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Chapter 12: Penseive Problems
A/N: Some spanking in this chapter, you have been warned!
Despite the troubled night he'd had last night, Severus woke early, at around seven AM. Harry was still asleep, so he was quiet when he went to use the bathroom. He knew he hated it when noisy people woke him up out of a sound sleep. When he came out of the bathroom, however, he saw Harry sitting up in bed, his hair all tousled, yawning, "Sorry, did I wake you?" Severus felt compelled to apologize.
"Huh? No, I'm used to getting up at the crack of dawn. Dursley House Rules, know what I mean?" Harry replied easily. He could joke about it now, but it hadn't been very funny at the time.
Severus scowled, he hated the Dursleys. "Bastards!"
"Hey, watch the mouth. Before you eat soap for breakfast," Harry scolded. Then he added, "I can't disagree with you though. They were." He swung his feet over the bed and rose. "So, after breakfast, we'll Floo on over to Minerva's office and you can rid yourself of any memories you'd rather not have. I'll make sure she puts them somewhere safe."
Severus watched as Harry padded sleepily into the bathroom and shut the door. Seconds later he heard water running and the toilet flushing. He decided to go back into his room and get dressed. He didn't want to delay their departure to Minerva's office. As he crept into the bedroom he shared with Alby, he pondered on why, after that bloody awkward emotional display last night, he didn't feel as ashamed or uncomfortable as he used to after allowing his emotions to run rampant that way. Maybe it was because he was beginning to grow accustomed to the way his five-year-old self reacted. Or maybe it was because Harry never scolded him for acting like a wimp or pansyarse. Those had been his father's standard words whenever he'd caught Severus crying as a boy. Usually followed by a backhand across the face so now he had "something to cry about". But Harry had not acted like it were anything unnatural for him to wake up from a nightmare hysterical. Harry had done what he'd always wished his father would have—Harry had held and comforted him. It made him feel good. For the first time in a long time he had felt wanted. And he hadn't felt like that in a long, long time.
He quietly pulled on some black jeans and a soft blue shirt with some books in a stack and a cat sleeping on them, underneath were the words Don't Disturb, I Have Claws and I Know How to Use Them! He tied his trainers and walked quietly downstairs, for Ginny and Alby were still asleep. Harry came down a minute or two later, wearing jeans and socks, carrying his shirt over his shoulder. His well-muscled chest and shoulders stood out like sculpted marble. His dark hair was still wet from his shower, but his green eyes twinkled merrily behind his glasses.
"Hey, Severus. Are you hungry?" He tossed his shirt over the back of a kitchen chair.
Severus stared up at Harry. This was the first time he'd ever seen the young professor partially dressed. He hadn't thought Harry had that much muscle on his lean frame, but apparently he was wrong. "Aren't you going to put your shirt on?" he blurted, wondering why he'd asked such an inane thing. It was hardly his place to tell Potter how to dress in his own house!
Harry glanced at the small boy, amused. "Yeah, in a bit. My wife likes me like this sometimes." He told Severus. Actually Ginny thought he was sexy wearing a bathrobe, and had told him so on more than one occasion. "Besides, it's hot in here." He tossed his hair out of his eyes and began heating up a skillet. "How's waffles and bacon sound? Or would you like eggs and fried potatoes and bangers?"
Severus shrugged. He was not picky. "Whatever you like."
"I feel like waffles today," Harry said, then he began making the waffle batter. He had the bacon cooking soon after, monitored by magic, and the waffle iron heating. "But I'm starving right now. I think I'll have a donut."
He Summoned an entire box of chocolate frosted donuts from the pantry and began to munch on one. "Want one?" he offered the small boy a donut.
Severus considered. "Donuts aren't good for breakfast. They're full of sugar."
"So? Live a little, Severus. You're not an adult now, you have a kid's metabolism. You're five, enjoy it." He placed a donut into the small hand.
Severus eyed the donut. His mouth was watering already and he hadn't even taken a bite yet. He bit into the soft treat and felt the chocolaty richness melt on his tongue. He had forgotten just how good a chocolate donut tasted. Before he knew it, he had taken another bite. Then another.
"Good, huh?" Harry asked, licking the frosting off his fingers. Then he snagged another one and started eating that one too. "Want more?"
