Chapter 3 : Age of Innocence
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Severus did not stir.
A loud grunt issued from Severus’s lips as he turned onto his side.
“UP! Up up up up up up up up up up up!”
“AGH! FINE!” Severus growled, rising from his slumber. “What do you want?”
“Up!” Severus complied with the small boy’s wishes, picking up and holding him as Minerva had instructed. A foul odor emitted from the child, and Severus wrinkled his nose in disgust.
“What did you do?” he asked, sitting Harry down immediately.
Harry’s countenance began to deteriorate from a wide smile to a lower lip protrusion, which exhibited a slight, sorrowful quiver.
“Oh no, no no, don’t cry again..”
A soft whine began a sudden crescendo to a loud wail as Harry began to throw a tantrum on the floor.
“UP! UUUP!” he yelled, kicking his feet, his face turning cherry red.
“Well, I must neutralize that stench first!” Severus picked up the squirming child and laid him in his bed to examine what appeared to be a very messy diaper
“You will be toilet trained immediately!” Severus exclaimed. He summoned the diapers and changing materials, and attempted to change Harry’s diaper by magic alone.
“You are disgusting. I am disturbed by you,” Severus mumbled.
Changing the diaper by wand proved to be quite a daunting task without the proper spells. After about ten minutes of trial, error, and a mess larger than it would have been had Severus simply used his own hands, the boy was crudely diapered. Perspiration soaking his pajamas, Severus sighed in victory.
“A-ha! And now you aren’t so clever, are you, little boy?” When Harry didn’t respond, Severus quietly thanked the Gods and went about his morning business, leaving the baby in his pen.
Half an hour later, Severus came back to the child, fully dressed and ready for the day.
“Now, let us see about getting you some nourishment.” He turned the baby’s area and found the food that Poppy had brought for Harry.
“Smashed carrots…how very..appetizing,” Severus raised his eyebrows. He prepared the food according to instructions left for him, poured it into a small bowl, and sat it in front of the boy.
“Well, eat,” Severus urged, looking down.
“No,” came the reply.
“Yes! You will eat your breakfast.”
“NO!” Harry yelled.
“YES!” Severus yelled back, running out of options and feeling somewhat silly for having a screaming fight with a child who had only two months experience of forming words. He bent down, picked up the spoon, and tried to force the food into Harry’s mouth.
“NO!” Harry yelled, and he forced his lips closed so that Severus could not gain entry.
“Damn!” he swore, staring at the child. “You WILL eat this breakfast, if it’s the last thing I do today, you WILL eat your food, boy!”
In what may have been his first defiance of authority, Harry promptly took his carrots and dumped them all over his head, covering his clothing and hair. Laughing in delight at his stunt, Harry pointed at his head.
Severus sighed deeply, putting his head in his hands and rubbing his temples. “Please, whatever I have done…I am so so sorry for whatever I’ve done…I will do anything you ask..please..anything but this obnoxious child…” he whispered. He caught a quick glimpse of his bedside clock and jumped.
“I’m going to be late!” he exclaimed. “come…on,” he said to Harry, who was rubbing the carrots into his filty attire. Wrapping a towel around the boy, Severus carried him up to the infirmary.
“Good morning, Sever- what in the name of God have you done with this child?” Poppy asked, rushing to Harry’s side and wresting him out of Severus’s arms.
“Well, if you must know, Madame, he woke up with a dirty diaper and then refused to eat his breakfast, rebelling rather obnoxiously by pouring the food all over himself.”
“Severus…he’s a CHILD! Children do these things! You have to coax them into eating sometimes, you can’t just force them! And if he pours things over his head, you need to clean him! And…are these the same clothes from yesterday? Oh..Dumbledore will hear about this-”
“Good, let him hear! I don’t want this responsibility! Give him to someone else!” Without another word, Severus left the room, robes billowing moodily behind him.
