Disclaimer: Obviously, it is not mine other wise I would not be putting in a Disclaimer nor would it by on this sight.

Learning As We Go: First Steps

He sat eyes focused on the pale figure on the bed. The figure was far too thin, body too small and fragile to be that of the sixteen-year-old Harry J. Potter. He would never forget the day that he found the boy thin and ill.

Blood stained letters.

Despite the fact that Mr. Potter sent out letters at least three times a week, clearly stating that he was fine, young Mr. Weasley and Ms. Granger insisted that something was amiss. After looking over each of the letters his golden- boy had sent out, Albus decided that there was indeed reason to be alarmed.

When he sent for me, I had my scowl firmly in place. I knew he wanted me to go and check up on Potter, but I would not be easily swayed. After about an hour of reviewing the boy's letters, I came across one he had recently written to Lupin. Skimming over it I looked for anything that would indicate something was off. I was about three fourths of the way down the page when my name scrawled in the dark ink caught my eye.

"I still don't think the four of you acted properly in the way you treated Snape. You may attribute it to teen-age stupidity, but that does not justify anything. I am the same age and I do not know anyone who, well may be, but Draco Malfoy I can understand. You don't have a viable reason accept for boredom. I my self have a lot to apologize to Professor Snape for, I just hope that I get half the chance before something happens like it did to Cedric and Sirius.

Tell Dumbledore hi for me. Hope to see you soon.

Next to the boy's signature was a few drops of scarlet, smeared as if he had tried to wipe them off. Raising my gaze to meet Albus's he nodded sadly answering my unasked question. "Yes Severus it is Harry's blood, and no it couldn't have been cause by him pricking him self with the quill."

My confusion must have shown, but lord knows with Albus, because the old goat answered what I had not asked. "I had Poppy test it. It shows enzymes that are found in saliva, and pathogens that are found in phlegm." I nodded; it was from his lungs then.

Of course, it could be any number things, but I wasn't about to start arguing with Albus Dumbledore, it would be pointless. Besides, I was curious what exactly the golden-boy would apologize for, as I was quite sure it would not be for invading my privacy last year.


His gaze slipped, his focus blurring as he struggled to clear his head of the heavy fog that clouded his mind. He made his way down the stairs, stopping several times to catch his breath, by the time he reached the bottom he found himself in the middle of a coughing fit. You would think that his relatives would notice he was ill and show a little sympathy, or at least a little fear. They however only sneered at him and told him to stop digging for attention.

What was it with every one thinking he was only looking for attention? It would have been nice to have someone pay attention to him, to worry whether or not he was okay, happy or sad, but no the one person that could give him that was dead, and it was his fault. Of course, he had his friends but it was not the same as what Sirius could have offered him.

For a while he just ignored being sick, hoping it would just go away. It had not though instead it got steadily worse. Uncle Vernon tried to beat it out of him, but that only left Harry with bruises and at least one broken rib, of which he could not be sure because it hurt to breath before the beating.

Entering the Kitchen, he set about making breakfast, breathing on the food as little as possible. On top of being sick, his workload had increased as his food supply decreased. When Uncle Vernon entered the kitchen, Harry gave him a cup of coffee, and started on his daily chores.


Severus Snape was not happy with the headmasters plan. For some reason Albus was reluctant to allow him to just retrieve Potter and bring him back to the school. Instead, he was to go to the boy's relatives disguised as a relative of his Uncle's boss, and observe the boys health and living conditions. He would leave tomorrow which was why he was packing any muggle clothing he owned in to a duffle bag, a clean suit on the back of his bathroom door.


At dinner that night Uncle Vernon announced that they were going to have a house guest. Apparently, his boss's nephew was coming down from Scotland for a visit, to attend his cousins wedding.

Moreover, with a family as big as Uncle Vernon's bosses there wasn't room for the man in his house. Why he couldn't just stay at an inn was beyond Harry, but apparently, his family would rather that he didn't. In any case, the young man would arrive the next morning.

"We can't very well hide you for the entire two weeks he is here, so you better be on your best behavior." He left it at that, Harry knew what the consequences would be if anything happened his fault or not. Not that he cared if the Dursleys killed him sooner rather than let him expire from sheer exhaustion and illness, so be it. At least he would get to see his parents and Sirius again he thought as he drifted into a feverish sleep that night.

The next morning at about eight thirty Severus showered and got dressed surprisingly he didn't put his hair gel in, (not that he would need it for the next two weeks) and made sure that he had every thing. Packing his emergency potions, he made his way down to Hogsmead, appartateing to the corner of Privet Drive.

