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Lily's Thorn

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"I have to go again," Severus told him, and Harry didn't notice him leaving the room again because he was so wrapped up in his thoughts. His mind was still reeling from what Severus had said. He couldn't figure it out, but he also wasn't sure how he was supposed to feel. Severus was acknowledging that he was his son, he was trying. That meant the world to him, but after their shared past, he wasn't sure how he was supposed to feel. After all, the man hated him, right?

Harry nodded as he still grappled with his conflicted feelings. To say that the past twenty-four hours had been a roller coaster ride would be an understatement.

"I will return by dinner time," Severus told him. It was then that Harry noticed he must have gone back in his room and removed his outer robe because he stood there in simple a black button-down shirt and black slacks. It was a bit odd because he'd never seen Severus wear anything but robes, and he wondered what it was he needed to do that required him not to wear a robe.

Where was he keeping his wand anyway? Surely he'd have it with him. Before Harry could formulate a response, Severus was walking out the door, and he was alone again. He gave a sigh and then looked around the room. Well, he had to have some way to spend the next few hours, right?

Harry went into his room and looked over his school books for a while, but that quickly got boring. Sighing, he got up and started looking around at the immense tomes that covered the walls of the living room. He figured that Severus was the kind of guy who liked reading, but still, this was a bit mental, in his opinion. They weren't all in English, either. He picked out what looked like French and Italian, plus one that could be Russian, as well, and that was only what he saw on first glance as he walked around the room.

Most of the books were old, as well. Most looked like they were immense. The combination made Harry a bit afraid to touch them. Severus had told him that he could read anything, though… So, Harry started pulling random books off the shelf. They were about everything under the sun. There were plenty of Wizarding books - books on archaic spells and methods, potion techniques, and anything else one could think of. There were also Muggle books as well, by various different authors, though nothing that looked to have been released anytime recently.

Harry was honestly curious to see this side of Severus because prior to him moving in here, they had only seen one side of each other. Now, he was in Severus's house looking through his books.

Harry wasn't sure how long he did this until he came across something that wasn't a book at all. As he grabbed it off the shelf, he realized it was a picture album, with the word Friends on the front cover. Opening it up, he saw the words Lily & Severus written on the inside cover in a neat and tidy scrawl - his mother's handwriting, obviously, not Severus'. Besides, the idea of a photo album was a bit too cute and silly for him, anyway. Nonetheless, here it was, on the shelf, despite the fact that their friendship had ended a long time ago.

Harry, curious, turned the page. The first few photos were stationary. One of them was apparently from a birthday party, though whose he couldn't tell. Presents were sitting on a table on one side of the picture. The picture itself was off three people. The girl on the far right side of the picture was obviously a young Aunt Petunia. She was glaring at the two people sitting on the other side of the couch. One was of a girl a bit younger than her, with dark red hair and a large, blinding grin -  his mother. The boy next to her was dark-haired, sallow, and expressionless - Severus.

Harry stared at them for a second, not sure how he should be feeling. There was a lot of that lately. It was his parents, as children. He knew they had been friends, but it was different seeing it. Neither appeared to be Hogwarts age yet, either, as they looked to be around nine or so. 

There were several more pre-Hogwarts pictures, and they were all the same - his mum was smiling, and Severus was… not. The pictures changed when they reached Hogwarts, as his mother must have learned how to make the potion that caused them to move. The pictures were the same. There was one - second or third year; he couldn't tell which - of both of them. Severus scowled until Lily poked him in the side, and then he actually grinned . That was odd enough, but there were others like it, too.

There was another picture just of Severus, probably fourth year, but Harry couldn't be sure. He seemed to be studying, at the very least he was reading something. He looked up at the camera - presumably held by his mum - and smiled at her. Of course, he went back to scowling soon afterward. It was just odd, seeing him smiling and grinning in these pictures, even for brief moments. It didn't seem like something that he would ever do, yet he smiled for her. Or so it seemed.

