Authors Notes: In-The-Shadows (or as I like to say, Abby ^^), write Severus' charming POV. I write Harry's cute POV ^_^ The POV's may change fast, but I believe, along with our beta reader, Blessedsilence(thanks Chantry! ^^) that it's still easy to follow.
Part 5 - Dark Angel
By Shadows and Redrum
Early the next morning, with thick black storm clouds covering the sky once again, Severus was glowering in a corner of the teacher's lounge, waiting for school to start. He had arrived a half an hour early, unable to sit still at home because he was so preoccupied with thoughts of his raven haired student; among other things. He had proceeded to stalk around the room for the better part of fifteen minutes until his colleague, Minerva, had yelled that he was making her dizzy and to please stop. From then on, he'd pulled out a book and was attempting to read.
He loved to read; it was the only thing that could ever calm him down, next to his herbalist hobby that is. At length he managed to calm down enough to concentrate on the book, but in the back of his mind he was still thinking about Harry. He'd only known him for three days, but they had an extremely undesirably common ground, abuse in childhood up to early adulthood, that made it easy to feel closer to him. He had a plan ready and waiting, but, much to Lucius's frustration, he'd insisted on waiting until he talked to Harry about everything. He could simply sweep in and take him away that very moment, but Harry, like anything that's abused, would be scared and confused and doubtful of everyone around him, even if they were trying to help. He had to take things slow and work with him to make things easier for him. He damn well deserved it. Finally giving up, he closed the book and glared out the window, studying the clouds and hoping the upcoming storm would ebb his nerves and temper some.
"If you keep that glare up all day, Severus, you'll give the students frostbite." Minerva quipped from her seat at the table over her cup of tea. Severus merely turned his head and sent her a glare that would've frightened the devil, but being used to his behavior, she simply shrugged it off and left the room. Severus was left to sit and turn over his thoughts which were in some ways more chaotic than the storm.
Harry slung his beat up messenger pack higher up over his shoulder. Sighing, he continued to walk toward the high school. Looking up at the dark sky, he hoped that it wouldn't rain before he got there. He wasn't feeling very well today, and being wet wouldn't really help him any. He sighed in relief when he finally spotted the large building. He was starting to get exhausted, something that didn't usually happen on the way to school. It took half an hour to walk, but Harry was used to the exercise, even when he had something sprained or some other type of injury. But for some reason he was getting tired easier these days. Maybe it was because of the amount of work he had been doing around the house plus the lack of sleep?
The school wasn't too crowded when he got there; there weren't many students that actually arrived at school early. He sighed and walked down the hall way towards his locker. He passed Granger, who was sitting in front of her locker with a large book in her lap. Shaking his head, he had to admit he admired her studious skills. Hell, she'd probably be a really good friend if she wasn't so stuck up and learned that not everyone was interested in the things she was. Finally reaching his beat up and graffiti-filled locker, he quickly dialed the combination and swung the locker open, making sure to catch it before it could bang against the opposite door. Filling his book bag with the necessary text books and notebooks, he closed it gently and locked it.
Turning around, he let out a gasp when his back connected with his locker, creating a loud bang that echoed throughout the hallway, making him wince. "It's your fault that Dudley got expelled, Potter!" Harry sighed and looked down to the right, trying not to make eye contact with his cousin's friend. Why did he have to be right? His feet were suddenly lifted off the ground and, gasping, he looked into the larger boy's face. Dark brown eyes blazed out at him, he winced, waiting for the blow.
'Maybe if it starts off bad, then my day can only get better?' A fist connected with his cheek, causing his head to hit the locker. 'Or maybe not..'
Severus stalked quietly down the halls towards his classroom, having finally tired of staring out the window. He decided to distract himself by setting up his materials for the day. He’d organized everything he was going to say to Harry, almost like a script, one he was very eager to perform. Dimly he realized it may not be healthy to focus so intently on one thing, but he really couldn’t bring himself to care.
That was when he heard something crash loudly against a locker and his gaze shot up. There, about 200 yards down the hall was Harry, weak and exhausted looking, being beaten into a locker by some large oaf he didn’t recognize. He tensed and his glare bored straight through everything else, directed at the oaf with a palpable rage. He strode over to the scene of the fight, the few students there almost diving out of his way before they even saw him; his rage was so vivid and terrifying.
He reached the two teens just as the oaf was pulling his fist back to strike Harry again when Severus caught it in a break-back grip. “What. Exactly. Do. You. Think. You’re. Doing?” he said through clenched teeth with a tone that dripped with the promise of an imminent death and a look that seemed to bore straight through to the soul. The almost knowledge that a student was being abused at home and then to see evidence of it in school was the last straw for his already over abused nerves. He was absolutely furious.
Harry's brows went up in surprise, but he winced when it stretched his wounded cheek. The teen in front of him continued to hold onto his collar, standing stock still in surprise with his fist drawn back, but caught in professor Snape's hand. He hadn't expected the older man to be at school this early. Then again, Harry guessed that the teachers had to be here before the students so they could set up and write their lesson plans for the day. But Snape seemed like the type of teacher that wouldn't arrive until just before the bell rings, in order to avoid the crowd for as long as possible.
Harry sighed and wiggled his legs. He probably looked very comical up against the locker like this. He was a good three or four feet off the ground, and it didn't help that he was so tiny compared to the other boy. He was starting to get embarrassed since a large portion of his stomach was bare, due to his shirt riding up where the teen was holding it. It was so oversized that if the boy didn't let go soon, the shirt would probably slip right off his head. He was glad Snape had caught the boy before he could deliver another blow. Harry didn't think he could withstand too much today. He was feeling pretty light headed, and he was still exhausted from the walk to school. Although, he was sure that now that Snape had interrupted the beating, he would just get one after school or during lunch. Maybe he could hide out in the professor's classroom? No, that would just make him look like a wuss. He could deal with it himself. Then again, it wasn't like he could really save himself anyway. How could someone 5'2 stand up to someone else that was at least 6 feet? And with how skinny Harry was, it wouldn't take much to knock him down. Vernon had certainly tested the theory often enough.
The oaf looked up at Professor Snape with the sharp glare of a veteran bully, but Severus only narrowed his glare and tightened his grip on the teen’s hand while grinding out the words, “Put. Him. Down.” The -obviously slow- teen seemed to realize that getting away would be a very good idea and lowered Harry’s thin frame to the ground and released him completely. Severus had seen the bruise that covered Harry’s stomach as his shirt had ridden up, and that only fueled his anger.
It was probably a good thing for Harry’s attacker that the school principle, Dumbledore, happened to come along at that moment. He was an odd sort of man that never seemed to show up unless needed, always seemed to know what was going on, and seemed to give you an almost involuntary sense of security after talking to him. “I’ll take him from here Severus,” the old man said calmly, blue eyes ever mirthful behind half mooned glasses. Severus looked over his shoulder at the white-haired man and after a moment his anger seemed to start to deflate. Dumbledore was the type that could always get through to people.
Releasing his grip on the young bully, he watched for a few moments as Dumbledore lead the boy away before turning his attention back to Harry. Severus let out a growl of a sigh, his temper seeming to simmer off at last before turning to look at Harry. “You look absolutely macabre,” he observed with concern lacing his tongue.
Harry sighed. Why the hell did he still feel so light headed? Maybe being so high up in the air had made it worse. Harry snickered mentally, he wasn't used to being so high. Damn tall people. Shaking his head, he glanced down the hall, seeing the principal and Dudley's friend round the corner. He turned back to the concerned professor. He was surprised that the somber man had shown such anger, and to actually 'show' his concern and anger? Harry wondered if the professor wasn't feeling light headed himself. Maybe that was why he was acting so strange? Or.. maybe Snape was just concerned about him and generally angry at the bully for picking on him.
