“The blatant disrespect and outright atrocious behavior is nothing new for these three. I will not put up with it any longer!” Snape seethed, hands placed firmly down on the edge of the Headmaster’s desk, “You should have heard her - actually, wait, I can show you the memory if you’d like to see it for yourself!”
“That will be unnecessary, Severus.” Dumbledore replied calmly before turning his attention to Hermione, “I can imagine you were feeling very protective of Harry, were you not?”
“Yes, sir.” Hermione replied, subdued and beginning to regret her angry tirade now that she was in the presence of the headmaster. “It’s just, Harry has been so upset by--”
Dumbledore held up a hand to quiet the girl, “No need to explain, Miss Granger. I quite understand the situation at hand and how difficult this must be for Harry. I actually have plans to talk to him this morning about everything that has been happening in hopes to alleviate some of the distress this whole ordeal has caused.”
“I do believe you are due to be in Charms class right now, Miss Granger?” At the girl’s affirmative nod he continued calmly and kindly, “I’d suggest you hurry along there - you have very little time left before exams and I know you want to be fully prepared for the examination board.”
Hermione recognized the dismissal for what it was, but she was reluctant to leave without having fully advocated for her friend. She opened her mouth to protest, but was quickly cut off by the sharp voice of the potions professor.
“Do I need to take another hundred points for disobedience?”
“No, sir.” Hermione replied, standing and fidgeting nervously with the hem of her skirt. She still didn’t feel comfortable walking away when she hadn’t been able to fully explain herself.
She had slowly made her way to the door when the headmaster spoke again, “Miss Granger? You’ve been a good friend to Harry. Not many people would have the courage to stand up for another, especially to someone they knew would not appreciate the strength it took to do so. I award 70 points to Gryffindor for not only understanding the value of friendship and family, but for your unwavering support of those dear to you.”
“What?!” Snape roared, “Albus, you cannot--”
“Furthermore, please relay the message to Mr. Potter that I wish to speak with him and after our conversation he will fully understand everything that may be causing him difficulty right now. Warn him not to do anything rash until that conversation has occurred.”
“Yes, sir.” Hermione replied, confused by the entire conversation. She hadn’t been reprimanded - in fact, she’d been given points! She had wanted to tell Dumbledore everything - the jabs Snape had made since awakening from the accident, Harry’s anxiety and the effect it was having on his health, Umbridge and the barbaric detentions, the concern she had for her friend’s mental state. If she’d been given half a chance, she would have unloaded all of that information and let him sort it out; after all, he was an adult and that’s what adults were there for. Not to mention the fact that he was an adult who cared about Harry. That had to mean he’d make an effort to fix things, right? A voice in her head, sounding much like Harry himself, made a sound of disbelief in response to her racing thoughts.
It wasn’t until she had descended the stairs and reached the end of the corridor that she realized they’d had an entire conversation without once mentioning the fact that Snape was supposed to be acting fatherly towards Harry. They hadn’t referenced the adoption at all, which happened to be the major crux of the situation unfolding. That had to mean something...she just needed to precisely decode what the Headmaster had said and read between the lines. Something felt wrong, and she was going to figure out what it was.
Back in the Headmaster’s office, Snape was beyond furious.
“70 points?! No real consequences? Why can’t you see these brats for what they are? Disobedient, disrespectful....you’re practically rewarding her for the way she spoke to me. You didn’t even bother correcting her, you just praised her and sent her on her way!”
“Severus, please calm down and listen to me.” Dumbledore said with a heavy sigh, “There’s a lot you don’t recall from this year, and I think once those memories return you will be looking at this entire situation from a different perspective.”
“There is absolutely nothing you can say to me that could possibly justify the way that presumptuous little brat spoke to me.” Severus retorted angrily, growing more and more furious as time passed on. Was it not bad enough that a student dared to yell at him and accuse him of bullying another student? Did the Headmaster really need to try and justify that sort of behavior? No wonder no one could keep the trio in check, they were never subjected to the consequences of their actions.
