Hello everyone and thank you so much for all the reviews! Also a huge thank you ton Lady DestinyHope for being an amazing beta!
Sorry this chapter has taken so long. A lot has been happening around here and in a couple months here I will have a iPhone app in the app store! It you can't tell I'm excited! haha
Also, i have been getting a few mesages about me abandoning "Going Home" and let me reasure you that I am not. I have just been super busy and actually have the next fe chapters written I'm just going through them slowly and editing them.
A quick side note, the book image that I'm using for my covers I made in photoshop. If anyone wants anything for their sories of otherwise just send me a message. When I'm not coding or writing I'm designing haha :)
excessivelyperky - There will be some mention of the Marauders in this chapter, but I think Albus and Don will see that Severus is being bullied and finally do something to help him.
GinnyWeasley4Eva8 - Just watch out Lily will do much more than yell at her Headmaster. ;)
As Minerva McGonagall left the room, Don turned back to his patient and sighed. "At least you have a fierce protector in her. I doubt anyone would want to cross her willingly."
The Healer then gently pulled back the blanket that was covering the boy's upper half, and looked down at the poor state of his back. Taking the cream off the bedside table Don opened the jar and began to gently apply the scar removal cream to his back. It wouldn't erase the scars completely, but it would make any of the ones less than a year old fade significantly.
When he was finished with the boy's back, Don moved the blanket up so that it was covering his back again and lifted the bottom to reveal the boy's bottom and legs. Gently, he pulled the boy's shorts down and applied the cream to the heavily scared bum and sighed when he only saw a few of the many disappear. Carefully, he replaced the boy's shorts and moved down to apply the cream to the boy's legs.
When he was finished, he removed the blanket and carefully flipped the boy so that he was laying on his back again and then replaced the blanket so that he would not get a chill.
As he finished twisting the top back onto the jar, Minerva came back in the room empty handed. Don turned and looked at her questioningly.
"It would be best if you used the pajamas you conjured."
The Healer frowned. "Does he not have some of his own?"
Minerva closed her eyes to contain her anger she felt at her colleague. "Heads of House are supposed to go through the student's trunks in the first week to make sure they have at least five school uniforms and proper attire for all kinds of weather. Slughorn, apparently thought he didn't need to follow procedure and never checked anyone's trunk and hasn't been for the last few years. Severus only has that set of robes and a pair of pajamas that is little more than rags. They are not even fit for a house elf."
Don looked down at the boy and nodded. "Just another thing you were hiding, huh Severus?"
The Healer then looked up at the woman. "Don't be too mad at Slughorn. When someone wants to hide abuse or neglect, they will do whatever they can. I'm sure Severus would have weaseled his way out of trunk checks, one way or another."
Sighing Minerva nodded. "Is there anything else I can do to help?"
Don thought for a moment to ask her to help him dress Severus, but then he thought that it might be considered inappropriate despite the motherly affection she had for the boy. "I believe there is a student down the hall with Albus and Madam Pomfrey. Could you go sit with her and send Albus up? I need to talk with him about Severus's living arrangements."
Minerva nodded. "I can tell you now he isn't going anywhere near that home ever again."
Smiling Don gave the woman a gentle look. "I know, but he does need somewhere to live when he is not at school."
The woman looked over at the boy. "I'll take him in."
"Before you send Albus up, speak with him. I have a feeling; he wants to take him in himself."
Minerva's features softened and gave a short nod. She then quickly exited the room and closed the door behind her. If it was true that Albus wanted to take Severus in Minerva would support him in any way she could. Merlin knew the man was lonely and needed someone else in his life. She had actually been after him for years to adopt a child.
Don looked down at the boy. "See, you have people who care about you. Come on now, let's get you all situated."
With that Don took back the blanket and rested it gently over the boy's hips. There was one part of Severus's he had not checked over yet that he wanted to. He doubted there were any lingering injuries there considering symptoms would have been seen already, but he wanted to make sure. So tenderly he placed both hands on the boy's stomach and gently felt for any damage to his inner organs.
A few minutes later Don removed his hands and replaced the blanket over the boy. He then turned around to the man who was silently looking over at them sadly.
"How is he?"
Don beckoned the man closer. "He'll be alright, but he will need a lot of emotional support and a new home."
