When Harry's eyes opened the next morning, he was very much surprised. He was sleeping at an odd angle, holding lightly at something black. Harry looked up and it suddenly hit him that he must be sleeping with Nape. The thought made him feel very safe and suddenly happy.
The man was still sleeping-there on the sofa. How queer! Harry reached out a tiny hand and patted the man's face, trying to wake him up.
"Nape," he said.
After an unintentionally hard one to the left side of the man's face, Snape's eyes fluttered. He groaned and saw Harry.
"What-?" Snape was confused. Had he actually nodded off on the sofa, while trying to calm Harry down? How embarrassing was that? Another pat on his cheek and Snape said quickly, "Mm. I'm awake,"
Harry beamed and cuddled up against his chest. "Love Napey," he said contentedly.
Snape sat up straighter, still holding Harry. The boy's cheeks were still tear-stained.
That reminded Snape of the ever-growing issue of Harry's Attachment Disorder. It was getting out of hand. He had thought that he had seen the last of it after telling the boy he loved him (Which was just a lie to calm him down, of course) but Harry was still insecure, anti-social and not able to do anything without him. It had to stop. Snape would have to go to some places where the child could not accompany him. He couldn't keep dreading what Harry would do and if the Disorder was deepening. No, it had to stop. The boy had suffered through it quite enough.
But how would he do it?
"Play?" Harry asked him suddenly.
"No. You play alone."
"No play?" Harry gasped, tears welling up. "We haf fun, Nape!"
'Fun' must be a new word learnt by Dumbledore. Snape would normally have been proud that Harry was learning new words, but he replied sternly, "No, Harry. It is time you start respecting other's choices."
Harry's lip wobbled and suddenly he tried to squirm away from Snape. Snape let him and the baby slipped onto the floor, trying to stand. He began trotting away.
"Brat," Snape muttered to himself, while trying to fight the sense of pride that had occurred to him when he saw that Harry was walking properly now.
Several Days Later...
As the days went by, Snape tried to help Harry get over his Disorder. Soon Harry did not need to be brought up to the front of the class again. Most of his students were disappointed.
It was some days later, and Snape had just changed Harry into some new clothes when the knock came on the door.
"Whe' we goin'?" Harry asked as Snape picked him up. The man sighed, "Hogsmeade, Potter. I'm afraid Charity has invited us. Plus I also have a supervising duty there,"
"Chawwy?" Harry asked confusedly. "We play wiv Chawwy?"
"Honestly, boy. Is playing all you think about?"
"Yep," Harry giggled.
Snape put Harry on the couch and went to open the door. Charity stood there, beaming brightly.
"Hello, Severus! Are you ready?"
"I suppose so." Snape grimaced. "Though why you think I should go to Hogsmeade with you instead of somebody else-"
"Like who?" Charity rolled her eyes. "McGonagall? Flitwick? You're my friend. You should come with me. Besides you have a duty there too,"
Something about the way she spoke unsettled Snape. No one had ever said so openly that they were his friend. Except Lily.
"I'll go get Harry," he murmured.
He went towards the couch and picked up the baby.
Snape held Harry close and wrapped a small scarf around his neck. The three of them walked outside the castle, talking. Snape was keeping his head low, only answering. He felt awfully awkward. Why should a stern teacher like him go to Hogsmeade for drinks anyway? If any student caught him...He shuddered.
Harry giggled, pointing to a blue butterfly. "Oooo!" He nudged Snape. "Lookie, Nape!"
Charity and Harry chatted for a while, enjoying themselves. Finally Hogsmeade came into view.
"Would you like to go to The Three Broomsticks, Severus?" Charity pointed at the building.
Snape flinched inwardly at the suggestion. He looked at Harry who was gaping at Honeydukes, eyes popping.
"I...Let's go," Snape and Charity walked to the building. Harry began crying, "Nape! Choc!"
"What is a 'choc'?" Snape frowned. "Do you want sweets?"
Harry nodded tearfully. "Pwease, Nape?"
"No. You have enough sweets as it is. You will rot your teeth out," Snape said sternly.
"Noooo! Nape mean! Pweaseee!" Harry cried.
"Oh do let him, Severus. He's only little," Charity said quickly.
Snape wasn't the sort of man to let anyone walk over him anymore. But for some reason, he obliged and took Harry into the store. Well-he actually just asked Charity to take him and told her to only buy the baby a reasonable amount. He would wait outside. He handed her a few sickles.
So Snape waited outside, glowering. He was not going to step inside a candy store. He still had his boundaries.
When the two of them came out, Harry was looking elated. "Nape! Lookie!" He was holding a lolly pop, sticky redness all around his mouth. Snape was just about to scold him for being so messy and mop him up at once, when Charity handed him a large chocolate bar.
"What is this?" Snape stared at it apprehensively.
Charity rolled her eyes. "Chocolate. For God's sake, just have it."
"I do not eat chocolate, much," Snape tried to explain. But he still took it (to be polite) and dumped it in his pocket. Next, with Harry occupied, they went to The Three Broomsticks.
"Stay away from my robes," Snape admonished when Harry leant in close to his chest, licking the sticky red lolly pop cheerfully. "Really, Potter, you must be more careful."
Harry stared up at him. "Yoo haf, Nape? Share!"
Snape rolled his eyes.
When they entered the bar, they sat at a corner table. Snape sulked uncomfortably. Harry sat in his lap, still licking.
"Mmmm..." Harry said. A hand went to tousle the messy black hair and Snape was shocked that it was his own.
Charity ordered two butterbeers for themselves. Both of them drank the mugs in silence. Then Charity said: "Isn't this fun?"
"Indeed it is," Snape said, sarcastically.