Their conversation was interrupted by Poppy’s head in the floo, “Albus? I have a situation here - do you have a moment?”
“Of course, I'll be right through.” Albus responded, looking weary and every bit his age as he stood, “Severus, my boy, if we could continue this later…?”
“Duty calls.” Severus replied dryly, “I shall meet you there shortly anyhow, as I have some matters to check up on.”
He wasn’t about to admit to the old man that he was going to check in on Potter. That would just give Dumbledore false hope that one day he’d be able to coexist with the Potter spawn in harmony. No, some things were better kept private.
Albus disappeared in the fire with a flash leaving Snape to talk the longer way through the corridors, hoping to stumble across Granger disobeying orders so he could recoup those points the headmaster had underhandedly returned.
“Malnourishment. Chronic malnourishment - mind you; we still hadn’t rectified all of the damages those muggles inflicted upon him through all of those years of neglect. It’s clear he hasn’t been eating properly since the accident - he’s lost more than a stone since then!” Poppy informed the headmaster, walking him towards Harry’s bed. She pulled back the curtain to reveal Harry, who was sleeping anything but peacefully, his face ashen and tight with discomfort.
“I trust malnourishment is not why you’ve summoned me?” Albus asked quietly, urging the mediwitch to continue without actually saying so.
Poppy shook her head worriedly, “He’s a very ill boy, Albus. Mr. Weasley said he’d been sick several times, and the last time there was blood involved. A diagnostic pinpointed that issue as an untreated ulcer. It’s easy enough to heal, but it is a treatment we need a parental medical consent for, as it doesn’t fall under routine medical care.”
“Ah, yes, that will be difficult to come by, all things considered.”
The boy moaned on the bed, turning his head to the side and bringing a hand to rest on his aching stomach. His eyes blinked open tiredly, but before either adult could address him he’d gone back to sleep.
“He’s in a great deal of pain, but I’ve refrained from giving him any potions, as they would interfere with the ulcer treatment. Do you think you’ll be able to get the signature?”
Dumbledore was quiet for a moment, running through possible solutions in his mind. He sighed heavily, “We’re going to have to tell him. It’s really our only option.”
“Do you think it’s wise?”
“It’s not ideal, I’d rather see his memories return on their own, but what other choice do we have? We need him here to perform his parental duties.”
“You’ve seen the way Severus has reacted to young Harry since waking from the ordeal. Do you think he’ll be able to see past all of that anger to help a boy that, by all memories he currently holds, he can’t stand?”
“For something this serious, I believe he will be willing to overlook the details and focus on the big picture.”
Harry moaned again, eyes fluttering in a way that indicated he was trying to force his way back to consciousness. Poppy placed a hand gently on his arm, shushing him slightly as if he were much younger than his 15 years. After a few moments, he went limp once more, small movements ceasing as he was once again under.
“I’ll look for Severus and let him know I need to meet with him. It’s best to get this over with as quickly as possible, so Harry can begin recovering from this setback.”
“How are you planning on doing it?” Poppy asked, “You need to be careful not to cause Severus any distress that might hinder his own recovery process. You can’t just sit him down and tell him ‘I hate to be the one to tell you this, but Harry Potter is your son. By the way, he’s bleeding internally and we need you to sign a waiver.’. He’d think you’d gone mad.”
The door to the infirmary opened, the subject of discussion appearing moments later at the entrance.
“Ah, Severus…” Albus said kindly, glancing back towards Harry with a concerned gaze. He hadn’t had enough time to fully prepare for this conversation, and was worried it would not go well, despite his reassurances to Poppy.
“I trust Weasley and Potter were able to follow directions, for once?” Snape asked, crossing the room to join his colleagues, “Made it with no further incidents?”
