Johnson drove them back into town and to his office. He prattled on about the elderly couple who currently owned the house. Severus didn't particularly care, but he could pay attention nonetheless. The information might be relevant at some point. Apparently, the couple had moved to be closer to their children and grandchildren. There was another buyer interested in the house, but Johnson was of the opinion that the couple wouldn't like them as much as a "single father and his son."
Severus glanced back to look at Harry. He wasn't sure about the idea of being a father, and hearing someone else calling him a father just seemed odd. It almost seemed as if he was pretending to be someone else, and he had to remind himself that he really was a father. Harry looked like he wasn't used to being taller just yet. He seemed a bit squished in the backseat, but luckily, the drive wasn't that long, and soon, they were at Johnson's office in the city.
Johnson escorted them inside his office and proceeded to discuss the details about the offer. Severus was offering nearly market value for the house - it was in great condition, and any issues it had he could fix with magic. He wanted him and Harry out of Spinner's End. He emphasized that he wanted to move in tomorrow. As Harry wandered outside from sheer boredom, Johnson called the owners.
The owners accepted the offer, as they were fairly desperate to get their house sold these months after they had moved. That was the impression that Severus got from Johnson anyway. After that, there was the process of drawing up the paperwork and signing it. The entire process was tedious. He was grateful when it was over.
Johnson informed him that he would have the paperwork sent off as soon as possible so that the owners could sign the paperwork, sent back, and returned tomorrow. Of course, Severus had waved his hand subtly over the paper to make sure everything went as efficiently as possible. He went and had the money transfer started and was back to get the keys from Johnson, who told him that the owners had no problem with them moving in tomorrow. The paper was going to be signed, and the money received, after all.
The next step was to contact the power company and get the account changed into his name. After that, Severus was directed to the water and gas companies and compelled them to add him in tomorrow. He was not waiting days for them to finally decide that he was worth seeing. When that was done, Severus was ready for lunch. He went out and found Harry coming back towards the office. "That took long enough," Harry said, his hands stuffed into his pockets.
"It was a long process," Severus said simply. "Would you care for some lunch?"
"Yes, I'm starving." They found a nice Muggle diner, ate and then were out on the street again. "How are you so well adjusted?"
Severus looked over at Harry, and he didn't need to ask for clarification. "My father was a Muggle," he said, keeping his voice low as they walked back up the street. "My mother was a Pureblood. He wasn't fond of anything magical, to put it lightly."
Harry nodded. "Today makes a lot more sense then," he said. "So the only magical blood I have in me is… my paternal grandmother."
Severus nodded, though the thought hadn't occurred to him. "That is correct." He looked around, as they came upon a furniture store. "I suppose that we need to buy some new furniture because what is in Spinner's End is not coming with us."
Harry nodded. "Are you sure about this? It's a lot of money, I mean -"
Severus cut him off. "I can afford it. I have not used hardly any of the money since I started working at Hogwarts. I might as well put it to good use."
Harry followed him into the store. They slowly started picking out something, and it became clear to Severus that they had different tastes. Harry wanted pieces that were a bit less traditional. They picked out their bedrooms relatively easily, but then came time to pick out the pieces for the rest of the house. They spent the better part of the next couple hours debating about pieces before they finally picked out some that were a mix of the more traditional that Severus wanted and the less traditional that Harry wanted.
Severus made sure that the pieces were going to be delivered tomorrow, and then he and Harry were back out walking down the street. He looked over at him. "I did promise that I'd get you new clothes." With that, they made their way into a couple of different clothing stores, and Harry left with a whole new wardrobe. "Anything that they gave you needs to be destroyed."
A smirk crossed Harry's face. "With pleasure, believe me."
After that, it was getting rather late, and Severus was leading Harry back to the alley so they could side-along Apparate home when they came across an electronics store that caught the young man's eye. It was obvious that he wanted to go in. "Do you wish to go in?"
"No, it's okay," Harry said. "It's just… I've never been in one before. The Dursleys never let me go."
