Shadow Trolls 2/2

By Raven Dancer

rating: PG

disclaimer: All characters belong to J.K. Rowling except for the Drs. Barnes. I receive no monetary compensation for these works.

Note: This is for HLB, whose tireless work beta'ing my writing and her constant support can't be praised enough. HLB, you are a treasure and I'm glad we found one another in this crazy internet land.

Summary: Another field trip goes awry.

It was nearly 11:00 P M when Dumbledore found himself sitting at his desk, six students sitting in front of him, four professors standing behind. The Headmaster had not intended a formal meeting but both Mr. Malfoy and Mr. Potter had been sitting on his door step. Hagrid and McGonagall had been inside, all waiting for him.

So he simply called for the rest of those involved. It was the best way to get the story straight and consider possible resolutions. Yet there was no simple solution.

Yes, Malfoy had been out of line for luring the others back to the rock outcroppings. He hadn't known of the shadow trolls at the time and once he found out he'd tried to get them back as quickly as possible.

Potter had been out of line for not informing Hagrid the others were missing. He had known about the danger but had gone ahead, misguided because of lack of information. There was still sunlight. How could trolls be out in the sunlight?

Hagrid had just been lucky he'd been hit only once.

But Weasley! What to do about the child who only wanted to help and was betrayed by his own faulty wand? More importantly, how was Snape going to react when he regained consciousness? He wasn't known for his compassionate response.

Feeling older than his years, Dumbledore regarded the students.

I am disappointed in all of you. The points Professor
McGonagall penalized you will stand. 100 points from
Slytherin, 100 points from Gryffindor. Detentions will
be arranged with Hagrid. You will see him Saturday
morning at 9 am sharp. In addition, the Headmaster rubbed his tired eyes. In addition, Professor Snape may want to adjust
the punishments when he is feeling better. I don't anticipate
that for at least a week if not more. It would do you
all well to go research shadow trolls so that you understand
what he went through and what he will be going through.
Bones can be healed, but sheer terror and nightmares
are a different matter entirely.

Malfoy looked over at his enemies. It all seemed so stupid now. There really was no reason to have tried to lure them back and scare them. Professor Snape had paid the price, no detention could equal what the trolls had done to him.

I, I have a couple books, Granger, that you might want to
see, Draco offered.

I found a couple texts in the library, Hermione countered.

Why don't cha meet in the library tomorrow, Hagrid growled,
during lunch. Share ya research and knowledge.

Then you can all stay after class tomorrow afternoon and
we'll discuss your research, McGonagall said sternly.
I think I will ask Professor Lupin to join us since he is
the expert in the area.

Good night. I will let you know how Professor Snape is
tomorrow evening when I know more. He is comfortable
now with the Healers but he hasn't woken yet, the Headmaster waited for the students to move out. He noted Weasley looked particularly upset, but there was nothing he could do for the child at present.

How bad was it, Albus? Flitwick asked once the children had left.

They hadn't started to eat, Dumbledore began, then was caught in a full body shudder.

But they'd begun ta taste? Hagrid asked in a weak voice.

I suppose they were very hungry, the Headmaster said nodding in response to the Groundskeeper,
they'd shredded his clothing.

McGonagall and Hootch slid down in the chairs as Hagrid put a massive hand on the older woman's shoulder.

gods, Albus, how's he going to handle that? Flitwick, sinking into the cushions and wrapping his hands around his body.

I don't know, Frederick. We'll just have to be around him
until he feels safe again, Dumbledore said.

I, for one, plan on sleeping with all my lights on, Hootch finally spoke, shaky and pale.

I, I remember all the stories from when I was a child, she went on,
my cousins loved to make us scream. It was worse
when I came here and looked them up. Their stories
weren't far off.

Come on, Hootch. I need someone to walk me to my
rooms. We'll share a couple mugs of hot chocolate, McGonagall said kindly, seeing shock settling over her younger colleague.

Hagrid and Flitwick left next leaving Dumbledore to prowl through his rooms alone.

Few students were out and about when Jeffrey Barnes moved his patient through the halls of the castle and up the stairs to the Headmaster's rooms. Those that were said nothing. News had spread like wildfire from the Gryffindor and Slytherins fifth years' class and the entire school was aware Professor Snape had been captured by shadow trolls. Since he was alive and in one piece the rumors of his demise were quickly negated by the eye-witness accounts.

Dumbledore was ready. It had been nearly 12 hours since he'd last seen his friend; the healing had done some good. Snape's color was much better and the lines of worry had melted in sleep. He looked so very young to the older wizard.

Are you ready, Albus? He really needs to wake soon, Barnes said quietly as his patient was carefully unwrapped from his traveling cloaks and wrapped once more in blankets. They set the lounge in the sunlight pouring through the window. The house elves brought up freshly baked bread. The wholesome scent complimented by bundles of fresh lavender Professor Lupin had dropped by before breakfast.

Finally Dumbledore sat back on the lounge and let Barnes arrange Snape snugly against his chest and beard. The Healer himself positioned himself against his patient's back so that Snape was completely surrounded by their warmth and that of the bright sunlight.

