Title:

A few days more

Sequel to twenty-one days

Author:

evil minded

Timeframe:

Fourth year at Hogwarts

Summary:

"A few days more" is the sequel to "Twenty-one days" – read and review this first or you wouldn't understand all that happens in this story.

The fourth year Slytherins and Gryffindors have survived their imprisonment in the potions classroom situated in the dungeons. How will they go on in all-day life after their survival? How will they manage to reintegrate into the castle's routine and their classes? How will they be able to go back to life at all? Watch how those who survived fight for their lives and for their peace, for their place in the community at Hogwarts.

Disclaimer:

Did you see Severus alive at the end of 'The deathly hallows'? no?

Do you think I would have had him died if I had written those books? no?

Then you know that 'Harry Potter' does not belong to me … nor does Severus … regrettably … he belongs to J. K. Rowling …

But Hereweald Hrothgar does …

Rating:

M – Not suitable for children or teens below the age of 16

Author's Notes:

Uhm … ok … I have to admit … English is not my language by birth … so … please do not kill me while reading … neither for the bad English I use, nor for what I am writing …

Warning:

Story contains references to child abuse.

Child-abuse is a really serious thing, it is an evil thing and there are a lot of children in our world that really would need help without being helped, and closing our eyes and pretending it does not exist, is no solution …

I only say - remind yourself of your feelings, of your sympathy, and of your understanding … and handle people, children as well as adults, which are showing any signs – whichever – of once being abused … with understanding and with help …

what does not mean I am not as evil as I pretend to be … ^.~ … believe me - I am …


break … ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ … line

Previously in twenty-one days

He had promised them not only to keep their spirits up. He had believed in it, knowing that they would not believe in it either if he did not. But the longer they had been down there, the weaker they had gotten, the harder it had been to actually keep this confidence up.

But they had made it and he had to admit that he was rather proud at them, at all of them. They all had grown beyond them, even Ronald Weasley.

He watched the boy taking his seat beside Blaise Zabini at the end of the Slytherin table, not even casting a glance at the Gryffindor table, just like all the other Gryffindors did. They automatically had followed Vincent, Gregory and Blaise to the Slytherin table and they automatically had taken their seats there without questioning their actions, and the Slytherins had accepted them on their table without thinking either.

He guided Harry to the table and seated the boy beside Theodore while he himself sat on Harry's other side. Most of them had their arms laying on the table and their heads resting on their arms, their eyes closed, ready to sleep and never ever wake again and he actually was glad for the moment the bowls with the broth appeared.

"Eat!" He softly ordered, his voice however not allowing contradictions. "And eat slowly. Use the spoons." He knew how tired they were and that most of them probably wouldn't bother eating anything, their tiredness, their exhaustion overshadowing their hunger that had become something they had gotten used to anyway, but he also knew how important it was. "You do not have to finish it, but I want you to at least try it." Not only was it important that they ate something at all, but that they ate together right now. They had survived together, and they should end this together. "And if you feel sick, then just say so and I will give you a stomach potion."

He watched them eating, spooning their soup, broth only, but it was good to know that they were able to eat something, that they actually had something to eat. Not everyone was out of the woods yet, he knew, and his gaze wandered over Harry and Theodore, brushed even Draco, Tracy and Parvati, but they actually had real chances now. They would survive, he just had to believe in it, just like he had believed that they would make it out of the dungeons alive.

A few days more

Chapter one – prologue

Day one – twenty-third of September – Monday evening

The end of the tunnel

It was slow going, waking up, but he immediately knew that it wasn't a dream but reality, that he indeed was about to wake. He often had dreamed that he was about to wake up lately without being able to actually doing so, without being able moving, opening his eyes or giving away a sound while he could hear voices around him that either demanded of him to wake up, sounding desperate and strangely like the Professor's voice or voices that sounded cold and harsh, saying that he wasn't worth waking, that he should die instead. But this time he knew that it wasn't one of those dreams, knew that he was leaving the land of the dreaming to enter reality. At least it felt real.

