Another kidfic, but I took a break from my usual Dumbledore/Harry caretaker duo. With sincere apologies to SomeGuyFawkes.
It was the summer holidays, and Neville Longbottom had harvested a new crop of future potions ingredients. He often sold them to the apothecary, and sent interesting specimens off to Professor Sprout, but this batch he had grown for his own use. Encouraged by Hermione, he decided that if he could practice potions on his own, he would likely learn more than he would in class.
So after a pleasantly quiet hour preparing his harvest and slicing up other ingredients, he started a cauldron and proceeded to brew.
"Hmmm…two teaspoons of powdered bicorn horn…" he muttered. In the background he vaguely heard voices; his grandmother probably was having one of her annoyingly boring tea parties again. At least he could always play the 'homework' card to get out of those.
"Now this is where things went wrong last time. Instead of counting clockwise, I should probably stir counter clockwise and add more slowly…"
The door to his room flew open.
"Neville dear, look who is here!" His grandmother announced grandly, "Professor Snape stopped by on Order business and I am sure he would not mind giving you a few pointers for your…oops."
The old lady hit Neville's arm and he dropped the entire phial he was holding into the cauldron.
"No!" he quickly grabbed for something to counter the effects, but it was too late. The cauldron began to boil and potion splashed all over the room. His grandmother stepped back, tripped over a crate of ingredients and fell to the floor, leaving Snape to take the full brunt of the splash.
"Quickly, the…" was all the dark man managed before the explosion filled the room.
Neville scrambled back on his feet. "Grandmother? Are you alright?"
A low moan was his only answer, along with a high pitched whimper from the other corner.
His grandmother lay unconscious on the floor, one arm in a strange angle and one of her feet sticking up straight while the other was laying sideways on the floor.
From a bundle of black robes where Snape had stood, two huge, dark eyes regarded Neville anxiously. The cloth pooled around the tiny body of a child with black hair, a relatively large nose on the small face, and oddly pleading eyes. The child did not cry, but shrank back as if expecting Neville to shout at him.
"S..Snape?" Neville whispered.
"Me Seb'rus," the boy whimpered, "where is I?"
Neville thought for one moment he would faint. Then he turned to his fireplace, where an artificial, non-warming fire was kept for communication purposes, and threw in a handful of floo powder.
"LUNA! I need you!" he shouted into it.
Within moments, the blond witch appeared and surveyed the room. "Oh dear."
"Help," Neville pleaded.
"Where is Seb'rus?" the child whimpered, his chin trembling a little, though he did not cry.
"Hello," Luna said, holding her hand out to the child, "I am Luna. Neville needs to call St Mungo's so the healers can take care of his grandmother," she shot Neville an encouraging look and he turned to the jar of powder to do just that, "we will go into the living room and find you a drink."
The boy hesitated, but eventually took her hand and stumbled along with her, the long robes hindering him.
Neville called in the Healers, who took one look at his grandmother and immediately started to stabilize her to take her to the hospital. Neville came with her through the Floo. The Healer in charge informed him, after an hour's wait, that his grandmother had broken both her arm and her hip, on top of suffering a severe concussion. She would recover, but had to stay in the hospital for some time.
"She is an old lady," the Healer explained, "we have set the bones, but the concussion needs attention and she needs daily potions to strengthen her bone structure so the breaks won't remain weak points. Rest assured, she will be fine given time and proper care. You can see her for a few minutes now."
Neville hated the sight of his grandmother on the white bed, not moving, her face pale and withdrawn. He kissed her cheek. "Get well soon, Gran," he whispered.
Then he returned to his other potions victim.
Luna had entertained the boy by first giving him something to drink, then searching the closets and finding a box of Neville's old robes where she found one that fit the child, and after that entertained him by telling stories of fascinating magical creatures. The boy was giggling when Luna impersonated a crumple horned snorkack, but immediately quieted and withdrew when Neville entered the room.
Neville stared at the child, once his feared potions master. The little boy sitting on his couch had very little in common with the Professor, though, except in the dark hair and black eyes.
"Hello," he said wearily, "we did not get a chance to properly introduce ourselves, did we? I am Neville."
Severus looked at Luna, who nodded brightly, still pretending to be a snorkack.
"Hi Nebul," he whispered, "I is Seb'rus."
"How old are you, Severus?" Neville asked.
"I is this many!" Severus proudly held up three fingers, "I is a big boy."
"Yes, you are," Neville absentmindedly agreed, "Listen, Severus, I need to talk to Luna for a bit. Here," he handed the child the Illustrated Herbologist's Guide, "why don't you read this magazine while we're busy."
Severus accepted the magazine gracefully and began to turn pages.
Neville pulled Luna aside and gave her his best 'helpless male' look. "What do we do now?" he asked.
Luna smiled. "You look after him, of course. The potion will wear off on its own in a few weeks."
"Couldn't St Mungo's do anything for him?"
The witch shrugged. "They could lock him in a room and wait for the potion to wear off. You don't expect them to have time to entertain a toddler, do you? Besides, the hospital is infected with Bulbasaur."
Neville, through long experience, knew not to ask what a Bulbasaur was.
"Well, Gran is gone a few weeks. I suppose he could stay here. The elves will help look after him," he sighed.
"I'm going to look after a babySnape. This must be a dream. Pinch me, Luna!"
The witch proceeded to do just that, causing Neville to yelp indignantly. From the couch, Severus smirked contently.