The Wraith of Hogwarts
by Healer Pomfrey
All recognizable characters belong to J. K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.
I am not a native speaker of English. Please excuse my mistakes.
"Good morning Harry, good morning Severus," Minerva greeted the two wizards in a friendly voice, before she asked, "Are you ready to have breakfast in the Great Hall?"
Severus looked questioningly towards the bed, where the stuffed dragon was hovering mid-air. "Harry, do you want to have breakfast together with the elf children or with us?" he asked, gently.
'With Nina and Tony please, if I may,' Harry replied, telepathically.
Severus nodded. "Of course you may do so," he said and informed Minerva, before he called Cicero.
The elf promised to bring Harry back or just make him pop home after the last afternoon class, before he reached out for the boy's hand.
'May I bring my teddy?' Harry thought to the elf.
"Of course you may bring your teddy with you, Harry," Cicero replied, smiling at the stuffed dragon. "It's a wonderful teddy."
'Master Severus made him for me,' Harry informed the elf. 'He's really very nice. Do you think I should make myself visible for him?' he then asked, slightly hesitating.
"Harry, that's true, and I believe that it would be a wonderful idea to do so," Cicero reassured him, smirking.
A mere instant before Cicero popped away with the child, Severus got a glimpse at a visible Harry. 'How strange. It must have been my imagination,' he thought, slowly massaging his temples in a faint attempt to get the headache in grip that had been bothering him since the previous night.
"Did you give him the stuffed dragon?" Minerva asked in clear amusement.
Severus smirked as he replied, "Well, he obviously needed one. He's calling it 'Teddy'."
Minerva chuckled, as she commented, "Severus, you're going soft." Her expression changed to a frown though. "You're lucky that he at least speaks to you, telepathically. I wished he'd do so with me."
Sensing that his colleague seemed to be very disappointed about the matter, especially considering how close she had been to the boy when he had been a baby, Severus said in a soothing voice, "He'll come around eventually. I'm sure he'll make himself visible and speak at least to the two of us soon." He unconsciously rubbed his forehead, resolving to try a stronger headache potion as soon as he could excuse himself.
"Severus, are you feeling all right?" Minerva queried, giving him a sharp look.
"Yes of course," Severus replied, inwardly groaning in annoyance. "It' just draining having to deal with an invisible child," he added, before he explained to his colleague what had happened the previous night.
"Why is Harry able to apparate within Hogwarts?" Minerva asked in apparent surprise.
"Because the elves have taught him," Severus informed her, smirking. "While Albus pushed him away, the elves saw fit to help the child and teach him useful knowledge."
"I see," Minerva said, pensively. "Severus, how is Harry's condition now? Since the elves won't have classes during the weekend either, I thought that perhaps we could take Harry out to the zoo or somewhere if he's well enough. Maybe if he gets a chance to get to know us, he'll open up to us as well."
"Yes, that's a good idea," Severus agreed, thoughtfully. "I had Poppy check on him last night, when he was asleep. She told me that she's still concerned about his lungs, especially as Misty, who apparently is not only her house-elf but the Healer of the elves, checked on Harry multiple times and told her that his breathing was laboured. Poppy said that Harry has to take it easy, but that Misty and she agreed to not keep him in bed but let him have as much fun as possible while keeping an eye on him." He let out a long sigh. "I'll ask Misty about his condition again tonight. Although I believe that before taking him anywhere else, we should go to Diagon Alley together in order to buy some clothes and perhaps books and toys for him first." 'And a Toddler's Potions Kit,' he silently added to the list.
Harry thoroughly enjoyed himself attending classes together with the elves' children. While they learned general elves' knowledge with Twinkle in the morning, during the afternoon, Malcolm taught the three five-year-olds Writing and Maths, before he took them to several places within Hogwarts, mainly in order to show Harry more of Hogwarts. The small boy looked around in amazement as they entered the library and thoroughly enjoyed the view from the Astronomy tower. 'I like the Great Hall,' he thought, seeing in surprise that snow came through the ceiling.
"The ceiling is charmed to look like the sky," Malcolm informed the children, before he brought them to a small herb garden, which was situated on top of the roof of Hogwarts. "Only Mistress Poppy and Master Severus use to come here in order to pick up leaves or plants for Healing potions," Malcolm told the children.
'This is great,' Harry thought, looking around in awe.
"Over there is Hogsmeade," Malcolm informed him, pointing to a near-by village. "I don't know if you've heard about it..."