"While Poppy was making sure Ms. Evans was alright, I drew up the paperwork to transfer his guardianship to me. I won't let him go back to that place."
Don gave a soft nod. "Can you help me dress him in his pajamas? He has a crack on the bottom of his sternum, and I don't want to move him too much until I get that patched up, and he has to be awake for that."
Albus gave a soft nod and moved forward to the bed. "How can I help?"
Don pulled the blanket back again and picked the pajama top up. "Can you hold him in a sitting position so that I can put this on him without hurting him?"
Albus nodded and moved to sit behind the boy gently lifting him up and resting his back on his chest. Don handed him the pajama top and watched with a smile as Albus gently dressed the boy.
It was true that Don didn't really need help dressing Severus, but he wanted to see how Albus acted with Severus and if he really was the best one to take care of the boy. When these cases came up, he always made sure the child was placed in the proper home even though it really wasn't a part of his job. Sometimes his hands were tied, but quite often he had a say where the child in question went to live, and when he did he wanted to make sure it was the right home.
Don watched as Albus reached around the sleeping boy and carefully buttoned up the top. When the man was finished, he looked up at the Healer sadly. "I can see all his ribs and what happened to his hand and arm?"
Sitting down on the side of Severus's bed Don looked at the still sleeping boy and then told Albus everything he had found. The broken bones, the malnutrition, and it was likely that the boy would have an eating disorder for the rest of his life.
Still looking down at the small form in his arms Albus let out a soft sigh. "With his eating disorder and malnutrition...how can we help him?"
"Well, to start he's going to have to start with three nutrient potions a day and light meals. We're going to have to work him up to a three thousand calorie a day diet to make up for what he has missed. We can then try to wean him off the nutrient potions slowly, but I have a feeling that he will have to still take them to make up for what he's not eating. He will also, depending on how well he eats, have to take appetite stimulants to help him feel like he needs to eat. Often times, long periods of food make it so that you no longer feel hunger."
Albus continued to look down at the small boy and gently brushed back a lock of hair from his face. "I'll do anything to help him, just tell me what to do to, and I will do everything I can."
Don nodded softly. "I also wanted to ask you about some bruising I found here and there. It is nothing to be concerned about, health wise, but they were recent and made by something hitting him hard."
"Could he had run into something?"
Sadly Don shook his head. "Albus...I think he's being bullied as well."
Gently the Headmaster brushed a hand across Severus's forehead. "Under my watch, in my school, you were being hurt. I am so sorry dear boy. I thought James and Sirius were only teasing you and since you fought right back you were fine. I wish you would have come to me child."
Albus then looked up at the Healer before him. "I think I know who caused him harm. They will be in my office first thing in the morning, and I will be calling their parents."
"Do you need confirmation before you do that?"
Shaking his head Albus looked down at the young boy. "This is enough."
The Healer gave a soft nod and brushed Albus's arm with his hand. "Can you keep holding him for a moment?"
Albus gave a small nod and watched as Don stood up, grabbed the pajama bottoms and pulled the blanket down off the boy's legs. As soon as he did though Albus saw the state the boy's shorts were in and looked up at the Healer.
"Are those holes?"
Don gave a small nod as he looked at the man weakly. "I could conjure a pair, but I'm not the best with elastic and I used a lot of magic healing his ankle."
Waving a hand at the door, a pair of blue silk shorts came rushing in and landed in Albus's hand. With another wave, they shrank to Severus's size. Looking at the Healer Albus gave a tiny smile.
"Do you think these are ok?"
Don smiled at the man and took the shorts. "I think Severus will be much happier with these, thank you."
Albus nodded and watched as Don quickly exchanged the shorts for the ones he had given him. The Healer then took the pajama pants he had set aside and pulled them up the boy's legs making his outfit complete.
Smiling Don looked up at the older man. "Could you pick him up so we can get him beneath the bedding?"
With a quick nod, Albus placed an arm underneath Severus's knees and gently lifted him up into his arms. As he did, so he looked down at the boy and made a silent promise to take care of him for as long as he lived. The poor boy would learn that no child should be treated like he had.
