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. It wasn't until Vernon Dursley demanded he take "miss Hogwarts" out of the letter that someone noticed something was amiss. And it wasn't until Severus S. Snape was sent to check on the boy before they knew t hat something was very, very, wrong. A "Snape mentors Harry" fic. Because every writer must write one. Note that this will be a possible "Snape as Harry's father fic" and ignores the Sirus story line. He was fine. He was fine. He was absolutley, completley, fine. 15-year-old Harry Potter was underneath his bed, chained to the bottom rung. Pet unia had gone out earlier that day to visit some friends. Vernon had come home e arly from work and found the "freak" out where the public might have possibly se en him. Ever since Dumbledore had visited the house last semester due to a neigh bor's complaint, Vernon had decided the freak, also known as Harry, would have t o be kept hidden, so that nobody susspected anything. Which was why Harry was laying here, telling himself he was fine, he was fine, h e was fine. Ever since an incident with his uncle at age three, getting locked i nto a cupboard for days, he had never been overly fond of dark spaces. When he w as yougner, his room had been the cupboard. It still was, actually, for most of the time. But when Vernon Dursley expected a visit from one of Harry's "freakish friends", he put Harry in this room here. However, this time, Vernon Dursley was not scared of Harry's "freakish friends". He was bent on destroying Harry at any cost -- while still maintianing the fact that he was a good family man. Even if Harry did manage to get out of the chain, he was still locked in the roo m. It didn't really matter if Petunia got home; she would never see him. As for Dudley, he had been taken out of the Dursley's care just last winter, while Harr y was away at Hogwarts. They had tried to arrest Vernon, but Vernon had managed to get out of the charges. Dudley, however, was still in what Harry thought was "foster care" -- although he wasn't really sure. Vernon, of course, blamed Harry for the fact that their custody of Dudley had be en revoked -- even though Harry, of course, had had nothing to do with the issue , and didn't even know how it had happened. He did guess, however, that that was why he was supposed to be locked away as a "hidden child", something nobody was supposed to see. He rarley even did house chores anymore, simply stayed hidden in either this room, or, when Vernon was angrier, the broom closet down at the f oot of the stairs. Harry had often considered going to Hogwarts for help, but had already consulted the possibilty that Dumbledore knew of his perdicament, which meant that Harry would be left in the cold, once again, and that Vernon would be more upset. Oh, he kept in touch with Dumbledore; letters nearly every week, but each held almos t the same wording, mostly because Harry was trying to convince himself as much as Dumbledore: I'm fine. Nothing's busy around here. Miss Hogwarts. The last time, a fight had ensued between him and his uncle around that last lin e, "Miss Hogwarts." His uncle had ordered that he eliminate it, stating that if
he wrote it, they might think something was amiss at home; Harry had replied tha t if he removed it, they would know something was amiss at home. In the end, the "miss Hogwarts" stayed, but blood also stained the letter that H arry had written. And all Harry could do was pray Dumbledore would catch somethi ng was amiss, even though he knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Dumbledore w ould not. "You called, Albuis?" Snape asked, entering Dumbledore's room with caution. He n ever knew what new contraptions that the man had dug up for himself, and always made careful observation of anything new he saw to stay away frmo. "Yes, Severus, I did." Dumbledore exhaled slowly, as if he were trying to calm h imself. A letter sat on his desk, and Severus wondered instantly who wrote, know ing it must have been the cuase of Dumbledore's stress. "Read this for me, Sever us, please." Severus frowned, reading the letter. I'm fine. Nothing's busy around here. Miss Hogwarts. "It's from Potter," he gathered instantly, studying the letter. Potter blasted Potter. Severus knew the boys' gaurdians weren't exactly stellar, but n o worse than what he had seen by other Hogwarts' students. And then, as he had finished reading the letter, Severus S. Snape knew exactly w hat was wrong. "By Merlin, is that blood?" he questioned, touching the paper wit h his bare hands. "Yes, Severus." Dumbledore paused, as if for dramatic affect. "Yes, Severus, tha t is blood." "Potter's blood," Severus replied. "Yes, Severus. Harry's blood. I suppose you want to know why I summoned you here -- and it will have to be explained rather quickly." "How did we know the boy didn't poke himself with a needle for attention, Albuis ?" "There is too much blood their for attention, Severus, and even if that is so, I would like to know why he suddenly needs attention so desperatly. By any means, we must remove him from his uncle's care at once." "Shouldn't we allow the muggles to deal with that?" The tone in Snape's voice wa s sneering and condesending. No, Potter, as usual, was doing this for attention. He was not in danger. If he was, surley another muggle would have noticed by no w -- one of Potter's muggle friends, perhaps. What Severus did not notice was th at no muggle observed Harry Potter. "There isn't time, Severus, and this is not the time to hold grudges. I am order ing you to go at once and collect Harry Potter. If nothing is amiss, we will dea l with that situation at the time being. In the mean time, we have no more time. Go at once. Please, Severus, his very life could be at stake." Severus hadn't bothered to dress in muggle clothes to hide his apperance. As he approached Vernon Dursley's house, his anger at Potter grew every second. How da re Potter pull such a stunt as this? As soon as he discovered that it was, indee d, a stunt, he was not going to be held responsible for his actions. Vernon Dursley answered the door, his suit still on from work. "May I help you?" he asked with ease, and Severus almost gave a snort. This was the man Potter so disliked? Why, because he wouldn't bow down to him properly?
"I am here to see the boy." "The boy?" Vernon Dursley questioned, his right eyebrow raising in surprise. "I assure you, sir, we have no children here." No children? Severus' mind realed in confusion. If they had no children, where h ad Potter gone? He was furious. First Potter wrote a letter, and then he wasn't here. Perhaps he had gone to the Burrow? Then Severus frowned, remembering his l ast interaction with Vernon Dursley. No, this man was just to calm; just to frie ndly, just to... normal. "The boy Potter," he explained. "As I stated earlier, we have no children here," Vernon Dursley replied, now mor e nervous. Now Severus' curiosity was starting to run away. Why wasn't Vernon claiming Pott er? Potter was his relative, after all, and he had seen Severus before, although not in Wizarding clothes. "I am Severus S. Snape, and I demand to see Harry Pot ter at once!" he said, even using the boy's dreaded first name. "And as I said, sir, there are no children here. Now kindly get out before I cal l the police." "I assume you won't mind my looking, then," Severus replied. "And then, if there is, indeed, no child here, I will leave you be." Vernon growled, but nodded curtly, and followed Severus. The first place that Severus checked was the broom closet the Dursley's had left him in the first year he'd met the boy. He wouldn't have learned of it, other t han a sharp glance into Harry's pention. He frowned, not seeing anyone there. If I was Vernon Dursley, where would I hide a boy I didn't want anyone to see? S everus thought. Then, frowning, realizing the wand was still in his hands, he whispered, "Point me Potter." The wand took him up the hallway upstairs, and to a second bedroom. The door was locked. Severus glared at Vernon, who shook his head. "I don't have the key," h e explained. Certian, now, that this was where blasted Potter was, Severus commanded the door to open, and sure enough, in the dreary, dungy, bloody, filthy room, under the bed, was the silent, still form of Harry Potter. It took all of Snape's power not to strangle either Vernon Dursley or Potter. Ho w had Potter worked himself into this mess, and what did Vernon Dursley have to do with it? Obviously, the man had to know what was going on, if it was in the s ame house. His heart swelled with hatred, knowing instantly that the Dursley cha racter had left Potter here, chained to the bed. There was no other explanation. "Explain," he ordered as he knelt down to check the boys' pulse. Vernon simply shrugged, much to Severus' disgust. "What business of this is your s, fool? I know you care nothing for the boy." Severus turned his head towards Vernon, still holding his hand over one of Potte r's cuts. "Do not call me a fool," he hissed. With that, he silently whispered a spell, healing the cut. It wasn't enough, though; he needed potions, and most l ikely Madame Pomphrey's trained healing. But until he could heal Potter more, th ere was no possible way that he could be moved without severe injury.
