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[personal profile] myene
Story: Moon Child
SS/RL, + child.
Warning: Implied MPreg, but could also be read as implied adoption.  
Raiting: PG

Summary: Everyone allways thinks Severus's child will be brilliant. But what will Severus's do when his child has a serious learning disability?

SIDE NOTE: I am looking for a good beta. Some one that does something other than run spell check (I do that). I do have a moderate learning disability, so I would take more time than most writers.

got one, thanks!


Severus bent over the cauldron, stirring the gently simmering mixture. Lifting it off the fire, he left it to cool as he thought about his new mixture.
 
‘I did this to him, I will fix it. There must be a cure. He is my child. My child will be brilliant, he will change the world.’ He thought firmly to himself.
 
Looking over to the corner of the room he watched his child play. Tears began running down his face as he stared at the happy smile on his chubby faced, flat nosed 8 year old son. At first the child looked like any other playing. But the rounded face and simple features were unmistakable as being rather odd.
 
Potion cooled, he walked over the play area. A brilliant grin broke out on the child’s face as he saw his father. Lifting his arms upward like a toddler, he demanded to be picked up.
 
“Up!” He sang out.
 
Biting his lip,  Severus complied then carried his child over to the potion. He sat in a chair holding his son in his lap.  Picking up the potion, he held it toward his son’s mouth.
 
“I need you to drink this for daddy,” Severus said, tilting the potion so his son could drink
 
“Icky!” He said grimacing at the smell.
 
“I know, but I will give you a treat if you drink it.” Severus coaxed gently.
 
Giggling the boy drank the potion, made a face then promptly stuck his hand out for the promised treat. Placing the piece of bubble-gum in his son’s hand, he sat back and waited, willing this potion to be different from the hundreds of others he’d made.
 
Ten minutes later, he reached for a deck of special cards laying on the table beside him and showed it to his son. “What is this a picture of Donovan?”  He asked, holding up a picture of a tree.
 
“Doggy!” The child crowed proudly.
 
Nine cards later Severus sighed, smiled wanly at his son, letting the cards fall from his hand. Closing his eyes he leaned back, his face in anguish. ‘Ten out of ten wrong, just like before, just like always.’ He moaned inwardly.
 
Sitting back up, he looked down at his son. Giggling, Donovan was tossing the cards up in the air, watching them fall.
 
‘I’ve failed my son, I can’t fix him.’ He thought bitterly.
 
Later that evening, after finishing the detentions he had for the night,  Remus made his way back to their quarters. Walking in, he expected to see his son playing with his building blocks and Severus grading essays. Much to his surprise, his son was no where to be seen and his mate was sitting on the couch, face in his hands.
 
“What’s wrong Severus? Where is Donovan?” Remus asked in concern.
 
“He’s at the Potter’s house.” Severus growled behind his hands.
 
Looking around, Remus spied some empty whisky bottles at the side of the couch. He sighed and asked, “What happened?”
 
“I failed again. I can’t fix my son!” Severus wailed in anguish, sobbing into his hands.
 
“You can’t fix him because he’s not broken Severus.” Remus said tenderly, sitting down next to his mate and wrapping an arm around him comfortingly.
 
“He must be broken. He doesn’t even know a tree from a dog! It’s my fault he is like this, it’s my responsibility to fix him!” Severus insisted still not looking at his mate.
 
“Your fault?” Remus said blinking in surprise.

“Your family doesn’t have a history of Downs Syndrome, Nor does mine. So it must have been my fault, some potion I brewed.” Severus choked out.
 
“But you removed all the harmful ingredients when you found out you were pregnant.” The wolf said reasonably.
 
“No one knows for certain about some of their effects....…they are so rare only master’s work with them and Potion’s masters are not exactly known for their family and people skills. With so few married, it could have been anything. I should have just stopped brewing, instead I cursed my own son!” Severus insisted, still crying but more softly now.
 
“That’s not true and you know it. Poppy explained it to us.  It’s a genetic anomaly, not something you did or didn’t do when he was in utero.” Remus insisted, shaking Severus’ shoulders a bit.
 
Severus ignored Remus’s calm voice. Pulling away from Remus and getting up, he stumbled around the room, looking for more to drink.
 
“Can’t be genetic,” he mumbles back at Remus,  “Not in our families.”
 
“Well, we know it’s not in the Muggle sides. But the pure-blood lines would hardly keep track of any ‘cull’ children. We know the Prince line killed any squibs and would have killed any retarded children too. The Lupin’s were hardly better. We just dumped ours in the forest.” Remus said grimly.
 
