Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or anything in the HP Universe. I simply wish to play in J.K. Rowling's playground for my own amusement (and hopefully yours too).

AN: Thanks to all who reviewed, favoured, and followed.

A lot of myself is in this story and it was hard for me in the last months to come back to it, even if we are in the lighter part of the story now. So, thank you all for being so patient and I am really sorry that it took so long to write this chapter. A lot was and is still going on, not only the international pandemic we have at the moment. So - again - I'm sorry but I hope it was worth the wait.

Due to the current situation, this chapter is not beta'ed. So, all mistakes are my own. I hope you like it, nonetheless.

Have fun reading.

On with the story.

Chapter 20: Aftermath

Turmoil erupted in the waiting room, but Severus couldn't even concentrate on who was saying what. The headache from breaking into Draco's mind still lingered, worsened by the Magic transfusion and with the revelation from the healers swirling around his mind, his Occlumency shields were close to shattering. He couldn't control the chaos, couldn't get a grab on his own thoughts. The mayhem in his mind drowned out everything around him.

For a moment he couldn't even understand what had been said.

He was what now?

To Potter?!

Bitterness filled him. Again, a situation with a Potter had resulted in Severus being the one to take responsibility, the one who had to take actions, the one to suffer the aftermath. Again, he was the one forced to protect the boy. Why always him? Anger rose in him, again he was the one forced to make sacrifices.

Hadn't he made enough sacrifices? Wasn't it enough that he had sworn to protect the spawn of his childhood bully?

Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath and suddenly the image of the pale figure lying motionless in the hospital bed appeared behind his closed eyes. And then he remembered the letters. The one he had gotten from Potter and the contents of the one he had sent to Draco.

He felt nauseate rose in his stomach, driving out the bitterness and rage.

And it wasn't that he was innocent in all of this. If he only never had heard that blasted prophecy… no… if he never had called Lily that word… Severus perhaps wouldn't have joined the Death Eaters, wouldn't even have been in the situation to report the prophecy… Lily would still be alive, the boy's mother would still be alive and he would never had been forced to live fifteen years in a house where he had been abused.

Guilt nearly choked him. Guilt so heavy, that Severus couldn't think, couldn't breathe.

His actions had led to the boy being abused.

Did it even matter that he was the child of his own childhood bully? The boy certainly couldn't change his heritage. And with the newfound knowledge Severus had, he could see that the teenager wasn't at all like his father. Now that the blinders had been removed Severus saw some of the actions and behaviour of the boy as what they were – instead of what he wanted to see. And he saw his own behaviour clearly now. Disgust at himself made the guilt settle even more heavy in his stomach.

What a sad excuse for a human being was he that he could hate a child for something they had no fault at? A child who already knew what hate and disgust felt like.

Not even Potter's spawn deserved that, and never Lily's child.

He groaned as he realized what neat little trick, he had done to excuse his actions, he never had acknowledged that Potter's spawn and Lily's child were one on the same. He had always been careful to think of the boy mostly as Potter's child. Perhaps it was time he brought those conflicting images together.

The noise around him got louder and Severus realized that he had been sitting there, staring into thin air for quite a while.

Mustering the last bit of mental strength, he forced his occlumency shields up, shoving the conflict behind them and hoped that he had time to work through his paradigm shift later. For now, he had to deal with the reality of him being the father of Harry Potter and take appropriate actions.

Merlin and Morgana, he was a father!

Groaning he rested his head in his hands. This day shaped to be one of the strangest he ever had.

How in Merlin's name could he, Severus Snape – the dungeon bat, the man who bullied Potter since he stepped into Hogwarts be now responsible for the boy? He was bitter and mean and never had overcome his own upbringing.

And now he was responsible for the wellbeing of a boy who had been neglected and abused? Who had been a pawn in the games of manipulative adults? Who was mistrustful of adults? Who had tried – and damn near succeeded – to kill himself out of a misplaced sense of responsibility?

A boy who would need a lot of support. How could he even provide that support? Him?

Even in his function of being the Head of House Slytherin, he was not the one his students came to when they needed someone to talk to about personal problems, even if he made sure to be available for them. He was still their teacher, the one to discipline. The one who held them by high standards.

They went to the prefects or one of the years representatives normally. And only of the situation was dire and official actions were needed, the prefects would inform him, and he would step in to do what was needed. His Slytherins knew that he would help, but he was not someone to coddle, not someone who gave support talks, not someone whose shoulder they cried on. Not someone to talk to about their inner thoughts.

