Harry was giggling so much, it was a wonder he wasn't sick. Snape had offered to play with him and Harry had insisted that they colour. He had given Snape three crayons; red, pink and black.
He had used the rest of the crayons and had scribbled all over his paper, making rather disturbing things. He kept poking Snape to draw something too. Snape hesitated. Then, sighing, he drew a cauldron on a table. Though he wasn't the best drawer, he was proud at what he had done.
Harry stared at it. He pointed at it and murmured. "Ooooh..."
"Yes, that's a cauldron. Do you want to make potions, Harry?" Snape asked.
Harry smiled at him toothily. Some more teeth were poking out of his pink gums.
Snape rarely took Harry to his lab. When he did, it usually meant he was in a good mood. Snape wasn't in a very good mood this time, he was just feeling guilty for his neglect.
He picked Harry up, who, quite happy that Snape was talking to him once more, snuggled into his shoulder. They entered the lab and Snape went to the corner of the room. He sat Harry down on the table and they made a simple potion together. Harry loved the strange ingredients, the steam which came out sometimes, the way the colours changed and how Snape mixed them all up. He sat, laughing and 'oohing' at things. Then he suddenly threw in some yellowish powder, and before Snape could shout out, "Wait!", the potion suddenly sizzled and frothed, the mixture pouring out of the cauldron.
That must have been the wrong ingredient.
There was a pause. Harry began giggling nervously and Snape had to smile a little too. "Oh well, you're a beginner." He amended.
Then Snape tried to teach Harry to walk again. There were many practices, tumbles, excited shouts and cries, and finally Snape stood Harry up and walked a few metres away.
"Now Harry," Snape said seriously. "Walk to me. Steps. Yes, take your time. We've been doing this for hours, you can do this."
Harry took one step, held out his hands for balance, took another and plopped to the ground. He picked himself again after seeing that Snape wouldn't come and get him this time. He wobbled a little and started walking again. He was almost there.
He fell again, and got up, whining a little. Then he set off on a trotting run, taking rapid short steps and frowning in concentration. He ran and just before falling, instead fell into Snape's arms.
Snape was overjoyed. Yes! He had done it! He had taught Harry how to walk!
For a second, he was so relieved that he did nothing more than hug the boy in his arms. Then he stood Harry up.
"Very good boy." he said. "That was certainly an improvement."
"Good boy Nape?" Harry asked, desperately.
"Yes, yes, you are," Snape reassured him.
Harry was very relieved. He had been worrying on that point for a while now...
Snape let out a tired sigh as he went to pack his suitcase for Hogwarts. He was already almost done. The potions, the syllabus...The next term started in one week or so. He went to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee to banish some of his stress. The moment he left, Harry crawled away from his toys and tried to climb onto the sofa. Snape had asked him to stay away, but now that he was gone...
Harry managed to climb up the sofa and fall head-on inside the suitcase and get lost in all the clothes and objects. When Snape arrived, he was still struggling and whining, trying to get out. Snape looked suspiciously around the living room. He went to the suitcase and was about to close it when a loud noise startled him: "NAPE!"
"Harry? What are you doing in there, get out!" he scooped the boy out of the suitcase and Harry peered at him, a glove hanging from his ear.
Snape wrenched it off and took Harry to his room. "Stay here, I'll get you when I'm done,"
Harry shook his head. "No! Be wiv Napey."
"Don't call me that," Snape frowned.
Harry giggled and shook his head. "No, no, Napey,"
Snape put him in his crib and gave him his stuffed cat. Then he went out of the room, keeping the door open.
Harry hugged the cat tight to his chest and watched the door.
After a long while, when Snape came back inside, the man found him lying on his side, singing songs to himself.
Snape stared at him. Then he got out a tiny carrier bag for Harry's luggage. He filled it with almost all of Harry's clothes, many toys (including the stuffed cat, cauldron, crayons and blocks) and put more requirements inside. He was walking around the room, putting in this and that when Harry suddenly squeaked out. "Nape, ding!"
"Ding!" Harry yelped excitedly, trying to jump out of the cot.
Snape realized that he hadn't heard the doorbell.
He quickly tossed in one of Harry's milk bottles and baby powder inside, and went to open the door. His hair was all over his face and he was slightly out of breath when the door opened.
"Oh! Am I in at a wrong time?"
"Of course not, come inside, I was just doing the final packing..."
Charity stepped inside the house, smiling nervously, holding a parcel, her blonde hair around her shoulder.
"I wanted to...to speak to you. I, uh, need some help..."
Snape looked slightly surprised. "Sit down, I'll come to you in a minute,"
"Where's Harry? I've got something for him,"
"He is in his room. Mind you, he'll be an awful nuisance, he's over-excited today." While Snape went to get Harry, Charity sat down. She looked around nervously.
Snape came back quickly, holding Harry in his arms. He sat down on the sofa.
"Chawwy!" Harry cried.
"Calm down Harry, or you're going back," Snape sighed, trying to control the flailing boy.
Charity and Harry talked a lot, and Snape felt proud when Harry seemed to answer Charity's questions fluently.
When Harry was tired of talking, he flopped down on Snape's lap, giggling.
Snape and Charity proceeded to talk then.
"What's wrong?" Snape asked, as Harry cuddled on his lap, pulling at his buttons.
"Oh, Severus, it's awful! A group of people are all against me because-because..." She seemed ready to cry.
"Calm down, Charity. Calm down and tell me what happened." Snape said smoothly.
"Severus..." Charity cried. "A group...oh I got a letter! I'm so scared..."
"I won't let anything happen to you. Now, tell me from the beginning."