Author Note: Hi everyone! I am finally updateing again and I really hope that you like this chapter. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Please let me know what you think of this chapter and remember that your input is always welcome be it good or bad.
I would also like to thank my wonderful beta Nita who is just amazing! I hope you get better hun!
Back to Being a baby- Problems Part 1
The next morning, it appeared that the time Harry had spent with Minerva had done him quite a bit of good. He was more open then he had been since Remus had left, and even felt safe enough to inquire as to when Remus would return. Knowing that there really wasn't much point in trying to explain time to a three year old, Minerva settled for assuring the young boy that Remus would be back soon before helping him tie his shoes so they could go outside where Severus and Albus would meet them for lunch.
Severus also seemed to have benefited from his time spent with Albus; he talked much more and just seemed to be in a much better mood then the day before. Unless, of course, he saw Harry. Every time Severus saw the younger boy, he would go off and sulk in a corner of Albus' office or under a chair. Either that or Severus would run back to Albus and stay at his side for several long minutes before once more taking off to play with some toy or another. It was not until Harry seemed to realize that he was the reason that Severus kept getting upset that it was decided that he and Minerva would go play outside.
Harry proved that no matter what type of mood he was in, being outside could fix just about everything. Minerva was relieved to see that Harry was not letting Severus bother him as much as before.
"Harry, dear," Minerva called as she saw Harry drop his toy wolf in some mud for the second time. "Come here, Harry, I want to clean that off."
For a second, it looked as though Harry might disobey her as he hesitated, but soon, he was running over to her, holding up the mud splattered toy for her inspection.
"Thank you, dear," Minerva said as she heaved a mental sigh and took the toy. "Go on and play with your other toys. I'll give this back once I'm done cleaning it."
Harry was obviously not too pleased with the idea of leaving his favorite toy, but after a moment, he picked up a few of his other toys and ran off.
Minerva smiled softly as she sat down under a tree and watched Harry play. She had actually hoped that Harry might show some act of childish rebellion and refuse to bring his toy, or at least, refuse to leave it with her. It would show that he finally felt safe in the knowledge that he would not be hurt in any way for expressing his opinions or feelings. Alas, Minerva sighed as she quickly waved her wand and the wolf was cleaned. It seemed that something more had to be done in order to help Harry realize that he would not be harmed while he was in her and Albus' care.
Minerva bit her lip slightly as she watched Dumbledore and Severus come out of the large front doors, carrying a basket. Her eyes settled on the dark haired boy, who was carrying a folded blanket while trying to keep up with Albus' naturally long strides. She knew that she should not blame the de-aged potions master for anything, but she could not help but feel that his presence was doing more bad then good. She would be sure to talk with Albus about it.
"Good afternoon, Minerva," Albus greeted as he and Severus got closer. "Are you ready to eat?"
"Quite ready, Albus. Hello, Severus," Minerva said as she looked at him and smiled.
"Hello, M'nerva," Severus mumbled as he held out the blanket to for her to take. A few minutes later, the three of them were sitting on the blanket and Minerva was calling for Harry to join them.
Harry ran full tilt towards them, stopping right in front of the blanket only to rush to Albus and throw his small arms around the man in a hug. Albus, surprised at Harry's bold actions, blinked in surprise before laughing and giving the boy a hug in return.
"Well, I am very happy to see you too, Harry," Albus laughed as he pressed a kiss to Harry's head. "Are you ready to eat, my boy?" Harry looked up and smiled brightly as he nodded.
Having his back turned, Harry did not see the dark look that Severus directed at him, but Minerva did. Now she was going to make sure she talked with Albus. If Harry saw the look on Severus face, it would only make him upset, and the obvious spirit with which Harry had greeted Albus with showed that he was at last starting to take the initiative and come out of his shell some more.
Lunch turned out to be a near disaster. Severus could not stop picking on Harry no matter what Albus or Minerva did. Severus criticized Harry for every little thing he did, from the choice of food Harry wanted to eat, ("Apple sauce! Baby food! Yuck!"), to glaring at Harry when he forgot to use his napkin and ended up smearing food on his face, ("Babies have to learn to do everything!"). Severus even went so far as to call out "Sissy!" several times when Minerva and Albus would sooth Harry and tell him not to listen to Severus' mean words.
