Potions and Snitches
Snape and Harry Gen Fanfiction Archive

Insidious Disease - Part 2

Exhausted, Harry pulled another branch over to the steadily growing heap he had piled up in one corner of Snape’s garden.

His teacher had set him to work straight after breakfast. Harry hadn’t been able to get anything down except some saggy toast with a fried egg that had magically made itself when Snape had pointed his wand at a pan.

Now, Harry regretted not eating more. His stomach was grumbling with renewed appetite after his food poisoning and the regular meals at the shelter. His muscles were screaming at him to stop. Relentlessly, Harry pushed through his back pain and the aches starting to pop up in his whole body.

He squelched through the muddy earth courtesy of the rainy weather the last few days. Harry nearly wished for the dark clouds to come back. The sun shone mercilessly down on him, the big trees in the back of the garden only doing so much to provide fleeting shadows.

With a loud crack, Harry heaved the branch onto the pile. He put his hands on his knees and leaned forward as the primary school teacher had shown the asthmatic boy in his P.E. class. It didn’t really help. His vision was spinning. He recognized the signs from the Dursleys.
But he was too afraid to go inside and ask for some water. Snape would just laugh and tell him he wouldn’t get any until he had finished clearing up the backyard.

Come on, Snape’s not that evil, a quiet voice that sounded suspiciously like Hermione piped up inside his head.

You haven’t seen him this morning, Harry thought back stubbornly.

Like the evening before, his cranky potions professor had plunked the plate with Harry’s breakfast down loudly in front of the boy and ordered him to eat. Harry not wanting a repeat of last night didn’t dare to hesitate a second too long and began wolfing down the meal.

“Manners!” Snape snapped.
Harry glanced at him through his fringe. Snape inhaled sharply and bared his teeth.
“Honestly Potter, haven’t your relatives taught you to eat like a civilized human being?”

Actually, they haven’t, thought Harry with grim satisfaction.

“I’m waiting for an answer boy!”
“Sorry, sir,” he forced through clenched teeth.

Scornfully Snape wrinkled his nose. The professor made to speak but suddenly drew in a gulp of air. He tried again but had to breathe deeply again. Then an almighty sneeze shook him and his long black hair fell into his face.

Harry flinched at the sudden noise while simultaneously stifling a laugh. That hadn’t sounded healthy in the least.
“Bless you, sir,” he said trying hard not to let his amusement seep into his voice.
Snape glared at him through narrowed eyes.
“Save your breath, Potter.”

Then Snape pulled out a slip of paper from his black dressing gown. He slapped it down on the table.
“This is a list of chores, Potter,” the man looked at the boy challengingly.
“Do you know what chores are, boy?” he added with a sardonic rise of one eyebrow.
Harry admonished himself not to react. He only wants to rile you up, the Hermione-like voice whispered and Harry had to agree.
“Yes, sir.”
“Well, you shouldn’t have any problem finishing this list before dinner then, Potter,” Snape said triumphantly, stood up and swept away, leaving behind a boy who had already surrendered to his fate.

Befuddled, Severus blinked into the afternoon light filtering into his room. He hadn’t wanted to sleep for this long. Glancing at the alarm clock ticking softly on his nightstand he saw that it was nearly time for dinner.
Severus had told himself he would just lay down for a bit until his Pepper-up potion kicked in. He must have dropped off completely. At least he felt a bit better now.

With the funny feeling of being lost in time that always accompanied sleeping so much in the middle of the day, he got up, dressed in the plain muggle clothes he wore yesterday and made his way down to the kitchen. From outside a loud cracking sound could be heard.

With an angry little stab to his mind, Severus remembered just who had taken up residence on his comfortable couch. This sofa was reserved for him and his Star Trek evenings alone!
A little surprised he opened the back door sticking his head out into the stifling summer heat. Severus hadn’t expected the brat to actually follow his orders. The list of chores had just been a pretence for him to punish the boy later. Severus was certain that Potter would refuse to be lowered to house-elf status and herald the start of a strike as soon as the spoilt child saw his garden.

