Electric Avenue by DesertPlanet
Summary: Following the disasterous Third Task, Harry begins to notice two things about himself. First: his appearence has begun to change. Second: something is very very wrong. The Cruciatus shouldn't continue to be causing him pain this far out from having received it, should it?
Categories: Parental Snape > Biological Father Snape > Severitus Challenge Main Characters: .Snape and Harry (required), Draco, Remus
Snape Flavour: Kind Snape
Genres: Angst, Family, Hurt/Comfort, Mystery
Tags: Disguised!Harry, Injured!Harry, New Identity!Harry, Physical Impairment
Takes Place: 5th summer, 5th Year
Warnings: Neglect, Out of Character
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 44 Completed: No Word count: 191134 Read: 197506 Published: 08 Jan 2021 Updated: 12 Nov 2021
Chapter 36 by DesertPlanet
“SIRIUS!” Remus yelled as he crashed through the front door of Grimmauld Place, nearly falling flat on his face as he tripped over the umbrella stand. “SIRIUS, WHERE ARE YOU!?”

“MUDBLOODS!” the portrait of Sirius’s mother screamed, springing to life at the racket. “BLOOD TRAITORS! SCUM! FILTH!”

“Did they find him?!” Sirius yelled, taking the stairs three at a time as he sprinted towards the door, hexing the curtains back over the portrait. “Oh, Merlin, please tell me it's true!”

Remus found himself being hoisted up by his shirt by his frantic friend. Sirius looked nearly as bad as he had when he first escaped Azkaban; his shirt rumpled, hair matted, and face gaunt as he had spent more time worrying about where his godson had disappeared to and trying to find ways to track the wayward boy than taking care of himself. His eyes were wide and full of frantic energy as he looked over Remus’s face.

“Moony, they found him, right?” Sirius said, pleadingly.

Remus shook his head sadly, feeling crushed as he lied to his friend. He knew telling Sirius would inevitably lead to his Dumbledore being told. Sirius was not one to keep a secret, nor was he one to keep his head when angry. Even if Wormtail hadn’t blown up the street and killed those muggles, Sirius would have likely ended up in Azkaban anyway for the murder of their former friend. While he knew Severus would be more than capable of defending himself, the chances of Sirius attempting to curse him was more than high.

“I’m sorry, Padfoot,” Remus said, pulling his friend into a quick hug. “I need your library.”

“He hasn’t been found?” Sirius said, face and shoulders falling, not registering what Remus had asked as he looked wildly around.

“Sirius, I need your library. I need a book on elemental magic,” Remus said gently, trying to reorient the other man back to the present. “Please.”

Sirius nodded slightly before running his hands through his hair and slumping down on the stairs, holding his head in his hands. He should have known better. Of course Harry hadn’t been found, how stupid of him to think that. Were the other order members even still looking? Did they even care? Of course not, no one cared. No one ever cared. Not about him, not about Harry, not about Remus. They were pawns, their use spent once the war was over.

He learned that the hard way. 12 years of mental torture at the hands of the Ministry of Magic for a crime he didn’t commit with no trial to prove he was innocent. No one came to his aid. No one demanded a trial for him. Sure it was pandemonium at the end of the war, but what he thought was only going to be a few weeks in the prison had slowly stretched into months, then years. Locked in by politicians whose only goal was to save face for allowing Voldemort to get so out of control and to cover their own prejudices by claiming not to be sympathizers.

He had tried to reach out to Dumbledore, the father figure he once had during his school years, in hopes the man might use his immense political power to help him. Or at least hear him out. He waited weeks for a reply, only to find his request had been denied. Over and over he tried to reach Dumbledore, only to receive the same response.

And now it was happening again, but not to him. Harry was missing, but even the order meetings seemed less and less focused on finding him and more on the ongoing recruitment of new Death Eaters. Sirius knew what it was like to be forgotten and he would be damned if he let that happen to Harry.

Harry was still out there, he knew it.

