Disclaimer: I'm not muscling in on JK's turf - just gambolling on it, like a spring lamb, having fun working out the literary and psychological puzzles which she is having fun setting us
Those of them who had the appetite to eat at all, ate in Poppy Pomfrey's office - not wanting to torment Snape with the smell of the food which he had been denied for so long, and which was still out of his reach because of the gut wound. Adrian ate like a horse and washed it down with beer in true medical student style; nobody else had much appetite, apart from Bill Weasley, who chewed his way steadily through five plates of sandwiches without taking his eyes off the parchment he was working on, covered as it was with shifting, unpleasantly alive lines in a medley of hideous colours.
When he was too tired to focus any more Bill stepped through the fire and went to sleep at his parents' house, but the rest of the team slept on narrow beds in the hospital wing's main ward - even Hermione Granger, who was unable to face the idea of spending the night with her dorm mates, listening to them exclaiming in horror over the discovery of Snape's mutilated corpse, and not being able to tell them that he was still (barely) alive.
For Snape himself, of course, sleep was an unattainable paradise, but someone sat with him the whole night, taking turns so that there were always two people there to watch him and to guard him, and to do their best to comfort him. It was important to keep him as quiet as possible, not only for basic humanitarian reasons but because his fear and distress were likely to push his metabolic rate even higher than the chemical burns were already doing. Poppy and Adrian split the night between them, two hours on and two hours off, so that one or other of them was awake at all times and was on hand to check the patient's electrolytes and moisten his mouth every half-hour.
Adrian, who was a morning person and still young enough to go without sleep without falling over, awoke revoltingly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, made sure that his patient was fairly stable and at least tolerably comfortable, and then lay on his stomach on the hearth, with his head in The Burrow and his heels at Hogwarts, 'phoning Glasgow Royal Infirmary to tell them he had the 'flu' and wouldn't be in for a few days.
"At least my flatmate is away till Monday night, so there won't be any questions about where I disappeared to when I was supposed to be ill. You complain about 'primitive Muggle methods,'" he said, sitting up and dusting the soot off his jacket, "but this is ridiculous. Why don't you have a small, portrait-sized fireplace set into the wall at head height, so you can talk through it without lying on the bloody floor?"
"That's... a very good idea, actually," Dumbledore said tiredly. "I'll look into it when... things are a bit less hectic." His eyes were downcast, watching Snape's bone-thin, nail-less hand where it lay limply in his own much wider grip; though his own hand was equally grotesque, still withered and blackened by the effects of a magical accident over a year before. "He seems... quieter. Is that a good sign - or a bad one?"
"On the whole, I think it's a good one. Of course he must be appallingly tired, poor bastard, and his metabolic rate is climbing, which was inevitable; but his heart seems fairly steady and he's not bubbling much. On the whole I'm quite pleased with him."
"Addy, do you - is he going to live?" Hermione asked quietly.
"I can't promise you that, Thothlet," he replied seriously; "but he has a fighting chance."
Hermione looked at Snape's face, as white as the pillow he lay on. It was true he looked a little less distressed and frantic this morning - but so very ill and tired, and so empty, that it was difficult to imagine him fighting anything ever again. Feeling pale and sniffly, she leaned against Harry's increasingly broad chest. He put his arms round her, patted her awkwardly and said "There, there" vaguely. People-skills were not his long suit. "Why does he call you 'Thothlet,' anyway?"
She sniffled. "It's his idea of a joke - Hermione, Little Hermes, Thothlet, right?" Wrong: Harry just looked blank.
"I just want to try something," Adrian said softly as the unicorn approached. "Can you get him to - to lower his horn here, by Professor Snape's arm?"
"All right," Harry replied equally softly. Somehow the presence of the unicorn made them both feel as hushed as if they were in church, and Adrian remembered vaguely that in Mediaeval legend the unicorn was a Christ-symbol, among other things. The boy rested his hand under the unicorn's bearded jaw and tugged down very gently, and the great beast dipped his head.
