The following morning, as soon as breakfast was over, with Snape eating all of his porridge and drinking most of his chamomile and peppermint tea, while Harry only ate at least three spoonfuls of his own porridge and only drank a few small sips of his milk which had been laced with some nutritive potion. The potions master, after calling Lucy, she had appeared into the bedroom, which Harry's been using since arriving at the manor, took the two trays of food away, had stood up from his armchair and made his way over to the bed where his ward was currently sitting up on, nervously watching him.
The young Gryffindor quietly sat there, listening to Snape's explanation of the familiar charm he had heard Madam Pomfrey using many times throughout the last couple of years he has been to the hospital wing.
"Reprehendo vulnera" Hearing the familiar charm, Harry waited with bated breath for the results. In the previous two years of his time attending Hogwarts, Madam Pomfrey normally gets bad results most of the time and decides to keep him in bed for another twelve hours at least.
Luckily though for Harry, luck today was on the boy's side who, in a small nervous voice had asked the professor if his wounds hadn't open and as soon as the man had gave him an honest answer, he breathed a sigh of relief.
"Well Mr Potter, I shall leave so that you have your privacy while getting dressed, then we shall begin with the tour." Harry heard the man say. Still not trusting the man, Harry watched the professor leave the bedroom. Happy now that he could leave the bed and wouldn't have to stay in the room with only reading to do, Harry swung his legs over the side of the bed. With a small smile forming on his lips, the boy climbed out and after a moments hesitation the boy walked cautiously towards his trunk. However, due to not being on his feet since Saturday, Harry's legs weren't strong enough and so he fell flat onto the carpeted floor with a loud thud.
Heart racing, Harry had no time to move before the bedroom door swung open revealing a concerned look on Snape's face, however that look quickly disappeared into an unknown look. Scared of the outcome and familiar images of his time at the Dursleys, Harry weakly scrambled backwards until his back was pressed against the wall, under the bedroom window.
"I'm sorry sir, I'm sor..." Harry started, only to be interrupted by Snape.
"No need to apologize Mr Potter, it is I that should be the one to apologize as I had forgotten that you have not been on your feet since you left Hogwarts...." Severus said, apologizing to his ward. "Now, with apologies behind us, why don't you come sit back on the side of the bed while I pick out an outfit for you." He suggested. It was the least he could do for his forgetfulness. Now standing by the boy, Severus held out a helping hand for the boy to take.
Patiently he waited and waited until Harry finally deemed that it was safe enough to accept the helping hand of the Hogwarts potions master, who gently pulled him back up on his feet and guided him back over to the bed where he quietly sat down on the edge of the bed without argument.
"After a good rummage through the boy's school trunk Severus had finally finished picking out an outfit for his ward, though confused as to why the boy didn't have any decent clothes that weren't badly stained or without holes in, he found a t-shirt, baring a few holes, that would have to do along with a pair of stained jeans and boxers that were....he quickly glanced at the boy and back again at the black boxers and with a shake of his head, he knew without a doubt that the boy's relatives not only abused and starved him, but neglected other needs, meaning didn't buy him any proper clothing. With a sigh, Severus walked back over towards the bed, planning to remedy the situation and hopefully before the end of summer, he would have by then bought the boy some proper clothing.
"Here you go Mr Potter....would you like some help getting dressed or should I just spell these on you?" Severus asked, hoping the boy would choose the latter.
"I'm....I'm okay, sir" Severus heard his ward quietly say. For a minute or two, the man just stood there, studying the boy, wondering whether or not to let the boy get dressed on his own and silently he thought back to what he would usually do with one of his injured, abused snakelets.
"That is not an option Mr Potter, until you are strong enough not to fall over, you'll be needing help with getting dressed. In fact, Madam Pomfrey herself mentioned this to me the other day....unfortunately another thing I had managed to forget." Severus said in a firm tone. "The charm that I plan to use on you to change your clothes, is one that I am sure you have certainly heard Madam Pomfrey use, during your many times in the hospital wing. The charm is called mutare vestimenta sua and I assure you that it will be quick and easy and comfortable." He finished, and while he got out his wand he let his words sink into the boy who had been thankfully paying attention, although, his ward's emerald eyes were looking at him with a lack of trust, which he had felt slightly hurt by at first, but shook that feeling away. After all, the boy had every right to look at him with wary eyes, considering the way he had treated him since he had first arrived to Hogwarts.