Sirius lifted his head as he heard Remus throwing books across the room in the library. Slowly rising to his feet, he looked at the stairs in front of him and sighed. He hadn’t come down these steps in several days. He hadn’t managed to make it out of his bed in that amount of time either. In fact, he dreaded knowing what sort of mess his room would have been in had he not had Kreacher there to care for him. Deplorable creature he may be, but deplorable or not, his services were appreciated.

In fact, Sirius wagered a guess the disgusting elf preferred it when Sirius wasn’t feeling up to getting out of bed. He probably assumed the Black mental curse had finally taken hold of the boy and he would finally act like a proper lunatic member of the most noble house.

Slowly climbing the stairs, Sirius meandered into the library and collapsed into an armchair. He knew he shouldn’t be feeling quite so weak, but everything just seemed like it was so much work and he just … couldn’t do it.

Even watching Remus flipping through the books was exhausting.

“What are you looking for, Moony?” Sirius asked quietly, leaning back in the chair and extending his arms over the armrests and letting them hang, exhaustion weighing on every feature.

“You know how I’ve been tutoring a student at Hogwarts, yes?” Remus said, flipping through a book rather quickly before placing it in one of two piles.

“Yeah, what of it?” Sirius mumbled, eyes closed.

“His theory project for this year has been one of the most frustratingly complicated projects I’ve ever come across. He noticed the wizarding world was lagging behind the muggle world in terms of electricity, so he wanted to know more about it. We’ve been struggling to find any information about the topic within the British wizarding community, so he reached out to other schools and has been waiting to hear back from them.

“He got the few books Ilvermorney had on the topic just the other day and … Sirius, I’m not going to lie… I think he may have just stumbled into the biggest breakthrough in the study of magic in the history of magic.”

Sirius frowned at his friend. Studying anything muggle should not lead to magical discovery. It made no sense. Wizard’s magic caused muggle technology malfunction. Wizards were far more powerful than muggles; how could muggles have the upper hand suddenly after centuries of having nothing more than numbers to their advantage?

“How so?” Sirius said, pretending to pay attention.

“That’s what I’m trying to figure out,” Remus said, putting down the latest book in the larger of the two piles. “But it seems there is a lot of crossover between magic and muggle electricity.”

“That’s preposterous,” Sirius said haughtily, rolling his eyes. “Magic is intrinsic to the wizarding world. Muggles can’t even begin to comprehend it.”

“Why though?” Remus said, scribbling something onto a piece of parchment before adding the book to the larger of the two piles. “That’s the question. And I think I stumbled onto the answer in one of the Ilvermorney books, but I need to look more into elemental magic.”

Sirius sighed and rubbed his forehead. All he wanted to do was go back to sleep, not watch Remus search through all of the books in his house. A flicker of anger filled him momentarily as he watched Remus pulling yet another stack of books from their shelf.

“Why are you doing this kids assignment anyway?” Sirius snapped, crossing his arms petulantly across his chest. “Shouldn’t he be doing this research on his own so you could do more important things like, oh I don’t know, finding my godson?”

“Sirius…” Remus said solemnly with a sigh. “This kid…”

“That kid doesn’t matter!” Sirius exploded. “That kid does. not. MATTER. Harry does! We need to find him Moony! And it seems like I’m the only one anymore who is actually trying to find him! And what are you doing? Doing someone else’s homework for them, just like you did for Snape back when he found out about you! So what is it going to be, Moony? Harry or this kid?”

Remus closed his eyes and lowered the book he was looking at. How was he supposed to explain this to Sirius? He was driven, no, obsessed with finding his godson. Remus was fairly certain that, before his bout of depression, he had left the house on several occasions in an effort to track the boy on his own, his own freedom be damned.

Now that he knew Harry’s actual location, he felt horrid for leaving the man in such a state. Sirius was his oldest and by far and away his dearest friend. Even the wolf in him acknowledged Sirius as a canine pack member. To lie to him about where their pup was made him feel sick.

“Why can’t I choose both?” Remus whispered.

