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Daddy by thegirllikeme

Format: One-shot
Chapters: 1
Word Count: 2,565

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Fluff, AU
Characters: Snape, OC

First Published: 01/29/2011
Last Chapter: 01/29/2011
Last Updated: 01/29/2011


extraordinarily beautiful banner by angelic. Severus Snape had only just learned he would be a father when the child was taken from him. After his daughter’s mother’s death, he began a search for the daughter he had never known, a search that did not end for nine years. That's how the story goes.

But what if it wasn't? What if he’d found her sooner?

What if?

Based off of the OTWAD series

Chapter 1: Daddy
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Author’s note: This is a spinoff of my series, Once There Was A Darkness. If you have not read the story, you will probably be a little confused. However, for those who have read it, you should understand this perfectly. I wrote this a long time ago (before I went on hiatus), because I was really curious on what might have happened if things had gone a little differently in the OTWAD series. I honestly forgot that I had written it until I stumbled on it a few months back. I tweaked a few things and decided to shared it. I hope you enjoy.

Severus Snape rolled his shoulder blades, but that did not relieve the ache in his knotted shoulders. The soreness spread from his neck to his lower back, and no matter how he massaged a hand over the tense muscles as he walked down the hall, it did not relieve it. It was all those bloody brats fault! The silly, unintelligent students who could not seem to brew even the simplest potions properly! But the day was done, and he wished not to torment himself with thoughts of being locked within his classroom, not when he was free of it.

Still his obligations did not end, and according to Dumbledore, given what he was, they would never end again. That was why, instead of heading towards the cosy warmth of his chambers, he was headed the opposite direction up the stairs to the Hospital Wing.

He opened the door the wide door and slipped inside. His eyes searched about, seeking what he was eager to find. Madam Pomfrey was bustling around changing bed sheets. The Healer’s eyes looked up to Severus in the permanent look of disapproval she always seemed to wear. Then her eyes trailed to her sole company; her charge, but not her patient.

A young child, no more than five years of age, sat upon one of the beds. She was skinny, far too much so for his liking, and had long hair. He recalled that her hair had been tangled this morning and he had driven himself insane trying to undo the knots, until he had given up. Poppy had obviously had better success than he, for it was now sleek and shiny. A picture book was laid upon her lap and she stared down at it, silently turning the pages. Severus wondered if the images of blue and green unicorns were truly as thought-invoking as the solemn look on her face might suggest.

“How is she?” he asked as Pomfrey drew near.

“Better now that she has been properly washed, clothed, and groomed. Honestly, Severus, it has been a year! You would think you would learn by now!”

Severus ignored her irritated scold. It was true that it had been a year, but it still felt like yesterday. He could remember it all so vividly—the terror of thinking he would never find his daughter after Ellessa's death. But after a long search, he, with Dumbledore's help, had found her at a Muggle orphanage. It had been a reunion of mixed emotions, for though he was relieved to have her there with him, the state of the child had been sickening. The child would shudder, or worse, scream, if any stranger tried to touch her.

There were nights when he would awake to her screaming from her nightmares. He would awake the girl only for her to cower in the corner of the bed, huddled in fear. He had not known what to do, save to brew her Dreamless Sleep and to coax her into drinking them. But until she fell back into a sleep that was now blissfully free from nightmares, her pain was his pain.

He wanted to scream at Ellessa for doing this to her, and everyday he was more grateful that the despicable woman was dead. The thought of the abuse Shiloh must have faced, the scars she would never be rid of, and not to mention the Mark permanently branded on her shoulder made him shudder with enmity. But it was not Ellessa he hated the most; it was himself, for it was his mistakes that had allowed it to happen to her. It was his fault, all his fault.

Finally, the child had warmed up to him and now she didn’t flinch at his every touch. She would allow him to take her hand or to touch her hair or to carry her. It took her an enormous amount of time to warm up to the staff of Hogwarts, but now, after a year, she accepted their presence and seemed to trust that they did not mean her harm. The nightmares had decreased as well. But there was one thing she had yet to do.

