Disclaimer: NOT MINE! NOT MINE! NOT MINE!

Unbeta-ed so don't mind my grammar mistakes.

Spoilers: Books 1-4, ignore Book 5

Pairings: NO ONE ATM!

------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Shrinking

(Posted 06/05/03 - Thursday)

(Revision #1 06/30/03 - Monday)

(Revision #2 08/25/03 - Monday)

------------------------------------------------------------------

It was a sultry summer day but it didn't matter to Severus Snape - Hogwarts' Potions Master, Order of the Phoenix member, and former Death Eater. Most of his time was spent in his dungeons. Cool, damp, and his sanctuary. In his laboratory, he was on nobody's side, not Headmaster Dumbledore's, not Lord Voldemort's. Here he was just Severus, a lover and explorer of Potions. It was on that morning he decided to try out his new Wolfsbane potion.

"This should make transforming less painful and the human mind completely intact," Severus mumbled to himself, adding the required ingredients into the boiling cauldron. "And in the long run, there won't be as many side effects on the person's health as opposed to the ones who continues drinking the current recipe."

Severus stirred three times clockwise and lowered the fire. The content of the cauldron changed from a murky brown to a smoky gray color. He turned to his notes (extra copies, not the originals) spread out on the table and nodded confidently to himself.

"The potion is the right color and consistency," Severus said, a self- satisfied smirk on his face. "Now it has to simmered for an hour and stirred four times every ten minutes."

Fifty-nine minutes passed. Severus could hardly wait for the potion to finish and cooled. This revision on the Wolfsbane potion could make him famous. Sure he disliked the idea of being worshipped by werewolves and their families and friends but fame was fame. He would never openly admit that the challenge was exciting and fun.

"I have to stir one last time in five seconds," Severus said, hands gripping the ladle. "Five, four, three, two - "

His Dark Mark burned and the ladle was dropped so his right hand could clap over the stinging spot. In Potions, timing was everything. In this case, Severus watched in horror as his potion bubbled like crazy and became an angry-looking black color. His mind barely registered the explosion because when it did blew up; a piece of his table knocked him unconscious.

"Severus!" Albus Dumbledore exclaimed loudly, feeling the school's tremor in his heart.

"What are you talking about Albus?" asked Minerva McGonagall, the Deputy Mistress and Transfiguration Professor. "You surprised me, talking about extra security and then suddenly screaming out Severus' name like that."

"Gather all the teachers that are still here to the dungeons," Dumbledore ordered, rising from his seat and walking swiftly to the door. "Tell them it's urgent business and Severus' life depends on it."

"What's this about Severus?" McGonagall probed, worry sketched clearly in her eyes.

"Don't waste any more time and hurry," Dumbledore said before disappearing down the stairs.

McGonagall didn't dilly-dally after hearing those words. She went to the teacher's lounge first and found Flitwick, the small Charms teacher, and Sprout, the Herbology teacher. She told them to go to the dungeons and rushed to the Hospital Wing.

"Thank Merlin you're still here," McGonagall said, pausing to catch her breath.

"Sit down Minerva," said Madam Poppy Pomfrey, the school nurse. "Inhale, exhale, repeat and okay. Now tell me why you're looking for me."

"Albus sent me to get all the professors who haven't left yet and tell them to go to the dungeons," said McGonagall, already standing up again. "He says Severus' life depends on it."

"Oh my!" Pomfrey said, grabbing her wand. "We've better get moving then."

McGonagall and Pomfrey ran down to the dungeons. Even before they reached their destination, they smelt burnt wood and an unidentified sour stench. Dumbledore, Sprout, and Flitwick were outside the damaged room since stone rubbles blocked the door. The Charms teacher was levitating the larger pieces away.

"Severus can't be in there!" McGonagall said, surveying the mess.

"That what I said too," squeaked Flitwick. "The whole room's collapsed."

"No, Severus was in there when the accident happened," Dumbledore said gravely.

"Then I'm afraid his survival is minuscule," said Flitwick.

"He's too stubborn to die," said Sprout, also clearing the debris. "Pomfrey will have him in good shape and he'll be glaring at us in no time."