“Get out of my house,” Sirius said softly, collapsing back in the chair once more, his furious energy spent. “And take those damned books with you if they’re so important to you. It’s not like I need them.”

“Sirius…” Remus said, looking at his friend who was now shaking with poorly hidden sobs.

“Please, Remus. Just… don’t abandon him like you abandoned me.”

Elias sighed as his head was held over a steaming bowl of … something foul. The healers insisted it was good for his lungs, but that didn’t make it smell any better. It just made him cough more.

It wasn’t like he had much of a choice in the matter, though. The new potions regime the healers had put him on left him feeling weak and horribly floppy. He wasn’t twitching constantly any more, but in so many ways this was worse. In fact, he was fairly sure he would have chosen the spasms and the stutter over this.

He could hardly move on his own; nearly every movement he made was dictated by the staff. He couldn’t roll over very well, he couldn’t sit up on his own, he couldn’t even lift his head. Scratching his nose was an endeavor which took several minutes of concentration and left him panting from the exertion.

But he hadn’t stopped breathing again, so that was good.

“Alright, Elly,” the healer said cheerfully as she laid him back on the bed and rolled him to the side. “We’re all done with that for the day.”

“Whe’s my da?” Elias mumbled, tongue feeling thick and unwieldy, before a harsh round of weak coughs forced their way out.

“Good job, Elly!” the healer said, rubbing his back as he coughed, spelling away anything he may have coughed up. “I know you hate this, but we need to keep your lungs clear.”

“Da?” Elias tried to ask once more, his lungs burning in his chest as the potion continued to encourage him to cough.

“Come on, Elly. Couple more big coughs for me.”

Elias whimpered as the coughing fit finally began to subside. He hated it here. He was so alone all of the time; the healers only came into his corner when there were potions to give or he needed assistance with ... other things. No one wanted to stay and talk to him and he couldn’t understand why.

The healers insisted his father came to visit every morning before classes started and every evening after he was done with detentions, but he was typically asleep at that time. He vaguely recalled him visiting a few times in the late afternoon, but the confusion was already brewing by the time he got there and he could hardly remember what he had said, if anything. Some days he thoroughly believed the healers were lying to him when they said his father had visited, but occasionally he vaguely recalled his fathers hand holding his as he struggled to wake up.

“Da?” Elias asked once more, eyes still moist with tears from the coughing fit.

“He came this morning, love,” the healer said calmly, pulling a blanket up over the boy and tucking it in tightly. “He said your tutor was coming by around noon, too.”

Elias sighed and squirmed weakly under the blankets for a moment before an elimination spell was cast on him. It was embarrassing and annoying and felt so strange every time it was cast on him, but he supposed it was better than soiling himself. He just wished he didn’t need it cast anymore; that he would be able to get up and walk to the loo, or even limp there, unaided.

That wasn’t even the worst part of being here. No, the worst part by far was the healers. He hated every one of them and how they never spoke to him as though he were anything but a child. They assumed that he was never totally with it despite the fact he would have several hours of lucidity around midday. But other than lunch, the treatment to clear his lungs, and the elimination spell, there wasn’t much they needed to do with him during this time. During those few waking moments, he was bored, alert, and too weak from the treatments to do anything about it. But the healers never seemed to notice this, they just continued running from bed to bed, making sure none of their patients was doing too poorly or sitting at their desks gossiping about various things.

Sarah was having a baby boy. He was due in January and they were going to name him Ignatius after her grandfather.

Emmilia’s familiar was killed by muggle poison as the muggles who lived near her were not fond of the rat scurrying around everywhere and thought it to be a wild animal.

Four of the patients who had come in recently were under watch by a rotating crew of Aurors as they had created a potion which let off deadly fumes for the purpose of attempting to poison an underground station and gain favor with the Dark Lord. They had not only failed, but nearly killed themselves too. Emmilia had joked darkly that she wanted their recipe to use on the muggles who killed her rat.

