Chapter 23 : Stormcaller's Truth
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Severus had only a second or so to react to the blue lightning coming at him before it hit. Acting both on instinct and his training as a Mind Healer, who on occasion had to dodge a patient's raw magical attacks, with or without a wand, he formed a quick Repelling Shield charm. Normally, that would have been enough to deflect the magic away from him, but Harry was furious and that fury lent power to his magic, as well as the fact that the bolt was practically at point blank range, and his stormcaller power lent him strength beyond that of an ordinary young magic user.
The lightning was no true bolt, but magical, even so it struck the shield with devastating force. The shield buckled under the sheer power and some of the force leaked through, enough to knock Severus down and hurt him. He cried out in shock, for the lightning caused pain similar to a Cruciatus curse for a moment or so, dancing all over him with an eerie blue glow.
Harry drew back, a part of him was horrified at what he had done, though yet another part was still raging about the betrayal and not very sorry at all. He could not seem to draw the blue lightning back, it was like wildfire, unstoppable.
And it was all directed against Severus.
Lily, hearing the commotion, came out in the hallway. To her horror, she saw Harry attacking her beloved husband, his eyes glowing with hatred. Or what she assumed was hatred. "Harry! Leave him alone!" she screamed, but her son did not hear her.
Desperate, knowing she must do something before it was too late, she cast her strongest Stunning spell at Harry. "Stupefy Maxima!"
Her magic slammed into Harry with the force of a lorry colliding with a brick wall. It knocked the young stormcaller off his feet and he fell on the floor, the blue lightning dying as he went unconscious.
Lily ran over to Severus, who was groaning, but was somewhat conscious. "Sev? It's Lily, can you hear me?" Her hand found the pulse in his neck, it beat strongly. She breathed a sigh of relief, lightning strikes often caused cardiac arrest. "Sev?"
His hand grasped hers as his eyes looked at her. "Lily . . . couldn't stop him in time . . . don't know why . . . he attacked me . . ."
"Shh. We can talk about that later. Are you in pain? Should I call St. Mungos? Do you have shortness of breath? Chest pain?"
"No, I don't need a hospital. My shield . . . absorbed most of it . . . otherwise . . . I'd be dead . . ." he said hoarsely. "Call Poppy." He tried to sit up, managing only with his wife's help. "Help me to bed, Lily."
She cast a floating body spell upon him, unable to lift him herself. Biting her lip, she transported him to their bedroom. She was terrified, horrified, angry, and confused, but she managed to hold herself together until she called Poppy to come see to Severus. After she had sent out her Patronus, she sat down next to Severus, and began to cry quietly. "Severus, what happened? I . . . I had to Stun my own son! He . . . he . . . was killing you! He wouldn't . . .stop!"
Severus grabbed her arm and drew her down to lie beside him. He was very weak and hurting, but he knew Lily needed to pull herself together. "Shhh! Lily . . . Lily, my love, listen to me. We have to hide this. No one can know . . . about Harry. I need . . . to make this look like a potions accident . . . the burns . . . where's Harry now?"
"In . . . in the hall still." Lily sniffled, knowing Severus was correct. If anyone, even Poppy, found out Harry was a stormcaller and had used his powers to harm . . . he would be killed by the Ministry . . .
"Get him and put him in his room."
"What if he wakes?" Lily asked, shivering slightly. She almost felt afraid of Harry. Of her own son!
"There are Manacles of Suppression in the desk in my office. The lower right drawer. Password's asphodelium aeterna." Severus coughed slightly. "Get them and put them on him. Sometimes . . . sometimes I have to use them on patients."
Lily rose just as Poppy Flooed over. The Healer looked at her and said compassionately, "What happened now, Lily?"
"A-A potions accident, Poppy. It exploded . . . I . . . need to go and check on Harry and Theo. I'll be back soon." She quickly hurried from the room, and behind her she heard Poppy asking Severus what he had done to himself.