The first thing he consciously realized was – he was not laying on his mat like he should but in a bed that was not as thin and as hard as had been the mat he so long now had been sleeping on and he remembered that he hadn't been able to do better mats, maybe due to the fact that the magic down in the dungeons had been drained rather quickly. Maybe that had been the reason as to why he hadn't been able cushioning the books more than he actually had? Because the magic already had started to fade when he had transfigured and then cushioned the books? It could be possible, he thought.

The second thing he consciously got aware of was, that he was not covered with the thin blanket like he should but with a thicker and more comfortable one and he testily tried moving his fingers, tried to feel the fabric of the blanket he was covered with and with some satisfaction he noticed that he indeed was able to. A bit only, he was sure of that, even though it nearly seemed to be an impossible task, but he could move them and he felt the fabric of the blanket, tried to grip it – and failed.

The next thing he noticed was, that he didn't freeze but that he actually was comfortably warm. He wasn't sure though if it was due to the now thicker blanket he was covered with, or if it was due to any other cause and for a short moment he even wondered where the thicker and more comfortable blanket had come from, but the thought was gone too soon before he really could grasp at it, let alone find an answer to it. It wasn't important though, he guessed. Maybe the Professor had found it in one of the cupboards down here to keep him alive somehow and suddenly he remembered the man's desperation.

Merlin, Snape – Severus, he had even cried over him just a few hours ago, or maybe it had been yesterday, he wasn't sure about that. Time had become something rather unimportant down here the longer they were here. So – if Severus had been so desperate because he worried over him, then surely those voices who said he wasn't worth waking, that he should die instead, it surely weren't the voices of Severus or his friends down here – a thought that strangely comforted him and he relaxed.

He didn't know if he had drifted off for a few minutes more, because it felt like waking up again when the next thing he realized were soft voices around him, soft murmuring voices that seemed strangely known to him and yet so far away as if they came from his dreams, and again he immediately knew that they were not from his dreams, that they were real.

He couldn't make out the words that were spoken, but he could make out one voice that seemed closer now, that seemed to demand something of him, again, a deep and velvet voice that was strangely comforting and reassuring. But for the life of him – he didn't know what it wanted of him and before he could figure it out he was claimed by sleep once more.

break … ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ … line

"Uncle Severus?" Draco's voice to his right made him looking up at his godson, the boy standing beside him and looking worried, nearly scared.

"What is it, Draco?" He asked, sighing, forcing his attention to leave Harry for a moment and going over to the blond boy that still looked too pale and he noticed Theodore standing close behind, looking just as unsure and scared as did his godson.

"Why isn't he waking?" Draco asked. "He's been sleeping all night and all day long, shouldn't he wake up by now? He will wake, won't he?"

"Of course he will, you silly child." The Potions Master growled, shaking his head for a moment, but then he took a deep breath. His godson had asked nothing else than he himself had worried about just as well, they just were as concerned as was he, nothing else and it surely was nothing to growl at. "He has been worse than the rest of us and so of course it will take him more time to wake." He then explained. "Not to mention that we have put him into a healing sleep last night upon arriving here to restore as much of his lost energy as possible, as little as this will be to begin with anyway, it was the only choice we had at that moment."

"But he's here, and he's alive." Draco softly said. "He made it and surely he'll be alright, won't he?"

Severus hesitated for a moment, but then his face became resolved. He had never lied to his students and surely he wouldn't start doing so now, never mind the answer.

"I cannot answer your question, Draco." He quietly and calmly said, as calmly as possible at least as he himself didn't feel calm at all. "The diagnostics we have cast last night have shown that the damage caused by starvation was indeed worse than I had hoped for and if I have to be honest – it is a miracle that he even has survived so far, let alone walking to the great hall last night."

Well, it was true after all and looking over the other students, Ronald, Hermione, Blaise and Tracy sitting at a table Albus had conjured this morning – playing this infuriating game of cards and chess pieces Potter had come up with, Neville standing close to Theodore and Draco – listening, some of the others sitting on the beds in small groups – chatting quietly and a few others sleeping – again, he – and not for the first time – realized how close to death Harry had been. And how close all of them had come.

Merlin, just 24 hours earlier the boy, his son, had drifted in and out of consciousness, barely able to breathe, barely able keeping alive and it had been a small miracle indeed, that he had woken enough to take the pepper up potion Poppy – luckily – had brought with her. Without it the brat surely wouldn't have managed the long way from the dungeons to the great hall, even if it was – again – a small miracle that the teen had managed this way up all those stairs even with the potion in his system that had given him a boost of energy.