After a long day of taking points from Gryffindor, yelling at students for the slightest misstep, and rewarding those who were perfection, Severus was exhausted. He finished grading his last essay, which turned out to be an outstanding analysis of the fig root by a fifth year ravenclaw, and then retreated to his room for a relaxing evening of memorizing rare potions by the fire. When he arrived, the morning’s events all rushed back to him at the sight of the baby’s section of his room. Sighing deeply, he trudged up to the Infirmary. There, Madame Pomfrey had Harry in new clothing, clean, and eating his dinner.
“I took the liberty of bathing him, lying him down for a nap and, since you’re here so late, feeding him his dinner. He’ll be ready for bed in about an hour and a half.” She narrowed her eyes at Severus. “He’s to stay in you care, however crazy it may be.”
“I figured as much. Just…I’ll take him whenever you’re finished.”
“We’re almost finished, aren’t we Harry? Here comes the cleansweep!” She said, buzzing the spoon around his mouth as though it were a broom. Harry opened his mouth in delight, accepting the food and swallowing. “He’s such a good boy, isn’t he Severus? Isn’t he?” she was talking in an odd sort of high pitched squeal of a voice that Severus knew to be associated with young children and overly pampered pets.
“Er- yes,” he said indifferently.
“Wonderful!” Poppy said, laughing. “That’s a good boy! Alright, he’s ready for your care. Remember to put him in his pajamas for bed. He’ll be tired. We had a good time today, didn’t we Harry?” Harry squealed, clapping his hands.
“Dumbledore should be in to see you later. I believe the change in appearance will take place tonight as every day he looks like this, his wellbeing is threatened.”
“Of course. Thank you for your watchful eye on him. I’m grateful,” Severus said, and he meant it. If he had to raise the little monster, he was glad that people like Poppy were around to instruct him.
“It was fine. You’ll get the hang of it. I know you were thrown into this and you don’t approve, but it will work itself out. Have you thought of a name for him?”
“A name? I have to rename him?” Severus asked.
“Well of course! He can’t grow up in secrecy and have the name Harry Potter, now can he?”
“Well, I suppose not. Thank you, Poppy,” Severus finished, taking his leave with Harry. The two spent a silent commute back to the dungeons where Severus’s quarters were located. Upon arrival, Dumbledore was waiting outside the door.
“Ah, Severus! And little Harry! We have some business inside.” Severus nodded, rambling a series of random phrases that served as his password. Inside, he put the child down on the floor and started a fire in the fireplace. Harry crawled around on the floor, exploring his surroundings for the first time. He had never had the freedom to crawl around, and he took advantage of the opportunity. Occasionally, he stood himself up and took a few steps, always falling down rather unceremoniously, but he got right back up and tried some more.
“Ah the joy of a child’s first steps. Because of the tragedy he’s a bit behind, but four steps in a row isn’t bad. I know at the time of James and Lily’s passing, he was able to do about the same.” The tone immediately turned somber at the mention of Harry’s parents.
“Do you wish him to know about his parents?” Severus asked.
“Originally that was the plan, but Harry’s family was recently slaughtered, the ones that took care of him after the tragedy. Some rogue death eaters and still looking for him, I don’t know which, but I know at least three of them involved in the murder of the muggles have been captured. This changes circumstances quite a bit, and therefore I think it would be wise to raise him without knowledge of his birth parents. I hate to do that to James and Lily, but it’s in the boy’s best interest. We’ll have to tell him before his first year at Hogwarts, because the sorting hat will know who he really is. But for now, he will assume your name.” Severus’s eyes widened.
“Albus, you know I am most loyal to you and regard you as a close friend and confidant, but please forgive me for being frank: I think this is a disastrous idea. If he doesn’t know who he is, when he finds out, he’s going to rebel and hate all of us.”
“I know, Severus, I know. But more important to us now is his survival, so when he learns of this, surely he will have the power to forgive, if he’s raised correctly.” Severus nodded unsurely.