“Doesn’t matter…I can bottle fame, brew glory, even put a stopper on death…why can’t I fix your son?” Severus asked, falling down on the floor in despair, for the first time truly realizing that he could not change Donovan. He wept, mourning for the loss of the son he had always pictured, one that would brew beside him, that would be a brilliant potions master like his father. A son that would have been his salvation.

Remus sighed unable to offer any comfort to his saddened mate.  He collected Severus from the floor, helped him bathe, then tucked him into bed, crawling in behind him and hugging him to sleep.  Perhaps tomorrow would be better.
 
Unfortunately, the next day and for many weeks after that, Severus went to his classroom just after dawn and came home only after he knew Donovan would be asleep. This state of affairs went on until one Wednesday as he made his way to the Headmistress’ Office, he overheard a disturbing conversation.  He halted to listen.

“Give me your Hogsmead money, retardo and maybe I’ll give you back this sorry excuse for a charms essay.” A deep voiced boy threatened someone.
 
“But I don’t have any money! Please! I worked all night on that!!”  A high pitched voice wailed in outrage.
 
“No money huh? No essay then! Incendio!” The deeper voice said nastily then cast a spell.
 
Snape could hear the younger voice weeping as he turned the corner, wand out and pointed at the older student, the presumed bully.
 
“And what is the meaning of this Mr. Johnson?” He asked the bully coldly.
 
“Ah…DeMony lit his own essay on fire sir.  I was just trying to help him.” Johnson said innocently having already hidden his wand.
 
“Really! I suppose it wasn’t his deep voice that happened to have cast an Incendio either, eh?” Severus said, eyes glinting angrily.  
 
“Uh....no sir.....” Johnson said hesitantly, realizing the Potion’s Master had overheard him but still hoped to get away with it since this was his head of house.
 
“Detention Mr. Johnson! And 50 points from Slytherin!” Severus barked.
 
“Fifty! But it’s your own house sir!” Johnson objected in shocked surprise.
 
“Yes, and right now you are not worthy to be in it. How dare you call someone retarded! You think that it’s some sort of joke? That it’s funny that some people cannot learn? Get out of my sight before I have you expelled!” Severus said in barely restrained fury.
 
Johnson ran, leaving the potion’s master with DeMony weeping on the floor, running his hands through the pile of ash that had been his essay.
 
“I am sorry for the action of someone of my house Mr. DeMony. Would you like me to attempt to repair your essay?” Snape asked softly, in a voice and manner that only one other boy at the school had ever seen before.
 
“No sir, it’s not worth it.” The boy said, sniffling as he got to his feet, face red and blotchy.
 
“Why is that? Your potions work is good. Not outstanding, but still good. I’ve seen you do other spells just as well as those in your year group.” Severus asked in puzzlement.

“Yea…my spells are good, stuff I do with my hands is good, but I can’t write! It gets stuck in my head and I see it and I try and write it and I try and try but it gets stuck and nothing happens! Then I fail and then I’ll have to leave school and work on the farm like my Da but I don’t want to be a farmer! I want more! It’s just all stuck in my head” the child said, rambling, starting to hyperventilate as the stresses of imagined outcome closed in on him.
 
‘Stuck in his head? That sounds like…but no, surely one of his primary teachers would have noticed.’ Severus thought in dismay but decided to ask a few questions.  
 
“Did you have this trouble in primary school Mr. DeMony?” He asked cautiously.
 
“Yes…they just put me in the slow kids class.” The child said in disgust.
 
‘Brilliant…he is not like everyone else, so he must be dumb. Idiot teachers.’ Severus thought in angry disgust.
 
“And none of your other professors have said anything? What about your head of house, Professor Longbottom?” He probed some more.
 
“He told me that I could come to him if I needed help and I do. He tries to help me but it’s still stuck inside my head.” The boy said in frustration.
 
“I will inform Flitwick of what happened to your essay.  I’m sure he will give you extra time. As for tomorrow..... I wish you to come down to my office at seven tonight.....we’ll see what happens then. Go on to class, Mr. DeMony.” Severus told him, shooing him off.
 
Severus hears a knock at the classroom door and he glances up at the clock. Seven on the dot. Excellent. “Enter.” He calls out.
 
“Hello sir. You asked to see me?” The child he’d met earlier asked as he came into the room and closed the door.
 
“Yes Mr. DeMony, I wish to give you a test. I have been doing some research in the area of childhood learning problems and I believe I know what your trouble is. However, I want to confirm it.” Severus said coming from behind his desk and moving to a table and chairs nearby.  He gestures for DeMony to have a seat across from him.
 
“Um…Ok sir.” The boy agrees hesitantly, taking a seat.
 
Severus brings out a large book, flash cards, and a box of wooden shapes. He lays down a flash card.  “First, make this shape using all of the wooden pieces you are given.” He tells the boy.
 
