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Chapter 47 : Potions Trouble
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Potter residence, three days later:
Indigo was screaming again, making Alby cover his ears and Celia, Severus, and Lily run outside so they couldn't hear the constant shrieking. Severus peeped in the house about five minutes later and could hear Indi's muffled wailing from another room. He could also hear Harry saying to Ginny, "I'm working on a potion, Gin, to help her with her stomachache. I just need to tweak it a bit so she can take it with her formula. I don't enjoy hearing her scream either."
Severus winced and saw Harry sigh then go downstairs to his lab to restart the potion. That gave the former Potions Master an idea. Maybe he could help with the potion. Harry was good, but he was better at creating potions than Harry, from all those years of experience. Now Severus was quite aware he shouldn't be in the lab without an adult, but surely a quick peek and smell and taste wasn't going to harm anything? How else would he learn what Harry was crafting? He wasn't sure about Harry's record-keeping and couldn't rely on his notes—the boy's handwriting, even after all these years, was awful!
He went back outside, where the girls and Alby were playing on the swings and called, "Lily! Come here for a moment!"
She broke off from the other two and ran over to him. Though she enjoyed their company, Lily still considered Severus her best friend and enjoyed spending time with him above all others. Perhaps it was because they shared so much between them, even a past which no one else did, and being adopted instead of born to their new parents.
"What's wrong, Sev?"
"Nothing. Except Indi. She's sick again and my dad's trying to brew a potion, but I don't know if he's doing it right. He wasn't so good at brewing them before, what if he's doing it wrong and Indi gets worse?"
"You'll never get any sleep!" Lily said, giggling softly.
"It's not funny, Lily!" Severus snapped. "Look, I need to get into the lab to see just what's brewing and I need you to help."
"Help? But Sev, we're not supposed to go down there . . ."
"I know that! I'm not dumb! But this is an exception. All I want to do is see the potion. Can you be look out for me? If you hear Harry coming, tell me so we can hide."
Lily looked troubled. "I don't like it, Sev. What if we get in trouble?"
"You won't. I'll make sure they only punish me."
"But I don't want to get you in trouble either."
"I can handle it," Severus said with more confidence than he felt. "Please, Lily? I want to get a good night's sleep sometime this decade and I want my sister to feel better."
"All right. But make it quick."
The two retreated inside the house. When they first tried the lab door it was locked, causing them to wait until Harry returned down there twenty minutes later to give the cauldron a stir. They crept down soon after and hid in the corner beneath the stairs where there were lots of shadows and some old crates of stuff. Harry never saw them, he was too busy with the potion.
Severus and Lily waited until Harry went back upstairs before creeping out from behind the stairs. Severus put on his small robe, like he always did when he helped Harry. "Lily, you stand by the stairs and listen. I'll see the potion."
He moved over to the cauldron while Lily went to stand by the stairs.
"All right, Sev! I'm here!" she whispered.
Severus moved over to the cauldron to examine the potion. It was simmering softly. He smelled it first. It smelled like vanilla, lavender, and chamomile. Not bad. Those were calming and soothing reagents. He tried to see to the top of the workstation—a faded notebook was atop it. He climbed onto the high stool and took a peek at the old book, it was filled with jotted notes in a messy hand, many of them crossed out. As predicted, he couldn't make sense of the potion Harry was making because there was an incomplete ingredient list and crossed out measurements.
He frowned. Great Merlin, Potter! Didn't anyone teach you penmanship at Hogwarts? Or how to take decent research notes? Apparently not. Severus scowled. He could hardly make sense of anything here and only his years of experience made him suspect the first few ingredients in the potion.
And while they were standard remedies, he had a feeling Indi would need something stronger to settle her upset stomach. Luckily he knew of an herb that might work. It was called milkpod, a magical plant with known stomach soothing properties. It had little side effects even on infants and so was safe to use.
He clambered down from the stool, praying that Harry had some in his ingredients cabinet.
"Hurry, Sev!" he heard Lily calling. "Before he comes back!"
It was then that the usually agile boy tripped. The hem of his robe got caught on a stool leg and down he went, close by the fire. His sleeve caught and suddenly his arm was roasting.
He started to scream.
Lily heard and came to see what was the matter. Some long forgotten instruction made her jump on top of him, rolling to put out the flames. But she was burned too, and Harry found the two of them some ten minutes later, Lily kneeling beside an unconscious Severus, crying hopelessly from pain and fear for her friend.
"My, God! What happened here?"