“I had to threaten to call his mother to get Mr. Weasley to return to class.” Poppy commented lightly, covering Harry with a blanket as he shivered slightly, “Though as you can see, Mr. Potter is resting.”
Severus studied his most-loathed student for a moment, a frown on his sallow face, “He seems to be in pain. Have you given him anything?”
“Not yet.” Poppy retorted, glancing towards the headmaster for support, “We need a parental consent form signed to treat him, and we don’t have one on record for him.”
“Surely you have a consent on file from previous years.” Snape questioned, picturing some of the more serious occasions that Potter has needed medical attention - the stone, the basilisk, quidditch accidents, a few potions mishaps, the Triwizard tournament...some of those fell under the category of typical childhood injury and illness, but most would have required consent from a guardian.
Dumbledore and Pomfrey exchanged a glance that, for some reason, had Snape’s blood boiling. He wasn’t even sure why, other than it felt condescending to be part of a conversation where his questions were meant with sideways glances that clearly indicated that he was missing a vital piece of the puzzle.
“I was able to sign his paperwork in previous years in loco parentis.” Dumbledore said after a moment of hesitation, “Recent developments this year will not allow me to continue doing so, unfortunately.”
“Recent developments?” Snape asked, “Certainly no one will expect you to go all the way to Surrey to get documentation for his medical treatment!”
There was a gasp from the bed and Harry bolted upright, leaping from the bed in a panic, breathless while his shoes squeaked on the floor as he backed away from the bed. His eyes were glazed over, breath coming in short gasps as he clawed at his shirt, trying to pull it away from his chest.
“What on Earth--” Pomfrey breathed, “Mr. Potter, back in bed at once!”
“He’s not awake, Poppy, not really.” Dumbledore said gently, “Look at him. He probably had a bad dream.”
Sure enough, it took very little effort to get the boy back into bed, and within moments he was back asleep, as if nothing had happened.
“He’s never been one to sleepwalk.” Poppy said with concern, forehead wrinkled with worry as she fretted over the student, “He’s spent ample time in my care, and not once have I ever seen him do anything like this.”
“This has been a rather unusual year,” Dumbledore began, giving the mediwitch a knowing look before subtly turning to look at the potions master. He hadn’t expected to find the younger man as pale as the boy in the bed, wavering slightly on his feet though clearly lost in thought, “Oh dear, Severus, are you alright?”
“I told him it was too soon to be wandering around the castle.” Poppy Pomfrey fretted, conjuring a chair and all but forcing the professor into it, “Severus? Can you hear me?”
“I swear it on my life, there is nothing you could do or say that would make me regret my decision or change my mind.”
The child was still for a moment, the tension in the room so thick it was nearly palpable. Then with a squeak of his new trainers against the castle floor, he’d flung himself into his adoptive father’s arms.
The forcefulness of the memory hit Snape like a rogue bludger, and while he was vaguely aware of the ministrations taking place around them the memory was so vivid that he expected to be able to reach out and touch the boy. Moments later, the memory shifted and a new one was put in its place.
“Why would you want me?” the boy questioned, his voice quiet but firm. There was no hesitation, no hope, no curiosity in the words, only cynicism and disbelief.
“I believe we’ve been over this.”
“I’m serious, though. There are tons of kids out there who need a new family. Kids you actually like and want to be around. Kids who aren’t messed up and broken.”
“I find it amusing that after knowing me for nearly 5 years you still think there are kids I like and want to be around.”
“Touche. I don't know what you’re expecting from me. I’ve told you what I have to offer you, I’ve told you my motivations and intentions, and I’ve answered all of these questions before.” Severus sighed, reaching out to tousle the boy’s hair, “I know you don’t feel like you’re worth it, but I’m going to make it my life’s goal to prove you wrong.”
“It’s always been your life’s goal to prove me wrong.” the boy responded wryly, though Severus could hear the smile in his voice.