He frowned at the word choice, not really knowing what it meant, but he could at least guess so he didn't look like some freshman. He brought a hand up to touch his sore cheek, wincing when his fingers brushed against the tender skin. "It's not as bad as it looks." No, it was worse. The hall doors burst open, letting in a flood of students that had just gotten off the bus. Harry sighed, looking down the hallway at the crowd of kids. Just another day.. just another long day filled with way too many people around him.
He frowned over the amount of people. If the buses had arrived, then it must be at least five minutes before the first bell. Harry sighed and bent down to gather his scattered text books and notebooks. His vision blurred suddenly, causing him to sway and fall back, landing on his ass and causing him to hit the back of his head against the locker door. Harry winced and rubbed the sore spot, still seeing stars. It looked like this day was already getting worse. The first bell hadn't even rung yet.
Severus frowned slightly when Harry tried to make light of his injuries, his eyebrow arching towards his hairline in obvious doubt. “I’m sure,” was his only reply. He forced himself to remain outwardly calm, a skill honed to perfection after many years of teaching, while inside he was getting more and more restless. He felt so frustrated, like watching someone drown because you can’t break through their panic to make them realize you can carry them to safety. It was a helpless, out of control feeling and Severus absolutely hated it. The noise of the doors opening caught his attention and he watched the half awake students shuffle in to start their day. He hesitated, standing beside Harry unmoving, mulling over whether he should leave him alone. He looked so much weaker today, like a wisp of what he should be.
The choice was quickly made for him when Harry staggered and fell. His gaze snapping back to the dark haired teen, Severus saw his eyes glossed over and obvious lack of balance. He knelt beside him, not really giving a damn about the students that were going about their own business all around him, Severus placed a light hand on Harry’s good shoulder and suggested, “I think you should go to the nurse Harry. You really look ill.”
The dazed boy sighed and let his head fall forward to rest his chin on his thin chest. Rolling his head to the side so that his head rested lightly on Snape's hand, Harry frowned and squeezed his eyes shut, trying to get the stars out of his vision. He also thought over the suggestion from his professor. He should go to the nurse, he knew that. But.. what if the nurse did find him ill enough and sent him home? If he didn't go.. the worst that could happen would be a headache or more dizzy spells. That wasn't too bad, he just had to make sure he didn't bend down or get up too fast. Besides, he'd been to the nurse's room before, and he didn't really feel comfortable around her.
Pomfrey was a good nurse, she definitely knew her profession, and excelled in it, but sometimes she could be too mothering… and she tended to try to comfort her patients, physically. Harry really felt uncomfortable around her. He did like anyone touching him… well, maybe except for Snape. Actually… he hadn’t even flinched when the man had laid a hand on his shoulder. But… should he get used to this? If the professor for some reason started ignoring him like all the other teachers, then he would never get touched again. And after knowing how comforting it can be to be in someone's arms while crying… Harry didn't think he could get used to not being touched again. But for now… for now, he would take what he could until Snape decided to stop giving.
"No, I'm fine." The professor's eyebrow lifted into its customary position. Harry grinned, trying to ignore the slight blurring of his vision. "Really, I am. I don't like the nurse anyway, she acts like a mother hen." Hearing Snape chuckle, Harry smiled for real. "I'll be okay." Harry leaned forward slightly, and slowly got up, pushing off of the ground with his hands. He swayed slightly when he finally stood erect, but it wasn't as bad as before. Unfortunately, his damn books were still on the floor. The professor grabbed his books and stuffed them neatly into his bag, and gracefully stood up. He placed the strap on top of Harry's good shoulder. The raven haired teen tried not to sway again at the added weight that seemed heavier then normal. Tch, maybe he *was* getting weaker. Couldn't even carry his own damn books without a problem.
Severus looked over Harry again after he handed him his books. He looked like he was on his last legs, but Severus knew he was strong. That arm had to have been damned painful to endure even with the ointment he’d given him and he had barely winced. “If you’re sure then,” he said at last, resting his hand lightly on Harry’s shoulder once again. He was unused to showing his emotion but for Harry’s benefit he let a little concern show on his face. “Just make sure you get help if you really need it. If you can’t stand the ‘hen,’ at least drop by my door.” Snape waited until he saw Harry’s careful nod, before finally pulling away from the area and making his way to his first class; looking back only once to see Harry walking unsteadily away. He knew then he’d never be rid of worrying about the small teen until he was sure he was really safe. He just had to wait. His time would come eventually.
The morning had passed by uneventfully, well, besides all that shit in the hall way. Other than falling asleep in class for the first time, nothing much else had happened. Harry knelt down carefully and placed his books in the locker. Pulling out third and fourth period class books, along with his very well worn journal, he stuffed them into his messenger bag and slowly stood up. He wavered slightly, but was other wise fine. Shutting the locker quietly, ignoring the louder slams of the locker and trying not to jump at each noise, he crossed the long hallway towards the exit and out into the court yard, where he sat at his favorite place right underneath the large oak tree. Placing his bag beside him, he pulled out his flimsy journal and opened it up on his lap. He didn't really feel like writing, so he just flipped through the thin pages, looking for older entries. He stopped on one, smiling slightly, he read it over. He hadn't seen this one in a long time…
His journal was yanked out of his hands. Harry's head shot up, seeing Dudley's group of friends (three, tall, muscular guys). He frowned and pushed up against the bark, hoping that he would be able to use that as leverage if he needed to get up and make a break for it. He couldn't get up now because a guy was on either side of him, and the one holding his journal was standing in front of him. Harry suddenly remembered what that particular entry said, one of his more… detailed ones, and made to stand up. Two large hands landed on either side of his shoulders, pushing him back down. Harry bit his lip hard at the pressure placed upon his right shoulder. Damn it.. it was never going to heal if it kept being treated like that! Harry sighed and sat back, seeing nothing else he could do. He really hated being so small sometimes, hell, he hated it all the time.
"Lookie what we got here. Potter's journal." The guy that had shoved him up against the locker said. Harry licked the blood off his lips and waited. The tall brunet looked down at the entry. He read straight from the book, not bothering to scan it first. "'Dear diary,' gee, original Potter, really original. 'Dear Diary, you wouldn't believe what I saw today! I was sitting in my math class, just finishing up my homework that I wasn't able to do earlier that night for obvious reasons.' What, wanking, Potter?" He continued on. "'When suddenly, the guy that had always sat in front of me turned around, and asked if I could help him with a math problem. I said yes of course, but I couldn't stop staring at him! His hair was a rich auburn, even under the ugly florescent lights, I could see thick strands of red woven into his hair.
'He had the kind of golden tan that every girl seemed to dream of. Maybe he went to the beach a lot? His eyes were a strange color, they were actually kind of golden almost. Maybe it was copper? Whatever eye color he had, it was definitely beautiful. His eyes were incredibly warm and he seemed like the type of person you would go to for anything, even a shoulder to cry on (and what broad shoulders they were!)
'But his mouth.. his mouth is what made my breath stop. They were perfectly shaped, not too thin, not too plump. They were a bruised red, it almost looked like he had just finished having a wild make out session, but looking at his well kept hair, I highly doubted that. But those lips!
'I can just picture them trailing light kisses down my pale skin, using his perfect, straight white teeth to gently nip at my jutting hip bones. Finally coming to my pulsating member, and without hesitating at all, wrapping his pouty lips around my head, shucking me, adams apple bobbing when he swallows my precome. He then backs off, catching his breath, before plunging down again, taking my cock easily into his mouth. I could probably swear on my parents grave that he's done this before. Wrapping his petal lips around my leaking dick, letting his warm, moist tongue glide up and down the underside of my cock. He backs up a little and just wraps his flushed and wet lips around my head. He uses his tongue to make stabbing movements into my piss hole. I scream and come, he swallows it greedily.