Adrian swiftly disconnected the coupling between the IV bag and its catheter and allowed a trickle of blood to flow out over the spiral swirl of horn, but the world remained unshaken, and when Madam Pomfrey compared the "before" and "after" readings there was no change.
"Would you expect one, though? Maybe it - he - just didn't find any more poisons to remove."
"But there are at least some here, you see. Antibiotics don't kill off all the bacteria instantly, by any means: it'll take days to clear the infection fully, even with the maggots to help him. There's a fresh build-up of toxins even since last night, and certainly some things which shouldn't be there, whether or not they're exactly toxins - creatins due to renal failure, myoglobin from where he's still breaking down what's left of his muscles... it's something to do with the method of access, isn't it? All right." He took up his scalpel and re-opened the same vein in Snape's leg - already fully sealed by magic, though the skin over it was raw and unhealed. The unicorn dipped his horn into the wound with a nod of acquiescence, the world shuddered around them and made itself new, and the poisons in Snape's blood dropped back to harmless levels.
"What was that about?" Harry asked with interest, pausing on his way down to breakfast.
"I thought - well, topologically speaking," with a nod to Hermione, "just bringing the horn into contact with a continuous flow of blood - I mean a trickle, not discrete drops - that ought to be the same as dipping it into a wound, and it would save cutting Severus again. Not that he can feel it at present, I know, but even so.... I don't understand why it didn't work."
Dumbledore coughed gently. "Symbolically-speaking, the unicorn is an, ah, male symbol, and the act of dipping the horn into a container...."
"Topologically-speaking, it shouldn't make any difference."
"Magically-speaking, though, it evidently does."
Adrian scratched his short frizz of hair. "I don't like that, much," he admitted. "That makes it sound like a symbolic sexual act, leik, and when the man's already been abused...."
"That is one way of looking at it," the Headmaster agreed, "and a highly unpleasant way. But the unicorn symbolizes everything healthy and clean and good in male sexuality, so you could see it, symbolically, as taking away the - poison of what was done to him, as well as the more directly physical poisons. That is certainly how I will explain it to him, if he queries it later."
"You think, then, that he will live to query it?" asked Professor Flitwick sombrely. The little man was one of the few people Adrian had ever met who made him feel tall - his face almost on a level with the patient's as he stood by the bedside. Not that there was much of an advantage in that, since Snape continued to stare blindly at the ceiling, too far sunk in exhaustion and misery to recognize his colleague.
"I don't know," Adrian answered honestly. "The spell which was keeping him alive wore off about twelve hours ago and he's still with us, which is promising; but even though I'm feeding him through the drip the burns are causing him to use up protein faster than I can feed him - which means he's still basically digesting what little is left of his own body. The combination of burns, malnutrition and a gut-wound is a nightmare, and even if I operated right now, by normal - sorry, Muggle - methods it would still be a couple of days before I could feed him much by mouth and by that point...."
"So it all depends on Bill Weasley breaking the curses which are preventing him from being healed?"
"Yes. Poppy tells me that if I operate and give her clean, lined-up lesions to work on she will be able to heal his gut in less than half an hour, once the curse is lifted, and heal most of the burns in a day or two. Then I can get at least a little proper food into him, to help him cope with the side-effects of the burns, and - even so it could be touch and go, but a lot better than what he's facing now."
The little man nodded competently, trying to pretend that there weren't tears in his eyes. "In which case, I will cancel all my classes until further notice, and assist Bill in any way I can."
"Thank you, Filius," Minerva said quietly. "Severus needs all the help he can get. None of us wishes to leave him - we will have to tell the students that you, and I, and the Headmaster are all indisposed."
"Seems like we're all lying about our health," Adrian said with a grin. "But I'm disappointed about the unicorn business. I really, really don't want to keep on just slicing into him like that, especially once the anti-bleeding spell has been lifted, but it seems the unicorn needs to put his horn actually into a vessel. If the - if he continues to need dialysis-by-unicorn for more than a few days I'll have to look at putting in a port-cath - that's a sort of a little... flying-saucer-shaped flask an inch or so across which fits under his skin and connects to a vein - or maybe a shunt. That's... well, you make a surgical channel that draws off a little blood from an artery and feeds it back into an otherwise minor vein, to increase the blood-flow so you can get access to a largish flow of blood without the risk of cutting into a major vessel."
