Title: Another Chance at Childhood. 02/?
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 Snitches.net 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?
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 pail -that immediately filled with steaming water- gauzes, bandages, as well as a box full of potions. All labeled in the boy’s chicken scratch. Severus could not help but examine them. There were different healing potions, all perfectly made and even infused with the maker’s magic to make them more potent. That was a trick that few aside Potions Master ever learned.
“These are extremely well made Potter. I assume by the labels that you brewed them?” He inquired as he kept checking the potions.
“I… yes, I made them,” Harry responded in a low voice avoiding his eyes.
“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 one day make a Potions Master. He had again misjudged the boy. Perhaps he could be the one to work on the antidote. “What did you add to these potions? You experimented on them.”
“Ah…” he fidgeted nervously. “I used muggle medicines Sir. Paracetamol, which is a pain reliever and some slight fever reducer, and Dimeticona which is used for gastritis. They actually make the potion stronger, and they also last much longer.”
“I must say it is an interesting result, and you are the first that I know of to combine the two. I would like to experiment… but unfortunately that will not be possible.” He stood corrected the boy would make an excellent Potions Master should he ever decide to follow that path. His knowledge would not be wasted, and that made the trade easier to accept for him. “You have more talent that I gave you credit, I believe that despite my previous assessment of you potion making abilities you should definitely consider a Potions Mastery.”
“Sir?” Harry asked worried. Snape was acting un-Snape-ish. The man had praise him! “Are you feeling all right?”
“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 Death Eaters led by Bellatrix LeStrange.” He saw the boy’s features harden with undisguised hate towards the witch. “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 puzzled.
“Yes. It was probably nothing more than a power struggle among the Dark Lord’s inner circle and the fact that Bellatrix has never forgiven me for not joining her and the other’s in Azkaban.”
“You’re a member.” Harry stated. This was nothing new really.
“I was named second in command just two nights ago.” The boy actually looked impressed. “It is an enviable position and quite advantageous for the Order.”
“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 face with a soft wet flannel. “You-Know-Who doesn’t know you’re a spy yet, you can go back once you’re healed. He wont’ be pleased that she and the others defied his choice of second.”
“Unfortunately going back will not be possible Potter. I was forced to drink an experimental potion…”
“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.
“No, I don’t work with poisons in that particular workroom. It is too accessible to other Death Eaters.” The Gryffindor looked relieved. “The potion will not kill me; however the effects will render me unable to fulfill my duties as a spy and as a Professor.”
“You need the antidote or the counter…”
“There are none yet Potter. In less than three hours you will be left with my de-aged self. I will grow up eventually –year by year- but I won’t be able to recover any memories, the potion erases them completely. I will have the opportunity –good or bad- to relive my life again. Aging potions will only aggravate the problem. You must not let anyone use them on me. My body will grow to the age desired, 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.
“Merlin’s beard Professor!” Harry exclaimed in a bit of a shock, he could imagine that for someone like Snape –he had to admit the man was a genius at potions and probably a few other things- loosing his mind would be a veritable nightmare. Also the Professor’s first try at childhood did not seem to have been any better than his own, so Harry could bet he was not looking forward to going through it again. He did not like the wizard, but he had to help. “Is there anything I can do Sir?”
“There is.” He pushed a lock of hair from his face; it was the only 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. 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 a brat… sometimes.” Harry admitted, remembering the incident in his third year when they had used ‘Expelliarmus’ on him.
“You were, although probably not as often as I believed. You even had me fooled with your ability as a potions maker. Shame you never showed it in my class. 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, 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. “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 he could understand that the boy was desperate for any kind of information and the lack of it –more than the lack of occlumency- 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.
“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. I’ve been bullied most of my life, so I… I understand. I also NEVER told anyone, except Si…” his voice hitched, “Sirius and Remus, to ask what they were 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.”
“Your apology is accepted Mister 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.
“Always the Gryffindor Mister Potter, but this time it’s to my advantage, however small it may be.” He smirked.
“Well if it’s a small consolation 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.”
“The Headmaster knows Sir. My Hogwarts’ letter was addressed to the cupboard under the stairs, and last term He told me that he was aware that I was not loved,” he snorted. “More like loathed, and that things might not be… perfect, but that I would be safe here, ha, as if Vernon or Dudley were not dangerous.”
“Those are shocking news; I find it hard to believe that Dumbledore would let the muggles abuse you. Despite whatever he did, the man does care.” The boy looked about to protest. “It does not mean that I do not believe you Mister Potter, I do. Albus Dumbledore is an optimist that sometimes refuses to believe people would hurt their own blood, despite having seen time and again that it does happen.”
“Well, his blindness has caused me nothing but pain and grief.” Resentment coated his voice.
“Something will be done about that; you will not be left defenseless. 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 a counter potion is created they can be transferred back to me. They will merge with the memories 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?”
“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.”
“First, I need to cast a couple spells on you. One will remove all tracking, monitoring, and locating spells placed on you, and no other spell will ever stick to you, although the caster would believe otherwise until he or she tries to locate you. You will be able 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, the Ministry will never find out. Once cast there is no way to detect this spell, it will fool their monitors. The next spell will hide your magical signature, and only those you expressly allow to locate or identify you will be able to do so, that includes owls.” He could see the boy’s smile widen as he realized how much freedom he was getting.
“Thank you Sir, you don’t know how grateful I am for this. You… you have set me free.”
“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. 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. Should you ever decide to use the Dark Arts, I would suggest thinking things through carefully, and weighting what I know of them, perhaps even do some research of your own. They are dangerous, and can lure those who underestimate their appeal and nature.”
“I… thank you again Sir, and I promise I will be careful Professor.”
“You better be. 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. He is a sentimental fool, so that might be the reason; one can never be sure with him. What knowledge you gain from me will give you a great advantage, use it well. I am a Master at more than just potions. Do not fear to be more Slytherin, it might just give you the advantage you need. Practice and learn as much as you can, and recover my work journals, and personal library. You will find many things you can use.”
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 at 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 back when he was eleven, and discovered he was not allowed to do magic out of school.
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- cut his right palm and the boy’s, they held hands while he chanted the incantation to create the bond and Potter repeated it. The incantation needed to be repeated five times, both would then be surrounded by a blue light that signified the bond was activated. At this point both participants ended unconscious while the memory and knowledge transfer occurred. It was as the bond activated that the other potion acted, leaving a very young Severus able to keep the knowledge he got from Harry.