Harry had been crying for a long time and no one had come to him. No one had picked him up and consoled him, or tried to make him feel better.
He was sitting alone, his eyes red, behind the sofa. He was feeling miserable and didn't know what to do. What kind of mean person was Nape? How dare he leave him like this and not take care of him!
Harry let out another whimper as he sucked his fist and thought some more. What had he done wrong? Hmm, he had squashed all of his food on his hair, but Nape had washed it out, so it wasn't a problem anymore, right? And he had thrown his cat up the wardrobe yesterday, but he had apologised for it, hadn't he? And yes, yesterday he had also called Nape 'Napey' even though Snape disliked the name, but Nape couldn't be mad at that, could he?
Harry crawled and peeked at the door of the room in which Nape was in, alone, working. Another whimper. Nape was MEAN! Why was he behaving like this? Harry suddenly had the same old buried feelings of hopelessness and the insecurity of nobody liking him. He began to cry again, sure no one would ever come to stop him.
Meanwhile, Snape was trying his hardest to ignore the heart-broken wails outside the door. He could spot Harry's stuffed cat right under the table, and it kept reminding him of the baby.
Snape sighed irritably. Spoilt brat, always crying over something or the other. But a sharp jab of some unidentified emotion was hurting him all the same.
He shouldn't let the boy scream and cry like that. He had to teach him some respect.
Snape went out of the room and saw the small child crying in front of the door.
He paused for a second and digested the scene.
The child was curled up and crying loudly, his eyes shut and his tiny fists banging slightly on the floor.
"Stop this crying," Snape gritted out, as he walked to the boy. He picked Harry up and carried him to the nursery.
Harry was still crying, though his sobs had stemmed down. Snape put him inside his crib, staring down at his enemy's son.
"Go to sleep," the man said simply when he couldn't think of anything else to say.
Harry shook his head vigorously. "No!"
Snape glared at him. "You," he said with ill-disguised anger. "Are not the one who makes decisions here. When I say sleep, you sleep and don't do otherwise unless you want to be in very serious trouble."
Harry, who was still sobbing, held out his arms, in hopes that Snape may rock him to sleep, which would make him feel much better.
Snape hesitated. He pretended not to understand. "Sleep, it's time for a nap anyway." he said, leaving the room abruptly.
Harry was shocked and hurt once again. Nape knew very well that, whenever it was time to sleep, and he held out his arms, he was supposed to rock him! It had been happening for ever so long. Why was Nape still not being nice with him? Harry sniffled and picked up a toy block, feeling even worse than he had before.
This happened until night. Snape refused to have anything to do with Harry. Harry tried everything: from trying to crawl onto his lap and being pushed away, to throwing tantrums and ending up being locked up in his room.
Dinner was very miserable as Snape ate distantly, and even when Harry flicked some of his juice onto the floor, did nothing but glower at him and continue eating.
When Snape levitated him into his cot, Harry cried out "Oooh!" which did not amuse the man', but just made him more irritable.
Harry was completely broken in all respects. When Snape threw a blanket over him and made to leave, he pleaded, "Pwease Nape?"
Snape paused, biting his bottom lip, something he had not done for years.
Then he made a decision and left the room. That was apparently it for Harry, because he suddenly fell to his stomach and began sobbing again.
Snape froze outside the door, listening to the sudden uproar. What was he doing? That child was helpless and hardly two. He needed him...
Snape shut his eyes and thought. The right thing to do was to stop this and go to Harry. He was Lily's son after all and he needed to make it up for killing her...
Snape hesitated for a second and then went inside Harry's room, where the baby seemed to be half hysterical.
He winced as a twinge of guilt and dread struck him. He was acting just like someone he used to know...
He picked Harry up and sat down on the leather chair. He spoke in a voice that he hardly recognised as his own: "There, there, Harry. I am sorry."
Harry clung on to Snape, sobbing into the robes, "Sowwy Nape, no be bad!" He promised.
"You're not bad," Snape said in a shaky voice. "I wouldn't have you any other way."
Harry rubbed his face free of tears on the robes and looked up at Snape. "Nape love?"
"Yes..." Snape said, quickly.
Harry buried his face inside the robes again. Snape felt him smile faintly.
After a long time, the baby mumbled: "Love Nape,"
Snape continued to rock Harry, feeling terrible, until Harry stopped crying, then stopped sniffling and then finally fell asleep in his arms, his head resting on Snape's chest.
Snape finally got up, carefully put Harry in the cot, put the blanket over him, and left the room. As he made for his own room, pain shot through him. Tobias-Tobias Snape! He was acting just like that wretched man and Snape would never forgive himself for it.
He was never going to act like his father again.