Mutatio Severus – A Severe Change
Warning: This is slash (fiction with male/male sexual involvement). This story contains explicit language and sex.
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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Severus Tobias Snape, former Death Eater. Dedicated to spying for the Order.
Harry James Potter, the-boy-who-lived. Destined to end Voldemort.
Things they have in common: loyal to Dumbledore and willing to give their life for the good cause. Yeah, that's about it. There's no way in hell they're ever going to be able to get along. No. Not a chance.
I. Mors et vita *
"Finally, Potter. I was looking for you," McGonagall strode into her office, not nearly looking as composed as usual.
"Professor! Snape – he was on our side all the time!" Harry had just emerged from the pensieve, watched Severus Snape's memories that he'd poured out just before he blew out his final breath. The final battle had just ended, and Harry had sought out the first occasion to escape to the Headmaster's office to use the pensieve. "And ... and Dumbledore sacrificed him! He sacrificed him so that Voldemort would think that he was the master of the Elder Wand! How – how could he! And now I know that Snape was ... well that he was a hero all along, and now," Harry's voice broke and he took a shuddering breath, "now he's dead."
"Potter ... Harry, please sit down for a moment."
"He's dead now! I'll never be able to – thank him."
"Please stop rambling for a second and hear me out. Professor Snape is alive. Barely, but he's not dead. After you left the Shrieking Shack, I found him and transported him to Grimmauld Place. I'm sorry I took him to your house, but it was the only place I could think of."
"He – he – he's alive?" Harry stammered, finally sitting down as his knees gave way. "You saved him?"
"He's alive, but I'm not sure if he'll survive. I urgently need to find someone to take care of him. I left him merely half an hour ago, when he fell asleep, but he needs constant surveillance. I can't take him to St. Mungo's, there's no question about that. Luckily, he always carries the most important potions on himself, so I was able to give him a blood-replenishing potion and some sedative."
"I'll go. I don't wanna be here anyway," Harry shook his head wearily.
"You need rest Harry."
"So does Snape. He'll sleep most of the time anyway. Right?"
"Okay, you can Apparate from just outside the gates. I'll send you word as soon as I find a Healer who's willing to ..." her voice trailed off and she shook her head. It would be nearly impossible to find a Healer to treat the supposed Death Eater who killed Albus Dumbledore.
"How badly hit are the dungeons? Is the potions lab still intact?" Harry called her back to the present.
"I – don't know."
"I'm gonna check that out first. I'll take all the ingredients I can find, so I can set up a lab at Grimmauld Place," Harry's thoughts were racing. Where had he left his potion's book? The one from the Half-Blood Prince? A chuckle escaped his lips when he realized that that had been Snape's, and now he was going to use it for him. At Harry's chuckle, McGonagall looked at him as if he'd gone crazy.
"Really, Professor. I'm fine, and I'll take care of Snape. It's probably best if we don't tell anyone that he's still alive?"
"Yes, I think that would be best. For now," she nodded curtly and patted his shoulder awkwardly. "Thank you. For – everything."
Harry shrugged uncomfortably, then hurried from the office.
Harry's head snapped up when he heard a soft, raspy moan. He'd been dozing off in an armchair. He carefully approached the bed when he saw weak movements in the critically injured man.
Snape's eyes slowly opened halfway, then closed again. At the second attempt, his eyes opened fully.
"Professor?" Harry said quietly, making sure not to loom over the man. A weird, wet sound came from his throat, like someone who tried to speak under water, or more like someone who tried to speak over a mouth full of hot soup.
"You're at Grimmauld Place. Professor McGonagall saved you from the Shrieking Shack after – after Nagini bit you," Harry told in a subdued voice when the dark eyes focused on him. Another bubbly, raspy noise sounded in the quiet room, and Harry's eyes flew to Snape's throat.
"The snake bit you in the neck, that's probably why you can't speak right now. I'm still giving you blood-replenishing potion at regular intervals, along with blood-cleansing and pain potions. You don't have any other injuries, but the poison had spread through all of your body, and the wound in your neck still bleeds sometimes. Oh and Voldemort is dead now."
Snape's hand slowly lifted to feel the bandage in his neck and his eyes flew around the room.
"There's no one else here, just me."
Snape made another sound, an impatient look on his face, in spite of the sedatives.
"Uhm, what?" Harry said, followed by another grunt from the older man. He held out his hand, then when Harry looked at it hesitantly, he closed it around empty air.
"Your wand? It's here," Harry quickly put the wand in his hand, and stepped back. Just in case.
Snaped lifted his arm and began writing in the air, but before Harry could read the words, they disappeared in thin air. Snape's arm sank back on the bed, an exhausted look on his face.
"You'd better go back to sleep Professor. I'll find something you can write on when you wake up again. I – I'll take care of you. I've seen your memories in the pensieve."
Harry quickly darted from the room before Snape even registered what he'd said. Harry stopped outside the door and took a deep breath. Even though he knew that Snape had been on the good side all along, he had been horrible to Harry all those years. And they were alone in this house, and Snape had a wand in his hand ... Better safe than sorry.