Looking over the body of the boy, he realized with horror that the abuse had, in deed, gone on for several years -- most likely since Potter had begun Hogwarts. By Merlin, how did we not notice? he thought to himself. "Potter--" then he paus ed, realizing he shouldn't call the boy 'Potter' anymore, not when he'd been thr ough to much, seen too much. "Harry," he corrected himself, forcing himself to s ay the name aloud. That name alone made Harry stir. No one called Harry Potter Harry during the sum mer unless he visited the Burrow. It was always the boy. Or something worse. Tha t is, if he was called anything at all. He could usually tell when Vernon was sp eaking to him - that is, if anyone spoke to him at all. "Rest," Severus ordered, placing his hand on the boy. Satisfied he wouldn't vani sh, they appraperated to Hogwarts. "He was chained to the bed," Severus repeated for what felt like the umpteenth t ime. "Chained, Albus!" "By Merlin," was Dumbledore's first response of the evening. When Severus had fi rst greeted him, boy in hand, he was shocked to see the two of them together. He was even more shocked to see the condition in which Harry Potter's body lay. Harry was now on one of the hospital beds, covered up by one of the blankets Hog warts kept on hand. Madame Pomphrey was muttering silently too him, using some o f Severus' potions that he'd kept on hand, simply for an occasion like -- well, not like this; nobody had ever expected anything like this. And certainly not fr om the Boy Who Lived. "I believe," Severus replied gravely "That the abuse has gone on for what would appear to be several years." Dumbledore slowly shook his head. "But why, Severus? Why wouldn't the boy come t o us?" "I don't know, Albus. But I am willing to assume fear played a large roll in his silence. At first, Dursley claimed there were no children in the house - didn't he have some nephew or something?" "Dudley Dursley," Dumbledore nodded in agreement. "But why--" "To my knowledge, he was not there. We should, however, make sure he is not livi ng under that roof. Honestly, Albus, that house is not fit for dogs to live in, much less humans." Severus shuddered. "The boy's bed didn't even have a mattress on it, there was no working light. The door had two locks, both on the outside. There were bars on the outside window. There was no evidence of life in there, Albus!" "One thing is certain," Dumbledore agreed, "we must address this situation. It i s only mid-summer, and Harry cannot remain at his relative's any longer. We must alert the Order at once." "And what of his uncle, Vernon Dursley? This is the Boy Who Lived, Albus. People will demand answers." Again exhaling slowly, Dumbledore replied, "You are right. We must get answers - and justice -- for Harry." Harry awoke silently. Years of practice with his uncle had given him plenty of t ime to learn how to awake silently. Especially after the people had removed Dudl ey, his uncle had been obsessed over keeping Harry's freakishness "quiet and nor
mal". Any sound Harry made, Vernon would punish him for. He'd learned to be as s ilent as possible, not that it worked. He exhaled slowly, counting to ten before he raised the pillow up off his head. He winced, no longer feeling the tug of the chain on his hand. Maybe Vernon was finally over being upset with him for showing his "freakishness" to the outside. His friends had often questioned why he looked so sick after he returned to Hog warts for the summer. He didn't tell them it was because he wasn't allowed to st ep foot outside, unless Vernon was storing him in the shed because one of his Im portant Friends was there. He glanced upwards and frowned. This wasn't his home¡ªhe wasn't at home! Vernon would kill him! He bolted out of bed in shock, looking in awe at the sheets and knowing instantly where he was. The Hogwarts infirmary. He gasped. Hogwarts! Had they found out that Dudley had been removed from the home? Had they decided to remove him, as well? They couldn't. Vernon had always threatened that if Harry had been removed from the home, he wo uld turn on Petunia next. Even though Harry didn't have the most self-esteem for his aunt, he refused to allow her to be hurt. Ever since she'd lost custody of Dudley, she'd been nicer to him, and he couldn't bear to see him get hurt. Espec ially since she'd helped him with one of his toughest battles with Vernon. Flashback "You idiot boy," Vernon hissed, shoving Harry into the wall. "You think you can get away with everything, huh?" he whispered into Harry's ear. "I saw you sneak that food, boy!" "I¡ªI'm sorry," Harry replied, dropping his eyes to the floor so that Vernon cou ld see he was 'ashamed'. "Please, Vernon," he begged. "You stupid boy," Vernon said, cuffing him on the head, forgetting about the rin g he had on his finger. It dug into Harry's forehead, making Harry wince. That w ould surely leave a mark. "And to go in front of the window nonetheless." "I was hungry," Harry whispered, trying to free himself from Vernon's grasp. "Hungry." Vernon snorted. "That's a great answer, Boy." "Let him go, Vernon," Petunia ordered. "We don't need¡ª," she paused, pointing h er cigarette towards the window, "THEM asking questions." "The freaks are not around, Petunia." "We don't need anyone asking questions," Petunia responded, "unless you wish to be arrested. The boy may be a token to the magical world but to the rest of us h e is just a normal boy, and I have no doubt they would treat his situation as th ey did Dudley's." Vernon snorted, but reluctantly let Harry go. Harry fell to the floor in relief, glancing at his aunt as Vernon left the room. "Why?" he whispered. "Because I don't want to see you end up as Dudley did." Harry paused, not computing that data with his brain. He stored it away for late r information for questioning his aunt sometime when she wasn't drunk. "Let me look at your forehead, Harry," she responded, making him sit down and ge tting the first-aid kit from the cupboard. Harry frowned as he saw a bruise on h
er forehead as well. "You're injured." Harry glanced up at a loud cough from behind him. He had gotten completely caugh t up in his memories and had totally forgotten to take out his invisibility cloa k from his trunk. He turned around, and his eyes met those of the rather surpris ed potion's professor. "I'm fine, sir, really." Harry threw in the sir to catch Snape off guard. He had to get back to his house as quickly as possible. As soon as he could get rid of his aggregating potion's professor and the headmaster, he could start planning his trip home. He had to rescue his aunt. "Really, sir!" "Harry," Dumbledore replied, his normally smiling face grave, "If your home life is fine, would you please explain to me where Severus found you, and why that w as 'fine'?" Harry lowered his eyes in shame. He'd stolen food from the refrigerator again; b roken the rule and gone in front of the window. He'd been so hungry; Vernon had refused to feed him for nearly a week, and he wasn't sure how much longer his al ready skinny body could hold himself without eating. "I¡ªI deserved it, sir," he explained honestly. Dumbledore raised his eyebrow. "Harry, nobody deserves to be treated that way." "But, sir," Harry replied, hesitantly at first, feeling like a broken, worthless fifteen year old, "I broke the rules. Twice." Snape sighed. "I hardly doubt that breaking the rules twice allows your uncle th e right to chain you to the bed, Po¡.Harry." "I'm sorry for the trouble, Headmaster, but nothing's wrong." Harry didn't dare leave his aunt with his uncle, how soon until she was dead? Once Vernon realized that Harry was growing close to his aunt, he threatened to kill her should he s pill one word of what was "wrong" to "those freaks at Hogwarts." "Harry, if nothing is wrong, where is Dudley?" "T-t-hey¡ He's in¡ I think¡ F-foster care." "Harry," Severus replied gently, his first time being gentle with anyone in near ly twenty years, "We did a little researching upon my impromptu visit. Harry, yo ur cousin wasn't placed into foster care. He was dead¡ªhe died at your uncle's o wn hands." His voice hardened. "Would you still like to keep the story that ever ything is fine, or would you like to tell us the truth now?" Also, for all you book fans, I'll try and stick to the books, but since it's so unrelated to the books, it will most likely not follow very many of them. Thanks for reading & reviewing, you guys rock! Here's another chapter for your loyal s upport! Harry sat dumbfounded as he stared at his potions professor. First, it was the f irst time he could ever recall the man not throwing an insult at him; second, it was the anger in Snape's voice that made Harry pause. Snape was angry? Why? "I¡ ªI," Harry paused, blinking twice in surprise. "I ¨C what?" This surprised Harry. He had honestly thought that Dudley had been living in par adise in what the muggles called "foster care," which Harry had always been told was homes for people who couldn't live with his parents. This completely explai ned why Vernon had been so determined to hide his existence! But how had Vernon gotten away with it, and did Petunia think Dudley was really alive as Vernon cla imed? If so, she was going to be in for a rude wake-up call.
