Author's note: Hey! Once again I'm back and I'm happy to say that only maximum 4 more chapters are from this story and then we are off to Year 1. Probably those few chapters are going to be up soon! :)
It's not easy to write from Snape's point of view so I hope he wasn't very OOC. Also, this Harry is different from canon!Harry, don't forget that. McGonagall obviously encouraged him to learn and without other students around it's not like Harry could see that he receives 'special' treatment from Snape.
As always, thanks for being amazing and reading&following&favouriting this story. Special thanks to those who reviewed the previous chapter: anyeshabaner; SIRIUSBLACKHEIR; Dobby99; roni2010.
– CHAPTER 14 –
Severus Snape was leaning against one of the three cauldrons before him watching with caution as the one on his right was turning colour while at the same time slowly stirring the one on his left with his wand clockwise and looking out for the middle one, which only needed some more time boiling.
Footsteps echoed the empty corridors of the Dungeons. It was summer time so his snakes were away, causing trouble at home instead of Hogwarts. Very few teachers would come here, all of them had their classrooms and private quarters and even the staff room elsewhere. If they ever came it was in fact for him. So he straightened and looked in the direction of the classroom's door which in a moment opened (without a knock, might he add).
His mind only needed a second to absorb the new information and make the logical connection – Minerva was standing in the door frame with that brat right next to her. It was Thursday, his first lesson with the aforementioned brat. His gaze shifted automatically to the clock, and scoffed when he noted that the bane of his existence was early.
"Have you ever heard of punctuality, Potter?" he asked venomously.
"Severus," Minerva hissed, but it didn't actually make Severus feel bad, simply because he was used to his ex-teacher who was now his colleague. To be honest even when he was in school Minerva's disappointment didn't have any effect on him.
"It's Taylor, sir," the brat added matter-of-factly and Severus' lips twitched in absurd amusement. Oh, yes, the Golden Boy was just too good to have one name. He of course understood the need for secrecy and security measurements. If anyone in this school understood the ways of the Dark Lord and his Death Eater minions, it was him – he was one of those puppies at one time after all. Still, what to expect from a child of Potter who was brought up as the Saviour of the Wizarding World?
James Potter was bad enough as James Potter – his family while considered pureblood, not even part of the Sacred Twenty-Eight for (mostly) political reasons. He was rich, but only because of his talented potioneer father. Harry Potter on the other hand was brought up as the Boy-Who-Lived and Defeater of the Dark Lord (which was absurd in Severus's point of view, especially as he knew of Lily's sacrifice. Lily...) There was in no way that this child (even if he was Lily's son as well) was any better than his father. The only reason Severus was not about to send him as far away from him as possible was that manipulative old coot.
"Ah, Mr Taylor, how nice of you to grace me with your presence," he sneered and noted Minerva's disapproving gaze, not that it bothered him at all, especially not when it came to Potter's brat.
"It's your turn Severus," Minerva simply stated and with a simple gesture she encouraged Potter to enter the classroom. Not bothering to pay any attention to them, he turned back to the cauldrons only to note that thanks to their lack of punctuality, two of the three potions were ruined. One was not clear enough by this point while the other turned to a disturbingly blood red instead of orange. With a sigh he cleared away those potions with a flick of his wand and stopped the heating under the third one, deciding that it was ready. When he looked up he had to take a step back in shock because big green eyes were disturbingly close to him.
"Taylor, stay away from me," he growled and with an apologetic half-smile Potter took a few steps backwards as well, while Minerva nodded in agreement with him.
"Shouldn't you be leaving, Minerva?" Severus asked after a moment of silence in which he studied the Potter brat who was clearly impressed by his classroom. In a way there was a chance that a boy was not a complete failure when it came to Potions – after all Lily was amazing in it and he had to admit that even on his paternal side there were a few talents, most recently the brat's grandfather.
"I'm not sure that leaving is a good idea," Minerva stated firmly looking at him with her light green eyes which showed much determination. In a way he wasn't exactly surprised when he was told that his Lily was Minerva's daughter. While the colouring wasn't exactly right – Lily's eyes were a darker and brighter shade of green and her hair lighter and redder; not only in behaviour, but in appearance they had similarities. While he liked bantering with Minerva, sometimes he liked to be as far as possible from her – Lily's ghost haunted him with her around.
