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: 197497 Published: 08 Jan 2021 Updated: 12 Nov 2021
Chapter 37 by DesertPlanet
Severus sighed slightly as he climbed the staircase to the headmaster’s office. He had been trying to get a meeting with the man since the night Elias had been required to go to the hospital but every time he had time to go, the man was off doing who knows what. Thankfully there was nothing overly pressing from the latest Death Eater meeting, but the headmaster didn’t know that.

Honestly Severus rather doubted the headmaster knew a meeting of the Death Eaters had occurred. Either he didn’t know or he didn’t care, but whatever the case may be he had not actively sought Severus out to question him about what had happened.

“Ah, lovely,” the headmaster said jovially as Severus pushed the door open and entered the office. “Severus, my boy! It’s so good to see you!”

Severus resisted the urge to sneer as he sat in one of the chairs across the desk from the headmaster. For how long had he trusted the man only to find he was only a pawn in a much larger scheme? For how long had he blindly followed this man’s lead, believing in his heart that Albus Dumbledore had his best interests at heart? For how long had his son remained at his aunt’s house, starved, neglected, and ignored?

For too bloody long to be compensated for with a lemon drop and a smile.

“Headmaster, I have been trying to get in contact with you for several days…” Severus started flatly, working hard to not let his frustration and anger seep into his voice.

“I am aware, Severus,” Dumbledore interrupted, holding his hand up in a placating manner. “I do apologize that I have been unable to meet with you. However, the minister has insisted that I be present in several sessions despite his multiple attempts to remove me from the voting bodies of the ministry. And then there has been the matter of the Inquisitor. Which reminds me, have you been audited yet, my boy?”

“I have not,” Severus said, voice monotone. “However I am unconcerned by that. What I am more concerned with is in regards to the orders of my other … employer.”

The twinkle in Dumbledore’s eye immediately disappeared as he quickly threw up several impenetrable wards around the office. “Why didn’t you come to me immediately?”

“Headmaster, I did say I needed to speak with you urgently on several occasions,” Severus said, expression remaining unreadable. “However, the information I obtained during the last Death Eater meeting was of little consequence to the resistance effort and thought it unnecessary to force myself into your busy schedule when my own is equally strenuous.”

Dumbledore nodded and summoned a house elf to ask for some tea. He was certain he would have to be gentle with this conversation, but he had some questions for Severus which didn’t pertain to his role as a double agent. Questions which he knew he would need to approach diplomatically and with grace.

“Tell me what happened,” he said firmly as the tea appeared.

Severus took a deep breath and slowly sipped his tea. “The Dark Lord is extremely angry. All of his attempts to enter the wards at Potter’s family’s house have been thwarted up to this point. The death of Nott Sr. was related to his failure to disassemble the wards.”

“I heard of the passing of Thomas Nott,” Dumbledore nodded solemnly. “I can assume you were there?”

Severus nodded briefly before continuing. “I sent his son to be with his paternal grandparents for a few days to allow him to mourn. I am sure you noticed his absence.”

“I did,” the headmaster said, his sadness seeming genuine however Severus now doubted how genuine it actually was. “How is he?”

“He has returned to school in better spirits. I appreciate you allowing the rest of the house a chance to mourn as well,” Severus said, bowing his head momentarily in thanks.

“During this meeting,” Dumbledore said as he stirred his tea, looking every bit his age. “Was there any talk of the location of Harry Potter?”

Severus took a sip of his tea to give himself a moment to compose his thoughts. He would need to tread lightly so as to not tip off his former mentor as to the true location of the boy. Focusing his mind, he made sure to throw up his occlumency shields in case of any attack. Of all the times for Dumbldore to try and pry into his mind, now was not the most optimal. Not with the stress of Elias’s status weighing so heavily on his mind and the fact it was directly linked to his former life as the missing boy-who-lived.

“Other than the obvious attempts to break through the wards surrounding his house, there was no mention as to his location,” Severus finally said. “However, Wormtail did mention he had overheard while living at the Weasley residence that he overheard Potter and the youngest Weasley talking about how he felt there was some sort of connection between the two of them. The Dark Lord stated that he was aware of this connection however he hasn’t been able to feel Potter through it for several months.”

Severus watched as the headmaster visibly crumpled for a moment before seeming to regain his faculties, a look of odd determination on his face.

“Were you aware such a connection may be in place?” Severus asked quietly, maintaining his composure through sheer force of will.

“I had feared it to be the case, my boy,” Dumbledore muttered. “The question, however, is why.”

“Whatever the case may be,” Severus continued, thinking quickly. “Something about the connection between them has changed. The Dark Lord cannot feel Potter, but perhaps Potter can sense him in some way.”

Dumbledore sighed and stroked his beard. “Even if that is the case, finding Harry is still of utmost importance. If this connection is as strong as what Tom believes it to be, then getting a message to Harry to continue doing what he is doing to protect himself should be our priority.”

“And if he is doing something which is dangerous to his health?” Severus asked flatly, though he was curious as to the man’s answer.

“Our priority is making sure he is protected from Tom, Severus,” Dumbledore said absently as his mind pondered ways of reaching out to the missing boy. “We can help him with other issues later.”

Remus groaned as he slowly sat up, pain lancing through every bone in his body and ricocheting through his muscles as he moved. His head throbbed in rhythm with his heart leaving him with the desperate desire to lie down and sleep for a month. Not that sleeping that long would help him in the slightest; the full moon was the beast he fought and a battle he was afraid he would lose.

Even with the help of the Wolfsbane potion, the transformation was becoming increasingly more and more difficult to recuperate from. It was a miracle every full moon when he was able to function even remotely properly without pain relievers of one form or another in the days following or leading up to his transformation. He didn’t want to lay in bed for hours on end, nor did he want to feel as though he was a burden on those around him, but that was his cross to bear. The one and only thing he was thankful for in regards to his ailment was that it didn’t truly ail him every day.

But the transformation was still a week away, so he wasn’t so sure he could even be thankful for that.

Slowly pulling himself from the plush bed he was provided, he limped heavily to the living room and collapsed into the couch, pulling a blanket over himself. He didn’t have any clothing on, but that was the least of his concerns. He was miserable but for the first time in years he had something to focus what little energy he had on.

Besides, it was only a matter of time before he was evicted from Hogwarts once more and he wasn’t even sure Sirius would be willing to have him stay in his house with him. Without Elias being in residence, there was really no reason for him to live here. It was only a matter of time before the Undersecretary forced him out once more. He wouldn’t fight her decision, of course, there was no reason to not comply. Failure to comply with a ‘reasonable request’ was the quickest way for him to be … put down.

There were many more important things to die for; living quarters within a boarding school were certainly not on that list.

