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Chapter 5 : Coming to Heatherton Cottage
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Coming to Heatherton Cottage
Mind Healer Snape pocketed his wand after the last scan he had run on his patient. Though his specialty was magical and emotional problems related to the mind, as well as a degree in psychology, he had also been trained in general medicine, enough so he could cast medical spells and scans, as well as diagnose and treat diseases and illnesses. "Well, Mr. Potter, based on my scans you are underweight and suffering from malnutrition and a lack of essential amino acids. As a result of this your growth has become stunted, and your stomach shrunken. You need new glasses, the ones you have now are the incorrect prescription for your eyes. You also need a few vaccinations against wizarding illnesses such as dragon pox, wizard flu, and warlock's diphtheria. Most wizard children receive those when they are small children and then a booster before attending Hogwarts. However, Muggleborns and those half-bloods who live Muggle receive them when they attend school in first year."
"What's a Muggle?" Harry asked, swinging his foot against the bed post. He hadn't been too keen on getting examined, he had never liked doctors. But Snape's exam hadn't lasted ten minutes and didn't require him to remove any clothing. However, he didn't care for the fact that he needed shots.
"A Muggle means a non-magic person, it is a wizard term," explained the Healer. "We would call your aunt and uncle Muggles. A Muggleborn is a wizard or witch who is born to non-magic parents, a half-blood is a wizard who has one magical and one Muggle parent, or one magical and one Muggleborn parent. Your mother is a Muggleborn, while you and I are considered half-bloods. A pureblood is a witch or wizard who have two magical parents. Professor Dumbledore, the Headmaster of Hogwarts, is a pureblood. As was your father."
"Is being one or the other mean you have stronger magic?"
"No. Some of the purebloods will say otherwise, but that is false. All purebloods have Muggle ancestry in them, or else they would have died out, because there aren't too many wizards in the world. Magic is a rare talent, and not even two purebloods are guaranteed of having magical offspring. Indeed, purebloods have been intermarrying each other for generations and that has caused . . . ah, shall we say, some genetic problems."
"Like when some purebred dogs have runts and retarded puppies?" Harry asked. He heard Dudley talking to one of his friends about a schoolmate's dog who had had puppies that were born like that.
Severus nodded. "An apt comparison." He thought of the Black family, whose close marrying of cousins resulted in strains of insanity, such as crazy Bellatrix.
"Then isn't it better to be a half-blood? Or a Muggleborn?"
"I would have to agree with you there. A hybrid cross is often hardier and stronger," Severus remarked, thinking about how his magic and Lily's and now Harry's was stronger than the average pureblood's.
"So . . . does that mean I'm going to be a strong wizard?"
"You already are, Harry." Snape told him. "That is why we must train you soon in how to control your gift." He knew that if any other wizard had ever heard him refer to Harry's stormcaller ability as a gift they would be horrified. That ability was one of the most feared and cursed talents in history. But Severus did not wish for Harry to know this. He knew that Harry must have a positive mindset in order to begin to handle his volatile magic, that it was paramount if Harry were to have any chance at surviving.
"When can we start?" asked the boy eagerly.
"Not just yet. First we need to concentrate on getting you well and your mother also." He indicated Lily, who was drowsing in her bed after her morning exercise regimen with his fellow Healer, Geraldine Ambrosius, whose specialty was physical therapy for long term patients injured by spells or potions. Severus waved his wand and a tall vial with a green potion in it popped up on the nightstand. "This a Nutrient Draft, Harry. It's similar to a round of vitamins and minerals and will help with your malnutrition. You are suffering from a dearth of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and iron. I want you to drink this every day for four months."
Harry eyed the potion. "Now, sir?"
"Yes, now. Normally I would give it to you before breakfast, but since you have already eaten . . ." Snape motioned him to drink the potion.
Harry did, finding the taste rather like tomato and green spinach, not too horrible. Harry had eaten a lot of spinach at the Dursleys, since Dudley hated it and he had always been given the leftovers. Dudley had hated most vegetables, and so Harry had grown used to eating them at a young age and discovering he actually enjoyed most of them. He looked up after wiping his lips with a cloth. "It's not too bad. I sort of like it."
