Many changes take place over a summer, some good and some bad but all are important
This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark or infringement is intended.
Summer arrives with changes in many people's lives- some good and some bad. Lily finds an ally in her grouchy professor.
June 10, 2003
Jenny looked up, as she sensed a movement out of the side of her eye. It had taken some time, but she'd gotten used to the ideas of ghosts and elves. Even the moving pictures seemed normal to her now. This was something new. Suddenly, she heard a banging from down the hall leading to the bedrooms. As she walked down the hall, she noticed a baby bottle rattling against the door leading to Darrius' room. Reaching up, she plucked it from the air and returned it to the small magical refrigerator in the kitchenette. Returning to the living room, she shook her head. Severus really had to stop spoiling their son.
She settled down to a good book, as the enchanted music box played her favourite music. She'd just gotten comfortable, when another bottle went zipping by.
Severus finished his hallway patrol and returned to his family's chambers. They'd been set above his old dungeon abode, where he maintained his office, close to his Slytherin students. The two bedrooms, living room and kitchenette, were comfortable and were the first family chambers in Hogwarts for two generations. The castle had been co-operative, however, and the rooms had appeared with only a suggestion from the Headmistress.
Jenny heard her husband return. She heard the rustle of fabric, as he removed his voluminous teacher's robes and hung them on a peg at the entry way.
"Hello, Jenny. How is Darrius?" he asked, bending to peck her on the cheek.
Jenny sniffed, "He's perfectly fine, thank you. Now, if you'd just leave his feeding times to me, I'd appreciate it."
Severus frowned, "Well...yes, of course." Her comment was confusing, but he had marking to finish and let it go.
"I'll be in my office for the next hour or so. Shout if you need me." He turned and made his way downstairs to his dungeon domain.
Jenny returned to her reading, content that Severus understood their son couldn't be fed, just because he thought his progeny was hungry. It was hard enough to stop the elves fawning over the baby.
Jenny looked up, it was approaching ten o'clock. She put her book down and stretched her arms over her head. She hadn't worked since the baby was born and was thinking to return shortly. The subject had not come up with her husband as yet. She sighed and looked into the fire that was requisite even during the summer in the castle. She was sure there might be a...spot...of objection.
Jenny's musing was interrupted by another bottle of baby formula zipping past her. Darrius would have another feed at eleven o'clock or so. Why was the bottle being summoned? She rose and went to the stairs.
"Severus, will you please stop doing what you are doing. I can manage to keep track of Darrius' feeding times for myself," she declared, "You don't need to control everything."
Snape heard his wife's angry shout and wondered what he'd done. He pinched his nose and took a deep breath. Jenny had been antsy as of late and he wasn't sure why.
"Jenny, I'm not sure what you mean? I've been marking the essays of some incompetent fifth years; who might as well surrender their wands and take up a trade. Is there something happening you want to share?"
"Why do you keep sending bottles to his room?" she exclaimed, in an exasperated tone.
At that comment, Severus set aside his marking quill and headed upstairs. He looked at his Jenny, standing with her hands on her hips, clearly angry at him and his supposed interference.
"Jenny, I assure you, I am not doing anything to send baby bottles to Darrius." At that moment, another bottle went whipping by, narrowly missing his head.
Jenny tilted her head to the side. "How do you explain that then?" she asked, sarcastically,
Severus sucked on the inside of his cheek to stop himself from grinning, as he headed to his son's room. He took hold of the bottle and opened the door. When the door opened, they were assaulted by a cacophony of noises, created by the toys bouncing around in the room.
As they entered, Jenny covered her mouth with her hand in shock. "Severus, what's happening?" she asked.
Severus had moved to stand beside the baby's cot and was leaning on the end. "Well, well, my little wizard. So you think you can eat when ever you feel like it, do you? I should think not."
Jenny looked down at her baby, who was lying on his back, kicking and laughing at his father.
"You mean, Darrius is doing all of this?" she asked, incredulously.
"Oh yes, we have ourselves a talented little wizard, who wants to get his own way," replied Severus, whose face now betrayed the pride he felt.
Passing the bottle to Jenny, Severus dropped the side of the cot and lifted his son out. Darrius promptly wrapped his hand around Severus' nose.
