Severus poured two glasses of Pinot Noir. He preferred brandy; it was most certainly his alcohol of choice. He didn't mind a good glass of wine when he could find it, however. He picked up his glass, looking at his guest that sat in the chair across from him and raised it. "Another year," he said simply before bringing the glass to lips and sipped it before setting it back down on the table.
"Yes, another year," said Aurora Sinistra in response as she brought her own glass to her lips. Once she had taken a sip, she set it back down on the table next to his. "So, Severus, how have your classes been so far?"
Severus rolled his eyes. "Same as always," he said. "Most of them are imbeciles with no respect for the art."
Aurora smirked at him. "You say that every year," she said, picking up her wine glass and taking another sip. "And as I always say, you should try teaching Astronomy. No one respects that. Few take the N.E.W.T's level and don't comment on your lack of N.E.W.T's level students. You require an O, so of course, you only have a handful of students every year."
Severus returned her smirk. He didn't bother to explain himself. They had this conversation every year. His response would always be that he only wanted the best students, which is why his requirements for the N.E.W.T level courses were higher than the other teachers. He and Sinistra had been working together for about ten years now. They had mostly ignored each other at first but slowly had become friends of a sort. Their occasional talks at the end of staff meetings and meals had turned into about once a month talks over the past several years. "And I suppose, as usual, you'll complain that no one has a proper respect for Astronomy because even if they get the required grade, most students will drop anyway," he said as he picked up his wine glass and sipped it.
Aurora just continued smirking, not deigning his comment with a response because she knew he was right. That was her usual response. "So, how is your boy?" she asked, changing the subject as she took another sip of her wine. "I'm still trying to reconcile you , of all people, having a son."
Severus scoffed. "Trust me, at first, I thought the same thing," he said. "It's been an adjustment on both of our lives."
"He seems like a good boy," she said. "Very quiet in class, always stands with Malfoy. Decent grades so far."
Severus nodded. He had been adjusting very well to life as Jacob Snape instead of Harry Potter. He attributed a lot of that to Miss Granger and Draco. Granger had stuck by his side, regardless of the change in appearance that had come when the spells had fallen. Draco had taken to "Jacob" almost instantly, which did not surprise him in the least. "Yes, he's been doing very well so far," he said. "He's getting along with the other students rather well."
"And the two of you? Must be hard going from complete strangers to father and son," she said.
Severus nodded. "We are managing quite well under the circumstances," he said. That statement was more truth than he would have believed. He and Harry had come a long way in the past month. At the time, he was just hoping for them to tolerate each other, considering their history with each other. He would like to say it had come a lot farther than that. After all, his son was calling him "Dad" now. The word itself… it was a very powerful word. He enjoyed hearing it, in spite of himself. He never thought he would want fatherhood; it wasn't something he would have chosen, and certainly not being the father of Harry Potter. However, now that it had… he knew he wouldn't go back even if he could.
Aurora smiled at him. "Not everyone would have done what you did," she told him.
"What was I supposed to do? He had no other family." That wasn't exactly true, but it was the story as most of the world knew it.
"And if he did? If he had some other family to go to?"
Severus sipped on his wine because he knew the answer to that. As it happened, Harry did have family. Family he didn't intend on letting his son ever go back to. "Then it would depend on what he wanted," he said. "I certainly wouldn't remain out of his life either way."
Aurora nodded, lightly tapping her brown fingers against the wine glass as she smiled at him. "It's a lot to take in, I'm sure," she said, as she took another sip, "especially since you never wanted kids to my knowledge. That's one thing we agreed upon if I remember correctly."
"It doesn't matter what I wanted now," Severus pointed out. She was right enough, though. She had asked his opinion one day, years ago now. As a Hogwarts teacher, dating was difficult for those who actually wanted to do so. She asked if he wanted to settle down. It had been, prior to that point, one of the few things they had not discussed so she had asked out of curiosity. He had scoffed at her and told her of course not. Neither of those was anything that he would want was what he had told her at the time. She had agreed, though she said she was not opposed to the whole affair; it hadn't been anything she was looking for, either. Now, that conversation seemed like a lifetime ago.
Aurora gave a dismissive wave of her hand. "Yes, of course. I meant no offense." She took another sip of her wine before changing the subject. "So, what do you think of Umbridge?" Severus rolled his eyes and told her about the incident involving his son. Aurora agreed it was horrible, though she disagreed with him going to her rooms and yelling at her the way he had. "There are other ways to get back at someone," she told him, "though I don't blame you for wanting to get your son out of detention with her after finding that out. Anyone would do the same."
"I am aware of that," he said as he finished his glass of wine. He already had something in mind, though it was still in the planning stages. He watched as she finished her own glass of wine and sat it on the table.
