Servitude ch. 9
When Severus opened his eyes the first thing he saw was white. He no longer felt that awful pain. He could not move, but it was probably normal. He seemed to have died… as well he should. Nobody will be able to torment him more. He thought he would see Lily.
He felt someone touching his hand. He tried to turn around. He managed to move his eyes, but not his head. Green eyes. Lily’s eyes.
‘Lily? Is that heaven, Lil?’ – he did not hear his own voice, but maybe in heaven it is normal… or maybe he is in hell and the devil is tormenting him with a vision of Lily? He was not a good man… he was not a religious man…
‘Severus’ a male voice said ‘You’re alive, you’re in St. Mungo’s… Do not move – the Healers think you could have damaged your spine – and do not talk, your throat is raw.’
It’s not Lily, Snape thought disappointedly. He is in hospital? Did they want to heal him again and whip him more again? Or try his own spell on him – Sectumsempra? But this man seemed genuinely worried…
The man’s entire face was now in his field of vision. Lily’s son. Harry Potter. Did he come here to torment him, to aid in breaking him? No sooner had that thought formed in his mind than he realized that Potter is his owner. He remembered hearing his owner’s conversation with Miss Granger…
‘You- did – not – have – to – Master – Potter’ he said with difficulty.
The Boy-Who-Lived lifted his eyebrows.
‘It is not my habit to leave a suffering man to the whims of fate, Severus’
‘No…’ a sudden coughing attack shook Severus. ‘I… am… a slave…’
‘Never mind that. My m- Lily would not have done that. I wouldn’t either. I am her son.’ Potter glanced in the direction of the doorway. ‘Ginny and Teddy are waiting outside. Should I let them in?’
‘Y… Your decision… Master’ Severus tried to look anywhere, just not at his owner’s face.
‘Nonsense’ the younger wizard said in a decisive voice. ‘Tell me whether I should let them in’
The slave felt trapped. He could not have an opinion or make decisions – but his owner expected him to. And if he wished, master Potter could do worse things… for example reveal the truth about himself and Lily… He shivered. He shook his head.
‘No?’ Potter repeated and vacated the chair, presumably to relay the information.
‘Master Potter!…’ Snape fell victim to the coughing fit again. ‘M-M…’
His frustration must have been clear on his face, because his owner simply asked ‘Yes or no?’ At his nod, Potter opened the door. The moment they were opening, little master Teddy ran into the room as fast as he could, shouting.
‘Unca Harry! Sev OK?’
Potter lifted the boy that had gotten hold of the columns of the bed and was angling his head upwards. Snape noticed that this time the boy had straight black shoulder-length hair and black eyes. It reminded him of someone… His gaze fell onto the mirror beside the bed and then he understood – little master Teddy was imitating his appearance!
‘Wh- why does the little master…’ he forced out, surprised.
‘Teddy usually takes the appearance of the people he likes’ Ginny Potter explained as she came closer. ‘You wouldn’t believe Harry, how many times he had asked about Severus during our short stay at Andromeda’s…’
‘Nana! Sev!’ little Lupin interjected, and the Potters laughed.
Severus was trying very hard to understand… little master Teddy liked him? How could the master like the slave? Take the slave’s appearance? Is this a plot of some sort? Did the Potters manipulate the child so that it was seen what a poor slave he is? One that does not know his place?
That thought nearly made him stop breathing. He tried to move… that bed wasn’t for him, there must have been a mistake… He managed to swing his legs over the edge…
‘Severus!’ Ginny called, coming closer. ‘Do not move!’
The slave felt his fear increase when mistress Potter placed his legs back on the bed and covered them with a quilt. Did they wish for him to be shut away here? For him to spend the rest of his life in St. Mungo’s like… like Bellatrix’s victims?
He could not oppose his mistress’s order – it was unthinkable – but his fingers clenched on the quilt. Every moment he could throw it aside and end this farce. Little master smiled at him, safe in his godfather’s arms.
‘Sev OK?’ the child repeated.
Potter looked from little Lupin to him and back. He seemed not to know what to say. Severus remembered master Potter has had little contact with small children. It had to be hard for him. He tried to smile when he felt his owner’s gaze on himself.
‘The Healers say you will be cleared to go home in a few days… Hear that, Teddy? Sev will soon be with us again!’
Little master Teddy clapped his hands and smiled at mistress Potter. Snape wondered for a moment whether Lupin had chosen her to be the child’s godmother, or if she became one through marriage… Master Potter grabbed the quilt when he tried to get up again.
‘Were you always such a hard patient?’ his eyes were laughing ‘Maybe you’d prefer us to stay here?’
The slave shook his head fiercely. His masters would be forced to stay in St. Mungo’s for a few days only because of him?! He tried to get up again. His owner smiled.
‘Should I look for a toy like I did for Teddy? Or should I put you to sleep? Maybe not, it’d be kinda hard… Do you happen to know what I would have to use?’
Snape gave him a slightly hurt look, as if to say ‘Who do you think I am? I was your Potions Master for five years!’ and then he suddenly remembered who he is talking to. The entire blood left his face.
‘You can be honest with me. I’d bet you wanted to say a moment ago that I had not learned anything in your lessons…’ master Potter said, imitating his own voice perfectly.
‘I… would… use… different… words, master Potter’ Severus said.
Potter’s lips twitched.
‘I think so too. So will I learn what I… you… would need, or should I ask Hermione?’
He replied before he realized he was doing it. A moment later he was having a discussion with Potter – who seemed to have taken an interest in Potions in his line of work. A very polite one, at least on his part, but still – he was conversing with his owner almost like they were equal. When it crossed his mind that he should not behave like that, he heard a child’s laughter.
‘Good Sev!’ little master Lupin said, pointing his finger at him.
‘Teddy sweetie, we do not point fingers’ mistress Potter admonished him softly.
‘I can see Teddy has had enough. We’ll say goodbye for now and we’ll visit you tomorrow’ Potter bent over Severus.