Potions and Snitches
Snape and Harry Gen Fanfiction Archive

On the Road

The first stop Harry had made after several hours of walking was an apothecary and a super market. Both had just opened with the first morning light and luckily, the direction that it came from told him he had indeed walked northeast as he had wanted to. The night had been horrible. All the while thunder had sounded in the distance and sometimes lightning had turned the cookie-cutter neighbourhoods of Surrey into an earie scenery that Harry was sure could’ve come right out of a horror movie. Not that he’d ever seen one.

Nevertheless, the early sunshine made him feel great and it wasn’t just because it dried his soaking clothes. It had started to rain just as he had reached the outskirts of what he recognised as Richmond Park from a school trip.

At the time, Dudley had found it funny chasing him so deep into the park that he had missed the bus back to school. His teachers must have overlooked him when they took count, which had happened enough times before and so Harry had walked back to Surrey 15 miles. It hadn’t been too bad though. Most people he had asked for the way seemed nice enough and the punishment that awaited him at Number Four had seemed just a little bit more bearable with an afternoon spent free as a bird and on the road.

It must have been sometime around three o’clock as Harry reached the park. He could somewhat remember it from this afternoon and wasn’t afraid going into the thicket of the park to get some cover from the rain. The leaves hadn’t been sufficient protection from the water masses that this summer storm seemed keen on unloading upon the earth however. Therefore, Harry had continued on his way. He didn’t want to get slain by a branch anyway.

His glasses had fogged up so much with the rain that he had took them off. After six hours of walking, his stomach began to grumble and his feet started to hurt in his ratty trainers. He had made his way into a supermarket that had just opened its doors for the onslaught of early morning rush hour. A dozen people in ties and suits glided through the narrow aisles in search of sandwiches and fizzy drinks. Harry had tried to blend in as much as he could. He had shoved some bread and fruits under his jumper that was somewhat baggy to begin with and had dropped some cookies and gummi bears into the pockets of his jacket. He had even dared to open his backpack and stow some water bottles there. Then his courage had left him and he fled.

After years of being punished for even the tiniest crumb of food missing from their fridge, stealing from the Dursleys had never even crossed his mind. Now however, he felt incredibly foolish for that. Better to steal from his horrible relatives than from some hard working people. Then again, this was Tesco. They probably could afford some missing water.

The apothecary had been more difficult. Harry had gone in and quickly left again when the pharmacist wouldn’t take his eyes off him. He needed a plan. An idea forming in his mind he entered again looking for all the world like an embarrassed teenager. Stepping up to the counter, he locked eyes with the pharmacist.

“I need some-,” he trailed off for good measure. He cleared his throat.

“I need a morning-after pill.”

The pharmacist raised an eyebrow.

“You see, we- that is my girlfriend and me- we, well. We got a little drunk last night and we- You know.”

The pharmacist remained silent.

“And now we don’t know if we used- err- or not.”

“I see.”


“Wait here.”

In that moment, Harry could have jumped with joy. He leaned over the counter and craned his head to get a look on where the pharmacist was looking through some shelves. Then he quickly rounded the counter, all the while keeping an eye out for the man. He took some bandages from a dispenser fixed on the wall and grabbed a package of painkillers from the shelf. As he stretched, his back twitched painfully. When the pharmacist returned with three little boxes, Harry was already back behind the counter and looked at him projecting all the normality he was capable of in this moment.

“Right,” the man said while putting the box down, “This one is-“

“-You know what?” Harry interrupted him, “I think I might have found the- the condom.”

“What?” the man just blinked confusedly through his thick glasses.

“Yeah, it’s just, err, you know…,” he looked down on himself for emphasis.

Understanding dawning on his face, the pharmacist wrinkled his nose.

“So, no need for the pill anymore.”

“Nope,” Harry said happily and skipped right out of the apothecary before he broke out in a laughing fit.