His mother also seemed to be a dork, too. For one thing, there was no purpose for some of these pictures, and usually, the ones of her were of her either grinning like a madwoman or being silly and trying to poke Severus in the side to get an expression out of him. It worked, apparently, but it was just… silly and dorky. It made him smile and roll his eyes at the same time. All the while, he was still feeling conflicted. These were pictures of his parents as kids and teenagers. 

Harry continued flipping through the photo album until he came across one in their fourth or fifth year. Again, it was of the two of them. His mother was looking at Severus, gesturing, and moving her lips. She was apparently telling a story, by the way, the picture looked. Severus was looking at her with a look in his eyes that took Harry a bit to decipher. It caused him to flip back through the previous photos before going back to that one. Then, it all hit him.

Severus was in love with her.

That had to be it. The expression on Severus's face was of… bemusement, he would say, but the way he stared into her eyes… At the very least, he had feelings for her. Harry knew one thing, though - he'd never looked at Hermione or Ron with that expression. In fact, he wasn't even sure he could look like that with Cho. Wanting to decipher it, to see if he was right, he looked through the rest of the pictures. Unfortunately, there were only a few more pages before the photo album ended. There was still half the book left empty, indicating when she bought it, she assumed there were be more pictures.

Harry flipped back to that one picture. Somehow, it made him feel a tad better to know that there might have been something else there, at least from Severus's side. There was no indication that his mother felt the same way, though. Now, there was no way of knowing what would have happened. After all, Severus had admitted that towards the end of their fifth year, he'd said something so horrible to his mum that she'd never spoken to him again, or that was the impression he'd got. Although his mother's letter, as well as Severus's own words, seemed to indicate that his becoming a future Death Eater was also a large part of the reason as to why their friendship ended.

Harry felt a little better now, despite how crazy the past day had been. He was getting some kind of clue into his parent's past, and that was something to him. After all, if his whole life had been a lie, at least he had a right to get clues into what really happened, right? The idea of being a product of some drunken, adulterous one night stand with nothing else to go on was not as appetizing as being the product of a loving relationship between Lily and James Potter. It was what it was, though.

Harry wasn't sure how long he spent looking through that photo album until he heard the door open behind him. "Hey," he said by way of greeting.

Harry heard footsteps coming closer to him, and then Severus's voice. "Where did you find that?" he snapped.

Harry jumped in shock. "Sorry, but, er… you did say that I could read anything."

"Yes, I did say that," Severus said, the anger dissipating from his voice. "I apologize. You have a right to look at that." 

Harry heard his footsteps continue on to the hallway, but he called out to him before that could happen. "You… cared about her, didn't you? As more than just a friend." He looked over at Severus and found the older man looking back at him.

Severus waited for a second before continuing. "Yes, I cared for her very much."

Harry nodded. "This picture, the way you're looking at her…"

Severus walked over and looked down. He looked only briefly before turning and walking away. "It is all… irrelevant now." He then paused and looked at him. "I trust you to realize that I am a solitary man, and I am not used to having to answer about such things. However, with that being said, you have a right to this information. I will endeavor to answer questions if you have them."

