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Chapter Seven: Speculation and Serums

Wondering what to do next, Harry considered his options. Snape seemed comfortable if still sleepy and strangely mild... he even seemed somewhat younger in appearance without the fierce frown and challenge customarily present in his gaze.

With a glance downwards Harry's decision was made. "Let's see how that splint is holding up. We don't want it falling apart once we get moving." With a pause and a frown at the damaged broomstick, he added, "I'd try going for help on the broomstick if it was able to go higher and faster." Harry busied himself with checking the security of the splint, not wanting to see the disbelief, the lack of recognition in Snape's eyes at his statement. Instead, he continued talking... perhaps half hoping that Snape would suddenly lose patience with his rambling, tell him to be quiet and take points from Gryffindor. "As it is, the broom will help us get going; we can sit you on it until you're steadier on your feet. Hopefully you won't get motion sickness once you've rested up a bit. Flying is like riding a bike, I think. Once you've learned to do it..." He trailed off on the realization that there was a chance Snape would encounter trouble due to more than the state of his leg.

Snape's voice retained its quiet thoughtfulness as he murmured in unknowing agreement with Harry's thoughts, "I'm not certain about that... but we'll see. I still find it difficult to believe it would move at all on its own, and that my dream was not just that- a dream." With a pause for further thought, he watched Harry's exaggerated caution when touching his leg and noted to the boy, "My leg doesn't really hurt too much any longer."

"That will probably change the moment we try to move you," Harry noted. Memories of his many stays in the hospital wing made him smirk for a moment and unthinkingly comment, "Getting hurt is a bit like riding a bike as well. Experience lends the knowledge of how long Madam Pomphrey's going to be keeping her eagle eye on you."

"Quite," Snape agreed without pause. "One would think she took personal insult when a human body under her charge was in less than perfect condition." He blinked afterwards, as startled as Harry who had looked up to stare at him again. "I've no idea where that came from," Snape noted with a briefly furrowed brow. "She is a hospital matron of some sort?"

"Yes," Harry quietly replied. "At Hogwarts." In an effort to distract himself from recalling his state of mind the last time he was in the hospital, Harry turned his concentration back to the makeshift splint and tried to strengthen his emotional wall again.

Harry finished making near to inconsequential adjustments to the splint on Severus' leg, and Severus instinctively tried to lift his head to squint at the results. He felt himself gasp at the sudden twinge and pulling at his neck, but before he accidentally did himself more harm, Harry quickly reached up to support Severus' head from falling back too fast to the sheet covered wood. Severus suddenly felt a chill wash through him- overwhelming but refreshing- before images passed before his eyes.

//He awoke to the youthful but stern features of the nurse-in-training, Ms Pomphrey. "You've just gotten your first broken leg, Mr. Snape. Now lie still.//

//The charismatic man in robes smiled, "I've heard much about you already from Mr. Malfoy and your father."//

//The dark haired man looked at him from over their softly simmering cauldron. "They never found who killed your mother, Severus."//

//A sneer graced the features of a young man in red and gold Quiddich robes, his long dark hair flowing behind him as he flew towards Severus with the Quaffle in hand.//

//Blackness... and the sound of chanting... something tearing at him... at his mind... he screamed.//

Severus' eyes shot open. Harry looked as though he wanted to take Severus to task for almost hurting himself, but the expression changed in favor of frowning at Severus' outward reaction- whatever it had been. "Are you alright," he asked, rubbing his hands together as though they were chilled after settling Severus' head back down.

"I... think so," rasped Severus. "Just now... I saw- heard... perhaps remembered... something." Finding the flood of disjointed thoughts difficult to describe, Severus fell silent rather than try to move his head again.

Again with the air of one trying to decide whether to risk fiddling with a ticking bomb, Harry asked, "Can you sort any of it out?" This prompted Severus to again wonder just what he'd been like previously; he filed that question away for the moment to focus upon the fleeting impressions.

"It was a rush of images, words, all from different times, I think. It was all so fast, I could barely absorb it before the next assaulted me. How long was I..."

"Just a few moments," Harry replied, rubbing his hands together again. Turning to squint at the dappled sunlight making its way through the roof of the shack, he commented, "This place is drafty, and I think it might be getting colder tonight. I haven't seen a trace of the man who'd been after us when I was out looking for food. There's a small stream about half a mile away from here, but nothing around to carry the water in. The containers in the shed here are all rusted or coated with oil and chemicals... I was wondering..."

"Yes?" prompted Severus. Harry was showing a pleasing amount of native intellect, even if he was a.... a what?

"Are you carrying any potions- or bottles?"

Severus blinked. "Potions? If I was, I'd expect they'd have broken or that I'd feel their bulk on me."

Harry shook his head, his glasses reflecting the indirect light from outside. His words were spoken quickly, as though afraid of being derided before he could finish, "Some of your containers have unbreakable charms on them... and you might have shrunk them to carry easily. That's not a spell we've learned yet in class."

Moments passed before Severus lifted his arms to carefully search his robes with the sluggishness of someone on the edge of exhaustion. As his right hand searched within the left sleeve of his robe, Severus asked without thinking, "Where is my...." Words failed him as the memory for the word slipped away, but Harry came to the rescue with an almost hopeful smile.

"Your wand? I brought it with us." Again his words came rapidly, "I can't use it; it doesn't seem to like me much, and I'm afraid of what might happen if you tried using it again. The last time it hurt you even though it worked a little."

Harry's words came to a halt when Severus produced a dark silver box from within his right sleeve. The box seemed to be made of hematite and was slender, resting easily in Severus' hand, cool to the touch. Curious, he reached for the latch which gave off a small spark at the contact and then opened. Within the box were four tiny bottles nestled within velvet lining.

Severus lightly ran one finger down the elegant line of a bottle as he searched for recollection that was not there. Next to him, Harry crouched and looked at the box as well. "Wicked," he softly exclaimed as he bent for a closer look. "Are they labeled? Do you know what they are?"

"No, and no," Severus murmured in return. "They do seem to be filled with something." His fingers trembled, so he aborted his movement to take one of them out from the box as they seemed unutterably delicate in appearance.

"Now all we'd need to do is to figure out what they're for, and enlarge them to the proper size- that is, if these aren't their proper size," Harry sighed. "If one of them is a healing draught we'd be able to get you up and around in no time."

Peering over at Harry, Severus asked, "What other sorts of things would I be carrying?"

The boy slowly shook his head, again seeming reluctant, "No way of knowing. They could be healing draughts. Could be... truth serum or poison, too."

"Poison? Why would I be carrying poison?" Severus frowned. Having a thirst for knowledge and no issue with asking the questions he needed to get that knowledge, Severus finally decided to voice his curiosity and ask the boy, "What was I like when you knew me before?"


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