One look at the brat and he knew it was even worse with him. Severus was told that this was not the boy's real appearance, that his hair was supposed to be black and his eyes just like his mother's. But even as he was now, the boy was the copy of his father – same face, same habitude and that annoying hair that seemed to have its own will. But his eyes, they were really the same almond shape, which made Severus look away once their eyes met. He wondered how he would have reacted if the first time of seeing the boy, the brat wasn't transfigured. Worse, he supposed. Potter's and Lily's son – why was the fate so cruel to him?
"This is my classroom, my rules, Minerva," Severus pointed out firmly. In no way was he to teach the brat with her around, that would be simply torture.
"And that is my gra-," she started, but then she anxiously looked around as if she thought that someone was listening. Severus scoffed at the idea – everyone, even the Ministry thought that Potter was living in the Muggle world, only knowing about the magical one through Petunia's explanation and most importantly no one even knew of the biological link between the Transfiguration professor and the Boy-Who-Lived.
"Just leave Minerva," he simply stated already feeling exhausted at the prospect of spending not only seven, instead ten years with the brat. Minerva seemed rather hesitant.
"Will you be alright Harry?" she asked softly the boy who nodded.
"It's okay, really," he simply said and smiled reassuringly at his grandmother, which reminded Severus of another Potter's smile which always seemed to charm the Gryffindor Head of House. This boy was just like that one, he was sure.
"Severus, I want to only hear the best of you," she warned him with that look so many of the students feared. Not that he was ever among those.
"Of course," he muttered somewhat sarcastically. Once again Minerva hesitated to leave.
"Just go already," he said with a sigh and she nodded. As she exited the room, Severus noted that she once again anxiously turned back as if she wanted to make sure that he had yet to kill the brat. As tempting as the idea was, Severus did in fact promise to make sure the brat lived and was safe, and because of Lily he wasn't about to break his word. She would never ever forgive him for finishing off her son, he was sure of that.
He noted that while he was paying attention to Minerva, the brat took place in the first row in one of the desks. He rolled his eyes at the sight – the boy was too small and the room was too empty, he seemed very much out of place, and he was in fact, Severus noted. While he understood while this was needed, no matter the blood protection, Severus knew that many Death Eaters were still around waiting for the comeback of their master, it still made his blood boil that this brat was receiving such special treatment.
"Potter," he said coolly only to receive the smart-ass correction of 'Taylor' again.
"Whatever," Severus replied without a care. There were not even portraits around in this classroom and as it was his own territory, he made sure it was always protected by magic. He saw no reason to be paranoid here of all places, not that he was going to tell that to Potter, so he accepted the correction. Plus, in a way he guessed, he might have even liked it. While Potter still looked too much like his father, with the different hair-colour and his young age, it was not that conspicuous. Maybe if he thought of him as Taylor, it would be easier for him to teach the brat.
"Taylor, what would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?" Severus asked suddenly. He didn't think that the brat would have any idea, but he needed to show him who was the boss here. He had a pretty good idea that the brat – no, Taylor – was used to being treated as someone special (the fact that he was having a lesson at the age of eight at Hogwarts, just proved his point), so he needed to teach him a lesson and not just about potions.
The boy looked stunned by the question directed at him.
"I-I don't know, sir. I have never even seen a potion being made. I guess my aunt and uncle just got them from Hogwarts or from Diagon Alley," the brat answered thoughtfully.
"Tut, tut – being special clearly isn't everything." He was of course not surprised by the brat's revelation.
"I didn't ask to be special, sir." To his surprise the brat said the word 'special' with the same disdain.
"Let's try again. Taylor, where would you look if I told you to find me a bezoar?" he asked.
"Am I not here to learn that and more?" Severus was asked. Then as an afterthought the brat added: "Sir."
"Taylor, this is my class, which means that my rules are valid. Weren't you the one who thanked me for teaching you when it wasn't even in my job description?" Which at the time, may he add, indeed surprised Severus. The boy was silent for a moment with a thoughtful expression on his face (which in fact reminded Severus of Lily, Potter never needed a look like that), and then to Severus's surprise he nodded.
