A/N: For those of you who read my Trigun fanfiction, I'm afraid my poor story Learning to Live is on an extended hiatus. I'll probably end up abandoning it, mainly because I really can't seem to get myself to finish it. In the mean time I'll be working on this, a Harry Potter fanfiction. HP is my current obsession of doom. For those of you newbies, please enjoy.
Summary: After a failed spell is used on Harry, he is accidentally deaged. Voldemort, angry with this failure, orders Snape to get close to the boy and then bring him to Voldemort. With Dumbledore telling him to follow along for the moment, Snape has to deal with a 7-year-old. But no one could possibly foresee what fate has in store for Harry Potter and Severus Snape.
This starts out as a deaged fic, meaning Harry will be deaged at the beginning. However the focus of the story will shift as time goes on. No slash will be in this fic. Eventually Snape will adopt our Harry. This story is also simultaneously
Paradigms and Epiphanies
Chapter 1: Of Beginnings
Wednesday, 6th of February, 1996. 4:53 PM
Some say that when you die you see your life flash before your eyes in a matter of seconds. That every little moment, every person and event that has had an impact on your life will be shrunk down and all that you are as a person will be summarized in a few measly seconds. I was pondering this odd little trinket of thought while staring up at the ceiling of the Great Hall. I could feel my life draining out of me; my magical energy slowly being sucked through the walls of my skin and splashed haplessly about, left to dissipate into the chilled stone floors of hall. My life wasn't flashing before my eyes; I felt cheated. It was almost unfair that I would see my last while staring up at a ceiling.
People were talking to me. It was interesting to watch them move like a video in slow motion, their actions becoming almost predictable. I wanted to laugh while watching their mouths move comically. But my mouth didn't seem to want to work with me in control.
The people around me… I thought I knew them, but their names and their memories began to fade. So, I wondered. Was this dying? Instead of seeing everything again like I was supposed to, was I actually losing them? The angry red-headed boy was slowly shouting at a blond boy who looked slightly stricken. The brown haired girl was crying and saying something to me over and over again. I finally smiled. I felt it cross my face. The others all paused, the unnatural slowness extending the pause into what felt like an hour. Their faces were distraught, angry, worried and lost. Then the world around me warped and everything seemed to grow.
The atmosphere grew blacker and blacker with every passing moment. The last thing that my fading consciousness registered was the appearance of a tall, sallow skinned man and a graying woman with a funny hat.
After that, there was nothing.
"Now really, Severus," Minerva was saying. She had an inexplicable way of making her voice reflect scorn and amusement at the same time. It was an uncanny ability. We were currently walking through the second floor of Hogwarts heading for an impromptu staff meeting called by Dolores Umbridge.
"The brats were being extra disobedient, Minerva. A little character building in the form of cauldron scrubbing couldn't hurt," I replied, making my voice as smooth as possible.
We'd been arguing for the past half an hour over my decision to give detention to four first-year Gryffindors for having set off a string of pranks on a couple fourth-year Slytherins. The brat's pranks had reminded me eerily of James Potter and his Marauders. I may have been a bit exuberant with my detention of one whole week of cauldron scrubbing including the weekend, but I would never admit that to Minerva. This term was turning out to be a bad one, what with Umbridge, and most of the staff was on edge all day long. A little short temperedness was an occupational hazard at this point.
If I had to endure another one of Umbridge's games of Twenty Questions I was just about ready to give the Weasley twins a list a potent potions to use against the foul old witch.
The shout echoed down the hall quickly followed by the sounds of a scuffle and raised voices. Minerva and I exchanged a look. Hers was one of surprise; I only allowed a single eyebrow to rise.
"Harry! Say something!" a second voice I recognized as Hermione Granger's lilted towards us down the hall. Neither Minerva nor I needed to confirm it with the other. We both rushed through the hallway towards the noises, our feet creating an echoing chorus that announced our presence in the narrow hallway outside Moaning Myrtle's Bathroom. Myrtle herself was screeching almost incoherently about murder and death. She seemed almost happy about it too.
A group of Slytherins were off to the side watching five others in the center of the walkway, including Vincent Crabbe, Draco Malfoy and the Golden Trio themselves. Draco's other appendage-like friend, Gregory Goyle, was nowhere to be seen.
Potter was lying on the ground with a wispy look on his face. He was smiling for some reason. Granger was asking him over and over again to say something; to answer her. Weasley was shouting obscenities into the faces of Vincent and Draco. Finally I saw and unconscious Gregory sprawled at Weasley's feet with a broken nose spewing blood profusely all over the brickwork.
