Forlorn Hope

To Have a Son

22 : To have a Son

"I just asked, learn patience Severus…"

"What did she say, Lupin?"

"She agreed to check it for curses, and then make the switch. Nothing as extensive as the one they ran in Harry's third year, don't worry, it ought to be done by nightfall… unless they find something."

"I told you, the broom is clean."

"Ah, well, as the saying goes;

Once in fairness, once in sin, But never trust a Slytherin."

"Is that the same one that said a Gryffindor could do no wrong? Honestly, Lupin, I thought you were smarter than that."

"But where Quidditch comes into play—" Severus quickly cut him off,

"Give them all Firebolts and they'd still loose if Slytherin only had Horatius on a Comet 360!"

"Now, now, that is an exaggeration… and as far as I see, the Slytherins don't have Horris."

"I never exaggerate, Lupin, and he did beat a Nimbus '03 on a Comet." Severus stated proudly.

"Who had the oh-three?"

"Alexander."

"You don't think Horris would play for Slytherin… do you?" Severus tried his best to look dignified as he shrugged. He didn't know anymore, he didn't know anything. "For Gryffindor's sake, I hope not… you just had to start him on your special seeker training right off the bat, didn't you?" Severus smirked wickedly at the werewolf's accusations, imagining Horatius as the Slytherin seeker before his mind rebutted the thought with the fact that the boy basically hated him at the moment.

"What exactly did Minerva agree to?"

"Well, she said that Ron had asked her to check his broom after the last match, something about it not obeying him in dives." Severus nodded, the boy had hovered mid-dive in the last game, and he had wondered what happened. "She said she could offer him the new broom as a replacement, but if he wanted to keep Harry's she could do little else." Damn Gryffindors!

"I doubt he would pass up a new Firebolt." Severus commented, wishing the boy did not need to be alerted of the change. Hermione might figure it out if he starts boasting, unless…. "Lupin, if anyone asks, you bought the broom from me."

"Did I at least get a discount?" The man joked.

"Obviously."

"Pleasure doing business with you…"

"Professor! Oh, sorry, sir, I didn't think you'd…"

"It is customary to knock when a professor's door is closed, Draco… a boy of your upbringing surely learned this little custom?"

"Sorry, Professor, Mr. Lupin…" The boy mumbled, hanging his head. Severus knew exactly what had the boy so worried, though Draco should know by now that Severus wouldn't go too Lucius about such things… "You… you haven't seen Horris, sir, have you?"

"No, Draco, why?"

"He's not back, sir…"

"Draco, it is only one o'clock on a Saturday… is there a reason his absence worries you?" Severus asked dryly.

"Well, sir, he's never stayed past lunch… he's usually back by breakfast and asleep till noon." Now this worried him.

"Back from where, Draco?"

"I… I don't rightly know, sir, all he ever tells us is that he watches the sunrise over the lake or something and goes to sleep. Where he is before that though…" Severus was now officially becoming ticked.

"Are you telling me my son sneaks out in the middle of the night?"

"Nightfall, sir, usually." The boy corrected quietly, backing up.

"So it has happened before?" Lupin asked the obvious, Draco nodding slowly. "How often?"

"Just on the weekends, sir," Draco answered, his eyes never leaving Severus. "Horris said it relaxes him."

"How long has it been occurring, Draco?"

"Since I met him, sir, I guess it's a habit he formed in his old school… it does relax him, either way."

"But he has always come back by now?"

The boy nodded.

"Lupin?" Severus questioned, hoping the werewolf might know of Horatius' hiding spots.

"You and Horris are… are friends, right, Draco?" The man asked uneasily, continuing on Draco's nod. "Have you ever seen him with an old parchment?"

"Yellowed with tattered edges?" Lupin nodded, "Horris keeps something like that in his trunk, sir."

"Bring it, please." Draco looked to Severus for permission, confirmation, or some combination of the two, disappearing only at his nod.

"An old piece of parchment, Lupin?" Severus asked as soon as Draco was out of earshot.