"You are right, sir. It just seemed pointless when I could simply tell you that I have no previous knowledge of your subject. My relatives agreed that I had no need for magical tutoring until I was old enough for being here," he replied and Severus was stunned to realize that what the boy said actually had some merit. Not that he was to tell that to the brat.
"Well, then what do you know of this subject, Taylor?" he asked.
"It's different from other Hogwarts subjects, right? I mean to make potions we don't need a wand," he said.
"That's a common mistake, Taylor. While in fact there is little foolish wand-waving in Potions class, there is always some element of wandwork necessary to make a potion. So, would a Muggle be able to make one?" he questioned his only current student. After only a second or so the brat shook his head.
"No, sir. Or not alone at least. They wouldn't be able to handle a wand, that's the difference between a wizard and a Muggle after all, Muggles don't have the magic for it." Severus nodded in agreement.
"Correct. For most potions rather basic wand movements are enough – nothing as spectacular as one would need for Charms or Transfiguration class. Still, it's an important part. Would Muggles be able to use already brewed potions?"
"Magic is only needed to make them, right, so I guess, yes. Though, wouldn't a few behave differently?" the brat asked curiously.
"You are in fact right. There are a few, for example a potion against magical exhaustion that logically for a person without magic wouldn't work the same way as it does for one with it." Severus was surprised that the boy seemed to be actually thinking.
"Now, why else is potion making different from other breaches of magic?" he asked the boy simpler questions now, ones which only needed some logic and not real potion-making experience or knowledge.
"Well, it uses ingredients, like cooking," the brat offered and Severus nodded, though he never liked that simile. He was not cooking.
"That's right. What type of ingredients? You said that it's similar to cooking," he scoffed at the word, "so why is the product of cooking let's say a soup, but you brew potions?"
"For potions we use magical ingredients – like plants Professor Sprout teaches in Herbology?" the brat asked.
"When asked a question, answer, don't just ask your own question," Severus instructed. The boy – no, brat, – he corrected himself automatically (after all, this was Potter's son, the devil's spawn himself) nodded.
"So, for potions we use magical plants as ingredients," he corrected himself which surprised Severus, because he would have thought that the brat was going to throw a fit and he wouldn't follow the class's rules.
"Half credit only. For your information, while in fact many of the ingredients to potions are plants with magical properties, parts of magical beasts are used just as often." The brat nodded and to Severus's surprise he took out a piece of parchment to take notes of what was being discussed. "What else?"
"While potion making we follow a recipe?" the brat asked. "I remember Uncle Remus showing me a potion book; it looked just like a Muggle cooking book, one I've used while baking a cake with the Grangers." Severus crossed his arms in front of him and scowled.
"Pot – Taylor, whatever you are called. You are in Potions class, my class; I don't really care about your experiences in the Muggle world if it's not directly connected to what I asked. Did I ask you where you baked a cake?" he questioned dangerously lowly the brat, whose eyes widened. It wasn't precisely needed most probably; he guessed that if Minerva was there he would be in trouble for the tone he was talking to the brat, but if the brat wanted to survive the next ten years without at least being maimed in this class, then he needed to learn to behave.
"N-no, sir," he muttered as a reply, which surprised Severus. Potter would have never just accepted a teacher's rules like that. "I'm sorry. What I meant is that there is a recipe." Severus noted then with a flick of his wand he guided the chalk to write a basic recipe on the board.
"Can I ask a question, sir?" the brat asked which made Severus roll his eyes.
"You just did," he snapped, but then he controlled his urges to say anything else bad. No matter who his father was, this was an eight-year-old and this was his first lesson, not to mention that Severus did accept the task of teaching him outside of normal Hogwarts classes. "Always raise your hand first and only speak when I tell you to." This time the brat raised his right hand, and Severus sighed – this was going to be a long lesson, he already knew.
"Yes, Taylor?" he gestured for the boy to ask.
"How do they come up with the recipe? I mean I get that there is a potion against – I don't know, throwing up – and there is a description of how to make that, but where did that description come from?" the brat asked curiously which surprised Severus. He kind of assumed that his youngest student would just learn what he was told to and that was all. He never would have thought that the devil's spawn would be actually interested in his class.
