The Potions Master began treating the pegasus by casting a Blood Replenishing Charm over him, restoring most of the blood he had lost, so that the winged horse could stand upright while he worked upon him. He also intoned an Anti-Shock spell as well, before turning to Harry and asking his son to hand him the vial of Pain Reliever.
Severus poured the Pain Reliever into the small bowl Harry held out to him. "I need you to drink all of this, Boreal. It will dull the pain considerably." He held out the bowl to the pegasus.
Boreal lapped at the potion, drawing his lips back at the taste. This is vile, wizard! I don't even want to know what is in it.
"Nothing harmful, I assure you. You'll feel better afterwards," Severus said, holding the bowl steady.
Once the potion had been swallowed, Severus poured a measure of water into the bowl and allowed Boreal to drink that. He waited a good ten minutes for the Pain Reliever to take effect before he swished a soft cloth in the hot soapy water in the cauldron Harry had summoned and began to wash the awful wounds along Boreal's flanks and back.
"I apologize if this hurts, but this is the best way I know to remove all the clotted blood and see where I need to cast healing spells," Severus explained as he gently cleaned out the slashes.
Boreal remained steady as rock, not even wincing. Do what you must, Severus. Are you a Healer by profession?
"No, a Potions Master and a teacher. But I learned healing from my mother," replied Snape. He swabbed out a few of the shallower lacerations, frowning. "Some of these shallower wounds were not made by a wyvern's talons. If I had to guess, I'd say they resemble whip cuts."
"Somebody whipped you?" Harry cried in anger. That anyone could dare raise a hand to the gallant pegasus was almost unthinkable.
Boreal was quiet for a time before he snorted angrily, Yes, my owner was displeased with my performance at the last race I flew in, though I came in second and won him a fat purse. He felt I should have won, that I was not living up to my so-called reputation. So he decided to ‘motivate' me into doing better with his riding crop.
"Bloody bastard!" Harry growled. "I'd like to give him some motivation with a whip."
"Harry, language!" Severus reproved. Harry blushed and muttered an apology. "Though my son is correct, Boreal. Any wizard who resorts to a whip on an animal ought to be staked out in the sun and eaten alive by army ants." He resumed washing a deep cut on Boreal's fetlock.
Eaten alive by ants? Yes, that would be suitable. Master O'Shea was not kind to any in his racing stable, he treated the pegasi he owned like you would a broomstick, there to win him money and earn him favors with pretty rich witches and that was all. He purchased me from my first owner, Master Jefferies, because I was Firefox's get and showed early promise. Jefferies did not want to sell me, he had planned on keeping me for himself, I would not bring a top price since my dam was not a registered pegasus, but O'Shea offered him five thousand Galleons and he couldn't refuse. Boreal tossed his head slightly, his indigo eyes flashing. I gave him what he paid for and no more. I am no wizard's plaything. And that was the first and last time he ever took a whip to me. I stomped him into the dirt and probably broke a few bones in addition to his magic stick and then I kicked down the door of my stall and flew away. I shall never return there. He has forfeited his contract of service with me by whipping me like a beast.
"Contract? You made a contract with him?" Harry repeated.
Yes, a verbal magic one. When a pegasus is sold, he makes a contract with his new owner, usually for a period of five years, in which he agrees to race for said owner and win money for him. In return the owner agrees to provide food and shelter and decent treatment to us. But O'Shea refused to do that, resulting in a breach of contract. Of course, he would never admit to that, but it is so.
"You have flown far to get here," Severus observed, cleaning out the last of the cuts. "I am sorry your welcome wasn't more cordial. Usually the Peaceful Glen welcomes all those who seek sanctuary. But that wyvern was a rogue, and I suppose you seemed like fair game to her."
The stallion shuddered, recalling all too well the terror and pain he had felt when the wyvern had attacked him. He had been exhausted from flying all the way from Dublin, fighting crosswinds and frosty air currents, and he had been searching for a likely spot to land and rest undisturbed, far from human habitation. The glen had looked like the ideal place, until the wyvern had come out of nowhere to rend and tear him. I was too tired to outfly her, Boreal admitted with a sigh. Had I been in top condition, she would never have caught me. I am a Silver Arrow and no winged lizard can match us in the air for speed and maneuverability.