For now, however, he would use the access to the expansive library to his advantage. Now that they had found a probable connection between magic and electricity, it provided him with a better question to look into. Elias had been correct in his assumption that finding the right question to ask would almost be more difficult to find than finding the answer, and he now had the right question.

Or so he hoped.

At the very least it provided him with an idea as to what he was looking for so he could better compare the way magic and electricity flowed. There were plenty of books on the flow of magic and the manipulation of one’s core, however none of these answered the question of what caused the wizarding population to be able to actually create magic. It was just assumed that the creation of magic was an irrefutable fact and never actually answered that question. There were plenty of theories about squibs and muggles and if they were actually the same, but very little research was actually done as to why squibs didn’t have a magical core.

In fact, the lack of information on this topic was nearly as frustrating as the lack of information on muggle electricity.

After spending several hours pouring over one of the more complicated arithmancy books in search for an equation to represent the flow of magic, Remus finally gathered the strength to potentially walk farther than from his bed to the couch. He was extremely thankful for the house elves for providing him with food and water during any extended periods of convalescence he may have, but he couldn’t very well send the poor creatures on the wild goose chases he often found himself on through the library.

‘Could house elves even read?’ he wondered as he pulled his robes on, wincing as the rough fabric drug across his sensitive skin. He supposed they could, but there was no way he would be able to find anything in the library with them looking. Some over exuberant elf would likely bring the entirety of the library to him rather than actually search through the books for particular information.

Pulling on his shoes, Remus straightened up and sighed as he glimpsed himself in the mirror. Dark circles had once again begun to form under his eyes, his face gaunt and pale, a myriad of scars crossing it from the years of uncontrolled transformations. Pulling himself up out of his slouch, he straightened his robes and shook out his legs. He could do this. He was human. No one needed to know how his curse affected him.

It took him only a few minutes to reach the library using the well worn paths he had taken during his school years. The library’s scent itself pulling him in with its welcoming aroma which he barely allowed himself to enjoy before diving into the stacks and pulling out the books he thought may have the information he needed.

He had barely sat down with his collection of books when he realized he wasn’t alone in the library.

“Good afternoon, Hermione,” Remus said cordially to the bushy haired girl at the table next to him. “How are you doing?”

Hermione yelped in surprise at the sound of her former professor’s voice. He had been gone for so long she had begun to give thought to the idea of going to one of the other professors and asking them if they knew anything about Elias Snape and his disappearance in regards to Harry’s. If it was a big secret, there was still a chance that McGonagall would know, but then again, it was so absurd that she doubted she would get away with such accusations after what had happened not even a few weeks ago. And yet, here he was.

“Hello, Professor Lupin,” Hermione said, heart beating wildly as she tried to calm herself down from her fright. “I’m doing … well, I suppose. How are you?”

Remus smiled tiredly as he readjusted his pile of books and pulled out a piece of parchment. “I’m as well as can be expected.”

Hermione nodded and paused for a moment, hands holding the cover of the book she was pouring through tightly as she thought over her words. She didn’t want to come across as accusatory again. She and Ron were only a few short weeks from being off of probation and there was no way she would do anything to jeopardize her standing in the school again. She had worked too long and hard to achieve what she had, but she had to know.

“Have you heard anything about Harry?” Hermione asked, looking at Remus hopefully though her knuckles were slowly turning white from the nerves.

Remus, who had only just opened his book, stilled for a moment. There was no way either of Harry’s friends had figured it out yet. They had only had a few interactions with the boy and none of them had been prolonged. In fact, several of them seemed to be rather hostile if what Severus had said was true. It had only been because Severus had told him while, if Remus was being honest with himself, he was under duress outside of his normal spying duties. Had it not been for the extenuating circumstances surrounding that night, Remus was quite certain that he would not have been privy to the true identity of Elias.

That being said, Ron and Hermione had been friends with Harry Potter for the last four and a half years. True, they had had their ups and downs, but they certainly knew the boy better than what Remus could even dream of after having spent one year as their professor. There was a much higher possibility that they had seen something which had tipped them off.

Or it could simply be an innocent question about a missing friend.

“Dumbledore hasn’t said,” Remus said, trying his hardest to sound put out. “I know about as much as you do.”

“Oh,” Hermione nodded sadly but had a look of determination about her that Remus could only find intimidating. She knew something, or suspected it at least. “I thought maybe you would have known something more. You were gone for a while, I guess I thought you were out doing something for the… Headmaster.”

Remus shook his head sadly as he opened one of the books he had pulled in hopes of understanding the way magic was channelled through the body. “I’m not required to be at Hogwarts continuously, unlike when I was a professor.”

“Where were you then?” Hermione asked quickly, shutting the book she was perusing with a snap.

“I was visiting Elias,” Remus said, no longer having to act sad.

“What happened to him, Professor?” Hermione gently said, trying to hide her worry though her heart was pounding in her chest. “We heard the Slytherin’s saying something about someone dying… That wasn’t him, was it?”

Remus’s head shot up in shock. He knew about the senior Nott’s passing, but hadn’t really thought of how the two events coincided. “No, no. Thank Merlin, no. Elias is currently in St. Mungo’s for treatment.”

“Did he get sick?” Hermione asked, genuinely curious about the strange boy. “He didn’t look ill the last time I saw him.”

“His condition took a bit of an unexpected turn,” Remus muttered. “He’s doing a bit better now, but it's… it’s doubtful he will be able to return to Hogwarts in the near future, even with a tutor.”

Hermione’s heart sank at this proclamation. She had watched as they had taken him to St. Mungo’s, but hadn’t known the severity of it. Now she both wished she knew more and wished she hadn’t asked. Her heart hurt from the burning curiosity and the fear that whatever it was was truly going to kill her friend. She needed to know.

“Professor, may … may I ask you a question in private?” Hermione said after a moment of silent thought, knowing she was interrupting whatever research Professor Lupin was doing. “One of the study rooms here would do. I just don’t want anyone hearing the question.”

Remus blinked at her rather owlishly as he looked up from the book he had barely had a chance to start reading. What kind of question would Hermione have thought of that would require privacy to ask? Even simple privacy, such as that afforded by a study room was enough to raise concerns as to what kind of question the girl would ask.

“Of course, Hermione,” Remus said, placing a dry quill between the pages of the book he was reading and closing it. “Though, I must say, if this is about your relationship with Mr. Weasley, there are many better professors and resources to provide this information.”

Hermione immediately turned beet-red at the accusation that there was something more going on between her and Ron. She liked Ron a lot, but he was a friend and nothing more. Or nothing more that she thought. No, no, her question was most certainly not asking for relationship advice. It was far more important, and far more urgent.