"Uh . . . maybe half. Otherwise I won't eat breakfast," Severus told him.
Harry chuckled, and broke another donut in half. "Here you go, Mr. Snape."
As Severus was nibbling . . . or trying to . . . on the chocolate donut, Ginny came downstairs wearing a pink bathrobe and fuzzy slippers, her hair flowing down her shoulders in a crimson tide. She smiled when she saw her husband and her new son. "You look good enough to eat, Harry."
"Thanks, Gin. Want a donut? The waffle iron should be heated soon." Harry grinned and kissed her.
She ran her hands appreciatively over his shoulders. "Harry, you know I can't eat donuts for breakfast. Not unless you want me to become the size of Hagrid."
"Gin, you are not fat."
"Because I don't eat donuts for breakfast." She said. "I wish I had your metabolism, Harry! It's so not fair! You can eat an entire package of those and not even gain a pound. Men! By the time your metabolism catches up to you, you'll be a bald, fat, old man."
Harry turned to her with a smirk. "You saying you won't love me when I'm old and bald and fat, Ginny?"
"Of course not!" She flicked a dish towel at him.
"Because it sure seemed like that's what you were hinting at," he teased. "That as soon as I was an ugly old fart, my arse would be out on the street and you'd be dating some hot young kid like that Marvin Mellencamp down the street."
"Harry!" she swatted him playfully on the behind. "Marvin Mellencamp is sixteen! I'm like ten years older than him."
"What's that matter? I think he likes older women. I caught him eyeing your bottom when you were weeding the flowers one day. I nearly went and punched him out, but I didn't want to be arrested for assaulting a minor." Harry said, gently patting his wife's shapely bottom. He pulled her against him and kissed her. "You know, I'm a terribly jealous husband."
Ginny laughed. "Sure you are, handsome. And you have absolutely no reason to be, Mr. Potter." She wrapped her arms about him and kissed him back. "Because I have eyes only for you."
Severus coughed pointedly. "My God, Potter, do you do this in front of Alby? And your waffle iron's smoking."
Harry stepped away from Ginny, a satisfied smirk on his face. He adjusted the waffle iron and then poured some batter on it and put the lid down. Then he forked the bacon onto some paper towels and put more in the skillet. "What's wrong, Severus? Haven't you ever seen two people kissing before?"
"Yes, but . . .you're . . . in public!"
Harry laughed. "I'm in my own kitchen and this is about as private as it gets. I don't believe in hiding the fact that I love my wife behind closed doors. I want Alby to grow up seeing that it's okay for a husband and wife to show affection. All we were doing was kissing."
"My mum and dad hugged and kissed each other all the time around us, Severus," Ginny added impishly. "It's nothing to be ashamed of." She slid from Harry's arms and began setting the table.
Severus blushed and went to sit down. He felt embarrassed viewing the obvious affection the two had for one another. Probably because he'd never seen that kind of affection between his own parents. Eileen and Tobias had never teased and laughed like that, much less kissed each other as if there was no tomorrow. It almost made him . . . jealous. No, not jealous, but . . . wistful. Because that was what he would have wanted to have with Lily, back in his old life. Would he ever be able to have that, he wondered, taking the other half of the chocolate donut. To hell with the calories.
"I smell waffles!" said a little voice, and Alby entered the kitchen, still in pajamas. "Morning, Sevvy." He slid into the seat next to his older brother.
"Sevvy?" Severus raised an eyebrow. He hadn't been called that since his mother passed away. But he didn't really mind, not from Alby. Little brothers were allowed to use nicknames no one else could.
Alby nodded firmly. "You is Sevvy and I'm Alby. We match then." The boy said. Then he spied the donuts. "Yummy!" He reached out and took one out of the box and then crammed it in his mouth. "Mmm."
"Don't eat it all at once!" Severus protested. "You'll choke!"
But amazingly, Alby chewed and swallowed the whole donut. "Milk, please, Dad!"
Harry turned and sent a cup of milk over for his son and for Severus. "Hey, buddy! How's it going?"
"Good. The donut was real good." Alby said, chocolate smeared all over his face. He picked up his milk and drank thirstily.
"Donuts are always good," Harry laughed, then he turned to take the waffle off the iron.
