Title: Another Chance at Childhood. 03/?
Pairing: None yet, but might… just might end having a tiny bit of Harry/Hermione. You’ll never see Harry/Ginny with me even if the almighty Lady of the Potterfandom (J.K. Rowling) wrote it in book six (shudders, that was even more hellish than reading what my adored Sev had to do).
Warnings: Completely AU, Post Order of the Phoenix, No HBP (although there will be mentions of tidbits from the book), child abuse, violence, probably superpower Harry and Snape, independent Harry. OOC Harry and Snape, I don’t think I can get them IC.
Disclaimer: Nope, doesn’t belong to me. I only play with them a bit.
Summary: Response to the Potions and Fic Fest Challenge # 5 by Bil. Although I’m not sure it is completely compliant. I tried though.
Harry gets up one morning and begins to make breakfast (for the Dursleys, if that’s where he is). Hearing a noise at the door he cautiously goes to investigate – to find a battered Snape collapsed on the front doorstep. What happened to Snape, why is he in Harry’s neighborhood and what in Merlin’s name is Harry going to do with him?
Notes: This one is the longest chapter yet; hope you enjoy it, as there is a lot of dialog in this one. Be warned they are EXTREMELY OOC.
Sorry for the delay guys, but it’s finally here. Thanks to everyone that reviewed the other chapters. Also this chapter is not betaed, so if you see any problems please send a PM (those in or leave it in the review (for everyone else). I’m working on chapter four at the moment.
While Severus was deep in thought he missed the loud argument between Potter and his Uncle. The man wanted him gone, but the boy said that it was not up to him to get rid of his Professor. He was a grown wizard and would do as he pleased. So Vernon better watch what he did or said if he did not want to be hexed or cursed. Harry explained that Snape was not the kind of wizard you wanted to annoy; that is, unless you had a death wish. The Potions Master was feared by both students and adults alike, he was indeed the worse of his… protectors. He had never been a kind or forgiving person. Vernon had been scared, and in the end agreed to help the freak move the other older freak to Dudley ‘s second bedroom.
Harry had been ashamed that Snape had to see the pitifully small and almost bare bedroom, but he had not been able to convince his relatives to let the professor use Aunt Marge’s room. If he had to stay, then they would be sharing a room period. Petunia did not want anymore of his KIND contaminating her house. Severus vaguely heard this but was too preoccupied with his own problems to pay more attention to the boy and the muggles.
Severus did notice that the huge muggle had reluctantly assisted him upstairs, as Potter was weak and hurt himself. The smaller muggle -figuratively speaking – and who could only be the boy’s cousin brought Potter’s trunk to the room. Those disgusting people kept it locked in the cupboard under the stairs, which he learned had been his student’s bedroom up until he got his Hogwarts’ letter. Severus had to resort to threats again in order to get the damn thing, and even then, the huge man predicted dire punishments for the Gryffindor because ‘magic’ was mentioned in the house. The Potions Professor definitely wanted to hex those muggles, but prudence dictated that he should avoid antagonizing them too much for the time being.
Despite being clearly embarrassed that he had to see the terrible condition in which he actually lived, Potter helped him to settle as comfortably as humanly possible on that awful thing he called a bed. Then he went to his trunk and surprised him by taking out a small pail -that immediately filled with steaming water- half a dozen clean and soft flannels, gauzes, bandages, as well as a box filled almost entirely by healing potions. All were labeled in the boy’s untidy chicken scratch.
Severus could not help himself -the Potions Master in him taking control- and proceeded to examine each potion. The y were perfectly made, and even infused with the maker’s magic to make them more potent. That was a trick that few aside the best and most talented Potions Master s ever learned to do right. He frowned realizing that the child had returned ‘home’ prepared to heal himself. Potter had known he would be abused. Why didn’t he say something? The answer was simple, the boy begged each summer break to remain at school, or be sent somewhere else, but each break he was refused and ordered back. Why say something to people who would not listen?
“These are extremely well made Potter. I assume by the labels that you made them?” He inquired, unable to disguise the small hints of approval and respect in his voice, as he kept checking the potions. The assortment was impressive -similar in diversity to the one at Hogwarts infirmary- as well as the quality, unfortunately they told a very sad story about the boy’s life. That he needed to have such an ample range of healing potions stocked was enough to speak about a life full of pain.
