Severus checked his watch again; the kid was fifteen minutes late. The man sighed in annoyance. Until now, he believed that Theodore was mature for his age. Apparently, Potions Master's expectations were too high. The expression "responsible teenager" is simply an oxymoron.
Even so many years after moving out, the sight of the ruined house still made him feel gloomy. Well, he didn't have a happy childhood, but he wasn't the only one, so there was no point in feeling sorry for himself.
He knocked on the door, but doubting that anyone could hear him (so much noise was coming from the inside), he pressed the handle. At the entrance, he saw Potter, who stopped dead when he looked at the Potions Master.
"Potter, you are not a very enthusiastic host. Where are your manners?" Severus looked around the house. "What. Is. The. Meaning. Of. This." He drawled, and at the sight of the numerous bottles lying on the table, cigarette smoke and drunk teenagers, he started to seethe.
"I've invited some friends over," the boy replied belligerently, lifting his chin.
Oh, how Severus hated this gesture.
"Bloody hell, how much did you drink, Potter?"
"Just one beer." The man looked at him doubtfully. The boy had flushed cheeks, and his eyes were shining unnaturally. "And I'm not going to drink any more. I'm keeping an eye on everything; it's not irresponsible." Harry folded his arms.
"No, Potter, it's illegal. Where's Theodore?"
"Upstairs." Snape saw the kid swallow hard, and his bravado was slowly evaporating.
The man smirked.
"Good, and now, ask everyone to leave."
Potter made a face. Apparently not liking that somebody dared to interrupt this idiotic party.
"Not a chance. These are my guests. They came here for my birthday. And, I already told you that you can't boss me around," drawled the boy angrily. But, because his voice was trembling slightly, it sounded pretty pathetic. The Potions Master looked at Potter's skinny hands that were shaking slightly.
Not having the time or the desire to argue with this little moron, he growled:
"Everyone, get out!"
The few teenagers standing the closest looked at the teacher but ignored him completely.
"Hey, you can't do that!" Potter tried to stop him.
"Not a word from you, idiotic boy." The man gave Harry an annoyed look. "Get the hell out of here, or I'll call the police!" This time the man shouted to attract the attention of teenagers who, seeing his furious face, finally decided to leave the house. Or maybe the magic word "the police" was more convincing. Some of them were barely able to stand upright. Some of them still chose to say goodbye to Potter before leaving.
After the place was almost empty, Severus looked at Noah. He recognized the teen at once. He saved the boy several times with the help of his potions. As a child, the teen had both dragon pox and mumblemumps*. It was common knowledge that Muggle drugs are highly detrimental to wizard disease. They almost killed the boy, then. The Potions Master had been sure Noah would show up at Hogwarts, but to his surprise, he hadn't, and at that moment, the man didn't feel any magic coming from him. He had no idea how he could have been so wrong. Maybe the boy was a squib of some kind? It was highly unusual for the magic to disappear just like that.
"What are you still doing here?" He growled at Noah.
"I'll help Harry to clean up."
Severus nodded reluctantly.
"Potter, until you're seventeen, I don't want to see you with any alcohol in your hand. Understood?" Without waiting for an answer, he asked: "Where's Tobias?"
"Not here," the boy muttered under his breath
"I can see that. What time is he going to be back?" Harry shrugged. It was another Potter's gesture that immensely irritated him. "Answer verbally when I ask you something."
"Soon. Just leave me alone. You came here for Nott, so take him and go away." Potter was getting more and more insolent.
"I'm warning you, boy, one..."
Hearing these words, the boy flinched slightly and interrupted him.
"Nott is in my room."
How could people accuse Severus of unfounded bias against Potter? He gave the boy his most sinister look, and, seeing that the teen took a step back, Severus smiled to himself. The look still worked as it should. Snape passed the boy and went up the stairs. The boy followed him.