With a fearful gulp, Harry took a few deep breathes to calm himself and then glanced up at the potions master, giving a small nod in response. "I'm....I'm ready sir" Harry said
'Very well then." Snape, knowing exactly what the boy had chosen, without having to use legilimency on his ward, pointed his wand at Harry and with a flick of his wrist, and muttering the spell, instantly the black silk pajamas disappeared and were replaced with the outfit that Snape had picked out.
Bloody hell! Severus thought the moment the appalling clothes appeared onto a nervous Harry. Damn those muggles! And Damn Dumbledore for sending the boy there in the first place! Severus cursed, planning on asking the old man on why he hadn't listened to him on that dreadful Halloween night, when he had mentioned of who he knew Lily had trusted to raise her son. The Carrows are definitely getting a birthday present this year. He amused, images of whatever the boy's relatives looked like, gifted to the Carrows on a silver platter.
"Come, we might as well begin our tour now of Snape manor" Severus finally said, once he had come out of his thoughts, remembering that, not only he had the tour to give to the boy, but a potion brewing in which he had timed last night to be ready by two hours before lunch, in hopes that he would be done with the tour by then so that he could add the last couple of ingredients to the avian pain relief potion.
Both wizards were found downstairs in the kitchen half way towards the end of the tour of the manor.
"This Mr Potter is the kitchen which you may come to in between meals at any time of the day whether you are hungry or thirsty or both and you don't want to call Lucy...." Severus paused, studying the boy for a minute and with a tone that listen well or else there'll be trouble, the man continued. "The library, and my study are both off limits with food, however, you may bring a drink in there if you are careful not to spill whatever you're drinking on anything, meaning on the furniture or books, or the floor. If you do and I find out, you will be banned until I say so. Understood?"
Harry gave a small nod and with a quiet voice he said, "ye...yes sir"
Severus studied the boy for a moment before also nodding back, letting the boy know that he accepted the response. "Good" was the only word that came out of his mouth for a few moments. After some time done thinking, the professor indicated with a long, pale, slender finger, to an oak door that matched the rest of the other doors around the manor. "That door there will bring you to Lucy's room. The only time I am sure you'll most likely enter is either when you want her for something or I give you, as punishment, to clean her entire room from the ceiling to the floor. Now I shall allow you a few more minutes to have a look around the kitchen, then we shall carry on with the tour." Severus finished
True to his words, a few minutes later, Severus was once again leading the boy around the manor on the ground floor. Having already shown the boy all of the rooms up on the second and third floor, as well as his study, the kitchen and the dining room on the current floor they were on, they now had the living room, training room, conservatory and his potions lab to visit then they'd be done.
Severus led the boy back out of the kitchen and across the foyer to the living room which was diagonal to the room, they stood there in the room for another good 5-10 minutes with Severus explaining about the living room and rules the boy had to obey if he wanted to enter. Once done, they walked back out and turned towards the main staircase of the manor. Instead of walking up the stairs however, they passed the stairs and turned round the corner. A long, dim lit, twisting, hallway that would bring them to the last of the three rooms that Potter had yet to see.
Quietly walking along the twisting long hallway with painted silvery walls and dark maple flooring, Severus slowed his pace a little when noticing the boy was limping. Foolish boy! Why didn't he say anything?
After another good feet or two down the hallway, passing a closed door which Severus could tell by the way the boy was looking at it, that he was most likely to investigate in the near future, the professor stopped mid stride.
"Are you alright?" He asked, trying to sound more professional than concerned.
Harry gulped, not really expecting that question and for a quick moment, Harry was sure that the man had a concerned look on his face, but it had vanished so quickly before Harry could be sure. Still not trusting the man himself and not caring that Snape had said that he knew and was 'friends' with him mum, Harry worked out on what response he was going to give the man.
"Yes sir, I'm fine" He said tersely, carrying on walking in the same direction even though his leg was hurting. Though he stopped once again, feeling his heart drop in fear when he heard the man call him back in a tone that meant listen or else. Swallowing nervously, the boy slowly turned round to face the professor who had his arms folded while stalking over towards him.