Barnes murmured softly.

Yes, Jeffrey, Dumbledore replied. He lifted a hand and gently cupped Snape's face as the Healer began to pulse him gently.

Severus? Child? It's time to wake up, the Headmaster called soothingly. He continued to stroke the sleeping face lightly as he continued to encourage Snape to wake. Soon both Healer and Headmaster saw the Potions Master surface, eyes opening to the light and his friends' faces.

Albus? I was having the most horrible dream, Snape said as he looked up, breathing in deeply. His eyes darkened and his entire body jerked as memories crept in.

You're safe, Severus. I came and brought you to Jeffrey, Dumbledore tried to reassure the wizard. Snape clutched tightly to his friend; burying his face deep into his soft beard as he began to cry. Completely surrounded by warmth and light, his body was wracked with revulsion as he remembered the hard hands, probing noses and wet, stinking tongues.

Both Barnes and Dumbledore were ready and held Snape tight. Gentle hands ran over the twitching body and quiet voices continuing to reassure him that he was safe. The Healer continued to flow energy into the rigid body. All they could do was wait until the fear broke.

I - I - I thought I was dead, Snape finally managed to eke out.
They grabbed me and - and they ripped my clothing off,
and, and, Albus, he dissolved into sobs again. Dumbledore pulled him up closer, enveloping him in his arms as the Healer pressed in from behind.

You're safe Severus. Albus came and saved you. You're
all right. Dr. James and I took care of you, Barnes whispered into his ear as Snape clung like a burr to his mentor. They let him cry for awhile then Barnes decided it had been enough and reached for a mug he'd prepared earlier.

Sip, Severus, sip for me, he pulled Snape back enough to accept the straw and struggle to suckle up the potion within. It was Sunlast, the rain swept scent of fresh spring grass rose from the mug and filled his nose as he breathed deeply. He knew that scent. Snape drank. The straw was removed and the Potions Master began to blink drowsily.

Sleep a little, Severus. Sleep and be well, Barnes murmured as he rubbed Snape's back gently.

You're safe, child. I'll be right here when you wake, Dumbledore added softly. Snape relaxed, his death-like grip loosened and he nestled against the Headmaster, fingers kneading the older man's robes.

Sshhh, sleep young one, Dumbledore ran a simple charm over Snape as he comforted him and sent the Potions Master to sleep.

Barnes said brightly, that was pretty good! He
didn't bolt or scream. The Headmaster glanced at the Healer, raising an eyebrow.

Really, Albus! That went very well! We'll let him sleep
an hour and then wake him again. He's going to be fine, Barnes said happily.

They proceeded as Barnes suggested. By the third round Snape woke up without immediately dissolving into tears. He was also able to get up and eat with them before resting again, this time lying with the Healer alone while Dumbledore took care of a few owls that had flown in. The rest of the day the Healer and Headmaster traded off holding Snape.

By the third day the Potions Master could tolerate being alone for very short periods of time, although he would find either a Healer (James traded off with his son) or the Headmaster to lean against afterward. He lost any fear he had of the dark and shadows nearly immediately, only wanting to be with his protectors at all times.

By the fifth day he could discuss what had happened to him without bursting into tears or shaking uncontrollably. He seemed very interested in Weasley's reactions but did not express any anger toward the student.

Finally the question of punishment arose and to their surprise he approved of the detentions and points and did not seem to want to add any more to the group. Snape did have one more thing he wanted to do to Weasley, however, Dumbledore had tried to talk him out of it.

I can understand the detention, Severus, but do you
really think this is necessary? the Headmaster pursued.

Of course it's necessary. The boy needs to be taken care of for his actions. He's a loose cannon and dangerous to
himself and others! Snape argued.

Well, you can not implement this course of action until
after you are fully healed, Barnes insisted,
not for at least a week!

Snape growled.

He needs to learn his lesson NOW! Until he's been taken
care of he could hurt someone else, Snape had insisted. He grudgingly agreed to wait until Barnes had cleared him to leave the rooms.

*or I can sneak out!* Snape decided.

Ten days after they'd escaped from the shadow trolls, just before dinner, the door to the Gryffindor common room opened and Professor Snape strode in. His dark brooding presence filled the room, making even the fire seem cold.

Where is Ronald Weasley? he hissed at the loosely assembled students.

H-here, sir, Ron squeaked from his place near the stairs.

Get you cloak and come with me, Snape growled, turning with a jerk to the door. There was nothing for Ron to do but snatch up his cloak and follow the Potions Master.

We'd better go tell the Headmaster! Hermione whispered to Harry. Nodding, the pair slipped down the halls to the Headmaster's quarters.

Ron followed the wizard at nearly a run. The Potions Master's stride was long and purposeful. They were soon in a sitting room near the Great Hall. Snape held out a bag of dust.

Take a handful. We're going to the Leaky Cauldron, Snape commanded. He waited for Ron to step up and throw the floo powder into the fire. Then he wrapped his cloak tightly around him and followed him into the flames.

