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Chapter 7 : Things Will Be Different
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Things Will Be Different
**warning some spanking in this chapter-Don't like, skip that part**
Harry carried Severus into the bathroom so he could wash the dirt and blood off the little boy's hands and face. He set the child on the counter, and ran a washcloth under warm water, applying a small amount of soap to it. Then he gently washed Severus' face and hands. The boy never moved.
Harry frowned when he caught sight of a faint bruise on the side of Severus' face. He used a new washcloth, dampening it with cold water, and placed it against the side of Severus' face. Then he applied some salve to the scrapes on the boy's hands.
"There, how's that? Does it hurt anymore?"
Severus looked at him, and Harry winced at look of accusation and betrayal in the boy's eyes, eyes that had seen and known too much for a mere five-year-old.
"I've had worse," he stated, quietly.
"I know." Harry sighed, wishing to reach out and gently touch the boy's cheek. Unfortunately, he knew the reaction he'd get if he did. Maybe one day . . .
"Care to tell me exactly why you two were fighting?" he asked him, raising an eyebrow. "Was it just over him calling you that awful name?"
Severus stiffened. "That awful name, Potter," he growled savagely, "was the beginning of years of bullying and torment. If this was my second chance, as you put it, then why am I forced to relive the worst moments of my schooldays again? What's the point of being brought back if things will be the same as before?"
Harry removed the washcloth from Severus' face and tossed it in the sink. Then he sat down on toilet, figuring here was as good as anywhere to have a heart-to-heart talk with his new ward. "That won't happen, Severus," he said firmly."You have my word on it. This time, things will be different."
"Really? Black is still the same nasty little git he always was!" snapped the other. "You didn't hear what he said to me, before I punched him a good one. He said . . . he said that I should have stayed dead, that there was no chance for things to ever be different this time. That even if Lily returned, she would still choose James over me, just like she did the first time around." Pain flared in the too-wise eyes, a pain that had been decades in the making and which lingered still.
Inwardly, Harry cursed his former godfather's cruel mouth. What had Sirius been thinking? He shook his head. He groped for words to ease the former Potions Master's pain.
"Now tell me, Severus," he said, smirking slightly. "who are you going to believe? Sirius or Lily?"
After a long moment, Severus mumbled, "Lily. . . I don't trust the mutt as far as I can throw him."
"That's what I thought. Still, you know you shouldn't have hit him." Harry began, using the same tone he did on one of his godsons when they started a fight.
"I was provoked, Potter!" Severus declared stubbornly.
"True, but I seem to remember you lecturing me and Draco once upon a time about thinking before we reacted and how dueling never solved anything. Sound familiar?" Harry reminded.
"That was different." The little boy's chin jutted out stubbornly.
"What should you have done instead of punch him out?"
Severus bit his lip. Though he hated to admit it, Potter—Harry—had a point.
"I should have walked away and told an adult," he admitted. Now he felt ashamed, for allowing his temper to rule him. After all, he wasn't a child anymore. He knew better. "If Black had left me alone none of this would have happened. But he had to start with me, like always. And now I'll bet he'll get off, same as always." Severus snorted. "While I'll be in trouble!"
"Not this time he won't. Remus isn't Dumbledore, and neither am I."
"Lupin is the mutt's best friend." Severus argued. "He used to watch while your sainted father, Black, and Pettigrew ambushed me three on one."
"He told me awhile ago that was one of the things he regretted most about his schooldays. That he didn't do anything to stop what my dad, Pettigrew, and Sirius did. But he was afraid to say anything to them because he didn't want to lose their friendship. He said he knows now that he was wrong, and he should have stood up for you, done the right thing."
"Too late now." Severus snorted, rolling his eyes.
"For the past, yes," Harry agreed softly. "But the Remus you used to know has changed, Severus. He's not a pushover like you seem to think. He's learned from his mistakes. Ask Ted and Jamie if you don't believe me. They'll tell you how much trouble they get into if they play pranks at school on anyone. Remus doesn't tolerate that. He won't from Sirius either, now that Sirius is his ward. I guarantee you, Severus, that right now he's giving Sirius the worst lecture of his life and after it he'll turn Sirius over his knee too."