Harry nodded. "Thank you. I appreciate that." He then watched as Severus left, continuing back down the hallway. He came back a short while later and then headed into the kitchen, presumably to start dinner. At the very thought of food, Harry's stomach began to rumble. He gave one last look at the photo album and put it back on the shelf where he found it.

~~~~~~~~~~

Harry insisted on helping Severus with dinner, which surprised him. Apparently, his Aunt and Uncle 'made' him cook. The more Severus saw and the more he knew, he liked them less and less. 

"So, exactly how many languages are you fluent in?" Harry asked during dinner. 

Severus smirked. He had figured that if he looked at the bookshelves, the different languages would clue him in. "Actually, I speak many languages. Seven to be precise."

Harry raised an eyebrow at that. "Really?" he asked. "Which ones?"

"If you must know, in addition to English, I also speak French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Japanese," he said, enjoying the look of shock on the boy's face. "I also have some conversational skills in some of the other European languages."

Severus enjoyed the way Harry just stared at him for a moment, before speaking again. "How?"

"Time and practice, obviously," Severus told him. "And I happen to enjoy learning in various capacities. Besides, you never know when such knowledge will come in handy." That didn't seem to make much sense to Harry, because he was still in shock afterward. 

They played another game of chess afterward, and Severus made a mental note that they needed to find something else to do. Obviously, they weren't going to be sitting around and playing chess for the next three weeks until he had to go to Hogwarts a week before term started. Honestly, he thought Harry was getting better with every game, but he still got easily frustrated when things didn't go his way. 

Severus got up early the next morning and started breakfast. He had this morning planned out. Admittedly, he was a tad nervous. This was something new for him for both of them. He made breakfast, and then went and woke up Harry. "Get up," he said. "Breakfast is ready. We have something to do today."

"We do?" Harry said, his green eyes blinking up at Severus sleepily. "What?"

"You will see," Severus told him. "Now get up."

Harry nodded. "You're not wearing robes again."

Severus shook his head. "No, I am not." He then left and went back into the kitchen. The boy followed him a short time later. They ate mostly in silence, with the boy drinking coffee again. That reminded him that he had asked permission for it yesterday. "Why did you ask yesterday if you could drink coffee?"

"My aunt and uncle never let me," Harry told him. "Told me I wasn't allowed."

Wasn't allowed? Yes, Severus was certainly liking these people less and less. Yes, Petunia had not been a pleasant girl from what he'd seen, but he wouldn't have thought she'd allow this sort of treatment.

After breakfast was over, Severus told Harry to get dressed and that they were leaving. Harry shrugged and said he was already dressed. He looked the boy up and down and noticed the bagging clothing he'd been wearing. "Why do you wear those clothes?" He looked down and saw some shoes that certainly looked like they needed to be thrown out. He had assumed they were just for wearing around the house and hadn't paid much attention to what Harry wore at school when out of school robes. "And those shoes are not acceptable."

Harry shrugged. "They're hand-me-downs from my cousin, Dudley," he explained. "The Dursleys wouldn't buy me any clothes."

"Surely, you have your inheritance from your mother and Potter?" 

"Yeah, but I never really have time to go and buy them, and they're just clothes."

Severus shook his head, a wave of anger washing over him. This was not an acceptable way to treat a child; even he knew that! He was also quite aware of the irony of that statement, considering how he treated some of his students. That was one thing, though. It was entirely another to have someone treat a child they were raising in such a way. It reminded him too much of his own experience growing up.

"Not any more," Severus told him. Severus was not about to allow Harry to continue wearing someone else's clothes, especially not with what they were doing today. He looked at his watch. "We have some time before we have to be at our meeting point. I will endeavour to buy you a proper outfit, and then afterward, you will throw away all of that rubbish, and I will get you a proper set of clothes."

Harry blinked at him. "Er, thanks, but you don't have to do that -"

"It's done," Severus said, and then he walked over to Harry. "Have you done side-along Apparition before?" 

Harry groaned. "Yeah, when Dumbledore brought me here."

Severus nodded, ignoring the groan. "Good." With that, he grabbed Harry's arm and then Apparated him to an alley in London. He noticed Harry bending over after they had finished. "You'll get used to that."

"So, I've been told," Harry commented before standing up. "Isn't there any easier way to travel?"

"It is the fastest, and we can't Floo where we are going today," Severus told him.

"You still haven't told me what that is."

"You will find out," he told Harry, before leading him out into the street. They made their way to a clothing shop that happened to be nearby. "Pick out one outfit and one pair of shoes."

"But I have no idea what size I am," Harry whispered. "I wasn't entirely sure before, but I certainly am not now that I have a new body." 

Severus groaned, and then picked out an outfit that he thought might fit him. "There, I am guessing that is appropriate."

Harry looked at it; a shirt, a pair of jeans and a new pair of shoes. He shrugged, then Severus watched him go change. He came out a bit later. "They fit fine, actually. Good guess."

"Excellent. Let's pay for it and leave. Don't change out of them," Severus told him. "You are not wearing those other rags that pass for clothes ever again." They did that, and then Harry threw the other clothes in a rubbish bin outside the store.  After that, Severus led the boy to another alley and waved his wand. "Getting rid of the store smell. Are you ready?"

"Again?"

"Yes, again," Severus told him. "Just a couple more times today." Harry groaned, but then Severus had grabbed his arm and they were off again, in another alley in another town. \

"Where are we?" Harry asked. 

"Dover," was Severus' quick response. He led Harry out, and then they walked for about ten minutes until they left the main area of the town. They slowly came across a house - traditional, straight lines. A man was waiting to see them. 

The man was a few inches shorter than Severus, with short, dark brown hair. He was thin and severe. "Mr. Snape, a pleasure to see you again," he said, his voice firm. "This must be your son."

Severus nodded. "Yes, Jacob," he said, remembering to use his new name as he gestured the boy next to him, who was still staring up at the house. "This is Donald Morgan, the realtor."

"Shall we, then?" Morgan then turned and walked towards the house.

"What are we doing?" Harry asked Severus once Morgan's back was turned.

"Well, considering we are standing at a house and speaking to a realtor," he said, "I thought it was pretty obvious that we were looking at houses. Two to be precise. This is the first one."

"Why?"

"Because that's typically what you do when you buy one."

Harry suddenly stopped walking next to him and stared at him. "You're buying a house? Why?" Severus looked at him. "Because of me? Wait, you're buying me a house?"

Severus sighed. "Us, I think is the proper term since I will be owning it, and you are not living there alone."

"Of course, of course, it's just… why?" Harry asked. "I thought you hated me."

"Because no child should have to live in that house," Severus said simply. By Harry's silence, it was clear that he understood he meant the house in Spinner's End. "Considering our new circumstances, our past experiences with each other are unfortunate but irrelevant." 

Morgan just stood up at the door, and by the look in his face, it was clear he was confused as to why they had hung back. Severus continued to walk up to the door, and he heard Harry following behind. "Is everything okay?" Morgan asked.

"Yes, it is fine." With that, Morgan led them in.

