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: 197493 Published: 08 Jan 2021 Updated: 12 Nov 2021
Story Notes:
This entire story was spawned from one single mental image of a disguised Harry laying on a couch in Snape's house with Draco trying to figure out how to deal with this random teen he's never met. I do hope you all enjoy reading this as much as I have writing it.

1. Chapter 1 by DesertPlanet

2. Chapter 2 by DesertPlanet

3. Chapter 3 by DesertPlanet

4. Chapter 4 by DesertPlanet

5. Chapter 5 by DesertPlanet

6. Chapter 6 by DesertPlanet

7. Chapter 7 by DesertPlanet

8. Chapter 8 by DesertPlanet

9. Chapter 9 by DesertPlanet

10. Chapter 10 by DesertPlanet

11. Chapter 11 by DesertPlanet

12. Chapter 12 by DesertPlanet

13. Chapter 13 by DesertPlanet

14. Chapter 14 by DesertPlanet

15. Chapter 15 by DesertPlanet

16. Chapter 16 by DesertPlanet

17. Chapter 17 by DesertPlanet

18. Chapter 18 by DesertPlanet

19. Chapter 19 by DesertPlanet

20. Chapter 20 by DesertPlanet

21. Chapter 21 by DesertPlanet

22. Chapter 22 by DesertPlanet

23. Chapter 23 by DesertPlanet

24. Chapter 24 by DesertPlanet

25. Chapter 25 by DesertPlanet

26. Chapter 26 by DesertPlanet

27. Chapter 27 by DesertPlanet

28. Chapter 28 by DesertPlanet

29. Chapter 29 by DesertPlanet

30. Chapter 30 by DesertPlanet

31. Chapter 31 by DesertPlanet

32. Chapter 32 by DesertPlanet

33. Chapter 33 by DesertPlanet

34. Chapter 34 by DesertPlanet

35. Chapter 35 by DesertPlanet

36. Chapter 36 by DesertPlanet

37. Chapter 37 by DesertPlanet

38. Chapter 38 by DesertPlanet

39. Chapter 39 by DesertPlanet

40. Chapter 40 by DesertPlanet

41. Chapter 41 by DesertPlanet

42. Chapter 42 by DesertPlanet

43. Chapter 43 by DesertPlanet

44. Chapter 44 by DesertPlanet

Chapter 1 by DesertPlanet
Two letters, both alike in size and shape and signed with a flourish of green ink were shakily placed into the ‘Delayed Deliveries’ box of the local Owl Post Office. The instructions printed on the envelopes were that they were to be sent fifteen years from July 20th, 1980. With any luck, the recipients would be more understanding by that time and this horrible war would be over. Maybe she would be alive to tell them both and cancel the letter. Maybe the war would be over next week. Maybe she was wrong in her calculations.

Maybe. Just maybe.

The young woman who placed them there shakily wiped her eyes and sniffled before turning and walking calmly and resolutely towards the door. Soon enough, she would no longer be able to walk easily; her center of gravity having changed and hips having widened to accommodate the growing child within her. Her robes were already beginning to require more frequent resizing in order to continue to feel comfortable, but soon she would have to break down and purchase new ones. Soon her feet would begin to swell and her back begin to ache with the burden placed upon it. Soon she would be a mother to one of the ‘most light’ children in Magical Britain.

Or so everyone would be made to think.

They had to think so, for the baby’s sake. They had to believe that Lily and James were expecting and that the baby was theirs. No one could know the truth about who the baby belonged to. At least not until this terrible war was over, and even then it would be debatable if the baby would want to know who the father was or if it’s father would be able to have contact with the child.

He was a Death Eater after all.

Striding back towards her house, she sent a silent prayer out that she would be able to go back to the post office in a few months and pick up the letters, destroy them, and move on with her life. Only six more months to go until she could know for certain who the father was. Six long months of waiting and fighting. Soon enough, she would no longer be able to take part in the battles themselves and the truly terrifying part of her pregnancy would begin: going into hiding.

A battlefield was no place for a pregnant woman after all.

It had been a mistake. The entire thing was a mistake, but she couldn’t bear the idea of aborting this baby. It was conceived out of love, after all. Love long lost and unrequited, but love none the less. However, it was extremely unexpected. A few too many drinks with some old friends from her childhood, friends she had grown apart from when she went to Hogwarts, but who were her connection to a more simple time. A time before dark wizards, unforgivable curses, and magically induced war wounds.

And in the corner, far from the crowds in the pub yet equally drunk, was her oldest and dearest magical friend. Or former friend.

At her muggle friends’ urging, she went and sat next to him and listened as he drunkenly poured his heart out to her. She listened as he told her of how frightened he was, how he wasn’t sure he was on the right side, how he did not want to partake in the raids or torture anymore. How he missed her and wished they could be together.

For hours they spoke and drank, then flirted as though nothing had happened, then…

She didn’t really remember what happened next, only that she woke up in his bed with him still very much unconscious next to her and the stench of alcohol permeating the room. She quickly snuck out and made her way back to her parent’s house for a shower. As quickly as she could, she fled back to her husband with the hope that nothing would come of this.

A little over a month later and feeling sick as a dog, she realized her hope was for naught. But there was still a chance that the baby she carried was her husband’s. Maybe she and her friend hadn’t actually done anything that night? It wouldn’t have been the first time they had slept innocently in the same bed, though admittedly the last time they had done that they had both been nine years old. There was still a chance the baby was her husband’s. A small chance, but a chance.

Hormones led her to write the letters. Anxiety led her to send them. Yet there were still months left to go before the paternity test could be performed and she would know once and for all. Her husband was as supportive as he could be, already loving on the unborn child and excited for it’s arrival. She could only hope this excitement would continue on once the baby arrived and brought with it many sleepless nights. And she hoped he would accept the child no matter if he were the father or not, though she would understand if he were angry should the baby turn out to not be his. As sad as she would be at his anger, she would understand if he chose to leave. This was her cross; her burden to bear.

Only time would tell what would become of it.
To be continued...
Chapter 2 by DesertPlanet
Harry pulled off his glasses for what felt like the fifteenth time in an hour and rubbed his eyes with quivering fingers. He needed to get new ones, that was for certain. These were rubbish anyways; Aunt Petunia had pulled them from a donation bin years ago and deemed them ‘good enough for the likes of him.’ They weren’t even his prescription anyways, but they allowed him to see the board and function in class.

How he managed to see and catch the snitch as well as he did was a miracle. One he could only attribute to being able to see the glint of gold against the rather matte background of the stands or ground.

But since the end of the Triwizard Tournament, he had noticed his glasses were becoming less and less effective. He still couldn’t see well, but it was as though it were a different type of bad than normal and his glasses simply weren’t doing it any more. The headaches this was causing him were horrendous and were making it difficult for him to concentrate on anything. Even if he had had access to his homework, he didn’t think he would have been able to do any of it.

But it wasn’t just his head that was hurting. His back and legs ached fiercely and he was finding it more and more difficult to climb out of bed in the morning as cramps would run the length of his spine if he hadn’t moved in a long time. His fingers would twitch almost uncontrollably at times and he couldn’t help but notice the slight tremor his hands seemed to always have. Fine motor movements such as those required for tying his shoes were a struggle as well, but that was on a good day. On a bad day, he could barely pick up a glass of water on his own without sloshing the majority of it on to his front and the cramps in his back would leave him writhing on the bed whimpering in pain.

It had gotten so bad even Aunt Petunia had given him two paracetamol. They hadn’t done anything, but the fact she had given him anything at all was shocking. She had even begun letting him off of many of the more labor intensive chores, though she still always found something for him to do for which he was grateful. The more time he had alone, the more time he had to think about Cedric’s death and the end of the Tournament.

And those were thoughts he would rather not focus on constantly.

He hadn’t slept very well last night or the night before and he hadn’t been allowed food this morning due to keeping Uncle Vernon awake last night with his nightmares, but other than that the day hadn’t been too bad. He wasn’t in too much pain this morning other than the headache caused by his glasses, his hands weren’t shaking too badly, and the weather was nice enough that doing yard work wasn’t too taxing.

“When you’ve finished weeding the garden, clean out the old mulch and replace it with fresh,” Aunt Petunia’s voice from the kitchen window cut harshly through his thoughts.

“Yes, Aunt Petunia,” Harry said, pulling his shirt down so it better covered his torso.

That was another thing he’d noticed: he was growing finally. He had thought he had stopped growing last year after Ron suddenly shot past him in height, but now he thought he had just briefly stalled in growth. Was that even a thing? Whether it was or not, that seemed to be what had happened to him. It wasn’t as though Dudley’s old clothes had ever fit him before, but now he was finding he was having to wear the hand-me-downs more and more frequently as they were the only things he had which were long enough to compensate for his newfound height.

Maybe that was what was causing his various pains? Were they just growth pains?

He had nearly finished the garden when the distinctive hoot of a owl was heard above him. Looking up to see if Hedwig had returned from Ron’s, Harry was saddened when he realized the snowy owl was not there. Before he even got the chance to register what kind of large brown owl it was, two letters were dropped rather unceremoniously onto his head. Squinting at them briefly in confusion, Harry saw they both appeared to be written on rather aged parchment; one in green and one in standard black.

He’d have to read them later.

Shoving them into his pants pocket, he stood up and dusted himself off before going to the back shed to get a bin bag for the old mulch and the wheelbarrow to help move the new mulch around. It was a simple task but he felt odd though, as though something ominous were about to occur.

Looking around, he was mildly surprised to find nothing wrong or out of place. He had sworn he had seen shadowy figures around the neighborhood from time to time, but he couldn’t even find one of them. Perhaps his Divination lessons were finally catching up to him?

He chuckled lightly at the thought, but couldn’t shake the feeling of anxiety that was building inside of him. Something was wrong, but he couldn’t place his finger on what.

Shaking himself, he grabbed the bin bag and wheelbarrow and walked back to the front yard. Wincing slightly as his back twinged with the movement, he reached down and picked up the first of many bags of mulch from the side of the garage and placed it in the wheelbarrow. Turning towards the garden, he paused once more to rub his eyes. His head was beginning to throb and he felt strange. Dizzy almost, or like his head was filled with fluff.

It was like he was moving in slow motion. Everything seemed so bright and far away, as though he were looking at it through a tunnel. A tapping on his leg brought his attention back to his own location. Looking down, he saw his left hand was rhythmically twitching, tapping on his leg.

‘That’s weird,’ he thought, trying to stop the twitch. ‘Really weird.’

Suddenly, he realized the wheelbarrow seemed much closer than before. He was falling! He tried to move anything to prevent the fall, but couldn’t control anything!

Then, without warning, everything went black.

Severus Snape was not a happy man. He hadn’t been in years, but today even more so than usual.

It had barely even been four weeks since the return of the Dark Lord and already he had been called to three ‘meetings.’ Thankfully, he hadn’t been on the receiving end of his former master’s wrath, but with every ‘meeting,’ the list of tasks he was to do grew. After every ‘meeting’ he was given a list of potions the Dark Lord wanted him to complete. Often these were simple healing potions but still the list would be lengthy and he was required to get them to his Lord within a few days lest he face the same repercussions his colleagues did.

In addition to his work for the Dark Lord, he was required to inform Dumbledore of which potions the Dark Lord was requesting, if any plans for raids were being made, and make antidotes for some of the more nefarious poisons requested by the Dark Lord. He had to attend meetings for the Order of the Phoenix, ‘meetings’ with the Dark Lord, and the occasional Death Eater revel. Each of these were taking hours of his time and every day he hoped the ritual Wormtail had performed to bring the Dark Lord back would suddenly fail, if only so he would have his free time back.

He was exhausted, he ached from hours of brewing, and he felt as though he hadn’t showered in days despite showering as often as possible as the fumes from the potions he made permeated his hair and clothing. He was keeping up with demand, but only just. If either side suddenly increased their demand for his potions, he ran the risk of failing on one end or another.

In short, he needed an assistant.

While he would have preferred to choose one of his older Slytherins as an assistant, or even hire one in, he ran into two very large and obvious problems. First, few of his older Slytherins had the desire to join either side of the war, preferring to remain neutral instead. While he would normally have been thankful for this, feeling as though he had assisted in influencing them not to make the same mistakes he had at their age, this did not suit his needs at all. Hiring an assistant would not work either as he was routinely required to make very obviously dark potions. Frequently these were listed as Class One poisons which carried the obvious risk of losing one’s ability to practice as a potioneer as well as a prison sentence of up to 10 years in Azkaban.

No, it wasn’t worth it for anyone to even want to be hired on. Even if he could find someone he deemed capable enough to be his assistant, the risk of them turning him in was too great.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, whoever it was he chose to be an assistant had to be someone neutral or at least able to be seen as easily swayed towards the side of the dark. If he could have chosen anyone to be his assistant, he would have likely chosen one of the 7th year Ravenclaws, but they were too neutral and leaned too far to the side of the light to be safe to ask to join him. Granger was another option, loathe as he was to admit it, but requesting one of Harry Potter’s best friends was out of the question. That request could get her and her family killed simply because she was a muggleborn.

He had tried reaching out to Dumbledore for assistance in finding one, only to have his letter remain unopened and likely still sitting on the man’s desk. Had the man actually opened it, he would have been met with the typical reassurances that he would do fine and wouldn’t need any additional help, followed by a refusal to assist him in finding anyone. He may be a spy, but he was not superhuman and brewing this many potions was a herculean effort even without school in session.

That left only a handful of choices and of those there was only one obvious option: Draco Malfoy.

Capping his inkwell and quickly drying his quill, he sighed and rubbed the side of his nose in frustration as he sealed the letter in an envelope. He really didn’t want to send this letter, but if he were going to get any sleep at all in the next week he needed an extra set of hands to help him. He wasn’t as big of a fan of the boy as what he let on at school. Draco reminded him far too much of Potter Sr. in his arrogant attitude and way he strutted around the school, throwing his money and influence at those who dared question him. Even Potter Jr. wasn’t as bad, but the sight of the boy still angered him greatly.

There was one potential benefit to having Draco working under him, however. There was certainly a possibility his own initiation into the Death Eaters could be postponed as he was already working under Severus and working ‘for’ the Dark Lord. He may not be Severus’s favorite student, but anything to prevent another soul from getting sucked into the Death Eaters prematurely would be good. And some time away from the influence of his father would do the boy some good.

A rapping on his kitchen window startled him from his thoughts as he waited for the wax to dry.

“Perfect timing,” he muttered to himself, opening the window for the two waiting owls.

Taking the small parcel of ingredients from one of the owls, he sent it on its way before turning his attention to the ingredients. It would be such a shame if something had happened to them en route as some of these items had rather… hefty price tags. Finding nothing wrong with the ingredients, he turned his attention to the other owl which carried three letters in its talons, bound together with a simple piece of twine.

Placing the bundle on his kitchen table, he handed the waiting owl his letter for Lucius and dug through his pockets in search of a few knuts to pay for the usage of the mail owl. As he was slipping the knuts into the pouch on the bird’s leg, a sudden wave of fire crashed over his left arm, causing him to gasp and nearly drop the coins on the floor.

“Alright, you’ve been paid!” he said, waving his hand at the owl as he summoned his Death Eater robe and mask. “Get out of here!”

With a huff, the owl fluttered out of the window seconds before Severus slammed the window shut and locked it.

Just as he was preparing to apparate to the summon’s location, a phoenix patronus burst into flames in the middle of his living room.

“Harry Potter has left the wards. Repeat: Harry Potter has left the wards. Repeat: Harry Potter has left the wards,” the headmaster’s voice said calmly from the mouth of the patronus before the bird vanished as quickly as it came.

“Dammit, Potter!” Severus cursed as he spun on his heel and pulled his mask over his face. “Can you not follow instructions for once in your life?”
To be continued...
Chapter 3 by DesertPlanet
“What’s his name?” a voice said from in front of his face.

“Dunno, the neighbor who called it in said they weren’t sure what his name was or who he belonged to,” another voice, a male this time, said from his other side.

“How do you not know your neighbor’s names?” the first voice said, rather incredulously.

“Just moved in, maybe? I dunno. You ready to move him?” a third voice said by his feet.

“One second,” the second voice said, shuffling some papers around. “Ok, laddie, we’re gonna move you onto a different bed here.”

Harry felt the world tilt suddenly and a hard board was shoved under his back. He winced as the board grazed along his back, sending waves of pain shooting down his spine and through his legs. His arms spasmed involuntarily causing him to nearly smack the man standing next to him in the stomach. His head was swimming and he was extremely confused. What had happened? Where was he?

“Sorry about that laddie!” the male voice said. “Might want to check him for any fractures, he keeps wincing whenever his back is moved. One more move, lad, then you’ll be more comfortable. Count of three!”

“One, two, THREE!” the female voice counted as he was pulled bodily from whatever he had been laying onto a only slightly more comfortable cot.

The movement was far from smoothe, leading him to cry out as his back twisted slightly at the transfer. His arms and knees bent involuntarily as he panted and moaned. Why were they hurting him? What happened? Where was he?! He tried to open his eyes only to find the world was extremely blurry and the light overhead was a piercingly bright fluorescent. This was definitely not Hogwarts’s hospital wing.

“Sorry bud!” the female voice said, raising a bar next to him with a loud click. “Thanks Marcus! Have a good day!”

“You too, Lizzy,” the man’s voice said, another loud clunk was heard before the sound of the man’s footsteps was heard.

“Oh, there’s some cookies in the break room if you want any!” the other female voice, a slightly younger woman, said as she moved to the other side of the cot, clicking another rail into place.

“No thanks, Mads!” the male’s voice was heard outside of the room. “Tryin’ to stay on a diet!”

“Just thought I’d offer! See you later!” the younger woman said, before turning to Harry. “Alright, laddie, let’s get you changed out of those clothes and get your head cleaned up. You whacked it something fierce when you fell.”

Harry moaned as the two women removed his shirt and shorts and placed him in some sort of strange dress. What kind of place was this?! How did he get here?!

Try as he might, he couldn’t seem to focus on what was going on around him well enough to make sense of anything. Opening his eyes hurt, moving hurt, breathing hurt. And he was so tired! Why wouldn’t they let him just sleep? Sleeping seemed like a good idea. Maybe he could get Madam Pomfrey to let him just rest and answer questions later.

“Can you wake up for me?” the older female’s voice asked loudly as her assistant removed his socks and began placing stickers on his chest.

Harry moaned and tried to open his eyes once more. The lights were just too bright for him to keep them open for long. Who were these people anyways?

“Can you grab my fingers?” she asked, placing her hands in his. “Goodness your hands are shaky!”

Harry squeezed as well as he could, though his fingers were twitching fiercely and he didn’t feel as though he were making a good impression on the healer who was with him. Was he at St Mungo’s? Did they have fluorescent lights? Where was he?

“Good job!” the voice said, prying her fingers from his quivering fingers. “Madeline, can you grab Dr. Sam for me? I want him to see this.”

Harry heard a set of footsteps rush from the room and down the hallway. From outside of the room he could hear the sound of many beeps and rapid conversations. Occasionally, a yell could be heard from down the hall and the occasional beeping alarm was heard. Telephones were ringing almost constantly outside of the room and the smell of antiseptic was overwhelming.

Not St. Mungo’s then.

But where was he? And why did he feel like he had just played Quidditch for 18 hours. That would be one hell of a game, not record breaking by any stretch of the imagination, but still. The idea of sitting on his broom for that long made his buttocks sore. He doubted he would be in that situation ever, he was generally pretty fast at finding the snitch.

Was that what happened? Was he playing Quidditch? Was he at St. Mungos?

He tried to open his eyes only to be blinded by the bright fluorescent light once more. How had he forgotten about that damned light? At least it wasn’t green. That would have been a horrible light to wake up to. Or red. Red like a cruciatus curse.

“What’s your name, laddie?” the female voice asked, shaking his shoulder gently.

“Harry,” he said softly, beginning to doze off once more.

“What’s your birthday, love?” she asked, continuing to shake his shoulder to keep him awake.

“Soon,” Harry mumbled sleepily, trying to roll over without causing himself pain.

“What date is your birthday?” she tried again.

“July 31. Everyone knows,” he mumbled angrily. Why was she asking him these questions when everyone knew when his birthday was? He was just thankful no one random had decided yet to send him presents.

“What year, Harry?” the woman prodded.

“1980,” Harry responded, trying to pull the gown over his face to better block out the light. There was something sticking him in the elbow making it hard for him to bend his arm.

“Don’t scratch that,” the woman said, gently moving his hand away from the thing in his arm. “Can you tell me what kind of building we’re in.”

“St. Mungo’s?” Harry said unsurely, continuing to try and cover himself. Why was it so cold?

“Not … quite,” the woman said. “You’re at Children’s Hospital in London. You had a seizure and were brought to St. Peter’s but you had another seizure once you got there and they decided to send you to us. What month is it Harry?”

Harry frowned in thought. He’d had a seizure? What could have caused it? Did he hit his head? Had a bludger hit his head and he couldn’t remember? Why was he so tired? Nothing made any sense in his mind and the more he thought about it the less it made sense. Was he in London or Surrey or Scotland? Where was Madam Pomfrey? She would fix him right up. She always did. Better than Lockhart, that’s for sure. Better than Snape as well. Slimy git.

“Harry, what month are we in?” the woman asked again.

“May?” Harry said, unsure if he was right or not. He knew he had been outside, but what was he doing out there?

“Today is July 20th, Harry,” the woman said pulling a blanket over his shoulders.

“Oh,” Harry mumbled. “Bludger must have hit me hard.”

A set of footsteps entered the room and Harry blearily looked towards where they had come from. A young woman had entered with a plastic bag and was placing all of his clothing in it, looking through his pockets as she did so and pulling out any objects of interest. Had he had his wand on him? He couldn’t remember. The last thing he remembered was an owl dropping two letters on his head.

“Hey Lizzy, I think I found his dad’s name!”

“FIND HIM!” the Dark Lord screamed, slamming his hand down on the throne he sat in. “Are you wizards or are you not?! FIND THAT DAMNED BOY!”

The Death Eaters had spent nearly seven hours searching the whole of Surrey for the boy, even going so far as to attempt to breach the wards surrounding his house but to no avail. The boy was missing and no one knew where he was. Normal tracking methods weren’t working, it was almost as though the boy had disappeared off the face of the planet.

“Severussss,” the Dark Lord hissed, motioning the potions master towards him as many of the other Death Eaters disapparated to continue their search. “Go to the Headmaster and ask the old man if knows anything, anything at all. We must find that boy before he goes back under the wards!”

“Yes, my lord,” Severus said, bowing low before turning to leave.

“Before you go, word has reached me that you are requesting an assistant for brewing. Is this correct?” Voldemort said with a hiss, his words dripping with thinly veiled and barely controlled anger.

“Yes, my lord,” Severus said, feeling a cool sweat breaking out on the back of his neck. “I am finding it difficult to keep up with the demands placed on me to keep my cover with the old coot, attend all of the meetings and revels, and to brew the highest quality potions for you, my lord.”

Voldemort sat back in his throne and stroked his pointed, pale chin as though thinking. No one in the immediate vicinity dared move or breathe for fear of angering their master. If he was making a decision, it was best not to interrupt him in the process of doing so, even if inadvertently. Finally, after several long moments, he leaned forwards and folded his long fingers together.

“I shall grant you leave from further revels unless I summon you directly. I cannot risk your potions being less than the best, especially now,” he said calmly but dangerously. “Luciussss!”

“Yes, my lord,” Lucius Malfoy said, stepping forward and kneeling in front of the man.

“Your son shall stay with Severus for the remainder of the summer. Severus will train him in potions making and alteration. Our victory can only happen sooner with two of the best potions masters in the wizarding world working for us.”

“Thank you, my lord,” Lucius said, kissing the man's robes before standing and backing himself back into his position in line.

“Oh, yes,” Voldemort said flippantly to the potions master before him. “Next time you require assistance, do not go behind my back in choosing someone.”

“No, my lord,” Severus said, steeling himself for what he knew would come. “I meant no offense.”

“None taken. Crucio.”
To be continued...
Chapter 4 by DesertPlanet

Severus shakily apparated to his living room and collapsed into the nearest armchair. For not having taken offense to his search for an assistant, the Dark Lord certainly seemed to be angry about it. He was just thankful the man had been more interested in finding the Potter boy than torturing him for his insolence. While not the first time he had been under the Cruciatus curse at the hands of that man, this was certainly the shortest amount of time he had been tortured.

Summoning an anti-Cruciatus potion and a pain reliever from his personal stores, he quickly downed the potions and let himself relax into the cushions of the armchair. He felt as though he could sleep for days, but that would have to happen later; now he needed to prepare a room for Draco to stay in. While he had half a mind to create a small room for the boy in the basement and keep him there, he knew that Draco would be in contact with his father. And keeping the boy locked in the basement was not a way to win him over to the side of the light.

No, he’d need a real room.

Going into what would have been considered the guest room, Severus quickly cast a barrage of cleaning and repair spells which fashioned the room into a much more accommodating bedroom for a growing teenager. He wouldn’t need much, just a bed, desk, side table and chair. Easy enough transfigurations to do.

The plan was for him to arrive following dinner and he would stay with Severus until the end of the summer. He would have to complete his homework of course, but when he was not working on school work, he would be required to assist in the lab. If they could get caught up and stay caught up on the potions requested, then they would have time to relax.

What did pureblood teenagers even do to relax? He knew what they did in school, but at home? He was at a loss and felt ill prepared for this.

Being raised in a muggle neighborhood, Severus had no idea what pureblood children did for fun. Even if he could provide some form of entertainment for the boy, he doubted Draco would have been able to enjoy it properly as he would be living in a muggle neighborhood for the first time in his life. He had plenty of parchment for the boy to write his friends, but no owl for him to send the letters.

He highly doubted Draco would enjoy going to the cinema or watching the telly.

Speaking of letters, Severus suddenly remembered the strange parcel of letters he had been sent just before word went out that Potter had gone missing. Who possibly could have sent him such letters? Who would want to send him a letter at all. The only person he had ever had regular correspondence with had passed away years ago, and even still they hadn’t spoken to each other for a very long time prior to her death. For someone to send him three letters was unusual. And for those letters to be written on old parchment… it was strange.

Once the room for Draco met basic living requirements, Severus quickly went back to the kitchen and, after casting a few curse-breaking charms for safety, went to work opening the letters. After removing the twine holding them together, his heart began to race as he looked at the handwriting on the envelopes.

It couldn’t be. Why would she have sent him a time delayed letter? Why would she have needed to send him a time delayed letter?

“Lily?” he whispered, running his fingers over his carefully written name on the front.

Severus Tobias Snape

Spinners End

Cokeworth, Yorkshire

Sent: 18 January, 1980

Deliver: 20 July, 1996

After staring at her letter for what felt like hours, he gingerly put it down. He was almost afraid to open it. When she sent the letter, they hadn’t seen each other in several years. Nor had they spoken with each other, even in writing. Their lives had taken drastically different paths by that point. She was actively working for the Order of the Phoenix while trying to find a mentor for a Charms mastery and living with her husband in a safe house; he was completing his Potions mastery and working as the apothecary for the Dark Lord while still living in Cokeworth. They couldn’t have been farther from each other, both in ideology and location.

So why did she write?

The second letter was addressed the same as the first, though the ‘sent’ date was much later. It was written in standard black ink, nothing very fancy, though the handwriting seemed rather familiar. Try as he might, he couldn’t quite place it. With it having been sent so long ago, he may have been more familiar with the handwriting at the time. Now, however, he just couldn’t place it.

The third letter was more … concerning. It was obviously written by a dicta-quill and was sent from within the ministry. From the Family Services center. Judging by the scratched out address, it had originally been sent to Lily via her parent’s house. The original seal had been broken on the front meaning she had opened it, read it, resealed it in the original envelope, and sent it on to him after the first two letters had been sent.

Turning back to the first letter, he slowly, delicately broke the wax seal, watching as the wax nearly crumbled at the barest of touch. Gingerly, he removed and unfolded the parchment within the envelope, trying to prevent his fingers from shaking too badly. A letter from Lily, sent years ago and purposefully delayed to be delivered yesterday. To him, this was worth more than all the gold in Gringotts.

My dearest


Hello Severus,

I doubt very much you are expecting this letter. I had honestly hoped I wouldn’t have to write this. I cannot in good conscience not let you know what has transpired, however, especially as you play such a pivotal role in what I am about to tell you. And I honestly doubt very much that you have any memory of this occurring. I don’t know what had happened to you to land you in such a state, so I will only tell you my side of the story.

I don’t know if you knew them well, or at all, but I had a few girl friends in primary school whom I remained in contact with while at Hogwarts: Kathy Miller and Renee Anderson (in case you knew them). With the war going on and all of the stress we were under, I wanted nothing more than to go back to a simpler time, before any of this had happened and we were all naive children. So when Kathy reached out to me, telling me that she was planning a girls’ night out, and was wondering if I wanted to come, I couldn’t refuse. A few drinks with friends, that was all it was meant to be.

We went from club to club and were having a lovely time, but when we decided to go to a final pub we were all rather sloshed. Kathy and Renee were at the bar, ordering some more drinks and talking about life and I decided I needed to go to the loo. And there you were, in the back corner, nursing what seemed to be your ninth brandy of the night. I couldn’t help it, I needed to talk to you. And they saw how badly I missed you so they pushed me to talk to you. You looked so forlorn and lost and… Severus you were my best friend for so long and I missed you. I still do.

I don’t know what happened next, and considering you were further gone than I was, I doubt very much you do either. What I do know is I woke up the next morning in your bed in your room. You were still asleep and I… I just left. I ran. I’m sorry Sev, but it was a mistake. I loved you, but not the you you became.

I hoped nothing would come of it. I hoped it was just a one night stand and that somewhere in our alcohol addled brains we had remembered to use protection. Or that nothing had occurred and we had just fallen asleep like we had when we were little.

Severus, I’m pregnant. I’m pregnant and I think it may be yours. I won’t be able to do a pregnancy test until the baby is born, but I believe my math is right. And if you’re receiving this, my math was right. I’m so sorry.

Whatever it is you want to do with this information, do it. But I must tell you, I haven’t told anyone yet. I’ll have to tell James, but I don’t plan to tell anyone else. For your sake and mine. I’m being careful about this. I don’t want you killed because of something you did while drunk. I’ve already started taking Falsum Paternis potions to alter the baby’s appearance so it looks more like James than you. They also alter the baby’s magical signature so it can’t be found even if they use you for the search medium. You probably know, of course, that these potions will only last until the baby is fifteen. I am sending a letter to the baby as well to let them know the truth.

I hope I am alive to tell my baby the truth before they get their letter, but I fear this may not be the case as the war grows ever more desperate for our side. My only hope is for my baby to grow up safely and healthily.

I’m so sorry Severus. I wish you well.



~Lily Evans Potter

Severus watched as the letter fell from his hands in shock. He had a child? Lily’s child was his? But… Potter was his? His hands shook as he collapsed backwards into his chair, heart racing.

He vaguely remembered the week Lily had mentioned in her letter. Raids and revels were occurring on a nightly basis. The death toll was rising on both sides. Muggles were being slaughtered in the night only to be found by horrified neighbors the next morning. The ministry was struggling to keep up with the demands to keep the entire thing under wraps and would often miss a muggle or two during their mass obliviations. It was pure chaos, and Severus was in the middle of it all.

He had been in a rather depressed mood that night. He was feeling the strain of it all and needed to spend a night away from the darkness that surrounded him. He had needed some time to decompress and think over his decisions. This all came only a month before he made the decision to defect and begin working as a spy, so he was already on the fence as to where his loyalties truly lay.

The Dark Lord had promised many things to his followers but few of these were actually coming to fruition, and Severus could see how much of a paranoid megalomaniac the man was becoming.

He remembered going to the pub and beginning to drink away his sorrows, but then his memory grew hazy. For all of his prowess with Occlumency and mind magic, he couldn’t recall anything more of that night. Perhaps a flash of red hair? Or a scent of perfume? But nothing concrete which he could say for certain was Lily’s presence. All he had was this letter, sent a decade and a half previous.

He was only one letter in and already felt as though a bomb went off and had shaken his entire reality.

With bated breath and shaking hands, he turned his attention to the next letter. Turning it over, he saw the distinct seal of the Potter family emblazoned on the red wax seal. James Potter had written him a letter.

Flipping the envelope back over and looking at the date it was sent, he sighed in partial relief. By June, only a month before Potter Jr. (he couldn’t very well go about calling the boy this any more, now could he) was born, Severus had already switched sides and was actively working as a spy. He still wasn’t sure of his choices, but this letter would likely be far more amicable than one sent months prior.


‘Nevermind,’ Severus thought, wincing at the nickname and very nearly throwing the letter into the fire immediately. If he weren’t still in shock from Lily’s letter and desperate for further confirmation of her accusation of his being the father, he was certain the letter would have been immediately destroyed.


Lily told me what happened. How you were both drunk and had sex and now she thinks the baby may be yours. I don’t know how I feel about it to be honest and she told me several months ago. I guess we’ll just have to wait until the baby is born to do a paternity test.

Even with the knowledge of this baby possibly not being mine, I want you to know I plan on caring for it as though it were my own flesh and blood. I love my wife and I love her child, even if I am not the biological father. I don’t trust you, however. I know Dumbledore does and Lily is beginning to again, but I don’t. I don’t know if I ever will, but I plan on following my wife’s lead on if she sees you as safe to be around our child. She knows you better than I do. Should the time come before you receive these letters that we allow you into the baby’s life, I apologize for my behavior. If not, stay away from me, my wife, and my child. I leave this in Lily’s hands.

~James Harold Potter

Short, sweet, and surprisingly lacking in insults other than referring to him by his schoolyard nickname. And only one thinly veiled threat. It must have pained the man greatly to write this.

Severus smirked as he slid the much shorter letter under Lily’s letter. James Potter never did change his tone, even at the end. Brazen and brash in everything he did, including fighting Voldemort in an effort to spare his wife and … his son. The man was truly a Gryffindor through and through. Had he survived, Severus still doubted they would ever have been friends.

Sighing, Severus folded his hands and rested his elbows on the table, rubbing his forehead with his knuckles. Only one letter left, but he already felt as though his world had been turned upside down. Had Lily ever attempted to tell him and he brushed her off? Had James? Would she have told him?

Did P-Harry even meet the criteria set out by the prophecy anymore?

Severus groaned as he looked at the last letter. He doubted he would have received the first two if the last was a negative result. Obviously Lily had looked at the paternity test before she made the decision to send it on to him. As much as it pained him to think about, he needed to see it to believe it. He would need to do his own test to be positive that P-Harry was his.

Pulling the final letter out of the envelope, he was unsurprised by the results he saw.

Harry Potter was not a Potter at all.

If the potions were failing, it explained why no one was able to find him. They were looking for someone who didn’t exist. He could very well be safely inside the wards and none would be the wiser. Those wards were keyed to Harry Potter. Locator spells were looking for Harry Potter. Even the Headmaster’s devices were locked on Harry Potter’s magical signature.

And Harry Potter no longer existed.

His head was absolutely pounding as the noises around him continued to shriek away, sounding at times like a psychotic drummer and other times like a shrieking alarm. The earplugs he had been provided did very little to stop the excruciatingly loud sounds he had been exposed to for the last hour and a half.

“‘Right there, ‘Arry?” the voice of the radiology tech sounded over the loudspeaker in the room. “One more scan and we’re done. Y’aren’t allergic to shellfish, are yeh?”

“N-not that I’m aware of,” Harry said as loudly as he could. The microphone which picked up his speech seemed to be on the fritz and wasn’t picking up his voice very well.

“What?!” the radiology tech said. “Say that again, ‘Arry.”

“NO!” Harry yelled.

“Right. This might feel a bit warm, but it’s jus’ a bit o’ contrast dye.”

Harry suddenly felt a warmth rush through him starting from his IV and rushing into his chest before suddenly rushing to his head and down his back. The warmth quickly turned to burning as it traveled down his spine, setting all of his frayed nerves alight. It then traveled down his legs feeling like liquid fire filling his veins making his toes curl involuntarily in pain. Was it supposed to burn this much?

The sounds started up again as the burning returned to his chest before rocketing down his arms. Only one more scan. One more scan and they’d take him back to his room. He could do it. Only a few more minutes and he would be allowed to move again. This was nothing compared to being locked in a cupboard under the stairs for a week. Or disemboweling rats for detention. Or repotting mandrakes. Or being crucio’d in a graveyard by a man who actively wanted to murder you. Yeah, an MRI was nothing.

But why was it burning so badly? Was he actually allergic to shellfish? Why was that even a question that needed to be asked? What would an allergic reaction to shellfish even feel like? If it felt like his entire body was on fire and his heart would beat out of his chest, then he guessed he may actually be allergic to shellfish. It was starting to hurt to even breathe.

“All done, ‘Arry!” the loudspeaker said as soon as the noises stopped. “Gimme a second and I’ll get you out.”

He needed to get out now. He needed to sit up, but the strange contraption holding his head in place was still locked down. His chest hurt. He couldn’t breathe. It was almost as if the tube around him were closing in and would trap him, preventing him from moving for longer. He would die in this tube. It was like a metal coffin. He needed out now!

Suddenly, the lights flickered and all whirring from the machine abruptly stopped. The gurney he was on suddenly shot out of the center of the machine and head restraint shot off and fell to the floor just in time for him to roll over and vomit profusely onto the floor.

“Bloody ‘ell!” the radiology tech exclaimed, running into the room. “REG, grab a basin and some towels! You ‘right ‘Arry?”

Harry shook his head before his arms collapsed under him and he lay sideways on the gurney panting as the burning continued to rocket around his body. What in Merlin’s name was going on? A bucket was suddenly thrust under his chin as another wave of nausea crashed over him, greatly exacerbating the shaking he was already having.

The shaking hadn’t gotten any better since he had been in the hospital, just more annoying. He had already had a multitude of tests trying to pinpoint what was going on, each more annoying than the last. He had had blood taken, x-rays done, a cat scan of his entire body, and this MRI of his head. From what he gathered, they hadn’t found anything wrong yet, and he was curious if they would. If this was a magically induced problem, would they even find anything wrong? And if they did, would he be able to use magical treatments to cure whatever it was that made him have that seizure?

Slowly, the burning died away leaving his muscles feeling extremely fatigued. His mouth was now filled with the taste of vomit and his throat felt raw, but at least he wasn’t feeling as though he were melting from the inside out anymore.

“Hey, Jack?” the other radiology tech who had brought the bucket in asked suddenly, shaking Harry from his thoughts. “Why’d you turn off the MRI? You know that’s terrible for the computer!”

“I didn’t do it! It jus’... stopped workin’!” the tech said as he rubbed Harry’s back. “You ‘right there, lad?”

Harry nodded sleepily; the burst of magic had zapped him of what little strength he had regained. He just wanted to go back to the napping he was doing before they came and started running test after test on him. His head still hurt and all of his muscles were sore, but at least he was more with it than he had been several hours ago!

To be continued...
End Notes:
Sorry for the weird formatting, I couldn't get the letter to work right without messing up the formatting for the rest of the chapter. Oh well, such is life.
Chapter 5 by DesertPlanet
“Thank you for coming,” Severus said to Draco as he poured a simple cup of tea.

While he would rather have been out joining the Order in their search for the missing boy, he was fairly certain the boy was within the wards, just that they were no longer registering him as being there. His family was undoubtedly still fawning over him and allowing him to laze about, doing whatever he chose rather than doing his homework. There was no point in going in and disrupting what he was certain was a normal summer for the boy. If anything, the boy would probably be more upset if Severus did show up.

No. For now he would focus on Draco’s apparent apprenticeship and getting the boy settled into life in Cokeworth. He would try to put those blasted letters behind him and focus on the work at hand as there was much work to be done.

“Thank you for taking me on,” Draco said quite cordially despite looking around the living room in thinly veiled disgust. “I shall do my best.”

“You shall do better than that,” Severus scoffed. As if he would allow a fifth year to do much more than ingredient preparation with some of these potions. Particularly the poisons. If Draco was truly going to be helping him with brewing, he would need to first prove he understood the theory behind how they were brewed and why certain ingredients needed to be prepared in certain ways. Draco’s best was hardly up to that standard.

“You have an… interesting… house, sir,” Draco said, looking at some of the few remaining muggle artifacts the house contained, namely the old television and radio, though the phone on the counter did catch his eye as well. “Why do you keep all of these muggle contraptions?”

“During the school year, I have worked out a deal with a neighbor to come look after my possessions as I do not have a house elf. That neighbor happens to be a muggle and would not understand the obvious lack of certain appliances,” Severus said.

“Ah,” Draco nodded his head approvingly. “Using muggles as servants. I understand.”

Severus resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Draco was so thoroughly indoctrinated by his father perhaps he was not the best choice for such a grey task. Undoing years of training would be difficult, though not impossible. Draco had yet to see the true horrors of the war he had already chosen sides on. With any luck, he would see reason before he ever saw the true atrocities of the coming war. That was the hope anyway.

“We shall begin in the morning. For tonight, you may entertain yourself however you please,” Severus said, putting down his tea for a moment and standing. “Follow me please.”

Draco stood and looked curiously at the man. The house was small enough, he doubted a tour was truly necessary, but he would humor the man.

“Here is your bedroom,” Severus said, pointing out the room at the end of the hall and opening the door with a flick of his wand. The Malfoy house elves had already delivered the boy’s personal belongings and unpacked the trunk into the awaiting closet and chest of drawers. “The loo is the first door on the right and my room is the second. Do not enter my bedroom or the lab unless it is truly an emergency or you are escorted by myself. Is that understood?”

Draco swallowed hard before walking down to look at his room. It was far smaller than any bedroom at Malfoy Manor, but it seemed comfortable enough. He was certainly not expecting to have his normal down pillows or mattress after seeing what the potion’s master’s house looked like. There was a desk so he could do his school work and enough room that he could feasibly practice wand work. It wasn’t ideal, but it certainly wasn’t the rundown room he had been expecting.

A sudden ringing sound was heard from the living room, causing Draco to jump and Severus to frown. It rang for a second, then paused, then another ring followed by another and another. Then there was a sudden click and a rather muffled mechanical voice began speaking followed by a loud beep.

“What was that?” Draco asked, looking at his professor in confusion.

“That was a muggle communication device called a ‘telephone,’” Severus said, continuing to frown. “The voice at the end was the message which stated no one was available to speak to. The caller should be leaving a message we shall be able to hear in a few moments.”

“Do you receive these communications often?” Draco asked in concern. He couldn’t imagine hearing such a piercing tone every time someone wanted to speak via floo, or, worse yet, for every letter brought via owl post.

“This is the first time in many months that that phone has rang,” Severus stated, walking back down the hall towards where the phone was. “I have no idea who it could be.”

Sure enough, the answering machine was now flashing the number ‘1.’ There was one unheard message. But who would be calling him? The last time he had received a phone call, it had been a telemarketer calling trying to convince him to purchase some sort of new living arrangement. That message was immediately deleted.

Severus pressed the play button and was immediately greeted by a rather chipper sounding female voice.

“Hello Mr. Snape, this is Morgan at Children’s Hospital in London. If you could give me a call back, I would greatly appreciate it. This is not a fundraiser. My number here is 020 7946 0102. Thank you!”

Severus looked at the phone oddly. Why would a children’s hospital in London be calling him of all people? It’s not like he had a … shit. But how would they know this? Was it actually Potter? Harry? Whatever his name was now? If it was, how had they found him so quickly? It wasn’t like this was common knowledge! And even if it was… the boy… what in Merlin’s name had he done this time to end up in hospital.

“Children’s Hospital?” he heard Draco ask from behind him. “A muggle hospital is contacting you.”

“It seems so,” Severus said, summoning a scrap of parchment and playing the message once more so he could get the call back number.

“You aren’t actually going to respond, are you?” Draco said incredulously. “They’re muggles, what could they possibly want with a potions master?”

“What they want or don’t want is not up to me to decide,” Severus said, picking up the phone and preparing to dial. “Returning their message is the polite thing to do, especially if one does not want to be contacted again. It could very likely be a case of mistaken identity or a transcription error on their part.”

Draco scoffed at the very idea before turning and going back to his room. Muggle styles of communication were so inherently flawed. If a simple transcription error could lead to a message being left for the wrong person, it was no wonder they were as uncivilized as they were. Rushing around constantly, looking like ants waiting to be stepped on. Their communication abilities were rudimentary and their ability to travel and transport items was only slightly faster than those of Neanderthals. Even house elves were at least able to appear immediately when called! A muggle servant would need significantly longer to complete the same task it would take a house elf seconds to do. Being polite to them was a joke; there was no reason to be.

Dialing the given number and stepping into the kitchen, Severus quickly threw up a silencing charm over the door, making sure Draco wouldn’t inadvertently hear something he ought not hear.

Within seconds he was connected with a live person. The number he had been given must have been a direct line to a desk phone rather than a line to the main hospital. Good, at least the muggle he was dealing with knew how to give a phone number correctly.

“Children’s Hospital London, Neurology Intensive Care Ward, this is Yasmine, how may I direct your call?” a heavily accented voice on the other end of the line said rapidly.

“May I speak to Morgan?” Severus bit out, not wanting to speak on the phone for any longer than necessary. He hadn’t had to pay much in the way of phone bills in years and didn’t want to start racking up charges now.

“May I ask who is calling?” the voice on the other end of the phone asked.

“Severus Snape,” he said, rather impatiently.

“Oh, yes! Mr. Snape! We’ve been trying to find a way to reach you all afternoon!” the voice said rather excitedly. “One moment please while I transfer you to Morgan!”

Severus sighed impatiently as he was put on hold. If it didn’t involve so much energy, he would have rather apparated to the hospital, answered whatever asinine question they had for him, then come straight home. He had potions to work on and an idiot 'apprentice' to train. The hold music wasn’t even music so much as it was ‘the sounds of a dying walrus.’

“Mr. Snape?” the chipper female voice from the message broke through his thoughts.


“Hello, my name is Morgan. I am a nurse here at Children’s in our Neuro Intensive Care. We have a patient here by the name of Harry who we believe may be your son?”

Severus felt the blood drain from his face. So it was Potter. But what was he doing in a muggle hospital in London? And what had he done that had landed him in the Neurology unit?

“Yes?” he said, still highly confused by the situation he found himself in.

“May I ask you a few questions to confirm you know him?” she asked politely, not wanting to give out information to a random person.

“Yes,” Severus said, beginning to sound annoyed at the situation. How had they found his number? He lived nowhere near London! In a town that only made the news when a drug dealer was caught or a murder occurred.

“Can you confirm his date of birth for me?” Morgan asked politely, despite the rather rude tone she was picking up on the other end of the phone. She had dealt with far worse parents in her day.

“31 July, 1980,” Severus said from memory. Any wizard would have known the answer to that question if they suspected this was Harry Potter.

“And his mother’s name?” Morgan asked, looking at the letter they had pulled off of the boy when he was first brought in. Such a sad state of affairs this boy’s parents seemed to have been in at the time the letters were sent. Why he chose to carry them on him, she could only guess. But at least they had managed to find one of the parents. No record could be found of either of the other adults stated by the letters. It was as if they had vanished or died years ago.

“Lily Evans Potter,” Severus said.

“Thank you, sir,” Morgan said. “I’m sorry for any confusion my message may have left you with, but I didn’t want to accidentally give patient information to someone who was unrelated to him.”

“What happened to him?” Severus asked curtly.

“Your son had a grand mal seizure while working in a garden,” Morgan said. “He suffered some head trauma when he fell, but that was only minor.”

“A seizure?” Severus said, trying to keep his surprise hidden. Since when did Potter have seizures?

“Yes, sir. We don’t know what triggered it, and we were hoping you may be able to shed some light on his medical history.”

Severus was silent for a moment as he thought about the question. How could he possibly explain half of the injuries Potter had sustained since coming to Hogwarts in a way that was acceptable for muggles? Explaining a broken arm away was one thing, but the removal and regrowth of those bones was not. As was explaining a basilisk bite and phoenix tears. Or a dementor attack. Or fighting a dark wizard.

“I am afraid I don’t know much more than what he has told me,” Severus said, skirting around the question as best he could. “I know he has had multiple broken bones from … sports… and has been bitten by a snake once, but I don’t know much more than that.”

“Has he ever had a seizure before? That you know of?” Morgan continued to press.

“Not that I know of. He was involved in the … car crash… that killed his mother and her husband when he was 15 months old, but I haven’t heard of him having any seizures related to this…” Severus said, his mind racing. Had the Falsum Paternis prevented him from having seizures? There were no other documented cases of people having survived the killing curse, so who knew what kind of damage it had done which had been masked by the potion.

“Oh my!” Morgan exclaimed. “That would explain why we couldn’t get in contact with his mother.”

“Yes, that certainly would,” Severus said through his teeth.

“Does he live with you, sir?” Morgan asked, flipping through the chart a bit.

“No, he most certainly does not,” Severus said. “He has been raised by his maternal aunt and uncle.”

“Ah…” Morgan paused. “Are… are you aware of his treatment there?”

Severus frowned. He was certain Potter was spoiled by his relatives. Why wouldn’t he be? His mother and father were well loved heroes. He was the perfect Golden Boy of the wizarding world. He was the one the prophecy said would kill Voldemort, the most evil wizard in the world. Why wouldn’t they spoil him rotten? Yet there was something in the way the nurse had asked that question that sent shivers down his spine. What had Petunia done?

“I don’t know to what you are referring,” Severus said diplomatically.

“Sir, do you have legal custody of him?” Morgan asked.


“Is there any way I could get you to come in and speak with one of our social workers? Some very serious concerns were brought to light about his treatment at his home.”

Severus frowned. The idea of Potter the Pampered Prince was slowly starting to break down. His family had obviously not taken him to the hospital as they were nowhere to be found. Something obviously had been said to raise suspicions of their treatment of the boy to the point a random parent was contacted and proceedings were going to begin to attempt to remove the boy from their care. As painful as it was to believe he was not the spoiled brat Severus believed he was, it was equally painful to think of the potential outcome of poor treatment at the hands of his relatives.

“I will be there in half an hour,” Severus said, hanging up the phone without waiting for a reply.
To be continued...
Chapter 6 by DesertPlanet
“Where are you going, sir?” Draco asked, watching as his mentor threw on a cloak and prepared to apparate to London.

“London. I have someone I need to speak to,” Severus said as he quickly fastened the buttons of the cloak, effectively obscuring his robes, and transfiguring a length of ribbon to tie his hair back.

“Really? Who?” Draco said, his curiosity piqued.

“I may be gone for several hours. Do not leave this house,” Severus said, ignoring Draco’s question. That was information he didn’t care to divulge at this time, especially as he did not know if the boy truly needed retrieval. Perhaps he was simply trying to avoid a punishment? But why then would he be in a neurology ward?

Had the potion’s dissipation affected the boy’s brain? Had the boy’s relatives damaged his brain? He had many questions.

Turning on his heel, he apparated to Diagon Alley as he didn’t know where exactly in London the hospital was. Diagon Alley was by far the easiest place for one to apparate to as there was no chance of a random muggle viewing your appearance out of thin air. Despite the sun beginning to set, the alley was still teeming with witches and wizards of various ages, vendors calling out to passersby in an effort to sell their wares, and the odd owl swooping overhead to deliver a message. It was certainly the most magical place in London, but this was not where he needed to be.

No, he needed to cross into the muggle world, a place he hadn’t ventured in many years and felt wholly uncomfortable going back into. Walking to a small kiosk near the exit to the alley, he sighed in frustration at the turn of events his evening had taken.

“I need a map of hospitals in London,” he stated abruptly, not allowing the vendor of the kiosk a chance to ask him what he needed.

“Five sickles,” the bored looking witch said, before looking him up and down. “You ought to transfigure your clothing into something more mundane if you’re planning on going into a hospital.”

“I shall take your advice into consideration,” Severus snapped, throwing the required money onto the counter and opening the charmed map to search for the hospital the boy had found himself at.

“Suit yourself,” the witch said, turning back to cleaning her nails and spelling them a variety of moving patterns. “But muggle healers tend to question those who are dressed ‘oddly.’”

Severus huffed in response, eyes skimming the map frantically before finally finding the hospital he needed in the south-west of London, quite far from all major magical venues. It was no wonder then that the boy had managed to evade detection. Had the hospital not reached out to him, Severus doubted anyone in the magical world would have found him for quite some time unless he had a rather significant bout of accidental magic.

Unfortunately, this particular hospital did seem to be in an area of the city which was not subject to the standard warding of medical facilities which had occurred following the last war. How in Merlin’s name had the boy ended up in quite likely the least safe place for a wizard in all of London? Had any Death Eater actually found him, it would have been child’s play for them to destroy the hospital and literally every muggle within it and make it look like a simple accident.

Provided the boy was actually well enough to move, he would need to be removed from this facility as soon as possible or wards would need to be placed around the building in short order. Depending on what sort of neurological problem he had, it wouldn’t necessarily be a Death Eater attack which could level the building. A fifteen year old wizard would have enough magical energy stored in them to easily blow out the side of an unwarded muggle building, particularly if under duress at the time. And from what little he knew of muggle medicine, duress was an understatement for the kind of stress they could cause.

Spinning on his heel once more, Severus apparated to a small alleyway near the hospital he had seen on the map. The buildings in this part of town were far newer in construction than those surrounding Diagon Alley giving the slightly disorienting feeling of having travelled through time and space. Construction vehicles were busy performing some sort of refurbishment on one of the many row houses which lined the streets and if he listened close enough he could hear the sounds of children playing in the nearby park.

This would be a perfect place for a Death Eater attack, if he were being honest.

A quick flick of his wand transformed his cloak and robes into a far more muggle set of trousers, button down shirt and pullover. If the witch at the kiosk was correct, there was no point in wearing proper clothing when going into a muggle establishment if one was trying to gain their trust. While it would be simple enough to sneak in and apparate with the boy, the amount of work required to cover such a trail was honestly not worth the effort. The boy had been there for nearly eight hours already and had come in contact with countless members of staff. Someone was bound to notice he had gone missing.

No, it would be easier to ‘blend in’ with the muggles.

Tucking his wand into the hidden holster on his right arm and straightening his much more uncomfortable muggle clothes, Severus strode out of the alley, down a short street, and to the entrance of the hospital, sneering at anyone who dared look in his direction for more than a moment. Without his robes, he felt extremely bare, as though he were standing naked in front of all of the muggles he passed. How could the muggles stand it?

The entrance to the hospital was garish. Brightly colored pillars stood in the lobby with multicolored plastic chairs and benches strewn about. One section of the entrance lobby was sectioned off and contained a rather large amount of children’s playthings. From the ceiling hung what he supposed were supposed to be large balloons, though he couldn’t say for certain.

“Sir? Sir?!” a voice called from a desk near the entrance as he walked in.

Looking over at the person calling, he realized he was being flagged over to the desk. Frowning in confusion, he walked over and stood awkwardly in front of the desk.

“May I see some ID?” the woman behind the counter asked in a falsely sweet voice. “We require all visitors to provide identification before they are allowed onto the wards.”

Casually looking around and pulling out a scrap of parchment from his pocket and handing it over while flicking his wand out of the holster and muttering “Confundus.”

“Thank you, sir,” the woman said after staring at the parchment for a moment and handing it back. “Who are you here to visit?”

“Harry Potter,” Severus said calmly, casually sliding his wand back into the holster and putting his hands into the pockets of his trousers.

“Potter... Potter…” the woman muttered as she typed something into her computer. “Sorry sir, there seems to be some sort of mistake, we don’t have anyone by that name here.”

Severus frowned and pulled out his map once more, making sure there were no other hospitals of the same name in the area. Blasted Potter, making this difficult! No other hospitals by the name existed, leaving him with the startling conclusion that Potter hadn’t decided to go by his birth name. Or they simply didn’t have his last name on record due to the state in which he came in. Either reason would certainly have some… interesting… repercussions.

“He may have also been registered under the last name of Snape,” Severus tried, hiding his wince at admitting the boy may be using his name.

“Snape… Sorry, nothing. Do you know what ward he was on?” the receptionist asked sickingly cordially. “I can contact the ward matron for you.”

“I was called by a nurse named Morgan stating he was in the Neurology Intensive Care Ward,” Severus said calmly, trying to hide his confusion. What name did they have the boy admitted under?

“One moment please,” the receptionist said, flicking her hair over her shoulder and picking up a phone and dialling a rather short number. “Yes, this is Ellen at the South Entrance I have a Mr…. what was your name again, dear?”

“Severus Snape.”

“Severus Snape here looking for someone named ‘Harry.’ He said that a nurse named ‘Morgan’... yes… yes… yes, I’ll send him up. Thank you!” she said before putting the phone down. “Take the elevators behind me up to the fourth floor and turn right. Stop by the front desk and they’ll direct you from there. Sorry for the confusion.”

Severus huffed by way of a response and strode to the aforementioned elevators. He stared at the sliding silver doors for a moment as he tried to remember how they worked. He hadn’t been on an elevator in …. since before he started Hogwarts at the very latest. There must be some way of summoning the elevator, but what was it?

“Button’s on the other wall, love,” the receptionist called.

Turning around, he saw there were indeed two buttons on the wall behind him, one pointing up and the other pointing down. Pressing the up button, he was surprised to feel a mild shock come from the button. Muggle technology was notorious for responding poorly to magic. Explosions were not uncommon, nor were shorts or electrocutions as the electricity responded adversely to the innate magic of a witch or wizard. It had only taken a handful of muggleborns attempting to bring various technologies to Hogwarts before such items were deemed contraband and forbidden.

A loud ding and a robotic announcement of “going up” shook him from his thoughts. If he got stuck on the elevator, he would apparate to the fourth floor and obliviate anyone who saw him. He had no desire to be trapped in such a muggle device. Where even were the stairs?

Pressing the number 4 and shaking out his hand as he once again got shocked, Severus watched as the doors slid shut and felt the sensation of movement as the elevator climbed through the building. Watching as the number slowly ticked up, he was suddenly struck by a strange feeling of unease. Why hadn’t Potter reached out to anyone that he had noticed some physical changes? Surely the boy had noticed something? And what about the letters, surely he had questions.

Had he even read the letter yet?

“Fourth Floor,” the mechanical voice said as the door slid open and Severus was hit with the overwhelming scent of antiseptic.

Turning right, he was immediately greeted with a large sign saying “Intensive Care” in large block letters. A large, circular desk sat under the sign with a large amount of staff milling around within it. Phones were ringing almost constantly as a rather harried secretary frantically answered and transferred the calls to their various destinations. Organized chaos was the only way to describe it.

“Excuse me,” Severus said once he had reached the desk. “May I speak with Morgan?”

“She’s down the hall,” the secretary said, pointing down one of the four large hallways which radiated away from the desk and picking up the phone. “Curly blond hair, can’t miss her. Children’s Hospital ICU, can I help you?”

Severus turned and walked down the hall in the direction the secretary had pointed, looking through each open door he passed and feeling his heart sink. This was not his realm. This was not his speciality. The amount of cords, wires, tubes, and muggle machinery attached to these children was frankly terrifying. But the one thing that he didn’t see was Potter.

“Excuse me sir, are you looking for someone?” a short, curly blonde haired nurse said, poking her head out of a room.

“Morgan?” he asked gruffly, his discomfort at being there clearly showing.

“Oh! Mr. Snape! One moment, I’ll be right out,” Morgan said, removing a rather flimsy looking plastic gown and washing her hands. “Let me call Jason, our social worker, and Dr. Challa. They’re here somewhere; I told them you were coming.”

She quickly dialed a few numbers on a small phone she carried and waved for him to follow her as she talked.

“Jason, it’s Morgan. Mr. Snape is here…. Room 433? Ok, I’ll see you in a minute,” she said, hanging up the phone and waving frantically at a rather tall, thin Indian man in a lab coat and pointing at Severus. The Indian man nodded and quickly closed the chart he was holding and followed them to the small meeting room Morgan was unlocking.

“After you,” she said, swinging the door open and flipping on a bright fluorescent light. “Sit anywhere, I’ll grab his chart.”

Harry sat transfixed by the telly. So much had changed during the few short years he had been away from Hogwarts. The shows that were on, the toys advertised, even the pricing of the toys. Had he really been away from the muggle world for that long?

True, he spent his summers with the Dursleys, but he could hardly consider them to be normal muggles. He was far more of an unpaid servant to them than a family member, and the television was for family members only. The only time he was allowed to touch it was when he was dusting it, and even then only with the feather duster could touch it. If his aunt caught him even grazing the buttons with his fingers, he was ripped away from it and thrown in his cupboard.

Unfortunately, the telly was awfully bright and the flashing lights were starting to give him a headache again. As much as he would have liked to continue watching it, his head was pounding far too fiercely to do so. Grabbing the remote, he turned off the machine with a click. He never thought he’d say this, but he would kill for one of his textbooks right now. Something mind-numbingly boring seemed like the way to go to calm his racing thoughts down.

Following the MRI, one of the doctors had come in and spoken with him briefly. Harry knew he had asked some questions, but the more he tried to recall what they were, the more the memory of the event seemed to slip from his grasp. It was oddly frustrating knowing he couldn’t recall a conversation that he had a feeling was important. Then after the doctor came and spoke with him, he…. what did he do? Did he eat lunch?

Had he eaten at all today? He didn’t feel very hungry, so he assumed he had, but why couldn’t he remember?

Maybe a bit of telly would soothe his nerves? How odd. He could have sworn the telly was just on. It felt like he was losing his mind. Or at least his memory.

Raising his hand to his head, he absent mindedly scratched at a rather itchy spot only to come in contact with a wire. When had…? Oh, right. After the MRI, a lady had come in and glued a bunch of wires to his head. An EEG, she had called it. She had said it wasn’t supposed to hurt, but as soon as she hooked up all of the wires he swore he could hear a low buzzing noise in his head. He had tried to tell her about it, but she just pushed a button on the machine and repeated what he was complaining about into a microphone and left.

Then he had lunch. Or tried to. His hands were shaking even worse now than they had been before and he blamed the wires on his head. He tried to tell the nurse’s aid who had come in to give him his lunch that the wires on his head were making his hands shake more and making his headache worse, but she just kept assuring him he was fine and helped him cut up his food.

Looking at the telly, Harry was annoyed when a sharp pain went through his head again. Hadn’t he turned the telly off? He was sure he had. Absolutely positive. Had he turned it back on again? Why would he do that?

Gingerly placing the remote on his bedside table, he rolled over and laid his head on the rather flat pillow. Maybe a nap would help his headache. And his back ache. At least lying in bed his legs weren’t hurting nearly as much. They still twitched from time to time, but the fiery feeling he got when he stood for too long wasn’t there.

The pillow would be much more comfortable if there weren’t wires on it. He tried to brush the wires off of the pillow to make the pillow more comfortable to lay on only to find the wires were right back as soon as he laid his head down. Where were they coming from?! Were there wires growing out of his head?

Reaching a hand up to his hairline, his eyes widened as he felt the wires which were running through his hair. His breath quickening, he tried to pull one off. He had to get them off of his head!

“Don’t touch those, Harry,” a voice said from the machine at the end of his bed. “Those are monitoring your brain activity.”

Oh. Right. EEG.

Rolling over the other direction, he realized the sun was setting. How long had he been here? It didn’t feel like he had been here for that long. He had been outside doing yard work at home, then he was here and … and what? They were doing testing on him. But why? What had happened? Was it because of his memory?

Suddenly, the lights and television flickered ominously before going off momentarily. A shock of what felt like pure magic shot through his head and down his arms, leaving the hairs standing on end. Alarms were heard from other rooms for a few seconds before the lights turned back on and the television ceased showing pure static. Frantic voices were heard in the hallway as nursing staff ran to check on their most critical patients.

What in Merlin’s name was that?

“Lizzy? What on earth was that?” Madeline asked, turning to her coworker and friend as all of the electronics in A&E went haywire for a moment before the fuse blew and the emergency generators kicked on.

“Power surge?” Lizzy said as they quickly went from room to room checking to make sure critical equipment was plugged into outlets connected to the generator. “Dunno what caused it though. They just upgraded all of the wiring in the building a few years ago.”

Madeline hummed in thought as she continued to go from room to room checking the electronics and plugging things into the proper outlets. At least there were no obvious injuries in A&E that she could see.

Such an odd thing to happen on such a beautiful day.


“Oi! Jack! Stop screwin’ around wif the MRI” Reggie called via the intercom system from the computer station outside of the heavily shielded room. “I fought we went over this, don’t turn off the machine! It took us almos' half an hour to get it warmed up again!”

“I didn’t do anything!” Jack called from inside the MRI room. “It’s still on! Why are you screwin’ around with the lights out there?”

“I’m not! I fink we jus’ had a power surge!” Reggie said, frantically slamming on keys on the keyboard trying to re-synch the computer and the MRI.

“Then why didn’t the MRI go down?” Jack yelled over the sound of the still whirring machine as he cleaned the gurney in preparation for the next patient.

“It’s on genny power!” Reggie said, sighing with relief when the computer finally rebooted and reconnected with the MRI. If it hadn’t, that would be a several thousand pound piece of equipment down for the count with them as the last two users. Generator or no, there would be hell to pay if they broke it.

“But before the genny kicked on, it should have gone down momentarily.”

“Dunno, didn’ they just upgrade the wiring?”

“Yeah, hospital wide though.”

“Oh well, at least the MRI’s still on!”


Severus quickly reigned in his fury when the lights began to flicker. It wouldn’t do for him to blow up the hospital in his anger at what he had just heard. This building was simply not made to withstand a wizard's ire.

Allegations of neglect and possible abuse at the hands of Petunia and Vernon Dursley. Severe malnutrition. Clothing which was stained and threadbare. Glasses out of a donation bin. Sleeping in a cupboard under the stairs until he was eleven. Possible financial exploitation from his trust fund.

“Now sir, you understand that we don’t know how much truth there is to any of these statements,” the social worker said, watching as the man in front of him reigned in his anger extremely efficiently. “Many of these were said while he was still post-ictal and not aware of what he was saying. He is continuing to have memory problems, however when questioned he is continuing to state that these statements are true.”

How had he missed the signs? Was he really so wrapped up in Potter’s fame that he was only seeing the version of Potter he wanted to see?

“I know Petunia Dursley from when I was a child,” Severus snapped. “If she is anything like what she was like back then, I can guarantee nothing about this is false. She was a vile person to be around as a teenager. I can only imagine what she is like now.”

“Would you like to pursue obtaining custody?” the social worker said, pulling a pen out of his shirt pocket and laying it on a clipboard he had been holding. “We won’t be able to complete the process immediately, however we can get it started and at the very least remove their ability to make decisions on behalf of Harry or have access to his money.”

Severus immediately nodded and reached for the clipboard. While he was still uncertain as to how the boy would react to him, he could not stand the idea of him going back to an abusive situation. If the boy had been in his house, he likely would have already petitioned Dumbledore for emergency custody. Why Minerva had never said anything to him about this case frustrated him greatly. This was Lily’s child, her only child.

This was his child, and he refused to stand by and watch such a situation unfold.

“I shall speak to my employer and ask for references and employment information required for the background check,” Severus said signing the proffered paper with the flourish of one used to writing with quills and now writing with a simple ballpoint pen.

“Thank you, sir,” the social worker said, shaking Severus’s hand. “It does my heart good to see someone stepping up to care for abused children. Would you like to go back and see him now?”

Severus nodded curtly. He and Dumbledore would have much to talk about, but first he needed to meet, truly meet, his son.
To be continued...
End Notes:
I'm not even going to admit how many times I've read this chapter solely because I enjoy it so much. I truly hope you enjoy this chapter as much as I did writing it.
Chapter 7 by DesertPlanet
Albus Dumbledore was in a situation he never thought possible. He had had a long and successful career as an educator and headmaster at Hogwarts and remembered every student who passed through her doors during his tenure. Unless actively attempting to evade detection, he could easily find most every one of them. A few quick charms and a look at his multitude of magical devices and he could quickly pinpoint their location.

So where in Merlin’s name was Harry Potter?

A visit to his aunt and uncle's house had proven fruitless as they had been thoroughly engrossed in a television show at the time of the boy’s disappearance. Apparently he had been out on the lawn doing yard work not long before he disappeared, though there was little evidence of foul play. A few drops of blood, enough to warrant suspicion, but not enough to give any vital information.

Had it not been for the wards notifying him that Harry had left, he likely wouldn’t have checked on the boy. Nothing had indicated any life threatening illness or injuries, nor had there been any magical bursts of activity. From Dumbledore’s view, he was as safe as he could be, so why leave the wards?

Vernon and Petunia Dursley were not saints, but they were doing well in raising the boy to be humble, fiercely independent, and not at all self-centered. Keeping the boy out of the wizarding world had been a controversial idea, but no one could argue the benefits of keeping him with blood relatives. They had kept him safe, they had fed him, clothed him, and made sure he was educated. They had met all of the basic requirements of being his guardians and had prevented him from becoming spoiled or having his fame go to his head. The money they received each month was more than compensation for raising the most famous child in the magical world.

Harry knew the risks of leaving the wards, so where could he have gone? And how was he managing to evade detection?

Finding him and getting him home was now a priority.

Severus took a deep breath as he stood in front of the door to the boy’s hospital room. He wasn’t nervous about seeing the boy, however he was concerned for his mental state. What would he think when he saw his most hated professor standing in the doorway? Had he even had time to process the letters before his hospitalization? Had he even read the letters?

Nurse Morgan had warned him that Harry seemed to have some memory loss and confusion following his seizures beyond what was considered normal, but that ‘tests’ were being run to determine if there was a more sinister cause. What had the boy said? Was anything he said able to be taken as truth?

Was there a magical cause to these seizures or were they just an effect of the potion breaking down? Severus doubted very much the potion itself was the root cause, it’s ingredients were much too stable to cause such an issue, but could it have masked a neurologic defect he should have grown into and up with? It was entirely possible, though equally unlikely.

“Nervous?” Morgan asked, sitting at the desk between her two rooms and peering through the windows at both her patients‘ vital signs monitors. “It looks like he’s just resting right now. You’re good to go in.”

Severus huffed in exasperation before opening the door. He wasn’t nervous, he just didn’t want to make the boy angry and potentially have to deal with teenage levels of accidental magic. Not that he could explain that to the muggle nurse watching him.

Pushing open the door, Severus very nearly reeled back in shock. He had been warned that the boy was hooked up to a few machines to help monitor his status, but this… this was excessive. A screen hung from a pillar in the corner of the room with several wires attaching to the boy's chest. Multiple bags of fluid hung from a wheeled, metal pole and were attached to small, whirring machines which had the names of various muggle medications labeled on them. From these machines, clear tubes travelled to what appeared to be needles in the boys arms delivering the muggle medications in controlled rates. Most shockingly though was the large device with what seemed to be a camera on it which had a long cord attached to a large bundle of wires traveling from its machine to various points on the boy's head.

But the boy in the bed was almost more shocking than the machines. Had Severus seen him wandering through Diagon Alley, he would never have assumed this boy was Harry Potter. Despite all of the wires in his hair, it was obvious that this was not the Potter hair he had come to know. It was still rather short, though it was no longer the unkempt mess, and rather than being its usual, simple black, it now appeared to have an almost copper undertone.

His face, too, was strikingly different. Gone were the round cheeks and ski-slope nose of James Potter, replaced instead with rather high cheekbones, thin cheeks, and a straight nose which resembled that of his mother’s. His chin and jaw were also more chiseled and covered in the barest amount of stubble.

A line of sutures ran across the right side of his forehead, with bruising beginning to appear around the wound. The scar for which he was famous appeared to have been partially removed by whatever had caused the injury to his head. Small abrasions covered his cheeks and hands, making it appear as though he had skidded across the ground.

“Merlin, Potter,” Severus said under his breath. “You never do things halfway, do you?”

“Sn-n-n-ape?” Harry stuttered, shakily lifting his head and looking at the man. “What-t-t are y-y-you d-d-doing here?”

Snape cleared his throat and sat rather awkwardly on the chair which was placed by the head of the bed. Nurse Morgan had said that his short-term memory was rather poor, but perhaps he simply hadn’t had the chance to read the letters yet. He didn’t sound overly angry, just confused instead.

“Mr. Potter,” Severus said stiffly. “Do you know where you are?”

“Y-y-yeah, ‘m at the h-h-h-hospit-t-al,” Harry said, voice jumping as his throat continued to twitch. He then frowned and looked at his arms in confusion, as though confused as to how they had gotten there. “N-n-n-n-not St. M-m-mungo’s?”

“You are correct. You are not at St. Mungo’s,” Severus said quietly, wanting to put up a silencing spell, but knowing Nurse Morgan would be suspicious if she suddenly couldn’t hear anything they were discussing. “You are at a muggle hospital in London. Do you know how you got here?”

“A-ambul-l-lance? I had-d-d a f-f-fit,” Harry said, continuing to look at his arms in confusion. Who’s arms were they? His were never that pale. Even in the winter, he still had a rather healthy tan to him. He could feel them move and twitch, but they looked wrong. They were too long, first of all, and even his fingers seemed to be longer than before.

“Do you remember anything before you had your fit?” Severus asked calmly, trying to make a timeline of events.

“I g-got t-t-t-t-two letters-s,” Harry said, blearily looking around the room. His head felt heavy and as though it were in a fog. “Wh-wh-where’s M-m-m-mad-dam P-pomfr-rey?”

“You’re at a muggle hospital, Potter,” Severus said, a tinge of worry lapping at his conscience. Why was the boy so confused? It wasn’t as though he had just arrived, he must have been there for several hours. “Did you read the letters?”

“N-n-n-no,” Harry said, shifting in the bed slightly in an effort to try and get more comfortable. His back was starting to ache again and his legs were feeling tight. He wished he could get up and go for a walk, but he didn’t think he’d make it very far with how bleary his head was feeling. “D-d-d-did more c-c-c-come? Uncle V-v-v-vernon-n w-won’t like that-t.”

“No, Potter. What did you do with them?” Severus said, filing that response away for later questioning. Why would he be so concerned about the number of letters he was receiving? When had he received so many letters from someone that even in a slightly delirious state he was worried about it?

“P-p-p-p-p-pocket-t?” Harry said, frowning as he struggled with the word. When did speaking become so difficult? “They c-cursed?”

“No, far from it. They were sent by your mother and ... father prior to your birth,” Severus explained stiffly, trying not to sneer when mentioning James Potter in passing. “I received these letters as well.”

“What-t?” Harry exclaimed loudly. “Why?!”

“I would prefer for you to read them on your own.”

Harry grumbled a bit, shifting once more in the bed and reaching up to itch his head. When did he… oh, right… EEG. His brain felt so muddled and his eyes felt out of focus constantly, even if he had his glasses on. Would he be able to read a letter? Probably not, if he were being honest. He wanted to, but he was also afraid of what information they could possibly contain. If it was sensitive information, he didn’t want to read it while he was feeling so foggy and with lapses in his memory.

“C-can’t. N-need-d new g-g-glasses. Why’d y-you get-t-t them-m?”

Severus blinked in a moment of confusion. Of course the boy would need new glasses. Neither he nor Lily had needed them, so the chances their son would were very low. The social worker had also said the boy claimed the glasses he had had been obtained from a donation bin and weren’t the correct prescription for him. Undoubtedly the glasses he had now would have been causing more harm than good, the question was if the boy would need to have glasses at all.

“I played a rather… crucial role in the situation which led to the necessity of the letters.”

Harry frowned at the thought. What kind of situation would require Snape to be included? Didn’t his dad and Snape hate each other in school? That’s what Professor Lupin and Sirius had said, though Sirius seemed to still hate the man for whatever reason. He doubted he and Malfoy would be that bad when they would be that old, though admittedly Sirius had spent over a decade in prison for something he didn’t do while Snape, an actual Death Eater got off scott free.

A chill went down his spine causing his body to quiver uncontrollably for a moment. What was Snape doing here anyways? Who sent him? Was he here for Dumbledore, or had Voldemort sent him? Was Snape here to kill him?

“Potter, how long have you been having those twitches?” Snape said, a tinge of worry evident in his voice. Something about the boy’s twitches seemed oddly familiar; as though he had been subjected to the Cruciatus curse. Having just been subject to the curse himself just hours previous and having had similar nervous twitches until he was able to access his potions stores, he couldn’t help but notice the similarity in presentation.

“S-s-s-since the thir-rd t-t-t-ask,” Harry mumbled, shifting uncomfortably. “Why are y-y-you her-re?”

“Shit,” Severus swore loudly before quickly dropping his voice once more to not draw Nurse Morgan’s attention. “Were you at any time put under the Cruciatus during that… debacle?”

Harry frowned. He had, but not for very long. It had only been a few seconds at best, but not long enough to cause much damage. True, he had been sore for a while, but the twitching hadn’t really started until after he had gotten home and the nightmares began. It was always so much worse after a nightmare with Voldemort, and it got worse when someone in the nightmare had gotten hit by the curse. But those were nightmares, right?

“Answer the question, Potter!” Severus said, resisting the urge to snap in front of the boy’s face when he zoned out momentarily.

“Y-yeah,” Harry finally said, frown still on his face.

“How long were you under the spell?” Severus demanded, his face turning rather pale and sickly looking. “Under a minute? Several minutes? How long?!”

Harry blinked at the man’s insistence for details. It was almost as though he cared, though why would he? What did it matter? It was only a few seconds at worst. True it had hurt terribly, but why would Snape be so concerned? The twitching hadn’t been this bad at the time! And he didn’t have a seizure until he got home for the summer.

“Potter, answer me!” Severus said, tapping the boy’s hand and watching in dismay as an involuntary tremor raced through his arm.

“S-s-s-seconds? I d-d-d-don’t know-w?!” Harry said in confusion, his stutter worsening at the stress of trying to answer quickly.

“Did you not tell anyone that you were cursed?” Severus snapped before standing and beginning to pace.

“T-t-t-tried-d,” Harry said, frowning. “M-mad-dam P-p-p-p-pomfrey gave m-me a p-p-p-potion that-t help-p-p-ped for a wh-while. ‘S that-t wh-why I’m-m here? W-was it p-p-p-p...”

“No, Potter. You weren’t poisoned,” Severus said, continuing to pace and tap his lips with his finger. He needed to focus; he hadn’t done this level of arithmancy and elixir modification for potions work since his mastery years ago. If Lily had began taking the potion to alter her child’s magical signature and physical appearance when the fetus was only three months into gestation, she would have had to have to have used less than half the amount of boomslang skin in order to allow the fetus to accept the physical changes it was going to be undergoing. But how much exactly?

“S-sir? Wh-where’s Madam-m P-p-p-pomfrey?” Harry asked, looking around in concern.

“She is likely on holiday as it is summer,” Severus said testily. When would the potion have begun wearing off? Could it have possibly begun so far before the boy’s birthday that it would have been affected by the Cruciatus, or would the moonstone in the potion have counteracted the neuroplasticity effects of the skink tongue? There was really no way to know how long each batch of potion was brewed for, though knowing Lily, she would have followed the instructions to the letter. But if she had been the one brewing, the fumes could have affected the efficacy of the potion.

He needed something to write on.

“Wh-where are you g-g-going?” Harry asked as Severus turned abruptly and walked out of the door. “Wh-what’s g-going on?”

Turning back slightly, Severus looked at the boy in the bed and was shocked once again to see how much of himself he saw in the boy. This truly was not the son of James and Lily Potter, but the son of Lily Evans and Severus Snape. None of this should have happened to the boy, yet here he was, in a muggle hospital bed, confused, and attached to many machines which monitored his well being. “I apologize, Mr. Potter. I need to return to my home so that I may work towards finding you a cure. I shall return tomorrow to assess your wellbeing. Please attempt to get some rest and refrain from your normal late-night shenanigans.”

Walking out of the room and briefly bidding Nurse Morgan farewell, he quickly walked for the elevator determined to get out of this horrible muggle building as soon as possible. He had a new mission to complete, one of far more importance than anything Dumbledore or the Dark Lord could give him. Lily’s child had been tortured and was continuing to suffer the effects.

The boy in the bed was not Harry Potter. He could not see him as Harry Potter, there was no Potter in him. He was a confused, injured, and ill child. A child he was now, at least in the eyes of the muggle world, in charge of. He needed to get him out of there and into a proper facility, one capable of dealing with even mild magical discharge. But first, he needed to know the damage done to the boy’s system.

He needed to save his son.
To be continued...
Chapter 8 by DesertPlanet
Professor Snape didn’t sleep. Ever.

Or at least that’s how it seemed to him. Draco had been living with the man for only a few days and during the entirety of that time, he had seen the man go into his bedroom maybe twice, but for only minutes at a time. Even at school, it was well known that Professor Snape would take the night shift of guarding the halls, only to teach the next day for the entire day while simultaneously brewing any potions required for the hospital wing. As a Slytherin, he appreciated the fact he could come to his head of house for anything at any time, but outside of school he thought the man would sleep for a few hours at least.

Apparently, however, this was not the case.

Since coming back from the muggle hospital, the man had been working furiously on something wildly more advanced than anything Draco had ever done for school. Diagrams of various ingredient interactions littered the man’s work space whenever they weren’t brewing. Long strings of arithmancy calculations covered reams of parchment, runic symbols and the calculations attributed to them flowed across the pages. Ingredients, spells, and even a long forgotten anatomy book could be found lying on the desk.

‘This truly must be what a potions master looks like in his element,’ Draco thought as he took a break from preparing ingredients and looked at his mentor’s furrowed brow as he scribbled yet another calculation onto a sheet of parchment.

Suddenly, Professor Snape sat back and stared at his work in a way he hadn’t done in the last few days. His nostrils flared in anger he normally reserved for Potter and his cronies. Draco immediately felt a wave of pity come over him for whoever or whatever would receive the man’s wrath. Surely they deserved it, but what had sparked it?

Suddenly, without so much as a word, Professor Snape stood from his work station and strode towards the stairs leading from the basement to the rest of the house. A few moments later, the tell-tale crack of apparation was heard as the man left. Where he was going, Draco had no idea, but whoever it was he was going to see would not be happy at his arrival.

Slinking over to his mentor’s workstation to try and find what had set off the man’s ire, his heart sunk as the few words and equations he could understand stood out. Cruciatus. Nerve damage. Seizures. Whoever it was that Professor Snape was working on this project for must have been in a bad way and the results of all the hard work, judging by his professor’s reaction, weren’t great.

Going back to his ingredient preparation list, Draco allowed his mind to wander as he began thinly slicing shrivel figs. Who was the person Professor Snape would risk attracting the Dark Lord’s ire by prioritizing solving something as complex as what he had been working on? Was this at all related to the call from the muggle hospital? Who did Professor Snape know who would be in a muggle hospital? Were they even magical?

Why would someone magical go to a muggle hospital anyways?

Throughout all of his research, Professor Snape had only had a look of determination on his face, as though he knew he could solve this. However, if he looked at the man’s eyes, Draco couldn’t help but feel the emotion he saw there was not the same as what the man put on. There was an underlying sadness hidden within his mentor’s eyes. Whoever it was that was so important to the man, whatever was wrong with them, was affecting him in ways he was not as adept at hiding.

