Chapter 5 : Editorial Uncertainties
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“Looks like you are all set, Severus. Now that I have closed up those wounds I would recommend a blood replenishing potion as soon as you can get your hands on some. Until you do I recommend trying to take it easy. You've lost a significant amount of blood and it is likely that you will still be feeling weak and light-headed for some time,” she advised.
Alexis stood back from the bed as Snape brought himself up to a sitting position. She handed him his discharge papers, waited for him to sign them and then handed him a folded copy of the morning edition of the Daily Prophet along with his copies of his paperwork.
Snape scowled and attempted to hand the paper back to her. “Thanks, but I make it a point to not read the rubbish they print in the Prophet.”
“I think you need to read that,” she said with a small smile. “Take care of yourself, Severus. It was good to see you again.”
“I owe you my life. I know that I did not deserve such kindness from you, but I do appreciate it all the same,” he mumbled quietly. “I do hope to see you around once things slow down here for you,” he said with a timid hopefulness that surprised him.
“Oh. Well…I am actually expecting to be leaving here soon. I’ve been working at a hospital in the States for the past few years. I wouldn’t have ever thought of coming back here at all if it hadn’t been for the letters I had received from Albus Dumbledore pleading for me to return and help out. I guess he had known what was coming and figured that they would need some help here. How he even knew how to find me there I have no idea," she mused out-loud. "Anyway…I guess he had been killed shortly before I arrived, so I never got to speak to him about it all. It seems like it was all just yesterday,” she remembered with a sigh.
Snape was quite surprised to find that Dumbledore had been involved in St. Mungo’s issues. Was there nothing that old coot hadn’t meddled with?
"Well then, good luck on your travels then. I am sure that your loss here will be felt by all. Good day to you Healer Prewett,” he said with a small bow, suddenly wanting to make a quick depature. He hurried off the ward and down the hall to the lift.
It was not until he had reached the lobby that he had noticed he was still holding the copy of the Daily Prophet that Alexis had given him. He unfolded it and was astonished to see a picture of himself on the front page. It was one that had been taken when he had taken over the Headmaster post at the beginning of the year. Next to his picture was another picture of a battered looking Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom.
Bravest Man I Know: Severus Snape
By: Rita Skeeter
We managed to catch up to the “Chosen One” himself at St. Mungo’s hospital as he took time out of his busy schedule to visit the wounded Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and his former Potions Master and Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Severus Snape. Professor Snape had assumed the Headmaster position even amongst rumors that it had been at his own hand directly that had been responsible for the death of the previous headmaster Albus Dumbledore. Despite the dark history surrounding Professor Snape and his past connections with “He-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named” and his past affiliations as an assumed death eater, Mr. Potter was highly protective of his former teacher. While he would not give justification for his defense he did say, “Severus Snape is the bravest man I know. Nothing that I did could have been accomplished without Professor Snape's help, all of which was given with no regard to his own safety and well-being.”
A fellow student and close friend of Harry Potter, Neville Longbottom, who had attended Hogwarts School this previous year under Snape’s direction as headmaster and whom had fought along-side Potter at the Battle of Hogwarts, was also quick to praise the former servant to the Dark Lord by saying, “Professor Snape put himself in precarious positions several times throughout the school year in an attempt to keep students, like myself, safe from serious harm at the hands of the Carrows. I have no doubt that he was acting against ‘You-Know-Whos’ orders by trying to protect us and would have paid dearly if he had been discovered doing so."
Harry and his friends refused to offer any further details concerning Headmaster Snape, likely out of concerns for his safety, but this reporter will remain diligently on the case and bring updates as they are discovered.
Snape stood staring dumbfounded at the paper in his hand for several long minutes after he had finished reading. He felt like he had just fallen straight into the middle of a strange dream and was trying to play catch-up to understand what was going on.
‘The Bravest Man’ he knows? He struggled to understand. No one had ever called him brave, nor did he think that it was a title that he felt he deserved. Especially not from Harry or even Neville, whom he had developed an unexpected amount of respect for, throughout the past year as he watched him defy the Carrows and himself, proving himself as a daring, if not sometimes foolish, leader and inspiration to his fellow students.
As he struggled to come to terms with the enormity of the situation he found himself feeling somewhat dizzy and he to grab the back of a waiting room chair to steady himself.
“Are you alright, sir?” asked the welcome witch.
“Huh?” Snape asked looking around. “Oh. Yes. I am quite fine, thank you.”
Not wanting to draw more attention to himself he steadied himself, stood up straight and walked out of the hospital and out onto the busy sidewalk outside. He hurried down the street and into a deserted alleyway where he disapperated with a ‘pop’ that was barely heard by the commuters rushing along the sidewalk beyond.
