The Forgotten Prophecy by JewelBurns
Summary: Summoned from the canon universe at his moment of death Snape lands in a world where he never delivered the prophecy. While he's adjusting to life as a husband, father to a quirky little girl, and step-father to a different Harry, wizards start disappearing forcing him to put his animosity aside and work with the most unlikely team to help bring down a villain worse than Voldemort.
Categories: Parental Snape > Stepfather Snape Main Characters: .Snape and Harry (required), Draco, Hermione, James, Lily, Ron
Snape Flavour: Desperate Snape, Out of Character Snape, Secretive Snape
Genres: Angst, Drama, Family, General, Mystery
Tags: Alternate Universe, Injured!Harry, Physical Impairment, Sibling Addition, Time Travel
Takes Place: 5th summer, 5th Year
Warnings: Out of Character
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 5 Completed: No Word count: 36147 Read: 3372 Published: 15 Oct 2021 Updated: 23 Aug 2022
Chapter 4: Harry's Story by JewelBurns

In a fit of rage, Severus threw open the familiar door leading into his cramped Potion's office - the only available office space in the castle having no livable quarters here - unsurprised when it hit the back wall so hard that the glass phials on the shelves rattled and threatened to fall from their usual safe locations. Naturally, his typical well-placed enchantments on his ingredient kept them from falling, but they wouldn't be safe from his brute strength if he turned towards them to release his pent-up frustration; the exact end goal he desired.

"Dammit," he screamed at the top of his lungs, desperate for some sort of cathartic release away from his calamitous morning. And when that didn't work, he turned to his office desk and swiped his arm across it in one smooth motion, effectively sending the entire contents tumbling down to the stone floor with a much more satisfying shatter.

For a moment, he stood motionless, admiring his work along the ground as he tried to catch his breath. Everything appeared to be normal, as if this were his old Potions office back from two years ago. The broken quills, shattered inkwells, and face-down texts were all things he would have stored on his desk and would still be on the ground if he had acted the same way towards them. Everything, except for a single undamaged, upright phial on the floor, surrounded by shards of glass and soaked through parchment.

So why didn't this one break? What makes it so special?

Two questions he simultaneously didn't care to answer and needed to know.

Not putting any more thought into it, he picked up the phial - briefly appreciating the weight of its heavy glass in his hands - and threw it at the space on the wall to his left. Once again, rather than crash into the surface like any other phial would, it bounced backwards, landing upright at his feet. As he stared at the shimmering golden liquid sloshing along the sides, leaving trails of the thick potion in its wake, his frustration grew. He growled, bent down for the second time in as many minutes to pick it up, and he threw it onto the floor directly in front of him with all of his strength. For a split second, he thought he had finally used enough force to break through any enchantments his counterpart had cast onto the object, but, to his sheer shock, the phial bounced back up, this time all the way to his eye level and floated in front of him long enough to force him to reach out to catch it.

After all of that effort, he gave in to his curiosity. What could this phial possibly contain that would necessitate such potent enchantments laced into the glass? He turned the object over in his hand using extreme caution, as if it were an explosive, to reveal the yellowed label written in his familiar, scribbled handwriting:

H. Potter

Neuropathy+Spasms

B.10-124, v.47-C

His heart sank when the reality of the situation dawned on him. If his private potions nomenclature crossed over between both worlds, which it logically would, this one was simple for him to decipher. The first two lines informed him that the formula was his own experiment designed for Harry Potter - to help him with his nerve pain and muscle spasms, which are common side effects of spinal cord injuries. The last line specified where he'd find the formula for this specific trial in his many personal lab books, its version, and his numbered attempt at brewing it. Book ten, Page 124, and version number forty-seven, attempt number three - he used the alpha system to differentiate the sequential attempts. Given the level of protection he placed on this phial, the potion had either been successful or it contained some feature he intended to use as a stepping stone for version forty-eight. Forty-eight. He'd made almost fifty variations of only this single potion for his stepson - a wizard he currently despised.

Yes, I still despise him.

His mind flashed back to the potions he saw Harry take at their family breakfast three hours ago. How many more potions had Severus created or continued to create, for the child? At least nine, he assumed, based on this specific one coming from book number ten. It made reasonable sense for books one through nine to hold other varieties of potions the young wizard used to help his condition.

I cannot do this.

In a rare display of weakness, Severus placed his sweaty palms onto his desk and leaned against them until the solid piece of wood furniture supported nearly all of his weight. If only it could take away the weight pressing down on his chest from the task he faced ahead of him. He'd woken up in this world barely five hours ago, had presumably died in the Shrieking Shack no more than six, and he already felt like he was failing whatever purpose had brought him here.

How could he have thought he'd be able to waltz right into someone else's life, no less someone so fundamentally different from himself, and live it with no one noticing? If his first class - seventh years, no less - was any sign of his impending success, he needed to find answers… and fast. Walking into the classroom this morning made it far too easy for him to revert to his old self; back into his real self. And while it seemed none of the fourteen students in his N.E.W.T. class seemed to mind him arriving fifteen minutes late, it certainly set his day off on the wrong foot, and the pressure inside of him grew with each student's interruption or confused expression.

Fortunately, his extraordinarily large seventh-year class had been competent enough to avoid his seething rage. He could not say the same about his second-year class, the one he'd just come from, right before the lunch hour. In that class, he realized exactly how unprepared he was for this endeavour. Everything from him not knowing the assignment due today to meeting students who did not exist in his old world - one of whom would give Longbottom a run for his galleons as the least promising potioneer in Wizarding Britain - made every incorrect answer given and ill-prepared ingredient grind his nerves to the ground. In the end, despite how hard Severus tried to revise for their upcoming final exams with the same demeanour these students expected from their Potions Master, he hadn't the slightest idea of how to do so and ended the second year class early by storming out of the classroom to his office, planning to clear his head during the lunch hour.

Against all odds, his minor breakdown on his desk calmed him down more than the mess he made throughout the room. Each deep breath cleared the fog that had settled into his mind since waking up, allowing him to take in the surrounding space. An idea struck him, one he should have considered long before walking through its doors: this office was his best option for learning about his new self and avoiding any further missteps like the ones he made in class. Generally speaking, a professor's office became his or her personal space - a purgatory-like environment nestled between one's work and home life, especially if one did not have living quarters at the school, as this Severus Snape did not.