Right there and then, Harry swore that his heart might just jump out and probably knock into the professor's chest.
"I'm...I'm sorr...sorry sir" he quickly said in a nervous, shaky voice, hoping the apology would calm the man down.
At the apology, Severus let out a small sigh. "Mr Potter, though I appreciate the apology which in fact was needed...I am not angry, well actually I am, but not as much as you might be thinking." Breathe, Severus breathe. You can do it, you faced the Dark Lord a number of times, I'm sure you can deal with saying a few words that you wouldn't normally say to anyone. "I am however....con....concerned, as you are my ward for the summer, I am responsible for everything to do with you and if you hadn't walked off like that, I would have suggested on you resting down on that seat over there." The potions master indicated with his head to a dark green leather couch further down the hallway. "Which I still stand by. No do not deny it Mr Potter, it is very clear to me that you are limping....besides, I would like to check your wounds as well, make sure all of Madam Pomfrey's hard work hasn't come undone while we were walking around this huge manor of mine." With that Severus guided the shocked boy further down the hallway, stopping at least four feet ahead where the boy, with reluctance, sat down.
Like at breakfast, Severus took out his wand again, used the same charm and checked the boy's wounds. When he found that none seemed to be reopened, he put his wand back into his pocket.
"It looks like you're in luck today Mr Potter, your wounds like at breakfast, have not reopened....no do not get up yet, you still need to stay resting for at least a few minutes or until I say otherwise. Is that clear?" Severus said in a firm tone.
Now that he was rested and Snape had shown him the conservatory Harry followed the man to the training room. They passed another closed, which Harry noted he would check what's behind that door later. Maybe sometime today, after the tour. Harry decided as he shortly followed Snape through double oak door.
"Welcome to the Snape manor training room Mr Potter....during your time here, you may feel free to use this room to practice any spell work. Yes, I will allow you to use your wand, the ministry will not know about it either to do with the strong wards surrounding the manor. In fact, you can come in here to do your homework, say for instance, transfigurations or charms and so on." The potions master said, causing a small, hesitant smile to spread across Harry's face as he thought about all the spells he could learn over the summer.
I was right, this summer won't be so bad after all.
Refocusing his attention back on Snape, Harry listened to the rest of the things the man was saying and the smile quickly vanished, just as quick as it had appeared at the professor's next words.
"....er you will not be able to practice any curses. Should I find out you have been using your wand to practice any curses...." Snape's lips twitched upwards, the look Harry was used to seeing all too well on the man's face whenever he planned to take points and assign detention. "Well, lets just say that your wand and I will be very acquainted by the end of summer. Am I clear?"
Harry nodded followed by a quick 'yes sir.' Quietly, Harry wondered if he had his hopes up too high as he had a couple of curses he wanted to practice, so when the time comes and he and Malfoy have another duel against each other, then he won't make a fool of himself, plus he was sure it would be a much fair fight. As he knew without any doubt that Malfoy probably had been taught certain spells by Malfoy senior and maybe Snape, after all, there's a rumor going round Hogwarts saying the potions master is in fact the 'prince' of slimy snakes's godfather. It made sense, after all the man always favored the little git over everyone else.
".....you" Harry heard Snape say.
"S....s..sir?" Harry timidly asked, wondering what the man had just said. Why don't you ever learn to listen Harry? The boy silently rebuked himself, fearing that Snape had maybe said something important.
Honestly why did I ever agree to become a potions professor at Hogwarts? Severus inwardly groaned, rolling his eyes upwards, annoyed that he had to repeat himself...then he stopped and a thoughtful look crossed the man's face for a short quick moment, as he thought back to what he had just said. Thank goodness the boy hadn't been listening, my reputation would be ruined before next week if he had. Glancing down at the boy, Severus was prepared to tell a little white lie or just act like he had not heard his ward, however a clear, realistic image of an angry Lily appeared in his mind. Looking almost as if she was telling him off for ignoring her abused, healing son.
Things I do for you Lily. Severus thought, glancing back down at the boy.
"Nothing important Mr Potter, I had merely said that if you would like, I could perhaps teach you a spell or two....that is however, after I have finished brewing all the potions I need to brew, so sometime next week." Severus said in a truthful tone. A shocked look appeared on his face as he caught the boy smiling. It wasn't a big smile, but he was still shocked that he had been the one to cause that smile.