Severus raised an eyebrow. "Most children find Nutrient Drafts revolting."
"I like vegetables. Except for lima beans. Yuck!"
Severus found the boy's honesty refreshing and allowed his mouth to quirk up in a small smile. Then he said, "However, I fear you will not like this next thing I am about to give you." He Summoned a tray with two gleaming needles full of a potent vaccine.
Harry gulped. "Can't I just skip this part?"
"No. You need these vaccines. Come, they won't hurt half as bad as you think."
"Yeah, that's what they all say," Harry muttered rebelliously, scowling at the tray.
"Harry, quit giving Healer Sev a hard time and just let him give you the shots," Lily ordered suddenly, making the two wizards look at her.
"Mum! Thought you were asleep."
"I was, but I've been awake for the past ten minutes now, listening. Now do as I tell you. Keeping healthy is important."
Harry rolled his eyes. "Uh huh. Bet you wouldn't be saying that if it were you getting these humongous needles."
Lily smirked. "Actually, I have got those humungous needles before, when I went to school, from Madam Pomfrey. They didn't hurt as much as I expected. Trust me on that."
Severus cast a disinfectant charm over his hands and pulled on a set of gloves on the tray, while Lily was speaking with Harry. He wasn't surprised in the least by the boy's reaction. Most children and some adults as well, disliked needles. "Roll up your sleeve, Mr. Potter."
Grimacing, Harry obeyed. Severus cast a disinfectant charm over Harry's arm and picked up the needle.
Harry looked away and gritted his teeth.
He just knew it was going to sting something awful. But he wouldn't yell. He wouldn't . . .
He felt a slight sting.
"There. Finished." Severus vanished the syringe.
Harry blinked. "It's over?"
"That one is. Now for the dragon pox." Severus prepped himself again. "This one is injected in your backside. I'll need you to drop your pants."
Harry went scarlet. "You want me to what? No!"
"I can put up a privacy screen," Severus said calmly, thinking Harry was embarrassed at baring himself in front of his mother. "Though you don't have anything your mother or I haven't seen before."
"Why can't you give me it in my other arm?"
"The potion is thicker, it will hurt less there."
"Harry," Lily reprimanded.
"But Mum . . ." Harry looked at her pleadingly. Lily stared back, not giving an inch. He groaned. "Fine! But you're both mean and nasty." He groused.
"I know, we're terrible people who live to torture kids like you," Lily said.
Severus cast a privacy shield, while Harry removed his pants and leaned over the bed. He wished Snape would hurry up, his bottom was getting cold, and it was embarrassing being in this position, and . . ."Ow!" He felt a sharp sting.
"Done. Was it worth fussing over?" Severus asked, banishing the last syringe.
Harry quickly fixed his clothing before replying. "It hurt, but I'll live," he admitted, feeling foolish now for acting like a baby. The sting was gone almost before he sat back down.
Severus sent the tray back down to the supply room, before saying, "I need to go and do rounds, however, you may come to the reading room and pick out some books and magazines if you wish, Harry. Or I can have a selection brought up for you with an elf."
"I'll go with you," Harry said, he was tired of being in the same room. After putting on slippers, he followed Snape down the corridor to a brightly lit room with lots of bookshelves and magazine racks with all kinds of wizarding magazines. There were large lamps suspended from the ceiling and comfortable chairs to sit in, plus a nice cheery fire crackling on the hearth.
The resident library witch on duty looked up as Harry and Snape entered. "Hello, Healer Snape!"
"Miss Mandy, this is one of my patients, Harry Potter. He wishes to check out some reading material. I'm sure you can assist him. He may stay till lunch time."
The library witch gasped. "The Harry Potter?"
"The same. I shall see you later," Severus said, refraining from rolling his eyes. Then he was gone in a swirl of green robes.
"It's an honor to meet you, Mr. Potter." Mandy said, smiling at him.
