Expectations and Understandings
After Severus had finished crying, Harry took him into the bathroom and sat him on the toilet.
He then ran cold water onto a wash cloth and handed it to Severus to clean his face with.
"Feel better?" he asked the former Potions Master.
He had knelt down so that the five year old didn't have to sprain his neck trying to look at him.
Severus looked so solemn, and while there was nothing new about that—the look just didn't belong on the face of a five year old.
"I guess so."
"Aren't you certain?" Harry asked him, smirking. "You always seemed certain in just about everything before…especially when it came to me."
Severus merely blinked at him and bit his lip, avoiding eye contact yet again.
So much for a little bit of levity to lighten the situation! Harry sighed.
"I'm sorry." The words had been spoken so softly that for a moment Harry had wondered if he'd heard them at all.
Reaching out, he lifted Severus' chin so that the boy was looking him in the eye. "For what?" he asked him, curiously.
"Being mean to you," Severus admitted, ashamed. "I shouldn't have been."
"Yes, that's true," Harry agreed, "but I also could have tried harder to look past all that to see you for what you truly were."
Severus frowned. "A greasy git?"
Harry frowned fiercely at that. "That isn't nice, not even when you're talking about yourself."
"You called me that," Severus insisted. "I know you did."
"And somebody should have washed out my mouth for saying it," Harry admitted ruefully. "You would have, I bet, if you'd ever caught me."
"Yeah, I would," Severus agreed, and then looked worried. "You're not, though? Right?"
Harry chuckled and shook his head no.
"Ginny and I have only a few rules," Harry began, keeping his voice low and reassuring. "And a few consequences that go along with them."
Severus nodded. "What are they?"
"Are you sure you want to have this discussion now?" Harry queried. "Don't you think it should wait 'til you're more settled?"
Severus shook his little head.
"I like knowing where I stand," said the little boy, sounding a great deal like his former self. "Please?"
Harry nodded. He had always preferred people to be straight forward with him, too.
Odd, how it seemed he and Severus were a lot alike in a lot of ways.
If only they had both seen it years ago…
"Okay," he told the boy. "First rule is a familiar one: Respect. We expect you to be respectful to us, to Alby, all adults, other children, and certainly yourself. Like Remus said, if you can't say anything nice—don't say anything at all. Second rule is Obedience: when we tell you to do something, we expect you to do it; same goes for if we tell you not to do something. Last rule is Honesty: don't ever lie to us—about anything."
It felt odd actually going over these rules, something he and Ginny had never had to do with Alby.
Being four, Alby instinctively knew what his mummy and daddy got mad about and tried very hard not to make them so.
However, since Severus was only physically and emotionally a child, Harry knew he could explain things out fully and he could be understood by the boy.
Severus nodded. "I understand," he told him, but then bit his lip. "W-What about consequences?"
"Well, with Alby, 'time out' or 'corner time' works wonders with the little things," Harry informed Severus with a slight smile. "However, if he ever breaks one of the Big Three…then he gets a spanking."
Severus' eyes widened at that.
"I-I suppose those will be my consequences, too," he said, looking like a deer caught in the headlights of a car.
"It's only fair," Harry said calmly. "Severus, you know I have your memories…"
Severus nodded. "I gave them to you," he said. "I wanted you to know the truth."
"And I am very grateful for that," Harry said softly. "But what I mean is…I know exactly what your father used to do to you."
Severus cringed. He didn't want to remember what his father used to do to him.
"And I want you to know right now that that will never happen here," Harry told him, firmly. "If you ever do something to warrant a spanking, you get turned across my knee and given five swats—no more. Alby, although it is very rare that he does something we tell him not to, gets four swats."
"That's all?" Severus asked, seemingly amazed.
"That's all," Harry told him, reaching out touch Severus' head. Again, he wasn't that surprised when the boy flinched.
"Sorry," Severus mumbled. "Not used to being touched…"
"Not used to being touched gently, you mean," Harry corrected him softly. "but that is okay. It'll take time."
Severus nodded. "Thank you, Pot—uh—Harry."
Harry smiled. "For what, Severus?"
Severus looked him straight in the eyes.
"For understanding. Nobody but Lily and my mum ever understood me before."
"We'll have to see about changing that, then," Harry told him. "If you let her, Ginny will understand you, too."
Severus nodded. "Can we go back out now?" he asked him, but then blushed. "My…my bum is going numb."