One Hour Later, Severus calls a halt.  “The test is complete Mr. DeMony.” He tells the boy.
 
“What is it Sir? Can you fix me?” DeMony asks anxiously.
 
“There is nothing to fix, not in the way you mean.....” Severus begins to explain when the boy interrupts him.
 
“Then I am just dumb! They were right, I’m just a retard.” The boy says, head falling into his arms as he starts to cry.
 
“No, no you are not Mr. DeMony. There is nothing to fix because you are not broken, you just see things differently than others do.” Severus raises his voice a little to get through the boy’s tears.
 
“I’m not  dumb?” The boy asked in surprise.
 
“No. You are a very bright boy. Your scores for reading are as high as any adult! And your memory is well above average. It is in your fine motor skills and short term memory that your problems arises. This affects your ability to spell, I might add.” Severus told him.
 
“I…ok…but what exactly is the problem then?” DeMony asked in confusion.
 
“You have a learning disorder called Dysgraphia. It is related to Dyslexia, and is treated in much the same way. The biggest difference is in how you will learn to spell. A Dyslexic learns to spell by rote, a Dysgraphic can learn to spell by phonics. As for your writing, we can order special parchment and quills to help with that. I will also explain the disorder to your other professors and your parents. Even then, it will still require you to work harder than the other students” Severus explained.
 
“But...I’m not dumb, right? I’m not just being lazy?” The boy asked again, wanting to be certain he understood what his professor was trying to tell him.
 
“No my child, you are not.” Severus assured him warmly.
 
“Thank you professor.” DeMony said, smiling in relief, happy for the first time that day.
 
“You are welcome. Dismissed.” Severus said smiling just a little.
 
Severus turned back to the table,  packing away the testing supplies.
 
“Sir?” A hesitant voice asked.
 
“Yes Mr. DeMony?” Severus asked questioningly turning back to the boy standing near the door.
 
“Why did you do this? I’m not in your house, why do you care?” The boy dared to ask.
 
“Because no child is dumb, some just learn differently than others.” Severus said firmly.

Smiling, the boy turned and slipped out the door.
 
That night, Severus went back to his quarters early. Walking in, his son was still up.
 
“DADDY! MISSED YOU!” Donovan shouted happily.
 
“I missed you too son, I’m sorry for being away.” Severus said, smiling warmly down at his son.
 
“S’ok. Play now?” His son said sunnily.
 
“Yes, lets play.” Severus agreed, dropping down to the floor beside his son.
 
As Severus and his son played with the blocks, Remus looked on, smiling happily as a tear ran down his face.

One year later…
 
“Before you return to your dorm rooms we have an announcement to make. Starting this year, and for every year hence, we will be giving new students learning tests. For this year the upper level students will also be tested. These are not tests to gauge how smart you are or how well you are doing in a subject. These tests will help identify those students who learn in a manner different than typical. Testing will be carried out by your head of house and a specialist from St. Mungo’s. If you are found to be a special needs student you and your parents will be notified so that we can teach you in a way that will help you flourish.” McGonagall announced at the beginning of a new school year.
 
Leaning over, Remus gave his husband a kiss as the students left for their quarters.
 
“Remus! Not in front of the students! What was that for anyway?” Severus asked, embarrassed.
 
“For trying to help children who just learn in a different way.” Remus said, proud of his mate. “Donovan’s teachers said he did well in class today. Apparently, he has invented a potion to show his daddy. They said it involves chocolate pudding and gummy worms,” Remus said with a warm smile, tugging his mate’s hand to get him to rise and leave the hall.
 
Chuckling, Severus willingly got up and hand in hand they walked to their quarters to be with their son. His son may not be the next youngest potions master or change the world but Donovan was his brilliant moon child. Donovan was his salvation.
========

(A/N is unbeated for a reason)
A/N: Dysgraphia is a real learning disability. It is the one I have in fact. The description of deMony's problems with writing were my own when I was younger (and still a problem now and again) but after years of learning the coping strategies Snape outlined, and of hard work, I can almost test onto the normal range for writing. However, my spelling is still low (bet you never guessed, huh?). Because of my learning disabilities, I did some work in a special needs school with retarded and autistic students. Donovan is very much like one of the students I helped with. I do not remember anymore what typed of mental retardation hat student had, so in the story I’ve made it downs syndrome. 

Any learning disability is hard to live with, no matter how well you cope with it or what meds they are on. If you know some one with a learning disability, tell then that you'll give them a hand if they need it, or that you've noticed that their spelling/math/behavior has improved lately.

Much thanks to the incredly wodnerful [profile] ulyferal. Thanks to her, my fics now have a lemonly fresh beta smell!
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myene

June 2009

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