"What are the advantages..." Poppy Pomfrey began, when the fire flared and Bill Weasley stepped into the room, accompanied by a short, plump middle-aged woman with untidy red hair who crossed the floor to Snape's bedside in a few strides and began talking to him in a fierce, cajoling undertone while tears streamed down her face unheeded.
It was only 8am and already the private room was becoming distinctly crowded - and it suddenly became a lot more so when the door flung open and Ron Weasley bounded in with a cry of "Hi, Hermione, hi, Bill, Harry said he - oh, hi Mum." With the innocent enthusiasm of a red setter he more or less hurled himself at his mother and that, as it proved, was disastrous. Last night, Snape might have been too dazed with agony to take in anything which happened around him but now that he was more comfortable he was also much more alert.
Adrian would hardly have believed that the man could move at all, paralysed from the chest down and as wasted as he was, but weak as he was he was also very light, and before he had come to such starvation he had had the wiry but powerful upper-body musculature of someone who had spent a lifetime chopping and stirring. At Ron's sudden, violently active appearance in his field of view he somehow found a last remnant of strength in his arm and shoulders, heaved himself up in a paroxysm of dread and threw himself sideways, ripping the drip from his arm and dislodging some of the hydrogel dressings as he landed half on the bed and half in Minerva McGonagall's arms.
She, automatically, took hold of him and tried to steady him but the touch of human hands, holding him, was anything but reassuring. In a matter of two or three seconds they went from a relatively peaceful scene, with the medical team discussing their options around a patient who was, despite the circumstances, reasonably calm and stable, to one of utter chaos. Snape shook and gasped in McGonagall's grip, attempting to shield himself with an arm which trailed blood as she tried to wrestle him back onto the bed, Flitwick and Dumbledore got in each other's way in a state of infectious panic and nearly fell over each other and the red-headed woman shouted murder at her son, which only made things worse, especially when he began to argue.
Adrian surprized himself by drawing himself up to his full height, such as it was, and bellowing "Everybody - SHUT. UP." It was gratifyingly effective. Ignoring everyone else, he hurried to his patient, who was shivering desperately and shaking his head from side to side in frantic denial.
"Noo, man, ye knaa me, leik" Adrian said quietly, allowing his accent free rein - but somebody had told him Snape was a northerner himself, from somewhere outside Manchester. "Yee divvent knaa me nyame yet, ahm thinking, but ahm Adrian an' you're Severus, reet?" As he went on speaking the soft, singsong Geordie accent seemed to penetrate Snape's hysterical fear and he gradually stopped trembling, until Adrian was able to lift him very carefully out of McGonagall's arms and back onto the bed. The houseman fussed the dressings back into place, inserted a fresh IV line an inch above the original site and then touched Snape's face gently in reassurance. He was touched himself to feel the man turn his head slightly and lean against his hand.
Clearing his throat, he muttered "That's done for his breathing, leik - you can hear him bubbling. I'll need to get the mask on him but they can be a bit claustrophobic. Or a cannula - "
"No need" McGonagall said, shaken but crisp. To Adrian's fascination she shaped the air itself, it seemed, into a mask which had no substance and no sensation except a vague tingling against the skin, and yet was air-tight enough to direct the oxygen from the cylinder into Snape's gasping mouth. If he had somehow stumbled into a Science Fiction rather than a Fantasy story, Adrian would have called it a force-field. It was better than a regular oxygen mask, as well as more comfortable: it accommodated itself to the patient's torn-open cheeks without difficulty, and would not obstruct Adrian from repairing the same. That should be at least marginally possible, now: despite fluid-loss from the burns, the drip was doing its job, and Snape was far less severely dehydrated than he had been the night before. Unpleasantly dry and sticky though his mouth still was his tongue felt to the touch like a real tongue now, not the sort made from shoe-leather, and his skin was much less tightly contracted.