She found Harry where she had left him and bent to lift him up. She grunted, he was heavier than she thought, but still light enough to carry. He didn't stir and she brought him into his room. As she laid him on the bed, she thought angrily, how could you do this, Harry? I thought you were learning to control your power and now this! Why, damn you? Why?
She quickly went and retrieved the Manacles of Suppression, which prevented a wizard from using magic, from Severus' office and put them around Harry's wrists. Once in place, they glowed a soft yellow, and she shivered upon seeing them on her son. But she had no choice. If Harry woke still in a rage . . . and tried to hurt her . . . or Theo . . . they were the only means of protection she had. She prayed the Stunning charm lasted a long time, long enough for Poppy to treat Severus.
She went then to check on Theo, whom she found sleeping soundly, blessedly unaware of the night's events. What would they tell him, she wondered sadly? She supposed she would leave that up to Lucy. She glanced at her watch. It was barely nine o'clock at night. She had thought it much later.
She gently closed Theo's door, her heart heavy within her. She could not understand what had driven Harry to attack Severus. There had to be a reason. She backtracked to where she had found them—in front of the library. She pushed open the door and the lights came on automatically.
She saw a book on the floor, dropped with its pages opened. She knelt and picked it up, noting that it was a case study on criminals. Sirius Black. He was Harry's godfather. Did he have some sort of argument with Sev over him? No, why would he? Harry had never known the man. She paged a bit further and then she saw Carew.
Her hand went to her mouth. No. By all the angels in heaven, no! But then she read the paragraph that stated Carew killed because of his ability, because he went mad . . . like all stormcallers. She read what some idiot witch assumed was fact, read all the references, and cursed worse than a sailor. Damn ignorant fools like this! And damn her son too for believing what he read in a book over asking his parents! She longed to burn the bloody book, but instead carried it with her back to Severus' room, where Poppy was finishing wrapping his arm and torso in some bandages.
"How is he, Poppy?" she asked as she entered.
Poppy turned to her, the Healer's face was slightly grave. "He was very lucky, Lily. He has some minor burns on his torso and arms, but his magical core is close to being drained, I've given him some Magic Replenisher and in spite of his shield being up there was some damage to the nerves in his left hand, they may take a week or two to mend and he may suffer some loss of feeling in that hand, like numbness or tingling. Right now I've put salve on his burns, and given him a Nerve Replenisher, but as I said, it's serious damage, it could cause tremors in that hand and arm for a time and the numbness could be temporary or not."
"But he will recover?" Lily demanded.
"Yes, as much as possible. This new trauma, coming on top of the old one, Lily, is pushing his body to the max. Lily, he's very strong, but even he can only take so much. He needs rest and relaxation. I've recommended he meditate each day and of course returning to work is out of the question. I shall send my evaluation to St. Mungos, he needs to rest for a month at least. He can regain use of his hand, though it may always trouble him, I'm afraid. I'm sorry I can't do more, but I'm only a witch, not God."
"I know, Poppy. You've been wonderful," Lily hugged her. Thank Merlin she didn't know the truth of what had caused Severus' injuries.
Poppy Flooed away, and Lily came to sit beside her husband. "How are you feeling, Sev?"
He shrugged. "Better. We need to get to the bottom of this, Lily." He began. He told Lily of how Harry had crashed into him, and only then had confronted him. "I think he knows about the stormcaller madness, Lily. I don't know how, but he does."
"I do. He read this. Where he got it, I don't know, but it's enough to make him believe he has no choice but to go mad." Lily shoved the book at him, opening it to the chapter on stormcaller Joyce Carew.
Severus gave a bitter laugh. "What irony! One of the few Mind Healer case studies on a stormcaller criminal and he finds it. After reading this, anyone would assume they would go mad. It makes possibilities into absolutes."
"But Severus—he attacked you!" Lily cried, sniffling. "It was like he meant to kill you!"
"No. He was angry, but not killing angry," Severus shook his head. "I know what that looks like. Harry's no killer. His power slipped its leash. And I was the logical target, considering I had "betrayed" him by not telling him the truth. And so were you."