Severus tossed him a look of utter disbelief. "And pigs will fly, Potter!" he sneered mockingly. "How would you know anyhow?"
"Because it's what I would do if I had the raising of him." Harry said simply. "I don't tolerate bullies, not after what I went through with my cousin Dudley growing up. You ought to know that. Half the fights I got into with Draco were because he was an arrogant little bully. But eventually he grew up, and changed for the better. I'm hoping, that with Remus' discipline this time around, so will Sirius."
"I'm not holding my breath," Severus muttered.
Harry sighed. He wished Severus would trust him, just a little.
Then again, maybe he was expecting too much too soon, given the man's previous experiences.
"Okay, guess you'll have to wait and see if I was right." He handed Mimic back to the boy, he had set the raven on the counter while he cleaned up Severus' hands.
"Thank you," Severus muttered, quietly. He hugged the raven to him, as if it offered some kind of protection.
Harry cleared his throat, hesitantly. "Because Sirius was really at fault, I won't punish you for the fight," he said gently yet firmly. " Just don't let it happen again, or else you'll be spending some time in the corner and going to bed early without dessert. Clear?"
"Yes, sir." Severus put a hand to his mouth, he couldn't believe he had called Potter 'sir'! But it was an automatic reaction, drilled into him by Tobias Snape from the time he was three, to show respect for authority figures. And like it or not, Potter was in charge of him.
Harry concealed a grin, then reached out and swept the startled boy into a hug.
He knew that hugs had been few and far between for the Potions Master the first time around, but Harry intended for things to be different—very different—this time.
At first Severus went rigid in the older wizard's grasp, but after a moment, once he realized Harry was only holding him, he made himself relax. It felt . . . kind of nice being held this way. But he'd never admit that to Potter, and after another minute he wriggled to be put down.
Harry set Severus down and opened the bathroom door, giving the child a gentle swat on the bottom.
Severus whirled and glared at him. "What was that for?"
"Next time, don't throw the first punch."
"Do you . . . forgive me?" Severus whispered, sounding for the first time like the five-year-old he was.
"Yes." Harry answered. "Now, why don't we go and see if Molly's ready for supper? Something sure smells good out there."
Meanwhile, in Arthur's study, a very different talk was going on between Remus and his new ward.
Remus had limped into the study and immediately locked the door and cast a Privacy Ward over the room, so no one could enter and interrupt him. He was quite angry and upset at the way Sirius had taunted Severus, lied to him, and then got into a fight with the other boy the moment Remus was out of sight. Leaning rather heavily on his cane, he stalked over to Arthur's comfy leather desk chair and sat down, putting his former best friend on his lap.
"You, Sirius Orion Black, are in very big trouble," he growled.
Both of his sons would have known what that tone and those words meant, but Sirius just shrugged, unconcerned.
"Aw, come on, Moony," he said indifferently. "It's only Snivellus."
Remus glared at him. "Sirius, do not call him that again!" he snapped. "Or else you'll be eating soap!"
"W-what?" Sirius looked shocked. Surely he couldn't have heard right?
"You heard me." Remus stated.
He pulled out a handkerchief and used an empty tea mug Arthur had sitting upon his desk to fill up with water from his wand. "Aguamenti." He dipped the handkerchief into the water and began to clean the smudges of dirt off Sirius' face, as well as the trickle of blood from the fat lip Severus had given him. Once he had wiped off all the dirt and blood, he used his wand to heal the boy's simple cuts. Then he tucked his wand away and assumed what his boys always referred to as his "mad as blue blazes" face.
"What did we talk about before we came to the Burrow, Sirius?" he asked the boy.
