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A/N: I do not own Harry Potter. Nor any of the Jay Ward Productions Characters mentioned herein. But you knew that.
Severus Snape knew that something was very wrong when he woke in the hospital ward, feeling… good.
This was highly unusual for the man. He had felt good a sum total of three times since he had driven Lily Evans from his life. He had never cared for the feeling.
He sat up in the bed, slightly disturbed to find that he was in a white nightshirt. Yet another thing he had never liked, white clothing. Everything he owned was either black or grey, as fitting a professional. Wearing white was so… frivolous.
"Poppy," the dour man responded in a confused tone. "How did I come to be under your care?"
"You were found in a hallway after Little Guy's potions demonstration, unconscious with your head in an empty cauldron."
"An empty cauldron?" Severus asked, as dim memories of levitating a massive… something returned. "Was I attacked?"
"All indications are that you slipped and fell, causing the cauldron to fall on you," Poppy admitted nervously. "More importantly than that, something has happened."
"Happened?" the man asked. "What has 'happened'?"
A clearly embarrassed Poppy Pomfrey produced a mirror and held it so that Severus could see himself.
Severus Snape was many things, but first and foremost, he was a man who was honest with his self-image. To say that he was shocked by the change in his appearance would be an understatement. His dark greasy hair was gone, replaced by a golden halo of waves.
His hair was not blonde, but golden, almost metallic in its shine and luster. His skin no longer held his characteristic pallor, rather he was bronzed like the Muggle neighbors he remembered from his childhood after they returned from a summer holiday in Majorca.
Severus looked up into Poppy's eyes. "What have you done to me?" he whispered.
"I didn't do that to you," she said, "the changes to your hair and the skin pigmentation was all present when you were brought in." Hesitantly, she raised her wand and wordlessly cast a spell that caused the nightshirt to fall from his shoulders. "This is what I did to you, and I'm so very sorry Severus."
Severus' eyes widened when he looked back to the mirror. His body was changed, somehow he had gained a substantial amount of body mass, and his frame, seemingly near starvations since his early teens, had suddenly changed to that of a body builder. He watched in horror when he noted that when he moved, he could see his newly enhance muscles rippling under his bronzed skin, his pectorals, firm and muscular, flowed into a flat stomach sculpted into what was known as a 'six pack' though the meaning of the term had always escaped him. Hesitantly he lifted the bottom of the nightshirt and dared to survey below his waist.
The changes and did he imagine, enhancements continued downward to his feet.
"You were heavily concussed when you were brought in so I fed you the Uulnere potion. Then, after I realized that you weren't likely to wake for several days," Poppy hesitated before soldiering on, "I dosed you with several high density nutrient potions."
"Clyburn's Syndrome," Severus breathed. "Potions based body sculpting."
"I thought it was safe, only one case in ten million is triggered by mixing those potions. Instead of just healing you, this happened. The worst case Healer Stewart from St. Mungo's has ever seen," Poppy explained. "And the only full body case ever reported."
"I see," Severus nodded. "I find myself in need to the toilet, may I use the facilities, or must I endure the indignity of a bedpan?"
"Severus," Poppy said in a slightly scolding manner, "you know that as a victim of Clyburn's Syndrome, you are one of the healthiest people alive. The only reason you were still in one of my beds is that you were unconscious."
Severus nodded and covered himself in the nightshirt he made his way to the Hospital ward toilet. Once inside and behind the locked door he lowered the nightshirt and examined himself in the full length mirror.
He looked to be a statue of a Grecian god, made flesh. Severus leaned forward, pressing his head against the cold glass and struggled to remember what had happened.
Whatever it had been, Severus Snape was willing to bet his right arm that it had something to do with James Potter's son.
Making his way through the castle was an exercise in frustration. Severus made it almost thirty feet from the hospital wing before he was spotted in the hallways.
The looks that the Head girl gave him was unsettling. At first it had been one of surprise, which quickly changed into one of… something. Almost… hunger.
His first inclination had been to go to his quarters, but the changes in his body coupled with the way the girl had looked at him preyed upon his mind. This demanded that he find a way to calm himself.
His potions lab was the only answer, as it always had been.
As he made his way to the proper staircase on the third floor, Severus wondered if Albus had taken down the challenges intended to protect the Stone yet.
His musings were interrupted by an all too familiar animalistic scream, followed by the small form of James Potter's son flying past him at high speed only to impact into the stone wall.
Against all odds, rather than being horribly injured by the collision, the boy simply rubbed his nose, saying "Owe!"
"Hey ya, Potions Professor Fella," the boy said happily as he trotted over. "Something change with your scent…" the boy got closer and his eyes widened, "Whoa! What happen to you?"