When Don had finished pulling back the blankets Albus tenderly laid the boy back down and made sure he was tucked in so that he would not get cold. Smiling Albus then sat down on the edge of Severus's bed and looked sadly down at the child. Sighing he reached forward and gently brushed Severus's hair from his face.
"Are you sure he'll be alright?"
Don smiled and walked around the bed to place a gentle hand on Albus's shoulder. "I'm sure with a lot of love and care, he will. Just be patent with him, and I'll be here to help you both."
Albus looked up at the Healer gratefully. "Thank you for all you have done. Does this mean you will come back and continue to help Severus?"
Don gave a small nod. He only took a few kids at a time as patents, and right now he was at his limit, but he would make an exception. Not for Poppy, but for a child who desperately needed help. "Come on, Severus needs some rest, and I think you need a cup of tea. Is Lily still down the hall?"
Albus gave a small nod. "She refuses to leave until she sees Severus awake and even threw a hex at me when I suggested she came back later. She is quite unmovable when she wants to be."
The Healer rose an eyebrow. "She hexed her Headmaster?"
Albus looked away, and Don swore he saw a blush creep up on his face. "It was quite a strong stinging hex I might add...and she caught me off guard."
Smiling Don shook his head fondly. "I'm sure it was. Now come on and let's get some tea."
With a nod, Albus stood up and they both started to head out of the room. Don quietly closed the door after him, but not before putting a charm on the room that would let him know if Severus woke, or anyone entered. He wanted to make sure Severus was undisturbed while he slept. It was very important that Severus got his rest; the poor boy has not slept well lately at all.
Down the hall in the living room, Don spotted the Gryffindor girl in question curled up in Minerva's arms, crying. It seemed that the school nurse had left when she realized that the rest of the adults had everything under control, or more likely some other child had needed her attention in the hospital wing.
As soon as they entered the room Don walked over to sit on the couch next to Minerva and Lily while Albus sat down in his favorite chair across from them. Gently, Don placed a hand on Lily's back and started rubbing soothing circles.
"Are you ok Lily?"
The girl nodded against Minerva'a shoulder, but looked hopefully up at Don. "How is Sev? Has he woken up?"
Gently, Don smiled at the girl. "He'll be fine with some rest, and no he hasn't woken up yet."
Lily nodded again, and relaxed back into Minerva's arms a bit more. "In a twisted sort of way I'm kind of glad Severus collapsed in the hallway...if he hadn't, then he wouldn't be getting help."
Don smiled. "I know how you feel dear, and it's perfectly alright. Do you want to go write a letter to your parents and tell them what has happened? I promise you as soon as Severus wakes you'll be the first one to see him."
Lily gave a soft nod and let Minerva maneuver her so that she was sitting on her own. When the woman had come down to see her student, she could see just how upset the poor girl was and knew that she needed some kind of comfort. Motherly instinct had kicked in when she drew the girl into her lap.
Gently, she patted Lily's back and helped her to her feet.
"Come on dear, you can use my owl."
Slowly the two stood, but before they left Lily looked back at Albus with a sad look. "If you really want to keep Sev safe you need to look into who has been harming him here too. I don't like to speak bad about my house mates, but James and Sirius, they have been making his life a living hell."
Albus gave a small nod. "I'm going to speak with them in the morning. Thank you for saying something."
Pleadingly, Lily looked up at the man she had admired for the last four years. "You're going to have to do more than just talk. Sirius...I don't think he understands...you know his home life hasn't been that great either..."
Albus sighed and looked down at the smart young witch with a gentle smile. "I know about the Potters taking him in last year and don't worry I will take care of Severus as best as I can."
Lily nodded somewhat satisfied, but still knew she was going to have to make sure the man kept his promise to her. A slap on Sirius's wrist wasn't going to do anything. It was actually more likely to do more harm than good. She really hoped it would not come to that.
With that thought she took the hand that was offered to her she let the woman lead her out of Albus's rooms and down to her own. As Minerva led the girl out of his apartment, Albus looked over at Don gratefully. "Poppy and I were trying the entire time to get her to calm down. How did you know what to say?"
Don smiled at Albus. "I gave her a touch of calming magic and from experience; I know children take comfort in confiding in their parents."
