1. Special Birthdays by mandancie
It’s been a long journey. Severus was finally getting the rest and peace he needed. No Dark Lord. No Hogwarts. No Headmaster. No Dunderheads. Just peace.
After the final war, Severus was put on trial for his crimes. He was acquitted for the death of Albus Dumbledore. Something that surprised even him.
Potter had always been the thorn in his side, but this time he couldn’t help but be grateful for his help.
Once the trial's fiasco was finished, Severus walked away from the Wizarding world and never looked back. The Prince vault wasn’t much, but it provided a satisfactory living for the Potions Master.
Severus lived close to the sea. He didn’t want extravagance; he prided himself in being a simple man. The man just wanted a comfortable cottage that was suitable for him. Being a Potions Master, he provided potions for the local doctor. He was able to acquire a license to start a mail-order for small clinics and hospitals. He kept his identity secret, so there were no unwarranted questions or rumors.
The cottage was a single floor plan with a hidden basement which housed the potion lab. The backyard was enormous compared to what one would think was fitting for a cottage of that size. There were two acres dedicated to a garden: potion ingredients and flowers that the local flower shop would get their supplies.
Severus learned that he enjoyed having animals around. He didn’t have a huge farm, but just a few animals that kept him company. He had a cow, horse, a couple of chickens, and a rooster. Lastly, he had a hound dog. He would tend to his animals when he was not brewing or waiting for the more prolonged processed potions to finish. Living here, Severus could breathe.
Severus just finished his morning duties with his animals. He came into the house, followed by his dog, Duster. Waving his wand, the kettle began to boil. Severus fed Duster. He started making his breakfast when he was interrupted by a clicking sound on the window. Severus’ eyebrows furrowed when he saw the owl. He established notice with everyone who ordered potions from him that he does not fill orders until after the 20 of January unless it was a dire emergency. All his regular customers respected that policy. Usually, they would order a more considerable amount before the cut-off time in November.
Severus opened the window allowing the owl entrance. He took the message and notice when the owl didn’t leave, it meant that they were waiting for a response. Looking at the writing on the scroll, Severus pulled out his wand and checked for any jinxes or curses within the contents. His results coming up clear, Severus opened the note.
“A small package of appreciation will be arriving on the ninth. Will you accept it?”
Severus didn’t know how he felt about this. It had been twelve years since the final battle at Hogwarts. Five years since he was acquitted. He thought living away from England, he wouldn’t be bothered or annoyed by the one person he didn’t want to see.
Looking down at the handwriting, Severus could tell Potter’s horrid scribbles he tried to pass off as handwriting.
Severus looked at the owl, sitting on the back of his chair, and glowered at it.
It was another peaceful day for Severus. He was sitting in his favorite armchair. Duster was curled up next to Severus’ feet. A small nightcap on the small table next to him. The fire blazing in the hearth, keeping the cold out. And a good book that captured Severus’ attention.
Today was a slow day for Severus. He usually kept it quiet when this day came around. Before the wars. Before teaching. Even when he was a small child. This day never meant anything to Severus. It was just another day on the calendar. Lily always wanted to make a big deal about today. Even though he loved that she thought of him, he still had to go back to that gloomy place he called home once she went away.
His mom, Eileen, tried to make it a special day for him, but his dad would seem to ruin it every time. After their deaths and his broken friendship with Lily ended, his birthday became just another day. He didn’t care about the date. And as he got older, no one else cared about it as well. After defecting from the Dark Lord, Severus knew that his days were numbered. There wouldn’t be many birthdays he would see. When the second war began, Severus once again knew he definitely wasn’t going to see the sunrise. Thirty-eight was the last.
By some miracle, he beat the odds and survived. The last person he thought he would see was sitting next to his hospital bed. The same person stood by me at my trial. Now, after all these years, Severus received a note from the boy.
A knock on the door and Duster’s barking brought Severus out of his musing. He looked down and realized that he was daydreaming the entire time. Embarrassingly, Severus never made it to the third page.
Severus didn’t receive guests, so he was always cautious when things happened outside the ordinary. Casting a charm to make his door clear so he could see who was on the other side. Severus sighed as he walked to the door. Opening it, Severus was bombarded with excuses. Severus held on to Duster’s collar, so the dog wouldn’t jump on Potter.
“I’m sorry I’m so late, Professor Snape. I wanted to come earlier, but I got caught up with work, and I couldn’t leave until it was finished. Believe me, I would never—”
“Potter,” Severus loudly called out, abruptly stopping Harry’s babbling. “What are you doing here? How did you find me?”
Duster started barking. Severus looked down at his dog and said, “Duster. Enough.”
Harry stepped back, biting his lip. Harry wasn’t afraid of dogs, but being around Aunt Marge, he was weary around them. Suddenly, the chatterbox that was standing in front of Severus quickly changed to a mute mouse.
“I would like to end my day with some peace,” Severus growled. “What do you want?”
