|masterseverus (masterseverus) wrote in snape_potter,|
@ 2011-12-25 10:43:00
“I think that I shall never see, A poem lovely as a tree”
Title:I think that I shall never see, A poem lovely as a tree.
Author/Artist: Professor S. Potter-Snape
Warnings: Some kissing.
Disclaimer: It all belongs to Queen Rowling.
Word Count 4473
Summary: It has been many years since Severus had a tree at Spinner's End. Now that his new family is there with him for the holidays, can he overcome his own insecurities to give Harry and the children what they need?
Severus stood in front of the window of his bedroom at Spinner’s End. As he watched the gentle snowfall, he adjusted his cravat for the sixth time. He was feeling nauseated and lightheaded, but he knew it had more to do with nerves than the rheumatic fever he was still recovering from.
Poppy had cleared Severus this morning fit enough to go out for a few hours, so he and Harry had decided to use the time to finally bring home a tree for the children to decorate. He certainly could not deny them this small bit of happiness, if even he himself was ill at ease with it.
It wasn’t so much the tree that bothered Severus. It would actually be a surreal experience to see a Christmas tree in his childhood home once again. The last time there had been any kind of holiday decorating done at Spinner’s End, he had been a child, but with his father’s drunken rages coupled with his mother’s depression and eventual withdrawal, that had stopped altogether when he was around seven years of age. After that, Christmas, as well as all other holidays, was treated like any other day in the Snape household. Usually locked in his room praying that he would not hear his parents fighting or his mum being pummeled, because than he would be forced to leave the safety of his room to defend her.
What was actually making Severus nervous was this would be the first time all five of them were going out in public as a family. They had never done this before, and he knew that his lack of social skills as well as the ghosts from his past could make this experience end badly for all of them. He did not want Harry, or especially the children hurt because he was unsure of how to cope under such situations.
Walking into the loo, he opened a drawer and pulled out his leather and silver serpent hair tie. He was fingering it gently, lost in memories when a soft cough startled him. He looked up to see his other half leaning against the door frame watching him with an expression that made his heart flutter. He felt the blush creeping up his cheeks in embarrassment at having been caught in such a vulnerable moment. He turned away quickly to try and find the hair brush.
“Intent on making it a habit of sneaking up on people during their private moments in the loo Mr. Potter?” Severus asked, sarcasm dripping like icicles from each word.
Harry, knowing Severus too well by this point to be put off by such theatrics, simply walked into the loo and held out the silver gilded hair brush. Severus turned around and eyed his lover sternly.
“Looking for this? I borrowed it to braid Lily’s hair for our little trip today. She is so excited you know, as we all are.”
Harry set the brush on the sink and gathered the potions master into his arms. He may be a good six inches shorter, but he knew had had powerful arms from years of playing Quidditch and working as an auror. He used that strength to draw the reluctant and stiff man close to him. Severus did not return the hug, but did lean his head to touch the younger’s. They stood that way for a long time before Severus finally folded his arms around his lover. Harry seemed to sigh in relief.
“Talk to me Sev. We said we would be open with each other remember? Communication? Please don’t shut me out. I am not going to use Legilimens to read your mind.”
That earned Harry a laugh from his intended that melted his insides like a rich dark chocolate cake.
“Your skills as a Legilimens are so pathetic; I doubt you would even be able to break through Hagrid’s somewhat limited mind, let alone my own.” He chuckled softly in a way that Harry knew it was not meant as an insult. It was simply a longstanding personal joke between the two of them.
“Exactly, so do us both a favor and tell me what is on your mind?” He drew back slightly and cupped Severus’ face so that their eyes were locked together.
“If going out and getting this tree is making you this uncomfortable, or you’re not feeling well enough to go, than I want you to tell me Severus. You are a part of this family, and your feelings matter. I can always take the kids on my own. I know they really want you to be there, but they also know how sick you’ve been. They may be disappointed, but they’ll understand.” Harry said, stroking his beloved’s sallow cheek with his left hand.
Severus sighed as he withdrew from his lover. He picked up the hair tie and brush and motioned for Harry to follow him into their bedroom. He laid the items on the bed before once again going to stand at his favorite window to look outside, arms folded across his chest. The snow was picking up.
Harry sat on the bed to listen.
“I am sorry Harry. I suppose I could lie and say it is my health, and that I wish to remain here, but I am no coward. It….is difficult to explain. I feel I have so much going through my mind right now. This will be the first holiday I have celebrated since I was seven years of age..” He did not have to turn around to feel the shock emanating from his other half. The bond spoke for him.
