Last Resort for a Muggle
~ by Healer Pomfrey ~
All recognizable characters belong to J. K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.
I am not a native speaker of English. Please excuse my mistakes.
Petunia observed terrified how her husband punished her six-year-old nephew Harry, who apparently had – without even knowing what he was doing – accidentally turned his teacher's hair blue. Of course Petunia and Vernon had been summoned to the school to speak with the teacher, a fact that Vernon would not easily forget and forgive.
'Why does he have to beat him?' she thought in desperation, but she dare not jump between the child and her husband. Vernon had more than once threatened to leave her; however, she didn't have work and wouldn't know how to feed her always hungry son Dudley. In the worst case, they'd even take her angel Dudley from her. 'I have to take Harry somewhere else, before Vernon accidentally kills him,' she resolved. 'The wizards should take him in and put up with his magic.' Unfortunately, she had no idea how to contact anyone in the magical world without an owl. 'Maybe I could take him to London. I won't be able to get into the magical shopping street, because only Lily could see the entrance, but maybe we'll see one or the other wizard or witch and can ask for help.'
In the morning, she instructed Dudley to tell the teacher that Harry was sick, which was not even a lie, since unbeknownst to Petunia Vernon had thrown Harry out into the garden the previous night, and the boy had spent the whole night under the roof in front of the back door, while the snow around him became deeper by the hour. Terrified, she had found the violently shivering, sneezing and coughing boy in the morning and had quickly ushered him into his cupboard.
As soon as Vernon and Dudley had left the house, she chose Dudley's warmest clothes and instructed Harry to put them on. Very hesitantly, Harry obeyed, looking at Petunia in surprise when she told him that they were going to London. Terrified, Petunia took in the boy's bruised figure, noticing that he was still shivering violently, even if he was dressed warmer than ever before. She put Dudley's second best winter jacket on the boy and motioned for him to follow her. She led him through the snow to the bus stop, knowing that the bus to London should arrive in a few minutes' time.
~ London ~
Harry quietly sat in the bus next to his aunt, wondering where they were heading. 'Why is she taking me to London instead of sending me to school?' he wondered, noticing that not only his throat was sore, but also his chest hurt every time he swallowed. 'I just hope we don't have to walk through London to do her shopping the whole day,' he thought, feeling very miserable.
Finally, they reached London, and Petunia dragged Harry with her along the streets. "Hurry up, boy. I don't have all day," she hissed at the boy, seeing how slowly he walked.
Harry, who could barely move his sore limbs, felt worse by each step he took. However, he knew better than to contradict or make his aunt angry. "Yes Aunt Petunia; I'm sorry," he croaked, letting out a few harsh coughs.
Petunia gave him a sharp look, noticing that his face was even paler than normal, while his cheeks were deeply flushed, and his forehead was covered by beads of sweat, although the boy apparently couldn't stop shaking from the cold. Finally, they reached the street where she remembered the Leaky Cauldron to be.
"Harry," she addressed the boy, suddenly sounding very excited. "Can you see a door over there, somewhere on the left side of the street?" she queried, looking at him in expectation.
Harry followed his aunt's outstretched finger with his eyes, trying to distinguish anything, while the world was spinning around. "I think there is something," he whispered, feeling slightly relieved when he felt Petunia's ice-cold hand grab his own.
"Well, take me there and open the door," Petunia instructed the boy, and together they moved towards the entrance door of the Leaky Cauldron.
"Where are we?" Harry whispered but was not overly disappointed when his aunt ignored him. He was used to it, and he could barely make out anything in the dark room, especially as the world still seemed to be spinning around.
~ The Leaky Cauldron ~
Petunia sighed in relief as she noticed that Harry had indeed led her into the pub that she knew to be the entrance to the magical world. She had been here at least a dozen times, when Lily had brought her and their parents, so that they could admire how wonderful the magical world was. Petunia let out a snort at the thought and quickly addressed the barkeeper, knowing that she had met him before.
"Excuse me, sir; may we speak with you in private for a minute, please?"
Tom, the owner of the Leaky Cauldron, eyed her and the small boy in surprise but nodded and led them to a room behind the bar. "Harry Potter?" he queried, raising an eyebrow at the child.
"Yes sir," Harry replied in a barely audible voice, unaware of the shocked look the man threw him as he took his hand to greet him.
"My, you're burning hot, aren't you?" Tom stated more than he asked. "What's wrong with him?" he enquired, turning to Petunia.
Petunia quickly told him the whole story, before she said, "I can't put up with this anymore. Someone in the wizarding world has to take Harry in. I don't know how to contact Professor Dumbledore. This place here was the only place I remembered of the magical world from when my sister was still alive."
"I'll contact the Headmaster," Tom replied quickly and headed to the fireplace.
Harry heard Tom speak with someone, apparently becoming more impatient by the minute. 'What a strange place,' he mused. 'The man talks into the fire.' He hadn't understood everything Petunia and Tom had talked about; however, he felt a bit better now that he was sitting in a warm and comfortable chair, and the room wasn't spinning around anymore. He looked up in shock when all of a sudden a tall man emerged out of the fireplace.
"Petunia," the tall man, who was completely dressed in black, greeted his aunt.