Nothing in the cramped room seemed out of place compared to his former potions office at first glance. The desk was identical, and was in the same location in the room - near the back wall, facing the door. A series of shelves magically affixed to the stone walls behind his desk were brimming with texts, journals, and loose parchment, just like in his old world. Two large bookcases lined the left and right walls between the door and his desk, where he kept his personal potion ingredients, and it was here that he noticed his first, albeit minor, change. While pursuing through the inventory of ingredients, he noticed how those he used for school projects were limited to the left side of the room, while the bookcases on the right side contained a variety of jars, phials, and bottles neatly sorted on the shelves by labels with codes he did not recognize. His intuition told him these were for personal or commissioned projects, however, the volume concerned him. How many experiments was he carrying out? And where were they?

The crunch of broken glass under his foot caught his attention right as he was about to consider the exploration of his new office another personal dead end. The previous contents of his desk were still covering the floor; everything his counterpart would have kept closest to him on the desk. When he looked again at the remnants of his tantrum, he discovered they weren't limited to phial glass and student essays, as he would have expected from his old desk. He waved his wand over the pile, revelling in the one familiar sensation to him in this strange new world, repairing every shard of glass until restored to its original, orderly state. Three blatantly obvious additions to the room froze him - three things he had missed seeing before shattering them on the ground. Three silver photo frames.

Although he did not know how his wobbly legs got there, Severus found himself sitting at his desk, clutching the first of the frames in his hands, as if it might realize he was an imposter and vanish on him. The moving picture was of himself standing next to Lily who was sitting propped up in a hospital bed holding a baby wrapped in a pink blanket in her arms. Rosalie Maya Snape. His flesh and blood daughter. Or, more precisely, his counterpart's daughter, yet this tiny person somehow knew the truth about him. But what stood out to him the most was the smile on the other man's face. It never once wavered during the picture loop, where he alternated between looking down at the child in his wife's arms and the camera for their first family portrait. The loop ended just as he bent down to kiss the top of Lily's head.

Still clutching the first photo, Severus examined the other two. The middle one was of Harry and Lily at what appeared to be the Gryffindor's birthday party; his fifth based on the number five candle on the cake. Harry sat behind the cake with his mother beside him, her lips moving in time to sing 'Happy Birthday'. Although he couldn't remember any specifics of the day, the picture obviously held some sort of significance to this Severus to be included in the three displayed at his workplace. Even if those memories hadn't been unlocked, his current state of mind emphasized the question, "Where is James?"

The last photograph struck him the hardest for reasons he could not fathom. He, Rosalie, and Harry were seated around a short wooden table with a chessboard prominently displayed between them. They appeared to be in a log cabin based on the walls behind them. Rain was pouring outside, through a large picture window in the background, making him almost feel the warmth emanating from the soft glow of the lit fire in the fireplace to his counterpart's left. The image looped a scene of Rosie crawling around Severus's right side while the professor appeared to be teaching Harry chess while sitting on the floor across from Severus, his wheelchair not far behind the young wizard. During the loop, picture Severus would touch a piece, then point out the places that piece might move. Harry dutifully nodded his head, and pointed to another spot on the board, his lips moving in a silent question. Whatever the child had said caused the picture Severus to shake his head in some odd mixture of laughter and defeat.

Guilt. The guilt Severus felt for practically stealing this other man's life practically tore him apart. With the wedding pictures he saw in the bedroom he awoke in, he could tell the man had been living a fulfilling life; one with far more potential than his had been. So what brought him here? Why, of all the possible versions of himself, did he replace a man who appeared to have it all? His current self should have died a bitter, lonely man on the dirty floor of a shack. He didn't deserve to live this life, no matter how badly he wanted it.

"Severus?"

The professor jumped at the sound of his name echoing on the walls, dropping the picture of Rosalie's birth. Lost in his pitying thoughts, he missed the knock on his door and the loud creak when Poppy - now standing inside the threshold frustratedly staring at him - pushed it open.

"Poppy." He stood, straightening the picture frames along the edge of his desk. "Please accept my apologies. I didn't hear you knock."

"I most assuredly did knock." She pressed her fists firmly against her hips. "I've been attempting to contact you for the past hour. I sent three missives to your classroom at the end of your last class."

Severus thought quickly. "Ah, I dismissed my class early today," he explained to the medi-witch. "Unless one of my more idiotic students made the unwise decision to touch them, I suspect they're still sitting on my classroom desk.

"Let me guess-" he menacingly narrowed his eyes at his newest visitor, "Lily fire called you to check in on me."

In the short time she'd been there, Severus had sifted through every plausible reason she'd come to see him. He wasn't the Head of Slytherin here, so he doubted it'd be over any student illness and they had avoided any injuries in his second-year class, thanks to his efforts. Therefore, when he remembered Lily's remark about seeing Poppy, it clicked into place. Unfortunately, like everything else lately, he was wrong; or at least partially so.

"Well, yes," she began, a little taken aback by his presumption, "but I'm here because you didn't deliver Harry's weekly potions to the infirmary this morning. I had nothing to send down with his lunch."

Fuck. This wasn't something he could logically guess his way out of, he needed a concrete memory to answer appropriately. Severus closed his eyes to concentrate on finding some memory of these elusive potions - what they were or where he could find them. When he opened them back up, they landed on a bag hanging on the coat rack to Poppy's right. The bag Lily hurriedly handed him on his way out, which, at the time, he assumed contained student potion assignments he had reviewed over the weekend.

"Accio." Severus summoned the bag, hoping it had as many cushioning enchantments on it as Harry's experimental potion. He opened the pack, pleased to see twenty small phials, all organized and labelled for Harry to take throughout the school day - administered, of course, by the school mediwitch. He re-zipped the bag and held it out to Poppy. "Please accept my apologies once more. This morning, we were running later than usual."

