Caring for a Raven

Chapter 1

Severus groaned as he dragged himself to the fireplace, the steam from the Pepperup potion he had just downed still coming out of his ears. 'If Albus insists we continue taking turns every twelve hours to watch over the Dursleys' house and garden in that everlasting rain, he won't have to be surprised if the whole Order will be sick in bed in a few days' time,' he thought in absolute annoyance as he stepped into the fireplace, shouting, "Arabella Figg's place."

'The Pepperup only worked so much,' he mused as he placed the invisibility charm on himself, which would only allow fellow members of the order to see him, and walked towards the Dursleys' garden, where Minerva was sitting on a small stone wall in her cat's form, sighing in relief as he approached her.

"Thank God, Severus, I'm freezing," she said, turning back into her human form.

"Good evening, Minerva." He pulled a phial of Pepperup out of his robe pocket, handing it to his colleague. "Here, drink this. Maybe it'll prevent you from catching a cold, although it didn't help me much."

"Thank you, Severus," Minerva said, gulping down the potion. Only looking closely at his face as she returned the phial, she let out a gasp. "Severus, you look worse for wear. What's wrong? Are you sure you only have a cold?"

"I don't know, Minerva, but I'm going to transform into my raven form and spend the next twelve hours in the tree. Go home, before you're completely drenched. I hope Mungundus will come in time tomorrow morning." With that, he transformed, and his colleague watched him fly up into the tree, before she hurried back to Mrs. Figg's house.

'This is more like the flu than a cold,' Severus mused, noticing that he felt worse by the hour, even in his raven form. By the time it became light, he was shivering from the cold and could hardly keep himself upright anymore. 'I hope Mungundus comes soon, so I can return to Hogwarts and spend the day in bed.'

However, nobody came to replace him, and by the time Harry came out of the backdoor to work in the garden, Severus felt absolutely miserable and dizzy. 'I better change my position and sit on a lower branch in case I can't help myself upright anymore and fall off the tree,' he decided and weakly took off, flying down to a lower branch. Unfortunately, the dizziness caused him to fail landing on the branch, and he tumbled down to the ground, wearily noticing a sharp pain in his left wing and his head, before he lost consciousness.

HP HEALER POMFREY HP

From the corner of his eyes, Harry noticed a sudden movement under the tree and looked up from the flowerbed he was just weeding. 'What was that?' he mused, taking a few steps towards the tree, when he noticed the raven lying on the grass. 'Oh no! He seems to have a broken wing,' he realised and carefully picked the bird up. 'I'll take him into my room and try to heal him with potions,' he decided. Knowing that he always received various injuries during the summer holidays, this year he had brought several kinds of potions with him, which he had brewed during the last school year with Hermione's help.

He gently carried the unconscious bird into his room and carefully bathed its injured wing in a small bowl of Murtlap essence, before he wrapped it in gauze he quickly fetched from the bathroom, hoping the wing would heal properly. 'His feet are very hot; he probably has a fever,' Harry mused and took a few drops of fever reducing potion on his small finger, before he carefully slid his finger into the raven's slightly open beak, repeating the process with a pain relieving potion.

"Rest well, birdie. You can make yourself comfortable in Hedwig's cage. I left her with Ron this summer, so my uncle can't hurt her," he told the raven as he gently made a comfortable bed for it in his familiar's cage.

Glad that his aunt had taken Dudley to London for a shopping trip today, Harry hurried to the kitchen to fetch fresh water and an apple, which he cut into small pieces, to provide a little food for his plumed patient. Making sure the bird was comfortable enough, Harry headed for the garden to continue with his work, knowing everything had to be finished in time for his uncle to come back in the evening.

After a few hours of gardening in the pouring rain, Harry stepped inside to check on the raven, noticing by its different breathing that it merely seemed to be asleep and not unconscious anymore. 'Well, if he's asleep, he won't miss me,' he mused, knowing he had to work outside for a few more hours.

HP HEALER POMFREY HP

Severus lazily opened his eyes, realising that he felt worse than he could remember having felt before if not after a Death Eater meeting. 'Oh right, I'm still in my raven form,' he realised as he glanced to his injured wing, noticing that it didn't hurt as much as after his fall and that someone had gently wrapped it in gauze. 'I can smell Murtlap,' he mused. 'Someone must have bathed my wing in Murtlap and then wrapped it. What happened? Can Potter have found me and helped me? No,' he dismissed the thought immediately. 'Potter wouldn't bother rescuing a raven, nor would he know about Essence of Murtlap. Would Petunia know such things? Lily was extremely gifted at Potions. Maybe she taught her sister as much.'