Albus looked out the nearby window thinking of just hoe wronged his student was. Everything with his Father had and the bulling had been awful, but this latest news was in his mind the worst. "They said Severus lost his mother this Christmas break. They said it was ruled a suicide by the Muggle authorities."
"He stopped eating after that?"
Slowly, Albus nodded. "They said that they sent a letter to Severus telling him to inform me of his loss. The man looked at Don with a deep sadness in his eyes. "How could they expect a grieving child to inform his Headmaster? It should have been the other way around where I could have been there for him right away."
Don stood up and sat down in an empty next to the upset man. "Millicent Bagnold is an idiot, and you know that man he hired as head of Muggle interactions is even more of an idiot."
Closing his eyes, Albus nodded. "I know, but I thought they had at least a little common sense and empathy. I guess I was wrong. Still doesn't make it any easier on Severus."
"No, it does not, but it won't help him if you blame yourself. You know now, and we can help him."
Albus took another deep breath. "I don't think Severus's mother committed suicide." The man gave the Healer a significant look. "In the report, they said she was quite beaten up."
"Does Severus know?"
"They said they just informed him of her death and nothing else, that his father didn't want him to know anything more."
Don reached over and placed a gentle hand on Albus's shoulder. "Maybe that's a good thing. In due time, we'll tell him, but he will be too upset just now."
Just then a small tinkling sound could be heard throughout the room making Albus look at the Healer slightly alarmed. Even though he had been the Headmaster for a while now he had never heard of such a spell.
"It's alright Albus, Severus is just waking up."
Don stood up to go and greet his new patent properly, but before he could take a few steps Albus stopped him. "Should I come with you?"
The Healer turned and smiled at the man. "Let me speak with him first, and then I'll call you when I think he's ready."
Albus nodded and relaxed back in his chair. The Healer also knew Albus needed a few more minutes to compose himself before he saw Severus. It was obvious the poor man was blaming himself for not just seeing what was happing for the child, but also for not doing anything sooner. It was easy to think that if he had stepped in sooner that maybe Severus would still have his Mother.
With that last thought Don started to head down the hall to where he had left Severus. Gently, he opened the door and quietly walked over to the bed. Looking at the stirring boy on the bed Don sat down on the edge of his bed so that he would not surprise him.
The boy shook his head and rolled over so that his back was facing him. Clearly, he was still out of it.
Gently, Don rested a hand on Severus's back, but didn't pull back when the boy flinched. "I'm a Healer Severus. Can you roll over and face me?"
As Severus rolled over Don gently removed his hand and plastered a kind smile upon his face. "How are you feeling Severus?"
The boy looked up at him with wide eyes that were filled with fear. "Where am I? Who are you? Did my father send you?"
"It's alright Severus. I'm Healer Don Patterson, and you are in the Headmaster's guest room. Your school nurse sent for me so that I could help you. Is that alright?"
Don watched as the boy relaxed, not completely, but slightly at the mention that they were still at Hogwarts. He also noticed the quick glances the boy was giving the door, as if he wanted to run as far away as he could. Maneuvering his body, Don placed himself just so that the boy could no longer look at the door. It would be best if Severus didn't move too much until they fixed his chest bone.
"Why...why am I here and why did Madam Pomfrey send for you?"
Don furrowed his brows a bit. Did the child not remember collapsing in the hallway? "You don't remember what happened?"
Severus looked down as a blush crept up on his cheeks. "Kinda...I mean I remember feeling light-headed and...then falling...but nothing after that."
Don reached over and placed a hand on the boy's and didn't remove it with the violent jerk that happened whenever someone touched him. "That's alright Severus. It seems the lack of food in your body caught up to you, and you fainted. Everyone was quite worried about you...especially Lily."
Severus looked down at the blanket that was covering him and then away to the window that was beside the bed. Sighing slightly Don patted Severus's hand.
"What happened Severus?"
Severus's mind was like a war zone right now. Part of him wanted to spill his guts to this man even though he had only known him for less than twenty minutes, he just felt like he could trust him, but the other part of him was telling him that if he did his father would kill him...just like his Mother. His Mother... Unbeknownst to him tears started to well up in his eyes as he looked out the window and thought just how much he missed his mother. How could she be gone forever, he never even had the chance to say goodbye.