"Yes, Harry. We're still unsure what happened, but it looks as though he died in a 'car crash' ¨C after being hit by the car your uncle was driving. Care to exp lain?" Snape asked, his voice more angry now. "It's not my fault, you bloody idiot!" Harry had lost his patience now. How dare Snape try and blame Dudley's death on him? Petunia and Vernon were doing that o ften enough, and he hadn't even been at the house on the occasion. He'd been at Hogwarts'. "I was here when they told me he'd been taken. They never even bloody told me he died! How can I be responsible for what had happened? I hate you! I hate you! Go help Petunia, if you're so desperate for a charity case! Go to bloo dy freaking hell!" "I wasn't saying that it was your fault, Po-Harry. I was saying¡ª" Snape had bee n too late in his explanation, however, and Harry hurried from the room in tears . Snape mentally cursed himself and glanced at Dumbledore. "What is this that yo u were muttering about having a 'plan b', Albus?" "Hogwarts? Why would I go to that bloody place?" Petunia demanded as she sat out side Number Four Pivet Drive. After getting Harry calmed down some and overheari ng something about Petunia, Dumbledore had thought it best to check on Lily's ha lf-sister, and had dragged Snape around for the occasion. "We aren't suggesting you go to Hogwarts, ma'ma. We're just saying that you need some help, and we're here to offer it." "In the form of what, a rehab facility? I don't do those things Vernon does." "What do you mean by those things?" Severus demanded, grabbing the cigarette out of her hands and putting it out. He detested smoking. All Hogwarts students kne w that they risked several weeks' worth of detention if caught smoking by one Se verus T. Snape. "Drugs. You know, crack, meth, that sort of thing. I don't do them. I think he f orced Harry to take them a time or two though ¨C when the Boy wasn't listening t oo him, something like that, he said. I know he was using them the day Dudley wa s removed from our home." Dumbledore glanced at Snape, his face registering surprise. "Removed?" "Dudley and Vernon went for a drive; Vernon came back and said Children's Servic es had taken away custody from Dudley, and that it was the Boy's fault." That explained why the muggle police had never gone after Vernon, but that didn' t explain why he'd killed his own child, which Harry had always said he'd spoile d to no extent. "How could it possibly be Harry's fault?" Severus demanded, now angry. If his facts were right, Harry had been at Hogwarts' at the time. "I don't know," Petunia said, and even Dumbledore was surprised to see a few tea rs shed. "He was away at his freak school at the time, but Vernon insisted it wa s Harry's fault. Magic, he replied. I asked him how he'd gotten away, and he¡ªhe ¡ªhit me." Petunia paused. "I'll think about your offer," she replied, "but I do n't think I can take it right now. Vernon needs me." With that, she closed the d oor, locking Snape and Dumbledore outside. "Have you seen my aunt? Is she alright?" Harry asked, bolting upright when he sa w Snape enter the room. "Yes, she's fine, but¡" Severus paused, not sure how to share this with his new charge. Actually, he wasn't sure how to share with Harry that he was currently
Harry's legal guardian. "Harry, she wouldn't leave. When we arrest Vernon, she'l l have the house to herself, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear her accuse you of lying in court." Harry shrugged. He'd been anticipating that whatever he said that was bad about Vernon, Petunia would deny it. It had been happening all his life. Of course, up until recently, he had never harmed her. Maybe the drugs were altering her brai n as well. "One more thing, Pott¡ªHarry. Until the trial, I will be looking out for you. Af ter the trial, we will decide on a more long-term situation." Severus desperatel y wanted to ask the boy about what Petunia met about Vernon giving Harry muggle drugs but decided against it. After all, it was obvious that Petunia had been dr unk, and he knew from experience that many drunks didn't know what they were say ing. "With you?" Harry snorted, his anger rising. "Great. I'll go right back to being dead. No, thanks. Send me back to Vernon," he retorted, picking up his glasses and running out of the room for the second time that day. HARRY Chapter 5 Harry stumbled down the dark hallway and exited through one of the paintings, ig noring the comment from the paintings about how rough they got it during school times, let alone during the winter. He really didn't care about anything at the present moment, much less the fact that a painting was mad at him. He sat down, suddenly feeling like the weight of the entire world was on him. Wh y had his aunt refused their offer of help? He was away from Vernon; Dudley was dead¡ªwhat more reason did she want to stay there? Speaking of which, when Dudle y was gone, why did she just stay there? He knew Vernon was abusing her, too. Sh e didn't let on, but Harry wasn't an idiot. He could see the bruises that dotted her face as well as they did his, and the times she'd tried to protect him. Per haps loosing Dudley had given her time to think about how she'd treated Harry in the past. Vernon had gone completely delusional in the past few years. It was now Harry's fifth year and he couldn't believe what the man had slipped into. Sure, the man had locked him in the cupboard at age three, but it had never been this bad unti l now. He'd always been after Harry, never after his aunt or his cousin. He didn 't understand the sudden change, although he suspected that the muggle drugs may have had something to do with his newfound "everyone-is-my-enemy" attitude. Flashback "Boy, what are you doing?" Vernon demanded, roughly grabbing Harry by the arm. " How dare you open that door? You know you are to eat what we give you, boy, and nothing else!" It took all the courage Harry could muster to speak back. "Sir, I've had nothing to eat for nearly a week¡ª" Vernon simply chuckled. "And your skinny body can't take it anymore? What, don't you get to eat at the school called Hogwarts? Surely you can eat there and not waste any of our food, you bloody fool!" with that, he slapped Harry, and Harry stumbled back into the refrigerator, clutching his nose. "You're despicable, you know that? Worth nothing. You think you're good enough t o grab what you want? That stunt alone will cost you two days in the broom close
t. When I get back, you better be out of sight!" Harry grabbed a nearby rag as soon as his uncle was out of sight and held it to his nose. He was surprised the slap had caused a nosebleed, but regardless, his nose was bleeding and he was trying to stop it so he could get something to eat before his uncle came back in the room and dragged him in the cupboard. He managed to sneak a banana before making his way upstairs to the bathroom. Unf ortunately, Petunia caught him, ripping the banana out of his hands. "What are y ou doing, wasting our good food, and why are you bleeding over my carpet? Get up there and clean that bloody mess up!" --end flashback¡ª Harry shuddered. That particular incident had been in his third year, two weeks before he'd arrived at Hogwarts. He'd used a glamor charm to disguise himself, a nd nobody had questioned him, except his most hated potions' professor, Snape. Flashback "Potter, a word?" Severus demanded, crossing his arms. He wanted to know what th at boy was desperately hiding under that glamor charm and why he refused to tell Albus Dumbledore. "Yes, sir," Harry said meekly, following the potions' professor to his desk. "Yo u summoned, sir." "Please explain how you thought you could get away with using underage magic out side of Hogwarts." Harry's face paled at that, but he quickly tried to cover it up. "Sir, I d-don't ¡ª" "Working with my 'snakes', as you call them, gives me much time to see what you can hide when you use a glamour charm," he remarked dryly. "So what are you hidi ng, Potter?" with that, he cast the counter-spell, and Harry backed away in ange r. "You have no right to intrude my ¨C my ¨C privacy!" Harry sputtered, now angry. "Privacy? Potter, your 'privacy', as you call it, was ended when you used a glam our charm in attempt to hide your appearance from the rest of Hogwarts staff. As it is, no-one has noticed except me. Albus Dumbledore should have surely notice d. Now, will you please explain why you are trying to hide your face in such a m anor?" Harry looked down at the ground. "Sir, I ¨C my cousin and I, we were roughhousin g, and¡ he hurt my face. I didn't want to say anything because I was embarrasse d, and I used glamour to conceal it." "That's hardly an exscuse to use underage magic outside of school." If Severus w ere honest with himself, that was not his real reason. His real reason was somet hing much, much, more. "A week's worth of detentions after school, Mr. Potter¡" --.¡ª What Harry didn't know is that Severus, too, was thinking of that very same inci dent, the day he had confronted Harry about wearing the glamour charm, the week he had given him detentions, trying to find out what was wrong with the boy.