As soon as the study room door was shut, she quickly cast a few spells to determine if the room was truly empty and to prevent anyone from listening in on their conversation. It would be horrible if someone overheard this conversation and misconstrued any of it. Or, even worse, passed it along to the Daily Prophet.

“Professor,” Hermione said as soon as the room had been silenced and thoroughly investigated. “Ron thinks he knows where Harry is.”

Remus’s eyebrows immediately shot to his hairline. This could be bad. “Oh? Has he told the Headmaster of his beliefs?”

“No, we wanted to talk to you first,” Hermione said, fiercely. “I don’t believe Dumbledore when he says he doesn’t know where Harry is. I think he knows, but I wanted to get your thoughts on this before we get accused of making anymore ‘wild accusations.’”

Remus frowned but let out an internal breath of air. The headmaster didn’t know. No one had told him any wild ideas that he would latch onto and investigate. “If Ron truly thinks he knows where Harry is, he should bring this up to the headmaster and…”

“That’s just the thing; Dumbledore won’t tell us anything!” Hermione nearly yelled, tears beginning to well up in her eyes. “He will skirt around the issue and not actually give a straight answer! And if Ron is right… if Ron is right…”

Hermione sniffed and swiped her hand under her eyes quickly before whispering, “if Ron is right, we won’t know until the war is over or Harry is dead.”

Remus’s shoulders fell at this proclamation. Hermione truly was the brightest witch of her age to have even been able to see through the lies and half-truths of Dumbledore at such a young age. That was more than he could say about himself or any of the Marauders at the same age. They had been so full of life and joy they had completely failed to see the man for what he truly was: a great manipulator. And in the end, one of his friends had died, one had been jailed, one had become a traitor, and only he had come out somewhat unscathed.

“What does Ron think?” Remus asked softly, leaning back against the desk in the middle of the room.

“Ron thinks…” Hermione said, swallowing hard as her mouth went dry. “This is going to sound insane, but Ron thinks Elias Snape is Harry.”

Remus took a deep breath and tried to prevent his eyes from bulging out of his head. Severus was not going to be happy that they had figured it out. Not in the slightest. But how? What had they missed that Harry’s friend’s had seen? Severus had been nothing but thorough as he built Elias’s alibi.

“That is quite an accusation,” Remus said as calmly as he could. “Why does he believe this to be the case?”

Hermione took a deep breath as she quickly gathered her thoughts and put together a timeline of what all they had seen. This was her one chance to get this right, and she didn’t know what would be worse: hinging her bets on Elias being Harry or being completely wrong and having Harry still be missing.

“Last year, after the Third Task, we noticed Harry looking a little different. Paler. More peaky. We thought it was just because of what had happened. I remember commenting on how his hands shook a little when he wrote, but he chalked it up to the same thing so we just let it be.

“Then, over the summer, we had all been writing letters to one another up until Ron and I were pulled to live in Headquarters. Harry’s handwriting was getting progressively worse and worse, and he kept mentioning he was getting migraines and how badly he hurt all the time. He said it had been like this since the Third Task, but that the potion from Madam Pomfrey had helped somewhat initially after he got back to Hogwarts.

“Suddenly, one day, Ron told me Hedwig stopped delivering his letters. She would go and try to find him, but it was as though she knew where to go but not who to deliver to. It was shortly after this happened that I met Elias while volunteering at the children’s hospital. He didn’t seem to recognize me, but I also surprised him quite a bit.

“Then, during the opening feast, Neville recognized some of the potions Elias was taking as being to treat post-Cruciatus symptoms because his parents are on the same kinds or something. We knew Harry had been hit by the Cruciatus during the Third Task, but we weren’t sure of how long he had been under it or what.

“What really got Ron though was that, even when he was acting really confused, he still knew Ron’s name, and Ron isn’t even sure if Snape knows his name. Ron had never met Elias, like actually met him, before then but Elias knew Ron’s name and addressed him as such.”

Remus frowned. Hermione was right, there were a lot of details which Severus seemed to have overlooked when trying to create Elias’s identity, but many of the tells which Hermione had mentioned would have been only known by his closest friends. No one else would have known letters weren’t getting through to him. No one else would have known of the changes in his appearance or handwriting.

“Is there anything else?” Remus said softly, neither confirming nor denying the accusation.

“Harry’s scar and Elias’s scar are in the same spot. I know Elias said he got his from falling onto a wheelbarrow while having a seizure at work, and he said he worked at a gardening company. The only blood found by the Order when they went to his relatives was on a wheelbarrow. And...” Hermione paused for a moment, blushing bright red in embarrassment as she knew she was turning herself in. “And I heard Elias screaming the day he was taken to St. Mungo’s so I followed the sound to the Hospital Wing. Elias was screaming because he didn’t want to use a Portkey, which I know Harry hated even before the Third Task, but I also saw he had a bruise starting to form on his forehead. And Harry’s scar bleeds sometimes during his nightmares. I don’t know why, maybe because it’s a curse scar and never healed right? But the bruise was right there...”

Remus nodded mutely, not trusting himself to speak yet. Hermione was absolutely correct and didn’t even know it, but she also had snuck into the Hospital Wing. Madam Pomfrey would wring her neck if she knew.

“Is Ron right, Professor?” Hermione said, almost begging. “Is Elias actually Harry? Or … are we just trying to put things together and are coming up with the wrong answer?”

Remus took a deep breath, then another, and another. His head was beginning to pound again and he wanted nothing more than to check out the books he had come to the library to get and begin working his way through them. In his own quarters if this was how studying in the library was going to go. How was he going to answer this question? What was he going to do?

“Miss Granger,” he finally said quietly. “What I am going to tell you will not leave this room. Nor will any of your theories, no matter how well thought out they are.”

Hermione nodded, eyes wide and filled with every emotion possible though hope shone through most strongly.

“I will only answer your last question, and I will not elaborate on my answer in any way as it is not my place to do so,” Remus said quietly yet sternly. “Do you understand?”

Hermione nodded, waiting on bated breath for his answer.


Slowly but surely, the members of the Order of the Phoenix took their leave, filtering out slowly so as not to draw attention to their comings and goings. It was only a matter of time before Grimmauld Place was once again a husk of a building, devoid of the cheerful chatter of old friends seeing each other once again despite the circumstances.

Sirius liked it better that way anyways. There wasn’t much joy in his life now and keeping up appearances as the happy person he once was was taxing in ways he didn’t want to admit. At least once the members left, he could go back to bed.

At least he made it out of bed this time. The hope of some news about Harry spurred him on to at least make an attempt to get out of bed. Looking presentable was another thing, but why would he worry about making sure he was wearing proper robes when these meetings took place in his own house. They should be glad that he put on a pair of trousers rather than coming down in his pants like he was originally planning to do.