The door to the room was locked, so the man pushed it open. Both the Potions Master and Potter were surprised to see Nott making out with a Muggle. Judging by the red lips, they had kissed moments earlier. When they realized that they had company, they jumped away from each other, and the Slytherin, seeing his teacher, made a terrified face.
Severus crossed his arms over his chest and raised one eyebrow.
"Mr. Nott, I can see that you have managed to feel at ease among your peers after all. Say goodbye, now, because we must go."
Nott blushed the scarlet and turned to Chloe.
"Thanks for today."
"See you?" The girl hesitated.
Nott nodded. Snape gripped the boy's arm firmly and led him downstairs. He was furious, and the boy's wobbly step irritated him even more.
"As for you, Potter...I'll see you at my house at nine in the morning tomorrow."
Harry looked at him in disbelief.
"You must be kidding me."
"Again, it's sir or professor to you. And tomorrow we will discuss your behaviour. It is unacceptable."
"What I do outside of Hogwarts is my business, professor," Potter drawled the last word contemptuously.
"You'll come to mine in the morning, or Tobias will find out about what happened here today," the man threatened.
Potter shrugged again.
"He already knows. Anyway, he allowed me to invite some friends. It's my birthday today."
“So, you want me to believe that he knows how many drunk teenagers have been here? And about the amount of alcohol drunk and cigarettes smoked?"
"You won't tell him. You don't even talk to each other," the boy snapped rebelliously, though he clearly paled.
"I think there is a quite large chance that he will listen to me after all." Severus raised an eyebrow. "Do you know what the consequences will be when he finds out? Do you really choose him?"
The boy hesitated.
"Yes..." He looked him straight in the eye. "I'd rather expose myself to Tobias' ire."
"Potter, you are an idiot." Severus narrowed his eyes, taking a step forward.
"I know," the boy whispered, shrugging and involuntarily taking two steps back.
Snape looked at him searchingly. Why was it still surprising the boy always chose the dumbest way? He considered what he should do. He would like to take the moron with him, give him a rocket, and make sure he goes safely to bed. But Severus couldn't force it on the boy, especially since there were two Muggles in the house. Fortunately, the situation seemed to be under control. The rest of the halfwits went home, and Potter and Noah weren't in bad shape. Severus wondered why he cared at all; he had already been lumbered with one idiot.
At this point, said idiot lost his balance and staggered, hitting the mirror hanging on the wall. Seeing Potter's terrified expression at the sight of the newly formed fracture, Severus discreetly pulled out his wand.
"Reparo," he whispered, taking the opportunity that the Muggles were not in the room. To his amazement, however, nothing happened. "What's going on?" he muttered to himself.
"It's a spell," Potter groaned, still staring at the damaged mirror. "Dumbledore cast it to keep magic out of here."
Severus cursed the Headmaster silently. He had left the boy with no way to defend himself against Tobias.
"Potter, if you bring me a mirror tomorrow, I'll fix it." At this point, Oasis entered the room. "Don't do anything stupid today. I'm serious." The two teenagers nodded. Then, Severus turned on his heel, grabbed Nott's arm, and left the house.
"Professor, I wanted to…" Nott began as soon as they were outside.
"Not now, Mr. Nott," Snape growled, cursing his own stupidity. He should have chosen a quiet summer alone, away from moronic teenagers.
"I lost track of time. I am really sorry," Theodore apologized.
“Not a word, boy."
After a moment of silence, Nott added, "but you won't send me back, will you, sir?" Nott looked at him pleadingly. "I really...It won't happen again."
Severus sighed in annoyance. Apparently, the mixture of alcohol and fear robbed the kid of all typically Slytherin moves. He would like to leave the boy in suspense. Maybe it would teach him something. Severus considered him. The man could see the horror on his face at the prospect of returning home, which the boy usually managed to hide.
"No, Nott, I won't send you back. We'll talk at home."
As soon as the door closed behind them, Harry sat down in the chair and put his head in his hands.
"Hey, Shortie, are you okay? You're shaking. You didn't do drugs with Duncan, did you?"
Harry looked at him.