Today, however, there was little going on on the other side of his curtain. There were no other patients in the ward so it was only him and Healer Tallie in the room. Healer Tallie was a rather large, matronly woman who had apparently worked on the paediatric ward prior to transferring to this one. By far and away, she was the worst when it came to babying him, but she truly did seem to care about his well being.

When she was working, she took everything he did and said with a grain of salt. If he was happy and alert, she would help him sit up and work on puzzles or coloring pages. The puzzles were made with large wooden pieces seemingly designed for toddlers and the coloring pages had large, cartoonish pictures, but they provided him with at least some sort of stimulation. If the confusion was beginning to overwhelm him, she was there to comfort him. Sometimes she would sing to him, other times she would just be there and help reorient him. He knew from listening to their reports that he was occasionally a bit much to handle when the confusion got really bad, particularly at night, but he had no memory of any of that.

He felt sad listening in on their reports and hearing how he had been over night. He was a mess. Apparently last night he had been insisting he was needed in the cafeteria, had tried to climb out of bed in spite of how weak he was, screamed bloody murder when the healers levitated him back into bed, and managed to bite someone. He hadn’t injured them, thankfully, but that was only because of how weak he was.

But the him at night and the him during the day were two totally different people.

Healer Tallie seemed to be preoccupied with something else today, however, as she simply tucked him in and walked away, making sure to ward his bed against him getting up. Today, it seemed he would have to do his other time-killing venture: reciting (or attempting to recite) information from his years of classes. Today, he decided to work on history.

Imagining the Great Goblin Rebellion of 1532 in all its gory detail certainly made it more interesting to try and process the information. He tried to remember the muggle history of the time, but focusing that much was a struggle. He had never really been interested in history, muggle or magical, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t going to study the topic and try to do well on his OWLs.

If he was able to take them, that was.

“Knock, knock,” a voice said from the entrance of the curtain. “Good afternoon, Elias. How are you doing today?”

Elias opened his eyes slowly and looked around slowly. Had he fallen asleep dreaming of goblin rebellions? What a waste of alertness time.

“‘Mus?” He mumbled, struggling weakly with the blankets.

“Oh good, you are awake!” Remus said happily, though his happiness didn’t reach his eyes for some reason. “How’re you feeling? The healers said you had a … rather rough night.”

Elias blushed fiercely at the thought before slowly rolling himself over onto his back. “‘M ok. Up?”

Remus nodded and spelled the back of the bed to sit in a more upright angle before adjusting Elias’s pillows so his head wasn’t cocked in an odd position. “I wanted to talk to you about something regarding your project. I already talked to your father about this, but I wanted you to know too.”

Elias looked at him curiously and frowned. He thought the project was surely going to be put on hold with his condition being what it was. Either on hold or scrapped. There was such little information, it was almost not worth continuing. It wasn’t like he was working on this for a mastery or anything, this was just a requirement for being tutored and not being a student in a normal wizarding school. There really wasn’t any point to continue.

“I know you’re probably thinking we are going to scrap the project and just focus on OWL prep,” Remus started, looking over at the frail boy in the bed sadly. “But I don’t think we should do that and I want you to focus on getting better.”

Elias’s frown deepened. Why wouldn’t they just scrap the project? He hadn’t really made any headway anyways. And we’re they going to stop working on OWL prep too?

“While you were unconscious, the books from Ilvermorney came in,” Remus said, excitement dripping from his voice. “I firmly believe you are on the cusp of understanding something which has eluded even the greatest scholars of our time. This project you started has the potential to be one of the largest breakthroughs in the entire history of magic, and you didn’t even plan for that when you first decided to work on it.”

Remus paused as he looked at the boy and laughed. Elias had the same incredulous look on his face that his father had perfected years ago, though some of his mother’s annoyed disbelief also shone through in his expression.

“What? It’s true.”

Elias huffed and half rolled his eyes. There was no way his little project could have that kind of ramification.