"Well, as enjoyable as our conversations always are, Severus, I do have work to catch up on," she told him, standing up. He got up and followed her to the door. "As always, I love our talks."
"Same to you, Aurora," he told her. She gave him a smile as she left, and he shut the door behind her. He headed over to his desk. While he went over the papers that sat there, he looked over at the potion once again, before resuming his markings as he revised his plan.
Sunday came around, and Harry found himself again in his father's rooms. They ate lunch together before starting chess. They talked about Quidditch, classes, and the like. Harry enjoyed these days when it was just the two of them. "By the way," Severus asked him as he moved a piece, "where did you hide the letter?"
Harry looked up at him over the chessboard, slightly confused by the apparently random question that was being asked. "The letter?"
Severus looked up at him, his face unreadable. "Yes, the letter that Black sent you," he said. "The one that uses your real name, and cites me as your father. The one that could get us killed if in the wrong hands. That letter." His voice was deadly even, a tone that his father had rarely used with him.
Harry froze. What had he done with it? He remembered writing the response and putting both in his bedside drawer. "I - I think it's still in the drawer of my bedside table."
Severus groaned, putting his face in his hands. "Go get it," he said quickly before looking up at him. "Now, go get it! Do you have any idea what could happen to both of us if someone read that letter? Go! Now!"
Harry scrambled up out of his chair, their chess match forgotten. In hindsight, his father had a point. He needed to be more careful about this stuff. How stupid was he? What if someone had found that? His mind immediately went to Draco, and he felt a pang of guilt for thinking about the blonde. It wasn't that he didn't trust him. They were friends. It was that he felt like he shouldn't trust him. Their previous history had shown exactly what he was like, and he was having trouble reconciling that with the person he'd made friends with. He wanted to trust him, but he knew exactly how he'd react if he found that letter.
Harry made his way to the Slytherin Dungeon, sneaking his way past his housemates and into his dorm. He grabbed the letter, which luckily didn't look as if it had been touched or moved. He slipped it into his robes. He left, making his way towards the exit when he heard Draco calling him. He turned around, and there he was, standing right behind him.
"Aren't you supposed to be with your father?" Draco asked. "What are you doing back here so soon?"
Harry felt his heart beating rapidly inside his chest. "I'm heading back there now," he said as he tried to come up with some realistic excuse as to why he was back here. "Er, my father just wanted to see some of my work for my other classes, you know, make sure things are up to par." He probably would at some point, he realized.
Draco just nodded. "Of course, that makes sense," he said. "Well, I'll see you later, then?"
Harry nodded back. "Sure, see you," he said, making his way out and back to his father's room.
"Did anyone see you?" Severus asked as Harry entered the room. "Put that in your room."
Harry shook his head. "No, Draco caught me as I was leaving, but I made something up," he said. He went into his room and put the letter in the drawer of his bedside table before coming back out as he and his father started their chess match back up again. "Sorry. I wasn't thinking. It didn't look as if anyone had touched it or been around anything of mine."
Severus moved a piece. "That's good, but you should be more careful. Don't leave anything that can tie you to Harry Potter outside of these rooms."
Harry nodded. It was another reminder of how much had changed, but looking up at his father, not all of that was bad. After his father beat him in chess (again), he put up the board. Harry found himself immediately confused. Usually, they played multiple games as they talked. "Is something wrong, Dad?"
Severus looked down at him. "No, nothing is wrong, but I do have something to show you," he said. "Come with me." Harry was confused, but he followed out of the rooms.
Harry followed his dad to the seventh-floor corridor. He was still confused as he was lead to a hallway with a tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy teaching trolls to do ballet. There was a blank stretch of wall opposite. He opened up his mouth to talk, but Severus put a hand to silence him. He looked around, seemingly making sure that they were alone at the moment. When he seemed sure, he began pacing. He walked back and forth three times in front of the blank wall and then stopped. At that moment, a door opened in the blank wall, and Harry's mouth opened his shock.
"What? I don't understand -" he said.
"I'll explain inside, now get in," Severus said, ushering him inside. "I didn't think you'd heard of it. I found it during school when I was looking for a place to hide." Harry didn't ask. "I happened to come across this corridor, and the door opened. It took me a while to find it again, but I did. It's called the Room of Requirement or the Come and Go Room. It always seems to be equipped for the seeker's needs. You need to walk in front of it three times, and the door will appear. Be careful if you are being followed."
"Why are we here?" Harry asked, still a bit confused as to what had brought them here.
"I needed a private room with a Floo, one that could not be tracked and was separate from the rest of Hogwarts," he said.
Severus walked over to the only thing in the room, a fireplace. A fire was already roaring in it. He reached into a bowl that was sitting on the mantle and grabbed a handful of Floo Powder, throwing it into the fireplace, saying the address for Grimmauld Place. It was then that Harry realized why they were there. He was going to see Sirius! "You and Lupin can come through now Black," he said, and then stepped away from the fireplace. A moment later, Sirius and Remus walked in.
