I Don't Think You're a Waste of Space

BY : Unicorn Tickles
Category: Harry Potter > General > General
Dragon prints: 6041
Disclaimer: Fictional story based on fictional characters. I own nothing of Harry Potter, and make no money.

 

   Severus left the home of the Dursleys wondering if Potter might actually manage to not die. The boy was so bloody dense most of the time. And Severus had truly done all he could to make it manageable. He'd done all he could, and pushed the boy out of his mind as he placed a hand on Longbottom's shoulder, ignoring the flinch, and apparated. Not to Hogwarts, he was done with that place. That had been his last day. 
   He apparated himself and Longbottom to his dingy little block of a house in Spinner's End. It was no palace, but it was far from everything else, and that was enough. Probably for both of them, but Severus wasn't too concerned with Longbottom's needs. He'd done more than enough for the boy, had saved his life as surely as he'd saved Potter's, and come out on top for not having to deal with the one of the two that was by far the most infuriating. Longbottom would keep his mouth shut, of that much Severus was certain. 
   He knew, as anymany did, that the boy was absolutely terrified of him, which was fine. All he truly had ever wanted from anyone was silence. Strange that it was such a challenge for so many, when it was the easiest thing to do. From this one, he would get that much, and felt he truly deserved it. The look on Bella's face had been one of life's few joys, not that he would have ever shown as much, and the woman clearly thought Snape would be turning the boy inside out while killing him slowly. But, as usual with people, she thought that because it was so very close to what she would have done with the boy. Severus truly owned this life he'd very clearly saved.  
   He stalked up to the door and went inside, making sure his little shadow was still following, then turned to him. Neville stepped back with a little sound, and looked down. "Welcome home." He didn't bother to keep the sneer from his voice or face, and thoroughly enjoyed the freedom. It was tight work being around the Dark Lord and his followers so much of the time. 
   The boy flinched in lieu of nodding, more of a jerk. Severus showed him how to operate the book case that opened the way up the narrow steps. "There is a room upstairs to which you may make yourself welcome. There is a garden out back where you will be tending. I will supply you with a list of plants I want kept and how much of each." For his potions. He hadn't been lying when he said he could make use of the boy. Longbottom had quite the horticultural bend, and for a potions brewer, such a thing was invaluable. Just the ability to ensure as little variances between batches was a satisfying thing. But Severus went beyond brewing from time to time, and tried to discover new brews for various ailments and applications. A personal gardener would truly be invaluable if the boy could be trusted to not trip over himself on a minute by minute basis. 
   And it was a use of which the one dimensional Bellatrix would never think. Who would? Only long time brewers would have looked at Longbottom and seen how Severus would use him. It was a huge joke, but like most of the jokes in Severus' life, a private one not for actual laughter. And for once he wasn't the punchline.     
   Said punchline was staring at him, mouth working to make sounds, but nothing was coming out. "What?" Snape snapped, and the boy jumped. 
   "N - nothing, Sir! Nothing!"     
   "I doubt that. I also doubt whether you can find your way to the kitchen?" Best to keep him on his toes. Neville looked around quickly and saw only bookshelves, everywhere. It was a private library with no escape, except the staircase leading up that Snape had revealed. He shook his head and looked down at Snape's shoes.
   Severus reached out slowly, ensuring the boy was paying attention, and pulled out a wand. "This you may have, and you will use only for tasks for which I have already given you permission." That should put a stop to the boy's ridiculous habit of using his wand as a scratching implement, something Severus was always tempted to beat out of students.  
   Longbottom reached out and took it cautiously, as though this was a trick. His mouth still tried to form a word, what it might be Severus felt he would never know. This wasn't Longbottom's wand, that had been snapped. This was a suitable replacement that would perform the simple tasks Snape would give him. 
