|webmistresses (webmistresses) wrote in severus_sighs,|
@ 2012-10-06 09:46:00
|Entry tags:||event: anniversary 2012, fic, member: atypicalsnowman, pairing: severus/harry, rating: pg|
A Perfect Day for Windworms by atypicalsnowman
Title: A Perfect Day for Windworms
Rating: PG (wut? pokes it)
Word Count: 1500
Warnings: Character death
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. The characters and their worlds belong to their original writers and no copyright infringement or offense is intended. No money was made from this story.
Summary: Sometimes it just isn’t enough.
A/N: The plot of this story is borrowed from Salinger and a story of a similar name. If you’re at all familiar with his work you’ll know the one. Thanks to roozetter for the beta and handholding.
“And how’s Severus?”
Harry chewed on the end of his nail and looked at the floor.
“He’s fine,” he said, but his voice trembled slightly. “He’s um...yeah, he’s good.”
“Harry?” Hermione sounded equal parts concerned and irritated.
“No, it’s nothing. Really. It’s nothing I can put my finger on. He’s just been...off lately. I guess.”
Harry shrugged and continued to peel away bits of nail. “Little things. He’s been distant, standoffish. More so than ever before. Or like the other day, I asked him if he’d take me somewhere romantic for once on our anniversary.”
“Last year you—”
“Harvested those slugs in India.”
“I mean, I didn’t care.” Harry’s finger was bleeding now. He didn’t notice. “And I don’t really care where we go this year. But what he said...”
“What did he say?”
“He said maybe I’d have better luck in my next marriage.”
They were both quiet for a moment. Harry started biting another nail.
“You don’t think he was making a joke? He can have a very dark sense of humor, you know. Ron won’t even—”
“I don’t know. He said he was, I think I completely freaked out enough to let him know I didn’t find that funny. But,” he paused, ran a hand over his face. “He’s been brewing poisons, Hermione.”
Hermione frowned and said, “Maybe they were for his business? It’s summer. I’m sure they’re in high demand.”
Flexing his fingers, Harry took something out of his pocket and waved it in front of the fire. “He’s been hiding them around the house. I found one in our medicine cabinet. And another in his side table.”
Hermione was quiet again. “Have you talked with him about it?”
“Not yet,” Harry said. There was blood on his face from where he’d trailed his injured finger. “Teddy’s visiting. Despite what everyone thinks, they actually get along very well together. I’ll bring it up when he leaves tonight.”
“I’m sure he’ll be fine,” Hermione said, and gave a soft smile. “Just talk to him. Maybe get him some help? He never talked with anyone after the war, did he?”
Harry shook his head and sucked on his finger.
“Fly me, Uncle Severus! Fly me!”
“Fly you?” Severus asked, scooping up Teddy and grunting as he adjusted his weight. “You remember our agreement. Flying is a privilege, not a promise.”
Teddy squirmed in his arms and frowned.
“Did you do well in school this week?” Severus asked, walking toward the grassy area of their garden.
“Yes!” Teddy answered.
“Do you do as your teachers told you?”
“Were you nice to the other children?”
Teddy’s blue hair turned mousey brown, and he looked downward.
“Victorie kept pinching me when we were painting!”
Severus grunted. “And what did you do in return?”
Teddy said nothing, but his hair remained brown.
“I punched her in the arm.”
Smirking, Severus moved Teddy to his other arm and looked up into the sun. It was a rare sunny day, perfect for flying.
“You know what you did was wrong, yes? That you must not go around hitting people?”
“And what happened when you hit Victorie?”
Teddy lip began to quiver, and Severus bounced him a few times before he answered.
“She started to cry.”
“You must not hit people, Teddy. Especially not little girls. Do you understand?”
Teddy nodded, one lone tear falling quickly down his cheek.
“Well, now I think you’ve learned your lesson. And you were good the rest of the week, yes?”
Teddy sniffed and nodded.
“All right then.”
Severus smiled and took to the air. Teddy laughed and squealed, all traces of tears leaving him as they left the ground, his hair a shock of blue once more. Severus flew in slow circles above their garden, going higher but never far from the house.
“Mind the windworms, Ted. Today is a perfect day for windworms,” Severus shouted over the breeze.
“Windworms. Don’t tell me your Uncle Harry hasn’t explained the windworms to you?”
Teddy shook his head and laughed when Severus took them into a gentle dive. “What are they?”
“Little worms that travel along the breeze. You never see them close to the ground, but they thrive at this height.” Teddy laughed again as a strong wind blew them higher. “Do let me know if you see one. They are useful in many potions.”
“There’s one!” Teddy pointed and squealed.
“Where?” Severus asked, then shook his head. “We just missed it. Ah, well. Perhaps another time.”
“Yes, yet.” He flew down slowly and set them down gently in the grassy area of the back garden. Severus’ hair was wind blown, and Teddy’s was far longer now than it had been when they’d taken off.
“What would you like to do now, Teddy?”
“Can Uncle Harry read me a story?”
Severus looked to the house, his expression stoic. “No, I believe he’s still talking with his friend. I’m sure he can read one to you later.”
“What are they talking about?”
Severus sighed. “Things they have no power to change, I’m sure.” He walked to a small bench and patted the seat next to him. “What story would you like to hear?”
Teddy picked up the book he’d brought with him and flipped to a page. Severus read the title and grimaced.
“Very well,” he said, letting his fingers trace the pages before he began reading the story, using several different voices and his wand to create a show of light, much to Teddy’s delight.
Then they reached the last page.
“Look, Uncle Severus! It looks just like you and Uncle Harry. He’s Belle and you’re the beast.”
“How fitting.” The picture was well-worn, and it was nearly impossible to tell the gender of the person weeping over the beast. The black hair and fair complexion were the most notable attributes of Belle, just as the dark robes and pained expression were on the beast. “From the mouths of babes...”
Teddy kicked his feet and ran a dirty finger over the page.
“Are Uncle Harry’s tears magic? Like Belle? Can he turn the beast back into a human?”
Severus straightened his back and removed a hand that had been resting on Teddy’s shoulder. “No. Once a man becomes a monster it is impossible to be anything else. No matter how hard he may try. Not even tears from a righteous man such as your uncle can change that.”
Teddy frowned and ran a finger over the figures. He kicked his feet and squirmed in his seat again.
“But why? Why couldn’t Uncle Harry save the beast?”
Severus cleared his throat and took the book from Teddy’s hands. “Because the beast cannot be saved. Not all stories have happy endings.”
Teddy looked as though he were about to cry.
Severus sighed and rubbed his temples.
“But this one does, of course,” he said, flipping the book open to the final illustration, where the two figures—the beast now obviously a man—stood before an altar, draped in finery. “Belle rescues the beast from himself, they marry, and live happily ever after.”
Teddy sniffed, then looked up and smiled. “Like you and Uncle Harry?”
Severus’ fists clenched around the book. He blinked and then relaxed his grip.
“Yes. Just like myself and your Uncle Harry.”
Harry was asleep when Andromeda came to pick up Teddy, so Severus quietly said his goodbyes at the door. When he turned to come back inside, their neighbor was standing on his front step, staring.
“Yes?” Severus hissed, glaring. “Was there something you wanted?”
The neighbor stiffened and paled, then said, “No one wants anything from you, Snape.” He went back inside his house before Severus could say anything in response.
“Without a doubt,” he muttered to himself, then went back inside.
Harry was asleep on the sofa, a smear of dried blood on his face. Severus rubbed his thumb over it until it came off, then kissed his cheek. He sat down next to him on the sofa, plunged his hand between the cushions, and took out a small vial.
With one last look to Harry, Severus drank.