Instead, there was… this. He looked around searching for the boy. It didn’t take him long to spot Potter. The boy was currently struggling with a big chunk of tree, which had broken in the storm, balancing it awkwardly on his shoulder.

“Potter!” yelled Severus loudly to make sure the boy would hear.

Confused, the boy whirled around and swiftly lost the precarious balance. In a manoeuvre Severus could only write off as true showing off, Potter fell backwards at the same time as ducking away from the falling branch so as to not get hit in the face. Well, he wouldn’t earn Severus’ pity with that stupid little stunt.

Severus strode over to the boy sitting on his rump possessing the insolence of expecting sympathy from his potions professor.
Severus reached down and pulled the boy up by the collar of his jumper. Potter breathed harshly.

“What’s the matter Prince Potter? Not used to some simple yard work?”

The infuriating boy just remained silent. Oh, how that annoyed Severus. It was a bad habit and one he hoped to break the brat out of. He released the awful grey sweater and wiped his hand down the side of his trousers. Potter was sweating out of all pores and seemed to have taken a bath in the morass. Severus wrinkled his nose. Luckily, he couldn’t smell much at the moment. He eyed the boy critically.

“Did you have lunch, Potter?”
The boy blinked at him.
“Yes, lunch, Potter!” Severus snapped impatiently. How dense could the boy be?
 “Surely you have heard of the concept of eating at noon?”
“Yes, sir, but I thought…” he trailed off.
“Thought what, Potter?”
The boy worried his lip between his teeth for a moment and Severus scoffed. What did the little punk think to gain from this ploy for attention?
“Speak up boy!”
Potter took a gulp of air and quickly said: “Yousaidtofinishthelistbeforedinner”
It was only thanks to Severus trained teacher’s ears that he could make out what the boy had said.

“Well, have you finished then, Potter?”
Eagerly the boy nodded.
“Yes, sir. I have cleared up all the branches like you wanted and weeded the patches.”
Severus let his gaze sweep around the garden. He had to admit that the boy had done a good- an acceptable job. Where there were bits of tree lying all around his backyard this morning they were now piled up neatly in one corner of the garden. The grass starting to overgrow the porch had been trimmed and the patches of sneezewort had been weed- what? The patches of sneezwort hadn’t been weeded. They had been demolished!

“POTTER! What did you do?”
“What? I haven’t-“
Severus didn’t let the boy finish his stutter. He grabbed him by the neck and steered him towards the sneezewort patches. With a shove, he released the boy who stumbled and landed on his knees.

“Tell me what you see boy!” he thundered. He couldn’t believe Potter had destroyed his potion’s ingredients.
“I- I haven’t- I didn’t-“
“What you did not do was think Potter! Do you know how valuable this was?”
“I’m sorry. Sir, I-“
But Severus had already seized Potter by the arm and started dragging him back inside. The boy stumbled a few times, which only contributed to Severus’ anger.

In the kitchen, he not too gently shoved Potter into a chair and continued into the living room to retrieve a big tome. Grabbing the extensive guide to all kinds of potion’s ingredients, he made his way back into the kitchen where Potter was sitting completely frozen into place. If only the boy would be that still in potions classes. Potter looked at Severus’ middle-section where he held the book.

With more strength than was necessary, Severus tossed the book at Potter. Apparently, he had miscalculated the distance and fuelled by his anger the book sailed right into Potter’s face. With a soft wince that he instantly quashed down, Severus watched the book making contact with Potter’s nose. Honestly where were the boy’s seeker reflexes he was so keen on showing off on the Quidditch pitch?
Severus had to look away at the sound of the book smacking into Potter’s face. It wasn’t his fault if the boy didn’t know how to catch.