Perhaps one day Draco would get to meet him. In the meantime, however, the ingredients for the upcoming brewing marathons they would be doing needed prepared.

Harry sat quietly in his hospital room, staring almost mournfully out the sixth story window. He had finally been allowed to be transferred out of the ICU yesterday once all of his vital signs were deemed stable and his head wasn’t quite so fuzzy. It was strange, as soon as the wires from the EEG were removed from his head, he started feeling like he could think more clearly. Moving out of the ICU and not being hooked up to the big monitor made it even better.

Now that he could focus, he almost wanted to go back to that bleary state of mind. He hadn’t had a nightmare about Voldemort, Cedric, or the Third Task the entire time he had been on all of those machines. Now, however, he was free to think about it. Free to remember the horrors of that night. Free to remember the torture, both mental and physical. Free to remember his mother and father coming out of Voldemort’s wand and speaking to him, their words of encouragement strengthening his resolve and giving him the strength to return with Cedric’s body.

That wasn’t his father though; it never had been.

No, his father was the great dungeon bat. The greasy git himself who lived to make Harry’s life a living hell. The man who routinely gave him detentions for things outside of his control, like blowing up a cauldron when Malfoy threw something into it. Any error, no matter how minute, was a punishable offense. That was his father.

‘At least he’s consistent,’ a small voice in his head said. ‘He either takes points or gives detention and even then his detentions aren’t painful or have the potential of death. They’re just gross.’

He hadn’t gotten a chance to actually read the letters until after they had transferred him out of the ICU. Even with his mind more clear, it was still a struggle to get through the letters as he found the shakes which ravaged his arms and legs also affected the muscles in his eyes, making them jump from one part of the letter to another. He had tried putting on his glasses to see if they helped, only to find the prescription was now so off they actually made things worse and he had to lay down and rest for nearly an hour to try and stave off the headache the glasses brought on. When he finally did manage to read the letters, he almost wished he hadn’t.

Snape was his father.

His mother had insisted the man had been her good friend at one point, even his.... James…. had insisted that Snape wasn’t all bad, but Harry couldn’t see it. The Snape they knew was from years ago and not nearly as bitter of a man (if their descriptions of him were anything to go by). It was certainly any interesting read, but Harry doubted very much that the Snape he knew would ever want anything to do with him, let alone be his father.

His chest ached fiercely at the idea that there was someone who could be his father, someone who was alive, but who didn’t want him any more than the Dursley’s did.

“Dinner’s here, Harry,” the nurse’s aid said as she laid a tray on his bedside table. “Are you hungry?”

Was he hungry? Sort of, but the idea of eating seemed foreign to him. That, and eating and drinking was a labor intensive struggle as the twitches in his arms routinely made it difficult for him to hold the cutlery or drink without spilling some of it on himself. His arms felt longer than they had been and his depth perception was off, leading to him knocking over items on the meal tray even more than if he just had the random muscle spasms.

Worse still was the fact that the muscle spasms weren’t limited to just his arms, legs, and eyes, but his throat as well. Swallowing was terrifying as he was never quite sure if the food would go down the correct way or not. The nurse who noticed this immediately took his food away and made him wait to do a ‘swallow study’ before she would allow him to eat anymore. They needed him to eat more food, but the food they allowed him to eat now was extremely unappetizing. Even drinking felt more like trying to chug down a particularly thick potion as the decision had been made to thicken the liquids he drank to a more nectar like consistency.

“Not really,” Harry said, removing the plastic cloche from over the dinner and stirring it around a bit, trying to mix the sauce in with the food.

“Eat as much as you can,” the aid said before turning to leave the room. “I’ll come back in a few minutes to get your tray.”

Harry nodded and slowly picked through the food, trying to find the most appetizing bits. At least he was getting food here, even if it looked like the stuff you’d get as a potions ingredient.

He stirred it around for a few more minutes, taking a few bites here and there and trying his hardest not to make a massive mess all over the bed. He had to pause several times when the twitching would get particularly bad and even hanging onto his fork was a struggle, but he was managing to make his way through the meal well enough.

A sharp rapping on the door broke him from his thoughts, causing his arm to twitch, very nearly sending his spoon flying across the room. It hadn’t been that long since he started eating, had it? Surely the aid wasn’t back for his tray yet.

Looking at the door, he was shocked to see his potions’ professor standing there in muggle clothing and watching him eat with only mildly guarded curiosity. Harry immediately turned his attention back to picking at his food, noticing his hands were shaking slightly more now than previously.

“Good evening,” Severus said, stepping into the room and sitting stiffly in the small chair at Harry’s bedside. “How are you feeling today?”

Harry frowned in confusion before shakily setting his fork on his tray. “W-well enough, s-sir. Why are y-you here?”

Severus looked at the boy in front of him and was pleasantly surprised at the changes he could see. While the twitching caused by the Cruciatus was still very apparent and the stutter remained, it was significantly better than what it had been the last time he had come to visit. Very little had changed in the way of physical appearance, though he could see the boy’s hair had lightened ever so slightly from black to a more extremely dark brown. His eyes had also darkened somewhat from their previous emerald green to a more murky green which better suited his complexion and stood out much less.

“Have you read your letters?” Severus asked quietly, hiding his nervousness under years of experience as a spy.

Harry nodded shakily before pulling his knees to his chest protectively. What did he want from him? Snape had never been nice to him before, why start now?

“Do you have any … questions?” Severus said, trying to read the boy’s expression without the years of preconceived notions about him. What previously he would have seen as anger or spite now seemed like confusion and distrust. Distrust which was absolutely valid.

“Wh-what d-do you want?” Harry asked, picking at a hangnail and wincing when his hand twitched and the hangnail was forcibly ripped away.

“I want to know that you are safe and healthy. Should your parents have survived, I would have wanted nothing more than that,” Severus said, having thought about that question for a long time when he returned home the first time from the hospital. “As it is currently, you are neither safe nor do you appear to be healthy. The social worker spoke with me while you were in ICU about some of the things you said and I…”

“NO!” Harry yelled, clapping his hands over his ears. “N-no, y-y-you c-can’t! I-i-i-i’m cl-clumsy a-a-a-and I f-fall a-a lot-t. A-a-and I d-don’t l-l-l-like to eat-t. Th-that’s it.”

Severus sat back and waited for the boy to calm down, knowing that riling the boy up would only cause more harm than good, especially for the hospital. It wouldn’t do for more electrical equipment to begin going haywire yet again. In all likelihood, he had been through similar questioning before though not resulting in his removal from his relatives. It was more likely that he had been punished in one way or another for arousing suspicion.

“I signed the paperwork to have you permanently removed from their care,” Severus said, folding his hands on his lap. “In the eyes of the muggle courts, you are no longer their ward.”

Harry looked dejectedly at his plate before turning away from it and facing away from his professor. Dumbledore would force him back or he would have to go to an orphanage then. Those were his options. But knowing Dumbledore, he would just force Harry back into the Dursley’s house whether or not he wanted to go there, then leave him there with some stern words about ‘Blood Wards’ or some other bullocks. And if Harry couldn’t work or was feeling too ill, he wouldn’t be allowed to eat but Dumbledore didn’t care about that. He didn’t have to see him outside of when he came to the school.

“You are no longer their ward, you are mine,” Severus said, making no move to touch the boy in the bed.

“D-dumbled-dore won’t l-like that,” Harry said, tucking his head in his arms. “H-he’ll send-d me b-b-back once I’m out-t of h-here.”

Severus snorted. Dumbledore had sent him no less than twelve notifications stating they had yet to find the boy and asking if the Dark Lord knew anything. Voldemort had summoned him twice asking the same thing. There had never been a more opportune time for the boy to go into hiding than this. And if Dumbledore was insisting on sending the boy back despite abuse allegations, then it was even more important for the boy to disappear.

“Neither Professor Dumbledore nor the Dark Lord know where you are. Did your letters mention the potion your mother had been taking?” Severus said, watching as the boy’s head whipped around in shock.

“Y-yeah, s-sort of,” Harry said, eyes wide. “Wh-what of it-t?”

“The potion your mother chose to take would mask your magical signature, preventing anyone who may have checked your paternity from finding who your true father was. Just as it masked your appearance, the way you appear to any magical tracers also was altered,” Severus said, trying to keep the explanation of how the potion worked to the level a soon-to-be fifth year would understand. “As the potion has begun to fail, your magical signature has begun to change as well. Unless either of us tell the Headmaster, there are very few ways he could tell who you are, short of a maternity test. A test which he would have difficulty in procuring without the use of a potions master. As of a few days ago, the decision is well and truly yours.”

Harry laid back against the raised head of the bed in shock, his hands tucked in his lap in an effort to stop them from quivering. The entire situation was insane, but a part of him couldn’t help but hold onto that small bit of hope he had had since he was a young child. The hope that a mysterious relative would come one day and pick him up and take him away. As he had grown older, that hope had been squashed but never truly died. This was his chance for the life he didn’t think was possible.

He had never wanted to be famous. He had never wanted to be given attention or recognition for something he really had no part in. He hadn’t wanted to be entered into the Triwizard Tournament. He hadn’t wanted to have a murderer after him, even if that murderer ended up being innocent. He hadn’t wanted to be the person to find their way into the Chamber of Secrets. He hadn’t wanted to be thrust into a series of riddles to get to a stone which should never have been stored at a school full of children.

Even with Quidditch, he would have preferred to have gotten his position on the team following try-outs, not as a result of breaking the rules and being rewarded.

He would give anything to slide into the shadows and not be in the spotlight all the time. Be able to go about his life and worry only about the possibility of not getting his dream job. Even his dream job wouldn’t have to center around being the Boy-Who-Lived. Every door he could ever want to be opened for him had cracked itself just wide enough for him to get a glimpse of the possibilities and it was almost overwhelming to think of.

“Harry?” Snape’s voice said, shaking him from his thoughts.

“I-i d-d-don’t w-want to b-b-b-be an Aur-ror,” Harry blurted out suddenly.

Severus raised an eyebrow in confusion before it finally sunk in what the boy had really said. He wanted a way out, a way to not be the Harry Potter everyone wanted him to be. He saw the opportunity he was presented with and wanted to take it.

“Are you sure?” Severus said, continuing to look rather skeptical.

“M-m-mum trusted y-you,” Harry said, gnawing once more on his hangnail. “C-can’t b-b-be worse than the D-dursleys.”

Severus snorted. “Be that as it may, there are many details which need to be sorted out in order for your new identity to be complete, such as who your tutor has been and who it will be this year.”

“I-i can’t g-go to Hog-gwarts?” Harry asked, brow furrowed in confusion. “Wh-why n-n-not?”

“You had a seizure which landed you in the hospital, albeit a muggle one,” Severus said, leaning back in the chair. This was something he had hoped the boy wouldn’t pick up on quite this quickly, but attending Hogwarts as a student would not be possible in his current state. “Hogwarts is not set up to manage children with disabilities very easily, no matter how little they affect their life or ability to communicate. Accommodations have been made in the past, however it would be a significant struggle for you. None of the professors would know what to do to manage you, and to be quite honest, classwork would be rather dangerous for you as each spell, particularly curses, produce a burst of light. Twenty five students all attempting a spell could trigger a seizure if those pulses of light were close enough together. And that’s not even taking into account the fact you have been struggling with short term memory loss and an extremely bad stutter. ”

Harry felt as though the floor had just dropped out from under him. He couldn’t attend school because of whatever was wrong with him. True, he wouldn’t have to put up with Binns’ boring lectures on Goblin wars or being told he was going to die soon by Trelawney, but the idea of not being able to attend Hogwarts this year felt like a stab to the gut. Would he be able to see his friends at least? Or make new ones? How would that work?

“Wh-why?” Harry asked mournfully.

“It is a safety concern, not just for you, but for other students and the faculty as well,” Severus said, misunderstanding the question. “You likely would have been told this had you had a seizure before starting school.”

“Why d-d-did I hav-ve a seizure?” Harry clarified, wrapping his arms around his much too thin torso. “I-i took the p-p-p-p-potion!”

Severus swallowed and closed his eyes. He had his theory, and thus far it was all lining up well, though not for the best. The damage was done and reversing it would be difficult, if not impossible. The Cruciatus was an unforgivable for a reason, and what it had done to his son was devastating. Devastating in ways he didn’t want to verbalize.

“I-i’ll g-get b-b-better, won’t I?” Harry whispered, hope dripping from his voice.

“I have a theory on what happened,” Severus said, his voice low and surprisingly unsure. “Unfortunately, I don’t believe you’ll enjoy what I am about to say.”

Harry nodded before resting his head on his knees. He could take it, he had to take it. This wasn’t the worst news he would receive. It couldn’t be. He would just fight through this the same way he did everything else.

“I believe that the Falsum Paternis potion was already beginning to degrade when you were whisked away to the graveyard that night. If my calculations are accurate, your brain and nervous system were already in the process of ‘rewiring’ themselves so to speak when you were cursed,” Severus said solemnly, watching as Harry absorbed the information he was being given. “Your brain may have improperly rewired itself in the process, leading ultimately to the seizure.”

Harry blinked several times as he tried to prevent the tears which were building up in his eyes from running down his face. He finally had his way out, the escape he had wanted for so long, only to have it marred by something so life changing as seizures. He wouldn’t be able to attend Hogwarts; what else would he not be allowed to do? Would he be allowed to fly, or use the floo system? Would he be allowed to learn how to apparate? Would he be able to live the free life he wished, or would he have to constantly be worried about the potential of having another seizure?

The muggle doctors had been prescribing him medications to take to prevent the seizures, but would he be able to get those medications in the wizarding world, or would he constantly have to be going back to the muggle world for treatment?

“I-i’m w-w-w-wired wrong,” he finally whispered.

“In a way, though there is also the possibility that you were born this way but the potion masked it,” Severus admitted bluntly. “There really is no way to know for certain one way or another. But what is done is done. We will transition you to anti-epileptic potions, which may help alleviate some of the spasms which the Cruciatus caused.”

Harry nodded before picking up his fork and returning to stirring the food around his plate. He needed to eat, but the entire thing was so unappetizing. Just globs of goop which were supposed to be various vegetables or meat. He didn’t want this to be his life, but he had to trust Snape’s potions abilities enough to get him more functional than he was currently.

“Do you have any questions for me right now?” Severus asked, giving the boy plenty of time to mull over whatever it was he was thinking about.

Harry bit his lip for a moment before finally nodding.

“I-if I’m n-not Harry P-p-p-p-potter, then wh-who a-am I?”
To be continued...
Chapter 9 by DesertPlanet
Had any of his students seen him, they would have been absolutely petrified at the look on Severus Snape’s face as he walked from shop to shop in Hogsmeade as he picked up various items he had mail-ordered. Several boxes of clothing, several pairs of shoes, a new pair of wire framed glasses, an entire bag full of various textbooks, even a sack of sweets from Honeydukes; all picked up with a continuous smirk that bordered on a smile. Even the training wand was received with that strange grin on his face.

True, Hogsmeade was typically more expensive than Diagon Alley, but coming to Hogsmeade for shopping was a two-fold event. Purchasing from Hogsmeade allowed him to begin the dissemination of information about his son in a more controlled setting. Rumors would fly, there was no doubt about that, but it was easier to control their spread when starting slow and ‘local.’

“What’s got you so happy today, Severus?” Madam Rosemerta asked as she poured him a glass of firewhiskey.

“That would be none of your business,” he said, taking a swig off the glass and setting it back down. “Though if you must know, Elias is finally moving in.”

“Ah, a boyfriend?” Rosemerta asked slyly, cleaning the top of the bar to a gleaming shine with a single wipe of her rag. “I never took you for being bent.”

Severus sneered good naturedly as he took another sip of the whiskey. “No, not a lover. Far from it. Rather, the result of having a lover years ago.”

“Be still my heart!” Rosemerta said, dropping the potion soaked rag onto the bartop with a splat. “You? You?! No, I don’t believe it! How old?!”

“He will be turning sixteen in September,” Severus said, using the birthdate they had decided on once Harry had decided on once they managed to begin delving into the details. As he was nearly a foot taller than he had been previously, it would be easy enough to claim he was nearly a year older. That would also put him into the proper range for apprenticeships and more fully remove him from Dumbledore’s grasp if necessary. The plan was to find him a tutor and allow him to be educated for this year on Hogwarts’ grounds. If he remained seizure free and they could get his stutter under control, he may return to classes for next year, but that was a tall order.

“Sixteen?! How have you been keeping him a secret for so long?” Rosemerta asked, slamming her rag on the counter again for emphasis. “Shouldn’t he be a student at Hogwarts by now?”

Severus slowly swirled the whiskey around his cup before taking another drink. “Unfortunately, no. He has never been able to attend Hogwarts; his condition won’t allow it.”

“Condition?” Rosemerta said, clutching her hand to her chest. “Oh my!”

“It’s nothing horrific,” Severus said, draining the last of the firewhiskey in his glass. “Just prohibitive enough that Hogwarts would have been a struggle for him. Particularly in the spell department.”

Rosemerta nodded understandingly, offering the typically surly professor a refill on his firewhiskey before turning to greet some of the other regulars who had just entered. Surely he would bring this mysterious son of his around for her to meet soon enough, particularly if the boy was now going to be living in Hogwarts with him. It was nice to see a positive change in the man’s life; for too long he had seemed miserable and stressed. Even the odd looking smirk he bore now was an improvement over his typically dark expression.

Refusing the refill, Severus gathered up his purchases and quickly strode out of the town and towards Hogwarts. The rumor mill was officially beginning to churn, now only a few details remained to ensure the transition was complete. The biggest one of these would be to convince Dumbledore that he had attempted to be informed of Severus’s son’s coming to the school as a resident with a tutor for the school year prior to the disappearance of Harry Potter.

Several weeks before, just following the closure of the school for summer holidays, Severus had sent a letter to the headmaster with a notification spell attached to it asking for an assistant for the purpose of brewing potions. The notification spell had yet to be triggered, meaning Dumbledore had yet to actually open the letter he had sent. The letter itself was dated for the week prior to Harry Potter’s disappearance, making it a perfect set up for an alibi for the boy. It was just a matter of switching one letter out for another; he already had an assistant now making the first letter useless anyways.

Thank goodness for house-elves.

“Lenny?” Severus called once he was standing just outside the wards to the castle to avoid allowing the headmaster to know he was there.

A small pop and a house-elf with cherry red tea towel wrapped like a sarong appeared, looking around in confusion for a moment before noticing Severus and bowing. “What can Lenny be doing for Master Professor?”

“There is a letter on the headmaster’s desk which has been unopened that I sent over a month ago. Please switch out the contents of that envelope for this one, keeping the wax seal intact,” Severus said, handing the small elf an unsealed envelope containing a new letter stating his intent to bring his son with him to the school for the school year and requesting a room be added to his quarters as well as an additional set of quarters for a tutor for the boy.

“Right away, Master Professor!” Lenny said, bowing and disappearing within seconds.

Severus waited impatiently for the elf to switch the letters, resisting the urge to pace nervously. He knew the letter was unopened, but what had Dumbledore done with it? Would the elf even be able to find it to make the switch?

It only took a few minutes before Lenny popped back into existence, letter in hand.

“Lenny apologizes for being so slow.” Lenny said, bowing deeply. “Headmaster Dumbledore sir had put letter in drawer. Is there anything else Lenny can be doing for Master Professor sir?”

Excusing Lenny and turning back towards Hogsmeade, Severus rolled his eyes. Of course Dumbledore had put the letter in a drawer. He would be the only one at fault for being out of the loop when it came time to return to the school if he didn’t open that letter soon. And if he made any accusations of Elias being Harry Potter, he had another thing coming. The alibi was set, now he had only a few more cover stories to work out then they were ready.

But first, he still had potions to brew.

Draco sat manning his singular cauldron, watching in awe as Professor Snape moved effortlessly between the four different cauldrons he had going at once. He had known the man was brilliant at potions, everyone said so, but it was different watching it up close. He seemed to sense exactly when to add certain ingredients in a way Draco could only dream of doing, and many of the potions he was working on he was doing from memory.

Draco knew he was only supposed to be an assistant, but in watching the potions master at work, he felt wholly inadequate. As though he were only there for appearances and not to actually assist. So far he had made only two potions and prepared countless ingredients, dicing, slicing, and disemboweling for hours. Many of the hours he spent preparing ingredients, Severus had been away doing Merlin knows what, though he seemed to return in better spirits than when he left these last few times.

If Draco was a Gryffindor, he would have asked where the man had gone, but a Gryffindor he was not. And attempting to manipulate the Head of Slytherin house into giving up information was nigh impossible.

The sudden clanking of glass vials jolted him from his thoughts just in time to add the last of the ingredients to his cauldron and turn the heat down to allow the burn paste to simmer and reduce into just that, a paste. Looking over at Professor Snape’s station once again, he watched as the man expertly divided, bottled, and labeled two of the potions at his station. Draco looked down at the list of potions they were to be making and frowned. Neither of those potions were on the list, he was sure of it. One of them he couldn’t place, but the other he was certain was a Cruciatus reliever of some sort.

‘Good to have on hand?’ he thought to himself, looking at his own cauldron and sighing with relief when he saw the potion it contained was the correct color and viscosity. Turning off the flame, he set a timer and began the waiting game for when to actually put the paste into its proper containers.

Looking back over at Severus’s station in burning curiosity, he noticed a box sitting there that the strange potion and the Cruciatus reliever were being placed into. In large block letters on the side was written one word: Elias.

“Who is ‘Elias’?” Draco asked, curiosity reaching a boiling point.

Severus continued loading potions into the box for a moment before finally answering. He thought about lying to Draco and telling him it was a client’s name, but at this point there was no reason to. Elias would be getting out of the hospital soon and would be coming home. Draco would meet him soon enough, there was no point in lying to him.

“Elias is my son,” Severus said, placing the last of the anti-epileptic potions into the box and covering them with a layer of straw to prevent them from moving too much during transit. They had to be able to make it to Hogwarts next month, preferably without breaking in the process. Especially since they required a two week fermentation time.

Draco nearly collapsed in shock. “Your son? You have a son? You have a son?”

“Is it really so hard to believe?” Severus said, raising an eyebrow.

“Were you married?” Draco blurted out suddenly.

“No. Elias has lived with his mother and her family until last month. Apparently his mother passed away a few years ago, leaving him to live with his uncle and his family,” Severus said, sighing as he closed the lid to the crate and spelled it to be locked. “Last month, his uncle decided to send him out to ‘become his own man.’”

Draco frowned. Why would a wizarding family send their child away? The wizarding world was small enough that children were valued greatly. Sending one away on such an asinine mission was almost barbaric. Even if they were adults, wizarding children were almost never turned away from their family, unless they were blood traitors that is.

“He managed to find a job working for a muggle gardening company, but without his potions it was only a matter of time before something happened.”

“Why didn’t he find a job in the wizarding world?” Draco asked curiously as he started scooping burn paste into tins.

“He’s only fifteen, Draco,” Severus said, sighing in frustration. “He cannot work in our world without being apprenticed under a master. He is bright, but it would be quite difficult to find him any sort or apprenticeship as he hasn’t taken his OWLS yet.”

Draco’s eyes widened in shock and he nearly dropped one of the tins he was working on. “Fifteen? And they wanted him to go work and live on his own?”

“Yes, and as he had no money on him, he began rationing his potions,” Severus said, knowing this scenario was one which played out routinely for many lower class magical families, though with less disastrous consequences. Running out of pepper-up potion was one thing, running out of anti-seizure potions was another. “He ran out last week and couldn’t afford to get any more, nor could he get the ingredients.”

“Wait, wait,” Draco said, holding up a hand. “Why is he on potions?”

Severus resisted the urge to smile. Draco was asking all of the right questions to learn Elias’s back story without the possibility of believing this person was once Harry Potter. Perfect.

“His mother was hit by the Cruciatus while pregnant with him. He has been having seizures since he was young due to this. He also stutters terribly and twitches as though he just received the curse.”

Draco’s already pale face lost even more color as the thought of the damage caused by the curse sunk in. He knew there were people in St. Mungo’s for life because of the curse, but to think someone his own age had been affected by the curse for his entire life was mind boggling. It was no wonder he hadn’t met the boy at Hogwarts, he couldn’t even attend the school due to the damage done.

“Was that what the call from the muggle hospital about?” Draco asked, putting two and two together. “He ran out of his potions and had a seizure while working with the muggles?”

Severus nodded, pleased the story he and Elias had worked on was easy to understand. The less convoluted of a tale they could tell, the better.

“From what the muggle healers said, it took an obscene amount of time for them to get his seizures under control. Then they were struggling with running their normal battery of tests on him to determine what types of seizures he was having and if there was any damage done to his brain because his magic kept interfering with how the machines worked.”

“Is he ok now?” Draco said, still feeling as though he had just fallen fifty feet from his broom.

“Oh yes. He should be getting out in the next few days,” Severus said, thinking back to the attitude he had been given the last time he visited. “He’s just angry he’s in hospital and they won’t answer his questions on electricity. He’s decided to make that his theory project for his tutoring this year.”

After having explained what having a tutor would likely consist of, Elias had become rather excited at the possibilities it provided. So long as he understood the core subjects, he was no longer tied to the massive essays and projects which he had become accustomed to as a regular student. Instead, he could choose to focus on whatever subject suited his current interests. Provided it incorporated the core subjects, he could do what he wanted. And after having spent the better part of several days attached to electrical devices of all kinds, he knew what he wanted to focus on.

He still needed a tutor, though Severus was hesitant to reach out to any of his acquaintances and request they tutor the boy. Of the ones he believed would take on the task of educating him, few he believed would be competent tutors or patient enough to deal with the inevitable problems the stutter brought to the table. He had reached out to a good friend who lived in Poland in hopes she would take up the task, only to find she had retired from tutoring to focus on her own grandchildren. She had, however, agreed to say that she had tutored Elias for the purpose of his alibi under the condition that she get to meet him over Christmas.

“That’s where you’ve been going when you leave, isn’t it?” Draco asked suddenly.

“Yes, and I thank you for your assistance in ingredient preparation while I have been away. Elias’s hospitalization was not something I had planned for, nor was it the reason I asked for an assistant,” Severus said, spelling the now empty cauldrons into the wash basin and pulling two new ones from under his work station. “Now, once you are done putting your burn paste into the tins, wash the cauldrons and begin preparing bases for Skele-gro and a level three poison antidote.”
To be continued...
End Notes:
Just fyi, the typed version of this story is so long that it takes around 30 seconds to one minute to load and tries really hard to lag out my computer. I'm glad you all are enjoying this so much!
Chapter 10 by DesertPlanet
Hermione Granger didn’t know what possessed her to do it, maybe a desire for normality to return or in an effort to plan for the future, but whatever the case was she found herself catching the train for the fourth time that week to the nearest Children’s Hospital. Volunteering with children had been a desire of hers for a long time, though she hadn’t been able to do much prior to starting Hogwarts because of her age. Now, however, she was fifteen, going on sixteen, and she wanted something to do over the summer that was unrelated to school.

This past year had been a struggle for them all. The Triwizard Tournament had nearly destroyed the few friendships she had and very nearly led to the death of one of her closest friends. She had tried to talk to her parents about it, but couldn’t think of a way to word it so they didn’t refuse to send her back to school. She could talk to Ron about everything, but he was a terrible listener, and Harry wasn’t much better. For some reason he was even refusing to accept any letters anymore.

Honestly she was worried about him. He had been through so much these past few years, it worried her when he didn’t respond. Even Sirius hadn’t had any luck getting a letter to him, and that was even more odd. Sirius had sent her a letter mentioning ‘the Order’ was looking for him, but no one had found anything. Even Dumbledore was getting frantic in his search from what Sirius said.

It was as if Harry had dropped off the face of the planet.

Badging into the volunteer’s locker room, she quickly stored her lunch in the refrigerator and looked to see where she was going to be stationed that day. She had been on the oncology ward the last few times she had come and was hopeful for a change of scenery. She had been hoping to take her mind off of death and misery and that was not the place to be for that. That’s not to say she hadn’t enjoyed her time there, she had learned a lot and the staff had been so nice and helpful to her, but it wasn’t what she wanted.

Sixth floor: Medical/Surgical.

Nodding her head happily and pulling her constantly bushy hair into a ponytail, she strode to the elevators and rode them to the sixth floor, ignoring the ever present zap of electricity she felt whenever she pressed the button. This was her first time on this floor, so she wasn’t quite sure what the staff would be like or what they would want her to do. Some units would just have her bring coffee to the families and be a listening ear, others would have her filing paperwork, and still others would have her bringing around newspapers. Small tasks to fill her two hour volunteer timeslot, but it was better than lounging around the house all day.

“Hello?” she said, gingerly approaching the unit secretary who was on the phone.

The secretary held up one finger before transferring whoever it was on the phone to the nurse they were wanting to speak to. She then turned to Hermione and in a rather raspy voice said, “Whatcha need, love?”

“My name is Hermione. I’m a volunteer and…”

“One moment, dear,” the secretary said, picking up the ringing phone. “No, darling. You’ll have to call back later. If she isn’t picking up right now, you’ll have to give her some time. She may be in the middle of a procedure…. Yes, I’ll let her know… Yes…. bye now.” She then rolled her eyes and hung up the phone with a click. “Go talk to Victoria, she’s the matron today. She’ll be over by 626.”

Hermione nodded her thanks as the secretary picked up the phone once more. That was a job she was extremely glad she would never have to take. Even if she did end up with a similar job, it would be in the magical world and she could spell the phone to do whatever was needed so she didn’t spend so much time transferring calls around. She hoped to work for the Ministry one day, maybe working in magical law or perhaps even expanding on her Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare.

Walking up to a small gathering of nurses, she couldn’t help but eavesdrop on what they were saying before butting in and asking what they wanted her to do.

“....his dad? Terrifying bloke.”

“Obviously cares about him though.”

“Yeah, but something about them seems so … bizarre. Almost Addams family like.”

“I don’t know about that, but I’d hate to get on the wrong side of him for sure!”

“They are so bloody strange! Have you seen the books he has? All bound in leather and written on some sort of strange paper!

“Do any of you get weird vibes from them? Like ‘I could kill you instantly but I choose not to’?”

“Oh yeah, don’t make the dad mad. I swear, all of the lights flicker every time that man gets angry about something.”

‘That sounds like a wizard!’ Hermione thought, leaning in slightly.

“Can I help you?” One of the nurses said rather rudely.

“Sorry,” Hermione said, turning bright red. “I-I’m a volunteer and I was assigned to this floor for the next two hours. Is there anything I can do to help you out?”

The nurses turned to each other and laughed. “You gonna pay us more?” One of them said.

“Look, if you want to do something, help get the kid in 654 dressed and ready to go. He’s discharging as soon as his dad gets here, which could either be now or in five hours,” another nurse said, pointing rather flippantly in the direction of the room.

“Anything I need to know about him?” Hermione asked, wanting to make sure she wasn’t walking blindly into an isolation room which she wasn’t allowed in.

“No, but be prepared for weird. Kid’s weird. His Da’s really weird,” one of the nurse‘s aids chimed in. “I saw some of his clothes and I don’t think I’ve ever seen quite so many buttons on a pair of shoes before. Shoes! Who has buttons on shoes? Even physical therapy didn’t want to try getting them on him!”

Hermione nodded and walked away, muttering about how rude they were. Surely they had seen stranger things than a wizard before? It was odd that, if she was right, a wizarding child had ended up in a muggle hospital. Maybe he was a squib? Could squibs even go to St. Mungo’s? It didn’t matter in the end, but she was still curious. All she had to do was help get him dressed.

Knocking politely on the door before entering, she was surprised at how utterly normal the room seemed. Unlike other rooms she had seen while volunteering, this one was well organized and relatively well packed already. The few pieces of clothing the boy had in the room were neatly folded on a chair with a rucksack full of books sitting beside it.

The biggest shock to her was how old the boy in the room was. Most of the children she had seen since she had started volunteering were younger children, but this boy was certainly on the upper limit of what could be considered paediatrics. He looked as though he may even be her same age or possibly older! His short, dark brown hair was brushed back away from his forehead and still slightly moist from the shower he had taken not long before and revealing a large and heavily bruised wound on his forehead which was sutured closed. His dark, sage green eyes flicked across the pages of an arithmancy book as he took notes on standard line ruled notebook paper.

Definitely magical then.

“Hello?” she said softly, not wanting to disturb him if he was in the middle of a thought.

“MERLIN’S BEARD!” the boy said, jumping almost comically when he saw her, sending his pen flying across the room.

“I’m so sorry for scaring you!” Hermione said, quickly running over and picking up the boy’s pen off the floor. It was a standard ballpoint pen, odd enough for a wizard to be using, but even more odd was the addition of a rather bulky grip which was added around the pen in effort to make grasping it easier.

“Y-y-y-y-you c-c-c-could have w-w-warned m-me!” the boy stuttered out, quickly closing his book and notebook with shaking hands.

He was quivering, constantly quivering, Hermione noticed. Almost as if he couldn’t keep his muscles from twitching and moving on their own. Even his eyes would occasionally jump sideways. The muscles in his legs twitched involuntarily, leading to him nearly slamming his knee into the underside of the bedside table. Apparently that had happened before, however, as he had placed a pillow between his knees and the table, giving them some cushion into which they could spasm harmlessly.

“I did knock!” Hermione said indignantly, watching as he tried to better cover himself with the gown he was wearing.

“N-not very loud-d!” the boy said, blushing at his own response. “Wh-what d-do you w-want?”

“Sorry, my name is Hermione. I’m a volunteer here,” Hermione said, handing the pen back and watching as he hastily shoved it as best he could into the rings of the notebook. “I was told you were going to be discharging today and was wondering if you needed any help getting dressed or packed?”

Of all the people he did not expect to see walk into his hospital room, Hermione Granger was very much near the top of that list. He knew her parents were muggles, but the odds of her volunteering at the very muggle hospital where he found himself were so slim, they were almost laughable. Yet here she was, reading his very basic arithmancy notes over his shoulder.

Divination was a joke and he knew it. It had simply been an easy class for him and Ron to take together and over the last two years he hadn’t learned a single useful thing from that class. He wasn’t planning to be an Unspeakable, so knowing even basic Divination was rather worthless. No, Arithmancy was far more useful for spell creation and understanding the interactions between different spells and potions. If he were going to be working towards becoming a healer, researcher, or anything of the like, he would need a good background in Arithmancy.

‘Better to take a leaf out of Hermione’s book and start studying now,’ he had thought when he had asked Sn- his father for the book.

It turned out to be a rather fascinating topic, one which he wished he had started back in third year. The only difficulty he had was in taking notes so he could review later. He didn’t even want to think about trying to use a quill and ink right now, not with how shaky his hands were. When he mentioned his struggles to the physical therapist, they had kindly supplied him with a large, bulky pencil grip to allow him to at least hang onto the pen or pencil better. But they were only made for pens and pencils, not for feather quills.

The physical therapist had also given him a notebook with regular lined paper when he saw how poorly the ballpoint pen responded to writing on parchment. It felt oddly out of place to be doing Arithmancy work with such mundane materials, but it was so much easier to write on this kind of paper with this kind of pen when his fingers were only just cooperating with him.

He was nearly done with the examples in the second chapter when a voice suddenly spoke to him from over his shoulder. A familiar voice. A very familiar voice.

Thanking the stars that he accidentally threw his pen across the room, he took a moment to compose himself. He knew her, but Elias most certainly didn’t. Elias didn’t know a lot of people actually. Just a few relatives, a few neighborhood kids (which he decided didn’t like him very much), and a few tutors (who his father was speaking to to confirm his existence and education). The rest of the wizarding world was a mystery. And here he was, sitting half naked, in front of one.

“Sorry, my name is Hermione. I’m a volunteer here,” Hermione said, handing him back his pen and staring at him as he tried to shove it in the rings of the notebook without much luck due to the thickness of the grip on it. “I was told you were going to be discharging today and was wondering if you needed any help getting dressed or packed?”

Did he need help getting dressed? Probably. His father had gotten him a set of quite nice robes to go over a comfortable pair of what he assumed were night clothes by the softness of their fabric. He had hoped the man would bring him some simple house shoes to wear, but apparently those were much more of a trip hazard when apparating. The last thing he needed was to land and immediately fall following apparating anywhere. So he had to wear regular shoes for going ‘home’ in, and apparently the Snape version of ‘regular shoes’ were ankle high boots popular in the late Victorian which had about two dozen tiny buttons to do up.

He could barely manage to hold a pen, let alone do up the miniscule buttons on a pair of old fashioned boots.

“I-if you w-w-wouldn’t m-mind help-p-p-ping me w-with the b-boots, I-i can m-manage the rest,” he said, blushing slightly as he pushed himself into a standing position and tried to cover his buttocks with the open backed gown as best he could.

Standing always seemed to be a bit of a hit or miss adventure. Sometimes his knees would try to buckle, sometimes he would get light-headed and have to sit back down, but he quickly learned to give it a moment before trying to move. Apparently this was a side effect of the muggle tablets he was on, made worse by his own screwed up nervous system. Severus said he likely wouldn’t have the dizziness once he was switched to the potions.

“Are you ok?” Hermione asked, immediately standing at his side. “Do you need me to call a nurse?”

“I’m f-fine,” Harry responded as the dizziness slowly passed and he was able to limp over to the chair where the folded clothing was. “B-bloody m-muggle t-tablets.”

“So you are a wizard!” Hermione said rather loudly before immediately clasping her hands over her mouth. “Sorry!”

“Wh-what are y-you then-n?” He asked quietly, sitting back into the chair with a loud thunk and pulling his trousers on. He couldn’t help but notice Hermione wince at how hard he sat. He hadn’t fallen into the chair per say, but he could see how it would look that way. His legs just didn’t want to sit him down in a dignified manner. “M-m-muggleb-b-born?”

Hermione nodded, looking at him oddly. Something about him seemed oddly familiar, especially in the face. Yes, he obviously hadn’t shaved in several days, but there was something more. Something about him that made her immediately think ‘Slytherin.’

“W-wait, what’s y-your last n-n-name?” Harry said, feigning ignorance. There was no way a pure blood would ever be caught dead in a muggle hospital, so there was no point in acting like a pompous prick. Sn-His father had even said as much, though he did say it wouldn’t be uncommon for someone in his position to have more ‘pureblood preferences’ simply because he had been educated solely by tutors. And tutors were not commonly used outside of pureblood communities.

“Granger,” Hermione said instantly, still trying to place if she had seen this boy around school before. “What’s your name? I feel like I’ve seen you around school before.”

Harry grinned a rather lopsided yet sinister looking grin. One that made Hermione immediately feel like she was going to be getting detention or have points deducted. Who was this kid?

“Y-you d-definitely haven’t s-s-seen m-me,” Harry said with a chuckle. “I-i can’t g-g-go t-t-to Hogw-warts. B-but I-i have h-h-heard ab-bout y-y-you.”

Hermione’s eyes widened in shock. He couldn’t go to Hogwarts? Even Professor Lupin got to go, and he was a werewolf the entire time he had been attending the school! Was he a squib? That was the only reason she could think that he would say he ‘couldn’t’ go to Hogwarts. But if that were the case, why would he be studying Arithmancy? Why was he even in the hospital in the first place.

“M-my father t-t-teaches there,” Harry said quietly, sadness showing in his eyes as slowly buttoning his shirt, frowning in concentration as his fingers twitched and made threading the buttons into their respective holes difficult. What child wouldn’t want to attend Hogwarts?

Hermione’s jaw dropped as she stared at the boy in front of her. There were very few male professors at Hogwarts, fewer still who were young enough to have a son his age, and only one who could make a tall, rather sallow skinned child. Of all of the things about Snape that people talked about, his having a son was not one of them. Being the greasy bat of the dungeons who was likely a vampire, sure, but not that he had a bloody child!

“What’s your name?” she asked, grabbing one of the boots and the button hook which sat with the clothing pile as the boy put his socks on.

“El-l-lias Snap-p-pe,” he said, adjusting the sock on his foot so the seam wouldn’t rub his toes strangely. He had noticed before the seizure that his feet seemed to be more sensitive to touch and he was glad his father had listened to him when he said to try to find softer socks.

“Professor Snape is your father?!” Hermione said, feeling as though she was going to fall over. Her guess had been right, but that didn’t stop the pure shock which flooded her thoughts. Professor Snape hated children and made that perfectly clear at all times. Which nearly begged the question: why had he been made head of Slytherin house? No one who truly hated children would willingly take a position teaching at a school and allow themselves to be placed in charge of several dozen teenagers for years on end.

Maybe he was so angry all of the time because he had to watch adolescents the same age as his own son doing the things his son wasn’t allowed to do for whatever reason and his heart hurt because of it?

“Why can’t you go to Hogwarts?” Hermione asked, sliding the boot onto his foot as quickly as she could so she wasn’t fighting the muscle twitches he was having. “If you don’t mind me asking.”

“S-same reason-n that-t I-i’m h-h-here,” Harry grumbled, his back was beginning to hurt from sitting in the hard backed chair and his legs were twitching fiercely as they tried to get used to the sensation of wearing trousers for the first time in days.

“Why are you here, anyways? Why not St. Mungo’s?” Hermione asked, genuinely curious. Could he not go to St. Mungo’s for the same reason he couldn’t go to Hogwarts?

Harry blushed and leaned back in the chair, crossing his arms over his chest and repressing a wince as the movement set off a muscle spasm through his back. “H-had another s-seizure. At w-w-work this t-time. A-and m-muggles will s-send you t-t-to a m-muggle hosp-p-pital.”

A seizure. That certainly explained it, especially if he was prone to getting them. Hogwarts was incredibly complex with massive winding staircases, secret passages, maze-like hallways turning the entire thing into a labyrinth on a good day. For normal students this wouldn’t be an issue, but if Elias had a seizure somewhere, it could take a long time for him to be found. It was a massive safety issue, one which even Dumbledore wouldn’t be able to correct.

“Where were you working?” Hermione asked, finding the boy in front of her a more and more fascinating enigma at every turn.

“I-i was w-working for a g-g-g-garden-ning comp-p-p-p-pany,” Harry said, sliding his other foot into its awaiting boot. He really hoped his father had a spell to do up the buttons on the boots because he doubted he would be able to get them done up or undone without aid. “I-i w-w-was at a job-b site a-a-a-nd had-d a seizure. H-hit m-m-m-my head-d on a wh-wheelb-b-b-b-barrow. Th-they c-called for an a-amb-b-bulance a-a-and it-t t-t-t-took them a-a while t-t-to m-m-make it s-stop-p-p-p-p.”

Harry was getting worried. He and Snape hadn’t managed to make a full backstory for him yet, just some of the more pressing details, so Hermione pressing him for information was getting him flustered. If she kept pressing, he was liable to mess up on a detail which she would certainly bring up later. Even more frustratingly, he was struggling with keeping his stutter under control. And the more he stuttered, the more frustrated he got which led to worse stuttering.

And he knew Hermione wouldn’t drop a topic that fascinated her, even if that topic was him.

Hermione had now finished buttoning the buttons on the boots and was watching him with rapt attention as though he were an animal in a zoo. Blushing fiercely, he pulled his knees up to his chest, waiting for the muscle spasms to die down. He had asked Snape to sneak him in a muscle relaxer potion, but the man had looked at him the same way he looked at Neville when he blew up yet another cauldron. Asking the muggle doctors for something for the spasms was also shut down immediately, though they did offer him some cream to rub on his skin which was apparently supposed to help. He had tried some on a spot on his leg just to see what it did only to find that, after a few minutes of a nice cooling sensation, his nerves became extremely irritated and spent the next few hours making him feel as though his leg were on fire.

“How long have you been having seizures?” Hermione asked, standing from where she had been kneeling and tucking her hands in her uniform pockets. “Are they related to the twitches you have? And the stutter?”

Harry frowned. Hermione was starting to venture into dangerous territory, and he knew she wouldn’t stop asking questions until she got every answer she wanted or someone shut her down. “I-i-i d-d-don’t-t-t w-w-w-want-t-t....”

“You don’t want to talk about it? That’s fine,” Hermione said, interrupting him. “What’s it like living with Professor Snape?”

“Th-th-th-that’s n-n-n-n…”

“None of my business? Sorry, I’m just curious. He’s not the most open of our professors, so it’s hard to get a read on what he’s like when he’s not teaching,” Hermione said, cutting him off once again with her rant. “I imagine you must know a lot about potions, living with a potions master and all!”

Harry’s nostrils flared. How could he possibly answer her if she wouldn’t even let him finish a sentence? He and his father had discussed his backstory of how he had been living with his mother’s brother and his wife since his mother passed away a few years ago, so there was no real reason for him to know what Snape was like at home. It wouldn’t be expected of him to have potions knowledge consistent with most children who had been brought up with a potion’s master.

“I-i-i-i-i d-d-d-don’t-t-t-t…..” Harry started to say, only to be cut off once more.

“You don’t like potions?” Hermione said, shocked. Her eyebrows raised to nearly her hairline. “Why not?”

“Sh-sh-sh-shut-t-t-t up-p-p!” Harry finally snapped. Answering questions was hard enough, but having her interrupt and assume she knew what he was trying to say was damn near insulting. “G-g-g-go aw-w-w-way!”

Hermione looked shocked and confused. She wasn’t used to listening to someone struggle to speak and it seemed like the more they spoke, the worse it got. She could only imagine how frustrating it must be to not be able to get your thoughts out right away, so she thought it would be helpful for her to finish the sentences. She had only been nice to him, why was he wanting her to leave?

“What’s wrong? Do you need the nurse?” she asked worriedly. “Do you think you’re going to have a seizure?”

“N-n-n-no, g-g-g-get-t-t-t out-t-t!” Harry said, his frustration growing. He hadn’t been this annoyed with Hermione since first year before he would really consider themselves friends. He knew she had a tendency to be overbearing, a tendency which had only gotten worse over the last few years, but he had managed to avoid being the primary target of her attention as she tended to focus more on Ron.

“Was it something I said?” Hermione continued to ask, looking somewhat put out.

“L-LEAVE!” Harry shouted, launching himself to his feet and feeling his magic begin to well up in his chest. The lights in the room began to flicker slightly as his anger and frustration continued to rise.

“Will you at least tell me why?” Hermione pushed, feeling the light crackle of magic rush over her skin.

“OUT!” Harry yelled, stumbling sideways and catching himself on the wall with his hand, his left leg resting against the metal leg of the chair. “OUT!!”

The lights in the room abruptly went out as Hermione was thrown from the room, the door slamming behind her as she was thrown into the wall opposite the door and pinned there momentarily, her breath knocked out of her. Looking around, she saw all of the lights within twenty five meters of his room had gone out as well. She was still confused by why she had just been bodily thrown from the room, but knew not to push her luck with going back in there. She had done something to make him mad enough to wandlessly and wordlessly evict her from the room, going back in there with him in such a state would have been madness.

Several of the nurses came running over to her as she gasped for breath, one of them stopping to call security and another checking on the patients in the rooms in the dark area. The cries of confused children and their parents filled the hallway as the lights began to flicker back on slowly.

“Oh my goodness!” one of the nurses exclaimed. “Are you ok? What happened?”

Hermione nodded and held up a hand as she slowly caught her breath enough to be able to talk. “I’m fine, just got the wind knocked out of me.”

“Do you hurt anywhere? Do you need to go to A&E?” the nurse said, helping Hermione into an office chair and quickly pulling her out of the area which had gone dark.

“No, no,” Hermione said as the nurse began taking a set of vital signs on her. “I’m fine. No damage done.”

“Your pulse is racing right now, are you sure you’re ok? You ought to go get checked out at the very least!” the nurse said, motioning for one of the aids to grab a vitals sign machine.

Harry stood where he was in shock, head spinning. What in Merlin’s name had just happened?

He had had outbursts of accidental magic before, but not since he was thirteen and nothing of this caliber. Was his magic rechannelling itself too? That would make sense, but at the same time how had he managed to blow all of the lights? It had felt as though his magic had increased tenfold just before he blasted his friend across the room, out into the hallway and slammed the door behind her. How had he managed to do any of that?

A wave of sudden fatigue hit him as he stumbled over to his bed. He felt as though he had just been punched in the chest. He hadn’t meant to do that. He hadn’t meant to do any of that. If Hermione had just listened and not tried to finish his sentences, none of this would have happened. If only she had let him talk and not made assumptions about what he was trying to say. If only she wasn’t so exuberant about meeting new people and wanting to get to know them. If only, if only, if only.

He was going to be in so much trouble when his father came to get him, he could already feel it in his soul.

Suddenly, it felt as though an ice cube had dropped in his stomach as a realization came to him: would he be getting a notification from the ministry for using magic around muggles? They had already threatened him with expulsion from school and having his wand snapped after the whole Aunt Marge incident the summer before his third year. Would those warnings have reset or would he be expelled now.

They couldn’t technically expel him as he was not a ‘student’ at Hogwarts this year, but breaking his wand was still a viable threat. Would they do that?

He didn’t think he could manage to live as a muggle now, he was so used to having magic that not having it would be detrimental. Especially now. Trying to learn how to do everything and take care of himself in a body that, from what he was experiencing now, was not the most reliable in its ability to listen to instruction from his brain. Using magic would certainly make that more easy, but if he were not allowed to finish getting trained, what would he do?

Laying on the bed and facing towards the window, he pulled the blanket over his body and waited, blinking as his eyes filled with tears and wrapped his arms around himself in an effort to stave off the building anxiety in his chest.

An owl would be coming for him soon, he was sure of it.
To be continued...
End Notes:
I've been doing a lot of writing these last few days as you can tell. Unfortunately I have to start a rather long work week today, so it may be a while before the next update.

Thank you to all who review! It really does help with motivation when writing this monster!
Chapter 11 by DesertPlanet
*BEEP* “Hello, Mr. Snape. This is Chelsea from Children’s Hospital. If you could please give us a call back urgently, that would be greatly appreciated. My number here is 020 7946 0142. Thank you!”

Severus sighed as he transfigured his Death Eater robes into his more ‘respectable’ muggle attire. He had just finished delivering the potions the Dark Lord had requested, delivering the antidotes and a smattering of other potions to Dumbledore, and receiving a list of medical potions the Hospital Wing would need to replenish its stocks for the coming year. In some ways he was ahead, but in others he was just as behind as ever. If Draco hadn’t have been working with him, he certainly would not have gotten the Hospital Wing’s potions done.

He had hoped for the afternoon off, but it seemed that would not be the case. Elias was supposed to be getting discharged from the hospital this afternoon, though with that ominous phone call now on his answering machine, he wondered if that would be the case. Any number of things could have happened to the boy, and he could have been the root cause of them as well. Especially if he had any magical outbursts.

He was planning on going to pick up the boy now, though he felt it would be pertinent to call the hospital back before going, in case there was a change of plans.

“Draco?” He called down to the lab before picking up the phone and preparing to dial the number the woman on the other end of the line had given. “When did the phone ring?”

“About four hours ago,” Draco’s muffled voice could be heard from within the lab. “I was brewing at the time and was wearing a bubble-head charm.”

“I’m going to call them back incase plans have changed, though I doubt they will have, then I plan to go get him,” Severus said as he dialed in the number.

“May I come?” Draco said, the sound of his stool being moved against the stone floor nearly drowning out the question. He was admittedly curious about what a muggle hospital would look like and hoped to meet the boy as soon as possible. He was curious about everything regarding the mysterious son of his mentor. Also, he was beginning to feel quite claustrophobic living in such a small house and spending most of his time in the basement preparing ingredients.

“No,” Severus said bluntly, listening to the sound of the phone ringing in one ear. “There is no floo network connection.”

“6th floor, this is Chelsea?” a woman’s voice said from the other side of the phone. She sounded rather frazzled, as though something had been happening that she had been pulled away from in order to answer the phone.

“This is Severus Snape, you called?” Severus said, listening to Draco coming up the stairs with his other ear. Undoubtedly he had questions as to what he would need to be doing while Severus went to fetch Elias from the hospital.

“Oh, yes. Mr. Snape,” Chelsea said, sighing in frustration and relief. “You are planning to pick your son up today, yes? He has had discharge orders in for several hours now.”

“Yes, I will be arriving in a few minutes,” Severus sneered. “Was that the only reason you called?”

“No, sir,” Chelsea sneered back. “There was an incident today involving your son and one of our volunteers. From what it looked like, he bodily threw her from the room. There were no injuries, thankfully, and the volunteer does not want to press assault charges, but we were hoping when we called you four hours ago that you would be able to weigh in on the situation and help calm him down. He was very upset at whatever led to the incident.”

Severus repressed the urge to growl in frustration. Of course, P-Elias had to go and do something ridiculous just before he was to be discharged from the hospital. “I shall discuss this incident with him when I arrive. Goodbye.”

He quickly hung up the phone and turned to Draco who was now standing next to him. The young Malfoy had his arms crossed and an eyebrow raised in a manner very similar to what Narcissa would do when she was curious about something she wasn’t supposed to be overhearing. Or Bellatrix when she was debating whether to torture someone or just kill them right off. Despite his obvious Malfoy appearance, there were some very prominent Black traits in him.

“He sent a volunteer flying across a room?” Draco said, a bit of awe tingeing his voice. “Has he been getting training in wandless magic?”

Severus sighed and readjusted his suit jacket. “I doubt he knew what he was doing. It is far more likely that he was under some sort of duress and his magic responded poorly.”

Draco nodded, though he was concerned for the boy whom he hoped would be a friend. It wasn’t common for a witch or wizard to have accidental magic once they began to go to school unless they were under a lot of stress or were forbidden from using it for an extended period of time; longer than a summer’s holiday. Maybe the muggle was threatening him? Muggles did have a tendency to do that; over half of magical history was them threatening and murdering those who openly practiced magic.

“I do not foresee being gone for more than an hour,” Severus said, walking to the living room. “Please continue to prepare the ingredients for the first four potions on the list, but do not begin to prepare the bases for these until I am here. We will begin working on these tonight.”

Draco nodded and watched as Snape turned rapidly on his heel and with a loud pop, blinked out of existence. With a sigh, he returned to the basement and looked at the list of potions Snape had been told to make. Every week, it seemed the list would grow longer and more elaborate; it was no wonder the man had requested an assistant. And now with his son moving in, that list was bound to grow.


“Are you ready to leave?” Severus asked, picking up the boy’s backpack and the small sack of personal items he had had on him when he came into the hospital.

Harry nodded silently, pulling his cloak over his head and wiping the sleep out of his eyes. After the fight with Hermione, he was in no mood to do much of anything other than sleep. His leg and arm ached fiercely, making him wonder if something had happened when his magic threw her from the room. It was extremely strange; he hadn’t been overly angry at her, just frustrated that she wasn’t letting him finish a sentence or leave when he asked. Then all of a sudden it felt as though his power had been amped up and suddenly she was flying across the room, out into the hallway, and the door slammed shut behind her.

He had tried to stay up and wait for the ministry owl he was certain would be coming for him, but found he could barely keep his eyes open once he laid down. Even when he finally did wake up almost an hour later, he was surprised at how tired he was. He was happy there was no exceedingly angry owl waiting for him to open the window, but the idea of even getting up to double check was exhausting. Even sitting up in bed made his head swim slightly.

Hermione was no longer there, naturally, but he felt quite bad about what happened. He hadn’t meant to blast her across the room and wished to apologize. He had no doubt in his mind that she would be forgiving, but he didn’t know when he would be able to apologize now. Especially since he would not be attending classes with her or any of his other friends, a fact which he expressed to his father that he was not overtly happy about, but had been reassured that there was a possibility of his attending at least some of the classes to audit them.

He had asked the nurse where she went, but the nurse had been rather more tightlipped than usual when it came to giving out her location. Even after attempting to reassure them that he had no intentions to injure her, they refused to give her location to him. In all likelihood, she had returned home as she was only a volunteer and not permanent staff.

The question then became ‘where was Snape?’ He asked the nursing staff where the man was, but no one knew or was willing to volunteer the information. After the incident with Hermione, the nursing staff was more hesitant than usual to enter his room and even less willing to speak to him.

The longer he waited, the more anxious he became. No one had any information for him, Snape wasn’t here, and he was alone in his room. He tried to come out to the nurse’s station, but was greeted by a security guard who asked him rather nicely but forcefully to return to his room. It felt as though he were being imprisoned and abandoned. It wouldn’t be the first time he had been forgotten about, but this time was almost more painful than all of the times Vernon had left him at primary school and forced him to walk home or threw him in the cupboard and forgot to let him out for several days.

He had dreamed for so long that things would be perfect if he had a real family, that he wouldn’t be forgotten and left alone all the time. Now here he was, waiting with seemingly false hope that the man a letter from his mother (or someone who claimed to be her) sent years ago would show up and take him home. He had never felt quite as abandoned and forgotten as he did sitting in that hospital bed, not allowed to leave his room, waiting for someone to come get him.

He had finished packing his bags and was fully prepared to check himself out despite not knowing where to go when he finally heard the man’s unmistakable deep voice speaking in the hallway. He tried to listen in on the conversation, but they were too far down the hall for him to understand, even if standing in the doorway. A part of him hoped they were discussing his care going home, but another part of him felt Snape was trying to get out of taking him home. Why else would he have taken so long to get him?

When Snape finally entered the room, he entered with a rather large folder in one hand and was followed shortly by a nurse’s aid, who took out the IV in his arm quickly before turning and leaving the room.

“I apologize for my tardiness,” Severus said, double checking the book bag to make sure none of the magical books he had brought for the boy to begin studying would be left behind. “I got tied up in a … meeting, one which I was unable to leave from in a timely manner without arousing suspicion.”

Harry nodded, chewing on his lip. They had discussed his involvement in the war while they discussed the content of Harry’s letters, so he understood the importance of his father not missing a ‘meeting’ be it with Dumbledore or with Voldemort, whom Harry had been told he ought to refer to as ‘the Dark Lord’ to prevent arousing suspicions that he may not be on the side of the dark. This didn’t make the fear of abandonment go away, however.

Severus turned to look at his son, rather surprised at the lack of response from the boy. It was still hard to imagine the boy as such, but looking at him made it much easier to see the complete lack of resemblance to Potter and more of a resemblance to himself. A much more insecure, borderline fearful, yet independent version of himself.

How had he not seen the signs of neglect in him before? The desire for praise at the expense of one’s own personal safety, the very obvious signs of malnutrition, the continuous pushing of boundaries, even the lack of trust towards adult figures in his life all screamed something was amiss in his homelife. He vaguely remembered Minerva saying something about an issue with Potter’s Hogwarts letter, but he couldn’t recall exactly what she said. Now, however, without the effects of the potion changing his features, the full effects of his relatives' treatment was shockingly apparent.

“I have had the nurses procure us a taxi to take us ‘home,’” Severus said, checking through the small glass window on the door to see if aid was coming back with the wheelchair she had briefly mentioned she would be getting. “We will actually be dropped off a few miles from here and apparate from there to my house in Cokeworth.”

“C-cokeworth?” Harry said curiously as he fiddled with the fasteners on his cloak, noting the fingers on his left hand seemed to be more dexterous than those on his right. “I think-k I’ve b-b-been there b-before.”

“It’s quite likely you have, or your aunt at least mentioned it,” Severus said, stepping away from the door. “She, your mother, and I grew up there. I will warn you now, do not go wandering the neighborhood alone. It isn’t safe to do so.”

“B-b-because of the s-seizures?” Harry asked, face rather downtrodden at the idea of never being able to go on a walk alone.

Severus smirked a rather dangerous smile before answering. “No, my neighborhood is bloody awful. Seizures aside, I wouldn’t want you wandering Spinner’s End alone anyways. Even Mr. Malfoy hasn’t been allowed into the neighborhood alone, and he currently has an unregistered wand in his possession.”

Harry’s eyes widened and swallowed hard then coughed as his spit went down the wrong way slightly. It was no wonder the man had such a terrifying demeanor if those were the kinds of streets he grew up on. That was one thing he hoped he would inherit from his father, though now it seemed more of a ‘nurture’ rather than a ‘nature’ sort of occurrence. If he could channel even the slightest bit of that persona, it would help him hide even better that he was ever Harry Potter.

Severus frowned at the cough and mentally added another potion to the list that needed to be made. Nurse Chelsea had mentioned he was on a special diet due to swallowing difficulties, but for him to choke on his own saliva was yet another thing Severus would have to be concerned with for the upcoming year. It would be simple enough to correct as the mechanism for why he was having issues was easy enough to sort out as they all stemmed from the same problem, but it was the idea of it that was just another daunting problem they would have to deal with. A simple anti-reflux potion with an antispasmodic component ought to work well enough and was relatively simple to make with just a few ingredients.

“Alright, Mr. Snape,” the aid said, wheeling a wheelchair into the room, interrupting Severus’s thoughts of the potions he would need to make. “The taxi is on it’s way. Are you ready to go?”

Harry nodded as Severus grabbed the bags, resisting the urge to shrink them and put them into his pocket for ease of travel. Standing and quickly pivoting to the wheelchair, Harry was glad when his head didn’t immediately begin spinning upon standing up and his legs, particularly his left, didn’t immediately try to buckle under him.

Throwing a blanket over the boy and doing one final cursory glance around the room, the aid then wheeled Harry to the door and began heading down the hall towards the elevators. Harry and Severus couldn’t help but notice how a security guard was now following them, but they didn’t mind too much. A muggle security guard against a trained Death Eater was a laughable matchup should a fight occur.

“I was told his prescriptions would be ready for him at the chemist here in the hospital,” Severus said as they boarded the elevator and the security guard pressed the button to go to the ground floor.

The aid huffed slightly, clearly wanting to be away from them. Something about the two of them was extremely off-putting. The nurses had said it, but this had been her first time working with the Snape family and she had honestly thought the nurses were being dramatic. Even going into the boy’s room to deliver his meal tray had left her with the same feeling they described. It was almost as if Elias had an aura around him that she couldn’t shake. Something about being in his room just felt off, and then, despite struggling with even the most simple tasks, he manages to throw a volunteer out of his room. The entire situation felt strange, and she didn’t like it.

And if the younger Snape made you feel strange, the older Snape made your skin crawl.

Thankfully the chemist was on the ground floor and close to the exit. As stated, the pharmacist had the medications ready to be picked up before they even got there. A few brief instructions on how to take the medications and what side effects to look out for and they made their way to the exit where the taxi had just arrived.

“Take care!” the aid said in a chipper tone that was obviously forced, waiting rather impatiently for the teen to shakily transfer into the car before turning and nearly running back into the hospital followed by the security guard.

“Did you feel that?” she said to the guard once they re-entered the building.

“The feeling that something was off with them?” the guard said, his heart rate returning to normal now that they were back inside. “Or the feeling that we were being watched as soon as we stepped outside?”

The aid nodded and shuddered involuntarily. “Both. I don’t know what was going on with them, but I will say I am glad they are gone.”

The guard nodded in agreement before turning and walking back to the guard station by A&E nearly running into a rather short woman with shockingly pink hair and a oddly shaped, long red coat in his haste to get back. If they never saw either of the Snapes again, it would be too soon. He couldn’t shake the feeling that they had been watched while they were outside, the feeling of eyes burning into the back of his skull leaving him with goosebumps and a sinking feeling of fear aching in his gut for the remainder of the day. He hadn’t seen anyone suspicious, but the feeling remained. Someone was watching as the Snapes loaded themselves into the taxi.


‘Finally, a room where the family didn’t leave the entire place an absolute wreck!’ Carmen thought as she quickly stripped the bed and threw the linens into a bag before wiping down the bed with antiseptic.

In all of her years working as a housekeeper, there was one fact which remained true: everyone made a mess then expected housekeeping to deal with it. A little bit of effort on their part and she could get a room cleaned in much less time, but management didn’t want to hear that. They only wanted results. They wanted the rooms cleaned as fast as possible to reduce turnaround time and open beds for the next round of patients. It didn’t matter the nurses didn’t do their part and get the machinery she wasn’t allowed to touch out of the rooms. It didn’t matter the rooms were generally in a state when she got there, or that children were messy beasts. If a room wasn’t cleaned fast enough, it was her fault.

This room, however, was extremely well kept. There was very little garbage in the bin, the towels were even hung on the rack as opposed to being all over the floor. Even the bed had been made prior to whichever patient was in here’s leaving. Needless to say, it was a relief to know she would be finishing a room within her allotted time for once.

Wiping down the bed and turning her attention to the two chairs in the room, she absent mindedly began cleaning them off as well. Maybe today she would actually get a lunch on time? That would be a first!

Grabbing her mop, she quickly began mopping the floor, checking cabinets and drawers as she went around, making sure no personal belongings had gotten left behind. Nothing. It was almost as if the person who had been in here had had nothing and left with everything. Again, a first for her!

Pulling the chairs away from the wall, she gasped and stepped back. Where once was an electrical socket in the wall was now a smoldering hole in the wall. The plastic had melted into an unrecognizable mass of goo and the occasional wire could be seen running behind it. Thankfully there were no sparks coming from it, but this room would definitely need to be shut down until they could figure out what was wrong with it.

Quickly finishing cleaning the room and calling the ward matron and the maintenance department, she sighed. The wiring in the whole hospital had just been re-done, it shouldn’t have been having these kinds of major issues already. This was the third time this week that some sort of electrical issue had occurred! First all of the fuses randomly blew and the generators had to be emergently activated, then the lights in a bunch of random rooms in this area of the hospital went out momentarily, and now this!

Whoever did the electrical job would certainly be hearing from management! This was insanely dangerous to have such bad wiring in a hospital, a children’s hospital nonetheless!
To be continued...
Chapter 12 by DesertPlanet
Albus Dumbledore had several letters to write of varying degrees of importance. The minister had demanded the placement of a member of his staff within Hogwarts’s teaching roster following the debacles of the previous years. True, hiring Lockhart hadn’t been the greatest plan of his, but how was he to know the man was as incompetent as he was? And how was he to know Quirrell would be harboring Voldemort himself? Or that Alastor had been kidnapped and that a Death Eater would be using Polyjuice to replace him?

Of the past four years, only the last two had truly garnered concern from the ministry. Despite his abilities and level headedness with teaching, Remus Lupin’s condition had led to a number of concerned parents sending letters to the ministry about his fitness as an educator and the safety of their children. The kidnapping of Alastor Moody was yet another stain on his record of choosing only the brightest and most capable educators for the wizarding youth of Great Britain, and the fact he was able to be kidnapped and held hostage for nearly an entire year while preaching ‘CONSTANT VIGILANCE’ certainly brought doubt as to his actual abilities as an Auror and as an educator.

Delores Umbridge, however, was not even remotely who he would have chosen.

Even as a student, she had harbored some rather shocking anti-creature sentiments and would routinely attempt to have any student who admitted to having magical creature heritage expelled. She was sickly sweet in a way that could only be described as poisonous. Having her on staff would in no way benefit the students of Hogwarts, nor would it serve to further his goals of winning the war.

Every decision he had made to this point as Headmaster and as governor of the Potter estate had been made with that goal in mind. The war against Voldemort must be won and casualties were to be expected.

It pained him greatly to place Harry with his aunt and uncle who so obviously loathed him. It was agonizing when Cedric Diggory was murdered. It was petrifying when Ginny Weasley went missing only to be found within the Chamber of Secrets. But as horrible as it may sound, they were only pawns in the chess game of the war. It didn’t matter who it was that declared checkmate, be it a rook, pawn, or knight, it just mattered that the light win. And he would do anything to ensure that they did.

But Umbridge? Really? What was Fudge thinking?

Opening his parchment drawer and pulling out several sheets, he was shocked to see a letter contained within the drawer. He must have thrown it in there when he was trying to reorganize his desk so he could better monitor the wards around the Dursleys and be on the lookout for the wayward Potter. He was still surprised there hadn’t been any sightings of the boy; not even a shred of evidence as to where he went. Even Severus stated that Voldemort was on the lookout and had yet to find him.

All members of the order had been placed on alert and were searching anywhere they could think to find him, even going so far as to do a full cabin search of the Hogwarts Express to see if the boy had managed to find and sneak onto it in an effort to escape. Several members had even ventured into France and Ireland to see if he had managed to skip the border and was on the run in another country, but thus far there was no evidence that he had. In fact, there was no evidence that he had ever left the Dursley’s property other than a few drops of blood on the ground under a wheelbarrow.

Turning the letter over, he saw it was sent from Severus nearly a month previous, long before Harry had disappeared but shortly after the end of the school year. He tried to think back to what was going on at the time that would have prompted such a letter be sent but found nothing pressing enough that the man could possibly have been asking for. Perhaps an assistant for his potions making, though if memory served him he had managed to find one since then.

Perhaps he was asking for the Defense position yet again?

Grabbing a lemon drop out of his candy dish and beginning to suck on it, he grabbed a letter opener and slid it through the wax seal on the envelope, pulled out the letter, and immediately choked on the aforementioned candy.


Due to a change in circumstances regarding the guardianship of my son, Elias, I must request an accommodation be made to my quarters and my employment contract. Elias has never been on the list to attend Hogwarts as he has multiple medical problems which are prohibitive in his ability to attend a standard magical school. Should these accommodations be able to be provided, I will happily provide Poppy with a copy of his medical records so his medical care may be transferred to her. Should these accommodations not be able to be met, I may be forced to take a sabbatical of up to a year.

In order for him to be here safely, he will need a live in tutor. Previously he was under the tutelage of Madame Clarissa Zebronski, though she has, most unfortunately, decided to retire this year. I have managed to procure his previous grades and will happily provide them to you should you prefer to have a hand in finding this tutor as they would living here at the school. He is fifteen (nearly sixteen) and, in my professional opinion, on par with the other students in the fifth year. It is preferable that this tutor is exceedingly patient as Elias may require additional time to complete assignments or learn new material due to his conditions. It is not necessary for the tutor to live with myself and Elias, though having quarters nearby would be a great advantage.

I am aware that my contract dictates that I must have open office hours on weekdays and weekends, however I will need at least one week day afternoon and one weekend day to brew the potions necessary for him to function properly. I have no qualms about remaining head of Slytherin, however, as Elias is grossly independent in his ability to care for himself.

Should you require I find a tutor on my own, please let me know as soon as possible so I will have the time necessary to find him one with whom he is compatible.
Thank you for your consideration,

Severus Snape

A son?! Severus had a son?


‘No,’ he corrected himself, ‘not impossible. Improbable.’ Severus would have been heavily involved in Death Eater activities at the time of his son’s conception. As he was not a spy at that time, it was hard to say what he had been up to or who he had been seeing, if anyone. It seemed odd, extremely odd, that this boy would make an appearance at the same time Harry Potter went missing, but the letter itself had been in his desk drawer for quite some time and had been unopened. The envelope was dated prior to Harry’s disappearance, though the letter itself had no date on it, and was sealed with a perfectly intact wax seal.

He would have to deal with this soon; just one more thing to add to his list of pre-school year tasks. Severus was right, of course, if a tutor was hired in for a student or child of a faculty member, they were under the jurisdiction of the Headmaster/Headmistress of the school unless they chose to live off grounds. Severus’s request to have the tutor live on school grounds and close at hand would put them directly under the Headmaster no matter who was paying them for being there.

He had a few ideas off hand for who he could reach out to, but he would have to speak to Severus first. There was no reason to choose a tutor who was incompatible with the family and force the best potions master Hogwarts had had in many generations into a sabbatical. No, there was only so much maneuvering he could do without angering the man.

Turning back to the stack of parchment which once again littered his desk, Dumbledore sighed and picked up his quill. He would work with Severus’s requests soon enough, but first he had to deal with the ministry.

“Easy now,” Severus said, holding Elias up by the hips as he retched violently onto the alley way. “It will pass soon enough.”

Harry moaned as his head continued to spin and his stomach continued to contract and attempt to force all of its contents out. His knees swaying and threatening to collapse as he clung to the rough brick wall for dear life. If he thought using the Floo or a Portkey was bad, apparation was worse. So much worse.

As promised, they had taken the taxi a few miles away before getting out and paying the driver with a few coins and a quick confundus. The ride itself hadn't been too long, nor had it been obscenely rough, but Harry was already starting to feel rather dizzy and nauseated from the movement. Severus had tried to explain apparation before they left, but it was one of the many things in the magical world which Harry put into the category of ‘you have to try it first, then you’ll understand.’

He now understood and vehemently wished he didn’t.

If it hadn’t been for Severus’s arm around his waist, he would have immediately collapsed when they landed. His legs felt as though they couldn’t support his weight, his head spun violently, and he immediately began retching. He didn’t know how long they stood there, him vomiting and tears streaming down his face as he tried to catch his breath and steady himself, but he did know one thing: despite how disgusting he was being, Severus never let go of him. Slowly, his stomach did begin to settle, but his head still swam fiercely and was beginning to throb.

“Elias?” Severus asked softly as the dry-heaving ceased and the boy was now just taking shuttering gasps. “We are in the alley immediately next to my house. There are approximately fifty steps to take from here to be into the house. Do you think you can make it?”

Harry closed his eyes and nodded slightly, swallowing thickly as another wave of nausea threatened to overtake him. Fifty steps and he would be inside. Fifty steps and he would be home. Fifty steps and he could lie down. He could do it.

Severus gently grabbed the boy’s right arm and looped it over his shoulders to help support him better, wincing as his bicep twitched causing his hand to very nearly smack Severus in the face. It was a good thing they were nearly the same height. Being this close to the boy was sobering. Throughout the hospital stay, he had managed to avoid touching him; he was not an overly touchy person and it felt wrong to have even casual contact with the boy. Apparation, however, required them to be touching in order for the transportation to work. He could feel his son’s muscles constantly quivering under his skin, jumping and jolting as if trying to escape and leaving him struggling for balance or any kind of fine motor movement. For some reason his left side seemed to have less spasms than his right, a sign Severus took as a good omen and sign of potential progress, though they would have to see how he fared when they started him on his potions.

Slowly, they made their way out of the alley. Every step seemed to be a chore as Elias had to find his footing with every step and occasionally had to pause and readjust before continuing forward. They had just made it to the door when Elias’s legs finally decided they had had enough and refused to move any farther. Try as he might, he could not convince them to lift over the threshold of the door. His head was well and truly throbbing and all he wanted to do was crawl into a dark room and sleep, he didn’t even care if there was a bed or pillow available for him, he just wanted sleep.

“Elias, I’m going to pick you up,” Severus said as the boy’s footing faltered. He had hoped they would make it to the bedrooms at the very least, but it seemed he would need to recover some more on the settee before being able to try going up the stairs.

Sliding one arm under the boy’s buttocks and lifting him as best he could, Severus quickly walked the boy over to the settee and lowered him down so he was laying on his side. The boy moaned softly and readjusted himself into a more comfortable position before throwing an arm over his eyes and immediately drifting off to sleep.

Severus summoned a rather heavy blanket and threw it over the boy before walking to the kitchen and placing the three bottles of muggle tablets in the cabinet with the medicinal potions he kept on hand. Three different tablets to do what one potion was able to do, how absurd. Thankfully Elias wouldn’t have to be on these muggle medications for long, only a few weeks of transitioning potions and he would be able to be off of the muggle tablets for good.

Turning and walking down the stairs to the basement, he quickly set up a monitoring spell to assess for any activity from Elias. He hoped the boy would sleep for a while and recuperate from the shock of apparation on his system, but he knew there was still the potential of him waking up confused as to how he got there. Or having another seizure. The monitoring spell was designed for toddlers, but it was effective enough.

Walking down the stairs, he was pleasantly surprised to hear the sound of chopping. Draco, for all his spoiled behaviour, was actually shaping up to be a rather competent assistant and truly was decent at brewing more complicated potions. He had been a good decision on Severus’s part, now he just had to see if he and Elias would get along. Having a Malfoy on his son’s side could only work to his advantage if the two of them actually were amicable to one another.

“You’re back!” Draco said, attempting and failing to hide his excitement. “Did the muggles let you take him?”

“Yes, to be honest they seemed rather happy to be rid of us,” Severus said with a scoff. “He didn’t react well to apparation, however, so please give him time to rest before you go badgering him with your questions.”

Draco nodded and turned back to the pile of rat spleens he had been gingerly dicing, resisting the urge to run upstairs and at least look at the son of his mentor. What would he look like? What would he act like? Severus had been remarkably close-lipped about him even after saying he would be moving in with them, though he had allowed Draco to assist in choosing some of the more basic decor items in the boy’s room.

He was excited to meet this mysterious boy. This would be the first time in his life he had gotten to meet someone within the wizarding world without his father standing next to him guiding him on what to say. The potential of a true friend was one he didn’t want to pass up on. Theo was close, but even still their relationship was rather stilted as they both were playing the roles their families wanted them to play.

Other than the occasional admonishment of ‘be nice,’ Professor Snape had yet to tell him anything even remotely political about the boy. Did he support the Dark Lord? Had he received the Dark Mark? Would he ever? Was he being groomed for a position in the Ministry? Who was his mother and what was her blood status? All of the information he had been taught from a young age was imperative to know he wasn’t being told. He didn’t know if Professor Snape was doing so on purpose or if he was truly as private of a man as he seemed, but whatever the case may be, Draco felt rather off kilter.

“What are you making, sir?” Draco asked, looking over and at the professor as he started a potion which wasn’t using one of the bases Draco had prepared earlier.

“One potion of Elias’s I forgot about,” Severus said, by way of an explanation.

“What does it do?” Draco asked, looking at the ingredients the man had pulled down and trying to put them together in some sort of order in his mind.

“It is a modified potion used to facilitate a better swallow and gag reflex for Cruciatus victims with permanent nerve damage or muscle spasms,” Severus said with a sigh. When he had finally discovered what was going on with the boy, he had been afraid that may be an effect. Seeing Elias struggle to eat and the consistency of the food the muggles had put him on made him concerned for the boy. True, he was malnourished due to the muggle’s treatment of him, but if he couldn’t swallow well then there was no easy way for him to get the nutrition he so desperately needed.

Draco’s heart sank slightly. Professor Snape had warned him that Elias would be much skinnier than he expected, and much weaker, but to not even be able to swallow on his own? And then be told to go make his way in the world? What kind of monsters were his mother’s family?!

At least he was living with Professor Snape now. For all the bad press the man got from the other houses, every Slytherin knew the man truly cared about his students and would go out of his way to protect them. It was a shame he hadn’t been the one raising Elias; surely the boy would have been much healthier if that had been the case.

Together they worked in comfortable silence for nearly an hour, only occasionally asking each other for an ingredient here or a knife there. Finally summoning the required vials, Severus was done with the last potion Elias would require. For now anyways. It would be a never ending task to keep up with the demand, but it felt like a labor of love.

“Do you have any preference on what you would like for dinner?” Severus asked as he cleaned up his work station with the flick of his wand and checking the time. Surely Elias would be waking up soon; the monitor spell had already notified him that he was moving around more.

Draco shook his head. “I don’t have a preference. Would Elias?”

“I highly doubt it,” Severus snorted. “So long as it was not the slop they were feeding him in hospital, I do not believe he would care.”

“May I ask him?” Draco asked. It didn’t seem fair for him to choose what they ate and assume Elias would like it or even feel up to eating it.

Besides, Severus would still have the ultimate say in what they ate. He had asked a few days ago if they could get food from Lutin Noir, a highly rated restaurant located near the end of Diagon Alley. This was promptly vetoed as Severus stated he ‘would have to trade his entire store of rare ingredients to afford an appetizer.’ Draco had offered to pay, only for Severus to immediately take offense and insist they make food at home.

Severus nodded and waved him away, lifting another cauldron onto the work bench and setting it over a low flame before adding one of the pre-prepared bases to it. The base itself for this potion would have to heat slowly for several hours before any other ingredients could be added. It would take nearly nine hours to brew this particular poison, however it was grossly stable through the entire process and could be left to simmer for hours at a time. After this was done, there were only three other potions left which needed brewing for the rest of the week, then they could finally, after days of nearly continuous brewing, take a well needed break.

Unless the Dark Lord or the Headmaster requested something more, that is.

Draco quickly doffed his gloves and brewing robes and nearly ran up the stairs. Finally! Finally he would get the chance to meet the mysterious son of the potions master. Excitement and nervousness bubbled within his chest. What would Elias be like?

Walking from the kitchen to the living room, he stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the other boy on the sofa.

Elias lay on his stomach on the settee with one knee pulled to his chest and the other bent slightly to allow him to fit his rather lanky frame on the sofa. His face was buried in the crook of his arm; the blanket Severus had placed on him had fallen mostly onto the floor though still partially covering his torso. His cloak lay forgotten on one end of the settee and his boots still firmly stuck on his feet, though there was some evidence that he had tried to kick them off at some point. His shirt had ridden up slightly, revealing his unnaturally thin abdomen. His copper-toned, dark brown hair lay rather disheveled, curling slightly at the ends and further covering his face.

Draco winced slightly as a spasm visibly raced down the taller boy’s spine and his legs twitched sporadically for a moment before settling down momentarily. He couldn’t imagine having to live like that; constantly moving even when asleep. He couldn’t imagine Elias slept well and felt rather bad for wanting to wake him up to ask him something as simple as what he wanted for dinner.

He stood there staring at the boy for a moment longer before gathering the courage to approach him. Hopefully he wouldn’t be too angry at him for being woken up!

“Elias?” Draco said hesitantly. “Elias?”

Harry blearily woke up, eyes blinking rapidly as he tried to dislodge the small amount of sleep that had accumulated in the corners of his eyes. Who was Elias ...oh, yeah. Him. He was Elias. Slowly details of his situation filtered into his consciousness as he slowly stretched and tried to reorient himself on the sofa so he could sit up.

“Wha- t-t-t-time izzit-t?” he slurred as he shakily pulled himself into a sitting position, groaning softly as his head swam wildly with the movement.

“It’s nearly seven,” Draco said, confused as to why that would be the first question out of the boy’s mouth. If he had just been woken up by someone new, he would want to know who it was that woke him up before he asked the time.

“S-seven?” Elias asked again, rubbing his eyes and pulling his knees to his chest before laying his head on them and nearly falling asleep again. The throbbing in his head had decreased to a low but constant ache while he slept and rousing himself was not overly appealing.

“Seven. It’s almost time for dinner and Professor Snape wanted to know if you wanted anything in particular,” Draco said, sitting himself on the edge of the professor’s chair.

“‘M good-d,” Elias said, eyes drooping momentarily before shooting open and staring at the boy sitting across from him. “Who’re y-you?”

Harry Potter may know Draco Malfoy, but Elias Snape definitely didn’t. Remembering he would have to reintroduce himself to everyone would likely be the most difficult part of this transition out of being Harry. It was a small price to pay, though he feared finding out if there were those he saw as friends who only “liked” him due to his fame. A fear he hoped was unfounded, but a fear none the less.

“Draco Malfoy. I’m your father’s potions assistant for the summer,” Draco said cordially, holding out his hand.

“‘L-l-lo,” Elias stuttered, shaking the other boy’s hand. “I’m E-Elias.”