"Harry!Harry, no! Stay awake!" Granger's voice broke through the other commotions. She was holding his cheeks as if it would somehow keep him tied to the conscious world.
Despite Granger's attempts, Potter's eyes slid closed. His face took on a peaceful look for a split second before the air began to crackle with wild magic. Magic was spilling out of Potter at an alarming rate.
"What's happening?" Minerva directed towards the students, her voice betraying her worry. If the gravity of the situation wasn't apparent, I would have remarked at how redundant she was sounding. It was quite obvious a fight had occurred and both Potter and Gregory were a little worse for wear. Potter a little more so if the rate of his magical depletion didn't begin to curtail itself.
"Goyle cursed Harry!" Weasley spit out not letting his infuriated gaze waver from Draco's face.
Albus appeared behind me and was pushing his way towards Potter. "Minerva, contact St. Mungo's immediately! Have them send over as many Healers as they can spare! Severus, find Poppy, we need to get him some instant infusions of magic!"
I didn't have time to ponder how Albus knew what to do with the boy before I was nearly running up the hall towards the Hospital Wing to carry out the Headmaster's clipped orders.
Six St. Mungo's healers, Poppy Pomfrey and Albus Dumbledore crowded behind the thin white curtain shielding Potter's unconscious body from the rest of the Hospital Wing. I was standing outside the curtain trying to listen to the quiet mutterings coming from the other side. Potter was not doing well. His body was draining of magic at an unhealthy rate. If it wasn't curbed or cured, the boy would die.
I pressed my lips together and stirred the potion in front of me carefully clockwise and counterclockwise at regular intervals. It would be inhumane of me to think the boy ill in this situation, and I knew that I would do my best to help Albus cure the wayward fifteen-year-old. I felt a little resentful, however, that Albus was making me do this. I was already trying to teach the uncooperative boy Occlumency, the Headmaster was being infuriating with his attempts at "bridge-building" and "student-teacher relations."
Tapping the extra liquid off the ladle I turned off the heat and left the bubbling potion to cool. Gingerly, so as not to startle any of the occupants behind the curtain, I slipped in and stared over the wide hat of Poppy's at the face of the Boy Hero. His skin was bone white and a sweaty sheen covered his entire body.
The boy looked ready to up and pass away at any moment.
"You're sure?" Albus asked one of the healers.
"It appears to be an unfortunate side effect of this curse. We've managed to curtail the outflow of magic, but that's it. His body can't take the strain. Apparently it's going to find the easiest way to compensate for it. We can't be for sure until we do some more extensive testing," the female healer said with a frown. "I'm afraid there's nothing we can do but to let it happen."
Albus nodded, his face sad. "Very well, thank you for coming, Gracie. I hope you recall what we talked about before?"
Gracie nodded. "None of our results will reach the ears of the press from us. You have my word."
The healers packed up their things and left almost as quickly as they had come, leaving only the headmaster, Poppy and myself in the Hospital wing.
"Poppy, the potion is finished," I told her when her attention was off Potter.
"Thank you, Severus. That's all I need, for now. I'll Floo-call you if I need anything more." She turned away from my and began running a series of diagnostic spells over the boy.
"Very well." I nodded goodbye to the headmaster and Poppy and didn't hesitate a second longer to leave that particular wing of the castle. By the time I made it back to my quarters, it was late. Well after nine in the evening.
Even at that late of an hour, there was no rest. I ended up sitting in the living room grading a backlog of papers and getting myself back on track with next week's assignments. I didn't really let myself dwell on the events of the afternoon until Albus signaled that he was coming through the Floo.
He stepped out of a burst of spectacular green flame and onto the Spartan throw rug. "Evening, Severus."
"Headmaster, to what do I owe the pleasure?"
"I'm afraid this is not a social call," Albus sighed and sat himself down in his favorite chair in my living room. "Aurors are to be coming by in the next forty-eight hours to question Mr. Goyle. As his head of house you are required to be there in loco parentis."
I nodded and summoned two cups of tea from the kitchen. "Any indication as to exactly when they will be by?"
"The Ministry is dragging its feet, unfortunately. Dolores Umbridge has gotten it into her head that this is some sort of orchestrated effort to return to the Ministry's favor and is calling this a mere school boy scuffle."
"You believe otherwise?"
"I cannot say for sure at this moment in time, that is something for another conversation." He stood to go, not even touching his tea. "Poppy will be contacting you tomorrow morning about some needed potions for Mr. Potter. Goodnight, Severus."
And he was gone in another flash of brilliant green flame.