Harry had never trusted Severus enough to tell him, but ever since them, he'd ke pt a more careful watch on the boy, repeating his findings to Albus, who constan tly reassured him that "Harry was well loved and maintained by his relatives, an d who are we to rip him from his care? I have someone watching him, and they wou ld let me know if anything was wrong." No-one, however, had 'watched' Harry, that much was clear, Severus mused. If som eone had actually watched the boy, they would have noticed how much he suffered in silence. Even he, as an ex-spy, should have noticed something. He winced, kno wing that he'd overlooked Harry's abuse due to a simple grudge against one Mr. J ames Potter. Severus groaned as he thought about the subtle hints Harry had been leaving him and the entire Hogwarts staff. The run-down clothes he'd always wore on Muggle d ay; the fact that he almost always used a glamour charm when entering Hogwarts; the fact that he only hung out with two or three people (Weasley and Granger) an d avoided the rest. Even Snape hadn't failed to notice how quiet the young boy h ad become the last year. He exhaled slowly, not liking what he had to do tomorrow. Tomorrow, he and Harry were going home, to his house. It would be a summer of trials, no doubt: trials to Severus' already testy patience. After slowly draining his glass of tea, he was about to get in bed before he hea rd the long scream and shattering of glass in the nearby Hogwarts hall. "Why did you even bother to stop by?" Harry growled as soon as he saw Severus. T he broken glass had already been cleaned up, and Harry was surprised he'd thrown the object. It was worthless, but it wasn't like him to loose his temper like t hat. Professor Snape sighed. "Potter, I heard a loud crash and you screaming. For all I know, it could have been the Dark Lord sneaking in." "Oh, this is a great idea, Albus Dumbledore." Harry swore. "Send me with your bl oody servant who works with the Dark Lord hand-in-fuc¡ª" "Language," Snape rebuked, cutting him off. "Go back to your room. Tomorrow will undoubtedly be an exhausting day and you will need your rest." "Like you care!" Harry was furious. "You never bloody cared before, so why shoul d you now? Go to hell." He stormed out of the room. Well, that went well, Severus thought dryly to himself as he exited the room. Harry lay on his bed, pounding his pillow. "Why, Petunia, why? I would rather li ve with you than him! Why didn't you leave? I want to protect you, dammit, but y ou can't even get out of there!" He couldn't believe Petunia had refused Dumbledore's direct offer of help. As ap posed to magic as she was, she should have taken the safe refuge from Vernon. Du mbledore had offered her full admissions into Hogwarts, even though she was not magic. She had refused and turned him down. I hate this! Although he had no respect for Petunia, she had helped him more and more with Ve rnon, recently, and he wanted to make sure that she got the help she needed. But she wouldn't accept it. Harry swore, again. "I give up," he muttered. "I giv e up."
The next day went rather quickly, despite Snape's warning that they'd be walking a bit extra. Although a bit out of shape for being malnourished, Harry still ha d more energy than Severus did. Or, at least, he had a longer-winded speech. "I don't want to live here." "Dumbledore has said that you have too, Harry. Would you rather return to Vernon ?" Snape replied, trying to make the boy understand the urgency of the situation . Although Dumbledore was making sure that the boy's uncle got locked up, both h e and Severus feared for the boy's safety. "Yes," Harry responded. It was a simple, one-word, answer, but it gave Severus t he indication that the summer would be a very long one. "That's not possible right now," Severus replied, trying to be as patient as pos sible. Dumbledore had warned him that Harry would probably go beyond their imagi nation to test Severus, and he had to remain calm. If Harry had been abused for fifteen years, his methods of surviving were not going to change overnight. Flashback "I need to speak to you, Severus." Albus' usually smiling face was solemn, and i nstantly Severus knew the subject: Harry bloody Harry Potter. "Yes, Dumbledore?" Severus questioned. "I need you to watch Harry for me. Over the summer. I'd do it myself, but¡" Alb us sighed. "Severus, I think you will be able to relate to Harry. I do not have the time nor the patience for a fifteen-year-old abused child¡ª" "And you're saying I do?" Severus asked, his face full of horror. "Yes, Severus. After all, you were there too, remember?" As if Severus needed re minding. "I am always away attending ministry meetings that Harry cannot go to. As for your spying for the dark lord, we shall postpone it for now. Harry shatte red another one of his devices during the summer, as you know, and I believe he will hide out for awhile. I want you to watch over Harry." "And what of his Head of House?" "His head of house is indeed open too it, but I think you would be a better guar dian for the boy." "Me?" Severus asked incredulously. He opened his mouth to speak, but he was spee chless. "You," Dumbledore responded. "You can relate to Harry. None of us can. Also, you have much training in dealing with your House." "I do not have the patience or the time to care for Harry." "You will no longer be spying for the dark lord. If you agree to this, I will fi nd another way in his chambers. This is temporary, Severus, just for the summer. " And the winter¡ªand the fall¡ªDumbledore thought, but he didn't tell Severus t hat. "Just for the summer?" Severus repeated, feeling as unintelligent as ever. "Yes." Severus highly doubted it would be for the summer, knowing Dumbledore would have
thought ahead to the school year as well. Regardless, he felt that watching ove r Harry couldn't be nearly so bad as working for Voldermort. "Fine." "Thank you, Severus. Remember, Harry will need patience. He has been abused, not only by his uncle, but most likely by Petunia as well. And we know that he has been severely neglected. He will need a lot of attention and patience, and a lot of time, and perhaps some TLC." "TLC?" Severus questioned. "Tender, love and care." Severus glared at him. "I've never heard that ridiculous phrase used before in m y life." "You're dismissed," Dumbledore smiled. Harry stomped on the grass. "I didn't even want to leave Hogwarts. I can take ca re of myself just fine," he responded. Severus exhaled slowly. He was sure the boy had cared for himself many, many tim es, but he was not ready to live on his own in that big, empty castle, either. " Regardless, Harry¡ª" "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Dumbledore." "While you are staying under my roof, you will treat both Albus Dumbledore and I with respect," Severus ordered. "I do treat the Headmaster with respect." Severus paused, considering his options. He decided that getting into a fight wi th Harry in the first day he was here would not help his cause for helping the b oy any, so he replied, "Harry, we will be approaching my property in five minute s. When we get there, you will clean, shower, and change, into some more¡ suita ble muggle attire." " I don't have any." "I have had some ordered and placed it in your bedroom." Severus thought that it might help Harry begin to trust him, if only a small bit. "Good for you." Severus was tempted to give him detention for the comment, then reminded Dumbled ore's words about patience. "I'm glad you think so. Dinner will be at seven. Ple ase be prompt." Dinner was a solemn, somber affair. Harry had never eaten dinner with the Dursle y's. By the time he was eight, he was preparing full-course meals for them. Meal s that had to be perfect, too, or he got burned. Badly. He'd never forget the ti me Vernon had taken him to the ER. He was twelve, and Vernon had pressed his han d over the hot coals for not cooking their food fast enough, despite Harry's com plaint that the stove wouldn't go any faster. He'd then driven Harry to the ER, forced Harry to lie about his injury, and gott en Harry "taken care of". Harry had been locked in the closet for two weeks afte r that incident. Harry shuddred just thinking of it. "Harry."
