Healing a Bad Memory
A/U: Let me lay it out for you. When I started this fic, I was young, impressionable- and had absolutely no idea where it was going. I didn't expect it to go anywhere... now, here I am, three years (Has it really been that long?), five chapters (pathetic, I know), 20000 hits- (some from countries I've never even heard of) and over 100 reviews later. This story STILL has no plot, no climax, and no end in sight (or on site). I'm out of ideas. I'm at my wits end, and... as much as I hate to admit it, I need help. If I don't get input (plot points, scenes, conversations- anything!) from you... well, this fic will be left to die- abandoned, cold and alone because its author is to poor to support it. And review. I'm not psychic- for your ideas to transfer to my head I need a review or a PM or some form of contact.
Warnings: See the previous chapters.
Severus began by wrapping his child in his warm outer cloak (he had learned that, like any child Harry associated safety with his parent's scent), carefully picking him up as to not jostle any injuries and exiting the Hospital wing in the early morning of the first day of term. Being the first day back few students were about in the halls, having not yet readjusted to the school schedule. And, even if they did see him... well, after last night's entrance not much was left to imagination. His heart ached for the pain the boy had gone through and the inevitable questions it would raise. Clutching the boy to his chest his mind once again asphyxiated upon Lily.
If only he had known.
It was not long before he reached his quarters in the dungeons. Resting the boy on the seat of a large arm chair he ran to the washroom, casting a quick air warming charm and running a bath. He retrieved the child and knelt by the luxurious tub, unwrapping the still naked boy. Though a number of cleaning charms had been cast (before the symptoms of magical overload had been recognized)- nothing beat an old fashioned bath. Feverish his son shivered in the still-to-cold dungeon air. Checking the temperature with his hand Severus lifted the boy from the floor and into the tub. Utterly catatonic before being immersed in the water a pained and fearful wail escaped a parched throat as he weakly thrashed against his father's strong hold. "Shhh... it is alright my child, I am not going to hurt you." The potion's master whispered, snarl and cruel sarcasm absent from his silky voice. Perhaps it was on some unconscious level- or, maybe the boy had just given the fight up as futile the child stilled, flopping limply once again in his father's arms. Though this was less unwieldy than the previous frenzy his state still posed many problems. Previously animated he was now but a dead weight, unwilling to support himself. It was nearly impossible to both balance the child on one arm, cleanse him with the other and still stay kneeling on the wet and slippery floor.
After a few minuets of failed attempts his mind was made up. The boy was comforted by his presence- and he could use that to his advantage. He stripped to his undergarments and slipped in behind Harry, pulling him close and resting him on his chest. It was decidedly strange to have human contact after so many years (and the headmaster did not count!) but not entirely unwelcome.
Methodically he went about cleaning him, careful of various unhealed or partially healed injuries. He began with his hair and face- making sure not to get any soap in his eyes. Next came his torso, still sore and red striped with welts- thankfully no longer filled with sticky, yellow congealed puss. He moved forward to his legs and feet, removing the remaining dried blood. Finally, without any other option he moved to his son's nether region. He did not want to- he did not want to acknowledge what had happened to his child. Cleaning him- healing him would force him to do so. Closing his eyes and inhaling deeply he steeled himself. He was the only one who could- or, at least the one who would save Harry the most humiliation and pain. As per Harry's reaction to Madame Pomfrey and the various treatments, it would be best to avoid any further stress.
He thought back to his time right before he had finished his mastery. Part of gaining a mastery in potions was a private study, and he had chosen to intern at a muggle hospital to learn their ways in hope of furthering his research (particularly in the treatment of injuries) by using methods overlooked by wizarding society. Muggle methods.
He was finishing up his shift when a girl of about seventeen came in. He could tell that she was trying to hold herself together. To the well trained eye it was obvious that something had happened. She was shivering, despite the warm weather. Her hair was mussed and her face flushed. She limped slightly as she came into the exam room. He sat her down, and asked what the problem was. She eyed him wearily before speaking softly. His obsidian gaze met meeting her red rimmed eyes. "I was raped." She had whispered.
He nodded, immensely grateful for his ability in occlumency and skill in hiding emotions. He sat down on the stool next to the exam table. "Are you sure you would... like me to do this? I have colleges-"
"No." she had cut him off. "I- I know that I can trust you. I can tell."
Indeed, his experience in the muggle world had proved irreplaceable . Rape just didn't happen in the wizarding world. It was one of the safe guards of accidental magic. In a highly emotional situation, magic responded. Explosively. More often than not it killed or seriously maimed the assailant before anything could happen. For his son, however... A tear escaped from behind closed eyes.
He was immensely thankful he had shared his experience and research with Madame Pomfrey. She was able to keep herself separate from the case in a way he never could. The boy was his son. He couldn't keep professional about it... the muggle mantra rang in his head. You don't treat family...
Severus let out a breath he hadn't known he had held.
Bending down close to the child he spoke softly into his ear. "Harry, child... I need to finish cleaning you-"
A whimper cut him off followed by barely discernible words. "Don't... hurts..."
"I promise I will not harm you, Harry. I won't leave you to fight this battle alone. Never again. Never again..." Severus trailed off, talking more to himself at that point than his son.
"Promise?" The child asked.
His heart ached at the innocence and trust in the boy's voice.
"I promise." They could get through this. Together.
Harry allowed the man to treat him. He was gently scrubbed and rinsed before he was pulled out of the tub and dried. The entire time Harry was tense, willing himself to let go of his past experiences... but allowing it. Once he was dried and dressed Harry finally relaxed. He was safe. With his daddy.
Severus did not have any classes until the afternoon and bathing his child had been incredibly taxing- both physically and emotionally. Resigned he dressed Harry in an overlarge years worn soft nightshirt before dawning his customary black robes. Harry had taken the first steps of a long journey to heal. His heart swelled with pride at the courage Harry had to allow his father to care for him properly. Absently, he wondered if this was at all like caring for an infant. (Admittedly he had the sneaking suspicion that it was not. For one infants inherently trust their parents and it was obvious that Harry exerting a great deal of self control born from years of abuse to still his body.)
Sitting down in in the chair behind the desk, son safely in his arms deep asleep, his prematurely aged face lit as he faintly remembered the smell of Lily's hair on one of the few nights that they had been able to spend together.
A quiet, incessant mummer awoke the Potions Master from the first restful sleep he'd had in days.. It was only when he felt a shift of the weight in his arms did he realize the damning situation he was found in. Before him the entire fourth year class was seated. Many of them were smiling (smiling!) and a few of the girls were giggling and chittering about how cute it was. The rest were just white with apparent shock. With a start his eyes flew open to take in the scene.
Attempting to rectify the situation he growled menacingly and managed to regain his composure (which was rather hard considering he still had a beaten and abused seven year old in his arms,) Harry however, had other ideas. He began to softly cry, and paternal instincts took over. He shooshed the boy, rocking him until he was quiet. The students in the room seemed to distress him- first and foremost he needed to remove his son from the situation. Then (and only then) he could prosecute the students for unruly conduct. His private quarters and house elf would be sufficient to care for the boy for an hour or so. He ought not wake again, anyway. Shutting the door behind him with his son safely stowed in his rooms, the potions professor returned to his class.
His reputation was shot.