"Potions mishap," Severus said quietly.
"Oh," the boy nodded. "Hate those, blew up cauldron once, made everything taste blue for three days. At least know why scent change."
"I have to be going, Little Guy," Severus said, remembering that he wanted to cultivate the boy and his potions ability and so biting back his natural instinct to abuse James Potter's son. "I have some potions brewing that need my attention."
"Need help?" the boy asked.
Severus Snape had never experienced a student who genuinely liked him, and now that he had, he found he hated the experience. "No, these are research projects that I must attend to on my own."
"'kay," the boy said, reaching up for one of his magically generated vines, "Have fun Potions Professor Fella."
Snape stood silently as the boy vanished into the rafters and shook his head.
He then squared his shoulders and made his way to his potions lab.
Carefully ladling the result of his efforts into a crystal vial, Severus felt the well-deserved satisfaction of a difficult task performed well. Placing the vial on a storage rack, his eye caught his carefully researched procedural recipe and his blood ran cold.
Step 43 called for him to have stirred the brew with a pewter rod for 18 seconds. He couldn't recall having done it in between simmering the brew and adding the troll saliva. He reached for his tool roll.
In horror, he verified the pewter rod had not been used at all. Not only was it dry, but it lacked the distinctive blue and yellow stains of the potion.
But the end result was perfect, one of the best he had ever produced. How was that possible? The missed step was vital to the end product.
He caught his reflection in one of the specimen jars on the wall.
What had James Potter's son made at that demonstration? What had the boy done to him?
He picked up his Master Potions Index and selected a page at random.
Severus gathered the necessary ingredients and brought them to his workstation. He then read through the instructions to find the most crucial step in the process.
Marking that step carefully, he began the potion. Step by step he worked his way through the process until several hours later he reached the point he had judged to be the most important. Severus ignored that one step and moved on to the next.
Four hours later the delicate potion was complete. And perfect.
Severus sat in his chair, staring at his workbench in deep thought. Two potions, each with a critical step missed and the result was a perfect potion.
As perfect as the ones done by James Potter's son.
A nagging thought came to him and he conjured a mirror so as to examine his features.
He was still bronzed, his hair still appeared to be spun gold. Suspicion grew in his mind. Severus rose from his chair and pulled a bronze knife from his tool roll and scraped the skin on his left arm until he had a small sample of his dead skin.
He didn't know what the boy had done to him, but Severus Snape was going to find out.
Albus Dumbledore found his Potions Master almost four hours after the dour man missed the evening meal. Severus was sitting on the floor in the corner of his private potions lab, giggling to himself.
"Severus," the old man said gently, "I know that the changes you've been through on top of Voldemort being captured has been stressful to you, but you'll get through this."
"Felix Felicis," Snape murmured.
"Excuse me?" Albus asked. "I didn't catch that."
"Felix Felicis," the man laughed. "That's what the Potter boy brewed at his demonstration isn't it?"
"Well, yes," Albus admitted. "You stored the potion away didn't you?"
"I don't think so," Snape giggled. "I think I was levitating the full cauldron when I fell."
"But there was no residue…"
Snape gestured to himself. "It's in me. All of it."
"You drank all of it?" Albus demanded.
"I didn't drink any of it," Snape laughed. "I absorbed it. All of it. The tan, the hair, I am literally a walking talking source of liquid luck."
Dumbledore blinked. Suddenly the changes in is friend made sense. "How long will it last?"
Snape shrugged. "No idea, right now it appears to be maintaining a constant level in my flesh. I purposely bled myself for a pint sample. Inside of fifteen minutes I luckily regained my normal blood volume and there was no detectable dip in the amount of Felix Felicis in my system."
"So, it could be…" Albus hesitated, "permanent?"
"That would be lucky, wouldn't it?" Snape asked.
"Are you susceptible to the downside of frequent usage of Felix Felicis?"
Severus' brow furrowed for a moment while he considered the question. "I don't know, I've been under the influence of the Felicis for almost 18 hours now. Luckily, I've experienced nothing but the good side of luck."
"Well…" Albus hesitated again, "this would open avenues in Potions research for you…"
Severus offered a course laugh. "No, it will not," He disagreed. "I've been brewing potions all day. It doesn't matter what I do, the potions turn out perfect. Miss steps, not a problem. Substitute ingredients that have nothing to do with the potion I'm brewing, it works out. Nothing I do can be replicated, because it doesn't matter what I do, I succeed. Lucky isn't it?"
Albus stepped back. Severus Snape had always found his self-worth in his skills. To have his hard won skills suddenly not matter…
Would the man continue to find life worth living?
"I'm so very lucky," Severus giggled, wrapped his arms around his legs and began to rock to and fro.