“You may have stumbled onto how magic works, Elias,” Remus continued, undeterred by the boy’s attitude. “The books from Ilvermorney imply that electricity and magic work at the very least on the same pathways. I took the liberty to reach out to Arthur Weasley to see if there were any cases of electronics being tampered with magically. There were none. The one electronic he had turned in turned out to not be an electronic at all, but rather a mechanical wrist watch charmed to look electronic but read off insults to the wearer.”

“So?” Elias said, wincing at the slight whistle his tongue made. It sounded as though he had a mouth full of marbles.

“There are no electronics in the magical world, Elias,” Remus said, excitement bleeding into his voice. “None. Magic and muggle electricity simply don’t work together. Which is what I wanted to speak to you about. I would like to continue working on this project whether you are incapacitated or not. It would be more as though we were research partners rather than having me being your advisor in this project. I already spoke with your father about it, but I wanted to make sure you are alright with that?”

Elias thought about it, frowning deeply for a moment as he thought about the potential implications for the project. If Remus was really that passionate about it, there was no reason to stop him from continuing to follow the research. It was just a school project to him anyways, though Remus seemed to think of it as much more.

Slowly, Elias nodded, hazel eyes meeting amber. It was an impossible puzzle anyways, if Remus wanted to continue the search, that was for him to decide. Elias couldn’t do much from a hospital bed with only a few hours of lucidity each day.

“Thank you, Elias!” Remus said, his smile meeting his eyes for the first time since he walked in. “Now, how are you doing?”

Severus entered the ward as quietly as he could. The lights had been dimmed for sleeping, but there were no other patients in the ward thankfully. Still, it wouldn’t do to fly into the ward the way he did on the first day of first year potions and potentially set off the matron.


“Good evening, Professor,” a young healer said from where he sat near the end of the ward. “How are you doing?”

Severus nodded to the young man who had been one of his first graduating Slytherins as he undid the buttons of his travelling cloak and loosened the buttons on the cuffs of his sleeves and around his neck. He never quite knew what to prepare for when he walked through the curtains to visit his son. Rarely had he managed to make it during Elias’s lucid period during the day. Even more rarely did Elias seem to know who he was. It was better to prepare for a potential wrestling match than to assume all was well on the other side of the curtains and walk in unawares.

“I am well, Mr. Humblerock,” Severus said flatly before sighing. “Has he been behaving this evening?”

Healer Humblerock smirked slightly, though he didn’t correct his old head of house on his title. “Well, we haven’t had anyone get bit yet. Or nearly bit. He seems more depressed today. Was asking for you though.”

Severus nodded and steeled himself before walking through the curtains. He could hear someone speaking softly on the other side, though he couldn’t pinpoint who it was. Chances were, they had needed to pull someone to sit with Elias until he fell asleep to prevent some of his … more notorious shenanigans.

“No, no, Elly,” the voice said softly, a bit of laughter in it. “You need to keep your clothes on!”

Severus sighed and shook his head as he stepped through. This again. He didn’t know what it was about the hospital issued gown that Elias despised, but at night he seemed hell-bent to remove it. Every night he had come by, without fail, Elias had been either undressed, partially undressed, or in the process of undressing.

“Elias, stop this nonsense,” Severus said with a sigh as he stepped over to the side of the bed opposite the chuckling mediwitch and assisted in putting the shoulders of the gown back on only for Elias to immediately begin trying to grab at it again.

“NO!” Elias yelled directly into his father’s ear, squirming weakly as Severus and the aid gently removed his hands from the neck of the gown. “I nee’ to ge’ dwess’d! Gon’ be la’!”

“Late for what, Elly?” the mediwitch asked, taking his hand and rubbing the back of it gently. “I’ve already told you, the World Cup isn’t for another two years. You aren’t going to be late for it.”

Elias frowned and looked at Severus in confusion, blinking his eyes sleepily. “‘M gon’ ge’ dete’sion? ‘M ver’ la’!”