The car was rattling down the patched-up street, the potholes jolting Ben against the sea bag on the backseat. He stared out the window. In the distance, he could just make out the last blue towel of the sea as it vanished behind the hills as they drove steadily westward. He pressed his forehead against the cool window. It got jostled against the hard glass but this was fine with him. Only pain could block out what he was feeling inside. His thoughts jumbled along with the car and chased each other through his head.

Suddenly he felt eyes on him. He turned his head and got a flash of Greg’s beady little eyes before he faced the winding street once again.

So, Military School. He had never been this far away from the coast. Once, they had been to Newcastle on a school trip and his mother had taken him to visit his grandparents in Durham once in a while when he was little. But his nana had died two years earlier and his grandpa was long gone before that.

A wave of sadness crushed over him. The swell of water encircled him then as he thought about his relatives. While his mother wasn’t a perfect caregiver she was still his mother. He couldn’t imagine living without her. Well, he could imagine. He could dream sometimes. Whenever he was over at Mr. Snape’s, no- it was Severus now, he reminded himself with the tiniest ghost of a smile- Ben imagined what living with the nice professor who was there for him more reliably than his actual guardian was would be like.

But that was always with his mum next door. Always with her to go back to. Now it didn’t seem like he would see her for quite some time. Deep down in his heart he knew where his pain was coming from. His mother would always be his mother.

When he had come back from watching Star Trek with Mr. Snape on Friday night, she had already been waiting for him.

“So,” she said.

“So,” another voice added from behind Ben. Startled he spun around.

There he was, leaning inside the kitchen door in all his nasty glory. Ben had not liked him from the beginning. The beginning of these atrocious drug-buddy chill-outs they both had the gall to call “relationship”. And Greg was by far the foulest of all the “relationships” his mum had had over time.

Muscular, with the build of a small wardrobe and an unhealthy tan to his face, he sported an ugly tattoo winding around his neck like a snake. He just looked like every other gangster from TV. Although he worked for Security of some company in the next city. At least, that’s what he told them. His mum had apparently met him while working, yet Ben had strong doubts about that particular story.

For him, it was just another guy in a long row of guys his mum had the misfortune to get to know. And how they got to know each other. Ben had considered sticking a knife into his ears just to not be able to hear them getting to know specific parts of each other anymore. Not just once he had escaped their drug induced shouting hopping over the garden wall.

The Professor never asked him why he wasn’t eating at home and never commented on it either, for which Ben was immensely grateful. Also, if Mr. Snape had a notion of what was going on with Ben’s mum, he never made Ben talk about it. He just knew somehow that Ben wanted to escape there sometimes and let him.

“I- no- we have decided that it would be good for you transferring to another school,” the voice of his mother suddenly broke him out of his thoughts.

“What?” he asked and wasn’t sure if he was unsure about what his mum had said or that she had used a word like “transferring” in a sentence.

“You’ll go to the Army Foundation College as a Junior Soldier,” she said with a puffed up chest, as if that was something to be proud of.

“What? Military school? I’m- what? You just decided that?”

“Yes, we did. It’ll be good for you, you’ll see.”

“But why? I like my school. I don’t want to-“

“Ben, listen. Greg organised everything-“

Of course he did, the bastard.

“- he called an old friend of his who works there just for you.”

It seemed preposterous that someone like Greg would once have been in the military let alone able to call in favours from someone still working there. For a sweet and desperate short moment, Ben thought it was a joke. But how else would they have gotten him into this College? It must cost a fortune. Or maybe it didn’t cost anything at all given that Greg and his mother just offered fresh cannon fodder to the British Army.

“For me? For ME?” Ben shouted horrified and his voice rebounded from the walls of the small hallway.

“I don’t want to go there. I don’t want to be a soldier. Hell, I’ll not touch a single gun!”

“You’ll do what your mother says!” Greg interrupted suddenly.

“And who are you! You can’t order me around!”

“No? I can’t? Let´s hear what your mother has to say to that!”

“Greg-,” his mother tried placatingly.