"Sirius!" Harry walked forward and hugged him. His godfather hesitated for only a second before hugging him back. "It's good to see you."
"It's good to see you, too, Harry," he said.
Harry released Sirius from his hug and turned to Remus. "It's good to see you, too, Professor Lupin."
"No need to be so formal with me anymore," Remus told him. "Call me Remus. I'm not your teacher anymore, and haven't been for quite some time." He looked more tired than ever, and robes were shabbier than the last time he'd seen them. He was beaming at him right now, though. "Your eyes are still the same, and you look just like Sirius said." He clasped him on the shoulder. "Your features are much sharper now. You're paler than before, but not quite like Sev. More like Lily there, I would say. No glasses, I see. More manageable hair, and with a bit of curl, I see. You're the perfect marriage of both of your parents."
Harry beamed at him. It meant the world to hear that, and he appreciated that much more now than he did when he found out, seeing a strange face in the mirror. "Thank you." Sirius was quiet, and he could almost feel the displeasure coming off Severus. His father moved away from the three of them, standing a few feet away.
"What did you guys do about the scar?" Harry explained about Hermione's idea involving Muggle makeup and magic. "And that worked? Quite ingenious."
"Where is this place?" Sirius asked, looking around. "You said you were Flooing us in, and I assumed it would be your rooms since you wanted the privacy."
"The Room of Requirement, or the Come and Go Room," said Severus, speaking up for the first time since Sirius and Remus had come in the room. "Surely even you have heard of it. We needed somewhere private, that cannot be tracked, and is separate from the rest of Hogwarts. This room does that. Besides, you didn't think I actually wanted either of you in my private rooms, did you?"
Sirius levelled Severus with a glare, and Harry saw him clench his fists. Remus sent him a warning look, and his godfather opened his palms. "We heard about that room and searched for it, but never could find it," he said. "How did you find it?"
Severus just smirked. "What, jealous that I know something that you don't -"
Sirius opened his mouth to speak, but Remus beat him to it. "Can you two act like you're the adults in the room and not Harry? Besides, we're all here for Harry , not so you two can bicker over some schoolboy grudge that you two should have gotten over long ago." They were both quiet. "So, Harry, how has school been so far? Getting along with your classmates?"
Harry appreciated Remus for being the voice of reason. He wished that his father wouldn't have baited Sirius the way he did, but it wasn't as if he was expecting them to get along any time soon. "Not bad. I'm getting along with the other Slytherins fairly. Draco's helped a lot with that, and Hermione's great. She doesn't care about all this. Fred and George don't know, but they don't treat me any differently, either."
Harry didn't miss the look of shock on Sirius's face when he mentioned Slytherin. He assumed right, though - Remus wasn't shocked at all. Meanwhile, Severus had a self-satisfied smirk on his face. "Wait, you're in Slytherin?!" Sirius exclaimed. "Why did Dumbledore do that?"
His father rolled his eyes. "Dumbledore didn't. Honestly, Black…"
"Sirius, I did try and tell you not to be surprised," Remus said simultaneously.
"The hat sorted me," Harry said. "I was always supposed to be Slytherin. I told the hat no last time, but this time, the hat didn't give me a choice." He shrugged. "I'm fine with it. It's not that bad."
Sirius looked like he didn't believe a word of that, but let it go. "I notice you didn't mention Ron," he said. "Did something happen?"
Harry told them about the fight when he'd told Ron and Hermione the truth, how Ron had taken it poorly and left. "We haven't spoken since," he admitted.
"That's a shame," said Remus. "I'm sorry about that, Harry."
"I'm sure he'll come around," said Sirius. "Give him time."
"I honestly don't care anymore," Harry said. He was done with Ron. The redhead hadn't tried to talk to him at all. He could always come with Hermione if he wanted to. They spent most of Saturday together. While the lessons with his father wasn't common knowledge for obvious reasons, but it was common knowledge that he was in the library to study with Hermione and Draco every Saturday afternoon. He obviously didn't want to or didn't care. That was fine with Harry. He only wanted people in his life who would stand by him, and that wasn't Ron.
Sirius opened his mouth to say something - Harry assumed it would be to Ron's defense - but Remus cut him off. "By the way, what is your new name?" Remus asked.
"Jacob," Harry said, grateful for Remus's intervention because he didn't want to talk about Ron anymore. "Jacob Alexander. You can still call me Harry when no one else is around, though."
"If you are all quite through now, can we get down the reason why we're here?' Severus said. "Black wants to see Harry, but insists on putting him in danger in order to do so."
Sirius glared at Severus again. "I would never put my godson's life in danger."