After a brief consultation Poppy and Adrian sat themselves down on either side of Snape, talking to him quietly and steadily. It was difficult to know what if anything got through; sudden movement or loud voices made him flinch and shiver at best, but when they tried standing back from him, to see whether he would be easier in his mind if he thought he was alone, he actually shook worse than before. Calm voices seemed to soothe him a little, to make him think about the state of calmness, even if he still more than half expected the speakers to harm him.
Very calmly and quietly, then, Poppy and Adrian began to tape the gashes in Snape's cheeks, pulling the cut edges together and best they could, for the moment, and holding them in place with paper sutures. As they turned his face from side to side to access the cuts he shivered with low-grade apprehension, expecting something terrible but too weary to panic before the event. Once again, Adrian's singsong, humorous northern voice seemed to take away some of the sting of fear.
And after that - after that there was nothing to be done but maintenance. As the hours crawled on Adrian checked Snape's blood and urine and swabbed his mouth with lukewarm chamomile over and over again, changed the burn-dressings as they became choked and dank with plasma, and watched his metabolic-rate rise steadily. It was not a simple matter of a fever which should be cooled; his body needed to be warm to cope with the burns and yet the extensive damage to his skin (after some complex mental calculation concerning the amount of surface-area Snape had lost with his limbs, Adrian estimated it at around five per cent third degree burns, thirty-five per cent second degree and twenty per cent first degree) meant that he was unable to regulate his own temperature and he tended still to be too cold, rather than too hot. And then digested what little there was left of his muscles to digest, in a vain attempt to raise his own temperature. Adrian and Poppy did what they could to keep the man warm, but he felt that he was running the Red Queen's race - scrabbling frantically to stay in the same place - and failing even at that.
The one bright spot was that the maggots and the antibiotics between them had significantly reduced the infection, in Snape's wounds and in his blood. Infection might have made him warm - but the risks were far greater than the benefits, and the maggots were themselves a good if bizarre source of heat.
Adrian and Minerva had at least managed to solve the problem of the unicorn horn, by making a tiny cup-shaped funnel - little bigger than a thimble - which could be fitted onto the end of the IV catheter. Even a few drops of blood, rising into this symbolical chalice, were enough for the unicorn to dip his highly symbolical horn into. But even the horned and cloven-hoofed stallion's twice-daily ministrations were just - maintenance, and all Adrian could do was try to hold back the inevitable as Snape steadily deteriorated.
The people who really were doing something - the people he envied - were Bill and Filius, isolated in their own little private world, arguing and gesticulating over their piles of parchment. One or other of them was frequently at Snape's bedside, drawing glowing patterns in the air above him with the tip of a wand and then analyzing the results - although they quickly learned not to point their wands at him too directly, if they didn't want to reduce him to a state of trembling anticipatory dread. Adrian was quite glad he didn't know enough about their magic to be able to speculate in too much detail about what the man's captors might have done with their pointing wands, to induce such absolute terror of a piece of wood. Dumbledore had been obliging enough to explain the effects of something called Cruciatus and that was quite enough knowledge to be going on with.
Also, he was trying very hard not to think about the raw-looking, half-healed scar on Bill Weasley's cheek - and especially not about Poppy's cheerful comment that she had been unable to heal it properly because the injury had been inflicted by a werewolf, during the fight in which Snape himself had been captured.
He hoped quite desperately to be able to pull Snape through this. He realized that a tendency to become so emotionally invested in a critical case was the royal road to a nervous breakdown, professionally speaking, but the idea that the man could suffer such agonies for so long and then die without even properly understanding that he was among friends was lacerating. But Snape was so emaciated and frail that unless Bill and Filius could break the curses which prevented him from being healed, his chances of fighting through the side-effects of the burns were nearly as slim as he was. And Bill and Filius, judging from their increasingly heated and frustrated exchanges, were getting nowhere fast - even if Adrian understood even less of their muttered conversations about force-nodes and reciprocal bindings than they understood about electrolytes and ECGs.