“No tell him.”

“Ben, we- we decided. You’ll go there. End of discussion.”

“Mum? No!”


“NO! You can’t do that. It’s my life!”

“Listen here you little brat-,” growled Greg, but Ben had enough.

“-Shut up!-“


The blow stroke him so fast and unexpected that Ben just went down to the floor without a sound. Incredulous and somewhat dazed from the fist connecting with his temple he just sat on the tiles blinking for a few short seconds. He could feel tears in his eyes. Then he looked up to the pair of them standing above him like two incorruptible judges. Shaking Ben got to his feet.

“You’ll not speak to me like that, boy!” Greg seethed.

“I- You-,” he trailed off, not sure what to say. He had always been an easy-going person. He had tolerated many of the things his mum had pulled of over the years. But this was going too far. Never had he felt the urge to defend himself. He could just accept his mums drinking, her drug stupors, her shouting, and her ordering him around. But this?

He took a deep breath.

“I’m sorry, if you inconvenienced yourself by organising this. But I’ll not go there!”

“That’s enough you little freak!” apparently Ben had underestimated the rage Greg was already in. The big man lunged for him again and grabbed him roughly by the front of his shirt.

“You think you can speak to us like that? Think we don’t understand that big words?” he shook Ben so hard that he could feel his teeth rattle.

“I- No! With all due respect, I’m just not going there,” he tried to stay calm but it wasn’t easy with a bloke as big as a fridge shaking you.

“Respect? Respect? You’ll learn respect!” Greg shouted.

Then several things happened quickly. Greg took another swing with his fist. Ben’s mother leaped forward to stop her boyfriend from doing further damage. She grabbed hold of his arm but it was no use. Greg just shook her off as a wet dog would shake off the rain.

This time his fist connected with the bridge of Ben’s nose. Blood immediately started oozing on his shirt. Ben cried out and flew back from the force of the blow falling into the heap of empty beer cans in the corner of the kitchen. The tinkling of them exploding in all directions made his head ring.

Greg advanced on him.

“You’ll go there, understand?”

“Mum?” Ben said wheezing from the floor.

For a short moment, it seemed to Ben as if he could see the tiniest bit of shock in her eyes. But it was gone just as fast as she said, “Greg’s taking you there tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow?” croaked Ben.

“There’s a two-week prep-course for new recruits.”

And with that she just turned around and left.

Not knowing what else to do he had stumbled over to Number 7.

He would kill the Potter boy. That is after he found him of course. And after he had recycled him into potion ingredients. Not even four hours after he had gotten home from his little excursion to the Death Eaters, Dumbledore had fire-called him, telling him to relinquish trying to get anything out of the Dark Lord’s servants.

As his current employer was sure that they would’ve already heard from the psychopath should he have captured Harry, Dumbledore had sent him on the trace that some Order member had picked up last night. Apparently, they had to leave for urgent family business and every other member was already occupied with searching for Potter elsewhere. In his sleep-addled state Severus hadn’t questioned why it had to be him though, to pick up Potter’s trail when they had already found it without his help. And thus, he had just pulled on his jacket and stalked out of the house, looking back at the sofa that still stood there with a chaos of sheets and blankets on it.

Apparating to the place the order member had picked up Potter’s trace with a location spell, he looked around in the decidedly muggle neighbourhood. Big two-storey buildings were located behind neatly manicured lawn and bushes that were cut into perfect orbs. Wide windows opened to even wider driveways with the newest model cars parked right outside.

Severus snorted. Quite obviously, that wasn’t his hood. He would have preferred the plain and modest row houses of Seaham in a thousand different universes. Something about this tidy neighbourhood with its impeccable gardens didn’t sit right with him. Maybe it was the knowledge that the same things could happen here just as everywhere else. Maybe you would rather imagine it happening in neighbourhoods like Spinner’s End. But the truth was that it happened everywhere and these whitewashed fronts were just the superior facades for it.

