Chapter 6 : Accidental Ingestion
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June 5th, 1993:
I've finally gotten a chance to sit down and record my thoughts again after taking care of my son for three days, he caught my cold too and I had to practically tie him to his bed to get him to rest. I swear, the boy thinks he's invincible or something! And he fights me every time when I dose him with potions, to the point where I threaten to sit on him, hold his nose, and pour them down his throat like I would for a sick puppy. Either that or get a big syringe from my lab and inject them into his bottom. I actually did that once, when he was sick with a stomach virus and couldn't stop vomiting, he couldn't keep the Anti-Nausea potion down long enough for it to work, so I had to go with the injection route. Twice. He told me he hated me for a day afterwards and he's never forgotten it. So when he started with his attitude, I gave him a patented glare and said, "We can do this the easy way or the hard way. The easy way is you take the potions I'm giving you and rest, or the hard way, I go and get my syringe and give you a shot. What's it going to be?"
"You're a sadist, Dad." He sulked. "Give me the damn potions."
"Mind your mouth," I ordered, and gave him the potions.
"Ugh! Tastes like old socks." He grimaced.
"Would you rather have the shot?"
"No way!" He paled. "D'you have any idea how much that hurt? I couldn't sit for hours!"
"You're exaggerating. I held you on my lap for about twenty minutes and then you fell asleep."
"Yeah and my bum had bruises on it for a week," he accused.
"You're still living, aren't you?" I pointed out. "So it was worth it. Now quit running your mouth, son, and just close your eyes."
I waited until he had fallen asleep before retreating to the sanctuary of my room and getting out my book and my pen.
I had learned much about caring for sick animals and making Healing potions at school, but not in potions class. No, those skills I learned from Hagrid, who knew how to treat almost any animal, and Madam Pomfrey, who often needed extra potions brewed that Slughorn didn't have time to brew.
But the first time I had ever had to brew a healing potion was for Gabriel, during my second year, when the Marauders locked him for hours in the broom shed . . .
Herbology was my last class of the day on Wednesdays, and it was always a double, meaning we had it for two hours, practical in the greenhouse and notes in the classroom after. I had left Gabe with Hagrid, like I had done last year, and I thought everything was fine. Little did I know that my tormentors, the Marauders, were at it again. Now they had expanded their number to four, though this latest member, Gryffindor Remus Lupin, didn't seem quite as prank happy as the other three. Then again, maybe he was the mastermind, because the other three had about half a brain between them, or so it seemed to me.
They were always acting up in class, playing fools, making other students' experiments and spellcasting go wrong. They even pranked some of the teachers, like Flitwick, who shared their annoying sense of humor. Not McGonagall though. The one time Potter put a dungbomb in her classroom was the last. She had him and Black, since the two had collaborated, in detention so fast their heads were still spinning around. And it wasn't just a detention writing lines either. Lily said she heard them moaning that they'd had to shovel manure from Hagrid's animal pens and then spread it on Professor Sprout's garden. By the time they were done they stank like manure and the stench lasted for over a day. Served them right though.
Of course, they simply redirected their need to humiliate others onto different targets, and I was one of their most frequent ones. Why? Probably because I was a Slytherin and I was also best friends with a Gryffindor girl, one that stupid Potter also had a thing for. He kept following her around, trying to talk to her, but Lily wouldn't give him the time of day. She totally ignored him. And for some reason he didn't get the message and kept on after her. Dunderhead!
The Marauders, as they were unofficially known, treated the school like their own private pranking ground. They generally chose students who were unpopular and looked or acted odd and had almost no friends, and there fore no one to stick up for them. Macy Underwood was a frequent target, she was a year younger and had buck teeth and frizzy blond hair, Black called her Macy Woodchuck and cast tripping hexes on her and acne hexes and once they stuck her robes to her chair and she ripped them trying to get up. She was a Hufflepuff, and they played that trick on her as she was leaving potions class.