Meanwhile at number four Harry had been up since six and was just finishing the kitchen floor when there was a knock at the door. "Harry," His aunt called walking into the foyer. "...finish that and put on the kettle." Sighing in irritation, he gave the spot he was working on one last scrub and got up to get the kettle pausing only for a moment as a wave of dizziness passed over him, and his aching muscles protested.


Severus waited at the door rather irritated, not that you could tell be looking at him. Shortly after he knocked the portal before him opened revealing a rather horse faced woman with a very long neck.

She greeted him with a forced smile much like the one Potter used when he was hurt or worrying over something. The thought nearly caused him to sneer. "Oh, you must be Mr. Snape, well do come in." Stepping inside the house, he gave the woman a curt nod and waited for his eyes to adjust. It didn't take long, and he could see just in time to catch wide emerald eyes peering out from the kitchen followed by a wracking fit coughs.


Harry was putting the kettle on when he heard the name by which his Aunt addressed their guest. Fear rose up in his chest as he peered out into the corridor praying that he had heard wrong, gasping when in fact, he had not. The gasp promptly sent him in to a fit of coughing. 'Great,' He thought, 'just what I need, another person who hates me in the same house.' He groaned mentally.


Severus had to stop him from making a snide comment at the sight of Potter and the sounds of his coughing, but for some reason he felt a small finger of concern sneaking its way into his heart. Raising an eyebrow, he looked to Lily's sister for an explanation. "That's my nephew." She said. "He has been doing this now for a few weeks trying to get attention." Then giving him a weak smile she swept in to the kitchen leaving Severus in the foyer. There where hushed tones' coming from the kitchen and it was painfully obvious that Potter was being lectured. This went on for several minutes before a very pale and tired looking Potter entered the hall from the door he had seen him in before. As the boy made his way towards Severus, he kept his eyes cast down staring at the floor as if it were the most interesting thing in the world.


Leaning against the wall Harry waited for the fit to pass, resting his head back he gulped for air with burning lungs. He didn't seem to be able to catch his breath this time and when he opened his eyes, he found the blurry figure of his Aunt glaring at him.

"You just had to cause a scene didn't you?" She hissed. "Well if you want attention that much you'll get it." Harry felt any remaining blood drain from his face, she wouldn't. "Go show Mr. Snape to his room, and help him with anything he may need."

Harry felt his stomach sink as he was pushed in the direction of his impending doom. There was no doubt in his mind that his potions professor would be delighted to have him at his disposal during his stay.

Severus watched as the 'golden-boy' approached him. There was none of the boy's normal haughtiness that he was used to during the school year. Instead, Potter looked extremely timid and almost vulnerable, he was very pale and the state of his clothing said that he wasn't given much. His ideals of Potter being a pampered brat crumbled and he noticed that the boy seemed to be almost trembling.

"If you'll follow me I'll show you to your room, Mr. Snape." Potter said reaching to take his baggage his voice barely above a whisper, but allowed Severus to note that it sounded strained and defeated, and if he listened closely, the fable sound of wheezing could be heard.

Snape moved his bags away from Harry's grasp, and motioned for him to lead the way. Harry drew a long staggering breath trying to force his body to take in the much-needed air, before starting up the stairs, forcing himself to keep moving despite his bodies protest. Severus followed watching the boy closely, noting his current condition and the fact that he was forcing himself to keep moving.

The minute and a half walk, which he was sure Potter took many times a day, seemed to deplete the rest of the boy's weakening body's energy stores. Yet he stayed standing and led Severus to an open door. "This is your room; the bathroom is down the hall. If you need anything just ask." The boy's voice was now noticeably strained though he was managing to hide it well from those who did not wish to pay attention.


Harry had not looked at his Professor since the man had arrived so as he swept past him in to the room he chanced a glance at his muggle attire. To Harry's surprise Snape's taste in muggle clothing wasn't bad. He wore a sky blue dress shirt rolled to the elbow with a black tee underneath, with black dress slacks and what looked to be combat boots. His normally greasy hair was pulled back in a loose ponytail, a few of the loose strands fell gently framing his face. 'HIS FACE!'


After walking in to the room, he turned to find Harry looking him over quite extensively. Waiting he watched waiting for the boy to realize he had been caught. He did not wait long, slowly the boy's eyes traveled from his chest to his face, his eyes widened.

Severus had to stop himself from smiling at the fear that flashed briefly in those emerald orbs before they where averted. "If you are quite satisfied with my attire Mr. Potter, would you be so kind as to come in and shut the door." He spat watching as the boy's shoulders tensed and did as he was told.