'Moving off of my limp cock, he licks his lips and smiles. All that in the space of one math problem. I swear, that's exactly what I was thinking the whole time I was helping him! I thought my fucking erection would lift the desk!
'He had to have been the hottest guy I've ever seen. But I'm positive he's straight. Besides, he wouldn't date a loser like me. When we stood up to leave the classroom, my head was actually mid level to his chest. Now, *that* is sad! I wish I was taller.. and had a boyfriend. I'm tired of falling asleep every night, alone. If I had a boyfriend, hell, even a friend would be good, I'd definitely come over to their house at night so I wouldn't have to sleep in that damn cupboard. I mean, what kind of room is that? It's not exactly the picture of cozy. I can't even stand up straight in it, and I’m only 5'0! Ugh.. maybe when I grow up, I'll grow? Who knows, I may not have hit my growth spurt yet. I'm only 15, I've still got a few years left before I stop growing. Though something tells me I'll *never* be able to grow a beard. Oh well, they don't look too hot anyway on most men. Well, I'm signing off. The damn bell is signaling the end of lunch, so there's only so much I can do besides just ignoring the stupid thing. God.. I hate school.'
"Well.." The three of them looked stunned. The boy who had been reading, had been basically doing it in auto pilot, seeing the words, but not really believing it. Harry just sighed and put his head down. A small tear escaped the corner of his eyes, but he didn't bother to brush it away, it would just bring more unwanted tears. Now wasn't a time to cry. Now was the time to act. Or, in the bullies case, it was their turn to act. "You little faggot! We'd never have showered in gym class if we knew you stayed late, writing-writing this! While we were just in the other room!" Harry sighed. He'd hoped it wouldn't come out, now everyone was going to know he was gay. Fuck… why couldn't life ever be just comforting and safe?
"Fucking faggot!" The punch caught him on the nose. Blood spurted and he could smell it in the air, along with taste it very strongly. The brown eyed teenager pulled him up on his feet and knocked him back, his skull made impact with the tree fairly hard. The other two boys heard the noise, looked at each other with wide eyes, and ran. The boy pulled him up again and punched him in the stomach. Harry doubled over and fell to his knees. What little contents he had in his stomach came up, covering the boy's dark shoes. Harry's vision doubled, then tripled. Finally, stars covered his view of the world, and pitch black veiled his eyes.
Severus watched the class file out carefully with his usual removed, indifferent look. He’d been snippier than usual that day with his students due to nerves, and that only made his mood worse. As bad a lot as he often got stuck with, there were those who did want to learn, and he felt angry at himself when he couldn’t give them his full attention. It was all those years running a manor and an extensive herb garden; he’d become too much of a perfectionist.
Raking a hand through his hair, he sighed and looked up, realizing that it was his lunch break. He glanced outside to find a very dark and ominous sky with the occasional rumble of thunder, but still no rain. Not many people would venture out today, and with good reason. Severus, being a big fan of storms and presented with the opportunity of a mostly empty courtyard, couldn’t resist. He stood without pausing to get his lunch, he wasn’t really that hungry anyway what with being so distracted, and started walking through the halls toward the courtyard.
Severus took his time strolling through the halls for once, having no students around since lunch had started and they’d all flocked to their respective hang outs by now. It was actually rather nice having this illusion of peace and quiet that came with the lonely echoes of his footfalls. He’d been alone a lot in his own school days, his hand brushed over his scarred left forearm forebodingly, and he’d gotten used to feeling at home when alone. Very few things ever made him feel better then when he was alone. He wondered absentmindedly if things were that bad for Harry yet. Probably, considering that bully he’d fended off that morning.
He paused in his walk to stare unseeingly out a large picture window. Harry was really such a bright kid; that was so obvious. What was it about the smart, good kids, that made them such easy targets? With a soft sigh that condensed partially on the picture window, he kept walking. As he walked he could hear some conversation coming from the courtyard, but was undeterred for the most part. Whatever students were out there, there couldn’t be many. It wasn’t until he was ten feet from the courtyard door when he heard a yell vibrate off the walls that made his blood run cold, “Fucking faggot!” Severus paused dead in his tracks unwilling, or unable to move for a few moments; only listen. They started again and he recognized the dumb slur of the oaf that had assaulted Harry earlier that morning. Shit! This could not be good.
He dashed the rest of the way to the door and got there just in time to see Harry’s head connect to the tree with a sickening crack. This was enough to scare two of his offenders off, but not before Severus got a good look at them. The third stuck around to deal Harry one last blow to the stomach and thus the raven haired teen crumbled in on himself and passed out. It was as if he was suddenly struck by tunnel vision, seeing Harry fall to the ground. After that he was aware of no one else.
He only vaguely registered the arrival and then bloody screeching of Minerva, only enough to know everyone else in the courtyard was taken care of; that woman was like a rabid, clawing cat when she really got angry. Kneeling softly beside Harry while Minerva yelled and rounded up the ones responsible, he ran a shaking hand over his back. Breathing a shaky sigh of relief, he quickly scooped the teen into his arms; his neck wasn’t broken.
Without another thought, he made for the infirmary as quickly as possible. Almost bursting down the door as he entered, he was, for once, very pleased to see Madam Pomfrey jump to attention and start working on Harry with her usual dedicated frenzy. She paused only once after placing Harry on the nearest bed, intending to tell Severus to go, but she saw the look on his face and thought better of if.
Severus explained what happened, only dimly aware of his words as Pomfrey’s worked. Severus did manage to take a seat in one of the waiting chairs against the wall, with great self restraint. He watched as Pomfrey swept her hands over Harry’s thin frame, removing everything but his jeans to check for injuries. After a particularly lengthy time, she finally pulled a blanket over Harry and sat beside Severus with an exhausted sigh. That was never a good sign, Pomfrey was always cheerful, to a fault.
“Well, he’ll live Severus, but he won’t be going to school for at least another week.” Severus jerked his head around to face her and she started explaining further without him having to ask. “He’s got a few bruised ribs that he’ll need to be careful with for a month before they heal, a tendon in his arm will need at least that long as well (good thing there wasn’t too much stress done to it), he’s got a mild concussion which mandates at least three days of bed rest, and…” she paused ominously, “I think he’s starving. He’s not emaciated yet, but he is damn close to it and his stomach was growling constantly.”
Severus took a breath and with it inwardly swore to the powers that be that Harry was never going back to that home again; not if it was the last thing Severus ever did. “Tell Minerva to cover and/or cancel my classes for the day. I’m not leaving him here alone.” It was a very unusual request, but then again Severus was an odd and intelligent man, and Pomfrey wasn’t going to risk his anger by asking him to leave. Slowly she got up and made for the telephone on her desk, leaving instructions to call her if Harry woke up. Severus watched her go, before moving his chair by Harry’s bedside and looking over his thin frame mournfully. 'I’m sorry I wasn’t there sooner,' he thought, taking a cool, thin hand in his own.
The tunnel vision lifted enough for him to acknowledge Minerva and Dumbledore stopping in briefly to tell him all three students had been suspended, his classes would be covered, and one of them handed him a book to read, though it was at least a half an hour before he decided to read it. It would do Harry no good to see him all nervous and fidgety when he woke up quite an out of charter thing that would be. His hand still gently linked with Harry’s, he flipped open to the first pages of ‘Magic’s Pawn’ and let the familiar words distract him and ease his nerves some. There was nothing he could do now but wait and watch over Harry until he woke up.