Don saw the tears that were forming though sand sadly smiled at the child before him while he conjured up a handkerchief. Reaching over he tried to wipe away the tears, but Severus flinched back and shot a fearful look his way. Don put his arms up in the air in surrender still holding up the piece of soft material.
"It's ok Severus. I was just going to wipe away your tears. I wasn't going to hurt you. I would never hurt you."
His voice shaky Severus shot a hard look at the Healer. "How do I know that? How do I know that you won't change?"
Don took his hands out of the air and gently placed the handkerchief in Severus's hand. "You don't Severus; you just have to learn to trust."
"Why do I want to trust you?"
Severus looked away, but when Don's next words fell from his mouth, the boy turned back around with even more tears in his eyes. "Because I want to take your pain away. You will never go back to your Father again."
The boy then looked down and fiddled with the handkerchief in his hand. "Really?"
"Really. Now, you never answered my question. How are you feeling?"
Still looking down Severus nodded his head. "I'm fine, much better than before. Why do I have bandages around my hand, arm, and ankle?"
Don scooted a little closer to the boy. "You were hurt, so I healed you. There is still a fracture in your chest bone, but I needed to be awake for me to heal that."
Not really believing what he was hearing was true Severus looked up at the man only to see sincerity written across his face. Only Madam Pomfrey and his Mother had healed him in the past, any men had only hurt him.
"Now, why don't I heal your chest, and then we can continue this conversation with the Headmaster, alright?"
Dutifully, Severus nodded, still in a bit of shock that someone other than his Mother or the nurse wanted him not to feel any pain. This was a new experience for him and exactly why Albus had asked the nurse to call him among other reasons.
"Ok lie back for me Severus. I'm going to pull the covers down a bit and unbutton your shirt, just so I can place my hands over where the crack is. I'm then going to ask you to take a deep breath and hold it while I send my magic to heal it. It's going to tingle and sting a bit, but it won't hurt. Does that sound ok with you? Do you have any questions?"
Hesitantly, Severus gave a small nod. "You...you said you healed me..." The boy looked fearfully up at the Healer. "Did...did you see...?"
Don placed a gentle hand on Severus's and started to send some calming magic into the boy. It was always distressing for the child when he realized that his secret was out, and he wanted to counteract that a bit so that he didn't hurt himself.
"Yes, child. I know, and I saw. Don't worry though, you won't ever go back."
Severus ripped his hand away from Don's and rolled over to his side ignoring the pain in his chest and curled into a ball. "You can't promise that. He'll find me he always does."
The Healer sighed and send a small, silent patrons to Albus so that he could come join the conversation. At first, he had not wanted Albus in the so that he could introduce himself and show that he would not harm him. It would not have helped if Albus, he didn't think he would, but it was better safe than sorry, had started giving the boy too much information and over load him. Often times, new guardians did that, not meaning any harm.
Now though, it was clear that Don was going to need Albus to come in and break the news that he was now in charge of him and would provide him a home. Hopefully, with that sorted away Severus's would let him see to his chest.
A few moments later there was a soft knock on the door, and then Albus entered. The man frowned a little when he saw Severus facing away from the Healer, but made no comment as he came closer to the bed. Sitting down Albus looked at the Healer for help. He was new to this and didn't know exactly where they were in the conversation or what to say.
Fortunately, Don was well versed and helped the man out. "Severus, your new guardian is here. Do you want to meet him?"
Severus flinched at the word him, but dutifully rolled over and looked at his Headmaster. "Headmaster?"
Albus softly smiled down at the boy. "Hi Severus."
Confused Severus looked at the Healer. "I...I thought you said..."
Continuing to smile Albus gave a soft nod. "He did. I have taken over your guardianship if that is alright with you. If you would rather stay with someone else, all you have to do is tell me, and I will make it happen."
Severus looked back down at his blanket. "I don't want to be a bother..."
"Severus look at me."
The boy looked up at his Headmaster wearily.
"You are no bother to me Severus. You are a sweet child, who I wish had come to me sooner. Now are you alright being my ward? You know how eccentric I can be."
Albus's eyes adopted their normal shine as he looked at the boy. He wanted to put the boy at ease a little, and he hoped this would do the trick.
