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Chapter 4 : Once In A While
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Seventeen was the number of years he held when becoming a Death Eater had seemed so lucrative. He had joined up after his Slytherin friends had, after the death of someone very close had stunned him, after a time of despair. Severus shook his head, banishing these thoughts of sorrow. He was a man now, a shunned war veteran of sorts, whose appointment to head of Slytherin house drew cheers from Slytherin alumni, and jeers from all the other parents.
But his eyes, a charcoal black wall closed off from the world, those eyes still held a youthful zeal and goodness that many others that had become Death Eaters and later regretted it no longer had. And now he had a son. A son that wasn’t his own, but a son all the same. Haiden looked like him, sure, but every time Severus looked over at the child he felt shame and a pang of sadness for the boy’s father.
The truth was, as much as Severus hated to admit it, in his later years, James Potter had turned into an all right guy, which made Severus hate him even more. He’d been a staunch member of the Order of the Phoenix, a worthy opponent to the death eaters, and, according to Dumbledore, a loving husband and Father.
Ah Lily Potter. So sweet and simple. Scorching red hair, emerald eyes, and a zest for knowledge, she was always a worthy partner in his potions classes. He’d thought of her often since Haiden came into his care. Throughout his time at school, he’d always had a crush on her that he’d dismissed as an admiration for her intelligence. But she had been a beautiful woman.
A small sigh broke Severus from his reverie. He looked over at Haiden, and chocolate eyes met a sad midnight gaze.
“Dada?” Haiden asked, pointing at Severus. Swallowing, Severus took a deep breath.
“Yes, Haiden,” he said quietly. “I’m your father.”
A few hours later, Haiden and Severus sat together in Dumbledore’s office.
“Good morning, Haiden,” Dumbledore said brightly. Haiden smiled at the old man. He turned back to his father and squealed. Sighing, Severus adjusted himself under Haiden’s weight.
“Severus, it has come to my attention that it is Saturday.” Raising an eyebrow at Dumbledore, Severus’s countenance displayed a trademark smirk.
“Well, sir, it is the natural progression of days after Friday and before Sunday.”
“Indeed. And I am to assume you have no classes today?” Irritation crept into Severus’s voice.
“You know I have no classes today.”
“Well then, it’s a perfect day to introduce little Haiden into the world.”
“I- what? You can’t be serious, we can’t take him off the grounds! What if he’s seen, what if someone recognizes him? What if people ask me questions?”
“That is a risk you have to take. He cannot grow up a prisoner in this castle. True, he’s only a year and a few months old, but he’ll need to have experiences, he’ll need to meet children his own age.”
“Fine. Today we shall walk the grounds of Hogwarts so he can get some fresh air.” Severus stood and looked at Dumbledore, holding Haiden. “If you are so concerned how I am raising him, why don’t you raise him yourself?” he spat, a little more angrily than he meant to.
Dumbledore did not waver. In fact, a smile broke out across his face.
“Ah, Severus, I am an old man. I could not run after a young child. But you, I trust completely. You will do the right thing for this child, I have faith in you. As soon as you have faith in yourself, you will see that this idea is not nearly as far fetched as you think.”
It was a beautiful late November day as Severus and his son bundled up for an excursion around the grounds of Hogwarts. Among the items Dumbledore had given him was a small black coat, mittens and a hat. Severus, however, was having a rough time trying to get Haiden ready for the trip outside.
“Now,” Severus began, as he zipped his son up, “you will be good, do you understand? You will be a good boy, or you will be punished.” A small pout formed on the boys lips.
“No!” Haiden said, stomping his small foot on the wooden floor.
“Oh yes you will. This is how little boys behave- they do whatever their father wishes of them.” Haiden began to wrestle Severus, trying to get away.
“Do not wiggle.”
“No! No wear!” Severus sighed deeply, feeling as though he could not win. He had no desire to take the defiant child out anywhere. With his sudden slip and unfocused attention, Haiden took the opportunity to grab a heaping handful of his father’s hand and pulled down. Hard. Severus yelped in pain, and Haiden wavered but didn’t move.
