Not sure where I'm going with this, but I have the impulse to write a story centered around Severus Snape and Harry Potter. Perhaps not in that order. Kind of a Severitus, except with no blood relation between the two—I can't see that being even remotely cannon no matter how people explain it, and therefore haven't actually been able to get through those stories that I've begun reading unless someone has a more creative way than 'Snape is Harry's father' to go about it. And, no offence to those who do like it, I hate the tendency people have to change his appearance drastically for such stories. Harry should not suddenly look like Snape. Ever. It's just wrong. Give Snape his own kid if you want a mini-Snape running around Hogwarts.
Mind, none of this, except ideas, belong to me. I believe Rowling owns Harry Potter and the attendant characters, though not necessarily all the settings. Most, yes, all, no. London, for instance, belongs to the British Isles…
AU fifth year:
Harry Potter stumbled, catching himself against the stone wall of a darkened corridor, barely able to remain upright as he struggled blindly down the hall. It was after hours—he'd get detention if Filch caught him out—and sadly lacking in the realm of invisibility. He wasn't sure where he was going and the tiny ball of bluish light at the end of his wand flickered feebly, threatening to go out.
Not that the light was doing him much good, anyway, if he was honest with himself. The headache left over from his nightmare kicked up a few more notches and his vision fuzzed.
He rubbed at his eyes with the hand holding the wand, dimly noting sticky wetness under his fingers, leaning heavily against the wall as he continued to stumble forward. A glance around told him nothing, and he found that even maintaining the simple lumos was becoming too much and the light sputtered and died.
He stumbled again, but this time his hand on the wall wasn't enough to catch himself with and he hit his knees, his wand clattering to the ground and skidding out of reach.
Severus Snape was not much of a night person, despite the occasional comparisons to creatures such as bats or vampires. (He was also not a vampire, but that's neither here nor there.) Due to this fact, he absolutely detested having the occasional patrol duty in the halls.
He was good at it though, and students out of bed rarely made it past him unnoticed, unless they were somehow warned of his presence on a floor. Not to mention they had the (rather stupid, if you asked Snape) tendency to use light-charms in order to find their ways at night, when they should be safely holed up in their dormitories.
It was ridiculously easy to spot a light moving down a hall, and often possible to pinpoint a location from another floor when students passed staircases.
This night was no different, at least in the aspect of spotting a wanderer who probably should not be wandering.
Annoyed, Snape took the nearest flight of stairs that would bring him to the correct floor and aimed for the flickering light—from the feeble look of the spell, probably an over-enthusiastic first-year. Even Longbottom could hold a lumos better than that by the time he'd reached second year.
When the light flickered and died out, he felt something between amusement and disdain—definitely a first year, unable to even control so simple a spell.
He made no effort to conceal his approach, but heard the sharp clatter of a wand hitting stone—a clumsy first-year, it seemed.
Then he noticed he could hear labored breathing, and, mixed with his annoyance at dealing with unruly students came a faint—very faint—hint of concern. The as-yet unidentified student was far enough away to be out of immediate sight and hadn't been moving quickly. It was possible that the student was ill—it was, after all, the correct floor for the infirmary.
"Lumos," Snape murmured, and a steady ball of blue-white light appeared at the tip of his wand, casting an eerily pale circle of visibility around him—and in the edge of that circle was a wand.
Not just any wand. Potter's wand. "Mr. Potter," the Potions Master sneered, fully intent on docking points and handing out detention.
Snape snatched up the wand before taking another step forward, about to berate the arrogant whelp when he felt the sticky dampness on the wood. He paused, glancing down, and noticed a dark liquid streaked on his fingers. Curious, he raised his hand and sniffed, unable to pinpoint the color in the tinted light of his wand.
"Potter?" He asked, irritation lessened when a hint of something else crept into his chest.
He was not concerned. Not for the Potter brat.