But the boy lying in the hospital bed a few rooms away, would need support, would need understanding, someone to hold him after nightmares, someone who would catch him if he fell. Someone who would listen and not judge him.

Oh, he also would need rules, guidelines, routines and a frame he could rely on. This, Severus knew, he could provide. He would need to show more restrain than he would normally do, and he definitely would have to get a leash on his usual harshness.

But Severus knew, what was needed above else would be trust. Potter would need to trust that his guardians wanted what was best. That even if what they did felt restrictive and strict, that they had his health, physiological and psychological, in mind.

There needed to be trust and understanding on both sides.

There was no trust between him and the boy.

And Severus didn't know how he could get the boy to trust him. But, by everything that was magical, he would try.

Startled Severus realized that he already thought about what the boy needed, that he wasn't thinking about how he could get out of the new responsibility. That he even didn't feel scornful anymore because he had this responsibility to the boy now, to Potter… Harry.

Perhaps he should start with calling the boy Harry.

He was the father to Harry Potter now.

That sounded wrong from all sides. Potter senior would certainly roll in his grave, but somehow that didn't give Severus the vindictive satisfaction it would have only a few days ago.

Somehow the grudge he had clung to against everything that was Potter, had stepped aside. It wasn't gone, no, he still hated James Potter with everything that he was. But he couldn't justify hating the pale, too thin child in that hospital bed anymore. He couldn't hate Harry Potter anymore.

He had reminded him too much of himself, especially in the summer holidays after he had his falling out with Lily. Holidays he normally would have survived by leaving that dreadful house, visiting the Evans.

Where would the boy live in the holidays? For the most part of the year he was in Hogwarts. There were so many aspects of this new situation which needed to be cleared. But for now, the most important was that Harry would wake up.

Merlin, Severus hoped he would wake up. Hoped that he would get a second chance with the boy.

To do what was right. Even if he did not believe in magic as an entity, but something had provided him with this chance to atone, to help a child, to give the help and support he wished he had gotten, even if he had everything to hide the situation of his homelife. Somehow magic or fortune or whatever gave him that chance, the chance to do right by the boy and Severus decided that he wanted that, wanted to take that chance.

Harry would need understanding, and that Severus could certainly provide.

A movement beside him brought him out if his musing and reminded him that he wasn't alone in this unusual situation.

Merlin, he had shared custody over the boy who lived with Lord Marvolo Slytherin!

If the situation wasn't so dire Severus would laugh. The irony! Nobody could have predicted that. What a complicated, unbelievable mess. Severus nearly choked as a laugh wanted to break out of him.

Lord Slytherin gave him a short glance, his expression of shock but determination mirroring Severus own feelings, then he stood and addressed the room.

"Accusations and pointless screaming are not helping."

Somehow his voice was heard, even above Molly Weasley ripping… Severus wasn't even sure at whom she had screamed, but the noise stopped, and everyone turned to stare at Severus and the man standing beside him. If he read their faces correctly, they had completely forgotten that they were here and that the situation involved them, too.

"The Healers have explained the situation to us and there is nothing we can do to go against it or reverse it. That isn't in the boy's best interest." His Lord stated calmly.

The youngest Weasley boy made a step in their direction and pointed accusingly at them. "As if you are really interested in Harry's welfare. You tried to kill him on multiple occasions and now that you know what he is - what he carries - you just want to protect your own interest." With narrow eyes he stared at the Dark Lord, then he shifted his gaze to Severus. "And you made his life at Hogwarts a living hell. You bullied him, made him question his own father and ripped his mind apart. How are you better than the Dursleys as his guardians?"

The question – the accusation - hang in the silent room for a few moments. Nobody, not even Dumbledore, seemed to know what to say to this.

And Severus couldn't even berate the boy for what he said, not even for his tone. He took a deep breath and thought shortly how he could make himself understood.

"I know, Mr Weasley, that my actions regarding Mr Potter hadn't been the best" Nearly all the Weasley boys scoffed at that. "but believe me, if I say, that I deeply regret my actions so far. I have no explanation, no reason, I can only apologize the moment Mr Potter awakes. I saw what I wanted to see, to justify holding a grudge against Mr Potter as a replacement of his father. The only reason I can give are my own shortcomings." The words felt like ashes in his mouth, but they needed to be said, especially in front of this audience.