“I… yes, I made them Sir ,” Harry responded in a low voice avoiding his Professor’s eyes. He was sure the man would berate him for even trying to make a potion, and actually doing it right.
“I see…” he commented thoughtfully as he checked a few that he suspected the boy had experimented on.
Potter was, from what he saw, talented enough to make a good Potions Master one day -even without the knowledge he was about to gain- if he applied himself to his studies. Severus had misjudged the boy again, and wasted so much potential because of his hatred of a man that had been dead for over a decade. Perhaps Potter could be encouraged to be the one to create the antidote he needed.
“What did you add to these potions? You experimented on them.” The last was a statement, as he delicately smelled and observed the contents of the two vials in his hands.
“Ah… ” Harry fidgeted nervously. ” Er… I used muggle medicine ingredients Sir, mostly Paracetamol, which is a pain reliever and a slight fever reducer, as well as aluminum hydroxide and simethicone which are used as antacids. They are additives only, and actually make the potion stronger and last much longer.”
The Potions Master raised one of his expressive eyebrows in surprise. The boy seemed to be more knowledgeable about those things than he would have given him credit for. Severus stood corrected. Potter would make an exceptional Potions Master should he ever decide to follow that path. His knowledge would not be wasted on him, and that made the merge the bond created easier to accept.
“I must say it is an interesting result, and you are the first that I know of to combine magical and muggle healing ingredients. It has picked my professional interest and I would like to experiment… but unfortunately that won’t be possible,” he paused to decide whether he would tell the boy what he thought or nor not. He concluded that it would not hurt, and in fact might aid his case. “You have more talent that I gave you credit for Mister Potter. I believe that despite my previous assessment of your potion making abilities at Hogwarts, you should definitely consider a Potions Mastery as a serious career choice.”
“Sir?” Harry asked worried and wide-eyed. Snape was acting un-Snape-ish. The man had just praise d him! The young wizard knew the Professor respected his field of expertise too much to suggest someone becomes a Potions Master without meaning it. Harry knew he was not bad, but it seems that he was much better than he expected. His Professor also seemed quite impressed about his small experiments with muggle medicines.
‘I wonder what he would say of the methods Mione and I created to separate each substance from an already finished muggle product.’ The young wizard thought fondly of those hours they spent brainstorming, researching, and experimenting in the dead of the night.
Ron hated the chemistry sessions, and they -Hermione and him- had to be very quiet about it, so no one suspected what they were doing. They had had to develop many ways to separate the chemicals, as only one was often required in each potion. Mione’s parents would owl her all the over the counter medicines they requested, suggested some they did not know about, and sometimes were able to get them the individual chemical ingredients whenever they experimented with new potions.
The Grangers being dentists were science-oriented people, and the children had been able to ask them questions about muggle medicine. The couple of muggles enjoyed doing the research and often sent them books or the notes they took, it was an interesting challenge to their usually tranquil and suburban lives. Magic had been quite helpful, as well as the fact that Harry had simply loved chemistry. He had been very lucky when he was a student in his old elementary school to find a teacher -who considered himself a chemistry nerd – that not only encouraged him to go beyond what was taught to his age peers -next to nothing- but also taught him what he knew. Harry had been above fourth year high school level when he entered Hogwarts, and with Hermione’s help he had furthered his knowledge immensely.
“Are you feeling all right Professor, er… you’re not acting like yourself?” The younger wizard could not help asking. He got what could only be an amused look, and a raised eyebrow for an instant before the older wizard turned serious.
“Mister Potter, I will be blunt, as there is not enough time for subtleties. Last night, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say early this morning, I was attacked by a group of Death Eaters led by Bellatrix LeStrange.” He saw the boy’s features harden with undisguised hate towards the witch; he sympathized, as he too hated the bloody demented bitch. “She accused me of being a traitor, but she did not, nor does she have any proof of my duplicity. In truth I believe the attack was political…”
“Political?” Harry inquired with a puzzled frown on his face.