Well, he knew that maybe he shouldn't have allowed Harry this way, maybe he should have had seen to the boy being brought to the infirmary upon their rescue immediately, but at the same time he had known – and still knew – how important this had been, and not only to Harry but to all of them – and yes, including Harry, to be together and to go this way on their own two feet, to show this much of strength, of liberty and of independence, of togetherness even.

However, despite it being a small miracle, Harry had managed, the boy once more proving not only his unbelievable strength but his will-power, his stubbornness actually, and he had sat there with the others, had eaten the soup together with the others, had drunk half a cup of tea together with the others, a look on his pale face he never had seen on the boy before, on any child before, a look that had gone beyond pure bliss, beyond pure heaven, and definitely a look he never wanted to see on any child's face ever again. It had been a look that clearly said – Harry had known how close to death he had been and it had been a look that clearly showed – the boy had known what this particular meal, as small as it had been, maybe could mean for his survival.

Of course he, Snape, he knew that this single small meal had not made the difference between life and death, that it maybe could have been the last of the boy's meals anyway as the damage done by starvation simply had been too serious, life threatening, and that a few spoons of soup wouldn't undo that damage. But Harry was a child, a fourteen year old boy and a child that had been in a situation no one should be in, and surely not a child. Of course for him this meal had felt as if it might save his life – the fact of any child having to think in those directions a startling thought, he had to admit that.

Few of them had complained about the small portions, most of them being too glad that they had anything to eat at all finally and those who had – Vincent and Gregory as well as Ronald – they too soon had learned that they wouldn't have managed eating a second anyway. What had him worried had been Harry barely managing only half of the already small portions of soup and only a few small bites of the toast before feeling full and even unwell despite the stomach soothing potion they'd been given. But well, he had known that this would be the case and he had known that it wouldn't be easy either.

The boy had been sitting there for a short while, like the others, simply bathing in the feeling of freedom, of having something else than plain water, of being in the great hall, together, of normalcy returning after twenty-one days of imprisonment in the potions classroom without real food, of seeing something else than the small space of the classroom, laboratory and the kitchen or his office. The moment however they had finally stood to allow Poppy, Albus, the other heads of houses and him, Snape, to get them to the infirmary with their emergency portkeys, he had his son clinging to his wrist and his hand for a moment and he had been just in time to wrap his arms around the child before the small and fragile body had gone limp in his arms, the child simply having reached his limits finally and having lost consciousness.

He hadn't hesitated but brought Harry to the infirmary where Poppy and him had waved their wands, had cast diagnostics and then had shifted the boy's sleep from unconsciousness to a more healing sleep that would be more refreshing and recovering, but he surely never would forget those particular few minutes. And neither would he ever forget the last two or three days they had been down there, his worry and his fear about his son's survival.

"But he will survive, won't he?" Theodore asked, taking over where Draco had not dared asking this particular question and he locked his own dark eyes with the boy's blue ones.

"I won't promise you anything, Theodore, you do know me after all." He then answered, carefully choosing his words. "I do believe that Harry will survive, yes, but I guess we all know how weak he has become in the end and his metabolism has collapsed completely. In other words – it still could happen that he dies. And the same goes for a few others, what is the reason as to why I expect all of you to follow my orders to the point."

"I know, sir." Theodore nodded, his face showing that he was not happy with the answer but satisfied over having gotten an honest answer to begin with.

"Merlin, Severus!" Came a booming voice from the doorway and quickly he turned in his seat at the recognition of that voice, got off his chair and quickly strolled through the large room. "Hvordan har du det?"

"I am – as well as can be expected." He answered after a slight hesitancy truthfully while allowing the Norwegian to take him into his arms and in a bone crushing hug – in front of his students!

"As well as can be expected … I know what you originally had in your mind." The man boomed. "Severus Snape! You dare-devil! You've done a lot of crazy things in your life, but this time you definitely have managed to overdo even yourself!"

"Are you blasted imbecile implying that this has been my fault, Mr. Hrothgar?" He asked, nearly smirking at the man.

