So, I have 666 reviews right now. First person to change that gets a hundred chocolate frogs.
There were a few questions about why Severus didn't just live at MacAuley Estate with Harry. I suppose I forgot to consider culture here.
In the west, it's expected that the kids leave the parents house. Many adult kids (though not all) cannot fathom the idea of staying at their parents long term, and parents think much the same. I cannot speak for the Midwest, but ultimately, the goal is to find your own place and start your own family or whatever plans you have. That's big here, hence why there's a lot of options for starter homes, rental homes, and so on.
In this story, I honestly don't think Eileen and Peadar would have minded Severus and Harry living with them, and maybe that would have made this story much easier, but alas, the damage is done.
Let's say that Severus's relationship with Eileen is still repairing itself, and the smaller new house is his getaway space after a long week so he can have alone time, something he has grown used to and come to appreciate after so many years, even with the addition of Harry. After all, Severus practically had to raise himself when Eileen left him.
I'll make this work so that we still get a lot of MacAuley scenes. Now, on to the story.
A month passed since Severus was awarded adoption of Harry, and things were finally settling into a routine. Severus had found an assistant to help him at St Mungo's, with the titles Brewer of the Hospital and Brewer of the Hospital's Apprentice. A fresh out of Hogwarts student named Conroy Collins who had excelled in potions and wanted to earn his own mastery in the subject. Under Severus's tutelage, the young man was sure to obtain it in no time. Severus worked long hours at the hospital, leaving first thing in the morning after dropping Harry off at school, and often times, not returning home until Eileen was setting dinner on the table.
Harry, on the other hand, was enjoying school with Ollie in Mrs. Pluckley's class. He came home with fun assignments that also helped him learn the targeted subjects they were talking about that week, and Severus had little trouble getting Harry to work on his homework. Ollie occasionally came home with Harry when Eileen picked Harry up from school and apparated them to the estate. Ollie's parents would pick him up on those days from the estate at a later time, and when Severus returned, he would make sure all of Harry's homework was complete before the played a game or read a story. They spent the weekdays at the estate, and on the weekends, would retreat to the small dormer for peace and quiet. Things were settling down for the family, aside from the fairy in stone with the horcrux that is. Severus was still wondering what the best course of action might be to destroy the soul piece, and if the fairy truly was willing to be a sacrifice. Otherwise, Harry had finally found a family and place to call home.
Alas, trouble did love following Harry around . . .
"Where do you think Mrs. Pluckley is?" Harry asked Ollie in a whisper, leaning over in his chair toward Ollie's seat to do so.
"Didn't you see her stomach?" Ollie answered. He was focused on spinning his pencil on its eraser without even touching it, his index finger swirling above it to keep it going. "I think her baby was done cooking and now she has to go give birth. At least, that's what mam did with Cian."
"What do we do without her?" Harry frowned as he looked around the classroom, wondering how a class would go on with no teacher.
"The principal usually brings in a substitute whenever she's had to leave class before," Ollie said, losing focus as he looked over at Harry, the pencil falling on his desk and rolling away. "I hope it's a nice one. Our last one had us do art projects for the day."
"Brilliant. Maybe it'll be the same one? I've never had a substitute before."
"Class!" Principle O'Loof announced as she stepped into the classroom. Everyone ran to their seats or sat up straight if they were already in their seat. Harry and Ollie looked ahead and gave the principal and the new man standing next to her their full attention. Principal O'Loof waited for everyone to settle before speaking once more. "Mrs. Pluckley is on maternity leave for the remainder of the school year to spend time with her new baby."
Everyone awed at the lost of Mrs. Pluckley.
"I know, I know," Principal O'Loof said. "We will miss her dearly. But . . . please give a warm welcome to your new teacher who will substitute in her place—Mr. Mortagus Alarie!"
"Good morning, Mr. Alarie," everyone greeted.
"Good morning, class," Mr. Alarie smiled at everyone. He was a short and scrawny man wearing a rather unkempt suit and an old, faded jacket. He sported a short full beard that at least looked groomed, while the rest of his hair had a bit of madness to it. "I look forward to finishing out the year together and getting to know all of you bright pupils."
"Please give Mr. Alarie the same respect you would give Mrs. Pluckley," Principal O'Loof said. "They're all yours, Mr. Alarie."
