Violet (Harry/Severus, PG) Title: Violet Author: torino10154 Prompt: #118. Post-Hogwarts: Harry shows up with a child. He says the child was adopted and the mother died in war ... but is that true? (suggested by cyane_snape) Pairing: Harry/Snape Rating: PG Word Count: ~5400 Summary: Harry shows up to teach at Hogwarts with a child. He says the child is his and the mother died in a Death Eater raid just after the war. Warnings: A bad word or two, fluff, slightly OOC, extreme lack of sexual activity Author's Note: Everything HP belongs to JKR. I twisted the prompt slightly. Thank you to my partner in crime gryffindorj without whom I would never get anything done. And special thanks to my two betas inoru_no_hoshi and alwaysasnapefan. Any mistakes that remain are my own.
"Have you successfully filled the Defense Against the Dark Arts position?" Professor McGonagall asked after taking a sip of her tea, her dark eyes sparkling behind her square frames.
"No, I have not. Those who apply haven't a clue as to what a true dark wizard is capable of perpetrating," Professor Snape replied. "They think fighting in one battle of the war qualifies them for the post."
"If that is how you feel, Headmaster, then perhaps I have an idea as to who can properly fill the position."
"Oh? Do tell me who you believe is qualified," Snape replied coolly.
"Harry Potter." She couldn't stop the grin that spread across her thin lips as the shock registered on the face of the man seated behind the desk in front of her.
"No one has seen Potter in years, Minerva. Years. And you are telling me you not only know where he is but you can convince him to return to Hogwarts? Forgive me if I find that very hard to believe," Snape finished, his tone incredulous.
"You will believe it, Severus. I recently received a letter from him inquiring about the post. I replied, telling him it was available and that I was certain we could think of no finer person to fill the position. He does have a few special requirements for his living arrangements." She paused allowing Professor Snape a moment to sneer and audibly scoff. "It seems he will be bringing someone with him, as he asked for room enough for two. I have already spoken to the house-elves," McGonagall replied smoothly, gauging his reaction carefully. And she was not disappointed.
"Surely, he isn't thinking of bringing some sycophantic bint along with him. We will not have our professors carrying on shamelessly like adolescents," Snape's irritation rising with each word.
"Does this mean you are willing to hire him?" Professor McGonagall said, the corners of her mouth twitching.
Professor Snape was quiet, silently considering his options, of which there were few. "Yes, yes. If we must have yet another dunderhead like Professor Longbottom teaching here, why not the head dunderhead himself?" Snape replied with resignation.
"Why Severus, if I didn't know better I'd say you sounded almost pleased to hear that the Boy Who Lived is returning." Not waiting to hear his reply, she turned and said, "Good afternoon, Headmaster," then proceeded out the door.
You have no idea, Minerva. No idea. Snape rubbed his hands over his face tiredly.
Harry Bloody Potter was returning to Hogwarts.
"Daddy? Why we movin'?" Violet asked, as Harry brushed her wavy chestnut hair before tying a ribbon around each pigtail.
"I have a new job and I'm going to be a teacher. We're moving to a castle. Won't that be fun?" Harry said, turning her so he could speak directly to her, their eyes meeting, hazel to green. She didn't look too sure about the whole idea. She had a feeling this castle didn't have any princesses or beautiful white ponies like the castle she wanted.
"I will be with you as much as I can. You need to be Daddy's brave girl, ok? Can you do that for me?" Harry asked, seeing her hesitation.
"I'm the bravest girl in the world, Daddy!" she replied, reaching her arms around his neck and hugging him tight.
"I know you are, Violet." Harry stood, her arms still wrapped around him. "Have we packed everything? Do you have your blanket and Snuffles?"
"Kreacher packed them for me and put them in my very own trunk—Look!" She pointed to a hideous pink and purple trunk half the size of Harry's old school trunk.
"It's lovely," he said with a smile. "Kreacher!" Harry said, summoning the old house elf to them. With a crack, he appeared in the room.