“Yes. It was probably nothing more than a power struggle among the Dark Lord’s almost non existent -thanks to you- inner circle, and the fact that Bellatrix has never forgiven me for not joining her and the other’s in Azkaban.” He snorted at that. Blind loyalty to the mad man was not something he ever had, not even when he first joined the Death Eaters. Albus did not have it either, but he certainly was loyal to the light as a whole, not just one person.
“You’re a member,” Harry stated. Snape nodded curtly confirming the boy’s statement. This was really nothing new, he had known since the end of his fourth year that the man was a Death Eater spy, and since the summer after that he suspected he was close to Voldemort. He had to be to gather good information about the maniac’s plans.
“I was named second in command just two nights ago.” The boy actually looked impressed, and… was that respect showing in his eyes? “It is an enviable position, a dubious honor, and quite advantageous for the Order.”
‘It’s also riskier. He needs to be extremely careful with the information he filters to the Order, or he could be easily found out, and the same applies to what he tells that madman. Voldemort will definitely not be pleased with Snape if he’s ever discovered.’ Harry thought, and wondered why his mind had gone in that direction. But he could feel his respect for this man increase more than a bit; he was walking a thin line where a slip would result in a painful death.
“So Vol…” Snape glared at him, and Harry was not completely sure if it was because he almost said Voldemort, or because he started cleaning the Potions Master’s blood and dirt covered face with a soft wet flannel. Although the Professor could use his hands, they were battered too, and the boy was sure they were hurting, so he decided to keep the older wizard from using them too much. “You-Know-Who,” he corrected just in case the name was the problem, “doesn’t know you’re a spy yet. You can go back once you’re healed. He surely wont’ be pleased when he finds out that she and others defied his choice of second. I believe you can use this to you advantage.” The comment earned him another raised eyebrow. Snape seemed to be pleasantly surprised by his way of thinking. It had not been the Gryffindor in him talking, but what remained of the Slytherin.
“Unfortunately going back will not be possible Mister Potter. I was forced to drink an experimental potion…” He began only to be interrupted by a worried and just seconds-away-from-panicking boy.
“You were poisoned?” Harry was alarmed at that. Was Snape dying? He had made his school years at Hogwarts miserable, but he did not want him dead. That was reserved for Voldemort, Bellatrix LeStrange, and Wormtail, although Dumbledore and the Dursley were fighting hard to earn their place in that exclusive list.
“No, I don’t work with poisons in that particular workroom. It is too accessible to other Death Eaters.” The Gryffindor should not be looking so relieved that he was not about to keel over and die. Potter was supposed to hate him. “I prefer to keep the most deadly potions I created for the Dark Lord where I can have a better control of their use, as well as close to their respective antidotes. This potion will not kill me; however, the effects will render me unable to fulfill my duties as a spy, a Potions Master, and a Professor.”
“You need the antidote or the counter…” Harry started to say.
“There are none created yet Potter.” The child was decidedly about to start panicking, and Severus could not blame him. He felt like panicking himself, as he was about to loose that of which he had gotten most proud of about himself in his rather miserable life.
“In less than three hours you will be left with my de-aged self.” He went on ignoring the attempted interruption. His words just added to the shock on the boy’s face.
“De-aged?” Harry squeaked, but Snape went on as if he had not made a sound. The man seemed so calm and accepting of his fate, yet the way his hands tensed told another story. Harry realized that his Professor was afraid of what was going to happen to him.
“I will grow up eventually -year by year- but I won’t be able to recover any memories, the potion erases them completely. I have the opportunity -good or bad, and decidedly unwanted – to relive my life again. Aging potions will only aggravate the problem. You must not let anyone use them on me Potter. My body will grow to the desired age, but my mind will not.” He explained to the child in an impersonal tone of voice even though he was speaking about something that actually terrified him. Only the slight tremor on his hands revealing some of what he felt.
“Merlin’s beard Professor!” Harry exclaimed in shock.
Harry had to admit the man was a genius at potions and probably a few other things, so he could imagine that for someone like Snape -or Hermione for that matter- loosing ones mind would be the stuff to create nightmares. Also, judging from the memories he remembered seeing during occlumency, the Professor’s first try at childhood did not seem to have been any better than his own. Harry could bet his Firebolt and invisibility cloak that Snape was not looking forward to going through it again. He did not like the wizard; the man had done just about everything he could to make his life miserable while at Hogwarts. But at the same time Snape had saved his life before, and not just once. Harry could not leave him to his fate no matter how he had been; he had to help his Professor.
