Adventures After Babysitting
IMPORTANT: I would like to draw everyone's attention to the unfortunate situation that is currently plaguing this site. For those that do not know, a few groups (Critics United, Lawlclan, Literal Union) are going around 'assisting' in purging stories that violate rules and regulations. I understand that the rules need to be followed. However, from what I have experienced, these groups has been extremely and unnecessarily harsh in their venture. Their tactics crosses the line, often harassing and bullying authors. They are hypocritical to the bone, calling authors 'childish' and 'hostile'. I think they are merely describing themselves. I am not willing to tolerate their self-righteous and arrogant attitudes as they go around attacking authors. The staff at ffnet does not seem to care a wit about all this.
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After much thought, Harry did talk with Ron and Hermione. He wasn't sure if they really understood how scary it was being the Boy Who Lived. But they tried their best to support him and to take his mind off the bad things. They helped him contact Sirius through the floo. Even Hermione, who was always the worrywart and party pooper, helped out. Talking with Sirius face to face and hearing his godfather laugh calmed him down and Harry's mood improved immensely after that.
On the advice of his godfather and friends, Harry decided not to antagonize Umbridge. It was a hard task, seeing as how the witch was strutting around the school like she owned it. And Harry was never very good at keeping a low profile. Although he'd become exceptionally good at it with the Dursleys, but he'd developed a knack for drawing attention when he was at Hogwarts.
Harry occupied his free time drawing up lesson plans for DA., which in Harry's month long absence hand been kept in tip top shape by Hermione and Ginny. Harry was rather impressed with the progress they were making. Despite a couple of close calls with Filch and Umbridge, it was going swell. And with Snape no longer giving Harry hell every time they met, 5th year was turning out better than he dared to hope.
So, it had to take an accidently deaging for Snape to finally stop being a git to Harry. Snape no longer looked at Harry like the child was the bane of his life and in response, Harry began to feel much more relaxed around Snape. Potions class were not unbearable, even if it was with the Slytherins and Harry was still pants at it.
And as his mood lightened, the bad dreams became less frequent. Only now his dreams were filled with images and flashes of his time as a baby. They became so vivid and the emotions so real that Harry was almost convinced that they were memories.
In the past Harry's nightmares of Voldemort often made him nauseous, angry and sick. Now the emotions of comfort and happiness he experienced during the dreams carried over into his waking hours. When he saw Snape, he felt odd feelings of trust and comfort. Harry supposed that it was a nice feeling, but one that he was strikingly unfamiliar with.
When Harry consulted Ron and Hermione about his odd dreams, they suggested that these were not your regular dreams. Well, he kind of had that figured.
"It's magic of course," Ron explained one evening at supper, as matter-of-factly. "You were de-aged, you weren't really 15 months old. Not, you know, naturally 15 months old. So, obviously it's the magic that's making you remember."
Ron's hypothesis sounded very plausible to Harry. "Yeah, that makes sense I guess," he responded.
Hermione, on the other hand had a very different interpretation of Harry's dreams. She, being a girl and Hermione, had delved deeper and went all psychological on the boys. "When you were a baby, you saw Professor Snape as your dad. You were so attached to him that you'd cry if he was gone for any length of time. Subconsciously, you miss him. Furthermore, because you can't consciously remember anything, your longing manifest themselves in dreams."
Harry had to take a moment to figure out what Hermione meant. "Soooo?"
"So, you're conflicted because you remember Professor Snape as two different people. One as your caretaker and the other as the potions master you hated."
"Well it's obvious isn't it, you're dreams are trying to tell you something," Hermione announced. "You remember two Professor Snape, but you want the one who was your caretaker. The one who you thought of as your dad. You just don't know that yet."
Ron laughed out loud, very nearly choking on his pumpkin juice.
Harry shook his head. "Dad? Hermione, you have got to be kidding me!"
"Well, as far as you knew, he was your dad," Hermione replied adamantly.
Harry cut her off, "Wait…wait. Where are you going with this, Hermione? I'm mean, Snape's been okay and I get that he was nice to me, but seriously, dad?"
When Harry was a child he craved affection. He would look at all the other kids and couldn't understand why his family didn't love him. Then he came to Hogwarts, where he made real friends and met people who cared about him, loved him even. There were Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Sirius, Remus, Hagrid. Professor Dumbledore, even Professor McGonagall and of course, the best friends a kid could ask for. Then there was Snape ,the man who had made it a hobby to put him down. Now, Harry reckoned that other than his parents (the Dursleys notwithstanding), Snape was probably the only one who looked after him for any length of time. Oh the irony.
"What about Sirius? If anyone's like a dad to me, it's Sirius."
"I know, but still. Sirius wasn't the one who looked after you for a month."
"But I bet he wanted to. He can't help it if he's been wrongfully convicted and is running for his life."
"Harry, I'm not asking you to start calling him dad or anything. I'm just saying he was fatherly to you. And maybe some part of you wants that from him."
"So what do you want me to do?"
"I don't know Harry. But all of these dreams you're having has to mean something."
"You sound like Trelawney."
"I do not!"
"Whatever," Harry finished. He frowned and looked up at the staff table where Snape sat. It still felt bizarre that one side of him still did not trust Snape and another side of him yearned for something akin to fatherly love.
It has been several weeks since Harry recovered and the teen decided that whatever happened, happened and there was no reason why he couldn't enjoy things the way it is now. One less person in the world that hated him was for the better, no matter who that person was. If only he could get Umbridge to like him, as disturbing as the image that invokes. Curiously, the idea of hugging Snape wasn't as weird as the idea of hugging Umbridge.
