Characters : Snape, Harry
Genre (s) : Family, Friendship
Rating : K
Summary : "Daddy was very sad," Harry whispered in his low tone he thought only he and Teddy could hear. Apparently not. Sirius snickered and Lupin sent Snape a sympathetic smile. Snape glowered at his son, who didn't know it and kept talking with Teddy.
Disclaimer : Harry Potter isn’t mine.
“Did you hear it, Dad?” Harry queried. The boy stood still.
Snape looked at his adopted son inquiringly. “Heard what, Harry?” he asked.
“There’s no cat here,” Snape frowned.
“Shh! Just listen, Dad!” Harry put his finger on his lips. He turned his head upward.
After a second Snape heard it too. A tiny meow came from the attic. The Potions Master’s knitted his brows.
“I didn’t know you have a cat! Did you leave it here when you were in Hogwarts?” Harry asked enthusiastically. He nearly jumped with joy thinking that his father owned a pet.
Snape shook his head. “No, Harry, I don’t have a cat. Maybe it is a stray kitty,” he answered briskly.
“I think it’s a kitty too,” Harry whispered confidently. “Maybe it’s small like me,” he added quietly.
Snape nodded. He knew from its meowing sound that it’s just a newborn kitten. His black eyes stared upward to the attic.
“Can I look at it?” Harry asked hopefully. His green eyes shone brighter at the prospect of seeing a little kitten.
“No, Harry, I don’t think so. I still have a lot of things to do. I want to clean up the house and arrange my books. Besides, I should prepare a room for you.”
“But, I can go up by myself, Dad!”
“I won’t let you.”
It was summer. For the first week of the holiday, Snape already planned to stay at Spinner’s End. The house needed cleaning. The Potions Master cringed at seeing how thick the dust that covering most of the surface was. After sneezing for a hundredth time, he was satisfied that the room for Harry was decent. It wasn’t as big as Harry’s room at Hogwarts but spacious enough.
Snape looked up from his books when he heard the mewling sound. He frowned exasperatedly. It had been two days since his and Harry’s arrival, and he noticed something about the kitten living in the attic. It always mewled in a strong tiny voice, day and night. Snape was amazed at how a days old kitten did that. The voice never wavered so he assumed that it was alright. He didn’t have the chance to visit it. There was much cleaning to do and having Harry at the house made him busy.
“The kitten sometimes moves here and there, Daddy,” Harry said nonchalantly. He helped his father by arranging his own books into a smaller bookcase near the sofa.
“I know. I hear it too, especially when it’s being noisy,” Snape sullenly muttered. “Surely it’s a very active kitten.”
Harry nodded. He beamed at his father. “Is it really strayed?”
Snape couldn’t miss the hopeful tone. “Nobody looks for it, so yes, Harry, I assume it doesn’t belong to anyone,” he carefully answered with anticipation.
“Can I keep it?”
That’s the dreadful question Snape was worried about. “I thought you didn’t like cats.”
Harry grew quiet. Cats always reminded him of Arabella Figgs and the Dursleys. “But I don’t mind it when it’s mine.”
Snape sighed. He put down the book he was cleaning and walked to his suddenly somber son. “I barely have time for myself. Having you is wonderful, Son, but I don’t have more time to share with a pet.”
Harry blinked. He patted Snape’s hand understandingly. “I’m sorry, Daddy.”
“Don’t be,” he told the six year old boy.
Snape wished he knew more spells about housekeeping and cleaning. Apparently Spinner’s End had more dust than he had imagined. The garden also needed trimming. It looked like a wild garden with wild grass. Snape wished he had visited his house more often and had done cleaning here and there so that he wasn’t as exhausted as he was now and had more time to rest. He considered contacting Molly Weasley a couple times, wanting to ask for useful house cleaning spells. In the end he thought it wasn’t a good idea. He only had a son and Harry made him exhausted easily. He couldn’t imagine how Molly survived with more than he could count of her red headed kids. She already had a handful and didn’t need more.
He was arranging his books when he was aware of something. He hadn’t heard a single mewl since that morning. He glanced at the clock and wondered why the kitten had been silent for hours. Usually it mewled enthusiastically. However, since yesterday Snape noticed that the mewling grew weaker. He was inwardly worried.