"Fine." Severus then led the boy inside. By the time they left, he had bought Harry many things and had them all set to be sent over to the new house the next afternoon. He also managed to procure some boxes that he would need for the move. They stopped by another store to buy some other necessary things for the new house. After that, Severus side-along Apparated Harry back to Spinner's End for their last night there. His last night there. It was an odd thought, he found a most welcome one; he would not miss that house.
Harry and Severus ate dinner, and then it was time for packing. Only Harry didn't need to. There was only a few things that he'd taken out of his trunk when Dumbledore and Sirius had taken him from Privet Drive and brought him here. As it turned out, Severus didn't have much to pack either. He set the books in the living room to pack themselves, and also shrink as they did so. He went into his room and packed the rest of the stuff as the night went on.
This had been quite a few days for Harry. Somehow, none of it seemed real. The house - their house - was amazing, and Severus had spent quite a bit of money on him today. In fact, if he tried to think about it, he would feel extremely guilty. Normally, he had more money than he knew what to do with. Now, he didn't have access to any of it.
Harry didn't think for a second that Severus was doing any of this for completely magnanimous reasons. Partially, maybe, but he knew him too well to think that it was the only reason. Severus was doing all of this because he probably didn't know what else to do, and he felt that this was what he should do. It made him feel even more guilty, and he wasn't sure why.
At some point that night, Dumbledore Flooed in. Severus and Harry were both in the living room at the time while books zoomed off the shelves, then shrunk and plopped into boxes. "There was one matter that we did not discuss the other day," the old man's head said from the fireplace. "Harry, my boy, are you going to be taking the same extracurriculars this coming up year?"
Both Harry and Severus spoke at the same time. "Of course." "I think not." Harry turned his head to stare at Severus.
"Divination is a useless subject unless you are actually a seer, which you are not," Severus stated matter-of-factly. "Care of Magical Creatures is interesting when you have the right teacher, but it is useless if you are not going into a subject that involves magical creatures… which you are not. Therefore, there is no point in continuing either subject."
Harry stared at him. "But I've taken them for two years. It would be stupid to try to start other subjects at this point."
"You will manage."
"How?" Harry scoffed. "I can't learn a subject in less than a month."
"It's called a crash course."
"What are you suggesting exactly?"
"Arithmancy and Ancient Ruins in place of Care of Magical Creatures and Divination," Severus said.
Harry couldn't believe his ears, and the man was serious! "There's no way I can manage that."
Severus's eyes narrowed. "You are my son. You will manage."
Dumbledore seemed to be enjoying the show because the old man said nothing as the two stared at each other. Harry looked between them before looking back at Severus. "Fine. Arithmancy and Ancient Runes, but I get to keep Care of Magical Creatures, just like Hermione."
"Can you handle that?" Severus asked.
Harry shrugged. "I can do it for one year." He wasn't planning on continuing with Care of Magical Creatures, but he felt like he needed to do it for this year.
"Wonderful," said Dumbledore from the fireplace. "I will leave you two, then." With that, the old man was gone, and they went back to packing.
The next morning, Harry awoke and headed into the kitchen for their last breakfast in this house. They ate mostly in silence until there was a tap-tap at the window. There was a barn owl at the window, with something tied to his leg. Harry got up and let the owl in. It landed on the table and stuck its leg out. He untied the letter, and it flew off without a second thought. As Harry looked at the envelope, Severus went up and shut the window.
"Your Hogwarts letter, I am assuming?" Severus asked as he set back down.
Harry nodded. It was, and it was addressed to his new self. It was a weird sensation, staring down at a stranger's name and realizing it was you.
Harry just sighed, the first line burning into him as he opened up the envelope. There were two letters inside.
Dear Mr. Snape,
Well, that was going to take some getting used to, Harry thought as he continued reading.
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted as a transfer student to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Irish School of Magic. Your transcript from the school has been received. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins 1 September. We look forward to seeing you.