"Ye...yes sir...I'd like tha...tha...that sir" Was all the boy responded with, still smiling.
Hmmm, maybe I am good at this. Severus mused, wondering what he had been so worried about last night. Though he did know why, there was no way he was going to confess to himself the reason behind his back peddling thoughts hours ago.
"Come, I believe I have my lab to show you then we'll be finished with this tour." The professor said after the room being silent, save for the sound of the two wizards breathing, for a few moments.
Nodding in silent agreement Harry followed Snape back out of the room. Turning left, they walked down the hallway with Snape, remembering every now and then to keep his pace slow, so the boy didn't need to waste his energy on trying to catch up with him.
Turning a corner Severus led the boy down a dim lit, cold stone staircase that would take them down to his potions lab. At the bottom of the steps, they halted just outside a closed door that was completely different to the rest of the house. Instead of being an oak door like, Severus had guessed the boy would have expected, but instead it was a strong steel door, with a matching handle and unlike the other doors around the manor, there was a double glazed window in the upper center of the door, where you could look through. Came in handy when Severus had someone staying over and they came down to look for him, instead of opening the door, if he was in the middle of brewing a dangerous potion that can easily be spoiled with the door opening, then that person can just look through the glass window, and vice versa, instead of him opening the door to see who's out there, knocking. He could also look out through the window.
"This Mr Potter is my potions lab, at any time, during your stay here, if you come looking for me and you find that I am in here brewing or know that I am in the middle of brewing a potion, then I want you to knock on this door first...if it isn't dangerous for you to enter, I may say 'come in,' but if it is in fact dangerous then I might tell you to wait for me out here or upstairs. Do you understand?" Severus explained in his firm classroom tone, one he usually uses in class when they're brewing potions. Seeing his ward nod, Severus opened the door, walking in first, he was quickly followed through by the boy.
"Do not touch anything in here." Severus said in a warning tone, after glancing down at the boy, who was looking around in amazement.
Yes sir" Harry responded, looking around the room until his eyes landed on a glass jar with some dark liquid in, that looked like blood. Though he wasn't sure what blood. "Sir...um, what's....what's in that jar over there?" He asked, forgetting all about the Dursleys rules of never asking questions, until Snape looked down at him with an unknown look. Quickly, Harry clamped a hand over his mouth in fear of saying anything that he wasn't allowed to say and the only thing he did do was mumble an apology, behind his hand.
"Put your hand down Mr Potter, that is a filthy rude habit, that I will not allow any ward of mine to keep." Severus said, ignoring the boy's mumbled apology. "Besides I cannot understand you if you've covered your mouth with your hand. Now in answer to your question, that is dragons blood, an important ingredient for the avian potion I am currently brewing." The man finally replied, still surprised by the question, never in the past couple of years had he seen Potter show any interest in potions, nor did he ever hear the boy asking questions about the subject or the current potion they were brewing and now here he was, standing in his potions lab with the young Gryffindor, who had asked his first potions question, nearly two years since he first met the boy that had been sitting in the back of his class.
"Can...can I...I see sir?" This time Harry nervously asked, feeling a little confident, but also still feeling fearful of the man before him. Snape gave a small curt nod, showing the boy the simmering avian potion.
After a long silence that Severus was sure had lasted at least a few minutes between him and his ward, the potions master, finally said, "Well, I believe our tour has come to a conclusion. I shall see you at lunch as I, hopefully will be finished with brewing this potion....I'm guessing you have something to occupy yourself with between now and lunch. Yes, then you are free to go." Severus turned back to his potion, taking out his wand he summoned the jar of dragons blood that he had purposely left out last night to cool down. Sensing the boy was still in the room, the potions master turned back round, giving the boy his full attention.
"Yes Mr Potter?"
He watched as the boy swallowed nervously. Potter shook his head, "Noth...nothing sir, I...never mind" the boy said, wearing a despondent look and with that, the professor watched as his student-turned-ward retreated out of the room with his shoulders slumped.
Deciding to let the unexpected behavior slide the potions master occluded his mind before turning back to his potion.
Finally I can now get back to brewing. Was the first thought that came to Severus's mind, while he added the dragons blood into the cauldron, while stirring anti-clockwise, just as the instructions said to do.
