Title: The Best Laid Plans
Giftee: Zephre
Word Count: 9300
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Severus Snape/Harry Potter, Albus Severus Potter/Scorpius Malfoy
Warnings: AU, student/student relationship.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: After all these years, Severus is determined to discover why Harry named his son the way he did.
Author's Notes: Zephre, you requested UST, post-Epilogue and the inclusion of Teddy or James as mischievous matchmakers. I tried, but Albus Severus insisted that that was his role, and who am I to argue? I hope you enjoy this. Many thanks to my beta readers, S and E, as well as to someone for his technical assistance. Thanks also to our amazing fest mods! *hugs them*


The Best Laid Plans


“Slytherin!” the Sorting Hat yelled. A moment of shocked silence was replaced by tentative applause that swelled until the entire Slytherin table was standing and clapping as the rest of the Houses watched.

Face red, Albus Severus Potter slid off the stool and walked towards his new housemates. From across the hall at the Gryffindor table he could hear his brother yelling, “I knew it!”

As he settled and was welcomed quietly by several people, he glanced up at the head table. His namesake -- or was he the professor’s namesake? -- was staring at him. When he caught the man’s eyes, Al shivered. He didn’t look too friendly.

“We hoped we’d get a Potter,” a smooth voice next to him said.

Al turned to face a very blond boy. “You’re Malfoy,” he said.

“Scorpius, at your service.” He held out a hand and Al accepted it automatically. When he wasn’t struck by lightning, he grinned.

“Are you really at my service?’ he asked.

Scorpius smirked. “Malfoys are at no one’s service,” he said. “But it is to our advantage to let others believe so.”

Al laughed. “Yeah, that’s what I’ve heard,” he said, and as he chatted amiably with Scorpius he couldn’t help but think that maybe Malfoys weren’t that bad.

“Hufflepuff!” the Hat said, recapturing Al’s attention as it Sorted the last first-year, a pretty brunette named Zabini, into that House.

After the headmistress’ speech the feast started, delicious food appearing in front of them, and Al kept sneaking glances up at the head table between bites. Professor Snape was no longer staring at him; instead he was speaking with the Headmistress McGonagall in a fairly intense way.

“Do you know why your parents named you after him?” Scorpius asked from beside him.

Refocusing on dinner and his neighbour, Al shrugged. “Dad said it’s because he was the bravest man he’d ever known.” He took a roll and buttered it slowly. “I don’t know if I’m anything like him, but Dad says he’s very smart.”

Scorpius nodded. “He’s brilliant,” he said. “He’s come over to our house to talk to my father on occasion and, well, he makes my brain hurt sometimes.”

“Do I, Mr. Malfoy?” a darkly amused voice asked from behind them. “Perhaps it is retribution for all the interesting experiences that members of the Malfoy family have given me over the decades.”

Scorpius’ eyes widened and he dropped his spoon, spattering gravy all over his robes.

Al turned and looked up, and up, into the black eyes of his Head of House. Professor Snape looked back, an unreadable expression on his face. Finally, he spoke. “A Potter in Slytherin. This is a first. I imagine that you, Mr. Potter, shall cause the few remaining hairs on my head to turn absolutely white.”

Glancing up at Snape’s still full head of mostly black hair, Al smirked. “I doubt that, sir,” he said. “Anyone who can stopper death surely can make a good hair dye.”

Time stopped and the entire table seemed to be holding its breath until Professor Snape, with a matching smirk curving his lips, replied, “Indeed. Perhaps you have inherited the best of the genes available to you, Mr. Potter.” He inclined his head. “All the new first-years shall report to my office in an hour. Prefects, you shall escort them.” With that, Snape spun on his heel and left, robes snapping behind him.

“You’ll be one to watch,” one of the second-years said, slapping Al on the back before going back to his meal.

Eyes still on Snape, Al spoke. “I wonder how he does that robe thing?” he mused aloud.

Scorpius shrugged. “Father says he’s done that forever. He’s never revealed the secret.”

Al smiled. He would see about that. After all, he was pretty good at ferreting out secrets.

Dear Mr/Ms Potter,

We are writing to inform you of the results of your child's Sorting Ceremony, as well as to provide you with information that you may need throughout the school year.

Your child, Albus Severus Potter, was Sorted into Slytherin House, which has a fine tradition of producing witches and wizards who are both cunning and capable.

We feel this to be an excellent match and believe that he will find many successes there.

Albus Severus' Head of House is Professor Severus Snape. Should you need to contact Professor Snape at any time during the school year, he can be reached by owl, care of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Potions Department, or by Floo (office hours for the school year and Floo address are attached). In case of emergencies, please contact the headmistress directly and arrangements will be made.

Wishing you an uneventful year.


Minerva McGonagall, Headmistress, Order of Merlin, First Class

“You do not seem to be too upset about ending up in Slytherin, Mr. Potter,” Snape said, his hands steepled beneath his chin.

Al shrugged. “Dad said it was a possibility, and he made it clear he was okay with it, sir.”

“Did he now?” Snape sat back and stared at Al until Al began to feel fidgety. He didn’t move, however. He’d long ago discovered that it was far better to let others speak first, that way he could tell what they wanted.

Snape smiled. “A true serpent,” he said. “How will your mother feel about your Sorting?”

“I have no idea, sir.” Al held Snape’s eyes. “Once Dad finds out he’ll probably tell her, but maybe he’ll wait a few days.”

“What are you talking about? Won’t she see the owl?”

“I thought you knew, sir.” Al met Snape’s eyes squarely. “They’re divorced. She only came into London to see me and James off on the train. I bet she’s back on tour with her team already, sir.”

Snape hid his shock well, but not well enough for Al to miss it. “I was unaware. So your parents do not live together?”

Snape’s interest in the state of his parents’ relationship put Al’s senses on alert and he filed the information away for later. “They haven’t for a while.” Al smiled and leaned forward to confide, “I think they’re both happier that way, sir.”

“Indeed?” Snape tapped his bottom lip with his index finger. “Is there another reason your father thought you would end up in Slytherin?”