I had class next and heard everyone laughing and saw the four sniggering and knew something had gone on. When I looked inside the classroom, I saw the girl in tears, struggling to stand up. Everyone else was enjoying the show, the idiots! So I waved my wand and canceled the spell, Mum had taught me a simple Dispelling charm over the summer. She looked up, sniveling, and saw me. I put a finger to my lips and she nodded, then got up, gathered her torn robes around her and ran off down the hall.
"Hey, Macy!" brayed Potter. "Why didn't ya chew your way out? Your teeth could have handled that chair leg!"
I longed to cram the chair into his smug face. But I knew better than to start anything, because if a Slytherin and a Gryffindor got into a fight, no matter what the reason, it was always a Slytherin's fault. Because we were the Dark House, Voldemort's legacy, and Gryffindors blew sunshine out their arse and had halos because they were so honorable. Oh, and rumor had it that Merlin was a Gryffindor, despite the fact that Merlin had lived and died long before Hogwarts was founded.
"You're a moron, Potter," I said coldly, then swept in to take my seat. Lily soon followed, shaking her head in disgust.
"Watch it, Snape. Or some night we'll come into your dungeon and throw you and your bed into the lake." Sirius taunted.
"And your little dog too!" added Peter.
I spun on the little rat. "Listen, pondslime. You touch my dog and I'll hex you so bad your own mother won't recognize you. Got me?"
Coward Pettigrew shrank away to hide behind Remus, who looked at me and said, "Snape, calm down. You know Peter's afraid of dogs."
I glared at him. "Keep your pet rat on a leash, Lupin. Or else."
Then Slughorn came in, and I wished he'd come in earlier to catch the Marauders hexing poor Macy, and we had to pay attention to the lesson .
The next day was Wednesday, and I came out of the greenhouse and whistled for Gabriel, like always.
He usually came to me right away, or was waiting for me outside the greenhouse, don't ask me how he always knew where I was. But that day, he wasn't there. And he didn't come to my whistle. I'd had class with the Ravenclaws that day, not the Gryffindors, and so did not know that the Marauders had done anything to my dog until I overheard Potter and Black as they were returning from the Quidditch pitch.
I had been calling and whistling frantically for the better part of half-an-hour, scared that he had gone into the Forbidden Forest and gotten lost, when I overheard Potter and Black sniggering as they walked back from Quidditch practice. James was a Chaser and Black a Beater, they loved the fame that being on the Quidditch team brought them. All the Gryffindor girls and even some girls in my own House, I have to admit, made puppy dog eyes over them. They had this indefinable charm that made people forgive them for even the worst misdeeds, except for me, who was not blinded by their good looks and popularity. I knew them for what they were, spoiled, arrogant, bored, little rich boys with nothing better to do than make trouble.
I had come up from behind them and saw Black elbow Potter in the ribs. "That trick was pure genius, James! Pure genius! That slimeball Snivellus will be crying into his dessert tonight when he can't find his stupid collie. And he'll never think to look in the broom shed, because the little prick can't fly a broom to save his life."
"It's a good thing the damn mutt quit barking finally," James said. "Otherwise somebody else, like Hagrid, might have heard and let him out." They gave each other a high five. "Score one for pulling one over on Snivvy!"
I didn't wait to hear anymore. I ran as fast as I could to the broomshed and tugged upon the handle. It was locked. "Gabriel!" I shouted. "Gabe!"
I could hear, faintly, him whimpering inside.
"Hang on, I'll get you out!" I cried. How long had he been in there? An hour? Two? Longer?
I yanked my wand from my arm holder and pointed it at the door. "Alohomora!" I snarled, and such was the force of my will that the lock blew off the door and landed a few feet away in the grass.
I yanked open the door.
There, lying on the floor amid over fifty brooms hanging on racks, was Gabe. He was so weak from lack of water that he could barely lift his head. He thumped his tail once or twice when he saw me, but other than that made no attempt to get up.
"Gabe? It's me, Sev!" I went on my knees and hugged him about the neck. "Oh God, Gabe!"