The loud sound of the bell woke Harry up. Startled he shot up, only to fall back to the bed and bring a hand up to his forehead, trying to blink out the spots in his vision. He brought it down some, but quickly decided to keep it over his forehead, blocking out the light. Was it just him, or did the room seem abnormally bright? Looking around the room carefully, still making sure to block his eyes from the harsh light, he figured out that he was in the nurse's office. Ugh.. he really hated this place. Why was he there though? Harry's eyes widened when he finally woke up fully, and remembered what had happened before he blacked out. His head was killing him, his stomach hurt, and the damn light was too bright. Harry sighed and closed his eyes, rubbing his fingers against the bridge of his nose. The feeling of scratchy sheets against his chest, finally registered. He knew his jeans were still on since he could feel them, but obviously Pomfrey had taken off his shirt when she checked him over. Harry sighed. Just great.. now he was going to have her fretting around him... speaking of Pomfrey, where was she? She didn't usually leave her patients alone, but the room was bare. He could hear the chatter of the students just outside the door to his right leading out into the hallway, but other than that, the room was silent.
A door to his left clicked and opened. He spun his head around to see who it was, but ended up letting his head fall back to the pillow with a groan; 'Moving too fast, definitely not a good idea,' Harry thought, as he brought his hand up to rub against his nose. Ugh.. he really needed an aspirin or something.
Madam Pomfrey quickly crossed the room to Harry, leaning over him with an appraising look in her eye. “I see you’re finally awake; Severus said you were beginning to stir. It’s about time too, the day’s just about over.” Fumbling through a nearby drawer, she pulled out a thermometer, stuck it in his ear, paused a moment, then read the results. “At least you don’t have a fever; that’s one thing to be thankful for.” Looking back up at his face she added, “Severus will be back inside in a moment; he said he wanted to tell you what was going on.” With one last once over, she turned and walked back the way she had come from into her adjoining office.
The room was silent for a minute or two before Severus slid back through the door to the nurses office, a somewhat grim, unhappy look on his face and Harry’s previously abandoned journal in his hands. His mood lightened considerably, however, when he noticed Harry was awake. In obvious pain, but awake. “Harry,” he spoke the word like a relived sigh and quickly crossed the room to Harry’s bedside. Kneeling beside him, he placed the boy's journal on the bedside table and looked back to his face, taking one frail hand in his own. “How are you feeling?” he asked softly; concern washing over his face. ~*~*~
How was he feeling? Like shit. There wasn't much he could say to describe it. His stomach let out a loud growl. He blushed and looked up at Snape's face. "As good as can be expected, I guess." He smiled when he felt the older man stroke his hand with his thumb. He glanced over at the notebook lying on the small table. Frowning, he looked back to meet Snape's dark gaze. "Where.. Did anyone else..?" He knew Snape wouldn't have read it, but what about the other students that were there? He kind of figured that his professor wouldn't have stopped to grab his journal before taking him to the nurse's office.
'Ah the journal,' Severus thought, following Harry’s gaze to the small, completely filled book. Severus had been tempted to look when it came to him to find out what kind of entry had prompted the beating, but he had more honor than that. Looking back up at Harry, Severus spoke softly, “A boy named Neville Longbottom, picked it up shortly after the incident in the courtyard. He turned it in to Dumbledore who just brought it in to me. No one looked in it, but Dumbledore did question those brainless lummoxes why they attacked you.” Severus paused, there was something so chilling about seeing the small grin, that had grown out of his crack about the bullies that attack him, fade into a look of utter horror.
“No one will say anything, but… there were a few students in the courtyard and you know how they talk,” Severus added sadly running his thumb over the back of Harry‘s hand again. He looked so fragile, almost broken lying there in the small infirmary bed.
No.. No.. If they talked.. He knew they would talk, Harry had no doubt about that. The news would already be spread, and when he went to school tomorrow.. Harry sighed and looked down. He was so screwed. Dudley's friend would obviously tell him about what they read, probably reciting it word for word, and then… and then Dudley would tell uncle Vernon. The man that hated homosexuals above all else. It didn't matter if they weren't flamboyant at all, if they just saw guys in private without flaunting it to everyone else, Vernon hated them. His uncle already hated him, he had all his life. But now… now he'd really have something to back up his reasons for beating him. A tear fell down Harry's bruised cheek. When he got home… his secret would be spread, he didn't doubt it. Vernon and Petunia would know. He was really going to have hell to pay when he got home…
Harry let out a sob and brought the hand that was being held, to his face, trying to hide his tears. He imagined what he would come home to, what he would have to deal with.. Harry sobbed harder, shoulders shaking, and head pounding from the movements of his body and the loud sobs coming out of his own mouth.
Without a word, Severus gently sat on the edge of the bed and took Harry into his arms again, cradling him, careful because of his injuries, gently running one hand up and down his back. For a minute or two, Severus said nothing, just being there for Harry as he sobbed in his arms.
He knew that it had to be now when everything came undone; the only way they could be put back together right. “You don’t have to go back there Harry, you don’t.” he whispered softly in the small teen’s ear. “I can help you.” Severus knew how true that was. Severus was straining on the proverbial leash, just waiting to sink his venomous teeth into the Dursleys, but he had to make sure Harry trusted him. ‘Please let him trust me.’ Severus inwardly begged any force that would listen. ‘I can’t just stand by and do nothing.’
Harry wrapped an arm around Snape's neck, bringing his face closer to the older man's chest. His sobs died off quickly in the comforting embrace of his professor, but his tears continued to trickle down his face slowly as he sniffled. He pulled back slightly, enough to look at Snape's face, but continued to hold the back of his neck.
"How…" he sniffed. "How can you help me? I *have* to go back there. If I don't…" A few more tears trickled down his face. If he didn't go back home, his uncle would find him somehow, he always did. He'd tried running away once, when the abuse had turned physical, but Vernon had brought him home, and he paid dearly for the stunt. He'd tried various times after that, but after severe beatings he'd given up. Though that didn't stop him from planning his escape. It just meant that he would never carry out those plans.
He did trust Snape, but his own low self esteem and past experiences, made him doubt the man sometimes. He still didn't know why Snape wanted to help him, or why he even bothered talking to him. But, he was *there* for Harry, like no one else was. And that was enough reason to place his trust in the man.
Severus brought one hand up to brush away Harry’s tears as he began his explanation. “Not many people know this, but the Snape family is actually very rich and has maintained their fortune through the ages with good business investments. Our line’s thinned out over the years and I’m the soul heir.
"I never had much taste for business, or being in the public eye, so I hired an old school friend to handle my finances; Lucius Malfoy.” Not missing the slight wide eyed gape look Harry shot him, Severus explained, “His son may be a total git, but that’s only because he’s spoiled. His father has been nothing but a friend to me over the years, and I trust him implicitly. He can pull the right strings to get your Uncle to make me your guardian instead of him.”
"All I have to do is call him and he’ll dive in for the kill tonight; you won’t ever have to go back there.” Severus paused and added in a softer tone, “You shouldn’t have been there for this long to begin with… I know this is happening fast, but I just need you to trust me.”
He'd never have to go back there again? He didn't know how Mr. Malfoy could possibly accomplish that, but if whatever he did actually worked, then Harry would gladly not return to that hell hole. He didn't understand why Snape would want to be his guardian.. and where did that leave him? Would Snape become his guardian, and then turn him over to some orphanage? It would leave him free of the Dursley's abuse.. but then again.. there might be the possibility of going into an even worse home.. well, if a foster parent ever decided to take him in, which was highly doubtful.
Frowning, Harry looked over at the older man. "Um.. where do I go?" He didn't want to end up in some orphanage.. among all those other kids.. hell, they'd probably beat the shit out of him. Harry sighed.
“Well adoption is one option should you so prefer,” Severus paused and as he saw a new fear bloom on Harry‘s features he continued hastily, “Adoption and orphanage arrangements take so long these days, however, and I honestly don’t think that would be best for you. It’s an option if you want it, but if you’d prefer to remain here. You’re more than welcome to live in my manor with me. After all, it would be extremely boorish of me to get you out of one bad home only to ship you off to an orphanage were you could very well end up in another.” Severus paused, almost nervously looking down at his student. “Is that alright with you?”
