My Little Runaway @bluerowley
Sick

A long chapter after a long wait. Enjoy! Thank you to all the new favorites and follows!

Severus looked over at Harry once again to see the boy still poking at his food. Harry had hardly taken three bites of his lunch. Severus had just returned from his morning lecture and had planned to start Harry's math lessons after lunch. He had briefly reviewed Harry's writing assignment, which was just an essay review on the last chapter of Manxmouse the two had read the previous night. However, the boy seemed very quiet compared to his usual twenty questions. It was unlike him. Even so, Severus would not tolerate a picky child. He already had to deal with a class of incompetent students whining about the assigned homework and failed brews. He would not listen to the whines of a difficult little boy in his own quarters.

"I expect you to eat at least half of your lunch," Severus said.

"I'm not that hungry," Harry replied, looking over at Severus.

"Nonsense, you barely ate your breakfast and now you are ignoring your lunch," Severus frowned in thought, "if you need an appetite stimulator . . ."

"No, Mr. Snape," Harry quickly said, "I don't want potions. I just don't feel very hungry today."

"Are you sick?" Severus reached over and felt Harry's head. "If you feel unwell . . ."

"No, I'm fine!" Harry said.

Severus sat back in his seat, giving Harry a critical look.

"Mind your tone," Severus warned.

"Sorry," Harry said, lowering his head, his lower lip trembling. His apology sounded genuine. "I didn't mean to."

Severus sighed. What on earth was wrong with the child today? Severus closed his eyes and slowly counted backwards from ten to avoid snapping at Harry before opening his eyes and staring at the boy's plate.

"Please finish your lunch," Severus said. "At least half of it."

Harry sniffed before picking up his fork and poking at his food once again, the fork never lifting to his mouth. Harry's eyes were slowly filling up with unshed tears as he moved food around on his plate, the fork screeching against the ceramic. Irritated by the noise and defiance, Severus's fork clattered on his own plate as he dropped it and reached over to lightly smack the fork out of Harry's hand.

"Enough with that," Severus said.

Harry pulled his hands into his lap, rubbing his stinging hand, his lower lip protruding out and wobbling. He sniffed as he looked down in his lap.

"Are you going to eat lunch or not?" Severus asked, his patience short.

Harry sniffled and shook his head.

"Then go to your bed," Severus said, pointing in the direction of their room. "You will wait there until I am ready to start your lessons."

Harry slid out of his chair and hurried away to his bed, still softly sniffing. Severus sighed and vanished the boy's plate, his own appetite diminishing. What had gotten into that boy? Maybe he needed a nap or something. Kids needed naps, right? That must be it. Perhaps before their lessons, they could have a quiet time and Harry could nap. Then maybe Harry would eat all his dinner. If the boy didn't eat dinner, Severus would force an appetite stimulator on him. Severus vanished his plate and went to his study, sitting at his desk and reviewing his second-year math lessons. Subtracting and adding, particularly with word problems. Severus pushed the plans aside, studying the worksheets he had prepared for Harry. Glancing at the grandfather clock, Severus figured some quiet time could be fit in to the schedule. It was only twelve thirty after all.

A book sitting on a shelf caught his eye. Pulling it off, the cover read "Where the Sidewalk Ends: the poems and drawings of Shel Silverstein." Severus smiled softly, remembering reading these same poems when he had been a young teenager. They were amusing and he was sure Harry would enjoy them. Besides, what better way to lure a child to sleep than some stories?

Severus left his study and went to his room, finding Harry lying on his bed, head rested on his pillow and his eyes closed. Severus frowned, feeling Harry's forehead again, but Harry wasn't warm. The touch made Harry open his eyes.

"Oh, sorry Mr. Snape," Harry said, sitting up, yawning and rubbing his eyes.

"Tired?" Severus raised an eyebrow at Harry.

"No," Harry yawned.

"Of course, not," Severus agreed, sitting next to Harry on the bed, backing up enough that his back rested against the wall. Harry pushed back to sit beside Severus. "Before we start our math lessons today, I've decided that some quiet time is in order. And what better activity for quiet time than reading?"