"I suspected as much," Poppy curtly stated. She opened the bag and rummaged through the phials until she found three and placed them in the front pocket of her smock, vanishing the rest most likely to the infirmary. "While we're on the topic of you-" Severus sighed at the pathetic transition, "-when I spoke with Lily this morning, she sounded quite concerned. She said you took a horrid fall and the diagnostic report showed a head injury-"

"She's overreacting." Severus wiped his hand down his face. If he was going to involve anyone else in his mess, it would not be Poppy. Definitely Albus, possibly Minerva… people who could assist him in determining what the hell was going on. "I simply had a bit of a migraine this morning, took a potion, and I'm sure I'll be back to my old grumpy self after lunch."

"We both know you're not as grumpy as you portray yourself to be, Severus." She placed another migraine potion onto his desk. "In case you need it later. Also, if anything changes during the day, don't be afraid to drop by. My confidentiality vow extends to spouses, too. Use that information as you see fit."

"I'll remember that," Severus chuckled. Back in his days as a student, what he respected most about Poppy was how she embraced her need to be a confidant to the students, as well as the faculty if needed, in order to do her job well. He suspected that if it came down to it, she'd choose death over breaking the trust she'd built with the students by taking Veritaserum.

"Oh, Severus, one more thing," she added, right before leaving his office. "Remember, Harry and I have lessons this afternoon. I'll do my best to get him out on time today, but I feel like he's getting so close to mastering the spells that I'd hate to cut him short if he makes significant progress today."

Shocked - at the lessons or Harry's supposed progress, he couldn't tell - Severus stood there dumbfounded, unsure how to respond, other than stifling his fury at the mere thought of having to wait for Harry Potter. Poppy, thankfully, didn't pick up on his conflicted emotions and continued her rambling.

"I keep warning you and Lily that you need to monitor him closely." She waved her finger at him, reminiscent of his teenage years. "He's truly gifted in Charms and Transfiguration… better than Lily or James, I'm sure of it. I suppose it's a matter of necessity for him, right? In any case, I am thoroughly impressed by how quickly he picks up spells. It's as if the moment he comprehends what he needs to do, it happens! It's no surprise Filius wanted him in Ravenclaw so badly. Must have seen his potential from day one."

"It's called arrogant, not gifted!" Severus practically yelled, accidentally letting his shield down. "How am I the only one in this school capable of seeing our troubled Golden Boy for whom he really is?! He doesn't have a talented bone in his body! His magic is mediocre, at best, and he'd probably be dead if it weren't for Miss Granger-"

Severus cut himself off as soon as he realized his mistakes, which was at least thirty seconds too late according to Poppy's alarmed expression. The school medi-witch, who he had a feeling spent more time with this Harry in one year than the other in his entire six years at Hogwarts, appeared as if he had struck her in the face.

"Well, this is certainly a recent development," she huffed on Harry's behalf. "I was already struggling to understand Lily's contentions, but I thought… Well, I've always felt relieved that he had you there to support his magical abilities… at least until right now."

Severus's jaw tightened to hold back any passing insults. "Perhaps I hit my head more than I suspected," he offered the most logical explanation as his excuse. "Lily might have mentioned how I babbled a bit of nonsense this morning as well.

"Whatever time you can release him is fine," Severus finally agreed. "I need to stop by Albus's office before leaving tonight and I expect it to be a lengthy conversation, so no need to rush your… work."

"You didn't hear?" Poppy asked him. She nodded her head at the Prophet peeking out of the stack of papers on the top of his desk. "I figured you'd read about it this morning, give your interest in what's been going on."

"I was running late today," he reminded her, shifting the work on his desk to reveal the aforementioned object.

"Yes, well, Albus was called to the ministry early this morning." Poppy clutched her hands tightly against her chest. "When the paper arrived at breakfast, we all assumed his summons was regarding the Bones' situation… If anyone can help her, it's Albus… As of this morning, when Pomona came for the calming draught, she told me Susan's staying here for the time being, at least until they figured out the details of what happened. The poor girl has already lost so many in the war, we were all so hopeful for a better outcome than this..."

Severus heard little of what Poppy went on about - what started as something to do with Albus helping with Susan Bones' summer living arrangements, turned into the witch's upcoming O.W.L.s, and then her heading out for lunch. In his old world, no one would've thought twice of Severus ignoring them in place of something he found more interesting, but this time Severus didn't care about maintaining his cover. No, at that point he was only interested in the big, bold headline on the front of the Daily Prophet:

Has Prometheus Struck Again?

Bones Found At Last!

A fortnight after her disappearance, Aurors have officially uncovered the body of Amelia Bones. We expect the Department of Magical Law Enforcement to make an official statement on the cause of her disappearance and death in the upcoming days, however the circumstances appear to be consistent with the others…

Severus skimmed the article, having no recollection of the case's leading suspect, the elusive killer dubbed Prometheus because of the strange burn patterns found on his victims' arms, legs, and chest. Curious about these burns, Severus returned to the accompanying image of two aurors searching through a meadow of tall wispy grass. Despite being taken from a distance, Severus had no trouble identifying two key pieces of information: the aurors had disillusioned the body's arms and legs and those two aurors were Sirius Black and James Potter.


Since his first day at Hogwarts, Harry could leave whichever class he had directly before lunch fifteen minutes early. His mum and step-dad had negotiated it as part of his personalized educational plan - a term Harry was fairly confident did not exist before he started at the school - arranged for him by the Board of Governors to accommodate his needs to get the same education as the other able-bodied students, such as living off-site, access to the reactivated lifts, and the ability to leave class for his regimented, every four hours, lavatory schedule. Now, after five years of leaving classes a little early, his professors were all well aware of it, his classmates stopped questioning it - quickly learning that when they asked him why he left early, Harry gave them some obviously ridiculous reason like needing to feed the ghosts -, and his friends had got into the routine of always meeting him outside the lavatory near the Great Hall so they could go to lunch together. Most often, everything worked out fine and things felt completely normal.

Although it surprised almost everyone he met, for the most part, Harry James Potter never saw himself as being any different from any other almost sixteen-year-old wizard in Wizarding Britain. His parents still expected him to do his fair share of chores at home like any other kid, he took the same fifth-year courses as his classmates, he loved to fly on his custom-made broom whenever he could, and he loved to drink Butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks during their Hogsmeade weekends. In fact, if anyone were ever brave enough to ask the young wizard what he thought made him metaphorically stand out from his peers - a question he absolutely never got - his first response would be his parents' very public, messy divorce rather than his inability to feel or move most of his body below his lower ribcage.