Harry glanced up. It wasn't like Snape to call Harry Harry. It was always Potter or Golden Boy. "What?" he retorted. "Did the headmaster tell you to play nice?" Snape fought back against the retort yes, he did, and now we're all going to pla y happy family together, and instead said, "Why aren't you eating your food? Do you dislike fish?" Actually, Harry didn't dislike anything. He'd eaten scraps from the trashcan to stay alive. Actually, the first time he'd gone to Hogwarts, his Head Of House ha d caught him¡. "Harry, what are you doing?" "I¡ªI'm sorry. I didn' mean too!" "What are you doing, Harry? That's trash let over from the Hogwarts Halloween fe stival. It's alright, the Perfects are going to get it." Harry blushed, glad she hadn't caught him. If she had caught him AND if she had called Vernon¡ "I thank you for your help, Harry, but you need your sleep," she said, not seein g the scap of bacon in Harry's hand. Harry snapped out of the flashback. He debated on saying, "Yes, the fish is fine ", and flipping his plate over and storming out of the room. He settled on the second option. There was no way Snape was going to play Happy Family for long, and he needed to see what he'd really be like so he could start planning his survival strategy. This had happened at all the houses Vernon had sent him too to stay "Awhile". He already knew that Dumbledore wouldn't interfer e; the man was way too busy. It was Harry's only saving grace for living at Vern on's those years. Not that he wanted to, he hated Vernon, but he felt like he owed it to Petunia t o protect her, especially after she'd helped him so much the previous year. "I'm not hungry," he said, picking up his plate and dumping it upside down on the fl oor. He glanced back quickly at Snape's face and ran out of the room. "I don't have the patience for this, Albus!" he'd cast a Monitoring Spell on Har ry and floo'd to Dumbledore's apartment in Hogwarts, grateful the man wasn't on Ministry call this evening. "I believe you do, Severus," Dumbledore said, a twinkle in his eye. "Lemon drop? " "You know I hate those infernal things." Dumbledore smiled back at them. "Please, Severus. Take a seat." "I'll stand, thank you." "You are more than welcome to sit," Dumbledore replied. "Where is Harry now?" "I cast a Monitering Spell on him. He is currently residing in his¡ª" Severus' e yes widened. "He is currently not in his bed in my house. He's on the floor." Dumbledore sighed. "Severus, I think Harry was more abused then we can imagine. I think he's been seriously hurt , and we need to be prepared for that. Madame P omphry has examined him already, yes?"
"Yes." "Did she say anything?" "Nothing that I could repeat," Severus said with a small smile. Flashback "Bloody Merlin, Severus! What happened to Harry? Did a room full of Dementors at tack him?" Severus shook his head. "Worse. His aunt and uncle." "His RELEATIVES? His BLOODY RELATIVES did this?" Madame Pomphry was acting out o f character, no doubt, and they both knew it. But she was furious that the boy's treatment had been ignored for so long. How had she herself not noticed? "We're going to work on getting them arrested." "And hung, I hope! This is the Boy Who Lived, Severus!" "Don't remind me," he growled. End flashback "We know Harry has suffered badly, and I do think that he will try to try your p atience, Severus. I think that the fact that he dumped his fish on the floor was a test. He wants to test you." "It's working." Dumbledore smiled. "Severus, you were there too, remember? You didn't exactly tr ust me when I hired you as a Spy for the Light." Flashback "Severus, I need to talk to you." "Yes, Headmaster." It had been two weeks since Severus had been taken into Dumbl edore's protection, but he had already seen that the man could be utterly unpred ictable. "What do you need?" "I want you to become a spy for the Light." If there had ever been a time to bec ome blunt, this was it. Severus took a deep breath. "You don't believe in hiding things, do you?" Dumbledore simply grinned. Harry Potter was beyond furious when he looked at Dumbledore's face. "You're kid ding me, right? I have to live with him? You know he bloody works for the Dark L ord!" "Harry, all my other professors are busy this summer. Severus has agreed to take a summer off of spying to help you readjust to normal life," Dumbledore assured him. He glanced at his timepiece. It was nearly thirty minutes until the meetin g and he was glad to have his house-elves preparing the food, for he was stuck w ith one young furious Harry James Potter. "I do not want to live with him! Why can't I live at the Burrow?"
Dumbledore sighed. "Harry, I have my reasons ¨C" "Like you had your reasons for keeping me at my relative's house?" Harry spat an grily. "In time, you will see them." Dumbledore stood up. "I must attend a meeting. I h ope you find some ways to occupy your time. Without spying on us," he added with a smile. "It is confidential Ministry business, Harry, I trust your privacy?" "Yes, sir," Harry mumbled, looking down at the shoes that Snape had given him. H e was actually a little surprised about that. "Thank you, Harry." Ministry meeting "We have, of course, arrested Vernon Dersley," Dumbledore responded. "He is awai ting Muggle trial at the courthouse for the murder of his muggle son, Dudley, an d the abuse of his nephew, Harry James Potter ¨C as we all know as the Boy Who L ived." He paused for a moment to let that sink in. "Where is Petunia living now? Actually, for that matter, where is Harry living h ow?" Remus asked, frowning. He would have liked for the boy to live with Sirus, but Sirus had died during Harry's fifth year ¨C a drastic turn of events for the m all. "Harry is living with Severus." It seemed as if everyone at the table gasped at once at Dumbledore's announcement. "And Petunia is under Muggle arrest because i t is the only way we can separate her from Vernon until the trial. We may yet br ing her down on charges¡ªshe had to know about the abuse." "Surely Harry wouldn't like living better with me?" Remus snapped, furious that Snape got custody. How dare Dumbledore trust Severus with the Boy-Who-Lived when the Potions master hadn't even come to his Christmas parties the previous years ? Dumbledore's usually twinkling smile frowned. "Remus, I have placed Harry in cus tody of Severus for a reason. Please know that." "It had better be a damn good reason," Remus growled. Dumbledore shot Remus a look, and he silenced. "Anyway, I shall make an appearan ce at the Muggle trial. It will happen during the summer and for the majority of the trial Harry will stay with Severus, however, he will be required to testify on the last day, so both Severus and I will be in the courtroom. I will need so meone to maintain Hogwarts while I am gone." "I can," Mr. Weasley said. "Thank you, Mr. Weasley. And let's move onto our next set of business¡" Harry sat outside the window, frowning. He was beyond exhausted and furious. He had collapsed on his bed the second that he'd stormed into his room. He had to t estify? At the trial? And Snape was going to be with him? He'd rather live with Remus any day of the week. He still couldn't believe that Dumbledore was going to let him live with Snape. He was furious. He knew Snape hated him. He just had to prove it.