Severus sighed as he rubbed his ear and took Elias’s other hand, mirroring the matron’s actions. “You’ll only get detention if you don’t try to get some sleep, Mr. Snape. You won’t be late for class if you go to sleep now so you can wake up on time later.”

“‘M no’ sweepy!” Elias said with a yawn, fighting tooth and nail against the sleep aid he had been given. “Poow spidew! Don’ huwt him!”

“I won’t hurt the spider, Elias,” Severus said, wondering exactly why he was trying to reassure his son about the welfare of a spider in the first place.

Elias looked around conspiratorially before whispering to Severus, “‘e ‘as a stwange eye.”

Severus raised an eyebrow as he looked at the mediwitch who shook her head and shrugged. At least he wasn’t the only one who was confused. Severus was still struggling with the level of confusion his son had at night. When Elias had first relapsed, Healer Shannon had warned them that the confusion would likely be worse at night. She was right, but even then he had been rather easy to reorient. He was more paranoid that he was missing something and simply couldn’t hold focus on anything, but could easily be reoriented to the current situation and was able to retain some form of independence. Now, however, he was a completely different person.

He would swing from childish and happy to crying and screaming bloody murder within the course of a few moments. He couldn’t remember anything from one moment to the next but couldn’t remember what he couldn’t remember or even that he had forgotten something in the first place. His emotions were all over the place, conversations were completely unfollowable, and he routinely would declare things which were either completely untrue or so unfathomably convoluted no one would believe them.

Severus’s least favorite of these was when Elias was insisting that he was Harry Potter to the ward matron and that he needed to leave to play chess.

Thankfully, the ward matron at the time had immediately discarded the statement as one of the more nonsensical things Elias was saying and never even pushed the issue. A fact which was all well and good in Severus’s mind and was honestly a more perfect cover story than anything he could have come up with on the fly. It didn’t matter how insistent Elias was on the issue, the ward matron just continued to smile and nod as though she had heard it all before.

Elias suddenly huffed and tried to pull his hand away, drawing Severus out of his thoughts. The look of confusion in Elias’s eyes hurt to look at, especially knowing this was a nightly thing. He had had only a few short months of being a father and now he had lost his son. Not physically, but mentally. Elias was in there, he could feel it, but there was nothing he could do to pull his son out.

The urge to legilimize the boy and help him sort through his thoughts was great, but Severus knew that there was a high possibility of causing untold damage to the boy’s brain. In fact, the chance of causing damage to him was higher than the chance of fixing it.

“Cubbard?” Elias slurred suddenly, looking around the room sleepily. “No’ suppose ta s’eep onna bed.”

Severus gently ran his hand through the boy’s hair, dreading the answer. “And why would that be?”

“‘M a fweak,” Elias proclaimed, eyes beginning to droop. “I do fweaky fings.”

“You most certainly are not.” Severus said with a frown as the matron on the other side of the bed tutted softly.

“You can sleep in this bed for tonight, how does that sound Elly?” the mediwitch said, gently rubbing the back of the hand she was holding. “Does that sound ok?”

“Mmm,” Elias mumbled, finally allowing his eyes to slide shut for a few seconds before snapping them open once more and looking around frantically. “Where ‘m I?”

“St. Mungo’s,” Severus said softly, continuing to run his fingers through the boy’s hair. “You’d stopped breathing a few days ago.”

“Why?” Elias said, tears beginning to well up in his eyes. “Why wouldja do tha’ to me?”

“He didn’t, Elly,” the mediwitch said quietly. “He brought you here to get you help.”

“No! He hates me!” Elias said fearfully.

Elias struggled momentarily to pull his hand from Severus’s grasp and weakly tried to turn over so he was facing towards the mediwitch, tears flowing freely from his eyes and down his cheeks.

Severus quickly pulled up his occlumency shields at the sight, knowing full well he would appear impassive and uncaring to what was going on, but he didn’t think he would be able to cope with it if he didn’t. His son, Lily’s son, was broken in ways he could not fix. Even in his confusion he was able to identify Severus as the professor who had hated him for four years. Any rapport they had built over the past few months was tenuous at best when one party couldn’t remember it.