In seconds the ruined door was removed. Dumbledore stepped into the room, followed by Pomfrey and McGonagall. In the end were Sprout and Flitwick. A quick spell got rid of the smoke and dust. They looked for any sign of the Potions Master.

"You see him?" McGonagall said, making her way to the back of the room. "The room doesn't have much in it to begin with. If we don't see him, does that mean you were wrong and he wasn't in here when the explosion went off Albus?"

"I'm not wrong Minerva," said Dumbledore. "He's in here somewhere. I can feel his magic, weak as it is."

"There," Flitwick said, pointing to a piece of black robe under a pile of rocks. "We have to get him out of there before it's too late."

After they cleared off most of the rubbles, they saw a motionless body under the remains of the table. It took a large portion of the bad hits so Dumbledore was pretty relieved and didn't notice the body was too tiny for a full-grown man. Sprout and Flitwick magic-ed the table off and tossed it aside. Everyone gasped.

"Is that Severus?" McGonagall said as Dumbledore kneeled down to pick up the child.

"He doesn't look a day over five," Sprout said, peering at the bundle in the Headmaster's arms.

"Almost as short as me," said Flitwick.

"Whether it's Severus or not, it's best we bring him to the Hospital Wing," Pomfrey said, her nurse senses going on automatically at the sight of a hurt person. "I'll have to check for concussion and treat his injuries."

"Of course Poppy," said Dumbledore. "But I get to carry him there."

The child, who was proved to be Severus by Pomfrey, remained unconscious after the check-up. On the second morning since the accident he finally woke. At first his fingers twitched, then his eyes opened in slits and he groaned at the light assaulting his sensitive pupils. The school nurse ran to his side.

"Drink this," Pomfrey said, helping him sit up and pouring an energy potion down his throat. "You feeling better?"

Severus looked at her, confusion in his eyes. Once he saw the woman clearly, he pulled away quickly. The pillow and blanket were moved to be a barrier between them. Then the action that shocked Pomfrey the most was how Severus folded his legs and tucked them under his chin, his jet-black hair covering most of his face.

"No need to be frightened, child," Pomfrey said, sticking her hand out like you do to a puppy or cat. "I'm the one who healed you."

Severus tilted his head and stared at the hand. He stayed silent, his thin body trembling slightly.

"Are you cold?" said Pomfrey. "Shall I fetch you another blanket?"

Tears gathered at the ends of Severus' large eyes.

"Alright then," Pomfrey said slowly, walking to the door slowly. "I'm just going to get the man in charge of this place, okay?"

Severus didn't say anything. Pomfrey got to the Headmaster's in record time, wheezing the password to the gargoyle. Inside the room were the Headmaster and McGonagall, discussing school-related topics again.

"Ah, good morning Poppy," Dumbledore greeted her happily. "Lemon drop?"

"Albus, Severus' awake," said Pomfrey.

"That's wonderful news," said McGonagall. "I want to ask him about that youthful potion that was spilt on him. It's worn off already, hasn't it?"

"That's part of the problem," said Pomfrey. "You have to come to the Hospital Wing."

"What's wrong?" Dumbledore asked, his twinkling eyes dimming.

"Like I said, he's still a child," said Pomfrey.

"Oh, he'll need to counter the potion then," said McGonagall. "Does he have the ingredients for it or have to order it from Diagon Alley?"

"Shh, Minerva," said Dumbledore. "Poppy, is there more you wish to say to us?"

"He didn't recognize me and he was scared," said Pomfrey. "But that's not the point. It's the way he moved and looked at me, they're symptoms of abuse!"

"Abuse?" McGonagall said, getting off her seat. "You mean child abuse?"

"Yes!" Pomfrey said. "He haven't spoken one word since he woke up either. I think he has memory loss."

"Let's visit him," said Dumbledore.

The three adults got to the Hospital Wing's door to find it locked.

"He's scared and young but smart enough to lock the door?" said McGonagall.

"Maybe he's not as young as we first assumed," remarked Dumbledore. "Alohomora."