“Let’s just say, my father detested holidays and my mother was in no condition to fight him. Regardless as I grew older, I felt no need to dabble in such idiotic notions of goodwill when most of it ended the day afterward. Peace and goodwill to all, until December 26th, when everything goes back to normal. It Seems rather hypocritical to me. I suppose that is how I feel about most holidays. Nobody other than Dumbledore or Lily took the time to want to share it with me, so it will be difficult to teach an old dog new tricks.” He said softly, staring out into the dizzying snow.
He turned to see Harry Holding the hairbrush and patting the floor in front of him with his foot. Severus’ eyebrow shot up in question.
“Come, let me brush your hair. It’ll feel good and will also help you to relax.”
“That is ridiculous. I am not some silly child. I can brush my own hair Potter.” Severus sniffed indignantly. The only person who had ever brushed his hair had been him mother, and he had been about six at the time. Surely Potter was joking?
“Humor me Severus. It’s been something I’ve always wanted to do. Please?” Severus saw the pleading in his lover’s eyes and knew instantly who had won the battle.
He was so weak when it came to the brat’s eyes.
Muttering curse words in French under his breath, he sat himself between Harry’s legs on the floor feeling like a moronic child.
Harry slowly started to brush Severus’ shoulder length locks. He took enormous care to do it tenderly, treating each and every silken strand with reverence as if it were a lifeline to the man himself. He brushed each section from root to tip massaging his scalp along the way.
As much as he hated to admit it, Severus felt himself start to relax under the ministrations his partner was giving to his hair. With each stroke of the brush, he felt Harry’s love and protection coming through. He leaned back and pulled Harry’s legs around him, leaning into the soothing strokes of the brush and relishing the fact that anyone wanted to touch his hair at all. It was a personal weakness for him, having his hair touched. It was one of the reasons he kept it as long as he did, but he would never tell anyone that.
As Harry continued to brush his long locks, Severus felt a sudden surge of protectiveness and anger sear through the bond. It made him gasp.
“I swear to you Severus Tobias Snape, nobody will ever hurt you again, Merlin help me. I know I can’t make up for all that has happened to you, but I can at least promise you a future filled with people who love and want you. Show all those bastards who mistreated you that you can be happy and lead a normal life. Please don’t let their vindictiveness spoil our future. Don’t let them win. You protected me all my life, and now I want to protect you. Please, trust me Severus, let me in.”
Severus sat there stunned by Harry’s words, his eyes squeezed tightly shut. He was barely breathing. Nobody had ever wanted to protect him like this before, not even Dumbledore who had no problem sending him off to his death on an almost daily basis. He felt Harry draw his head backwards forcing him to look up into those emerald eyes that he could see were filled with an almost possessive protectiveness that penetrated him all the way to his soul.
And it was all for him.
Before he could reply, Harry bent his head and kissed him. It was odd kissing in this position with Harry bent over him sitting on the bed and Severus on the floor at his feet, bent over backwards, but it was not unpleasant. In fact, it sent shivers down his spine as he parted his lips with a sigh to allow Harry to further explore the depths of his mouth if he so wished. He twined his hands in Harry’s hair drawing him even deeper, wishing he could take every ounce of this man’s soul inside of him just through this shared kiss.
It was a long time before they finally drew away more from lack of oxygen than anything else. Severus traced Harry’s scar with his long index finger and nodded his assent.
He would try.
Sitting forward, he allowed Harry to finish brushing his hair, which his lover than gathered into a tail at the nape of his neck, and secured with the silver serpent tie.
Standing up, he summoned his traveling cloak and turned to see Harry still watching him on the bed.
Severus sneered. He hated being watched.
Harry smiled at him amused.
“You’re beautiful you know.”
Harry said this to him often, but he still could not believe it. Severus Snape beautiful? Severus snorted.
“We should stop in to get your vision checked since we will be in Diagon Alley anyway.” Severus said irritably while wrapping his own traveling cloak around his partner. He knew Harry preferred to wear his clothing in preference to his own. He had given up trying to stop this long ago, as Harry would just change clothes when he left anyway. After summoning a second traveling cloak for himself, the couple made their way down the stairs and to the cozy sitting room.
The children were in a deep argument as to where the tree should be placed.