During this conversation, Dumbledore’s back was turned from the fire, and Severus was angled toward Dumbledore, but out of the corner of his eye, he saw small Harry make his way toward the fire. Alarmed, he immediately ran to Harry’s side, picking him up and turning him the other way.
“Fire is hot. No,” Severus reprimanded. Harry nodded his head and went off in the other direction.
“So,” Dumbledore said, inwardly proud of the first fatherly move Severus made, “have you thought of something to name him?”
“No,” Severus admitted. “I don’t think we should stray too far from his real name though.”
“Pity, I thought we might name his Horace,” Dumbledore said with a laugh.
“As his surrogate father, I hold the right to refuse names, and that is one of them. What about Haiden?” he asked.
“Haiden? That sounds like a fine name. Middle name James?” Severus lowered his eyebrows.
“I suppose. Although you’ll never hear that name escape from my lips.”
“Oh Severus, after all this time, you need to let all of that go. He is in your charge now. Stop worrying about where he is from.”
“Haiden James Snape. I have to admit, it’s odd for someone to have my last name…other than me.”
“I’m sure. He’ll get used to it, well all will. And then, on his tenth birthday, we will let him know his true past. And now, for ancient magic.” Dumbledore grabbed his wand. “I plan on using the inflecto spell. It’s powerful and requires the use of a simultaneous potion.” Dumbledore raised a volumetric flask containing a dark purple liquid. “You’ll have to make it every year. Only once a year he must take it.” Severus nodded, and summoned Harry to him. Picking up the child, he stopped to look at the scar on his forehead.
Still new, it was red and raised off his flesh as though it had been burned yesterday. It symbolized the celebration and hope of a war torn nation, and of certain suffering for little Harry Potter in his life to come. Patting him on the head, he sat Harry down in front of Dumbledore.
“Hello, little one,” Dumbledore said. “I have some juice for you!” Harry clapped his hands and reached out for the flask. Dumbledore conjured a small cup and dumped the liquid into it. Handing the cup to Harry, the two watched as the child downed the liquid.
A faint white glow emitted from the child, signaling his readiness for the rest of the appearance-changing regimen.
“Inflecto visio facies!” Dumbledore asserted with gusto, and an orange light shot from the wand, encompassing Harry. The child began to cry, but miraculously his looks began molding into a different child. His hair grew a bit longer and laid flat, though it maintained its dark black color. His eyes clouded from piercing green to an insightful brown. His nose grew a bit longer, and his lips thinned. Before their eyes, little Harry Potter morphed into a small Severus Snape, although, in Severus’s opinion, a much better looking Severus Snape. Dumbledore had been gracious and had ironed out Severus’s most blatant flaws, including the hooked nose and greasy hair.
“And here we have Haiden James Snape.” Severus couldn’t believe it. The scar was gone, those eyes, anything that had faintly resembled Lily and James was gone, hidden behind the spell.
“Of course, if he doesn’t get his yearly dose of potion, this will all fade away in a matter of weeks.”
“Right,” was all Severus managed to say. “I still think this is a questionable plan. Who am I to say is the mother of..of Haiden?” Dumbledore nodded.
“You went on a mission to Bulgaria in mid 1979, didn’t? Gone for a number of months?”
“Well, yes, I did, but-“
“Well there you go. You had a relationship, it ended badly, the woman was killed and the child sent to you. End of story.” Dumbledore patted Severus’s shoulder. “I’m sure you’ll be fine. Spend some time getting to know your son.” Nodding, Severus bid Dumbledore adieu and sat down next to the boy, who had fallen asleep on the floor. It looked just like him…it could have been Severus’s actual son- except for it wasn’t.
Wrestling with an inner morality that Severus did not know he possessed, he changed the child into pajamas and put him to bed for the evening.
Tomorrow would be a new day, and maybe then things would seem more rational to him.
A/N: well guys, I searched high and low on baby names.com for Ha names and Haiden was my favorite. Like it? Don't like it? Let me know! Also, I was thinking of skipping a couple of months to a year from here to make things a little easier for Snape. What do you think? thanks for reading :)
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