Severus curiously glanced around, seeing that he found himself in an owl's cage in a small bed room, which, according to the magical school books lying on the small desk, had to belong to a wizard. 'Maybe it's the Dursleys' storage room,' he thought. 'Potter won't be living in such a hole. It's strange though; the room has a cat flap and bars in front of the window.'

He was pulled out of his thoughts when Harry entered the room. The boy was completely drenched, but instead of drying himself or changing his clothes he came over to the cage right away.

"Oh, you're awake! That's a good sign. Don't worry; I'm not going to hurt you. I will take you out and check on you. You'll probably need a few more potions," he explained gently, before he carefully extended his right hand into the cage, holding the index finger invitingly in front of the raven's feet.

Severus hesitantly stepped on the boy's finger. 'Such a dunderhead; he needs to get out of his wet clothes first.'

Harry carefully carried the bird back to his desk. "Your feet are still very hot, so I think you're running quite a fever. Let me carefully take the gauze off, so I can bathe your wing in Murtlap again," he said thoughtfully, glad when the raven didn't protest but seemed to relax in his gentle grip.

'Thanks for the Murtlap. That's probably the best idea you ever had. Pity I can't give points to Gryffindor,' Severus mused, sighing in relief as the Murtlap essence felt soothing to his broken wing. 'It'll take at least a week, before my wing will be healed enough so I'll be able to transform back.'

Twenty minutes later, Harry decided it was enough and gently wrapped the wing, noticing that the raven kept quiet but was slightly shivering and seemed to have a cold. His nose was running, and he made sounds as if he was coughing.

"I'm not sure if Pepperup potion works for birds, so we'll stick to the pain relieving potion and fever reducer for the moment," he told the bird and once more took a little of each potion on his small finger, carefully sliding it into the raven's beak, causing the raven to shudder at the foul taste.

'You could just give it to me on a spoon, you know,' Severus thought, feeling slightly annoyed with the boy, even if he was grateful for his help, knowing that he wouldn't be able to help himself in his raven form.

"I know it doesn't taste well, but I hope it'll work," Harry said soothingly, noticing that the bird's feet cooled down a little. He gently stroked the bird's head feathers for a moment, before he carefully placed him back into the cage. "I'm sorry, birdie, but I have to go back into the garden. If I don't finish my work, my uncle will be so angry. I'm going to cover your cage with a cloth, and please be quiet. My relatives can't know you're here."

Severus drifted off into a light slumber, only waking up again by the angry voice of a man.

"What have you been doing the whole day, you lazy freak?" Vernon roared, and Severus could hear a sound as if the man was swinging something through the air.

"I'm sorry, Uncle Vernon, please, I'll be good. I'll finish everything tomorrow," Harry replied in a hunted voice.

Severus listened for a while as Harry was begging his uncle to leave him in peace, but eventually ending up getting a few slaps with what Severus assumed was a belt. Finally, he heard the door being closed accompanied by the sound of at least a dozen locks being locked.

'Am I delirious?' Severus mused, just when Harry stepped over to the cage, taking the dark blue cloth off, which had kept him from watching the scene only his ears had been witnessing.

"Sorry for that, birdie. That was my uncle," Harry apologized, biting on his lower lip in order not to cry out at the pain the belt had caused his back. "Let me check on you once more."

'Who are you and what did you do to Potter?' Severus mused as he automatically accepted the invitation to step onto the boy's finger.

Glad that the raven sat onto his finger without hesitating, Harry carried him over to his desk. "Are you feeling even a bit better?" he asked, doubtfully, as the raven let out a series of cough-like sounds and ruffled his feathers in an attempt to get warm. "Probably not. Your feet are as hot as they were before. Maybe we should try Pepperup potion."

Severus observed with a mixture of surprise, anger, and relief as Harry opened a wooden box that was filled with potions phials. He excitedly slid from Harry's finger onto the table, trying to get a good look at the phials.

"What do you think you're doing, birdie?" Harry asked in confusion when a thought crossed his mind. He gently lifted the raven back onto his finger, giving him a sharp look. "Are you really a raven? Or are you just a raven Animagus? You seem too intelligent to just be a bird."


tbc...

I'm not a native speaker of English. Please excuse my mistakes or help me to correct them.

All recognizable characters belong to J. K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.