It broke him in ways he didn’t think were possible.

Slowly, Elias’s body relaxed and his breathing calmed into shuddered sighs as he finally fell victim to the sleeping draught he had been given. Once asleep, the mediwitch extricated her hand from Elias’s grasp and methodically began tucking pillows around the boy to support his limbs in more comfortable positions. She then pulled a heavy blanket up from the foot of the bed and laid it over him, tucking it around his shoulders to help keep him warm.

“You did well,” the mediwitch said to Severus as she worked.

“Pardon?” Severus said, shaking himself out of his thoughts.

“It’s rough dealing with someone who gets worse at night,” the mediwitch said, adding a monitoring spell to Elias’s bed and checking his vital signs before conjuring a small glowing orb for his nightstand. “He’s the youngest we’ve had, but certainly not the first.”

Severus stared impassively at the woman, not knowing how to respond. Of course she had more experience dealing with someone who was confused, it was just a part of the job.

“Healer Humblerock needs to speak with you before you go back to the school, Professor,” the mediwitch said, nodding her head as she transferred the vital signs from the spell to the chart clipped to the bottom of Elias’s bed as Severus grabbed his cloak once more. He wished he was able to stay longer, but there really was no point. Elias was asleep now and would likely remain so until the morning and there was no reason to sit and watch him snore.

Throwing one more glance at his now sleeping son, Severus closed his eyes sadly and sighed. How was he supposed to do this? How was he supposed to protect his son when he had failed so badly up to this point? He didn’t even know how the connection had been established between his son and the Dark Lord. How could he prevent his son from getting worse if he didn’t know how the connection was established or worked in the first place?

“You needed to speak with me?” Severus said to the healer as he exited the curtains with a sigh.

Healer Humblerock nodded solemnly and motioned for Severus to follow him into an office at the farthest end of the ward.

Severus immediately felt a rock slide into his stomach as he followed the man. Being ushered into a healer’s office was never a good thing, especially in situations like this. Steeling himself for bad news, Severus took a deep breath and entered the office. One look at the healer’s desk and he was dismayed to find Elias’s file sitting open on it.

“Take a seat please, Professor,” Healer Humblerock said generously, motioning towards the chair opposite him. “I need to ask you a few things in regards to the plan for Elias’s care.”

Severus nodded as he sat, swallowing hard but keeping his face set in its normal impassive state. He was honestly less nervous when called to kneel in front of the Dark Lord. At least there he knew what to expect; here he was a fish out of water. There were so many things the healer could wish to speak to him about, and so many of them were not good.

“So far, Elias has been doing very well,” the healer began. “He’s been able to maintain his airway, his vital signs are relatively stable, and he’s been able to participate in some of his cares. What concerns me, however, is that all of this is reliant on him remaining on frankly unsafe levels of muscle relaxers. He is already beginning to show signs of toxicity on them and, had the severity of his spasms not been the exact reason he was brought in, I would have begun weaning him off of them days ago.”

Severus nodded, feeling nauseated at the prospect of his son’s breathing stopping once more but also knowing very well that the potions could kill him as well. “What symptoms of toxicity has he been showing?”

“His blood pressure is highly variable with position changes, to the point we have been discussing putting him on a potion to raise his blood pressure. He’s been complaining of numbness and tingling in his extremities, and his pupils are reacting sluggishly. And I’m sure you noticed how his fingers are beginning to swell.”

Severus nodded sadly and sighed. “He will need to come off of them as soon as possible.”

“Agreed,” the healer said then sighed. “Which brings me to the next issue. Once he is off of the muscle relaxers, he will be more mobile. And with his mood swings and overall general confusion, this is a large concern for the safety of my staff and the other patients of this ward. I would like to place him on a mood stabilizer as well as a memory enhancer. Of course, he would have to come down on the dose of Fulgur…”

“Absolutely not,” Severus interrupted vehemently, his face losing what little color he had. “He absolutely cannot come down on the dosage of that.”