He feebily tried to lick my hand.
His eyes were glazed and dull and his tongue lolled from his mouth. "Wait here, boy. I'll get help."
I tore off across the lawn, taking the shortcut through a stand of small birch and pine until I reached Hagrid's. I banged on the door with all my might. "Hagrid! Open up! It's Severus! I need you!"
It was few seconds before I heard Fang's bark of welcome and then Hagrid's steps. The door opened. "Severus? What's all the fuss?"
"You gotta help me, Hagrid, please! It's Gabriel! Potter and Black locked him in the broom shed for hours and he's almost half-dead."
"Calm down, Sev. Let's go and get 'im."
I led him back to the shed, which wasn't really necessary, since Hagrid knew every inch of the grounds. He knelt and picked up my dog in two seconds.
"Is he going to be all right?" I asked anxiously, half-running to keep up.
"Well, he's still breathin'," Hagrid answered, but his eyes looked grave beneath his bushy black eyebrows.
"What's that supposed to mean? He's not going to . . .die, is he?" I had force myself to say the words.
"Nah, Sev. I don't think so. He's jus' real thirsty and prob'ly hungry too. A few potions oughta see him right."
By now we had reached the hut, and Hagrid told me to get the thick sheepskin blanket hanging over his sofa and set it down in front of the hearth. He gently placed Gabe on the blanket and said, "Severus, get him a bowl of water and some o' the stew I got in that pot on the stove."
I did all he asked, putting the water by Gabe's head. He could barely drink, and I had to help him using a spoon.
Hagrid Flooed Madam Pomfrey in the Hospital Wing, and she told us to give Gabe a diluted Strengthening Potion, two or three spoonfuls at a time.
Hagrid helped me, showing me how to hold his head up and gently stroke his throat to make him swallow. Once the potion was in him, he began to rally, his tail thumping on the floor with more vigor and his eyes brightened. He drank all the water in the bowl and I refilled it. He drank another bowl and then another. Then he ate the beef stew.
"See, Sev? He's gonna be fine." Hagrid patted my shoulder gently, and handed me a handkerchief that was the size of a shawl.
I didn't even realize I'd been crying until then. I took the handkerchief and used a corner of it to dry my eyes and blow my nose. "Thanks, Hagrid. If you hadn't helped me, I might have . . .lost him."
"No need t'thank me. I'm always glad t'help an animal or a student if they ask me."
I knelt and hugged my collie, who continued eating, not minding my arms about his ruff. When he was done, he lay back down with his head in my lap, and I stroked his ears. "I never thought they'd hurt my dog," I murmured, half to myself. I felt a rush of anger such as I'd never known. "They're gonna pay!"
"Sev, are y'sure that's wise? They're four an' you're one."
"Two if you count Lily. Three if you count Gabriel." I said. "Hagrid, they almost killed my dog!"
"What they did was wrong, aye, but did they know lockin' the dog up would be bad for 'im?"
"Why are you making excuses for them?" I spat. "I don't care if they knew it would kill him or not, they deliberately set out to hurt my dog and this time I'm going to inform the Headmaster! They ought to be kicked out! After I beat the living snot out of them!"
"Sev, I know yer angry an' I can understand that, but ya gotta have proof b'fore you go before Dumbledore. . ."
"I do have proof! I heard them talking when they were coming back from Quidditch practice," I snapped. "What more proof do I need?" I gestured at Gabriel. "You saw what he was like when you came to get him. He could have died! And they did it just because they could, because they wanted to get back at me. Well, nobody hurts my dog and gets off! Nobody!"
Cups and saucers started to rattle upon the cupboard shelves.
"Sev, calm down."
I drew in a deep breath, struggling to control my temper. Finally I got it under wraps enough so I didn't break any of Hagrid's crockery. "Sorry."
"Thas' okay, Sev."
Gaby started licking me, and I buried my hands in his thick ruff. "Hagrid, d'you mind if I leave him here with you while I go and talk to the Headmaster?"