And all the time, Snape lay drifting in delirium as his body fed on itself. Since sleep was still not an option, yet, somebody sat with him at all times, speaking to him gently or just quietly keeping him company, but nothing seemed to reach him. The best that could be said was that he shook less when he had calm company than he did if he was left alone, but against that any unexpected touch or any large or sudden movement was enough to start a shuddering fit. For the most part he lay quietly with his white, ruined face turned to the side and pressed into the pillow, open-eyed and relentlessly awake, his breath doled out in shallow, careful gasps.
As the drip did its job and his body gradually rehydrated, they began to see tears, sometimes, rolling silently down his face and leaking into the half-closed gashes which slit his cheeks to the gums; but even when something disturbed him into that desperate shivering his expression was unchanged, frozen into a sort of patient misery. It was that patience which seemed the most disturbing and unnatural thing, in a man who had once been so very hot and hasty, but all that Albus Dumbledore's Legilimency could read in him was a vast cold unhappiness and a desperate longing for sleep. That, and the glimmerings of awareness that no new tortures were being inflicted on him at present, and of relief that this was so - a thin enough straw to cling to, but the older man would take any positive sign he could get; anything which might suggest that Snape might still have a rational mind, buried somewhere under the burden of exhaustion, starvation and pain.
"I have it!" exclaimed Flitwick, squeaky with excitement. "This part - here - and this - see this changing line? This has to be undone in Parseltongue!"
"Good God - I think you might be right! But in that case these words - these - have to be taken out of the Latin and put into - what? What's the next one in the sequence - Norman French?"
"It certainly looks like it. That will abduct the recursive loop - "
Adrian was glad that they evidently knew what they were talking about, even if he didn't. At least it sounded as if progress was being made. As the two curse-breakers went into an intense huddle he spoke quietly to Poppy. "It must be getting on for eighty hours, now, since he was - cut, assuming they cut him just before they dumped him, and the maggots will have got to him pretty quickly, so... three days is the usual time to leave a larval dressing, and the wound is probably as clean as it's going to get. I'm going to go ahead and operate. It sounds as if those two are going to be ready soon - but if the worst happens and they still can't break the curses - well, the sooner I can get the poor sod's gut working again the better chance he has of surviving, and now that the wound's been debrided it should heal in a day or two well enough to start him on liquids by mouth, even without magic."
"What will you need?"
"Well - he can't feel any pain there and he won't bleed much, so he won't go into shock and we don't need anaesthetic - just keep him still for me. I need those magic gloves the same as for dressing the burns, and can you make me a mask the same way? Disposable scalpel, sutures...." They went through the list together, quiet and businesslike, and Adrian hoped that the fact that he was sweating with nerves didn't show. His first unsupervized operation! At least the glove-field would prevent the scalpel from sliding out of his sweaty palms. But really - it was not a hugely complicated procedure, and being asked to operate on someone who was guaranteed not to haemorrhage was a gift. "I feel a bit guilty about the maggots, leik - they've done a good job."
Poppy gave him a bemused look. "If you like, I'll send them all down to Hagrid and he can put them on one of his dead stoats."
"Of course," he said chattily, "maggots are bad news insofar as they mean that necrosed tissue is present. But they also mean that soon it won't be."
For this one, wanting no distractions, they had to ask the laymen - the civilians, Adrian privately thought of them - to wait in Poppy's office. Albus, Minerva - even Hermione, who fretted through every lesson and ran to the infirmary at every break, to make sure Snape was still breathing. Adrian gathered that it was probably the first time in history that the girl had been late with a homework assignment, but all the staff knew the reason and would be lenient with her.
Poppy used a spell called Immobilis to fix Snape in place, so that even if something alarmed him he would make no sudden movements. Adrian was afraid that feeling himself held down would be alarming to Snape in itself but he kept talking, soothing - feeling slightly foolish for informing someone who was mazed by pain and exhaustion and probably far past being able to understand anything that was said to him, but he thought that the tone of voice, the being spoken to like a rational person, would be reassuring even if the words were meaningless. At any rate Snape's eyes widened and his by now rather laboured breathing became fast and tense when he was locked in place, and then slowed and steadied again as the surgeon's placid voice rolled on, assuring him that help was at hand, that no further harm would come to him, that he was to be made better....