   He then took his own wand and touched it to another book, still ensuring the boy was paying attention. "This one for the kitchen." The boy nodded. "Well, get in there." It was refreshing to let all the venom he was feeling out, relieving after such a tight lipped school year, and the boy and ran through the passage way to the kitchen, such as it was. Snape nodded, satisfied he could at least terrify one kid still. The last thing he wanted was for him to try a conversation. Surely he could manage some household appliances? He thought about it for a second. "Try not to burn down the house, Longbottom!" 
   Perhaps he should do a little research here. His mood soured all over again as he made himself dredge up just a little more patience, just enough to not scowl as he followed the boy into the kitchen and gave bare instructions on how everything worked. There was no food, but Severus would fix that soon. Perhaps an elf? He nearly smirked at the damn near domestic thought, but the familiar walls, the home itself quashed all that. 
   He took no pleasure in this building, never had. It was merely that it was so removed from everything. Severus needed to think. He also needed to tend a slave without judgements from death eaters. And for that this house would be sufficient. Few would think to look for him here, few remembered that he came from Spinner's End. His master knew he was here, of course. It was imperative that he make only right moves, now as much as ever. 
   It took him the better part of the day getting this hovel into living conditions for the both of them, but it was more than worth it. Since he'd been forced to kill Dumbledore, since Dumbledore himself had forced his hand, the school, the only place he'd ever felt at home, had lost that one appeal. 
   He took a rather uninspired issue of Transfiguration Today and transfigured it into a set of robes. He even ensured that there was a Slytherin snake on it. He needed the boy to look the part, after all, should they receive actual visitors; he wasn't taking any chances. He brought this and the food back to the kitchen, and was slightly surprised to find it in rather better condition than when he'd left. It turned out Longbottom could be trusted with simple menial tasks, so long as Snape himself wasn't looming over him, which suited him just fine. He wasn't looking for company here. He left him with very explicit instructions to rule out mishaps caused by general Gryffindor stupidity and left him alone.
   From there he went to the basement, where his mother had entertained dreams, in her ill-spent youth, of having a decent potions lab. Potions had run in the family, along with some more disreputable penchants. And to that, there were some rare books on dark magic his mother had managed to sneak into their home. Tobias had never really approved of her magical talents, and so such things weren't allowed, but down in the basement, where he rarely went, these things had stayed safe enough. Stasis spells had saved them from the usual damage basements did to books, and the sad little flasks and beakers were where she'd left them, untouched by Severus through the years.
   He took stock of what he would have to do to this place, so he might have access to a lab, since he'd just abandoned one of the best. Whatever he could do here would never compare to what Hogwarts had going for it, but he could put something passable together.
   At some point he was aware of the lack of noise coming from above, and went up to investigate. Longbottom was done cooking. And it didn't seem inedible. Snape had given the boy a command to never poison him. Never even think about it, or intend to do so. He'd worded it like a barrister, fully aware of Longbottom's knowledge. He wouldn't put it past him to know what to do with common yard weeds, which there were in abundance here. Still, he ate slowly and suspiciously, and the scowl on his face ensured Longbottom kept his mouth shut for it. 
   It would take some time to get the place under control and reclaim it from what time and destitution had wrought, but it was possible. And a better use of Longbottom's time than leading children into suicidal rebellion against a titan of a wizard. 
   He made the kid sit at the table and eat, then sent him to wash himself and go to bed. Neville stuttered out a yessir and ran. Snape was left with the sounds of the house, and finally, his thoughts.
 