A small, dejected smile formed Harry's face. He was going to get out of Snape's hosue; he just had to find a way. He had tos neak out of the house. There was no other way possible that he was go ing to have any sort of life. He despised Snape and the man despised him. It was only a matter of time before Snape discovered his acts, so he knew he had to mo ve fast. He changed out of his wizard clothes and into his best set of muggle clothes, wh ich he'd purchased himself from Dragon Alley. He did not wear them at home becau se Petunia and Vernon would want to know where the money had come from. He loved Petunia, but Harry knew she was using some heavy drugs. The case of Petunia left a bad taste in his mouth. Dumbledore had said there was nothing he could do except order Vernon into prison, which he had done, but eve n though he was away, and Dudley was supposedly dead, a fact that Harry found ha rd to believe. This whole god-damned nightmare was just too damned surreal. Harry pulled out his picture of his parents and slipped it into his back pocket. Snape would burn it if he found it. Vernon had actually tried too, once, but Ha rry had managed to keep it safe. Hagrid had given him a photo album of his paren ts, but Harry was leaving that behind. For now. He had to get to Dumbledore's safely, and then inquire as to why the hell the ma n thought it was a good idea to leave him with one of Voldemort's spies. Severus tiredly walked into his house. He was exhausted, and he had the feeling that it was about to get worse. He wasn't sure he was the right person to raise a badly neglected, abused, fourteen-year-old boy ¨C especially when that boy's l ast name was 'Potter'. But Dumbledore had insisted, and Snape would never leave the protection of the Headmaster for anything. Because even the darkest of witches had their fears, and Severus' deepest fear w as Voldemort. He wasn't afraid of the name ¨C he didn't believe in that silly li ttle mith ¨C but he had felt the effects of the torture of the man and didn't wa nt them to happen to anyone, including himself. Feeling fatherly for just a minute, he decided to check on Potter and make sure his charge had actually gone to bed. Della had insisted he had but he wasn't sur e that Potter actually had. He sighed, just opening the door. Della had said the boy should be asleep by now . He moved towards the bed, the music of the impending doom sounding more loudly in his head every second. When he got to the bed, he swore instantly. Harry wasn't there. Harry was only a mile away from Snape's house. Having learned the hard way he co uldn't apprapriate and having sent an owl to Ron notifiying him of his change in locations, he had no form of communications and was stuck out in the dark, craw ling across time. He wasn't scared, though. His uncle had locked him in the dark more than once ¨C more times than Harry could count on even a dozen hands ¨C and he wasn't afraid . He just hated crawling in the grass. One night, a few days before Hogwarts, Ve rnon had 'accidentally' locked him out of the house, and Harry had decided to go
to Hogwarts early. However, even with all his Hogwarts training, he had lost hi s way to the station. It had been the worst mistake of his life and Harry had vowed never to repeat it . The beating had taken place a week before Harry returned to the Burrow and he still spotted a black eye and was missing one part of a tooth because of it. "Potter, I hear you!" he heard Severus' voice but he deducted it was still about a half a mile away. Harry picked up the pace, determined to get away. He heard Snape hury after him. Cursing as his foot hit a particulary rough rock, Harry swore again as he saw Sn ape's figure. He looked back, trying to judge how much distance there was betwee n him and the man. He ran forward another few feet, and ¨C "Harry, you must stop at once!" Harry pretended not to hear, having listened to one too many comandments in his life. "Harry¡ªthere are traps over there! Danger ous traps! Get away from there!" Before Harry could do anything, his hands stumbled from out from under him and h e fell¡ and his world went back. "Thank you for getting here," Severus responded to Dumbledore curtly. "I expecte d your presence an hour ago, when Potter was missing, not two hours later, with your damn ¨C whoever the hell they are." "Guests, Severus," Dumbledore responded as he made way. "In my mansion?" "You are warding over a minor," Dumbledore simply responded. "You have no right to refuse them. I assume you found Harry?" "Yes, I did." Severus did not give the conditions as to which he had found the b oy under. He wanted to talk to Harry first, and learn why the boy had felt compe lled to run away. He was already susspecting that there was something more to th e picture, something that he and Dumbledore had missed, but was unsure¡ and it was something that could change Harry's life forever. Harry groaned as he got up, looking angrily at Snape as the man shut the window. "What are you doing here?" he hissed, already embarrassed to be back at the man 's house. He had hoped to be back by this time. "We need to¡ discuss some things," Snape replied, and Harry winced as he saw a flicker of anger cross the man's face. "Let's begin with why you ran out last ni ght?" he asked, biting the corner of his lip thoughtfully. "I don't believe that's any of your concern," Harry began, but bit his tongue as he flashed back to the last time he has talked to his uncle. "It is my concern, Potter," Snape snapped, glaring at the teenager. "Dumbledore sent two aurors over here once he realized that you had escaped from the house. I may tolerate the ministry, but I will not have them running all over my house, are we clear?" "Crystal," Harry grumbled as he looked at his hand. It still hadn't recovered fr om the last time of being handcuffed to the bed and showed a red mark that irrit ated Harry to no end. "Good." Snape stood up and made his way over to the chair. "Harry, I discovered
some things last night that we must discuss." He paused briefly, than began, "Ha rry, I must inquire at once. How much did your uncle know about Hogwarts?" "N-nothing," Harry sputtered, his face turning a deep shade of red Snape couldn' t quite place. "H-he didn't w-want to know nothing!" "Continue," Snape replied dryly as he leaned back into his chair. "I already told you that he didn't know anything!" Harry responded angrily, stan ding up. "Then why did we discover that Vernon was a wizard himself?" Severus demanded, a nd with that, Harry's face turned a pale white, and he fled from the room. "Harry," Severus responded, "I need you to tell me all that Vernon knows. If thi s is true, Harry ¨C Vernon being a wizard ¨C we need to know everything. I alrea dy know he didn't go to the school of Hogwarts; I checked that myself when I dis covered. Now, is Petunia magic?" "No," Harry answered quietly, chewing a bite of his sandwich, "And she hated my mum because she was." He swallowed hard, blinking fast. It would do him no good to cry. It never would. "Answer me honestly." It took all of Snape's will not to call Harry 'Potter' as he had done so many times before. "Harry, when did you discover that Vernon was a wizard?" "How did you discover, sir?" Harry sneered, turning the tables on the older wiza rd. "A hunch," Severus lied coolly. "Answer the question, Harry." "When I found out that ¨C" Harry swallowed hard ¨C "when I found out he discover ed to do wandless magic. He used some of it to burn me, once. He said that he ¨C " Harry gulped, now ¨C "didn't go to Hogwarts, but he went somewhere else." Snape frowned now. There were few places children of muggles went to learn wizar dy and Hogwarts was one of them. "Did he say why he didn't, or where he went?" "He was drunk," Harry admitted, "But he said that Hogwarts was for muggle-lovers and he wouldn't possibly go there. That was the¡ª" Harry winced ¨C"That was the argument he had with me, right before you found me," he said, reducing his voic e to a small whisper as he stared at the floor. Severus' temper flared. He knew now why he remembered the idiotic man. "Come," h e growled, taking hold of Potter's arm. "I must speak with Dumbledore of this at once." "Are you certain, Severus?" Dumbledore asked, even though he himself had known t he truth. If he himself admitted it, it was one of the reasons why he'd placed t he boy with the Dursley's. "Positive." Dumbledore exhaled slowly. "I know that Vernon Dursley was a wizard, but when we had last¡ erm, communicated, he had forsaken all ties with the wizarding world . One of the reasons why I placed Harry with them was because he was a wizard an d I knew he would protect the boy." "Protect the boy? Albus, he used the boy as a punching bag!" Severus retorted, u
sing all his energy not to attack the old man. "I had known him only briefly, and did not know of his true nature," Dumbledore calmly responded. "You left Harry bloody Potter with a bastard who abused him for sixteen years an d you're telling me you didn't know of his true nature? Can you, in all honesty, tell me that you knew the man you placed Harry Potter to live with the night yo u left? If you had known something, you would have protected the damn savior of the wizarding world!" Severus stood up, disgusted. "Protection or not, Dumbledor e, I give my word, I will do anything to protect that boy. Even if he is James' son," he added as an afterthought. "I already have custody rights over Harry, wh ich are not to be revoked," he added. "I will not have you interfering with him, are we clear? I pray to God that he never finds out you knew his uncle was a wi zard¡ because then he may realize what kind of wizard his uncle was." "He had revoked his ties with the Dark Lord, Severus! You must calm down at once , you're over¨C" "The only reason I am not having you revoked from your position as headmaster ov er this little stunt is because Harry shouldn't deserve to know the knowledge of your stupidity, and because I fear the person who took over your chair would be worse than you!" Severus responded. "Honestly, Hagrid would have taken better c are of the boy. And I can and will be talking to someone about this." "I just wanted what was best for Harry," Dumbledore responded in protest. "There 's no need to alert the ministry over this, Severus. Vernon had shaken all his t ies with the Dark Lord at this time." "Obviously he hadn't," Severus grit out, "because the mark on Harry's arm that I saw is the first one we learned as a Death Eater to make." With that, he storme d out, leaving Dumbledore speechless. Harry threw his pen across the room in frustration and shredded his paperwork. H e was already irritated and this wasn't helping. He'd been having the makings of an OCD attack for the last twenty minutes and he was furious. Vernon had warned him that if anyone had discovered that he was a wizard, it wou ld mean sure death for Harry, and Harry was nervous. He knew the man would never find him here, in Snape's mansion, but he also knew that if the man could get i n touch with Voldemort, there would be trouble. How much trouble would it have been for Vernon just to turn me over to Lord Vold emort? Harry wondered to himself, not for the first time. His uncle had once yel led at him, saying, "I could turn you over to Voldemort right now, boy, if I had half a mind! Get me my whisky!" Vernon had been drunk at the time, and Harry had thought little of it. But he ha dn't forgotten the incident. He'd once run across Vernon's notes while cleaning up, and trembled when he touched something from Lord Voldermort himself. Vernon Hopefully things are going well. I am working with my followers to produce our n ext move. I am sending Severus in as a spy to start working on gathering informa tion form Dumbledore. Keep Harry 'safe' until we are ready, and then, when the t ime comes, when the plan is full, bring him to me. "The Power The Dark Lord Knows Not" will soon be dead, and the wizarding world w ill weep with tears as they realize their bloody SAVIOR will be lost to them for ever.
