“You will be on your best behavior,” Severus told Haiden as they walked up to the large door of the Malfoy mansion. Dusk was upon them, and the large white pillared house was a stark contrast to the bright orange and pink hues of the sun below the horizon. Haiden made no answer to his father, but stayed obedient.
Upon knocking on the door, it was answered nearly immediately.
“Good evening, sirs. I is leading you to the parlor, sirs, where master will be joining soon.” The house elf’s voice echoed loudly through the marble halls. Severus had been inside the sprawling estate before, but each time made him shiver a bit when he thought of the things that had gone on here in previous years.
Fancy art decorated the walls, each room was larger than the other, and several doors blocked entry to certain rooms. Finally, the trio stopped at a large room. The floor was hard wood with several rugs that looked to be from Egypt. The furniture was seemingly small in such a big room, ornate, and uncomfortable looking, and furnishings looked to be over a hundred years old. In the center of the far wall, there was a fireplace with a cackling fire, and above that, a portrait of Lucius Malfoy, his wife Narcissa, and their infant son Draco frowned out over him. Severus shuddered and sat down gingerly on the sofa.
“Master is to be with you soon. My name is being Dobby, if you need anything, sirs.” Severus shooed him away, but Haiden wrestled his way out of Severus’s arms and ran to the small house-elf.
“Funny! Funny ears!” He said, reaching out to grab Dobby’s ears. The house elf grinned and began to say something to the child when he noticed Severus Snape’s face and disapparated immediately.
“Haiden! No! Do not touch ANYTHING the Malfoy’s own!” Severus hissed sharply, picking the child up and letting the house elf escape. Haiden, unfazed let Severus carry him back to the sofa. Once arriving there, he tried to grab a porcelain 19th century egg off the stand on the table. Pouting, Haiden sat down on the couch, his arms folding, his lip protruding.
“Stop that! Be a good boy! Remember what we talked about?” Severus asked, desperation filling his voice. Lucius Malfoy would laugh at this child, send him away. Severus Snape had an important image to uphold; having a child who disobeys would be more than embarrassing- and dangerous.
“Severus!” He heard a deep voice speak from behind him. Standing quickly, he saw Lucius and his wife, Narcissa.
“Hello, Lucius, Narcissa,” Severus said politely.
“Severus, is this your son? He’s absolutely adorable,” Narcissa said, no emotion creeping into her voice. She’d been well trained.
“Yes. His name his Haiden. He’s come to meet Draco.”
“Draco will be thrilled, I’m sure. He’s in one of his play rooms right now. Come, little Haiden, I shall show you where to find a new friend. I’ll leave you two to catch up, dinner will be ready soon.” And with that, she took Haiden and left Severus feeling slightly uneasy.
“Well, sit, and I shall tell you why I was in Hogsmeade on this day,” Lucius began, taking a seat in the chair adjacent to the sofa.
“Of course you know, since our Dark Lord perished, I have some- ah- illegal possessions that the ministry would not be please to learn of,” he started. Severus nodded. “I’ve been trying to sell the materials off in Knockturn Alley but I believe I’ve exhausted my resources there. I decided to turn to the Hog’s Head pub. Not as much money to be spent, but at this point I just want to get them all out of my possession. The Dark Lord would not be pleased, but he is no longer here, thanks to that…that dratted Potter Boy!” Lucius sneered.
Severus’s heart raced quietly inside the shield of his chest. What if Lucius discovered Haiden was Harry Potter? What if he found out….Severus would be killed for sure.
“They say he’s gone missing, you know,” Lucius said thoughtfully. Severus nodded slowly.
“I’ve heard that, Lucius. Who would have taken him?”
“I am not sure. I’ve heard that some of our brothers have tortured and killed the muggles he was staying with, and they have been torturing remaining order members for ideas of his whereabouts. Bellatrix Lestrange has been rather nasty, torturing many people. I hear she’s been arrested as well, for torturing the Longbottoms. Narcissa is in a sad state, her dear sister. I really could care less. Bellatrix was always a nuisance, too proud and unassuming.”
Severus nodded again, sharing Lucius’s feelings about Bellatrix.
“But I think it’s rather curious that the Potter child has gone missing. I would wager to say that Dumbledore has something to do with it. Keep your eyes open at the castle, Severus. If you see anyone with a baby, the child needs to be destroyed. I’d suspect you, but Haiden looks so like you, it would be rather ridiculous of me to assume he was anyone else’s!” Lucius laughed, and Severus’s blood ran cold. He forced a laugh and prayed that the night would be short.
“Hello Haiden!” Narcissa said brightly, away from the ever appraising eyes of her husband. “My name is Mrs. Malfoy, but you may call me Cissa, seeing as that is easier to say for a one year-old.”
“Cissa,” Haiden repeated thoughtfully.
“Very good! You’re very smart, aren’t you? Well, In just a few minutes, you’ll meet Draco. He’s also a very smart boy.” Haiden said nothing as the long walk down the left wing of the house continued. Finally, they came to a stop outside a wooden door. Narcissa opened it, and inside there was a small child with a shock of blonde hair. His gray eyes looked up from the pile of toys he was sitting in.
“Mum!” he said, eyes bright.