"But what about our nighttime reading?"

"We can still do that but remember, it's not a ritual to read each night. Besides, Manxmouse is our nighttime book. This is Where the Sidewalk Ends." Severus held up the book.

"The sidewalk ends?" Harry questioned. "Where?"

Severus chuckled, "Let's find out."

Severus turned to the appropriate poem and read:

"There is a place where the sidewalk ends

And before the street begins,

And there the grass grows soft and white,

And there the sun burns crimson bright,

And there the moon-bird rests from his flight

To cool in the peppermint wind."

As Severus read, Harry leaned against the man's side, smiling up at Severus then down at the book, reading along silently to words he recognized. Severus continued, coming to the last stanza.

"Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,

And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,

For the children, they mark, and the children, they know,

The place where the sidewalk ends."

"But if there's a place where the sidewalk ends," Harry asked, looking at the picture of two children looking over a ledge, "would we fall off the world?"

Severus smiled down at Harry's innocent and naive question.

"No, Harry, the world is not flat like this picture makes it out to be. There is no way for you to fall off the planet. Gravity would not allow it."

"Can I pick the next one?" Harry asked, flipping through the pages. Severus allowed him, watching Harry study the cartoons that accompanied the poems. Harry came across a poem with money drawn to the side, the title, "Smart."

"Read this one," Harry said.

"Excuse me?" Severus raised an eyebrow expectantly.

"Please."

"Better," Severus cleared his throat. "Ah, this ought to make a good introduction to your math lessons." Severus read:

"My dad gave me one dollar bill,

'Cause I'm his smartest son,

And I swapped it for two shiny quarters,

'Cause two is more than one!

And then I took the quarters

And traded them to Lou

For three dimes – I guess he didn't know

That three is more than two!

Just then, along came old blind Bates

And just cause he can't see

He gave me four nickels for my three dimes,

And four is more than three!

And I took the nickels to Hiram Coombs

Down at the sea feed store,

And the fool gave me five pennies for them,

And five is more than four!

And then I went and showed my dad,

And he got red in the cheeks

And closed his eyes and shook his head –

Too proud of me to speak!"

Harry laughed out loud at that, Severus smiling.

"He lost money, right?" Harry asked, smiling up at Severus.

"He did, indeed. In the United States, the dollar bill is the highest currency value out of what we just read in this poem, pennies are at the bottom."

"So he gave up all that for nothing."

"Yes, he did. And I expect you to be much smarter than our narrator here, understand?"

"Yes, Mr. Snape," Harry smiled. "Can you read another one, please?"

"Yes, I can, but just a couple more," Severus skimmed through the pages. "Let's see, which one looks good. True Story is a funny one, how about the girl who doesn't take the garbage out? Or . . . this one the boy turns into a TV set and this one a brother tries selling his sister . . ."

"What about this one?" Harry pushed his finger in between a couple pages, and Severus opened the book to it, seeing the picture of a girl tucked up tightly in bed, peeking out from under the covers. He smiles, remembering how relatable this one was to him as a teen not wanting to attend some classes. Harry read the title, "Sick. Can you read that one?"

"Yes, I can," Severus said. "This is actually one of my favorites in this book. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

"I cannot go to school today,"

Said little Peggy Ann McKay.

"I have the measles and the mumps,

A gash, a rash and purple bumps.

My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,

I'm going blind in my right eye

My tonsils are as big as rocks,

I've counted sixteen chicken pox

And there's one more – that's seventeen,

And don't you think that my face looks green?

My leg is cut, my eyes are blue –

It might be instamatic flu.

I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,

I'm sure that my left leg is broke –

My hips hurt when I move my chin,

My belly button's caving in,

My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,

My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb,
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is-what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is . . . Saturday

G'bye, I'm going out to play!""

Harry had laughed through most of the poem, leaning warmly into Severus's side. Severus offered a short chuckle at the end, looking down at Harry. Harry yawned and rested his head against Severus, closing his eyes. Severus sighed.

"I think it's nap time, Harry," he said, ready to push off the bed.

"Wait, one more!" Harry whined, turning the pages in the book. "Please? This one?"

