Chapter 9 : With Every Light
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“Heavens,” Dumbledore said, staring down at the young boy who writhed as the scar grew and his features began to change.
“Why is this happening? He’s had his potion, he isn’t due until November!” Severus exclaimed, setting him on a bed. “He’s hallucinating, and he keeps asking about James Potter, and I don’t even know how he knows about Potter! He thinks he’s Harry Potter!” Severus said quietly, panic choking his words.
“Well, Severus,” Dumbledore began pensively, “this is interesting, and very unexpected.”
“Albus, we have to do something, he’s seizing, what should we do?” he asked frantically, much like a worried father in a muggle hospital.
“There’s nothing we can do. We must allow his change to take place completely before we reapply the charm. It shouldn't take more than a few more minutes. Then, we'll renew the potion and replace the charm. Now, why do you think he’s asking about James Potter?”
Severus sighed, unable to relax as his son remained unconscious.
“I don’t know. A few years ago he and Draco broke into an open room in the Malfoy mansion and found Lucius’ pensieve. He saw the memory of Lucius convincing the Dark Lord to kill Harry Potter. Then he was just obsessed. I found magazine articles under his bed, and I fear he’s been doing more.
“How very ironic,” Dumbledore said. “He’s obsessed with himself, but he doesn’t know it. How very, very sad.”
Severus nodded, laying his head in his hands.
“And look at him now. His answer is written across his own face,” Dumbledore finished.
Severus rose to look at his son and gasped at what he saw.
“My God! Look at him, just look at him. He looks exactly like James. It’s like he’s back from the dead- except for the eyes, which are clearly Lily’s. I can’t even fathom… this is absolutely horrifying.” Severus turned away. “I can’t hardly look at him. He looks just like his…father.”
“I understand you are conflicted- he does look like a past enemy that you once had. But due to the events that happened early in his life, you are his father for all intents and purposes. You know that there will come a time when you must live with him looking like this,” Dumbledore replied gently.
“Clearly he isn’t my son. Just- will you look at him? He’ll kill me when he finds out. He’ll never look at me the same. If he wants to- he needs to know, Albus.”
“I understand and sympathize with your concerns, Severus, but it just isn’t the right time. Let him grow, let him continue to be a child, because I fear that when he finds out his true identity, he will grow up a little too quickly.”
“How is this any better? How could this whole situation be better than if we’d just left him with his relatives?”
“His relatives were murdered shortly after Voldemort. He might have been killed. Plus, in the time Harry-”
“Haiden,” Severus stressed.
“My apologies. In the time Haiden was there it appears the Dursley’s were exhibiting ruthlessly cruel behavior. He might’ve been abused. We just thought it would be better. Look at him, Severus. Look at you! You’ve changed so much. You’re a caring father, you’ve completely abandoned your dark past. Haiden has friends, and he’s a smart boy. You’ve raised a happy , healthy 9 year-old, and you should be pleased.”
Severus weighed Dumbledore’s comment. His shadow loomed over his son, darkening his striking features. He felt contempt for the superficial appearance of his son, but a deep love for the little boy Severus knew him to be.
“Change him back. I want to take him home,” he said finally.
“Of course. Let us make haste,” Dumbledore replied, eyes twinkling annoyingly behind his half moon spectacles.
Severus sighed. It would be a long night.
The next morning, Haiden woke up feeling sore, stiff, and tired. He looked around his room and noticed his dad asleep very awkwardly in a chair from the kitchen. Finding this very odd, he quietly spoke his father’s name and watched him stir.
“Haiden? You’re awake. How do you feel?” Severus said groggily.
“Fine. A little achy. What happened last night? Everything was fine, and then I got sick or something-”
“Stomach flu,” he dismissed. “Don’t worry about it. Now get up, we have places to go today.”
“Where to? Hogwarts?” Haiden asked wearily.
“Diagon Alley, now come on, I-”
“Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!” Haiden exclaimed, rushing up from bed. “I’ll be out in five minutes!”
Shaking his head, Severus got up from his chair and readied himself for what was sure to be a long, eventful day with his son who now looked like himself again.
“Dad, I want to go to the book shop to get-ohh dad, I want to go to the ice cream parlor so I can have- DAD! Can we please please please go to the quidditch store so that I can see that new…Dad! Are you even listening to me?” Haiden jumped around excitedly upon entering the wizarding district Diagon Alley.
“Haiden! Please contain yourself. We will visit all those places, any where you’d like to go. I know I haven’t been around much this summer, always working on new ideas, so this day is for you. Where would you like to go first?”
