All The Pretty Horses
Severus flooed into the kitchen at 12 Grimmauld Place, an assortment of purchases secured in his hands. Banishing the inevitable soot, he set his bundles on the breakfast table. He picked up the book his unexpected housemate requested, and the latest potions journals.
Making his way into the foyer, Severus couldn’t help but think of the irony of his current living arrangements. The mutt had to be rotating in his grave at the knowledge his godson freely offered Severus sanctuary after the war.
He passed the place Madam Black’s portrait once hung and thought that no matter how many improvements Harry and Kreature made to The Ancient House of Black, it still was and would always be a creaky old house.
He was about to call out when he heard a voice echo down the hallway.
“Hush-a-bye don’t you cry,
Go to sleep-y, little baby.”
Severus recognized Harry’s smooth tenor. Why in Merlin’s name was he singing a lullaby?
“When you wake you shall have
All the pretty little horses.”
“Harry,” Severus called out.
“I’m glad you’re back from Diagon early. Fix a nice stiff drink and join us in the parlor.”
“Us?” thought Severus as he snagged three tumblers and a bottle of aged spirits.
“Blacks and bays, dapple grays,
Coach and six white horses.”
Severus strode into the parlor and stopped abruptly. Harry was pacing the length of the room, rocking a turquoise haired baby in his arms. No wonder Harry was singing lullabies. Teddy Lupin was cranky, his chin covered in drool, gnawing on a pudgy little fist. Harry continued to rock his godson back and forth, rubbing his back gently to sooth him.
“I didn’t know Teddy was visiting.”
“He’s not.” Harry’s face was drawn. “Visiting.”
Severus set the tumblers and the bottle down and waited, but Harry remained silent.
“Yes, gone. She showed up with Teddy and his trunk…Said she’s had enough…Wants nothing to do with Teddy or me…Blames us for Ted and Dora’s deaths.”
Teddy whimpered and Harry resumed the rocking motion. “He’s teething and feels a little feverish. I read somewhere to rub their gums with rum to make them feel better.”
“No!” Severus snapped. “Old Wife’s tale. You never give anything alcoholic to a baby.”
So much for his quiet evening, Severus seethed. Damn Andromeda.
And then Severus paused. He was the adult here and it was time he took control. Savior or not, Harry was still barely eighteen years old and way over his head with this unexpected situation.
“Upstairs. He’s cleaning the nursery.”
Severus rubbed his temples. “Get a clean towel; soak it in cold water. Let the baby suck on it; the cold will help the swelling. I’ll go through the trunk to make sure we have what we need for Teddy tonight and we’ll worry about everything else tomorrow…Go!”
And as he headed up the narrow staircase, he heard Harry’s voice again.
“Hush-a-bye don’t you cry,
Go to sleep-y little baby.”