Harry didn't ask how Dumbledore got a transcript and instead grabbed the next letter, which was the typical list of books and stuff that one got as a first-year - except, of course, the books were those that he needed for his next year. He sighed and set the list aside. It wasn't as if he didn't know already, but he would still need to buy mostly new stuff. After all, he could have some stuff from the Irish school - but not everything. The Hogsmeade permission slip was there, too. He handed it straight to Severus, who took it without a word. Severus glanced up at him but didn't say anything.
"I'm fine," Harry said, knowing that he would never ask. "It's just a bit weird is all." In fact, he hadn't even looked himself full in the face since the change. He'd always looked away from his face in the mirror. On top of it all, he had to start getting used to this new name, too. The feeling of losing his identity, what he had felt the first day, came rushing back, and he was suddenly no longer hungry.
Harry looked down at the table, but he could feel Severus's eyes on him. Looking up at Severus, he looked him in the eyes. "I'm fine, really, I promise," Harry told him. "This is just weird. It's a lot."
Severus nodded. "Indeed, it is."
After that, they finished up breakfast. Severus went to make sure that he had gotten everything that he wanted to get. They decided that they could come back later, so Severus decided to take Harry and side-along Apparate him to the house. Harry had his trunk, and Severus had a couple of boxes. Harry immediately went up to his room while Severus set the boxes in the living room. After that, they went back and grabbed a couple more boxes. It was then that the electronics store showed up with the shipment from the day before. The furniture place hadn't shown up yet, and probably wouldn't until later. Severus directed them to the living room and Harry's room.
They really needed the furniture before they could continue, so they went back and got a couple more boxes. All the Apparition was tiring, though, so after that, they walked into the city and had some lunch - since they had no food yet. They had to go back, though, so they got takeaway and then headed back home as a guy from the water company showed up.
Severus and Harry ate their lunch. After that, they didn't really have many more boxes, so they got the last of them and then headed back to the house. The guy from the gas company showed up not too much longer after that, and then they were just waiting on the furniture company. Luckily, that didn't take too long.
That was the longest part of the day, as it took a long time for them to get all of the furniture inside the house. Severus told them that they would put everything where it needed to be, and Harry could tell that he was getting annoyed. That emotion coming from Severus was something he was quite familiar with, actually. After that, all that was left was to get everything situated. Luckily, Severus used magic for most of that, which made it go a lot faster.
Dinner time came around, and they had to go get some more takeaway before continuing with the house. It seemed like it would never end, but having magic certainly helped things go by faster for most of it. By the end of the night, they were mostly done. Severus suggested that they go by Spinner's End, to make sure nothing had gotten left behind. "You didn't bring anything of your… family's with you, did you?" he asked.
Harry shook his head. "No, I don't think so," he told him. "Why?"
"Go check. If you don't want it, make sure you leave it in Spinner's End."
Harry nodded and then went to double-check his trunk. They hadn't really gotten him anything, but some of his old clothes were still in there. He grabbed them, and after that, Severus took him back to Spinner's end.
"Just put them on the floor," Severus ordered before going downstairs. He came back up empty-handed, and then searched the rest of the house. Harry checked the room that had been his for a few days, and then went back out to the living room to wait for him. "Very well. Let's go out back."
A confused look crossed his face; Harry followed him outside and out behind the house. Severus raised his wand, and then uttered a few words in Latin that Harry couldn't catch. At first, Harry wondered what he'd done, and then he noticed flames licking at the bottom of the house. He gasped in shock as the flames quickly spread and started to overtake the entire house.
"Why are you burning it down?" Harry asked.
"Leaving it all behind," was the only response Severus gave. Harry almost asked for clarification until it hit him. Severus had hinted that there were not good memories, despite the fact that he was only leaving because of Harry. It made sense to him then. The house would burn down, and with it, all of the bad memories of what they had before could go with it. It was the start of a new life.
The next morning, Severus got up early. As he was finishing up breakfast, Harry got up, grabbed some coffee, and joined him at the new dining room table. It was their first full day in the new house, and Severus still found that sometimes, he forgot the boy was there unless he was with him. He was so used to being alone, and now, he was sharing his life with someone - his son.