“It’s nice to finally meet you, Elias,” Draco said softly. Even shaking the boy's hand was a reminder he was not at all well. The bones of his fingers and hands were prominent and the constant quivering and shaking could be felt as soon as contact was made. Despite the house being quite well insulated and warm, Elias’s finger felt ice cold to the touch. “So, what do you want for dinner?”

Elias shrugged, reaching down and pulling the blanket back over him. “D-d-don’t c-care, ‘m n-n-n-not-t hun-ngry.”

Draco frowned in concern as he looked at the boy. “Is there anything you won’t eat?

“I-if I eat-t-t an-ny m-m-more m-m-m-mousse or j-jelly, I m-may sick-k up-p-p-p-p,” Elias said, scrunching his nose at the thought of eating more of the goo he had been forced to consume while in hospital.

“I doubt Professor Snape would allow you to eat only that anyways,” Draco snorted, handing Elias the pair of wire framed glasses which had ended up on the floor. “Is there no food you miss having? Something you haven’t been able to have while being in the hospital?”

“L-l-like t-takeaw-way?” Elias asked, rubbing his eyes once more before putting the glasses on. The prescription was already slightly off despite having been made only days previous, but it was still much better than his original pair.

“I… I guess?” Draco said, slightly confused by the term. He could extrapolate the meaning of it easily enough, but something about the term seemed oddly ‘muggle.’ “What kind of ‘takeaway’ would you like?”

“Chin-n-nese?” Elias said, unsure as to if it would be an acceptable answer. He had never actually had Chinese takeaway himself, but it always smelled heavenly whenever the Dursleys would get it. Occasionally he managed to get some leftover fried rice and always wished he could make it stretch longer or could learn to make it on his own. Judging by Draco’s expression, he doubted the other wizard had ever had any kind of muggle takeaway, but he had asked!

“I’ll ask the Professor if he is agreeable to ‘Chinese takeaway,’” Draco said, standing abruptly from the chair and walking back to the basement. How long had Elias been with the muggles that he developed an affinity for their food? No proper pureblood would ever order muggle food when there were plenty of proper magical restaurants which needed business.

As Draco left, Elias took a deep breath and sighed. He was thankful for the thoroughness with which Snape went over the information with him about their living arrangements; the idea of being awoken by Malfoy and not realizing that that was a possibility was rather terrifying. Now he was going to be asking if they could have Chinese takeaway for dinner, something he had never in a million years thought he would see Snape or Malfoy eating.

Slowly stretching his legs and pushing himself into a standing position, he winced as his back twinged and his arms ached as he stretched them as well. He was just glad the throbbing in his head had finally dulled to a manageable ache and the dizziness had finally died down. Apparation was by far and away his least favorite type of travel now, even surpassing Portkeys if only just. Portkeys had horrific memories attached to them, but at least they didn’t make him physically ill for hours.

Folding the blanket up as best he could and shaking out his arms once more, he limped over to what he hoped was a toilet, stumbling heavily as his right knee buckled when his thigh spasmed randomly. Physical therapy had noticed his legs would do that from time to time and recommended he use some sort of assistive device to prevent him from tumbling to the ground. They also recommended he continue with therapy after being discharged, though he couldn’t imagine Snape taking him from Hogwarts to therapy and back several times a week.

Perhaps that was something he could speak about to whoever was his tutor for the year?

Opening the door he assumed led to the toilet, he sighed with relief when he realized he was correct in his assumption. At least that was one less thing he had to ask about. He assumed he wouldn’t be sleeping on the sofa for the next few weeks before they all moved back to Hogwarts, but it certainly wouldn’t be the first time he had couch surfed. Already, living with Snape was turning out to be better than the Dursley’s. He had been picked up from the hospital without being made to feel like a burden, helped inside when he felt too sick to move, and was now being offered food despite not having done anything around the house to help out.

Was this what it felt like to be in a normal family?

Finishing using the loo and washing his hands, he couldn’t help but stare at himself in the mirror. The boy looking back at him was continuing to look progressively less and less like Harry Potter. Height-wise, he seemed to have finally leveled out and stopped growing, though he was still significantly taller than he had ever been as Harry Potter. His hair had loosened in texture to more of a fine wave and less of the curl which had made his hair so unruly before. His eyes had darkened in color to a more dark hazel, as well as changing shape slightly to have slightly more downturned corners. His lips had thinned out somewhat and his nose had developed a slight hook to it, though nowhere near as prominent as his father’s.

It was a strange sensation, looking at yourself in the mirror and having the person staring back at you look completely different from the person you had been so accustomed to seeing. The person staring back at him was certainly not Harry Potter, even the scar on his forehead was well camouflaged by the much larger and more fresh gash from his earlier fall. Even more strange than his appearance though was the feeling it brought with it. Looking at himself in the mirror, he felt at ease, as though that had always been him and the other person he was used to seeing was just him using Polyjuice. This body felt more “right,” more natural, like this was who he was supposed to be the entire time.

His right calf suddenly spasmed under him, breaking him out of his musings and sending him pitching forwards, barely managing to catch himself on the sink and inadvertently kicking the door with his heel.

“Ow! Shit!” he hissed clinging to the sink basin, waiting for the spasm to pass. Thankfully, he still had his boots on, otherwise he could almost guarantee he would have been sporting yet another bruise. Blushing furiously in embarrassment at his misfortune but glad no one seemed to have noticed the sounds coming from the loo, he quickly finished washing his hands and limped back to the sofa.

Collapsing back into the soft pillows, he gingerly stretched his legs out and propped them on the cushions next to him. It felt strange to be still wearing the boots, but try as he might he could only manage to get a few of the buttons undone, and not even enough to slide his feet out. His fingers simply did not want to grasp something as small as the buttons, and the fine movements required to undo the buttons were beyond his abilities.

A flurry of footsteps on the stairs brought his attention to the kitchen as Draco came running back up the stairs. Raising an eyebrow as the other boy started digging through the drawers with a frown on his face before he found a bundle of what seemed to be pamphlets. He then flicked through them, reading the headings of them before finally exclaiming “HA!” and pulling one from the stack and pulling a small stack of muggle paper money out of an envelope in the same drawer.

“Elias, he said ok, but we have to use the telephone to call and order,” Draco said, looking rather unsure as he looked at the phone sitting on the small table at the base of the stairs. “Do you know how to use it? I have the menu.”

Elias nodded before pushing himself up with a groan and limping back towards the stairs. Maybe having something to help him walk, even for a short time, wouldn’t go amiss? He felt like he was walking like a drunkard, stumbling about as though he was constantly losing his balance. The physical therapist had asked if he had ever used crutches, to which he had replied instantly in the negative. Maybe for long distances he could use some? He’d have to ask Snape about possibly getting some or a cane.

“What-t-t d-do y-you like?” Elias asked, sitting himself on the stairs and grabbing the phone through the stair rail. While he doubted Malfoy had ever had Chinese, he didn’t want to make any assumptions.

Draco shrugged and handed over the menu. “I have never eaten from a takeout. Whatever you recommend. Professor Snape requested nothing too spicy, however.”

Elias nodded his head and took the offered menu, briefly looking it over then dialing the number from the front of the menu. It was standard Chinese takeaway, nothing too wild and crazy, but with plenty of choices and decent prices. If the food tasted even half as good as it looked in the picture, he may have to bribe some more takeaway out of his father before the end of summer.

“‘L-lo,” he stuttered, wincing immediately. He had hoped to make it through the order with minimal stumbling over words, but apparently that was not going to be possible. “C-can I g-g-get an ord-der of Chick-k-ken f-fried rice, s-s-sweet and s-sour p-p-p-p-pork, s-satay chick-ken, and-d” -he squinted at the menu- “c-crab-b-b r-rang-goon?”

Draco watched as he completed the order and got the total before asking for Draco to ask Professor Snape what the address to the house was. Where had this boy learned to use muggle devices so well? And be at least somewhat comfortable ordering food from them, or at least knowledgeable with their ways of ordering he was able to make the order despite his stutter. Hadn’t he lived with his mother and her family? Surely they hadn’t been muggles?!

“Th-thanks!” Elias said, before hanging up the phone and turning to Draco. “It’ll b-be here in-n t-t-twent-ty m-m-minutes. Wh-what?”

“Where did you learn how to use that?” Draco said, staring at him with a look of utter confusion and slight revulsion on his face.

“M-m-muggle st-t-tudies?” Elias said with a frown. Would his tutor have covered muggle studies with him? He hoped so, it would certainly explain why he knew how to work muggle devices. “A-and I l-l-l-lived with them-m when-n-n I w-was w-work-king for the g-g-gard-den-ning c-comp-p-p-p-pany.”

Draco glared at him in suspicion before finally nodding his head. There was something more to this story, he could feel it. Something wasn’t quite adding up, but what was it? What had happened with his relatives that had made him so sufficient in the muggle world? Even if his parents had dropped him off randomly in the muggle world, he doubted he would be as proficient at ordering food from a takeaway menu as what Elias was in after only a month. Even if he had taken muggle studies, he doubted he would be as fluent in his ability to order and provide the necessary information the takeaway place wanted.

On the other side of the coin, there was still the possibility that Elias’s tutor was more versed in muggle studies and wanted him to be as independent as he possibly could be when not in the wizarding world. Still though, it was highly suspicious.

He would have to keep a closer eye on the older boy. Discrepancies in his story were reportable, though why would Professor Snape, one of the Dark Lord’s right hand men, be trying to hide someone in his own home? It was curious.

Extremely curious.
To be continued...
Chapter 13 by DesertPlanet
His first night at Snape’s house had gone rather well, he thought. The food was good, the conversation was rather stilted (though he could blame much of that on his stutter), and he finally got to sleep in a bed he could claim as his own. He had even managed to make it up the stairs relatively unscathed, though he did have to go up them essentially on all fours for fear of pitching backwards down them. The only negative he had for the rest of the night was that he had had to ask for assistance in removing the boots, something Snape admitted he didn’t quite think through when he had purchased them and promised to find a spell to make them easier to get on and off.

Almost immediately upon laying down, he drifted off into dreamland, exhausted as he was from the long day of transitioning out of the hospital.

He had only been asleep for about two hours when the nightmares began. Cedric in the graveyard begging him to take his body back to his parents. Watching his blood trickle down from the gash Wormtail had gouged in his arm and hearing it splash into the cauldron below. Hearing Wormtail scream as he sliced off his own hand to place it in the cauldron as well. The sheer helplessness of watching the rebirth of the man who murdered his parents and knowing he would be next.

The dreams then shifted to a large, well decorated hall in what appeared to be a manor of some kind. On one side of the room, Voldemort sat in a high back throne of sorts and gestured wildly at those surrounding him. His face was just as gaunt as ever, though the fury radiating from his person made him seem even more skeletal as his face became more pinched.

“We haven’t found Potter, my Lord,” the Death Eater kneeling in front of him said, voice quivering slightly from fear.

“How?! HOW?! HE IS FIFTEEN! He is barely trained! How have you IMBECILES managed to let him evade your detection!” Voldemort screamed, standing from his throne and stalking forward. “Crucio.”

Immediately, Elias felt his own body begin to scream in pain. His nerves felt as though millions of individual hot pokers had been slammed into them, scorching them and causing his muscles to involuntarily contract. He couldn’t pull his eyes from the man twitching and screaming in front of him much like he was doing.

Finally, Voldemort released him from the grips of the spell and kicked him violently in the stomach out of fury. He then turned to his followers and motioned for one to step forward. Standing behind the man was a slightly smaller figure who, despite not wearing a mask, was still well covered as he had his hood up, covering the majority of his face. A face that had a mildly green tinge to it’s pale skin as it looked in the direction of the tortured man.

“Sssseverussss,” Voldemort said as the man kneeled before him. “What news do you have from the Headmaster.”

“The Headmaster is unaware of where the boy could be,” Severus’s voice said from beneath the mask. “He has had his people out searching for the boy, even venturing as far away as Ireland and France. He is currently trying to keep the boy’s disappearance away from the media in an effort to prevent panic.”

Voldemort’s fury only increased at this statement. “Are you certain he is not hiding in the castle?”

“No, my lord,” Severus said flatly, bracing himself. “I have not been able to search the castle myself as of yet.”


“I do not know, my lord,” Severus said softly, before his body went rigid as the cruciatus ripped through him. He did not scream, however he did let out a small whimper before the curse was lifted.

Elias felt his own nerves begin to scream as the curse hit his father, his muscles once again spasming violently and a cry of pain leaving his mouth. He hurt so badly. Why wasn’t it stopping?

“FIND HIM!” Voldemort screeched. “FIND HIM AND BRING HIM TO ME!”

Elias woke with a start, head feeling muddled and every ounce of muscle he had quivering violently. He felt as though he was going to be sick and was fairly certain he had soiled himself during his nightmare. Was that even a nightmare? He had had one similar before, but Voldemort had been in a remarkably better mood at the time.

Where was he? The room he was in seemed familiar but not. It wasn’t his room on Privat Drive was it? He couldn’t remember if his dad had made him paint it or not, that was the only way to describe why the walls were now a comfortable light green. But ….

Where was he? This wasn’t his bed. His bed had a spring which stabbed him right in the most tender part of his lower back, making it so hard to get comfortable and fall asleep. His dad had talked about him having a new mattress though. And …

Where was he? The light outside of his room wasn’t in the right spot. Had he moved house? There was no way the town council would have moved the light polls over night. Had his dad moved them so they wouldn’t shine directly in his window?

Or had it snowed? He felt extremely cold and hot at the same time, like his body couldn’t make up its mind on what temperature it wanted to be. He was shaking terribly as though he had been stuck outside in the winter rains yet again but was sweating as though it were a hot summer's day.

Was it day or was it night? He looked at the window and couldn’t decide. There was light out there but was that a window or was that the door? Which one was it?

Where was he?!

He needed to go. If he didn’t start cooking breakfast, Aunt Petunia would have his head on a platter and he wasn’t sure if he could cook head very well. He’d never tried to after all. Swinging his feet over the side of the bed, he was surprised when he immediately overbalanced and fell sideways, nearly falling off the bed and onto the floor.

“Elias?” A voice said from the window. Or was it the door. “Elias, where are you going?”

“N-n-n-no!” He yelled, continuing to try to stand. He didn’t need help! He didn’t want help! He just wanted to … to get ready for class? This wasn’t his dorm though. How would he ever find his way to class?! Had he been transferred to Durmstrang? He really hoped not; he hadn’t studied any Romanian.

“Professor?” The person in the door called as he slowly approached. “Professor, I think something is wrong with Elias!”

He heard some shuffling outside of the door and looked over to see a man in all black standing there like it was a dream. He couldn’t be here, could he? His father had died years ago, how was he here now? Had he died too? Was that why he hurt so bad? This couldn’t be real!

“Draco, grab a Cruciatus reliever from the potions cupboard in the kitchen,” his father said in a low voice, striding over to his bed. “Quickly!”

The blonde boy…. Malfoy!..... disappeared in a flurry of rapid steps down the stairs as his father levitated his twitching form back up in bed and spelled him clean. His father then spelled his bed so he wasn’t lying flat anymore and quickly sat by him, spelled the lights on, and began waving his wand over him. Bright lights shone in his eyes momentarily, leaving him seeing spots and, for some reason, sneezing uncontrollably.

“Here,” Draco said, seemingly appearing from nowhere and thrusting a potion into his father’s hand. “What’s wrong with him?”

Elias looked at his father in terror as the man uncorked the vial Draco had brought for him. It was poison, surely. Why else would Draco want to give it to him? Draco had hated him ever since the train. Had he been hit by the train? Was Voldemort the train conductor? Where was he now?!

His stomach was suddenly filled with a cool substance and slowly, very slowly, the twitching began to subside slightly. It was easier to breathe. It was easier to move. His head was still filled with fluff, but it wasn’t whirling quite as bad as before. Everything seemed much ...slower… now. More calm. It made more sense.

Sort of.

“D-d-d-da?” he whimpered, wincing when a particularly bad spasm raced down his back. “Wh-wh-wher-r-r-e?”

“You’re at my house in Cokeworth,” Severus said, summoning a wet flannel and dabbing his forehead while frowning. The flannel came away stained in blood; when had his head started bleeding again? Hadn’t the sutures held? “Do you know what happened?”

“N-n-n-n-night-t-t-m-m-mar-r-e,” Elias stuttered out, attempting to wipe his eyes but smacking himself in the chin instead. “Ooowwwww!”

“A nightmare did this?” Draco said in shock.

“Go to bed Draco,” Severus said, a dangerous tone to his voice.


“Now! I’ll take care of him,” Severus said, continuing to hold pressure on the bleeding wound on his son’s head.

Draco sullenly turned and went to his room, resisting the urge to slam the door in frustration. They had just returned from the Dark Lord’s latest summons, an event Draco was learning to despise more and more, with Severus having to lean quite heavily on him for fear of falling over. He had gotten his mentor one of the many Cruciatus relief potions they had in stock and was heading to bed when he heard what sounded like someone crying. It took him a minute to figure out where the sound was coming from, only to realize it was coming from Elias’s room.

What kind of nightmare would do that?! The boy looked worse off than Professor Snape and he had been tortured for several minutes! Was this a regular occurrence? Would Elias be ok?

Kicking off his shoes and throwing his robes over his desk chair, he flopped into bed and listened to see if he could hear anything coming from Elias’s room. He hoped the other boy would be ok, but something in the back of his mind kept whispering to expect the worst. How could the muggles have discharged him from their hospital if he was this bad off? Did they tell Professor Snape something that he didn’t want to pass on?

Mind racing, he listened to the muffled murmurs from the other room, trying to make out what was being said. He even debated trying to use an amplification spell to see if that would help, but wisely decided against it. Sneaking around would only land him in trouble as it had his first year with that blasted dragon. If it was really important for him to know, Professor Snape would tell him.

He hoped.

Severus sighed as he heard Draco’s door shut. He had hoped to return from the summons, take the Cruciatus reliever, maybe have a small glass of whiskey, and go to bed. A nice, relaxing end to a stressful day. Instead, he now had one moody teenager on his hands and another who seemed to have been cursed by an unknown assailant.

So much for being caught up.

When the Dark Lord hadn’t given them a list of potions to be completed by week’s end, he had been rather shocked but didn’t mention to the man the lack of work. No extra brewing for the Dark Lord meant he could finish the required potions for the school for the start of the year. There would still be potions which would need to be brewed throughout the year, of course, but having a stock of the more basic potions was always a good way to start. A well stocked potions cabinet in a castle filled with accident prone pre-teens and teens was a god-send for the matron of the Hospital Wing.

Now, however, it looked like he would have to set Draco to brewing those more basic potions while he himself brewed a variety of other potions for his son.

The confusion, spasms, and overall lack of coordination he saw in Elias was distressing. As a Death Eater, he had seen those symptoms before in a few of his compatriots as well as in their victims. Few of Bellatrix’s ‘playthings’ had escaped without those exact symptoms; the most well known of which being Alice and Frank Longbottom. Thankfully, Elias had snapped out of it somewhat when given the Cruciatus reliever, but what could have exacerbated his symptoms so much?

Or rather, who?

The wards to Spinner’s End hadn’t been breached. The observation spells he had placed on Elias’s bed hadn’t detected any seizure-like activity. So what had happened? There was no logical reason for him to suddenly get so much worse so quickly. And to add to the mystery, the remains of his ‘Harry Potter’ scar was bleeding.

“Elias, do you remember what happened?” Severus said, voice quiet yet taut. “Do you remember anything?”

Elias stared off towards the door in thought. What had happened? Everything seemed rather hazy. He had come home and gotten sick… No wait, that wasn’t right. He had gotten sick outside then come inside and slept and Aunt Petunia… no, she wasn’t here… Draco? Draco had ordered food and then he had gone to bed but Dudley had wanted to watch a new TV show and… No, Dudley wasn’t here, was he? Dudley liked Chinese food, had he been the one to order the food?

“D-d-d-dud-dley?” Elias asked quietly, looking blearily towards the door.

Severus shook his head and resisted the urge to legilimens the boy to find the information he needed. “Your cousin isn’t here, he is still in Surrey.”

“Oh,” Elias said quietly, then frowned. “Wh-wh-where are w-w-we?”

“Cokeworth,” Severus said with a slight sigh. He had a feeling that would be a common question for a while. “What was your nightmare about?”

“H-h-him! W-w-was-s-s m-m-m-mad! S-s-s-s-so m-m-mad!” Elias hugged his arms to his chest and pulled his knees up, not caring how badly the motion made his feet cramp. “C-c-can’t-t find-d-d m-m-m-me!”

Severus briefly felt a shiver go down his spine, but ignored it. Surely he was talking about his cousin and not the Dark Lord. There was no feasible way that he could have heard anything that was happening in that meeting, no way he could have known the lengths to which the Dark Lord was searching. The lengths that everyone was going to to find him or at least find out what had happened to him. Had it not been for the boy’s request to not be under the thumb of the Headmaster any longer, Severus would have likely turned him over for the simple fact that he would have access to more adept medical care than a potions master with minor training in emergency healing.

“Did you want him to find you?” Severus asked, summoning a muscle relaxing cream as well as a mild pain reliever.

Elias shook his head vehemently, shifting uncomfortably in the bed with a groan as his nightclothes suddenly disappeared and a drying and cleansing charm applied to the bed under him. The strange sensations sent off a volley of spasms throughout his torso and lower back which left him gasping for breath. The murmured apologies from his father did little to quell the pain, though the cream which was gingerly being rubbed into his neck was heavenly and certainly was helpful.

Severus watched in relief as Elias’s eyes fluttered closed as the pain reliever finally set in and the muscle relaxer worked its magic. If it weren't for the side effects, Severus would have happily given the boy the entire tin to use every day as needed. The ripples the spasms were causing in his muscles were clearly visible even under his night clothes leading him to believe the boy was much more sore than he was letting on. Afterall, he had been constantly moving for at least a month, although it seemed to have been getting progressively worse as the potion continued to fail.

The urge to spell Dreamless Sleep into his son to prevent him from having another episode such as this was high, but the addictive quality of the potion made him think again. He couldn’t in good conscience drug his son continuously; anyone with children or an interest in potions would understand that ethical dilemma.

Standing and straightening his robes, he gently pulled the blanket back over Elias’s much more relaxed form. Hopefully he would sleep through the rest of the night with no more problems. Hopefully he would be more alert when he next woke up. Hopefully his tremors would die down.

To be continued...
Chapter 14 by DesertPlanet
“Thank you for coming, Remus,” Dumbledore said, motioning to the empty chair in front of him.

Remus Lupin sat gratefully in the offered chair. The full moon was just behind him, but its effects were still being felt. Without a stable job or stable income, he could hardly afford housing, let alone the life saving Wolfsbane potion. Had it not been for Sirius escaping from Azkaban two years previous, he likely would have been spending his summer on the streets. Again.

The meager savings he had managed to put together while teaching at Hogwarts was quickly depleted, leaving him in much the same state he had been prior to having it. Muggle jobs didn’t understand the amount of time off he needed, nor did they accept his ‘degree.’ Wizarding jobs were even more difficult to come by as anti-werewolf sentiment raged unchecked through the community. Between a rock and a hard place was hardly an understatement; having been let go from yet another position in the muggle world, Remus found himself asking his long time friend yet again for a roof over his head and bed to sleep in.

“Thank you for having me,” Remus replied cordially, accepting the candy the man offered. “Has there been any word on Harry?”

Dumbledore sighed before popping a lemon drop into his own mouth. “Alas, there has not been. Severus says even Voldemort is having no luck. I am afraid I may have to alert the ministry proper, not just our Aurors within the Order.”

“Where could he have gone?” Remus mused mournfully, resisting the wolfish urge to whine.

“Sadly, I believe the one person who knows where Harry is is Harry himself,” Dumbledore said softly, conjuring a teapot and pouring them both a cup. “That is not why I called you here today, however.”

“Albus, you know I cannot return to teaching,” Remus said sadly, stirring a spoonful of sugar into his tea.

“And there are no openings this year,” Dumbledore said with a sigh. “As much as I wish that were not the case for once. No, the ministry has decided to take it upon themselves to fill your former position.”

“Then why…?” Remus said, looking at the elderly headmaster with a raised eyebrow and slightly cocked head.

“One of the current professors reached out to me nearly a month ago about finding their child a tutor,” Dumbledore stated, eyes twinkling madly. “They stated that they would either need a live-in tutor or a sabbatical as the child in question has multiple medical problems.”

Remus frowned. Tutoring he could do. Babysitting … questionable. He could do it, but he had very little experience with children under the age of eight. And being essentially a nurse? No. He could barely nurse himself back to health, let alone keep another person alive. Combining all of these into one? Impossible.

“... here in Hogwarts, of course,” Dumbledore prattled away as though the decision was already made. “Meals will be provided to you, as will a private set of quarters. And accommodations will be made for your ‘furry little problem,’ as you used to call it.”

“Hold on,” Remus held up a hand in an effort to stop the man’s train of thought. “You haven’t even told me anything about who this is! I’ve been a tutor before, muggle and magical, but never live in! And never for a child with medical problems! Who’s child is it even? Is it the new Defense professor’s?”

“No, certainly not,” Dumbledore snorted lightly into his tea at the thought. Delores Umbridge hated children with a burning passion. The only ‘child’ he could ever see her having would be a child of the furry variety, possibly a cat if memory served. The fact that Severus’s child would even be on the school grounds would likely be a bone of contention with the woman, and he wasn’t even under school age.

“Then who’s child is it?” Remus continued to press. There were very few young professors on Hogwarts’ staff roster; if Dumbledore had said ‘grandchild,’ the list would be much longer. As it was, the list of who could have a young child was quite short. In fact, it only consisted of the Muggle Studies professor, Charity Burbage, and Snape who he doubted very much had a child. An adopted child was also a possibility, but Remus couldn’t picture any of the professors trying to raise a child in the school.

“Severus’s,” Dumbledore said, eyes continuing to twinkle as the other man’s eyes widened in shock.

“Severus has a child?!” Remus gasped in shock as he tried to imagine the man being even slightly paternal.

“The reason I contacted you for this position is because of the delicate nature of Severus’s position within the Order,” Dumbledore said, topping off his tea and adding more sugar to it. “As a live-in tutor, you would be more likely to ‘accidentally’ stumble across information which would may be detrimental to Severus’s cover and safety.”

Remus sat in shock, mind whirling at the sheer idea of Severus having a child. He knew the man was very private about his personal life, but this went above and beyond secretive. Even imagining Severus as a father was a difficult feat of mental gymnastics. Who was the child’s mother even?

“How old is this child?” Remus asked, now trying to picture what Severus looked like as a child. His memory of Severus when they had started Hogwarts was fuzzy at best, and the more he tried to push himself to remember, the more he just superimposed the modern, surly countenance of the man over a much younger frame.

“Sixteen, apparently,” Dumbledore said, peering through his glasses at the letter once more. “Though he needs a bit more of a patient hand when it comes to his studies, from what Severus said.”

“What’s wrong with him?” Remus tried to look over the desk at the letter in Dumbledore’s hand.

“Severus didn’t say, only that he has ‘multiple medical issues’ which prohibit him from attending Hogwarts as a student.”

Even Dumbledore looked a bit concerned about that statement. As Remus knew, there were few magical conditions which would prohibit a student from attending Hogwarts. While in the past, those with creature blood or afflictions were barred from attendance, many of these previously banned conditions were allowed with Dumbledore as headmaster. Severus was well aware of this, yet still his son was not allowed to attend. Accommodations could be made for most everything, including learning disabilities, but the child would have to physically make it to class and be able to be independent on school grounds. Whatever was wrong must have had the potential for grievous bodily harm of either himself or another student in an unpredictable manner.

“I assume he has had tutors before?” Remus said, sitting back down and pondering his next move. Being back at Hogwarts would be a dream come true, even if it was as a tutor rather than as a professor. Having a roof over his head, access to medical assistance, and routine meals would do him a world of good.

“Yes, of course,” Albus said, looking once more at the letter Severus had sent him. “From the letter, he has been having tutors and was being tutored by a witch by the name of Madame Clarissa Zebronski. I believe we have had some of her former students come through before and they have all done quite well. Severus did state that he would provide us with a copy of Elias’s grades and curriculum should a tutor be provided.”

Remus nodded. He hadn’t heard of Madame Zebronski before, however it wasn’t hard to believe that she would have been a competent instructor. It was hard to imagine Severus using anyone other than someone competent for his son.

“Should I accept, I would like to meet up with Elias prior to the start of the year,” Remus said, tapping his lips with a finger. “If he is used to tutors, he may have already chosen his focus for the year and I would like to have time to develop a curriculum around it.”

Dumbledore nodded, adding yet another cube of sugar to his tea. “That is understandable. Would you like some time to decide or should I continue looking for a tutor?”

“I need to speak with Sirius first, but I shall give you an answer by tomorrow morning,” Remus said, standing and stretching his back with a groan. “Thank you for the tea. Let me know if you hear anything about Harry.”

“Absolutely,” Dumbledore said, his eyes rapidly losing their twinkle. “I do hope he reappears soon, and unharmed.”

He knew what lay on the other side of the door, but there was a sense of anxiety brewing within him that only the years of having dealt with Bellatrix’s ‘playthings’ prepared him for. How on earth had it gotten this bad? Elias had been quite functional yesterday, but that nightmare had caused such a horrific relapse that Severus very nearly flooed Lucius to see if that woman had come to his house. She hadn’t, of course, unless she suddenly became a master at breaking through wards and had managed to be in two places at once, but Cruciatus damage was her specialty and there was no mistaking it.

If there was an antidote to the potion or a simple spell to complete the degradation of the 15 year old potion, Severus would have made it in a heartbeat. Lily’s son- his son- didn’t deserve that torture. He didn’t deserve the damage it caused him, no matter how it happened or who was the culprit. Cruciatus was as dark as they came and there was no excuse for using it. Ever.

What he really needed was help. A proper diagnosis for what was going on with his son. St Mungos was out of the question, unfortunately, as they didn’t have his paperwork forged yet, nor did they have a good reason for why he had never been seen. The catch twenty-two of the situation was he needed a diagnosis to know the best potions to make, but to get a diagnosis he almost needed a diagnosis. The muggle chart he had gotten a copy of had some of the information on it that he would need, but he needed a healer for his son.

One who could keep his mouth shut.

Opening the door, Severus nearly sighed with relief. Elias was still sleeping, though he did not appear nearly as relaxed as he had immediately following the potions he had been given the night before. The occasional jolt of his muscles was still visible, though not as bad.

The status of his brain, however, was still unknown.

Transfiguring a chair from a tissue, Severus sighed and sat at Elias’s bedside and watched the boy sleep for several minutes, much as he had throughout the night, before seeing to make up his mind.

“Elias?” he said, surprising even himself with how gently it came out. “Elias, you need to wake up.”

Elias blearily opened his eyes and blinked slowly, looking dozily around the room before finally managing to focus on the man sitting beside him. Every part of his body felt sore, including his hair, and trying to focus on anything was nigh impossible. He recognized the man in front of him, but trying to figure out where from didn’t seem worth the effort. Going back to sleep seemed like a better idea.

“Elias, can you stay awake for me?” the man said as Elias’s eyes slid shut once again.

Elias moaned and tried to roll over only to find the motion was far more difficult than he thought. Rolling required coordination and coordination was hard. Coordination required thinking and strength and he seemed to be lacking in both those departments right now.

“I need you to take your tablets and your potions,” the man said, pulling a stick out of his sleeve and making the bed change shape.

His eyes opened wide as the bed shifted into a more chair-like position and he tried in vain to blink the sleep away despite his eyes wanting to roll back in his head and fall back asleep. He took a deep breath in and stretched feeling his arms and legs shake and spasm at the motion.

“‘Mmup,” he murmured, continuing to try to keep his eyes open. “‘Mmup.”

“Yes, I see that,” Severus said, worry preventing him from chuckling at the teen who was clearly not ‘up.’ “Drink this please.”

Elias looked at the small vial the man was holding with mild curiosity. Was it poison? He didn’t know, nor did he care. It was a small, green vial, and the light was bouncing off of it making it seem as though it were glowing. The glow was mesmerizing, almost like being under the lake and looking up, or looking out through the windows of the Slytherin common room and seeing the squid go by.

Severus sighed and removed the cork and pressed it to the boy’s lips as Elias looked in confused awe at the vial in his hand. “Drink.”

The thing in the vial tasted rather herbal, almost minty, and cooled his throat on the way down. The sensation of cold radiated out from his insides and he shivered violently. Why was he so cold suddenly? Where was his …? What was he looking for? Why was he so warm?

Severus tucked his wand back into his holster after placing a mild warming spell on the boy’s blankets before picking up the next vial and repeating the previous action. The potion to calm his throat and allow him to safely swallow had a rather large amount of dandelion root and was known to feel rather cold. It only made sense that with a nervous system that was trying (and failing) to relearn sensations, Elias’s body would misinterpret the sensation as feeling cold.

Another vial was pressed to his lips, this one smelled more sour and much less pleasant. Elias tried to back away, but the man continued to tilt the vial into his mouth despite his (admittedly weak) protests. It tasted just as bad as it smelled, but he felt much less achy. His mouth felt abnormally dry, almost as if he had been eating sand, but the rest of his body felt much more … airy; as though he were floating in a pool room temperature water. The warmth from his blankets relaxing him even further. Sleep was calling and he wanted so badly to answer.

“Just tablets now, then you can go back to sleep,” Severus said as Elias’s eyes drifted shut once more.

Elias moaned and opened his eyes slightly. Tablets? Why was he on tablets? Why was… Snape? … giving him tablets? Potions worked better than tablets anyways. Always did…

Gently, Severus placed the tablets into his son’s mouth and coaxed him to swallow them down before finally allowing him to go back to sleep. He would have to wake him again in a few hours for another round of the Cruciatus reliever as well as another dose of muscle relaxer. And again a few hours after that for more pain reliever and several nutrient potions. If the boy was going to get any rest at all, it would be in spurts throughout the day.

Already, Severus was feeling the strain of being the caregiver of a sick child. His own sleep was highly irregular already, and adding potions administration and general worry over the boy’s well-being was not helping. James Potter was likely rolling over in his grave at how much effort his nemesis was putting into caring for the boy, but Severus could only scoff at the idea. He had long ago learned how horrific the Cruciatus could be; no child deserved to feel that pain or suffer the repercussions of it.

Especially not his own child.

One thing was for certain though, he needed a better plan on how to deal with this. He could continue giving the boy potions to help with the symptoms, but that wouldn’t help prevent these attacks from happening. Nor would it potentially save the boy’s life. If things continued this way, there was a high potential the boy could end up as a permanent fixture at St. Mungo’s alongside the Longbottoms.

He needed to see a specialist, but not one who would ask questions. One who was neutral or light leaning. One who was not under Dumbledore’s or the Ministry’s thumb. One who had the authority to create official documentation which could be turned in to St. Mungo’s whether or not it was true.

He needed Shannon McAllister to get back with him, and quickly. He only hoped she would be amicable to his request.
To be continued...
Chapter 15 by DesertPlanet
Shannon McAllister sighed as she lit another cigarette, propped her feet up on the coffee table in front of her, and took a small sip of the vodka she had gotten from a neighbor. Life in Minsk wasn’t easy, but it was far more rewarding than working in either the States or the UK had been. Especially when working with the wizarding population in the area.

Communism and its follies had really done a number on the wizarding population in the Eastern Bloc.

Growing up in the US, Shannon had been brought up to fear what the USSR was capable of and those who followed the ideologies of Communism. Bombing drills were a part of her education in primary school, and even when she was a student at Ilvermorny that fear of attack was still pounded into her. Portions of the Ilvermorny basements were converted to bomb shelters and the warding was increased to dissuade even bombers flying high in the sky from flying near the school..

Naturally, she was fascinated.

Europe, however, was a forbidden fruit unable to be explored at the time. War within the wizarding world of Europe was raging with Voldemort at the helm of the Dark and Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts, at the helm of the Light. The only way for an American witch to be allowed onto the continent was to be willing to fight, be smuggled in by Voldemort’s cronies, or to come as a medic.

Shannon was no fool, however. She knew what she was capable of and what she struggled with. She was not spectacular at fighting, but she was quite good at healing. Upon the completion of her NEWTS, she immediately applied for and was granted a healer apprenticeship at Tokoi Center for Magical Maladies in Pennsylvania. Keeping one eye on the unfolding crisis in Europe, she decided to focus on spell damage, particularly that caused by the Unforgivables.

Graduating no where near the top of her class, she immediately applied to be transferred to St. Mungo’s in England in hopes of working on the spell damage ward. While her application was accepted, she was initially placed in the pediatric burn ward due to a misunderstanding between her American qualifications and her transfer paperwork. Frustrating was an understatement. If she had thought the bureaucracy of the US was bad, the UK was so much worse. Drop off this form here, take this form there, pray they got filed correctly, find out they got lost when an owl got hit by a muggle truck, re-file everything again.

Nearly six months into her time in the UK, she finally was transferred to the Spell Damage department and quickly made a name for herself within the healers on the unit. Funny how that happens when you’re placed in the department you originally applied for and specialized in. For some reason they still felt that she enjoyed pediatrics so she was routinely assigned pediatric spell damage cases. While she didn’t really care much for the pediatric cases which came in, mostly because they generally revolved around children getting ahold of their parent’s wands or were emotionally charged messes, as the war continued to rage, more and more children were brought in with curse damage.

It was horrifying watching the children of nomajs be brought in screaming for their parents who had just been killed in front of them as they themselves were suffering the effects of the various torture spells. It was worse when she would be called to a scene to identify the curses used on the victims and verify which was the cause of death. This wasn’t what she wanted to do. This had never been what she wanted to do.

The last draw was the final patient she took at St. Mungo’s, and ironically had been deemed the final patient of the war: Harry Potter.

She still remembered the tears rolling down his face as he screamed for his newly deceased mother and father, blood freshly dried on the toddler’s face from the slice left from the killing curse.

He had been brought in by none other than Albus Dumbledore himself, a man she had never gotten to meet and hoped she never would again. He had brought the Potter boy in not to be admitted and treated, but rather to be sure no other curses had been placed upon the boy. A quick bath and a bandaid and the boy was right as rain in his eyes, never mind the fact that he had just been struck by the ONLY unblockable curse in the wizarding world. When Harry Potter had been checked out without a full evaluation, her rage threatened to boil over. There was a dark magic about the boy, she could just feel it. Not to mention there was something strange that showed up on one of her identity scans, though she couldn’t be sure what exactly it was.

The war was over and so was she.

She was done dealing with the insanity of the Wizarding World of Britain. She was done putting up with being shuffled from place to place. She had never truly wanted to be a healer in Britain; she had wanted to study the effects of Communism on wizarding communities in Eastern Europe. And with the war over, that was exactly what she was going to do. Be it as a healer or as a civilian, that was her goal.

It was much less difficult to get into the Eastern Bloc than she had thought, her credentials assisting her greatly in passing through the required government check points even as an American. And once she was in, she fell in love. Not with the government or the practices of the Communist regimes she encountered, no. The people of Eastern Europe were phenomenal, once they got over the fact she was American of course.

It didn’t take long for her to become established as an extremely good and thorough healer, though she did nothing to market herself as such. She found a home in a small, government designed wizarding town along the Dnieper River just north of Kiev and quickly learned the local language and dialect. Outside of occasionally travelling through the region, that was where she stayed. Just her, her cat, and her small garden of herbs and potions ingredients. It was peaceful in a way that she couldn’t describe and her family in America didn’t understand. She loved it.

Until she couldn’t anymore.

She had been living there for only a few years when strange things began happening. It was as though the magic in the town was dying off. The people of the town were struggling with even the most simple of magical task. Pet kneazles died in the streets. Magical plants withered on their stalks. It was unlike anything she had ever seen before. It was terrifying.

Then the sickness began. Those who worked in the surrounding forest complained of severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, and burns from touching the ground. When tested, their magic was gone. Completely and totally gone. The sickness seemed to spread unchecked through the town for several days until finally word reached them that it wasn’t only affecting the wizarding communities.

The nomajes were falling ill as well.

Anti-nomaj sentiment raged unchecked as the town was evacuated in hopes of escaping the spreading disease. The hope was that they would be allowed to return to their homes soon, but Shannon doubted it very much. Whatever was removing their magic was unlikely to go away anytime soon, no matter what the government said.

And she was correct. It wasn’t until she made her way to Minsk that she found out the true extent of what had happened. If ever there was an event to study, this was it. What could possibly have happened that would effect both the nomaj and magical populations? How had it affected the wizarding world in the area? In Europe as a whole? Would it spread? She felt a sick sense of excitement about the potential research that could be done. Despite the danger to herself, she decided to stay in Minsk and monitor the wizarding populations there.

The fall of the Communist Bloc did little to affect her research or the effects of the Magical Death which was continuing to ravage the magical communities in what was now Belarus and Ukraine. There were even cases of lessening magical abilities in some of the more mountainous communities throughout Europe, though the effects were much less pronounced than what they had been in Belarus and Ukraine. Little could be done in the way of treatment, but as time went on fewer and fewer cases were being reported.

Nearly ten years on and she was finally finding time for a little R and R. Maybe a bit of travel was in order? She hadn’t been back to the States in a while, though she did keep in regular contact with her parents. Perhaps she could go see them? It would be nice to surprise them for once.

A tapping on her window startled her from her thoughts. Flicking her wand, the window sprung open and in fluttered a rather bedraggled looking owl with a British Magical Post band around its leg.

“Hmm,” Shannon muttered with a frown deepening the creases on her once smooth forehead as she offered the owl some refreshments. “Who the hell could this be?”

Turning the envelope over, she raised an eyebrow before unceremoniously ripping it open and casting it aside. What would a British potions master want with her?

Not even ten minutes later, her request for an international portkey was placed. She had a patient to see.

“So, let me make sure I’m understanding this properly,” Shannon said, resisting the urge to light a cigarette and take a long drag. “Harry Potter is your son and was hit with the Cruciatus while coming off of Falsum Paternis and you are now trying to both protect him from Vol- sorry- You-Know-Who and Dumbledore AND make sure that he is growing up and getting a proper education?”

“Yes,” Severus said stiffly, sipping his now lukewarm tea with a wince.

Admittedly, he hadn’t been expecting a response from the well known healer quite so quickly. Nor had he expected her to show up at his doorstep, lit fag in one hand and dilapidated suitcase in the other, looking the part of a rather angry Russian babushka. He had expected a letter demanding a better explanation, but apparently that wasn’t needed. He hadn’t realized how deeply her distrust for the Headmaster had become entrenched since she famously left St. Mungo’s to go to Russia of all places.

“How long did it take you to realize that man was more of a manipulator than he let on?” she asked as she finished her third cup of coffee since they sat down at the small cafe in downtown Cokeworth. The people here looked about as downtrodden as many of the people in Belarus, though she knew no one in the UK would admit it. Nowhere was all sunshine and roses after all.

Severus scoffed as he warmed the tea in his cup before sipping once more at it. “Far too long, I’m afraid. And the more I discover about Elias’s family, the more I learn to despise the man.”

“Bet that came as a shock to yah,” Shannon nodded, a smirk on her face.

“Less of a shock than you can imagine,” Severus said flippantly. “But yes, I was surprised to the extent of his manipulations, and not just towards the boy.”

“You’re caught in his web too, aren’tcha?”

“Unfortunately,” Severus sighed. “And I would greatly appreciate anything to keep my son from getting himself any more tangled in it than he already is.”

Shannon nodded and scratched her nose. It all made sense why she was contacted now. She still had her British healer’s license despite not working for St. Mungo’s anymore. She was known to thoroughly dislike Dumbledore, though her reasoning was not as well known. She wasn’t in contact with the British wizarding community and was known to be living in Eastern Europe. Who better to take care of a child with a past they were trying to create than someone who didn’t even live in the British Isles? It would also add credence to why he wasn’t sent a letter to attend Hogwarts nor did anyone know who he was in the British wizarding community.

“I’ll do it,” she said abruptly. “No compensation necessary.”

Severus raised an eyebrow in disbelief. “Are you sure you do not need something for your troubles?”

Shannon laughed heartily and flagged the waiter down to pay for her coffees. She had neither want nor need of his money; she was happy enough with her modest lifestyle in a former Soviet country. She made enough on commission for her skills that she could easily afford to do whatever she wanted. And what she wanted to do more than anything was prove to herself that she hadn’t missed something all those years ago with the Potter boy.

“Not in the slightest,” she laughed as she pulled out a handful of British coinage and handed it to the waiter before he even handed her the bill. “I do what I want and what I want is to help.”

“How long has he been like this?” Shannon asked, eyes wide as she looked at the quivering boy on the bed.

“He’s been in this state for nearly two days now,” Severus said, rubbing a hand over his tired eyes. “He had been doing well, then he had some sort of … attack… related to what seemed to be a nightmare. He’s been like this since.”

Shannon nodded, lips pursed, and pulled a miniaturized medical bag out of her pocket and enlarged it before removing a variety of different devices and setting them on the bedside table. This case was already giving her flashbacks to some of her more horrific cases during the war. If it weren’t for the fact they were in the situation they were in, she would have recommended he go to St. Mungo’s immediately for a more thorough evaluation. She would have taken him herself if she didn’t know the situation she was walking into.

“Alright, run me through it once more,” Shannon said, pulling out a dictaquill and placing it on the parchment she now had floating in front of her before taking a seat on the wooden chair that was placed at bedside. “His mother was how far into her pregnancy when she started taking Falsum Paternis?”

“Judging by when the letters were sent, she was at least 2 months pregnant. She had to have just started taking the potion,” Severus said, double checking the silencing spell was active. It certainly wouldn’t do for Draco to hear any of what they were discussing.

“And the day he was cursed?”

“June 24th.”

“And she sent the letters to be delivered July 20th?” she verified, swearing loudly when Severus nodded in affirmation. “Dammit! Of course she did!”

“Is there a problem?” Severus crossed his arms over his chest and an eyebrow. He knew how the potion worked, but what did that have to do with when the letter was sent?

Shannon sighed and began slowly casting spells over the child in the bed and muttering under her breath. Slowly the twitching in Elias’s limbs began to subside as she worked her way from his head to his feet, with each limb being held momentarily in a soft, golden glow. As soon as the glow faded, however, the twitching began again.

“Seizures?” she asked suddenly, looking up from the long strings of writing which were forming on the parchment.

“Three that I know of,” Severus said brusquely. “None prior to this summer. The muggles did an ‘EEG’ to confirm that they were real.”

Shannon huffed loudly before casting another barrage of spells on the boy, this time focused on his head and back. It was as though she were going over every single portion of his brain and spine with a fine-tooth comb as she leaned in repeatedly and looked more deeply at certain parts of the scan. Occasionally she would stop and go back a ways before continuing on. Finally using her wand to shine several different color lights in his eyes and murmuring reassurances to the boy as he weakly fought to back away from the bright lights, she sighed and put her wand in her holster before beginning to pace back and forth in the room.

“I have an idea as to what this is, but it may make creating the backstory more complicated,” Shannon said, rubbing the back of her neck. “He fits all of the criteria, unfortunately. Every last one if you take into account that he was under the influence of a potion up until just before the summer started.”

“And what would that be?” Severus asked impatiently, feeling more overwhelmed at the idea of trying to create a massively complicated backstory.

“Shervil’s,” Shannon sighed, a look of sadness gracing her aging features. “Technically, Shervil’s Ataxia with Epileptiform Discharges and Associated Adolescent Dementia.”

Severus swallowed hard as his mouth went dry. That did not sound good. Rarely were conditions which were long in name a good thing, and not one word of that diagnosis sounded like a good thing. But if it had a name, it possibly had a treatment. Possibly. And if the treatment was a potion, there was no potions master in Britain he would trust to make the required potions for his son other than himself.

“And what does that mean?”

“In the easiest way I can put it, his mother was tortured while he was in utero. Probably around the time she was two months along, though anywhere from eight to ten weeks is when Shervil’s develops,” Shannon said sadly. “Or that’s how it normally develops. In his case, his body was beginning to check and ‘correct’ his nervous system to what it should have been prior to Falsum Paternis being introduced when he was tortured by You-Know-Who. The timing of that event could not have been worse, if I’m honest.

“If he had really been born with this, he would have been in and out of the hospital multiple times due to complications. He may not have ever learned to walk or talk. His ability to function could be anything from normal with a slight lisp to bedridden and unable to care for himself. I only saw a few cases come through while I was working at St. Mungo’s and they were horrible. It was almost a constant reminder to the parents of what had happened and the children were constantly in pain.”

Together they stood in silence for a moment, both lost in their thoughts. A diagnosis brought relief, but with that relief it also brought intense sadness. The life Elias thought he would have was looking more and more like a pipe dream, and those damn Dursleys certainly hadn’t helped at all. A chronic, debilitating disorder was not what Severus had hoped for, but this was the hand he had been dealt, that Elias had been dealt, and it was what he had to work with now.

“Treatment?” Severus said quietly, sitting gently on the bed next to his son.

“Mostly symptom management, though a diluted Fulgur potion which seemed to help somewhat to improve functionality and memory.”

Severus frowned at the thought. Fulgur was a highly restricted potion, and for good reason. In proper doses, it could increase a witch or wizard's ability to channel magic thus optimizing core usage. Used incorrectly, however, even a single vial could cause a wizard’s magic to go haywire, essentially frying their brain. Their body would crackle with the magical discharges it caused until the wizard was dead. It was a horrible death to behold. Naturally, he had been tasked with making several batches of it for the Dark Lord over the years for the purpose of slowly torturing prisoners with their own magic.

“How dilute?” Severus asked tersely.

“Six to eight drops in an eight ounce glass of water,” Shannon said as she ran a small crystal across Elias’s chest. “I’d say give it to him once a day, preferably in the morning, though you could increase the dose to once in the morning and once in the evening if he starts to sundown.”

“Sundown?” Severus said, brows furrowing deeper.

“If he gets more disoriented or starts to hallucinate as the sun sets,” Shannon said, throwing the crystal back into her bag with a nod before placing several rune stones around the boy and watching as a multicolored mist covered his body. “It’s more common than you think, especially if he’s in an unfamiliar location. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if that played into whatever set off this episode.”

Severus nodded and pursed his lips. He could only hope that the ever growing list of potions and spells would do their job and Elias would begin to improve. He needed to improve. He had to improve. He had been through so much in his short life only to continue being kicked while he was down. He deserved a better life, one free of the fears and threats he had constantly had as Harry Potter.

“I do have some good news for you,” Shannon said suddenly as she snatched up the rune stones and threw them into her bag before closing it with a snap.

Severus raised an eyebrow questioningly. “Oh?”

“The Falsum Paternis has completely left his system now. Outside of Shervil’s, I’m not detecting any other defects to any of his systems,” Shannon said with a rye smile. “Congratulations. You are the father.”

Severus glared at her with the fury he only reserved for incompetent first years before huffing slightly and crossing his arms.

“I’ll have all of his paperwork forged before the end of the week,” Shannon said, groaning as she stood and grabbed her bag. “They’ll all be in Belorussian, of course, but a simple translator spell will show all of the information well enough. I’d still recommend him being seen at St. Mungo’s, though I understand if you don’t want him to go. It would be good to get him a Healer in Britain.”

“Thank you,” Severus said curtly but politely as he followed the healer out of the room.

“You’re welcome,” Shannon muttered around the unlit cigarette she put in her mouth as she pulled out a piece of parchment and quickly scribbled down several things. “Here, these are the standard potions prescribed for Shervil’s symptom management. Let me know if your boss is asking for anything else from you. Last thing I want is for him to get his grubby fingers on that boy again.”

“I shall keep you informed,” Severus said with a nod as he opened the front door for the woman.

Shannon nodded with a smile before stepping out of the house and walking around the corner into the alley. She was hopeful the young Snape would make a decent recovery from this episode, much more hopeful than she had been with many of the pediatric patients she had had while working at St Mungo’s all those years ago. His father obviously cared greatly for him, no matter what his political loyalties were, and was an extremely prolific potion’s master. While the chances of Elias making a full recovery were slim, he had an extremely good chance of living a normal life.

Closing the door behind the healer, Severus let out a sigh of relief before looking at the list of potions she had handed him. A small smirk graced his face for a moment as he saw the list. With the exception of the Fulgur, the other potions were the same cocktail he had been instinctively giving the boy. At the bottom of the list, however was a small note she had left for him: a few words of encouragement.

“You’re doing great, dad!”
To be continued...
End Notes:
Shannon is probably my favorite character that I've written, mostly because I have a bit of an underlying story arc planned with her in it. I gotta say, I'm enjoying writing this story a lot (I'm roughly 100 pages ahead of you all at this point) and I don't wanna give spoilers at all, but ... Eep... I'd say probably a good 80% of the story arcs are planned out at this point, its just a matter of weaving them together. And I'm making a basket out of them, so there's a lot of weaving.
Chapter 16 by DesertPlanet
Elias yawned widely, stretching his arms over his head and arching his back, ignoring the spasms the movement caused as best he could. It felt good to stretch. He wasn’t sure how long he’d been in bed, but it sure felt like he had overslept or slept in the wrong position for too long. His body was sore, but not in an ‘injured’ sort of way, or even an ‘overexerted’ way; he just needed to get up and move.

Cracking open his eyes and sneezing twice as the bright light of the sun flooded his vision, he looked around in confusion and awe. His brain felt like it was trying to move through molasses, but something about this room just seemed… right. Like it was his. He wasn’t completely sure what it was, but something about it felt like home. This was a room which hadn’t been Dudley’s, nor was it one he had to share, this was his room.

But where in the world was this room?

Some part of his brain kept saying his father had given it to him, but another said that that wasn’t possible; that his father was dead. But if his father was dead then how did he get this room? And why did he remember his father coming to get him from the hospital? But … it didn’t make any sense. If his father was Professor Snape and Snape hated him then why was Snape his father and he was living with him?

Did it really matter?

He felt like he was putting two and two together and getting five. Everything was so convoluted in his head and nothing made sense. It was like he was living two lives at the same time but he couldn’t remember the first part of one or the second part of the other. In one life, Snape was his bastard of a potions professor and he was an orphan. In the other, Snape wasn’t his teacher at all but rather was his father.

“Oh!” a voice gasped from the door, as he rubbed his temples in an effort to stave off the growing headache. “You’re awake!”

Elias looked up rather blearily at the person standing in the doorway with a rather small cup in his hands. Blonde hair, pale skin…. Malfoy? What was Malfoy doing here? He tried to find a reason why Malfoy was living with him and his father, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. Did Malfoy work for his father in this world? Or were they both adopted? The first reason seemed more logical.

“Elias?” Draco asked, hesitantly coming into the other boy’s room. “Are you ok?”

Elias blinked slowly, as though he had just woken up from a concussion and was trying to figure out what happened. In some ways, that was exactly what was happening. It had been nearly a week since Elias had had his episode and was finally beginning to wake up. Even after his former healer came to visit them and explained what was going on with him, Draco couldn’t help but worry for the older boy. It didn’t seem like he would ever wake up. Every morning, Draco would get a cup of coffee and come sit with the boy for a bit while Snape ate breakfast and got the boy’s potions ready.

Despite the healer’s assurances that he would recover somewhat, Draco couldn’t help but be concerned and he could tell Snape felt the same way. Something about Elias made him feel almost obligated to help the boy; as though he were his little brother despite actually being several months older. Having never had a younger sibling before, it was an interesting and rather uncomfortable sensation to have.

Walking into Elias’s room and seeing the boy sitting up and looking around, no matter how confused he seemed to be, immediately filled him with a happiness he didn’t expect to feel while at the potion master’s house.

“Elias, I’m going to let Professor Snape know you’re awake,” Draco said, setting his coffee on the dresser and quickly walked down the stairs to the kitchen. The professor had been slowly perusing the newspaper when he had left and Draco doubted very much that he was done with it by now.

Indeed, Severus was still sitting at the kitchen table, slowly stirring his porridge and reading an article on the increase in mysterious disappearances within the wizarding communities. If the Minister would just open his eyes to the possibility of the Dark Lord being back, the disappearances wouldn’t be all that mysterious at all. Oddly enough, one name of those who had disappeared was still missing: Harry Potter. It seemed as though Dumbledore had yet to actually notify the Ministry of the boy’s disappearance; a fact which Severus was actually quite thankful for.

A flurry of footsteps coming into the kitchen pulled him from his thoughts as he looked up, eyebrow raised, as Draco attempted to remain stoic despite having nearly run into the room.

“Elias is awake,” Draco said, voice nearly quivering with excitement.

Severus dropped the newspaper immediately and resisted the urge to run up the stairs. The past week had been a long and arduous one as he worked to get potions down his son in a bid to stabilize him. He had feared it would be a lost cause, that he would have to take Healer Shannon’s recommendation that he take the boy to St. Mungo’s. If they hadn’t seen any improvement in his condition in the next few days, that was indeed the course of action he planned to take.

Each day, they had seen minor improvements in the boy’s condition, but he stubbornly refused to wake up. The twitching and spasms slowly subsided as the new potions regime took effect and occasionally he would moan or roll himself over, but keeping him responsive was nigh impossible. As much as it pained him, Severus knew he was not capable of continuing to care for the boy in this state if it persisted. It pained him greatly to look at the boy, who very much resembled his mother while sleeping, and know that this situation was beyond him.

Gently pushing open the door, Severus couldn’t help but feel his face relax and the tension he had felt in his shoulders slowly dissipate as he saw Elias looking around in wonder and confusion. He truly was awake!

“Good morning, Elias,” Severus said gently.

Elias blinked rapidly as he looked over at his … father? Potions professor? It was very confusing. “M-m-morning s-sir.”

“Do you know where you are?” Severus asked, noting the ‘sir’ at the end of Elias’s statement.

“H-home?” Elias frowned, looked around for a moment before rolling onto his side to try and get a better look at the room, face immediately taking on a slightly green tone as his head spun from the movement.

Severus nodded before summoning a bin to place next to his son’s bed in case his stomach decided to revolt. Thankfully it had been nearly an hour since he had last spelled potions into the boy’s stomach so he wouldn’t have to worry about them making a repeat appearance. Elias had been lying mostly still for the better part of a week and subsisting on medicinal and nutrient potions, a bit of lightheadedness and nausea was to be expected.

“How are you feeling?” Severus asked as he conjured a glass of water to place on the bedside table.

Elias swallowed heavily before gingerly rubbing his eyes. Focusing on anything was difficult and his thoughts kept seeming to get trapped or fading into a mist. “F-f-fog-ggy.”

“What’s the last thing you remember?” Severus asked, noting some movement out of the corner of his eye as Draco entered the room and leaned against the door frame. As much as he wanted to ask if Elias remembered his name, he couldn't very well ask that kind of sensitive question while Draco was in the room. He could only hope Elias was able to play the part without knowing it.

“I… D-d-did you…” Elias stumbled over the words, looking increasingly confused as he tried to put together what had happened prior to his episode before finally blurting out “Chinese?”

“Yes, we did have Chinese take-away,” Severus said, barely resisting the urge to chuckle. Of all the things to remember, the food was the first thing on his mind. He was a teenage boy, after all, and, despite his thin frame, he still had the notorious ‘growing boy’ appetite.

“S-s-sounds g-good,” Elias said, nodding his head slightly. “C-can I get-t up?”

“Do you need the loo?” Severus asked, helping his son sit on the side of the bed.

Elias nodded, face flushing red at the thought of admitting to his father that he needed to go. He didn’t just want to go to the loo, however. He had a sneaking suspicion he wasn’t going to be getting out of bed for a few days and wanted to get some books or something to work on when his head was feeling less full of fluff. Something was niggling the back of his brain that he had an assignment due, though he couldn’t think of which class it was for.

Suddenly, he felt an emptying sensation in his lower abdomen. His eyes went wide and he tried to cover his shock. Had he just wet the bed? In front of his father? And Malfoy? How had that happened?! He didn’t even feel like he needed to go that bad!

“-as? Elias?” Severus’s voice cut through his thoughts like a knife. “Breathe. It was an elimination spell so you don’t have to get up.”

Elias blinked in confusion as he looked under the covers. An elimination spell? Had Snape just made him wet himself? He didn’t feel wet, but maybe that was part of the spell too. Why would Snape do that to him? Why would he make him wet himself when he could have just gone to the toilet?

Why were his pants dry if he had just wet himself?

“They aren’t wet, Elias,” Snape said sadly, watching as the wheels turned staggeringly slowly in his son’s head. “The elimination spell gets rid of waste products and banishes them.”

Elias frowned before slowly touching the bed under him. His frown only deepened when his hand did truly come away dry. How? Part of his brain was saying it was magic but another was screaming that magic wasn’t real and he was a freak for believing in it. It was so confusing.

This entire thing was confusing. His name was Harry, but that’s not the name he went by. His father was alive but he was also dead. He lived with his aunt and uncle, but he also lived on the streets and worked for a gardening company, but he also lived with his father (who may or may not be dead). Magic wasn’t real, but it also very much was and he went to school to study it, but he wasn’t allowed to go to school to study it because of his bad wiring but he had an assignment due for school that he needed to do. He knew everything fit together, but for the life of him he couldn’t figure out how to piece them all together.

Suddenly a flash of realization crossed his mind: whether Voldemort knew who he was or not, he was after him. He needed to get away. He needed to be somewhere safe, like Hogwarts. But he couldn’t go to Hogwarts. And the Dursleys had kicked him out… hadn’t they? They had sent him to live on his own and… no, that was a lie. Where could he go? Snape was a Death Eater, and Draco probably was one as well.

He was going to die, he just knew it. If only he could make sense of it!

“Elias?” Severus said, noting the boy’s breathing continued to quicken. “Draco, get me a calming draught.”

Pulling his knees up to his chest and grabbing his hair, Elias began to rock back and forth trying in vain to calm his pounding heart and racing breaths. A low moan began to fill the room as he rocked, tears streaming down his face as panic continued to take hold. Vaguely he could feel a warm arm wrap around him and pull him close, but he couldn’t tell who it was or where it was coming from. All he knew was he was going to die, someone was going to turn him in and he was going to die. He was going to be lying there and staring at the stars overhead just like Cedric had been and no one would know and he would rot away with no one knowing or caring where he was.

“Noooooo,” Elias’s heart wrenching moan pulling Severus onto his bed in an effort to calm the boy. The desire to jump into his son’s mind and help him sort through whatever was causing him to panic was extreme, but he knew it wouldn’t be beneficial to helping his son in the slightest. Even with his own Slytherins, he would occasionally reach out and gently prod their minds to better understand what was causing their distress, but he couldn’t do that to his son. Not without potentially causing him extreme pain and possibly even setting back the tenuous progress they had made over the past few days.

“Shh, Elias,” Severus said softly, leaning the panicked boy onto his chest and holding him close. “You are fine. You didn’t have an accident. I’m sorry to have frightened you; I didn’t believe it would be a good idea for you to be getting up and walking to the toilet just yet.”

The toilet? Had he needed to go to the toilet? Harry didn’t know… or should he think of himself as Elias? That’s what his father was calling him.

“Thank you, Draco,” Severus said, taking the vial of calming draught from the pale boy.

“What made him panic?” Draco asked as Severus spelled half of the vial into Elias’s stomach and waited, momentarily rubbing his hand up and down the boy’s back but stopping when he felt a spasm race down the boy’s spine. Slowly, the boy’s moans began to quiet and he began to relax from his self imposed fetal position. “Was it just the elimination spell?”

Pulling a handkerchief out of one of the pockets of his housecoat, Severus slowly dabbed at his son’s face before offering it to the boy to hold. “I don’t know, Draco. It could have been any number of things, but the elimination spell certainly triggered it. Once he’s more calm...”

“‘m g-g-gonna d-d-d-die,” Elias mumbled mournfully as he played with the soft edging on the handkerchief.

Severus and Draco immediately froze and looked at the boy in shock. Had he been more awake during the past week than they had thought? If so, he must have felt as though he were dying. He had hardly moved, he hadn’t been able to eat, and all of his most basic needs had been attended to via spell. It must have been terrifying.

“That is most certainly not true,” Severus said, tilting the boy’s chin up so he could look him in the eye. “You are not going to die.”

Elias shook his head and swiped his eyes with the handkerchief quickly before going back to playing with the edging on it.

“Why do you think you’re going to die?” Draco asked, coming and sitting on the end of the bed.

“‘e’s g-g-gonna f-f-find-d me!” Elias stuttered, feeling oddly subdued by the potion. It was as though his heart wanted to race but had thought better of it.

“Your uncle?” Draco pondered, frowning at the thought. “He won’t find Severus’s house. Besides, we’re going to be going back to Hogwarts soon.”

Elias shook his head exasperatedly before locking eyes with Severus. “Not him. Him.

Severus’s blood immediately ran cold. The nightmare which set off this episode had been about ‘him.’ Elias had been insistent that ‘he’ was mad. That ‘he’ couldn’t find him. That he didn’t want ‘him’ to find him. At the time, he had thought ‘he’ was Harry’s muggle uncle. Severus hadn’t thought much of it at the time, only that the timing was unfortunate as they had just come back from a Death Eater meeting.

Could there have been something more to this fear?

“Who is ‘him’?” Draco asked innocently.

HIM!” Elias insisted, head swimming as his panic tried to override the calming draught.

“But who…” Draco said, only to be interrupted by a glare from Severus.

“Elias, no one knows exactly where you are other than Draco, myself, and one healer who has now returned to Belarus,” Severus said, choosing his words carefully. “No one is actively searching for you. Neither Draco nor myself have any intention of turning you over to any person who may or may not be searching for you at this time. Understood?”

Elias hesitated before nodding once more and slowly laying his head against his father’s chest and shakily offering the rather damp handkerchief back to him. It was hard to understand what was happening, why there were three stories in his head, but his father’s insistence that he was safe helped to calm him somewhat. He was still certain that people would be coming after him, but maybe he wasn’t being lied to. Maybe he truly was safe. Maybe he could trust his safety to someone. Maybe someone actually had his best interests at heart.

Maybe, just maybe.
To be continued...
End Notes:
In my personal story notes for this, I have this chapter labeled as the end of arc one but that's a bit of a misnomer as there are actually 8-10 separate story arcs that are developing at once though all at different speeds. Most of them have already been mentioned at this point, and most of them are going to be more fully developed in upcoming chapters.

Thank you to all of you who have reviewed up to this point! I do read every single one, though I don't respond often. I appreciate and love you all!
Chapter 17 by DesertPlanet
Packing his bags in a short period of time was somewhat of an art form and he was the master of it. He knew exactly which compartment could contain which item and how many things could fit where. A few quick swishes of his wand and his trunk was packed. A few more and it was shrunk and securely placed within his front robe pocket. Less than ten minutes of packing and he was ready to uproot his entire life yet again.

Remus looked around the small shack he had called home for the last few months with a sigh as he extinguished the last candle on the table and prepared to leave. This would be the first time since the Potter’s death that he had ever been allowed back into a place he had lived. The first time he had been accepted back at a job, albeit in a slightly different capacity. The first time he had been a tutor to a teenager. The first time he would be known as a werewolf by everyone involved at his new place of employment.

There were a lot of firsts and he wasn’t sure if he liked it, but it was the first well paying job he had had in over a year. He didn’t even mind that he would be ultimately working for Snape; a job was a job.

He was honestly quite surprised when Severus had agreed rather quickly to his employment. He was even more surprised when he was sent a copy of Elias’s transcripts immediately thereafter. It wasn’t even the speed which surprised him, but rather the cordial manner in which it was done. Exceedingly stiff, even in writing, but still quite cordial. Elias had even written him a letter thanking him for being willing to be his tutor, or he thought it was Elias who wrote it. It had clearly been written and signed by a dictaquill so he couldn’t quite be sure who it was writing the letter, but it certainly didn’t read like something Severus would have written.

Turning his back on the shack and triggering the locking spell, he took a deep breath and apparated to Hogsmeade. It was time to meet the mysterious son of Severus Snape.

Mentally going over his morning tasks before checking the small notebook he took to carrying to make sure he was actually completing his tasks and not repeating things, Elias smiled in relief as he made a small dashmark in the corner of the page. He had done it! It was a small thing, but it was a relief to have finally managed it. He made it through the morning, completing all of his morning routines without checking his list of tasks. It wasn’t even a long list of things he needed to do, but accomplishing everything without reminders felt good. Independence felt good.

Pulling out the loaner wand he had been given, he sighed heavily before heating the small pot of water on the stovetop for tea. It still didn’t feel right to use this one, it wasn’t nearly as responsive as his own, but his was too… noticeable. Too obviously Harry Potter.

He hadn’t even given its disappearance much thought until he was in the middle of trying to figure out a particularly difficult set of wand movements for transfiguration and realized he had no idea where his wand was. After much frivolous searching, even attempting to remove a floorboard from under his bed (he blamed the damage on still feeling foggy), he was finally informed that his wand had been retrieved from the clothing he had been taken to the hospital in and all of his other belongings had been removed from the Dursley’s shortly after he had agreed to live with the professor. Everything was locked away in his father’s vault in Gringotts with the exception of his wand which was in a highly warded compartment of his father’s own trunk.

“Morning Elias,” Draco said, coming up from the basement and pouring himself another cup of coffee. Typically, he and the professor would be up nearly four hours before Elias even began to stir so as to get as much brewing and ingredient preparation done as possible. The long hours of brewing had turned Draco into nearly as much of a caffeine fiend as the professor was.

“M-morning Draco,” Elias said, carefully counting out his tablets and lining up his potions before double checking the list of potions and the time before smiling and jotting it down as best he could on his notepad. “G-guess what t-today is?”

“The last day you have to take the tablets?” Draco said with a smirk as he sipped the scalding hot coffee.

Elias swallowed the tablets and frowned, looking up at the blonde boy leaning against the counter. “How’d you know?”

“That’s my handwriting, you daft git,” Draco said with a chuckle, motioning to the list of potions in Elias’s hand.

“Ooo, I-i’m s-sorry for n-not rem-membering that,” Elias said sarcastically. “L-let me f-f-file that away f-for f-future ref-f-f-ference….. And it’s g-gone.”


“C-can I n-not be excited f-for s-something, arsehole?” Elias said, looking back at the potions with a sigh before going to open the bottle of his tablets. He hated getting distracted when he was doing something, especially taking his potions and tablets in the morning. Mornings were always the hardest time to remember things. Mornings and late afternoons when he was getting tired.

“You already took those,” Draco said quietly, holding his hand out for the bottle. Though Elias didn’t know it, he and Severus had worked out a system over the past few days of always having one of them in the room when it was time for medications. It was not outside of the realm of possibility for Elias to accidentally overdose despite all of the precautions he took to make sure he only took his potions at the correct time.

“Oh,” Elias blushed slightly and handed the bottle over to the waiting boy. He then began slowly taking the other potions sat in front of him, making sure to mark them off the list as he went so as to not repeat the same mistake.

“Do you know what today is?” Draco asked the other boy once he was done gagging on the final potion, a rather morose expression now on his face. “And no, I’m not talking about your bloody muggle tablets.”

Elias frowned for a moment, biting his lip in an effort to coerce the correct answer from his brain. He knew they had talked about this recently, he could almost recall the conversation from the night before, but what was it? He could remember them discussing transportation and something about trunks, but he couldn’t recall what exactly it was they were discussing.

“W-we’re going s-somewhere, r-right?” Elias said, grasping at the few straws he could remember.

Draco nodded, but before he could respond Severus strode up the stairs from the basement, locking, warding, and concealing the door behind him. It was odd to look at the wall and not see the door which had previously taken that spot. It seemed an odd, blank space on the otherwise blank wall, as though there truly were something that was meant to be there but wasn’t.

“Good morning, Elias,” Severus said, striding over to the coffee pot and pouring himself another cup before noticing the pot of hot water. “Were you making tea?”

“Oh, yeah,” Elias said, getting up and limping slightly to the cabinet to pull out his tea cup. He hadn’t truly forgotten about the tea, he just… forgot about the water being hot. He still fully intended on having a cuppa, but hadn’t gotten out the necessary items to make one yet. “D-do you want some?”

“No, thank you,” Severus said, sipping his coffee and spelling what was left in the pot away. “Have you eaten yet?”

Elias shook his head as he gingerly poured the hot water into his cup and let the tea begin to steep. There was no point in making a full pot if he was the only one to be drinking it, but pouring the water was mildly intimidating. He’d already managed to burn himself once this week, though to be fair he should have waited until his potions had taken effect. Despite all their best efforts, his hands still shook and his muscles would still occasionally twitch uncontrollably. It was getting easier, but pouring liquids and picking up small objects were still difficult tasks.

Severus sighed as he pulled out a loaf of bread and quickly toasted two slices with a spell. “Are you finished packing, Draco?”

“Yes, sir,” Draco said, spelling his now empty cup into the sink where it instantly vanished. A small clink was heard within one of the cabinets as the cup put itself away. “What time will the floo open?”

“Noon,” Severus said, handing the now buttered toast to Elias who began to slowly eat, a slightly confused look on his face as he slowly nibbled on a piece.

“Where is D-Draco g-going?” Elias asked softly. He hadn’t expected to make friends with the boy as quickly as he had, but Draco had actually turned out to be a rather decent person when he wasn’t acting like a pompous prick. He seemed genuinely concerned about Elias and seemed to be legitimately interested in being a friend to him. He still was rather hesitant to trust Draco to hold a secret, but he needed friends. He couldn’t imagine how boring his life would be without friends to do things with.

“Home,” Draco sighed. “You and the professor are moving to Hogwarts today so he can get ready for classes and you can get acclimated. I’ll be coming on the train next week.”

“Oh, right,” Elias said, blushing furiously as he finished his toast. How had he forgotten that school would be starting soon? Had he honestly expected Snape to live here and commute to work? He knew the man lived in the dungeons, and it made sense that he would have to go to school early to get everything ready. “I s-still n-need to pack.”

“We got you packed up last night,” Severus said, placing stasis spells on various cabinets so as to not worry about what little food was left in them spoiling or having pests get in. “All you need to do is put on your robes and we will be ready to leave.”

“Ok. Than-nk you, s-sir. W-when shall we l-leave?”

“We will be leaving shortly after noon. Draco will leave first, then I will floo with you to my... our quarters at Hogwarts,” Severus said, taking Elias’s now empty plate and cup and placing it in the sink. “I will then return here momentarily to ward the house and lock up for the summer.”

Elias frowned at the idea of flooing but nodded in agreement. He had yet to try any other forms of magical transit after the apparation while getting home from the hospital, and wasn’t sure if he was too keen on trying any other kinds. He much rather would have taken muggle transit and the train to Hogwarts, but even that he was worried would make his stomach upset.

That, by far, was the worst part of his new reality: he hadn’t experienced much in this body so was perpetually unsure of how it would react. He had hoped he would be allowed to fly, but the idea of doing that alone was nixed rather quickly by Severus who told him he had to be seizure free for at least six months before he would even think about allowing him on a broom. He had wanted to help in the potions lab and had been promptly kicked out when he sliced his finger while cutting up ingredients when his arm twitched too fiercely. He and Draco had tried to play Gobstones one day shortly after he had finally come to and he had gotten a migraine from whatever the goo was contained within the gobstone. Chess and reading were slowly becoming his favorite past-times, if only because they didn’t injure him nor did they cause him pain.

At this rate, he ought to start hanging around with the Ravenclaws.

He was looking forward to going back to Hogwarts, but it would be so different going as Elias Snape rather than Harry Potter. It was almost as if he was going back as a first year again, knowing no one and being unsure as to how the year would go. It was a strange sensation to say the least. While he was sure he would find some way to make friends, the idea of having to remake friends and not let on who he was was daunting.

And then there was the whole ‘having a tutor’ thing.

He was sure a tutor had been found for him, though he wasn’t sure who. Severus hadn’t told him (that he could remember) but had seemed rather tense every time he had asked. Whoever it was, he could only hope they wouldn’t get too mad with him if he struggled with any assignments. That honestly was his biggest fear: that he would lag behind in his coursework because of his memory.

He was having enough problems as it was deviating from what had become his normal routine for the past week and knew he was only slowing things down; he couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would be like once he had to start classes. Every time he went to do something, he found whatever it was he was looking for was missing. He wanted to re-read a portion of his Arithmancy text only to find he had packed it away and the trunks had already been sent through. He wanted to have another cup of tea, but was told the tea was placed in stasis so it wouldn’t spoil. Frustrated didn’t even begin to describe how he felt by the time noon rolled around.

“Elias?” Draco said, looking in concern as the other boy stared at the flames in the small fireplace. “Elias? I need to go.”

“Home,” Elias said rather sadly, picking at the hem of his robes.

“Yeah,” Draco replied, hoping Elias would be fine for the few days before school started. He would be fine, Draco knew he would be, but there was still that almost fear that he wouldn’t cope well with the changes of moving once more. “I’ll see you in a week, ok?”

Elias nodded softly and rested his head on his knees. He hadn’t expected to get attached to Draco or even remotely become friends with him, but it did feel nice to have a friend around. It would only be a week; he had gone longer without talking to someone before. He could do it again.

“B-b-bye, D-d-drac-co,” Elias murmured, wrapping his arms around his knees.

Draco looked back at the professor who had just entered the room and nodded to him once. “Thank you for having me, sir.”

“Thank you for all of your assistance,” Severus said cordially before sitting on the sofa next to his son. “I look forward to seeing your improvements in class.”

Draco smirked slightly, knowing that he would now be held to a much higher standard than even Granger was. Professor Snape would certainly expect his potions to be of a much higher quality than the other students’ and this would certainly reflect in his grade. Where once he was able to get by in the class with minimal effort on his part, he now would be expected to achieve more. It was both an honor and terrifying at the same time.

Throwing the green powder into the fire and calmly stating “Malfoy Manor,” Draco was suddenly whisked away, leaving only a small flicker of green flame in his wake.

Severus quickly stood once Draco had left and began warding the stairs to the bedrooms out of habit. There were only a few more places to ward, though those could be done after he had dropped Elias off at his quarters, and then he would officially be ready to relocate to Hogwarts for the school year. Every year, this move was a small bit of frustration which nearly led to him moving to Hogwarts full time, but the idea of being around Trelawney year round was repugnant enough to put him off. That and being at the old coot’s beck and call was not on his list of things he wanted to do.

Once he was done performing the necessary spells to lock down yet another portion of the house, he turned back to Elias who was continuing to stare at the fire.

“Are you ready to go?” Severus asked softly.

“I g-guess,” Elias muttered, standing and grabbing the cane which lay next to the fireplace. “This y-year is g-going to be d-d-different, isn’t it?”

Severus nodded, wrapping his arm around his son’s shoulders as they stepped towards the flames. “In more ways than one, I should hope.”

Throwing a handful of floo powder into the fire and quickly saying the password to his quarters at Hogwarts, Severus pulled Elias with him into the fire knowing full well the boy would likely trip on his way out. He hadn’t received any notifications that anyone was in his quarters awaiting their arrival, a fact he was quite relieved about. The idea of the two of them stumbling out of the fire in front of the Headmaster was mildly mortifying to say the least.

As soon as they landed, Severus was hard pressed to keep himself standing as Elias pitched sideways, unable to keep his balance as the world continued to swirl around him. Once he was sure Elias wasn’t going to fall over, he quickly flicked his wand and lit the wall sconces with a soothing, low, yellow light. As expected, the house elves had done a wonderful job at keeping the rooms clean over the past two months, even going so far as to fluff the pillows on the armchairs in preparation for his arrival. A cursory glance down the hall off of the living room assured him the Headmaster had indeed kept his promise of modifying his quarters to add an additional bedroom.

“S-sir,” Elias said meekly, knees shaking slightly. “C-can I sit d-down?”

Severus nodded curtly before gently aiding his son into the nearest armchair. Typically, that was his chair which he would routinely force the headmaster out of when he came to ‘visit,’ however Elias did not look like he was up to taking the few extra steps required to make it to the other armchair.

As soon as he sat down, Elias immediately brought his knees to his chest and allowed his head collapse forward onto them. Flooing wasn’t nearly as bad as apparation, though the dizziness was killer. He could only hope it would pass soon. It was odd, here he was in the potion’s master’s lair and he couldn’t even bring himself to look around. He knew the dizziness would pass soon, but he couldn’t even raise his eyes without feeling like his world was tilting yet again.

“Elias? Are you going to be sick?” Severus’s voice pulled him from his thoughts.

“N-no,” Elias said into his knees, refusing to look up or move his head at all. “J-j-just d-dizzy.”

“I’ll be gone for just a minute,” Severus said, the faint sound of him grabbing another handful of floo powder could be heard over the sound of the crackling fire. “I need to finish warding the house.”

“Mmkay,” Elias said, giving a thumbs up in the direction of the man’s voice. He could already feel the dizziness beginning to subside, but he was afraid it would only get worse if he tried to move his head at all.

Severus snorted at the gesture before throwing his handful of floo powder into the flames and disappearing in the roar of flames. Warding the remainder of the house to alert him if it was breached by muggle or wizard alike would only take a maximum of ten minutes. With any luck, Elias would be asleep in the chair by the time he got back. He had roughly an hour or so to nap before he was set to meet with Madame Pomfrey for a cursory checkup and to give her his medical file.

Then they were set to meet his tutor for the upcoming year.

Truth be told, he was more looking forward to Poppy’s examination of the boy than meeting and attempting to be cordial with the wolf. Surely there had to have been other people who would have been better choices as tutors. Surely. Of all the people to meet, it had to be someone who was deeply involved in the boy’s early life and who had better olfactory capabilities than the average person. If ever there was a test to see if Elias’s transformation was complete, this would be it.

Elias was unsure of how much time had passed, though he felt it hadn’t been very long, when he heard to floo flare briefly. If his head wasn’t still spinning, he was certain he would have whipped his head up in response to the sound. As it was, he resisted the urge, choosing instead to keep his eyes closed and head resting on his knees, though his fingers instinctively wrapped around the hilt of his wand.

“Severus, are you here my boy?” Elias heard Dumbledore’s voice say from low in the grate of the fire.

Raising his head slightly so he could peer over his knees, Elias was only mildly surprised to see the head of the Headmaster in the fire, the green flames licking around his face and reflecting off his ever present half-moon glasses. He was mildly surprised when the headmaster overlooked his presence in the chair initially, but he was thankful for the slight delay. It gave him a chance to remember an important fact: Dumbledore didn’t know him, only of him.

“H-he’s n-n-not h-here,” Elias stuttered, glad the headmaster couldn’t tell when he was nervous like what his father was getting better at doing. The damned stutter always got worse when he was nervous or excited.

“Oh!” Dumbledore exclaimed, looking over at the thin boy on Severus’s armchair. “Oh my! You must be Elias! Do you mind if I step through?”

“Um…. I-i…I d-d-d-don’t know?” Elias said quietly. Would Severus want him to meet the headmaster this soon? Was the headmaster allowed in his quarters? Did he even have the choice?

“Oh, bother,” Dumbledore said with a smile, eyes twinkling even in the fire. “I’ll be over in just a moment. I’ve been so excited to meet you, my boy!”