Once in the common room of the pub, Snape pulled the hapless student behind him out into the alley. Tapping the bricks impatiently, they waited for the opening spell to work.

Keep up, Weasley, Snape growled low. He moved quickly through Diagon Alley, stopping first at Gringotts. The ride to Potions Master's vault would have been exciting for Ron, who'd never been able to join his parents to their vault. As it was, the goblin glared at him the whole time and the cart kept trying to jump the tracks (at least, that's what it felt like!). Snape removed something from behind a large door then they rode back up to the lobby of the bank. It should have been up. All the tracks seemed to go downward.

Soon they were back in the weak winter sunlight. The Potions Master was slowing now. Ron looked at him doubtfully. He seemed exhausted, but he continued to move through the crowded alley back toward the pub. Before they made it back, Snape moved aside and opened a door to a very dingy, cluttered shop.

Ollivanders. Why the heck was Snape bringing him here? Ron had never been in this wand shop; both his wands had been hand-me-downs. One came from his older brother another from a second-hand shop. Both were reluctant in his hand. Mr. Ollivanders himself came from some cubbyhole or other and looked at the Potions Master.

You should not be here, he said accusingly.

Was the old man going to throw Snape out? Ron shrank back. Snape simply pulled himself up to his full height.

That's not the point, Ollivanders. He needs a wand. He
needs wand, not some wretched piece of wood that
is more of a danger than no wand at all, Snape growled back, then began to cough a wet ragged cough.

That is not the point, Professor, you are ill and have
no business being out. SIT! he pointed at a comfortable chair that hadn't been there before, Ron was sure of that. A tea pot appeared with a heavy mug. Ron watched as a sugar lump leapt in as tea poured itself out.

Chamomile and mint, Severus. Sip it while I help Mr. Weasley
find his wand, Ollivanders directed a little more kindly. Once the Potions Master had settled to his satisfaction and had drawn up a deep lungful of hot tea steam, the old man turned his considerable attention to Ron.

Weasley, Ronald, second youngest of Arthur and Molly
Weasley. Oak, 11 inches, Unicorn tail hair. Hmm. Willow,
14 inch, Unicorn tail hair. Family has often called unicorn hair
and heart string, and Mr. Ollivanders was off into the stacks bring back box after box, handing Ron wand after wand, until the pile of discarded wands was truly horrendous and the boy was actually afraid no wand would ever select him.

Perhaps you should measure him? Dumbledore's merry voice broke in and Ron whipped around to see the Headmaster himself seated by the Potions Master. Snape was leaning against the older man, eyes barely slit open to watch the pageantry.

I told you he needed a proper fit, Snape murmured sleepily.

Ollivander glared at the two wizards and reached for his tape. Soon Ron was being measured every which way, arms, distance between nostrils, fingers, shoulders, height, as the wand master asked him questions about his schooling, his house, his friends, his favorite sports, the ice cream he preferred, and the color of his slippers. Question after question until Ron had no idea what he was even doing in the shop. Nothing he was talking about had to do with magic or wands.

Finally, Ollivanders disappeared back into the depths of his shop and returned blowing copious amounts of dust off a long narrow box. He opened it with little fanfare and lifted out a rich, dark red wand. He handed it to Ron who looked at it. He had the strange feeling the wand was sizing him up. It was light and felt warm in his hand.

Try it, Ollivanders ordered. Ron pulled the wand back and brought it down sharply. A stream of stars and butterflies flowed out of the tip, whirling around him. His entire face lit up in a smile as the magic flowed through him. Dumbledore nudged Snape to look. The Potions Master smiled drowsily.

Mahogany, 12 inches. Gryffen's heart string, Ollivander reported.

Gryffindor. Figures! Snape laughed. The sound surprised Ron just as much as the wand's fit and he looked at the Potions Master.

You will, Mr. Weasley, report to Professor Flitwick for
detention for the next three weeks. He will instruct you
privately on the use of that truly impressive wand, Snape told the boy. Ron watched as the Professor handed a sack of coin to the wand master who turned away before handing the sack back. The door to the shop suddenly slammed open and everyone turned to see Jeffrey Barnes storm in.

You were not cleared to leave, Severus Snape, the Healer scolded the Potions Master.

He has to have a wand. It is totally ridiculous for him
to be saddled with a worthless hand me down! Weasley
is in the thick of things and he needs to be able to protect
himself without causing harm to himself or others! Snape retorted angrily.

Ron stared at the Potions Master in amazement. He was worried about him, him! Ron Weasley! He wasn't anyone important, wasn't smart like Hermione or famous like Harry. Just Ron. He felt Snape's eyes on him.

You are not unimportant, Weasley, he spoke as if he could read Ron's mind. You are more important than you guess. Go to
Flitwick and arrange your detention. Learn to use that

All four adults were looking at Ron, making him feel very uneasy. But the wand still hummed in his hand and it drew his attention back.

Ok, Severus, Barnes whispered as he began to check over his patient,
you're right. He needed that wand.

With a slight smile the Potions Master allowed the Healer to bundle him up and take him home.