Sustaining his injury when he was only three meant Harry remembered nothing surrounding it; not the weeks he spent kidnapped, the rescue, his stay at St Mungo's, or his rehabilitation, which he was grateful for almost every single day. When he was younger, his mum had simply told him he severed his spinal cord in an accident, and oblivious to the extent of magical healing, the answer more than satisfied him so he asked no other questions. How it happened or what they tried to do to fix it never mattered too much to him in those early years. However, around the age of seven, he discovered through experience that his mother's magic or potions could cure nearly any injury in the human body, naturally, leading him to wonder why his healers chose to not fix his back. It took him another month or so to gain the courage to ask his mum and Severus, and that was when they first told him the actual details of "his accident" - as well as how he earned the nickname of "The-Boy-Who-Lived" courtesy of the Daily Prophet for surviving the fatal building collapse.

Harry's interest in his injury grew over time, and he wanted to know more about what happened in the aftermath. As the Hogwarts' Potions Master, Severus explained to Harry all the different spells, salves, and potions his healers used successfully to heal him. He described how they knitted his lacerations throughout his body - but couldn't remove the scars left by an unknown cutting curse - healed his organs, and repaired his broken bones, including his ninth, tenth, and eleventh thoracic vertebrae. His spinal cord, on the other hand, had resisted every nerve regeneration potion and spell they tried on it, implying that Dark Magic had damaged it, either intentionally by his captors or accidentally during his rescue. That was the day Harry learned injuries caused by Dark Magic could not be magically repaired.

As content as Harry felt with his life in general, he'd be foolish to sit there and say how great it was, especially considering he spent most his third year hating himself. No, it wasn't easy by any means, and he had his moments of frustration when the daily challenges became too much for him. Of course, there were the things everyone could see, like how the majority of the United Kingdom - magical and muggle, alike - was far from accessible, but then there were the parts no one really thought about: people looking at him differently, frequently speaking down to him or flat out ignoring him in favour of his friends, and how he always had to be consciously aware of the condition of his body - things like nerve pain, scheduling his bladder and bowel movements, or remembering to shift himself throughout the day and night to avoid pressure sores. And while mastering summoning and levitation charms helped him overcome many of his physical challenges, and the disc his step-dad charmed helped to warn him of any general discomfort in the parts of his body he couldn't feel, similar to healing, magic couldn't solve everything. Still, Harry tried his hardest to stay positive because at the end of the day it was better than the alternative, and based on the time he snuck into his father's office last year to look through the auror's kidnapping files, he was truly lucky he hadn't died in the warehouse. Remembering those images, or the names of aurors who died while rescuing him, was usually enough to change his perspective.

"Have I mentioned how much I hate Herbology?" Harry grumbled as he exited the lavatory to his waiting friends in the corridor. As a group, they made their way towards the double doors of the Great Hall for lunch, Ron walking beside Harry and Hermione and Draco chatting behind them. Harry hated to admit it, but the latter two seemed to get closer, in a not-so-platonic way, throughout the year and in fear of the changing dynamic of their friendship, he wasn't sure what he thought about it.

"Only every single Monday this year, mate," Ron chuckled. "I bet if you complained this much to McGonagall or Sprout, they'd have moved it by now."

Harry shrugged at the truth behind his friend's words. The sad part was that he really liked Herbology as a subject. He enjoyed working with the plants and often spent his weekends helping his mum in her flower garden or Severus in his Potions garden. What he didn't like about Herbology, was the long trek to and from the greenhouses. Only his short-lived attempt to take Divinations - which failed primarily because he grew tired of Trelawney's constant death predictions, though the wobbly makeshift lift didn't help convince him to stay - and Care of Magical Creatures were worse destinations for him. Despite the rocky trip down to the edge of the forest, he continued in Hagrid's course, but he doubted any of them would take it into N.E.W.T.s next year.

"Fine," Harry sighed, pushing himself over the small raised threshold into the Great Hall and towards the Gryffindor table.

They took their usual seats, Hermione to the left of the open gap in the table for Harry to roll up to, Draco on her other side, and Ron to Harry's right. Fred and George usually sat across from them, but they obviously hadn't arrived yet based on the empty seats.

"No afternoon potions today?" Hermione asked with a frown, drawing his attention to the lack of phials surrounding his still empty plate.

"This is a problem." Harry locked his wheels in place, but it still didn't trigger his daily three phials to automatically appear from the hospital wing. He scanned up and down the Gryffindor table to see if Madam Pomfrey had accidentally sent them to someone else by mistake. Fortunately, or not for him, they weren't anywhere to be seen among the plates, food, and goblets of pumpkin juice. He groaned, both in frustration and in anticipation of the pain he knew would soon radiate down his body if he didn't get his potions; the only sensation he ever felt in his lower half, which one of those missing potions helped to keep at bay.

"You guys were really late this morning," Hermione offered, her face filled with the sympathy of seeing her friend's worry. "More so than usual. Is it possible Professor Snape forgot them at home?"

"We had a… weird… morning." Harry rubbed his brow, wishing he could erase the start of his day. The distraction of his classes had almost made him forget about their morning: Severus calling him Potter, pointing out his hideous scar, acting as if he did not know how their meticulously planned life worked, and Harry being angry with the man. "I'm pretty sure he had the bag of them when we left, though."

"He seemed a bit… off… when you guys got to school this morning," Draco added. "Like he saw a ghost or something."

"Or bit into a sour Acid Pop," Ron joked. His mouth was already half full of a sandwich, making the 'Acid Pop' sound more like 'afrid hop'.

"A-are you talking about Professor Snape?" Dennis Creevy asked from the other side of the table, four or five seats down. The tinge of fear creeping in the second-year's voice made Harry extremely nervous.

"Erm, yeah," Harry hesitantly replied, unsure he wanted to know what his stepdad had done to warrant Creevy's reaction. "Why?"