Severus huffed and looked at the selected poem. At least it was a short one.

"Very well, but then you are to take a nap, understand?"

"Yes, Mr. Snape."

Severus leaned back against the bed, Harry snuggling up into his side. Once they were both comfortable again, Severus cleared his throat: "Listen to the mustn'ts, child.

Listen to the shouldn'ts,

The impossibles,

The won'ts.

Listen to the never haves,

Then listen close to me . . .

Anything can happen, child.

Anything can be."

Severus frowned at the poem. He remembered it, but it never held so much meaning to him in the past than it did now. He studied the words longer, soaking them in before looking down at Harry who had fallen asleep against him, his glasses crooked slightly. Severus closed the book and set it aside, carefully removing Harry's glasses and putting them on the nearby shelf among Harry's toys and books. Then, he studied Harry, thinking about the last poem he read.

Anything can happen, anything can be . . .

Why those words struck him so harshly, Severus didn't know. He found himself sitting with Harry longer than he intended too, just watching the boy sleep against him. Slowly, Severus carded a hand through Harry's unruly hair.

When had he gotten so attached to James Potter's spawn? How had it happened? Severus wondered if their unique bond had a role in it. Perhaps it was the bond that was making him feel suddenly so protective of the boy at his side. Yes, that had to be it. He was being influenced by some kind of poorly studied magic.

And it was this magic that made him lean down toward Harry, his lips inches away from Harry's mop of hair. Severus paused, feeling slightly awkward now as he carded his fingers through Harry's hair some more before he pulled himself up. Maybe he needed some sleep, too. Oh well, he had too many things to attend to. Sleep would have to wait.

Severus adjusted Harry down on the bed, making sure the boy was on his back with his head on the pillow. He stood off the bed and tucked Harry in, picking up his book and leaving the room.

An hour and half passed before Severus went in to check on Harry. He had finished grading his third- and fourth-year homework assignments and figured it would be a good time to start Harry's lessons. He was not surprised to see Harry's eyes wide open, staring straight up at him.

"Well rested, I presume?" Severus asked, crossing his arms as he looked down at Harry, who remained under his blanket. "It's time for your math lessons."

"I don't feel good," Harry said, pulling the covers up over his chin slightly. He hadn't put his glasses on and his green eyes sparkled up at Severus.

"You don't?" Severus raised skeptical eyebrows. He studied Harry's face. The boy hadn't felt warm earlier. He wondered if it was possible for Harry to have worsened while he napped, but he thought it should be the other way around. Sleep was the best medicine, after all, as was laughter. He remembered the poem he had read earlier, and how the narrator had been trying to get out of going to school. Would Harry attempt to pull something like that?"

"You are being honest with me, correct?" Severus asked, crossing his arms, smirking slightly. "This wouldn't happen to be a case of instamatic flu, would it?"

Harry smiled under the blanket and shook his head.

"Or perhaps you have the purple bumps," Severus leaned over Harry, checking his face. "And my, do you look green. Is that a chicken pox I see? Do I count one, two, three . . .?" Severus tapped each side of Harry's cheek then his nose as he counted, making the boy giggle. "Is your brain shrunk? Can you hear me?" Severus whispered into Harry's ear, and Harry laughed louder, pulling away from Severus's ticklish breath on his ear and covering his face more with the blanket. "Wait, I think I see those purple bumps. Hold still and let me check you over," Severus said, pulling Harry back towards him and running ticklish fingers down the boy's arm in a mock exam.

Harry laughed even harder, then coughed harshly before leaning over the bed and vomiting on the floor, startling Severus who stepped back. Harry coughed and started sniffling, hiding his face under the blanket.

"You weren't kidding," Severus said.

Sighing, he pulled out his wand and cleaned the floor. He sat on the edge of Harry's bed and pulled the blanket away from Harry, who whined at him. Severus laid a hand over Harry's forehead. The boy was warm, but he couldn't tell if he was warm from being under the blankets or from a fever. Severus summoned a thermometer and stuck it under Harry's tongue, leaving to his lab to grab a fever reducer and antiemetic potion. When he returned, he read the thermometer: 101.2 Fahrenheit. Not too bad. A fever reducer should have that down in no time.