"It was an-an accident!" Lily sobbed. "Sev came down to see the potion and then he—he fell into the fire! He needs a . . . a healer, Harry!"
"So do you," Harry said, horrified. He scooped up Severus and ran up the stairs. St. Mungos would have two new patients and he'd be lucky if Draco didn't kill him.
St. Mungos, a few hours later:
Harry sat silently by Severus' bed, watching the small figure breathe. They had given the poor kid strong doses of a pain reliever before putting burn salve on the burns on his arm, shoulder, and part of his chest. So he was sleeping like the dead. Harry knew he was lucky Severus was alive, the potions accident could have resulted in a terrible tragedy. It was still hard to believe it had happened.
Lily lay in the next bed across from Severus, her own hands and arms heavily bandaged, under a strong Sleep charm. Draco had been called immediately after bringing the two kids to the hospital and had come as soon as he could. At first he'd been horrified and started yelling at Harry for not watching the kids, but Astoria arrived and calmed him down some. Now all he did was sit staring at his daughter in the bed, her hair a bright splash on the white pillow.
Astoria and Ginny had taken the other kids home to eat and get ready for bed, Ginny was staying with Astoria so Tori could help with Alby, Celia, and Indigo. Harry and Draco had volunteered to remain at the hospital, waiting for Lily and Severus to wake up.
Harry put his head in his hands. He felt so guilty, somehow thinking this was all his fault. He didn't know how the kids had gotten down there, he'd locked the lab after he'd come upstairs. But it didn't really matter how, only that they had gotten hurt, badly, and in his house. He sat there and muttered, "I'm sorry, Sev," and then "Please get well. Please. I need you." Then he added a prayer for Lily too, though she was less burned than Severus.
A mediwitch came in and checked on the two, taking their vitals, then asked if either wizard wanted something to eat or drink. Both shook their heads. "Hang in there," she advised. "They should be waking up soon."
As the mediwitch bustled out again, Draco muttered, "How can that twit ask about food at a time like this? Like I want to eat while my daughter's lying here?"
"She was just being polite," Harry said tonelessly.
Draco snorted. "Screw that." Then he went back to his silent brooding.
More time passed and suddenly, Severus opened his eyes.
At first he wasn't sure where he was, then he saw the whitewashed walls and Harry nodding in an uncomfortable looking blue chair. He turned his head slightly and saw Lily, still asleep, with bandages on her arms and Draco with his head back, sleeping as well.
I'm in St. Mungos, he thought at once. How bad is it? He couldn't feel his arm and shoulder very well, they felt like they were stuffed and numb. A pain potion. But it would wear off soon and he'd need more to combat the agony to follow. He had been burned before . . . tortured too . . . so he knew this non-feeling was but a temporary respite. But maybe not as bad as this, he mused. God, how stupid he'd been. He felt shame flash through him. Such a stupid thing to happen, and him a certified Potions Master!
Just then the mediwitch came back in and she smiled at him. "Oh, sweetie, you're awake! How do you feel?"
"All right, I guess. My arm feels numb."
"That's 'cause Healer Algin shot you up with a lot of pain potions. You seem resistant to charms."
Severus nodded. Sleep charms wouldn't work on him unless he lowered his shields, Occlumens were resistant to them. "How bad is it?"
"Well, sweetie, you do have some bad burns. But I think you should—"
Before she could say anything more, Harry woke up. "Sev? Are you okay? I mean, that's a dumb question but . . . are you in pain?"
"Not right now."
Suddenly Harry was hugging Severus, being careful not to jar his injured arm and shoulder. Severus was startled and stiffened a bit before relaxing in Harry's embrace. Sudden tears stung his eyes as he tried to hug Harry back. He was frightened and tired and afraid Harry hated him for breaking one of his most serious rules. He was also upset because Lily had gotten hurt along with him. "I'm sorry, Harry," he whimpered against the other's chest.
Harry felt something in his heart move at the declaration, but before that came a sudden anger at his son's disobedience. "Severus Snape, how could you do such a foolish and irresponsible thing? You know potions aren't for playing about with!"
"I-I was trying to help," he sniffled, feeling even more like an idiot.
"Help! You almost got yourself killed!" Harry shouted. "Along with Lily! What did you think you were doing?"
Being a Potions Master, a part of him whispered, the older part. The rest of him cringed.
Before he could say anything, the mediwitch, named Karla, came back in and shook a reproving finger at Harry. "Mr. Potter, please lower your voice! I have patients asleep, one of them in this room! There's no sense in yelling at the poor boy, clearly it was an accident, and you should be grateful he's here at all, and not buried in the graveyard!"