By the end of lunch, Minerva felt the horrible urge to reach out and shake Severus hard for what he was saying and doing to Harry. No matter how many times she or Albus told Severus to stop, and that he was being mean, and it would not be tolerated, the boy would continue. When Harry finally stopped eating and curled up in Minerva's lap, she announced that it was time for both boys to go in and take a nap. Severus did not seem happy about this, claiming that naps were things only babies did, (here he shot Harry a pointed look, causing Harry to clutch at Minerva's robes as they walked back to the castle.)
"Albus, I have just about had it!" Minerva exclaimed as she started to pace around Albus' office once both children had settled down for their naps. "You know that this cannot be allowed to continue! Severus is completely out of line. I know that he has not had it easy, but really! To be so mean to Harry! And you know very well that Harry has not done anything to Severus!"
"You're very right, Minerva," Albus agreed as he went over and looked out of one of the large windows. Minerva, who had been about to take another deep breath to continue her rant stopped short, waiting for Albus to continue.
"I must admit that I am not happy with Severus' behavior. We did not plan to have to take care of two children this summer, much less two children who have as many problems as the ones that are now in our care. However, I will not allow either of them to be placed anywhere else!" Albus turned back and his blue eyed gaze seemed to pierce straight through Minerva.
"Minerva, I know that this is not an ideal situation. Both Harry and Severus have more problems then we could ever know, and I am sorry to say that Severus' current treatment of Harry not only disappoints me, but it makes me wonder what is going through Severus' head to make him behave in such a manner."
"Albus," Minerva started in a much calmer voice. "I would never even suggest sending either of those boys away. The thing is that I cannot help but feel that Severus is doing more bad then good by being here. Remus just left, Harry has been having visions or at least, feeling powerful emotions from the Dark Lord. He's obviously upset and the second he does anything of his own accord in a show of spirit, Severus puts him down!"
"I understand that, Minerva, and I fear that you are right. If Severus' attitude continues, it could have a horrible affect on Harry."
"What are you thinking, Albus?" Minerva questioned as she noticed that her long time colleague was getting the look in his eye that said he had a plan. Albus chuckled softly.
"You do know me too well, my dear. Well, I believe that it is time that we spent some more quality time with our boys. It seemed to do them some good already, and I think some one on one time is what they both need. Perhaps we can get them to talk about what is bothering them."
"Of course!" Minerva exclaimed. "Albus, this is perfect! Hmm… why don't I take Harry to the Room of Requirement and you can take Severus outside? Goodness knows that child could do with some more sunlight. I think it's time Harry started getting more creative…"
Minerva trailed off as she started pacing around the room once more, collecting a few of Harry's things that had been scattered around the office and putting them into his bag, obviously already planning what she and Harry would be doing.
Albus chuckled merrily as he watched his deputy headmistress, and started to plan for his special time with Severus.
Harry was the first to wake up from his nap and both Minerva and Albus were secretly pleased; it would make everything run much smoother not having to deal with Severus' attitude. When Harry found out that he was going to be spending the rest of the day with Minerva, much like he had the day before, he was obviously very thrilled; the quiet boy could not stop smiling as he said goodbye to Albus and clutched Minerva's hand as he followed her out of the room.
"Harry, I have some very fun things for us to do this afternoon, are you excited?" Minerva asked as she smiled down at the grinning toddler as they walked through the halls. Harry nodded excitedly.
"You are a very big boy, aren't you, Harry?" Minerva continued, inwardly hoping she was handling things right. Harry nodded vigorously again. "Well, being a big boy means you also have to use your big boy words. So from now on, if someone asks you a question, even if it's just a simple yes or no, I would like for you to use your big boy words to answer. Can you do that, Harry?" Almost immediately, Harry started to nod before catching himself and saying very softly, "Yefs."