Sighing he started walking, casting a tracking spell of his own that revealed small golden footprints going down the street. A middle-aged woman watering her flowerbeds that didn’t look exactly like they needed it eyed him like a hawk, looking him up and down and suddenly Severus was glad that he had learned to dress the correct muggle way unlike so many others of his world.

Seriously, he couldn’t understand why it seemed to be so hard for many witches and wizards. Did they have no sense for their mismatched clothes? Actually, it was very easy: just throw on some trousers that fit you, jeans being the favoured choice here as that was what most muggles wore on a daily basis and for every occasion. Then a shirt or T-shirt, also no rocket science here. Shirts were in fashion since centuries. Lastly some trainers (Severus had to admit that they were a great deal more comfortable than the heavy boots he wore while teaching) and a jacket. And now, if you just stuck to dull colours like grey and black you were fine.

Crossing the entrances of not one but three Golf Clubs his mood only got worse. Leave it to Potter to take a stroll around his neighbourhood and end up at these ludicrous clubs that sold overprized drinks and inflated egos. It could have been such a nice evening. The storm in the night had left the air pleasantly cool, a light breeze rattled the many leaves of the knee-high hedges. It was such a change to the previous week with its stifled air and omnipresent promise of a heavy storm that Severus would have breathed a sigh of relief if it wouldn’t have been for the Potter brat causing trouble. Again!

When he rounded the corner, he recognised Kingston Gate, one of the entrances to Richmond Park. What in the name of Merlin’s underpants had the brat been thinking, entering it with last night’s storm going on? Stupid misplaced Gryffindor courage! For Potter it must have been just like the next great adventure. Had the horrible boy thought for one second about the consequences of this? Why couldn’t he have just stayed at his relatives, who, without doubt, doted on him like the rest of the world and were sick with worry over their missing nephew. Why couldn’t Potter have whined until they took him to the park in the morning? Surely, that would have been better for every-

All of a sudden, Severus stopped in his tracks. Something had crushed under his trainer-clad foot. Cautiously he raised his toes and there it was. Lying in the dirty underbrush at the side of the path, muddy and bent, the glass splintered were Potter’s glasses. There was no mistaking these horrible round frames. Something cold plummeted to his stomach then.

Why were the glasses here? Where was Potter? Had he simply lost them, stupid as he was or had there been a fight? Severus didn’t like the implications of that. Ducking beneath some thick bushes, he performed a magical scan of his surroundings. Nothing there suggested a fight. He turned on the spot. And there they were: footprints leading out of the thicket again. The same footprints as before. Under a tree, they had apparently stopped for a short amount of time. Severus shuddered at the thought at what would have happened had they stayed longer. There were some heavy branches lying around everywhere on the ground.

He followed the golden footprints and was on the street once more. The trace lead him northeast unfailingly and he wondered if Potter had, in his sheer idiocy, decided to walk all the way into London. Well, there was just one way to find out. And so he pushed on ruthlessly. He was bone-tired, his feet still hurt from straying around dim bars the night before and frankly, he couldn’t care less.

How he wished to be at home now, maybe sitting at his kitchen table with a nice cup of his special homemade herb tea. Perhaps Ben would be there as well? But no. This was all Potter’s fault. He constantly had to get himself into trouble and seemed to enjoy his little adventures as well. Oh, how he seemed to bathe in the golden glory that the whole school was heaping on him. And now, he couldn't even limit his delusions of grandeur to the school year. So that automatically made Potter Severus' problem again? Stupid, idiotic, arrogant, self-absorbed Pot-

All at once, Severus halted as if rooted to the spot. He blinked and turned his head back and forth in confusion. There was not a golden trace to be seen. Not a hint of a shiny footprint. On the street, a stream of cars slowly trickled by as the night once again set on the city. Little by little, the night swarmer came out of their flats in search of a pub where they could get drunk after a long day of work.

Severus still standing on the sidewalk like a icicle got jostled by an already drunk couple, their arms thrown over each other’s shoulders and stumbling in his path.