"Did you feel sick earlier, Harry?" Severus asked as he summoned a spoon and measured out an appropriate dose for a small child, starting with the antiemetic.

Harry nodded.

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"I didn't want you to be mad," Harry whimpered, a tear trailing down his cheek.

"Why would I be mad that you are sick?" Severus asked, then felt stupid for doing so. He held out the spoon to Harry, who turned his head away with a whine. "None of that, young man. You need this and another potion. It will make you feel better. You don't want to throw up again, do you?"

"No," Harry cried, "but it'll make me sick."

"The potion?"

"It's yucky," Harry sniffed, "it'll make me sick up."

"No, it won't. I promise. You can trust me. Don't you trust me?"

Harry looked at Severus with a sad face, but he nodded.

"Take this for me, okay? It'll make you feel much better."

Harry reluctantly opened his mouth and took the potion, making a face as he swallowed. Severus quickly poured out a dose of the fever reducer and Harry accepted it, softly crying. Severus set the potions aside in case he needed them again. He looked down at Harry, resting a hand on the other side of the boy to lean into.

"Did you relatives get mad at you when you were sick?"

Harry nodded.

"What would they do?"

"Aunt Petunia would yell at me for in-in-endang-gering Dudley, then she would put me in my cupboard and tell me to let it run its course. She would sometimes give me soup if I had to be in there a long time."

Severus bit his inner cheek, hoping Harry couldn't feel the anger radiate from him.

"That will not be the case here," Severus said. "If you are ever unwell, injured, or even coughing, I want you to come straight to me, understand?"

"Okay."

"Sleep now, Harry," Severus said. "I will check on you in a bit."

"No math?"

"I would think you would know that we can't do your lessons when you are sick."

Harry smiled, then rolled over on his side and closed his eyes. Severus waited until he was sure the boy was asleep before leaving the bedroom. He couldn't understand how someone could despise a child to the point they would refuse medical care for a sick kid. Children were pathetic when sick, especially the small ones. Even when sick, Harry was laughing and smiling. Severus went into the kitchen and began making soup for Harry for dinner. He'd use a heating charm on it later.

Two hours later he heard Harry tossing and turning.

"Mr. Snape!" Harry's voice echoed in the rooms. Severus jumped out of his study and into the bedroom, where Harry had kicked off his blanket, sweat dripping from his forehead, tears dripping from his eyes, his face scrunched. Severus rushed over to Harry, feeling the boy's head. He was burning. Grabbing the thermometer off the shelf, Severus managed to get Harry still for a minute to accept the instrument. 102.8 Fahrenheit.

"I hurt," Harry sobbed, coughing, "my head hurts."

"I know, I know," Severus summoned a fast-acting Fever Reducer this time, hoping to bring Harry's rising fever down faster. A moderate dose for the boy should bring his fever down immediately. Severus poured out the potion on the spoon and held it out to Harry, who pulled his head away.

"No, I'll get sick," Harry said.

"No you won't, I promise."

"I don't feel good. My stomach hurts."

"I know, but you need this, Harry. Please, take it."

Harry cried harder but opened his mouth for the potion. Once Harry had swallowed it, Severus pulled out a pocket watch and waited a minute, watching Harry pull his pillow off the bed. He felt awful for the boy, just awful. The potion should have taken effect by now. Severus picked up the thermometer and Harry held it under his tongue. 104.2 Fahrenheit.

Damn it, Severus thought, rushing to his bathroom and running a washcloth under cold water. He ran back to Harry and draped it over the boy's head. Harry whined and kicked his legs.

"Mr. Snape."

"I'm trying, Harry, let me get you another potion . . ."

Severus jumped back as Harry sat up and vomited on the floor once again. Severus should have gotten a bucket, and he cursed his oversight. Now what?

"No potion," Harry wiped at his eyes, his cloth on the floor. Severus flicked his wand to clean the mess. He grabbed a handful of hair as he tried to think of what to do next. This was no ordinary bug and Harry wasn't keeping his potions down.