"It's the same as the recipes in that cook book you mentioned. Based on previous researches and a lot of attempts, potion masters come up with better and better prescriptions. Many Hogwarts students don't like Potions for that exact reason – you have to learn at what temperature in which direction to stir your cauldron and so on, because it could be even lethal to do it wrongly. To many it is pure data you have to learn without understanding what's behind it. The sad thing is that as Hogwarts is in a way under the watchful eyes of the Ministry we have to follow the curriculum they state and there is simply not enough time to teach the students the logic of the steps of the recipe. That's why we are here now. For a while you won't make any potions, you are simple going to learn how to make one." Severus was pretty sure that the brat wouldn't exactly understand what he has just said, but he didn't really care. He wasn't just in the mood to speak child. (Yes, in his opinion that was a language, a rather tiresome one at that.)
The brat indeed looked confused, which made Severus already grimace. He just didn't want to answer stupid questions. He raised his hand, which actually surprised the potion master. He was rather sure that the brat would forget the rule by then.
"That's not logical at all from the Ministry. I mean I've been told that those who learn the basic steps of cooking can easily make anything without a cook book, because the steps are simply repeated in particular orders. So, wouldn't it just make everything easier to learn the steps?" The insight of the boy was surprising. It sounded just like something Lily would say and not Potter, the traitorous part of his mind pointed out.
"Indeed, that's right. That is the reason I don't want to see you near a cauldron for at least another year. First we are going to speak about the ingredients, but just in generality, because most will be taught in different classes, mostly in Herbology and if you take the elective in third year then in Care of Magical Creatures. Then we will move onto the methods – such as the difference between the preparations of diverse ingredients or the importance of the temperature. And only when I see that you actually understand the theory behind potions will you even see one." Most of his students actually hated the theory even more than just randomly learning the recipe of a potion so the excited expression on the brat's face was unusual.
"Why are you so eager?" Severus pretty much blurted out. It was not something he would usually do, but this was Potter's spawn. It was simply strange and disorientating to see the brat being excited to learn from him Potions. In moments like this it was hard to just think of him as Taylor, someone he had no history with or even to think of the brat as the spawn of Potter. The excitement on his face to learn something new was just so... Lily. While the colour was the wrong shade eleven-year-old Lily Evans had the same expression on her first Potions lesson.
The brat seemed pretty surprised by the question. He simply shrugged, but then when he received a glare, he looked apologetically at him and had an explanation.
"Is it okay to say something personal now, sir?" he asked for permission which was just so not Potter that the name Taylor seemed to fit the kid better at that moment.
"Go ahead," he prompted.
"We – my friend Hermione and I – had a great fun baking a cake with her mother, but I liked it even more when she actually told us why we did those steps. It was kind of amazing how you can explain why from some flour and egg and all you get a cake. I guess potions is like that, but with so many different effects it can have, it's even more interesting than cooking and baking," the brat explained with far more maturity than Severus would have ever expected from Potter's eight-year-old spawn.
"Then, I think we should just get on with the first lesson, shall we?" he asked and the brat nodded already leaning forwards with the quill in hand as if he didn't want to fall behind with a letter. With that much eagerness for learning he could have been a Ravenclaw, which was something that could have never been said about Potter even if he was made Head Boy. Then again, he supposed the brat did grow up in a household with Minerva and Albus, the Deputy and the Headmaster who were while both in Gryffindor, could have easily fit into Ravenclaw.
When the time was up, and Minerva anxiously entered the classroom (once again without even knocking, irritating Severus a lot) she seemed surprised that his grandson was still in one piece. (Which was of course not that surprising even if Severus was alone with a Potter, because of his promise to Dumbledore, but then again she didn't know about that.)
"Thank you for the lesson, Professor Snape," the brat stated while packing up his parchments (on which he diligently took notes during the entire lecture). "I enjoyed it very much." That one sentence took Severus by so much surprise he didn't even hear Minerva's reaction to it.
He looked down to the little boy – because really, the brat was just eight – and looked into the familiar eyes and one name echoed in his mind: Lily, Lily, Lily.
"Just go, Taylor," he snapped and with a cheeky smile the brat said good bye and added how they were to see each other again next week – exactly what Severus didn't need. He shook his head once the brat exited the classroom with Minerva who once again looked back, this time at him and gave him a rare smile.