Principal O'Loof stepped out of the classroom, closing the door behind her. Mr. Alarie stripped out of his jacket and draped it over the back of the chair at the teacher's desk. He picked up a folder and opened it.
"Let's begin with roll-call, shall we?"
The teacher began going through the list, calling out each student's name.
"He won't get to me for a bit," Harry whispered to Ollie. "Ever had him before?"
"No, but I've seen him around," Ollie said. "The older years seem to like him. I guess he's nice."
"Mr. Fowey," the teacher scolded lightly.
"Yes, sir?" Ollie asked, sitting up in his seat.
"I've called your name twice," Mr. Alarie said. "Am I interrupting your conversation?"
"No, sir, sorry. Here." Ollie raised his hand and put it back down obediently.
Mr. Alarie's eyes strayed over to Harry, and Harry was sure the dull blue eyes darkened considerably. The man's entire face seemed to tense, and his brows furrowed.
"Why Harry Potter," the man said, "our little . . . celebrity."
"Thought you didn't know him," Ollie said.
"I don't," Harry assured. He corrected the teacher as nicely as he could. "It's Snape, now. I just use that last name."
Mr. Alarie glanced down at the list, his eyes scanning it for a few seconds before his brows rose. "So it is," he murmured, "how interesting."
The teacher continued with roll call while Harry and Ollie shared a confused look. Mr. Alarie made it down to his name and glanced up at Harry again, his eyes narrowing.
"Mr. Harry . . . Snape," the teacher said slowly.
"Here," Harry said, raising his hand quickly.
The teacher finished up with a couple more students then moved off of roll call and wrote his name on the chalkboard. He began writing down the topics of the English lesson they would be reviewing today while Harry and Ollie whispered to each other once more.
"How do you think he knows you?" Ollie asked.
"I don't know," Harry replied. "Unless he's a wizard. Dad said a lot of people could recognize me by my scar."
"It was something I got as a baby," Harry said, not really wanting to talk about it now. "But if he's a wizard that would explain how he knew my name. But what's he's problem with me?"
"Maybe he was just surprised that you're here."
"I don't know. That didn't sound like surprise. And if he's a wizard, what's he doing here anyway?"
"Is there something more important than today's lesson, Mr. Fowey and Mr. Snape?" Mr. Alarie asked. "If so, please share with the rest of the class."
"Nothing, sir," Ollie said quickly.
"No, sir," Harry agreed. "Sorry."
"I do not tolerate students talking while I am talking. You will stay ten minutes after the bell for lunch, Mr. Snape, for your rudeness."
"I was talking, too," Ollie interjected.
"I didn't catch you in the act, Mr. Fowey. Just Mr. Snape. Now both of you be quiet and listen." Mr. Alarie glared at them, though his eyes seemed more focused on Harry. He turned to the rest of the class, pointing at the board where he had wrote: read a book, to the park, we stood outside, and went to school. "I want everyone to expand this sentence, just like what you were doing with Mrs. Pluckley. Include a who, where, when, why, and how in your expanded sentence. Try to use a different who each time. Begin."
Mr. Alarie walked toward the desk to sit down. Ollie winked at Harry, whispering "Don't worry, I'll get him back."
Ollie stared intently at the teacher's chair, then gave the slightest flick of his wrist.
The chair slid back just as Mr. Alarie moved to sit down, and he stumbled as he caught himself from falling back. Ollie held back a snort while Harry allowed a small smirk. A couple other students laughed at the teacher's stumble. Unfortunately, unlike other incidents, the teacher did not think it was bad luck or a miscalculation on his part. His eyes darkened and he scowled as he moved to stand in front of Harry's desk. Harry frowned back at the teacher with a confused look that he shared with Ollie.
"Do you find yourself funny, Mr. Snape?" Mr. Alarie said. "That's after school detention for you."
"It was me, sir," Ollie quickly said, even as the other classmates gave him dumbfounded stares. "I did it. I'm sorry, sir."
Mr. Alarie glared at Ollie, and his eyes seemed to glitter with understanding.
"A muggleborn, eh? That's afternoon detention for you as well. Your parents will be called and informed of this so they can save themselves the trouble of showing up on time. Now do your work."
Harry and Ollie picked up their pencils and began working on their sentences. Mr. Alarie nodded and walked away. Ollie mouthed "sorry" to Harry, who mouthed "it's okay" back. When everyone was finished with their sentences after thirty minutes, Mr. Alarie collected their papers. As he grabbed Harry's, he sneered at the page, then shook his head.