Harry wondered why. "Uh . . .what kind of things do you have to read here?"
"Well, what are you interested in reading?"
Harry thought for a moment, He was curious about everything in this new world. "Uh . . . do you have anything on . . . flying? Or that magic school, Hogwarts? Or potions?"
Mandy got him several books on Quidditch and brooms, beginning potions and drafts, and a book called Secrets of the Four Founders of Hogwarts. "Someone borrowed our last copy of Hogwarts: A History and hasn't returned it yet, but this one is very interesting as well and contains material the other doesn't. And perhaps you'd like to see this one as well, Famous Witches and Wizards of the 20th Century? Your parents are in there."
"I'll take the lot. Oh, and do you have any magazines my mum might like? She's stuck in bed for a week."
Mandy picked out several magazines for Lily, including Witch Weekly, Bakery Witch, Potioneer's Journal, and Charmed Secrets.
Harry signed for them all with her quill in her large library log. Mandy explained that the books could be kept until he was discharged from the hospital, then they would magically be recalled.
"We also have board games and chess boards to borrow ," the librarian said.
"Great! When I finish these, I'll come back," Harry promised. She gave him a bag to carry the books in. He hurried back to the room to give Lily the magazines before returning to read in the library until lunchtime.
Afterwards, Severus took him to see the indoor botanical gardens, where all kinds of magical flowers were grown, and some ordinary ones too. The gardens were meant to be visited by patients, offering them some relief from their rooms. Patients were encouraged to sit in the gardens for as long as they liked.
Harry asked Snape a million questions about the flowers, and then he stiffened.
Harry bit his lip. "I . . .I don't feel good."
"Are you feeling nauseous? In pain?"
"No . . . well . . . my head hurts." Harry admitted, rubbing it. Then he looked outside. In the distance he saw black clouds gathering. "It's going to rain. A thunderstorm's coming." He could feel the pressure building in the air. It swirled about, causing his skin to tingle and his head to pound. He reached out . . . and was pulled into the gathering storm. The clouds were heavy with rain and lightning crackled and thunder rumbled.
He felt his blood sizzle and he unconsciously pulled the storm towards him.
Severus frowned as the storm suddenly moved closer. The boy was still, and yet he could feel the ambient energy crackling from him. "Harry! Enough! Let the storm be." He shook the boy's shoulder gently.
Harry spun on him. "Get off! I just want . . ." His eyes had turned an odd silvery green.
"Stop. You don't need to interfere with the weather," Severus ordered, feeling ozone crackle through the air. "Now quit playing with it."
The storm was racing towards the hospital now, driven by Harry's will. Outside, trees began to shake and tremble as the wind picked up.
"Harry! Control yourself!" Snape hissed harshly.
Suddenly, Harry withdrew from the storm system, blinking. His eyes turned back to his normal emerald color. "What . . . happened?"
"You called a storm," Severus said, indicating the large black clouds, which were now raining about ten feet away, thunder rumbled and crashed and lightning crackled. The patients were grumbling about their time being spoiled and leaving the gardens.
Harry hung his head. "Sorry. I didn't mean to. I just felt it . . . the pressure, I mean. In my head."
"Do you still have a headache?"
Snape frowned. "It would seem you sense storms nearby, rather like an animal can sense sudden weather changes. Perhaps that was why you felt unwell. Come, let us go back to your room." He did not wish to invite a lightning strike from Harry inadvertently calling lightning.
"I'm sorry." Harry apologized again. He felt as if he deserved a smack for behaving like a freak, as Vernon would have said.
"It wasn't your fault. That is why you need to learn control." Severus told him. And it was why he needed to bring Harry to his home as quickly as possible.
Outside, the storm broke with a vengeance, and rain beat down upon the building hard.
