The world sucks sometimes

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Caelen skipped down the corridor towards professor Snape's office. It had become sort of a daily ritual, she sat in her father's class until it began to bore her then she would scurry off to see the potions master. The girl hesitated at his door peeking in to be sure he wasn't busy before slipping inside, "good morning professor Snape!" She greeted him brightly.

Snape looked up in surprise, after his argument with Lupin the night before he hadn't expected she'd be allowed to visit him again, "hello Caelen, does your father know you're here?"

She looked up with a mischievous little grin, "course professor."

Snape raised an eyebrow skeptically but said nothing, wondering if perhaps the girl spend too much of her time with a certain pair of redheaded twins. He didn't want to admit it, even or perhaps especially to himself, but he really did enjoy the child's company. Sometimes Snape found himself wondering, had he had someone to rescue him, would he have turned out differently? Naturally then it stood to question, without Severus around to report that dreaded prophesy to Voldemort, would Lilly still be alive? Or even have been his?

Caelen watched the potions master intently, the girl could see he was deep in thought, some thoughts apparently less pleasant than others. She tried to be still, to not pester him, she knew better than to draw attention to herself when an adult was clearly pondering unpleasant things. All thoughts of self preservation vanished, however, when Severus grimaced severely. "Professor?" The girl whispered her tiny hand lay gently on his sleeve above his much loathed dark mark, "professor Snape sir? Are you ok?"

Severus jumped slightly pulled from his musings, "yes fine," he grumbled in his usual gruff manner. "Was there a reason you came to see me?"

The stern professor stiffened, his eyes widening in surprise as the small timid girl crawled up onto his lap and sat fiddling with his robes. "I was wondering," she whispered at last refusing to meet his eyes, "you know all about potions and stuff, and there's so many different kinds, I wondered if maybe there was one to keep bad dreams away, or if there isn't is there some way to make it so someone won't wake till they're rested? You know, even if someone is noisy or jostles them a bit."

Severus sighed eyeing the nervous little girl clinging to his robes from her place on his lap, "who would need these potions?" He was fairly certain he already knew but he wondered how much she'd open up to him.

Silence reigned in the dungeon classroom, just when Severus was ready to give up and tell her his assumptions the girl's chocolate brown eyes lifted to meet his, "me or my daddy, see he wants me to come to him if I have nightmares, but I have nightmares a lot. I thought if I didn't have the nightmares I wouldn't have to disturb him, he always looks so tired and stressed anyway. But if I can't get rid of the nightmares, well then I would have to go to him like he asked. I don't wanna disobey but I don't wanna bother him either, so if he just couldn't wake until he was rested, well then I could go to him like he asked but not have to bother him. Does that make any sense?"

For the first time Severus found himself wrapping his arms carefully around the small child. His motions were stiff and clumsy, aside from his mother when he was very small and Lily until he's pushed her away stupidly, he'd never hugged others. His attempt at hugging would have failed miserably had the small child not turned into him wrapping her tiny arms around his neck. "Caelen," Snape began quietly, much more gently than even he could imagine he could be,"there is a potion called dreamless sleep but it doesn't just stop bad dreams, it stops the good dreams to, it's not a good idea to use this potion too often if you're an adult but it would be much too strong for you. As for your father," he smiled the ghost of a grin the unfamiliar expression looking more like a grimace, "I could hex him so he couldn't hear all night but I doubt he'd welcome that. Really, as much as you hate disturbing him, he's happy to be there for you. After a while I'd expect you'll get over the nightmares."

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