“Is there anything I can do Sir?” The young wizard asked after recovering from his shock. “Hermione is one of the smartest persons I know, and you are among them too. She would be terrified to loose her knowledge. It’s very important to her. I… suspect it must be the same for you, so I… er… understand… sort of. I’ll help you Professor.” Harry babbled surprising the older wizard yet again by his sudden understanding of how difficult the situation was for him.
“There is something you can do for me.” Severus pushed a lock of hair from his face; it was another small sign that he was nervous. “I… am a bit reluctant to request this of you Potter. As things go, I am left with no other choice. We have never been in good terms, but I am man enough to admit that I am mostly responsible for that. I greatly misjudged your home situation, and refused to acknowledge that sons are never the fathers.” Harry gaped at him, and Severus allowed himself a smirk. He suspected the boy never expected an apology, and under other circumstances he might never have given it. But as he said to the boy, he could admit when he made mistakes. That was why he turned from the Dark Lord in the first place.
“Er… it’s ok Professor… I was … er… a brat… sometimes.” Harry admitted, remembering the incident in his third year when they had used ‘Expelliarmus’ on him.
“You were,” Severus agreed and smirked again at the boy’s chagrined expression. “Although probably not as often as I credited to you. You even managed to have me fooled with your ability as a potions maker. It is a shame you never showed it in my class.” He paused, gathering himself and his thoughts a bit before he went on. “I am not a trusting man Potter, and,” he hesitated, “last term you proved to me you are not trustworthy…”
“I’m sorry Professor,” Harry interrupted, looking and feeling contrite. He was really sorry he invaded Snape’s privacy; he knew it had been wrong. “What I did was wrong, I have no excuse… but… and it’s not an excuse Sir. But I knew people were keeping important things from me since the end of fourth year. It was driving me crazy, the Headmaster,” and the anger and resentment in his voice were undisguised, something that surprised the Potions Master. He thought Potter adored and trusted the Headmaster blindly. It seemed that again he had been wrong about his school rival’s son. “Refused to tell me a thing and he even avoided me, so…”
“So you decided to invade my privacy,” Severus could not hide the disapproval and anger in his own voice.
Although Severus could understand now that the boy was desperate for any kind of information and the lack of it -more than the lack of occlumency skills – was the reason why the Department of Mysteries happened. If Potter had been aware that the Dark Lord wanted something, and was trying to make him get it, the boy might, just might have been more prudent. He could hope anyway. Severus was coming to realize that Harry Potter was not the hopeless and brainless Gryffindor he thought him to be, the child actually was showing some Slytherin qualities. This somehow eased his worries slightly.
“Yes, and you don’t know how sorry I am to have violated your privacy. What I am not sorry about is seeing what my father was really like Sir. You have always been right in your description of him and the Marauders. They were cruel bullies, and believe me I would never, EVER want to be like that.” The child told him adamantly. “I’ve been bullied most of my life, so I… I understand.” His tone had become soft, but it gathered strength and resolution to speak his next words. “I also NEVER told anyone, except Si…” his voice hitched, “Sirius and Professor Lupin to ask why they did it, and what were they thinking. Believe me Sir; their answer was so stupid, that I could barely believe it. Being fifteen does not give ANYONE the right to humiliate another person.”
“I accept your apology Mister Potter,” he told the boy graciously. Severus had never expected the Gryffindor to apologize, nor had he expected him to understand and take his side against his beloved father and Godfather. But there he was driving the point home that Severus did not know, and had never seen the real Harry Potter. “As I was saying, I am not a trusting man, but the situation leaves me with no other option but to entrust myself, and my memories to you.” The boy stared at him hardly believing what he was hearing.
“I… I’ll do whatever you need Professor.” He told him, realizing this was something huge. He was getting a big responsibility, and also a chance to prove to Snape that he could be trusted, that he was not his father or godfather. “I… I’ll do my best to prove to you that you haven’t misplaced the trust you’re giving me Sir.”