“I…er…I think I want to go to…I don’t know. Everywhere!” Severus chuckled in his head, forgoing the risk of an audible chuckle, because they were in public, and he continued to have a reputation to uphold.
“Very well then. First I need to go to Gringott’s to take some gold out of my vault, and then we’ll be on our way.”
“But I don’t like the Goblins. That’s the one place I didn’t want to go!” Haiden pouted.
“Well, if we don’t go there we can’t go anywhere else. Now come along.”
The two meandered down through the light summer crowd to Gringotts bank. Afterward, they began their day at Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions.
“But Dad…I really didn’t want to go here either! I don’t want any robes. I already have some!”
“Yes, but you’re growing and your robes are almost too short for you now.” The shops were not yet full of Hogwarts students, so the two navigated their way toward the back of the shop where the robes for children were kept. Much to Haiden’s distaste, two new sets of robes were purchased for him, one in black and one in dark green, his favorite color.
Next, the pair made their way to Flourish and Blott’s, where Severus was delighted to learn of Haiden’s growing love for books. Nothing could have made a father happier. All around the bookstore, Haiden picked up different books and read the back cover, with Severus helping him with the larger words. Severus purchased a book on quidditch and a very rudimentary book of spells for schooling before Hogwarts.
The store Haiden was truly aching to visit was Quality Quidditch Supplies. There had been a new broom in the window, the Blue Jay 700. Haiden wanted to look at it and other brooms. He had begged his dad over and over for a real broom, not just a stupid broom that only went six feet off the ground. Severus, of course told him no, not until he was older. But, Severus recognized his affinity for quidditch and that very bittersweet for him. On one hand, Haiden could grow up, play quidditch for Slytherin and make his father very proud. On the other hand, his biological father had been such a show off, always carrying around that stupid snitch even though the idiot wasn’t a seeker. He was full of himself and made sure everyone else knew about how gifted he was. Severus, again, prayed that nurture over nature was what made a man.
“Dad, I just want a broom. Or a cleaning kit. For my broom. That you’re going to buy me.”
“Stop being so spoiled, Haiden. You’re not getting a broom. Not until you are of age.”
“But that’s two years away!”
“Yes, I realize. When you go to Hogwarts, you can have your own broom.”
“Stop complaining, or we will floo home this instant, do you understand?” Severus replied sternly.
“Yes, father.” Severus rolled his eyes at the formality in his son’s tone and they continued on through the stores. When they got to the ice cream shoppe, Severus stopped and turned to his son.
“Well, it’s time to go,” he said.
“But we didn’t get ice cream yet!”
“We’ll get it when we come back,” Severus said.
“But that could be ages!” Haiden whined.
“Well I don’t want you to ruin your appetite for lunch with ice cream, so we’ll get it after we get back from muggle London.”
“But I wanted to- what? What? Muggle London? Really?” Haiden asked excitedly.
“Yes, really. You’ve never been, and as stupid as muggles are, every one needs to see a culture that is not their own. Now, we’re going to get lunch at a diner in London, and then we’ll come back and get ice cream, alright?”
“That’s fine! I can’t wait! This is so exciting!”
And Severus knew it was true. Haiden didn’t even own a pair of Muggle clothing.
He had never been out in that world. It was mostly because he was friends with Draco Malfoy, and that particular family would rather be subjected to wizarding prison than be out amongst muggles, but Severus found it important. He knew of a couple of small places to eat right outside the Leaky Cauldron, so they set out into a completely unknown world.
The moment they left the comfort of wizarding life, Haiden knew something exciting was happening.
“What-what are those?” he asked cautiously and large objects zoomed by.
“Those, son, are called automobiles. Muggles do not have floo powder and they do not have the ability to apparate or ride brooms, so they have automobiles to take them from place to place. Now, I don’t know a lot about muggles since I do not normally come into this world, but I’ll do my best to answer your questions.”
“You know, Dad, I don’t have a lot of questions. Draco told me all about Muggles and how they don’t know about us, and how we are much more superior and better than they are. Also, Draco’s Dad told me too.” Severus felt a compulsion to slam his head into a brick wall. What else had that evil man, whom he considered a close friend, told Haiden?
Was their anything Severus would be able to teach his son about the real world that Lucius Malfoy hadn’t already taught him?
“Well, right. Come along then, There’s a small muggle eatery around here where we can dine. Then, I have a few questions that I need to ask you.”