"But, I'm also someone who protected Mr Potter with everything I could on more than one occasion, and now… now I wish to not only see him reach adulthood but also help him to be happy and whole and living his life. I know, I'm the last person who would have been considered for guardianship of Mr Potter, but circumstances decided for us. I have this responsibility now and I wish to fulfil it. Somehow this second chance to do right was granted to me, and I don't want to waste it."

He didn't know what he should add, didn't know how to explain what he felt.

Ms Granger leaned towards Weasley and whispered something at which the boy pursed his lips but nodded, then he addressed Severus. "I can accept that, to a degree. But don't think that everything is forgotten. Harry is the only one who can forgive and forget if he wished. But Hermione is right, this was decided by fate or magic or coincidence – it doesn't matter – but everyone deserves a second chance, even a git like you, apparently. Harry is the one to deserve a second chance. But don't think, even for a minute, that we won't watch you. We are his family, and we will protect him."

Normally that threat would have sounded laughable, but Severus couldn't find anything to laugh about. He just inclined his head to the boy.

"The bigger problem here, is you." This time, Ms Granger was the one to speak and it was clear who she addressed.

Hermione tried not to flinch as the intimidating gaze from those red eyes settled on her. This was not the time to stand back and let the adults handle the situation – adults handling the situation had brought them here – no, this was Harry they were talking about. Their Harry.

This was the time for her to be a Gryffindor.

So, she held her head high and starred into those red eyes, Ron a reassuring presence beside her, as well as the rest of the Weasleys and her parents behind them.

"Yes, you volunteered for the Blood transfusion, but that doesn't excuse everything you have done, especially to Harry. And that you were insane for the most part of the decade is only a convenient excuse. Especially as your own actions caused your insanity. Harry told us about the steps you took to ensure your immortality and to even contemplate to do something like that is insanity by itself. For me, it doesn't look like it makes a difference if you are sane."

The expression on the face of the man before her didn't change, he regarded her rather calmly. Hermione wasn't sure how Harry had done it, had looked into those red eyes and hadn't lost his nerve. She was sure those eyes had been even more frightening when they had been set in an inhuman snake-like face and nothing but insanity behind them, but they were cold and calculating enough now, too.

"Ms Granger if I'm correct?" His voice was a rather nice baritone and didn't fit with the image Hermione had of You-know-Who and what little Harry had told them.

But it rather fit with the image he was presenting here and now. It was a voice who could be soothing but also demanding respect, and Hermione stood a little straighter, determination filling her that she wouldn't be lulled into a sense of security. This was still the Dark Lord, the killer of Harry's parents, the one responsible for chaos and war and prejudice of Muggleborns and Muggles, a very dangerous wizard.

She nodded in confirmation, stopping herself from fidgeting. She would not back down. She would hear what he had to say and make her judgment then. Professor Snape was one thing, especially as they knew that he had rescued Harry before. Hell – the man had jumped between them and a feral werewolf. But this man - You-Know-Who, Voldemort, Lord Slytherin – however he wanted to be called, this man was someone completely different. Even if he had been the one to rescue Harry, even if he had donated his blood.

"Now Ms Granger, I completely understand your concerns and it is certainly not easy to think that I would have an interest in the wellbeing of Mr Potter, beyond of what he carries and therefore represents. And I certainly don't have to justify myself before you or explain myself."

She narrowed her eyes at him. She would demand an explanation from him. But before she could say anything he continued.

"But believe when I tell you that I once had ambitious plans, not to dominate the British wizarding world, not to clean out it and install a mainly pureblood society. No, what I wanted, what I initially fought for, was equality in magic, may it be grey, white or black, a fair education in all branches of magic and to find a way to protect the magical community from the Muggles."

His eyes shortly wandered to someone behind her and Hermione could only guess that he looked at her parents.

"You have to understand that I grew up during a time of war – a muggle one and a magical one. I saw what Muggle weapons could do and experienced myself how cruel they could be to someone not fitting in their perspective of normal. And I saw it many times happen to others. Despite of what you heard, I didn't recruit only purebloods or the occasionally halfblood. They came to me for protection. In my experience Muggles hurt and try to destroy what doesn't fit in their little world, and magical children certainly don't. What I wanted, above else, was to make the magical community safe, especially for magical children. As I understand, something Mr Potter certainly needed." He glanced at the side and Hermione followed his gaze, finding Headmaster Dumbledore staring at him, with a sparkle in his eyes.

