Harry fell asleep eventually. When the sun crept up in the morning, the door to his room opened and Snape peered over at him.
"Are you awake yet?"
Harry whimpered and shuffled under his quilt. Snape scooped him up gently. The boy's lip stuck out.
"Nape." He mumbled.
Snape felt rejected. Did the boy miss his own father more than he liked him?
But, still...James was his father. He supposed it was natural for Harry to feel this way. He was just a guardian, a protector. And he wanted to be nothing more.
"We're going to have breakfast." Snape sighed. He carried the baby to the kitchen. He could feel Harry squirming in his arms, but eventually the baby gave a whimper and leant against his shoulder.
Snape put Harry in his high-chair and summoned up some Cheerios.
"Oogwa falala," Harry wrinkled his nose.
"What?" Snape asked, confused.
"No no," Harry insisted, picking up the small plastic spoon. Back home, he used to have jammy toast and milk. He'd rather just have that.
"You're not hungry?" Snape could feel himself frowning.
"No Nape!" Harry protested angrily. He pointed to the plate on the table, which had eggs, toast and bacon piled high.
"You want to eat that?" Snape asked, a little thrown off. "Fine. But you better finish up every bite." He summoned up some more eggs and toast and plunked the plate in front of the boy.
Snape lingered to watch him eat. Harry stuck out his bottom lip as he scooped up the toast and began to stare at it. There was no jammy stuff on it! Oh, did Nape know nothing? Harry stabbed his chubby finger angrily on the toast. "No Nape! No be mean!"
Snape raised an eyebrow. "Would you like something on it? Butter?"
Harry pointed to the small pot of red jam on the table.
So Snape picked up the strawberry jam pot and applied some jam on top with a knife and handed it back to Harry, feeling for all the world like a responsible guardian.
Harry's mouth widened into a smile as he munched on the toast. Yes! This was almost like what he ate back then. The thought made him so happy that he munched all of the bread up, leaving some crumbs on his mouth. Snape wiped him up and then took him to the living room to have some quiet time before classes.
As Snape sat on the sofa, reading a Potions ingredients catalog, Harry sat right under him, playing with his stuffed cat.
The man's eyes kept glancing back at Harry, checking to see if the boy was alright. He seemed rather distant today.
In a while, Snape carried Harry and placed him in the office play-pen.
Harry curled into a ball, looking sleepy.
Snape looked down at him, disappointed. He had wanted Harry to protest to be with him, to scowl and whine. But Harry didn't.
When Snape went to the classroom, he peeped back once.
"See you after classes, Harry. Make sure you behave." He said half-heartedly.
"Buh bye," Harry whispered. Even though it wasn't very warm, it was still a response.
Snape was in a foul mood throughout classes. He assigned two detentions, he took over forty points and he was successful in making everyone wince when he spoke to them. And to top it all-when he went back to his office to check on Harry, he saw the baby drawing on the wall with an orange wax crayon.
At first Snape was furious. He grabbed Harry up and began lecturing at once about how what he did was very naughty and that if he drew on anything but paper again, he was taking his crayons away. Harry stared at him, mouth open. The tears came suddenly and his shoulders shook.
Snape was startled as Harry sobbed, trying to wrench away from Snape.
"Er, I understand you're upset but there's no n-" The man tried, but Harry punched him lightly on the mouth, shouting, "No!"
Snape felt a little cross. "Stop it, thats enough." He sighed. How was he going to take care of this boy if he kept howling every time he reprimanded him for his mistakes?
But Harry seemed to be in an anti-Snape mood and he squeezed his eyes shut until Snape put him down.
Snape waved his wand to clear the drawing on the wall. When he turned, saw Harry staring at him mournfully, tears dripping down.
This made Snape feel like some kind of evil person. He tried to cheer Harry up but the boy crawled away as fast as he could and hid behind a chair.
His patience low, Snape retreated to his desk to work, while shooting glowers every now and then at Harry.
Harry sucked his fist, hiccuping. He didn't think Nape was quite so nice now. He had shouted at him so loudly!
He peeped from behind the chair, checking on the man. He wasn't even coming to get him! Maybe Nape didn't care. Harry sniffled.
"You will get yourself dirty, get away from there," Snape chided suddenly.
"No!" Harry cried.
"What did you say?"
"No! No be mean Nape!" Harry crawled away and saw the door. Supporting himself by the wall, he tried to stand so as to reach the knob.
"Potter! Come back here!" Harry could hear Nape shouting from the corner of the office. In a thrice the man had gotten up and was coming for him.
Harry cowered. He remembered his uncle. Once Harry had been crawling slowly to Duddy's sippy cup, seeing what it was. He had just touched it when Duddy had begun yelling.