Al hesitated for a moment then decided that Snape needed to know this. “Because he almost did, sir.”

Snape’s eyes widened. “He what?”

“He said the Hat offered him Slytherin but he refused.” Al smiled as Snape’s eyes narrowed in response. “He told me I should think about what I want and choose carefully, so I did.”

“Do tell.” Snape began tapping the desk with his finger. Al wondered if he was aware of that habit. “Slytherin House carries a stigma.”

Al shrugged. “Yeah, well, being a Potter carries one, too, sir. I’ll be all right.”

“Yes, I think you may be.” Snape closed the large book that had been open on his desk. “Very well, you may go. If you require counselling my office hours are posted. Otherwise, Mr. Potter, I expect no trouble. And if there is trouble, remember this motto. Do not get caught.” He smirked and Al smirked back. “Dismissed.”

Al ran into Scorpius outside Snape’s office. “That was longer than most of the other interviews,” Scorpius said as they walked back to the common room. “What did he say?”

“Not too much.” Al chewed his lip. “All the questions were about my dad, actually.”

Scorpius raised an eyebrow. “Yeah?” Then he shrugged. “My father says Snape and your dad didn’t get along too well. He was surprised he named you what he did.”

“My mum won’t even say my middle name unless she’s really angry,” Al confessed. “I think she didn’t like that Dad insisted on it.”

Scorpius gigged. “According to Father, my mother wouldn’t speak to him for a week after he named me. She wanted to name me Darius.” He made a face. “Can you imagine?”

Al really couldn’t, although he wasn’t about to say so. He opted for something safe. “Parents are so weird.”

Scorpius slapped him on his back as they ducked to enter the common room. “That they are.”

“The Ministry would have you believe that all magic can be divided into Light and Dark, good and bad,” Snape said, pacing back and forth in front of his students. “By the end of this year I hope to persuade you that magic is simply a force, a means by which to accomplish your ends. So-called Light spells can be used to nefarious purpose, and so-called Dark spells, can, under certain circumstances, be used for good.”

Al listened raptly as Snape lectured. This was nothing new to him, he’d often heard his father say much the same thing, but something about the way Snape explained things made so much sense. It was uncanny how similar Snape’s outlook was to his father’s.

As predicted, his dad had been fine with where Al had been Sorted, and had sent a congratulatory owl the next day. His mother’s owl had come about a week later and had been cool at best. She hadn’t castigated him, at least. He imagined she’d sent his father a Howler, though.

“Read chapter three of Magick Moste Potente and you shall be tested on it tomorrow,” Snape said. “Dismissed!”

As his classmates gathered their books, Al watched Snape. He’d turned his back on them and was staring out one of the windows. Some unnamed instinct made him walk up behind the man and wait.

“Do you require assistance, Mr. Potter?”

“No, sir.”

Snape turned his head and stared down at him. “Then why are you still here?”

“I thought you might like to see a copy of the letter my father sent me.” Al held the parchment up, and for a moment it appeared Snape wasn’t going to accept it. Eventually he did, however. Al kept his face still. He’d counted on Snape’s curiosity to get the better of him.

“Why are you sharing this with me?”

Al shrugged. “I think Dad would be okay if you saw it,” he said.

Snape frowned. “Are you plotting something?”

Al turned on his most charming smile. “Me? Oh no, sir.” Turning away, he made for the door. He smirked as he heard the sound of the parchment being unrolled.

“You showed him Dad’s letter?” James rolled his eyes. “What for?”

“Don’t you ever wonder why they named me for him?” Al asked, kicking his feet in the shallow water.

They didn’t name you for him, Dad did. As Mum always likes to remind us.”

Al smiled. “Yeah, I’m sure she’s blamed the name for me ending up in Slytherin.”

James flushed and looked away. “You know she loves you, though, right?” he said, clearly uncomfortable.

Al rolled his eyes. “I know. I just dunno that she loved Dad that much.”


“What? You’ve thought it, too.” He sighed. “They weren’t good together, they constantly fought.”

James shrugged. “Well according to Lily, Mum hasn’t been near the house at all since she saw us off. She says Dad’s happier.”

“Don’t you think Dad deserves someone? They’ve been divorced for months.”

“I think Dad can take of that on his own.”

Al sorted. “You mean because he’s done such a good job so far?”

Blinking, James turned to look at Al. “Wait, are you trying to play matchmaker?” He laughed. “Is that why you showed Snape Dad’s letter?” He shook his head. “I think you’re barking up the wrong tree, little bro. Dad’s straight.”

“How do you know?”

“What?” James rolled his eyes. “In case you missed it, Mum’s female. Dad likes women.”

“Are you sure?” Al held up his hand as he ticked off his points. “One, he admits he’s only ever dated two women; you’ve dated more girls than that. Two, Dad’s always made it clear that he’s happy with whoever we like, regardless of gender. Why shouldn’t that work for him, too? Remember when you brought that Hufflepuff boy home last year?”

James blushed. “Don’t remind me! He kept trying to leave us alone together. I cannot believe that he thought we were dating!”

Al made a face. “Well, you were always touching each other.”

“Enough!” James’ face was flaming. “Fine, so Dad’s okay with us dating men or women, that doesn’t mean he fancies men himself. Maybe he just wants us to be happy and he’s being supportive and all that rot. Did that ever occur to you?”

“Sure.” Al grinned. “So that means we should be supportive back, right?”

James sputtered. “Dad isn’t gay!”

“Maybe he likes both, like you,” Al said wickedly, dodging James’ smack.


Al rolled his eyes. “Anyway, how do you know he doesn’t like men? And how many times has he mentioned Snape over the years?”

James sighed. “All right, so he talks about him a lot. That doesn’t mean he wants to, um...” He blushed.

“Shag him?” Al smiled at James’ gasp. “Did you think I didn’t know what that meant? Anyway, maybe he doesn’t, but then again, maybe he does. He deserves a chance to decide, don’t you think?”

James shook his head. “Why am I even bothering to argue with you?” he asked. “I know how you get. Fine. What are you planning?”