It was strange how good it felt, seeing this particular wizard now and in this situation, and he remembered his strange, melancholic emotions towards his old friend from a few days ago, wondered if that blasted man might actually have been here at Hogwarts a few days ago. Alone the fact that Hereweald had bothered coming here, never mind of back then or just now, made him feeling strangely happy.

"It hasn't been the Professor's fault!" Came an angry voice from behind, causing him to turn and look down at – Neville, of all people, the boy standing there, nearly trembling with rage, his head held high in defiance and the arms held at his side, his hands curled into tight fists. "It's been no ones fault! It just happened and the Professor has kept us alive! You better don't dare accusing …"

"Neville!" He said, trying to sound gentle while strict at the same time. He knew how timid and shy Neville normally was and for him to stand up against a stranger now, and to defend his old and mean potions professor, that not only must have cost him quite some will-power, but it also did mean something to Snape – even though it was a bloody Gryffindor move.

Well, the infuriating Gryffindor didn't seem to be in an overly obedient mood today, as he quickly shook his head.

"No!" The blasted boy gave a growl away of which he, Severus Snape, would have been very proud of, if it had not come from such an infuriating and disobedient – not to mention insufferable and imbecilic Gryffindor. "No! I won't allow this bloody …"

A moment later he had the boy effectively stopping in any ill choosing words he might have attempted by simply pulling him close and clasping his hand over the startled boy's mouth, while at the same time Hereweald was laughing in this booming way of his, angering Neville just the more.

"You better do not continue this particular sentence, Mr. Longbottom and you better stop laughing Mr. Hrothgar!" He growled, but even he himself could hear that this growl wasn't really as threatening as his growling used to be. He would have to work on this before he started with his classes again. "You are not helping this situation at all, Hereweald! And you, calm yourself Neville, now!"

Well, it worked, seeing that the teen took a deep breath and then nodded.

"I'm sorry, my dear Severus." Hereweald chuckled out. "It surely hasn't been my intention to upset your student."

"Oh, shut it, you threefold blasted idiot!" The Potions Master growled at the man before looking down at the boy and slowly taking his hand from the rash Gryffindor's mouth. "Hereweald Hrothgar is a very old and a very close friend of mine and he of course did not imply that the past twenty-one days have been anyone's fault at all. He just is unable of keeping this blasted mouth of his shut and behaves in ways so one might think he would have been a bloody Gryffindor had he attended Hogwarts. So there will be no need to get overly emotional over anything he is giving away – as much as I appreciate your thoughtfulness, child."

"Sorry." Longbottom murmured, his face that lately was as pale as were the other children's faces spotting bright red cheeks for once.

"Your apology is noted, Neville." He said, giving a nod of approval. This boy was one of those children with less self-esteem after all, and he did intend on changing this. "Next time you stumble over a situation however, that is not entirely clear, I just ask you to show a bit more subtle patience and wait and watch before acting impulsively."

"Ok, sorry, sir." The boy again apologized and he once more inclined his head.

break … ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ … line

He was sure that someone was calling his name, and he was sure that this someone seemed desperate to wake him – if he just were able to really wake! But he simply wasn't able opening his eyes.

The lids simply were too heavy and the light somehow was too bright suddenly, even through his closed lids, and he knew that it would hurt his eyes the moment he finally had managed opening them. In other words – he was in the infirmary! The question was – why? How in Merlin's name had he managed ending up in the infirmary this time – again? And who would even …

Merlin!

The potions classroom!

The last three weeks!

And last night they'd been … forcing his eyes open he couldn't help groaning the moment his prediction came true and he quickly pressed his eyes close tightly.

"Open them slowly, Harry." A deep and velvet voice beside him said while he at the same moment could feel a hand touching his brows and he flinched away for a moment – until he realized the familiarity of that particular kind of touch.

It wasn't uncle Vernon hitting him into the face but just Snape's hand shielding his eyes from the harsh light of the infirmary and he breathed a sigh of relief. He wasn't back with the Dursleys but with Snape and he was safe.

"S'ry." He sleepily murmured, feeling strangely comfortable despite the slight but unpleasant pain in his arms and legs.

