'Til That Morning by Nemo
Summary: Summer after fifth year: Why did everything bad happen to Harry Potter? Why did it always have to be Severus who picked up the pieces? And why did the kid in Severus’ neighbourhood had to be such a Hufflepuff?

Interrupted in his well-earned summer holidays of tending to his vegetable garden and just reading a lot of sciene fiction, Severus Snape is sent to track down one runaway Harry Potter.
Categories: Parental Snape > Guardian Snape Main Characters: .Snape and Harry (required), Hermione, Original Character, Ron
Snape Flavour: Snape Comforts, Snape is Angry, Snape is Kind, Snape is Mean, Snape's a Bully
Genres: Angst, Drama, Family, Humor
Media Type: None
Tags: Adoption, Runaway
Takes Place: 6th summer
Warnings: Abusive Dursleys, Alcohol Use, Bullying, Drug use, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 26 Completed: No Word count: 60113 Read: 22036 Published: 26 Mar 2023 Updated: 05 Mar 2024
Insidious Disease - Part 1 by Nemo

The remaining evening had been uneventful. If it weren’t for the ominous presence of his potions teacher one might even say it had been peaceful compared to Harry’s summer evenings thus far.

Snape had shoved some sheets and a sandwich in Harry’s stunned hands and with the threat that they would “Have a nice chat tomorrow, Potter” he had disappeared upstairs.
Felix the cat had also vanished Harry noted with a little stab of sadness. Probably out to hunt for some birds in the overgrown garden that must have been a cat’s paradise come true.

Quietly, Harry nibbled on the sandwich, which was surprisingly enjoyable given that he half expected Snape to throw in some yukky ingredients like frog lungs and force Harry to eat it. Instead, the plain cheese sandwich was downright boring compared to Snape’s usual nastiness.
Well, if there was one thing Harry had learned at the Dursley’s it was to never look a gift horse in the mouth.

After finishing the food, he carefully spread the sheets on the couch, took off his jumper and curled up on his side. He was bone-tired. Had it been only twenty-four hours since the gang had attacked them? In Harry’s mind, these two threads wouldn’t come together. One moment he and Ben sat peacefully chatting in the shadow no immediate worries on their minds. The next Harry was carted away to who knows where by his evil teacher.

Come to think of it: where was Harry? Upon arriving, Harry thought he glanced something blue in the distance. The sea? No, it couldn’t be.
He just couldn’t picture his dour potions master sunbathing on the beach and bringing back sand into the house in his shoes.

Harry tossed and turned. He couldn’t find a position that allowed him to go to sleep. He wasn’t picky. After ten years in a tiny cupboard, his only company some woodlice and spiders and then another four and a half summers making the saggy and coil spring ridden mattress in Dudley’s second bedroom work he really didn’t have high standards. And the couch was nearly as comfy as his bed in Gryffindor tower.
Who would have thought Snape cared for such things?

No, Harry was anxious. Was Snape asleep yet? Would he come in in the middle of the night just to frighten Harry?
Harry tried to keep his eyes closed with his arm so they wouldn’t wander to the big windows searching the twisting shadows outside.
It was a clear summer night. Harry knew from experience that it wouldn’t be dark properly until 2 am.
He really had to sleep. Who knew what new harassments Snape had up his sleeve in the morning?
But why did the couch have to face away from the door?

Harry felt chilly. He put on his grey jumper again and when that didn’t help he silently got up and tiptoed through the gloomy hallway to retrieve his jacket that he had hung up on Snape’s coatrack.

When he lied down again, something sharp jabbed him. Puzzled, Harry reached inside his jacket. Jammed between the half-empty packet of gummi bears he still had from his foray into Tesco’s there was the meditation guide from Hermione. Harry beamed down on it. He flicked on the small light Snape had beside his sofa and started to flip through the pages. Maybe the cloud technique could help him fall asleep.