They filed into the main Wing and saw no one. All the beds were empty of Severus but only the farthest bed had its pillow, blanket, and sheets stripped. Pomfrey gestured Dumbledore and McGonagall to stay quiet and walked over to the linen closet. She opened it and nearly cried at the sight. Severus was curled snugly in his nest, created from the missing items, and hugging the pillow tightly to his chest.

"How did you know he was in there?" McGonagall asked in a low voice.

"When Severus was a first year and got hurt by a mean prank, he hid in here after having a nightmare," Pomfrey said, carefully extracting the small boy from the closet. "Now, I don't think it wasn't a nightmare."

"You think it was a memory from his childhood," Dumbledore stated, stroking his long beard.

"That's one theory," the nurse said, tucking Severus in. "It's hard to tell if he doesn't speak to us. I don't know how he can fall asleep again since I gave him an energy potion when he woke up before."

"Strange," said McGonagall. "The weakest energy potion should have made him stay awake for at least a few hours."

"The de-aging from an adult to child must have caused his body to be unbalanced," said Pomfrey. "I'll have to check his stats closely."

"Seeing as you have everything under control, I have go back to my office and contact someone," said Dumbledore. "Get me when he wakes again."

"Of course," said McGonagall. "I'll stay here and take turns with Poppy."

Severus slept for five more hours, producing anxiety in the nurse and Transfiguration professor. He moaned, opened his eyes, and saw McGonagall sitting in a chair beside his bed. He looked around wildly and dived underneath his blanket.

"Poppy! Severus' awake!" said McGonagall.

Severus poked his head out, looking at her puzzled.

"Hello there," said McGonagall. "Do you know who I am?"

Severus shook his head.

"Well, I'm Professor Minerva McGonagall, teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry," introduced McGonagall. "How are you feeling?"

There was a spark in Severus' eyes when she mentioned Hogwarts but he didn't answer her question. Pomfrey came from her office and waved.

"Glad you're awake," said Pomfrey and then whispered to her colleague. "How did you get his attention?"

McGonagall whispered back. "He was hiding in the blanket until I said his name. He also showed interest when I said I was a teacher in Hogwarts."

"No words?" Pomfrey said, frowning.

McGonagall gave her a negative. Both women smiled at the growl of a hungry stomach. Severus ducked under his blanket in embarrassment and maybe a little bit of fear.

"I'll get you something to fill your tummy, okay?" Pomfrey said, patting the lump. "Minerva, can you get Albus?"

"Of course," said McGonagall and then to Severus. "I'll be right back."

Dumbledore came into the Hospital Wing with McGonagall and, startlingly, Arthur Weasley. At seeing new people Severus shoved the bowl of soup he was slurping to Pomfrey and pulled the blanket around him. He backed into the corner.

"That's HIM?" Mr. Weasley asked, his loudness alarming Severus.

"So do you agree Arthur?" Dumbledore inquired, eyes twinkling as usual. "He needs a compassionate family to take care of him while he's in this form and I couldn't think of anyone but yours."

"But Albus, I wanted to be his temporary guardian," said Pomfrey. "He's comfortable with me."

"I would love to keep him for the summer," said McGonagall. "He's such a darling."

"Arthur is my first choice because he has experience with children," explained Dumbledore. "Molly would be a wonderful mother-figure to him and he'll have a bunch of older brothers and a sister helping him adjust to being around people."

"I guess you're right," grumbled Pomfrey.

"You should ask if Severus wants to stay with the Weasleys," said McGonagall.

"That's my cue," Mr. Weasley said, sitting on the chair and looked at Severus. "Hey there, little guy. I'm Mr. Weasley. You can call me Uncle Arthur if you want. How do you do?"

Severus raised an eyebrow, which caused McGonagall's coughing fit and Pomfrey's snickering.

"Umm, I'm going to be the man you're coming home with if you agree to it," Mr. Weasley said, not at all discouraged. "I have a wife, Molly, who would spoil you rotten. I have sons to sneak you sweets after your bedtime and a daughter to read you stories. You like it so far?"

Severus nodded though his expression was impassive.

"They better not be fake promises," said Pomfrey. "Kids hate being deceive."

"True, true," said McGonagall.

"I would never do that," said Mr. Weasley. "Anyway, my eldest son, Bill, is a curse-breaker in Egypt for Gringotts and my second son, Charlie, looks after dragons in Romania. They have the most exciting stories."