Live with his professor? Get away from his relative's house? Actually come home to a safe and secure place, where he would feel protected with Snape there? Harry couldn't think of anything, but to accept! "Of course!" The small teen smiled brightly, emerald eyes twinkling in new found happiness. He would finally be away from his relative's house, and he would *never* get beat again, at home anyway. School was still school, so nothing was going to change there. But actually end the day in a place that welcomed him and actually *liked* him! It was a dream come true! But… did Snape really want that? Was he just inviting Harry to live with himself simply because he felt obliged to so Harry wouldn't end up in an orphanage?
Severus grinned back at Harry’s acceptance. “Excellent! I’ll call him right now.” Fishing into his left pocket, Severus produced a cell phone and pressed the first speed dial button. He heard someone pick up on the other end and opened his mouth to speak when a reply came to his unspoken command.
“I’m on it Severus. I cannot wait to see that pathetic excuse for a human being cowering and begging for forgiveness.”
Severus chuckled lightly and shook his head, “Why do I even bother calling if you already know what I’m going to say?”
“Because you’re predictable,” Lucius quipped. “Now just hang up and I can have at the oaf.”
“Not a problem. Oh, could you ask someone to tell Dobby to prepare for Harry’s arrival?” Lucius snorted. “I’m your friend and business partner Severus, not your house boy!” Then he sighed, “but I suppose you’ll be busy won’t you? Fine.”
“Great. And thanks again Lucius.”
“What are friends for? Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go make a grown man cry for his mother.” Severus chuckled again at the bloodthirsty habits of his old friend, hung up the phone, and slipped it back into his pocket. Turning his attention back to Harry he marveled at how easy the sadness and pain, which looked very unnatural on his features melted away. He really was a stunning creature, and if Severus had anything to say about it, he would never be treated so horrendously again.
“I’m glad you agreed to come,” Severus said, smiling down at him, “Remus and Padfoot will definitely appreciate having another playmate once you’ve healed.”
Harry smiled, his earlier doubts had been answered. With how happy Snape seemed to be, he obviously wanted him there, and he wasn't simply obliged to invite him like he had previously thought. It also sounded like Mr. Malfoy and Snape were really good friends. Harry frowned, wishing that he could say he had good friends. Well, Snape was his friend, right? But… adults don't usually stay friends with teenagers, there was too much of an age gap. Would Snape eventually think that he was immature for his age and that he didn't want to be his friend anymore? Harry sighed, shaking his head. He wanted to ask… but he knew it would just sound stupid and would make him look like a girl, fishing for compliments.
The names that Snape had spoken about finally registered to his sleepy brain. Dobby? Remus, Padfoot? Were they servants of some sort? Of course if the manor was as big as Snape said it was, then it must need quite a few servants to clean up. Wait a minute.. playmates? Harry frowned, he'd never had a … 'playmate' before. What were they? Well, surely that question wouldn't be too stupid, right? "What do you mean by playmate?"
“Hm? Oh I’m sorry; I’m getting ahead of myself,” Severus replied. This would be the start of many questions, he was sure, but he didn’t have any doubts that everything would settle into place with a little time. As far as he saw, they’d gotten over the worst of it. “Remus and Padfoot are two dogs of mine. You see, there used to be a wolf shelter near my home and Remus lived there because he’d become too used to being around humans to be released into the wild. He’s only half wolf, so he was more mild tempered than the others and became something of a favorite. "Well, one night he got out of his cage and was gone for almost a week before he came back When he did come back, he brought a large black dog with him. At first they tried to get rid of the stray; afraid the wolves would hurt him, but he just wouldn’t leave and they got tired of Remus breaking his cage to be with the dog. So they let him into the cages with Remus and named him Sirius, after the dog star, because he always had so much energy.
"Well, some time later, the Wolf Foundation had to close and they couldn’t find anywhere else to put Remus because no one really trusted a half-breed. I heard about this and didn’t want Remus to be uthinized unnecessarily, so I took him in. I wasn’t so keen on his sidekick, Sirius, because he kept causing mischief around the house; this earned him the nick name Padfoot or, as Dobby refers to him, 'Snuffles.' I was tempted to see about getting Padfoot another home, but Remus was far to attached to him.
"One of my maids found out exactly how close they were, much to her surprise, about a month after I’d taken them in.” Seeing Harry’s questioning look, Severus smirked and explained, “They’re mates apparently.” Severus paused a moment letting that little speech sink in, before remembering with a small start, “Oh yes, and in case you’re curious, Dobby, is the head butler at the manor.”
Harry grinned. He'd always loved animals, but dogs were definitely his favorite. He'd never had one of course, but he'd always loved watching the other people across the street play with their spaniel. That little story about Remus, really showed the more caring side to Snape. Most people wouldn't have cared, but the professor hadn't wanted to see him die, so he actually took him to his own home along with his mate. That definitely showed kindness, though Snape probably didn't want anyone to know about that side of him. Harry's grin widened, it was nice to know that he had seen these different sides to his professor.
The absolute silence finally registered to Harry. Looking outside the door's glass window, he saw no one in the hallway. All the students must have left by now. It had been quite awhile since the bell rang. He didn't have to actually stay *here* did he? He hated Pomfrey's office and he didn't want to spend any more time in here then necessary. "When are we going to go?" Harry asked, leaning his head against the professor's shoulder. He still felt a little dizzy, and he also wanted to go to sleep. It had been a tiring day, and he didn't have much energy left.
Severus grinned back at Harry, so glad to have won his trust in this; at least enough to let him take Harry home anyway. Severus wasn’t used to smiling this much between dealing with idiotic students and going home to an empty house. Fate, however, seemed determined to make amends for that, first with Remus and Padfoot, and now with Harry. It wasn’t until he’d suddenly had these few beings to care about that he realized how much he had missed it. It didn’t change the fact that he was a strict teacher who wasn’t afraid to snap back at you if you gave him attitude, but it was nice to be able to show these sides of himself to people he really trusted. Most people wouldn’t see that this scenario required him to trust Harry, but it did. Trust him not to spread rumors about his scar, or tell people that he wasn’t beyond blackmail. But Severus had really never had to question that trust. The loyalty had simply been given out of kindness, something he really admired in the teen.
Feeling Harry’s head against his shoulder brought Severus back to reality. Smiling down at the teen, Severus gently ran his hand up and down his back and replied, “We can go now if you like. Do you think you can stand or should I carry you? I don’t know if Pomfrey told you, but you received a few bruised ribs and a minor concussion today. Once we get to the manor, you’ll need a day or two of strict bed-rest and then at least another week at home taking it easy.”
He leaned into Snape more, enjoying the still new sensation of a hand running up and down his back. It soothed him and made him feel safer in the man's arms. He listened to the professor listing off his injuries. He had already figured out what was wrong with him, but he hadn't thought that he would need bed rest. He'd had these similar injuries before, and he's never received bed rest. He just went back to school the next day. There were a few times when the bruises and cuts on his face were too much, so they let him stay home, but other then those cases, he was allowed no bed rest from more serious injuries. Hell, he didn't even really have a *bed* to sleep in. He just had his flimsy cot. There were actually holes in it that he had to watch out for, or he'd slip through them if he moved too much.
Home? He'd never actually had a place he could call 'home' before. He'd always referred to the house as his relative's or just 'the house'. It was, by no means, a home to him. But… maybe Snape's home would eventually be his too? The older man seemed like he was gladly welcoming him into *his* home, so Snape must be inviting him to think of it as his own too. He didn't want to inconvenience him though… Obviously the house was huge, since it was a *manor*. But there had to be several servants there that would need their own rooms, along with who ever else was living there. Harry didn't want to put anyone out of a spare bedroom. He wouldn't like it, and it would end up being like his relative's place, but at least he knew that he was liked there, even if he had to live in another place like his old 'room'. "Do you have a spare cupboard?"