She turned to him again. "That sounds all nice and so, but what has it gotten to do with the situation?"

His red eyes found hers again. "This is a chance to succeed at least in one of my initial goals. Nothing I can say will ever make up for what I did, but to have this chance to do something right, to protect a magical child and give them the childhood they deserve, to fulfil this responsibility… and yes protect something I regard as mine, which he is –"

Hermione scoffed and opened her mouth to interrupt.

"No, Ms Granger, he is mine." Something fierce flickered in those red eyes. "If you didn't listen, I'm his father by blood and soul. He is my son. And no one in this room can change that." He finished with another glance to Headmaster Dumbledore.

Hermione wasn't sure what she could say to that, wasn't even sure she understood. It sounded like he thought Harry was something he could possess, didn't it? Which he wasn't. A warm hand on her shoulder nearly made her flinch. Her mother was standing behind her, regarding her with a concerned expression.

Why couldn't Harry have guardians like her parents? Yes, they were Muggles. Yes, they couldn't follow her into the magical world – and she knew her parents were equally proud of her and afraid for her. But she knew they were proud, knew it because of the tone her father always used when he talked to someone about her, about his brilliant daughter…


She looked back at Slytherin. It couldn't be the same, could it? Harry was not really his son. He hadn't seen him grew up, didn't know anything about him. She wasn't entirely sure the man could even feel emotions. But it certainly seemed as he felt something about having a son.

"No, certainly, nobody here can do anything against it." The calm voice of Headmaster Dumbledore rang through the room. "But Tom –"

Slytherin cringed shortly, a shockingly human reaction.

"Everyone here has a vast interest in the wellbeing of Mr Potter. This is the family he chose. And the main issue is not if these people accept you as Mr Potter's guardian – no – it is if Harry accepts you." The Headmaster's eyes twinkled. "Magic decided to give you that responsibility, but Harry will decide if you have to change to even try to fulfil it. It is taken out of our hands." He spread his arms and hands wide for a moment, then settled back in his chair, and looked serenely at the occupants of the room.

Hermione sighed. Like everyone else in this room, she was not happy with the Headmaster in the moment. But he was right. In the end, nothing they could say was of any importance, only Harry had the right to decide.

"As much as it pains me to say it, Albus is right." Mrs Weasley said, while frowning at the Headmaster. "I don't like it, nothing of this situation. That it even has come to the poor boy doing something like this…" She sniffed, then straightened up. "But it happened, and everyone has to deal with the outcome as it is. Harry will always have a family with us and if there is just a hunch that he is not treated as he deserves to be treated, you will learn what it means to have a Weasley and a Prewett against you." Mrs Weasley glared at Lord Slytherin with narrowed eyes.

Hermione wasn't sure, but something shone in those red eyes. Certainly not fear, and it was not amusement at Mr Weasley's threat.

"For now, all we have to do is wait for Harry to wake up." Ron grabbed her hand and nodded at her. Their friend would wake up, she had to believe that.

A snowy white owl flew into a tall building near Diagon Alley in the flock of other post owls, and followed them to the receiving room, were they all deposited their letters and packages for the humans to sort. Not waiting for a human to untie the letter, Hedwig picked at the knot till it loosened. Leaving the letter behind, she left the building and followed the bond to her wizard.

The letter she left behind was picked up and placed with the rest of the post, before it was sorted and send to the right floor of the building.

A young witch fished it out of the post box, looked at it and took it together with several other letters and magazines into one of the offices.

"Your post, Rita."

"Thank you darling, just place it somewhere." A hand waved, indicating the chaotically and overflowing desk.

Draco woke up to a troll racking havoc in his brain. What had he been doing? He couldn't think, couldn't remember, even thinking about trying to remember hurt.

Something cool touched his forehead and he tried to lean into it, but when he moved his head the troll seemed to have acquired a knife trying to split his brain. He felt a glass vial against his lips and swallowed automatically. The familiar unpleasant taste of a pain reliever filled his mouth and he could have cried in relief if he had the energy for it.

His head felt numb instantly.

The next time he woke up, the pain wasn't as all-consuming as before. He could even move his head a little without splitting it. He tried to open his eyes but couldn't find his eyelids.

What was going on?

What did happen?

Where was he?

It felt like he was lying in a soft bed, and he heard someone breathing beside him. As he turned his head towards the sound, a cold piece of cloth slid from his forehead and he moaned at the loss.

