The Four Seasons
When it was announced during the next staff meeting that Severus Snape was to be the new Potions Master AND Head of Slytherin for the new school year, the entire room was struck with silence.
"Albus," Minerva finally said, "is that wise?"
"Hogwarts prides itself on being one of the best Wizarding schools in education, and Severus is the best Potions Master to date."
"B-B-But h-he's a-a-a D-D-Deatheater!" stammered Quirrell.
"Merely rumors, Quirinus," Albus reassured "There has never been any proof that Severus Snape is in any way involved with Voldemort."
The meeting room immediately filled with hisses and flinches so the Headmaster waited patiently for it to quiet down before speaking again.
"Besides, Horace has personally recommended Severus, and I trust his judgment… more or less," he added, sending a teasing smile to his friend.
"I promise I do not take offense to that, my friend," Horace chuckled before turning to the rest of the Professors. "My esteemed colleagues, I know this is a shock to you, but please, I ask that you trust my recommendation."
"We do trust you, Horace," Pomona Sprout assured him, "it is Snape we are wary of. After all, the rumors had to come from somewhere."
"And him not being here doesn't help his case either," mumbled Argus Filch, stroking Mrs. Norris' back.
"Ah yes, I have an explanation for that. Severus contacted me this morning, apologizing about not being able to make tonight's meeting on account that he has no one to look after his son. I assured him no one would mind the child being here, but Severus is Severus."
Once more, the meeting room fell silent as everyone stared at the old wizard.
"Severus….has a son?" Again, it was Minerva who broke it.
"Yes. His name is Harry charming lad."
That moment had happened weeks ago, but it was still fresh in Hagrid's head, bright and unrelenting as he exited the Floo and stepped into the study of Severus Snape. Greeting him was the man himself.
"Hello, Hagrid," Severus said.
"'Ello, Snape," Hagrid returned.
In the pause that followed, Hagrid studied Severus. The last time he had seen him (just a glance in the empty halls of Hogwarts on his way back to his hut, but it had been enough), the man had held himself with pride and perhaps a bit of arrogance, looking like one who held the whole world in his hands.
Now, Severus looked like his whole world had ended. His face looked far older than it should, his black eyes (which Hagrid remembered being hard and cold,) wet with unshed tears.
This was something more than just an injured owl.
"No, she is still alive. This way."
Hagrid followed Severus to the living room and paused at the sight of a woman with long brown hair and green eyes sitting on the sofa with a bundle in her lap. For a moment, he wondered if she was Severus' wife, before dismissing the idea. It was none of his business; he was here to heal an owl.
"Meg, this is Hagrid, an Animal Healer. He's here for Hedwig."
Meg nodded. She stood up, went over to the large man and carefully handed over the bundle.
"Take good care of her," she said.
"I'll do me best," Hagrid assured her, smiling behind his wild beard.
Meg gave him a small smile before turning to Severus. "I'll go make some tea."
Severus nodded and watched her go to the kitchen.
Meanwhile, Hagrid had moved back to the sofa and placed the bundle on it before kneeling down. Gently, he unwrapped the blanket (ignoring the way the air of the house felt like Death was knocking on the door) to reveal the injured owl. The white feathers were in disorder and dirty, one wing was bent at an unpleasant angle. The bird was shivering and breathing harshly.
"Hey there, girl," he coo'ed.
One large golden eye opened to stare at him before the owl hissed and clicked her beak threateningly. Severus was there at once, gently hushing her.
"He's here to help you," Severus reassured, stroking her feathers with a careful hand. "He's safe."
Hedwig's eye stared at him before rolling over to Hagrid, then back at Severus once more before closing. Severus nodded at Hagrid and moved out the way just as Meg came back with a tray.
"Thank you, Meg," Severus said and took two mugs, one for himself and one for Hagrid.
As Meg took the tray upstairs, Severus' gaze moved to the top of the stairs, a longing look in them. Then he placed the two mugs on the table and turned to Hagrid.
The large man was gently prodding the bent wing and murmuring to himself. Hedwig held still for the examination, hissing and clicking her beak when she had had enough.
"Alrigh', alrigh', girl. I'm done," Hagrid told her and pulled his hands away.
"Well?" Severus asked, voice laced with impatience.
"Lass has a broken wing and a sprained right leg, no broken ribs though. I'll jus' bandage her up and then I'll be on me way."
Severus nodded and watched as Hagrid reached into his coat pockets. He raised an eyebrow at the sight of several dog biscuits, a collar, some pebbles, a few small sacks and some unidentified things being placed on his coffee table.
"Ah hah!" Hagrid grinned as he pulled out another pouch. He opened it and pulled out bandages, and two small vials.
For the next few minutes, he worked on Hedwig, softly murmuring 'tha' a girl' and 'good girl now' as he cleaned and wrapped the wing firmly, ignoring a sharp peck on his finger for the involuntary pain he caused. Usually, he would have covered her eyes, but Severus said it would only make things worse.
After her wing was bandaged, Hagrid popped open one of the vials, tipped some of the liquid onto his fingers and rubbed it on the sprained leg before wrapping it.
"There, all done."
Taking out a large checkered cloth, he wiped his hands and grabbed his things that he had taken out, stuffing them back in his pockets.
"Alrigh', I'll be goin' then."
"Of course and thank you," Severus said and handed over a pouch to him.
Curious, Hagrid opened it and felt his eyes widen.
"This is too much!"
"Believe me when I say that this amount is too little for what you have done, but judging from your reaction, I was right in halving it."
"Rubeus, please," Severus sighed tiredly, "just take the money."
Hagrid, more surprised that Severus had said 'please' than the use of his own name, just nodded and headed for the floo. He told Severus the second vial he had left was for Hedwig's leg to soothe the pain and he would return in a week's time to check up on her.
Severus nodded and bade him a good evening.
When Hagrid reached home, he was greeted by Fang. Absently petting the dog, he wondered why he felt like he had just woken up from a dream.
Hedwig gave a soft hoot when she was lifted and gently rewrapped in the blankets; she remained still as Severus carried her up the stairs and to Harry's room.
"A broken wing and a sprained leg," Severus said when heads looked his way.
There were relieved smiles on anxious faces before they turned back to Jacob who was still examining an unconscious Harry.
Severus took the moment to look over the room. Draco, who was the first to regain consciousness, was tended to first and was now asleep in Narcissa's arms, exhausted from today's events. Lucius sat next to her, his hand stroking his son's hair.
Meg was holding onto her daughter with Greg beside her. Hermione had clung to her parents the moment they arrived, but unlike Draco, she was still awake and quietly sniffling.
After giving Hedwig to Greg, Severus went over to the Medi-Wizard.
"Aside from a few bumps and bruises, he's fine," Jacob reassured him, putting away his wand and clapping Severus on the shoulder with his free hand. "Well, there is also this…"
Severus watched as Jacob pushed back Harry's fringe. There, on the child's forehead was a lightning shaped scar.