"Not at all, Sev. Fang and I'll keep him company."
"Thanks." Then I whispered in one tulip-shaped ear, "I'll be back, Gabe."
Then I headed out of the hut and towards the castle. I was furious, and determined that the Marauders—or at least Potter and Black—wouldn't get off this time.
June 5th, 1993:
I was very naïve then, being only twelve. Hagrid had been right, since Potter and Black maintained they had nothing to do with locking the dog in there, and they had each other to back up their story, and I had only the fact that I had overheard a private discussion, plus I hadn't actually seen them lock Gabriel in there, made my case null and void. Dumbledore said he couldn't punish them without definitive proof and so they walked away. Again.
The unfairness of it all made me want to cry. Once again, Gryffindor had triumphed over Slytherin. That was when I started to really hate the Marauders. Before I had found them a detestable annoyance, but now . . .now I just wanted to get them expelled and out of my life. Bitter and angry, I strode from the office and went back to Hagrid's to collect Gabriel. The only professor who had any fairness to her during that fake hearing was McGonagall. "While I am willing to give you two the benefit of the doubt for now, since, as you say, you were in your common room after Quidditch, know this: if I ever discover that you really had a hand in putting a defenseless animal into a locked shed and abandoning it, I will see to it that you are expelled—after I take a stick to ye for doing such an awful thing! Now off to bed, the pair of you!"
They went and she expressed her concern over Gabriel, and said she hoped he would be better soon.
When I told Lily the next morning, she blew up. She waited until we were in the corridor after Charms and then she went right up to Potter and yelled, "You stupid arsehole! How dare you do that to Gabriel!"
"What? What'd I do?"
"Don't act all innocent with me, Potter! We both know it was you and Black who shut Gabe into the broom shed."
"Even if it was, so what?"
"So he nearly died of dehydration, you dumbarse!" Then she kicked him. Hard. Right in the family jewels.
He went to his knees on the floor, groaning.
"Bloody hell, Evans!" cried his best mate. "How could you just—"
She whirled on him, fire in her eyes. "You want to be next, Black? Keep talking."
He shrank away. I pulled my wand and cast a Boil Jinx, not really crippling, but then I really didn't know any good hexes back then, and that one was the most painful I knew. Black yelped like the mongrel cur he was when they started to pop up all over his face. I cast the same again on Potter and on Pettigrew too. I would have cast the same on Lupin as well, but just then Flitwick showed up and I used the chance while he was helping the Marauders to leave the scene of the crime. So did Lily.
"Guess we showed them, huh?" my best friend said.
"We did," I agreed, then gave her a high five.
I checked my watch, it was almost eleven PM and I went to go check on my son.
He was still awake, looking very grumpy and bored. "Not asleep yet?"
"No," he said, with the unspoken word "obviously" added in there.
"Would you like a Sleeping Draught?"
He shook his head. "I hate them. They make me feel like I'm all fuzzy when I wake up. What I'd really like is to get out of this bed."
"Tomorrow. If your fever is down and you're not coughing as much." I said.
"But I'm so bored!"
"Bored?" I glanced about his room, which had a large floor to ceiling bookshelf filled with all kinds of books, both magical and Muggle ones, and there was a TV across from the bed, with a VCR, and movies, plus drawing and writing materials in a drawer in the nightstand. I hadn't had anything close to this growing up. "With all of your books and movies, how can you possibly be bored?"
"I just am. And I can't sleep 'cause I'm bored."
I sat on the edge of the bed. "I have a cure for that."
"Does it involve potions?" he asked suspiciously.
"No. it involves you being quiet while I tell you a story."
"Dad, I'm too old for bedtime stories."
"Very well. Then you can bore yourself to sleep," I said, and made to leave.
"Wait!" he called.
I turned, one eyebrow raised.
"Okay, maybe I'm not too old. I'll shut up and listen." He shot me a pleading glance.