“Page 394, Potter. Read it!”
The boy fumbled with the pages, a painful expression on his face. He found the page and squinted down on it.
“The popu- properties of kneazle- sneezewort imbued- include-“
“Tell me Potter,” Severus asked in his dangerously soft voice. “Do you know how to read?”
Green eyes blinked up at him dazedly.

“Where are your glasses boy?”
Potter quickly reached a hand inside his pocket and put on the horrid round frames. He looked at Severus questioningly. The professor only raised one eyebrow. Potter lowered his head and began reading again.

“The pro- properties of sneezewort incl-“
“Silently Potter!” Severus barked and not being in the mood to chaperone the stupid boy, he swept out of the kitchen and up the stairs.

His nose hurt.

Harry cringed thinking back to his confrontation with Snape. His potions teacher’s reaction hadn’t really come as a surprise to him. Harry knew that Snape was mean and absolutely deranged in his anger especially when it was directed at Harry. The yelling, the insults, none of this shocked him anymore. Even the book hadn’t been so unexpected thinking back to the cockroach incident last year.

He took off his glasses, careful to touch his nose as little as possible. He had stowed them in his pocket again after he realized that the things had become completely useless. His stomach grumbled. Harry just remained bent over the book trying to decipher the applicability of sneezewort in potions. He couldn’t remember reading about it before. Aunt Petunia had always made him rip out the invasive plant, as it was an eyesore in her perfectly orderly garden.

For a moment, Harry had been sure Snape would take off his belt. Instead, the man had thrown 2448 Common Plants and Fungi and their Uses in Potions at him and had left the kitchen in true bat-fashion. Not knowing what else to do, Harry had started reading the chapter on sneezewort, too scared to defy his teacher again. The snigger upon hearing his teacher sneeze loudly from somewhere upstairs quickly died on his parched lips.

This day had been cursed from the beginning. His stomach rumbled again reminding him that the last time he had eaten was more than eight hours ago. Nervously he glanced over to the sink. Should he risk it? But what if Snape came in the exact moment Harry gulped down some much-needed water from the tap? The scary man had always had the most terrible timing. Would he get angry with Harry if he drank something?

He honestly couldn’t figure out his professor anymore. What was he on about back in the garden when he had asked Harry if he had eaten? At first, Harry thought Snape wanted to test him but then the man got really angry, asking if Harry understood the concept of lunch.
Later in the kitchen, right before the book had smacked Harry in the nose, he caught a glimpse of Snape. If he didn’t know better, he would’ve said he saw the man wince.
That notion was gone in an instant, however, and Snape began yelling at him again.

He was so sick of it. He hadn’t really done anything wrong. He had worked the whole day without daring to take a break out of fear what Snape would do to him if he found Harry lounging in the shade. He made an effort to stick to Snape’s stupid list even if his arms were screaming at him to stop lifting the heavy branches and even if his back, still not fully healed from his last encounter with his uncle, protested to all the kneeling and bending over to weed the sneezewort.

Why did everything had to happen to him?
It was a question he had asked himself countless times over the years. Now he could only smile at it tiredly.
It did no good wallowing in self-pity. He had learned that from an early age.
So what if your parents had been murdered by some mad maniac, the same lunatic who killed a classmate before your very eyes, the same one followed by a deranged mental case better off at Saint Mungos that had killed the only remaining adult in your life you considered somewhat parental?

Get over it Potter! he admonished himself even if unshed tears blurred his vision. Crushing another cramp of his stomach and sighing softly he lowered his head to squint down at the words. He didn’t notice his breath deepening and his eyelids becoming heavier and heavier nor them finally shutting. Gently, his head hit the open book.


When Severus came down to the kitchen the next morning he was greeted by the sight of Harry Potter slumbering peacefully on his kitchen table.


Chapter End Notes:

Double update for you guys!

To all the convinced singles out there: Keep going! You’re fine. Valentine’s day is just a shitty excuse of capitalism to generate sales ;)
To all of you happily in a relationship: congrats!
And to all of you just wishing to celebrate their birthday peacefully without running into lovesick people: Happy birthday!


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