"Yes, Master Harry," the old house elf answered with a deep bow.
"Are they ready for us?" Harry asked, although he doubted anyone could truly be ready for him to arrive with a daughter.
"Indeed, Master Harry. I've seen to your rooms. There is ample space for Miss Violet's possessions as well as your own. Your rooms are between the kitchen and the Hufflepuff dormitories," Kreacher replied with another bow.
"The Hufflepuffs should be a quiet lot," Harry laughed. "And it's always good to be near the kitchens."
"Do they have pasghetti?" Violet asked, her brow furrowing.
"Spaghetti, Violet. And I don't think they do. But Kreacher will get some for you," he said kissing her nose. "Kreacher, please take our trunks to Hogwarts. Violet and I will be along shortly."
"Of course, Master Harry," Kreacher said before disappearing with a snap.
"Ready?" Harry asked his bright-eyed child.
"Ready, Daddy. Let's go!" She squealed, before he Apparated them to the gates of Hogwarts.
Looking up at the winged boars, walking through the gates, just seeing the castle again made Harry's stomach turn. To his surprise and delight, Violet was awestruck, her eyes as wide as saucers.
"You were telling the truth! It's a castle," she whispered, turning to him before shrieking loudly, "a castle! A real castle. Can I be a princess, Daddy? Where are the ponies? Are there dragons?" He couldn't get a word in edgewise before she started running toward the huge doors, her dark red cloak flapping behind her like a cape.
Just before she reached the entrance, the doors slowly creaked open. A tall back-lit figure stood waiting. Violet froze, then turned and ran toward Harry, leaping into his waiting arms, her heart pounding in her chest.
"Who is that, Daddy?" she whispered in Harry's ear, burying her head in the crook of his shoulder.
Aloud, Harry said with a smile, "Headmaster, I never expected you to be the Welcoming Committee." The older man was just as formidable as ever. And just as sexy, Harry shivered at the thought.
Snape stepped back to allow Harry and Violet past and replied, "And where is Mrs. Potter?" Harry sighed knowing that something like this was coming.
"My daughter and I are going to find our rooms. She needs a nap, and then you can ask me questions to your heart's content."
Without waiting for a reply, Harry set Violet down and headed inside. Snape could hear the shrill greetings of Madam Pomfrey, and McGonagall's reserved tone, which belied her happiness, as well as Hagrid's low rumble. He strode passed the throng and headed to his office. He needed a drink. Better make it a double.
Kreacher led Harry and Violet down one flight of stairs to the right of the entrance hall, past the Hufflepuff dormitories and the pear painting which led to the kitchens until they finally came to a portrait of Pierre the Petulant (who was a French chef known for his exquisite cuisine, but for also cursing his kitchen staff when all didn't go according to plan).
"Mot de passe?" Pierre intoned with contempt.
Harry needed to set the password for himself as well as for Violet. "Coq au vin."
"Très bien. Et pour la fille?"
Harry grinned. "Pasghetti."
Rolling his eyes and huffing, Pierre replied, "Entrez, s'il vous plait," and the door swung open.
The room was warm and well lit, despite the practically dungeon location. The rich brown leather furniture suited his taste perfectly, and it was easy to clean when Violet spilled pumpkin juice on it. The fire was blazing, and the library nook was already stocked with his collection of Defense texts. Violet ran toward the hallway, which no doubt led to their bedrooms and the bathroom. There was a small kitchen; big enough for Harry to make her breakfast or a spot of tea, but he wouldn't be having any dinner parties here. He had to admit, he looked forward to eating the fare the house elves served. Nothing compared to dining at Hogwarts.
Following his daughter, he found her in the bedroom on the right, thankfully not painted like her trunk. She had an oak dresser, toy chest, and four poster bed. Her baby blanket and stuffed dog were waiting for her there.
"Snuffles!" she cried when she spotted him. Of course, it was Harry that had named the stuffed creature, but she loved it and that was all that mattered.