"I . . . I was just . . ."
"Being a typical man, all hot air, piss, and wind! You're all the same, you shout to stop being frightened and you accuse to get rid of guilt! Your child is already sick and in pain, do you want him to feel worse?"
"No . . . I . . ."
"Then quit yelling, you bloody idiot, before I throw you out!" she ordered, then she swept from the room.
Harry just stood there, feeling like an ass. "I'm sorry, Sev. I . . . sounded like Aunt Petunia used to . . . she used to yell at me when I stood bleeding from falling and landing on the garden shears . . ."
"It's all right. I was stupid. I deserve to be yelled at."
Harry shook his head. "No, you don't. I was wrong."
"I'm yelling at myself for this," he held up his arm, then hissed in pain.
"Well, you can do that, but that nurse was right. I shouldn't yell at you for what was an accident. That's really dumb. But Sev, what were you doing down there in the first place?"
Severus gulped and dashed the tears away from his eyes. He hated when he cried. "I . . . I was seeing about the potion you were making for Indi. I . . . thought I could help make it better."
"By putting in some milk pods."
Severus fought not to roll his eyes. "It's a magical plant. Good for stomach pains. Will . . . will Lily be all right?" He looked over at Lily, his dark eyes troubled.
"She wasn't burned as badly as you," Harry said kindly. "I'm sure she'll be fine."
"It was my fault she got hurt," Severus said sadly. "She tried to help me."
"Because that's what friends do," Draco spoke up suddenly from the opposite side of the room. "Don't feel badly about this, Sev. Accidents happen to the best of us."
"Hardly ever to me!" the pint-sized Potions Master said indignantly.
"Welcome to the real world," Draco laughed softly.
Just then Lily woke up and was hugged and fussed over by Draco. She assured him she was feeling all right, then looked over at Severus. "How are you feeling, Sev? When the fire went on you, I was so scared."
"You shouldn't have, Lily—" he began.
"What was I supposed to do, watch you burn to death?" she demanded, a little crossly. "I know how to put out fires. It's not only boys who can be heroes!"
"That's not what I meant . . ."
"You're not the only one who can risk your life either! I'd do it again to save you, Sev!" she declared passionately. Then she started to cry.
Draco reached for her, but she squirmed away. "I'm all right, Dad. Just upset."
"Lily, I'm sorry."
"Don't be sorry. Just get well. I knew same as you what we did was wrong," she sniffled.
Severus reached across the space between the beds and clasped her unhurt arm. Just touching her made him feel better.
"Yes, it was," Draco interjected. "And normally you'd be punished with a good smacking, young miss. But those burns are worse than anything I could do and they'll remind you far more sharply next time to listen when we tell you to do something."
"Draco's right," Harry agreed. "But we forgive you, and if you need anything, don't hesitate to ask."
"Is Mum mad at us too?" both children asked almost simultaneously.
"No. They're more upset you were hurt than anything else. Right, Draco?" Harry answered.
"Right. Your mum cried buckets over you, afraid you'd be scarred for life," Draco said. "So did Cory. But you'll be fine after a few days."
"Do we have to stay in the hospital?" Severus asked, rather grumpily.
"Yes," Harry said.
"I hate hospitals," Severus groaned.
"Next time ask first before you go in my lab, Severus Tobias, and maybe you won't need to worry about being in a hospital," Harry scolded.
Severus turned away from him. He knew he'd been an idiot, and now he was paying for it.
Harry sighed, fearing he'd been a tad too harsh. "Sev . . . was this how you felt when I was hurt all those times at school?"
Severus didn't answer at first. Finally he said, "Yes. There were times I wanted to throttle you or turn you over my knee for taking such stupid risks with your life. You drove me crazy, trying to keep you from doing yourself in. I don't know how I didn't die of anxiety."
Harry chuckled. "You didn't want to rob me of your dreadful tongue, that's how."
"Partly. And also because you needed me," Severus admitted softly.
"I'll always need you, Sev," murmured Harry, stroking the boy's hair.
"So will I," Draco said.
"Me too," Lily added, and squeezed his hand.
Severus smiled through the pain that was beginning to surge through the potion-induced numbness. It was good to be needed. And loved. Unlike his last life.
During the next three days, Severus and Lily slept a lot. When the pain grew too bad, they were given potions to make them sleep, and every day a Healer came and put more Burn Salve on their wounds. The salve was actually the one that Severus had invented, and helped heal them at a remarkable rate. Severus was very grateful for it. Burns were among the worst injuries and he was glad he could reduce the pain and time of healing for both Lily and himself.