Whoever was sitting at his bed was awake instantly. A gentle hand placed the cloth on his forehead again and caressed his cheek.

"Shh, darling. Everything is fine." His mother spoke in a quiet and soft voice.

Draco tried to talk, wanted to ask what had happened, but his mouth was so dry that only a croak came out of it.

Hands lifted him up a little and a vial pressed against his lips again and Draco swallowed the pain reliever reflexive. Seconds later his mother's hands were back with another glass, but this time it was cool water. Draco drank it greedily.

Exhausted he sank back into the pillows, not even trying to open his eyes again.

Draco didn't know how much time past, perhaps he had even fallen asleep again, but at some point, he could open his eyes and found his mother sitting in a chair beside his bed, smiling at him.

"There you are, my darling."

Draco blinked at her, then moved his head slowly to the side and found it nearly free of pain, only a dull throbbing left. But he still felt weak and wasn't sure what had happened.

"Mummy?" It was years ago that he last called her that, but he hadn't the strength to feel embarrassed about it. "What happened?"

His mother's eyes went soft and she took his hand and squeezed it. "You did something very brave and selfless and I'm very proud of you."

Draco squinted at her, trying to make sense of what she was saying. Then, suddenly, everything came back to him. The letter, his vow, his time in the Library, the frantic feeling that he had to do something, Severus.

He sat up abruptly, which made the room spin. Hands settled on his shoulders, slowly pushing him back into his pillows.

"Draco, darling, lay down. You went through an ordeal."

"Will you please tell me what happened?" He knew he sounded whiny, but he couldn't care less.

His mother stroked his hair soothingly.

"Mummy, please."

She sighed and settled back into the chair at his bedside. "You just woke up and… I don't want you to overexert yourself."

Her eyes were sad, and he could see the lines of worry in her face. She looked and sounded tired, exhausted even.

"You didn't manage on time?" He whispered, afraid to hear what he saw in her face. "I should have tried something sooner." His voice broke, closing his eyes, Draco wasn't even sure what he was feeling.

"No!" His mother grabbed the hand nearest to her again. "No, my darling. It is…" She sighed. "Yes, he went through with it, but we were on time. Your father stayed here, while I accompanied Lord Slytherin and Severus."

"Wait! What? The Dark Lord went, too?" He interrupted her.

She started stroking his hand slowly with her thumb. "Yes. When Severus woke up, he told him everything and he informed us. Not everything, but enough to get the gist of the matter. And you should perhaps call him Lord Slytherin, not Dark Lord anymore. Your father is still working on getting free on the basic that Lord Slytherin threatened you, his heir –"

"But -"

"No buts, my darling. We have to do what we can to for our family." She took a breath. "Lord Slytherin found the boy and brought him out of the house. He was… still alive. Lord Slytherin put him under stasis and Severus brought him to St Mungo's. That was two days ago."

Draco dared to breathe again. Potter had been found in time. He had been alive when they brought him to the hospital. The best magical healers worked there. Surely, they rescued him. But why did his mother then look so stressed and worried?

"And do you know what happened in the hospital?"

She nodded and sighed. "Severus and Lord Slytherin were at the hospital the last two days. Severus comes back here in the evenings and Lord Slytherin joined us at breakfast yesterday and today too."

"And did they bring news? Wait, why are they at the hospital, especially Lord Slytherin?"

"The boy – Mr Potter… his condition was critical, and the healers tried some unconventional treatment. He needed a Blood transfusion, because they couldn't administer more Blood-replenishing potions anymore and the self-inflicted wounds didn't close. His magic was fighting the attempts of the healer and any potion they used to try to close the wounds." Her eyes found his again.

Draco knew that his mother didn't had much contract to Harry, that her opinion of him was based on what Draco, Severus and perhaps even father had told her over the last years. She had only met him perhaps two times herself.

But there in her expression he saw the deep concern for another child, the sorrow that a child the same age as her son had been driven so far as to only see one way out. In this moment Draco loved his mother even more.

"Lord Slytherin was a compatible blood donor."

Draco blinked, unsure what he should think of that. The man who wanted to kill Harry because of a prophecy helped trying to save his life?

But then, it made perfect sense. Lord Slytherin knew, if Severus had really told him everything he had found out from Draco's mind, that Harry was a Horcrux, and he certainly wanted his Horcrux save and alive. Frowning Draco hoped that Lord Slytherin didn't saw Harry now as his property. It all depended on how sane the Lord really was and what it meant in the case of this specific wizard.