Lily gaped. "He would have attacked me too?"
"Possibly. He was very upset and angry, it's hard to predict what someone will do in those circumstances, especially a child with such a power. You know magic responds to strong emotion in children, especially his kind."
"I know, but . . . my God, Sev! He nearly finished you! How can we trust that won't happen again?"
Severus sighed. "Only by teaching him absolute control. I was making progress with him on that. And now it's mostly shot to hell. My magic will take four days to rebuild itself and . . ."
"What?" she asked, sensing he was reluctant to speak.
"And I don't trust him alone with me. I need a mediator. Someone who can monitor the sessions so that something like this won't happen again."
She could see it pained him to make that admission, that he wasn't sure he could handle the boy, but she understood it. "I can do it. It's natural for you to feel nervous after being hurt two times." He scowled at her but said nothing. "Sev, you don't think he's . . . going to go mad, do you?"
"Absolutely not! He's no more mad than you or I, Lily. We need to explain things to him and deal with that guilt complex he's surely going to have. We need to watch him closely and keep him focused on his lessons."
"I'm going to give him the spanking of his life," Lily growled.
"I don't think that's going to help much," Severus said.
"You did it last time," she pointed out.
"Under duress!" he shot back. "I hated it and did it only to alleviate guilt, not to punish or revenge myself."
"Sev, he deserves to be punished. You almost died . . . again!"
"Lily, there are better ways. Don't do something you'll regret later."
"I spanked him before and you never said a word."
"Because that was a normal punishment. The way you're acting now, you might overdo it and beat the living daylights out of him. Please, Lily. Shout at him, ground him, take away his broom, but don't hit him in anger. You'll take it too far. Believe me, I know." He stared into her eyes, willing her to remember his father and his insane rages, beating Severus with a belt, a stick, whatever was handy. Over twenty years had passed, and still Severus remembered, bearing scars inside and out from his father's brutality.
Lily met the eyes of the man she loved so much she would lay her life down for him, and a part of her cringed as she recalled why Severus was so against corporal punishment. "Oh, Sev. I'm just so . . . so angry with him right now. You being hurt again . . . and this time he tried to hurt you . . . it frightens me and I'm angry about that too, that I'm scared of my own son! I don't want anything to happen to you . . . or Harry. Maybe James was right." She buried her face in her hands.
"Don't, Lily," Severus whispered, cursing his weakness. He wanted to take her in his arms, but his injuries prevented it. "Don't cry. We'll get through this. Together. You, me, and Harry. Potter wasn't right. He was wrong. I'd bet my Mastery on that."
Lily lifted her head from her hands. "Even after what he did?"
"Yes. I know children, Lily. When he faced me he was angry and hurt, which activated his magic. Just like a baby having a tantrum. Not a killer. His emotions ran away with him. Reminds me of myself, a long time ago. But he's scarier than I was. I blew a roof off a house. He almost killed me. It's a big difference in one way, and not in another. He can be taught to control it, Lily. It just takes time and patience."
"I won't have him hurting you!"
"Neither will I."
"What about the Manacles of Suppression?"
"Keep them on for now, until he wakes up," Severus said. "I use them as a last resort. We'll talk and then I'll remove them for now. But I'll have them close during our training sessions, just in case. I should have thought about them before, but I got overconfident. I trusted I could judge his moods quickly enough to calm him down."
"You couldn't know he' d find out the truth so soon."
"No, but I should have been prepared. And that's not the truth, Lily. A dog has teeth and can bite your hand off, does that mean all dogs are dangerous and should be destroyed? No. Properly trained, a dog will bite only to defend himself. It's the same with stormcallers," Severus argued.
"Aren't you scared, after what he did?" asked Lily softly.
"Yes, a little. But I can't let the fear rule me, Lily. I let it remind me to be on my guard now, and to never forget that I'm dealing with a kid who could blow me away," Severus answered.