"These are the best sentences the Harry Potter could come up with? How mediocre."
"It's Snape," Harry reminded the teacher. "And they're not . . . bad."
Harry had actually thought he had done a good job using bigger and more descriptive words. He had been quite proud of his sentences when he was finished. Mr. Alarie did not say anything as he finished collecting papers. He returned to the board then had the class work together to come up with sentences on the board, calling on everyone to participate, except Harry and Ollie who sat silently at their desks.
Finally, the bell rang, and everyone ran out for lunch.
Harry and Ollie remained seated.
"I don't recall saying you had to stay after the bell, Mr. Fowey," Mr. Alarie reminded.
"I'm waiting for Harry," Ollie said.
"What, are the muggles here too inferior to be your friend as well?"
"What are you talking about?" Ollie snapped.
"Watch your tone."
"Are you a wizard?" Harry asked, cutting right to the chase.
"A wizard?" Mr. Alarie let out a short bark of sarcastic laughter. "Ha! I should be. I come from a line of pureblood wizardry that goes back further generations than yours, Mr. Potter. Yet for some reason, the magic skipped me." Mr. Alarie glared at Ollie. "So how is it that a muggle with no great magical heritage ends up gifted?"
"I don't know," Ollie said.
"So, you're not a wizard?" Harry asked, very confused.
The man seemed very annoyed with the question, then said, "For your cheek, lunch detention tomorrow, Mr. Potter."
"It's Snape," Harry said.
"You can't do that!" Ollie defended.
"You too, Mr. Fowey!"
The two boys sat seething in their seats as they glared at the teacher, but Mr. Alarie smirked at them.
"I will enjoy teaching your classroom very much," he said. "Go enjoy your lunch while you can. I wouldn't want hunger distracting you from the lines you'll be writing this afternoon. Dismissed."
Harry and Ollie share a look, then leave the classroom.
"You will have to start on a diuretic potion," a healer told a patient lying in a hospital bed. "You will also need to take a kidney supplement potion, with extra cranberries added in. Let's see how those two potions affect you and do a recheck of your bloodwork in three weeks. Are there any potion ingredients you are allergic to that you know of?"
"No, Healer," the elder woman said.
"Good, good," the healer smiled, nodding his head. "But if you do notice any swelling, abdominal cramping or pain, tightness in the chest, difficulty swallowing or breathing, wheezing, or nausea that doesn't go away, stop the potions and floo call us immediately."
Severus had been writing down notes on the case as the Healer had been speaking, making sure to write down extra cranberries on the side. Collins, his apprentice, stood at his side patiently awaiting his instructions.
A nurse paused in the doorway.
"Master Snape," the nurse said quietly, "you have a floo call waiting in fireplace six."
"Thank you," Severus said. He handed his notes to Collins. "Same potions we made yesterday, three tablespoons of dried cranberry in the kidney supplement potion this time. Got that?"
"Yes, sir," Collins said, writing down what Severus had said.
Severus walked toward the fireplace in question and was surprised to see Eileen's head in the flames.
"Mother, is something wrong?"
"No," Eileen said. "I'm sure there's no problem, but I just received a call from Harry's school. Harry earned himself after school detention. He'll need to be picked up at four twenty this afternoon. I thought I'd let you know so you didn't find out when you got home this evening."
"Did they explain why?" Severus asked. What on earth could Harry have done to earn detention of any kind? He was a good, obedient kid.
"They said something about Harry being cheeky with the new substitute. I believe Ollie is also in detention."
"Hmm." Severus frowned in thought. "Four twenty, you say? If you don't mind, I think I'll pick Harry up from school."
"It's all fine with me," Eileen said. "Oh, yes. This was delivered to you, today."
A rolled parchment with a large M seal popped out of the fireplace and hovered in the air for Severus to take. He plucked it out of the air and stared at the seal for a moment before glancing up at the flames.
"Thank you. I will see you tonight."
Eileen's head vanished, and Severus unrolled the parchment, reading the brief message before blinking and looking at his watch. He quickly moved through the halls and down the stairs, taking two quick turns before arriving to the large potion lab.