But he wasn’t insane.

He was just tired. Tired of it all. Tired of all the lies and betrayal. Tired of the lack of information. Tired of the slight of hand. Tired of being left out of everything but expected to remain out of everything as well.

Tired of the meetings taking place in his house, under his roof, on his dining room table, but not being allowed to actually participate like he wanted to.

What was the point of it all anyways? All they wanted to talk about was ‘Death Eater’ this and ‘You-Know-Who’ that, but no one even talked about Harry anymore. He had only been missing for a few months and it was as though he had never existed. No one had heard anything and no one knew anything and they were fine with that.

Oh, sure, they acted concerned, but then they would change the subject and move on to other things.

“Sirius?” a voice called to him, pulling him from his thoughts. “Can we talk to you?”

Sirius blinked and looked around the dining room. Everyone else had gone except for his little cousin ‘Dora and Kingsley Shacklebolt. How long had he been sitting there? Did it matter how long he had been sitting there? Probably not.

“What’s going on?” Sirius asked, kicking his feet up onto one of the vacated chairs as Dora and Kingsley sat across from him.

“We… uh… we had some questions for you,” Tonks said awkwardly, trying very hard to keep her questioning informal. “Do you think you could try to answer them for us?”

Sirius leaned back in his chair and threw an arm over the backrest. “I guess? Depends on what it’s on. I’m not really feeling up to conversation, if I’m honest.”

“You haven’t been feeling up to a lot of things,” Kingsley said, cocking an eyebrow at the man’s choice of clothing, unkempt hair, and scraggly beard which had been slowly reappearing over the course of the last several weeks.

Sirius rolled his eyes at the quip though he knew it to be true and went to get up. He didn’t feel like dealing with this today.

“It’s about Harry.”

Sirius immediately sat down, his heart pounding. Had something happened? Had he been found?

Had he been found?

Sirius swallowed hard at the thought of Harry’s body being discovered somewhere. Abandoned. In a ditch. Alone.

“Sirius?” Tonk’s voice pulled him from his thoughts once more. “Are you ok?”

“Yeah,” he croaked before clearing his throat. “Yes, I’m fine.”

“Kingsley?” Tonks asked, looking sharply at her partner and nodding her head towards the door.

“Already checked. No spells,” Kingsley said, crossing his arms and staring flatly at Sirius. “Other than the Fidelius and a few wards, there are no eavesdropping or recording spells that I found.”

Tonks nodded and pulled out a piece of parchment and self-inking quill from her breast pocket. She had been wanting to interview her cousin for a while, yet had never found a good excuse to talk to the man other than attending the Order meetings. She had already decided on what topics she wanted to ask him about prior to the last meeting only to find that, despite the meetings taking place in his house, he was not in attendance. His excuse was that he was ill, though she believed something more was wrong with him either mentally or physically.

Azkaban could do that to a person after all.

“Sirius, I’m sorry if this is going to be hard,” Tonks said, looking at the rather emaciated form of her cousin sitting across from her. “But we need to know, what do you know about the Dursleys?”

“Harry’s bastard of an aunt and uncle?” Sirius asked with a frown. “What about them?”

“Anything,” Tonks said, looking at Kingsley almost conspiratorially. “Anything at all. What are they like, how do they care for him, what sorts of things does he say about them, those kinds of things.”

Sirius scratched his beard as he thought about anything and everything Harry had said about his relatives. He couldn’t remember a single good thing the boy had said. In fact, he had found it quite odd thinking back that Harry had been so excited and willing to come live with him. He had known the boy for only a few short hours, the majority of which Harry had believed him to be the reason his parents had been murdered, and yet he still wanted to live with a known ex-convict. He would rather live with someone who had been under lock and key and surrounded by Dementors for nearly twelve years than go back to living with the Dursleys.

“He didn’t like them,” Sirius started slowly. “I wouldn’t say hated, but he definitely didn’t like them. I first met him when he was running away from their house, as a matter of fact. I think he had blown up his aunt or something? But he had definitely made it outside of the wards with his trunk. He accidentally, or I think it was an accident at least, summoned the Knight Bus and took it somewhere. I was getting ready to head towards Hogwarts to wait for Wormtail to arrive with the students, so I didn’t try to follow him.”

“How did you know he would be on Privet Drive?” Tonks asked, curious as to how a recently escaped convict would have known that information when it wasn’t even common knowledge amongst the free wizarding population where the boy had grown up.

“Petunia was Lily’s sister,” Sirius shrugged, his eyes glassing over slightly as memories lapped at his consciousness. “James had offered to help her and her husband move in and I tagged along. She didn’t take well to James or I being there, so we weren’t there for long, but I remembered the vague location.”

“But how did you know he had gone to his aunt and uncle? Surely there were other family friends or family members he could have been sent to live with,” Kingsley frowned.

“Dumbledore had mentioned sending Harry to live with his relatives before he brought Harry to St. Mungo’s for an evaluation to make sure he wasn’t suffering any strange side effects,” Sirius muttered, running a hand through his hair. “I wanted to take him, but Dumbledore insisted that he stay with blood relatives. James’s parents had passed away not long before Lily got pregnant and I think Lily’s parents had died around the same time as well. I don’t remember the exact details, but I knew their house was probably the best bet I had to see him before I headed north.”

Tonks quickly scribbled this information down on her parchment before frowning. It certainly did seem like the Dursleys were the best choice of guardian at the time, however that did not excuse the willful ignorance of neglect at the very least at their hands. Nor did it even begin to explain where the boy had gone when he disappeared. Biting her thumbnail, she pulled out another piece of parchment on which was already covered in questions.

“Did he seem happy there?” she asked, involuntarily wincing when Sirius let out a barking laugh, a breath of insanity breaching his eyes..

“Not a chance. He wanted to leave them at any chance he had. From what Harry told me, they were more than happy to let him leave during the summer months.”

“Including this year?” Tonks leaned forward.

Sirius nodded before frowning. “Yeah, he wanted to come stay here.”

“Had you written to him this summer?” Kingsley said, staring the thin man down with the same voracity he had when arresting lawbreakers.

Sirius nodded once more before getting up and pulling a drawer open in the kitchen. In the drawer was a small ream of parchment letters covered in Harry’s horrible penmanship. There weren’t very many in the stack, but he certainly considered these letters to be some of his most prized possessions. “Yeah, hold on, I know there aren’t many here, but these were all that made it through.”

“What do you mean?” Tonks frowned. “A post owl should always be able to find their recipients!”