"For a change," I teased and returned to the bed. "Now, lie down and no talking." He flopped gracelessly down upon his pillow. "Once upon a time, there was a little boy—"
"Dad! Come on!"
I smirked. "You don't like that beginning? It's a classic."
He rolled his eyes. "I'm not five! What's the real story?"
"Do you remember you asked me once how Gabriel came to live so long?"
"Yeah? A long time ago. You told me someday you'd tell me how it happened. But you never did."
"I got distracted. So now you get to find out. Interested?"
"Yes. Go on."
Early June, 1973
Slughorn wanted us to have partners for our potions final, at least for the lab portion. So Lily and I were partners. It had been that way since our very first class, when Slughorn wished us to pair up with a person from the opposite House. When he discovered how well we worked and both of us loved potions, he was delighted. He gave us special permission to brew after class and work on our own projects in the lab. We promised not to blow anything up.
Ever since that time when Gabe got locked in the broom shed, I was afraid to let him run around by himself all day. So I got special permission from my Head to allow my collie to lie in the back of the dungeon while Lily and I brewed our Youth Potion. We were among the last to finish, because our potion was so advanced. It was usually brewed by fourth years, but Lily and I were sure we could do it.
Gabriel had been dozing on the cool stone floor beside the professor's desk while we brewed and Slughorn snoozed with a copy of the Potioneer's Journal. He sometimes did this in the afternoon, and Lily and I, not being troublemakers, used the time he napped to finish up our final exam and bottle our solution. The Youth Potion yielded three vials and we labeled them and set them on top of Slughorn's desk.
"Do you think we should wake him?" Lily asked me.
Slughorn was snoring away, and we both chuckled.
"I guess we should, "
But before we could do that, there came the sound of something exploding and the whole castle shook.
"What the bloody hell was that?" the professor cried, leaping up from his chair.
The resulting shockwave caused the desk to shake and some potions to topple over. The third vial of Youth Potion fell off the desk and onto the floor.
It broke all over.
"Ah . . .Merlin, professor!" Lily cried.
Gabriel had woken up and began barking loudly.
"Don't worry, Miss Evans. I can clean it up in a snap," Slughorn said. "Let's see if we can figure out what made that appallingly loud bang."
We all moved towards the lab entrance and peered out the door.
There was nobody in the corridor and we couldn't see any smoke or debris, so whatever had blown up wasn't down here. We even walked a little ways down the corridor, checking to see if there were anything going on in the empty dungeons, but they were all dark and no one was about. Slughorn's office was intact too.
"Hmm . . .must have happened on another floor. I wonder what it could have been?" pondered our Potions professor.
"It was probably the Marauders throwing a lighted match down the toilet again," I predicted.
"Either that or blowing up Filch's office again," Lily predicted.
Filch was always on a campaign to catch them misbehaving and it had been war between them since day one.
Slughorn chuckled. "You might be right at that. Those boys do love to stir up trouble."
We returned to the classroom to get our books and Gabriel, and the professor still had the spilled potion to clean up.
I walked back inside to find my collie lapping up the remains of the Youth Potion.
I stared at him in horror. "No! Gabe, no!" I cried, running over and yanking him away from the yellow puddle. "You can't drink that!" But it was too late.
"Oh, dear." Slughorn muttered.
"Professor! Will it hurt him?" I cried. "Is a Youth Potion dangerous for dogs?"
"I shouldn't think so." Professor Slughorn replied. "Look, he seems perfectly fine, except his coat seems more shiny."
I peered at my collie. It was true, his red-gold coat did have a shiny luster to it. "Is he going to turn back into a puppy now?"
"Oh no. Youth Potion, despite its name, doesn't return you to a baby. It merely slows your aging. It would take a DeAging Potion to return your dog to a puppy."
"So . . .what will the potion do to him?" asked Lily.
"Well, it appears he's ingested most of the vial, so I would say that it will extend his lifespan by . . .oh . . .maybe ten or fifteen years. The potion should also prevent him from getting common ailments, like colds and flus. It was, on the whole, a rather fortunate accident, wouldn't you say?"