"No, of course not. I'm just a little cold somehow. Would you like to sleep here, on the couch? I'll bring you a blanket.
"Sure Thanks, mate."
Tuesday, August 1st, 1995
Harry was awakened by the bitter cold. Everything hurt him, and he felt sick. He barely made it to the toilet, where he began to vomit the hideous yellow liquid.
The sounds apparently woke Oasis up because he appeared upstairs just moments later.
"Oh, Geez, Shortie. You look terrible."
Harry looked at him, wiping his mouth with toilet paper.
"Thanks for the info," he said, his voice slightly trembling.
"Are you gonna puke again?" Harry shook his head. "Come on, let me help you." Oasis pulled him to a standing position by his arm. “You must have a really sensitive stomach to have such a hangover after one stupid beer.”
"I know," Harry said miserably.
"Maybe it's because you're so skinny, you feel so bad after a tiny little bit of alcohol? I don't know, maybe eat more or something so you won't get so fucked up next time."
"Merlin’s pants, shut up. There won't be another time."
As they returned to the room, Harry threw himself on the bed and wrapped himself in the quilt.
"Want some tea?"
"No, thanks. I just wanna sleep" Harry closed his eyes.
Hours later, when he awoke again, Oasis was standing over him.
"How are you? Better? You were thrashing a little in your sleep. Come to mine. You were supposed to show up to my old man. And my mother has made soup, maybe it will help you when you eat something."
"Ugh, I don't want to go anywhere, I'm cold, and I'm not hungry." But as soon as he said it, he felt sick again. He got up quickly and ran to the bathroom. "I don't want to go anywhere," he repeated, sitting on the cold tiles. Harry knew he was acting like some spoiled whelp when he complained so much, but at the moment, he really didn't care.
"Come on, just show up, and I'll walk you back." Oasis frowned at him.
Harry nodded, remembering his decision about pulling himself together. The teen put on two sweatshirts and followed Oasis.
As they walked through the park, they noticed Nott sitting on a bench as usual with a book in his hand.
"Look, Shortie, your homie. Judging from Severus' look yesterday, I thought he would never let him leave the house again."
"Nah," Harry shrugged his shoulders and added, “Snape was just furious with me. He probably thinks it's my fault that I made him drink or something."
"He really doesn't like you that much?"
"He is their Head of House. I mean Nott's and his housemates'. In Snape's eyes, they can do no wrong, but the man is horrible to everyone else. So, he probably thinks I was the one who pulled Nott by force and poured drinks down his throat.”
"What force?" Oasis snorted.
Harry just shot him an annoyed look.
"Anyway, I'll be fine until Sunday, but seriously, I bet Snape will get his revenge later and tell Tobias some nonsense."
"In that case, why didn't you go to his house as he suggested? Maybe then he wouldn't tell on you to your old man."
"Are you kidding me? He'd make hell for me, and then, knowing life, he'd tell Tobias everything anyway. I only saved myself a half-day of humiliation.” Though he was sure, he was only delaying the inevitable. September was approaching fast, and with it, the hated Potions lessons.
Harry and Oasis walked over to Nott.
"Hiya, how are you?" Oasis greeted the boy.
Nott looked up from his book.
"Well, you look pretty good, better than the Shortie, anyway."
Nott looked at Harry.
"Snape gave me an el…medicine that made me better."
"You see," said Harry. "As I said, not only that Snape didn't do anything to him, but also helped him recover quicker." Harry felt a slight pang of jealousy but told himself it was because he was feeling really unwell. Despite his warm clothes, he was still shaking, his temples were throbbing, and the air felt a little denser than usual. It was harder for him to breathe.
"Well, something like that," agreed Nott. "Anyway, thanks, Potter," he cleared his throat slightly, "for the invitation."
"Oh," said Harry, surprised. "Thanks for coming."
"Are you all right? You really don't look well."
"Yes, sure. Sorry, we have to go now," Harry said goodbye, wanting to get back to bed as soon as possible. He couldn't remember the last time he had felt this bad.