Without the maggots, it could be seen (and indeed smelled) that the wound was indeed very much cleaner now. "What did I tell you?" Adrian said rapturously, bouncing a little on the balls of his feet. "Lovely and pink."
Poppy was rather less sanguine; she tried not to look too openly horrified, and not to mutter about "Muggle barbarians" where Adrian could hear her, but the sight of the houseman cutting out several inches of shredded intestine with a hand-held knife and then re-joining the cut ends with an actual needle and thread proved almost too much for her even though there was, as expected, very little blood (and very little of anything else that might contaminate the wound, since the man's gut had been emptied by starvation long since). She was aware that, ironically, Snape himself would probably not be shocked, if he could understand what was happening to him - but he was made of tougher material than herself, she thought, and was capable - had been capable, four months and forever ago - of taking a scholarly interest in almost anything.
The afternoon crawled by, punctuated by occasional anxious, polite enquiries from Albus. Taking out two sections of gut which were damaged beyond reasonable repair and mending several smaller nicks and punctures was fairly simple work, and Adrian thought privately that there were certain advantages to Poppy's near-total lack of understanding of the real - that is, the Muggle world. At least she didn't understand the term "superglue" well enough to be alarmed by it - but really, cyanoacrylates were where it was at, as far as mending minor lesions went. The really difficult and fiddly part, the thing that took up most of the afternoon, was easing open the adhesions caused by months of beatings.
And all the long afternoon Snape lay frozen in place, his skin cold to the touch and his eyes dark and dilated with fear as the two medics spoke to him quietly, doing what they could to bear him through it. It came as a great relief to all when the job was finally done - and a very neat job it was, even Poppy had to admit to herself that the final result wasn't nearly as gruesome-looking as she had expected, just a long line of close stitching up the midline of her friend's belly - a great relief when she could loosen the binding spell and allow Snape to move again, even if it was only to turn his head fretfully.
The sounds which issued from Harry Potter's mouth were terrifying - a vast, low, rustling hiss which made Adrian feel as if a Tyrannosaurus rex was breathing down the back of his neck. The boy opened his mouth again with a sound like a steam kettle, rattling and boiling, and Bill Weasley said something deep-voiced and ancient under the harsh, throaty whisper of the Parseltongue. Filius Flitwick chimed in, high and fast, drawing his wand swiftly across his colleague's body and Snape arched up off the bed in spasm, the discharge of magic causing his muscles to fire even with his spine severed, and cried out harshly. There was a sense as if something unseen and enormous had just clapped its hands with the room and everything in it in between them, crushed down flat and then springing back again in one fast compressive jolt, and then things were their proper shape again and Snape was collapsed back against the pillows, gasping in shock.
The first thing, the very first thing, was to introduce an analgesic potion in with the drip, and the tears ran down Poppy's face unheeded when the diagnostic spell informed her that at last her friend was in no serious pain, and she saw some of the desperate strain ease out of his narrow face, to be replaced by profound relief and something almost like relaxation. Quickly, she started the healing-process on the gut-wound and on the damage caused by the rapes - there were some things which even her strongest pain-relieving potion could do little to combat, and a fresh surgical incision in the gut was one of them. Later, when the healing was well underway, she would repair his spine and let him feel his lower body again - though she knew that even with all her best efforts he was still going to be stiff and sore for a few days. But to leave his spine severed as it was for much longer could result in some degree of permanent damage.
The burns, next - not so much to stop the pain, important as that was, but to end the fluid-loss and the racing metabolism which were putting such a strain on Snape's system. Breathless, drowsy and cold, the man lay limply across the bed, unprotesting as she rolled him over onto his front to access his injuries. Then the snapped wrist - a very simple, quick little job and she wished that she could as easily mend the limbs which were missing, but dealing with amputations was a whole other issue.