I looked down at my dog, who still had small yellow flecks on his nose. "Silly collie," I said affectionately. "Who wants to live forever?" I ruffled his fur and he slurped my arm. Given what might have happened, I suppose an accidental ingestion of Youth Potion wasn't the disaster it could have been. Though I did wonder why Gabe would have started to drink it in the first place. Until I saw the crumbs on the floor and an empty plate teetering on the edge of the desk.
Only then did I remember the professor had been eating a roast beef and cheese sandwich before nodding off. The explosion had caused the sandwich to fall on the floor into the spilled potion. That would have been too tempting for any dog to resist and so Gabriel had eaten the potion soaked sandwich first and then went back to lick up any crumbs.
He was lucky he hadn't eaten any glass fragments, I thought, "Come on, Gabe. I'm starving and I really want to find out what caused that explosion."
He followed me happily upstairs, and so did Lily.
We later discovered that the explosion was because of that dimwit Pettigrew, trying to scare Moaning Myrtle out of the U-bend by chucking a lighted wizard cracker after a dungbomb down the toilet.
Like I said before . . .they don't make them any stupider than that.
June 5th, 1993:
" . . .and that's how Gabriel lived to be twenty-five," I concluded.
My son was quiet for a moment. Then he looked up at me and said wistfully, "But Dad, if Gaby drank the potion, then how did he die? I mean, doesn't a Youth Potion give you eternal youth?"
I shook my head. "No. Like Professor Slughorn said, a Youth Potion can prolong your life, but not forever. That's a fallacy. Eventually, the potion Gabriel drank wore off and when that happened . . .he died of natural causes."
"I wish he'd drunk more of it."
I sighed. "Sometimes . . .so do I. But you have to be grateful that we had him as long as we did. Otherwise, you might have never known him."
He thought about that for a brief moment. "You're right. That was a great story, Dad."
"Then I didn't bore you to sleep?"
"My eyes are open, aren't they?" he replied cheekily.
"Go to sleep, young man."
"How? I've been trapped in this bed all day. I'm not tired."
"Count phoenixes then."
"Already tried that."
I sighed. He was going to be difficult. It had always been easier to get him to sleep as a child when Gabriel was lying next to him. Then I got an idea. "Turn over."
"You'll see. Turn over."
"You're not going to . . .spank me or anything, are you?"
"Since when have I spanked you over not going to sleep?" I demanded.
"Uh . . .that time I was eight, you said if I didn't stop annoying you and go to bed you'd spank me."
"And you kept jumping on the couch and knocked over my tea mug, and you ended up over my knee."
He made a face. "Yeah, I know."
"Then you also ought to know that I would never punish you without fair warning. Unless there's something you're not telling me."
"Like something you feel guilty over and don't want to admit to because you know you'll be in trouble."
He shook his head rapidly. "I haven't done anything lately to get in trouble for. I've been sick and force fed noxious potions by my horrible father."
"Do as I say."
He obeyed . . .finally. I then set my hand on his back and began to rub small circles on it and also to card his hair, which was dark like mine.
"Merlin, if you wanted to rub my back, Dad, why didn't you just say so?" he grumbled into his pillow.
"It was more amusing watching you squirm," I said with a wicked chuckle.
"Real nice." Then he yawned.
I continued rubbing and carding, recalling how many times I'd done this same thing when he was a baby. It never failed to put him to sleep.
It didn't now.
Within a few minutes he was asleep and I was almost asleep myself. I carefully tucked the covers about him and whispered, "Sleep well, my son. I'll see you in the morning."
Then I headed for my own room, my eyes starting to close in spite of myself.
Hope you all liked this part. I know some of you were wondering just how Gaby lived to such an advanced age and now you know.
How did you like the conversations between Sev and his son . . .who shall remain nameless for awhile longer? Of course, you are free to guess his identity in your review.
I've also updated Irresistible Chemistry too, for those of you who are reading that story.
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