“I know that,” Sirius snapped, gently removing a letter from its envelope. “But there isn’t any other way to describe it. Even before his disappearance, at least one of the owls I sent returned with the letter still attached. In order to even get the last owl to deliver to him, I needed to put his physical address on it as though I were sending a letter to a muggle. It was bizarre.”

“Did you try to send a letter after he disappeared?” Tonks asked as she took the offered letter almost reverently.

“Of course,” Sirius sighed. “I tried every trick I could think of to deliver it. Everything short of muggle post failed, but I don’t have any … stomps, I think they're called… to be able to send anything that way.”

Tonks and Kingsley were silent for a moment as they pondered the implications of this bit of information. It seemed as though Harry Potter’s magical signature had been disappearing for several weeks before his disappearance. Weeks! Surely his godfather wasn’t the only one who had noticed this struggle to get in touch with the boy. Surely his friends had noticed something was off about communicating with him via post.

While that wasn’t the actual reason they were interviewing Sirius, it certainly added to the mystery surrounding Harry’s disappearance.

“So Harry had wanted to come stay here,” Tonks said quietly, her mind still racing. “Did he ever say why?”

“Why? Do you think those muggles did something to him?” Sirius snapped, his eyes glancing at the letter he held in his hand.

“Do you think they would?” Kingsley asked, holding his hand out to look at the letter Sirius held.

“He told me he wasn’t feeling right,” Sirius said, refusing to hand over the letter until he had finished re-reading it. “He said that he hadn’t been feeling right ever since the final task, but it had gotten worse once he got home and the Dursleys weren’t accusing him of faking it, but it was getting worse no matter what he did. He even took some muggle potion of sorts to help, but it didn’t do anything.”

Tonks frowned and cocked her head. There was a case for neglect at the very least, but... “Did he ever say what kind of symptoms he was having?”

Sirius nodded and began rifling through the letters until he found the one he was looking for. “I had asked him what was going on and he said that he was having horrible cramps and headaches. He was rather vague, but his handwriting was getting worse and worse as time went on so I only assumed that his hands were shaking too. He thought some of the pain was related to the fact he was finally growing- you know, growing pains- but I didn’t think that would cause that much pain even if he had grown a foot!”

“And had he reached out to anyone about these symptoms?” Kingsley asked, frowning as he began comparing the handwritings of the various letters Sirius had sat in front of them. “Like the headmaster, for example?”

“I don’t know,” Sirius scoffed. “And I have my doubts Dumbledore would have done anything about it anyways.”

What little colour that was in Sirius’s face slowly drained away as he realized what he had said and to whom. Kingsley and Tonks were aurors, for Merlin’s sake. It would only take a single order from Dumbledore to have him arrested and sent back to Azkaban. A single order and what little freedom he had was gone, his personal opinions of the man be damned.

“Sirius…” Tonks said softly, trying to placate the rather panicked man in front of her.

“I… I didn’t mean that... “ Sirius croaked, his mind racing, running through every possible escape route from the house. “Please…”

“Why would you believe Dumbledore wouldn’t have done anything to help Harry?” Kingsley asked calmly, no judgement of what the man had said entering his voice. His own personal opinions of Dumbledore had been changing the longer he had been looking into the Potter case, but he couldn’t let those interfere with an interrogation.

“I… I tried…” Sirius swallowed hard before hoarsely continuing. “I tried to reach out to him when I was in Azkaban. I tried to tell him he was wrong. I never got a trial. I never even got a response. I was shipped to the highest security prison in the wizarding world and never even… I was left there and the headmaster had all of the power to get me out and he did nothing.”

“And you think that he would do the same to Harry?” Tonks murmured.

“Absolutely,” Sirius said with a nod.

The three adults sat in silence for a moment, each lost in their own thoughts as time slowly ticked onward. What had happened to Harry’s magical signature? Had his apparent illness been the cause of it? Did Dumbledore know what was going on and had simply refused to take any action short of sending them on a wild goose chase to cover his own inaction? Had the Dursley’s treatment of him made the situation worse?

“May we make copies of these letters?” Tonks finally asked, shaking herself out of her thoughts.

Sirius nodded silently, handing each of the letters over reverently to be copied before gently refolding each one and placing it back into its respective envelopes. These were the last tangible pieces of his godson he had left; he wasn’t about to allow the Aurors in front of him to destroy them no matter how much he trusted them.

“Thank you, Sirius,” Tonks said, sliding the copies of the letters into an envelope and securing it within her robes. “I’m sorry we kept you as long as we did.”

Sirius looked tiredly at his cousin, a slight smile pulling at the corners of his mouth though never reaching his eyes. “I just want to find him. He’s all I have left.”

Tonks nodded, a sad smile on her face as she and Kingsley walked to the door of the house. How long would it be before they found the boy and in what state would he be in when they found him? And what sort of illness could he have had which had led to the apparent pain and tremors he was having? Could it have landed him in the hospital?

When this entire fiasco started, she had followed a lead from one of the Dursley’s neighbors. They had called a muggle medical transport for the boy after he had apparently had a seizure. She had followed the lead as far as she could, but once she ended up at a hospital for children on the outskirts of London, she hadn’t been able to get any information from them on if the boy was there or not. She certainly could have gotten the information, but only after casting a few spells which could have cost her career.

Had he been there though?

She swore when she got there she had seen Professor Snape and a teenager getting into a muggle vehicle, but by the time it registered who she thought she had seen, she was no longer able to get a good view of them. She had thought that perhaps it was simply someone who looked like Professor Snape, but what if it had actually been him? She had never seen him in anything other than his robes which she was sure he had not been wearing at the time, but if it had been him…

She shook her head. She had no proof of that and there were far more pressing issues, such as what had happened to Harry to cause his magical signature to change or disappear enough to cause owls to get lost. If they could solve that, they were one step closer to finding him.

She could only hope it wasn’t too late.

“Hmph,” Shannon huffed as she sat in the chair next to the bed of the sleeping Elias Snape. She hadn’t expected to be back in England quite so soon, nor had she wanted to come back to her previous place of employment, but her most unique patient was sick. Definitely, desperately, sick. “Run me through the timeline again.”

“Just prior to the first exacerbation, the Dark Lord had called a meeting in which I was tortured,” Severus said quietly, throwing up a light silencing spell to keep the mediwitches of the ward from eavesdropping. “Every Death Eater was sent out with various tasks following this meeting and we were not resummoned for several weeks, by which point Elias had been on Fulgur and well within a therapeutic range. There were several meetings called within the month and a half he was on Fulgur, but the Dark Lord rarely tortured anyone during that time.

