Sequel to Mine
Snape settled Harry on a stool, surveyed him thoughtfully and pulled out his wand.
"Hold tight, Harry."
With a wave the stool grew a few more inches while Harry held the sides and chuckled merrily.
"More! More!" he shouted, but his father stowed his wand back in his pocket and shook his head.
"Remember what I said about staying calm?"
Harry sobered and straightened his little face, a frown knitting his own smooth brow. He sat up and squared his shoulders.
"I'm calm, daddy," he pronounced firmly.
"Endeavor to stay that way. The brewing of potions requires a steady hand and a composed manner at all times. Take a breath."
Avidly studying his father's face Harry took a breath as his father did.
"Hold it for a moment. Now, breathe out."
Cheeks round, Harry obediently blew out the breath.
"Every time you feel yourself getting too worked up just breathe deeply." Snape studied the boy's intensely serious face with proud amusement. "Good boy."
"What are we going to brew, daddy?" Harry asked eagerly, leaning forward a little and studying the potions Snape had laid out. "There are all my ingredients," he said happily, gesturing at the small bottles from his potion kit.
"Madam Pomfrey has asked for a cure for sunburn, Harry. The students are enjoying their last days of term in the sun and some of them have overdone it."
Harry looked at him curiously. "That doesn't sound very magical," he complained.
Snape raised a brow. "Healing someone's pain is the greatest magic there is, Harry. Easing suffering, improving someone's life. Flashy arts that change the shapes and colours of things might seem impressive, but they are just meaningless glitter in the end. The true substance of a brewer's art is to aid mankind."
Harry bit his lip as he struggled to follow his father's words. "So we help people, daddy?"
"That is our true goal." Snape wondered how much Harry truly understood as he studied the small boy's thoughtful face. "Of course the flashy arts can be quite fun too."
"Fun?" Harry looked startled and Snape felt a flash of irritation. Didn't Harry think his father capable of fun?
"Yes, fun," Snape said shortly. "Now, find the star baris, Harry. Can see it there?"
Harry tentatively reached for the bottle full of tiny dried pods shaped liked stars. "This one?"
"That's it. Count out six."
Tongue at the corner of his mouth Harry counted the half dozen. The pods rustled delicately as he shook them out.
"Good. Now, your mortar and pestle."
Harry enthusiastically reached for the fine marble tools. "I've been wanting to smush things with this for ages!"
Snape snorted at his irrepressible son. "The word is grind, Harry. To powder in this case. Start with one at a time. That's it."
Harry ground the small pestle firmly and the pod cracked with a satisfying crunch.
"Try a circular movement." Snape covered Harry's hands carefully with his own and demonstrated. "See?"
"I'm doing it!" Harry exclaimed. He lifted the pestle out and surveyed the contents. "Smushed," he pronounced with great satisfaction.
"Thoroughly," his father agreed dryly. "Now add another until they are all a fine powder."
Harry diligently ground pod after pod. By the last one his hands were growing tired and Snape covered them again with his own larger ones and helped him finish.
"This is hard work!"
Harry blew a strand of hair off of his brow, but there was a happy glow in his eyes and his cheeks were flushed and creased in a smile. "What next?"
Snape guided him through the next steps, the bitterly fragrant salamander oil, the highly prized orchid wax, the careful stirring and blending.
"Now, weigh up the puffin powder," Snape said, pulling the small scales closer.
"We've done weights and measures in school," Harry informed him. He picked up a tiny brass weight and cupped it in his hand. "Is this all?"
"Some ingredients are more powerful than others, Harry. Be precise."
His hands itching to guide Harry's smaller ones in this fiddly task Snape watched as the boy took the miniscule spoon and tipped a portion into the tray. The scales tipped a trifle then settled back.
"A little more," Harry murmured. He tipped again and the scales lifted too sharply and settled the other way. "Oh, too much."
"No harm done. Just take a little off. Do you want me to do it?"
"No!" Harry said stubbornly. "I can do it."
And he did, although it took four tries before the scales finally balanced perfectly. It was worth all the finicky struggles as Harry turned a shining face up to him, his grin wide. "Look! I did it!"
"A fine job," Snape praised gently, feeling a glow of pleasure and pride himself. His son would make a fine brewer one day. "Now stir it in, just as I showed you."
With his hands firmly by his side Snape guided Harry through the final few steps until the milky white brew was shimmering in the bottom of the cauldron.
"Now comes a little magic. I'll need to stir it myself to finish it."
Harry looked crestfallen. "Can't I do it?"
Snape considered his disappointed countenance. The boy had worked quite hard. And it could only be beneficial for him to finish what he started.
"We'll do it together," Snape allowed. He covered Harry's right hand with his own. "Concentrate, son. You must feel the desire to complete this task, you must want with your very being to take the essences you have blended and create that which you set out to do."
Harry closed his eyes very tight, knitting his brow furiously.
"What did we set out to do?" Snape whispered, forming the magic within himself to pour into the potion.
"To help people," Harry murmured, just as his father let the magic flow. To Snape's amazement he felt the subtle coursing of Harry's own childish power through his hand as it drifted into the cauldron and blended with the essences within, causing it to glow pearlescant for a moment before fading back to its pallid hue.
Slowly Harry's eyes opened and gazed into his father's. "Wow," he said softly.
And Snape could only agree.
Although he'd intended to guide Harry right through to the bottling stage of the process Snape called a halt after the final mixing, laying a cover over the cauldron and leaving the brew to sit for a while. With his experienced eye he could tell it was an amazingly powerful potion, capable of greater healing than the surface effects of sunburn.
With a mingled respect and awe he studied his son's small form as he knelt on the stool and washed his hands in the huge chipped sink.
"That was hard work but it was good," Harry was chattering. "Especially the end with the magic."
"How did it feel to you, Harry?" Snape had to ask. "The magic?"
Harry stilled his hands under the sputtering tap, tilting his head to one side thoughtfully. "It felt... good," he said, his childish vocabulary obviously not up to the task. He frowned in frustration and seemed to grope for more words. "Like a warm bath, or a full tummy." He blinked and looked over at his father. "Or when you hold onto me, daddy, and hold me real tight. You know?"
Snape nodded, throat tight. That was the best description a five year old could make for natural magic, and it was actually a pretty bloody good one.
Harry climbed off the stool and dried his hands on the ragged towel. "Was that really my magic, daddy?" he asked, a trifle anxiously. "Did you help me?"
"I intended to," Snape admitted. "Because it was your first time. In the end it was both our magic that went into the brew."
Harry nodded in satisfaction. "That's probably why it felt so good," he said, nodding knowledgeably.
"It certainly made it powerful," Snape murmured. He proffered his hand and Harry took it, smiling a little shyly.
"Can we do some more potions some time, daddy? It was the best fun we've had together, wasn't it?"
"So it was fun then?" Snape couldn't resist asking, recalling Harry's surprise at his father's use of the word earlier.
Harry nodded again. "Cos it was you and me," he explained, and Snape, who'd taught a few classes during his training with Madam Bright had to agree. That it was Harry he was teaching certainly did make it 'fun'.
"Next weekend then," he promised and Harry squeezed his hand and began to chatter happily again, this time about lunch.
Snape locked the dungeon door behind them with a word, leaving the father and son's first potion glimmering gently in its cauldron.
End of Part Eight