Well, he had all reasons for feeling comfortable, he guessed, while slowly making another attempt of opening his eyes, considering the past few days – at least of which he remembered. His stomach felt strange but it didn't hurt do badly anymore, he felt weak and tired but he didn't feel dizzy and sick anymore, and his limbs still hurt slightly, but it weren't those painful cramps than it had been the last few days anymore. So – all in all, he guessed that he could take this as an improvement.

Not to mention that he was comforted at the knowledge that Snape was there, that he wasn't alone while waking and that still the older wizard wasn't disgusted by touching him, that he still seemed ready to make it easier for him somehow, that he had taken the time to be here when he woke as surely now, that they were free and out of the dungeons, the man would have better things to do than sitting with him, Harry.

Did this mean that the man still cared?

Did this mean that Snape still wanted him? That he still was his father? That it hadn't been a cruel game only, that had been meant to comfort them while they had been locked up and about to die anyway, just to be abandoned the moment they were out of the dungeons and their lives would go on and continue?

"Foolish child!" Snape chided and he couldn't help smiling at the older wizard's words.

Snape still called him a foolish child and the man wasn't back to calling him "Potter" yet – that surely meant something, didn't it? At least it made him feeling warm and comfortable, safe and – and simply wanted. It might be Snape, greasy and snarky Snape, dungeons bat and the one teacher who handed out ninety percent of all detentions given at Hogwarts, the one teacher who took ninety percent of all points taken at Hogwarts, it was the one teacher who caused the younger students to burst into tears and the older students to simply hate him, but it also was Snape who cared about him, who had been ready to touch him without being disgusted, who had comforted him and who wanted him, who even had adopted him – and with another content sigh he leaned into the touch.

He had learned so many different sides on that man – yes, it was Snape, but it also was his father and suddenly he realized that he not only liked him, but that he actually loved him.

Severus Snape nearly breathed a sigh of relief himself when Harry – finally – woke and he didn't even care that the disobedient child didn't open his eyes at all. It was enough for him that the boy finally was awake, that he was moving, uttering one of his infuriating 'sorries' – and that he was still alive yet.

Feeling the pure bliss that radiated off his son and noticing the boy leaning into his touch, he shook his head, knowing that still the boy seemed to have thought he would abandon him now, now that they were free. But well – he knew the boy's line of thinking, knew a lot of things about the boy meanwhile. And in Harry's eyes it had been easy to promise something upon facing death anyway, easy to adopt a difficult teenager who wasn't worth being adopted with the knowledge that they would die anyway, that he, Snape, wouldn't have to stand for his actions later as there would be no later. And he also knew that he would have a hard time disabusing his son of that notion.

"Foolish child." He softly repeated. "Did you really think that I would abandon you now? I have adopted you, Harry. You are my son now, like it or not, and an adoption like the one we have done, using our blood to form the bond, it is not broken easily. I won't abandon any of you – and especially I will not abandon you. You better get this into this stubborn head of yours finally."

"But we're free now and surely you have other things to do now than sitting …" The blasted boy started, opening his eyes and looking at him with a mixture of anxiety and hope, squinting his eyes at the bright light of the infirmary and he dimmed the torches with his other hand while he kept his left one laying over the pale face, shielding the boy's eyes from the direct light.

"You better do not go on with this particular sentence, Mr. Snape." He said, wondering if he had to stop each and every bloody Gryffindor from saying something rash. "I will be back to teaching, yes, but not before the beginning of next week and you will be back to classes, but not before the beginning of next week either."

"But …"

"There will be plenty of time for discussing the changes that will be installed during the next few days and weeks, but now is not the time for that, Harry." He said, shaking his head. "You will have to take a few potions and after that I expect you to rest some more. It is late already and you should sleep through the night."

And yes – there would be a lot of changes, some of which would be welcomed and some of which he knew would be accepted with less delight.

Flashback

"It won't be easy, I know, but I will manage, somehow." He quietly said, again casting a glance over the sleeping students that inhabited the infirmary since last night. "They deserve as much, Hereweald. None of them has given me a hard time even though they are just children and I am proud of them. The past few days have been hell for them and they have relied on me. I cannot simply vanish now and leave them alone now from one day to the other. The last three weeks have shaped them, who they had become and they will need further guidance now. It is not everything alright just that they are free now, they will need an adult to come and speak to who can understand them."