“Hello, darling! I’ve brought another little boy for you to see. His daddy is Severus, you remember Severus?” Draco shook his head no, and looked at Haiden, his eyes reading and judging the small boy.
“Draco, this is Haiden Snape. He’s going to play with you for a while.” Draco’s face fell a bit, but not so much to let his mother see.
“I’m going to let the two of you play for a while, and I’ll be right back to check!” Narcissa smiled and shut the door, leaving Haiden on the floor with Draco.
Haiden had never seen so many toys, and he reached out to grab what looked to be a mini quaffle and snitch for the Wizard game of Quidditch. Draco stuck his hand out and grabbed the toy before Haiden could reach it.
“MINE!” Draco said, playing with the toy himself. Haiden seemed to be unfazed and crawled closer to Draco.
“Mine,” Haiden said, grabbing the toys out of Draco’s hand.
“NO! MINE!” Draco yelled again, trying to take the toy from Haiden. But Haiden held on, and Draco could not get the quaffle back. Out of options, he did the only thing he could do- he began to cry. A loud wail escaped Draco’s lips and he began to throw a tantrum like Haiden had never seen. Satisfied with himself, he crawled away and began to play with the Quaffle, and also some of Draco’s thousands of other toys. A house elf ran in the room, saw that young master Malfoy was crying, and went to fetch his mother.
After being away from the room for five minutes, Narcissa came back, and looked at the situation.
“Miiiiine!!” Draco wailed. “Muuuum, Miiiine!” Narcissa looked at her son, and then at Haiden who was happily playing in a pile of toys.
“Draco Malfoy! You must share your toys. It’s alright. Here.” Narcissa walked over to Haiden.
“Haiden, is it alright if Draco plays with this quaffle?” after thinking for a minute, Haiden handed the Quaffle to Draco.
“Draco, is it alright if Haiden plays with your mini broomstick?”
“No! Mine!” Draco said frantically, searching for his broomstick.
“Oh Draco, you have so much to learn. Come along now, Dinner is ready.” Draco and Haiden were then scooped up by Narcissa Malfoy and taken to the dining room.
“This looks fantastic,” Severus commented mildly as he sat down at the large cherry wood table. What looked to be roasted duck sat in the middle, with various side dishes surrounding it.
“We employ the finest house-elf cooks. They are phenomenal,” Narcissa replied, taking her seat next to Draco.
The two younger boys were raised up in very noble looking booster seats. They were to eat smashed carrots, some small pieces of meat, and sugarless pumpkins juice.
Haiden looked at his father with an infantile envy as Severus took a large bite out of a dinner roll.
“So, Severus, how is teaching at Hogwarts?” Narcissa asked.
“Ghastly. The students seem to get more dull as the years progress. I fear what our society will look like fifteen years from now,” Severus replied.
Lucius laughed but did not say anything.
“I see that you have remodeled the gazebo in your yard,” Severus commented.
“We did, indeed. It’s lovely in the spring. You should bring Haiden over again in the spring and summer. The estate can provide many hours of play outside, and I’m sure the boys would enjoy it,” Narcissa said, looking to her husband for approval. Lucius nodded.
Severus swallowed hard and thought about spending more uncomfortable days with the Malfoys’ and their forced conversations.
“Of course, Narcissa. That’s a fantastic idea. Haiden would like fresh air, I think.” Beside him, Haiden lifted a small white spoon to his mouth and ate some carrots, wrinkling his nose in the process.
“Mine! Mine Spoon!” Draco declared as pompously as a one and a half year old could.
“Draco!” His father hissed menacingly. “It is ‘my spoon'. You must learn proper grammar. And it does not matter, you are sharing tonight.”
“My Spoon!” Draco said again, pointing at the spoon. Severus’s eyes grew as wide as his empty plate as he watched the events unfold.
“No!” Haiden replied defiantly. “My spoon!”
“Haiden,” Severus whispered dangerously, “Give Draco his spoon, please.” Haiden slammed the spoon down on the table.
“Don’t be silly, Severus, how will Haiden eat? No, Draco must learn some manners. I apologize, he hasn’t really been around children his own age,” Narcissa said, thinking up excuses just as fast as Draco was becoming more angry.
“Draco Malfoy. If I hear so much as one more whine out of you, I shall show you who owns all of your possessions tonight!” Lucius said simply. The effect was instantaneous as his son fell silent. Draco Malfoy knew what happened if father was disobeyed.
Severus felt his head drop slightly. He knew this would be a bad idea, and now Haiden had insulted Lucius Malfoy’s son.
The night couldn’t have ended more quickly.
With dinner out of the way, Severus was quick to make up an excuse to leave. Haiden appeared to be growing tired, and Severus just wanted to escape anymore possible mishaps.
“We must do this again soon, perhaps when Draco has learned his lesson,” Lucius said, his eyes narrowing in memory of the evenings previous events.
“Yes, well, perhaps Haiden too will be more behaved.” Lucius laughed lightly.
“They’re only children. I suppose this would be much worse three years down the road. Best to squash deviance now.”
“Yes…” Severus trailed off. “Well, until next time.”
As the large doors closed behind him, Severus did not say a word to the boy who was no asleep on his shoulder. He simply wondered how he was to live with this child when he knew so little about how to treat children.
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