Severus gave a small nod, but lowered his head to look back down. "I have nowhere else to go. Not with my Mother..."
Don and Albus shared a sad look and without another moment's hesitation, Don stood up and allowed Albus to scoop Severus into his arms and sit where he was. Gently, Albus made sure that Severus still had the blankets wrapped all around him, but made sure to pick him up quickly so that the child could not protest at being held as he knew he would. He may be fourteen, but he was still a child in Albus's eyes and a hurt child at that experiencing one of the greatest pains a human can bare.
When the boy realized what was happening, he closed his eyes tight and his breath started to come at short rapid intervals. Albus moved him so that his head was resting on his chest and began rocking him back and forth, all the while careful that his chest was not jostled too much.
"Calm down Severus, it's alright. I have you now, and you're safe. Focus on your breathing, slowly breathe in and now out."
Severus did as his Professor said, but then turned his head into Albus's chest to hide the tears that he couldn't stop from flowing down his face. He just wanted to curl into a ball and hide so that no one could see him so weak.
Albus moved his hand to rest on the back of Severus's head and let the boy cry out his loss. "That's right, everything will be alright."
Don sat down in the chair Albus was occupying and gently placed a hand on Severus's back and started sending him calming magic. It was important for Severus to let out all his emotions, but he didn't want him to make himself sick.
The three sat there for a while trying to comfort the distraught boy. It was obvious that his grief had been eating him from the inside out.
When he calmed down to small hiccups, Don removed his hand and Albus maneuvered him so that Severus's face could be seen. Bending down Don took the handkerchief that had fallen to the floor and handed it to Albus who then began to gently clean off Severus's face.
"How are you feeling now Severus? Better?"
Severus closed his eyes and wished beyond all hope that he would just disappear. How could he appear so weak in front of these men? His Headmaster? Now, that he knew what a weakling he was how could he ever want to take him in? Surely now that he knew he would tell his Father and give him back. He would never be able to come back to school. His Father would never allow it.
Worriedly Albus looked down at the child in his arms. "Severus, what's wrong?"
The boy brought his arms up and covered his face in shame while he shook his head. For some strange reason, the thought of losing his new found guardian was even more upsetting than the thought of never seeing his Mother again.
Gently, Albus pried Severus's arms away from his face and placed a gentle hand on his cheek. "Talk with me Severus. What's wrong?"
"You're going to send me away."
"Why do you say that Severus? I'm not sending you anywhere."
Severus jerked away from Albus's kind hand. "I'm weak! Why would you want someone like me?"
Gently, Albus wrapped his arms around Severus and pulled him even closer. "You are not weak for showing your emotions Severus. Crying in front of others is one of the bravest things a person can do. That does not matter though, you will always be welcome here as long as you want and no matter what."
Severus looked up at Albus with a slight bit of fear in his eyes, but also hope. Hope that he would be accepted. "Really?"
"Yes, Severus. Now, I am sure your chest must hurt. Why don't we have Don heal it so it doesn't hurt anymore."
Slowly, Severus nodded. "Will...will you stay?"
Gently Albus brushed back Severus's hair and smiled. "Of course I will."
Albus carefully maneuvered Severus so that he was back laying against the pillows and then scooted up on the bed so that he could hold the child's hands.
Don came over to the other side of the bed and looked down at the boy. "Remember what I said earlier Severus?"
When Don saw the small nod, his smile widened a bit, and he gently began to pull down the covers just enough so that he could reach the injury. "Now this will sting a bit, but I know you're strong. Tell me if it becomes too much, and we'll take a break, alright?"
Again, Severus's nodded, but Albus could see the fear etched in his features. "Severus, just focus on me and don't think about what he's doing, ok?"
Severus looked over at his new guardian nodded when he felt the gentle squeeze he gave his hand. While Don began to unbutton Severus's top Albus started telling him a story to try to put him at ease. It was a trick that his Mother used to when he was sick and remembered just how well it had worked to relax him.
As Severus listened to Albus's story and did as Don told him the Healer mended Severus's chest bone as gently as he could. Twenty minutes later Don finished healing Severus and buttoned the boy's shirt back up. The boy was too engrossed in Albus's tale to really notice though. Only his Mother had told him stories before, and that was only in whisperers to avoid his Father's rage.