Harry fussed with his dress robes for what could have been the twentieth time as he waited for Hermione to join him in the common room. He did not realize how much weight he had lost as a result of his being on the run for nearly a year with often only scraps of food to eat.
After what had felt like hours, Hermione finally emerged from the girls dormitory and made her way down the stairs. She looked somewhat flustered and her eyes looked as though they were already red and weary from crying.
“Come on,” Harry insisted. “We have to hurry now or we are going to be late.”
“I’m sorry it took me so long. This is the only dress I had and it is the one I wore to Bill and Fleur’s wedding. I couldn’t possibly wear lilac to a funeral so I have been trying to charm it to make it black. I am not sure that I got it quite right, though. I’m terrified it will change back in the middle of the funeral!” she worried.
“Honest, Hermione, I’m sure they aren't going to care what you are wearing. They are just going to be glad that you are there,” Harry insisted.
“Of course. I’m sorry. You are right. I guess I am just anxious that’s all. Let’s get downstairs,” she said.
It had been a rather quiet morning in the castle. Professor McGonagall had chosen to put the clean-up and repair tasks on hold for the day, first to allow the remaining students to catch the train home, and then to attend the first of many funerals that would soon be happening.
Arthur Weasley had come to Hogwarts the previous evening to personally invite everyone to The Burrow for Fred’s funeral followed by a luncheon picnic. Nearly all of the professors were planning on attending, except for the bare minimum that were needed to stay behind to help keep the castle secure. The ministry had opened up the Floo network in the Great Hall to allow everyone to travel directly to the Burrow.
When they reached the Great Hall, Harry was completely stunned to see that Professor Snape was among the people gathered by the fireplace. He stopped short unexpectedly upon entering the doorway causing Hermione to walk straight into him.
“Oh!” she exclaimed. “What is it, Harry?” She looked in the direction that he was fixated in and understood immediately. “Come on. It’s okay,” she urged.
He collected himself and walked over to where the group was gathered. He risked a glance at Snape and noticed that he looked paler than he usually did, but otherwise perfectly healthy. He was wearing his usual stern expression and did not seem to be interested in any of the idle chatter that his co-workers were engaging in.
“Mr. Potter, Ms. Granger, I am surprised to see the two of you still here,” Professor Flitwick proclaimed as they approached. “I would have thought that you both would have gone home this morning with the rest of your classmates.”
“I will be heading out soon, sir,” Hermione began. “Before we set out last year, I had sent my folks into hiding and changed their memories so that they could be kept safe. Once things settle down a bit, I will be off to find them.”
“That was very insightful, Ms Granger. I trust you are well aware of how to reverse the ‘obliviate charm’?” Hermione nodded. “What about you, Mr. Potter? I am sure you are anxious to be getting on with things.”
Harry froze. He had no idea how to answer that question. What was he was supposed to do with his life now? He had no home to go to, he hadn’t been able to take his NEWTs so there were no career options available to him in the wizarding world and he had no plans at all to fall back on. He had nothing. Nothing. The walls seemed to start closing in around him and he could feel his chest beginning to get tighter as he struggled to concentrate on breathing.
Just when Harry thought that he was going to lose complete control he heard the silky voice that he had once always dreaded hearing, come to his rescue.
“Perhaps, at the present time, Mr. Potter is more interested in taking a much need time-out after being on the run for the past year, Filius. What better place for him to rest peacefully and hope to escape from the attentions of the wizarding world than here at Hogwarts,” Snape said. “Besides, I have a feeling that getting this place,” he continued with a wave of his hand, “back into a condition that would warrant it’s classification as an educational institution will require more help than we could hope to expect. Which would make Mr. Potter’s continued presence an advantageous asset to us. I’m sure that he could be persuaded to assist us in our clean-up efforts.”
“Of course, Professor. I would be more than happy to help,” Harry said as he shot Snape a look that he hoped conveyed the depth of his gratitude.
Snape gave him a curious look and when he was sure that Flitwick’s attention was properly diverted he gave Harry a small nod of his head and turned to bring out the stone bowl full of Floo Powder. One-by-one everyone began stepping into the green flames in the fireplace and shouted, “The Burrow.”
Harry worked his way to the end of the queue, wanting to try to have a quick word with Snape before he left. There were so many things that needed to be said, but he knew that this was not the time nor the place for any of them.
All too soon, Harry found himself alone with Snape. His mind raced as he tried to find the words that he needed to say. Finally he looked up at him and said, “Thank you. For everything. Thank you.”
Snape looked down at him knowingly and said, “Your friends need you right now, Potter. There will be time enough for everything else later.”
Harry nodded and stepped into the fireplace. As he threw down the powder and shouted out his destination, he wished he was able to read what it was that was hidden behind Snape’s carefully controlled expression and those haunted black eyes that were studying him so carefully as he vanished from the room.
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