They missed Oasis' father in the house, but his mother greeted them. Just like Mrs. Weasley, she tried to force soup into Harry, but after a few spoons, he felt sick again and ran to the bathroom.
"You don't look too well. Are you okay?" Oasis' mother asked him when he returned.
"I'm not very well." He replied, falling into the chair running on empty.
"You might have a fever." He flinched as she placed her cold hand on his forehead. "You're burning. You should go to see the doctor."
"No. I don't like the doctors very much. And they don't like me either." He wasn't lying. He was pretty lucky because he almost never fell ill. Still, the three times he visited the clinic were rather traumatic. The first time his aunt took him for the compulsory vaccination, he became so ill that he was feverish, delirious, and vomiting for a week. His aunt was so afraid that he’d infect Dudley that she forbade him from leaving his cupboard until he recovered. At least she was nice enough to give him an extra blanket that he could keep from then on, and she made sure he got fresh water every day.
"Aren't you exaggerating a little? How can a doctor who doesn't know you dislike you? This can turn into pneumonia or other nasty stuff.”
"No, I...I think I'm allergic to drugs." He had his own theory, which he believed in, even though he never tested it. It was the Muggle drugs that perhaps hurt him because he was a wizard. Even though he passionately hated being in the hospital wing, he never had any additional problems after consuming the potions given by Madame Pomfrey.
Oasis' mother frowned.
"Do you really have a problem with medications?" She looked questioningly at Oasis, who shrugged in response.
"Were you born like my Noah?"
"What do you mean?" Was she just suggesting to him that his friend, whom he had been seeing almost every day for the last month, was a wizard? Harry's eyes widened. He felt terrible. He was sick, shivering, his head was killing him, and the conversation he was just participating in took some bizarre tracks. "I don't know what you mean," he said finally.
"I'm asking if you inherited the magic gene from your mother, just like your brother did."
Harry opened his mouth in surprise, but then he reflected.
"Are you a wizard too?" He looked questioningly at Oasis.
"Well, not really. I was supposed to be. But because of my old man, and well, mother—” he said, looking at the woman with plain anger, “—I am not."
"How can you not be now?" Harry had so many questions if he only felt better... He had to concentrate.
"You know, those strange people came to offer me a place at the school, Hangard..."
"Hogwarts," corrected him, Harry.
"Never mind. The old man said the fuck he would pay them, and besides, well, he wouldn't even have that much money. Where does your old man get it?"
"It's complicated. It's not him that pays, anyway. What happened next?" Harry leaned his hands on the table. He didn't even have the strength to sit upright.
"Nothing." Oasis shrugged his shoulders and added, "Bam, bam, bam, they waved their magic wands, made me drink some nasty stuff and left. They said I would forget everything, but both my mother and I remember it. The only thing is, I haven't done any weird stuff anymore.”
"Man, why didn't you tell me sooner about being a wizard?"
"You didn't say anything either. Besides, I'm not a wizard, am I? I can't do magic after all." Oasis shrugged and added, "so this smart dude who lives with your brother, Nott, is one of you too?"
Harry just nodded but didn't have time to answer because Oasis's mother spoke up.
“Child, go to your brother. Let him make you a draught. Regular drugs never worked on Noah either. Your father advised me to go to your brother for help. I thought he was some kind of a quack doctor, and my Noah only responds to alternative medicine. It was only later that I found out the truth,” she said, picking up the plates from the table and turning to the sink. "Go to him. You really look bad," she added.
"No...there is no need. Really, it'll be over by tomorrow. It always passes. Anyway…I think I'd rather die than ask him for help."
"Gee, you're a drama queen," Oasis rolled his eyes, and Harry glared at him.
"Don't say that; it can be an evil hour." The woman shook her head disapprovingly. "Your brother is a good man; he will help you."
"Yes, and later he will take double the pay for that, I won't be able to afford it." And Harry wasn't really speaking about money. "I'd rather not."