That had been just last year, and the man's attack had been thwarted when Ron an d Hermoine had stepped in and saved him at the last minute. He had suffered many of his father's brutal attacks this summer because "Harry had gone and fucked u p" the man's plans. When Snape had found him, chained under the bed, Harry had h onestly thought he was going to die. Still, he had managed to keep it a secret that the man had been involved in any of this. Until now. The man had threatened to kill if caught, and Harry had no trouble be lieving his promise. Harry shuddered and picked up his quill again, getting ready to write his letter . It would be a long night. "We need to make the move and get Vernon Dursley locked up in Azkaban, not some Muggle prison," Severus said, leaning back against the chair. "Now that we know he's a dark wizard and has worked with Lord Voldemort himself, we need to make e very effort to get him locked up." "Do we have any evidence besides Harry's word?" Sirus questioned, his arms folde d. "Sirus, if Harry had told you this, you would have believed it. But because I am repeating the information from Harry, you are questioning me. We don't have muc h time. I have no doubt that Vernon Dursley can and will break out of Muggle pri son, given the chance. Even though he has 'shaken his roots' ¨C" ¨C Severus glar ed at Dumbledore ¨C "the man still knows many, many ways of the Wizarding world and is dangerous to this society. We must take all the moves to get him locked u p in prison at once." "I agree." It was Remus Luptin who put his first two words in. "Author, how do w e move about this? And, Severus, how do you move about the way we transport him to the prison?" "Portkey is most likely the best way," Severus responded. "Once you get a mile o ff of the island, you can use portkey. If we bring the entire ministry, we can t ransport the man to Abazkan prison." "Severus, if you are involved in the operation, will Vernon Dursley report to Vo ldemort that you are involved?" Sirus questioned. He held up his hand, seeing th e man glare. "I'm not trying to make waves, Severus, but you are our only insigh t into Voldemort's lair, and it's urgent we keep up on his plans." "Perhaps it is best if you remain out of this one, Severus," Dumbledore agreed. "However, I do agree that the man needs to be transported to Abazkan prison at o nce." Flashback "Get me my whiskey, boy," Vernon growled, his breath hot on Harry's back. "Now!" Harry jumped, but hurried to the fridge, his eyes downcast. It would be a long t ime before Vernon went to bed. Dudley wasn't back from his friend's house yet, a nd Harry silently thanked Merlin that the fat boy was planning on spending the n ight. "Faster!"
Harry made his feet as soft as possible as he treaded across the floor, hoping t o be excused to his room. "You go back to that school soon, don't you, boy?" Vernon questioned, his voice low. "Yes, sir." "Good." Vernon stood up, his height and weight towering over Harry's. Harry cowe red and backed up. "Let me remind you," Vernon growled, "what the punishment is for anyone finding out?" "No!" a yelp escaped from Harry's mouth and he backed into the corner, but Verno n didn't stop. His wrist tightened around Harry's and Harry froze in terror as h e tried to bolt up the stairs. "Bloody kid," Vernon growled, yanking on Harry's hair. He pulled Harry further, shoving him in the broom closet. Harry bit his lip to keep from crying as he hea rd the lock click. End Harry winced as he woke up, more tired than before. He hated nightmares, he real ly did. He slowly slipped on his socks, hoping to be able to get a drink of wate r. He swallowed hard, taking a deep breath, and then winced when he felt a hand wrap around his wrist. Vernon's hand. "Missed me, didn't ya, boy?" he growled, and suddenly, Harry's terrifying nightm are became real. As soon as he stepped foot on Voldemort's lawn, Harry couldn't help it. He lost everything that was in his stomach. Even though he knew his uncle was associated with the dark arts, he hadn't expected to be dragged to the bloody Voldemort's castle. He was about to throw up, again, when he saw Voldemort. "You found him," Voldemort praised, and Harry thought that he was going to be si ck, again. "It did not take you as long as I expected. Excellent work." Vernon smirked at this. "The spy you planed in the ministry has helped immensely ," he responded with a cold smile. Harry winced. He had once tried to tell someone about Vernon's abuse. Unfortunat ely, it had been one of the old teachers, who had taken it straight to Dumbledor e. Dumbledore had nodded sympathetically, but by the time the teacher had taken him to Dumbledore, the bruise had faded and any proof Harry had had long ago fad ed from memory. Dumbledore had written a letter home of warning to Harry's uncle , and although Harry often received a few 'goodbye presents', he learned to cove r them up with a glamour charm or two, and Harry's uncle eventually learned not to plant them where they might be seen -- or, if there was one where it might be seen, Harry blamed it on Dudley. He knew Hermoine suspected something wasn't right about his family, but even she did not notice how bad it was. Molly Weasley often threatened to beat up "those Muggle bastards" for Harry, which he always smiled at, but she did not know tha t the busies Harry blamed on Dudley were actually caused by his uncle. "Drag him," Voldemort commanded, and Vernon wheezed after the man, half-dragging , half walking towards the mansion. "Time to go, Harry," he sneered, "and end th is nonsense, once and for all."
Severus had never been more furious - and more grateful - in his life. After he' d gotten back from the ministry meeting, he'd decided to check on Potter before going back to bed. And was he ever glad he did. The runt was nowhere to be seen, and Severus was very concerned about his welfare. He had floo'd Dumbledore, war ning the man to bring no-body with him, and floo'd back. The scene before Snape scared him. The room was thrashed, with evidence of Harry 's blood, and the writing VOLDEMORT LIVES on the wall - in blood. Sevreus wasn't entirely sure, but he was almost positive that it was Harry's. From what he had heard, the chance to arrest Vernon hadn't gone well. Vernon had already fled by the time they had gotten to the Muggle jail and the bastard at the front gate had said, "There is nothing we can do." "Dumbledore, I'm grateful you've arrived," Severus said once he saw the old man. And he actually was, this time. He sighed. "I arrived home after the ministry m eeting this evening, and Potter ¨C Harry ¨C wasn't here. There was ¨C" he paused , his face ashen for the first time since he'd learned of Lily's death. "Blood o n the wall, and writing ¨C Voldemort Lives ¨C on the wall. I have no doubt of wh o has taken him." He paused for a minute. "I am worried, Dumbledore, that there is a spy on the rescue mission. I believe that Vernon kidnapped Harry, yes, but I am deeply afraid that someone "Who do you think it is, Severus?" Dumbledore questioned, his voice a grave conc ern. "Do you have any ideas on Harry's whereabouts? Do you have any ideas about who the mole may be?" "I have a few," Snape admitted begrudgingly. "But, as I am unsure, I--I must che ck at once. I am being summoned to return tonight anyway; no doubt he wants to s how off his captured prize." "As you know, I have been looking for Harry Potter ever since he was a young boy ," Voldemort began. Severus started scanning the room for Harry Potter, or, if n ot him, his hunch on whom the mole was. He frowned when he thought he spotted hi m, and started sliding closer. "And now, thank you to one of my loyal, loyal fol lowers, who has now been moved up to assistant-in-chief, we have the boy." "When will you murder the boy?" One of the crowd asked, and Severus recognized i t as Lucis Malfoy. "Silence!" Lord Voldemort ordered. "It is not time for question-and-answering. H arry shall remain in my custody for awhile... and he shall soon die," he admitte d, "but not right away." He continued on with his speech, which Severus ignored, having heard it many times before. There were some privileges to being Voldemor t's "lead spy". Of course, the man would never know that he had been fed falsifi ed information. He finally managed to catch up to the man in question and placed a firm grip on his hand. "Miss me, Sirus?" he hissed. "S-Severus," Sirus stuttered, backing away. "Y-you were supposed to be¡ª" "Looking for Harry, I know," Severus growled as he moved closer. "I know that Du mbledore does not have you as a spy, Sirus, so do you care to explain why you we re here? And do not say 'you were looking for Harry', because this is a meeting for death eaters only¡ and of them, the eleite of the eleite. I have susspected you for many years now, Sirus. Why do you not think that Dumbledore did not pla ce Harry with you? Why do you think Dumbledore did not send Harry to live with y ou?" He questioned.
