Potions and Snitches
Snape and Harry Gen Fanfiction Archive

Chapter 34
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.”
Chapter End Notes:
Ha! And you thought Hermione was going to blow it!

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