“B-b-but…” Elias tried to protest though the headmaster’s head had already disappeared. What was Severus going to say?! At least he would be able to get through now that the headmaster wasn’t blocking the entrance!

A moment later and the floo flared once more as the Headmaster stepped through, fluorescent green robes swirling around him as he stepped through as if he had just been invited in. He carried with him an air of importance greater than what he had ever experienced from the man as Harry Potter. It was a strange feeling to get from the man after having known him, or believing he had known him, for the past four years. Had he been thrown by the man’s ability to manipulate what people thought of him that badly?

“Wh-who are y-y-y-you?” Elias stuttered, attempting to play the ignorant, ill child, hoping the headmaster would fall for it. At least he had plenty of room to play with it; the headmaster didn’t know much of his condition.

“Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, Order of Merlin First Class, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, and Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot,” Dumbledore said with pride, eyes twinkling madly as he sat in the armchair opposite the lanky teen. “Though most just call me Professor Dumbledore.”

Elias groaned and tucked his head against his knees once more. The man’s chipper attitude was far more grating on the nerves than what he remembered. In fact, what he remembered of the man was a far more grandfatherly figure that he could go to with any problem. The man in front of him had just barged into an employee’s personal quarters without permission to speak with his underaged son unsupervised. The entire thing was giving him odd feelings about the situation. He knew he would likely get in some trouble for what he was about to do, but he couldn’t think of another way to not give the headmaster any information and stall the conversation long enough for Severus to get back.

“H-hello,” Elias said softly while refusing to raise his head and look at the fluorescent man in front of him again. “I-i-i’m El-l-l-lias Snap-p-p-p-pe.”

“Hello Elias,” Dumbledore said, looking as though he would offer a lemon drop if he had any at his disposal. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you. Your father does not like to talk about his personal life, so I must admit, we were all surprised you existed.”

“Oh,” Elias muttered, glad his knees were covering his mouth as he was sure he was grinning at his plan. “H-h-h-how d-d-did y-you get-t here?”

“Well, my boy, I typically live in the castle year round,” Dumbledore said, misunderstanding the question. “Though I do occasionally go visit my brother or tour the countryside in my time off.”

“Oh,” Elias muttered once more, frowning in frustration. Would he be able to pull this off without letting on that he wasn’t as bad off as what he was meant to be portraying? Pulling one over on the headmaster seemed almost wrong, but at the same time, the man had essentially abandoned him at his relative’s house and in a situation which ultimately led to his hospitalization. “Wh-who are y-y-you?”

Dumbledore blinked and paused momentarily having expected more questions about Hogwarts. Instead, the conversation seemed to be going backwards. Was his memory going and he hadn’t introduced himself? No, he was certain he had, in fact, just introduced himself fully.

“My name is Albus Dumbledore,” he said, choosing not to use his titles in case that was where the confusion lay. “You can call me ‘Professor Dumbledore though.’”

“Wh-wh-why are y-y-you in m-m-my h-house?” Elias asked, continuing to play up his confusion. Truthfully, he wasn’t sure which questions he had asked already, but that was the beauty of his plan. Memory issues were key. Playing up his twitches would help too.

“You’re in Hogwarts right now, in your father’s quarters,” Dumbledore said, his frown deepening. Did the boy not know how the floo worked? Severus had insisted he had been raised at least somewhat in the wizarding world.

“Y-y-you k-k-killed h-h-him d-d-didn’t y-y-ou?!” Elias accused, pinching his leg in an effort to begin tearing up and causing a wave of spasms to rocket through it. “Y-y-you’re g-g-g-going t-t-to k-kill me!”

“I… what?!” Dumbledore said in confusion, eyebrows flying to meet his hairline. “Your father went home to ward his house.”

“Then-n-n wh-where is-s-s he?” Elias continued to accuse, knowing full well his accusations made no sense and he was beginning to confuse himself truly in the process. He wasn’t actually at their home in Spinner’s End, but he was at… home? Sort of? It didn’t make sense, but made perfect sense at the same time. Had Dumbledore actually killed his father? Wasn’t that Voldemort? No… no, Voldemort killed his other father. Dumbledore killed Severus… Had he though?

“My boy, your father went back to his house in Cokeworth,” Dumbledore said, trying to placate the increasingly confused and distraught boy in front of him. He had known the boy was ill, but to be this confused and having such violent spasms was disturbing. Severus had stated he would be turning the boy’s medical file over to Poppy today; Dumbledore needed to see those files. “You are at Hogwarts right now, your father will be here shortly.”

“Th-th-then why are y-y-y-you here?” Elias said softly. If his father wasn’t dead, he would be back in a few minutes. He just needed Dumbledore out of here. “Wh-wh-who are you?”

The floo suddenly roared to life in front of them as Severus stepped through, holstering his wand as he did so. He had expected to come back to his son still being in the armchair, likely in the same position he had been in just a few minutes previous, but what he hadn’t expected to come through and see was a highly confused and rather put out looking Dumbledore staring at his son who appeared to be crying and whose twitches were substantially worse than when he left.

“Elias? Are you ok?” Severus asked, immediately going to his son’s side concerned he was having a worse reaction to the floo than they had initially thought. He never should have left him alone; he should have dropped him off with Madam Pomfrey before going back to the house. Those five minute seemed to have set them back at least a week in his treatment.

“I believe I should be leaving,” Dumbledore said, standing awkwardly and quickly shuffling to the floo. “Perhaps the next time we meet will be in better circumstances. Severus, I would like a word with you after he is evaluated by Poppy, please.”

Severus nodded, continuing to evaluate his son for the signs of a potential relapse, mind racing as he tried to think of alternatives to sending the boy to St. Mungo’s for emergency treatment. Would they be able to send a healer to do a house call who specialized in long term spell damage, or would he have to be admitted? Healer Shannon had warned that that was a possibility and that it would be in their best interest to preemptively get the boy in to see a healer in the long term spell damage department for a baseline examination should things get worse.

He really didn’t want to do that immediately, however.

He was so wrapped up in his thoughts and ministrations he nearly missed the tell-tale sound of the floo being used as the headmaster left to return to his own quarters. In fact he was fairly certain he would have missed the sound entirely had it not been for Elias immediately relaxing and looking him directly and steadily in the eye for several seconds as his twitches slowed to their current baseline of ‘occasional but annoying.’

“G-good, he’s g-gone,” Elias said, relaxing out of his balled up position.

“Elias, are you ok?” Severus asked once more, eyes narrowing as his son smirked rather guiltily.

“Yeah. A b-b-bit conf-fused though,” Elias admitted rather sheepishly. “I th-think I c-confused mys-s-self.”

“What in Merlin’s name were you trying to accomplish?” Severus asked, raising an eyebrow skeptically. “Other than giving me a heart attack?”

“H-he just c-c-came b-b-b-barging in!” Elias said, motioning angrily at the fireplace. “I d-d-d-did-dn’t know wh-wh-wh-what else t-t-t-to d-do! I d-d-didn’t w-want t-t-t-to talk t-to him-m-m without-t you there!”

Severus sighed before turning to sit on the armchair opposite his son and allow his heart rate to slow. Despite all of the anxiety it caused him, Elias was correct. The Headmaster’s visit could have easily ended in him discovering Elias’s true identity if the boy had given the wrong answers to questions. While it wasn’t the most ideal of stall tactic, he had definitely done well to deflect any questions of him or of his past thus allowing Severus ample time to get back and take over the conversation. The tactic used was certainly a good one to put the Headmaster off using legilimency as well; no one in their right mind would attempt to use any form of mind arts on someone as seemingly confused as Elias.

“While I do not necessarily agree with your tactics, I cannot argue against them,” Severus finally said, resting his elbows on the armrests of the chair and folding his hands across his chest. “But I will advise you not to do so again. It is likely the headmaster now believes your condition to be much worse than what it actually is at this point in time and I would advise we not advertise this as fact.”

Elias nodded before gingerly standing, giving his head plenty of time to adjust to the change in position before attempting to move. He was still slightly dizzy, but nowhere near as bad as what he had been when he first came out of the floo. Despite still feeling like the world was off its axis, he couldn’t help but cave to the desire to look around; he was in his potion’s master’s quarters after all.
To be continued...
Chapter 18 by DesertPlanet
Paperwork was the worst part of the job bar none. It was a part of everything they did. Every investigation, no matter how minor, required gobs of paperwork. Go on patrol? Paperwork. Conduct an interview? Paperwork. Go to the loo? Paperwork.

Ok, it wasn’t that bad, but when you go through several inkwells in a week, you know things have gotten out of hand.

While it was a pain to deal with, occasionally the paperwork was a blessing in disguise. If you needed to reference something like a case that had happened years ago, there was paperwork that could be found if you had the right clearance. Granted you needed to have the paperwork proving you had clearance, but that was besides the point. There was always a trail of paperwork that would lead you to where you needed to be. In theory, anyways.

In working under the likes of Kingsley Shacklebolt, she didn’t need to worry so much about getting the proper clearance all the time. So long as she was able to provide him with a good explanation as to why she needed to access certain bits of information, he was willing to assist her through the most tedious of paperwork to access the paper trail that she needed in order to be one of the best up and coming detectives in the Aurors.

It was always thrilling to get a new job and start digging into it. Patrols were great and all, but finding that one piece of evidence that tied the entire case together was so satisfying. Creating the map of who had done what and where and why and finding all of the missing pieces: so much more zen than just chasing down a perpetrator and interrogating them.

This case, however, was different.

When Dumbledore had initially put out the call that Harry Potter was missing, she had assumed that it would be a simple case of a runaway teen. Hell, she herself had done the same thing on several occasions. You get sick of the rules your parents set, you try to talk to them only to be shut down and treated like a child, you run away. Simple as that. But there was something off about this case from the get go, and it wasn’t even the lack of parents to argue with.

There was a distinct lack of paperwork. No medical records outside of a few required vaccinations prior to the start of primary school. No trips to an optometrist despite the fact it was known that Harry Potter wore glasses. Sure, there were school transcripts, but it was almost as if Harry Potter barely existed within the muggle world. And the more she pushed, the less she found.

Alarm bells ringing in her head, she couldn’t help but join the attempt to find the missing teen. If there was something more sinister going on than a simple argument and a runaway teen, she would be damned if she didn’t figure it out. Harry Potter or not, no child deserved to be left in an uncaring, neglectful, or abusive situation. And the more she dug, the more that seemed to be the case. Even his medical records from Hogwarts showed he was significantly underweight and under the normal height curve for children his age despite both his parents having been of average height and weight.

Upon conducting interviews of the neighbors, she found the majority of them to believe Harry to have been going to St. Brutus’ School for Incurably Criminal Boys despite this certainly not being the standard “muggle appropriate” name for Hogwarts. The longer they had lived in Little Whinging, the more they believed of his apparent crimes. Crimes of which there was no record in either the wizarding or muggle worlds. In fact, there was no evidence of Harry Potter having committed any crime whatsoever outside of two incidents of magic used in the muggle world after having started at Hogwarts. One of which he had insisted was a house elf performing these acts and the other was reported as accidental magic.

No, this was not a child who would be sent to a school for the incurably criminal.

Of all the neighbors she spoke to, only one had anything remotely positive to say of the boy. During the school year, a new set of neighbors had moved in a few houses down from the Dursleys. They had reported hearing of Harry prior to his return from school and were wary of the boy, but the child they described who came home was not what Harry Potter had been described as looking like. Dark haired, yes, but they couldn’t corroborate that the child they had seen had the tell-tail scar on his head. Nor could they say if he had green eyes. All they knew of his appearance was what they had seen in the few instances he was seen outside. Tall, extremely pale, thin, and perpetually worn was how they described him.

Then they mentioned seeing him have a seizure.

“So I called the ambulance,” the husband admitted. “His relatives weren’t around and no one else in the neighborhood was looking for once. I had to do something!”

But that admission was weeks ago. She had spent the better part of the first week of Harry Potter’s disappearance scouring through local hospitals in search of a boy who fit his known appearance and had come up dry. She even asked if there was a boy with these new characteristics mentioned by the neighbors, but to no avail. The closest she got was a child transferred from St. Peter’s Hospital to Children’s Hospital in London, but he had apparently given the wrong name while recovering from his own seizure. An issue which was corrected when they found his father, into whose care he was later discharged.

As it stood, she was at a loss and wasn’t quite sure how to proceed.

With a sigh, Nymphadora Tonks leaned back in her chair, stretched her back, and yawned. It had been a long and useless day filled with fruitless searches and worthless information. The only thing this entire investigation had turned up was that Children’s Hospital needed to be put on the list for warding. How it had been missed for warding she would never know, but that was well and truly out of her jurisdiction. Besides, it wasn’t like she could have done much while she was there. She had immediately gotten weird looks when she came in in her Auror robes with bright pink hair asking about ‘Harry Potter’ and had been promptly told to leave when no one by that name was found.

The one weird thing that she couldn’t get out of her head about that visit, however, was the fact she could have sworn she saw Professor Snape leaving the building with a teen who looked oddly similar to him.

“Severus Snape, how dare you!” Poppy Pomfrey said, scolding the young professor good naturedly. “All these years and you never once told us you had a son?! If I didn’t know you any better, I would swear he just fell from the sky!”

Severus raised an eyebrow before turning to watch as his son slowly and methodically removed his shirt and trousers, folded them, and put on the gown laying on the bed in front of him. For all the changes and upset to the routine he had somewhat set over the past week, Elias was doing surprisingly well today. While he seemed much slower and more unsure of what he was doing over all, he was still managing to remain focused and complete most tasks with minimal coaching.

Honestly, it was a great relief to him that Elias had kept that independent streak he had been known for as Harry Potter and continued to find ways to adapt to any difficulties he came across. Where he had once found this behaviour to be a nuisance he now found solace in knowing his son wouldn’t need a caregiver around at all times as he had initially feared.

“No, Poppy,” Severus said with a small smirk on his face as he handed over the large file Healer Shannon had sent him. “Elias certainly did not fall from the sky.”

“Sweet Merlin,” Madam Pomfrey muttered, eyes going wide as she viewed the size of the file Severus was handing her. “Why didn’t you bring this to me earlier?”

“I apologize,” Severus said, turning back to Elias and helping tie the gown behind his neck and motioning for him to sit on the bed when he looked at the two of them bickering in mild confusion. “We were waiting on the translation to come through. Sit on the bed Elias.”

Madam Pomfrey nodded her head, though her frown only deepened. She would have liked more time to peruse his chart before trying to complete a physical on him, especially since his chart seemed quite extensive. Sitting on the bed opposite where Elias was sitting, she opened his chart and lay it on the bed so she could quickly glance at it to verify if any of her findings were new. Thankfully, it seemed Elias’s physicians had kept rather detailed reports of his comings and goings from the hospital and appointments, despite it all being translated from… was that Russian?

“Elias? Are you able to understand English?” Madam Pomfrey asked, looking at the thin boy sitting across from her, hoping she wouldn’t have to rely on a translator. Severus seemed to not have any issues speaking with him, however there was always a chance that Severus was using a translator spell.

“Y-yes ma’am,” Elias said, looking at the woman rather wide-eyed.

“Good, good,” Madam Pomfrey said, flicking her wand at a piece of parchment. “Are you having any pain right now?”

“N-nothing unusual f-for me,” Elias said, blushing and shoving his hands under his thighs to help cover the slight twitch they still had. “M-my l-legs and b-back mostly.”

“Any headaches right now?” Madam Pomfrey asked, eyebrows shooting to her hairline as she continued to peruse his chart. Migraines, fatigue, seizures, muscle spasms, memory problems; it was no wonder he hadn’t come to Hogwarts or had a transcript from Durmstrang

Elias blushed even brighter red and picked at a hangnail that had gotten stuck on the bedding when he put his hands under his legs. He hadn’t wanted to admit to his father that his head was still hurting despite the potions he was on. It was nowhere near as bad as the first migraine day he had had, but it was still annoying to have a headache lingering on constantly. “Yeah, j-just a n-n-normal headache though!”

“Elias,” Severus said gruffly. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“It's n-not that b-b-bad,” Elias muttered, embarrassed at the mere thought of admitting something as minor as a headache. “I’ve h-had worse.”

Severus sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. Of course Elias wouldn’t want to admit something as simple as a headache; he had already admitted at least once to Draco that he hated feeling like a burden. He had spent the majority of his life caring for himself and at the very least the first part of the summer trying to cope with the pains and muscle spasms on his own; having someone actually care for him and truly want to know about how he was feeling must have felt so foreign to him. That didn’t make it any less frustrating for him as a father, however.

“Please tell me if you’re having a headache or any increase in pains,” Severus sighed, looking sternly at his son.

“If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your father, you can always come speak with me,” Madam Pomfrey interjected softly. “Or any of the professors here. I’m sure I can speak for everyone on staff, if you are struggling with something, we are all more than happy to help you with whatever problem it may be.”

Elias nodded and resisted the urge to snort. What a load of bollocks. They hadn’t really cared when he was Harry Potter, why would they give a damn now. He had been allowed to wander into a Basilisk's lair as a twelve year old with only a friend of the same age and a borderline incompetent professor. He had tried to tell Professor McGonagall when someone was trying to steal the Philosopher’s Stone. Then there was Professor Dumbledore who routinely encouraged behavior such as this. Had Dumbledore actually stood up for him, he never would have had to compete in the Triwizard Tournament, Hermione never would have had a Time Turner, the school would have been evacuated as soon as the threat of a Basilisk on the grounds was discovered, and the Philosopher’s Stone never would have been on the school grounds. Had anyone actually paid attention to him, he would never have been sent back to the Dursley’s.

“... on the bed?” Madam Pomfrey was saying.

“Sorry, could you repeat that?” Elias asked, having missed the first part of the command.

“Could you lay back on the bed?” Madam Pomfrey asked, motioning towards the bed he was sat on. “I need to perform just a few diagnostic spells on you, just to confirm there have been no changes since your last exam… last week… This is just a formality, I can assure you.”

Elias nodded, wincing as his back protested the movement and his legs twitched violently when his foot made contact with the cold metal frame of the bed. Thankfully the twinges weren’t nearly as bad as they had been prior to starting his current potions regime, but certain actions still served to remind him that his nerves were quite frayed and in a very literal sense. Thankfully the spasms seemed to stay located in his legs only this time rather than racing into his arms as well. Progress was progress!

“Oh my!” Madam Pomfrey gasped as she looked at the results of her scan briefly before grabbing his chart and quickly thumbing through it. “How frequently do you have those spasms?”

“All the t-time,” Elias answered truthfully. “They’re m-much b-better though!”

Madam Pomfrey looked wide-eyed at Severus who nodded rather tiredly. The poor boy! He must have struggled so much, it was any wonder he managed to make it to fifteen! She was honestly afraid to complete the rest of her scan but knew now to expect the most abnormal scans she had seen in her entire tenure as school nurse. In some ways she was glad to have never seen a case like his, however she felt wildly out of her depth with even being a point person on his case. The amount of spell damage she was seeing was something she hadn’t seen since the first war.

A few more spells and some frantic searching through his charts to corroborate her findings and she was done. It was a surface level examination, after all, nothing too in depth. Not that an in depth exam was necessary; he had just had a rather complex and complete physical done not even two weeks ago, judging by his chart.

“Alright laddie,” Madam Pomfrey said, extending a hand to the boy and helping him sit up. “I’m all done.”

“Are y-you sure?” Elias asked, looking surprised at how quickly the exam was over.

“I only needed to verify what was in your files,” Madam Pomfrey said, handing the boy back his clothes. “I do the same with all of the students that come in. You aren’t used to such short exams are you?”

Elias shook his head while looking at her in confusion. “Are you s-sure you’re d-done?”

“I’m positive,” Madam Pomfrey said with a smile though saddened by his disbelief. Visits to the healers must have been long, drawn out, and frequent endeavors for the boy.

“Awesome!” Elias said, throwing on his shirt and trousers as quickly as possible. Though he had great respect for Madam Pomfrey, he had no desire to stay in the hospital wing for any longer than he needed. He had spent enough time there over the past four years, he didn’t need to spend any more time there!

“Shoes,” Severus smirked, stopping his son from immediately running out of the hospital wing once clothed.

“Right,” Elias said, grabbing the proffered item and struggling momentarily to slide his feet into them before trying once more to push his way out of the Hospital Wing. He was finally back at Hogwarts!

“Hold on,” Severus said, grabbing Elias by the back of his shirt. “We are not ready to leave yet.”

“Thank y-you, Madam Pomfrey!” Elias said quickly, trying to pull away from his father’s grasp.

“Close,” Severus said with a smirk as he handed the anxious teen his forgotten cane from where he had left it and handing yet another piece of parchment to Madam Pomfrey. “The timings and frequency of each of his potions is listed following each potion. I have been given permission from his primary healer to brew all of his potions and have them stocked in our quarters.”

Madam Pomfrey quickly looked over the list of potions nodding as she went along until she got to by far the most controversial of the potions on the list.

“Fulgur? Severus thats….”

“I am aware,” Severus said with a sigh. “I am acutely aware. However he has seen some of the most significant improvement in his condition since he started taking it.”

Poppy sighed before placing a small hash mark next to the potion in question. “Is the Headmaster aware?”

“I… have not informed him yet,” Severus said, a rather pained look on his face. “I was hoping to keep that under wraps.”

“What’s wrong?” Elias said, eyes flicking between the two adults, panic evident in his voice.

“Elias, do you know what Fulgur is?” Severus asked, honestly curious as to how much Elias knew about the potions he was on.

“It’s a c-c-class eight p-poison with p-potentially therap-peutic effects,” Elias said as though quoting a textbook. “I t-take eight d-drops in the m-morning and f-f-four in the evening if I’m h-having a b-b-bad afternoon.”

“And as it is considered a poison, especially one which is classed so high, it is not technically allowed within the school,” Severus said uncomfortably. “Or at least not in liquid form within areas where students are allowed.”

Elias’s shoulders fell as the realization of what his father was saying sunk in. He had honestly been hoping to have at least one of the major meals with the other students in hopes of forging friendships before he was allowed to audit classes. He was already aware that he would be struggling to make friends simply because of his last name and that he wouldn’t be able to attend classes. He had had dreams of at least being able to sit with the general populace of Hogwarts for meals so he could get to “meet” the other students again.

“C-couldn’t I t-take it b-before breakfast and after d-d-dinner?” Elias asked, eyes full of hope but already resigned to what the answer would be.

“I’m sorry,” Severus said quietly, knowing how ostracizing this would be for his son. “It has to be taken with food. Perhaps there is something I could work out with the headmaster so you would be able to eat with the other students, however.”

“I d-don’t think he l-l-likes me very m-much,” Elias muttered, shifting awkwardly in place.

“You were just confused at the time,” Severus said, eyes glimmering as he tried not to laugh at the memory of how flustered the headmaster had been with his apparent ‘confusion.’

“I’m sure he will forgive you and find some way of working around the existing regulations,” Madam Pomfrey said in an effort to reassure the boy in front of her. “I wouldn’t worry too much about it at this time. There’s still a week before school starts, dear. I’m sure we can get something figured out for you so you get to have time to socialize.”

Elias nodded, a small smile growing on his face. Despite the desire to hide from the headmaster and the need to protect his identity both for his safety and for his father’s, she was correct. Dumbledore was one for stretching the rules when it came to things that either shouldn’t be allowed or were flat out dangerous (like housing a werewolf in a boarding school prior to the advent of Wolfsbane). He, at the very least, wasn’t a danger to those around him; he was just a danger to himself. It was only one potion after all, and not even a strong dose. It wasn’t like he was bringing dangerous or untested contraband into the school like the Weasley twins did every year.

Speaking of dangerous contraband...

“H-how long do w-we have b-before we m-meet my t-t-tutor?” Elias asked, suddenly changing the topic, eyes sparkling with curiosity.

“Several hours,” Severus said, pulling a pocket watch out of his robes and checking the time. “In our brief correspondence, we discussed meeting and having an early dinner so you could get to know each other.”

“Ok,” Elias said, nodding in agreement at the plan. “D-do I have t-time to go to the l-l-library? I d-d-didn’t have time t-to finish m-much of my theory p-project p-prop-p-p-posal b-before I got sick.”

“I am aware,” Severus said bluntly, crossing his arms over his chest. “I have informed your tutor that your proposal is not very well fleshed out but he seems to be … quite lenient. Though I don’t know how much information you will be able to find here. Are you sure you still want to focus on that?”

“Yes, sir,” Elias said, unintentionally mirroring his father’s actions and tone of voice. “I am p-p-positive.”

“Enough,” Madam Pomfrey said, shooing both of them towards the door. “If you Snapes want to argue, don’t do it my wing. I’ve barely got it set up as is! Whatever your project is, I don’t want to see you in here because of it! Either of you!”

Elias nodded and snickered before limping out of the hospital wing, into the hallway, and stopping. While he knew how to get to the library from the hospital wing like he knew the back of his hand, he didn’t know the way to the library. It would be extremely difficult to explain how he knew his way around a castle that he had never been to before, especially one as confusing as Hogwarts.

“I thought you wanted to go to the library?” Severus said, closing the door to the hospital wing behind him.

“Yes, b-but I don’t know where it is,” Elias said, looking around at the portraits on the wall who were occasionally looking in their direction.

That was the thing about Hogwarts, the walls literally had eyes and ears. One wrong step and the portraits would begin gossiping and it wouldn’t be long before the gossip made its way to the headmaster’s office. Not only that, but there were also the ghosts who would routinely fade through walls and meander down corridors. Nearly-Headless Nick was a known gossip amongst the Gryffindors; it wasn’t much of a stretch to believe he would happily pass along anything he found strange to the other ghosts just to have something interesting to talk about.

“Oh… of course,” Severus said, happily surprised Elias was remembering to keep such details as to what he did and did not know at the forefront of his mind. “Come along then. I’ll give you a little tour on our way there…”

“Elias? Elias!” Severus called, wandering through the stacks in search of his wayward son.

He had placed a monitoring spell on him once they got to the library so he would be able to leave momentarily and speak with the headmaster regarding the ‘incident’ earlier in the day. It had been a rather boring meeting simply confirming the reasoning behind why he would not be able to attend normal classes for now as well as ‘explaining’ the poor reaction he had to the floo. They had also discussed, albeit briefly, the problem with his potions and the desire he had to eat with teens his own age so as to make friends. Albus agreed it was a problem, however he only said that he would ‘think about it’ and left it at that.

“Elias, we need to go! I told Lupin we’d meet him there at half four, and it’s nearly four now!”

Farther down the stacks, he heard a rather heavy book slam shut and the flurry of books being frantically shoved back into their rightful places all at once. A few moments later, the rather dusty head of his son poked around the corner of one of the shelves and looked at him in shock.

“D-d-d-did y-you just say L-l-lupin?!” Elias stammered, eyes wide as he frantically brushed his robes off. “L-like Remus L-l-l-lupin?!”

Severus groaned. He had been hoping to discuss this on the carriage ride to Hogsmeade, but in his frustration at the time crunch they now found themselves in he had blurted it out. A rather uncharacteristic blunder, if he did say so himself.

“The same,” Severus growled. “I just hope he doesn’t bring his mutt with him. That would… not end well.”

“Why not?” Elias asked honestly as he pocketed his ever present notebook. As excited as he was at knowing his favorite professor was now going to be his personal tutor, he couldn’t help but feel a bit uneasy at the way his father was saying things. There was being purposefully evasive and then there was whatever this was to his father. He knew Severus and the Marauders had a bit of a history, but he made it sound almost as though it were a death threat.

“Lupin’s dog does not care for me,” Severus said, leading the way out of the library and towards the grand entrance where a carriage was waiting for them to take them to Hogsmead. “In fact, I would even go so far as to say he loathes me and the feeling is mutual. I’m concerned he may feel the same way about you.”

“Oh,” Elias said, watching the ground carefully as he walked. Cobble was much more difficult to keep his footing on than the nice, flat, wooden floor they had at Spinner’s End. He had already tripped and nearly fallen several times on a piece of uneven flagstone. “I don’t like dogs that much.”

“Then you’re in for a treat,” Severus said with a snort. “The one thing you have to look forward to is an extra day or so off classes a month.”

Elias shivered at the memory of Professor Lupin’s transformation. The light of the full moon rising as Moony took hold of the man and forced his way out, unchecked by the wolfsbane potion. The entire night had been a disaster from start to finish. Ron had been injured, Wormtail had escaped, Sirius had nearly been kissed, and, if it hadn’t been for Hermione’s penchant for education, he may very well have died as well.

Despite everything that happened, Sirius had continued to reach out to him and gave him something to look forward to. Up until the potion had worn out of his system and the owls couldn’t find him anymore, he and Sirius would write occasionally. It was mostly banter, but the letters had helped keep him sane whenever things were getting bad either at school or at home. As happy as he was to have a father and a new, non famous life, certain aspects of his old life he did hope to retain. His friends and his relationship to his … James’ friends being prime examples.

“What if he d-does b-bring his dog and his d-dog d-doesn’t like m-m-me?” Elias asked solemnly.

“Then we request he be muzzled and removed,” Severus said firmly as they came upon the main staircase.

“And w-what if I w-w-want to t-tell him?” Elias said, voice barely over a whisper. “I d-d-don’t want t-t-t-to lose anyo-one else.”

“We shall deal with that when and if the time comes,” Severus said, offering his arm as Elias hesitantly started down the wide staircase. While the cane helped his balance on the flat, going down stairs was still a rather daunting task. Severus had no doubt in his mind that over time Elias would get better at managing the stairs of Hogwarts, but, for now, they were a force to be reckoned with. “Are you still feeling dizzy?”

“A little,” Elias admitted, gratefully taking the offered arm in one hand and the stair rail in the other. “I’m g-g-getting a little t-tired too.”

“I can tell,” Severus said, noting the increase in tremors in his son’s hands. “Are you going to be able to make it through dinner?”

“I think so. I d-d-don’t know how w-w-well I will b-be able t-to follow the c-convers-sation though,” Elias admitted with a frown. He was already beginning to feel the small waves of confusion licking at his consciousness. By far it was the most frustrating thing he had found of his current condition: get tired and trying to follow a conversation was a struggle; get too tired and everything became a struggle. He was getting better at staying awake for longer, something he credited the potions with, but still there were times where he would exhaust himself trying to stay up to be normal only to find everything was becoming more and more confusing as he began to forget what he was even trying to work on.

“This is only intended to be a short meal and a ‘meet and greet’ session,” Severus said, pausing for Elias to sneeze as they exited the castle into the bright summer sun.

“Ok,” Elias said, rubbing his nose vigorously before continuing down the stairs to the waiting carriage before stopping suddenly. He’d never seen the carriages be pulled by something, let alone whatever one of those things! What even was that thing at the front of the carriage?

Severus stopped when his son did and looked at the boy’s rather pale face. “Elias, are you alright?”

“Wh-what is that-t thing?” Elias said quietly, staring at the rather terrifying looking, skeletal, winged horse which was harnessed to the front of the carriage.

“It’s a thestral,” Severus said softly. “They are invisible to those who have never seen death but themselves are quite harmless. I take it you’ve not studied them?”

Elias shook his head as visions of the cemetery flooded in. Cedric lying there, dead, his spirit begging to have his body taken back to his father. The smell of wet grass, blood, and burning flesh filling his nostrils as Voldemort’s voice ordered Wormtail to kill the spare. His heart began to race as Voldemort raised his wand and cast the cruciatus curse on him…


“Hmm?” Elias mumbled, heart beginning to slow.

“Elias, talk to me!” Severus’s voice cut through the fog of his panic. “Can you hear me?”

“Yeah… yeah…” Elias said, wiping his eyes with his hand and sneezing once more as a bright light was shone in his eyes. “Will y-you stop d-d-doing that?!”

“What happened?” Severus asked, waving his wand over his son once more to confirm whatever it was wasn’t a seizure.

Elias blushed and pushed himself up off of the stairs. “N-nothing.”

“Nothing doesn’t end up with someone hyperventilating,” Severus said, handing the fallen cane back to its owner.

Elias blushed bright red as he took the offered cane before pushing past his father and rushing down the rest of the stairs as best he could before launching himself into the carriage, making sure to not be facing the thestral which was pawing impatiently at the ground. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to talk about that night, it was that he didn’t want to discuss this right now. He was fine, a little panicky, but fine. Besides, he was already shaping up to be a rather lousy son; there was no way that Severus Snape, dungeon dweller of Hogwarts, would want to keep a weak son like him.

True, he had been surprisingly level-headed about the whole thing, but how much longer would he be able to keep up the act? How much longer would he be willing to put up with having a spastic freak of a son? He was not known for his patience after all, and pretending to have a son as needy as Elias must have been so taxing on him. Maybe he was just going to foist him onto Professor Lupin and be done with him?

“Elias, talk to me,” Severus said firmly, climbing into the carriage and signalling to the driver to go ahead. The carriage slowly lurched forward causing both occupants to momentarily lose their balance before both settled back into their respective seats.

“N-nothin’ t-t-t-to t-talk ab-b-bout,” Elias said, cursing how easily his stutter gave away his state of mind.

Severus raised an eyebrow and sighed. He seemed fine now, but what on earth could have made him react like that to the thestral? Surely he had been able to see them since starting Hogwarts, having witnessed the death of his mother at such a young age! Whatever it was, he had gone from walking surprisingly well down the stairs with only minimal assistance to seemingly having a panic attack while looking at the thestrals. Had it not been for the spells he had placed on the boy to alert him if he was having a seizure, he honestly would have thought that was what was happening. Elias had suddenly gone extremely pale, a cold sweat appearing on his brow as his knees began to buckle under him.

While a good proof of concept for why Elias wouldn’t be allowed to roam the school unattended, it was still a worrying occurrence.

“I will respect your wishes to not discuss this topic at this time, however we do have other things to discuss,” Severus said, relaxing back into the rather plush cushions of the carriage. “Your educational background being one of them.”
To be continued...
Chapter 19 by DesertPlanet
Waiting to meet a new employer for an interview and being stood up was such a standard part of his life that, when Snape and his son failed to show up on time, Remus nearly left The Three Broomsticks immediately having forgotten that this meeting was solely a formality and that he already had the job. It was still quite nerve wracking to be meeting Snape’s son, particularly since the last time he worked at Hogwarts he … hadn’t left on the best of terms. Particularly with Severus.

But he wasn’t truly employed by Hogwarts this time around, instead his application had been given to Severus who chose to employ him. That was a fact that was more confusing to him than anything else. Severus had never liked him much, even going so far as to try and get him fired for minor differing opinions while they taught together, so why was he willing to go against that track record and allow him to teach his son? It was baffling to say the least.

Nearly fifteen minutes after the scheduled time they were supposed to meet, Remus was beginning to worry that either something had happened to Severus and his son or that he was essentially being stood up yet again when the front door to The Three Broomsticks opened once more and in stepped the two Snapes, both looking rather worn from their journey. The elder Snape strode over to Madam Rosemerta and quietly spoke with her for a minute before she nodded in Remus’s direction to which Severus responded with a small nod of thanks before turning back to his son.

The teenager who was with Severus was obviously his son despite not being an exact carbon copy of the man. While both were quite pale, Severus’s complexion was made more sallow when contrasted with his standard black robes and hair. Elias, on the other hand, looked far more like someone who had once had a tan and but had lost it recently. His dark brown hair fell straight much like his father’s, however his was far shorter than any cut he could ever remember Severus wearing and was parted so the front was swept over a rather substantial and recent scar on his forehead. Elias’s robes were a dark midnight blue and were cut slightly shorter than what was considered normal, though not enough to be noticeable unless one were paying close attention. Additionally, Remus couldn’t help but notice the dark brown cane the boy leaned ever so slightly on when he walked.

But what really stood out to Remus was the shivering. Despite it being quite warm outside, Elias seemed to be shivering nonstop. It was nearly imperceptible, but it was still there. Even from a distance, Remus could see every visible part of the boy seemed to be constantly in motion. Even his eyes had a slight shudder to them. Occasionally a larger twitch could be seen in his arms.

Slowly sipping on his second butterbeer, he watched in silence as Severus turned back and briefly spoke to his son before they turned together and walked towards his table. Elias’s limp was quite pronounced although it was irregular, almost as though he were constantly trying to find his footing. The cane was not for show then, but rather a needed accessory.

“Good afternoon, Lupin,” Severus said rather tersely.

“Afternoon, Severus,” Remus responded calmly, not wanting to rile the man up any more in front of his son, and extending a hand to the younger Snape. “And you must be Elias. It’s a pleasure to meet you! I’m Remus Lupin”

Elias nodded politely, not trusting his voice to work properly and not wanting to make a fool out of himself in front of his "new" instructor before sliding into the seats opposite the man. He just wanted to get this over with so he could go home and take a nap. Just the ride over was a struggle as the headache he’d been having was slowly growing. While he was slightly hungry, it was nothing compared to what he was used to at the Dursley’s so he knew he could manage.

“I wouldn’t expect much in the way of verbal answers out of him right now,” Severus said, handing a yawning Elias the menu which was on the table. “Typically he would have taken a nap trying to do anything in the afternoon, but he wanted to see the library and try to get more caught up on his project.”

Remus nodded, a smile on gracing his weathered features. “Your father told me a bit about what you were wanting to focus on and I must admit, I am fascinated myself! Did you have any luck finding any information on e- il- electricity in the Hogwarts library?”

Elias shrugged slightly as he peered closely at the menu, frowning slightly as his eyes quivered and the words blurred together. He didn’t want much, just something small as his stomach still wasn’t feeling up to large or complex meals. “S-s-soup?”

“They have a fairly decent vegetable soup as well as pumpkin,” Severus answered, seemingly unperturbed by Elias’s lack of true answer to the question asked.

“V-v-veg-g,” Elias said quietly as he put down the menu and held out his hand expectantly.

“I’ll give it to you after we order,” Severus said, gently pushing Elias’s hand down. “Did you find anything interesting in the library?”

“‘B-bout s-soup?” Elias asked, his frown deepening as he tried to follow the conversation. Why was it so hard to make sense of the questions being asked? What was he missing?

“About electricity,” Severus said, gently redirecting his son’s attention back to the original topic with what seemed in Remus’s mind to be a level of grace born only from experience.

“Hmm,” Elias mumbled, biting his lip for a moment as he tried to recall everything he had read over the last three hours only to draw a blank. Maybe he had written it down?

Reaching into his breast pocket, he pulled out his small notebook and flipped it open to the last page with writing. Squinting at it in an effort to focus his eyes, bits and pieces of the last three hours began filtering into his mind. Had he had much luck? If the few entries in the notebook were anything to go on: no. In fact, in the few short hours he had been looking, he remembered one thing: there weren’t even many books mentioning the topic.

“M-m-muggle stud-d-dies is out-td-d-d-dated” Elias finally said, glaring at the publishing dates written down. “B-badly.”

“How so?” Remus asked, interest peaked once more. Surely it couldn’t be that bad, could it? After all, there hadn’t been many complaints he knew of from muggleborn students on the inaccuracies of the class.

“N-n-n-ninteen sevent-ty f-four is the m-m-most recent-t d-d-date.”

“That is quite recent,” Remus said with a gentle smile. “The muggle world has changed, but not that much.”

Elias’s eyebrows shot to his hairline in shock. It was no wonder then that the wizarding world was so out of date! True, there were thousands of years of history differentiating the two worlds, but to assume no new advances had been made in the last twenty years (or at least no major advances) was asinine. If a wizard was to try to survive in the muggle world now, they would be at an absolute loss and it was bound to be getting worse! Hell, even the Dursley’s knew this! Over the summer, they had gotten a new system installed for Dudley’s computer which, after making a god awful racket, allowed him to access something called ‘the internet.’ He had been raving about how this was ‘the future’ for weeks and all conversations he had with his friends ended in conjectures about how amazing it would be as it developed more!

Communication, information sharing, video games with friends around the world in real time, and all based on electricity which was given only half a chapter in every muggle studies book he had found! That would be like…

“P-p-potions,” Elias said suddenly, seemingly out of the blue to those around him.

“What about them?” Severus asked, curious as to the mental leap his son had just made. A quick look at Remus proved he was not the only one interested in where this was going. While Elias was knowledgeable about some potions, he was a barely adequate potions student. True, as Harry Potter he hadn’t really been given a fair chance in class, but even so his understanding on the ministry issued final tests was subpar. Even Weasley did slightly better than him on those tests, though neither were as bad as Longbottom.

“P-p-potions are p-p-potions. Th-throw thin-ngs in a c-c-cauldron, th-that’s it-t,” Elias said, waiting for Severus to immediately implode.

Severus’s nostrils immediately flared at the idea of throwing things willy-nilly into a cauldron and it took every shred of self control to not immediately launch into a lecture on how dangerous that was. Even Lupin looked shocked at the way Elias said that so flippantly, but he too paused for a moment before saying anything. There had to have been a train of thought that, while slightly derailed, Elias must have been on when he said that. Especially the way he said that.

“N-n-nothing n-new in p-p-potions since n-nineteen s-s-seventy f-f-four,” he continued, knowing full well that Severus had been fawning over a newly created composite cauldron for the past several days after it had been introduced in the latest edition of the Potioneer’s Companion as well as having created a number of potions himself within the last several weeks. One look at the man and he knew he had struck a nerve, but it put them on the right thought path.

“Is it that bad?” Remus asked, quickly catching on to what the boy was saying as Severus seemed to physically decompress as the realization at the same time.

Elias nodded once before a look of slight confusion graced his face again. He couldn’t remember if they had ordered yet, but he could tell from the lack of aftertaste in his mouth that he hadn’t taken the potion to help his swallow yet. He didn’t feel like they had eaten yet either.

“What is it Elias?” Remus asked, noting the confusion on the boy’s face come back.

“H-have w-w-w-we ord-dered-d-d?” Elias mumbled, rubbing a hand over his eyes tiredly.

“Not yet,” Severus said, flagging Madam Rosmerta over as Elias yawned once more. “Are you hungry?”

“N-n-no, j-just t-t-tired,” Elias said, staring at the table in embarrassment before resting his head on his hand in an effort to keep it up. He knew he needed to eat but … it was hard enough to focus on two questions at once, he didn’t know if he could keep up with a conversation and eat at the same time. Not to mention his head was throbbing in time with his heart making it even more difficult to focus.

“You didn’t happen to bring a draft of his theory proposal, did you?” Remus asked, looking up from the small notebook Elias had dropped on the table. “I am honestly curious now as to how behind the wizarding world is in terms of electricity if his example is correct. Have you ever looked into this?”

“I did,” Severus said, pulling the few sheets of parchment Elias had managed to put together during the short time he was coherent enough to do so. As much as he had hoped the boy would be able to explain his ideas here and now, one look at his son and he knew explanations would have to wait until tomorrow at the earliest. “He hasn’t had much time to work on it this summer, unfortunately.”

Remus nodded in understanding as he took the small stack of parchment. If anything, he could understand what it felt like to try to continue to live a normal life while dealing with health problems which seemed determined to undermine every effort you made to fight them. While his furry little problem affected his life in many ways, he really only had to deal with the symptoms of it for a few days prior to the full moon and for about a week after as his body healed. Elias had to fight that fight every day, and today it seemed the exhaustion was catching up to him.

Flipping through the parchment, it was evident to Remus that this was a very very rough draft. Had he not known that Elias was ill for most of the summer, even requiring hospitalization, he would have assumed this draft was written by someone unused to writing such proposals as it was quite scattered in its construction with far too many topics listed. He doubted Elias wrote like this consistently as even his notebook seemed to be rather meticulously organized.

“Well isn’t this a sight for sore eyes,” Madam Rosemerta said with a smirk as she came over to the table, wiping her hands on her apron. “I swear if I have to kick the two of you out for fighting, I’m making good on my threat to ban the both of you for good.”

“Rosie, that was nearly twenty years ago,” Remus said with a good natured laugh as Severus shot daggers at the woman with his glare. “Besides, Sirius started that fight. Severus finished it.”

“And you left a rather sizable dent in my bar with your fist, Mr. Lupin!” Madam Rosemerta said, wagging her finger at the man jokingly. “Now, other than a pillow for your boy, Severus, is there anything I can get for you?”

“I’ll have the cottage pie and a coffee,” Severus said before glancing at Elias only to find he had truly fallen asleep sitting up. “He’ll have a bowl of vegetable soup and a water.”

“Sure thing, dear!” Madam Rosemerta said, looking rather fondly at the sleeping boy. Poor thing looked utterly beat. “And for you Remus?”

“What’s in the stovie for the day?” Remus asked, mouth already beginning to water as delicious food smells were already beginning to emanate from the kitchen in the back.

“Lamb, potato, and onion. Do you need a refill?” Madam Rosemerta asked, looking pointedly at Remus’s mostly empty butterbeer.

“Sounds good, and no thank you, I’m fine,” Remus said with a smile before handing the menus back.

“Alright lads, if you change your mind on the pillow, just let me know!” she said before going back to the bar and beginning to berate a rather grubby wizard who was sitting at the bar for some misdeed he had done since he was in to visit last.

“Sounds like Dung is back in town,” Remus muttered, rolling his eyes as the grubby wizard tried to defend himself once more.

“Lovely,” Severus muttered back. “To answer your earlier question: no, I have never even thought to look into advancements in muggle technology. I do not spend much time in the muggle world and few of my Slytherins come from muggle backgrounds. I never even thought to look into it because many of the ‘advancements’ seem too far fetched to be real. However, after this summer, I too am curious as to what they have been able to achieve.”

“What happened this summer?” Remus asked curiously.

Severus sighed deeply and rubbed the bridge of his nose before pulling a potion’s vial from his breast pocket and turning to Elias and gently shaking him awake. “Elias, food will be here in a few minutes, I need you to take your potion.”

Blearily opening one eye and frowning in confusion for several moments as though processing what was said, Elias finally reached out and took the potion with one hand, expertly cracked the top, and downed the entire potion quickly. He then gently handed the vial back to his father and snuggled farther back in the booth before lying his head in his arms and going right back to sleep.

“It’s quite a long story, Lupin,” Severus said folding his hands in his lap and leaning forward slightly. “One which I will have to tell you at some point in its entirety, but at this point my priority is to make sure that you two will get along in spite of our misgivings.”

“Ok, so start from the beginning.”
To be continued...
End Notes:
Just a short little chapter to tide us over as I try to get caught up on real life things (like yardwork and chores). Enjoy!
Chapter 20 by DesertPlanet
Bar none, this had been the strangest summer Ron had had since starting Hogwarts. He had thought the summer they had to break Harry out of the Dursley’s house and ended up flying the car to school was a strange one, only to have it topped by having a family vacation to Egypt, which was then topped by getting to go to the World Cup and getting attacked by Death Eaters. It seemed every summer tried to be progressively more strange than the one before, but this one was certainly trying its hardest to top them all.

It had started as a nice, normal summer: degnoming the garden, playing Quidditch with his brothers, trying to avoid being the guinea pig for the twin’s new products, things like that. Then one day Hedwig showed up with a letter from Harry, just a normal letter, but that seemed to be the spark of the weirdness. Ron had written a letter back and sent along a few cauldron cakes to make sure his friend was getting at least some sort of nourishment through the summer, but, two days later, Hedwig returned with the letter and the cauldron cakes untouched. Concerned, Ron sent Pig to see if he was able to get a letter through, but Pig returned with the new letter intact.

Concern continuing to grow, he asked his dad if they could go visit Harry, just to check up on him, only to be told that Dumbledore had Harry’s house on continuous observation with both wards and members of ‘The Order’ physically there. If anything had happened to Harry, Dumbledore would know. Ron resisted the urge to scoff as Dumbledore had routinely put Harry into harm’s way or at the very least didn’t prevent him from being a part of dangerous activities, but at least Dumbledore did always know where his friend was. Or at least that’s what people thought.

Only a day later, Hermione wrote him asking the same things: had he heard from Harry, was Harry staying with the Weasley’s, why wasn’t Harry responding. Again, Ron asked his father if they could at least swing by the Dursley’s to check on him. This time, Arthur agreed to ask Dumbledore if it were alright for them to go by and at least have a little visit with the boy. Perhaps the new wards were what was preventing the owls from finding him?

Something continued to niggle the back of Ron’s brain about the situation, however. Something wasn’t right. Even the year Dobby was preventing letters from getting through to Harry, the letters were at least taken. Once more he sent Hedwig out with a note for Harry; this time with a tracker stuck on the letter so he could follow her location. It was a wonderful invention created by the twins and inspired by the oft admired Marauder's Map. With their help, he modified a map of England so they could track Hedwig’s movements.

As expected, she flew south to Surrey and towards Little Whinging, but then she began an inexplicable circling pattern. It was almost as if she knew where to go but once she got there couldn’t find the person she needed to find. After circling for a day and a half, she returned to the Burrow, note still firmly clasped in her talon.

At this point, even the twins agreed that something needed to be done whether their parents agreed or not. Since they had their apparation licenses, they would apparate to Little Whinging, walk to Harry’s house, talk to him, and rescue him if need be. It was a good plan, but they knew they couldn’t go apparating into a muggle town in the middle of the day, especially into the one where Harry Potter lived. That was just asking to be arrested and would be very hard to explain.

It wasn’t an hour after they made their plan that Harry’s hand on the family clock shuttered briefly, which was more movement than it had done the entire summer, flicked to ‘mortal peril,’ then fell from the clock. Molly had barely had a chance to register what had happened despite being in the room with the clock when the hand fell from its face when the headmaster’s patronus appeared and made the announcement that Harry Potter had left the wards. Immediately she and Arthur jumped to their feet and apparated to Little Whinging, caring very little for the secrecy laws they were breaking. One of their children was in danger, possibly even dead, and they were nowhere near him.

The rest of the Weasley house was left in shock, shock which deepened even further when their parents returned highly upset and empty handed. No evidence of foul play other than a few drops of blood on a wheelbarrow. No signs of magic being used. Nothing to even show he had been there. He had disappeared into thin air.

Every day for a week, Molly and Arthur would join the search when they could. Sometimes they were gone for an hour, sometimes several, but they never returned successfully. Frustrations continued to grow and every letter they tried to send him kept getting returned unopened or touched. The entire situation was bizarre.

Shortly after Harry’s official disappearance, Death Eater activity ramped up. According to a spy for the Order, even You-Know-Who had no idea where Harry had gone to. While this was some sort of relief in Ron’s mind, the question still remained as to where he had gone. He didn’t have much time to worry, however, as several Death Eater attacks close to Ottery St. Catchpole forced the Weasley family to briefly evacuate their house for the first time in any of the younger children’s memory. With all of the Weasley family being known close friends of Harry’s, it was in their best interest to go to a safe house for the remainder of the summer.

Grimmauld Place was a terribly dreary building which seemed to act almost like a Dementor in and of itself. The dark, shabby walls seemed to suck the happiness out of everything around them and the entire building absolutely reeked of Dark Magic. After seeing his childhood home, it made sense that Sirius had managed to survive Azkaban with no effects on his mental wellness. It was baffling, however, how a man as vibrant and full of life as Sirius had ever grown up in a building as stifling as this.

And his mother! Her portrait screamed day and night about blood traitors and how they were defiling her house. If it wasn’t her screaming, it was Sirius shouting profanities back at her while struggling to shut the curtains over her portrait and yelling at the house elf to do his job. All of the Weasley’s, including the twins, took to slowly creeping around the portrait so as not to bother her lest the shouting begin again. Everyone agreed this was far more the house they pictured Snape growing up in than what they expected Sirius to live in.

Sirius himself was a wreck. Anyone who opened the door was immediately accosted by the man as he demanded to know any information about the location of his godson. Anything at all. He had even been caught several times sneaking out of the house as a dog to try and track down his godson. Every piece of mail was taken with shaking hands in hopes it contained some sort of information about Harry’s whereabouts. Outside of yelling at his mother, Sirius had taken to remaining in his dog form and lying miserably outside of the room he had made up to be Harry’s. Even Remus was struggling to get him to leave the area, though it did keep him out of the way.

It wasn’t more than a week before Hermione was also pulled to live in Grimmauld Place as well. While no Death Eaters had been seen in her neighborhood, there were concerns for her safety as she didn’t live in a magical community, nor did she have magical parents to help defend her. When she arrived, her homework was already completed, but that surprised no one. What was far more shocking was what she had found while she had been at home.

Molly had noticed something was amiss when she went to give Hermione her customary tight hug and the poor girl winced away from her stating that her back was a bit bruised still despite the stock of bruise balm she had been using on it at home.

“Hermione, dear, what happened!?” Molly asked gasping as she raised her shirt briefly to look at the damage. Ron immediately came over as well after hearing his mother’s alarm. The bruising extended all along her back, stretching from one side to the other and even onto her shoulders. Contained within the larger bruising was an almost lightning like pattern which wrapped around to her chest.

“You aren’t going to believe this,” Hermione said as she pulled her shirt back down.

“Dear, I’ve raised seven children, I highly doubt that,” Molly said as she summoned a large tin of bruise balm from the medical supply closet. “Do you know what curse hit you?”

“I don’t really know,” Hermione said, gratefully taking the tin and putting it in her pocket.

“Where were you that you could’ve been hit by a curse like that?” Ron said, eyebrow raised.

“Like I said, I don’t think you’re going to believe this,” Hermione said, sitting at the kitchen table. “So, I told you I had decided to try volunteering at a hospital to see if I liked healing more than administration? I don’t, but it was a good opportunity to learn and it helped me keep my mind off of everything that happened at the end of last year.”

“Ok?” Ron said, frown deepening as he looked at his mother who appeared equally confused by this turn of events.

“Last week I was working on a unit I hadn’t been on before and asked what I could do to help the staff out. They sent me into this ‘strange kid’s’ room to help him get dressed. Apparently he was going to be leaving the hospital that day and they wanted him to be ready to go but something about him was a bit ‘off putting’ as they put it,” Hermione said, a look of mild disbelief washing over her face as she recalled the events of that day. “From their description of him, he sounded a bit like he could be a wizard, and it turned out he was.”

“Wait, what was a wizard doing in a muggle hospital?” Ron asked, holding up his hands in shock.

“How old was he?” Molly asked at the same time as Ron. “Was he a muggleborn?”

“That's just it! Like I said, you’ll never believe this. He was like sixteen or so and said that he ended up in a muggle hospital because he had had a seizure. Apparently he worked for a muggle company and when he collapsed they called an ambulance for him which took him to a muggle hospital,” Hermione said in a rush. “But that’s not even the weirdest part! Did you know Snape has a kid?”

“What?!” Ron yelled. “Snape has a kid! That was Snape’s kid?!”

Molly frowned but nodded. She could vaguely remember Severus saying something to Dumbledore after the last Order meeting about ‘Elias,’ but she hadn’t put two and two together at the time. He was an intensely private person who tended to keep personal information private. He could be married and have a whole brood of children and no one would know.

“Mum, did you know?!” Ron said, noticing the nod.

“I’ve heard him mention his son briefly but I didn’t realize that’s who he was talking about at the time,” Molly admitted. “Did he do this to you?”

“All I was doing was asking questions,” Hermione said, blushing. “He had asked what my blood status was then was getting more and more upset and I didn’t realize it. Then he yelled at me to get out after I helped him get his shoes on. I tried asking him why, but then I got blasted out of the room and into a wall.”

“Oh my!” Molly gasped, covering her mouth with a hand as Ron’s eyes went wide.

“The nurses thought he had thrown me out of the room and sent me down to A&E for an exam before I was allowed to go home. I don’t know what happened to him after that, but I looked him up the other day when I went in for my last shift and he wasn’t a patient any more, so I guess he went home.”

Despite their obvious worry about Harry’s location, finding out more about Snape’s mysterious son took precedence. The members of the Order were working on locating Harry; the idea that Snape had a son was something the children could use to distract themselves from the fact their friend was missing. Anything to keep their minds off the fact no one knew where Harry was was beneficial as the stress of the situation was making even the most stoic of the teens begin to lose their cool.

Who was this boy? Where did he come from? Who was his mother? Where did he live? Where did Snape live? Did Snape keep him in a dungeon? All of these questions were the topic of nearly every conversation for the following week with even the adults pitching in theories until one day Professor Lupin showed up in the late afternoon just prior to an order meeting to speak with Professor Dumbledore.

The twins had already laid out their extendable ears to listen in on the meeting in hopes of hearing some information about their wayward friend as well as hear any of the juicy information about the ongoing missions the order was performing. As soon as Professor Lupin and the Headmaster walked into the kitchen and were seated, it became obvious they were going to be discussing something interesting as Professor Lupin pulled out a rather small stack of parchment and began discussing things with the headmaster.

Running upstairs, each of the twins grabbed one extendable ear and listened.

“-outdated,” Professor Lupin was saying. They could hear him tapping on the table with his finger.

“I shall mention this to Professor Burbage,” Dumbledore said, the twinkle in his eye evident even in his voice. “But at this point I don’t think there is enough time to change the entire curriculum of one class.”

“I believe he may want to go off grounds for further research,” Remus said, continuing to rifle through the parchment he had. “Would it be possible to get a portkey through the Hogwarts wards to Edinburgh? Or Inverness if distance is an issue.”

“After the events of last year, I am afraid I will not be issuing any portkeys which can exit the wards, Remus. Nor will I issue ones which can come directly onto Hogwarts grounds,” Dumbledore said sternly. “I will be more than happy to get you one which will be usable once the wards have been left, however I do not want a portkey to be snuck in and used for the purpose of getting a student off the grounds.”

“Understood, though I am concerned about Elias’s ability to walk long distances.”

“I’m sure Mr. Snape will be able to manage,” Dumbledore said rather flippantly before turning to greet some of the other order members who were coming in for the meeting.

Both twins put their extendable ears down and looked at each other with glee. They now had a name for the mysterious Snape, and it seemed Professor Lupin was going to be back at Hogwarts, though in a very different capacity. And apparently the Snape boy would be at Hogwarts this year, though with Lupin as his tutor.

What a year this would be!

“Do you think Harry’s going to be here?” Ron asked, peering over the crowd in search of his wayward best friend as the students quickly climbed onto the various cars and found a compartment in which to sit. “Maybe he’s already shown up and is on the train.”

“Ron, I’m sorry,” Hermione said, looking sadly at her friend before also looking around the station in hope. Aurors were standing against all the walls and had even been seen on the muggle side of Kings Cross. “I don’t think he’s coming.”

Ron sighed sadly and wrapped his arm around Hermione’s shoulders in a side hug to which she responded by doing the same around his waist. It was strange not having Harry there with them as they boarded the train. Strange knowing they wouldn’t have someone to share their candy and horribly dry sandwiches with. Strange knowing he wasn’t there to talk Quidditch to or discuss what this year’s DADA professor would be like.

A warning whistle sounded; the students still on the platform started hurrying onto the train.

“Be good… write… We’ll send anything you’ve forgotten… Your brother is not a test subject…” Molly said, hugging each of her children and giving them a quick peck on the cheek before ushering them to the train. “We’ll tell you if we hear anything about Harry.”

“Thanks, mum,” Ron said before hurrying to the train, Hermione quickly following behind him.

The twins were waiting just inside the door discussing something before momentarily pretending to shove Ron back out of the train as it began to pull forward. A few moments of struggle and some good laughs later, the twins finally let him go saying they needed to find Lee to discuss ‘business.’

Ron initially started heading towards the back of the train to sit in one of their normal spots before Hermione grabbed his arm and reminded him that they needed to sit in the prefect carriage. All of the stress and worry about Harry’s disappearance had greatly overshadowed the announcement that both she and Ron had been given the title of prefect for the upcoming year. Had it been any other year, they both would have been quite excited for the opportunity granted to them, but this year that excitement seemed dampered by the fact they were missing a friend.

The prefect carriage was set up quite differently from the other carriages. Unlike the majority of the train, this carriage was set up without individual compartments, thus allowing the prefects to talk amongst themselves without having to shove everyone into one compartment. This also allowed for any announcements to be made to the carriage as a whole and facilitate an inter-house prefect meeting.

“Alright, alright, are we all here?” the Head Boy, Articus Noster, said once the train had fully pulled out of the station while rapping on the table in front of him. “Hufflepuffs?”

“Here!” a group of teens clad in yellow and black said from the far front of the carriage.


A smattering of “here”’s were heard throughout the carriage followed by a bit of laughter when one Ravenclaw realized several seconds late that his house had been called because he had been focused on reviewing his Runes textbook.


Another smattering of affirmative answers were heard, one of which drew Ron’s attention immediately. There was no mistaking him: Draco Malfoy was one of the Slytherin prefects.

As per usual, his hair was greased back and robes were made of fabric that was certainly more expensive than anything anyone else in the room was wearing, but there was something different about him this year. The previously unblemished skin of his hands had a slight tint to it, an almost yellow stain which covered the entirety of both palms and had stained the undersides of his fingernails a dark brown. Even from a distance, Ron and Hermione could tell the previously unworked hands had a few new calluses to them as though he had been working a more labor intensive job over the summer.

“And lastly, Gryffindors.”

Shouts of “here,” “hi,” and one very loud “woo” were heard from the Gryffindor prefects as Noster winced and rolled his eyes at the response. He was just glad he hadn’t been the Head Boy the year before as the Weasley twins had somehow managed to get in and rig the seats with Gryffindor themed smoke bombs which were triggered by loud noises. All of the prefects and the Head Boy and Girl ended up nearly being late to the feast as they had to quickly figure out the proper cleaning spells to get the red and yellow stains out of their uniforms.

“Fantastic,” Noster said after waiting a beat to see if there would be any explosions this year. “A couple quick announcements and then I’ll let you all enjoy your ride. First: we have a new DADA professor this year. Apparently she is a ministry appointee and is a real hard ass, from what my mum told me. Please pass on to your houses to stay on her good side.”

At this, Noster looked around the carriage and made a point to make eye contact with each of the Gryffindors. Hopefully, maybe, one of them would be able to help keep the Weasley twins in line. The last thing they needed was for the ministry to come swooping in and make all sorts of new rules and regulations simply because those two couldn’t keep their act together.

“Second,” he continued. “Quidditch is back on. Please make sure first and second years are aware of the rules regarding play, practice, and usage of the pitch. Madam Hooch doesn’t want any of them believing that the pitch is for flying fun at all times and end up getting hit with a bludger.

“Passwords are going to be changed on a biweekly schedule. Please make sure your housemates are not writing them down. While there have been no attacks from Sirius Black in the last two years, please remember that he has used that as a tactic to enter the a house before in an effort to murder a student and is still at large.

“Prefects will be given their patrol schedules tomorrow morning by either myself, our lovely head girl over here, or your head of house. If you do not receive one, please let any one of those people listed know.

“And finally,” Noster said, pulling a letter he had received out of his pocket to make sure he was relaying the information correctly. “This year we have another new face who will be joining Hogwarts. I wasn’t given his name, but he is apparently the son of one of the professors. He will not be attending classes with us, however I did receive this letter from Madam Pomfrey that she wanted me to read to you all:

Please read this letter to all prefects in attendance at the annual, Beginning-of-the-Year meeting:

How to Assist a Person Who is Having a Grand Mal Seizure

1: Ease the person to the floor
2: Turn the person onto their side to help them breathe
3: Place something soft under their head
4: Clear the area of anything hard or sharp they may run into while seizing
5: Remove eyeglasses and loosen anything that is tight around the neck
6: Time the seizure (call for help if lasting longer than 5 minutes)
7: Notify a professor or other adult of the event

Remain calm and remain with the person until they are alert and able to communicate.

1: Try to hold the person down
2: Put something in the person’s mouth
3: Give mouth to mouth breaths
4: Offer food or water until the person is fully alert

Noster folded the letter and placed it back in his pocket before continuing. “I believe it is safe to say that our mystery guest has seizures. If any of you would like a copy of these instructions, let me know. Otherwise: welcome back!”

Ron looked at Hermione and very nearly burst out laughing. Her jaw had nearly hit the floor when the realization sunk in over who it was that was coming to Hogwarts. Everything he had said she had taken with a slight grain of salt and had honestly assumed that she would never be seeing him again. He wasn’t even a student at Hogwarts by his own admission! How could he come here?!

“No. Bloody. Way!” Hermione said under her breath.

“What is it, Granger?” Malfoy said with a smirk. “Afraid of a little medical emergency? A little too stressful for your muggle loving heart?”

“Not at all,” Hermione said, recovering from her shock rather quickly. “I think I know who it is that’s coming though.”

“Really?” Malfoy said, cocking an eyebrow in disbelief. “Who is it then?”

“Snape’s son,” she said bluntly, not even looking in his direction, choosing instead to re-tie her shoe.

Malfoy’s silence pulled her from her task, however. Looking up, she saw that his eyes were wide with shock. Blinking a few times, he pulled himself together enough to process what she had said. Where had she met Elias? Surely she hadn’t also been working with the muggle gardening company? Perhaps Elias had been working in her neighborhood? Or she had come across him while he was living in the muggle world?

“How do you know Elias?” he finally managed to sputter out.

“How do you know Elias?” she responded, equally shocked. Certainly Malfoy would have bragged about being friends with the potion’s master’s son at some point had he known of him!

“I asked first!” Malfoy said, crossing his arms rather childishly.

“Fine,” Hermione huffed. “I was volunteering at the children’s hospital this summer and he was a patient.”

“Wait, that was you?!” Malfoy laughed. “He mentioned ‘accidentally blasting a muggleborn across the room,’ but I never would have guessed it would be you! What idiotic thing did you do to get on his bad side?”

“What does it matter to you, Malfoy?” Ron said, standing up and leaning over the other boy threateningly.

“Elias wouldn’t hurt a fly. He spends most of his time with his nose in a book or following anyone he trusts around like a lost puppy,” Malfoy said, chuckling at the memory of Elias desperately wanting to help in the lab so he could be around other people despite his shakes being so bad he very nearly sliced a finger off.

“And how do you know this?” Hermione said in disbelief.

“I was given the opportunity to assist Professor Snape in his personal lab over the summer,” Draco said, chest swelling with pride. “After Elias got out of the hospital, he came to live with us.”

“What kind of potions were you working on?” Ron asked, eyes narrowing in suspicion. If Malfoy and Snape were working together, the chance of Malfoy being a Death Eater had risen sharply. He was fairly sure Snape was a Death Eater, but Malfoy was still a bit too young.

“That is none of your business,” Malfoy said, mind racing to all of the poisons they had worked on. “Though if you must know, I made most of the burn paste for the Hospital Wing for the year.”

“Remind me never to get burned,” Ron muttered, throwing himself back in his seat in disgust. That answer was too innocuous for his liking. He was still fairly sure Malfoy was going Dark, but finding proof would be hard.

“So what did you do?” Malfoy pressed, leaning forward in interest.

“He asked me about my blood status, I helped him get his boots on, then I asked him a few questions and he blasted me from the room,” Hermione said, crossing her arms over her chest and glaring at the Slytherin. “I’m not surprised you two are friends.”

Draco scoffed before turning away from Granger and Weasley. That didn’t sound like Elias, or at least the Elias he knew. Granger must have done something else to make him angry. Why would someone who was as interested in muggles and had even worked with the muggles care in the slightest what someone’s blood status was?
To be continued...
Chapter 21 by DesertPlanet
Elias sat in the potion’s master’s quarters anxiously bouncing his legs and ignoring the fact that they weren’t bouncing evenly and picking at a hangnail on his thumb. There was only an hour left before the feast and he was worried he wouldn’t make it through the sorting. He had done everything he could to make sure he was awake for it, but he was still worried. Evenings were by far his least favorite time of the day and here he was trying to stay up and enjoy one.

What was he thinking?

It was almost painful to think of all the different ways he could embarrass himself in front of the entire student body, especially since he would be sitting at the head table between his father and Professor Lupin. He knew people would be looking in his direction and he knew he was going to screw it up somehow.

“Elias, stop,” Severus said, gently separating the boy’s hands and summoning a plaster. “You’re making it bleed.”

“S-s-s-sor-r-r-ry!” Elias mumbled, wincing as the stutter forced the word to be drug out and nearly unintelligible.

“That nervous?” Severus asked, noting the slight green tint to his son’s face. “If you need to, you can bow out after the sorting and eat dinner down here.”

Elias thought about refusing to leave, but the idea of trying to pretend to know no one and having everyone watching him screw up was unbearable enough. Even if they did know who he had been, he was still a screw up and everyone with the exception of the first years had seen it last year when he came back to this very school carting a body because he hadn’t been quick enough to save the other boy.

His stomach lurched as the thought of Cedric’s lifeless eyes staring at him drifted to the surface. A bucket suddenly appeared under his chin as he gagged and whimpered, cramps running through his stomach and down his back.

“You don’t have to go to the sorting if you don’t want to,” Severus said, placing a hand in the middle of Elias’s back and forcing a small amount of magic into the area to heat it up and hopefully relax the spasming muscles. “I’m sure everyone will forgive you.”

Elias moaned softly as another wave of nausea rocked over him. Why did he ever think they could pull this off? He was definitely going to say or do something that would tip someone off that he wasn’t who he said he was. Why was he doing this? Was he doing this just to spite Dumbledore? To hide from his friends? Why?

‘Dumbledore doesn’t care,’ a voice in the back of his head reminded him. ‘You’d been deteriorating all summer and he had people watching you all the way up until you collapsed and did nothing. He allowed you to compete in the Triwizard Tournament and did nothing to prevent you from competing. He acts like he cares, but he doesn’t.’

“Elias, look at me,” Severus said gently as he felt his sons breathing quicken. “We need to talk. Do you want a calming draught?”

He hesitated for a moment before nodding. A calming draught might make him sleepy, but if he didn’t take anything there was no way he’d make it to the sorting, let alone through it. It was strange, being at Hogwarts had always felt like coming home. Now, however, every little thing seemed set to remind him of the previous year and he wanted nothing more than to go back to his little room and his little routine in their little house on Spinner‘s End.

Quickly swallowing the offered draught, he laid back into the sofa cushions and waited for it to take effect. While his muscles were still quivering fiercely, his mind was starting to slow down, making it easier to focus and breathe. Was he going to screw things up and put their entire endeavor in danger by blowing his cover? Possibly. But if he was panicking it was even more probable that that would happen.

“Better?” Severus asked as some of the tension left Elias’s lithe body.

Elias nodded shakily, not trusting his voice to behave and make intelligible speech. He hated how much his emotions were all over the place but had been warned several times that that could be an effect of the potions he was now on daily and the quite literal damage to his brain caused by the Cruciatus.

“Whatever it is that you are concerned with, do know that you are not alone. I will be there. Draco will be there amongst the students. Even Lupin will be right next to you. We will try to keep the conversation away from direct questions for you,” Severus said, taking one of Elias’s hands and gently rubbing the back of it with his thumb. “It isn’t necessary for you to go to the feast, however being present for announcements will be beneficial so the students know who you are. After the announcements, you may return to our quarters if you so choose.”

Elias sniffed and wiped his eyes before nodding. It made sense, it really did, but he was still concerned about the possibility of making a mistake. With the exception of the new DADA professor, these were people who had known him as Harry Potter for years. If anyone was going to make the connection that he was Harry Potter, it would be them. They knew him better than his relatives did by far, especially the professors of the core classes as well as Madam Hooch.

“I will leave it up to you when you would like to leave, however I do ask that you let either Lupin or myself know when you are ready so one of us can escort you back to our quarters,” Severus said with a wry smile.

Despite having been a student here for four years, Elias had never frequented the dungeons, particularly the areas around the Slytherin Head of House quarters. In the week that they had been at Hogwarts, he was routinely confused as to where they were going and which turns to take when coming or going from their rooms. Had someone not been escorting him at the time, he most certainly would have gotten lost and required someone to come and find him. He was much better at navigating the school once out of the dungeons, but once he got to the lowest level of the school, his ability to navigate seemed to go out the window.

Elias nodded, a slight blush gracing his cheeks at the thought of getting himself lost with the students in the building. How embarrassing would that be to have to ask a first year how to get around? He couldn't even imagine the levels of embarrassment that would cause.

“Typically the professors begin to gather in the hall about now,” Severus said, looking at the clock on the wall. “I believe Lupin may already be there. If you would like, we can go now so we can allow them to ask their questions and not be accosted by them later.”

“B-b-b-book?” Elias asked, wanting something to do other than try to hold a conversation.

“You may bring one,” Severus said with a sigh. “Only one. You do not need a full library at the dinner table.”

Elias smirked a smirk that Severus could only describe as Snape-like before pushing himself off of the couch and limping heavily to his room only to return moments later with a rather thin tome he had managed to find in the library entitled “Muggle Magic: Fire in the Night.” In the hours he had spent in the library searching through the stacks for anything related to electricity in the magical world, he had found very little outside of a few mentions of accidents regarding electrocution, the occasional mention of devices exploding when exposed to magic, and mentions of warding being placed on important muggle buildings during the conflicts with Voldemort to prevent them from reacting to excess magic in the area.

Not a single one of them mentioned anything about the reason why electronics would react poorly to magic, so he was beginning to give up hope on that front. Until he stumbled upon this book from the late 1800’s detailing how muggle “magic” was beginning to allow them to surpass their magical counterparts. But that wasn’t even the most interesting part, in fact the book itself was quite a dry read. It did, however, allude to different currents having different effects on magical users, though the information was extremely outdated and even the muggles were struggling to understand how to work electricity at the time.

“Didn’t you… Never mind,” Severus said, shaking his head. This would be the third time he had seen Elias reading the same book, however it was obvious he wasn’t reading it for fun. Something within the book had seemingly peaked his interest enough that he was combing through it much more thoroughly each time. “Put on some robes and we’ll go join the other professors.”

Elias nodded and grabbed the green trimmed, black robes he had hung by the front door the day before and threw them over the slacks and button down shirt he had been wearing around the flat, sighing with relief that the spells which fastened the buttons were working as well as intended. While he was a Gryffindor, he felt it better to represent his father’s house than to represent the house he didn’t belong to anymore. Anything to prevent a connection being made between himself and Harry Potter. It was strange knowing he wasn’t required to wear a school uniform anymore and instead had a wardrobe filled with robes of various different colors that he could wear on any day.

“Cane?” Severus said, looking pointedly at the object.

Elias groaned and grabbed the oft hated stick from its spot by the door. He hated having to use it, especially when trying to navigate the stairs, but it did provide him with a slight bit of extra security when walking long distances. It was just one more thing to remind him that he was different from the rest of the students, but it was better than the alternatives of walking with crutches or just dealing with the higher likelihood of just hitting the floor. Even just walking around their quarters, he found himself more likely to trip and fall, and their floors were smooth wood. The cobble of the halls would be nearly impossible to manage without the aid of some sort of device to help his walking gate.

Severus gave his son a quick cursory glance before nodding in approval and leading the way, slowly navigating the various corridors and stairways before finally arriving at the large doors leading into an antechamber off the side of the Great Hall. From inside, he could hear the murmurs of the other professors greeting each other and discussing vague plans for the school year.

“Are you ready?” Severus asked, looking back at Elias who was nervously fidgeting with the cane and readjusting his robes.

Elias shook his head briefly before taking a deep breath and squaring his shoulders. He was a Gryffindor after all, or was, and needed to prove it to himself at the very least. Severus said he would help field questions and prevent the other professors from ganging up on him. He could do this. It wasn’t even an official meeting, just a hello and a meal with an activity he didn’t need to take part in in between. One more deep breath and a curt nod and they were off, Severus leading the way through the door with Elias following behind, knuckles white as he grasped the cane for both mental and physical stability.

“Ah, Severus!” the high pitched voice of Professor Flitwick sounded from just around his knee as they stepped through the door. “How was your summer!”

“Eventful,” Severus drawled. “Yours?”

“Oh, it was wonderful!” Professor Flitwick said enthusiastically. “I went to a conference on Charms in Budapest and…. Severus, did you know you have a shadow?”

Elias couldn’t help but peer at the small professor from over his father’s shoulder in curiosity. Had he really grown that much over the summer? Professor Flitwick had always been tiny, to put it bluntly, but he seemed positively miniscule now. He had to have some goblin in him, there was no other way to explain how small he was.

Upon realizing he was caught staring, Elias ducked back behind his father and stared at the ground. He hated people staring at him, why was he doing the same thing to Professor Flitwick?

“Filius, this is my son Elias,” Severus said, stepping to the side so Elias was more in view of the small professor. “Elias, this is Professor Flitwick. He is the head of Ravenclaw house and the Charms professor for all seven years of students.”

“Oh my!” Filius exclaimed, looking the tall boy over quickly. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, young Mr. Snape!”

Elias smiled slightly and nodded his head in response, not trusting his mouth to produce the right sounds. As much as he wanted to speak properly with the small professor, he felt far too nervous to actually do so. It was a horrible loop he had found himself stuck in: he was nervous about meeting the professors, so his nervousness translated into a worse stutter, which made him nervous about meeting the professors.

“Not one for talking?” Professor Flitwick asked of Severus with no hint of malice in his voice.

“He has a particularly bad stutter,” Severus said in a low voice. “Exacerbated by stress and nerves, which he has been under a lot of recently.”

Elias glared daggers at his father in response. How dare he pass that information on! Wouldn’t it just be easier to pretend he was shy or something? Or that he didn’t like speaking around other people?

“Ah, that makes sense,” Professor Flitwick said before laughing uproariously at the glare on Elias’s face. “I see he inherited your glare. He better not take up your mantle of scaring the first years!”

Severus looked at Elias, who blushed and looked down at the ground at getting caught, and raised an eyebrow. “I do believe I could delegate that task…”

Elias shuddered at the thought and winced as the shudder continued under his shoulder blades and around his ribcage making him feel as though he were gasping for air. It took him a few moments to get his breathing back under control, however his struggles went largely unnoticed by either Professor Flitwick or by Severus, who were now bantering back and forth about the merits of terrifying the first years and its effects on their overall test scores.

“What book did you bring?” Professor Flitwick asked suddenly, peering in curiosity at the book Elias was holding under his arm.

Elias handed the book to the small professor as gently as he could, trying to minimize the tremors in his hands as best as he could. He could tell, however, that Professor Flitwick noticed when his eyes flicked to Severus in a questioning manner and he made sure to firmly grasp the book before Elias accidentally dropped it.

“I don’t believe I’ve ever read this one!” Professor Flitwick said, excitedly thumbing through the book. “What is it about?”

“‘L-l-lec-ct-tricit-t-ty,” Elias said, feeling as though he was actively choking on the word.

Professor Flitwick frowned at the rather unintelligible word that had come out of Severus’s son’s mouth. Not only was he unfamiliar with the term, he also struggled to make out the syllables coming from the poor boy’s mouth as it seemed to twitch in a rather uncoordinated way. He tried to comprehend it without having him repeat the word, but eventually conceded defeat and turned to Severus for clarification.

“Muggle electricity,” Severus said, briefly looking at Elias in concern. His stutter seemed worse tonight than normal but that could easily be attributed to his nervousness and trying to change his sleep schedule. “He is planning to do his yearly project on the topic. In particular, the interaction between electricity and magic. He has been working on it nearly every waking moment when he is feeling well enough.”

“Fascinating!” Professor Flitwick said, thumbing through the book for a moment longer before gently handing it back. “You must let me read your findings! I don’t believe we’ve ever had a student working on an independent thesis project with this as the topic!”

“He isn’t a student, Filius,” Severus said, noting that some of the other Professors were starting to take notice of Elias and were approaching. “Remus Lupin is his private tutor this year.”

“Well that certainly explains some things!” Professor Flitwick exclaimed. “I was wondering what Remus was doing here as there were no openings in the employee roster!”

The other professors were now closing in on them, leading an increasingly nervous Elias to freeze wide-eyed as they approached. Surely one of them would see something in him and call him out. Surely! It wasn’t even that he was actively hiding.

“Why is Remus going to be here?” Professor Sprout said, looking at Severus before briefly noticing the hazel eyes peering nervously over his shoulder. “Oh my!”

“Alright, enough,” Professor McGonagal said, stepping over as well and rolling her eyes. “Severus, introduce your son.”

Severus smirked slightly before sighing when Elias didn’t step forward as he expected him to. That was one thing which continued to surprise him about his son: unlike the Harry Potter he had grown to believe he knew, the child who stood behind him was much more reserved. If he thought back on the boy he had taught, he realized Harry Potter was not the attention seeker James had been. Thinking back now, he realized Harry Potter, while social, had never been an extrovert like what his ‘father’ had been.

“I am honestly surprised this was not brought up in the pre-year meeting,” Severus said, rather exasperated.

Professor McGonagall crossed her arms sternly as she looked at the younger professor. “You mean the meeting you missed?”

“I had my reasons,” Severus said, staring the head of the lions down. Not only had he been summoned to the Dark Lord’s side the night before, he had then had to deal with Elias’s second migraine day afterward. Healer Shannon had warned him that it was possible he would have migraines, but he honestly hadn’t expected the severity of it. The first migraine had abated after only a few hours, but that one had been triggered by the Gobstone jelly. This one seemed to have no trigger and had left Elias nauseated, extremely dizzy, and light sensitive. There was no way he would leave his son for a several hours long meeting which could easily have been relegated to a letter. He had sent word to the headmaster that he would be unable to attend due to Elias’s condition and assumed the man would pass the information along to the rest of the staff.

“This is my son, Elias,” Severus said, gently pushing the boy forward a few steps. “He will be living with me this year. Despite being fifteen right now, he will not be attending school as a student. Remus Lupin has been brought in as a tutor for him this year. The hope is that we will be able to keep his condition under control well enough that he may be able to sit and audit some of your classes, but it may be several months before he is to that point.”

Elias blushed heavily as he was pushed forward and brought into the group. He felt as though he were on display and could almost feel the eyes of the professors looking him over. He just wanted to sit down and read his book and not be the center of attention for once. At least it wasn’t as bad as the first time Hagrid had taken him into the Leaky Cauldron and he was rushed by everyone as they frantically tried to shake his hand. And he knew that, if it got that bad, Severus would step in and break up the mob.

“Oh my!” Professor Sprout exclaimed as she finally got a better look at the boy. “Severus, he looks so much like you did at that age!”

Those who had taught Severus all those years ago nodded in agreement as they too looked at the boy. There were certainly a few major differences between father and son, but it was easy enough to see the resemblance. But who was his mother? After Lily had officially broken off her friendship with him in their fifth year, none of the professors could remember Severus having ever taken an interest in another girl during their school years. There were a few years between when Severus had left school and when Albus offered him the position of potion’s professor where he may have had a relationship, but it was still rather shocking for the intensely private man to have developed enough of a relationship that he was willing to take in his son.

“Yes, yes, I am aware,” Severus muttered rather gruffly.

“When were you going to tell us you had a son?!” Professor Sinistra, the arithmancy professor, said with a raised eyebrow in Severus’s direction.

“Elias, go sit at the table,” Severus said, momentarily ignoring the question, taking the book back from Filius (who was already reading through the table of contents in the front), and motioning towards the table. “Sit on the far left of the table, closest to the Slytherin banner, but leave one seat open to your left.”

