A/N: Thankyou so much for all your reviews and interest in this story, seriously, loveyouguys. Sorry i've taken so long to update-have a million excuses I could say but i'm sure you'd rather just get on with the story...
Beware the grammar mistakes and gross sentence structures. I try.
"Remarkable, just remarkable."
Dr Falton was probably the most tolerable of the medical staff Severus had been subjected to as of yet. He was old and grandfatherly, but with the experience and no-nonsense attitude of a man who had worked the wards for many years.
Although, his tolerance of the man may have been a side effect of the relief he felt of having working legs again. Albeit his movements weren't as smooth as he had hoped.
Severus didn't know what to expect that morning, and fully functioning legs certainly wasn't one of them.
He awoke with a strange sensation of feeling 'whole' and had a short pang of panic at the intense awareness of his lower body before chastising himself at the ridiculousness of it. He blamed it on fatigue.
Of course, the medical staff were baffled. Severus didn't give them an explanation over his paralysis, simply insisting that he had collapsed and had awoken to find his legs in that state. They were rather skeptical over his unconcerned reaction, but Severus was hardly going burst into a hysterical fit, screaming that he 'can't feel my legs! I can't feel my legs!' just for the sake of an audience. After a few days, however, they seemed to think his calm stiff-upper-lip manner was just his way of dealing with a stressful situation and relented, throwing him sympathetic and pitying looks when they didn't think he would notice. He pretended not to notice them hesitating behind doors and curtains, as if trying to hear his private distress. Severus allowed them to believe what they wanted, it made no difference either way and anyway, he was sure about half of the staff realised he was just another moody patient after at least the fourth day.
"Yes, you said." Severus intoned dryly. Tolerance, of course, didn't mean he had to be deliberately amiable. It wasn't as if this particular recovery was induced by the mans vast medical knowledge.
The elderly doctor ignored his patient's reply with practiced ease and took a step back, watching as Severus held himself up on two shaky legs unassisted. He nodded for Severus to take another step forward.
"And one more step...excellent. Well done," he praised in exuberance, patting Severus' arm before helping him sit back on the bed. Severus scowled at the floor, panting in enervation as sweat cooled on the back of his neck. He was trembling and aching and embarrassed, it was like learning to walk all over again and he hated it.
"Well, Mr Snape, I have to say you are one very lucky man," said the doctor, writing something on Severus' chart, "I'm still not certain what caused your temporary paralysis so I still want to continue with some more tests."
Severus inwardly groaned. Why couldn't the man just let him be? His legs were working now, why keep poking them for a reaction he was never going to get? Severus refused to entertain the thought of how he would react to the same situation, there was no way he would have been able to leave so many questions unanswered. But admitting that meant admitting he was a hypocrite and Severus had enough unpleasant titles for himself as it was.
"There's really no need. They are working and will only get better with time, I'm certain." Severus waved a hand dismissively.
The doctor gave Severus a tight smile, "I'd feel better if I knew what I was dealing with. As should you," he stared hard at the younger man for a moment, "Now, no over-doing it. No more than an hour of walking a day, I don't want you to cause harm to yourself while we don't know the cause for this was in the first place. Also, too much exertion could cause your ulcer to burst resulting in emergency surgery and we don't want that now do we?" He gave Severus a look as if he knew perfectly well that was exactly what Severus was planning to do. His patient glared back defiantly.
Dr Falton raised his bushy eyebrows and waited until Severus sagged down slightly against his pillows before smiling crookedly, "I'll have one of the nurses bring you a wheelchair. If you need anything, just buzz." He indicated to the nurses call button on the side of the bed and with a nod, turned on his heel and left the ward.
Severus watched the back of his white coat with a disgruntled frown, thinking this must be the doctor Dumbledore was in contact with by his familiar patient and unrelentingly slightly-amused demeanour. Which meant he probably knew exactly why Severus had been in a state of paralysis, and the tests he was subjecting him to was simply for the amusement of the two old meddlesome men.
They had probably been friends for years, Severus thought bitterly.
Dinner was situated just before the day's second visiting hours. Severus steadfastly believed this was because it would make the patients more groggy and less likely to cause a conflict when visited by the reluctant stragglers who had popped by the hospital last minute on their way home from work.
He glared down hatefully at his plate of microwaved slop. Growing up with a muggle father meant he had had his fair share of microwaved dinners in his time, but living in Hogwarts and then his own home had allowed him to develop his palate and he resolvedly refused to eat anything other than the best. When he could help it.
He took a bite before shoving the plate to the other side of the table-tray in disgust. He'd rather like to funnel it down Carrows thick neck.