There was no response past a slight hitch in the ragged breathing, and Snape took another step forward, then froze. The boy was pale, even considering the lighting, and that same dark liquid covered half his face, dripping into his robes where he knelt, his body wracked with visible tremors.
All right. Now he had to admit to mild concern, though irritation still predominated. The stupidity of Gryffindors was astounding—what was the idiot boy thinking, wandering the halls in such a state? Alone and at night no less! "Potter."
The boy jerked, his head snapping up, glasses missing and eyes fogged with blood and incomprehension. Without thinking, he pocketed the boy's wand and knelt, brushing back unruly black locks to check for the source of the blood—the damn scar was split open and bleeding. Profusely—more so than even the average head injury.
Snape forgot about taking points and moved to pull the boy to his feet, intending to get him to Pomfrey, when Potter jerked out of his grasp and crumpled to the floor, back arching in unmistakable pain, breathing suddenly erratic.
Damn. "Potter!" two quick spells had the boy lightly restrained and levitated—he needed the hospital wing, and quickly. "Damn it, boy, don't you dare die on me!"
It wasn't until he cast a heart-monitoring charm while directing the still-unresponsive form towards the infirmary (at least the boy was on the right floor, which indicated he had some small shred of sense and had been seeking help) and found the boy's heartbeat fluttering irregularly that he realized just how close to death the child was.
Snape's magic slammed open the infirmary doors as he approached, without his conscious direction. "Poppy! Get in here!" Merlin, he hoped she was awake.
By the time the nurse appeared, rather disheveled, Snape had gotten Potter onto one of the beds and the boy had gone completely limp. If not for the charm, it would have been difficult to tell the boy was alive. It took Madame Pomfrey a moment to understand what she was seeing, but when she did she gasped and immediately set to work.
As she checked the diagnostic, her expression grew more serious and was heading towards horrified. "Severus… what happened to this child?"
He shook his head shortly, "I don't know. I found him in the corridor not far from here, half-conscious and shaking. Within moments, he was writhing as though under held under crucio and completely unresponsive."
"There's extensive nerve damage—evidence of overexposure to the Crucaitus Curse—and traces of extremely dark magic, but I can't pinpoint exact curses. Superficial bruising—probably self-inflicted from convulsions—and muscle damage from the same. The lining of his lungs is irritated and I wouldn't be surprised if he started coughing blood." She glanced back at the list, then the bed. "I don't have any potions to counteract the effects of Crucaitus on hand, and I'll need to run a more extensive diagnostic once he's stabilized…"
"I have something in my personal stores," Snape stated, turning towards the Floo. It would be much faster than walking to his rooms and back.
As soon as Snape was satisfied that Pomfrey could handle things on her own, he fire-called the Headmaster to inform of the rather unfortunate events. Albus' perpetual eye-twinkle vanished and he came through in a bright purple night-robe the likes of which Severus Snape never wanted to see again.
Both males waited in silence for Poppy to finish her bustling about, and approached when she sank onto a nearby bed with a sigh.
"How is he?" Albus asked quietly.
"He'll live." The mediwitch rubbed a hand over her face wearily, "I need to run another diagnostic in a few minutes, after the potions have had time to work. And I can't heal the scar—it's still open, but at least the bleeding has gone down."
Not precisely encouraging, though the fact that the boy would survive was a small relief. Silence stretched in the medical ward until Madame Pomfrey hauled herself back to her feet and muttered a charm over the prone form.
She sat back with the scrolling 'parchment', reading down the list. "I still can't pinpoint the curses. It's almost as though he was caught in the essence of the magic without being a direct recipient of the curses themselves…" she sighed again, continuing to scan down the list towards older injuries—it was a far longer list than she had expected from someone his age.
She paused, frowning. "Chronic malnutrition, minor internal bleeding, scarring, bruising, broken bones…" she trailed off, raising her head, expression unreadable. "Albus… he's been abused."
No, this is not a 'new' story for me. Although it is not yet finished, I have begun it on another site, so if I'm going to be working on it anyway…