"He… uh…" Dennis turned to face his brother Colin. The fourth-year nodded. "In class this morning… He seemed a little… I don't know how to say it. He was just…"

"Mean!" Fred finished for the younger Gryffindor, slamming himself down into the seat directly across from Harry and filling his plate with food. George followed less than a second later. "The word you're looking for, tiny Creevy, is mean." He turned to Harry. "Your stepfather was more than a bit of an arsehole today-"

"And not the 'I woke up on the wrong side of the bed' kind either," George added. "He wouldn't even talk to us about-"

Fred elbowed his brother in the ribcage.

George ignored him, leading over to Harry on his propped up elbows. "Perhaps there's trouble in paradise?" At the last word, his eyebrows rose quickly, then fell.

"Ew, what is wrong with you? That's not an image I want to have in my head! It's bad enough to think about Rosie being born." Harry swallowed back the bile threatening to creep up the back of his throat. "Like I said, we had a strange morning, but I don't think…" he raised his eyes at the spot where his missing potions should have been. "He sounded different this morning. Confused… and he fainted-"

"Fainted, you say?" George inquired, exchanging a mischievous look at Fred. "Was this like a princess fainting-" he held the back of his hand dramatically to his forehead, "-or more like a warrior type?"

Fred clapped his hands loudly to demonstrate their professor collapsing to the ground.

"It's not funny," Harry protested, though he did laugh at their antics. "When it happened, he hit his head or something."

The moment the words left his mouth, the perfect explanation for his stepdad's strange behaviour, he knew they were incorrect. If he remembered correctly, which given his fight with his mum might be a stretch, Severus called him "Potter'' before he fell to the floor. He had also held his head in pain right before he had passed out. But Harry said nothing about it because his friends already decided that their normally clear-headed professor suffered from a concussion - yet another unfixable ailment by magic - causing him to "fall off the deep end" according to Fred.

Their lunch conversation flowed fluidly from Potions class to Quidditch finals, to the last Hogsmeade weekend and their summer plans, until midway through the lunch hour when they saw Madam Pomfrey strutting in through the double door, heading directly toward their table. Harry couldn't hold back his relieved smile at the three very familiar potions she held in her hands; now he wouldn't have to make the trip up to the infirmary for them between the end of lunch and his double Charms class.

"I believe these are yours, Mister Potter," announced the Matron from behind Harry. She held the three phials out over his shoulder for him to inspect the handwritten labels, a habit Severus had instilled into him early on for his own safety. You need to verify you are taking the correct potion before putting the phial to your mouth, he had lectured, and then to further prove his point, in Harry's first year, he had swapped one of Harry's afternoon potions for a Laugh-Inducing Potion. Harry couldn't sit through the rest of the day's classes without disturbing the other students, but he had more than learned his lesson.

Elixir of the Peaceful Mind

Neuralgia Draught

Draught of Control

"All here," Harry confirmed, brightly. He immediately uncorked the second one - which he usually took on an empty stomach, but it'd have to do - and drank it down, ending with a grimace. Regardless of how many potions he took in a single day, he never got used to the taste of them. The other two he placed at the top of his plate, near his goblet of water, to take once he finished his lunch.

"Don't forget our lesson this afternoon." The medi-witch reminded him, sternly. She reached over his shoulder and plucked the empty phial from the table, placing it in her smock's front pocket. "I've already informed Severus that we may run a little late today."

"Yes, ma'am." Harry obediently replied.

Harry had a love-hate relationship with Madam Pomfrey's extra tutoring sessions. As the one who asked - or more accurately begged - Severus to arrange for this specific tutoring, he couldn't exactly say he hated the afternoons he spent in the hospital wing. He simply preferred to work with Professor Flitwick for the things he didn't already have a muggle method for, and therefore felt these as a bit of a waste of his afternoon. Except, every year when Harry tried to convince his mum to allow him to board at the school, she made up some ridiculous reason he couldn't. Earlier this year, she told him he could live at the school if he mastered the elimination spell, Amotium atterio, to magically handle his bladder and bowel programme, even though he'd been handling it the muggle way for as long as he could remember with very few problems. Internally, Harry had to admit her argument was practical because having to go up and down to the lavatory in the Tower sounded downright dreadful, but the idea of forcing a fifteen-year-old to master a spell that healers learned in their Healers' training left Harry furious with his mum. So for the last two months, he had spent most of his free periods with the Matron doing things he would want none of his classmates to know about.

"Wonderful. I'll see you at four." She turned on her heels and walked away, but Harry hardly noticed. His mind was stuck thinking of one of the few sentences she'd said to him: "I've already informed Severus that we may run a little late today."

His feelings surrounding his stepdad that day were certainly confusing to him. On the one hand, it enraged him about what Severus had said on their way up to the school. That, on the other hand, sat below his deep-rooted concern for the man. Why was acting so… unknown? Putting aside his annoyance, he'd have to face Severus later in the day and if Madam Pomfrey spoke to him earlier - presumably to get his forgotten potions - she might have some insight into what was going on.

"Harry," Hermione sharply scolded, drawing him out of his reverie. "We're supposed to be studying in the library this afternoon. Our O.W.L.s are next week, you know?"

"Merlin, they are?! You mean next week, next week?" Everyone around them laughed at Harry's loud, condescending exclamation. Everyone, except for Hermione. "Listen, Hermione, even you have to admit that my practicals are going to be brilliant. As for the theory portion, if I don't know the material already, I doubt I'm going to learn it in a week, so I might as well spend my afternoon working on things that will make a difference in my life."

"Your O.W.L.s will make a diff-"

"Can you hold off on the lecture for a second?" Harry interrupted her when he saw Madam Pomfrey leaving the Great Hall. "I'll be right back."

Harry didn't wait for Hermione's response to unlock his wheels and push himself as quickly as he could through the Hall after her. No matter how efficiently Harry had become in his chair, Madam Pomfrey always walked through the school like she was on a mission, so he didn't catch her until she was five steps up the stairs, heading back to the infirmary.

"Madam Pomfrey, wait!" He yelled up to her from the bottom of the stairs, grateful that she heard him and swiftly returned.