"Child, you are actually exaggerating a little. I'm telling you, go to your brother. I would have kept you here myself to help you in case you got worse, but…" She hesitated for a moment. “I don't know how my husband would take it.”
"Nothing new there," Oasis snorted contemptuously. His mother grimaced hearing that. "Come on, Shortie, I will walk you home. I can even stay at yours and make sure that you won't die.
"Really, you don't have to. I will manage."
"Go to Severus and have him look at you." The woman chimed in again.
"Okay, I promise, if I don't get better, I'll go to him," he agreed, then muttered, “...if he kills me, then at least the death will be faster and less painful.”
"As I said, drama queen."
Wednesday, August 2nd, 1994
As the evening was approaching, Severus was making dinner for himself and Theodore. Usually, he didn't use magic while preparing meals unless he was in a rush. He liked to cook because, like potions, it relaxed him. Nott sat at the table, assiduously rewriting sentences on parchment. One thousand very long sentences. Severus grimaced. Perhaps he was a bit too harsh on the boy, but he was really furious, both with Theodore and Potter. And since Nott began to apologize as soon as he’d entered the house, not letting Severus cool down, he might have carried it a little too far. Well, it was too late anyway to mitigate the punishment. But, next time, the boy will surely think twice before doing something stupid.
Suddenly he heard a violent pounding on the door. Theodore jumped up in his chair. It was not a typical situation, as no one visited him here. Severus had no friends, and the neighbours tended to avoid him. His house was well protected, even though none of the wizards he knew—except Dumbledore—knew his address. Within a fraction of a second, the burners were off, and Snape, wand ready, headed for the front door. The pounding became even louder.
Severus pressed the handle, and in front of him stood Noah. He looked panicked.
"Quick, you have to help him. He's in the car."
He looked at the wrecking old car parked in front of his house. He saw Potter sitting motionless in the front seat.
"Your brother, hurry up!" He didn't have time to say anything else because Severus was already halfway to the car.
"What's wrong with him?" Snape asked, opening the car door. He looked at Potter. His lips were almost blue, his cheeks flushed, and he was shivering. The man took his pulse. The boy's heart rate was fast. If it weren't for the fact that they were standing in the middle of a Muggle street, he would have levitated him home already.
"I don't know, I don't fucking know! Since Sunday, he looked like he had been high." When Snape shot him a sharp look, he added, "but he swore he hadn't!" Meanwhile, Snape pulled the Gryffindor out of the vehicle. He did that quite effortlessly. Potter was skinny, Severus knew that, but he didn't have any idea how light he actually was. "And then the whole next day Harry was shaking and puking, but I thought he had a hangover, although he hardly had drunk anything, but I don't know, maybe he ate something bad," the teen continued, even more panicked.
Theodore stood in the doorway, watching everything. As soon as Snape approached the door, he let the teacher pass. Both Oasis and Nott followed the Potions Master to the living room. Snape turned to Noah.
"Your presence is inexpedient here. Leave."
"Hey, no fucking way, I wanna help."
"Language." He put Potter on the couch. "I need to focus. And, you're just going to distract me," he added, seeing that the boy wasn't going to let go easily. "You can come in the morning and check on him. And now, I will ask you kindly, for the last time, to leave. "
"Okay, just help him. He's really cool."
"If he's cool, then I'll save him," the man mocked the boy. "Go now," he added impatiently.
When the boy slammed the door behind him, Severus waved his wand to lock it.
"Bring me a box of healing potions quickly," he said to Theo, who nodded and hurried to the laboratory while he cast a scanning spell.
Potter had a very high temperature. It didn't look good.
As soon as Theodore had brought him the box, Severus gave Potter a potion to lower the temperature. He didn't know if Noah was telling the truth. The Potion Master had to test the boy's blood. Maybe Potter was stupid enough to take Muggle drugs, or perhaps someone put something into his drink, and he got poisoned. Either way, he had to find out in order to help him. Severus was not a Healer, but he had mastered the basics of healing because of his profession. If his skills prove insufficient, he will take Potter to St. Mungo’s. However, he would prefer to avoid that.