“I don’t want you to refer to yourself as messed up or broken ever again.” Severus said firmly, bringing the lighthearted banter to an end with the seriousness of his voice, “There is nothing broken about you - we all have flaws, we all have skeletons in our closet, and we all deserve the chance to love and be loved.”
The boy’s shoes squeaked on the floor again as he shifted his weight anxiously. Severus rolled his eyes, putting his hands on the boy’s shoulders, “Stop moving before I have to throw your new shoes in the lake.”
“It’s not my fault they squeak.” the boy replied glumly, clearly feeling like he was being scolded.
“It’s your fault that you keep squirming like there are pixies in your trousers.” Severus countered with a raised eyebrow, “You’re letting your anxiety get the best of you and you need to channel this nervous energy towards something else instead of self-flagellating yourself with it.”
“I’m not self-flag…” the boy trailed off, “Whatever that is. I’m not anxious.” the boy’s voice took a whiny tone at the word, “You’re making me sound like a girl.”
“Anxiety is not reserved for ladies, and I’m sure your female classmates would be offended if they heard you make that declaration.”
“I don’t like you calling it anxiety.” the boy countered, “It feels…clinical, like something’s wrong with me.”
“Yet I’ve said numerous times that there is nothing wrong with you.” Severus retorted, taking the boy by the chin and tilting his head back to look into the boy’s piercing green eyes, “Have you ever known me to coddle you or tell you what you want to hear, Mr. Potter?”
“Then believe me when I say that not only is there nothing wrong with you nor are you broken, but I would like more than anything to be your legal guardian.”
The blasted trainers gave a particularly loud squeak as the boy flung himself into the stern professor’s arms, shoulders hitching though he’d later deny he’d been nearly as emotional as Snape claimed him to be. Not more than a second later he pulled away, looking at the floor as if to pretend he hadn’t just exhibited such a large display of affection.
“So I take it you are agreeable to my offer?”
“Will this help my potions grade at all?”
Harry sighed dramatically, although he couldn’t quite conceal the smile threatening to break through on his face, “Oh, alright then, I guess.”
“You guess?” Severus played along, “I mean, if you aren’t absolutely sure I can go back to the ministry and withdraw my petition--”
“I’m absolutely sure.” All traces of playfulness were gone and Severus was, not for the first time, reminded that beyond the cheekiness of the boy standing before him was a child who had been through a lot and had a lot of past trauma to work through.
“Then it’s settled.”
There was a pause, then Harry added quietly, “I’m not going to have to change my name to Harry Snape, am I? I’ll never hear the end of it in my common room or in the halls.”
“That choice belongs to you, and you alone, Harry.”
“Well maybe it wouldn’t be too bad…” Harry paused, clearly thinking about it and imagining hearing ‘Mr. Snape’ in within his classes and in the hallways, “We can think about this and decide that part later, can’t we?”
“Indeed. There is no rush to make decisions on the smaller details - we can proceed at a pace comfortable to you.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“There’s no need to thank me, I’m just as pleased with the arrangement as you are, Harry.”
Severus slowly returned to his surroundings, his face nearly as ashen as Harry’s as the implications of his memory began to fully sink in, “Those blasted shoes...I should have made good on my threat to toss them into the lake for the giant squid to play with.”
He stood on shaky legs and walked to the child’s bed, looking down at Harry as if he’d never properly looked at him before. Adopting Harry Potter? That couldn’t be true...though it had to be, his memories were clear and vivid with no indication that they’d been planted or tampered with. What else was he forgetting? How had this even happened? What had possessed him to offer to adopt Potter? What had possessed Potter to accept?
“You do?” Pomfrey asked in surprise, “Everything?”
“No, not everything, but evidently the most important thing.” Severus said quietly, studying the boy and trying to connect the withdrawn and unsure child from his memories with the rude, arrogant boy he’d known for the last several years. What had happened to change the way they felt about each other? What other major pieces of this puzzle was he missing?
