Severus sat in a rather comfortable chair beside Harry's bed in the infirmary, wondering how everything would turn out. Severus had redecorated his entire quarters, well, except his room. He had added touches of color to the living room, and some whimsical decorations in the kitchens, hoping that he had made it at least a bit more tolerable for a younger lodger. He knew that random potions vials and dark colors were probably not the best for Harry's recovery. After the initial shock of realizing that the man he secretly harbored feelings for was going to live with him, well, he grew slightly more excited about the entire prospect. Severus perhaps hoped that in the slim, astronomically slim that is, chance that this "cure" actually worked, and that he could help Harry find happiness again, maybe they could become more. Maybe Harry could find happiness in him as well. Severus internally laughed, no, fairy-tale endings were not meant for men like him.
Severus was brought out of his thoughts by several people entering the infirmary. Remus led the group followed by a rather distraught looking Sirius, both of the Weasley parents following suit.
"How is he doing Severus? Has he woken at all?" Remus asked as the members of the Order surrounded his bed.
"No. He was given several sleeping potions this morning to help him rest and regain some energy. He should awake anytime within the next few hours. How did everyone find out?" Severus said never taking his eyes off the boy.
"Albus informed all of us last night. He told us what happened and what needs to happen for Harry to recover." Remus said
"Snape, do you really believe that he will recover?" Sirius asked. Severus noted just how tired the man looked, wondering how much worry had to be plaguing him for this usually lively man to act in such a fashion.
"I believe that the possibility exists. I will certainly try my hardest, but the boy has obstacles to overcome that none of us could have imagined. The true recovery lies upon his shoulders, it is his decision." At these words Molly covered her mouth with a handkerchief to try and keep from crying aloud, and Severus noticed how Sirius let his head hang low.
"Perhaps, Black-" Severus began as he stood up to his full height "You would join me in my chambers for a moment? Simply to ensure that Harry will approve of the changes I have made for his convenience." Sirius nodded his head and followed Severus through the floo, neither man noticing the stunned looks of Molly, Arthur, and Remus.
Both men stepped into Snape's living room.
"Black, I am aware that your worry is for Harry, and far be it from me to care, but there is something else that is bothering you. If it has to do with Harry, I need to know." Severus said handing the man a short glass of Firewhiskey.
"Yesterday, early morning, he asked me if he could come back and stay with me. I told him that if things got too difficult that he could take some time off and stay at Grimmuald Place with me, but he asked me and I told him no. He begged and I…I asked him to give it some more time…now he's collapsed. I wanted to bring him back, I really did but I just thought that he would be able to handle his friend's death if he had all of his other friends around him constantly. I feel like this is my fault, maybe if I had let him return, then none of this would have happened."
"Black. As much as I enjoy seeing you wallow in your misery, this existed long before yesterday morning. This has been going on since, at the very least, the beginning of the school year, and probably much longer. This is not something that can appear overnight." Severus admitted before taking a large sip of Firewhiskey, enjoying the feeling of the burning sensation down his throat.
"You know what's causing this, don't you Snape?"
"I know a large part of it. It's something Harry feels that he has to hide, perhaps rightfully so. But perhaps he will open up to you soon. You just have to show him that you won't judge him, the way I'm sure the others will."
"I'll do anything. I just want Harry to get better, no matter what it takes." Sirius admitted downing the glass in one go.
'As do I,' Severus thought sipping at his drink, 'As do I.'
"Let's return to the hospital ward, I want to be there when Harry wakes up." Sirius insisted
"Very well, though you may want to dismiss Remus, Molly and Arthur. Harry needs rest, not a welcoming party."
"Yes." Sirius took the advice to heart knowing that Severus was right; the last thing Harry would want is to be crowded over being bombarded with questions. As loathe as he was to admit it, a part of him truly believed that Snape could help heal his godson.
Severus and Sirius sat on either side of Harry in an uncomfortable silence for an hour and a half before Harry began to stir.
"urrrg" Harry moaned as he tried to sit up, his efforts quickly thwarted by a large hand on his chest pushing him back down.
"Stay down, conserve your energy." A silky voice spoke
"Harry? I'm so glad you're awake" spoke a gruff voice
"mmm…Sirius? What's going on?"
"You're in the infirmary at Hogwarts. You collapsed." Sirius quickly filled in
Harry felt a glass vial being shoved into his hand with a stern "Drink this; it is a Pepper-up potion. It will give you an energy boost. You've been asleep for over 12 hours now and we have some things to explain to you."
"Professor Snape?" Harry asked rubbing the sleep from his eyes
"Yes. Now drink." Severus spoke as Harry uncorked the vial and downed it in one gulp.
"Gaaa, you really need to figure out a way to make these things taste better, Professor." Harry cringed
"Yes, well if they all tasted like lollipops and gumdrops, I fear those clumsy enough to injure themselves would be more inclined to do so." Severus admitted making Harry think that perhaps Severus had actually thought about making them taste better, Harry giggled, though almost unnoticeably.
"Harry, do you remember what happened?" Sirius asked covering his godsons hand with his own large one.
"I was standing by the Black Lake, when Professor Snape came by to talk to me. I started to feel really lightheaded…that's the last I remember." Harry said rather puzzled.
"Harry, you collapsed. Snape had to carry you here to be treated by Madam Pomfrey. He couldn't wake you up." Sirius said, the grim look on his face unfitting.