“You little bas- monster!” Severus exclaimed, catching himself before he called his son a very bad name. He rubbed his head where the hair had pulled as it throbbed uncomfortably. “You do not- EVER- pull hair. Do you understand what I am telling you, boy? You do not pull your father’s hair!” He furrowed his brow.
“Your father’s hair is very sensitive, I do not appreciate your lack of judgment in- AH!” Haiden yanked down again, harder this time, causing Severus’s hands to fly to his head. The unsteady child then fell to the floor, hitting his head on the post of the bed on the way down. The boy’s mouth opened, and a shrill noise resulted, loud and piercing. Large hot tears fell down his cheeks.
His pain was gone immediately as he rushed to Haiden’s side to make sure the child had sustained no lasting injuries. Picking Haiden up, he examined his head.
“SSSShhhh, you’ve just bumped your head, that’s all.” In fact, the rather large hat Severus had forced on Haiden’s head had cushioned the fall.
“Ow!” Haiden wailed.
“You’re going to be fine. Now let’s go.”
“Dada, ow!” Haiden continued, burrowing his head into Severus’s shoulder. Severus was rendered speechless by this move. Haiden cried into his father’s shoulder as he stood very uncomfortable, not sure what to do. Determined to deal with this without outside help, he slowly raised a hand to Haiden’s back and began to rub it.
“There, there,” he whispered, vaguely remembering his own mother and how she treated him. “You’re alright, you’re alright.” Haiden’s crying slowly tapered until finally, his sorrow had ended.
The whole scene had lasted less than ten minutes, but for Severus, it seemed like hours. Finally, the unlikely pair was ready to leave the comfort of the room and into the real world.
He made his way through the maze of hallways that comprised of the dungeons of Hogwarts. As he made his way into the main castle, he could feel the eyes of the students sizing him up, wondering why he had a child, but being too afraid to ask, as they should have been. This was the first public introduction for Haiden as his son. He had been careful in previous transits to avoid the public eye by traveling during class or after hours.
Still, he felt the eyes on him, and he made his way outside, where more of the students were enjoying the last breath of cool fall air. The temperature was to drop rapidly in a few hours, and Severus honestly couldn’t blame them, as he had been there only a few years ago.
Deciding against staying on the grounds under the intrusive eyes of the students, Severus decided to travel to Hogsmeade. Outside of the castle grounds, he decided to try and let little Haiden walk. Hand in hand, one a shadow of the other, they walked, with Haiden falling every few steps. He got back up, however, and continued, muttering the occasional “ow.”
Upon reaching Hogsmeade, Severus picked the child up and walked into the Three Broomsticks. Rosmerta, the bar maid, was behind the counter, and she did not greet or smile at Severus until she saw Haiden.
“My, my, Severus Snape, who is this?” she asked.
“This is Haiden, my son,” he said quietly.
“Oh, and what a likeness to you. Such a sweet boy! Hello, Haiden.”
Haiden, who was never shy, waved happily to the woman.
“Splendid! Would you like some milk, little Haiden?” Haiden nodded vigorously, and Rosmerta slipped into the back.
“And a firewhiskey,” Severus called. They situated themselves at the bar, and pretty soon Rosmerta reappeared with a small glass of milk and a small glass of fire whiskey.
“I didn’t know you were married,” Rosmerta said, poking her head into business that was not her own.
“I’m not. I had a fling in-in Bulgaria a few years back, and she recently passed on.”
“I’m sorry,” Rosmerta said. “I didn’t know.”
“Well, now you do,” Severus said, almost sadly. Sensing that the conversation was over, Rosmerta took her leave. Haiden happily sucked his milk through a green straw and smiled up at his father.
Severus did not smile back, for he was in public, and he had an image to uphold. After finishing, Severus laid some sickles on the counter and left.
The town was rather quiet for a Saturday. Severus was thankful.
Haiden was thrilled with the town, staring through the shop windows and at the people. It was all so new, so exciting, and yet Severus took it all in stride. He felt strangely detached from the child looking in the windows.
