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A Better Childhood by grugster [Reviews - 3]

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Thanks a lot to my beta-readers, Duchess_Of_Arcadia and pookah, for correcting my mistakes.

Disclaimer: All recognizable characters belong to J.K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.

I’m not a native speaker of English!

Chapter 6 – A Visit from Alastor

When they arrived in the living room, Severus could see three steaming cups, a big plate with cookies and a brown cake on the table.

Minerva lifted Severus onto the chair at the head of the table. She and Albus sat down on the chairs beside him.

Severus looked down because it felt a little odd to sit on the chair. When he shifted to see what was under his bottom, he almost fell from the chair because the cushion he was sitting on slipped sideways. Albus quickly grabbed his upper arm and pushed him back on the chair. “Don’t fidget, Severus,” Albus scolded and pulled his wand from his robes while still holding Severus in place.

When Severus felt himself slip down the chair, he was scared, but not as scared as he was the moment when Albus grabbed him to prevent him from falling. Oh, no. Now he is mad at me, Severus thought fearfully. When Albus pointed his wand at him, he flinched and closed his eyes.

Albus paused, shocked, when he saw Severus’s reaction. He didn’t let go of Severus’ arm in fear the boy would run away or fall off the chair in fear. He sighed and said, “Severus, please look at me.”

Slowly Severus opened his eyes, first one and then the other. Fearfully, he looked at Albus. “Sowwy.”

“You don’t have to apologize. I just don’t want you to fall off the chair,” Albus explained calmly.

Severus looked from Albus’ face to his wand.

Albus waved his wand, and Severus again flinched, but he couldn't fall because Albus was still holding him. After placing a Sticking Charm on the cushion on Severus’ chair, he put the wand back into his robe.

When Severus saw Albus put his wand away again, he looked questioningly at Albus. Nothing hurts. What has he done? “Hex?”

“No, Severus, of course I didn’t hex you. I would never do something like that.” He let go of Severus’ arm and said, “Try to shift!”

Severus looked confusedly at Albus, but did what he asked. It wasn’t slippery any longer.

“Now that this is fixed we can finally start eating,” Minerva said and pushed the mug closer to Severus.

That smells good, Severus thought as he took the mug and tasted the brown liquid. Hmmm that’s yummy. Much better than the water at home. After licking his milk moustache away, he smiled at Minerva.

“What do you want to eat, Severus? A cookie or a piece of the chocolate cake?” Minerva asked.

Severus was looking from the cake to the cookies and back to the cake. When he had made his final decision, he pointed at the chocolate cake. “Please.”

The cake was even better than the hot chocolate. Severus had never eaten something like this. It tasted so good that he already wanted more, even when he still had over half of his piece on his plate, but he was glad that he had the one he was already eating.

Minerva and Albus were also eating cake and drinking their coffee. They looked delightedly at the happy child, whose face was now covered with chocolate.

“Yummy!” Severus said, rubbing his stomach. His hands were covered in chocolate, and so was his shirt, now. When he realized it, he frantically thought, Maybe they won’t see it if I lay my hand on my stomach. He cautiously looked up to Albus.

“No worries, my boy,” Albus said cheerfully and waved his wand to vanish the chocolate stains. “But next time you should use the napkin here, and not your shirt, to clean your hands.” He took one of the napkins and cleaned Severus’ hands as well as possible.

Seeing that Albus had little success with the napkin, Minerva stood up and lifted Severus out of his chair. “Come on, we are going to wash your hands.”

“I have to go to my office, Min,” Albus said.

“Yes, go ahead. We’ll join you later when we have got some of Sev’s toys,” Minerva said, giving her husband a kiss.

Back in Severus’ room, Minerva pulled one of the plastic boxes from under the shelves and asked Severus to put some toys in it. With the box floating in front of them, they headed for Albus’ office. There Severus played peacefully on the carpet beside Albus’ desk.

Minerva was looking through a lot of papers on the small table near the fireplace while Albus checked the heap of letters he had on his desk.

Severus was playing with small animal figures, which could move a few inches, but couldn’t run away. They were making small noises, and Severus was lying on his stomach to listen to them. From time to time, he whispered something to them and poked them with his tiny fingers, so that they would move. He looked up, startled, when a knock was heard.

“Come in, Alastor,” Albus said and Moody limped into the room.

How could he know who it was? Severus thought curiously, but his game with the animals was much more interesting, so he focussed on them again.

“I didn’t wanted to disturb you, but I just checked Sev…” he stopped and looked in the direction of the busied child, “...our former Potions master’s classroom and store. I sealed the private quarters as we decided, so that he can take them over when the time comes, but I need to know when Charlie will arrive to take over the storeroom. We also will need to ask him where he wants to have his private quarters.”

“I spoke to him yesterday, and he said he will come by tomorrow to arrange his quarters and check the potions storeroom.”

“Okay, then just call me when he arrives,” Alastor said and looked at Severus, who was poking a toy snake figure, which immediately started to hiss at him. That caused the child to giggle. “What are you playing, kid?”