"Next year, when we's going to bes six, we'll be alloweds to pops to Hogsmeade together with Twinkle," Nina interrupted the elf in apparent excitement. "They has lots of interesting shops there, like sweets shops and such. Ah, I can't waits to be six already."
Harry chuckled at the girl's enthusiasm. 'I'd like going there too,' he thought, feeling very happy with his new life.
Back in the elves' quarters, Malcolm allowed the children to play in the playroom, which was an indoor playground with slides, seesaws, merry-go-rounds, swings and other attractions, where the children could mix with the other children and play together or for themselves for the rest of the afternoon. 'This is too cool,' Harry thought and happily played together with his two friends until Misty came to collect him.
"Sweetie, I need to check on you and then take you back to Master Severus," she told him in a soft voice, nodding contentedly when Harry immediately abandoned what he had been doing and obediently came over to her.
He waved Nina and Tony good-bye and followed Misty out of the room. 'She's the nicest of the adult elves,' he thought, 'although I like Cicero a lot too.' In fact, he felt relieved that it was Misty who had come to fetch him today, because he did not feel overly well and knew that the Healer elf would be able and willing to make him feel better. During the last hour, he had noticed that it was becoming difficult to breathe, and he knew that he had to make Misty be able to hear him like he had done the previous day.
"Oh my Harry, you have difficulties breathing today, don't you?" Misty immediately realised his problem, when she could hear him.
'Yes,' Harry thought to her.
"Then let's see what we can do to make you all better," Misty said in a tone that efficiently hid her concern for the small child and led him into her office.
A few minutes later, Harry was already feeling much better and smiled as he obediently laid his hand into Misty's, so that Misty could pop them back to his guardian. The thought 'I could just pop myself' crossed his mind, but he knew better than to question Misty's decision to take him home.
Harry listened in amazement, when Severus told the elf that Minerva and he intended to take Harry to an alley and the zoo during the weekend. 'They're going to take me to places like Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon did with Dudley,' he thought, barely able to believe his luck. However, he was utterly disappointed when he heard Misty tell the professor that he could not go anywhere this weekend because he was running a slight temperature and had breathing problems.
"Harry must take it easy during the weekend," the Healer elf said in a no-nonsense voice. "He may play or you may teach him something if he feels up to it, but he should not leave the castle before his condition improves. I'll come by in the morning to check on him, or would Master Severus prefer if Mistress Poppy came to check on Harry?"
"No Misty," Severus replied in a soft voice. "Poppy told me that you can help him much better, because you're able to hear him while she can't. Therefore, I'd appreciate it if you came to check on him."
"Oh no," Harry thought, terrified. "Now Severus and Minerva will think that I'm a burden and won't want me to live here with them anymore. I better make myself invisible again."
All the while he had been talking to Misty, Severus had observed Harry from the corner of his eyes, very relieved to see that the boy seemed to feel comfortable enough to be visible in front of himself. However, all of a sudden, the child vanished from the sight. Only from Misty's hand that was still holding Harry's did he know that Harry was still present.
"Harry, what happened?" he asked with a combination of concern and annoyance. "There's no need to make yourself invisible again. I was so happy to be able to see you, and I just know that Minerva would appreciate it too."
'No, he'll realise what a burden and a nuisance I am,' Harry thought according to what his aunt had instructed him for years and remained quiet.
"Maybe Harry should take a nap before dinner," Misty suggested, before she took her leave.
"Very well Harry, let's go to your room so you can lie down for a bit before dinner," Severus took Misty's advice, surprised when he felt the child reach out for his hand. He made the boy lie down on his bed. "Harry, would you like to sleep for a while, or do you want me to tell you something about potions or magic or whatever you want?" he queried, quirking an eyebrow.
'Please tell me about potions,' Harry replied, telepathically. Ever since Severus had told him that he was the Potions Master the previous evening, he had been wondering what exactly Potions was.
Knowing that Harry would not be able to comprehend his usual speech for the first years, Severus patiently told the child about potions in general as well as ingredients, the brewing and the use of potions. From the occasional telepathic replies did he know that Harry was listening intensely.
'Thank you so much for telling me about Potions, sir,' Harry finally thought to him,
"You're very welcome, child," Severus replied in a soft voice. "If you feel well enough, I can teach you to brew fruit drops tomorrow."
However, he did not receive a reply, before Minerva entered the room an instant later. "Severus, Harry, are you ready to head to the Great Hall?" she enquired. "Dinner is going to commence soon."
"Very well Harry, let's go," Severus addressed the child; however, not only did the boy not reply, but from the curves of his bed covers, the professor could see that he made no move to get up.