"You're not really mad at me, are you, Moony? I mean, it's only Sn—Snape, the greasy grimy git of the dungeons," Sirius said, frowning. " You know what he's like, always trying to get me in trouble, the sneaky scumbag. You remember how he used to follow us around, looking for an excuse to tell on us. He started it, attacking me for no reason—"
Remus's eyes narrowed dangerously. "Don't lie to me, Sirius!" he yelled. "Your innocent act won't fool me. I know you too well."
Sirius squirmed a little under that stern gaze.
This was not the Moony he remembered at all, the boy who had shrugged off all the mischief they used to get into, and looked the other way when he and James decided to have fun with dear old Snivellus.
"All right, Moony! Don't get mad," he huffed petulantly. "It was just a scrap and he had it coming!"
"You broke your promise to me, Sirius," Remus reminded him. "You promised you'd behave and then as soon as my back was turned, you picked a fight with Severus!"
"Says who? That little red-haired brat and Snape's namesake?" sneered Sirius. "You're going to take their word over mine, old friend?"
"I am," Remus asserted. "Because Rose and Alby have no reason to lie to me, and they know quite well what the punishment is for lying."
"Oh, what's the big deal?" Sirius demanded heatedly. "So what if I gave Snape a bloody nose or whatever? He deserved it. He's nothing but a slimy Death Eater, and you know that!"
"I told you before, what he was then and what he is now are two different things," Remus said evenly. "But I'll get into that later. Right now, we're going to deal with the fact that you broke your promise to me and the fact that you lied when I asked you what happened, young man. I don't tolerate either of those things from my sons and I won't tolerate it from you either!"
Sirius was starting to grow uneasy. This conversation was not going at all as he'd imagined it would.
"Okay, okay. I'm sorry, all right?" He gave Remus his best guilty mischievous little boy grin.
It had never failed to make Albus Dumbledore melt into a puddle of twinkling fairy dust.
Only thing was, it didn't seem to having the same effect on Remus.
"No, you're not and no it's not," Remus scowled, his nostrils flaring. "But after I'm through with you, you damn well will be!"
"Huh?" Sirius asked, frowning. "What do you mean, Moony?"
"Do you remember what I said would happen if you misbehaved today?" Remus asked him. "Or lied to me?"
"I . . . sure, but . . ." Sirius stammered, his eyes growing wide. "You wouldn't! Over Snape? He's a bloody Death Eater, for Merlin's sake!"
He started to climb off Remus lap, for clearly the werewolf was not amused.
To his horror, Remus grabbed him before he could wriggle free, and the next thing he knew he was over the werewolf's knee.
Furious, he tried to escape, yelling, "Moony, have you gone crazy? Let me go! I don't deserve this!"
"Yes, you do," Remus told him, holding onto him easily. "You've had this coming for a very long time, ever since you and James teased Severus that day on the Hogwarts Express. It was you who started this war with Severus, something which you conveniently choose to forget."
"But...But..." Sirius spluttered, indignantly. He was still squirming, trying to get up.
"But I never have," Remus went on, lifting his good leg slightly. "This is where it ends, Sirius! Things will be different. You're going to learn to accept the responsibility for your actions and quit blaming others for your poor decisions!"
"NO!" Sirius shrieked angrily, but Remus held him firmly.
The next thing he knew the werewolf's hand came down across his bottom.
"Ow!" Sirius yelped, wincing at the sting. "Stop it, Moony!"
Remus ignored him, giving the unrepentant child seven more stinging smacks, one for each year of his age and one for remembrance.
By the time he was through, Sirius was bawling, and promising he would never lie to him again.
"Good." Remus said, forcing himself to remain stern. He hated punishing the scamp like this, but he knew better than to issue consequences and not follow through on them.
He stood the child on his feet and pointed to the corner of the study next to the chair. "Now then," he said, still stern. "Go put your nose to the wall for seven minutes. That's for breaking your promise!"
Sniffling and rubbing his sore behind, Sirius shuffled over to the corner.
"You're mean!" he whined, sounding every bit the petulant seven year old.