He poured some Quidmali Estsanguis potion on a platinum saucer, took Potter's hand and cast a light Diffindo to cut the skin of the boy's finger. He added three drops of the boy's blood to the potion and then healed the wound quickly. The potion showed only general information about whether the blood was healthy or contaminated with some Muggle chemicals, bacteria, animal bite or magic. The potion turned dark green which meant bacteria. Potter also had enlarged lymph nodes. Severus paled. He hoped Tobias hadn't hurt the boy that much because the first thing that crossed his mind was a bacterial infection of the open wound.
"Cutis Perturbationes," he said, making a complicated wand motion. The spell showed the condition of the skin. Colourless aura indicated the absence of any blemish, light pink for natural birthmarks, dark green for scars, purple for bruises, and black for open wounds. The boy was surrounded by a colourful aura. He sighed. Too colourful for a fifteen-year-old. However, only after turning him over on his stomach, he noticed a very brown colour in the shoulder blade area.
Severus spoke another incantation, and both the aura and the boy's shirt disappeared. The man saw a crooked dressing plastered on Potter's back, and around it, the skin was swollen and red. When Severus took it off, he cursed loudly.
Tattoo. The idiotic boy got himself a tattoo.
Another day, maybe even a few hours and the Dark Lord wouldn't have to worry about Potter anymore. He looked at the boy. His skin was practically stretched over his bones, showing fading but still visible traces of violence. The man sighed deeply. A sleepless night awaited him. He pulled out his wand and carefully transferred Potter to the guest bedroom.
The hottest day of the year gave Petunia a real gyp. She was sitting on a swing on her beautiful porch sipping iced tea, her only respite from the heat was an electric fan her husband had bought at a supermarket a few days earlier. Even though the device was turned on at full speed, it didn't help much. The whole summer was extremely hot and calm. A month earlier, thanks to the attic clean-up, she had managed to get rid of Potter for good. She didn't say it was a wrong decision, but she was the only one of the three Dursleys to lack the boy. As for Dudley, he had finally regained his peace, and Vernon was calmer too, not having to get angry by the antics of the whelp.
She loved her garden, but for years, ever since she'd taught her nephew to weed—which she had to put a lot of effort into, too, because it wasn't easy at all to teach a three-year-old, especially one so stupid like Potter, to distinguish weeds from seedlings—Potter did that. She didn't have to expose herself to the scorching sun or some kind of heatstroke, especially on those days where there was virtually nothing to breathe with. Petunia was, after all, a fragile woman. This summer, she had the choice of either doing it herself or losing first place in the Little Whinging Garden Competition. Yes, they could afford a gardener, but what would people say if the beautiful greenery around the house was the merit of a professional, not her own hard work and talent. Besides, even though she liked to cook, at least during the summer holidays, the boy did the job, not to mention cleaning. It took a lot of effort to keep the house so clean, so she definitely deserved a two-month break from these responsibilities. She would have to talk to Vernon about hiring someone.
A housekeeper, as the servants are called nowadays, will definitely raise their social status.
Petunia checked her watch. It already was past four, and by six, she was going to meet with Ivone at a nearby restaurant, so she should be getting ready.
Anyway, she wondered what problem Ivone had this time. Maybe it was about her loser husband? Of course, Petunia hadn't pointed out to Ivone that she’d married an ordinary plumber. Not everyone can have a director at home, but personally, she would be ashamed if she’d married a labourer.
Wearing a beautiful new rose dress and a Borsalino hat that Ivone praised so much, she was on her way back home. The meeting lasted longer than she had planned. It was getting dark already. She was a little worried about Dudley, who would heat up his dinner for the first time by himself. She hoped her poor thing wouldn't get burned. Were it not for the fact that her friend desperately needed advice, she would have stayed and helped Dudley, who still had his whole life to do chores and should not waste his childhood on them. She also hoped that his future wife would be able to take care of the house properly. Petunia turned down the little alley that led to Wisteria Walk. Suddenly it grew very chilly, and she wished she had taken a cardigan sweater. Still, there was nothing on TV about a sudden drop in temperature. She wrapped her arms around herself and shuddered as the sky turned completely black so that neither the stars nor the moon could be seen.