"Such a good boy!" Minerva praised, happy that at least that one small thing was out of the way. As the group neared the seventh floor corridor, Minerva glanced down at Harry out of the corner of her eye. It was definitely time to start exposing their young charge to some magic.
"Harry, will you help me do one small thing?"
"Yefs," Harry answered with only a slight, almost unnoticeable hesitation.
Minerva beamed at him as she said, "Well, sometimes when I want something to happen, if I want it hard enough, it will!" Minerva paused as she noticed that Harry's attention was focused intensely on her in a way she had never seen another three year old do.
"The thing is, Harry, sometimes I need some help. Would you please help me?" Minerva held her breath as she tried not to fidget under Harry's slightly unnerving, green eyed gaze. After several strained moments, Harry gave a small nod. Then remembering what he had been instructed to do, he gave a clear, "Yefs."
"Thank you, Harry!" Minerva forced herself not to sound as relieved as she truly felt. "Alright, now I told you that I had a lot of things planned for us to do today, but we need somewhere to do all sorts of fun things! So, have you ever seen a kindergarten class room?"
"I sawed one wif Dud'ey one time."
"That will do just fine." Minerva smiled as she continued walking. "Now, I want you to think of that class room, with all the paint sets and bright colors; what else do you remember about the room, Harry?"
"I sawed a wainbow wug in fwont of a bunch of books," Harry supplied after a moment's hesitation as he thought. "An' thewe was a pwace wif bunches of colows! An' gwitter an papaw in lots and lots of colows!"
Minerva looked down in surprise as she watched Harry grow more and more excited. However, that was not what was surprising. It was the fact that it seemed that once Harry got started talking, it had opened a flood gate and the child needed little to no more prompting.
"That's absolutely wonderful, Harry! Now, I want you to think about everything you can remember about that room. I want you to think of a place where you can be safe, happy, and have lots of fun, too. Can you do that?"
Harry gave an excited nod as he scrunched his little face up in concentration.
"Alright, keep thinking hard…. There!" Minerva suddenly exclaimed as she saw the door materialize. "See, Harry? By wanting it enough, we made it happen."
Harry was looking at the door with a slightly fearful look on his cherubic face as Minerva lead him towards it. He looked up at her, and though she could see many questions in his eyes, he said nothing as he followed her towards the door.
Once Minerva opened the door to the room and led Harry inside, it was obvious that Harry had taken his job seriously. Minerva could clearly see several things that she knew she had not pictured, such as the large round rainbow colored rug that was in the center of the floor, which took up the better part of the room. The arts and crafts station she had pictured was different as well; she had thought of the table and chairs, paints and the easel, but the many different tubs of glitter, pipe cleaners, chalk, multicolored construction paper, and other odds and ends were clearly Harry's doing.
"You did a wonderful job, Harry!" Minerva praised as she let go of Harry's hand and gave him a slight nudge of encouragement to go and explore the room. "Do you like it, Harry?" In response, Harry went over to the multicolored rug and laid down on it, letting his hands grip the soft, plush, shag fabric and he smiled. Minerva laughed as she walked up beside Harry and looked down at his content little face.
"How would you like to have some fun in the art section?" Minerva suggested, and her smile grew even bigger when Harry scrambled to his feet and hurried over to the corner where all the art supplies were set up.
"Alright now, Harry, hold still for a moment so that I can put this on you," Minerva instructed, as she held up a white apron that she quickly put on Harry and tied in the back so that he would hopefully not get his clothes too dirty.
After fitting Harry with the apron, Minerva bustled around and quickly got everything out and set up so that Harry could do what he wanted. As soon as everything was in place, Harry quickly picked up a paint brush and set to work.
For the better part of the next half hour, Minerva simply pulled up a chair and watched Harry paint. She could see that it was obviously something that the boy loved to do, and it intrigued her how, even though she could not always make out what he was painting, it seemed to make sense to Harry. As Minerva observed him, she could also see a pattern start to take form. There were several different easels around the arts area, and Harry was making use of each one. He would bounce from one to the next, and each time he worked on a different, one his expression would change.