She had yet to say a single word.

Yet, he continued to wait, for she was worth the effort. For she was not just some girl; she was his daughter.

Severus closed the distance between them and, hearing the footsteps, she snapped her head up, looking about widely. Slowly, when she realized nothing was amiss, the fear disappeared and she looked up at him with those precious, dark eyes: those eyes so like his.

“Good afternoon, Shiloh,” he greeted.

Her lips did a strange spasm. It had taken him a long while to figure out what that particular expression meant, only to conclude that it was the closest thing she had to a smile.

“Ready to go?” he asked her, stretching out her hand.

In reply, she closed her book, tucked it beneath one arm, slid from the bed, and put her hand in his. She had such tiny hands. His one hand could swallow both of them, and he tentatively closed his fingers around them.

Madam Pomfrey walked them to the door, laid a fond hand on the child’s hair, and smiled down at her. “Goodbye, sweetie. I’ll see you at dinner.”

Shiloh did not speak, only blinked her large black eyes at her. Severus pulled her out the door.

“You're welcome!” Madam Pomfrey snapped indignantly at him. She had slammed the door behind him before he could work up the effort to say thank you.

The loud noise startled the girl and she jumped. He squeezed her hand carefully and made assurances that everything was all right, but he thought the child remained closer than was necessary as they began the journey to their quarters in the dungeon. They passed Professor McGonagall on the walk and she paused to greet the child, a smile breaking her stern face.

Severus was more than grateful for the staff’s reaction to his child. When Dumbledore had informed them that Severus had a daughter and, due to difficult circumstances, would be coming to stay at Hogwarts with them, they had been splendidly accepting. They had asked few questions, always made sure the girl was taken care of, and were generally affectionate to the closed-off child. Hagrid, in particular, seemed quite fond of the child, but had learned to keep his distance after Shiloh had screamed in fear the first time the giant oaf had attempted to pull her into his burly arms. Severus had hardly blamed her.

Of course, the kindness of staff had its drawbacks. They never ceased to tease him about his fatherhood or point out the number of ways he had failed—good-naturedly or so it would seem. It only served to remind him of how unsuitable he was to be a father. He hardly had an example to look up to, and he wasn’t the sort of teacher that made people have much faith in his parenting skills. Yet, here he was, stuck with a child who he truly did care for and wanted the best for, but not entirely sure he was the best. Even this morning, while preparing the girl for the day, he had watched her put her toothbrush not in her mouth, but in her ear. Fearing for the girl’s sanity, he had talked to Madam Pomfrey about his concerns, only to have her laugh at him.

“She’s not insane! She’s four!”

Yes, he had absolutely no idea what he was doing. But he was determined to do his best, because he was all she had. And let’s face it…

She was all he had too.

“Well, Severus,” McGonagall said with a mischievous glint in her eye. “She has your eyes.”

“But thank Merlin, she doesn’t have your nose, I know,” Severus finished the old joke drily. The joke hadn’t been funny the first time. This was nearly the hundredth and he had yet to find the humour.

McGongall, however, laughed and continued on.

“Crazy, old croon,” Severus murmured, and Shiloh blinked up at him. Her face was so unnaturally devoid of emotion, as though she had never learned how to make expressions. Yet there was something in those dark eyes of hers...something almost disapproving. “Don’t look at me like that. She is.”

Her lips twitched.

“Oh, come on, then.”

He tugged on her hand and they made the rest of the way to their quarters in the dungeon. His rooms that had once been tidy, with only a few scattered texts and papers he was grading. Now it was a chaotic array of picture books and toys. The front room he had once relaxed in had been made into her bedroom, her small bed in one corner behind a green curtain. Ever the reminder of how much his life had changed.

As they entered the room, she released his hand and ran eagerly to sit beside her favourite toy, her miniature cauldron. She played with it incessantly, as she did now, grabbing the wooden spoon and spinning it around, sprinkling in invisible ingredients. He had no doubt that in a few years she would be brewing potions beside him. He hoped she had at least a measure of his talent; he didn’t think he could explain to Dumbledore how his daughter had managed to burn down the dungeons.