"Maybe Harry's asleep," he told the Scottish lioness and informed her about Misty's instructions. "Minerva, please excuse me from dinner tonight," he decided. "I'm going to stay nearby in case Harry wakes up, and I'll have dinner together with him later on." For an instant, he pondered if he should tell his colleague that Harry had been visible earlier, however, decided against it, considering that he didn't even know why the boy had turned invisible again. He cast a spell on the child that would alert him when Harry woke up and returned to his office in order to do some work. 'Who knows how much time I'm going to have during the weekend,' he thought, smirking.
Harry was so exhausted from playing with his friends - something that he was not used to at all - and from his poor condition that he slept through the night. When he woke up, he felt considerably better. 'Oh no, I fell asleep when the professor was still talking to me,' he thought, horrified, absentmindedly taking in how the bright light of the full moon fell into the room through the charmed window right next to his bed. Before he, however, could follow dark thoughts, Severus stepped into the room. 'As if he knew that I just woke up,' Harry thought in surprise and quickly thought to the man, 'I'm sorry for falling asleep, while you were still talking to me. I was so tired.'
"Ah Harry, that's fully all right," Severus replied in his usual, soft voice. "Are you feeling better this morning?"
'Yes,' Harry thought back. 'I wished we could go to the zoo,' he thought to himself but knew better than to voice his thoughts.
"Shall we have breakfast in my quarters this morning?" Severus suggested, giving Harry a questioning look.
'Yes sir, thank you sir,' Harry replied, seemingly hesitating.
"Very well." Severus nodded contentedly. "Afterwards, i want Misty to check on you, and if she deems you well enough, I thought that we could perhaps brew fruit drops together, if that's something you'd like to do."
'I'd like that very much,' Harry replied, smiling at the professor without considering that the older wizard was unable to see his smile.
Misty allowed Harry to brew fruit drops together with his guardian, and Harry happily followed the professor into his lab.
The Potions Master carefully gathered the necessary ingredients, pointing out to Harry what exactly they needed and where to find it. "It's important that you remember exactly how the ingredients are organised," he told the child. However, when everything was ready so that they could begin preparing the ingredients, he suddenly thought, 'It's too dangerous having an invisible child brew potions.' He remained pensive for a few minutes, before Harry's question penetrated his mind.
'Sir?' Harry enquired, 'is something wrong?'
Severus let out a long sigh, before he replied, "Yes child. I'm sorry, but it would be too dangerous to allow you to brew. Since I can't see you, I wouldn't be able to realise it early enough if you had any problems, nor would I be able to pull you away on time if necessary," he explained, when a sudden thought crossed his mind. "Harry, is Cicero able to see you?"
'Yes sir,' Harry confirmed.
"Very well, then I will call Cicero, so that he can help me keep an eye on you," Severus resolved and called his elf.
'Maybe I should make myself visible again for Severus,' Harry mused, feeling very guilty at the thought that Cicero had to spend the time in the lab just because he was a coward and remained invisible. When the elf showed up and greeted him as friendly as usual, Harry made a decision and wished himself to be visible for Severus.
"Harry," Severus spoke up in apparent surprise, and the edges of his mouth pulled slightly up. "It's good to be able to see you. Now are you ready to commence?" he asked and began to meticulously show the boy how to prepare each of the ingredients.
Harry enjoyed himself greatly. At first, he had expected the brewing of potions to be similar to cooking, even if he had not voiced this thought to the Potions Master; however, he noticed soon what the differences were.
Severus on the other hand did not only feel relieved to be able to see the child, but he also realised that Harry paid attention to what he taught him and seemed to be very adept at brewing. Half-way through the brewing process, Severus dismissed Cicero, as he was well able to supervise the now visible child by himself.
Too soon for Harry's liking, they had finished the fruit drops and filled the liquid into moulds, where it had to remain for a few hours, before he could try the drops.
'Thank you so much,' he thought to his guardian. 'This was a lot of fun.'
"You're welcome Harry," Severus replied, smirking. "Now I suggest that I take you to Minerva, so that you can stay with her for a few hours, while I'm going to brew some potions for the hospital wing," he added, staring at the child in surprise when the boy's expression suddenly turned sad.
'He doesn't want me anymore,' Harry thought, sadly. 'I'd so much love to help him, but probably I'm just a burden to him.'
Thank you so much for your kind reviews. My muse appreciates them greatly. I am sorry for the delay (oh well two weeks...), but I was busy writing my Advent's Calendar story that is going to commence soon.