The space was massive, with several tables and cauldrons brewing. Shelves and shelves filled the walls, stocked of various ingredients in alphabetical order. A large walk-in supply closet with a huge magically sealed deadbolt and key and lock held a variety of addictive and rare ingredients that were otherwise hard to come by. Another closet on the opposite side of the room was for cauldron and other equipment storage. Against the furthest back wall, several finished potions waited for use, and several empty vials with empty prescription labels waited to be filled. The back corner was a washroom for all the equipment, and a lavatory took up the smallest bit of space hidden in the back that connected to three separate office spaces. It was a Potions Master's dream lab, and Severus used up every bit of room he had.
Collins was already in the lab, and Severus walked toward him and stared down at the cauldron. It was a near complete kidney supplement potion with the extra cranberries for bladder health, and he nodded at its reddish color.
"Well done," he said, pleased that he managed to find a competent partner. "I must leave for a couple hours. An acquaintance requests my presence, and my son needs to be picked up from after school detention."
"I hope everything is okay with him," Collins said, a frown forming on his face.
"As do I," Severus agreed. He sighed and turned for the door once more. "Remember, the diuretic potion requires 2 cups of water added every four minutes while it boils. The ingredients of that particular potion soak up water like a sponge."
"Yes, sir. And it boils for thirty-two minutes, correct?"
"Exactly." Severus nodded.
When Severus made it to the fireplaces, he looked at the address in the letter, then stepped into a fireplace with a handful of floo powder.
"Leaky Cauldron, Diagon Alley," Severus said before dropping the floo powder and vanishing in the green flames.
He stepped out of the floo in the Leaky Cauldron slowly, glancing at his watch. He was ten minutes early, but knowing Lucius Malfoy, he wouldn't be long. He sat down at the bar, and was served a water while he glanced at the menu, though he didn't feel hungry or thirsty for anything. This was simply neutral territory, and that was the only reason he came. After a few minutes, the floo flared up again, and Severus glanced over toward it.
"So, you did come," Lucius said as he slowly stepped over to Severus. He used his wand to blow the dust of the seat next to Severus before sitting down with fluid grace. "And here I thought I'd be disappointed once again."
"You wanted to talk about Draco," Severus said, moving to the topic of concern.
"Ah, yes," Lucius said. "Waiter, wizard's brew, please. Another for my friend here."
"I will pass," Severus told both Lucius and the waiter.
They were silent as the waiter topped off Severus's water and gave Lucius his drink, which he took a long sip of.
"My son has been an absolute terror since the day I threw you out," Lucius confessed, "and perhaps, I acted a bit hasty."
Severus said nothing and chose to sip his water at Lucius's pause.
"While I still do not approve of your decision to adopt Harry Potter," Lucius continued, "and I still have no clue what you plan to tell the Dark Lord when he returns, but I will respect your decision for now. I, Lucius Malfoy, ask for a truce for the sake of my son."
"What are your terms?" Severus asked.
"We meet on neutral ground as we are now," Lucius said. "You will tutor my son in potions, charms, and transfiguration every other weekend of so. Merlin knows he's falling behind. He's chased away every other tutor I've hired that's not direct family. I can't seem to knock enough sense into him either about needing these lessons. He swears he will obey you, so that is why I have reached out. He will stay with you for the weekend for his lessons, then we meet again on neutral ground, and I take him home."
Severus raised a brow. It all sounded fair so far.
"I ask that you leave my affairs to me," Lucius continued, "and I'll leave your affairs to you."
"Fair," Severus agreed. If he were to admit it, he truly did miss Draco. The young Malfoy junior had a lot of hope and potential, if only his father wasn't Lucius Malfoy. "Now my terms."
"Let's hear it," Lucius said with a sigh as though it was inconvenient Severus would have any terms of his own.
"You do not pester Draco with a thousand questions about where I am living or about anything to do with Harry Potter. He will have homework occasionally, but I will be teaching him at a level he will understand best. He's still just a kid, after all."
"Well, you know best when it comes to teaching miscreants," Lucius said. He sighed. "I do only want what is best for my son, you know. He is my heir, and he must be well rounded in his education and prepared to manage his fortune and status."
"Indeed," Severus said, doing his best to resist rolling his eyes.
"Do we have a truce, Severus?" Lucius said, holding out a hand to shake.
"Truce," Severus said, accepting Lucius's hand and shaking it once before letting go.
"Very well," Lucius said. "I think it best if Draco gets started right away on his lessons. This weekend, I'll bring him here for you to pick up? Tomorrow, perhaps?"