How long have I been here?
"This is the sixteenth day," Harry answered when he read the message that Snape had written on the blackboard with his wand.
Have you been giving me the same potions every day?
"Yes, I told you before. Blood-replenishing and –cleansing and pain potions."
The same combination every day?
"Oh, no. You need less blood-replenishing the last few days, because the wound seems to be closing. That's why I think your blood is getting cleaner, but I've been giving you a constant dose of cleansing potion. And I've been switching between the different pain and sleeping potions, because I'm not sure whether the effect is wearing off after a few doses."
So not the same potions.
Your answers are still as smart as when you were taking my classes, Potter.
"Well, I guess you don't exactly bring out the best in me."
And yet I'm stuck here with you.
"Is that so bad? I've kept you alive, haven't I? And it seems you're getting better," Harry couldn't help snide at the other man.
Watch your mouth Potter.
"What are you gonna do to me? Hex me? Then who will give you your potions? Clean you?"
I am perfectly capable of casting the cleaning spells myself. And Kreacher has been making your food, hasn't he? Then he can give me my potions too.
"And who will brew your potions?" Harry snorted.
You have been brewing the potions?
An amazed, and somewhat scared look flashed over Snape's face. "Yes of course. It's chaos out there, it's not like I can get potions by mail-order or something like that. Don't worry, I've been using my old potions book. Uhm, your old book I should say."
Well that makes me sleep soundly.
"It does," Harry said defiantly. "You've been sleeping better than I have." At these words, Snape's eyes flashed to Harry's face. The boy didn't look too rested indeed. In fact, he looked dreadful.
You don't sleep well now that the war is over?
"It was pretty horrific! I don't have ... his voice in my head anymore, but the memories are quite lively."
You don't take any sleeping potion?
"No. If I do, I won't wake up when – well, if you need anything," Harry said embarrassed, avoiding the dark eyes.
I am able to survive the night now. Take a Dreamless Sleep.
"Are you sure? Besides, what does it matter to you if I sleep well?" Harry grumbled.
I am not as heartless as you think. Snape cast a quick 'Tempus' and discovered that it was well into the evening. You should take it now.
"Kreacher is making dinner. Do you think you can eat some soup too?"
Soup is no dinner.
"Well, it's what I eat. Besides, you won't be able to eat anything more solid either," Harry said defensively. "And it's none of your business what I eat."
Again, I am not as heartless as you think. Why can't you eat anything solid?
"Who says I can't?"
Harry grumbled and cast a quick look at his former Professor. Snape's face was as pale and grumpy as ever, but his eyes seemed to miss the usual icy look. "We have been living in a drafty tent since last summer. We've been scraping food where we could find it, and had to cook it on a magical fire so there wouldn't be any smoke. My stomach can't handle full dinners anymore."
That's why you look so emaciated.
"Look who's talking," Harry snorted, his eyes raking over the skinny frame under the sheets.
I didn't exactly have a nice and quiet life as Hogwarts most hated Headmaster of history. And before that I was in hiding too, like you and your friends. Snape saw a pained look cross the boy's face and he hesitated for a moment, but then decided to ask the question anyway. Where are they? Don't they usually feed you up at the Weasley's?
"One of Ron's brothers died in the final battle," Harry's voice was barely a whisper. "And Hermione's gone to search for her parents, she'd modified their memory and sent them to Australia before we went in hiding."
I am sorry to hear that.
"I'm sure you are. You always liked them loads," Harry stalked from the room. Snape was left behind, staring at the door, lost in thoughts until the young man returned with a tray. "Think you can eat some? Wanna try?"
Snape nodded his head and managed to hoist himself up on his elbows. He didn't have the strength to sit up in the pillows though, and started to slide back until Harry hurried to his side and wrapped his arm around him. He summoned some pillows with his wand and stashed them behind the older man's back so that he stayed in an upright position. When he slowly withdrew his arm, careful not to hurt him, he suddenly noticed that Snape's eyes were not as black as he'd always thought. There were tiny golden specks in them. Harry felt the blood rush to his cheeks and he quickly busied himself with the bowls of soup. When he'd placed the tray with Snape's bowl on his lap, he hesitated.
You don't have to feed me Potter. My wand-arm is quite fine, as you can see.
Harry gave a non-committal grunt and settled down in his armchair with his own bowl. From the corner of his eye he watched Snape eat, cautiously and very slowly. After only a few sips, his arm began to tremble and he spilled the food all down his front. Harry stoically kept on eating his soup until he was quite sure that Snape wouldn't eat any more.
"Kreacher?" he waited a moment until the house-elf appeared, then asked him to take the dishes back. Kreacher snapped his fingers, and all the spilled soup disappeared. The creature snapped his fingers once more and the bowls stacked themselves neatly on the tray and he carried them out of the room without a word. Snape sighed relieved that the boy didn't make any annoying comments on his wand-arm not being so fine after all. He tensed up when Harry wrapped his arm around him and removed the pillows from behind him.