“Always the Gryffindor Mister Potter, but this time it’s to my advantage, however small it may be.” He actually smiled at the boy. Harry was already earning both his respect and his trust without really working on it. “I am realizing that you’re not who I believed you to be, and that you will indeed do what you can to help me.” The boy looked flustered and it seemed not sure how to respond, so he said instead.
“Well if it’s a small consolation Sir, the Sorting Hat wanted me in Slytherin. But I had met Malfoy in Diagon Alley. He told me he would be in Slytherin, and well… you can imagine he reminded me too much of my cousin. I wanted to be as far away from people like that as possible.”
“Yes, I can imagine. Draco is extremely spoiled by his parents. I admit I am astonished to hear that you might have ended in my House, but perhaps that could explain why no one was aware of how… trying your home situation really was.”
“I’m sure t he Headmaster knows Sir. My Hogwarts’ letter was addressed to the cupboard under the stairs, and at the end of last term He told me that he was aware that I was not loved,” he snorted, “more like loathed. He said things might not be… perfect, but I would be safe here, ha. From wizards maybe, but it’s not as if Vernon or Dudley aren’t dangerous. They are, especially my cousin. He doesn’t know when to stop, last summer there was a rumor that he and his gang were the ones who beat to death a couple of little kids… they probably did.” He shuddered knowing that could have been his fate. Could still be if Snape did not help him.
“Those are shocking news Potter. I find it hard to believe Dumbledore would let the muggles abuse you knowingly. Despite his actions, the Headmaster does care for you very much.” The boy looked about to protest. “This does not mean that I do not believe you Mister Potter, I do. Albus Dumbledore is too much of an optimist, so much so, that he refuses to believe people are capable of hurting their own blood, despite having seen time and again that it does happen. He simply doesn’t want to see.”
“Well, his blindness has caused me nothing but pain and grief.” Resentment coated his voice.
“Something will be done about that child. I will not leave you defenseless with these muggles. ” He told him, and then changed the subject back to the matters at hand. “While there is no way to avoid the effects of the potion, there is a way for me to store my memories and my knowledge in your mind, so that if… when,” he corrected, “a counter potion is created they can be transferred back to me. The old memories will merge with the new ones I acquired during the time I was de-aged, and I will recover myself. The way to do this is through a bond, a variation of the Brotherhood Bond to be precise. This bond is for life, and there is no way to break it. So you must be very sure and willing to do this Potter.”
“I… You… you’re willing to have me as bother?” The Professor inclined his head once to show that he indeed was willing. “I… yes Professor; of course I’ll do this for you, and I’ll do my best to find someone to create a counter potion for you. What do I have to do for this bond?” Harry was a little overwhelmed by the whole concept of being Snape’s brother and of having a brother in general, but that would not stop him from helping the older wizard.
“I appreciate your willingness to assist me Mister Potter. I am in your debt.”
“Nonsense Sir, you have saved my life a few times before, it is I who’s in your debt.” He dismissed the debt. It really had not occurred to him that the Professor would owe him anything. The ex-spy gave him an odd look for a few moments before he went on to explain what he was going to do.
“First, I need to cast a couple spells on you. One will remove all tracking, locating, and monitoring spells placed on you. No other spell will ever stick to you, and once cast there is no way to detect it. The caster would believe otherwise until he or she tries to find you. The spell can be modified when it is needed to allow some owls to deliver post or for any other reasons. This allows you to do ALL kinds of magic. With this spell the Department of Improper Use of Magic will never know what you do. Hex the bloody muggles for me.” This brought a smile to the boy’s face as well as a chuckle.
“Oh I will Sir; I don’t need much encouragement in that department.” Snape smirked at his words.
“The Ministry will never find out, and if they complain there would be no way to prove it thanks to the next spell. It will hide your magical signature, and only those you expressly allow to identify you will be able to do so, that includes owls. This spell comes in handy if you decide to pose as someone else, I created it for that reason… in case I needed to hide, a plan B if you like to call it that. ” He could see the boy’s smile widen as he realized how much freedom he was getting.
“Very Slytherin of you Professor,” he grinned. “Thank you; you don’t know how grateful I am for this. You… you have set me free.” Harry’s eyes were slightly misty. Those two spells were a godsend for him, something he would not have ever dreamed off. They not only freed him, but also protected him from the Dursley, Dumbledore, and Voldemort.