Severus grabbed a napkin and handed it to his small brother. "Wipe your mouth. You've got chocolate all over it."
Alby did, then he eyed Severus and giggled. "You do too, Sevvy! Right here." He touched Severus' left cheek.
Severus quirked his mouth in a lopsided smile. Then he took another napkin and wiped his mouth.
Soon two plates with waffles cut up and dripping with syrup as well as strips of bacon were floating over to the two boys.
"Yay! Waffles!" Alby cheered. "Daddy makes the bestest," he told his brother, before taking a forkful.
Severus had to agree after he'd tasted some. If any good had come out of Harry's childhood, it was his cooking ability. "He sure does." He crunched a piece of bacon. Even that was excellent, crispy and not dripping with grease.
The two adults joined them and everyone ate till they were stuffed. "I think I made too many waffles," Harry lamented.
"That's okay, hon. We can have waffles with ice cream for a sweet tonight," Ginny said.
"Yay! More waffles!" Alby cheered. He was sticky with syrup and Ginny washed his face with a damp cloth.
She smiled at her son and said, "Alby, why don't we get dressed and then you can help Mummy make the beds? Daddy and Sevvy are going to take a little trip to see Auntie Min this morning, they should be back before lunch."
Severus nearly glared at her for calling him Sevvy, then he sighed and decided that it was all right for Ginny to use it too, since mothers often had nicknames for their children.
Alby pouted a little. "How come I can't go?"
"Because you're too little," Severus told him. "She wants to talk to me about boring things. I won't be gone long and when I come back we can play a game."
Alby thought about this, then slowly nodded. "I'll think up the game while you're gone, Sevvy."
That potential disaster averted, Harry sent the dishes into the sink and began to wash them magically. "Are you ready, Severus?" he asked the small boy.
"Yes. But don't you think you ought to put a shirt on? Before you give Minerva a heart attack?" Severus asked slyly.
"Oh. Right!" Harry blushed and tugged on his shirt and then put on his trainers. Then he took Severus' hand and together they used the Floo Network.
Ginny giggled after they had gone. She would bet her last Galleon that Minerva would have appreciated the sight of Harry shirtless before she passed out.
When Harry and Severus Flooed into Minerva's office, they found Remus and Sirius there as well, Minerva had served tea and Remus was drinking some with her. Sirius was sitting next to him, in shorts and a red shirt, swinging his legs back and forth, looking bored out of his mind.
Severus stiffened when he caught sight of his archenemy. "What are you doing here, Black?" he hissed, glaring at the other boy.
Sirius glared back, baring his teeth slightly like the mutt he could transform into. "What's it to you, Snape?"
Harry placed a hand on Severus' shoulder. "Stop it, the pair of you," he ordered sternly. "The both of you are here for the same reason, am I right, Remus?"
"You are, Harry. Sirius was having nightmares about Azkaban, so we decided to take your advice and put some of his worst memories into the Pensieve."
"I figured as much," Harry nodded. "Severus was having bad dreams too."
"About what?" Sirius scoffed. "Kissing the Dark Lord's feet?"
Severus nearly went for him them, but Harry pulled him back. "Don't Severus. It's what he wants."
Harry turned to face his former godfather. "Sirius, that was out of line. Severus has just as many bad memories as you and he deserves respect, not being made fun of. Do it again and you'll deal with me."
"But Harry—" Sirius protested. Why was Harry always defending Snivellus? He was a former Death Eater, for crying out loud. All of his bad memories were probably torturing people and enjoying it.
"Never mind "but Harry", Sirius," Harry said, frowning. "I want you to stop baiting him. What he did was in another life and you need to stop bringing it up. Let's not forget that you did some pretty bad things too back then." He turned to Minerva. "Good morning, Minerva! Thanks for letting us use the Pensieve on such short notice."
"You're very welcome, Harry. Hello, Severus! You're looking chipper today. I like your shirt." Minerva greeted her former colleague warmly. She was surprised how adorable Severus looked, he was a beautiful child with his huge dark eyes, slender face, and dark hair.
"Thank you, ma'am," Severus said, politely. He tugged on Harry's sleeve. He wanted to get this over with, especially because Black was there. "Harry, can we do it now?"
"Yes. Minerva, where is it?"