"I work tomorrow, but I could grab him on my lunch break. He would receive a good potions lesson coming to work with me."
"Excellent," Lucius finished his brew and dropped a small tip. "Owl me the time."
And with that, Lucius left the Leaky Cauldron.
Severus thought over what they had discussed. As much as Draco's behavior could annoy him at times, he really did like Draco and had high expectations for the boy to be his own person and not a miniature version of his father. Draco was well aware of those standards, but Severus knew it was hard for a seven-year-old not to look up to their father. He hoped that these weekends would really help bring out a different side of Draco.
Severus glanced at his watch. He had a bit of time. He finished drinking his water, then stood up, adding to Lucius's tip, and floo'd away to change his robes into muggle wear.
The clock finally arrived to four twenty and Harry and Ollie dropped their pencils and rubbed their sore wrists. They had written "I will not be rude in class" in their neatest cursive thirty times. They glared at Mr. Alarie as they waited for him to even notice the time. A knock on the door sounded, and the two kids jumped to their feet and rushed to the door hopefully before their teacher could stand up and tell them off. They opened the door and were relieved to see their parents.
"Mam, we did nothing wrong," Ollie said to his mother as he ran to her. "He's a magic-less wizard and he punished us for no reason."
"Dad, he's a magic-less wizard, he knows what we are. He was rude to me first."
"Pardon me?" Severus asked, resting a hand on Harry's shoulder to keep him still. "I do not believe I heard that correctly."
"He's a wizard," Harry said. "He's like us but with no magic."
"Yes, most people are," Severus said, looking up at the teacher, who was smiling down at the two boys.
"Kids, these days, right?" Mr. Alarie said. "They come up with quite the stories. I'm afraid someone has to be the villain here. You two know that you were punished for being rude and cheeky in class today. It's what you just finished lines about."
"We weren't rude," Harry snapped back. He felt the hand on his shoulder tighten and winced.
"You're being rude right now," Severus said. "Apologize."
"Sorry," Harry told the teacher, who was smiling way too brightly for Harry's taste.
"It's quite all right," Mr. Alarie said. "I will see you two tomorrow in class, hopefully with a much better attitude. You know what to expect if not, and I'd hate to keep you here later than you have to be when you could be off being boys."
"I'm sure," Harry muttered while Ollie crossed his arms and glared.
"Harry, now that is enough," Severus scolded. Severus turned to the teacher. "I apologize, I'm not sure what's gotten into him today. He's usually well behaved."
"Sometimes a change in teacher can upset children," Mr. Alarie said. "It's a hard phase, and I know I'm no Mrs. Pluckley, but I'll do my best. Don't be too mad at them, they really are good kids."
After goodbyes, Severus and Ciara walked out with the two boys, Severus scolding them both.
"Harry, I believe I don't need to tell you that our world is meant to stay in secret. You can not just go blathering it out to whatever muggle you please."
"But he's not a muggle," Harry said. "He even told us."
"That he was a wizard?" Severus asked. "I assure, I got no sense of that from him."
"Well, no, he—"
"I don't want to hear any more about your substitute." Severus said, waving it off. He paused outside of the school. "What did you two do that he felt the need to keep you after school?"
"Nothing," Harry said, crossing his arms and pouting. Severus wasn't even listening to him.
"I may have pushed his chair back so he would fall," Ollie said.
Ciara gasped. "Ollie! Again?"
"Sorry, mam. We were laughing and he thought it was Harry, but I confessed."
"And you?" Severus asked Harry.
Harry shrugged, wondering if it was even worth trying to convince his dad that the man was a magic-less wizard. The more he thought about it, he wondered if it was even a thing. Maybe the man just knew about their world and really was a muggle and had only been trying to get a rise out of them. He frowned at that, then decided to say, "We were whispering to each other while he was teaching."
"Yeah, that, too," Ollie agreed.
"I'm sure I do not need to share my displeasure of having to leave work to come pick you up from your detention, now, do I?" Severus quirked a brow at Harry.
"No, Dad. I'm sorry. It won't happen again."
"It better not. Otherwise, you'll bring your lines home to keep working on until bedtime."
"That goes for you as well, young man," Ciara told Ollie.
Harry and Ollie shared a look before they went their separate ways, Ollie into his mother's car and Harry over to an out of sight alley to apparate. They shared an understanding that the new substitute teacher had to go. And they would have to expose him to their parents. Somehow.