"Eve, I need water," Severus demanded.

A glass of water popped on the shelf by Harry's bed and Severus allowed Harry to sip, summoning a bucket for the boy to spit into to rinse his mouth. He took the water away when Harry tried drinking it, making Harry whine.

"My body hurts, Mr. Snape."

"I'm sorry, honey, I don't know what to do," Severus said, unaware of what he had called Harry.

Severus left the room, leaving a crying Harry, and threw powder in the fireplace.

"Poppy!"

The green flames flickered for a minute before the mediwitch appeared.

"Severus, what is it? I have an infirmary full of sick students, can this wait?"

"No, I have a sick kid here," Severus said, "I need your help now, he's dehydrated and can't keep any potions down."

"Could you . . ." Poppy looked off to the side, "I can't just . . . why can't you . . . oh, fine."

Severus stepped back and Poppy stepped through the flames. She adjusted her nursing's cap and brushed herself off, sending an annoyed look at Severus.

"Which student is so important that he couldn't have walked up to the infirmary?"

"He's not a student," Severus said, leading Poppy to his room.

"Well, then I hope he's the Prince of England," Poppy snapped. As soon as Poppy's eyes fell on Harry, she gasped, covering her mouth, frozen in the doorway. Severus allowed her to get over her surprise, though he drummed his fingers against his crossed arms impatiently. Poppy slowly stepped forward, reaching to brush Harry's hair back, "tell me this isn't who I think it is."

"It is," Severus said.

Poppy brushed Harry's hair back, revealing the scar, but her attention quickly turned to Harry's sickness. "Merlin, he's burning up! I bet he has what all the other students are coming in with." Poppy pulled out her wand and performed a complicated diagnostic spell. "I knew it. The wizard flu. It's been spreading through the school faster than locust across a pasture. The poor baby. This requires a special potion, specifically brewed for this virus."

Poppy pulled out a small vial from her robes and sat on Harry's bed, holding the boy up against her.

"Here we go, Harry," she said, holding the vial to Harry's lips. "You must drink this slowly. Sip by sip."

"No, no more," Harry cried, pulling away. "I'll sick up."

"You will not, I promise," Poppy assured, "this has a special anti-nausea in it."

Harry clamped his mouth shut, pushing away from Poppy. Severus stepped forward and sat next to Harry, who buried his head in Severus's chest. Severus adjusted the boy so he sat against him.

"Poppy will heal you, Harry," he said softly, "you have to take the potion, you can drink it slowly, okay?"

"Stay with me?" Harry asked, looking up at Severus with glassy eyes.

"I'll be right here," Severus said.

Harry nodded and sniffed before bravely sitting up and opening his mouth for Poppy, who poured in the potion little by little. It took ten minutes to drink the entire tiny vial and when they were done, Harry quickly fell asleep against Severus, his head on the man's lap. Severus adjusted Harry so he was lying straight on his bed and covered him with a blanket. Poppy stood in front of them.

"He'll need a second dose," Poppy said, handing another tiny vial to Severus. "But it needs to be given with food. I recommend adding it to a bowl of chicken noodle soup. He'll need it first thing in the morning."

"I'll make sure he gets it," Severus said, putting the potion on Harry's shelf, making sure not to move too much under the boy.

"How did you . . . no, I want to know why," Poppy demanded, her hands on her hips.

"I had to," Severus explained, carding a hand through Harry's hair, scratching the scalp lightly. "His relatives are horrid to him and he ran away from home repeatedly. Blood wards are not, he can't go back to his relatives. That is what Albus wants."

"How long?" Poppy asked, looking down sadly at Harry. "How long has he been here?"

"Since last Tuesday. About a week."

"You can't hide him here forever, Severus. Albus should know. Despite his insistence with the blood wards, ultimately, he wants what's best for Harry. And if you are what is best for him . . ."

"This is temporary," Severus said, frowning at Poppy. "I am looking for a suitable home for him. When I find a good family, that is where he will go."

Poppy stared at Severus, a look of disbelief in her eyes as she watched Severus's hand move from Harry's hair to the boy's back, rubbing soothingly as Harry stirred slightly. The boy sighed, falling into a deeper sleep. She bit back a smile and shook her head.