"Sorry, don't mean to hurt you," Harry muttered, avoiding the dark eyes. Snape studied the hollow cheeks up close and unconsciously registered the slightly musky smell mixed with shampoo. He felt very self-conscious suddenly when Harry laid him down gently and placed his wand close to his hand. He left the room and Snape let out the breath he didn't even know he'd been holding. His hand slowly moved to his hair. It wasn't as greasy as it had always been when he'd been standing over cauldrons every day, but it wasn't all clean either. Harry had been using cleaning charms on him, but that wasn't by far as good as taking a shower.
His musing was interrupted when Harry came back with his potions. Snape obediently swallowed the first two, then pointed at the vial of Dreamless Sleep and then at Harry. "Okay, okay, I'll also take it. But I'll ask Kreacher to sleep here, okay? So that he can warn me in case ... well just in case."
Snape nodded exhausted and swallowed the last potion. The last thing he registered before he sank into nothingness, was Harry bending over him to check on the wound in his neck. Gentle, warm hands on his skin.
Many weeks later Harry and Snape could be found in the improvised potions lab. It had cost many awkward moments to get Snape out of bed, get him into more suitable clothes than just boxers and a t-shirt, and finally to get him down the stairs. The whole process had taken several weeks to get to this point, and today they'd succeeded for the first time. Harry had been making changes to the potions on Snape's suggestions ever since he'd been strong enough to write on the blackboard, but they still hadn't found anything that brought his voice back. So Snape insisted that he'd be in the lab to oversee the brewing process and judge the potential of the potions.
Snape was slumped down in a chair, more exhausted than he'd ever admit, his eyes on Harry and the potion constantly. He grunted to let the boy know that he'd written something on the blackboard.
You have to chop them finely. How hard is it to follow instructions?
"Yeah, well, you breathing down my neck isn't exactly helping my concentration," Harry grumbled and continued to chop, trying his hardest to make even pieces.
I am not. I am merely overseeing the process.
"You're looking at my hands the whole time, it's getting on my nerves. If you could just sit over there, then I'll take the potion to you so you can judge," Harry pointed his knife to a chair at the other side of the room.
Just get used to it.
"I can't work like this!"
Oh get over it Potter! Snape had absolutely no intention to admit that he didn't have the strength to go to the other chair.
"Get over it? Look who's talking! I know that you hate me just because you hated my dad, but can't you just get over that? I'm trying to help you here, trying to brew this bloody potion so that you'll get better, and all you do is criticize me! You're not being exactly helpful!" Harry burst out and stormed from the room. Snape extinguished the flames under the cauldron and squeezed his eyes shut.
An hour later Harry returned, still in a bad mood, but worry flashed over his face when he found Snape exactly as he had left him. "Sir? Are you okay?"
I was taking a nap.
"Oh. Sorry," Harry shrugged awkwardly. "You want me to get you back upstairs?"
I was thinking we should try a different potion.
"What did you have in mind?"
A nourishment potion.
Harry looked at him surprised. "You don't think there's enough in the food you eat? You're getting stronger."
Have you looked in the mirror recently?
Harry's brow furrowed. What kind of question was that? He read it again, then turned at the other man. Snape was clearly waiting for an answer. "Well, yeah when I was at Hogwarts ..."
There's no mirror in your bedroom? Bathroom?
"No, and yes in the bathroom there is, but it's fogged up after the shower," Harry shrugged, then continued in a mutter, "and I prefer to keep it that way."
You should chance a glance in the mirror.
"I know my hair's too long, but I don't know how to cut it," Harry fingered his dark hair that had almost reached his shoulders.
Hairdresser? Or I could cut it?
"No thanks. I'll go to a hairdresser. Some day." Harry secretly thought that he'd rather die than have Professor Snape cut his hair. He'd probably curse off all his hair or something nasty like that.
But that's not what I meant Potter. You look dreadful, even if you cut your hair.
"Thanks a lot."
You don't eat well, and do you sleep at all? Harry didn't answer, but that was enough answer for Snape. Why don't you take a sleeping potion now and then?
"You don't either!"
I don't need it anymore. Apparently, you do. This is not a contest. Snape glared at the boy and smirked when he averted his eyes. Still having nightmares? Why don't you talk about it?
Harry looked up at him as if to dare him to say that he'd have to talk to Snape. Yes, to me. I'm here all day. After all, you have only given me a short run-down on the events in the Final Battle.
"I thought you wanted me to make a new potion?" Harry grumbled.
Yes, we will. And after we finish, you will take Dreamless Sleep.
"And if I don't want to? Are you gonna force it down my throat?" Harry looked at him defiantly.
I can be resourceful. Do not tempt me. They stared eachother in the eyes for almost a whole minute, until Harry averted his eyes. Give me your silver knife and I will cut up the ginger.
"You're going to – help?"
Shut up and focus Potter.
Harry got to work and soon found out that it wasn't that bad to work next to his former teacher, as long as said teacher kept busy and didn't stare at his hands. The even, rhythmic sound of Snape's chopping even worked calming on his prickly mood.
* Mors et vita – Death and life