This story is a collaborative piece which was initially inspired by another writer's story. Because its origin is very complicated, and I wanted to give credit to everybody involved, this first "chapter" is actually an overview of how the story came to be written and who contributed what. It does however have some story-content, in that it sets out where the story diverges from canon and from the fanfic on which it is based, and tells you what happened to get from the end of OotP to here.
The second "chapter" is actually a set of "the story so far" notes to help people remember where the story had got to, and is updated with each chapter. If you haven't already read the story so far then it's all spoilers!
If you want to skip the explanations, the story proper starts at chapter #03 (A Doctor in the House) - but it's advisable to begin by reading Missing in Action, the fic of which this is a continuation, which can be found at ffn story ID 2412017 - and remember to review it separately from Lost and Found, since the reviews need to go to a different author. Just mentally knock off the last two paragraphs (the bit where Snape dies…), and then Read On.
Background and relationship to canon:
Background and relationship to canon:
When I first read Missing in Action, by Sheriff of Nottingham, this intense and tragic tale obsessed me (whitehound) for weeks; partly because whenever I read a story in which something awful happens to somebody, especially Snape, I have a powerful urge to make things right for him, and partly because, although the crippling injuries which Snape sustained in Missing in Action might well be beyond the powers of the wizarding world to correct, I knew that in a good Muggle Intensive Care Unit he would have at least some chance of survival.
Eventually, in an effort to work off the obsession, I began doodling a sort of sequel to Missing in Action, and then other people started to get interested and we decided to turn it into a proper fic. Writing a story which is inspired by but slightly AU from another fanfic may be unusual - but it's only doing the same as we're all doing to JK Rowling's story.
The story starts off immensely grim - it could hardly do otherwise - but will eventually become quite hopeful and light-hearted. It is, overall, about kindness rather than cruelty, and recovery rather than injury. It also answers a question which is raised in my story-sequence Mood Music and Sons of Prophecy, in which an OC is trying to provide support to a Snape who has escaped from Voldemort's clutches traumatized but still functional, and who asks her what she would have done with him if he had been completely broken, rather than just very badly shaken. She says she'd do much the same as she is doing, except that it would take longer. But it occurred to me, writing Lost and Found, that in some ways it might even be easier to rebuild him from the ground up, since at least then he might shut up and stop arguing for a few weeks - rather like the difference between doing a clean reinstall on an operating system, and trying to repair it whilst it's still running.
Note that Missing in Action was written before the publication of The Half-Blood Prince, and the whole sequence is therefore AU. We have tried, however, to make Lost and Found compatible with the background revealed in HBP (and later with DH). The story follows canon closely, therefore, except that it diverges from JKR's time-line at the end of OotP. Fewer Death Eaters were captured following the battle at the Ministry than in canon. Lucius in particular is still free, and as a result Draco was not forced to take the Dark Mark that summer, and the incident of the Unbreakable Vow never happened.
In Missing in Action, the Daily Prophet reported that Snape had disappeared following a raid on the school, and said that this was four years after Voldemort's return, that Harry had graduated "last year" and that Snape's role as a spy had been revealed also "last year." Harry should have finished school in 1998, so this would set the action in 1999. That would indeed be four years after Voldemort's return to full human (ish) life at the end of Goblet of Fire, which was in 1995, and if Harry is no longer a student that explains him calling Dumbledore "Albus" in the story.
However, given all the progress Dumbledore makes with uncovering Horcruxes etc. during HBP, it seems unlikely that Voldemort would still be in such a position of power by summer 1999, and also for plot-purposes we wanted to have Harry and co. still at school when Snape's fate is discovered, and it would be stretching credulity to have them all have stayed on after NEWTs.
So for our own purposes we're assuming that the Daily Prophet accused Snape of being a Death Eater soon after the Ministry battle in summer 1996, when ex-Minister Fudge told one of their reporters about Snape showing him the Dark Mark. To prevent the Board of Governors from demanding Snape's resignation, Dumbledore countered this by saying publicly that Snape was his agent. This did not of itself end his career as a spy, since Voldemort has known all along that Dumbledore thinks Snape is his agent - he just thinks he's wrong. But it inflamed Bellatrix's suspicions and caused her to go digging. Snape stayed on as Potions master (since there was no reason to think he would be leaving in a year), and the raid during which he disappeared occurred in summer 1997, in place of the "Flight of the Prince" episode and a few days after he had successfully treated Albus for poisoning following the pendant-Horcrux incident.
In saying that Voldemort returned four years ago, the Prophet is thinking of his return to independent if only semi-human form, which occurred some time between 1992 and 1994, and it is vaguely assuming Snape collaborated with Pettigrew in getting him back to Britain. And the Prophet is simply wrong about Harry finishing school, having confused his OWLs with his NEWTs. It is not, after all, a paper known for great accuracy.
Because Draco did not take the Dark Mark in the summer between 5th and 6th years, there was no accidental poisoning of Ron, and therefore no sudden, warm reconciliation between him and Hermione. He has split from Lavender and he and Hermione are getting along OK-ish, but they aren't really dating.
The first few chapters of Lost and Found were written mainly by me, whitehound, although including input from aloe and Dyce and from cecelle, whose help with the medical bits was invaluable. Cecelle and aloe also contributed to some of the later chapters.
Starting from chapter five, the story was written collaboratively between myself and Dyce, with Dyce writing the great majority of Hermione's dialogue and also some of Snape's scenes, and also doing most of Harry and Draco. The long Snape/Hermione dialogues in later chapters were written like an extempore play, with whitehound doing Snape's voice and Dyce doing Hermione, and then just letting the characters talk to each other and seeing where it took us.
N.B. I have a habit of using punctuation partly as musical notation, to control the rhythm of a sentence and thereby to indicate inflection of both speech and thought. This means basically that I omit commas after quotes, in cases where I feel that the dip in emphasis caused by the comma would spoil the music of the line, and sometimes insert commas where I think that the speaker/thinker would pause slightly, even if a comma isn't grammatically necessary at that point. This is not an error, this is a known literary style called "aural punctuation" - so please don't bug me about it.