Lily supposed he was right. She too should practice that. After all, she was his mother, she shouldn't fear her son. Only his power.
"Should we tell Lucy? Or Theo?"
"Lucy needs to know. That fake story won't fool her. It's up to her if she wishes Theo to know the truth."
"Yes. When do you want to talk with Harry? After my spell wears off?"
"No. Why wait? Revive him and we can discuss it now. It's best to get everything out in the open."
Lily looked a bit hesitant. "Isn't it better to let him wake up on his own?"
Severus shook his head. "Not unless you want him to have a splitting headache. Canceling the spell is best, trust me."
Lily nodded. As she turned to leave, Severus called after her, "Control yourself, dear."
Lily vowed to do so, for she did not want to make things worse.
Soon she returned escorting Harry, who looked a bit woozy and out of it, until he came face to face with Severus.
Then it all came back to him. The book, what he had read, and how he had run into Severus. The rage that had possessed him and how he had lashed out at the man who had done his best to help him, his stepfather. He loved and respected Severus Snape as he did no other man. But when he had summoned his magic, he had felt betrayed and angry. As he did now.
He stared at the tall man in the bed, guilt and horror stirring in him, making his stomach churn. But the anger and betrayal were in the forefront, and before the guilt could make him tear himself apart, he cried, "You knew, you and Mum, all along! And you didn't tell me. You . . . you lied to me! You told me I could control my powers. And it's not true."
"You're wrong, Harry. It is true." Severus began.
"Bullshit! You're bloody lying!" Harry shouted, not even realizing what he'd said. He knew he was going mad. The book said so.
Lily suddenly spun him around to face her, her green eyes blazing. "Watch your mouth, young man! You show respect to your stepfather. How dare you speak to him that way?"
"Just shut up, you bloody damn bitch!"
Lily slapped him across the face.
Harry froze, the stinging pain bringing him back to himself.
"Lily!" Severus called. "Enough!"
Harry put a hand to his cheek and hung his head. The rage was leaving him now, and all he felt was confused and hurt. How could they have kept this secret from him? Why? And worst of all, how could he have hurt Severus again? Or spoken like that to him and his mother? Was this what it was like to go mad? Doing things you normally never would do?
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean it," he murmured, feeling tears stinging his eyes. "Any of it. I swear."
"Don't ever say or do it again, understand?" Lily said, her tone still sharp.
"Yes, ma'am," he replied, and it was then he noticed the odd silvery metal bands about his wrists. "What are these?" He touched one, it felt cold and there was an odd tingling sensation.
"Manacles of Suppression," Severus replied. "They prevent you from accessing or using your magic. After what happened, we thought it best you wear them until we were sure you—"
"—weren't going to go mad?" Harry interjected, bringing his eyes up to meet Severus' dark ones. They were filled with fear, regret, and sorrow. "Isn't that what you believe? Why didn't you put these on me in the beginning?"
"Come here, son," the Mind Healer called, patting the bed beside him. "Lily, you too, I can't hold a conversation across the room."
When they both had come over and seated themselves one on each side of him, Severus continued what he had been saying. "Harry, listen to me. I didn't put the manacles on you in the beginning because I didn't believe you were destined to go mad. I still don't. The reason you're wearing them at all now is because I needed to be sure you weren't going to wake from the stunning spell like a raging dragon, flinging lightning bolts about at everyone, especially your mother."
"But I didn't mean it . . . not really," Harry protested, the guilt hardening into a knot in his stomach. "I was angry and I just . . . let it get away from me. I didn't want to hurt you!"
"Yes, I know. But that's exactly why I have these manacles. As insurance, if you will."
"Harry, you nearly killed Severus," Lily interjected. "Meaning to or not, your powers are out of control when you're angry."
"I know. Maybe that's why stormcallers go mad, because they can't control their temper," Harry said despondently.