"DA!" exclaimed the baby, as he reached for his bottle. "MA!" he shouted, now getting frustrated.
"The bottle is already warmed," she exclaimed, in surprise, "Oh, he can have the bottle, it's only a half hour early," decided Jenny, passing the offending baby bottle over.
"Just for tonight," said Severus, watching his son happily suck on the nipple, "I'll ward the fridge so he can't open it in future." He looked around the room at the mobile toys, and sighed, "I'll need to find a way to stop this as well, or we'll never get any sleep."
Severus looked over at Jenny, with a decidedly self-satisfied Cheshire grin on his face.
Jenny crossed her arms, "Proud of yourself aren't you? I did have a small part to play in this you know."
He moved to stand beside her and put his arm around her shoulders, "I remember, thank you." He kissed her on the cheek.
Darrius happily gurgled at his parents, he'd gotten his bottle. That's all that really mattered.
"Can you handle this, Severus?" asked Minerva, "I know you knew the girl before she arrived at Hogwarts. Did you know her family?"
Severus shook his head, "We met over a bad Halloween costume and the cheeky mouth of a little girl. I never saw her with a parent or grandparent. She was always alone or with another child." He sighed, realizing Lily had likely been a latch-key child. He'd never really taken time to find out.
"Do you regret taking over Slytherin again?" Minerva asked.
He looked up, surprised at the question, "No, not at all. Why would you imagine that?"
She shrugged, "You're a changed man, Severus. Married with a child and all that entails; perhaps it was unfair to ask you take on the responsibility."
He smiled at her, a new habit he'd developed. "Headmistress, I dare say I'm far more qualified now than I ever was before. I took the job on when I was barely older than the students I was mentoring, when Albus hire me." He looked up at the portrait of Dumbledore and saw it was empty before adding, "I'm not sure that was the brightest of ideas Albus ever had."
She nodded, "I always thought it was a bit unfair, but you seemed to manage."
He face darkened, "Not well enough."
"Don't punish yourself for circumstances you had no control over, Severus. We could have had anarchy in that house. You kept them in check." Minerva watched him shake his head.
"I pandered to them and scared them. That is not mentoring. I failed them, Minerva."
"You kept order and stopped them from going further than they did. Let the guilt go, Severus. You can't change the past." She took a deep breath and continued, "Now, back to the topic at hand. Can you escort her back before this week-end?"
Severus nodded, "Year end exams are finished and marked. You can return them. My class register is up to date with marks; if you can look after the report cards. Jenny and I were going back to Manchester, to see to putting the house on the market anyway. We can apparate to the house, if you can help us. I'll make sure she makes it home."
"Was she close to her grandmother, do you know?" Minerva asked.
"Like Darrius is to Nana Nerva?" he teased, calling her the pet name Jenny had christened her with.
"Och, you know what I mean," she replied, smiling her pleasure at her place in his family.
"I believe so." He stood and stretched. "We'll meet you at the front doors after dinner tonight?"
Minerva nodded, "Yes, I'll send elves to get you packed. You'd best get out of Hogwarts and make a phone call to Jenny. She'll need to know she's going home today instead of Sunday. I know she's at the shop with Hermione."
He nodded, "After I see that Lily Dowd is alright."
Severus entered the Slytherin common room, where only a couple of older students were sitting playing Wizards chess. He saw his female prefect, Marcia Baddock, look up and see him.
"Miss Baddock, where is Lily Dowd? I believe she was placed in your care."
Marcia jumped up, "Yes, professor. She's in her dorm room lying down. Madam Pomfrey gave her a mild calming potion; she was ever so upset."
He nodded, "Fine, please go ahead of me, I want to see Lily. I don't want to have any unnecessary exhibitions of feminine... you get the idea." He gestured down the hall to where the dormitories were located.
"Yes, sir." She walked ahead of him, making sure there were no girls who'd cause him embarrassment; there were none. She knocked on Lily's door and peeked in.
"Lily, Professor Snape is here," she announced.
"What?' said Lily, drowsily?
"May I come in, Miss Dowd?" asked Snape.
Lily sat up, "Yes, sir."