“First,” Al said, “we need information.”

James groaned. “Why do I think we’ll be sneaking in somewhere?”

Al shook his head. “No sneaking required. We already have access to the best intelligence gathering corps ever. Trust me.

“You frighten me when you say things like that. God help us.”

Snape had only two pieces of art on his wall. One, an oil painting of a woman who had to be his mother, was a Muggle-style portrait, at least as far as Al could tell. The other, a magical portrait of Albus Dumbledore, was generally empty, at least whenever Al was there. Presumably the former headmaster lingered about the headmistress’ office the majority of the time.

“If you have finished your mental cataloguing of my office,” Snape said dryly, “then perhaps we can sit and get this over with.”

Al flushed, ducking his head. He usually managed more subtlety, but his attempts to find out more about Severus Snape the man had been stymied. No portraits would discuss him, none of the ghosts would comment on him, and even Al’s search of the library had been fruitless. Snape had been a war hero, for Merlin’s sake, how could every book on his war exploits have disappeared? “Sorry, sir,” he said.

Snape poured two cups of tea and handed one to Al, gesturing at the milk and sugar. “So, Mr. Potter,” he began, once the all important issue of tea was settled, “do you have any concerns to discuss this week?”

Al sighed. He could only imagine that these weekly meetings were some sort of Ministry mandate or something since he couldn’t recall his father ever having mentioned such a thing. Snape did seem genuinely interested, though, so he didn’t mind them, and they did allow him to collect more information. “No, sir. Things are fine.”

“No difficulties with your...brother?”

Al raised an eyebrow. “Not that I need any help with, sir,” he said firmly.

Snape smirked back. “Indeed. You would hardly be a worthy Slytherin were it not so. Subtlety and cunning will always beat brash bravery.”

“We get along all right,” Al said, for some odd reason needing to defend his older brother. The way Snape was looking at him made him continue. “Dad always says we balance each other out. I’m the brains and he’s the brawn.”

Snape raised an eyebrow but did not comment further. “I see. Well, I’m receiving good reports about you from your other professors, so there appear to be no issues with your grades.”

Al shrugged. He’d never had difficulty learning things as long as the material was of interest.

“You are becoming fast friends with Mr. Malfoy,” Snape continued.

It took Al a second to know who Snape was talking about. “Mr...? Oh. Scorp’s okay,” Al said.

A slight smile tipped Snape’s lips. “Indeed. Well, I have reassured his father that you are a suitable companion for his son. Do not prove me wrong.”

Not sure there was an appropriate response to that, Al opted to say nothing, returning to his subtle perusal of Snape’s office, looking for clues about the man. Surely he did something for fun.

Snape sighed. “Very well, you may go. Shall we say same time next week?”

“Yes, sir.” Al stood up, the flash of a metallic item catching his eye. It proved to be a box of Honeydukes Dark peeking out of a drawer, and Al smiled to himself. “Have a good weekend, sir.”

“Good evening, Mr. Potter,” Snape replied, staring down at a parchment in front of him as if studying it.

As Al let himself out, the last thing he saw was Snape frozen in position, apparently deep in thought.

The brat is completely transparent, Severus thought as the door closed. He was clearly up to something, but Severus refused to be concerned as to what. He doubted it was anything nefarious, and if his plot failed, Severus imagined he would find out about it then.

Dipping his quill into ink, he checked off the required box on the parchment next to ‘Albus Severus Potter’. Not for the first time, he pondered the boy’s middle name, running his finger over the word.

“Why, Potter?” he whispered aloud. “What did you mean by doing this?”

“Could it simply be that he respects you, Severus?” an amused voice asked from behind him. “Must every action be suspect?”

“He respects you,” Severus replied, not even looking up at the portrait. “He probably just felt guilty about leaving me to die.”

“He did return later and save you,” Albus reminded him.

“A mere accident, I’m sure,” Severus muttered.


Severus shook his head. “Why did he do this, Albus? What could his motivation have been? It’s obvious he loves his family, so why would he name a beloved child after a hated Potions professor?”

“”Well, Severus,” Albus said in measured tones. “There’s but one way to find out. You shall have to ask him.”

“Impossible.” Severus stood up. “I can hardly just show up at his doorstep so many years later demanding to know why he named his son after me.

“Why ever not?” Albus was now pouring painted tea, and Severus paced as the portrait added sugar and milk to his cup.

“He would think me mad. I would think me mad,” Severus muttered, Summoning a bottle of brandy from where it was hidden in the sideboard and adding a healthy dollop to his tea. He sipped for a while before looking up at Albus. “What would I say?”

“Perhaps you should start by thanking him for saving your life.”

“How do you know I didn’t already do that?” Severus snapped.

Albus simply stared at him for a long moment until Severus flushed and looked away. “His letter to Albus Severus impressed you, did it not?” Albus asked softly.

“It was...illuminating,” Severus admitted, his hand involuntarily closing over the parchment Al had given him weeks before. He refused to consider what it meant that he kept it on his person at all times. “I’ll admit I was surprised that Potter was this...complimentary.”

“You never did tell me what the letter said,” Albus prodded.

Severus rolled his eyes. “And I shan’t now, you meddlesome canvas,” he replied. “That is private.”

“Well, whatever it was, it seems that it softened your attitude towards Harry.”

“I wouldn’t go that far,” Severus muttered. “He may just have been being diplomatic, after all.”

Albus chuckled. “Harry is many things, Severus, but diplomatic is not one of the words I would have used, nor is it a description I would ever have predicted hearing from you.”

“One of these days I shall obtain an answer from Potter,” Severus muttered, getting to his feet. The room swayed a bit and Severus sighed. The aggravating old coot had caused him to forget how much he’d been drinking. Again.

“Why not today?” Albus asked, looking at Severus over his half-moon glasses.

“What?” Severus frowned. “I cannot just leave, Albus.”

Albus smiled. “It’s a Friday night, Severus. What responsibilities do you have here this evening? It’s not your night to patrol, nor do you have any other appointments.”