He couldn't believe Remus had actually spanked him! He had never been spanked before. His mother's, the old hag, preferred method had been to berate him at the top of her lungs so the whole neighborhood could hear. And his father had scolded and locked him in his room for most of his transgressions, or taken away his broom when he was a child.
After he'd been Sorted into Gryffindor, he'd been ignored for the most part when he was home. His parents had lavished all of affection on his younger brother, the perfect Slytherin prince, Regulus. Which had only made Sirius hate them and him even more.
He rubbed his eyes with his knuckles, trying to stop crying. His bottom was still smarting.
Who would have thought mild-mannered Moony would have it in him to actually spank him?
And over stupid Snivellus?
He couldn't fathom why Remus even cared about Snape . . . the Death Eater . . . when he never had before. Couldn't Moony see that Snape hadn't changed one bit, that he was still the same scummy kid? The same Slytherin dark wizard who had sold his soul to Voldemort?
Sirius shifted from foot to foot. Standing in the corner was so boring!
"Stand still before I add another minute!" ordered Remus.
Sirius froze, wondering where the hell his best friend had gone and who was this strict drill sergeant in his place was? Maybe this wasn't really Moony, but that creep Lucius Malfoy in his place, using Polyjuice Potion? That would explain a lot!
Remus checked his watch.
"Come here, Sirius," he called, his voice now gentle, like the Moony the Animagus remembered.
Sirius turned and walked over to the werewolf, pouting and dragging his feet.
Remus sighed. "Now," he said, "I didn't like that any more than you did, but that's what will happen if you lie to me. Are you going to behave now?"
"Yeah," Sirius replied sullenly. He still felt resentful and confused, but he knew better than to say anything other than an affirmative. The last thing he wanted was another spanking. "Are you . . . still mad at me, Moony?" he asked, his lower lip trembling.
"No. Once you're punished it's over and done with," Remus said, and picked the little boy up and hugged him. "I forgive you, scamp. Just don't do it again, or else!"
Sirius cried a little into Remus' shirt, for he found he didn't like it when the werewolf was angry with him.
"I miss the old Moony," he muttered, tearfully.
Remus snorted. "The "old Moony" grew up while you were in Azkaban, Siri," he reminded him. "And came to realize that what we did in school, to Severus and to others, wasn't funny or justified at all. Picking on someone because he was in Slytherin, or because "he existed" as Prongs used to say, was wrong. We should have let Snape alone."
"I don't understand." Sirius looked up into Remus' eyes, which were once again a warm brown. "Why are you defending him? He was never any good, even Lily realized that in the end."
"Did she?" Remus asked him, raising an eyebrow. "Or did she just think so because of the House he was in and because James was so insistent that he would turn dark?"
"He called her Mudblood!" Sirius all but yelled. "And then he became a Death Eater!"
"I know that," Remus said, quietly. "But there's a lot you don't know about Severus, Siri. A lot that I never knew, either. Not until he shared his memories with Harry before he died."
"What do you mean, he shared his memories with Harry? He hated Harry!" Sirius sniffled, taking the handkerchief Remus offered and blowing his nose.
"No, I don't think he did," Remus told him. "I think he hated the fact that Harry reminded him of James, and that sometimes Harry acted a lot like his father...but he didn't truly hate Harry, otherwise he never would have protected and saved his life for so many years."
"Snape saved Harry?" Sirius asked, in disbelief. "Moony, are you sick?"
"No, I am not," Remus told him, firmly. "Listen to me, Sirius. and listen good. Like I said, there are things you never knew about Severus. He wasn't all bad, he remained loyal to Lily and loved her till the day he died. He tried to apologize to her that night for calling her that awful name, he never meant to, but he was angry and humiliated because of the prank you and James played on him, his pride was shredded past bearing because not only was he the object of ridicule in front of half the school, but a girl came and fought his battles for him. He lost his temper and took it out on her. It was something he regretted forever, especially because Lily refused to accept his apology. If she had, he might never have chosen the dark road."
"But he did!" Sirius again reminded him.