"Remember the sheet of insults we Marauders carried everywhere?"

"So you did give him that!" He instantly accused, his mind bouncing back to third year.

"Actually, I do believe you have the Weasley twins to thank for that… I just made it."

"And we need that foul-mouthed piece of parchment for?"

"Finding Horris." Lupin replied simply, as if that explained everything. The boy returned shortly, cutting the silence that had formed between the two. "Ah, thank you. Now, if you Slytherins excuse me…"

"Professor, how does Horris know the werewolf?"

"He taught in Horris' school for a while." Severus made a mental note to inform Lupin of his new position, Horatius too, for that matter. "Are there any other habits my son has that I ought to know about?" The boy instantly became uneasy.

"Um, sir, the reason Horris left last night…I mean… Horris is…" Severus nodded,

"How mad was he last night?"

"Mad sir, very, very mad. I'm not even allowed here, strictly speaking, but…"

"He told you not to speak to me?" Draco nodded,

"Practically ordered, sir, and Horris never gives orders. The only time he actually did was to make sure we all tolerated Lea."

Remus crossed the hall, pondering why Horris would pick that room. As secret and out of the way as it was the place was like a cell, a small square thing with no windows and a thick door. Its walls were all of stone and the air was constantly damp and stale. The Marauders only used it as a last resort when running away from Filch. They had pondered locking Slytherins in there several times, casting a chameleon charm on the door and seeing how long it would take the gits…

"Merlin!" He muttered as he pushed the door open slightly, grabbing his cloak to keep it from getting sucked into the whirlwind. He could already see the map in it, spinning like a tan blur alongside what he figured were pieces of moss that got dislodged from the stone. Dust, rocks, even water droplets were caught in the thing, the wind whistling as the tempo picked up. Remus suddenly found himself grasping the old door like a lifeline, his stance faltering. The vortex was pulling him in! "Merlin!" He yelled this time, knowing no one was around to hear it… except for Harry…Did that damn thing pull him in already? Was it one of the Dark Lord's traps? No. Even the map listed Harry as Horatius Snape now; surely Voldemort didn't know who he was now…

With a deafening thud, everything fell, the winds dying in an instant.

"Professor?" Remus just stared at the boy for a moment, unable to form words. True, he had seen him before, but he looked so different now! "Professor Lupin?"

"S… sorry to interrupt." Remus muttered, the boy's questioning tone alerting him of his prolonged gaze. "How are you, Harry?" The boy smiled sadly.

"Alright I guess, Merlin that sounds weird… " He mused quietly, almost as if Remus wasn't supposed to hear, "I go by Horris now."

"You adjusting alright?" He nodded, "Slytherins treating you well?"

"Yes, sir."

"What was—"

"The wind?" Remus nodded, "My air element just woke, Draco said controlling them comes easier once you let it go wild for a bit… get a feel for it…" The boy shrugged, "worked with fire."

"Oh." Remus replied numbly, "You and Draco…"

"Are friends," he stated sternly, "Weird, I know… he's really helping me though."

"I see," Remus nodded skeptically, "do you trust him?" The boy nodded, "Is that wise?"

"I'm in Slytherin, too, sir, you trust me, don't you?" The question almost caught Remus off guard.

"Always, but if he's Alpha—"

"He's not."

"He's not?"

"Draco's Beta. Dad didn't tell you?" Dad? Remus barely managed to shake his head. "How'd you find me anyway? Oh… right, the map. Wait… that was in my trunk, how'd you get it?"

"Draco." Remus answered, "I asked him to get me an old piece of parchment you had. Don't worry, I didn't tell either how it worked."

"So my father sent you?"

"He was worried."

"Remind me to kill Draco… he squealed, didn't he?"

"Ha-"

"Horris."

"Horris." Remus corrected himself, a bit disturbed by the boy's force with his name, "You can't get mad at him, Beta is still above-"

"I'm Alpha." Had Remus not been sitting, he would have definitely lost his balance.

"You are?" He asked, well aware of his shocked expression.