At one point, she heard something, a hoarse, wheezing sound, and felt an icy touch on her neck. Suddenly she heard a high-pitched scream in the distance. A flickering lantern illuminated a large figure falling to the ground.
"Rose, darling! Long time no see! Oh gosh, what a beauty. Those lovely curls! What huge, beautiful, sparkling eyes! You took your beauty after your mom, right?"
"Yes," the girl smiled.
"And what's your name, sweety?”
"And this is Petunia, my older daughter."
"Hello, Petunia. Rose, have you ever thought about sending Lily to some Little Miss contest? They're so popular lately. I'm sure your little one would win it. Or for casting for a tv series!”
"Why are you dressing up, Petunia?"
"I'm not dressing up."
"Her boyfriend Mark is coming!"
"Stop it, Lily, he's not my boyfriend. We're just going to do our homework together."
"Mark, focus, please; I've written everything by myself so far."
"Stop nagging. It's you who wanted me to be a project partner with me. Who is that girl downstairs?"
"My sister, she came home from boarding school."
"Sister? Not similar at all. So pretty. Will you introduce me to her?"
"Lily, how could you cut your sister's hair! I told you not to use magic on her! You're grounded from watching TV!"
"We were just joking a little with Severus!"
"She looks like a boy now; she's crying and ashamed to even leave the room!”
"She doesn't look worse than usual."
"Lily, get dressed."
"I am sunbathing."
"Petunia's new boyfriend is coming soon. Put something on yourself."
"What for? Everyone knows he comes here just to slobber over me."
"Darling, what are you saying?"
"Oh, please. I heard him saying that Petunia has a face like a horse.”
"Child, shh! Or the poor thing will hear you. What a scoundrel!"
"Well, at least she'll know the truth.”
"Lily, it's not nice to say things like that! It's terrible!”
"It's terrible to lie to yourself. You've always taught us honesty."
"...your daughter, she is not an ordinary girl."
"Oh, yes, we know she has that gift. The boy next door told us everything. Our Lily is really amazing. Lily, show the lady what you can do.”
"Mum! Dad! I won the contest! Our garden got first place!”
"Yes, that's great, Pet. But you won't believe it, your sister turned out to be a real witch. Isn't that wonderful?”
"She can do magic! Lily, show her how you make this flower bloom...It's so lovely, Lily. We are so proud of you, darling!"
"Oh, well done. Few children this young have such control. You will be a really powerful witch.”
"See, Lily, I'm so proud of you!"
“Could I go to this school too?”
“No, I'm sorry, child, but you are just a Muggle. You don't have any extraordinary abilities.”
Thursday, August 3rd, 1995
Harry woke up and looked around the room. Not recognizing the bedroom he was in, he tried to get up on his elbows. Sharp, radiating pain shot through his shoulder blade as the room whirled, and he fell back onto the pillows. He closed his eyes to contain his dizziness. 'Shit.'
"Hi, how do you feel?"
As soon as Harry heard the voice, he jumped, trying to get up again. This time the adrenaline must have worked because he managed to sit up.
"What am I doing here? Where am I?” he asked hoarsely, feeling very uncomfortable with a Slytherin, the son of a Death Eater, and having no idea where he was or how he got there.
He searched frantically for his wand.
"At Professor Snape's house. Do you want a drink of water?"
Harry shook his head and narrowed his eyes to study the boy. Even though he didn't have his glasses, he saw that Nott did not seem to be ill-intentioned. It reassured him a little. However, he decided, just in case, to refuse anything to drink or eat. Harry had to get out of there as soon as possible.
"How did I get here?"