Severus entered the room and looked at the tear stained face of the young girl. "Miss Baddock, please stand outside and leave the door open." Male teachers had to be careful of being in the dormitories with female students. He waited until they were alone in the room, before moving to the side of the bed. He pulled the chair out from the desk and sat down.
"I'm very sorry to hear your grandmother passed away, Lily. I know you were close to her," he began, not sure of what would happen.
Lily sniffled and nodded her head, "Mum didn't tell her I was a witch. She said Gran wouldn't understand. When I went home at Easter, she wasn't well and she cried when I left." Lily's chin began to tremble, "Gran used to look after me, when my mum worked and...and..." she couldn't say any more, as her sobbing took over.
Severus reached out and patted her shoulder, only to be stunned, when she threw herself into his arms to cry on his shoulder. He held her gently for a few moments, then put his hand on her shoulders and pushed her away.
"I'm taking you home tonight, Lily. You'll come with Mrs. Snape, Darrius and I. We're going to travel by apparating." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a handkerchief. Lifting her chin, he wiped her eyes and then her nose. "Here, keep the handkerchief. If you tell anyone I wiped your runny nose, you'll lose a hundred points."
She giggled, despite her tears, "I promise, sir."
He stood to leave. "Make sure you're packed and ready to go before dinner. We'll leave immediately after." He walked to the door, "Miss Baddock, please help Miss Dowd pack and make sure she comes to dinner. Miss Dowd, bring your trunk to the front doors at that time, we'll meet you there."
Severus changed into Muggle clothes and waited for Lily in his living room. He sat and watched Darrius playing on his baby gym, which had been placed on the floor. His child had no grandparents. Jenny had adopted Minerva, as a surrogate granny, and she seemed pleased to fill that role. Darrius' only family was Muggle; they didn't know about their Wizarding connections. That was going to become a problem in the very near future. Something he'd need to discuss with Jenny.
"I'm ready, sir," said Lily, from the hallway door. She'd changed into Muggle clothing also.
Severus stood and faced her, "We'll be driving over, alright?"
She nodded and looked at the floor, "Will you come up with me, Professor? I don't want to..."
"I'll walk you to your door, don't worry," he replied. "Jenny, we're leaving."
Jenny came out of the kitchen, "Bye bye, Lily. Stop in over the summer to see Darrius. I'm sure he'd love to play with you in the back garden."
Lily nodded and followed Severus to the car.
They drove to a set of aging high flats which were in the process of being depopulated. Half of the buildings were empty. Severus parked the car beside the pavement and got out. He opened the boot and got Lily's trunk out.
"Which one?" he asked, looking at the three buildings in front of him.
Lily pointed at the closest and led the way. The front doors had been glass, but were now boarded over. Lily entered and pushed the buzzer for her flat.
"Hello?" asked the disembodied voice.
"It's me, Lily," she called. The entry door buzzed and Lily pulled it open letting Severus enter first.
"We're on the seventh floor," she announced, pushing the button for the lift. "It doesn't always work."
The door to the lift opened and they entered. Severus pushed the button for the seventh floor and waited, with some trepidation, for the clanking contraption to take them up. When they arrived, he got off and resolved to use the stairs on the way out. He followed Lily down the hall to her front door. She knocked and waited for it to be answered.
The door opened to reveal a man of South Asian descent. "Oh, you made it back from your fancy school, then," he greeted, sullenly. "We didn't know if you'd be bothered."
"Hello, Uncle Anwar. This is Professor Snape, my teacher." She pointed at Severus.
The man looked at Severus through hooded eyes, "You brought her home?"
"Obviously; is her mother here?" Severus asked, not surprised somehow at her circumstances.
Anwar shook his head, "No, she went down to the pub to see if she could make a few quid to buy a new outfit for tomorrow. Is that Lily's?" He pointed to the trunk Severus was holding.
"Yes," replied Severus, handing it over. "I'll say good bye for now, Miss Dowd."
Anwar laughed, "Miss Dowd? So, you've taken to using your father's name then, have you?"
"Her name is registered as Dowd, sir; else the school would not have found her whereabouts to offer the scholarship," Snape told him bluntly.