"I think Harry has found a suitable home," she commented. "But do what you will. I suppose you don't want me to inform Albus?"

"Please," Severus said, "I just need time."

"Take all the time you need," Poppy smiled. She reached into her robes and handed two more small vials to Severus. "And you will need these. Take them a few hours apart."

"What are these?"

"For the flu. Someone had to bring the virus to Harry, seeing as he has not left these rooms and has not been in contact with the students, I'm assuming. That leaves you."

"I am perfectly fine," Severus snapped, though he took the vials, knowing it was a losing battle with the matron.

"Just in case," Poppy said, holding up her hands. She moved out of the room. "I'll see myself out. Let him sleep. It's the best thing for him. He'll probably sleep the whole night. I also recommend letting me examine him for a physical at some point, I'm sure I can find a place for him in my schedule. Good evening, Severus."

Severus nodded, his eyes never leaving the child's sleeping face. He had never felt so worried in years. What was Harry doing to him? He decided he should probably rest as well. He carefully slipped out from under Harry, replacing the pillow under Harry's head. After a quick dinner, he retired early for the night.

Harry woke up early the next morning, feeling much better. He yawned and stretched, looking over at Mr. Snape's bed. Mr. Snape wasn't there, but harsh coughing from the kitchen told him where Mr. Snape was. Harry frowned, slipped his glasses on and slid out of bed, walking to the kitchen.

Mr. Snape was stirring soup in a hot saucepan on the stove. The man covered his mouth with his elbow as he coughed violently again. He then picked up a small vial and poured the entire contents in the saucepan. Then he picked up another vial and sipped from it. Mr. Snape turned off the stove and summoned a bowl, pouring the soup into it. He turned and startled at seeing Harry watching him.

"Sorry," Harry quickly apologized.

Severus waved his apology off and stepped forward, feeling Harry's forehead.

"You don't feel warm," Severus said, "are you feeling better?"

"Yes, Mr. Snape," Harry said. "How are you feeling? Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," Mr. Snape said, giving Harry a rough push to the dining table. "You need to eat every last drop of this, understand? I am going to lie down for a while. It's bad enough that I've had to cancel my classes today, the least I can do is rest. Try and work on reading your history book and we will discuss more this afternoon."

Mr. Snape coughed once more, retreating to the bedroom.

Harry felt sad for Mr. Snape. The man had worked hard making him feel better last night, and even brought another person into their quarters to help him. Harry decided he would do as Mr. Snape asked once he finished his soup. The potion had an obvious bitter taste in the soup, but Harry forced it all down, taking about twenty minutes to eat the bowl of soup. He pushed the bowl away, knowing Eve would make it disappear. He pulled out his history book about the first king of England when Mr. Snape coughing caught his attention.

He tiptoed into their bedroom, checking on Mr. Snape. The man was asleep, though he did not look very peaceful. His face was tight and pale, and he wasn't even under the blankets. Harry moved further in and pulled the blanket over Mr. Snape as quietly and carefully as he could, so he didn't disturb the man.

Returning to the living room, Harry opened his book and read, but the reading bored him, so he tried coloring for a while, and then played with his toy robot and stuffed dog. Two hours passed and except for the occasional coughing, Mr. Snape had not come out of the bedroom.

Harry wondered if he should help Mr. Snape like the man had helped him. Harry went into the kitchen and searched the cupboard for chicken noodle soup, finding a can in the pantry. He retrieved the stepstool from their bathroom and used it to rinse out the saucepan still on the stove, then poured in the contents of the can and set it on the stove, turning the burner on midway. Jumping off the stool, Harry moved it to search the cabinets for a bowl. Once he found a suitable one, he stirred the soup and watched it heat up for a while before turning the stove off. He poured the soup into the bowl and set the saucepan down on the stove.

Harry carried the bowl of soup to their bedroom and set it on the nightstand near Mr. Snape's bed. He realized he had forgotten a spoon and ran back out to the kitchen, opening drawers until he found the one that had utensils. Grabbing a spoon, he ran back to the bedroom.