Severus was deep in thought. He studied Mr. Weasley and took in his shabby robes and bright red hair. He knew actually what status this man's family rank in the mind of his father. The Weasleys were always insulted as poor goodie-two-shoes.

"Why isn't he talking?" Mr. Weasley asked Pomfrey.

"There's nothing wrong with his vocals or eardrums and he's not suddenly retarded," she replied. "He picked not to talk."

"Will you tell me your age?" Mr. Weasley said gently.

Severus held up seven fingers.

"I didn't think he was seven," said McGonagall. "He's so small that he could pass for a five-year-old."

Severus glared at her but it wasn't as scary as when he was an adult. In fact, he looked quite cute.

"Malnutrition does that sometimes," said Pomfrey. "Stunts growth."

"He was always small for his age until he reached puberty," said McGonagall. "Shot up like a weed."

"Oh, I almost forgot," said Dumbledore, taking a box out from the bag he had with him. "Here you go."

Severus accepted the box after a moment's hesitation. He removed the ribbons and neatly unwrapped the colorful paper. The lid came off and Severus made a surprised sound. His hands lifted up a cream-colored teddy bear and a pouch of lemon drops.

"Aww, that's adorable," McGonagall gusted, watching Severus hug his new toy and eating a lemon drop. "If only I had a camera."

"I really want him for the summer," said Pomfrey.

"It's his decision," said Mr. Weasley. "So Severus, come home with me right now?"

"He's asking me so he gets a plus," Severus thought, smoothing the bear's fur. "I can stay with the nurse or teacher but they're weird. This man seems alright and he has other children I can play with~~~"

Severus pointed his index finger at Mr. Weasley and Dumbledore beamed.

"That's good," said the Headmaster. "You'll enjoy your time at the Burrow."

"I'll miss you Severus," said McGonagall.

"Mr. Weasley, you should know Severus doesn't like being touched without his consent," said Pomfrey. "And he might get nightmares and hide somewhere crowded and small."

"Thank you for the advice," Mr. Weasley said gratefully. "I'll remember to tell everyone. Severus, we can go now if you'll let me carry you."

Severus nodded and Mr. Weasley easily supported him. Pomfrey and McGonagall were teary-eyed and waved goodbye. Dumbledore, Mr. Weasley, and Severus went to the Headmaster's room. The fireplace had a flame ready.

"I'll visit later this week," said Dumbledore. "If there's new information about You-Know-Who, I'll owl."

"Okay," said Mr. Weasley and then to Severus. "We're going to my home, the Burrow, by Floo powder. Hold tight."

Severus nodded and Mr. Weasley threw a pinch of the white powder into the flame, turning it green. He walked in and yelled 'The Burrow'. Severus closed his eyes instead of watching other fireplaces zooming by at a rapid pace. In a second, Mr. Weasley stepped out into his living room.

"Welcome back dear," Mrs. Weasley said, mending a pair of pants. "What did Albus call you in for?"

"We have a new addition to our family," said Mr. Weasley. "Get the children so I can tell them too."

"New addition?" Mrs. Weasley said, looking up from her needlework. "Who's this?"

"Get the children first," Mr. Weasley said, sitting down on the sofa with Severus on his lap.

It took awhile but Mrs. Weasley got all her available offspring. The twins were in their room, Ron was outside with Ginny, and Percy came home from the Ministry because it was his lunch break. They were curiously looking at the pale, black-haired boy but Severus was too busy playing with his stuffed toy to care.

"So Dad, who's the kid?" Ron asked. "He looks kind of familiar."

"Yea," said George and Fred.

"We don't have enough room for another person," said Percy. "I hope he's not staying long."

"I'm warning you in advance," said Mr. Weasley. "This child I'm holding is very special and the Headmaster has assigned our family to protect him. This child is none other than Severus Snape."

"WHAT!!!"

------------------------------------------------------------------

This has been swimming in my head for months. Nothing like a good old baby Severus fic. I'll be concentrating on my first fic, Severus' Nephews, more but I like this plot too. Leave a review and tell me how you like it or if I should continue.