~~~~~~~~~~

Harry was quiet as the man, Morgan, showed them the house. It was nice, but it all reminded him too much of Privet Drive. There was nothing unique or anything appealing about it. When they were done, Morgan led them to the front door and asked them what they thought. It took a couple of seconds before Harry realized that both of the men were looking at him. "Er, what?"

Severus just said, "Give us a second." Morgan nodded and walked out the front door. Severus looked at Harry. "What do you think?"

Harry shrugged. "It's okay. You're the one buying it."

The older man sighed. "I asked for your opinion. I wouldn't have asked for it if I do not want the truth."

Harry paused for a second, and took a deep breath, steeling himself before answering. "I hate it."

"That's a strong statement." 

"It reminds me too much of the Dursleys'."

Severus nodded. "Very well, then." With that, Harry followed him out of the house where Morgan was waiting for them. "Thank you for your time. If we are interested, I will be in contact." They shook hands and then began walking until they were out of sight.

"So, that's why you weren't wearing your robes today."

"That is correct," Severus replied. 

"Where is your wand?"

Harry watched as Severus rolled his sleeve and showed his wand, in a holster on his arm, before rolling it back up. "A wand holster," he said. "I didn't even know they made those."

"Of course they do. Where is your wand right now?"

"Er, in the waistband of my jeans."

"Exactly." They made it back to the alley, and then Severus grabbed him and they Apparated again. It was a bit easier this time, but Harry still didn't like it. At least he didn't feel sick to his stomach this time - at least not completely.  

"Where are we now?" Harry asked.

"Salisbury," Severus replied.

They walked out of the town and made their way out of the city again. Harry was beginning to see a pattern. The first house had been out of the city, too. Then again, this made sense. After all, Severus lived in a dungeon and had admitted that he was a solitary man. It was only logical that he would want to live somewhere out of the main part of the city.

They came upon a house, and for a moment, Harry was sure that this couldn't be the one they were going to. After the last house, it was completely different. However, there was a car in the driveway and a man standing outside. 