Ginny, Harry, Draco, and Astoria came every day to visit the children. Molly and Arthur came once and brought flowers and homemade fudge for them. Celia brought books for Severus to read and Alby brought Mimic, his stuffed raven. Cory brought Lily a stuffed kitty, and Indi brought a smile, which Ginny said was just for her older brother.
The Lupins also visited and both Jamie and Sirius seemed impressed with Severus' wounds.
"Do they hurt?" Sirius wanted to know.
Teddy rolled his eyes. "Of course they hurt, silly mutt! Didn't your nose hurt when you burnt it on a hot coal that time?"
"Well, yeah, but I was just asking."
"How long do you have to stay here?" Jamie asked.
"Until the Healer says we can go home," Lily answered.
"Oh. Is it very boring?" Teddy inquired.
"Sometimes. But usually at night," Severus answered.
"But we have each other to talk to. Unless we're sleeping. They give us Sleeping Drafts a lot," said Lily.
"I made some cards for you," Teddy said. "Actually, we all did." He gave Severus and Lily the cards, they were all signed and bore handmade drawings.
"Thanks, Teddy!" Lily exclaimed. "That was sweet of you."
"Aww, it wasn't anything," Teddy said, blushing.
"Yes , it was. It showed you were thinking of us," Severus corrected. He put his two cards on his nightstand, next to his books and some puzzles.
"Well, get better so you can get out of here," Sirius said. Then he shifted into a puppy and jumped up on Lily's bed.
Lily petted him and laughed. "Hi, Padfoot!"
Karla, their mediwitch, came in to bring them lunch. "What's that dog doing in here?"
"He's a therapy dog," Severus said quickly.
"For sick kids. It helps them get better if they can pet an animal. It's a new program," Severus told her. The others nodded. It wasn't quite a lie, therapy dogs had been used in Muggle hospitals.
"Oh. I see. Guess they forgot to inform me," Karla said, sounding a bit confused. "Here's your lunch. Eat up now. Where's your mums?"
"Getting stuff in the gift shop," Jamie answered, referring to Ginny and Astoria and Dora.
"Oh. All right. Make sure that dog doesn't drool all over."
"He never does," assured Teddy.
Karla left and Padfoot jumped off Lily's bed and licked Severus' hand.
Severus looked down at the scruffy black dog. "What was that for?"
Padfoot transformed back. "For being brilliant. Where'd you come up with that idea, Severus?"
"They do that sort of thing in Muggle hospitals, Sirius. I'm lucky she believed me."
"Nah. You're just a genius," laughed Jamie.
All the children shared a smile before the three mothers came back in the room.
Ginny and Astoria stayed sometimes at night, to give Harry and Draco a break. Well, Draco got a chance to sleep, though sometimes Harry was up with the baby at night. Though he did try Severus' addition and found it worked great to make his cranky daughter sleep.
While the two injured children slept, Ginny and Tori discussed how relieved they were that the accident hadn't been more serious, and how they had prayed for their children to get well.
"I can't bear to see her in pain. Cory either," Astoria admitted.
"Me either. It just breaks my heart," Ginny said softly. "I love him like my own."
"As I do Lily. Even if I have another, she'll always be my first little girl," Astoria said.
"Harry said once they were blessed with a second chance," Ginny remarked. "Well, I think so were we."
"You're right," Astoria agreed. "After my miscarriage, I thought my heart died within me. I couldn't get past it and I blamed myself. I put Draco and Cory through hell. Then Lily came, and suddenly the wall around my heart dissolved, and I could love again. And I did."
"The first time I saw Severus UnVeiled, he was this scrawny thing, hardly the terrifying Potions professor I'd known." Ginny remembered. "I saw him and those big sad eyes of his and I just melted. Harry says that's a typical woman."
"Humph! Men don't understand," Astoria snorted. "Women need something to love, to mother, and its instinct to protect the helpless, no matter who they were or what they'd done."
"I know." Ginny said wisely. She kissed the sleeping Severus on the forehead. "Sweet dreams, Sevvy."
"Sleep tight, my flower," Astoria murmured. "I'll be right here." She kissed Lily too.
The two children slept, while their mothers kept watch by their bedsides, united in the love of their children, which cared not for blood, but only for the hearts that beat within their small chests.
When Karla came in later on her shift to change the bandages, she saw Ginny and Astoria curled up next to their child, and smiled and expanded the bed. "Pleasant dreams, ducks," she laughed, but quietly so as not to wake the sleeping mamas.
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