Elias took the offered book from his father and, cheeks still flaming red with embarrassment, pushed his way through the crowd and limped up to the head table where he stood for a moment in confusion before sitting in the farthest chair to the left. Once seated, he opened the book, tapped it once with his wand, and began to read.

“Follows instructions well, I see,” McGonagall scoffed, frowning at the teen’s seating choice after hearing the instructions.

Severus frowned, nostrils flaring slightly as he gritted his teeth in frustration at the comment. Elias had tried. It wasn’t like it was a life or death problem, nor was it going to cause issues for him to move one seat over, especially since he and Remus would be sitting on either side of him.

“Why is he not going able to attend Hogwarts?” Pomona asked. “Surely his limp wouldn’t be that much of a hindrance. We’ve accepted disabled students many times through Hogwarts’s history!”

Severus sighed and glanced briefly at his son. He wished it were that simple. A limp was the least of his son’s worries, however.

“It’s not just that, is it?” Filius said, eyes widening as he began to draw conclusions.

Severus shook his head and glanced once more at Elias. They had repeatedly gone over the fabricated backstory. They had done their research to fill in the holes. He, personally, had sought out those willing to testify for the boy’s wearabouts for the past fifteen years. The alibi was solid, but he never imagined he would be lying to his trusted friends and colleagues. No matter how many times he had thought about this conversation, he hadn’t thought about how difficult it would be to tell this story.

“Shervil’s,” Severus said, quickly glancing at his colleagues to judge their reactions. When there was no obvious reaction from any of them, he determined none of them had heard of the relatively rare condition. “The full name of the condition he has is ‘Shervil’s Ataxia with Epileptiform Discharges and Associated Adolescent Dementia.’”

He paused briefly when he heard a sharp intake of air from Minerva’s direction as she put together what some of it meant. Professors Sprout and Sinistra continued to look confused, however they both looked concerned for what such a long condition name could mean. For as stoic of a man as Severus was, they could still tell when he became upset and could tell he was working to hold himself together, though they were unsure as to what emotion he was hiding.

“He has a limp and a stutter, yes, but those are the least severe of his symptoms,” Severus said flatly. “He has severe muscle spasms, seizures, migraines, short term memory problems, and lots of problems with fatigue, to name a few. He has worked extremely hard to remain at the roughly same level as other children his age, though if he were well and able to attend Hogwarts, a petition could be made to have him admitted a year early as his sixteenth birthday is in a few weeks.”

“Severus…” Minerva said, hand on her chest. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”

“It’s fine, Minerva,” Severus said snappishly. “I can only assume the headmaster chose not to tell you of his condition for some strange reason.”

“That was why you didn’t make it to the meeting, wasn’t it?” Professor Sinistra said quietly.

“Yes,” Severus responded bluntly. “He was having a migraine day and would have been unable to care for himself safely.”

“Safely?” Filius said.

“He is capable of giving himself his normal daily potions, however he takes many and it requires a decent amount of concentration to focus on taking them. Not to mention reading the labels, remembering if he’s taken them or not, and the simple task of opening a sealed vial.”

The other professors looked at each other uncomfortably, pity shining in their eyes, when the main door to the hall opened and in stepped the headmaster in deep-purple robes scattered with silvery stars and a matching hat followed by a rather tired and bedraggled Remus Lupin. The headmaster smiled wryly at the group speaking with Severus, eyes twinkling madly, before striding to meet them in a way that belied his age.

Remus, on the other hand, gazed at the group of professors momentarily before turning to the head table and smiling slightly at seeing Elias already seated at the head table. The poor boy had slight bags under his eyes and looked as though he were forcing himself to stay awake, a feeling Remus could greatly sympathize with as the full moon had occurred not four days previous. Severus had been surprisingly willing to work with the moon schedule and had allowed him and Elias to begin working together and going over lesson syllabi during the week despite school not being in session.

Despite the stumbling blocks of Elias’s fleeting memory, he was every bit as intelligent as a completely able-bodied student would be. But what impressed Remus the most was how driven he was. While he hadn’t been able to flesh out his project proposal due to lack of time, it was quickly becoming apparent that lack of time wasn’t the only problem they were running into.

There was simply no information.

After finding that glaringly obvious hole, rather than turning his back on the project, Elias had dug in his heels and trudged onward. Thanks to his methodical note taking, it was quite easy for Remus to follow along even if Elias was making rather large jumps in logic from time to time. The struggle on his end was working the core magical subjects into Elias’s desire to study a quite muggle topic with little to no magical study on it. It was hard work, but Remus was finding the project far more fulfilling than any of his last jobs.

“Good evening, Elias,” Remus said, standing in front of where the boy sat.

Elias looked up from his book and blinked slowly as his brain worked to comprehend who was standing in front of him and what was being said.

“One of those nights?” Remus asked softly, a knowing smile on his face. Having been in a similar state of exhaustion every month since he was four, he could understand the feeling of the cogs in one’s brain getting stuck.

Elias nodded in response before turning back to his book with a sigh. Even with the print enlarged, it was still quite difficult to focus on the words as his eyes shook worse when he was tired. Thankfully, as this wasn’t the first time he had read the book, he already knew most of what was being said, but it was still annoying. He was forever grateful for his father noticing how close he was having to hold books to be able to convince his eyes to focus on the words and teaching him that spell first thing. It would have been very difficult to explain not knowing that particular spell, living with this condition, and having done this much research multiple years in a row.

“Re-reading Muggle Magic?” Remus asked, noting the age of the book and color of its spine.

Elias nodded and put his bookmark in and shut the book. Remus was obviously wanting to talk. And why hadn’t he sat down yet? Elias sighed and rubbed his eyes, pushing the wire-framed glasses up onto his forehead momentarily. He was so tired.

“Elias, can I get you to move over one chair?” Remus asked gently. “Your father is going to sit on one side of you and I was going to sit on the other.”

Elias nodded once more and shifted over to the next seat, allowing Remus to finally sit. Remus groaned softly as he sat, his hips, knees, and low back feeling swollen as the full moon was just under a week away. As he got older, the transformation got continuously more strenuous during the weeks leading up to it and he was starting to feel more as though he were aging in dog years instead of human.

“You’re awfully quiet today, Elias,” Remus said, rubbing his knees. “What’s going on?”

Elias bit his lip momentarily before whispering so faintly even Remus felt he was struggling to hear. “B-b-b-bad-d-d st-t-t-t-ut-t-ter.”

“Worse when you’re tired?” Remus said sympathetically.

Elias nodded, then looked curiously over at his father who was continuing to speak with the professors who had come over to them when they had entered as well as to the headmaster. What was taking him so long? How long would he continue to talk?

“Did your father introduce you to other professors here?” Remus asked, gently moving the glasses back onto Elias’s face so they weren’t just sitting on his forehead.

Elias shrugged in response. He had known all of the professors who had approached them, or at least knew of them, however an introduction would have helped cement the idea that he didn’t recognize them.

“The rather round lady in the black and yellow is Pomona Sprout and is the head of Hufflepuff house as well as an instructor of Herbology,” Remus said, pointing out each of them. “The short fellow is Filius Flitwick. He is the head of Ravenclaw house and the Charms professor. The taller woman with the square glasses and wearing red is Minerva McGonagall: head of Gryffindor and Transfiguration professor. The thin woman in dark blue is Septima Vector; she teaches Arithmancy. We’ll need to get you in to see her at some point so you can go over your equations with her. Then there is the headmaster. I heard about your meeting with him.”

Elias snorted and coughed into his fist. Of course Severus would mention that.

Remus continued pointing out the different professors and stating their jobs. Occasionally he would make comments about different people they would need to speak with to continue his project. Other times he would make a point to mention who not to go near, causing Elias to chuckle when he mentioned never going near Trelawney’s tower if he valued his sense of smell.

Suddenly, the main door opened once more and Remus clenched his jaw so hard Elias could hear his teeth grind. In stepped a woman Elias could only describe as a toad in a wig. Her short, mouse brown hair was curled into place with copious amounts of hairspray and in which was placed a pink Alice band which matched her extremely fluffy, pink cardigan which she wore over her robes. Her pallid face making her look rather ill and her prominent, pouchy eyes lending more to the feeling that she was toad-like.

“And that,” Remus spat with an anger Elias had rarely heard from the man. “That is Delores Umbridge. Hater of all magical creatures and apparently the ministry appointed Defense instructor for the year. Merlin, help those poor students.”
To be continued...
Chapter 22 by DesertPlanet
Elias couldn’t help but pick at the skin around his fingernails in nervousness as the students filed in. He doubted any of them would be able to look at him and say that he was Harry Potter conclusively, but there was still a chance.

His heart sank when he saw Ron, Hermione, and Ginny walk in the door followed closely by an extremely blonde Ravenclaw who split off from the group shortly after they walked in the door. He was supposed to be down there, not up here! He was supposed to be sitting with his friends and listening to other students talking about their summers. He was supposed to be laughing at the twin’s jokes and listening to Ron and Hermione fight about something.

He was supposed to be down there putting up with the whispers and pointing and rumors of how he killed Cedric.

Perhaps it was better that he was up here sitting between Severus and Remus, though his heart ached for his friends. Friends who he saw looking frantically around the hall as though he may have shown up early before sitting down and whispering among themselves as they pointed to the head table. In fact there was a lot of pointing towards the head table, and pointing in their general direction.

Elias swallowed heavily and tucked his hands under his legs to prevent them from shaking. Maybe it would be better if he had dinner in their quarters? He really didn’t want to make a mess while sitting in the front of the whole school, and his hands were shaking so badly he didn’t think there was any way around that. And everyone kept looking up at him.

“Easy there, Elias,” Severus muttered, glaring at a few of the people who were pointing in a way that made them immediately turn and look away. “More than likely they are wondering if you are an apprentice or if Lupin is back to teach DADA this year. Try reading a bit more of your book if they are bothering you too much.”

Elias nodded subtly before pulling out his book and resizing the text once more. Soon enough, he was engrossed enough in the book that he was able to tune out most of the chatter from the students. He had just gotten to a section of the book pertaining to the noted effects of magic on an original electric generator when his father nudged him gently in the side to get his attention causing his side to cramp slightly as he shot his father a glare before he realized there was a group of first years standing in front of them, listening in rapt attention to the Sorting Hat singing its annual song.

Oh, know the perils, read the sighs,
The warning history shows,
For our Hogwarts is in danger
From external, deadly foes
And we must unite inside her
Or we’ll crumble from within.
I have told you, I have warned you. . . .
Let the Sorting now begin.

What had he missed?

He looked at his father in confusion as applause punctured with whispers and muttering throughout the hall. Severus shrugged before glaring out at the crowd in an effort to silence at the very least the Slytherins who were looking towards him, possibly for guidance, only to find more questions than answers as they looked at teen sitting next to him and couldn’t help but notice the similarities between the two.

Eventually, the murmuring died down and Professor McGonagall began the sorting with Euan Abercrombie, who was rather promptly sorted into Gryffindor. Elias tried to be a good sport about the entire sorting, but after being in relative silence for several weeks, all of the clapping and cheering was beginning to give him a headache. He had never been so glad to get through a sorting as he was when Rose Zeller was finally sorted into Hufflepuff and the applause finally died away. He must have looked a right state as he could tell Draco was looking at him with a rather worried look on his face.

“Do you need to leave?” Severus asked, leaning over and whispering in his ear as Dumbledore stood to give his brief opening speech.

Elias thought about it for a moment before shaking his head as the plates filled with all sorts of food. He didn’t really want to leave just yet. He may be tired, but he could manage a meal surely. Besides, it was one less potion he’d have to take when he got back to their quarters. After having been on nutrient potions for several weeks in an effort to make up for the malnourishment caused by his relatives, he had grown to hate the flavor and had no desire to use one as a meal replacement when there was the option of food sitting right in front of him.

“Here,” Severus said, handing Elias four of his nightly potions to take, including a new vial which appeared to be specially constructed as a two part device with a divider in the middle.

Picking it up and looking at it curiously, Elias noticed the top of the vial had only a very small amount of a thick, silver powder contained within it while the bottom was completely full of what appeared to be plain water. He felt he recognized the potion, however he wasn’t completely sure of it, nor was he sure of how to use this new vial. He had enough problems with the vials the other potions came in when his fingers quite simply didn’t want to grasp long enough to pull the cork out of the top.

“Don’t take that one yet,” Severus said, urging him to take the other potions first. “I’ll show you how to use that vial after you get something in your stomach.”

Elias nodded and quickly downed the other three potions before looking out over the selection of food which was laid out before him. While the steak and kidney pie looked and smelled delicious, he knew he would likely flip it onto the table and make a disaster of it if he tried to take a slice and decided on a rather simple meal of a few slices of roast beef which was easy enough to stab with a fork and pull apart, a yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes, and roast carrots. A few cursory test swallows to make sure the potions were working and he began to tuck in as delicately as he could manage. The last thing he needed was to inadvertently fling food at one of the tables and start a food fight simply because his arm twitched.

After he was nearly halfway through his meal, Severus leaned over and placed the mysterious other potion in front of him. Elias was almost positive he knew what the potion was, he just had never seen it in its undilute form.

“I want to make sure you are able to use this kind of vial,” Severus said. “This particular vial is keyed to your signature, so only you will be able to open it.”

Elias smiled a rather wide smile as he looked at the vial in front of him as he understood the significance of it. It was the Fulgur, it had to be. The one potion he wasn’t allowed to take around the other students and his father had found a potential way to make it so he could. If he could manage to open the vial, he could sit with the students for meals.

“It ought to be simple enough for you to use,” Severus said, placing the vial flat on the table. “Place the palm of your hand on the top of the vial and press down. The secondary cork will drop into the potion base and water below. Then all you have to do is shake the potion until it is fully dissolved, unscrew the top and drink.”

“Woooah,” Elias breathed, gently and excitedly placing his hand on the top of the vial and pressing down slightly, mildly afraid it would break. The cork which separated the two elements refused to budge.

“You have to press quite hard to break the seal,” Severus said, mentally crossing his fingers that this would work.

Another push, significantly harder this time, and the bottom cork popped loose. Elias immediately looked up from the vial, a look of pure triumph on his face as he then took the vial and began to violently shake the potion. It took a few seconds, but finally the silvery powder was fully mixed in with the rest of the potion. A few tries later and he managed to undo the screw top cap and quickly downed the potion, noting the slight tingle it sent throughout his body as he did so. That was definitely his Fulgur, he would recognize that feeling anywhere.

“Th-th-thanks, d-d-da,” he said softly, turning back to his pudding and debating getting a celebratory slice of treacle tart.

“You’re welcome,” Severus said, taking the now empty vial back. “Return the vial to me after each use and I will reset it.”

Elias nodded excitedly before looking out at the student body and noticing Draco looking at him with a smirk on his face. Elias glared good naturedly at him, to which the Slytherin responded with what seemed to be a small chuckle, though Elias couldn’t tell for sure from such a distance.

Slowly, the noise in the hall began to creep upward once more as the students finished their meals and began to speak with each other once again. Once it seemed the majority of the students had finished their meals, Dumbledore stood once more causing all talking to cease immediately as all students faced towards the head of the room. Despite his bitterness towards the headmaster, Elias had to admit he certainly had a way of demanding respect from those around him. He just hoped the upcoming speech wouldn’t take too long; his lovely, soft bed was calling to him from down in the dungeons.

“Well, now that we are all digesting another magnificent feast, I beg a few moments of your attention for the usual start-of-term notices,” said Dumbledore. “First years ought to know that the forest in the grounds is out of bounds to students - and a few of our older students ought to know by now too.”

Elias couldn’t help but look at Ron and Hermione, who were sharing a rather mischievous yet sad smirk. Without Harry, the chances of them getting into nearly the same amount of trouble had lessened significantly. The chances of an attack on the school by Voldemort was also a lot less, a fact he knew they had likely thought about but dismissed as a crude thought.

“Mr. Filch, the caretaker, has asked me, for what he tells me is the four hundred and sixty-second time, to remind you that all magic is not permitted in corridors between classes, nor are a number of other things, all of which can be checked on the extensive list now fastened to Mr. Filch’s office door.”

Excitement dwindling as he listened to the longer speech given by the headmaster, Elias found himself in a position he could only describe as ‘fat and happy.’ The food in his stomach filled him with warmth from the inside while the ambiance of the Great Hall made him feel warm on the outside. This was what Hogwarts had always felt like to him: a home filled with warmth, family, and friends. No matter what the situation surrounding him, this was the feeling he always got at the beginning of the year.

The urge to yawn was great as fatigue began to set in, though it felt different from the daily fatigue which he was beginning to grow rather accustomed to.

“Are you doing ok, Elias?” Remus suddenly whispered, looking at Elias rather worriedly out of the corner of his eye.

Elias nodded while stretching his arms in front of him in an effort to wake himself, wincing as a line of spasms continued down his arms for a few moments. He felt as well as to be expected. Students were occasionally looking at him still, a fact which he was still quite leary of, but wasn’t quite as anxiety inducing as what it had been. He was feeling a bit more foggy than normal, but this was by far the latest he had stayed awake in a while. He was just tired.

“We have had two changes in staffing this year.” Dumbledore continued, a wide smile on his face. “We are very pleased to welcome back Professor Grubbly-Plank, who will be taking Care of Magical Creatures lessons; we are also delighted to introduce Professor Umbridge, our new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.”

There was a round of polite but unenthusiastic applause from the students which Elias attempted to join in, however he couldn’t help but notice his hands started twitching more violently following one clap. His head was also beginning to feel heavy, almost inexplicably so. It didn’t feel right; something felt very not right.

But what was it? This feeling felt very familiar, but he struggled to place where he had felt it before. The mounting anxiety in his chest, the spasms in his hands, the heaviness in his head, the fact he was beginning to feel like he was looking through a tunnel. It all felt so familiar, and not in a good way. When had he last felt like this?

“Tryouts for House Quidditch teams will take place on the -” Dumbledore stopped suddenly as there was some minor rustling farther down the head table from where Elias was sitting. For some reason, Professor Umbridge had stood up as though she were planning to make a speech.

“Hem, hem,” she said, clearing her throat and making it obvious that that was indeed her plan. From where he sat, Elias couldn’t tell what the other professor’s reactions were, but he could see the looks of disbelief from the other students in the hall. Some students had looks of sheer disbelief while others had smirks on their faces at the sheer audacity of the action. The one table with the fewest reactions was Slytherin, though a brief look at his father showed they were simply mirroring their head of house’s reaction. No one had ever interrupted the headmaster’s speech; this woman obviously didn’t know how things were at Hogwarts.

“Thank you, Headmaster,” Professor Umbridge simpered, “for those kind words of wisdom.”

Her voice was high pitched, breathy, and little-girlish in a way that made Elias shudder and rub his temples. Something about her made him loathe her in a way that he could only conclude was due to the fact she reminded him somewhat of Aunt Marge and the summer he spent hiding from Sirius after he blew her up. Her horrible attitude and horrible dog made the summers she came to visit exponentially worse than this… summer.

Elias froze as a thought came rushing back to him. He had been feeling rather odd and anxious the day he had had his first seizure. He couldn’t recall much of what led up to it, but he could remember his hand twitching differently from what it had been doing previously. Had he had tunnel vision? He couldn’t really remember it, but he wouldn’t be surprised if he had.

Looking at his hands, he was rather dismayed to find they were, in fact, continuing to rhythmically twitch. If he was right, he had maybe a few minutes to get out of the Great Hall. Maybe. He had been ignoring it for quite a while.

Turning to Remus who was sitting between him and the door, he looked at the man with panic in his eyes. Just the act of that small turn had sent his head whirling. Forget minutes, he needed to get somewhere to lay down now. He couldn’t wait until after the lady from the ministry finished her speech, he needed out of the Great Hall five minutes ago. He shouldn’t have stayed; he should have left when he was given the chance.

“Elias?” Remus asked, looking at the boy next to him in concern, especially when he saw the look of pure panic in the boy’s eyes. “Do you need to leave?”

Elias nodded slowly, noticing everything was starting to feel as though he were trying to think through mud. The corners of his mouth were beginning to twitch uncontrollably. If he didn’t get out of here now, he was going to seize in front of the entire school. All of the students would get to watch him convulse while listening to a lovely speech from a ministry plant. What a way to introduce himself to the wizarding world.

Remus nodded quickly and assisted him to his feet before fleeing the Great Hall. Elias’s legs weren’t wanting to cooperate, so it was less of a walk and more of a drag from the hall, but it was enough that it was noticed by a few of the professors who were sitting farther down the table. Whispers erupted from the students who were now more focused on whatever had happened at the Slytherin side of the Head Table than the drivel coming from the new professor’s mouth about “progress being discouraged” and “pruning practices.”

Remus had barely managed to make it into the antechamber by the head table when he felt Elias stiffen up. Quickly, he laid the boy on the ground and undid the top few buttons of his shirt and robe. Quickly removing his own outer robe, Remus balled it up and shoved it under Elias’s head before taking his wand and creating a timer of the situation with one flick and sending a patronus to Severus with another all while trying to ignore the the gasps coming from the boy he had just dragged out of the hall. Convulsions left Elias twitching painfully on the ground, head slamming backwards into the cushioning provided by the robe.

It didn’t take long for Severus to arrive, the stoic look on his face barely masking the obvious panic in his eyes as he surveyed the scene. It had barely been thirty seconds since the start of the seizure and thankfully it was seeming to be letting up, allowing the two men to more easily put the boy on his side as his breathing finally slowed, punctuated by only the smallest of shudders. Drool fell unabated from his mouth and soaked into the robes under his head.

“Elias? Da’s here,” Severus said, gently stroking the boy’s hair away from his forehead as his hazel eyes fluttered open momentarily and his brow furrowed in confusion. “We’re at Hogwarts, just outside of the Great Hall. You just had one of your seizures. You’re going to be exhausted after that, just let yourself relax. You’re safe, you’ll be fine.”

Elias moaned in response, eyes prickling with tears as he tried to process what was going on around him. He had made it to Hogwarts? How did he get here?

“Thank you for your quick response, Lupin,” Severus said quietly, continuing to stroke his son’s hair until the boy finally succumbed to the exhaustion he felt. “Was he able to tell you he was going to have a seizure?”

“Sort of,” Remus admitted. “I noticed while Dumbledore was speaking that something was off. I asked him and he initially indicated that he was fine, but a few minutes later he was looking at me with this look of pure panic.”

“What do you mean, you ‘noticed?’” asked Severus. “How could you have ‘noticed?’”

Remus thought for a second before finally saying “he smelled different.”

It was a horrible way to explain it, but it was easier to say it that way than to say he had gone from smelling oddly like a mix of Severus and something that reminded him of Lily Potter to having a sickly, pungent undertone to his smell. Something that Remus could only describe as similar to burnt paper and sour milk. It had come on so suddenly that it had surprised him. Surely it wasn’t a side effect of the potions he had just taken, as those had their own unique odor.

“You could smell something was different?” Severus said in disbelief.

Remus nodded, “The full moon was only four days ago. I typically have a better sense of smell for at least a week or so after I transform.”

Severus was silent for a few moments before pushing himself to his feet and conjuring a stretcher under his son. In a few minutes, the halls would be swarming with students as they headed to their houses for the first time. While there were only the Slytherins heading into the dungeons, that was still more students than he wanted seeing Elias in this state. Elias needed some time to recuperate and not be gawked at. Undoubtedly he would need a good long sleep after that.

“Thank you, Lupin,” Severus muttered once again. “He ought to be well enough to begin his studies tomorrow. I shall inform you if that changes.”

“You’re welcome, Severus,” Remus said, groaning slightly as he stood. “We can do a partial day tomorrow if he is not feeling well in the morning.”

Severus nodded once before levitating the stretcher carrying his son down to the dungeons. It was going to be a long night, he could already tell, but one which was at least mildly expected. He already knew his speech he would give to his new Slytherins by heart. From there it was simply a matter of making sure everyone got into bed and would be ready for the school year to begin once again. Elias’s seizure was unfortunately timed, however not unexpected.

Lowering the still slumbering boy onto his bed and banishing the stretcher, he sighed heavily before setting the observation spells he had become so accustomed to casting before heading to the Slytherin common room to officially begin the school year.
To be continued...
End Notes:
Some text and events taken directly from Order of the Phoenix. I do enjoy manipulating events like this.
Chapter 23 by DesertPlanet
Draco couldn’t help but groan as he listened to the rumors and gossip already beginning to spread around Slytherin house after Elias, and Professors Snape and Lupin’s abrupt departure during Professor Umbridge’s speech. Elias had seemed ok for the majority of dinner, though he didn’t seem up for conversation with anyone. Even his shakes seemed relatively under control, though Draco had seen him stretching his legs repeatedly under the table which caused them to spasm momentarily. Elias had only looked tired, but not ill and certainly not like he had when he had relapsed during the summer. He wanted so badly to ask Professor Snape as soon as he saw him walk in for his beginning of the year announcements to the house, but when the Professor was several minutes later than usual, he decided against it.

“Good evening, Slytherins,” he began, voice calming and low. “I apologize for my tardiness as I am sure you would all like to be going to bed at this late hour, though a few housekeeping announcements are in order. Welcome back to another year at Hogwarts. For those of you who do not know, I am Professor Severus Snape…”

Severus’s voice droned on for a few short minutes, covering the basic rules which would allow his Slytherins to have the greatest success in their future endeavors as Hogwarts students. Draco could tell, however, that something was on the man’s mind as he spoke as he was simply rattling off the same information as the previous year with nothing additional added. He also seemed to be trying to get through it as quickly as possible.

“...As you may have noticed, Professor Lupin has returned to the school this year,” Severus said, directing this statement towards the third years and over. “He is not here as a professor for the general student body, I want to make that perfectly clear before any of you write to your parents about a werewolf on staff again. Precautions are being taken to ensure he will not be on Hogwarts grounds during the full moon.”

“Why is he even here if he isn’t teaching?” griped Theodore Nott loudly as other students began murmuring amongst themselves as well.

“Which brings me to my final announcement,” Severus said, quickly bringing the room back under his control. “I am certain all of you noticed the young man sitting between myself and Professor Lupin. That was my son, Elias.”

Severus waited a few seconds as the information sunk in with the students, many of whom could only be described as shocked. Widened eyes could be seen around the room, as well as a few dropped jaws. It wasn’t surprising that the students were shocked by this announcement; Professor Snape was a fantastic head of house and kept everyone in line, but the idea that he was a father had never come to anyone’s mind. He maintained an air of privacy to every aspect of his personal life that none of the other professors matched.

“Elias is fifteen and would be considered either a fifth or sixth year had he been able to attend Hogwarts with the rest of you. Unfortunately, due to a variety of factors, namely his health, he is not able to attend a standard wizarding school. Professor Lupin is under both my and Hogwarts’ employ as his personal tutor. I implore all of you to be patient at the very least with Elias; I am not asking you to be his friend, only to consider him as a housemate. All the rules which apply to Slytherin house will also apply to him, though he has not been sorted here.”

Looking around sternly, he was happily surprised at the number of students who were nodding in agreement. In making Elias an unofficial member of Slytherin, he was essentially placing his son in the safest, least ‘Harry Potter’ position imaginable. Keeping him away from Dumbledore would be even easier this way; Dumbledore tended to stay away from the dungeons and Slytherin as a house unless he needed something. He knew his house would protect its own, even if a member was unofficial.

“Welcome, again, to Slytherin house,” Severus said quietly, dismissing the students from the meeting. “Prefects, a brief word.”

The rest of the house quickly emptied into their respective dorms as the students raced to find their beds and get some well deserved sleep after their long day of travel, bellies full of the delicious foods from the feast. In less than five minutes, the common room was empty, though the occasional student wandered through on their way to the loo as they got ready for bed.

Once the noise died down, Severus looked at the group of students left as though daring them to speak out of turn.

“I know many of you are now wondering why I left the hall early tonight. Why Professor Lupin was seemingly dragging Elias out of the hall and why he seemed ‘almost drunk’ if I overheard some of your classmates correctly,” Severus said quietly, watching as his prefects clung to his every word. He had chosen well in who he wished to have as his prefects for the year. “Elias is epileptic. He occasionally can tell when he is about to have a seizure, though many of his symptoms are masked by his primary condition. This is the reason Madam Pomfrey sent the information to be read to you all about what to do should someone have a seizure. He is doing fine now, just very confused and exhausted though this is normal following a seizure. There are many types of seizure and everyone’s reaction to them is fairly personal.

“As you go about your prefect duties, do be aware that he is required to follow all of the same rules as the students. You will not be able to take away points from him, for obvious reasons, however you may contact me directly should he do something out of line and I will deal with his punishment personally. Questions?”

Pansy Parkinson immediately raised her hand. “You said ‘his primary condition,’ may I ask what that is and if there is anything else we should be on the lookout for?”

Severus nodded before answering her question solemnly. “He has a condition which I do not expect you to remember the full name of, though the shortened name is Shervil’s. It causes him to have problems with his memory, muscle coordination, and speech as well as causing his seizures, migraines, headaches, and general twitches. All of these are the reason he is unable to attend Hogwarts. If you see him looking rather lost, he very well may have lost his way and simply cannot remember where he was headed. Do not expect him to fully remember verbal instructions; either write them out or escort him to his destination. He should not be wandering the castle alone, though I would not put it past him to attempt sneaking around.”

Several of the prefects snorted at the thought of Snape’s son attempting to sneak around, as they themselves had done the same thing and had faced his wrath afterwards for ‘acting like a Gryffindor’ and assuming the rules didn’t apply to them.

“Any further questions?” asked Severus, opening the floor to questions once more.

“Will he always sit at the head table?” Draco asked, hoping his friend hadn’t forgotten him in the week they’d been apart.

“No, he hopes to sit at the house tables and get to know you all better,” Severus said with a sigh. “He has to come to me first for his potions, however, or that will be a privilege which will quickly be revoked. Other questions?”

The rest of the prefects looked at each other before shaking their heads. They had more questions, of course, but they were also exhausted and knew they needed to be up early to begin their duties for the year. More questions would have to wait; their beds were calling them too strongly to be ignored.

“Then I bid you all a good night,” Severus said before turning to leave. None of the alarm wards had gone off, but he was still rather anxious to check on Elias as well as work some muscle relaxer cream into the overwrought muscles of his neck and back to hopefully allow him to rest better and be more functional in the morning.

“Sir,” Draco called, hurrying after the man. “Is he ok?”

Severus stopped momentarily and looked down at Draco before nodding. “It was a seizure, not a relapse. He should be fine in the morning.”

“Thank you, sir,” Draco said, letting out a sigh of relief. “Will he be at breakfast?”

“That remains to be seen,” Severus said with a sigh. “If he does decide to eat in the Great Hall, he may want to sit at the head table just to see how the other students react to him once more before trying to eat with them.”

“Alright, thank you sir,” Draco said before heading to his dorm.

Severus sighed as he left the Slytherin dorms. They had made it to the first day of school, Dumbledore was keeping his distance for now, and Elias was doing ok. This school year was going to be rough, no doubt about that, but they would take it one day at a time.

The entire trek up to the Gryffindor dorms had been a rather somber one for Ron and Hermione despite the fact they were in charge of leading the first years to the common room. Nothing was quite right without Harry around. It was so strange to think that their friend had disappeared and no one knew where he had gone to.

Harry’s disappearance had been noticed by all at the feast, though Professor Dumbledore stated that he had been removed from the castle grounds for one on one training. In all likelihood, the fact that he wasn’t at Hogwarts would be all over the Daily Prophet by tomorrow with the following week being filled with theories as to where he had gone to, followed shortly thereafter by insane theories and interviews “proving” his lack of sanity.

In fact, the chance that the trash writers of the Daily Prophet writing something along the lines of him having actually gone into a mental institution were so high that Ron was surprised no one had started a betting pool on it yet.

“-happy he’s gone,” Ron heard Seamus say as he entered the dorm room. “Me mam almost didn’t let me come back because of him!”

“What happened?” asked Ron curiously as he kicked off his shoes and undid his robe, very nearly forgetting to remove his Prefect badge.

“Seamus’s mum almost didn’t let him come back because of Harry,” Dean said, trying to retrieve a house shoe from within his trunk. “I’m just glad my parents are both muggles and don’t try to follow the magical news! Doubt they’d be too keen on me coming back either if they knew of all the things that happened here.”

“The Prophet is a load of bollocks if you ask me,” Ron said, kicking open his own trunk and pulling his pajamas from the top.

“You can’t honestly believe You-Know-Who is back, do you?” asked Seamus, an incredulous look on his face. “I mean, if Harry was to be believed, Quirrell had You-Know-Who on the back of his head, Sirius Black is innocent, and there was a Basilisk in the school. How do we know any of that is true? Harry was the only witness to all of that!”

“Look, Seamus,” Ron said dangerously. “My sister saw the Basilisk as well! And would have died if it hadn’t been for Harry! Do you honestly believe that he killed Cedric?”

Seamus shrugged before climbing into bed and pulling the heavy hangings around his bed. “It’s possible.”

Ron stared at his dorm-mate’s bed in disbelief before shaking his head and quickly changing clothing, trying to ignore the empty bed which sat next to his. It was unnerving to not see Harry’s trunk at the foot of his bed, or see his ratty trainers lined up next to it, or see him pulling on the perpetually oversized clothing he came from home with. What had happened to him?

Ron had his doubts that Voldemort had anything to do with Harry’s disappearance. If the Order’s spy was to be believed, he was as much in the dark about Harry’s location as the rest of the wizarding world. So where could he have gone?

A sinking feeling began in Ron’s stomach as he thought of Harry’s summers and how horrible they had always gone. The year they had rescued him from his bedroom and had needed to pull the bars off of his window flashed before his mind. The bedroom door had had so many locks on it and a cat flap that Harry swore was for food to be passed through. His uncle had always been a threatening man, had he done something? He had starved Harry before, who’s to say he hadn’t done it again? Had they actually managed to starve him to death?

Why hadn’t they told anyone?

“Hey Ron, any idea who that boy was who was at the head table?” Dean asked, pulling Ron from his increasingly morbid thoughts.

“What? Oh, him,” Ron sneered. “That’s Snape’s kid. Hermione met him when she was volunteering over the summer. Said he asked her about her blood status, then blasted her across the room.”

“What?!” Dean said, shocked. “He didn’t look that bad. I mean Snape is always sneering at our table. He just looked nervous. Did you see Professor Lupin basically drag him from the hall?”

“Yeah, wonder what that was about,” Ron muttered as he crawled into bed.

There was a moment of silence as the boy’s finished getting their things in order and climbing into bed before a slight sniff was heard from over by the window where Neville was carefully rearranging an odd cactus he had gotten over the summer. He had been oddly quiet all night, not even mentioning once that his new plant also happened to be the password to get into the house.

“You alright over there, Nev?” Ron called, looking in concern at the rather timid boy.

Neville sighed and wiped his eyes quickly before turning back to his bed and climbing in. “Yeah, I just … saw something I wasn’t expecting tonight.”

Ron frowned as Neville picked slightly at the hem of his bedspread before huffing slightly and looking up towards the ceiling for a moment as though making up his mind on something.

“I think Snape’s kid might have been tortured,” he said quietly.

Ron’s eyes went wide at the accusation. How would Snape’s son have been exposed to torture? And if that was the case, how would Neville know what to look for? It wasn’t like Neville had ever been tortured himself outside of the stories of his Uncle Augie trying to scare the magic into him. Even that wasn’t torture in the same sense though. Judging by the expression on Neville’s face, it was a fresh trauma in his mind, however.

“What makes you think that?” Seamus said, poking his head out of the bed hangings in curiosity having overheard what Neville said.

Neville swallowed heavily and took a deep breath. “I recognized the potions he was taking.”

“Mate, sorry, but I don’t believe you,” Dean said with a laugh. “You’re rubbish at potions.”

“My parents take a lot of the same potions I saw him taking,” Neville continued, a slight blush gracing his cheeks. “I didn’t recognize all of the one’s Snape’s kid was taking, but I did recognize some of them. They’re very specific to … Cruciatus damage.”

The other boys froze as they began to put two and two together. Neville had never spoken about his parents though they all were well aware of the fact he lived with his grandmother. For him to know those potions through sight alone, he must have routinely spent time around them. There was only one possible conclusion to be drawn from the situation.

“Nev, why didn’t you tell us?” Dean said softly as the other boys continued to try and wrap their heads around the idea.

Neville shrugged and laid down under the covers facing the window and his beloved little plant. He didn’t feel like a pity party, he just wanted to sleep and forget about the damn potions. He was curious why Snape’s son would have come to need those potions, but it was too painful to think about. Who would want to torture him anyways? The war was over and had been for years, until the Dark Lord returned, that is.

But those were mysteries for another time. Now it was time to try and sleep, though Neville was afraid that sleep for him may be punctuated with nightmares of dark clad women coming to kill him.

Tonks sat at her desk, feet propped on a slightly open drawer, as she sipped on a rather nice and hot cuppa. It had been a rather long day already and she knew she would be up for another few hours just sorting through the nonsense that had been the day.

The Hogwarts Express had left on time, as expected, and thankfully there had been no incidents along the route though she and five other Aurors had been tasked with monitoring the train on its route to the castle. But before the train had even left the station, she had been called to two incidents. One was a domestic disturbance and the other … well she wouldn’t be eating pork for a while, that was for certain.

While the rest of the day was rather uneventful, even the most uneventful of days generated a stack of parchment on her desk which needed to be filled out.

Thumbing through the parchment envelopes and papers on her desk to make sure she wasn’t missing anything, Tonks was rather surprised with a finger grazed against a rather smooth, yellow envelope who’s flap was bound shut with a red string. That wasn’t parchment; that was muggle paper. Why was she receiving muggle post now? Wasn’t she getting enough post from the wizarding world?

Out of curiosity, she pulled the manila envelope out of the pile and looked at it in curiosity. It was from Stonehill Primary School in Little Whinging and addressed to Kingsley. Odd, she couldn’t remember them having had any connection with a primary school, especially not a muggle one, for any of their recent cases. Little Whinging seemed familiar, but she couldn’t place it. It niggled the back of her brain for a while as she stared at the envelope before she finally had a moment of realization.

Harry Potter was from Little Whinging. This was from Harry Potter’s primary school, the muggle one he attended prior to going to Hogwarts.

Holding her breath, she turned the envelope over and carefully undid the string before removing a small ream of documents from within it. Kingsley must have reached out to them for his academic record and any documents about his time there in case there were any clues as to where the boy had gone hidden within his muggle past. A good plan, though a bit of a shot in the dark if she was honest. Every lead they had had on that case was either a dead end or tied up in the intradepartmental bureaucracy that was the British Ministries. The muggle Prime Minister and the Minister of Magic had never really established a way of having the police forces interact without breaking the statute of secrecy outside of turning the arrested party over to their proper governing body: muggle to muggle, magical to magical.

It was so strange to be holding Harry Potter’s muggle school record. She could remember the end of the first war and the celebrations which followed; to be touching something of Harry Potter’s hidden muggle life was still something she held rather reverently in her mind's eye. The chances of her living to adulthood had been slim prior to the fall of You-Know-Who as her parents were so staunchly on the side of the light and her mother was considered a “blood traitor.” Harry Potter had saved her life, albeit inadvertently.

Flipping through the papers, Tonks let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding. She didn’t know what she was expecting to find, but this wasn’t it. This was just grades and discipline reports. Looking through the grades, she found his grades to be startlingly below average. He seemed to start the year with good grades only for them to rapidly drop down to a level which could barely be considered passing. It was odd, because the more she looked through the reports, the more she began to see a pattern as she compared attendance records with his grades.

If his grades were good, he would suddenly be called out of school for a few days before returning. The attendance record always said he was home sick, but the more Tonks looked the more she saw this same pattern occurring. Good grades, home sick, back to school with bad grades. Reading the teachers comments on his report cards was equally disheartening.

“Harry is a lovely, quiet student who works extremely hard, however he does not seem to know his own name. States that his name is ‘boy’ as that is what his Aunt and Uncle call him.”

“Harry seems to lack motivation when placed in a class with his cousin. Is very quiet and avoids confrontation unless his cousin is pestering another student.”

“Harry is quite the trouble maker, though he always seems to place the blame on his cousin. I would recommend not having him in the same class as his cousin so we can find out who the true culprit is.”

“I am concerned for Harry’s wellbeing at home. He is perpetually tired and seems rather underweight. He seems to be purposefully trying to keep his grades lower than his cousin.”

“Harry did well for the first few weeks of the semester while his cousin was home sick then his grades dropped once again. He seems to understand the topics but refuses to turn any homework in. Do not put Harry in the same class as his cousin.”

“I can tell Harry understands the topics, but he refuses to put in any effort what-so-ever into his school work.”

Every report card was nearly the same. Harry’s a good student who doesn’t try. Harry seems afraid of his cousin. Harry doesn’t want to talk about home. It was depressing to read through, but it only made her more determined to go through the school paperwork. Something was going on under their noses and she wasn’t sure what exactly it was but she was determined to find out.

“Tonks, why are you still here?” Kingsley said from the doorway, causing her to jump and fall off her chair when her bootlace got caught on the drawer.

“Got Harry Potter’s muggle school records put on my desk,” she said, pulling herself off the ground and dusting her robes off.

Kingsley nodded before coming in and leaning against her desk as she took her seat once more. “Anything interesting about them?”

Tonks nodded sharply. “I’ve only been looking at them for about five minutes and I’m concerned already. Something about his relatives doesn’t sit right with me. Didn’t with all of his primary school teachers either.”

Handing Kingsley the report cards, she then turned to the next stack of papers in the envelope. Again, a pattern quickly emerged. Harry was blamed for something, said his cousin did it, then he got punished for it. If this was a one time occurrence, she could write it off, but it seemed like things like this would happen every year. Dudley, as she learned his cousin was named, seemed to have a penchant for causing all sorts of havoc and blaming it on Harry. Whenever he tried to set the record straight, his aunt and uncle would be called in and the blame for whatever the incident was would fall squarely on him.

This continued until one particular incident when he was nine and seemed to have apparated to the roof of the school. An impressive feat of accidental magic, but a worrisome one. Why would a nine year old feel so threatened that he had to apparate away from a situation? Double checking the attendance rosters, her heart sank into her boots. He was then home sick for nearly two weeks following this incident. Something wasn’t adding up in her mind.

“Kingsley, have you ever heard of a wizarding child being sick for two weeks with a muggle disease?” Tonks asked, looking over at her mentor who was still reading over the teachers comments.

“No, never. Why?” Kingsley said, putting down the report cards and looking over her shoulder at the papers in her hands.

“I think … I think there was something going on with his family. Something about this just doesn’t sit right with me,” Tonks said, wringing her hands. “His grades, the frequent absences, the teachers’ concerns that his cousin is causing him to struggle. It’s all adding up to something, it feels like, and not anything good.”

Kingsley sighed and gently placed the report cards back into their envelope. “Find your evidence.”

“Yes, sir,” Tonks said, putting the rest of the papers back in the envelope as well before placing the envelope in the top drawer of her desk and warding it shut. Tracking Harry Potter was a priority, even if it meant finding controversial information.
To be continued...
Chapter 24 by DesertPlanet
“I must say, Elias, I am thoroughly intrigued by this project,” Remus said as he looked through the new set of notes provided to him. “What information are you hoping to find, though? This does seem like a rather broad topic if what all you are telling me is correct.”

“I h-hope to f-find what m-m-m-makes elec-ctronics go wild ar-r-round magic. And v-v-v-v-v- *sigh* the other w-way,” Elias said, bouncing his legs spastically in an effort to ward off a cramp he could feel brewing. “Es-specially since m-m-muggleb-borns are g-going to b-b-be exposed t-to it m-more.”

Remus nodded in approval. They had decided to work primarily on the core courses during the morning hours while Elias was more awake, then work on his theory project in the afternoon with the hope being he would have more interest in it and therefore be able to concentrate better. As the theory developed, the hope was that they would be able to incorporate more of the core class work into it, but as it was it was rather open ended. Almost too open ended, if Remus was being honest, but even he had to admit this wasn’t going to be the normal tutoring job.

If Elias was right, the wizarding world would rapidly be falling behind if they were unable to find the reason why electronics and magic seemed incompatible. Even he had begun to see changes in the muggle world and only briefly flitted between the two worlds. Muggleborn students may very well look at Hogwarts and decide against attendance simply because it was so different from what they were used to. Gone were the days of fireplaces and paper letters, exchanged for electric heaters which were much safer and “email” which was apparently instantaneous. Even the fastest forms of magical communication still took several minutes to complete or relied on an intermediary being such as a house elf to transport a letter.

It was fascinating to try and wrap his brain around the fact the muggles had managed to make so many advances in such a short period of time, leaving their magical counterparts in the dust.

“Have you found much in the way of information on this interaction?” Remus asked, noting the obvious holes in what little research had been done.

“Th-that’s l-literally all I c-could find,” Elias grumbled, looking oddly like his father as he frowned and crossed his arms, glaring at his left elbow as it twitched oddly for a minute. “Th-there was on-nly one b-b-book.”

“Only one book in the whole library?” said Remus in disbelief. “Are you sure?”

“D-didn’t check-k the R-r-restric-cted section, but I d-d-did get M-madam P-p-p-pince to help,” Elias said, looking over his notes on the library sections. “M-m-muggle studies m-mentions it within the t-t-textb-book but nothing m-more. There w-was one s-s-suppliment-tal m-manual with the o-other m-m-muggle studies b-books, but, again, it-t was only a m-mention of h-how to use appliances.”

Remus frowned as he too looked over the extremely detailed notes. If these notes were to be believed, they would need to find somewhere else to start as this project was essentially starting from scratch. To have found something so intrinsic to the modern muggle way of life that had been around for years yet no magical research had gone into was preposterous. How could something like this have been so overlooked? With muggleborns consistently being a primary cause for population growth in the wizarding communities, it was nearly inconceivable that such advances would be so unheard of.

“M-m-madam P-p-pence sent a l-l-letter to I-i-ilverm-morny for me t-to see if th-they have an-nything,” Elias continued with a sigh. “B-but w-we haven’t g-gotten anything b-b-back.”

“When did you send the letter?” Remus asked curiously. He had known Elias was driven on this topic, but to be willing to reach out internationally without being told to do so and having no due date for an assignment was above and beyond what he had expected.

“L-last w-week,” Elias said after finding the date written within his notes. “M-madam P-p-pince d-doesn’t think it’s even th-there yet. I-if it is, i-it might t-t-take them a while t-t-to get back.”

“Hmmm,” Remus hummed, tapping his lips with a forefinger as he tried to think of other possible ways of finding information. “Have you reached out to the ministry?”

“Wh-what d-departm-ment would even w-want to h-help me?” Elias scoffed, placing an elbow on the table and resting his head in his hand for a moment before his head suddenly shot up. “Isn’t there a M-m-muggle Artif-f-fact office?”

Remus nodded before pulling out a quill and parchment of his own and scribbling down the ideas. Normally he would have his student be the one writing but after seeing Elias’s attempts at handwriting normally with a quill, he had quickly decided that allowing the boy to use a Quik Quotes Quill was much better. They would certainly need to place an accommodation request for Elias’s OWLS if he were able to take them this year as he would most certainly not be able to complete any of the written sections within the time limit.

“There is the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts office. And I am certain that Arthur Weasley, the head of that department, would be more than willing to help,” Remus said with a smile, knowing that Arthur would likely keep them in his office all day if they physically went there just asking questions about electricity and about the project. If there was one word to describe the man, it was curious.

“I g-guess I c-could reach out-t to D-d-durmst-trang?” Elias mumbled, shifting in his seat rather uncomfortably. “And B-b-beauxb-b-bat-tons?”

“They would probably respond faster than Ilvermorny, but you’d run into the issue of translations,” Remus said knowingly, having run into the same problem with other students and when he was a student himself. “You can’t use a translation potion for the purpose of research. It won’t take grammar or idioms into account and only give you the direct translation of the words.”

Elias nodded determinedly. Certainly there would be someone out there who would be able to translate sections of the books properly? The translation potions and spells couldn’t be that bad after all. If they were, why would they exist at all? At this point, he was willing to even look into sending a letter to Fenghuang School in China and Uagadou School of Magic in Uganda just to see if they had any information at all though he didn’t expect anything to come of it. In fact, he was rather certain that he would be going into this rather blindly and having to come up with experiments on his own which was daunting to say the least.

The question was: where to start. Even if he did manage to get some information, he wasn’t honestly expecting there to be much in the way of detailed analysis. The magical community seemed to have the same disdain for muggle artifacts that muggles had for ‘magical’ ones such as crystal balls and the like. They were considered interesting or eclectic but nothing more than that.

Perhaps he was looking at this the wrong way? Maybe it would be easier to start from the muggle side then introduce magic to it?

“What are you thinking?” Remus asked, watching as Elias frowned and bit his lip slightly as he thought.

“S-start with m-m-muggle, then g-go to m-m-magical,” Elias said, trying to think of how to word it so it made sense. “W-we d-d-on’t know an-n-nything about elect-t-tricity, s-so how d-d-do we know wh-what q-questions to ask?”

Remus slowly put down the quill and folded his hands with a frown. It was a very valid point; they didn’t know what they were wanting to ask. As much as he wanted them to be able to jump into this project as he had in his other tutoring gigs, this one would require much more forethought as there simply was no information on one side of the issue. All of the information they were getting was based on the reactions muggle objects had to magic being used on them and the general consensus was not to do just that. There was no information on why.

“That is a very astute observation,” Remus said, a small smile forming on his face. “I do believe we need to start planning for trips off school grounds to muggle libraries for information.”

Elias nodded in agreement and shifted once more in his seat. Thankfully they were almost done for the day, but sitting in a standard wooden chair starting to cause his legs to ache from the pressure. It was making his legs shake which was in turn causing his back to start to spasm as well. The sooner they could be done, the better.

“C-can we s-stop for the d-day,” Elias said with a wince. As much as he wanted to continue with creating the plan of attack for the project, he didn’t think he could take much more of sitting in that bloody chair.

“Of course,” Remus said, quickly drying the ink and capping the inkwell before spelling everything into his bag. “You did very well today!

“Th-thanks,” Elias said, slowly getting to his feet and praying his knees wouldn’t buckle under him. A small grunt left his lips as he forced his legs to straighten out.

“Do you need some help?” Remus asked, looking in concern at the teen across from him.

Elias shook his head before vigorously shaking out his legs in an effort to get the brewing spasms to subside. “I’ll b-b-be fine, just n-n-need a m-moment.”

As he had gotten more used to the shakes and spasms, he had begun to learn to differentiate between the different signals his nerves were sending him. Before a spasm, his muscles would feel almost as though they were tingling. That feeling would build for a moment before the muscles would finally respond with a twitch or spasm depending on the muscle group. If he could keep moving enough, he noticed the spasms were less, particularly in his arms and legs. Sometimes, a couple shakes would be enough to prevent a spasm or cramp from occurring, other times, it would make the spasm worse. He was getting better at differentiating the two, but it still was frustratingly unnatural to be constantly paying attention to how his muscles moved.

“C-can you g-grab the b-b-books?” Elias asked as he shifted his weight experimentally between his feet, making sure they were ready to hold his weight as he walked.

“Sure,” Remus said, grabbing the few remaining books that hadn’t been shoved into Elias’s backpack. “Are you planning to come to dinner tonight?”

“Mmm-hmm,” Elias nodded as he awkwardly threw his backpack over his shoulder and nearly lost his balance due to the weight. “I w-want to sit w-w-with the S-slytherins. I haven’t g-g-gotten to see D-draco for a wh-while.”

“I noticed him watching you during the Opening Feast,” Remus said, nodding. “Are you and Mr. Malfoy friends?”

Elias frowned slightly before nodding rather hesitantly. Were they friends? He had been sad when Draco had needed to go home before school started, but he wasn’t completely certain that Draco had necessarily been acting friendly because he actually wanted to be friends or if he was being friendly because he knew he would get into trouble if he acted like his normal self around Severus. It was difficult to tell the difference, especially since Draco hadn’t written at all during the week that he was at home.

“You aren’t sure?” Remus asked, looking at the teen out of the corner of his eye as they walked out of the study room in the dungeons and headed for the Slytherin Head of House’s quarters. “I’m sorry, I thought…”

“I only m-m-met him th-this s-s-sum-mer,” Elias muttered, flushing slightly. “A-and I w-w-was unc-c-conscious for a g-g-good p-part of it. He w-w-was nice t-t-to me, though.”

Remus nodded knowingly at the tinge of lonely sadness he heard in the boy’s voice. He knew all too well how lonely life could be without a friend. Growing up, he had only had a few friends, though none who he was able to speak with or play with on a regular basis. It wasn’t until he came to Hogwarts that he had actually managed to make friends; friends who didn’t get scared of him turning into a werewolf and actually had his back. He couldn’t imagine how painfully lonely Elias must have been as even simple tasks had the potential of being extraordinarily difficult.

“I think he may want to be your friend,” Remus said with a small smile. “Mr. Malfoy has a tendency to be rather standoffish and lord his position over people, but I do believe he cares for you. I caught him looking over at you no less than five times throughout the feast, and one of those was when I was helping you out of the hall. He looked rather distressed at the time.”

“R-really?” Elias said, looking up in shock and nearly tripping over one of the more uneven cobblestones.

“Yes,” Remus said, pausing to open the door to the Snape quarters. “Dinner isn’t for another few hours, are you planning to stay here?”

Elias nodded and yawned. “Yeah, ‘m g-gonna take a n-nap. You s-sure he w-wants to stay m-m-my friend?”

“I’m positive,” Remus said, ushering the boy in and placing the now standard monitoring ward on him. “Do you want me to stay while you nap?”

“N-no, sir,” Elias muttered, blushing once more at the idea of having a babysitter. He was fifteen, for goodness sake, he could take care of himself! “I f-f-feel fine.”

“Alright,” Remus said, turning to exit the quarters once more. “Don’t try to sneak out. I’m going to let your father know you are home.”

“L-l-later, R-r-remus,” Elias said, before turning and walking to his bedroom. Could it be true that Draco was actually concerned about him? It was hard to think of Draco not having an ulterior motive for his friendship, but perhaps it was true. Elias didn’t want to get his hopes up, however. It would be too painful to lose yet another friend because of this blasted potion his mother had given him.

“Why is Snape’s son sitting at our table?” Theodore Nott asked, looking curiously at where the tall boy was sitting, flipping through an arithmancy textbook as he waited for dinner to begin.

“Remember what Snape said?” Pansy Parkinson said with a scoff as she pushed past him to enter the Great Hall. “He’s an unofficial member of our house and we ought to accept him as such. Besides, if the mudbloods are to be believed, he values blood purity quite a lot for someone who isn’t pureblood himself.”

“Interesting,” Blaise Zabini muttered before leading the group to sit around the young Snape. “Good evening, Snape.”

Elias’s head jerked up as he stared dumbly at the dark boy who sat across from him. He had honestly expected to sit alone at the table the first few times simply because he was the child of a professor. “‘Lo…. um…. S-s-sorry, I d-d-don’t know y-your n-name.”

“Blaise Zabini,” Blaise said, extending his hand for the other boy to shake, noting the bags under the other boy’s eyes and the quiver to his hands. “Fifth year.”

“El-lias Sn-nape,” Elias said softly as he took the offered hand and shook it firmly.

“Theodore Nott,” Nott said, following suit as he sat across from Blaise. “And this is Pansy Parkinson.”

Elias nodded to each of them before turning back to his book momentarily and placing a bookmark in between the pages as well as his notes before placing the book back in his bag. Arithmancy was a pain to try and get through, but he felt he was making rather good headway, all things considered. He knew that for his project to even remotely have a chance of success he needed to be able to prove his theories, which would include having more than just a base knowledge of arithmancy.

“What are you working on?” Pansy asked curiously, unable to tell what the book was from where she was sitting.

“Ar-r-rithm-mancy,” Elias said softly, a small blush gracing his cheeks. “‘M not v-v-very good at i-it though.”

Blaise and Nott nodded knowingly as they poured themselves glasses of water as pitchers of various drinks began to appear on each of the tables.

“Awful subject,” Nott said, shaking his head pityingly. “Just awful. Do you need it for your theory project?”

Elias nodded before digging through his bag and pulling out two potions vials and a small notebook. He quickly swallowed the two potions, shivering and sniffing slightly at the cold sensation of the first potion before making two small marks in his notebook. As he slid the notebook and the now empty vials back into his bag, he couldn’t help but notice the stares of the other three teens around him as the vials clinked in the bag.

“What?” he asked, wiping his nose with a handkerchief as it continued to run for a few seconds.

The other teens looked at one another briefly before Nott finally spoke up, asking, “What did you just take?”

“M-my potions?” Elias asked as he gingerly poured himself a glass of pumpkin juice, feeling proud when he only spilled a small amount on the table.

“Yeah,” Blaise said, frowning. “We’ve seen you take a lot of potions over the last few days and we were just wondering….why?”

Elias bit his lip and looked towards the head table in hopes of getting Severus’s attention and possible help with fielding these questions. He knew these questions would come as he started sitting amongst the students, but he wasn’t ready. He had thought he would be answering these questions with a support person of some sort at his side, but here he was, alone, preparing to try his hardest at keeping track of the details.

Whenever he had pictured trying to explain what was wrong with him, he had always expected either Draco or his father to be at his side. His father was currently embroiled in some sort of argument with Remus while Draco had yet to show up. To be fair, dinner wasn’t going to start for another half hour, but he still felt terribly alone sitting here trying to answer questions.

What was the question again?

“S-sorry,” Elias muttered, mild frustration leaking into his voice. Stuttering was easy enough to explain, the occasional memory gaps were not. “C-can you r-repeat the q-q-question?”

“Why are you on so many potions?” Nott said, frowning slightly.

Elias worried his lip slightly before answering softly and blushing fiercely. “S-s-so I c-can f-function.”

The trio nodded their heads hesitantly. It was an explanation, though not much of one. It wouldn’t be right to pry, but the burning curiosity was evident as they all continued to shoot glances towards the bag containing the now empty vials. Being in the house with the potion’s master as the head meant they all had developed a slight interest in the subject. Professor Snape was, by far, the only professor who was fair in his treatment of the Slytherins, though the other houses would argue that wasn’t the case. If all it took to stay on the man’s good side was to put in a bit of extra effort in potions class, then they would certainly do it.

“What do they do?” Blaise asked, curiosity overflowing.

Elias sighed and pulled the two empty vials out and sat them in front of him. “Th-this one m-makes it easier t-t-to swallow, and th-this one h-h-helps keep the f-f-food down. L-later I have t-t-to take one t-to p-prevent s-seizures an-nd one to h-help m-my spasms.”

The trio of Slytherins looked rather shocked as he listed off the potions he was taking throughout dinner. It was only a total of four potions, nowhere near the number he took in the morning, but enough to cause their eyes to widen rather comically.

“Merlin, Snape!” Blaise whispered. “What’s wrong with you?”

Elias shrugged and added a small spoonful of sugar to his pumpkin juice. It was delicious as it was, but something about adding more sugar to it made it even better. Severus blamed it on his nerves, but Elias had insisted that this was something he did even prior to the potion’s degradation.

Elias stirred the pumpkin juice for a few moments before finally answering the question. Of all of the people he wanted knowing what was going on with him, these three were certainly not at the top of the list. Never once had they been kind to him before when he was Harry Potter. In fact, he remembered Ron telling him that their parents were known Death Eaters. But, once again, he was faced with the fact that he was no longer Harry Potter and Elias Snape was far less familiar with the content of their character. He knew the information of his condition would get out eventually; it would be much easier to release it in his father’s house where the dissemination of information could be controlled a bit easier.

“I have a c-c-condition c-called Sh-shervil’s,” he muttered, blushing slightly before taking a small sip of the juice and relishing the cool sensation running down his throat.

Before he even got a chance to explain, Nott gasped slightly. A quick glance at him and he realized the other boy was now pale as a ghost and, most surprisingly, had a look of sadness in his eyes. In all the years Elias had known him, he had never once seen such a look on the boy’s face. On any of the Slytherin’s faces. The other two teens had equally grim looks on their faces, but nothing quite as upsetting as Nott’s.

“How?” Nott finally whispered.

“M-m-my m-m-mother was t-t-tortured while…” Elias started before Nott cut him off with a raised hand.

“How did you survive?” Nott asked, swallowing hard as he appeared to just barely be holding back his emotions. His face was as stoic as ever, but his voice did little to hold up the same facade.

Elias frowned and blinked rapidly. “I- I d-d-dont’ know? I j-j-just g-got lucky? Why?”

Nott wiped his eyes discreetly and nodded as the rest of the trio looked at him with a knowing, sympathetic glance. It was no secret what had happened with his mother at the end of the war, especially not amongst the pureblooded community though they never spoke of it outside of whispers and rumors. A good, pureblood husband torturing his wife when he found out she was pregnant with another man was deplorable. It was easy enough to cover the pregnancy and place the child up for adoption or, with a little bit of money, purchase the potions necessary to change who the father was. Every magical baby was precious; every pureblood knew this.

Nott saw the look of curiosity in the other boy’s eyes and knew he didn’t know the story. It was hard to speak of and a shameful occurrence within Nott’s family, but, while Shervil’s certainly wasn’t an unknown condition, it was rare enough that meeting someone with it was not common.

“My sister…” Nott started before clearing his throat. “My sister had it. She … she passed when she was six months old.”

“I… I’m s-s-sorry,” Elias said, looking at the other teen in a slightly new light. It was odd to see the Slytherins, especially ones who were seen by other houses as dark and emotionless, in a vulnerable state.

“It happened a while ago,” Nott said, trying to play off his feelings as though he didn’t mind.

“Teddy, you were eight,” Blaise said, quietly. “We all were. We all remember it and the trial.”

“Can we not talk about it anymore?” Nott snapped, looking at the table with a slightly green tint to his face. “Please?”

“What are we not discussing?” Draco said equally quietly as he slid onto the bench next to Elias.

“Nothing,” Nott immediately said, looking down angrily. “Why are you late?”

Draco raised an eyebrow and glanced at the mostly empty table before pouring himself a glass of water and grabbing a small piece of bruschetta to eat before the main course of dinner finally began appearing.

“Well, not late, per se,” Pansy corrected, grabbing a bruschetta for herself and crunching it loudly. “But what took you so long? We all left defense at the same time...”

Draco looked around conspicuously before leaning in and saying quietly, “I do believe this defense professor may very well be the worst we’ve had to date.”

“How so?” Blaise asked, noting Elias’s frown as he too leaned in, curious for the gossip about the new instructor.

“We are all aware of the… occurrences … from this summer, yes?” Draco said, eyes flicking to Elias momentarily as he was unsure how much the boy knew about the Dark Lord’s return. He was sure that Professor Snape had discussed the situation with him, but was unsure as to the true extent of his knowledge. “Professor Umbridge not only is refusing to believe that our Lord is back, but refuses to believe that book knowledge is frequently not applicable to real world situations. I stayed after class because I wished to speak with her on her plans for practical application of spells…”

“... and we aren’t doing any, are we?” Nott finished with a sigh, nostrils flaring as he crossed his arms and rolled his eyes.

Draco shook his head in affirmation before sipping from his glass and looking rather nonchalantly around the room. “Not only that, but she accused me of wishing to stir up discontent amongst our class and threatened me with detention if I brought up the topic in class.”

“Why w-w-wouldn’t she w-w-want st-tudents to know ab-b-bout defense if the D-d-dark L-lord is back?” Elias asked, voice cracking slightly as he spoke. Calling Voldemort the ‘Dark Lord’ was difficult and was one of the few instances where he was glad for the stutter. But without teaching them anything worthwhile, his friends were in danger in ways they didn’t know. They needed to know more practical and real world information, not just some hyped up, ministry backed junk!

“Shh, Elias! Don’t talk so loud!” Draco said, looking around at the other tables to see if anyone had heard. “The ministry wants to push propaganda onto the students to try and prevent fear of His return from spreading. If they acknowledge the fact that He is back, they have to also acknowledge the fact they had a direct hand in the entire Potter debacle from last year.”

Elias nodded and looked around as well in case anyone had heard him. There were a few students sitting at the Gryffindor table who could have possibly heard him, but they seemed to be involved in their own conversations. Everyone else was seated too far away or seemed too embroiled in their own discussions to actually hear the Slytherin’s conversation.

“B-but that’s n-n-not safe!” Elias said quietly. “W-w-wouldn’t it b-b-be better to …”

“No,” Blaise cut him off. “The ministry has its own agenda to attend to first and foremost. The lives of the general populace do not matter to them. If anything, they need to keep their hand in the Potter debacle under wraps simply because they need to keep themselves looking ‘light’ and our side looking ‘dark.’ They’ll do whatever they need to to keep it that way.”

“You need to be careful, Draco,” Pansy said, turning to the blonde and flicking her hair over her shoulder once more. “Remember what the Professor said last year?”

“It is far easier to maintain an appearance if those around you believe you are on their side,” the other boys said quietly as dinner appeared on the table and other classmates began filtering in.

Colin Creevey knew what he needed to do as soon as he heard it. Discreetly, he took out his camera and aimed it at the group of Slytherins, snapping a few pictures in quick succession. He was fairly certain he was right in his theory, but he would need pictures to prove it. Specifically, he needed to be able to see their forearms, but especially the new Snape’s.

There were suspicions that something was going on in the Slytherin house, more so than usual. Slytherin had always been seen as the ‘dark’ house, one filled with the most corrupt souls and willing to turn on those around them with no problem. The addition of the mysterious, new Snape only added fuel to that fire in his mind. The entire thing was a mystery, one which he was certain he would find the answer to. There was one thing most of the Gryffindors were fairly sure of, however: Elias Snape was a blood purity fanatic. As such, he was most certainly a Death Eater in training.

Why else would he call Voldemort the “Dark Lord” if he wasn’t in league with him?

“Hermione! Hermione!” Colin called as soon as he saw her enter the Great Hall for dinner, Ron and Ginny close behind. “Hermione, I need to tell you something!”
To be continued...
Chapter 25 by DesertPlanet
Severus glared menacingly out at his class of fifth years. If they thought they were off the hook because Potter was ‘missing,’ they were sorely mistaken. His wrath would know no bounds, especially not today. Something was going on with the Gryffindors, he could feel it. The animosity towards him was pouring off of them in ways he could barely describe but was rather attuned to feeling directed towards him.

But he wasn’t the object of their wrath, his son was.

“Weasley!” Severus snapped, stepping towards his cauldron of Draught of Peace with a sneer. “Does this seem like a kitchen to you?”

“No,” Ron said miserably, frowning at his cauldron which was belching yellow steam and smelling horrifically of rotten eggs.

“Then explain to me how you have managed to make my entire classroom smell like a gone off breakfast!” Severus sneered, knowing full well that the Weasley boy hadn’t ground his moonstone fine enough.

“I… I don’t know, sir,” Ron said, nostrils flaring suddenly in anger.

Severus raised an eyebrow at the change in attitude. Something was certainly going on with the Gryffindors, if only he could pin-point what it was. They hadn’t seemed this angry since he had been the substitute for the bloody wolf over the full moon two years ago. At the time, they at least had some reason to be angry with him; he had been refusing to go off of the provided lesson plans after all. And had been purposefully trying to make them realize the man was a dangerous animal. And had assigned them a ridiculously long essay.

They didn’t have any of those excuses to despise him now, however. He would be happy to give them reason to hate him, but he didn’t want to incur more of their wrath on Elias. Had it not been for Lupin’s intervention, he surely would have fallen on the stairs at least once in the last twenty-four hours.

And had it not been for Lupin there to witness it, he likely never would have known the Gryffindors were after his son.

The other students had only been back in the castle for all of four days and already they had decided to attempt to go after Elias. The strangest part though was how little Elias fought back. It was almost as if he had been expecting this or was extremely practiced at trying to hide being the victim of bullying, a fact which burned Severus to the core. Had he truly missed something in the boy’s years here at Hogwarts?

“Fifteen points from Gryffindor and banish that abomination before you contaminate the entire dungeons with that scent,” Severus ordered before stalking to the other side of the dungeon. “And five points from Gryffindor, Longbottom, for completely disregarding the instructions and creating concrete in your cauldron.”

“It’s not his fault your handwriting’s rubbish!” Weasley exploded before turning so white his freckles stood out like beacons on his face.

Severus turned slowly to face the red-head, a dangerous look on his face, noting the other Gryffindors shooting their comrade rather fearful looks. “Come again?”

“You heard…”

“Detention, Weasley. Tonight. Seven o’clock,” Severus growled, cutting the boy off mid-sentence.

Thankfully, the Weasley boy immediately shut his mouth and glared at his cauldron furiously before banishing it’s contents and angrily cleaning his workstation. Severus glared daggers at him for a few more moments before turning back to the Slytherin side of the room. He would find out tonight what was going on; surely Weasley was the ringleader of the current nonsense.

“Ronald!” he heard Granger whisper. “What are you doing?”

“Look,” Weasley whispered back. “Someone needs to stand up to him! Especially if he’s prejudiced against muggleborns!”

“When he’s actually being prejudiced, yes. But not when he’s right about your potion!” Granger said, continuing to cover her nose with her jacket sleeve.

Severus frowned. He would definitely be getting to the bottom of this tonight. Come hell or high water, he would find out where these accusations were coming from.

Elias groaned as he pulled the cloth mask over his nose and mouth before entering the potions lab. He was not looking forward to his potions lesson for the week in the slightest. Potions had always been his least favorite subject and now he was having to take the class in two separate parts and wear a mask for the entirety of the brewing portion. He understood the logic behind wearing it, he was on too many potions himself to want to risk inhaling a cross-contaminate, but it was miserably stifling to wear for hours on end. They had tried a bubble head charm, but he found the distortion too great to be able to convince his eyes to focus on anything smaller than a cauldron.

A mask it was then.

Entering the lab, he was surprised to find he wasn’t alone in the room with his father. A rather familiar red-head was standing at the sink, elbow deep in soapy water with a wicked frown on his face. Apparently he would be sharing his potions lab time with Severus’s detention times.

“Elias, take a seat,” Severus said rather gently before bringing over a tray full of pre-prepared ingredients and setting them down in front of him. “Before we begin, I would like to apologize for Mr. Weasley’s intrusion on your lab time. He earned himself a detention today during class.”

Elias nodded silently before taking a seat and looking over the ingredients he was presented with. Moonstone, syrup of hellebore, essence of lavender, and … bat guano? That didn’t seem right. He was almost certain he was supposed to be making the Draught of Peace, not… whatever that was going to make. He was fairly certain there was no way he would be able to integrate the guano into his potion with only the ingredients provided. In fact… he was fairly certain his father was testing him.

Gently setting the ingredient to the side, he methodically set out the ingredients in the order they would be added to the potion. Of all the fiddley potions to start with, why this one? He was sure it was to see how much Severus’s students had actually retained over the summer, but that was hardly fair considering he could barely retain what he had for breakfast.

Pouring over the instructions and carefully writing them out onto individual slips for each ingredient, he licked his lips nervously and began to brew, double checking the amounts and preparations as he went. While he doubted he would brew a perfect potion, he knew he was at a bit of an unfair advantage as all of his ingredients had been prepared by his father before he ever started though he was already suspicious of the ingredients with the addition of the bat guano.

As he got to the third step, he frowned as he looked at the moonstone he had sitting in front of him. It was supposed to be powdered, however the consistency of the stone was far more coarse than the powder it was supposed to be. Grabbing the mortar and pestle from the tray, he quickly ground the stone into an almost corn-starch consistency before adding it to the brew, stirred three times counter-clockwise, and reduced the flame to allow the mixture to simmer for the listed seven minutes.

“Good,” Severus said, pulling a stool opposite Elias and sitting down gracefully before removing the bat guano from the provided ingredients. “I’m pleased you caught those. Do you know what would have happened if you had added the guano to the potion?”

“N-not really,” Elias muttered, blushing furiously as Ron looked in his direction curiously. “It w-w-wasn’t on the l-l-list, s-s-so I d-d-d-didn’t add it.”

“And a good thing too. The entire potion would have separated and curdled. There are ways to save a potion when that happens, but it is entirely potion specific and must be done with great care,” Severus lectured calmly, before flicking his eyes conspiratorially towards Ron who was very obviously listening in from the corner. “Now, the moonstone. Why did you decide to grind it further?”

“Um…” Elias muttered, frowning as he looked over the ingredients in front of him once more and refreshed his memory of what he had done thus far in the potion. “It w-w-would sm-mell like eggs if it-t w-w-wasn’t g-ground fine en-n-nough?”

“A fact Mr. Weasley wished to blame on my handwriting during class today,” Severus said with a snort. “How is your project coming along?”

“N-not g-g-good,” Elias said with a sigh of relief as the conversation turned from the art of potions making and instead focused on something he was actually interested in. “We’ve hit a r-r-roadblock.”

“Oh?” Severus raised his eyebrow questioningly and folded his arms. He wasn’t surprised, it was a complex topic after all, but he would have thought they could have gotten at least somewhat farther into the subject before having problems.

“I-I’ve h-had to r-reach out to Ilverm-m-morny for inform-mation, as w-w-well as B-b-beauxb-b-baton’s and D-durmstrang, b-but I h-haven’t h-heard b-back yet,” Elias said with a sigh and a frown. “A-and I j-just sent a l-letter to the M-ministry today, too.”

“Which department are you reaching out to?” Severus asked curiously, checking his watch to make sure the simmer time wasn’t up. It wouldn’t be fair for him to be distracting Elias and have that be the reason his potion failed.

“R-remus said the h-head of the M-m-misuse of M-muggle Artif-f-facts office m-might know something,” Elias said with a small smile as he looked slightly in Ron’s direction.

A loud crash was heard as Ron dropped the cauldron he was working on into the washbasin in shock. Why would the Snape boy be reaching out to his dad? His dad? What was his ‘project’ on anyways? His dad was extremely pro-muggle; it made no sense for a Death Eater in training to be reaching out to him! Something wasn’t adding up.

“Clean, Mr. Weasley!” Severus snapped. “You have twenty minutes left.”

“But that’s my dad you’re talking about!” Ron said loudly, refusing to turn back to the cauldron which was now soaking in the tepid water. “What do you want from him?”

“You can ask him yourself,” Severus snapped back. “Now clean!”

A small chime was heard from Elias’s desk reminding him the simmer time was up and he needed to move on to the next step in the brewing process. Two drops of syrup of hellebore later and he was back to working on the potion despite the now tense atmosphere in the room. He wished he could talk with Ron about his project and assuage his fears, but for some reason there was a lot of animosity towards him already. Particularly from the Gryffindors.

Had he still been Harry Potter, he would have attributed this to the ending of the previous year, but he was no longer Harry Potter. Yes, he was now known as ‘Snape’s kid’ and Severus was by far and away the least liked professor at the school, but what had he done to warrant such hatred from his former house? The first time he had nearly fallen on the stairs, he attributed it to his legs just giving out on him. The second time, however, he found his shoelaces had been tied together.

The third time he had physically felt hands on his back pushing him towards the stairs and certainly would have fallen had Remus not been with him at the time.

But why? School had barely started and it didn’t make any sense to him. He had hardly had any interaction with the other students outside of the few times he had sat with the Slytherins. He hadn’t worked up the courage to try sitting with the other houses yet, but with the way things were going he wasn’t sure if it was a good idea or not. And he knew the chances of him making friends outside of Slytherin if everyone assumed he was sympathetic to the Slytherins was slim already.

Soon enough, his potion was complete. While not perfect, it was certainly better than anything he had ever done in Severus’s class before, and Severus had actually been rather helpful rather than actively trying to make a fool out of him as he had for the past four years.

“Mr. Weasley, your time is up,” Severus said as Elias turned off the burner under his cauldron. “Do not leave just yet, however. I would like to discuss your statements from class.”

Ron froze while putting away the gloves and wire scrub brush he had been using to clean the cauldrons. He hadn’t thought that Snape had overheard him and Hermione speaking after he had gotten detention. The damn bat’s hearing was too good. The chance of him not landing a second detention in a week was so astronomically low it wasn’t even worth mentioning. And if he got one more detention this month, the chance of him getting on the Gryffindor Quidditch team was almost nonexistent. He was doomed.

Turning to look at the two Snapes, the feeling of dread overwhelmed him. He was trapped in a room with two Death Eaters and no way out. He pictured Elias having a wicked grin under his mask as kept shooting glances towards Ron followed by looking back at his father. He was trapped like a rat.

“Take a seat, Mr. Weasley,” Severus said, motioning to an open stool before turning back to Elias. “Hands.”

Elias held out his hands which were quivering violently. He had been struggling more with them as the night dragged on, making him more and more thankful his father had pre-prepared the ingredients for him. He doubted very much that he would be able to bottle his potion without spilling the vast majority of it on himself.

“I’ll bottle it for you, clean up your area and we’ll go back to our quarters,” Severus said, turning back to the redhead who was looking rather green as he sat and waited for the shoe to drop. “Mr. Weasley.”

“Yes, sir,” Ron said defiantly though his insides were quivering.

“What makes you think it appropriate to speak to me so disrespectfully?” Severus said darkly, arms folded loosely in front of his chest. “I can assure you that, in the fourteen years I have been employed at Hogwarts, never once has my handwriting been deemed the reason a student has failed my class.”

“Nor has a student’s blood status been the reason for their failure,” Severus continued, voice dropping to a hiss, aware the boy in front of him was becoming progressively more terrified. “No, what I want to know is where those accusations came from.”

Ron swallowed hard and felt himself lose whatever color he had left in his face as Snape’s glare darkened and his nostrils flared. Why he was the one being singled out for this, he didn’t know, but for some reason Snape wasn’t immediately ripping his head off. That was what was more concerning to him. Snape had seemed odd all night, though much of that could easily have been attributed to him being around his son.

His son who seemed to be actively trying to avoid looking at Ron.

“I … I … I don’t know,” Ron said meekly though he tried to continue looking defiant. “I heard from… some people… that … uh … that hedoesntlikemuggleborns…”

“Repeat that,” Severus snapped, though he was quite certain he had understood what had been said.

“I heard from some people that he doesn’t like muggleborns,” Ron said, looking pointedly at Elias, who was pointedly staring at the desk he was working on cleaning off, though it was obvious he was paying attention to the conversation.

“From whom?” Severus asked, lips thinning slightly as he leaned in towards the now cowering Gryffindor.

“Hermione,” Ron mumbled, looking at the ground as his stomach turned. He had been on the professor’s bad side many times, but always with Harry and Hermione around. Never before had Snape’s wrath been directed at him in particular.

“Granger is the one spreading these rumors?” Severus said in surprise. He honestly hadn’t expected that. True, he did know of the ‘incident’ over the summer, however it did not seem to be provoked by her blood status. In fact, Elias had stated that he had only been asking for her to leave the room and that it had been accidental magic pushing her out.

A quick glance at Elias confirmed he was not the only one surprised by this fact. Though he could only see his son‘s eyes, the sadness radiating from them was almost palpable. His former friends were the culprits behind his bullying and they didn’t even know it was him.

Severus straightened up with a sneer and strode to the fireplace at the front of the room before summoning a jar of floo powder from his office. “McGonagall’s office,” he stated before stepping briefly into the flames.

“Oh Merlin!” Ron moaned, collapsing onto the stool behind him. “We’re dead. We’re so dead.”

“He j-j-just w-went to g-get her,” Elias mumbled before grabbing his now cooled cauldron and removing it from its stand. Had he already given Severus a vial, or could he wash the cauldron out? He sighed heavily before limping to his father’s desk and looking at the vials which were placed on his desk.

“Yeah, to get us both expelled!” Ron exclaimed, watching the young Snape curiously as he gingerly rotated each of the vials to read their labels. “What’re you doing? Trying to sabotage the whole school’s grades?!”

Elias moaned in frustration as he reread each of the labels. Ron had distracted him and he couldn’t remember if he had seen his potion amongst these others or not. “N-n-no, I j-j-just…”

“Just what, Snape? Want to make sure the entirety to Gryffindor fails? Typical!”

“No, of c-c-course n-n-not!” Elias exclaimed with an exasperated sigh as he restarted reading the labels. He hated night time and his reliance on his lists so much. His muscles were tired, his brain was tired, and now he was trying to hold a conversation with someone who didn’t understand or care to understand and was even more frustratingly a previous friend.

“Then what are you doing looking at those potions?!” Ron nearly yelled as Elias picked up the same potion for the fifth time and squinted at the label.

“I D-DONT KNOW!” Elias yelled back as he threw himself into his father’s desk chair and ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. “I d-don’t r-rem-m-m-meb-ber! I d-don’t rem-m-member w-what I’m d-d-doing! I’m l-looking for a-someth-thing, b-b-but I d-don’t know w-what!”

Ron stared at him in confusion for a moment as he started once again reading the labels of the vials. “Bullshit, you know what you’re doing. Your dad literally just said he’d do the job of putting your potion in a vial.”

Elias looked up in confusion at the redhead in the room. “He c-couldn’t have. He’s n-n-not here!”

“What are you on about?!” Ron said, frown deepening as the young Snape looked him over. “He was literally just here! He just left to get Hermione!”

Elias froze as his heart began to pound. Had he screwed it up already? What did he say?! What did he do?! Was his father going to eat him out to his friends? Why would he do that?!

“W-why?” Elias asked, swallowing thickly as he peered, wide eyed over the vials on the desk.

“Are you thick, mate?” Ron gaped at the other boy’s obvious confusion. “Snape’s trying to get me and Hermione expelled because of you and the fact you and him are in league in your hatred of muggles and anyone who isn’t pureblooded!”

“W-why w-would you think I h-h-hate m-m-muggles, R-ron? I w-was l-lit-terally r-r-raised w-with them. And I-I’m n-not a p-p-p-p-pureb-blood. Y-you know that!”

The floo suddenly flared green as Severus, Professor McGonagall, and a blotchy faced Hermione stepped through before Ron had the chance to respond. Severus frowned slightly when he saw Elias was no longer at his desk but rather was sitting in front of the potions which had not yet been graded. There didn’t seem to be any broken glass, thankfully, but he would have to make sure Elias hadn’t gotten into any of them. He had been steadily declining over the course of the night and trusting him to be alone in the lab with only another student was … pushing it. The rather indigent look on the Weasley boy’s face didn’t help much.

“Elias, don’t drink those,” Severus said softly, casting a quick ward over the vials to prevent them from being opened. He should have done that earlier, but hadn’t thought Elias would have gotten so distracted as to end up by them.

“I h-haven’t?” Elias said, though he was rather unsure of if he had or hadn’t.

Severus sighed and motioned for Granger to take a seat next to the last Weasley boy. A quick glance at the vials on his desk showed none of them were opened, thankfully, but that didn’t explain why he was over by the vials in the first place. “Go sit back at your desk.”

Elias nodded and stood before looking around the room in confusion. Ron and Hermione were there and normally he would sit next to Ron, but Ron didn’t look like he was wanting him to sit next to him today. And Hermione looked like she had been crying. What was going on? Were they getting expelled finally? No… no, that wasn’t right… but it wasn’t making any sense.