"I could help you in form of overtaking some of your head of house duties with the Slytherins as well as with teaching upper grade potions if this is amenable with you, Severus." Hereweald said. "Because I'm sure you won't manage!"

"I have always managed, one way or another." The Potions Master growled darkly, casting one of his nastier looks towards his friend.

"Of course you have." The man drawled. "But what good will it do to those children if they lose you the moment you break down just because you are too stubborn admitting that you too are only human?"

"I won't break down, you blasted imbecile!" He hissed angrily. "And if – mind you, if – I allowed you teaching potions here, then it will be the lower grades as they cause headaches."

"I had thought that you would prefer teaching the fourth years yourself." The slightly older man said, frowning at him.

"And I will, at least the Gryffindor and Slytherin fourth years." He answered. "But except of them I would prefer the NEWT classes. I will have a word with Albus about that."

"And your house?"

"They won't like it, but I guess it could be a solution – for a while." Severus slowly mused. He might not admit it, but he knew that Hereweald was right after all. He was weak and he surely wouldn't manage handling his house, classes and those seventeen students who he knew needed him desperately right now without having at least one breakdown – something he not only dreaded because he didn't wish letting them down but because of his reputation as well. "I will have a word about this with Albus as well – and I have to think about it."

End flashback

"You seem to have made your nights to days, Severus!" Poppy's voice came from the doorway and he looked over at the woman, one eyebrow lifted. "I thought you all would be asleep by now and I had to wake you for your potions – yet, I find all of you wide awake."

"I am sure that we had other things on our minds than caring for the time of day, Poppy." The Potions Master scowled at the woman while Hereweald chuckled, finding the situation – again – very amusing as it seemed. "Not to mention that it is barely ten o'clock. So you better be quiet and hand out those potions of yours so that they can go to sleep after having taken them."

"One should think that three weeks of imprisonment should have made you a bit more civil, Severus, but well, I guess you will never change, will you?" The medi-witch said, shaking her head and starting to hand out the potions vials she had brought on a tablet that hovered along beside her, placing the nutrient potions, muscle relaxing potions and vials of which he knew held a mixture of a calming and a mild sleeping potion at the nightstands while the children went to their respective beds to take them, shuffling their feet and eyeing the potions vials warily, knowing that they would taste disgustingly, Harry even scowling at the woman darkly and he couldn't help smirking at the image.

"Oh, you better cease your scowling, Mr. Potter, they're too important, take them like a man." The blasted woman said, already hurrying along to the next bed.

"It's Snape." Harry growled at her, his voice slow and weak but clear. A moment later however he cast an unsure and nearly scared gaze at him, Severus, clearly scared that he might have done something wrong, that he might have overstepped his boundaries with his comment and he quickly inclined his head to give his son his approval.

Poppy too actually turned back towards him with an apologetic expression on her face before she let out a long and suffering breath.

"Oh, I'm sorry, dear. I just forgot, I guess it will take me some time until I'm used to not calling you Mr. Potter after having you here under that name at least twice each year. Very well, and as for you, Severus …" she said casually as she began to line up potions on his bedside table as well.

Severus made a low growling sound in his throat and chose to respond by pushing himself to his feet, leaning heavily onto the nightstand beside Harry's bed. Surely he would not take those bloody potions that blasted woman had in mind. He was a Potions Master and he knew very well what kind of potions he would have to take and which would be unnecessary, causing Poppy to spin around and settled her hands on her hips.

"Severus Snape!" She shouted out, her voice upset, but he merely raised one eyebrow at her.

"I hope Severus hasn't been too much trouble." Hereweald chuckled. "You know, his bark is worse than his bite."

"Yes, yes, he's always a bit harsher when he's under the weather." Poppy responded as if Severus were not there. "I let it go in one ear and out the other."

"And I am in the room." Severus spoke up, glaring at the Norwegian first and at the medi-witch a moment later – without success however and he wished he could glare a bit more menacingly, but he was actually getting tired from standing there only these few minutes. However, he never would let Poppy see that she was right, the blasted woman already knew that she was and there was no need to give her further confirmation.