“It is obvious that the tree should be in front of the window where everyone can see it. It also affords the most space in the room.” Albus said crossing his arms in an almost exact imitation of the potions master.
“Yes, but then it blocks out the light so the sun can’t get in. Besides, I think it will look really good in front of the bookshelves in the corner.” James said with a wave of his hand. He was laying sprawled on the couch reading a Quidditch Monthly magazine.
“And how are we supposed to access the books?” Albus asked.
“I don’t know, it’s not like normal people read over Christmas anyway. Just because that’s all Severus does doesn’t mean we have to. Summon them I guess? Who cares? It would look great there!”
At fist Albus was surprised at James’s terminology for their step father. It had been a long time since they had called him Severus, than the meaning of his actual words struck him. Albus’s eyes filled with rage.
“How you pass any subject at school is beyond me! I happen to read too James, so am I as abnormal as dad than? Typical idiotic Gryffindor!”
“What is that suppose to mean? That I’m too stupid to pass anything myself? Only a Slytherin know-it-all would say something like that!” James said, sitting up angrily.
“What about where I want the tree?” Lily asked looking up from where she was drawing on the floor by the hearth. Both her bears Mr. Tumbles and Tangerine were beside her. She suddenly stopped drawing when she realized how angry her two brothers really were at each other.
Before the fight could escalate, Severus cleared his throat loudly. All three children looked up to see the two men standing at the doorway watching them. Before any of them could utter another word, Severus held up a hand, which the children knew was his signal for silence. They all knew better than to disobey the potions master, even James.
“The tree will be placed in the alcove in front of the window where it was always placed the few times we actually had one in my youth. It is not that I am siding with Albus, but I do not want the bookcases blocked.” He raised an eyebrow at James. “Believe it or not, some people do read during the holiday season even if you do not consider it a normality Mr. Potter.”
James’s faced flushed with embarrassment, especially at being refereed to so formally out of school. Severus never did that unless he was angry or disappointed. James knew he had crossed a line he had no right to. What was wrong with him?
“Sorry Sir, that’s not what I meant. I actually do read too. I guess I just didn’t want Al to win. It actually would look better by the window.” James lowered his eyes realizing what he had said and how he had insulted Severus.
The silence permeating the room was deafening. James felt actual tears forming at his eyes until he felt fingers carding through his hair. He looked up to see Severus looking down at him, an almost pained expression on his face.
He had never seen his step father look so vulnerable. It killed James all the more knowing he had caused this.
“Believe it or not James, I occasionally do things other than read or brew. There is an old park I use to go to with your grandmother not too far from here. It is big enough to practice Quidditch moves. I was going to take you and Albus there next week after I've had more time to heal.”
James’s mouth dropped.
“You can play Quidditch?”
“I am hardly as good as your father, but I can keep my own on a broom, yes.”
James felt his throat tighten. Suddenly he stood up , came around the couch and threw his arms around the thin potions master, burying his head in his frock coat sobbing. Severus was so stunned, he couldn’t reciprocate it. All he could do was stand there, arms at his side. He looked up at his future husband helplessly. Harry’s emerald eyes gazed from one to the other, a knowing look on his face.
Harry than gathered a troubled Lily into his arms and motioned for Albus to join him. At first the boy didn’t want to move, but after meeting Harry’s stern gaze, he nodded and followed his father.
“We’re going to floo ahead to Diagon Alley Severus. We’ll meet you two in Hortenshallen’s Tree Lot.” Without even waiting for a response he grabbed some floo powder, stepped into the fireplace holding Lily, and disappeared. Albus followed directly after, leaving James and Severus alone in the sitting room.
James continued to clutch Severus sobbing quietly into his waistcoat. Severus could barely breathe. He did not know what to do. He had no training or experience for this kind of thing.
You are not your father.
The words ran though his mind and hit him so hard, he almost staggered. Suddenly, it was like an off switch in his mind had been turned on.
He bent down to James’s level and gathered the fourteen year old into his arms. James nestled against Severus’s shoulder and let his tears flow unbidden. He knew the boy wasn’t just crying about his remark, he was also letting out frustrations that had built over the last few months. Problems and emotions that he had kept inside about his parents fighting, and divorce as well as problems at school and all the new changes in his life regarding both his parents new found partners in their lives. It was a lot to take in for anyone, let alone a confused teenager. He held James and stroked his hair murmuring words of comfort as best as he could.