“Poppy, the consent form, if you would.” Dumbledore spoke urgently, interrupting Snape from his musing. That’s right, the consent. The child - his son! - was in need of medical assistance and he was standing over him trying to summon up lost memories like a bumbling idiot.
“Tell me what’s wrong with him.” Snape demanded, glancing towards the headmaster with a frown. This information, while new to his conscious memory and thoughts, did explain why he felt uncharacteristically concerned about the boy.
Dumbledore joined Snape at Harry’s bedside, frowning down at the sleeping boy, “Poppy has diagnosed him with an ulcer - she thinks there may be a small possibility of internal bleeding, but we won't know that for sure until she begins healing him. He’s malnourished; he hasn’t been eating properly.” the headmaster studied the child carefully, then added, “I’d guess he’s not been sleeping properly, either. Look at the marks beneath his eyes.”
“Mr. Weasley indicated he may be suffering from panic attacks.” Poppy added, thrusting a quill and parchment towards the potions professor, “He’s never come to me during or after one, but Mr. Weasley described several circumstances that sound like anxiety. He’d never admit to me if he were having attacks, of course, but I’m going to be watching for signs of them. I’ve told Mr. Weasley that the next time Mr. Potter is suffering one to waste no time bringing him here so I can monitor him and give him the potions that he needs.”
“Miss Granger hinted at that, as well.” Snape murmured, signing the document and moving out of the way so the mediwitch could work, “She seems to think I’m the cause of all of this.”
“The accident has not been easy on either of you.” Dumbledore replied, refusing to place blame on anyone, though it did nothing to help dispel some of the guilt Snape was feeling as he recalled the harsh words he’d spoken to the boy.
Snape watched the boy with curiosity as Poppy gently worked on healing him. What had caused the change in their relationship? How did they go from hating each other to father and son? It just didn’t make sense.
“I’m sure you have a lot of questions.” Dumbledore commented lightly, ever observant, “I feel it’s a promising sign that you have been able to recall Mr. Potter’s relationship to you.”
Severus did not respond. Of course he had a lot of questions, too many to even begin to sort through in his mind. Instead, he watched Poppy attend to his son, still trying to come to terms with his latest development. It felt right - caring for and worrying for the boy in a manner he would have not succumbed to in the past. He felt like he was where he was meant to be, standing by the child’s bed and providing silent support. Perhaps his subconscious knew all along that their relationship was different; he’d certainly struggled with strange and unnatural emotions regarding the boy since their first interaction upon his return to consciousness. It was all starting to fit together in his brain, starting to make sense. He had felt bad about ridiculing and harassing the child because Harry was his son, and they no longer verbally sparred in the same manner.
All of those things he had told the boy - his dismissal, the threats, the snide jabs at the child weighed heavily on his heart. Now that he remembered seeing Harry - current Harry, contrite and uncertain and oh so hopeful - it was hard to remember the annoying, belligerent, arrogant Potter of years past. The child must have been so distraught by his harsh words. He felt a pang of guilt, and moved closer to the boy to take his hand.
“I do believe the blood was due to strain and tears within his esophagus from his illness and not internal damage.” Pomfrey said with relief, checking labels on the various potions she’d assembled at the child’s bedside, “A few potions, some rest and nourishment, and he will be well on his way to recovery.”
“Are you going to wake him?” Dumbledore asked from Snape’s side, “I’m sure he will be relieved to find that his father’s by his side.”
“I’m sure he will.” Pomfrey agreed, “I will be ready to wake him shortly, I’m just waiting for the rest of my diagnostic spells to finish. I rarely have the opportunity to fully assess Potter without complaint, and considering he keeps so much bottled up, I’d like to know if he’s hiding anything else.”
Snape squeezed the boy’s hand lightly, trying to summon another memory, any memory, of how Potter came to be his boy. Unfortunately, his memory was being rather uncooperative. He frowned at the child before him - the boy’s hands were cool and clammy, a jarring reminder that the boy was not well and there were more important issues at hand besides how they got to this point. There would be plenty of time for that later.