"Apparently…" Ha- Horris nodded sadly, "Either way, he wasn't supposed to."

"He was worried," Remus countered, "like your father."

"Both should keep their noses in their own business."

"To Severus, you are his business… it comes with being a parent."

"That's what Draco said." The boy stated, half mocking, half pouting. "I still think he betrayed me by going to Lea."

"Lea?" Remus questioned, never hearing anyone by that name when he was a teacher.

"Hermione."

"Why the nickname?" Horris smiled a Severus-like smirk that disconcerted Remus.

"Why, she's the Lioness of Slytherin … was anyway." He added, the smile falling instantly.

"I see." Remus said slowly, "You do realize your father only wants what's best for you."

The door opened slowly, revealing the two people Severus had been waiting to see for what seemed like eternity.

"Thank Merlin!" He exclaimed, "Are you alright?"

"Fine." Was the short answer.

"Do you realize how worried I was when Draco told me that you have been out all night? And what are you smirking at, Lupin?" He demanded catching the werewolf's amused expression in the corner of his eye, "Well!"

"Nothing… remember what I told you, Horris, I'll talk to you later, alright?" Lupin asked, excusing himself. Oh how Severus hated not knowing things!

"Can we talk?"

"We are talking, aren't we?" Severus glared at his son, an action that did not receive the appropriate degree of reaction as of late… memo to self, work on glare…

"Horatius Ferox Snape…" He warned, making the boy wince slightly.

"Right, sorry… we can talk."

"You cannot keep these things from me… I cannot afford to keep amusing everyone by playing guessing games and you cannot continue pretending that nothing can bother you… I should know."

"You have enough problems."

Severus shook his head in despair, "Yes, and the more things you keep from me the less able I am to deal with them. Besides the fact that your well being is my priority, most of my problems involve Voldemort, Dumbledore, you, or a splendid combination thereof."

"So I'm just another burden to you?"

"NO!"

"You just said I'm the cause of at least a third of your problems!"

"I said a lot of my problems have to do with you… there is a difference. Most of the choices I make to solve, lessen or even postpone them affect you. You are in no way a cause of them." Almost instantly, Severus could tell Horris knew his last statement was a lie, the boy was clearly bright enough to know what he was and what he did caused problems, but thankfully he also seemed to understand that Severus did not blame him for it. "There is no problem I could entangle myself in that I would give you up for— do you understand— not one thing in this Voldemort-infested world."

"You mean it?" Horatius asked, his voice cracking slightly. Severus pulled him into a hug, as if trying to shield him from the world's evils and nodded vigorously.

"You are my son Horatius, I will be damned if I let anything take you away."

"I know, Dad…" The boy answered, Severus feeling the words more than hearing them mumbled into the folds of his cloak. "I know."

"Is it safe, Mr. Lupin?"

"What? Oh, Draco…" The man answered, startled, though did indicate for the boy to sit.

"Is Horris very mad?" he elaborated cautiously.

"No. We had a long talk… Severus is speaking with him now."

"Oh. Is he mad at the Professor?"

"I don't think so. Severus is making a better father than I expected."

"What did you teach Horris, sir?"

"Huh?"

"That's how you know him, right? You taught at his old school?"

"Oh, yes, I taught Defense, like I did here."

"Oh."

"How did you two become friends?" Draco shrugged.

"Did he… tell you things, back then that is, did he tell you where he ran off at night?"

"No, Draco, we were not quite that close, and Horris is not exactly open with anyone about such matters… he enjoys his privacy."

"I know… Merlin, I know."

"Before I forget, Draco, could you put this back, please?" Remus asked, handing him the parchment.

"How'd you find him with this?"

"That's a Gryffindor secret, Mr. Malfoy…"

"But Horris is a Slytherin."

Remus smirked.

"Yes, but I would have wagered he'd be sorted into Gryffindor when I gave it to him… He wasn't Horatius Snape then, of course." To his surprise, the Slytherin nodded.

"I think that too, sometimes, but he fits best here… Gryffindor would crowd him." Remus smiled,

"Yes, it would." It did.

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