His mother went on. "But they needed to deplete Mr Potter's magic to really get the opportunity to heal him."

Draco went rigid, starring in horror at his mother. "But that would kill him!" They were magical, their bodies couldn't function without magic.

"Yes, it would have, therefore their plan was to stabilize him with the Blood transfusion, then deplete his magic and instantly perform a Magic transfusion before his core took damage. Their theory was that the donated magic would not only stabilize his core, but also would do what his own magic didn't, allow them to heal his body."

Draco stared at her. That was… inventive. "Did it function? And from where did they found someone to donate his magic?"

"Severus volunteered and was found magical compatible." She looked at him with that expression that told him there was much more to the information she had giving him and was waiting for him to catch up.

Draco tried to remember what he knew about magical compatibility. It had something to do with the magical signature, of that he was sure. And magical signatures… were unique to a person and were shaped by a person's experiences. So, to be magical compatible enough to donate magic to another person… he knew in details of the experiences in Harry's life.

He looked up in shock at his mother, who nodded. They would never say it out loud, they would never try to talk with the man about it, but they would be aware of it nonetheless, would be there for him, or at least as much as he would let them, as they had done before.

"Did it work?"

"Yes. But… it had unforeseen consequences."

Draco's mouth was dry, that didn't sound good.

"Magic has its own way and because of the transfusion Lord Slytherin and Severus are now listed as Mr Potter's fathers, additionally to his biological parents."

"What?" Draco thought he hadn't heard right. "His fathers?"

"Yes, my darling. They have complete custody of him, which complicates the whole mess." She sighed.

"So, he… what is H – err – Potter saying to that?" The glance he got from his mother made it clear she had heard his near slip up.

"Nothing so far, Mr Potter is in a coma and shows no signs of waking up."

Draco whipped is head around and stared at his mother. "What?"

They had moved him into private room at the fourth floor. Severus sat beside the boy's bed, feeling helpless, like he had for the last two days.

Potter… Harry was still much too pale, even after they had given him Blood-Replenishing potions today to boost the transfused blood from Lord Slytherin. The wound-closing potion also had done its work, even if they hadn't removed the bandages from his wrist by now. He was breathing on his own. But he still was in a coma.

Sighing Severus rested his elbows on his knees and led his head hang. Only the sounds of his own breathing and the boy's broke the silence. Hearing those steady breaths was reassuring.

The sound of the door opening made him look up. Lord Slytherin stepped into the room.


Severus shook his head. "Not so far. But Healer Quentin believes that most of my magic has done its work and sometime today the last bit will vanish out of his system. Then we will see how his magic behaves when it is on its own again."

They had warned them that it was a crucial point. It could be that Harry's magic would force the wounds to open again or turn hostile in another way. It all dependent on the mindset of the boy laying motionless in the hospital bed.

Lord Slytherin took the other chair beside Severus and handed him a cup of something steaming. Carefully sniffing Severus discovered it was tea with a slash of milk and took a sip. It nearly burned his tongue but was strong enough to wake him up.

"Thank you, my Lord."

The man beside him sighed. "Don't you think, Severus, that in the situation we are in, you should stop calling me your Lord?"

Severus eyed him warily but couldn't disagree.

"Marvolo then?"


Severus nodded and leaned back. "Any news on the Dursley's case?"

"They are in custody. It will take a while for the trial, but Madam Bones put one of her best on it."


They were silent for a few moments.

"Dumbledore also got an invitation for a hearing."

Severus nearly choked on his mouthful of tea. "What?"

"It seems that they see his involvement in Potter's situation as significant enough that he has to answer for it."

They both looked at the pale boy in the bed.

"He really thought he was doing what was the best." Severus sighed and couldn't believe his own words.

Marvolo scoffed. "Yes, he did. And the great Albus Dumbledore can't err."

"Yes, he can. We know he can." Severus whispered.

"At least this time, he has to answer for his mistakes."

The door behind them opened with a click and the Healers Samson and Quentin entered.

"Ah good, you are here. Well now, please step back from the bed, we want to check on Mr Potter, especially his core and magical level." The witch brandished her wand as she stepped up to the bed, her younger colleague joining her on the other side of their patient.

Severus leaned against the wall and closed his eyes briefly.

It took only a few moments before the Healers stepped back from the bed again and started to converse quietly before they addressed the two wizards.