"Oh, Severus, you need to liven up. Look how happy Harry is," Charity urged. "It never hurts to have some fun once in a while,"
"I'd rather not. Life isn't fun, Charity. I have work to do," Snape said bitterly.
"You need a break," Charity finished firmly. "Stop overworking yourself." There was a small pause as she stared at Harry who was leaning against Snape's chest, holding the lolly in one hand and examining his fingers curiously.
"He loves you," she noted after a long silence.
"Who?" Snape looked genuinely taken aback.
"Are you for real? Harry, of course." Charity rolled her eyes.
"He does not. He's just my ward. That's all," Snape said uncomfortably.
"You're blind if you can't see it," Charity sipped her butterbeer. "He's really attached to you. In fact, that's what caused his Attachment Disorder in the first place."
"It's healing," Snape said, not meeting her eye. "And anyway, even if the brat seems to have developed some feelings for me...I have not."
Something like jealousy sparked in Charity's face. "He has Lily Potter's eyes," she said stiffly.
Snape didn't say anything but he felt a spike of envy rise up in him.
Again, an envious, annoyed look appeared in the pale blue eyes. "She was your friend, I remember."
Snape turned to look at her, a slightly dangerous look in his eye.
"She was," he said in a hard voice.
Charity didn't say anything. Then, after a moment, she said, "Did you know, Severus, that after I graduated, I always wanted to be a Healer or something. Not really a teacher,"
"I never wanted to be a teacher either." Snape replied.
Charity smiled. Suddenly the tense atmosphere evaporated and the two of them had a good groan on school life. Snape glossed over Lily and the Marauders and they had a pleasant chat.
Harry squirmed in the lap. Why wasn't Nape paying any attention to him? "Naaape," he whined.
"Hush," Snape said, not listening. Charity said something and he nodded slightly, smiling faintly.
Harry glared up at him. "Nape!" he punched the man's chest lightly.
Meanwhile, Charity stared at Snape a little wistfully.
Suddenly she grabbed Snape's hand. Snape winced inwardly. He wanted to pull away, but he couldn't, in fear of being too rude.
Charity was a good friend. Friend. Just a friend. He loved Lily and only her-why was Charity being so difficult then?
"Wann' go home," came a choked sob. Harry was crying into Snape's robes, feeling annoyed that no one was talking to him.
"Don't be difficult," Snape said. "Do you want your bottle?"
Harry peeped tearfully. He nodded. Snape took out the milk bottle from his pocket and handed it to him. "You are growing too old for this. I will have to buy you a cup."
Harry drank, lying in Snape's lap, busy for a while.
After a few more minutes of chatting, Snape stood up, Harry holding onto him. "I'd better get going," he said. "Thank you for the invitation." he looked outside. It was actually evening. "It's getting rather late."
"Thanks for coming with me," Charity smiled. "Let's go back together."
In a while they had reached the castle's grounds. Just before leaving, Charity whispered to him: "See you later then,"
She kissed him on the cheek before rushing off, blushing.
Snape stood there, utterly bewildered. What had she just done?
It was later that night. Harry was playing in his room and Snape was thinking, sitting on the couch. He couldn't forget about the peculiar kiss he had gotten.
He blushed scarlet. How dare Charity do that! They were just friends.
Snape began to feel very uncomfortable. Only Lily used to do that to him, that also very rarely. He didn't understand it at all. He felt nothing for Charity, he hardly thought of her. But as he frowned in concentration, wondering why all of a sudden he was so popular, he took the chocolate out of his pocket and actually bit into it.
It wasn't too bad.
"Sowwy, sowwy!" Harry pleaded from a corner of the room, as he stared at the blue intersection of the walls.
Snape didn't reply as he fumed and cleaned up the mess. He had just come to tuck Harry in, when he had seen the mess on the carpet. Toys, broken crayons and paper had littered the floor. The crib had crashed to the ground, only bits of wood and covers. How this had happened, Snape had no idea. He had ordered Harry to stand in the corner at once and had then proceeded to clean up (If he acted upon Harry immediately he would have accidentally strangled him).
Snape repaired the crib, wood forming and fixing itself until the cot was made again. Then he one by one fixed all of the crayons. He then levitated all of the toys to go into the trunk. Then he turned around and glared at Harry.
"Come out, Potter." Snape growled and he had to resist from throwing Harry over his knee.
Harry turned, tears cascading down his cheeks. "Nape!" He insisted, running forward to get embraced by the man. The only problem was that the man was in no mood.
"Stay right there, Potter. Why did you make this mess?"
"Uhh," Harry looked around, looking rather innocent in his red jumper, his little feet covered and his little hands nervously moving around his buttons. "Dunno Nape!"
"You. Don't. Know?" Snape glared at him, making Harry burst into tears and crawl behind the leather chair, trembling.
"Come out," Snape scooped Harry up and sat down on the chair. "Is this your idea of a joke, Potter? Should I take all of your toys away?"
"S-sowwy!" Harry clutched the robes in front of him and sobbed into them. "Hawwy good boy!"
Snape sighed. "You're going to sleep,"
Harry clung to him when he got up, and when Snape lowered him inside the crib, Harry stared at him mournfully.
"Nape, lookie." Harry sniffed, showing the man his stuffed cat. It had been a brilliant white with brown stripes, but now...Snape gaped. It was a bright orange!
"Very bad! Did you colour on this, Harry?"
"Nonono!" Harry began crying again. "No! Cat! Want cat!"
It took a while to calm Harry down and then Snape had to use a spell to fix the cat and revert it to it's original colouring. It was odd how it had changed color. It didn't seem like a crayon's work. And all the mess...As Harry sniffled in his comforter, his green eyes closed, Snape looked at him suspiciously, and then went to close the lights.
Very short, but I wanted to reassure everyone that I was still alive.