“About what?” Haiden asked nonchalantly, following his father down the side walk as muggles elbowed their way around the oddly dressed pair. Before he waited for an answer from his father, he piped up, very loudly, “Why do these people dress so funny?”
Just as the boy verbalized his curiosity, a scrawny young man wearing bright yellow parachute pants walked by with a large boom box, personifying the stereotypical male eccentricities of 1989.
“Because muggles clearly are idiots. Anyone walking down the road could tell you that bright green does not match bright yellow, and the brown shoes are surely a testament to color blindness.’ Honestly, who would step out of their house looking so unbelievably awful?”
That was what Severus had wanted to say, but he didn’t for two reasons- the first being that his observation of color would provoke questions concerning his overall manhood, and the second being that it might scare Haiden, and as thick as Severus thought muggles were, he didn’t want Haiden to be biased based on his father’s opinion.
So, he went with this- “Muggles have their own way of dressing, just as we have our robes. Do you see anyone walking on the street wearing robes?”
“Well, no. I guess not. Okay,” Haiden said. Severus sighed, and the two navigated through the bustling London crowd with the summer sun burning overhead.
They arrived at a small diner, which touted a claim for the best cheeseburgers in all of London. The two ordered cheeseburgers and chips, and waited for their food while Haiden sipped soda happily through a straw.
“It’s fizzy!” he declared.
“Yes. Don’t get used to it. Muggle London makes me feel…dirty, for some reason,” Severus said, knowing exactly why it made him feel dirty. As a death eater, he had performed some old wizarding ritualistic killings on unsuspecting muggles. It had been one of the last things he had done as a death eater. He shuddered and decided now was the best time to bring up the real reason he’d brought his son out today.
“Haiden, there’s something I want to talk to you about.”
“What?” he asked, detecting the somber tone in his father’s voice.
“I want to know if you know who James Potter is.”
“Nope!” Haiden dismissed quickly.
“Haiden. Don’t lie. I asked you a question. Do you know who James Potter is.”
“I said no, alright!” Haiden snapped.
“Haiden, do not get moody. I don’t have time for your lies. I want you to tell me the truth now. You were screaming his name during your episode last night. How do you know who James Potter is?”
“I read about him! Husband of Lily, dad of Harry! And Voldemort killed him. I know, ok? It just interests me, the whole thing.”
Severus sighed, rubbing his temples. The food came then, and he allowed Haiden to take a few bites before continuing.
“I told you that if you ever had any questions about him that you were to come to me! Why did you go behind my back?”
“I dunno, I just did. I though you’d get mad at me. I raided Filch’s office one day when you were at work, and I found records with your name, a guy named Sirius’ name, and James Potter's name all on detention slips. Were they your friends?”
Hatred lit up in Severus’ eyes, and though he tried to hide it, though he tried to stifle the burning, poisonous reply to the unintended insult, he felt the hot words flow easily.
“James Potter was a stupid imbecile! He was nothing more than an attention seeking prat. He and that stupid friend of his made my life and living hell, and when James Potter died and the rest of the world was grieving, I was sitting my room, glad I wasn’t breathing the same air as he was anymore. Lily and Harry, what happened to them was tragic and they didn’t deserve it, but their whole group, all their friends…I always said I didn’t care what happened to them, and now that half of them are dead, I still don’t.”
His son looked at him from across the table as the fire died in his eyes. Haiden didn’t make a move, he didn’t shrink back in fear.
“If they bothered you that much, then I’ll never look at stuff about them again. If they were mean to you than it isn’t worth my time. You’re my Dad, and I’ll take your side.”
Taken aback, Severus stared at his son, feeling the full effect of his words.
“You’re my dad, I’ll take your side” echoed through his brain over and over again. The irony plagued him, made him feel so small.
He was renouncing his real father in an attempt to bond and become closer with his fraud of a father. Suddenly Severus couldn’t look him in the eye anymore and turned away.
“Eat your food. Then we’ll get ice cream,” he said simply, signifying the end of the conversation and the end of a subject that would not be brought up again.
Arriving back to their small house, Haiden was absolutely exhausted and Severus had him go to bed early, around 7 o’clock. After that, he sat down in his raggedy easy chair and made a decision. On Haiden’s 11th birthday, he would tell the boy about his true heritage. On his 11th birthday, it would all be revealed.
A/N: Hey guys! Sorry it took me so long to get this out to you, I’ve had a lot of stuff going on as the semester has been winding down! Just to let you know, I did my research, and the diner that Severus and Haiden ate actually does exist just down the road from where the Leaky Cauldron would be. Thank you hp-lexicon and google for helping me figure that out!
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