At one station, Harry's expression and body language was content and the colors he was using were soft blues, greens, and even the occasional light shade of red. At the next station, Harry seemed slightly agitated and his movements as he painted were harsher and more abrupt, the colors on the paper darker blues and greens, and instead of being spread apart across the paper as the others had been, these colors were running together, making a mess and giving the painting an over all distressed look. It was at this station that Harry spent most of his time, and Minerva realized that Harry's love for painting might actually help with what she had in mind for her young charge.
For some reason, when Harry approached the last station and started to use the brown, black and to her surprise, the orange and yellow colors, Minerva had the feeling that something important was about to happen. Sure enough, after a moment's hesitation, Harry picked up the biggest paint brush he could find, and when he put the paint brush to paper, it looked as if he was all but attacking it. Getting up, Minerva made her way to the art station in time to see Harry throw the brush at the paper and turn away from the easel, crossing his arms.
Carefully, Minerva picked up several sheets of paper and set them down on the art table, as well as all the different art colors that the room had required. Once that was all settled, she pulled out a chair and sat down. She did not have time to analyze why she was reacting so calmly to the scene Harry had just displayed, she just knew that to have done anything else would have been wrong.
"Harry, dear?" Minerva called gently as she gazed at the slightly trembling child in front of her. "Would you please come here?" For several moments, Harry did not move, but when he did, his footsteps were slow as he walked over to Minerva to stand in front of her. Silently, Minerva spread her arms out in an open invitation, and after a slight hesitation, Harry walked into her arms and laid his head on her shoulder.
Saying nothing, Minerva simply ran her hand through the boy's soft hair until he pulled away and looked up at her in silence. Knowing that it would only take a few moments for Harry to start apologizing for throwing a paint brush and making a mess. she guided him to the chair next to her so that he could easy reach all the art supplies she had set out.
"I would like us to have a talk; would that be alright, Harry?" Harry blinked up at her and licked his lips nervously.
Minerva smiled gently and leaned back, hoping to help Harry feel less threatened.
"You like to paint, don't you, Harry?" Almost at once, Harry's face lit up and he nodded, smiling shyly.
"It's lots of fun," Harry admitted as he looked around at what he had done.
"Is this the first time you have painted?"
Harry looked away and bit his lip as he hesitantly nodded.
"Harry, I would like a verbal answer, please." Minerva inwardly winced and hoped she was handling this situation correctly. Expecting to hear another hesitant "yefs" from Harry, she was therefore surprised when he shook his head and mumbled "no…".
"No what, Harry? No, this is not the first time you have painted?"
"No… I…um…I…" Harry shifted in his seat and looked around the room. Minerva waited patiently, knowing that now was not the time to prod Harry along. "I painted a few times wen 'Unt Tunia went out wif Dud'ey!" Harry blurted out and color quickly rushed up his neck and face as he looked down at his lap.
"That is alright, Harry; you did not do anything wrong," Minerva assured him. "Is there a reason you are upset about that? Did you not like painting then?"
Harry slowly looked up and when it was apparent that she was not going to yell and scold him for what he did, Harry continued in a small hesitant voice.
"No… no I wiked it lots… but 'Unt 'Tunia says I not 'possed to touch Dud'eys tings," Harry admitted.
"That is true; it is not very nice to go through and use other people's things without their permission, but couldn't you just use your own paint set?" Minerva made sure to keep her voice as light as possible, though she thought she already knew the answer. She was quite happy that Harry was finally opening up and talking about his relatives, even if it was slowly.
"I didn' have one," Harry informed her, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, and Minerva realized that to Harry, it was. He had been raised to believe that his cousin came first, no matter what.
"And why were you not allowed a paint set, Harry? Did your Aunt and Uncle ever say anything?" Almost as if by instinct, Harry reached out and picked up a paint brush, and after dipping it in the yellow paint, he started to draw patters on the paper. Minerva watched Harry paint for several long minutes and just as she was about to rephrase the question, Harry spoke: "I not allowed becaws I m' a fweak!" Harry punctuated his harsh sentence with a hard stab at the paper.
"That is not true!"
