"Stop it, Harry, stop it," Snape snapped, pulling away his cloak from Harry. "Now you're behaving very badly. Do not make me give you another time-out."
"Wann' be Nape!" Harry insisted, tugging at the other end of the cloak.
Snape glared at him. "Desist immediately or I will be very severe."
Harry shook his little head. He widened his green eyes, giving a pleading look. "Pwease, Nape. Gon be yoo."
Snape didn't understand him at all. "I don't trust you, you've already ruined my coat's sleeve."
Harry's lips protruded and wobbled. "Pwease Napey."
Snape hardened himself. "No."
"Pwease," Harry sounded close to tears.
"No." Snape said, coldly.
Harry gave a wet sob and buried his face in Snape's chest. Snape felt guilty again. "Calm down, there's no need to make such a fuss."
Harry was still crying quietly. "Nape no love..." He murmured.
"Silence, don't you dare start that again," Snape said. "Alright, I'll let you play with my cloak. But if you ruin it you're going to be in big trouble."
Harry squealed in delight when Snape handed him his cloak, the man feeling annoyed at his softness.
"Goody!" Harry crawled off the seat, holding the cloak in his fists tightly.
Snape closed his eyes. When he had left from Hogwarts forever, after his seventh year, he had sat with his Death Eater friends...most of them were in prison now. But he hadn't sat with Lily after his fifth year.
Sighing deeply, he clenched his jaw and looked at Harry, capering about the floor, covered in the cloak, pretending to be him.
"Wiy wello," Harry giggled, trying to walk to Snape.
He fell, chin down, on Snape's knees. He giggled again. He scrambled on the knees, trying to climb up. He was surprised Snape was not picking him up himself, though. Harry tried climbing up from the seat part and then crawled onto Snape's lap, the cloak laid over him like a quilt. "Ni' Nape!" Harry exclaimed.
"Yes, you should be sleeping," Snape took back his cloak and took out a thick blanket from the suitcase. He laid Harry on the seat and charmed it so that there was a border and he did not fall down. He then wrapped the blanket over the child. "Wake up when we're there."
"No play?" Harry was surprised. He looked at Snape, his little nose peeking out from under the blanket.
"No ni'!" Harry whined. "Play wiv my Nape,"
"Harry, obey me. You've been playing for an hour or so. Get some rest. Don't argue with me now, I know you're tired." He gently closed one of Harry's eyelids for him to show what he meant.
"'Kay!" Harry squeezed his eyes tight. "Ni'!"
Snape breathed in contentment and let his mind drift off to the past again.
Harry opened one eye and was outraged by what he saw. "Nape no ni'!? Nape ni'!"
Snape rolled his eyes. "At the moment, only you are sleeping. I am an adult. Now hush and go back to sleep."
Harry seemed close to tears again. "Napey..."
"No, don't cry," Snape hesitated, then extended his hand. Harry gasped sharply, shutting his eyes.
Harry was surprised when Snape ruffled his hair for a second instead.
"I will not hit you. Stop aggravating me with these suggestive gestures." Snape said sharply, feeling insulted.
I am not my father, he thought angrily.
"Sowwy," Harry said immediately, thinking Snape was mad.
"You can make it up to me by sleeping," Snape said, a little sardonically. Harry obeyed, yawning greatly and closing his eyes, one of his fists on Snape's lap.
Harry slept. After Snape's mind wandered back to the present, Snape suddenly noticed that half of Harry was on his lap now. He sighed. His thoughts came back to Harry. Poor boy. It was all his fault, everything was his fault.
He had killed the boy's parents. Snape fingered the scar unconsciously. He would never forgive himself for it.
"I'm sorry..." He said in a strained whisper, the same way he had apologised to Lily all those years ago. She had refused. He was sure that if Harry knew what he had done to him, he would not forgive him either. Suddenly Snape could not stand the boy snug on his lap. Gingerly, he laid Harry elsewhere.
Harry shuddered delicately, but he didn't stir.
Snape felt sick.
The train stopped after a few more hours. Snape awoke Harry.
"NAPE!" Harry beamed, sitting up and hugging Snape.
Snape picked him up and Harry rested his head against the man's shoulder sleepily.
"Love Nape," Harry yawned. "We 'ere?"
"Yes," Snape packed in the quilt and handed the stuffed cat to Harry. Then he left the compartment, leaving his luggage in there. They would come automatically in his quarters.
Harry yawned loudly again. "Nape, yum yum,"
"Yes, you can eat as much as you want at the feast," Snape mumbled. He walked out of the compartment hastily before the students got out too, and quickly began his way up the hundred steps to the castle. He didn't want to ruin his to-be stern reputation. Oh, it'd be utterly humiliating if anyone saw him with a baby!
"Oh for the love of..." Muttered Snape, as he held Harry and walked up the never-ending steps. "You walk now, Harry, or we'll never reach before the students see me."
Harry toddled up a few steps himself, but then he fell on a step and began whining.
He held out his arms, opening and closing his fists.
Snape levitated Harry very carefully, testing. Then he walked, his wand in his hand, Harry flying in the air.
Harry giggled happily.
They reached the doors and Snape went to his quarters at once. He changed Harry into dark, suitable clothes and quickly combed his own hair. Looking into a mirror, he put a strand of his oily hair off his face. Then he went to the Great Hall. Some teachers had settled down and Snape could see students ploughing up the stairs outside. Snape sat down on a seat warily as Charity caught up with him.
"You came!" she declared. "And how are you, Harry?"
Harry waved an arm in drowsy acknowledgement. Then he buried his face in Snape's robes again.
"He just woke up," Snape explained. And then he heard the doors of the Great Hall open.