It was time, finally, for her and Adrian to do what they could to restore her friend's ruined face - that narrow, beaky blade of a face which was as dear to her as a son's, though Severus would never believe it. The sweeping prow of his nose had been broken so many times already that one more was hardly worth worrying about, and the mottled burn across his right temple and the slash across his left brow were simple matters, easily dealt with, although both would leave a scar. Even the broken teeth, she would be able to repair unaided. But the gashes which split his cheeks in a nightmare parody of a smile were another matter altogether. If she healed them just as they were, even held together by paper sutures, he would be appallingly scarred in zigzag, puckered welts. And he had never been beautiful, God knew, but she knew how psychologically damaging facial scarring could be, and wanted to spare him as much stress as she could.
She winced as the Muggle surgeon used actual needles to introduce local anaesthetic all around the slashes - then used her wand to clear away the paper sutures and shave the granulated top layer off the cut edges of the wounds, leaving raw surfaces which could be encouraged to grow together. She didn't like to think how long her friend had been left suffering that particular torment, for the edges to have sealed over so thoroughly.
The young houseman worked with a steady hand, drawing the edges of the cuts together as smoothly and accurately as possible and then fixing them in place with stitches for long enough for Poppy to follow after, sealing the wounds, although they still left straight, raw scars across Snape's hollow cheeks. They had half expected him to react badly to being handled so commandingly and to need to be sedated, but in fact he lay limp and already at least three-quarters asleep in Adrian's competent hands, permitting his face to be turned this way and that way, his mouth opened and fingers inserted between cheek and gums without protest or apparent distress.
When work on the second cut was almost completed Adrian nodded to the attendant house-elf. "Fetch me a glass of cold milk, please - goats' for preference." Without being asked, he smiled a rather harassed smile at Poppy, and at Albus and Minerva where they hovered anxiously on the side-lines. "He's not significantly dehydrated any more - the drip's taken care of that - but his mouth is still very raw and a little milk will ease it and give his stomach something to think about while he sleeps. I want to get him started on a protein feed later tonight, or at worst first thing tomorrow. If you hadn't healed him, if it was just the surgery, I'd only give him clear fluids at first but since you have healed him he should be able to handle milk and it will help elevate his phosphates. But goat-milk is more digestible than cows'."
When the house-elf returned, with a small but self-important flourish, Adrian slid his arm behind Snape's shoulders and lifted him up gently, and coaxed him to the surface just enough to take in a sip of milk. The man was beyond even swallowing of his own volition, and the young surgeon had to stroke his throat like a cat's until the milk went down, but he managed to get him to take about a dessertspoonful; and if the patient didn't actually smile he did at least look slightly less unhappy, as if he realized that something positive was happening. Before his head was laid back on the pillow it was clear he was already asleep, but Adrian stood looking down at him thoughtfully for some time afterwards.
Since Mad-Eye Moody has been left with a wooden leg and an artificial eye, and Peter Pettigrew had his chopped-off hand replaced with a hand of metal rather than flesh, and the previous Care of Magical Creatures professor left "to enjoy more time with his remaining limbs", and Dumbledore is left stuck with a withered arm rather than cutting it off and growing a new one, I assume that replacing bits which are actually missing, rather than simply damaged, is something which wizarding medicine finds very difficult.
This is complicated by the fact that in Deathly Hallows the Weasleys think that they would have been able to regrow George's severed ear, were it not for some special quality in the curse that severed it. It is possible that Moody's leg was severed by just such a curse, and that Voldemort could have regrown Peter a hand of flesh but chose not to. Yet Professor Kettleburn's limbs were surely just torn off by some creature. Obviously there are circumstances under which missing limbs cannot be regrown - or perhaps they never can be, and George's ear could have been regrown only because an ear is quite a simple thing without bones, tendons or muscles.
When the Greeks took over and Hellenized Ancient Egypt, the Egyptian god of wisdom and learning, Thoth, was merged and equated with the Greek god Hermes.
This chapter has been slightly edited in accordance with the new backstory in Deathly Hallows, to reduce the degree to which Dumbledore thinks of Snape as having been his friend prior to his disappearance, and to show people tending to think of him more as "Dumbledore" than as "Albus".
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