“Elias missed a dose last week due to side-effects of a migraine potion. That very night, the Dark Lord called a meeting in which … a member of the inner circle was killed due to failing to break through the wards surrounding Potter’s relative’s house. I was also tortured due to not informing him in a timely manner as to how the search was going on the side of the Light.

“He then admitted that he had a connection to Harry Potter and could feel him in some way. He said that he had felt him for the first time in weeks that day but had lost the connection before he could do anything.

“I left shortly after and returned to Hogwarts to find Elias not breathing.”

Shannon sighed heavily and crossed her arms over her chest, eyes flitting over the boy in the bed in front of her. She didn’t like this at all. A connection to the bastard capable of allowing him to experience the flow-back of the Cruciatus and be strong enough to allow for at least one party to feel the other was not a connection she liked the idea of. The idea of such a connection made her skin crawl at the implications.

“Had he previously had any knowledge of such a connection?” she asked as she whipped out her wand and began casting spells over the boy to determine if such dark magic was still present.

“It was actually considered almost common knowledge that his scar would pain him when he was around the Dark Lord,” Severus murmured, his voice growing dark as he watched the spells swirl around his son and settle near his head, almost as though they were gravitating towards his scar.

Shannon’s nostrils flared as she cast another round of spells, noting similar reactions to the first set. “And no one had looked into why that would be?”

“Dumbledore had assured everyone that the chances of his return were slim and that such a sense would benefit the boy should a battle occur,” Severus said with a sneer. “Though outside of knowing he was close, I wonder what sort of benefit the headmaster thought it would give.”

Shannon let out a string of curses as her last round of spells continued to settle around the boy’s scar, ringing it’s would-be location with a burning light. That was not good at all. “I had asked that damned man to let me investigate the scar when he first got it and was denied once his initial physical was done. He was healthy and that was all the headmaster cared about. It didn’t matter that he had been struck by the killing curse. Oh no, that didn’t matter in the slightest. He had his mascot for the Light.”

Severus’s face paled at the revelation that the scar had been largely ignored outside of what it represented. It didn’t matter what sinister magic lingered in the scar, it was still a physical representation of good conquering evil. That was all Harry had been to the wizarding world for such a long time: a mascot of what a hero was. He had been an infant at the time, he himself had done nothing in the battle, yet he was seen as and worshiped as a hero. But a hero of what? It wasn’t his magic which had saved him, it was his mother’s sacrifice which had been the deciding factor.

“What… what are your thoughts?” Severus said, face blank though he sounded almost hoarse before he cleared his throat with a heavy swallow.

“I think…” Shannon paused before casting yet another spell at the boy, causing him to moan and roll away from her and towards his father. “Does he have any special abilities? Like those passed down through pureblood lineages?”

“The headmaster said that he was a direct relation to Godric Gryffindor via his Potter lineage, though we both know now that that is not the case,” Severus said pensively as he thought about it. “He is a parselmouth…”

“WHAT?!” Shannon snapped, looking directly into Severus’s eyes with such intensity he instinctively occluded all thoughts from her in spite of not feeling the tendrils of legilimency enter his brain.

“He is parselmouth,” Severus said again, frowning. “He learned of this dubious gift during his second year.”

“Under what circumstances?” Shannon said, her face looking rather green for some reason.

Severus opened his mouth to answer her question only to immediately close it as the curtains rustled as a hand grabbed them and pulled them to one side. Quickly dropping the silencing spells so as to not immediately get in trouble with the healers, Severus tried to refrain from groaning as he suddenly heard the voice of the werewolf on the other side of the curtain.

“Yes, yes, I promise Louise! No silencing spells from …” Remus said, stopping in his tracks as he saw the two glowering faces of the current visitors on the other side of the curtain. “Oh, hello Severus.”

“Hello, Lupin,” Severus said with a slight sneer as he leaned back in his chair. “What are you doing here?”

“I just wanted to visit him,” Remus said with a slight blush. “I know I don’t …. I know he’s not…. I miss him.”

Severus nodded slightly as he conjured another chair for the man and threw up the muffling spell once more. “Lupin, this is Healer Shannon McAllister. Healer Shannon, this is Remus Lupin. He has been Elias’s tutor at Hogwarts.”

“Was he your choice or was he hired by the headmaster?” Shannon asked with a raised eyebrow, the implication of her question evident on her face. There wouldn’t be a point in continuing their current conversation with someone in Dumbledore’s pocket present. Not unless they absolutely wanted the headmaster to find out what was actually going on and begin his typical, disastrous meddling.

“He knows,” Severus said simply, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning back. “A moment of weakness on my part, I must admit, however having him on our side is … beneficial … for maintaining his cover.”

“Ah,” Shannon grunted. “Why?”

“Because he was one of James Potter’s closest friends, a werewolf allowed to attend and teach at Hogwarts through the ‘goodness’ of the headmaster’s heart, and a staunch supporter of the Light,” Severus said. “In short, he’s too much in the headmaster’s pocket to not be on his side.”

Shannon smirked rather deviously at the man sitting across from her as her eyes flitted over him, noting how stiffly he moved and the scars which littered his face and hands confirming the diagnosis of lycanthropy. “Interesting company you keep, Severus. Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Lupin.”

“Please, call me Remus,” Lupin said with a smile, ignoring the sweat which had begun to drip down his neck as her eyes continued to comb over him, assessing him and the way he moved in ways that only a healer could.

“And can we trust him?” Shannon said, glancing towards Severus briefly before turning her gaze back to Remus.

“It would not be difficult for his registry number to be pulled and for him to be made a pariah in the wizarding world,” Severus growled threateningly.

“Fine, Remus, did you know him before his parent’s murders?” Shannon said tersely, wanting to get back to the topic at hand.

“Yes,” Remus frowned at the abruptness of her question. “I spent most of my time at their house prior to them going into hiding. James never minded me staying over, though it has always been … difficult … to find permanent lodgings.”

“And, at that time, did he show any affinities for any magicks? Particularly hereditary skills?” Shannon pressed, leaning forward and staring into the man’s amber eyes as though reading his emotions.

“Not that I can remember,” Remus said, his frown deepening at the line of questioning. “But Lily was a muggleborn and couldn’t have had any of the known hereditary abilities and James didn’t either, not that that matters in Elias’s case.”

Shannon sat back on her seat and crossed her arms over her chest for a moment before tapping a knuckle against her lips as she thought through the information she had been given. Very little of the old, hereditary magic was left in the wizarding world despite the efforts of the old, pureblood families’ best efforts. It didn’t help that their best efforts often involved inbreeding, but that was besides the point.