Leaving her to explore her room, Harry crossed the hall and opened the door to his own. His room was furnished in rich walnut: a large wardrobe, dresser, desk, armchair with emerald green fabric, and a large bed. There was a door on the right, which he opened to find a bright white bathroom with both bath and shower, as he preferred to shower, but Violet enjoyed splashing in the tub. Walking through his room again, he found himself quite pleased with the work he assumed the elves had done on it.
Wandering into the small kitchen, he found the icebox stocked with milk, yoghurt, cheese, and eggs. The pantry had dry cereal, oatmeal, his favorite biscuits as well as Violet's, and several tins of tea.
Harry went out into the sitting room and planned to close his eyes for just a moment. But before he could get comfortable, Kreacher arrived with a pop to announce that it was naptime.
"Violet," Harry called.
"Yes, Daddy," she replied as she came barreling out of her room and landed on his stomach.
"It's time for you to have a nap," Harry said, gathering her up and carrying her back into the bedroom.
"I don wanna sleep," she said crossly, but her wide yawn betrayed her.
"I'll stay with you until you fall asleep, alright?" Harry said as he began to rub circles on her back.
"'Kay," she murmured as she snuggled into her blanket. After only a minute or two, her breathing evened out, and Harry stood, closing the door quietly behind him.
"Kreacher?" he said quietly. The elf nodded. "Stay here until I come back. I'm going to see the Headmaster now."
"Yes, sir." Gathering his wits about him, Harry headed upstairs.
In spite of the fact that Snape really wanted a drink, and badly, he decided he ought not just in case 'the Bane'—as he often called Potter in his mind—decided to arrive promptly and ruin his afternoon.
He paced his office as if answers might come to him once the carpet was beaten into submission. Potter had been the one to try to instigate a relationship with him. Sure the boy would come to his senses at any moment, Severus proceeded slowly, not willing to commit himself to a doomed relationship. Again. They were just becoming more than friends when Potter left. Whatever he intended had ended before it had even commenced.
Snape frowned. Once Potter left, it was easy to pretend he didn't care, didn't want to know what the Savior of the wizarding world was doing or with whom. And now, less than five years later, he returned, a child in tow but no sign of a wife. That was unexpected. But Snape didn't care; Harry Bleeding Potter could take his wand wherever he pleased. But he couldn't convince even himself of the lie.
The now even more attractive, more mature man had returned, and Snape knew he stood little chance of resisting him. It was only a matter of time before Potter figured out how Snape really felt about him. He didn't have it in him to be so cruel any longer; certainly not in front of the man's child.
The wards alerted Snape to Potter's presence outside the Headmaster's office, and he was quite glad he hadn't had that drink. He was sure he'd been drowning in the bottle that evening. He sat down at his desk, the slumbering portrait of Dumbledore still directly behind his chair, and waited.
Harry strode into the room, but when he saw Snape's expression, he faltered. He knew he shouldn't have hoped Snape would forgive him for leaving so suddenly, but he had hoped they could eventually get back to where they were. He would try to win him over again, but knew his work was cut out for him. Snape had a long memory for past injustices against him.
"Sir, it was nice of you to welcome us," Harry said pleasantly. "It's good to be back at Hogwarts. Feels like coming home."
Snape regarded him coolly. "I need not tell you the grand exception we are allowing you by keeping the child here."
"Thank you, and I promise Violet will be no trouble at all." Harry replied with a grin.
"Potter, do not delude yourself. Small children are always trouble. I have no doubt that holds especially true for anyone related to you." Harry swallowed his retort and tried a different angle
"I appreciate the house-elves arranging my rooms so nicely. I won't ask for anything else. I don't want to keep them from their duties."
Snape's long fingers traced a line on the lip of his desk as he flatly replied. "I wasn't under the impression they have troubled themselves in the least."