The black haired man took a look at his son, who was playing with his dragon toy in his room. Silently he walked to the attic. He cautiously scanned the space, hoping that what he was thinking at the moment would remain just a negative thought. But what was in front of him said otherwise.
Gingerly he approached the unmoving kitten. The attic was a bit dark but Snape knew his eyes wouldn’t betray him. Shakily he poked the kitten. It didn’t move. With a quick scan of his wand, Snape knew in an instant that it was dead. His anxiety was cruelly confirmed.
It was a beautiful small kitten, with white and orange fur. It was still warm in Snape’s hand. Harry was right: it was very tiny. Snape was furious at himself, for not getting up to the attic sooner, and at its mother which had abandoned it and -judging from the kitten bony form-, never fed it. The man felt something burning his eyes.
Harry wanted to ask a lot of things when he saw his father walking down from the attic. But seeing Snape’s agonized face, he only managed to ask, “Is it dead?”
Snape cleared his throat. “Yes, Harry, it is,” he answered hoarsely.
Somehow Harry felt that his father was more affected than him by the death of the kitten. The small boy noticed that Snape’s jaw was set hard and his posture was rigid. Harry saw regret in those black eyes.
Snape didn’t say anything as he buried the kitten in the backyard. He had never thought that he could be very miserable because of a kitten he only saw once: when its heartbeat already stopped due to starvation.
If the kitten came back alive, Snape would welcome it and never let it staved.
Teddy patted Harry's back sympathetically. "I'm sorry to hear that," he said softly.
"It's okay," Harry replied. "I hope the kitten is in heaven already and happy. And won't be hungry again." The boy stole a glance at his silent father, who was sipping his tea without saying a word.
That weekend Sirius Black invited Harry, Snape, Lupin and his son Teddy to his house. Like usual. The boys would chatter and the men would courteously converse about Hogwarts, Harry, Teddy, and business. It had been awkward for Snape to chat with the two remaining Marauders, but for Harry, he was okay with that. He still disliked Sirius but James Potter had appointed the animagus to be the godfather of Harry in the past. Sirius insisted that he was included in Harry's life so Snape granted his wish, although with grudges. After being released from Azkaban, Sirius tried to worm his way into Harry's heart and mend the severe relation between him and Snape.
"For Harry's sake," Sirius offered, and both men agreed. Snape agreed to come visit Sirius with Harry, while Lupin with his son. Grimmauld Place was more than enough to accommodate hundreds of people so the members of the Order liked to hang out there.
"Daddy was very sad," Harry whispered in his low tone he thought only he and Teddy could hear. Apparently not. Sirius snickered and Lupin sent Snape a sympathetic smile. Snape glowered at his son, who didn't know it and kept talking with Teddy.
Teddy's eyes widened. The boy looked at Snape and got up from the floor. He stood before Snape. The boy's eyes were black, and so was his hair, matching the Potions Master's.
"Don't be sad, Uncle Snape. Maybe the kitten will become a ghost and live in your house. You won't feel lonely," he said smartly.
Snape mentally groaned. He might dislike Lupin but he couldn't do the same to Teddy. The little boy inherited his father's kindness and got along with everyone easily. He knew how to win people's heart, including Snape's.
In a chair in front of Snape, Sirius stifled a laugh. His shoulders were shaking uncontrollably. Lupin gave his best friend a warning glare.
Harry gleefully jumped. "You're right, Teddy! I can feed the ghost. Can ghosts eat, Daddy? You won't be sad again, right?"
In a flash Snape was surrounded by two joyful little imps. When Harry hugged him tightly, Teddy followed.
Snape was secretly touched. He never thought that his son would concern about him that much, like it's the ex Death Eater who needed assurance and comfort instead of the boy.
His happy thoughts were stopped when chuckles reached his ears.
Sirius grinned at him, amused. "So, how is your summer so far?"
Snape grimaced at his changing mood. "Bad, thanks to you."
Nobody bought it, not when they saw that his face wasn't gloomy with guilt anymore.
Zang’s Note : I make Harry and Teddy almost the same age. I love them very much. Probably in the near future you’ll see lots of them : ) This fanfic is unbeta-ed. My beta is currently travelling around my country so I’m on my own.