When Harry looked up in surprise and more then a bit of fear, Minerva had to remind herself to control her voice. She had to set her personal feelings aside; this was for Harry. What she felt right now did not matter.
"That is not true, Harry." Minerva repeated more calmly. "What your Aunt and Uncle told you was a horrid lie; you are not a…freak. You are wonderful and I want you to remember that, is that understood?"
Harry blinked up at her with his large soulful eyes and after a moment's hesitation, he looked away and nodded. Minerva forced herself not to sigh; she had noticed that when Harry was lying, he would always look away from the person he was talking to. However, Minerva could not help but understand that in this situation, it would take more then one reassurance from her to change what Harry had been taught for so long.
"Do you like the color yellow, Harry? You use it a lot." Minerva glanced around at the other paintings and noticed it was only in those works of art in which Harry had also used dark colors that yellow and orange were present. Harry dipped the brush in yellow and continued to paint random squiggles and such on the paper as he shook his head.
"I don wike yewow," Harry mumbled as she frowned down at the paper.
"Why is that, Harry?" Minerva gently prodded and was slightly surprised when Harry started to scrub harshly at the paper with the paint brush, smearing yellow everywhere.
"Dud'ey has yewow bwokes, and a big yewow twike with a hown."
For several more minutes, Harry was quiet, yet it was apparent that he was getting more and more agitated. "An Dud'ey has a big yewow sweata bu' he wipped it an' spiled 'tuff on it, so its mine now." Harder and harder, Harry smeared the yellow paint around on the paper. "An 'Unt 'Tunia 'as wight yewow gwoves." Harry's speech was starting to become slurred and harder to understand and Minerva wondered if she should stop him as his agitation was clear. "An I don' wike dows gwoves! No, no no!" Harry hit the brush to the paper, causing splatters of paint to fly off in different directions.
"An' I don' wike he'r bwoom wif da yewow andle or da mawp eder! Or da yucky smellin' bwottles or da pwates or da cups or nofin!" Harry' voice had escalated to a yell, and Minerva realized that if Harry did not calm down soon, she would have to put a stop to it, as he was growing more and more distressed.
"An I don' wike 'Ucl 'Ernon! No, no! I don' wike 'is yewow twie, ow shwose, dey's ugwy, ugwy! An da bwelt! Ugwy! I don' wike yewow!" Harry reached over and dipped his brush into the orange and continued on. "An I don wike OWANGE!" Harry shrieaked as he put it to the paper.
"Unt Ma…" Before he could finish, Harry froze and looked down at the orange coated brush in his hands and without making a mark on the paper, he threw the brush away from him, and slamming his small fists on the table, he screamed.
"I DON' WIKE OWANGE! NO NO NO NO NO! NO!" By now, tears were streaming down his face and not caring if she got paint on herself, Minerva picked Harry up and held him to her as he shed his tears of frustration and what could easily be fear and anger as well.
Knowing that she had allowed things to go far enough, Minerva forced all the confusing thoughts she had after just witnessing Harry's first real outburst that was not brought on by fear to the back of her mind, in favor of helping the child in front of her. Harry had revealed so many things and yet, Minerva had more questions then ever; however, right now was not the time to deal with it and Minerva knew she had to focus.
"Alright, Harry, dear, you are alright… everything is going to be alright, pet." Minerva worked to keep her voice cool and gentle as she stood up and walked slowly around the room as she ran a gentle hand through his hair and made soft figure eights on the boy's back to try and calm him down. "You are such a good boy Harry, and I am so proud of you for telling me everything you did. I know it's not easy and I think you are a very brave boy, Pet."
Minerva settled herself in a comfortable rocking chair that was set up in the reading corner and sat down, hoping that the gentle sway would help put Harry at ease. However, Minerva had the feeling that this was something the boy needed. It would take many more of this same type of episode before he really started to heal and come clean with his demons. If the poor boy was suffering so much at this age, she could only imagine the agony his older self was hiding. Minerva pressed a kiss to the top of Harry's head as he continued to cry, and he clutched fistfuls of her robes in a white knuckled grip as she continued to rock back and forth and started to hum gently.