"Stop running," Mr. Snape scolded, catching Harry off guard.

Mr. Snape was sitting up on the bed, holding the bowl of soup in his hands.

"Sorry, Mr. Snape," Harry said, walking up to the man and handing over the spoon. "I made that for you."

"I certainly hope the stove is off," Mr. Snape said, picking up a small vial and dumping it in the soup.

"I made sure it was," Harry nodded seriously, "I always check the stove to make sure it is off."

Mr. Snape gave him a sad looking face that morphed into a frown. "I would prefer if you stayed away from the stove from no on unless I am with you, okay?"

"Oh," Harry's face fell, "okay."

Mr. Snape sighed, "But I do appreciate the soup, Harry."

Harry beamed up at Mr. Snape.

"So, what have you been up to?" Mr. Snape asked, taking a bite of the soup.

"Nothing, really," Harry admitted.

"Did you do your reading?"

"I tried to, but it was boring."

"Not all your lessons will be fun, Harry, and I expect you to do them all diligently when you are assigned something, boring or not. Do you understand?"

"I'm sorry," Harry puckered out his lower lip.

"That does not answer my question."

"I understand."

"Good. I see you have at least kept busy and stayed in our quarters like a good boy."

Harry's smile quickly returned.

"How are you feeling?" Mr. Snape asked.

"I'm much better. I'm a little tired though."

"A common side effect of this potion," Mr. Snape said, twirling his spoon in the soup. "I suggest you take a nap."

"Okay," Harry said moving around Mr. Snape's bed and crawling in on the other side, snuggling into one of Mr. Snape's pillows.

"I meant . . ." Mr. Snape began but he shook his head and continued eating the soup.

"How are you feeling?" Harry asked.

"I am feeling better than I was this morning," Mr. Snape admitted. "But you shouldn't worry about me. You were very sick last night. Are you sure you are feeling better? Do you need more soup? Any more potions?"

Harry shook his head as his eyes slowly closed. "No, I'm okay."

"Are you being honest with me?"

"Yes, Mr. Snape. I feel good."

Harry fell asleep quickly, leaving Severus thinking to himself if the boy was really all right or not. He must be feeling better if he had the audacity to crawl into Severus's bed for a nap. Severus sighed and finished the soup, setting the bowl aside when he was done. His head still hurt so he decided more sleep couldn't hurt. He laid back down in his bed, realizing that Harry had stolen one of his pillows. Now his head was too low. Severus huffed. Nothing he could do about it now.

Looking over at Harry, Severus smiled at the peaceful face, snorting at how Harry's glasses were crooked on the boy's face. Didn't the boy know how to take care of his glasses? Severus removed Harry's glasses and set them on the nightstand. He laid on his side, smiling at Harry. The boy's compassion was unbelievable after everything he had been through with his relatives. It saddened Severus that such a generous, empathetic child could survive the neglect Harry had undergone. Harry reminded him of himself when he had been a child, how he had always ran to his mother's aid even when she didn't want him to, and how she would always return the favor. It made Severus nostalgic thinking about what had been.

Without a second's thought, Severus reached out and pulled Harry closer to him with a single arm, resting his chin atop Harry's head as the boy snuggled into his chest. Severus closed his eyes, memories of his childhood rushing to the forefront of his mind, but they were quickly pushed away by thoughts of his current relationship with his mother. Who was he kidding – he was nothing like Harry and Harry was nothing like him. They had different childhoods and at least Harry could look forward to a brighter future once Severus found him a new home.

Grumbling under his breath irritably, Severus rolled away from Harry, facing away from the boy. He adjusted his pillows under him to his liking and closed his eyes, occluding his mind from any thoughts. He missed the way Harry's eyes had opened, a small smile growing before Harry closed his eyes again.

The poems did not transfer well and I can't seem to fix the format, so I guess it'll have to do. I hope you enjoyed it. My favorite poems of Shel Silverstein must be "True Story," "Hinges," "No Difference," "The Voice," and of course, "Listen to the Mustn'ts." What are your favorite poems? I'll try to update again soon!

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