"Your friend Oasis brought you. You were unconscious, and your temperature was very high. He was here today to ask about you."
Harry remembered that he felt really terrible and the conversation with Oasis' mother. He groaned.
"Where is he, anyway?" He asked. "I mean Snape."
"He had to leave urgently." Nott shrugged.
Hearing this, Harry breathed a sigh of relief, then with great difficulty, gritting his teeth, managed to sit down on the edge of the bed.
"Where do you think you are going? Professor Snape told me to tell you not to leave the bed."
"Okay, thanks for the message, but I'm out before he gets back. "
"Potter, I'm serious. Stay. He was already furious with you yesterday. For the tattoo."
"Well, that's why I have to get out of here. But…" Harry hesitated for a moment. “Thank him for me,” he added, but his face made it clear that it was not easy for him to say that.
"Where's your Gryffindor courage?" Nott raised his eyebrows.
"Hey, Gryffindors are courageous, but they are not really suicidal."
Nott snorted, clearly amused.
"Stay, don't irk him any more than he already is. He's been sitting by your side all night. He's really furious."
"Well, it's Snape, so nothing new there, but Tobias..." Harry didn't know how much Nott knew about his relationship with Snape and the adoption by Potters.
"Oasis said today that you are home alone until Sunday. Snape isn't thrilled about that either. "He paused a moment and looked Harry in the eye. "You know that if you go home, he'll drag you back? Anyway, look at you. You are not even able to get out of bed.”
Harry groaned and put his face in his hands.
"Snape's going to kill me, won't he?"
Theodore looked at him sympathetically.
"It won't be that bad...certainly, a long lecture awaits you. Very long. After all, your stupidity almost killed you, Potter, but I doubt Snape spent all night healing you, just to kill you now.”
"And I think there is a large chance for that. It's Snape. He probably wants to finish me off himself," said Harry, then fell back on his back, which caused another piercing wave of pain.
Moments later, Nott left, saying that he needs to finish a potion. Harry was left alone. He looked around. The room was quite large and bright. There were no personal items, so it didn't look like the bedroom belonged to anybody. If it weren't for the fact that he literally couldn't get out of bed, he would have ignored Snape's orders and gone home. But he felt so bloody weak he couldn't take a step.
Nott visited him several times more, asking if he needed anything. He even brought him a book. However, Harry was so nervous that he couldn't focus at all, and, after reading a few sentences, his mind drifted off to what would happen when Snape returned. For the next few hours, he imagined different scenarios, all of which ended with Harry's body parts and organs landing in a cauldron as ingredients for dark potions.
Suddenly he heard a knock on the door, and before he could answer, the Potions Master entered the room. Harry, trying to calm himself down, took a deep breath, straightened up and prepared himself for the stream of insults and threats. The man approached him confidently, and Harry involuntarily moved away, even though he had promised himself not to show any more weakness in front of the teacher.
"How are you, Potter?"
"Fine," he replied, confused by the teacher's neutral tone. The man rolled his eyes at the answer.
"Let's try again. And this time, I expect you not to act like an idiot trying to pretend everything is alright, but tell the truth.”
"I feel fine." When Snape raised an eyebrow, he hesitantly added, "it's just a bit of smartness on my back."
"Yes? Go on."
"My head hurts a little, and I'm cold."
The man muttered something indistinct and placed several potion vials on the nightstand.
Snape's strange calmness irritated Harry more and more. He hadn't foreseen this kind of behaviour and wasn't sure what to expect next.
"Did Theo bring you something to eat?"
Harry shook his head and narrowed his eyes, looking at Snape. The man sighed.
"Stay in bed. I'll be right back; you can't take this on an empty stomach," Severus said, then got up and left the room, leaving Harry alone.
The boy breathed a sigh of relief, grateful for the next few minutes of peace. On the other hand, he would rather have had a conversation with Snape that he knew he could not avoid.
*wizarding disease. It probably causes the sick person to mumble, and their face and neck to swell like in people with mumps.