Finally, feeling that the boy was starting to settle down a bit, he pushed James up, and, reaching into his frock coat pocket, pulled out his Slytherin crested handkerchief and handed it to his eldest son.
James accepted it, and after wiping his face and blowing his nose, looked up at the potions master with fear in his eyes. He was almost sure Severus would hate him now for his show of weakness. What he saw instead, startled him enough to stop all his own reckless fears.
Severus sat there looking straight into James’s eyes with his own set of silent tears coursing down his face.
James mouth dropped for the second time today, but then he closed it just as quickly. How could he have thought that this man was not human enough to cry or hurt? He knew him better than most of his friends at school. His dad loved him after all, and so did he, as well as Albus and Lily.
But did Severus love his dad? Did he love them? He had never actually heard Severus ever tell anyone that he did. Suddenly, it became very important for James to hear those words. His mum had hurt his father as well as him, Lily and Albus bad, and even though he knew in his heart that Severus would never do anything to hurt them, he still needed to put his own childish heart to rest.
Gathering his Gryffindor strength he looked up and locked his eyes with those of the man in front of him.
‘You really love dad don’t you?”
“I would lay my life down for him, as well as his children.” Severus responded without hesitation looking James straight in the eyes.
“But,” James asked again, wanting to hear the words from the potions master’s lips. He needed to. “Do you love him?” Doubt started to creep into his heart.
Severus stared at the boy in front of him for a long time before cupping his face to make sure they were eye to eye and on equal level.
“I love your father more than my own life. Sometimes I feel that love is not a strong enough word to use in this equation. I may not voice it often James Sirius Potter, but make no doubt that my love for your father, as well his children whom I consider my own, has no equal anywhere on this earth. I hope this puts to rest any doubts you may have about this matter.”
James instantly felt a very large weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He once again threw his arms around his step father and this time, Severus returned it without hesitation.
“I love you dad.” It was soft and came almost instantly without thought.
“I love you too son.” The voice was controlled but ebbing with emotion underneath.
James smiled shyly and stood up, offering back the handkerchief, which Severus used a cleansing spell on before repocketing it.
“We’d better get to the tree lot before they pick one up without us. I know Lils, she can wear dad down in no time.” James called excitedly over his shoulder as he made his way to the fireplace.
“As if they would dare. Besides, I pocketed the galleons and Gringotts keys before they left just to be certain.”
“Maybe there is a thing or two I can learn from other Slytherins.” James grinned at his step father. “You better not tell Albus I said that, or we’ll never hear the end of it.”
“Indeed.” Severus agreed, and together, father and son flooed to Diagon Alley.
An hour later, the family of five was strewn across Hortenshallen’s Tree Lot, each one in search of that ‘perfect tree’. Albert Hortenshallen was a round portly man in his early hundreds that came down once a year to set up his tree lot in a corner of Diagon Alley. He had a multitude of spectacular trees that he gathered over the course of the year, some magical, some rare species of fae trees, and some just good old fashioned Douglas Firs. Whatever your desire, he was guaranteed to have it, at least his sign said so, Lily had pointed out excitedly. Severus just sniffed.
All the trees had a glamour placed on them that made them glow and shimmer in the twilight, as if beckoning them. Once the tree was removed from the lot, the glow would fade if so desired, so it could be decorated accordingly.
James, Albus and Lily were running all over the place exclaiming every few minutes that they had found ‘it’.
Harry was wandering from tree to tree fingering the delicate needles, sometimes breaking them with his stubby fingers to sniff the raw pine with relish. His emerald eyes were glowing with the fascination of the twinkling glamour cast on the trees. Severus walked beside Harry, their gloved hands entwined.
“What about this one Sev?” Harry asked his lover pointing to a large fae Gwinlytot tree. It’s branches hung in low silver arcs.
“If that is what you desire, and the children agree, it is fine with me.” Came the usual response.
“Severus!” Harry sighed in exasperation.
“Harry!” Severus teased back.
“You are no help at all. You say yes to everything! There must be something you like.” Harry pouted looking at the next tree.
“Indeed there is.” Severus growled and pulled Harry behind a rather large Scotch Pine. He crushed Harry to his chest kissing him with enough passion to lift the smaller man off his feet. Harry groaned into his mouth as Severus parted his lips and their tongues met in a well orchestrated dance that both were blissfully familiar with. Harry slid his gloved fingers into Severus’ bound hair releasing the tie which fell to the soft snow. His silken locks cascaded across both their faces shielding them in their own cocooned world that smelled of Severus’ homemade rosemary and peppermint shampoo. They stood there kissing passionately oblivious of everyone and everything until a slight giggle and a few coughs were heard.