During their stay at St. Mungos, Harry had immersed himself in books about the wizarding world, and when he wasn't reading he was asking Lily questions about wands and spells and sometimes his father, though he tended to not bring that up too much, as he sensed it was a topic she was reluctant to discuss. He had received new glasses from Wizarding Occulars, ones with cool partial rims that made it look almost as if he had no glasses. He could see things so much more clearly with them, he felt as if he had new eyes. Every morning they saw Healer Snape, and he seemed pleased with how Lily was progressing, but both mother and son felt it was too slow. It was two weeks before Lily could walk on her own with a cane, and had been on a regimen of Strengthening Potions and Muscle Builders, as well as daily exercises with Healer Gerry. Gerry said she should continue the exercises at home and also take potions for another week. "Use the cane for another two weeks, until you feel steady enough to walk alone. I'd like to see you for a follow up visit in four weeks, Lily. Good luck. You've been an amazing patient, and your awakening is nothing short of miraculous. You'll be down in the medical record books for sure, as the patient who spent the longest time in a coma and came back from it."
Lily blushed. Like her son, fame meant little to her. She thanked the Healer and said she hoped she had a good summer.
Though the staff had been unfailingly polite and kind to her, Lily was happy to be leaving the hospital and going to Severus' home on the moors of North Yorkshire. He had explained to her that his home was a large cottage called Heatherton, he had inherited it from his mother, and she from her Aunt Alishia, the only person who did not ostracize her for marrying a Muggle. She had been disinherited when she refused to marry the pureblood wizard her father had picked for her. But Alishia alone did not condemn her for her choice, and when she died, she bequeathed Heatherton to her niece. And now it belonged to Severus, as Eileen had passed away when he was twenty-eight from a heart condition.
It was an ideal place to try and school Harry in his abilities, as Heatherton and its grounds were in the middle of nowhere, set high on the heath, far from the nearest village.
Severus, Lily, and Harry traveled there by Port Key.
Harry and Lily's first glimpse of Heatherton Cottage took them by surprise. It was much bigger than either of them expected. Harry had thought that the cottage would be small, like only two bedrooms, and so had Lily, judging from the gasp she let out upon seeing the house.
Heatherton was what had once been referred to as a "country squire's" home, meaning that the cottage was more like a large house. It was made of a weathered gray stone, and about two stories high, the roof was done in slate tiles and it had two chimneys at either end of the house. The walkway up to the front porch was bordered by a series of hydrangea bushes, colored in purple and white. The lawn was a pristine sweep of green speckled with heather that glided down to a small wrought iron gate, the land was surrounded by a long low lying hedge, and Severus gently pushed open the gate and walked inside. "There are gardens and a greenhouse and sheds out back, gardening is one way I relax here."
"Do you have magical herbs and plants in it?" Harry asked.
"In one garden—there are several—I grow magical herbs and fungi for my potions. In another, I have ordinary herbs and vegetables. The last is a garden with certain types of flowers and fruit trees, and while some may be used in potions, most are not. But I shall show you all of that a little later. First I would like you to meet my housekeeper, who also cooks for me, and her son. They take care of the cottage when I am away, or on call at the hospital for a weekend."
They followed him down the path, Lily limping along gamely with her phoenix handled cane. Severus had offered to assist her, but she had politely refused. She knew she needed the exercise, even if her leg did ache ferociously. She would not be dependent on anyone, even her best friend, to get around. "Oh, Severus! This is a beautiful place! I wasn't expecting . . . this."
"You thought perhaps to see a one room hut with a thatched roof and whitewash?" he smirked. "So sorry to disappoint you."
"Not at all. I'm sorry I assumed that it was going to be anything like the house you grew up in." Lily said, flushing.
"It was an honest assumption. But Spinner's End was long ago, and after my father's death, I sold the place. I had no need of it thanks to my Great-Aunt Alishia's generosity. The Princes were wealthy and their idea of a cottage differs radically from yours or mine."
"You can say that again!" Lily exclaimed.
They had almost reached the porch when the door was flung open and a boy of about Harry's age came out. He had dark brown hair and blue eyes, and was dressed in a simple cream sleeveless tunic and brown trousers with white trainers. One of them clunked loudly on the porch, and it was only then that Harry noticed the boy was wearing a kind of brace upon his left foot. "Sir, you're early!" exclaimed the boy, he looked happy to see Severus. "Mother and I weren't expecting you until noon."