Severus Snape trudged through the snow. As a member of the Hogwarts staff, it was his responsibility to act as a chaperone during Hogsmeade weekends.
No matter how his life was falling apart, Severus insisted on doing his duty.
His required time supervising the children was over. It was his habit of long standing to celebrate the end of his shift by having a drink at the three Broomsticks. This, however, was made unbearable by the women who suddenly found him desirable. School girls, one as young as 4th year, so many 7th years even the bulk of his female Slytherins, adult witches, two different wizards and even Rosmerta herself had come to him offering their bodies, some coyly, others outright.
Had he believed even for a moment that it was him they were attracted to he might have been tempted, even though he hadn't truly been attracted to any woman since Lily Evans. But that wasn't what was happening. His damnable luck was pulling them to him. And his ego could not allow that.
Escaping the bar, he made his way to the pickup point for the carriages to Hogwarts. There he spotted several of his pursuers.
He hesitated for a moment. He could have depended upon his professorial status to keep them at bay, but decided that he didn't need the aggravation, and set out for the walk to the castle.
Severus' left foot struck something in the snow, causing him to fall forward. He picked himself up with a curse and looked to see what had tripped him. He dusted the snow from the obstacle and found a bag of galleons.
Again?This was the fourth one today.
It was just too much for Severus to take any longer. He looked to the sky and screamed; " WHO KEEPS LOSING THESE BLOODY MONEY BAGS? "
"I don't know, Potions Professor Fella," responded a voice, breaking into his solitude. "You find more than one?"
Severus spun to face the speaker before he recognized the voice. Of course, he mused, who else would it be? The boy hung upside down from one of his trademark vines, sill barefoot and clad in his loincloth of holding. The child's one surrender to the weather was a woolen scarf around his neck and a pair of ear muffs.
"I have found several," Severus answered. "Should you be this far from the castle as a first year?"
"Part of deal with Headmaster is free run of the forest for Little Guy," the boy explained. "Potions Professor Fella is unhappy? Why? You get to make potions all the time !"
More and more Severus was having problems hating the boy. He was, Severus finally admitted to himself, nothing like James Potter. "Potions have lost their… allure as of late, since an accident I had with the Felix Felicis you brewed for the demonstration."
"The Bahati potion? What happen…? Oh," the boy say his eyes widening with realization. "Your hair, your skin, you are luck now?"
His mouth firmly set in a line, Severus nodded. Not one of his fellow staff had made that connection, not even Albus. Someday, he was going to have to meet the jungle man who raised the boy. "My body appears to be producing it now."
"Ah," the boy joined his nod while dismounting his vine with a summersault. "I like potions 'cause they fun, you love potions 'cause they hard. With luck, you lose challenge."
"You understand then," Severus noted as the pair began walking toward the castle.
"Yes," Little Guy agreed. "Is same for me with being here. Is fun, but I miss challenge of home where I needed."
"You are needed?" Severus asked.
"Mbebwe is big jungle," the boy admitted. "Even Dad can't be everywhere. I helped where Dad was not."
"I'm sure he is managing," Severus said, feeling utterly out of his depth in attempting to console someone.
"Oh, he managing, he George of Jungle," Little guy said with all the confidence in the world. "But even George of Jungle need help sometimes."
The pair continued their walk through the snow in silence, though Severus was a bit disconcerted by the boy's lack of clothing suitable for the weather.
When the castle came into sight, the Little Guy seemingly made a decision. "Thanks for talk Potions Professor Fella, it help a lot."
Severus blinked in surprise. What had he said? "I'm glad to have been a help, Little Guy."
"You always do," the boy grinned. "You're my best friend. See you at dinner." With that he reached up and grabbed one of his vines that appeared as he needed it. Severus stared after him as the child vanished into the trees. James Potter's son thought that Severus Snape was his best friend?
Severus Snape awoke to an insistent pounding on the door to his quarters.
Rising from his bed, he wrapped himself in his dressing gown and made his way to the door promising himself exquisite torture for whoever it was if the reason for waking him wasn't a good one.
Flinging the door open he found Aurora Sinistra leaning against the door frame, her hair down, her normal robes replaced by what appeared to be an oversized man's vest and he held a pair of wine glasses in her right hand and a bottle of wine in her left.
"Evening Severus," she drawled while stretching against the doorframe, "I just finished my class, and it occurred to me that you might like some company… could I come in?"
Severus' mouth went dry. It was that damned luck again. There was no way that… he lost his chain of thought when Aurora arched her back and left him with no doubt at all that she had forgotten to wear anything under the cotton vest. "Of… uh… surely," he said, opening the door wider so that she could enter, and closing it behind her once she had.
Maybe this luck wasn't so bad after all.