"Yes, he made a huge mistake," Remus agreed with that point. "But remember, he also turned his back on You-Know-Who and came back to the Light. He turned spy at a great personal risk, Sirius."
"Because he was afraid of going to Azkaban!" Sirius sneered. "He did it to save his own arse!"
"Watch your mouth!" Remus ordered automatically.
"And no," he went on, quietly yet firmly. "He came back because he didn't want Lily to die. He tried to save her, Padfoot. It was Severus who told Dumbledore that Lily, James, and Harry needed to go into hiding. Severus who told Dumbledore the best spell to use was the Fidelius Charm. Now, would a true Death Eater have cared what happened to a Muggleborn witch who had thrice defied Voldemort? Who had rejected him and married his rival?"
"I . . . I guess not." Sirius admitted, reluctantly.
"No," Remus said, firmly. "A true Death Eater would have wanted revenge upon them. But Severus didn't. He spent the next eighteen years atoning for his mistakes, and he did it without ever being recognized for it. He risked his life over and over, protecting Harry from anything and everyone who tried to kill him when he was at school, from Quirrell to Voldemort."
"But he was a total ass to Harry at school!" Sirius reminded him, scowling. "A perfectionist git who always picked on him!"
Remus spread his hands. "Hey, no one ever said he was perfect," he told him, pointedly. "Neither were you, remember? But in the end, he sacrificed himself for Harry, he died doing what was right, not what was easy. Think about that. And then ask yourself, if the shoe was on the other foot, and you had to watch over Snape's son, who looked just like him and acted almost like him, would you have been able to do it?"
"I . . . dunno." Sirius mumbled, his innards doing a funny little dance inside his belly.
"Neither do I," Remus admitted gently. "We've all made mistakes in the past. But now we all have a second chance to do things differently, and learn from our mistakes, Sirius. Give Severus the benefit of the doubt, okay?"
Sirius nodded, reluctantly. He still wasn't sure what to make of Remus' take on Snape's motives, but for now he would agree...if only to save his backside from Remus' hand. You couldn't trust a snake. They always betrayed you in the end. Not even blood was sacred to them, look at how his cousin Bellatrix had murdered him. He was almost certain time would tell and reveal the Slytherin's true motives.
"Now," Remus told him. "I think you owe Severus an apology."
"Me?" Sirius exclaimed, indignant. "Apologize to . . . that . . . that . . ."
"Sirius!" warned Remus sharply."I'd think very carefully before I completed that sentence, if I were you!"
"Fine!" the little boy huffed, his lower lip sticking out adorably. "Since when did you become such a . . .a...hardass, Moony?"
"Since I had Ted and Jamie," Remus told him, chuckling. "Kids need discipline and boundaries."
"Sure they do," Sirius rolled his eyes. "We turned out all right without some bossypants telling us what to do."
"Did we? Sometimes I doubt it." Remus shook his head. "Have you learned your lesson, then? Because I won't hesitate to repeat this little 'chat', if necessary."
Sirius nodded, vigorously.
"Come on, then," Remus said, standing up and retrieving his cane. "Molly's probably putting supper on as we speak. You can apologize to Severus after dinner."
Remus waved his wand and removed the wards, then took Sirius by the hand and led him out of the study.
He just hoped the lesson stuck but, knowing Sirius, he suspected he might have to repeat it a time or two.
At dinner, Severus eyed Black covertly from his spot inbetween Alby and Rose. He noticed with some satisfaction that the mutt seemed to have trouble sitting, so Potter had been right about one thing, at least. He continued eating his dinner.
Molly had made delicious roasted rosemary chicken and dumplings, a pineapple-glazed ham, roasted potatoes, creamed spinach (not one of his favorites, but he forced himself to eat some), baby carrots with butter and parsley, and fresh rolls with butter.
Severus ate sparingly and neatly, unlike half the kids at the table, who seemed intent upon shoveling as much food down their throats as quickly as humanly possible.
