“So, you’re finally here at last.”
The eleven-year old jumped away from the wall with a yelp and gazed up at the brick, wherein a portrait of an old man sat. He was smiling down at him; James couldn’t help but smile back. There seemed to be a twinkle in the old man’s eye behind the half-moon spectacles that made him feel safe, like he was an old, reliable friend.
“Hullo,” he spoke politely with a nod. The man nodded back. “You know me?” James asked with a tilt of his head.
“Of course,” a second voice sounded, deeper and much less compassionate than the first. James looked beside the old man to another person, whose long nose and greasy black hair made the hairs on his neck stick up. James bristled slightly and inched a bit closer to the older man, who was still smiling even in the face of the other man’s rudeness.
“Brilliant,” the dark-haired man spat, “Potter’s spawn has finally arrived at Hogwarts.” He seemed to wrinkle his nose down at James, who was staring very intently at the man. Beside him, the elder man spoke calmly, “Now now, Severus.” The long-nosed man merely scoffed and gazed away.
James broke his stare for a moment to lift his eyebrows in surprise. He stared at the golden name plates, which he had originally bypassed, of each man; his thoughts were confirmed. He first looked to the old man who only nodded, and James knew he didn’t have to speak for the portrait to understand. The other, though, seemed less enthusiastic, and James turned to him. “My little brother is named after you?”
The man huffed. “Typical Potter arrogance-” His venom was short-lived, though, and he froze in his frame. “Hold on,” he muttered, brows furrowing. “What?!” he exclaimed in surprise. He stared at James, whose innocence was reflected in his eyes, then turned to the old man beside him. “Albus,” he began, “what does he-“
“He means what he said, Severus,” Albus replied with a warm smile. “You’ve become a namesake! Exciting, isn’t it?” He looked down at James and nodded. “And I have as well, it would seem.”
James smiled in return and nodded in confirmation. “Yes sir,” he spoke, “my brother’s name is Albus Severus, named after two headmasters.” Both men glanced at one another for a moment. James then turned his attention to Severus. “Sir,” he spoke with a hint of caution, getting the man’s attention, “my father said you were the bravest man he ever knew.”
Snape’s brows rose and something shone in his eye - surprise, perhaps, but something closer to being touched - before he quickly hid the expression by gazing the other way. “… Haven’t you got somewhere to be… Albus?” he asked, though the boy’s given name was hesitant, as if he was struggling with calling him anything but Potter.
James’ eyes widened and he swiveled his head to the left. “O-oh no, The Great Hall!” he shouted, taking off in a wild sprint - though not before turning and waving to the two portraits, whom he would surely have many more conversations with.
Dumbledore waved the boy off, and once he was gone, turned to Snape. “You see, Severus,” he spoke softly, “Harry is every bit as generous and kind as she was.”
Snape didn’t look Albus in the eye, but his wayward gaze softened as he remembered Lily’s kindness. “I know, Headmaster. I know.”
Fanfiction!? On my tumblr. What is the world coming to?