Severus nodded, knowing it was not an idle boast. The Silver Arrow breed was known for its phenomenal bursts of speed and grace in the air, a Silver Arrow had won the Skybolt International twice in the past two years.
Once the wounds were clean, Severus cast a Disinfecting Charm over the cuts and also an Anti-Inflammatory Charm, to keep Boreal's legs from developing painful cramps, he had torn a tendon in his off hind and strained the muscles in his other one. Boreal swung his head around to see what Snape was doing, and neighed in surprise, for most of the lesser wounds were healed, leaving only faint scars, and then they too faded.
I feel much better now. Except for my wings.
Severus rolled up his sleeves. "Yes, now comes the hard part. Harry, I need you to hold your wand steady, I'm going to need the light to see what I'm doing." He turned to Boreal. "Boreal, I need to cast a Sleeping Charm on you, for I have no Pain Reliever brewed that is strong enough for this kind of surgery."
Boreal nodded his assent. Severus cast the Charm and the winged horse lay down and slept. Severus pinched a fold of skin to make sure, but Boreal was well and truly asleep.
Severus gently extended one torn and broken wing, enough to see that most of the damage had been caused by the wyvern's initial strike. "Hmmm . . .this bone is broken here and here, and the cartilage torn away as well. But that can be mended, like so." He focused hard and chanted a spell to mend torn tendons and cartilage, then he straightened the long wing bone, put splints on it, and then chanted a Bone Mending Charm.
Harry watched avidly, having never seen Snape work a healing on anyone or anything before, since when he had come to the Potions Master to be healed, he was always in too much pain or too sick to appreciate the precision and thoroughness Severus displayed. The professor was competent, never hesitating in his treatment, casting spell after spell without halting.
Soon he had the pegasus's wings splinted and had begun to suture the more badly torn membranes. The curved needle flashed like a star twinkling, in and out, as Snape guided it along the stallion's wing. Harry held his wand steady, sensing that Severus needed that more than anything right then. But at last the great gaping rents were sewn shut, and Severus rubbed numbing salve along the wings before binding them tightly to the stallion's side.
He checked the winged horse's vital signs again, they registered strongly, and he conjured a large blanket and wrapped the stallion in it, for the pegasus would be chilled after the surgery.
"Is he gonna make it, Dad?" Harry asked, shifting from foot to foot uneasily.
Severus nodded slowly. "Yes, I would say so. Barring any complications, he should recover fully and be able to fly within three weeks or so, just in time for your birthday." He waved his wand, and the items he'd used to treat Boreal vanished. "He needs to be kept warm and still for three to four days, after that he can walk about."
"Where can he go, Dad? We don't have a barn or anything like that here."
Snape rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Right. But perhaps . . . Rellah, can you shape wood, if you have a large enough piece?"
The woodkin nodded. "Yes, of course. Woodshaping is one of a woodkin's natural magics, Master Sev. Give me a large enough piece of wood and I can shape you a house."
"Good. Because I need you to shape me a stable for Boreal. He needs peace and quiet in order to recover."
Rellah smiled. "That won't be hard to arrange. All I need is a large log or two."
Severus summoned two large logs and Rellah closed her eyes and concentrated, the wood began to glow and then to flow about like sticky taffy.
The woodkin gestured and the wood reshaped itself into a rather large stable with two box stalls, complete with straw, a water bucket, and premium hay mixed with alfalfa and a bucket of rolled oats. "There, I think that should take care of the poor creature for now, eh, Master Sev?"
The Potions Master nodded wearily, only now feeling the effects of so much spellcasting plus exhaustion from the battle with the wyvern and his injured shoulder. "Rellah, can you manage to put Boreal here? I shall cast a charm to alert me when he awakens, though the Sleep Charm should last until tomorrow morning."
"Coming up, sir." Rellah clapped her hands three times and the pegasus was instantly transported to the spacious stall, which had a simple latch that the pegasus could flip with his nose, for Severus had deduced that it wasn't wise to lock up the stallion.
He leaned unobtrusively against the doorjamb of the stable, studying it for another instant before straightening up. He rubbed his eyes, they felt coated with sand.
Harry was gazing about at the stable in awe. "This is great, Rellah! You're a genius."
