Harry woke up the next morning in a very subdued mood. He did not call for Snape or play with his toys. He just kept gazing out of the window. He hardly ate any breakfast either. Snape did not mind, at least that was what he told himself. He kept checking on Harry, however, and finally decided that he did not care whether the boy played or not.
But the silence was getting on his nerves. After brewing a successful potion and writing down a few notes, he got out of his lab and went to Harry. Harry made no sign that he saw him coming and continued staring out of his nursery window, his bottom lip sticking out.
"Are you feeling alright?" Snape inquired, scooping Harry off the bedroom carpet and sitting on the chair he had conjured last night.
He examined Harry who just stared blankly at him. "Potter?" Snape looked worried. What was wrong with the boy? He hardly had any normal reactions.
Harry squeezed his eyes shut.
"Potter! What is wrong with you?" Snape frowned.
Harry made a face and began to squirm.
Snape stood up, put him on the mat and sat down too. "Why don't you play with your toys? I would hate it if I found out I went to that store in vain."
Harry picked up the stuffed cat he had picked up before and his eyes filled. "Cat." He mumbled.
"Yes, that's a cat." Snape encouraged.
Harry hugged the cat and suddenly drops of tears dripped down his cheeks. He had had a cat. But it was gone too. It had too disappeared like his parents.
Snape quickly wiped the tears away and sat Harry on his lap. "You are a most queer child, Potter. You cry on the simplest things. And you cry silently at that. Not that I want you to wail aloud like a spoilt brat." Snape remembered Dumbledore telling him that one had to speak to the child of their self in the third person. "Professor Snape does not like depressed children."
"Nape," Harry whimpered, sadly.
"Why are you crying?" Snape asked.
"Mama!" Harry cried.
Snape sighed. "Potter..." He stroked Harry's hair and thought hard. "I know. Let's go outside for a bit."
He picked Harry up and changed him into blue trousers and a green shirt with white trainers. He brushed his untidy hair (somewhat) and then took him outside.
Harry squealed when he saw Snape's small garden. "Oooo!" he pointed at the tree and the flowers.
"We're going on a small trip." Snape told Harry.
"Dumbledore ought to be grateful for what I'm doing to cheer this brat up," Snape muttered to himself. He opened the gate and took Harry to the neighborhood playground.
Harry looked much brighter already. He nudged Snape and pointed at the slide. "Nape, Nape! Oooo!" So Snape went to the slide. He seated Harry at the top of the slide and then gave a gentle push.
He didn't hold and guide Harry all the way down, like normal people would, but just left him, and Harry screamed as he went rocketing down the slide. He wasn't hurt, but he was very surprised.
His face was flushed and he was grinning. He began to climb the slide from the part he had fallen down from, but Snape scooped him up and put him right at the top again.
After five, fantastic rides, Harry was breathing heavily and was in a pretty good mood. He was giggling to himself and snuggling against Snape's robes as they sat on a bench. Snape had wanted Harry to have a break and had made him sit with him on the bench for a few minutes so that he could calm down.
"Well," Snape said after a while. "Since you seem to be yourself again, we'll be going back." Picking Harry up, he made for the exit, (rather thankfully, for he had felt eyes on him) but Harry protested.
"No! Nape! No!" Harry struggled in his hold.
"We need to get back," Snape insisted. He saw Harry's face sadden once more, and he sighed deeply. "Fine, you brat. But not more than ten minutes."
This time Harry played on the sand pit. He threw sand around and laughed as he lay on the soft surface. Snape decided that he was getting too messy so he made him go somewhere else. Harry pointed at the seesaw.
Snape was feeling immensely annoyed by all of the proceedings, but whenever Harry smiled he felt slightly good.
He placed Harry on the seesaw seat and Harry squealed. Snape considered using magic to make the seesaw move up and down but he knew muggles were wandering around. Sighing, with no choice, he pressed on the other seat.
Harry waved his arms around and giggled.
Finally, it was time to go back home. Snape picked Harry up, exhausted and in a short temper. When he got home, he collapsed on the sofa and drank coffee to energize himself. Harry amused himself by sitting on Snape's lap and playing with a stuffed rabbit.
When Snape finished his mug, he attempted to remove Harry from his lap, but Harry clutched his robes.
"What the-Stop it, Potter, what is the meaning of this?" Snape demanded.
"Nape!" Harry declared.
"Why you insolent..." Snape began, but just gave up.
Harry beamed at him and pointed at the bookshelf, saying, "Oooo!"
"You want to read?" Snape asked, amused. He went to get a book. It was about different potions. He wasn't sure Harry would understand it.
But Harry enjoyed it. He leant back at Snape's chest and pointed at all the interesting pictures, mumbling "Oooo!" and glancing up at Snape.
Snape read out the title of one potion. "Wiggenweld Potion."
Harry pointed at another one, right under it.
"Amortentia-Strongest love Potion in the world,"
"Love!" This was another word Harry had learnt from his short stay with his parents.
Snape raised an eyebrow.
"Love Nape!" Harry cried and he broke into a grin.
Snape was just rocking Harry to sleep (Harry was really getting on his nerves now, in his extra-hyper mood), when the doorbell rang.
Instantly, Harry's spell broke. He sat up, suddenly fully awake. "Ooo!" Harry pointed at the door, where the voice seemed to have come from.