Severus looked up when he realized that Alastor was addressing him. “Animals,” he said as if that explained everything. Then Severus remembered what the nice nurse lady had said. “Memory?”

“No, no, kid. Not now. I don’t have much time.” Seeing the sad face, Alastor looked around and added, “But if you like, we can both look at one of your books here.” He pointed at the picture books in the box.

Severus was up in a second, grabbed one of the books, offered it to Alastor, slightly tilted his head and smiled at his new playmate.

Alastor laughed about this behaviour. “Already trying to break the hearts of those around you, kid?”

Severus didn’t understand what Alastor was saying, but he smiled happily when Alastor started to lead him to the rocking chair near the fireplace. “Come on, let’s settle down.”

When Severus was arranged on his lap, Alastor opened the book and started to read. From time to time, he pointed at something that was mentioned in the little story or asked Severus to show him something on the pictures. When he touched the pictures, the book often made a sound. The little duckling Severus liked the most always made a ‘quack, quack’ noise, and Severus giggled every time he or Alastor touched it.

At first Severus felt awkward sitting on Alastor’s lap. At home Mum had sometimes let him sit on her lap, but that was very seldom. His back was leaning against Alastor’s chest. The vibration in Alastor’s chest, which was caused by his speaking, was very soothing, and Severus had to fight not to fall asleep. The story was very interesting, about a little duckling, and Alastor could read very well. Severus enjoyed it very much. I didn’t know that men like children, too. But Uncle Al is very nice, Severus thought.

When the book was finished, Severus asked, “More?”

“No, Severus, it is time for cleaning up. Soon we will eat supper,” Minerva explained, coming over to the two on the rocking chair. She lifted Severus from Alastor’s lap.

“Will you and Poppy join us for supper?” she asked the DADA teacher.

“It will be our pleasure,” he said, standing up and ruffling Severus’ hair. Then he left the office.


Poppy, Alastor and Albus were sitting at the dinner table when Severus came running into the room. “No running!” they could hear Minerva shout from the lounge.

Hearing Minerva’s scolding, he abruptly came to a halt and then slowly walked to the table. He climbed on his chair with a little help from Albus. The cushion still was fixed to the chair, so Severus didn’t have to fear slipping off of it.

When Minerva sat down, Severus didn’t dare to look up, in fear there would be more scolding from her. He became distracted by Poppy asking him how he was feeling.

“Fine. I have eaten brown cake. It was yummy,” he told Poppy, smiling.

“That’s good, Severus. You really need to eat to gain some weight. And how did you like your room?”

“It’s great. Shall I show you?” Severus asked excitedly and tried to climb from the chair. Albus caught him swiftly and sat him on his bottom again.

“You can show Aunt Poppy and Uncle Alastor your room later, Severus. First you have to eat. You just heard what Aunt Poppy said about eating well?”

Severus quickly grabbed his half eaten cheese sandwich to make Albus happy. “Sev, good. Sev, eating,” he said soulfully while first looking at Albus and then Minerva. Only the people here were calling him Sev, but he liked it a lot.

The adults started to talk about adult stuff, and Severus ate his supper like a good boy.

When everyone had finished their supper, Minerva addressed Severus, “You can show Aunt Poppy and Uncle Alastor your room, but then it is time for bathing and going to bed.”

Just hearing the word bath made Severus panic. “Don’t need a bath,” he said pleadingly to Albus. He knew he wouldn’t stand a chance trying to change Minerva’s mind, but maybe Albus could convince her that it wasn’t necessary.

“You had a long and exciting day, Severus. You really need a bath,” Albus said, destroying Severus' hope of his getting around the hated bath.

Seeing that he had no chance to convince them, Severus started to cry. I don't want a bath. I hate cold water. It always hurts so much. And the soap burns my eyes. Minwa will rub me with the towel like before, and it will hurt much more after everything is already hurting from the cold water. Big tears were running over his cheeks. “No-o bath!” -Sob- “Sev clean,” he frantically said, shaking his head violently.

“Severus, that's enough,” Minerva said in a strict tone. She placed her napkin on the table and rose from her seat.

That was the final sign. Severus knew that they would force him to bathe now. His mind was racing. He really was scared of the bath. His whole body hurt when he had to bathe in the cold water at home. And even afterwards, his skin burned from the soap. Everything was so nice here, and he hated that now this was all over, and they would make him feel bad like at home. He couldn't think straight and only knew that he didn't want Minerva to bring him into the bathroom. The only possibility he thought he had was to run, and that's what he did. He jumped from his chair and ran to the door, which led to the lounge.

The adults were so shocked by the child’s the violent reaction that they weren't able to stop him before he was out of the door.

Severus, meanwhile, was running in panic to the only place he could think about as a hiding place. He ran as fast as his short legs would carry him, opened the door and crawled under his bed. While he squeezed himself under the bed, he hit first his elbow and then his head, which not only caused himself a lot of pain but also made the plush stork fall down from the bed. Severus saw the stork lying on the floor, grabbed it and hugged it closely while hiding as far away from the edge of the bed as possible. Please don't let them find me, Stork. Please. Please. Please.

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A Better Childhood by grugster [Reviews - 3]

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