"Is there a problem, Harry?" She asked. Harry flushed her use of his given name when they were in private. Seeing as he saw her almost as much as his regular healers, and the reasons were typically more personal than the rest of the student body, it rarely bothered him when she called him 'Harry', but it caught him off guard occasionally.

"Yeah, erm… no," he hastily said. "I mean… said you talked to Severus today?"

She gave a nod. "Once it was clear he'd forgotten to send me your potions for the week, I dropped by his office at the start of lunch."

Her tone of voice as she said the first half of her statement almost confirmed she recognized the change in him too. "Did he- did he seem alright to you?"

Madam Pomfrey turned her head to the side. "Why do you ask?"

Harry slowly rolled his wheels back and forth, feeling scrutinized. How could he explain the situation without sounding completely mental? "He was… off… this morning. Kind of confused. I know we all have bad days, but this felt different. Like he didn't know me or my mum, or even himself."

"Your mother firecalled me this morning." Madam Pomfrey rested her hand on Harry's shoulder. Out of instinct, he pulled it away, leaving her standing in front of him with her hands clasped together. "She told me all about Severus's accident this morning and ifhe hit his head, it could have caused some of the confusion you saw."

"Like forgetting the potions he's brought every single Monday for five years?"

"It may." The hesitation in her voice did little to convince Harry. Picking up on his uneasiness, she added, "I'd bet stress likely played a larger role in your missing potions today. It's the end of the year and, well, you of all people know what he's been facing. He's not one to admit how much it's weighing on his mind."

Prometheus.

Harry didn't need any further explanation. He'd heard the news about Amelia Bones' body being found and he knew it was only a matter of time before they reported on the burns and how she'd been stripped of her magic like the others. For reasons Harry hadn't figured out yet, Severus had taken the attacks personally. It made sense for his father, decorated Auror James Potter, to become engrossed in every disappearance over the last year - as he did with all of his cases, to Harry's detriment - but these somehow crossed the invisible boundary between his two homes. And Harry despised it.

"That must be it," Harry mumbled, recalling his stepdad's odd behaviour at dinner last night, including going to bed early. Had he somehow known about Madam Bones' body? "He probably read the Prophet and… yeah, it's not exactly the news we wanted to hear, even if we all kind of expected it at this point."

"You're a good son, Harry," Madam Pomfrey said. "He'll come around. He always does."

Harry stared, unseeing, at the ground, creating an awkward silence between them. He'd hoped for a better answer or some way for him to help the man who had done more for him than his biological father.

"I know that look, Harry Potter," the Matron lectured with a smirk. "Leave it to the adults to solve the issues of the wizarding world. You have more important things like O.W.L.s to worry about."

"Yeah, yeah." Harry gave a half-smile. "As if Hermione would ever let me forget it."

"Get back to lunch before Minerva comes searching for you." She gestured towards the Great Hall. "I'll see you this afternoon."

"Thanks, Madam Pomfrey."

Back at the Gryffindor table, Harry took a big bite of the lonely apple sitting on his plate, ready to ignore the lecture Hermione had been giving him before he left. True to her nature, she would not let it go, and her relentless stare burning into the side of his head forced him to address her.

"Look, I'm sorry, Hermione," Harry apologized, attempting to sound as genuine as possible through his agitation. "You know I can't spend every hour this week in the library. I only have a few left to prove to my mum so I can live here next year and I don't want to waste them on exams. I swear, I'm studying at home, so can we drop it?"

"Waste? You think it's a waste" She whispered, and Harry threw his arms up in defeat.

"Draco, try to talk some sense into her, will you?"

"You know, Harry," Draco began instead, "my father says the Board of Governors is eager to drop your boarding exemption. Something about setting a dangerous precedent for leaving the safety of the school grounds given the recent crimes. He claims the main reason they let you is because Severus is a professor here and chaperones your travelling. After all, who better to protect you from a potential dark wizard than him, right?"

Harry cringed at the word chaperone. He did not need a chaperone. What he needed was to learn to apparate, but the Ministry, as well as all three of his parents, refused to budge on the early apparition license despite his exemption to start every other area of his magical education early. He'd heard of other countries allowing early apparation, leading him to suspect the alterations required for him to apparate had more to do with it than his safety, and the longer they could delay it, the better.

"So you're saying if I get Severus fired, I'll be in the clear?" Harry sarcastically chuckled. "Based on my mum's reaction this morning, she's more likely to pull me out entirely… then raise the age of majority to eighteen so I'll be gone before I can choose my own accommodations… rather than letting me live here. No." He violently shook his head. "I want to win by her rules and I'm going to do it."

"At the expense of your O.W.L.s."

The end of lunch bell rang just as Harry was about to admonish Hermione. He hurriedly uncorked his remaining two potions to drink them down as fast as possible. He'd barely placed the second phial onto the table when all the contents on it vanished.

"Let's go," he said, unlocking his chair and turning around. "We have double Charms, and my mum also made a huge deal about Charms revision this morning."

Ron burst out laughing as he walked alongside Harry. "I don't know how you do it, Harry. I'd die if I had my mum on my case every single day. Isn't one benefit of living here not having her breathing down my neck?"

Fred roughly patted his younger brother on the back. "Maybe you'd be doing better at school for a change!"

"Like you're one to talk! How many O.W.L.s did you get? Not even a full set between the two of you?" Ron quipped. "Besides, it's not like Harry's doing fantastic with all the nagging he gets-"

"Not fair!" Harry blurted out, feigning insult as he pushed himself into the lift to take him upstairs to Charms. "My marks have been decent this year, and let's just say I won't be anywhere near the Burrow when your mum sees yours."


"Should any of you forget to leave a phial of your potion on my desk prior to leaving, you will automatically receive a zero for the day and will be required to submit a detailed essay on what you should have been doing instead of wasting space in my class," Severus announced to his fourth-year class, his final one of the day, as they packed up their supplies. The sound of shuffling increased tenfold at his impending warning. "You are dismissed."

To say Severus's day had been challenging would be the understatement of the century. After taking his lunch in his office to regroup, he trudged through the second half of the day with only a few minor mishaps; mercifully, none as serious as his morning sessions. Most importantly, he tried to keep his temper in check and focus solely on revisions for final exams. After all, a full year of fourth-year potions was, more or less, the same curriculum regardless of the universe he taught in.