Severus watched the different emotions play across the teens face while patiently waiting for a reply. He knew that just because Harry had agreed to come, didn’t mean he would trust him completely right away. Things like that took time. Now that he knew Harry was safe, he had command over his patience again which, considering some of his hobbies, was considerable. He was ready to help him in any way he could. Even with that attitude however, he was not prepared for his next question.
One of Severus’s eyebrows arched high towards his hairline in confusion, but he made his best attempt to answer the question. “I believe we have quite a few spare cupboards; roughly a whole wing of them. Most of the dog's things are in cupboards, the servants have their own quarters in the east wing and I don’t take up much room. My books do, a three story library in fact, but not me.” He paused, looking questionably at Harry again, and ventured, “Why do you ask?”
Three story library? Harry's eyes widened at that; all those books in one place! It was like a dream come true to him! He'd always wanted to read more books, but he hadn't been allowed to take any books home due to Dudley's disability with reading, Vernon and Petunia thought he was rubbing it in when he brought them home.
Snape's question caught him off guard though. Why else would he have asked? He looked at the older man, frowning. "To sleep in, of course." He thought about those books again, and added, "would I be allowed in the library?"
An amused smile spread over Severus’ face at Harry’s shocked expression. It was the same kid - in - a - candy store expression Severus had gotten at that age whenever walking through a book store. At Harry’s response however, that smile faltered.
‘To sleep in? … to *sleep* in?’ Severus felt his anger towards Harry’s excuse for a family rise dangerously. He wasn’t by nature a violent man, snakry yes but not outright violent, but things like this made him so angry it was almost hard to see straight. Harry’s almost frightened expression at his shift of mood quickly stopped that train of thought however. ‘No, I won’t allow my temper to get out of hand,’ Severus thought to himself, ‘He’s had enough anger in his life.’
Severus took a deep breath to settle his nerves before speaking. “You’ll have your own rooms at the manor, Harry. I have no intention of treating you as badly as your relatives did. Even if every room in the manor had an occupant, I still would never put you in a cupboard.”
After another small pause, Severus answered Harry’s question. “Yes, of course you’ll be allowed in the library. Once you’re well enough, you’ll have free range of the manor and its grounds. You’ll just have to be careful of my lab; It’s where I use the herbs from the garden to make ointments and things like that. I know it’s a strange hobby, but when you live alone for so long, many things seem suitable occupations of ones time."
Harry had been frightened at Snape's quick change in temper, but he'd relaxed quickly when he realized that the anger was directed at his relatives, not him. He hoped to never have that kind of anger directed at him. A real bedroom… with a real bed! Harry couldn't believe it! He'd *never* had his a bedroom before, none the lone an actual *bed*. He didn't know what was wrong with sleeping in a cupboard or why it would be looked down upon. Sure it was uncomfortable, but it served as his room, so it couldn't be that bad, right? But to actually have his own bedroom! Harry was starting to think he was asleep and dreaming all this!
Smiling brightly when he heard that he'd be allowed into the library and actual *free* range of the house, all that plus the bedroom, Harry was incredibly happy. He flung his arm back around Snape's neck from where it had fallen, and squeezed in a half hug. He'd have used his other arm, but he knew it wouldn't have been smart to move it when it was still healing. "Thank you…" He whispered in the older man's ear.
He couldn't believe that Snape was giving him all this out of pure kindness without actually wanting anything back. Maybe Harry could help him out in his gardens or something when he healed? At least he'd be helping out, plus he'd get to spend more time with Snape. Realizing he was still hugging his professor, Harry pulled back some, his cheeks heavily flushed. He looked down, but then met the dark gaze. "Could we go now?" He winkled his nose. "I really don't like this place."
Severus grinned down at Harry and although he was a little surprised at the sudden half hug, he returned it gently, mindful of Harry’s injuries. It felt so wonderful to see Harry so happy. It was so strange, but he felt like he’d found a kindred spirit in the teen. They shared more in common then he might ever know, and Severus wanted nothing more than to protect him from more unhappy memories like that. He hadn’t had a very happy childhood, but it seemed fate was paying it’s dues at last and he was determined to make sure Harry had a much more pleasant life then he had, because he deserved it. He had a lot of talent that Severus felt privileged to be able to encourage. He pulled out of his interior monologue at last when Harry pulled away. Chuckling lightly Severus replied, “I don’t care for it either myself. Of course we can leave now. Do you think you can walk?”
Harry frowned, assessing his injuries. He wasn't feeling as dizzy, and although he was still pretty tired, he was pretty sure he could walk. Nothing had happened to his legs, after all. The raven haired teen nodded and pulled back fully. Shifting to the end of the bed, he slowly stood up. Even with how careful he was, the world still spun before him.
Noting Harry’s dizziness, Severus quickly stood and looped one arm around the boy’s waist to steady him. “Let’s get going then,” Severus said as he steered them out of Pomfrey’s office. “Tell me if you get to dizzy; I can carry you,” Severus added a moment later, concern lacing his voice over Harry’s injuries.
"I'm fine." But none the less, Harry was grateful for the support. He'd have probably fell straight on his ass if it weren't for the arm holding his waist. Leaning into Snape's side, he continued to walk along, stumbling occasionally when he couldn't lift his foot the whole way, due to feeling so tired. He could barely hold his eyes open, but he didn't want to burden Snape more by making him carry him, even though he probably weighed easily thirty pounds less than Snape, probably more.
They stopped to grab his journal, and headed out towards the hallway. Walking along the deserted stretch of cheap tiling, they reached the exit. The older man used his free hand to push open the door and lead Harry through it. Walking slowly towards the teacher's parking lot, Snape unlocked his black Ford SUV and gently guided Harry into the passengers seat. The older man closed the door and walked around the truck, getting into the driver's side. Harry buckled himself up and wiggled. The seats were really comfortable. Letting his head fall back, he stopped fighting and let his heavy lids close in sleep.
Severus smiled fondly at Harry for a moment before starting the car and pulling out of the parking lot. Severus thought to himself, ‘asleep almost before he settled in. Well at least he’ll be able to heal after this.’
Turning his attention back to the road, Severus drove peacefully out of town and through the woods like so many days before, except this day he was no longer alone. The one hour drive to his house passed quickly and before he knew it, they were pulling up to the garage. Severus turned the car off and glanced over at Harry to find him sleeping soundly, and couldn’t help but smile; he looked adorable when he slept, so free of worries. Not having the heart to wake him, Severus slid out of his own seat, walked around the car, opened up the passenger side door and scooped the small teen into his arms. He frowned for a moment at how light he was, but that would be quickly remedied under his care. Walking up the smooth marble steps to the large black walnut doors of his home, Severus managed to push the doorbell and almost before his finger left the button, a maid came to answer the door.
“Thank you Luna,” he said to the small blonde woman as he passed her and made his way to the stairs. He wasn’t shocked at her lack of questions; Dobby knew how much he hated repeating himself and had probably informed the entire house of their new guest. As he made his way down the hallway; towards the room he’d designated for Harry, the storm that had been threatening to start all day finally ripped free with a fantastically loud thunderbolt that almost shook the house. Luckily, Severus was used to the mountain storms and managed not to jump, thus jostling Harry. Looking down at the small teen as rain poured down from open skies he said softly, “welcome home Harry.”
“Stop here driver,” Lucius commanded as his limo rounded the corner to Harry’s street, “I want to surprise these people.” The driver did as he was told, pulling over to the sidewalk and allowing his employer to get out. “This won’t take long,” Lucius murmured just before shutting the door.