Having slept a full eight hours, Severus nearly regretted how he had treated Potter the previous evening. Nearly.

Merlin, his head was killing him. Not to mention his nose that had apparently decided to not let any air pass through it. That would explain the bad taste left in his mouth. Severus groaned. He knew he had caught something in the rain.

Slowly sitting up and ignoring the room spinning lightly before his crusted eyes, he felt his forehead. Warm. 

Crash!

Severus twitched. The brat was only here for a mere sixteen hours and already he was destroying his house? Just you wait!

With a soft grown, Severus stood up and threw his dressing gown over his pyjamas. He made his way down the stairs as fast as possible in his current state. What he had expected when entering his living room he didn’t know. But it certainly wasn’t Potter lying on the floor beside the upturned coffee table thoroughly twisted in a blanket.
Two quick strides brought Severus starring down at the troublesome boy.

“What in Merlin’s name do you think you’re doing, Potter?” he asked wincing. His throat ached as if he had eaten a kilo of jalapeños and washed it down with chili oil.
“I- it- s-sorry, sir,” the boy stuttered blinking up at Severus like an owl struck by lightning.
“Are you too inept to even sleep boy?”
Severus saw Potter swallow nervously. Good, he hadn’t lost his touch then even if his voice sounded awfully husky at the moment.
The boy mumbled something that sounded suspiciously like “It was an accident”, but Severus ignored it.

“Pick yourself up Potter! And make your bed!”

The boy struggled to extract himself from the sheets and slowly came to his feet. Then he just stood there. Merlin, how Severus hated this brainless staring into nothingness so many teenagers seemed to have perfected.

“What are you waiting for? Hop to it boy!”

Potter jumped into action and satisfied Severus left for the kitchen to brew himself a very strong cup of tea and maybe take a few aspirins.


It was quiet without Harry here.
Not that the other boy had been a chatterbox, in the contrary. But Harry’s absence stood out to Ben like a red horse in a blue pasture.

The remaining Sunday, Ben didn’t do much except wandering the halls, watching the other boys play soccer from his place in the shade and trying not to stare at the empty bed across from his own.

A social worker had helped Ben get his cast in a plastic wrap so that he could take a shower. The warm water would’ve felt nice after the long days trapped in the hospital bed, especially as his locks slowly started to grow back now. If just Ben hadn’t had to think about Harry the whole time. The red marks wouldn’t leave him alone.

Upon entering their room- no, only his room now, he caught sight of the faded red cap Harry had given him to protect his head from the sun. In a defeated gesture, he ran his hand over his head. It was met with some resistance. Well, his hair was really growing back. Although he would have liked to tear it, strand by strand just because he was so powerless about this whole situation.

Ben went over to the bed, which in his mind still belonged to Harry and sat down. He bounced a little bit up and down a habit he had had since he was a child. Then he flopped down sighing hard.

Thud!

Puzzled Ben sat up. What was that?
It sounded like something heavy had hit the floor. He looked around the room. There was nothing lying on the cheerful blue of the linoleum floor. Curious he turned over onto his stomach and let his head hang down the side of the bed.

A book was lying half-opened on the ground, the pages bent from the impact. Ben reached under the bed and pulled out the book. It must have been wedged between the mattress and the frame, Ben’s flopping and bouncing having dislodged it.

The book felt funny, buzzing somehow. Well, what nonsense! Books didn’t buzz. Ben flipped the book over in his hands.

Magic in the Dunes – The Secret Sorcery of the Sand People

Ben’s eyebrows knitted together. Was that a science fiction novel? Or a fantasy book?
Normally he wasn’t especially interested in either genre except for his evenings at Mr. Snape’s watching Star Trek of course. But that was more of an allegory wasn’t it? For Ben, Star Trek was more about the moral dilemmas the captain and his crew got themselves into each episode and how they resolved them.

Carefully he opened the book to the first page.
A few grains of sand trickled down onto the light blue floor.

To be continued...
End Notes:

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