Of all of the magicks within the pureblood community, the most notorious was that of the Slytherin line. The ability to speak to snakes was so heavily tied to the family that there was no way anyone outside of the family could have gotten the skill unless it randomly developed. But there was no reason for it to have developed randomly when there were still speakers of the language (or at least one speaker) still in existence. Sure, there had been cases where a wizard had developed a new affinity for a particular branch of magic after a head injury, but to develop the skill to speak to snakes was unheard of.

“Are we absolutely positive that his mother was not of a squib lineage?” Shannon finally said after several minutes of thought. “Are we sure that somewhere, way back in her family tree, she wasn’t related to the Gaunt or Slytherin families?”

Remus looked at the healer sitting across from him in shock. What had he missed in this conversation? What was she saying? “What do you mean?!”

“No,” Severus said with conviction. “I am absolutely positive she was only of muggle descent.”

“Are you absolutely positive?” Shannon said, her face turning a slightly ashen white as she pointed at the boy in the bed. “Are you absolutely positive that neither you nor his mother are descendants of that line?”

“Yes, the Prince family and the Gaunt family never produced any viable offspring from any of their intermarriages. And I personally tested Lily for any magical lineages,” Severus said with a sigh as he looked sadly at his son. He wasn’t liking the implications now any more than he had when Potter had first commanded the snake during that disaster of a dueling club.

“Severus, what are you talking about?” Remus yelped, eyes wide as the implications of the line of questioning began to sink in. “When? What in Merlin’s name is going on?”

“During fifth year,” Severus said darkly. “But that is irrelevant.”

“The hell it is!” Remus said as loudly as he dared. “What are you insinuating? You bring in this random healer who isn’t even on the St. Mungo’s staff and...”

“She examined him immediately after the Potter’s were murdered,” Severus interrupted tersely. “She is also an expert in spell damage, was the one who started him on the potions regimen he was on which allowed him to be as stable as he was, and thus far is the only one whom I trust to know the full truth of his care. Do not... do not... question my decision on this.”

“What are you insinuating?!” Remus said again. “What is wrong with him?”

“Mr. Lupin ... Remus … during my first examination of Harry fourteen years ago, I noted that there seemed to be some sort of residual dark magic attached to his head,” Shannon interrupted the men, holding up a hand. “I initially thought it to be related to him having just survived the Killing Curse, however I was not given the chance to fully investigate before Dumbledore removed him from my care.

“When Severus first reached out to me about Elias, I thought it a bit strange that he had gotten so much worse following what seemed to be a seizure. Shervil’s is not a progressive disorder and every. single. symptom he had was that of Shervil’s other than the fact he had just had some sort of exacerbation. But the only thing that can exacerbate his condition is more torture at the hands of the Cruciatus curse. So the question was how had he gotten hit by such a curse again. We knew he had been cursed during the final task of that damned tournament, but he had been in bed, at home, completely unexposed to such a curse, during the exacerbation.”

“So…?” Remus frowned as he tried to make sense of what she was saying, his ire beginning to wane.

“This second exacerbation damn near killed him but it gave us two bits of information. First: he isn’t being tortured himself during these times…”

“But you just said…” Remus interrupted only to be cut off again.

“And second,” Shannon continued, speaking over the man. “Second, You-Know-Who knows there to be some sort of connection between the two of them. Now, the question at hand is what kind of connection. From what Severus has told me, during both of these incidents there was a Death Eater meeting occuring during which at least one person was tortured by You-Know-Who himself.”

Remus was silent, though his eyes widened at the idea of there being a connection between the two.

“So, the question now is what kind of connection does he have?” Shannon said, rubbing her eyes momentarily. “And it isn’t looking good. He has Slytherin hereditary magic, a connection which seems to allow dark magic flow-back, and the ability to sense when the bastard is nearby if what Severus tells me is correct.”

Remus’s shoulders fell as his face went white and his ears began ringing. Had he not been sitting, he most certainly would have collapsed. Not sounding good was an understatement if he had ever heard one. A connection which would allow all of that would have to be a strong one, and, from what little Remus knew of Harry’s past encounters with the man, it was just that. The only benefit he had was his mother’s protection, and even that was now nul and void after his blood had been used in the ritual to bring the man back.

“What… what are you thinking then?” Remus asked quietly.

Shannon sighed and cast one more spell over the boy, ignoring the slight moan he let out as the spell slipped over his skin and settled on his head. “I think he has a soul fragment in him. What kind or how it got there, I don’t know, but it certainly seems that way.”

Remus froze for a moment before frowning, a pensive look crossing his face as he thought back on all of his interactions with Harry over his tenure as a professor and afterwards. “This may seem like a strange question, but do you have any idea if Dementors would respond differently to that soul fragment than they would to someone else?”

“What do you mean?” Shannon asked, her own frown deepening. “When would he have been exposed to Dementors?”

Severus rolled his eyes and rubbed his forehead as the memories of Elias’s third year came flooding back. Sirius Black on the run, Remus Lupin back at Hogwarts, Peter Pettigrew’s supposed reappearance. If James Potter had returned from the dead, it would have been his worst nightmare come to life. The return of the Marauders. And with those cursed guards floating around the perimeter of the school, he couldn’t even leave the grounds without his worst memories flooding back.

And he had plenty of those to go around.

“Sirius Black was presumed to be after Harry Potter, so the guards of Azkaban were brought in to guard the school,” Severus said exasperatedly as Shannon’s mouth fell open in shock.

“What the everloving hell goes on at Hogwarts?!” she exclaimed.

“That is a question I’m finding myself asking more and more frequently,” Severus deadpanned. “But I am curious about Lupin’s question as well.”

“Was he kissed by a Dementor?!” Shannon asked, her voice going up a pitch.

“Three times,” Remus said exasperatedly. “Or nearly. Once on the train to Hogwarts, once during a Quidditch match, and the last time he claimed happened but there were no witnesses other than himself. Though he thought he was his own father.”

“What?” Shannon breathed, shaking her head as she tried to make sense of what was being said before holding up her hands in defeat. “No, honestly, I don’t want to know. I’m just going to file that tidbit away… It… may be possible the Dementors were responding to the partial soul, but I … three times?!”

Remus nodded solemnly as Severus rubbed his forehead in frustration. Honestly, how his son had managed to survive long enough to receive the letters stating he was a Snape and not a Potter was a miracle. Plain and simple.

“Is there any way to … prevent You-Know-Who from using that connection again? Or preventing the flow-back?” Remus asked finally.

“Actually, I think we may have accidentally stumbled across the answer to that,” Shannon said gruffly, continuing to stare at the teen in the bed as he rolled over in his sleep. “The Fulgur he has been taking has seemed to prevent the connection from forming properly. Severus was telling me that he had missed a dose the morning prior to this most recent exacerbation and You-Know-Who had been able to sense him for the first time in several weeks. Thus the reason the Death Eater meeting was called and ultimately the reason the exacerbation of his symptoms occurred in the first place.”