“Sit at the desk with the cauldron,” Severus said in a low voice as Professor McGonagall began berating the other two teens. While he was carrying himself in his normal, aloof fashion, concern could be seen in his eyes as Elias made his way to the aforementioned desk and sat down, tucking his hands under his legs and looking as though he were to be chastised next for his behaviour.

Elias looked over at his friends in concern as Professor McGonagall continued to speak to the other two teens. What had they done and why wasn’t he on the receiving end of it as well? Ron was acting a prat, but he did that at least once a year. It was just odd that neither he nor Hermione were even acknowledging his presence in the room. Was he under an invisibility spell? No, because Snape was able to see him… Hopefully they would be let out soon, he really just wanted to go to bed.

“I suppose, Minerva, it ought to be determined where this story began so it can be corrected from its original source,” Severus drawled, interrupting his colleagues rant as he picked up an empty vial and bottled the potion in the cauldron with practiced ease before sealing it, labeling it, and placing it on the desk with the other potions.

Professor McGonagall nodded and turned to Hermione with a stern look on her face. “Well? Which of you wants to tell me where this started?”

Ron and Hermione both looked at each other, seemingly egging the other on to answer the question.

“I met him this summer,” Hermione finally said, trying to contain her tears though her voice shook. “I was volunteering at the hospital, a muggle children’s hospital, and I met him there.”

“And what would give you the impression that, as a patient at a muggle hospital, he disliked muggles and muggleborns?” Severus drawled as he strode towards the teens to join Professor McGonagall in her interrogation. “Was it the fact he was there on his own accord and didn’t once ask for a transfer to St. Mungo’s or was it the fact he was there after working with a muggle company for the first portion of his summer?”

“No, sir,” Hermione said defiantly. “It was because one of the first questions he asked me was what my last name was and if I was a muggleborn!”

Professor Mcgonagall sighed and looked towards Severus’s son. The poor boy hadn’t had much experience with the magical world in Britain from what Severus had told them and had had a very rough summer. For him to ask such a question was likely done innocently enough, though it was easy to see where the question could be misconstrued. And with the political climate heating back up, it wouldn’t be unheard of to make such a mistake.

“Elias? Do you remember meeting Ms. Granger this summer?” Severus said, turning to his son appeared to be attempting to follow the conversation, knowing full well that he had, in fact, met the girl while there. “At the muggle hospital?”

“Y-yeah,” Elias muttered unsurely. “I … I c-c-couldn’t t-talk t-t-to her though.”

“That’s not true!” Hermione burst out. “You and I were talking, then you blasted me across the room!”

Both Severus and Mcgonagall frowned and looked towards Elias who ducked his head. He hadn’t meant to do that, he remembered, it had been a complete accident after all. He had been frustrated and wanted her to leave because he couldn’t get a word in edgewise and she was starting to broach topics he hadn’t had a backstory to yet. He really didn’t mean to throw her from the room.

“Y-y-you kept int-terrupting m-m-me b-because of this b-b-blood-dy st-t-tutter!” Elias shouted back. “Then I-I t-t-tripped on the chair a-a-and g-grabbed the w-w-wall and then you w-w-went flying!”

“All I was doing was asking you questions and you yelled at me to get out!” Hermione shot back.

“B-b-because you k-k-k-kept interrup-p-pting me! I-i-it’s n-n-n-not my f-fault I t-talk s-s-slow!” Elias yelled, face turning red with frustration as he slammed a fist on the desk in front of him.

That’s your excuse? Because you couldn’t keep up with the conversation?” Hermione said, voice rising in anger as she shot out of her seat, ignoring the two professors in the room. “I had bruises on my back for nearly a month after that! A month! I could hardly sleep on my back even with bruise balm applied, you -”

“Enough!” McGonagall interrupted loudly, wand in hand as if prepared to cast a silencing spell over the two of them. “Enough, both of you! Ms. Granger, I supposed I expected more self control on your part! It certainly seems to me that this started as a misunderstanding -”

“She did have bruises, Professor!” Ron said, jumping to Hermione’s defense. “She showed them to me at-”

“Sit down, Mr. Weasley!” Severus snapped. “Before I put you in detention for a month.”

“Mr. Snape,” McGonagall continued icily. “Do you have any training in wandless magics?”

Elias shook his head frantically. “N-n-no!”

“Did you have your wand on you while in the hospital?”

“N-no!” Elias said, shaking his head once more, though less vigorously. He was starting to feel nauseous from the adrenaline coursing through his veins.

“Do you have any ill will towards any student or faculty member due to their blood status?” McGonagall said, eyes flickering towards Severus who simply raised an eyebrow though his eye twitched involuntarily at the accusation.

“N-no! I d-d-d-didn’t m-m-mean to d-d-d-do that! I t-t-t-tripped a-and fell ag-g-g-gainst the w-w-wall while t-t-telling her t-to l-leave and she w-w-w-went flying a-a-and the l-lights w-w-went out!” Elias shouted in frustration, trying to control his stutter only to have his emotions exacerbate it terribly.

“You blew out the electricity in that wing of the hospital!” Hermione said harshly. “You could have killed someone!”

Every ounce of bravado and anger Elias had built up immediately fell away. He was a murderer; he couldn’t escape that. He would continue to kill people through his actions whether voluntary or not. It was his fault. First Cedric, now he almost killed defenseless muggle children. This was all his fault. It didn’t matter if he was Harry Potter or Elias Snape, he was a murderer and always would be. Perhaps he was going dark? Was this how it happened?

“Enough!” McGonagall said sternly. “To say I am appalled by these unfounded accusations is an understatement! I have heard no evidence proving any form of prejudice, only extrapolations of stories based on one event which occurred over the summer. Both of you, your prefect status is suspended for a month and you will be serving detention with either Professor Snape or myself every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during this time. If you both are not in the dorms in ten minutes, I have half a mind to permanently remove your prefect status and give you both detention until you graduate.”

Both Ron and Hermione paled dramatically at the fire in their Head of House’s voice. True, they had been in trouble before, but neither of them had ever seen her quite this angry before. Quickly gathering Ron’s things, the two Gryffindors fled the dungeons as quickly as possible. Had it just been Snape interrogating them, it would have been easy enough to claim he was showing favoritism for his son, but McGonagall was a different force to be reckoned with.

One close look at Elias up close and Ron almost felt bad for him. He looked positively ill and as though someone had just killed his puppy. What was with this kid anyways? There was no way someone his own age could have a memory that bad when it came to things that had just happened. Even Neville could fumble his way through bottling a potion without losing his place in the process multiple times!

“Severus, do you have any idea what transpired?” McGonagall said as soon as the door to the potions classroom closed behind the two Gryffindors. “It almost sounds like accidental magic.”

Severus frowned but nodded. “He was not on any of his normal potions at the time. It’s entirely possible he was overwhelmed enough…”

“But at sixteen?” McGonagall said, looking over at the lanky teen who was staring rather despondently at a spot on the ground. “And, if I am understanding Ms. Granger correctly, enough to stop muggle technology from working properly?”

“The building was unwarded,” Severus said, crossing his arms over his chest. “I, myself, made the lights flicker when I found out his prior living situation.”

“Goodness, Severus! Was it that bad?” McGonagall said, eyes flicking back to the teen who looked so much like his father when not smiling.

Severus nodded before looking over at Elias in concern. He looked rather green in the face and his eyes, while continuing to jolt around and not focus on one thing as was their norm, looked even more unfocused than normal. Holding up a hand towards McGonagall, he quickly approached his rather despondent son. Had the conversation really taken this much out of him? What was on his mind? The urge to probe even slightly into his mind was extremely strong, but the risk was certainly not worth the reward.

“Elias?” Severus said, crouching in front of him and making eye contact. “Elias?!”

Elias blinked slowly before his eyes finally focused slightly on his father’s face. “D-da?”

“Yes, Elias?” Severus said, breathing a pent up sigh of relief at how quickly Elias recognized him.

“C-c-c-can w-we go h-h-home?”

“Yes, we can go home now,” Severus said with a small, sad smirk before turning to McGonagall. “I’ll speak with you more on this tomorrow. Not now, though.”

McGonagall nodded and quickly transfigured a small bucket for him to use in case he vomited on the way to their quarters. The poor lad looked as though he would blow chunks at any second. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Take care of your boy!”

Severus nodded in thanks as he took the offered bucket. He had a feeling it would be a long night.
To be continued...
Chapter 26 by DesertPlanet
It had taken only a week to hear back from Beauxbatons after he sent the letter asking if there were any books on muggle electricity that they had. While much faster in responsiveness than what could be expected from Ilvermorny, the results had been equally as disheartening as it had been searching through the library of Hogwarts. Outside of a few mentions contained within the category of “études moldues” as they called it, there was no further information regarding the topic.

In fact, the librarian of Beauxbatons seemed to take great offense in the sheer idea of having anything as outlandishly untraditional as a modern muggle device contained within the walls of their fine, upstanding establishment.

“Bloody frogs,” Remus muttered as he read the offered letter with disdain before throwing it into the fire. “Calling us uncultured for asking for information for research purposes. The nerve!”

“S-so where d-d-do we g-go from here?” Elias asked softly as he curled up on the armchair which had replaced the hard wooden chair he had previously occupied in the classroom. It wasn’t a perfect transfiguration by any stretch of the imagination, but he was certain Professor McGonagall would have been proud of his attempt anyways. Especially since he had butchered the pronunciation of the spell no less than a dozen times and even set the chair on fire once before finally managing to get the spell out properly. The awkwardly shaped, overly stuffed, blue denim chair was horribly lopsided, but it was his nonetheless.

“I believe we must wait for either my application for a Portkey to Edinburgh to be approved so we can go to the muggle library there or our letter to Durmstrang to be responded to,” Remus said with a wry smile as the armchair across from him rocked rather ominously on its misshapen legs.

“C-c-can we n-n-n-not P-p-p-p-portkey?” Elias said softly, picking at the skin around his fingernails nervously. “P-p-please?”

Remus sighed rather exasperatedly. He knew it wasn’t Elias’s fault for forgetting this conversation, but it was frustrating to have the same conversation repeatedly whenever the possibility of using a portkey was brought up. It didn’t matter how many times they had this conversation, Elias always tried to bow out of using one. It almost seemed as though he was purposefully striking the idea of using one from his mind. Be it out of fear or anxiety, Remus would never know, but explaining the same thing over and over again was grinding his nerves. If Elias struggled so with his classwork, Remus would be a bit more understanding, but this was different.

What was so bad about using a Portkey anyways? They were a safe way to travel and had been in use for more than four centuries. True, they were uncomfortable to use, but nowhere near as bad as apparation and significantly less dizzying than using the floo.

“Elias, it would be much easier for us to Portkey there rather than trying to take muggle transit or even using the floo,” Remus said, rubbing the side of his nose in frustration. “Even if you do feel ill after using it, we will have made it to our arrival destination with plenty of time to spare and would have time to allow you to re-acclimate. We wouldn’t have to walk nearly as far nor would we have to worry about going through the wrong fireplace.”

Elias shuddered as he tried to convince himself that he would be fine travelling by Portkey. He would be with Remus the entire time. The portkey wouldn’t be switched. He wouldn’t end up in the graveyard again. Voldemort wouldn’t be there waiting for him. Remus wouldn’t die like Cedric had. “Th-that’s n-n-n-not why. ‘M n-n-n-not sc-cared of g-g-getting sick. I g-get s-s-sick all the t-t-time.”

Remus frowned as he looked the teen across from him over. Severus had never told him of any of Elias’s past, but something was obviously bothering him, more than simply feeling sick due to using a Portkey. Something must have happened to him or someone close to him when using one. He had been remarkably open to trying new things and going new places, but the one hang up he had was using a Portkey. There had to be a reason for it.

“Elias, what happened?” Remus said softly, watching as the remaining color drained from the boy’s face before he drew his knees to his chest and wrapped his arms around them.

“I h-h-had … a f-friend,” Elias said in a voice so quiet Remus was unsure if he had heard it at all. “He … he a-and I u-used one a-a-and it h-had b-b-been m-manip-p-pulat-ted and w-we d-d-didn’t go where w-we thought w-we were g-g-going and...h-he d-d-died.”

Remus sat back in stunned disbelief. Who would do such a thing? Why hadn’t that made the news? An event such as that should have been newspaper worthy, even if it happened internationally. Portkey creation was extremely regulated and the manipulation of one was highly frowned upon, if not outright illegal. For a child to be injured or killed using one… it just made his skin crawl.

“I c-c-couldn’t d-d-do anything!” Elias said, wiping his eyes with the back of his sleeve and sniffing heavily. “I c-c-couldn’t s-s-stop him!”

“I’m sorry, Elias,” Remus said softly, coming around the desk and handing him a handkerchief from his pocket. “I didn’t know. Did that happen recently?”

Elias nodded and gnawed at a loose piece of skin on his thumb. He wasn’t sure when he had picked up the habit, but he knew Severus would notice he had been picking again. It didn’t hurt per se, but it was always obvious when he was having a stressful day. And this conversation was certainly stressful. He didn’t want to talk about Cedric and have to skirt around the truth, but he also did not want to take a Portkey anywhere.

“Does your father know?” Remus asked, pulling him from his thoughts.

“He knows s-s-some,” Elias muttered as he wiped his nose with the offered handkerchief. “I d-d-don’t want t-t-t-to talk ab-bout it.”

“It does help to talk about things like this though,” Remus said, removing a slab of chocolate from his coat and passing a small sliver over. A bit of chocolate would do Elias some good, though it was dangerous for him to try eating without his potion.

“N-n-not now,” Elias insisted firmly, though his voice still shook. He took the piece of chocolate gratefully and nibbled on the corner of it, trying to resist the urge to shove the entire chunk into his mouth. It had been too long since he had last had chocolate of any kind. “C-can we p-p-please not P-portkey?”

“Alright,” Remus finally acquiesced. “Though we will need some way to get there that won’t require us staying out overnight. I doubt your father would approve of you being away that long.”

Elias snorted at the thought of how mad Severus would be if they disappeared for several days and promptly choked on the small bite of chocolate in his mouth. Coughing hard, he couldn’t help but chuckle at the idea of an irate Snape going into a muggle library dressed in mundane clothes. It would certainly be a memorable experience, to say the least.

“We c-c-could take the Kn-n-night b-bus?” Elias offered, clearing his throat and coughing once more.

“Possibly,” Remus said, tapping a finger on his lips. “We would have to be awake quite early, however. They only operate at night and in the early morning.”

Elias nodded. If there was an option to avoid using a Portkey, he’d take it. “W-would our l-l-library be ab-ble to do an exchange?”

“I … I honestly don’t know,” Remus said, frowning. “I don’t think so as it would be rather difficult to explain without breaking the statute of secrecy. I suppose we could ask Madam Pince if it would be possible. I wouldn’t be surprised if she doesn’t know either. I don’t know if anyone has ever asked for a library exchange between Hogwarts and a muggle library, though I may be wrong.”

“I’ll a-ask M-madam P-p-p-pince tom-m-morrow.”

Ron sighed as he dipped his rag into a bucket of polish and began scrubbing away at the golden trophy in front of him. At least this time he wasn’t vomiting slugs all over the school trophies. That slug juice had been so repulsive and difficult to get off of the trophies and badges that he was honestly surprised there weren’t still marks left from that detention three years ago. He was certain he hadn’t managed to get all of the slime off of the more heavily detailed badges.

As much as he disagreed with the detention he had gotten at the time for standing up for Hermione and subsequently giving himself the ‘slug-vomits,’ he couldn’t say he felt the same about this detention. He had trusted Hermione’s story about what happened over the summer, about how much of a muggle hater Snape’s son was, and believed the boy was going to be dark like his father (who they admittedly had very shaky evidence regarding to whom he gave his allegiance.) He had thought Elias was dark, or at least leaning towards the dark side, but the more he thought about it, the more he questioned this judgement.

Elias was quite reserved, but he didn’t exude the same feeling of darkness that the other Slytherins gave off. He honestly acted far more like a Ravenclaw than a Slytherin, what with his nose being buried constantly in a book. He didn’t seem as though he were shy, the fact he was willing to sit amongst the students rather than just up at the head table proved that. If anything he seemed rather… lonely. Almost as if he had no friends other than the few Slytherins who hung around Malfoy or as if he were missing someone.

Ron could sympathize with this feeling. True, he and Harry had had their disagreements, but this was the longest he had been without his best friend. Even the summer where their letters were being intercepted had ended. Now they were a solid fortnight into the school year and there was still no word on Harry’s whereabouts. Ron and Hermione had tried to ask Dumbledore, only to be told there was no information but that even Voldemort was still in the dark as to where he was.

This was not the comforting information Ron had hoped for.

If only the twins had been able to apparate to Privet Drive before he disappeared, maybe they could have saved him. Or if they had managed to convince Dumbledore not to send Harry back to the Dursley’s. Or if Harry had just run away like he was always talking about doing. Or if Dumbledore had simply not sent Harry to the Dursley’s in the first place.

But something was weighing on Ron’s mind. It was something that had bothered him since they had first seen Snape’s son. Where had this new boy come from, and why did he show up after Harry disappeared. True, his mum had vouched for Snape in saying that she knew about him having a son, but then why had no one ever mentioned it before. It was as if everyone was under a confundus and went from not speaking of this child to knowing this boy existed overnight.

And then there was what Elias himself had said. “Why would you think I hate muggles, Ron? I was raised with them. And I’m not a pureblood. You know that.”

There were many things about that statement which kept bothering Ron. First, how did Elias know his name? They had never been introduced that he knew of, yet Elias knew his name even while seeming to be extremely confused about what was going on at the time. He didn’t seem to have a very good memory, but he could remember Ron’s name. He couldn’t remember which of the bottles on Snape’s desk he had looked at, but could remember the name of someone he had never met. It was suspicious, to say the least.

And then there was the fact he said he was raised with muggles. That was something which, while Ron admitted it was possible, seemed rather unlikely for Snape’s son. The head of Slytherin house, the darkest and purest house in Hogwarts, having a son raised in the muggle world seemed so ludicrously ridiculous that Ron had to resist the urge to scoff every time he even thought of it. But if he had been raised by muggles, it would certainly explain how he ended up in a muggle hospital over the summer.

‘You know this.’

This phrase was what really bothered Ron, however. He had never met Elias. He had never spent time with him. He had never even had the desire to get to know the boy’s father, let alone probe into his private life and find out if he had a son. How in the world was Ron supposed to know this? But he seemed so certain that Ron knew this. That Ron was aware of his blood status and living arrangements.

As much as he didn’t want to rush to judgement like what Hermione had done, he also couldn’t help but ponder the idea that maybe there was something more going on with Elias Snape than what they thought. Maybe he had just appeared out of nowhere over the summer and was really good at confundus spells. Or maybe he was someone trying to hide, though why anyone would want to hide with Snape of all people was beyond him.

Or… perhaps… and this was a long shot in Ron’s mind… Elias was Harry.

It made sense if he thought about it, but he didn’t want to think of what the rationale would be for why Harry would be hiding with Snape. Not even with Snape, as a Snape. But if something had happened to him over the summer, it would make sense for him to hide in the least obvious of places. That was a really big ‘if’ though.

With another sigh, Ron dipped his rag into the polish once more and moved on to the Quidditch trophies. He was supposed to be celebrating the return of Quidditch to the school this year with his best friend. They were supposed to be discussing if Ron was going to be good enough for the now open spot of Keeper. They were supposed to be getting into trouble together and annoying Hermione by avoiding homework. They were supposed to be making up ludacris dream journals for Divination.

While it seemed far fetched, the idea that Elias was Harry brought him some comfort. If Harry was ill and that’s why he was hiding, at least Snape seemed to care about him. If Harry was incognito for some reason, he chose a good place to hide. No matter how much he missed his friend, if Harry was safe, that’s what was important.

“Good evening, sir,” Draco said as his potions master opened the door to his personal quarters. “I’m sorry to bother you, but is Elias busy?”

With some hesitation, Severus stepped back and allowed his student to enter his personal quarters. This would be the first time in his entire teaching career that he had allowed a student into his quarters, though Draco hadn’t come to him as a student, but rather as his son’s friend. It still felt strange to him, however, to allow the teen in despite him having spent a reasonable amount of time over the summer in a similar situation. He still saw his quarters as his personal quarters, however, and not as a place for his students to be.

“He’s in his room,” Severus said, motioning towards the short hallway. “Second door on the left.”

“Thank you, sir,” Draco said respectfully. “Is he feeling up for a visitor?”

“I would hope so,” Severus said with a snort. “He just finished raiding the fridge in search of ‘something worth snacking on.’”

Draco smirked, at least Elias was feeling up to eating. It seemed as though he were now trying to make up for his summer’s worth of not eating properly due to being with the muggles. Not that that was a bad thing, anything to keep him away from needing to remain on the nutrient potions was good.

Knocking on Elias’s door, Draco was surprised when there was a mild scuffle before the rather harried boy answered the door while looking around suspiciously. He looked as though he had been up to something, though Draco wasn’t entirely sure what Elias could have possibly been getting into with the sheer number of observation spells which were placed on him.

“D-draco?!” Elias exclaimed in surprise. “Wh-what are you d-doing here?”

“Hello to you too,” Draco drawled. “What are you doing?”

Elias blushed bright red and muttered something under his breath before opening the door to his friend and allowing him into his room. It wasn’t much larger than his room on Spinner’s End, but this one looked far more like it was made to fit the boy who was living within its walls. The bed was the same size as the beds in the dorm rooms, but had far more pillows and blankets on it than any of the beds in the dorms ever did. One wall was a rather well stocked bookshelf while the others were painted a dark orange and covered in various diagrams and Quidditch posters of various teams from around Europe.

A rather worn wooden desk sat opposite the bed and had a number of well labeled folders sitting on it as well as an empty potions vial, a half eaten apple, a couple of nails, two potatoes, and a lemon.

“Elias, why do you have a raw potato and a lemon on your desk?” Draco laughed as he picked up the lemon and rubbed it on his shirt sleeve.

“I’m t-t-trying s-someth-thing,” Elias mumbled. “I f-f-found a b-b-book on ch-channelling m-m-m-magic and …”

“I’ve never heard of using a lemon to channel magic,” Draco said, returning the lemon to its spot on the desk with a laugh. “Nor a potato. How long were you in Eastern Europe, anyways?”


Draco dodged the pillow which was thrown his direction easily. “Why are you always able to insult me without stuttering?”

“S-skill,” Elias said, taking a bite out of his apple and frowning at the collection of foods on his desk. “N-no, c-c-copper. M-muggles use it f-f-for wires, w-wizards use it f-for m-m-magical f-focus r-r-rods and t-to increase m-magical p-pot-tential.”

Draco frowned but nodded. His father had a rather large collection of copper artifacts which had been handed down through his family. Each of them was designed to do a different task and contained different focus stones, but Elias was right, all of them were made to increase magical potential by funnelling energy from one wizard to another. This wasn’t uncommon knowledge though and still didn’t explain the produce collection sitting on Elias’s desk.

“Ok, but why the potato?”

“It’s a m-m-muggle child-dren’s exp-p-periment,” Elias said by way of an explanation as he pulled out two short lengths of copper wire from a battery powered clock he had had a house-elf get for him from Filch’s collection of confiscated objects. The batteries had been removed, but the wiring inside the clock was still intact.

A bit of finagling later and he had managed to connect the wires to the potato in a rather confusing pattern leaving Draco confused but intrigued. What was he trying to accomplish with two wired potatoes? What kinds of strange things were the muggles teaching their children? And what a waste of the element!

Carefully, Elias attached the wires back to the clock and held his breath. Though faint, the clock face had begun to glow and show numbers for the first time in what was likely years. Elias quickly disconnected the clock and smiled at Draco who was looking rather stunned at the contraption in front of him.

“What was that?” Draco demanded, looking at the potatoes as though they were going to suddenly sprout legs. “What did you do?”

“I m-made a p-p-potato b-battery,” Elias said with a smile as he put the clock face back in its housing.

“You knew it would do that?” Draco said, still shocked. “You knew it would glow?!”

Elias nodded, then frowned while looking at the two still connected potatoes. While a good proof of concept, the potato battery wasn’t the best experiment as he knew what it would do. He knew the clock would work, the only thing that this proved was that electrical items could work on Hogwarts grounds. But that wasn’t what he wanted to test.

Reaching out, he grabbed both ends of the wires and held them between two fingers. Unsurprisingly, he couldn’t feel anything different. The potatoes weren’t going to be enough to generate a decent charge, or at least one strong enough that he was going to be able to feel it. Would he be able to feel it anyways?

“C-can you hold-d these w-w-wires l-like this?” Elias asked, looking at Draco. “I w-want to s-s-see som-mething.”

Warily, Draco took the offered bits of wire in his fingers as well, fully expecting something strange to start happening to him. He had never held a wire before and had only briefly used one of his family heirlooms when he was younger. Whatever he was expecting, he was rather disappointed when nothing happened. There were no sparks, glowing, or anything strange which occurred.


Draco shook his head and dropped the ends of the wires on the desk. “What are you trying to do, anyways?”

“I j-just want t-t-to see what w-w-would happen if... “ Elias paused as a thought went through his head. Quickly pulling a quill out of it’s holder on his desk and placing it on the ground front of the potatoes, he stood back and nodded before casting a spell on the wall to add height measurements to it. “L-levitate the f-feather.”

“Why?” Draco said, though he took out his wand anyways.


“Fine,” Draco mumbled, flicking his wand. “Wingardium Leviosa.”

The feather immediately shot into the air and hovered near eye level. As soon as its height was stable, Elias grabbed a second quill and made a mark on the wall.

“I don’t think your dad will like you drawing on the wall very much,” Draco said, releasing the spell and allowing the feather to float back to the floor.

“D-d-do it again,” Elias said, preparing to make another mark on the wall.

“Fine,” Draco said, rolling his eyes and casting the spell again. “Happy?”

Elias nodded as he marked the same spot on the wall again. “D-do it again. J-j-just once m-m-m-more.”

Draco sighed and placed the quill back on the floor before levitating it once more. “You know I came over here to see you, not to be a part of some wild experiment?”

“I-its for school,” Elias said by way of an explanation. “N-now hold the w-w-wires and do it again.”

Draco sighed and pinched the wires attached to the potatoes as he had before. “This isn’t how you use a focusing device, Elias.”

Elias raised an eyebrow before looking at the quill which was once again on the ground. If anything, this would be a proof of concept. That’s all it was, a proof of concept. There was nothing else to go on, there was no other research he had found, he needed something to work with and if a potato battery would give him the data he needed, a potato battery it would have to be.

Draco rolled his eyes and once more levitated the quill. He had been hoping to do something unrelated to school with his friend, but, instead, here he was practicing a first year spell over and over while holding two copper wires attached to several potatoes. What in the world had his life come to?

“Again,” Elias muttered, almost reverently as Draco lowered the quill back to the ground.

“What?” Draco asked, wondering what had come over his friend.

“D-do it again,” Elias snapped while staring at the marks on the wall. “P-please.”

“Can we play chess or something after? Or, I don’t know, go on a walk or even have a cuppa?” Draco sighed, exasperatedly levitating the feather once more. “Why are we doing this anyways? I don’t think a potato is going to help me focus my magic, no matter how much you want to believe it.”

“‘S n-not f-f-focusing it,” Elias said, marking the wall once more. “It’s g-g-giving you m-more p-p-p-power.”

Draco, who had turned to the bookshelves in hopes of finding Elias’s chess set on one of the shelves, froze and looked up in shock. “Come again?”

“Y-you w-w-weren’t even f-f-focusing on the sp-pell b-by the end and l-look!” Elias said in awe, staring at the two marks on the wall. “The q-quill went higher. Only a l-l-little, but it’s h-higher.”
To be continued...
End Notes:
Fast update, I know. But I got excited and I really wanted to post this one. I only post a chapter when I get done with another one and I've been a writing fiend lately.
Chapter 27 by DesertPlanet
“Why is it my Slytherins currently have an obsession with consuming potatoes?” Severus asked, a bemused expression on his face, as he pulled off his teaching robes and hung them on their appointed hook on the wall. “And why do I have the sneaking suspicion you are behind it?”

Elias sighed and put down the book he was reading. That hadn’t been the point of the experiment, but Draco hadn’t really been paying that much attention when he had been trying to explain it. That, and Draco was raised wizard, there was no way he would have any base knowledge on how to begin theorizing how electricity worked. Yet somehow he had managed to convince the entirety of Slytherin house to feast on potatoes at almost every meal.

“D-draco m-m-misund-derstood my exp-p-periment.”

Severus snorted in amusement as he removed his boots and belt and put on a pair of houseshoes. “Why would you be experimenting with potatoes? Have you changed your theory project?”

Elias shook his head as he slid the piece of parchment he had been using as a bookmark in between the pages of his book and put it down gently. “N-no, da. D-d-didn’t y-you ever m-make a p-p-potato c-clock in p-p-p-primary school?”

“I most certainly did not,” Severus said with an exasperated sigh. “My mother homeschooled me for the latter part of my primary education. She wanted to make sure I was properly prepared for Hogwarts and had a decent amount of control over my magic before I came. It was around this time that I met … the Evans sisters.”

“B-but no p-p-potato clock?” Elias asked disbelievingly, rubbing the back of his neck which had become rather stiff due to holding it in one spot for so long as he read.

“No ‘potato clock,’” Severus said with a wry smirk before summoning the evening paper, summoning a cup of tea from the kitchen, and sitting himself down in his chair by the fire. “Have you eaten?”

“Mm,” Elias grunted with a nod. “D-d-didn’t want t-to walk up the st-t-tairs.”

Severus peered over the newspaper with a raised eyebrow and a fiery stare. Elias had been in the habit of not telling him when he was in pain or struggling with a task until it became obvious it was outside of his control. No matter how many times Severus had told him to speak up about any struggles, particularly pains he had, the boy would stubbornly avoid talking about it until pressured.

“Just t-tired,” Elias quickly clarified, not wanting to attract his father’s ire again. “‘M just t-tired.”

“And your potions?” Severus asked, eyebrow still raised.

Elias nodded, stretching his arms in front of him and yawning. It was getting rather late and he didn’t feel like trying to push himself to stay up much later than necessary. Even with a nap in the afternoon, he was annoyingly exhausted every night long before he ever would have gone to bed before.

He did want to stay up and speak with Severus though. As he had gotten more used to being in the man’s company, he found it increasingly enjoyable to be around the man. Severus was also good to bounce ideas off of and would routinely ask questions which would point him in a new direction as to where to go to try and discover more information for his project. It had been a discussion with him which had led to the idea to try building a potato clock to test low level electricity within Hogwarts.

“Good,” Severus said with a nod and folded the newspaper so he could have access to the crossword. “Now, care to explain what exactly a ‘potato clock’ is?”

Elias nodded and rolled his shoulders before answering. “‘S a b-basic b-battery. K-kinda. I d-don’t really know how it w-works, I just r-r-rememb-ber m-making one in p-p-p-primary. If y-you hook up-p t-two p-p-potatoes with t-two different wires, a nail, a c-coin, and a c-clock face. It m-makes a very l-low p-p-power b-battery.”

Severus frowned and sat back in his chair, momentarily ignoring his crossword puzzle. “And why did you decide to make one?”

“I w-wanted to see if i-it w-would w-w-work in Hogwarts or if it w-would sh-short out,” Elias said with a yawn. “It d-d-didn’t b-break, so I g-grabbed the wires t-to see if I would g-get shocked. Th-that d-didn’t happen either, so I had D-draco g-grab them and try c-casting a spell. It w-wasn’t much, but it g-gave him a sm-mall b-b-boost.”

Severus frowned suspiciously. “What do you mean a ‘small boost?’”

“The f-feather w-went a b-bit higher. I d-don’t know h-how the c-clock works though, so I d-dunno why it w-worked for D-draco.”

Severus sat in rather stunned silence for a moment as he mulled over the implications of what this finding could mean, however he hit a wall rather quickly. If electricity was capable of increasing magical abilities, then why didn’t electrical devices work around magic? Was it a two way street? There were more questions he had now than ever before. But for Elias to have stumbled across this on his own accord… This was a problem which ought to have interested some of the greatest minds in the magical community, and yet the ministry was sending an official to one of the most prestigious schools in the wizarding world telling them that progress would not be tolerated in favor of tradition.

It made him feel ill at the loss of potential. Elias had complained of the sheer lack of information multiple times, but it was becoming more and more obvious to him as time went on as to how truly problematic this was and how much was truly unknown. It wasn’t as simple as electrical devices malfunctioning around magic. One of the books had equated electricity to magic and it seemed this wasn’t far from the truth.

“And you are sure the potatoes themselves weren’t the cause of this increase?” Severus asked quietly.

Elias snorted loudly as he placed his book on the side table and stood to go get ready for bed.


Tonks let out a rather frustrated sigh as she opened the large manilla envelope which had been delivered to her desk earlier that day. She had really hoped to get to it sooner, but her actual caseload was such that she couldn’t get to it until late in the evening. She wished that she had a job where she could just put things down when something more pressing came up, but that was not the case. She loved her job, make no mistake, but there were days where she wished she could jump onto something more interesting rather than continuing to follow up on the more boring, mundane cases she routinely got.

But here it was, the long awaited file from the muggle Department for Education and the NSPCC. And it wasn’t a thin file by any stretch of the imagination.

Did she really want to do this? Did she really want to see what was in Harry Potter’s past? Did she really want to know what had happened to him?

Blissful ignorance seemed like the better option, but one she refused to allow herself to take. Something had happened to him, something that made him disappear off the face of the planet, and she would be damned if she let any stone go unturned. Other members of the Order were still trying to physically track the boy down, but were still having no luck. He was still missing and they all needed to know why. If his past could tell them anything, anything at all, it would provide them with more direction than what they currently had.

Holding her breath, she reverently slid the papers out of the folder and sat them on her desk before folding her hands and resting her elbows on the table. Here in front of her was the dark side of the history of Harry Potter. The paperwork evidence that his life wasn’t the pampered and worshipped one everyone believed he had. Here was the evidence that her… hero… wasn’t perfect in every way. That his ‘tragic backstory’ didn’t end with the death of his parents.

Resting her forehead on her hands, she sighed and began to read.

Not more than a half hour in and she was beginning to feel ill. Every year the school sent police to the Dursley’s house for wellness checks, and every year they failed to arrive. Social workers were able to make appearances at the Dursley house, but not a single one of them followed up on their findings. Their findings were documented, but never followed up on.

Even during her brief stint in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts office as a trainee she had never seen something which screamed ‘magical intervention’ as much as this file did. Someone or something was preventing further investigations into the Dursleys and their treatment of Harry Potter. Someone was preventing him from being removed from their house and no one seemed to be the wiser. One social worker was sent to check on him four times over the course of one year and didn’t seem to have any memory of having ever gone the previous times.

It wasn’t until she got to the reports regarding him at ten years of age that a new person was mentioned as a potential new guardian: his grandfather.

‘Odd,’ Tonks thought as she stared at the paper in front of her. ‘Aren’t all of the Potters and the Evanses dead?’

Apparently the social worker had spoken to the boy’s grandfather, though the side of the family was not listed and he had agreed to take the boy in as his ward for the following year. The year that Harry was to go to Hogwarts. The social worker’s documentation was suspiciously lacking in any contact information for this ‘grandfather’ though it was listed that he was the headmaster of a boarding school and would be taking Harry to live there.

Tonks’s stomach sank as realization set in as to who this ‘grandfather’ was. Who was pulling the strings on the situation. Who was preventing Harry from being removed from their care. Who was stating he would be the guardian. The next page in the bundle, and indeed the final page, confirmed her suspicion. There was no mistaking that signature.

Albus P. W. B. Dumbledore.

Tonks collapsed back in her chair, her mind whirling. Why would Dumbledore do such a thing? Why would he leave a child in such a situation for years and then force him to return to it after each school year? Dumbledore was the leader of the light! This was so inherently dark it made her skin crawl.

Quickly springing into action, she copied all pages of the document in front of her and slid the originals back into the manilla envelope they came in before filing the copies in a locked cabinet with other casefiles. The manilla envelope she filed in a different cabinet where she stored unsolvable cases. She then quickly pulled out two vials from her desk drawer and extracted the memory of Dumbledore’s name on the file and placed it into one vial before copying it and filling the other vial with the memory.

With any luck, all of these precautions would be for naught, but if Dumbledore was meddling with people’s memories to keep this quiet, she needed to be extra careful.

Throwing on her travelling cloak and pocketing one of the memory vials, she quickly strode to Kingsley’s office. She needed to tell someone and only hoped the man was still in. This was far deeper than anything she had ever dealt with before. A magical child had been systematically neglected for years and the people who were supposed to care for him and prevent this from happening had been tampered with by one of the most powerful wizards in the world.

It was honestly no wonder he ran away. If she had been in his shoes, she probably would have done so as well once she found out. Especially after what happened the previous year.

Tonks pulled up short just outside of Kingsley’s office, hand hovering over his door in preparation for knocking as realization washed over her. Dumbledore had done nothing the previous year. He knew You-Know-Who was out there and regaining strength and hadn’t restarted the Order until after his return was confirmed. He was the headmaster of the bloody school, he could very well have sorted out the issue with the Triwizard Tournament. Harry should never have competed. Dumbledore should have easily known a Death Eater was masquerading as a professor, but he did nothing to confirm nor deny who it was he had hired.

Breaking out of her thoughts, she quickly pounded on her partner’s door. It only took two knocks before the door flew open, Kingsley standing there stonefaced as he stared at her.

“I was wondering how long it would take you to knock,” he said, ushering her in.

Tonks flushed bright red for a moment before going pale once more. “Do you have a pensive?”

“Yes?” Kingsley asked, eyebrow raised. “Why do you need it?”

“I need to show you something,” she said, pulling out the memory vial and setting it on his desk.

“What is it now?” Kingsley quipped, making no move to get out his pensive.

“I found something,” Tonks said, quickly warding the walls and portraits so they would be unable to listen in. “And I don’t like where it’s going.”


“It’s about Harry Potter.”

“Were we wrong?” Hermione asked as she flopped into one of the hard backed desk chairs in the common room and began unloading all of her books. “Were we really that wrong?”

“You, Hermione. You were wrong,” Ron said with a sigh. “Did you not see him? He looked horrible! Do you honestly think that You-Know-Who would want someone that sickly on his side?”

“That doesn’t explain why he was calling him the Dark Lord!” Hermione argued back. “Or why he asked me about my blood status!”

Ron angrily threw his quill into the inkwell, narrowly making it in but splashing a small amount of ink over the rim. “Oh come off it, Hermione. If what he says is true, he was raised in the wizarding world with tutors, knowing someone’s blood status is like knowing what Quidditch team you root for. He probably asked so he knew if your families were feuding or what your social status was. There is a lot more to knowing someone’s blood status than just persecution. There’s a lot more to the wizarding world than you know, Hermione.”

“What about calling him the Dark Lord then?!” Hermione said as she exasperatedly slammed the last of her books onto the table. “You don’t just call …”

“Yes, you do!” Ron hissed back. “You do if that’s what you’re raised to call him. I call him ‘You-Know-Who’ because that’s what my parents called him. If they called him the Dark Lord, I would too! I have to admit, it’s a sight easier to say than ‘You-Know-Who’ all the time! I think there’s something more going on with him though!”

“Are you two already fighting?” Neville asked, having heard the angry hisses coming from their corner of the room. Every year it seemed they got into some sort of argument over one thing or another, didn’t speak to one another for a while, then managed to get over it. This was a bit early for them, though. Typically they made it at least a few months in before they blew up at one another.

“We aren’t fighting,” Hermione said venomously. “We’re having a discussion.”

“What do you think of him?” Ron asked, turning his attention to Neville.

“Think of who?” Neville asked, pulling a chair over to his two friends, inadvertently taking the spot which was usually filled by Harry.

“Elias Snape,” Hermione said with a huff. “I’m still not convinced that he isn’t dark or bigoted.”

Neville frowned for a minute as he carefully chose his words. While he didn’t want to anger Hermione, Elias was different. True, he was still terrified of the boy’s father, but ever since he realized what potions the boy was taking, he couldn’t help but look at him through a different lens. And how could he not? He had seen those same potions be given to his parents every time he was forced to visit them.

He was certain the dosages they were given were different, but knowing there was someone out there on the same potions and actually living filled him with an emotion he dared not speak into existence. For too long he had held out hope that one day his parents would wake up and his life would suddenly be normal. That he wouldn’t have to live with his grandmother. That his great-uncle wouldn’t threaten him with bodily harm in order to force him to use accidental magic. Every time there was a change of any kind in their condition, he felt the hope rise in his chest once more only for it to be dashed.

It was almost easier to see them as dead than to continue having hope that they would get better.

Then there was Elias. Walking, talking, and laughing like anyone else despite his obvious struggles. While there were obvious difficulties in everything he did, Neville couldn’t help but watch in awe as he navigated the world. He was nearly constantly seen studying in the library, frequently with Professor Lupin at his side, though occasionally Professor Snape would join him. When not studying, he and Professor Lupin could be seen taking short walks around the grounds.

It was almost painful to watch. Even if his parents had half the functionality Elias had… But they didn’t and he would have to deal with that.

The question was how had it happened? How had Elias ended up in a similar position to his parents? He knew what had happened to his own mum and dad; they had been war heroes who were tortured to insanity at the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange. They had put themselves in harm’s way to save others during the fight against You-Know-Who and paid the ultimate price.

Elias was only sixteen, however, so there was no way he fought in the last war. There was no way he was tortured by the likes of Lestrange. Perhaps if they tortured him as a baby, but why would someone do that? The sheer thought of someone torturing a baby with the Cruciatus made his stomach roil.

“I … I don’t really know. He just seems… kind of shy,” Neville stuttered. “I wish we knew more about him, like where he’s from and what happened to him.”

“What do you mean ‘what happened to him?’” Ron asked, frowning.

Neville took a deep breath and sighed, steeling himself for trying to explain to Ron what he meant. There was no way Ron could know what it felt like to have parents who couldn’t … anything… on their own and trying to explain anything he saw with Snape’s son would inevitably involve speaking about his parents.

“Obviously Snape cares for his son, right?” Neville started calmly. “But how did his son end up the way that he is? And why did he just now show up? He’s on certain potions that are really specific for Cruciatus damage, as well as a few that I don’t really recognize but he’s our same age. So what happened to him?”

“Are you saying he was tortured?” Hermione asked rather skeptically.

“Had to have been,” Neville nodded. “But that leads to my next question: where is he from?”

“Could he have been at St. Mungo’s?” Ron asked, rolling his essay up and sliding it into his bag. There was no way he would be finishing it tonight, more interesting things were afoot.

“If it is Cruciatus damage, which I’m pretty sure it is,” Neville started, then paused for a moment with a pensive look on his face. “If it is, he would have ended up on the same ward as… he would have ended up on the Janus Thickey Ward and … I would have seen him.”

“So not St. Mungo’s then,” Ron said, rubbing his forehead. “If he was tortured with the Cruciatus, how did he end up in a muggle hospital?”

“Wait, wait,” Hermione said, holding up a hand with a frown on her face. “What’s the Janus Thickey Ward?”

“Long term spell damage,” Neville said quickly. “Anyone who can’t be cured from whatever spell they did or got hit with goes there.”

“That’s where your parents are, aren’t they?” Ron asked, eyes softening slightly as Neville’s shoulders collapsed.

Neville nodded sadly and bit his lip momentarily before saying, “people are typically there for several months to years before getting to go home. Lockhart is there too. He’s been there since second year.”

Ron couldn’t help but snort at this before trying to hide his laughter with a cough. If the man hadn’t grabbed his wand, it could very well have been him and Harry in that ward instead and Ginny most certainly would have been dead. Harry always did have a bit of a selfless streak and would put himself in danger if it meant saving someone else. He truly was a Gryffindor through and through.

“There’s something about him that has been bothering me though,” Ron said, frowning slightly as he concentrated on remembering the odd behavior the older boy had shown. “And I don’t know how to say this without sounding utterly nutters myself.”

Hermione and Neville both looked at him curiously as he gathered his thoughts. Ron was known for his strategy abilities and for noticing things that others missed. If he thought he noticed something odd, they had learned over the years to listen so long as he was not acting in the heat of the moment.

“I think he’s Harry.”

“Oh bollocks!” Neville said loudly, drawing some attention from the other members of the house who were lounging around in the common room.

“Where did you get that idea?” Hermione said at the same time, equally unimpressed with his statement. “It doesn’t make any sense!”

“Hear me out, ok?” Ron whispered, holding his hands up to placate them before they continued telling him off. “What do we actually know about Elias? Not what we think we know, but what we actually know. He was in that muggle children’s hospital over the summer. He has seizures, possibly caused by the Cruciatus but we don’t know that for certain. We just know he’s lived with Snape for at least this summer. Anything else?”

“He has a stutter,” Hermione added. “And a limp.”

“He’s on a lot of potions,” Neville added. “Potions for nerve damage.”

“All of these could be related to the Cruciatus,” Ron added. “But, here’s the thing, his memory is shot.”

“That could also be related to the Cruciatus,” Neville added. “Most of what we’ve listed could be related to that curse.”

“Yeah, but here’s the thing,” Ron said, leaning in conspiratorially. “I’ve never met him. Like really met him. But he knew my name despite being really, really confused.”

“Wait, when was this?” Hermione asked, frowning. She didn’t believe the way this was going but Ron was on a tangent and getting him off of it was going to be difficult.

“Right before McGonagall got you and we got detention for spreading rumors. Remember how confused he was?” Ron asked insistently.

Hermione squinted at him and raised an eyebrow. “He was able to follow a conversation rather well.”

“With some prompting! Look, while Snape was getting McGonagall to get you, I was alone in the room with him and it was weird, really weird,” Ron whispered, leaning his elbows on his knees and pounding a fist into his hand as emphasis. The more they spoke about it, the more sure he was that there was something rather suspicious going on, whether he was Harry or not, there was something more to Elias than just him being Snape’s son.

“How so?” Neville said, leaning in as well, thoroughly invested in Ron’s conspiracy theory.

“He hadn’t bottled his potion because Snape was going to do it for him because his hands were too shaky or something, but almost as soon as Snape left the room he forgot if he had or hadn’t. I thought he was going to sabotage the potions that had been turned in or something, but he just kept reading the same ones over and over again. It was like he had forgot if he had read them or something,” Ron said, becoming more and more animated as he got further into the story. “He got really confused when I confronted him about it and about him not liking purebloods and then said ‘why would you think I hate muggles, Ron? I was literally raised with them. And I’m not a pureblood. You know that!’”

The other two Gryffindors sat back in their chairs as they digested Ron’s tale. If Ron was right, which seemed highly implausible, then why was he with Snape of all people? Snape hated him more than any other student and made sure that was a known fact. Why would he literally allow his most hated student to live with him? What was he getting out of this? And why was he acting so fatherly towards him if that were the case?

“Snape never called you by your first name in front of Elias, right?” Hermione demanded, wanting to verify that wasn’t where he had heard the name.

“I don’t think Snape even knows my first name,” Ron scoffed. “He sees the red hair and just says ‘Weasley.’”

“He didn’t know my name in the hospital, though,” Hermione said suspiciously.

“Yeah, but was he confused at the time?”

“No,” Hermione said, biting her lip as it started to sink in that it was entirely possible that Harry and Elias were one in the same. “He did seem really surprised to see me, but I thought it was just because I snuck up on him!”

“There’s more though that I thought of while in detention,” Ron whispered excitedly. “Where is Harry’s scar? On the right side of his head. Elias has a scar there too, but it’s fresh. He just got it this summer and it’s right over where Harry’s scar would be. Here’s the kicker though: Hermione, do you remember what he said he got that cut from?”

Hermione frowned for a second as Neville leaned in closer, his excitement brewing. This would be the first time he had been in on the Golden Trio (now Duo)’s antics and he had to admit the excitement was contagious. His first year, he had attempted to stop them but now he was in the thick of things and was determined not to back down. He only wished it wasn’t because of his knowledge of the long term effects of the Cruciatus curse. But if they found Harry by doing these investigations, then so be it.

“He said he was working for a muggle gardening company and had a seizure,” Hermione finally answered.

“The only sign reported by the Order of where Harry went was a few drops of blood on a wheelbarrow,” Ron said with a smirk. “And if you look at that picture Colin got of him at the beginning of the year, you can see fragments of another scar under the newer one.”

The trio sat in silence for a moment, each pondering if that was enough to tie the two boys together. The timelines lined up for Harry’s disappearance and Elias’s appearance, but the rationale didn’t. Even Dumbledore seemed to be on the lookout for Harry, so why wasn’t he in the loop on where he had gone? Voldemort was back, whether their fraud of a DADA teacher wanted to believe it or not, so why disappear?

“So how are we going to figure out if he is or not?”
To be continued...
End Notes:
Keeping in mind I am nearly 70 pages ahead of what is being posted, I thought it necessary to announce that the plot line for the end of this story is planned out. Are we near the end? Absolutely not, but the plot line is planned. Anywho, hope you enjoy!
Chapter 28 by DesertPlanet
Remus sat in the teacher’s lounge as he perused the small amount of findings Elias had managed to uncover on his own. It was strange how electricity, from the small potato study he had done, seemed to increase the wizard’s magical output. It wasn’t a good or well put together study, but it was a good jumping off point for potential future studies. Actual studies with more participants and methods of data collection and analysis.

The more Elias found, the more passionate he became of the project. And his passion was infectious.

Now that Remus had had a chance to evaluate where Elias’s education level was, and where he struggled, it was now possible to begin not only preparing him for OWLS this year, but also working his core subjects into his theory project. It was interesting to watch him think about his project through the lenses of the various core subjects of wizarding education. He struggled with the application of Arithmancy, but admitted the first day that he and Remus began working together that he had not begun studying Arithmancy until this summer and was unsure if he wanted to even attempt an OWL for the subject.

For Transfiguration, he had begun to delve more deeply into the theory side of the subject to see if there was any way of tracking the mass of the object being transfigured as there was apparently a muggle law of “Conservation of Mass” which apparently also applied to energy in a sense. They spent several hours one afternoon interviewing Professor McGonagall on the topic after having spent hours in the library trying to find any answers to the question of ‘where does mass go to and where does it come from’ in regards to transfiguration. As Elias interviewed her, it became obvious quite quickly that many of the questions Elias had were supposedly answerable through alchemical and arithmancy equations, however few students had ever questioned it to this extent so she did not know the answers off the top of her head.

Charms was another class with unexpected results as the class of magic itself was dedicated to giving new properties to objects. The interview with Professor Flitwick went far smoother than the interview with Professor McGonagall, but mostly because he was able to provide some of the equations his NEWT students were working on. He and Elias had gotten on quite well, though Remus had needed to make a new rule for any interviews with professors should they take place on the weekend: no interview should take longer than four hours at any given time. Elias and Filius had continued their discussion on manipulation of mass to allow objects to fly for nearly six hours and could have continued for double that had Severus not come up in an absolute rage and demanded that Elias come down for dinner that instant and take his potions which he was now nearly an hour late for.

They were beginning to wrap things up anyways as Elias was beginning to struggle with his concentration anyways, but no one dared interrupt Severus during his tirade.

History was actually the most difficult topic to work the project into as electricity just hadn’t been around for that long. Remus had never been a fan of the topic either, and asking Professor Binns for information had only led to a lengthy and quite boring lecture on the Lightning Rebellion of 968 and how it affected Goblin-Wizard relations of the time. Both Elias and Remus agreed they would not have much luck integrating the topics and called it a loss. Unless the books coming from Durmstrang or Ilvermorney happened to contain any historical references, they would stick to studying history the way the other students were.

Which was terrible for Elias as rote memory was not his strong suit.

Potions was by far the biggest surprise when it came to integrating the project. Oddly enough, there were many potions which were used to increase a caster’s energy or mimic the sensation of being struck by lightning. It wasn’t even a difficult task finding out which ingredients were the cause of these sensations and effects as Severus was quite easily able to produce a comprehensive list of ingredients and their interactions with one another. He couldn’t quite answer the question of ‘why’ these ingredients caused these reactions, however, and was quite frustrated that his answers weren’t as complete as he had thought. He had stalked off to his personal library muttering only minutes after the interview was completed.

The only core Professor they had yet to speak with was the one he dreaded speaking to at all: Deloras Umbridge. From what he had heard from the students who would stop him in the hall, she was by far the worst professor of the class in recent history. Some of the students even fell to their knees in front of him begging him to return to his former position.

Initially he had played this off as they didn’t like her teaching methods. Then he began to be approached by houses other than Gryffindor all saying the same thing. ‘She’s a right terror,’ ‘she doesn’t teach, only pushes ministry propaganda,’ ‘she won’t listen to questions.’ It wasn’t until several of the Slytherins began asking why he wasn’t teaching the class that he began to get concerned. It wasn’t even two years ago that the entire house had been wary of entering his classroom (a direct result of warnings from Severus, he realized) and now they were begging him to come back.

That did not bode well.

“Hem, hem,” a high pitched voice coughed next to him causing him to jump ever so slightly.

‘Speak of the devil,’ Remus thought as he resisted the urge to growl.

“I do believe this is the teachers lounge, is it not?” Umbridge said in a sickeningly sweet tone.

“It is,” Remus responded, beginning to pack up his things. He knew where she was going with this and didn’t want to be around her anyways.

“And you are no longer a teacher here, are you not?” Umbridge continued as she sat in one of the plush armchairs opposite Remus.

Remus gritted his teeth so hard he could have sworn he heard a molar crack. “Not of the general student populous.”

“Then why would you be in the teacher’s lounge if you aren’t an educator employed by this school?” Umbridge asked in her sickeningly sweet voice.

Remus resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Of all the rules she could choose to enforce, this one was by far and away one of the most minor. While not an educator employed by Hogwarts, he was still here in the capacity of a teacher. “I apologize, madam. I didn’t realize my presence here would be considered problematic as no one else has ever stated that I was not allowed to be in here.”

“You have not been employed here for nearly two years, Mr. Lupin,” Umbridge continued before clapping her hands together. “Now, surely there is somewhere better for you to do your… work. How about you run along and find it, hm?”

“I apologize, everyone, for taking up so much of the lounge in my efforts to review my one student’s work,” Remus said to the empty lounge rather sarcastically as he finished packing away the few books and reference materials he had brought along before heading towards the door.

“Mr. Lupin,” Umbridge said sweetly yet dangerously. “You may not be employed by Hogwarts, and your student may not be a student here, but you would do well to remember who you are speaking with. One claw out of line, Mr. Lupin, one claw out of line.”

Remus’s nostrils flared as he quickly strode down the hallway back to the library in hopes of getting a private room to review in. He would not lose this job because of some ministry wench’s hatred of something he could hardly control. He would keep his head around her, but if she was doing something to the students, he wasn’t sure he could keep his wolf as well in check.

Dumbledore sighed as he sat behind his desk and popped a lemon drop into his mouth. This year was not going to plan at all. He had known Fudge would try to do something to usurp his power within the wizarding world, but had not expected a ministry plant to be forced into his school.

And to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts at that.

True, it was the only opening that he had, but Delores Umbridge was in no way, shape, or form qualified for the job. Neither had Gilderoy Lockhart been, but no one had known about how much of a fraud he was until he had already begun his tenure at the school. True, there had been some … incidences over the past few years, but nothing too horrendous. Besides, it was good practice for Mr. Potter to learn practical duelling methods in the field.

That’s not to say Dumbledore hadn’t been concerned for his well-being. Oh no, quite the opposite in fact. Harry needed to stay alive in order to fulfill his destiny. The fact he had routinely ended up in harm’s way was actually quite beneficial for the boy, though rather nerve-wracking as he had needed to test the boy’s strength somehow and things just continued to happen to the boy’s benefit.

How was he supposed to know that the Sorting Hat, of all things, would provide him with a sword to vanquish the basilisk? Or that his friends would be so loyal as to run headlong into adventure with him? It was honestly more difficult keeping Potter’s friends alive than it was keeping him in one piece. They didn’t have a prophecy helping to hold them to the mortal realm, he did.

But now Mr. Potter was missing, Delores Umbridge was there breathing down his neck and subverting all his decisions on how to run the school, and he had been stripped of several of his titles by Minister Fudge as the paranoid man fell further into his delusions that Dumbledore was trying to take over the ministry.

While that would make far more sense, Dumbledore couldn’t help but chuckle at the idea. No, his plan was far more complex.

What he really needed to win this war was loyalty. Unwavering, unending loyalty. The vast majority of the students nearly worshipped the ground he walked on. If he said jump, the only question they would have was ‘how high.’ The only thing they lacked was experience and training, but that was easy enough to deal with.

Or would have been had he had his choice of professor for the Defence class.

Now he was stuck with Umbridge and her ‘theory first, practicality later’ style of teaching. If he could even call that teaching. The students were learning nothing but his hands were tied on the matter. He was worried for their safety in the upcoming war if they didn’t have practical lessons. There was no way they could win in a fight if they didn’t have the practical knowledge to fall back on. And with his forces from the previous war effectively decimated, he needed a new group to fight for the light, to fight in his stead.

Harry Potter was supposed to be the banner of the light. A child born of prophecy with strength born of hardship. It was perfect, everything was going wonderfully. Then the boy disappeared, Fudge forced his hand on the position opening for the DADA professor, and the Death Eaters were growing ever stronger.

Looking over his collection of monitoring devices which were housed on the large shelves which surrounded his office, he was dismayed to find a new one had begun to change colors.

“No!” he whispered to himself. “It cannot be!”

He had spent nearly a decade ensuring Harry Potter remained at his relative’s home. They were harsh, uncaring muggles with no desire to look after a wizarding child, but they raised him perfectly. A little harsh punishment sent a long way in making sure he would follow orders from a trusted adult unquestioningly as well as make him unsure of himself and more easy to form into the humble ‘Boy-Who-Lived.’

The only issue was the muggles didn’t see it this way any more. Gone were the days of corporal punishment. Instead, they now pushed other forms of punishment which were not what the boy needed in order to be able to be molded into the hero the wizarding world needed. The muggles didn’t understand that what they considered ‘neglect’ was easily survivable by a wizarding child. A few days without food here, a bit of bullying there; none of it was unheard of to encourage a child to come into their magic early. Even the Longbottom boy’s great-uncle famously threw his nephew out of a window in order to provoke accidental magic. It was normal.

True, the Dursley’s went a bit far occasionally, but suppressing the investigations into the boy’s living arrangements was a matter of importance to the entire wizarding world. And now those files had been opened by someone within the magical community. He needed to find who it was and find out how they accessed those files.

As if he didn’t have enough stress in his life.
To be continued...
End Notes:
I know, no Elias/Harry/Severus in this chapter. But I promise the next few chapters are very heavily Elias/Severus centric.
Chapter 29 by DesertPlanet
Elias sat mournfully by the Quidditch pitch watching the players speed by as they practiced, robes flapping in the wind. Severus had agreed to allow him to go outside so long as Draco was nearby, but he had practice so they couldn’t just relax by the lake and watch the squid.

Draco had asked if he liked Quidditch, to which he immediately responded with an enthusiastic ‘yes.’ He knew the Quidditch season would be starting soon with every team practicing several times a week in an effort to train their new players up to an acceptable standard in hopes of winning the cup. What he hadn’t expected was the pangs of jealousy which he felt as soon as the Slytherin team took to the sky, leaving him feeling as though a hole had just been punched through his chest and his heart aching with jealousy. The smells of the pitch, the fluttering of the robes, even the whistle of the bludgers as they zipped past filled him with sorrow which was unanticipated in its ferocity.

Quidditch had helped him in so many ways when he had first joined the wizarding world. Here was a sport he was good at, one which Dudley couldn’t prevent him from playing, and one which was impossible for the Dursleys to exclude him from. He was the youngest seeker in a century. He had caught the snitch in nearly every game he had played. It was something he and his father shared in common. It allowed him to feel a part of something.

And now he was grounded.

He knew it wasn’t safe for him to fly, but that didn’t stop him from missing it. His balance was atrocious on a good day, turning too quickly would make him dizzy, and he knew his legs wouldn’t provide him with a secure seat on the broom and would likely cause him to turn sporadically. Just watching the players fly proved it wasn’t a good idea for him to even ask to try as his muscles tried instinctively to follow the flight movements of one of the players only to immediately cramp and spasm. And there was still the fear of having a seizure while flying.

No, his Quidditch days were over.

Turning his eyes from the team who had finished their flying drills and were now practicing passes to one another, he relaxed back in the stands and watched the sky above the players. White fluffy clouds drifted overhead, occasionally blocking the sun but giving the sky a cerene appearance. What he wouldn’t give to be up there once more, flying between them and enjoying the cool spray of their moisture on his face.

A glint of gold in the corner of his eye caught his attention as the released snitch flitted above the stands on the opposite side of the field. A quick glance at Draco and he realized the other boy hadn’t found the ball yet, however he was scanning the field intently in hopes of catching it soon. Turning his attention back to the tiny, fluttering ball, Elias folded his arms defiantly across his chest. He may not be able to play, but he could at least keep the ball in his sights for as long as possible and see how many times he could have caught it.

The snitch flew rather lazily around the stands for a few moments before suddenly zipping away as Draco grew too close to where it was. Not a moment later, Elias saw the glint of gold appear once more behind the opposing team’s goal posts despite that side of the field not being in use. It stayed frustratingly still for an absurd amount of time, weaving around the goal posts mockingly before zipping across the field once more without Draco having ever seen it.

Suddenly he saw Draco dive towards the ground having finally caught a glimpse of the elusive snitch. Elias felt his heart speed up as he watched the chase, eyes wide with anticipation as Draco closed in on the snitch and finally caught it only seconds before running headlong into the stands. Adrenaline coursed through his veins as he applauded his friend, ignoring for the moment how much the feeling irritated his hands though he did manage to ignore the urge to jump up and run out on the pitch himself.

This was only practice after all.

Practice ran for another half hour, during which Elias busied himself with both tracking the snitch and trying to stretch and work muscles he hadn’t thought to move during his long convalescence. While he hadn’t previously been the most flexible of people, he quickly discovered that whatever flexibility he had was essentially gone. The muscles of his inner legs particularly protested his attempts to stretch them beyond the positions required for simple movements such as walking and sitting. His low back and sides also were not fond of his ministrations, though they put up a far more violent protest.

“What’re you doing, Elias?” Draco said with a laugh as he finally came down to land and put away the snitch.

“I h-haven’t t-t-tried st-treching in aw-while,” Elias said with a grimace as he stared skyward from his position in the pitch’s grass.

“Are you ok?” Draco asked, noticing the look of pain on his friend’s face.

Elias nodded curtly, gingerly rubbing his stomach as though debating if he needed to roll over and vomit. “I’ll b-be f-f-fine in a m-minute. Sp-p-pasms hurt.”

“Ah,” Draco said, leaning on his broom as he waited for the spasm to abate. “What doesn’t cause you to spasm?”

“Hon-nestly? N-no...thing,” Elias grumbled, breath catching in his throat as another spasm raced along his spine. He shouldn’t have done this without having taken something first; this was miserable. “I g-get too hot and sp-pasm. I get-t too c-c-cold and sp-p-pasm. I w-walk ... up-p-p stairs and-d sp-pasm. I b-breathe and sp-p-pasm.”

“Even when you sleep?” Draco asked curiously. He had been curious about his friend’s life since the summer, but had never had the courage to ask while around the professor.

Elias let out a barking laugh before slowly turning over onto his side facing Draco. “Esp-p-pecially when I s-sleep-p. You’ve s-seen how m-m-many p-p-p-potions I t-take at n-night, m-most of those are t-t-to stop-p them so I c-can sleep-p. Or t-try to. D-don’t t-t-tell D-da, b-b-but I w-wake up a c-couple times a n-night.”

“I heard you get up over the summer,” Draco nodded. “I just thought you had to go to use the loo.”

“S-sometimes I d-did,” Elias muttered, blushing. He did not want to talk about going to the toilet with Draco in the middle of the pitch.

“Are you ready to get up?” Draco asked after a minute, making sure Elias was less tense and didn’t seem in pain.

Elias nodded before rolling back onto his back. “C-can you help me up-p?”

“I guess,” Draco snorted before putting his broom down and grabbing Elias’s hands to help him stand. It took him a few tries, but finally Elias was upright though he had wrapped his arm around Draco’s shoulders and clung to him for dear life as though he would fall over.

“I have a question for you,” Draco said, once the stars had stopped dancing in front of Elias’s eyes and he wasn’t quite on the verge of falling over once more. “Have you ever flown on a broom?”

Elias, who had been focused on putting his discarded outer robe back on, looked over at Draco in surprise before pausing and thinking for a moment. He and Severus had never discussed the things he “had” or “hadn’t” done in the past, only the things he could and couldn’t do in the present with his current condition. He knew he wasn’t supposed to fly right now, but would he have ever been allowed to in the past? Would he have ever been able to fly alone?

“A f-few t-t-times,” Elias said cautiously, trying to control his stutter enough that Draco wouldn’t immediately pick up on the fact he was trying to make up information quickly. “A l-l-long t-t-time ago. A-and n-not on m-m-my own.”

“Do you want to try again?” Draco asked with a smirk, holding out his broom. He immediately saw the look of desire fill Elias’s eyes before his shoulders sank in resignation.

“I’m n-not supposed to f-f-fly for s-six m-months,” Elias said solemnly. “It isn’t s-s-safe.”

“Come on, Elias!” Draco said, holding out the broom. “I’ll sit behind you. I saw how you kept watching us fly, I know you want to try it out. It’ll be fine. Your father isn’t here so you can’t get in trouble.”

Elias bit his lip for a moment as he looked at the castle. He would be in so much trouble if he got caught. And what if he had a seizure in the air? Would Draco be strong enough to get him down on his own? Would they crash into the stands? Would they crash into the ground? Would he accidentally cause the broom to turn if his legs spasmed during flight? Would Draco be able to compensate for his involuntary movements?

“We c-c-c-can’t go high. Or f-f-fast,” Elias said, looking longingly at the broom. His desire to feel normal again was overwhelming but he knew he had to at least try to be safe.

“Alright!” Draco said excitedly. “You mount first and I’ll get on behind you.”

Elias nodded and shakily took the broom handle from Draco. It was just a broom, why was he so nervous all of a sudden? He felt almost as intimidated as he had for his first ever flying lesson. The idea of being in the sky again was a welcome one, but he was also terrified of losing control and plowing into the building much like Neville had on their first lesson.

“Alright,” Draco said, mounting the broom behind his friend and wrapping his arms around the taller boy’s waist to grab the broom handle as well while trying to ignore how awkward the situation felt. “On the count of three, we both kick off. Ready?”

Elias nodded, tightening his grip around the broom handle. Was he ready? Did he really want to do this?


Was this really a good idea? This was a Quidditch broom after all, and not designed to hold two people at once. There wasn’t even enough places for all of their feet to go. He knew he’d seen tandem brooms before in Diagon Alley.


“D-draco? Wh-where d-d-d-do I p-put…”


Draco pushed off the ground sending alone, rocketing the two of them off the ground a few meters before he was able to regain control of the broom and brought it to a standstill, hovering in midair. He could feel Elias quivering between him, though he wasn’t able to see his face so he couldn’t tell if it was out of fear or simply his normal movements.

“You alright there?” he asked as they hovered over the pitch. “You aren’t scared of heights are you?”

“F-f-feet?!” squeaked Elias as he clung to the broom handle, feeling very unseated as his legs swung freely under them. Had he been on his own broom, he would have immediately swung his feet back and placed them back on the metal stirrups but those were currently occupied.

“Just relax, Elias,” Draco said, tightening his grip around the broom. “It’s ok.”

“Are you sure that’s safe?” Pansy Parkinson’s voice sounded from the stands. She and several other Slytherins had come to watch the practices, less for the fun of watching the Slytherin practice and more for watching the Gryffindors try to train two more Weasley’s to be on their team. Apparently Ron had made it onto the team as Keeper and Ginny was slated to play as Seeker: a fact that made Elias’s heart ache with more emotions than he wanted to admit to.

Elias took a few deep breaths before smiling as he looked around. He was back on a broom! He was flying again! True, he had to have someone behind him, but he was flying again! He honestly hadn’t thought about how much he missed it until now! It was as though his soul were complete!

“Are you ready to fly?” Draco asked as he noted Elias seemed to relax in his arms. “We’ll go slow.”

Elias nodded and leaned forward slightly, stomach jolting slightly as the broom began to move with his weight shift before Draco had even leaned forward. As soon as they were moving, however, that fear started to abate and soon he found himself relaxing and leaning forward more, urging the broom to move faster and higher.

“Elias, don’t lean forward so much,” Draco said, trying to hide his concern at how difficult the broom was to control with two people on it. If something were to happen to Elias, Professor Snape would have his hide. And, while his father wouldn’t ask why he was needing a new broom again, he knew his mother would be livid if broke it.

“C-c-come on, D-draco!” Elias said with a laugh. “Faster!”

“No,” Draco said, trying to pull the broom back and prevent the taller boy from egging the broom on. “Elias, listen to me!

“P-p-p-please!” Elias begged, ignoring how fatigued his legs were becoming from trying to hold his body on the broom. “Just one l-l-lap?”

Draco shook his head despite knowing Elias couldn’t see him. “No, we should land, your legs are starting to shake too much.”

“C-come on!” Elias whined, urging the broom forward. Even with Draco sitting behind him, the broom reminded him a lot of the way his old Nimbus 2000 handled. It was nice to fly the same class of broom again, no matter how much he loved his Firebolt.

“Elias, no!” Draco snapped, trying to lower the broom towards the ground. The broom had begun bucking slightly as it tried to respond to the variety of signals it was getting. “We need to land now!”

“You are exactly right,” a scarily silky voice said suddenly, right by his ear. “Elias, you and Draco will land immediately.”

Both Draco and Elias froze as they looked to their right. There standing in the stands, not three meters from where they had been flying, was Professor Snape. Neither boy could think of him as anything else as the look on his face they had only ever seen in potions class when Neville blew up yet another cauldron out of sheer incompetence. Livid didn’t even begin to describe the look on the man’s face. His face, which was normally pale, was completely lacking in color, his nostrils were flared, and the muscles on his jaw stood out starkly as he clenched his teeth.

“D-da…” Elias said, attempting to begin to explain.

“NOW!” Severus roared, pointing at the field with his wand.

“Yes sir,” Draco said, taking control of the broom and bringing it back down to the pitch as quickly as he could while trying to compensate for the jolts Elias’s twitches were causing the broom to do.

They had no sooner touched down on the pitch when Severus came out of the stairway to the stands and immediately grabbed both his son by the arm and the broom before striding quickly back into the school, practically dragging Elias along as he struggled to keep his feet under him. Draco trotted behind them, face pale but impassive barely noticing when the Gryffindor Quidditch Team entered the stadium for their scheduled practice. He knew he was going to be getting in trouble but there was no reason to make any more of a scene than what Professor Snape and Elias were already making.

They quickly made their way down to the dungeons, students stepping to the side as they passed, concern and pity on their faces for the potions master’s son. They had nearly all been on the receiving end of Professor Snape’s wrath before, but he looked positively murderous. And the fact Draco was running behind them only boosted their curiosity, urging some of the more brave students to sneak behind them until they entered Snape’s office and the door was slammed behind them.

The students were still standing outside of the door, wide-eyed, when Draco strode out of the office, head hanging and muttering to himself something about ‘Quidditch practice,’ and ‘may as well hand Gryffindors the cup now.’ Shortly after, students in the Great Hall noticed the number of points for Slytherin house had suddenly dropped by seventy-five, putting them in third place, just above Gryffindor.

The students in the Great Hall couldn’t help but gape at the point hourglasses in shock. Never before had Slytherin managed to lose that many points in one sitting and there was only one professor who would take that many points off in one sitting. Someone in Slytherin had royally angered Professor Snape.

“In,” Severus growled as he pushed Elias into a chair, threw the broom into the corner, slammed the office door behind Draco, and quickly set a silencing charm on the room to prevent eavesdroppers.

“It’s not his fault!” Draco said, sitting quickly in the other chair next to Elias. “I asked him if he wanted to fly. It was my idea.”

Severus grit his teeth and took a deep breath before sitting himself behind his desk so he could look at the two boys sitting in front of him. Neither seemed worse for wear but that was inconsequential: Elias knew he wasn’t supposed to fly. Had it not been for the safety monitoring charms Severus had placed on him, he never would have known Elias was in danger and hovering nearly forty feet above the ground.

That alone was dangerous, but the fact that the broom they chose to use was one which was designed for Quidditch made the entire situation that much more dangerous. Had they decided to use one of the school brooms, while it wouldn’t have been much better, it would have been at least a bit safer. The Nimbus line of brooms were designed to be highly responsive to their one, singular rider’s commands. Add to that the fact Quidditch was played mostly with the hands meant that the brooms designed for the sport, as opposed for general transport, were highly sensitive to weight shifts and leg position while being ridden.

Even with Draco having his feet on the stirrups, Elias was still the larger rider and notably lacked the ability to control his own balance and leg position while riding. Even if Severus had signed off on him flying, there was no way he ever would have given the ok for him to use any form of racing or Quidditch broom until he was better able to balance on solid ground. Elias had refused to talk about it, but Severus knew from the monitoring spells on their quarters that he was falling at least once every few days. He had never received any injuries from these falls outside of a few bruises, but the fact remained that these were still a consistent part of his life.

Flying was simply not a safe option.

“You are aware of the accident which befell Harcroft Mattsfield, are you not?” Severus said in a dangerously calm voice.

“Sir?” Draco said, looking up confused.

“Yes or no,” Severus said once more, his voice darkening. “Are you aware of this incident?”

“Yes sir,” Draco said, hanging his head. Mattsfield had been the seeker for the Holyhead Harpies for only two years when he and his ten year old son had been involved in an accident on his custom built, team issued seeker’s broom which killed both of them nearly fifteen years ago. Despite having only been a few months old at the time, Draco as well as every other child with Quidditch dreams had heard the story.

“Then why would you think that it is safe to ride a Quidditch broom with someone who CAN’T EVEN WALK IN A STRAIGHT LINE?!” Severus said, voice rising to a roar. “You both could have been KILLED! And for what?! A bit of fun riding a broom?!”

Draco’s face immediately flushed as his temper flared. He had just wanted to do something fun to do with Elias. He had seen the look of excitement on the other boy’s face as he caught the snitch during practice. He knew Elias enjoyed Quidditch; it seemed almost criminally unfair that he wasn’t allowed to fly. Yes, he had realized quite quickly how dangerous it was when his normally well-behaved broom began trying to shoot out in random directions whenever Elias twitched, but he had had it under control.

“I had it under control, sir,” Draco said, trying not to cower at the sight of his professor’s fuming countenance.

“Did you now?” Severus said sarcastically. “Because from what I saw, the two of you were arguing over what to do and the broom was operating completely under its own accord as it tried to sort between what each of you were doing.”

Draco hung his head slightly. Professor Snape was right, but that didn’t make admitting it any easier.

“Seventy-five points from Slytherin for refusal to follow basic safety regulations,” Severus growled. “You may continue to practice with the team, however you must use a school broom to do so. You will also write an essay on the dangers of multiple people riding a racing broom as well as serve detention with me once a week for the next month. Your broom will remain locked here in my office and you will only receive it back for matches.”

Draco’s temper flared once more as he looked at the professor sitting in front of him. How dare he take his broom! That was a gift from his father to the Quidditch team! Professor Snape wouldn’t dare go against his wishes, would he? Lucius Malfoy may not be on the Board any longer, but he certainly was still one of the largest benefactors of the school. He paid Professor Snape’s salary!

Before Draco could protest, however, he heard a small sniff next to him which pulled him out of his rage slightly. He could have hurt Elias because he was acting like a fool-hearty Gryffindor. He could have injured them both simply because he wasn’t as in control of the broom as he wanted to believe that he was.

“Yes, sir,” he finally murmured, anger evident in his voice though even he was unsure if he was more angry at himself or the situation.

“Get out of my sight,” Severus snapped, undoing the wards on the door momentarily so Draco could leave. “I will contact you with the time for the detention.”

“Yes, sir,” Draco said once more before fleeing, the thought of accidentally killing Elias weighing on his mind. Was this what it felt like to have a little brother? He could only imagine it was.

As soon as the door shut behind Draco, Severus immediately returned the wards to normal before rounding on his own son who seemed to be holding in tears but also seemed to be on the verge of exploding in anger. “Why would you do this Elias? Why must you continue to put yourself in dangerous situations every. single. year?! I thought perhaps that tendency of yours had gone when your mother’s potion failed, but apparently that trait was not as genetic as I assumed.”

Elias muttered something under his breath but was too quiet for Severus to hear. He didn’t want to look at the man in the eye; he had been so kind to him up to this point and here he was messing it all up. He hadn’t thought about it, he just did it. He had been a bit concerned but Draco had sworn it was safe and he couldn’t think of any reason not to have a bit of fun during an afternoon off.

That was what he really wanted: an afternoon off. An afternoon of being back to normal. Of not shaking constantly. Of not worrying about having another seizure. Of being able to walk and talk like a normal person. Of being able to be around friends and not having to worry about if he would forget something, or get a migraine, or have to stop and take a nap in the middle of the afternoon.

He thought being back at Hogwarts would be good, that he could hide and not have to worry about the questions or accusations related to last year, but what he was finding was it was exhausting being around other people his same age. He wanted to be able to walk the one hundred and forty two staircases, sleep through Binns’s class, and complain with his friends about how awful the new DADA professor was. He wanted to be able to sit by the lake and watch the squid or go to the owlery and spend time with Hedwig alone. He wanted to be able to go to Gryffindor tower, try the twins’ latest invention, and stay up late working on homework.

He wanted to play Quidditch again.

“What was that?” Severus asked, still fuming about his son’s lack of care for his own safety.

“I-i thought-t i-i-i-it w-w-would b-b-be okay,” Elias stuttered, frowning in frustration at the difficulty he had forming the words. “I w-w-would b-b-be fin-n-n-ne. L-like f-first y-y-y-year.”

“Your first year you never should have been allowed on the Quidditch team,” Severus said gruffly. “You broke the rules at that time and were not punished. This time, you were on a broom not designed or warded for safety. ”

“I-i-i’m a g-good flier!”

“Were! You were a good flier!” Severus yelled in frustration, resisting the urge to pull his hair. “Now it is not safe for you to do so! You can’t even sit still in a chair, let alone on a broomstick designed to respond to your seat! You could have been killed, do you not understand that?”

“N-n-no d-d-d-differe-e-ent than ev-v-very other y-y-year then!” Elias snapped. “A-at l-l-least th-this y-year I ch-ch-chose to d-d-do it!”

“Why the hell would you choose to put your life in danger for a bit of adrenaline on a broomstick?!” Severus snapped, motioning towards the broom in the corner of his room. “Do you honestly have a death wish?”

“N-no!” Elias yelled back, pushing himself so he was standing eye-to-eye with his father. “I w-w-want to l-l-live! I’m s-s-s-sick a-and t-t-tired of b-b-being s-sick and t-t-t-tired! I w-want to b-be n-n-normal! This i-i-isn’t n-n-normal!”

“Yes,” Severus snapped back leaning in closer to his son. “Yes, it is. This is your new normal. When the Falsum Paternis failed, this became your normal. As much as we have planned as though this is all a big ruse to protect you from that meddling coot, it was also to build a life for you to be able to live. There is. no. cure. And you acting like a fool could end up with you killed.”

Elias’s shoulder’s sunk at the proclamation as he stumbled backwards and sat back down in the chair. He felt as though he had been slapped. He wanted to be able to run out of the room and find somewhere to hide to think about his sorrows, but knew he wouldn’t get far before he fell yet again. Eyes filling with tears, he sniffed and brought a shaking hand to his face to wipe away the tears, only to find more tears taking their place.

The Dursley’s were right; he was a freak. And no one wants a freak.

“Elias… Harry… Look at me,” Severus said, spinning the other chair around so they were now sitting eye to eye. “If your mother knew that this is what would happen to you in giving you that bloody potion, she would never, ever have given it to you. Her dream was for her child to grow up loved and cared for, not locked in a cupboard and lied to. If I had known you were my child, I would have removed you from that house and given you the antidote immediately. Even still, I vowed to protect you when you first came to Hogwarts, did you know that? I vowed to protect you in memory of your mother. To keep you safe and out of harm’s way and away from the path of the prophecy. Despite my efforts, I have failed you year after year. I will not fail you again.”

Elias looked up in confusion at his father’s declaration. There was a prophecy about him? What prophecy? How was he involved in a prophecy? “W-what p-p-prophecy?”

Severus was taken aback. Of all of the things he said, Elias had hung onto that? He didn’t know of the prophecy? How could that be? Had Dumbledore truly kept him in the dark about what was considered to be his destiny? About the reason his parents had been murdered? About his scar?

“What p-p-p-p-prophecy?!” Elias demanded louder.

“You don’t know about the prophecy?” Severus finally said, disbelief emanating from every fiber of his being. “He never told you about the prophecy?”

“W-who?” Elias asked, wiping the remaining tears from his face as his father got up and began pacing the room anxiously before adding several more wards to the office door and ensuring there were no living beings other than the two of them present in the room. “Who d-d-didn’t t-t-tell m-me?”

Severus continued pacing, brows furrowed in thought for another few minutes, muttering occasionally under his breath as he gathered his thoughts and prepared to put them to words. How could Dumbledore have not told him anything? Had it not been for the major coverup operations following the Potter murder, that damned prophecy would be common knowledge by now. Especially since those within the order were all under investigation as to who could be the family of the prophesied child.

“Only a few months before your birth, a prophecy was made about you and the Dark Lord and your future interactions,” Severus started, choosing his words carefully. “There were actually two potential children who ended up fitting the criteria for the prophecy, however the Dark Lord decided that you fit these criteria better than the other child. This prophecy was the reason your parents were attacked. It was the reason you ended up with your scar. It is the reason the Dark Lord is still so driven to find you now.”

Elias sat in shock as he watched his father continue to pace the room. He didn’t know what to think. He had known that his parents were involved in the war, but that was really it. Other than the few stories he had gotten from Sirius and Remus, the most stories that he had of his parents consisted of how much he reminded people of his ‘father’ and how he had his mother’s eyes. He didn’t really know much about them or their involvement in the war and had honestly assumed they had been killed as random casualties in the war.

“The prophecy was heard by the headmaster during an interview with a potential professor. I only assumed that you knew about it and that was the reason you were constantly getting yourself into dangerous situations.”

“W-what d-d-does it s-s-say?” Elias whispered, feeling his heart sink into his stomach.

Severus quit pacing and looked sadly at his son’s shocked face. “I only know a part of it,” he admitted before finally returning to his seat. “I can only assume the rest of it is as foreboding as the first portion, however.”

“W-what does i-i-it s-say?” Elias asked once more, his breath quickening.