His uncle had entered the room. "How dare you touch my Dudley's things! You disgusting, ungrateful-"
Harry had begun crying, crawling away as fast as he could. But his uncle was too fast. He had smacked him on the head, then called for his auntie.
"Look at this freakish whelp! Take him away, why is he here anyway?"
His auntie had picked him up sharply, scolding him, her nails digging uncomfortably into his arms. He had been crying but she had just plunked him in that small, dark room, closing the door and locking it.
"Horrendous boy, trying to ruin our lives," she had muttered.
Harry had not understood but her tone had been ever so hurtful.
The scene seemed to come into focus now. Harry cowered. Nape picked him up, but though his hold was firm, it didn't hurt too much.
"Where do you think you're going?" He demanded. "Are you going to crawl around through the halls?"
"Mmmmnnn," Harry whined, tears clouding his vision.
"You will get lost. I dont understand what's got into you today." Snape said. He sounded so disappointed and harsh that Harry very soon went vocal.
Harry rarely went vocal because he still had the silent crying habit, but now that Nape was being so mean...
"Potter," Snape growled. "I have no time for these theatrics. Why are you so upset?"
Harry was still crying so Snape decided that the boy needed a nap. Since his quarters were a little further away, and he didn't want to walk around the halls with a wailing baby in his arms, he just transfigured an empty plastic vial into a big bed with railings at either side, almost like Harry's crib.
He laid the boy inside, rubbing the side of his face gently, telling him to sleep.
"Go to sleep. You're obviously very tired and cranky. When you wake up, you can play all you like."
Harry lay down without a fight. He wanted Nape to cradle him for a moment, tell him that he still cared for him or something like that so Harry could stop feeling so mutinous against the man, but Nape just went away after throwing a blanket over him.
Harry peeped through the railings and saw Nape resuming his work. Sniffing mournfully, he closed his eyes. He still missed his parents, just like he missed them constantly at his auntie and uncle's house. He absolutely loved Nape too but for some reason he wasn't seeming as good today...
Harry fell asleep, and the last thing he heard was the soft scratching of quill on paper.
A few hours later, Harry woke up. He shifted in the bed, yawning. The room was very quiet.
He mustered some of his energy and sat up. Through the railings he could see the desk. No one was at it, though. He wondered where Nape was.
Harry felt a little annoyed at being left alone. He whined a little but no one heard him. He tried to stand up. Holding the railings tightly, Harry looked around the room.
Who would help him get out of this bed?
"Nape?" Harry called. He sniffed. Had Nape forgotten about him?
He plopped back down on the bed and saw his stuffed cat. He picked it up.
"Oo. Whe' Nape go?" He asked it.
A few minutes passed and Harry, sniffling, played with the cat, making it trek through the bed.
A little while later, the door opened and Snape entered, glowering. When he saw Harry his face got even more disgruntled.
Harry saw him and raised his arms expectantly. Snape went to pick him up.
"Did you have a nice sleep?" The man asked irritably.
"'Kay." Harry didn't understand the question, but Snape didn't seem to be too bothered with the answer.
"I'm going to have to leave you with Professor McGonagall for an hour. A Gryffindor has a detention with me. On the second day of school," he shook his head and went on muttering dark things about the impulsiveness and arrogance of Gryffindors.
Harry just listened, leaning on Snape's shoulder. "Play?" He asked cautiously, after the rant was over.
Snape didn't answer, not listening. He opened the door and walked to his quarters. It wasn't very far and when Snape entered he put Harry down on the sofa and disappeared somewhere.
"No go!" Harry protested. "Wann' play!"
When no one answered him, he frowned and crawled off the sofa. He could see the door of his nursery ajar and he set out towards it. Today he could draw a picture on his coloring book. He'd show it to Nape. Nape would be happy. If Nape was happy he would spend time with him. Yes, that was a good idea.
But when he crawled into his room he couldn't find the crayons anywhere. He checked in the toy chest but they weren't in there either.
Tears were stinging in his eyes. Oh no, did Nape take it?
He remembered the rattle his auntie had given him. It had been broken and dirty but it had still been something to play with. His auntie had only given it to him because he would cry mournfully, alone in his dark room under the stairs, bored and miserable.
Once she had caught him trying to put it into his mouth. She had snatched it away, saying that that wasn't how one played and that he was very naughty.
"You don't deserve anything. I made a mistake trying to be kind to you," she had said very sharply.
Harry had been very affronted. Duddy would put EVERYTHING in his mouth, including those yummy brown bars he wasn't allowed to have. No one took anything from him.