“A student may need counselling.”

“How often does that happen?”

“Minerva may need me. I cannot just disappear...”

“I am available to inform her that you are out for the evening, Severus. In fact, it would be my pleasure to do so.” And now Albus was bloody well twinkling at him!

Severus scowled. “I am not inclined to--”

“Severus,” Albus interrupted firmly. “You have spoken about wanting to talk to Harry for a while now. Surely you’re not...afraid?”

“Absolutely not!” Severus snapped. “I could talk to him whenever I want.” Lurching over to the fireplace, he grabbed the jar of Floo powder, almost spilling it all over the hearth before he managed to collect a handful and kneel down. “Harry Potter’s house!” he called out, throwing the powder in.

“Who’s calling, please?” a tinny voice asked.

“Severus Snape!” Severus snapped, wobbling on his knees as he waited for a response from Potter.

“One moment, please.”

“Listen, whoever you are, my time is just as precious as Harry bloody Potter’s and--”

“Snape?” Harry’s head came through unexpectedly, and Severus, surprised, had to back up lest Potter smack right into him. “Is that really you?”

“As you can see, Potter.” Severus scowled. “Who would wish to impersonate me, after all?”

Potter laughed. “You have a point,” he said. “Why are you calling?” A look of concern flashed across his face. “Has something happened to Al? James?”

“Your children are fine,” Severus said. “I just had the weekly conference with Albus Severus, in fact.”


Potter was still wearing those ridiculous glasses, Severus noted. “And it occurs to me that I never took the chance to ask you why you...” Severus broke off, licking his lips. Did he really want the answer to this question?

“Ask me what?” Potter said after a long pause.

“This is difficult,” Severus murmured. Why had he decided to contact Potter anyway? Bloody interfering portrait! “Never mind.”

Severus went to move back and sever the connection, but Potter shook his head. “Would you like to come on through?” he blurted.

Severus froze. “What?”

Potter flushed, from the flames no doubt, Severus told himself; it certainly couldn’t be for any other reason, after all. “I was about to have some dinner and Molly has Lily this weekend.” He smiled tentatively. “And I believe you said there was something you wanted to ask me?”

“Indeed.” Severus pondered this. “Very well,” he said, wondering if he’d truly lost his mind. “I do have something I wish to discuss and the walls have ears here, as you know. Plus,” he said dryly, “my knees are not what they used to be.”

Potter grinned and for a moment he didn’t look a day older than he had the day he’d returned to rescue an almost-dead Severus from the Shrieking Shack. “Yes, I know what you mean,” he said ruefully. “Just a moment and I’ll open the Floo to you.”

Severus stood up shakily and took another handful of powder.

“Come on through,” Potter’s voice called out and, with a glance at Albus’ portrait, Severus said the name of his destination clearly and stepped through. He deliberately ignored Albus’ cheerful admonition to, “Have fun!”

“Scorpius, your father sends you Honeydukes chocolates every week, doesn’t he?” Al asked quietly.

Scorpius looked up. “Yes, he does, why?”

“I was just wondering how hard it would be to get a regular order.”

Scorpius shrugged. “I’ve no idea. I know Grandmother Narcissa used to have chocolate sent to Father every week when he was in school. It can’t be that difficult. Although, I hope you know--” Scorpius flushed slightly, “--you’re welcome to share mine.”

Al smiled, pleased. “Thanks!” he said, accepting a raspberry cream from the proffered box.

As they sat there munching, Al tried to work out exactly how he could get an order set up to go to Snape from Honeydukes and appear to be from his father.

“What are you doing?” Scorpius asked.

“Homework,” Al said, gesturing at his books.

Scorpius rolled his eyes. “I’ve never seen you study a day since I’ve known you,” he said. “Plus, you haven’t even glanced at those books. You’re plotting something.”

“Me?” Al laughed softly, biting his lip as one of the ubiquitous Ravenclaws who were always inhabiting the library shot a glare at him.

“Be careful,” Scorpius said, smirking. “That’s Elizabeth Nott. They say she’s the smartest witch of her age. She’s probably invented more spells than you’ve ever heard of.”

“Just wait until you meet my sister, Lily,” Al said. “Now she is scary.”

They both chuckled for a moment until Nott, clearly irritated, slammed down her books and stood up. Sweeping past them, nose in the air, she shot one last look at them before stalking out.

Al shook his head. “Some people.”

Scorpius sighed. “I know you’re planning something, Al. Maybe if you tell me what it is, I can help.”

Looking over at Scorpius, Al grinned. “How do you know I’m not planning something really bad?”

“You could be, I suppose. And if you are I’ll try to talk you out of it,” Scorpius said. “Then, when I can’t, I’ll help.” He traced the shape of the Honeydukes box that was sitting on the table between them. “Why the sudden interest in chocolate, anyway?”

“Professor Snape likes it,” Al replied.

“Snape. Of course.” Scorpius sighed. “Look, don’t you think this...obsession you have with him is kind of weird?”

“I don’t have an obsession with Snape.” Al blinked. “Why would you think that?”

“Because you follow him around all the time,” Scorpius muttered, looking away. “You’re always meeting with him in his office, or finding reasons to stay behind in his class, and I know for a fact that you don’t need the help since you’re the smartest boy in this year, and...” Scorpius bit his lip. “Look, all I want to know is, do you have a crush on him?”


Both boys flushed as people at several tables shushed them. “What?” Al repeated in a whisper. “No! I don’t have a crush on Snape.”

“Then what?” Scorpius looked upset, and Al, coming to a decision, stood up.

“Let’s get out of here,” he said. “And I’ll tell you what I’m doing.”

They walked outside, the weather still being nice enough for a stroll, and Al explained his plan to Scorpius, after swearing him to secrecy.

Scorpius was not immediately convinced. “From everything I’ve ever heard, your father and Snape hated each other,” he said doubtfully.

Al shrugged. “Dad talks about him all the time.”

“So you think that means he likes him?” Scorpius leaned close. “What if he doesn’t?”