"No! Harry, stormcallers do not go mad because they lose their temper," Severus interjected. He reached over with his right hand and made Harry look at him. "If that were true, all of us would go mad. Harry, listen to me. Yes, you lost control of your magic. Yes, that's dangerous. However, that can happen to any wizard. You just happen to be stronger than average, which means you do more damage when you lose it. It does not mean you're destined to go insane."
"But, sir, I read about it. They say that every stormcaller has gone mad . . ."
"Yes, and some people think all wizards are evil!" Severus snapped. "Does that make it so? All of those case studies were done after the fact, meaning no one attempted to do anything with the stormcallers before they went mad. They were reviled and feared from the start and not one of them was given any schooling. They were made outcasts from society and had no family to love or draw support from. I believe that any power you possess can be controlled. Any power. Your mind is stronger than the magic, boy."
"But they really did go mad," Harry said.
"Yes, because trying to harness such power alone, without help, is impossible. You need a support network of family and friends, and the right attitude and teaching. I think they went mad because they didn't know how to let it go. They were a channel for immense power and they overflowed. That is why they went mad. Not because they were destined to."
"Is that what you think too, Mum?"
Lily nodded. "Yes. And I'm sorry we didn't tell you sooner, but we were afraid, Harry, that it would discourage you from trying to do anything with your power at all. If you thought the training was useless, then you would fail, and then it would be terribly hard for you to control the power. We wanted to give you hope, that's why we didn't tell you."
"Is that why all the books were gone from the library?"
"Yes. I removed them until I felt I could tell you what I believed. Which would have been soon, considering your progress so far," Severus replied.
"Looks like I ruined everything," Harry said glumly. "Are you hurt bad, Dad?"
"I'll mend," Severus replied. He did not wish to discuss his possible disability with Harry now, it would only make the boy guiltier and perhaps push him over the edge. "You simply fell prey to popular opinion, like most people."
"Does everyone know about stormcallers going mad?"
"Yes. It's common knowledge. I told Lucy, Theo, and the Malfoys not to mention it to you." Severus admitted.
"Oh. Is that why I don't go to Hogwarts either?" Harry guessed knowingly. He knew it was true, from overhearing a conversation, but he wanted it confirmed. "Because Dumbledore doesn't want me to go mad and wreck everything?"
"Yes. Because Dumbledore fears what you could do," Lily said. "But it's also because we don't trust him to look after you as he should. When Sev and I were in school, he let Sev be bullied shamefully by your father and his friends and we didn't want that to happen to you. So we decided to homeschool you. Would you rather have gone to Hogwarts?"
"No. Not after what Draco told me. But why do you believe differently?"
"Because I've studied the case histories too," Severus answered. "And I believe that a man makes his own fate. Believe in yourself and learn to control yourself and you can do anything, Harry. Even control storms. But if you believe you are fated to go mad, kill, and die . . . then chances are you will, because the mind is that strong."
"And who do you believe? Me or those idiots who wrote that book?"
"Good." Severus spoke a word and removed the manacles. He hoped that by doing so now he would show the boy that he trusted Harry to keep his temper.
"You—you took them off!"
"I did. Because I trust you to try and control yourself, Harry."
"I will. I'm so sorry you were hurt." Suddenly he hugged Severus, crying softly.
Severus held him and told him that they would have lessons more now, along with Lily, and someday his temper wouldn't rule him.
Harry really wished to believe that, but wasn't sure he did. He sat up and said, "What are you going to do to me for this? Will you spank me and take away my Christmas presents?"
"Is that what you would do?" Severus asked.
"Umm . . . no, but . . ."
"I think you need to meditate with me everyday," Severus began.
"And help take care of his wounds," interjected Lily. "That way you can see exactly what harm you caused and maybe helping to heal it will drive home the fact that you must never do such a thing again."
"Lily, I don't—" began Severus, for he didn't want Harry to know how badly he was injured.
"No, Severus. He needs to see. Only then will he realize. Maybe I seem harsh, but it's how I feel."
Severus sighed. "Very well."