A rough patch of skin on the child’s hand caught Snape’s attention and he lifted the boy’s hand closer to his face to investigate. Scarring. Not just any scarring, but a phrase. “I must not tell lies.”
“What is this?” Snape asked, blood boiling in a rage of protectiveness that he wasn’t even aware he possessed, “Albus, Poppy, look at his hand.”
Poppy gently took Harry’s hand, nearly dropping it once she realized what was wrong, “Merlin’s beard! What’s happened here? Do you think he did this to himself?”
Snape realized she was probably thinking his mental health crisis was much too far gone for her to handle, and quickly corrected her line of thoughts, “This looks to be the work of a blood quill.”
“Those are illegal! Who would use a blood quill on a student?”
The room felt as if the temperature had dropped ten degrees, and Severus looked towards the source of the burst of cold energy in surprise. The headmaster often looked intimidating when angry, but the expression on his face was downright scary as he took in this new bit of information.
“It seems our defence professor has a lot to answer for.”
“How do you know--”
Dumbledore cut the mediwitch off with a growl, “For the scar to be this visible on his hand he would have had to have been subjected to the quill a great number of times. There is only one professor in this school, aside from Severus here, who has had access to Mr. Potter alone for that length of time.”
The fierce protectiveness that simmered beneath Snape’s skin was surprising, to say the least. This was certainly not the first professor to grossly abuse their power with or in some way target Potter, and never before had he wanted blood in the way he felt now. Fists clenched, it was only the desire to make sure the child was properly cared for in his current crisis that kept him from seeking out the professor to get vengeance for his son.
“We’re certainly going to get some answers.” Pomfrey said firmly, carefully watching the two men struggle to remain calm. It would do no good for anyone to confront Umbridge without all of the relevant and necessary information and without a backup plan for when she inevitably went to cry about her woes to the Minister.
Pomfrey carefully laid down Harry’s hand, as if afraid to cause even more damage. With a flick of her wand, Harry’s eyes fluttered open and he looked around the room, clearly disoriented.
“Have you ever considered a career in healing, Mr. Potter?” Pomfrey asked once his eyes had landed on her. At his apparent confusion, she continued with a wry smile, “You spend so much time here that I worry what you’re going to do with yourself when you’re grown and no longer one of my patients.”
“Sorry?” Harry mumbled, not really sure if he was apologizing or asking for clarification. He looked around the room wearily, trying to figure out what was wrong this time. Dumbledore looked pleased about something, Pomfrey looked a bit stressed, like it had taken some effort to put him back together again, and his dad looked like a solid mixture of rage and concern, which would have been funny if the events of the last 24 hours hadn’t descended from his subconscious to the forefront of his mind like a freshly launched bludger.
“Um...uh...what are you doing here?” Harry asked Snape hesitantly, bracing himself for what would certainly be another devastating blow to his self-worth, if the last few encounters were any indication of what was to come.
Severus raised an eyebrow, taking a moment to respond in an attempt to refrain from saying anything that would be upsetting to the recovering boy. He didn’t have enough memories for his response to flow naturally, but he did have enough insight from what he did remember to know he needed to tread carefully.
“My son is in the hospital wing, where else would I be?”
Harry stared blankly at the man, refusing to let himself get his hopes up again, refusing to believe there was even a chance that he was, that he could be, forgiven for the nasty fall his dad had taken.
“I dunno, talking to aurors to have me arrested or something.” Harry murmured, breaking eye contact to look down at his hands, the misery and guilt he’d been dwelling on for weeks rearing its ugly head once more.
Snape glanced towards the headmaster, wishing they’d been able to have a conversation without bringing up some of the threats he’d made. The headmaster said nothing, giving the professor a stern look that only made him feel worse about having vented his spleen towards the boy.