Harry laughed at that, unable to stop himself.
"I hate when that happens!" he told the child, picking him up and rubbing the small backside gently. "It gets all tingly and all you want to do is shake it all about to get the numb feeling to go away!"
To his immense surprise, and pleasure, Severus actually smiled at that.
"Used to happen a lot at Hogwarts," he muttered into his ear. "Could never get Albus to let me buy a comfy chair to sit on…"
"I know what you mean," Harry told him, smirking. "I usually stand up during my classes!"
"Me, too," Severus said, and then let out a small chuckle.
Harry smiled at that. "C'mon, let's go see what the others are doing?"
"Okay," Severus said, nodding.
Harry carried him out of the bathroom and back out into the living room.
"All better?" Ginny asked gently.
"Yep," Harry said, joining her on the sofa. "Severus? Do you want to sit in-between me and Ginny?"
"I'm…I'm good right here," Severus muttered, blushing. The boy inadvertently snuggled closer to him.
Harry was touched that he wanted to be near him.
Sirius snorted from where he was still standing beside Remus.
"Itty bitty Snivvy," Sirius muttered, scowling at him. "Throws a tantrum and gets hugged—figures!"
Severus scowled back at him and promptly stuck his tongue out at him. "Stupid mutt," he muttered.
"Severus," Harry said disapprovingly. "What did we just talk about?"
"If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all," Severus quoted, verbatim.
"Exactly, now apologize," Harry told him firmly.
"He was mean first," Severus reminded him pointedly. "He should apologize to me—then I'll apologize to him."
"Severus is right, Sirius," Remus raised an eyebrow at the boy next to him. "What you said was uncalled for."
"Ah, Moony…" Sirius complained. "I already had to apologize to him once—isn't that enough?"
"No," all four adults in the room answered at the same time.
"Humph," Sirius muttered.
"Sirius," Remus said sternly. "Now."
A stubborn look crossed the seven year old's face and he glared up at his former best friend.
"What if I don't?" he demanded mutinously.
Remus' eyes narrowed, and the color changed from brown to feral gold—a sign of the dominant wolf within him coming out.
"Then I will escort you into Harry's study," he informed him, "turn you across my knee, and give you a spanking."
"You'll what!" Sirius exclaimed, shocked. "Moony! You can't!"
"I most certainly can," Remus said sternly. "It's certainly something I felt like doing years ago, but never could. I won't make that mistake again. Now, what's it to be?"
Sirius looked flabbergasted. "I thought we were friends!" he all but shouted at the werewolf.
"We were friends, Sirius," Remus told him, "but now I am more than your friend—I am your guardian…as is 'Dora. What we say goes, and if you disobey you get punished, so I repeat. What's it to be? An apology? Or a spanking?"
Sirius glanced around, but found no support from any of the other adults in the room. He sighed.
"Fine," he groused. "I'm sorry for what I said, Snape."
"Severus," Remus corrected, firmly.
Sirius looked ready to protest this, but apparently thought better of it. "I'm sorry, Severus," he muttered sourly.
"Severus?" Harry asked, nudging the boy gently.
Severus sighed. "I apologize, Bl—uh, Sirius," he said, looking as if the very name made him want to sick up. "I shouldn't have called you a mutt—even if you are one."
Harry shook his head. "Was that last part really necessary?"
"Yes," Severus told him, solemnly.
Harry and Ginny exchanged glances, each trying hard not to smile despite themselves.
They knew very well they were going to have their hands full with this little one—that was for sure.
Just then, the sound of the back door opening was heard and running footsteps pounding on the tiled kitchen floor.
"It's amazing to me how three little boys can sound like a pack of wild elephants," Remus said, just as Alby, Teddy, and Jamie entered the room.
"Mum! Dad!" Teddy and Jamie spoke at the same time. "We're hungry!"
"We're sorry, boys," Tonks spoke up, looking apologetically. "We completely forgot about lunch! We've been distracted."
"What about you, sweetie?" Ginny asked Alby, gently, as he came and sat in her lap.
Severus glanced at him hesitantly.
Would he mind him sitting in his father's lap? Harry and his son seemed really close, after all.
The four year old nodded. "Is Sev'us gonna eat with us, Mummy?" he asked, curiously.
"Yes, baby, he is," Ginny told him. "In fact, Severus is going to live with us. What do you think of that?"