"Have you been sitting in front of the window waiting for me all this time, Theodore?" asked the Healer knowingly.
"Only two hours."
"How have you been keeping up with your lessons? Did you finish those last assignments I gave you?"
"Yes, sir. I have them in my bag."
"I shall look them over later this evening. Right now I would like to introduce some new houseguests. Theodore Nott, this is Lily Evans Potter and her son Harry. They will be staying with us indefinitely, I shall be instructing Harry in magic and helping Lily recover from a coma."
Theo looked over at Harry and Lily and said shyly, "Hello. You can call me Theo, if you like. Pleased to meet you." He shook Harry's hand, then asked, "Is it true you killed You-Know-Who as a baby?"
"That's what they tell me. I don't remember it."
"Theodore! Didn't I tell you not to mention that?" scolded a slender woman with brown hair, wearing a deep red dress with an apron over it. She reminded Harry of a robin, her cheeks were rosy her skin bronzed by the sun like a typical Yorkshire farm wife. She looked almost the same age as Lily.
"Sorry. I forgot."
His mother sighed. "What's done is done." Then she looked at Lily and said, "You probably won't remember me, I was a year behind you at school and a Ravenclaw besides. I'm Lucy Nott, my elder brother Theodore was in your year. He was a Slytherin."
"Hello, pleased to meet you, Lucy." Lily greeted. "I'm sorry, but I'm having some memory problems since the coma. Although I think I recall your brother. Big fellow, broad shoulders? Dark hair? Played a Beater on the Quidditch team for Slytherin?"
"That's right. Big and arrogant too," snorted Lucy. "He could be a bit of an arse sometimes."
Her son looked up at her. "Then why'd you name me after him?"
"I didn't. I named you after my grandfather." Lucy said, ruffling his hair. "Don't worry about your missing memories. They'll come back in their own good time, right, Master Severus?"
Severus nodded, then said, "You don't have to call me Master, Lucy. You're not a house elf."
"But I do work for you, so it's only proper," the other insisted. Clearly they had had this argument before. "I have lunch all set on the sideboard." She stepped back so they could come inside. "Welcome home, sir. Lily and Harry, welcome to Heatherton Cottage."
Lily was first, carefully walking with her cane, while Severus followed, making sure she didn't trip going over the threshold.
Harry brought up the rear, looking curiously at Theo's foot. "You sprain your ankle or break it or something?" he nodded at the steel brace.
The other boy shook his head. "No. I was born with a twisted foot. The Healers said I'd never walk right. I have to wear special shoes and a brace, but it's not so bad."
"Oh." Harry felt awkward now, but then he asked, "Are you going to Hogwarts in the fall?"
To his surprise, Theo shook his head. "No. I can't. I . . . don't have enough magic to cast most spells. I'm a Squib."
Now Harry felt even more awkward. He knew from his reading that Squibs were the almost magicless offspring of wizards, and weren't considered much by the rest of the wizarding world. He didn't know what to say, so he kept quiet.
"How about you?" Theo asked softly. "Did you get your letter yet?"
"Yes, but . . . Mum says I might need to wait to go. Because of my talent. I need a lot of help controlling it, and that's why we're staying here with Healer Snape. You see, I'm a stormcaller."
Theo's mouth dropped open. "Bloody hell! And I thought I had problems."
Harry was puzzled. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"You don't know? A stormcaller—"
"Theodore, go and help your mother with the tea tray," Severus said, frowning warningly at the boy.
Theo jumped and walked away. "Right away, sir. Talk to you later, Harry."
"Healer Snape? What did he mean about stormcallers?" Harry asked, sensing they were hiding something from him.
"Harry, I will explain later. For now, please follow me, your room is right next to your mother's, and you really ought to unpack." Severus said, hiding a scowl. He did not want to tell Harry about the fact that he might go mad and self destruct. It was too soon.