"Severus," she replied, but Harry had the impression as if she didn't overly like the man. 'Is that the devil?' he wondered, knowing from his primary school that the devil was supposed to be black and live in hell. 'I didn't know that the fire in hell was green though.'
"The Headmaster and his Deputy are at the Ministry of Magic for the day. Tell me what you want quickly, since I don't have all day. I have to return to Hogwarts as soon as possible."
"Severus," Petunia sighed. "You must take Harry with you. Vernon abuses him and I'm afraid that he's going to kill him eventually. You were her friend all that time, weren't you? Now please help her son. I can't put up with him anymore." With that Petunia left the room, before the stunned wizards even knew what was happening.
"Professor Snape, will you please take little Harry with you? I think that he'll be in best hands with you, especially as it seems that he urgently needs medical attention," Tom said politely. "You will understand that I can't keep him here in this place, and I know nothing about Healing or Potions."
~ Hogwarts ~
Severus stood in front of the small child, giving him a sharp look. 'He is a Potter,' he thought in disgust, but forcefully suppressed that thought at the sight that told him that the boy was very ill. "Hello little one, I am Professor Snape. I'm going to take you with me to Hogwarts, and we'll see what we can do to make you feel better. All right?" he addressed the child in a soft voice.
"All right," Harry whispered hesitantly, although he flinched back badly and began to shiver violently at the cold touch of his hand, when Severus took the boy's right hand and held it in a firm grip as he led him into the fireplace and shouted, "Severus Snape's quarters, Hogwarts."
He scoped the child in his arms and carried him into his guest room, where he placed him on the bed and gently tucked him in. "I'll be back shortly," he said in a business-like voice and fetched his small medical bag from the bathroom. 'Too bad that Poppy is on holidays,' he thought as he headed back into the guest room. "Let me quickly check on you," he said in a softer voice, pulling his wand, before he noticed from the corner of his eyes that Harry threw him a terrified look. 'Oh no! Don't tell me he is not used to magic,' he thought and pocketed his wand. Instead, he took an old Muggle thermometer from his bag and coaxed it into the boy's mouth.
Pulling the chair from the desk over to the bedside, Severus lowered himself onto Harry's height and began to tell him about magic and that he had been the one who had told Lily that she was a witch when they were six years old. "And now this time it seems again to be my task to tell you that you're a wizard," he finished his explanation, smirking. He glanced at his wrist watch, before he plucked the thermometer from the child's lips, and his eyes widened.
"Harry, I believe that you have many questions, and I don't mind answering them; however, you're running a very high fever, and we have to find out what exactly is ailing you first. Can you tell me if anything hurts?"
"My head, my throat and my chest," Harry whispered. "My chest hurts when I swallow."
Severus feverishly pondered the matter, while he listened to the child's ragged breathing. 'With that fever it's probably pneumonia. I should listen to his lungs with my stethoscope, but if he is really abused as Petunia said, it would be too horrifying for him, especially as he doesn't know me at all,' he thought and finally made a decision. "Harry, I will give you two potions, one for your fever and one that should make you feel better. We'll see if it works; otherwise I'll call our Healer back from her holidays. I'll be back in a moment."
Not wanting to shock the boy by calling his house-elf, he quickly strode over to his personal lab and grabbed the necessary potions, filling them into two small goblets, before he returned to Harry's side. He gently helped the small boy to sit up and pressed the first goblet against the boy's lips. "Drink it all," he instructed him. "It isn't overly delicious, but it'll help."
Harry rewarded him by chuckling as he finished the first potion. "Not overly delicious is a good joke, Professor, but I already feel much better. It's like magic."
"It is magic indeed," Severus grinned as he handed the boy the second phial.
"Thank you very much, sir," Harry said when Severus allowed him to drink a glass of water to get rid of the potions' taste.
"You're welcome, Harry," Severus replied and carefully felt the boy's forehead. "I believe that your fever has broken. Nevertheless, you'll have to stay in bed for a few days. In the meantime, I will arrange for someone to take you in. Am I right that you prefer to remain in the magical world?" He raised an eyebrow at Harry, who slyly averted his eyes to his covers.
"I'd love that," he said in a barely audible voice. "Would it be possible... I mean... I know that I'm a freak and a burden, but could I perhaps stay with you, sir? I promise that I'll do everything you want me to do and that I'll earn my keep. It was the first time that someone told me about my mother, sir, and I loved it."
Severus gave the boy a shocked look, before he slowly raised Harry's chin with two fingers, making the child look at him. "Harry, please listen to me. You are not a burden to anyone, and you are not a freak. You are a small wizard, and the only thing you have to do is your homework, which your teachers assign you. I am willing to become your guardian if that's what you want," he promised and gently tucked him in again. "I can tell you many more stories about your mother. She was my best friend."
'He seems to be much like Lily, and I will raise him for her, so that he won't become like his father. I will take him in, and if Albus doesn't cooperate, we'll just leave Hogwarts. It doesn't matter.'
'Even if he looks like the devil in his black one-piece, he is a real saviour. I'm glad that he is going to become my guardian, especially as he was my Mum's friend,' Harry thought happily as he drifted off into a much needed healing sleep.