"In my inner office, dear. The same cabinet it's always been in. Good luck dear."
Harry and Severus entered the inner office and took the Pensieve out of the cabinet.
Harry handed Severus his wand. "Do you need any help?"
Severus shook his head. "No. I know which ones I want to remove. I just . . . need something to stand on to reach the Pensieve." The cabinet was taller than he was.
Harry dragged a plaid covered footstool over so Severus could stand on it. Then he watched as Severus put the wand to his temple and withdrew a silvery strand. More followed . . . until the bowl was full of memories. They swirled about the bowl.
Severus looked down at them, an expression of disgust stealing over his features. But he was finally free of them. He glanced up at Harry, standing beside him. "Want to take a look?" he asked, half-sarcastically.
Harry winced. "No. I won't invade your privacy again. I'm sorry I ever did that. It was wrong. I could just kick my own ass for it. Want me to help you bottle them?"
Severus nodded and together they bottled and labeled the memories. Harry gathered them and put them on Minerva's desk. "Do you feel a little better now?" asked Harry kindly.
"Yes . . . I do," Severus said, a note of wonder in his voice.
"Good. I'm glad. Nobody should have to suffer forever for the mistakes of the past." Harry said sincerely. He helped Severus off the stool and gave him a brief hug.
When they emerged from Minerva's inner sanctum, she offered them some tea and cakes. Harry tried to refuse, but Minerva insisted.
Remus rose and said, "All right, Siri. Your turn." He led his son into the inner office.
Sirius marched right over to the Pensieve. Then he turned to Remus and said, "I can borrow your wand, right?"
"Sure," Remus handed him the wand. "Would you like me to step outside and give you some privacy?"
"That'd be great," said Sirius. He really didn't want anybody watching him. It felt too awkward. He put Remus' wand to his temple and withdrew the first memory. As he was placing it into the bowl, Remus took his leave.
Alone in the office, Sirius continued removing all his memories of Azkaban. All except the ones where he escaped the prison on the rock. Finally he was through and then he looked about for some empty vials to put them in. He found some under the cabinet on a shelf. As soon as he had finished putting them inside the vials and labeling them, rather sloppily, he turned to jump off the stool.
He landed in front of Minerva's desk and saw immediately the vials of Snape's memories sitting there. Snivellus' memories! I wonder what he has in there? Probably memories of all the Death Eater orgies he attended. If I could find out what he did, and tell Harry about it, maybe Harry would see that it's not worth his time to rehabilitate Snivellus. He should just get rid of the git.
Without stopping to think, Sirius picked up a vial labeled May 25th, 1979, Apocalypse of Children and carried it over to the Pensieve. He hesitated only a second before dumping it into the silver water. He had to know the truth and so did Harry. He plunged his head into the water . . .
. . . . when he pulled his head out, Sirius realized his face was wet with tears. He knew they were tears and not just water because they were warm and salty and kept sliding down his face. When he had gone into the Pensieve, he had not viewed the memories as an observer, as was usual, but as Severus himself. He had felt every horrible moment of the other wizard's anguish beneath the silver mask, as Snape was forced to watch as Voldemort executed gangland style a bunch of preschool wizarding children, babies who were two, three, and four years old, who had done nothing save get born into a half-blood or Muggle family.
Sirius had wanted to retch as Voldemort had cold-bloodedly killed a two-year-old by using the Cruciatus. Another had fallen by using a lightning bolt curse. Still another by the Cutting Curse. All innocents, all cut down before they even had a chance to live, on the whim of a madman. And through all the carnage and horror, Sirius bore witness, unable to do anything to halt it.
For the first time Sirius truly understood what it was like to be Severus Snape, spy. And it shook him to his core. He stood there, his face dripping with tears, unable to move. He had misjudged his classmate, believing that Snape had willingly stood there and watched his dark master torture and maim and hurt people. He couldn't have been more wrong. Yes, Snape had stood there, but not unfeeling, not enjoying the slaughter. He had stood there awash in rage, guilt, grief, and bitterness. Filled with impotence, knowing that if he made the slightest protest or attempt to stop the atrocity, he too would be cut down and there would be no one to bring information across the lines. And the Order badly needed that information to defeat the monster before him.