He sighed irritably at how young Theo had almost blurted out that fact. Could the boy never learn to keep his tongue behind his teeth? Snape shook his head. Then he relented a bit, recalling the eager look upon the boy's face. He knew it was rare for Theo to meet a boy his own age, he had grown up alone out here on the moor, with only infrequent trips into the village of Edgescoomb. And those had not ended well, as the boy was sometimes jeered and mocked by other children for his disability. Severus recalled one such time, when Theo was six, some older boys had teased him and called him cripple, and pushed him in a mud puddle. He had ended up crying into Severus' shirt once they were home, begging him to chop off his bad foot and magically make him a new one so then he could be "almost normal". He had had to explain to the poor boy that even magic couldn't regrow a limb and he had to try and straighten the foot out gradually. He had also wanted to find the cruel boys who could do something like that to a handicapped child and thrash them. Through special exercises and corrective orthodics and a brace, Theodore's foot was much better than it had been at birth, though it probably would never be a straight as another child's. But it was a vast improvement and Lucy thought it was incredible Severus had managed to do that much.
Severus led Harry to a room which overlooked the gardens, with a large window seat. There were only a few rooms on the ground floor, and Severus had chosen this one for Harry because it was the bedroom with the largest window. He knew that stormcallers hated being cooped up and needed to see the sun and sky. "Here you go, Harry."
Harry stopped dead in the middle of the room. "This is . . . it's bigger than the room Dudley used to have!"
He turned about, taking in the large four poster bed done in different shades of blue, blue was his preferred color. The walls were a light cream, and decorated with fantastic beasts and dragons. It contained two large armoires, plus a closet. There was a nightstand, a bookshelf, and a desk in the corner. There was even a small sofa with a low table in front of it, upon which was a chess board. Harry was overwhelmed, having lived in a broom cupboard for six years. "This is . . . all mine, sir? I don't have to share it with Theo?"
"No. Theo has his own room in his own house upon the grounds. He and his mother live in what used to be known as the huntmaster's cottage, they could have easily stayed here, but Lucy insisted upon a home of their own." The Healer explained. "I hope you find the room satisfactory. If there is something you don't like, please tell me and we shall change it."
"Everything's fine. Thank you." Just having room to turn around and move in was wonderful, Harry thought, gently moving about the room and examining the furniture.
Severus set his duffle bag upon the sofa. "When you are finished unpacking you may come into the dining room. Lucy has prepared lunch. The bathroom is just down the hall on the right. I will send Theodore back here to show you to the dining room. This house is not too large, but you may still get lost in the beginning."
Then Severus turned and walked out, leaving Harry alone. Harry didn' t have much to unpack, just two changes of clothes, underwear, pajamas, slippers, and a few magazines Severus had purchased for him at the hospital gift shop. Lily had said she would take him shopping in the village once they were settled in, he needed a whole new wardrobe, as did she. Harry placed his two outfits and undergarments and pajamas neatly in the armoire and left his slippers beside the bed. He placed the magazines beside the chess board.
When he straightened up, he heard the soft thump of Theo coming down the hall. Soon the other child appeared in the doorway. "You all set then? Mother hates it when the tea gets cold."
Harry nodded. "Can we go outside after lunch?"
"Aye, that we can. I'll show you about after." Theo said, grinning. "Come on now, if we stand here jabbering much more, there'll be nowt but crusts to eat."
Alarmed with the prospect of the food being gone, Harry quickly followed Theo. He couldn't wait to explore the grounds. I think I'm going to like it here. I have my own room and maybe even a friend too.
Due to several problems in RL, I was unable to update sooner. However, I finally managed to get a chapter finished. Now that they've arrived at Snape's home, Harry can begin his training. You will also learn more about Lucy and Theo, who though he is considered a Squib, can do some magic and has a hidden talent as well. Lily will also reveal more about her past. Please note, sometimes Lucy or Theo will have a Yorkshire accent, due to living there for so many years, but mostly Theo doesn't because of Snape's influence, he speaks precise English and has taught Theo to do so as well. Lucy picked up the accent on purpose, but more on that later.
Please review! Thanks for your patience.
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