He looked restlessly around the ward, watching a nurse struggling to feed the elderly patient a few beds away. He could make out soft murmurs of encouragement and he wrinkled his nose slightly. He glanced over at the wheelchair to the right of his bed and reached out for it, fingers not quite reaching the leather armrest. Severus could feel himself teetering off the bed and hastily pulled himself upright with a growl. How he wished Dumbledore hadn't locked his wand away in the bedside cabinet. Although, originally he had wanted to take it away with him, "The temptation will be great, Severus, trust me" but Severus was having none of it. He was ill and vulnerable, there was no way he was allowing anyone to take away his wand. The cabinet door could be opened with a simple wand-less incantation, but Dumbledore had forbidden him to reach for it under any circumstance except an emergency. He wouldn't have put it past the old man to have put some sort of alarm on the door that alerted him the second Severus opened it.
Then again, he never said anything about wand-less magic. It was almost untraceable by the Ministry, especially if it was something small and insignificant. Severus just had to make sure no one noticed, which was easy enough as the only other occupants of the large room were a comatose, a senile old man and a distracted nurse with her back to him.
He glanced over at the nurse again. With his eyes trained on her, he raised his right hand and muttered a weak summoning spell. He felt the chair wheel slowly into his palm. There, easy enough. He smiled to himself, feeling suddenly a little less helpless as he manoeuvred his weak legs over the side of the bed.
Getting into the chair was easy enough, with his legs still weak but supportive enough to carry him the two steps over to the seat. Severus would rather have gone for a walk, and felt that was probably what his legs needed to gain their strength quicker, but he was rather tired and thus didn't want to cause a fuss with the doctors. And so he wheeled out of the ward, leaving his half-full plate behind.
His trek around the entire floor was blessedly uneventful, and he felt sufficiently lighter at being somewhere other than the bed he had been detained in for the past week. The sun was already setting when he set off and the pink sky washed over his pale face as he passed the floor-to-ceiling windows. As he wheeled around he began to realise just how large the hospital was, the one floor he was resided in took almost fifteen minutes to get from the east wing, where Severus was staying, to the opposite west wing.
As Severus was hovering by the lifts, contemplating whether to explore another floor, visitors started taking up the space in the halls as they made their way to specific wards. Deciding to take a trip outside when the sun was up, he began wheeling back, scowling at passerbys who gave him pitying looks.
When he came across the children's ward he was at first surprised that he hadn't noticed it on his journey to the wing and then surprised at how far away it was from his own, almost on the other side of the hospital.
He slowed down as he passed the door, watching mothers fuss and father sniff impressively over their poorly darlings. Merlin it was distasteful. Severus was about to speed up when a familiar scruffy black head caught his eye. He watched the boy sitting cross-legged on a bed and scribbling away in a colouring book with his tongue sticking out of one corner his mouth, a look of deep concentration on his small face that contrasted with the manic movements of his uninjured hand. He seemed to either not notice or not care that he was the only child without visitors crowding his bed, too absorbed in his book. Severus decided to leave him to it, not wanting to encourage the brat to visit him by 'visiting' the brat in return. As he turned away, he saw the nurse from a couple of days before, Nurse Emma the child had called her if he remembered correctly, leaning against the door frame also watching the boy. But unlike Severus' scowl, she had a small sad smile on her face which she then addressed to Severus as she turned to look at him. Rolling his eyes and not wanting to be there when the child's parents arrived to shower him with more small sad smiles like his Nurse Emma, Severus rolled on.
When Severus got back to his ward, there was a lone man sitting by the bed of the comatose woman, his hand in her unresponsive one and face lined with worry.
Severus turned away. Not wanting to get back into the bed and desperate for a proper wash he wheeled over to the adjoining shower room at the end of the ward. He knew Dr Falton wouldn't approve of him bathing unassisted, but Severus had had enough of hovering nurses who kept sticking their head into the bathroom as he tried to wash himself with a sink full of soapy water. Severus was a proud man, his legs were now working, moderately speaking, and he was going to have a nice long bath.
He took a towel and a clean pair of hospital-issued pyjamas from the large airing cupboard and wheeled into the spacious bathroom, taking great pleasure in being able to lock the door behind him for the first time in a week.
In the end, his bath only lasted about fifteen minutes, having grown bored and sleepy. He stumbled only once as he climbed out, catching himself on the towel rack. But all in all, he was rather pleased with himself.
Leaving his dirty clothes in the washing basket in the corner of the room he wheeled out, clean and pink, his hair still damp and feeling like he had had a productive day.
He wasn't surprised to see Dumbledore sitting by his bed when he got back, eyes twinkling as Severus drew nearer.