After some quiet brewing for the rest of the morning down in his lab, Severus was finally finished brewing the avian healing potion. With caution, the potions master bottled up the batch into several charmed non-breakable glass phails, corking them closed tight, he neatly arranged them together in one of the many wooden phial carry crates he had neatly stacked in a pile in the corner of his lab.
Calling his house elf, the professor didn't need to wait too long for her to arrive in the room and before she could address herself, like she usually does, Severus cut to the chase.
"Take these to Hagrid," Severus, taking the crate from the workbench by its two handles, gave them to his house elf. "tell him the directions and when to feed them to Potter's bird are all on the back of each phial in here." The potions master finished
"Yes master Severus sir, Lucy will's deliver these to giant master, sir" Lucy said, and with that she popped back out of the room with her small elf hands holding the crate, leaving her master behind.
With his wand still in his hand, the Hogwarts potions master cleaned up the mess in the lab. Once that was done, he neatly put everything back where it belonged. Afterwards, Severus casted a quick tempus charm, checking the time. Seeing that he had at least an hour and a half until lunch time, the professor decided that he should probably go and check on his ward.
That's if I can find him! Severus thought, hoping to Merlin and anyone else who was up there, that he wouldn't have to go on a Potter hunt, looking for the boy through the whole manor. He just hoped the boy didn't get lost in less than a couple of hours since been given a tour of the manor. That would be just typical of a Gryffindor to get lost! He thought, stalking through most of the first floor, before coming to the conclusion that the young Potter child was either up on the second or the third floor, or maybe outside in the gardens.
Up on the second floor it didn't take Severus long to locate his ward, after all, there were only two occupants in this manor now and considering he wasn't the one having a shower, well, it was blatantly obvious that Potter was the one in the bathroom...so obvious that both Crabbe and Goyle junior would have been able to work that out themselves. Severus snorted at that last thought, as he stopped just outside the bathroom door. The one next to the bedroom Potter has been using since Severus had put the child there a few days ago.
Without any hesitation, Severus knocked on the bathroom door a couple of times.
"Mr Potter, are you finished yet?" Severus asked, wondering how long the boy had been showering for. He also wondered what to do with the boy when Potter comes out of the bathroom. Maybe homework? I could help him with some summer homework....he nodded at that idea, plus he needed to do some work down in his study.
In the bathroom, Harry, who was currently standing under the scalding hot water, heavily showering down on him, startled at the unexpected knock on the door, accidentally dropping the body wash sponge he had been using to scrub himself clean. Wasting no time, Harry picked the sponge back up and repeated the process, scrubbing hard everywhere. Warm salty, fresh tears that ran down his cheeks, blended in with the water droplets coming from the shower head.
".....you finished yet?" Harry heard the professor ask, confused, but having no time to ponder on what the whole question Snape had asked, Harry sniffled, wiped the tears away from his face and gave a small nod. Forgetting for one moment that there was a door in between them.
"Mr Potter?" Came Snape's voice, startling Harry out of his train of thoughts.
"I....I'm nearly finished" was all Harry responded with, he just hoped his voice didn't sound croaky to the professor. He wasn't allowed to cry, when he was younger, his relatives purposely punished him if he was seen or heard crying and, though he didn't know Snape all that well, he knew he knew the man probably wouldn't like him crying either, and he would probably no doubt think that he was just being a sniveling brat looking for attention.
At those thoughts and not knowing how long he was in the shower for, Harry decided that it might be best to finish up showering. It wouldn't do him any good if he stayed in the shower, longer than he was supposed to. Turning the water off after a few more scrubs, Harry stood there in the shower for a moment or two before climbing out of the shower, grabbing an old towel with holes in, he had found at the bottom of his school trunk, Harry covered his body in the stained towel, the only towel the Dursleys had ever allowed him to use. Glancing up, Harry accidentally caught a glimpse of his own reflection in the bathroom mirror that was on the wall behind the sink and in that moment, he realized that the Dursleys were right indeed right about him.
I'm a fre....
Harry startled out of his own thoughts once again by another knocking sound at the door. Swallowing thickly and willing his tears away, Harry just said in the most normal sounding voice he could muster, "coming" and with that, he, with one last glance at his reflection, turned towards the bathroom door. Walking over, he unlocked it, cautiously opened the door and when he had just about enough confidence, he walked out of the room, where he met Snape who was looking down at him.