Sirus' face paled and he backed away. True, it was exiting, being the best of th e best in Voldemort's lair¡ªand being a spy in the ministry to boot. He had no i dea that Severus susspected him. His mouth dried. "You can't." "I can and I will," Severus responded angirly. "Right after I find your damn god son. You were really the Potter's secret keeper, weren't you? How did you get pa st the truth serum? Nevermind, we will find that one out eventually, I suppose." "You are hardly one to care for Harry, you cruel bastard," Sirus hissed. "How da re you¡ª" "No," Severus responded, his voice cold. "How dare you." As if he didn't realize it before, he realized that his meetings with Dumbledore had to be kept deathly secret. "You betrayed your godson, Sirus, right into the enemey's hands. You de serve far more than a stay in Abazkan, but it is hardly up to me to give it to y ou. Now, I'm going to ask you once, and once only ¨C where. Is. Harry.?" Harry was in a cold, damp cell that reminded him much of his room at home. It wa s a small cell. Harry hadn't tried to escape yet, and he wouldn't, not when ther e was a death eater watching him. He had seen how Lucis Malfoy had treated Draco and knew the man would not hesitate to harm him far worse. He midly picked at the chain attached to his foot. Although he had a cot, he did n't bother to lie down on it. He was sure that it was spelled. How had Vernon managed to find him? He wondered, curious now. He knew the man co uldn't magically get to Snape's mansion; Snape had reassured him of that the fir st day. Vernon was well-informed of Muggle transport, and that was what was need ed. Harry frowned, and then flinched as a memory attacked him. Dudley was dead ¨C not in foster care but dead. If Vernon worked for the Dark Lo rd, he winced at how Dudley must have died, and he wondered why. He felt badly f or him. Dudley had bullied him, sure, but he hadn't done any of the things Harry had blamed him for, and Harry wondered why Dudley had not inhereted any of Vern on's magic ¨C Unless he had. Vernon hated all things magical, Harry reminded himself. If Dudley had discovere d that he had magic¡ but that made no since, he was related to Harry; wouldn't he have received a Hogwarts letter as well? Unless he had and Vernon had shredded it? But why had Dumbledore not said someth ing? Or, since Vernon disbanded all his magic¡ Harry shook his head. There were some things that wouldn't come easily to him, b ut he'd figure them out ¨C God. Harry's stomach lurched. He know knew how Vernon had found him so quickly. He remembered from spying, his third year¡ his potions professer was working fo r Voldemort himself. With that, Harry's stomach lurched, and he lost what little he had eaten that mo rning¡ again. Voldemort snickered. "So you found out that Sirus is a spy for me as well, Sever us? Excellent! I was wondering when the time would come. I am greatful to your s pying in the ministry, Severus, but I can always use an extra spy."
Severus felt like he would vomit, but kept his mind secret, not revealing his tr ue thoughts. "And what will become of the boy?" He questioned. "You know that Du mbledore will want to know where he is, and what information I've obtained." "I have plans." Voldemort smiled. "The boy will be confined here awhile. In time , he will make a valuble recourse for the dark side, just like his father." "His father?" Severus questioned. "You," Voldemort responded. "No." "I don't believe I gave you the option," he responded calmly, leaning on his arm . "Let me see Harry or I shall Hex you into next week. I also have the Dark Lord 's permission," he responded. "Very well," Lucis grumbled as he stepped aside. "Ten minutes," he growled. Severus snorted. "You dare tell me how much time I can spend with my son?" "Your son?" Lucis asked, his mouth dropping open. "I do believe that is what I said, no?" Severus retorted. "Please move. Your mou th reminds me of Draco's when he is told he has detention in my class." "Harry." Harry glanced up, wincing. He'd finally gotten the chain off his feet o nly an hour ago and decided to try the bed. "You are to come with me," his potio ns professor ordered. In a louder voice, he said, "The Lord requests you." He lo wered his voice and whispered a silencing charm. "Harry, when we get out of here , you must follow me. Do not say anything. Struggle; make it look believable. Un derstood?" "Y-yes," Harry stuttered. His potions professor, a death eater! He swallowed har d, unsure what to say, wishing for someone, anyone, to get him out of this mess. He had to get to Dumbledore quickly, to tell him. He had to get away. "Let's go," Snape ordered, canceling the silencing spell as he walked through. " Malfoy, your dress is deplorable," he responded. "Lord Voldemort will say someth ing about it, I am sure." "What is the Potter boy doing here?" Malfoy questioned. "I did not receive an or der¡ª" "That's because you aren't 'high enough on the chain'," Severus responded. "This information is on a need-to-know basis only. Come on, Harry, dammit, and stop s truggling!" He shoved Harry against the wall, and Harry winced as he saw stars. "Go change your clothes or Lord Voldemort will hear about this," he hissed. Then , pausing, he said, "Actually, he already will." Harry pushed against Snape's arm, but Snape remained firmly clenched to Harry, a nd he scurried through the dark chambers. He swallowed hard as he moved away fro m the man. "Oh, shut up," Snape hissed, clapping him on the back of the head. He grabbed Harry and dragged him. Harry blinked twice as they got out into the sunlight. Sunlight! But Snape was a death eater; hy was he ¨C He swallowed hard and moved, tripping. Snape pulled his arm up and he winced, de termined to get away, but it was to no avail. "Sir, please¡"
"Shut it!" Severus barked, dragging his young charge closer and closer towards t he edge. "Let's go, Potter!" With that, he toed the edge of the lawn, and they b oth disappeared. When Harry woke up, he was confused. He couldn't remember what happened ¨C anyth ing! Frantic, he bolted out of bed, only to see Ron sitting there, sipping a cup of Hot Chocolate quietly. "Hey, Harry," he said, a grin breaking out. "Ron?" Harry questioned, his voice hoarse. "What are you doing here?" "I'm babysitting for you," Ron explained with a roll of his eyes. "As if you nee d a babysitter, right? But I wanted to see you. Gods, Harry, I'm sorry about you r aunt and uncle. That must have been awful." Harry shuddered. "Ron, what happened?" Ron frowned. "You mean you don't remember?" Harry shook his head and pressed his eyes closed. "Nothing. How long have I been out?" "Three days." Ron's frown increased. "You got hit pretty hard, mate. Don't you r emember? Snape rescued you from You-Know-Who and you apprapriated here, and you fainted." "No." Harry shook his head. "Wait, Snape rescued me?" "Yeah, that's what I thought, too," Ron said with a grimace. "But he seem to be okay, I guess." "What aren't you telling me?" "Harry," Ron said slowly, pausing, "You gotta promise¡" "Ron!" "I guess¡ I guess Sirus was there, too. In Voldemort's lair." Hermione Granger glared at the telephone, wishing that her friends had access to one at Hogwarts. Actually, she wished she could talk to them. But at least she had Ron's letter. Hermione, You're always on my case about writing you, so I figured I'd write you now. I'm with Harry. He's asleep. Again. Which is good, because it was bloody freaky ¨C I know, I know; language ¨C when he fainted earlier; but¡ Hermione, he didn't remember what happened. Nothing. He remembered me, but he di dn't remember anything about what happened with his aunt and uncle. His "long te rm" memory seems to be in tact, but I don't want to be in the room when he remem bers his aunt and uncle were arrested. Did you know that Vernon works for You-Know-Who? Dumbledore didn't want to tell me everything, so Snape ¨C yes, Snape! ¨C spent two and a half hours filling me in. Vernon works for the Dark Lord, just in case Voldemort ever needs a muggle f ront. I'd better go, but write back. It's awful boring keeping company with Harry now,
since all he does is sleeps. But it's good for his body. Write back, Hermione. I miss you. Ron Hermione stared at the letter, a plan forming in her mind, wondering if she coul d convince her parents to take her to Hogwarts¡. I thought I'd leave you with a mini-clippie! Your questions about Sirus / Snape will be answered in the next chapter, at the Ministry meeting and trial. And mor e questions will be answered about Vernon. Will Harry's memory return? We shall find out¡
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