“That is not all you are getting child. This is a bond of sharing, so you will know all that I do now, including the Dark Arts, and my younger self will know what you do at this moment; which appears to be much more than I gave you credit for. We will share a mind link, although I am not sure how strong it will be. We both get impenetrable mind shields as our minds are blocked to anyone else but the other member of the bond. No occlumens could ever break through.”
“This bond sounds really good Sir. I wonder why Dumbledore never thought about it? It certainly takes care of You-Know-Who invading my mind and possessing me.” Harry mused.
“The bond is ancient, and not many people know it. It is of Greek origins, the Spartans to be precise. The Headmaster is well read, but not even he knows everything. He has always been more interested in Great Britain ‘s history more than other civilizations’ histories.” Severus explained. He had always had a fascination for other cultures, and had studied what he could about several in his almost non-existent leisure time.
“Oh well, it was an idea.” Harry shrugged. “Please go on Sir, I should not have interrupted.” The professor waved the apology away and went on.
“Should you ever decide to use the Dark Arts, I would suggest thinking things through carefully, and weighting what I know of them against your or someone else’s knowledge. Perhaps even do some research of your own? They are dangerous, and can lure those who underestimate their appeal and nature to dangerous paths.”
“I… thank you again Sir, and I promise I will be careful Professor.”
“You better be.” He gave the boy one of his glares to make a point. “I know what you are facing Potter… Harry. I know the whole Prophesy, although no one is aware that I know as much. I never understood, and still don’t, why the Headmaster has not started training you to face that monster.”
“I’ve been wondering the same since he told me it at the end of last term. It doesn’t make any sense,” he agreed.
“Albus rarely makes sense to anyone but himself. He is a sentimental old fool. He might want you to enjoy your childhood or some simpering rubbish like that. It might be a possible reason, but one can never be sure with him.”
“He did tell me that he wanted me to enjoy my childhood, but living with the Dursley there wasn’t much to enjoy save…” He stopped realizing that he was saying more than he was used to.
“Save what child?” He was curious as to what the boy wanted to say.
“Save a hunger and painless day.” Harry mumbled realizing that he could tell Snape. He already knew, and was about to forget it in a little while.
“I understand the feeling,” he agreed and continued with his explanation. “What knowledge you gain from me will give you a greater advantage over the Dark Lord, use it well. I am a Master of more than just potions. Do not fear to be more Slytherin, as we are survivors and know how to take advantage or the opportunities that come our way. It might give you just what you need to win. Practice and learn as much as you can Harry, recover my work journals, and personal library. You will find many use ful things in them.”
“I will Sir. I’ll follow your advice, and again thank you.” Harry told him seriously and determined to do as he said.
“No child, thank you for not being the person I believed you to be. If you were, I would have no hope left.”
Severus gave Harry some more instructions about himself, as well as wrote a letter giving the boy his legal guardianship -the Brotherhood bond would back up this claim- and a letter giving him power of attorney to all his meager assets. They included his father’s house, his books, his nearly empty Gringotts vault -he was not a rich person, and had never been- some potion ingredients, his personal potion stores, and anything contained in his house and his quarters at Hogwarts -which was not much. The ex-Death Eater then cast the spells on Harry, he already had them on him since he created them, one when he was eleven -and discovered he would not allowed to do magic out of school- the other when he realized what a big mistake he made when he joined the Dark Lord and agreed to spy on him and the Death Eaters.
With the spells in place, Severus took out a dagger from his robes -and told the boy the password to access all the secret pockets in it- cut his right palm and the boy’s. They held hands while he chanted the incantation in ancient Greek to create the bond and Potter repeated it. The incantation needed to be repeated five times. At the end of the fifth both were surrounded by a blue light that signified the bond was activated. At this point the participants ended unconscious while the memory transfer occurred, as well as the knowledge, blood, and magical merge took place. These last two made them truly brothers in all aspects. Severus would share the blood of Harry’s mother in a more direct link than that of Petunia Dursley. As the bond activated the retardant potion wore off and the de-aging one acted, leaving a very young Severus able to keep the knowledge he got from Harry. The timing had been perfect, even if it was not planned.