"No wonder Harry is becoming so stubborn!" Poppy accused. "The adoption surely has transferred some of your characteristics towards him while he at the same time had enough time to learn from you too! Well – do not blame me if you are worse off in a few days young man!" She scolded, waving a finger in Severus' face.

Severus had to stop himself from smiling at the idea that anyone would attribute Harry's characteristics to him – or his to Harry. It was the kind of comparison one would make between a father and son and – stubborn or not, it made him feeling calm and extremely proud, it made him feeling warm.

"You better keep your finger out of my face, woman, lest you wish losing it for being used as one of my potions ingredients!" He growled to cover his emotions. "Did no one ever teach you that one should not point with a naked finger at dressed people?"

"Dad?" Came Harry's small voice from the bed and he looked over at the boy. "Please?"

Well, this seemed to be his undoing – like so often lately – and with a long and suffering sigh he sat down onto the bed, taking the boy into his arms while he leaned back at the headboard, his left foot laying on the mattress while his right one touched the ground.

"Oh, for Merlin's sake!" He growled darkly while summoning the vials Poppy had placed onto the nightstand beside his bed.

"That has been necessary now, hasn't it, Severus?" Poppy asked with a scowl of her own and he smirked at her, knowing that she spoke of him doing magic after she had forbidden them such for the first three days upon their arrival here at the hospital wing – which weren't up yet.

"Of course, woman!" He answered. "One has to make sure that you won't get too bossy after all."

"Oh, for crying out loud, Severus, just take those potions now!" Poppy cried, throwing her hands up into the air in mocked desperation. "You always complain at first and then take them anyway!"

She watched him with a pointed look at the potions vials for the children and a raised eyebrow and glancing down at the boy he still held in his arms, at his son, noticing the sharp observation of the green eyes, he shrugged in defeat and swallowed the vile vial straight down in one shuddering swallow. And just as Poppy had predicted – he stopped complaining after the first potion he was presented with in front of the children and downed the next one and finally the third.

He was meant to be an example for the children after all – and well, it seemed to work, as they too – just like in the morning and in the afternoon – took the vials and downed them. But well, he simply couldn't help, he had to make a fuss over taking them, just to annoy Poppy for a bit, he guessed.

break … ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ … line

"You should go to sleep finally." He softly said, running his fingers over the boy's face and brushing a stray strand of hair from the pale face. "It is late already and you need your rest."

"Can't." The brat murmured and he immediately knew that Harry was tired but was bothered by something at the same time.

"What is it, you foolish child?" He asked, shifting the smaller body in his arms so that he could cradle the boy's body more comfortably.

"Nothing …" The blasted boy answered, shrugging his shoulders, trying to sound callously while actually looking lost.

"Harry!" He scowled at the teen. "Speak to me!"

"'M tired." The boy answered, softly and slowly. "But it's comfy here."

"It will be comfortable tomorrow still." The Potions Master said, frowning at the boy's choice of words. It only proved of how tired the boy actually was as he had indeed learned over the past three weeks that Harry was able using eloquent language. "Just close your eyes and sleep, child."

"You are not going to go away while I am asleep, are you?" Harry asked, his voice small and again Severus frowned. Of course he would be here, silly child! A bloody Gryffindor at some times, ready to face the Dark Lord, basilisks and dragons, but like a small child at other times, afraid that he would be left alone by him, Snape.

"I will be here the moment you wake up." He promised, unable of keeping himself from cupping the boy's face with his hand and pulling him closer even.

"Thank you …" The imbecile murmured sleepily while again leaning into the touch. "'M sorry 'm so much trouble."

"Hush, you foolish child!" He gently chided. "You are nothing I cannot handle. And now rest, close your eyes and sleep."

break ... ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ ... line


To be continued

Next time in A few days more

About the foolishness and bravery of the twins and about the confusion of one lion

Added author's note

thank you for reading - and yes, I would appreciate it if you took the time to review this chapter too, thank you …

House cup:

At the present time it looks like this:

708 - Gryffindor - Head of House: Catlady

701 - Slytherin - Head of House: evil minded

576 - Ravenclaw - Head of House: Arithmancy Master

340 - Hufflepuff - Head of House: still a free post