The woodkin flushed. "‘Tis was nothing, really, young master. A woodkin lives to shape and care for trees and wood." She turned and eyed her master sternly. "Master Sev, you need to go inside and let me tend that shoulder and eat something and drink a cup of my special tea before going to bed. You're out on your feet. Both of you are."
Neither Severus or Harry was minded to argue with that fact, and they allowed the woodkin to herd them indoors after closing the stable door. A Lumos spell was set inside so that if Boreal chanced to wake early, he could see and not panic, instead of waking alone and in total darkness.
Rellah steered Severus to a seat at the kitchen table, then summoned several of the same potions he had used to treat Boreal and a basin of warmed water and a cloth as well. Rellah peered at the wizard's right shoulder, noting the way Severus's sleeve stuck to the wound. She ran her hand over it three times and the sleeve unstuck itself, allowing Severus to remove his shirt without causing pain and reopening the wound.
"There! Now let's see." She set about cleansing the nasty gash, humming to herself as she did so.
Severus winced, but otherwise made no sign that he was in pain. As he had told Harry, he'd had much worse before. The woodkin handed him a vial of Pain Reliever and he drank it down, then she applied the quick-healing salve and wrapped a strip of clean linen about his shoulder, using her magic to secure the bandage.
"How do you feel, Master Sev?"
"Better, thank you, Rellah." He turned to look at his son, who had been relatively quiet ever since the aftermath of the battle. "Harry, why don't you take a shower and get changed? I am going to sit here for awhile and drink some tea. I will be in later to discuss your disobedience."
Harry nodded dully. "Yes, sir," was all he could manage, he was worn out from fighting the wyvern and his emotional outburst over his father earlier. Right then a hot shower and clean pajamas sounded like heaven and he couldn't even bring himself to be worried about his upcoming lecture and punishment.
* * * * * *
Severus took the time Harry was getting clean to drink some of Rellah's tea, eat a sandwich, conjure a new shirt and put it on, and fill Eileen in on what had occurred that night. The elder witch listened without interruption until Severus had finished with his tale, then asked, "You're certain you're okay, son? Wyvern bites can fester if not treated properly."
"Yes, Mum, Rellah took care of it. The only thing bothering me right now is a lack of sleep and the fact that I still have to come up with a suitable punishment for my reckless fledgling."
Eileen raised an eyebrow. "Are you asking me for advice, Sev?"
"Yes, I suppose so. I was so angry at him earlier that I seriously considered turning him over my knee. He knew better than to wander off that way, even in his Animagus form. I know his control in leopard shape is not what it should be, but he must learn to think before he acts, he is a wizard who can transform into a cat, not an animal." The professor ran a hand through his hair. "I gave him a good couple of whacks before, however, and frankly I'm just not up to spanking him tonight. I . . .don't like punishing him like that, Mother, I'm afraid I'll lose control some day and not be able to stop, like . . ."
"Like Tobias, yes, I know." Eileen finished. "There are alternatives to a spanking, Severus. You know that, and I think Harry is hurt far more by your disapproval than if you smacked him a dozen times. You always cried harder when I scolded you than when I smacked you." She reminded him. Severus flushed, though he did not bother to deny it. Eileen's scoldings stung worse than Tobias's beatings. Those had only hurt his backside, but Eileen's had hurt his heart and his conscience, and left a far more lasting wound."In this case, I think he disobeyed more out of accident than any real wish to rebel against your authority. And he paid for it in more than three swats when that wyvern attacked him in the meadow. He got quite a scare, from what you tell me, and that alone should curb his impulsive tendencies for the time being."
Severus frowned. "You don't know your grandson, Mother. He's had several near-death experiences already and they haven't slowed him down too much that I can tell."
Eileen shook her head. "I wasn't talking about Harry alone, Sev. He was terrified over you, and that should make him think before he disobeys next time. Your injury had quite an impact on him, though a few hours scrubbing cauldrons wouldn't come amiss either."
"And a week's grounding from his Animagus form as well, I think." Severus said. "He won't care for that at all, but I think he needs some time away from it, before he starts obsessing. Thank you, Mother. I'm so tired I can hardly think straight."
"You should sleep, Severus." She blew him a kiss. "Tell Harry good night and give him my love. Good night, son."