“Professor, if I may…”

“No,” Severus insisted, nostrils flaring as he gritted his teeth. “We will not decrease the dose of Fulgur, nor will we discuss taking him off of it.”

Healer Humblerock folded his hands in front of him and looked over Elias’s chart briefly once more before continuing. “I understand your concern, Professor, but he is too emotionally volatile at this time. I’m afraid it will not be safe for our staff to care for him without something helping keep him calm. Even with the muscle relaxers on board, he has still attempted to bite, scratch, and hit our staff members. Once we start coming down on them, he will be more able to cause damage. And that’s not to say anything about his magic. It is only by some miracle he hasn’t had any outbursts of accidental magic, and at his age that could have lethal consequences for anyone caught in the crossfire.

“I beg of you to reconsider. I know you only want what is best for his health and at this point I see no other way short of deaging his body so he is easier to contain.”

Severus sneered briefly at the idea. That was even more preposterous than the idea of lowering the dose on the Fulgur. The healer was right, though. Elias wasn’t going to be safe for himself or others without some sort of additional potion to keep him calm. He may not be the strongest person, but he was very nearly an adult and was not the smallest. Since living with Severus, he had grown at least an inch in height after the potion which changed his appearance was out of his system. Anyone at his height would be difficult to fight against, strong or not.

But to deage him? That was inconceivable. Elias would be even more confused and even more open to the Dark Lord’s influence. If deaged, they would have to come down on his Fulgur dose anyways as the amount he was taking was certainly going to be lethal for a child. In fact, all of his potions would require adjustment.

Severus sighed and closed his eyes. If he was wrong, he would doom the boy to possible capture by either side. If he was wrong, he risked making Elias significantly more ill. If he was wrong, Elias could potentially die.

But how many people could be injured if he didn’t allow this? How many people could Elias hurt inadvertently because he was scared or angry or frustrated.

“You may lower the dose of Fulgur by no more than four drops per day,” Severus said tersely. “I will defer to your judgement as to how you wish to divvy up that decrease.”

“Thank you, sir,” the healer said, relieved his old potions master had agreed. “Hopefully that reduction will also help prevent him from requiring a magical binder as his core will be more exhausted.”

Severus nodded, his face a mask of indifference but sadness shining through his eyes. “Is that all?”

“Once his potions regime is stabilized, the hope is the Janus Thickey Ward will accept him. He is a bit young for their ward, but it would be best for him to go there at least for a while unless you are able to arrange other caregivers for him at home. He will certainly require a twenty-four hour caregiver.”

“I shall think it over,” Severus said, rising from his chair. “Thank you, Mr. Humblerock.”

“Thank you, Professor,” the healer said, rising from his chair as well and leading the potions master from his office. “We will keep you up to date as to how his condition is progressing and if there are any changes.”
To be continued...
End Notes:

So today we're apparently talking about a: depression and b: sundowners. Fantastic combo, really. And oh the stories I have about sundowners.

Sundowners and dementia go hand in hand. Yes, people with sundowners may be completely fine during the day, but when the sun goes down... I have seen what felt like a possession occur on a cute, little old lady. The sun went down and she went from cute to demonic and strong. And you could watch as her eyes glazed over, it was probably the freakiest thing I've ever seen. Typically, however, sundowners is just an increase in confusion and really can happen at any time of the day, but people tend to have a time when it starts for them personally. And yes, they do tend to strip for some strange reason.

The reason this chapter took so long to come out is because of the MONSTER that is the next chapter. I'm only 3 sections in (it's a 5 section summation chapter tying together a few loose ends and setting up the next story arc) and its already sitting at nearly 7k words. There is a very large chance the next chapter is going to be 10k+ words long, so those of you wanting longer chapters, here ya go. And I'm warning you, I've mentioned it before, this next arc in the story is lovingly called the Chaos arc for a reason.


This story archived at http://www.potionsandsnitches.org/fanfiction/viewstory.php?sid=3639