"So you don't consider seeing him in public when you are a wanted criminal danger to him?" his father asked. Sirius's glare was his only response. "How reckless and foolish of you. No matter how remote, it is dangerous ."
"It's not your decision to make!" Sirius retorted.
"It is now," Severus responded. "I will not allow you to put my son's life in danger."
Harry wished that they wouldn't fight, but he wasn't expecting anything else. It was clear from the annoyed look on Remus's face that he wasn't surprised either. Harry opened his mouth to speak, but Remus beat him to it. "Sirius, Severus, stop," he said firmly. "Severus, I see that you are not suggesting that they not see each other, just in a safe manner. This is understandable. And knowing you, you have a plan in mind, don't you?"
Severus nodded that self-satisfied smirk on his face again. Harry knew his father was probably getting enjoyment out of the shocked and annoyed look on Sirius's face. "Yes, as a matter of fact, I do," Severus said. "This room is always equipped with the seeker's needs. I made sure when I came in that this room was safe and secure. No one else will be allowed entry. The Floo is separate from the rest of Hogwarts and cannot be tracked, as I already mentioned. You can see him here, and only here as long as you are a wanted man. Here, you can see him anytime you want."
Sirius seemed torn. Harry assumed it was between knowing that was a good idea - and it was, it was a great idea - and his dislike of Severus. It was, once again, Remus who spoke up. "That is a good idea, Severus, isn't it?" He turned to Sirius, almost daring him to disagree.
"It's a great idea, Dad," Harry said, turning and smiling at his father. It was perfect.
That seemed to have jolted Sirius. It hadn't occurred to Harry that the use of the term 'dad' might shock him, but it had. In hindsight, of course, it would. He knew this would be hard on Sirius. It hadn't been easy on him, either, but he used the name so much now he didn't think about it. Besides, as much as he loved Sirius, it was just something he was going to have to get used to hearing.
Remus elbowed Sirius. "That works, I suppose," Sirius said. It was clear that he wasn't happy.
Severus wasn't happy, either. "Now that's settled, I will leave you to it," he said. "If you'll excuse me." He then made for the door.
Harry felt a sense of panic rise in him. That wasn't what he had intended at all. It seemed Severus assumed that he would want to spend time with Sirius today. Sure, he did, but not at the expense of his father. Sunday was, after all, their day. He didn't want to give that up, not even for Sirius. "Wait, Dad!" Severus stopped and turned back to him. "It's great to see you both, but today is really our day. I promise I'll see you both soon." He gave Sirius a hug, and then Remus as well. It was obvious that Sirius didn't like it, but Harry wasn't about to start picking sides here.
"Of course," Sirius said simply. "We'll be in touch. Just Floo Grimmauld."
"For now," Remus said, speaking up. "We're going to be getting in a place in Hogsmeade. Sirius wants to be closer to you, and I agree."
"Dumbledore won't like that," Severus said drawled.
"I don't care what Dumbledore wants," Sirius said. "Besides, I'll be careful. I won't go outside. We'll have up the proper wards and spells."
"That sounds great," Harry said. Though he knew it was a risk for Sirius, he would be happy to be closer to them.
"We'll make sure that you know where it is," Remus said. "It was good to see you. I just wish I could see more of you and the castle, but go ahead and go." He smiled at him, though Sirius was oddly quiet. Harry said his goodbyes and followed his father out.
Harry followed Severus back to his father's rooms. They walked in silence, and Severus wordlessly got the chess game going. That was their usual routine. Harry knew that his relationship with Sirius would make things difficult. As they played, he also realized how affectionate he'd been with both Sirius and Remus. He was not that affectionate with his dad. He had only just recently started calling him Dad. They slowly started talking again as the afternoon went on, and they played their last game as dinner approached.
Severus walked him to the door, and Harry turned to him. "Thank you for today," he said. "I really appreciate it."
"Don't mention it," Severus said, his voice even.
Harry stepped forward, enveloping him in a hug. It was clear by the older man's reaction that he was not used to that. He knew he wasn't going to be affectionate. That was fine. But Harry liked some affection. That's why he hugged Sirius and Remus and Hermione at times. Severus' arms slowly went around him, though Harry kept it brief and stepped back. "You know that my relationship with Sirius - and Remus - doesn't change anything between us, right?"
"Yes, I am aware," Severus said simply, though he noticed that his father's demeanor had become a bit less icy.
Harry smiled up at him. "I'll see you tomorrow then," he said, before leaving, the door being shut behind him. After that, he made his way to dinner and met up with Draco and the others. He glossed over any details of his day with Severus, as a good portion of it couldn't be explained. All in all, though, the day had gone pretty well. He had a method of seeing Sirius, and his father didn't think he was going to abandon him for his godfather. Sirius would need to get used to it, but Remus seemed to be okay with it. Hopefully, that would help. For once, it seemed like everything - at least in that regard - was going to work out okay.