“Then I guess I’ll have to find Dad someone else,” Al said. “But I really think Snape’s the one for him. The things Snape says in class I’ve heard Dad say at home. They even think the same way...”

“Okay, I believe you.” Scorpius looked around then whispered, “But maybe we should see if Snape likes your father as well, because I know I don’t want Snape angry with me.”

Al grinned. “He won’t take points,” he said. “I overheard him saying to the headmistress that Slytherin finally had a shot at the House cup this year.”

“Yeah, well, there are worse things than taking House points,” Scorpius muttered.

Slinging an arm about Scorpius’ shoulder, Al shook his head. “Relax, will you? I’m a genius and I’ve the perfect plan.”

Scorpius’ arm came around Al’s waist and a light blush bloomed on his cheeks. Al wondered if Scorpius was sick. He hoped not since his plan would definitely benefit from his assistance.

Al and Scorpius watched Snape for days, memorizing his schedule, comparing notes, working out what he did just about every minute of every day.

“I wonder what he does on Friday nights?” Al whispered, looking up at the blank place at the head table.

Scorpius shrugged. “I’ve no idea, although it’s weird that it’s every Friday,” he said. “In fact, did you see he switched around his patrol schedule?” He winked. “No Fridays.”

“No, I missed that.” Al sighed. “I wonder what he’s doing?”

“Or who?” Scorpius said.

Al rolled his eyes. “This is Snape we’re talking about, remember?”

“You’re the one who wants to set him up with your dad.”

“Shh! I don’t need everyone knowing,” Al whispered. “I just wish we had time to make one of those maps Dad told me about,” he muttered.

“Map?” Scorpius asked, looking interested.

Al shook his head. When they had time he just knew he and Scorp could figure it out. Maybe they would call it the Sly Map. But now was not the time for thinking about that. No, now was the time for action. Looking up, he spotted his brother at the Gryffindor table and the germ of an idea was born. James could help him make this happen.

Unfortunately, James didn’t seem to agree when Al accosted him.

“No, I’m not giving you Dad’s Cloak,” he said later that weekend when Al asked. “He put me in charge of it!”

“He told you to share,” Al argued.

James, after looked around to be sure they were alone, leaned close to hiss, “Just give up this mad plan, Al! Dad is not going to fall for Snape, all right?”

“You don’t know that.”

“Yes, I do!”

Both boys stepped back as Elizabeth Nott and her group of Ravenclaws walked by. She shot them both a glare then continued on her way. “What’s wrong with her?” Al wondered aloud. “I think she’s following me.”

“No she’s not,” James muttered.

“How do you know?” Al narrowed his eyes. “Do you like her or something?”

“No!” The answer was just a bit too fast and James, apparently realising that, sighed as soon as it left his mouth. “Look,” he said, pulling Al into an empty classroom and shutting the door. “She’s smart and cute and yeah, I like her well enough. Don’t go bollocksing up my chance with her, all right? She isn’t likely to date a boy whose brother is stark raving mad, is she?”

“Lend me the Cloak and she’ll think you’re a perfectly normal bloke,” Al said. “I just need it for a couple of weeks.”

“And if I don’t?” James crossed his arms.

“Nothing,” Al said. “I’ll be my normal self, and I’ll be sure to talk really loudly while she’s around about the special potions you need to take to stop you from drooling--”

“All right, all right!” James huffed and, reaching into his bag, pulled out the sheer, shimmery fabric. “I cannot believe I let you talk me into this.”

“Thanks! You won’t regret this.” Al folded it up and stuffed it into this bag.

James rolled his eyes. “I already regret it, you loon. Just don’t get killed, all right? Mum and Dad would murder me.”

Al just grinned. “See you later!” he said, slipping out of the classroom and racing towards the dungeons. They didn’t have much time but he was sure that with the help of the Cloak and Scorp he’d know exactly what Snape did on Friday nights. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll see if I can get find a way to get Dad to do the same thing.


Severus looked up from his grading and over at the fireplace. “Potter?” He frowned. “Is something wrong?” He got up from his desk and walked over, stooping down to be closer.

Potter looked slightly embarrassed. “Do you mind if we meet in your quarters this Friday?” he asked.

“Here?” Severus looked around. “That is acceptable, I suppose. Why?” he asked, immediately suspicious.

“Nothing bad, it’s just--” Potter flushed and Severus’ eyes narrowed.


“It would be a change in our routine,” Potter finally said. “It’s not fair the way I’ve been making you travel so we can talk. So I thought we could take turns, maybe I can bring a couple of bottles of that elf wine you enjoy so much.”

“The Saerloonian Glowfire?” Severus pursed his lips.

“I have some of that other one, too, the Topaz I think it’s called.” Potter shrugged. “They were gifts, but it’s no fun drinking alone.”

“Indeed.” Severus thought he could have made an exception for those vintages but whatever. Potter had to be aware that those wines cost over a hundred and fifty Galleons a bottle, surely? “In that case, far be it from me to deny you. Is seven acceptable?”

Potter smiled and Severus again had to remind himself that they were not dating or any such rot. Just because they’d had dinner together every Friday night and had done so for almost three months meant nothing.

“Seven is perfect,” Potter replied. “I thought I would see Al and James while I’m there, too. Maybe I could have tea with them beforehand.”


Potter licked his lips. “If you wouldn’t mind,” he said. “Having tea in the headmistress’ office wouldn’t be too relaxing for them.”

“Shall I inform them?” Severus asked.

Potter’s eyes widened as if the thought hadn’t occurred to him. “Oh, yes, that would be good. That way they’ll know to expect me and then you and I can talk and drink our wine with dinner.” He smiled. “I don’t think they would be up for our intellectual discussions.”

Severus smirked. “Albus likely would; James would be looking longingly out the window at the Quidditch pitch.”

“Sounds like them.” Potter chuckled. “Although I wasn’t aware you could see the pitch from your quarters. Perhaps I would have visited sooner.”

“Sadly, there are only so many Gryffindors allowed in my quarters before the place implodes,” Severus informed him with a smirk.