He took a seat at the foot of Harry’s bed, suddenly exhausted and reminded that he, too, was recovering. “I’m only going to tell you this once, so listen carefully.”
Once Harry had stopped fidgeting with hands and met his gaze again, still unreadable and strangely closed off and empty, Severus continued to speak, “It was erroneous and unethical of me to make such...sensationalistic...accusations and threats in my moment of temper, but rest assured that it will not happen again.”
Harry opened his mouth to respond, then closed it as he tried to absorb what had just been said. After a few moments of trying to wrap his mind around the statement, he could only ask, “What?” in response.
Snape rolled his eyes impatiently, then stated plainly, “I apologize for our interactions yesterday and this morning, I should not have been as cruel as I was. I regret any distress you felt as a result of those conversations.”
“Oh.” Harry replied quietly, “It’s okay. Really. I deserved a lot of that.”
The other two adults looked like they wanted to step in and coddle the boy some more, but Severus wasn’t going to allow them to do what was his role to fulfill, “Po--Harry, that’s not true. You did not deserve to be treated like I treated you. I let my anger override my logical thinking and acted rashly. Even if the blame for what happened to me could only be attributed to your behavior, which it was not, you wouldn’t deserve to hear those words come from a person you trust to provide your wellbeing.”
Harry looked away and Snape had to push back a surge of annoyance. Couldn’t the boy see he was trying here?
“If I didn’t deserve it, why did you say it?” Harry asked after a few beats of silence, “You promised me you wouldn’t fly off the handle anymore if I promised to believe you when you said stuff like this. But you still flew off the handle, so wouldn’t that mean that you’re not being truthful?”
Snape opened his mouth to reply, then stopped, eyes narrowing at the boy before him, “That is the most twisted and incomprehensible logic I’ve ever heard.”
“I get that a lot.” Harry replied dryly, implying that this wasn’t the first time they’d had this talk, “But like you said before--”
“There’s some details about everything that’s happened that we need to talk about.” Snape interrupted, unable to let the boy keep referencing conversations he had no recollection of, “Are you up to a discussion or would you rather wait?”
“That depends, is this when you send me back to the Dursleys?” Harry replied bitterly, refusing to meet anyone’s eye and instead focusing on the crisp linens beneath him.
It was Dumbledore who responded to the inquiry first, “Harry, my boy, that will never happen. Even if something were to happen to Professor Snape and he were unable to fulfill his parental role, you will not be going back there. We would find other arrangements to keep you safe and cared for.”
“And before you can read any further into what the headmaster has said,” Snape continued, watching a variety of emotions play across Harry’s face and using that information to fuel his response, “It would be only death that would prevent me from fulfilling my role and promise to you. You’re not going back there, and unless you have a change of heart and wish to sever our arrangement, you’re not going anywhere else.”
Another beat of silence passed before Harry stole a glance in Snape’s direction, “But I nearly killed you.”
“And if that jar I’d thrown at you in my office had hit you, I might have nearly killed you as well.” Snape responded much more patiently than he actually felt, the fact that he was beginning to remember some details of the accident on his own not even registering in thought, “We both have temper issues we need to work on, but we can’t dwell in regret and what could have been, we need to focus on what is and what is to become.”
“There are a few details about Professor Snape’s injury that you need to be made aware of, Harry.” Pomfrey spoke kindly, “Once you understand the full situation, I think you’ll be able to understand what has transpired in the aftermath of his return to us.”
Harry looked up at his dad in alarm, “You’re alright, aren’t you? They said you’d be fine!”
“Harry, calm down, please.”
Harry briefly glanced at the mediwitch before turning his attention back to Snape and reaching out to touch his arm, “What’s wrong, Dad?”
Instead of the rational conversation Severus had been rehearsing in his mind for the last few moments, as soon as Harry’s hand touched his skin, all the professor knew was pain; burning, intense, unbearable pain.