Only Rose, Ted, Cory, and Alby seemed to have any modicum of table manners, Severus observed, faintly disgusted. The rest of them reminded him of his students at Hogwarts, bottomless pits the lot of them.
"Are you okay, Sev' rus?" asked Alby quietly, pointing to the faint bruise on the other boy's cheek.
"I'll live," Severus replied, thinking that little bruise was nothing compared to what he used to get from his father. Besides, he'd gave as good as he got...though Black showed no sign of the fat lip he'd received.
"Sirius was mean to call you that name." Rose said, glaring at the other boy.
"I know," Severus said, swallowing. In a lot of ways, the girl reminded him of Lily . . .
"But Uncle Remus spanked him good for it," the little girl declared.
"How do you know that?" Severus asked curiously.
"Cause everyone knows that's what happens when your dad or mum takes you to Grandpa's study," Rose said matter-of-factly.
"Mind your own business, you little know-it-all," Jamie spoke up. He still hadn't forgiven her for telling on his new brother.
Ted elbowed his brother hard in the ribs. "Shh! Dad's watching, Jamie," he hissed at his younger brother. "Shut up before you end up in the study like Sirius." He cast a glance over at the adult table, and saw both his father and his Uncle Harry looking over at them.
Jamie immediately stuffed a potato in his mouth, making a gross face at Rose.
"Eew! You eat like a pig!" the little girl grimaced. She primly speared a piece of ham with her fork and ate it. Boys! They were all annoying brats that acted like wild animals. Well, except for Alby, Cory, Ted, and this new kid, Severus. Clearly, they paid attention when Aunt Ginny, Aunt Dora, Aunt Cissy, and whoever Severus' mum was had taught them proper table manners.
"Don't be such a girl, Rosie," Sirius said, rolling his eyes.
"My name is Rose, and how can I stop being a girl when I was born one?" Hermione's daughter sniffed.
Severus couldn't help but snicker a little at the girl's comment, though he hid it behind Mimic. He ignored Black's glare and slid his eyes towards the adult table, noting that Potter and Lupin had their heads together, probably discussing the brawl that had occurred. Finally, dinner was over and the plates vanished.
"Yay! Next comes the sweets!" cheered Ted.
But before the dessert course, Remus rose and came over to the kids table, which was next to the adults table in the kitchen.
"Sirius, come over here," the werewolf beckoned. "You too, Severus."
Severus glanced up uneasily at Harry, who was standing behind him.
"Go on," Lily's son urged. "It's all right."
"I am not afraid," insisted the dark-haired youngster, though he was clutching Mimic for dear life. He approached the two Marauders cautiously.
"Sirius, what do you say to Severus?" prompted Remus.
Sirius dug his trainer into the carpet, looking down at the ground. Then he mumbled, "I'm sorry I called you Snivellus and picked a fight with you."
Severus was too shocked to say anything.
"Severus? I think you owe Sirius an apology, too," Harry reminded.
Severus grimaced. He'd rather have eaten fire crabs than apologize to Black. But he didn't want the Gryffindor to show him up, so he grudgingly said, "I apologize for hitting you."
"Good," Remus said, grinning. "Now, shake hands and there's an end to it. All right?"
Both boys eyed each other suspiciously, and it was a moment before Severus reached out a hand. Sirius took it for about a second, then drew back quickly.
Both Harry and Remus exchanged glances of relief.
"All right, who wants chocolate cake?" asked Molly. "And treacle tart? And apple pie a'la mode?"
All the kids squealed loudly at that, save for Severus, who permitted himself a half-smile. He did like Molly's apple pie, with a side of vanilla ice cream. He turned to sit down, relieved to have that apology over and done with. He had not expected Black to apologize to him, not in a million years. But even so, Potter and Lupin were naïve if they thought a single apology enough to end years of bitter rivalry. This was not the end, but only the beginning...
Did you agree with how the boys were handled? Why or why not?
Also, I have recently updated two other stories-Lily's Defender and Irresistible Chemistry if anyone hasn't read or reviewed them please do so! Thanks!
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