“Good thing Al will be there to offset us, then,” Potter shot back impudently.

“We shall see.” Severus would not smile.

Potter grinned and Severus had to control the urge to lean closer. “I shall expect you at five for tea and inform the elves that we shall require dinner for two at seven.”

“Great.” Potter hesitated a moment then, as if having made a decision, leaned further out of the Floo and pressed a kiss to Severus’ cheek. “Thanks! See you later!”

Severus continued kneeling in front of the fireplace for a long time afterwards.

“This will be perfect,” Al said, practically rubbing his hands together with glee. “I get to see Dad and Snape together. Maybe I can encourage them.”

“It doesn’t sound as if they need it, though,” Scorpius said, poking at his food. “Sounds as if they’re already friends.”

“Dad needs more than just a friend.” Al sucked some spilt butter off his thumb and Scorpius almost moaned. Was Al trying to kill him? “He needs someone to, um...”

“Snog?” Scorpius touched Al’s arm as he said it, hoping he’d get the idea that snogging wasn’t just good for his dad and Snape.

“Yeah, and other stuff.” Al smiled lopsidedly, and Scorpius couldn’t help but smile back. “I wish you could come, too.”

“To tea with you, your dad, your brother and Snape?” Scorpius raised an eyebrow. “Thanks, but no thanks. Sounds too awkward for me.”

“If you were there you could tell me if you think setting them up together would work,” Al said. He pursed his lips and leaned close. “Look, if I said I had a way to get you in after tea, would you come back with me later so we can watch them?”

“I don’t know--” And oh, fuck, Al was giving him that look again. The one that promised so many things. Oh, how Scorpius wished the things that look promised were true. “I suppose I could.”

Al grinned widely. “Great. I’ll come and get you after supper. Eat fast, all right? And, um, try not to be surprised when I show up; no matter how it happens, just go with it.”

Scorpius shook his head. “Why do I think I’ll regret this?”

“You won’t, I promise.” Al stood up and touched Scorpius’ hand. “And, Scorp?”


“Thanks.” Al’s smile was blinding.

As Scorpius watched Al leave, he sighed. He was so fucked.

“So you’re discussing magical theory in your first year?” Harry asked, interested. “You’re very fortunate, Al. I wish we could have had more grounding in that as students. I was lucky if my DADA professor wasn’t actively trying to kill me.”

Snape smirked. “It does help when one does not have a big fat target painted on one’s forehead,” he murmured.

Harry’s lips quirked. “Yes, I really should have done something to prevent Voldemort from marking me when I was an infant,” he said dryly. “What was I thinking?”

“True. Thinking is not something I generally accuse you of, Potter,” Snape shot back immediately, eyes glittering with what to Harry looked like amusement.

Out of the corner of his eye, Harry could see Al and James watching them with a mixture of shock (from James) and rapt attention (from Al). “So how do Gryffindor’s chances look in Quidditch this year, James?” he asked, trying to include his eldest son in the conversation.

It did the trick, and by the time an hour and a half had passed, James had relaxed, Al had consumed more than his weight in jam roll slices, and Harry was really looking forward to dinner and a few glasses of elf wine. He’d considered carefully whether or not he wanted to drink too much in Severus’ presence lest he blurt out his secret, but he had kissed Severus --albeit on the cheek -- earlier, and lived to tell the tale, so maybe his hopes were not that far off the mark. If only he wasn’t so bloody difficult to read!

“I believe you boys have dinner in the Great Hall now, don’t you?” he asked during a lull in the conversation.

James nodded. “Yeah, I guess we should go.” He shot a look at Snape and then, as if gearing up for it, held out his hand. “Thank you for hosting us, Professor.”

A momentary look of surprise crossed Snape’s face before he took James’ hand. “Mr. Potter.”

Al took his cue from James. “Yes, thanks, sir,” he said.

Harry stood up and walked his sons to the door where they hugged. James didn’t say anything, just clung for a moment then stepped back to allow Al his turn.

“I’m glad you two get along now,” Al whispered as he held Harry’s neck. “Goodnight, Dad.”

Harry blinked, but by the time he could ask what Al meant, they were gone, James tugging Al’s hand firmly as they walked towards the Great Hall and their friends. He shut the door and turned towards Snape. “So, shall we try the wine?” he asked.

Scorpius had done just as Al’d suggested. He’d gone to dinner as early as possible and he had eaten relatively quickly. Petunia Parkinson had asked him what his hurry was, but he’d simply ignored her in favour of finishing his pudding and watching the door for signs of Al. When the tap on his shoulder came he had not been prepared.

“What’s wrong with you?” Parkinson asked. “Nervous?”

“Nothing,” Scorpius said distractedly, looking over his shoulder.

“Shh!” someone whispered in his ear. “It’s just me. Meet me in the hall in a minute.”

It was Al; of course -- Scorpius recognized his voice immediately -- but how was he invisible? Taking a deep breath, Scorpius pushed aside the last bite of his pudding and got to his feet. “I’m going to bed,” he muttered in the general direction of his housemates before walking away, careful not to move too fast lest he barrel into invisible Al.

When he got to the hallway, he loitered discreetly by an alcove, ignoring the looks he was getting from some of the late-comers to dinner.

“Did you save me any supper?” Al asked from behind him.

Scorpius jumped several inches, then rounded on Al. “What the fuck is your problem?” he hissed, furious. “I almost had a bloody heart attack in there, you prat.”

Al grabbed his arm and pulled him into the alcove. “Shut up!” he said. “Don’t draw attention to yourself.”

“Too late now,” Scorpius muttered.

Al sighed, his exhalation grazing Scorpius’ cheek. “Sorry, but it wasn’t as if I could say when I come to get you I’ll be invisible, is it?”

“You could have.”

“Would you have believed me?”

Scorpius began to answer then stopped. “Maybe,” he muttered, knowing it wasn’t true. “So how did you do it? Is it a new spell you invented or something?”

Al shook his head and held up a handful of silky fabric that seemed to shimmer in the light. “It’s my Dad’s Invisibility Cloak.”