"You're looking well my boy, so glad to see you out and about," he smiled in delight as Severus wheeled opposite him and set the brakes on the chair. Although he was rather exhausted by the strenuous day he was rather reluctant to attempted to get into bed, knowing his legs would tremble terribly now that his exhaustion had hit and not wanting Dumbledore to witness his struggles. "How are your legs?"
"Working." Severus replied, letting out a long breath as leaned back in the chair.
"But weak?" Dumbeldore asked, eyeing Severus' wheelchair pointedly.
Severus grunted, "Yes. But not for long, I'm sure."
"You're sure?" Dumbledore raised an eyebrow speculatively.
Severus gave him a hard look, "I'm sure." he repeated firmly.
"Marvellous," the old man nodded happily, clapping his hands together, "I can't stay long, I just came by to see how your legs were doing and to drop off those books you asked for," he fished out a small stack of volumes impossibly from within his painfully blue suit jacket and placed them on the bedside table, "I hope they suffice." He gave Severus a wink and stood up.
Severus cast a quick glance at the books, catching one familiar title 'Rare Potion Ingredients and Where to Find Them' and gave a small sigh of relief before holding out a hand to stall the headmaster.
"Albus, any news-"
"No, dear boy. Rest, rest." He flapped his hands like a harried housewife and with a pat to Severus' shoulder, was gone.
Severus gave a great sigh and flopped back against his seat. Seems he was left alone to ponder the predicament he found himself in again.
Too tired to let himself get too frustrated over Dumbledores usual obscurity, he heaved himself up onto the bed and settled against the pillows, running his hands through his damp hair. He picked up the stack of books from his bedside table and flicked through them, glancing up briefly as the comatose woman's male visiter made his leave, head bowed and eyes deadened.
There were two of his favourite volumes on potion making, his most recent journal (he wasn't even going to try and work out how Dumbledore knew which one to collect-hoping it was just a lucky guess) a suspiciously romantic-looking novel he didn't recognise the name of and at the bottom of the pile was none other then the colourful cover of Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump.
"Oh, you're hilarious." Severus muttered dryly as he shoved the book back onto his bedside table. He opened his journal and read the latest few entries, experiments he never got to finish and errands he never got to run. He jotted down a few notes, giving a detailed description of his symptoms after consuming Mortiferum Rigidum.
A quiet shuffling sound by the door made him pause and glance up in time to see a dark head jerk out back of sight. Severus smirked slightly and continued writing, pointedly ignoring the shuffling again as the dark headed creature spied on him from behind the doorframe.
When the brat started absently tapping a quiet rhythm against the wood, Severus spoke, still writing but noticing the child's startled jump from the corner of his eye, "Your powers of subtle observation are embarrassingly dismal at best and utterly undesirable."
There was a long pause while the boy no doubt debated whether or not to reveal himself. "Pardon?" eventually came the reply.
Severus glanced up at the child still half hidden behind the doorframe, "You're terrible at spying," he clarified.
He watched in vague amusement as the child's face screwed up in indignation and he stepped out from his hiding place, "I am not! No one ever sees me when I'm spying on them," he declared before thinking back on his words with a frown, "And I wasn't spying, I don't spy. I was hiding."
"Well, obviously those who you spy-sorry 'hide'-from are dim witted buffoons if they don't notice your frankly appalling efforts."
The boy let out a startled giggle before biting his lip and padding over to Severus' bed.
"No, I am a good hider," he murmured stubbornly as he drew nearer. His eyes lit up when he spotted the wheelchair and all but scrambled over to it, reaching out but freezing just before his fingers made contact and he blinked up at Severus through his dark fringe, positively trembling in excitement. "May I please...?" he wriggled his fingers and leaned closer to the chair, but still not allowing himself to touch.
Severus raised an eyebrow, not understanding children's playful pleasure over medical crutches they did not need. He waved a hand dismissively and returned back to his notes.
He ignored the small squeal of delight and hurried 'Thank you' as the boy jumped into the chair, which soon turned into a sound of disappointment when he found the wheels stuck and unmovable.
"You need to take the brakes off." Severus muttered absently.
He got lost within the realms of his mind, scratching out corrections and creating equations that needed to be tested as the child rolled the chair slowly in circles.
"Why do you have this?"
"So I can move around, obviously."
"Are your legs still broken?"
Severus scowled down at the inky pages. "No. Not really. Be quiet." he replied shortly.
"If they're not broken anymore, why do you need to have wheelchair to move around?"
Severus let out a frustrated huff through his nose and glared and the child's back as he swayed the chair from left to right. "They were never broken you impertinent brat. Did I not tell you to be quiet?"