"Good night, Mum." Severus left the den and headed down the hallway to Harry's room, reasoning his son must be finished with his shower and probably biting his nails in a frenzy.
Sure enough, he found his son sitting bolt upright on his desk chair, his nails chewed to the quick, the picture of a child who knows he has been very naughty and deserves to be punished. He stiffened when Severus entered, however, his eyes darting once to his father's face and then away.
Severus had put on his "Now You're In Serious Trouble" look again, and went to stand before his son, his hands on his hips.
"Dad, before you punish me, can I just say that I'm sorry again? I was stupid, I didn't think and I let the leopard instincts take over. I didn't mean to run off or make you worry again. Guess you must be sick of hearing that, huh? I'm sorry I'm such a screw up." His lower lip trembled. "Okay, can you just wallop me and get it over with? I really hate waiting." Blinking back tears, he stood up and turned around, leaning over the desk and presenting his backside to his astonished father.
Severus was speechless for a moment. I cannot believe this. He really thinks I'm going to beat him.
Harry waited, dread cramping his stomach, for the first smack. He was determined not to cry, no matter how hard his father struck him, he knew it was deserved, that Severus was sick and tired of him getting into trouble. He wondered why his father was taking so long. Perhaps he was fetching a ruler? Harry trembled, wondering if a ruler would hurt as much as Marge's cane. He shut his eyes, and clutched the edge of the desk with both hands.
"Harry, what makes you think I'm going to beat you?" Severus found his voice at last.
Huh? Was this some sort of trick question? "B-because last time I got in trouble, for taking the canoe out, you said that if I risked my neck again you'd . . .beat me senseless." Harry bit his lip hard. What was Severus waiting for? He knew his father was angry, he'd seen the look on his face when he'd come in.
"Good God, child, you actually believed that?" repeated the Potions Master. "You thought that I would take a stick or a belt to you?"
"You said . . ."
"I was speaking metaphorically, Harry. Like when you tell a friend your dad's going to kill you over something. I never meant for that to be taken literally. How many times have I beaten you, Harry Snape?"
"Uh . . .never, I guess."
"Then why would I start now? Stand up." Severus drew the boy up and turned him around. "Yes, you are in trouble, and yes, I am quite angry with you for disobeying me, but nothing you do will ever cause me to beat you. I am not my father, I will never be my father, and tonight I did something I never should have done-I struck you in anger. I apologize for that."
"I deserved it."
"True, but one should never punish a child when one is angry." Severus sighed. "Your punishment is as follows, a week without changing forms, I think part of your control problem stems from the fact that you are too attuned to your leopard form, you feel instinctively and that can be dangerous. A week without your other shape should correct that."
Harry groaned. "I can't become Whisper? Merlin, Dad! I'd have rather been beaten."
"Too bad. Furthermore, you will be scrubbing cauldrons for me tomorrow during the day, and cleaning out Boreal's stall. It is your job to make sure he is happy and mending, since you saved his life. You need to bring him water, food., and check on him every so often. Also you will have some laundry to do by hand, as a reminder to think before you act, young man."
"Yes, sir. I'll try and remember." He swallowed hard. "When the wyvern attacked you . . .I thought you were going to die, I was really scared, Dad. . . .because if you were gone, I'd have no family." he squeezed his eyes shut but tears came anyway and spilled silently down his cheeks.
"Oh, Harry! I cannot promise you that I will never leave you, for we all die someday, but I can promise that I will be around for a long time, hopefully for my grandchildren." he hugged the boy hard, letting him cry into his shirt for a bit.
After about five minutes, his son stopped and climbed into bed. Severus sat beside him and stroked his hair. "Go to sleep, son. I'm here. Just relax. Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it," he said, echoing Eileen.
Harry did so, falling asleep instantly.
Severus found he was just as exhausted and he couldn't even muster up the will to go back to his room and sleep there. So he expanded the bed to thrice its size and fell asleep next to his son, one hand upon his shoulder.
Chapter End Notes:
So, how did you like that one?
Was Sev's punishment fair?
Next: Harry and Boreal get to know each other and Harry gets some letters.
Was Sev's punishment fair?
Next: Harry and Boreal get to know each other and Harry gets some letters.
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