Harry stared at the door to his bedroom, idly playing with the straps on his wrist brace. He hadn't meant the things he had said the night before. Well, he had, a bit, but not entirely and not the way they had come out. Okay, maybe he had meant them precisely the way they had come out, but he certainly hadn't meant to say them in the first place.
He'd yelled at Snape. Again. And the man still hadn't turned him into potions ingredients.
Snape loved Harry's mother. His mother had loved Snape. He wasn't the product of some undesired union. They had love each other, and his mother had married James to protect Harry and probably Snape, as well. His father.
Harry had a father. Snape was Harry's father – and Snape wanted him. The man had worked to prove it over and over. Harry had never quite believed it, couldn't let himself believe it.
The boy needed to leave his room so he could go to class, if nothing else. He seemed to be having difficulty getting his feet to carry him closer to the door, though.
When Harry finally did open his door, the living area of the quarters were empty. Part of him was relieved, while another was dismayed. The boy knew that he'd have to talk to the man again, eventually, and he thought he'd really rather get it over and done with this time. Shifting his bag further up onto his shoulder, he started for the door leading to the corridor, only to have his path abruptly blocked as Snape stepped out of his lab.
For his part, Snape was as caught off-guard by this as Harry, though, the man hid it much better.
"Did you rest well?" he queried, uncertain as to what to say.
Biting his lip, Harry nodded, gaze fixed somewhere near Snap's knees. "Yes, sir." He didn't look incredibly well-rested, but Snape elected not to comment.
"How is you schoolwork?" the professor asked next. "Did you manage to complete it?"
Harry gave a sharp shake of his head. He had tried to finish it all, he really had, but he-
"I will speak to your professors on your behalf," Snape said.
Harry's head snapped up, gaze darting to the man's face. Snape's expression was unreadable, but that was nothing new. The Potions Master was seldom a very expressive man. One had to learn to read him through his actions and words. Only they betrayed what was behind his defenses, behind the mask he displayed to the world.
"I'm sorry," Harry choked out. To his horror, his eyes had filled with tears. He pressed on, anyway. "I didn't mean – I... I shouldn't have talked to you that way. I'm sorry." He bowed his head once more, squeezing his eyes shut momentarily. He was startled when he opened them to find a handkerchief held a few inches from his nose.
"No, you shouldn't have," Snape agreed mildly, "but again I find that your words were something I... needed to hear, perhaps. Regardless, you expressed how you feel quite clearly. It is quite preferable to the avoidance and silence."
Harry took the handkerchief, keeping his gaze diverted. "I won't yell at you, ever again," he said, voice small and insecure. After all, if he kept trying the man's patience, maybe Snape would decide he wasn't worth the trouble.
The man put a hand on his son's shoulder. "Harry, you are thirteen," he said. There was a very faint trace of amusement in the silky tones. "I would find myself duly surprised if you made it to your majority without yelling at me again, never mind the years following that."
Slowly, Harry raised his eyes to the professor's face. The man had just said... but that meant – that meant Snape wasn't going to send him away! Even if Harry yelled at him, he wouldn't send him away. Snape – no, his father had just said so.
Harry threw his arms around the man's waist, even as more tears blurred his vision. After a moment, he could feel his father's hand begin to card through his hair. He pressed his cheek against the man's chest. The Potions Master's robes smelled of herbs and stale potions. Harry breathed in the scent, hugging the man tightly, as though he could make up for thirteen years without in that one moment.
Snape had been surprised when Harry suddenly wrapped his arms around him. He looked down at the top of his son's head, and his gaze warmed, just a bit. The man ran his fingers gently through the tousled hair. How had he ever not cared for this boy? His boy? He now knew that Harry was a very lovable boy. A kind, brave, earnest boy. How could he have been so blind?
"Harry," he spoke quietly after a moment. "You had best get to breakfast so you can eat before class."
"Can we eat here, instead?" Harry asked, voice a bit plaintive and slightly muffled by the man's robes.
Snape found that he had to swallow before he could reply. "If that is what you would like."
"I would," murmured the boy, making no move to release the Potions Master from his embrace.
It was then that Severus pulled away himself, but only for a moment, and only so he could properly hug his son in return.