The boy slowly turned back around, face a mixture of shame and desperate restraint. Severus raised his eyebrows and narrowed his eyes challengingly. The boy bit his lip.
Severus went back to his notes. He steadfastly ignored the little beast as he slowly wheeled the chair right over to Severus' bedside and leaned over to him conspiringly. "Did your legs stop working because remember how you were poisoned?" he whispered.
Severus turned his head to glower at the boy. The sentence didn't even make sense! Of course he remembered! The child began to slowly retreat out of Severus' personal space, eyes wide as he decided whatever was in Severus' expression wasn't worth the wait for an answer and he wheeled off again.
Severus shoved his book closer to himself with a sniff, reading the same line once again before taking his pen to paper once more. He wrote a large paragraph on what exactly he'd like to do to Carrow when he saw the man and was halfway through planning the desired symptoms of a new improved blood boiling potion when something smashed into the side of his bed, causing the muggle biro he was forced to use break off course harshly through a small list of ingredients. Severus gripped the pen tightly in his hand and inhaled deeply. He slowly raised his head, his face arranged into a death glare as he tried to stop himself from screaming out at the irritating thing before him. The child was sitting to his left, somehow having managed to manoeuvre the chair with little difficulty when technically only having the power of one workable arm before inevitably loosing control and crashing into the bed. His face was white and expressionless except for his wide eyes and pursed lips.
"I'm sorry." he breathed.
"Out. Of. The chair." Severus intoned quietly, deadly.
The child didn't hesitate and quickly stood and moved around to the back of the chair, putting a larger distance between the two of them, his eyes still glued to Severus as if watching a wild animal.
Severus swallowed back a few dozen curses a child under ten should never hear and with his jaw clenched painfully, he looked down at the page. The line was irritating but didn't make the list undecipherable and he closed the journal with a snap and a tired sigh.
"Do you want me to go?" the boy's soft question went unanswered as Severus placed the book down on the covers.
"Aren't your parents worrying where you are?"
"No. They're dead forever."
Severus looked up at the boy with a frown and noticed he was still standing stock-still behind the chair. He scowled, "What are you doing hovering like a fly? Come sit here will you." He indicated sharply to the empty, wheel-less chair as the boy took a tentative step towards it, watching Severus' face intensely for a moment before grinning suddenly and enthusiastically hopping into it.
"What are you writing?" he asked in an annoyingly childish voice.
"Nothing that concerns you."
"What are you reading?" the child asked, glancing at the book on the bedside table and the small pile on the bed.
"Nothing that concerns you." Severus repeated.
"Do you ever stop asking questions?" Severus snapped irritably as he picked up one of his potion volumes.
He was flicking through the already-memorised index when he realised the child hadn't answered. He looked up to see the boy with his head bowed, face hidden. "I asked you a question," he snapped impatiently.
"Not meant to ask questions," came the muffled reply.
Severus raised an eyebrow. "Oh, I'm not allowed to ask questions, but you are perfectly entitled to ask whatever pops into your head, no matter how mundane?" he sneered.
The boy raised his head with a defiant gleam in his eye. "I'm sorry I asked lots of questions I just forgot because I was playing with the chair." he said in a rush, his voice snappish and contrasting with the apology.
Severus rolled his eyes and went back to his book. "You won't learn anything unless you ask questions," he muttered dismissively, "Relevant questions. Unlike irritatingly prying questions." Severus added with a scowl.
The boy watched him with a small frown on his face, looking confused for a moment before Severus turned away.
Severus didn't know why he was even bothering to attempt to read with the incessant whelp twitching for attention every two seconds, but by merlin he tried.
"Sev'rus-" the boy bagan hesitantly.
"Here. Read this," Severus grabbed the children's story book Dumbledore had left from bedside table and shoved it into the brats small hands. "Now go away."
The boy stared down at the book in awe, holding it out like something precious. "What, like take it with me?" he asked in wonder.
"Yes, now leave me be boy!"
The child gave an indecently massive grin. "Oh wow. Thank you Sev'rus!" He took off at a run, calling a loud "Goodnight!" as he sprinted down the corridor back to his ward.
Severus leaned back against his pillows with a loud groan. If the child wasn't careful, he'd fall and break his other arm.
His eyes burned like they do when he had been reading for too long and Severus scowled at his body's betrayal and the unfairness of it. He stacked all the books onto his side table and rubbed his eyes tiredly with a yawn.
He settled down against the pillows, feeling the day's activities pull him gently into a dark haze of slumber. As he felt himself slipping, his thoughts whirled around potion ingredients and poison and long walks in the sun and bloody revenge and bloody kids that he just couldn't seem to get away from.