The Potion – Chapter 4

Severus drifted up out of the depths of unconsciousness slowly, becoming aware of his surroundings one sense at a time. First came touch; the cold, damp stone floor he was laying on. He could feel his hair resting on his face, and his wand jabbing him in the back. After touch came taste; the coppery, metallic tang of blood in his mouth. And then came smell; mildew and mold and the familiar, comforting smells of an ingredients cupboard. Fourth of all came hearing; faint, incomprehensible murmurs at first, and then, slowly, low whispers that he could nearly make out. Groggily he caught slivers of conversations like 'definitely not students' and 'Hogwarts robes'. Finally came sight; he very carefully glanced around, trying his hardest to make any motions he made look like natural dream motions, and took stock of his surroundings.

Five figures surrounded him and Lily, who was laying motionless less than two feet away. They did not seem to be threatening, which was good considering that, in his position, they could easily kill them before he was even close to his wand. He couldn't risk looking up to find out what they looked like, but he could tell by the voices that at least one of them was female. Out of habit, he briefly worked out a suitable plan of action should they decide to attack. It was a dismal plan, but it was the best thing that could be expected out of such a handicapped position.

Severus was so busy trying to think of what to do that he almost didn't hear when one of men said, in a hissing voice, "The boy is awake, and has been for several minutes."

Hearing this, Severus' eyes flew open in surprise. Knowing that there was nothing left to do, he decided to act. In one fluid motion, Severus pushed himself up and into the air. While he was airborne he reached into his robes and drew his wand. As he descended he tucked his legs underneath him and landed, crouched and ready for anything, facing his potential opponents.

To his surprise, however, he found a group of genial faces. There were two women, and three men. All five of them were at least smiling, and one of them, a short, squat, motherly figure, was chuckling outright. Confused, he gripped his wand even harder, and moved himself in front of the still unconscious Lily. As he stared down the five older witches and wizards, he thought to himself, 'If they decide that I'm dangerous, I am dead. I don't stand a chance against these numbers.'

To his further surprise a tall, lanky wizard with coal black hair spoke almost as soon as he had finished that thought. "We don't think you're dangerous, boy. We're not really sure what you are, but you're definitely not a threat."

This time, Severus was so surprised that he almost dropped his wand. His dumbfounded ness must have shown on his usually controlled visage, because the man chuckled lightly and said, "In case you're wondering, I'm a legilimens."

Severus nodded dumbly and managed to mutter, "Right...that makes sense."

Severus looked from one figure to another, properly taking stock of his surroundings. First he looked at the two women. The motherly one he'd noticed earlier, and then a considerably taller, thinner woman who not unlike Professor McGonnagal. Then he moved his gaze to the men. First there was the legilmens, who gazed back coolly. Then there was a sandy-haired, barrel-chested man, shorter than his the legilmens and the tall woman, but nowhere near as short as the motherly lady. Finally there was the fifth figure, who stood slightly away from the other four, clearly not comfortable in their presence. Seeing clearly that this last man had no power here, Severus quickly put him out of his mind, and turned his gaze back to the other four.

During this examination, the five adults stood silently, waiting for the young man to make the first move. Severus made a quick decision and determined that, for the moment, there was no danger. He nodded towards his wand and said, "I...uh...can put this away, right? You're not going to attack?"

The legilmens, who seemed to be in charge of the group, responded quickly, saying, "If we wanted to attack you, boy, we could have done so while you were unconscious and saved a lot of questions."

The taller woman, who was standing next to the legilmens, lightly hit the man on the arm and said, "Don't scare the boy, Sal. He's just confused. He's handling himself magnificently, given the circumstance."

Severus was about to open his mouth and tell them to stop calling him boy, when he was cut off from a low moan from behind him. Without a second thought, he turned put his wand in his pocket and twirled around to kneel next to Lily. Taking her into his arms, he softly shook her closer to clarity, "Lily, can you hear me? Are you alright?"

Lily blinked her eyes and asked blearily, "Sev...?"

Severus grinned in relief and breathed out, "Yeah, Lil, it's me. Thank God you're alright."

"Where are we?" Asked Lily weakly, trying hard to keep her eyes open.

Severus hesitated before answering, "I'm not exactly too sure of that myself."

"If you hadn't immediately assumed that we were out to get you," interrupted a deep, booming voice that Severus hadn't heard yet, "then you could have asked us where you were and been a little surer."

Severus turned to the voice, belonging to the shorter man, and said, "You're right, sir. I shouldn't have automatically assumed that you were enemies. But...I've just always been trained to expect the worst."

"There's nothing wrong with that," said the legilmens, with a loaded look at the shorter man.

Severus nodded to the legilmens, and continued, "I'm willing to trust you all, but you have to be honest with me."

"Of course we'll be honest with you, young man," responded the motherly woman, "We have no reason not to be."

Severus nodded again, this time in affirmation, and then asked his first question. "What, exactly, is this place?"

"This is Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the finest school of its sort in the world."

Severus sighed, and responded, "Yeah...that's what I was afraid of. That doesn't help me in the slightest."

He noticed the others giving him quizzical looks and hurried onto his next question. "Ok, what year is it?"

"The year is 1066, boy," responded the legilmens.

Hearing these words Severus' worst suspicions came true. The world swam in front of him, and he felt a little light-headed. "Oh," he returned weakly. "And who are you?"

There was a short silence before the man answered. "We are the founders of this school. I'm Salazar Slytherin; this is Godric Gryffindor, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Helga Hufflepuff."

"Oh...right," Severus uttered, before the shock overcame him fully and he collapsed to the floor again, unconscious.