"My rooms look pretty good. I'm sure it took at least some effort to make it so, well, perfect," Harry replied. Snape only arched his brow a fraction, leaving Harry with the unsettled feeling in his mind that it wasn't elves at all who had made things so accommodating.
"Why did you come back?" Snape changed the subject, asking the question that had clearly been on the tip of his tongue.
"Hogwarts is my home. I'm sure that you can understand that. I wanted Violet to be nearby. Working here, I can see her anytime, if she needs me. I like to keep her close." Harry sighed. "I have other reasons as well." Harry looked at Snape, hoping he understood he was one of those reasons.
"Speaking of the child," Snape said, steering the conversation away from anything remotely personal.
Harry groaned. "Violet. Her name is Violet."
"Yes, Miss Potter." He said the name with less venom than he used when he called Harry 'Potter'. "What will she be doing while you have classes?"
"Professor McGonagall, Madam Pomfrey, and Hagrid have all agreed to help me keep an eye on her. Neville is happy to keep her as he is one of her godfathers."
"Between Hagrid and Longbottom she'll be lucky to see her fourth birthday." Harry began to laugh. "What is so funny, Mr. Potter?"
Recovering his composure, Harry smiled. "You sound as if you care."
"Certainly not." Snape didn't meet his eyes when he replied.
"Of course." Harry chuckled.
"Mr. Potter," Snape asked calmly, "why don't you tell me under which cabbage leaf you found your daughter?"
"What a Muggle thing to say," Harry snorted.
Snape's lips thinned slightly but he didn't respond.
"Let's just get this out of the way," Harry said more to himself than to Snape. "Just after the final battle, when everyone was celebrating and drinking like fish, I slept with a Muggle. We didn't see each other again until she let me know she was pregnant and wanted to get rid of the baby or give it up for adoption. That's why I left. I wanted to keep the child, and I wasn't about to let her give it away."
Harry sighed and got up to pace the room as he continued. "I thought I might even be able to make a relationship work between us. We didn't know one another at all, but we did have the baby; seemed worth a try.
"Do you remember a series of Death Eater raids nearly a year after the final battle?"
"Of course. The very last of the Death Eaters were all finally killed or captured," Snape replied.
"Violet's mum was killed in a raid." Harry paused. "The baby was only a few months old. She never really knew her at all."
"You have been raising her alone since that time?" Snape questioned.
"I've done a good job with her." Harry looked around the office, not meeting Snape's eyes.
"You expect me to believe this story?" Snape asked, eyes boring into Harry's.
"Whether you believe it or not doesn't matter. You always assumed whatever you wanted about me."
They stared at one another for a moment before Snape looked away.
"She resembles your grandmother Evans," he said so quietly, Harry had to take a moment to replay the comment in his mind.
Harry knew that was something of a peace offering from Snape. "Thanks for telling me that. I've never seen her picture."
Snape stood and waved the door open. Harry left without another word.
Dinners in the Great Hall usually went off without a hitch. Snape sat in the Headmaster's chair, and Harry and Violet sat at the far end, next to Hagrid and Neville. She was very willing to try new foods—she loved the stew and the roasted chicken. She wasn't as keen on the roast beef, but at least ate a few bites. On occasion, she demanded spaghetti for lunch, and Kreacher always brought her a large bowl of it. Thankfully, she didn't eat with her hands anymore, but there really wasn't any way to eat Bolognese neatly.
Every meal, at least one of the other professors made a point of stopping to say hello, comment on her hair, her clothes, how much she looked like Harry, how much she didn't look like Harry, or her accidental magic. Harry had tried to tie her hair up in bows one evening before supper, and she kept banishing them. Snape watched them frequently, but never said much in front of Violet. He saved his biting wit for Harry alone.
One evening late in fall, Harry was completely overwhelmed. Between his classes, detentions, marking papers, and keeping up with a three-and-a-half-year-old, he was exhausted. After a filling dinner, he waited patiently for her to finish eating. He closed his eyes for only a moment. Thunk. His forehead hit the table, and Violet squealed with laughter, clapping her hands together excitedly.