He could feel the increasing humming of magic in the air. He was near the Leaky Cauldron. Maybe it was worth a shot looking for the brat around Diagon Alley? Knowing the boy’s penchant for breaking rules, he had even taken a short detour into Knockturn. But it was no use. Severus couldn’t spot a hair of the infernal boy’s messy head. He tore his one ones and cursed the day he had first heard of the Potter’s having a child. Panic slowly set in. He couldn’t have lost the trace. It just couldn’t be!

He spun around, walked in that direction for some meters then whipped around again and cut back again. After an hour, Severus finally had to admit to himself that he had lost the track. He had to fire-call Albus. Oh, how he looked forward to that. Not.

Returning home, he threw his jacket and shoes on the floor right at the front door in a rare fit of anger. When the sofa still stood there unmade, for the entire world looking like the most innocent thing ever, he raged some more and grabbing the mug sitting on the coffee table shattered it against the wall by the fireplace.

Of course, Albus chose this moment to stick his head through.

“My, Severus! What has this cup done to you?”

Breathing hard Severus tried to get his emotions back under control.

“Nothing, headmaster, my apologies.”

He flicked his wand and the mug reassembled on the coffee table but not without some decidedly chipped look to it.

“Not to worry, dear boy. So, how is the search for young Harry going?”

Deciding that it was better to just deliver the bad news as one would rip off a plaster, he said,

“I lost his trace.”

“You lost his trace?” and already he could see the disappointment forming, flickering on the face in the coals as little orange flames.


"Is there any point in asking how this could have happened?"

Severus was quiet for a moment before he hesitantly said,

“I’m not sure, I was… thinking. And then it just wasn’t there… anymore.”

“Well, that is without doubt very regrettable. Where did you leave it?”

“Diagon Alley” Severus replied quickly. “He seemed to be going into London.”

“He might still be there?”

“He might.”

“Well, thank you anyways, Severus. I’ll have Tonks and Kingsley keep an eye on the Alley.”

“What now?” Severus sighed.

“What? What now? You’re no longer obliged to waste your time search for him Severus. I recognize listlessness when I see it.”

“Listlessness? Listlessness! I’ve been on my feet for twenty-four hours straight not counting the little sleep I had! You can’t expect me to-“

“-to what, Severus?” interrupted Dumbledore, smoke curling out of his mouth, “To care at all about a boy, a student of yours, might I add, having disappeared? A boy whom Voldemort is intent on killing? But please, explain to me what I can’t expect from you.”

“It’s- I’m-“

“Oh I know what this is about, Severus. I see how you treat the boy.”

“You know very well why I have to treat him like this,” Severus seethed.

“Oh, do I? Is it because you have to keep up appearances for the Slytherins or the Death Eaters? No wait, you have not been a Death Eater for nearly two decades now!”

“Albus I-“

“Or is it because of that ridiculous schoolboy-enmity you had with Harry’s father?”

“Headmaster, that wasn’t ridiculous-“

But Dumbledore didn’t let him get a word in.

“Severus, when will you finally see that this is utterly pathetic?”

The Potion Master sucked in a breath.

“You’re calling me pathetic?”

“If that helps, maybe I will.”

And without further ado, Dumbledore pulled his head back, the fire hissing sharply, and going out in a small puff of grey smoke.

Blast that! He would not accept being spoken to like that. He would show that old codger. Listless? He? The youngest Potions Master in a century? The man who had escaped Voldemort? Pathetic? Just so you wait Dumbledore, he thought with grim determination setting in, I will find the Potter boy, even if it’s the last thing I do.

Chapter End Notes:

Here's an extra long update to make up for the missed one ;) I wanted to share this today with you, before leaving for the weekend so please overlook any mistakes you'll see.
What do you think? Did you like the new chapter? Has Dumbledore manipulated Severus to continue searching on purpose? What will Ben do? Find out in the next chapter!

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