"What will I have to do?" asked Harry.
"I'll tell you tomorrow. For now, you ought to get some sleep." Lily said. She came and hugged him. "Do you need a Sleeping Draught?"
Harry considered. "All right." Without it, he knew he would never get to sleep.
Lily gave him the potion to take, and he apologized again before taking it. He fell asleep some ten minutes later, still feeling like it wasn't enough to just say he was sorry.
Lucy arrived home, happy from her date with Remus. Lily told her what had occurred and she hugged both of them and a sleeping Harry. "What a terrible thing to have happen! But we'll get through it, thee'll see. Tha won't lose thy son, Lily."
"Oh, Lucy! I pray everyday for him, and for us all," Lily said. "Will you tell Theo?"
"No. I don't want him on the outs with Harry. 'Tis the last thing the lad needs."
Lily nodded. She hoped she was doing the right thing. Harry had to learn control, or else they could all die.
Christmas came and went, and the Snapes, Notts, and Malfoys celebrated happily. Harry got a new broom, a Silver Star 2000, and Theo half a set of his beloved potions books. Remus took both boys to see a Quidditch game, and Lucius did the same, only with better seats and better teams. Draco had gotten the Nimbus 2000, though Lucius had grounded him and made him mulch the garden with dragon dung for the tunnel incident. Narcissa and Lucius were going on a cruise to the Bahamas in February. Aradia got a life sized doll-house and a life-sized talking doll friend to play in it. Lily got a beautiful emerald and gold locket from Severus, and Harry got her matching earrings. In return, she got him a crystal cauldron stirrer and Harry some special herbs from the apothecary. Lucy got all of them journals to write in, and Theo some certificates to the bookstore. Remus got Lucy flowers and a pretty shawl. Theo got Lucy a new cookbook.
Despite all the merriment, Harry felt a little depressed. He loved his new broom, but felt that he didn't really deserve it. Helping Lily with Severus eased his conscience a little, but also drove home the fact that he was dangerous, and sometimes Severus had trouble with his left hand, it got numb and he couldn't hold things long. His burns, though not life threatening, were red and angry and hurt as well. See what you've done? an accusing voice in the back of Harry's mind hissed. He knew he was responsible for the damage in Severus' hand, though no one said so. They didn't need to. It made him feel guiltier than ever. And more determined to control his beastly magic. He concentrated hard at every lesson the Mind Healer set him, the calming exercises, the ones where he had Lily play devil's advocate, or a victim of a dark wizard, to make Harry angry and see how far he could go without unleashing a rain of destruction upon his enemy.
"You don't always have to obliterate someone to win a conflict," was one of Severus' maxims. "And sometimes knowing you were right, even if the other person won't admit it, is as great a victory as rubbing it in front of his face."
Harry was determined to either master his rogue gift or to leave if he thought the control beyond him. Despite his parents unshakable belief that he would not go mad and become destruction incarnate, he still, deep down, feared it might happen. And if it did, he could kill all that he loved in an instant. He resolved to never let that become reality. At the first sign of madness, he would leave. Better he go insane alone on the moor than hurt his friends and family. He was not Carew. He would not take the lives of innocents. He'd take his own first.
He recalled the morning after his attack on Severus and his mother calling him over to explain how to apply salve and change bandages on the burns inflicted. She had taken his face in her hands and said, softly, her voice a shattered whisper, "Please, Harry, listen to what we tell you and try to get these powers under control. It's not a game. Please! I love you both so much. It would kill me if I lost one of you to this. Do what none of those others could. Succeed."
He had promised he would.
But even so, he found nightmares returning in the darkest hours of the night. Ones where he watched as powerful storms—hurricanes, blizzards, thunderstorms—ravaged the moor and trapped his family inside the cottage . . . and then the cottage collapsed, or caught fire, or any number of other disasters and they died. Or worse, he went crazy and killed them all, with lightning, hail, wind, and sheer power that was his birthright.