"Will he be my brudder?" Alby asked. "Like Teddy and Jamie are each other's brudder?"
"Brudder?" Severus asked Harry, confused.
"He means 'brother'," Harry whispered to him. Severus nodded, understanding.
"Yes," Ginny told him. "He'll be like your brother."
"Yay!" Alby exclaimed. "I always wanted a brudder!"
"Who's he, Mum?" Teddy asked Tonks, nodding at Sirius.
"That's Sirius," Tonks explained to her sons. "He's going to come live with us."
"Why?" Jamie asked, puzzled. "Don't he have a home?"
"Not anymore," Remus explained. "He's your cousin—on your mother's side."
"He's older than me," Jamie said, frowning. "I don't want another big brother!"
"Well, I don't want another little brother!" Teddy said, also frowning. "He'll get on my nerves just like Jamie!"
"No I won't!" Sirius piped up. "Honest, guys! I'm loads of fun! I can show you all kinds of neat tricks and pranks!"
"Really?" Teddy and Jamie both asked, their eyes lighting up with the thought of mischief.
Remus sighed. "Heaven help us," he said, closing his eyes.
Severus whimpered, glancing at the three boys who were now standing side by side.
It didn't help that Teddy resembled his father and Jamie was the spitting image of his namesake (not to mention having his spirit within him). Add Sirius to the mix…
"Severus?" Harry whispered. "What is it?"
"The Marauders," Severus swallowed, leaning closer. "Lily promised it'd be different this time."
Harry glanced at the three boys, and understood what he meant.
"It will be," Harry told him. "I won't let them hurt you, Sev. They might like a good laugh, but they know better than to go too far."
"Black doesn't," Severus argued, pouting. "He's still the same!"
"And if he tries something, he'll get what he should have gotten before," Harry assured him. "Not one but two spankings—one from me and one from Remus."
Severus blinked at him. "But he was your godfather," he whispered, surprised.
"He's not anymore," Harry said, smirking. "Ironically, I'll probably end up being his godfather now…since I'm Teddy and Jamie's."
"Let's not get ahead of ourselves Sirius," Remus told the seven year old. "We still need to get you settled."
"We should probably go then," Tonks stood. "We need to sort out a room for him and go shopping."
"Will you all be coming to the Burrow tonight?" Ginny asked, standing up with Alby.
"We haven't missed a Victory Day dinner yet," Remus reminded her, smirking.
"Mum was planning on making her famous cobbler again," Tonks told her.
"The boys will be glad to hear that," Ginny said, laughing. The 'boys' were all her brothers, of course.
"So, we'll see you there at seven," Remus said, as they all stepped into the fireplace.
"Bye, Harry," Sirius waved. "I still say you should chuck Snape!"
Harry sighed. "See you tonight, Siri, behave!"
"I always behave," Sirius said cheekily.
"Yeah," Remus smirked. "Badly. Lupin residence!"
With that, he threw the Floo Powder at their feet and they all disappeared in a flash of green flames.
"Well, I suppose I should get lunch started," Ginny smiled. "Alby, do you want to help me?"
"Yes, Mummy," Alby nodded. "What about Sev'us and Daddy?"
"I think we're going to go upstairs and sort out where Severus will be sleeping," Harry replied "Would you mind sharing your room with him?"
"Course not, Daddy!" Alby grinned. "I can share my toys, too."
"That's very generous, luv," Ginny said, "but I think we'll have to go shopping after lunch to get Severus his own toys and things."
"You don't have to," Severus murmured.
"Yes," Harry said firmly. "We do. You definitely need clothes, if nothing else."
"Okay, then," Ginny said, "Alby and I will be in the kitchen."
"And Severus and I will be upstairs," Harry said, smiling.
Ginny nodded and then turned to head into the kitchen with Alby.
"I can just sleep on the couch," Severus said matter-of-factly. "You shouldn't trouble yourself."
"I'm a full grown wizard, remember?" Harry reminded him, smirking. "It's no trouble, trust me. Now, let's take a look at what we've got."
Severus nodded. "Okay."
Harry chuckled, and then proceeded to carry him upstairs.
They had made good start, he thought.
They knew what to expect from each other and understood each other.
Now it was just a matter of time.
A/N: Jlbrew27 says: I hope you all are still enjoying it. Please, review. It's appreciated.
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