"Again, Daddy, again!" burst from her lips. All the heads in the Great Hall turned and Harry flushed with embarrassment. His eyes met glittering black ones, laughing at his expense, he was certain. Slumping low in his chair, Harry quietly asked Violet to finish her dinner.
They walked through the Entrance Hall, and were almost to the door leading to the corridor which led to their rooms when Snape appeared. He must have exited through the side door of the Great Hall, Harry guessed.
"Mr. Potter, it is commendable that your daughter has manners enough not to fall asleep at the table." Snape said quietly, his tone insulting and yet, Harry felt sure he was quite amused.
Harry turned to Snape. "Was that a compliment to my parenting skills, sir?"
Snape snorted. "A compliment to her maternal genes perhaps." Harry laughed, and Snape brushed invisible lint from his robes, before exiting up the stairs.
Harry often left Violet in the staff room on Thursdays. He only needed someone to keep an eye on her for an hour, because McGonagall had fourth year Transfiguration before Harry was finished with his sixth year DADA students. Invariably, the Muggle Studies professor was having his eleven o'clock tea, and Violet brought a sack full of biscuits to share with him.
She brought Snuffles with her and played with him, making him run under the table and bark at whomever was in the room. Or she sat at a large table, her legs not reaching the floor as she swung them under the chair and practiced writing her name with a quill designed for children. It was self-inking and just a bit thicker, making it easier to grip. Of course, hers had to have purple ink, and she could nearly write her whole name most of the time, although the 'E' was often backward. Once or twice, Harry had returned late and found her alone.
After administering an exam, Harry found he was actually finished with class early, and was happy he'd be able to take her outside for a walk before lunch and his next class. As he approached the staff room door, he heard Violet speaking quite loudly, as she was wont to do, but it was the deep, silky voice that replied which caught his attention. Harry crept up to the door and, while tempted to open it, did not.
"Miss Potter, you must first inscribe a vertical line, then continue with three horizontal lines, just so." Oh, Snape, you pompous arse. Harry smiled as he continued listening.
"Like this, sir?" Violet said quite seriously, and Harry couldn't resist any longer and pressed his hand to the door. Pushing very slowly, he opened it only enough to see Snape leaning over Violet, his hand wrapped around hers.
"You must practice frequently," Snape said as he let her hand go. She bit her lip; her brows furrowed; her concentration palpable. "We cannot allow students into Hogwarts when they cannot even write their own name." He turned and saw the door cracked open and raised an eyebrow. "Although an exception might have been made for your father."
Harry stepped into the room and was about to reply when Violet cried out, "Look, Daddy!" He walked over to see her parchment.
"Beautiful, darling. It's just perfect. Did you tell the Headmaster thank you?" Harry was grinning from ear to ear. Snape's face gave away, nothing but his eyes were a bit brighter, nearly smiling, although not many would recognize the signs.
"Thank you for helping me, sir," she said.
"My pleasure, Miss Potter." Snape turned and left, his robes billowing behind him. Harry watched him, hoping he'd be seeing just what Snape kept under those robes. He realized Violet was laughing.
"What's so funny, Violet?" he asked.
"The Headmaster looks like a bat!" she exclaimed, and then started laughing harder.
Harry joined her laughing. "I've always thought so too."
Harry rushed Violet to Madam Pomfrey. She was burning with fever and breaking out in spots. They settled her into a bed in the infirmary, and Madam Pomfrey diagnosed the problem after several diagnostic spells cast over the lethargic girl.
"Harry, she's just got a case of Dragon Pox. The Headmaster brews the antidote, which we keep stocked in the infirmary. Most wizarding children get it before they even come to Hogwarts. It's really only an issue for Muggleborns." Madam Pomfrey continued, fussing around Violet's bed, nearly driving Harry to distraction. But as he replayed the words in his mind, he gasped. Madam Pomfrey turned and frowned.