Scorpius’ eyes widened. “He gave it to you?” he asked reverently, reaching out a hand to touch the legendary Cloak. “My father told me about your dad and this thing.”

“James loaned it to me,” Al said. “Now come on. We need to go to Snape’s.”

“Snape’s?” Scorpius shook his head. “What are you planning?”

“To spy of course.” Al grinned and slipped the Cloak over his shoulders. “Well? Are you coming or not?”

Scorpius didn’t even hesitate. Ducking his head, he slipped under the fabric and was immediately overwhelmed by Al’s presence. “How are we going to get into Snape’s quarters?” he asked as they emerged from the alcove and inched their way to the dungeons.

Al sniggered. “The usual way,” he said. “We create a diversion.”

Potter really had grown into an attractive man, Severus mused as he swirled the wine in his glass and pondered his guest. He took another slow sip of the Saerloonian Glowfire, letting it linger on his tongue before swallowing. It was excellent, of course, the flavour redolent of pears and apricots with a hint of nuttiness.

“This is pretty good, isn’t it?” Potter said.

“Indeed, it is.” Severus levitated the bottle over and topped up Potter’s glass before adding more to his own. “I have to admit, Potter, your children surprise me.”

“Oh?” Potter looked surprised. “Why?”

“Albus was never unhappy about where he was Sorted. I would have thought that you’d have warned them about Slytherin, about me.”

Potter shook his head. “I knew Al would be in Slytherin. He’s ambitious and very smart. When I got the word, I told him I was proud of him.”

“I know, I saw that letter.” Snape looked away into the roaring fire. “I have never been a pleasant man, and I know that you’re aware of the reasons for that. Still, I did regret having to treat you the way I--”

“I understand Sev--Snape.” Potter looked flustered at the slip. “You couldn’t have acted any other way towards me given the circumstances. You saved my life many times over. How could I still be angry?”

“We spend a fair bit of time together,” Severus said. “Given the circumstances, you may call me by my given name.”

Potter smiled. “Thank you, Severus. I didn’t want to presume...and of course you should call me Harry.”

“Excellent, boys,” a voice from the wall said.

Both men turned as one to look up at Albus Dumbledore’s portrait. “That’s it,” Severus snapped, standing up. Summoning a napkin, he levitated it onto the picture frame. “Goodnight, Albus,” he said before allowing the fabric to hang down over the portrait and block its view.

“Severus!” Albus sounded peeved. Severus smiled.

A sound made Severus look towards Harry, who was covering his mouth in an attempt to muffle his laughter. “That was great,” he chuckled, his eyes alight.

Severus could never have said what made him walk towards Harry and cup the nape of his neck, pulling him forward into an embrace. But Harry’s response was unmistakable and immediate. He tilted his head, angling his head up into the perfect position for a kiss. Severus intended to oblige.

Their faces moved closer, and then all hell broke loose. A loud crash in the hallway just outside Snape’s door had both men springing apart.

“What the--?”

Severus wrenched the door open, determined to flay whoever he found out there and use them for potion ingredients. Whoever they were, they had interrupted what had been shaping up to become the perfect kiss.

The hallway was foggy. Severus said an Air-Clearing Spell, and when the hallway was again visible, it was empty but for a small, broken vial lying on the stone floor. Severus Summoned it, turning it around in his hand.

“Standard Smoke Distraction Potion,” Harry murmured, leaning his chin on Severus shoulder as he inspected the vial. “Someone’s idea of a prank.”

“I’ll kill them,” Severus growled.

Harry tilted his head up to look at him. “Does it have to be right now?” he asked. “Because I thought we were in the middle of something pretty important.”

Severus gazed down into those eyes and smiled. “You have a point,” he murmured. Setting the vial onto the table next to his door, he pulled Harry back inside with him and waved his hand carelessly at the door. He frowned when the door seemed to hesitate before closing all the way. “Strange,” he muttered.

“What is?” Harry licked his lips and Severus narrowed his eyes, immediately forgetting about his Locking Spell dysfunction.

Pushing him up against the wall, Severus loomed over Harry, smiling as their bodies finally touched. Clothed or not, it was delicious, and Severus hissed and lowered his head, finally sealing their lips together.

Harry tasted like apricots with a hint of the almond tart they’d consumed after dinner, and Severus moaned and deepened the kiss, searching out every nook and cranny of Harry’s delicious mouth with his tongue.

Harry was rocking against him, his back arching, and Severus hauled Harry as close as possible, sliding his left leg in between those slim thighs. Harry’s hands were clenched in Severus’ hair and he groaned, the sound swallowed by Severus’ greedy mouth.

“Fuck...” Harry gasped as they broke for air. Severus didn’t bother to reply to that, being too busy sucking kisses into Harry’s jaw and neck. His hands had begun pulling at Harry’s robes which were suddenly in the way, and Harry tried to help him, even as they continued snogging, whispered half-words falling from their lips.

A draft made Severus’ head pop up. “What the--?” He stared at the open door. “Something’s wrong with my door,” he said.

Harry, his wand in hand, muttered a Reveal Spell. “Weird. Nothing’s glowing, so there are no intruders... I think you’d best put a Locking and Shield Charm on that door,” he said.

“And a Silencing Charm,” Severus added with a smirk.

Harry blushed, and at that moment Severus decided he had to see how far that blush went. Raising his own wand, he set the strongest Locking Spell and wards he knew, concentrating as he cast the spells. Once done, he turned to see that Harry had used the time to divest himself of the majority of his clothes. His erection was obvious through his pants, which were the only thing he was still wearing.

“How very proactive, Harry,” he purred.

“I thought so. Now, where were we?”

“On the way to bed, I thought,” Severus murmured, advancing.

Harry nodded. “That’s what I hoped you’d say. I think I’m a bit too old for wall sex.”

Severus smirked. “What you’ll learn, Harry, is that there is a potion for everything?”

“Maybe I just need a bit more instruction,” Harry said softly, holding out his hand.

Taking it, Severus led Harry to his bed.