Sirius knew then that Snape truly was the bravest man he'd ever known. He'd proven it over and over, for that was not the only meeting where he'd watched murder being done on a grand scale. Sirius knew he would not have lasted a day doing what Snape had done.
Gazing into the silver liquid, Sirius wiped his eyes. He was about to take the memory and return it to its vial when the door opened and Harry came in.
"Hey, Siri, are you all finished? We were getting a little worried." He walked over to where the boy was standing. He noticed the boy seemed upset. "Want me to bottle this one?" he asked, noting te silvery strands still in the water.
"No! It's okay, I can do it!" Sirius said, speaking quickly.
But it was too late. Harry had spotted the bottle. "Let me help, I can do this faster." He took the vial and examined it. His face went cold and hard and his eyes gleamed with anger. "What have you done, Sirius Orion? You've stolen Severus' memories! How could you do such a thing? Those are private!"
Sirius stumbled back wards, alarmed at the anger in his godson's eyes. He'd never seen Harry so angry before . . . at least not at him. "I . . . I just wanted . . . to see if he liked being a Death Eater . . . because I figured anybody who took the Mark wanted it and . . . then you could see how evil he was."
Harry walked over and shook him. "So you invade another's privacy because you thought you could convince me he was evil? Will you never let that bloody vendetta between Slytherin and Gryffindor die? There's more to life than that, and more to Severus than you'll ever know. But how dare you do something so . . . immature . . .. so . . .immoral. . .?"
Sirius began too snivel, sensing he was in serious trouble, no pun intended. "I . . . I'm sorry, Harry! I just needed to know the truth!"
"I told you the truth, Sirius Black!" Harry snapped. "I guess you didn't believe me, or else you'd have never done something like this." Harry waved at the open vial of memories. He was so furious. It was lucky Severus hadn't trailed after him, the boy would have been devastated and probably had a breakdown. Harry carefully removed the memories from the Pensieve and placed it back in the vial.
Then he took his former godfather by the arm and marched him over to a corner. "Stay there for four minutes. And think long and hard about what you did, young man. Think about what you would feel like if you knew Severus had looked at your memories. "
Harry left Sirius sniffling with his nose to the wall, then paced backwards and forwards for the rest of the time Sirius was in the corner. He was trying to get control over his temper. He knew that Severus would feel so betrayed if he ever knew about this incident. Harry had no intention of telling him, because then the feud between the two would never end. And it needed to end.
Finally, Harry sat down in Minerva's chair and told Sirius to come over.
Sirius came, reluctantly, dragging his feet. "Harry . . . I'm really sorry."
"Sorry's all well and good, but it doesn't mean you don't have to face consequences," said his godson. "What you did was wrong, as wrong as if Severus entered your mind without permission. You know that, don't you?"
"Yes." Sirius' lower lip quivered.
"Good. Then you know that I'm going to punish you." Harry said, his face hard as stone. "Once upon a time, I did what you did. And someone should have done to me what I'm going to do to you."
Before Sirius knew what Harry was about, he found himself picked up and placed over Harry's knee. "No!" he yelped. "Harry, no!"
Harry ignored him, and cast a wandless bubble of silence about them. Then he set his jaw, and brought his hand down on the small bottom. As he did so, he counted, delivering ten firm spanks. He wasn't brutal, but he did make sure Sirius felt every one of those smacks. Sirius bawled and squirmed but Harry ignored all the howls until the punishment was done. His hand was stinging by the time he'd delivered smack number ten. Then and only then did he turn the child about and hug him, rubbing his back. A part of him felt guilty for being so hard on the boy, he disliked spanking his own children, but he knew Sirius had deserved it.
"There now, Padfoot. It's all over. I think you've learned your lesson." He said softly, letting the boy cry into his shoulder. "Next time, keep your hands to yourself." Sighing, Harry continued to hold and comfort the naughty child, and mused on what to tell Remus. He hoped the werewolf wouldn't be angry at him for disciplining the wayward scamp himself instead of letting Lupin deal with it. Then again, Remus never minded him disciplining his godson Teddy when he misbehaved. What was done, was done, Harry thought, and hoped that now the feud between Sirius and Severus would now be laid to rest.
A/N: Hope you all liked this chapter! Did you think Harry was fair?