"Waaaaa!" Harry cried, lying on his stomach and mourning his crayons.
He heard Nape enter the room a few minutes later, surprised.
"What's wrong now?" The man demanded.
"Play!" Harry tried to explain.
"You have your toys here." Snape raised an eyebrow.
Harry whined and shook his head. "Play! Col!"
"I am busy right now." Snape still didn't get it.
Harry was feeling more and more exasperated when Snape said, "Do you want your blocks? I'm afraid they're still in the play-pen."
"Go get?" Harry asked, pleadingly. "Pwease Nape, pwease!"
Snape wrinkled his nose. He looked slightly annoyed but he gave in. He went outside and returned in a little while, looking dour, holding a bag of blocks, Harry's stuffed animals and a few other toys.
Harry smiled at him and reached out his hands to grab the toys. When Snape set the toys down on the rug, Harry crawled around trying to find his crayons. He felt Snape sitting down on a nearby couch and watching him. Harry finally grabbed his crayons from under a bunch of toys.
He uttered a loud squeal of pleasure and dramatically took out a purple stick.
"Wann' play?" Harry asked Snape. He looked worried, as if scared Snape was still mad about the wall-drawing thing. "I be's good now,"
"Er," Snape didn't know what to do. Harry looked rather hopeful. "Just a little, then."
Harry went to get his colouring book which Dumbledore had given him and then tried to crawl on the sofa.
"No, you'll ruin the couch." Snape admonished.
He put Harry right back down on the floor and settled down with him too.
"Go on then," he instructed.
Harry took an orange crayon and began colouring what looked like a happy-face sun shining down on a valley.
Snape sneered at the picture. He hesitated, then sighed and picked up a stick of black crayon. He paused.
"Yay Nape!" Harry cheered. "You col!"
I'm turning soft, Snape grumbled.
He coloured a tree trunk very slowly and carefully.
"Oo, good," Harry encouraged, beaming cheerfully.
Snape's lips twitched at this.
A while passed like this. Harry soon grew bored and crawled towards his Lego set.
"Come." Harry picked up two blocks, trying to put them together.
"That's the wrong side." Snape explained. He turned the block the other way. Harry then brought them together.
"Wow!" He gasped. How was Nape so smart?
A knock sounded on the door but it took a few more for Snape to listen. He was enjoying himself so much. Never had he ever played like this alone or with someone. There was a small feeling of affection in his heart but he kept pushing it away.
Harry was just his assignment, a baby he had to take care of until he was older and could fend for himself. All this caring for him and love was ridiculous, unnecessary and for the weak.
The knock sounded again. The man quickly got up to get the door.
Harry stared at him, confused. "Whe' yoo goin' Nape?" He called.
Snape opened the door and Minerva stood there, looking rather sour.
"Severus, you really do take long to open a door! Where is Harry? Didn't you ask me to take him for an hour, while you had the detention?" She looked at him disapprovingly. "I really do wonder who that unfortunate student is. On the second day of school and you're a new teacher!"
Snape rolled his eyes. "I don't see how that is my fault. I tried to remain tolerant." In truth, the boy had been very disrespectful and obnoxious and as a Professor, he had to take charge. Snape had known Harry would interfere, deeming the detention useless and ridiculous. He could imagine Harry cooing at the boy, giggling while he worked on his punishment and asking him to play with him.
He could also imagine what the boy would spread: 'Professor Snape can't do anything right. He can't even assign a normal detention without a baby crawling around. Ha! And he thinks he's scary.'
That couldn't happen. He'd die first. So Snape had asked Minerva if she would take Harry for a while and return him later.
"I'll go get him," Snape walked back to the living room. Harry crawled to his feet but Snape picked him up. Then he transfigured a quill into a bag and filled it with some of Harry's toys, a blanket and the stuffed cat.
Harry whined. "Whe' we goin' Nape? We play!"
"Hush," Snape chided, walking to Minerva and handing Harry to her. He thrust the bag into her arm and she shot him a reproving look.
"For God's sake, Severus! He's just staying for an hour. What's all this?-"
"Wait, I think he may get thirsty..." Snape accio-ed a milk bottle and handed it to her. "Behave Potter, I'll get you in a while."
"Nape?" Harry's eyes filled suddenly. Was Nape sending him off forever? Oh no, he really had been naughty, Nape must be fed up. "No, no, sowwy Nape! Pwease, Hawwy love Nape." He whispered.
Minerva looked surprised and then smiled smugly.
"You're just going for an hour." Snape flushed red.
"No go," Harry sniffled. "I be's good!"
"You can come back soon to your 'Nape', Harry." Minerva was fighting with her face. "Now come. I have holiday essays to check."