As soon as they walked up, the man walked towards them. He was a portly man of around fifty. "Wonderful to see you again, Mr. Snape," he said, his voice and manner very friendly. It was honestly a little funny, because Severus was not a friendly man, nor a man most people would want to be friendly with. However, the man quickly turned to him and shook his hand. "You must be young Jacob."

Harry blinked. "Er, yeah."

"Wonderful," the man said. "I'm Patrick Johnson, the real estate agent. Your father wanted you to see this house, so shall we?" He then turned and made his way to the house. This was when Harry really got a good look at it.

It was a Tudor style house, far different from the traditional style that they had seen at the last house. The bottom half of the house was a dark brown brick. Harry couldn't tell what the top half was, white brick or stone with brown wood overlay. It was beautiful, he thought. Johnson led them up to a covered porch, which was made of a dark wood that blended in nicely with the brick. 

The door was dark brown, with an oval window. Johnson opened it up, and they walked into the foyer. The walls in here were a beige color. The first room they were showed was directly as they entered, off to the right. Johnson called it a formal space. There was a fireplace off in the back of the room.  Johnson explained that the old couple that currently owned the property had loved fireplaces, so they'd had four put in.

Johnson then led them across the foyer to another room, which he said could be used as either a study or a guest room. It had a closet, a fireplace, and led straight into a bathroom with a small linen closet. They were lead back out into the foyer from the bathroom. They came across a staircase. It went up, and then there was also a door. Johnson led them to the door before leading them down into the basement. He explained it was finished. There were two large rooms, but that was it.

Johnson led them back up to the first floor and continued on. They came to the kitchen, which was open to a breakfast area and a great room. There was another fireplace here towards the back of the great room. The kitchen counters were done in a dark granite, and the cabinets were done in a dark mahogany. There was an island, as well. The appliances were there because Johnson explained that they wouldn't need to bring the appliances with them to their new place. The current owners had apparently moved up north to be closer to their kids since they were getting on in years.

The rest of the house, Harry had noticed, was unfurnished. So, apparently, they took the rest of the furniture with them. After that, Johnson led them past where the breakfast area was. There was a door just past that that led out to a small covered porch. There was another door that led back into a mudroom, which was connected to a coat closet and a storage room. There was also an entryway that led back into the breakfast area. From there, their realtor led them to the stairs and up to the second floor.

Harry was already having trouble keeping the smile off his face, and he noticed a smirk from Severus out of the corner of his eye. Upon reaching the second floor, they were greeted with a little window seat by a large window right next to the stairwell. Harry liked it and could see himself sitting there. Johnson led them into what he said was the smallest of the three bedrooms. It had a small closet, and they were quickly onto the second biggest bedroom. When Johnson said it would be his room, he was sold.

There was no adjoining bathroom, but it had a good-sized closet. Harry could see himself in there, but they were quickly moving along. Next to that was the laundry room, and Johnson explained that the old couple had decided to leave the washer and dryer there and buy a new one. They moved along to the rest of the house. There was a second bathroom, and from there, they went into the master bedroom. It had a huge walk-in closet and the largest bathroom in the house.

Does Severus even need a closet that big? Harry thought to himself. However, Johnson was leading them out and saying that they were done. They followed him out of the house. Johnson had smiled the whole time and had actually talked to him the whole time. He had showed Severus the house yesterday, of course. Harry couldn't stop smiling, but as soon as Johnson left them alone to 'talk things out,' he tried to make the smile disappear.

"So, what do you think?" Severus asked.

Harry pictured the unique architecture inside the house, the woodwork on the ceiling… He cleared his throat. "Er, well, I mean, it's nice, and…"

"You love it, don't you?" Harry nodded, the smile coming back. "Yes, your mother was never good at hiding that smile of hers, either." With that, Severus walked over to Johnson. "We'll take it."

"Brilliant!" Johnson said. "I'll give you a ride into town, and we'll sign the papers." He led them over to his car, and they were then headed into town.

We have a new house, Harry thought to himself. He still wasn't sure how he felt about this whole father-son thing. It was still a bit early for that, but… This was a step in the right direction.