"Where is he then? I don't see him putting rice on the table. You lot are all alike; bloody white snobs," snarled her uncle. He jerked his head at Lily, "Get in with you, girl. You can do the dishes, now you're here."
Lily turned back to Severus, "Sir, will you come tomorrow, please?" She looked at him plaintively, needing to know she'd have a supporter.
"Where is it?" Severus asked the uncle.
"At the Crematorium, two o'clock," he replied, and then shut the door in Snape's face.
With a resigned sigh, Severus turned and, using the stairs, left the depressing building.
Severus attended the Hindu service at the Crematorium and watched as Lily tried and failed at holding in her tears. She looked so out of place among the mourners; even more than he himself, who at least had black hair.
At the end, she came up to him with her mother, "Thank you for coming, professor." She looked up at her mother, "This is Professor Snape, mum. He brought me home."
"That was kind of you, Mr. Snape. You teach at Lily's school then?" she asked, looking at him oddly.
He nodded, "Yes, I am Lily's housemaster. My condolence's on your loss, Mrs Dowd."
Lily's mother shook her head, "I'm no Mrs anything. Lily's father was a Dowd and I put that on the birth certificate. I mean look at her - would you take her for a Mendhi?"
Severus inclined his head, "Indeed. Well then, Miss Dowd, I shall see you in September."
"Mrs Snape said I could visit Darrius. Can I, please?" she looked up at him expectantly.
"We are selling the house, but if you wish, you may visit and help in the garden until we move."
"Lily, you'll be looking after your younger cousins, now gran is gone. You can't be off playing all summer."
Severus looked at her mother and raised his eyebrow, "I believe Lily is not of age to be a child minder. Is it not dangerous to leave a young girl in charge of minors?"
Her mother turned back to him, "She's not in school now, Professor. What we do in our family is our business. She'll get paid and that will pay for her clothes for school." She took Lily's hand and pulled her away. "I don't know why you asked him to come, Lily. He's just a white snob," she hissed, as Lily looked back at him.
Severus gave her a short nod and showed her the tip of his wand. She smiled at him, knowing something would work out for her. She had Severus Snape on her side and he always got what he wanted. Didn't he?
"This is ridiculous, Severus; a summer holiday camp for Muggle-born magic children. They attend Hogwarts, don't they?" Lucius was entertaining Severus in his garden at Malfoy Manor, when he'd been asked to be a patron of Severus' idea.
"There are many children, of meagre wealth, who are attending Hogwarts, Lucius, not just Muggle-born. There are programs for children of special needs in the Muggle community, but our children don't fit in at the best of times. This would let them be themselves for a week or so."
He hadn't fleshed out the plan but knowing his friend, Lucius, that was not a major hurdle. When a Malfoy wanted something, it tended to happen.
"Where do you suggest we hold it?" asked Lucius, finally.
Snape looked around, "I thought perhaps...here." His gaze swept over the landscaped lawns and gardens, now restored to their former grandeur. "You could fundraise for support and I'm sure Hogwarts could spare a few elves for housekeeping and grounds work."
"Yes, the ministry has added a requirement for community service to the school curriculum for next year. Some of the senior pupils could get a head start on their voluntary service." He looked at Severus with a crooked smile growing on his face, "I did so want to restore the swimming pool. We need to have a ball..."
The Knight bus pulled up the long lane leading to Malfoy Manor. When it stopped, a throng of young people, eight to thirteen years of age tumbled off.
"Welcome to 'Summer of Sorcery', at Malfoy Manor. My name is Ginny Weasley and I am the Camp Director."
Lucius and Snape stood at the far side of the lawn, where the neat, white, magical tents had been pitched. Watching the arrival, Severus noticed Lily standing at the back of the crowd, her rucksack on her back. She looked around and saw him standing in the distance. Her smile widened, as she waved madly at him. He gave a small wave in recognition.
"You know, if you had told me five years ago, what I would be doing today, I'd have suggested that you commit yourself to St. Mungo's," remarked Malfoy, as he led the way to his house.
"If I had known I would be the one to suggest it to you, I would have taken you up on it."
"We're getting old, Snape."
"Speak for yourself, Malfoy; I've never felt younger."