Turning, Lucius walked down the street, his elegant coat billowing slightly behind him and his heels clicking sharply on the pavement. It was only an hour or so after school let out; the Dursleys probably thought their nephew was still staying after with Snape. Marching right up the steps, Lucius smirked evilly and knocked, loudly, three times before waiting for the victims-er-Dursleys to come to the door.
Vernon huffed and heaved himself out of the chair from where he had been lounging, watching TV. "Better not be one of those damn sales man..." Vernon mumbled to himself. On his way past the cupboard, the heavy man kicked the door, knowing it would send particles of dust and debris raining down. When no sounds came from inside, the man suddenly remembered that the boy was still at school. Fucking after school sessions.. the boy was probably doing drugs or something.
Shaking his head and cursing some more, Vernon kicked the door once more before walking the rest of the way to the door. Unlocking the chain, he swung it back, prepared to start cursing if it was one of those sales men. Or worse, one of those boys that sometimes came to the door, asking for the boy. The boy wasn't allowed to have any friends, he was nothing, therefore, he should have nothing.
Opening the door, he was met with a rather tall figure, garbed all in black. Vernon frowned, realizing that it must be that teacher that the boy was having the after school sessions with. What the hell was he doing here?
Lucius sneered at the large man that came to the door with disgust, and didn’t bother to hide it. “Good evening,” he said, words dripping with venom. “I am the attorney and business partner of Mr. Severus Snape. Mr. Snape is a very intelligent man and it has come to his attention that your young charge, Mr. Harry Potter, is not being treated properly.” Vernon made a move to speak, but Lucius simply glared at him and held his hand up to stop him. “Let me finish.” Vernon was probably so stunned at being treated like a child or worse, that he did, in fact, back off.
“He does not desire to sit back and do nothing, so he has decided to adopt Harry and become his guardian instead of you. All he requires is that you meet with him and sign over your control of Mr. Potter via some adoption papers.” Lucius seriously wondered if this oaf of a man could understand half of what he had just said, but, with another sneer, he fingered the large clip of money in his pocket. If they couldn’t be reasoned with, they could certainly be bought.
Some teacher take over his duties of caring for the boy? It was certainly tempting, to be rid of the boy that caused him and his family so much grief. But then again, he'd be losing a valuable person to do the chores. Petunia wouldn't be too happy about that.. and he'd probably be forced to pick up the slack after the boy was gone. No, that wouldn't be good at all.
Vernon gripped the door, ignoring the bead of sweat dripping down the back of his neck. "No," he said simply, moving to shut the door. He was about to close it all the way, but a shiny, patent leather shoe, jammed in the doorway stopped him.
"Perhaps I was not clear," Lucius said smoothly pulling the door open again, much to Vernon's chagrin. "Mr. Snape has...experience in such dealings and," with a small movement of his wrist, Lucius produced the large wad of money he'd placed in his pocket just for this scenario, "he is willing to compensate you."
Vernon frowned, looking down at the money. Well.. it would pay for someone to replace the boy. But what would Petunia think? Making deals with some attorney.. He looked down again at the money. He could always make her happy with some nice jewelry.. or that gaudy make up she always wore. And if that damn teacher decided to dig deeper and get actual proof that he was treating the boy.. less then nice, there would obivously be some trouble for him and his family.
Beady eyes looked up and down the street, seeing no one, he snatched the money in his grubby hands and barked out, "when?"
"Tomorrow morning at Seven, in front of the court house. My limo will be waiting. Negotiations will take place in there. Don't be late or you will regret it," Lucius sneered and then turned on his heel and left without so much as a goodbye; the man wasn't worth of common curtsey. He strode confidently down the street and the driver took off for home without him even having to tell him. With a victorious smirk Lucius picked up the phone and dialed Severus' cell.
"It's about time Lucius," Severus said urgently on the other end as soon as he picked up. "How did it go?"
"Well hello to you too," Lucius drawled, smirking at the frustrated growl he heard on the other end. "How's Mr. Potter doing?"
"Alright," Severus said, concern creeping into his voice. "Pomfrey used to be an E.R. nurse, so I trust her diagnosis. I set some ointment by his bed, sent for a sling, and some pain medication as well.
"He's still sleeping. I also sent Dobby out for some essentials like hair and tooth brushes and more shampoo and what not. I'm also going to have to take him out for clothes and new glasses or contacts when he's better. In the mean time, I guessed his size and also sent for an outfit for him to wear shopping."
Lucius chuckled, "my, aren't you turning into a mother hen."
"I am not," Severus retorted indignantly. "Harry's been all but killed by those creatures that raised him. I am simply trying to make this transition more comfortable for him."
Lucius paused meaningfully before adding, "you know, you should consider sueing his family for damages Severus."
"Not know," Severus said mournfully, looking out the window of his study, "he'll be so overwhelmed. He needs a little time to distance himself from his personal demons. And that reminds me; how did it go?"
"Money talks my friend. I had to bribe the uncle to get him to listen, but he agreed to meet you tomorrow at seven, I'll pick you up and bring the papers. Just to warn you though, you might have to bribe them again."
"Fine, I don't care. As long as they're not hurting Harry anymore. How much was the original bribe? I can pay you back when I see you next."
"Don't even think about it," Lucius replied, almost indignant, "I dislike abuse as much as you do. Don't forget who helped patch you up every time *your* father decided to break another bone of yours. I'm in this together with you, as always."
Severus winced at the painful memories, his eyes darkening, "thank you Lucius," he said quietly, trying to shove away the memories Lucius had brought up.
"Seriously though, old friend," Lucius said with a softer tone to his voice, "you shouldn't wait too long to bring this up with Harry. Don't wait as long as you did; you can't seek revenge from a tombstone Severus."
Severus winced again and said, "that was then, this is now. I won't push him, but I won't let them get away either. Now if you'll excuse me I have work to do." Without much further pause, Severus pressed the off button on his cell and buried his head in his hands. This was going to be a lot more painful then he'd thought.
(And Back At The Manor)
Harry slept soundly for a good five hours, but finally the growling of his own stomach forced him awake. His eyes widened at the unfamiliar room, but quickly remembered past events. He must have fallen asleep in the car, and Snape had obviously carried him to this room, which, if Harry assumed correctly, must be his. Pushing himself up gently with one hand, he shuffled backwards until his back rested against the cool wooden headboard. He pulled the thick, dark navy blue comforter up higher over his bare chest, warding out the constant chill. Thunder cracked through the sky, causing Harry to jump considerably, almost right off the bed. Sighing, he wrapped a hand around his growling stomach and looked around for the first time.
The room wasn't overly large, but definitely larger then he was used to. A beautiful red oak wood door was situated in front of him, probably leading to the hallway. The bed he was lying comfortably upon had a very comfortable plush mattress. The headboard was red oak, along with the wooden shelf attached to the end of the bed. Different colored vials lined the surface, probably for his numerous injuries. Looking down, he noticed the dark carpet, so black it looked like it had blue highlights. It looked so thick that Harry's feet would probably sink right into it. He'd never been allowed on carpet before… Harry grinned. It looked like this was going to be the first of many new things, along with the bed he was comfortably resting in.
The walls were painted a light gray-blue, and various landscape paintings decorated the walls. Most of them were of beautiful sunsets, dark skies with lightning lighting up the picture, and various winter scenes. All of them were very breath taking and beautiful. The painter was definitely talented. Harry had never been good at drawing or painting, but he could still recognize the hard work that had went into these masterpieces.
Harry finally noticed the two large red oak doors situated side by side off to his right. He knew it wasn't a bathroom, so it must have been one of those walk in closets that he had heard about. He didn't have any clothes though… except for the ones on him at the present moment. Well actually, he didn't know where his shirt was, but the baggy sweat pants hanging off his hips were technically his.