“‘The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches… born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies…’,” Severus said quietly. “That is all of it I know. That much has already come to pass, however I can only imagine that the portion I do not know contains much more pressing information which is currently applicable.”

“D-does he kn-now the whol-le thing?” Elias asked, wide eyed.

“No, he does not,” Severus admitted. “And the only one who can access the prophecy as it is is you. Again, this is why I assumed the headmaster had told you.”

“D-d-does it r-really m-m-matter? W-will it a-actually c-c-com-me t-true?”

“If it is a true prophecy, which it certainly seems as though it is, it will occur,” Severus said before glaring once more at his son, though the ferocity of earlier was missing. “However, prophecy or not, I will not allow you to partake in activities which are detrimental to your health and well being. That means no sneaking around the castle, which I’m honestly surprised you haven’t done-”

“‘M n-not s-stup-p-p-pid,” Elias muttered as Severus continued.

“- no skipping meals, and no flying without direct adult supervision and only after you have been seizure free for six months.”

“‘M g-g-ground-ded, aren’t I.”

“Yes, Mr. Snape,” Severus said with a malicious grin. “You are grounded. And you will be serving detention with Mr. Malfoy as well.”
To be continued...
Chapter 30 by DesertPlanet
Author's Notes:
Tomorrow is my birthday! Yay, I'm old.... But, you all benefit from my increase in age! Two chapters for you!

Also, as a present for you, feel free to ask ANY question you may have. I will not answer with spoilers, but I will answer any question you may have which you would like more information on (to the best of my ability). So ask away!
Elias sat at the Slytherin table slowly munching on a piece of dry toast and sipping a small glass of juice while nursing a headache. The weather was changing bringing the gloomy fall weather Scotland was known for and with it changes in pressure which were downright awful. He had never had issues with headaches before, just occasional twinges in his scar caused by being around Vol- the Dark Lord. Now, however, he felt as though he should go into weather forecasting. And the knowledge of being under a prophecy and trying to understand what all that meant was not helping.

He had tried to beat the majority of the students to the Great Hall, however it had taken him longer than expected to gather the motivation to get out of bed and he didn’t want to ask the house elves to bring him food in their quarters when he could just as easily make it to the Great Hall for breakfast and get to see his friends

“-lias?” Nott’s voice said next to him, dragging him almost painfully from his thoughts. “Are you feeling well? You’ve been staring at the Hufflepuff table for almost five minutes.”

“W-w-weath-ther’s ch-changing,” Elias mumbled, rubbing his forehead and wincing.

Nott nodded knowingly though concern still shone in his eyes. He would occasionally get headaches when the weather would change as well, though his were typically mild. The most anyone knew was that he was more quiet when the weather would change. “Is it just your head?”

“N-no, m-my w-whole bod-d-dy is … unc-c-comfort-table,” Elias winced, shifting his weight on the chair in an effort to change the pressure points. “Everyth-thing aches, b-but my head-d-d is the w-worst.”

“Does your father know?” Nott asked quietly, slowly stirring a small amount of sugar into his tea. “Surely he has something he can give you to help?”

“He’s al-lready g-g-given me what-t he had-d,” Elias smiled wryly. “D-don’t w-worry, it’s n-not t-t-to bad.”

Nott raised an eyebrow before taking a sip of his tea and grabbing a piece of toast for himself. Elias didn’t seem to be getting ill, so he wasn’t going to press the issue. It still worried him that Elias was so tired and seemed in pain, but there wasn’t much he could do about it if Professor Snape already knew.

A slight fluttering from above them startled several of the students as they looked towards the ceiling. While other owls had been coming and going throughout the morning, delivering various newspapers and packages, this owl sounded much larger than the others. The students who had heard the sound looked on in amazement as a large eagle owl descended through the spelled clouds in the Great Hall and circled around the hall once before settling itself on the Slytherin table, a thick package tied to its talons.

Looking up rather blearily at the owl in front of him, Elias stared at the animal for a moment before finally reaching down to untie the package. Had he ordered anything recently? He didn’t think he had, but maybe his father had ordered him some new clothing? Double checking the name on the package and feeding the owl several pieces of bacon, he was surprised to find the name was written in two languages as well as a more formal, muggle style address for the delivery.

“International post?” Draco said, looking at the owl in curiosity. An owl that large must have come from somewhere in Eastern Europe, though the package looked like it had come much farther than that.

Staring at the address for a moment longer, Elias picked at the paper wrapping around the package before his eyes suddenly widened with realization as to what he had just received.

A book. Durmstrang had sent him a book.

It wasn’t much, just one book was contained within the wrapping of the package, but it was far more information than he had gotten from Beauxbatons and would hopefully expand the amount of sources he had for his project. Something was better than nothing! Honestly, he was surprised they had sent anything at all; Durmstrang was known for refusing acceptance to muggleborns after all.

Excitedly ripping off the paper and wincing at how loud it was, Elias’s hopes for immediately digging into the book were immediately dashed when he saw the cover. There was no way he would be able to read that right away. Not without the use of some rather significant spell work or maybe a potion. It wasn’t even written in a Cyrillic alphabet, so he couldn’t even narrow down what language it was in.

With slightly less enthusiasm, he opened the book and began thumbing through it. It certainly seemed to have a lot of information and a lot of graphs placed within it, but what those graphs showed was anyone’s guess. Continuing to thumb through the book, he suddenly frowned once he reached the halfway mark.

Had the request been misunderstood? What would maps have to do with electricity? The latter portion of the book contained map after map but without any understanding of what he was looking at, he was unsure if the book was even going to be useful in the slightest.

“What’d you get?” Crabbe mumbled, leaning over to look at what Elias was staring so intently at. “A book?”

Elias nodded, his frown deepening and his headache spiking as he continued to try and make sense of why they would have sent this book. Flipping back to the first few pages, he quickly began scanning the text to see if there was any recorded date of publication. Anything more recent than the ‘Muggle Magic’ book would be a god send.

“N-ninet-teen eight-ty two,” he muttered, nodding his head and rubbing his forehead once more. “N-not b-bad.”

“Can you read that?!” Draco asked, standing up from beside Crabbe and quickly snatching a scone from the tray in front of him.

“N-no, unf-f-fortun-nately,” Elias said with a sigh as he closed the book. “D-d-do any of y-you?”

Looking around, he was saddened to find all of the Slytherins shaking their heads as they looked at the title of the book. Sighing, he turned back to the book and opened the front cover to see if there happened to be an English title page. Instead, he found a short letter written to him in broken English.

Dear Mr. Snape,

This is only book we have about electricity. Please find them good.

Thank you,
Madam Crnčević

Despite the obvious grammatical errors in the presumably librarian’s writing, it gave him some hope. His message was understood and the book he received was indeed about electricity. It would just be a matter of finding out what the book was about now. Once he figured that out, he was certain the maps it contained would make much more sense.

“I-i n-n-need to g-go!” Elias said quickly, grabbing the book off the table and swinging himself around so he was sitting facing the other direction on the bench. He couldn’t wait to get started on digging into the medium sized tome.

Just as he was about to stand up, Draco grabbed him by the back of his robes and held him down. “No you don’t. Your father is going to kill you if you don’t eat something other than plain toast.”

“‘M n-not h-hungry though!” Elias griped, trying to pull Draco’s hand off his robes.

“Look, just eat some porridge and …”

“Hem, hem,” the sickly sweet cough of Professor Umbridge sounded from next to them. “Is there a … problem here?”

“No, ma’am,” the Slytherins all responded politely.

“We were just expressing our concern for our friend,” Blaise said, quickly pouring a bowl of porridge for Elias and adding a few berries to it.

“Splendid! Such excellent camaraderie in the Slytherin house!” Umbridge said with a smile. “Though, Mr. Snape, I do not recall you being a student at this establishment.”

“I’m n-n-not,” Elias said confidently, though he could feel his blood pressure rising and his headache growing. “I o-o-onl-ly s-sit…”

“I do not care why you are sitting with the Slytherins,” Umbridge interrupted. “My concern lies in the book you and your friends have been looking at. Hand it over please.”

Elias cautiously handed the book to the woman who immediately snatched it from him and began quickly flipping through it, much like he himself did only moments before. A few moments and a few disparaging clicks with her tongue later, she closed the book and began casting numerous spells on it as though looking for any curses or dark magic on it. Out of the corner of their eyes, the Slytherins noticed a dark figure rise from the head table and approach as Umbridge continued to become increasingly frustrated at not finding whatever it was she was looking for.

“Madam, why are you inspecting my son’s book?” Severus said, arms folded as he stopped near the fifth years, robes swirling dramatically around his ankles.

“Ah, good! Severus, you’re here,” Umbridge said, snapping the book shut. “I have reason to believe your son was showing his ‘friends’ a book on Dark Magic!”

Severus raised his eyebrow as he looked at his son whose brow was beginning to glisten with sweat and who looked more miserable than normal. His headache must have been getting worse and Umbridge’s accusations weren’t making things any better. Looking at the cover of the book, he sighed. “And have you thought to interpret the title of the book before making accusations?”

“It was sent from Durmstrang,” scoffed Umbridge. “I would recognize those owls anywhere.”

“Madam, Durmstrang is a place of education just as Hogwarts is,” Severus stated calmly, though his frustration rang loudly in his posture. “While it is known that they teach Dark Arts there, they also teach how to defend against them. The fact my son has reached out to them with a purely academic question and they responded in turn is of no consequence to you.”

“It is when there is a potential for injury to one of my students, Professor Snape!” Umbridge snapped, waving her wand over the book once more. “Verbis Interpretari.

The words on the cover of the book morphed quickly into English, though it was quite obvious some meaning had been lost as the title now read “Magical Systemization: Relocation to the Future.”

“See!” Umbridge cried, making her own interpretation on the title. “Magical systemization! I would know a dark topic when I saw it, and that is a dark topic!”

“Yes, yes, if that was a proper translation,” Severus said calmly, taking the book back and translating the summary on the inside cover. “That is a building manual from Romania on where to build new wizarding communities. A decidedly not dark topic. I would know.”

“You would know? Admitting to your past now, are you?” Umbridge scoffed loudly, aware half the hall was listening and the other half was pretending not to. “You are on thin ice, Professor. Thin ice! You and your son!”

“Elias, take your book and go to the Hospital Wing. Ask Madam Pomfrey for a standard migraine reliever and a nutrient potion,” Severus hissed, ripping the book away from Umbridge and glaring down the ministry official. “Draco, walk with him.”

Elias immediately launched himself to his feet and took the book in one hand and limped heavily out of the Great Hall, ignoring his cane which he held in the other hand as though it were a club. Draco quickly stood as well and followed Elias out of the Hall, head held high though he was secretly trying to listen for the sound of arguing behind him. Umbridge had touched a nerve and Severus would happily defend himself and his son against her nonsense.

“Hospital Wing!” Draco called as he exited the Great Hall and was rather unsurprised to see Elias turning to go down to the dungeons and his quarters rather than up to the Hospital Wing like he was supposed to. “Elias! You need to go to the Hospital Wing.”

“N-n-n-no I d-d-don’t,” Elias panted as he leaned heavily on the stair rail. “W-we have p-p-p-p-potions at h-home.”

“I think he wants you under observation if you take one,” Draco said, wondering if he would have to force his friend to turn around or if he would willingly go. “Besides, he has class today and if this becomes a migraine he can’t very well arrange coverage instantaneously.”

Elias hesitated for a few moments as he mulled this over before finally turning around and walking back up the few stairs he had gone down. Draco had a point. It wasn’t a good one, in his opinion, but it was a point. He just hated having to be under someone’s watch all the time. Even something simple like a headache potion required supervision in case it reacted poorly with something else he was on. It was just one more thing in the long and ever growing list of things he disliked about his new situation.

Finally making their way up to the Hospital Wing, Elias stopped right outside the doors and steeled himself.

“Come on,” Draco said with a sigh. He knew he would be in the same mood if he was in the same situation, but he also wanted to finish breakfast before class started.

Elias pulled out a handkerchief from his pocket and handed the book to Draco. He had his own reason for hating going into the Hospital Wing in the morning. In fact, he avoided going into any east facing rooms in the morning whenever he could. And bright lights. And any major change in lighting.

Groaning, he opened the door and braced for the inevitable sneeze. He had complained about the sneeze before when they were still living at Spinner’s End, but the only explanation he had received was it was ‘his nerves responding incorrectly to stimuli.’ That was an annoying understatement.

And with a headache already?

“Good morning Elias,” Madam Pomfrey called from her office, hearing his tell-tale sneeze echoing through the wing. “I’ll be there in a moment!”

Elias groaned and rubbed his nose vigorously before limping over to one of the beds closest to the office and laying down. While it wasn’t as comfortable as ‘his’ bed in the Hospital Wing, he knew Madam Pomfrey would want him to be close to her office in case of any side effects. Thankfully he had only had to be in the wing once since school started and that was only a check up as some of his potions were being adjusted.

Struggling with his robes for a moment, he sighed in annoyance. He should have listened to Blaise and eaten the damned porridge; now he was going to have to take a nutrient potion and wait an hour before he could take the Fulgur. If he could even take it with the headache potion that is. He had never had his headache potions fail like this and though this wasn’t a migraine (yet) he really hoped he wouldn’t have to take that potion today.

He wanted to be able to do something and not be in a fog the entire day as his potion was apt to do.

In particular, he wanted to start trying to get through the book! It had been nearly a week since he had sent the letter to Durmstrang and Beauxbatons and nearly two weeks since the letter had been sent to Ilvermorney. This was the first information he had gotten from any of them and, building plans or not, it was more information than he currently had. He hated the idea of another delay in his research, especially one caused by his stupid body.

As if to reiterate its current hatred for him and remind him of why he was taking Fulgur in the first place, his legs began twitching incessantly as he worked to get his shoes off. The twitching quickly turned into a spasm which ran up his legs and into his low back causing him to groan almost involuntarily as he lowered himself into the bed.

“Thank you for staying, Mr. Malfoy,” Madam Pomfrey said, finally exiting her office. “Now, what is ailing you, Mr. Snape?”

“J-j-just a head-dache,” Elias said, throwing an arm over his eyes and sighing exasperatedly as his hand jolted at the movement.

“Professor Snape said to ask you for a standard migraine reliever and a nutrient potion,” Draco piped up. “He didn’t eat much breakfast nor did he take the ... poison.”


“Yeah, that one.”

Madam Pomfrey nodded and went to her potions cabinet and rifled around for a moment before finally finding the potion she was looking for. She hesitated for a moment before measuring out a dose, however, and grabbed a large tome from a slot in the door of the potions cabinet. She quickly flipped through the book to a few pre-marked pages and studied them for a few moments before remeasuring the dose she was going to give and handing it over to Elias. “Your father truly is a master of his craft.”

Elias raised an eyebrow in question at her statement before grimacing at the flavor of the migraine reliever. He knew his father had a mastery in potions making, but he assumed that meant he had some sort of higher level degree.

“What do you mean by that?” Draco asked rather haughtily. “Of course he is!”

“Not many potions masters could keep track of the compatibility of as many potions as you are on and know which potions can be added to that mix without causing harm to the user.”

Elias smiled slightly at the statement. He had never really thought about it, but Madam Pomfrey was right. He was on an absurd number of potions; for Severus to just be able to pull a potion out of thin air, know its effects and ingredients, and know if it would interact with anything that he was on was incredible.

Head already feeling much better, Elias went to sit on the side of the bed only to be overwhelmed with dizziness. It felt as though the entire world was tilting on its axis and he was going to fall off it any minute!

“Easy there, child!” Madam Pomfrey exclaimed, helping lower him back into a lying position before turning to Draco. “You are free to leave, Mr. Malfoy.”

“Is he going to be ok?” Draco asked, refusing to move before his question was answered.

“He may be quite dizzy for a few hours as that potion takes effect, but he’ll be fine otherwise,” Madam Pomfrey assured the teen. “Not to worry, this is expected.”

“T-to y-you!” Elias whined, hands on either side of his head as though trying to hold it still despite laying down. “I j-j-just w-wanted to r-read my b-b-book!”

“Hush, dear!” Madam Pomfrey said with a laugh, spelling him into a set of hospital pajamas and shooing Draco out of the wing. “He needs rest and you need to get to class. I’ll contact Professor Snape if anything happens.”

“Thank you,” Draco said, casting one last worried glance at his friend. “I’ll see you later, Elias!”

“B-b-bye!” Elias called, waving one hand at the Slytherin while the other continued to try and hold his head still.

Madam Pomfrey shook her head good naturedly as she flicked her wand at the discarded clothing and folded it quickly, placing it on the table by his bed and leaning his cane against the wall before looking at the book he had brought with him. Though she couldn’t read the language, she was intrigued. It wasn’t often she saw students working on projects outside of assigned schoolwork and typically those who were, were working towards a mastery in their chosen topic. “How has your project been, Elias?”

“N-not g-g-good,” Elias mumbled, groaning as the world continued to spin around him. “I j-just got th-that b-b-ook-k today a-and th-that's the f-f-first l-lead I’ve had-d in a wh-while.”

It was nearly lunch before the dizziness caused by the potion had finally worn off enough he could sit up without immediately feeling as though he were going to fall over, vomit, or both. He was grateful Remus had been so willing to adapt his teaching schedule around his needs, otherwise he would have felt extremely bad for causing their schedule to be off yet again. He was still hopeful he would be able to sit OWLs with his classmates this year, but Remus had informed him that the examiners would be sitting other OWLs at various times throughout the summer and into next fall so there really wasn’t a reason to worry if they fell behind a bit.

As frustrating as missing lessons and potentially being behind was, it paled in comparison to the more immediate frustration he was having: he had completely missed the morning dose of Fulgur because of the migraine reliever and was feeling every bit of it. It hadn’t been purposeful, but the severity of the dizziness made Madam Pomfrey concerned and his father agreed missing the dose was in his best interest.

A fact he sincerely disagreed with now, but how was he supposed to know it would be this bad?

His stutter had worsened throughout the day as last night’s dose slowly worked its way out of his system, his muscles twitched incessantly, his brain felt as though a fog was wrapping around it, and (most annoyingly) he constantly felt like he needed to use the loo.

The only solace he had was knowing he would get a stronger dose tonight and had the new book to distract him somewhat.

“Afternoon, Elias,” Remus’s voice said, pulling the boy from his thoughts and breaking his tenuous grasp on concentration.

“‘L-lo,” Elias mumbled, rubbing his mouth in annoyance before turning back to the book with a groan. He had completely lost his place yet again and the translation spell wasn’t helping his confusion at all, nor could he get it to work at the same time as the text enlargement spell. With a sigh he placed a piece of parchment in the book to act as a bookmark and tried to put it on the bedside table only for it to fall to the floor when his arm jerked.

“Have you made much headway in the book?” Remus asked, picking it up and placing it on the table nonchalantly, as if it had just slid off on its own accord.

Elias shook his and winced as his neck twitched in response. Could he not move normally for once and not have his muscles rebel?

“May I see your notes?” Remus asked, looking at the pile of chicken scratch notes he had made while attempting to read. Seeing Elias’s small nod, Remus gathered up the notes and quickly sorted through them, frowning sadly as the handwriting visibly deteriorated as the shakes and spasms got worse throughout the day. He had gotten quite a bit of practice trying to read Elias’s writing when he wasn’t using the dictaquill, but this was so much worse than usual it was nigh illegible.

While he had only just managed to get through the first chapter it seemed, he already had several pages of notes and questions about the translation of certain words. Already, this book was proving to be a valuable resource, though not in the way Remus expected.

Grabbing the book himself to compare it to Elias’s notes, Remus initially frowned at the translation of the title then quickly realized once he began reading the first few pages of the book that there was indeed a gross mistranslation of a term for a Romanian program of relocation and rebuilding of communities under the communist regime. Remus had heard briefly of the atrocities in Romania during their communist era, however during that time the war against Voldemort was nearing its height and it had seemed the majority of these had been geared towards muggles.

From what this book was saying, however, it seemed some of the Communist government’s policies had trickled into the magical community as well in the form of forced relocations of citizens to new, more modern dwellings and off of the traditional ley lines wizarding communities had been built on.

It was well known that wizarding communities were built on ley lines and those who lived on the ley line itself were known for having increased powers if born there. The only reason for moving off of a ley line was if there was something which could provide more magical energy; something the Romanians had noticed when they began building new electrical power plants throughout the nation. No longer would the magical community be tied to the ley lines of old; wherever a power plant was built, so too could a magical community.

“Elias, did you…?” Remus began, looking up only to find Elias was no longer in bed. The covers had been frantically cast aside and were half on the floor. “Elias?”

A flush from the nearby loo answered his question as to where the boy had gone. Moments later and red faced with embarrassment, Elias stumbled back out of the toilet and back to bed, nearly falling as he climbed in and pulled the covers over him once more. Remus looked at him in concern as Elias cradled his arms against his ribs and gasped for a few moments before seeming to catch his breath.

“Do you need a moment to catch your breath?” Remus asked gently, resisting the urge to rub the boy’s back to comfort him as he knew any touch would only send him into another round of spasms.

Elias only groaned in response before shakily reaching over and tapping the page Remus was on. “R-r-r-read-d.”

“Do you want me to read the book?” Remus asked, guessing at what Elias was trying to say.

“Mmm,” Elias nodded, focusing on his breathing. He needed something to help distract him from the ache. Though much of the book seemed to have elements of propaganda and was geared towards convincing the magical community how amazing these new communities would be, it was fascinating to see what ‘benefits’ were being introduced by this plan.

“Would you like me to re-read chapter one?” Remus asked, rewording his original question into a simple ‘yes/no’ question to allow easier answers. As painful as it was to think about, he sincerely doubted Elias had managed to retain a single iota of what he had read over the past few hours.

Elias nodded, tucking himself down under the covers as though he were expecting a bedtime story. It took him a few minutes to find a somewhat comfortable position, but once he was there, he looked at Remus expectantly, waiting for the story to begin no matter how dry it actually was.

Remus chuckled at the look before cracking open the book once more and turning to the first page. The last time someone had looked at him with that level of expectation for a textbook had been when he had been studying to get his teaching license nearly fourteen years ago and had been pressed into service as an emergency babysitter for the Potter’s so they could go on a mission for the order (though Remus suspected it was more of a date night than anything.)

Harry had been extremely fussy that night, gumming anything he could get his mouth on including Remus’s notes. He had been teething for several weeks and already had a few small incisors poking through his gums. Not far, but just enough to hurt and make anything a potential teething device.

While he had been a rather happy baby up until this point, he was not in any mood to behave that night. Cold washcloths only stayed cold for so long, toys were only appealing for moments, and even the moving pictures in the Prophet weren’t interesting enough to hold the child’s interest.

“Try reading to him,” James’ voice had said laughingly when Remus, in a fit of frustration and desperation, sent his two friends a patronus message begging for assistance.

So Remus did just that. A bath, a bottle, and a book seemed like a good combination to hopefully get the poor child to fall asleep. The bath went terribly and little Harry found great joy in continually throwing the bottle through the rails of his crib to watch Remus pick it up, but once Remus pulled out the driest, most boring, and largest textbook he had in his possession, Harry settled down immediately. If anything, Remus would call the look Harry was giving him a look of excited expectation.

It didn’t matter what he was being read, so long as it was a book and he was being read to.

Remus paused for a moment as the memory of that night washed over him and he looked at Elias once more, his smile faltering momentarily.

He could see Severus in Elias’s frame and facial structure, but why, why, WHY were there parts of him which screamed ‘Lily Potter?’ There was no feasible way Lily could have ever had a son with Severus, especially not if Elias was going to be turning sixteen in a few short weeks. While not improbable that she could have been pregnant twice in such a short period of time, Remus was certain he would have known if she had been.

She was terrible at keeping secrets afterall.

Perhaps Elias was a cousin of Harry’s on her mother’s side? Severus had grown up in the same town as Lily, afterall. It only made sense that he would know more of her relatives than just her. And didn’t Lily have a sister or two? But Severus was a known Death Eater at the time of Elias’s conception, so him dating a muggle made no sense.

Maybe that’s what happened to Elias?

Remus shuttered at the idea of Severus being forced to torture his own significant other, but his curiosity was piqued. He needed to know who Elias’s mother was and why certain features of his were so distinctly similar to Lily Evans.

Shaking himself from his thoughts, he opened the book and began to read as best he could from the poorly translated and excruciatingly dry book.

“The systematization of magical communes, basic territorial-administrative units, and component villages must ensure their development in correlation with that of neighboring muggle localities, the organization of functional areas - production units, housing, socio-cultural facilities, planted and traffic spaces - taking into account of the dominant agricultural profile, ability to house magical plants, and hidden from muggle interference to establish the height regime, the density of the buildings, the lots for the peasant households, the route and the profile of the streets. The judicious location of all the constructions will be followed, as well as the creation of magical centers to group the main socio-cultural endowments…”
To be continued...
Chapter 31 by DesertPlanet
Author's Notes:
Second birthday chapter!

Again, any questions you have, I'm more than happy to answer! This is my present to you!
Two months.

Harry Potter had been missing for two months.

And not a single one of his UTTERLY INCOMPETENT followers had any leads on where the boy might have gone.

“IMBECILES!!!” Voldemort roared as he paced the Great Room of Malfoy Manor. “How could you not have found him yet?! I gave you one simple task, and you fail me again and again! He is a fifteen year old child, yet he has managed to evade you. How?”

The inner circle of Death Eaters remained stoic and silent as their leader paced around, occasionally shifting uncomfortably as his gaze turned towards each of them. They had failed him again. Any more failures and they would no longer be in his inner circle; they would no longer be in line for a position of power in his new world order when the time came. They would be dead, and so would their families. Lines of powerful, pureblooded wizards would be wiped from the planet all because of one stupid child who continued to evade detection.

“Nott!” Voldemort hissed, motioning towards one of the silent, masked men. “Step forward and remove your mask.”

The man stepped forward confidently, removed his mask, and knelt in front of his master. Despite his grace and confidence in movement, those who knew him couldn’t help but notice the pallor in his face or the sweat on his brow as he knew what would be coming next.

Gingerly, he raised the hem of Voldemort’s robes to his mouth and laid a kiss upon them. “It is my honor to approach you, my lord.”

“You were a cursebreaker, were you not,” Voldemort said softly, though his voice was seething with rage.

“I was, my lord,” Nott said, knowing adding additional information as to why he was no longer in that position would only add fuel to his master’s rage against him.

“And your speciality was…?” Voldemort continued, his eyes flashing dangerously.

“Ancient, rare, and dark wards,” Nott said, a slight quiver evident in his voice though he was still managing to somewhat maintain his air of unwavering confidence.

Voldemort raised an eyebrow as he stepped away from the man who bowed slightly lower and continued to pace, though his steps were slightly slower than they had been. “And you have been to Surrey, have you not?”

“Yes, my lord!” Nott said, beginning to grovel. “Anything you ask of me, I am willing to do!”

“And yet…” Voldemort said dangerously, tapping his wand against his lips. “And yet the wards around his house still stand, do they not?”

Nott froze and turned his eyes down in dismay. Hours he had spent trying to work on breaking the wards came to mind. Hours of combing desperately through the magical web only to find his efforts were in vain. He had tried. He had missed the anniversary of his wife’s death for this. He had missed seeing his son off on the train. He had worked on the wards until his own magical core had been depleted nearly to the point of no return.

“They do, my lord,” Nott said sadly, bracing himself. “A whole team of curse breakers…”

“SILENCE!” Voldemort roared, closing the distance between himself and Nott with two large strides and pointing his wand at the man’s jugular. “I did not ask for excuses, I asked for results! Something none of you have been able to give me, least of all you! Sectumsempra!”

A large wound opened from one side of the man’s neck to the other, blood pouring from the wound as the man scrabbled at his neck instinctively. His eyes widened with fear as he began to choke on the blood. He had done nothing wrong! He had done everything his master had asked for him to do, and this was his reward? To have his blood spilt like a common muggle?

Nott looked at his master in disbelief as his chest heaved desperate gasps before he finally collapsed onto his side, blood pooling around him.

Voldemort sneered at the man’s body in disgust. A loyal servant he may have been, but if he couldn’t do the task he was supposedly an expert at there was no point in keeping him in the fold. It was a pity his son was not of age nor had any useful experience; young blood was always easier to mold into the perfect follower than trying to manipulate an elder wizard. Gone were the days of simple propaganda to gain followers. Those days ended when that bloody Potter boy bested him.

“Malfoy,” Voldemort said calmly, turning towards the owner of the manor in which he currently resided. “Get rid of this filth.”

“Yes, my lord,” Lucius Malfoy said before levitating his former comrade in arms out of the hall.

“Ssssseverussss, step forward,” Voldemort hissed, beckoning the potions master forward. “Any word from the Order?”

Severus stepped forward quickly, robes billowing slightly behind him as he knelt quickly and bowed his head. “No, my lord. The headmaster has continued to send Aurors who are in the Order to investigate his disappearance, but no information on where he has gone has been obtained. There was one possible lead which led an Auror to a muggle hospital, however this turned out to be incorrect.”

“Why did you not bring this information to me as soon as you were told?” Voldemort hissed once more as he circled Severus like a hawk hunting its prey.

“The ‘Harry Potter’ found at this hospital was an elderly man from Kent,” Severus said flatly. “The order placed him under observation initially, but he turned out to be simply a muggle.”

Voldemort sneered as he swept to a stop in front of his servant. “What good is a spy if the information I receive is outdated?”

“I wish to only provide you with factual information, my lord,” Severus said, resisting the urge to sigh. He knew what was coming for his insolence. “So as to not waste our resources or expose our position.”

Crucio,” Voldemort hissed, watching in satisfaction as the dark haired man in front of him writhed in pain for a minute before cancelling the spell and lifting Severus’s head by his hair. “I want to know any information found on the boy’s whereabouts! ANYTHING! Any conjectures. Any possible leads. If Potter so much as breathes, I will be the first to know! Is that understood?!”

“Y-yes m-my lord,” Severus stuttered, his throat continuing to spasm painfully despite the curse no longer being used on him.

Voldemort threw Severus’s head back to the ground before resuming pacing. He needed to find that bloody boy! If it weren’t for the fact Severus was an invaluable asset as a spy and potions master, he would have faced the same fate as Nott. There was no reason to foster incompetence in his fold and Nott had been a good enough example for the night. Perhaps a little excessive, but his followers seemed to need some… motivation to keep going.

He had been too hasty before. He had thought the partial prophecy was enough to get rid of the children which threatened his rise to power. This haste had nearly led to his demise. Had it not been for the plethora of horcruxes he had created, the backlash from the killing curse surely would have been his undoing. There was surely something more to the prophecy than what he knew, but he needed Potter in order to find out what it was.

With a wave of his hand, he dismissed the rest of his Death Eaters to return to their assigned tasks. A rapid series of apparation pops filled the air as the majority of his inner circle disapparated away, leaving only those behind who were unable to apparate or who had no reason to yet. Severus slowly pulled himself off the floor and prepared to apparate as a familiar figure approached the Dark Lord.

“My Lord,” simpered a rather short, round man with a silver hand from the corner. “I believe I may have a possible way to find him.”

Voldemort sneered at the man before motioning him over, ignoring the potions master in the corner. “And what would that be, Wormtail?”

“While I was living as the Weasley’s rat, I overheard Potter say he felt as though there was a connection between you. Would it be possible to track him through this connection?”

Voldemort drew in a long breath before rounding on the man, fire burning in his eyes as though they had been replaced with glistening coals. His long fingers wrapped themselves around the man’s neck as he pulled the man in so their noses were nearly touching; his wand pointed directly at the man’s temple.

“I am aware of this connection, you idiotic rat,” he spat. “What I cannot figure out is where it’s gone! Even after he first disappeared, I could feel him, but even that disappeared! I felt him today but not for long enough to proceed with my plans. He is still out there, but I do not know where. So, since you know so much, would you care to enlighten me as to where he may be?”

“N-no, my lord.”

“I thought not. Crucio you imbecilic creature. Does your brain not change size when you transform?”

Elias’s eyes snapped open as he cried out. Waves of nausea immediately crashed over him as he struggled to roll over to the side of his bed. Every part of him thrummed with pain; the small movements he made to try to get up were agonizing. His head hurt, his back hurt, even the hair on his arms felt as though it was on fire. He hadn’t felt like this in months! What had happened?

What had happened?

Was that not a dream? Had he really been there? How had he seen that? What had happened to him? Why did his mind feel as though it were swimming in syrup again?

Trying once more to climb out of bed, he realized with some dismay that he had soiled himself at some point during the dream. He didn’t even have a chance to get embarrassed, however, before another wave of spasms rocked over his body leaving him twitching uncontrollably in his bed. He couldn’t release his hands from the fists they had made themselves into for several moments nor could he get his toes to uncurl. As soon as the muscles relaxed, he tried again to roll to the edge of the bed only to find the motion yet again set off a round of spasms.

Had it not been for the excruciating pain, he would have equated himself to a turtle who had found itself on its back.

“Ah!” he cried out, hoping his father had returned and would hear him. The monitoring spells on him were keyed to if he had a seizure or fell and was unable to get up on his own. While he was currently unable to stand, he wasn’t on the ground so the monitor wouldn’t send out its alert. But climbing out of bed and laying on the ground would require concentration and he simply didn’t have that.

Another wave of spasms rolled over him causing him to arch backwards painfully. His legs and arms trembled uncontrollably as his vision blurred into a single mass of color. His breath caught in his chest for a few moments before his muscles finally relaxed enough he was able to force himself to take a breath.

‘Breathe,’ he told himself, closing his eyes to prevent the tears from falling. ‘Just breathe.’

He had heard Draco and his father talking about his ‘relapse’ over the summer and what he was like at that time, but he couldn’t really remember it. Was this what he was like? Was this another ‘relapse?’ He wasn’t sure, but he couldn’t think of what else to call it.

Whatever it was, it bloody hurt. At least he knew where he was this time… possibly. He was fairly certain he was at home, but couldn’t quite place which home he was at. It didn’t matter though; he may hurt but he knew he was safe and that his father would come for him soon.

He heard some rustling from the kitchen and assumed it was his father rustling through the cabinets for something. Possibly an anti-Cruciatus potion if what he had seen was not a dream, but rather reality. He really hoped it wasn’t reality, but couldn’t imagine a world where he would dream that kind of torture on his father or anyone else. And then there was Mr. Nott.

Elias shuddered involuntarily at the memory of seeing the man’s neck flayed open by that horrible spell. Poor Teddy would be devastated.

The shudder set off yet another round of spasms, contorting his body into strange positions as he tried in vain to fight against what his body wanted to do. His breath was coming in short gasps as the muscles between his ribs tightened. He couldn’t breathe! Was this going to be how he died? Gasping and floundering on a bed, surrounded by souvenirs of a life he wasn’t sure he had lived?

A whimper made its way out of his mouth when the spasm finally let up enough he was able to take another breath. It was terrifying. He felt as though he were suffocating and there was nothing he could do about it. He couldn’t even reach over and grab his wand to call for help.

More shuffling was heard from near the kitchen before he heard his father’s distinctive footsteps walking down the hall and past his room to the loo. Elias’s eyes blurred once more as he managed to slowly pull his knees to his chest as it tightened once more. Why hadn’t his father come in to check on him? He needed him! He needed help!

He tried to cry out once more when he heard the door to the loo open once more but couldn’t force a sound out of his mouth. It was as though he was trapped in his own body, unable to do anything other than watch himself flounder.

Pain lanced through his spine as the muscles once again spasmed, fighting against their counterparts which were still locked pulling in the opposite direction. It felt as though the muscles were trying to rip themselves off of the bone. His skin felt as though it were on fire, every movement sending searing, burning, tendrils of flame over its surface. Surely this was how he would die.

A broken sob tore through his throat as the spasm in his chest finally let up, allowing him to gasp for air momentarily.

Where was his da? He needed him! He would help, he always did when he was alive. He was magic and made potions and took care of him. He would help.

He would help.

He would come.

He had to come.

Elias vaguely heard the door to his room open before losing consciousness as his chest seized once more.

‘No, no, no, no!’ Severus screamed mentally as he took in the appearance of his son. His lips were turning blue, as were the ends of his fingers. Was he choking on something? “Anapneo!”

Much to Severus’s dismay, there was no immediate result from the spell. He wasn’t choking, but he certainly wasn’t breathing either. In fact he seemed to have lost consciousness. This wasn’t a seizure, this wasn’t caused by him missing his potions, so what in the world happened?! If he had more time, Severus would have pondered the question further, but now was not the time for pondering anything.

His healing abilities were decent in an emergency, but he certainly wouldn’t be able to treat Elias on his own. Stabilize, yes, but not treat. And as he was, he was questioning his ability to do even that. His own magical core was rather depleted from healing the damage from the Cruciatus as well as apparating away from Malfoy manor followed by the walk back to the castle. He hadn’t even managed to take a Cruciatus reliever for himself before finding his son in such a state. He was weak and shaky and in no state of mind to properly perform the necessary diagnostics.

He would need help.

A gasp was heard from Elias as Severus quickly sent a patronus to the Hospital Wing. If it weren’t for the wards of Hogwarts, he would have apparated the boy to St. Mungo’s as soon as he found him in such a state. As it was, they would have to stabilize him here then floo with him to the emergency treatment ward. From there, it was anyone’s guess as to where they would want to put him.

Respirare penitus,” Severus said, flicking his wand over the boy and watching in dismay as his body contorted once more. Slowly, color began to filter back into Elias’s lips as the spell forced his lungs to expand. Something wasn’t right though, his chest would only expand occasionally, but most of the movement caused by the spell could be seen in Elias’s stomach. It was as though his chest couldn’t expand properly. “Come on, Elias. Breathe for me. That’s a good lad.”

“Severus?!” Madam Pomfrey’s voice was heard from the fireplace in the living room. “You’re going to have to let the wards down, I can’t come through.”


Severus quickly spelled a bubble of pure oxygen around his son’s mouth and nose before sprinting to the fireplace and countering the wards he had begun placing over the hearth to prevent unwanted guests (namely the Headmaster) from visiting uninvited. He hadn’t thought about what would happen in case of an emergency and had completely overlooked needing medical assistance emergently.

‘Shtupid, shtupid boy!’ the voice of his father rose up in his mind unannounced, berating him. ‘Yer mum an’ I have more money then you have brains, an’ we’ve got nuthin!’

Severus bristled at the imaginary lecture, but couldn’t deny it was correct. His son was ill. His son would likely always be ill, and here he was blocking emergency access to his quarters. He should have known, he should have planned for this. Now his desire for privacy may have killed his son.

“Severus, where is he?!” Madam Pomfrey demanded, snapping her fingers in front of his face. Now was not the time for an existential crisis.

“Bedroom,” he said, quickly leading the healer back down the hall to Elias’s room.

“What all have you done for him?” Madam Pomfrey asked, throwing open her bag and pulling a variety of devices out as Severus collapsed into Elias’s desk chair and ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. “Severus?”

“I tried to clear his airway, then, when that didn’t work, I placed a ventilation spell on him as well as supplemental oxygen,” Severus said, eyes widening slightly as Elias’s arms and legs curled towards his body and began to tremble as the muscles pulled and spasmed.

Madam Pomfrey nodded as she began her examination, occasionally casting a spell here or there to double check certain vital signs. “Have you given him any muscle relaxers yet?”

Severus shook his head before standing and nearly running to the cupboard to grab the muscle relaxer cream as well as an emergency antispasmotic which Healer Shannon had recommended. He had thought it would be for cramps when she had recommended it but hadn’t realized quite the severity to which the spasms could occur. Why hadn’t he thought of that first? What was wrong with him?!

“Severus, sit down and breathe,” Madam Pomfrey commanded as she began working the salve into Elias’s jaw muscles, noting the way her colleague swayed as he returned. “Have you taken any anti-Cruciatus potions?”

“No, I haven’t given him any,” Severus said, turning to leave the room to get yet another potion from the stores in his kitchen.

Madam Pomfrey looked up sharply and pointed at the desk chair. “Severus sit! Have you treated yourself yet?”

Severus reluctantly sat, rubbing one shaking hand over his face. He had forgotten he had moved his own personal stash of potions out of the kitchen when he had gotten home and had been looking for them when he had heard a sound. He had initially thought Elias may have gone to the loo and had gone to check on him as the sound he had heard was… off. Once he saw the open door to the toilet, he had turned around and found Elias not breathing. His son was nearly dead and he was off trying to be a spy for a war he wanted nothing more than to no longer be a part of.

“-treat yourself, Severus. I know you were at one of those blasted meetings; you’re still in your robes.”

“Elias…?” Severus said, looking at his son in concern rather than following healer’s orders.

“Now, Severus! I don’t need two patients right now!” Madam Pomfrey snapped, spelling half of the antispasmotic into Elias’s stomach while slowly coaxing the other half into his much more relaxed mouth.

Severus nodded and stood quickly, wincing as his own muscles shook at the movement. Elias had to deal with this every day; he could put up with it for another few minutes. Limping into his bedroom, Severus opened the top drawer of his night stand and pulled out the required potion and downing one dose himself before grabbing a second dose for Elias. While it wouldn’t help an exacerbation of his symptoms, it would help alleviate the pain caused by the misfiring of his nerves.

Much more physically under control and pain much more tolerable, he quickly strode back to his son’s room. Typically, he would have a bit of firewhiskey after a meeting such as that, but he needed to be able to speak to Theodore Nott in the morning and be able to put up with a rightfully emotional teenager in an empathetic manner. Tonight, he knew he wouldn’t be drinking anything other than an invigorating draught to keep him awake so he could care for Elias should Elias not need to be taken to St Mungo’s.

Madam Pomfrey looked up from her ministrations of gingerly rubbing the muscle relaxing salve into the poor boy’s chest in an effort to relax the intercostal muscles and nodded approvingly. This was the Severus Snape she needed at her side: calm, collected, delicate and precise in his movements. Even as a father, she knew something was amiss with the man as soon as she heard his message. He had done everything correct, but the level of panic she had heard in the patronus missive was unusual for the man.

“I apologize,” Severus said, casting a worried glance at Elias’s still spasming form and wincing as his knees locked and his toes curled downward. The spasms seemed slightly less forceful as the potions began to work, but there was no way he wasn’t going to be sore. “I had many things on my mind. What would you like for me to do?”

“I’m going to spell him so he is sitting upright. If you can work on his back while I work on his front, I would greatly appreciate it,” Madam Pomfrey said as she continued her work, occasionally casting other spells to monitor his status. “He started to come around a minute ago, but I placed him in a healing sleep for now. I can’t imagine the pain this is causing him.”

Severus nodded and picked up a second tin of the cream and began working it into the overwrought muscles along Elias’s spine.

Slowly the spasms grew less and less ferocious and the muscles which seemed to be locked in one position slowly released. Together they worked on him for over an hour, gently turning him and making sure every muscle they could reach was massaged. It was a long, arduous task, and one which left their hands aching, but finally Elias lay still. After months of continuously moving, twitching, and writhing, he seemed almost unnaturally limp.

“I’m going to leave him in the healing sleep and keep the ventilation spell for now,” Madam Pomfrey said softly as she finally closed her third tin of muscle relaxing ointment. “We will see how he is in the morning.”

Severus nodded slightly, an almost imperceptible frown on his forehead as he thought. What had happened? How bad of a relapse had this been? What would his function be? Would there be any lasting effects from him stopping breathing? What would have happened if he had been a few minutes later?

Severus shuddered at the thought.

“Would you rather move him up to the hospital wing or keep him here?” Madam Pomfrey asked, stretching her back.

“Not St. Mungo’s?” Severus asked in surprise.

Madam Pomfrey adjusted her healer’s cap and straightened her robes with a flick of her wand. “We’ll reevaluate in the morning. He’s stable enough here for now. Will you be able to give him the antispasmotic again in two hours or would you prefer I or someone else give it to him?”

“I shall do it,” Severus said softly, pulling Elias’s desk chair closer to the boy’s bed. “How often should I give it to him after that?”

“Give him a second dose four hours after the first one. I’ll be here at six and we will try taking him out of the healing sleep.” Madam Pomfrey stared at the boy pensively for a moment. “If he doesn’t respond well or starts to spasm like that again, I’m not going to lie Severus, you’ll have to take him to St. Mungo’s. If you had not studied healing during your mastery, I would have suggested we send him immediately. This is far beyond what I can safely treat at the school. Far, far beyond.”

Severus nodded solemnly as he stared at the boy on the bed. He didn’t want to send Elias to St. Mungo’s. He wanted the same things for him that Elias had yelled at him not two days prior. He wanted him to have a life to live. A life where he was safe and healthy. A life where he had friends and a social life. A life where he didn’t have to live in fear of being hunted by a mad man. A life where he and the Dark Lord weren’t connected.

But how? How were they connected?

Even Wormtail knew about their connection somehow. Yet, for some unknown reason, the connection between the two of them was no longer strong enough for the Dark Lord to feel. And if the Dark Lord could feel Elias, could Elias do the same?

But why? And how?

“I’ll be back in a few hours to check on you two.”
To be continued...
Chapter 32 by DesertPlanet
Severus had given up his vigil at his son’s bedside in favor of pacing their quarters.

It had been two hours since the second dose of the antispasmotic and Elias was remaining rather relaxed though Severus believed much of that was due to the healing sleep the boy was in. It had been four hours since he and Madam Pomfrey had finished frantically working on him to release the muscles in his body from their contractured state and allow him to breathe. Five hours since he had returned from the Death Eater meeting and found his son blue in the face and gasping; an image he would rather forget but knew he wouldn’t any time soon. Seven hours since he had been called to the meeting itself.

Four hours since Elias’s last dose of Fulgur, of which he was still working to get back into the therapeutic range since missing the dose that morning. A potion which he had been within the therapeutic range of for nearly twenty-nine days, which wasn’t that long at all but was rather telling in Severus’s mind.

Due to how little of the potion he was able to take at any given time, getting the amount of the potion into him that would truly help stabilize his condition was a long and arduous one. With most potions such as these, there was a loading dose to kickstart the effects of the potion on whoever was taking it. Fulgur, due to its poisonous properties on a wizard’s magical core, was not one of these potions. The one, single dose which was missed due to the reaction to the headache potion was enough to set them back slightly in getting the levels in his body up to the proper levels. In fact, Severus had already gone about making the potion required to test Elias’s blood and core magic levels to make sure the dose was adequate, providing the magical core with support, and was not causing any unknown damage.

Typically these tests were run thirty-one days after the treatment was started but that missing dose had bumped the testing back by two days to allow his titers to get back into their accurate range. It wasn’t uncommon for potions requiring long term usage to need routine testing to make sure they were doing what they were intended to and not causing more harm than good. This was especially true with a potion with the potential to harm as high as what Fulgur’s was.

The thing about a potion as potent as Fulgur wasn’t just maintaining a therapeutic level without kicking over into the toxic realm, but also maintaining the amount in his system which was high enough to have an effect. Missing one dose certainly would have lowered the overall levels in his system, but would they have dropped outside of the therapeutic range? Even so, would those levels have dropped low enough after missing a single dose to cause him to have a relapse in his condition which was arguably worse than the first one?

No, there was absolutely no way. There was not a portion of his brain which even remotely believed that missing one single dose and following it with a slightly larger evening dose had been the cause of this. The amount of potion in Elias’s system may have dropped to slightly subtherapeutic levels, but there was something else going on. There had to be.

The night of Elias’s first relapse, he and Draco had been called to the Dark Lord’s side to deliver word on if Harry Potter had been located as well as drop off the previously requested potions. They had been out of the house for only a few hours and, when they returned, they had found Elias to be extremely confused, having muscle spasms which were worse than they had been while he was in the hospital, and was extremely lethargic. Severus tried to remember if he had put up the ward on Elias’s room at the time to notify him of any possible seizures, but was unsure if he had or not.

This time, however, he was positive the ward was set when he had left. There was no seizure which precluded this event and he was now beginning to doubt a seizure had happened before the other one either. There was no seizure, the levels of Fulgur in his system may have still been rather subtherapeutic, but nowhere near what they had been during the first relapse, and he hadn’t been exposed to anyone who could possibly have tortured him.

As soon as Elias had received his official diagnosis, Severus had found any books on the condition he could. It had been a great relief to find that the condition was generally considered stable and could be managed through potions provided the damage done to the child was not severe enough. It was not a progressive illness, or at least wasn’t known to be so. He recalled heaving a sigh of relief at the time as his fears of Elias getting worse were assuaged.

But if that were the case, why would he have now had a total of two relapses in the course of two months?

”Him! Was mad! So mad!”

“‘M gonna die! ‘e’s gonna find me!”

Severus stopped short as the memory of Elias’s first relapse floated through his mind’s eye. Him. He’s going to kill me. That’s what Elias had said when he came to. It hadn’t mattered that he was nearly in a coma for a week, whatever had triggered the relapse had been fresh on his mind and involved someone who was actively trying to kill him.

At the time, Severus had thought he was speaking about his uncle. The brute of a man had been neglectful and was verbally abusive but hadn’t laid a hand on his son purely for the sake of violence that Severus knew of. There was one other male in Elias’s life who was actively searching for him, however. Someone who if he found him he would most certainly kill him.

The Dark Lord Voldemort.

Both times this had occurred, the Dark Lord had summoned Severus to his side. Both times, Severus himself had been tortured. Both times, Elias hadn’t been on potions (or at least enough potions) which actively modulated both his magical core and the way his nerves fired. Both bloody times.

The Cruciatus curse was by far and away the darkest of the three unforgivables. There was a case to be made for beneficial uses of the killing curse and imperius, but not for torturing someone. What truly set Cruciatus apart from other curses used to torture and maim, however, was the intent which was required. Even as a sixth year, Severus had created a curse which could fillet a man in one foul swoop, but the intent didn’t have to be there. No, to properly use Cruciatus, one had to have the desire and drive to actively torture another individual. If cast correctly, a phenomenon known to enthusiasts of the Dark Arts as flow-back occurred which would give the user an almost high, tingling feeling.

It was addictive, uncommon even amongst the darkest of curses, and the reason the curse was so favored amongst the Death Eaters.

“I am aware of this connection, you idiotic rat!”

Elias and the Dark Lord were connected. Truly, magically connected. Elias was getting caught in the flow-back from the Dark Lord’s curses. But rather than receiving the normal flow-back high, he was receiving the actual pain from the curse. He had, in essence, been hit by no less than two cruciatus curses in the course of the last twelve hours.

Severus gasped as this realization sunk in and quickly spun on his heel and sprinted to the potions he had stored in his room and grabbed an anti-Cruciatus potion. Pausing for a moment as he mentally ran through the ingredients and possible reactions to the potion, he nodded with satisfaction and sprinted back to Elias’s room before spelling the potion into the boy’s stomach and praying it wasn’t too late to prevent further nerve damage.

Casting the potions vial to the side, Severus collapsed into the desk chair shaking. Knowing there was a connection between the two made him feel sick. Was there anything else about his son that he was missing?

Brushing Elias’s fringe off of his forehead, Severus shuddered slightly at the rather tepid feeling the healing sleep gave the boy’s body. He shouldn’t feel this cold, but it would help his brain recuperate from the assault it had just undergone. The muscle relaxer cream was beginning to wear off, causing the small tremors to come back, but they were so subtle Severus could only tell they were occurring when he actually touched the boy. The scar from where he had fallen during his first seizure stood out starkly on his pale forehead, but there was something strange about it.

In the middle of the scar, roughly where his lightning bolt scar had sat, a slight darkening of the skin could be seen. The few remnants of his first scar seemed rather inflamed as well and there was a small amount of dried blood coming from one of these small remains.

Severus quickly took stock of the still rumpled bedding which surrounded his son and found several patches of blood on the sheets before returning to examining Elias’s forehead.

When the first relapse had happened, Severus vaguely remembered wondering if the stitches the muggles had placed on his forehead had broken during his episode and had been rather surprised to find that had not been the case. The stitches had held, but one portion of the wound itself had begun to bleed. Running his finger over the now healed scar, Severus was rather unsurprised to find the area was inflamed and seemed to feel rather swollen and hard. He was bleeding under the skin; with any luck it would only show as a bruise, but either a bruise or a hematoma would be easy enough to explain away with the amount of thrashing he had been doing during this ‘episode.’

Only two more hours until Madam Pomfrey came to remove him from the healing sleep so they could better assess the damage done. Two more hours until they had to make the decision on whether or not Elias would have to go to St. Mungo’s for more intensive treatment. Two more hours until they knew anything for certain.

That was more than enough time to send an owl to Healer Shannon.
To be continued...
End Notes:
Short chapter, I know, but we have some big things coming up. Some funny things, some not-so-funny things, some big reveals... you know things like that. So, sorry for the short chapter, but you also just got 2 chapters last week. You can't be too mad.
Chapter 33 by DesertPlanet
Severus looked awful, Madam Pomfrey couldn’t help but notice when she flooed in for the second time that morning. He had dark circles under his eyes which previously had not been there despite him being a known insomniac. His forehead was wrinkled from frowning and his hands shook almost almost imperceptibly as he clung to a mug of coffee for dear life. They were barely a week into term and she already had half a mind to force him to take a sick day.

Turning to Elias, she sighed. He didn’t look much better than his father. Despite the healing sleep she had left him in, he still did not look well. Small tremors could now be seen racing through his limbs once again, though the spasms which had plagued him before had thankfully not returned. Yet.

“Where did that bruise come from on his forehead?” she pondered, looking worriedly at Severus. The right side of the boy’s forehead had begun turning a dark purple making her rather concerned he may have sustained a head injury either prior to or during his ordeal.

“I believe he may have hit it against the headboard,” Severus said quietly as he sipped at his coffee. “I also found some blood on his sheets. I don’t know what he could have hit it on , but he got a cut on the same spot as his other scar.”

Madam Pomfrey nodded in acknowledgement. “I’m glad he wasn’t attacked by any other student!”

Severus smiled wryly as he watched the healer prepare to wake Elias from the healing sleep. How he would respond would determine if he would be able to make do with a standard appointment with a healer at St. Mungo’s or if the would require a trip to emergency. Severus could only hope for the former rather than the latter.

“Severus, hold his hand please,” Madam Pomfrey said calmly. “He may be just as frightened now as he was at the time we put him under. I’ll leave him on ventilation just in case something were to go arry.”

Severus nodded as he gently picked up the boy’s hand and began stroking the back of Elias’s hand with his thumb and prepared himself for the boy to wake up. He had very nearly died less than eight hours previously, it wouldn’t surprise him in the slightest if he woke up screaming.

Madam Pomfrey pulled her wand out of its holster and waved it over the teen in the bed, slowly raising his temperature up to normal before chanting out the long spell necessary to wake the boy from his induced slumber before casting another spell to monitor the boy’s vital signs.

At first, there was no sign the spell took, leading her to look down at him in concern and begin preparing to attempt casting the reversal once more when a low crooning was heard as the ventilation spell forced his lungs to exhale.

“Noooooooooo!” Elias moaned tears streaming from his eyes as he returned slowly to consciousness. “Nooooooooooo!”

“Shhh,” Severus shushed his son gently, wiping tears away with a shaking hand. “Elias, shhh, it’s ok now. You’re alive. You can breathe.”

“Nooooo!” Elias cried once more, his cry cut short as he was forced to inhale. “.....Daaaaa! …. Help!”

“Elias, Da’s here,” Severus said, using Elias’s chosen name for him with a sad smile.

“P-please h-h-h …... -e he’s g-g-goin….. D-da!” Elias cried, too panicked to realize much of what he was trying to say was being prevented by the ventilation spell.

“Da’s here, Elias,” Severus said, voice cracking as Elias continued to mouth words despite having no control over his own breathing at the moment. “You’re at Hogwarts. You’re safe. He cannot find you here.”

“Elias, you’re at Hogwarts,” Madam Pomfrey said softly, debating if it would be better to give the boy a calming draught or not. It would heavily interact with the muscle relaxers and antispasmotics he had been given and would likely knock him out for several hours, but would that be safer for him than having his anxiety spiking constantly or not. “We’re in your father’s quarters … your bedrooms… in the dungeons.”

Elias looked around in confusion for a moment before blearily looking at his father. He had made it back; he was alive. He had been so sure Voldemort was going to kill him. Especially after what had happened to… someone? Someone in black robes had been killed. He knew who it was, he was sure of it, but he couldn’t focus on who it could have been.

His throat felt as though it were starting to close as he tried to breathe faster than what the spell would allow. Had the person in black been his father? Was his father dead?! His da wore black a lot, it probably was him.

His eyes filled with tears once more as he looked around frantically. Where was he now?! Some part of him said it belonged to him, but it wasn’t right. This had to be a … a … where was he?

“D-da!” Elias cried out once more, looking towards the open door. His voice wasn’t very loud for some reason. Would his da hear him?

“Da’s here,” a silky, deep voice said next to him. “Da’s here, Elias.”

Elias looked at the speaker intently, though his eyes seemed rather unfocused. Was… was that his da? His da had died. A long time ago. So who was this sitting by him, holding his hand? His da had black hair, didn’t he? And glasses? No… no… that was a different da… his old da… The other da had … green eyes? Brown eyes? Eyes?

Elias smiled slightly at the thought. Of course he had eyes, he was a human after all. The man holding his hand had black eyes… that seemed right… and black hair and black robes. He looked like a vampire. Was his da a vampire? Yes. Yes. They lived in the dungeons and away from the sun because he was a ...a … what was he again? Oh right.

“B-blood?” Elias mumbled, reaching over with the hand not currently being held and weakly patting the man’s head.

Severus raised an eyebrow at the mood swing and tried to understand where his son was going with his… bizarre statement. “Yes, your head was bleeding for a little while. It’s stopped now though.”

“...sty?” Elias asked, still not fully understanding something else was breathing for him.

Severus glared sternly at the boy as he started to put two and two together. “Tasty? I think not. I have no desire to drink your blood.”

Elias looked rather put out for a moment before looking around frantically once more as Severus looked tiredly at Madam Pomfrey. In all likelihood, he would continue to be this confused for several days if his previous ‘episode’ was anything to go by and he still had classes to teach, lessons to prepare for, and a house to run. He was certainly going to need more coffee in his life to get through this.

“Severus,” Madam Pomfrey said quietly, pulling him from his thoughts. “He needs to go to St. Mungo’s for evaluation. He may have an anoxic brain injury.”

Severus frowned at the statement. Would Healer Shannon’s forged paperwork be good enough to trick the healers at St. Mungo’s? What would they think of the state he was in? Would they be able to pick up on any discrepancies between his ‘history’ and his history. Was this going to be safe?

But how long had he been struggling to breathe before he was found?

Severus nodded before standing and summoning his travelling cloak. There was no way he would be leaving his son’s side. He trusted Madam Pomfrey’s judgement, but he was unsure of how the boy would respond to going to St. Mungo’s or what sort of treatment they would do to him while he was there.

“Severus, change your robes,” Madam Pomfrey said quietly before he managed to throw his cloak on. “Those ones are… not going to be well received.”

Looking down, Severus was rather surprised at himself. He had been so concerned about Elias he hadn’t changed out of his Death Eater robes. Typically, when he got back from a meeting or revel, changing out of the blasted robes was the first thing he did. They were quick enough to change out of, after all, and even in a rather delirious state he would be able to manage removing or at least transfiguring the offending garment.

With trembling hands, he undid the buttons on the front and slid the robe off, glad he had started wearing trousers under his robes after the … incident … with Potter in his fifth year. Summoning a clean robe from his wardrobe and sliding it on, he couldn’t help but wince at the feeling of putting clean clothing on. He had yet to shower or perform any of his normal morning absolutions, but that was not a priority right now. Getting his son treatment was.

“D-d-d…” Elias tried to say between breaths, struggling weakly against the sheets Madam Pomfrey was wrapping around him. “No!”

“We’ll have to go to the Hospital Wing first,” Madam Pomfrey said gently, securing the sheets to prevent Elias from flopping around too much once he was placed on the hovering stretcher she had conjured. “I have a direct Portkey to St. Mungo’s there. We’ll have to walk there though, I don’t want to risk him inhaling any soot or floo powder.”

“No!” Elias cried once more, eyes widening in panic as he continued to struggle against the sheets. Where were they going? Why were they taking a Portkey?! Was his da going to take him to the Dark Lord?! Where were they going?! “No!”

“Elias, stop!” Severus said as Madam Pomfrey levitated him to the stretcher and restrained him to it. “You stopped breathing; you almost died! You need to go to St. Mungo’s for an evaluation at least!”

Elias wasn’t hearing it though. Severus could tell he wasn’t paying any attention any longer. His eyes were glassed over as tears streamed from them unbidden down his cheeks. His chest heaved against the ventilation spell in a desperate attempt to get more air into his lungs. In fact, had it not been for the spell controlling his breathing, Severus was fairly certain he would be hyperventilating. His face looked rather ashen as the stretcher was levitated to a more optimal working height and he began sobbing in earnest as soon as the stretcher moved.

“Are you ready?” Madam Pomfrey said as Elias let out an ear piercing wail.

Severus nodded and ran his fingers through his son’s hair in an effort to calm him. Despite it being early in the morning, he was fairly certain they would come across at least one or two students on their journey to the hospital wing. Inevitably, there would be those students who either wanted to study something in the library or enjoyed an early morning jog through the castle.

“Elias, shh. You’re ok. You’re safe,” Severus said, continuing to card his hand through the boy’s hair as they walked quickly out of his quarters and into the dungeons.

“No p-p-p-port…. -ease no! P-p-p ….d-d-do it! P-pl…!” Elias continued to sob, trying to work his arms out of the sheets wrapped around him as they climbed the stairs.

“Shh, we’re going to the hospital wing first,” Severus said quietly, placing one hand on his son’s cheek as they walked, allowing Madam Pomfrey to steer the stretcher.

“N-n-no! No! Nooooo!” Elias continued before weakly attempting to throw himself off of the stretcher in spite of the restraints holding him safely on board. He was frantic. Something was controlling his breathing. He was tied down. He was wrapped in a sheet. They were moving him somewhere and he didn’t understand where or why. And they had said they were going to portkey him … somewhere.

Memories filtered in through the haze which had settled over him. The feel of wet grass against his ankles as he ran, the feeling of the restraints holding him against the headstone of Voldemort’s father. The high pitched laugh. The pain of his arm being sliced open and watching it drip into the awaiting cauldron below. His duel with Voldemort. Watching as Voldemort’s most recent victims’ souls fell from his wand one by one until finally his parents emerged. Cedric asking him to take his body back to Hogwarts. Feeling the waxy, cold, lifeless skin under his fingers as he frantically summoned the cup for the return trip to Hogwarts.

“Harry… take my body back, will you? Take my body back to my parents…”

The cup slammed into his hand and a hook jerked behind his navel. Cedric’s eyes, cold and lifeless, stared up at him as the band played and the spectators cheered.

And all he could do was scream.

With OWLs fast approaching, she knew she was going to have to increase the number of hours she spent studying. Just spending her evenings reviewing the textbooks in the dorms wasn’t going to cut it any more. If she was going to be successful in her OWLs and even remotely have a chance at getting into some of her more desired classes for NEWTs. OWLs were make or break in her mind and she had to be prepared.

Making her way down from Gryffindor, she relished the stillness of the castle. Few people were up, especially from her own house, and even the portraits were still sleeping quietly. It was perfect and serene and allowed her mind to wander somewhat during her walk.

Suddenly a faint scream echoed through the stairwell, dragging her from her thoughts. Had she been near the second floor toilets, she would have thought it was just Myrtle carrying on about some fictitious atrocity committed against her and how everyone was out to make fun of her. But no, that scream came from a different direction entirely. It sounded as though it came from the dungeons.

Odd. None of the dungeon ghosts were known for making noise. Even Peeves didn’t scream; he just caused other people to do so.

Curiosity won over as she continued down the stairs past the library and towards the sound of crying. Whoever it was sounded terrified with the way they were carrying on. Had Filch actually managed to get a hold of a student? Or perhaps Umbridge had.

“Noooooo!” the wail echoed through the hall as she slunk closer. It seemed they were heading in the direction of the Hospital Wing.


Hermione froze momentarily before sprinting around the corner and looking towards the Hospital Wing before ducking into an alcove so as to not get caught by Professor Snape or Madam Pomfrey. There was only one person she knew of who was currently at Hogwarts with a stutter. One person who lived in the dungeons and would likely be going to the Hospital Wing. One person who most certainly would be being escorted by Snape.


“P-p-plea…” Elias’s voice cut of mid-wail as he took a breath in, seemingly not of his own volition. “...key! No!”

“Elias, shh,” she could just hear Snape say as he tried to get the boy to focus on him. “You’re safe. You’re going to be safe.”

“NO!!” Elias cried once more as the trio strode into the hospital wing, the doors slamming partially shut behind them.

Hermione sank to the floor as his wails continued to echo in her ears despite the silencing charms on the hospital wing door. Something was wrong. Terribly, terrifyingly wrong. And if Ron’s theory held up…

Pulling herself to her feet and casting a notice-me-not charm around her, she quietly tip-toed to the door and snuck inside and hid in a corner. Studying for OWLs would have to wait; this was far more important.

“-first,” Madam Pomfrey was saying as she scampered through the door. “It’ll be only a moment, then we can dial in the Portkey-”

Elias whimpered loudly, his eyes darting around the room as though searching for unknown assailants. Hermione had to hold back a gasp as she witnessed him attempt to flip himself off of the stretcher, only to have Snape gingerly hold his head so he couldn’t throw it around. She could see his arms and legs moving under the sheet, but they seemed to be moving slower than usual. It was as though the muscles in them were weakened by a curse.

‘Or a potion,’ Hermione thought, looking at Snape. Who would have thought the man could be anything other than acerbic towards everyone?

“-dial in the Portkey to the correct ward.”

Snape nodded as Madam Pomfrey turned to the fireplace and floo’d away before turning back to his son who was continuing to look around frightfully. With a sigh, he removed a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped the tears from his son’s face. “Hush, Elias. You need to go get evaluated.”

“No!” Elias whimpered, squirming under the sheets.

“Yes,” Snape said, acting as though his son’s answer was actually in line with the conversation. “Elias you stopped breathing. You scared me.”


“This is the safest way to get you to St. Mungo’s. It will likely not make you feel as ill as apparation or the floo,” Snape said softly, running his fingers through Elias’s hair.

From her spot in the corner, Hermione swore she could just make out a bruise forming on the boy’s forehead right where Harry’s scar would be. The few remains of the ‘other’ scar which were hidden below the larger one from this summer were clean, though they looked as though they had recently scabbed over. A scabbed over scar and a fear of Portkeys.

“Harry,” she breathed as Madam Pomfrey exited the floo and pulled out what looked rather similar to a kitchen timer.

“Ward 34,” she said, bustling over with the device. “They want to monitor his breathing more closely.”

Snape nodded and stood back as she attached the device to the stretcher before grabbing onto one of the handles. After a brief countdown, they disappeared, Elias’s final cry for help hanging in the air.

Hermione stepped out of the corner in a daze and stumbled to the spot they were just in. Harry. Elias. They were one in the same. Ron was right, and right in a way that made her stomach hurt. Something had happened to him, something which led to him needing hospitalized. Something which he couldn’t talk about. Something Snape was trying to help him with. Something which Snape was so invested in he stopped being mean.

Something which seemed to be killing him.

He looked so much worse than he had over the summer. His stutter had been there, but even the little bit she had heard since was much more pronounced. He wasn’t well. He shook worse.

He had stopped breathing.

Hermione sat on the footboard of one of the beds in shock. Was he dying? Was he actually dying? Surely someone else had to have known what was going on.

Professor Lupin! Surely he knew. That had to be the real reason he was here. He knew what was going on with Harry and was there to help cover for him. That was the only explanation. The only reason Professor Snape had been so hospitable to the man and willing to allow him around his ‘son,’ if they could even call him that.

Harry was dying. She couldn’t believe it. Why was it so important to keep this a secret from them?

If they were going to find more evidence that was who he really was, they were going to need to do so quickly. She wasn’t about to rush headlong into accusations again; she fully planned on finding evidence to back up her suspicions. And Professor Lupin would be a good place to start.
To be continued...
End Notes:
Another short-ish chapter, I know, but I don't think I'm going to be able to post another on my normal posting schedule this week. I work a weird schedule this weekend and won't have much time to write to stay ahead. So you get this.
Chapter 34 by DesertPlanet
Something strange had happened in the dungeons and the whole school could tell.

The typically punctual Slytherins had all appeared at breakfast at roughly the same time, many of whom seemed to be barely holding themselves together. A few of the older students were pale as ghosts and even the younger ones held a rather flat affect around themselves. The fifth years seemed to be the most affected by what it was, a few of the girls could be seen surreptitiously wiping tears from their eyes as they tried to stomach some breakfast and the boys were nearly catatonic.

From amongst the ranks of the fifth years, Theodore Nott was missing and Draco Malfoy showed up later than the rest, eyes rimmed in red, only to sit at the table and stare at the plate in front of him.

As if these occurrences weren’t enough to cause alarm in the rest of the student populace, the lack of appearance of Professor Snape and the announcement that Potion’s class was cancelled for the day certainly were enough to bring everyone’s attention to the oddness which surrounded Slytherin. When Professor Snape finally did come in, nearly half an hour after the last of the Slytherins had entered the hall and looking both clean and haggard at the same time, the entire school was whispering rumors as to what could have occurred.

“Severus, are you ok?” Remus whispered to his colleague, fully expecting to be hit with one of his patented glares.

Severus only nodded, however, and allowed his long hair to fall in front of his face, effectively blocking his face from being seen as he sipped on a cup of lukewarm tea.

“Don’t do that, Snape,” Remus said with a sigh. “We aren’t students any -“

“Oh, Severus!” Umbridge’s high pitched voice cut through the conversation like broken glass. “I’m so glad to see you’re well! I can assume you’ve decided to rethink cancelling your classes for the day? After all, this would be considered an unexcused sick day…”

“I have not, nor will I be considering resuming classes for today,” Severus seethed, his fingers tightening around the teacup until they were white. “I do not see why my taking a personal day is any of your concern anyways, Delores.”

“Have you not seen?” Umbridge squealed delightedly, a malicious grin spreading across her squat face as she shoved the morning paper in front of the man. “The minister has made me the High Inquisitor! Therefore, all requests for time off must go through me!”

Severus gritted his teeth as his grip cracked the teacup in his hands. He only had made an appearance in the Great Hall to show his Slytherins that he was there for them during their time of trouble. Thomas Nott had a great benefactor for the house, providing funds for many of the more luxurious items available to students of Slytherin house as well as routinely assisting purebloods of any caste in finding well paying positions within the Ministry or appropriate apprenticeships. A kind man he was not, but he was influential in many ways and knew how and where to throw his power. The announcement of his death was not only devastating to his only son, but to the house as a whole.

What the house needed now was stability. Many of the more underprivileged upperclassmen had been banking on the man pulling them from the darkness of their home lives. They had worked hard to gain his favor only to have the opportunities provided to them ripped away. Even the younger students were able to wrap their brains around how devastating of a loss it was for the House as a whole.

Theodore Nott had been upset, however he had not been inconsolable. The loss of his father had struck him hard though he managed to stay well put together as Severus told him the news. He had been removed from the school and sent to be with his paternal grandparents to allow them to mourn as a family. The announcement of his fathers death was then made to the entire house before breakfast to allow them time to process what had happened. Should they need additional time, Severus had made sure to allow them to not go to classes for the next few days as they waded through the uncertainty it left them in.

It wasn’t until after he had made the announcement of the elder Nott’s death that he then announced he would not be in the castle as much over the next few days as he wished to be with Elias at St. Mungo’s. While the death of the Nott patriarch no longer being alive had shaken the house to its core, the announcement Elias had been hospitalized had been too much for several students to bear. Chaos had reigned in the house for several minutes as the students pondered if the two events were connected, a thought Severus was quick to stop though he himself was wondering the same thing.

“Madam, I am unsure if you are aware of this, but time off can only be asked for if the person is planning to take it,” Severus hissed through his teeth as he set the cracked cup down and spelled spilled tea off of his robes. “And I certainly was not planning to hospitalize my son this morning.”

Standing quickly, Severus heard several muffled gasps from behind him as he quickly fled the hall, heart pounding. He should have eaten breakfast in his quarters. Yes, his house needed their head for support, but he wasn’t sure how much support he could give. He needed to go back to St. Mungo’s anyways; they had needed to sedate Elias again once they arrived on the unit. While he tried to trust the healers working with his son to keep him safe, his own guilt and paranoia wouldn’t allow him to rest without being near him.

Would this have happened if he hadn’t gone to that meeting? He still felt the lowered amounts of fulgur in his son’s system was what had contributed to the current situation he was in, but he couldn’t be sure. His being at that meeting had certainly prevented him from catching this exacerbation in a timely manner.

Elias had almost died because he was acting as a spy. Lily’s son had stopped breathing because of him, because he wasn’t there to stop it.

“Severus, stop!” Remus’s voice said behind him as he neared the stairs to the dungeons. “What happened? Was it Elias?”

Severus froze, at the top of the stairs and looked down them sadly, his chest heaving and his mind whirling.

“What happened,” Remus quietly said once more, approaching him slowly.

Severus stared into the darkness of the dungeons, wanting nothing more than to allow it to embrace him even for a moment before he was once more thrust into the world of bright white and sterile equipment. The darkness seeped into his soul, drawing him deeper and deeper as he swallowed hard. He drew his robes around him and allowed his hair to fall in front of his face much as he had done when he was a student walking these halls. No one could see his face; no one could see his anguish.


With a deep breath, he looked over his shoulder slightly at his former classmate and beckoned him to follow him into the dungeons. He couldn’t speak of this here, not near the portraits. Not near something or someone who could report back to the headmaster.

Remus frowned but followed him down the stairs and into the bowels of Hogwarts, his suspicions of something foul being afoot rising when Severus allowed him into his quarters and several quick wards were thrown up. Severus’s normally pristine and well organized quarters were in chaos. Cabinet doors were thrown open, a chair had been knocked over, and every light in the quarters was on. Doors to every room were open, Death Eater robes haphazardly thrown over the back of the sofa, his mask lay partially hidden under a fallen blanket on an armchair, and even shoes were thrown against one wall of the living room as though he had frantically changed from one set of robes to another.

This was not the organized Severus he knew.

“Severus, what…?”

“Elias stopped breathing this morning,” Severus said, interrupting him as he collapsed into his armchair, holding his head in his hands. “Had I been any later getting back, he would have been dead.”

Remus gasped and sat down quickly on the sofa near her colleague. “What?! Is he ok now?”

Severus shook his head and ran his shaking hands through his hair. He hadn’t slept for nearly a day and a half and had only had enough time to take a quick shower before breakfast after speaking with his Slytherin’s about what had happened last night. He was exhausted, mentally and physically.

Swallowing heavily, he finally answered “the hope is, whatever caused this ‘episode,’ does not occur again. Even so, the chance of him leaving St. Mungo’s and leading an even remotely normal life is … slim.”

“Severus, I’m so sorry!” Remus said, transfiguring a handkerchief from a small piece of lint and handing it to the man. “How are you holding up?”

“Not well,” Severus said with a snort before his face fell into an unreadable expression as the memory of finding Elias washed over him. “He looked like her, Lupin. He looked so much like her.

“What do you mean?” Remus asked quietly, looking at his colleague in concern. This was by far the most emotion anyone had seen out of the man since the Potter’s deaths nearly fourteen years ago.

“He looked like his mother when…” Severus muttered before snapping his jaw shut as his brain caught up with what his mouth was saying.

“When what?” Remus pressed, leaning in. The idea of Severus being close to anyone other than Lily was a surprise, yet whenever the question of who Elias’s mother was was introduced, Severus always seemed rather wistful. Clearly they had been close for a while at least.

“Where does your allegiance lie?” Severus said after a long moment, voice clipped as he began to pace around the living room.

Remus frowned as he glanced at the robes thrown over the sofa and surreptitiously began fingering his wand. “I have always fought for the light, Severus.”

“But to whom does your allegiance lie?” Severus continued pushing. “With Dumbledore, or do you fight for the light within the wizarding world?”

“What do you mean?” Remus asked, watching Severus with concern. The man seemed to be debating something as he paced, checking the clock on the wall several times as though running out of time.

“If, theoretically, Dumbledore had done something unforgivable, would you continue to follow him blindly?”

Remus frowned at the thought. Dumbledore had given him a chance and allowed him to attend a wizarding school despite having been a werewolf for years. He had made arrangements for his monthly transformations, made sure he was well cared for while in school, and worked with his professors to accommodate him when he needed more time for assignments. He had been allowed to join the order despite being a dark creature. He had even been given the job as Defense professor two years ago and, again, accommodations were made for him. Even now, he was here as a request from Dumbledore himself.

But Dumbledore was but a man, and no man is infallible.

“I would need context,” Remus said slowly. “He allowed Sirius to be imprisoned with no trial because he was certain Sirius had been the Potter’s secret keeper. We all were, but look how that turned out. But I’m assuming this is not the situation you are ‘theoretically’ speaking of.”

Severus nodded and sighed before carefully choosing his words, “a child was … removed... from its family years ago and placed with … other relations… for the express purpose of forming it into a self sacrificing individual. It’s relatives were neglectful at best, abusive at worse, and led this child to believe it had no worth. Once it became a teen, this child began to perform extremely selfless acts, nearly leading to its death on multiple occasions. It was rewarded for acting in such a manner by Dumbledore and, indeed, was encouraged to continue acting this way. This child was being raised to be a voluntary sacrifice for a prophecy.”

Remus sat back in the armchair he was sitting in and folded his hands in thought. “So the options are to follow Dumbledore and kill the child or save the child and go against Dumbledore?”

“Yes,” Severus said, looking at the clock once more.

“No child deserves to be treated or raised like that,” Remus said softly. “None of them. Especially not you.”

Severus stopped pacing for a moment, and looked at the werewolf in confusion. “This isn’t about me, wolf. This is about… someone else.”

“Ah,” Remus said, blushing slightly. He knew Severus’s childhood hadn’t been ideal, but he knew very little of the details outside of a few bits of information he remembered Lily mentioning years ago when she was pregnant. She and Severus had been friends since before they started Hogwarts so she had known many of the details of his homelife and what had led to him making some of the decisions he had. She had told them many tales of growing up and how her sister and Severus didn’t get along. In fact, he vaguely remembered Lily saying James and her sister probably would’ve gotten along well in their hatred of Severus though her sister hated the entire magical world.

Remus narrowed his eyes as another probably ‘theoretical’ candidate for Severus’s question came to mind. “Theoretically speaking, was this child placed with his relatives after his parent’s demise?”

Severus smirked slightly before frowning and nodding and continuing to pace.

“Severus?” Remus asked. “Did you find Harry?”

“No,” Severus was quick to respond. “No. He found me.”

Severus quietly entered Ward 34 at St Mungo’s and winced at the volley of coughs he heard from one of the other patients. It was a painful, wrenching cough which made his own chest hurt. Thankfully the ward didn’t have anyone with any kind of infections in it at the time, only a few poor souls who had been the victim of a potions accident. Few of them would be staying long, thankfully.

The ward was a long room with individual beds along one wall with curtains spelled to prevent the spread of droplets between them. Those involved in the potions accident were near the entrance to the room where they continued to bicker amongst each other as to what turn of events had led to the explosion and if they ought to retry the experiment once they were released. The other wall was taken up by desks and cabinets with various potions to improve lung function and oxygenation. Two ward matrons flitted from patient to patient, dosing potions and encouraging them to try getting up and moving.

In the far back corner of the ward, away from the other patients, was a lone bed which had its curtains pulled. A sign was pinned to the curtains with a spell reminding the matrons that double verification was required for certain potions this patient was getting so as to not give the incorrect amount.

With a sigh, Severus quickly strode through the ward, nodded to the head matron, and ducked into the curtains, nearly ignoring the man behind him. Once inside, he quickly threw up a silencing spell so they could speak freely.

Elias lay on the bed looking for all intents and purposes as though he had just curled up and fallen asleep under the covers. It was not a restful sleep, however. His hair was rather mussed up and matted down with sweat, salt tracks remained on his cheeks from tears, and his knees and elbows were pulled in as though he were protecting himself. As Severus watched, Elias took a deep, controlled breath and let it out.

“He still has the spell breathing for him,” Severus murmured, conjuring a soft rag and gently wiping his son’s face, ignoring Elias’s moan of discomfort.

“Is he still sedated?” Remus asked, looking worriedly at the boy on the bed as Elias moaned once more and weakly tried to swat his father’s hand away from his face.

“I believe so,” Severus said, gently taking Elias’s hand and tucking it back under his chin where it had been. “He … didn’t tolerate being transported here very well.”

“Portkey?” Remus asked as he took a seat on the opposite side from where Severus stood.

Severus frowned at him suspiciously. “Yes. It threw him into an absolute panic.”

“He told me he had a ‘friend’ who used a portkey with him and ended up dying,” Remus said sadly. “It seems so obvious who he is now, but at the time I could only think of how we would be able to cope with this fear of his and make it to a muggle library.”

Severus closed his eyes and nodded as he put two and two together. Why hadn’t he thought of it sooner? Of course Elias would be terrified of using a Portkey; he had limited interactions with them previously as he was muggle-raised and the last time he used one had been a horrific experience for him. Who knows what he was thinking in his confused state when he felt the pull of the portkey on him. For all he knew, he was being taken back to the Dark Lord’s side. If he didn’t have a bit of shell-shock from that entire encounter, Severus would be surprised.

“Any idea how long he’s going to be asleep?” Remus asked quietly, resisting the urge to tuck the boy in. Severus had warned him that his nerves were still rather sensitive and some sensations would cause him quite a bit of pain.

“The healers wanted to keep him in a healing sleep for at least two days as he was so panicked when we came in,” Severus said as he took the chair on the opposite side of the bed. “They may keep him under longer while they adjust his potions to prevent the spasms which led to him being in such a state from happening again.”

Remus nodded sadly as he looked at the boy. Seeing him now, asleep and ominously still, it was easy to see Lily in him. James truly was not the boy’s father, a fact Remus was still coming to terms with. However, whether or not James had been his biological father, he certainly had been his dad.

James had been so proud when Harry was born. Even while Lily was recovering from the rather difficult birth, James had been proudly walking his newborn son around and introducing him to anyone who walked by. Even when the healers took the baby back from him and allowed Lily to hold him, James couldn’t take his eyes off the boy. Remus doubted that his reaction would have been any different had Harry come out looking more like Severus; James had always wanted to be a father and wasn’t about to pass on the chance.

It was surprising how much Harry had looked like James, but Remus (and everyone else) had assumed it was just the Potter genetics. James had looked an awful lot like his father, after all, and it only made sense that those genes were strong. Knowing now that there was a potion in play at the time, Remus doubted the validity of the ‘it’s just genetics’ claim but there was no real way to test that after his death.

Elias was still Harry, despite their looks being quite different. It was just a different name and face to the person, but the person underneath was still the same.

“Would he have had this if that potion was still active?” Remus asked Severus, though he never took his eyes off Elias's sleeping form.