The last morning before the Yule break, Albus was in his office, waiting until Pomona had taken her seat before he asked the question.
"Why did you want to see me, Little Guy?"
"Plant Professor Fella said that Little Guy need to talk to you or to you or Professor Monster Fella about not coming back to Hogwarts after winter break."
"Not coming back?" Dumbledore asked, knowing full well just who 'Professor Monster' was and how much Minerva hated being called that. "Why would you not return?"
"Bored, mostly," the boy shrugged. "Potions Professor Fella too depressed about being lucky to be much fun anymore. Plant Professor Fella's class interesting, but plant fellas here kind of wussy. Short Professor Fella is ok and so is Astronomy Professor Fella, but Professor Monster Fella keeps teaching making living fellas from dead things and then making living fellas go away…" the boy shuddered. "I know you say that not evil, but Little Guy knows it is."
"Conjured creatures aren't living, Little Guy," Pomona said gently.
"Everyone keep saying that," the boy said with a shake of his head, "but everyone wrong. I see life in eyes, I smell scent, I smell fear, they live, and then, the life is gone. I kill to eat, and to protect. Dad kill, Mum kill, everything that lives kills, but to make life like it is easy and end it the same way is wrong. No one will convince me otherwise."
"Is it just Transfiguration that has you wanting to leave, Little Guy?" Dumbledore asked.
"No," the boy assured him. "School here is good, but not better than what back home. Staying here would be fun, but not challenging. Little Guy talk with Potions Professor Fella and realize he is right. Challenging life more important than fun life."
"Severus told you that?" Pomona asked, shocked by the idea that Severus Snape would ever offer a child… advice.
"Yep, besides, Little Guy has done what Commissioner wanted done, is time to go."
Albus blinked and exchanged a glance with Pomona. "What I wanted done," he asked, "what do you mean?"
"Oh, Commissioner, Little Guy knows you wanted me for bad wizard, has known since you came to Mbebwe," the boy grinned. "Bad wizard was evil spirit on back of Stinky Professor Fella's head, yes?"
"Yes," Albus admitted with a nod.
"Then Little Guy's job is done," the boy said with finality. "When school close for winter break, Little Guy going home."
Bundled against the cold, Susan led the first year girls out of the castle.
"Are you sure about this, Sue?" Millicent Bulstrode asked, "It is bloody cold out here."
"I'm sure," Susan said pointing to the grounds were they could clearly see Little Guy frolicking with his 'doggie'.
"That's an elephant!" Pansy gasped.
"No," Hermione corrected her. "That's his doggie. His big, grey, peanut loving, doggie."
The Slytherin looked at her like she was insane, "Look, I know," the Griffindor sighed, "just call the elephant, 'Spot' and go with it, it's easier."
"She's right," Hannah agreed. "He said he was leaving, if we want to say good bye, we need to do it now."
As one the group made their way through the snow to where the boy and elephant… doggie were playing.
"Hey fellas!" Little Guy called as they approached.
"Hello, Little Guy," Susan responded. "You said you were leaving, so I let the girls know, they wanted to say good bye to you."
"You didn't need to do that Fellas," Little Guy said, "Little Guy knows that is cold for you fellas. It cold for Spot too, but he is big softy."
The 'doggie' issued a trumpeting bark in response, and then flopped over on his side, rolling onto his back.
"Yes, I called you big softy," Little Guy said as he began to scratch at the 'doggie's' belly with both hands. "He's a good boy, yes he is."
Susan reached out to lightly stroke Spot's skin and was surprise at how rough it was to the touch. Hesitantly, the other girls join in, some more enthusiastically than others.
After several seconds, Little Guy stepped away from his pet. "That's enough you big softie. Time to go."
As the 'doggie' regained his feet, Little Guy turned to the girls. "Going to miss our talks," he admitted. "Still need to talk to Mum about that girl thing. If you ever want to visit Mbebwe, stop by, Little Guy and Spot show you around."
The boy was immediately surrounded by the girls, where he was hugged and in a few cases, kissed on the cheek. Once the girls were finished, he leaped into the air until he was atop his 'doggie' sitting on the creature's shoulders, just behind the huge head. "Little Guy got to go. Bye Fellas! Hey Tookie!"
The Tookie Tookie Bird landed on Little Guy's shoulder.
" AH AH EE EE TOOKIE TOOKIE ," the bird asked.
"You bet, Tookie, time to go home," the boy confirmed.
Without another sound, the elephant, the bird, and Little Guy vanished as if they had never been there, leaving only the trampled snow as proof of their visit.
The girls stood for several moments staring where their classmate had been.
"You know," Daphne said quietly. "No one will ever believe us if we tell them about him."
The groups ended up laughing all the way back to the castle.
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