"So, now gentleman, we have some good news. Mr Potter's blood levels are all back in a healthy range. His magic his replenishing on a nicely scale and his core is intact. It also seems his magic settled down and is not fighting any of the healing magic from the potions." Healer Samson told them.

"And I think I know why he is not waking up." Healer Quentin took over.

Severus and Marvolo looked at her and held their breath.

She waved her wand over the boy and instantly an intricate network of lines and dots and little whirlwinds in a mixture of white, black and grey appeared above the bed, outlining a body.

"See here, that is his magical network. If you know look closely at the head, you see the chaotically looking swirls. His magic is rather concentrated there, so our conclusion is that he is still there, perhaps dreaming, perhaps hearing us. But his magic is concentrated inwards, on his mind and his own thoughts, it's rather passive here while it is very active in the rest of the body." She swished with her wand and the magical network went from black, white and grey to every colour Severus could think of.

"This shows us, that his magic is strengthening the lines at the surface, trying to establish something like a shield. It's not aggressive but very strong and protective magic." She indicated the many lines of brown and green magic with a hint of red and blue.

"And this here," She gestured to another part, in the middle of the image, were all shades of green, yellow and orange were the brightest. "His magic his gathering here and preparing for healing."

"But, isn't his body fine now?" Severus asked.

"Not completely. But yes, we have healed everything we could in the last two days. But somethings can only be done when Mr Potter is awake. You are a Potions Master; you should know that specific potions like nutritional or Bone-Strengthening potions need the patient and his magic awake and alert." Quentin looked at him with those piercing eyes. Severus nodded.

"So, his body is as healed as he could be for now."

"Why then, does his magic behaves like that." Marvolo asked the Healers.

Healer Quentin looked from the magical network to the wizard and then to Severus. "I have a theory. Only a theory mind you."

"Your ideas and theories so far were more than helpful." Severus glanced shortly to Marvolo, who nodded.

"The boy doesn't feel safe here and therefore his magic prepares itself for protecting the boy as good as possible and heal wounds an attack would leave behind." Healer Quentin looked at them with a glare as if it was their fault that Potter's magic behaved irrational. Then she sighed and with a swish of her wand the display of the boy's magical network disappeared.

"That -" Severus wasn't even sure what he wanted to say.

"That sounds -" Marvolo sounded equally confused.

Healer Samson stepped beside him. "St Mungo's is a magical hospital therefore the magical residues gives this building something like it's own magical signature. That happens a lot with old magical buildings or buildings where a lot of magical folks are going through, the ministry, Diagon Alley, Hogwarts, the old Manors. They all have this distinguished unique feeling to them. It's not really a magical signature, but they have their own resonance." He explained.

"And it seems that Mr Potter's magic doesn't recognize the magical resonance from St Mungo's as somewhere safe and prepares to protect him." Healer Quentin continued.

Severus frowned. That was interesting and all, but why would that mean that Harry wasn't waking up.

"But why wouldn't Mr Potter wake up then? Being awake would mean he could act and protect himself better." Marvolo voiced Severus thoughts.

Healer Quentin nodded. "That would be logical wouldn't you think so. But if he would be awake it would also mean he had to feel the pain, had to experience what happened. I think his magic is keeping him deep in a coma to protect him. And why should Mr Potter wake up? He decided to go this way, he decided he didn't want to be alive anymore. To let him wake would mean go against that decision. And what would await Mr Potter here? Does something positive and worth living awaits him?"

The questions rang through the room, till Marvolo cleared his throat. "What can we do?"

"Talk to him, tell him that there are people who want him here. Let his friends visit as often as possible." Healer Samson said in a neutral voice, but Healer Quentin send them a narrowed look.

They all knew that Severus and Marvolo had prevented most visits in the last two days.

"And transfer him to an environment which is familiar and soothing to him. Where he feels safe. With luck all this will help to show his magic that Mr Potter is not in danger anymore and therefore could help with waking him up." Healer Quentin scribbled something on her clipboard.

"But, is it wise to take him out of the hospital."

Healer Samson exchanged a glance with his colleague before he looked at Severus again. "As long as someone who is medically trained looks after him, all the needed monitoring charms are installed and Healer Quentin and I have daily access, it could be done."

The witch beside him nodded. "But it really needs to be an environment you are sure Mr Potter feels safe and recognizes, so to speak. Where he feels at home."

Marvolo and Severus looked at each other.


AN: Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think.

First published: 14th May 2020