Al had thrown off the Invisibility Cloak the moment Snape’s door had slammed shut. Scorpius hadn’t known what to say, so he’s simply watched his best friend.

Clearly struggling for words, Al finally just took off running, leaving Scorpius behind.

Scorpius knew exactly where to find him, though. They had compared a lot of their notes on Snape up in the Astronomy Tower, after all. It took him a while to get there, partly because he’d had to dodge Filch on patrol.

When he finally arrived, no one was visible, but that was hardly surprising as it was now well past curfew.

“Okay, so it looks like they were, um, doing what you wanted, so why are you upset?” Scorpius asked the empty balcony.

For a moment there was no response, then in a dark corner a head that seemed to be floating appeared. “’M not upset,” Al muttered.

Scorpius raised an eyebrow as he sauntered towards his friend’s position. “You are,” he said. “Why? I thought this was what you wanted?”

Al exhaled. “I did, I do, it’s just...” He swallowed. “I wanted to do this for him.”

Scorpius frowned and, gesturing to Al to move over, settled next to him, his long legs stretched out in front of him. “You’re upset because they figured it out on their own?”

Al coloured and looked away. “When you put it that way...” He smiled. “I guess you think I’m stupid, hm?”

Scorpius chuckled, then bit his lip as Al turned towards him, a wounded look in his eyes. “Albus Severus Potter,” he whispered. “You are the smartest boy I know, bar none. I think you’re brilliant. I just think you have a tendency to miss things that are right in front of your face.”

Al blinked, clearly shocked. It was an adorable look on him, and Scorpius vowed then and there to try to see it as often as possible. “What do you mean?” Al asked.

Well, it’s now or never. Hell, they were under the stars together, no one else was around... Without replying verbally, Scorpius leaned close and pressed his lips to Al’s, praying he hadn’t completely misread his best friend.

Just as Scorpius was about to give up, Al’s lips softened and he began kissing back. His mouth opened and Scorpius shivered as their tongues brushed together tentatively at first, the contact becoming more deliberate as both boys realised that neither one was about to pull away and end it. But they had to breathe eventually.

Scorpius buried his face in Al’s neck, waiting for his heartbeat to steady. Being this close to Al wasn’t helping, though.

“How long?” Al whispered, his hand smoothing Scorpius’ hair.

Scorpius shrugged. “Ever since I saw you the first time at platform nine and three-quarters,” he admitted. “Stupid, hm?”

Al chuckled softly. “Nope. Not stupid. You’re probably the smartest boy I know, other than me. Makes perfect sense.”


Al was shaking with laughter. “Get under here,” he said drawing back just enough so that he could lift the corner of the Cloak. “I’m going to have to give this back tomorrow. We may as well enjoy it tonight.”

As they sat and talked and snogged, Scorpius stopped trying to figure out how he would tell his father. Al was smart, he would handle it.

Harry looked up and down the platform hoping against hope that Ginny had changed her mind. There was no sign of her, however, and with a sigh, he stooped down to hug his daughter before she got on the train.

“It’s all right, Daddy,” she said, hugging him firmly. “I knew she wouldn’t be here. She’s very busy, and the team is in Belgium.”

“Lily, I am sure she’s just--”

She smiled and shook her head. “She’ll owl me later. It’ll be okay.” She grinned. “So, any advice for me before I get Sorted?”

Harry chuckled. “Since I’ll be there to see it, not really. You’ll be a credit to whatever House you’re Sorted into.”

“James would go mad if I ended up with Al in Slytherin, wouldn’t he?” she asked, her dimples showing briefly.

“You don’t have to do that just because I live in the dungeons, you know,” he said, knowing that she would do what she wanted no matter what he said. “You’ll always have access to me no matter what House you end up in.”

“We would appreciate it if you would call ahead, however,” a darkly amused voice said from behind Harry.

Lily giggled. “Oh, I will, Uncle Sev.”

“Professor Snape,” Harry corrected. “You have to remember to call him that, especially at school.”

“I am sure she will,” Severus said, placing a hand on Harry’s shoulder. “Now, I believe they are calling for the first-year students.”

After another quick hug for both Harry and a slightly stiff Severus, Lily walked towards the train, her trunks following her obediently.

“Dad!” Al ran up to him and, after a quick hug, ran off. “See you later!”

Harry shook his head as Al, Scorpius Malfoy hovering nearby, hastened towards the train, his robes snapping à la Severus around him.

From across the station, Draco Malfoy, hand in hand with his wife, watched, and as Harry nodded at them, Malfoy inclined his head then turned away. “I hope they come around,” he murmured. “Scorpius is clearly not going to leave Al alone.”

“Indeed,” Severus said. “Holiday dinners in the future shall be something to behold.”

Harry laughed and just then James came by. After shyly introducing him to a pretty Ravenclaw that he proudly escorted to the train, he waved at Harry.

As they watched the train go down the tracks, Harry sighed.

Severus pulled his close. “Ready?” he whispered.

The next moment found them at the gates of Hogwarts. Looking up at the castle, Harry smiled. “Looks so quiet.”

Severus smirked. “It shall not remain so. According to my calculations, we have three hours until the cretins arrive. Whatever shall we do?”

Harry grinned. “Have you perfected that Stamina Potion yet?” he asked.

Eyes blazing, Severus herded Harry towards the dungeons. “I believe you’ll find no surface will be a problem,” he murmured.

Harry grinned. “Three hours? That’s all?”

“Perhaps I should work on recreating Time-Turners next,” Severus mused.

“Later. We have a wall, and I believe a desk, waiting,” Harry said, dragging Severus behind him.

Congratulations, Al!

I’m so proud of you! Slytherin is lucky to have you!

You’ve heard me talk about Severus Snape, your new Head of House. He’s one of the men you were named after, as I've told you. He is also fierce and courageous defender of his charges, so never hesitate to go to him if you need to. I wasn't kidding when I said he is one of the bravest men I'd ever known. If it weren't for him I wouldn't be alive and neither would you.

Be sure to give him my regards.

Love, Dad

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