Lightning flashed throughout the room, quickly followed by a deafening crack of thunder. Harry jumped, even though he knew it had been coming. Twisting his head to look out the window to the left of his bed (*his* bed! He still couldn't get over that), he wasn't able to see outside due to the long medium blue (well, more like a mixture of blue and gray, it almost looked like one of those icicles in the paintings) curtain covering the large window. Over all, the room was actually very calming. Although it wasn't very bright, it did look mature and Harry liked all the colors in the room, dark blues were actually his favorite shade. A knock at the door made Harry turn his head. Why would they be knocking? ... Oh! Blushing lightly at his own stupidity, he called softly, "Come in."
Severus pushed open the thick oak door of Harry’s room and walked inside carrying a tray made for eating in bed that was heaped high with food and drink from the kitchens. Upon seeing Harry awake, a smile spread over his features. “Glad to see you’re finally awake Harry. Just in time too, dinner’s ready.” Leaning over the edge of the bed slightly, because it was more than big enough for two people, and Harry was sitting in the center of it, he placed the tray over Harry’s lap with a small grin. “Hope your hungry. Jessica, my cook, seems to think no one ever eats enough and tends to overdo the meals a little.” Once the tray was in place, Severus reached over to the bedside table and placed Harry’s glasses over his eyes again. “There we go,” he said, sitting on the edge of the bed next to Harry. He gave him a small look of concern. “How are you feeling?”
Harry looked at the large plate of food in surprise. He'd never seen that much food in his life! He was tempted (and hungry enough) to just eat the whole thing, but he knew that with how little he had eaten for the past… well, seventeen years, it wouldn't be very smart to eat too much before his stomach expanded.
Looking over at Snape, Harry frowned, thinking the question over seriously. "I don't feel as bad as I did. I think sleep helped my headache too." His stomach growled again. He grinned sheepishly. “But I don’t think it helped my hunger." He looked down at large plate, and finally picked up an apple slice. Taking small bites, he made sure that he ate slowly so he would know for certain when his stomach was full, and he didn't end up over doing it. He really didn't want to be sick his first day in his new home.
Severus watch Harry eat in silence, somehow managing to ebb his anger at the Dursleys for nearly starving the boy; something he was reminded of when he ate so little, with the knowledge that he was safe now. Harry ate maybe half as much as a normal, well fed, person would, before leaning back against the headboard with his hands folded against his lap with a contented expression on his face. Smiling slightly, Severus pressed the call button on the wall by Harry’s bed for the maid to take the tray away; he had other things to do at the moment.
“When you're better, I’ll have to give you a proper tour of the manor,” he mused out loud, “but for now, all you really need to know is that the bathroom is three doors down to the left and that my room is right across from yours; you can’t miss it. There’s a call button by your bed if you need anything, the servants are very prompt-” as if on cue Luna slid into the room and gently removed the tray from Harry’s bed. “Thank you Luna,” Severus said and she nodded in return on her way out. Turning to look back at Harry, Severus continued, “Feel free to call on them or me at any time if you need anything. Especially me, if I’m not already awake, I’m a light sleeper and would hear you knocking.” Severus paused again, looking over Harry’s thin form before adding, “And we’ll have to go shopping for you as soon as you're well in order to get clothes that fit you properly.”
Harry sat back with a smile on his face. That was definitely the first time he had eaten until he was full. Petunia had always snatched away his food before he could completely finish it, what little of it there was anyway. Listening to Snape, he looked over at the small panel set in the wall with a dark red button situated in the middle. He had completely missed that when he first looked around the room. But… actually calling servants to come help him? Harry didn't think he would be doing that any time soon. When he was better and Snape gave him a tour of the manor, he would have to pay attention to where the kitchen was so he wouldn't have to rely on the servants to bring him food all the time. He didn't really feel right ordering people around, when he had been ordered around himself at his relative's house.
Looking over at Snape, he noticed him checking out his small frame. Harry blushed, realizing his chest was bare since the blanket had fallen to his lap when he had moved to eat. What the older man said finally registered to Harry's ears. Shopping? For clothes that would actually fit *him*? Harry smiled brightly. Yes, there were definitely going to be many firsts for him in the next few days of his new life.
He frowned, wondering how long it would take for him to fully heal. Maybe Pomfrey had told Snape her estimated guess? Deciding to ask, Harry looked back at the seated man. "How long do you think it would take for me to fully heal?"
Snape noticed Harry blushing, a very endearing look on his pale features, and obligingly moved his gaze to only his face, but not before his smile widened a little around the edges. Leaning comfortingly back against the headboard, he thought over Harry’s question.
“Roughly ten days or so, depending. You have to stay in bed for three days to take care of that mild concussion, but after that, you should be well enough to poke around the house and go shopping, as long as you don’t over do it. After that, you should be well enough to return to school. I imagine we can fix up your shoulder and ribs in that time as well, the ointments at the foot of your bed are the same thing I gave you at school that second afternoon, they should speed up the healing process. And it doesn’t hurt that you're young either, you‘ll recover faster than a normal adult would.” Severus imagined the prospect of spending three days in bed wouldn’t be very appealing to any young person, so he’d naturally taken time off from teaching so he could be there for Harry. He wanted to make sure the adjustment went as smoothly as possible.
Three days in bed? Well, at least it wasn't uncomfortable or anything. Maybe he would be allowed to read? Harry sighed and let himself slide to the side so he was leaning against Snape’s warm side. He was still feeling chilly, and he'd found over the past few days that body heat was a lot warmer then ordinary blankets. Tucking his head in the crook of Snape's arm, he shivered. "Professor Snape… will I be allowed to read while I'm stuck in bed? It's going to be pretty boring lying here when you're gone."
Severus smiled fondly at the dark haired teen as he nestled against his side and gently draped his arm over his shoulders; careful not to hurt him. “Call me Severus please, Harry, and I have no intention of going back to school until you do. This is all very new for you and I want to be here to help you adjust.” Smiling slightly, he produced a book called, 'The God In Flight.' “I thought you might feel that way, that’s why I brought this over from my library. It’s one of my favorites and I think you’ll enjoy it as well. If you need any other books just ask; I’ll be here.”
Harry smiled and snuggled more into Sn-Severus' shoulder (he was going to have to get used to saying that). He actually hadn't known what Snape's first name was, but he found that the name 'Severus' really did fit him. Grabbing the book and placing it on his lap, he commented, "Severus suits you. It's a really powerful and distinctive name. I wish I had a name that actually sounded good and rolled off the tongue. Instead I get stuck with being named after bodily hair." Harry snorted. He'd never really like his name, it was so generic. He'd always wanted an exotic one, one that people could remember. If he ever did get published, the name 'Harry Potter' wasn't really going to look very authentic.
"Thanks for the book. I've heard about it, and it sounds good." Harry yawned before burying his nose into Severus' side, trying to stifle it. Breathing in the familiar scent, Harry felt even more drowsy, the food probably made him sleepy, like turkey does to people. Taking a deep breath, Harry fell asleep again.
Severus smiled at Harry's approval of his name and replied, "It's not the name that makes the person Harry, it's the person that makes a name good," but he doubted Harry had really heard him because he was so drowsy. Looking down at him, Severus found him fast asleep again. 'He must really need the rest,' he thought to himself, gently settling Harry down against the sheets and removing his glasses back to the bedside table. He had meant to mention his meeting with his relatives but Harry had just escaped them. Better to let him rest peaceful without having to dwell on them a little bit longer. Tucking the sheets around Harry's small frame, Severus murmured, "Goodnight Harry, sleep well," before turning and walking across the hall through his own red oak doors.
Return to Archive | next | previous