Breaking the kiss, the couple looked up to see three faces looking at them as if they were third years caught in an unseemly act.
Blushing furiously, Severus set a ridiculously grinning Harry down, and allowed his hair to shield his rather warm face.
Lily, failing to notice her parent’s embarrassment was jumping up and down.
“We found the perfect tree! And all three of us agree! Come on, we’ll show you!” Lily took off at a run with Albus close behind her just as excited. Their fathers’ affections were common place to them now.
James grinned at his parents before running to catch up with his siblings.
Harry bent down to pick up the tie that had fallen on the snow. He pulled his lover’s hair back and retied the raven strands into its former tail. Severus watched Harry closely the entire time, his obsidian eyes never leaving Harry’s emerald.
They never needed words.
Severus’ half gloved fingers entwined with Harry’s own gloved ones and he offered his other half one of those rare but genuine shy smiles that made Harry’s entire insides turn to liquid gold.
These were the small treasures that Severus and Harry gave each other without even realizing it.
People often ask the couple why? Why Snape? Why Harry?
How can you explain that the simple act of tying someone’s hair back could mean so much to a man who has never been cared for? How do you explain that seeing the shy smiles from a person who rarely ever smiled was like watching the sunrise?
You can’t, and in their hearts they didn’t need to. They owed nobody except their family any kind of an explanation.
Walking hand in hand they made their way to their children and the tree they had picked.
It was a rather large Scotch Pine.
Later on after the family had purchased their tree and shrunken it for carrying, they had dinner at the Leaky Cauldron and lastly ice cream at Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour. Severus thought the lot of them insane for wanting the frozen confection considering it was snowing outside, but Harry had made sure to point out that any season was a good time for ice cream. He proved it by how crowded it was when they arrived.
Severus sighed and picked up his daughter who went willingly onto his hip settling herself happily as she laid her head on his shoulder. It was crowded and he did not want anyone getting too near her. The boys were old enough to take care of themselves; however, they still huddled relatively close to their parents.
Severus sneered at the crowd who of course was staring and pointing at them due to their celebrity status. Whispers could be heard all around.
"Isn't that Harry Potter? -The boy-who-lived?-I think that’s Severus Snape! -Greasy bastard!- Harry Potter took up with a Death Eater? -Shame really…- He’s gay? Disgusting! -Poor children…."
Would these imbecilic people never leave them in peace? Severus groaned to himself.
Severus caught Harry’s eye who understood to get their orders to go.
Fifteen uncomfortable minutes later, the family left the ice cream parlour and headed to The Leaky Cauldron to floo home. Lily was already asleep in Severus’ arms.
Once at home, Severus tucked Lily into bed while Harry and the boys set up the tree for decorating tomorrow. The ice cream was placed in the charmed cooling cabinet in the kitchen for later when they could eat it together.
Severus came into the sitting room to see the tree up and situated in the alcove in the front window. He stared at it for a long moment, trapped in memories of his childhood. It had been so long since he had seen a tree in that spot. He wished his mother could have been alive to have seen this, to have actually enjoyed a Christmas without fear or trepidation.
He did not know how long he stood there at the doorway, until he felt a hand on his. Startled, he saw Albus smiling at him, his smaller hand in his large one.
“Isn’t it great dad? Wait until you see it tomorrow after we all decorate it!” Albus gave Severus’ hand a squeeze before he ran off to join James by the hearth to unpack the boxes of ornaments and decorations they had collected over the years. Ginerva did not want them. Too many memories she had said, so Harry was glad to have taken them off her hands. Amazingly enough, a few of them were from Severus’ own attic. Harry had made sure to find out if Eileen had any ornaments, for he wanted to include Severus’ own family into their new traditions however small that offering might be.
Harry came over and pulled Severus to stand in front of their first Christmas tree as a couple. He slipped an arm around his lover’s waist.
“It’s not as bad as you thought is it Severus? Dabbling in this sentimental nonsense.” He whispered into the older’s ear.
It was a long time before Severus spoke.
“I think that I shall never see, A poem lovely as a tree” Severus said softly staring at their tree.
Harry leaned his head on the older’s shoulder and tightened his arm around him. He knew exactly what Severus meant.
No words were ever needed.