentor. He did not want to force Harry into anything. Despite doing his best to hide it, the Potions Master knew the boy was very frail emotionally, and he did not want to hurt him by forcing him to live with someone he did not want to.
“Very well, the papers can wait.” Albus had a pleased smile on his face as he put away the parchment. “I’m glad you agreed to take him. I really didn’t want to have to send Harry away. I know he considers Hogwarts home, but… I couldn’t take him myself, even if Minerva wanted to as much as I did. You know Fudge will jump at any possible opening to discredit the both of us about Voldemort’s return. He did enough damage to the boy by accusing him of lying and being mentally unbalanced .”
“Fudge might try to contest my right to be Harry’s legal guardian. I… I have a past.” Severus warned him. He had been a Death Eater after all, and there were many people that did not believe he had repented.
“Yes, you made a mistake when you were young,” Albus agreed. “But you didn’t return to Him. There are court records that state you worked for the Order of the Phoenix and myself during the first war. All your statements were taken under the effects of veritasserum. I can request that those records be unsealed; and not even He can’t contest them no matter what. His predecessor made sure no one could. You could, of course, adopt Harry,” Albus suggested, “the magical and legal procedures ensure that it is in the best interest of a child. Fudge can’t do anything in that case.”
“I don’t know Albus.” His tone was uncertain. Something the old Headmaster had rarely heard.
“It’s alright Severus , think about it. We’re in no hurry it can make thing easier, but it’s not necessary. You already agreed to be his legal guardian. That’s enough; and maybe after seeing how you cope with each other…” he trailed off.
“Don’t worry Albus , I won’t harm him. I’m so deep in dept with Harry that I would never hurt him knowingly.”