To be unequivocally trusted by two of the most powerful wizards the world had ever seen would be a feat desired by any magical being. Both of these wizards, the Dark Lord Voldemort and his most reviled nemesis Albus Dumbledore, would each claim to have the fierce loyalty and unwavering trust of one man. The conflict of interest presented was staggering, but Severus Snape took on the role with pride, dignity, and honor.
Due to his choices, which were questionable at best, he had begun the life as a double agent, spying on the Dark Lord's innermost circle for the Order of the Phoenix. In order to maintain appearances, he accepted the position of Potions Master at Hogwarts, effectively becoming the youngest professor on the faculty.
On the night of October 31, 1981, he waited with baited breath for news of the outcome of a particularly harrowing mission involving one of his oldest friends, Lily Potter, and her family. Upon hearing the news of the Potters and the survival of their only child, Severus had wept for hours at the loss. He had always despised James, of course, but Lily was a different matter entirely. Nevertheless, James’ spawn had survived, yet he had been the only person in history to have actually beaten such a curse.
But, as for every other witch and wizard throughout Britain, life continued onto the next day. Severus had taken great pleasure in hearing that Sirius Black, his life-long enemy, had snapped and was now in Azkaban. Life continued, like it always does for everyone, even after such a great change. Classes picked back up, and, without his taxing duties as a spy, he had been able to concentrate on teaching and studying.
When Dumbledore came to visit his quarters on a strangely balmy, late November day, he could never have anticipated the shocking alterations that would swiftly occur in his lifestyle.
“Severus, working on the new lesson plan?” Dumbledore asked warmly.
“Yes, I was thinking of adding some different, more complicated potions in for the fourth years. Being the dunderheads that they all are, I doubt they will be able to grasp the level. ”
Dumbledore chuckled at his colleague’s underestimation of young minds.
“Severus, I have a… task for you. It’s very important to me and to the Order, and though there are many protesters throughout the group, I have come to believe it is the safest way to proceed.”
“Sir?” Severus questioned, his attention now fully devoted to Dumbledore. He couldn’t imagine there were anymore loose ends concerning the war with the Dark Lord left to tie up . Severus had been gone nearly a week before, hunting for any survivors to obtain information, but most had already been locked up in Azkaban or had been killed during the war.
“I ask you to brace yourself, Severus, because you will not like it, either. But I have decided that this is the best course of action, and you should get used to the idea now.” Dumbledore paused and looked at his former student and close friend.
“I have come to understand that the care we have placed young Harry Potter in is subpar…horribly so, in fact. As a baby, he is being mistreated, and the Boy Who Lived, though protected by blood, is not safe there. Therefore, I think it is in the best interest of everyone that he come here to live at Hogwarts, and that you assume the role as his father.”
“WHAT?” Severus exclaimed, rising from his seat. “I refuse. That, sir, if I may, is the most insulting, horrible suggestion I’ve ever heard in my life.”
Dumbledore smiled, laughing inside.
“Severus, he’s merely a baby who's only a year and a few months old. I know he looks like James, but we’ll conceal it. He’ll be raised so that everyone will think he is your son, but he will know who he truly is.”
“Dumbledore, spying is something that I can do. Killing is something I can do. Deceit, torture, flying under the radar-- these are the things that I do. That is my life style, and it’s not fit for a child!”
“That is not your life anymore, Severus. You are free ...for now. I think it’d be good for you, and that’s why I have told you that it is a done deal. He will be arriving here tomorrow at six o’clock in the evening. He’s small, but I think you’ll find him very interesting.”
Speechless, Severus stared at Dumbledore as he conjured the baby’s things, including diapers, food, and other necessities.
“Poppy will see to it that he is fed and changed for a while. At least until he is out of diapers. Dealing with the Dark Lord is something you can do, but I don’t think even I would like to see you diaper a child.”
Reeling, Severus sat back in his chair. This was, quite possibly, the most careless decision Dumbledore had ever made.