Severus went up to the Headmaster's office, directly after his last student left his classroom, ready to demand some answers because if anyone knew what happened to him, it was Albus Dumbledore. In fact, as the afternoon progressed, Severus half-convinced himself that the Albus of this strange new world had somehow orchestrated the whole damn thing. Not that he should have minded. It wasn't as if he had much going on for him in his old world besides literally dying, but it was the principle of the matter. Regrettably, the trip ended up being a waste because it seemed Poppy was correct about Albus's absence, and no matter how many times Severus thought he guessed the Headmaster's password correctly, the gargoyle never moved.

Damn statue!

Severus made the hospital wing his next stop during his newfound "downtime" between the end of classes and going home for the night - an odd phrase he still felt awkward saying- hoping to get some clarity on Harry's so-called "tutoring" with Poppy. He listened carefully for a minute outside the solid wooden doors, and when he couldn't make out a single noise from the corridor, he slowly opened the door. Peering inside the familiar room, a sense of relief filled his insides to see every bed empty; a welcomed change from his other universe, where Harry and some combination of his friends occupied space in the infirmary at the end of each year. Unfortunately, with the rest of the room being empty as well, if Harry had his tutoring in there, they were probably tucked away in Poppy's office. Another mystery to unravel in the new world of Harry Potter.

That's how Severus ended up sitting on the stone bench inside of the entrance hall, flipping through a Potions Journals he remembered reading in his old world over two years ago, waiting for Harry; growing increasingly irritated with each passing minute and student who stopped to speak to him. His grumbled responses did nothing to deter them from questioning him about their upcoming exams. As Poppy had predicted, Harry exited the same lift he had entered that morning, at what Severus assumed to be nearly twenty minutes late.

"Severus!" The professor physically cringed at the sound of his given name spoken in Harry's voice. Tucking his journal into his shoulder bag, he looked up just in time to see Harry exiting the lifts, no longer angry based on his excited expression as he rolled up to the professor. "I did it, Severus! I actually did it! I had to be sitting right next to the loo when I did, but even Poppy said apprentices have to start somewhere and that's after about half a year in training! I started, what, two months ago?! Plus, she said it's always more difficult to learn to cast spells like these on yourself. Something about the body repelling its own magic in the beginning… the details don't matter… I did it!"

"And-" Harry continued, not giving Severus a word in edgewise, "it wasn't nearly as hard as I made it out to be in the beginning. Mum was right, it's all about the mental image, and I guess that's a big deal for something you can't see… and in my case, can't feel… Just don't tell her so, alright?"

There's that pompous attitude, again, as if he can master anything he wants.

At his pause, Severus opened his mouth to ask what the bloody hell he was going on about, but Harry wasn't finished, "Think about all the freedom this will give me once I can do it anywhere?! Don't tell mum that either. I don't want her to give her any more time to come up with another bullock reason why I can't live here next year. You don't know if she has a list made, do you? Because it'd be really helpful if you did."

By this point, they had left the castle and were already halfway down the pathway leading to Hogsmeade so they could disapparate back home, a fear Severus purposely tried not to think about all day because he couldn't find any indication of where their home was physically located. He'd be lucky to get them there in one piece, let alone comfortably.

"I thought you were cross with me today?"

Harry stopped. Apparently, that was the wrong answer.

"I'm certainly working my way back there," Harry spat, propelling himself past Severus without looking back. "But I'll be damned if I let you waking up on the wrong side of the bed ruin this moment for me."

"More like the entirely wrong bed," Severus muttered under his breath.

"What'd you say?"

"Keep moving, we're already late."

They spent the rest of their journey down to the Hogwarts' gates in silence and the Fates were on Severus's side when he managed to disapparate them back home in one piece. He even remembered to cast the diagnostic charm on Harry as soon as they reappeared in the back garden.

Compared to his morning and afternoon, the rest of the evening went relatively smoothly. Lily didn't seem too alarmed at their late arrival, and she was almost finished preparing dinner when they came into the house. As he helped with the final touches of their meal, Harry and Rosalie went to set the table; Harry using magic at will and Rosalie bombarding him with questions about her trip to the park and library earlier that afternoon: How do swings move? Will the flower I picked from the garden keep growing? Why not? Do you think the library at your school has The Rainbow Fish? Although Harry sounded annoyed by the end of her inquisition, the young wizard answered every single one of his half-sister's questions.

Then, for the first time in his life, Severus sat down for a civilized family dinner in his own home. The last family dinner he remembered having was at the Evans' house before he ruined his friendship with Lily by calling her a mudblood. Not so surprisingly, since Hogwarts hardly counted, every decent memory he had around a dinner table was in the Evans' home. And just as he'd always imagined she would, Lily brought the same family dynamic to their Snape family dinner as her mother had for the Evans. This helped Severus to immerse himself into his newest role, making dinner an almost unremarkable affair. He said the right things and asked the right questions, and neither Harry nor Lily looked at him as the crazy man who had awoken somewhere completely new.

Severus was about to declare the entire night a success when Harry brought up the subject of Amelia Bones right after Lily finished explaining her latest project for the part-time art class she taught at the local muggle elementary school.

"Did you see they found Susan's aunt?" Severus should have taken the small wavering in Harry's voice as a warning to what was to come.

Lily dropped her fork onto her plate, clearly taken aback by the question. Severus remained silent, feeling something deep within him drawing his attention to this missing witch discovered deceased, like a primal instinct screaming its importance to him.

"Yes, Harry, I read the Prophet after you left this morning," Lily coldly stated a sharp contrast from her previously cheerful demeanour when speaking about her classes tomorrow.

Harry sipped from his goblet of water. "Do you think she's the same as all the others? The Prophet seems to think so."

Lily glared up at her son, almost begging him to drop the subject. But Harry waited, and while Severus felt as if his other self would have stepped in to mediate the latest mother and son disagreement, he wanted to know what Harry meant by "the others".

"I think it's best not to jump to conclusions about situations we are not involved in," Lily distinctly said. "There could be a half dozen other equally logical reasons for her disappearance and death, and we should wait for the aurors' final report."

Harry shook his head and whispered, "They're going to find out her magic is gone."