Harry found that it was a bit easier to ignore the taunts of others knowing that no only did Snape love his mother, but now himself, as well.
It still set his teeth on edge, of course, but it was a bit easier, all the same.
Hermione was quick to pick up on his heartened mood but didn't say anything. Ron, a bit slower, did – around a mouthful of food at lunch.
"You theem to be in a gooth mooth."
"Ronald!" Hermione admonished sharply, ever appalled by his poor table manners.
"My mum and Snape loved each other," Harry told them contentedly.
Ron swallowed his food. "Blimey – how were you able to figure that out?"
"Mum wrote about it in her diary," the other boy explained.
"You read her diary?"
Harry flushed slightly. "Well, yeah... it's not like there's any other way for her to talk to me, is there?" he defended himself. "It's how Snape out out he could be my father. Dumbledore had him read it."
"That's great, Harry! Hermione said, happy that her friend was able to gain some peace of mind with everything that was going around.
"Yeah," the black-haired boy agreed, gaze shifting to the dark-clad professor at the head table. "It is."
Draco breathed deeply of the cold, fresh air. The blond decided that he liked Herbology, after all. He was walking with Crabbe and Goyle out to the greenhouses where they had class with the Ravenclaws. His gray eyes suddenly went wide upon seeing the large, black dog padding towards him through the light stream of students – the same dog whose large, sharp teeth Draco had viewed up close and personal.
Draco stepped back a bit hastily, knocking into Crabbe in the process.
"Oi, Malfoy, what-" the larger boy began, breaking off when he saw the dog. The crazy mutt wagged his tail in a friendly manner.
"Hey, there, boy." Goyle crouched down to pet the dog, whose mouth fell open in the doggy equivalent of a smile. "You afraid of dogs, Malfoy?" he asked in surprise.
Draco flushed a faint pink. "No! I just – he surprised me, is all."
The dog nudged the blond's hand with his nose and the boy let out a sigh that was part relief and bemusement. Soon, all three boys were petting the dog, who seemed to be loving the attention.
"He's been around for a least a week or two," Draco told the other boys. "I was bringing him food, but... well, I can't anymore."
"We can bring him food," Goyle volunteered, rising back to his feet and starting towards class again.
"Yeah," agreed Crabbe, as he and Draco also pulled themselves away from the dog. "We don't mind."
Draco gave a small smile. "I think he'd like that," he said, looking at the mutt, who had fallen in step beside him. The dog followed them most of the way to the greenhouses before parting ways with the three boys. Draco wistfully watched him depart.
Harry worked on his Transfiguration essay with painstaking slowness. As it was, the writing was barely legible - "And I had thought your writing chicken scratch, before," the Potions Master had wryly remarked – but then, the boy was still learning to write left-handed. Using a quill complicated matters.
His right hand, in its currently ever-present brace, was tingling again. Or perhaps, still. It tingled so often, Harry wondered if it ever actually stopped, or if he just didn't always notice. Putting down his quill, the teen rubbed at the base of his fingers with his left hand.
Then, he froze.
Staring down at his damaged hand, Harry focused intently. There it was, again. He hadn't imagined it. There was movement – barely a twitch of the ends of his thumb and index-finger, but it was there. And Harry could control it.
He jumped up from his chair, knocking it over in the process. Darting for his bedroom door, he yanked it open.
"Dad!" Harry shouted excitedly, not even realizing what it was he was shouting. "Dad!"
In his lab, Severus was working on a rather delicate potion. It wasn't combustible, but if he left it for even a moment, hours of work would be wasted. Hearing the sudden racket and Harry's shouting, the Potions Master dropped everything without a moment's thought.
"Harry?" he asked, meeting the boy halfway between the two rooms. "Harry, what is it? What's wrong?" Snape took his son by the shoulders, searching his face with concern. The boy was clearly worked up over something. There were tears in his eyes and his body was trembling.
In answer, Harry lifted his right hand for his father to see. "I can move them," he choked out, crying in relief and happiness. "I can move them."
Severus stared a moment at the slowly twitching fingers, then pulled the boy to him. "Yes," he said a bit thickly, tears stinging his own eyes. "Yes, you can."