"What do you mean an 'issue for Muggleborns'? Is it because they are older when they get it?" Harry asked hoping she wouldn't follow his concern to the root.
"Age doesn't matter too much, although for the very old it can be quite a blow." Harry remembered Malfoy's grandfather had died of it. "But Muggleborn children don't have any protection from the disease running through their blood."
"I don't think I ever had it," Harry said, a bit puzzled by all the things he didn't know about his childhood.
"Yes, but your father did, or perhaps his father or mother. So you have some protection already, but I'll give you the antidote as well. It wouldn't be as bad with you. Muggleborns need a special antidote, a more powerful one. But you don't need to worry about her. She has you for a father," Madam Pomfrey finished, patting Violet gently as she slept before turning and leaving.
Harry felt waves of nausea rush over him. He had to tell someone now, because she needed the stronger potion. Dudley's daughter would have no magical blood, no protection. Harry hurried after Madam Pomfrey.
"Do you stock the alternate potion?" Harry asked. His palms were clammy; he wiped them on his jeans in what he hoped was an inconspicuous manner.
"I just told you, Harry—" she started.
"But do you have any?" Harry met her eyes, hoping the desperation he was feeling would make further explanations unnecessary.
Just then, the doors to the Infirmary swung open, and Harry's heart sank into his stomach. He had hoped he could just get Madam Pomfrey to give Violet the potion and not have to tell anyone else.
"Headmaster, it seems we need some Dragon Pox antidote," Pomfrey said, looking straight at Harry. He ran his hand through his hair and turned to face Snape.
"You have at least sixteen bottles. I brewed a cauldron full less than a month ago." He looked from Pomfrey to Harry to Violet, and then turned back to Harry, his eyes narrowed. "Potter, come and see me in my office."
"Not now, Severus, please," Harry pleaded. But the use of Snape's given name set the man ablaze.
"Madam Pomfrey, may I have a word with Professor Potter, please." Snape's voice was low and even, but Harry could feel the anger coming off him.
"Of course, Headmaster. Please step outside and do try to keep it down, gentlemen, my patients need their rest." She stared at them until they turned and left.
As soon as they were through the door, Snape rounded on Harry. "What is the meaning of this, Potter? Why does your daughter need the other antidote?" he hissed, closing in on Harry until they were toe to toe and eye to eye.
"Severus," Harry pleaded.
"St. Mungo's probably has the antidote. If you owl them now, it will be here by morning," Snape replied coolly.
Harry exploded in fury, "Dammit, Snape, don't punish her for how you feel about me. Get her the fucking potion and then you can throw us out."
"As if you'd trust me to brew for your . . . ?" Snape sneered.
"She is my daughter!" Harry roared. He stood shaking for a moment. "She is my daughter now. She needs that potion, Severus."
They stood staring at each other; Harry trying to withstand the scrutiny in the black eyes. Daring as only a Gryffindor can, he brushed his hand over Snape's before squeezing it tightly and said, "There isn't any one I can trust but you."
"You didn't trust me enough." Snape pulled his hand away, but his eyes softened slightly. "I will return in three hours."
Harry went back inside and stretched out next to Violet in her bed and wrapped himself around her tiny body. He was asleep as soon as his eyes fell shut.
Before he even opened his eyes, he knew she was gone. He jumped out of bed, nearly falling face first as his legs were tangled in the sheets. But his heart leapt with joy when he heard a high pitched giggle and was tackled by two and a half stone of irresistible energy.
Harry pulled her close to him and held her, listening to her heart beat.
"Daddy? Can't breathe," Violet said pushing herself from him before running away again. Harry stood and brushed himself off. Following the sound of her voice, he found Violet having tea and biscuits with Madam Pomfrey in her office.
"The Headmaster would like to see you, Harry. She'll be fine with me. Minerva is coming down as well," Pomfrey said. Harry kissed Violet on the top of the head before he left to meet his fate.