"Oh, well I was really tired earlier. I probably just fell asleep."
"I'm afraid not, Mr. Potter. It has been brought to our attention that you are ill. Very ill. You have a rare magical disease called Malatempura. It's similar to depression, but it is a more severe form that feeds off of your magical core. Unless it is treated, you could be rendered a squib for the rest of your life." Severus explained hoping that the explanation was suitable.
"Wait, you mean just because I'm a bit depressed, all of my magic could be sucked out of me?"
"In not so simple terms, yes. That is what that means." Severus spoke crossing his arms over his chest noticing Harry's gaping mouth
"That is the most ridiculous…preposterous thing I've ever heard! And I went up against a three-headed dog!" Harry said emphasized by his arms being thrown up into the air.
"I'm sorry, Harry, but Snape is right." Sirius admitted gripping his hand tighter over his godson's.
"So, what happens now? Do you have to brew some sort of potion or cast a spell or something?" Harry wondered as both men looked at each other.
"Actually Harry, the only way to cure it is to be happy." Sirius said, knowing that he made it sound more simple than it really was.
Poppy emerged from another room.
"Mr. Potter, hello. How are you feeling?"
"A bit shaken."
"Yes that can happen. I'm assuming that Mr. Black and Severus explained what has happened?"
"Yes, but I'm still a bit confused."
"That's alright. I have taken the liberty of putting together a pamphlet for you to answer any questions you may have, and I will be explaining it in far more detail than, I'm sure, Mr. Black and Professor Snape were able to provide. You will spend the rest of the day here before going to your new room, so I am sure that we will have plenty of time to talk about both the conditions of the disease and the steps to recovery." The Mediwitch spoke
"Ok…wait…my new room?" Harry asked
"Yes, you will be staying in a guest room in Severus' chambers" Madam Pomfrey spoke as Harry looked wide-eyed at the potion's master.
"Oh. Can't I stay in my dorm?" Harry asked
"I'm afraid not, Mr. Potter. You need to be under the care of the assigned guardian at all times, when not in class. I will explain the reasons later on when we talk about everything in more detail. Is this going to be a problem for you?" The grey-haired witch asked him.
Harry sat in silence wondering; will this be a problem? I have to live with the greasy git, but I guess he was nice enough to take me in, and he doesn't seem to be mad about it right now. Maybe this will be okay. Besides, he knows all my secrets, so I guess, if I had to talk to someone, he would be the best choice. It could be worse I suppose- I could have had to stay with the Weasley's. Harry remembered the last time that he got a simple cold, the way the entire family went around waiting on him hand and foot, asking if he was feeling alright the entire day, while Mrs. Weasley made him about forty different soups, it drove him crazy. He shivered at the notion of having to stay with them again, and then giggled a bit at how funny it had been.
"No, Madam Pomfrey. There won't be a problem." Harry said looking at her.
"Good. I'm going to give you some alone time with Mr. Black and Professor Snape. I will be back out shortly after I get a few things straightened out." The mediwitch turned and went in to her office.
Harry look at Sirius.
"What were you just thinking about that made you giggle pup?"
"Oh, last year I got a tiny cold. The Weasley's were running around me fretting the whole time, Mrs. Weasley must have cooked like, forty or fifty different soups. And I was only sick for a few days. I'm just grateful that I'm not staying with them, I suppose. I mean, I love them a lot, but they can drive you crazy." Harry admitted noticing the smiles on Sirius and Snape's faces.
"That sounds like Molly." Sirius said ruffling his godson's hair.
"Indeed, that does sound like the Weasley's. For now, Harry, you may have some alone time with your Godfather. I will be back around six to pick you up. I will then escort you to your rooms and introduce you to my chambers. After that we will have a quiet dinner in my dining room away from the noise of the Great Hall. I will see you at six." Severus said before walking towards the fireplace and flooing to his quarters.
"Ummm…why isn't Snape upset with me?" Harry asked Sirius.
"Well, I think he understand your situation more than the rest of us. He said that he knows what is going on. As much as I hate to admit it- he is really trying. He didn't even call me 'Mutt'. Sirius laughed before noticing Harry look down.
"He told you didn't he? He told you what happened." Harry asked
"Harry, he didn't tell me anything. He said that it was for you to tell, and I agree. Even if I do want to know what's caused this-I can wait for you to talk to me." Sirius noticed Harry sigh in relief. "Harry, you do know that you can talk to me right. I went through a rough patch when your Mum and Dad died. And if it's something more than that…well- I may not understand, but I won't judge you. There's very little you could do to make me ashamed of you." Sirius said putting his hand on Harry's to comfort him.
"Very little?" Harry wondered
"Well, short of joining You-Know-Who, there's nothing. And I'm not really worried about that, so yea, there's nothing you could do that would make me ashamed of you. And I will always love you. You're my pup, and I just want to see you happy, alright?" Sirius asked and smiled as Harry nodded.
"I'm just not ready to talk about it yet."
"Whenever you're ready, I'll be here. So will Remus, if you want him to be. He would never be ashamed of anything you do either. You know that right?" Sirius asked.
"I do now. Thanks Sirius." Harry hugged his godfather tight, not letting go, and after several hours of talk Harry fell into a deep sleep until Madam Pomfrey woke him.
"Mr. Potter, I believe that we have things to discuss."