Childlike Innocence

Chapter One: As it Happened

Disclaimer: The World of Harry Potter Belongs to JK Rowling. I'm Just Shaking the cage.

Minerva McGonagall had just finished writing the letters for the students that were admitted to the school each year (an abysmal task, which was left to her) and was on her way to inform the head master when she felt a rumble. It was too small a vibration to be an earthquake and besides, Hogwarts was warded against any disturbance from the outside, so whatever it was must have come from the inside.

The inside and the dungeons.

She immediately whirled around and hastily ran in the other direction towards Professor Snape's quarters. She knew that he was planning to stay at the school a bit into the summer to finish a potions project he had been working on, before going wherever it was he went every summer. She was not privy to this information, nor was anyone except maybe Albus, for Severus was a very private person and guarded his personal life like a tiger. She hoped Severus was all right. Potion explosions were very dangerous.

As she reached his office, she shoved the door open and ran behind the desk, twisting the lid of the jar on the third shelf from the bottom. A section of wall slid aside revealing a large workroom in which she knew Severus did most of his brewing.

It was empty.

Everything was clean and put away, with dust protection charms firmly in place. It was all stored away for the summer. She paused momentarily before rushing out the door and heading for his classroom. Maybe he had moved the project in there. No such luck, the classroom was also empty. She was positive the explosion had come from the Dungeons and Severus was the only person that could have made it. She stood there in the hallway with a rather perplexed expression on her face when she saw the Headmaster hurriedly coming towards her, with a worried expression on his face, heading for Professor Snape's quarters.

"Albus, I can't find him anywhere, I've already checked his office, lab and classroom."

"He came to see me about half an hour ago to say that he had finished the project and was just going to change before departing," Albus told her as they reached the entrance to the potion master's quarters. It was guarded by a portrait of a woman with beautiful gold hair that curled into ringlets at the ends, and was held out of her face by a single clasp made of silver, in the shape of a serpent.

She was dressed in a black velvet empire-waisted gown, and looked out at the two figures with her cold black gaze. "Recalled to Life," Albus told the guardian. The golden haired maiden raised a delicate eyebrow and swung aside.

They both rushed through the sitting room and Albus knocked on the bedroom door. When there was no answer, he mumbled something, waving his wand and it swung open. The site that greeted them was…well…unusual. Everything was out of place as if a great wind had blown from the direction of the bathroom. The bathroom door was lying across the room with the hinges, which had been ripped clear out of the stone wall. They cautiously approached the bathroom entrance and peered inside.

It took them a minute to find Severus in the mess. He was lying under a pile of towels and other debris and appeared to be unconscious. He did not seem to be injured, the only thing wrong with him was he was…well…too small. It was definitely him, they could just tell, but in place of a tall sallow potions master with greasy hair and a hooked nose was a tiny, black haired boy whose nose was small and only a little hooked. He was sopping wet and appeared to have been blown out of the bathtub. The bathtub itself had gel like residue of a purple hue, which Albus recognized as the project Severus had been working on.

Albus quickly gathered the small potions master up in his arms, wrapping him carefully in a towel and swiftly headed in the direction of the hospital wing with Professor McGonagall in his wake, hoping to catch Madame Pomfrey before she left for the summer.

(End of Chapter)