For a moment, Harry thought he saw concern in the professsor's black eyes, but he shook that stupid thought right out of his head. Great, not only am I a freak, but I'm now going crazy! Wait, no, I already reac....
"Good, you're out." Severus said, distracting the boy from whatever was going through Potter's mind at the time. "Go get dressed, afterwards, you are to bring at least a book and two of your summer assignments down to my study, I have work to do in there and since you are my ward for the summer, I will not have you handing in absymal homework come September." He finished in his usual firm, classroom tone, that meant punishment if you disobey.
Watching the boy, Severus noticed Potter's emerald eyes were blank with no emotion, as the boy gave a small nod and a quiet, "yes sir." Deciding that his ward seems fine at the moment, Severus mentally filed the concern away for a later time, knowing there was no reason to be concerned anyway. Plus the boy will most likely be alright by lunch time.
Turns out Severus was indeed wrong. No, the young Potter boy was not at all fine by lunch. In fact, he didn't eat, saying that he wasn't hungry. Severus at first had tried coaxing the boy to eat, but the boy wouldn't even budge. He just sat there on one of the yellow couches in Snape's study, continuing with his homework and so Severus decided to not push the boy into eating, besides, there was always dinner. The potions master was sure the boy would eat at least a few bites at dinner, maybe even more. Right?
Unfortunately the Hogwarts' potions master was once again wrong, this time about dinner. Though Potter did eat a bite or two, but he didn't eat half of what was on his plate and without Severus' harsh words and firm, no nonsense tone, he was sure the boy would have no doubt not eaten anything at all that evening. But as the week slowly passed by, the professor grew more and more worried over his ward, who, even though at meal times, Severus would see him eating all three meals, at least nearly half a plate full, meaning Potter should be getting the proper nutrition from his food as well as the few drops of nutritive potion that was still being secretly added into the boy's food, however, throughout the mornings, right up until the early afternoons, each day, Severus would find the boy eventually out like a light, whatever room they were in, meaning he would sometimes miss meals because the potions master couldn't seem to wake him up.
And those eyes, Potter's eyes....Lily's eyes, Severus had never seen them so lifeless looking, not once since he had stumbled upon Lily's lifeless corpse in the Potter's house at Godric's Hollow, where they were under the fidlius charm, until now.
Severus let out a small sigh from behind his mahoghany desk in his study, where he was currently working. Right now, the professor was working on the cirriculum for the upcoming school year, this September and at the moment, the potions classes he was preparing for was for the first years who would be new to the Hogwarts....he hoped, like always, that there would be one year where he wouldn't be dealing with any abused students. With that thought in mind, the potions master glanced up from his work and over to the-boy-who-lived-to-fall-asleep-during-the-day, yes, once again in the past several days, Potter, his ward, had managed to fall asleep on one of the yellow couches. The A history of magic book, Severus allowed the boy to borrow to do his history of magic summer homework, was now open on the boy's chest, held in Potter's hand.
Getting up from his chair the professor quietly made his way over to the sleeping form of his ward, wondering why the boy seemed so tired during the day when he was sleeping at night, well that's what Severus sees when he goes up into Pott....into the guestroom where the boy currently sleeps. Plus if the boy was having any nightmares, Severus would know this time, without the help of his elf, considering he had spelled an alarm on the bed, letting him know if Potter was in fact having nightmares. At the moment though, since that night when Lucy had popped into his room, saying the boy was being sick, the alarm never sounded, which seemed odd to the potions master, who, from years of dealing with abused teens, knew that wasn't the end of it.
Maybe he really was just sick? Severus decided, but he still wasn't going remove the alarm, not just yet.
With slow, cautious movements, Severus pried the book out of Potter's grasp. He froze, when the boy moved as if he was waking up, however, Potter's emerald eyes remained closed. Holding in a relieved sigh, the professor managed to take the book from the boy's hand, closed it, before placing it down on the coffee table behind where he was standing and for a few silent moments, Severus stood there, staring down at the boy, who, if luck had been on his side, could have very well been his and hopefully, none of the abuse would have happened. Fate, Severus decided, and not for the first time either, was indeed very cruel.