What Severus did expect on this outing between father and son, was to see a chilling familiar face. Upon seeing the man, Severus’s heart stopped. He looked down at his son, who was staring into Zonko’s joke shop, and grabbed his hand.
“We must go!” he hissed, but the man had already seen them.
“Hello, Severus, I- well who is this? I was unaware you had a son,” Lucius Malfoy greeted.
“I do,” Severus said, hiding any insecurities with a flawless confidence. “Lucius, this is my son, Haiden Snape.”
“Haiden,” Lucius repeated thoughtfully. “Strong name. How old is he?”
“About a year and a half. Born in May. Mother was a Bulgarian…you remember that, ahem, trip I took to Bulgaria?”
“I do,” Lucius smiled knowingly, catching on quickly that he was referring to a trip made for the Dark Lord. “How is the mother?”
“Dead. It was a one night stand, she was completely gorgeous, how could I say no? I was rendered helpless. Unfortunately she neglected to tell me I had a son until he appeared on my doorstep a week or so ago. Apparently killed by giants. Beautiful woman, but not so bright.” Lucius laughed, and Severus was thrilled that he had bought the story.
“Draco’s just around his age, then.”
“Indeed,” Severus answered, afraid of where the conversation was going. As much as he respected Lucius Malfoy as an old friend from school, his patterns of thought and actions were dangerous, and to associate Haiden with Draco could have disastrous consequences if Dumbledore were ever to know.
“I must insist that you join us for dinner this evening. We’ll have the house elves prepare something wonderful, Narcissa would love to see you, and Draco is a very well behaved boy. I insist you come.”
“Of course, Lucius,” Severus said, feeling light headed and somewhat sick. “We shall be there for dinner tonight. And why, if you don’t mind me asking, are you in Hogsmeade today? It’s most unusual for you.”
“I shall tell you tonight, friend.”
“Six o’clock sharp. I look forward to chatting with you.” A sharp crack signaled his departure. Haiden looked at his father inquisitively.
“Come with me,” he ordered, pulling his son into Gladrag’s Wizard shop.
“I need robes of top quality for my son,” Severus commanded to the woman behind the counter. She nodded, and a short time and 150 galleon later, Haiden James Snape was dressed in 40 galleon play robes with 110 galleon dress robes for later tonight. It had been stretch for him to spend the money, but his child would look spectacular in the House of Malfoy.
Back at the Castle, Severus prepared Haiden for his first night out.
“Now, you will be on your best behavior, is that clear?” Haiden nodded innocently.
“You must exhibit the highest quality of a child. You mustn’t drool or dump food on yourself, dirty your diaper, or pull hair. You must stay quiet. Do you understand?” Haiden nodded again, and Severus knew that he might as well have been talking to a wall.
“Do not embarrass your father.”
“Dada,” Haiden said, and Severus sighed. For a brief moment, as he was fixing his robes, he wondered how Haiden had automatically called him Dada. He didn’t look anything like James Potter, save for his black hair, and surely Haiden would have known who his father was by now. But maybe the weeks of separation had confused him. It didn’t matter; either way, he wouldn’t remember this time in his life anyway.
“Now, let us go,” Severus said, adjusting his own robes. This night could either be a great success or a huge disaster, and something in the back of his mind told him the latter of the two would win.
A/N: Well, I decided to do two more chapters in the younger age, and then I'm going to age him to about 4. It'll just be easier to write, seeing as I don't know that much about babies and I've probably made a hundred mistakes by way of what babies actually do.
I know this one isn't as funny as the others, but don't worry, I hope the next chapter will be (all though I don't make promises because I haven't written it yet.) Comedy just kind of flows naturally for the situation, and I thought this chapter was important in establishing a relationship with Haiden and Severus, and also how important this Malfoy thing is....all of which aren't that funny! Hope you enjoyed, please take the time to review, if you would be so kind :)
Oh, side note. All the chapter titles are Smashing Pumpkins songs.
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