Of course, there was no guarantee that she would still be living here in a few years. He knew the situation of allowing Shiloh to live here was only temporary, and eventually, he would have to discover something better for her. He didn’t even know what he would do then. Would he leave his position at Hogwarts for a job that didn’t demand him be away nine months of the year? Would he buy a house in Hogsmeade and hire a nanny for her during the day and Floo there during the night? He had no answers.

He sighed and sank into his large armchair that faced the heath. He lit a fire with a flick of his wand. She sat near the warmth of the flame and he was content to watch her, satisfied that whatever the future held, she was here now. That was all that mattered.

Shiloh climbed to her feet, picked up the cauldron, and to his surprise, brought it over to him. She held it out, and she had to repeat the giving gesture a few times before he realized he was meant to take it. He held it within his hands as she stared at him, something expectant within her shimmering black eyes. So, he inspected the inside of it.

“There's nothing here,” he critiqued. It was the only opinion he could give, if an opinion was what she truly wanted.

Shiloh did not frown, but the lines between her thin eyebrows deepened. Perhaps that had not been the right thing to say.

She held out her hands and Severus gave it back. She held it in the crook of her arm, stirred her spoon in it so vigorously it rattled against the metal inside, then promptly held it back out.

“Better,” was all he could think to say.

Her lips did their strange twitch. She took the cauldron back to her spot on the rug and pretended to scoop the invisible substance into an old potion bottles he had cast an Unbreakable Charm upon. Once done, she climbed to her feet, came back to him, and held it out.

The child’s strange ways was using all of his intelligence to figure out exactly what she wanted. After a moment's deliberation, he asked, “For me?”

She nodded, laid it in his outstretched palm, and then folded his fingers about it.

He was startled when her hands moved to his knees and she began to clamber on his lap. He froze in surprise at her efforts, and did not believe her actual movements until she was sitting on his knee, facing the fire blazing in the hearth. His heart rattled within him, for it was the first she had come to him willingly, the first she had sat so comfortably upon his knee.

He sat there, frozen solid, not sure what to think or do. He cursed himself, for he was always so certain, and now when he needed his sense the most, it failed him. What foolishness was this? It was only a child and yet she was a great mystery to him.

The silence was between them, thick and uncomfortable, until he could bear it no longer.

“Shiloh,” he said softly, “what was the potion you made?” He cursed himself again for asking questions when he knew she would not answer.

He heard a murmur, and for a moment, he thought his ears deceived him. He leaned forward. “What, child?”

Then came the words so soft they were little more than a most delicate whisper. “Dreamless Sleep. Like Daddy makes.”

She had spoken! She had actually said those words! And she... She had called him Daddy! A warmth grew in his heart, and he cursed the foolish feeling, but it remained, heating his chest until he impulsively reached out to wrap his arms about her and pulled her against him. She didn't protest, did not squeak in fear, but leaned against his chest as he folded his arms about her.

She had said it, hadn't she? Or had he dreamt it? To be sure, he asked, “Who am I?”

“Daddy,” she whispered, matter-of-factly. Her tiny hand rested against his chest.

The impulse to bury his face into her hair, pitch black just like his, was too strong to ignore. She smelled of baby shampoo and the odor of brewed things, that always seemed to cling to himself and whatever was his. For she was his.

“Yes,” he breathed, “I am your daddy. I am.”

I want to hold you
Protect you from all of the things I've already endured.
I want to show you
Show you all the things that this life has in store for you.
I'll always love you
The way that a father should love his daughter.

End Note: Oh, wouldn’t it have been so good if OTWAD had turned out like this instead? Oh, why can’t I write happy stories?

The quote is from song “Zoey Jane” by Staind. I have always thought the song fit Severus' thoughts and feelings concerning his daughter so well.

And thanks to Molly for looking over this! And please leave a review, as reviews are love, and love makes the world go round.