"Things are going to change," Severus said once they finished.
Harry looked up. "What?"
"You have some work to do," Severus told him. "For instance, you have two years of catching up to do with Arithmancy and Ancient Runes. I will work on getting you something, but as soon as we get your books, you need to work on that. Your potions skills, on the other hand, you can work on now. They are abysmal, and I will not have my son being an imbecile in the fine arts!"
Harry narrowed his eyes at him. "Did you ever think that maybe it was the teacher?"
Severus narrowed his eyes back at the young man and fought the rise of anger that welled up in him. I am pretty certain that you are not supposed to hex your own children when they annoy you , he thought to himself. "Care to prove that?"
Harry's expression turned from anger and annoyance to shock. "Come again?"
"I have an errand to run at the Ministry," Severus said. "I have to hook our Floo up to the rest of the Floo network. Therefore, you will have the house to yourself for a couple of hours. I shouldn't be long. I will you give you a potion to do, one which an incoming fifth year should be able to do easily. If you are right, then the potion should be satisfactory. If it is not, then you need more work, and I was right."
Harry seemed to think it over for a moment before answering. "Deal."
Severus nodded, and after they finished cleaning up from breakfast, he wrote down a potion from memory that he knew Harry should be able to do but mostly likely wouldn't. He handed it to Harry. "There. Complete that while I am gone, and don't burn down the house, please. We just bought it."
Harry rolled his eyes. "Fine. Is there anything else? You said 'things' are going to change."
Severus nodded. "I think it is best if I teach you some more advanced dueling and defensive spells."
Harry brightened up at that. "Really? Are you serious?"
"I don't joke."
A smirk crossed Severus's lips. "It won't be as much fun as you seem to think it is."
Harry's smile faded a bit, and his expression turned into one of firm resolve. "I can handle it."
Severus knew that Harry had no idea what he was getting into, but he still enjoyed seeing him be so confident. "Yes, and I also think that it's best if you learn Occlumency."
Figures that he wouldn't know what that is, Severus thought to himself. "Occlumency is the skill of shielding one's mind from other forms of mental attacks."
Harry nodded. "That sounds interesting, but why?"
Severus paused for a second. He was privy to certain information that Dumbledore had wanted to keep from Harry. Severus had disagreed once he had found out, but he hadn't really cared. Until a few days ago. Harry had just been the son of a man he hated. Now, he was his son. Things were different. However, now was not the time to be telling the boy everything. "The Dark Lord is quite skilled with it," he told him, by way of an explanation.
Harry frowned for a second, thinking. "Yeah, but he can't get to me unless I'm there, right?"
Severus knew he had to be careful when he answered this. "Perhaps not, but it is still a useful skill to have," he told him. "You will come face to face with him at some point. Consider it part of your defense training. Besides, it will also help organize your thoughts, making things like your schoolwork easier to deal with."
Harry nodded in response. "Okay, that makes sense. Anything else?" He seemed to expect that there was a list that Severus had.
Severus smirked. "Other than perfecting your homework, no."
"I can't even turn in my homework. That belongs to Harry Potter."
"It doesn't matter; it will help to make sure you on the right track."
Harry rolled his eyes. "Fine."
Severus nodded. "We'll start at six with exercising tomorrow morning then."
Harry's eyes widened. "Six in the morning? Exercising? Why?"
Severus sighed, getting annoyed that he had to keep explaining things to this boy when they should be rather obvious. "Because despite whatever shape you think you might be in, keeping yourself at a good physical condition is always necessary," he told him. "You are not standing still when you're dueling an opponent most of the time, unlike in school. You are oftentimes moving around as you are dueling someone."
Harry nodded and seemed to think about everything that Severus had told him. "I will be back later once I get this settled." He handed Harry some money. "If I do not get back in time for lunch, go into the town. I should be back before then, though." With that, Severus left to go get the Floo set up, especially since he had burnt down his old house, which was currently attached to him. He'd find some way to explain that, and when he returned home, he had a Floo Call that he needed to make.