“So, so long as he is on the Fulgur, he’s safe?” Remus asked quietly.

“Dunno,” Shannon shrugged before bending down and picking up her bag and cloak. “Well, I don’t know about you two, but I’m getting a bit hungry. Care to join me for lunch?”

Severus sighed as he took a pocket watch out of his pocket and checked the time. “No, unfortunately I need to be returning to the school. Those dunderheads have proven themselves to be completely incapable of independent study time and time again and I don’t feel like having to clean up yet another exploded cauldron.”

Shannon chuckled as she threw her cloak around her shoulders. “Remus, what about you?”

“No, thank you,” Remus said, nodding his head in thanks before standing as well. “I ate before I came here and need to try to get to the library before it closes. I appreciate the offer though.”

“Alright,” Shannon sighed good-naturedly. “I’ll see what I can find about souls inhabiting other bodies, but I don’t know how much I’ll get done before I have to go back to Minsk and I know the library there isn’t near as extensive.”

“Thank you for coming,” Severus said, brushing off his robes and cancelling the muffling charm. “I appreciate this more than you know.”

After a few more moments of chatting, the trio made their way out of the ward before separating and going their own ways. The events of their conversation weighed heavily on their thoughts as they walked out. How much more could Elias take? How many more episodes could he withstand? Would they be able to remove the soul fragment without causing him more damage? Would it be better to leave it in?

As the curtains closed behind the trio, a pair of hazel eyes slowly slid open.

Remus nervously shook out his hands as he looked across the street at the imposing building opposite him. Never in a million years did he think he would be standing here thinking about what he was about to do.

True, he had lived in the muggle world before, but only just. He had found a flat there when no wizarding landlord would rent to him due to his condition. He had occasionally gone to muggle cafes and restaurants for a quick bite to eat. He had even gone to the occasional muggle store when he needed a simple item like a toothbrush. He had lived amongst the muggles, but he hadn’t truly lived with them.

There were certain items of muggle life he just didn’t need to do, and going to the library just happened to be one of them.

The Scottish National Library was a large, imposing building sat in the middle of a rather busy road in the old town of Edinburgh. Its facade was flat yet adorned with seven large statues of figures Remus was unfamiliar with and the lack of windows on the upper floors made the wizard shiver. It looked like the kind of building you could wander into and never be seen again.

Steeling himself for the inevitable interactions with the muggles inside, Remus strode forward across the street, only to immediately jump back onto the curb when a car came flying down the street.

‘Good show, Moony,’ he thought to himself before checking for more cars coming towards him. ‘You would make a very convincing muggle.’

Much more cautiously, he walked across the road and to the large, wooden doors of the library.

Pushing his way in, he was immediately surprised by the inside of the building. When compared to some of the other muggle buildings he had been into, this one looked positively normal. Large staircases led to the upper and lower levels, their banisters well decorated and certainly not one of the mass manufactured items he had grown used to seeing in muggle buildings. This portion of the building seemed to have been built prior to the introduction of the more modern construction techniques used by muggles.

Wandering around, trying not to look overly lost, Remus slowly found his way to an information desk. If the size of the initial staircase was anything to judge the library on, he would be here for nearly a century just trying to find the information he sought. He needed help finding his way around, that was a fact.

It was fascinating being in a muggle building. There was a distinct lack of objects flying through the air, spell casting, and the scratch of quills. Even the scent of the building was different. There was a distinct lack of the smell of fresh ink, the musk of parchment, or even the scent of burning candles. Compared to the magical buildings he had been in, this smelt… sterile. And above all, surrounding everything he did and everywhere he went, was a low humming noise he couldn’t quite place.

“Excuse me,” he said quietly as he approached the information desk. “Could you tell me where to find information on electricity?”

The woman behind the information desk looked him over briefly as though trying to judge his reason for being there before finally turning to the large, white box sitting in front of her and pressing a few buttons on a rather flat pad which was sitting in front of the box. She then grabbed a small white object to the right of the pad and moved it around a few times in a seemingly nonsensical pattern while staring at the box and pushing one of the two buttons on the object.

Remus frowned in confusion as to what she was doing, but before he got the chance to ask what she was doing, the woman turned to him once more.

“Anything in particular you are looking for?” she asked, steepling her fingers while resting her wrists on the table in front of her.

“Pardon?” Remus said, trying not to look too taken aback. There was more than one portion to electricity? Just what had he gotten himself into?!

“Are you needing this for physics, computer science, general interest, home improvement, or something more specialized like city planning?” the woman at the counter replied calmly, seemingly unfazed by his confusion.

“G-general interest? I guess?” Remus responded, trying not to sound too overwhelmed.

The woman turned back to her box and pressed a few more buttons before sighing. “I don’t think I’ll ever get the hang of this. Computers are supposed to make our lives so much easier, but they just take up so much more time in my opinion!”

“Is that a computer?!” Remus blurted out in shock before biting his cheek. He hadn’t thought he would be coming across one so soon in this venture.

The receptionist raised an eyebrow and looked at him out of the corner of her eye. It was 1996 after all, computers weren’t a brand new thing. “Yes?”

“May… may I see it?” Remus said almost reverently. He had seen pictures of the device in one of the books sent over by Ilvermorney, but hadn’t actually thought he would ever see one. The book had mentioned that they were rather new devices and were therefore quite expensive.

“Sir, we have more than just this one in the library,” the receptionist said with a frown. “But… perhaps we should get you to the books on electricity first.”

Remus’s mouth fell open momentarily at the idea of there being more than one of the device in a public library, but quickly closed it. There was time to learn about computers later. “That sounds like a good idea,” he said rather hoarsely.

The receptionist smiled and led him up a flight of stairs and around a corner to a portion of the library where the ceiling was rather low but the bookshelves stretched from floor to ceiling. The lights glowed a strangely off putting yellow and the humming he had been hearing had increased substantially, but despite this, he was ready to work.

“Alright then, I’ll leave you to it,” the receptionist said once they were approximately in the middle of the room.

“Where are the books on electricity?” Remus asked, confused as the receptionist turned to leave.

“Sir, that’s what this entire section is about,” the receptionist said with a frown. “All of the books from this shelf to that shelf are on general electricity. Anything unspecialized about electricity will be in this section.”
To be continued...
End Notes:
Oh boy, that's a bit of a monsta! Thanks to all of you for sticking through this... We are officially moving into Arc 3 of which the majority is labeled 'chaos' in my files. Remember how I keep alluding to the fact that everything is connected in this? Even if you haven't been keeping notes, it's all coming together soon! Hope you all enjoy!

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