   It was over a week later, after he'd begun to hope Longbottom was settling into things, and perhaps he'd hardly ever have to see him, when LeStrange called him by floo. Snape had little choice but to invite him. He was from long enough ago that he had known where he lived, but it didn't matter as the Dark Lord had sent him here.
   Snape sent Longbottom up to his room, Snape's old bedroom, then found a glass of scotch and sat down with Rabastan, waiting expectantly for the request, since he had a good suspicion. He'd never been one to ease a conversation, though, and he wasn't about to develop poor habits any time soon. 
   "I was hoping, ah," as he sipped the glass Snape had offered, "this is some good stuff." It wasn't, really. It was a cheap blend, Tobias' own favourite and best used for no more than cleaning out the wounds it had helped cause, but Severus waved it away anyways. "I was hoping you would have a spell or potion, or know some way to help us conceive."
   "I know a few. I assume though, that you would prefer that he keep his appendages?" He arched an eyebrow. He knew full well why Rabastan had never married. 
   "Yes." He was relieved Severus understood. "I am very much enjoying what he has to offer." Severus noted some eye avoidance there that went with the dry chuckle. Another sip.  
   "Unfortunately there is only one that I know of, and it would kill the bearer when the child is born. I believe it was designed to do so." What else would have been its purpose? Such a nasty little thing, and he'd almost felt a need to wash his eyes after finding it. "The best thing I could find is the simplest. See Yaxley about some hair from his sister, and keep him on it solid for nine months of the year. For normal, magical children with the least chance of side effects, both anticipated and not." LeStrange nodded as though he knew as much. "Although, if a dose is missed, the infant will certainly die."
   "There must be a way around that?"
   Yes, there was. But Severus wasn't going to supply anyone with it. They didn't need the ability to breed with abandon. Although, it would possibly save a few muggle lives, now that he gave it a moment of thought. Women with wombs could be made to hold as many foetuses as they could produce, and soon it was all he could see. An army of swollen-bellied muggles, holding little LeStrange-Weasleys. Not something the world needed. "Nothing useful." 
   "Well, then. I guess I need some potions, don't I?"
   "You do, indeed." A lot of them. "I could put my gardener on it." he smirked a little, thinking of Longbottom helping his Weasley friend in such a way, but it was soured a little. He couldn't stop himself from asking, "how is he faring?" He didn't enjoy asking it, and felt the answer would be as terrible as the question.
   "Well enough. He'll come around. You know."
   "I'm sure once he has a child he will settle down. Weasleys are all about their children. If you can give him that, he'll be content."
   "Yes, of course. It's not as though he hasn't been enjoying himself."
   Severus didn't doubt that, either. Rabastan had a careful little reputation for being very handy with cocks and balls. Or he had before Azkaban, but it wasn't likely to be a talent one forgot.
   "I had his mother over two nights ago."
   "Really?" That was a surprise. Molly in that home?
   "Yes. She was very composed. Considering." Good of him to acknowledge how hard it must have been for her. Still, Snape was shocked. "Naturally she was a bit high strung, but that was to be expected." Suddenly Severus couldn't help himself. The man was looking right at him, and it wasn't as though he needed eye contact to cast the spell, he was too skilled at it, but looking the man in the eyes he took just the briefest gaze into his memories, and saw Molly practically hysterical, crying at their dinner table and Ron keeping his head down. Keeping quiet as his mother's scene made him hunch in on himself. 
   Snape couldn't resist the pull of conversation suddenly. "Red heads tend to run on blood a little warmer than the rest of us. You'll be making a habit of this?" He was surprised to find Rabastan had finally made himself nearly fascinating with such an odd thing to have done.
   "Yes, I think so. Why not? It's got to be good for him to have family around him right?"
   "Common sense." He thought a moment about having the formidable Mrs. Longbottom in his home, and had he been a smiling man, he would have. That would be the bloody day. That woman was a battleship, not a house guest. Then he thought of his slave's face at it all, and his lip did quirk then. 
   "I would recommend that you not start until we have enough potion to maintain this in either case. I will take what I can from the school, but it is by no means enough. I will do what I can to secure enough, and let you know then. You do have a year, after all."
   "Yes. The Dark Lord said a year, but I was wondering if he meant a year to produce the child, or a year to conceive?"
   Best no to assume when it came to the Dark Lord, but it must have meant a year to conceive. Snape wasn't going to say one way or the other. "Best to ask him, perhaps?" And let it be on his head. Or Weasley's? "You would perhaps do best to inform him of your plan, though, just so he knows it's moving forward."
   "Yes, of course." He'd been hoping, obviously, that Severus would speak for him, but he couldn't have been paying attention to have built up such unfounded optimism. Stupid man. "I'll do that. Also, by the by, I was asked to invite you to Lucius' at the end of the week for dinner." Lovely.

 



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