Snape shot her a dangerous look at the 'Nape' comment, feeling humiliated. "Goodbye Potter." He muttered.
"No buh bye! Nooo!" Harry struggled. Why was Nape sending him off? He had apologised!
Minerva left quickly. As Snape shut the door he heard more "Noooo!"s and "Want Nape!"s. Sighing, he just wished Minerva would reach her office before anyone heard. Another thing to live down if anyone heard those cries...He wondered if Harry would have another attack of Attachment Disorder or barely survive. He pushed the thought aside. Oh well, he had other things to do.
"Nape no love Hawwy...?" Harry asked desperately for the fifth time. "Why why?"
"Oh Harry, can you stop worrying? He'll be back soon," Minerva sighed. Maybe it wasn't Snape's fault Harry had gotten Attachment Disorder after all. The poor boy was so insecure and attached to the man...
"Why don't you play something?" Minerva asked sternly. "I wonder why I agreed to this. Child-caring really is difficult."
There was a knock at the door and suddenly Dumbledore entered the office, his eyes twinkling. "You called for help, Minerva?" he looked down at Harry. "Ah, so little Harry Potter is here, huh?" He reached down to pick Harry up.
"Waaaa!" Harry sniffed as he reached out to pull Dumbledore's beard. "Want my Nape!"
A few cries, suggestions and exasperated looks followed. Finally Dumbledore got Harry to stop crying by giving him some lemon drops to suck.
Harry sucked sulkily. Mmm, these really were yummy!
Then, in a better mood, he began building with Dumbledore who laughed every time Harry spoke.
"He really is one!" He said to Minerva. "He can almost speak in sentences,"
However the spell lasted only a while before Harry started wailing for Snape again, convinced that the man had left him.
"That will be all, Mr Johnson." Snape said, curtly. "You may leave."
Ross Johnson shot Snape an angry look and wearily got up from his seat.
"Yes, sir," he muttered.
"I trust we will have no more disrespect in my class," Snape glowered at him. "Now go,"
The boy, muttering darkly, shot Snape a filthy look before leaving the office. Snape smirked as he heard the door shut softly. He had made the boy endure a long hour of separating Potion ingredients without gloves.
The thought made him feel rather bold. He really was getting the hang of this. Snape summoned up some black coffee and began sipping it, thinking awhile.
Only when a few dregs of coffee were left did he remember about Harry. He quickly made his way to Minerva's office.
By the time he neared the door, pitiful sniffles could be heard.
"Nape..." Harry was saying.
"Oh dear, have another lemon drop," Dumbledore was insisting.
Dumbledore? Snape raised an eyebrow and knocked on the door.
After a moment, Minerva opened the door, looking entirely grateful. "Oh thank God! He's here, Harry!"
She rushed to scoop up the sobbing baby in her arms, looking very, very tired. Her glasses were angled awkwardly on her nose and her bun was out of place.
"NAPE!" Harry declared, his hands held out. When Snape gingerly accepted him, the baby sobbed into his shoulder. "Love Nape!" He croaked. "No go!"
"Calm down Potter." Snape pulled him close, patting his back.
Harry took several deep breaths. His sobs abated but he still cried softly on the man's shoulder. Minerva handed Severus the bag of toys and provisions. Then Dumbledore came to the door too.
"Ah, Severus. I see what you go through," his eyes were twinkling. "Harry is quite a charming boy. It seems you two have bonded quite wel-"
"Erm Headmaster, I must be going." Snape interrupted before Dumbledore could declare some more lies of how they were 'bonding' and how they loved each other like father and son. Snape couldn't endure more of them.
The Headmaster smiled knowingly.
"Thank you for your help, Minerva, Headmaster," Snape said stiffly as Harry grabbed his robes in a death-grip, murmuring about not being bad again.
"Oh, it was my pleasure." Dumbledore said merrily. "I must be going too, Minerva."
Snape set out for his quarters, leaving an irritable Minerva at her door, Harry still sniffling.
"Nape no go." Harry said again.
"I doubt anyone will let me give you to them again. Didn't I tell you to behave?" Snape admonished sternly.
"I be's good." Harry promised. "Ni'?"
"Yes," Snape responded.
"'Yoo no go. Ni' wiv yoo."
"No. I have work to do, Harry,"
Harry cried even harder so Snape had no choice but to give in. By the time they had reached his quarters, Snape was tired out by Harry's whining. He sat down on the sofa, cradling the baby.
"Calm down, I'm here."
Surprisingly, Harry fell asleep right there in his arms, holding his robes tightly. It hadn't been a very good day for either of them.