Those were the worst ones—the ones that scared him to pieces and forced him to bury his had in the pillow to muffle his screams. He woke covered in sweat, and always made sure to change his pajamas before going back to sleep. In order to keep Lucy or Lily from seeing his sudden use of pajamas, he did his own laundry before they awoke and hid it from them.
On occasion, he snuck a vial of Dreamless Sleep from the cabinet in Lily's bathroom, just enough to get him through two or three nights without the nightmares, enough so he didn't appear sleep deprived and have Severus question him. He knew he should tell the Mind Healer what was happening, that Severus was trained in that sort of thing and could help. But he didn't want anyone to know he was afraid of the madness, that he had lost his courage, and partially believed lies and was swayed by the majority. He wanted to believe Severus, he needed to believe Severus, and a part of him did believe Severus. But a part of him doubted, and the doubt was like a thorn in his side, pricking him sharply.
He hid it well, though, doing his chores without complaining, having his daily lessons in meditation and control, and then playing outside with Theo and Draco till dusk. Harry and Theo decided to swear Draco to secrecy about being a cold drake, and made Draco promise on his wand (when he got one) and his Name that he would never tell about the shapeshifting.
They had loads of fun flying over the moor on their new brooms with Tempest, who managed at last to shift his shape back instead of being stuck in it for three days. That had been an act of sheer desperation, for the first time they'd gone flying together, they'd neglected to tell Lily or Lucy how long they'd be gone. Lucy grew concerned and Lily came to look for them. In order to avoid the scolding and punishment that would surely follow, Tempest managed to hide his bulk behind a rock and transform. Once he remembered how, Theo could transform back and forth as he wished, coming into his own as a shifter. Draco thought it was wicked as hell, and wished he could do it.
Severus, intuitive as he was, did not notice Harry's distress because the boy was careful to hide it, and Severus was not one to pry into another's head, even if he suspected the person was depressed and needed help. That was part of the Mind Healer codes, and Severus followed them religiously. He was also recovering from the magical attack upon him, and so spent a week in bed, and then insisted on being able to move from bedroom to study to den and rest for part of the day. He always had sessions with Harry in the study, and always with Lily present, and the Manacles in a drawer where he could reach them if necessary. Lily, though she hated it, was also always ready with a Stun spell if needed. Harry knew none of these precautions and seemed to be doing well.
Severus practiced diligently the exercises Poppy suggested he do to strengthen his left arm and hand, though they were still weaker than the right and this frustrated the Healer because he wasn't used to being hurt and relying on others for anything. Sometimes the numbness and tremors in his left hand made buttoning a shirt or holding a pen very difficult, or stirring a cauldron. Even some spellcasting was difficult, and together with Lily they came up with spells to assist him in dressing, writing, and so forth, making his handicap a mite easier. But as yet he could not practice his true craft, for his magical core was not fully recovered. He chafed under the restrictions, but perhaps the enforced stay at home was a blessing in disguise, for now he could spend time with his family, especially Harry.
Little did he know that the potential for destruction loomed on the horizon, in the form of a swift-moving winter blizzard with gale force winds, hail, and killing frost called Boreas. It had begun in the Hebrides, the islands off the coast of Scotland, in the chill North Atlantic that had spawned so many shipborn disasters, like the HMS Titanic, to name one, and now it roared its way down from the Highlands towards the border between the lowlands and Yorkshire. The British weather advisory was tracking it with satellites and radar and warning citizens to prepare for the worst. But at Heatherton Cottage, the little family of wizards was unaware of nature's deadliest weapon, and they were right in the path of it.
A/N: Please note that I came out with this chapter so quickly because I knew all of you were going crazy waiting for it. Hope you enjoy it. The information on recovery from partial strokes and such came from my uncle, who has had several, and from my own experience. Thanks as well to Su Yu No for the information on lightning strikes and trauma, which I knew from liviing in Florida, where a lot of them happen each year, usually to people playing golf when raining. What will happen now to Harry and his little family? Any guesses?
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