This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoat Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. I'm just borrowing them.
A small hand cautiously lifted the newspaper out of the rubbish bin that was just inside the entrance of Diagon Alley. With a quick look around to make sure the no one was looking, the boy carefully tucked the newspaper under his cloak and hurried through the throng of Christmas shoppers. It was only when he reached a small alleyway that led to the house where he rented a room that he started to run.
When he reached his little room he laid the newspaper and his other treasures down onto the small table before turning back to the old wooden door. Walking up to it the child put his hands on the door and commanded that the door open to his touch only. There was a quick flash of blue; it was as if the door had answered him.
Returning to the table, the boy grinned. There on the table was a large pile of Galleons, a small pile of pebbles, the newspaper and a tiny sleeping kitten.
Gently picking up the kitten; that he had discovered thrown outside the back of the pet store; the child sat at the table and got comfortable. Reaching over he pulled the paper towards him. Opening it, he could not help but chuckle. The headline and article read:
Daily Prophet – Special Edition.
In recent weeks it has come to our attention that there are some mysterious happenings occurring in our illustrious Diagon Alley.
Many people are discovering that money is missing from their pockets and that in return there is a small pebble.
The intrigue surrounding these pebbles has caught the attention of the Aurors, and it is rumoured the Department of Mysteries.
Ructions are being caused because these little seemingly inconspicuous pebbles simply reek of magic. It has been established that they have protection charms on them that seem to protect the 'recipient' of the pebbles from a variety of curses and hex's.
No magical signature has been found.
No one, who has found the pebble in their pocket, knows who took their money or how it was stolen. Similarly they have no knowledge of how the pebble got into their pocket or who put the pebble there.
Anyone who has any information regarding this matter is required to inform the Aurors and the Department of Mysteries.
The child cuddled the kitten close giggling softly to him-self. He then set about getting some food for the two then.
Severus Snape was not a man to be messed with. He had arrived at Diagon Alley in the late afternoon so that hopefully the Alleyways would be quiet. Unfortunately that was not to be. The apothecary that he needed to get his potion supplies from was still busy. If he had been the type of man that showed his emotions he would have huffed in vexation. Instead he turned on his heel with his cloak billowing around him and stalked to the Leaky Cauldron for a hot cup of something strong. He never noticed the small child follow behind him.
Settling himself, with his drink, into a booth along the back wall of the pub, Severus discovered that someone had left a copy of the previous day's newspaper on the seat. He vaguely registered that someone settled into the booth next to him.
Flicking the paper over he wondered what rubbish there would be for him to read. After reading the article on 'pebble', he muttered 'disgusting, how can someone not notice the additional weight of a pebble in their pocket, let alone how can you not notice someone removing your money – taking some and then returning what was left. Ridiculous' He muttered.
Folding the paper smartly in half and then returning it to where he had found it, Severus decided to try the Alleyways again. He never noticed that he was being followed.
At the apothecary he quickly gathered what he needed and after paying for the four ingredients, he carefully put them into different two different pockets this was so 1) he would know exactly what was where and 2) so the ingredients would not react with one another in his pocket.
He did pass a thought as he patted his pockets to make sure that everything was safe and secure. 'Look, no pebbles.'
He quickly made his way to Flourish and Blotts and after adding the shrunken books to his laden pockets he hurried to the apparition point.
He never noticed the small child whispering to the little kitten.
When he returned to Hogwarts, he hurried to his personal lab and started to empty his pockets. Pulling out what he thought to flux weed and bicorn horn, he was stunned to find armadillo bile and scarab beetle and a pebble. Pulling out the contents of the next pocket he found the flux weed and bicorn horn and another pebble. Where Severus knew he had placed the shrunken books he found his moneybag and a pebble. He finally found the books; in what he had thought was an empty pocket, with a pebble.
Carefully Severus removed his cloak and after a very careful search, he discovered another pebble in a hidden pocket. After he repeated the process with his outer robe he added another 3 pebbles to the steadily growing pile.
After he had finished his search he took the hall and placed it on the table next to his chair in front of the fire place. After he had poured himself a rather large Ogden's, he returned to the chair and looked at the table. 8 pebbles. He, Severus Snape, double spy and all round paranoid being had gained 8 pebbles, he had also lost 2 galleons.
'How could this have happened?' he pondered. 'I knew that everything was where I had placed it after I came out of the book shop. There can only be 25 yards from the book shop to the apparition point. I felt nothing and saw nothing. No one came anywhere near me. Even if they had there was no way that they could have placed a pebble into the hidden pockets,' Severus concluded. He also thought, 'I didn't feel any magic being aimed towards me either.'
He picked up one of the pebbles and holding it in a closed fist, focused his magic on to it. At first he could feel nothing. The newspaper reports were accurate from that point of view. He continued to focus his magic onto the small stone. Slowly he became aware that he could just feel the magic surrounding it. With a jerk he realised that the magic was vaguely familiar – or that it at least had familiar elements in it.
Pouring himself another drink he decided to try a different avenue of questioning. What had magic done to the pebble and what was it for? Again he reached out with his magic and looked for clues.
Slowly he became aware of the answer. 'Protection and Caring.' The pebble was smothered with it.
Placing his empty glass onto the table he went to his bedroom and proceeded to get ready for bed. As he went to sleep that night he still had the pebble in his hand. Illusive thoughts flooded his mind and flew through his dreams.
Finally he was able to catch one. It was a snippet of the scene that he had seen before he had apparated back to the school. Laughing green eyes, warm emerald orbs, with shaggy black hair looking at him. They looked down at something what were they looking at … a cat no a kitten. Then the eyes looked back at him smiling and the kitten had waved.
Sitting up quickly he held onto to his train of thought. He had seen the child at various points during his trip. No, it couldn't have been the child, how could the child have achieved such magic. No, it definitely was not the child.
Unbeknown to Severus Snape the pebble in his hand had flashed pale yellow at his thoughts and he would not think of the pebbles again until his next trip to Diagon Alley.
In a bed, in a little rented room, a small boy smiled softly in his sleep as he cuddled his kitten.
I hope that you liked / enjoyed this one shot.
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