At dusk the next evening, Severus was pacing the length of his office, still livid about the situation. He wasn’t quite sure why he hadn’t been given a say in the matter, and it irked him that his life would be changing so drastically and so soon.
There was a strong knock on the door that startled the dark-haired man out of his thoughts. He walked over to the door, his mouth glued into a deep frown. Opening the door, he peered through a crack and saw Dumbledore there, with Minerva McGonagall looking apprehensive on his right side.
“Severus Snape, I would like you to meet Harry Potter.”
“That’s it, is it?” he asked reproachfully. He looked down at the sleeping babe, raven hair situated every which way just as his father’s had been. The lightening bolt scar adorning his forehead took Severus's breath for it was a constant reminder of his place in the world.
“This is him. He’s a sweet baby, and he barely makes a sound. He goes to sleep on time and everything. I trust you will be able to handle this,” Minerva said disapprovingly.
“Of course,” Severus sneered, taking the child from Dumbledore. He held little Harry by the armpits, letting his feet hang down. His head flopped to the side which made Minerva jump.
“Severus Snape! Don’t you know how to hold a child?” she asked harshly.
“Actually, Minerva, no, I don’t!” he shot back, handing him back to the elder woman.
“Well, he’s old enough to hold his head up. He’s just asleep. But you do not hold him like that!” She proceeded to show him how to hold a one-year, four-month-old child. After that was through, the adults stood looking at each other quite awkwardly.
“Well…now what?” Severus asked impatiently.
“You take him, and you lay him down to sleep. When he awakes, call Poppy down and she will show you how to feed him.”
Severus raised his eyebrows at his former headmaster, hardly believing this whole situation.
“Well, what am I to do if he…if he cries? Or wets himself? What…what in the name of Merlin am I supposed to do with this child?!” Severus said, frustration at the situation taking a toll on the tone of his voice.
“Well, you’ll have to learn, I guess. We’ve supplied you with all kinds of books to read, since you love to read so much,” Dumbledore commented. Severus turned, and there, atop his stack of potions essays ready to be graded, was a stack of seven or so books about pregnancy, early childhood, and parenting.
“Are you serious?” Severus felt a bitter, mocked laugh rise from his stomach. “Are you…are you kidding me, Albus? At first, I thought it couldn’t be possible. And now he’s…and I’m supposed to…Albus, please! I am begging you; find someone else. I’m not fit to do this.”
“You’re better than anyone I can think of,” Dumbledore said, smiling. “Now put him down and get some of that grading done. He’ll be awake soon, and then you’ll be awake all night.”
Before Severus could protest, Dumbledore and Minerva left the child in his care. Severus laid him in the small bed Dumbledore had conjured, sat down at his desk, and slammed his head upon the papers.
The racket startled the sleeping child, who stirred and promptly began to scream. Severus raised his head suddenly, and his eyes slowly moved to the place where the child lay. As if in slow motion, his head followed his eyes, his frown deepening with every wail. He put his head in his hands and cursed Dumbledore for the huge burden he’d just put in Severus’s hand. He got up, looked down into the bed, and watched the squirming baby. His face was screwed up so horribly it looked as though the child was in pure agony.
“Funny. Your father looked like that everyday of his life.” Severus sniggered. He sighed and picked up the child just as Minerva had shown him.
“There...there,” he said awkwardly. Harry screamed louder, as if to mock Severus’s first ghastly attempt at parenting.
“Sssshhh. Just…stop…screaming,” he said, rocking the child in his arms. It felt weird. He didn’t appreciate it.
Feeling defeated, he called for Poppy to come and aid the child. She rushed down immediately, grabbing the child from Severus.
“What did you do? You’ve been alone with him for five minutes!” she exclaimed, tending to the child who instantly stopped screaming . Severus sighed and sat down at his desk. This was something he hadn’t signed up for, and, if he had his way, things would be reversed immediately.
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