“No,” Severus said, shaking his head. “But the potion’s failure happening at the same time as the third task was what led to this occurring.”

“He never should have been allowed to enter,” Remus said, anger burning in his voice. “He was fourteen; he never should have been allowed to be in that damned tournament.”

Severus nodded and steepled his fingers. “No, and yet Dumbledore allowed it. It was a farce of a magical contract if ever there was one. Dumbledore could very easily have refused him entry as he was not of legal age to enter, for one.”

“And yet, he didn’t,” Remus growled, amber bleeding into his irises.

“Calm yourself, wolf,” Severus spat back. “You making a scene will only make this situation worse. As is, it is already difficult to explain.”

“Do you know why he hired me two years ago?” Remus growled once more, standing and beginning to pace angrily within the small, curtained cubicle. “Because he thought I would know Sirius’s hiding places from when we were students and because we were friends. I wasn’t hired to protect Harry; I was hired to be a lure for Sirius.”

“I am aware of this,” Severus said with a roll of his eyes. “I fought against your employment for much the same reason. Were you ever made aware of the events of the year previous to your year of teaching?”

“The Chamber of Secrets?” Remus asked rhetorically. “I heard Harry fought a Basilisk.”

Severus snorted but paused in his explanation as Elias slowly stirred, stretched his legs, and fell back asleep.

“That isn’t even the half of it,” Severus said with a frustrated sigh. “The Weasley girl was being possessed by a dark artifact imbued with the soul of the Dark Lord himself. The basilisk had been set on the school no less than three times, all roosters in the vicinity of the castle were killed, and even the spiders had fled. Pomona and I had begged the Headmaster to evacuate the school or at least allow us to move our houses out of the lower floors and away from where the attacks were occurring but our requests were denied.”

“The school itself should have been evacuated until the Basilisk was found,” Remus said disbelievingly. “The students attending Hogwarts represent over ninety percent of the British and Irish wizarding population of that age bracket. If the basilisk had truly begun hunting, it would have been devastating to the British wizarding world.”

“Especially with fertility being as low as it has been,” Severus said, nodding. “The wizarding world is not a large one. But that’s not all; Dumbledore had hired the most incompetent wizard possible to teach Defense that year. Lucius Malfoy had attempted to have Dumbledore removed from his post for incompetence in his handling of the situation, but the situation was largely out of control by that time. With Dumbledore out of the way, Lockhart saw this as his opportunity to try and gain even more fame. To my understanding, he thoroughly planned to obliviate both Mr. Weasley and El- Harry at the same time, leaving the young Weasley girl to perish. He had no intention of fighting the basilisk, only to make it seem as though he were rescuing the two boys.

“Elias told me some of what happened that year down in the Chamber. Apparently he was given some sort of assistance, likely from the headmaster, while he was battling both the snake and the soul of the Dark Lord.”

Remus raised an eyebrow. If anything, he had learned in the last hour that Dumbledore’s version of ‘assistance’ for Harry was rarely what any sane adult would think would be helpful in the slightest.

“Apparently the headmaster sent his phoenix and the Sorting Hat to help him.”

Remus blinked for a moment in disbelief as Severus’s words sunk in. There was no way. “He what?”

“You heard me correctly,” Severus said with a grimace. “That was the ‘assistance’ the man sent to a twelve year old to help him battle a possessed diary and a snake as old as Hogwarts herself.”

Remus sat open mouthed for a moment before bursting out into hysterical laughter. The level of ridiculousness of the entire situation was insane. The image of Harry picking up the old, tattered sorting hat and using it as a helmet stuck in his head and made him laugh even harder. And they hadn’t even broached the topic of You-Know-Who being in the school literally attached to a professor during Harry’s first year. Was there no vetting process to who Dumbledore hired at all?

Severus sat back in his chair glowering at the other man. It wasn’t funny in the slightest to him; Dumbledore had a death wish for his son and would do nothing to actively prevent him from running headlong into dangerous situations. And lying between them was the result of the man’s manipulation.

“My apologies, Severus,” Remus said when he finally regained his composure. “The idea of sending the sorting hat as a means of fighting a basilisk is absurd.”

“I cannot argue that,” Severus agreed with a sigh. “I had only hoped he would not manage to find himself in such a situation this year, but alas, that appears not to be the case.”
To be continued...
End Notes:
Ha! And you thought Hermione was going to blow it!
Chapter 35 by DesertPlanet
Hermione and Ron sat uneasily in a back corner of the library, surrounded by potions books and manuals. They had slowly gathered the materials over the past few days and had begun the process of digging through the information in an effort to find anything at all about potions which could permanently change someone’s looks. They had only managed to make it through a few books each, but now found themselves with an entire extra period in which to research as potions class had been cancelled yet again.

“Do you think he’s ok?” Ron whispered as he picked up a small manual and flipped through it lazily. Most of the smaller manuals they had found on potions which changed one’s appearance had been geared towards women looking to enhance their looks, however these potions were rarely long acting and had some rather nasty side effects including dying the user’s skin varying colors.

“He may just be in their rooms,” Hermione whispered back as she scribbled down some notes before grabbing a second book to cross reference a piece of newly found information. “Or maybe he got sick from someone.”

“You think?” Ron said, looking up worriedly.

“You never know,” Hermione said, setting the second book down with a sigh and scribbling out several paragraphs of notes. It was a crapshoot that any of the books in the library had any information on what potion Harry had been on, or was still on, which had changed his appearance so drastically. “Have you managed to talk to Professor Lupin?”

Ron shook his head and put down the manual in his pile of useless information. “I haven’t even seen him here since the day all of the Slytherin’s were acting weird and Elias went missing.”

Hermione worried her lip as she set down her book once more. No one had seen Elias in days and the Slytherins were refusing to say what happened. No announcement had been made in the Great Hall, so she could only assume he was alive at the very least. But she had also overheard an upper year Slytherin whispering about how he ‘couldn’t believe he was dead.’ Even Snape had seemed more on edge over the past few days.

It made sense that Professor Lupin wasn’t there anymore if Elias was gone. He was only there to tutor the boy anyways. It was just unfortunate that they hadn’t figured out who Elias really was sooner.

“Do you think he’s alive?” Hermione sniffled. “Even if Elias isn’t Harry, do you think Harry’s alive?”

Ron swallowed and looked down at his stack of books. This was not what he wanted to be doing during his fifth year. He wanted to be wandering the corridors with his best friend, laughing about some ridiculous fortune they had made up for Divination. He wanted to be flying around the pitch with Harry, feeling the wind in his hair and knowing that there was no way he would ever be able to catch the other boy on the Cleansweep he had borrowed from the school. He wanted to be commiserating with his friend about how awful Umbridge was.

He didn’t want to spend hours of his life pouring over tomes trying to find a possible potion which could explain why Harry looked different in every single respect. This wasn’t what teenagers did in their spare time.

“I don’t know, Hermione,” Ron snapped. “I don’t want to think about it either.”

“What other reason could there be for even Hedwig to not be able to find him?” Hermione pondered, wiping her eyes quickly so as not to let the tears fall onto the fragile parchment of the book in her hands.. “The only thing I found when I was trying to figure that out was that post-owls will return undeliverable mail if the recipient’s magical signature is different.”

Ron stopped for a moment before frowning. Were they going about this wrong? Was it possible it was more complicated than just appearance? If it weren’t for the fact it was Harry, he would have wondered why someone would think to hide their magical signature. As it was, however, Harry hiding even his magical signature was allowing him to stay farther away from You-Know-Who even though they now shared blood.

“‘Mione,” Ron said quietly. “Is there a way to cross reference books on hiding someone’s magical signature and long term appearance potions?”

“Morning, Louise,” Remus said with a small smile as he entered Ward 34. “How’re you doing?”

The ward matron frowned at the thin man as he strode towards the curtained off corner of the room. He wasn’t family of the poor lad, but he was helpful so they couldn’t rightly kick him out, especially since the lad’s father had to work. “If you put up another silencing charm on those curtains, I’ll have you removed permanently.”

“Understood,” Remus said sheepishly, though his smile widened. He and Snape had been discussing plans for Elias’s future the last time he had come to visit Elias’s bedside and the discussion got rather… heated. They had put a silencing charm on the curtains as had become their standard when discussing the boy, but were unaware of the number of monitoring spells the bed contained. Apparently their ‘discussion’ was loud enough to cause Elias some distress and next thing they knew the curtains were thrown open, the healers in the ward were swarming around the boy, and a rather harried guard found himself trying to escort a known werewolf and a former Death Eater away from the ward.

They were eventually allowed to come back though they were under no illusions that such behavior would be allowed again.

“Oh, Mr. Lupin,” one of the other healers called from across the ward as she saw him approach the curtained off corner. “One moment please!”

Remus paused, hand on the curtain, uncertain as to what the healer would want to speak with him about. He was certainly not the decision maker in Elias’s care, so there was really no reason for the healers to speak with him other than to give him updates on the boy’s status. Even then, they greatly preferred to give updates when Severus was around so they wouldn’t have to repeat themselves.

It wasn’t like there was much to update on anyways. Elias had had a rough couple of days when he first came to St. Mungo’s. A multitude of tests involving a variety of magical disciplines were completed over the course of the first twenty-four hours, some of which were so borderline dark Remus was shocked they were allowed. Then Elias had some sort of reaction to one of the runic wards placed on him and had several seizures throughout the day.

The healers were initially extremely concerned, however a quick consult to the healers in charge of long-term spell damage showed this was likely a result of the dark magic embedded in the boy’s system from the Cruciatus. That was their working theory, however Severus was concerned it was possibly something more sinister. There wasn’t a good way to covertly ask the healer if it was actually caused by a connection to You-Know-Who without revealing who Elias actually was.

After the tests were complete and the runic ward removed, there was little change in his status. The decision had been made to keep him in a healing sleep for a bit longer to allow his body and core to recuperate and rest more, but outside of that little had been done. The spell which had been breathing for him had been removed a few days ago and he was doing well maintaining his own airway, though the healers did note he snored slightly when lying on his back.

“Sorry,” the healer apologized as she quickly washed her hands and approached Remus. “This is going to be a strange question, but you are his tutor, correct?”

“Yes,” Remus said, raising an eyebrow and looking at her curiously. “I just started working with him this year, however, so I don’t think I could answer any questions about...”

“Oh, no, no!” the healer interrupted with a laugh. “No questions about his mental capabilities. Had he ordered any books from America? We received a package for him the other day and it just contained books.”

Remus blinked in confusion before nodding. With everything going on, he had honestly forgotten about the request to Ilvermorny that Elias had sent nearly a month ago. It wasn’t surprising that it had taken as long as it had to receive the books, it was just a pity they arrived when they did. “He requested them about a month ago.”

“Oh, good,” the healer said, turning to a locked cabinet and opening it with a flick of her wand before pulling out a rather sizable box. “There’s only three books in here, but I still need you to sign for it. Just policy, you know.”

Remus nodded, accepting the box and signing the accompanying parchment. Three books? That was more than Hogwarts and Durmstrang had on the topic combined. It was a pity Elias wasn’t awake to revel in this knowledge.

The Durmstrang book had been interesting, however it left a lot of questions in Remus’s mind. He had allowed Elias to struggle through it first, however he found himself wondering about its contents and couldn’t help but borrow it from the boy once he was admitted to the hospital. Elias’s passion for the project was catching, even when he himself was unable to work on it. With Elias unable to work on it, Remus found himself subconsciously thinking about the questions Elias was trying to answer more frequently than he cared to admit.

He needed answers and if Elias wasn’t going to be able to work on the project, he felt drawn to work on it himself.

The muggle world was a bit of a mystery to him despite having lived in it briefly several times throughout his life. He had never tried to live as a muggle, however. There was no point. Why would he feel the need to use some of their devices when magic could do the same thing but faster? It seemed this was rapidly changing, however, and muggle studies was simply not keeping up despite the interaction between magic and electricity showing no signs of abating.

If the books from Ilvermorny were able to shed any light on this interaction, it could possibly lead to the breakthrough they needed to begin to understand what was going on.

Entering the curtains with the box, Remus quickly sat on the chair closest to the sleeping boy’s head and placed the box on the bedside table.

“Good morning, Elias. Your books from Ilvermorny finally arrived,” Remus said softly to the sleeping boy, knowing that he wouldn’t be able to respond even if he wanted to. “Let’s see what they sent you.”

Pulling the first book out of the box, Remus was rather dismayed to find it was old. Extremely old and rather weathered, its pages yellowed and fragile, its spine cracking ominously when it opened. Remus’s heart sank as he read the title page and found the book to have come out the same year as Elias’s much read “Muggle Magic.” In fact, the title was very nearly the same, however the term muggle had been replaced with ‘No-Maj.’ Flipping through the book, he found it to be nearly the exact same as the book Elias had obsessed over for nearly two weeks only Americanized.

“Sorry, Elias,” Remus muttered sadly, setting the first book to the side in frustration. “This doesn’t look overly promising. The first book in the box was just an American copy of your ‘Muggle Magic’ book.”

Pulling the next book out of the box, Remus immediately let out a sigh of relief. This looked more promising. The cover of the book looked much more up to date, however the binding material looked slightly different from any of the magically produced books made in Europe. It was a minor detail, he knew, but he couldn’t help but notice the binding felt odd.

But the book was relatively up to date, and that was what mattered in a research project of this magnitude.

“This one looks promising,” Remus muttered, more to himself than to Elias.

Opening it, he found it to be about the growth of the American muggle city and the industrial revolution. Flipping through it, he was enthralled with the few pictures he found. Muggle machinery taking up entire floors of buildings, poles covered in wires which stretched to every building and seemingly every corner of the Earth, even a town in a desert covered in bright lights of every color. It may not have any explanation for the interaction between electricity and magic, but it seemed to be an interesting read no matter what.

“I think you’ll like that one,” Remus said, gently placing the book on top of the first book and looking sadly at Elias who had pulled his knees closer to his chest and wrapped one hand over his head as though he were trying to protect it.

While there hadn’t been any evidence of physical abuse at the Dursley’s, both Remus and Snape had come to the agreement that there was a very high possibility that there had been some sort of harassment the boy had had to deal with while growing up. Even the healers had been concerned when they saw the way he would try to protect himself even while in a healing sleep. The spell would keep him asleep after all, but he would be able to turn himself a bit should he be uncomfortable. The fact he instinctively chose to ball himself up spoke volumes.

Remus sighed and ran his fingers through his hair before reaching into the box and pulling the final book from the depths of the box. A children’s book?

“The Legend of Thunder Boy?” Remus read, opening the simplistically illustrated book and revelling in the artwork. It seemed to be a native story about why the people of a particular tribe did not fear the thunder which came with the spring rains. But why would this book get sent with other books which were obviously about electricity? “Well, Elias, I guess I’ve found what I’ll read to you today.”

Opening the book to the first page, Remus cleared his throat and looked down at the boy as though he were paying attention.

“Long, long ago a man and his wife and their daughter lived alone on an island in the country of the Ha… hau-den-o-saunee,” Remus frowned at the name, struggling to pronounce the unfamiliar word. He may have been used to struggling through the Latin texts of the magical world, but American Indian words were a beast in and of themselves. “The family raised corn, beans and squash in their large garden. One day, as the family toiled outside, the sky grew very dark. Clouds blocked the sun as they gathered swiftly overhead.

“The father yelled to his wife and daughter telling them to seek shelter in their longhouse before the heavy downpour ensued. The mother also yelled for her daughter, telling her to quit her work and come into the house.

“After issuing their warning the parents fled to their home. Before they could make it half way home heavy rain began to fall. Lightning illuminated the sky and thunder rumbled above them. When they reached their home they waited for their daughter. The couple believed their child was following behind. When she did not arrive they thought she had sought shelter in the forest to escape the storm.”

Remus took a moment to watch as the illustrations in the book fled from the black clouds rolling in, bringing with them flashes of lightning and rain. He had heard tales of how the storms in America were extremely violent, rivalling the worst storms whipped up by the North Sea, but with destruction that was horrifying in its intensity. He could only imagine how terrifying such a storm would be to be caught out in.

“As the rain abated,” he continued, flipping to the next page. “The parents returned to the field to look for their child. But, the search was in vain. Their calls went unanswered. With heavy hearts, they went back to their home. ‘The Thunder People have taken her away from us,’ said the mother, as she wiped away her tears.

“The mother’s fears were not unfounded. Before the storm hit the island, the daughter was indeed working in the field. She heard her parents’ cries to stop her work and come home. She dropped her hoe and started to follow them.

“But her flight was impeded. Without any warning a sudden heavy mist surrounded her, and she became very dizzy. Suddenly, she felt herself being lifted up into the sky. Dazed and unable to resist, she was carried far up above the earth. The girl eventually found herself in a strange land. Upon being placed back on the ground, she saw a little man – the one who had brought her to this strange place.”

Remus frowned as he tried to figure out what species the ‘little man’ could have been. An elf, possibly? Or maybe a goblin? Though surely the girl would have been more afraid to be taken in by a goblin. Or perhaps these were the original beings who tended to the great American thunderbird?

“The little man took her by the hand and led her to a long council house. Upon entering the house, the girl saw many other little men, all of whom stared at her unabashedly. At the far end of the house, the chief of the little people sat. The little chief appeared to be very angry when he saw the girl and her escort.

“‘Son,” said the chief, ‘Why would you bring an earth person to our country?’

“‘Father,’ replied the son, ‘I saw her working in the field and fell instantly in love with her. I had to have her for my own, so I brought her to our country.’

“The chief’s anger remained. He told his son that the girl should stay upon the earth, that her ways were very different. ‘She cannot eat snails, bugs and worms as we do,’ said the chief. ‘But if you insist on keeping her with you, you must return to earth and bring back food for her. Remember, the ways of the Thunder People are different from the ways of the Earth People.’”

These ‘small men’ certainly sounded more like elves, possibly related to the Veela, though Remus resigned himself to being left in the dark as to what species they were. He was still quite confused, however, as to how this story tied into the request for electricity. Even the Thunderbird did not require electricity to generate its tell-tale thunderclap, only a pulse of its intrinsic magic.

“The son loved the girl, and agreed to provide her with food. Every day he would travel down to earth to secure food for the girl who had become his wife.

“For one year the earth girl lived in the country of the Thunder People. Her husband doted upon her, fulfilling her every wish. She was very happy. Even though she missed her parents she never felt lonesome.

“Then one day, the chief came to the girl telling her she would soon give birth to a son. ‘You must return to your island home, as your son should not be born in this land. Before you go, there is one thing I must warn you. After the boy is born, you must guard him well, warning everyone never to strike him. If someone should strike the boy you will lose him forever.’

“Immediately following the chief’s warning the girl was once again surrounded by a heavy mist. Again she became dazed and found herself traveling at great speed back toward earth. In just a short period of time, she opened her eyes to find herself back in her homeland in front of her parents’ house. The girl’s parents were elated. They thought they had lost their child forever. The girl shared her strange experience with her parents, informing them that she would soon give birth to a son.

“The prediction of the Thunder People’s chief came true. The girl did have a son. The boy was smaller than an earth child and many of his habits were different from an ordinary boy’s.” Remus read, nodding his head. This child certainly sounded like some sort of half-magical creature. “Sometimes the boy’s behavior perplexed his family. For instance, whenever a thunderstorm approached the island the boy would become very excited. He would run outdoors and laugh and play about in the storm. As he romped in the rain, the thunder seemed to roar louder and more frequently. Lightning flashes accompanied the thunder brightening up the sky.

“The boy’s grandmother did not like his preoccupation with the storm. She did not like him running out into the inclement weather. Whenever a storm approached, she would attempt to shut the boy up in the house. Her efforts were to no avail, however, as he always managed to escape.

“One day as a storm threatened, the grandmother locked the boy inside the house. She scolded the boy and forbade him to go outside. The boy became very angry. He ran around the house breaking everything in his path. The grandmother warned him to control his temper, but this only made him angrier.”

Remus smirked at the idea. Surely the child was magical, he did seem to have creature blood after all. The grandmother seemed to be setting herself up for a bout of accidental magic, something he doubted very much she would be prepared for.

“A strange thing happened when the boy became angry. Faint sounds, reminiscent of distant thunder, came from his body. The angrier he became, the louder the sound. His grandmother insisted he stop the noise and his tantrum. The boy ignored her, and continued to wreak havoc upon the house.

“The grandmother was enraged. She took a stick and struck the boy across his legs. Instantly, there was a blinding flash of lightning followed by deafening thunder. A heavy mist consumed the room. The grandmother was terrified and fled to a corner to wait out the disturbance. When the mist cleared the boy was gone. Far off in the distance she heard a faint roll of thunder...”

Remus felt his eyes grow wide as a realization of what he had read sunk in, the book falling from his hands. They had been thinking about this the wrong way entirely. There were obviously some questions which he would not be able to answer without proper testing and research, but … how had they missed this?

Remus quickly picked the book up from where it had fallen and reread the last paragraph, his mind flashing to the analogy of the Thunderbird. How did the Thunderbird make thunder? A pulse of magic. How did lightning make thunder? A pulse of electricity. Magic could be channeled through metal, so could electricity. Magic would cause muggle electronics to malfunction, but it was routinely noted that wizards could ‘sense’ the electricity in the air when in muggle population centers. Surely they weren’t the same… They couldn’t possibly be the same thing, could they?

He knew where he needed to go next. He needed to find a book on elemental magic, possibly even dipping his toe into the Dark Arts. He needed to know more about the conjuring of lightning and the beginnings of magic. He needed to know and he needed answers he doubted very much the library of Hogwarts had.

He needed to visit Sirius.

“Alright, sir,” Healer Marquath said determinedly, pulling her wand from its holster on her left wrist. “When we wake him, he may be rather confused at first. He certainly will not know where he is, and, hopefully, he won’t remember what brought him here in the first place.”

Severus nodded, firmly grasping Elias’s cool hand in preparation for him to awaken for the first time in nearly a week. “Will he be able to move?”

“He has been on several strong antispasmodics for nearly a week,” Healer Marquath calmly stated. “He may be able to move, but we are not expecting great dexterity from him, nor are we expecting him to be able to tolerate sitting up for long periods of time. The bigger concern will be his state of mind when he awakens.”

Severus nodded. That was what he was worried about too. Elias hadn’t been very coherent when he and Madam Pomfrey were rushing him to St Mungo’s, so it was hard to gage if there had been any damage to his brain when he had his… episode. It was terrifying to think of the amount of potential damage, but there was really no way to tell how bad it was without waking him up.

And today was the day they would be doing just that.

“Ready?” Healer Marquath said softly, wand hovering over Elias’s heart.

Severus nodded and steeled himself for the possibility of Elias waking up screaming once more.

The healer chanted out the lengthy spell to free Elias from the grasp of the healing sleep and waited on bated breath as well. There was a distinct possibility that the teen would need some sort of calming draught as he woke, but the hope was that wouldn’t be necessary. A calming draught may make it necessary for the boy to require the respiration spell be placed back on him to stabilize his breathing once more. It was a fine balancing act and one she vehemently disliked when it came to waking patients.

Elias stirred and took a deep breath, weakly struggling against Severus’s hand as he struggled to open his eyes for the first time in nearly a week. His mind felt quite fuzzy, but that didn’t matter. Nothing much mattered. He didn’t feel like he was floating anymore, but where was he? And how had he gotten here?

“Elias? Da’s here,” a deep voice said next to him as his eyes fluttered open. Was he dead?

“Mmm?” Elias tried to say, his mouth dry and voice hoarse from disuse. “Mmmmh?”

“Here, have him suck on this,” another voice said. “He’s probably quite dry.”

A wet cloth was suddenly pressed against his mouth. What was he supposed to do with it? It was cold and moist and felt good but why was it against his mouth? Was someone trying to kill him? He knew someone was, but he couldn’t put two and two together and figure out who it was. Was this how they were planning to kill him?

Well, he wasn’t going to have any of that.

“Elias, open your mouth,” the deep voice said, continuing to press the cloth against the boy’s mouth. “Good lad.”

Elias felt the cloth being forced into his mouth and tried to swat at the offending cloth. He wanted water, but not poison. Why else would a cloth be placed into his mouth? He didn’t want poison. The hand holding the cloth was insistant, however, and he couldn’t seem to muster the strength to physically grab the cloth and remove it.

So he did the next best thing.

“Elias, please let go of my finger,” the deep voice said, gently prying his finger out from between the boy’s teeth.

“Ah!” Elias said as the cool cloth was removed from his mouth. “Mmmm!”

“Did he have a nickname growing up?” the other voice said. “Sometimes people respond better to their nicknames than their real name.”

“He didn’t live with me as he grew up. If he had a nickname, I am unaware as to what it may be.”

Elias moaned as memories slowly started filtering into his thoughts. He was … a wizard? That sounded right. And his name was … was…

“Elly? Elly, can you open your eyes for us?” the other voice said again. That's right, his name was Elly Potter…

That didn’t seem right at all. Elias Potter sounded wrong. Harry Potter, that sounded right. Elias Snape sounded right too. But which was his name? Was he both? People were only supposed to have one name, and his was… Elias Snape.

“Come on, Elly,” the deep voice said, repeating what the other voice said. “Open your eyes for us.”

Elias weakly opened his eyes only to allow them to slide shut once more. Why were there four people in the room with him, and why were they all sets of twins. One set was a lady in maroon clothing with a white cap and the other was a dark haired man in black who was sitting on a chair next to the bed. Both of the dark men were holding two of his four hands.

Four hands? Oh. Something wasn’t right here.

Slowly blinking, he felt his eyes move slowly as the images coalesced into one which made more sense. The dark man felt familiar but the other person he was sure he had never seen before in his life. In fact he was fairly sure he had never been to where ever he was now. The bed felt different, not uncomfortable, but different. And there were short rails along the side of the bed as if to keep him from climbing out.

“Elly? Can you tell me your name?” the person in maroon said as she waved a stick… no, wand… over his head. Maybe she would let him borrow it? He didn’t know where his was, but he was sure his wasn’t wherever here was. Weakly, he reached up towards the wand, seemingly unaware that he wasn’t moving his arms very much.

“Elias, focus,” the dark man said. “Tell the healer what your name is.”

Elias thought about it for a moment before finally registering he was being told what to do by the man… his father! That’s who he was! That was his father!

“Da?” Elias slurred, confusedly. “Wher’m I?”

Severus let out a sigh of relief he didn’t know he was holding. Elias remembered him as his father. He didn’t have to go through that explanation. “You’re at St. Mungo’s. You stopped breathing.”

“Sto’ bweefin’?” Elias said confusedly before the memory of that terrifying night flashed through his head. “Da, I sto’ bweefin!”

“I know Elias,” Severus said calmly. “Now, I need you to focus on answering the healer’s questions. Can you do that?”

Elias nodded slightly. He would try to be good. He would really try, but something didn’t feel right and he wasn’t sure what it was. It was really hard to focus on any one thing at a time.

“Alright, can you tell me your name?” the healer asked, putting her wand away for the time being. Elias’s focus seemed to constantly wander to the object and he seemed as though he really wanted to play around with it.

“‘Lees Snae,” Elias slurred, trying to keep his eyes focused on the healer. She wasn’t Madam Pomfrey, so who was she? Where did she come from? Had she been there when he stopped breathing? If so, why was he not in the Hospital Wing?

“Alright, Elias. When is your birthday?” the healer asked.

Elias paused for a long while as he thought. He knew his birthday wasn’t his birthday anymore but it was his birthday day and he didn’t know when that day was going to be but it was his birthday and he was turning… sixteen? Fifteen sounded more right, but wasn’t he already fifteen?

“Um…” Elias muttered, turning to his father before answering. His breath quickened as he struggled to remember the right date. Had they even set a date? He wasn’t sure. “Um…”

“His relatives may not have ever celebrated it when he was growing up,” Severus quietly covered for him.

The healer nodded, her face falling sympathetically as she looked at the confused teen in the bed. He was obviously trying to remember, but he was struggling to come up with the right words. “It’s ok, Elly. Sometimes it's hard to remember things like that, isn’t it?”

Elias nodded, frown still on his face as he continued trying to remember what they were talking about. It felt like it was important, but what was it? The healer had been asking him things, but he couldn’t remember what it was she had said.

“I sto’ bweefin?” Elias asked, clutching his hands over his chest.

“You did indeed,” Severus said sadly, running his fingers through his son’s fringe before turning to the healer. “Do you have any further questions for him?”

“Not at the moment,” the healer said with a small smile. “I’ll give him a few hours to wake up before I do any more in depth testing.”

Severus nodded and turned back to Elias, sighing as his son stared at the curtains as though they were made of gold. He hoped that all that it was was a reaction to the healing sleep, but the concern that it was not burnt in his heart painfully. It hurt to think that Lily’s son… his son… was back in the hospital again and the possibility of him not coming home was high.

“Da?” Elias said, pulling Severus from his thoughts. “I sto’ bweefin’?”

Severus sighed. It looked like he would be having a very long day of answering the same question multiple times.
To be continued...
End Notes:
Couple of housekeeping things for this chapter:

1: The Native American tale is actually a real tale that I found while researching stuff for this story. I am shamelessly borrowing it because it fits too well into this story. It is an Oneida tale and their historical lands were not too terribly far from the canonical location of Ilvermorny. Like I said: fit's too well to not be included.

Here's the link to the original story: https://www.oneidaindiannation.com/the-legend-of-thunder-boy/

2: What happened to Elias's stutter? His stutter is caused by the muscles in his throat twitching. He's currently on enough muscle relaxers that that isn't happening, but instead he is slurring.

3: I'm acutely aware of how the vast majority of you have been reading his name in your head (if you are primarily English speakers). In the spirit of Levi-Oh-sa vs. Levio-SAh, Elias's name is actually pronounced El-ee-ahs (not Eel-eye-as) which is a far more common continental European pronunciation. I actually went to school with an exchange student from Austria named Elias. He tried to get everyone to call him 'Elly' because that's what he was used to everyone calling him, but had to settle for 'Eli' because no one ever thought to pronounce his name the right way.

Don't dwell too much on that last bit though, it's just semantics and is the reason they're calling him "Elly."

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.


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!
Chapter 38 by DesertPlanet
Elias was napping, or at least Severus hoped he was.

Coming off of the muscle relaxers, while necessary, was as petrifying as it was frustrating. As they worked their way out of his system, Elias was beginning to notice he could move better but also that his tremors and spasms were coming back.

For a blissful few hours, he was stronger than he had been previously and the tremors were nowhere near as fierce as what they once were. He was able to drink a cup of water with only mild difficulty, his speech was clearer, and he was able to work on one of Healer Tallie’s puzzles with only minimal difficulty. But as time wore on and the strongest of the muscle relaxers wore out of his system, the spasms returned with vengeance.

Severus had known the healers would be fully discontinuing the potion today after having spent the last few days slowly lengthening the times between doses and hadn’t thought much of it. The particular potion he was on wasn’t known for causing any refractory spasms, so he wasn’t too terribly concerned about the healer's timing of this decision. In fact, he had planned to continue his lessons for the day and try to get caught up on the hours of grading he had been neglecting in favor of sitting with his son, a thought which in and of itself he still found rather strange to think.

As the potion worked its way out of his system, Elias’s muscles began to twitch once more. And the more they twitched, the more annoyed he became. And the more annoyed he became, the more out of control his muscles became.

The longer the twitching went on, the more sore he became. The past few weeks had been blissfully pain free and he couldn’t understand why the healers were doing this to him. He had apparently begged and pleaded with them to help him, and when they refused to give him what he wanted he got… belligerent. That was how the healers described it anyways.

They had managed to keep him in bed by some miracle, likely by simply standing in front of him and preventing him from rocking forward onto his feet. It wasn’t that he would have made it very far before he fell, but the risk of him injuring himself inadvertently was too high for them to allow him to wander around the unit. His legs were too weak after having spent several weeks on potions specifically designed to prevent movement to allow him to try standing on his own and his arms certainly wouldn’t have been able to catch him should he fall.

After spending several hours trying to convince him to get back into bed and repeatedly reminding him that he was not well enough to be standing, the decision was finally made to get ahold of his father. The healers were all aware that Professor Snape would likely be in class at the time they were trying to contact him, but were unaware how difficult it would actually be to get in touch with him. Elias’s behaviour was getting ridiculous in spite of the low dose mood stabilizers they had him on, however, and something needed to be done. Especially since he had begun turning on himself, clawing rather viciously at his forehead as though trying to get something out.

After having spent nearly half an hour trying to convince the apparent “High Inquisitor” that they did, in fact, need to speak with the esteemed potions master and that discussing the reason they needed to speak with him was none of her business and they would be forced to launch an inquiry against her if she continued to push for information, they were finally allowed to send one representative through to speak with him.

To say the man was thrilled to see them would have been an outright lie.

Of course the healer would have to show up during a class of fifth years. And, of course, it would have to be during his Slytherin and Gryffindor class where two of the Gryffindors had been giving him a bit of an odd side eye. A side eye he would have to deal with later.

“D-d-d-da!” Elias had cried as soon as he had seen him, before turning to the healer who was sitting in front of him and yelling. “L-l-lemme g-g-go you b-b-bast-tard! I’m g-g-gonna g-g-go home n-n-n-now! I d-d-don’t wanna b-b-be in p-p-prison!”

Severus ran his hands through his son’s hair as gently as he could, watching as Elias’s eyes fluttered slightly at the touch. A piece of gauze flecked with blood was attached to his forehead with a sticking charm, the only evidence of his attempts to scratch something off of his head. Be it real or imagined, Severus could only hope he hadn’t heard Healer Shannon discussing the potential soul fragment stored within him. In his current state, there was only so much he would have been able to understand of the situation.

It was difficult to get a good assessment on his mental status as it was. Some of the healers stated they believed he was able to follow most conversations while others, particularly the night shift, said he was unable to track most of what was actually going on around him. As much as he had hoped Elias would have made some sort of improvement, that St. Mungo’s would be able to help him, it was becoming more and more obvious he would not be coming home any time soon.

It had taken nearly an hour to get him calmed down once Severus had arrived. An hour filled with tears and cries of frustration as the realization his memory was more fleeting than ever before he finally settled down under the covers. Severus doubted very much that he would actually be asleep for very long, but a nap certainly couldn’t hurt.

“You didn’t see him, Severus!” Remus said, following the taller man out of the front doors of St. Mungo’s and onto the muggle street.

“Nor do I want to see him!” Severus snapped, whirling around so quickly that the edge of the long coat he had transfigured his robes into whipped around in much the same fashion his normal robes did. “I have never wanted him in my life, nor do I want him in Elias’s now. Do you honestly think that he would manage to not only conceal himself, but not treat my son the same way he treated me?”

Remus sighed as his shoulders dropped. Severus was right, but Sirius was his best friend. As much as he wished the two of them would get along, it wasn’t as though there was only one minor infraction Severus had to forgive Sirius for. Seven plus years of near continuous bullying which included an attempt on his life and ultimately Severus turning to the Dark for acceptance when none was offered on the side of the Light. Sirius and James may have been teenagers at the time, but so was Severus and the decisions he was compelled to make because of their actions were well beyond what a teenager ought to be making, ever. It wasn’t that Severus wasn’t already leaning over that cliff, but the Marauders as a whole had certainly pushed him over.

And his fears for how Sirius would treat Elias were valid. The man was known for making absolutely rash decisions without taking into account any underlying variables. Even if Elias had been completely well, Sirius’s reaction would be a lot to take in. But in his current state?

“He needs to know before he does something stupid,” Remus continued, trying a different tactic.

Severus snorted before turning and striding down the street, weaving expertly through the muggles on their way around town. “He needs nothing. And telling him will not prevent him from doing something asinine. In all likelihood, that wretched mutt has already done something any sane person would never choose to do. I know he has snuck out of the house at least once since Harry’s disappearance.”

Remus nodded, panting slightly as he struggled to keep up with the potions master and tried to be polite to those around him as he pushed through the crowds. He could easily have pushed any of the muggles over, however the idea of hurting someone so innocent was painful to think of. “But haven’t you wondered why he hasn’t come out recently? He’s barely even attending the meetings and they’re in his own bloody house!”

“No,” Severus stepped quickly into a rather tight alleyway and continued walking, happy to be away from the ever present muggle crowds. “No, I haven’t wondered where he is. I haven’t given a single thought or consideration to where that man is at any given time. So long as he doesn’t end up knocking on my front door or anywhere in my immediate vicinity, I do not care what he does or with whom. And if you haven’t noticed, I haven’t had much time to do anything myself let alone babysit that manchild.”

“Severus, if you would just…” Remus started, only for Severus to immediately turn on him, slamming him against the wall by his lapels.

“I will not ‘just’ anything. That mongrel has played favorites with Dumbledore since school,” Severus growled, his face inches away from Remus’s. “You both have. I have worked too hard to keep Elias away from that bastard for Black to go telling the headmaster. How do I know you haven’t gone and told him already? It would play so perfectly into Dumbledore’s plan to keep him as his ‘Golden Boy.’”

“I am not loyal to Dumbledore!” Remus exploded, pushing back against Severus both bodily and magically and slamming him against the opposite wall, the few lights which were on in the alley flickering ominously. “I can’t be! Not anymore! If anything, I’ve seen how manipulative he is and how quick he is to turn on his followers. He left me to rot in the wizarding world. All his political power? All his resources? Do you think he gave a damn about me after the Potters died? No! I had to drift around and find whatever jobs I could. Wizarding world, muggle world, anything I could find. I have had twenty-seven jobs since James died. The longest I was employed was when I was working at Hogwarts for the one measly year I was there and the only reason I got that job was because Sirius was on the run.

“And Sirius? You think he’s loyal to Dumbledore too? Dumbledore left him to rot in Azkaban for twelve years with no trial. Dumbledore has the power to sway the Ministry in most anything they vote for, yet he did nothing to help Sirius even though Sirius begged him for help. He could only send one letter a year and chose to send it every year to Dumbledore to beg for help. He could have hired a barrister with that one letter, but no, he chose to reach out to the one man who absolutely could have gotten him out and was denied for twelve years.

“The only person we are loyal to is Harry. No matter what his name or what he looks like, he was James’s child too. He was accepted into our little band of Marauders as soon as he was born. Potion or no, illness or no, James’s bloody child or not, he is still our cub. And that is who we are loyal to, you absolute, self righteous, slimy, snivelling GIT!”

Severus slowly peeled himself off of the wall, face completely devoid of emotion. He hadn’t realized the entirety of either Black or Lupin’s situation after the end of the first war. Honestly, he still saw Black as being partially at fault for Lily’s death as the man’s actions had (albeit inadvertently) led to it. But not to have a trial?

Even Bellatrix Lestrange had gotten a trial before she was thrown in Azkaban on a life sentence.

“If I find out you are lying to me,” Severus said quietly as he dusted off his robes, ignoring the blossoming headache he had forming from where his head hit the wall. “I will happily turn you over to the Ministry, Lupin. And I will watch as you are placed in a silver lined cell with glee.”

Remus rolled his eyes before righting several overturned bins with a flick of his wand. “Honestly, I would be more concerned about Harry’s friends in Gryffindor than I would about Sirius keeping this a secret.”

“What?” Severus froze momentarily before looking over at the wolf suspiciously.

“Ron and Hermione at the very least, though I would also include Neville in that little group,” Remus said, crossing his arms over his chest. “They’re suspicious. Hermione questioned me the other day. I told her not to tell anyone about their theories, but …”

“You didn’t deny them?” Severus fumed, accent slipping slightly into his native Yorkshire. “You absolute fuckin’…”

“I didn’t give her any straight answers either!” Remus shot back. “Not that it would help! They have evidence, Snape! They’re putting two and two together and coming out with the right answer. They’re going to keep at it until they get the answer which makes the most sense and they will take their findings to the headmaster. Those children are who you should be worried about! They are not stupid!”

Severus stalked over to Remus ominously, fingers twitching as though he wished to pull his wand on the man. And he did. The damn wolf was ruining everything. He must have been more distressed by the situation he had found himself in when Elias nearly died than he thought.

“What evidence could a couple of idiotic teens have that would possibly lead them to running to the headmaster?” he growled, as Remus calmly held his ground.

“I don’t remember all of it, but apparently Neville noticed the potions Elias was taking were for Cruciatus damage. Hedwig, Harry’s owl, wasn’t able to find him around the time Elias ended up in hospital. Hermione saw bruising on his new scar just before he was sent to St. Mungo’s and admitted that Harry’s scar would bleed sometimes. And they all noticed that his handwriting was getting worse following the Third Task and that he was having some of the same symptoms Elias had.”

Severus stared at the other man furiously as though searching for any signs he was lying. When he found none he whirled away and began pacing the alley furiously. How could this have happened? He had been so careful, so thorough in all of his alibis and cover ups for the boy. It had been flawless. But he had forgotten the boy had friends. Of course Potter had friends. Of course they would have noticed him missing. And of course they would leap almost directly into the correct assumption.

But why had they not done anything about it? Why had they not approached anyone other than Remus? It certainly didn’t seem as though they had approached either McGonagall or Dumbledore; those two would have acted immediately to confirm or deny these suspicions.

He had to nip this in the bud lest it begin to flower and grow fruit, but through what course of action? Telling them the truth was just as dangerous as not, but if he didn’t tell them anything, they would continue to push the issue. He had borne witness to this year after year and it seemed this year would be no different. If only those bloody Gryffindors weren’t so driven to finding the answers to their questions, it wouldn’t be as much of an issue.

But no, he had the most Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff of Gryffindor house now bearing down on him using all of their combined bravery, intelligence, and loyalty to find their missing friend.

“And you are certain they haven’t approached Dumbledore about their suspicions?” he finally asked, looking over at Remus who had leaned against one wall and closed his eyes. He looked absolutely haggard, the full moon having been only a few days previous.

“I don’t know for sure,” Remus mumbled, rubbing his temples. His earlier outburst had taken more out of him than he had thought and he wanted nothing more than to get back to his quarters and lie down. “I would assume there would be some sort of backlash from the headmaster should that have occurred.”

Severus nodded and rubbed the bridge of his nose in frustration. He didn’t want to explain this to a bunch of teens, but it seemed there would be no other way around it. The research bloodhound that was Hermione Granger was on the case and there would be no letting up. He, however, was not on their list of trusted adults and rightly so, but he wasn’t about to go pandering to them to prevent them from telling anyone else. There was also the potential of other students having noticed something as well; having the Gryffindors on their side would be beneficial for keeping this under wraps.

However, he wasn’t about to tell them without some sort of assurance they wouldn’t go spreading the word that Harry and Elias were one and the same. Creating a small band of spies for their side to keep this entire operation under wraps could only be beneficial, however it seemed grossly unfair that they would be the first of the children Elias’s age to know the truth. Had Draco been from any other family than the Malfoy’s, Severus would much rather have told him first as he had slowly become one of Elias’s most trusted friends rather than telling the Gryffindors who routinely turned their back on the boy over minor infractions.

Severus narrowed his eyes as he peered at Lupin once more. If Lupin was correct in saying Black was more loyal to Harry than he was to the headmaster, it would be more beneficial for the man to be working for them than against them. A double agent of sorts, almost like himself. Dumbledore certainly thought of Black as being in his pocket and, until Lupin’s outburst, so had Severus.

A new hand had been dealt however, and it was now up to him to play the cards.

“I will speak with the Gryffindors,” Severus said slowly, putting together a plan of containment as quickly as he could. “I do not care if I have to use Dark Magic on them to keep them quiet, they will not pass this information along to the headmaster.”

Remus nodded and turned to leave knowing there was no way he would convince Snape to change his mind on Sirius. The hatred ran too deep and there was nothing he could do to change the man’s mind. While it pained him to know his friend’s suffering would be prolonged, he also knew Severus had valid reasons for not wanting Sirius to know.

“I’m not done yet, wolf,” Severus snapped, causing Remus to look back at him questioningly. “I have a message for … your friend.”

Remus’s eyes widened. Had Snape actually reconsidered? What other message could he possibly want him to relay to Sirius other than Harry’s status? “Are you…”

“I do not believe for one second that that mutt is in the slightest disloyal to Dumbledore,” Severus spat, crossing his arms over his chest once more. “And I am equally skeptical as to your claim that he is more loyal to Potter than he is Dumbledore.”

“I promise…”

“However,” Severus said, speaking over Remus’s plea. “However, you have yet to turn us in, leading me to believe there may be some validity to your claim. Some. As such, I am reluctantly willing to pass one bit of information along to Black. Only one. And should that bit of information reach Dumbledore’s ears, it will be relayed back to me in terms that I will be required to pass along to the Dark Lord. Should I be required to pass this information along, I will kill Black first as I will, in all likelihood, be killed by the Dark Lord when he finds out this information is false.”

Remus shuddered at the thought before nodding. It was the ultimate test of loyalty, one which he was hopeful Sirius would pass. He would make sure Sirius was aware of the implications of passing on whatever it was Snape wanted him to.

“You will tell him that Harry Potter is alive and currently living in Dublin. You will not tell him any other information. You will not give him any updates on his health. You will not, for obvious reasons, give him an address or any other pertinent details.”

“Alive. Dublin,” Remus nodded once. “Are you going to be telling his friends the same story?”

“No,” Severus scoffed. “I will be putting them under oath and forcing them to drink a binding potion preventing them from talking about this unless the other person is in the know as well. If what you tell me is accurate, they are too close to the truth as it is. A lie as obvious as that will easily be found.”

“When can I tell him the truth?” Remus said rather sadly.

“When I decide it is time!” Severus snapped. “Once he has proven he can do this one thing right without passing along the information, then, and only then, can he be told the truth.”

“Thank you, Severus,” Remus said, spinning on his heel and apparating away.

“I’ll kill you too,” Severus whispered to the air where Remus had just been standing. “If you lied to me, I’ll kill you too.”

Sirius was laying on his childhood bed watching the shadows change on the ceiling as the sun slowly set. It had been a long, boring day and would surely be a long, boring night if he couldn’t convince himself to go to sleep. Every time he tried, his mind would begin to build the image of Harry’s body being found in different locations or different positions.

He had only been an Auror briefly before his arrest, but, through that, his work with the Order, and the twelve years of mental torture he had endured while detained in Azkaban, his mind had plenty to play with. Harry as one of the many victims of the Death Eaters. Harry as one of the murder victims in the last case he was a part of before his arrest. Harry in Azkaban with him, screaming as the Dementors moved closer and closer.

Or, by far, his least favorite: rolling the body of his best friend over in Godric’s Hollow to confirm who it was, only to find it was actually Harry and not James.

He hadn’t slept soundly in months, despite sleep’s ever present and more desperate calls to him. He knew he needed sleep, his body begged him for it, but his brain would not shut off for long enough to sleep well. He would kill for some Dreamless Sleep, no matter how addictive the stuff was. He was almost even willing to break down and ask Snape for some, though he doubted he would get anything other than a sneer.

Slowly his eyes drifted shut, only to snap open once again as he swore he heard a door slam downstairs. None of the wards had been breached, so he chalked it up to sleep deprivation. As he slept less and less, the world seemed to make less and less sense. He swore he could see things, people, moving around in his peripheral vision. More than once he had turned and cursed a fluttering window shade into oblivion. Or a shadow on a wall. A door closing on its own was just a new hallucination he could add to his already extensive list of reasons he was unfit to be anything other than the recluse he was becoming.

When would he become a raving lunatic like the majority of his family? He hoped it was sooner rather than later. It would be too painful to continue knowing he was losing his mind and being able to do nothing about it.

He was even to the point of sending an owl to Dumbledore begging for assistance though with the knowledge there would be none given. You have to be valuable to the war effort to get assistance, not a raving mad escaped convict holed up in his house with a portrait of his lunatic mother and her maniacal house-elf to wait on him. He had everything he needed here, what more could he want?

He swore he heard footsteps in the hall, but ignored them. There had been no ward breach. There had been no door slam. There was no footsteps. Who would want to visit him anyways?

“Sirius? Are you in here?” Remus asked as he softly knocked on Sirius’s door, trying in vain to ignore the stench of hippogriff poo from the next room over and pitying the poor animal for the lack of care it was receiving from his friend. At least Kreacher was keeping it fed and mostly cleaned up after.

Sirius continued to stare blankly at the ceiling, acting as though Remus hadn’t just walked into the room. What he was staring at, Remus couldn’t even dare to venture a guess. He could only hope that Sirius would be receptive to hearing the news he was going to tell him.

“Sirius?” he tried again to get his friend to respond. “Come on, Padfoot. Please look at me.”

Slowly, Sirius turned his head and looked at Remus, his eyes unfocused as he tried to concentrate on what the man was saying. He hadn’t spoken to anyone in days, not even Kreacher who brought him his meals with such glee to finally be serving the rightful heir to the Black line and not a muggle-loving fool.

“Hey Moony,” Sirius mumbled grumpily, slowly pulling himself upright and blinking a few times. “Didn’t I kick you out?”

“Yeah, but you never keyed that into the wards,” Remus said with a smirk and a cough. “You smell awful, when was the last time you showered?”

Sirius looked towards the foot of his bed and tried to think. How long had it been? How many days had it been since he had last stepped into the shower? How many days had he been in bed, staring at the ceiling? Kreacher had come in and given him, or tried to give him, at least two meals every day. And he had had how many meals since his last shower? He didn’t know. He didn’t really care either.

“Padfoot?” Remus asked, shaking him out of his thoughts. “You in there?”

“Hmmm?” Sirius mumbled, shaking his head as though that would get the cobwebs out. Merlin he needed sleep. “Yeah. I’m here. I … I don’t know Moony. I don’t know how long it’s been.”

“It’s ok,” Remus said softly, taking in his friend’s emaciated body with guilt. Forget the shower, how long had it been since the man slept or ate anything? “Hey, I got some good news for you, if you’re up to it.”

Sirius raised his eyebrow and cocked his head. “Depends.”

“It’s about Harry, Sirius,” Remus said, sitting gingerly on the edge of the man’s bed, afraid of what may be crawling around after not being cared for for so long.

Sirius’s eyes immediately lit with a flame of intense curiosity and hope and he whipped his head up, hope upon hope that this wasn’t another hallucination. “Harry?” his voice cracked.

“They found him,” Remus said with a small smile. “They found him, Padfoot.”

“He’s alive?” Sirius whispered in disbelief. “He’s alive?”

Remus nodded as Sirius’s chest heaved, his eyes immediately brimming with tears. The man’s hoarse sobs of relief filling the room as he collapsed over onto his friend’s chest. His relief was so palpable even an untrained legilimens could have felt it as he sobbed.

“He’s alive Padfoot, he’s alive,” Remus said, wrapping his arms around his friend and hugging him as tightly as he could manage without gagging. Sirius really did smell like a sewer.

“How?” Sirius finally managed to whisper. “Where?”

“I don’t know how,” Remus said carefully, sticking with the plan. “But he’s living in Dublin. The person he’s staying with contacted me and told me.”

Sirius sniffled heavily, wiping his nose and eyes with his sleeve. Harry was alive. Harry was in Dublin. “Is he ok? Is he safe?”

“I … yes,” Remus said slowly, choosing his words carefully. He couldn’t very well stick to the two words Severus wanted him to use without Sirius getting suspicious. “I’ve seen him. He’s alive and in Dublin.”

“But is he ok?” Sirius pressed, looking rather frantic. “He’s ok, right? He’s not been injured or maimed or something, right?”

“Sirius,” Remus said calmly, laying a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “I need you to listen to me and I need you to understand exactly what I am saying to you, ok?”

Sirius frowned but nodded. Something seemed fishy about this situation and it wasn’t sitting well with him. Why would Remus lie to him, though? What could he possibly gain from manipulating him emotionally? What was going on with Harry that would require secrecy between them?

“Who are you more loyal to, Harry or Dumbledore?” Remus said, staring intently at Sirius knowing full well that his eyes were still werewolf amber. “And answer me truthfully.”

“Harry,” Sirius said without a second’s hesitation. “Harry is my godson. I would fight for him. I would die for him.”

“And the headmaster?” Remus pressed, wanting to know for certain if he was making the right call.

Sirius stared at Remus for a long moment before glaring at him and wiping his nose once more. “I would die for Harry, Moony.”

Remus let out a sigh of relief he hadn’t realized he was holding and allowed his body to relax for the first time since he came into Grimmauld Place. Sirius was being serious and his allegiance was most certainly not tied solely to the headmaster and his whims. He wasn’t surprised by this at all, just relieved that he had known his friend as well as he had.

“What I am going to tell you must not make it back to the headmaster. If it does, you … you’ll die Padfoot,” Remus said solemnly.

“What?” Sirius said with a slight laugh of disbelief. “Why?”

“Just know that if this makes its way back to the headmaster, you’ll die,” Remus said once more, the gentle smile which normally graced his face gone in favor of a look of complete seriousness.

Sirius swallowed hard and nodded. Whatever was going on was not something to joke about and that worried him. Was Harry actually alive? Was he actually ok? Why would he be killed if this information filtered back to the headmaster?

Why was everyone currently moving around under the headmaster’s radar? First Tonks and Kingsley making sure there were no extra wards set by the man before interrogating him about Harry and his relatives, now Remus telling him under threat of death that he could not tell something to the man. It smelt ominous and he wasn’t sure he liked it. But he was but a pawn in a larger game of chess, it felt like.

“Harry Potter is alive and living in Dublin,” Remus said. “I have seen him. I know him to be alive and living in Dublin.”

Sirius stared at his friend and nodded. There was something not right about the information he was being given, but under threat of death he could not pass it along. It was a test of loyalty, that much was easy to see. He didn’t know why this was his test, he didn’t know who the tester was, but if he failed he would be killed. As tempting as it was to try and find out who was the tester, he wanted more to just verify Harry was alive and well. Nothing else mattered other than verifying and ensuring his godson’s safety.

And if even Aurors were investigating Dumbledore…

“Is he ok?” Sirius asked once more. “I get you can’t give me details for whatever reason, but please, Remus, please answer me this: is he ok?”

Remus swallowed hard. If ever there was a loaded question, this was it. In short: no. Harry was not ok. He would likely never be ‘ok’ again in his life. He could barely move, he spoke with a stutter, he had next to no short term memory, and he was routinely having seizures. He was extremely sickly and hospitalized, but he was alive and in a safe location.

“He is safe,” Remus finally answered. “He’s as safe as he can possibly be.”

Sirius nodded a few times though his stomach was tying itself in knots. Harry wasn’t ok then. He was safe but injured or ill. But injuries can be fixed and illnesses, for the most part anyways, could be cured. There were certainly those conditions like lycanthropy which would live with the wizard, but he was hopeful it wasn’t something like that.

It wasn’t something like that, was it?

But he was safe. He was safe and alive.

“Sirius?” Remus asked quietly. “What can I help you with?”

“Hmm?” Sirius asked, looking at his friend once more.

“What’s something I can help you with? Do you need help getting washed up or getting food or something?” Remus murmured, gently running his fingers through Sirius’s long locks which were once again becoming matted. “You need something.”

Sirius looked around his bedroom and nodded. Kreacher had done a really terrible job of keeping the room cleaned and tidy, though Sirius wasn’t much help as he just laid in bed. It was rather overwhelming looking at the room and knowing that all of it needed to be cleaned and so did he. He knew he smelled, but he couldn’t have cared less up until today. If Harry was alive, he needed to get his act cleaned up and maybe Harry could come stay with him instead!

“Moony, I…” Sirius started, stumbling over his words in embarrassment. “Can you help me… wash my hair?”

Potions class was a tense affair and anyone who entered immediately felt it though the culprits were not the usual suspects. In fact, the Slytherins and the Gryffindors were surprisingly docile towards each other for once, utterly ignoring the other’s existence unless absolutely necessary. Rumors would certainly fly after class, however, and there was no stopping it.

No, the cause of the tension in the room was equally unsurprising though the cause was unknown. For some reason, the potion’s master’s ire was directed at a trio of Gryffindors sitting near the back of the room and had been from the moment they entered. What they had done to insite his wrath, they did not know, but his eyes rarely left their station once brewing had commenced.

“Come on, Neville,” Hermione whispered, trying to get their friend to focus on her and not on the ever present eyes of Professor Snape. “You know how to do this, it’s just like we studied. Just follow the steps and you’ll be fine.”

“Why is he staring at us though?” Neville whimpered, looking up at the potions master’s furious gaze once more, his hands shaking violently as he tried to dice the rat’s livers he had piled in front of him without slicing off a finger. “What did we do?!”

“Dunno, mate,” Ron mumbled, haphazardly adding in the three newts' tails he had been shredding and wincing as the smoke from their cauldron turned a bright orange for a few moments before he managed to get the ingredients stirred in. “I’m sure he’ll come yell at us in a bit for it though.”

Neville’s eyes went wide at the thought and his hands began shaking even harder as he started to hyperventilate. He couldn’t do this. He hated this class with a burning passion and knew he would be dropping it after this year. He couldn’t stand being under Professor Snape’s watchful eye any longer and knew without a shadow of a doubt that the professor hated having him in the class just as much.

“Come on, Nev,” Ron said, removing the knife from Neville’s hand and pulling the pile of livers onto the other side of their work bench. “I’ll dice these, you breathe.”

“Weasley!” Professor Snape roared from the other side of the room, causing all of the students in the room to jump slightly. “Was I not explicit enough in my instructions that this was to be a solo endeavor or has your potion’s fumes begun to decay your brain due to your own miscalculations?”

“I was just…” Ron started exasperatedly before he was cut off.

“Five points from Gryffindor,” Snape spat, glowering at the trio. “And stay after class. You too, Longbottom.”

Hermione looked sympathetically at her two friends as Ron struggled to rein in his temper and Neville struggled to calm himself down. It wasn’t their fault, Snape was a git on a good day. But why today? What had they done to get on his bad side?

“You too, Granger,” Snape said, glaring at her. “Don’t think I haven’t noticed you trying to guide your classmate through the brewing process.”

“Sir?” Hermione looked up, bewildered. “I haven’t been…”

“You will stay after class or you will get detention,” Snape growled before turning to the rest of the class. “You have ten minutes left to finish your potion and have it labeled and on my desk for grading. If you have not yet begun decanting, I would suggest you do so or re-evaluate your ability to follow directions and use a clock.”

Though his face was calm, internally Severus was smirking as the students raced to set up their decanters. He knew this potion would be difficult to finish properly within the time allotted if the proper recipe was followed and the brewer was working solo. Oh, there were shortcuts which could be taken to speed up the brewing time, but he wasn’t going to let them in on those secrets. Not today anyways. No, the express purpose he had in having his students brew this particular potion was he needed Longbottom frustrated so he could pull the three of them aside.

He had no plans to give them a detention, he just needed them pulled aside without raising suspicions within his Slytherins that he was discussing anything other than their failures in his class. And inspiring Longbottom to panic and turn to his friends for assistance was the easiest way to do that.

It was nearly the end of the class period when the final vials were placed on his desk and the students returned to their seats. Longbottom looked positively green while Weasley and Granger looked both livid and frustrated at being told to stay after class. It wasn’t like they had anywhere to be; they had lunch and a free period after this. Severus had specifically chosen this day to confront the trio so as to allow them plenty of time to speak and ask questions. He wasn’t so sadistic as to deliver the news he was going to in a short time span and send them off to their next class. That would be a recipe for disaster as they and their teenage brains struggled to make sense of what had happened to their friend.

Once the homework assignment was given and the class dismissed, he calmly sat behind his desk and waited for the rest of the students to leave, purposefully ignoring the Gryffindor trio until the last Slytherin slid out of the room and ran to the Great Hall for lunch. With a flick of his wand, the door to the classroom slammed shut and locked. Another flick and an impenetrable ward was thrown up over the door and over each of the portraits in the room. It would be safer to have this discussion in his quarters, but significantly more suspicious. Not to mention Longbottom likely would have passed out at the suggestion.

“We were just trying to help him,” Ron burst out as the last ward went up.

Severus raised an eyebrow and waited for a few moments for the boy to defend his actions in class before crossing his arms and saying “Weasley, I truly do not care what your rationale was. You were going to be held after class no matter what it was you did.”

“Sir?” Hermione asked softly, eyes wide as Neville’s trembling increased dramatically.

“I needed to speak with the three of you,” Severus said, looking as though he had just taken a bite out of a lemon. “And no, it is not about your performance in my class, no matter how deplorable it may be.”

Looking at the three Gryffindors in front of him, Severus nearly chuckled at their appearance. To say they looked surprised was an understatement. Though Longbottom still looked as though he would fall over if hit by a strong enough breeze, the other two were sitting there with indignant frowns on their face at the mere idea that this encounter had been preplanned.

“I have several questions for you,” Severus started, voice emotionless as he stood and began to pace behind his desk. “I need you each to answer them truthfully and to the fullest extent you are able. If you do this, I will, in turn, answer your questions and perhaps offer some clarification. I will, however, require you to swear an oath and take a binding potion before you receive the answers you seek. Do you understand?”

The three Gryffindors shared a look of confusion before Ron looked at the man and crossed his arms indignantly.

“Sir, this seems a bit shady. You lock us in a room where you are the only adult, ward against any means of us calling for help, then tell us you are planning to question us while dangling a carrot of ‘information’ on an unknown topic but with a caveat of us needing to take an oath.”

“Your concerns are not unfounded,” Severus acknowledged, surprised at the amount of understanding of the implications of illegality of his actions Weasley had found in an instant. “However, I am certain you will understand my actions when you hear the topic we will discuss.”

“It’s Harry, isn’t it sir?” Hermione said, causing Severus to raise an eyebrow. He had never thought of the Gryffindors as being particularly able to pick up on subtleties, however he admitted he was not being particularly subtle at this moment.

“It is,” Severus nodded. “Do you agree to my terms?”

The three Gryffindors looked at each other before nodding. Even Neville wanted to hear what the professor had to say, though the idea of asking the man questions was just as terrifying as being in the same room as him. If the man knew what happened to Harry, then he wanted to know, especially if Hermione’s theory on Elias and Harry being one and the same was true.

If he was correctly identifying what potions Elias was on, there was something seriously wrong with him and perhaps explained where he had gone to.

“Tell me what you know of Potter’s disappearance,” Severus said calmly. Too calmly, Hermione noted. He didn’t spit Harry’s name out with as much venom as he usually did.

The trio looked at eachother, egging each other on to answer the question before Ron finally sighed and began speaking.

“Harry and I write a lot over the summer. Ever since the summer after first year, he’s come to our house at least once during the summer and typically finishes the summer there,” Ron said, closing his eyes as he went over the story again. It wasn’t as though he hadn’t thought about the location of his best friend every day and stewed over his disappearance every waking moment. “He and his relatives don’t get along, you see, and often they don’t feed him, so the sooner we get him out of their house, the better. This year, it was strange. He had told me that he was having a lot of problems with finishing his chores and that he was having a lot of pain. His handwriting is normally pretty bad, but this year it was becoming nearly illegible because his hands were shaking so bad.

“Then, a few days before his disappearance, I had sent him a message with Hedwig and it never made it through. Hedwig is his owl and has never had problems finding him. It was like she couldn’t reach him or something. So I sent my owl to him, but even Pig couldn’t find him. We tried telling my parents, but they said Dumbledore had his house under continuous observation and not to worry. A few days after that he disappeared.”

“It must have been only a few days after that that I met Elias at the hospital, sir,” Hermione interjected with a frown.

Severus gritted his teeth as they continued their story, slowly adding all of the information they had gleaned from the few interactions they had had with the boy. Of course they would notice the similarities! As they pointed them out, it became increasingly obvious to him how obvious it was that Elias was Harry Potter if you actually knew the boy, though it seemed few actually did. Harry Potter was an enigma the world saw with rose colored glasses. They wanted him to have a perfect life and be the celebrity they needed following the war, the representative of the light and the end of one of the darkest periods in modern wizarding Britain.

Even Severus had fallen for this in his own way, seeing James Potter’s visage rather than seeing Harry for who he truly was. Only those who truly knew him saw the neglected, unwanted child propped on a pedestal to be viewed by the world. It was enraging to know how wrong he had been for so many years and how much his son had suffered without his knowledge. His existence had been nightmarish yet no one knew the true extent of his suffering or chose to acknowledge it.

A cupboard under the stairs. It was no wonder Elias would mutter about his cupboard and not wanting to go in there. Or the fact he seemed almost claustrophobic at times, wanting to leave the unit at St Mungo’s and begging to go outside.

His cousin’s second bedroom with a cat flap and locks on the door and bars on the window. His prison he had railed against. It was no wonder he saw the bars on his bed, no matter how small they were, and thought of his time imprisoned in his own house with nothing but a can of soup. Now he was imprisoned in a hospital in a body he had only the barest of control over. Of course he wanted to come home to Hogwarts. Hogwarts had been his escape from the hellish existence he had had at the Dursleys.

His nightmares, the malnutrition, the ‘schedule’ and ‘rules’ he kept mentioning to the healers. The more the Gryffindors spoke of their friend and the things they saw in Elias, the more of a struggle it became for Severus to maintain his composure until finally, mercifully, their conversation petered out.

“I can only assume,” Severus said, his voice a bare whisper as he removed three small vials of potion from his desk. “That you have figured out by now what I am planning to tell you. However, before I do so, I require you to uphold the other portion of the agreement.”

The three teens turned to each other and nodded. It seemed Ron’s theory was correct, but something else must have happened they were missing. Something which required increased secrecy. They had to know. They had spent the better part of the last half hour telling Harry’s story to his most hated professor and watching as he slowly and sadly absorbed the information.

Taking an oath to protect their friend was obvious. As was swallowing whatever concoction Snape had handed them, though they were skeptical of its contents.

Severus waited until each of the Gryffindors had finished their potion before sealing the oath of protection around them. They knew the risks, they knew what they had seen, it was time to tell them the truth and keep them away from the headmaster.

“At the end of last year, as you mentioned you noticed, Mr. Potter began to undergo some rather radical changes,” Severus started almost hesitantly. “Prior to his birth, his mother had begun taking a potion which modified his growth and development in utero so he would come out with a magical core and physical appearance reflecting that of her husband and not the child’s actual father.”

He paused for a second as Hermione sucked in a breath and muttered “I knew it was a potion!” under her breath.

“That potion had already begun to degrade prior to the third task, causing his magic to begin to rework itself and his body to begin checking for discrepancies between actual physical appearance and what he was supposed to look like based on his genetic makeup,” Severus paused for a moment to make sure the Gryffindors were following what he was saying and was surprised to find even Longbottom seemed to be understanding what he was saying. However, this was less surprising of a revelation than what he thought it would be after having listened to the boy’s additions to the earlier discourse. He wasn’t a fool, he was only excruciatingly unsure of himself. A trait Severus was loathe to admit he contributed to.

“What was the potion called?” Hermione asked, itching to interrogate the man on the potion her friend had been under the influence of for his entire life.

“Falsum Paternis,” Severus said, rolling his eyes slightly. No doubt Granger would be in the library immediately after this conversation looking up anything she could find on the potion. “The beauty of this potion is how thoroughly it changes the body from the beginning of gestation all the way to the end. When it begins to fail, it fails in the same way. In a nice, predictable fashion following the way the fetus developed. However, during the time it is failing, the child is as vulnerable to outside influences as a fetus would be during that time.”

The Gryffindors nodded in understanding before Hermione suddenly gasped and Ron’s eyes went wide as the implications of what he had just said sunk in. Even Neville paled a few shades as he too put the pieces together of what the professor was actually saying.

“What part… how far along was he during the Third Task?” Hermione asked, tears beginning to pool in her eyes.

“We estimate between five to eight weeks. Right when his nervous system was beginning to redevelop itself,” Severus said, waiting as the information sunk in though he didn’t have to wait long.

“Is that why he never got better?” Ron asked gruffly. “Why the anti-Cruciatus didn’t seem to help much?”

Severus nodded glumly before handing a box of tissues to Granger who had lost complete control of her tears and was frantically trying to wipe them away without making too much of a scene. “The official diagnosis the healer gave him was Shervil’s Ataxia with Epileptiform Discharges and Associated Adolescent Dementia. The Cruciatus he had received during the Third Task had severely damaged his nervous system. That was what was causing his pain, the deterioration of his handwriting, and ultimately the seizure which led to him being admitted to the hospital you were a volunteer at.”

Severus paused for a moment, looking at the three ashen teens sitting in front of him. Granger was now crying in earnest while both of the boys sat rather stoically though they looked as though they may pass out at any moment. He offered briefly to stop, though all three of them urged him to continue. Slowly, he filled them in on the details until finally he reached the most recent hospitalization and the headmaster’s involvement in his care (or lack thereof).

“So, the headmaster knew everything that was going on at the Dursleys, that Harry was getting sick, and did nothing?” Ron raged after a moment of silence. “He knew Harry wasn’t getting fed, that he was locked in his room routinely, that his family hated him enough to force him to work no matter how his condition deteriorated, and did nothing?”

“Precisely why I insisted you take an oath of secrecy,” Severus said with a smirk as Ron continued to mutter obscenities. “And why I need you to be on the lookout for anyone else who may be too close to discovering the truth.”

“Can we see him sir?” Neville asked hesitantly. “If he’s at St. Mungo’s, it shouldn’t be much of a problem…”

“He is in a ward where visitation is limited, I’m afraid,” Severus said, being intimately aware of the visitation policy of Ward 34 in regards to underaged witches and wizards. “There is a potential he will be moved to another ward, possibly Janus Thickey, within the next few weeks, however this has yet to be approved.”

The three teens nodded and sat in silence for a few moments before Ron’s stomach interrupted their thoughts with a rather loud growl. Bursting out laughing, the three Gryffindors couldn’t help but feel that a weight had been lifted off of their shoulders. Harry … Elias was as safe as he could be. He wasn’t well, but he was better off than what he had been in some time. He had a father who cared for him (though the thought still made Neville shudder) and was getting the best care they could get for him.

“Thank you, Professor,” Hermione whispered, wiping her eyes once more as the trio left the room, prepared to tell the school of how unfair and evil the potions master was for keeping them through lunch. “We won’t let Elias down.”
To be continued...
End Notes:

Slight spoiler for the next chapter, but if you're playing my game of 'find the hidden major plotline,' this is your last chance to get your guesses in. Next chapter kinda slams it in your face.

Hope this ties up some of the worries about Hermione and Sirius. Sort of.

Please review! I do read and reply to every review on this story and enjoy reading your theories about what is going to happen! It helps keep me going with writing this monster! I do greatly appreciate those of you who review!

Chapter 39 by DesertPlanet
Holding his plastic library card as though it were made out of gold, Remus strode confidently into the library once more. He had been coming here nearly every day since mid-September as he continued the research on why magic and electricity responded to each other the way they did. While nowhere near an answer, he had learned many interesting things about electricity and the way it responds to various things and how things respond to it.

Currently, he was fascinated by magnets.

Various magnetic elements were occasionally used for magical artifacts as the elements were said to have an effect on the magical usage of the user of the artifact. Some users of these artifacts had stated that they could feel the energy of the Earth itself while wearing these. This was generally seen as hyperbole on the part of the users of these artifacts, but now Remus wasn’t quite sure that it was.

The knowledge of the true extent of the magnetosphere of Earth was enough to make Remus want to cry. All of the knowledge of the ancients and their worship of the Northern Lights made so much more sense when this level of muggle understanding was applied to it. Especially when he learned how very the magnetic field surrounded and protected the planet much like a ward.

In fact, calling it anything but a ward would be doing it a disservice. It was a ward placed by the planet to protect it’s beings.

But waxing poetic was not what he was here to do. Today he planned to venture off the path he had found himself on and work back towards electricity. More specifically, how muggles were able to create it.

He had not had any luck coming to a good understanding as to how magic was actually created within a witch or wizard or within any magical creature, but his hope was to find out how muggles managed to make and control the energy and work from there. Surely there had to be some sort of simple explanation as to how it was done.

Remus sighed as he made his way to what he was rapidly considering to be his corner of the library and groaned slightly as he sat in one of the office chairs next to a computer. He was still sore from the previous full moon and was inordinately thankful he was still being allowed to live at Hogwarts and was being provided with a safe place to transform.

Flipping open the book on electricity generators, Remus sighed. Despite all of the good that the muggles' obsession with electricity had brought to the world, it had always countered the good with the bad. And their ways of producing energy certainly seemed to fall in the category of bad.

Pictures of smokestacks filled most every page as the book spoke about the burning of various substances to produce electricity. Coal, oil, natural gas; Remus couldn’t believe what the muggles had done to the planet in their quest to create a modern society. And the amount of labor, the amount of people involved, the amount of children involved in the creation and maintenance of such a system was unfathomable. All for the creation of steam to turn a turbine.

Flipping the page, Remus was met with a picture of a different sort. A large, foreboding building on the horizon with several large, curved smokestacks dominated the picture. Remus studied the picture with earnest before turning to the title of the chapter. The building was odd, other than the smokestacks, the actual building was quite small and squat with a few tall, slender smokestacks rising from it as well.

‘Electricity Production via Nuclear Fission’ the title of the chapter read.

Remus frowned. He hadn’t come across that term yet and was rather hesitant to know what it was. He knew what a nuclear bomb was, as did every other witch or wizard his age. There had been a very real threat that the muggles would go to war and use such weapons on each other so even the wizarding world had to know what to do in case of such an attack. So what in the world were the muggles doing with that kind of power now?

Reading and re-reading the section several times, Remus was still unsure how he felt about it. It seemed like a good idea on paper, but he wasn’t sure how it would work in reality. The muggles had already built multiple power plants around the world using nuclear fission as a means of electricity creation and their scientists were the ones to discover the method of utilizing it. And if he was being honest with himself, he wasn’t sure he had enough knowledge to make any sort of judgement call on the situation anyways.

Flipping the page to the next section within the nuclear fission portion of the book, Remus felt his heart drop. The picture on the section header was a picture of what appeared to be a nuclear power plant with one section of its roof blown off.

Was that a real event? How had that not made the news? What even had happened?

Remus felt his heart racing as he quickly skimmed the section of the book.

Nuclear meltdown.


Three Mile Island.


Remus swallowed hard as he sat back in his chair. He had been alive when all three of the major meltdowns had occurred and couldn’t remember hearing about any of them. The Three-Mile Island incident had occurred when he was nineteen and in the midst of some of the worst fighting during the war against Voldemort so he could understand not hearing about that one and he had been a child when SL-1 occurred, but the one which made his skin truly crawl was Chernobyl.

The war against Voldemort had been over for five years at that time and, despite being depressed at having lost all of his best friends in one foul swoop, he had no recollection of ever being told of such a disaster occuring. He could not remember anything about it even being in the paper. Maybe he had seen it in a muggle paper, but he had no idea what they were talking about at the time. In fact, if he had seen it, he was fairly certain he had simply discounted it as muggles doing muggle things. And muggle things had little bearing on the wizarding world.

Swallowing thickly, he closed the book and laid it on his pile of books he planned to check out before getting up and heading down to the information desk. He had to know what happened. He needed to know what had happened for a supposedly safe device to explode. And everything he had read said that they didn’t, or at least shouldn’t.

Once he found the book he wanted, he returned to his corner in the electricity section and began to read, looking for anything which may have been the reason this information wasn’t passed on. He would, of course, have to go through the archives of the Daily Prophet to be sure, but he could not recall anything having been mentioned about such a disaster.

Looking at where the disaster site was located, he was rather surprised to find it hadn’t even taken place worlds away. It had happened right here in Europe. There was no reason for the ministry to have kept that information from the wizarding populous. Especially since the worst of the fallout had spread with the wind all over Europe and even up into Scotland herself.

As he looked at the map of the fallout, a realization rolled over him like a bucket of ice water. Had any of the wizarding world been informed of this incident? He hadn’t heard of any illness or repercussions following this, but he also hadn’t known to look. It was a pity he didn’t know anyone from the former Russian states to ask them what they knew.

Turning back to his pile of books, he sighed. He had lost both his appetite and his desire to study any further. He would just have to check out the books he wished to read and be done with it.

As he packed his bag, he couldn’t help but notice the computer screen next to him was flickering various colors as he moved. It was almost in response to his movement, almost as though it could pick him up.

Reaching a finger out to the screen, Remus was surprised to find the screen immediately changed from flickering to a strange rainbow of colors emanating from where his finger was. As he moved his finger, the orientation of the rainbow changed as well. It looked almost as though his fingers were a droplet and the computer screen was water. The rainbow lights rippled out from his finger.

Suddenly a shock of static shot from the screen of the computer jolted him in the finger, causing him to yank his finger away from the screen and shake it off. It was oddly painful too, almost like being burned by silver but not quite to that extreme. Looking at his finger once more, he put it in his mouth instinctively as he slung his bag over his shoulder, thankful for the featherlight charm he kept on it at all times.

Making his way out of the building, he was momentarily distracted by a large world map which was pinned to one wall. His eyes immediately flicked to the border between Ukraine and Belarus. It was odd to think that not even ten years ago an entire section of the two countries had needed to be evacuated, some being sent to Kyiv, some being sent farther away to Minsk or even Moscow.


Wasn’t Elias’s main healer living there?

Elias’s head was swimming as the mediwitch pushed him down the hall in an old wicker wheelchair towards a lift at the end of the hall. He couldn’t remember where they were going, but it certainly felt nice to be out of bed for the first time in a long time.

Maybe they were going outside? It would be nice to see the flowers and feel the spring air on his face. Maybe they would let him play some Quidditch with Ron? That would be a fun activity to do. Or even just sit under one of the trees and play Exploding Snap while watching the squid float by lazily on the lake.

“You’re smiling awfully big, Elly,” the mediwitch said with a giggle. “Are you excited to see your new ward?”

New ward? Where was he going? They weren’t going outside?!

Rounding one last corner, the mediwitch stopped the chair and pushed the button on the lift to tell the driver to come to their floor. The entire hall surrounding the lift itself was decorated to the nines for Hallowe’en. Only a few more days and the most celebrated holiday for witches and wizards everywhere would be upon them.

Elias looked around in confusion before rubbing his eyes. His head was hurting, his back was hurting, his legs were hurting, and he was extremely confused as to what was going on. Why was this floor decorated for Hallowe’en? Was it not spring time yet? How long had he been here?

Looking around frantically, he immediately stilled when he saw the large, dark figure of his father standing quietly not too far away. Surely his father would know what was going on and would help him understand. Or at least explain things to him so he could understand what was happening.

“D-da?” Elias asked as they entered the lift. “W-w-we’re g-g-going h-home, y-yeah?”

Severus sighed and crouched next to his son as the mediwitch told the lift driver which floor to go to. This would be the fifth time they had gone over this and every time it broke his heart when it finally sunk in for his son that he would not be returning home for the time being. Maybe during the summer when he wasn’t teaching they could work something out, but right now? There was no way for Elias to be at Hogwarts with him safely or without breaking the bank by having a caregiver with him at all times. It just wasn’t going to happen.

“No, Elias,” Severus said gently as the lift began to move up to the next floor. “Not yet. We’re moving you to a ward where you will be able to move around and work on getting stronger.”

“B-b-but I’ve b-been good-d!” Elias cried. “Y-y-you s-said if I w-was g-g-g-”

“I know what I said,” Severus interrupted gently, trying to prevent his son from breaking down in tears before they even got to the ward. “But it isn’t safe for you to come home right now. You aren’t strong enough and we would need someone to stay with you at all times.”

“D-da, p-p-please!” Elias yelped, tears welling up in his eyes as the mediwitch pushed him off the lift and towards the locked ward at the end of the hall. “I w-wanna g-go h-home!”

Severus’s mouth was set in a grim line as the mediwitch stopped the wheelchair and approached the door to deactivate the wards. He had been warned that Elias wasn’t going to be happy about the transfer, but he would get used to it soon enough. There would just be a bit of an adjustment period and he would be fine. And the healers on the Janus Thickey Ward were used to dealing with the effects of long-term spell damage.

If ever there was a safe place to put him, this would be it. And he wouldn’t be the only person on the ward suffering from the effects of Cruciatus damage.

The mediwitch pulled open the door just as Elias threw himself out of the wheelchair, managing to make a few staggering steps back towards the lift before Severus caught him around the waist and placed him none too gently back in the wheelchair.

“Elias, stop this nonsense,” Severus snapped, his heart clenching as tears continued to fall unabated down his son’s face. “We have discussed this multiple times. You need to stay here. Please. I know you don’t want to, but it’s for your safety.”

“I w-w-wanna g-g-go hom-me!” Elias wailed, trying once more to get out of the wheelchair and make a break for it, only to find a seatbelt had been placed around his waist to prevent him from easily getting up again. It wasn’t fair! “D-da, p-p-please!”

An additional mediwitch had come to hold the door open as they entered, saying “watch his hands, love!” as they entered, gently pushing his hands away from the door frame as the wheelchair was pushed through so he couldn’t grab on.

Once the door was shut behind them, the second mediwitch turned to Severus and smiled slightly before motioning for the entire entourage to follow her to the back of the ward. Severus couldn’t help but notice the other patients on the ward were watching them in curiosity as they passed. The only one who didn’t turn to look was a man who was laying in one of the many beds of the ward, staring at the ceiling open mouthed..

“Put him near the back, dear,” one of the healers said as she handed a blond man in pajamas a roll of parchment and a quill, motioning towards the end of the unit.

“Across from Frank?” the mediwitch said, skillfully ignoring both Elias’s cries and the groan Severus did as he looked at the blond man.

“That would be fine,” the healer said before turning back to the blond man in front of her and saying. “I need to go for a moment, Gilderoy, dear! I need to greet our new guest! You keep working on your letters, ok?”

“Have they come to see me?” the blond man said excitedly. “Would they like an autograph?!”

“No, dearie, the young boy is going to be a new roommate!” the healer said, handing him a fresh sheet of parchment. “Though it is a lovely idea for you to practice your autograph!”

The mediwitch pushing Elias smiled wryly before pulling the wheelchair he was in alongside the farthest bed on the left and spelling away the wheels, leaving it a simple, wicker chair with arms. No matter how much he squirmed, Elias couldn’t get out of the chair. He didn’t want to be here! He didn’t want to help Lockhart with his autographs and fanmail again! He just wanted to go home!

“Now, who have we here?” the healer said as she trundled over to the entourage which had just entered.

“This is Elias Snape,” the young mediwitch from Ward 34 said as she pulled a copy of his chart out of the back compartment of the chair he was sitting in. “16 years old, Shervil’s, came in due apnea caused by severe muscle spasms…”

“Oh my,” the healer exclaimed, interrupting the mediwitch. “That must have been terrifying! I’m assuming he hasn’t had any more episodes?”

“No, ma’am,” the mediwitch responded, looking rather flustered at the interruption. “He also has rather advanced dementia and …”

“Has he had any seizures?” the Healer interrupted once more. “Since he’s been here, that is?”

“Yes, ma’am,” the mediwitch responded, the muscles in her jaw beginning to flex at the repeated interruptions. “He had three while under a runic dark ward and …”

“And how is his mobility?” the healer asked, ignoring the redness in the mediwitch’s face.

“I don’t…” the mediwitch started to say.

“I c-c-can w-w-walk!R