"Oh, great," Snape muttered darkly, making a mental note to hex the visitor.
But it was only Minerva and Dumbledore.
"Oh," Snape said. "Good day, Albus-Minerva. Do come in,"
"Oh, with pleasure, Severus," Dumbledore said. Minerva nodded at him curtly.
Snape led them into the living room, where Harry was sitting on the sofa, staring at them warily. When he saw Minerva, he seemed to get a little frightened.
Was that lady going to take him away, like she had done when he had lived at the Dursleys?
"Have a seat," Snape waved his wand so that mugs of tea and a packet of biscuits appeared on the table.
They sat. Minerva smiled at Harry, who looked terrified.
She attempted to hold him, but he struggled and made whining voices. "What's wrong with this boy?" Minerva looked accusingly at Snape.
"He was in a fairly good mood, before," Snape said. "When we went to the...playground."
"You went to a playground?" Minerva asked, skeptically.
"He was being brattish and moping about," Snape said, defensively.
Dumbledore chuckled. "Well, Severus-we are here to finally release your burden. Mrs Arabella Figgs would be more than happy to adopt Harry."
There was a terrible silence.
Minerva was staring at Dumbledore, mouth agape. Dumbledore was smiling. Snape was looking shocked. Harry was cowering behind Snape's seat.
"W-what?" Snape asked.
"Severus, I was under the impression that you did not want to care for Harry," Dumbledore said, raising an eyebrow.
"I-Well, yes, but is she the correct person to care for P-"
"Well, I don't doubt that she is-"
"Dumbledore," Minerva said, tightly. "What does this mean?"
"Exactly as I said so, Minerva. I felt guilty, imposing Harry on Severus. Already the man looks paler. Maybe if I-"
Snape stood up suddenly and Harry crawled over to him. "Dumbledore, you cannot just take Potter-" Snape growled.
"Do you want him to stay?"
Snape flushed. "He is Potter's son," he said, angrily. "Of course I do not-"
"Well, then, Harry come here."
Snape was looking livid. Minerva was staring at Dumbledore and then at Snape.
Harry didn't move.
"Come on, Harry," Dumbledore urged.
Harry whined and hid behind Snape's legs. Snape scooped him up and took a step towards Dumbledore.
"No! Nape!" Harry struggled away from Dumbledore's hands. The old man looked surprised.
Snape wrenched Harry's fists from his robes. "Potter, don't," he warned.
"Nape! Aaahhh Nape!" They were taking him away from Nape! He didn't want to go!
Dumbledore was trying to pull him. "What is wrong with the boy?" he seemed worried.
Harry began to cry. His face was red and tear-streaked. "No, Nape! Nape! Nape!" He cried.
Snape didn't know what do. He did his best to pull Harry away but Harry clung onto his robes like a magnet.
"Waah, no!" Harry choked.
"Potter, don't throw tantrums," Snape said, weakly.
Harry sobbed and kicked at Dumbledore with a foot.
"Why, this attachment is quite surprising," Minerva stood up too. "Severus, I never knew you had such a way with children,"
Snape refrained from rolling his eyes in disgust. He wasn't sure if he really wanted to part with Harry.
"Headmaster," Snape said, coldly. "If Potter wishes to remain with me, there is no reason to force him upon Arabella Figgs."
Dumbledore froze and surprisingly...smiled. "Indeed."
Minerva winced. "What is happening, Albus?"
"I was merely testing," Albus chuckled, appreciatively. "To see if things were for the best. But I see these two are very attached...even though in company of each other for no longer than-"
"I, attached?" Snape spluttered.
"Yes, Severus," Dumbledore smiled. "I saw it in your face."
"Wrong calculations, then," Snape snapped.
Harry was still crying.
"I'll calm him down," Snape said apologetically and with a small hint of embarrassment as Harry kept murmuring his name. "Excuse me. I'll be back in a moment,"
Minerva looked worried, but Dumbledore nodded.
Snape took Harry to his own bedroom and said sternly. "That's quite enough Potter!"
Harry sniffled and opened one eye. "Nape?" he whimpered.
"There goes my reputation," Snape huffed, but he stroked Harry's hair and finally succeeded from pulling him from his robes. He lay Harry down on his bed. "Now have a rest to think about this tantrum. I won't have you growing up spoilt."
"Love Nape," Harry whispered, after Snape had tucked him in.
Snape froze. He just didn't know how to reply. No one had loved him. It was all new for him.
"Good boy, calm down now," Snape amended, wiping away the tears. Harry seemed to be tired because he lay down without a fight. Snape began to leave the room.
When Harry saw Snape leaving, however, he held out his hands. "No!"
"Rest Potter, I'll be back," Snape promised.
Harry seemed to understand a bit because he sniffed once and then burrowed under the covers.
When Snape returned to the living room he really let it rip at Dumbledore.
"Did you find that entirely necessary, Dumbledore!?" he demanded.
He looked furious. Minerva was also looking angrily at Dumbledore. But the old man was as calm as ever.
"Why, Severus, sometimes small surprises bring out the truth-"
"You upsetted him! That was completely unnecessary drama-"
"I must agree," Minerva backed him up.
"We have found out a great many things, Minerva. We have found out that these two will live happily together. We have found out that I have not made the wrong decision after all,"
Snape gave Dumbledore an I-just-give-up look and decided that there was no arguing with the man.