When Albus finished the story, and the covers were pulled back up Severus's chest the Healer sat down on the side of the bed. "Severus, we need to talk about your eating habits."
The boy averted his eyes to the blankets. "I just haven't been hungry."
Albus gently patted Severus's hand. "We know Severus, but you have to eat something at every meal. You fainted because you hadn't had food in such a long time."
Don watched both his patient and guardian and decided that he should jump in before Severus became too upset. "Severus, before each meal you're going to have to take some potions. A nutrient potion to make up for those meals you missed and then an appetite stimulant to help you eat."
Severus gave a small nod and looked at the Healer curiously. "Do I have to take the nutrient potions?"
Sadly, Don nodded. "Yes Severus. You see your bones have become very weak from the lack of proper nutrition. I actually think you should come and stay at the Clinic for a little while so I can see just how I can help you strengthen them."
The Healer gave Albus a significant look, and the Headmaster nodded knowing that they really needed to know the full extent of Severus's injuries.
Severus turned to look at Albus. "Are...are you going to come with me?"
Albus hesitated for a moment, but then decided that he would ask Minerva to watch over things for him while he took care of Severus. The boy really needed someone there for him no matter what. "I will be there the entire time."
Again, Albus patted Severus's hand. "No need to thank me Severus. Do you think you're up to seeing Ms. Evens?"
Severus looked down again. "Is she mad at me? I yelled at her."
Albus gave a small smile at the boy. "No child, she's just worried about you. We had to practically pry her away from your bedside, and even then she hexed me."
Severus looked up in wonder at the Headmaster. "She hexed you?"
"She did, and I have to say it was quite a powerful stinging hex." Albus leaned down and whispered the next bit to the boy. "I would recommend staying on her good side if I were you. She's quite scary when she's mad."
The boy smiled and nodded fondly. He had been on the receiving end of Lily's hex's before and knew exactly what the Headmaster was saying. She was scary when she was mad.
"So are you ready to see her?"
Severus gave a small nod. "Can I talk with her alone?"
"Of course you can. Will you be alright alone here for a few moments while we go fetch her?"
Again, Severus gave a small nod, and both adults started toward the door. Once outside the room Albus turned towards the Healer and gave him a small sad smile. "Thank you for everything's Don. When do you think Severus should head for the Clinic?"
The Healer smiled and patted Albus on the shoulder. "Give him a day to adjust to the whole situation, and then I'll book a room for the both of you?"
"Thank you so much."
"No need to thank me. Just take care of Severus in there, he seems to trust you."
Albus gave a small nod. "Do you think he'll be alright?"
Don placed his hand on Albus's shoulder and started to guide him down the hall. "He will be, after his stay at the Clinic we'll discuss his continuing therapy."
Guiding Albus into the living room Don was pleased to see Minerva and her student already there. Don and Albus went over and sat down next the two woman.
Lily looked up at the two. "Is Severus awake?"
Albus smiled at her and nodded. "You can go talk with him if you want to."
Immediately, Lily stood up and almost ran to where she knew Severus was. She was so worried about her friend and also wanted to give him a piece of her mind.
Reaching the door Lily opened it and rushed in, not bothering to close it behind her. Quickly, she approached the bed and sighed in relief when she saw Severus sitting up. She then reached forward and hugged the boy.
"Never scare me like that Severus. I thought I lost you there for a moment. I was so worried."
Severus awkwardly reached around Lily and returned her hug and started to pat her on the back. "I'm alright Lily."
Lily pulled back and slapped Severus upside the head. "No you are not Severus! You fainted in the hallway, and you really scared me."
Tears were in Lily's eyes as she looked at Severus. Gently, Severus pulled Lily back into his arms and onto the bed. "Really, I'm alright Lily."
"I was so scared. You're my best friend Sev. I don't want to lose you."
...back in the present...
"...and I remember finding the two of you sleeping in each other's arms."
Severus smiled at the memory. "She said she wanted to make sure I didn't disappear and leave her alone."
Albus came over and rested a gentle hand on Severus's shoulder. "Come on Severus, let's go have some tea. Harry will be fine here."
Giving Harry's head one last past, Severus gave a small nod and let Albus guide him out of the room and down to the kitchen to have some tea.