It was now mid Feburary and the snow was piled up to Hagrid's knees. Harry joined his housemates in the Quidditch field, making snowmen and flinging snowballs at each other in an epic combat. Then, somebody suggested that take the battle to the sky. Harry didn't know how it would work, but he raced off to grab his Firebolt anyway.
Taking the stairs two at a time, the Gryffindor was in and out of his dorm within seconds. Tearing back through the halls, Harry ran straight into a statue, his shoes squeaked on the floor and he felt backwards on his bum.
"Potter, for heaven's sake, watch where you are going!"
Harry looked up to see it was not an immovable statue that he'd run into, it was the potions master.
"Sorry professor," Harry apologized sheepishly as he got up and tried in vain to dust the dirt off of his robes, which were now mud thanks to his wet clothes. "Sorry."
"No harm done," Severus grunted, scanning the disheveled teenager in front of him. "Enjoying the weather, are we?"
"Ah, yes sir," Harry replied in a fluster. "I love the snow."
"I can see that," Severus grumbled, shaking his head at the state of Harry's clothes. He took out his wand and gave it a quick swish and flick.
Immediately, Harry felt goosebumps over every inch of his skin. "Bloody…"
"Language!" Severus warned. He pocked his wand and crossed his arms. "Better?"
Harry looked down at his robes and ran his hands over his arms and torso.
"I'm dry!" He proclaimed in surprise.
"Yes, Potter. Madam Pomfrey has 9 patients to keep her busy around the clock, all suffering from the flu. She does not need another patient, especially if that patient is you. At least try to stay out of her infirmary. You've been in there more than enough times this year and it is not yet mid-term."
"I…yeah, sorry," Harry mumbled guiltily.
"Good," Severus nodded curtly. "I haven't seen you out of bounds yet. Does this mean you are no longer breaking that particular rule, or have you only gotten better at eluding detection?"
Harry shook his head, "No. I've been sleeping better. The potion helped."
"How much have you used?"
"Nearly all of it now."
"Very well, come to my office tonight. I will give you some more."
"That's what I said. However, you should not rely on the potion to do the work for you. Dreamless sleep masks the symptoms, it does not solve the problem," Severus stressed.
"I know. But I haven't had to use the potion all that much. I drank most of it in the first week, but, I haven't needed so much since," said Harry. "I guess I haven't thanked you for this yet, sir. But you were right, talking to my friends did help."
Severus nodded in acknowledgement. "Now all you have to do is find an adult to talk to."
"That's easier said than done, sir." Harry replied. He looked out the window and began shifting from foot to foot.
"Sir? I was wondering…?"
"Could it…I mean, is it possible that I could remember what happened when I was deaged. I mean, during the time I was de-aged."
Severus shook his head. "It is unlikely, why do you ask."
"I remember…some things," Harry began.
"You do?" Severus asked, intrigued. It wasn't unheard of for the de-aged to have two sets of memories. One set of original memories and one set from their de-aging experience. This created turmoil in the individual and often led to denial and rejection of one of the memory, more often than not the de-aging memory was the one to be discarded. But Harry was de-aged to such a young age. How could he possibly remember anything?
"Yeah. I mean, at least I think so."
"Well, I've been having these dreams," Severus frowned at Harry's revelation.
"Not bad once, not nightmares I mean," Harry said quickly when he saw Severus's reaction. "They're dreams about you."
"The same as the ones you had when I caught you out of bounds a couple months ago?"
"Yes, sir," said Harry. "But I feel like that these aren't normal dreams. They feel more like memories."
Severus thought for a moment before responding. "How do you know these are memories and not just dreams?"
"I don't know. That's just it, it's really confusing. The dreams…memories, they are really vivid. But I don't know what to make of them. It's just….I don't know, I've just got this feeling."
"You have…a feeling?"
"I think it's the magic. Ron said so. I wasn't really a baby, it was the magic that turned me into one. I think that's why I can remember some things. I mean, I can't remember anything else from when I was that age, except for…" Harry stopped. "Well yeah."
"Except for what?"
"Nothing, it's not important." Harry frowned deeply. The only thing he could remember was the sound of his mother's dying scream as the killing curse hit her in the chest.
Severus did not press the issue and instead asked another question. "What sort of things do you remember?"
"Well…just stuff. I remember you carrying me around and talking to me and kind of….I guess, playing with me," Harry recalled. "In one dream, I was lost and I think I was trying to find you."
"No, you found me." Harry said softly. For a few seconds, Harry and Severus made eye contact. Harry had rarely looked Snape in the eyes because he was always afraid that he'd only see anger and hate. Looking at Snape now, Harry saw none of that. Snape's eyes were black and hard, but they were not cold, angry or hateful. What Harry saw warmth that was not soft like Hagrid's or glowing like Dumbledore's but it was warmth nevertheless.
Harry blinked and looked away.
"I remember that," Severus recollected as he called to mind the incident when Harry had gotten himself lost and was wandering the corridors blind as a sonar-less bat.
"You…do?" Harry said in wonder. "That means…it really happened?"
"I'd have to know more to draw any conclusions. If you are willing, we may set up an appointment to find out."
"I…maybe," Harry began. "I'd have to think about it, sir."
"Very well," said Seveurs.
"Can I go now sir?" Harry asked, looking out the window again and then hopefully up at Severus.
Sensing that the teen's attention was waning, Severus granted Harry's request.
"Alright. Get along now, child."
Harry flashed a smile. "Thanks, sir," the Gryffindor ran past the Potions Master.
"Yes, Mr. Potter?"
"Thanks, I really mean it."
Snape nodded again.
Harry ran off, positioning his Firebolt so that he could mount it as soon as he was outside.
The potions master couldn't help but wonder if stranger things will happen before the school year is over. He watched the Gryffindor run and looked out to see the boy take to the sky.
"You are welcome, Harry."