"Why do you do this, Harry?" Lily warned. "No one can know that yet and nothing good can come from speculation. Have you thought about Susan? Do you think she wants to hear those kinds of rumours being spread around the school? Don't you think she deserves a bit of privacy to mourn the death of her aunt rather than having her peers debate the circumstances of her death?

"Can you imagine, Harry, what it would have been like to have Voldemort murder your parents before you could even remember them? And then being sent to live with your only living relative, to have that aunt murdered by another, potentially dark wizard?"

Harry groaned in disgust, real or exaggerating, Severus could only guess. "I'm pretty sure I'd die if I had to go live with Aunt Petunia."

Severus coughed, choking on nothing but his shock at the unexpected, ironic remark. Petunia's bitterness appeared to be strong enough to span both worlds.

Lily rolled her eyes at his statement, but did not correct him. "What I'm trying to say, Harry," she continued, "is that being the centre of a case like this is difficult. Trust me, this isn't the kind of attention you'd want, and I'm certain Susan doesn't either. If they do prove Amelia was a victim of Prometheus, Susan's entire life will go up on display for all of Wizarding Britain to scrutinize, all the while knowing she has no family left. I expected better from you."

Harry's disappointment at his mother's lecture was visible on his face. Both versions of the boy seemed to wear their hearts on their sleeves, which Severus regretted both trying to change and not embracing enough in his old world. Back there, Harry's emotions were his greatest detriment and his greatest asset, and something told him it wouldn't be much different here.

"I'm sorry, Mum," the Gryffindor mumbled. "It's easy to get caught up in things like this when it's all around the school. Even the professors are worried about it." He briefly glanced over at Severus. "Professor Dumbledore was out all day today, and Professor McGonagall mentioned that they're thinking of cancelling the last Hogsmeade weekend before finals."

"All I ask from you is that you try to keep things in perspective during all of this," she advised. "Please don't make Susan's life any more difficult, ok?"

"Got it, Mum," Harry replied, his face sad and embarrassed. "So, since I promised Hermione I was studying at home, I should actually study something for these exams. I swear she got a monitoring charm on my books and she'll know if I don't open them."

Severus discreetly watched the teen transfer from the dining room chair to his wheelchair, then use his wand to vanish his empty plate and water goblet to the kitchen sink. Unlike in his previous attempt at breakfast, there was no crash in the kitchen after each dish's departure, earning Lily a smug look from the young wizard as he rolled out of the dining room.

He didn't see Harry for the rest of the night which appeared to be typical for the teen based on Lily's unconcerned reaction to him locking himself in his bedroom for hours. He reasoned it was likely for the best anyway, because his head already ached at trying to solve the enigma known as Harry Potter. Somehow Severus had straddled the line between a confidant and a parent to the teenager, and Severus did not know how to approach such a reality.

As the evening turned to night, Severus wanted nothing more than to enjoy his newfound freedom from after-dinner detentions and curfew checks in favour of marking on the sitting room sofa, but his mind wouldn't let. It kept brewing with questions left unanswered, possibilities for his purpose here, and the desire to q learn as much of his environment as possible.

His first opportunity to explore their home from a different perspective than he had when he first saw it, unbelievably confused, in the morning came when Lily went to bathe Rosalie. By then, the sun had dropped low in the sky, casting a lovely orange glow across the open sitting room. Carefully, he examined every book on the shelves, basket of children's toys neatly tucked away along the wall, scrap of paper on the desk, picture hanging on the walls, potions in the kitchen cabinets, and Lily's diary left sitting out on the breakfast table, but nothing provided him any more insight into the life he was suddenly expected to live.

He walked lightly through the kitchen and back into the now-clean dining room, trying to hide his footsteps. The room itself was sparse, with nothing more than their table, five chairs, and the door leading out to the back garden where the building outside - his potion's lab, he intuitively knew - drew his attention. It's where he spent hours brewing Harry's potions, tweaking the formula to make them more effective or longer lasting. How did he go from despising the Potter child to devoting a significant portion of his week to improving his life?

Probably around the time I decided it'd be a good idea to become the boy's stepfather.

Why did everything seem to lead back to Potter?

Because of Lily.

Yes. She had to be the reason for everything he had done in this world - how he ended up being the man she married and had a daughter with, despite his insistence throughout his life to never procreate. A better man. A man living the life Severus did not deserve to take over.

Severus forced himself out of his melancholy thoughts and made his way towards the bedroom corridor, ready to explore the other half of the house. Based on the loud music pouring out of the first door on the right and the sound of Lily reading a bedtime story to Rosalie coming through the last, he quickly deduced those as Harry's and Rosalie's, respectively. And from his short trip through the corridor that morning, he remembered his and Lily's room was across from Rosalie's, so the far door on the left had to be theirs, and the children shared a lavatory between their rooms, accounting for the middle door on the right. It left the first door on his left as his presumed office, a place he would keep his most intimate positions regardless of what universe he lived in.

His heartbeat quickly rose as he reached for the door, and his sweaty palm instantly cooled down when it touched the metal knob. Suddenly, a hand on his shoulder made him jump.

"Leave it alone, Sev," Lily said, her tone giving him a clear warning of her displeasure if he entered the office. To counteract out her initial harshness, she wrapped her arms around his waist, and he reciprocated by wrapping his arm around her shoulder. She reached up to plant a small kiss on his unsuspecting lips. "Give your mind another rest tonight. I promise it will all be waiting for you tomorrow."

"All of what?" He replied, solemnly.

"Whatever it is you do in there for hours every night," she teased, snaking her hand up his back.

Very Interesting, he thought to himself, looking into her bright green eyes. She doesn't know what's behind this door either.

"Now come to bed." Her small, delicate hand clasped his and pulled him deeper into the corridor. "There are more than a few things we can do with an early bedtime."

For the first time in his everlastingly long day, Severus didn't have to think twice about how he should react, and without hesitation he followed her into their bedroom. All of his problems would still be there in the morning, anyway.

To be continued...
End Notes:
Coming up Next: Vignette - Sev and Lily P.1


This story archived at http://www.potionsandsnitches.org/fanfiction/viewstory.php?sid=3713