Harry looked up at his former professor. Even after all this time, Professor Snape was still intimidating. Over the years, Harry tried to build enough courage to come out to see Snape. And each year, he’d chickened out. For the rest of the year, he would get irritated with himself because he didn’t go. He could stand up to Voldemort but couldn’t visit the professor that saved him. That put everything on the line so that he could beat Voldemort.
After being teased by Fred and George relentlessly, Harry decided that this was the year he would gather all of his courage and take a trip out to see Snape.
“Potter!” Severus barked, bringing Harry out of his musing. “Why are you here?”
“I needed to see you,” Harry said. His voice was timid.
“You see me,” Severus said, stepping back into the house. “Now go.” Severus closed the door in Harry’s face.
“Professor, please,” Harry’s muffled voice could be heard through the wooden panels of the door. “I need to talk to you.”
Hearing the pleas through the door, Duster whined. Severus sighed as he pinched the bridge of his nose. He could feel a headache coming on. This was the reason he wanted to move out in the middle of nowhere.
Severus opened the door and, with a faint nod of his head, allowed Harry to enter. Harry stepped into the foyer, but in an area that didn’t get in Severus’ way of closing the door. Severus noted that Harry didn’t snoop around. The boy stayed in one spot until he was welcomed to move. Harry’s attention was on Duster.
Severus escorted Harry into his sitting room where the flames still blazed in the fireplace, and the small tumbler filled with amber liquid remained. Once again, Severus noticed that Harry didn’t sit until he was invited to do so. Severus would wait and see how long Harry would stand there until the rude, entitled Harry shown through. After a moment, Severus realized that Harry still did not move to sit down. Wanting to have a semblance of a peaceful evening, Severus reluctantly offered Harry a seat on his sofa. Duster walked over to Harry. The now man was scratching the hound behind his ear.
“Why are you here, Potter?”
“It’s your birthday,” Harry said nonchalantly, rubbing the dog’s head.
Severus was shocked by that statement. He didn’t know the boy knew when his birthday was.
“I know what day it is, boy,” Severus said.
“I’ve wanted to give you this for a while,” Harry said, reaching into the pocket of his robe.
Duster walked away from Harry and curled up by the fireplace.
Harry pulled out a bit of parchment and handed it over to Severus.
“What is this?” Severus asked, opening the parchment.
“It’s something that I wanted you to have,” Harry said. “Something you deserve to have.”
Severus was shocked at what he was reading. At the top stated that it was a deed. The second parchment was zoning permits. The third parchment was a notice of unlimited postage for muggle and wizarding mailing.
Harry reached in the other pocket and pulled out a small sack of galleons.
“Here,” Harry said, sitting the satchel of galleons on the small table.
“What’s this for?” Severus asked, looking at the boy.
“I didn’t want you to have to worry about anything,” Harry said, wringing his hands. “I bought this place and the land. The wizard who sold you this place was given precise instructions that whatever place you picked to live, they were to take the money out of my vault. This is the money you paid for this place.”
“You’ve been holding this money all this time?” Severus asked. There was no animosity in his tone. “What took you so long to bring it here?”
“Well,” Harry shrugged. “Several reasons. I didn’t want to bother you. You, of all people, deserved to live in peace. I didn’t want it to come out that I was giving you charity. I respect you too much to have you look like you couldn’t afford anything. This isn’t charity. This is a small token of my appreciation and respect that I can never repay for everything you did for me all those years ago. You sacrificed a lot for me, and you deserve peace. Finally, I was afraid to come.”
Severus couldn’t help but see the boy, now a man, sitting before him. For the first time, Severus didn’t know what to say, so he took a different approach.
Holding up the parchments, “What is the meaning of these?” Severus asked.
“Well,” Harry said. “Those are your birthday presents. I thought since you were here and you had all this unused virgin land, maybe you would like to build you a large storehouse for all your finished potions and ingredients.”
Again, Severus had no words to describe what he was feeling.
“How did you even know when my birthday was?” Severus asked.
Harry lowered his eyes. His cheeks turning a dusky pink.
“I saw it on your paperwork at the trial.”
“Potter,” Severus said, shaking his head. “Always snooping around.”
Harry didn’t hear the usual contempt or hatred in Snape’s tone as he usually heard. Not wanting to overstay his welcome, Harry stood up.
“Thank you for allowing me to come in,” Harry said, walking towards the door.
Duster got up and walked over to Harry.
“Wait,” Severus said, putting the parchment down and catching up with Harry.
“Thank you for the gifts,” Severus said. “It means a lot.”
Harry smiled. His face brightened.
“You’re welcome, sir,” Harry said. “Happy Birthday, Professor Snape.”
Harry scratched the back of Duster’s ear then let himself out of the house. Harry apparated when he got to the edge of Severus’ property.
For the first time in a very long time, Severus was happy about his birthday. When Harry left, Severus closed the door, went back to the parchments, and looked through them again.