Harry walked slowly to the Headmaster's office, wandering the corridors, peering out the small windows, admiring the tapestries. He felt like a student again, taken to task for something that wasn't entirely his fault. Hopefully, they'd be able to stay until the end of term, as the DADA post was so difficult to fill.
When he finally reached the gargoyle, he realized he had no idea what the password was to the Headmaster's office. As he was about to ask, the door to the staircase opened of its own accord. Harry expected someone else to come down, but he heard no voices and no one came.
Slowly making his way up the spiral staircase, Harry hoped Snape would be reasonable. But of course, being Snape, that seemed highly unlikely. Taking a deep breath, he opened the door and entered the Headmaster's office.
Snape was standing at one of the windows, hands clasped behind his back, looking out over the grounds. Harry sat down in the chair that faced the desk, expecting Snape to join him. But the older man made no move to come and sit down.
"Severus?" Harry said finally.
"Are you going to tell me another story, Harry," Snape asked, almost sadly, "or are you going to tell me the truth this time?"
Harry stood and walked over to stand next to Snape, and looked to see what he was looking at: Hagrid was working with several Hippogriffs in their paddock.
"I wanted to stay here at Hogwarts after the war. I wanted to know you better, a lot better. I would have never left had I thought I had a choice.
"I received an Owl from my cousin, Dudley. He got his girlfriend pregnant, didn't want my aunt and uncle to know anything about it. They were going to give up the baby for adoption. But he decided maybe I could help, trusted me not to tell anyone.
"At first, there was no way I was going to let them give the baby away. Then Dudley and I went through mounds of Muggle files and found the perfect couple wanting to adopt. Everyone wants a baby. But then she was born and I saw her, I held her, and I just knew she had magic. How could I not take her, after the way I was treated because I had magic? I had to keep her with me. I pushed Dudley out in the hall, ready to use magic if I needed to convince him, but I didn't have to. And he's happy knowing he can be her uncle, keep an eye on her as she grows.
"I couldn't burden you, Severus, or any one really. I made the choice to keep her, and too many times what I have wanted affected so many other people. So I kept her to myself. After all you'd done, I didn't want to force anything on you." Harry took a deep breath and released it slowly. All he could do was wait for the fatal blow.
The longer Snape remained quiet, the more unnerved Harry became. A quiet Snape was a scary Snape; Harry knew that from personal experience. Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, but was perhaps no more than five minutes, Snape spoke.
"You chose to put your own life, your own desires aside to save yet another that needed to be saved." The tone was flat, emotionless and Harry couldn't tell whether Snape was angry or not. The tips of Snape's fingers brushed Harry's hand and he inhaled sharply at the sensation. Not angry then. Maybe, just maybe . . .
"Why didn't you tell me? Did you think so little of me that you believed I would force you to choose one of us over the other? That I would think less of you for taking your niece in? To be cared for and loved?" Snape asked calmly, but Harry could hear the hurt in his voice.
"I didn't want to burden you or assume that—" Harry started.
"But you did assume. You left." Him. I left him.
"I'm so sorry, Severus."
"Always saving the world, aren't you, Harry?" Snape sighed, and turned to meet Harry's gaze.
"It's part of my charm," Harry replied with a smile.
Snape grasped his hand, and Harry instinctively turned toward the man and was summarily gathered into his arms.
"Can we start over?" Harry asked.
"Let's start from where we left off," Snape replied as he leaned in and kissed Harry gently. His lips were warm and soft, so unlike the façade he presented to the world. Bodies pressed flush, wrapped in each other's embrace, it was as if no time had passed at all.
Breaking the kiss, Harry let his head drop to Severus's shoulder. "I've missed you." Just as Harry was about to renew the kiss, they both heard Professor McGonagall call out from the Floo.
"Severus? Is Harry still with you?"
Severus looked at Harry and smiled. "Yes, Minerva, he's with me."